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Trump spokesman tries to defend Iran strike by attacking Obama — and it blows up in his face

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- Commentary

One of the “justifications” that officials in President Donald Trump’s administration have been using to defend the killing of Qasem Soleimani is that the Iranian military commander was planning “imminent attacks” against the United States, even though that explanation has crumbled since it was first rolled out.

On Friday, Hogan Gidley (principal deputy press secretary to Trump) reiterated the administration’s “imminent attacks” assertion without evidence, but he then went on to hit back at critics by saying that when President Barack Obama “killed” al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Libyan dictator Moammar Gadaffi, he did so “without congressional approval.”

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This factually challenged claim drew a lot of criticism on Twitter for Gidley.

Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio, responding to Gidley, tweeted that Gadaffi, the late Libyan dictator, “was not killed by the United States” — and the 2011 operation that killed bin Laden, according to Desiderio, came under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

“Reporters are asking questions about the ‘imminent attacks’ because that was the administration’s stated justification for taking out Soleimani,” Desiderio added.

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The Washington Post’s Shane Harris tweeted that Obama’s administration “consulted members of Congress in advance of killing bin Laden.” And Gadaffi, Harris pointed out, was “killed by a mob,” not Obama.

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Susan Hennessey, executive editor of Benjamin Wittes’ Lawfare website and a legal/national security analyst for CNN, said of Gidley’s tweet, “Beyond this being factually false, it also completely ignores the fact that Obama was candid with Congress about the factual underpinnings of the threat, whereas Trump appears to be obfuscating and lying.”

She also pointed out that the drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who U.S. officials said was a member of al Qaeda, was in fact very controversial and generated pushback against Obama even from within his own party.

@ICanBeAHandful, in response to Gidley, tweeted, “Is pathological lying a requirement to working in this administration? Have you gotten a performance bonus?” And @spdustin posted, “Osama bin Laden wasn’t a general of a sovereign nation,” while @sadielou01 posted, “Where does the WH find you guys? Do you all have to have flunked history for consideration?”

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@Joshtpm chastised Gidley, “Dude, can you do the basic level of homework to know that ‘Obama’ didn’t kill Gaddafi? He was caught by a rebel militia and executed, you ridiculous goof.”

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‘It’s a disgrace’: Conservative torches Trump and the GOP — saying they’ve betrayed voters

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In 2012, Stuart Stevens served as the chief strategist for Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and tried to prevent President Barack Obama from winning a second term; in 2020, he is a Never Trump conservative who is rooting for former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. And when Stevens appeared on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour” on Thursday night, August 6, he stressed to host Brian Williams that many GOP incumbents — from President Donald Trump to members of Congress — could be in trouble in November.

Promoting his new book, “It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump,” Stevens told Williams, “This is a very negative environment for Republicans…. There are external forces out there that make this a very tough race for incumbents in the Republican Party.”

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Mask-hating Trump supporter banned from local store after she ‘rammed someone with a cart’: report

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A woman who was permanently banned from entering a local hardware store for refusing to wear a face mask tells Vox that she's proud that her defiance of public health standards got her kicked out.

In an interview, a Wyoming resident named Jacqueline says that her local Menards home and garden store has told her that she is no longer allowed to shop there for refusing to wear a face mask on two separate occasions.

Although she was still allowed to shop at the store after the first time she came in without a face mask, she was permanently given the boot when she got into a physical altercation with an employee during her second trip to the store.

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Expert: NRA had to be obliterated by New York for one very important reason

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The New York attorney general's aggressive moves against the National Rifle Association might have been handled by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to a former federal prosecutor.

State attorney general Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the powerful lobbying group over claims of rampant fraud, but former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade's new column for The Daily Beast calls out the Justice Department's inaction.

"Like other cases of corruption, this easily could have been framed as a criminal case," McQuade wrote. "Filing false registration and disclosure documents as part of a scheme to defraud can serve as the basis for federal mail or wire fraud, and often does in public corruption cases. When I served as a federal prosecutor, my former office brought public corruption cases on such theories in similar cases in which officials misused funds for personal benefit."

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