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Democrats believe they left GOP reeling after first day of impeachment hearings: They ‘were grasping at straws’

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According to a report at Politico, Democratic leaders believe the first day of Donald Trump impeachment hearings went very well and that the Republican Party is already back on its heels after some devastating testimony from two diplomats with knowledge about Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

As the report notes, “House Democrats’ attempts to present a damning case of alleged abuses by President Donald Trump finally went their way.”

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After six hours of testimony that was alternately explosive — revelations of another Trump phone call that blows apart his defense that he was concerned about Ukraine corruption — and exquisitely detailed, Democrats saw what the GOP had to offer in response and were pleased.

“I think if the American public was listening — and I guarantee you they were — the Republicans were grasping at straws,” explained House Intel committee Democrat Val Demings (D-FL). “The arguments that they made were process or procedural. They brought up President [Barack] Obama. Not once did they  really deal with the evidence, the substance of the case in front of us today.”

According to the report, House Peaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she was tied up with meetings all day as the hearing progressed, but was exceedingly pleased with what she had heard.

“You know what? I’ve been working all day,” the California Democrat told reporters. ” But I’m very proud of our Democrats. And I think what has come forth has given us further truth of what happened at the time.”

While the GOP — including the rarely-seen White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham and Trump son Eric were calling the proceedings “boring,” — Democrats insisted they were anything but.

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“In boredom, there can be great significance,” explained Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN). “This is of great consequence and gravity. I wouldn’t assign the word ‘exciting’ to it, of course not. But we have a responsibility to pay attention.”

“Democrats secured key sound bites that many believe will tick up support for impeaching Trump in the coming weeks. The two witnesses — acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and senior State Department official George Kent — offered highly detailed accounts of Trump’s attempts to strong-arm Ukraine to damage his own political rival,” Politico reports. “And Taylor revealed damaging new evidence against Trump’s involvement — describing how he recently learned his staffer overheard Trump on the phone talking about investigations he wanted, underscoring the president’s intense interest in persuading Ukraine to help damage Biden’s campaign.”

Another Democrat believes the hearings are working as planned.

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“The most important thing to me is not the minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, tweet-by-tweet conversation on this,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) said. “My constituents expect me to take an objective, stand-back approach that isn’t determined by one hour of testimony.”

You can read more here.

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Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.

In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.

“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”

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Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial

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Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.

"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"

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Florida Republican Matt Gaetz admits Trump’s legal defense was ‘like an 8th grade book report’ — only worse

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) admitted that President Donald Trump's team of lawyers weren't quite the legal eagles that he thinks they might be, said Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio.

Questioned about his take on the way the case is unfolding in the Senate, Gaetz said that the House presented it like it was going to be on "cable news." For many that may be an insult, but it appears to Gaetz that was a compliment.

Desiderio said that Gaetz then lamented that the White House presented their case more like “an 8th-grade book report.”

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