Used to categorize content related to the former President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. Discussions under this tag may encompass a wide range of topics, including his policies, actions, and statements while in office, his impact on American politics and society, and his personal and business history. Additionally, this tag may cover topics such as Trump's relationships with other political figures and foreign leaders, his use of social media to communicate with the public, and the controversies and scandals that surrounded his presidency.

Total topics: 56

I heard Ronald Reagan went through the same circusntances, he suffered an assassination attempt, after that he went up in the polls and eventually won the elections by a considerable margin.

Trump was going to win anyway but after the shooting there is no doubt about it. 
94 10
I want to make it clear that this is not any sort of political propaganda.

I've been watching the RNC and I've seen Trump completely changed, he's not the same.

If you compare it to other appearences before the shooting, you'll see Trump's facial expression is totally different. Trump himself said that the shooting touched him very deeply and so it seems because I don't see the same arrogant, vain, fucking selfish person he used to be. When you see him now you can tell he's a good man.

It wouldn't be the first time that this happens to a person because I heard many times that when someone experiences a deadly situation he ends up changing his personality, usually for good.

Do you agree or is this just an impression?
66 16
In case you haven’t heard yet he picked Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio. I don’t have much of an opinion on this, but I thought some people might. Honestly, I have barely heard of this guy before.
115 17
Sotomayor after dissenting from the recent Supreme Court decision gave a wink and a not to Biden claiming he now had the authority to assassinate Trump. 

America has now went from democrats jailing their political opponents to advocating for their assassination. Some former member of seal team 6 on Twitter have openly stated they are ready to carry out the orders if Biden gives them the call.

Also the first person who comments after this post is gay
188 16
So RFK while the debate was live streaming actually would pause the debate after questions and give himself the same amount of time to answer them.

I feel like this could have been marketed better, but if you have not watched the debate yet and want to hear from all serious presidential candidates, particularly if you are a fellow Democrat like me, then you should watch the real debate

15 7
It’s a dark day in America when we judge politicians based on charisma and not trustworthiness.

116 15

To be fair to him and really see him at his best the next debate should likely take place at around 12 pm

On an unrelated note, dementia patients often succumb to what is called sundowning, where their brain just doesn't function very well at night. 

Maybe we can get a glimpse of him before the sundowning begins and we can actually make a decision on who to vote for that takes into account the best of each candidate. 
10 5
The presidential debate is tomorrow (thursday) at 9pm eastern 8 pm central, airing on CNN. 

If you want to talk shit while listening to it or just discuss it as it happens, I will be in the discord chat to commentate. 

Nobody that joins has to have a particular political leaning though and we should all be respectful of each other's views while simultaneously having thick skin. Join here

21 4
Turning Trump into an N word has made him more appealing to N words.

now that Trump is a hard R person, he has surged to 24% with my people.

What next? Do the democrats attempt to cut Trumps balls off so he appeals to their core demographic of MTF Trans people?
1 1
I found interesting article that say all but one president descended from slave owners except Trump

Nobody can be blamed for sins of father, but it is odd that a place claiming to be a meritocracy all have leaders whose ancestors have several generations of being the top 1% wealth wise. 

Russia is more of a meritocracy prigozihn started out as running a hot dog stand and now he is next Russian president. 

41 13
This may sound like old news, but given the current context in which liberals can't get Trump out of the elections, do you think liberals are capable of doing what the title of this thread says?

Remember that in the US history there have been several political assasinations, even to a president (JFK), so many people think Trump's time has come. Personally, I think it doesn't make sense because democrats will lose anyway whether Trump is in the election or not. However, there is a renowned prophecy circulating on the internet that speaks of the assasination of an important american politician that the prophecy calls "the orchestra man", so people think Trump is "the orchestra man".

What do you think?
58 9
It was 1964 and Goldwater won the republican nomination. The libertarians in the party usually voted with the liberal wing of the republican party . The thought was that we agree on more than we disagree with the liberal wing of the republican party who eventually evolved into neocons.

The Romney family has a history of treachery though and so the precursor to neocons decided to give lyndon B. Johnson the presidency. The guy responsible for the murder of JFK. They actively worked against Goldwater and this effort was lead by the Mitt Romney's father.

Libertarians are cucks so they continued to vote republican . However the libertarians had some success in helping yo make the parties more ideological. 

After the succesful coup by neocons, we had nothing but Neocon successes. We had Reagan win the white house and then both bushes. 

Then a man named Pat Buchanon stepped up in 1999 and their was an ideological fight. Bush was for the wealthy, the banks and wanted the party to only be a party for the wealthy while Pat Buchanon thought cultural things were more important. Pat Buchanon lost and the necons won again dragging the party down. 

It got to the point where in 2016 Bush was lamenting that he would be the last Republican president. I guess he at that point aincerely believed that cucking to liberals was the only way republicans could win. 

However something happened. Trump was not afraid to engage in a cultural war and as a result he surprised the nation by single handedly saving the republican party, and when you look at the 2024 field you see neocons areno longer welcome. Chris Christy is universally hated, Liz Cheney has been relegated to her corner to wither and die and the trailer family Romney are now democrats who will be voting Biden. 

The neocons destroyed the party and they destroyed the country, but they couldn't destroy the American spirit and I am so glad that Bush gets to be alive to see republican debates where each candidate is fighting to see who can shit on him the most. 

It makes me happy that Bush will see his ideological fight with Buchanon lost and can die knowing that both the left and the right have rejected his evil insanity

34 5
I think either US party's true advocates should be repulsed and horrified.

Within those pretending to support your cause are people voting in men in need of geriatric care on both sides, twice now, neither of whom are true to the actual ideals the parties uphold.

Biden is barely a Democrat if you analyse his life and policies and right now can't walk off the right side of a stage or make coherent strings of 3 sentences.

Trump is a manwhore that has no idea what family values and sanctity of marriage even mean. He's no conservative at all and tried to upheave an election, he's anti people choosing their leader.

Both sides have enemies within bringing your worst candidates to the forefront.
9 6

What he said  at 1:20 "There seems to be a cure for Trump Derangement Syndrome"

Side effects include bringing your nation to the brink of collapse and may not work in all cases, ask your doctor about: Having no fucking money because everything is too damn expensive

Note: I am not legally allowed to criticize the government because that's what nazis do isn't it. Those freaking anarchists hate state authority. Anyway I need to remind you this is anecdotal and Bidenomics is an amazing success (number go up = good - Colbert)
95 9
Remarks by President Biden on the Continued Battle for the Soul of the Nation

Independence National Historical Park
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(September 1, 2022)

 My fellow Americans, please, if you have a seat, take it.  I speak to you tonight from sacred ground in America: Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
This is where America made its Declaration of Independence to the world more than two centuries ago with an idea, unique among nations, that in America, we’re all created equal.
This is where the United States Constitution was written and debated.
This is where we set in motion the most extraordinary experiment of self-government the world has ever known with three simple words: “We, the People.”  “We, the People.”
These two documents and the ideas they embody — equality and democracy — are the rock upon which this nation is built.  They are how we became the greatest nation on Earth.  They are why, for more than two centuries, America has been a beacon to the world.
But as I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault.  We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise.
So tonight, I have come this place where it all began to speak as plainly as I can to the nation about the threats we face, about the power we have in our own hands to meet these threats, and about the incredible future that lies in front of us if only we choose it.
We must never forget: We, the people, are the true heirs of the American experiment that began more than two centuries ago.
We, the people, have burning inside each of us the flame of liberty that was lit here at Independence Hall — a flame that lit our way through abolition, the Civil War, Suffrage, the Great Depression, world wars, Civil Rights.
That sacred flame still burns now in our time as we build an America that is more prosperous, free, and just.
That is the work of my presidency, a mission I believe in with my whole soul.
But first, we must be honest with each other and with ourselves. 
Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal.
Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.
Now, I want to be very clear up front: Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans.  Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.
I know because I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans.
But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.
These are hard things. 
But I’m an American President — not the President of red America or blue America, but of all America.
And I believe it is my duty — my duty to level with you, to tell the truth no matter how difficult, no matter how painful.
And here, in my view, is what is true: MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution.  They do not believe in the rule of law.  They do not recognize the will of the people. 
They refuse to accept the results of a free election.  And they’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.
MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards — backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.
They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.
They look at the mob that stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th — brutally attacking law enforcement — not as insurrectionists who placed a dagger to the throat of our democracy, but they look at them as patriots.
And they see their MAGA failure to stop a peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election as preparation for the 2022 and 2024 elections.
They tried everything last time to nullify the votes of 81 million people.  This time, they’re determined to succeed in thwarting the will of the people.
That’s why respected conservatives, like Federal Circuit Court Judge Michael Luttig, has called Trump and the extreme MAGA Republicans, quote, a “clear and present danger” to our democracy.
But while the threat to American democracy is real, I want to say as clearly as we can: We are not powerless in the face of these threats.  We are not bystanders in this ongoing attack on democracy.
There are far more Americans — far more Americans from every — from every background and belief who reject the extreme MAGA ideology than those that accept it. 
And, folks, it is within our power, it’s in our hands — yours and mine — to stop the assault on American democracy.
I believe America is at an inflection point — one of those moments that determine the shape of everything that’s to come after.
And now America must choose: to move forward or to move backwards?  To build the future or obsess about the past?  To be a nation of hope and unity and optimism, or a nation of fear, division, and of darkness?
MAGA Republicans have made their choice.  They embrace anger.  They thrive on chaos.  They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.
But together — together, we can choose a different path.  We can choose a better path.  Forward, to the future.  A future of possibility.  A future to build and dream and hope.
And we’re on that path, moving ahead.
I know this nation.  I know you, the American people.  I know your courage.  I know your hearts.  And I know our history.
This is a nation that honors our Constitution.  We do not reject it. 
This is a nation that believes in the rule of law.  We do not repudiate it. 
This is a nation that respects free and fair elections.  We honor the will of the people.  We do not deny it. 
And this is a nation that rejects violence as a political tool.  We do not encourage violence.
We are still an America that believes in honesty and decency and respect for others, patriotism, liberty, justice for all, hope, possibilities. 
We are still, at our core, a democracy. 

And yet history tells us that blind loyalty to a single leader and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy.
For a long time, we’ve told ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed, but it’s not.
We have to defend it, protect it, stand up for it — each and every one of us.

That’s why tonight I’m asking our nation to come together, unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy regardless of your ideology.

We’re all called, by duty and conscience, to confront extremists who will put their own pursuit of power above all else. 
Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans: We must be stronger, more determined, and more committed to saving American democracy than MAGA Republicans are to — to destroying American democracy. 
We, the people, will not let anyone or anything tear us apart.  Today, there are dangers around us we cannot allow to prevail.   You’ve heard it — more and more talk about violence as an acceptable political tool in this country.  It’s not.  It can never be an acceptable tool. 
So I want to say this plain and simple: There is no place for political violence in America.  Period.  None.  Ever. 

We saw law enforcement brutally attacked on January the 6th.  We’ve seen election officials, poll workers — many of them volunteers of both parties — subjected to intimidation and death threats.  And — can you believe it? — FBI agents just doing their job as directed, facing threats to their own lives from their own fellow citizens. 
On top of that, there are public figures — today, yesterday, and the day before — predicting and all but calling for mass violence and rioting in the streets.

This is inflammatory.  It’s dangerous.  It’s against the rule of law.  And we, the people, must say: This is not who we are. 
Ladies and gentlemen, we can’t be pro-insurrectionist and pro-American.  They’re incompatible.

We can’t allow violence to be normalized in this country.  It’s wrong.  We each have to reject political violence with — with all the moral clarity and conviction this nation can muster.  Now.
We can’t let the integrity of our elections be undermined, for that is a path to chaos. 
Look, I know politics can be fierce and mean and nasty in America.  I get it.  I believe in the give-and-take of politics, in disagreement and debate and dissent.
We’re a big, complicated country.  But democracy endures only if we, the people, respect the guardrails of the republic.  Only if we, the people, accept the results of free and fair elections.   Only if we, the people, see politics not as total war but mediation of our differences. 
Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election: either they win or they were cheated.  And that’s where MAGA Republicans are today.  
They don’t understand what every patriotic American knows: You can’t love your country only when you win.  It’s fundamental. 
American democracy only works only if we choose to respect the rule of law and the institutions that were set up in this chamber behind me, only if we respect our legitimate political differences.  
I will not stand by and watch the will of the American people be overturned by wild conspiracy theories and baseless, evidence-free claims of fraud. 
I will not stand by and watch elections in this country stolen by people who simply refuse to accept that they lost. 
I will not stand by and watch the most fundamental freedom in this country — the freedom to vote and have your vote counted be taken from you and the American people.  
Look, as your President, I will defend our democracy with every fiber of my being, and I’m asking every American to join me. 
(A protestor disruption can be heard.)
Throughout our history, America has often made the greatest progress coming out of some of our darkest moments, like you’re hearing in that bullhorn. 

