MAGA Diaspora: We’re tracking the 327 most important lobbyists, authors, and consultants in Trump’s post-White House influence network

Donald Trump behind the White House with a group of people who used to work for his administration behind him on a red background.

Donald Trump remains a powerful presence in American politics despite being deplatformed and defenestrated. The same goes for the people who worked for his administration.

That’s why Insider embarked over the past several months on a project to track down as many members as possible from Team Trump who served in an official capacity between January 2017 and January 2021.

Some of them you’ll surely remember, like ex-White House senior advisors Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon. Others made it through the last few years without becoming household names.

Ultimately, we identified 327 Trump alumni for our comprehensive database. There, we break down who are now the big shot lawyers, high-powered lobbyists, aspiring authors, and political consultants already busy trying to win elections for MAGA-minded candidates in 2022 and beyond.

Our project also highlights who from the Trump orbit ended up building new political entities aimed at sinking President Joe Biden’s agenda and enacting controversial changes to election laws that favor Republicans.

We pinpoint the location of a couple of the biggest names from the Trump Cabinet who were mired in scandals during their time in the administration but now are trying to move on to new jobs. And we’ve identified the ex-Trump staffers who are now serving as aides to members of Congress, plus a couple of former administration officials who have become elected officials themselves.

Of course, many Trump aides also are acting like they don’t want to be found at all. At least not yet.

Check out the full Trump alumni database and our additional stories here:

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A string of top accounts on the new pro-Trump app GETTR were hacked and defaced on its July 4 launch day

Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jason Miller, and Mike Pompeo's accounts were hacked
Several verified accounts were targeted in the cyberattack, including those of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jason Miller, and Mike Pompeo.

  • GETTR, founded by former Trump aide Jason Miller, was hacked on the day of its official launch.
  • The accounts of Miller, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Mike Pompeo, and other Trump allies were targeted.
  • A man claiming responsibility told Insider the hack was “easy” to pull off.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GETTR, the new social media platform set up by allies of former President Donald Trump, was been hacked on the day of its July 4 launch.

The platform’s most popular verified users, mostly former Trump aides, had their accounts compromised. GETTR’s official support page was also targeted.

GETTR's official @support page was hacked
GETTR’s official @support page was hacked and defaced.

Jason Miller, who founded the platform and was formerly a spokesperson to Trump, had his page taken over.

The accounts of Mike Pompeo, Steve Bannon, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Harlan Hill, Sean Parnell, and the pro-Trump broadcaster Newsmax were also hacked.

All of these account’s profiles were changed to show the same message: “@JubaBaghdad was here 🙂 ^^ free palestine ^^.”

The accounts were first hacked at around 8:30 a.m. EST, and the majority of the profiles returned to their previous state by 10:00 a.m. EST.

Insider spoke to the user @JubaBaghdad, who claimed responsibility for the hack, via Twitter direct message.

When asked why he decided to target the social media platform, he said it was “just for fun” and that it had been “easy” from a technical standpoint.

“They should not publish the website before making sure everything, or at least almost everything, is secure,” he added. He did not disclose how he took control of the accounts.”

Miller, GETTR’s CEO, told Insider: “You know you’re shaking things up when they come after you. The problem was detected and sealed in a matter of minutes, and all the intruder was able to accomplish was to change a few user names. The situation has been rectified and we’ve already had more than half a million users sign up for our exciting new platform!”

The platform is off to a bumpy start more broadly.

GETTR was flooded with pornographic images and GIFs on Saturday, Insider reported. Users spammed the platform’s first post with graphic hentai videos and images of Hillary Clinton’s face photoshopped onto a woman’s naked body, Mother Jones reported.

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A judge reminded everyone that Steve Bannon was accused of taking $1 million from a border wall fundraising scheme while approving Trump’s pardon

steve bannon smiling
Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon wearing his customary two shirts as he exits the Manhattan Federal Court on August 20, 2020 in the Manhattan borough of New York City.

  • A judge dismissed an indictment against Steve Bannon months after former President Trump pardoned him.
  • The judge’s written order took pains to detail the allegations against Bannon, however.
  • Prosecutors say he took more than $1 million from a border wall fundraising scheme.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed an indictment against Steve Bannon, formally approving former president Donald Trump’s pardon of his onetime campaign strategist – and noted in the court order that Bannon allegedly took more than $1 million from people who thought they were donating to Trump’s US-Mexico border wall.

“By October 2019 … Bannon and the other defendants received hundreds of thousands of dollars each, which they used on personal expenses such as travel, hotels, and personal credit card debt,” Judge Analisa Torres wrote in her order.

