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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.

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“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.”

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.

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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.

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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Doctor fighting fraud charge cites Donald Trump in his defense of doling out COVID-19 drug

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As President Donald Trump promoted the drug hydroxychloroquine, one California doctor took his recommendations to the bank.

According to the San Diego Tribune, Dr. Jennings Staley is being charged in what appears to be the first case involving the drug. The FBI is charing Staley with mail fraud as part of an effort hailing hydroxychloroquine as a "miracle cure" and the "magic bullet" to an undercover agent posing as a patient, court documents say.

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The few police willing to join in solidarity with protesters

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Reports of the protests across the country are focusing on the violence, clashes and property damage caused by a small few rather than the peaceful protest of those rallying against injustice and the police standing in solidarity with them.

A few captured positive moments of cities where officers support the protests and believe Black lives do actually matter.

There were moments of protesters fist-bumping police, hugs with police, and in one incident in New York City over the weekend, one officer was separated from his unit. Protesters surrounded him with locked arms to protect him from those being violent. In Miami, Florida and Seattle, Washington, police joined protesters in kneeling.

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2020 Election

Trump shows all the signs of being ‘rattled’ now that the White House is under siege from protesters: columnist

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In a column for the Atlantic, longtime political observer Peter Nicholas stated that Donald Trump is showing all the signs of a scared man as massive protests have broken out across the country over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four former Minneapolis cops -- and angry Americans are taking their case all the way up to the White House gates.

As Nicholas wrote, "Presidents live within a protective cocoon built and continually fortified for one purpose: keeping them alive. But inside the White House compound these days, Donald Trump seems rattled by what’s transpiring outside the windows of his historic residence."

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