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‘Owned by the Russian mob’: Trump biographer explains how the president’s first ‘fixer’ Roy Cohn set him up with the mafia

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Though Donald Trump has consistently claimed that he has no business interests in Russia, the author of a new book alleging the president was tied to Russia mobsters laundering money in his properties put that claim to the test during an MSNBC interview Friday.

As writer Craig Unger told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the connection between Trump and the Russian mob was forged by the president’s old lawyer, the late Roy Cohn.

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“[Cohn] was also a lawyer for the Italian mafia, for the Gambino and Genovese families, and in the 80’s they began partnering with the Russians,” Unger said.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, Russians began making so much money that “they needed to launder it,” the writer continued. In 1984, David Bogatin, a Russian national with ties to the mob, paid Trump $6 million in cash for five condos — the equivalent of about $15 million by modern standards.

“According to the state attorney general of New York,” Unger noted, “that was money laundering.”

After clarifying to Matthews how and why the capital began flowing from the former USSR to the United States, the writer pointed out that “the best way to launder money is real estate.”

“There are almost no regulations in real estate,” Unger said, “in terms of [how] you can buy it anonymously, through shell companies, pay all-cash transactions — bam, when you sell it, it’s laundered.”

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The writer noted that although he doesn’t have records for the alleged cash transactions between Trump and the Russian mob, those documents may soon come to light.

I can’t penetrate all the shell companies, and this is one of the interesting things today with [former Trump Organization CFO] Allen Weisselberg flipping,” Unger said. “Obviously I don’t have subpoena power, but I think you’re going to find that those records are going to be opened by the prosecutors now.”

Watch below, via MSNBC:

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Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’

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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.

The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.

It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

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GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report

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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.

Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.

"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."

Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.

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White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’

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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.

CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."

Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.

https://twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1218704788432572422

Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.

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