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Jim Jordan’s insertion into impeachment hearings reveals GOP’s ‘fear and weakness’: Ex-prosecutor

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Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is widely expected to throw up a smokescreen for President Donald Trump during public impeachment hearings, and former prosecutor Barbara McQuade explained how that betrayed what a bad hand Republicans were playing.

Barbara McQuade, the former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Marie Yovanovitch, the former Ukraine ambassador, and two other witnesses this week will deliver devastating testimony against the president and his administration.

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“What they have to say is incredibly damaging to President Trump,” McQuade said. “They talk about the fact that it is crystal clear that this was an exchange and a leverage of military aid in exchange for political favor for President Trump, that Marie Yovanovitch, who was a dedicated career public servant, was removed because she was perceived as an obstacle to a corrupt scheme.”

“When those are seen on TV and social media, it becomes harder to ignore than just the printed word,” she added. “If it permeates the national consciousness, it should be a real wakeup call to the American public.”

That’s why House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is temporarily moving Jordan to the House Intelligence Committee, she said, so he can disrupt the public hearings.

“Jim Jordan is the attack dog,” McQuade said. “I had a chance to testify in the summer about the obstruction of justice issue. I saw him ask questions, he is just full-on attack mode. He wants to steal the cameras and the spotlight in hopes of distracting the public from the facts here by undermining the quest for the truth.”

It remains to be seen whether that will work, but McQuade said the strategy isn’t a good sign for the president.

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“I think it does suggest fear and weakness on the part of the Republicans,” she said. “You know, when you don’t have the facts on your side, you instead seek to undermine the messenger, and I think that’s what Jim Jordan’s role is going to be 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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Giuliani’s potential witness tampering in Ukraine is impossible to separate from Trump: Judiciary Democrat

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) broke down how Rudy Giuliani's misconduct in Ukraine is "inseparable" from President Donald Trump's.

"To everyone who asks whether we are moving too quickly, I say the president's lawyer is moving quickly to continue to ask a foreign government to cheat our elections, and doing nothing is completely off the table," said Swalwell, who sits on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, the two most crucial committees in the impeachment inquiry. "We have to secure our elections. We have powerful, uncontradicted evidence now. And now is the time to hold the president accountable and determine just which impeachment articles we should proceed with."

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Financial groups gave $745 billion for 258 new coal power plants: Report

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Financial institutions have chaneled $745 billion over the past three years to new coal power projects worldwide despite effort to reduce fossil fuel use to fight climate change, a report released Thursday said.

The amount was calculated using data covering both lending and underwriting between January 2017 and September 2019 for all 258 coal plant developers identified in the Global Coal Exit List, drawn up by the Urgewald and BankTrack groups.

Altogether, the report cites more than 1,000 new coal power stations or units in the pipeline.

"Most of the top banks providing loans or investment banking services to these companies acknowledge the risks of climate change, but their actions are a slap in the face to the Paris Climate Agreement," said Greig Aitken, climate campaigner at BankTrack.

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