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Bombshell document dump shows Trump Org sought Putin’s help to build Moscow tower — and win election

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A newly released trove of documents show how President Donald Trump’s praise for Russian president Vladimir Putin lined up with behind-the-scenes efforts by his family and associates to build a high rise in Moscow.

The president frequently praised Putin while campaigning for U.S. president in 2016, and he insisted he had no business ties to Russia — all while his attorney Michael Cohen and others on the Trump Organization payroll negotiated the Moscow development, reported BuzzFeed News.

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The website published a cache of internal Trump Organization documents Tuesday that show how detailed and extensive negotiations matched up with developments in Trump’s presidential campaign.

Negotiations were hot and heavy in October 2015, when Cohen and Trump associate Felix Sater were working to secure a deal to build the 100-story tower — and to forge a closer relationship with Russia and its president.

“All we need is Putin on board and we are golden, meeting with Putin and top deputy is tentatively set for the 14th,” Sater emailed Cohen on Oct. 12, 2015. “See buddy I can not only get Ivanka to spin in Putins Kremlin office chair on 30 minutes notice, I can also get a full meeting.”

Trump tweeted out a Washington Examiner story with the headline, ‘Putin loves Donald Trump,’ on Oct. 17, 2015, just days after receiving a signed letter of intent from a Moscow developer.

The Trump Organization made edits to that letter of intent over the next 11 days, according to documents published by the website, and a final version of the letter was signed Oct. 28, 2015, by Trump and Russian developer Andrey Rozov.

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“Michael my next steps are very sensitive with Putin’s very very close people, we can pull this off,” Sater emailed Cohen on Nov. 3, 2015. “Michael let’s go. 2 boys from Brooklyn getting a USA president elected.”

“Putin gets on stage with Donald for a ribbon cutting for Trump Moscow,” he said in another email that same day, “and Donald owns the republican (sic) nomination. And possibly beats Hillary and out boy is in. I’ll take the Ambassadorship to the Bahamas so I can fish and dive, and be a hero to my kids. That my friend is the home run that I want out of this.”

Sater and Cohen began arguing in the final weeks of 2015 about the length of negotiations, and the Trump Organization attorney apparently grew impatient and tried to take matters into his own hands by emailing Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov’s office, according to the criminal information filed against the attorney by special counsel Robert Mueller.

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Cohen continued trying to reach Peskov during January 2016, and eventually spoke to the Kremlin official’s assistant.

Trump boasted to campaign crowds that Putin had praised him as a “genius,” as Cohen and Sater made plans to visit Russia with their boss.

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“I think I’d have a good relationship with Putin, who knows,” Trump told a rally in February 2016. “If we got along with Russia, that would be sort of nice, wouldn’t it?”

Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met June 9, 2016, with a Russian attorney promising damaging campaign information about Hillary Clinton, and that same day Sater texted Cohen about preparations for the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

“I am filing out the badges for the St. Pete economic forum for you,” Sater texted. “Putin is there on the 17th very strong chance you will meet him as well.”

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Those plans were scuttled June 14, 2016 — the day the Washington Post reported that Russian government hackers had penetrated the Democratic National Committee — and Cohen asked Sater to meet him in the atrium of Trump Tower in New York and told him the Moscow deal was off.


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2020 Election

Trump and the GOP have become the party of the dead

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There are few morbid topics subject to greater speculation than the religious loyalty of President Donald Trump's "base." Why an alarmingly large amount of Americans refuse even to entertain any criticism of Trump deserves scrutiny from political scientists, psychologists and perhaps horror novelists working in the school of Edgar Allan Poe.

This article first appeared in Salon.

What is abundantly clear is that no matter who votes for Trump, he and the Republican Party on the national level have no interest in governing on the behalf of living human beings — with the exception of ensuring that a tiny minority of billionaires and multimillionaires enlarge their investment portfolios. Trump evinces no concern for Americans dying of the coronavirus, racist violence or any other malady or injustice. He demonstrates no regard for health care professionals courageously trying to save their patients from dying, and appears cruelly indifferent to the struggles of millions of workers whose livelihoods have been destroyed by COVID-19. Needless to say, Trump also shows contempt for Black Lives Matter, immigrants and anyone who opposes his re-election, which at this moment (and throughout his presidency) is more than half of the American public.

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As coronavirus seizes the state, Florida hospitals are in panic mode

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As Florida experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, the residents of the state are facing obstacles like overwhelmed hospitals and a looming shortage in beds.

This article first appeared in Salon.

There are 47,663 hospital beds in the state right now with 11,782 available (meaning a remaining capacity of 19.82 percent) and a total staffed bed capacity of 59,445, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard. The state Department of Health also reported on Friday that, out of 95,300 individuals who received coronavirus test results over the course of the previous day, 11,433 tested positive for COVID-19 (all but 90 of whom were Florida residents), meaning that more than 12 percent of the new cases had positive test results. The state also reported 93 new deaths due to COVID-19. (Salon reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on this story.)

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2020 Election

The GOP is a suicide cult

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Back in March, we argued that Donald Trump had become the charismatic leader of the dumbest suicide cult ever. There were fewer than 500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time, but it wasn't difficult to see the trajectory we were on at even that early date. At the time, we were commenting on the President's* repeated claims that the whole thing was a big hoax and polls showing that Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say they were taking steps to avoid becoming infected.

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