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CORRUPTION

Recording Between Rudy Giuliani and Ukraine Official Reveals Outright ‘Quid Pro Quo’

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CNN has revealed the recording of the call between Rudy Giuliani and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s top aide where the former president’s lawyer pressured the country to investigate the conspiracy theories created around now-President Joe Biden.

The call from 2019 took place between U.S. diplomat Kurt Volker and Zelensky’s aid Andriy Yermak and happened ahead of then-President Donald Trump’s infamous “quid pro quo” where he demanded a “favor” for aid allocated to Ukraine.

“During the roughly 40-minute call, Giuliani repeatedly told Yermak that Zelensky should publicly announce investigations into possible corruption by Biden in Ukraine, and into claims that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election to hurt Trump,” said the report, noting “these separate claims are both untrue.”

“All we need from the President [Zelensky] is to say, I’m gonna put an honest prosecutor in charge, he’s gonna investigate and dig up the evidence, that presently exists and is there any other evidence about involvement of the 2016 election, and then the Biden thing has to be run out,” Giuliani said on the call, according to the audio. “… Somebody in Ukraine’s gotta take that seriously.”

“I got information from a reliable investigator, international investigator, that there was a certain amount of activity in Ukraine during the 2016 election,” Giuliani told Yermak at one point, using another false claim that the U.S. embassy attempted to “produce dirt on then-candidate Trump and Paul Manafort.”

“Another one was involved with (George) Soros … Soros apparently is behind a lot of this,” Giuliani claimed of the liberal billionaire that the right-wing loves to create conspiracies about.

Giuliani then brought up the conspiracy theory that Biden wouldn’t give money to Ukraine if they didn’t fire a top prosecutor in the state that the international community believed was corrupt.

“To me, as a lawyer, it sounds like a bribe,” Giuliani said. “A bribe is offering something of value in exchange for official action. So, he offered Poroshenko a $1.2 billion loan guarantee, critical to Poroshenko’s success as president, in exchange for getting rid of a prosecutor general.”

CNN reported that Guiliani repeated over and over again how necessary the investigation was, even claiming the diplomatic relations would improve between the U.S. and Ukraine if the probe was launched, another example of a quid pro quo.

Giuliani and Volker both told the Ukraine official that such a public announcement would certainly ensure an approved visit to the U.S. for Zelensky, a third bribe.

“That would clear the air really well,” Giuliani said, in the recording. “And I think it would make it possible for me to come and make it possible, I think, for me to talk to the President (Trump) to see what I can do about making sure that whatever misunderstandings are put aside … I kinda think that this could be a good thing for having a much better relationship.”

Read the full report at CNN.com and hear a segment of the audio below:

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CORRUPTION

Wallace Skewers Christie for Trying to ‘Save’ the GOP and Favoring Fox News

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MSNBC news host Nicolle Wallace skewered former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie while he was promoting his book, “Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden.”

“Is bias more dangerous to the country than conspiracy theorists?” Wallace asked.

“No, but that’s the third section of the book where I talk about the movement forward. In the second portion of the book, we talk about the conspiracy theories and the truth-denying that went on with things like Qanon, Pizzagate, the election situation, John Birch Society… that’s what I talk about. There’s two sections of the book and I’m sure you’re conflating them,” Christie answered.

“I’m not conflating them,” Wallace said. “I don’t think it’s an intellectually honest case to make against conspiracy theories without taking on Fox News.”

During the interview, Wallace also asked Christie if he thought former President Donald J. Trump gave him COVID-19. He denied naming Trump specifically in the contraction, but ultimately said he didn’t know who gave it to him.

See below for how Twitter has responded to the interview, which originally aired Tuesday night, and also to the news of Christie’s potential run for president in 2024.

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CORRUPTION

GOP Rep. Gonzales: ‘I Will Not Let’ Trump ‘Steal’ the 2024 Election

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A stern warning was issued to Republicans Friday by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH): don’t rest on your laurels – former President Donald Trump will try to steal the next election.

“January 6 was an unconstitutional attempt led by the President of the United States to overturn an American election and reinstall himself in power illegitimately,” Gonzalez said. “That’s fallen nation territory, that’s third world country territory. My family left Cuba to avoid that fate. I will not let it happen here.”

Gonzalez said he could see one of two outcomes: “He either wins legitimately, which he may do, or if he loses again, you just try to steal it.”

Gonzalez was one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Gonzalez and his family were the target of attacks and threats following the impeachment hearing. He has chosen to retire from Congress at the end of his term and avoid facing off with a Trump-backed primary challenger.

Gonzalez told CNN he will try to stop Trump from running the same 2020 playbook to overturn another election.

“The institutions don’t hold themselves,” Gonzalez said. “In the moments of truth, you need the right people to pass the most difficult tests. We had just enough people on January 6 pass the test. We have to make sure we have equal number of people to continue to pass the test going forward.”

“I’m afraid that the kind of political violence, the kind of abandonment of the rule of law, the kind of abandonment of the constitution that we watched, does threaten the foundations of democracy, the foundations of our system,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who was kicked out of House GOP leadership over her criticism of Trump.

“And the fact that so many in my party are willing to be silent, are complicit, are enabling it, adds very much to the peril,” added Cheney, one of two Republicans serving on the House select committee investigating January 6.

“I have real concerns about the future of this democracy,” said Bill Gates, a Republican supervisor in Arizona’s Maricopa County who pushed back on claims that there was fraud in the 2020 election result. “I didn’t think we had this sort of pull towards authoritarianism in our in our democracy.”

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CORRUPTION

FBI Raids ‘Two Locations Associated with Project Veritas’ Under Bill Barr: Report

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation this week reportedly raided two locations associated with conservative group Project Veritas as part of a probe that started under former Trump-appointed Attorney General Bill Barr.

According to the New York Times, the searches were related to an investigation into how the personal diary of President Joe Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden, was stolen just ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“Federal agents in New York conducted the court-ordered searches on Thursday — one in New York City and one in suburban Westchester County — at places linked to people who had worked with the group and its leader, James O’Keefe,” writes the Times. “Project Veritas did not publish Ms. Biden’s diary, but dozens of handwritten pages from it were posted on a right wing website on Oct. 24, 2020, at a time when President Donald J. Trump was seeking to undermine Mr. Biden’s credibility by portraying his son, Hunter, as engaging in corrupt business dealings.”

A member of the Biden family contacted law enforcement officials about the diary’s theft and a Department of Justice investigation into the matter began shortly afterward.

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