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Bolton knows about ‘many relevant meetings and conversations’ on Ukraine that lawmakers might be unaware of, his lawyer says

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Former national security adviser John Bolton was “personally involved in many of the events, meetings and conversations” at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry “as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed” publicly, his lawyer revealed Friday.

Bolton’s attorney, Charles Cooper, made the disclosure to the House’s general counsel in an effort to explain why his client needs a court order to be able to testify in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Cooper said both Bolton and his deputy, Charles Kupperman, have information concerning “national security and foreign affairs,” and Bolton has information that hasn’t been touched on publicly to date.

Bolton “was personally involved in many of the events, meetings, and conversations about which you have already received testimony, as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed in the testimonies thus far,” Cooper wrote.

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Bolton, who stepped down in September, did not appear for a scheduled deposition on Thursday because he and Kupperman are seeking a judge’s ruling on whether they’re bound by the White House’s directive not to appear. The White House says the pair have “absolute testimonial immunity,” Cooper noted.

Kupperman filed suit days before he was scheduled to give closed-door testimony last month, asking a federal judge to determine whether he is required to testify in the impeachment inquiry. The lawsuit said Kupperman was in an untenable position because the House was directing to him appear and White House lawyers were telling him not to do so.

The judge in the case scheduled a hearing for Dec. 10, which the House argued was too long to wait. The committees withdrew their subpoena against Kupperman earlier this week, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters they were prepared to move ahead without testimony from Bolton and Kupperman.

“We are not going to delay our work,” Schiff said. “That would merely allow these witnesses and the White House to succeed with their goal, which is to delay, deny, obstruct.”

Schiff suggested the pair should be bound by whatever another judge decides on executive privilege claims involving former White House lawyer Don McGahn. The House Judiciary Committee has been seeking to question McGahn about allegations in the Mueller report that Trump had directed him to fire the special counsel.

In his letter, Cooper said Bolton and Kupperman’s cases are different from McGahn’s. The ex-White House lawyer “was not performing sensitive national security or foreign affairs functions,” and the judge’s ruling in that case would not apply to his clients, the lawyer wrote.

Cooper added, “We are dismayed that the committees have chosen not to join us” in seeking a resolution from the courts. “Dr. Kupperman stands ready, as does Ambassador Bolton, to testify if the Judiciary resolves the conflict in favor of the Legislative Branch’s position respecting such authority,” he wrote.

“If the House chooses not to pursue through subpoena the testimony of Dr. Kupperman and Ambassador Bolton, let the record be clear: That is the House’s decision,” he wrote.

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EU digs its heels in: Brussels blames Britain for no progress – ‘Not our fault!’

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BRUSSELS has continued its assault on the UK for the lack of progress made in the current Brexit talks between the two sides.

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Senate Republicans cool to 2nd round of stimulus checks, direct deposits

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WASHINGTON — Democrats want another round of direct stimulus payments to Americans up to $1,200 as coronavirus cases rise in dozens of states. President Donald Trump isn’t ruling it out. But Senate Republicans are on the fence or opposed, complicating its prospects.

“I wasn’t supportive of the first round. I don’t think I’d be supportive of the second,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. “This is not a classic recession that requires financial stimulus.”

House Democrats have passed a $3 trillion bill that includes another round of direct deposits and checks. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has endorsed that bill nudged Senate Republicans on Thursday to “get off their hands and finally work with Democrats to quickly provide additional federal fiscal relief.”

Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said Republicans are divided on whether to send more money to Americans when asked about Trump’s interest in a second round of payments.

“About direct payments or some of the checks — that’s something he’s talked about, and some of our members are interested in that as well. There are some of our members who aren’t interested in that, so we’ll see where that goes,” the South Dakota Republican said.

Thune said Republicans would still need to agree “on a number” and other components of it.

The Senate left on Thursday for a two-week recess.

Coronavirus cases have risen in states like Florida, Texas, Arizona and California — numerous states have paused or rolled back their reopening. The state of the economy over those two weeks is likely to impact the Senate Republican calculus.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., outlined three broad priorities for the next coronavirus relief bill: “Kids, jobs and health care.” He said he wants it to pass before August, which leaves just two weeks to act once the Senate returns from break on July 20.

Asked by Fox Business Network if he favors another round of direct payments, Trump said, “I do. I support it. But it has to be done properly.” He then segued to discussing unemployment insurance.

Asked again if he wants more direct payments, Trump responded, “I want the money getting to people to be larger so they can spend it,” before saying he doesn’t want it to be “an incentive not to go to work,” an apparent reference to the $600 weekly jobless benefit in the CARES Act that Republicans don’t want to extend.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said the “direct stimulus checks are going to depend on how the economy is doing” and noted the “great unemployment numbers” of June, when the rate fell to 11.1 percent.

“So if it turns out the economy is recovering, that’s a good thing and direct stimulus checks may not be necessary,” he added.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said the Senate will “talk seriously and in earnest when we get back” about what might be in the next relief bill, mentioning the rising debt as a concern for the GOP.

“If there is another bill, it will be targeted,” Kennedy said. “Hopefully, we’ll learn from our first three bills in terms of what works and what doesn’t. The subtext, or the undercurrent, here at least on my side of the aisle is the fact that we owe $25 trillion and climbing.”

The first round of stimulus payments cost $293 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Surveys show they’re popular among voters as the Nov. 3 general election nears. A CNBC/Change Research poll conducted in early May found 74 percent approval for sustained direct payments in the 2020 battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

A FT-Peterson US Economic Monitor poll showed that 76 percent of Americans say an additional payment is “very” or “somewhat” important to them, while 24 percent said it was not. The results were nearly identical when limited to battleground states.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who faces a competitive re-election battle this fall, was noncommittal when asked about another round of stimulus checks and direct deposits.

“We need to look at it, the jobs numbers. I want to see Iowa and how we’re doing at getting folks back to work. And we’ll take it from there,” she told NBC News.

Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed.



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Verhofstadt told to 'keep his nose out' after attack on UK plan to end freedom of movement

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GUY Verhofstadt has stirred up more rage among Brexiteers on social media after taking another swipe at Home Secretary Priti Patel over the Government’s plans to end freedom of movement.

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