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US Monthly Headline News January 2019 Page 1

Elizabeth Warren proposes criminal penalties for spreading voting disinformation online

By Sunny Kim

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday released a plan to fight disinformation and to hold tech companies accountable for their actions in light of the 2016 election. “Disinformation and online foreign interference erode our democracy, and Donald Trump has invited both,” Warren said in a Tweet Wednesday. “Anyone who seeks to challenge and defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election must be fully prepared to take this on – and I’ve got a plan to do it.” Warren proposed to combat disinformation by holding big tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google responsible for spreading misinformation designed to suppress voters from turning out. “I will push for new laws that impose tough civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating this kind of information, which has the explicit purpose of undermining the basic right to vote,” Warren said in a release.

By Dan Berman, CNN

Washington (CNN)Senate rules limit what images can be broadcast on TV during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Notably, that restricts viewers from seeing how senators are responding to arguments of each side, or if they're even in the chamber as the proceedings continue. Trump's legal team on Tuesday wrapped up its opening arguments. Here's what sketch artist Bill Hennessy saw from his perch in the press gallery, including views of Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Trump slams Bolton as Senate considers calling him as a witness

By Allie Malloy, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Wednesday tore into his former national security adviser John Bolton, whose explosive allegation in the Ukraine scandal has opened the door for GOP support of potential witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial. Bolton, according to a draft manuscript first reported by The New York Times earlier this week, alleges that Trump told him over the summer that he wanted to continue holding military aid to Ukraine until the country helped with investigations into his potential political opponents. The allegation contradicts Trump claims that his actions in Ukraine were intended to root out corruption, not produce dirt on rivals, and has forced Senate Republicans to reconsider whether to hear from witnesses, including Bolton, in the trial. Trump attacked Bolton's reputation as a military hawk and claimed his forthcoming book is "nasty and untrue" and outed "classified" national security information in a pair of tweets Wednesday morning.

Falwell and W.Va. governor pitch Virginia secession plea

The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — In what they acknowledged is a long-shot bid, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. urged unhappy Virginia counties Tuesday to secede and join a neighboring state where Democrats aren’t in charge. Both Justice, a Republican in a state where the GOP dominates the legislature, and Falwell, whose university is in Lynchburg, Virginia, said the invitation to join West Virginia sends a valid message. “If you’re not truly happy where you are, we stand with open arms to take you from Virginia or anywhere where you may be,” said Justice, who’s running for reelection. “We stand strongly behind the Second Amendment and we stand strongly for the unborn.” Democrats took full control of the Virginia statehouse in November for the first time in a generation and pledged to enact gun-control measures, roll back abortion restrictions and prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people. Their agenda sparked a conservative backlash. This month tens of thousands of guns-rights activists flooded the Capitol and surrounding area in protest, some donning tactical gear and military rifles.

Appeals Court Finds Arizona Intended To Suppress Nonwhite Votes

Because racism.
By Mark Joseph Stern

The national conversation around voting rights is deeply skewed. Republican lawmakers and operatives openly endorse disenfranchisement; they brag when their attacks on suffrage succeed; and they work feverishly to rig redistricting in favor of white people. But all too often, judges refuse to acknowledge the racism of voter suppression laws, dancing around the purpose of these measures. Only rarely will a court admit what every reasonable observer should already know: The disproportionate impact of these laws on minority voters is no coincidence; it is exactly what legislators intended. It is refreshing, then, that on Monday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not tiptoe around the bald facts: Arizona Republicans’ recent crackdown on voting rights was motivated by racism. The court invalidated a law that was plainly designed to stop Native American, Hispanic, and black voters from casting a ballot—not just because it happened to burden minorities more than whites, but because it is flat-out racist. Arizona’s “long history of race-based voting discrimination,” combined with legislators’ “false, race-based” claims of voter fraud “unmistakably reveal” an intent to discriminate on the basis of race, the 9th Circuit announced. The Supreme Court’s conservative justices may well reverse the ruling. But the 9th Circuit will at least force SCOTUS to confront the reality that white supremacy remains a driving force in Republicans’ assault on the franchise, despite Chief Justice John Roberts’ declaration that racism is a historical relic.

