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California prosecutors ramp up investigation of Trump as Mueller report is reviewed

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Along with investigators in New York, Los Angeles prosecutors have also joined in on probes into President Donald Trump.

The New York Times reported that California prosecutors have taken part in inquiries about the president’s inaugural fund, according to sources briefed on the investigation.

“The Justice Department continues to investigate the business and political dealings of Elliott Broidy, a top fund-raiser for Mr. Trump’s campaign and inauguration, who tried to use his access to the Trump team to boost his businesses,” the Times reported, adding that “federal investigators in Los Angeles have also taken part in the inquiry.”

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The report enumerated the investigations into the president that are continuing to take place in the wake of the submission of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to the Justice Department.

Federal prosecutors in Washington, DC, for instance, “will handle the prosecution of the Trump political adviser Roger J. Stone Jr., who was charged as part of Mr. Mueller’s investigation.”

New York authorities are separately “pursuing several investigations focused on the president, his associates and his business,” including a mortgage fraud case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and “civil inquiries into the Trump Organization’s insurance practices, real estate deals, and whether the family’s charitable foundation violated tax laws.”

Prosecutors in Brooklyn are also looking into Trump inaugural committee donations and the Middle East ties of the committee’s chairman, Trump’s longtime friend Tom Barrack who in 2018 was interviewed by Mueller, people briefed on the discussion told the Times.

Read the entire report via the Times.

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Sondland is in ‘tremendous trouble’ no matter how he tries to change his testimony tomorrow: NYT columnist

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On Tuesday, in the wake of testimony from several witnesses in the impeachment hearing that broadly implicated EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland in improper backchannel foreign policy, New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali suggested that Sondland is in "tremendous trouble" — and that no testimony he could give tomorrow will get him out of this mess:

No. He will be trying to save himself. The perjury plus multiple stellar witnesses paint a damning portrait. He's in tremendous trouble. https://t.co/CxN5w0EErb

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Even the Republican witnesses make Donald Trump look like a depraved criminal

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The second half of Tuesday's hearing offered something new in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: Witnesses called by the Republican minority on the House Intelligence Committee. It's understandable why Republicans would want these two men.

One of them was Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide who is among the few people directly exposed to Trump's famous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who claims to believe there was nothing wrong with it. The other was Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, who appears to have been a major actor in Trump's extortion scheme in that country. Indeed, Volker was deemed one of the "three amigos" — along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Trump donor/EU ambassador Gordon Sondland — who Trump entrusted with Ukrainian relations as he exerted increasing pressure on the country's leaders to give into his extortion scheme.

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Impeachment: Trump’s ‘hearsay’ defense just crashed and burned

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In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.

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