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Roger Ailes funneled millions in Fox News funds for shady firms to harass his victims: report

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The hits just keep on coming for former Fox News head Roger Ailes, with a report that he used Fox funds to run a “Black Room” operation at the company’s headquarters where investigators and political operatives investigated and plotted against the executive’s personal enemies.

According to Gabriel Sherman, writing for New York Magazine, an investigation is under way at Fox looking into how Ailes spent millions of dollars to settle sexual harassment lawsuits with virtually no oversight, which might have set off alarms.

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Mixed in with those dollars were payments to private investigators — including a company owned by Fox News regular Bo Dietl — to investigate the lives of Fox employees who sued the company as well as journalists who were taking a hard look at the news network.

According to sources who spoke with Sherman, Ailes had free rein to spend part of Fox’s $1 billion in profits on whatever he wanted with no questions asked.

“It was the culture. You didn’t ask questions, and Roger wouldn’t entertain questions,” one Fox executive explained, with another saying the money used for investigations and settlements were dismissed as a “rounding error.”

Picking through the wreckage after Ailes was dismissed over extensive allegations that he sexually harassed employees for years, investigators are now looking at a series of outside consultants who were doing Ailes’ private dirty work for him.

What they have uncovered is his unfettered ability to divert funds from the Fox budget to hire consultants, political operatives, and private detectives who only reported to him. Last week, Fox News reportedly dismissed five consultants whom Ailes had hired to work on his personal behalf.

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Among Ailes’ targets were Gawker editors John Cook and Hamilton Nolan — who were subjected to private surveillance — as well a former Fox employee Andrea Mackris who filed a highly publicized sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox star Bill O’Reilly in 2004 that was reportedly settled for $10 million.

According to Sherman, Ailes set up the “Black Room” command center on the 14th floor of the News Corp building, where operatives conducted research and surveillance campaigns against his enemies inside and outside the company.

Investigators working for owner Rupert Murdoch are now looking into how Ailes was able to spend the money without any oversight.

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Sherman reports that Fox News CFO Mark Kranz approved budget expenditures, and that general counsel Dianne Brandi approved contracts. Both execs have said that they were unaware of surveillance and online attacks conducted on Ailes’ behalf.

Susan Estrich, a spokesperson for the now deposed media executive has denied the allegations, saying they “are totally false.”

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‘A coward and a commander’: New Lincoln Project ad contrasts Trump with James Mattis

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On Friday, the conservative anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project released a new attack ad against President Donald Trump — this time using the criticism of his former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and comparing and contrasting their leadership ability.

"This is the story of a coward and a commander," said the ad's narrator. "The coward Trump dodged the draft. Jim Mattis led American troops for forty years. While a frightened Trump hides from protesters in a deep bunker firing off tweets, Jim Mattis does what he's always done: Leads. While Donald Trump angrily attacks, General Mattis' words deserve to be heard by every American."

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NFL Commissioner Goodell apologizes for league’s indifference to players’ protests against racism

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On Friday, CNN reported that National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell is acknowledging his organization turned a blind eye when his athletes took a knee to protest racism and police violence, and issued a formal apology.

"We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest," Goodell said in a newly released Instagram video. "It has been a difficult time for our country. In particular, black people in our country. First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality."

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Maxine Waters calls for Trump’s Cabinet initiate the 25th Amendment ‘before this would-be dictator takes us all down’

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Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) called for Donald Trump to be removed from office on Friday.

"Is there one brave member of Trump’s cabinet who would move to initiate the 25th Amendment to remove him from office?" Waters asked on the president's favorite social networking platform.

The 25th Amendment would allow Vice President Mike Pence to ascend to the presidency if a majority of Trump's cabinet declares "the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

"Now is the time to save our country before this would-be dictator takes us all down!" Waters warned.

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