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BUSTED: Oil execs recorded boasting about ‘unprecedented access’ to Trump during Ritz-Carlton luncheon

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Oil executives were recorded boasting about their access to President Donald Trump after he appointed an industry lawyer to the number two position at the Interior Department.

In a report for Politico, Reveal’s Lance Williams wrote that the June 2017 recording featured oil lobbyists laughing at how much access they had to Trump after the Independent Petroleum Association of America’s former lawyer David Bernhardt was nominated to deputy secretary of the Interior Department.

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“We know him very well, and we have direct access to him, have conversations with him about issues ranging from federal land access to endangered species, to a lot of issues,” Dan Naantz, political director of the IPAA, told the room of 100 executives at the Laguna Niguel Ritz-Carlton event.

“It’s really a new thing for us,” Barry Russell, IPAA’s CEO, said of the industry’s new then-new ally in the Trump Administration. “For example, next week I’m invited to the White House to talk about tax code. Last week we were talking to [then-Environmental Protection Agency] Secretary Pruitt, and in about two weeks we have a meeting with [then-Interior] Secretary Zinke. So we have unprecedented access to people that are in these positions who are trying to help us, which is great.”

Williams noted that the conference attendees sounded “almost giddy” when discussing how friendly the Trump administration is to the oil industry, especially after the Obama administration’s tougher stance.

Bernhardt, the report noted, is now in line to run the Interior Department and is currently its acting secretary. In a statement, the department said he “has had no communication or contact with either Barry Russell or Dan Naatz.”

Read the entire report via Politico.

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Viewers baffled as GOP counsel appears to push anti-Trump talking points during Yovanovich cross-examination

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House Republican impeachment inquiry attorney Steve Castor on Friday baffled viewers with a line of questioning that appeared to be beneficial to House Democrats' case for impeaching President Donald Trump.

Among other things, Castor referred to ambassador Bill Taylor as a man of integrity and also didn't challenge former ambassador Marie Yovanovich's story that she had been the subject of a smear campaign launched by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

In fact, Castor's line of questioning was so friendly to House Democrats, that some Twitter users joked that he was a "deep state plant" who's secretly helping to impeach the president.

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CNN legal analysts rip apart Jim Jordan’s ‘nonsensical’ defense of Trump witness intimidation

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CNN legal analyst Elie Honig blasted Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) for arguing that President Donald Trump hadn't engaged in witness intimidation by tweeting attacks on a former ambassador as she testified against him in the impeachment inquiry.

Jordan argued the tweet can't be witness intimidation because Marie Yovanovitch wouldn't have known about the attack if Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) hadn't read it to her, but Honig said the GOP lawmaker's claim was ridiculous.

"His point is nonsensical," Honig said. "Of course, she was going to find out about a tweet that went out to 60 million people-plus. The law covers any way you look regarding timing."

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Marie Yovanovitch made a ‘mockery’ of Trump’s dismissal of the ‘deep state’ with her testimony: CNN’s David Gregory

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CNN contributor David Gregory used his time during a panel segment on the impeachment testimony of Marie Yovanovitch to hammer President Donald Trump for attacking the diplomat on Twitter as she spoke -- then said she had made a "mockery" of his [Trump's] dismissal of the "deep state."

According to Gregory, viewers might think he was naive to believe the president would not get personal and go after Yovanovitch, but that he was honestly stunned.

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