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Mueller has evidence secret Trump transition meeting was a backchannel to Russia — contradicting adviser’s testimony: report

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A witness cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller has revealed that a meeting just before President Donald Trump’s inauguration in the Seychelles was intended to set up a backchannel between his administration and Russia — contrary to testimony given to congressional investigators.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that businessman George Nader told Mueller’s team the January 2017 meeting he attended on the Indian ocean island between a Russian official and Erik Prince, the founder of weapons manufacturer Blackwater, was meant to establish unofficial communications between the two countries. When testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, Prince characterized the meeting as a chance encounter.

Prince has maintained in the press and before lawmakers that the Seychelles meeting between himself and Kirill Dmitriev, a banker with a Russian government-controlled wealth fund, was “an unplanned, unimportant encounter that came about by chance because he happened to be at a luxury hotel in the Indian Ocean island nation with officials from the United Arab Emirates,” the Post noted.

Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, is an adviser to the United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and was at the Seychelles meeting to “represent” the royal. Nader has met repeatedly with Mueller’s investigators, and has been cooperating with them since January after being served with a subpoena by the FBI in Washington, D.C.’s Dulles Airport. The special counsel is reportedly investigating whether Nader funneled money from the UAE to Trump’s campaign.

The Post‘s report also noted that Nader attended a December 2016 meeting between senior Trump officials and bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and according to the New York Times made “frequent visits” to the White House in the early months of the Trump administration to meet with senior advisers Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon to discuss Persian Gulf diplomacy.

Last May, the Post reported that Kushner also sought a Russian backchannel during the Trump transition — a move commentators noted he likely didn’t make on his own.

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders ‘extremely serious’ about running for Arkansas governor

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders is seriously considering a run for Arkansas governor, according to three sources close to the outgoing White House press secretary.

Sanders and her associates have privately discussed the possibility for months, sometimes jokingly, but those sources said she seems quite interested in running for the position her father, Mike Huckabee, held from 1996 to 2007, reported Politico.

“She’s extremely serious,” said one of those people, who has recently spoken to Sanders about a possible campaign.

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Right now Donald Trump thinks he’s winning — and he might not be wrong

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Donald Trump thinks he's winning.

For months, Americans have grown accustomed to Trump in his cornered-rat mode, lashing out defensively and ruminating obsessively over the possibility of impeachment. But his tweets this week have been surprisingly cheerful, suffused with the buoyant spirits of a teenage bully who has successfully swirlied a nerd.

First, like an overexcited child on Christmas Eve who unwraps his presents too soon, Trump — overcome with the pleasures of racist sadism — tweeted on Monday night that "ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens."

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Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’

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On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.

As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.

Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:

1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."

Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR

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