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George Papadopoulos falls under new investigation for alleged business ties to Russia — after the 2016 election

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Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos has fallen under new investigation — and a reporter who helped break the story explains the latest revelations.

Papadopoulos was released earlier this month after serving 12 days in prison for lying to FBI agents, and he announced an intention to run for Congress in 2020, but Atlantic reporter Natasha Bertrand described a letter she obtained that may have launched a fresh look at his activity shortly after the 2016 election.

“This was written by a former confidant of George Papadopoulos who has come forward to the House Intelligence Committee and to the FBI,” Bertrand told MSNBC, “to say she has information about his alleged interactions after the election that may have had ties to Russian officials and he was trying to do some big business deal that would, quote-unquote, set himself up for life.”

Bertrand and investigative reporter Scott Stedman said investigators want to interview the letter’s author about those claims.

“They want to understand whether or not George Papadopoulos’ ties to Russia are deeper than previously understood,” she said. “Of course, he’s a central figure in the Russian investigation.”

She said Papadopoulos, who raised eyebrows when Trump named him as a foreign policy adviser in March 2016, had sought to downplay his role in the campaign — but she said he was a central figure in the special counsel probe.

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“He was the one who essential sparked the entire Russia investigation, according to reporting we have seen,” Bertrand said. “His conversations about learning of the Clinton emails that the Russians apparently had in April of 2016 are what prompted the entire FBI probe to begin with.”

She said investigators would want to know whether Papadopoulos told the campaign about his possible post-election business dealings with Russia, and whether Trump kept him in his orbit because of those connections — and not in spite of them.

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Trump’s hamfisted attempt to wag the dog with Iran unraveled fast

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

We can’t say with any certainty that Iran wasn’t behind the attacks on two ships in the Gulf of Oman this week, but it is clear that the Trump regime’s account of what happened unraveled very quickly. Shortly after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a video of a small vessel removing something Pompeo said was a mine from the damaged port side of one of the ships, the vessel's owner said that it had actually been struck on its starboard side, above the waterline, by a flying object. If this were in fact an effort to pull a Gulf of Tonkin, then the fact that this was the best dog-wagging they could conjure up would be downright pathetic.    

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Dem lawmaker serves notice to Hope Hicks that Trump won’t be able to save her when he grills her during Wednesday’s hearing

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On Saturday, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) gave MSNBC's Alex Witt a brief rundown of what he wants to learn from former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks at her closed-door testimony next week — and warned that if Hicks tries to use executive privilege as a shield, Democrats will not stand for it.

"Let's talk about Hope Hicks," said Witt. "What do you expect to hear from her that she has not already offered in testimony?"

"Here's what's important about Hope Hicks," said Deutch. "She was a key part of the Trump campaign, which is a large part of the report is focused on. She was a key part of the Trump Administration in the early days, and that's the reason that she's a prominent figure in the Mueller report."

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