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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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Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’

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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.

The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.

It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

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GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report

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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.

Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.

"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."

Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.

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White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’

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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.

CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."

Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.

https://twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1218704788432572422

Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.

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