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"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech," said Benjamin Franklin.
Everyone has an opinion and the right to speak that opinion our forefathers granted us that right it's called the First Amendment. Read it then discuss it in the Forums. Find out about Donald J. Trump’s time in the white house. Donald J. Trump is a crook, a con man and liar who uses alternative facts and projects himself on to other.

Donald J. Trump White House Page 32
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Before leaving the internal gathering at Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, President Donald Trump held a hastily scheduled press conference. In it, he was asked about the clear discrepancy between his initial claim that no Americans had been harmed in Iran's retaliatory strikes against a US base in Iraq and reports of 11 military personnel diagnosed with concussions and an unnamed number of others also being treated in the wake of the attack. "No, I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it's not very serious," Trump said dismissively. When pressed about the potential for traumatic brain injury among those concussed, Trump added: "They told me about it numerous days later, you'd have to ask Department of Defense.

I don't consider it very serious relative to other injuries that I've seen. I've seen what Iran has done with their roadside bombs to our troops. I've seen people with no legs and with no arms. I've seen people that were horribly, horribly injured in that area, that war. No, I do not consider that to be bad injuries, no." Which, well, yeah. Let's start with what we know about the injured soldiers. We know that the 11 soldiers initially injured were evacuated from the base in Iraq -- eight to Germany and three more to Kuwait. In addition, the Pentagon announced Tuesday that an unspecified number of other troops had been injured in the attack and evacuated to Germany.

Barry Goldwater had the power to tell Nixon it was all over. But don’t expect a repeat this time.
By GARRETT M. GRAFF

At the end for Richard Nixon, after all the mounting evidence in the Watergate scandal, after both special prosecutors, after all the White House indictments, after the guilty pleas, after the obstruction efforts fell apart, after all the court fights, after all the damaging revelations in outlets like the Washington Post, Time and the Los Angeles Times, after all the impeachment hearings, it all came down to Barry Goldwater.

It’s easy, nearly 50 years after Watergate, to forget that Nixon’s ignominious departure from the White House was hardly a foregone conclusion. The Republican Party had stuck closely with Nixon even through the darkest days of the Watergate scandal; even as its lawmakers whispered behind closed doors about his guilt and even as public opinion polls showed Nixon dragging down their party, they had toughed it out—past the indictments of his top aides, past the courts batting back one attempt at obstruction after another, even after Nixon’s attacks on and ultimate firing of the special prosecutor targeting him.

It wasn’t until August 6, 1974, at the regular Senate Republican Conference lunch that Barry Goldwater fumed to his colleagues: “There are only so many lies you can take, and now there has been one too many. Nixon should get his ass out of the White House—today!” Hours later, he ventured to the White House to tell Nixon to resign. And, amazingly, Nixon did. For Nixon knew that when Goldwater threw in the towel, it really was over.

Senators have a duty to conduct a fair and full trial. The Republican leader is trying to make sure they can’t.
By Noah Bookbinder

The removal of a sitting president is the last line of defense provided by the framers of the Constitution against the abuse of power by the leader of our country. When senators take an oath to uphold the Constitution, they assume the grave responsibility to conduct a thorough and fair trial on behalf of the American people. Dismissing this process set out in the Constitution, President Trump has called the impeachment process a “scam.” That’s his opinion, of course — but this week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is doing everything he can to ensure that the Senate trial actually is a scam. An impeachment trial is only meaningful if the American people can have confidence in the fairness of the process; only then will the trial’s verdict be worthy of respect. Mr. McConnell is advocating trial procedures that would undercut any possibility of that.

Americans understand the basic contours of a fair trial: Each side presents relevant evidence, in the form of documents and witnesses. But Mr. McConnell and President Trump’s allies in the Senate appear to think that the president should be allowed to play by his own rules. The impeachment procedural resolution that the Senate adopted early Wednesday morning appears designed to, among other things, prevent either side from introducing testimony and evidence about President Trump’s alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

By Eric Litke

Witnesses have been a key point of debate in the lead up to President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial before the U.S. Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., delayed sending the Senate the articles of impeachment while seeking —among other things — a commitment to call witnesses from Republicans who control the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has vowed to force votes on witnesses and documents in the Republican-controlled chamber.