Current events
34 11

It looks like more and more people are raising the alarm about the election fraud in the 2020 election.

Big names complicit in the fraud are trying to stop audits of the vote, trying to stop an investigation or audit is as good as a confession in my book btw, honest people want to be investigated and cleared. 

I doubt the election will be overturned, but the more and more time passes, the more evidence of fraud surfaced. 

It looks like the capital hill ruoters may actually have in fact been heroes trying to preserve the integrity of the election.
133 15
Is that even possible in the US?

From what I know, the police in the States are really brutal and the law seemingly allows them to be so. That's why I ask if it's possible to shoot a looter when is caught red handed considering that most of them are unarmed and according to human rights you can't shoot an unarmed person. Maybe it's possible given that americans don't give a shit to human rights (you still have death penalty), but on the other hand maybe it's not because most of the looters are black and the victimism can arise. That seems to be a dilemma.
40 7
I have just learned that Donald Trump was kicked out of 109 countries. Please Google "kicked out of 109 countries" if you don't believe me. 

He is subversive. He is a criminal and he is bad for western society. Instead of letting Trump ruin America, why doesn't America become the 110th country he is kicked out of?
12 5

Trump is the greatest, to hate him is defeatist,
Why you bitter 'bout the mean guy? He's gotta be cutthroat to elitists,
Born into wealth, profiting off inheritance, his aura screams good work ethic and 'realness',
He's only joking when he talks about molesting women,he's got that well-disciplined penis,
He's so loyal, wife is spoiled, as in all 3 of them and of course he hires strippers but his zipper's fastened and he aint seen tits,
He's so good at managing businesses that he intentionally had 13 fumbles to seem humble as he professes he's a genius.

Why wouldn't we all back a guy that provoked World War 3 twice or three times in a term?
North Korea and Iran are shitholes that he ought to burn,
What's the matter if blood splatters? He's a badass and they'll learn,
We're the US, after all and he has a Jew-blessed stash of objects that he earned.
5 2
I am curious if successful Billionaire Donald Trump is smart. It would seem you need to be smart to accomplish his level of success, but please tell me what his grand strategy is for following situations..

1. Trump says deep state is out to get him. Deep state asks for classified documents back. Trump hides documents and gives them excuse to come after him.

Is this really who the right wing factions want to lead them?

2. Trump says he hires best people. Also Trump fire everybody he hires and tells the world how stupid they were.  

Trump, you hired those people. What does it say about you to hire morons so often.

Is this really who should lead right wing? Does this make him good at strategy?

3. Trump has a lot of legal cases against him. Also Trump, admits in recording classified documents were not declassified prior to leaving office, removing one of his only two possible defenses.

4. Trump has teams of lawyers hoping he has one slip of tongue. Also Trump makes numerous TV appearances, posts non stop to truth social and does not shut mouth.

This does not seem like good judgment.  

5. Trump has a second possible defense. He can claim ignorance about whether his actions were illegal . This is actually a defense in American courts. Trump proceeds to tell numerous people he knows this would be illegal if he actually hid documents. 

This guy does not appear to have good judgment. Perhaps Americans should vote for new right wing celebrity. Maybe Kid Rock . 
170 17

That is also why you seem to need people like Trump and Biden, you have nothing better to do on either side of the fucking aisle than worry about everything you stand against instead of what you stand for.

People going hehe what about this omg Biden failed this, Trump has been arrested for barely any crimes he committed hehehehe. I know Trump was a collosal fuckup and a dirtbag but why focus on that? Focus on who you want in power and how well they are doing instead. Every thread on the Internet about politics is pretty much waaa waaa this is what we don't want and this is who we don't like.

I am no different, I don't like people and stand against things too but start to ask yourself why you're so pressed about it. People always debate 'against' but why not debate *for*. You have people on the 'liberal' side here being absolutely asinine bullies to many and even relishing in alienating them by calling them 'dummy' and worse. You have similar from the right wing, enjoying the agitation they cause people with their punk-ass threads.

This isn't how it should be, I just know that much. Politics should be argued from the side you believe in for the cause you believe in. Why are you so hung up on your enemies and their flaws? Worry about your own strengths and flex it, then perhaps work on the flaws in your political outlook if you notice a logical fallacy or imperfection.

29 10
George Anthony Devolder Santos (born July 22, 1988) is an American politician and businessman from the state of New York. A member of the Republican Party, Santos was elected to represent New York's 3rd congressional district in 2022, a district covering part of northern Long Island and northeast Queens. Both Santos and his 2022 opponent, Robert Zimmerman, are openly gay, a first for a U.S. congressional election. He is the first openly gay non-incumbent Republican and the first Brazilian-American elected to Congress.  Santos is a pro-Trump right-wing extremist who has appeared with MTG speaking to neo-Nazi political parties like Freedom Party of Austria and Alternative for Germany.  Santos attended Trump's Jan 6th rally and claims to have bailed out some Jan 6th arrestees although that has not been verified.

After Santos was elected to Congress, and before he took office, reporting by The New York Times and later other news outlets revealed significant issues with Santos' biographical claims.

  • Santos claims to have been living as openly gay and married to a man for the last decade
    • but according to public records, Santos was a married to a woman until they divorced in 2019.
  • Santos moved out of his Queens address in August but never changed his address and was still falsely registered at that address at the time of the election.  New York mailed Santos' certificate of electoral victory to this old address, where the landlord was throwing out his mail.
  • Santos claimed to have graduated from Baruch College in 2010, earning a bachelor's degree in finance and economics.  Santos also claimed to have received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from New York University, but NYU has no record of his attendance.
    • After, obtaining a high school equivalency at the age of 21, Santos moved with his nurse mother to Rio de Janiero until he was caught stealing from his mother's  patients and fled back to America before his court date.
    • There's no indication Santos actually attended any higher education.
  • Santos claimed to be of Jewish descent, his family fleeing Ukraine ahead of the Nazis. 
    • In fact, his family immigrated from Belgium in 1863.  No evidence of Jewish or Ukrainian ancestry can be found.
  • Santos claimed that his mother was the first female executive at a major financial institute in the World Trade Center on 9/11.  Santos claimed his mother barely survived 9/11.
    • Actually, his mother was a nurse with no known connection to the 9/11 attacks beyond living in Queens at the time.
  • Santos claimed to have made his money as a Wall St. financier and investor at CitiGroup, Goldmans Sachs, MetGlobal, and LinkBridge.
    • None of these companies ever employed Santos in any capacity.
    • Santos clearly has access to million of dollar, he spent much of it on his campaign, but there's now no indication of how Santos actually made his millions. 
    • Not honestly, apparently.
  • Santos ran a charity from 2013 to 2018, claiming to raise money for rescue animals.
    • No application for tax-exempt status was ever filed.
    • All indications now are that Santos simply kept the money.
  • According to his financial disclosures, Santos was sole owner and managing member of the Devolder Organization, which he said was a family-owned company that managed $80 million in assets.  On financial disclosure forms, Santos called Devolder a "capital introduction consulting" firm. Although based in New York, the company was registered in Florida (Santos claimed to be a Fla resident), where it was dissolved in 2022 for failing to file annual reports. During his 2022 campaign for Congress, Santos lent his campaign more than $700,000, and reported receiving a salary of $750,000 and dividends of between $1 million and $5 million from Devolder, even though he also listed the company's estimated value as in the same range.   Despite the claims about the company's size, Santos's financial disclosure forms did not list any clients using the company's services.
  • Santos claimed that one of his companies lost four employees in the Pulse Nightclub Shooting.
    • But this claim, too, appears to be entirely untrue.
  • Santos has made no public appearance since the NYTimes broke this story three days ago and his whereabouts are unknown.
    • It is not known whether Brazil will ask for extradition.
    • It is not known whether police will investigate the source of Santos' wealth.
    • The Republican Party majority is slim and McCarthy is counting on Santos' support for his election to Speaker.  No Republicans are calling for Santos to step down although some are calling for further fact-finding.
    • It is not known how many other Republican candidates won seats without any apparent vetting or background check.

32 6
According to reports, a man from Florida painted himself orange and announced his candidacy for President. He said in his speech, “Not many people know this, but I have been President before. I did a great job, really tremendous. Some say the best ever, better than Lincoln. I don’t know, but they say that, lots of people say it.” Many witnesses to the event asked him why he chose to paint himself orange. According to the Florida man himself, “Why do you hate orange? Orange is a great color. Sad!” After his announcement, a loud yawn of boredom was heard across the nation. “Again? I’m so tired of this guy already,” said one American, who looked suspiciously like an antediluvian turtle with a cocaine habit.

Many people are skeptical of the Florida man’s chances of victory, given his previous record. When asked for comment, he replied, “A lot of people keep saying that I lost the last election. Wrong! That’s fake news! That was a guy from New York. That wasn’t me. I don’t know him, but I heard he is a terrible guy, a big loser.” For some reason the news is also reporting on the reaction of a random old white guy who was found wandering around aimlessly. According to Mr. Random Wanderer, “What, who? Is that Corn Pop? Malarkey! Let me at him!”

Another Florida man was seen in the area of the incident with a massive grin on his face, but he quickly left to deal with Hurricane Libtears, which suddenly appeared as a result of the orange Florida Man’s announcement.
11 4
Sharp attacks on Trump from Rupert Murdoch’s news outlets

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump has taken some hits in the aftermath of the midterm elections, but the unkindest cuts may have come from a source that was once among his biggest backers — the media empire of magnate Rupert Murdoch.

The New York Post’s front cover on Thursday put Trump’s face over the drawing of a boy from a well-known nursery rhyme. The headline: “Trumpty Dumpty.”
“Don (who couldn’t build a wall) had a great fall — can all of the GOP’s men put the party back together again?” the newspaper wrote.

The Wall Street Journal’s opinion section ran a sharp editorial headlined, “Trump is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser.” While Fox News’ biggest stars were relatively quiet, the former president heard enough discouraging words to attack the network on social media.

Trump was blamed for supporting losing or underperforming candidates like Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Don Bolduc in New Hampshire and Blake Masters in Arizona that cost Republicans a chance to make big gains in the House and Senate, as many had predicted.

The Journal’s editorial mentioned each of those names and more, saying that Trump had “a perfect record of electoral defeat” since his victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

“Democrats succeeded again in making Trump a central campaign issue, and Mr. Trump helped them do it,” the Journal said.

The newspaper on Thursday also ran a guest column touting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as an alternative to Trump for the 2024 presidential election, and an excerpt from former Vice President Mike Pence’s new book headlined, “My last days with Donald Trump.”

On the Post’s website, veteran columnist John Podhoretz dubbed the former president “Toxic Trump.”

Podhoretz wrote that Trump was “the political equivalent of a can of Raid” and “perhaps the most profound vote repellent in modern American history.”

The Post ran an editorial urging DeSantis run for president. A day earlier, the newspaper’s cover featured a triumphant picture of DeSantis with the headline, “DeFuture.”

A spokesman for Murdoch’s News Corp. said he had no comment on the editorial choices. It’s not like the outlets have never criticized Trump, but the tone and timing were noteworthy.

Non-Murdoch affiliated conservative figures and outlets took some shots at Trump. The Washington Examiner wrote that Republicans needed to choose between electoral success or Trump, while American Thinker said Trump is devolving into a permanent liability, according to The Righting newsletter.

Some Fox News stars tread lightly into critical territory. Jesse Watters talked Wednesday of a 2024 presidential election rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden.

“Does Trump win?” Watters said. “I hope so. I love the guy. A week ago, I would have said slam dunk. But after how last night shook out, I don’t know now. Democrats will walk over hot coals to vote against Trump, but will Republicans do that to vote against Joe Biden?”

Another Fox host, Laura Ingraham, didn’t mention Trump’s name but said the populist movement is about ideas, not one person.

“If the voters conclude that you’re putting your own ego or your own grudges ahead of what’s good for the country, they’re going to look elsewhere,” she said.
Trump has all but promised that he would announce a 2024 candidacy as soon as next week. But his former White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said on Fox that no potential candidates should announce before the Dec. 6 runoff election for the U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. Dov Hikind, a “Fox & Friends” guest, said Trump should announce his support for DeSantis.

