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Marco Rubio is road testing a new lie about impeachment that shows he’s panicked

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Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida indicated just how desperate his party is to avoid the truth about President Donald Trump’s conduct on Monday, telling CNN reporter Manu Raju that he doesn’t think the Senate impeachment trial should introduce any new facts.

Raju asked whether the Senate should subpoena former National Security Adviser John Bolton about his role in the Ukraine scandal. He has said he has pertinent information to share about that charges against Trump brought by the House of Representatives, and he announced Monday that he was prepared to comply with a subpoena to testify at the Senate trial, if he receives one.

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Rubio said he’s not interested in hearing what Bolton has to say.

“I think in my view our inquiry should be based on the testimony that [the House committees] took,” he said. “We are acting on articles of impeachment. We should be constrained by the information that those articles are based on.”

Rubio reiterated this view on Twitter:

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But this view makes no sense, and his claims about how the Senate should handle its trial are entirely baseless. If the Senate only evaluated the information in the House investigation, then it wouldn’t need to hold a trial at all; it could just vote on whether to acquit or convict immediately.

The impeachment process is modeled on the criminal justice system; the House acts as a grand jury, and the Senate acts as a jury trial. In criminal trials, new evidence can and is introduced all the time. It’s true that the charges are set by the grand jury — or the House in cases of impeachment — but there’s no reason to believe that new facts that either support or rebut those charges can’t be introduced in the trial. And there’s precedent for this in presidential impeachments: In Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, the Senate obtained new witness testimony at private depositions.

Suggesting that it would be at all inappropriate or out of line to introduce new facts at the trial, especially witness testimony that has only now just become available, is a blatant lie from Rubio. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made similar claims, though somewhat more cleverly, to suggest that the Democrats’ calls for more witnesses at the trial reveals a lack of confidence in the case the House has made. What this really shows, though, is that Republicans believe Trump is guilty, and they don’t want to hear more evidence. If they really believed he was innocent, they’d be eager to have exonerating evidence brought forward. Nothing they do suggests they believe there’s exonerating evidence.

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Democrats, on the other hand, believe they have a strong case against the president. They just also know that the case hasn’t been compelling enough to convince Republicans to break from Trump — perhaps an impossibly high bar. They hope they can use the trial to pry loose even more damning evidence against the president. It likely still won’t be enough to convince enough Republicans required to successfully remove the president, but exposing the public to more evidence could further damage his standing.

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2020 Election

If Democrats fight right-wing ‘fake news’ fire with fire, we all lose

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Democrats are increasingly worried about losing the 2020 presidential election to Donald Trump. The party is in seeming disarray from the botched Iowa caucuses and the failure of an "electable" frontrunner to emerge early in the primary season. Trump's fundraising and digital operations are humming, buoyed in part by his acquittal at the Senate trial which refused to remove him from office for soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 elections and obstructing the House's investigation of it.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Activism

Nevada GOP activist reveals how he ‘caucused for Bernie’ to help Trump win: ‘It would be a dream election’

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Conservative activist Chuck Muth said that he temporarily switched parties to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucuses.

Muth, who spoke to the Las Vegas Journal-Review while wearing a red Keep America Great hat, explained that he had crossed over to “vote for the weakest candidate possible of the Democrats.”

“It was kind of a way of demonstrating how absurd I think it is to have same-day registration as well as early voting for a caucus,” Muth explained. “So my wife and I last Sunday went to an early voting site, we changed parties right there on the spot. We caucused for Bernie.”

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Soledad O’Brien shames 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ hockey team for photo-op with Trump while wearing MAGA hats

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In an early Sunday morning tweet, award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien expressed her dismay with members of the 1980 Gold Medal-winning Olympic hockey team for celebrating their historic win over the then-Soviet Union -- dubbed the "Miracle on Ice" -- with Donald Trump while wearing "Make America Great Again" hats.

According to O'Brien, seeing them hand Trump a photo-op filled her with "disappointment."

Taking to Twitter, she wrote, " Ugh.... so disappointed by the @1980MiracleTeam . I loved watching that game as a kid with my dad. Loved watching the movie with my kids. To see them on a stage, in maga hats—kinda crushing I have to say."

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