Dutch Trump superfan who claimed he surveilled Ambassador Yovanovitch told people he was DEA

Interviews with a half-dozen people who know Anthony de Caluwe and documents obtained by NBC News show that the Trump superfan has a shadowy past.
By Josh Lederman and Anna Schecter

WASHINGTON — The Dutch man who claimed to have Marie Yovanovitch under surveillance when she was the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine has been masquerading as a U.S. federal law enforcement officer and told people he was starting a tech company that could track movements electronically, according to interviews and documents obtained by NBC News. And despite saying he had "no connection" to Ukraine, the man, Anthony de Caluwe, was romantically involved with a Ukrainian woman, who returns regularly to her home country, at the same time in early 2019 that he sent text messages about Yovanovitch's purported whereabouts in Kyiv, according to two people who know de Caluwe and photographs obtained by NBC News. How de Caluwe, 54, a citizen of the Netherlands and an ardent, vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, ended up sending encrypted messages about Yovanovitch's supposed whereabouts has been mostly a mystery since his name first surfaced in news stories about the Trump administration and Ukraine this month.

Democrats are already bracing for a ‘hostile’ Trump transition

They’re not measuring any drapes. But Democrats fear Trump and his aides won’t meet, share documents or otherwise cooperate in a handover of power.

Democrats are bracing for the possibility that if President Donald Trump loses the 2020 election, he and his aides will bungle a smooth handover of power – and maybe even try to outright sabotage the transition. At least one outside group that works with the 2020 Democratic campaigns has quietly launched a transition-related effort designed to offer an early look at the landscape that awaits them if they oust Trump. Separately, a prominent good government organization, the Partnership for Public Service, is openly appealing to Trump and his Democratic opponents to start thinking early about transition planning, even if it comes across as “presumptuous.” And one leading Democratic presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, just days ago unveiled a plan that, among other things, describes how she would move quickly to staff the government if she wins the White House. In the plan, Warren voices the fears of many Democrats. “This will be no ordinary transition between administrations,” she states. “Unlike previous transitions, we will not be able to assume good faith cooperation on the part of the outgoing administration.”

House Democrats not invited to trade deal bill signing at White House

By Haley Byrd, CNN

Washington (CNN)When President Donald Trump signs his revised North American Free Trade Agreement agreement at the White House on Wednesday, congressional Democrats who played a central role in approving the pact won't be there. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not been invited to the signing ceremony for the trade deal, a spokesperson for her office told CNN Tuesday morning. And Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat who shepherded the rebranded US-Mexico-Canada agreement to passage despite heightened tensions between the administration and congressional Democrats amid the contentious impeachment inquiry last year, is also not on the guest list. Nor are the other members of the House Democratic USMCA working group, who negotiated with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for months to obtain changes to the deal. It is typical for members of both parties to be present when major bipartisan pieces of legislation are signed at public ceremonies.

Toobin to Dershowitz: Watch this video carefully; you're in it

Anderson Cooper 360

CNN's Jeffrey Toobin confronts President Donald Trump's lawyer Alan Dershowitz with a video of Dershowitz patting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the back after Trump praised Mike Pompeo for barring an NPR reporter from his plane. Dershowitz says the pat was in support of Pompeo's policy moves and not in support of his interaction with the reporter.

First on CNN: 50 US service members diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after Iranian missile strike

By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent

Washington (CNN) Fifty US military personnel have now been diagnosed with concussions and traumatic brain injuries following the Iranian missile attack on US forces in Iraq earlier this month, according to a statement Tuesday from the Pentagon. That's an increase of 16 from late last week when the Pentagon said 34 cases had been diagnosed. "As of today, 50 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with TBI," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell said in the statement. "Of these 50, 31 total service members were treated in Iraq and returned to duty, including 15 of the additional service members who have been diagnosed since the previous report. 18 service members have been transported to Germany for further evaluation and treatment. This is an increase of one service member from the previous report. As previously reported, one service member had been transported to Kuwait and has since returned to duty," the statement added. Several Pentagon officials told CNN that the number of diagnosed cases is likely to continue to change. Approximately 200 people who were in the blast zone at the time of the attack have been screened for symptoms.

‘Lock him up’ protestors chant outside Trump rally in Wildwood

By Chris Franklin | For NJ.com and Amanda Hoover | NJ Advance Media For NJ.com

Chanting, “Love, not hate, makes America great,” opponents of President Donald Trump were gathering Tuesday in Wildwood in the hours leading up to the “Keep America Great” rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center on Tuesday. At least 150 Trump protesters had arrived by 3 p.m., and about a dozen miniature versions of the “Baby Trump” balloon were aloft. Some were chanting “Lock him up,” a play on what Trump supporters have sometimes said about Hillary Clinton, and other opponents of the president.

