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‘This just got much bigger’: Security and legal experts react as Trump gets rocked by release of whistleblower complaint

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With the whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump having been declassified and publicly released, legal and national security experts are weighing in on the implications and how it could affect an impeachment inquiry.

Congressional reporter Michael McAuliff noted some key points on Twitter. First, “A dozen White House officials sat in the situation room with Trump as he asked the Ukrainian president for a ‘favor.’” And McAuliffe found this comment especially important: “White House officials told me that they were ‘directed’ by the White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored.”

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Shane Harris, who focuses on national security for the Washington Post, tweeted that the whistleblower “is alleging a WH pattern of obfuscating the president’s remarks. And NBC News’ Ali Vitali noted that according to the whistleblower, “Trump’s Ukraine call transcript was ‘not the first’ placed in a code-word level system ‘solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than nat’l security sensitive — information.’”

Greg Miller, national security reporter for the Washington Post, tweeted, “This just got much bigger” because “the complaint, citing multiple US officials, alleges that White House lawyers have been stuffing politically troubling records of presidential calls into highly classified storage to hide them from scrutiny throughout Trump’s presidency.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted that after having read the whistleblower complaint, he is “even more worried about what happened than when I read the memorandum of conversation between President @realDonaldTrump and President Zelensky”:

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Rep. Adam Schiff is asserting that the complaint “never should have been withheld”:

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Mark Zaid, a D.C.-based attorney and security expert, is quoted in The Hill as saying, “We are seeing not just a politicization, but a legalization of the whistleblower process that was never intended to exist. It was not intended that the system would be put under a microscope so that lawyers could derive any type of loophole interpretation. These are the type of cases that are supposed to be broadly interpreted.”

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Steven Cash, a counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, is quoted in The Hill as saying, “If the allegations that appear to be out there are in any way true, this is perhaps the most significant issue that has faced the intelligence committees ever. This is as big as it gets.”

Rep. Jackie Speier described the complaint as “nothing short of explosive.” And legal analyst Mimi Rocah has tweeted that while Trump can’t be prosecuted over Ukraine, Rudy Giuliani can.

Some Trump loyalists are claiming the complaint is insignificant. Rep. Devin Nunes is claiming it “relied on hearsay evidence.” And GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik, after reading the complaint, tweeted, “I do not support impeachment of President Trump.”

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People close to Giuliani are advising him to hire a criminal lawyer: CNN reporter

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After two business associates of Rudy Giuliani were arrested, it was revealed federal investigators were looking into the finances of Giuliani to see the degree to which he was involved financially with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Now, those close to Giuliani are urging him to hire a criminal attorney to handle possible charges.

"Rudy Giuliani is parting ways with the personal attorney representing him so far in matters related to the impeachment inquiry," tweeted CNN's Shimon Prokupecz. "Giuliani confirmed to CNN Tuesday that his current attorney, Jon Sale, is ending his representation of the former New York City mayor shortly."

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Trump trade adviser busted for making up ‘whimsical pen name’ to quote himself in his books for years

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A senior economic and trade advisor to President Donald Trump has been busted for making up a person he can quote in his books and to justify his policies.

A shocking expose in The Chronicle of Higher Education revealed that Peter Navarro invented the name "Ron Vara," an anagram for Navarro, to justify his own opinions in his books.

The so-called Ron Vara has strong opinions, fortune-cookie-style quotes and an elaborate back story as "a military veteran and Harvard-trained economist who made seven figures in the stock market by investing in companies that do well during international crises," the report said.

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Trump’s ‘diplomacy of narcissism’ is the most damaging attack on US credibility in history: career diplomat

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In an op-ed for Foreign Affairs this Monday, former career Foreign Service officer and president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, William J. Burns, argues that President Trump has headed the biggest attack on US diplomacy that he's seen in his entire career.

"The contemptible mistreatment of Marie Yovanovitch—the ambassador to Ukraine who was dismissed for getting in the way of the president’s scheme to solicit foreign interference in U.S. elections—is just the latest example of President Donald Trump’s dangerous brand of diplomatic malpractice," Burns writes. "His is a diplomacy of narcissism, bent on advancing private interests at the expense of our national interests."

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