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CORRUPTION

‘Preposterously Corrupt’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe Laughs Out Loud at Trump’s ‘Stupid’ Threats to Fire Inspector General

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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough laughed out loud at President Donald Trump’s “preposterously corrupt” proposal to fire the inspector general who reported the whistleblower complaint that has launched the impeachment process.

The president has privately talked about dismissing the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, because he shared the complaint that described Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine’s president to investigate Joe Biden.

Trump has been furious about the inspector general, whom he appointed in 2017, ever since the complaint went public in September, and he has complained that Atkinson has been disloyal to him, sources told the New York Times.

“The instinct was so preposterously corrupt,” Scarborough said, “that when I read the breaking news headline, I actually laughed out loud because it shows you how extreme this president has gotten, how extreme this White House has gotten, that this president might actually be stupid enough to fire an inspector general because he read the law, he followed the law, he applied the law, and now the president wants — or is considering firing him because of that.”

 

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CORRUPTION

Lev Parnas Details ‘Intimate’ Cannabis Industry Dinner With Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

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In an extensive interview with the Daily Beast, Lev Parnas — the associate of Rudy Giuliani who is at the center of more allegations of corruption against Donald Trump — revealed details of a meeting he had with Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner that the White House has tried to dismiss.

Speaking with the Beast’s Betsy Swan, Parnas stated that we was a participant at a private dinner at the Trump Hotel, with Swan writing, “In October 2018, he attended a dinner in a private suite at Trump Hotel hosted by the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. The dinner, with around a dozen people, connected Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump with leaders in the cannabis industry. Parnas said he was invited because he “was a Trump loyalist,” and because the super PAC’s Director of Development Joey Ahearn knew he was pro-cannabis.”

According to Parnas, cannabis entrepreneurs were hoping to influence Kushner in the hope he could influence the White House’s stance on weed.

“They wanted Jared to be more involved, maybe help push the agenda with the president because they felt that that was something he needed to be more lenient on,” Parnas explained.

As for a picture taken with the couple that went viral, Parnas sais the White House was lying about the circumstances under which is was taken.

“The White House has claimed that a picture of Parnas with Kushner and Ivanka Trump was ‘taken at an event in a photo line.’” the report states. “Parnas, however, said it was taken at the intimate dinner with cannabis industry insiders. Two sources with knowledge of the dinner confirmed that it happened in October 2018 and that Parnas attended. The decor in the background of the picture–as Zack Everson, author of a newsletter on Trump properties noted–indicates the photo was taken in the pricey Trump Hotel suite where the dinner was hosted.”

You can read more here.

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CORRUPTION

Lev Parnas Says Devin Nunes Was ‘Involved in Getting All This Stuff on Biden’

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Rep. Devin Nunes was one of the many people Lev Parnas said was linked to President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal.

“We don’t have too much of a relationship,” Parnas said of Nunes. “We met several times at the Trump Hotel, but our relationship started getting — basically where it expanded was when I was introduced to his aide, Derek Harvey, and the reason why Derek Harvey I was told because Devin Nunes had an ethics — something to do with the Ethics Committee, he couldn’t be in the spotlight. He was kind of shunned a little bit and that he was looking into this Ukraine stuff also, wanted to help out. And they gave me Derek Harvey to deal with.”

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asked if Parnas then briefed Harvey on what was going on in Ukraine, but Parnas said that Harvey “knew about it already.”

Maddow asked if Parnas got the idea that Rudy Giuliani had briefed Nunes, but Parnas said he didn’t think so, because there was a group of people working on opposition research for the campaigns.

Parnas described one of the more shocking moments for him came when he saw Nunes and Harvey sitting in the room for the Intelligence Committee hearing that preceded the impeachment trial.

Related: Parnas: AG Bill Barr Was ‘Basically on the Team’ to Extort Ukraine

“I was in shock when I was watching the hearings and when I saw Devin Nunes sitting up there, and then there was a picture where Harvey was in the back sitting. I texted my attorney ‘I can’t believe this is happening,’” he said.

Maddow asked why he was so shocked.

“Because they were involved in getting all this stuff on Biden,” Parnas said.

He went on to say that he set up “several Skype interviews” with people for Harvey including a key anti-corruption prosecutor in Ukraine as well as Konstantin Kulik, deputy head of the Department of International Legal Cooperation of the General Prosecutor’s Office in Ukraine.

Kulik is “one of the major guys who had this whole Biden stuff.”

“So, it’s hard to see them lie like that when you know it’s like that,” Parnas said. “It’s scary because you know, he was sitting there and making all these statements and all that when he knew very well that he knew what was going on. He knew what’s happening. He knows who I am.”

Watch the video below:

 

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CORRUPTION

McConnell Allies Under the Microscope as Trump Official Is Investigated for Awarding Senator’s Friends Lucrative Contracts

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A government watchdog is calling for new legislation to remove political self-dealing from the grant application process after Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao apparently rewarded political supporters of her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Kentucky’s largest transportation grant application under the Trump administration benefited from an unfair advantage that appeared to have political implications, and the Government Accountability Office called for changes to the award process — and congressional Democrats have asked for an investigation, reported Politico.

“We quite frankly feel legislation is needed to compel DOT to address all the issues that we’ve raised that would really address the transparency, the accountability, the documentation,” said Susan Fleming, director of GAO’s physical infrastructure team.

Boone County, a Republican-leaning suburban district in Northern Kentucky, got a $67.4 million transportation grant after department staffers gave county officials extra time to complete the application.

The department failed to show why Boone County and 41 other applicants got extra time, while another 55 incomplete applications were set aside.

Emails obtained by Politico also show that Boone County officials were in contact with Chao’s aide Todd Inman, a former McConnell campaign staffer who has served as a liaison between Kentucky officials the Transportation Department.

“It really invites skepticism, and it raises questions about the integrity of the process and ultimately the decisions that are made,” Fleming said. “Are these decisions driven by merit? Or are they driven by other factors?”

House Democrats have asked the Transportation Department’s inspector general to investigate whether Chao and Inman had favored their home state, and Politico confirmed that review had been opened.

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