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Trump’s conspiracy hokum is ‘a vital part of his strategy to avoid accountability’: New York Times report

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Why does Donald Trump lie at a historic rate, including so many whoppers from inflating the crowd size at his inauguration to pretending he was spied on by the Obama administration?

The New York Times went deep into Trump’s long history of spinning conspiracy hokum in a deeply reported piece on Monday, concluding that it’s part of his essential nature.

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“It is a vital ingredient in the president’s communications arsenal, a social media-fueled, brashly expressed narrative of dubious accusations and dark insinuations that allows him to promote his own version of reality,” write reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Maggie Haberman. “Students of Mr. Trump’s life and communication style argue that the idea of conspiracies is a vital part of his strategy to avoid accountability and punch back at detractors, real or perceived, including the news media.”

The piece quotes his biographer, Gwenda Blair, who says it’s about reinforcing the idea that you can’t believe anything.

“He has sold us a whole way of accepting a narrative that has so many layers of unaccountable, unsubstantiated content that you can’t possibly peel it all back.”

The Times talked to former Trump aides who spoke privately because they “did not want to embarrass him,” who said that Trump is paranoid and “predisposed” to think events are being driven by secret groups of people. He refused to use the term “Deep State” for a long time, “partly because he believed it made him look too much like a crank.”

The story quotes a number of lawmakers by name and includes a devastating assessment from Erick Erickson, the founder of the conservative website RedState.

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“A lot of people really want to believe a conspiracy because it’s a lot easier to think a malevolent force is in charge than that our government is run by idiots,” he said.

Read the whole story here.

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Two impeachment articles expected against President Trump: reports

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Democrats are expected to announce on Tuesday two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, US media reported Monday evening, after laying out their case at a hearing against a president they branded a "clear and present danger" to national security.

The articles will focus on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, The Washington Post said, citing three official familiar with the matter.

It added that the full House of Representatives would vote on the articles next week, ahead of a trial in the Senate.

CNN said a third article on obstruction of justice was still being debated, and the network's sources cautioned that plans were still being finalized.

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Ambassador McFaul ‘shocked’ Trump invited Sergey Lavrov back to the Oval Office: ‘What are they thinking?’

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Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul repeatedly said he was shocked that President Donald Trump will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

McFaul was interviewed Monday evening by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC "The Last Word," where he contrasted how Trump is treating the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin to the Ukrainian government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Ambassador McFaul, I want to get your reaction to the Russian foreign minister meeting tomorrow at the White House, in the Oval Office, with President Trump," O'Donnell said. "That's his second time. President Zelinsky still hasn't gotten that meeting and Donald trump apparently, apparently may be voted articles of impeachment in committee this week because of his interactions with President Zelensky."

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House Judiciary to vote on Thursday to impeach Donald Trump: report

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Democrats are moving ahead with the impeachment of President Donald Trump following another day of testimony on Monday.

"House Democrats plan to unveil at least two articles of impeachment Tuesday, charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, according to multiple lawmakers and aides. The Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the articles on Thursday, setting up a vote on the House floor next week to make Trump the third president in history to be impeached," Politico reported Monday evening.

"Democratic leaders plan to formally announce the articles at a press conference Tuesday morning. Judiciary Committee Democrats intend to meet ahead of the announcement and review the articles," Politico reported. "The decision to move forward with specific impeachment charges is the most significant move yet for the year-old Democratic House majority, a legacy-defining moment for Speaker Nancy Pelosi that sets up a Senate trial for Trump in early 2020."

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