Diplomat says Trump used Ukraine aid as leverage; Republicans: Diplomat's claims were 'destroyed' at hearing

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Diplomat testifies Trump used Ukraine aid, White House meeting as leverage for probes; top Republicans say his testimony was discredited
Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor testified unequivocally Tuesday that President Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate both election interference and a company linked to former Vice President Joe Biden's son -- and was willing to hold up military aid and a White House meeting to get a public announcement from the country that the probes were underway. In his opening remarks to House lawmakers obtained by Fox News, Taylor voiced his apparent frustration that the Trump administration was undercutting his personal policy preference for providing robust aid to Ukraine.

In an interview with Laura Ingraham on Tuesday’s "The Ingraham Angle," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican and member of both the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, "destroyed" Taylor's testimony with his questioning in "90 seconds." However, McCarthy claimed, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is not allowing lawmakers to speak too specifically about the proceedings. Click here for more on our top story.

FILE - In this July 1, 2019, file photo, a protester covers the Hong Kong emblem with a Hong Kong colonial flag after they broke into the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong. Hong Kong authorities on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019 withdrew an unpopular extradition bill that sparked months of chaotic protests that have since morphed into a campaign for greater democratic change. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

FILE - In this July 1, 2019, file photo, a protester covers the Hong Kong emblem with a Hong Kong colonial flag after they broke into the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong. Hong Kong authorities on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019 withdrew an unpopular extradition bill that sparked months of chaotic protests that have since morphed into a campaign for greater democratic change. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

Hong Kong formally withdraws extradition bill
The Hong Kong government on Wednesday said it formally withdrew its controversial extradition bill that sparked months of violent protests but will reportedly be the fulfillment of only one demand out of five by protesters who continue to take to the streets. "I now formally announce the withdrawal of the bill," Secretary for Security John Lee told the city's legislature.

Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets since June, originally due to the bill that would have allowed Hong Kong nationals to be sent to mainland China to be tried in Communist party-controlled court. The rallies have continued and now protesters demand political reforms and police accountability.

Expanded probe into origins of FBI's Russia investigation based on new evidence, sources say
U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation into the origins of the FBI's 2016 Russia probe has expanded based on new evidence uncovered during a recent trip to Rome with Attorney General Bill Barr, sources told Fox News on Tuesday. The sources said Durham was "very interested" to question former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, an anti-Trump critic who recently dismissed the idea. The two Obama administration officials were at the helm when the unverified and largely discredited Steele dossier, written by British ex-spy Christopher Steele and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, was used to justify a secret surveillance warrant against former Trump adviser Carter Page.

Gabbard to Clinton: 'Step down from your throne'
Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard assailed Hillary Clinton in a new campaign video Tuesday and demanded that the former secretary of state "step down" from her throne. "Hillary, your foreign policy was a disaster for our country and the world -- resulting in the deaths and injuries of so many of my brothers and sisters in uniform, devastating entire countries, millions of lives lost, refugee crises," and more, Gabbard said. "Yet despite the damage you have done to our country and the world, you want to continue your failed policies directly or indirectly through the Democratic nominee."

She added: "It's time for you to acknowledge the damage you have caused and apologize for it. It is long past time for you to step down from your throne so the Democratic Party can lead with a new foreign policy which will actually be in the interests of and benefit the American people and the world."

Gabbard's new video is the latest development in a feud that erupted last week when Clinton suggested in an interview, without evidence, that the congresswoman from Hawaii was a "favorite of the Russians" and claimed Russians were "grooming her to be the third-party candidate" in the 2020 presidential election. The war of words has fueled speculation that Clinton is considering jumping into the race and making a third bid for the White House.

Biden slams Trump for calling inquiry a 'lynching' -- and then a video emerges
Former Vice President Joe Biden offered an apology late Tuesday for previously referring to the 1998 Clinton impeachment as a "partisan lynching" just hours after he condemned President Trump for referring to his own impeachment with the same term. Trump was widely criticized for claiming on Twitter that Republicans are witnessing a "lynching." Several 2020 Democrats piled on the president, including the 2020 co-frontrunner. However, CNN unearthed an interview Biden did on the network in 1998, where he used the same term he blasted Trump for. Click here to read more

Breaking up Big Tech giants like Facebook and Google is 'on the table,' says US antitrust chief
The country's top prosecutor probing Big Tech left the door open to breaking up the biggest names in Silicon Valley. Makan Delrahim, head of the Justice Department's antitrust division, said Tuesday that breaking up companies such as Google, Facebook or Amazon is "perfectly on the table" while speaking at the WSJ Tech Live summit. The Wall Journal reported that Delrahim laid out a "worst-case scenario" for Big Tech as the Justice Department's wide-ranging antitrust review, which began over the summer, continues.
 
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SOME PARTING WORDS

Sean Hannity says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff does not want the transcripts of the closed-door impeachment inquiry hearings made public because they would expose a "corrupt narrative."

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 Fox News First is compiled by Fox News' Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Enjoy your day! We'll see you in your inbox first thing on Thursday morning.