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Here’s one big reason Maria Butina’s conservative contacts should be very worried: Former FBI special agent

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Former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa told CNN on Thursday that because Russian spy Maria Butina didn’t have diplomatic cover, she may well have been under FISA surveillance, spelling trouble for anyone to whom she may have spoken.

Rangappa said that Russian election interference boiled down to a political influence campaign operating on “a number of different fronts”, from disinformation spread through social media to hacking the DNC. “It’s when spies are acting fairly overtly, she said, “and essentially trying to court, recruit, assess people who may be able to then influence policy towards Russia.”

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“Two things that stand out to me here, most spies are here under diplomatic cover precisely so if they get caught, they have diplomatic immunity,” Rangappa continued. “Maria Butina was here without diplomatic cover so she’s caught in the cross hairs of criminal prosecution.”

“If the government has evidence that she was acting at the direction and control of Russia, that makes her an agent of a foreign power, which means she would have been a legitimate target for FISA surveillance,” she added. “Anyone talking to her at that time would be captured on that as well. I agree with [CNN analyst Jack Quinn] that there could be many other people who should be concerned at this point.”

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White House lawyers were desperate not to talk about Rudy Giuliani — or Trump’s other conspiracy theories: CNN analyst

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On Saturday, CNN analyst Gloria Borger noted a key piece of the timeline that was conveniently missing from the defense presented by President Donald Trump's legal team: The involvement of Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

"The one person that Jay Sekulow didn't mention is Rudy Giuliani, because this is Rudy Giuliani's theory of the game here," said Borger. "They were very careful not to bring up Rudy Giuliani because they know that he is not well regarded in the United States Senate, but if you again look at this summary of the transcript of the president's phone call, the president talks about CrowdStrike, he talks about a lot of things that went on. 'I would like to have the attorney general call you or your people, I would like to have you get to the bottom of it,' this whole nonsense, he talked about Bob Mueller and said a lot of it started with Ukraine."

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Pompeo ridiculed by CNN panel for his ‘phony mock outrage’ response after being outed as a foul-mouthed bully

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Responding to a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued through the State Department accusing an NPR journalist of being "shameless" for going public with an encounter she had with him in his offices where he cursed at her, a CNN panel all but rolled their eyes at his "phony" outrage.

Speaking with host Anderson Cooper, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called out the blustery Pompeo as well as many Republicans who took "umbrage" at Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) mentioning a report that the Donald Trump would have their heads on "on a pike" if they crossed him.

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CNN

White House lawyers’ Trump defense ‘deteriorated’ as they tried to make the case for the president: CNN’s Toobin

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As President Donald Trump's legal team put forward their defense of the president's Ukraine scheme at the impeachment trial on Saturday, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin weighed in on the effectiveness of what they had presented.

"There was information put forth today that would allow Republicans to vote against witnesses and to vote for an acquittal," acknowledged Toobin, offering as an example that the team did a good job at creating doubt over when the Ukrainians knew the foreign aid was cut off. However, "after that I thought it deteriorated."

"I was surprised that Jay Sekulow, who I think is a very fine lawyer, seen him argue in the Supreme Court several times, wandered in the wasteland of the Mueller report, that didn't seem relevant," said Toobin. "Mr. Philbin, who is not a spellbinding performer, went on about how it was legitimate in their view not to respond to subpoenas, not to provide any witnesses by the Trump administration. I thought that was a particularly weak performance. But, you know, if you are inclined to the defense point of view, there were facts and arguments to justify your position this morning."

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