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Criminal enterprise: Trump and his family may fall under investigation for racketeering

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Prosecutors in Manhattan have opened up a new line of investigations into the Trump Organization that could eventually lead them to conclude that president’s family business is a criminal enterprise.

A grand jury in the Southern District of New York has subpoenaed records related to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, and former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said the widening scope of the investigation reminds her of a political figure she once prosecuted.

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“It is impossible to know exactly what the federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating, but the wide array of crimes brings to mind a case that was prosecuted in Detroit when I served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan,” McQuade wrote for The Daily Beast. “Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and several of his associates were convicted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as RICO.”

The new subpoena shows prosecutors are currently investigating Trump and his associates for possible conspiracy against the United States, false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and violations of campaign finance and inaugural committee laws, McQuade said.

The breadth and scope of the alleged crimes could bring into play the RICO statute, which was passed in 1970 to prosecute organized mob bosses for crimes committed by their underlings.

“Congress enacted RICO, which, among other things, makes it a crime for any person associated with an enterprise to participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of the enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, McQuade said.

That pattern of racketeering activity is defined as two or more acts from a list of criminal offenses — which include some of the crimes prosecutors looking at with Trump.

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“I have been asked before about whether the special counsel’s investigation could result in RICO charges, and I have thought that RICO was a bridge too far,” McQuade said.

She said the crimes special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating wouldn’t seem to apply to the RICO statute, but McQuade said the SDNY investigations of the Trump Organization and the inaugural committee very well could fall under that.

“Either one of those Trump entities could potentially be considered an ‘enterprise’ for purposes of a RICO charge, if the evidence supported it,” McQuade said. “So, too, could a collection of Trump and his associates be considered an association, in fact, just as Kilpatrick and his associates formed the Kilpatrick Enterprise. The types of crimes that are being investigated – mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering – are all crimes listed in the RICO statute as eligible predicate offenses that can constitute a pattern of racketeering activity.”

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AG Bill Barr will ‘try to interfere’ in the 2020 election to re-elect Trump: MSNBC national affairs analyst

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Attorney General William Barr will use the Department of Justice to "try to interfere" in the 2020 presidential election to re-elect Donald Trump, MSNBC's national affairs analyst predicted on Tuesday.

John Heilemann was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC's "The Last Word."

"The attorney general, from the moment he walked into this job, has behaved in a -- as a ruthless, relentless political hack and a thug and who has behaved not as attorney general of the United States," Heilemann said.

"He made a travesty of the Mueller report and continues to lie on Donald Trump's behalf at every opportunity," he added.

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Trump welcomed Russia’s Sergey Lavrov to the White House — to humiliate us all

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Despite the fact that President Donald Trump still refuses to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington for an officials meeting — a topic at the center of the scandal driving Trump’s impeachment — the White House hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday.

And while Lavrov was honored with his second private Oval Office meeting (the first one was a cataclysmic disaster) and a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the foreign minister took his opportunity here to repeatedly humiliate the United States.

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United States, Mexico, Canada finalize Donald Trump’s USMCA trade deal

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The United States, Mexico and Canada signed a deal Tuesday to finalize their new trade agreement, paving the way to ratification after more than two years of arduous negotiations.

However, the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the US Senate would likely delay Congressional ratification of the agreement until next year, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In reality, it is the second time the three countries have triumphantly announced the conclusion of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the deal meant to replace the 25-year-old NAFTA, which President Donald Trump complains has been "a disaster" for the US.

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