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Biographer sounds the alarm: Trump’s been paying off women and ‘Russian gangsters’ for decades

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Pulitzer Prize-winning Trump biographer David Cay Johnston on Thursday morning noted that the president has been paying women off for their silence for decades — and that his protests against being taped are likely phony.

Johnston told CNN’s John Berman that it came as no surprise to him that Trump’s former attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen recorded their conversations because that’s standard practice in New York, where only one party is required to consent to a recording.

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“Some lawyers may tape a client now and then to make sure they get their directions straight,” the biographer noted. “And the other reason is, this is insurance. If the boss is asking you to commit an illegal act and you have a tape of him, you have an insurance policy.”

Trump, Johnston said, has resorted to payoffs like those he undertook with former Playboy models Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels “the whole thirty years” he’d been covering him.

Later in the interview, the longtime Trump biographer weighed in on the president’s unusually-friendly public appearance with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki earlier in July and said that it, too, was in keeping with his past business dealings.

“We know that Donald was suddenly flush with cash and buying assets and his sons, one of his sons has said, we were getting lots of money from Russians,” Johnston said, referencing the time in 2014 when Eric Trump reportedly bragged about getting millions from Russians to a golf reporter.

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“We know of documented cases where he got money from Russians,” he continued. “We know Donald Trump has been doing business with Russian gangsters for years. And when I say Russians, I mean Russian-speaking people.”

Watch below, via CNN:

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‘This is an ethical train wreck!’ Ex-GOP lawmaker gets demolished for defending Trump’s shameless corruption

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Former Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) on Monday went down in flames after he tried to defend President Donald Trump's widely criticized gambit to host next year's G7 summit at his own golf course in Doral, Florida.

Even though Duffy acknowledged that the optics surrounding the president's decision to award his own business a government contract to host the G7 were poor, he said that he didn't believe there was anything ethically wrong with the initiative. He also tried to claim that Trump has somehow been victimized by getting elected to be the most powerful man in the world.

"Donald Trump doesn't take a salary," he said. "He gives his money away. His businesses have lost business, you know, Ivanka Trump has lost her line of shoes at Nordstrom. He's lost his line of clothing at Macy's!"

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Ex-Trump staffer: Mulvaney needs to resign and get himself a good lawyer

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Appearing on CNN's "New Day," former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci suggested acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney resign immediately and lawyer up due to his complicity in Donald Trump's Ukraine phone call seeking dirt on Joe Biden.

Ostensibly brought on to talk about his plan to attempt to draft Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) to run against Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination, Scaramucci -- who host John Berman jokingly noted only lasted 11 days in his White House job -- admitted that he was a fan of Mulvaney, but that he has put himself in a bad place.

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Trump is at the mercy of GOP senators as he faces impeachment: ‘The balance of power has shifted’

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Speaking with CNN hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota, former Clinton administration spokesperson Joe Lockhart said Donald Trump is in a very bad place now that he is facing an all-but-certain impeachment trial and needs the support of every Republican lawmaker he can round up.

Noting that the president dropped his plans to hold the G7 summit at one of his golf resorts, reportedly after being pressured by GOP lawmakers, Lockhart said Trump's acquiescence -- when normally he would have ignored their advice -- demonstrates there is a new dynamic at play for the first time since Trump became president.

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