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Veteran conservative journalist George Will: The GOP has ‘become a cult’ of Trump

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George Will, along with the late William F. Buckley, was the face of right-wing journalism in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. But the veteran conservative columnist/author, now 78, has felt alienated from the Republican Party in the Trump era — so alienated that he left the GOP after decades of being a staunch Reagan Republican. And in an MSNBC appearance this week, Will asserted that his former party is now taking on cult-like qualities.

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Asked to discuss the GOP’s “identity crisis,” Will responded that the GOP “has become a cult because of an absence of ideas” — adding that Republicans, in the Trump era, have “jettisoned” the ideas they championed during much of the 20th Century.

Will elaborated, “Conservatives said, ‘We’re for free trade.’ Trump said, ‘By the way, you’re not anymore.’ And they said, ‘OK, we’re not for free trade anymore.’”

Discussing his new book “The Conservative Sensibility,” Will added, “What I’ve done with this book is try to say conservatism has an enormously long and distinguished pedigree of ideas. It has a momentum into the future given by these ideas. And they did not go away, and they have not been refuted by the 45th president.”

The conservative columnist was critical of some Democratic presidential candidates as well during his MSNBC appearance.

“I am staggered by the amount of time Democratic candidates for president are spending talking about things they know are not going to happen,” Will asserted. “Abolish the Electoral College, they promise….. Kamala Harris says, ‘Well, we’re going to eliminate private health insurance.’ She’s walked that back.”

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White House budget official agrees to testify to Congress about his department’s role in Ukraine military aid delay: report

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On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Mark Sandy, a career official at the Office of Management and Budget, will testify to Congress as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's apparent scheme to extort Ukraine with military aid.

This comes after three political appointees at OMB, including acting Director Russel Vought, defied congressional subpoenas to appear, in accordance with the president's directive to refuse to cooperate with the probe.

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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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Apple hires major Trump donor as lobbyist — to beg the president to lay off his trade war tariffs: report

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On Thursday, CNBC reported that Apple is hiring Jeffrey Miller to be a lobbyist on "trade issues as they relate to technological goods and services."

Miller is a longtime ally of President Donald Trump who served as the vice chairman of the president's inaugural committee. He has since been a major donor for Trump's 2020 re-election campaign.

"While it’s unclear how much Miller is being paid for his services, Apple has spent more than $5.5 million on lobbying efforts throughout 2019, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics," wrote CNBC's Brian Schwartz. "Most of those funds have gone toward paying their own in-house lobbyists but it has tapped four other firms outside the company for help this year."

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