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Vindman’s testimony demolishes Trump’s excuse that he was pursuing ‘anti-corruption’ in Ukraine: Legal analyst

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On Tuesday’s edition of CNN’s “The Situation Room,” CNN legal and national security analyst Susan Hennessey outlined a key problem for President Donald Trump in the wake of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s testimony: He can no longer claim the phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was just some sort of generic push to fight corruption, as he has tried to characterize it.

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“All of us have read the opening statement by Lt. Col. Vindman … ‘In the spring of 2019 I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the inter-agency,'” said anchor Wolf Blitzer. “How significant is his statement today?”

“It is significant, because I think it demonstrates that both on that call, before and after, the president was not just pursuing an anti-corruption agenda on Ukraine,” said Hennessey. “What the president was doing was putting his political interests over the national security interests of the United States, and his own staff was alarmed by it at the time.”

“We don’t give military aid to Ukraine out of the goodness of our hearts. We do it because it advances important strategic regional interests for the United States,” continued Hennessey. “And so it is significant to see the president’s own staff saying they were alarmed at the time. Keep in mind, witnesses that have come forward at this point have told a remarkably consistent story about this. A story that involves abuse of power and involves the president placing his own political interests over the interest of the country.”

“What is significant about the statement is that it doesn’t line up with [EU Ambassador] Gordon Sondland’s testimony,” added Hennessey. “Vindman said he warned Gordon Sondland, or confronted him, but Fiona Hill also confronted him. Gordon Sondland testified that he — nobody ever raised concerns with him. So this is also going to provide a reason for the House to potentially bring Sondland back in and see if they could get him to tell a fuller story about what happened, and potentially about his communications with the president on the subject as well.”

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GOP senator flops hard when CNN’s Tapper asks him to name one case where Trump cared about foreign corruption

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Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) on Friday furiously tried to deflect when CNN's Jake Tapper asked him to name one instance other than Ukraine where President Donald Trump held up foreign aid to a country because he was concerned it was not fighting corruption.

During an interview, Tapper asked Lankford if he agreed that Trump's primary concern in holding up military assistance to Ukraine was because he sincerely wanted to root out corruption in the country rather than urge it to investigate his political opponents.

"Yes, I do actually think he's concerned about corruption and the people of Ukraine," the senator replied.

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CNN’s Camerota baffled as GOP senator spins Chuck Schumer power-grab conspiracy theory

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CNN host Alisyn Camerota seemed visibly stunned on Friday morning as a Republican senator spun an elaborate conspiracy theory about Sen. Chuck Schumer by claiming the impeachment trial of Donald Trump is just a cover for the New York Democrat to make himself Senate majority leader.

Defending President  Trump, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) complained about having to watch videos of House impeachment hearing witnesses multiple times during the Senate impeachment trial, before turning his ire on Schumer.

"You know, Alisyn, what this is about -- and Chuck Schumer has been out front about it -- this isn't about removing the president. It's about Chuck Schumer trying to become the majority leader in the United States Senate," he accused. "He has targeted specific members of the Senate. He has attacked the Senate, the process, the senators [by] running commercials against them."

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Fox News scorched for hiding its top legal analyst during impeachment in scathing CNN segment

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Fox News' coverage of President Donald Trump's impeachment has failed to meet even the lowest of expectations, and CNN's John Avlon on Friday chided the network for not even meeting the bare minimum requirements for keeping its viewers informed.

Avlon started his segment by recounting how Fox News doesn't even show the impeachment trial unfiltered and instead has its right-wing hosts and guests talk over House Democrats while they present their case.

"None of which comes close to addressing the evidence," he said.

Avlon then hammered the network for the conspicuous absence of Andrew Napolitano, who has for years been its top legal analyst and who has become a fierce critic of the president.

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