The order follows months of legal wrangling after Trump pardoned Bannon, his former chief White House strategist and top 2016 campaign official, shortly before he left office.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York brought wire fraud and money laundering charges against Bannon in August 2020, alleging he participated in a scheme that funneled money from the “We Build a Wall” fundraiser to enrich himself.

The fundraiser, launched during a 2018 government shutdown, ultimately brought in $25 million that was supposed to go toward building a US-Mexico border wall.

Prosecutors also charged Trump supporters Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea, all of whom Trump did not pardon and may still go to trial.

In a separate case, federal prosecutors in Florida filed an indictment against Kolfage alleging he broke tax laws in taking money from the wall scheme.

The judge reiterated the allegations against Bannon in her order

In her written order, Torres dismissed the indictment against Bannon, but took pains to detail the role prosecutors said he played in the scheme in a lengthy “background” section.

“Unbeknownst to donors, within days of the launch of We Build the Wall, Bannon, Kolfage, and Badolato, among others, agreed that Kolfage would be paid ‘$100k upfront [and] then 20 [per] month,'” Torres wrote, citing the original indictment. “In one of a variety of ways, Bannon agreed to pass payments from We Build the Wall to Kolfage through a nonprofit Bannon controlled … In making this agreement, Bannon made clear that there would be ‘no deals [he did]n’t approve.'”

Bannon previously denied all the charges against him, as have Kolfage, Badolato, and Shea.

steve bannon trump
Steve Bannon and then-President Donald Trump at the White House in 2017.

Torres’ order points out that Bannon took more than $1 million from the “We Build a Wall” organization after he asked Kolfage to send him money – and then used the money for personal expenses.

“Bannon, apart from using these funds to pay Kolfage’s secret salary, used ‘a substantial portion . . . for personal uses and expenses unrelated to We Build the Wall,'” the judge wrote.

After Trump’s pardon, prosecutors asked Torres to remove Bannon from the case rather than dismissing the indictment entirely. Torres, siding with Bannon’s attorney, ruled that legal precedent required her to dismiss the indictment.

“It is not the practice of this district to remove a defendant from the docket without a resolution of the indictment,” Torres wrote.

“The judge clearly reached the right result,” Bannon’s attorney, Robert Costello, said in a statement to the Washington Post. “An unconditional pardon should always result in the dismissal of the indictment. Finality should result in finality.”

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is also investigating Bannon’s finances as part of a fraud investigation into “We Build a Wall,” according to CNN. Trump’s pardon covers only federal crimes, and would not apply to state-level charges that the DA’s office could bring.

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The guy who crowdfunded $25 million to build Trump’s border wall can’t use the money for his legal defense, a judge ruled

brian kolfage
Brian Kolfage in 2014.

  • A “We Build a Wall” co-founder can’t use the money he raised to pay for his legal defense, a judge ruled.
  • Prosecutors say Brian Kolfage used money intended for a US-Mexico border wall to enrich himself.
  • On Thursday, Kolfage was hit with a separate indictment alleging he underpaid his taxes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

“We Build a Wall” co-founder Brian Kolfage cannot use the funds he purportedly raised for a US-Mexico border wall in order to fund his legal defense in a criminal fraud case, a federal judge said Thursday in a ruling reviewed by Insider.

Kolfage has been under indictment since August 2020 for charges stemming from an alleged scheme related to a crowdfunding campaign for a wall at the US-Mexico border, a policy priority of former President Donald Trump.

In December 2018, during a government shutdown, Kolfage – a right-wing media figure who lost several limbs while serving in the Iraq War – tried to raise $1 billion to purportedly build the wall himself.

He ultimately raised around $25 million for the project, called “We Build a Wall.” Federal prosecutors in Manhattan say he took hundreds of thousands of dollars from that sum to enrich himself and spend on things like a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, plastic surgery, home renovations, and credit-card debt.

Prosecutors also charged Stephen Bannon, Trump’s former campaign chairman and top White House policy adviser, in the crowdfunding scheme, though Trump pardoned him on his last day in office. Trump did not pardon Kolfage or Andrew Babolat and Timothy Shea, two other alleged co-conspirators.

Shortly after the charges were filed in August, the judge overseeing the case, Analisa Torres, granted prosecutors’ request to freeze the funds Kolfage raised as part of a restraining order, court filings show. But Kolfage argued he needs the funds to pay an insurance policy he took out for “We Build a Wall” that would fund his legal defense.

In the new ruling, Torres, citing legal precedents, wrote that Kolfage’s constitutional right to counsel doesn’t mean she needs to unfreeze the funds so that Kolfage can pay his preferred lawyer.

