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EU ambassador Gordon Sondland faces pressure from his wife to turn on Trump

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Gordon Sondland held his nose and backed Donald Trump’s first presidential campaign in hopes of landing an ambassadorship, but now he’s got a compelling reason to turn on the president.

The longtime Republican donor got what he wanted after donating $1 million to Trump’s 2016 campaign, and was named the U.S. ambassador to the European Union — but he may be forced to testify against the president to save his marriage and his business, reported the Washington Post.

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The 62-year-old Sondland landed knee-deep in the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into helping his 2020 re-election campaign, and he has been subpoenaed by the House to testify about his work this summer with U.S. diplomats in Kyiv and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Current and former U.S. officials say Sondland, who once said Trump offended his — “personal beliefs and values on so many levels” — hoped that he might take over for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross if he helped Trump get damaging information against Joe Biden from Ukraine.

“He spent a year trying to prove that he wasn’t anti-Trump,” said a former White House official. “He got into the position [of ambassador], and he had an opportunity to prove it. Trump knew that he wanted to prove his loyalty.”

But now he faces another loyalty test — from his wife of 26 years.

Sondland’s wife Katherine Durant, a real estate investor and registered Democrat, fears her husband’s ties to Trump and the Ukraine scandal will hurt the hotel company he built.

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One local company in Portland, Oregon, where the couple lives, has already cut ties with Provenance Hotels over Sondland’s role in the foreign scandal, and Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer has called for a boycott until the ambassador cooperates fully in the impeachment inquiry.

Durant has criticized media coverage of her husband, saying he deserves a chance to clear his name.

“We live in a world right now where there’s no upside to supporting someone like Gordon who is working for Trump,” Durant said. “It’s a mob.”

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“He’s been extremely hard-working,” she added. “He came from immigrant parents, he’s first generation here, he made his own wealth, he’s worked his entire life hard, he’s extremely generous. I mean, he’ll sit down and listen to anyone, take his time, go to bat for them, give his money. But this environment is so sad and vicious that there is no one who will stick up for him. I find it really pathetic.”


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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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