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Republican Senate defied Trump and voted to end support for the War in Yemen

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The US Senate on Wednesday dealt a stinging bipartisan rebuke to Donald Trump’s foreign policy and his alliance with Riyadh, voting to end support for the bloody Saudi-led war effort in Yemen.

Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled chamber approved a historic curtailment of presidential war powers that directs Trump “to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen” within 30 days.

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The Senate vote was 54 to 46, with seven Republicans defying the president and aligning with Democrats.

The text now heads to the Democrat-led House of Representatives, which approved a similar measure that stalled earlier this year, and which is likely to pass the latest effort.

The White House has threatened a veto, calling the measure “flawed” and saying it would harm bilateral relationships in the region and hurt Washington’s ability to fight extremism.

But its full passage would set a historic marker. It would be the first measure passed by Congress to invoke the 1973 War Powers Resolution to directly curtail a president’s use of military powers.

“Today, we begin the process of reclaiming our constitutional power by ending US involvement in a war that has not been authorized by Congress and is clearly unconstitutional,” Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running for president in 2020 and is a sponsor of the measure, said on the Senate floor.

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Republican Senator Mike Lee concurred, saying Saudi Arabia “is not an ally that deserves our support or our military intervention.”

The Saudis, he said, “are likely using our own weapons… to commit these atrocities of war. That’s not OK.”

The war in Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with an estimated 14 million people at risk of famine.

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The World Health Organization says about 10,000 people have been killed in the war between forces loyal to the Yemeni government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, and the Iran-aligned Huthi rebels. Rights groups say the death toll is far higher.

The United States provides weapons and refueling to the Saudi coalition.

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Two days, two rebukes?

The resolution is a reminder that Congress has the legal ability to compel the removal of US military forces, absent a formal declaration of war.

Should it pass Congress, it could force Trump to issue the first veto of his tenure.

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The vote may well be the first of two congressional rebukes of Trump in as many days.

On Thursday, the Senate is expected to vote on a resolution — already passed by the House — to reverse Trump’s emergency declaration on border security, after the president went around Congress in a bid to secure more funding for his wall between the United States and Mexico.

In that case too, he has promised to use his veto.

Wednesday’s Yemen vote, and the rare bipartisanship at the heart of it, came as US lawmakers have escalated their opposition to Saudi Arabia after the October murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

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Republicans and Democrats alike have bristled over the White House’s apparent embrace of the kingdom and its leadership.

Some members of Congress have publicly stated that they suspect that powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly responsible for the killing, based on the CIA’s conclusions.

Sanders, using unusually blunt language about an American ally, said the United States should not “simply follow the despotic lead of a government in Saudi Arabia.”

“We will determine our military and foreign pol and not be led around by a murderous regime,” he said.

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Legal experts point out the giant flaw in Trump’s claims about rooting out Ukraine corruption

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Legal experts are noticing that President Donald Trump wasn't asking for a real investigation of Joe Biden, only one that could provide fodder for the news media.

Witnesses in the impeachment inquiry have testified that Trump wanted Ukrainian president to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter in an interview with CNN, in exchange for congressionally approved military aid or a White House visit.

"Trump demanding a Zelensky announce an investigation of Biden, 'in front of a microphone” gives the game away,'" tweeted Jennifer Taub, a professor at Vermont Law School. "If the real goal was to investigate corruption, a CNN announcement would be the wrong approach. Genuine investigations are kept secret."

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Giuliani henchman arrested carrying suspicious items connected to Trump’s extortion scheme in Ukraine

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One of Rudy Giuliani's henchman was carrying items when he was arrested that raise questions about what he was planning as he fled the country.

Lev Parnas, who was arrested with associate Igor Fruman last month on campaign finance violations, was carrying the business card of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had previously met with Giuliani to discuss the conspiracy theories that set in motion the actions now under investigation in the impeachment inquiry, reported The Daily Beast.

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House Republicans are ‘enslaved minions’ whose sole purpose is defending ‘Trump and his hyenas’: GOP consultant

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Jeff Timmer, a longtime consultant for Republican campaigns, blew his top this week watching the House GOP tie itself in knots defending President Donald Trump.

In a lengthy tirade posted on Medium, Timmer compared Trump and his cronies to parasites who have taken over the bodies of House Republicans a la the classic horror movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

"In today’s GOP there is an interloping master -- and there are the infected and enslaved minions who are corrupted and controlled by the invader and his henchmen," he said. "There is nothing in between, just craven servility, dishonor, and decay where character and ideals once existed."

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