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Joni Ernst says she earned the right to call herself a ‘combat veteran’ despite never seeing combat

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Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said she is, too, a combat veteran.

The newly elected Republican lawmaker defended her military service record after a Huffington Post article pointed out that she never came under fire while serving in Iraq and Kuwait more than a decade ago, reported the Omaha World-Herald.

Ernst led an Iowa Army National Guard transportation company in 2003 and 2004, and the online report suggested the senator is promoting a public misimpression about her military record.

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The report pointed out that Ernst frequently reminded voters and now constituents of her combat veteran status, and she has not corrected others when they suggest she led troops into battle.

“I am very proud of my service and by law I am defined as a combat veteran,” Ernst said. “I have never once claimed that I have a Combat Action Badge. I have never claimed that I have a Purple Heart. What I have claimed is that I have served in a combat zone.”

The Veterans of Foreign Wars defines a combat veteran as anyone who receives imminent danger pay, which is typically reserved for those who serve in combat zones and potentially risk coming under enemy fire.

Former President George H.W. Bush declared the entire Arabian Peninsula a combat zone through a 1991 executive order that remains in effect.

“It was only by luck and the blessings of God that my soldiers did not encounter an assault, that we did not run over an IED,” Ernst said. “To dishonor our service by saying we’re not worthy of being called combat veterans is insulting to the majority of men and women who serve their country honorably.”

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“Just because I’m not an infantryman and I wasn’t kicking in doors, I don’t believe I’m less of a player,” she added.

A recent poll found that 58 percent of Republicans who are likely to vote next year in the Iowa presidential caucuses believe Ernst has what it takes to become Commander in Chief.

“She’s not afraid of a fight,” said Josh Ehlen, a 33-year-old commercial insurance broker and GOP voter from Waukee.

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So much for ‘originalism’ — Trump’s impeachment defense is a constitutional dumpster fire

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In the absence of any exculpatory evidence, Donald Trump's defense against impeachment increasingly relies on arguments that fly directly in the face of the Constitution. Trump himself set the standard last July with his grandiose claim that "Article II says I can do anything I want," which encountered no serious pushback from his fellow Republicans.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Trump lawyer Purpura busted by MSNBC for lying on the Senate floor during impeachment trial

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Moments after the end of the Saturday's Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump concluded, MSNBC host Brian Williams pointed out that one of Donald Trump's attorney's lied on the Senate floor about the president's Ukraine scandal-- and he had a clip handy to prove it.

Sharing footage of attorney Mike Purpura stating the higher-ups in Ukraine were unaware that Donald Trump was withholding aid until after the government helped him by announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, the MSNBC host called the attorney out.

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Any normal president could find some defense attorneys who aren’t clowns and grifters

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Donald Trump's penchant for telling reporters about his crimes doesn't leave his legal defense team a lot to work with. In the first week of his Senate trial, they've pounded the desk and rended their garments over how mean their Democrats opponents are toward their client. But the worst is yet to come--WaPo reports that during the next phase of the proceedings, Trump's legal team will offer "a scorched-earth defense of President Trump in the impeachment trial, mounting a politically charged case aimed more at swaying American voters than GOP senators — and damaging Trump’s possible 2020 opponent, Joe Biden."

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