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New Republican impeachment strategy goes down in flames before first witness is called

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Republicans this week released a set of talking points on Ukraine that have already been refuted although the first impeachment hearing isn’t until Wednesday.

According to Bloomberg, the talking points were distributed by Republican staffers on the House Intelligence Committee.

  • The July 25 summary of the call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy “shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure.”
  • Both Zelenskiy and Trump have said there was no pressure on the call.
  • The Ukraine government was not aware of a hold on U.S. security assistance at the time of the July 25 call.
  • Trump met with Zelenskiy, although not in the Oval Office, and U.S. security assistance flowed to Ukraine in September 2019 — both of which occurred without Ukraine investigating Trump’s political rivals.

Democrats contend that the call record shows that President Donald Trump did ask Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky for a quid pro quo when he suggested that military aid would flow after Ukraine did a “favor” by investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

The idea that both Trump and Zelensky have denied there was “pressure” on the call is also not likely to convince Democrats, who believe that both men have a vested interest in that line of defense.

It is unclear exactly when Ukraine became aware that military aid had been frozen but Laura K. Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, testified that Ukraine knew about the freeze by early August.

The Republicans’ final argument is that Trump did eventually meet with Zelensky and released the military aid.

But the White House only agreed to the release the aid and meet with Ukraine’s president after officials caught wind that members of Congress were looking into it.

“Only at the last minute, after key members of Congress erupted in protest over Mr. Trump’s actions, did the White House release the aid,” The New York Times reported on Monday.

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New York couple point guns at Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their house

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A New York couple pointed guns at protesters marching past their house during a Black Lives Matter rally, and activists want them to be charged.

Protesters were nearing the end of their parade route when a white man came out of his home shouting obscenities in an apparent attempt to incite the group, and then yelled to his wife to get his gun, reported WNYT-TV.

Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson, who took part in the march, said the woman came back outside and started waving the gun around.

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Australian columnist aghast at America’s ‘rotten’ COVID-19 response: ‘We are witnessing the fall of a great power’

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A columnist for an Australian newspaper has been watching the United States' response to the novel coronavirus with a mix of shock and horror -- and he now believes "we are witnessing the fall of a great power."

Crispin Hull, an editor and columnist for The Canberra Times, argues in his latest column that President Donald Trump's disastrous handling of the pandemic is symbolic of deep rot within the American political system.

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Largest bank in the US holds back $10 billion anticipating Americans won’t be able to pay their mortgage

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Last week it was revealed that nearly one-third of Americans couldn't pay their mortgages or their rent. It's the third month in a row with over 30 percent of American renters and homeowners showing that they're in trouble, despite the stimulus check from Washington.

Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal wrote that the largest bank in the United States, JP Morgan Chase, put aside $10 billion, anticipating that the numbers of home loan defaults are going to get far worse.

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