“Donald Trump, move on,” he said.

That appeared unlikely, given that Trump recently referred to the Florida governor as “Ron DeSanctimonious.” He also posted Wednesday on Truth Social that he got more votes in Florida in 2020 than DeSantis did this week — even though they were running for different offices and not against each other.

A Trump representative did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The former president posted that Fox News was “really gone,” and he disputed stories that he had backed losers. He was particularly critical of The New York Times for a story that said he was angry at his wife, Melania, and Fox News’ Sean Hannity for pushing him to back Oz’s Senate candidacy in Pennsylvania.

“I was not at all ANGRY,” he wrote. “Fake news!”
Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

Current events
14 6
Iran’s missile program, U.S. intelligence work aimed at China were among the most sensitive material seized by the FBI, people familiar with the matter say
By Devlin Barrett
Published October 21, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. EDT

Some of the classified documents recovered by the FBI from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club included highly sensitive intelligence regarding Iran and China, according to people familiar with the matter. If shared with others, the people said, such information could expose intelligence-gathering methods that the United States wants to keep hidden from the world.

At least one of the documents seized by the FBI describes Iran’s missile program, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation. Other documents described highly sensitive intelligence work aimed at China, they said.

Unauthorized disclosures of specific information in the documents would pose multiple risks, experts say. People aiding U.S. intelligence efforts could be endangered, and collection methods could be compromised. In addition, other countries or U.S. adversaries could retaliate against the United States for actions it has taken in secret.

The classified documents about Iran and China are considered among the most sensitive the FBI has recovered to date in its investigation of Trump and his aides for possible mishandling of classified information, obstruction and destruction of government records, the people said. The criminal probe is unfolding even as the Justice Department and a district attorney in Georgia investigate alleged efforts by Trump and others to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and as a House select committee has subpoenaed the former president seeking documents and testimony related to those allegations.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in having the documents at Mar-a-Lago, claiming in a recent television interview that he declassified any documents in his possession, and that a president can declassify information “even by thinking about it.” National security lawyers have derided those claims.

A spokesman for the former president did not respond to requests for comment Friday morning. But after this article published online, Trump posted on social media, decrying what he called leaks “on the Document Hoax” and suggesting that the FBI and the National Archives and Records Administration were trying to frame him.

“Who could ever trust corrupt, weaponized agencies, and that includes NARA,” Trump wrote. “ … Also who knows what NARA and the FBI plant into documents, or subtract from documents — we will never know, will we?”

Some of the most sensitive materials were recovered in the FBI’s court-approved search of Trump’s home on Aug. 8, in which agents seized about 13,000 documents, 103 of them classified and 18 of them top secret, according to court papers.

Those papers were the third batch of classified documents recovered in the course of the investigation. Boxes voluntarily sent from Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives and Records Administration earlier this year were found to contain 184 classified documents, 25 of which were marked top secret, according to court records. In June, Trump’s representatives responded to a subpoena by giving investigators 38 additional classified documents.

The Washington Post has previously reported that one of the documents seized in the FBI search described a foreign country’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities. The people discussing the case would not say if that intelligence related to Iran, China or some other nation. Iran’s missile program and nuclear capabilities are closely watched by the Western world; U.S. intelligence agencies believe Tehran is close to having enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, but has not demonstrated the mastery of some technologies necessary to deploy such weapons, such as the ability to integrate a nuclear warhead with a long-range delivery system.

The people familiar with the matter said that many of the more sensitive documents Trump or his aides apparently took to Mar-a-Lago after he left the White House are top-level analysis papers that do not contain sources’ names. But even without individual identifiers, such documents can provide valuable clues to foreign adversaries about how the United States may be gathering intelligence, and from whom, the people said.

Some of the seized documents detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are not informed about them, The Post reported in September. Only the president, some members of his Cabinet or a near-Cabinet-level official could authorize government officials to know details of these special-access programs, people have said. Investigators conducting the Mar-a-Lago probe did not initially have the authority to review that material.

The new information about the documents obtained by The Post highlight what current and former intelligence officials say was the inherent risk posed by removing highly classified material from strictly guarded government buildings and keeping them in a private club filled with staffers, guests and visitors.

David Laufman, a former senior Justice Department official who handled cases involving mishandling of classified information, said the “exceptional sensitivity” of the material found at Mar-a-Lago will count as an aggravating factor as prosecutors weigh whether to file charges in the case.

“The exceptional sensitivity of these documents, and the reckless exposure of invaluable sources and methods of U.S. intelligence capabilities concerning these foreign adversaries, will certainly influence the Justice Department’s determination of whether to charge Mr. Trump or others with willful retention of national defense information under the Espionage Act,” Laufman said.

The FBI referred questions about the documents to the Justice Department, which declined to comment for this article.

Trump and his most ardent supporters have dismissed the criminal probe as an effort to undermine the former president — who remains the most influential figure in the Republican Party and talks openly about running for the White House again in 2024.

Officials at the National Archives began seeking the return of government records from the Trump administration last year, after officials came to believe that some records — such as letters from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — were unaccounted for, and perhaps in Trump’s possession.

After months of back and forth, Trump agreed in January to turn over 15 boxes of material. When archivists examined the boxes, they found 184 documents marked classified, including 25 marked top secret, which were scattered throughout the boxes in no particular order, according to court filings.

Archives officials notified the Justice Department, and authorities soon came to believe that Trump had not turned over all the classified material in his possession. Justice officials secured a grand jury subpoena in May, seeking any documents still at Mar-a-Lago that bore classified markings. In response, Trump’s advisers met with government agents and prosecutors at Mar-a-Lago in early June, handing over a sealed envelope containing another 38 classified documents, including 17 marked top secret, according to court papers.

According to government filings, Trump’s representatives claimed at the meeting that a diligent search had been conducted for all classified documents at the club.

That meeting, which included a visit to the storage room where Trump’s advisers said the relevant boxes of documents were kept, did not satisfy investigators, who were not allowed to inspect the boxes they saw in the storage room, according to government court filings.

Five days later, senior Justice Department official Jay Bratt wrote to Trump’s lawyers to remind them that Mar-a-Lago “does not include a secure location authorized for the storage of classified information.” Bratt wrote that based on the visit, it appeared classified documents “have not been handled in an appropriate manner or stored in an appropriate location.”

“Accordingly, we ask that the room at Mar-a-Lago where the documents had been stored be secured and that all of the boxes that were moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago (along with any other items in that room) be preserved in that room in their current condition until further notice.”

Agents continued to gather evidence that Trump was apparently not complying with either government requests or subpoena demands. According to people familiar with the investigation, security camera footage showed boxes being carried from the storage area after the May subpoena was issued — and a key witness told the FBI that he moved the boxes at Trump’s instruction.

With that evidence in hand, the Justice Department decided to seek a judge’s approval to search the former president’s home.

9 3
Both Trump and George Floyd are victims of rogue law enforcement officers breaking the law.

The bad apples at the FBI tried to do to Trump exactly what the bad apples at the MN police dept did to George Floyd.

See any liberals calling for reform at the FBI? Trump is white, so he can't possibly be a victim.
35 9
Trump openly embraces, amplifies QAnon conspiracy theories

After winking at QAnon for years, Donald Trump is overtly embracing the baseless conspiracy theory, even as the number of frightening real-world events linked to it grows.

On Tuesday, using his Truth Social platform, the Republican former president reposted an image of himself wearing a Q lapel pin overlaid with the words “The Storm is Coming.” In QAnon lore, the “storm” refers to Trump’s final victory, when supposedly he will regain power and his opponents will be tried, and potentially executed, on live television.

As Trump contemplates another run for the presidency and has become increasingly assertive in the Republican primary process during the midterm elections, his actions show that far from distancing himself from the political fringe, he is welcoming it.

He’s published dozens of recent Q-related posts, in contrast to 2020, when he claimed that while he didn’t know much about QAnon, he couldn’t disprove its conspiracy theory.

Pressed on QAnon theories that Trump allegedly is saving the nation from a satanic cult of child sex traffickers, he claimed ignorance but asked, “Is that supposed to be a bad thing?”

“If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it,” Trump said.

Trump’s recent postings have included images referring to himself as a martyr fighting criminals, psychopaths and the so-called deep state. In one now-deleted post from late August, he reposted a “q drop,” one of the cryptic message board postings that QAnon supporters claim come from an anonymous government worker with top secret clearance.

A Trump spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Even when his posts haven’t referred to the conspiracy theory directly, Trump has amplified users who do. An Associated Press analysis found that of nearly 75 accounts Trump has reposted on his Truth Social profile in the past month, more than a third of them have promoted QAnon by sharing the movement’s slogans, videos or imagery. About 1 in 10 include QAnon language or links in their profile bios.

Earlier this month, Trump chose a QAnon song to close out a rally in Pennsylvania. The same song appears in one of his recent campaign videos and is titled “WWG1WGA,” an acronym used as a rallying cry for Q adherents that stands for “Where we go one, we go all.”

Online, Q adherents basked in Trump’s attention.

“Yup, haters!” wrote one commenter on an anonymous QAnon message board. “Trump re-truthed Q memes. And he’ll do it again, more and more of them, over and OVER, until (asterisk)everyone(asterisk) finally gets it. Make fun of us all you want, whatever! Soon Q will be everywhere!”

“Trump Sending a Clear Message Patriots,” a QAnon-linked account on Truth Social wrote. “He Re-Truthed This for a Reason.”

The former president may be seeking solidarity with his most loyal supporters at a time when he faces escalating investigations and potential challengers within his own party, according to Mia Bloom, a professor at Georgia State University who has studied QAnon and recently wrote a book about the group.

“These are people who have elevated Trump to messiah-like status, where only he can stop this cabal,” Bloom told the AP on Thursday. “That’s why you see so many images (in online QAnon spaces) of Trump as Jesus.”

On Truth Social, QAnon-affiliated accounts hail Trump as a hero and savior and vilify President Joe Biden by comparing him to Adolf Hitler or the devil. When Trump shares the content, they congratulate each other. Some accounts proudly display how many times Trump has “re-truthed” them in their bios.

By using their own language to directly address QAnon supporters, Trump is telling them that they’ve been right all along and that he shares their secret mission, according to Janet McIntosh, an anthropologist at Brandeis University who has studied QAnon’s use of language and symbols.

It also allows Trump to endorse their beliefs and their hope for a violent uprising without expressly saying so, she said, citing his recent post about “the storm” as a particularly frightening example.

“The ‘storm is coming’ is shorthand for something really dark that he’s not saying out loud,” McIntosh said. “This is a way for him to point to violence without explicitly calling for it. He is the prince of plausible deniability.”

Bloom predicted that Trump may later attempt to market Q-related merchandise or perhaps ask QAnon followers to donate to his legal defense.

Regardless of motive, Bloom said, it’s a reckless move that feeds a dangerous movement.

A growing list of criminal episodes has been linked to people who had expressed support for the conspiracy theory, which U.S. intelligence officials have warned could trigger more violence.

QAnon supporters were among those who violently stormed the Capitol during the failed Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

In November 2020, two men drove to a vote-counting site in Philadelphia in a Hummer adorned with QAnon stickers and loaded with a rifle, 100 rounds of ammunition and other weapons. Prosecutors alleged they were trying to interfere with the election.

Last year, a California man who told authorities he had been enlightened by QAnon was accused of killing his two children because he believed they had serpent DNA.

Last month, a Colorado woman was found guilty of attempting to kidnap her son from foster care after her daughter said she began associating with QAnon supporters. Other adherents have been accused of environmental vandalism, firing paintballs at military reservists, abducting a child in France and even killing a New York City mob boss.

On Sunday, police fatally shot a Michigan man who they say had killed his wife and severely injured his daughter. A surviving daughter told The Detroit News that she believes her father was motivated by QAnon.

“I think that he was always prone to (mental issues), but it really brought him down when he was reading all those weird things on the internet,” she told the newspaper.

The same weekend a Pennsylvania man who had reposted QAnon content on Facebook was arrested after he allegedly charged into a Dairy Queen with a gun, saying he wanted to kill all Democrats and restore Trump to power.

Major social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have banned content associated with QAnon and have suspended or blocked accounts that seek to spread it. That’s forced much of the group’s activities onto platforms that have less moderation, including Telegram, Gab and Trump’s struggling platform, Truth Social.

Current events
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NEW YORK (AP) — A top executive at former President Donald Trump’s family business pleaded guilty Thursday to evading taxes in a deal with prosecutors that could potentially make him a star witness against the company at a trial this fall.

Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty to all 15 of the charges he faced in the case.

In a low, somewhat hoarse voice, he admitted taking in over $1.7 million worth of untaxed perks -- including school tuition for his grandchildren, free rent for a Manhattan apartment and lease payments for a luxury car -- and explicitly keeping some of the plums off the books.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan agreed to sentence Weisselberg to five months in New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, although he will be eligible for release much earlier if he behaves well behind bars. The judge said Weisselberg will have to pay nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties and interest and complete five years of probation.

The plea bargain also requires Weisselberg to testify truthfully as a prosecution witness when the Trump Organization goes on trial in October on related charges.

The company is accused of helping Weisselberg and other executives avoid income taxes by failing to report their full compensation accurately to the government. Trump himself is not charged in the case.

Trump CFO’s plea deal could make him a prosecution witness

Weisselberg said nothing as he left court, offering no reply when a journalist asked whether he had any message for Trump.

Weisselberg’s lawyer Nicholas Gravante Jr.(*) said his client pleaded guilty “to put an end to this case and the years-long legal and personal nightmares it has caused for him and his family.”

“We are glad to have this behind him,” the lawyer added.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement that Weisselberg’s plea “directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity and requires Weisselberg to provide invaluable testimony in the upcoming trial against the corporation.”

“We look forward to proving our case in court against the Trump Organization,” he added.

Testimony by Weisselberg could potentially weaken the Trump Organization’s defense. If convicted, the company could face fines or potentially be placed on probation and be forced to change certain business practices.

The company praised Weisselberg on Thursday as a trusted, honorable veteran employee who has been “persecuted and threatened by law enforcement, particularly the Manhattan district attorney, in their never-ending, politically motivated quest to get President Trump.”

In a statement, the company accused prosecutors of trying to pressure Weisselberg to cast aspersions on Trump, and of stretching to make a criminal case out of familiar executive perks such as a company car.

The company said it has done nothing wrong, won’t plead guilty and looks forward “to having our day in court.”

Weisselberg, 75, is the only person to face criminal charges so far in the Manhattan district attorney’s long-running investigation of the company’s business practices.

Seen as one of Trump’s most loyal business associates, Weisselberg was arrested in July 2021. His lawyers have argued the Democrat-led district attorney’s office was punishing him because he wouldn’t offer information that would damage Trump.

The district attorney has also been investigating whether Trump or his company lied to banks or the government about the value of its properties to obtain loans or reduce tax bills.

Then-District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who started the investigation, last year directed his deputies to present evidence to a grand jury and seek an indictment of Trump, according to former prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, who previously led the probe.

But after Vance left office, his successor, Bragg, allowed the grand jury to disband without charges. Both prosecutors are Democrats. Bragg has said the investigation is continuing.

The Trump Organization is not involved in Weisselberg’s guilty plea Thursday and is scheduled to be tried in the alleged compensation scheme in October.
Prosecutors alleged that the company gave untaxed fringe benefits to senior executives, including Weisselberg, for 15 years. Weisselberg alone was accused of defrauding the federal government, state and city out of more than $900,000 in unpaid taxes and undeserved tax refunds.

Under state law, punishment for the most serious charge against Weisselberg, grand larceny, could carry a penalty as high as 15 years in prison. But the charge carries no mandatory minimum, and most first-time offenders in tax-related cases never end up behind bars.

His sentencing won’t happen until after the trial of the Trump Organization, which is facing tax fraud charges punishable by a fine of double the amount of unpaid taxes, or $250,000, whichever is larger.

Trump has decried the New York investigations as a “political witch hunt” and has said his company’s actions were standard practice in the real estate business and in no way a crime.

Last week, Trump sat for a deposition in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ parallel civil investigation into allegations that Trump’s company misled lenders and tax authorities about asset values. Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination more than 400 times.

*son of Gambino Crime Family lawyer, Nicholas Gravante, Sr.

Current events
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Takeaways from the unsealed Mar-a-Lago search affidavit

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Friday unsealed the FBI affidavit justifying the unprecedented search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. While the document released is highly redacted, with many of its 32 pages crossed out in black blocks, it includes new details about the sheer volume of sensitive and highly classified information that was stored at the former president’s Florida beachfront home, underscoring the government’s concerns about its safety.

Here are top takeaways of what the document revealed:

While the affidavit doesn’t provide new details about the 11 sets of classified records that were recovered during the FBI’s Aug. 8 search of Trump’s winter home, it does help to explain why the Justice Department believed that retrieving the outstanding documents was necessary.

Federal investigators knew months before the search that Trump had been storing top secret government records at Mar-a-Lago, a private club accessible not only to Trump, his staff and his family, but paying members and their guests, along with a revolving door of attendees at various functions, including weddings, paid political fundraisers and charity galas.

The affidavit notes that Mar-a-Lago storage areas, Trump’s office, his residential suite and other areas at the club where documents were suspected to still be kept were not authorized locations for the storage of classified information. Indeed, it notes that no space at Mar-a-Lago had been authorized for the storage of classified information at least since the end of Trump’s term in office.

Yet the affidavit reveals that, of the batch of 15 boxes that the National Archives and Records Administration retrieved from Trump’s home in January, 14 contained documents with classification markings. Inside, they found 184 documents bearing classification markings, including 67 marked confidential, 92 secret and 25 top secret.

The Archives referred the matter to the Justice Department on Feb. 9 after a preliminary review of the boxes found what they described as “a lot of classified records."

Agents who inspected the boxes found special markings suggesting they included information from highly sensitive human sources or the collection of electronic “signals” authorized by a court under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The affidavit lists several markings, including ORCON, or “Originator Controlled.” That means officials at the intelligence agency responsible for the report did not want it distributed to other agencies without their permission.

There may also be other types of records with classified names or codewords still redacted.

“When things are at that level of classification, it’s because there’s a real danger to the people who are collecting the information or the capability,” said Douglas London, a former senior CIA officer who wrote a book about the agency, “The Recruiter.” “

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has not responded to calls from Congress for a damage assessment. Sen. Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, issued a statement in which he once again called for a briefing.

“It appears, based on the affidavit unsealed this morning, that among the improperly handled documents at Mar-a-Lago were some of our most sensitive intelligence,” Warner said.

Some of those classified records were mixed with other documents, the affidavit says, citing a letter from the Archives.

According to Archives’ White House liaison division director, the boxes contained “newspapers, magazines, printed news articles, photos, miscellaneous print-
outs, notes, presidential correspondence, personal and post-presidential records, and ‘a lot of classified records.’” Several contained what appeared to be Trump’s handwritten notes.

Of most significant concern: “highly classified records were unfoldered, intermixed with other records, and otherwise unproperly (sic) identified.

A president might be given raw intelligence reporting to supplement his briefings or to cover a breaking or critically important matter, said David Priess, a former CIA officer and White House briefer who wrote “The President’s Book of Secrets,” a history of the President’s Daily Brief.

But it would be “unusual, if not unprecedented, for a president to keep it and to intermingle it with other papers,” he said.

“Even though I was prepared for this because I knew the judge would not approve a search based on something minor, the breadth and depth of the careless handling of classified information is truly shocking,” Priess said.

The affidavit makes clear yet again that Trump had numerous opportunities to return the documents to the government, but simply chose not to.

A lengthy process to retrieve the documents had been underway essentially since Trump left the White House. The document states that, on or about May 6, 2021, the Archives made a request for the missing records “and continued to make requests until approximately late December 2021” when it was informed 12 boxes were found and ready for retrieval from the club.

The affidavit makes clear that the Department of Justice’s criminal investigation concerns not just the improper removal and storage of classified information in unauthorized spaces and the potentially unlawful concealment or removal of government records, but says investigators had “probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction” would be found in their search.

Trump’s lawyer, in a letter that was included in the release, had argued to DOJ that presidents have “absolute” authority to declassify documents, claiming that his “constitutionally-based authority regarding the classification and declassification of documents is unfettered.” Trump has not provided evidence the documents at Mar-a-Lago were declassified before he left Washington.

Trump has long insisted, despite clear evidence to the contrary, that he fully cooperated with government officials and had every right to have the documents on site. On his social media site, he responded to the unsealing by continuing to vilify law enforcement.

He called it a “total public relations subterfuge by the FBI & DOJ” and said “WE GAVE THEM MUCH.” In another post, he offered just two words: “WITCH HUNT!!!”
In an interview on Lou Dobbs’ “The Great America Show” on Thursday, he said he’d done nothing wrong.

“This is a political attack on our country and it’s a disgrace,” he added. “It’s a disgrace.”

Current events
20 6
Aaron Blake@WashPo

Two months ago, Republicans hailed the takeover of a Democratic seat in a South Texas special election as proof of their 2022 momentum. Ten days later, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and since then there have been more and more signs that this momentum might not be all it was cracked up to be.

That culminated Tuesday in Democrats over-performing in the second straight special election since Roe was overturned, in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. Similar to Nebraska’s 1st District just days after the court’s action, Republicans still held the conservative-leaning seat but by a smaller margin than they’d like and by a smaller margin than in 2020.

In Nebraska, the GOP won by six points in a district that Trump had carried by 15 in 2020. In Minnesota, the margin is currently four points in a district Trump won by 10.

These are hardly massive shifts, and these are merely two out of 435 districts. We shouldn’t oversell the results in one, two or even five districts as predictive. But those results don’t seem commensurate with an impending red wave in the 2022 midterms, which not along ago seemed like it was indeed building.

History suggests such special elections held so close to the next election can be revealing of what may come the next November — though not always.

Democrats held on to a GOP-leaning district in Arizona in June 2012 after the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and went on to hold the presidency that November. In June 2014, a late special election in Florida showed Republicans significantly over-performing the 2012 presidential election results, shortly before they flipped the Senate. The story was similar in an Ohio special election in June 2016, shortly before Trump won the presidency. In 2018, the Democrats’ takeover of the House was preceded by another Ohio special election — in August — in which they very nearly picked off a district that had favored Trump by double-digits.

(These are single special elections, but this late in an election cycle, we generally don’t have many to compare. And when we do, there are sometimes factors that make them very difficult to read, including when they feature two candidates of the same party.)

Other late special elections have been less telling. In 2010, Democrats hailed their ability to hold a conservative-leaning district in western Pennsylvania in May, but they still got drubbed that November. And 2020 featured both a surprising GOP pickup in California in May and a big Democratic overperformance in Upstate New York the next month — the GOP won by just five points in a district Trump had carried by 25 — before Democrats reclaimed both the Senate and the presidency in November.

If there’s one encouraging thing for Democrats about these two post-Roe special elections — and whether they might tell us some larger dynamic — its in how closely they mirrored one another.

As The Washington Post’s Lenny Bronner noted, the data on both races show the Democrats over-performing in Democratic-leaning and generally more populous areas, suggesting their base was more mobilized, relative to Republicans.

Here’s how that looks:

The Republican congressman-elect in Minnesota, Brad Finstad, effectively matched Trump’s performance in rural, red counties. But he did significantly worse than Trump in more competitive and bluer areas. Democrat Jeff Ettinger was able to improve upon President Biden’s margins by enough in those areas to bring this district from a 10-point Republican one to a four-point Republican one.

There was some question after the Nebraska special election about precisely why Democrats had done better there. The seat was vacant after GOP congressman Jeff Fortenberry, was convicted on three felony counts and resigned. And history shows scandals can create some funky results in the ensuing special election (including perhaps in that California district in 2020). Maybe this wasn’t really about Roe; maybe it was for very local reasons.

But the outcomes in Minnesota and Nebraska — combined with their party’s generic ballot numbers improving of late — give Democrats some license to believe the fundamentals are getting better for them, because the results in both races were so similar despite all the different variables involved.

That doesn’t mean they’re gong to hold both the House and Senate come November; that’ll be very difficult, given how narrow their majorities are. And history suggests Democrats need to do better than merely drawing even on the generic ballot, which is about where they are now. Things also can and will change.
But over-performing in races three to four months before the general election is surely better than the alternative. And we’ll have a couple more special elections to examine in the coming weeks — both in Upstate New York on Aug. 23 — to help us evaluate the trends.

4 3
AP FACT CHECK: NRA speakers distort gun and crime statistics

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speakers at the National Rifle Association annual meeting assailed a Chicago gun ban that doesn’t exist, ignored security upgrades at the Texas school where children were slaughtered and roundly distorted national gun and crime statistics as they pushed back against any tightening of gun laws.
A look at some of the claims:

TEXAS SEN. TED CRUZ: “Gun bans do not work. Look at Chicago. If they worked, Chicago wouldn’t be the murder hellhole that it has been for far too long.

