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Belarus escort who claimed proof of Trump’s Russian collusion unexpectedly freed from jail

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A Belarusian escort who claimed she had proof of Russian collusion with Donald Trump’s election campaign was freed from a Russian jail on Tuesday following her arrest last week, lawyers said.

Anastasia Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka, was arrested alongside Alexander Kirillov, a self-styled sex guru, when the two arrived at Moscow’s main airport following their deportation from Thailand last Thursday.

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Vashukevich had been planning to travel on to the Belarusian capital Minsk.

“The investigation made a decision to free them from jail with the obligation to appear” for further proceedings, Kirillov’s lawyer Svetlana Sidorkina told AFP.

Vashukevich was under arrest in Russia as a suspect in a probe into “coercion into prostitution” though the details of the case and her specific involvement have not been made clear.

She was deported from Thailand after pleading guilty to participating in a “sex training course”.

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Vashukevich became famous after posting videos allegedly showing tycoon Oleg Deripaska and an influential Russian deputy prime minister on a yacht.

While in Thai prison, she said she had information about Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections.

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Her lawyer Dmitry Zatsarinsky posted a video on Instagram Tuesday apparently showing him and Vashukevich in a car following her release.

“Nastya Rybka is free. We’re going home,” he says, as Vashukevich flashes a peace sign and laughs.

The decision to free her was unexpected following a court ruling on Saturday to extend her detention.

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Belarusian officials on Tuesday issued their first comments about her detention, with Natalia Eismont, a spokeswoman for President Alexander Lukashenko, telling media that the Belarusian leader “has given orders to immediately work on the release of the citizen of Belarus.”

Belarus’ Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey said Vashukevich is free to come home but must turn up for her next court hearing in Moscow, according to Belarusian media.

Sitting in a glass cage during the Saturday hearing, Vashukevich told journalists she wanted to apologise to Deripaska and no longer wants to “compromise him” or publish a book on seducing oligarchs.

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“I’ve had enough,” she said.

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny on Monday alleged that Deripaska was behind the prosecution of Vashukevich, who calls herself “Deripaska’s mistress” on her Instagram account.

The tycoon, who was sanctioned by the United States last year, has previously sued Vashukevich for invasion of privacy.

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Navalny’s team, whose blog initially drew the public’s attention to the yacht videos published by Vashukevich, said Tuesday they have filed a police report against Deripaska, asking to launch probes into organising prostitution, taking bribes, and other offences related to Vashukevich.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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2020 Election

Morning Joe uses Fox News report to ridicule Trump’s business skills in coming trade deal with China

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During a discussion on bad economic reports indicating that the U.S. may be heading for a recession, "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough first mocked President Donald Trump's business acumen before predicting that he will cobble together a bad deal with China in hopes of slowing down the economic slide before the 2020 election.

Using a report he heard on Fox News, which predicted that same scenario, the MSNBC host noted that China knows they have the president over a barrel.

"I actually heard this on Fox News last week. somebody expressing real concern that the Chinese already know that, for Donald Trump, the only sort of economic trick he has left in his bag is to come to a resolution on the trade war with China to get the economy going," Scarborough recalled. "Well, if we all know that, then the Chinese leaders know that. Xi [Jinping] knows that."

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US economists expect recession in 2020 or 2021: survey

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A majority of economists expect a US recession in the next two years, but have pushed back the onset amid Federal Reserve actions, according to a survey released Monday.

The survey came out after President Donald Trump pushed back against talk of a looming recession as a raft of US data reports last week showed a mixed picture on the economy.

"I'm prepared for everything. I don't think we're having a recession. We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich," Trump told reporters Sunday.

"I gave a tremendous tax cut, and they're loaded up with money. They're buying. I saw the Wal-Mart numbers, they were through the roof," he said.

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Rape rows risk taking sheen off starry Venice film festival

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The star-studded Venice film festival opens Wednesday with a row raging about the inclusion of controversial directors Roman Polanski and Nate Parker.

With only two women directors out of 21 in the running for its Golden Lion top prize, campaigners have lashed the festival -- now the launchpad for the Oscars.

Director Alberto Barbera said last year that he would rather quit the 11-day event -- where three of the last five Oscar best picture winners were premiered -- than give in to pressure for quotas.

But feminist critics have only upped their attacks, accusing the festival of "almost comically scant levels of self-awareness".

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