Democrats say avoiding witnesses would be tantamount to a cover-up. And Wisconsin’s Democratic senator, Tammy Baldwin, said it would also be breaking with centuries of tradition. "Every other impeachment trial the Senate has ever had, including those for other federal officials aside from the two presidential impeachments … has included witnesses," Baldwin said in a Jan. 19, 2020, appearance on WISN-TV’s ‘UpFront’ program.

By Tom McKay

The U.S. Department of Justice claimed in a letter to a federal judge this week that it took almost two months for the FBI to break into an iPhone 11 owned by Lev Parnas, a former associate of Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has been sucked into the sprawling impeachment mess facing the White House, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. That the FBI managed to unlock the device at all may raise eyebrows, given that the DOJ and FBI have both recently ramped up pressure campaigns claiming they desperately need Apple’s assistance to unlock its devices and demanding Apple build backdoors into its encryption.

Parnas claims he acted as a fixer in Trump’s scheme to coerce the Ukrainian government into launching a sham investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden by withholding nearly $400 million in defense aid—the matter at the center of the ongoing impeachment trial Trump now faces in the Senate. Parnas, who told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last week that Trump and numerous other high-ranking White House officials had full knowledge of the plan, was indicted on separate charges of funneling foreign money into U.S. elections in October 2019. He is currently out on bail.

By Geneva Sands, CNN

(CNN) The attorney general for Washington, DC, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday alleging President Donald Trump's inaugural committee abused non-profit funds by overpaying for event space at the President's Washington hotel for events around his 2017 inauguration. DC Attorney General Karl Racine filed the suit against the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee, the Trump Organization and the Trump International Hotel in Washington in DC Superior Court. He accused the inaugural committee of coordinating with the Trump family to "grossly overpay" for event space at the Trump International Hotel.

The inaugural committee wasted approximately $1 million of charitable funds in overpayment for the use of event space at the Trump Hotel in violation of District law, according to the lawsuit. "The inaugural committee made exorbitant and unlawful payments to the Trump hotel to rent event space for inaugural activity," Racine said. Nonprofits are legally required to ensure that their funds are used for their stated public purpose, not private interest, he added. Racine alleged the inaugural committee was aware that it was paying far above market rates and "never considered less expensive alternatives." The attorney general said the group also paid for space on days when it did not hold events. The committee is accused of improperly using non-profit funds to throw a private party for the Trump family costing several hundred thousand dollars. The lawsuit seeks to recover the amount improperly paid to the Trump hotel, and to direct those funds to suitable nonprofit purposes.

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt, Charlie Savage and Helene Cooper

Armed with rifles and explosives, about a dozen al-Shabab fighters destroyed an American surveillance plane as it was taking off and ignited an hourslong gunfight this month on a sprawling military base in Kenya that houses U.S. troops. By the time al-Shabab was done, portions of the airfield were burning and three Americans were dead.

Surprised by the attack, U.S. commandos took around an hour to respond. Many of the local Kenyan forces, assigned to defend the base, hid in the grass, while other U.S. troops and support staff were corralled into tents, with little protection, to wait out the battle. It would require hours to evacuate one of the wounded to a military hospital in Djibouti, roughly 1,500 miles away.

The brazen assault at Manda Bay, a sleepy seaside base near the Somali border, on Jan. 5, was largely overshadowed by the crisis with Iran after the killing of that country’s most important general two days earlier and is only now drawing closer scrutiny from Congress and Pentagon officials.

But the storming of an airfield used by the U.S. military so alarmed the Pentagon that it immediately sent about 100 troops from the 101st Airborne Division to establish security at the base. Army Green Berets from Germany were shuttled to Djibouti, the Pentagon’s major hub in Africa, in case the entire base was in danger of being taken by al-Shabab, an East African terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaida.

