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Trump’s personal interests have directly undermined national security and election integrity: CNN correspondent

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On Thursday’s edition of CNN’s “The Situation Room,” correspondent Jim Sciutto broke down a key takeaway from the impeachment hearings.

“We are one year away — less than a year away from the next election, three years after Russia, with consequence, interfered, meddled in the 2016 election,” said Sciutto. “One thing is clear from everybody who testified, the president of the United States never expressed any interest in defending the U.S. against that kind of interference. What he did, he was interested in a whole lot of other stuff that undermines that goal of defending U.S. elections from Russian interference, one of which Fiona Hill highlighted there, presenting an alternate explanation, a false one it was Ukraine that somehow hacked the DNC server, not Russia.”

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“So [it’s] clear from the testimony that this is not a priority for the president, protecting the election,” continued Sciutto. “But also clear that he was moving the machinery of government to pursue something that undermines that defense. Repeating Kremlin talking points on Ukraine, not Russia. I just want to be clear, beware GOP sleight of hand on this argument about Ukraine interference in the election … you heard Jim Jordan talking about op-eds written by Ukrainian officials and so on. That’s not the interference. Trump was repeatedly, in the testimony, talking about the DNC server, it is actually in Ukraine, et cetera. That’s where the president’s attention was, not on protecting the election.”

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Trump’s Senate trial will be ‘riddled by hypocrisy’ with Ken Starr defending him: CNN legal analyst

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President Donald Trump's decision to tap former Whitewater special prosecutor Ken Starr for his impeachment defense team drew a sharp rebuke from former federal prosecutor Elie Honig on Friday.

"Whatever they do will be riddled by hypocrisy," Honig said of Trump's impeachment defense team during an appearance on CNN. "Ken Starr, the guy who spent years trying to throw a president out of office for lying about sex in a civil deposition, is now defending a president who has been impeached for trying to shake down a foreign country to interfere with an election. I don't know how you square that."

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Rick Santorum flattened by CNN’s Berman after calling Parnas bombshell revelations ‘extraneous’ to impeachment

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Rick Santorum and CNN's John Berman got into a frantic back-and-forth on Friday morning after the former Republican senator attempted to dismiss the revelations by former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas as something that should not be submitted as evidence in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

Discussing the Senate trial expected to start next week, Santorum said the only testimony and witnesses that should be allowed are ones that came up in the earlier House hearings.

"The House's responsibility to bring to us a case," Santorum stated. "They're the one who is said these are offenses that are worthy of the president being removed from office; here is the record, here are the charges. The Senate didn't impeach, the House did, so we are going to look at the record the House presented us. We're going to look at the witnesses and say are there are questions that we have for the people that brought this case forward and relied on these witnesses and look at their testimony."

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Here’s why some Americans don’t appreciate ‘extraordinary’ accusations from Lev Parnas

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin broke down a key reason why indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas hasn't quite gotten across the severity of his accusations against President Donald Trump to the American people.

"Jeff, what do you think of Parnas as a witness?" asked Cooper.

"He has a distinctive style. He's very deadpan, very low-key," said Toobin. "You somehow don't realize how extraordinary story he is telling. The proprietor of a company called Fraud Guarantee, and he is going to the leadership of the government of Ukraine and saying, unless you announce an investigation of the Biden family,  you are not getting the money that Congress has authorized. you are not getting the visit from the president and you are not getting an Oval Office visit. And it's true. None of it happened."

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