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CNN’s Jake Tapper confronts Mike Pence with defense official calling Trump a liar over aborted Iran attack excuses

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In a rare appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Vice President Mike Pence was grilled by host Jake Tapper over Donald Trump’s claim that the Pentagon was tardy with presenting him with casualty estimates regarding a military attack that was aborted at the last minute.

As Tapper asked Pence about the presidential claim, he noted that a Defense Department insider called the president’s public pronouncement about why he allowed the military operation to proceed so far before aborting nonsensical.

“You said President Trump got that information late in the process and that confusing to me defense official I spoke to who said, any time military options are presented to the president, the potential casualty assessment, the battle assessment is one of the first things that the president would be told,” Tapper began.

“Now President Trump said yesterday that he got, quote, ‘very odd numbers early on in terms of the assessment,’ the casualty assessment. What does that mean and why would the president only get the casualty numbers, as you put it, late in the process?” he asked the vice president.

“What I can tell you without talking about the details of those deliberations, is that the president was provided with casualty assessments and a whole range of information,” Pence began as Tapper cut him off, with, “But only at the beginning?”

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“Really throughout,” Pence offered. “But as the president indicated late in the process, there were more specific projections given to him relative to the targets that he was prepared to use force against and he concluded — he concluded it was not a proportionate response to shooting down an unmanned American aircraft.”

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‘I’ll get the popcorn’: Ex-FBI investigator who worked under Mueller explains how the hearing will go Wednesday

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Former CIA officer and FBI investigator Phil Mudd outlined what he thinks special counsel Robert Mueller will say when he's asked specific questions in the hearings Wednesday.

"I think you could look at two categories here," Mudd told CNN's Jake Tapper. "One is the factual category, and I know Aaron Zebley would be there. Zebly is someone who will not only know facts, [but] 2 1/2 years of an investigation including stuff like phone email and financial data, [it's] not bad to have somebody else there trying to recall that information and from when I was in the Bureau, by is cool and a made man. He’s trusted."

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CNN

NYT columnist says one of Trump’s friends begged him to talk him out of launching war with Iran

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On Monday, Thomas Friedman of The New York Times spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper, following President Donald Trump's attacks on him for calling his behavior racist in a recent article. The president accused him of "kissing [his] a**" in an Oval Office phone call.

Speaking to Cooper, Friedman denied Trump's characterization of their discussion.

"The president tweeted about a private conversation we had and lobbed in a few insults," said Friedman. "Basically, my response, which I put out on Twitter is that I was encouraged by a friend of his to speak to him after the downing of the American drone, because I thought it was wise that we not retaliate, and I thought he was wise not to retaliate, and this friend of his wanted me to encourage him in that, because he was evidently agonizing a little over that not retaliating. And I did that. I began the conversation by saying that 'I disagree with you, Mr. President on many things, but I think you did the right thing on this.' We talked for about four minutes. We also talked about China and we left it at that."

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CNN

Here are 3 things Americans must hear from Mueller’s testimony: Democratic senator

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No one can say with certainty what former special counsel Robert Mueller will tell the American people when he testifies before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on Wednesday.

But on Monday, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) told CNN's Wolf Blitzer the broad strokes of what Mueller will be expected to say — and what the American people should be listening for if they are not yet convinced President Donald Trump has committed impeachable offenses.

"Do you think there are Americans out there who still haven't made up their mind on this issue of impeachment, obstruction of justice, collusion and all of that?" Blitzer asked her. "Have the American people moved on?"

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