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Ex-Rand Paul aide pardoned by Trump now charged with funneling Russian cash to Trump’s campaign

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Longtime Republican operative Jesse Benton has been charged with funneling tens of thousands of dollars from a Russian national to former President Donald Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee, the Justice Department said Monday.

Jesse Benton, a former campaign aide to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., "conspired to illegally funnel thousands of dollars of foreign money from a Russian foreign national" to back Trump's 2016 campaign, Justice Department prosecutors said in an indictment unsealed this week.

Prosecutors say Benton and Doug Wead, a conservative author and former campaign adviser to Ron and Rand Paul, solicited an illegal campaign donation from the unnamed Russian national and then falsified campaign finance filings to make it appear that the donation came from Benton.

The indictment alleges that Benton arranged for the Russian to attend a Trump campaign fundraiser in Philadelphia to get a photograph with the........

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