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Paulson: Russia tried to exacerbate US financial crisis

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Russian interests attempted to force the U.S. government bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by selling off its holdings in the two entities in 2008, then urging China to do the same, according to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Paulson’s claim is carried by his forthcoming memoir, “On The Brink.” An early copy was obtained by Bloomberg News.

“The Russians made a ‘top-level approach’ to the Chinese ‘that together they might sell big chunks of their GSE holdings to force the U.S. to use its emergency authorities to prop up these companies,’ Paulson said, referring to the acronym for government sponsored entities,” Bloomberg reported. “The Chinese declined, he said.”

He reportedly added that he waited until returning to the U.S. before informing former President George W. Bush of what he called a “disruptive plan.”

The New York Post called it flirting with “financial war.”

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Indeed, Bloomberg adds that during the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned Bush that “war has started,” according to Putin’s spokesman. The Kremlin has since denied that it urged the Chinese to sell bonds in Fannie and Freddie amid the height of the mortgage crisis.

In Paulson’s memoir, he also claims that “Alistair Darling, the UK chancellor, blocked a rescue takeover of Lehman Brothers by Barclays Bank when he refused to support special treatment by UK regulators,” Financial Times noted. He had allegedly been under pressure by New York Federal Reserve chief Timothy Geithner to waive the requirement of a shareholder vote to approve an accelerated merger between the two firms. Darling refused “without a hint of apology in his voice,” Paulson claims.

Russia held some $65.6 billion in Fannie and Freddie bonds at the beginning of 2008, according to Bloomberg. They have since been sold off. U.S. regulators seized the banks in Sept. 2008.

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Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said recently that both banks could be abolished following a complete reformation of how home mortgages are handled in the U.S. He expects the committee to make a recommendation to that effect.

Peter Wallison, a former general counsel to the U.S. Treasury, estimated at the end of 2009 that taxpayers would lose in upwards of $400 billion for its support of Fannie and Freddie.


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Trump ignored being condemned by Congress and instead praised Republicans on Twitter for defending his racism

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President Donald Trump celebrated on Tuesday night despite the House of Representatives having voted earlier in the day to condemn his racist statements.

By a final vote of 240 to 187, Congress voted for a resolution saying, "Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

The resolution said Congress “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.”

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The tortured madness of Donald Trump: It’s clear the president is out of his mind

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Where’s Shakespeare when we need him? Only the Bard of Avon could do literary justice to the tortured madness of Donald Trump, who fluctuates between petulant self-pity and weird self-praise.

His brags are especially weird because they usually involve achievements he hasn’t made. It’s as though his saying something makes it true — even though everyone except his most naive devotees can clearly see that he’s either hallucinating or lying. In June, for example, at a rally launching his reelection campaign, he retrumpeted an old campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” assuring the adoring crowd that “that’s exactly what we’re doing right now.”

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Seth Meyers plays hilarious fictional Democratic debate — featuring all 20 candidates on stage at the same time

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The host of NBC's "Late Night with Seth Meyers" thought his network did a good job hosting the first round of Democratic debates among 2020 hopefuls, but his "one complaint" was that there weren't enough candidates on stage.

The rules established by the Democratic National Committee required NBC to host two nights of debates, with ten candidates on the stage each night.

Meyers wanted all twenty, so he presented Late Night's version of the debates, where Meyers would pretend to moderate the debate and then splice out-of-context video of the candidates to make it appear as if they were answering his question.

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