The CDC anticipates more cases in the U.S., but officials believe the risk to the American public at large is low.
By SARAH OWERMOHLE

President Donald Trump said today the U.S. has a deadly Chinese coronavirus “totally under control” and there are no worries of a pandemic. The virus, which sickened more than 400 people and killed at least 17 since December, has spread to four countries including the U.S., where the first case was reported in Washington state on Tuesday. Much is unknown about the contagion, but U.S. officials confirmed Tuesday it can be spread from human-to-human contact. “We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China,” Trump said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." “It’s going to be just fine.”

By Bill Chappell

President Trump says he'll widen a controversial travel ban that prohibits nearly all people from seven countries from traveling or immigrating to the U.S., calling it "a very powerful ban" that's necessary to ensure national security. "We're adding a couple of countries" to the ban, Trump said when asked about his policy shift at a news conference at the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland. He added, "We have to be safe. Our country has to be safe. You see what's going on in the world. Our country has to be safe."

According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the White House plan to expand the ban, the Trump administration wants to double the scope of the ban by blacklisting seven more countries: Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. Trump did not share any more details about the ban's expansion, saying, "it's going to be announced very shortly." When a reporter asked Trump about the plan to expand one of the signature pieces of his immigration policy, Trump criticized how the legal battles over the ban have been portrayed, emphasizing that after some losses in lower courts, the Supreme Court sided with him in 2018.

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of US service members being treated for concussion symptoms from an Iranian attack as "headaches." During the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump was asked to explain the discrepancy between his previous comments that no US service member was harmed in the January 8 Iranian missile attack on Al-Asad airbase in Iraq, and the latest reports of US troops being treated for injuries sustained in that attack.

"No, I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it's not very serious," Trump replied during the news conference. The reporter pressed, "So you don't consider potential traumatic brain injury serious?" "They told me about it numerous days later, you'd have to ask Department of Defense," Trump replied. The commander in chief continued, "I don't consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I've seen."

"I've seen what Iran has done with their roadside bombs to our troops. I've seen people with no legs and with no arms. I've seen people that were horribly, horribly injured in that area, that war," Trump said. "No, I do not consider that to be bad injuries, no," he added. According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, a majority of TBI injuries are considered mild, and are also known as concussions, but they can leave long-term effects on cognitive functions.

By Jonathan O'Connell

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine sued President Trump’s inaugural committee and business Wednesday, alleging that the committee violated its nonprofit status by spending more than $1 million to book a ballroom at Trump’s D.C. hotel that its staff knew was overpriced and that it barely used. During the lead-up to Trump’s January 2017 inauguration, the committee booked the hotel ballroom for $175,000 a day, plus more than $300,000 in food and beverage costs, over the objections of its own event planner.

The committee was formed to organize the events around the inauguration, but Racine alleges it instead “abandoned this purpose and violated District law when it wasted approximately $1 million of charitable funds in overpayment for the use of event space at the Trump hotel.” “These charges were unreasonable and improperly served to enrich” Trump’s business, the complaint reads. He alleges that Trump and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, were likely aware of the charges, based on documents Racine subpoenaed from the committee and the Trump Organization.

By Louis Jacobson

On the first full day of President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone claimed that House Democrats had run roughshod over the president’s procedural rights by denying Republicans access to key parts of the investigation. Cipollone had several complaints, but one stood out to us as clearly wrong. "Not even (House Intelligence Chairman Adam) Schiff’s Republican colleagues were allowed into the SCIF" during the House impeachment investigation, Cipollone said on the Senate floor Jan. 21. (A "SCIF," which stands for "sensitive compartmented information facility," is a secure government facility where classified intelligence can be discussed without eavesdropping.)

