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Trump donors are being given access to top government secrets — and even some Republicans are concerned

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President Donald Trump has created a secretive intelligence panel that includes top Republican donors and “has access to some of America’s most closely held secrets and a line to the Oval Office,” according to a report from ABC News.

According to ABC News, the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB) is now being staffed by a mix of national security experts and Republican donors who have little background in intelligence.

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Former PIAB chairman and ex-Republican senator Chuck Hagel tells ABC News that he is concerned about the president loading up the board with top donors, although he says that past administrations have followed similar practices.

“From that standpoint it does bother me,” said Hagel, who presided over former President Barack Obama’s PIAB from 2009 through 2013. “But it’s been done for many years, I mean both administrations. No one is really very pure in that.”

One such board member is Dallas businessman Ray Washburne, who served as vice chairman of the Trump Victory Committee and who admits he does not have a background in national security. Washburne did say, however, that his work in the private sector made him qualified to access America’s top intelligence secrets.

“I was in a [secure facility] every day reading intelligence briefings on countries and leaders and businesspeople throughout the world, because we do business in every far, dark corner of the world,” he told ABC.


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Trump officials demanded the Army ‘dig for misconduct’ to justify firing Lt. Col. Vindman

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This week, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman willingly left the Army after decades of honorable service. He cited a concerted campaign of "bullying" from the highest branches of power in the United States, and now more details are becoming known.

A New Yorker report revealed that top aides to President Donald Trump were told that they needed to find dirt on Vindman that could justify the firing of the decorated war hero.

"Vindman expected to go to the National War College this fall—a low-profile assignment—then take another foreign posting," the New Yorker reported. "But, in a final act of revenge, the White House recently made clear that Trump opposed Vindman’s promotion. Senior Administration officials told [Defense Secretary Mark] Esper and Ryan McCarthy, the Secretary of the Army, to dig for misconduct that would justify blocking Vindman’s promotion. They couldn’t find anything, multiple sources told me. Others in the military chain of command began to warn Vindman that he would never be deployable overseas again—despite his language skills and regional expertise."

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George Conway reveals how Mary Trump’s book and the Supreme Court prove the ‘walls are closing in’ on the president

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Republican lawyer and "Lincoln Project" co-founder, George Conway, wrote in a Washington Post column Thursday that there are a lot of commonalities in Mary Trump's forthcoming tell-all book and the Supreme Court decision passed down in President Donald Trump's case with New York prosecutor Cy Vance.

Mary Trump, who is a clinical psychologist, delivers "professional judgments about the president's indisputable narcissism and, perhaps, sociopathy dovetail with those that other experts have reached before," wrote Conway. "Yet it's not the possible diagnoses that give Mary Trump's book its punch. It's the factual detail — detail that only a family member could provide."

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Tennessee Republican says he hasn’t ‘really studied’ whether the Civil War was about slavery

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On Thursday, The Tennessean's Natalie Allison reported that Tennessee state Rep. Mike Sparks, who makes a habit of complaining that "young people" and "journalists" don't bother to study history, could not answer a basic question about what the Civil War was fought over.

"Was the Civil War about slavery?" asked a reporter.

"I haven't really studied it," said Sparks.

"You said you know history!" said another reporter.

"I just think we need to all study history," said Sparks, still not answering the question. "There's different contexts."

This comes during a debate over whether to remove a bust of Confederate general and suspected Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest. Another lawmaker, state Sen. Joey Hensley, defended Forrest, arguing that "3,000 Blacks attended his funeral" — a common but unproven claim of Confederate sympathizers.

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