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Russian billionaire who attended Trump’s inauguration questioned by Mueller’s team as he exited his private jet

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A Russian billionaire that attended President Donald Trump’s inauguration was questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team earlier this year as he exited his private plane on the tarmac in a New York City airport.

The New York Times reported Friday that Viktor F. Vekelsberg, a Russian businessman who was sanctioned by the U.S. government under suspicion of being “enriched” by Vladimir Putin’s government, was confronted by federal investigators with a request to search his electronic devices.

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The Times‘ sources did not give the newspaper any indication that Vekelsberg is under suspicion of wrongdoing or why he was questioned at all, but the report noted the Kremlin-linked businessman has multiple connections to Trump and the people around him.

Along with attending the president’s inauguration, Vekelsberg was at an infamous December 2015 dinner hosted by the Russia’s RT news network in which Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn was in attendance.

The Ukranian-born billionaire also “controlled a company that has been the largest single shareholder in the Bank of Cyprus” — and when he was involved with the bank, Trump’s future Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was its vice chairman.


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2020 Election

GOP’s cancellation of presidential primaries could blow up in Trump’s face — here’s why

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In recent weeks, Republican state party committees have been moving to cancel presidential primaries to prevent Never-Trump conservatives, like former Reps. Joe Walsh (R-IL) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) and former Gov. Bill Weld (R-MA), from challenging the president from the right. So far, Republicans in Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina have all announced they will scrap the voting process for 2020.

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Alternet 2020

Nancy Pelosi faces serious challenges — but she’s failed miserably in two key ways

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As I wrote earlier this week, with its muddled messaging on impeachment, the House Democratic leadership may have figured out a way of both demoralizing the Democratic base and firing up Trump's supporters. It's a mess.

But fairness requires us to acknowledge an important fact: Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't have the votes to launch an official impeachment process. And it's not close. At present, The Washington Post's tally finds 137 members of the House in favor of launching an impeachment inquiry, with 92 opposed and 6 others not taking a position. Leadership can twist arms on a close vote, but when you're close to 100 votes shy of a majority, it's impossible to whip a measure across the finish line--especially one of such consequence.

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Trump’s anti-worker labor nominee is more like the ‘Secretary of Corporate Interests’

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Progressive groups and Democratic lawmakers expressed serious concerns Thursday about corporate attorney Eugene Scalia — President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Labor Department — as the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee met to consider his nomination.

"Instead of nominating a Secretary of Labor, President Trump has nominated a Secretary of Corporate Interests," declared Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the committee's ranking member. "If there's one consistent pattern in Mr. Scalia's long career, it's hostility to the very workers he would be charged with protecting, and the very laws he would be charged with enforcing if he were confirmed."

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