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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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2020 Election

He ‘can’t understand why he is being impeached’: CNN reports Trump is asking ’why are they doing his to me?’

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President Donald Trump is reportedly "distracted" by impeachment while vacationing at Mar-a-Lago as the United States Senate trial begins.

"A source close to the White House who speaks to Donald Trump regularly said the President has appeared 'distracted' by the impeachment trial that begins on Tuesday, telling people around him Friday night at Mar-a-Lago that he 'can't understand why he is impeached,'" CNN's Jim Acosta reported Saturday. "'Why are they doing this to me,' the source quoted Trump as saying repeatedly."

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Rod Rosenstein’s legal defense in lawsuits from Strzok and Page won’t hold up under oath: legal experts

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Rod Rosenstein

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein claimed responsibility for the release of text messages between then-FBI attorney Lisa Page and then-FBI official Peter Strzok.

Emails released in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) revealed the highly unusual release by Sarah Isgur Flores, who at the time was the spokesperson for Trump's Department of Justice (she is now overseeing CNN's 2020 election coverage).

Flores instructed reporters to not cite the release of the documents to the Depart of Justice.

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Neo-Nazi arrested by FBI in terror plot before his comrades tried to kill him for being ‘stupid’ and ‘incompetent’: report

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On Saturday, CBC News reported that several members of a white supremacist group called The Base have been arrested in Georgia and Wisconsin. This comes one day after another set of raids in Maryland and Delaware that caught Patrik Mathews, a former reservist from Manitoba who crossed into the United States illegally and has been missing for five months after being accused of recruiting for the extremist group.

One new key detail came out about Mathews in an affidavit used to secure the arrest warrants for Mathews' alleged compatriots, according to the CBC: "Although the document suggests the group member believed to be Mathews stayed with a Georgia cell member for months, he is later reportedly characterized as 'incompetent' and 'stupid' and is seen as a liability to the local group. In fact, he eventually becomes a new potential murder target."

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