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Trump’s GOP defenders will abandon him if he continues to make them look like ‘idiots’ with his lies: columnist

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According to Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Bernstein, Donald Trump did not do any of his most avid defenders sitting on the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearing panel any favors on Friday when he attacked former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on Twitter.

Noting the presidential tweets, which sought to undermine her credibility as she spoke, Bernstein suggested that Trump had once again undermined “those who try to defend him.”

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The columnist pointed out that Trump made multiple possible fatal missteps on Friday, releasing a written summary on Friday of his first phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that muddied the waters even more and then tweeting out his lie-filled attack on Yovanovitch.

“As Yovanovitch began to testify, and just about at the point where she said that she felt personally threatened by Trump’s comments about her in the July 25 call, Trump then tweeted a personal attack on her. As the committee chair, California Democrat Adam Schiff, pointed out, this confirmed that Trump was engaging in a pattern of witness intimidation, a crime,” he wrote. “Perhaps just as bad for Republicans trying to defend Trump, however, this kind of petty and nasty attack put them in a position of defending the indefensible. As if to make that point, Republican Representative Elise Stefanik of New York told reporters during a break that she disagreed with Trump’s tweet. In other words, Trump managed to provide evidence for the point Democrats were making, and did so in a way that Republicans couldn’t stomach.”

Bernstein notes, “Providing supporters with safe ground is important to Trump’s future. Most politicians are willing to go pretty far out on rhetorical limbs to advance what they see as their political interest. What they don’t like is to be exposed as fools soon after doing so.”

He went to point out, “The real importance of the “smoking gun” tape that ended Richard Nixon’s presidency was that it discredited his supporters for repeating what turned out to be lies, and convinced them that Nixon would go on doing that to them as long as they were willing to stick with him. They might have been willing to let him shred the Constitution, but they weren’t willing to look like idiots.”

“Trump is repeatedly giving Republicans that same choice. So far, they’ve been willing to go along. But each time he pushes them, it makes it a little more likely they’ll eventually make the same choice that Republicans made in August 1974,” he warned.

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Nagasaki marks 75 years since atomic bombing

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The Japanese city of Nagasaki on Sunday commemorated the 75th anniversary of its destruction by a US atomic bomb, with its mayor and the head of the United Nations warning against a nuclear arms race.

Nagasaki was flattened in an atomic inferno three days after Hiroshima -- twin nuclear attacks that rang in the nuclear age and gave Japan the bleak distinction of being the only country to be struck by atomic weapons.

Survivors, their relatives and a handful of foreign dignitaries attended a remembrance ceremony in Nagasaki where they called for world peace.

Participants offered a silent prayer at 11:02 am (0202 GMT), the time the second and last nuclear weapon used in wartime was dropped over the city.

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Lebanon information minister resigns over Beirut blast

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Lebanon’s information minister Manal Abdel Samad on Sunday quit in the first government resignation since a deadly port blast killed more than 150 people and destroyed swathes of Beirut.

?After the enormous Beirut catastrophe, I announce my resignation from government,? she said in a statement carried by local media, apologising to the Lebanese public for failing them.

A number of MPs also submitted their resignations a day earlier due to the explosions.

On Saturday afternoon, thousands took to streets in downtown Beirut in anti-government protests that demand the overhaul of the political system, days after massive explosions.

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2020 Election

Trump admitted on live TV he will ‘terminate’ Social Security and Medicare if reelected in November

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President Donald Trump on Saturday afternoon openly vowed to permanently "terminate" the funding mechanism for both Social Security and Medicare if reelected in November—an admission that was seized upon by defenders of the popular safety net programs who have been warning for months that the administration's threat to suspend the payroll tax in the name of economic relief during the Covid-19 pandemic was really a backdoor sabotage effort.

Announcing and then signing a series of legally dubious executive orders, including an effort to slash the emergency federal unemployment boost by $200 from the $600 previously implemented by Democrats, Trump touted his order for a payroll tax "holiday"—which experts noted would later have to be paid back—but said if he won in November that such a cut would become permanent.

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