Lock him up chants have now started at the protest #Wildwood pic.twitter.com/YOxeSNBMRl
— Chris Franklin (@cfranklinnews) January 28, 2020

Martha Friend, of Lawrence, was in the group of protesters. “You have to show up and shine the light on the hate that has been dominating this presidency,” Friend told NJ Advance

GOP concedes Trump may have withheld aid for probes but says it's not impeachable

CNN Digital Expansion DC Manu Raju
By Manu Raju, CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent

(CNN) A growing number of GOP senators are now acknowledging that President Donald Trump may have leveraged US military aid to Ukraine in exchange for an announcement of investigations that could help him politically -- but they contend that even that conduct does not warrant removal from office or hearing from additional witnesses. Republicans are arguing that the latest reports -- that former national security adviser John Bolton's book manuscript says that Trump told him in August that he was withholding $391 million in aid until Ukraine announced a probe into the Bidens -- are likely true but simply confirm what is already known. And they are saying that new allegation, first revealed by The New York Times, is consistent with the details laid out by House Democratic managers in their case that Trump used official acts to urge a foreign power to undercut a leading political rival in the 2020 presidential campaign.

But they say that nothing in there is impeachable -- nor does it warrant the hearing from new witnesses since it confirms what is already known, they say. Yet it still remains to be seen if four Republicans break ranks to support witnesses, giving Democrats enough support that would dramatically change the course of Trump's trial. "I don't think anything he says changes the facts," South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the majority whip, told CNN. "I think people kind of know what the fact pattern is. ... There's already that evidence on the record." - Remember when Republicans said if Trump did do that it was impeachable now that it has been proven trump did it, Republicans say it is not impeachable.

QAnon-ers’ Magic Cure for Coronavirus: Just Drink Bleach!

Hucksters swarmed on a fresh opportunity to cash in from a crisis that speaks to paranoid fears on the fringe.
by Will Sommer
As the global death toll from an alarming new coronavirus surged this week, promoters of the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory were urging their fans to ward off the illness by purchasing and drinking dangerous bleach. The substance—dubbed “Miracle Mineral Solution” or “MMS”—has long been promoted by fringe groups as a combination miracle cure and vaccine for everything from autism to cancer and HIV/AIDS. The Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly warned consumers not to drink MMS, last year calling it effectively a “dangerous bleach” that could cause “severe vomiting” and “acute liver failure.” But those warnings haven’t stopped QAnon devotees—who believe in a world where Donald Trump is at war with shadowy deep-state “cabal”—from promoting a lethal substance as a salve for a health crisis that speaks to the darkest recesses of fringe thought. “I’m going to have to get home, and MMS the whole state,” prominent QAnon promoter Jordan Sather told his audience in a recent video. “MMS the whole shit out of everything.”

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appears to be escalating his criticism of NPR — this time not just with words but with actions. On Monday NPR reporter Michele Kelemen was notified that she was being removed from the press pool covering Pompeo's upcoming trip to the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The sudden change came just a few days after the top US diplomat responded angrily to an interviewer from the public radio outlet. That interviewer, Mary Louise Kelly asked Pompeo a series of pertinent questions about Ukraine. Pompeo responded by saying he expected the interview to be about Iran. Kelly said she always intended to ask about both subjects, and that Pompeo's staff knew so ahead of time. - Mike Pompeo like Trump is petty and vindictive.

GOP senator says Romney 'wants to appease the left by calling witnesses' in impeachment trial

By Clare Foran, CNN

Washington (CNN) Republican Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler targeted her colleague GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah on Monday over the issue of witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial. In a tweet, Loeffler leveled an accusation at Romney, saying, "After 2 weeks, it's clear that Democrats have no case for impeachment. Sadly, my colleague @SenatorRomney wants to appease the left by calling witnesses who will slander the @realDonaldTrump during their 15 minutes of fame. The circus is over. It's time to move on!" Loeffler, a political novice and businesswoman, was sworn in as Georgia's newest senator earlier this month, taking over the seat previously held by then-Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican who retired at the end of last year over health concerns. Her comments about Romney come as a debate over whether there should be witnesses called during the trial has intensified in the wake of a New York Times report that former national security adviser John Bolton's draft manuscript says President Donald Trump told him US security assistance to Ukraine was conditioned on investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden.

