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Ukraine had agreed to announce a Biden investigation — blowing a massive hole in Trump’s defense: report

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The New York Times is reporting that Ukraine ultimately agreed to President Donald Trump’s demand to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his family, but those inside Ukraine didn’t have any follow-through.

In early September, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was faced with Trump’s demand to investigate the Bidens in exchange for the sale of 150 Javelin missiles and 10 launchers to fight back against Russian invaders. According to The Times report, Zelensky agreed to it but it never happened.

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It’s perhaps why Trump was demanding that Zelensky agree to the investigation on television, Ambassador Bill Taylor testified. A private agreement simply wasn’t enough. Trump thought that by forcing Zelensky to announce the investigation publicly would help commit Ukraine to the investigation.

“That is what the president really wanted,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer explained reading the transcript of Taylor’s deposition. “A public statement that he was going to investigate this firm Burisma and the Bidens, the 2016 election, and Ukrainian involvement, allegations that Ukraine, as opposed to Russia, was interfering in the American election and they wanted a public statement from President Zelinsky.”

“And it leads to questions,” CNN’s Abby Phillips replied to Blitzer. “The most obvious explanation could be this is exactly the kind of thing that can become part of a political campaign. It can be used against Vice President Joe Biden. And based on Rudy Giuliani’s own public statements in the months leading up to all of this, Giuliani made it very clear that he believed that this issue of Burisma and Joe Biden should be a part of the 2020 campaign. It should be counted against the former vice president. So we have to measure up what we’re learning from the hearings, from Bill Taylor and also what Giuliani actually said out loud publicly to everyone who would potentially hear it about what he was trying to do politically for the president.”

Read the full New York Times report here.

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‘The worst I’ve seen’: Conservative reacts in horror to Trump’s ‘dangerous’ abuse of executive powers

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Conservative Quin Hillyer has long been an advocate of restraining the power of the executive branch under both Democratic and Republican presidents -- and now he thinks it's time for the United States Senate to clamp down on President Donald Trump.

In his latest column for the Washington Examiner, Hillyer argues that the strongest defense of Trump's conduct lies in an expansive view of executive power that makes the president virtually unaccountable for any wrongdoing.

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Trump-loving pastor runs shady outreach program that literally gives black voters envelopes stuffed with cash

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Darrell Scott, a pastor from Cleveland who is a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, has been running a shady program to help win over black voters for the president that literally involves handing them envelopes stuffed with cash.

Politico reports that a Scott-run nonprofit organization called the Urban Revitalization Coalition has been holding events in black communities in which voters hear effusive praise about the president and then are given the opportunity to win cash prizes.

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Trump fan who claimed Yovanovitch surveillance introduced himself as DEA agent: report

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A Dutch superfan of President Donald Trump has been pretending to be a U.S. federal law enforcement officer and claimed to be starting up a tech surveillance company, according to newly revealed documents and interviews with associates.

Anthony de Caluwe first surfaced in the Ukraine saga after text messages released by House investigators showed him sending encrypted messages about former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch's movements in Kyiv, and NBC News has turned up new details about his shady past.

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