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GOP lawmaker defends Trump by dubiously claiming he didn’t kill anyone when he blocked Ukraine aid

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At Wednesday’s impeachment hearing, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) tried to defend President Donald Trump’s conduct by suggesting that nobody was killed by his decision to withhold military aid while trying to extort Ukraine into helping him dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden’s family.

“We can make up facts or not make up facts, but there is one fact needs refuting that’s the idea that lives were lost during the pause,” said Collins. “Undersecretary Hale testified that the funds were prospective, bear in mind, in future — this is future assistance. This is not keeping the army going now, it’s to help them in the future. To be careless with the facts on primetime, to say people’s lives were lost in this, is categorically wrong.”

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In fact, many soldiers died during the window that Trump froze the aid. It is true that the aid wouldn’t have brought extra firepower for the Ukrainians immediately, but there is no way to say it did not contribute to the deaths, because the failure to release it may still have emboldened enemy forces. Additionally, whether the delay actually resulted in deaths is not material to the question of whether holding it up was an abuse of power.

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Legal analyst rips senators for ‘getting the vapors’ and using Schiff ‘being mean’ as an excuse to vote against witnesses

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Senators are already trying to come up with an excuse not to support calling witnesses for the impeachment trial and CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin thinks they found it.

According to CNN's Manu Raju, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Jim Risch (R-ID) freaked out about a CBS News report cited by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) that a Trump confidant said if the Republicans vote against Trump their "head will be in a pike."

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CNN

Susan Collins denies CBS report that a Trump friend threatened Republicans’ heads ‘will be on a pike’

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CBS News reported this week that a friend of the president's threatened U.S. senators if they were thinking of voting in support of witnesses.

“Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike," the Trump confidant said.

https://twitter.com/CBSEveningNews/status/1220491412854185984

According to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), however, it was a lie and no one ever said it.

CNN's Manu Raju revealed after the Senate adjourned that Collins audibly disputed Schiff's quote of the story during the trial.

"She shook her head and said, 'No they didn't. No, that's not true,'" Raju reported.

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Here’s why Trump and McConnell can’t hold up impeachment witnesses during the Senate trial: Ex-special counsel

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been threatening senators that if they voted for witnesses to appear and be questioned, then it would turn the impeachment into an overwhelmingly long and drawn-out process. It's an argument that President Donald Trump's legal team has also argued. The problem is that it is legally incorrect, according to a former special counsel to the Defense Department.

In a panel discussion with CNN, Ryan Goodman said that there's no legal basis for this claim.

"In fact, the Senate can decide the matter and it wouldn't be litigated," Goodman explained. "If the Senate decided to issue the subpoenas and the Chief Justice, in fact, sent those subpoenas, it would be the final word. There's a Supreme Court case about this, Nixon v. United States, Judge Nixon, which said the Senate sets the rules and the courts review it. So, it's not like it will be litigated in a way. They are the final word."

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