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Meaghan Ellis

Going broke? Here's how the Trump campaign plowed through $1 billion in cash

President Donald Trump's re-election campaign's fundraising efforts have surpassed $1 billion since 2017 but now, the vast majority of that money is gone as speculation rises about the true financial state of Trump's campaign.

Over the last several months, Trump has made several high-dollar political advertising decisions that have cost his campaign greatly. From the staggering $10 million-dollar Super Bowl ad during the primary while several Democratic presidential candidates were still in the race to using his campaign funds to cover the cost of excessive legal fees for his impeachment and war on mail-in voting, Trump has shelled out exorbitant amounts of money.

Many of Trump's campaign advisors and aides also turned heads with their own pricey purchases. In addition to purchasing a lavish $2 million-dollar home in Florida, Trump's former campaign manager Brad Parscale is said to have taken more than $40 million while running the campaign.

According to Huffington Post, financial reports also revealed a string of limited liability companies (LLCs) formed to conceal more than $310 million in campaign spending in an effort to keep the expenditures from being disclosed.

Now, there is one question looming over the president's campaign: is the president's re-election campaign going broke? As Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden continues to break fundraising records, the Trump campaign appears to be cash-strapped, according to multiple reports. The publication also reports some of Trump's campaign aides "privately acknowledge they are facing difficult spending decisions at a time when Democratic nominee Joe Biden has flooded the airwaves with advertising."

With just two weeks left until the election, Trump is putting more time into traveling to rallies to connect with voters than spending on political ads and other forms of advertising. Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican consultant and Trump critic. weighed in with his take on why Trump is likely so focused on rallies.

"They spent their money on unnecessary overhead, lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous activity by the campaign staff and vanity ads way too early," said Murphy. "You could literally have 10 monkeys with flamethrowers go after the money, and they wouldn't have burned through it as stupidly."

Travis Ridout, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, also expressed concern as he claimed the financial woes appear to be a bad sign for the president's re-election campaign.

"Advertising obviously isn't everything. But we do think ads matter for a couple percentage points in a presidential race. And it's just not a good sign for the Trump campaign," Ridout, who traces advertising statistics, said.

"We have more than sufficient air cover, almost three times as much as 2016," he told reporters Monday.

Top special operations commander who oversaw Bin Laden raid endorses Biden in scathing op-ed denouncing Trump

Retired four-star Adm. William McRaven just delivered the latest blow to President Donald Trump's campaign as he revealed he cast his vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

In a piece published by The Wall Street Journal on Monday, McRaven who spearheaded the 2011 raid that led to the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, admitted that he is a conservative but also noted his support of multiple key issues regarding systemic racism and immigration.

"This week I went to the polls in Texas," wrote McRaven "Truth be told, I am a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, small-government, strong-defense and a national-anthem-standing conservative."

He added, "But, I also believe that black lives matter, that the Dreamers deserve a path to citizenship, that diversity and inclusion are essential to our national success, that education is the great equalizer, that climate change is real and that the First Amendment is the cornerstone of our democracy. Most important, I believe that America must lead in the world with courage, conviction and a sense of honor and humility."

He went on to explain why he opted to vote for Biden in the upcoming election. Spinning the president's slogan, "Make America Great Again," McRaven admitted he believes Biden will "Make America Lead Again," McRaven warned that he believes "the world no longer looks up to America" and "without American leadership the world will indeed be transformed, just not in the way we hope."

"They have been witness to our dismissiveness, our lack of respect and our transactional approach to global issues. They have seen us tear up our treaties, leave our allies on the battlefield and cozy up to despots and dictators," McRaven wrote. "They have seen our incompetence in handling the pandemic and the wildfires. They have seen us struggle with social injustice. They no longer think we can lead, because they have seen an ineptness and a disdain for civility that is beyond anything in their memory."

McRaven also noted the characteristics needed for an American president to move the country forward.

He wrote, "We need a leader of integrity whose decency and sense of respect reflects the values we expect from our president. We need a president for all Americans, not just half of America."

