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Rick Santorum bumbles through defense of Trump campaign — then admits taking dirt from Russia is wrong

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Trump supporter Rick Santorum bumbled through his efforts to defend the Trump campaign’s actions in 2016 — and then was forced to admit that it’s wrong for an American presidential campaign to seek out dirt illegally obtained by the Russian government.

When asked by CNN host John Avlon on Monday about Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s now-infamous assertion that “there’s nothing wrong” with taking information about your political opponents offered by Russians, Santorum initially tried to defend Giuliani’s statement before quickly realizing he couldn’t.

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“I think what Rudy’s point was, talking to someone who happens to be a Russian is not problematic,” Santorum said. “The question is whether that person is a Russian who is connected to the Russian government. So obviously there’s people…”

At this point Avlon interrupted Santorum and reminded him that the Mueller report showed that the people whom the Trump campaign was seeking information from proudly touted their connections to the Russian government.

“Again, if it’s someone connected to the Russian government, no, you shouldn’t be taking information, shouldn’t be soliciting and having conversations with them,” Santorum admitted. “I agree with that, but that’s not necessarily what was known at the time.”

“But it is what was promised!” Avlon shot back. “Don Jr. believed it was a Kremlin-linked person who was bringing dirt on Hillary Clinton.”

“I think that’s inappropriate,” Santorum acknowledged. “There’s no question about it.”

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Fiona Hill’s attorney rips the administration: Trump ‘co-opted’ US foreign policy for his own ends

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," National Security Council official Fiona Hill's attorney, Ambassador Lee Wolosky, broke down the implications of his client's testimony.

"The phrase that she used to describe [E.U. Ambassador Gordon] Sondland's mission, a 'domestic political errand,' a lot of people have said that was a big takeaway from today, that sort of encapsulated what was going on here," said Cooper. "Does she agree?"

"Well, yeah," said Wolosky. "As she testified to, I think that what she began to notice is that, in fact, this really wasn't an irregular or shadow foreign policy effort, as some people have called it. It was actually domestic politics. She was doing national security, as were others, and foreign policy, and Sondland and Giuliani were taking steps to advance the political interests of the president. And I think that what she crystallized is how pernicious it can be when our national security and when our foreign policy decision making is basically co-opted or held hostage to the individual political interests of one individual."

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CNN

‘Rudy Giuliani is the fall guy here’: CNN analyst says America’s Mayor was ‘meddling in everything’

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," political analyst Gloria Borger suggested that President Donald Trump may just decide to cut his losses on the Ukraine scandal and blame his attorney Rudy Giuliani for any wrongdoing.

"I think at this point maybe Trump needs a fall guy," said Borger. "Rudy Giuliani is the fall guy here. He's the guy who was meddling in everything. Everybody who testified seemed to make it very clear that Rudy Giuliani was doing this at the direction of the president of the United States. I think Gordon Sondland said that, what, 20 times yesterday at the direction of the president, so it's clear Rudy Giuliani wasn't freelancing, but maybe the president feels that he needs him right now."

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CNN

Trump officials could not have been ‘completely clueless’ about what he was doing: CNN correspondent

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," White House correspondent Abby Phillip highlighted how Fiona Hill's testimony made the claim by other officials that they weren't aware of the scheme to extort dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden from Ukraine much less plausible.

"The idea Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election is completely unfounded," said Phillip. "This is important because it puts in context some of the other testimony we heard ... from Ambassador [Kurt] Volker and another top NSC official, Tim Morrison, who replaced Fiona Hill, that the conspiracy theory was a legitimate function of the government, it was okay for President Trump to seek that kind of investigation, was perfectly normal to them. And it wasn't until they learned 'Burisma' equaled 'Biden' they learned there was something weird or nefarious going on."

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