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Obama task force probing banks on foreclosures, criminal charges possible

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In the still-developing “mortgagegate” scandal, the Obama White House is pledging its loyalties to the letter of the law, vowing Tuesday to hold “accountable” any bank that engaged in foreclosure fraud.

“As institutions are determining their next steps in addressing these issues, we remain committed to holding accountable any bank that has violated the law,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters.

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“Mortgagegate,” as it’s been dubbed in the media, centers around the use of unqualified workers given jobs as “mortgage experts,” who were then tasked with signing off on thousands of documents required by courts in foreclosure proceedings.

RELATED: Who’s who in the foreclosure crisis: a primer on the players

Many times, paperwork was not properly examined. In some cases, according to sworn statements, bribes of jewelry, cars and even houses were offered if an employee would forge documents or notary seals.

And all of it, according to the allegations, happened in an effort to speed up the foreclosure process.

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It was enough for attorneys general in all 50 states to initiate investigations. Only 23 states currently require a court approval before a bank may foreclose on a home.

Now, the Obama administration has directed its Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to find out whether banks that used so called “robo-signers” actively mislead government housing agencies, or if they committed mail or wire fraud by submitting false paperwork.

“The administration’s Federal Housing Administration and Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force have undertaken their own regulatory and enforcement investigation into the foreclosure process,” Gibbs explained Tuesday.

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It is possible the investigation will result in criminal charges, The Washington Post noted.

In the wake of the “robo-signing” revelations, several major lenders froze foreclosures temporarily to review paperwork, Bank of America being the largest. The institution said Monday it would be resuming foreclosures this week.

The Obama administration has resisted calls for a national moratorium on foreclosures, with spokesman Robert Gibbs warning of the “unintended consequences” of such an action.

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While many House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have called for a congressional investigation into foreclosure fraud, Congress is widely expected to attempt legislation retroactively forgiving the mortgage industry for its abuses.

Up to 1.2 million homes are expected to be foreclosed upon this year, according to data provided by RealtyTrac Inc.


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‘Smart rats jump a sinking orange ship’: Columnist predicts more Republicans will flee Trump

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New York Times contributing columnist Wajahat Ali predicted that more Republicans would likely flee President Donald Trump in the coming weeks.

Already, Trump's own officials, appointees, and staff are lining up to testify to the House committees, despite Trump saying they will not cooperate with any investigations.

"I believe smart rats jump a sinking orange ship, and if you don't believe me, you haven't paid attention to the last week," Ali told CNN's Don Lemon. In the past week, several of Trump's appointees have lined up to give a deposition or testify. Even outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry revealed in a Wall Street Journal interview, that Rudy Giuliani was to be the point person on all things related to Ukraine.

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CNN panel mocks the White House for promoting a photo of Trump looking ‘subservient’ to Pelosi

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The White House posted a series of photos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Wednesday after their meeting, showing Pelosi being the only person in the room literally standing up to President Donald Trump. It was an image that baffled the mind of at least one CNN panelist as to why the Trump people would be promoting Pelosi.

According to reports from those who were in the room, the president flew off the handle after Pelosi quipped that it seems all roads lead back to Russia for this president. It was at that point that Trump called Pelosi a "third-grade politician," though presumably, he meant "third-rate," and the meeting broke apart.

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Max Boot calls BS on Republicans for trying to claim Syria is Nancy Pelosi’s fault because of impeachment

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President Donald Trump is conducting foreign policy like a 1980s television character, according to conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot.

In a panel discussion about the letter Trump sent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, Boot mocked Republicans for suddenly trying to claim that Trump's withdrawal from Syria was Speaker Nancy Pelosi's fault because of impeachment. It is unclear if Republicans are confessing the president is too distracted by impeachment to be making foreign policy decisions or if they are blaming Pelosi for military decisions.

"I mean there's a lot of really lame Republican talking points out there, Don," Boot said to CNN host Don Lemon. "But to suggest, as Rep. Liz Cheney and others have done that somehow Trump's inexplicable decision to give the Turks the green light to invade Syria — that was somehow the fault of Nancy Pelosi because of the impeachment process? What?"

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