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‘Most of the GOP Leadership Has Been Compromised’ by Russian Money Says Trump Biographer



A biographer who detailed the relationship between Donald Trump and the Russian mob explained that Russia’s financial links to the United States extend far beyond the president.

Craig Unger, author of House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia, wrote in a Reddit AMA that one of the biggest surprise in his book is how Trump has been compromised “for decades.”

“Trump was first compromised by the Russians in the Eighties back in the days of the Soviet Union and the Cold War,” Unger wrote. “In 1984, my book shows, the Russian Mafia first began to use Trump real estate to launder money and it continued for decades and may have accounted for billions of dollars flowing to Trump.”

In 1998, he added, Trump took out full-page ads in the New York Times and the Washington Post after his first trip to Russia that touted “a foreign policy that was very anti-NATO.”

In the 90’s, Unger wrote, Russians began sending money to Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), a longtime congressman who later became House Majority Leader. He also suggested that the mafia was sending money to other Republicans as well.

“I believe most of the GOP leadership has been compromised by” Russian money, the author added. “The Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee run by Mitch McConnell got millions from [Soviet-born businessman] Leonard Blavatnik.”

“As for the endgame,” Unger concluded, “I think it is already [beginning] to unravel.”

Read Unger’s entire AMA via Reddit.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license


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Trump Demands Even More Border Wall Billions in 2020 Budget



Donald Trump speaking at a rally, with a "finish the wall" sign in the foreground

President Trump will be seeking an additional $8.5 billion dollars for border wall construction on Monday when submits his 2020 budget request, according to Reuters.

The request eclipses the amount currently allocated for border projects as well as the number requested by the President in a contentious battle that closed the United States government for more than a month at the beginning of the year. It is also more than the president is attempting to gain by invoking a national emergency to fund the construction.

Trump had demanded $5.7 billion dollars for the wall in 2019, receiving only $1.375 billion for fencing and other needs. This led to Trump declaring a national emergency, reallocating $8.1 billion towards wall construction. 

The national emergency declaration will likely be held up in court for some time, pushing the overall bill higher.

The amount also comes in below estimates for building or replacing some 722 miles of border wall, requested in 2017 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). At that time, the department was seeking $18 billion dollars. 

Such a request is also unlikely to be met: his request will not likely make it through the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.

The fight will likely be part of the backdrop for the 2020 presidential campaign, with President Trump already using “finish the wall” as a campaign slogan. The construction of a southern border wall was a key promise during his 2016 bid, although at the time he was claiming that our southern neighbor, Mexico, would pay for the barrier.

The president is also planning to seek more money for the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including more law enforcement officers and immigration judges. In exchange, the budget again seeks deep cuts to many non-defense programs.

The budget needs to be passed by October 1, and failure to do so would once against shutter the government. 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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