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‘The very definition of payola’: CNN crushes Trumpster with list of his illegal donations

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CNN’s Alisyn Camerota called out Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s 30-plus year history of illegally tampering with the political process when his surrogate and GOP Rep. Chris Collins (NY) appeared on New Day Wednesday.

Camerota was discussing Trump’s possibly illegal donations to Florida Republican Attorney Gen. Pam Bondi, who dropped the state’s investigation into Trump University after receiving the money.

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Last week, the Trump Foundation agreed to pay an IRS fine of $2,500 for its donation of $25,000 to Bondi’s re-election campaign.

“Congressman,” Camerota said, “don’t you think the American public cares about breaking the law?”

“Well, these are technicalities in many cases,” Collins said, “as he pointed out on the recent Bondi one. He was solicited for a donation, he told his clerk to do it. She wrote it out of the wrong checking account.”

He tried to pivot and attack Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, saying, “Donald Trump has been on the donating side. You make donations to get the ear of somebody that you would like to speak with. That’s part of what goes on in politics. It is the dirty side of politics. Clinton has been on the receiving end.”

In reply, Camerota presented Collins with a list of Trump’s shady campaign dealings dating back to 1985.

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“Let’s look back,” she said, pointing out that in 1985, Trump was caught exceeding legal campaign donation limits by funneling funds through 18 subsidiary companies, which is technically legal, but is essentially a corporate version of the crime that sent right-wing provocateur Dinesh D’Souza to federal prison.

He was fined in the 1990s for exceeding legal campaign donation limits again by more than $50,000. Then, in 2000, the state of New York fined Trump $250,000 for illegally concealing his lobbying activities.

And currently, Bondi is not the only state attorney general to whom Trump has donated in his efforts to defray the scandal over “Trump University,” which the New York attorney general’s office bluntly called “a fraud from beginning to end” on Tuesday.

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“Isn’t this the very definition of payola?” Camerota asked. “Payola is the practice of bribing someone to use their influence to promote your particular interest. How does this differ?”

Collins essentially confirmed this, saying that Trump has always been “on the donating side” again, and justifying it by saying that “He has said you make donations at times to get the ear of somebody you’d like to speak with. That’s part of what goes on in politics. It’s the dirty side of politics, everyone knows that.”

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“Clinton’s been on the receiving end,” he reiterated.

“But not illegally,” Camerota said. “That’s the big difference, Congressman. Nothing illegal.”

Watch the interview:

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Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial

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Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.

"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"

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Florida Republican Matt Gaetz admits Trump’s legal defense was ‘like an 8th grade book report’ — only worse

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) admitted that President Donald Trump's team of lawyers weren't quite the legal eagles that he thinks they might be, said Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio.

Questioned about his take on the way the case is unfolding in the Senate, Gaetz said that the House presented it like it was going to be on "cable news." For many that may be an insult, but it appears to Gaetz that was a compliment.

Desiderio said that Gaetz then lamented that the White House presented their case more like “an 8th-grade book report.”

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Conservative says Republicans won’t want to stop confirming right-wing judges just to hear witnesses in impeachment

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Conservative CNN commentator Scott Jennings was asked about Sen. John Kennedy's (R-LA) comments that most senators were hearing the facts of the trial for the first time Wednesday night.

“I’ve learned a lot. Everybody has. Senators didn’t know the case,” Kennedy admitted. “They really didn’t.”

He claimed that nine out of ten senators learned something new and the tenth is lying.

Jennings dismissed the information, saying that whatever happens in the trial, senators won't want to "shut down the Senate" just to hear witnesses. He claimed that President Donald Trump's legal team would make that argument to the senators.

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