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MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow connects the dots between Russians trying to shut down Mueller investigations

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Monday revealed the bizarre link between a “lurid” murder-for-hire case in North Carolina and apparent Russian efforts to undermine the investigations into Donald Trump by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Maddow recounted the tale of Leonid Teyf, whom federal prosecutors allege plotted to kill the son of a former housekeeper because he suspected the man was having an affair with his wife.

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As part of the investigation, prosecutors uncovered a $150 million kickback scheme that was allegedly defrauding the Russian Federation.

“The money-laundering scheme dates back to around 2010, during Teyf’s time as deputy director of a company called Voentorg that provided Russia’s military with laundry, food and other equipment, according to a federal indictment,” NBC News reported in December. “Voentorg, in turn, sought goods from subcontractors and Teyf demanded a cut of government funds they were paid — kickbacks that grew to $150 million in cash over a two-year period, prosecutors said.”

Maddow focused on the $150 million, which was only Teyf’s alleged cut of the kickback scheme.

“It’s interesting though, this is a U.S. criminal case. All of that money was allegedly stolen from Russian defense contracts, but the government in Russia apparently does not much seem to mind,” she noted.

“They have not been pursuing this guy for this, it’s U.S. prosecutors who are pursuing him and it’s U.S. prosecutors who are saying he did it and that — that may be an important clue as to what’s really going on here and the overall importance of this case,” Maddow explained.

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“On its face, this is a riveting, lurid crime story which has been a real focus for local news in North Carolina for weeks now, for all sorts of obvious reasons,” she explained. “The condo with no furniture in it — stashed full of guns and ammo and money — and the hitman and bribe for the deportation and the hiding of the gun with the obliterated serial number under a bush at the car wash and the mansion and expensive cars.”

Maddow explained Yevgeny Prigozhin’s connection to the case — and the alleged fraud. Prigozhin is known as “Putin’s Chef” for the oligarch’s closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Then Maddow brought it all together by explaining the connection of Prigozhin’s efforts to undermine the special counsel investigations.

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Supreme Court stuns experts with 7-2 ruling in Trump tax case

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In a decision that surprised many court observers, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that President Donald Trump cannot block a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney seeking his tax returns.

Unlike all of his predecessors since Richard Nixon in the 1970s, New York real estate mogul Trump refused to release his tax returns, despite promising to do so during his 2016 White House campaign.

Trump made his fortune a key component of that campaign, and his lack of transparency raises questions about his true worth and possible conflicts of interest.

Congressional investigations have raised questions about whether Trump has sensitive financial exposure to Russia, and also whether he has used questionable accounting loopholes to avoid paying taxes in the 1990s and 2000s.

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GOP has all but given up on containment — instead they’re feeding Americans to the ‘coronavirus meatgrinder’: op-ed

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Writing in The Week this Thursday, Ryan Cooper says that as the coronavirus continues to spike across the country, Republicans have essentially abandoned efforts to stem the spread. "Instead they are feeding the American people into the coronavirus meatgrinder," he writes.

GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is focused on protecting companies from liability if they infect their employees or customers, while President Trump threatens to cut off funding from schools that don't open in the fall.

"For months now Republicans have been positing a tradeoff between pandemic containment and the economy, as if we just cancel the lockdowns then everything can go back to normal," Cooper writes. "What they stubbornly refuse to understand is that the virus is the problem. As we are seeing, even in this benighted country a critical mass of people will not go about their normal activities if they are afraid of catching a dangerous disease. Similarly, Sweden did not officially lock down, and as a result it has suffered six-12 times as many deaths as its Scandinavian neighbors — yet its economy took just as bad a hit as theirs. Now that Norway, Denmark, and Finland have contained the virus and are reopening safely but many Swedes are still staying home, the economic damage will be even worse in relative terms."

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Mask-free UFC fighter punches and hurls racial slurs at older man for ‘touching’ him at restaurant

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UFC fighter Mike Perry was seen on video punching an older man for allegedly touching him. Perry, who is white, can also be heard using the N-word multiple times.

According to ESPN, the incident occurred at Table 82 in Lubbock, Texas on Wednesday.

In a video shared on social media, Perry appears irate as he is ushered out of the restaurant.

Austin police officers who arrived on the scene declined to arrest Perry but said that an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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