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Trump’s Ukraine extortion scheme began as a plot to undermine Mueller: report

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A new report from the Washington Post claims that President Donald Trump’s efforts to shake down the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden actually began as an effort to undermine the work of special counsel Robert Mueller.

As the Post reports, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has admitted publicly that he started traveling to Ukraine in late 2018 because he’d received a “tip” about the Ukrainian government conspiring against Trump.

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While it’s not known for certain who gave Giuliani this “tip,” the Post notes that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has for years been pushing the theory that Ukraine framed the Russian government for the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee.

“In the summer of 2016, [Manafort] began to suggest to other Trump campaign aides that the Ukrainians might have been responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee in 2016, rather than the Russians,” said that Post, citing sworn testimony by former deputy Trump campaign chairman Rick Gates. “Gates told investigators that Manafort’s comments attributing the hacks to Ukrainians ‘parroted a narrative’ that was also advanced at the time by Konstantin Kilimnik, an employee of Manafort who the FBI has assessed to have ties to Russian intelligence.”

Paul Rosenzweig, an attorney who served on former special prosecutor Ken Starr’s team in the 1990s, tells the Post that it appears that the president and his allies have been successfully manipulated by a Russian disinformation campaign.

“All roads lead to Russia,” he said.

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Mitch McConnell is manipulating Trump to keep him from prolonging impeachment trial: NYT’s Haberman

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Appearing on CNN on Sunday morning, the New York Times' Maggie Haberman said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is stringing an anxious Donald Trump along and manipulating him to go along with his plan to wrap up the Senate impeachment trial.

Speaking with host John King, Haberman claimed that McConnell is speaking to Trump in such a way that the president may think that McConnell's ideas are his own.

"Do you think the president will -- e could do this over two more days but does he give up a day of TV time?" King asked about the impeachment trial

"McConnell has convinced him, it's taking him some time, back and forth," B Haberman explained. "The president had to be allowed to believe it's his idea or that he wasn't being led along but he's generally done what McConnell wanted. He [McConnell] wants this over quick."

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‘Stop lying’: Experts and observers discredit Trump attorney’s impeachment defense with readily available facts

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After three days of House impeachment managers’ brilliant prosecution of President Donald Trump – and “prebuttal” of the arguments the president’s team was expected to make – White House attorneys Saturday morning began their defense of President Trump.

It’s not going well.

Deputy White House Counsel Mike Purpura (photo) has been making the majority of today’s arguments – they have decided that not enough people will be watching on TV so Saturday’s defense will last not eight but just two hours.

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How Mike Pompeo is a ‘master’ of ‘messaging’ that panders to ‘End Times evangelicals’

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The Christian Right loves President Donald Trump for a variety of reasons, from his racist rhetoric and anti-immigrant views to all the far-right judges he has added to the federal courts. But journalist Stephanie Mencimer, this week in an article for Mother Jones, focuses on one of their most disturbing reasons for being so pro-Trump: an obsession with the End Times.

In Protestant Christianity, one finds both fundamentalists and non-fundamentalists. Mainline Protestants (Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans, the African Methodist Episcopal or AME Church) study the Bible intensely, but they don't have the obsession with the End Times and the New Testament's Book of Revelation that the fundamentalist Christian Right has. And even though Trump himself is not a fundamentalist (he was raised Presbyterian), he is more than happy to pander to far-right white evangelicals — who, as Mencimer explains in her article, believe that Trump is important to the end of the world. The Christian Right welcomes the End Times because as they see it, Jesus Christ will return to Earth in the last days.

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