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‘Trump was caught’: Every major GOP excuse for president’s conduct destroyed by ex-prosecutor

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Former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade said Thursday’s marathon impeachment hearing left her “shouting” at her television, so she gathered her thoughts and blew up Republican defenses one by one.

McQuade, an MSNBC legal analyst and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, exposed the weaknesses in each of the GOP’s sometimes contradictory defenses of President Donald Trump against impeachment by the House of Representatives.

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“Trump hit the trifecta of impeachable conduct by subverting an election, seeking foreign influence, and putting personal interest ahead of national interest,” McQuade wrote. “And he obstructed Congress by refusing to produce any witnesses or documents.”

Those two allegations form the basis of the two articles of impeachment lawmakers will vote on Friday morning, but McQuade disputed Republican claims that no harm was done because the promised military aid was eventually sent to Ukraine.

“The aid went through only after Trump was caught,” McQuade wrote. “In the meantime, months of delay cost Ukraine lives in its war with Russia. U.S. credibility was harmed and moral authority to fight corruption was eroded.”

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She demonstrated Trump’s actions meet the standard for bribery, and she argued that abuse of power was indeed an impeachable offense under the Constitution.

“Impeachable conduct may be criminal conduct, but need not be,” McQuade wrote. “A president could be impeached if he watched TV all day and failed to fulfill his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Republicans insist Trump holds the authority to ask for investigations, but McQuade argued that he went around the normal procedure for a lawful request as part of a covert operation to subvert the 2020 election.

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“If this were legitimate investigation, you wouldn’t need to send your personal lawyer and his henchmen to do it,” she wrote. “Witnesses say Trump didn’t want investigation, just announcement of investigation.”

“Trump’s request for a ‘favor’ is strong evidence, corroborated by witness testimony, of months-long scheme to get Zelensky to ‘go to the mic’ and announce Biden probe,” McQuade added. “Aid was leverage.”

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Trump was advancing his personal interests, McQuade argued, and not any legitimate public interest by seeking the announcement of an investigation of his political rival.

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“Trump sought foreign influence in our election and harmed national security by delaying aid designed to fight Russia, our adversary,” she wrote. “We don’t have to accept it. We deserve better.”


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Florida sheriff ordered his officers to not wear face masks — and then banned the safety gear

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A Florida sheriff ordered his officers to not wear face masks -- and banned the safety gear from his office -- even as the southern US state has hit record daily coronavirus death tolls.

Sheriff Billy Woods, of central Florida's Marion County, emailed deputies Tuesday to tell them of the new mask prohibition, according to local paper the Ocala Star Banner, citing the message.

"My order will stand as is when you are on-duty/working as my employee and representing my Office – masks will not be worn," the email read.

The sheriff allowed for certain exceptions, including for officers who work in prisons, schools, hospitals or with people suspected of being infected with the virus.

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Fast-moving brush fire north of Los Angeles has prompted mandatory evacuation orders for some 500 homes

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A fast-moving brush fire north of Los Angeles prompted mandatory evacuation orders for some 500 homes on Wednesday as firefighters battled the flames that had burned 10,000 acres by early evening, authorities said.

The Lake Fire erupted at around 3:30 pm (2230 GMT) near Lake Hughes, about a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles.

Rapidly-spreading flames had scorched some 10,000 acres (4,050 hectares) within a little more than three hours, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

"Multiple agencies are battling a brush fire near the Lake Hughes area in the Angeles National Forest," the department said in a tweet.

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‘Trump should know how to be in public with a woman who publicly humiliated him’: Trevor Noah jokes

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"The Daily Show's" Trevor Noah couldn't help but notice President Donald Trump's confusion during the Q&A of his daily coronavirus press briefing. Trump was asked about Vice President Joe Biden's pick as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate. In his attacks on Harris, Trump seemed to be spending more time defending Biden than he did attacking him.

Trump claimed the reason he was surprised Biden picked Harris is that she was "very very nasty to Joe Biden," he said she was "probably nastier even than Pocahontas," his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). "She was very disrespectful to Joe Biden."

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