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Bolton’s firsthand evidence puts senators in the difficult position of believing ‘bizarro’ Trump team argument: Legal experts

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Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal and Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe agreed that the recent revelations from John Bolton, puts Republicans in a difficult position. Bolton’s manuscript confirmed that President Donald Trump’s bribery scheme puts senators in the difficult position of being faced with firsthand witnesses they’ve tried to block.

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Republicans were given multiple opportunities to agree that they would like to hear witnesses and new evidence as part of the impeachment trial in the Senate, but each time, they voted against it. But with the news Bolton released Sunday night, it forces senators to acknowledge they deny even firsthand evidence of Trump’s guilt.

“It’s hugely devastating for the president,” said Katyal. “So, Article I of the impeachment against President Trump is an abuse of power, and the allegation is that he tried to cheat in the 2020 election and pressure the Ukrainian government to get dirt on Joe Biden. And the Bolton revelations today, if true, and of course we haven’t seen the book, but if true, corroborates all of that story and say that Trump did pressure the Ukrainians and held the aid in order to get dirt on Biden.”

He said that in the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress could also be proved by Bolton’s book. He gave firsthand accounts of conversations he had with people like Mick Mulvaney, Bill Barr, and Mike Pompeo, all of whom knew about this scheme and helped cover it up.

“It looks like people in the White House knew these were Bolton’s views. Yet, they went on television as recently as yesterday, denying that there was anyone with any firsthand knowledge that corroborated this Ukrainian pressure account,” Katyal continued. “And coming on top of the Lev Parnas revelations, this wasn’t even the latest one in the last three days. Altogether, I think it is the trajectory of this is incredibly bad for the president. His story has fallen apart.”

Professor Tribe agreed that it has become clear that the president’s case collapsed, but predicted that there was likely even more to come.

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“And when Adam Schiff made the point that ‘America deserves a fair trial, she’s worth it,’ now we know exactly what that means,” he continued. “A fair trial requires that all of this new evidence be vetted at the Senate itself, not simply in books that will come out after the trial is over.”

He explained that these facts also put more pressure “on the bizarro argument” he anticipates the president’s lawyers will make Monday.

“Even if everything that is charged in these articles of impeachment is true, that is even if it is true that the president solicited help from a foreign power, pressured that power, withheld $400 million of federally-appropriated money, to leverage that power in order to give him dirt on his opponents, even if all of that is true, it isn’t impeachable,” Tribe reiterated the president’s case. “You have to listen hard to that crazy argument, but it may take the form that it says, ‘abuse of power isn’t impeachable because it’s such a vague, open-ended phrase.’ But what you have to do is look under the book cover and see what abuse of power is really being charged here.”

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He argued that what is being charged isn’t merely an abuse of power or of obstruction but a series of concrete actions.

“And if these lawyers tell us that even if the president did all of that, it’s just fine, he can’t be impeached for it, then that sends a terrible signal to every future president,” Tribe said. “It says every future president can use the power of his office.”

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Watch the full panel discussion below:


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2020 Election

Trump blasted as ‘pathological liar’ for claiming stock market is ‘starting to look very good’ after 1,000 point crash

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The COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic spreading across the world has present challenges for President Donald Trump.

In addition to the public health challenge facing the administration, Trump's 2020 reelection campaign is also faced with an economic crisis as the virus disrupts global supply chains.

"Investors around the world retreated from stocks and piled into haven assets including government bonds and gold, reflecting escalating worries that the coronavirus will disrupt the global economy," The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. "The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 1,000 points—its biggest point decline in more than two years; the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note approached a record low; and gold prices climbed for the eighth straight session to a seven-year high."

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2020 Election

Here are 11 of the most popular progressive policies for candidates to run on — and 5 of the least popular

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New polling from the progressive pollster Data for Progress, described in a new piece Monday at Vox, points the way forward for Democrats looking to oust President Donald Trump from the White House and enact a liberal policy agenda.

Progressives often argue that their plans are broadly popular with Americans, and that these ideas are only prevented from becoming reality because of an obstinate Republican Party weaponizing racism and misinformation, archaic political institutions that stymie significant efforts at reform, and corruption across the two parties that allows special and corporate interests to undermine the popular will. And there is a fair amount of truth in this idea — some progressive idea are remarkably popular, and there's no good reason they haven't been implemented yet.

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Coronavirus forces fan ban at Italian football games

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Upcoming matches in Italian Serie A and the Europa League will be played behind closed doors to combat the spread of coronavirus, the Italian sports minister announced on Monday evening.

"Following the demands of the sports world and knowing that the ban on sporting events open to the public remains in force in six regions of northern Italy, we have agreed to the holding of matches behind closed doors," said Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora after a meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Inter Milan themselves announced their Europa League match with Ludogorets on Thursday would be played with no fans present.

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