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White House announces investigation of subprime mortgage fraud

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced Friday a new inquiry to investigate fraud in the mortgage-backed securities market, whose billion-dollar implosion helped trigger the global financial crisis.

Attorney General Eric Holder will head the working group of 55 lawyers, investigators and analysts from the Justice Department and other federal and state agencies tasked with uncovering wrongdoing in the “sub-prime” mortgage-backed securities market and zeroing in on those responsible.

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“By bringing our government’s full enforcement resources to bear, I have no doubt that we will improve our ability to recover losses, to prevent fraud, to bring abuses to light, and to hold those who violate the law accountable,” Holder said in a statement announcing the probe.

“That’s what the challenge before us demands, and that’s what the American people deserve.”

Holder, who spoke just three days after President Barack Obama called for prosecution of wrongdoers in the financial meltdown in his State of the Union address, also stressed the new effort “will improve our ability to ensure justice for victims (and) help restore faith in our financial markets and institutions.”

The financial crisis swelled after a bubble in US housing prices popped in 2007 and mortgage-backed securities lost much of their value, sending shockwaves through the global banking system.

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US authorities have accused banks of issuing dodgy mortgages to unqualified borrowers and then misrepresenting the quality of the loans when bundling them into complex mortgage-backed securities.

Consumer advocates have argued that Wall Street banks have not been held responsible for actions that caused the financial meltdown and forced many in the United States out of their homes.

“Millions of American families have been harmed by the foreclosure crisis,” Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan said in the statement, adding the investigation will specifically target “misconduct we know led directly to the financial crisis.”

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“These families deserve justice. They deserve relief,” he added.

Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved.


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Mick Mulvaney is Trump’s new fall guy on corruption — and Republicans just play along

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It's getting increasingly more difficult to keep track of all the new impeachable acts President Trump commits every day. And perhaps even more difficult to imagine the most outrageous thing he can do that the Republican Party would still defend.

This article first appeared in Salon.

It took almost two weeks, but the White House has finally admitting what everyone knew from day one: Trump demanded a quid pro quo from the Ukrainian government before releasing military aid authorized by Congress. Republicans have been denying the obvious, remaining willfully blind to a brazen scheme. That suddenly seems quaint, now that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has confessed on live television that there was a quid pro quo.

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The week Donald Trump’s presidency crashed and burned — and Republicans noticed

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It feels as though every week during the Trump administration is a year and every year a decade. Every day there is a crisis or an outrage or a revelation that takes your breath away. But the underlying dynamics always seem to be the same no matter what. The press reports the story, the Democrats get outraged, the pundits analyze it, the president rages and then Fox and the Republicans all line up like a bunch of robots and salute smartly. Then we reset until the next crisis, outrage or revelation. It's an exhausting cycle that never seems to get us anywhere and it's bred a fatalistic response in many of us: "Nothing matters."

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Turkish president threatens US over Trump’s insulting letter: ‘When the time comes necessary steps will be taken’

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an on Friday warned the United States that it would pay a price for the letter send by President Donald Trump that warned him that history "will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen" in northern Syria.

The letter, which also advised Erdo?an to not "be a tough guy" or "a fool," was widely ridiculed in the media for sounding childish. Erdo?an, however, said on Friday that he took the president's letter as a serious insult to his stature as a world leader.

As reported by the BBC's Jon Sopel, Erdo?an called out the president's letter for being out of line with standard diplomatic protocol, and he suggested his country would not forget how the president showed them such little respect.

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