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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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Small businesses in turmoil as pandemic stimulus talks stalled: report

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On Tuesday, Politico reported that small businesses are in limbo as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has stalled, and as the White House and Congress appear to be at a standstill on extending coronavirus stimulus.

"The collapse of pandemic relief negotiations has brought complications for the massive emergency lending program, which shut down on Saturday to new loans after doling out more than $520 billion in funds, leaving banks and borrowers unsure of how to proceed with a key phase of the rescue," reported Zachary Warmbrodt.

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2020 Election

Trump can’t attack Kamala Harris without contradicting his own message: Bakari Sellers

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On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," former South Carolina lawmaker Bakari Sellers broke down why Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) poses such a challenge for President Donald Trump.

"What we're seeing with the two parties is the narrow focus is going to be on the fact that Donald Trump and the Trump campaign have no way, and they do not know how to deal, with Kamala Harris," said Sellers. "It very difficult to say 'Kamala is a cop' and be a 'law and order president.' Those two things simply do not mesh. Not only ahistorical and inaccurate, but the messages, they collide."

"But second, it shows that the Republican Party and Democratic Party are going in two vastly different directions," continued Sellers. "The country is becoming more diverse, the country is becoming more brown. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris represent the demographics of what the country will be, and Donald Trump and Steven Miller and Mike Pence represent a day that's passed. So what I would say tonight is while Donald Trump and Mike Pence want to cheer on the Confederacy, we're trying to re-imagine what this country will look like. It goes back to a time where Americans can feel good about being first and about thinking about what our country can be: full of hope and faith."

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2020 Election

WATCH: Tucker Carlson flips out after guest teaches him how to pronounce ‘Kamala Harris’

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Fox News personality Tucker Carlson repeated mispronounced the first name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is Joe Biden's running mate.

"On Fox, Tucker Carlson keeps calling her KAM-uh-luh, which is not how it's pronounced," Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel noted.

He linked to a tweet with a picture of Harris explaining in her memoir how to pronounce her name.

Harris wrote, "my name is pronounced 'comma-la' like the punctuation mark. It means 'lotus flower,' which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flower rising above the surface while its roots are planted firmly in the river bottom."

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