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Longtime Nunes staffer was ‘improperly’ feeding Trump unverified info about Ukraine: testimony

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According to a new report from The New York Times, senior White House officials reportedly suspected that a colleague whom they viewed as a “political partisan” was “ferrying documents about Ukraine in recent months to President Trump,” creating another backchannel for him to manipulate foreign policy.

Colleagues grew alarmed after hearing that Mr. Trump had referred to Kashyap Patel, a National Security Council aide who figured prominently in Republicans’ efforts to undermine the Russia investigation, as one of his top Ukraine policy specialists and that the president wanted to discuss related documents with him, according to people briefed on the matter. Mr. Patel, who is known as Kash, is assigned to work on counterterrorism issues, not Ukraine policy.

Any involvement by Mr. Patel in Ukraine issues would mark another attempt by Mr. Trump’s political loyalists to go around American policymakers to shape policy toward Kiev. It was separate, two of the people said, from the irregular, informal channel led by the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, that is the subject of House Democrats’ impeachment investigation.

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Patel, who formerly worked as an investigator for the House Intelligence Committee under Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), was the lead author of the so-called “Nunes memo” from last year which accused the FBI and the Justice Department of having a political agenda in regards to the Russia investigation.

The Times reports that the National Security Council’s former senior director for Eurasian and Russian affairs, Fiona Hill, testified last week that Patel was “improperly” sending information to President Trump in regards to Ukraine.

Read The New York Times’ full report here.

Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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WATCH LIVE: House holds historic vote on the impeachment of Donald Trump

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After a 14-hour House Judiciary Committee Thursday hearing considering the impeachment of Donald Trump, Democrats and Republicans on the committee will reconvene once again Friday morning where they are expected to finally vote on the articles of impeachment before sending them to the House floor for a full vote scheduled for next week.

According to NBC, "In a surprise move, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler delayed the vote until Friday morning at 10 a.m. after more than 14 hours of debate. There were five votes on Thursday: one to eliminate the first article on abuse of power, a second to strike a reference to former Vice President Joe Biden, a third to note the aid withheld from Ukraine was eventually released, a fourth to strike entire second amendment on obstruction of Congress and a fifth to strike the last lines in each article. All were voted down and along party lines."

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‘Trump was caught’: Every major GOP excuse for president’s conduct destroyed by ex-prosecutor

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Former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade said Thursday's marathon impeachment hearing left her "shouting" at her television, so she gathered her thoughts and blew up Republican defenses one by one.

McQuade, an MSNBC legal analyst and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, exposed the weaknesses in each of the GOP's sometimes contradictory defenses of President Donald Trump against impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Here are the GOP defenses I have heard so far to articles of impeachment, along with the knee-jerk responses I have been shouting at my television.

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‘Selfie-seeking frat boy’ Matt Gaetz scorched in brutal takedown after House committee blow-up

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In a brutally blunt look at Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), the New Republic's Jacob Bacharach paints a portrait of a publicity-seeking Washington newcomer storming the nation's capital with an eye on mirroring the actions and rhetoric of the blustery president that he slavishly defends.

Following Gaetz's "drama queen" performances while serving on the House Judiciary Committee, Bacharach recalls, "On October 23, a gaggle of House Republicans, led by Matt Gaetz of Florida, stormed the Capitol’s Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. Gaetz had hoped to expose the supposedly secretive nature of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. “Stormed” was his own overly dramatic word (though Gaetz soon topped it by comparing his crew to the 300 glorious, nearly naked Spartans who, as you may recall, lost to a numerically superior force during the Battle of Thermopylae). A more accurate description would be to say they barged into a committee room like a bunch of entitled fussbudgets, argued with the committee chairman, took selfies, and then trundled off to hold a press conference."

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