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Former federal prosecutor calls Rosenstein caving into Trump’s demands another case of ‘getting played’

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After President Donald Trump issued a Twitter demand to the Department of Justice Sunday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein caved to the demand.

“If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action,” Rosenstein said in a statement.

Paul Butler, former federal prosecutor and professor at Georgetown University Law Center, told MSNBC that the announcement wasn’t anything new or even concerning as there has already been an investigation going on. It will now likely include these new allegations by Trump.

“I have to say what is disappointing is that we have seen Rod Rosenstein get played by the president of the United States previously,” Butler said. “When the president got him to write this memo, justifying the firing of James Comey. This seems like another response to the president’s political kind of instincts where I think Rosenstein is getting a little bit played.”

He went on to call the expansion of the investigation a kind of “mission creep,” but noted it isn’t unusual.

“But, again, what is troubling is that at this point it seems to be instigated not by the new investigators new findings but by the political whims of the president,” he said. He then noted that for the president to shout “jump” and Rosenstein to quickly agree is what he finds the most “concerning.”

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Watch his full interview below:

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George Conway calls out fears Trump will compromise new US intelligence initiative aimed at Russia

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On Saturday, George Conway drew attention to a specific passage of a new article from The New York Times about the intelligence community's efforts to counterattack the Russian power grid, in response to years of covert Kremlin attacks on our own:

“[O]fficials described...hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern...that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation...to the Russian foreign minister.” https://t.co/BXTjjXBmia

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Trump goes on ‘TOTAL LOSERS’ tirade with manic tweet attacking ‘totally out of control’ media

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Trump’s hamfisted attempt to wag the dog with Iran unraveled fast

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

We can’t say with any certainty that Iran wasn’t behind the attacks on two ships in the Gulf of Oman this week, but it is clear that the Trump regime’s account of what happened unraveled very quickly. Shortly after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a video of a small vessel removing something Pompeo said was a mine from the damaged port side of one of the ships, the vessel's owner said that it had actually been struck on its starboard side, above the waterline, by a flying object. If this were in fact an effort to pull a Gulf of Tonkin, then the fact that this was the best dog-wagging they could conjure up would be downright pathetic.    

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