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The White House knows Trump’s El Paso romp was a ‘debacle’: report

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On Thursday, New York Times White House reporter Maggie Haberman told CNN’s John Berman that even the White House recognizes President Donald Trump’s transparently photo-op-laden jaunts to El Paso and Dayton in the wake of terrible mass shootings was a mistake.

“Most people — they would, I suspect, will not say that publicly — will privately admit this was something of a debacle, these are not the headlines they wanted to see,” said Haberman. “They wanted him to go in and behave differently.”

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“The goal was to get in and get out with as little news as possible,” said Haberman. “He did that in Pittsburgh, where there was also controversy after the shooting there. He was much more able to stay calm. Yesterday, he couldn’t stop watching television news where Democratic candidates were attacking him, and this is part of the process. To your point there was no sort of visible presence at the federal government in a meaningful way as the shootings were taking place and the day after the president was at his club at Bedminster, he crashed a wedding that was taking place there. This is something any president would have been criticized for — Barack Obama, George W. Bush — but this president reacts poorly to criticism, and he lashed out.”

“Just to be clear, the people that did meet with him, there was a positive response,” said Berman. “Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton, made that clear yesterday. Not so much in El Paso. In El Paso, the victims didn’t want to meet with him.”

“They paired up with somebody on the ground in El Paso who knows the community really well, and said eight victims at the hospital did not want to meet with the president,” agreed Haberman. “It is true to be clear the mayor of Dayton appreciated that he was trying to make a gesture and be a leader, but on the other hand they did put out these campaign style videos of him meeting people at the hospital. This is inevitably going to come up for criticism.”

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CNN’s John Berman tears apart leaked GOP anti-impeachment talking points piece by piece

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CNN's John Berman on Tuesday tore apart Republicans' new anti-impeachment talking points and expressed astonishment that this was the best they could come up with to defend President Donald Trump.

Referring to talking points first reported by Axios, Berman went over the GOP's arguments line by line and showed why they are unlikely to convince anyone of the president's innocence.

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White House aides want Trump to stop saying his Ukraine phone call was ‘perfect’: CNN’s Jim Acosta

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta said President Donald Trump's aides were frustrated with the president's defense of his phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he apparently tried to use military aid to extort political dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

Furthermore, there is fear in the White House that some Republicans may defect and vote to impeach the president — which would wreck their narrative.

"I just spoke with a source close to the White House a short while ago who objected to the president continuing to say that his phone call with the leader of the Ukraine was 'perfect,'" said Acosta. "Nobody really is echoing that message on behalf of the president. It doesn't seem that anybody here in Washington, except for the most partisan of partisans feels, that the president's phone call with the leader of Ukraine was perfect."

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House Democrat smacks down Trump’s claim of ‘doctored’ transcripts: ‘Those transcripts are reviewed by those witnesses’

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," during a discussion of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's legal situation, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) trashed President Donald Trump's claim that the transcripts from the impeachment hearings were somehow falsified.

"I will say that the craziness continues," said Connolly. "For the president today to assert, based on nothing, the transcripts were doctored and don't really reflect the deposition of the witnesses we heard from — and by the way, those transcripts are reviewed by those witnesses and their attorneys before they're released for accuracy — but secondly, of course, to have the chief of staff of the president actually suing his own White House to get a decision about whether or not he's required to respond to congressional demand for testimony or the White House directive really brings us into all-new territory in terms of craziness. And it's really disturbing to watch."

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