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Putin must think Trump’s decisions on Syria and Ukraine are ‘absolutely fabulous’: former CIA official

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According to retired CIA chief of Russian operations and CNN national security analyst Steven L. Hall, President Trump’s foreign policy decisions probably has Russian President Vladimir Putin wondering if he’s dreaming.

Speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper this Monday, Hall said that Putin likely thinks Trump’s flops regarding Syria and Ukraine are “absolutely fabulous.” Referring to a recent Washington Post report that alleges Trump’s view on alleged corruption in Ukraine was influenced by conversations with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Putin, Cooper asked Hall if he thinks Trump seeking advice from the two world leaders jeopardizes national security.

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“You’ve got this veritable buffet of horribleness in front of us, and it’s difficult for me to say which is the most horrible thing,” Hall replied.

“That is certainly a terrible, terrible thing when you’ve got the president of the United States of America reaching out to a foreign leader and asking for that help, regardless of whether there’s a quid pro quo,” he continued.

Regarding Syria, Hall said that Putin is now “running up and down the Syrian border with his military forces opposite Turkey with Russian flags, going into abandoned U.S. bases there and making a big propaganda deal of it.”

Watch the full segment below, via Anderson Cooper 360°:

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In impeachment spotlight, dueling views of professionalism appear

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Impeachment hearings have thrust a handful of public servants into the spotlight, where competing ideas about government professionals – variously called the establishment, the “deep state,” technocrats, bureaucrats, experts and elites – shape public reaction to their testimony.

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The heroes of Bastogne: 75 years on

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The Battle of the Bulge was the last German offensive of World War II, and the Siege of Bastogne the scene of a heroic defence by American paratroopers.

Seventy-five years on, the Belgian town is hosting a weekend of colourful re-enactments followed by solemn ceremonies of remembrance.

Veterans, historians and military enthusiasts will join international officials to mark the now legendary close quarters battle on a snowbound wooded plateau.

Bastogne's relief in late December 1944 by General George "Old Blood and Guts" Patton helped seal his reputation as one of America's military giants.

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Italy’s ‘Sardines’ to pack Rome for anti far-right rally

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Tens of thousands of members of Italy's youth-driven Sardine Movement are due to rally in Rome on Saturday, in their bid to further shake up the country's politics and battle xenophobia.

The "Sardines" have become a symbol of protest against the far-right firebrand leader Matteo Salvini, who served as interior minister and deputy prime minister in Italy's previous coalition government and cracked down on immigration.

The movement is only a month old and started in Bologna when a rally organized by four unknown activists to denounce Salvini's discourses of "hatred and division" drew a crowd of 15,000, surprising everybody.

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