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US attacks Russia’s power grid — but Trump was kept in the dark about it

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The New York Times is reporting that the United States is cyber attacking Russia’s electric power grid and other targets—and that President Donald Trump is being kept out of the loop.

“The American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before.”

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Trump has not been briefed on the operation because of “the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials.”

The Times wrote:

“Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place ‘implants’ — software code that can be used for surveillance or attack — inside the Russian grid.

“Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.”

New cyber laws were granted to the U.S. Cyber Command by the White House and Congress last year allowing such “clandestine military activity” in cyberspace to go ahead without the president’s approval.

Trump has lashed back at The Times, accusing the newspaper of committing a “virtual act of treason” over its reporting.

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More importantly, The Times article asked:

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“The question now is whether placing the equivalent of land mines in a foreign power network is the right way to deter Russia. While it parallels Cold War nuclear strategy, it also enshrines power grids as a legitimate target.”

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It’s hard to argue Trump was innocent when Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine to keep it going: Former US Attorney

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Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara explained Friday that it's difficult for President Donald Trump to claim he is innocent of attempting to bribe Ukraine when his own lawyer just returned from trying to dig up more dirt on the son of his opponent.

"Isn't this what got the president in trouble in the first place?" CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Bharara.

"Yes, it actually is," Bharara said simply. "I don't know exactly what's going on here. I think Rudy Giuliani wants to be close to the president and help the president and argue on behalf of the president. There are a lot of implications that Rudy Giuliani is doing going on forays back to Ukraine, which some people would call the scene of the crime. It causes more scrutiny to be brought upon him. We've seen reported he's under investigation himself, and I think it raises eyebrows in the political sphere. But I think something important about it relates to impeachment."

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‘Moscow Mitch’ blunder means Donald Trump can never be vindicated: Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe

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Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for violating a legal principle that has existed for over 1,000 -- and his move means that President Donald Trump can never be vindicated during impeachment.

Tribe, who has taught at Harvard Law School for 50 years and argued 36 cases before the United States Supreme Court, has been advising Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats during the impeachment inquiry. He was interviewed on Friday by MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber.

Tribe said, "what it looks like is that the majority leader is going to conduct this trial as though he's a member of the defense team," Tribe said. "You know, it's an ancient principle, centuries-old -- actually over a millennium old -- that you can't be a judge on your own case and effectively, to allow Donald Trump to call the shots, violates that principle."

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Democrats ‘are being more republican than Republicans’ in Judiciary Committee memo: Post columnist

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A Washington Post editorial is singing the praises of the Judiciary Committee's memo about the impeachment charges President Donald Trump is facing. The memo, titled “Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment” details the fundamental principles of the Constitution the founders outlined to guarantee the country wouldn't fall at the hands of corruption.

"The memo is remarkably originalist. Regardless of what happens with the impeachment, we are getting a much-needed civics lesson," The Post explained.

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