THE FACTS: Chicago hasn’t had a ban on handguns for over a decade . And in 2014, a federal judge overturned the city’s ban on gun shops. Big supporters of the NRA, like Cruz, may well know this, given that it was the NRA that sued Chicago over its old handgun ban and argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the ban unconstitutional in 2010.
FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: “Classroom doors should be hardened to make them lockable from the inside and closed to intruders from the outside.”

THE FACTS: As commonsensical as that might sound, it could backfire in a horrific way, experts warn.  A lock on the classroom door is one of the most basic and widely recommended school safety measures. But in Uvalde, it kept victims in and police out.

Nearly 20 officers stood in a hallway outside of the classrooms school for more than 45 minutes before agents used a master key to open the classroom’s locked door.

And Trump’s proposal doesn’t take into account what would happen if class members were trapped behind a locked door and one of the students was the aggressor in future attacks.
CRUZ: “The rate of gun ownership hasn’t changed.

THE FACTS: This is misleading. The percentage of U.S. households with at least one gun in the home hasn’t significantly changed over the past 50 years. But the number of assault-type rifles, like the one used in the Uvalde school shooting and dozens of other school shootings, has skyrocketed since legislators let a 1994 ban on such weapons expire in 2004.

In the years leading up to and following that ban, an estimated 8.5 million AR-platform rifles were in circulation in the United States. Since the ban was lifted, the rifles — called “modern sporting rifles” by the industry — have surged in popularity. The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimated there were nearly 20 million in circulation in 2020.
CRUZ: “Had Uvalde gotten a grant to upgrade school security, they might have made changes that would have stopped the shooter and killed him there on the ground, before he hurt any of these innocent kids and teachers.”

THE FACTS: This claim overlooks the fact that Uvalde had doubled its school-security budget and spent years upgrading the protections for schoolchildren. None of that stopped the gunman who killed 19 pupils and two teachers.

Annual district budgets show the school system went from spending $204,000 in 2017 to $435,000 for this year . The district had developed a safety plan back in 2019 that included staffing the schools with four officers and four counselors. It had installed a fence and invested in a program that monitors social media for threats and purchased software to screen school visitors.

The grant that Cruz claims would have been life-saving was from a failed 2013 bill that planned to help schools hire more armed officers and install bulletproof doors. Uvalde’s school did have an officer but the person wasn’t on the campus at the time the shooter entered the building. And, Cruz’s call for bulletproof doors might not have worked in this case, given that police were unable to breech the locked door of the classroom where the shooter murdered children and teachers.
Current events
44 8
Let's recall that Mo Brooks was the first congressman to object to the election certification on Jan 6th.  Brooks wore a bulletproof vest on Jan 6th in anticipation of shooting on that day and was the first to speak at Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally and cheered on the insurrectionists from his congressional hiding place.  After the coup failed, Brooks blamed Antifa for the attacks on the Capitol until today.  Now, Brooks says that Trump asked Brooks for his help in forcing Biden out of office and placing Trump in office illegally.

Trump pulled his endorsement of Brooks for the Arkansas Senate race today after Brooks correctly stated that there is no legal method available for placing Trump in office before the 2024 elections.  Trump called that simple, constitutional fact "woke" and pulled his support from one of his most devoted henchmen.  Seems like now would be a good time to get Brooks on record under oath regarding Trump's marching orders on Jan 6th.  This also suggests that Trump is willing to do his own cause real harm  in order to defend his claim to the presidency by illegal  or opportunistic acts.
Current events
8 4
The fuck have conservatives ever conserved xD

Like literally, never have they done anything other than destroy, ruin and impede society's wellbeing, let alone the environment's, unless there was something more pressing to destroy for them (like Lincoln destroying the confederacy breaking off).

The progressives conserve society's happiness and wellbeing while progressing, this is not at all a mutually exclusive dynamic.
14 9
[Insert propaganda quips and satire]

If you think this is a callout thread, then I wonder who I am calling out.
70 8
I'm seeing a number of people on this site refer to the Steele Dossier's reports that Russia possessed a tape of Trump consorting with prostitutes and requesting a "golden shower" display.

Let's recall that nobody claims that this allegation is proven by the evidence.  Obviously, any claim that takes place behind closed doors is difficult to prove or disprove and any event in Moscow that is of interest to the Russian dictator is tightly controlled.  Steele himself estimates the testimonies he gathered are only likely to prove 70-90% factual.  Unless and until an authentic  pee tape surfaces, the allegation will be remain unproven.  Likewise, unless and until Putin's storehouses of compromat are made entirely available, the allegations can't be disproved. 

As FOX News puts it:  "Some of the assertions in the dossier have been confirmed. Other parts are unconfirmed. None of the dossier, to Fox News's knowledge, has been disproven."

The claim is that Trump hired five prostitutes to piss on a bed in the Ritz-Carlton Moscow because the Obamas had slept in that bed when Obama gave his New Economic School address and that Russian Intelligence had videotape of the event.

Supporting evidence:

  • Seven sources reported the event independent of each other
  • Trump is known more making rather elaborate displays of his hatred for Obama
  • Trump is known for hiring prostitutes when he is travelling without his wife and family
  • Prostitutes are readily, famously available from the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton.
  • Russian Intelligence has demonstrated control over operations, including pimping, in the Ritz-Carlton Moscow.
  • Earlier the same year, Trump visited "The Act," a Las Vegas strip club owned by Russian friends of Putin, along with those friends and several close associates including his lawyer, Michael Cohen.  Cohen has testified under oath that Trump delighted in a staged display of golden showers
    • The Act was closed later the same year for violating Las Vegas' decency and sanitation regulations and was well known for a golden showers act
    • Paparazzi confirm that Trump and his Russian friends closed the club and remained inside for several hours
    • The same Russian friends were staying at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow on the night of the alleged pee tape
  • On Oct 30, 2016- the day before the Steele Dossier went public, Trump's real estate agent in Moscow working on the Trump Tower deal texts Michael Cohen:
    • "stopped flow of tapes from Russia but not sure if there's anything else. Just so you know .."
    • Cohen has testified that he discussed the tapes with Trump long before any public information emerged although Cohen mostly asserts attorney/client privilege regarding details
    • Trump's bodyguard Keith Schiller has confirmed that Russian business associates offered Trump the company of five prostitutes on the night in question.  Schiller claims to have rejected the offer on Trump's behalf but this corroborates the dossier's number of prostitutes.
  • James Comey relates in his book that Trump was obsessed with the pee tape and asked him to publicly refute that specific event on at least four different occasions during Comey's short tenure.  Comey notes that Trump was in possession of several details regarding the event that were not pubic knowledge..
  • The Mueller Report confirms that all through 2016, Trump's people were highly interested in an incriminating tape possessed by Russia, long before any public allegation of a tape emerged but offers no insight towards the content of that tape
  • Israeli and Australian Intelligence agencies confirm they were tracking the same allegation before the Steele Dossier emerged
  • Trump himself keeps talking about the event in public and unprompted, indeed in highly inappropriate settings- evidence of a guilty conscience
    • Trump's frequent denials are suspiciously off-point
      • Before it was confirmed that Trump paid Stormy Daniels hush money just before the election, Trump's go-to denial was "Do I look like a man who needs to buy a prostitute?"  Not a denial.
      • After Stormy, Trump switched to "I'm a germaphobe, I wouldn't let anybody pee on me" Since the Dossier in no way suggests that Trump was anything but a spectator, this is also not a denial.
      • Trump has never directly denied the accusation

What evidence disproves this item discussed in Steele's dossier?

3 3

By Michael D. Shear
  • Oct. 26, 2021, 12:28 p.m. ET
Dr. Deborah Birx, who helped run the coronavirus pandemic response for former President Donald J. Trump, told congressional investigators earlier this month that Mr. Trump’s White House failed to take steps that could have prevented tens of thousands of deaths.

In closed-door testimony before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Dr. Birx said that tens of thousands of deaths could have been prevented after the initial phase of the pandemic if Mr. Trump had pushed mask-wearing, social distancing and other efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

“I believe if we had fully implemented the mask mandates, the reduction in indoor dining, the getting friends and family to understand the risk of gathering in private homes, and we had increased testing, that we probably could have decreased fatalities into the 30 percent less to 40 percent less range,” Dr. Birx testified, according to excerpts provided by the committee.

The committee’s interview with Dr. Birx was conducted on Oct. 12 and 13. In her testimony, she also lashed out at Dr. Scott Atlas, a former Stanford neuroradiologist who became an adviser to Mr. Trump and advocated for allowing the virus to spread through much of the population in order to let otherwise healthy people build up immunity against it.

She told the committee that Dr. Atlas had relied on incomplete information to draw dangerous conclusions that she felt could have long-term consequences for people who were infected with the virus and got sick.

“I was constantly raising the alert in the doctors’ meetings of the depth of my concern about Dr. Atlas’ position, Dr. Atlas’ access, Dr. Atlas’ theories and hypothesis, and the depths and breadths of my concern,” she said, referring to a group of doctors involved in the White House response who gathered regularly.

Dr. Atlas did not immediately respond to an email sent Tuesday morning. But in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece last December, he continued to argue against lockdowns and other measures for containing the virus.

“Lockdown policies had baleful effects on local economies, families and children, and the virus spread anyway,” he wrote.

During her testimony, Dr. Birx said she repeatedly pushed Mr. Trump and others in the White House to do more to embrace efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, especially in the fall of 2020. That was a period when Dr. Atlas was at the White House and Dr. Birx spent most of her time on the road, traveling from state to state to urge them to embrace prevention measures.

Asked whether Mr. Trump did everything he should have to counter the pandemic, she said: “No. And I’ve said that to the White House in general, and I believe I was very clear to the president in specifics of what I needed him to do.”

Current events
49 10
"It's appalling the way AstraZeneca has been treated. I wouldn't blame them if they were thoroughly fed up and decided to bow out of the Covid vaccine business."
That was the view from one of the biggest institutional investors in the UK.
It's not a view the pharmaceutical giant and its talismanic boss Pascal Soriot would have expected to hear, having developed a safe, effective vaccine at breakneck speed, signing contracts to deliver nearly two billion doses and doing it all without making a profit.
Mr Soriot could be forgiven perhaps for thinking he would be getting a medal.
Instead he is getting brickbats from EU politicians like Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts, who has accused the company of dishonesty and arrogance, in the way he alleges, it has "over-promised and under-delivered".
Some are suggesting that the whole endeavour has been more trouble than it is worth.
AstraZeneca has foregone over $20bn (£14.5bn) in revenue, while becoming a household name in the EU and the US for all the wrong reasons.
Some investors have even questioned Pascal Soriot's position as chief executive.
Astra has become a political football in a European blame game.
One minute his compatriot, the French President Emmanuel Macron, is describing the vaccine as "quasi-ineffective", and the next, President Macron is volunteering to have the jab himself and backing a move to block exports outside the EU.

Based on what I read, AZ is worldwide the best option, especially for poorer nations. If you have issues either with blood clotting or blood retention then don't take it but otherwise it should be fine. I am not here to speak against Pfizer and Moderna but I'll do so against Pfizer if need be as I deeply resent how they've been blackmailing countries to take liability and cover their (Pfizer's) full legal fees even having military base locations as collateral (yes, really).

Why are some countries so anti-AZ? 
8 3
McKenzie Sadeghi

The claim: FBI operatives organized the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol
In the months following the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol by rioters seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, conservative media personalities have attempted to downplay the insurrection and shift blame.

Some baselessly claimed the mob of Donald Trump supporters who breached Capitol barricades — fueled by unproven allegations of voter fraud — was actually a crowd of antifa members in disguise. Those allegations were wrong.

Now, claims that undercover FBI agents were behind the Capitol insurrection are circulating on social media.

"Evidence surfaces that the FBI planned and executed January 6 Capitol riot," the Tatum Report wrote in a June 17 Instagram post.

The narrative started with a June 14 report by conservative website Revolver News. The story says there's a "strong possibility" the federal government had "undercover agents or confidential informants embedded within the so-called militia groups" that were seeking to obstruct the Senate certification of the 2020 election results. The Instagram post linked to a Tatum report post that recapped the Revolver News story. USA TODAY reached out to Tatum Report for comment

After the article was published, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Republican lawmakers and social media users amplified it across platforms.

