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Ohio Republican breaks ranks — and slams Trump’s actions laid out in Mueller report

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Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) took a step toward siding with special counsel Robert Mueller over President Donald Trump.

The Ohio Republican refused to call the 448-page Mueller report an “exoneration” of the president, as many conservatives and GOP lawmakers have, and even criticized Trump’s behavior documented in the special counsel’s findings, reported the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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“The report confirms there was no conspiracy or collusion to violate the U.S. law between Russia and the Trump campaign,” Portman said in a statement released Friday.

“Second, while the report documents a number of actions taken by the president or his associates that were inappropriate,” he added, “the special counsel reach no conclusion on obstruction of justice. Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein have concluded that the Special Counsel’s investigation did not include sufficient evidence to warrant any obstruction of justice charges.”

Republicans have seized on the fact that Mueller wrapped up his investigation last month without issuing any new indictments or documenting conclusive evidence of a conspiracy with Russia, and the special counsel examined 10 episodes of possible obstruction without charging Trump.

So Portman’s criticism stands out, even though it’s far milder than characterizations by most Democrats, and he called on Congress to prevent Russia from engaging in efforts in future elections that were documented in Mueller’s investigation of the 2016 campaign.

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“There are new details about the extent to which the Russians worked to undermine our democracy,” said Portman, who is traveling with other senators in Vietnam, “and I hope that the House and Senate review these findings carefully and continue to work together to ensure this type of election interference never, ever happens again.”


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‘Human scum!’ Trump issues threat against Romney and other moderate Republicans as impeachment talk grows louder

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President Donald Trump issued a threat against wobbly Republican senators as impeachment heats up.

GOP Whip John Thune (R-SD), the second-ranking Senate Republican, admitted Wednesday that former Ukraine ambassador Bill Taylor's testimony was "not a pretty picture," and the president sent out a warning to him and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) not long after.

"The Never Trumper Republicans, though on respirators with not many left, are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our Country than the Do Nothing Democrats," Trump tweeted, and then pinned to the top of his Twitter feed. "Watch out for them, they are human scum!"

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‘Pathetic’ GOP lawmakers stall impeachment hearing by eating pizza in secure conference room

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Republican lawmakers led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida on Wednesday refused to leave a secure conference room -- known as a SCIF -- so that Democratic lawmakers could move forward with an impeachment inquiry.

On Wednesday morning, GOP lawmakers stormed into the secure conference room to protest against the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Several hours later, the lawmakers were still entrenched in the conference room eating pizza. Democrats said that impeachment hearings were stalled because of it.

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) called the demonstration a "pathetic stunt."

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WATCH: Alabama Republican explodes after CNN asks about Bill Taylor’s damning Ukraine testimony

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Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) shouted at a CNN reporter for asking about the devastating testimony against President Donald Trump by Ambassador Bill Taylor.

"We start with a bizarre turn on Capitol Hill when as many as two dozen House Republicans upset over the impeachment inquiry stormed a secure hearing room," CNN's Brianna Keilar reported. "Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia was getting ready to answer questions at the time. This is pretty extraordinary."

"It is," CNN senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju replied.

"Earlier today, the Republicans who are not part of this proceedings railed on the process. Roughly two dozen or so conservatives came out demanding to be part of this impeachment inquiry. Then they stormed into the secure hearing place," he reported.

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