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Saturday, Aug 19th

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New Republic: Trump’s Russian Laundromat

Trump TowerIn 1984, a Russian émigré named David Bogatin went shopping for apartments in New York City. The 38-year-old had arrived in America seven years before, with just $3 in his pocket. But for a former pilot in the Soviet Army—his specialty had been shooting down Americans over North Vietnam—he had clearly done quite well for himself.

Bogatin wasn’t hunting for a place in Brighton Beach, the Brooklyn enclave known as “Little Odessa” for its large population of immigrants from the Soviet Union. Instead, he was fixated on the glitziest apartment building on Fifth Avenue, a gaudy, 58-story edifice with gold-plated fixtures and a pink-marble atrium: Trump Tower.

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Trump Administration Adds More Foreign Guest Worker Visas

Visas for guest workers allowed by TrumpBowing to pressure from industries that rely on seasonal workers from overseas, President Donald Trump’s administration said Monday it will allow employers to bring in an additional 15,000 temporary workers this fiscal year to deal with what it described as a labor shortage.

Trump vowed during the campaign to discourage businesses from using foreign workers and to focus on hiring Americans first. But as president, he has faced bipartisan demand for allowing more temporary workers, not fewer. The announcement Monday indicates Trump is willing to acquiesce to employers on the issue.

The administration insisted the visa boost is not incompatible with its “America first” pledge.

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Poll: 70 percent say Trump acts unpresidential

TrumpPresident Donald Trump’s behavior as commander-in-chief has unnerved respondents to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 70 percent of which said he has acted in an unpresidential manner since assuming office last January.

Trump’s overall approval rating in the poll, portions of which were first released Sunday, dipped to 36 percent, a low-water mark for any president at this early stage of an administration.

But the president fared even worse when respondents were asked about his personal behavior: In addition to the 70 percent who said Trump has been unpresidential since moving into the White House, 68 percent said they do not see him as a positive role model and 56 percent said his conduct is “damaging to the presidency overall.”

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U.S. Secret Service rejects suggestion it vetted Trump son's meeting

Secret Service: Trump Jr. not under protection during meetingThe U.S. Secret Service on Sunday said Donald Trump Jr. was not under protection during his meeting with a Russian attorney in June 2016, adding that they would not have screened any of his meetings.

"Donald Trump, Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June, 2016. Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time," Secret Service spokesman Mason Brayman said in a statement to Reuters.

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Tobacco companies tighten hold on Washington under Trump

Tobacco a Deadly BusinessTobacco companies have moved swiftly to strengthen their grip on Washington politics, ramping up lobbying efforts and securing significant regulatory wins in the first six months of the Trump era.

Day one of Donald Trump’s presidency started with tobacco donations, senior figures have been put in place within the Trump administration who have deep ties to tobacco, and lobbying activity has increased significantly.

“As in so many areas, the promise to drain the swamp has been an extraordinary hypocrisy,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, who supported anti-tobacco legislation and was one of the US attorneys general to broker a hundred-billion-dollar settlement with tobacco companies in the 1990s. “Many of his appointees have deep commitments to the tobacco industry,” he said.

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White House silent on producing Ivanka Trump's products in US

Ivanka's products not questioned by WHA White House spokeswoman on Sunday declined to say if a messaging campaign to highlight American-made products would be used to bring production for first daughter Ivanka Trump’s clothing line to the U.S.

“We’ll get back to you on that,” the spokeswoman said in response to a question, according to reporter traveling with President Trump.

The question came as the White House announced a three-week messaging campaign promoting products made in the U.S. ahead of the Senate’s push to reform the tax code.

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Poll: Trump's six-month approval rating hits historic low

Poll : Trump 6 month popularity at all time lowPresident Donald Trump has hit the lowest approval rating of any president during their first nearly-six months in office in 70 years, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Thirty-six percent of those surveyed approve of the president's job performance, which is six points down from his 100-day mark, while 58 percent disapprove of Trump's performance.

Gerald Ford was the last president to be near that mark in the poll half-a-year into his presidency, with a 39 percent approval rating in February 1975. At the six-month mark, both former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush were at 59 percent.

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