3 ways Bolton's bombshells contradict Trump's defense

Analysis by Marshall Cohen

Washington (CNN) New revelations about the Ukraine scandal from former national security adviser John Bolton dealt a significant blow to President Donald Trump's defense strategy, contradicting key elements of the case his attorneys presented to senators in his impeachment trial. According to a bombshell report from The New York Times, Bolton wrote in a draft for his upcoming book that Trump explicitly said he was withholding nearly $400 million in US military assistance until Ukraine helped with investigations into his Democratic rivals. A source with direct knowledge told CNN that the Times' article accurately described the draft manuscript. Bolton was already considered a key witness to important events in the Ukraine scandal, and Democrats have pleaded with their Republican colleagues to buck the White House and support a subpoena for Bolton. Earlier this month, Bolton even said he'd be willing to testify if he received a subpoena. The details from Bolton's book create an immediate problem for Trump: They contradict what he and his legal team has been saying, including in arguments on the Senate floor just two days ago when one White House lawyer said there was "no evidence anywhere" of Trump endorsing the quid pro quo.

Here are three ways Bolton's bombshells undermine Trump's case against impeachment.
Quid pro quo confirmed, again

According to The New York Times, Trump told Bolton directly that he didn't want any US aid flowing to Ukraine until Zelensky helped out with the investigations. Trump also used this rationale to rebuff nearly a dozen attempts by Bolton and others to unfreeze the aid package. That account flies in the face of repeated denials from Trump and his lawyers. Trump has tweeted the phrase "no quid pro quo" more than a dozen times since the inquiry began.

No policy reason for aid freeze
Bolton's account makes it clear that the reason for freezing US assistance to Ukraine was rooted in Trump's desire for Ukraine to announce the investigations into his political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden, a top Democrat vying for his party's nomination this year.

Firsthand accounts of Trump
The details of Bolton's manuscript cemented the reality that there are still witnesses who didn't testify to the House but have firsthand knowledge of what happened inside the White House. The House inquiry was a speedy process, perhaps propelled by Democratic fears that public support for impeachment would slip if they slowed things down and took a more methodical approach. House Democrats invited Bolton to voluntary testify, but they didn't do anything after his lawyer announced he wouldn't appear without a subpoena, and a lengthy court fight loomed.

Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace Tears Into Conservative Pundit: ‘Get Your Facts Straight!’

“That’s not true, that’s not true,” Wallace interrupted Pavlich at one point.
By Justin Baragona - Contributor

Sparks flew Monday on the Fox News set between Fox News anchor Chris Wallace and conservative contributor Katie Pavlich, with Wallace demanding his colleague get her “facts straight” after Pavlich insisted that certain witnesses had not been called in the impeachment trial. “The Senate is not the House, the House did not come with a complete case, and every impeachment beforehand, the witnesses that were called had been called in the House before being brought to the Senate,” she insisted. “So there are questions here about the process.” “That’s not true, that’s not true," Wallace interrupted. “They hadn’t all been called in the House, and in the Clinton impeachment, they’d been called by the general independent counsel. They had not been called by the House.” As anchor Bret Baier attempted to have Wallace give his “final thoughts,” the Fox News Sunday host—who has a history of tangling with the network’s opinion personalities—continued to highlight that what Pavlich said “just isn’t true.”

“The fact of the matter was is that the whistleblower information was given to the inspector general, who gave it to the Justice Department,” Wallace declared, clearly perturbed. “The Justice Department decided not to investigate, and that is why it went to the House.” “So to say that in the Clinton investigation these people were interviewed by the House, one, they weren’t,” he continued. “And to say it wasn’t done by the Justice Department, because the Justice Department refused to carry out the investigation. Get your facts straight!”

GOP strategist roasts Pompeo's response to NPR incident

CNN Tonight

Republican strategist Rick Wilson and CNN contributor Wajahat Ali join Don Lemon to discuss Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement in response to NPR host Mary Louise Kelly's claim that he cursed at her and demanded she find Ukraine on a map after a taping of "All Things Considered." Source: CNN

‘Fox & Friends’ Does Everything It Can to Defend Trump From Bolton Book Claims

The hosts of Trump’s favorite morning show worked overtime on Monday morning spinning the bombshell revelations from John Bolton’s forthcoming book.
By Justin Baragona

The morning after it was revealed that former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming book claims Donald Trump tied military aid to Ukraine investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Trump’s favorite morning show Fox & Friends dutifully downplayed such claims, doing everything in its power to defend the president. As first reported Sunday by The New York Times, Bolton wrote that Trump told him in August that he wanted to keep the freeze on $391 million of congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine until the country’s officials agreed to investigate the Bidens. This contradicts a central element of Trump’s defense—that the holding up of the aid had nothing to do with the president’s partisan desire for Biden probes.

