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Florida’s attorney general moves to stop lesbian couple from divorcing

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Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) filed a petition on Friday seeking to block a lesbian woman from getting a divorce from her estranged ex-partner, Broward/Palm Beach New Times reported on Thursday.

Bondi’s petition to Broward County Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen argued that 41-year-old Heather Brassner should not receive a divorce in absentia from Megan Lade because they entered a civil union in Vermont in 2002.

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Because Brassner and Lade’s union was not recognized as a marriage in Florida, Bondi said, Cohen was incorrect when he declared the state’s ban on marriage equality unconstitutional in a separate ruling this past August.

“If this Court reaches the constitutional issues, it should uphold the challenged laws because Florida’s marriage laws do not violate the United States Constitution,” Bondi wrote.

Brassner has been seeking the divorce since Lade “disappeared” following their falling out. Brassner argued in her petition that she was afraid that Lade would use her name to undermine her financially. The Miami Herald reported that officials in Vermont cannot dissolve their union without a signature from Lade, who has not resurfaced.

Bondi argued that Cohen cannot grant Brassner’s petition because she cannot show “a bona fide, actual, present practical need” for the state’s same-sex marriage ban to be struck down. The attorney general filed her petition two days before a court-imposed deadline.

The LGBT advocacy group Equality Florida criticized Bondi’s move in a statement.

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“Attorney General Bondi should not hold our state and our families hostage by calling for the stay to remain in place,” the group’s CEO, Nadine Smith, said in a statement. “Let her follow the lead of the 9th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court and allow marriages to commence. Every day that Floridians are denied access to the protections only marriage can provide, our families suffer.”

Cohen was one of five judges, including a federal judge, to recently rule against the same-sex marriage ban. Bondi has appealed the rulings, saying lifting the ban “would impose significant public harm.”

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Trump is wallowing in ‘self-pity’ even though McConnell promised to protect him: Morning Joe

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Appearing on MNBC's "Morning Joe," New York Times reporter Peter Baker said Donald Trump is wallowing in "self-pity" that fluctuates with "combativeness" as he worries about the effect being impeached will have on his legacy.

Speaking with host Joe Scarborough, Baker filled in the blanks from his Times report, saying the president is obsessed with the impeachment hearings and Senate trial still to come.

Asked by host Scarborough about Trump's "humiliation," Baker said, "He can count on the Republican-controlled Senate to hold the trial where he seems almost certain to be acquitted, or at least see the charges dismissed in some fashion."

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WATCH LIVE: House holds historic vote on the impeachment of Donald Trump

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After a 14-hour House Judiciary Committee Thursday hearing considering the impeachment of Donald Trump, Democrats and Republicans on the committee will reconvene once again Friday morning where they are expected to finally vote on the articles of impeachment before sending them to the House floor for a full vote scheduled for next week.

According to NBC, "In a surprise move, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler delayed the vote until Friday morning at 10 a.m. after more than 14 hours of debate. There were five votes on Thursday: one to eliminate the first article on abuse of power, a second to strike a reference to former Vice President Joe Biden, a third to note the aid withheld from Ukraine was eventually released, a fourth to strike entire second amendment on obstruction of Congress and a fifth to strike the last lines in each article. All were voted down and along party lines."

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‘Trump was caught’: Every major GOP excuse for president’s conduct destroyed by ex-prosecutor

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Former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade said Thursday's marathon impeachment hearing left her "shouting" at her television, so she gathered her thoughts and blew up Republican defenses one by one.

McQuade, an MSNBC legal analyst and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, exposed the weaknesses in each of the GOP's sometimes contradictory defenses of President Donald Trump against impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Here are the GOP defenses I have heard so far to articles of impeachment, along with the knee-jerk responses I have been shouting at my television.

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