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GOP impeachment report rips Democrats’ inquiry



WASHINGTON — House Republicans have written a 123-page minority report arguing that Democrats have failed to establish any impeachable offenses by President Donald Trump, according to a copy of the report reviewed by NBC News.

The GOP lawmakers did not find any wrongdoing by the president and concluded that there was no quid pro quo for Ukraine aid.

“The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, is merely the outgrowth of their obsession with re-litigating the results of the 2016 presidential election,” the Republican staff on the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees wrote.

“Despite their best efforts, the evidence gathered during the Democrats’ partisan and one-sided impeachment inquiry does not support that President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rival to benefit the President in the 2020 presidential election.

“The evidence does not establish any impeachable offense,” the report concludes.

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Democrats on the committees will be putting out their own lengthy report on the last few weeks of hearings and it is expected to reach very different conclusions. The Democratic report will be voted on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee begins its own impeachment hearings beginning on Wednesday.

Schiff, in a statement, said the GOP report was “intended for audience of one” and “ignores voluminous evidence that the president used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rival by withholding military aid and a White House meeting the President of Ukraine desperately sought. In so doing, the President undermined our national security and the integrity of our elections.”

“Tellingly, the Minority dismisses this as just part of the president’s ‘outside the beltway’ thinking. It is more accurately, outside the law and constitution, and a violation of his oath of office,” Schiff continued.

The GOP report said there is no evidence that Trump improperly withheld $391 million in military aid to Ukraine or pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Joe Biden to help benefit the president’s 2020 re-election campaign.

The Republicans also assert that Trump’s action regarding Ukraine stem from his longstanding concern about the country because of “its history of pervasive corruption” and they argue that there is “nothing wrong” with asking serious questions about Hunter Biden being on the board of directors of Burisma, a large Ukrainian gas company.

“The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system,” the Republicans wrote. “The Democrats are trying to impeach a duly elected president based on the accusations and assumptions of unelected bureaucrats who disagreed with President Trump’s policy initiatives and processes.”

The report also says Trump did “nothing inherently improper” by involving his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine matters.

And the GOP continues to attack Schiff for holding the first phase of the impeachment inquiry behind closed doors in “his Capitol basement bunker” that the Republican report says did not give due process to Trump.

“This impeachment inquiry and the manner in which the Democrats are pursuing it sets a dangerous precedent,” the Republican lawmakers wrote.

“The White House has signaled that it is willing to work with Democrats but President Trump cannot be faulted for declining to submit himself to the Democrats’ star chamber. Even so, President Trump has been transparent with the American people about his actions, releasing documents and speaking publicly about the subject matter,” the Republicans wrote.

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GOP governor says wearing masks is public health issue



WASHINGTON — Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine on Sunday dismissed the politicization of wearing masks in public to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, imploring Americans during the Memorial Day Weekend to understand “we are truly all in this together.”

With many states like Ohio beginning to relax stay-at-home restrictions, DeWine underscored the importance of following studies that show masks are beneficial to limiting the spread of the virus in an exclusive interview with “Meet the Press.”

“This is not about politics. This is not about whether you are liberal or conservative, left or right, Republican or Democrat,” DeWine said.

“It’s been very clear what the studies have shown, you wear the mask not to protect yourself so much as to protect others. This is one time where we are truly all in this together. What we do directly impacts others.”

DeWine made the comments in response to an emotional plea from North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who last week denounced the idea that mask-wearing should be a partisan issue.

Public health experts continue to say mask usage can help stunt the spread of the virus and recommend that people wear masks where social distancing is not feasible. But the White House has sent mixed signals on the practice.

President Trump has repeatedly bucked the practice of wearing a mask in public, reportedly telling advisers he thought doing so would send the wrong message and distract from the push to reopen the economy.

He did not wear one during a visit to an Arizona mask production facility earlier this month. And while he did wear one for part of his trip to a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan last week, he took it off before speaking to reporters and said “I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”

Vice President Pence did not wear a mask while touring the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota last month, but donned one during another tour days later in Indiana after criticism.

Robert O’Brien, Trump’s national security adviser, told “Meet the Press” Sunday that he and many other members of White House staff wear masks during work and hope that will set an “example” for Americans looking to return to the office. And he defended the president’s conduct by arguing that if proper social-distancing measures are taken, Trump doesn’t always need to wear a mask.

“I think Gov. DeWine was spot on when he talked about office-workers wearing the masks, and mask usage is going to help us get this economy reopened,” he said.

“And we do need to get the country reopened because we can’t get left behind by China or others with respect to our economy.”

The question of how to safely reopen the American economy is weighing heavy this Memorial Day weekend, as every state across the country is beginning to move toward relaxing coronavirus-related restrictions.

There have been more than 1.6 million coronavirus cases in America including more than 97,700 deaths as of Sunday morning, according to NBC News’ count. And 38 million Americans have filed unemployment claims since March 14.

As governors like DeWine are trying to balance the public health risks of removing restrictions with the economic risks of keeping most of America shut in their homes, the Ohio governor said that he’s confident “we can do two things at once.”

“We want to continue to up that throughout the state because it is really what we need as we open up the economy. This is a risk, but it’s also a risk if we don’t open up the economy, all the downsides of not opening up the economy,” he said.

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Trump claims Jeff Sessions not ‘mentally qualified’ to be AG as feud escalates



President Donald Trump on Sunday ramped up his ongoing feud with former Attorney General Jeff Sessions Sunday, claiming Sessions wasn’t “mentally qualified” for the job.

During an interview on “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson,” Trump called Sessions, who he handpicked for the 2017 appointment, a “disaster” who was never qualified for the role of attorney general.

“He’s not mentally qualified to be Attorney General,” Trump said. “He was the biggest problem. I mean, look Jeff Sessions put people in place that were a disaster.”

The president’s comments come a day after he formally endorsed Sessions’ opponent in the Alabama Senate race, college football coach Tommy Tuberville. Trump has long assailed the former attorney general for recusing himself from the FBI’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election.

Sessions responded to Trump’s comments Saturday on Twitter, defending his recusal and telling the president he was “damn fortunate” for it.

“It protected the rule of law & resulted in your exoneration,” Sessions tweeted. “Your personal feelings don’t dictate who Alabama picks as their senator, the people of Alabama do.”

Sessions and Tuberville finished neck-and-neck in March in a Republican primary, setting up for a July 14 runoff. The runoff winner will face off in November against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who won Sessions’ former seat in a 2017 special election.

Trump’s criticism of his former appointee is just the latest in a yearslong battle with Sessions. In November 2018, Trump ousted Sessions as attorney general and replaced him temporarily with Matt Whitaker.

Trump said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last year that Sessions would be his only “do-over” as president, claiming that the former Alabama senator should have never been in the role.

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Civil Service tweet lashes out at 'truth twisters' before being deleted – probe launched



THE UK Government has launched an investigation after a tweet from the Civil Service lashed out at “truth twisters’ – minutes after Boris Johnson concluded the daily briefing from Downing Street.

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