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Trump chooses not to deport wealthy Chinese fugitive – after finding out he’s a Mar-a-Lago member

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President Donald Trump was reportedly on the verge of deporting billionaire Chinese fugitive Guo Wengui, but changed his mind after aides informed him that Guo is a fellow billionaire and a member in good standing at the president’s Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.

According to Vanity Fair‘s Isobel Thompson, Guo is wanted on charges of rape, bribery and kidnapping in his native China.

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Much like Trump, the international fugitive is a wealthy real-estate developer with a massive Twitter following and an intense interest in building and promoting his personal brand.

Longtime Trump friend and casino magnate Steve Wynn delivered Trump a letter from the Chinese government demanding Guo’s extradition. Trump was inclined to take his friend’s advice, in spite of the conflict of interest posed by the fact that Wynn is dependent upon China’s approval to obtain licenses for his casinos in Macau.

Guo built a real estate empire in Beijing, but fled China in 2014 after being informed that he was about to be arrested. Since then he has taunted the Chinese government on Twitter, telling sensational — and possibly apocryphal — stories about Chinese government corruption.

There is no extradition treaty between China and the U.S. — meaning Trump is not obligated to hand over criminals wanted in China. Guo bought a $67.5 million apartment overlooking Central Park in New York City.

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In May, Chinese government operatives visited Guo at his apartment — in violation of their visa status.

Thompson explained, “Entering the country on a visa that allows foreign government officials to travel through America en route to another destination without conducting official business, they met Guo at his apartment and pressured him to return to China and drop his accusations.”

The officials were nearly arrested at JFK airport, which could have sparked an international incident.

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In June, Trump met with aides to discuss foreign policy toward China. He stunned the group by producing the letter forwarded to him by Wynn and saying that he was inclined to agree to the extradition.

Fearing that the handover would make the U.S. look weak and establish a dangerous precedent with foreign governments, aides urged set about trying to convince Trump not to fulfill China’s request.

They informed Trump that Guo “happens to be a member of his Mar-a-Lago resort (a privilege that costs $200,000 in initiation fees plus $14,000 in annual dues),” Thompson said. “The president subsequently changed his mind, exposing a secondary set of even more problematic biases. Apparently, Trump was more than happy to allow a wealthy friend to pressure him on foreign policy — until he was made aware of an even more pressing concern,” the possibility of losing a paying member of Mar-a-Lago.

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Betsy DeVos’ DOE threatens to cut university funding for positive portrayal of Islam

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The U.S Department of Education threatened to pull federal funding from a Middle East studies course jointly run by Duke University and the University of North Carolina because it portrays Islam too positively.

The DOE ordered the universities to change their program or lose its federal grant money. In a letter to UNC, the department criticized the program, arguing that topics like Iranian art and film have “little or no relevance” to the Middle East studies program. The letter also argues that the program “appears to lack balance” because its programs are not focused on the discrimination faced by “religious minorities in the Middle East," including Christians and Jews.

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Wall Street is ignoring the omens of recession — here’s why

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The Federal Reserve seems a lot more concerned about the state of the economy than it’s been letting on.

The Fed lowered its target interest rate by a quarter point on Sept. 18, the second such cut since July – and the first reductions since the Great Recession more than 10 years ago.

Judging by the words of Fed Chair Jerome Powell, this isn’t that big a deal. In his statement following the decision, he said: “We took this step to help keep the U.S. economy strong in the face of some notable developments and to provide insurance against ongoing risks.”

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2020 Election

Elizabeth Warren accuses Congress of complicity in Trump’s continued abuses

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren accused the U.S. Congress of complicity in President Donald Trump's continued abuse of power late Friday, after reports surfaced of his alleged attempts to solicit foreign meddling in the 2020 presidential election, and reiterated her demand that Democrats use their majority in the House to pursue impeachment.

Warren's tweeted statement came hours after the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's opposition to a Ukrainian prosecutor in 2016.

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