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‘Reality is hard to ignore’: CNN’s Chris Cuomo clashes with GOP congressman over Ukraine testimony

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On Tuesday’s edition of CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” anchor Chris Cuomo traded barbs with Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), who tried to claim there was no evidence Trump committed any wrongdoing in Ukraine — and was repeatedly smacked down.

“What this was was an opening statement with no cross-examination,” said Mullin. “What I was told by my Republican colleagues, John Radcliffe tore this apart piece by piece in less than two minutes. We don’t know this because it’s not open and transparent.”

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“This is the investigation, though. Just to make it clear for the audience,” said Cuomo. “You don’t usually get, as a defendant, a team in there to help new an investigation. But Republicans are there and you asked him to take the job as a lifelong Republican.”

The conversation grew more heated later on.

“Tell me what he has done,” whined Mullin. “They’re in search of a crime.”

“That’s a political talking point,” said Cuomo.

“What has the president done?” Mullin repeated.

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“He asked a foreign power to get involved in an American election by getting dirt on his opponents,” said Cuomo.

“You’re adding to that,” said Mullin. “That is not what the transcript said. He said it’s important to the people that we find out the truth of what happened.”

“Then why did everyone around this president put in place by him say, oh my God, I can’t believe he’s doing this, how do we stop this from happening?” shot back Cuomo.

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“If we’re going to talk about the facts, then talk about actual facts,” said Mullin. “That was not in the transcript and that’s not even what the fake whistleblower even said happened.”

“We don’t need a ‘fake whistleblower,’ said Cuomo impatiently. “Ambassador Sondland said the president said to him, I want the Bidens, and I want DNC, and I want it public, or they get nothing. He then said that to a Ukrainian official and then regretted it. When [Ukraine envoy William] Taylor heard it.”

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“Because Mr. Taylor told you that secondhand?” sneered Mullin.

“Why would he lie? He’s your guy,” said Cuomo. “He was so worried about this, that he took meticulous notes.”

“I don’t know his political motives. I don’t know people’s political motives. He was a career bureaucrat,” said Mullin.

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“Pompeo didn’t go to him and ask him to do the job?” said Cuomo incredulously.

Mullin kept stubbornly trying to insist that Trump’s own diplomats had a political agenda against him and that Trump was right to investigate the Bidens. Cuomo finally lost his patience and ended the set, saying, “If you can’t look at this situation with this president and say you see obvious wrongs, then you’re not telling the truth to the American people.”

“We haven’t seen obvious wrongs,” shot back Mullin.

“Oh, come on. Congressman,” said Cuomo. “Reality is hard to ignore, man. I do not envy the case that has to be made.”

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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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CNN

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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