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Trump ‘playing into Putin’s hands’ with ‘disastrous’ plan to withdraw from NATO: Ex-intel chief Clapper

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Appearing on CNN’s “New Day,” former National Intelligence director James Clapper accused Donald Trump of ”playing into the hands” of Russian President Vladimir Putin with his desire to withdraw from NATO.

Recent reports have indicated that Trump no longer believes the U.S. should remain a member of the military alliance that binds the United States to Europe and Canada to halt aggression.

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Speaking with host Alisyn Camerota, Clapper seemed appalled at the idea that the president sees no need to remain part of the organization, saying Putin would likely be pleased if the U.S. abandoned the other countries.

“If this was in fact a topic of discussion in secret sessions between Putin and President Trump, that’s really terrible,” Clapper began. “Withdrawing from NATO — even discussing withdrawing from NATO — would be disastrous for the security of the United States.”

“This is not about the U.S. just protecting NATO, because the U.S. derives benefit from being forward deployed where our first line of defense is our own shore,” he explained. “This would play into Putin’s hands.”

“This is a primary objective of Putin, to drive wedges between European countries and a wedge between Europe and the United States,” he elaborated. “This would be, to me, a real disaster. NATO has been a bulwark for both us and Europe for 70 years.”

Clapper went on to criticize Trump from hiding transcripts of private conversations he’s had with Putin, saying Americans should be “very concerned.”

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2020 Election

Pete Buttigieg answers those who question his family values: ‘I’ve never had to pay off a porn star’

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg appeared on CNN Tuesday for a town hall in Nevada where he was asked about his sexual orientation. Thus far, Buttigieg is the first openly gay presidential candidate being taken seriously by both the media and the electorate.

He was asked by a voter how he would deal with the flood of personal attacks on his sexual orientation and his family.

He explained that it would happen and he was ready for it. Speaking about his coming-out story, Buttigieg said that he wasn't sure what impact it would have on his career but that he didn't want to not have a personal life anymore after he got out of the military.

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Bernie Sanders calls for an end to ‘Bernie Bro’ behavior at town hall: ‘I don’t tolerate ugly attacks against anybody’

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At Tuesday's CNN town hall, Las Vegas caretaker Maria Carrillo asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) about the culture of online harassment surrounding his supporters. Sanders firmly condemned bullying behavior at the hands of the "Bernie Bros" — and called on other candidates to join him in watching the tone of their supporters as well.

"Hello, Senator Sanders," said Carrillo. "So I'm a big supporter. For those who still need to hear it, will you condemn the Bernie Bro behavior?"

"I will condemn absolutely anybody, including my campaign or any other campaign, that makes vicious personal attacks against people," said Sanders. "What our people are involved in — we are a campaign which believes in compassion, which believes in justice. So I don't tolerate ugly attacks against anybody. But let me just say this. Talk to the people in my campaign, often the African-American women in this campaign, talk to my wife about the kind of ugly attacks that have come in to us. So right now, which is a very serious national problem, we have an internet which is essentially the Wild West. Somebody could say, 'hey, I'm Anderson Cooper' and zippo, say some ugly things, and right now that cannot be stopped."

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Trump meddled in a lot more than just the Stone case — he’s also using his DOJ to play favorites among corporations

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Trump’s effort to influence the outcome of the prosecution of his buddy Roger Stone represents another threat to the rule of law in the United States. Yet it is not just the rule of criminal law that is endangered. The Trump Administration has also been meddling with civil law, particularly in the area of antitrust.

This has been going on for a while. Early in his administration, the Trump Justice Department sought to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, mainly, it appears, because the president wanted to get back at Time Warner subsidiary CNN for its negative coverage of him. Even after a federal court ruled in favor of AT&T and allowed it to close the deal, Justice continued its legal crusade. A year ago, some critics were arguing that Trump’s actions with regard to AT&T amounted to an impeachable offense.

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