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GOP’s impeachment ‘game plan’ fell apart after Trump’s Yovanovitch tweet and now they’re unsure how to defend him: Politico reporter

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On CNN Saturday, Politico’s Melanie Zanona noted that President Donald Trump’s decision to attack former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in a tweet while she was testifying to Congress not only risks another article of impeachment — it is also leaving his Republican allies unable to defend his behavior.

“Melanie, it’s hard to know what all independent and undecided voters might be thinking, but I had a guest on earlier who made a powerful point, in that some voters might be looking at the pattern of how the president describes particularly powerful women, and he would call her bad news and she had such an esteemed reputation,” said anchor Fredricka Wilson.

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“Right, and this plays exactly into Democrats’ hands. It makes her more of a martyr,” said Zanona. “This is what Republicans did not want to happen. They had huddled in the basement. They weren’t going to go after her and attack her credibility as a witness. They wanted to praise her and thank her for her service. So privately, Republicans were dumbfounded that he would tweet in the middle of this hearing. Some of the Republicans wouldn’t even answer questions about it. I had one lawmaker on the committee, a Republican, John Ratcliffe, I tried asking him about it and he faked a phone call to avoid talking to me about this. It shows how difficult a spot Republicans are in.”

“Melanie, you said you’ve reached out to Republicans defending the president’s attacks on Yovanovitch, her claims of this smear campaign. In your view, does this show that some Republicans may be rethinking their defense of the president on this?”

“I think they’re rethinking a lot of their defenses,” said Zanona. “We’ve seen each one of their defenses has crumbled under the weight of this. They’ve tried to mention he was just trying to root out corruption in Ukraine. We have witness after witness saying he was focused on investigations. They’ve tried to say that most of these witnesses are secondhand accounts, they don’t have firsthand knowledge. Now we have another potential witness who is saying he directly heard Trump’s voice talking about these investigations … They don’t have a whole lot of good options here.”

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2020 Election

Trump admitted on live TV he will ‘terminate’ Social Security and Medicare if reelected in November

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President Donald Trump on Saturday afternoon openly vowed to permanently "terminate" the funding mechanism for both Social Security and Medicare if reelected in November—an admission that was seized upon by defenders of the popular safety net programs who have been warning for months that the administration's threat to suspend the payroll tax in the name of economic relief during the Covid-19 pandemic was really a backdoor sabotage effort.

Announcing and then signing a series of legally dubious executive orders, including an effort to slash the emergency federal unemployment boost by $200 from the $600 previously implemented by Democrats, Trump touted his order for a payroll tax "holiday"—which experts noted would later have to be paid back—but said if he won in November that such a cut would become permanent.

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McConnell in a pickle after GOP senator blasts Trump’s executive orders as ‘unconstitutional slop’

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President Donald Trump on Saturday signed four executive orders that may provide economic relief for some Americans as Congress remains at an impasse.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) backed Trump's moves, despite their dubious legal grounding.

“Struggling Americans need action now. Since Democrats have sabotaged backroom talks with absurd demands that would not help working people, I support President Trump exploring his options to get unemployment benefits and other relief to the people who need them the most," McConnell said in a statement.

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2020 Election

Lincoln Project only needed 19 words to show 4 fatal flaws with Trump’s payroll tax holiday

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President Donald Trump on Saturday signed an executive order creating a payroll tax holiday that he hopes will become permanent.

"President Trump pledged on Saturday to pursue a permanent cut to the payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare if he wins reelection in November, a hard-to-accomplish political gambit that some experts see as a major headache for the future of the country’s entitlement programs," The Washington Post reports. "Trump unexpectedly promised the policy action as he signed a directive that aims to help cash-starved Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic. The order allows workers to postpone their payroll tax payments into next year but doesn’t absolve their bills outright — though the president said he would seek to waive what people owe if he prevails on Election Day."

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