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‘I never saw anything like this’: Former Bush staffer says Trump’s concealment of political calls is ‘unprecedented’

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One of the key aspects of the impeachment investigation against President Donald Trump is not just that he apparently tried to extort dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but that he hid the details of the call using a secure system designed for classified information — and recent reporting suggests he did the same for calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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On Friday’s edition of CNN’s “OutFront,” former George W. Bush White House adviser Michael Green told anchor Erin Burnett that this is essentially unheard of.

“Mike, there are key issues here that we all need to understand,” said Burnett. “First of all, as you point out, the highly unprecedented nature of moving a call to the server in the Ukraine call. So it happens, from your experience dealing with this. Sometimes rarely or is it close to unprecedented. Is that a fair word to use?”

“I’ve never heard of it, and I’ve asked colleagues who were in the Obama Administration in similar jobs and they’ve never heard of the memorandum of a telephone conversation being placed in a restricted, highly restricted server or system with the most compartmented and classified information. Very, very unusual,” said Green. “Look, I worked for President Bush, and he was calling leaders about Iraq and nuclear weapons, and these were sensitive discussions, and I never saw anything like this in that case.”

“Want to ask you about that just specifically, because you did create transcripts like this in your role,” said Burnett. “You’d be on the call and you’d create it and check the facts and make sure it’s there for the historical record. There are some people out there, Mike, does this stuff just happen normally? They get to know each other at these events and they talk off-the-cuff and do each other favors and this is the nasty, dark side who don’t see and that’s all this is. Is that possible or are those people just wrong about how these calls happen and how they’re handled?”

“What’s clearly different this time, and you can see it in the memorandum and the transcript that was released, was the president was asking for a personal favor for information on a political opponent,” said Green. “That is unprecedented as far as we know, and furthermore, he was doing it in a way where the intent was to conceal it in the server where it would not be known to the diplomatic service or the intelligence officials who were responsible for policy.”

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“That is a significant diplomatic event,” added Green, “and things flow from that, and the others would take actions, and the intelligence community and maybe the Secretary of Defense need to know the gist of what was discussed, because it will affect their interactions and their deployments of military equipment and their diplomatic interactions. And that’s why we’ve never seen this before, where a transcript was essentially hidden in a highly classified system.”

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2020 Election

Trump can’t attack Kamala Harris without contradicting his own message: Bakari Sellers

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On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," former South Carolina lawmaker Bakari Sellers broke down why Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) poses such a challenge for President Donald Trump.

"What we're seeing with the two parties is the narrow focus is going to be on the fact that Donald Trump and the Trump campaign have no way, and they do not know how to deal, with Kamala Harris," said Sellers. "It very difficult to say 'Kamala is a cop' and be a 'law and order president.' Those two things simply do not mesh. Not only ahistorical and inaccurate, but the messages, they collide."

"But second, it shows that the Republican Party and Democratic Party are going in two vastly different directions," continued Sellers. "The country is becoming more diverse, the country is becoming more brown. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris represent the demographics of what the country will be, and Donald Trump and Steven Miller and Mike Pence represent a day that's passed. So what I would say tonight is while Donald Trump and Mike Pence want to cheer on the Confederacy, we're trying to re-imagine what this country will look like. It goes back to a time where Americans can feel good about being first and about thinking about what our country can be: full of hope and faith."

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CNN

Trump has never even read a ‘children’s book’ about Abraham Lincoln: presidential historian

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A top presidential historian on Tuesday revealed that President Donald Trump personally admitted to him that he had never read a book about President Abraham Lincoln -- not even a children's book like the ones read in public schools.

Appearing on CNN, Rice University history professor Douglas Brinkley argued that Trump is the most historically illiterate president he's ever encountered, and he said his knowledge of past presidents and historical events boils down to reciting factoids about them that may or may not be accurate.

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CNN roasts Trump for mangling every fact about the 1918 flu pandemic

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CNN's John Berman on Tuesday roasted President Donald Trump for mangling every single historical fact about the 1918 flu pandemic.

"Overnight, history teachers across America suffered an incredible scare," Berman said. "It came as the president was trying to compare the coronavirus pandemic to the worst flu pandemic of the last century."

He then played a clip from the president's Monday evening news conference.

"The closest thing is in 1917, they say, right?" the president said on Monday. "The great pandemic. It certainly was a terrible thing, where they lost anywhere from 50 to 100 million people. Probably ended the Second World War -- all the soldiers were sick!"

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