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Feds investigating whether Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE funneled cash into inauguration and pro-Trump super PAC: NYT

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Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Middle Eastern countries funneled donations to a pro-Trump super PAC and his inauguration in the hopes of “buying influence over American policy,” The New York Times reported Thursday evening.

“The inquiry focuses on whether people from Middle Eastern nations — including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — used straw donors to disguise their donations to the two funds,” The Times reported. “Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to federal campaigns, political action committees and inaugural funds.”

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The super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, was funded by billionaire financier Tom Barrack, Jr. — a close friend of Trump who also chaired the inauguration.

“The super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, was formed in the summer of 2016 when Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign was short of cash and out of favor with many major Republican donors. While Mr. Trump insisted that he could finance his own campaign, he refused to dig too deeply into his own pockets,” The Times explained. “According to several of the people familiar with the investigation, Paul Manafort, who then headed the campaign, suggested that Mr. Barrack step into the void by creating and raising funds for the political action committee, which could raise unlimited amounts of money as long as it avoided coordinating closely with the candidate.”

The investigation appears to involve the U.S. Attorneys offices in the Southern District of New York in Manhattan and the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.


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Matt Gaetz attacks Mitch McConnell for not removing Richard Burr amid DOJ coronavirus stock probe

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to revoke Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee.

CNN reported on Monday that the Justice Department is investigating the possibility that Burr profited off stock trades by using insider knowledge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"How can [McConnell] justify leaving someone as the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee who is being investigated by the FBI for criminally abusing their position for personal, financial gain?!?!" Gaetz exclaimed on Twitter.

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Trump thinks he’s still the star of a reality TV show as coronavirus death toll continues to mount: op-ed

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This Sunday, President Trump fired off a series of tweets where he bragged about the "ratings hit" of his coronavirus briefings --  a series of tweets that one columnist described as an example of "complete amorality" as doctors, nurses, and other public servants put their lives on the line battling the spiraling pandemic. Writing for The Week this Monday, Joel Mathis contends that as the country reels from being turned upside down, Trump is "looking into a mirror, asking it to assure him that he is the fairest of them all."

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Donald Trumps needs a coronavirus scapegoat — and right now it’s China

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"If we are at war, who is the enemy?" asks Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for The Washington Post in a smart piece that examines the question of who constitutes a target for a self-declared "wartime president."

While it is obvious that the enemy, in this case, is a tiny, sticky, invisible microbe that stubbornly gloms onto surfaces or leaps through the air to weaponize subway cars or shared gym equipment or a touch to the face.

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