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Ex-Pentagon official explains how Trump may fear Putin now sees him as ‘damaged goods’

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A former Navy rear admiral who has served as the spokesperson for Pentagon and the State Department explained why Russian President Vladimir Putin may no longer want to deal with Donald Trump.

“I think there’s probably a case to be made that Putin looks at Trump perhaps as damaged goods as a result of the impact of the Mueller investigation,” retired Admiral John Kirby told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

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The White House, Blitzer noted, has claimed that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is “undermining” the US-Russia relationship — but as Kirby pointed out, that has much more to do with the Kremlin itself.

“Russia is why the US-Russia relationship is in bad shape. It’s their interference in our election,” the former Obama administration official said. “Their aggression in Ukraine and the failure to help bring civil war in Syria to an end. That’s what’s really driving this relationship down so far as it’s gone.”

Trump, he added, is “distracted” and is also “causing problems bilaterally and multilaterally because he can’t let go.”

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GOP lawmaker goes on extended rant about Schiff to duck Tapper questions about Trump intimidating witnesses

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On Sunday morning House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Mike Murphy (R-OH) attempted to blow off questions by CNN's Jake Tapper over whether President Donald Trump was trying to intimidate former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch with a tweet during her testimony, choosing instead to attack committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for wanting to impeach the president.

Following a long interview where the State of the Union host had to correct the Ohio Republican's assertions multiple times -- with Tapper once flatly stating "That's not true" -- the CNN host asked about Trump's tweets that were immediately characterized as witness intimidation.

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2020 Election

WATCH: Pete Buttigieg surges to first place in ‘gold standard’ poll of Iowa caucuses

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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg surged in a poll of Iowa released Saturday night.

The poll, by Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom, showed major movement in the race.

"Since September, Buttigieg has risen 16 percentage points among Iowa’s likely Democratic caucusgoers, with 25% now saying he is their first choice for president. For the first time in the Register’s Iowa Poll, he bests rivals Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are now clustered in competition for second place and about 10 percentage points behind the South Bend, Indiana, mayor," the newspaper reported.

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Holmes’ testimony shows Trump lied about his relationship with embattled Ambassador Sondland: ex-FBI agent

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On CNN Saturday, former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa noted that State Department aide David Holmes' testimony does not just make a liar of EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland for claiming he wasn't aware of any plot to extort Ukraine with military aid, it also makes a liar out of President Donald Trump for suggesting he had barely even interacted with Sondland in the first place.

"What does all of this mean when we look ahead to the space that Sondland, Ambassador Sondland is in, and what he's going to say on Wednesday?" asked anchor Christi Paul.

"Yeah, so Holmes is really important because he has firsthand knowledge of this call," said Rangappa. "He was sitting there and he heard — he overheard this conversation. I just want to emphasize that, because one of the big objections that the Republicans have had is that everything has been hearsay. So we are getting closer to getting firsthand corroboration and information."

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