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Trump officials are worried the president is trying to find a ‘scapegoat’: report

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Congress and the Southern District of New York are not the only people investigating President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the White House has launched an inquiry of their own, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

“President Trump has for weeks sought to unmask the whistle-blower who shed light on his Ukraine dealings. But instead aides have fixated on one another: Advisers began a fact-finding review that some fear is a hunt for a scapegoat, according to White House aides and other people familiar with it,” the newspaper reported. “They are seeking to understand White House officials’ actions around Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, which is central to the whistle-blower’s allegation that Mr. Trump abused his power.”

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John Eisenberg is reportedly at the center of the investigation.

“The lawyers’ inquiry centers on why one of their colleagues, the deputy White House counsel John A. Eisenberg, placed a rough transcript of the call in a computer system typically reserved for the country’s most closely guarded secrets,” The Times reported. “Eisenberg reacted angrily to suggestions that he is under scrutiny, according to two people told of his response.”

The origins of the investigation are murky.

“It was not clear who sought the review,” the paper noted. “The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, has encouraged it, and his aides are helping the White House Counsel’s Office, led by Pat Cipollone, the people said. Aides in the two offices have otherwise been at odds since the transcript was released, according to administration officials.”

The publication of the report in The New York Times destroyed one of Trump’s talking points.

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“The existence of the review also threatens Mr. Trump’s narrative that his call with Mr. Zelensky was “perfect.” Instead, the review underscores the evidence that he bent foreign policy to his personal advantage by pressing Mr. Zelensky to open investigations that could damage his political opponents,” The Times noted.

Read the full report.

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Ex-GOP lawmaker: Trump is a ‘cult figure’ who has forced Republicans to abandon their principles

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Former GOP lawmaker William Cohen, who was among the congressional Republicans who turned on former President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal, tells NBC News that there is no way his party will ever turn on President Donald Trump.

Reflecting on the differences today between the GOP under Trump and Nixon, Cohen said that GOP officials in the 1970s felt far more free to challenge their own party's president than they do today.

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Ivanka Trump and dossier author Christopher Steele maintained a years-long correspondence

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Dossier author Christopher Steele met Ivanka Trump nearly a decade before her father's election campaign, and they corresponded for years.

The relationship was alluded to in the Department of Justice inspector general's report released Monday, showing that Steele was favorably disposed to Donald Trump and his family due to the relationship.

ABC News confirmed that Steele and the president's daughter had met at a dinner in 2007, and Ivanka Trump corresponded with the former British spy about a possible working relationship.

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Inspector general found ‘no evidence of political bias’ in Trump-Russia probe: report

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Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report on the origins of the probe into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia has found that there was no evidence of political bias on the part of law enforcement officials who began the investigation.

The Associated Press reports that the report "is expected to conclude there was an adequate basis for opening one of the most politically sensitive investigations in FBI history and one that Trump has denounced as a witch hunt."

The IG's report also found that former British spy Christopher Steele, whose infamous dossier on Trump featured salacious allegations about the president and Russian prostitutes, played no role in the opening of the probe, despite claims from Trump's Republican allies who argued that it was central to the investigation.

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