Trump may seek alternative RNC convention host

President Donald Trump is weighing his options after threatening to pull the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina in August. Two Republican governors have offered up their states as alternatives. (May 27)

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Here’s What You Need To Know About Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort was sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Here’s what you need to know about President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.

He was born in 1949 in Connecticut. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1974. He practiced law at a private firm before going into politics. He advised Gerald Ford’s 1976 presidential campaign and established deep connections as a political lobbyist.

Manafort served as an international consultant for world leaders, including dictators Mobuto Sese Seko of DR Congo and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines.

In 2004, he became an adviser to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych was a pro-Russia strongman who was criticized for backing out of a deal with the EU. Riots broke out and protesters were killed. Yanukovych was ousted in 2014.

In March 2016, Trump hired Manafort to manage the RNC.  He was eventually promoted to campaign chairman.

Reports came out about his work in Ukraine. One report claimed that he was paid $10 million to lobby for Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally. Manafort resigned from Trump’s campaign in August 2016. He was charged with secretly working to advance Russian interests.

In September 2018, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction. He was also convicted of eight counts of tax and bank fraud in Virginia. New York state prosecutors have charged Manafort with 16 state felonies alleging he took part in a fraud scheme to illegally obtain millions of dollars.

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Here’s What You Need To Know About Paul Manafort

Ted Cruz Thinks He’s Going To Beat Beto O’Rourke. The Voters Agree. (HBO)

Columbus, Texas — Senator Ted Cruz is not assuming anything in his campaign for re-election. He’s a popular politician in a state that hasn’t sent a Democrat to the senate in 25 years. But polls show him in a surprisingly tight race with the young, telegenic upstart Beto O’Rourke, who’s captivated liberal crowds in Texas, and celebrity endorsements across the nation.

That’s why Cruz was here on Saturday, at an intimate gathering in a deep red town halfway between Houston and San Antonio: to rally the faithful back to his cause.

“The danger is that the economy is booming, people are focused on their jobs and their kids, going to church, going to the ballgame, and they just don’t make it out to vote,” Cruz told the crowd. “Our danger is complacency.”

Cruz leads O’Rourke by 4 percentage points, according to the Real Clear Politics average. But he faces more than just the familiar incumbents’ paradox that when things are good, parties in power have a hard time mobilizing voters.

The bigger worry is voter overconfidence. According to internal Republican National Committee data reported by Axios, the Republican faithful are unusually immune to reports showing that Democratic candidates are on the rise. One recent RNC survey found that 57% of strong Trump supporters don’t believe that Democrats will retake the House.

“To me, the polls that we’re seeing right now are eerily similar to the Trump-Clinton polls that we saw going up to the election,” said Tom Kelley, the GOP chair for Colorado County, at Cruz’s stop in Columbus. “It’s all hype and hyperbole.”

That’s why Cruz can’t simply ignore the huge crowds being drawn out by his opponent.

“We’re going to win this race,” Cruz told VICE News. “I feel very good about where we are. But the reason we’re going to win it is we’re not taking anything for granted. It is clear there are a lot of folks on the far left who are really angry and that anger — it’s a motivator. It is bringing dollars, it’s bringing passion, it’s bringing energy. And we have to take it seriously.”

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AP Top Stories Jan 28. P

Top stories for Sun, January 28: The White House released details about Trump’s State of the Union Address this week; Steve Wynn resigns as finance chairman of the RNC; 95 are dead and 158 inured after a car bomb in Kabul; Ingrav Kamprad, founder of IKEA, dead at 91.

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Republicans May Have Found A Playbook For Winning Under Trump (HBO)

Ed Gillespie is the quintessential establishment Republican — former RNC chair, Bush & Romney advisor, major GOP fundraiser — and now candidate for Governor in Virginia. But in Trump’s world he finds himself having to rile up the anti-establishment base to stay competitive. It’s a test case for 2018.