With the president having already raged on Twitter overnight that he “NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” Fox & Friends’ curvy couch denizens and their guests went into full spin mode on Monday morning. Co-host Steve Doocy, who in September said it would be “off-the-rails wrong” if Trump said he’d give Ukraine money only if the country investigated Biden, sang a drastically different tune in light of the Bolton blockbuster. Co-host Brian Kilmeade, meanwhile, said the president’s big takeaway from this and the “Lev and Igor tapes” is that he “has to do a better job vetting his staff.” (Interestingly, before becoming Trump’s national security adviser, Bolton spent more than a decade as an on-air commentator for Fox News, often appearing on Kilmeade’s show.) Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, reiterated Kilmeade’s concern about those who are “disloyal” to Trump within his own administration. “That is dishonorable, it’s dishonest, it’s disgusting, and people like that shouldn’t be listened to,” he huffed.

Supreme Court allows Trump’s ‘public charge’ immigration rule to take effect

By Tucker Higgins

The Supreme Court said on Monday that it will allow the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule to take effect after the immigration policy had been blocked by lower courts. The 5-4 vote was divided along partisan lines, with the court’s four Democratic-appointees indicating that they would not have allowed the policy to be enforced. The rule will make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain permanent residency or citizenship if they have used public benefits, like food stamps. Civil rights groups criticized the rule, arguing that it penalized poor immigrants.

District courts around the country had halted the 2019 rule from going into action, though the Trump administration was successful before two federal appeals courts, which would have allowed the policy to be enforced. One nationwide injunction, issued by a district judge in New York and temporarily upheld by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month, still remained in effect. The top court on Monday froze that injunction, pending a final decision from the 2nd Circuit. The case could eventually make its way back to the Supreme Court.

Bolton revelations upend Senate impeachment trial

By Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's former national security adviser has upended the Senate impeachment trial, and new revelations from John Bolton's draft book manuscript could turn the tide on whether senators call for witnesses. The President's legal team resumes its second day of arguments at 1 p.m. ET Monday, but all of the attention will be focused on the Republican senators sitting in the chamber and how they react Sunday night's New York Times bombshell that Bolton's draft manuscript says Trump told him US security assistance to Ukraine was conditioned on investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden.

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah predicted it was "increasingly likely" that others would join him in calling for Bolton to testify, and GOP sources say the revelations add new uncertainty to this week's expected witness vote after Republicans were confident it would be defeated when the Senate gaveled out on Saturday. "I can't begin to tell you how John Bolton's testimony would ultimately play on a final decision but it's relevant," Romney told reporters Monday. "And therefore, I'd like to hear it." Since the Bolton news broke, the White House has heard from Republican senators frustrated that they were kept in the dark when at least someone in the White House had the Bolton manuscript since the end of December, according to a source familiar with the conversations.

GOP senators facing a classic Trump on 5th Avenue test

Analysis by John Harwood, CNN

Washington (CNN) Once again, President Donald Trump's Fifth Avenue test for fellow Republicans has grown a little harder. The term refers to Trump's 2016 boast that he could "shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue" without losing support from his political base. For the last five months, revelations about his conduct of Ukraine policy have presented a rolling real-world trial of that proposition. By the end of last week, Trump stood on the verge of securing his votes of absolution by Senate Republicans who didn't even want to hear new witness testimony. Now, a New York Times report that Trump specified his "quid pro quo" directly to then-national security adviser John Bolton has added a jolt of uncertainty into prospects for a summary acquittal.

Three years of GOP deference to the President suggest Trump will pass eventually whether or not the Senate seeks Bolton's testimony and other new evidence. Nine-in-10 Republican voters approve of his job performance and oppose his removal from office, even as most other Americans do not, according to a recent CNN poll. And this hardly represents a unique test of GOP acquiescence. Throughout the Ukraine furor, Republican lawmakers have deployed the political equivalent of a bend-but-don't-break defense in football. Republicans wobbled initially when an intelligence community whistleblower complained Trump had warped US foreign policy at the expense of a vulnerable ally for personal political gain. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina allowed that evidence of an aid-for-investigations "quid pro quo" would be "very disturbing."

