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Why does Trump suddenly seem so weak? GOP and media no longer ‘cowering’ — and the White House ‘has no strategy’

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Politico’s Jake Sherman senses a shift in how President Donald Trump is covered by the media and defended by Republicans.

The website’s senior writer and co-author of its Playbook newsletter appeared Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where he said Trump’s well-worn strategies for weathering scandals aren’t working now that he’s facing impeachment.

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“The president’s strategy here is a little bit worn out, according to all the Republicans we talk to,” Sherman said. “He’s trying to employ the same tool he’s used for the last two years, and it’s not been successful because he’s dealing with a entirely new set of facts. An impeachment inquiry that is obviously extremely legitimate — Congress has the right do this.”

“We’ve heard him talk about the media like this before,” Sherman added. “We’ve heard him call people crooked, we know he doesn’t like Democrats. We know all of these things and, frankly, it’s not having much effect because we’ve heard it now for two years.”

Sherman pointed to a remarkable exchange between an angry Trump and a calmly persistent Jeff Mason, a reporter for Reuters who repeatedly pressed the president to explain what he wanted the Ukrainian president to do for him regarding Joe Biden.

“Reporters are standing up to the president and not cowering down when he bullies them, not that any reporter has before,” Sherman said. “But it’s important to keep that in mind. So these tricks that he’s employed for two years are not terribly successful.

Sherman said the White House’s chaotic response to the impeachment inquiry, and the swift pace of bombshell revelations that blow up the news cycle on a sometimes hourly basis have spooked congressional Republicans.

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“You hear all around Washington the last couple weeks Republicans are very concerned that this White House has no strategy,” he said. “Why does it have no strategy? Two important things to keep in mind. No. 1, he has no surrogates that are willing to go on television to defend him. Why is that? Because they don’t know where the bottom is, they don’t know the entirety of the story, because the president has not been forthright.”

“People like Rudy Giuliani when they go on TV are roundly dismissed as a laughingstock because their behavior is so bizarre,” Sherman added. “Lawmakers won’t go on TV because they don’t want to stand up for the president at this moment when they don’t know everything.”

The White House isn’t set up to handle impeachment, he said, and it shows.

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“He (has) a White House press operation that is not only not standard, it’s not operational,” Sherman said. “We don’t have a White House press secretary that’s operational in the sense that they’re not briefing and doing anything proactive to change the narrative of this story or combat it.”

“It’s just incredibly bizarre to see all this lineup of circumstances that the White House is unwilling or unable to change,” he added, “and that, in the face of an impeachment inquiry that’s getting more and more serious, Democrats are saying that stonewalling is going to have consequences in that it could be evidence for obstruction, and the president has no strategy to handle this that we see in the public view.”

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Republican senator admits he didn’t know about Bolton’s confirmation of Trump’s bribery — but still doesn’t care

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Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) still doesn't necessarily believe that President Donald Trump should be convicted, even though former national security adviser John Bolton revealed a first-hand account in his unpublished manuscript.

"Well, didn't know that until a little bit ago," Braun told MSNBC's Kasie Hunt. "I think that's a discussion we'll have have to contend with and it'll be here in a couple of days. When it comes to additional information, I think for many of us -- and I need to cite this because where I'm from, as much as president infuriates maybe half the country, it would be the opposite. And it is a tricky combination like I told Chuck Todd this morning, between using your conscience and having to decide what the people in your state are wanting."

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Dutch government offers first apology for WWII persecution of Jews

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Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Sunday made the Netherlands' first government apology for the war-time persecution of Jews.

"Now the last survivors are still with us, I apologise today in the name of the government for what the authorities did at that time," Rutte said.

He was giving an address in Amsterdam in memory of victims of the Holocaust on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

Only 38,000 of the 140,000 Jews who lived in the Netherlands survived World War II, but no government apology had been offered for the role the authorities played.

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Billie Eilish wins first Grammy — for Best Pop Vocal Album

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Billie Eilish, a goth-leaning artist whose innovative pop-rock-trap sound has won her legions of fans, beat out four industry heavyweights Sunday to take home the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album.

The 18-year-old bested veterans Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran to score the award for her debut studio album "when we all fall asleep, where do we go?"

"I feel like I'm not supposed to be here," she told E! television after the win was announced. "Life is weird."

Eilish, who arrived on the red carpet wearing a Gucci pantsuit with lime green accents, was among this year's most-nominated artists with six, and is the youngest person ever nominated in all of the four top categories.

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