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Mike Pence is trying to distance himself from Trump’s Ukraine scandal

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Vice President Mike Pence does not want you to think he’s at all wrapped up in the Ukraine scandal.

His press secretary, Katie Waldman, sent out an email blast Monday night to reporters ahead of the impeachment inquiry testimony of Jennifer Williams, another Pence aide. Waldman wanted to alert reporters to key points in the testimony:

Ahead of Pence aide Williams testifying tomorrow, VP press sec sends out blast email aiming to highlight other parts of previous testimony that affirm what Pence folks have said about Zelensky: pic.twitter.com/P9fhQpGnZT

— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 19, 2019

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This last point, in particular, creates a sharp dividing line between Trump and Pence. As the call record of Trump’s July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed, they specifically discussed Biden, Crowdstrike, and — according to congressional testimony — Burisma, the company on whose board Biden’s son Hunter served. Trump’s demands for investigations of these entities, and Trump’s leveraging of his office to have those demands met, prompted the impeachment inquiry.

Pence has tried to dismiss the idea that Trump or his administration are implicated in any wrongdoing in the scandal. Like many of the president’s Republicans defenders, he has rejected Democrats’ calls for impeachment outright.

But this statement on Monday shows Pence isn’t entirely comfortable defending Trump’s conduct on the merits. If everything Trump did was completely above board, then he would have no need to emphasize that he didn’t do what Trump did.

For now, he seems willing to play the loyal soldier for Trump. But as next in line for the presidency should Trump, against the odds, meet with a sudden downfall, Pence wants to hedge his bets.

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Trump administration heavily redacted documents concerning their withholding of Ukraine aid

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The Trump administration has refused to disclose how key officials at the Department of Defense and the White House Office of Management and Budget reacted to President Trump’s decision to halt military aid to Ukraine.

On Nov. 25, federal district court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the administration to produce records reflecting what these officials said to one another about the legality and appropriateness of Trump’s order. The Center for Public Integrity sought the information in Freedom of Information Act requests filed in late September.

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Donald Trump Jr laughs at the prospect that Bill Barr will eventually lock up Trump’s political enemies

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On Thursday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a video of Attorney General William Barr saying that he is constantly asked when Democrats are going to prison for their treatment of President Donald Trump, and he jokingly responded "these things take time."

Trump Jr. repeated that particular line in his tweet, accompanied by a series of laughing face emojis:

These things take time. 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/TX7DuYgAsr

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 13, 2019

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2020 Election

Jared Kushner is ‘officially overseeing’ Trump’s 2020 campaign ‘from his seat in the West Wing’: NY Times

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The administration of President Donald Trump has had multiple scandals for using federal government resources to aid his 2020 re-election campaign, but senior White House advisor Jared Kushner is his de facto campaign manager, The New York Times reported Thursday.

"Hours before the House Judiciary Committee was set to take a historic vote to push President Trump to the brink of impeachment, campaign officials gathered across the Potomac River for a state-of-the-race briefing in which they described how the Republican Party had been transformed into the “beer and bluejeans party” crafted in Mr. Trump’s image," the newspaper reported, despite the fact Trump claims he does not drink beer and is not known for wearing anything other than suits and golf attire.

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