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Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign has already funneled $1.3 million into his businesses

Trump’s campaign has made a number of unexplained payments to his businesses. His lawyers say it’s all fine

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President Trump’s re-election campaign has paid $1.3 million in donor money to his businesses since he took office, according to an analysis by Forbes.

According to the report, Trump’s companies have charged his campaign $1.3 million for rent, lodging, food and other expenses. While Trump self-funded part of his campaign in 2016, none of the more than $50 million in contributions to his re-election campaign have come out of his own pocket.

The campaign has paid more than $800,000 to Trump Tower Commercial LLC, a holding company through which the president owns his stake in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. The Republican National Committee has paid an additional $225,000 to the holding company for rent.

Trump’s campaign has also paid $54,000 to Trump Plaza LLC, the holding company that controls two apartment buildings in New York. Forbes noted that reporters could not identify any campaign operation at the building. Six residents told the outlet they had never seen an indication that a campaign was running out of the building. A front desk employee said, “If there was any kind of office rented out for campaigning or whatever, I would know about it.”

The campaign also paid $60,000 to Trump Restaurants LLC, another holding company linked to Trump Tower. It’s unclear what that money was used for. It may have been spent on a kiosk in Trump Tower that sells merchandise bearing the stamp, “Paid for by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc,” though Forbes notes that $60,000 in rent would make it among the highest retail rates in the city at $600 per square foot. By comparison, Gucci’s prime Fifth Avenue location pays around $440 a square foot.

The campaign expenditures are just one of the ways Trump’s presidency has been a boon for his companies. Trump spent more than $13 million in campaign funds on chartering planes from the Trump-owned TAG Air, ProPublica reported last year. His Washington hotel has drawn a number of foreign groups and corporations seeking to curry favor with his administration by buying up dozens of rooms. Republicans have repeatedly hosted fundraisers at his property.

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All of these issues are at the heart of multiple lawsuits accusing Trump of violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, which bars government officials from using their position to enrich themselves.

A Justice Department lawyer for the federal government insisted in court this week that the case “should be over” because “the president is unique,” the New York Times reported.

“He is not any old inferior officer like the postmaster general. They can’t point to any basis in either case law or history to subject the president of the United States” to such demands, said deputy assistant attorney general Hashim Mooppan.

Experts have long said that the lawsuits face an uphill climb and the Times noted that the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Virginia was skeptical of the claims against Trump.

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Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe admitted that the emoluments case against the president is a tough one to win in court but added that a loss could set a dangerous standard.

“It would be extremely unfortunate,” he told the Washington Post, “if violations of the most important constitutional protection against a dangerously corrupt and compromised president — the protection of the Emoluments Clauses against presidential acceptance of financial benefits from foreign powers or others unaccountable to the US electorate — could never be enforced by the independent federal judiciary because the ‘only’ harm that federal courts would recognize would be demonstrable harm to particular individuals rather than harm to the nation as a whole.”

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George Conway annihilates Trump’s claim that Twitter censors him

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On Wednesday, following Trump's virtually incomprehensible rant on Fox Business about how Twitter is secretly stifling his content, conservative lawyer George Conway posted a scathing rebuke of his behavior:

https://twitter.com/gtconway3d/status/1143868020424617989?s=21

George Conway, the husband of Trump's former campaign manager and counselor Kellyanne Conway, has been a frequent and vocal critic of the president's behavior.

Republicans have increasingly scapegoated an imagined political conspiracy of social media companies for every problem that they have online, claiming that there is a plot to censor or "shadow ban" conservative content.

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This is how Florida Republicans plan to hand the election to Trump in 2020

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In 2018, voters in Florida passed Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to ex-felons. The measure passed 65 to 35 percent.

Now, Florida Governor and major Trump ally Ron DeSantis is expected to blunt the impact of the measure by approving a bill that would require ex-felons to have paid off all fees connected to their sentence before voting. That means Donald Trump might get a major boost in 2020, reports the Daily Beast.

SB 7066 requires ex-felons to pay off all financial obligations from their sentencing or get them excused by a judge.

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Dear NeverTrumpers: Please quit lecturing actual Democrats about how to win

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As I write this, we are just hours away from the first debate of the presidential primary season. It's hard to believe that four years have passed since the last round of primary debates. It feels like 40. But here we are, getting ready to embark on yet another presidential campaign featuring Donald Trump. Everyone on the planet has advice for the Democratic candidates about what they need to do to beat him. It may be the most annoying conversation in all of politics, and that's saying something.

The pundits are all dully blathering on about "lanes" again, extending the horse race metaphor to ridiculous lengths, as they did in the GOP primaries in 2016. So far they've declared the lanes to be "establishment," "insurgent," "youth," "black vote" and "working class." And yes, they are meaningless, since the person who wins the nomination will have to take up big parts of all these "lanes" and more. But it makes it easy for pundits and analysts to drone on endlessly about polling, despite the fact that there is very little chance this campaign will end up going the way they predict.

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