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Axelrod: Israeli settlement plan ‘an insult’

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The Obama administration isn’t backing down on criticisms of an Israeli plan to build 1600 new homes in East Jerusalem. Israel announced the plan just as Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the country.

President Obama’s chief political adviser condemned the move Sunday. “This was an affront, it was an insult,” David Axelrod told NBC’s Tom Brokaw.

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“But most importantly, it undermined this very fragile effort to bring peace to that region,” he said. “We just now have started proximity talks, shuttle diplomacy between the Palestinians and the Israelis. For this announcement to come at that time was very destructive.”

Fox News’ Bill Kristol responded to Axelrod by defending the Israelis. “No one doubts this is part of Israel. This little apartment building is going to be part of Israel. No different from Palestinians building apartment buildings in Ramallah. It’s ludicrous that it became a big issue,” said Kristol.

The story made international headlines Friday as the Middle East Quartet — the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations — condemned “Israel’s decision to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem.”

“The Quartet reaffirms that unilateral actions taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community,” it added in a statement.

This video is from NBC’s Meet the Press and Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast March 14, 2010.

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Trump ignored aides’ advice before first Ukraine call — and it destroyed his impeachment defense: report

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to himself as his own top advisor and a political "genius." But his interactions with Ukraine at the heart of the impeachment inquiry could demonstrate the limitations of such an approach to governing.

Friday's bombshell, behind-closed-door testimony from David Holmes has made White House aides unhappy, but the bad news for the administration did not stop there.

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‘Aides to the president are not happy’ Gordon Sondland held the phone up in restaurant: CNN’s Jim Acosta

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CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported on Friday that White House aides are unhappy with Ambassador Gordon Sondland for holding up a call with Trump in a restaurant for multiple witnesses to listen.

The details were revealed in bombshell closed-door testimony before Congress on Friday.

Acosta noted the administration was trying to downplay the significance of the call.

"But I will tell you, that the aides of the president are not happy that Gordon Sondland apparently held the phone up so other aides could hear what was going on and the words of the source familiar with the conversations inside the White House, the president speaks loudly, Sondland should know that," Acosta reported.

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David Holmes’ opening statement to Congress directly implicated Donald Trump: report

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donald trump on the phone

Congress will hear first-hand testimony of President Donald Trump's involvement in the Ukraine scandal.

"David Holmes, the state department aide who overheard President Donald Trump's conversation with the US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, said that Sondland told Trump that the Ukranian President would do 'anything you ask him to,' and that he confirmed the Ukrainians were going to 'do the investigation,'" CNN reported Friday.

""Sondland told Trump that (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky 'loves your ass,'" Holmes testified. "I then heard President Trump ask, 'So, he's gonna do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that 'he's gonna do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.'"

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