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Trump illegally used his foundation for campaign and must pay $8.4 million in restitution and fines: NY attorney general

New York’s new attorney general alleges that the Trump Foundation functioned as a wing of the 2016 campaign

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President Donald Trump illegally used his charity to benefit his presidential campaign, New York’s attorney general said in a court filing Thursday.

Attorney General Letitia James said that Trump turned the Trump Foundation into a wing of his campaign in a 37-page court filing. James asked a judge to order the organization to pay $2.8 million in restitution for using charitable donations for political and business purposes, the Associated Press reported.

James also asked a judge to order President Trump to pay a $5.6 million penalty in the case, and to bar the president and his three eldest children from running any charities in the state for the next 10 years, Bloomberg reported.

“In this vacuum of oversight and diligence, Mr. Trump caused the foundation to enter repeatedly into self-dealing transactions and to coordinate unlawfully with his presidential campaign,” James said in the filing.

Trump’s lawyers have charged that the lawsuit is politically motivated. But the Trump Foundation agreed to shut down in December and distribute its remaining $1.7 million in funds to other nonprofits.

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That case did not resolve the attorney general’s lawsuit, however, which alleges that Trump violated rules barring charities from being used for political purposes. James said that depositions by Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and email exchanges between him and Trump’s campaign manager at the time, Corey Lewandowski, showed illegal coordination between the campaign and the foundation.

The lawsuit is related to Trump’s infamous boycott of a Fox News debate over his feud with Megyn Kelly ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucuses. Rather than participate in the debate, Trump held a rally that he claimed was intended to raise money for veterans groups. The Trump Foundation functioned as a conduit for those donations.

Trump is also accused of improperly directing $100,000 of the charity’s funds to be used to settle a dispute over an 80-foot flagpole he had erected at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

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James’ predecessor, Barbara Underwood, previously accused the charity of “functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” and engaging in “a shocking pattern of illegality” before the charity agreed to dissolve.

Emails submitted by the attorney general’s office provide ample evidence of Underwood’s claims.

“Is there any way we can make some disbursements [from the proceeds of the fund-raiser] this week while in Iowa? Specifically on Saturday,” Lewandowski wrote to the charity’s treasurer ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

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James, who took office in January, has vowed to “use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family.”

Earlier this week, she issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for records related to the financing of several of Trump’s company’s deals and his failed bid to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Deutsche Bank was one of the only major financial institutions willing to lend Trump money after a series of bankruptcies in the 1990s.


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Congress should ask Mueller these specific questions about Trump’s involvement with Russia: Conservative columnist

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Conservative Never-Trump columnist Jennifer Rubin outlined the essential questions that Democrats should ask special counsel Robert Mueller in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

"Rather than engage in the normal scattershot questioning punctuated by speechifying, the House Judiciary Committee should assign its able attorney Norman Eisen to conduct the questioning," proposed Rubin. "Members could then follow up with additional questions.'

One question she proposed asking: "Mr. Mueller, the attorney general said you did not find 'collusion.' However, you did not look for collusion. Please explain what you looked for and how that differs from [Attorney General William] Barr’s assertion that you essentially cleared President Trump of collusion?"

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‘Is Ireland one of those countries you want to invade’: Trump once ‘joked’ John Bolton wants ‘to nuke them all’

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Even President Donald Trump recognizes that John Bolton is a war-loving hawk, Axios reported Sunday.

In a conversation that included the Irish prime minister, Trump asked Bolton, "John, is Ireland one of those countries you want to invade?"

The scene was during the annual St. Patrick's Day visit. Typically it's a photo-op, a handshake, and men in green ties with a shamrock sprig in their jacket pocket. Trump managed to turn it into an awkward scene for everyone.

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Mueller probably won’t be giving new information — here’s why that can still sink Trump

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Former special counsel Robert Mueller will appear in Congress this week to testify for two hours about the report he authored on the case of Russian collusion.

The hearing is set for Wednesday, though Mueller has said that he won't have any additional information other than what is in his report. A Washington Post report used examples of past Mueller testimony to outline what can be anticipated. The reality, however, is that regardless of whether Mueller sticks to the report or not, he'll deliver enough to put the president in a difficult situation.

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