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CNN host wonders why the White House isn’t refuting the NY Times op-ed — and instead searching for its author

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One of the worst stories for the White House this past week was the New York Times op-ed written by an anonymous senior official. Yet, President Donald Trump and his staff can’t seem to move on from it. To make matters worse, Bob Woodward’s new expose on the White House arrives on bookshelves this week.

While writers like Omarosa Manigault-Newman and Michael Wolff might be good for sales, they lack the long-standing journalistic integrity that Woodward enjoys. For his book to have garnered such paranoia from the White House and the president before the release means the week will likely be another difficult one for Trump.

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During a panel discussion about the op-ed and the book, former Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) spokesperson Symone Sanders laughed at the White House for failing to knock the stories off of the front page.

“If this person is so concerned they should go to Congress. The midterms are less than 60 days away,” she said of the op-ed writer. “This is more of an issue for Republicans right now than it is Democrats. We should be concerned many people in his orbit think he’s unfit to serve. I think that is cause for some type of oversight, some type of action. I don’t think we’ll see it from this Republican Congress.”

Host Erika Hill called it “fascinating” watching the media blitz from the White House while they manage to keep the story at the top of the news feeds.

“Which makes no sense to me,” Sanders confessed, laughing.

“They are keeping it top of mind, as you say especially from your communications background, it doesn’t make any sense,” Hill agreed. “Kellyanne Conway, saying just this morning to Jake Tapper, her feeling is that this letter is all about sowing discord and chaos. They don’t seem to refute the claims.”

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Instead, the White House is attacking the delivery method, the writers and the media.

Hill observed they are “not coming out there and saying, ‘This is all terrible false,'” she said. “It’s all, ‘Hey, I’ll take a lie detector test, it wasn’t me.'”

RealClearPolitics editor A.B. Stoddard said that it is clear the White House knows this is an obsession for Trump and that they’re on the hunt for the person.

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“They want the person to pay a dear price that the president believes this is a national security threat,” she said. “Mike Pence wants us to know — the vice president — to know he didn’t do it. He’s willing to take a lie detector test. They want focus off the substance, which you mentioned, which is so dramatic and so profound and so potentially damaging to the whole country.”

She agreed that the White House isn’t denying any of the claims in the op-ed, while they are working on a document to refute the book.

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She cited Woodward’s interview Sunday, saying that it’s obvious they’re making it about the goose chase for the source instead of what’s wrong with the White House.

Watch the full discussion below:

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CNN

Ken Starr is an awful choice for Trump’s legal team because he’ll look like a hypocrite: Former federal prosecutor

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President Donald Trump has a severe hypocrisy problem, and it has extended to his legal team. In a CNN explainer answering legal questions from viewers, former state and federal prosecutor Eli Honig explained that the choice of Ken Starr for Trump's legal team was a terrible idea.

Trump has chosen lawyers that are like a Fox News legal discussion panel. Pat Cipollone, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Wray, Pam Bondi and Jay Sekulow are all key people Trump has called on to defend him. But one person stands out, Honig explained. Ken Starr.

"He may emerge as a symbol of hypocrisy," Honig said. "He was the independent counsel who pursued Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Ken Starr turned over Heaven and Earth in his investigation of Bill Clinton. He talked to everyone who ever had known Monica Lewinsky, ex-boyfriends, teachers, window washers. And here he's going to say you shouldn't be hearing from primary witnesses?"

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CNN

If people of color showed up to a Capitol protest heavily armed — Trump would call them terrorists: commentator

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Legal analyst Areva Martin explained in a CNN panel discussion Sunday that the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday has historically been a day in which white supremacists rear their ugly heads with racist protests and other public displays of bigotry. Monday's expected rally of racist gun nuts expected at the Virginia capitol is no different.

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CNN

Watergate’s John Dean thinks Trump wrote part of his legal team’s brief — because it’s so terrible

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Former White House counsel for Richard Nixon, John Dean, explained that the legal brief out of President Donald Trump's White House was so bad that it had to have been dictated by Trump himself.

Saturday evening, Trump's legal team, chaired by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, filed their own form of a legal brief that responded to the case filed by Democrats ahead of Tuesday's impeachment trial.

The document called the proceedings “constitutionally invalid” and claims House Democrats are staging a “dangerous attack” with a “brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election.”

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