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Flynn Regretted “Lock Her Up” Speech Almost Immediately (HBO)

The minute Michael Flynn walked off the stage at the Republican National Convention last July, he knew his speech hadn’t gone well, particularly the “Lock her up” part targeting the Democratic nominee. That’s what Flynn — who hasn’t spoken publicly since it emerged that he was under federal investigation — has been telling friends, VICE News has learned.

“He almost immediately wished that he had handled it differently,” said a source close to the former Army general. “He regrets it to this day. It was not at all in character for him.”

VICE News Tonight spoke with more than a dozen friends and former colleagues of Flynn for a segment looking back on Flynn’s career before politics. (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., on HBO.) Many pointed to the moment of Flynn’s RNC speech, when the crowd began a chant of “Lock her up,” as one when they didn’t recognize the man they had admired for so long. Flynn leaned into the microphone and ad-libbed about Hillary Clinton: “Lock her up. That’s right.”

“I never saw that side of him,” said Jim Sisco, a former colleague of Flynn’s from Afghanistan. “But, you know, politics is politics. It does things to people that you wouldn’t expect it to.”

Flynn was national security adviser for Donald Trump for a record-short 24 days, before being fired in mid-February. He is being investigated by the FBI for lying to law enforcement about his communications with Russian officials, and for his post-military-career business dealings with agents of the Turkish government. There have also been reports that he omitted key information from his White House security clearance forms.

Before his turn to politics, Flynn was a highly respected Army officer who had done multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and played a key role in shaping modern-day special operations through his work on the Joint Special Operations Command. “Mike Flynn helped build that machine,” said Phillip Carter, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “And that machine in many ways is what won the conflict for a few years in Iraq, because it just ripped the heart out of the insurgency.”

The moment at the RNC helped turned Flynn into a symbol — at least among liberals — of the most visceral and partisan aspects of Trump’s campaign. Flynn frequently bashed Clinton and President Barack Obama for, in his view, underestimating the risks posed by Islamist extremism, and in particular the rise of the Islamic State group.

His regrets today may be somewhat self-serving. As recently as last fall, Flynn defended his harsh attacks on Clinton. In his original RNC address, released prior to the speech, Flynn planned to deliver several other acerbic attack lines, saying of Clinton, “We do not need a reckless president who believes she is above the law.” He went on, “I have called on Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race because she put our nation’s security at extremely high risk with her careless use of a private email server. If I did a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail. Crooked Hillary Clinton — leave this race now.”

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Syrian refugee family in Cleveland: ‘Today we cannot go outside’

Donald Trump’s calls to ban Syrian and Muslim refugees from entering the country has been a centerpiece of his campaign. This week, he will be formally named the Republican nominee at the RNC in Cleveland.

Blocks from where Trump’s coronation ceremony is taking place is a small Cleveland neighborhood where hundreds of refugee families have recently been resettled from conflict zones across the Middle East. For them, Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric poses a very real threat. VICE News visits this neighborhood to see what it’s like watching the RNC through their eyes.

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RAW: Laura Ingraham gives alleged ‘Nazi salute’ at RNC speech

Popular radio host Laura Ingraham gave alleged “Nazi salute” during her speech at the Republican National Convention.
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Crowd boo’s Ted Cruz off the stage as Donald Trump crashes his speech at RNC

The Republican convention, which will nominate Donald Trump as the GOP candidate for the presidential election, is underway in Cleveland, OH. Thousands of protesters are expected to rally outside, disgruntled with the party agenda and the candidate.

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Cleveland open-carry advocates defend their right to bear arms at the RNC

After the recent attacks on police in Texas and Louisiana, the head of Cleveland’s police union asked Ohio Governor John Kasich to suspend the state’s open-carry gun laws during the Republican National Convention. The governor denied the request, saying he doesn’t have the authority to make such a move, but with tens of thousands of people coming to the city, the gun issue remains cause for concern.

Ahead of the convention, VICE News spoke with proponents of open-carry laws.

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