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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.”

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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.

“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.”

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

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Giuliani’s potential witness tampering in Ukraine is impossible to separate from Trump: Judiciary Democrat

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) broke down how Rudy Giuliani's misconduct in Ukraine is "inseparable" from President Donald Trump's.

"To everyone who asks whether we are moving too quickly, I say the president's lawyer is moving quickly to continue to ask a foreign government to cheat our elections, and doing nothing is completely off the table," said Swalwell, who sits on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, the two most crucial committees in the impeachment inquiry. "We have to secure our elections. We have powerful, uncontradicted evidence now. And now is the time to hold the president accountable and determine just which impeachment articles we should proceed with."

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‘Why not cooperate?’ CNN’s Wolf Blitzer hammers Pence’s chief of staff over impeachment stonewalling

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," anchor Wolf Blitzer challenged Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff Marc Short to justify the administration's stonewalling of the impeachment inquiry.

"Wolf, the reality is that the last three years, they've been trying to overturn the will of the American people. They're trying to take away the votes of the American people," said Short. "This whole impeachment has been a sham. What they've tried to prove there is no proof of ... I think it sets a dangerous precedent."

"Here's what I don't understand," said Blitzer. "If the president has nothing to hide, it was a perfect phone call with the president of Ukraine, why not cooperate, provide the documents, why not let individuals go before the committees and testify?"

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Nancy Pelosi praised as ‘the only serious national leader’ in America — and Trump is ‘jealous’

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi was praised on Thursday for her leadership as she directed the House of Representatives to begin drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

MSNBC's anchor Nicolle Wallace played a clip of the Speaker's press conference, where Pelosi strongly replied after a question on whether she hated Trump that was asked by James Rosen, who works for the right-wing Sinclair Broadcasting network.

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