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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.

“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.”

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Former GOP lawmaker criticizes his party’s impeachment stance: They ‘seem to be okay with not knowing all the facts’

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," former FBI official and Nevada Republican state Sen. Greg Brower broke down one of his key frustrations with how his party is handling the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

"I'm a Republican who has never agreed with everything in the Republican Party platform. Most of it I did, and that's why I was a Republican elected official, and felt comfortable as one, but things have changed," said Brower. "I guess what I'm most surprised at is the number of Republicans, both in Congress and just out there in the country, who seem to be okay with not knowing all the facts, who seem to be okay with the president directing witnesses who clearly have information relevant to this inquiry, directing them to not cooperate and testify."

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Here’s why Trump’s appeal to the Supreme Court to keep his tax returns secret could back him into a corner

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On Thursday, President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block New York prosecutors from obtaining his tax returns, with his lawyers arguing the president is immune from all criminal investigation while in office.

But on CNN's "The Situation Room," Washington Post reporter David Swerdlick argued that this line of defense is counterproductive to Trump in the long term.

"I think immunity is actually the weaker argument," said Swerdlick. "I think if I were the president's legal team, I would be making the argument that this is a fishing expedition, that this is politically motivated. Because even if the court says, look, the state of New York can't get it, they still have to address the issue of the House Ways and Means Committee chair asking for the president's tax returns, and there is a federal statute there, 26 U.S.C. § 6103, that says the House Ways and Means chair, the Senate Finance chair can get those."

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Nikki Haley breaks with Trump on retaliation: ‘You have to protect the whistleblower’

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Nikki Haley broke with President Donald Trump on the question of outing the White House whistleblower during a Thursday appearance on CNN.

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and ambassador to the United Nations, was interviewed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

" Do you agree with the president that the whistleblower should be named and identified?" Blitzer asked.

"I believe in whistle-blower laws. I think you have to protect the whistle-blower and I think in turn they have to abide by those laws, the fact they don’t allow partisan leaking or anything like that to happen," Haley replied. "We don’t know that’s happened either, but until then I do think we should always protect the whistleblower."

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