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‘Only did the right thing when he got caught’: Trump reportedly knew of whistleblower complaint when he unfroze Ukraine aid

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“It was only until he felt that he was being exposed that he actually stepped up and actually released the funds.”

President Donald Trump was reportedly aware of the whistleblower complaint against him when he released $390 million in frozen military aid to Ukraine in early September, prompting allegations that Trump only released the funds because his actions came under serious scrutiny.

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“The timeline is clear,” said Sean Eldridge, founder of progressive advocacy group Stand Up America. “Trump only released the aid because he got caught.”

The New York Times, citing two anonymous officials familiar with the matter, reported late Tuesday that “Trump had already been briefed on a whistleblower’s complaint about his dealings with Ukraine when he unfroze military aid for the country.”

“Mr. Trump faced bipartisan pressure from Congress when he released the aid,” the Times noted. “But the new timing detail shows that he was also aware at the time that the whistleblower had accused him of wrongdoing in withholding the aid and in his broader campaign to pressure Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to conduct investigations that could benefit Mr. Trump’s re-election chances.”

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If the Times reporting is accurate, it means Trump was also aware of the whistleblower complaint when he told U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in September that there was no “quid pro quo” with Ukraine.

According to House Budget Committee documents, Trump officially froze the aid to Ukraine on July 25, the same day as the president’s phone call with Zelensky. Democrats have accused the president of unlawfully withholding the aid, which was appropriated by Congress.

“It was only until he felt that he was being exposed that he actually stepped up and actually released the funds,” Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) told CNN Tuesday night.

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The Washington Post reported late Tuesday that two officials at the White House Office of Management and Budget resigned in part over concerns about Trump’s order to withhold the Ukraine funds.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, offered a simplified timeline of events on Twitter in response to the Times reporting, which was later confirmed by the Wall Street Journal.

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“One more time for those playing along at home,” tweeted Cicilline. “1) He tried to bribe Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election. 2) He got caught. 3) He confessed. 4) We will hold him accountable.”


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AG Bill Barr will ‘try to interfere’ in the 2020 election to re-elect Trump: MSNBC national affairs analyst

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Attorney General William Barr will use the Department of Justice to "try to interfere" in the 2020 presidential election to re-elect Donald Trump, MSNBC's national affairs analyst predicted on Tuesday.

John Heilemann was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC's "The Last Word."

"The attorney general, from the moment he walked into this job, has behaved in a -- as a ruthless, relentless political hack and a thug and who has behaved not as attorney general of the United States," Heilemann said.

"He made a travesty of the Mueller report and continues to lie on Donald Trump's behalf at every opportunity," he added.

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Trump welcomed Russia’s Sergey Lavrov to the White House — to humiliate us all

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Despite the fact that President Donald Trump still refuses to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington for an officials meeting — a topic at the center of the scandal driving Trump’s impeachment — the White House hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday.

And while Lavrov was honored with his second private Oval Office meeting (the first one was a cataclysmic disaster) and a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the foreign minister took his opportunity here to repeatedly humiliate the United States.

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United States, Mexico, Canada finalize Donald Trump’s USMCA trade deal

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The United States, Mexico and Canada signed a deal Tuesday to finalize their new trade agreement, paving the way to ratification after more than two years of arduous negotiations.

However, the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the US Senate would likely delay Congressional ratification of the agreement until next year, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In reality, it is the second time the three countries have triumphantly announced the conclusion of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the deal meant to replace the 25-year-old NAFTA, which President Donald Trump complains has been "a disaster" for the US.

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