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Republican-led committee is now ‘ratcheting up pressure’ on Trump as scrutiny over whistleblower intensifies

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Since the explosion of the scandal surrounding President Donald Trump’s efforts to induce Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, Democrats have mostly taken the lead in drawing attention to the blatant corruption. But that changed Tuesday, when the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee revealed its own investigation into the matter and requested that an intelligence community whistleblower appear in closed session by the end of the week.

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Chair Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, wrote a letter to lawyer Andrew Bakaj, the lawyer representing the still-unidentified whistleblower, asking for the testimony “no later than Friday, September 27, 2019, in a mutually agreeable secure location.” Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff first reported on the letter. The committee said the hearing would be conducted to “ascertain an appropriate path forward for your client while protecting your client’s privacy.” Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia signed the letter as well.

Isikoff noted that this effort signals that Congress is “ratcheting up pressure on White House.”

Since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in 2019, most oversight of the president and the administration has occurred in the committees controlled by the opposition party. While those investigations have touched on wide-ranging allegations of abuse and misconduct, the newest controversy has the potential to be the most incendiary yet. For all the furor and partisan bickering surrounding the case, the basic facts don’t seem to be in dispute: Trump, via his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and in his own account of a phone call, has been pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Biden family, in an apparent attempt to smear his potential 2020 rival. At the same time, Trump has been delaying military aid from Ukraine that Congress had already approved. It is pretty much as clear an abuse of power as one can imagine.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff first drew attention to the whistleblower complaint supposedly tied to this issue, and he has been at the forefront thus far of pressing for more information from the administration. Now, however, it seems at least one powerful Republican — Burr — is interested in having questions answered about the series of events, a signal that there may be more danger here for the president than he might have thought.


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2020 Election

Paul Krugman issues dire warning about next four months under Trump

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In his column for the New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman expressed dismay that -- even with coronavirus infection rates going through the roof across the country --Donald Trump is still acting like the health crisis is over and Americans should return to their normal lives.

Noting that Vice President Mike Pence recently penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal proclaiming, “There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave',” the columnist was gobsmacked by the Trump administration's "delusions and magical thinking that have marked every step of the Trump administration’s response to Covid-19."

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CNN

‘Gaslighting on a massive scale’: Doctor warns Trump is lying us into a COVID disaster

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On CNN Friday, Dr. Celine Grounder tore into President Donald Trump's ongoing falsehoods about the coronavirus pandemic.

"No matter how many times public health officials, especially like Anthony Fauci, speak the truth, what does it do, Doctor, when the president continues to lie to the public in face of a public health crisis?" asked anchor Kate Bolduan.

"This is gaslighting on an enormous scale, and means until people eventually get sick or their family members get sick, the communities hit hard, they won't believe it, and then it will be too late," said Grounder. "The problem is there's a lag period from the time that somebody's infected and starts to develop symptoms a couple days later. We don't see people get severely sick and need to be hospitalized and in ICUs until a week into disease, and talking about probably one to two weeks of lag time from the time somebody's exposed at least before you start to see hospitalizations and then another couple weeks before you start to see deaths."

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2020 Election

Republicans ‘anxious’ as campaign aides observe ‘a sudden alertness’ in Trump that he is losing: report

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Republican are growing increasingly worried about President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, according to a new report in Politico.

“I’d say Republicans are feeling anxious, and there’s a real sense of urgency for the president to precisely define his second term agenda. What are we running on? His answers on that have been lacking and he needs to show people why he wants four more years,” Scott Jennings, a top political adviser in the George W. Bush White House, told the publication.

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