Trump and Biden face deadlocked race in North Carolina as election day approaches

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are deadlocked in a tight race for the state of North Carolina as Election Day approaches.

According to The Washington Post, national poll results suggest Biden has just a 1 percent lead over Trump with 49 percent to the president's 48 percent. Libertarian presidential nominee Jo Jorgensen and Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins reportedly account for just 1 percent of the vote. Among likely registered voters in the upcoming election, Biden is 48 percent while Trump appears to be at 46 percent and the third-party candidates account for the other 3 percent of the vote.

The latest poll results come as both candidates travel to critical key states in hopes of swinging the election in their favor. However, their campaign styles are nearly as different as their political views. As Trump delivered a speech before hundreds of rallygoers in Nevada over the weekend, Biden hit the campaign trail for a significantly smaller appearance in Durham, N.C.

During Biden's visit to Durham, he discussed a number of critical topics including Medicare, coronavirus, and of course, Trump. As North Carolina reported more than 2,000 cases in a single day, Biden also stressed the importance of the upcoming election, deeming it the "most important election of our lifetime."

"The very soul of our nation is at stake," Biden told the crowd. "It's go time. This is the most important election of our lifetime."

He added, "The president has known how bad this virus would be since January and he hid it from you. His excuse is that he didn't want Americans to panic. Americans don't panic. Donald Trump panics."

Trump has taken a more defensive stance in his rallies by focusing on verbal attacks, and taking personal and professional jabs at his opponent. Despite contracting COVID-19, the president continues to disregard masks and social distancing, potentially exposing his supporters to the virus.

Trump is also expected to travel to Gastonia, N.C., on Wednesday.

Pompeo facing investigation after alluding to the possible release of Clinton emails 'before election day'

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is at the helm of an investigation and the Office of Special Counsel will determine if he illegally used his position to bolster politics on behalf of President Donald Trump.

The investigation into Pompeo was sparked from a Fox News interview conducted in early October where he teased about the release of emails connected to former secretary and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton "before the election," per Politico.

"We've got the emails, we're getting them out. We're going to get all this information out so the American people can see it," Pompeo told Fox News's Dana Perino during the interview. "We're doing it as fast as we can. I certainly think there'll be more to see before the election."

During that interview, Pompeo responded to pressure and criticism from Trump who had also discussed the Clinton emails that same day when he said: "They're in the State Department, but Mike Pompeo has been unable to get them out, which is very sad, actually. I'm not happy about him for that reason. He was unable to get them out. I don't know why. You're running the State Department, you get them out."

Pompeo insisted the release will come before the election, raising questions about whether or not he could be violating the Hatch Act, which "limits certain political activities of federal employees, as well as some state, D.C., and local government employees who work in connection with federally funded programs," according to the Office of Special Counsel's website.

"The law's purposes are to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation."

In a letter dated Friday, October 16, the watchdog group American Oversight expressed concern about Pompeo's remarks with Election Day just two weeks away. According to the group, Pompeo's remark "warrants an investigation of whether Secretary Pompeo has given directives or orders to State employees in violation of the Hatch Act."

Now, Pompeo is denying any possibility that he would illegally politicize his office. When asked whether he would release Clinton-related emails so close to the upcoming election date, he said: "Releasing emails for the sake of transparency can't possibly be a violation of the Hatch Act. That's a ridiculous question."

Damage control? Trump hints at leaving the country if he loses the election

President Donald Trump is already hinting at how he would react to being defeated by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

On Friday, Trump traveled to Macon, Ga., where he held a crowded campaign rally filled with maskless supporters and no social distancing. At one point during the rally, Trump mulled over the possibility of losing the election and how he might handle an upsetting defeat.

"Could you imagine if I lose?" Trump said during the rally. "My whole life, what am I going to do? I'm going to say, 'I lost to the worst candidate in the history of politics.' I'm not going to feel so good. Maybe I'll have to leave the country. I don't know."

