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Ukraine blows up key Trump defense: Top officials knew of military aid freeze before it became public

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Top Ukrainian officials were alerted in early August that $391 million in U.S. military aid had been frozen as President Donald Trump sought to pressure the country to investigate Joe Biden.

That undercuts the president’s latest defense arguing that the foreign ally couldn’t have felt pressured because Ukraine was not yet aware that the aid had been frozen, reported the New York Times.

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Former Ukraine ambassador Bill Taylor told Congress on Tuesday that the freeze was directly related to Trump’s demand for an announcement that Biden was under investigation.

But Trump approvingly quoted Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), who told Fox News on Wednesday morning that Taylor and other witnesses had been unable to provide evidence that Ukraine was aware of the delay.

However, the Times reported that high-level Ukrainian officials were aware of the aid freeze, based on interviews and documents obtained by the newspaper.

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Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky became aware of the pause days after Trump asked him in a July 25 phone call that he wanted an investigation of Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as the newly elected foreign leader sought military aid and a possible White House visit.

Taylor testified that Ukrainian officials were told on the sidelines of a Sept. 1 meeting between Zelensky and Vice President Mike Pence that the aid was dependent on announcing an investigation into Burisma, the natural gas company that had employed Hunter Biden.

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Fox News viewers freak out on Bret Baier for criticizing Trump and calling Yovanovitch ‘sympathetic’

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Fox News host Bret Baier -- and his colleague John Roberts -- infuriated Fox News viewers who follow their Twitter feeds for praising the performance of former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch during her House impeachment testimony while they also condemned Donald Trump for attacking her as she spoke.

According to Roberts in his tweet, "Wow....this is really unprecedented. @realDonaldTrump and Amb Yovanovitch are talking to each other in real time through @Twitter and Television... Something I never thought I would ever see."

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Viewers baffled as GOP counsel appears to push anti-Trump talking points during Yovanovich cross-examination

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House Republican impeachment inquiry attorney Steve Castor on Friday baffled viewers with a line of questioning that appeared to be beneficial to House Democrats' case for impeaching President Donald Trump.

Among other things, Castor referred to ambassador Bill Taylor as a man of integrity and also didn't challenge former ambassador Marie Yovanovich's story that she had been the subject of a smear campaign launched by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

In fact, Castor's line of questioning was so friendly to House Democrats, that some Twitter users joked that he was a "deep state plant" who's secretly helping to impeach the president.

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CNN legal analysts rip apart Jim Jordan’s ‘nonsensical’ defense of Trump witness intimidation

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CNN legal analyst Elie Honig blasted Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) for arguing that President Donald Trump hadn't engaged in witness intimidation by tweeting attacks on a former ambassador as she testified against him in the impeachment inquiry.

Jordan argued the tweet can't be witness intimidation because Marie Yovanovitch wouldn't have known about the attack if Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) hadn't read it to her, but Honig said the GOP lawmaker's claim was ridiculous.

"His point is nonsensical," Honig said. "Of course, she was going to find out about a tweet that went out to 60 million people-plus. The law covers any way you look regarding timing."

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