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Federal prosecutors charge Giuliani-tied Turkish bank with scheme to violate US sanctions on Iran

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On Tuesday, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York announced charges against a Turkish bank for fraud, money laundering, and a scheme to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran.

“As alleged in today’s indictment, Halkbank’s systemic participation in the illicit movement of billions of dollars’ worth of Iranian oil revenue was designed and executed by senior bank officials,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. “The bank’s audacious conduct was supported and protected by high-ranking Turkish government officials, some of whom received millions of dollars in bribes to promote and protect the scheme. Halkbank will now have to answer for its conduct in an American court.”

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These charges come as new scrutiny falls on Reza Zarrab, the Turkish-Iranian gold trader who was convicted of bribery as part of the Halkbank scheme. Rudy Giuliani previously acted as counsel for Zarrab and, at his urging in 2017, President Donald Trump tried to get then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to relay to the Justice Department not to pursue the case. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also leaned on both Trump and former President Barack Obama to drop the Halkbank investigation.

Halkbank also made news recently after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told a prank caller pretending to represent the Turkish government that Trump was willing to help them with the investigation.


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Trump says governors are ‘very happy’ with the job he’s doing — even though they’re begging him for more supplies

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At the latest coronavirus task force press briefing on Monday, President Donald Trump boasted that "every one" of the state governors in America are "very happy" with the job he is doing to help them combat coronavirus.

His claim is at odds with numerous governors who have complained that the federal government is not doing enough to coordinate the delivery of medical equipment and forcing them into bidding wars with other states.

Trump even tried to add later in the speech that Gov. J. B. Pritzker (D-IL) was "a happy man" even though "he may not be happy when he talks to the press."

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There’s a horrifying history of leaders saying there’s a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’

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President Donald Trump rang out in an all-caps tweet Monday morning "LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!" It was a comment he echoed from his Sunday press conference saying that the U.S. is in the home stretch of the coronavirus crisis. He went on to say that he anticipated the country reopening in a few weeks.

The quote was one that Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty noted was one that many other leaders have used at frightening times.

"It is difficult to imagine a poorer, more chilling choice of words," she wrote. "Or one that more illuminates, if inadvertently, the consequences of the mixed-messages that Trump continues to send."

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‘Hey baby’: Fox News anchor forgot to turn off his mic while ignoring Trump’s briefing

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At Monday's coronavirus press briefing, it appeared that even one of President Donald Trump's biggest defenders in the media couldn't be bothered to pay attention to the president's update — and he revealed how disengaged he was after he forgot to turn off his mic.

"Hey, baby," Fox News host Jesse Watters could be heard saying on one of the streams. "We have the task force briefing."

Jesse Watters forgot to turn off his mic. pic.twitter.com/K1z5cXSX5a

— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) April 6, 2020

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