It is no secret that Trump could be faced with a trove of legal repercussions if he loses the presidential privilege against prosecution. So, his remarks also raise speculation about his reason for wanting to leave the country if he loses the election. As Election Day approaches, Trump is deploying more tactics in hopes of changing the trajectory being depicted in the national polls.

Bryan Lanza, a lobbyist who served on Trump's presidential campaign and transition team in 2016, and still maintains communication with the 2020 campaign, weighed in on Trump's campaigning tactics.

"He campaigns best when he is counterpunching," Lanza said. "He's the running back who runs toward the tackles as opposed to the running back who runs away. We used to say he's like Rocky Balboa — he waits for his opponent to punch and then he comes back to deliver the knockout blow."

One Republican pollster Frank Luntz has also expressed concern about Trump's latest tactic seemingly begging for voters. Although the president has done so in a joking tone, Luntz believes the approach is not beneficial.

"He's taking the wrong approach," "He should be talking about earning their support rather than asking them to give him their support. He should be turning that electoral weakness into a strength."

With just 17 days until the 2020 election, more than 22 million Americans have already cast their ballot by voting early.

Watch: Feds release disturbing footage of Whitmer kidnapping suspects' training drills with assault rifles

Federal prosecutors released disturbing footage created by the suspects involved in the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

On Friday, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge publicly unveiled a trove of evidence, including text messages and recorded footage that was used presented in a hearing for the suspects identified as—Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta—who now face charges for their involvement in the alarming plot.

The clip below captures several men participating in military-style drills while firing assault weapons. The video then shifts to Caserta who expressed disapproval of the U.S. government.

"If this s**t goes down... okay... if this whole thing starts to happen, I'm tellin' you what dude, I'm takin' out as many of those motherf**kers as I can. Every single one dude. Every single one. And if you guys are gonna give any of these motherf**kers a chance, any of these gang f**king criminal a** government thugs that rob people everyday, if you're even gonna give them a second to try to speak or tell their story, don't even f**k with me dude.

"I have zero patience for immoral coward criminals," Caserta said, adding, "I'm sick of being robbed and enslaved by the state. Period... And these are the guys who are actually doing it."

Videos show training for alleged governor kidnapping plot

Additional disturbing details about the plot were also shared via Twitter by Fox 17 reporter Doug Reardon of Detroit, Mich. The evidence also included text message conversations with one message, in particular, appearing to suggest that Whitmer be killed.

That message read, "Have one person go to her house. Knock on the door and when she answers it just cap her… "

The latest developments come as President Donald Trump continues to attack Whitmer. In fact, he even attempted to blame her for the plot orchestrated against her due to the strict coronavirus shutdown orders she enforced. The president took to Twitter on last Thursday to verbally attack Whitmer as he falsely claimed she called him a "White Supremacist," according to CNN.

"Governor Whitmer of Michigan has done a terrible job. She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband's boating activities," he wrote, urging her in another tweet to "open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!"

John Bolton heeded this warning about Russian-manipulated Rudy Giuliani when the White House ignored it

When Former National Security Adviser John Bolton received a warning about President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani due to his suspected ties to Russian operatives, he wasted no time heeding the warning and urged his staff to steer clear of having any involvement or interactions with

The Daily Beast compiled a report based on what the publication described as "interviews with 11 knowledgeable sources" detailing Bolton's repeated attempts to maintain distance between his department and Giuliani.

It has been reported that in January of 2019, the intelligence committee warned Capitol Hill and the White House that Giuliani was "a target of Russian intelligence operation to feed disinformation to Trump." As months passed, the warnings about Giuliani are said to have "intensified."

"Officials said the warnings about Giuliani intensified in the spring and summer of 2019 as the president's personal attorney appeared on television propagating disinformation about the Bidens and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Masha Yovanovitch. One ex-NSC official said that Giuliani, as a U.S. citizen, was neither named nor referenced in contemporaneous intelligence reports about Russian disinformation efforts. But Giuliani's alarming role was the subject of informal discussions between White House and intelligence officials." - The Daily Beast

A former official also raised concerns about Russia's server hack of the Ukranian energy company Burisma—where Hunter Biden once served on the executive board. It reportedly led to "informed speculation among professionals that this would be the entrée to fabricate material connecting Hunter Biden to corruption inside Burisma, and it wouldn't take more than 10 percent truth."

