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Trump’s Russian arms control negotiator failed to disclose ties to Russian agent’s boyfriend: report

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On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that Andrea Thompson, a State Department official in managing U.S. arms control negotiations with Russia, had a years-long personal friendship with GOP operative Paul Erickson, the boyfriend of admitted Russian agent Maria Butina — and failed to disclose this either to the Senate during her confirmation hearings, or to her superiors at the State Department.

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Thompson serves as the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and National Security Affairs, and was confirmed to that role in February.

Erickson, who has himself faced investigation as a possible unregistered agent of Russia, and who was indicted in February on unrelated wire fraud and money laundering charges by federal prosecutors in South Dakota, even officiated Thompson’s wedding to former Australian Army officer David Gillian in 2017, while Thompson was serving as a national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence.

Administration officials say that she should have voluntarily disclosed these ties, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has pledged to investigate the matter.

Butina, an associate of Russian central bank figure Alexander Torshin, was allegedly at the heart of a scheme to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and create a backchannel through which Moscow could influence the Republican Party. She admitted to being a Russian agent in federal court, although in recent weeks she has tried to change tack and deny it. As part of the investigation, federal prosecutors have scrutinized her relationship with Erickson.

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Nancy Pelosi sends a big hint about a likely article of impeachment

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeatedly pounded home on Thursday the idea that “bribery” is a central charge in the impeachment inquiry surrounding President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal during a briefing with reporters.

“The devastating testimony [on Wednesday] corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry and that the president abused power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into his political rival,” she said of the previous day’s pubic hearing. “A clear attempt of the president to give himself the advantage in the 2020 election. Doing so, as I’ve said to the president, jeopardized our national security, undermined our national security, jeopardized the integrity of our electoral system.”

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Trump asks the Supreme Court to save him from a criminal investigation

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President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to block Manhattan prosecutor Cy Vance from obtaining his tax records via a grand jury subpoena as part of a criminal investigation.

This appeal is the president’s last chance to avoid handing over the materials after the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the legitimacy of the subpoena. If the Supreme Court declines to take the case, Trump will be obligated to hand over his financial records and tax returns, which have been the subject of much speculation and controversy since he failed to release them during the 2016 campaign, despite his promise to do so.

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Trump declares impeachment ‘dead’ — and demands apology — in late night Twitter outburst

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President Donald Trump lashed out on his favorite social media platform late Thursday evening.

Eight minutes before midnight eastern time, Trump unloaded.

Trump wrote, "Democrats must apologize to USA: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that 'United States Ambassador Gordon Sondland did NOT link financial military assistance to a request for Ukraine to open up an investigation into former V.P. Joe Biden & his son, Hunter Biden. Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and certainly did not tell me, about a connection between the assistance and the investigation.'”

Trump did not say why he was taking the word of a foreign official over multiple sworn testimonies from members of his own administration.

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