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Sondland’s ‘clueless’ denials of a quid pro quo look worse than ever after today’s testimony: CNN’s Toobin

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On Tuesday’s edition of CNN’s “The Situation Room,” chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin told host Wolf Blitzer that President Donald Trump’s Ukraine envoy Bill Taylor more or less wrecked any credibility that EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland had in his denials of a Ukraine quid pro quo.

“Let me read a portion of his opening statement,” said Blitzer. “He writes this: Ambassador Sondland told me that President Trump told him he wants President Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma, the gas and oil company that Hunter Biden was on the board of, and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. Then he said this, I’m quoting: Ambassador Sondland said everything was dependent on such an announcement including security assistance. He said that President Trump wanted Zelensky in a public box by making a public statement by ordering such investigations. That’s clearly a quid pro quo.”

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“It’s the definition of a quid pro quo,” said Toobin. “Security assistance only comes if you give us, give the United States, give the president, investigations of Burisma. It’s so vivid and direct and Sondland, again we haven’t seen his full testimony, just his opening statement, seemed remarkably clueless about what was going on. Didn’t even seem to know what Rudy Giuliani was doing in Ukraine even though it was in The New York Times what Rudy Giuliani was doing in Ukraine.”

“So if there is a contest between Taylor and Sondland, as there appears to be, the political appointee hotel owner from Portland, Oregon, seems to be in a lot worse position than the 50-year honored civil servant and former military officer,” added Toobin.

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Susan Rice tears into Trump for ‘brushing off information’ critical to troops’ ‘life and death’ because he can’t hear bad news

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On CNN Wednesday, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice ripped President Donald Trump for ignoring intelligence on Russian bounties against American troops.

"My job was to brief the president, to bring to the president all that he needs to hear, not what he wants to hear," said Rice. "When I served President Obama, he would sometimes joke that I and others who brought bad news were the 'doomsday people,' but he always listened to what we had to say and he never conveyed the impression that news was too bad to be worthy of him hearing. You don't intimidate the messengers ... this president is derelict in his duty, brushing off information that is critical to the life and death of our service members and does so because he doesn't want to hear bad news."

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Trump slammed by ex-NAACP president for refusing to denounce ‘white power’: He has been ‘coy with white supremacists’

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On CNN Wednesday, former NAACP President Ben Jealous tore into President Donald Trump for his refusal to disavow the "white power" video he retweeted earlier in the week.

"You know, this president has been coy with white supremacists again and again," said Jealous. "He did it around the Ku Klux Klan early on. He did it with Charlottesville, there is good people on both sides. And now you see him do it here."

"Again, it's part of his attempt to dog whistle, to play to his base," said Jealous. "He's running like George Wallace. He's running like Lester Maddox. You know, he has the RNC scheduled for him to speak on Ax Handle Saturday. It's a mess. And that just — these are his instincts. This is a guy — the Central Park Five, the world has known for 20 years they are innocent, he insists they are guilty. When it comes to race, he has a real problem."

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Trump aides are trying to decide if it’s a better to close down again — or just let people die

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President Donald Trump's inner circle is battling over the decision to return the country to closed and caution or to simply let people die from the coronavirus.

CNN.com reported Wednesday evening that a debate is afoot in the White House about whether they should push forward with the reopening, regardless of the death toll. If the president's Fox interview Wednesday afternoon is any indication, he's opted for the latter approach, continuing to reopen and urge Americans that everything is fine, even if it isn't.

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