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The White House knows Trump’s El Paso romp was a ‘debacle’: report

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On Thursday, New York Times White House reporter Maggie Haberman told CNN’s John Berman that even the White House recognizes President Donald Trump’s transparently photo-op-laden jaunts to El Paso and Dayton in the wake of terrible mass shootings was a mistake.

“Most people — they would, I suspect, will not say that publicly — will privately admit this was something of a debacle, these are not the headlines they wanted to see,” said Haberman. “They wanted him to go in and behave differently.”

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“The goal was to get in and get out with as little news as possible,” said Haberman. “He did that in Pittsburgh, where there was also controversy after the shooting there. He was much more able to stay calm. Yesterday, he couldn’t stop watching television news where Democratic candidates were attacking him, and this is part of the process. To your point there was no sort of visible presence at the federal government in a meaningful way as the shootings were taking place and the day after the president was at his club at Bedminster, he crashed a wedding that was taking place there. This is something any president would have been criticized for — Barack Obama, George W. Bush — but this president reacts poorly to criticism, and he lashed out.”

“Just to be clear, the people that did meet with him, there was a positive response,” said Berman. “Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton, made that clear yesterday. Not so much in El Paso. In El Paso, the victims didn’t want to meet with him.”

“They paired up with somebody on the ground in El Paso who knows the community really well, and said eight victims at the hospital did not want to meet with the president,” agreed Haberman. “It is true to be clear the mayor of Dayton appreciated that he was trying to make a gesture and be a leader, but on the other hand they did put out these campaign style videos of him meeting people at the hospital. This is inevitably going to come up for criticism.”

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2020 Election

He ‘can’t understand why he is being impeached’: CNN reports Trump is asking ’why are they doing this to me?’

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President Donald Trump is reportedly "distracted" by impeachment while vacationing at Mar-a-Lago as the United States Senate trial begins.

"A source close to the White House who speaks to Donald Trump regularly said the President has appeared 'distracted' by the impeachment trial that begins on Tuesday, telling people around him Friday night at Mar-a-Lago that he 'can't understand why he is impeached,'" CNN's Jim Acosta reported Saturday. "'Why are they doing this to me,' the source quoted Trump as saying repeatedly."

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Rod Rosenstein’s legal defense in lawsuits from Strzok and Page won’t hold up under oath: legal experts

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Rod Rosenstein

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein claimed responsibility for the release of text messages between then-FBI attorney Lisa Page and then-FBI official Peter Strzok.

Emails released in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) revealed the highly unusual release by Sarah Isgur Flores, who at the time was the spokesperson for Trump's Department of Justice (she is now overseeing CNN's 2020 election coverage).

Flores instructed reporters to not cite the release of the documents to the Depart of Justice.

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CNN

GOP forcing Hunter Biden to testify could ‘completely backfire’ on them — here’s why

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With public pressure mounting for Senate Republicans to allow officials like former National Security Adviser John Bolton and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, some in the GOP are now suggesting a trade — allowing these witnesses in exchange for Hunter Biden, the focus of Trump's Ukraine conspiracy theories, to take the stand as well and face aggressive questioning about his role in Burisma. This is a GOP attempt to distract from the allegations against Trump by changing the subject to the Bidens.

But as CNN's Michael Smerconish noted on Saturday, this strategy might not even work.

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