GOP Strategist Pardoned by Trump Now Convicted of Illegally Funneling Him Russian Cash: Report
Federal prosecutors have obtained a conviction of a longtime GOP strategist who illegally helped a Russian businessman funnel money to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“Jesse Benton, 44, was pardoned by Trump in 2020 for a different campaign finance crime, months before he was indicted again on six counts related to facilitating an illegal foreign campaign donation. He was found guilty Thursday on all six counts,” The Washington Post reported. “The evidence at trial showed Benton bought a $25,000 ticket to a September 2016 Republican National Committee (RNC) event on behalf of Roman Vasilenko, a Russian naval officer turned multilevel marketer.”
Vasilenko received a photo with Trump at the time, while he was running for parliament in Russia.
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“Benton began his career on the GOP’s libertarian fringe as an aide to former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), whose granddaughter is Benton’s wife. He gained mainstream credibility helping Paul’s son, Rand Paul (R-KY), win a Senate seat in 2010 and was hired by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s 2014 reelection campaign,” The Post reported. “But Benton resigned before that election amid an investigation into whether an Iowa state senator was bribed to support Ron Paul in the 2012 presidential race.”
Sen. Paul helped achieve a pardon for Benton two days before Christmas in 2020, when Trump was a lame duck after losing to Joe Biden, The Post reported at the time.
At the same time, Trump pardoned GOP operatives Paul Manafort and Roger Stone along with Charles Kushner, the father of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
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Trump Lawyers Blindsided by Existence of Bombshell Recording – ‘They Don’t Know How to Defend This’: Maggie Haberman
CNN on Friday morning obtained a bombshell transcript of a recording in which former President Donald Trump boasts of retaining “secret” military information that he never declassified while he was president.
Appearing on CNN shortly after this news broke, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman revealed that the former president’s team was essentially blindsided by this recording’s existence.
“I don’t think they quite know how to defend this… from what we have heard,” she said. “They were… startled by the existence of this tape. This tape was something that they learned existed when this aide to Trump testified. The prosecutors were already in possession of this tape. They didn’t get it from the aide, although it appears the aide had a copy when it was subpoenaed later, but this is has been described to us by multiple sources… as a really problematic piece of evidence for Trump.”
Haberman predicted that the recording’s existence would not change the Trump legal team’s overall defense strategy, however.
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“I think they are going to stick that their line: ‘He says things, he didn’t mean it a certain way,'” she said. “I am sure they can come up with all kinds of explanations for why he used the language he used. But it’s on tape.”
Trump is due in court in Miami next week to face seven felony counts related to his handling of top-secret government documents.
Watch the video below or at this link.
Image via Shutterstock
Trump Indicted by Grand Jury: Reports
Donald Trump’s attorneys have been notified a grand jury has voted to indict the ex-president on numerous federal charges and ordered to appear in a Miami court next Tuesday, according to ABC News, CNN, and NBC News. Trump on his Truth Social account made a similar claim..
“Former President Donald Trump has been indicted in the special counsel’s classified documents probe, sources familiar with the matter tells CNN,” the network reports. “Trump has been charged with seven counts in the indictment, according to another source familiar with the matter.”
CNN has two sources confirming that Trump has been indicted pic.twitter.com/xY7aFXo9dL
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 8, 2023
“We’re learning from our sources that there appears to be at least seven counts here,” ABC News’ Katherine Faulders reported on-air, ABC News online reports.. “This ranges from everything from the willful retention of national defense information to conspiracy to a scheme to conceal to false statements and representations.”
MSNBC on-air reports NBC News has confirmed the Trump indictment, and NBC News online reports the indictment is “in connection with his mishandling of more than 100 classified documents that were discovered last year at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, making the twice-impeached former commander-in-chief the first former president to face federal criminal charges.”
Watch this currently ongoing ABC News live streaming video:
BREAKING: Former Pres. Trump has been indicted for a second time, sources familiar confirm to @ABC News.
@PierreTABC joins @DavidMuir: “This is perhaps one of the most consequential investigations the Justice Department has done in recent memory.” pic.twitter.com/klwOQjGoiK
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) June 8, 2023
In three separate entries on his Truth Social platform, Trump writes: “The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted,” along with several false allegations NCRM will not publish.
“I have been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM,” he adds.
He also declares he is “innocent.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
‘Where’s the Money?’: Biden Laughs Out Loud, Mocks GOP’s Allegations
Just as his press conference with the U.K. Prime Minister was coming to a close and reporters were asked to remain seated, a jovial President Joe Biden stayed and took several questions from reporters desperate to ask about Republicans’ baseless and unsubstantiated claims he accepted millions in bribe money when he was vice president.
Shouting “bribery allegations,” one reporter told the President, “Congresswoman Nancy Mace says there’s damning evidence in an FBI file that you sold out the country.”
As a smile worked its way across the President’s face, the reporter continued saying: “Do you have a response to congressional Republicans?”
The President did.
“Where’s the money?” he deadpanned.
“I’m joking,” he added.
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“That’s a bunch of malarkey,” Biden ultimately responded, denying the claims which were fueled by FBI Director Chris Wray’s decision to allow the entire House Oversight Committee, in eluding far-right Republicans, access to an old FBI form documenting a second-hand tip alleging bribery.
NBC News Peter Alexander then threw a curious question at the President.
“Mr. President, what do you say to Americans to convince them that they should trust the independence and fairness of the Justice Department when your predecessor, Donald Trump, repeatedly attacks it?”
Biden quickly became less jovial.
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“Because you notice,” he said very seriously, pointing his finger at the reporter, “I have never once, not one single time, suggested to the Justice Department what they should do or not do relative bringing a charge or not bringing a charge.”
“I’m honest,” he stressed.
Foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf responded to the video clip, stating: “Questions like these are not serious journalism.”
Watch below or at this link.
REPORTER: Nancy Mace says there’s evidence you sold out the country
JOE BIDEN: It’s a bunch of malarkey
REPORTER: What do you say to Americans to convince them that they should trust the fairness of the DOJ?
BIDEN: I haven’t once suggested what they should do. I’m honest. pic.twitter.com/TacFfZwFvG
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 8, 2023
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