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Legal experts point out the giant flaw in Trump’s claims about rooting out Ukraine corruption

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Legal experts are noticing that President Donald Trump wasn’t asking for a real investigation of Joe Biden, only one that could provide fodder for the news media.

Witnesses in the impeachment inquiry have testified that Trump wanted Ukrainian president to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter in an interview with CNN, in exchange for congressionally approved military aid or a White House visit.

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“Trump demanding a Zelensky announce an investigation of Biden, ‘in front of a microphone” gives the game away,'” tweeted Jennifer Taub, a professor at Vermont Law School. “If the real goal was to investigate corruption, a CNN announcement would be the wrong approach. Genuine investigations are kept secret.”

Asha Rangappa, a CNN contributor and former FBI agent, agreed the request betrayed Trump’s lack of interest in rooting out corruption, as he’s claimed.

“Just game this out to reveal sham,” she tweeted. “Let’s say Ukraine had investigated Biden and decided to prosecute. What was the plan? Extradite VP Joe Biden to Ukraine?? Apart from that being ridiculous notion on its own, the U.S. doesn’t even have an extradition treaty with Ukraine.”

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Taub credited her attorney brother Adam Taub with pointing out the sham at the heart of Trump’s defense, and he urged Democrats to make that a bigger part of their case against the president.

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Mitch McConnell in battle with White House over calling Senate impeachment trial witnesses: report

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As the Senate braces for the expected impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, there is a battle going on between the White House and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) over tactics -- specifically a desire by the president to have an extended trial that will include witnesses he wants to see testify.

According to a report in the New York Times, Trump would like to see former Vice President Joe Bidens' son Hunter called to testify along with the whistleblower whose report led to the impeachment inquiry. Additionally, the president wants to House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to take the stand.

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North Korea conducts ‘crucial test’ at Sohae launch site: report

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North Korea has conducted another "crucial test" at its Sohae satellite launch site, state media reported Saturday, as nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington remain stalled with a deadline approaching.

The announcement comes a day before US Special Envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun is set to arrive in Seoul for a three-day visit, and after the United States tested a medium-range ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean on Thursday.

"Another crucial test was successfully conducted at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground from 22:41 to 22:48 on December 13," a spokesman for the North's National Academy of Defence Science said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

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US-China trade deal gets tepid reception

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US officials announced a truce in the trade war with China with much fanfare, but economists and trade experts call it largely a victory for Beijing.

After a dispute that raged for close to two years, with several fumbled efforts at a resolution, the US agreed to cancel planned tariffs and rollback others immediately, without a similar commitment from China to lift tariffs it imposed on the US.

"Pardon me if I don't pop champagne, but aside from a cessation of continued escalation, there is not much worth cheering," leading China expert Scott Kennedy said in an analysis of the agreement.

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