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House Intel panel to hold public Russia probe hearing with Trump pal Felix Sater next week

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The U.S. House of Representatives intelligence committee said on Thursday it will hold an open hearing and an interview with Felix Sater, a Russian-born former business associate of President Donald Trump, next week as part of its Russia investigation.

The open hearing next Thursday will focus on the Kremlin’s use of money, oligarchs and intelligence in the 2016 presidential race. Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul is scheduled to testify, it said.

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The interview with Sater, which had been postponed last month, is scheduled to go ahead on Wednesday, the committee said.

Sater, a property developer who worked with Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen on the Moscow project while Trump was running for president, had originally been scheduled to testify publicly before the committee on March 14.

Sater is expected to testify about his work on the Moscow project, which came under renewed scrutiny after Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying to Congress about when negotiations on the deal ended in order to minimize Trump’s links to Russia.

The committee’s Democratic chairman, Adam Schiff, has said the panel is focusing on the Trump tower negotiations.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Trott)

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Pompeo ridiculed by CNN panel for his ‘phony mock outrage’ response after being outed as a foul-mouthed bully

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Responding to a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued through the State Department accusing an NPR journalist of being "shameless" for going public with an encounter she had with him in his offices where he cursed at her, a CNN panel all but rolled their eyes at his "phony" outrage.

Speaking with host Anderson Cooper, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called out the blustery Pompeo as well as many Republicans who took "umbrage" at Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) mentioning a report that the Donald Trump would have their heads on "on a pike" if they crossed him.

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Trump attorney Sekulow’s impeachment defense of president blown out of the water with Lindsey Graham statement

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On Saturday, one of the biggest opening arguments made by President Donald Trump's legal team at the impeachment trial was that there was, in fact, a risk that Ukraine had meddled in U.S. elections.

"Mr. Schiff and his colleagues repeatedly told you that the intelligence community assessment that Russia was acting alone, responsible for the election interference, implying this somehow debunked the idea there might be in — you know, interference from other countries, including Ukraine," said Trump counsel Jay Sekulow. "This is basically what we call a straw man argument."

But MSNBC's Brian Williams knocked down this defense with a clip from none other than one of President Donald Trump's biggest allies: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

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So much for ‘originalism’ — Trump’s impeachment defense is a constitutional dumpster fire

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In the absence of any exculpatory evidence, Donald Trump's defense against impeachment increasingly relies on arguments that fly directly in the face of the Constitution. Trump himself set the standard last July with his grandiose claim that "Article II says I can do anything I want," which encountered no serious pushback from his fellow Republicans.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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