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This Russian oligarch reportedly bragged of his US influence after Trump’s election — and he has a direct tie to Michael Cohen

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Viktor Vekselberg is among the Russian oligarchs that Michael Cohen came into contact with during his years as President Donald Trump’s personal attorney. The 61-year-old Ukraine-born Vekselberg has had business and political contacts in the U.S. for decades—and after the 2016 presidential election, reportedly bragged about his ties to the Trump Organization.

“Soon,” Bloomberg News reports in a new article, “Trump would be in the White House, and Vekselberg would be privately boasting of having the pull needed to help achieve the sanctions relief the Kremlin was craving.”

But sanctions relief, according to Bloomberg, is the last thing Vekselberg experienced after Trump was sworn in as president—and his U.S. activities have cost him billions of dollars in the Trump era.

Bloomberg quotes former Pentagon official Michael Carpenter as saying that Vekselberg “was deeply implicated in efforts to influence leaders and politicians here in the U.S.” And his interactions with American politicians and businesspeople caught the attention of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

After being questioned by Mueller’s team in March 2018 as part of the Russiagate probe, Vekselberg was hit with stiff sanctions—and according to Bloomberg, Vekselberg has since “lost about $3 billion of his-now $13.4 billion fortune, mainly due to declines in the market values of his minority stakes” in Swiss companies and the aluminum company RUSAL (for which fellow oligarch Oleg Deripaska served as president).

Vekselberg’s financial woes, Bloomberg reports, also include an “estimated $2 billion or more of stocks and cash that have been frozen or tied up in banks as a result of the U.S. penalties.”

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Before being banned from the U.S., Vekselberg had a green card and spent a lot of time pursuing American businesspeople and politicians—both Democrat and Republican. The politicians Vekselberg reached out to, according to Bloomberg, ranged from former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

When Mueller’s team questioned Vekselberg in March, Bloomberg reports, they wanted to know all about his connection to Michael Cohen—including hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of payments his company’s United States affiliate made to the former Trump attorney.

Cohen is awaiting sentencing for federal crimes that he has confessed to. On August 22, Cohen pled guilty to a total of eight crimes ranging from bank fraud and tax fraud to campaign finance violations. And recently, Cohen also pled guilty to lying to Congress about Trump’s real estate projects in Moscow. Cohen is now cooperating fully in Mueller’s probe.

Vekselberg, who was born in Ukraine in 1957, is the owner of the Russian conglomerate Renova Group—and even with the sanctions, he remains one of the richest people in Russia.

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Pentagon gives senators classified briefing on UFOs reported by the Navy

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While it might sound like something out of "The X-Files," Navy pilots have been seeing UFOs, and U.S. Senators now want to know what's happening.

According to Politico, three more senators met with Pentagon officials for a classified briefing Wednesday about encounters pilots are having with unidentified aircraft. It seems the Pentagon is getting more and more requests by officials with high clearances to figure out what's happening.

The crafts are, at their most basic, nothing more than "unidentified aircraft," and while it isn't likely they're little green men, there are some senators who might have concerns about whether these UFOs are actually a foreign adversary.

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Wall Street Journal issues blistering editorial asking Trump what the point is of a second term

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In a blistering editorial, the Wall Street Journal is asking President Donald Trump what the point of a second term is since he hasn't done anything in his first term.

During his rally in Orlando Tuesday, Trump repeated the same tired lines and same tired policies from 2016. The "Promises Made, Promises Kept" slogan shown over the crowd, yet the supporters didn't understand the irony.

"The most striking fact of his speech was how backward looking it was," the editorial board said. "Every incumbent needs to remind voters of his record, Mr. Trump more than most because the media are so hostile."

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‘Crosses a line’: New York Times publisher unleashes on Trump for accusing paper of ‘treason’

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On Wednesday, New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger wrote a blistering editorial in the Wall Street Journal, saying that President Donald Trump's latest attack on his paper "crosses a line."

First it was the "the failing New York Times." Then "fake news." Then "enemy of the people," wrote Sulzberger. "President Trump's escalating attacks on The New York Times have paralleled his broader barrage on American media. He's gone from misrepresenting our business, to assaulting our integrity, to demonizing our journalists with a phrase that’s been used by generations of demagogues. Now the president has escalated his attacks even further, accusing the Times of a crime so grave it is punishable by death.

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