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Republicans fumbled when confronted with Trump’s witness intimidation — and one even faked a phone call: report

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- Commentary

One of the biggest problems Republicans face as they struggle to defend President Donald Trump from impeachment is President Donald Trump himself.

That was as evident on Friday as it has ever been when, in the middle of the House Intelligence Committee’s hearing with former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) told the witness that Trump had attacked her on Twitter while she was testifying.

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Schiff said that this behavior constitutes witness intimidation. While there was some dispute about whether the tweets would meet the legal standards for such a criminal charge, they could clearly be considered witness intimidation in the scope of articles of impeachment.

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Apart from that, though, the attack seemed strategically misguided. Republicans’ main argument throughout the hearing was that Yovanovitch’s testimony was irrelevant to the questions at hand because she didn’t produce any evidence that Trump committed a crime, so attacking her credibility seemed to undercut this tactic. (Contrary to Republican’s claims that she was irrelevant, Yovanovitch did effectively undermine one of the president’s defenses in the broader impeachment case.)

And Republicans on the committee didn’t follow the lead in attacking Yovanovitch. Many of them were deferential and respectful about her years of service to the country. When they were confronted with the disjunction between their conduct and the president’s attacks, they struggled to come up with a reasonable response.

“We’re not here to talk about tweets, we’re here to talk about impeachable offenses,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) when asked about the smear after the hearing was over. This response made little sense because Trump’s tweets constitute presidential conduct, which could be potentially impeachable. And the tweets related to a portion of Yovanovitch’s testimony in which she said that Trump’s remarks on his infamous July 25 call — saying that she would “go through some things” — were a taken as a threat.

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Stefanik admitted that she disagreed with the “tone of the tweet.”

Other Republicans struggled to defend the behavior.

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“It’s not something I would do,” Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) told Politico. “I’m not a lawyer, I’m not familiar with [witness tampering], but it’s just not something I would do. It’s just not my style.”

The outlet reported that other Republicans “dodged” the topic entirely.

“Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) quickly whipped out his cell phone and began talking into it, even though his home screen was visible and there was no call in progress,” the report said.

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Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) bizarrely claimed, “I don’t discuss committee business.”

 

 

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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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