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Intel Democrat nails attorney general for parsing words with ‘Russian government’ claim

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Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) noted that Attorney General Bill Barr seemed to be parsing words in his legal analysis of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation.

First, Heck disputed President Donald Trump’s statement made before flying back to Washington after another weekend vacation at Mar-a-Lago. The president claimed that it’s not possible for someone to obstruct justice when no crime was committed. As Martha Stewart can attest, that’s not accurate.

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“He did say something that I agreed with, however,” Heck claimed. Trump “said that great harm had been done to America, but the harm that was done to America was during the 2016 presidential election. We simply cannot tolerate, allow, or abide by a foreign government interfering in our decision making. I want to remind the viewers that for months and months and month, the president claimed that there was no interference by Russia, whatsoever. Despite the fact, his entire intelligence community concluded the opposite.”

He noted that it begs the question as to why so many people close to Trump seem to be going to jail for lying to Mueller. If there wasn’t a crime committed, why did they lie?

“He’s also characterized this as a witch hunt,” Heck continued. “Well, if it was a witch hunt, there were a lot of witches found. Their names were Flynn and Cohen and Manafort and right on down the line.”

But it was one line in the Barr letter that Heck found curious: the claim that the Russian government didn’t conspire with the Trump campaign.

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“Once I see his report, if that, taken within a broader context, is what he’s asserting, then I’m more than willing to acknowledge it,” Heck said. “This is a letter written by Attorney General Barr, selectively quoting that. I think it’s very curious as to why he said Russian government because as we know, oftentimes the way the Russian government, intelligence community operates is through cut-outs or people who don’t work specifically for the government but work on behalf of the Russian government. It just begs this question again as to the importance and necessity for the entire Mueller report to be revealed. It needs to be a transparent process.”

Watch his comments below:

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‘Mulvaney lied’: CNN panel breaks down ‘incredibly damning’ White House confession

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," a panel discussed how White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's press briefing was a disaster for President Donald Trump.

"Can I just point out why this matters?" said CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. "I mean, this is not just some gotcha thing because we all want to get something on the chief of staff. Here we have congressionally appropriated money. Congress says give this money to the Ukrainians. Taxpayer money. And what the White House has done and what they admitted today was, you only get the money if you help us win the election. Not because you help us [with] national security, international relations. The only thing we want from you is help to defeat Democrats. That is wrong. That’s why this matters."

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CNN

Sondland may have refused to be ‘the fall guy’ — but he’s still complicit: CNN security analyst

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," CNN security analyst and Lawfare editor Susan Hennessey pointed out that even though EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland turned against President Donald Trump in testimony, it should not be forgotten he was a willing participant in much of the Ukraine scheme.

"In his opening statement today, Sondland wrote he was 'disappointed by the president's direction that we involve Mr. Giuliani in the Ukraine policy,'" said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "In his actions, though, did Ambassador Sondland actually advance Giuliani's goals here?"

"Yes, and to the extent that he was disappointed in what the president asked of him, he took the ball and ran with it," said Hennessey. "He was trying to facilitate Giuliani's efforts, trying to introduce him to Ukrainian officials, and Sondland himself was carrying the same corrupt message, including they needed to be investigating the Bidens for the president's personal political interest. This is Sondland saying, I'm not going to be the fall guy. So I don't know how strong of a message it is that he was saying, I knew it was wrong, but that's the message that he's not willing."

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CNN

Trump’s lead counsel disavows Mulvaney’s admission the president engaged in Ukraine quid pro quo

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On Thursday, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney stunned reporters by effectively admitting President Donald Trump demanded a quid pro quo from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for foreign aid appropriated by Congress.

According to CNN's Jim Acosta, Mulvaney's speech was so out of left field that the president's chief attorney immediately disavowed it.

"Mulvaney's performance blindsided the president's outside legal team, as the president's lead attorney, Jay Sekulow, said on the record to CNN, the legal team was not involved in the acting chief of staff's press briefing," said White House correspondent Jim Acosta. "That is pretty telling when the chief counselor to the president is saying, we did not have anything to do with this."

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