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Trump advisor Roger Stone pleads for donations—to help sue his enemies

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In a long exhortation on his crowdfunding website, Stone said the “crushing” web of legal threats against him “threatens to destroy me and my family financially — all because I fought to elect Donald Trump.”

His legal bills, the website says, “exceed $457,000 and are likely to reach $1,000,000” in total. The amount already paid includes a $150,000 court filing to dismiss the lawsuit involving Protect Democracy, along with a “six-figure bill” from an attorney representing him in congressional investigations, he claimed.

Stone also mentioned the $457,000 figure in a video published Nov. 6, 2017.

Months later, in an April 5 post on stonezone.com directing readers to the legal fund, Stone-affiliated blogger Jacob Engels said Stone’s fees skyrocketed. “He has incurred nearly a million dollars in legal fees,” said Engels, who added that Stone will likely have to spend much more afterward.

But another account of Stone’s legal fees, delivered in an email blast from Stone on Tuesday, chafes against the April 5 claim.

“My legal bills defending against these partisan witch hunts already exceed $545,000!” Stone wrote. “I literally do not have this kind of money. It is why I must turn to you for help.”

In correspondence with CNBC, Stone’s description of his expenditures only grew more opaque.

Stone said in an April 25 email that his legal fees “are more than a half million and projected, with the bogus DNC lawsuit to reach [$1 million].”

The DNC’s suit was filed April 20 — weeks after Engels wrote that Stone has incurred “nearly a million dollars” in fees.

“I’m not at liberty to discuss or comment on his strategy or legal efforts past what I have already stated,” Engels said in an email to CNBC.

In a follow-up message Tuesday, Stone said the math was “simple.” He said that his fees for the congressional investigations totaled “just under $475,000” and that roughly another $175,000 was spent on his Florida attorneys, who attempted to dismiss the Protect Democracy lawsuit in October.

His fees so far, he said Tuesday, total $650,000. That’s more than $100,000 higher than the figure cited in a form letter sent the same day.

And in a new explanation of his projected legal costs, Stone revealed that, rather than merely defend himself against outside threats, he plans to take proactive legal actions against the government.

Stone told CNBC that his legal fees include filing public records requests and an upcoming lawsuit against the government over an alleged warrant against him through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

“It’s the greatest violation of civil liberties in American political history,” Stone said of the alleged warrant in an interview with right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. “It’s an outrageous crime for which somebody has to be punished.”

Such warrants, which are arbitrated in secret courts to spy on Americans suspected of illegal foreign activities, have become a political lightning rod in Congress in recent months. Republicans, including Reps. Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy, have accused the Justice Department of seeking warrants against Trump-connected figures based on political bias. Nunes worked on Trump’s transition team after the 2016 election.

Stone said that as much as $350,000 of the projected $1 million he faces in legal fees will be spent on proactive government litigation — which is never mentioned in the form emails sent to his subscribers or on his legal fund website.

This again contradicts Stone’s earlier remarks on his website, when he wrote that preparing to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee is what would inflate his legal bills near the million-dollar mark.

Stone did not respond to a detailed list of questions from CNBC about the legal defense fund and how he planned to use it.

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Samsung related shares plunge after heir Jay Y Lee is sentenced to jail again

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Jay Y. Lee, co-vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, center, wears a protective mask as he is surrounded by members of the media while arriving at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, June 8, 2020.

SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg via Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Shares of groups related to South Korean-conglomerate Samsung Group plunged on Monday after Samsung heir Jay. Y Lee was sentenced to two and a half years in jail by a South Korean court on Monday.

By Monday’s market close in South Korea, shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 3.41%. after dipping more than 4% earlier in the session.

Samsung C&T’s stock also saw heavy losses, and dropped 6.84%. Meanwhile, Samsung SDI declined 4.21% while Samsung Heavy Industries fell 2.74%. and Samsung Life Insurance slipped 4.96%.

Samsung related shares dragged down South Korea’s broader index, and the Kospi fell 2.33% by the close of the trading day.

Lee’s return to prison came after a retrial of a bribery case involving former President Park Geun-hye, according to local news agency Yonhap.

“In this case, a company’s freedom and right to wealth were violated due to the abuse of power by the former president,” Lee’s lead attorney said in a statement given by Samsung Electronics, according to a CNBC translation.

The 52-year-old Samsung scion was unexpectedly freed from jail in 2018 after a South Korean appeals court suspended his prior jail sentence. He was previously charged with giving 29.8 billion Korean won (around $27 million) worth of bribes and promising to give more, Yonhap reported.

Former president Park recently had her 20-year prison sentence on graft charges upheld, according to Reuters.

— CNBC’s Chery Kang contributed to this report.

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China says it will sanction U.S. officials for ‘nasty’ behavior on Taiwan

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A Chinese and U.S. flag at a booth during the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, November 6, 2018.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — China will impose sanctions on U.S. officials who displayed “nasty” behavior over the issue of Taiwan, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday.

The decision was revealed by the foreign ministry’s spokewoman, Hua Chunying, in response to a reporter’s question on what China would do in response to the U.S. lifting restrictions on its relations with Taiwan.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had earlier this month announced that his country will no longer limit contact between its officials and their Taiwanese counterparts. China slammed the decision and vowed to fight back.

China claims Taiwan — a democratic and self-ruled island — as its territory that must one day be reunited with the mainland, and insists that the island has no right to participate in international diplomacy of its own. The Chinese Communist Party has never governed Taiwan.

Experts have warned that Taiwan will remain a contentious issue in the bilateral ties between the U.S. and China. Former Australian Kevin Rudd, a long-time China watcher, told CNBC last week that Pompeo’s move could upend a major foundation underpinning U.S.-China relations.

Rudd was referring to the “one China policy,” the principle in which the U.S. and the international community recognize that there’s only one central Chinese government — under the Communist Party of China in Beijing.

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Electric carmaker Xpeng releases driverless features to rival Tesla

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Xpeng CEO He Xiaopeng stands next to the company’s P7 electric sedan as he addresses media at the 2020 Beijing auto show.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

GUANGZHOU, China — Chinese electric carmaker Xpeng Motors has announced a new autonomous driving feature designed to work on highways, as it ramps up its challenge to domestic rivals as well as Tesla.

The feature — called Navigation Guided Pilot or NGP — will allow the company’s flagship P7 sedan to automatically change lanes, speed up or slow down, or overtake cars and enter and exit highways.

It is part of the next generation of Xpeng’s XPILOT 3.0 so-called advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) which the company expects to launch in the first quarter of this year. ADAS refers to a system with some autonomous features but where a driver is still required.

Xpeng is one of China’s electric vehicle start-ups looking to race ahead in the country’s growing market as it battles other upstarts such as Nio and Li Auto, as well as U.S. electric car giant Tesla.

Mass deliveries of Xpeng’s P7 sedan, a direct rival to Tesla’s Model 3, began last June. Xpeng delivered 27,041 vehicles in 2020 — more than double from a year ago. 

The NGP is a challenge to Tesla’s autonomous ADAS called Autopilot. One of Autopilot’s features is called Navigate on Autopilot, which has similar functions to Xpeng’s NGP.

China’s electric vehicle companies are looking to add more autonomous features to their cars. Nio has its own system called NIO Pilot.

How Xpeng’s system works

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