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Publicist who set up Trump Tower meeting believes Don Jr ‘did it for daddy’

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A British music publicist who set up the infamous Trump Tower meeting between top campaign staffers and a Russian attorney says he has little doubt Donald Trump was aware of the gathering.

Rob Goldstone said he was asked to set up the June 9, 2016, meeting by pop start Emin Agalarov on behalf of his father Aras Agalarov, one of Russia’s wealthiest developers, and he admits he conveyed a “dirty offer,” reported NBC News.

The publicist was surprised that Donald Trump Jr. included Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort in the meeting, which the candidate’s son set up by phone, and he said the Agalarovs tried to arrange another meeting between the president-elect and Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya shortly after the November 2016 election.

Goldstone said special counsel Robert Mueller’s team asked about his role in setting up the first meeting, and why the Agalarovs wanted to arrange the meetings, when he testified before a grand jury.

He also found it difficult to believe the elder Trump did not know his son, son-in-law and campaign chairman were meeting with the Russians, who he now believes had ties to Kremlin intelligence.

“It was taking place in his conference room and it was taking place with his campaign chair sitting and attending the meeting, as well as his son and his son-in-law,” Goldstone said. “So, you know, the publicist in me would say, ‘It’s a bit of a stretch if he’s a floor or two above to believe that he doesn’t know it’s going on.'”

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Goldstone said he believes Emin Agalarov and Donald Trump Jr. set up the meeting for the same reason.

“It’s like they did it for daddy, both of them,” he said.

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Hope Hicks told Congress that Trump has cut her out of his life — he virtually never calls her anymore

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Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks was broadly considered to be one of President Donald Trump's favorite staffers.

But when she left the administration in 2018, the president virtually cut off ties to her, and has only spoken with her five times since then, according to the transcript of the closed-door hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday:

In her interview, Hope Hicks says she has only spoken to Trump between five and ten times since she left the White House in February 2018. (He used to call that much in a day.) They last spoke in April, when they had dinner. Our story from yesterday:https://t.co/3gzVY21c3z pic.twitter.com/VMZqhnbgib

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Elections regulator warns foreign intrusion into US campaigns is already happening

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In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Federal Elections Commission is warning that there is already foreign intrusion in the U.S. campaigns.

FEC chair Ellen L. Weintraub was forced to issue a statement after President Donald Trump said that he wasn't sure what he would do if a foreign government approached him with "dirt" on his political opponent. He said that he "might" tell the FBI but would likely hear what they had to say. He said that it wasn't illegal, but Weintraub issued a statement reiterating that it is illegal.

"I am particularly concerned about the risk of illicit funds and foreign support influencing our political system. Foreign dark money represents a significant vulnerability for American democracy. We do not know the extent to which our political campaigns receive foreign dark money, but we do know that the political money can be weaponized by well-funded hostile powers," the letter warned.

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Trump’s anti-abortion rule attacking Planned Parenthood can go into effect in 49 states: appeals court

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According to the Associated Press, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that President Donald Trump's domestic "gag rule" can take effect while litigation proceeds, potentially making it far harder for low-income women to access abortion care.

District judges in California, Oregon, and Washington previously blocked the rule from taking effect. But a three-judge panel in San Francisco today said that the rule was "reasonable" as an interpretation of federal law, and lifted the injunction preventing it from being enforced. The rule can now take effect in every state except Maryland, where another federal judge's order has still enjoined the policy.

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