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Government ‘ignored the Constitution’ when they let Trump have a hotel on federal property: inspector general

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The General Services Administration was aware that renting a federal property to Donald Trump may violate the Constitution — but did so anyway.

MarketWatch reported Wednesday that the inspector general for the GSA — the government agency that rented the Old Post Office Building to Trump for his DC hotel — ruled that the agency knowingly ignored the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.

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The IG noted in a statement that the lease for the Trump International Hotel “raised issues under the Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses that might cause a breach of the lease; however, GSA decided not to address those issues.”

MarketWatch noted that the GSA itself argued that “the decision not to address or consider the Emoluments Clauses occurred before the Trump administration was in office or while career officials and not political appointees were in charge.”

In turn, the agency said it will “adjust [the] language of the building lease,” the report noted.

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USA Today’s Brad Heath noted on Twitter that the IG ruled that the GSA officials made the decision to lease the Old Post Office Building to Trump “without conducting any research” into the Emoluments Clause.

The IG report added: “If ’emoluments’ include an official’s gain from private business activities, the President’s interest in the lease [of his hotel] raises at least potential constitutional issues.”

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Heath added that by mid-December 2016, “senior GSA attorneys ‘agreed that there was a possible violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause but decided not to address the issue’ posed by the president’s ownership of his DC hotel.”

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Those attorneys told the IG that they “ignored the emoluments issues and that constitutional issues rarely
arise within GSA’s work,” and that the Emoluments Clause “is not in GSA’s purview.”

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Fox News reporter and right-wing conspiracy theorists planned to wiretap family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich: report

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The Daily Beast on Monday evening broke a bombshell report on a secret 2017 meeting in Texas on a right-wing conspiracy theory where espionage was discussed.

"One of their topics was responding to online critics of wealthy Texas businessman Ed Butowsky, who had recently been outed as a driving force behind a retracted Fox News story about murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich," The Beast reported. "The group that gathered at Butowsky’s home included a conspiracy theorist, a Fox reporter fighting for her career, a former private intelligence contractor married to star journalist Lara Logan, and a Democratic PR operative who lost his business in the face of sexual assault allegations."

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Maddow breaks down potential ‘direct financial connection’ between the Russian government and Donald Trump

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow read bombshell excerpts from a new book set for release on Tuesday.

The host interviewed David Enrich, finance editor at The New York Times, about his forthcoming book Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction.

The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" read excerpts from the book.

"There was no doubt that Deutsche Bank had extensive business dealings with Russia, and those dealings included acting as a conduit for dirty money to get out of Russia and into the western financial system," Enrich wrote.

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Trump said he ‘loved’ the fact that America is more divided than ever: ex-GOP congressman

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President Donald Trump bragged about increasing divisions in America during a White House meeting, a former Republican congressman explained on MSNBC on Monday.

Former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) told host Joy Reid that "Donald Trump has intentionally tried to create the anxiety" that Americans are explaining.

"Garry Kasparov, the Russian freedom activist, has said the point of disinformation isn't to manipulate the truth, it's to exhaust your critical thinking," Jolly explained. "To exhaust your critical thinking, that's what we're experiencing as voters."

"I had a colleague that was in a meeting in the Roosevelt Room and he said he heard Trump say, 'Have you ever seen the nation so divided?' My colleagues and others said, 'No, we haven't.' Trump said, 'I love it that way.' This is the currency that he's peddling as political strategy, but it's not one we have to accept," Jolly explained.

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