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War Expert Reveals Biden was Always More ‘Keen on Ukraine’ Than Obama

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Slate’s war stories correspondent Fred Kaplan spoke with Mary Harris to share his thoughts on President Joe Biden’s Ukrainian position – and what he thinks will happen next.

“If you’ve heard anything about this troop buildup around Ukraine, alarm is probably what’s resonated the most alarm that Vladimir Putin is testing the West alarm that Russia might expand an ongoing military operation inside Ukraine,” Harris said. “But I wanted to talk to Fred because alarm was not his first reaction to this news.”

What I’m about to say is the kind of thing that, if I’m wrong, could be played back six months from now and make me look really stupid,” Kaplan said. “But I don’t think that he’s going to invade Ukraine. I don’t think that’s what’s going on…If they were really going to invade Ukraine from the east and from the west through Belarus – kind of a pincer movement and then occupy the place – they would need a lot more than 90000 troops. Second…going in and crushing the place, there would be armed resistance. There will be Russians coming back in body bags. And finally, as is in general, Putin has been quite cautious in the use of military force.”

Harris referred to the agreements as “hedges against autocracy” and Kaplan offered, “These two countries, Ukraine and Taiwan, they’re examples of what some people call strategic ambiguity. I mean, were we sort of have a commitment to them, but not quite for many years. These relationships have been allowed to keep things stable. They’ve never really been tested. And now, you know, at least some people are saying they might be tested, and we don’t really quite know what we’re going to do about it.”

Kaplan added, “Biden himself is very keen on on Ukraine. When he was vice president in 2014, he wanted to do more to help Ukraine than than Obama did. He wanted to send some lethal arms even then. But I asked, ‘Is there anybody who is saying that what we need to do is to let Ukraine into NATO’s right now? Or is there anybody who is saying if Russia invades, we have to send us troops to counter them?’ And what I’m hearing is, ‘No, nobody’s saying that.’ So why base your whole position on an insistence for something that that you’re never going to do anyway? Look, I have no idea whether this approach will meet success. I don’t know. But this is what Putin has laid down on the table. Let’s take that as a premise and go from there and see if it’s if it works.”

Kaplan said it appeared Russia could be worried about backlash from the West, specifically the U.S.

“It seems they certainly don’t want to get into a war with the United States,” he said. “What Putin has been doing for the last several years is disrupting and interfering with American democracy and disrupting ties between the U.S. and countries in Western Europe, especially when Trump was president that were provocative and destructive in ways that were indirect and subtle, and therefore not likely to provoke a direct response from the United States. So he goes for the indirect approach, which is much harder to deal with.”

A direct interference in Ukraine would not be wise, according to Kaplan.

“If he really does do what the more alarmed people think he’s priming to do, then yeah, this is going to provoke a tremendous backlash from from the West, which is one reason why I don’t think he’s going to do it because he can’t afford that,” Kaplan said.

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‘Sociopath Party’: Morning Joe Panel Horrified by Chance of Trump-Greene ‘Crackpot’ Ticket

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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is reportedly angling to become Donald Trump’s running mate — or possibly even president herself — and panelists on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” are worried.

The second-term Georgia Republican has tried to rebrand herself as a liaison between the Republican Party’s establishment and its right-wing fringes, but the show’s co-host Mika Brzezinski said Greene couldn’t escape her controversial reputation so quickly.

“Marjorie Taylor Greene, I will just put my marker down right here and say this is a potential reality unless people get their heads on straight,” Brzezinski said.

Guest George Conway agreed the firebrand lawmaker would only make Trump worse as his running mate.

“I mean, in a way she’s perfect — Trump-Greene ’24, a crack in every pot,” Conway said. “This will be the sociopath party ticket. She absolutely would play to his worst instincts and play to the worst elements of the Republican base. I think it would turn off the center of the electorate, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s going to be serious that she would get this because Trump cannot take someone as a vice president who’s going to potentially upstage him. That’s why Mike Pence was so perfect for him.”

“Pence was, you know, so much of a cipher,” Conway added. “He drank water when President Trump drank water at a meeting. He would basically nod and agree with what Trump said up until that day on Jan. 6, which could have been prevented if we had a vice president with a spine who had conceded the election as it should have been conceded long before then. So I don’t think it’s a realistic possibility, but the fact that we’re even talking about it is horrific.”

