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MSNBC’s Morning Joe explains how Republicans botched Trump’s impeachment defense from Day One

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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said the polling after the first week of public impeachment hearings offered bad news to President Donald Trump.

About 58 percent of Americans are following the hearings very closely or somewhat closely, and 60 percent of those people believe Trump should be impeached and removed from office, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.

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Nearly one in three Americans have already made up their minds on impeachment, but about 30 percent say they could be swayed by new revelations about Trump’s scheme to pressure Ukraine into announcing an investigation of Joe Biden.

“You know, if Republicans have been smart from the very beginning — of course, that’s a big if — they would have just jumped to the end saying, ‘Yeah, it’s really bad what he did, really bad, but it’s not an impeachable offense,'” Scarborough said.

But the “Morning Joe” host said GOP lawmakers had instead adopted a defense strategy that changes day by day.

“We’ve gotten to the point where there is that drip, drip, drip, day in and day out, where Republicans set up a straw man, it gets knocked down the next day,” Scarborough said. “They set up another straw man, knocked down the next day. Americans have been seeing this over the past month now, and it’s having a real impact in the president’s approving ratings.”

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‘The monarch has taken a body blow’: Ex-prosecutor explains why Court ruling is devastating for Trump

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On MSNBC Thursday, former federal prosecutor John Flannery broke down the implications of the Supreme Court's ruling against President Donald Trump on immunity from subpoenas.

"I think what it says is that the monarch has taken a body blow as a result of what will be an historic decision, as we've indicated," said Flannery. "I think that the position of the DA in New York is very special, because he can speed this up in a way that the House can',t and has a specific strength, I think, in this case, that it is criminal."

"The most significant thing about it is this is the first Supreme Court case in which there's ever been agreed that a prosecutor could subpoena a president," added Flannery. "Prior prosecutions have been federal, that have been treated by the Supreme Court. So this is a big difference. The majority of the court, 7-2, basically said, from 1740 on, the public is entitled to the testimony, to the evidence of any person. They said that the documents — the question is the character documents, not the character of the person. In this case, what we have is a situation which I bet that the DA is going to go to the court as soon as possible, move to compel an appearance to their subpoena, and going to have the discussion as to what if anything may be limited or excluded and get production as quickly as possible."

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Trump officials demanded the Army ‘dig for misconduct’ to justify firing Lt. Col. Vindman

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This week, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman willingly left the Army after decades of honorable service. He cited a concerted campaign of "bullying" from the highest branches of power in the United States, and now more details are becoming known.

A New Yorker report revealed that top aides to President Donald Trump were told that they needed to find dirt on Vindman that could justify the firing of the decorated war hero.

"Vindman expected to go to the National War College this fall—a low-profile assignment—then take another foreign posting," the New Yorker reported. "But, in a final act of revenge, the White House recently made clear that Trump opposed Vindman’s promotion. Senior Administration officials told [Defense Secretary Mark] Esper and Ryan McCarthy, the Secretary of the Army, to dig for misconduct that would justify blocking Vindman’s promotion. They couldn’t find anything, multiple sources told me. Others in the military chain of command began to warn Vindman that he would never be deployable overseas again—despite his language skills and regional expertise."

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Russian bounties: Pentagon vows ‘action’ if intel confirmed

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Top Pentagon officials pledged Thursday to "take action" if the US military could corroborate intelligence suggesting Moscow paid militants linked to the Taliban to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper spoke before a congressional committee as the Trump administration comes under pressure to explain media reports claiming the president was briefed on the intelligence -- but did nothing in response.

Milley said the information was "not corroborated."

"We'll get to the bottom of it. We are going to find out if, in fact, it's true. And if it is true, we will take action," he continued, without specifying what kind of action might be taken.

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