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Trump ‘seemingly favoring’ Putin compromises US response to Russia nuclear threat: Retired colonel

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In a state of the nation address, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a warning to the US and its allies.

“I’m saying this clearly and openly – Russia will be forced to create and deploy new types of weapons that could be used not only against the territories where a direct threat to us comes from, but also against the territories where decision-making centers directing the use of missile systems threatening us are located,” Putin said.

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In October, President Donald Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, citing Russian non-compliance with the pact.

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Cedric Leighton appeared on CNN Wednesday to discuss Putin’s threat—and why Donald Trump’s relationship with Putin complicates how the US will respond.

“This is shades of the Cold War all over again,” Leighton said. “And we need to listen very carefully not only to what President Vladimir Putin is saying, but also what the Russians are doing.”

Leighton listed the different kinds of missiles Russia appears to be researching and developing, including a weapon that travels at nine times the speed of sound and another that goes 27 times the speed of sound. “What it means for us is that it becomes almost impossible for us to defend against missiles of that type.”

“The Trump administration has some real difficulties here because of the Russia investigation for one thing,” he said. “On the one side, you have President Trump seemingly favoring Vladimir Putin from a personal standpoint. But the other side of the coin is this. If we don’t stand up to the Russians for whatever reason they’re going to feel free to not only violate treaties, but they’re also going to feel free to deploy weapons systems of this type that we’re talking about.”

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CNN’s Elie Honig praises DOJ lawyers for revolt against Barr: ‘Like students rising up against the oppressive headmaster’

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CNN legal analyst Elie Honig on Thursday heaped praise upon Department of Justice prosecutors who disregarded many of the changes to sentencing guidelines for convicted Trump ally Roger Stone that were made by Attorney General Bill Barr.

When asked by CNN's Kate Bolduan for his reaction to the prosecutors' actions, Honig responded enthusiastically.

"I applaud what this prosecutor is doing," he said. "And as a DOJ alumni on the front lines trying cases, I'm so impressed by this. This is like the scene [in a movie] where the students rise up and push back against the oppressive headmaster."

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‘Barr is a toady’: Jeffrey Toobin says talk of attorney general resigning is ‘just a big show’

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CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says he doesn't believe Attorney General William Barr when he claims he considered resigning from the Trump administration.

Sources close to Barr told ABC News that the attorney general had contemplated quitting because President Donald Trump's tweets make it difficult for him to do his job.

"Barr is a toady," Toobin explained during an appearance on CNN. "Barr is doing what he's told. He had this one statement, 'Oh, whoa is me, it's hard for me to do my job when the president tweets.'"

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CNN

‘That’s how authoritarian countries work’: CNN’s Toobin warns Trump is acting like a dictator

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On CNN Wednesday, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin broke down the significance of President Donald Trump's decision to pardon several high-powered friends accused of political corruption and tax crimes.

"There is no doubt, under the Constitution, the president has the power to do this," said Toobin. "This is not legally a — an open question. And there is a history of controversial pardons, whether it's President Clinton pardoning Marc Rich, a fugitive financier, or George Herbert Walker Bush pardoning the Iran-Contra people on his way out of the office."

"So what makes this so troubling is in the middle of his term, here he is assigning friends, basically friends and friends of friends, to get pardons and clemency, which is how authoritarians behave, which is playing favorites with your personal friends at a time when you are playing with the opposite of favorites with prosecutorial decisions," said Toobin. "I want these people prosecuted, these people freed — that's how authoritarian countries work. Countries where there is the rule of law, there are systems in place for who gets prosecuted, who gets clemency. This is a very individually-focused way to run a presidency."

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