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Manafort associate Samuel Patten charged with foreign lobbying violation

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A business associate of Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian consultant indicted by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, pleaded guilty on Friday to failing to register as a lobbyist for a pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine.

Samuel Patten, 47, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by lobbying for the Ukrainian Opposition Bloc between 2014 and 2018 without disclosing the work to the U.S. government.

Patten said he would cooperate with prosecutors.

The charge, which carries a maximum of five years in prison, was brought by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s National Security Division, which started investigating Patten following a referral from Mueller’s team.

Patten is a business partner of Kilimnik, a longtime associate of Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Manafort was found guilty of bank and tax fraud and failing to declare his foreign bank accounts by a federal jury in Virginia last week.

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Kilimnik and Manafort were indicted in June in Washington for witness tampering. Manafort is set to go on trial in that case next month on charges that also include money laundering and a FARA violation related to his lobbying work in Ukraine.

Patten appeared before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who will oversee Manafort’s upcoming trial.

Patten was released on his own recognizance but cannot travel outside the D.C. area without notifying the court. Jackson said sentencing would come at a later date.

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Patten and Kilimnik set up political advisory firm Begemot Ventures Ltd LLC in February 2015, according to its Washington corporate registration, which is still active.

In court documents, federal prosecutors said Patten’s company received more than $1 million for his work for Opposition Bloc members and for other Ukrainian consulting, starting in 2015, with payments made through Cypriot bank accounts.

One of Patten’s main benefactors was an unnamed Ukrainian oligarch, according to the documents.

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Patten violated FARA by contacting members of Congress, the executive branch, and the media without disclosing that work to the Justice Department, according to the documents.

Patten helped Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko get re-elected in “one of the toughest anti-government atmospheres in that country’s history,” according to an archived page from Patten’s website detailing his accomplishments in Ukraine.

Reporting by David Alexander in Washington, and Nathan Layne and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe


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Nicolle Wallace explains Trump’s racist attacks are covering his cozy relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and Michael Cohen scandal

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MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace began her Wednesday show saying that President Donald Trump has made it official by making his brand one of "racism." But it prompted her to wonder if his racist attacks against four congresswomen of color could be more about deflecting from other scandals.

Wednesday morning, MSNBC released a video of Trump partying with alleged child molester and rapist Jeffrey Epstein. Trump is seen groping women and slapping their posterior. The first round of Epstein's alleged crimes were downgraded by Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and he was given 13 months in a county jail for just 8 hours, six days a week.

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Trump wasn’t the first president to confront the Supreme Court – and back down

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A key presidential election is approaching. The U.S. Supreme Court hears a case with powerful political implications. The court rules, but the populist president doesn’t care. Our national commitments – to the Constitution, to morality, to the rule of law – seem at risk.Then, the president backs down. The nation survives.

This might be the story of President Trump’s short-lived threat to get a citizenship question on the census in defiance of the Supreme Court. Instead, it’s the story of President Andrew Jackson and Worcester v. Georgia, decided in 1832.

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Fatal drug overdoses drop in US for first time in decades

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Fatal drug overdoses in the US declined by 5.1 percent in 2018, according to preliminary official data released Wednesday, the first drop in two decades.

The trend was driven by a steep decline in deaths linked to prescription painkillers.

"The latest provisional data on overdose deaths show that America's united efforts to curb opioid use disorder and addiction are working," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, though he cautioned the epidemic would not be cured overnight.

The total number of estimated deaths dropped to 68,557 in 2018 against 72,224 the year before, according to the figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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