Facebook users have shared an open letter from Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., in which he demands FBI Director Christopher Wray "fully disclose the role and involvement of FBI operatives during the January 6th Capitol riot." Other users shared a clip of Carlson's June 15 show, during which he said "FBI operatives were organizing the attack on the Capitol on January 6."

But that theory relies on a false assumption: that anyone identified as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in charging documents is a government agent.

In fact, legal experts say that term cannot be used to describe FBI agents or undercover government operatives. Charging documents and other evidence indicate that the Jan. 6 rioters included Trump supporters, conspiracy theorists and members of far-right groups.

Fox News and social media users who amplified Revolver News' claims did not return requests for comment.

Unindicted co-conspirators, explained
The term "unindicted co-conspirators" refers to people who allegedly took part in the same offense in some fashion but are not being criminally charged for their role, Ira Robbins, an American University law professor, wrote in a 2004 paper that represents the legal consensus on the term.

This can include someone who cooperated with law enforcement to receive a deal or who authorities don't feel they have sufficient evidence to charge.

The term became well-known in 1974, when a grand jury applied it to President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal.

The Justice Department's policy says federal prosecutors should not name unindicted co-conspirators "in the absence of some significant justification."

Government informants can't be described as co-conspirators

The primary evidence presented in the Revolver News story — federal charging documents related to the Jan. 6 insurrection — don't support its claim about FBI informants organizing the riot.

Revolver News is run by former Trump speechwriter Darren Beattie, who was fired in 2018 for his appearance at a conference featuring white nationalists. It's unclear who wrote the site's June 14 report, as it doesn't have a byline.

The story argues that because upward of 20 unindicted co-conspirators listed in federal charging documents haven't been charged, there is a "disturbing possibility" that they could be undercover FBI agents or federal informants.

That's not actually a possibility, legal experts say.

"Prosecutors would not name FBI agents as unindicted co-conspirators," Robbins told USA TODAY via email. "Tucker Carlson’s allegation that the FBI organized the attack on the Capitol is pure fantasy."

Robbins said while it is possible FBI agents were acting undercover in extremist organizations involved in the Capitol riot, that "would not necessarily mean they had instigated the insurrection."

Similarly, Cornell Law School professor Jens David Ohlin told the Washington Post there are "many reasons why an indictment would reference unindicted co-conspirators, but their status as FBI agents is not one of them." In a 1985 ruling, the  U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit  noted that "government agents and informers cannot be conspirators."

The FBI declined to comment for this fact check.

No evidence unnamed individuals in Caldwell case are FBI agents
The Revolver News article singles out unnamed individuals mentioned in a case involving Thomas Caldwell of Virginia, an alleged Oath Keepers member who is facing charges related to the Capitol attack.

In an emailed statement to USA TODAY, Beattie said the issue from "our perspective is not the specific phrase 'unindicted co-conspirator'" but that "the individuals referenced in the 1/6 charging documents (referred to variously as Persons or individuals), remain unindicted on account of a prior relationship with federal law enforcement."

But there's no evidence those unnamed individuals, referred to as "persons" in court filings, are federal agents — and ample evidence they are people close to Caldwell.

Charging documents identify the leader of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group, as "PERSON ONE." (That person is Stewart Rhodes, and there is no evidence he is an undercover government agent.)

"PERSON TWO" is also not a secret government agent, as the Revolver News article suggests. Charging documents indicate Caldwell stayed with "PERSON TWO" at an Arlington hotel and took "selfie" photographs with them on the perimeter of the Capitol.

A criminal affidavit against Caldwell and Oath Keepers members Donovan Crowl and Jessica Watkins says Caldwell stayed at the hotel with his wife, Sharon, who has not been charged with a crime.

Further, a defense filing from May 26 says Caldwell "rarely travels without his wife" due to "physical limitations and health concerns." Caldwell also shared on Facebook photos of he and his wife at the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to the Washington Post.

The Revolver News story compares the Capitol attack to the October 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, which involved undercover federal agents. But The New York Times noted operatives involved in that case were referred to in the criminal complaint as "confidential human sources" and "undercover employees," not "unindicted co-conspirators."

Beattie did not present any additional evidence to support the Revolver News article when he appeared as a guest on Carlson's show.

Rioters included Trump supporters, far-right groups
While authorities are still investigating who organized and led the insurrection, court documents and other available evidence show the rioters are linked to far-right extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters.

QAnon followers and extremists talked on online forums about a siege of the Capitol as early as December, NBC News reported. Experts told USA TODAY the Capitol attack was the result of years of conspiracy theories and misinformation.

A USA TODAY review of charging documents found nearly all conspiracy charges are against members of the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers, or people who acted with them. Several of the alleged conspirators attended or scheduled paramilitary training and recruited others to their cause.

Similarly, a review by the Associated Press of public records associated with more than 120 people at the insurrection found rioters included supporters of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, Trump supporters, far-right militants and white supremacists. A ProPublica collection of more than 500 videos from Jan. 6 shows rioters wearing Trump apparel, QAnon symbols and Confederate flags.

As of June 23, more than 400 arrests had been made in connection with the insurrection, none of which included charges against an FBI agent. Testimony from rioters who stormed the Capitol said they felt called to Washington by Trump and his false claim that the election was stolen, according to the Washington Post.

"This was not simply a march. This was an incredible attack on our institutions of government," Jason McCullough, an assistant U.S. attorney, said during a March hearing.

Our rating: False
The claim that the FBI orchestrated the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is FALSE, based on our research. There is no evidence that "unindicted co-conspirators" mentioned in charging documents are undercover FBI agents. Legal experts say undercover government operatives and informants cannot be named in government filings as unindicted co-conspirators. The best available evidence identifies the rioters as Trump supporters, conspiracy theorists and members of far-right groups.

Current events
18 7
"I'm not into golden showers," Trump said at a National Republican Senatorial Committee retreat on Thursday


Donald Trump denied ever enjoying "golden showers" during a posh Thursday event with Republican donors, defending himself against years-old allegations that he hired two Moscow prostitutes to urinate on a bed together. 

"I'm not into golden showers," Trump said at a National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) retreat, which hosted sitting senators. "You know the great thing, our great first lady – 'That one,' she said, 'I don't believe that one.'"

Trump's remarks, first reported by The Washington Post, are a clear reference to allegations first floated in 2016 when British spy Christopher Steele released a dossier probing Trump's alleged collusion with Russia to undermine Hillary Clinton's candidacy in the 2016 election. Steele's dossier reportedly contained a video – now colloquially known as the "pee tape" – that shows Trump instructing two prostitutes at Moscow's Ritz-Carlton Hotel to urinate on a bed that President Obama had previously slept on. The video was allegedly taped as part of surveillance done by FSB, Russia's main state security agency, and had been lightly corroborated by a number of Steele's sources who had second-hand knowledge of the dossier, according to The New Yorker. 

Ex-FBI Director James Comey, who in 2017 testified about the Trump campaign's alleged relationship with Russia, wrote in his book that the former president was fixated on the rumor, dead set on dispelling it from the national discourse.

"I'm a germaphobe," Trump reportedly told Comey, per the book. "There's no way I would let people pee on each other around me. No way."

In 2018, Comey told ABC News back that he couldn't be sure whether the rumor was true. "I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don't know whether the current President of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013," the ex-FBI director said. "It's possible, but I don't know."

Besides dredging up old rumors unprompted, Trump reportedly cast himself as the "GOP's savior" during Thursday's event, stressing that he has held the party together over the past several years. "It was a dying party, I'll be honest," he said, according to the Post. "Now we have a very lively party." 

The former president also castigated a number of his Republican detractors, including Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Ben Sasse, R-Neb, stressing that the party needs to "stick together" rather than splinter off into pro and anti-Trump factions. 

Later, Trump reportedly reiterated his equally baseless conspiracy that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen" by President Biden, telling the crowd that Democrats "cheat like hell."

"It's a terrible thing what they did in Georgia and other states," he said. "You look at Texas, you look at a lot of states — they are correcting all the ways we were all abused over the last election ... last two elections if you think about it."

There continues to be no significant evidence that the 2020 election was marred by outcome-altering fraud.
Trump quotes Melania as saying "That one...I don't believe that one,"  strongly indicating that there are at least some accusation laid out in the Steele Dossier that Melania, at least, does believe.
Current events
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Prove me wrong, Steven Crowder fans.
65 11
Trump had his faults (stupidly interrupting, when he should have just let Biden dig his own grave as well as not giving a straight answer on condemning racists), but I personally think Biden couldn't have done any worse.

1. He openly endorsed the Green New Deal, universally recognized as the stupidest idea anyone has ever presented in American politics.
2. He made no condemnation of the riots and domestic terrorism plaguing America.
3. His COVID argument literally consists of "This international plague is somehow Trump's fault."
4. His economic argument is "you killed the economy" but at the same time "we need to close the country"
5. Weirdly enough, Biden hurled more insults at Trump than vice versa. This was the time he was supposed to be the grown up. Instead, they both looked childish. 

There's so much more....

Really, I don't think the Democrats understand how absolutely disconnected they are from the American voter. It's like they're trying their hardest to be as radical left as possible. It's baffling to me. 

Even if you agree with him on these issues, you have to admit, it is political suicide. 

190 22
OCTOBER 07, 2021

Following 8 Month Investigation, Senate Judiciary Committee Releases Report on Donald Trump's Scheme to Pressure DOJ & Overturn the 2020 Election

WASHINGTON – Following an eight-month investigation, the Senate Judiciary Committee today released new testimony and a staff report,

“Subverting Justice: How the Former President and his Allies Pressured DOJ to Overturn the 2020 Election.”

The report and testimony reveal that we were only a half-step away from a full blown constitutional crisis as President Donald Trump and his loyalists threatened a wholesale takeover of the Department of Justice (DOJ). They also reveal how former Acting Civil Division Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark became Trump’s Big Lie Lawyer, pressuring his colleagues in DOJ to force an overturn of the 2020 election.

The report sheds new light on Trump’s relentless efforts to coopt DOJ into overturning the 2020 election and Clark’s efforts to aid Trump.  The Committee’s interim report is the first comprehensive accounting of those efforts, which were even more expansive and troubling than previously reported. 

Based on findings from the investigation so far, the Committee has asked the D.C. Bar to open an investigation into Jeffrey Clark’s compliance with applicable rules of professional conduct.  These rules include Rule 1.2, which prohibits attorneys from assisting or counseling clients in criminal or fraudulent conduct, and Rule 8.4, which among other things prohibits conduct that seriously interferes with the administration of justice. The Committee is withholding potential findings and recommendations about criminal culpability until the investigation is complete.

U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on today’s report release:

Today’s report shows the American people just how close we came to a constitutional crisis.  Thanks to a number of upstanding Americans in the Department of Justice, Donald Trump was unable to bend the Department to his will.  But it was not due to a lack of effort.  Donald Trump would have shredded the Constitution to stay in power.  We must never allow this unprecedented abuse of power to happen again.

Key takeaways from the Committee’s investigation include:
  • Previously-unreleased transcripts of the Committee’s closed-door interviews with three key former senior DOJ officials: former Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, and former U.S. Attorney BJay Pak. These witnesses cooperated with the Committee, and although their testimony was not under oath, they were obligated by 18 U.S.C. § 1001 to tell the truth.
  • New details of Donald Trump’s relentless, direct pressure on DOJ’s leadership. This includes at least nine calls and meetings with Rosen and/or Donoghue starting the day former Attorney General Bill Barr announced his resignation and continuing almost until the January 6 insurrection—including near-daily outreach once Barr left DOJ on December 23. 
  • New details of then-Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division Jeffrey Clark’s misconduct, including his attempt to induce Rosen into helping Trump’s election subversion scheme by telling Rosen he would decline Trump’s offer to install him in Rosen’s place if Rosen agreed to aid that scheme.
  • New details around Trump forcing the resignation of U.S. Attorney Pak because he believed Pak was not doing enough to support his false claims of election fraud in Georgia—and then went outside the line of succession to appoint Bobby Christine as Acting U.S. Attorney because he believed Christine would “do something” about his election fraud claims.
  • New details of how, at Barr’s direction, DOJ deviated from decades-long practice meant to avoid inserting DOJ itself as an issue in the election—and instead aggressively pursued false claims of election fraud before votes were certified. 
  • Confirmation that Mark Meadows asked Rosen to initiate election fraud investigations on multiple occasions, violating longstanding restrictions on White House intervention in DOJ law enforcement matters—and new details about these requests, including that Meadows asked Rosen to meet with Trump’s outside lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Based on these findings, the interim report makes the following recommendations:
  • Congress should strengthen longstanding DOJ and White House policies restricting the circumstances under which DOJ and White House officials can communicate with one another about specific law enforcement matters.
  • DOJ should strengthen its longstanding election non-interference policy, which is meant to avoid inserting DOJ as an issue into a pending election.
  • The D.C. Bar should scrutinize Clark’s compliance with applicable bar rules.
  • The Committee is withholding potential recommendations about criminal culpability and criminal referrals until the investigation is complete.
In January 2021, following a report from The New York Times that detailed a plot between Trump and Clark to use DOJ to further Trump’s efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election, Durbin led the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in a letter to then-Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson calling on him to preserve and produce all relevant materials in the DOJ’s possession, custody, or control related to this plot.  This kicked off the Committee’s eight-month investigation.  The Committee continues to seek records requested from the National Archives and Records Administration, which have not yet been supplied, and continues to pursue interviews with relevant individuals as part of this ongoing investigation.

