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Vladimir Putin helped convince Trump to sour on Ukraine: report

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Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin successfully convinced President Donald Trump to turn on Ukraine according to a bombshell new report published by The Washington Post on Monday.

“President Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine for information he could use against political rivals came as he was being urged to adopt a hostile view of that country by its regional adversaries, including Russian President Vladi­mir Putin,” the newspaper reported, citing “current and former U.S. officials.”

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“Trump’s conversations with Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and others reinforced his perception of Ukraine as a hopelessly corrupt country — one that Trump now also appears to believe sought to undermine him in the 2016 U.S. election, the officials said,” the newspaper reported.

“Neither of those foreign leaders specifically encouraged Trump to see Ukraine as a potential source of damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, nor did they describe Kyiv as complicit in an unsubstantiated 2016 election conspiracy, officials said. But their disparaging depictions of Ukraine reinforced Trump’s perceptions of the country and fed a dysfunctional dynamic in which White House officials struggled to persuade Trump to support the fledgling government in Kyiv instead of exploiting it for political purposes,” the newspaper explained.

The newspaper reported that the role of Putin and Orban was described in closed-door congressional testimony by former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent.

“Kent cited the influence of those leaders as a factor that helped sour Trump on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the months leading up to their July 25 phone call — a conversation that triggered an extraordinary whistleblower complaint as well as a House impeachment inquiry,” The Post reported.

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Trump’s latest and most ludicrous con job

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Donald Trump is con artist in chief of the United States. His many apparent and impeachable crimes, such as the Ukraine scandal, collusion with Russia and violations of the Emoluments Clause, flow from that fact. Of course, Trump’s long con involves millions and perhaps even billions of dollars. But Trump’s big score, his ultimate goal, is permanent control of the presidency of the United States and the power for him and his family and allies to engage in legal theft indefinitely.

This article first appeared on Salon.

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I was an impeachment skeptic. Here’s why I’m now convinced Trump must be removed

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Despite all the uncertainty surrounding impeachment, we can capture the current moment succinctly: President Trump’s fate hinges on whether Republican senators are more fearful of losing in a primary or in the general election. Now that the live impeachment hearings are about to fuel nationwide prime-time programming, those senators’ fears are likely to intensify.

While that dynamic will determine whether Trump will be removed from office, it doesn’t tell us whether he should be.  I am generally an impeachment skeptic. My recent book—Impeaching the President: Past, Present, Future—argues that impeachment should be regarded as a last resort that, as a general proposition, is inappropriate in a president’s first term.  The American people are capable of rendering judgment and should be given the first crack.

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House Republicans have 3 key defenses of Trump’s Ukraine extortion campaign — and they’re all terrible

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To any halfway objective observer, the first day of public hearings in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, which are ongoing as of this writing, have not gone well for Trump’s defenders.

Bill Taylor, the top US ambassador in Kyiv, and veteran State Department official George Kent came off as principled and non-partisan as they delivered damning testimony about the Trump regime’s multifaceted campaign to coerce the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation into fringe right-wing conspiracy theories designed to deflect blame for interfering in the 2016 election from Russia and onto Ukraine.

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