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‘A fight for the soul of our democracy’: Dem Rep. Cummings shames GOP for silence on ‘Trump tapes’

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Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is no shrinking violet, and appearing on MSNBC Sunday morning, he made clear that Congress will get to the bottom of whether or not President Donald Trump was taping his own calls.

Speaking with “AM Joy” host Joy Reid, Cummings asserted that any recordings Trump may have made as president would become public record.

“If there are tapes, clearly they would come under the Presidential Records Act,” said Cummings, a ranking member of the House Oversight Committee of the act passed in the wake of the Watergate scandal. “When you have recordings like this, you have to preserve them and they become a part of the presidential records. And we should have access to them as the Congress.”

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Along with Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Cummings authored a letter to the White House that not only demanded Trump turn over “copies of all recordings in possession of the White House regarding this matter,” but also indicting the president for potentially intimidating a witness via a seemingly threatening tweet directed at James Comey, the former FBI director he fired last week.

“The President’s actions this morning — as well as his admission yesterday on national television that he fired Director Comey because he was investigating Trump campaign officials and their connections to the Russian government — raise the specter of possible intimidation and obstruction of justice,” Conyers’ and Cummings’ statement reads. They also state that under Section 1512 of Title 18 of the US Code, “it is a crime to intimidate or threaten any potential witness with the intent to influence, delay, or prevent their official testimony.”

Addressing actions the House is taking to uncover the truth behind the so-called “Trump tapes,” Reid also asked Cummings if his Republican colleagues were more outraged behind the scenes about the president’s behavior than they appear to be in public.

In response, Cummings said that while he thinks there is “some outrage,” many GOP congresspeople are either too scared of losing their seats or invested in the Comey firing scandal blowing over to speak out.

“I told them over and over again that this is a fight for the soul of our democracy,” Cummings said. “The question is going to become, when all of this is over, what kind of country are we going to have?”

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Watch Cummings discuss the potential Trump tapes and his colleagues across the aisle below, via MSNBC.

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Melania Trump statue torched near her Slovenian hometown: report

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On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that a wooden statue of First Lady Melania Trump carved from a tree outside her hometown in Slovenia last year has been burned to the ground.

"The artist who had commissioned the sculpture, Brad Downey, had the statue removed on July 5," reported Madeline Charbonneau. "Downey, who is American but works out of Berlin, had hoped his statue of the first lady would create dialogue about American politics, given that Melania Trump is an immigrant married to a president who seeks to stem immigration. Though the investigation is still pending, Downey said he hopes to interview the perpetrators for an upcoming exhibition."

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FBI investigating Chinese businessman who bankrolled media company linked to Steve Bannon

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A Wall Street Journal expose revealed that a Chinese businessman is under investigation by the FBI after he used funds to bankroll a media company with ties to a former aide to President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon.

"Federal Bureau of Investigation national security agents in recent months have asked people who know both men for information on Mr. Guo’s activities, including the source of funds of a media company linked to him that hired Mr. Bannon in 2018 as a consultant, the people said," according to the Journal. "As recently as last week, the FBI met with one person familiar with the companies tied to Mr. Guo, the people said. The probe has been underway for more than six months, and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have been involved.

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Lady Antebellum changed their name for racial sensitivity — now they’re suing the Black singer who already used the name

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In June, as the national conversation about racial justice in the wake of the George Floyd killing pushed many groups and organizations to examine the racial connotations of their brands, the country music group Lady Antebellum announced they were changing their name to "Lady A" to remove reference to the slavery period of Southern history.

There was just one problem: an African-American blues singer in Seattle, Anita White, already went by that name. Now, according to Pitchfork, the band is going to court for the right to use the trademark.

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