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

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Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort (Photo: Screen capture)

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.”

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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.

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.

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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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2020 Election

Trump officials could face criminal charges for USPS sabotage — and the president may not be able to pardon them

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Members of the Trump administration could face legal jeopardy over efforts to sabotage U.S. Postal Service operations to interfere with the 2020 presidential elections.

"Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) made a criminal referral to the New Jersey Attorney General on Friday night, asking him to impanel a grand jury to look at possible breach of state election laws by President Trump, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and others for 'their accelerating arson of the post office,' he said. Alarming headlines have emerged in recent days as many states prepare to facilitate widespread mail balloting due to the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump openly admitted he was withholding federal aid from the postal service to prevent mail-in voting, and USPS has notified 46 states and D.C. that it will struggle to deliver some mail ballots on time," The Daily Beast reported Friday.

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Maddow reveals how one state stood up to Trump’s USPS cuts — and won

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow's opening segment on Friday focused on a positive story of political pressure stopping one of the Trump administration's attacks on the U.S. Postal Service.

Maddow reported how NBC Montana reporter Maritsa Georgiou had doggedly reported on the removal of postal boxes in Missoula, where she is based. Missoula has been a long-time Democratic Party stronghold.

Montana has a competitive U.S. Senate election in 2020, with Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock challenging first-term Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

As Georgiou chased the story, she learned there were also plans to remove boxes in the battleground of Billings. And more planned for the blue town of Bozeman. And other towns.

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2020 Election

Pepsi joins the chorus of people dunking on Tucker Carlson over Kamala Harris

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The Pepsi soda company mocked Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on Friday evening.

On Tuesday, Carlson flipped out after a guest attempted to teach him how to pronounce the name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is running for vice president on Joe Biden's ticket.

Video of the exchange was posted on Twitter by Nikki McCann Ramirez, a researcher at the watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Tucker Carlson loses it when a guest corrects his pronunciation of Kamala Harris's name pic.twitter.com/1fHIrPGuwN

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