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Ex-intel chief says Helsinki appeasement raises new fears of Trump-Russia blackmail

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Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN on Thursday that he’s worried that President Donald Trump may indeed have been compromised by the Russian government.

While discussing Trump’s now infamous joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Clapper said that he’s now started to question whether the Russian government has some information that it’s been using to blackmail the president.

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“I have been trying my best to give the president the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “But more and more, I’ve come to the conclusion that, after the Helsinki performance and since, that I really do wonder whether the Russians have something on him. His behavior is just unbelievable. I’m still trying to get my head around what I witnessed at the Helsinki press conference.”

CNN host Alisyn Camerota then asked Clapper to discuss Trump’s consideration of Putin’s proposal to let Russian officials interrogate former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul — and Clapper absolutely went off on the president.

“That is one of the most preposterous things I can recall in my 50 years of experience serving this country,” he said. “I couldn’t believe that, that there was any doubt or equivocation, or that such an absurd proposal was even under consideration.”

Watch the video below.

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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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Trump ‘blew up’ Republicans’ Yovanovitch strategy with bone-headed tweet: Former GOP House Intel chair

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Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), who once served as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, shredded President Donald Trump for his widely panned decision to tweet out smears of former American ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

When asked by CNN's Jake Tapper on Friday what he made of the Yovanovitch hearing so far, Rogers didn't mince words about the president's behavior.

"I think the president blew up any Republican plan to treat the witness with respect when he tweeted out this morning," he said. "So I think that kind of screwed up their rhythm a little bit."

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