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Former McConnell strategist privately urging Majority Leader to take up gun legislation: report

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is facing unprecedented pressure to take up gun control legislation in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio — including from some of his own longtime allies.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Scott Jennings, a longtime Republican strategist who has worked both with McConnell and President Donald Trump and frequently appears on CNN to defend the president, is urging McConnell to bring gun legislation up for a vote.

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“This will fly if the president can get behind a package that he can sign into law,” Jennings told the Times. “It’s for the president to define for the Republican Party what direction policy is going to take.” He added that it is “vital” Trump discuss ideas with senators “that he feels are consistent with his party’s and his own personal values when it comes to guns.”

The House passed a bill to strengthen background checks, and added tougher prohibitions on domestic violence suspects from buying guns to the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, but Senate Republicans have shown no indication of taking up either of those. McConnell has said that he will hold a debate on background checks, but has refused to reconvene the Senate from its recess to do so.


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#PresidentPelosi Trends After Sondland Testimony Implicates Pence in Trump Ukraine Scheme

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The hashtag #PresidentPelosi was trending Wednesday as Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified to the House Intelligence Committee in the impeachment hearings on President Donald Trump's Ukrainian schemes for assistance in the 2020 election and implicated Vice President Mike Pence in the effort.

If Trump and Pence are both removed from office over their involvement in the plot, the next in line for the presidency is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

"I'm fine with Pelosi serving as interim president until we hold an election," tweeted activist Bree Newsom. "Both Trump and Pence are implicated in this conspiracy to extort Ukraine."

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Trump claims not to ‘know’ Gordon Sondland very well — but the evidence suggests otherwise

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President Donald Trump attempted to distance himself Wednesday from his hand-selected European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland. At the same time, Trump claimed that Sondland’s stunning testimony, which alleged that the president had ordered a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine, in fact, vindicated him.

“Was there a ‘quid pro quo’?” Sondland said in his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday. "The answer is ‘yes.’”

Sondland further claimed that “everyone was in the loop” and all actions were “directed” by the president.

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The latest GOP defense of Trump crumbles in impeachment hearing

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It was a day of blockbuster day of testimony from E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, in which Sondland — who once gave Donald Trump a million dollars for his inauguration — decided to save his own hide by ratting out not just Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, but seemingly half the senior staff of the White House.

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