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Judge denies request by ex-Trump campaign aide Paul Manafort to suppress evidence

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A federal judge on Thursday declined a request by President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to suppress evidence seized by investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office from a storage unit.

Manafort, who is currently jailed in Virginia, had argued the evidence was seized improperly after an FBI agent got one of his employees to open the storage unit, rather than asking Manafort for permission or seeking a warrant.

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But Judge Amy Berman Jackson for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected that argument, saying “law enforcement agents do not need a warrant to enter a location if they have voluntary consent.”

Manafort is facing two indictments in Washington and Virginia that arose from Mueller’s ongoing investigation into potential collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges that range from conspiring to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent for the pro-Russia Ukraine government, to bank and tax fraud.

Last week, Jackson ordered Manafort be jailed after Mueller brought fresh charges against him alleging he tampered with witnesses.

Manafort has been seeking ways to deprive prosecutors of what could be pivotal evidence in his Washington trial scheduled for September.

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In a hearing last month, his lawyers told Jackson that his rights against unreasonable searches and seizures under the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment were violated in 2017 when the FBI searched the storage locker and also conducted a raid on his Alexandria, Virginia home.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Tom Brown and James Dalgleish


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2020 Election

Trump advisors futilely trying to get him to stop ranting about statues as his re-election prospects collapse: report

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According to a report focusing on Donald Trump's rally at Mt. Rushmore on the evening before the 4th of July, advisors to the president ate attempting to get him to start focusing on bread and butter issues that will get him re-elected instead of harping on statues being pulled down by protesters across the country.

As the Daily Beast report illustrates, their efforts appear to be futile based upon his Friday night speech.

With the president trying to fire up the crowd by insisting, “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders. They think the American people are weak, and soft, and submissive,” the Beast reported that Trump, "decided to focus heavily Friday evening on protesters and Black Lives Matter activists who want various American monuments, including those honoring Confederate, white-supremacist, and slave-owning figures of history, torn down and destroyed for good. "

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Trump’s a traitor — and the Russian bounty scandal is the final straw

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The first story of the rest of Donald Trump's life was published last Friday in the New York Times, revealing that the Russian intelligence agency known as the GRU has been paying bonuses to Taliban fighters to kill Americans, and that this intelligence had been reported to Trump and had been known at least since March. The story was subsequently confirmed by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the AP.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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2020 Election

GOP scrambling to pay for Jacksonville convention after Trump yanked it from North Carolina: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, Republican officials are having difficulties getting donors to pay for the Republican National Convention to be held in Jacksonville, Florida after Donald Trump yanked the gathering out of Charlotte, North Carolina in a fit of pique over COVID-19 health restrictions.

At issue, the report notes, is that millions of dollars were spent in North Carolina where a smaller event will now be held, and now the party is, in essence, forced to pay for a second convention.

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