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Former Trump ambassador tells Maddow ‘it’s a big red flag’ that Trump is trying to hide investigation of Turnberry scam

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Former acting ambassador to the U.K., Lewis Lukens, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that the inspector general raised questions to him and embassy staff in the U.K. about President Donald Trump’s demand for the ambassador to lobby for the British Open to be hosted at Trump’s golf course in Scotland.

According to Lukens, he told those questioning how to go about getting the British Open at Trump Turnberry, and Lukens said he was clear that it was “unethical” and “possibly illegal.” Still, Trump’s cronies persisted.

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He explained that when the inspector general did the investigation they went back to Washington to write up the report and that it should have been released by now, but it obviously has not. Today, the acting IG, who took over just three months ago, abruptly resigned.

“Is there something going on there that is preventing the release of this inspection?” asked Lukens. “And if so, what exactly is the reason for the delay?”

“We understand from public reporting that that report was classified or otherwise marked in such a way that would prevent its release in May,” said Maddow, noting that the former IG was also fired by the administration.

Lukens noted that a report like that shouldn’t be classified or held for any reason. He said that the general report and the analysis wouldn’t have classified information or cables between international representatives in it.

“That is a red flag, that it’s classified,” he said.

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He went on to say that he doubts that there will be any consequences, and that he’s watched the Trump administration mix his personal and political affairs for years.

“Maybe the Congress can take a look at it to make up their minds,” said the former ambassador. Lukens said that he kept copious notes that should probably be subpoenaed by Congress and he should probably be called in to testify.

Lukens recalled a moment when a staffer returned from a meeting in which the new ambassador did ask about having the tournament moved to Turnberry.

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“There’s no reason he would have said that, or reported that to me immediately had the ambassador not actually done it,” Lukens said.

“Wow,” Maddow said, shocked.

Lukens said that he reached out to the State Department to report what happened and that the leadership are not going to get into any trouble because they’re friends of the president. So, he was told there isn’t much that the State Department can do about it. There was no mention of the fact that Trump told him to make the request. “It’s just not worth going down that road.”

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See clips of the interview below:


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2020 Election

Lindsey Graham announces embattled Sen. Joni Ernst will vote for whomever Trump nominates to replace RBG

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The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday announced that GOP members of the body would be united in voting for whomever President Donald Trump nominates to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The nominee’s going to be supported by every Republican in the Judiciary Committee," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, as reported by The Washington Post's Aaron Blake.

https://twitter.com/AaronBlake/status/1308223330357518336

If Graham is correct, that would mean that Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) would be backing the nomination, despite trailing Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield.

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2020 Election

A Never-Trump Republican changed her mind — then crumbled when she tried to explain why

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In a recent op-ed for the Washington Post, Republican Danielle Pletka declared that despite the fact that she refused to vote for Donald Trump in 2016, she now feels compelled to support him in 2020. The piece quickly caught fire online, inspiring ridicule and sympathy from differing corners and triggering a surprising amount of discussion.

In one sense, it’s hard to see what the big deal was. The Post publishes opinion pieces in support of Trump frequently, and this one was not particularly special. Pletka herself is not a particularly notable figure. Like many op-eds, it was sloppy and unpersuasive, making huge leaps of reasoning and glossing over critical points in the argument. It didn’t take seriously any compelling counterarguments. It was, in other words, a mere display of partisan loyalty from a Republican who would prefer to be inside the tent than outside of it.

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2020 Election

Here’s the doomsday scenario in Pennsylvania that could cost Joe Biden the election

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On Monday, the Philadelphia Inquirer walked through a potential voter error that could cost Joe Biden Pennsylvania — the exclusion of so-called "naked ballots," or mail-in ballots that aren't properly sealed in two layers of envelopes.

"The state Supreme Court in Pennsylvania, a critical battleground state that’s seen as increasingly likely to determine who wins the White House, last week ordered officials to throw out 'naked ballots' — mail ballots that arrive without inner 'secrecy envelopes,'" reported Jonathan Lai. "Pennsylvania uses a two-envelope mail ballot system: A completed ballot goes into a 'secrecy envelope' that has no identifying information, and then into a larger mailing envelope that the voter signs."

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