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GOP’s best defense of Trump’s ‘corrupt schemes’ may doom him in 2020 election: conservative columnist

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Conservative columnist Eli Lake thinks that House Republicans may have done a good job of defending President Donald Trump during Wednesday’s opening impeachment hearings — but he also thinks they undermined his chances of winning the 2020 election.

In his latest Bloomberg column, Lake argues that Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) made a smart argument in favor of not impeaching the president: Namely, that his attempt to extort Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden fell apart before it could be fully executed.

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“Impeachment is a political process,” Lake writes. “And for now there are no Republicans in the House willing to impeach the president for a plan that never came to fruition.”

All the same, Lake believes that these hearings are bad for the president politically because they once again show the only thing stopping him from committing even more overtly impeachable defenses are members of his own administration and cabinet who are willing to provide a check on his abusive tendencies.

“Stefanik’s defense is an effective rebuttal in the context of impeachment,” he writes. “In the context of a re-election campaign, it’s damning. The fact that his corrupt schemes were stymied will likely save Trump from being removed from office. The fact that he had them in the first place is a good argument for voting him out.”

Read the whole column here.

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Two House Democrats push a clever plan that calls Republicans’ bluff on their Biden attacks

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Democratic Reps. Katie Porter of California and Max Rose of New York introduced a clever plan this week that will expose whether Republicans’ criticisms of former Vice President Joe Biden in the Ukraine scandal reflect good faith — or if, as many assume, they are just a shameful distraction and a bluff.

The lawmakers announced a bill on Wednesday called the Transparency in Executive Branch Officials’ Finances Act. It has two key components:

First, it would require all politically appointed executive branch officials, as well as the president and the vice president, to “disclose any positions they or any members of their extended families hold with foreign-owned businesses, any intellectual property they own that is protected or enforced by a foreign country, and whether any members of their families have stakes in companies that engage in significant foreign business dealings.”Second, it will “require the President and Vice President to disclose their tax returns for the previous five taxable years and prohibit political appointees from accepting payments from foreign entities.”

What’s clever about the proposal is that it latches on to two important issues, creating a wedge for Republicans. As part of the GOP’s defense of President Donald Trump in the Ukraine scandal, Republicans have argued that the president’s patently corrupt efforts to get a foreign country to investigate Biden, a political rival, were legitimate because the former vice president’s son created a conflict of interest by taking part in business in Ukraine.

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Nancy Pelosi praised as ‘the only serious national leader’ in America — and Trump is ‘jealous’

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi was praised on Thursday for her leadership as she directed the House of Representatives to begin drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

MSNBC's anchor Nicolle Wallace played a clip of the Speaker's press conference, where Pelosi strongly replied after a question on whether she hated Trump that was asked by James Rosen, who works for the right-wing Sinclair Broadcasting network.

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Contracts show how Giuliani-backed lawyers planned to help fired Ukraine prosecutor get revenge on Biden

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Newly revealed contracts obtained by the Daily Beast show that two lawyers backed by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani explicitly promised to help fired Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin regain his reputation by digging up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

A contract written up by attorney Victoria Toensing this past April stated that Shokin would agree to pay Toensing and her husband, fellow attorney Joseph diGenova, $125,000 "for the purpose of collecting evidence regarding [Shokin’s] March 2016 firing as Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the role of then-Vice President Joe Biden in such firing, and presenting such evidence to U.S. and foreign authorities."

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