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White House blocks four administration witnesses from giving impeachment depositions

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Four potentially devastating witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry will follow White House orders and will refuse to testify.

The White House told the administration officials they cannot testify Monday in closed-door depositions as lawmakers investigate President Donald Trump’s scheme to withhold aid to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rivals, reported the Wall Street Journal.

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Two White House lawyers, John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis, had been scheduled to give depositions Monday, along with Brian McCormick, a deputy official in the Office of Management and Budget, and Robert Blair, a presidential assistant and senior adviser to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Eisenberg was identified by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman as the White House official who suggested moving a transcript of Trump’s controversial phone call to a classified server, which violated longstanding official protocol.

Blair listened to the call as it took place July 25, and was also advised of the decision-making process for withholding congressionally approved military aid from Ukraine as leverage to announce an investigation of Joe Biden.

It’s not yet clear how Democrats will respond to the White House block, but a federal judge is already considering whether former Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman can be forced to testify.


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GOP officials admit 2020 platform is basically whatever’s on Trump’s Twitter account

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President Donald Trump has shaped the Republican Party into his own image in less than four years on the job, and that doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon.

Nearly half of the House Republicans on the job when Trump took office in 2017 have either retired, resigned, been defeated or are retiring in 2020, and many of the GOP newcomers are devoted Trump loyalists, reported Politico.

“Whether the president wins or loses, his policy views and style have firmly taken over the Republican Party — nationalism and white grievance, those kinds of things,” said Matt Moore, former chairman of South Carolina's GOP. “I don’t think that Trumpy politics will be leaving the stage anytime soon.”

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Coronavirus data disappears from CDC dashboard after Trump hijacks info

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The Trump administration on Tuesday forced all hospitals and states to make a significant and immediate change in how they report coronavirus patient data, hijacking the information to be funneled into the Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Experts warned the move could allow the administration to politicize the data, hide it, be less transparent, all of which interferes in the real-time usage of information to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

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Driver hits 63-year-old man with his car after he asked him to wear a mask in a store: police

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A Rhode Island driver is being accused of hitting a 63-year-old man with his car after the man had confronted him about not wearing a face mask into a local convenience store.

Local news station WJAR 10 reports that 63-year-old William Beauchene got into an argument this week with a 30-year-old man named Ralph Buontempo, who had gone into the convenience store in the town of Lincoln, Rhode Island without wearing a mask.

Witnesses told police that the two men began yelling obscenities at one another, and that at one point Buontempo slapped a cup of coffee out of Beauchene's hand, which then splashed all over the store manager who had come outside to try to deescalate the confrontation.

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