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Nicole Lafond

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.

Articles by Nichole

Former CIA officer Valerie Plame, who gained national prominence when her status as an undercover agent was compromised over a media leak — which landed then-Dick Cheney Chief of Staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby a conviction for lying to investigators —  criticized Attorney General William Barr for his “spying” assessment.

During an interview with CNN’s “New Day” Monday, Plame, who just announced a congressional bid in New Mexico, said she “absolutely” does not consider the surveillance of members of the Trump campaign in 2016 to be “spying.”

“I absolutely do not, these are professionals in our intelligence community, both in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and in the CIA,” she said when asked about Barr’s characterization. “I have to believe that what happened was there was real cause and the bar is extremely high to collect information, particularly on a U.S. citizen. So I don’t know all the details of what lead to that, but I think the attorney general’s rather casual assessment that the FBI spied on candidate Trump is a little too loose with the facts.”

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The President’s personal lawyer reversed course on Friday evening and decided to not take a trip to Ukraine, where he intended to request the government launch investigations that would be politically useful to President Trump.

“I will step back and just watch it unfold,” he told Fox News on Friday evening after declaring he had cancelled the trip. He then spun a conspiracy theory demonizing the Ukrainian government.

“No trip because I believe I was walking into a bunch of people, one of whom already has found to be involved on this, and I think this was a setup. The whole thing, by the way, is a setup. From the very beginning. That is what your gonna find,” Giuliani said.

The President’s lawyer was planning to travel to Ukraine to ask the government to look into how the Russia probe “really began” and investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son’s ties to an energy company.

Earlier on Friday, Trump was not aware of the intricacies of Giuliani’s plan said that he would have a conversation with his lawyer about the trip before he left.

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