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Trump bragged about rescuing Americans stuck abroad — now he’s sending them the bill

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As the coronavirus pandemic spread and travel restrictions worldwide left Americans abroad uncertain about whether they could make it home, President Donald Trump’s administration offered repatriation flights to get everyone home. The president didn’t waste an opportunity to brag about it, saying, “We brought back 40,000 Americans who were literally stuck in other countries.”

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But according to Politico, there’s a problem: Many of these Americans are now on the hook for thousands of dollars for these charter flights, some of them without even knowing the exact amount they’d owe beforehand.

“Some Americans had to use passports as collateral for loans — but months later, they’re still waiting for a bill, so their passports are invalid,” reported Sam Mintz. “Others signed promissory notes agreeing to pay an eventual bill they’re still waiting for, and dreading a price tag that for a family of four could weigh in at $10,000.”

One person who ended up in this situation was Ash Maki, who agreed to take a charter flight from Peru to get home to California and put up his passport. “He said he was told that he’ll have to apply for a new passport and that it would only be approved after he repays the repatriation loan in full. There’s just one problem: He’s still waiting for a bill. In the meantime, Maki, an American citizen, has a passport that can’t be used. ‘It was supposed to be 8-10 weeks from the date of travel, and it’s now been three months,’ Maki said. ‘They are basically holding us hostage until they decide that it’s convenient for them.'”

State Department consular affairs undersecretary Karin King has testified to Congress that the agency has no authority under the law to forgive these debts. However, according to the report, people are “still awaiting bills as much as four months later” and “the main method of payment for State-chartered repatriation flights was promissory notes, without anything more than an estimate of how much it might cost” — leaving many families in a state of limbo, dreading how much they might be told they owe and unsure when it will come due.

You can read more here.

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Experts: Bill Barr is violating DOJ norms with political actions so close to the election

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Veteran attorneys are shocked by Attorney General William Barr's intervention in November's election on behalf of President Donald Trump.

The Department of Justice has declassified or disclosed sensitive materials related to the prosecution of Michael Flynn, a Senate investigation into the Russia probe and the investigation of discarded absentee ballots in Pennsylvania -- which set off alarms among legal experts, reported Politico.

“These actions are not typical,” said William Jeffress, who served as former President Richard Nixon's defense attorney after he left the White House. “Tradition is that politically sensitive actions by DOJ go dark at least 60 days before an election.”

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Ex-Trump aides say the president regularly mocks his evangelical supporters behind their backs

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Former aides to President Donald Trump tell The Atlantic's McKay Coppins that the president regularly mocks his own evangelical Christian followers behind their backs.

In particular, the aides say the president sees many evangelicals in the same way that he reportedly sees American soldiers who died during World War I as "suckers" and "losers."

"Former aides told me they’ve heard Trump ridicule conservative religious leaders, dismiss various faith groups with cartoonish stereotypes, and deride certain rites and doctrines held sacred by many of the Americans who constitute his base," Coppins writes.

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Donald Trump is broke and his businesses are collapsing — is that why he pushed to re-open the economy?

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For the past several decades, Donald Trump has been widely regarded as a great big phony. Everything about him is a mirage. He steals credit for the accomplishments of others, especially his predecessor, Barack Obama. His business model is all about slapping his goofy name on properties built by others. Even his outward appearance is a fraud: his unsubstantiated self-confidence, his hair, his clown makeup, his baggy suits designed to hide his doughy frame, even his shoes, which appear to have unusually high heels — it's all intended to make him appear physically more powerful than he actually is. Fake, fake and fake.
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