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Ex-FBI agent defends Comey over private notes taken while on Trump’s ‘crazy train’

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Addressing the Justice Department inspector general’s report on former FBI Director James Comey’s habit of taking personal notes on his meeting with Donald Trump — which he subsequently leaked to friends — a former FBI agent said it was hard to criticize Comey since the president was asking him to break the law.

Speaking with CNN “New Day” hosts John Berman and Julia Chatterley on Friday, attorney Asha Rangappa, who served as a special agent in the FBI, said Comey was caught up on Trump’s “crazy train.”

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With regard to the fact that the former FBI director didn’t take his concerns about Trump entreaties to interfere with a criminal investigation directly to the Justice Department, Rangappa noted that then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the case and that Comey was worried about a cover-up.

“This was a case where he [Comey] was on the crazy train,” she added. “Where he was being asked to commit crimes and to engage in the potential obstruction of justice.”

“I think that there was a sense that, only by making this public and creating some public pressure, would this result in the appointment of a special counsel,” she explained. “I think there are fair criticisms over whether this was the right way to go, but there is actually no manual for how one deals with being asked by the president to commit a federal crime.”

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Sondland is in ‘tremendous trouble’ no matter how he tries to change his testimony tomorrow: NYT columnist

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On Tuesday, in the wake of testimony from several witnesses in the impeachment hearing that broadly implicated EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland in improper backchannel foreign policy, New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali suggested that Sondland is in "tremendous trouble" — and that no testimony he could give tomorrow will get him out of this mess:

No. He will be trying to save himself. The perjury plus multiple stellar witnesses paint a damning portrait. He's in tremendous trouble. https://t.co/CxN5w0EErb

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Even the Republican witnesses make Donald Trump look like a depraved criminal

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The second half of Tuesday's hearing offered something new in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: Witnesses called by the Republican minority on the House Intelligence Committee. It's understandable why Republicans would want these two men.

One of them was Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide who is among the few people directly exposed to Trump's famous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who claims to believe there was nothing wrong with it. The other was Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, who appears to have been a major actor in Trump's extortion scheme in that country. Indeed, Volker was deemed one of the "three amigos" — along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Trump donor/EU ambassador Gordon Sondland — who Trump entrusted with Ukrainian relations as he exerted increasing pressure on the country's leaders to give into his extortion scheme.

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Impeachment: Trump’s ‘hearsay’ defense just crashed and burned

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In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.

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