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Trump’s hearsay defense goes out the window as House Intel releases transcripts of two first-hand witnesses

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The House Intelligence Committee released two new transcripts on Saturday from first-hand witnesses who were on the line for President Donald Trup’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The transcripts are from the depositions of Deputy Assistant to the President Timothy Morrison and Vice President Pence’s special adviser on Europe and Russia, Jennifer Williams.

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The chairs of the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees released a joint statement on the testimony.

“The testimony released today shows that President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky immediately set off alarm bells throughout the White House. Both witnesses provided the Committees with first-hand accounts after personally listening to the call in the White House Situation Room,” the chairs said.

“Mr. Morrison confirmed Ambassador Taylor’s testimony to the Committees that the Ukrainians were told that U.S. military assistance, not just the White House meeting, was conditioned on their public announcement of political investigations that the President wanted. Additionally, following the September 1 meeting between President Zelensky and Vice President Pence, Mr. Morrison confirmed that Ambassador Sondland informed one of President Zelensky’s top aides that American military aid was conditioned on the investigations. Mr. Morrison informed John Bolton of the meeting and was told by Mr. Bolton to go see the lawyers, which he did,” the chairs explained.

The most important testimony may have come from Williams.

“Ms. Williams testified that the President’s requests were ‘unusual and inappropriate’ and shed light on ‘possible other motivations behind a security assistance hold.’ She also confirmed, like Lt. Col. Vindman, that the Ukrainian President specifically mentioned ‘Burisma’ during the call, even though the White House call record does not reflect that. Importantly, Ms. Williams also testified that in mid-May, President Trump instructed Vice President Pence to cancel plans to attend President Zelensky’s inauguration before the date for the inauguration had been set,” the chairs noted.

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Read the full transcripts of Williams and Morrison.

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John Bolton had concerns about Donald Trump’s favors to autocrats: report

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Former national security advisor John Bolton privately told the US attorney general last year about concerns that President Donald Trump was essentially granting favors to autocrats, The New York Times reported Monday.

It said the revelations, concerning the leaders of China and Turkey, come in an unpublished book manuscript by Bolton.

The same manuscript says Trump told Bolton that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security aid to Ukraine until officials there helped to investigate his political rivals, the Times previously reported.

Those allegations have roiled Trump's impeachment trial that is ongoing in the US Senate.

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Fox News host scolds Mike Pompeo for scuffle with reporter: ‘Don’t be such a baby!’

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Fox News host Steve Hilton scolded Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for being a "baby," a "bully" and an "embarrassment" after NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly reported that he berated and cursed at her for asking questions about the Ukraine scandal.

"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo got into an ugly dustup with an NPR reporter this week, and I've got something I want to get off my chest," Fox's Steve Hilton told his viewers on Sunday.

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White House grants press access to Christian site whose founder called impeachment a ‘Jew coup’

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The White House granted press credentials to a Christian news site whose founder claimed that President Donald Trump's impeachment was a "Jew coup" organized by a "Jewish cabal" in anti-Semitic remarks.

Five employees of the Florida-based conservative Christian news outlet TruNews received press credentials from the White House to cover Trump's trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, founder Rick Wiles told The New York Times from a ski lodge reserved for press members by the Trump administration. The outlet was not granted special access to Trump, though TruNews' Edward Szall asked Ivanka Trump a question during a news conference, according to the report.

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