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White House aides scrambling to deal with fallout from Trump’s threat of violence from his supporters: CNN

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White House aides are reportedly struggling to figure out how to “spin” comments the president made prior to the New Zealand mosque massacre that could be viewed as incitements to violence.

In an interview with Breitbart ostensibly about a free speech order he’s about to sign, the president referenced all the “tough” people he has in his corner.

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“I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad,” Trump said. “But the left plays it cuter and tougher.”

CNN host Wolf Blitzer noted the comments were “disturbing” when asking White House correspondent Kaitlin Collins about how things are within the administration.

“Aides behind the scenes were pushing back on this saying, ‘that’s just the way the president talks,'” Collins explained. “That’s something you hear when the president makes a remark like this.”

She added that she wasn’t surprised by what he said because he’s made similar comments “in front of cameras, at rallies and events like that.

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“Aides don’t know how to respond to this,” Collins added. “They don’t know how to spin this or anything like that. They hope that this is one of those comments, because the president says so many things, that they can just kind of let go by with the news cycle.”

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White House aides want Trump to stop saying his Ukraine phone call was ‘perfect’: CNN’s Jim Acosta

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta said President Donald Trump's aides were frustrated with the president's defense of his phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he apparently tried to use military aid to extort political dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

Furthermore, there is fear in the White House that some Republicans may defect and vote to impeach the president — which would wreck their narrative.

"I just spoke with a source close to the White House a short while ago who objected to the president continuing to say that his phone call with the leader of the Ukraine was 'perfect,'" said Acosta. "Nobody really is echoing that message on behalf of the president. It doesn't seem that anybody here in Washington, except for the most partisan of partisans feels, that the president's phone call with the leader of Ukraine was perfect."

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CNN

House Democrat smacks down Trump’s claim of ‘doctored’ transcripts: ‘Those transcripts are reviewed by those witnesses’

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," during a discussion of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's legal situation, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) trashed President Donald Trump's claim that the transcripts from the impeachment hearings were somehow falsified.

"I will say that the craziness continues," said Connolly. "For the president today to assert, based on nothing, the transcripts were doctored and don't really reflect the deposition of the witnesses we heard from — and by the way, those transcripts are reviewed by those witnesses and their attorneys before they're released for accuracy — but secondly, of course, to have the chief of staff of the president actually suing his own White House to get a decision about whether or not he's required to respond to congressional demand for testimony or the White House directive really brings us into all-new territory in terms of craziness. And it's really disturbing to watch."

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CNN

Trump’s decision to cut off Ukraine aid is something ‘you would expect to read about in a dictatorship’: Ex-Obama official

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," former Obama administration official and national security analyst Samantha Vinograd excoriated President Donald Trump for his decision — further laid out in newly released House transcripts — to suspend military aid to Ukraine.

"This process that is described and echoed in other depositions is a process that you would expect to read about in a dictatorship, where a leader rules by fiat and his national security team scrambles to find a legal justification and to sell a bill of goods to legislators and the American people about why the president has made a certain decision," said Vinograd.

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