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Hope Hicks’ refusal to talk made Don McGahn and other Trump aides’ legal woes worse — here’s how

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According to a report at Politico, the White House’s use of a lawyer to stand by and block any Congressional lawmaker questions posed to former Donald Trump aide Hope Hicks ended up giving investigating Democrats the reason they were looking for to skip playing nice with ex-Trump officials and head straight to the courts with an ironclad case.

In an interview with the Politico, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said Hicks refusal to answer — and the White House’s obstruction — is the smoking gun that Democrats will use to get a judge to compel former Trump counsel Don McGahn to answer questions when called.

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“It very much played into our hands,” Nadler claimed on Thursday. “It’s one thing to tell a judge blanket immunity is not a right thing. It’s another thing when a judge can see what that means in actuality, and how absurd it is.”

According to the top Democrat, he is working with House counsel to draft a lawsuit that will drag McGahn into court in the belief that after a judge rules against McGahn on executive privilege, other aides to the president will have no legal standing to ignore subpoenas.

Nadler also noted that Hicks could be called back and be forced to answer the 155 questions she ducked in a closed-door hearing.

“That court case is key to everything,” Nadler explained. “[Hicks] will be forthcoming only under legal compulsion.”

Nadler also pointed out that he and other Democrats were well aware of what Hicks would do — and that was part of the plan.

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“I understand, obviously, there are people in the press, in Congress and elsewhere saying, ‘Why’d they waste their time with that? What was the point? What’d they accomplish?’” Nadler explained. “We knew this was going to happen. The point of it was to dramatize for the court what the implications of this are.”

You can read more here.

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There are 51 votes to approve calling witnesses in Trump impeachment trial: PBS

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After pieces of John Bolton's manuscript leaked to the press confirming President Donald Trump's bribery of Ukraine, Republicans have turned to support the witnesses they once opposed.

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) both voted against witnesses and were leaning against them until Bolton's manuscript was leaked to the press after it was turned over to the White House for approval.

PBS News Hour reporter Lisa Desjardins tweeted Monday evening that the news tipped the scales and there were officially 51 votes to approve witnesses.

https://twitter.com/LisaDNews/status/1221951089647538177

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2020 Election

State Department retaliated against NPR by kicking reporter off Mike Pompeo’s plane: report

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The U.S. State Department appears to be retaliating against National Public Radio (NPR) after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suffered a caught-on-tape meltdown following an interview with NPR "All Things Considered" co-host Mary Louise Kelly.

According to PBS "Newshour" reporter Nick Schifrin, the State Department kicked NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen off of Pompeo's jet.

"State Department removes NPR’s Michele Kelemen from Sec. Pompeo plane--where she was scheduled for a pool radio rotation--during upcoming trip to London, Kiev," Schifrin reported.

AFP State Department correspondent Shaun Tandon blasted the move on behalf of the State Department Correspondent's Association.

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Trump lawyers ripped for pushing ‘conspiracy theories written by Russia’ to distract from impeachment trial facts

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President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team was harshly criticized for pushing debunked conspiracy theories to distract from the facts.

Pam Bondi and Eric Herschmann pushed the conspiracy theory, which originated from Russian intelligence, on Monday.

The pair were harshly criticized for the distraction.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/CharlesPPierce/status/1221919362220724226

https://twitter.com/CharlesPPierce/status/1221916896632745989

https://twitter.com/chrislhayes/status/1221914655376859137

https://twitter.com/WajahatAli/status/1221920598558957569

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