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Here’s why White House lawyers didn’t want to discuss the specifics of what Trump asked Ukraine to do

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Writing for the Washington Post on Tuesday, Aaron Blake pointed out a key fact about President Donald Trump’s demands of Ukraine that White House defense attorneys seemed unwilling to bring up in the Senate impeachment trial.

“President Trump’s defense team on Tuesday ended an extended opening argument in which it laid out that Trump had legitimate reasons to ask Ukraine for specific investigations. But it spent almost no time vouching for the actual investigations he wanted,” wrote Blake.

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“To the extent Trump’s team tried to argue the investigations were legitimate, it focused mostly on the idea that Hunter Biden’s employment at a Ukrainian gas company was problematic,” wrote Blake, but “Trump’s legal team spent literally zero time talking about the one involving CrowdStrike and a server that was supposedly in Ukraine. Trump’s team didn’t utter the word ‘CrowdStrike’ once in three days, in fact, nor did it even mention a ‘server’ in Ukraine. It instead more broadly defended the idea that Ukraine might have interfered in the 2016 election.”

CrowdStrike — a cybersecurity firm that played a key role in uncovering Russia’s fingerprint in the hacks of Democratic emails in 2016 — is not a Ukrainian company, nor does it have a “server.” But Russian propaganda has tried to paint it as the real mastermind of the hack, something that Trump fell for and tried to pursue in his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

And that, wrote Blake, would pose a huge problem for the White House team if they acknowledged it.

“Part of the Trump team’s difficulty in defending him is that they had to establish that the investigations he was pursuing were legitimate. Otherwise, it looks much more like he was just out to tar the Bidens and pursue personal pet political causes, rather than actually rooting about ‘corruption,'” wrote Blake. “But rather than defend Trump’s actual theories, his own defense team steered well clear of them and pretended he was alleging somewhat-similar-but-less-conspiratorial ideas. With hours left on the clock in which they could have expanded their defense, they devoted precious little time to what Trump actually alleged. And the fact that they weren’t willing to completely vouch for the boss speaks volumes.”

You can read more here.

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‘They deserve it’: Republican strategist tells GOP it’s their own fault for going down with Trump because ‘they know better’

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Republican strategist Susan del Percio said that there is no excuse for GOP members who failed to do the right thing and fight back against President Donald Trump when they had the opportunity.

Speaking to MSNBC's Joy Reid Thursday, del Percio called Trump "the anchor" around the GOP's necks, "dragging them down."

"But, you know what, they deserve it," she continued. "There are Republicans out there that deserve this because they know better. They should have been better on impeachment. They should have been holding him accountable all along. Now they are scared and worried about themselves. Well, boohoo, you brought it on. there's no excuse."

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Trump officials demanded the Army ‘dig for misconduct’ to justify firing Lt. Col. Vindman

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This week, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman willingly left the Army after decades of honorable service. He cited a concerted campaign of "bullying" from the highest branches of power in the United States, and now more details are becoming known.

A New Yorker report revealed that top aides to President Donald Trump were told that they needed to find dirt on Vindman that could justify the firing of the decorated war hero.

"Vindman expected to go to the National War College this fall—a low-profile assignment—then take another foreign posting," the New Yorker reported. "But, in a final act of revenge, the White House recently made clear that Trump opposed Vindman’s promotion. Senior Administration officials told [Defense Secretary Mark] Esper and Ryan McCarthy, the Secretary of the Army, to dig for misconduct that would justify blocking Vindman’s promotion. They couldn’t find anything, multiple sources told me. Others in the military chain of command began to warn Vindman that he would never be deployable overseas again—despite his language skills and regional expertise."

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George Conway reveals how Mary Trump’s book and the Supreme Court prove the ‘walls are closing in’ on the president

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Republican lawyer and "Lincoln Project" co-founder, George Conway, wrote in a Washington Post column Thursday that there are a lot of commonalities in Mary Trump's forthcoming tell-all book and the Supreme Court decision passed down in President Donald Trump's case with New York prosecutor Cy Vance.

Mary Trump, who is a clinical psychologist, delivers "professional judgments about the president's indisputable narcissism and, perhaps, sociopathy dovetail with those that other experts have reached before," wrote Conway. "Yet it's not the possible diagnoses that give Mary Trump's book its punch. It's the factual detail — detail that only a family member could provide."

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