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Firms Paid Millions To Access Trump, Fuel Alt-Right

Russia-linked company that hired Michael Cohen registered alt-right websites during election. WaPo: “A company at the center of widening questions involving President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen is listed as the organization behind a string of websites targeted toward white nationalists and other members of the alt-right. Columbus Nova, a company whose U.S. chief executive, Andrew Intrater, and Russian investment partner Viktor Vekselberg have both reportedly been interviewed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team, is listed as the registrant behind a handful of domains for websites named after the alt-right that were created during the 2016 election.”

CFPB Shutters Student Loan Abuse Monitor

Trump’s CFPB is shutting the office that focuses on student loan abuses. LA Times: “The Trump administration signaled Wednesday that it intends to pull back on investigating potential abuses by companies in the $1.5-trillion student loan market. cThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will shut its student lending office, according to a bureau-wide memo written by its acting director, Mick Mulvaney. The student loan office at the CFPB had been responsible for returning $750 million in relief. Its responsibilities are being moved under the broad umbrella of ‘financial education.’ The office had been primarily responsible for an investigation into the troubled student lender Navient, which the CFPB sued last year alleging unfair and abusive practices. The office also investigated and sued for-profit education company Corinthian Colleges.”

Trump Farm Bill Threatens Rural America

A Republican plan could worsen rural America’s food crisis. The Atlantic: “The quinquennial reapproval of the Farm Bill is back before Congress, only this time with a bit more drama than the past. The draft under consideration in the House will implement sweeping changes—including strengthened work requirements in the SNAP program—in nutrition-program eligibility. The defenses of the proposed changes and the attacks against them both center on a set of racialized urban stereotypes, with conservatives invoking the ghosts of ‘welfare queens,’ and liberals charging the new rule will merely produce more hungry, deserving people. But few of those arguments consider the plight of the rural areas where the Farm Bill most dominates public life. Residents of those areas are already facing rising nutrition pressures. With new restrictions on SNAP, they could see true hunger return.”

WH Threatens Lawful Immigrants Who Use Health Care

Under a Trump proposal, lawful immigrants might shun medical care. NPR: “The Trump administration is considering a policy change that might discourage immigrants who are seeking permanent residency from using government-supported health care, a scenario that is alarming some doctors, hospitals and patient advocates. Under the proposed plan, a lawful immigrant holding a visa could be passed over for getting permanent residency — getting a green card — if they use Medicaid, a subsidized Obamacare plan, food stamps, tax credits or a list of other non-cash government benefits, according to a draft of the plan published by The Washington Post. Even letting a child who is a U.S. citizen use such benefits could jeopardize a parent’s chances of attaining lawful residency, according to the measure. Health advocates say such a policy could frighten a far broader group of immigrants into avoiding government-supported health coverage, creating public health problems that could be dire in the long run — for those patients and for U.S. hospitals.”

GOP Makes Deal To Roll Back Dodd-Frank

Ryan: GOP has deal on bill easing Dodd-Frank. The Hill: “Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that the House and Senate have struck a deal to pass the upper chamber’s bipartisan bill to roll back strict financial rules enacted by former President Obama. Ryan told reporters at the Capitol that the House will hold a vote on the Senate bill targeting the Dodd-Frank Act in exchange for the Senate taking up a package of bills from the House Financial Services Committee. ‘We’ve got an agreement on moving different pieces of legislation, so we will be moving the Dodd-Frank bill,’ Ryan said. Ryan didn’t say when a vote would take place, if it would happen before Memorial Day or what House bills the Senate would take up. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who controls the House floor schedule, said he would announce when the lower chamber will vote on the Senate bill ‘soon.'”

Israel, Iran Exchange Rocket Fire For First Time

Iran and Israel reportedly exchange direct rocket fire for the first time. Slate: “Iranian and Israeli forces exchanged fire early Thursday morning, according to the Israeli military, which said it retaliated with missile strikes after Iran launched 20 missiles targeting Israeli military positions in the Golan Heights. “Heavy military jet activity, explosions and air-defense fire could be heard throughout the night in the area,” the Washington Post reports. According to the Israeli military, the rockets were fired by special forces linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, a move, which, if confirmed, would mark an ominous milestone—the first time Iran has carried out a rocket attack directly on Israel. The two countries have been conducting a proxy war in Syria under the guise of the country’s ongoing civil war.”

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