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Mueller could investigate Trump’s porn star payoffs as campaign finance violations: legal expert

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Special counsel Robert Mueller could investigate whether President Donald Trump’s payments to his alleged mistresses broke campaign laws, according MSNBC legal analyst Jonathan Turley.

The president’s longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, says he “facilitated a payment” to porn actress Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election, and the National Enquirer publisher reportedly paid $150,000 to a Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump.

Those payments may have violated campaign finance laws, Turley said.

“The question is whether (Mueller) has the intestinal fortitude to want to get into this type of issue with a former Playboy bunny and a porn star,” Turley said. “Mueller is a tied-down type of guy. I don’t know if he wants to go in that direction, (but) he could.”

Turley said there was precedent for a case like that, with the prosecution of former senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

“There is case precedent there,” he said. “I actually disagree with the interpretation of campaign financing that came out of this last indictment. I think there’s a free speech issue that has to be addressed, it goes way too far on that. This would not be as much of a stretch, there’s precedent here for that type of allegation.”

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Retired admiral could pose serious threat if he decides to run against Iowa Republican: report

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On Wednesday, Iowa Starting Line reported that Ret. Adm. Michael Franken is in talks with state and national Democrats about challenging GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.

Franken, who has served as Deputy for Military Operations for AFRICOM, Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and Chief of Legislative Affairs for the Department of the Navy, hails from Sioux Center, a town in the deeply conservative northwest part of the state.

Ernst, who first gained national attention for her 2014 campaign ad about castrating hogs, is a reliable vote for President Donald Trump in the Senate, and the president's poor approval ratings in Iowa have left Democrats hopeful that they can defeat her.

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‘This American dream’: Pain overwhelms family of drowned migrants

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"They had this American dream," sobbed Rosa Ramirez after images of her drowned son and granddaughter, discovered face-down on the banks of the Rio Grande between Mexico and the United States, shocked the world on Wednesday.

The poignant pictures of Oscar Alberto Martinez and his toddler daughter Valeria -- not yet two years old -- has sparked outrage back home in El Salvador, where around 200 migrants like them leave for the United States daily, preparing to take similar risks.

"The pain has been immense. I still can't believe that my boy and my little granddaughter are dead, they only wanted to get to the United States.... they had this American dream -- to achieve a better life," Oscar's mother told AFP.

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Venezuela government says thwarted attempted ‘coup’

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Venezuela's socialist government said Wednesday it had derailed an attempted coup, claiming the United States, Colombia and Chile colluded in a military plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro and install a general and former defense minister in his place.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the plan involved active and retired army officers and was to have been executed between Sunday and Monday this past weekend.

"We were in all the meetings to plan the coup d'Etat. We were in all the conferences," Rodriguez said, suggesting that government informers had infiltrated the alleged plotters during planning meetings.

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