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James Clapper explains why he believes Putin is handling Trump like an ‘asset’

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James Clapper has said Russian president Vladimir Putin was handling President Donald Trump like an “asset,” and he explained Tuesday what he meant by his remark.

The former director of national intelligence appeared Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where analyst John Heilemann asked Clapper whether he believed Putin was treating Trump like an asset — or whether whether he believed the U.S. president was, in fact, a Russian asset.

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“No, I’m not suggesting that at all,” Clapper said. “This was a commentary on Putin’s approach. He is a trained and deeply experienced KGB officer and I think his instincts are basically prompted by that experience, so he approaches President Trump or any other interlocutor he deals with as a potential intelligence asset — one to try to co-opt, influence and even recruit. So it’s a comment about him, not the president.”

Clapper told CNN in December that Putin “knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with the president.”

“You have to remember Putin’s background,” Clapper told CNN. “He’s a KGB officer. That’s what they do. They recruit assets.”

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Trump has shrunk the White House entirely around himself: ‘It is a government of one’

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President Donald Trump has cleared out all the constraints in his White House, which he's running much like the Trump Organization.

The president has chased away four national security advisers, three chiefs of staff, three directors of oval office operations and five communications directors -- an unprecedented amount of turnover for a modern president — and finds himself surrounded by compliant staffers and aides, reported Politico.

“It is a government of one in the same way in which the Trump Organization was a company of one,” said one former senior administration official.

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Benny Gantz says he should be PM in Israel unity government

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Benny Gantz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's main opponent in the country's general election, said Thursday he should be prime minister in a unity government.

Gantz spoke to journalists after Netanyahu called for them to join together in a unity government as results from Tuesday's vote showed neither with an obvious path to form a majority coalition.

Gantz's centrist Blue and White is nevertheless two seats ahead of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud, according to results published by Israeli media with 97 percent of the vote counted.

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2020 Election

Beto O’Rourke’s plan to legalize marijuana includes clemency for possession sentences and grants for those who already served time

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For his latest policy proposal, the Democratic presidential candidate returns to a cause he has championed since his days on the El Paso City Council.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Thursday morning released a marijuana legalization plan that calls for clemency for everyone currently serving sentences for possession.

The former El Paso congressman also would push for a federal tax on the pot industry and put the revenue toward a "Drug War Justice Grant" for those formerly incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana offenses.

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