Cipollone’s assertion echoed one made by, and on behalf of, a group of Republicans who staged a sit-in at the House Intelligence committee, to protest what they argued were unfair ground rules for the Republican minority during the House impeachment inquiry. On Oct. 23, more than 40 Republican lawmakers disrupted witness testimony by storming the SCIF where depositions were under way, chanting, "Let us in!" There are nine Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, 17 on the House Oversight Committee, and 21 on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

All 47 of those Republicans have been able to participate and ask questions in the interviews and depositions held to this point, Ashley Etienne, Pelosi’s communications director, told PolitiFact last October. Independent experts told us the same thing. Some Republican House members, such as Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who organized the Oct. 23 protest, were kept out of the hearings not because of their party affiliation, but because they did not sit not on the relevant committees. (Democrats who weren’t on the committees were kept out as well.) Some, such as Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida, chose not to attend despite being able to do so.

By Editorial Board

SENATE REPUBLICANS on Tuesday were laying the groundwork for a truncated trial of President Trump that would be a perversion of justice. Proposals by Democrats to obtain critical evidence were voted down. Unless several senators change their positions, votes to acquit Mr. Trump on the House’s charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress could come as soon as next week without any testimony by witnesses or review of key documents. That would be unprecedented compared with previous presidential impeachments. It would gravely damage the only mechanism the Constitution provides for checking a rogue president.

Yet the rigging of the trial process may not be the most damaging legacy of the exhibition Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is orchestrating in full collaboration with the White House. That might flow from the brazen case being laid out by Mr. Trump’s lawyers. The defense brief they filed Monday argues that the president “did absolutely nothing wrong” when he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch investigations of Joe Biden and a Russian-promoted conspiracy theory about the 2016 election. It further contends that Mr. Trump was entirely within his rights when he refused all cooperation with the House impeachment inquiry, including rejecting subpoenas for testimony and documents. It says he cannot be impeached because he violated no law.

U.S. president is attending World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
By Andrew Restuccia

DAVOS, Switzerland—President Trump said Tuesday that he is serious about imposing tariffs on European automobiles if he can’t strike a trade agreement with the European Union. “They know that I’m going to put tariffs on them if they don’t make a deal that’s a fair deal,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

Mr. Trump declined to say what deadline he is imposing on the negotiations before he would move ahead with the auto tariffs. “They know what the deadline is,” the president said, adding that he would reveal it publicly soon. The remarks came on Mr. Trump’s first day at the annual summit of world leaders and business executives. He spoke to the Journal shortly before participating in a bilateral meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. He didn’t mention auto tariffs in brief remarks to reporters during the meeting.

By Tara Subramaniam, CNN

Washington (CNN) The day before opening statements in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, his lawyers submitted a lengthy trial memorandum responding to the charges against him. Here are the facts around three of their main arguments in the President's defense.

The first article of impeachment, 'abuse of power,' is not an impeachable offense
Memo: "House Democrats' Made-Up 'Abuse of Power' Standard Fails To State an Impeachable Offense Because It Does Not Rest on Violation of an Established Law"
Facts First: Not only is there precedent for abuse of power as an article of impeachment, this argument ignores evidence that came to light prior to the submission deadline for the White House's response.

"Abuse of power" is not a made-up standard; it was part of the initial articles of impeachment drawn up against Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. However, the full House never voted on the articles of impeachment against Nixon, as he resigned beforehand, and abuse of power was not among the articles approved by the full House for Clinton.

By Joseph Zeballos-Roig

President Trump ripped into critics of rising federal spending under his watch, according to leaked audio files of a lavish fundraiser held at Mar-a-Lago on Friday. "Who the hell cares about the budget? We're going to have a country," Trump said, according to The Washington Post, which published the remarks over the weekend. The Post reported that he bragged about increasing the defense budget by at least $2.5 trillion, a sum that could be attained after adding several years' of government defense spending. The Pentagon's budget for the 2020 fiscal year totals $738 billion.

He also spoke about the dramatic events surrounding the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani earlier this month and ridiculed environmental concerns, the report said. The freewheeling comments offer remarkable insights into the president's approach on federal spending and the debt, which barreled past $23 trillion late last year.

Lawmaker offers cash to 'anyone who kills' the US president after drone-strike assassination of top Iranian general.

