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The mind-blowing connection between a former Pence security advisor and an admitted Russian agent

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MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has had much to say this week about Republicans and the vetting process. And having chastised the GOP over domestic violence allegations involving former Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Maddow turned her attention to Vice President Mike Pence and another “vetting disaster” on Wednesday night — taking him to task for failing to vet his former national security advisor, Andrea L. Thompson (now serving as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs).

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Maddow noted that Thompson has had close relationships with admitted Russia agent Maria Butina as well as with Butina’s boyfriend, veteran GOP activist Paul Erickson — and that Thompson’s connection to Butina and Erickson was detailed by the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin in a June 19 report.

“The Marina Butina story is just nuts,” Maddow asserted, describing Butina’s connection to Russian government officials and her efforts to infiltrate and influence the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Republican Party in favor of Russia. Maddow, describing Rogin’s Post report, noted that in June 2017, Butina “turned up at the wedding of Mike Pence’s national advisor” — and Erickson “was officiating the wedding.”

In the spring 2018, Maddow recalled, the U.S. Senate held confirmation hearings for Thompson, who had been nominated for undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs. And despite the fact that former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation was in full swing and Erickson was being investigated for allegedly trying to establish “secret backchannels to the Kremlin,” Maddow explained, Thompson’s connection to Butina and Erickson wasn’t even discussed at the confirmation hearings.

Maddow explained that as part of the position Thompson was nominated for, “you negotiate with Russia. You negotiate with the Russians on arms control treaties. That’s your job.” And Thompson, Maddow added, “never disclosed” to the Senate her ties to Butina or her husband, Wilbert H. Frazier’s Russian ties.

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In his Washington Post article, Rogin pointed out, “To be clear, Thompson’s connections with Erickson are not a crime, and Erickson is innocent until proven guilty.”

Butina has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and will be deported back to Russia after serving her time.


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Netanyahu cancels UN visit over post-poll ‘political context’

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled his planned visit to the United Nations General Assembly due to the "political context" in Israel, sources in his office told AFP Wednesday.

Initial results from Tuesday's general election show Netanyahu's Likud party tied with the Blue and White alliance of his main challenger, former army chief Benny Gantz.

According to Israeli media, with more than 90 percent of ballots counted, Netanyahu's right-wing Likud had 31 seats, while Gantz's Blue and White took 32 places in Israel's 120-member parliament.

If the results hold, it will be a major setback for Netanyahu, who hoped to form a right-wing coalition similar to his current administration as he faces possible corruption charges in the weeks ahead.

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Whoopi Goldberg drops the hammer on Trump impeachment: ‘We’re a lawless country right now — open your eyes’

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"The View" host Whoopi Goldberg urged viewers to open their eyes to President Donald Trump's lawlessness -- and demand accountability.

The show's panelists discussed former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, which co-host Abby Huntsman denounced as a "total embarrassment for democracy," and Goldberg said it was even worse than that.

"Even if you start to impeach him, he's there for the next two years," said Goldberg, who was wearing a wig from her upcoming role in Stephen King's "The Stand." "It's going to take that long. Look how long it took to impeach (Bill) Clinton."

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Let me take you down: Strawberry Field opens to public

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Beatles fans can now take a trip through the childhood sanctuary of John Lennon that inspired the seminal song "Strawberry Fields Forever", with the former children's home opening its doors to the public.

Lennon used to climb over the fence from his aunt's house, where he grew up, and play with other children at the Strawberry Field orphanage.

Its importance in shaping Lennon's personality was laid bare in the classic 1967 psychedelic hit.

Around 60,000 fans flock each year to the site to have their photographs taken outside the famous red gates, but until now have never been allowed beyond.

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