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Ex-White House official drops hammer on Mike Pompeo after ‘two-bit criminals’ stalked Ukraine ambassador

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Addressing a House document dump that provided more evidence in Donald Trump’s still-growing Ukraine scandal, a former White House official claimed on CNN that to all appearances White House foreign policy has been being conducted by “two-bit mobsters.”

“New Day” hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota skipped over Tuesday night’s Democratic debate to point to notes and texts from Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas that indicated that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was being stalked with hints of personal threats.

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“These new text messages were provided to Congress by Giuliani’s foreign associate Lev Parnas,” host Camerota explained. “To dig up dirt on the Bidens and to take down Marie Yovanovitch. The materials include this letter to Ukraine’s president, and in it Giuliani requested a meeting indicating he is working with the U.S. president’s knowledge and consent. That this is the first where Giuliani links efforts to President Trump. There is also this note in Vienna that mentions to get Zelensky to announce an investigation of the Bidens.”

“Joe,” she said addressing former White House spokesperson Joe Lockhart. “It just gets worse. Every week there is more evidence that comes out about this shadow diplomacy or whatever operation Rudy Giuliani was doing over in Ukraine and this is particularly disturbing. No wonder Yovanovitch didn’t feel safe when she testified that she — people were making threats. She started to feel unsafe. When somebody told her to get on the plane now, she didn’t really ask questions, she got on a plane right then because she was so concerned about her safety.”

“There’s several layers to this,” Lockhart replied. “One is we now see that Giuliani on the record is telling Zelensky that he’s doing this on the behest of the president and you see through a variety of ways that the president is directing this from the Oval Office. The second is — I was struck this morning given my experience in government — the people that we had doing special diplomacy were people like George Mitchell, you know, Tom Foley went out and did some things — the former speaker of the House. Richard Holbrook.”

“Not Lev Parnas?” Camerota prompted.

“Not two-bit criminals who are either mob figures or trying to act like mob figures,” Lockhart replied. “It’s unconscionable that [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo allowed this to go on. You have to believe at some point he read into all of the stuff and he allowed it.”

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Another fatality in China from SARS-linked virus as mysterious illness spreads to third Asian country

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A second person has died in China from a mysterious SARS-linked virus that has stricken dozens and appeared in two other Asian countries, officials said.

Local authorities said a 69-year-old man died on Wednesday in Wuhan, the central Chinese city believed to be the epicentre of an outbreak of a coronavirus from the same family as the deadly SARS pathogen.

The outbreak has caused alarm because of the link with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

At least 41 people have been hit with pneumonia linked to the new virus in China, prompting authorities in Hong Kong to step up detection measures, including temperature checkpoints for inbound travellers.

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Laurence Tribe predicts how John Roberts — his former student — will rule on impeachment witnesses

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The man who taught Constitutional Law to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts expects him to vote to allow witnesses if he needs to cast a tie-breaking vote while presiding over President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.

Prof. Laurence Tribe was interviewed by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Thursday. In addition to having argued three-dozen cases before the highest court, Tribe has taught at Harvard Law for 50 years and even taught the chief justice.

"What do you expect and what are you hoping to see in your former student presiding over this trial, Chief Justice Roberts?" O'Donnell asked.

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Lev Parnas reveals to Maddow how Trump tried to fire Ambassador Yovanovitch ‘four or five times’ — but failed

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Lev Parnas revealed to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that President Donald Trump repeatedly attempted to fire then-Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch -- but failed.

Parnes says Trump tried "four or five times" according to Parnas.

Parnas, who is under federal indictment, described a meeting at Trump Tower -- attended by Donald Trump, Jr. -- where the president ordered the firing of the ambassador.

The indicted Rudy Giuliani associate says both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-National Security Advisor John Bolton both refused to fire Yovanovitch.

He said, "they couldn't get it done" and so they started the public smear campaign against the ambassador to make it easier for her to be removed.

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