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Giuliani’s public invitation to Ukraine to interfere in US elections opened the door for other countries to run to Trump

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President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani turned heads with his bizarre, unhinged rant on national television that effectively urged Ukraine to continue trying to gather dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden — and for news outlets to take whatever they find seriously.

As Casey Michel wrote in The Daily Beast, even if this effort ultimately fails to turn up useful opposition research against Biden, this is a profoundly dangerous development for American democracy.

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“Buried within Giuliani’s claims … was a new reality with which Americans on both sides of the political aisle will have to contend moving forward,” wrote Michel. “All of us — in the U.S., in Kyiv, in Moscow and Beijing and elsewhere — watched the president’s personal lawyer go on television, admit that he pressured another government to open an investigation into a presidential rival, and did so with the effective blessing of the sitting president himself.”

“The supposed proof wasn’t enough to cajole the new Ukrainian government into revisiting the non-investigation,” wrote Michel. “But that’s only one foreign government, and only one potential case. Other governments have far fewer scruples about opening potential investigations into any and all rivals they may so please. It doesn’t matter if the investigations have any merit; clearly, to the current administration in Washington, facts can wait. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the floodgates are now open.”

“Pick any government you’d like that doesn’t enjoy the protection of the separations of power that we see out of Kyiv,” wrote Michel. “Take China, for instance … What’s to stop Trump from explicitly linking a Chinese investigation into Biden to, say, an easing of American tariffs? What’s to stop Beijing from opening an investigation if Trump offers to recognize Chinese sovereignty across the entirety of the South China Sea? Or what about Iran? What if the White House offers to ease military pressures on Tehran if the Iranian government manufactures evidence that, say, Elizabeth Warren had investments in Iranian government-controlled entities?”

“And then there’s Russia. … what if Giuliani decided to flip the tables and make an offer to Moscow for the easing of sanctions in return for fabricated evidence of Kamala Harris’ or Bernie Sanders’ corruption?” wrote Michel. “What if it was for the creation of fabricated audio, or photos, or videos of them supposedly romping around a Moscow hotel bedroom? And what if, in all of these offers to Trump and his allies, the foreign government decided to turn around and try to blackmail the White House with evidence of its perfidy? How would we know?”

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“The Giuliani interview [on Wednesday] was breathtaking in its willingness to denigrate basic decency, and basic democracy,” concluded Michel. “All those opposed to these democratic experiments — in Ukraine, and even in the U.S. — received an unprecedented boost last night. And they’re going to run with it, as far as they can, with the illiberals running the White House encouraging them along, every step of the way.”

You can read more here (requires subscription).

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Stephen Colbert rips ‘idiot’ GOP senator for defending Trump’s unconstitutional self-dealing

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"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert returned from New Zealand for a new show that aired Monday evening.

"I have been as far from the insatiable black hole of news that is Donald Trump as you can get on this planet.

I've heard there have been some developments over the last 10 days that did not go well for Donnie,"

The host ripped Trump's 71-minute press conference.

"Seventy-one minutes is not a press conference, it's a one man show," he explained. "If you liked 'Fleabag,' you'll love Donald Trump in 'Douchebag,'" he said.

[caption id="attachment_1555275" align="aligncenter" width="800"] ‘The Late Show’ graphic (screengrab)[/caption]

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Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’

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Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.

Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.

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Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

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Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

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