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Trump aides concerned president keeps pitching foreign leaders on his resorts and real estate deals: report

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Following Donald Trump folding on holding next year’s G7 summit at his Doral golf resort, that has the president whining, Politico reports that the president spends a great deal of his time talking about his real estate deals and properties when he speaks with foreign leaders — which is setting off alarms with some of his close aides.

According to the report, “Trump constantly brags about his properties around the globe when he speaks with foreign leaders in person or by phone, even more than the public instances witnessed out in the open, according to three people familiar with Trump’s conversations with foreign officials. The remarks are permeating every membrane of his presidency so much that they’ve left aides and allies mastering verbal jiu-jitsu to defend his unprecedented approach to fusing personal business interests with his position in high office.”

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The report notes that those conversations — like his Ukraine phone call where he mixed government business with seeking personal gain in the form of dirt on a political opponent — could lead to more charges of self-dealing as the president faces impeachment.

“He talks up his properties every chance he gets with anyone — with staff, with members of Congress, with the press, with the public, with foreign leaders, with anyone,” explained a former White House official. “That’s what he has done. He’s been a salesman. He’s been a PR person for his properties for the last 50 years, so almost out of force of habit, that’s what he does.”

As the report notes, those phone calls could face additional scrutiny by Democrats looking at the Trump running his company while president — and using his office for leverage.

“As president, Trump has met with leaders of at least 10 countries where he has a property or is developing one: Turkey, the Philippines, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Canada, Ireland, Panama, Dominican Republic and the United Arab Emirates, according to his schedules,” the report states. “He also met with leaders of three countries — China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea — where state-owned companies are developing new Trump resorts. Some of the governments are spending their own money on roads and other infrastructure for Trump’s projects.”

While the White House refused to comment on the Politico report, one insider attempted to explain away the president’s continual promotion of his properties.

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“He’s just trying to relate,” the former aide during the presidential transition offered. “He’s looking for issues of commonality, just trying to personally connect with someone.”

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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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