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‘The biggest mistake of his presidency’: Lindsey Graham is hopping mad at Donald Trump — and the feeling is mutual

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While many have long wondered whether President Donald Trump might have blackmail material that explains Sen. Lindsey Graham abrupt change from being a fierce critic to devoted defender of the man he once called a “race-baiting xenophobic bigot,” another explanation has always been simpler and more plausible: The South Carolina Republican believes it’s in his best interest to align with the White House.

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That’s true when it comes to getting re-elected in 2020 — Republicans who have split sharply with Trump have struggled to retain voters — and it’s true when it comes to Graham’s major focus in government: foreign policy. As long as he’s on Trump’s good side, Graham is better positioned to advocate for his hawkish view of American power.

This explanation of Graham’s fealty to Trump is supported by his latest public feud with the president. Their break centers on a sharp disagreement over foreign policy. Graham, like most lawmakers, is outraged that Trump abandoned the United States’ Kurdish allies in northern Syria, leaving them vulnerable to the ongoing onslaught from Turkey and creating upheaval in the region.

As the crisis has worsened, the split between Graham and Trump has widened.

At a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Graham declared Trump’s withdrawal “the most screwed up decision I’ve seen since I have been in Congress.”

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In an interview on the 700 Club, Graham, clearly exacerbated, said: “Do you think [Turkish President] Erdogan would’ve done this if Reagan had been around?”

He told CNN that Trump “will have American blood on his hands if he abandons Kurds because ISIS will come back, and if any American is killed anywhere because a resurgent ISIS, it will fall on the Trump administration like it did Obama.”

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When asked about the criticism from Graham at a press conference on Wednesday, Trump clearly wasn’t looking to be conciliatory.

“Lindsey Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years, with thousands of soldiers fighting other people’s wars,” Trump said. “I want to get out of the Middle East.” (Despite this claim, Trump recently authorized sending thousands of more troops to Saudi Arabia, and the service members directed to leave northern Syria were not, in fact, brought home.)

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“He’s not listening to his advisers, he’s not,” Graham told CNN. “He’s making the biggest mistake of his presidency by assuming the Kurds are better off today than they were yesterday. That is just unbelievable.”

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Infuriating key allies in the Senate and uniting them with Democrats seems like an unwise move with the body almost guaranteed to hold an impeachment trial in the coming months, but that’s exactly what Trump has done — for no discernible strategic or substantive reason.

Asked by CNN whether he’d still support the president in 2020, Graham said: “I will tell you that I think his judgment here is flawed and people can make their own decision but Elizabeth Warren is no better. Bernie Sanders is no better.”

He added: “At least he’ll appoint better judges and he’ll do other things.”

Thus far, Graham has dismissed the calls to impeach Trump. But if he really grows concerned enough about the president’s conduct, he may start to view removing the president as a better option. That way, in 2020, he wouldn’t be forced to choose between Warren or Sanders and Trump — he could wholeheartedly endorse Mike Pence.

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Trump personally asked what ‘tanks’ could be used to break up George Floyd protests

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On Tuesday, The Daily Beast detailed how President Donald Trump himself has been behind the push to use the military to control the protests against the police killing of George Floyd — to the extent that he actually asked about specific military equipment that would be available for that purpose.

"[Defense Secretary Mark] Esper, along with other cabinet secretaries, stood next to the president during the remarks in the park after participating in an hour-long call with governors in which he said they needed to 'dominate the battlespace' to quell the protests," reported Erin Banco, Spencer Ackerman, and Asawin Suebsaeng. "But three senior Pentagon officials who spoke with The Daily Beast said they viewed the secretary’s comments on the call as a way to publicly show support for the president. They did not expect the department to actually implement a plan that would reflect the president’s rhetoric and force additional troops upon the states."

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FBI has ‘no intelligence’ Antifa was involved in Sunday’s violence at DC protests: report

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Attorney General Bill Barr and President Donald Trump have tried to blame Antifa -- or anti-fascists -- for violence in the protests against police injustice. But the public data has backed up their case, and even their on intel disputes the argument.

"he FBI’s Washington Field Office “has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence” in the violence that occurred on May 31, according to an internal FBI situation report obtained exclusively by The Nation. That same day, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would designate Antifa a terrorist organization, even though the government has no existing authority to declare a domestic group a terrorist organization," Ken Klippenstein reported for the magazine.

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NYC protesters defy curfew — with a profane message for Mayor Bill de Blasio

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Protesters in New York City continued to march after 8 p.m. on Tuesday -- in open defiance of a curfew order from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Jan Ransom, who covers courts and jails for The New York Times, posted video of protesters chanting, "f*ck your curfew."

Wonder what protesters think about @NYCMayor’s 8 pm curfew?

Just listen. pic.twitter.com/8H38XNGfQt

— Jan Ransom (@Jan_Ransom) June 2, 2020

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