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Former ethics chief: Congress should investigate Trump’s financial ties to Saudis as president defends murder investigation

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Appearing on CNN’s New Day on Saturday morning, the former Director of the Office of Government Ethics called upon Congress to investigate President Donald Trump’s financial links to the Saudi government financiers in light of his defense of a proposed investigation of a murdered Washington Post columnist headed by the prince linked to his death.

Speaking with CNN host Victor Blackwell, Walter Shaub was asked about Trump seeming to side with a foreign government again.

“Why is the president again siding with a foreign government instead of, according to sources who speak with CNN, the intelligence community in the U.S.? You have to ask the question of potential conflict,” Blackwell proposed. “The president says, his sons say that they run the organization that they have no deals, no business with the Saudis although the president, as a candidate, bragged about selling apartments for tens of millions of dollars to the Saudis.”

“Remember that the original sin of the administration is that the president broke with the tradition of presidents divesting their conflicting financial interests. and then he went about promoting his properties with all of these trips to them,” Schaub explained. “And now we’ve also got the situation where he’s not disclosing really what his interests are.”

“The financial disclosure form doesn’t tell you who his business partners are or who his businesses owe money or what deals he’s got in the works, so all we know is that he has said inconsistent things about it,” he continued. “The burden of proof is on him because he chose to break with the tradition and keep those conflicts of interest. But this Congress has been complicit in allowing him to not answer questions and not pursue the issue.”

“He doesn’t get any benefit of the doubt, especially not when he’s clearly been trying to monetize the presidency for two years,” Shaub added. “I think this is a burning question and, sadly, it’s not on the top of everyone’s list because Congress and the president have done a good job of not making an issue out of it. If it had been his rival who won the election, we would have had hearing after hearing after hearing over her nonprofit charity — but nothing so far on his for-profit businesses.”

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Here are 4 winners and 9 losers from the first 2020 Democratic primary debate

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With ten candidates on stage Wednesday, the opening debate of the 2020 Democratic primary in Miami was a packed mess. And this was only the first course in a two-part event — 10 more candidates will debate on the following night.

A crowded field makes it difficult to stand out, and that means that even after a big night like a debate, the most likely result is that not much changes. But the debate was still significant, giving candidates the chance to exceed, meet, or fall below expectations for their performances.

Here's a list — necessarily subjective, of course — of the people who came out on the top when the dust was settled, and those who came out on the bottom.

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‘He clocked Beto’: Van Jones says ‘Castro came out of nowhere’ to dominate the first Democratic debate

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CNN host Van Jones asserted on Wednesday that former Transporation Secretary Julián Castro was the breakout star of the first Democratic presidential debate.

"I was super proud to be a Democrat," Jones said following the debate. "I thought they all did better than Trump."

The CNN host went on to call Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) a "college professor" compared to the other candidates, who he said were more like "graduate students."

"She is able to go back and forth between policy and the human thing," Jones marveled before moving on to praise Castro.

"It was Castro that came out of nowhere!" Jones exclaimed. "Nobody was talking about Castro. He did the Texas takedown, turned around, clocked Beto [O'Rourke]. I mean, you never saw it coming."

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CNN’s Toobin shuts down Rick Santorum for spinning about the Mueller report

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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) tried to argue that there was no point to Democrats calling former special counsel Robert Mueller for a public hearing — but legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin quickly shut him down.

"The Democrats think it will spark some sort of outrage for impeachment," said Santorum. "I just think, and this is why the president is frustrated, it's because they won't let go. They won't accept the fact that the American public moved on and they haven't."

"Jeff? Has the American public moved on?" asked Cooper.

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