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‘I have absolutely no idea what he means’: Experts baffled at Trump’s claim that ‘redemption money’ is paying for border wall

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When Donald Trump was running for the presidency, one of his signature promises was that Mexico would pay for his border wall. That never came to pass, but during one of his campaign rallies in January, he offered the following explanation:

“You do know who’s paying for the wall, don’t you? Redemption. From illegal aliens that are coming in,” he said. “The redemption money is paying for the wall.”

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Speaking to CNN, experts said that the term “redemption money” makes no sense.

“I don’t know what the President means by redemptions. I have never heard the word used in this context before,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law practice at Cornell University. “In any event, the President is wrong. Money appropriated by Congress and money diverted from the Department of Defense is paying for construction of the wall, not immigrants.”

Other immigration researchers speaking to CNN agreed. But according to Theresa Cardinal Brown of the Bipartisan Policy Center, Trump could have been referring to remittances, but nevertheless, she said there is no magical mechanism that would allow Mexico to pay for the wall.

“I have absolutely no idea what he means by that. Clearly the US is paying for the wall,” she said.

Read the full fact check over at CNN.

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‘Impeach him again!’ Assange sets off bombshells with Trump pardon claim

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims President Donald Trump dangled a pardon through a Republican lawmaker if he agreed to cover up Russia's involved in 2016 election hacking.

Assange's lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told a London court Wednesday that former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher had passed along the offer in exchange for testimony that Russia had nothing to do with DNC leaks -- and the allegation shocked legal experts and other social media users.

This sounds like abuse of power and treasonous activity, impeach him again. https://t.co/iMhCbA3wMI

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Religious leaders need ‘Empty the Pews’ — which chronicles the darker side of the ‘Nones’ phenomenon

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Empty the PewsEdited by Lauren O’Neal and Chrissy StroopEpiphany Publishing (November, 2019)

In 2020, the rise of the so-called religious “Nones”—those who claim no religious affiliation—has evolved from a story of interest to a small niche of readers into an entire genre on the religion beat. While the term None has some usefulness as a blanket descriptor, we are beginning to understand that most individual stories about religious disaffiliation are far more complicated than just checking “none of the above” on a survey. Stories about the decline in Gen Z, Millennial and Gen X believers are a regular feature in secular news—Religion News Service even publishes an entire column dedicated to statistical data on Nones, compiled by the sociologist Ryan Burge—and a growing number of books exploring the narrative stories of Nones have appeared in recent years, including a book of my own.

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Trump suggests Blagojevich was framed by Comey: ‘He did not sell the Senate seat!’

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday insinuated that disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was set up by former FBI Director James Comey.

"Rod Blagojevich did not sell the Senate seat," the president wrote on Twitter. "He served 8 years in prison, with many remaining. He paid a big price. Another Comey and gang deal!"

While Trump is technically correct that Blagojevich did not succeed in selling a Senate seat to the highest bidder, he neglects to mention that it's only because the former Illinois governor was caught in the act of doing so.

Trump this week commuted the prison sentence of Blagojevich, who was convicted in 2011 on 17 different corruption charges that included charges of wire fraud, extortion, and bribery.

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