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GOP lawmakers in revolt against Trump and are avoiding using White House ‘toxic talking points’: WSJ

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Adding to Donald Trump’s impeachment worries are reports that Republicans are putting distance between themselves and the embattled president.

According to the Wall Street Journal, support for the president among GOP lawmakers is waning in light of his phone call with the president of Ukraine — which set in motion the House beginning an impeachment inquiry — and then his decision to hold next year’s G7 conference at one of his golf resorts — a decision he later abandoned.

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According to the Journal, “Mr. Trump’s support within his party will face fresh tests this week, as key witnesses from the State Department and Pentagon are expected to testify in closed hearings before a trio of House committees on the president’s dealings with Ukraine.”

“Private criticism from Republican lawmakers about Mr. Trump’s decision to hold the G-7 summit at his own property, in Florida, helped prompt the president’s reversal, White House officials said,” the report continues. “White House aides privately told the president his foreign-policy agenda would be overshadowed at the summit by the controversy. Republicans also phoned the White House on Thursday to complain that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s comments about aid to Ukraine made it more difficult to defend the president, the officials said.”

More concerning to Trump is the fact that few lawmakers are willing to go out on a limb and defend the president exactly for the reason that Mulvaney’s attempts backfired spectacularly.

“Republicans are making clear to the White House that it is becoming harder to justify blanket support for the president in the wake of recent events,” the report states, leading GOP strategist Rick Tyler to explain that  White House is attempting to mount a defense of Trump but the Republicans are demurring.

“What you have in recent days are landfills of toxic talking points,” Tyler — who helped run Texas Sen. Ted Cruz 2016 presidential campaign — stated. “It’s systematic mismanagement.”

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To buttress the point, the Journal reports that the White House became immediately aware that Mulvaney’s stab at presenting the President’s case last Thursday before the press failed spectacularly, with White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham telling the acting White House chief of staff, “There’s a couple things we’re going to have to clean up.”

You can read more here (subscription required).

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Trump’s latest and most ludicrous con job

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Donald Trump is con artist in chief of the United States. His many apparent and impeachable crimes, such as the Ukraine scandal, collusion with Russia and violations of the Emoluments Clause, flow from that fact. Of course, Trump’s long con involves millions and perhaps even billions of dollars. But Trump’s big score, his ultimate goal, is permanent control of the presidency of the United States and the power for him and his family and allies to engage in legal theft indefinitely.

This article first appeared on Salon.

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I was an impeachment skeptic. Here’s why I’m now convinced Trump must be removed

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Despite all the uncertainty surrounding impeachment, we can capture the current moment succinctly: President Trump’s fate hinges on whether Republican senators are more fearful of losing in a primary or in the general election. Now that the live impeachment hearings are about to fuel nationwide prime-time programming, those senators’ fears are likely to intensify.

While that dynamic will determine whether Trump will be removed from office, it doesn’t tell us whether he should be.  I am generally an impeachment skeptic. My recent book—Impeaching the President: Past, Present, Future—argues that impeachment should be regarded as a last resort that, as a general proposition, is inappropriate in a president’s first term.  The American people are capable of rendering judgment and should be given the first crack.

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House Republicans have 3 key defenses of Trump’s Ukraine extortion campaign — and they’re all terrible

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To any halfway objective observer, the first day of public hearings in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, which are ongoing as of this writing, have not gone well for Trump’s defenders.

Bill Taylor, the top US ambassador in Kyiv, and veteran State Department official George Kent came off as principled and non-partisan as they delivered damning testimony about the Trump regime’s multifaceted campaign to coerce the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation into fringe right-wing conspiracy theories designed to deflect blame for interfering in the 2016 election from Russia and onto Ukraine.

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