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Former Russian Trump aide seeks immunity deal to testify before Congress: NYT

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Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska, who once had close ties to President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, has offered to talk to the congressional committees investigating Trump’s Russia ties. He’s seeking full immunity to aid in the investigation.

A Friday New York Times report revealed Oleg V. Deripaska is an aluminum magnate and a member of the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Three different Congressional officials revealed that they received this request,  but said that doing so might complicate any federal criminal investigations.

Deripaska has offices in New York, but has had troubles traveling to the U.S. over the last several years due to what the government believes are ties to organized crime. According to court documents, the eight meetings he had in the U.S. between 2011 and 2014 were related to the United Nations and the G-20, not due to his businesses.

The court documents were part of a lawsuit from Russian-born businessman Alexander Gliklad, who accused Deripaska of using his diplomatic status to do business in the country. Deripaska denied it but Gliklad demanded the funds he was owed from a lawsuit settlement with Deripaska. The New York Supreme Court even got involved and ruled that they have jurisdiction over Deripaska.

Deripaska seems desperate for immunity. Prior to reaching out to the Congressional committees, he took out newspaper ads saying he was willing to participate in the hearings and investigations into Manafort, Trump and ties to Russia. An Associated Press report alleged Manafort gave him a plan in 2005 that outlined steps to “greatly benefit the Putin government” by influencing politics and news in the United States. Deripaska denied having anything to do with the agreement. Manafort denied he worked for Deripaska, rather his work was for the Russian government.

The Times said that the FBI doesn’t seem to have any interest in Deripaska as part of the investigation. However, his travel to the U.S. is curious because it came after the FBI withdrew from a secret deal that would have allowed Deripaska to enter the U.S. In 2008, the FBI arranged for him to have a special visa, despite objections from the State Department. The agreement turned out not to be helpful to the FBI.

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Deripaska has investments in the US that total millions, including properties in Greenwich Village and the Upper East Side, as well as a 50 percent stake in a Russian-language newspaper out of New York. He also has an investment in a hedge fund run by former World Bank president James Wolfensohn.


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Mississippi Republican who lost to Democrat by 14 votes files request for state House to void the election and declare her the winner

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On Thursday, Mississippi Today reported that state Rep. Ashley Henley, who lost her bid for re-election to Democrat Hester Jackson-McCray by just 14 votes in November, has filed a request for the GOP-controlled state legislature to overturn the results of the election and seat Henley for another term.

Henley cites what she claims are several irregularities in voter signature collection, and "missing" ballots. "There were irregularities that happened, absolutely, documented, very much so that bring into question the legitimacy of the election results," said Henley said. "That is without question."

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Trump’s campaign manager mocked for proudly sharing poll that suggests Dems will keep the House in 2020

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On Thursday, President Donald Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale posted a poll that was meant to warn Democrats off of their impeachment efforts, by showing how it was hurting their prospects in a competitive House race.

Specifically, the "confidential" poll showed freshman Rep. Kendra Horn (R-OK) down seven points against a generic Republican, and impeachment opposed 52 percent to 45 percent:

Nancy Pelosi is marching members of her caucus off the plank and into the abyss.

Impeachment is killing her freshman members and polling proves it.

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Two House Democrats push a clever plan that calls Republicans’ bluff on their Biden attacks

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Democratic Reps. Katie Porter of California and Max Rose of New York introduced a clever plan this week that will expose whether Republicans’ criticisms of former Vice President Joe Biden in the Ukraine scandal reflect good faith — or if, as many assume, they are just a shameful distraction and a bluff.

The lawmakers announced a bill on Wednesday called the Transparency in Executive Branch Officials’ Finances Act. It has two key components:

First, it would require all politically appointed executive branch officials, as well as the president and the vice president, to “disclose any positions they or any members of their extended families hold with foreign-owned businesses, any intellectual property they own that is protected or enforced by a foreign country, and whether any members of their families have stakes in companies that engage in significant foreign business dealings.”Second, it will “require the President and Vice President to disclose their tax returns for the previous five taxable years and prohibit political appointees from accepting payments from foreign entities.”

What’s clever about the proposal is that it latches on to two important issues, creating a wedge for Republicans. As part of the GOP’s defense of President Donald Trump in the Ukraine scandal, Republicans have argued that the president’s patently corrupt efforts to get a foreign country to investigate Biden, a political rival, were legitimate because the former vice president’s son created a conflict of interest by taking part in business in Ukraine.

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