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Secretive dark money group got $22 million to get Trump SCOTUS pick confirmed – and most came from one anonymous donor

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A just-published report by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics’ award-winning OpenSecrets.org reveals the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative secretive dark money group received $22 million from anonymous donors in the year leading up to the Tump administration and conservatives’ push to place Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court.

$17 million of that $22 million came from one anonymous donor.

“The Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, pledged to spendas much as $10 million to ensure Kavanaugh’s confirmation — the same amount that it spent to help confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017,” Anna Massoglia and Andrew Perez at OpenSecrets reveal in their report Friday.

“JCN has close ties to Trump’s judicial adviser Leonard Leo, a longtime executive at the Federalist Society, the influential conservative and libertarian lawyers network based in Washington, D.C.”

If you’re not familiar with the Judicial Crisis Network, here’s one of their ads you may have seen on TV in the run up to the Kavanaugh confirmation vote:

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Here’s where it gets even more disturbing.

“The bulk of JCN’s funding has typically come from the Wellspring Committee, another secretive nonprofit run by operatives who wear multiple hats in a larger network of opaque groups.”

That “larger network of opaque groups” links to another OpenSecrets report: “New clues link $1 million Trump inauguration mystery money to secretive ‘dark money’ network.”

OpenSecrets adds, “Wellspring has continued to send massive annual endowments to JCN since the group launched in 2005. JCN, in turn, has continued to pour tens of millions of dollars into every subsequent Supreme Court nomination fight and working to reshape the judiciary. Wellspring reported donating almost $15 million to JCN in 2017, on top of $23.5 million in 2016. Neither organization discloses the sources of its funds.”

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Sailing among the stars: Here’s how photons could revolutionize space flight

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A few days from now, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will lift off from Florida, carrying a satellite the size of a loaf of bread with nothing to power it but a huge polyester "solar sail."

It's been the stuff of scientists' dreams for decades but has only very recently become a reality.

The idea might sounds crazy: propelling a craft through the vacuum of space with no engine, no fuel, and no solar panels, but instead harnessing the momentum of packets of light energy known as photons -- in this case from our Sun.

The spacecraft to be launched on Monday, called LightSail 2, was developed by the Planetary Society, a US organization that promotes space exploration which was co-founded by the legendary astronomer Carl Sagan in 1980.

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Russians to prod Putin on poverty and his personal life as his ratings tank

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Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.

The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.

Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.

Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.

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Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns

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Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.

In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.

The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.

"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."

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