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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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Mississippi Republican who lost to Democrat by 14 votes files request for state House to void the election and declare her the winner

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On Thursday, Mississippi Today reported that state Rep. Ashley Henley, who lost her bid for re-election to Democrat Hester Jackson-McCray by just 14 votes in November, has filed a request for the GOP-controlled state legislature to overturn the results of the election and seat Henley for another term.

Henley cites what she claims are several irregularities in voter signature collection, and "missing" ballots. "There were irregularities that happened, absolutely, documented, very much so that bring into question the legitimacy of the election results," said Henley said. "That is without question."

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Trump’s campaign manager mocked for proudly sharing poll that suggests Dems will keep the House in 2020

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On Thursday, President Donald Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale posted a poll that was meant to warn Democrats off of their impeachment efforts, by showing how it was hurting their prospects in a competitive House race.

Specifically, the "confidential" poll showed freshman Rep. Kendra Horn (R-OK) down seven points against a generic Republican, and impeachment opposed 52 percent to 45 percent:

Nancy Pelosi is marching members of her caucus off the plank and into the abyss.

Impeachment is killing her freshman members and polling proves it.

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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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