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CNN legal analyst blows a hole in Trump’s plan to extend ‘absolute immunity’ to aides who did his dirty work

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On CNN Saturday, former federal prosecutor and legal analyst Michael Zeldin pointed out that President Donald Trump’s aides are on shaky legal ground trying to get immunity from questioning in the impeachment probe — because courts have ruled against the executive branch on this issue before, in much lesser disputes.

“Let’s talk about the White House chief of staff [Mick] Mulvaney,” said anchor Fredricka Whitfield. “He’s claiming he has absolute immunity when it comes to testifying in this impeachment probe. Is the law on his side?”

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“I don’t think so,” said Zeldin. “There’s been very little law that addressed this issue. The most recent case was a case where the House asked for the testimony of former White House council under George W. Bush, Harriet Miers, and the court there rejected this absolute immunity argument, saying it would make the branch of government the non co-equal. I’m trying to think of the exact language. He said it would put the House at a disadvantage to the executive branch, and he rejected that argument.”

“So the only law on this rejects the executive branch absolute immunity position,” said Zeldin. “I think Mulvaney is in a worse case than Harriet Miers was, because this is in the context of an impeachment, where the House has even more powers than it did under the other scenario.”

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CNN

Mike Pence distances himself from his own top adviser after she refuses to lie for Trump

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Vice President Mike Pence's top adviser, Jennifer Williams, seems to be enduring retaliation from her employers after cooperating with subpoenas from the House impeachment inquiry this week. Williams spoke to the committee behind closed doors, and her testimony has was released Saturday.

President Donald Trump attacked her as a "Never Trumper" on Twitter Sunday, despite her work for the Trump adminsitration.

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GOP lawmaker goes on extended rant about Schiff to duck Tapper questions about Trump intimidating witnesses

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On Sunday morning House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) attempted to blow off questions by CNN's Jake Tapper over whether President Donald Trump was trying to intimidate former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch with a tweet during her testimony, choosing instead to attack committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for wanting to impeach the president.

Following a long interview where the State of the Union host had to correct the Ohio Republican's assertions multiple times -- with Tapper once flatly stating "That's not true" -- the CNN host asked about Trump's tweets that were immediately characterized as witness intimidation.

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2020 Election

WATCH: Pete Buttigieg surges to first place in ‘gold standard’ poll of Iowa caucuses

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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg surged in a poll of Iowa released Saturday night.

The poll, by Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom, showed major movement in the race.

"Since September, Buttigieg has risen 16 percentage points among Iowa’s likely Democratic caucusgoers, with 25% now saying he is their first choice for president. For the first time in the Register’s Iowa Poll, he bests rivals Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are now clustered in competition for second place and about 10 percentage points behind the South Bend, Indiana, mayor," the newspaper reported.

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