The House manager details why Trump backing patently false information from Russia endangers the United States

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Rep. Sylvia Garcia, one of the House impeachment managers, raised and then debunked the theory that President Trump says is at the heart of his efforts in Ukraine. 

On the July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked Zelensky to do him a favor and look into, among other things, potential interference in the 2016 election and Vice President Joe Biden.

“As the theory goes,” said Garcia, “Vice President Biden tried to remove Ukraine’s prosecutor all to make sure the prosecutor wouldn’t investigate that specific company Burisma because, again, his son was on the board. Then senators, if that doesn’t sound far-fetched and complicated to you, it should.” 

In breaking down the theory, Garcia noted that when Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma in 2014, its owner was under investigation. The following year, Victor Shokin became Ukraine’s prosecutor general.

Later in 2015, Biden publicly called for Shokin’s removal. But as Garcia noted on Thursday, Biden was not alone in trying to get Shokin fired at the time.

“Let’s be very, very clear,” Garcia said. “Vice President Biden called for the removal of this prosecutor at the official direction of US policy because the prosecutor was widely perceived as corrupt and with the support of all of our international allies, his actions were therefore supported by the executive branch, Congress, and the international community.”

Furthermore, when Biden called for Shokin’s removal, the case against Burisma was no longer active, Garcia noted.

“Although Shokin vowed to keep investigating Burisma amid an international push to root out corruption in Ukraine, he allowed the Burisma investigation to go dormant,” Garcia said. “That is when he was removed. He was not actively investigating Burisma.”

Garcia’s assertions are supported by Shokin’s deputy prosecutor, Vitaliy Kaso, who resigned in February 2016, a month before Shokin himself was fired. Kasko told Bloomberg that the case against Burisma was dormant by the time Shokin was removed, saying “There was no pressure from anyone from the US to close cases against Zlochevsky. It was shelved by Ukrainian prosecutors in 2014 and through 2015.”

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The Democratic House manager gives opening arguments on why the Senate must hold Trump accountable

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Rep. Adam Schiff, the top House manager, rebuked President Trump today for claiming that he can’t even be investigated while in office. 

“The President says you can’t even investigate the President,” Schiff said. “The President is in court saying, you can’t only not indict the President, you can’t even investigate the President. Attorney General’s position is that you can’t even investigate the President.” 

Schiff is accurately describing Trump’s position, which has been argued in federal court by Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department. One of Trump’s lawyers even said he couldn’t be investigated for murder if he shot someone on the streets of New York City. 

But several federal judges have ruled against these sweeping claims of immunity. A federal appeals court in New York said in November, “presidential immunity does not bar a state grand jury” from investigating “potential crimes committed by persons within its jurisdiction, even if that investigation may in some way implicate the president.” 

What happens next regarding Trump’s immunity: The Supreme Court will likely get the final word on the matter. They agreed to take up some of these cases involving Trump and immunity. But there’s no guarantee that the justices will hand down a decision that addresses all of Trump’s claims – they could rule narrowly.  

Schiff and other Democrats have criticized Trump for simultaneously claiming that he can’t be criminally investigated, while also blocking witnesses and documents from congressional impeachment investigations.

GOP shifts from 2 to 3 days of opening arguments for each side, and the House’s evidence now will be admitted unless voted down

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After remarks from Adam Schiff and Jay Sekulow, White House counsel Pat Cipollone again spoke on the Senate floor, where he railed against Schiff and the House impeachment proceedings and argued against witnesses in a Senate trial.

An impassioned Cipollone lamented that President Donald Trump was given a “minimum of due process” during House impeachment proceedings. 

“Information was selectively leaked out. Witnesses were threatened. Good public servants were told that they would be held in contempt. They were told that they were obstructing,” Cipollone said.

House Democrats, he said, held the articles of impeachment for 33 days, arguing that their case is not prepared if they need to hear from additional witnesses in the Senate.

“We hear all this talk about an overwhelming case. They’re not even prepared,” he said of Democrats.

House Democrats, he said, “concocted a process” that locked the President out, calling out Schiff, who has not provided documents regarding his staff’s work with the whistleblower.

Cipollone went on to call the idea that Democrats want to call witnesses in the Senate trial “ridiculous.”

“The idea that they would come here and lecture the Senate – by the way, I was surprised to hear that, did you realize, you’re on trial? … Everybody’s on trial except for them. It’s ridiculous, it’s ridiculous. They have overwhelming evidence and they’re afraid to make their case. Think about it, it’s common sense. Overwhelming evidence… and then they come here and they say, ‘You know what, we need some more evidence,’” he said.

Cipollone continued: “If I showed up in any court in this country and I said, ‘Judge, my case is overwhelming, but I’m not ready to go yet. I need more evidence’ … I would get thrown out in two seconds and that’s exactly what should happen here.”

 

4 myths and 4 fascinating facts about MLK

4 myths and 4 fascinating facts about MLK

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By CNN Staff

Published January 15, 2020

Matthew Lewis/The Washington Post

As we remember Martin Luther King Jr., it could be easy to fall prey to spreading myths about the civil rights leader.

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

So you don’t fall victim, here are four of the most persistent misconceptions about MLK and four fascinating facts you should know to give you insight into who he really was.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Here’s the standard take on King’s evolution: He grew more radical in the last three years of his life as he turned against the Vietnam War and focused on poverty.

Don Cravens//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

But that take is wrong. In fact, King was radical much earlier than people realize, some King scholars say.

