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Former ambassador goes off on Republicans trying to attack decorated war vet testifying against Trump

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National Security Council Ukraine expert Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman is a decorated Iraq War veteran, who spoke out to a Congressional hearing Tuesday. In his opening statement, Vindman said that he focused on his sense of duty when deciding whether to testify against the president.

Republicans have worked to undermine and attack witnesses, particularly the whistleblower who filed a complaint alerting Congress President Donald Trump was using military funds to Ukraine to demand they open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.

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When speaking to MSNBC about the hearing, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul went off on Trump’s allies, who are working to attack the integrity of the veteran.

“First, I know Colonel Vindman; we served together in Moscow,” McFaul said. “He was a military attaché there. A first-rate officer, knows Russia, knows Ukraine. One of the best and the brightest. And when I hear this disparagement of him by some people allegedly claiming this might be an allegation of espionage, it really angers me.”

McFaul called the claim outrageous for Republicans to destroy a soldier that spoke out only because he took his sense of duty seriously.

“It is outrageous, and it needs to stop,” an angry McFaul told MSNBC. “This is somebody who has served on the battlefield and off. You can disagree with his actions, and we can talk about that, but you cannot attack his integrity, and you certainly cannot slander him because of his ethnicity. It really bothers me. Sorry.”

McFaul said that Vindman was reaffirming what was already known and revealed by both the whistleblower and the White House summary of the Ukraine call.

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“He happened to be on the call, and what you have here is just clear as day, it is the use of a public office, in this case, the Oval Office, the president of the United States, for private personal gain in his reelection efforts for 2020,” he continued. “It’s just clear as day. There should be no argument about what the facts are. The argument is whether that’s right or wrong and an impeachable offense or not, but the facts are clear, and Col. Vindman is adding more detail to what we already know.”

Watch the full panel below:

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Greece elects first woman president

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Greece's parliament on Wednesday elected the first woman president in the country's history, a senior judge with an expertise in environmental and constitutional law.

A cross-party majority of 261 MPs voted in favour of 63-year-old Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, parliament chief Costas Tassoulas said.

"Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou has been elected president of the republic," Tassoulas said.

The new president, until now the head of Greece's top administrative court, the Council of State, will take her oath of office on March 13, he added.

The daughter of a Supreme Court judge, Sakellaropoulou completed postgraduate studies at Paris's Sorbonne university.

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President Trump was briefed by Bill Barr that abuse of power is an impeachable offense: report

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President Donald Trump's legal defense team in the impeachment trial has been repeatedly argued that presidential abuse of power does not count as a "high crime" under the United States constitution.

Legal experts have harshly criticized the argument. And as The New York Times reported Tuesday, one critic is Trump's attorney general.

"In summer 2018, when he was still in private practice, Mr. Barr wrote a confidential memo for the Justice Department and Mr. Trump’s legal team to help the president get out of a problem. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was pressuring him to answer questions about whether he had illegally impeded the Russia investigation," the newspaper reported.

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Ana Kasparian's #NoFilter

Adam Schiff schools Republican senators: We’re making it hard for you to say ‘no’ to transparency

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The House knows that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the Republicans will all vote down the amendments to the rules to have access to all of the information in the impeachment trial. But Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told them, he has no intention of making it easy on them.

One argument the White House has put forth is that they should abide by the Clinton precedent, which gives members the chance to approve witnesses only after the case is made. Schiff said that the decision was made only after 90,000 pages of documents were released by the White House. If President Donald Trump released 90,000 pages of documents, this argument likely wouldn't be happening. Instead, they've stonewalled at every turn.

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