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Wednesday, Mar 20th

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Alarm over leaked US database targeting journalists and immigration activists

US targets journalists and activistsPhotojournalist Ariana Drehsler was stopped for a secondary screening three separate times in one week while crossing the US-Mexico border to cover the migrant caravan in Tijuana this winter – unaware that the journey she had taken countless times before was suddenly more complicated because her name was logged in a secret government database.

That database, part of something called Operation Secure Line, listed 59 advocates and journalists tied to the migrant caravan, according to leaked documents obtained by local news station NBC 7.

“I am an observer, I am actually kind of shy, I don’t know what I could’ve done to be put on a watchlist,” Drehsler, a freelancer based in San Diego, told the Guardian.

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Overwhelming majority of voters want final Mueller report released: poll

Americans want to see Mueller report

The overwhelming majority of voters say it is important that special counsel Robert Mueller's final report be released to the public, according to a new poll.

Suffolk University–USA Today poll found that about 62 percent of voters said it is very important that the findings of Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election be made public, while another 20 percent said they think it is somewhat important.

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Mueller Went After Cohen Soon After He Took Over Russia Probe

Michael Cohen probe starter earlier than raid

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office obtained search warrants to read Michael Cohen’s emails almost a year before the former fixer for President Trump was raided by the FBI, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday.

Beginning in July 2017, FBI agents working for Mueller sought and obtained three warrants to search Cohen’s communications. The request came two months and a day to Mueller’s appointment as leader of the Trump-Russia investigation, following Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey.

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Indicted Oligarch Dmytro Firtash Praises Paul Manafort, Says Trump Has Third-Grade Smarts

Indicted Oligarch : Trump has thirdgrade smartsAn indicted Ukrainian oligarch who faces years in an American prison joked about President Donald Trump’s intellect and distanced himself from Paul Manafort’s business dealings in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with The Daily Beast at his palatial corporate offices in Vienna.

Dmytro Firtash is a Ukrainian oligarch-in-exile who controls much of the country’s natural gas distribution. He also befriended Manafort, did business with Russia’s state-owned gas behemoth, and became a target of Barack Obama’s Justice Department. He’s been a constant presence in the background of the story of Russian influence in the American elections—but now, he says American influence on Ukraine is the real story.

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Federal Authorities Raided Trump Fundraiser’s Office in Money Laundering Probe

Eliott BroidyFederal authorities raided the office of Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy last summer, seeking records related to his dealings with foreign officials and Trump administration associates, according to a sealed search warrant obtained by ProPublica.

Agents were authorized to use the megadonor’s hands and face to unlock any phones that required fingerprint or facial scans.

The Washington Post reported in August that the Justice Department was investigating Broidy. The sealed warrant offers new details of federal authorities’ investigation of allegations that Broidy had attempted to cash in on his Trump White House connections in dealings with foreign officials. It also shows that the government took a more aggressive approach with the Trump ally than was previously known, entering his office and removing records — just as it did with Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

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Experts push back on Trump-touted poll that shows 50% of Americans calling Mueller probe a ‘witch hunt’

Experts push back on poll showing half of US says probe is a witch hunt

President Donald Trump on Monday touted poll results that appeared to show more Americans than ever siding with his oft-repeated accusation that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe is nothing more than a “witch hunt.”

But some polling experts took issue with the phrasing of the survey question, saying it may have skewed the results.

“President Trump has called the Special Counsel´s investigation a ‘witch hunt’ and said he´s been subjected to more investigations than previous presidents because of politics. Do you agree?” the new USA Today/Suffolk University poll asked 1,000 registered voters in live telephone interviews between March 13 and 17.

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Trump renews call to pull arts, PBS funding

Trump renews attempt to defund PBS, arts

President Trump’s 2020 budget proposal calls for eliminating popular programs such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund stations such as PBS and NPR, and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Trump had proposed eliminating the programs in his last two budgets as well, suggestions Congress ignored.

The 2020 request, which was released in its entirety Monday, calls for scrapping $435 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and $126 million from the NEA, leaving both with a few million dollars to manage an orderly shutdown.

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