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Trump team ‘is as incompetent, shambolic, paranoid, and given to conspiracy theories as it appears’: MSNBC panel

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In a Sunday evening panel discussion, MSNBC commentators explained that the White House appears to be just as chaotic and marred by chaos as the rumors say.

Many in the White House learned that the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was working overseas in Ukraine. Giuliani claimed that he’s been producing a film that he couldn’t get Fox News to run, as it will appear on the fringe network OAN.

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“What Rudy Giuliani is doing is using Kremlin-manufactured propaganda as a defensive shield for the president,” said CNBC’s John Harwood. “Fiona Hill was unambiguous in her testimony to the intelligence committee. What Rudy Giuliani has been doing with these two indicted men who are linked to a Russian oligarch who is tied to Russian organized crime, is trying to manufacture a story that Ukraine, rather than Russia or in addition to Russia or differently from Russia, meddle in the campaign. That is false.”

He specifically named Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Kennedy (R-LA), who both have taken up the Kremlin talking points to help defend accusations against Russia and the U.S. president.

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens said that it further indicates that the administration is just as disorganized as rumors say.

“The overall picture for me is that the administration, internally, is as incompetent, shambolic, paranoid, and given to conspiracy theories as it appears to be from the outside,” he said.”I think that’s really the striking feature.”

While Secretary Mike Pompeo may be the confirmed head of the State Department, it appears Trump has assigned Giuliani to conduct foreign policy in secret.

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“We have an administration that believes in conspiracy theories that are clearly manufactured or serve the interests of Russia,” Stephens continued. “And a Republican Party that gets behind what it would’ve opposed if a Democratic administration had been behaving in exactly the same way.”

Watch the full discussion below:

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Democrats are zeroing in on Mick Mulvaney to testify at Trump’s impeachment trial

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Democrats want Mick Mulvaney to testify at President Trump's impeachment trial. While John Bolton remains one of their primary targets, some Democrats think "all roads run through [Mulvaney], who still technically runs the Office of Management and Budget," POLITICO reports.

“Mulvaney is most important. All of the testimony seems clear that this entire thing’s run through Mulvaney and Mulvaney's the one talking to Trump on a regular basis,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told reporters on Thursday, adding that he expects Mulvaney to claim executive privilege.

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Commentary

Impeachment trial makes it clear: Republicans are beyond reason, evidence, reality and hope

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In liberal, politically plugged-in circles, it is an article of faith that if only Democrats did something different, they would do better at winning political battles. Dinner parties, social media, online chats, listservs, coffee hour: All are consumed routinely by discussion of what tweak to Democratic messaging would unlock all the political victories that we know belong to us. Progressivism vs. centrism? Are "identity politics" good or bad? Should Democrats embrace more forceful language, or maintain a genteel tone? Play hardball, or deliver placating language about "bipartisanship"?

This article was originally published at Salon

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2020 Election

‘He gave away the game’: Doctors condemn Trump threat to slash Medicare funding

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"We've long suspected he would try to gut Medicare in a second term."

An advocacy group composed of doctors and medical professionals on Wednesday joined the chorus denouncing President Donald Trump for threatening to slash Medicare and Social Security funding "at some point" should he win a second term in November.

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