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Parnas documents prove ‘this was a shakedown by the president’: Ex-prosecutor

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On MSNBC Tuesday, former federal prosecutor John Flannery said that the new trove of documents released to the House Intelligence Committee by Rudy Giuliani business associate Lev Parnas remove any uncertainty that President Donald Trump was involved in the Ukraine extortion scheme.

“If there was any room for doubt that this was a shakedown by the president, and that he was involved and Rudy was involved, and Rudy’s people were involved … these additional documents put that all to rest,” said Flannery, who once worked with Giuliani when he was at the Southern District of New York. “One of the most significant things about this letter that you were reading is that it starts with, I am private counsel to President Donald Trump. It even suggests that this is out of channels.”

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“If you take this date as real in May, it would suggest that the initial effort in this plot was not for Trump to necessarily have to ask the Ukrainian leader on record in front of government officials, but to get Giuliani to do it. And only when that faltered, didn’t get results they wanted, did it then go to the July call,” said anchor Ari Melber.

“Yes. And the context is interesting,” said Flannery. “Before this letter in May, you have them getting rid of Yovanovitch in April so she’s not in the way to obstruct this corrupt deal they’re putting together. And I think you mentioned in the broadcast, that there was a text message or email from Giuliani. And he’s talking about the anti-Trump people who are around, not Zelensky that he’s concerned about. Then when the two subs who worked there, they found out and were indicted, there is interesting correspondence for the president, John Dowd to represent both of them in the criminal proceedings. That’s changed. Lev Parnas is represented by different counsel. So the evidence that fills in whatever gaps people have.”

“I relate to be one of those senators who think they have to lie for the president and vote for him at this upcoming trial with this kind of evidence,” added Flannery.

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Fox & Friends floats impeachment conspiracy theory about GAO findings of Trump crimes against Ukraine

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"Fox & Friends" assured viewers they could ignore a federal watchdog agency's findings that President Donald Trump broke the law by withholding Ukraine aid.

The nonpartisan the Government Accountability Office found the White House Office of Management and Budget violated the law by freezing $400 million in congressionally approved military aid, but the Fox News hosts suggested the agency was only trying to hurt the president.

"Do you think it's just a coincidence that that news would drop exactly the same day the (impeachment) trial started?" said co-host Steve Doocy.

Co-hosts Pete Hegseth and Ainsley Earhardt agreed, and accepted administration denials at face value.

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GOP senators are questioning allegiance to Trump as impeachment becomes a reality: Morning Joe panel

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According to members of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" panel, Donald Trump may see more defections by previously supportive Republican senators now that the impeachment of the president has become a reality and their conduct will be scrutinized by voters back home.

Speaking with columnist David Ignatius, host Joe Scarborough noted that multiple Republican senators -- including several who are retiring -- are going soft on defending the president and may be inclined to allowing multiple witnesses who could damage the president.

"David Ignatius, you know, we've known Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) both of us, for a long time. and as they coming to the end of their careers," Scarborough began. "I would think [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell would be concerned that these gentlemen would vote their conscience and not just blindly follow Donald Trump and would vote to have a fair, open hearing and trial and get this new evidence that's coming in, that's come in since the House impeached."

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Iran’s supreme leader says Trump is a ‘clown’ who will betray Iranians

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Iran’s supreme leader said President Donald Trump is a “clown” who only pretends to support the Iranian people but will “push a poisonous dagger” into their backs, as he struck a defiant tone in his first Friday sermon in Tehran in eight years.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the mass funerals for Iran’s top general, who was killed in a US airstrike earlier this month, show that the Iranian people support the Islamic Republic despite its recent trials. He said the “cowardly” killing of Soleimani had taken out the most effective commander in the battle against the Islamic State group.

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