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Lev Parnas directly implicates Lindsey Graham in Ukraine plot: ‘He was in the loop’

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An indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani says Sen. Lindsey Graham was “in the loop” in the scheme to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into Joe Biden.

Lev Parnas, a Ukraine-born businessman charged with campaign finance violations, told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360°” that Graham has a personal interest in keeping witness testimony out of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

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“Sen. Lindsey Graham I haven’t had any contact with, but because of my relationship with Rudy Giuliani, I have a lot of information about his dealings,” Parnas said. “It was, like, surreal to watch Lindsey Graham up there, sit there — he’s out there talking about all the stuff, that this is a sham, that this should go away.”

“At the end of the day,” Parnas added, “he was in the loop just like everybody else. He (had) a very good relationship with Rudy Giuliani, he was aware of what was going on going back to at least 2018, maybe even earlier. If you recall, he was the one Rudy Giuliani was supposed to bring Viktor Shokin to when the visa got denied, and I think he was even, if you check the records, involved in getting the request for the visa somehow.”

Parnas’ attorney Joseph Bondy released letters Wednesday signed by a Ukraine-born U.S. citizen Michael Guralnik to both Graham and Sigal Mandelker, then a top official at the U.S. Treasury Department pushing for sanctions against various Ukrainian political and business leaders.

A month or so later Giuliani tried to help Shokin, a former top prosecutor in Ukraine regarded as corrupt by the previous administration and U.S. allies, obtain a visa to meet with Graham in the U.S.

“Sen. Graham was involved even before I got involved with Mayor Giuliani, so he had to have been in the loop and had to have known what was going on,” Parnas said. “I was with Giuliani every day, that was what was happening.”

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Parnas told CNN he was “1 million percent” sure that Graham was aware of his and Giuliani’s efforts to press Ukraine to announce an investigation of Biden.

“Rudy told me not once but on several occasions that he spoke to Lindsey Graham about the situation, that Lindsey was always aware,” he said. “I don’t know how deeply aware, I didn’t speak to Lindsey Graham, I don’t have text messages with him, we didn’t interact, so I can only speak from what Rudy told me.”

Parnas claims he donated to Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who recently cut an ad against Trump’s impeachment, and various super PACs associated with GOP senators, as well as campaigning with Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN).

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Mike Pence’s office punishes CNN for refusing to air his portion of coronavirus briefing

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Vice President Mike Pence has kept the nation's top health officials from appearing on CNN since the network stopped carrying the daily coronavirus briefings in their entirety.

The vice president's office, which is responsible for booking those officials to deliver pandemic information, told CNN that Dr. Deborah Birx or Dr. Anthony Fauci would not be permitted to appear on the network until it carries the briefings, including Pence's remarks, in full.

"When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air," a Pence spokesperson told CNN.

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‘Pandemics expose the fissures of society’: Rev. William Barber tells CNN why people of color are hurt most by COVID-19

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The Rev. William Barber told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on Thursday that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown a light on racial and economic inequality in the United States, as statistics are showing a disproportionate number of people of color are dying from the disease.

After citing statistics from New York City showing that COVID-19 is killing black and Latino residents at twice the rate it's killing white residents, Camerota asked Barber to explain why he thinks the pandemic has been more lethal to communities of color.

"Pandemics expose the fissures of our society," he said. "They expose all of the things we haven't fixed prior to the pandemic. So we had less health care, we had less wages in poor communities."

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Andrew Cuomo threatens to bail on CNN interview when his brother shows vintage photo of governor in bellbottoms

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) appeared to feign anger during a CNN interview Wednesday in which his brother, Christopher Cuomo, showed a vintage photo of their family with the elder brother clad in bellbottoms, a rhinestone belt and an unfortunate attempt at an afro.

The younger Cuomo is still suffering from the effects of coronavirus, appearing redfaced and wiping his brow. However, his brother noted that he seemed more animated than he has in days.

"Now I've seen you referred to a little bit recently as the 'Love Gov' and I'm wondering if that's making you a little soft on the president, that you don't want to really criticize him, because you need him and now's not a time for fighting," said the younger Cuomo. "But don't you have to balance that with calling him out if he's doing things that you don't think are great for the people of your state to be hearing and experiencing? Love Gov?"

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