It just got *a lot* harder for Republicans to vote against witnesses in the impeachment trial

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) The news, first reported by The New York Times Sunday night, that President Donald Trump had told national security adviser John Bolton directly to continue to withhold approved military aid to Ukraine until that country agreed to announce investigations into Democrats, and specifically former Vice President Joe Biden, is an absolute bombshell with the very real possibility of fundamentally altering the calculus for Republican senators in the ongoing impeachment trial. The accusation is made in a draft manuscript of Bolton's time in the Trump White House and, for the first time, would provide -- if confirmed -- direct evidence that Trump not only personally ordered the hold but did so to target the leading Democratic candidate against him in 2020. Bolton's claim -- again, if confirmed -- would be a smoking gun for Trump's use of his office for personal and political gain. Period.

Which brings us to the debate within the Senate over whether any witnesses will be allowed to testify in the trial of Trump and, if so, who. Prior to the Bolton news on Sunday, GOP sentiment seemed to be leaning away from allowing witnesses, with Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a key swing vote, offering criticism of the manner and style used by the House Democratic impeachment managers to make their case. While official Washington is still processing the Bolton news, it's hard to see both the accusation and the initial reaction to it not altering that voting calculus for Republicans. Here's why: There now exists a credible claim made by a longtime figure in Republican politics and the conservative movement that, if proven out, directly implicates the President of the United States in a quid pro quo. This isn't Lev Parnas, a somewhat shady Ukrainian businessman under criminal indictment, saying a bunch of things about Trump. Parnas, Republican senators might be OK with dismissing. It's a hell of a lot harder to dismiss someone with the resume of Bolton.

Emails cast further doubt on Pompeo's claim NPR reporter lied to him

By Oliver Laughland

Newly released emails between the office of Mike Pompeo and NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly cast further doubt on the secretary of state’s extraordinary claim that the journalist lied to him before a contentious interview. Pompeo, who reportedly subjected Kelly to an expletive-ridden rant in his private living room after an interview during which he was asked about his role in the Ukraine scandal, issued a statement in which he accused the reporter of violating “the basic rules of journalism and decency”. Kelly maintained that her meeting with Pompeo after the recorded interview was not agreed to be off the record. NPR has stood by its reporter and emails quoted by the Washington Post show Kelly clearly expressing that Ukraine would be discussed.

Democrats demand Bolton testimony after report his book says Trump tied Ukraine aid to Biden probe

The reported account in an unpublished manuscript by the former national security adviser counters the White House's defense of the president.
By Lauren Egan

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump told former national security adviser John Bolton that nearly $400 million in frozen security aid to Ukraine would not be released until that nation offered assistance with probes into Democratic targets, including the Bidens, Bolton alleges in an unpublished book whose contents were reported Sunday night.

NBC has not verified the report, published The New York Times, which cited multiple sources familiar with Bolton’s account, or seen a copy of that manuscript, but the report immediately produced calls by Democrats for Bolton's testimony in the Senate impeachment trial.

The contents of that manuscript were described as a rough account of how the former Trump official would testify, should he be called as a witness in the trial, which is currently underway. The prospect of any new witnesses has been viewed as unlikely, given Republican reluctance to accept additional testimony.

The president's allies have said that the aid delay was unconnected to Trump’s requests that Ukrainian officials announce probes that stood to undercut his domestic political opponents, including former Vice President Joe Biden.

Drafts of the book outline the potential testimony of the former national security adviser if he were called as a witness in the president’s impeachment trial.
By Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt

WASHINGTON — President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.

The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.

Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.

Schiff, Calling Trump ‘Wrathful and Vindictive,’ Sees Tweet as a Threat

In an extraordinary back-and-forth between a president and a congressman, President Trump warned that Representative Adam Schiff, the lead House impeachment manager, “has not paid the price, yet.”
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg

WASHINGTON — Representative Adam B. Schiff, the House’s lead impeachment manager, accused President Trump of trying to threaten him on Twitter and urged Republican senators to find the “moral courage to stand up” to a “wrathful and vindictive president.” Mr. Trump, writing on Twitter Sunday morning, attacked Mr. Schiff as “a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man,” warning, “He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!” It was an extraordinary back-and-forth between a member of Congress and a sitting president, coming at a turning point in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors — the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

“Look at the president’s tweets about me today saying that I should pay a price,” Mr. Schiff said on the NBC program “Meet the Press.” “Do you take that as a threat?” asked Chuck Todd, the show’s host. “I think it’s intended to be,” the congressman replied. Mr. Schiff has been under fire from Republicans for mentioning a news report during the trial that alleges that the White House had threatened to put their heads “on a pike” if they voted to convict, and he doubled down on that claim Sunday, saying that he merely meant it would require fearlessness on the part of the senators.

