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Trump's Business Network Reached Alleged Russian Mobsters

(USA Today) To expand his real estate developments over the years, Donald Trump, his company and partners repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs from former Soviet republics — several allegedly connected to organized crime, according to a USA TODAY review of court cases, government and legal documents and an interview with a former federal prosecutor.

The president and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering.

Trump told reporters in February: "I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia. I have no loans with Russia at all."

Yet in 2013, after Trump addressed potential investors in Moscow, he bragged to Real Estate Weekly about his access to Russia's rich and powerful. “I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room,” Trump said, referring to Russians who made fortunes when former Soviet state enterprises were sold to private investors.


National Security Trump administration sought to block Sally Yates from testifying to Congress...

(Washington Post) The Trump administration sought to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying to Congress in the House investigation of links between Russian officials and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, The Washington Post has learned, a position that is likely to further anger Democrats who have accused Republicans of trying to damage the probe.

According to a series of letters reviewed by The Post, Yates was notified earlier this month by the Justice Department that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege.

Ms. Yates and other former intelligence officials had been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week, a hearing that was abruptly canceled by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Yates was the deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration, and served as the acting attorney general in the first days of the Trump administration.


"This is what a cover-up to a crime looks like." Rep. Eric Swalwell on Devin Nunes

But Swalwell (D-Calif.), also a member of the House Intelligence Committee, disputed the chairman’s argument Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It’s not an internet cafe. You can’t just walk in and receive classified information,” Swalwell said of the White House, adding that when a member of Congress visits, “everyone in the building knows that you’re there in the building.”

“This is done because the White House wanted it to be done,” the California Democrat said. “And this is what a cover-up to a crime looks like. We are watching it play out right now.”


Top Intel Dem Schiff calls on Nunes to recuse himself from House Russia investigation

(CNN) Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Russia investigation, called on House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation in a stunning split between the two top investigators.

"After much consideration, and in light of the Chairman's admission that he met with his source of information at the White House, I believe that the Chairman should recuse himself from any further involvement in the Russia investigation, as well as any involvement in oversight of matters pertaining to any incidental collection of the Trump transition, as he was also a key member of the transition team," Schiff said in a statement Monday, following a meeting of the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.


First on CNN: Border wall ask: $1 billion for 62 miles

(CNN) The Trump administration wants the first $1 billion of border wall funding to cover 62 miles -- including replacing some existing fencing along the southern border.

The $999 million requested by the White House in its budget supplement for just defense and border security spending would cover just 48 miles of new wall, according to justification documents from the Department of Homeland Security obtained by CNN.


Georgia Dems normally raise $10,000 for this House seat. This April they'll have $3 million.

(Vox) More than 7,000 people have already volunteered for (Jon) Ossoff’s campaign, and he has raised more than $3 million — unprecedented numbers for the congressional district.

The April 18 special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District is Democrats’ first chance to eat into Republicans’ House majority — and potentially preview the 2018 midterm elections. “Normally, a Democrat running for Price’s seat would be lucky to raise $10,000 to $20,000,” says Phil Lunney, legislative liaison for the Fulton County Democrats. “There’s been nothing like it here, at least in the 21st century.”


Gallup: Trump Approval Rating Now Lower Than Obama, Clinton Records

(TPM) President Donald Trump’s approval rating reached a new low in Gallup’s daily polling average Monday.

According to Gallup, 36 percent of respondents to its daily polls approved of Trump’s performance in office, while 57 percent disapproved.

Trump’s Gallup approval is now lower than former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton's approval numbers were at any point in their presidencies, according to an analysis by Gallup's editor-in-chief. Obama reached a low of 38 percent in 2011 and 2014. Former President Bill Clinton reached a low of 37 percent in 1993. Former President George W. Bush reached his low, 25 percent, in October 2008.

Miles Archer

Dick Cheney: Russian interference in US election may be "an act of war"

(Raw Story) Cheney gave a speech Monday at Economic Times‘ Global Business Summit, where he discussed “the rising number of threats” facing the world, reported Business Insider.

“Not long ago, Gorbachev was in power and the Soviets went out of business … but the situation has changed dramatically under Putin,” he said. “I think he has designs on the Baltics … We know he wanted Crimea — he took it.”

“There’s no question that there was a very serious effort made by Mr. Putin and his government, his organization, to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic processes,” Cheney said. “In some quarters, that could be considered an act of war.”

Miles Archer

Jared Kushner flew to Aspen same day as "one of Putins closest confidants"

(Raw Story) Flight logs show that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, travelled to Aspen, Colorado on the same day as a Russian oligarch with strong ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As the president’s push for health care reform went down in flames last week, Kushner and his family were reportedly skiing in Aspen. Trump was said to be unhappy about the timing of the vacation.

Photojournalist Eric Rosenwald examined flight logs from airports in the area and found that Kushner arrived in Aspen on Saturday, March 18 — the same day as Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who has been described as “one of Putin’s closest confidants.” Abramovich is known to own a home in Aspen.


'Bathroom bill' to cost North Carolina $3.76B

(AP) Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina's "bathroom bill" isn't hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Over the past year, North Carolina has suffered financial hits ranging from scuttled plans for a PayPal facility that would have added an estimated $2.66 billion to the state's economy to a canceled Ringo Starr concert that deprived a town's amphitheater of about $33,000 in revenue. The blows have landed in the state's biggest cities as well as towns surrounding its flagship university, and from the mountains to the coast.


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