Inside the Secret Network Behind a Democratic Congressman’s Bribery Scandal

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The Daily Beast has discovered previously unreported details behind the clandestine network that prosecutors say funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX). The network’s sprawling roots stretch from a consulate at the edge of Los Angeles to the glittering capital of a despotic ex-Soviet regime, and from the D.C. foreign aid complex near Foggy Bottom to a hydroponic farm in Maryland that supplied Georgetown’s leading bipartisan hangouts.

The bribery indictment of the Texas congressman describes, among other things, how the congressman allegedly struck a deal for his wife to receive $360,000 in “sham contracts” from the state-owned oil company of autocratic Azerbaijan . The feds say these arrangements ran through an Azerbaijani-born, U.S.-based intermediary—called “Individual-2” in the criminal complaint—and at times through his import-export business, referred to as “U.S. Company-1.” Cuellar and his wife have denied any wrongdoing.

Based on details in the indictment—including that Individual-2 served as Azerbaijani vice consul in L.A. between March 2006 and April 2010, resides in Potomac, Maryland, and formed a shell entity in Texas on August 22, 2017—The Daily Beast can identify Individual-2 as Elshan Baloghlanov, which the The Texas Observer has also reported.

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Jon Stewart Blasts ‘Trump Cancel Culture’ After Harrison Butker Outrage

Comedy Central

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker has stirred up controversy after a right-wing rant during a commencement speech earlier this month where he complained about abortion rights, “degenerate cultural values” and encouraged the female graduates to focus on getting married and having kids. The subsequent response by Fox News, who claimed Butker had become a victim of outrage since the speech, led The Daily Show host to take note.

“Not the advice you want to hear when you’re $100,000 in debt, earning a degree in electrical engineering,” Jon Stewart quipped in his opening monologue, before musing, “But I imagine that the cancellation of one Harrison Butker was swift and unforgiving at the White House.”

His statement was answered by a clip of White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirming that Butker was still invited to the White House to celebrate the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory.

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Arizona AG Dishes Details on How Indicted Giuliani Finally Got Served

CNN

Rudy Giuliani ’s love for live streams allowed Arizona authorities to finally serve him, the state’s attorney general told CNN on Monday.

The former New York mayor, who was indicted in the battleground last month for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election there, was served just after his 80th birthday party on Friday night in Palm Beach, Florida, following weeks of unsuccessful attempts.

It was Giuliani’s live stream of the party that gave away his location, Kris Mayes told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on The Source.

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Fani Willis Tells Maddow: ‘Should Feel Sorry’ for Those Attacking Her

MSNBC

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis , in a rare television interview with MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow , expressed her determination to not let threats and pressure from Republicans at the local, state and federal level prevent her from doing her job, which at the moment includes leading a high-profile case against former President Donald Trump .

With that Georgia criminal case having ground to a halt amid a Trump appeal , Willis explained the effect of having personal security measures in place for an extended period of time.

“It’s been happening since about a month after I took office—I began to get threats,” said Willis, whose term began in January 2021. Eventually, she said, the threats forced her to relocate out of her home.

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Spoiler Alert: Billionaire Trump Mega-Donor Gave Another $5M to RFK Jr.

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Billionaire mega-donor Timothy Mellon, who has poured millions into a super PAC supporting Donald Trump , gave another $5 million to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in April, according to newly released campaign finance filings.

The gift is sure to stoke speculation that Mellon believes Kennedy’s presence as an independent in the race could siphon votes away from President Joe Biden and help tilt the election toward the GOP.

Mellon sent the cash to American Values 2024, a super PAC supporting Kennedy. He previously gave $20 million to the PAC , along with $15 million to the Trump-affiliated Make America Great Again Inc.

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