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Vindman will be the ‘crucial witness’ — and GOP smears against him will be ‘self-defeating’: Ex-prosecutor

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On Tuesday’s edition of CNN’s “New Day,” former federal proseuctor Elie Honig walked through the importance of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s upcoming testimony in the impeachment hearings.

“He’s going to be a crucial witness,” said Honig. “The crux of Vindman’s testimony has to do with Gordon Sondland, who we know was in direct contact with President Trump. Vindman has testified before that Sondland discussed what the deliverable would be — that’s an important word — in order to get the meeting. He talked about the investigation into the Bidens, that the Ukrainians would have to deliver an investigation into the Bidens. That goes right to the quid pro quo. Now also, of course, Vindman listened to that July 25 phone call live, and his reaction was that this was about getting a White House meeting. It was a demand for him to fulfill this particular prerequisite in order to get the meeting. Again, that goes to the central corrupt exchange here.”

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“Now, Vindman also gives us a couple really interesting and, I think, important details,” continued Honig. “First of all, he talks about the power disparity between the United States and Ukraine. He says, here’s how important, here’s how desperate Ukraine was for that foreign aid. It was 10 percent of their annual military budget. He reported his concerns up the chain, not once, but twice, to NSC lawyer John Eisenberg, who is refusing to testify, so we don’t know what happened with those complaints. And Vindman says he tried to correct the July 25 transcript. There was a mention of the company Burisma that did not make it into the final version.”

“What are Republicans going to do?” added Honig. “They’re not just going to sit back and take it. They’re going to argue that he’s dealing in second-hand information. Remember, mostly because he also first-hand heard that phone call and they may do what they did before, which I think is self-defeating, which is to question his patriotism. Donald Trump has called him what he calls everybody who testifies against him, a Never Trumper. I think that’s ridiculous.”

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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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