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House Oversight Committee probing whether Trump’s transportation secretary improperly helped her family’s company

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No sooner had Axios reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi planned to aggressively step up her attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell than the New York Times reported that the House Oversight Committee had escalated its investigation of McConnell’s wife, Transportation Department Secretary Elaine Chao, by asking her to hand over documents pertaining to communication with her family’s shipping company.

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Led by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the House Oversight Committee is investigating Chao to determine if there are any conflicts of interest between her activities as Commerce Department secretary in the Trump Administration and her connection to Foremost Group — a New York City-based shipping company owned by Chao’s family. Activities that the House Oversight Committee considers questionable, according to New York Times reporters Eric Lipton and Michael Forsythe, include public appearances with her father James Chao (who founded Foremost Group) and plans to simultaneously meet with her father and Chinese government officials.

In a letter sent to Chao on Monday, the House Oversight Committee noted that “federal regulations prohibit federal employees from using their public offices for the ‘private gain’” of friends or family members. The letter, signed by Cummings and Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, reads, “Several reports indicate that you have used your official position to benefit Foremost Group, a shipping company owned by your father and sisters that is headquartered in New York and operates a fleet that transports materials to and from China.”

The letter also inquires about Chao’s failure to sell, in 2018, her interest in the company Vulcan Materials Company as she had promised. Vulcan manufactures road construction materials.

A spokesperson for Chao has stated that as Transportation Department secretary, she has taken no official action designed to boost Foremost Group.

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Trump has spent his three years in office desperately trying to corner the Indian market for his properties

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President Donald Trump went to India for the first time in his presidency, but he can't stay at his own Trump properties, because they're not as far along as he would probably like.

“It’s a little different situation than him going to his own club and being able to hold court there,” Alyssa Ayres told Politico. She was previously the deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia. “This trip will make [his properties] more visible in India.”

According to the report, Trump is likely hoping his presence will help his developments along while most of them are stalled.

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Trump abandoned his Treasury nominee after memo criticized her for not indicting McCabe

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In December, President Donald Trump nominated Jessie K. Liu (a former U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia) for a position in the U.S. Treasury Department on the recommendation of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. But on February 11, Trump withdrew the nomination — and a key factor, according to Axios’ sources, was a memo that criticized Liu’s decision not to indict former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

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Louisiana judge admits to exchanging racist texts with cop boyfriend about courtroom employees

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Appearing on a local TV station on Sunday, a district court judge in Assumption Parrish in Louisiana owned up to racist comments she made about African-American employees in her courtroom that she texted to her then-police officer boyfriend.

According to WAFB, Judge Jessie LeBlanc initially denied using the N-word about a black sheriff’s deputy and a black law clerk in her district when texting with former chief deputy, Capt. Bruce Prejean, with whom she was involved while both were married.

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