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If you ever had the great misfortune of visiting Melania Trump’s official website, you would know that the former first lady is very into NFTs now. What exactly an NFT is is not clear. But Melania’s first entry into the boom, as typical of her and as usual for crypto, is certainly tacky as hell. Who on earth would want to own this thing?

Apparently no one. Bloomberg reports that the winning bid on the auction for Melania’s NFT collection, which received just five bids last month, came from the same digital wallet belonging to the entity that created the auction. In other words, it seems like Melania or someone tied to the former first lady bought the NFTs themselves. From Bloomberg:

Transactions reviewed by Bloomberg News show that on Jan. 23, the digital wallet listed as the creator of Trump’s NFT transferred 372,657 USDC, a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar, to a second wallet that later sent 1,800 SOL to a third address. That third one is listed as the winner of the auction on Trump’s website.

On Jan. 27, the original wallet sent 1,800 SOL back to the second wallet address, according to blockchain transactions. The record of transactions was earlier reported by Vice.

In response to the report, Melania’s office said that the NFTs were purchased on behalf of a third party. But that claim, already dubious, was met with further skepticism on Thursday after Melania announced a new line of NFTs titled the POTUS NFT Collection.

So, was this a wash-sale stunt? Or was Melania just sad that no one wanted what she was selling? Did she actually get a third-party buyer? Judging from the Trump family’s long record of grift and fraudulent charity-giving, it’s hard to imagine it’s not whatever of these options is the stupidest.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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