An Iranian legislator on Tuesday offered a US$3m reward to "anyone who kills" US President Donald Trump to avenge the assassination of top general Qassem Soleimani. American disarmament ambassador Robert Wood dismissed the reward as "ridiculous", telling reporters in Geneva it showed the "terrorist underpinnings" of Iran's establishment.

Ahmad Hamzeh, a little-known member of parliament, offered the bounty on behalf of the people of Kerman, the hometown and final resting place of the revered Soleimani, who was killed in an American drone strike in neighbouring Iraq on January 3. "We will give three million dollars to anyone who kills Trump," Hamzeh, who represents Kahnouj county near the southeastern city of Kerman, was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

He did not say if the idea of a reward had any official backing from Iran's clerical rulers. Hamzeh offered the money for the US president's assassination while speaking to the 290-seat parliament, or Majlis.

Conway argued that it wasn't "within King's vision to have Americans dragged through" the Trump impeachment process
By Matthew Rozsa

White House counsel Kellyanne Conway sparked outrage by comparing the impeachment of President Donald Trump to the tribulations endured by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he fought for the civil rights of black Americans. "Well, I can tell you that the president is preparing for Davos and agrees with many of the things that Dr. Martin Luther King stood for and agreed with for many years, including unity and equality," Conway told a group of reporters when explaining why Trump was not formally celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. "And he's not the one trying to tear the country apart through an impeachment process and a lack of substance that really is very shameful at this point." Conway added that she did not believe it was "within Dr. King's vision to have Americans dragged through a process where the president is not going to be removed from office — is not being charged with bribery, extortion, high crimes or misdemeanors. And I think that anybody who cares about 'and justice for all' on today or any day of the year will appreciate the fact that the president now will have a full-throttle defense on the facts."

Bernice King, the daughter of the late civil rights activist, responded to Conway's comments by tweeting: "Until a person commits to better understanding and then better understands my father's teachings and methodologies, I REALLY wish they'd keep his name, and incorrect analysis, out of their conversations about current issues." Agreeing with King's sentiments, the tennis Grand Slam champion and LGTQ rights activist Martina Navratilova, added: "New rules- no white republican should ever surmise what any black person was or is thinking or feeling. Period." Rolling Stone writer Jamil Smith also condemned Conway's remarks, tweeting that "this is so ignorant that it cannot be anything but deliberately cruel. It's like blackface on Halloween. You can count on this kind of rubbish every single Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This isn't merely gross co-option. It angers people, and she knows it." "I would laugh but the fact that this actually happened makes me want to cry," Daily Beast editor-at-large Molly Jong-Fast wrote on Twitter.

By Shane Croucher

Joseph Bondy, the attorney for Lev Parnas, shared on Twitter a video showing his client at an event with Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence. The vice president has denied knowing Parnas after the Ukrainian American businessman accused him of working on an alleged scheme to pressure Ukraine's government. "I don't know the guy," Pence said last week, CNN reported, calling Parnas's claims "completely false." In the video clip, Parnas is seen holding the hand of Karen Pence and talking with her as the vice president stands by her side, speaking to someone else. Towards the end of the 23-second video, Parnas is seen reaching towards Mike Pence, waiting to shake his hand.

Over the footage plays the opening lines of "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire: "Do you remember the 21st night of September? Love was changing the minds of pretenders while chasing the clouds away." "Mike Pence does indeed know the guy," Bondy tweeted with the video, but gave no details of the context in which the vice president, his wife, and Parnas are together. Newsweek has asked Bondy for comment and further information about the video. Bondy also shared a quote from the U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland. "Everyone was in the loop," Sondland said in his testimony about the alleged Ukraine scheme to the House impeachment inquiry.

By Ariane de Vogue, Devan Cole and Eric Bradner, CNN

Washington (CNN) The Supreme Court is unlikely to consider the fate of the Affordable Care Act before the 2020 presidential election after denying a request Tuesday from supporters of the law to fast-track consideration of the case. The ruling sets aside the potential for another major shift in the political landscape prior to the election on an issue that has dominated American politics for the last decade. President Donald Trump's effort to repeal Obamacare was central to Democrats sweeping into power in the House in the 2018 midterms -- a victory that came eight years after Republicans had gained the House majority on their opposition to Obama's signature health care law. But in the decade since the Affordable Care Act became law, elements of it -- such as requirements that insurers cover those with pre-existing conditions -- have become popular, turning health care politics in Democrats' favor. - So sad now even the Supreme Court is trying to protect Republicans.

