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State Department issued ‘midnight call’ to block Sondland testimony after he turned over his private messages

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The State Department delivered a phone call shortly after midnight on Tuesday to instruct the attorney for European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland to not allow his client to testify before Congress.

Sondland attorney Robert Luskin tells Yahoo News’ Mike Isikoff that he received a phone call from the State Department at 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning that told him Sondland should not show up for his scheduled deposition later that morning.

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What’s more, the State Department’s last-minute request came after Sondland turned over Ukraine-related documents to the State Department, including his personal WhatsApp messages that were referenced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) during his press conference on Tuesday.

Sondland has emerged as a key figure in the investigation into President Donald Trump’s efforts to push the Ukrainian government to investigate his political opponents.

In explosive text messages released last week, former Ukrainian special envoy Kurt Volker suggested to Sondland that the Ukrainian government needed to agree to assist the president’s investigations in order to secure a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In one particularly damning text message exchange, veteran diplomat Bill Taylor told Sondland that it was “crazy” to tie Ukrainian military assistance to the country helping the president’s electoral prospects. Sondland then sent back a text message denying any quid pro quo — and then urging Taylor to take the discussion offline.


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WATCH: CNN uses video to bust Trump for lying and stealing credit for veterans program signed by Obama

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Reacting to Donald Trump's abrupt departure from his Saturday press conference after he was pressed by a CBS White House correspondent Paula Reid for lying and taking credit for a veterans bill signed into law by former President Barack Obama, CNN's Victor Blackwell shared clips of the former president announcing the signing in 2014 and Trump attempting to steal credit yesterday.

According to Blackwell, "One of President Trump's go-to lies is his role in passing Veterans Choice. You saw it at the end of the news conference when he walked away. Well that was when he was faced with a question why he said that he passed Choice and Accountability for the V.A."

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Nagasaki marks 75 years since atomic bombing

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The Japanese city of Nagasaki on Sunday commemorated the 75th anniversary of its destruction by a US atomic bomb, with its mayor and the head of the United Nations warning against a nuclear arms race.

Nagasaki was flattened in an atomic inferno three days after Hiroshima -- twin nuclear attacks that rang in the nuclear age and gave Japan the bleak distinction of being the only country to be struck by atomic weapons.

Survivors, their relatives and a handful of foreign dignitaries attended a remembrance ceremony in Nagasaki where they called for world peace.

Participants offered a silent prayer at 11:02 am (0202 GMT), the time the second and last nuclear weapon used in wartime was dropped over the city.

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Lebanon information minister resigns over Beirut blast

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Lebanon’s information minister Manal Abdel Samad on Sunday quit in the first government resignation since a deadly port blast killed more than 150 people and destroyed swathes of Beirut.

?After the enormous Beirut catastrophe, I announce my resignation from government,? she said in a statement carried by local media, apologising to the Lebanese public for failing them.

A number of MPs also submitted their resignations a day earlier due to the explosions.

On Saturday afternoon, thousands took to streets in downtown Beirut in anti-government protests that demand the overhaul of the political system, days after massive explosions.

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