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Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein wanted to secretly record Trump — and use it to invoke the 25th Amendment: report

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An explosive new report from the New York Times claims that deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had a secret plot to record President Donald Trump saying crazy and irrational things — and then to expose it to the world in order to justify invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

According to the Times, Rosenstein made the suggestion to record Trump and recruit Cabinet officials to invoke the 25th amendment in the spring of 2017, at the height of White House chaos.

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As the Times notes, this was the time when “Trump’s firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director plunged the White House into turmoil” and also when “the president divulged classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office, and revelations emerged that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Comey to pledge loyalty and end an investigation into a senior aide.”

Although Rosenstein’s plans didn’t come to fruition, he reportedly told aides that he thought he could convince Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Director of Homeland Security John Kelly to go along with the plan.

However, Rosenstein is strongly disputing the Times’ account of these events.

“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he told the paper in a statement. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

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Trump took out DNI head Dan Coats to install a new acting director in charge of whistleblowers: CIA veteran

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Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy," a longtime veteran CIA official said the whistleblower, who ran to the inspector general with a complaint about Donald Trump asking Ukraine's president for dirt on Joe Biden, should expect the president and his aides to come after them.

Speaking with host Joy Reid, Jonna Mendez said she saw the first warnings signs that something was up in the U.S. intelligence community when the president forced DNI head Dan Coats and his top deputy out.

"Through the lens of someone who spent 27 years at the CIA, the thing that caught my eye instantly was Dan Coats' resignation follow by Sue Gordon," Mendez explained. "The fact that Dan Coats went into a meeting and said 'Sue, you've got to resign' and that she did, truncating a career that clearly hadn't reached its zenith."

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2020 Election

GOP’s cancellation of presidential primaries could blow up in Trump’s face — here’s why

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In recent weeks, Republican state party committees have been moving to cancel presidential primaries to prevent Never-Trump conservatives, like former Reps. Joe Walsh (R-IL) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) and former Gov. Bill Weld (R-MA), from challenging the president from the right. So far, Republicans in Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina have all announced they will scrap the voting process for 2020.

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Alternet 2020

Nancy Pelosi faces serious challenges — but she’s failed miserably in two key ways

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As I wrote earlier this week, with its muddled messaging on impeachment, the House Democratic leadership may have figured out a way of both demoralizing the Democratic base and firing up Trump's supporters. It's a mess.

But fairness requires us to acknowledge an important fact: Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't have the votes to launch an official impeachment process. And it's not close. At present, The Washington Post's tally finds 137 members of the House in favor of launching an impeachment inquiry, with 92 opposed and 6 others not taking a position. Leadership can twist arms on a close vote, but when you're close to 100 votes shy of a majority, it's impossible to whip a measure across the finish line--especially one of such consequence.

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