By Cat Schuknecht

On Friday, President Trump added former independent counsel Ken Starr to the legal team that will defend him in the Senate impeachment trial. Starr is best known for leading an investigation into President Bill Clinton's affair with a White House intern during the 1990s. The investigation was aggressive, lengthy, and offered a window into Starr's approach to holding the powerful to account. But in the years that followed the Clinton impeachment, a different type of scandal provided another picture of Starr's approach. In 2016, almost two decades after Starr investigated the Clinton scandal, Starr was fired from his job as president of Baylor University, accused of ignoring sexual assault issues on campus.

"It seems very clear that he governed over a policy that was, at best, indifferent to what was happening to Baylor women," Jim Dunnam, a lawyer representing 15 women in an ongoing case against the university, told NPR. When Starr took over the presidency at Baylor University in 2010, he appeared to have quickly grasped the importance of athletics at the Division I school. As president, he oversaw the opening of the university's $250 million football stadium. Before some games, he even ran onto the football field and cheered alongside students. However, shortly after Starr's arrival on campus, Baylor athletics became marred by sexual assault allegations and convictions.

By Robert Costa and Rachael Bade

President Trump’s legal defense team and Senate GOP allies are quietly gaming out contingency plans should Democrats win enough votes to force witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial, including an effort to keep former national security adviser John Bolton from the spotlight, according to multiple officials familiar with the discussions.

While Republicans continue to express confidence that Democrats will fail to persuade four GOP lawmakers to break ranks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has opposed calling any witnesses in the trial, they are readying a Plan B just in case — underscoring how uncertain they are about prevailing in a showdown over witnesses and Bolton’s possible testimony.

One option being discussed, according to a senior administration official, would be to move Bolton’s testimony to a classified setting because of national security concerns, ensuring that it is not public.

By Robyn Dixon, David L. Stern and Natalie Gryvnyak

KYIV — Lev Parnas, the Ukrainian American businessman at the heart of the Trump impeachment, adopted a tone of hearty bonhomie when exchanging messages with Ukraine’s political elite, calling them “my brother” or “my friend,” or telling them “I missed you” or “I embrace you.” The Florida businessman whose family moved to the United States from the Soviet Union when he was a child, has said he was part of a multipronged effort led by former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R), to help President Trump’s reelection campaign and damage a political opponent, former vice president Joe Biden. Parnas has said he and his associate, Igor Fruman, used their deep knowledge of a Ukrainian government known for functioning on secret inside deals — a reputation it is trying to change — to support Giuliani’s efforts. The two face federal charges over alleged campaign finance violations.

By Daniel Dale, CNN

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump is dishonest about a whole lot of things. But he is rarely as comprehensively dishonest as he has been about his dealings with Ukraine and the impeachment process. From the eruption of the Ukraine controversy in September to the Senate trial that officially began on Thursday, relentless deceit has seemed to be Trump's primary defense strategy in the court of public opinion. He has made false claims about almost every separate component of the story, from his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, to the whistleblower who complained about the call, to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's own relations with Ukraine.

The President has been dissembling about so many different things at once that it can be difficult to keep track of what is true and what isn't. To help you fight Trump-induced dizziness as the trial gets underway, we've tallied his dishonesty on the subject of Ukraine and impeachment. Our original list from mid-November included 45 false claims he has made and a brief fact check of each one. We have since added 20 more for a total of 65.

