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Adam Schiff: Dems wanted Russian agent Maria Butina to testify but GOPers refused because it would ‘tarnish the NRA’

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Thursday that Democrats tried to call Russian agent Maria Butina to testify but Republicans refused because they worried that she would “tarnish the NRA.”

During an interview on CNN, host Alisyn Camerota asked Schiff if he was aware that Butina tried to establish backchannel communications between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We certainly knew about her and part of the role she was playing we didn’t know whether she was an agent of a foreign power,” Schiff explained, adding that the committee had email correspondence that talked about “setting up a secret back channel through the NRA.”

“We heard credible allegations that the Russians may have been funneling money through the NRA so, yes, we wanted to pursue this but like many other things,” he continued. “When it got too hot, the Republican reaction was, ‘We don’t want to know. We’d rather not know.'”

“But just to be clear,” Camerota pressed. “You’re saying that your Republican colleagues on the committee called her and said do not come in? How exactly did they block her sharing information with you?”

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Schiff replied: “During the course of time when they were actively in the investigation, the majority that is, we said let’s bring in Maria Butina, here are the reasons why we should hear from her, here are the reasons why we should hear from Paul Erickson who is alleged to have been involved in setting up this secret back channel.”

“The Republicans were unwilling,” the California Democrat recalled. “They said no. We don’t want to have them come in, we don’t want to hear what they have to say. They wouldn’t explain why but it was very clear that anything that might tarnish the NRA, anything that might lead to discoverable evidence that might incriminate the White House or people around the president, they didn’t want to hear.”

Watch the video below from CNN.

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Mitch McConnell: AOC started Trump’s racist tweets by calling detention centers ‘concentration camps’

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday refused to condemn the President of the United States for sending racist tweets in which he told four non-white congresswomen to "go back" to their countries of origin.

McConnell spoke on the matter at a press conference, but he did not explicitly rebuke President Donald Trump.

"There's been a lot of discussion about the events of the last couple days, I'd like to address it myself," McConnell volunteered. "I think there's been a consensus that political rhetoric has really gotten way way overheated all across the political spectrum."

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‘White supremacy is a hell of a drug’: columnist explains the GOP’s garbled response to Trump

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On Tuesday, President Donald Trump addressed comments he'd made telling four freshman congresswomen -- all American citizens and women of color -- to go back to their countries.

The comments set off a furor that the president was being outwardly racist.

“It's up to them. They can do what they want. They can leave, they can stay, but they should love our country,” the president told reporters Tuesday when he was asked about his remarks.

On CNN Tuesday, New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali explained how Donald Trump's comments -- and his Republican counterparts' refusal to call them racist -- is rooted in a dangerous white supremacy, or terror at the "browning of America."

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GOP congressman withers on CNN after host points out Trump’s America-bashing hypocrisy

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Republican members of Congress have had different responses to President Donald Trump’s overtly racist attack on four Democratic women in Congress: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — all of whom he told to go back to the countries they came from (three were born in the U.S., and all four are U.S. citizens). Many Republicans in Congress have avoided speaking out, while a minority of them have condemned Trump’s comments and some have passionately defended them. One of the defenders, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, was grilled by CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Tuesday and insisted that there was nothing racist about Trump’s comments.

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