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Reporter games out a theory on why Manafort shared polling data with former Russian translator

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There is still no definitive answer within special counsel Robert Mueller’s report — or at least, within the unredacted portions of it — why President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared polling data with Konstantin Kilmnik, a veteran of the Soviet military with ties to the Ukrainian government.

But journalist Michael Weiss laid out a possible explanation, based on the publicly available evidence, of why Manafort could have done it:

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Although Mueller’s report does not appear to answer this question directly, it provides several hints of context behind Manafort’s relationship with Kilmnik, according to Bloomberg News.

“Manafort was seeking to end a long-running business dispute with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. The associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, was peddling a peace plan that would give Moscow more influence in eastern Ukraine,” noted Bloomberg. “And Deripaska, who knew both Manafort and Kilimnik from the years of political consulting they had provided to him, was looking to reverse years of visa woes that had crimped his ability to move freely about the U.S.”

Mueller’s report also revealed how Deripaska paid and loaned Manafort tens of millions of dollars over the course of their business relationship, at the same time that Manafort was advising pro-Putin politicians in Ukraine like Viktor Yanukovych. Furthermore, Deripaska and Manafort had fallen out, with the former suing the latter for $26 million over a failed TV deal.

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Manafort additionally offered Deripaska “private briefings” on the Trump campaign directly, although those briefings never took place.


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Jon Stewart blasts ‘abomination’ of Rand Paul trying to ‘balance the budget on the backs of’ 9/11 responders

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On Wednesday's edition of Fox News' "Special Report," comedian and activist Jon Stewart slammed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) for blocking unanimous consent for a bill to support health care for 9/11 first responders.

"Pardon me if I'm not impressed in any way by Rand Paul's fiscal responsibility virtue signaling," said Stewart to anchor Bret Baier, who appeared on the show with first responder and activist John Feal.

He added that Paul's complaint, that the bill was unfunded, rings hollow given that he "added hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit" with the GOP tax cuts for billionaires. He castigated Paul for trying to "balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder community."

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Republicans will never say that racism is ‘racism’ — basically because they’re racist

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Is there any expression of racism that Republicans will actually admit is racism? It's a question on a lot of progressive minds in the wake of Donald Trump demonizing female congresswomen of color with the "go back" canard that white nationalists and other assorted racists have long used to abuse anyone with heritage they dislike, whether that heritage is Jewish, Irish, Italian, African, Latin American or Muslim. Telling someone to "go back" is, in the ranks of racist statements, right up there with calling a person the N-word or some other rank slur. Yet, there still appears to be resistance among Republicans to admitting that is racism, which leads many on the left to wonder: If this doesn't count, then what could possibly count?

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This explains why Trump picked a fight with the four Congresswomen of color: analysis

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On one hand, President Donald Trump almost certainly chose to mark out Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) because of his own deep-seated racism.

But there is likely another reason he is doing it, wrote Aaron Blake of the Washington Post's "The Fix" on Wednesday: because his core voters hate them as much as he does.

Blake cited a new The Economist/YouGov poll of 2016 Trump voters' opinions on several politicians. "As you peruse it, it becomes clear that the conventional wisdom about why Trump picked these targets is right: They were ripe for motivating the GOP base ... All of them are better known among Republicans than Democrats, which suggests that a steady stream of coverage in conservative media has elevated them as potential Democratic bogeywomen. Trump is tilling fertile soil. And in fact, they might already be his most effective foils."

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