Underwood Archives/Getty Images

Another rumor: Some say he was abandoning nonviolence. When organizing a “Poor People’s Campaign” before he died, King was considering tactics such as directing demonstrators to stop traffic and chain themselves to pillars, a King historian told CNN. King’s tactics evolved, becoming more confrontational, but he didn’t give up on his core belief.

Underwood Archives/Getty Images

Another false claim. Actually, King’s father for a long time was a Republican — as many black people were in the early to mid-20th century when it was the party of Abraham Lincoln.

Walter Bennett/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Conservatives cite parts of King’s “I Have A Dream” speech as evidence that he opposed affirmative action.

AFP/Getty Images

Although King never used that term, he supported the concept. In his book “Where Do We Go from Here,” King wrote that a “society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for the Negro.”

AFP/Getty Images

In the history books, King comes off as the stuffy preacher. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Donald Uhrbrock/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

“He was the comedian of the civil rights movement,” the Rev. Lewis Baldwin, a MLK historian, told CNN.

Donald Uhrbrock/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

His birth name is Michael Luther King Jr. And despite the federal holiday being celebrated on the third Monday in January, his actual birth date is January 15.

Don Cravens/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

King was the first African-American to be bestowed Time magazine’s honor in 1963.

Reg Lancaster/Express/Getty Images

At 35, he was the youngest person, at the time, to receive the award.

Keystone/Getty Images

In 1956, his house was bombed while he was at a meeting. Then in 1958, nearly a decade before his assassination, King was stabbed in the chest, according to History.com.

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The couple will also repay funds they spent to renovate Frogmore Cottage

Ben Birchall - WPA Pool / Getty Images Ben Birchall – WPA Pool / Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will no longer use the titles His and Her Royal Highness after announcing they would step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family, Buckingham Palace announced today.

The couple will also repay the Sovereign Grant funds they recently spent to renovate their official residence, Frogmore Cottage — £2.4 million (about $3 million) of British taxpayers’ money, according to figures released last year.

The royal family has been discussing Prince Harry and Meghan’s future after the couple made a surprise announcement that they would step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family, split their time between the United Kingdom and North America and become financially independent.

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Chief Justice Roberts swore in the senators, who took an oath to ‘do impartial justice’ as jurors

Evan Vucci/AP Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump continues to insist he doesn’t know Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani who now says Trump was aware of efforts to surface dirt on political rivals.

Speaking in the Oval Office, Trump said he didn’t know anything about Parnas, with whom he’s posed with in photographs.

Trump said he takes thousands of photos at fundraisers, but suggested that did not mean he knows Parnas.

Trump said he did not believe he’d ever spoken to Parnas.

He added he would “probably” be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, despite the event coinciding with his impeachment trial.

Some context here: Parnas — a central figure in the White House’s alleged Ukraine pressure campaign — said yesterday that Trump “knew exactly what was going on” despite his repeated denials of wrongdoing.

“He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani, or the President,” Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “I have no intent, I have no reason, to speak to any of these officials.”

Parnas asserted he was the one “on the ground” doing Trump and Giuliani’s work, “and that’s the secret that they’re trying to keep.”

WATCH: Parnas tells Anderson Cooper ‘Trump is lying’ 

Lawmakers pass a resolution approving seven lawmakers who will prosecute the case against Trump

J. Scott Applewhite/AP J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said “there may very well be” more evidence from Lev Parnas that could be used in Senate trial.

Asked today if that would be admissible in the Senate trial, Nadler told CNN’s Manu Raju: “Of course it would be if the Senate is a real trial.”

Nadler added: “We will work that out” when asked how the impeachment managers would divide up their work.

More on Parnas: The indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani turned over photos, dozens of text messages and thousands of pages of documents to House impeachment investigators in an effort to win his client an audience with lawmakers.

Joseph A. Bondy, Parnas’ New York attorney, traveled to Washington, DC, last weekend to hand-deliver the contents of an iPhone 11 to Democratic staff on the House Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, according to a series of Bondy’s tweets.

Parnas has also provided investigators with documents, recordings, photos, text messages on WhatsApp, an encrypted messaging platform, and materials from a Samsung phone, according to Bondy. Material from two other devices, an iPad and another iPhone, are also expected to be shared with them.

Parnas, his business partner Igor Fruman, and two others were charged with funneling foreign money into US elections and using a straw donor to obscure the true source of political donations. They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to hold a vote tomorrow on impeachment managers

 Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images  Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

As GOP leadership pushes back on idea to include a motion to dismiss in their resolution citing the fact that the votes are not there anyway, and it would be better to acquit the President outright, some of Trump’s hill allies are still pushing to have a vote.

In an interview with reporters today ahead of the Senate GOP’s lunch, White House legislative affairs advisor Eric Ueland told reporters that “the President’s rights will be protected including the right to a motion to dismiss.”

“It will be included in the resolution?” CNN’s Lauren Fox asked Ueland.

“The technicalities are for others to talk through, but we are confident the President’s rights will be protected,” Ueland said.

Here is where things get interesting: Even if a motion to dismiss is not included in the Senate’s formal organizing resolution, any individual member could still force a vote on it. So, be on the lookout for how some of the President’s closest allies on the hill approach this.

Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican who talks to Trump and advises him regularly, said that he is still interested in the motion to dismiss and hinted Republicans may need to step up and force a vote on it.

“I would vote to dismiss immediately. I would love for us to move to just have a vote to dismiss,” Perdue said.

Then, just moments later, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), another close ally of Trump’s, said flat out that a motion to dismiss was not realistic and should not happen.

There clearly is still a divide about what to do with the motion to dismiss question, but we should not assume it is settled even if leadership is posturing against it.

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