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Is Rudy Giuliani violating the law by failing to register as a foreign agent?

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Rudy Giuliani is reportedly not getting paid for his work as President Donald Trump’s lawyer, but he has to get money from somewhere. And that place appears to be foreign governments.

Giuliani’s overseas work has long drawn scrutiny. ProPublica reported last October on his increasing foreign trips while serving as the president’s lawyer.

“He has often traveled to Russia or other former Soviet states as guests of powerful players there,” it explained. “And since Trump was elected, he appears to have stepped up the frequency of those trips.”

It added: “There are many things we don’t know about Giuliani’s trips. We don’t know whether he’s being paid, and if so by whom. Giuliani declined to answer our questions.”

At one point, ProPublica reported:

Giuliani appeared in the former Soviet republic of Armenia, which has close trade ties with Russia. He was invited, according to local press accounts, by Ara Abramyan, an Armenian businessman who lives in Russia. Abramyan once helped reconstruct the Kremlin and also received a medal for “merit to the fatherland” from President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Giuliani said he was in Armenia as a private citizen, but on a local TV news show, Abramyan implied that he expected Giuliani to carry a message for him to Trump. (The conversation was in Armenian, so it’s not clear whether Giuliani understood what Abramyan was saying.)

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And recently, The Daily Beast reported that Giuliani’s firm, Giuliani Security and Safety, is now working for the authoritarian government of Bahrain, ostensibly to train police. The New York Times reported that Giuliani had worked as a lobbyist in 2017 for Ukrainian-Russian developer Pavel Fuks:

Mr. Giuliani described that work as related to emergency management consulting, but Mr. Fuks said in an interview that he hired Mr. Giuliani as “a lobbyist for Kharkiv and Ukraine” to lure American investors. “This is stated in the contract.”

All of which raises the question, from senators and on Tuesday by ThinkProgress: Is Giuliani violating the law by failing to register as a foreign agent?

Enforcement of violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act has been stepped up in the aftermath of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which leveraged investigations of these crimes in its pursuit of links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Most famously, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was charged with violating the act for his work for a pro-Russia politician in Ukraine. Democratic senators have asked the Justice Department to look into Giuliani’s foreign work to ensure that it complies with the act — a particularly important request given his proximity to the president — but ThinkProgress reported that though the DOJ received the request, it hasn’t responded.

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The issue was thrust into the spotlight last week when Giuliani announced he would be going to Ukraine to advocate on behalf of investigating Joe Biden, a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. He canceled the trip after a public outcry.

But it’s hard to have faith that the Justice Department will do the right thing and hold Giuliani to account for any potential violations. Each day, more evidence emerges that Trump is turning it into a political weapon, rather than a neutral arbiter of the law.

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Lawrence O’Donnell throttles Donny Deutsch for saying Elizabeth Warren can’t beat Trump: ‘This is pure guesswork’

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Lawrence O'Donnell and Donny Deutsch had quite the exchange in the post-debate conversation on MSNBC Wednesday.

Deutsch tried to say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's outstanding debate performance doesn't matter because Warren can't win in a match-up against President Donald Trump.

"I do not believe Elizabeth Warren, on stage with Donald Trump, beats him," he told the MSNBC panel. "And I think if we're honest with ourselves and we look hard at ourselves, I think a lot of people agree with me. It's — and I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist, and he's on stage with her, the Democrats lose."

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Father and daughter drowning at the border fuels anger at Trump immigration policies

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A shocking photograph of a Salvadoran man and his baby daughter drowned in the Rio Grande fueled a surge of emotion around the world Wednesday -- as US Democrats furiously denounced Donald Trump's immigration policies.

"Trump is responsible for these deaths," said Beto O'Rourke, one of several Democratic White House hopefuls who took to Twitter to lash out at the president.

Former vice president Joe Biden, who is also seeking the presidency in 2020, called the image "gut-wrenching."

"History will judge how we respond to the Trump administration's treatment of immigrant families & children -- we can't be silent," he said.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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