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Obscure law would allow Trump’s billionaire pals to skip out on millions in taxes if they join his cabinet

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Beyond the prestige of holding a top position in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration is an extra bonus for what is shaping up to be the richest cabinet ever.

According to the Washington Post, wealthy cabinet members may be in line to duck out on paying hundreds of million dollars in federal taxes on capital gains.

While Republican President Abraham Lincoln may have had his “team of rivals,” Trump’s early cabinet choices are shaping up to a “band of billionaires.” Those rich folks will be given the opportunity to shape U.S. policy in ways that help out the wealthiest one percent — while making out pretty well for themselves.

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Buried deep in Section 2634 of federal ethics laws is a tax avoidance maneuver called a “certificate of divestiture,” that allows incoming cabinet picks to sell off billions of dollars in assets — in order to avoid future conflicts of interest — much of them tax-free.

When former President George W. Bush selected Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson top serve as his treasury secretary, Paulson sold off approximately a half a billion dollars’ worth of Goldman stock and avoided what might have totaled over $200 million in capital gains taxes.

According to Robert Lenhard, a campaign-finance lawyer and former FEC chairman, the law was put in place out of fairness to potential administration picks.

“If you suddenly had to absorb the capital-gains taxes of substantial parts of your holdings, it would be a real body blow to some people financially,” he explained. “I just think of it as an act of fairness for those people entering public service.”

Depending on the position, not all cabinet secretaries will be asked to divest themselves of holdings that might give rise to questions of conflicts of interest, but those who want to take advantage on the law could recognize substantial savings, including possible education secretary, Betsy DeVos, whose family fortune is estimated at approximately $5 billion.

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US intel officials believe Trump has been duped by a ‘yearslong’ Russian effort to blame Ukraine for 2016

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A new report from the New York Times claims that American intelligence officials believe that the effort to blame Ukraine for meddling in the 2016 presidential election is part of a "yearslong" Russian intelligence operation aimed at exonerating Moscow.

According to the Times, intelligence officials recently "informed senators and their aides in recent weeks that Russia had engaged in a yearslong campaign to essentially frame Ukraine as responsible for Moscow’s own hacking of the 2016 election."

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Resurfaced quotes come back to haunt Graham and Nunes on impeachment

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A video showing Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., during the Clinton impeachment proceedings resurfaced this week, illustrating how the Judiciary Committee chairman has reversed his stance on impeachment now that an inquiry has been activated into President Donald Trump.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Graham, an ardent ally of President Trump, sponsored a resolution that has been co-signed by all but three Senate Republicans decrying the House impeachment probe. He told Fox News host Sean Hannity in October that any articles of impeachment against Trump should be “dismissed in the Senate without a trial.” He also called the impeachment inquiry proceedings a “lynching in every sense.”

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‘Covering for Trump!’ Conspiracy nuts turn on Bill Barr after he says Jeffrey Epstein definitely killed himself

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Attorney General Bill Barr on Friday said that he had seen direct evidence that accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein took his own life -- and conspiracy theorists at Reddit are not happy about it.

Barr told the Associated Press on Friday that Epstein's suicide wasn't the result of a nefarious plot, but rather what he described as a "perfect storm of screw-ups" that occurred at his detention facility over the summer.

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