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FBI will investigate where Trump got made-up Russian history of Afghanistan invasion: Former intel chief

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During the televised portion of his cabinet meeting on Wednesday, President Donald Trump delivered a bizarre rant about how the war in Afghanistan led to the collapse of the Soviet Union which has been widely mocked by American journalists and historians, including even the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board.

Trump falsely claimed that Russia invaded Afghanistan because “terrorists were going into Russia” and “literally they went bankrupt” as a result.

On Friday, MSNBC’s Brian Williams brought up Trump’s retelling of history with two experts, former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi and Gen. Barry McCaffrey (Ret.).

“It’s an astonishing assertion by the president,” said McCaffrey. “It sounds as if the talking points are written by the GRU… This is a truly astonishing, ignorant statement by the president.”

Figliuzzi said American counterintelligence agencies will want to know where Trump got his warped ideas about the subject.

“The counterintelligence side is going to take a look at why it is our president is siding with a communist regime claiming that the Russians were ‘right’ to go into Afghanistan,” Figliuzzi said. “They’re going to want to know the reasoning behind that, and where it’s coming from.”

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There may be a “benign” explanation, but this may be another sign that Trump has been compromised by Russia.

“The FBI is going to look at it even more deeply to say, look, there are a couple of other options, once you set aside incompetence,” he said. “There’s another option, the president has deliberately chosen to regurgitate the Putin line, the Russian line on this, because he somehow needs to paint Russia in the most favorable light, and why is that?”

Asking this type of question is exactly how counterintelligence investigations get started, Figliuzzi said.

“We need to help understand whether that’s because it serves his agenda to appease Russia, to say to them, ‘You may have compromised me, we may have a problem here, but I’m on your side.’ And, look, while this sounds like conjecture to many people, this is what counterintelligence agents do for a living.”

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Jon Stewart’s journey from satirist to political advocate is no laughing matter

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When Jon Stewart quit the Daily Show, the satirical news and comedy show he hosted for 16 years until August 2015, he explained to his replacement, Trevor Noah, that he was tired – and angry at the state of politics and political discourse in the US. As Noah reported:

He said ‘I’m leaving because I’m tired.’ And he said, ‘I’m tired of being angry.’ And he said, ’I’m angry all the time. I don’t find any of this funny. I do not know how to make it funny right now, and I don’t think the host of the show, I don’t think the show deserves a host who does not feel that it is funny.‘

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Record plunge in manufacturing for New York region: NY Fed

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Manufacturing activity in New York State took a record dive this month and fell into contraction, suddenly reversing recent gains, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported Monday.

The surprising drop was another worrying sign for the US manufacturing sector, a day ahead of the start of a Federal Reserve meeting that comes as markets clamor for signs the central bank will cut interest rates soon to preserve economic growth.

Manufacturing has been a weak spot for the American economy this year as global demand slows and President Donald Trump pursues a multi-front trade war with some of America's largest trading partners.

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Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi collapses and dies in court, state TV says

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Mohammed Morsi, the former Egyptian president who was ousted by the military in 2013, has died after collapsing in court, state TV said on Monday.

Egypt's public broadcaster said the 67-year-old former president was attending a session in his trial on espionage charges when he blacked out and then died. His body was taken to a hospital, it said.

Morsi, who hailed from Egypt's largest Islamist group, the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, was elected president in 2012 in the country's first free elections following the ouster the year before of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

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