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One of Trump’s top lobbyists was just caught fundraising for a friend of Syria’s dictator

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A man said to be one of the closest lobbyists in Washington to President Donald Trump has been fundraising for a company linked to a family close to Syria’s authoritarian leader Bashar al-Assad.

The Daily Beast on Wednesday reported that the lobbying firm owned by Trump lobbyist Brian Ballard took on Dubai-based trading company ASM International General Trading as a client as reported in last month’s federal filing period. In analyses of open source information, the Beast found that ASM “is affiliated with” a member of the Foz family, a clan of wealthy Syrian businessmen that are reportedly close to Assad.

When reached by the Beast for comment on the allegations, Ballard said that if ASM is indeed tied to the Syrian dictator the president has recently feuded with, he would fire them as clients.

“We’re going to do more due diligence,” the lobbyist told the Beast. “We’re not the CIA, but if it were to turn out that there was any connection at all, we would withdraw from our representation of the Dubai trading company.”

The report noted that Assad-linked businessman Samer Foz and his brother Amer left an online paper trial connecting them to the Dubai company represented by Ballard. The family has been scrutinized for their links to the Syrian leader, and in 2017 they purchased government-seized land in Damascus from Assad’s government.

As the report notes, a Politico profile published earlier this month called the Florida-based Ballard “The Most Powerful Lobbyist in Trump’s Washington” and claimed he is “closer to the president than perhaps any other lobbyist in town.”

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He’ll ‘rot in prison’: At least one House Dem has bigger plans for Trump than impeachment

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An increasing number of Democrats have come out in favor of beginning an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's actions in recent days. But Rep. Fre?derica Wilson of Florida bucked that trend on Monday by coming out specifically against impeachment, warning it would have negative consequences.

However, she made clear she wasn't opposed to impeachment because she's a fan of Trump or thinks his conduct isn't condemnable. In a tweet featuring an antagonizing and absurd meme, Wilson explained that she feared Trump would benefit from an impeachment push:

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Jared Diamond believes America is ruining itself in 4 different ways

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Jared Diamond is not afraid of big ideas. He has tackled such subjects as evolutionary psychology, the reasons why the West rose to global dominance, the lessons to be learned from "traditional societies" and the relationship between environmental change and the decline of ancient civilizations. and why ancient societies fell into decline.

Diamond has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences. He has been awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship as well as the National Medal of Science. His bestselling book "Guns, Germs and Steel" won the Pulitzer Prize.

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Trump supporters are furious that knitting website Ravelry took a stand on white supremacy

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When you think of the knitting community, you might envision an elderly woman, sitting on a rocking chair in front of a fire with a pair of large knitting needles. In truth, the knitting and crocheting demographic has changed drastically in the twenty-first century, becoming younger, hipper, and increasingly tied to DIY culture.

Ravelry is a website where both millennials and knitting grannies (among other demographics) meet to talk about knitting, crocheting, weaving, and other craft and fabric arts. But if you plan to crochet a MAGA hat or knit a Trump sweater, think twice about posting it on Ravelry. The forum-style website, which is often described as "Facebook for knitters," recently issued a statement that they would ban open support of Donald Trump on their site. The widely-publicized move suggests that even communities that aren’t seen as specifically political — like knitters — are becoming politicized, sometimes in toxic ways, in an epoch of extreme political polarization in the United States.

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 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH 

Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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