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Friday, Dec 15th

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Mueller likely to probe Gates’ moonlighting as movie producer

Gates probed for money laundering as producer

Rick Gates, indicted last week with his former boss and mentor Paul Manafort in the special counsel investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, is best known as a political consultant and lobbyist. In tandem with Manafort, he raked in tens of millions from Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs and a pro-Moscow Ukrainian political party. And when Manafort chaired Donald Trump's bid for the White House, Gates was his deputy.

Less well known is his sideline as a Hollywood producer. Gates has been involved in a handful of films, including this year’s Walk of Fame, which starred Clint Eastwood’s son Scott.

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Judge issues gag order in Paul Manafort, Rick Gates money laundering case

Paul Manifort and Gates given gag ordersA federal judge issued a sweeping gag order in the money laundering and conspiracy case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign aide Rick Gates that prohibits all parties – including potential witnesses – from making public statements about the case.

U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson issued the order on Wednesday "to safeguard defendants' rights to a fair trial, and to ensure that the court has the ability to seat a jury that has not been tainted by pretrial publicity."

The order applies to "all interested parties in the matter," including the defendants, their lawyers, prosecutors, witnesses and potential witnesses, Jackson said in a two page order.

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First openly transgender African American woman elected to public office in U.S.

Andrea Jenkins

Andrea Jenkins won a seat on the Minneapolis City Council, becoming the first openly transgender African American woman ever elected to public office in the U.S.

Jenkins, a former policy aide to two city council members, captured 73% of the votes to win Minneapolis’ Eight Ward over three other candidates Tuesday night.

Jenkins picked up endorsements from the Minneapolis Star Tribune as well as Congressman Keith Ellison while running a campaign emphasizing affordable housing, raising the minimum wage and fair policing.

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Dem Murphy wins New Jersey governor's race

Murphy wins new Jersey governor's race

Democrat Phil Murphy is projected to win the New Jersey governor’s race, according to multiple networks.

Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive and U.S. ambassador to Germany, defeated Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R), who struggled to gain traction in the race.

Murphy's victory will also help Democrats maintain control of Sen. Bob Menendez's (D-N.J.) seat if he's convicted in his trial. If Menendez resigns from office, New Jersey's governor will be tasked with appointing his replacement.

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Democrat Ralph Northam Wins Virginia Governor Race, NBC News Projects

Ralph Northam wins Governor's race in VirginiaDemocrat Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor race on Tuesday, according to an NBC News projection.

With 65 percent of the vote in, Northam had 51 percent and Gillespie trailed with 48 percent.

Both national parties have spent millions of dollars in Virginia and are closely watching it as the first major barometer of the political climate since Donald Trump's unexpected victory last year.

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How a Russian troll sowed conflict using fake photos and news coverage

Russian troll identified

It looked like a Twitter account of the Tennessee GOP, but it was actually a prime example of how the Russia troll farm operated – garnering hundreds of shares and widespread media coverage for messaging that wasn’t just false, but came from a fabricated account.

And it happened not during the presidential campaign, but this past August.

TEN_GOP boasted 145,000 followers when it posted two tweets of photos falsely representing the size of the crowd at a rally for President Donald Trump. When it was called out on the false photos – after they had already been shared hundreds of times – the person running the account deleted the posts and offered an apology while mocking “loser liberals.”

Offshore cash helped fund Steve Bannon's attacks on Hillary Clinton

Steve Bannon used offshore cash to fund Clinton attacks

Eighteen months before guiding Donald Trump to election victory, Steve Bannon delivered the opening shot in the ruthless Republican campaign to paint their Democratic opponent as corrupt.

The future White House chief strategist produced a book in May 2015 accusing Hillary Clinton of trading favours for donations to her charitable foundation. Its questionable central charge, on the sale of a uranium company to Russia, recently became the subject of a House inquiry and feverish talk on conservative media.

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