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Trump enters "The Beast" in Alabama on Nov. 9. Photo: Reuters/Tom Brenner

Republicans are divided in their approach to defend President Trump in the impeachment inquiry, AP reports.

What's happening: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has privately advised his colleagues to say as little about impeachment as possible. Last month, he held a meeting on the Senate's trial rules of procedure. Meanwhile, House Republicans have taken a bolder stance.

House Republicans' message on Trump's impeachment has four elements, a senior House GOP aide told AP:

  1. The White House memo of Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian President "shows the president did nothing wrong."
  2. "Several key witnesses" testified to House impeachment committees that "they don’t have firsthand knowledge of what transpired."
  3. Ukraine "didn’t know the military aid was being upheld until it was publicly reported."
  4. "Eventually, the U.S. agreed to send the money to Ukraine."

Reality check: The memo shows that Trump pressed the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden — and House Democrats have accused Trump of withholding military aid to increase that pressure.

  • Ukraine planned to announce investigations into the Biden family and the origins of the Russia probe up until it received military aid from the U.S., the New York Times reports.

Between the lines: Senate Republicans — potential jurors for Trump's impeachment trial — are playing it safer than their counterparts in the House.

Go deeper: Trump's Ukraine transcript gaps worry administration officials

Go deeper

Updated 35 mins ago - World

In photos: Pope Francis spreads message of peace on first trip to Iraq

Iraqis dressed in traditional outfits greet Pope Francis upon his arrival at Erbil airport, the capital of the northern Iraqi Kurdish autonomous region, on March 7. Photo: Safin Hamed/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis was on Sunday visiting northern areas of Iraq once held by Islamic State militants.

Why it matters: This is the first-ever papal trip to Iraq. The purpose of Francis' four-day visit is largely intended to reassure the country's Christian minority, who were violently persecuted by ISIS, which controlled the region from 2014-2017.

Cuomo faces fresh misconduct allegations from former aides

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February press conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was on Saturday facing fresh accusations of misconduct against his staff, including further allegations of inappropriate behavior against two more women. His office denies the claims.

Driving the news: The Washington Post reported Cuomo allegedly embraced an aide when he led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and that two male staffers who worked for him in the governor's office accused him of routinely berating them "with explicit language."

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, outside the Minnesota Governor's residence during a protest in support of George Floyd in St.Paul, Minnesota, on March 6. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.

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