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Sondland is going to testify Trump gave the impression they should coordinate with Giuliani on Ukraine: report

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European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland is slated to give testimony Thursday to the House committees on President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal.

Sondland is slated to tell investigators that Trump gave him the impression that he and two other officials should coordinate with the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, The New York Times said in an explosive report Wednesday.

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“That command effectively created a foreign policy back channel that cut the State Department and National Security Council out of deliberations involving a pivotal ally against Russia,” The Times reported.

Sondland was also expected to say that he began to understand by midsummer that the president “had a condition for agreeing to an Oval Office meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky.” The condition had to do with an announcement from Ukrainian prosecutors that might help Trump’s 2020 campaign.

“Initially hopeful that Mr. Sondland’s account would help Mr. Trump, congressional Republicans now fear it will add momentum to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry,” The Times said. “His decision to testify is itself a sign of fissures in the support for Mr. Trump, evidence that even some defenders have balked at shouldering the legal and reputational costs of thwarting the impeachment inquiry.”

Read the full report from The New York Times.


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Texas conservatives lose their minds after GOP Gov. Greg Abbott mandates masks in public

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Texas' Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott finally acknowledged that there is a serious problem as COVID-19 takes down the state's population.

It was just a few months ago that municipalities were deciding for themselves when and if they would reopen. But Abbott shut it down, saying that his orders "overrule any local jurisdiction."

In April, "Abbott and the state’s other Republican leaders have blasted local officials in Dallas and Houston for what they called overzealous enforcement of COVID-19 regulations, first zeroing in on Democratically led Harris County’s decision to fine residents for not wearing face masks, a penalty Abbott banned in his April 27 reopening order," ProPublica reported. "The fights came to a head this month with the arrest of a Dallas hair salon owner who refused to shutter her business, an act of defiance that was supported by a right-wing group that launched a GoFundMe campaign a day before she reopened that raised $500,000 before it was disabled."

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Unemployment may not return to pre-COVID levels for a decade: Congressional Budget Office

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On Thursday, Politico reported that it could take a decade for unemployment levels to return to where they were before the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

"The economic outlook for the next 10 years has 'deteriorated significantly' since the independent budget agency issued its last complete set of projections in January, CBO noted," reported Caitlan Emma. "That illustrates the devastating effects of the pandemic and underscores the reality of a slower economic recovery than the 'rocket ship' rebound predicted by President Donald Trump."

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Fired SDNY prosecutor to testify before House Judiciary Committee — behind closed doors: report

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The former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Geoffrey Berman will testify after the bizarre sequence of events that preceded his ouster from the office. AG Bill Barr announced that Berman was resigning, with the SDNY denied. He was then fired by President Donald Trump.

NEW: Fired US Attorney for SDNY Geoffrey Berman will appear next week before House Judiciary behind closed doors next Thursday, according to a congressional aide

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