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‘Marked man’ Attorney General Jeff Sessions abruptly cancels public testimony

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On Saturday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions canceled his scheduled appearance before an open session of the House and Senate appropriations committees set for the coming week.

Think Progress reported that Sessions sent letters to the chairmen of the committees saying that he will send his deputy Rod Rosenstein in his stead. He explained that he was withdrawing from public testimony because he believes members of the committee intend to question him on “issues related to the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election.”

Sessions came off particularly badly in last Thursday’s testimony by fired FBI Director James Comey, leading Dan Rather to label him a “marked man.” If Comey is to be believed, Sessions has been under FBI scrutiny for months for his meetings with Russian government officials — meetings that Sessions lied about at his confirmation hearing.

In his testimony, Comey said that he could not go to Sessions with his concerns about President Donald Trump’s attempts to stop the Russia investigation because he knew that Sessions was about to be exposed as acting on the Russian government’s behalf and was therefore not to be trusted.

“Our judgment, as I recall, is that [Sessions] was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons. We also were aware of facts that I can’t discuss in an opening setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic,” Comey said.

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It later came out in closed session questioning that Sessions had yet another meeting with Russian ambassador to the U.S. and purported spymaster Sergey Kislyak.

Judd Legum at Think Progress said, “Instead of testifying publicly before the appropriations committees, where these matters could be discussed in the light of day, Sessions will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Washington Post and USA Today report that Sessions’ appearance is expected to be closed.”

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2020 Election

White House aides fear Trump believes House vote against impeachment means it’s never going to happen: report

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A proposal to start impeachment hearings that failed in the House on Wednesday led Donald Trump to optimistically proclaim that his presidency is safe at his North Carolina rally last night. But his proclamation has some White House officials worried the president really believes he is out of the woods.

According to a report at Politico, close aides to the president worry that his comment that "we have all this [impeachment] behind us," may be based on an unfounded notion by Trump about how Congress works.

Speaking at his campaign rally in Greenville, N.C., Trump boasted to the crowd, "I just heard that the United States House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted to kill the most ridiculous project I’ve ever been involved in: the resolution -- how stupid is that -- on impeachment. I want to thank those Democrats because many of them voted for us, the vote was a totally lopsided 332-95-1.”

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Trump campaign refuses to disavow crowd’s racist ‘send her back’ chants

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NPR reporter Tamara Keith on Thursday asked the Trump campaign if it wanted to disavow the racist "send her back" chant directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) during a Wednesday night Trump campaign rally.

In response to Keith's question, Trump 2020 communications director Tim Murtaugh not only refused to disavow the chants, but then took the opportunity to attack the entire Democratic Party for being aligned with "socialism."

"The Squad, as they call themselves, are now the leaders of the Democrat Party," he replied. "Americans don’t like it when elected officials consistently disparage this country. All the Democrats are pushing socialist ideas that are terrible for America. They are all the same."

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‘Keep praying!’ Hope Hicks texted Michael Cohen to ask God to make the porn star payoff scandal go away

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According to text messages revealed in the unredacted search warrants in Michael Cohen's campaign finance case, he and Hope Hicks not only talked on the phone multiple times, but they were also texting.

After the "Access Hollywood" tape dropped, Hicks, Trump and Cohen exchanged multiple phone calls. Cohen even called Kellyanne Conway at a time that she was serving as the Trump campaign manager to discuss a recording of Stormy Daniels sent from her attorney denying the affair after she was paid.

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