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REVEALED: Two top Trump officials were registered lobbyists for Russian-born businessman linked to Putin

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A new investigation from Vice News reveals that two senior Trump administration officials were once registered lobbyists for a Russian-born businessman who has deep ties to Putin-connected Russian oligarchs.

According to Vice, Makan Delrahim — the Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division in the Department of Justice — and David Bernhardt — who is currently the No. 2 official at the Department of the Interior — were registered lobbyists for Access Industries, a holding company under the control of Soviet-born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik.

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Blavatnik, who is a naturalized dual U.S.-U.K. citizen, is connected to Russian oligarchs via Access Industries’ large stake in Russian aluminum company UC Rusal. Two other men who have large stakes in UC Rusal are Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg — Russian businessmen who were recently hit with sanctions by the United States Treasury Department.

What is particularly notable about Blavatnik, notes Vice, is that he once spread out campaign donations fairly evenly between Republicans and Democrats — before shifting heavily in favor of the GOP during the 2016 election cycle, when President Donald Trump was the party’s nominee.

What’s more, he’s continued to give to Republicans since Trump’s election.

“Although he didn’t donate directly to Trump’s campaign, after Trump won, Access Industries gave a further $1 million to the Presidential Inaugural Committee,” Vice News reports. “And according to The Wall Street Journal, Blavatnik gave $12,700 in April 2017 to a Republican National Committee fund that was used to help pay for the team of private attorneys representing Trump in the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.”

Read the whole report here.

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2020 Election

Republicans will ‘be punished harshly in November’ for ignoring Trump’s latest impeachable offense: columnist

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In a column for Bloomberg, longtime political observer Jonathan Bernstein said there is not much more Donald Trump could do as president that would be more impeachable than his commutation of associate Roger Stone's sentence for lying for him -- and that Republicans who are either staying silent or cheering on the president will face the wrath of voters in November.

With only Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) taking the president to task for the commutation of the convicted felon's sentence in a tweet, labeling it, "Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president,” Bernstein said other Republicans should expect to be judged by their silence on such flagrant corruption.

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Trump’s ‘full-on racism’ will ‘go way uglier’ as election nears: Ex-White House official

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On MSNBC Saturday, former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci warned that President Donald Trump's toxicity on race relations will only worsen in the run-up to the election in November.

"You were in charge, for a brief time, but for communications from this White House, and it does seem that Trump is going there because that's where he thinks he has to go," said host Joy Reid. "92 percent of African-Americans, not surprisingly, disapprove of Donald Trump's handling of race. But even 57 percent of white Americans disapprove of his handling of race relations. There's a lot of white marchers out there, marching for Black Lives Matter. Has he miscalculated and misread white people, at least the majority of them, in this moment?"

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2020 Election

Trump leveled in brutal Never-Trumper Republican ad accusing him of turning US into a ‘banana republic’

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In an ad released by Republicans Voter Against Trump, the president was accused of turning the U.S. into a "banana republic" after he commuted the sentence of Roger Stone who was convicted of multiple felonies.

Coming just hours after the president handed Stone a get-out-of-jail-card that kept him from turning himself into jail later this month, the dissident Republican group posted their new ad to Twitter which accused Stone of "lying under to oath" to protect Trump, while also noting that Stone was looking at three years in jail.

The ad also notes that a "criminal who lies to protect Trump goes free."

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