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Is this the reason Mitch McConnell does not seem to care about election interference?

The GOP leader called for lifting the sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, and Sherrod Brown wants answers

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Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is demanding answers after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for lifting sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska — a proposal that was followed by a deal in which the oligarch’s company announced a $200 million investment in a Kentucky aluminum plant. And this is the same McConnell who, in recent weeks, has neglected bipartisan bills that address security in the 2020 election.

The Kentucky senator’s lack of urgency in addressing election interference stretches back to the 2016 presidential election. According to Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s administration had asked McConnell to sign on to a bipartisan statement on Russian interference. McConnell refused.

Brown, this week, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that when Russian or Chinese investments in the United States are made, U.S. officials need to address “what it means to national security, what it means if they come in and buy steel and aluminum plants. Who knows what their ultimate plans are? Clearly, they’re buying influence.”

Brown stressed to Maddow that when Russian or Chinese companies have business interests in the U.S., it is “always a security issue.” And Brown said of the Kentucky aluminum deal, “We want this investigated because we know why these companies often come in.”

Deripaska, Brown pointed out during his appearance on Maddow’s show, is an “oligarch” who was “sanctioned because of the elections.”

Recently, various bills promoting election security against foreign attacks have been proposed in the Senate. But Vox’s Li Zhou, in an in-depth report published on May 21, notes that McConnell has expressed no interest in bringing them up for a vote. Zhou’s article complains that McConnell’s “unwillingness to tackle election security” is “sending a political message” and “has massive consequences” for U.S. elections—none of them good.

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LISTEN: Here’s the creepy broadcast at Trump’s rally telling supporters the right way to deal with protesters

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On Tuesday, President Donald Trump officially kicked off his 2020 re-election campaign in Orlando, Florida.

Those who entered the venue were treated to a pleasant female voice booming out instructions to protestors — and a creepy warning.

"While we all have the rights to free speech, this is a private event paid for and hosted by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., and you came to hear the president," said the voice. "To accommodate the right to free speech and peaceful assembly, while ensuring an orderly rally, we have provided a secure area outside the venue for all protesters, and we ask anyone wishing to demonstrate to please exit to that secure area."

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Ukrainian-Russian developer with Trump Tower Moscow ties suing after getting bilked for $200,000 at inauguration

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It is illegal for foreigners to donate to presidential inaugurations, but a new lawsuit sheds light on how wealthy foreigners attempted to buy access to the Trump administration.

"A Ukrainian-Russian developer who wanted access to President Trump’s inauguration filed a lawsuit on Tuesday saying he was bilked out of the $200,000 he paid for what he thought would be V.I.P. tickets to the event," The New York Times reported Tuesday.

"The developer, Pavel Fuks, who once discussed a Moscow real estate project with Mr. Trump, said in the lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, that he had paid the money to a firm at the direction of Yuri Vanetik, a prominent Republican fund-raiser and sometime lobbyist," the newspaper explained. "But, the lawsuit said, Mr. Vanetik failed to come through with the promised tickets, and Mr. Fuks ended up watching the inauguration from a Washington hotel bar."

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Indicted Republican gets his passport back — so he can leave the country prior to his bribery trial

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Despite being indicted and waiting to stand trial, a North Carolina judge returned the passport of a top Republican and is allowing him to leave the country.

Former North Carolina GOP Chair Robin Hayes spent a decade in Congress and was once the Republican nominee for governor.

In April, Hayes was indicted on bribery and wire fraud charges.

Despite the seriousness of the charges, a federal judge will temporarily return Hayes' passport for him to travel abroad in July, WSCO-TV correspondent Joe Bruno reported on Tuesday.

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