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Wednesday, Apr 26th

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Before Trump job, Manafort worked to aid Putin

Manafort worked for PutinBefore signing up with Donald Trump, former campaign manager Paul Manafort secretly worked for a Russian billionaire with a plan to "greatly benefit the Putin Government," The Associated Press has learned. The White House attempted to brush the report aside Wednesday, but it quickly raised fresh alarms in Congress about Russian links to Trump associates.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin's government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

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Trump’s Team Said It Didn’t Ask For Military Vehicles At Inauguration. Emails Show It Did.

Trump wanted tanks at inaugurationRequests for the use of military equipment in inaugural parades have to be approved by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Ultimately, the Trump team decided against filing a formal request for military vehicles. Instead, they asked for multiple flyovers of fighter aircraft.

“Great news,” one Pentagon official wrote on Dec. 27, responding to an email confirming that the Trump team had abandoned its efforts to procure “military tactical vehicles” for the parade.

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Report: Manafort Secretly Worked for Russian Billionaire

ManafortPresident Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse. Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.

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FBI wiretapped Russian gambling ring headquarted at Trump Tower for two years

FBI wiretapped Russian gambling group at Trump TowerTurns out there was a wiretap at Trump Tower after all — just not the way President Trump has said.

The FBI had a court-sanctioned warrant for two years to monitor a Russian crime organization working out of a unit three floors below President Trump’s penthouse, according to an ABC News report.

Listening in on the Russians’ happenings resulted in north of 30 people being indicted in April 2013, with federal agents raiding the Trump Tower apartment. But the mastermind, Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov, got away and has since fled the United States justice system.

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FBI investigating if right-wing news sites, including Breitbart and Infowars, had role in campaign cyber attacks

FBI probing sites like InfowarsThe FBI is investigating if several right-wing news websites — including Breitbart and InfoWars — played any part in the Russian cyber attacks of the 2016 presidential election, according to a report.

Investigators are looking into bots from hackers that spammed social media links with pro-Trump and anti-Clinton stories — some of them totally phony — at times when Donald Trump’s campaign seemed to be in trouble, McClatchy Washington Bureau reported.

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Tillerson to skip NATO summit, will visit Moscow

Rex TillersonU.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not attend a NATO summit meeting at the beginning of April but will travel to Moscow a week later, State Department officials said.

Tillerson will not attend the NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on April 5 and 6, although State Department officials did not confirm his absence is connected to the planned visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping that week. Xi and Trump will meet in Florida.

Tillerson and the Chinese president met last week in Beijing to discuss North Korea and the threat of its nuclear ambitions.

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Trump warns GOP of political costs of rejecting health bill

Trump warns legislators about health billPresident Donald Trump on Tuesday warned House Republicans they could lose their seats in next year's midterm elections if they failed to back the GOP health care overhaul and fulfill a long-promised goal to undo Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

In a rare trip to the Capitol, the president met behind closed doors with rank-and-file Republicans, some wavering on the legislation two days before a climactic vote. Top House Republicans unveiled revisions to their bill Monday night in hopes of nailing down support.

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