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Ex-CIA chief Leon Panetta tells CNN revoking security clearances is a dangerous distraction: ‘This is Trump’s approach of wag the dog’

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Former CIA chief Leon Panetta, a signatory to the letter signed by 15 intelligence leaders rebuking Trump’s abrupt and retaliatory decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance, slammed the president for using the clearance process as a “political weapon”. He also intimated that the whole affair was nothing more than a deliberate, but dangerous, distraction.

A clearly angry Panetta noted that there were 4 million security clearances for military and intelligence personnel “serving our national security and trying to protect this country.”

“To go after people whose political views you may not like, whose speech you may not like, whose support for investigations you may not like, turns our national security interests into a political weapon,” Panetta said.

Panetta also clearly believes Trump’s decision to strip Brennan’s clearance was driven by rank political expedience. “I think this is kind of Trump’s approach of wag the dog, where he is using national security issues to divert attention. And I feel that that undermines not only our national security, I think it undermines the office of the presidency.”

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‘White nationalists will never love you’: Hispanic Trump supporter goes down in flames during CNN debate

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CNN's Anderson Cooper struggled to control a segment about President Donald Trump's racism while interviewing a former member of Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council.

Cooper interviewed Steve Cortes about the president's racist outburst at the four young women of color in Congress that are known collectively as "The Squad."

The host read the dictionary definition of a demagogue.

"A leader that makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises to gain power," Merriam-Webster published.

"Is Donald Trump a demagogue? Isn’t this exactly what he is doing here?" Cooper asked.

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CNN

Gold Star father blasts Trump for failure to govern while refusing to ‘defend and protect’ America

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," Gold Star father Khizr Khan eviscerated President Donald Trump for his latest racist attack on congresswomen of color.

"To Donald Trump I say, sir, have you no sense of decency with this racism and division for political purposes?" Khan told anchor Anderson Cooper. "Donald Trump has nothing to offer. Therefore, he is going to create division and hate for political expedience. I am saddened but not surprised because, as you explained, he is a demagogue and will continue to use hate and division for his political expediency purpose."

"This is a man without any shame," agreed Cooper. "He doesn't have a health care policy. He doesn't have — he's not able to make progress on immigration in any sort of policy that actually solves the problem long term. And so he does these things and it is largely in times to distract, but it's not just distracting people, it's distracting people in the worst possible, bigoted, divisive way. It's distracting us by turning us against each other and viewing each other as other."

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Racism drives Trump ‘like rocket fuel’ — but even for him, this is ‘shocking and disgraceful’: WaPo journalist

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Washington Post reporter David Swerdlick told anchor Wolf Blitzer that there's nothing truly new about President Donald Trump's racist social media assaults on Democratic congresswomen of color — but that there is something uniquely horrible about the latest episode.

"People are suggesting what the president has said in the past day or two represents a new low," said Blitzer. "But when you look at the president's history ... the president claiming Barack Obama wasn't born here in the United States, his comments about Charlottesville. This clearly isn't a one-off."

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