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John Dean explains why Mueller’s top aide could be the key to the whole hearing

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On Tuesday, former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean explained to CNN’s Erin Burnett why ex-special counsel Robert Mueller’s decision to bring in his top aide, Aaron Zebley, could be highly consequential in his upcoming hearing with the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees — and how House Democrats could take advantage of it to get more information on the Russia investigation.

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“So, John … you’ve got Aaron Zebley sitting next to Bob Mueller,” said Burnett. “That was this last minute request, right? He was the deputy special counsel, he ran the day-to-day oversight of the Russia investigation. Now we understand that he won’t be allowed to be sworn in by the Judiciary Committee, but the Intelligence Committee will allow him, according to Chairman Schiff, to answer technical questions. Why do you think Mueller wants him there? Is it to elaborate and give more information, or is it to sort of have a foil, a shield, from questions that he would prefer to not answer himself?”

“It’s hard to speculate on precisely what he’s got in mind,” said Dean. “He may feel more comfortable with somebody who was much more granular in building the report than he was. He was sort of a big-picture guy and then probably made corrections. But he didn’t work up the report in the same kind of detail that his chief aide did and can probably, you know, either whisper in his ear to refresh his recollection.”

“And I think if the committee is shrewd, notwithstanding the fact he is not there as a witness, Democrats could certainly ask him a question,” said Dean. “There is no rule that prohibits that. So we’ll see how that plays out.”

Watch below:

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GOP’s Joni Ernst may have inadvertently boosted Joe Biden in Iowa: ex-White House official

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On CNN's "New Day," regular contributor and former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart almost rolled his eyes at a clip of Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst rushing to the cameras to gush about attacks on Joe Biden, saying she may have ended up helping the former vice president in her own state.

Speaking with hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota after watching the clip of the Iowa Republican blurting, "The Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening, and I'm really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic goers. Will they be supporting VP Biden at this point?" Lockhart seemed in disbelief that she may have handed Biden a boost.

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CNN panel cracks up laughing at Trump lawyers trying to make Rudy Giuliani into ‘the coffee boy’

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President Donald Trump's legal team fought Monday to try and claim that Rudy Giuliani had nothing to do with the president's efforts in Ukraine.

It's a claim that flies in the face of the documents, testimony, text messages and more that have been revealed throughout the course of the investigation that hangs the albatross around Giuliani's neck.

In fact, Giuliani crafted his own letter to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky saying that he was authorized to speak on behalf of President Donald Trump as a "private attorney." If the president cared so much about corruption in Ukraine, why would he be doing a shadow foreign policy using Giuliani instead of through Congress, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the United Nations, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund or a slew of other international groups interested in the issue.

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CNN

Legal analyst mocks Alan Dershowitz for admitting he has a ‘minority view’: It’s ‘because he’s wrong’

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Following former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz's defense of President Donald Trump in the impeachment trial on Monday, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin had harsh criticism.

"Alan Dershowitz, to his credit, said that his own view was very much a minority view of what the impeachment provision means," said Toobin. "To his discredit, the reason why it's a minority view is because he's wrong."

"The idea that you can only impeach a president because he committed an actual crime or, as he says, a criminal-like behavior, which I don't even know what that means," said Toobin. "Abuse of power, obstruction of Congress, are impeachable offenses, and that's why we're here. Because these are legitimately impeachable."

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