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‘It’s just insane’: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow breaks down the Trump administration’s latest Russia scandal

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On Wednesday, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow delved into the latest stunning revelations surrounding Maria Butina, the admitted Russian agent at the heart of a plot to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party — and the connections to a high-ranking State Department official in charge of arms negotiations with Russia.

“Josh Rogin at the Washington Post reports tonight that Maria Butina also turned up at the wedding of Mike Pence’s national security adviser,” said Maddow. “Mike Pence’s national security adviser, Andrea Thompson, got married that summer of 2017, first summer of the Trump Administration. She’s got that awesome new job. Getting married and Maria Butina was at the wedding. Why was she at the wedding? U.S. Person One, her boyfriend, Paul Erickson, was officiating the wedding. Oh. It also turns out that the man who Mike Pence’s national security adviser, the man who Andrea Thompson was marrying at the wedding that day, he had recently given Paul Erickson $100,000.”

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“Just a looky loo at the timeline,” continued Maddow. “Trump Administration comes into office the beginning of 2017. The summer, Mike Pence’s security adviser gets married and her wedding is officiated by Maria Butina’s boyfriend. By the end of 2017, there is news reports about Maria Butina and her boyfriend, including her boyfriend offering to be the Kremlin connection setting up secret backchannel meetings for Trump with people from Putin’s office. This news is like the front page of The New York Times in December 2017.”

“Thereafter, in the spring of 2018, Mike Pence’s national security adviser gets put up for a big new job,” Maddow said. “So the Senate holds confirmation hearings to decide whether Andrea Thompson will be the Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. She goes through that confirmation process in the spring of 2018, knowing that her new husband had given $100,000 to Maria Butina’s boyfriend and Maria Butina’s boyfriend officiated their wedding, and had been one of the people setting up the back channels between Putin and Trump, which were widely known to be the subject of an FBI inquiry and a country having its hair on fire … She knew all of that when she was put up for this top job at the department of state. Going up for Senate confirmation. Apparently none of it came up. Did not mention it.”

“You want to know what you do when you have that job?” Maddow added. “You negotiate with Russia. You negotiate with the Russians on arms control treaties. That’s your job … when the person who marries you gets into trouble with the Russians, and your job is to negotiate with the Russians, you have to disclose that. Everybody within an intelligence clearance knows that.”

“This is like a plot you would invent in an airport spy novel,” said Maddow. “High-level U.S. government negotiator secretly linked to Russia’s undercover agent. Russia knows it. But the American public doesn’t. What can Russia do with the information now they have the top official over a barrel, as they head into arms negotiations and they know that she knows? It’s just insane.”

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Kellyanne Conway lashes out at Democratic voters as ‘racist and sexist’ at Ohio GOP dinner

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Making an appearance at a Republican Party dinner in Columbus, Ohio, Kellyanne Conway accused Democratic voters of being "racist and sexist," in a diatribe as she tried to boost the fortunes of her boss, President Donald Trump.

According to a report from Cincinnati.com, Conway attacked the leading Democratic presidential nominees before making her claim.

“Their top three candidates are white, career politicians in their 60s and 70s, which I have nothing against except they (Democrats) certainly do,” Conway reportedly told the crowd. “I don’t know why the heck the Democratic party electorate is so racist and sexist. I can’t figure it out.”

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Betsy DeVos’ DOE threatens to cut university funding for positive portrayal of Islam

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The U.S Department of Education threatened to pull federal funding from a Middle East studies course jointly run by Duke University and the University of North Carolina because it portrays Islam too positively.

The DOE ordered the universities to change their program or lose its federal grant money. In a letter to UNC, the department criticized the program, arguing that topics like Iranian art and film have “little or no relevance” to the Middle East studies program. The letter also argues that the program “appears to lack balance” because its programs are not focused on the discrimination faced by “religious minorities in the Middle East," including Christians and Jews.

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Wall Street is ignoring the omens of recession — here’s why

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The Federal Reserve seems a lot more concerned about the state of the economy than it’s been letting on.

The Fed lowered its target interest rate by a quarter point on Sept. 18, the second such cut since July – and the first reductions since the Great Recession more than 10 years ago.

Judging by the words of Fed Chair Jerome Powell, this isn’t that big a deal. In his statement following the decision, he said: “We took this step to help keep the U.S. economy strong in the face of some notable developments and to provide insurance against ongoing risks.”

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