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Mnuchin denies selling movie company to oligarch-linked investor — but still won’t identify the buyer

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The Treasury Department disputed that Secretary Steve Mnuchin sold his share of a Hollywood production company to a sanctioned Russian oligarch, but still would not reveal the buyer.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and other Democratic lawmakers questioned Mnuchin’s ties to Ukraine-born entertainment investor Len Blavatnik, but the Treasury Department denied in a letter that he had bought the secretary’s stake in the RatPac-Dune production company, reported ABC News.

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Blavatnik, whose Access Industries owns Warner Music Group, has business ties to Russian aluminum giant Rusal and other companies linked to oligarch Oleg Deripaska, an ally of president Vladimir Putin.

The Trump administration lifted Magnitsky Act sanctions against Rusal and other companies linked to Deripaska, and House Democrats questioned Mnuchin’s involvement in the controversial decision.

Mnuchin and Blavatnik have each held significant stakes in RatPac-Dune Entertainment, which has held minority ownership interests in the blockbuster movies “Gravity,” “Wonder Woman,” Batman v Superman,” “The Lego Movie” and “Creed.”

The Treasury Department denied that Mnuchin had sold his stake to Blavatnik or any of his companies, but did not say which “third party unrelated to Mr. Blavatnik” had purchased his share in the company.

A spokesperson for Blavatnik also denied any contact between the entertainment investor and Mnuchin.

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“Blavatnik has had no business conversations whatsoever with Secretary Mnuchin in connection to treasuries actions and decisions on sanctions,” the spokesperson said.

However, Democrats have long expressed concern about possible conflicts of interest presented by Mnuchin’s financial dealings.

Blavatnik, who holds a significant stake in Rusal, has contributed at least $383,000 to the Republican National Committee since late April 2016 and gave another $1 million to President Donald Trump’s inauguration fund.

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Those contributions included more than $12,000 that was later directed to the president’s legal defense fund, although Blavatnik did not give directly to the Trump campaign.


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Matt Gaetz forgot which network he was on: Surprised CNN anchor said ‘I’ve never been called Sean Hannity’

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Rep. Matt Gaetz seemed to confuse cable news networks during a Thursday appearance

Gaetz was interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo, who aggressively challenged Gaetz on the facts as the Florida Republican attempted to defend President Donald Trump.

Despite the fact Cuomo's interview was nothing like the puff segments Gaetz is used to on Fox, the congressman seemed confused by the end.

"Congressman, you are always welcome, wherever I am, at nine or eleven, whenever," Cuomo said.

"Thanks Sean," Gaetz replied.

"Did you just call me Sean?" Cuomo asked. "Did you just call me Sean?"

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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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