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‘Greed, corruption, ego’: Ex-CIA intel officer explains why Russian operatives saw Trump as the perfect mark

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Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former CIA intelligence officer who is now a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, has written a lengthy analysis of why Russian intelligence agents would have seen President Donald Trump as the perfect target for their operations.

Writing in Just Security, Mowatt-Larssen says that Trump possesses all of “the classical vulnerabilities that intelligence officers seek to identify and exploit including sexual indiscretions, greed, corruption, revenge, and most of all, ego.”

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While assessing Trump’s fitness to be an asset, Russian officials would begin slowly by “initiating mutually beneficial activity to test receptiveness to a deepening relationship” — such as, say, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant that was held in Moscow.

Mowatt-Larssen then explains how Trump’s announced presidential run must have proven irresistible for Russian agents — and he says that any work trying to reach out to the Trump campaign would have been done gradually and slowly, rather than simply diving in with a plan to collude.

“In carrying out the election operation, it is possible Russian intelligence may never have felt the need to confront Trump directly with any compromising material (Kompromat) they had collected, particularly if they assessed that it was not sufficiently serious to serve as the basis of meaningful control over him,” he writes. “Trump’s potentially greatest vulnerability to compromise is that he is a natural autocrat. He admires Putin because the Russian strong man is a role model for Trump. It is no surprise that the number of the Russian overtures to the Trump campaign included dangling the carrot of a meeting with Putin—they knew that was a prize Trump coveted.”

The entire piece is worth reading and can be found at this link.

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Trump ignored aides’ advice before first Ukraine call — and it destroyed his impeachment defense: report

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to himself as his own top advisor and a political "genius." But his interactions with Ukraine at the heart of the impeachment inquiry could demonstrate the limitations of such an approach to governing.

Friday's bombshell, behind-closed-door testimony from David Holmes has made White House aides unhappy, but the bad news for the administration did not stop there.

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‘Aides to the president are not happy’ Gordon Sondland held the phone up in restaurant: CNN’s Jim Acosta

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CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported on Friday that White House aides are unhappy with Ambassador Gordon Sondland for holding up a call with Trump in a restaurant for multiple witnesses to listen.

The details were revealed in bombshell closed-door testimony before Congress on Friday.

Acosta noted the administration was trying to downplay the significance of the call.

"But I will tell you, that the aides of the president are not happy that Gordon Sondland apparently held the phone up so other aides could hear what was going on and the words of the source familiar with the conversations inside the White House, the president speaks loudly, Sondland should know that," Acosta reported.

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David Holmes’ opening statement to Congress directly implicated Donald Trump: report

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Congress will hear first-hand testimony of President Donald Trump's involvement in the Ukraine scandal.

"David Holmes, the state department aide who overheard President Donald Trump's conversation with the US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, said that Sondland told Trump that the Ukranian President would do 'anything you ask him to,' and that he confirmed the Ukrainians were going to 'do the investigation,'" CNN reported Friday.

""Sondland told Trump that (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky 'loves your ass,'" Holmes testified. "I then heard President Trump ask, 'So, he's gonna do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that 'he's gonna do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.'"

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