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GOP plotting to read secret memo on House floor without declassifying it to limit FBI rebuttal: report

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MSNBC’s Pete Williams reported on Thursday that House Republicans could read a controversial classified memo on the House floor without declassifying it to prevent the FBI, which has opposed the disclosure, from giving a full-throated rebuttal.

“If the president puts it out, declassifies it, that might loosen the reigns on the FBI a little bit,” Williams explained. “But if the House puts it out, that doesn’t declassify it.”

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“The House rules say they can disclose publicly any information that’s been classified,” he continued. “That doesn’t declassify it technically. It just makes it public. Only the executive branch can declassify. So, the FBI’s hands would be tied in terms of how they can respond.”

According to NBC News correspondent Mike Memoli, the most likely scenario involves reading the memo on the floor of the House, where legislators are protected from prosecution if they spill government secrets.

“The House has to be in session,” he pointed out. “And they would either read the full memo, it’s four pages long, from the floor of the House or they would read it into the Congressional Record. And the reason you would do that is because it’s a crime to disclose classified information.”

“But there is the debate clause in the House which gives member immunity from breaking laws if they do it from the House floor,” Memoli remarked.

If Republicans go through with the plan, they would have to first consult with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to decide which classified information should be redacted.

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Democrats claim that Republicans created the memo to smear the FBI for extending surveillance on former Trump campaign staffer Carter Page, who has admitted having contacts with Russians during the campaign.

For its part, the FBI has called the memo “misleading” and has said that it’s prepared to respond if and when Republicans make it public.

Watch the video below from MSNBC.

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GOP senator admits she’s hoping Trump’s Ukraine scheme successfully sinks Biden

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In a press conference with reporters on Monday, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) gave the game away by implying she hopes that President Donald Trump's scheme to dig up foreign dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden successfully sinks his candidacy and causes him to lose the Democratic caucuses in her state.

"Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening. And I'm really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus goers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?"

The remarks came after White House lawyers spent hours trying to change the subject from Trump's attempts to extort the president of Ukraine with military aid, to the conspiracy theory surrounding Biden's son's work in Ukraine that he had been demanding they pursue.

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Republicans defended ‘a vile scoundrel’ who is ‘racist’ and ‘a petty tyrant’ — and it wasn’t Donald Trump

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President Donald Trump's defense attorneys were blasted for their defense of a different president on Tuesday.

"I mean, of course Trump's lawyers are defending Andrew Johnson. Of course," noted MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes.

"Johnson was a vile scoundrel and a drunk and a racist and a petty tyrant whose presidency brought blood and shame upon this nation," Hayes continued. "That's the kindest characterization I could muster."

The host linked to a 2019 piece on Johnson that he wrote for The New York Times as a book review of "The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation by Brenda Wineapple.

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Trump lawyer cites former GOP senator to discredit impeachment — but leaves out he supports convicting the president

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During the Senate impeachment trial on Monday, White House lawyer Robert Ray attempted to contrast the impeachment of President Donald Trump with that of President Richard Nixon, by arguing that unlike in the former case, Republicans came together with Democrats to call for removing Nixon. As part of the comparison, he brought up then-Rep. William Cohen, who went on to become a U.S. senator from Maine and Secretary of Defense for President Bill Clinton.

"Together these six Republicans made history," said Ray. "They did so with no sense of triumph and no fist bumps."

What Ray chose not to mention, however, is that Cohen has specifically weighed in on the Trump case, and said that he should be impeached and removed over the Ukraine scheme.

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