“So long as a court finds probable cause that the restrained assets are forfeitable, a defendant is not entitled to modification of the restraining order to allow him to access funds to pay for an attorney,” Torres wrote.

Torres left a door open for Kolfage to overturn the restraining order and gain access to the funds. She said that he can still request a hearing to challenge the underlying probable cause that led to the restraining order, but he must prove he needs the funds to pay for his defense in order to request that hearing.

A separate indictment from federal prosecutors in Florida unsealed Thursday accused Kolfage of tax crimes. Prosecutors said that while Kolfage took hundreds of thousands of dollars for himself from “We Build a Wall,” he listed his income for 2019 at just $63,574.

Steinberg, the attorney Kolfage says he’s struggling to pay, was dismissive of the new federal charges in Florida.

“Unlike the government, we are not going to hold a press conference to celebrate the persecution of a war hero,” he told Insider.

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Rep. Elise Stefanik backs the controversial GOP-sanctioned recount of 2020 election ballots in Arizona

Elise Stefanik
In this Nov. 20, 2019 file photo, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., listens during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • Rep. Elise Stefanik publicly supports a controversial GOP-backed election recount in Arizona.
  • Stefanik told Steve Bannon that the widely-criticized audit is necessary for transparency.
  • Stefanik is a leading candidate to replace House GOP Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, who is vying for a top position in House leadership, publicly backed the unofficial and highly controversial GOP-sanctioned recount of ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona in an interview on Steve Bannon’s podcast.

The GOP-controlled Arizona state Senate has hired Cyber Ninjas, a private Florida firm, to conduct a hand recount of paper ballots cast in the 2020 election, an exercise that further legitimizes top Republican’s false claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

“I fully support the audit in Arizona. We want transparency and answers for the American people. What are the Democrats so afraid of? The voters in Arizona and the state Senate in Arizona pursued this audit, I fully support it. Transparency is a good thing. We need to fix these election security issues in the future,” she told Bannon.

Read more: Trump is MIA in the Virginia GOP’s governor race because he doesn’t want to back a potential loser. His absence is making a chaotic nomination campaign even more bonkers.

Arizona Republicans and Cyber Ninjas are calling the procedure an audit, but election experts and even some Republican election officials, like Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, say the exercise isn’t following even the most basic procedures to properly audit ballots and keep them secure.

In a scathing letter to Ken Bennett, the state Senate’s audit liason, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said that “the hand counting process being used is a significant departure from standard best practices utilized by jurisdictions and experts across the county, including here in Arizona, and raise serious doubt about the accuracy and reliability of any result of this process.”

She raised a number of security issues with the audit’s processes, and wrote that “a number of items detailed in the Counting Floor Procedures appear better suited for chasing conspiracy theories than as a part of a professional audit.”

Tammy Patrick, a former Maricopa County election official and senior advisor at the Democracy Fund, addressed Stefanik’s exact argument in a press briefing with reporters hosted by the National Task Force on Election Crises on Tuesday, noting that Maricopa County already audited the ballots in question.

“That is the common refrain, right, like, ‘well, you must be hiding something, otherwise, we should do this.’ The real issue, though, is that a hand-count audit was already done of these ballots, and has been done, since, I think the first time we did it was 2007, 8, or 9,” she said.

“I personally have overseen the hand counting of tens if not hundreds of thousands of ballots, if not millions of ballots, over the years. So it’s not a question of being afraid of an audit, there were officially sanctioned audits already conducted by the political parties in Arizona,” Patrick added.

Stefanik is a leading contender to replace Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as the House Republican Conference Chair, the third-highest ranking House Republican after Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

Cheney has found herself on the outs after she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over the January 6 insurrection, publicly condemned his lies about the 2020 election, and not-so-quietly feuded with members of her caucus.

Stefanik has publicly endorsed false allegations of fraud in the 2020 election, including pushing baseless claims that signature verification on ballot envelopes in Georgia was “gutted” and that there were 140,000 illegal votes cast, which was debunked by Georgia’s Republican election officials.

Stefanik also voted to reject Pennsylvania’s slate of electors for President Joe Biden during the joint session of Congress on January 6.

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The guy who crowdfunded $25 million to build Trump’s border wall just got indicted on tax fraud charges

AP-brian-kolfage
Brian Kolfage in 2014.

  • Brian Kolfage, who founded “We Build the Wall,” with Steve Bannon, was indicted in a new tax case.
  • A New York grand jury separately found the crowdfunding effort to be fraudulent in August 2020.
  • Donald Trump pardoned Bannon before he left office, but didn’t pardon Kolfage.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Brian Kolfage – the cofounder of a failed crowdfunding effort to build a wall along the US-Mexico border with Steve Bannon – is facing a new tax case after being indicted on federal fraud charges last year.