Lev Parnas pointed his finger at Dmytro Firtash.
By Franklin Foer

Somewhere near the heart of the Ukraine scandal is the oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Evidence has long suggested this fact. But over the past week, in a televised interview and in documents he supplied to Congress, Rudy Giuliani’s former business partner Lev Parnas pointed his finger at the Ukrainian oligarch. According to Parnas, Giuliani’s team had a deal with Firtash. Giuliani would get the Justice Department to drop its attempt to extradite the oligarch on bribery charges. In return, according to Parnas, the oligarch promised to pass along evidence that would supposedly discredit both Joe Biden and Robert Mueller.

Parnas’s account, of course, is hardly definitive. Throughout his career, he has attempted to inflate his importance to make money. (Firtash apparently paid him $1 million for his services, though it’s still not totally clear what those services were.) And his description of Firtash’s involvement raises as many questions as it settles. Still, the apparent centrality of Firtash should inform any assessment of Giuliani’s escapades and the entire Ukraine story.

By Carol D. Leonnig and David A. Fahrenthold

The Trump administration is seeking to delay a Democratic effort to require the Secret Service to disclose how much it spends protecting President Trump and his family when they travel — until after the 2020 election, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The issue has emerged as a sticking point in recent weeks as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and key senators have been negotiating draft legislation to move the Secret Service back to his department, its historic home.

Mnuchin has balked at Democratic demands that the bill require the Secret Service to disclose the costs related to the travel of the president and his adult children within 120 days after it is passed, according to people with knowledge of the talks. Mnuchin has agreed to Democrats’ push for a requirement that the Secret Service report its travel expenses but wants such disclosures to begin after the election.

‘THEY USED ME’
In an interview from his lawyer's office, the ex-Giuliani ally talked cannabis, conspiracies, and one very weird meeting with the lawyers of an indicted Ukrainian oligarch.
By Betsy Swan

A dinner with Jared and Ivanka about cannabis, a phone call from Trump Hotel with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and a whole lot of theorizing about George Soros. Lev Parnas’ interactions with Trumpworld, in his words, went way beyond the Ukraine influence effort.

The former ally of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani spent more than a year embedded with some of the president’s close outside allies. In that time, he said he had an inside view of all sorts of eyebrow-raising interactions and conversations. He described several of them in an interview with The Daily Beast from his lawyer’s office in Midtown Manhattan.

Federal law enforcement officials arrested Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman on Oct. 9 at Dulles Airport. They were then charged with a number of election-related crimes, and accused of funneling Russian money into American political campaigns. Both men maintain their innocence. Fruman has kept quiet throughout the process; Parnas, meanwhile, has spoken out—a lot.

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Washington (CNN) The National Archives on Saturday apologized and said it removed from display a 2017 photograph of the Women's March it had altered to censor signs referencing women's anatomy and President Donald Trump's name. "We made a mistake," the National Archives said on Twitter, acknowledging that it had obscured some words from protest signs seen in the image. The Archives said it will replace it with an unaltered image "as soon as possible." The original photograph, taken by Getty Images' Mario Tama, shows a sea of people marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2017 -- a day after Trump's inauguration. In changes to the original photo, Trump's name was blurred from signs that read "God Hates Trump" and "Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women," according to The Washington Post, which first reported the altered photo Friday.

The National Archives said the photo was not an archival record, but one that they licensed to use as a "promotional graphic" for the National Archives Museum's exhibit marking the centennial of the 19th Amendment's ratification. "Nonetheless," it said, "we were wrong to alter the image." The National Archives vowed to undergo "a thorough review" of its policies and procedures for exhibits. "We apologize, and will immediately start a thorough review of our exhibit policies and procedures so that this does not happen again," it said.

By Colby Itkowitz and David A. Fahrenthold

President Trump delivered a dramatic account of the airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, joked that he doesn’t care if construction projects kill all the rattlesnakes and noted his indifference to the budget during a private dinner with deep-pocketed donors Friday night at Mar-a-Lago, according to audio files obtained by The Washington Post. Trump, his tone subdued and conversational, explained his motivation for attacking Soleimani and recounted listening to an anonymous military official countdown to the Jan. 3 strike.