Bolton even warned his subordinates to refrain from being in meetings with Giuliani present. In fact, Bolton's directives were so specific he even advised against his staff attending Trump's Oval Office meeting May 23, 2019 following the Ukrainian inauguration of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

An unnamed Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee also weighed in as he admitted that Giuliani had been a big topic of discussion.

"Rudy's been the topic of conversation a lot," said the other source, a Democratic member of the House intelligence committee. "Wittingly or unwittingly, Rudy seems to care more about what he can gain politically from his relationship and discussions with Russian assets than he does about how he might be being used."

When contacted about the latest debacle, Giuliani claimed he was unaware of Bolton's opposition toward him.

"I didn't find out that John was unhappy with me or opposed to me until he left [the administration]…I've known him for ten years," and claimed that "when I was being considered for Secretary of State, I told him I'd consider him for deputy."

Trump's future may depend on this election: See the legal domino effect he could face if he loses

If President Donald Trump loses the upcoming presidential election, he could be faced with an avalanche of legal problems since he will no longer have the Presidential Privilege Against Prosecution.

By losing the election, Trump would be considered a private citizen which would make him more vulnerable to a string of investigations—both individually and through his businesses— due to ongoing speculation of fraud and possible tax evasion. The New York Times' latest bombshell report on Trump's long-concealed tax returns has also raised more questions about the his finances and the amount of debt he possibly owes.

In addition to the financial woes, Trump is also facing multiple defamation lawsuits from women who have accused him of sexual assault. However, the possible legal woes extend even further. Trump could also face severe consequences if it is determined that he misused the presidency for personal gain and business profits.

Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor for the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan, weighed in on the possibility of Trump facing criminal charges without the prosecutorial protections of the presidency after leaving office.

"In every regard, his leaving office makes it easier for prosecutors and plaintiffs in civil cases to pursue their cases against him," Sandick said. "For example, he is claiming a higher protection from subpoenas in the criminal cases and also in the congressional subpoena cases, [and that] is based largely on the fact that he is President."

Based on the national polls projecting the outcome of the election, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden appears to be the favorable candidate with the highest chance of winning. Although Trump has long insisted the polls are "fake," his behavior during his rallies proves his level of desperation has soared to new heights in recent days.

In fact, Trump has even alluded to the possibility of leaving the country if he loses the election. During his rally in Macon, Ga., on Friday night, he mulled over the possibility of losing to Biden.

"Could you imagine if I lose?" Trump said. "I'm not going to feel so good. Maybe I'll have to leave the country, I don't know."

According to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, Biden has a double digit lead of 54% to 43% among likely voters. It has also been reported that more than 20 million Americans have already cast their vote for the November election.

Michael Cohen scorches Rudy Giuliani: He was 'used by Russians' because he's 'drunk all the time'

President Donald Trump's former fixer and personal attorney Michael Cohen is sounding off about the latest scandal surrounding the president's current lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

During an appearance on MSNBC's "The Beat" with host Ari Melber, Cohen weighed in on recent reports about the White House being warned last year that the Russian government could be attempting to manipulate Giuliani with disinformation about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

That intelligence came amid questionable reports about alleged emails found on Hunter Biden's laptop. The laptop, obtained by Giuliani from a dubious source, reported contained emails between Hunter Biden and foreign officials. Melber quickly dived in to discuss the subject, at hand. He asked if Cohen though Giuliani was being used by Russian officials.

"I want to start as promised with Giuliani and we can then widen out," Melber said at the beginning of his discussion with Cohen. "Do you think Rudy Giuliani is being used as a tool and hack of the Russians, whether or not it passes a legal line and do you think that's wrong?"

Without hesitation, Cohen admitted that he does believe Giuliani is being used and that he was likely an easy target for the Russians.

