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US embassy warned Ukrainians to ‘stay out’ of American politics : David Holmes testimony

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The House Intelligence Committee on Monday released explosive testimony from diplomat David Holmes.

Holmes, the political counselor at the embassy, testified about the “meddling” by Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

“I guess I would say that Giuliani was sort of meddling in Ukrainian affairs by asking them to open an investigation that would—could be perceived as meddling in U.S. politics,” Holmes testified.

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“And that would -— and you’re telling them to stay out of U.S. politics, correct?” Holmes was asked.

“Correct,” he replied.

“And what Mr. Giuliani was saying was contra to what you were advising them?” Holmes was asked.

“We regarded the Ukrainians—we understood the significance of opening a new investigation of the Bidens and/or Burisma as being motivated primarily by a domestic U.S. political concern, because we were not aware of another reason, new facts or other reasons to initiate a new investigation,” he replied.

Holmes testified he delivered the message to Andriy Yermak, a senior advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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“I distinctly recall advising Yermak to stay out of U.S. politics, and it was a consistent theme of our messaging. I’m not sure if I can recall another time when we specifically said to President Zelensky to same message. But what I will say is he understood that message, because he would repeat – not repeat it back to us, but he would say things like, I’ve got enough problems with Russia meddling in my elections, why would I want to go meddle in someone else’s election. I mean, he had internalized the point,” Holmes explained.

Read the full transcript.

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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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Trump spoke with Giuliani on unsecured phones that were vulnerable to Russian surveillance: report

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On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump has communicated with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani via unsecured and unencrypted phone lines that are potentially vulnerable to interception and monitoring by Russian intelligence officials and other hostile foreign powers.

"Trump is not identified by name in the House phone records, but investigators said they suspect he may be a person with a blocked number listed as '-1' in the files," stated the report. "And administration officials said separately that Trump has communicated regularly with Giuliani on unsecured lines."

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