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Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A lawyer for White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney released a statement Thursday casting doubt on the testimony of former top Russia adviser Fiona Hill, who told investigators that EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland had a "deal" with Mulvaney to engage in a quid pro quo with Ukraine using a coveted White House visit.

Why it matters: Sondland testified that he kept Mulvaney and a number of other top administration officials apprised of his efforts to push Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election. Mulvaney himself admitted at a press conference in October that Trump conditioned military assistance to Ukraine on the announcement of the 2016 investigation, before later walking it back.

The big picture: Mulvaney, Vice President Mike Pence and Energy Secretary Rick Perry have all released statements this week disputing elements of certain testimonies in the impeachment hearings. All three have been asked to cooperate in the House's inquiry, but none have complied.

What they're saying:

"Fiona Hill’s testimony is riddled with speculation and guesses about any role that Mr. Mulvaney played with anything related to Ukraine. She bases much of her testimony about him on things allegedly heard from unnamed staffers, guards in the West Wing, and “many people.” The fact is that Ms. Hill has never met Mr. Mulvaney other than in passing, and has never discussed anything with him regarding Ukraine. We have no idea why Ms. Hill believes Mr. Mulvaney was so heavily involved, especially in light of Ambassador Sondland’s contrary testimony that he only spoke very infrequently to Mr. Mulvaney and had zero substantive conversations with him about Ukraine. This inquiry continues to be a sham. No court in this country would give any weight to testimony about Mr. Mulvaney as speculative as Ms. Hill’s. Neither should Congress or the public."
— Mulvaney attorney Bob Driscoll

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Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

8 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.