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Christopher Steele alerted FBI to dossier because he worried Trump was being blackmailed

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Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 18, 2016 (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck)

A former British spy handed over his research dossier to the FBI in July 2016 because he feared the Republican Party was about to nominate a candidate who was being blackmailed.

Christopher Steele had been hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS to look into Donald Trump’s background, and what he found so alarmed him that he alerted U.S. law enforcement.

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“He thought from his perspective there was an issue — a security issue about whether a presidential candidate was being blackmailed,” said Glenn Simpson, head of Fusion GPS.

Simpson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Aug. 22, but Democrats and Republicans have wrangled over whether transcripts should be released.

Fusion GPS and its lawyers have called for their release, but the GOP majority resisted — until Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) leaked the lengthy transcript Tuesday.

Republicans have claimed the dossier, which was partially funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, formed the basis of an FBI investigation launched in July 2016.

But the New York Times reported earlier this month the investigation was prompted after campaign adviser George Papadopolous boasted over wine to an Australian ambassador about his contacts with the Russian government.

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2020 Election

Trump officials could face criminal charges for USPS sabotage — and the president may not be able to pardon them

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Members of the Trump administration could face legal jeopardy over efforts to sabotage U.S. Postal Service operations to interfere with the 2020 presidential elections.

"Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) made a criminal referral to the New Jersey Attorney General on Friday night, asking him to impanel a grand jury to look at possible breach of state election laws by President Trump, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and others for 'their accelerating arson of the post office,' he said. Alarming headlines have emerged in recent days as many states prepare to facilitate widespread mail balloting due to the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump openly admitted he was withholding federal aid from the postal service to prevent mail-in voting, and USPS has notified 46 states and D.C. that it will struggle to deliver some mail ballots on time," The Daily Beast reported Friday.

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Maddow reveals how one state stood up to Trump’s USPS cuts — and won

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow's opening segment on Friday focused on a positive story of political pressure stopping one of the Trump administration's attacks on the U.S. Postal Service.

Maddow reported how NBC Montana reporter Maritsa Georgiou had doggedly reported on the removal of postal boxes in Missoula, where she is based. Missoula has been a long-time Democratic Party stronghold.

Montana has a competitive U.S. Senate election in 2020, with Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock challenging first-term Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

As Georgiou chased the story, she learned there were also plans to remove boxes in the battleground of Billings. And more planned for the blue town of Bozeman. And other towns.

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2020 Election

Pepsi joins the chorus of people dunking on Tucker Carlson over Kamala Harris

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The Pepsi soda company mocked Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on Friday evening.

On Tuesday, Carlson flipped out after a guest attempted to teach him how to pronounce the name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is running for vice president on Joe Biden's ticket.

Video of the exchange was posted on Twitter by Nikki McCann Ramirez, a researcher at the watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Tucker Carlson loses it when a guest corrects his pronunciation of Kamala Harris's name pic.twitter.com/1fHIrPGuwN

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