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Republicans are scared about Gordon Sondland’s Wednesday impeachment testimony: report

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland may be the most dangerous witness for President Donald Trump in the impeachment hearings so far, and that’s in part because he has a lot to lose.

And according to CNN’s Shimon Prokuecz, his scheduled testimony for Wednesday morning is making Republicans nervous:

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There are at least two reasons they’re right to be nervous. First, there’s good reason to suspect the hasn’t been entirely honest with the House Intelligence Community up to this point, and it’s possible he lied, which raises the specter of criminal charges that would be damaging to the president’s case. And second, he’s at the center of Trump’s scheme to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy to investigate the presidents’s political enemies — the action that prompted the ongoing impeachment inquiry — and Sondland appears to be the key nexus between the United States and Ukraine in the relevant time period.

As I’ve documented before, Sondland’s testimony has already shown clear tensions with the accounts of other witnesses — raising the possibility that he has exposed himself to legal jeopardy. He’s also changed his testimony to more closely match those of other witnesses, which is never a good sign for an individual’s credibility. For example, though he initially denied that there was a quid pro quo — an essential element of bribery — surrounding the requests for Ukrainian investigations and withheld military aid, he later said that he had, in fact, explicitly set up such an ultimatum. Since then, more information has emerged that raises serious questions about the fullness of his testimony.

So that forces the question: What will Sondland say when he appears before Congress on Wednesday?

Will he clam up? He might cite the Fifth Amendment or executive privilege to refrain from answering some questions, depending on the circumstances. For example, the evidence indicates that he had many conversations with Trump while working as an emissary to Ukraine. He may try to say that he doesn’t have to talk about his conversations with the president, citing executive privilege. But this could just make him look even more guilty, especially given the fact that he has not been particularly forthcoming about other issues.

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Claiming the Fifth to avoid incriminating himself — for example, because he could reveal he made false statements to Congress — would similarly look bad for both him and the president.

It’s not clear how much these claims would cover, and Sondland has already testified extensively about other topics in a way that may have effectively waived his privileges. But it’s possible that, if he stays silent about enough key facts, Republicans will declare victory.

But he might also decide that, since he appears to have already dipped his toe into legal jeopardy and skirted around the truth in an apparent effort to protect Trump, his best course of action from here on out is full disclosure. If this is right, his testimony really could be devastating for the president — even if he doesn’t want it to be.

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Paul Krugman debunks Trump’s bogus claims about the ‘Obama economy’

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted that his policies alone are responsible for the economic recovery in the United States, claiming that he inherited a broken economy from his Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama. But Trump’s claims are wildly misleading, and economist/New York Times columnist Paul Krugman debunked some of them this week in a Twitter thread.

Krugman tweeted, “So, I see that Trump is bad-mouthing the Obama economy. Two points. First, there was absolutely no break in economic trends after the 2016 election.”

The 66-year-old Krugman posted a chart showing GDP (gross domestic product) from 2010 (when Obama was serving his first term) to 2020 (three years into Trump’s presidency). GDP, the chart shows, gradually improved during Obama’s eight-year presidency.

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Right-wing extremists using Facebook to recruit for ‘boogaloo’ attacks on liberals and cops: report

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A right-wing extremist movement is recruiting on social media to target liberals and law enforcement in a violent uprising called the "boogaloo."

The loosely organized movement is trolling for members on mainstream platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and Twitter, in addition to 4chan and other fringe sites, to promote a second Civil War, reported NBC News.

“When you have people talking about and planning sedition and violence against minorities, police, and public officials, we need to take their words seriously,” said Paul Goldenberg, of the Homeland Security Advisory Council.

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2020 Election

Bernie Sanders was so close to a primary against Obama in 2011 that Dems were ‘absolutely panicked’: report

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In an article for The Atlantic this Wednesday, Edward-Isaac Dovere recounts the time that Bernie Sanders tried to primary Barack Obama -- a move that Sanders was close to achieving that former Democratic Senator Harry Reid had to intervene to stop him.

The event, which hasn't been previously reported, took place in the summer of 2011 and reportedly had the Obama campaign "absolutely panicked"

While Sanders' Obama plan never went through, the relationship between the two has been strained ever since. "Now Obama, the beloved former leader of the Democratic Party, and Sanders, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, are facing a new and especially fraught period in their relationship," Dovere writes. "To Obama, Sanders is a lot of what’s wrong with Democrats: unrelenting, unrealistic, so deep in his own fight that he doesn’t see how many people disagree with him or that he’s turning off people who should be his allies. To Sanders, it’s Obama who represents a lot of what’s wrong with Democrats: overly compromising, and so obsessed with what isn’t possible that he’s lost all sense of what is."

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