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Trump ally Manafort attempted to help Russian billionaire get US visa over FBI objections: report

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According to a report by David Corn at Mother Jones, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was enlisted by a Russian billionaire to help him get a U.S. visa in 2000 despite FBI objections.

Wednesday morning the Associated Press reported that Manafort in 2005 “proposed in a confidential strategy plan… that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.”

According to that report, Manafort pitched his plan to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate closely allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

However, it appears that Manafort’s relationship with Deripaska goes back even further when the billionaire ran into resistance when he wanted a U.S. visa.

According to Corn, Deripaska hired former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) who was working with the lobbying firm of Alston & Bird to press the State Department to allow the Russian into the U.S. After gaining approval, Deripaska delivered lectures at Harvard University and at a DC think tank, but was once again banned after an interview with the FBI during his visit.

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According to Mother Jones’s sources, Deripaska turned to Manafort who helped him line up a public relations firm tasked with helping create positive press for the billionaire.

In 2006, he was allowed back into the country to speak, once again, with FBI investigators, only to have his visa revoked due to concerns,”about the accuracy of statements he made in a meeting with the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” reported the Wall Street Journal.

Manafort is currently the subject of an FBI investigation into his many financial ties to the Russians, including during the brief time when he served as President Donald Trump’s campaign manager.

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Trump raked over the coals by WSJ for ‘politically stupid’ racist comments debacle

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In a brutally blunt column from the conservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, the editors scolded Donald Trump for being "politically stupid" by wading into a dispute between factions within the Democratic Party that has blown up in his face.

Under a headline reading, "Defining Politics Down," the editorial seemed less concerned with Trump's racist attacks and more with the fact that he has made his racism front and center as the country gears up for the 2020 election.

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Dear NeverTrumpers: Either help or STFU

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Bill Kristol Max Boot David Frum
Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed that the NeverTrumpers — repentant Republicans and conservatives — have been offering up lots of advice for how the Democrats can win the next election. Their jackhammer advice has basically been limited to urging the party to disavow its activist, progressive members in order to secure the contrarian swing voters who cast ballots for Barack Obama twice, then switched to Donald Trump in 2016.

Before I offer up a come-to-Jesus moment for the NeverTrumpers, let me say that as many of you know, I’ve defended members of this exiled faction in the past, and continue to stand by the idea that we need to form a coalition to close the loopholes exposed by Donald Trump’s malfeasance as a means of preventing another, perhaps more dangerous monster from sashaying through the Trump-shaped hole in the wall. To be clear: I’m not talking about conceding on policy or platform planks. I’m merely suggesting a detente between voices who all agree that Trump is a menace and his presidency is an existential national crisis.

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Morning Joe panel brutally dismantles Lindsey Graham for doubling down and backing Trump’s extreme racism

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough was left speechless by Sen. Lindsey Graham's impassioned defense of President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen.

The "Morning Joe" host sat in stunned silence after rolling video of the South Carolina Republican defending Trump's tweets, and doubling down by hurling his own slurs against the first-year lawmakers.

"You call Americans in Congress communists?" Scarborough said, after gathering his thoughts, "and you say they hate America? And then your punch line to that is aim higher?"

Scarborough, who served alongside Graham as a Republican congressman, said the episode was a shameful new low for the veteran lawmaker.

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