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Russia historian: Trump has a ‘boyish crush’ on Putin because he ‘wants to be the first American czar’

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CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday interviewed Simon Sebag Montefiore, a historian who has written extensively about Russia, about President Donald Trump’s seeming infatuation with Russian President Vladmir Putin.

When asked by Zakaria why Trump has seemingly verbally attacked every major country in the world except Russia, Montefiore explained that Trump envies that kind of power and prestige that Putin and past Russian leaders have enjoyed as heads of state.

“Donald Trump wants to be the first American czar,” he explained. “He wants to be the American Romanov — he rules by decree, very small circle, he treats ministers like personal servants, he promotes his family to positions of power, they’re the only people he really trusts. So in this sense, he really is the first American czar.”

Montefiore said that there are checks and balances that have so far kept Trump from behaving wholly like a dictator, but he argued that we should still be alarmed by his ambitions and his admiration for Putin.

“He looks at Vladimir Putin and he sees a man who… has control of violence, who can order interventions into foreign countries at the click of a hand,” he explained. “I think that is a slightly boyish crush on the idea of the gangster boss.”

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Watch the full interview below.

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Tongue-tied GOP strategist crashes and burns on-air while trying to deny Trump’s racism

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Republican strategist Amy Tarkanian crashed and burned on CNN on Saturday while attempting to deny President Donald Trump's racism.

"I do not believe that the president’s tweets were racist. I do believe they were not well thought out. He needs that extra, 'Are you sure?' button on Twitter," Tarkanian argued.

"I'm a black man, I'm a Republican and a black man," the Rev. Joe Watkins interjected. "My mother's an immigrant, I would be angry if someone said that to my mother."

"Oh, it’s very offensive. But he did not say, because you are this color, go back to where you came from," Tarkanian argued. "I’m not supporting that tweet. Was it racist? No. Was it stupid? Yes."

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CNN

Trump supporter blames Democrats for being targeted by the president: ‘Why is that racist?’

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CNN interviewed a supporter of President Donald Trump in Eau Claire, Wisconsin who refused to acknowledge the racism in the president's "Go Back" attacks on four women of color in Congress.

The network interviewed Kerri Krumenauer of Wiersgalla Plumbing & Heating Company about Trump's attacks.

"How is it racist?" she asked.

"If you don't like this country, get out," she demanded. "Leave!"

She then showed how misinformed she was about the incident.

"He didn't use any names -- they stood up," she falsely claimed. In fact, Trump did use names and the targets did not stand up as they were not at his North Carolina campaign rally.

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2020 Election

Here’s how Trump hopes to recreate his 2016 presidential win — and how Democrats can send him packing

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Writing for CNN on Saturday, election forecaster Harry Enten explained how President Donald Trump's recent, racist behavior lies in his desire to recreate the same electoral conditions that gave him a victory in 2016 in the presidential election next year.

"The Trump strategy is pretty simple: 1. Drive up the unfavorable ratings of his Democratic rival as he did in 2016 in order to compensate for his own low ratings. 2. Bank on an electoral college/popular vote split as he did in 2016. 3. Use a campaign of racial resentment to drive up turnout even more among groups favorable toward the President," wrote Enten. As he noted, Democrats have excellent odds to flip back Michigan and Pennsylvania, but they will have to work harder to win back any of the other states Trump flipped from the 2012 Obama camp — in particular Wisconsin, which was the closest state after those two.

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