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Report: Gingrich advised Freddie Mac on expanding home loans

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) claims he advised the government-sponsored Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, otherwise known as Freddie Mac, against home loan practices that led to the housing market’s collapse in 2008 — but sources within the company tell reporters at Bloomberg News a different story.

In a report published Wednesday, Gingrich is said to have advised the bank’s executives on routes they could take to expand their home loans business, and he collected a hefty set of fees along the way.

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Mitchell Delk, the bank’s top lobbyist, claimed that Gingrich was happy to discuss “the substance of the issues” the bank may face if it dramatically expanded lending. He reportedly said they discussed “what the benefits are to communities, what the benefits could be for Republicans and particularly their relationship with Hispanics.”

Gingrich was brought on by the bank as an adviser and “historian” in 1999, shortly after he left Congress. He was ultimately paid $1.6 million for his services, reporters Clea Benson and Dawn Kopecki noted.

The bank, which became insolvent amid the worst financial crisis since the crash that initiated the Great Depression, ultimately required billions in recapitalization by U.S. taxpayers, as it had over-leveraged its reserves and steeped its books with much more debt than capital. Even after years in government receivership, Freddie Mac is still losing money, and it recently asked the Treasury for another $6 billion bailout.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency estimated earlier this year that Freddie Mac and sister bank Fannie Mae could cost taxpayers up to $210 billion by 2013.

When Gingrich faced a question during a recent Republican debate about his 2006 contract with Freddie Mac, he claimed to have warned executives that their lending practices were “insane” and that they should stop before becoming insolvent.

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Bank officials immediately disputed that, claiming that he was essentially an ambassador to House Republicans, to convince them that they shouldn’t seize and break up the bank.

Gingrich also previously claimed that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) should be jailed for participating in the financial reform laws that today require banks to hold more capital and less debt.

“Well in Chris Dodd’s case, go back and look at the Countryside deals,” the former House speaker insisted. “In Barney Frank’s case, go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at Freddie Mac. All I’m saying is that everybody in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start to go after the politicians who have been at the heart of the sickness which is weakening this country.”

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2012

Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’

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On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.

As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.

Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:

1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."

Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR

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2012

British PM candidates clash over Brexit as Boris Johnson skips debate

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Candidates to become Britain's next prime minister clashed over Brexit strategy at their first debate on Sunday but the frontrunner, Boris Johnson, dodged the confrontation.

The 90-minute debate on Channel 4 featured the five remaining candidates and an empty podium for Johnson, the gaffe-prone former foreign secretary and former mayor of London.

In sometimes ill-tempered exchanges, four of the five candidates said they would seek to renegotiate the draft Brexit divorce deal agreed with Brussels even though EU leaders have repeatedly ruled this out.

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2012

Michael Cohen ordered back to Congress on March 6

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President Donald Trump's so-called "fixer" is being asked to return to Congress for more questioning on March 6.

Outside of the closed-door committee hearing Thursday, Cohen said that the House Intelligence Committee is seeking further information, according to Washington Examiner writer Byron York.

Michael Cohen finished closed-door testimony before House Intel Committee, says he's coming back for another session March 6. Again: No reason for secrecy. Transcripts should be released ASAP.

— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 28, 2019

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