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Dems in Congress can publicly punish Trump — and Mitch McConnell would be powerless to stop them

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The revelation that President Donald Trump repeatedly demanded Ukraine officials work with his personal lawyer to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden has led to a fresh wave of calls for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to support an expedited impeachment effort — something that she is still resistant to doing.

But as Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty noted in a new op-ed, there is another method Democrats can use to punish Trump on the House floor — and unlike impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would have no say over it whatsoever: a formal censure.

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Tumulty noted that the procedure is well laid out by the Congressional Research Service: “Should a House committee report a non-Member censure resolution, the full House may consider it by unanimous consent, under the Suspension of the Rules procedure, or under the terms of a special rule reported by the Committee on Rules and adopted by the House. 17 If widespread support exists for the censure resolution, unanimous consent or the Suspension of the Rules procedure may be used. Otherwise, the resolution could be brought to the floor under a special rule reported by the Committee on Rules. All three of these parliamentary mechanisms require, at a minimum, the support of the majority party leadership in order to be entertained.”

“This would not sate the appetite of the pro-impeachment forces, or end the debate over whether that step is warranted,” wrote Tumulty. “But it could be done quickly, with the evidence at hand, and would have the benefit of forcing Republican members to go on record stating whether they do or do not find this behavior on the part of the president acceptable.”

“While many would argue that censure is a symbolic gesture, it is a disgrace that Trump would share with only one other president in American history — his purported idol, Andrew Jackson,” continued Tumulty. “Jackson was censured by the Senate in 1834 as the result of a little-remembered dispute over the Second Bank of the United States; it was expunged a few years later when his pro-Jackson Democrats gained a majority in the chamber, which showed that they regarded a censure as more than a slap on the wrist.”

“None of this would end the argument over impeachment, but it would prove to the American people that at least part of their government sets a higher standard of behavior than our current president does,” concluded Tumulty. “It also, finally, would force Republicans to answer a question that they have been dodging: Is there anything this president does that you will not tolerate?”

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‘Not true’: Fox News calls out Trump for lying about keeping US soldiers out of harm’s way

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As the U.S. military grapples with the logistics of a quick withdrawal from the northern part of Syria, President Donald Trump drew criticism for abandoning the Kurds and endangering U.S. troops. There are also reports that the army's departure has resulted in members of ISIS escaping from prison.

On Wednesday, Trump defended his decision, insisting that U.S. soldiers were not in danger. "Our soldiers are not in harm's way," he said. “That has nothing to do with us,” he added, about the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds at the Turkish-Syrian border.

But top military officials told Fox News that this was not true. "Not true, according to top US military commanders who tell Fox this is a complicated, deliberate phased withdrawal with a lot of inherent risk," Jennifer Griffin, National Security correspondent for Fox News, wrote on Twitter. "Already US warplanes had to warn approaching foreign troops with a show of force."

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‘Worse than Obama’: Lindsey Graham has full-blown freak out over Trump’s latest Syria statements

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday had a full-blown freak out after President Donald Trump publicly said that the Turkish slaughter of the Kurds in northern Syria was not America's problem.

Writing on Twitter, the senator had his harshest condemnation yet of the president's decision to abruptly pull American troops out of Syria while giving Turkey a green light to invade the area.

"I hope President Trump is right in his belief that Turkeys invasion of Syria is of no concern to us, abandoning the Kurds won’t come back to haunt us, ISIS won’t reemerge, and Iran will not fill the vacuum created by this decision," Graham wrote. "However, I firmly believe that if President Trump continues to make such statements this will be a disaster worse than President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq."

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Ex-GOP lawmaker will run for Senate in Kansas — as a Democrat

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A Kansas state lawmaker who left the Republican Party last year will run next year for the U.S. Senate -- as a Democrat.

State Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills) will run for the seat held since 1997 by the retiring Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), reported the Associated Press.

Republicans have not lost a U.S. Senate race in Kansas since 1932, but Democrats are feeling more confident with the victories last year of Gov. Laura Kelly and Rep. Sharice Davids.

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