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Serious questions being raised about Bill Barr’s contributions to Senate Republicans

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Attorney General William Barr, now 69, has a long history of making political donations. But what changed in late 2018 and early 2019, according to a report by Ephrat Livni and David Yanofsky for Quartz, is how many he made — and in the months before his confirmation as U.S. attorney general, there was a sharp increase in Barr’s donations to Senate Republicans.

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For their report, Livni and Yanofsky took a close look at the attorney general’s history of political donations. And they describe the donations Barr made from 1993 to mid-2018 as “occasional at best.” But the amount of money Barr donated politically, according to the Quartz reporters, sharply increased “in the lead-up to his Senate confirmation hearings for attorney general earlier this year.”

Altogether, Livni and Yanofsky report, Barr donated $51,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in the five months leading up to his confirmation as U.S. attorney general by the Senate. Before 2018, the journalists note, Barr donated a total of $85,400 to the NRSC.

Livni and Yanofsky, examining Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, found that between October 2018 and February 2019, Barr’s donations to the NRSC were “ramped up” and “substantially different” from his NRSC donations prior to that.

President Donald Trump fired former Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the 2018 midterms, temporarily appointing Matthew Whitaker to the position before nominating Barr — who was confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate on Valentine’s Day 2019. That wasn’t the first time Barr enjoyed a Senate confirmation: previously, he served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s.

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Those late 2018/early 2019 donations, Livni and Yanofsky point out, do not violate FEC rules. Nonetheless, Adav Noti (senior director of the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C. and former associate general counsel for the FEC) told Quartz that Barr’s NRSC contributions should “raise eyebrows.”

“The fact that any one person can give such large amounts to a political party creates a perception problem,” Noti told Quartz. “Someone giving such large amounts to a senatorial committee before their confirmation certainly raises appearance questions.”

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Trump demands Ukraine whistleblower testify as impeachment inquiry heats up

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Donald Trump demanded Monday that a whistleblower whose warning about the US president's call with Ukraine triggered the impeachment inquiry against him be identified and testify before Congress.

As the president menaced the person who exposed his potential wrongdoing, Trump faced a new setback with his former top Russia advisor, Fiona Hill, sitting for a closed-door deposition Monday before Capitol Hill lawmakers.

Hill served in the National Security Council but left the administration shortly before Trump's July 25 call with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

Democrats expect her to share her concerns about Trump's involvement in the Ukraine scandal, including his ouster of the US ambassador to Kiev Marie Yovanovitch, who testified to Congress last week.

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‘Tighter’: Actress Ellen Barkin praises women impeachment witnesses who have Trump’s ‘balls in their fist’

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Actor and producer Ellen Barkin on Monday celebrated the women who have testified against President Donald Trump in the House impeachment inquiry.

Writing on Twitter, Barkin made reference leaked audio in which Trump said that he could grab women by the genitals because he was famous. She also praised former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and former White House aide on Russia Fiona Hill, who are cooperating with House Democrats and the impeachment proceedings.

"Not gonna be much pussy grabbin with his balls in their fists," Barkin wrote on Monday.

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Bill Barr slammed for his ‘incredibly disturbing’ — and false — attack on secularism

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During a speech at Notre Dame’s law school this Friday, US Attorney General William Barr disparaged the rising tide of secularism in America, saying that a lack of religion is tied to societal ills like violence and drug abuse.

“Basically every measure of this social pathology continues to gain ground,” Barr said, adding that problems in society are the result of “moral upheaval.”

“Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence and a deadly drug epidemic,” he continued.

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