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Morning Joe says FBI close to exposing the president: ‘It’s a criminal issue — and Trump knows that’

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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough believes President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey because he sensed the investigation was getting close to revealing whatever criminal actions he’s trying to hide.

The “Morning Joe” host compared the situation to the Showtime series “Billions,” which depicts a U.S. attorney pursuing a hedge fund billionaire named Bobby Axelrod, and he said the FBI had found strong evidence against Trump and his associates.

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“The FBI has started pulling that string, and they are still pulling that string where it leads is not just an election issue, it is a criminal issue — and Trump knows that,” Scarborough said.

John Heilemann, the co-managing editor of Bloomberg Politics and an MSNBC political analyst, agreed that Comey’s firing was not an irrational action or a political miscalculation, but rather an effort to stop or slow the FBI investigation into his ties to Russia.

“The reason he did this is not because he’s out of his mind,” Heilmann said. “He did this is because, as you said Joe, I think he recognizes — he looked over at the FBI and said, this guy James Comey came to the White House, I asked him, if we believe this story, asked him for his loyalty, he wouldn’t give me his loyalty. He’s been investigating since last July, he’s now taking daily briefings on this matter, rather than weekly, he’s now asking for more prosecutors. Donald Trump knows what’s at the heart of this. I don’t know what that is, but he does, and he’s saying this guy knows, too.”

Scarborough said he’s heard from FBI sources that the investigation had gathered steam in recent weeks, and he said Comey was fired in response to that development.

“They have already found the string and they are pulling on it, based on my contacts inside the FBI and they are starting to tug on that string, and they are going to keep tugging, keeping going, and it’s accelerated because of the way he fired Comey, and he knows it,” Scarborough said.

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Co-host Mika Brzezinski said she was worried about the harm Trump had already done since his inauguration.

“Big picture, there’s a lot of damage done to our country,” she said. “It’s not going to be okay anymore.”

Scarborough agreed.

“Nobody is saying it’s going to be okay, Mika,” he said. “In fact, this is a constitutional crisis.”

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West Virginia mail carrier busted for helping GOP by tampering with absentee ballot requests

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A mail carrier in West Virginia is facing jail time after he was caught tampering with absentee ballot requests in a way that suppressed turnout in local Democratic primary elections.

BuzzFeed News reports that 47-year-old Thomas Cooper pleaded guilty this week to attempting to defraud the residents of West Virginia of a fair election when he switched West Virginia residents' ballot requests from Democratic to Republican ballots.

Cooper altered a total of eight different ballot requests, although he told investigators that he did it "as a joke" and didn't mean to cause any harm. Cooper's attorney, Scott Curnutte, similarly told BuzzFeed News that Cooper's actions had just been a "silly lark."

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France investigates report of bodies ‘left to rot’ at Paris research centre

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French investigating magistrates will probe claims that human corpses donated for science were left to rot and be eaten by rats at a university research facility, the Paris prosecutor's office said Thursday.

A probe into "violations of the integrity of a corpse" was handed over to the magistrates by prosecutors who handled the initial phase of the investigation after l'Express magazine reported the scandal last November.

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Dutch ‘golden age’ statue stirs ghosts of colonial past

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The statue of a Dutch 17th century colonialist has become a flashpoint for the debate in the Netherlands on its past of slavery and colonization in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.

For some, the sculpture of Jan Pieterszoon Coen, a key official in the Dutch East India Company considered a national hero for colonising what is now Indonesia, is a memorial to the Dutch "Golden Age".

Traditionalists, like populist eurosceptic leader Thierry Baudet, have laid flowers at the foot of the statue in the port town of Hoorn to show support after several statues of historical figures were damaged in the Netherlands.

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