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Democratic states appeal ruling declaring Obamacare unconstitutional

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The Democratic coalition of states battling Texas over the fate of the Affordable Care Act has formally begun the process of challenging a Dec. 14 decision ruling the law unconstitutional in its entirety.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who’s leading the charge, filed a notice of appeal Thursday morning before the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The blue states will ask the federal appeals court to overturn last month’s ruling from U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, who declared that President Barack Obama’s signature health care law is unconstitutional after Congress in December 2017 gutted one of its major provisions, the individual mandate.

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The notice of appeal marks the next stage of what is expected to be a long-running litigation process that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court. A Texas-led coalition of 20 states kicked the process off nearly a year ago by suing the federal government to kill the law; after the Justice Department sided partially with Texas, the California-led coalition of states stepped in to defend Obamacare in court.

“The wheels start turning as of now,” Becerra said on a press call Thursday morning.

As the appeals process proceeds, the law remains in effect. O’Connor, who has emerged as something of a favorite for the Texas Attorney General’s Office, issued a stay last week keeping the law in place “because many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal.”

The Texas Attorney General’s Office did not immediately return a request for comment.

The California coalition also announced that it has gained an ally state as a result of the November elections. Colorado Attorney General-elect Phil Weiser, a Democrat who ran on a campaign to challenge the policies of President Donald Trump, said Thursday he’s proud to sign on to the lawsuit.

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“My first official act is to become part of this case,” Weiser said Thursday.

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More people are watching impeachment hearings than Trump’s last season of Celebrity Apprentice

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Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and President Donald Trump have tried to promote the idea that somehow Americans aren't watching the impeachment hearings and that their ratings are terrible.

Axios reported Friday evening that the Thursday hearings garnered 11.3 million viewers during the day-time. For context, that's an astounding number. The top ratings getter during the day is syndicated Dr. Phil episodes, who leads the way with 3.45 million viewers per episode so far this season and "Ellen" had 2.668 million.

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Donald Trump is obsessed with impeachment — and lashing out

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An irate Donald Trump said Friday he welcomes the prospect of an impeachment trial, as the US leader lashed out at "crazy" and "corrupt" opponents probing potential abuse of presidential power.

After a week of dramatic impeachment testimony from current and former administration officials, an embattled Trump took to a favorite broadcaster to air a long, occasionally incoherent list of grievances -- against the FBI, his political adversaries, impeachment inquiry leaders, the "deep state," and more.

"These people are sick," Trump raged down the telephone line to Fox at the start of a 53-minute tirade that showed how angered and unsettled he has been by an impeachment inquiry that threatens his presidency.

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Intelligence agencies briefed the Senate on Russian propaganda blaming Ukraine — Republicans didn’t believe it

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Friday it was revealed that Russia has worked on a disinformation campaign to blame Ukraine for the 2016 election meddling.

Every U.S. and international intelligence agency (other than Russia) has confirmed that Russia was at fault for the election meddling. Facebook and Twitter released information about the costs and ad buys done by Russian disinformation campaigns. Yet, Russia is now attempting to blame Ukraine.

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