A link to today’s report is available here.

Current events
15 8
FROM:  Real Time with Bill Maher: OCT 8th

"Don't make me be an  I told you so again.

You know  I was a young man of fifty nine when I started using the term "slow moving coup," and it pains me to have to report it's still moving.

A document  came to light a few weeks ago, called the Eastman Memo, which was basically a blueprint prepared for Trump on how he could steal the election after he lost it in November 2020.  It outlined a plan for overturning the election by claiming that seven states actually had competing slates of electors which, while not even remotely true, would have given Mike Pence the excuse to throw out those states and thus hand the election to Trump. But of course, the plan required election officials in those states to go along.  Trump thought the ones who were Republican would,  most did not, and that's what he's been working on fixing ever since.

Some Presidents spend their post-presidency building homes for the poor or raising money for charity or painting their toes. Trump has spent his figuring out how to pull off the coup he couldn't pull off last time. Here's the easiest three predictions in the world:

  • Trump will run in 2024,
  • He will get the Republican nomination, and
  • Whatever happens on election night, the next day he will announce that he won.
I've been saying that ever since he lost,  he's like a shark. That's not gone- just gone out to sea.  But actually, he's quietly eating people  this whole time.

And by "eating people," I mean he's been methodically purging the Republican Party of anyone who voted for his impeachment or doesn't agree that he's the rightful leader of the Seven Kingdoms.  Yes, we're going to need a bigger boat.

There was grand total of ten Republican congressmen who voted to impeach Trump and by 2024 even those will all be gone. 

One of them was Liz Cheney"  arch-Conservative,  daughter of Darth Vader, and yet now politically dead in Wyoming,

Another of the ten was Anthony Gonzalez.  He's already bowed out for running for re election, because he can see opposing Trump means  you have no chance.

The other eight will either, like him not run or they'll get primaried by a Trumper or the'll have a sudden epiphany about how come to think of it, Trump did win that election.

The purge is also at work in Republican legislatures, as several states are already in the process of changing election laws so that they, (not non-partisan election officials), are in charge of certifying the results. 

Two weeks after the 2020 election, Trump famously called the Republican in charge of elections in Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Rathsenberger and told him he just needed to "find" an additional eleven thousand Trump votes. Rathsenberger refused but he's not going to be there next time.

Of the fifteen Republicans running for Secretary of State in the key battleground states only two concede that Biden won that election.  These are the people Trump is going to call in 2024 when he's a few votes short and these people are going to give it to him.

So here's what's going to happen,

  • 2022- the Midterms.
    • Republicans win big because the out-of-power party always does in a country where the electorate can't think past throw the bums out.
    • So the Republicans take back the House ,where disputed elections are decided, and the speaker is  Kevin McCarthy, a man with all the backbone of one of  those inflatable tube men outside a car dealership. 
    • Republicans will also have more key governors.
      • Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan all had Democratic governors who protected the vote in 2020 but they're all up for re-election in 2022.
        • At least two will lose.
  • 2023- Trump announces his candidacy and starts having large rallies across the country which become increasingly angry and threatening as Trump indulges his love for inciting violence.
    • I know the Hitler analogy is over the top in many ways.   
      • I don't think Trump hates Jews- there are too many rich ones.
      • I don't think committing genocide is in his future, but 
      • The mentality of how to take over a country is exactly the same; play on this feeling of 'we have been cheated, robbed, betrayed and now we're gonna take it back.'
        • 2/3rds of Republicans believe the election was stolen.
        • 21 million believe force is justified to restore Trump to office.
        • A majority want to secede( whatever the hell that would entail), and yet-
  • 2024 comes and Democrats treat it as a normal election year.
    • They are living in a dream world where their choice of candidate matters, their policies matter,  the number of votes they get matters.
      • None of it does.
    • I won't even predict who the Democratic nominee will because itdoesn't matter. It could be Biden, it could be Harris ,it could be Amy Klobuchar, it could be Timothee Chalamet, as long as they have a "D" by their name, they will be portrayed as the leader of the Army of Satan.
      • Even if they win, Trump won't accept it.
    • But this time his claims of illegal voting by immigrants or mail-in ballots coming in after the deadline, or the system was hacked by Venezuela or whatever Giuliani comes up with on the fly, they will be fully embraced by the stooges he's installing right now.
  • December 16, 2024.  This is the day electors gather to vote for President.
    • Arizona and Wisconsin both send a slate of bogus Trump electors, setting up a showdown  on January 6th and daring Kamala Harris to do what Trumpers wanted Mike Pence to do:  throw out election results.
    • The difference being this time, those results really are phony and this time it's not just 600 diabetic FOX NEWS  junkies and a nut in a Viking helmut: Ten million Trump voters have signed a pledge to come to Washington  Of course,  Nine and a half million flake- but half a million still show up and they're heavily armed and incensed when Harris does what Mike Pence wouldn't.
      • Demonstrations grow in the streets, the kind of Antifa vs Proud Boy violence we've seen in Portland erupts across the country.
      • People are afraid to go out anywhere where their political tribe is not  in the majority.
        • Which hurts commerce
        • The stock market is  spooked by the unrest and tumbles as Inauguration Day approaches.
        • President Biden is under extraordinary pressure to do something to stop the coup before his authority over the Military and the Justice Department evaporates at noon on January 20th.
    • What happens when two Presidential candidates both show up on Inauguration Day both expecting to be sworn in like a bad sitcom pilot?

The ding-dongs who sacked the Capital last year?   That was like when al Qaeda tried to take down the World Trade Center, the first time, with the van- it was a joke.

....but the next time they came back with planes.

I hope I scared the shit out of you.

Current events
13 7
So I was looking at this "Trumpism is Fascism" debate. And it reminds me of when I kept seeing "Trump and his cult followers are fascists." And like, I asked them why they thought Trump was a fascist 'cuz I was curious....They never got back to me.

So.. Why do people think Trump is a fascist? 
35 13
The best document thus far showing the scope and nature of the Jan 6th attack is from NYT Visual Investigations.  I'd encourage anybody to watch it before drawing conclusions.    The section relevant to Ashli Babbitt's shooting starts at 25:39 - 28:40.

  • We should note that the small vanguard Babbitt was in had an opportunity to threaten House members because AZ -R Paul Gosar continued speaking for 15 minutes after lockdown was called.  Gosar was one of the original organizers of the "Stop the Steal" movement and has been accused by multiple House members of orchestrating the attack.  Gosar is also the first politician to start demanding the name of the officer who killed Ashli Babbitt, which is strange because almost nobody on Earth is in a better position to know that individual's identity than Gosar.
    • Gosar was one of the last to leave the chamber so unlike us, he can see the identity of the officer on the far side of the door, protecting Gosar's escape.
    • We can see from the video that the man holding the gun is wearing a suit and probably black.
    • Metropolitan police confirmed that the shooter was a plainclothes Capitol Police officer.
    • Given Gosar's proximity  to the shooter and the fact that there can't have been many extra officers hanging around 90 minutes after the violence began I think its very likely that the shooter is the security officer seen advising the House to don masks at 26:09.  That's the back of Gosar's head in the foreground.
      • The Congressional Record only list the speaker as "a security officer" but its seems hard to believe that Gosar couldn't id a guy he works in the same room with all day or at least look him up in the congressional directory
      • Further, it's public knowledge that the officer has not returned back to work.  I might not be able to figure out who shot Babbitt from a list of black plainclothes floor security officers who haven't been to work for 6 months but I assume that's a simple task for Gosar.
      • I see no reason not to conclude that Gosar's (and by extention, Trump's) supposed ignorance is all pantomime.
  • Nevertheless, I think the shooter's name should be released.  I understand this information exposes an officer who has already sacrificed much in service to our Legislature to increased vitriol and harm but I can't see how the public can maintain oversight of police violence without public access to individual names and records.  Trump's reasons are entirely scummy but we should release the name anyway.
Here is Trump latest round of lies regarding his attempts to nullify by violence the voice and choice of the American people as expressed on Nov 2nd.

FOX's "Sunday Morning Futures."  with Maria Bartiromo- Sunday, Jul 11

BARTIROMO:....And I know that you have had some time to reflect on what took place on that day, January 6.

Talk to us about what you're thinking about as you reflect. What happened that day, from your standpoint?

TRUMP: So, there was a big rally called. And, actually, when I say big, who knew? But there was a rally called.

And a tremendous number of people, the largest one I have ever spoken before, is called by people, by patriots. And they asked me if I'd speak. And I did. And it was a very mild-mannered speech, as I think has been -- in fact, they just came out with a report in Congress, and they didn't mention my name, literally.
In fact, the report mentions Trump 27 times.  The bipartisan report makes no judgement regarding Trump's claims of fraud in the election but explicitly credits failures in the Intelligence Committee, Dept of Defense, and the National Guard as largely contributing to harms of Jan 6th.  Apparently, Trump didn't know he was in charge of those depts.  The entirety of Trump's speech on that day is included in the report as relevant to the insurrectionists' mission.

But what they were complaining about and the reason, in my opinion, you had over a million people there, which the press doesn't like to report at all,
The permit for the event was bumped from 5,000 attendees to 30,000 on Jan 3rd.  Best estimates of crowd size range between 8,000 and 30,000 attendees.  

because it shows too much -- too much activity, too much -- too much spirit and faith and love. There was such love at that rally.

You had over a million people there. They were there for one reason, the rigged election. They felt the election was rigged. That's why they were there. And they were peaceful people. These were great people.

The crowd was unbelievable. And I mentioned the word love. The love -- the love in the air, I have never seen anything like it.

And that's why they went to Washington.

BARTIROMO: You know, Mr...


TRUMP: And, by the way, I can tell you that I thought -- because I was hearing from a lot of people there are going to be a lot of people coming there, much bigger than anybody ever anticipated by many times.

And I had suggested to the secretary of defense, perhaps we should have 10,000 National Guardsmen standing by. And he reported that, as you know, but I -- we should have -- and he was turned down. I said, it's subject to Congress. They run it. Nancy Pelosi runs it. So, it would be subject to the Capitol Police and the other things, whatever they need.

But I said, perhaps you need 10,000, because I think the crowd is going to be very large. Who knows? Maybe two people will show up. But I think it's going to be very large.

Anyway, he had that. He went to them. They said it won't be necessary. They were the ones that were responsible. They were the ones. And this came out very loudly in the report.

The president, [Acting Defense Secretary Christopher ]Miller recalled, asked how many troops the Pentagon planned to turn out the following day. "We’re like, ‘We’re going to provide any National Guard support that the District requests,’" Miller responded. "And Trump goes, ‘You’re going to need 10,000 people.’ No, I’m not talking bullshit. He said that. And we’re like, ‘Maybe. But you know, someone’s going to have to ask for it.’"

But Trump didn't ask for it, although as both Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard and leader of the Stop the Steal movement, only Trump had an accurate sense of what was needed and the capacity to meet that need.  Miller and Pelosi both confirm that nobody talked to Pelosi's office and of course, the report comes to the opposite conclusion of Trump's assertion.

BARTIROMO: Yes, that report showed FBI operatives potentially aware.

But there are unanswered questions here. What did the FBI know? Why weren't your Cabinet secretaries briefed? What did Speaker Pelosi know, Chuck Schumer, McConnell?

Do you have any answers to that? They continue to call this an armed insurrection.

TRUMP: Oh, I think they knew plenty.
Trump is here accusing Pelosi, Schumer, and McConnell of secretly knowing more about the size and intentions of Trump's own ally and faulting them for not requesting more help from him and the armed forces Trump commands while NOT faulting himself who is in ultimately in charge of both sides of the equation.  How entirely disconnected from reality Trump seems to be.  Naturally, the FOX interviewer has no curiosity regarding this claim.

