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Paul Manafort’s family received a $1 million loan in 2017 — and the lender’s identify remains a mystery

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Legally, things are looking incredibly bleak for President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort. On January 8, CNN and others reported that, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, Manafort shared polling data with Russian operative Konstantin Kilimnik when they met in 2016. This is on top of all the federal tax evasion and bank fraud charges Manafort was convicted on August 22, 2018. Yet despite his legal peril, Manafort’s family received a $1 million loan during the Summer of 2017—and Bloomberg News has reported that the loan came a few weeks after his home had been raided by the FBI.

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In a January 9 post on Twitter, journalist Jeff Grocott (known for his Bloomberg articles) wrote, “This is wacky. Paul Manafort’s family got a $1 million loan in his moment of legal peril—just after FBI raided his home in summer 2017. So who loaned the money?”

Grocott has posted an entire Twitter thread about the loan, stressing that the identity of the lender remains a mystery.

The lender, Grocott explains, called itself Woodlawn LLC. It’s unclear exactly who Woodlawn LLC is, although the lender is connected to Hollywood producer Joey Rappa—whose name appears on a November 2018 filing that was made when Mueller moved to seize Manafort’s properties. In the filing, Rappa (who was a production associate on the 1996 film “The Nutty Professor”) is described as a “managing member” of the Nevada-based company that made the $1 million loan and is making a claim on the Manhattan condominium that Manafort’s family offered as collateral.

Bloomberg has reported that according to Rapp’s lawyer, he had nothing to do with making the loan. However, Rapp is, through his film work, linked to Andrew Intrater—an American financier and cousin of Ukraine-born oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who Mueller’s team questioned in 2018 about his connection to Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Intrater, Bloomberg reports, has been working on a film with Rapp.

According to California-based attorney Keith Berglund—who represents Woodland, LLC—Intrater had nothing to do with the loan either. Berglund told Bloomberg that Rappa agreed to be the public face of the loan because of the lender’s desire for secrecy.

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On Twitter, Grocott posted, “But who’s behind Woodlawn? For four months, its ‘managing member,’ for legal purposes, was a guy named Joey Rappa. He’s worked in Hollywood and has had legal troubles over debt. Doesn’t look like his money.”

Grocott also noted, “The money behind the Manafort loan isn’t Intrater’s, the lawyers say. Rappa’s appearance on the court docs, according to Woodlawn’s lawyer, is the result of ‘some extremely unfortunate and unforeseeable coincidences.’….. Now, Rappa’s name is back off the court documents. Whose money went to Manafort remains a mystery.

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SNL imagines Alan Dershowitz and Mitt Romney in hell during impeachment trial sketch

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NBC's "Saturday Night Live"

The skit began with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) meeting with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) about impeachment.

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McConnell then showed up and thanked the devil for teaching him "that thing with Merrick Garland."

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CNN anchor Don Lemon was infected with a case of the giggles Saturday night while discussing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Lemon was joined by two hilarious guests, New York Times contributing op-ed writer Wajahat Ali and Rick Wilson, the author of the bestselling 2018 book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever and the new book Running Against the Devil: A Plot to Save America from Trump -- and Democrats from Themselves.

The three were discussing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s interview with “All Things Considered” host Mary Louise Kelly, where he reportedly demanded she point to Ukraine on a blank map.

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2020 Election

Amy Klobuchar wins endorsement in first in the nation primary from the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) received a big endorsement on Saturday evening when her 2020 bid was endorsed by the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper.

"If there is to be any realistic challenge to Trump in November, the Democratic nominee needs to have a proven and substantial record of accomplishment across party lines, an ability to unite rather than divide, and the strength and stamina to go toe-to-toe with the Tweeter-in-Chief," the newspaper wrote. "That would be U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. She is sharp and witty, with a commanding understanding of both history and the inner workings of Capitol Hill."

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