The president said nothing about an “imminent attack” on U.S. interests or threats to four U.S. embassies as he previously has to justify the unilateral military strike that escalated tensions in the region and opened debate on presidential war powers. Instead, he spoke broadly about Soleimani as “the father of the road side bomb” responsible for “every young, beautiful man or woman who you see walking around with no legs, no arms.” Trump said he heard about two weeks ago that the United States had Soleimani under surveillance and he was “talking about bad stuff.”

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Washington (CNN) The National Archives admitted to altering a 2017 photograph of the Women's March to censor signs referencing women's anatomy and President Donald Trump's name, according to The Washington Post. The photograph, taken by Getty Images' Mario Tama, shows a sea of people marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2017 -- a day after Trump's inauguration. In changes to the original photo, Trump's name is blurred from signs that read: "God Hates Trump" and "Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women," according to the Post. According to the Post, the word p***y is also blocked out from one sign and the word vagina is no longer visible in another. CNN has reached out to the National Archives for comment. In a statement provided to the Post, the National Archives said the decision "as a non-partisan, non-political federal agency" to blur Trump's name was to avoid engaging in "current political controversy."

By Allison Gordon, CNN

Washington (CNN) The announcement that former independent counsel Ken Starr is joining President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team surprised many on Friday, but one person, apparently, had an especially notable reaction to the news. "This is definitely an 'are you f---ing kidding me?' kinda day," tweeted Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern whose relationship with former President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment in 1998.

Parnas says Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Bolton and Giuliani all knew. He is why no witnesses will testify in the Senate
By Lucian K. Truscott IV

Revelations this week by Rudy Giuliani's henchman Lev Parnas in interviews with MSNBC, CNN and the New York Times blew Iran out of the headlines and landed on Capitol Hill like a bomb. Here was an insider in the Ukraine conspiracy not only willing to talk, but to provide documents to back up allegations he has made about Trump's shakedown of Volodymyr Zelensky to get dirt on his potential Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.

Parnas is the reason Republicans are so scared of opening the Senate trial of Trump to witness testimony. According to Parnas, everyone was in on the Ukraine scheme. Trump himself, of course, but also Vice President Mike Pence was in on it. So was Attorney General William Barr, so was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and so were Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and national security adviser John Bolton. At the very center of the scheme, according to Parnas, was the man he worked for, Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Parnas has letters, text messages, contemporaneous notes, travel documents and more to back up his recollections of what happened as Trump tried to muscle Ukraine into aiding his re-election campaign by announcing an investigation of Biden. Trump was obviously getting ready to pound Biden with Ukraine conspiracy allegations the same way he pounded Hillary Clinton about her emails in 2016. Hey, it worked once! Why not?

By Michael Collins, Kim Hjelmgaard, David Jackson - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump fired back Friday evening at Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who earlier had mocked him as a "clown" – then in a subsequent tweet Trump said Iran's leaders "should abandon terror and Make Iran Great Again!" “The so-called ‘Supreme Leader' of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words!” Trump tweeted hours after Khamenei called him a "clown" who will "push a poisonous dagger" into Iran's back. In a rare public address as he led Friday prayers in Tehran, Khamenei also defended Iran's military after it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane.

By Evan Perez and David Shortell, CNN

(CNN) Attorney General William Barr briefly attended a meeting at the Justice Department last fall between top criminal prosecutors and President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, a department official said Friday. The meeting reveals a previously undisclosed interaction between two men the President depends on to defend him. Justice officials have sought to distance the department and Barr from Giuliani since it became clear in recent months that the former New York mayor is the subject of an investigation by Manhattan federal prosecutors. Giuliani was a part of a team of defense attorneys representing a Venezuelan client when they met with Justice Department officials.

The two men are said not to be close despite their roles as top legal advisers to the President. Barr has kept a notable distance even while Trump mentioned them both together in a July phone call in which he urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with Giuliani and Barr to investigate a political rival, Joe Biden. Justice officials have said Barr has never spoken to Giuliani about Ukraine and hasn't taken any action to investigate the Bidens. The Giuliani meeting at the Justice Department in September became public months ago in the wake of the arrest of two Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were working on Giuliani's Ukraine mission for the President.

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