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Michael Morrell, former acting CIA director, along with Michael Vickers, former undersecretary of defense, wrote in an open letter to Donald Trump in The Washington Post Saturday, asserting the Republican nominee cannot “credibly credibly serve as commander in chief” if he embraces Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the letter, Morrell and Vickers wrote: “Putin, during his long tenure, has repeatedly pursued policies that undermine U.S. interests and those of our allies and partners. He has steadily but systematically moved Russia from a fledgling democratic state to an authoritarian one. He is the last foreign leader you should be praising.”

They called on Trump to cease his praise of Putin and instead demand change.

“Demand that Putin stop his aggressive behavior overseas. Demand that he stop his dictatorial moves at home. Tell him that you will live up to our NATO commitments and defend the Baltics, if need be. Tell him that you want to work with him on solving the problems in the world — but that he must behave in order to do so. That is what a true commander in chief would do.”

A day after publishing the open letter, Morell appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and told host Jake Tapper that he believes Putin wants Trump to win the election.

“Putin does not believe that Hillary Clinton will be easy on Russia. He believes that she will be tough on Russia,” Morell said.

Morrell also stated he believed Putin was behind the DNC email hack, but that he didn’t think Putin would ultimately be able to affect the presidential election.

Photo: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida, U.S., September 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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