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Conservative news site lays waste to Republican talking points they say are ‘fatal’ to impeachment

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Republicans released a memo Tuesday with talking points to defend themselves and President Donald Trump against the impeachment inquiry. Axios posted the memo, outlining four major points by the GOP that they consider to be “fatal arguments” against impeachment. But even the conservative Washington Examiner can’t back them up.

“The July 25 call summary — the best evidence of the conversation — shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure,”

“President [Volodymyr] Zelensky and President Trump have both said there was no pressure on the call,”

“The Ukrainian government was not aware of a hold on U.S. security assistance at the time of the July 25 call,”

and “President Trump met with President Zelensky and U.S. security assistance flowed to Ukraine in September 2019 — both of which occurred without Ukraine investigating President Trump’s political rivals.”

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The Washington Examiner couldn’t help but note the GOP’s “fatal” talking points wouldn’t exonerate Trump. They explained that it was clear there was pressure in the July 25 call to Ukraine. Even if it was part of the ongoing efforts of the international community to curb corruption in Ukraine, it doesn’t help Trump.

Zelensky’s claim that there was “no pressure” is hardly exonerates Trump, The Examiner said.

“To start, the call was not the only part of the pressure campaign,” the site wrote. “But beyond that, of course, Zelensky, who is desperate for U.S. help, isn’t going to publicly invite the wrath of a president he has to deal with for more than a year at a minimum and inject himself into U.S. politics by complaining Trump pressured him.”

Another GOP claim was ripped to shreds with the release of two transcripts on Monday evening. The GOP claims that Ukraine wasn’t even aware the aid was being held up. In fact, they knew “very early on,” according to transcripts released on Monday by House investigators, Catherine Croft, a special adviser for Ukraine and deputy to Kurt Volker.

Calls and transcripts show that the Trump White House was dangling a White House visit to Zelensky as soon ago as August. The funds for the weapons for Ukraine were only released after the whistleblower complaint became public.

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Another claim by the White House is that because Trump met with Zelensky in September at a United Nations summit, he proved the aid wasn’t conditional for a meeting. The aid may not have been conditional to score a meeting, but it was conditional until Zelensky went on television to say he was announcing an investigation into the Biden family. It was only after that promise was made and the whistleblower report became public that Trump’s Office of Management and Budget released the aid.

“Republicans are clearly trying to latch on to one set of talking points ahead of public hearings that will include damaging testimony, but in terms of substance, these core defenses don’t hold up to much scrutiny,” The Examiner closed.

Read the full report at The Washington Examiner.

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2020 Election

Trump campaign ramps up smear campaign on Obama’s ebola czar for exposing the president’s COVID-19 bumbling: report

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Stung by a highly effective video he made for Vice President Joe Biden criticizing Donald Trump's response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic, the communications team working on the president's re-election is going after President Barack Obama's former ebola czar, Ron Klain.

Klain, who is now becoming a fixture on cable news, took part in a video ad touting the campaign of Biden, and used his expertise to rip into the Trump administration's efforts to deal with the national health crisis. That put a target on his back as the president's 2020 campaign team is trying to stem the damage that threatens the president's chances of being re-elected in November.

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Trump ignored advice to tell country the coronavirus pandemic was ‘bad and could get very worse’ in early March: report

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According to a day-by-day examination of the White House efforts to get up to speed on dealing with the growing coronavirus pandemic that has now brought the country to an almost complete standstill, Politico reports that Donald Trump was advised in early March to warn the public things were about to get worse and chose to ignore that advice.

The report notes that the final realization about the dangerous spread of COVID-19 preceded the president's rare prime time address to the nation.

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Why the novel coronavirus became a social media nightmare

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The biggest reputational risk Facebook and other social media companies had expected in 2020 was fake news surrounding the US presidential election. Be it foreign or domestic in origin, the misinformation threat seemed familiar, perhaps even manageable.

The novel coronavirus, however, has opened up an entirely different problem: the life-endangering consequences of supposed cures, misleading claims, snake-oil sales pitches and conspiracy theories about the outbreak.

So far, AFP has debunked almost 200 rumors and myths about the virus, but experts say stronger action from tech companies is needed to stop misinformation and the scale at which it can be spread online.

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