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House Intel Dem accuses Trump of being ‘bought by Putin’ and lays out her case in devastating detail

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A California congresswoman suggested a fishy, decade-old real estate deal may explain how Russian President Vladimir Putin “bought” Donald Trump.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) noted in a San Francisco Chronicle column that there’s something very off about the way Trump sold a Palm Beach, Florida mansion to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million in 2008 — Trump had paid $41.35 million for it four years prior.

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The July 2008 sell date was in “the middle of the recession” and the house had only had “modest” renovations, Speier noted, adding that those were far from the only irregularities about the deal.

“Despite the recession it was also $13 million above the highest price previously paid for a Palm Beach mansion, according to the Palm Beach Post,” the congresswoman noted. “Rybolovlev did not conduct an inspection. He did not obtain an appraisal. He did not order any professional review or undertake any other form of due diligence before purchasing the property.”

Stranger still, Rybolovlev never lived in the house as of 2017.

There are a number of potential explanations — that the oligarch wanted to hide his assets from his ex-wife in a messy divorce or make an investment — but another, Speier noted, “is that Russian leader Vladimir Putin saw an opportunity to exploit Trump’s financial problems to obtain his loyalty and indebtedness.”

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During that era, Trump’s financial problems were well-known — but Rybolovlev was too in spite of his estimated $13 billion net worth.

After inheriting a state-owned potash-mining company at 29, Rybolovlev served time (and was later cleared) for murder. Two years before buying the Palm Beach house, a part of the mine collapsed resulting in no deaths but ample damage.

The oligarch’s purchase of the Palm Beach house gave Trump some “oxygen” and millions in the bank, and as Speier noted, Rybolovlev was cleared of guilt in the mine collapse.

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With the real estate deal, “Trump was being enrolled in the Russian system of kompromat, of which Putin is a master,” the congresswoman wrote.

“Grant a favor, ask for nothing,” she added. “Both parties understand that someday something may be expected in return.”


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The new Rambo movie is essentially a MAGA fever dream of bigotry

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"Rambo: Last Blood," the latest in the long-running franchise about a traumatized war veteran (Sylvester Stallone) turned on-demand badass, is less an escapist action movie and more a dramatized manifestation of the most notorious sentences from Donald Trump's presidential campaign announcement speech: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." Even for a series that has always been shaped by a right wing worldview, the only reason for this latest sequel to exist — besides generating profits from die-hard Stallone fans — is to validate MAGA-world bigotries about Mexicans.This article first appeared in Salon.

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Corey Lewandowski, Stephen Miller and the wages of contempt in TrumpWorld

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One of the worst side effects of the Trump presidency is the unleashing upon the world of these squinty-eyed, shaved-head, pissy little monsters like Corey Lewandowski and Stephen Miller, providing them a platform where they can spread their hatred of and contempt for decency and democracy and all things right and just well beyond their lonely basements and bedrooms where they had heretofore been confined. Guys like them have always been with us. You can probably recall running across one or two of them in a civics class in high school or college, shooting their sweaty palms into the air from the back row, trying to be recognized so they could challenge one liberal shibboleth or another.

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Ex-DHS head Kirstjen Nielsen leaves Atlantic Ideas Festival stage after outrage from grassroots movement

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Grassroots outrage apparently led Kirstjen Nielson, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, to bow out of the Atlantic Ideas Festival Friday—but it's unlikely to represent more than a Phyrric victory over the mainstreaming of the President Donald Trump administration.

Critics pointed to Nielsen's oversight of the department's acceleration of Trump's war on immigrants, including the administration's family separation policy.

"No one from Trump's administration should get a soft landing to sanitize their actions while supporting and pushing forward a white nationalist, fascist agenda," advocacy group CREDO Action said in a statement.

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