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How Trump played Pence: Budget negotiation deal reveals president’s humiliation of his own VP

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While President Donald Trump bounced all over the place on Twitter and in public over a budget deal to avoid a government shutdown, Vice President Mike Pence quietly worked behind the scenes to get Republican and Democratic leaders to agree on a deal — only to have Trump humiliate him by blowing it up.

In a Politico deep dive into budget negotiations to keep the government up and running, it is revealed that Pence stepped in to work out a deal.

Politico reports Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was unable to confidently work out with a deal with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) because he didn’t know what Trump would agree to, leading the vice president to jump into the fray.

“Yet while that procedural fracas was playing out, Republicans were frantically trying to come up with something they could put on the floor,” Politico reports.”The shuttle diplomacy continued throughout the day. Pence, Kushner and Mulvaney went from Schumer’s office to Pence’s own hideaway in the Capitol, where Corker came to visit. Then they went to the House side of the Capitol to negotiate with conservatives and GOP leaders, trying to figure out what could pass that the president would sign.”

“As emphatically as he could, Pence had told senators that Trump would sign the legislation, only to see that backfire,” the report states. “So Pence couldn’t sign off any deal with Schumer or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — who was even more skeptical — unless Trump publicly backed it first.”

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) expressed consternation that a deal couldn’t be arrived at, saying of the volatile President, “That was my belief at the time. That was my belief at the time based on all the representations made. But as you know, things change.”

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According to the report, Trump’s repudiation of the deal left McConnell “steaming.”

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CNN

John Dean explains the big mistake Hope Hicks made by stonewalling Congress

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Former White House counsel John Dean, a key figure in the Watergate scandal, said Wednesday on CNN that there was a serious flaw in the attempt to prevent longtime Trump confidant Hope Hicks from testifying to Congress.

White House lawyers have asserted that Hicks has absolute immunity and is not legally required to testify about her time as Trump's director of communications. Hicks testified Wednesday during a closed-door hearing before the House Judiciary Committee — where she reportedly refused to answer questions about her White House job.

"Privilege is not being asserted here. Instead, the White House says that Hicks has absolute immunity regarding the time that she spent at 1600 Pennsylvania. Does absolute immunity even exist? And if so, can you explain to me the difference between the two?" CNN host Brooke Baldwin asked Dean.

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CNN

Reparations hearing erupts in applause after Ta-Nehisi Coates gives McConnell an epic lesson on racism

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Author Ta-Nehisi Coates on Wednesday delivered an epic smack down of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on reparations for slavery.

In Coates's opening remarks, he responded directly to McConnell's claim that the government should not pay out reparations to black Americans because slavery ended more than 150 years ago.

Coates pointed out that the United States was still paying out pensions to the families of Civil War soldiers "well into this century" and he said that the government still honors treaties it signed even though no one who signed them is still alive today.

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CNN

Trump campaign official squirms when CNN host shows him polls of the president losing to literally everyone

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CNN's Poppy Harlow on Wednesday cornered Trump campaign official Marc Lotter by showing him polls that show President Donald Trump losing to every major Democratic presidential candidate.

During an interview about Trump's 2020 campaign kickoff rally on Tuesday, Harlow asked Lotter why the president's poll numbers were so poor even though the economy is still performing well by many measures.

"A Quinnipiac poll came out yesterday -- it showed a whole lot of Democratic presidential candidates beating the president in head-to-head matchups, from Elizabeth Warren to Beto O'Rourke, to Joe Biden to South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg," she said. "Are you concerned about that?"

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