Newly unsealed court documents show that a federal grand jury in Florida indicted Kolfage on accusations of fraud and filing false tax returns.

According to charging documents reviewed by Insider, Kolfage’s tax filings for 2019 represented an income of $63,574. In fact, the charges say, Kolfage personally received hundreds of thousands of dollars that year through his “We Build a Wall” project and other organizations.

The charges were first reported by Bloomberg News.

In August, federal prosecutors in New York filed an indictment against Kolfage and Bannon, accusing them of using some of the $25 million raised for the “We Build a Wall” organization to line their own pockets. Two other right-wing political operatives, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, were also charged in the scheme.

The prosecutors accused Kolfage of using $350,000 in donor money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including spending money on home renovations, a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, plastic surgery, and credit-card debt.

Kolfage launched the “We Build a Wall” fundraiser in December 2018, during a government shutdown, in a failed attempt to raise $1 billion to build a US-Mexico border privately. Trump himself had distanced himself from the project.

Trump pardoned Bannon, his former campaign chairman and chief White House strategist, on his last day in office. He didn’t pardon Kolfage, Badolato, or Shea.

Additional charging documents in the Florida case detailing how Kolfage handled his money were not immediately available in public court records. The indictment says Kolfage kept his money in the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which typically represents members of the US Military. Kolfage is an Air Force veteran and lost both arms and a leg in the Iraq War.

An attorney representing Kolfage didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell told Steve Bannon he is launching ‘MyStore’ – a ‘patriotic’ version of Amazon

mypillow ceo mike lindell profile 4x3
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has a brand new idea -a patriotic e-commerce platform.

  • MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell wants to launch an e-commerce platform, “MyStore,” to rival Amazon.
  • He announced the upcoming launch on Steve Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic” podcast.
  • MyStore currently lists items like “freedom coffee,” “uncommon USA flag pole,” and pro-Trump books.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has another brand new idea – a patriotic e-commerce platform.

Speaking on Steve Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic” podcast on Monday, Lindell announced that he was launching MyStore as a “rival to Amazon.” Lindell’s latest appearance on Bannon’s podcast follows his last visit to the show two weeks ago, where he went on a long rant about voter fraud allegations and asserted, once again, the baseless conspiracy theory that former president Trump would be back in office in August.

The MyPillow website currently features a version of MyStore with 81 products. These include “freedom flags,” “freedom coffee”, and – somewhat bizarrely – an “uncommon US flagpole.”

Also sold on the site are books about former president Donald Trump, including a book titled “Love Joy Trump.” Lindell has also listed his memoir, titled “Mike’s Memoir: With God, All Things Are Possible,” which retails for $9.97.

“For years entrepreneurs and inventors have come to me with products and ideas. They don’t know how to market them and I haven’t had the time to show them,” Lindell said in a video on the site.

“I am going to put vetted products from great entrepreneurs on here, like you see a sampling of them here today, that are going to change this country,” he continued.

“We’re finally going to be able to see these products and be able to get these great entrepreneurs, their great ideas, out to you, the public.”

The site also proclaims that there are “hundreds” of products coming soon, and includes a link to a form for people to submit applications for “products ready for market.”

It is unclear if Lindell was referring to the current iteration of MyStore as being a solid contender to rival Amazon’s dominance in the US e-commerce market, or if he planned to launch another version of it.

In the span of just a few months, Lindell has been banned from Twitter and sued by voting-machine company Dominion, after he peddled voter-fraud conspiracy theories.

Insider reported in February that he and his company, MyPillow, were expected to lose $65 million in revenue over his election fraud claims, but analysts and marketing experts say he might be able to find a way to capitalize on the bad press to get some monetary returns.

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MyPillow’s Mike Lindell claims Trump will ‘be back in office in August’ in Steve Bannon podcast rant

mike lindell fox news
My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell told Steve Bannon the “election of 2020 is going bye-bye.”

  • The MyPillow CEO launched into a long rant on voter fraud on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast.
  • He claimed that Trump will be reinstated in August, saying the “election of 2020 is going bye-bye.”
  • Voting-machine maker Dominion is suing Lindell for $1.3 billion for his voter fraud allegations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Mike Lindell is back at it again: launching into a long, conspiracy-theory fueled rant on voter fraud and communism on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s ”War Room: Pandemic” podcast.

