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How billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s deep pockets have let him win friends and buy influence

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With the Nevada caucuses less than a week away, many Democratic candidates are courting voters in state and increasingly targeting their attacks on a new challenger — billionaire Michael Bloomberg — whom they are accusing of buying his way into the election. In the lead-up to Super Tuesday on March 3, when voters in 14 states go to the polls, Bloomberg has spent an unprecedented $417 million of his own $60 billion fortune on advertising. He’s also paid meme influencers to share sponsored content on Instagram, and hired thousands of on-the-ground political operatives to work in more than 125 offices around the country. The Washington Post reports several lawsuits have been filed over the years alleging that women were discriminated against at Bloomberg’s business-information company, including one case filed by a former employee who blamed Bloomberg for creating a culture of sexual harassment and degradation. But a major investigation in Sunday’s New York Times, headlined “In Bloomberg, Liberals See a Wallet Too Big to Offend,” lays out how Bloomberg established a foundation for potential critics to stay silent during his presidential bid by making major donations to progressive causes and advocacy groups in dozens of states and cities. The Times estimates Bloomberg has spent at least $10 billion on his charitable and political pursuits related to his political ambitions. We speak with Blake Zeff, a journalist and documentary filmmaker who has covered New York politics and Michael Bloomberg’s terms as mayor.

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2020 Election

Supporters turn on Trump for ‘flat-out lying’ about coronavirus: ‘He’s got no idea what the hell he’s doing’

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President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis has been the breaking point for some of his fans in rural Virginia.

A dozen seafood and agricultural workers in the state's Northern Neck peninsula -- where Trump beat Hillary Clinton by nearly 10 points in 2016 -- expressed frustration to the Insider website over the president's response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

"A few weeks ago I could ignore the parts of his personality I didn't like," said Cliff, a 25-year Chesapeake Bay waterman. "That's over. I don't believe anything he's saying now."

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2020 Election

Blistering video from George Conway’s conservative group rips laughable claim impeachment ‘distracted’ Trump from coronavirus

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President Donald Trump’s army of knee-jerk defenders in the right-wing media have been jumping through hoops to explain why, back in January and February, he failed to take the coronavirus threat seriously. One Trumpian talking point is that no one could have seen the pandemic coming — which is nonsense, as everyone from intel officials to Peter Navarro (one of Trump’s main economic advisers) to former Vice President Joe Biden was sounding the alarm. And another bogus argument is that Trump, thanks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other partisan Democrats, was distracted by impeachment. But the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump conservative group that includes attorney George Conway, tears that argument to shreds in a blistering new video.

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2020 Election

Trump tells 10,000 religious leaders they ‘have to’ help him get re-elected: ‘We have to have victory’

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President Donald Trump in a private conference call on Wednesday with 10,000 leaders from his most-devoted base, the religious right, in the middle of a global pandemic, urged them to help him win re-election.

“We have a very, very powerful year coming up because you know what lies ahead,” Trump told the faith leaders, as NBC News reported. “And we have to do it. People of faith have to do it. We have to have victory.”

Rev. Johnnie Moore, a member of Trump’s religious right inner circle, says both the President and Vice President were on the call, which presumably was made from the Oval Office.

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