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New report suggests Trump is using campaign funds to line his own pockets

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President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is spending a hefty sum of money to rent space in his own Manhattan building, the HuffPost reported Monday, but it’s not clear if there’s any real reason for the expenditure — other than to line the president’s own pockets.

The Trump Tower space where the campaign is reportedly spending $37,500 a month, is currently in dire financial straits as it struggles to find tenants, the report said. Under such conditions, it certainly doesn’t hurt if the owner has a donor-funded campaign that he can order to direct funds to the property.

But is the expense actually justified? The report explained:

No more than “four or five” campaign staffers work at Trump’s Manhattan base, according to an informal adviser close to the White House, where the campaign rents a few thousand square feet as its “headquarters.” The per-square-foot cost is likely at least triple what the Republican National Committee pays for the much larger space it shares with the campaign in Arlington, according to a HuffPost analysis.

It added that, according to an anonymous source, the biggest obvious benefit to keeping the space when staffers could be working out of Arlington is that it helps Trump financially,

So is it legal? Maybe not, but like so many things Trump does, it may be the kind of legal violation that is easy to get away with:

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Erin Chlopak, once an FEC attorney and now with the Campaign Legal Center advocacy group, said Trump’s use of campaign money for his personal benefit might be illegal ― if it can be proven that the Trump Tower office is not serving any legitimate campaign purpose.

Absent such proof, though, even such “shady” behavior may be permissible, she said. “Campaigns do have a fair amount of leeway to determine how much space they need and how much to spend for it.”

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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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Here are 4 winners and 9 losers from the first 2020 Democratic primary debate

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With ten candidates on stage Wednesday, the opening debate of the 2020 Democratic primary in Miami was a packed mess. And this was only the first course in a two-part event — 10 more candidates will debate on the following night.

A crowded field makes it difficult to stand out, and that means that even after a big night like a debate, the most likely result is that not much changes. But the debate was still significant, giving candidates the chance to exceed, meet, or fall below expectations for their performances.

Here's a list — necessarily subjective, of course — of the people who came out on the top when the dust was settled, and those who came out on the bottom.

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Here are 3 ways Julián Castro stood out in the first Democratic Debate

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There were many predictions going into the first Democratic debate on MSNBC, but no one predicted that Julián Castro would break out from the crowd.

Check out the top three ways Castro stood out from the crowd.

Immigration:

The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was the outright winner of the immigration section of the debate

It should "piss us all off," Castro said about the father and his little girl who were found face-down in the shores of the Rio Grande River this week. “It’s heartbreaking."

Castro is a second generation American who got into specifics on immigration policy, calling for an outright "Marshall Plan" style of action for Guatemala and Honduras. He joined with other Democrats calling for an end to President Donald Trump's family separation policy, but he then suggested ending the "metering" of legitimate asylum seekers.

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