Paul Manafort is a crook at every possible scale

The indictments against Paul Manafort include some big numbers—like $75 million in illicit offshore accounts, and over $18 million laundered into the US through real estate purchases. But just because Paul Manafort was being crooked on a grand scale doesn’t mean he still didn’t enjoy the little things.

For example … in 2012, Manafort formed a shell company in the US called MC Soho Holdings. He then transferred into this shell company money from a shell company in Cyprus, and used it to buy a condo on Howard Street in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan. But Manafort didn’t move into his new $2.9 million condo. After all, he wasn’t buying these places to live in. He was buying them to use as collateral in a series of rapidly escalating loans.

Instead, Manafort rented out the condo—the condo that he’d purchased using illegal funds given to him by Russian oligarchs for

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Congress to investigate deal that awarded $300M contract to Trump donor

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Few things generate bipartisan agreement in Congress these days, but the idea that a two-man firm in Montana with absolutely no experience was hired to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical grid at a cost of $300 million, is enough to spur some communication across the aisles.

Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, senior Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said Congress “needs to understand why the Whitefish contract was awarded and whether other, more cost-effective options were available.”

A spokesman for Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, agreed that congressional review was needed. The resources panel oversees Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.

Congress’ multi-year investigation into Whitewater may have turned up nothing, but the Whitefish deal already looks … extremely fishy. A firm whose biggest previous job was building less than five miles of electrical line in Arizona was given the mammoth task of taking on a shattered

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Steele Dossier was funded first by Trump’s GOP opponents then by Democrats—which we knew all along

On Tuesday, the Washington Post “broke” the story that sources connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party had taken over funding for Christopher Steele’s Trump–Russia compilation after Trump’s Republican opponents were knocked out of the race.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research. …

Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.

So, a lawyer with Clinton’s campaign hired Fusion GPS for opposition research—likely because they knew that Fusion had already been hired by at least one of Trump’s Republican opponents. Fusion, in turn, hired Steele’s firm. Only … this isn’t exactly breaking news. Here’s the Guardian story on the dossier

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Jeff Flake’s speech should be a watershed moment for Republicans … but it’s not

In announcing that he won’t be running for another term in the Senate, Arizona Sen.  Jeff Flake gave a powerful speech. It wasn’t just well-written and well-delivered, Flake poured his soul into the speech, calling out the Republican Party in a voice quivering with emotion. 

It’s easy to argue that Flake’s words were diminished because, like Bob Corker, he was delivering this words while packing his bags. But it’s not Flake who lost standing. It’s the Republican Party.

Flake may be the one who is surrendering his seat, but he’s doing so because the rest of the GOP has surrendered already. He’s not leaving the Senate because he and his fellow senators have been waging the good fight against Donald Trump’s “regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals,” he’s leaving because they’re not fighting. He’s leaving because the United States Senate has already become not just

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Appeals court rules against Trump administration, says immigrant teen has right to an abortion

After several weeks of attempted delays by the Trump administration, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. ruled on Tuesday that a 17-year-old immigrant woman in custody must be allowed to have the abortion she requested last month. 

A U.S. appeals court has cleared the way for a 17-year-old immigrant held in federal custody to obtain an abortion.

The ruling Tuesday by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overruled a decision by a three-judge panel of the court that at least temporarily blocked the teen from having the procedure.

Jane Doe, whose name is not being released in the press, is currently in a detention facility for unaccompanied minors in Texas. She has requested that she be permitted to have an abortion without parental consent since she is in the country without guardians. Though she made the request on September 11, the

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Two-man company that got $300 million Puerto Rico contract tied to Trump officials, GOP donors

This is how the local news media describes Whitefish Energy.

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The company was established in 2015. It doesn’t have an office and only lists two employees. 

Whitefish Energy is little more than a post office box. They grab temporary employees and toss them at small construction jobs—with an emphasis on small. The largest electrical line constructed by Whitefish coming into 2017 was less than five miles long. And yet, Whitefish has acquired the contract to repair the 2,400 miles of electrical lines in Puerto Rico over not just other private companies, but instead of calling in other power companies under an existing series of mutual aid agreements.

Why not exercise those agreements—which brought more than 30,000 utility workers to Florida to repair utilities after Hurricane Irma—rather than count on a tiny company which has brought in 280 temporary workers and is slowly hiring more? No one seems

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Republican Sen. Bob Corker: Trump is ‘devolving’ as president

It’s not just people on the outside watching Donald Trump’s mental/emotional capacity disintegrate. Others, like Republican Sen. Bob Corker, are noticing the same thing. In a rather candid on-the-fly interview from the halls of Congress, Corker talked about the White House asking him to “intervene” with Trump in moments where he was going “off the tracks.” Corker’s conclusion—and probably a main driver of his recent straight talk about Trump—is that Trump’s getting worse, not better.

“I’ve had private meetings with him, dinners with him, I’ve played golf with him, I’ve had multiple occasions where the staff has asked me to please intervene—he was getting ready to do something that was really off the tracks,” Corker said, “And look, I’ve seen no evolution in an upward way. As a matter of fact, I would say, it appears to me that it’s almost devolving.”

Corker also expanded on his earlier assertions that Trump is debasing the

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