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Russia floats swap for American prisoner as his health deteriorates in Moscow: report

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On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that the Russian government has floated the idea of a prisoner swap for Paul Whelan, a former Marine who is locked up in a Moscow prison and whose health is reportedly failing.

It is unclear exactly who the U.S. would give Russia in return. Some experts have suggested Russia wants the return of Maria Butina, a Russian gun rights activist who was arrested as a foreign agent after she allegedly attempted to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party.

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Whelan, a private security executive who frequently travels to Russia, was arrested in December and accused of being an American spy, but his background and the circumstances of his arrest make this exceedingly unlikely. Whelan has made a personal plea to President Donald Trump for help to broker his release.


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Pence spokesman denies Sondland testimony linking him to Ukraine scheme

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Vice President Mike Pence scrambled away from testimony from EU ambassador Gordon Sondland linking him to the Ukraine scandal.

The ambassador told a House impeachment inquiry that Pence was notified of concerns that military aid to Ukraine had been held up until the foreign government announced an investigation of Joe Biden.

“The Vice President never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations," said Pence spokesman Marc Short.

President Donald Trump had been scheduled to meet Ukraine's new president Volodymyr Zelensky on Sept. 1 in Warsaw, but Sondland said the president bowed out to oversee hurricane response and sent Pence instead.

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‘It’s all over’: Trump shouts Sondland quotes at reporters before wandering off without taking questions

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President Donald Trump did not answer questions while leaving the White House nearly an hour late for an event in Texas.

Trump departed during questioning of Ambassador Gordon Sondland, whose testimony earlier in the day had implicated the president, Vice President Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani and others.

“I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though," Trump said of Sondland.

Trump also disputed Sondland's characterization that he had once been in a bad mood.

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Ex-Republican Justin Amash roasts his former party for disastrous impeachment hearings: ‘Is there a mercy rule?’

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Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) had some fun at the expense of his former party on Wednesday in the midst of European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland's damning testimony during House impeachment hearings.

After watching Sondland testify that there was an explicit quid-pro-quo agreement linking launching investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden with holding a face-to-face meeting between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Amash declared that the EU ambassador "has eviscerated the Trump/Republican narrative."

He then jokingly asked if there was "a mercy rule for congressional hearings" given how badly the hearings have gone for Trump so far.

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