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Former FBI assistant director walks through possible ‘quid pro quo’ between Russia and Trump campaign

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Former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi gathered there is only one reason Paul Manafort and others would continue to lie about interactions they had with Russia: to cover something up.

It was reported Monday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s top deputies are hinting about a central issue that connects everyone affiliated with the investigation.

Figliuzzi said it was a rare opportunity to see into the mind of Mueller and his investigation.

“We now got a glimpse of the bigger picture and an admission — a concession that what they’re working on is something involving akin to a quid pro quo,” he told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace. “‘You do this for me, we do this for you.’ Now we’re left to fill in the blanks. What is it we’re doing for each other?”

He said that it “smells” as if the promise was a policy regarding Ukraine or Crimea if they helped Trump with the election.

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“That’s what this is looking like to me and to hear it straight from the mouth of a lead prosecutor on the special counsel’s team is something we all need to stand up and pay attention to,” he explained.

Wallace noted that this was something that others have suggested there might be evidence. She said that other intelligence analysts have warned hosts to look for this as a theory.

“I will be honest with you: I, from day one, have tried to keep on track with the notion that this special counsel inquiry was always all about counterintelligence,” Figliuzzi continued. “It was all about the degree with the Russians influencing the campaign. To hear this from [deputy Andrew] Weissmann it’s always something I glossed over because we realized this was the core of the investigation.”

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The link to Manafort, however, adds significance, he explained.

“We talked, Nicolle, on the show, about the theory he’s that infection-vector that brought the Russian infection to the campaign, among others, and I think for me, the meaning of this, is confirmation that Manafort is one of those vectors that brought the Russians into play,” he said.

He went on to say that investigators have always focused on the “why” about the lie. Why did Manafort and others lie when it came to this topic and why did they all lie about the same thing: Russia?

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“What we’ve got to do is move beyond just self-profit,” he continued. “‘This is all about bucks in my pocket. I need to lie to cover up the fact I was trying to personally profit with my relationships with Russia and my position on a campaign.’ That is good to a certain extent.”

Figliuzzi went on to ask: “If you’re going to lie and put yourself in federal prison and jeopardize your family, your career, your reputation, what is bigger than just personal profit? It’s the notion perhaps, Nicolle, that what you’re covering up is actual assistance from a foreign adversary to assist the campaign and get Trump elected. To me a plausible explanation for people jeopardizing their freedoms repeatedly, lest be labeled [as] traitors, at the hands of a foreign adversary.”

Watch the panel discussion below:

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‘White supremacy is a hell of a drug’: columnist explains the GOP’s garbled response to Trump

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On Tuesday, President Donald Trump addressed comments he'd made telling four freshman congresswomen -- all American citizens and women of color -- to go back to their countries.

The comments set off a furor that the president was being outwardly racist.

“It's up to them. They can do what they want. They can leave, they can stay, but they should love our country,” the president told reporters Tuesday when he was asked about his remarks.

On CNN Tuesday, New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali explained how Donald Trump's comments -- and his Republican counterparts' refusal to call them racist -- is rooted in a dangerous white supremacy, or terror at the "browning of America."

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GOP conspiracy buff Devin Nunes claims with no evidence that Democrats are conspiring with Mueller to create an anti-Trump ‘narrative’

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes

Rep. Devin Nunes of California has never been shy about promoting right-wing conspiracy theories, and the Republican congressman has come up with one involving House Democrats and former Special Counsel Robert Mueller: that the two are joining forces to create a “narrative” about President Donald Trump and the Russia investigation.

Mueller is scheduled to appear before two Democrat-led committees next week on Wednesday, July 24. Previously, Mueller’s testimony was scheduled for July 17, but it was postponed a week in order to give House members more time to ask him questions. And Nunes, during an appearance on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News on Monday night, insisted that Mueller and Democrats are conspiring against the president.

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‘Game of Thrones’ breaks record with 32 Emmy nominations

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The final season of "Game of Thrones" smashed the record for most Primetime Emmy nominations by a drama series in a single year, earning a whopping 32 nods Tuesday.

HBO's fantasy epic enraged fans with its bumpy conclusion but still trounced the competition at the small-screen equivalent of the Oscars.

"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" -- Amazon's story of a 1950s housewife-turned-stand up comic -- was a distant second on 20 nominations.

"Thrones" was already the most decorated fictional show in the awards' seven-decade history, and now has 161 nominations overall, according to the Television Academy website.

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