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Vindman blows apart ‘preposterous’ Ukraine story cited by Trump as excuse for firing ambassador

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On Saturday, The Daily Beast reported that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council official who offered extensive testimony on the events of the Ukraine scandal, went out of his way to debunk the “investigative reporting” of a right-wing journalist whose work formed the basis for President Donald Trump and his allies to go after former Vice President Joe Biden’s family.

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John Solomon, a longtime reporter who served as a columnist and executive vice president for the D.C.-centered newspaper The Hill, wrote several articles about the supposedly corrupt efforts by Biden to push out a Ukraine general prosecutor, and made appearances on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to promote them. Later reporting revealed that Solomon was in contact with allies of Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, and his colleagues at The Hill have blasted him for embarrassing their newsroom.

One of Solomon’s most influential pieces was an interview with former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who claimed that officials in his country leaked information on Paul Manafort to help Hillary Clinton and that former U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovith gave him a “do-not-prosecute” list while working to help Clinton sabotage Trump. This likely formed the basis for Trump’s decision to fire Yovanovitch — who was trying to raise red flags about Trump’s efforts to extort Ukraine with military aid — as ambassador.

According to The Daily Beast, when Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) — an ally of Trump — asked Vindman about Solomon’s reporting, Vindman called it a “false narrative,” which he knew to be untrue based on “authoritative sources.” He added that he talked to “interagency colleagues from State and the Intelligence Community” who found Solomon and Lutsenko’s claims against Yovanovitch “preposterous … I think all the key elements are false.”

“Just so I understand what you mean when you say key elements,” Zeldin said. “Are you referring to everything John Solomon stated or just some of it?”

“All the elements that I just laid out for you,” Vindman said. “The criticisms of corruption were false. Were there more items in there, frankly, congressman? I don’t recall. I haven’t looked at the article in quite some time, but you know, his grammar might have been right.”

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Vindman’s testimony matches up with that of U.S. diplomat George Kent, who said in his interview with impeachment investigators that Solomon’s reporting, “if not entirely made up of full cloth … was primarily non-truths and non-sequiturs.”


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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dares Trump to compare grades — and says the ‘loser has to fund the Post Office’

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During an interview with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo on Thursday, President Donald Trump took aim at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), saying that she was a "poor student" at "I won't say where she went to school, it doesn't matter."

"This is not even a smart person," Trump added.

Ocasio-Cortez graduated cum laude from Boston University with a degree in political science and economics.

The attack had parallels to when Trump claimed in 2011, baselessly, that he had heard President Barack Obama had been a "terrible student" — even though Obama had run the Harvard Law Review.

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Trump adviser Larry Kudlow: ‘We don’t want to have’ voting rights protections get through Congress

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On CNBC News Thursday, President Donald Trump's economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the administration does not want protection of voting rights to pass as part of the coronavirus stimulus package.

"So much of the Democratic asks are really liberal left wishlists we don't want to have," said Kudlow. "Voting rights, and aid to aliens, and so forth. That's not our game."

Talks between Congress and the White House are currently at an impasse. The administration is refusing to support outlays greater than $1 trillion, and the president has explicitly demanded there be no funding for the Postal Service, to keep voting by mail as difficult as possible.

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Black man adopted by white Alabama family fights for Confederate symbols: ‘I’m not going to take my flag down’

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A Black Alabama man this week said that he was fighting to save Confederate monuments because members of his adopted white family fought in the U.S. Civil War.

WHNT spoke to Daniel Sims outside the courthouse in Marshall County, where activists are calling for the removal of Confederate monuments. Sims said that he opposed the effort to take down the monuments.

"Regardless of how the next person feels, I'm not going to take my flag down," Sims said. "If I've got anything to do with it, ain't no monument going to come down."

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