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Mueller demands White House turn over Mike Flynn documents

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Special counsel Robert Mueller has requested the White House turn over documents concerning former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

“Though not a formal subpoena, the document request is the first known instance of Mr. Mueller’s team asking the White House to hand over records,” The New York Times reports, citing people close to the investigation.

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The story by Times reporters Matthew Rosenberg, Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt also reports investigators “have questioned witnesses about whether [Flynn] was secretly paid by the Turkish government during the final months of the presidential campaign.”

Flynn’s consultancy, the Flynn Intel Group, was paid $530,000 to direct a “campaign discrediting an opponent of the Turkish government who has been accused of orchestrating last year’s failed coup in the country.”

The target of Flynn’s smear campaign was Fethullah Gulen, a reclusive cleric who lives in Pennsylvania. Former CIA Director James Woolsey said he attended a secret meeting in September with Mike Flynn to plan a covert kidnapping of Gulen.

The investigation is allegedly focused on whether the Turkish government was the source of the money and if Flynn’s company made kickbacks to Turkish-American businessman Ekim Allptekin for hiding the true source of the money.

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Alptekin has coordinated Turkish lobbying in the U.S. with Dmitri “David” Zaikin, a former executive in Russian energy and mining companies.

Part of Flynn’s $530,000 contract was producing a propaganda film touting strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Dmitri “David” Zaikin is also tied up in the scandal.

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“Zaikin has not been accused of any wrongdoing,” ProPublica reported. “Alptekin and Zaikin have denied knowing each other and say Zaikin had nothing to do with Flynn’s lobbying deal.”

“The line of questioning shows that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry has expanded into a full-fledged examination of Mr. Flynn’s financial dealings,” The Times concludes. “President Trump has publicly said Mr. Mueller should confine his investigation to the narrow issue of Russia’s attempts to disrupt last year’s presidential campaign, not conduct an expansive inquiry into the finances of Mr. Trump or his associates.”

The investigation isn’t only focused on the $530,000 payment, but also two payments that appear to be kickbacks.

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“Mr. Mueller’s investigators have asked repeatedly about two payments of $40,000 each that the Flynn Intel Group made to Inovo, said witnesses who have been interviewed in the case,” The Times revealed. “The investigators have indicated that they suspect that the payments were kickbacks, and in one interview pointed to the suspicious timing of the transfers.”

One payment of $40,000 happened four days after Flynn’s company received $200,000 and the second $40,000 payment happened six days after Flynn’s company was paid $185,000.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Elementary school cheer squad parents raffling off an AM-15 automatic weapon as a fundraiser

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Just weeks after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people, only 200 miles away in Richmond, the cheer squad is selling raffle tickets to sell a semi-automatic gun.

Fox19 reported Wednesday that the Junior Lions Cheer Team have infuriated Heather Chilton, who's 7-year-old daughter is on the squad for the first time.

"This is absurd, you're having elementary kids sell your AR-15. Why?" Chilton said. "I highly doubt that something would happen with the gun, but say it did. Say one of the kids in the high school got a hold of it — got the AR-15 or AM-15 and shot up a school with it, and I'm the one that sold the raffle ticket to his dad?"

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Gov. Jay Inslee withdraws from presidential election

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that he was officially leaving the presidential race Thursday.

He said that he got into the race with the intention of trying to raise the important issue of climate change and demand the issue be part of the conversation in the debates.

The Democratic Party has refused to have a debate that focuses exclusively on climate change, despite the numerous plans, ideas and approaches from the 20-plus candidates running for president.

He said that he isn't currently endorsing other candidates for 2020, but he hopes that his "atlas" for a climate plan will be adopted by other candidates.

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Scorching WaPo editorial tells Trump to own his bad economy and stop blaming the fed

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell

In a scathing piece from the Washington Post editorial board, the team at one of the nation's top papers told President Donald Trump to stop trying to pretend it's the Federal Reserve's fault for a slumping economy.

Trump has tried to claim that the economy isn't just fine, but outstanding and excelling expectations. Yet, in the same breath, Trump claims that that the Federal Reserve is responsible for all of the problems he says don't exist. It's enough for The Post editorial board to note the economic message is "remarkably dissonant."

Trump decided to that the Fed must lower interest rates and engage in “quantitative easing” to lower bonds. It's part of a tactic the Fed uses during tough times, which Trump says don't exist. Even during the worst financial crisis in a generation, in 2008, "quantitative easing" was controversial. Then there is the matter of a payroll tax cut, something Trump said he was looking at before saying he wasn't looking at it. But if there's no crisis, then why is it necessary.

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