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‘Is this a Manchurian candidate?’: Ex-FBI agent explains how Trump’s suspicious behavior with Russia has continued since the summit

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Top officials in the intelligence and defense community delivered a White House briefing Thursday intending to show resolve and commitment to countering the threat from Russia’s efforts to undermine American Democracy. But one major voice was missing from the briefing — that of President Donald Trump.

As former special agent at the FBI Clint Watts argued on MSNBC Thursday afternoon, Trump’s conspicuous absence from the briefing extends an ongoing pattern of suspicious behavior from the president regarding Russia. This behavior was on display after Trump held a private summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last month and then proceeded to deliver an obsequious press conference with the authoritarian leader that stunned many observers.

Questions about this meeting have only multiplied since it took place, as no official readout about what the two leaders discussed has been released. And when appearing with the other top officials Thursday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said he “is not in a position” to talk about exactly what went on during the private meeting.

“[Trump] wanted it to be a secret meeting, it’s still a secret meeting,” said John Heilemann on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House.” “Even from the people who should be at the highest level of government to know what happened. So that is an act of intent. What does one read from that act of intent that he is still keeping that secret from Dan Coats and others?”

“When I’ve talked to friends either in government or out of government, current Republicans who will always just vote for a Republican — that Helsinki press conference was like: ‘Oh my God. Is this a Manchurian candidate?'” Watts said. “Everyone, I think, had doubts about it — totally dispelled it — but when you watch that press conference… everything that’s been said about Trump, you start to say, ‘What if this is true?’ And so we’re having this reaction today about election interference.”

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He continued: “He knows this is a mistake. And yet he won’t talk about that press conference. He did not even communicate to DNI Coats that he was going to extend an invitation to Vladimir Putin to come to the United States. and then when Coats was onstage and shocked about that — as he should be because he should be the first person that’s told about this! — he has to go back and essentially negotiate with the president to calm his anger, from what I understand.”

Watts added that the situation we’re in is a “crazy scenario.”

“Even with all the pressure — I think a lot of that pressure is from Capitol Hill. I think it’s from the institutions that Donald Trump is in charge of — even with all that pressure, he will not take the next step and say: “I’m going to be tough on Russia, and here’s what I’m going to do,'” he said.

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Disney heiress who went undercover to Disneyland ‘livid’ at conditions and pay

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Heiress Abigail Disney went to one of her family's resorts to see conditions for workers herself and was disgusted by what she saw.

In comments to Yahoo News podcast "Through Her Eyes," Disney described how she went to Disneyland in California undercover and found that workers at the resort were treated poorly—and underpaid.

"Every single one of these people I talked to were saying, 'I don't know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people's garbage,'" said Disney.

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Ex-Peru president wanted for corruption arrested in the US

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Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo was arrested in the United States Tuesday to face extradition to his home country on corruption charges, authorities in the South American nation said.

The 73-year-old is suspected of involvement in the sprawling Odebrecht scandal in which the construction giant paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes throughout the continent to secure huge public works contracts.

The Peruvian attorney general's office announced on Twitter that Toledo "was arrested this morning for extradition, in the United States."

Toledo has been formally charged with receiving a $20 million payment from Odebrecht to grant it the tender to build the Interoceanic Highway that links Peru with Brazil.

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Comic-Con mines past for future hits on 50th edition

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A smorgasbord of sequels, prequels and reunions from "Terminator" to "Game of Thrones" awaits thousands of misty-eyed comic book geeks and sci-fi nerds descending on San Diego this week for the world's largest celebration of pop culture fandom.

The 50th edition of Comic-Con International will see 135,000 cosplayers, bloggers, movie executives and humble fans pile into a sweaty convention center for glimpses of their heroes, in town to promote the next mega-hit films, TV shows and comic books.

This anniversary edition promises to be more nostalgia-laden than most -- among those expected to appear are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, who will soon reunite on screen for the first time since 1991's "Terminator 2" for Paramount's killer cyborg sequel "Dark Fate."

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