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Ex-FBI agent schools Trump on why getting dirt from Russia isn’t just wrong — it’s stupid

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Former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa explained in a Twitter thread one piece of the argument about why it’s wrong to take “dirt” from a foreign government, particularly an adversary.

The moment came after President Donald Trump said in an ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos that the FBI was “wrong” to claim that candidates should report it if a foreign entity offers them dirt on an opponent during an election. The president has tried to turn it around to say that he was talking about meeting with foreign officials.

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“Nations don’t have ‘friends,’ they have interests,” Rangappa explained. “Hostile foreign adversaries, in particular, are designated as ‘hostile’ because they are typically acting against U.S. interests, principles, or values.”

Indeed, there is a difference between a foreign individual doing research and a hostile government hacking an opponent with the purpose of undermining an American election.

“When foreign governments are offering to ‘help’ a particular candidate, it’s not because they want to have a beer with them at some point. They want to be able to change our policies — including ones that make it easier for them to do things against the interests of the U.S.,” Rangappa continued, emphasizing the last sentence.

She noted the second reason is that it can ultimately lead to leverage and blackmail.

“The second reason we don’t want this is that when such help is accepted and kept hidden, it becomes a source of liability for the candidate/officeholder. This means that the foreign government then has LEVERAGE (sic) over a person who ends up in a position of public trust,” she explained.

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“Obviously, someone who can be directly or indirectly coerced into using their position and powers to advance the interest of another country — including to the detriment of the United States — IS NOT GOOD FOR AMERICANS (sic). This is bad. Not want. Bad,” she continued. “I’m sad that this has to be spelled out but here we are.”

She urged Twitter to look at a Politico Magazine piece she authored last year, that warned the framers of the Constitution were concerned about this hundreds of years ago.

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‘People’s lives will be lost’: Psychiatrist warns ‘sociopath’ Trump is ‘getting worse’ — and failing in coronavirus response

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President Donald Trump's psychological problems are getting worse and could be consequential as America faces a potential COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Thursday interviewed Dr. Lance Dodes, a former assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

"As you pointed out, Lawrence, this man is about himself. He really is not about the country, he's not about public health," Dr. Dodes said of Trump.

"Although he has already severely damaged the country by being a psychopath or sociopath -- in many ways, he's damaged democracy -- I think people's lives will be lost now," he warned. "Individual lives will be lost because of the way he's mishandling the coronavirus issue."

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2020 Election

‘Something really rotten’: Here’s the evidence of extensive voter suppression in Georgia’s notorious 2018 election

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As the 2020 presidential campaign cycle grinds on, there’s renewed concern about the 21st century’s newest form of warfare: cyber-sabotage of government systems, including elections and online disinformation intended to incite unrest. But as Suppressed: The Fight to Vote, a documentary from Brave New Films, makes clear, partisan voter suppression tactics with 20th-century roots remain and can thwart multitudes of voters from changing their state’s political leaders.

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The real story behind Trump’s new lawsuit against the New York Times

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Wednesday was an ominous day for freedom of the press in this country, and I want to tell you why.

You may have heard or seen that President Trump filed a libel suit against the New York Times. Perhaps you weren’t surprised: the president is known to frequently disparage the Times even as he reads it obsessively. Borrowing a page from what I’ve referred to before as a Mount Rushmore of totalitarians, Robespierre, Hitler, Stalin and Mao, Trump loves to call the press the “enemy of the people.”

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