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CNN analyst rips Rand Paul: Garner died because of police abuse, not cigarette taxes

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CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin blasted Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Thursday for blaming Eric Garner’s death on New York City’s cigarette taxes, Media Matters reported.

“It’s an extrapolation,” Toobin told host Wolf Blitzer. “It’s an inclusion of an agenda item on Rand Paul’s agenda, which is perfectly appropriate to have, but one that had nothing to do with why Eric Garner is dead. He’s dead because of abusive police tactics, not because of high cigarette taxes.”

Earlier in the day, Paul told MSNBC host Chris Matthews that the 2010 state law raising taxes on 20-packs of cigarettes “put our police in a dangerous situation.”

“I think it’s hard not to watch that video of him saying ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe’ and not be horrified by it,” Paul said. “But I think there’s something bigger than the individual circumstances. Obviously, the individual circumstances are important. But I think it is also important to know that some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes, so they’ve driven cigarettes underground so as to not make them so expensive.”

Garner died this past July while being questioned by police for selling individual cigarettes without tax stamps, also known as “loosies.” One officer, Daniel Pantaleo, grabbed him from behind in what the local medical examiner determined was a chokehold. But a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo, spurring demonstrations around the city.

Toobin said on Thursday that Paul was “the only person” blaming Garner’s death on the cigarette tax, which was a misreading of the case.

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“This confrontation took place as part of an overall police philosophy in New York of cracking down on quality of life crimes,” Toobin said. “Like turnstile-jumping. Like using squeegees on cars by homeless people. This had nothing to do with cigarette taxes.”

Watch Toobin’s remarks, as posted by Media Matters on Thursday, below.

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2020 Election

WATCH: Katie Porter explains to constituents why her conscience demands support for Trump impeachment inquiry

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Congresswoman Katie Porter, in a video posted on social media Monday night, shared with residents of her purple California district why she is joining dozens of other Democrats who support launching an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

"I didn't come to Congress to impeach the president," said the first-term representative. "But when faced with a crisis of this magnitude, I cannot with a clean conscience ignore my duty to defend the Constitution. I can't claim to be committed to rooting out corruption and putting people over politics and then not apply those same principles and standards in all of the work I do."

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Rick Wilson hilariously ridicules the ‘formal flip-flops’ and ‘dress cargo pants’ worn by Florida Trump supporters

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Republican strategist Rick Wilson mocked the attire of the Donald Trump supporters who were bused in from around Florida for his official campaign kickoff in Orlando.

Wilson, a Florida man himself, joined MSNBC's Brian Williams for post-rally analysis on "The 11th Hour."

Williams played a clip of a Trump supporter with sleeveless Trump T-shirt identifying her as a "proud member of the basket of deplorables" explaining why she'll vote to re-elect the president in 2020.

"The main reason? Because he’s one of the best presidents we’ve had for a very long time," the woman argued. "Very long time."

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Trump’s ‘tired and lazy’ re-election message ‘is not working’ at his Orlando kickoff: Florida Republican David Jolly

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President Donald Trump's re-election is "in trouble" in Florida, a former Republican congressman who represented the state explained on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell on Tuesday.

"As we’ve been reporting the president officially kicked off his re-election campaign tonight in Florida, where he was greeted by a Quinnipiac poll released today showing he is losing the state of Florida to six Democratic presidential candidates in one-on-one match-ups," O'Donnell reported. "President Trump won the state of Florida by 1.3% of the vote so he cannot afford to lose any support in Florida."

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