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Trump’s work with ‘career criminals’ about to be exposed by ‘harrowing’ financial probe: biographer

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Trump biographer Tim O’Brien predicts that the next few months are going to be very unpleasant for President Donald Trump, as House Democrats conduct a thorough probe of his personal finances.

Writing in Bloomberg, O’Brien draws on his own experience of getting sued by Trump last decade to discuss the president’s shady financial dealings that could get him into trouble for insurance fraud, among other crimes.

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“Scrutiny of Trump’s insurance dealings is just the beginning of what is going to be a long, meandering and possibly harrowing experience for the president, his family, longtime employees of the Trump Organization, many of Trump’s business partners and the White House,” he writes. “Federal prosecutors in Manhattan, attorneys general in Virginia, New York and the District of Columbia, five committees within the House of Representatives and, now, banking and insurance regulators, are all putting the Trump Organization and the president’s financial and political dealings under a wide array of microscopes.”

O’Brien notes that we already know of one shady character in Trump’s orbit who is scheduled to testify before Congress: Felix Sater, the Russian-American former mobster who worked with former “fixer” Michael Cohen to negotiate with Russian officials to build a Trump Tower in Moscow even as Trump was running for president.

O’Brien describes Sater as a “career criminal” and says he could offer information about not just the Moscow project, but also the Trump Soho hotel project that has been scrutinized as a potential vehicle for international money laundering.

Looking at all these potential targets for investigations, O’Brien concludes that many of the president’s closest allies might turn on him to save themselves from legal jeopardy.

“If Cohen is any indication… many, if not everybody, at the Trump Organization and elsewhere may decide to protect themselves before they protect the president,” he writes. “Investigators have landed on the money trail.”

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Trump ignored aides’ advice before first Ukraine call — and it destroyed his impeachment defense: report

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to himself as his own top advisor and a political "genius." But his interactions with Ukraine at the heart of the impeachment inquiry could demonstrate the limitations of such an approach to governing.

Friday's bombshell, behind-closed-door testimony from David Holmes has made White House aides unhappy, but the bad news for the administration did not stop there.

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‘Aides to the president are not happy’ Gordon Sondland held the phone up in restaurant: CNN’s Jim Acosta

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CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported on Friday that White House aides are unhappy with Ambassador Gordon Sondland for holding up a call with Trump in a restaurant for multiple witnesses to listen.

The details were revealed in bombshell closed-door testimony before Congress on Friday.

Acosta noted the administration was trying to downplay the significance of the call.

"But I will tell you, that the aides of the president are not happy that Gordon Sondland apparently held the phone up so other aides could hear what was going on and the words of the source familiar with the conversations inside the White House, the president speaks loudly, Sondland should know that," Acosta reported.

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David Holmes’ opening statement to Congress directly implicated Donald Trump: report

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Congress will hear first-hand testimony of President Donald Trump's involvement in the Ukraine scandal.

"David Holmes, the state department aide who overheard President Donald Trump's conversation with the US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, said that Sondland told Trump that the Ukranian President would do 'anything you ask him to,' and that he confirmed the Ukrainians were going to 'do the investigation,'" CNN reported Friday.

""Sondland told Trump that (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky 'loves your ass,'" Holmes testified. "I then heard President Trump ask, 'So, he's gonna do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that 'he's gonna do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.'"

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