"Of course it's wrong and the answer is yes," Cohen replied. "Rudy is being played by the Russians. He's 100 percent susceptible to being used by Russians because… the disinformation, he runs right back to President Trump like a child running to a parent: 'Look what I have. Look what I have.' Let's not forget, I was in Trump's office when Roger Stone contacted Mr. Trump at the time to tell him about the emails that were going to be dropped ultimately learning several days later they were the [John] Podesta emails."

Cohen went on to explain why Giuliani is likely one of the worst foot soldiers Trump could use for the discovery opposition research on Biden and his family.

"Trump speaks and behaves like the mob boss and this is what he's doing," Cohen added. "He's using his soldier, but the problem here is that Rudy isn't a soldier. Rudy is — Rudy is drunk all the time, which is a big problem and that's what makes him susceptible because his faculties are gone. He behaves crazy."

The remarks quickly garnered a reaction from Melber who, in turn, asked for clarity on whether or not he had personally seen Giuliani drink.

"As a journalist, I'm asking: Are you sharing an opinion or observation like you've seen him drink X amount?" Melber asked.

Cohen wasted no time clarifying that he has witnessed Giuliani drink excessive amounts of alcohol.

"No, no, I've seen him drink to the point like he's a high school drunk," Cohen claimed. "And it makes him susceptible. He takes the information that he gets and provides it to the president and simply because Rudy — who used to be considered, you know, I mean, a real litigator and he was considered to be America's Mayor — he's now really just a joke. And he takes it right back to Trump and Trump listens to it."

Watch: Trump rallygoers offer bizarre explanations to defend president's failure to condemn QAnon

President Donald Trump's fierce supporters are offering bizarre and baseless explanations to defend his refusal to condemn QAnon conspiracy theories during his town hall with NBC News moderator Savannah Guthrie.

Despite being repeatedly grilled about the disturbing conspiracy theories which Guthrie explained, Trump continued to claim he had very little knowledge about the extremist group. Ahead of the president's campaign rally in Macon, Ga., on Friday, CNN national correspondent Gary Tuchman had an opportunity to speak with a number of Trump supporters who weighed in on the president's failure to condemn QAnon.

Tuchman spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper with details about his observations and experience speaking with several of the president's supporters.

"Like we have seen before, most people are not wearing masks and not social distancing," Tuchman said of Trump's rally in Sanford, Fla., earlier this week. "It looks like a concert. He's been talking about locking up Hillary Clinton and no mention of QAnon. He had a chance to condemn QAnon last night but he did not do it. We talked to supporters in strong favor of QAnon and others know little about it but none we talked to want to condemn it."

Many of them believe the president's refusal to condemn the group is a subtle form of support for it. The first rallygoer Tuchman spoke with wore a white T-shirt that read, "QAnon: WWG1WGA" to show her support for the conspiracy group. Then, while speaking with two women, Tuchman asked, "Do you think he [Trump] has your back by not criticizing it?"

"Yeah," the woman responded as she nodded her head. "I really do."

The next rallygoer was asked should Trump denounce the QAnon conspiracy. He flatly responded, "No." When Tuchman described the conspiracy theories as "crazy stuff," the woman standing next to the man interjected saying, "No, that's what you guys try to make us believe, crazy stuff."

Not deterred, Tuchman pressed further: "But do you believe that there are Democrats and celebrities that are in a pedophile ring?"

"Yes, I do," she said.

When Tuchman asked the woman to explain the origin of the conspiracy theory, she struggled to come up with a solid answer.

"Where does that come from?" the woman repeated. "Why don't you ask the little kids?"

As Tuchman noted that there is no evidence to support the QAnon claims, the woman pivoted and asked what news outlet he works for. After learning he works for CNN, she quickly retreated with no further defense of the conspiracy. Despite no evidence, Trump's supporters have made it clear that they support him by any means. Tuchman also revealed how rare it is to ever find an undecided voter in attendance at a Trump rally.

Most rallygoers attend the event maskless while disregarding social distancing practices.