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Trump impeachment accelerates as the House prepares for 8 witnesses in 3 days this week

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Last week saw several crucial developments in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, including the public testimony of diplomats William Taylor, George Kent, and Marie Yovanovitch, and the private testimony of State Department official David Holmes.

But as Sam Brodey wrote for The Daily Beast, this week’s schedule could be even more consequential, with eight witnesses scheduled to testify in a three-day period.

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“Set to testify are several witnesses with firsthand knowledge of Trump’s July 25 call with President Zelensky, and their accounts will test Republicans’ central defense that the impeachment case is based on hearsay,” wrote Brodey. “The public will also hear from several officials who are poised to fill in key gaps in the story of exactly how and why security aid to Ukraine was held up as Trump sought to secure promises from the new government.”

The schedule begins on Tuesday, with the testimony of Soviet-born war hero and national security strategist Alexander Vindman and foreign service aide and Mike Pence official Jennifer Williams, who directly heard the phone call between Trump and Zelensky. Republicans also plan to call Ukrainian special envoy Kurt Volker and National Security Council official Tim Morrison, whom they believe will exonerate the president.

Then on Wednesday, the committee will call EU Ambassador and Trump campaign donor Gordon Sondland, who has come under fire for repeatedly changing his story about his knowledge of Trump’s delay of military aid to Ukraine, and Defense Department official Laura Cooper, who alleges the Ukrainians knew the aid had been delayed. Republicans will also be calling Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale.

Finally, on Thursday, the House will hear from national security official Fiona Hill, who, prior to being succeeded by Morrison, raised concerns with the foreign policy backchannel set up by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. She spoke about the issue to former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who also opposed the arrangement.

This enormous parade of witnesses will likely change the political equation once again — and the public will learn more about how the Ukraine affair went down.

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Trump said he ‘loved’ the fact that America is more divided than ever: ex-GOP congressman

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President Donald Trump bragged about increasing divisions in America during a White House meeting, a former Republican congressman explained on MSNBC on Monday.

Former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) told host Joy Reid that "Donald Trump has intentionally tried to create the anxiety" that Americans are explaining.

"Garry Kasparov, the Russian freedom activist, has said the point of disinformation isn't to manipulate the truth, it's to exhaust your critical thinking," Jolly explained. "To exhaust your critical thinking, that's what we're experiencing as voters."

"I had a colleague that was in a meeting in the Roosevelt Room and he said he heard Trump say, 'Have you ever seen the nation so divided?' My colleagues and others said, 'No, we haven't.' Trump said, 'I love it that way.' This is the currency that he's peddling as political strategy, but it's not one we have to accept," Jolly explained.

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2020 Election

Bloomberg and Biden attack Sanders supporters’ ‘Trump-like’ tactics

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On Monday, The New York Times analyzed the state of the Democratic presidential primaries heading into the Nevada caucuses. One of the key new developments is a fresh volley of attacks on the behavior of supporters for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), which is being characterized as "Trump-like" by former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, which has largely focused its attacks on President Trump, on Monday mounted a frontal offensive against one of his Democratic rivals for the first time, comparing Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign tactics with those employed by the president," wrote Thomas Kaplan, Kate Conger, and Reid Epstein.

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2020 Election

Some Tea Party Republicans are voting for Bernie Sanders — and not for the reasons that you think

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Some Democratic primaries are only open to registered Democrats; others allow all registered voters to participate regardless of party affiliation — including South Carolina’s Democratic presidential primary. Registered Republicans will be free to vote in that primary and vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren or any one of the other candidates. And Jane Coaston, in Vox, explains why some Tea Party Republicans in South Carolina are voting for Bernie Sanders.

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