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‘Ranking member, it’s Lt Col’: Vindman corrects Devin Nunes in testy exchange over House Intelligence Committee rules

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The third day of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump started with testimony from two more witnesses: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (National Security Council director for European affairs) and Jennifer Williams (foreign policy adviser for Vice President Mike Pence). After House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Democratic Party attorney Daniel Goldman questioned Vindman and Williams extensively on Tuesday morning, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (a member of the House Intelligence Committee) had a chance to ask them some questions. And things got testy right away.

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Nunes — a far-right defender of Trump who has repeatedly described the impeachment inquiry as a “hoax” — immediately set out to discredit Vindman’s testimony. And when the California congressman referred to Vindman as “Mr. Vindman,” the decorated U.S. military veteran set him straight: “Ranking member, it’s Lt. Col. Vindman, please.”

The exchange was also testy when Schiff voiced concerns that Nunes might be trying to “out the whistleblower.”

Schiff asserted, “We need to protect the whistleblower…. I want to make sure that there’s no effort to out the whistleblower through these proceedings.”

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Vindman was equally firm, telling Nunes, “Per the advice of my counsel, I have been advised not to answer specific questions about members of the intelligence community…. What I can offer is that these were properly cleared individuals — or was a properly cleared individual — with a need to know.”

Nunes told Vindman, “You can plead the fifth, but you’re here to answer questions — and you’re here under subpoena. So you can either answer the question, or you can plead the fifth.”

Vindman’s attorney interjected that his client was abiding by the rules of the House Intelligence Committee, and Schiff reiterated, “the whistleblower has the right, the statutory right to anonymity. These proceedings will not be used to out the whistleblower.”

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COVID-19

‘Do your part’: WWII film ‘Greyhound’ teaches virus lesson, says Hanks

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Tom Hanks is "heartbroken" that his World War II thriller must skip the big screen due to the pandemic -- but hopes it can still teach audiences at home a thing or two about acting decently in a global crisis.

"Greyhound," out on Apple TV+ Friday, was written by and stars Hanks as a rookie captain escorting a convoy of Allied ships as they cross the freezing North Atlantic, hounded by Nazi U-boats.

The movie follows a destroyer's terrified young crew crossing the treacherous ocean beyond the range of air cover, bound together in life-and-death responsibility for protecting the fleet and each other.

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Johnny Depp libel trial set to start in London

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A libel trial was due to begin on Tuesday between Hollywood actor Johnny Depp and a British tabloid newspaper over claims that he was violent to his former wife, Amber Heard.

Depp, 57, is suing News Group Newspapers (NGN), publisher of The Sun, and its executive editor Dan Wootton for an April 2018 article which referred to him as a "wife beater".

The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star strenuously denies the accusation.

The case, which was delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak, will be heard over 15 days at the High Court in London.

The couple settled a divorce out of court in 2017. She donated a settlement of $7 million (£5.6 million, 6.2 million euros) to charity.

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2020 Election

Trump is betting on reckless approach to win in November

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On the Fourth of July, a day meant to celebrate American independence, Donald Trump once again focused on creating a racist spectacle. Despite concerns about spreading the coronavirus and starting wildfires, Trump insisted on having a fireworks-heavy celebration at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, which was clearly a campaign rally no matter how much the taxpayers were bilked for it. Of course, the president's speech was pure culture-war vitriol, complete with classic Trumpian projection, this time when he called anti-racist activists "fascists," an extraordinary word choice that obviously better suits him.

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