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Alaska lieutenant governor suddenly resigns over ‘inappropriate comments’

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Alaska Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott resigned abruptly on Tuesday in a murky scandal over admitted “inappropriate comments” as he and his running mate, Governor Bill Walker, neared the end of a tough re-election campaign.

Mallott, 75, a Democrat and the first Alaska Native elected to statewide office, had teamed up with Walker, a former Republican turned independent, to run on a unity ticket four years ago, and the two men were seeking a second term together in the Nov. 6 election.

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Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson, also an Alaska Native and formerly the state’s health and social services commissioner, was sworn in on Tuesday to succeed Mallott, the governor’s office said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the Walker-Mallott campaign said it was too close to the election to remove Mallott’s name from the ballot, but that if the governor prevailed in November, Davidson would step in to serve as lieutenant governor.

Walker faces a challenge from Republican former state legislator Mike Dunleavy and Democrat Mark Begich, a former U.S. senator and Anchorage mayor, in a three-way race where opinion polls show Dunleavy well in the lead.

Walker and Begich are widely seen as taking votes away from each another, and Mallott’s resignation sparked speculation among political analysts that the scandal might benefit Begich by leading Walker supporters to throw their support to the Democrat.

The genesis of the shake-up remained unclear.

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Walker said he learned of “the incident” on Monday night, and accepted his running mate’s resignation with “profound disappointment and sadness.” Mallott “recently made inappropriate comments that do not reflect the sterling level of behavior required in his role as Lieutenant Governor,” his statement said.

‘RESPECT FOR WOMEN’
In a resignation letter released shortly after he stepped down, Mallott said his departure was “compelled by inappropriate comments I made that placed a person whom I respect and revere in a position of vulnerability.”

His actions had “compromised” Walker’s ability to lead, he said.

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Neither the governor nor Mallott explained the nature of the comments in question.

Davidson was quoted separately as saying: “Respect for women, and the dignity of all Alaskans, is our responsibility. I stand ready to serve as your lieutenant governor.”

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Neither she nor the governor took questions after delivering brief remarks to reporters.

Mallott, a Tlingit tribal member and a longtime fixture in Alaska politics and Alaska Native causes, had a close relationship with Walker, and guided the administration’s climate-change policy.

His resignation came on the eve of the annual convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), a powerful constituency in the state. Mallott was scheduled to address the meeting.

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The AFN had opposed Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court even before accusations of sexual assault became public, because of their concerns about his record on Native American rights, labor and environmental concerns.

Although a Democrat, Mallott co-chaired Lisa Murkowski’s successful 2010 write-in campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate as an independent. Murkowski was the only member of the Senate Republican caucus who did not vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation.


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John Oliver explains how the Ukraine scandal so stupid even Fox News ‘idiot’ Steve Doocy should understand it

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"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver closed out his season with a special report for Fox News hosts who seem to be struggling with the basic understanding of things like "bribery" or the concept that attempted crimes are still actually crimes.

At the top of Sunday's show, Oliver played a clip of Fox News host Laura Ingraham who made the argument that if Trump tried to commit a crime and didn't manage to pull it off, then he's clearly innocent.

"Attempted bribery isn't in the constitution," proclaimed Ingraham, forgetting about what "high crimes and misdemeanors" covers. "Remember, Ukraine got its aid, it was 14 days delayed, big deal. And Ukraine never made any public statement about the investigation."

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This is the energy executive who first exposed Trump’s Ukraine scandal: report

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CNN host Chris Cuomo did a special investigative report by Drew Griffin looking at the money trail from Russia to President Donald Trump's Ukraine scandal.

"You probably don’t know Dale Perry, but history may record this energy executive as one of the first who sounded the alarm about what would become President Trump’s impeachment inquiry," said Griffin. "In April, Perry’s former business partner Andrew Favorov, now a director at Ukraine's state-owned gas company Naftogaz, says two shady characters had approached him, with a secret management plan to take over the management from the inside. Those two shady characters Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, are two low-level, Soviet-born businessmen from south Florida. And they were trying to clear the way for their own gas business."

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‘A slam-dunk-case’: MSNBC analysts predict GOP will defend Trump — and ‘the guy is going to get off’

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More evidence was outed Sunday as the Wall Street Journal revealed emails from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who promised to keep the White House abreast of President Donald Trump's demand for an investigation by Ukraine. The news prompted an MSNBC panelists to explain that it wouldn't matter how much evidence was presented, Republicans will never vote to remove Trump.

Host Geoff Bennett asked about the witness testimony and preponderance of evidence that "all points in one direction at this point, that President Trump orchestrated this entire" Ukraine investigations.

"It's a slam dunk case, and yet we know the guy is going to get off," said Los Angels Times White House reporter Eli Stokols. "That's effectively what you're saying. Because all the testimony has lined up so closely, the fact that [EU Ambassador Gordon] Sondland has come to come in, and because testimony from [Ambassador Bill] Taylor and others, has had to change testimony, Republicans have no choice -- the president has no choice but to try to dismiss the entire thing as partisan."

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