The MyPillow CEO and Trump ally also promoted baseless claim that the former president would be back in the White House by August this year. He added that he has collected evidence that will go before the Supreme Court, despite state and federal courts throwing out election lawsuits filed by Trump and his supporters.

“Donald Trump will be back in office in August,” Lindell said, gesticulating at the video camera.

“What I’m talking about Steve is what I have been doing since January 9th. All of the evidence I have, everything that is going to go before the Supreme Court and the election of 2020 is going bye-bye,” Lindell said during the podcast, which aired over the weekend.

“It was an attack by another country – communism coming in. I don’t know what they’re going to do with it after they pull it down but it’s going down.”

Lindell made several other claims in his eight-minute-long podcast rant, saying that he was “hiring the best private investigators in the world.”

These investigators, he said, would “go back in time” and find out who “ordered hit jobs” on him.

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Manhattan’s DA subpoenaed Steve Bannon’s fundraising records as part of a fraud investigation into his border-wall campaign, report says

steve bannon
Steve Bannon.

  • Manhattan’s DA has subpoenaed financial records relating to Steve Bannon, CNN reported. 
  • The DA is investigating Bannon’s use of funds donated as part of the We Build the Wall campaign.
  • Bannon was pardoned by Donald Trump last month, but he could still face state charges. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Manhattan’s district attorney has subpoenaed financial records from Steve Bannon’s crowdfunding campaign to build a wall across the US-Mexican border, sources told CNN. 

According to the report, subpoenas were issued to Wells Fargo, which held the money Bannon raised as part of the We Build the Wall fundraising drive, and GoFundMe, the online platform he used to raise donations. 

A spokesman for Manhattan’s district attorney declined to comment. 

The subpoenas were issued shortly after former President Donald Trump pardoned Bannon on federal conspiracy charges hours before he left the White House last month, according to CNN.

New Jersey’s attorney general has also launched a civil investigation into the We Build The Wall campaign, per CNN. 

Bannon had been charged by federal prosecutors last December along with three other men with defrauding donors out of $25 million in relation to the border-wall project. Bannon was accused of pocketing hundreds and thousands of dollars of the money for his own expenses, and diverting $1 million to pay an alleged co-conspirator. 

The three men involved in the project, and charged alongside Bannon, did not receive a pardon from Trump. All of the men charged have denied any wrongdoing.

But Trump’s presidential pardon only applies to federal charges, meaning that Bannon could still faces charges in a state court.

Insider has contacted Bannon’s attorney for comment. 

Bannon was formerly among the most influential people in Trump’s orbit, serving as campaign manager during Trump’s successful run for the White House in 2016, and afterward appointed White House chief strategist. 

He left the White House 2018, after he was quoted in an exposé by the author Michael Wolf insulting members of Trump’s family and likening the Trump Organization to a crime syndicate.

But the men repaired their relationship before Trump left office, and Bannon used his podcast last year to spread Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. 

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Steve Bannon believes the Democrats have a ‘compelling’ case for convicting Trump

FILE PHOTO: Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon holds a news conference in Rome, Italy September 22, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianch/File Photo
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

  • Former President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is set to begin on February 8.
  • Steve Bannon has described the Democrat’s case as ’emotional’ and ‘compelling.’
  • The former chief strategist told Politico that Democrats will try to ‘smear’ the former president.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Steve Bannon, the former President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, believes that the upcoming Senate trial could be bad news for his old boss.

“The Democrats have a very emotional and compelling case,” Bannon, a preeminent ideologue of the US far-right, told Politico.

It is unlikely that Senate will convict Trump. It would require a two-thirds majority, which has not ever happened before.

But, in Bannon’s eyes, the court of public opinion might not acquit him for the deadly insurrection on January 6.

“They’re going to try and convict him in the eyes of the American people and smear him forever,” Bannon told Politico.

Read more: Josh Barro on why President Trump should be impeached.

Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is scheduled to begin on February 8.

The former president is accused of  “incitement of insurrection” over his role in stirring up a mob to storm the US Capitol building.

While the impeachment trial’s main focus will be on the insurrection, Bannon has suggested that Trump’s legal team should instead pivot to discussing unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud.

“He is not going to be convicted, so we must address November 3. The best place to adjudicate this is the well of the US Senate,” Bannon told Politico.

“It has to be dramatic. It has to be big. It has to be the big lie versus the big steal,” he added.

Presenting these arguments will fall upon Trump’s lawyers.

Trump has rejected a request from House impeachment managers to testify under oath during the trial.

Bannon could be facing legal woes of his own. He is under investigation in New York for a fund-raising scheme that allegedly defrauded people who had donated towards the building of Trump’s border wall between the US and Mexico, according to reports.

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