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Former CIA boss John Brennan explains Trump’s ‘authoritarian toolbox’

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The former head of the Central Intelligence Agency blasted President Donald Trump for trying to use “authoritarian” tactics to win his border wall fight — and said he’d been doing so for quite some time.

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace pointed out that after Trump failed to get Congress on board with border wall funding, he moved to “simply reach for the authoritarian’s toolbox and do it by emergency declaration.”

“I think Donald Trump has been reaching into the authoritarian’s toolbox for quite some time,” former CIA director John Brennan responded, “in terms of delegitimizing the press, undermining the institutions of government, trying to corrupt and control of the institutions of law enforcement and intelligence.”

“His opting for this right now I think is just very typical of him,” he added. “And he’s again fabricating crisis that leads to real crises, crisis of confidence in the government, crisis of confidence among federal workers.”

Brennan said that he thinks Trump “comprehends but doesn’t care” that his shutdown is hurting federal workers “because he lacks that gene of empathy.”

“He only does things that are going to benefit himself,” the former CIA chief said. “I think that’s been his way not just since he was inaugurated but long before that.”

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“The fact so many Americans are going to suffer as a result of this,” Brennan concluded, “I don’t think it bothers him. He’s just looking at which way the political winds blow, which is what authoritarian leaders do.”

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Sailing among the stars: Here’s how photons could revolutionize space flight

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A few days from now, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will lift off from Florida, carrying a satellite the size of a loaf of bread with nothing to power it but a huge polyester "solar sail."

It's been the stuff of scientists' dreams for decades but has only very recently become a reality.

The idea might sounds crazy: propelling a craft through the vacuum of space with no engine, no fuel, and no solar panels, but instead harnessing the momentum of packets of light energy known as photons -- in this case from our Sun.

The spacecraft to be launched on Monday, called LightSail 2, was developed by the Planetary Society, a US organization that promotes space exploration which was co-founded by the legendary astronomer Carl Sagan in 1980.

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Russians to prod Putin on poverty and his personal life as his ratings tank

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Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.

The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.

Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.

Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.

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Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns

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Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.

In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.

The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.

"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."

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