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CNN’s Toobin says all evidence points to Trump running an extortion scheme for political dirt

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On Monday’s edition of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin laid out how all the evidence points to President Donald Trump attempting to extort Ukraine for political dirt — even the evidence Trump himself has put forward to the public voluntarily.

“May 14th, Trump tells Vice President Pence not to attend Zelensky, the Ukrainian president’s inauguration,” said Cooper. “July 18th, Trump decides to withhold nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that’s already been passed by Congress. July 25th is that Trump and Zelensky phone call. I mean, I don’t know if it’s, you know, if it begins with the call from Putin, but there certainly is a lot of activity, a lot of dominos falling.”

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“Especially when you combine this with what’s come out in the depositions in Congress,” agreed Toobin. “During this early summer period, there is all this activity led by Giuliani, which is about, you know, limiting our cooperation with the new president unless he comes across with the dirt on Biden. So it’s all going on at the same time.”

“Now, whether that originated with the phone call from Putin in May or, you know, other sources from Giuliani who has his own connections in Ukraine, we certainly don’t know that,” continued Toobin. “But the thing about all the evidence is that it all fits together. I mean, it all fits together in an explanation that the president just didn’t want anything to do with Ukraine unless they could come across with dirt, and every piece of evidence that has come forward in the depositions and certainly in the partial transcript that we’ve all seen many times, it all points in the same direction.”

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Republicans have ‘very little ground to stand on’ to attack Taylor and Kent: Ex-FBI deputy director

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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe broke down why it was all but impossible for Republicans to attack the credibility of diplomats William Taylor and George Kent during their impeachment testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

"They have very little ground to stand on to attack these gentlemen," said McCabe. "Particularly in the case of Taylor, he is backed up assiduously by a contemporaneous record. He's got his handwritten notes and he's got the texts messages that he sent the time. So when he tells you, I was shocked by what I heard on the phone call, you know that's true because at the time, he sent a contemporaneous text."

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CNN

White House is happy GOP lawmakers said Trump is too incompetent to do a quid pro quo: CNN’s Jim Acosta

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On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported that the White House is happy with how Republicans defended President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill — even though their central talking point was that the president tried to engage in a quid pro quo with Ukraine but failed.

"The White House officials that responded back to the president said that they thought he had a great day when it comes to this hearing up on Capitol Hill," said Acosta. "They don't see any damage done to the president after this first day of testimony."

"I will tell you, though, Anderson, the talking points are shifting," added Acosta. "White House officials I spoke to this evening said that they were pleasantly surprised by the performance turned in by some of these GOP lawmakers who were essentially saying, well, this was an attempted quid pro quo, it wasn't a quid pro quo, so, therefore, it's not impeachable. So, Anderson, their talking points have shifted once again. They've gone from saying there was no quid pro quo to, well, an attempted quid pro quo isn't that bad after all."

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Southern District prosecutors watched impeachment hearing to decide whether to charge Giuliani: CNN reporter

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The first publicly televised impeachment hearing was aired to millions of people on Tuesday. But it wasn't just citizens who were watching, suggested justice correspondent Evan Perez on CNN's "The Situation Room" — it was federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, who are currently investigating President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

"Both of [the witnesses], Kent and Taylor, they weighed in on the role of Rudy Giuliani in all this diplomacy," said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "What do you think?"

"Look, I think that's the key part of his testimony," said Perez. "I think we want to hear more from some of the other witnesses, including Ambassador Yovanovitch, and certainly Gordon Sondland, this is part of the story, the story Democrats are laying out for the impeachment inquiry. There is also another part of this, Wolf. I think the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York ... are watching this testimony today, no doubt, and trying to see whether it fits into the criminal investigation still ongoing in which Giuliani is the center of."

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