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Paul Watkins worked for a hate group – and now he’s in charge of Consumer Protection

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How did someone with ties to anti-LGBTQ causes end up leading President Donald Trump’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

Ahead of Tuesday’s congressional hearing on fintech regulation, consumer watchdog group Allied Progress released a new report on how Paul Watkins, Director of the CFPB’s Office of Innovation, has hidden his past work for an anti-LGBT hate group.

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Since being installed by Mick Mulvaney last year to slash regulations as head of the CFPB’s Office of Innovation, Watkins has spearheaded the bureau’s no-action letter initiative, which would allow him to exempt industry from anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT consumers.

The CFPB’s ‘No-Action’ letter proposal would make the recipient “immune from enforcement actions by any Federal or State authorities, as well as from lawsuits brought by private parties.”

Watkins is a conservative ideologue who has deep ties to anti-LGBT causes throughout his career. Watkins’ conservative credentials go back to his undergraduate years at Hillsdale College, consistently ranked by the Princeton Review as one of the least LGBT-friendly schools in the country. In law school, Watkins participated in the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a program run by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which he later worked for as an attorney.

ADF is a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group that has worked to legalize discrimination against the LGBTQ community for years. That may be why Watkins neglected to include it on his LinkedIn profile.

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Today, Watkins is behind the CFPB’s efforts to exempt businesses from consumer protection regulations, including crucial anti-discrimination laws like the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, even though there is strong bipartisan and corporate support for expanding civil rights laws to include protections for LGBT individuals.

The CFPB is responsible for protecting all consumers, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity—and Paul Watkins must be prevented from putting industry wishes and personal beliefs ahead of that mission.

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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 4 losers from the CNN/NYT Democratic presidential primary debate

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Twelve Democrats took to the stage Tuesday night for yet another debate in the party's 2020 president primary hosted by CNN and the New York Times.

After only ten candidates qualified for the previous debate, an additional two — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and wealthy donor and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — made it to the stage this round for an even more crowded event.

The candidates discussed a range of important policy issues, but since the format was a debate, and they're all competing for the same nomination, it is ultimately most critical who won and who lost the night. Here are three winners and four losers — necessarily a subjective assessment, of course — from the debate:

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