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

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Gordon Sondland (Photo: Screen capture)

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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2020 Election

Lindsey Graham keeps begging Fox Views viewers for donations: ‘They’re killing me money-wise’

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Embattled Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham went on Fox News multiple times on Thursday to beg their right-wing audience for campaign donations.

Graham started his day on the Fox News show "Fox and Friends" -- where he begged for money.

“My opponent will raise almost $100 million in the state of South Carolina,” said Graham.

“The most money ever spent in the state on a Senate race was by me in 2014 when I spent $13 million. He raised $6 million from the time Justice Ginsburg passed away, within 72 hours and God bless Justice Ginsburg. We’re celebrating her life. I appreciate waiting ’til Saturday to announce her replacement. But I am being killed financially," he admitted. "This money is because they hate my guts.”

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‘Breonna’s Law’ legislator arrested by Louisville police for first-degree rioting: report

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A spokesman for a police union in Louisville announced on Thursday that the only black woman in the Kentucky legislator had been arrested while protesting the lack of charges for the killing of Breonna Taylor by the Louisville Metro Police Department.

"Kentucky State Rep. Attica Scott, author of legislation known as "Breonna’s Law," was arrested with others Thursday evening during protests demanding justice for Breonna Taylor," WDRB-TV reports. "Scott, a Louisville Democrat, was among a group of individuals arrested near the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library and First Unitarian Church at the intersection of South Fourth and York streets, according to Tracy Dotson, a spokesman for Louisville Corrections Lodge #77 Fraternal Order of Police union. Scott was charged with first-degree rioting and failure to disperse, Dotson said."

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2020 Election

WATCH: Late-night hosts go off on Trump for ‘chilling’ plan ‘to steal the election’

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Late-night television hosts harshly criticized President Donald Trump for refusing to say there would be a peaceful transition of power if he loses the November election.

"In one of the more chilling moments of his presidency -- and they've been a few -- Donald Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power as Republicans formulated the plan to steal the election through the courts," Seth Meyers explained.

"We're as close as we've ever been to losing our democracy and watching our government transform into an autocratic regime," he continued. "It's happen right in front our eyes right now, you don't need to wait for Trump to roll down Pennsylvania Avenue on a tank in green fatigues with a long chin-beard -- especially since if he did try to grow one he'd probably just look like a very sick chihuahua."

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