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GOP operative who dated Maria Butina sentenced to 7 years in federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering

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On Monday, the Argus Leader reported that Paul Erickson, a former Republican political operative, has been sentenced to 7 years in federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering.

Erickson originally made headlines for his romantic involvement with Maria Butina, a Russian activist who admitted to infiltrating the National Rifle Association and other GOP circles as a foreign agent. However, the charges that led to Erickson’s conviction were unrelated to the Butina scandal.

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“Erickson came under the scrutiny of federal investigators who were monitoring Butina,” wrote Jonathan Ellis. “That scrutiny lead to an investigation of his various business enterprises, which existed to defraud investors. For example, Erickson had defrauded conservative investors starting in the late 1990s out of a company called Compass Care, which promised to build Christian-based nursing homes. He also had a venture in the Bakken Oil Fields in North Dakota that he used to defraud investors, according to his indictment. It was the Bakken incident that lead Erickson to plead guilty.”

“Judge Karen Schrier said Erickson had schemed former classmates, family members, even his god mother when she was ill,” said the report. “‘You’re a thief, and you have betrayed your friends and family, pretty much everyone you know,’ Schreier said.”

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Trump may break with ‘presidential norms’ and give GOP convention speech from the White House lawn: report

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On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Republicans are exploring the possibility of President Donald Trump giving his presidential re-nomination speech from the South Lawn of the White House.

"The decision to stage the most high-profile political event of Trump’s reelection campaign at the national seat of presidential power would be just the latest break by Trump in presidential norms, which have historically drawn clear lines between official business of the president and campaign events," reported Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey. "People involved in the planning said that no final decision had been made on the location of the Republican convention’s celebratory events. Trump abandoned plans to hold the full convention in Charlotte, and later Jacksonville, Fla., over concerns that large crowds could spread the novel coronavirus."

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NYT editorial board slams McConnell for blocking stimulus with ‘political charade’ as he goes on vacation

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On Tuesday, The New York Times editorial board tore into Congress for going on vacation while crucial unemployment benefits and stimulus lapsed for millions of Americans.

"Preventing this widespread suffering should be the top priority for lawmakers," wrote the board. "Instead, the Republican-led Senate dragged its feet for months on another aid package. The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a $3 trillion relief plan in mid-May. It took until July 27 for the Republican Senate leaders to offer their anemic, $1 trillion counterbid, which everyone seems to have a problem with, albeit for differing reasons."

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2020 Election

GOP is failing tests of patriotism and morality by backing ‘blithering idiot’ Trump: Lincoln Project member

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The former chief strategist for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign blasted President Donald Trump during a Tuesday appearance on MSNBC's "All In."

Stuart Stevens, a member of The Lincoln Project, is author of the new book It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump.

Host Chris Hayes played a clip of Trump's interview with Axios White House correspondent Jonathan Swan.

"I'm curious what your thinking was watching that interview," Hayes said.

"It's still just unbelievable that this man is president of the United States," Stevens replied. "He's a guy that really you wouldn't want to sit next to on a long plane flight. Just across the board, he's an idiot."

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