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Trump picks conservative Neomi Rao to replace Brett Kavanaugh on appeals court

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President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he will nominate conservative lawyer Neomi Rao, known for her strong anti-regulatory views, to replace newly appointed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on an influential federal appeals court.

Rao currently serves as Trump’s top official on regulatory matters. Trump, whose administration has reversed a succession of regulations on the environment and other issues since he took office last year, made the announcement during a White House ceremony in honor of Diwali, a Hindu festival. Rao’s parents are Indian.

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“She’s going to be fantastic – great person,” Trump said.

“Thank you very much, Mr. President, for the confidence you’ve shown in me. I greatly appreciate it,” Rao said.

If confirmed by the Senate, which is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, Rao would replace Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which hears most major cases over the lawfulness of federal regulations.

Before joining the administration, she was a law professor at George Mason University in Virginia. She also served as a clerk for conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

The Senate confirmed Kavanaugh on Oct. 6 after a contentious political fight in which the nominee denied allegations of sexual misconduct dating to the 1980s.

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By replacing Kavanaugh, Rao would not change the ideological balance of the appeals court, which has a majority of Democratic-appointed judges.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham

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Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Trump did ‘real damage’ to himself with attack on Yovanovitch and he’ll be watching again today: NYT’s Haberman

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Appearing on CNN's "New Day," New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman stated that Donald Trump did serious damage to his defense against impeachment when he attacked former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch on Twitter as she testified last week and added she fully expected the president to watch Tuesday's hearing with interest.

Speaking with hosts Alisyn Camerota and John Berman, Haberman was asked what the American public can expect from the president on Tuesday as Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer who works on the National Security Council testify.

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How the GOP plans to attack Vindman as he testifies about his ‘alarm’ on Trump-Ukraine call: report

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Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is set to testify about his concerns about President Donald Trump's infamous July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky -- and Republicans are reportedly getting ready to attack him.

The Washington Post reports that Vindman will likely tell lawmakers that he was "alarmed" that Trump pressured Zelensky to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, as he thought it inappropriate to drag Ukraine into domestic American politics.

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Vindman will be the ‘crucial witness’ — and GOP smears against him will be ‘self-defeating’: Ex-prosecutor

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On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "New Day," former federal proseuctor Elie Honig walked through the importance of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's upcoming testimony in the impeachment hearings.

"He's going to be a crucial witness," said Honig. "The crux of Vindman's testimony has to do with Gordon Sondland, who we know was in direct contact with President Trump. Vindman has testified before that Sondland discussed what the deliverable would be — that's an important word — in order to get the meeting. He talked about the investigation into the Bidens, that the Ukrainians would have to deliver an investigation into the Bidens. That goes right to the quid pro quo. Now also, of course, Vindman listened to that July 25 phone call live, and his reaction was that this was about getting a White House meeting. It was a demand for him to fulfill this particular prerequisite in order to get the meeting. Again, that goes to the central corrupt exchange here."

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