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‘Very strong evidence, if not proof’: Trump’s campaign may have illegally coordinated with the NRA during the 2016 election: report

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On top of suspicions that President Donald Trump’s campaign nefariously coordinated with the Russian government as a part of the 2016 campaign, and in addition to the sworn statement by Michael Cohen that Trump directed him to engage in criminal campaign finance violations, the Trump campaign now stands accused of another form of illegal campaigning: coordinating with the National Rifle Association.

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The allegations come from Mother Jones and in a joint investigation with The Trace.

According to the report, Trump and the NRA both targeted ads to the same area in Virginia, during the same timeslot and to the same demographic with ads that were complementary. This wasn’t merely a coincidence, either. The report found that both the NRA and the Trump campaign directed the ad buy through two nominally separated organizations that, in fact, are hard to distinguish.

The ad buys by both the Trump campaign and the NRA were even authorized by the same person, according to the report: Jon Ferrell, the CFO of National Media.

It is a violation of campaign finance laws for outside groups to coordinate their election spending with a candidate, so these findings raise serious questions about the campaign’s and the NRA’s legal exposure. And since other evidence makes clear that the Trump campaign was hardly ethically rigorous when it came to its regard for norms, laws, and national security, the allegation isn’t particularly hard to believe.

The report continued:

Reporting by The Trace, which has teamed up with Mother Jones to investigate the NRA’s political activity, shows that the NRA and the Trump campaign employed the same operation—at times, the exact same people—to craft and execute their advertising strategies for the 2016 presidential election. The investigation, which involved a review of more than 1,000 pages of Federal Communications Commission and Federal Election Commission documents, found multiple instances in which National Media, through its affiliates Red Eagle and AMAG, executed ad buys for Trump and the NRA that seemed coordinated to enhance each other.

Individuals working for National Media or its affiliated companies either signed or were named in FCC documents, demonstrating that they had knowledge of both the NRA and the Trump campaign’s advertising plans.

This is very strong evidence, if not proof, of illegal coordination,” Larry Noble, a former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission, told Mother Jones. “This is the heat of the general election, and the same person is acting as an agent for the NRA and the Trump campaign.”

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Ann Ravel, a former chair of the Federal Election Commission, reviewed the records for the outlet and agreed.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where illegal coordination seems more obvious,” she said. “It is so blatant that it doesn’t even seem sloppy. Everyone involved probably just thinks there aren’t going to be any consequences.”


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WATCH: John Oliver exposes Trump’s lies about vote-by-mail — and the Fox News ‘cult’ claiming the election is already ‘rigged’

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"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's main story Sunday refuted President Donald Trump's latest crusade against vote-by-mail. Trump announced on Twitter that the more people who vote in an election, the more Republicans tend to lose. So, he wants fewer people to have access to the ballot in November, even if people are too scared to go out during the coronavirus crisis.

Oliver called out Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO), who outright told people not to vote if they were too afraid to vote in the local elections next week.

"Well, hold on there," Oliver interjected. "Voting is a right. It has to be easy to understand and accessible to anyone."

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John Oliver rips Fox News’ Tucker Carlson for urging ‘order’ from people of color — but never demanding it of police

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John Oliver opened his Sunday show, shredding Fox News host Tucker Carlson for uring "order" among protesters, but refusing to urge "order" to police and "wannabe police" who can't stop killing people.

It's a lot, Oliver explained. "How these protests are a response to a legacy of police misconduct, both in Minneapolis and the nation at large and how that misconduct is, itself, built on a legacy of white supremacy that prioritizes the comfort of white Americans over the safety of people of color."

While some of it is complicated, Oliver conceded, most of it is "all too clear."

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Cars set on fire blocks from White House as DC protests turn violent

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The Washington, D.C. protests turned violent as the city approached the 11 p.m. curfew the mayor instituted Sunday afternoon.

The policy of D.C. police is that when they are attacked, they advance forward. So, when fireworks were fired, the line of officers began pushing the protesters back further from the White House. Behind the line of police officers also stand a line of National Guard troops that President Donald Trump has demanded stand watch in the city.

Lights that normally shine on the White House have also been turned off, reporters revealed.

https://twitter.com/markknoller/status/1267291138655956992

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