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Biographer sounds the alarm: Trump’s been paying off women and ‘Russian gangsters’ for decades

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Pulitzer Prize-winning Trump biographer David Cay Johnston on Thursday morning noted that the president has been paying women off for their silence for decades — and that his protests against being taped are likely phony.

Johnston told CNN’s John Berman that it came as no surprise to him that Trump’s former attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen recorded their conversations because that’s standard practice in New York, where only one party is required to consent to a recording.

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“Some lawyers may tape a client now and then to make sure they get their directions straight,” the biographer noted. “And the other reason is, this is insurance. If the boss is asking you to commit an illegal act and you have a tape of him, you have an insurance policy.”

Trump, Johnston said, has resorted to payoffs like those he undertook with former Playboy models Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels “the whole thirty years” he’d been covering him.

Later in the interview, the longtime Trump biographer weighed in on the president’s unusually-friendly public appearance with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki earlier in July and said that it, too, was in keeping with his past business dealings.

“We know that Donald was suddenly flush with cash and buying assets and his sons, one of his sons has said, we were getting lots of money from Russians,” Johnston said, referencing the time in 2014 when Eric Trump reportedly bragged about getting millions from Russians to a golf reporter.

“We know of documented cases where he got money from Russians,” he continued. “We know Donald Trump has been doing business with Russian gangsters for years. And when I say Russians, I mean Russian-speaking people.”

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Jeffrey Toobin accuses Dershowitz of trying to ‘elevate himself’ with Trump trial in fiery CNN confrontation

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CNN's "State of the Union" kicked off Sunday morning with a battle between one of Donald Trump's impeachment defense lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, and CNN legal contributor - and former Dershowitz student -- Jeffrey Toobin, with Toobin right away getting in a shot at his old professor for trying to elevate his profile by working for the president.

With fill-in host Brianna Keillar acting as referee and pressing Dershowitz to explain his legal case supporting the president, the conversation turned into a sparring match as Toobin disputed the Trump attorney's contention that the president did not abuse his power-- which is the centerpiece of the Senate trial.

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Presidential historian rains hell on National Archives for ‘idiotic’ decision to blur photos to spare Trump’s feelings

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Appearing on CNN on Sunday morning, noted presidential historian Douglas Brinkley harshly criticized the decision by the National Archives to blur photos of posters that were critical of Donald Trump, saying it was a betrayal of their mission.

Speaking with host Martin Savidge, the normally staid Brinkley was blunt in his assessment of the decision -- despite an apology from a spokesperson for the Archives -- calling the very fact that it even happened "idiotic."

"I could not believe the National Archives did such a thing," Brinkley began. "It's such a venerable institution and we all trust it. It's the depository of our national heirlooms and leavings and here it is doctoring photos to make Donald Trump look good. I mean to the idea you take the women's march of 2017 which was largely anti-Trump march and start changing signs like one sign said 'God hates Trump,' they just blurred out the word Trump so the protester sign says 'God hates.' That was replicated many times, it's an idiotic idea to have altered that photograph. I am pleased a retraction has come our way. "

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2020 Election

He ‘can’t understand why he is being impeached’: CNN reports Trump is asking ’why are they doing this to me?’

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President Donald Trump is reportedly "distracted" by impeachment while vacationing at Mar-a-Lago as the United States Senate trial begins.

"A source close to the White House who speaks to Donald Trump regularly said the President has appeared 'distracted' by the impeachment trial that begins on Tuesday, telling people around him Friday night at Mar-a-Lago that he 'can't understand why he is impeached,'" CNN's Jim Acosta reported Saturday. "'Why are they doing this to me,' the source quoted Trump as saying repeatedly."

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