 
Image: L.E.MORMILE / Shutterstock

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Watch: Santos Shuts Door on Reporters, Says ‘No Comment’ on $500,000 ‘Personal’ Loan After Amending FEC Report

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U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) is continuing his campaign of obfuscation, just one day after amending his campaign finance report telling the Federal Elections Commission on Tuesday the half-million dollars he claimed to have personally loaned his campaign was not actually from his personal funds.

Calling it a “tense exchange,” CNN’s Manu Raja reports Santos “would not explain to us why he amended his public filings to show that $500K from his contributions did not come from his personal funds.”

“Sir — let’s make it very clear: I don’t amend anything, I don’t touch any of my FEC stuff, right?” Santos said, berating the press.

Adding again that the embattled freshman New York Republican “refused to explain source of money,” Raju adds Santos told him, “don’t be disingenuous and report that I did because you know that every campaign hires fiduciaries.”

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ‘Whole Vision’ Is to Be Trump’s Vice President: Report

“’So, I’m not aware of that answer and we’ll have an answer for the press regarding the amendments in yesterday’s’ filing,” Santos said,

CBS News’ Cristina Corujo posted video of Congressman Santos telling reporters, “no comment,” and “I have no clue on what you are talking about ma’am,” when asked about the $500,000 loan and amended FEC report.

On Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported that “Santos’ political operation filed a flurry of amended campaign finance reports, telling the feds, among other things, that a $500,000 loan he gave to his campaign didn’t, in fact, come from his personal funds as he’d previously claimed.”

READ MORE: Watch: Pope Francis Says Homosexuality Is ‘A Sin’ But Not ‘A Crime’

Some say that might be a crime.

Pointing to a New York Post article on Santos’ $500,000 FEC correction, former CNBC and Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky says, “This is de facto admission by George Santos of a crime. Candidates for federal office may loan or gift campaigns unlimited personal money. Everything else is limited to a few thousand dollars per donor and all of it must be disclosed on FEC paperwork.”

Watch the video of Santos above or at this link.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ‘Whole Vision’ Is to Be Trump’s Vice President: Report

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U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has one singular goal: becoming Donald Trump’s vice president. The far-right Georgia Republican has gone from chasing a young mass shooting survivor and anti-gun violence activist around the streets of Washington, D.C., to a Congresswoman stripped of her committees after revelations she said the Democratic Speaker of the House was “guilty of treason,” which she noted is “a crime punishable by death,” to one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress.

NBC News reports Greene “is angling to be Donald Trump’s running mate in 2024,” citing two sources, including far right extremist and former top Trump advisor Steve Bannon.

“This is no shrinking violet, she’s ambitious — she’s not shy about that, nor should she be,” Bannon said of Greene. “She sees herself on the short list for Trump’s VP. Paraphrasing Cokie Roberts, when MTG looks in the mirror she sees a potential president smiling back.”

READ MORE: ‘I Can Speak From Personal Experience’: Just Two Weeks Ago Pence Called for Special Counsel for Biden Classified Docs

Another source “who has advised Greene said her ‘whole vision is to be vice president.’ The source, who has ties to Trump but spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations, said he also believes Greene would be on Trump’s short list.”

Bannon, who was convicted on two criminal contempt of Congress charges, which he is appealing, says Greene is “both strategic and disciplined — she made a power move, knowing it would run up hard against her most ardent crew,” referring to far right House Republicans.

“She was prepared to take the intense heat/hatred short-term for the long-term goal of being a player.”

READ MORE: Watch: Top Trump Ally Lindsey Graham Defends Biden In Classified Docs Probe

Earlier this month The Daily Beast reported, “Donald Trump’s campaign has pretty much been asleep since he announced. But that isn’t stopping him or his confidants from gaming out a vice-presidential pick,” noting all the names being floated are women.

Among them, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat turned independent, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

“Greene’s positioning within Trump’s inner circle has only prospered in the former president’s post-presidential tenure bunkering down at Mar-a-Lago,” The Daily Beast observed. “She has become a fixture at his MAGA rallies, with the congresswoman often lingering in the press pen to give exclusive interviews to Right Side Broadcasting, a YouTube channel that streams the rallies in their entirety to an audience of 1.57 million subscribers.”

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