Senate Republicans push back on calls for more impeachment witnesses

Republicans appeared unmoved by Democrats’ arguments for Trump’s removal and reiterated that the Senate shouldn’t seek new evidence.

Senate Republicans on Sunday defended President Donald Trump and panned calls for witnesses in addition to those who testified during the House impeachment inquiry, ahead of the start of the second week of the impeachment trial. In interviews on major networks, Republicans appeared unmoved by House Democrats’ opening arguments for Trump’s removal and reiterated that the Senate should not seek new evidence.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a strong Trump ally, warned on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo” that calling in witnesses would create only more havoc. “What do we do?” Graham said. “Delay the trial so the president can go to court? Or do we as the Senate destroy the president’s ability to go to court — a bad spot to be in in the Senate ... If we seek witnesses, then we’re going to throw the country into chaos.”

House impeachment managers and Senate Democrats have made repeated calls for the chamber to subpoena witnesses, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton, as well as documents related to the administration’s hold on aid to Ukraine. The White House has repeatedly blocked witnesses from testifying. But most Senate Republicans argue that they should have to evaluate only the evidence the House used to draft articles of impeachment against Trump.

   "If we seek witnesses, then we’re going to throw the country into chaos."

   - Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

Kobe Bryant dies in California helicopter crash

CALABASAS, Calif. – Former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash in California, Local 10 has confirmed. Five people were on board when the helicopter went down near Calabasas this morning. Bryant’s wife Vanessa was reportedly not on the helicopter, according to TMZ. It’s not known who else was aboard the helicopter during the flight, or where it was headed.

Parnas' attorney: There are more Trump recordings


CNN's Anderson Cooper speaks with Lev Parnas' attorney, Joseph Bondy, about the recently released recording of President Donald Trump at a 2018 dinner with Parnas and Igor Fruman.

Fox's Wallace confronts Dershowitz with clip arguing crime not necessary for impeachment

By Zack Budryk

Alan Dershowitz, a member of President Trump's legal team for his impeachment trial, on Sunday fielded questions about whether his defense of the president is at odds with his position during the impeachment trial of former President Clinton. Fox News's Chris Wallace asked Dershowitz, who has frequently argued that Trump cannot be removed because he did not commit a crime, about his comments in 1998 that impeachment does not require a crime be committed. "It certainly doesn't have to be a crime. If you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don't need a technical crime," Dershowitz told Larry King in the 1998 clip played by Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

Dershowitz argued his legal understanding of impeachment had evolved since 1998, telling Wallace, "I've been immersing myself in dusty old books, and I’ve concluded that, no, it has to be a crime." Wallace countered that Dershowitz has frequently defended Trump by invoking an argument written by former Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Curtis in defense of former President Andrew Johnson that evidence of criminal conduct is necessary to impeach and remove a president.

Fact-checking opening statements from President Trump's legal team

By Tara Subramaniam, Marshall Cohen, Holmes Lybrand, Daniel Dale and Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's legal team kicked off their opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial Saturday morning. In defending the President, Deputy White House Counsel Mike Purpura said the case is based on "six key facts that have not and will not change." Here's a break-down of these six "facts" and other claims made by Trump's legal team Saturday.

The transcript doesn't show a quid pro quo
Purpura said "the transcript shows that the President did not condition either security assistance or a meeting on anything. The paused security assistance funds aren't even mentioned on the call."

Facts First: While no specific conditions for a quid pro quo were mentioned on the call, the exchange Trump had with Zelenksy raised eyebrows among some officials who listened to the phone conversation -- because the US was withholding military aid from Ukraine at the time. In the memo of the call, Trump discusses US aid to Ukraine and how the relationship between the two countries was "not reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine." He then says he would like Zelensky "to do us a favor though." Trump goes on to discusses a conspiracy theory related to the 2016 election and later, a potential Ukrainian investigation into the Bidens.

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