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Trump’s history as a sketchy vitamin company pitchman might help explain his hydroxychloroquine obsession: report

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In an attempt to understand the myriad of reasons why Donald Trump has gone all-in on pushing hydroxychloroquine as the possible solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, the former spokesperson for the Republican National Committee noted that the president once was the owner of a sketchy vitamin company under the Trump brand.

Writing for the conservative Bulwark, Tim Miller posed the question: “Why is Trump obsessed with hydroxychloroquine?’ by noting the president has become one of, if not its biggest, proponents.

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Miller first pointed out that there are questions about Trump’s possible financial ties to a manufacturer of the drug, by writing, “There are many questions surrounding the White House’s obsession with hydroxychloroquine. Whether someone has a financial incentive for pushing it. (It’s certainly possible, since he has at least some stake.) The extent to which it actually works (Fingers crossed!) Which TV doctor got the president so spun up on it? (Dr. Oz?)”

And while he admits it’s unknowable why Trump has embraced this particular drug — outside of the president’s desire for a “aspirational hope” for a quick end to a pandemic that is also crippling the economy — Miller noted that the president has always been interested in get rich quick schemes.

For example: “Ideal Health.”

“Ideal Health was a multi-level-marketing company—that’s the polite term for ‘pyramid scheme’—founded in the 1990s that sold personalized vitamin supplements based on the results of a urine test. This pee test supposedly provided ‘a scientific window into your personal biochemistry,'” he wrote. “The company hired a network of low- to middle-income salespeople who earned a commission both from vitamin sales and from recruiting other salespeople. Ideal Health would charge these salespeople thousands of dollars up front to get access to marketing materials and other ‘network benefits.'”

Pointing out that, like most pyramid schemes, most people who took the plunge lost their money, Miller also notes, “The company had to settle a lawsuit with the FTC over false claims that ‘Supreme Greens’one of their signature products—’cured cancer.'”

Enter New York businessman Donald Trump who purchased Ideal Health in 2009 and rebranded it under “The Trump Network.”

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“Under Trump, The Network offered a miracle ‘custom essential’ multivitamin based on the ‘privatest.’ They also offered pills for ‘silhouette solutions’ (a diet program), skin care, low-energy, and of course some ‘Snazzle Snaxxs’ for the kids,” Miller explained. “But Trump’s real value add was as a pitch man. The Trump Network launch came on the heels of the financial meltdown, so he updated the Ideal Health proposition to would-be salespeople, convincing them that if they listened to Trump they would discover the cheat code to breaking out of financial hardship.”

Miller adds, “Of course, for people in The Trump Network, the false promises, or misleading snakeoil, or incorrigible, happy-warrior hope—call it what you will—wound up costing them a lot. Those who joined didn’t get to opt-out of the recession the way Trump had promised. Instead they had their hardship extended. More bills they couldn’t afford.”

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Citing a report from the  Washington Post that later reported that Trump Network sales representatives said “they paid thousands of dollars for leadership programs, infomercials, starter kits, and other materials that they never recovered in sales,” Miller added, “Offering hope with one hand while grabbing cash with the other was not a one off move for Trump with Ideal Health. It was basically his business model.

In 2018 the Trump family was hit with a RICO lawsuit that laid out a pattern of scams where Donald Trump “deliberately defrauded” vulnerable people who were convinced to put thousands of dollars they didn’t have into marketing schemes that made Trump millions but returned little to nothing to them.”

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2020 Election

Andrea Mitchell knocks Biden for virtual convention speech: ‘How much does that damage the campaign?’

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MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell suggested to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden could "damage" his campaign by holding a virtual convention speech.

Mitchell made the remark after President Donald Trump said that he was considering holding his convention speech at the White House.

"Joe Biden is not going to Milwaukee," Mitchell told Pelosi. "How much does this damage the campaign?"

Pelosi disagreed by insisting that Democrats will hold a "great convention."

Mitchell then asked about Trump's plan to hold his convention speech at the White House.

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2020 Election

Trump’s psychiatric disturbance could destroy democracy if he wins a second term: clinical psychologist

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I’m not being hyperbolic or melodramatic when I say that democracy itself is on the line on November 3. Donald Trump has been on a mission to subvert our democracy and to push it toward an autocracy. No president has ever disavowed democracy like Trump. No president has ever wanted to change our democratic way of life like Trump.

Trump has shown little interest or intent in following our Constitution. He is not abiding by the emoluments clause. He breaks norms and rules at will. He does not recognize that the three branches of government are co-equal. He operates as if the executive branch has total power. Our democracy is not based on the executive branch having absolute power. It requires that the three branches have separate powers in a check-and-balances system. Trump impugns democracy because it limits his power and requires him to be held accountable.

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WATCH: Sally Yates clashes with Lindsey Graham for claiming Flynn was investigated over a policy difference

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Former acting attorney general Sally Yates testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee this Wednesday, answering questions regarding former national security adviser, Michael Flynn and his being the subject of surveillance under a United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant, also known as a FISA warrant.

At one point, Yates went head-to-head with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who accused her of partaking in a conspiracy to prosecute Flynn over a policy difference.

"You weren't investigating a crime, were you?" Graham asked Yates.

"We were investigating a counter-intelligence threat," Yates responded.

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