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Acosta: Trump thinks doubting Obama’s nationality ‘helps him politically’ despite calling to question his ‘stability of mind’

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CNN’s Jim Acosta on Wednesday explained the thought process behind Donald Trump’s decision to once again question the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate, noting the claim might not be the result of the president “losing it,” but instead a calculated effort to rally his base.

“According to this source close to the White House, apparently President Trump, ever since that day when he finally acknowledged that Barack Obama was born in the United States, was questioning and has questioned since then, the politics of that decision—meaning that he feels he would have done better the November election last year had he just stood his ground and insisted that Barack Obama was not born in the United States,” Acosta said.

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“He feels he would have performed even better in the polls had he stayed with that position,” the CNN reporter added.

Acosta called the detail “a remarkable insight into his mind,” noting that while some analysts have described Trump as “perhaps … kind of losing it,” it’s in fact “more tactical, that the president believes in citing some of these racially-tinged conversations around the country because he feels they help him politically.”

“This development that the president believed back then it was just the wrong political move to acknowledge that Obama was born in the United States goes to that theory,” Acosta said.

Turning to reports that the president has also started questioning the veracity of the infamous Access Hollywood tape, Acosta said a source verified that “there have been staffers whispering about this behind the scenes, that there are officials who have knowledge of the president saying this.”

“But that one very senior official behind the scenes inside the White House has been going around to colleagues assuring colleagues and staffers that no, this story is not true,” Acosta said. “So some concerns here about both of those issues that go right to the president’s stability of mind tonight.”

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Sondland is in ‘tremendous trouble’ no matter how he tries to change his testimony tomorrow: NYT columnist

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On Tuesday, in the wake of testimony from several witnesses in the impeachment hearing that broadly implicated EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland in improper backchannel foreign policy, New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali suggested that Sondland is in "tremendous trouble" — and that no testimony he could give tomorrow will get him out of this mess:

No. He will be trying to save himself. The perjury plus multiple stellar witnesses paint a damning portrait. He's in tremendous trouble. https://t.co/CxN5w0EErb

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Even the Republican witnesses make Donald Trump look like a depraved criminal

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The second half of Tuesday's hearing offered something new in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: Witnesses called by the Republican minority on the House Intelligence Committee. It's understandable why Republicans would want these two men.

One of them was Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide who is among the few people directly exposed to Trump's famous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who claims to believe there was nothing wrong with it. The other was Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, who appears to have been a major actor in Trump's extortion scheme in that country. Indeed, Volker was deemed one of the "three amigos" — along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Trump donor/EU ambassador Gordon Sondland — who Trump entrusted with Ukrainian relations as he exerted increasing pressure on the country's leaders to give into his extortion scheme.

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Impeachment: Trump’s ‘hearsay’ defense just crashed and burned

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In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.

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