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West Virginia man got GOP senator’s help hooking up Trump campaign with Russia on ‘Christian values’

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A former Iraq contractor reportedly tried to set up a meeting last year, with help from a Republican senator, between the Trump campaign and Russian agents to discuss their “shared Christian values.”

Rick Clay, a 54-year-old from West Virginia, contacted Rick Dearborn, one of Donald Trump’s top campaign aides, last year to pass along a request from a friend seeking to set up a meeting between the campaign and Russia, reported CNN.

Russian intelligence services have courted American conservative and religious groups for years, and Clay told CNN that his friend had met Russians while working together with Christian organizations.

“The thought was if there was an opportunity there to get two sides together to talk about Christian values, then that’s important,” Clay told the network. “That was the gist of it, and it didn’t go anywhere.”

The Trump campaign appears to have rejected Clay’s request, which Dearborn told him was “inappropriate,” and referred the matter to the U.S. State Department, the network reported.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) was aware of Clay’s efforts, according to a GOP source, and helped put him in touch with Dearborn, although the source said the West Virginia Republican had no other involvement in the situation.

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A spokesperson for Capito confirmed the senator passed along Dearborn’s contact information to a constituent who asked, but Clay told CNN he had already been in contact with the Trump aide before contacting his senator.

Dearborn briefly mentioned Clay, who he identified only as “WV,” in June 2016 emails revealed last week about efforts to set up a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The president’s special counsel, Ty Cobb, told CNN that Dearborn — now the White House deputy chief of staff — had done nothing wrong and would be vindicated by the facts.

Clay said he wasn’t sure if his friend’s request was part of a broader effort by Russia to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

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“I mean you never know about that,” said Clay, who was badly injured while working as a contractor in Iraq “I mean how can anybody ever know about that? You kind of look at people you know — when you meet Russians and people come from other countries, and I travel all over the world. You try to trust them, and if you are dealing with someone from the government, or the Russian government or from another form of government, you got to be careful because you never know.”

“I think you would be stretching it to say it was an intelligence effort to infiltrate the Trump administration,” he added. “I think you’re stretching that. But you never know.”

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2020 Election

Florida Republicans concoct a new scheme to make it harder for students to vote

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Florida Republicans do not want to make voting easy for college students — a demographic that leans heavily Democratic.

Former GOP Secretary of State Ken Detzner, an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott, took that to the extreme in 2014, with an order banning county election officials from setting up any early voting sites on college campuses. Last year, following a lawsuit by the League of Women Voters, federal District Judge Mark Walker struck down that order as an unconstitutional burden on students' voting rights. As a result, some 60,000 people were able to vote early on 11 college campuses in Florida in 2018.

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Trump flips out over ‘RIGGED’ hearings as Democrats grill Hope Hicks

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President Donald Trump ranted on Twitter while his former communications director testified before the House Judiciary Committee.

Hope Hicks complied with a congressional subpoena and testified behind closed doors to the Democrat-led panel, and the president raged online as word leaked out that a White House lawyer was objecting to many of the questions about her government service.

"The Dems are very unhappy with the Mueller Report, so after almost 3 years, they want a Redo, or Do Over. This is extreme Presidential Harassment," Trump tweeted. "They gave Crooked Hillary’s people complete Immunity, yet now they bring back Hope Hicks."

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Soledad O’Brien shames the press for calling Trump’s lies about Central Park 5 a ‘controversial stance’

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Former CNN host Soledad O'Brien has once again called out media outlets for whitewashing President Donald Trump's blatant lies.

This time, O'Brien took issue with a USA Today headline that mischaracterized Trump's lies about five black men who were falsely accused of raping a woman in New York's Central Park in the 1980s, only to have their convictions vacated in 2002 after DNA evidence exonerated them and another man confessed that he was the man who committed the brutal Central Park rape more than a decade earlier.

Instead of calling out Trump for lying about the case, the paper simply called Trump's continued assertions of their guilt a "controversial stance."

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