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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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Trump announces Rudy Giuliani ‘wants to go before Congress’ and testify about his Ukraine dealings

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President Donald Trump on Saturday said that his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, wanted to testify before Congress.

Speaking to reporters as he departed for a Republican fundraiser in Florida, Trump praised the former New York City mayor.

"Rudy, as you know, has been one of the great crime fighters of the last 50 years," Trump said of his lawyer, who is reportedly under federal investigation for breaking the law.

"And, he did get back from Europe just recently and I know -- he has not told me what he found, but I think he wants to go before Congress and say, and also to the attorney general and the Department of Justice," Trump said.

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GOP governors are refusing to do Trump’s bidding and ducking him on the campaign trail: report

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On Saturday, Maggie Haberman of The New York Times profiled how President Donald Trump is having less luck whipping Republican governors into line than Republican senators, including governors who arguably owe their election to his support.

"In Florida, Mr. Trump’s aides helped save the flailing candidacy of Ron DeSantis in the 2018 Republican primary, and then the general election," wrote Haberman. "Also last year, in Georgia, Mr. Trump helped pull Brian Kemp over the finish line in both the primary and the general election. In both cases, Mr. Trump’s advisers implored him to stay out of the primaries, and he agreed to — only to surprise his aides by jumping in to support Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Kemp."

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Courts have avoided refereeing between Congress and the president — Trump may change all that

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President Donald Trump’s refusal to hand over records to Congress and allow executive branch employees to provide information and testimony to Congress during the impeachment battle is the strongest test yet of legal principles that over the past 200 years have not yet been fully defined by U.S. courts.

It’s not the first test: Struggles over power among the political branches predate our Constitution. The framers chose not to, and probably could not, fully resolve them.

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