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‘Ken Starr punched himself in the face’: MSNBC host calls Trump team’s opener a ‘total, unmitigated disaster’

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Legal expert and MSNBC host Ari Melber explained Monday that former independent counsel Ken Starr could not have been a worse person to give an opening statement for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

Host Nicolle Wallace explained that she was satisfied with not being yelled at on television by Trump’s team, as other lawyers have done. But Melber explained that beyond the volume level, the Trump team isn’t on a successful trajectory.

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“This is the first big TV lawyer that we’ve seen deployed, that Donald Trump added to the team,” said Melber. “This was a disaster for Republicans, a total unmitigated legal and constitutional disaster. Ken Starr, at no point in this dramatic, at times, mournful opening, explained in any factual or legal way what’s different. If anything, he drew attention — and there are senators who understand the history — he drew attention to the fact that the last two times in modern history we’ve had impeachments: Clinton and Nixon.”

“They were for less!” exclaimed Wallace.

“They were for abuse of power among the original articles,” Melber agreed. “There were three articles for Nixon, one abuse of power, four initially for Clinton, one abuse of power. Hearing this mumbo jumbo of technical crime vis-à-vis high crime, abuse of power is the ultimate high crime. And so listening to this it was remarkable because Ken Starr is ‘Mr. Abuse of Power’ and I was listening interested, ready, open-minded to hear him somehow distinguish, explain, foreign policy. Nothing. He came up empty.”

Melber went on to call it a case of Starr vs. Starr like he was “shadow-boxing with himself.”

“I think constitutionally it may or may not resolve this case but for lawyers and senators watching constitutionally we watched Ken Starr punch himself in the face and then walk off the floor and anyone paying attention thought, ‘That’s odd.’ You asked a panelist earlier, ‘Well, what’s in his mind?’ We don’t know but we know what’s in his hands, his own hypocritical history,” Melber continued.

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Watch the full exchange below:

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Coronavirus epidemic surges in South Korea as cases exceed 3,000

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South Korea confirmed 813 more coronavirus cases on Saturday, the biggest increase to date for the country, taking the national total to 3,150 infections with four additional deaths.

Authorities also reported the country’s first case of reinfection – a 73-year-old woman who tested positive for a second time after her recovery and release from hospital last week.

The illness recurred “as her immune system had declined”, said Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) official Kwon Jun-wook.

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2020 Election

Donald Trump has launched a 2020 campaign disinformation juggernaut — and it’s gaining speed

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You may be forgiven if you are under the impression that the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak is just one more example of his incompetence, aggressive ignorance, contempt for science and outright abuse of government. But it's worse than that. For the White House, and especially for Donald Trump's re-election campaign, it's an opportunity to put into play the massive disinformation apparatus they have built for the 2020 presidential race.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Never Trumpers fear for their safety if they dare attend CPAC: report

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On Saturday, Politico profiled a handful of longtime conservatives who have criticized President Donald Trump — and the general consensus was that they feared hostility at this year's annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

One such figure was former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), a Tea Party darling who has since attacked Trump for undermining the rule of law, and briefly mounted a presidential primary challenge. He attended CPAC as a guest of comedian Trevor Noah, and attendees who saw him seemed conflicted. "Torn between catching up with an old colleague and being singled out by observers as talking to a Trump foe, they split the difference — and instead kept asking him how his wife was doing," wrote Tina Nguyen.

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