BARTIROMO: And yet no guns were seized, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Right. There were no guns whatsoever.
Let's recall that police weren't arresting or frisking the rioters so an accurate assessment is impossible Police report that at least hundreds of guns were in evidence on the rioters and plenty of holster bulges are in evidence on video.  Of the 14 rioters arrested (mostly that vanguard held at gunpoint by police while evacuating the Senate), 2 were charged with carrying weapons without a permit.    If we extrapolate that sampling percentage and apply to the 8,000 besieging the capitol we get more than a thousands guns but that's just speculation. Others arrested had pepper sprays, stun guns, tasers, brass knuckles, lead pipes, knives, and a whip. Police found a Tavor X95 rifle with a telescopic sight, a Glock 9 mm with high-capacity magazines and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition,  at least 320 rounds of armor-piercing bullets,  an AR-15-style rifle, a shotgun, a crossbow, several machetes, smoke grenades and 11 Molotov cocktails in two cars owned by rioters parked near the Capitol.  Two pipe bombs were discovered concealed next to the entrances to the RNC and DNC's national HQs.

And yet Antifa, which went into Portland and went into so many other places, Seattle -- they took over a big part of Seattle. People died. And there were plenty of guns there, by the way -- and in Minnesota, in Minneapolis. They got -- there was no repercussions for them. And yet they have people still in jail. There were no guns. There were no guns.
Of the 14,000+ charges associated with George Floyd protests, most were misdemeanors and a majority of charges have been dropped.  Of the 500 felony charges brought, most are still pending trial.  About 30% of all felony charges are associated with Portland rioters.

And, by the way, while you're at it, who shot Ashli Babbitt? Why are they keeping that secret? Who is the person that shot...


TRUMP: ... an innocent, wonderful, incredible woman, a military woman, right in the head? And there's no repercussions.
In fact, Babbit was shot once in the upper right chest.

If that were on the other side, it would be the biggest story in this country. Who shot Ashli Babbitt? People want to know, and why.

BARTIROMO: Well, that's right.

And I want to talk about that, because Ashli Babbitt, a wonderful woman, fatally shot on January 6 as she tried to climb out of a broken window.
That's quite false.  Babbitt was climbing in through a window she and her band had just broken and that window was the last physical barrier between the rioters and the fleeing congressmen (including Gosar).  The plainclothes policeman and his pistol were literally the last line of defense and Babbitt was the only rioter to breach that line.  Of all the rioters that day, Veteran soldier Babbitt was the closest any got to their intended targets and the only who breached every line of defense. [27:50-28:40]  The rioters at that door backed down pretty quickly after that single shot.

Her family has spoken out. Her family has been on "Tucker Carlson." And they want answers as far as why this wonderful woman, young woman who went to peaceful protests was shot.

Do you have any information? There is speculation that this was a security detail in a leading member of Congress' security detail, a Democrat.


BARTIROMO: What can you tell us in terms of who shot Ashli Babbitt? What do you know, Mr. President?

TRUMP: So -- so, I have heard that.

I will tell you they know who shot Ashli Babbitt. They're protecting that person. I have heard also that it was the head of security for a certain high official, a Democrat.
Capitol Hill Police have confirmed that the shooter did not belong to any individual security detail.

And we will see, because it's going to come out. It's going to come out.
Again, there's no reason to think Trump can't have the name of Babbitt's shooter at will, since some of Trump's closes alliest were eye-witnesses to the shooting and were the very individuals being protected by that shooting from the breach by Babbitt.  Those same Trump allies, Gosar, Biggs, and Brooks particularly voted against recognizing CHP valor in the wake of the attack.  Gosar has refused to even shake hands or acknowledge the cops who may have saved his ass that day.

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House Republicans have sought to change the narrative on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by pro-Trump protesters, claiming that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “ultimately responsible for the breakdown of security at the Capitol.”

But their arguments overstate the role of the House speaker in overseeing the security of the Capitol and rely on speculation about Pelosi’s involvement and knowledge about intelligence warnings for which they have not provided any proof.

  • Republican Rep. Jim Banks said that Pelosi, as speaker, “has more control and authority and responsibility over the leadership of the Capitol Police than anyone else in the United States Capitol” and therefore, “is ultimately responsible for the breakdown of security at the Capitol that happened on Jan. 6.” The speaker does not oversee security of the U.S. Capitol. The speaker appoints one member of a four-member board that oversees Capitol security, and who then must be approved by the House.
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested Pelosi played a role in denying efforts prior to Jan. 6 to bolster security on the Capitol grounds with members of the National Guard. There is no evidence of that.
  • Banks accused Pelosi of withholding documents from the bipartisan Senate committee that investigated security and planning issues related to the Jan. 6 riot. Banks speculated that’s because the documents may show “the speaker was involved and the lack of leadership and the breakdown of security that occurred on Jan. 6th.” The Senate committee never requested any documents from the speaker’s office, though the House sergeant at arms “did not comply with the Committees’ information requests,” according to the Senate report.
  • Rep. Rodney Davis pointed to the fact that on the afternoon of Jan. 6, the House sergeant at arms sought Pelosi’s permission to bring in the National Guard as evidence that Pelosi was “calling the shots on all of their actions on Jan. 6.” A Pelosi aide confirms the request was made, though he says Pelosi “expects security professionals to make security decisions” and that Pelosi only expects “to be briefed about those decisions.” In any event, the request also went to then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as well as to Department of Defense leadership.
  • GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik said Pelosi “failed to act” on intelligence reports in December about potential security threats and therefore “Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility as speaker of the House for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6.” There is no evidence that Pelosi was privy to those intelligence reports.
Banks appeared on “Fox News Sunday” four days after Pelosi rejected Banks and Rep. Jim Jordan from serving on the select committee that will investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Banks and Jordan both voted to object to the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. In a statement, Pelosi said she had “concern about statements made and actions taken” by Banks and Jordan that she felt would compromise “the integrity of the investigation.”

Overseeing the Capitol Police
Banks contends that Pelosi left him off the committee because he was “prepared to ask questions” about “a systemic breakdown of security at the Capitol on Jan. 6,” for which he says Pelosi was “ultimately responsible.”
Banks, July 25: Once you go up the — to the top of the flagpole of who is in charge of the Capitol Police, who the Capitol Police union chief, they blamed the leadership of the Capitol Police. But — due to the rules of the United States Capitol, the power structure of the Capitol, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, has more control and authority and responsibility over the leadership of the Capitol Police than anyone else in the United States Capitol. So she doesn’t want us to ask these questions because at the end of the day she is ultimately responsible for the breakdown of security at the Capitol that happened on Jan. 6.
Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said Banks was simply trying to “divert blame” for the attack.

“On January 6th, the Speaker, a target of an assassination attempt that day, was no more in charge of Capitol security than Mitch McConnell was,” Hammill told us via email. “This is a clear attempt to whitewash what happened on January 6th and divert blame. The Speaker believes security officials should make security decisions.”

A bipartisan Senate investigation of security, planning and response failures on the day of the attack said “breakdowns ranged from federal intelligence agencies failing to warn of a potential for violence to a lack of planning and preparation by USCP [U.S. Capitol Police] and law enforcement leadership.”

The June 8 report — led by Sens. Gary Peters, chairman, and Rob Portman, ranking member, of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Amy Klobuchar, chairwoman, and Roy Blunt, ranking member, of the Committee on Rules and Administration — made no mention of any missteps by Pelosi.
In a House Republican press conference on July 27, Banks referred to the “tragic events that happened on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s watch,” and he said the Senate report identified “there was a systemic breakdown of security, a lack of leadership at the very top of the United States Capitol Police who report and who Nancy Pelosi is ultimately responsible for that lack of leadership.”

But he is overstating Pelosi’s authority.

In a statement provided to, Jane L. Campbell, president and CEO of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, said: “The Speaker of the House does not oversee security of the U.S. Capitol, the Capitol Police Board does, and the Speaker does not oversee the Board. The Board consists of three voting members: the Senate Sergeant at Arms, the House Sergeant at Arms, and the Architect of the Capitol; together with one non-voting member, the Chief of the Capitol Police.”
To put names to those titles, on Jan. 6, the Capitol Police chief was Steven Sund; the House sergeant at arms was Paul Irving; the Senate sergeant at arms was Michael Stenger; and the architect of the Capitol was Brett Blanton. Sund, Irving and Stenger all resigned in the wake of the riot.

So how does Pelosi fit into all of this?

“The Speaker is involved in the appointment of the House Sergeant at Arms, who must be confirmed by the House,” Campbell explained. “The Senate Sergeant at Arms is chosen by the Senate. The Speaker also sits on the commission that recommends an Architect of the Capitol to the U.S. President. However, it is the President who appoints the Architect, who must be confirmed by the Senate.”

During the Republican press conference on July 27, Rep. Rodney Davis noted that Irving, the House sergeant at arms, was “appointed by the speaker.” That’s true, but Irving initially came to the position in January 2012 after being nominated by then-House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican. Irving was unanimously approved by the House. He was retained by House votes five more times, including twice when Pelosi was speaker — on Jan. 3, 2019, and Jan. 3, 2021, three days before the riot.

Pelosi, of course, played no role in Stenger’s nomination or election as Senate sergeant at arms. Stenger was nominated by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and approved by unanimous consent by the Senate on April 16, 2018.

Blanton, the architect of the Capitol, was appointed by then-President Donald Trump and was confirmed in the Republican-controlled Senate by voice vote on Dec. 19, 2019.

Approving the National Guard
In the July 27 press conference, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said, “There’s questions into the leadership within the structure of the speaker’s office where they denied the ability to bring the National Guard here.”

McCarthy also referred — without naming anyone — to “people out there who say there were phone calls to the speaker that offered the National Guard prior to that day and was turned down.”

But there is no evidence of that.

In a Feb. 1 letter to Pelosi, Sund, the former Capitol Police chief — who was hired by the Capitol Police Board in June 2019 — wrote that on Jan. 4, two days before the riot, he 

“approached the two Sergeants at Arms to request the assistance of the National Guard, as I had no authority to do so without an Emergency Declaration by the Capitol Police Board (CPB).”

(According to a 2017 Government Accountability Office report, the Capitol Police Board “has authority for security decisions, as well as certain human capital and personnel matters, including the approval of officer terminations.”)

Sund said Irving told him he was “concerned about the ‘optics’ and didn’t feel that the intelligence supported it. He referred me to the Senate Sergeant at Arms (who is currently the Chair of the CPB) to get his thoughts on the request. I then spoke to Mr. Stenger and again requested the National Guard. Instead of approving the use of the National Guard, however, Mr. Stenger suggested I ask them how quickly we could get support if needed and to ‘lean forward’ in case we had to request assistance on January 6.”

During Senate testimony on Feb. 23, Sen. Ted Cruz asked Irving and Stenger whether they had any conversation with “congressional leadership” about supplementing the law enforcement presence on Jan. 6 or bringing in the National Guard.

Irving said he had “no follow up conversations and it was not until the 6th that I alerted leadership [Pelosi’s office] that we might be making a request and that was the end of the discussion.”

Stenger said that “it was Jan. 6 that I mentioned it to leader McConnell’s staff.”

So there is no evidence that Pelosi was made aware of any request for National Guard assistance or played any role in the decision not to fulfill Sund’s request on Jan. 4 for National Guard help on Jan. 6. The decision beforehand not to provide National Guard assistance on the Capitol grounds appears to be one made by both Irving and Stenger (who, again, was appointed by McConnell).

Current events
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PHOENIX (AP) — A Republican-backed review of the 2020 presidential election in Arizona’s largest county ended Friday without producing proof to support former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election.

After six months of searching for evidence of fraud, the firm hired by Republican lawmakers issued a report that experts described as riddled with errors, bias and flawed methodology. Still, even that partisan review came up with a vote tally that would not have altered the outcome, finding that Biden won by 360 more votes than the official results certified last year.

The finding was an embarrassing end to a widely criticized, and at times bizarre, quest to prove allegations that election officials and courts have rejected. It has no bearing on the final, certified results. Previous reviews of the 2.1 million ballots by nonpartisan professionals that followed state law have found no significant problem with the vote count in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix. Biden won the county by 45,000 votes, key to his 10,500-vote win of Arizona.

For many critics the conclusions, presented at a hearing Friday by the firm Cyber Ninjas, underscored the dangerous futility of the exercise, which has helped fuel skepticism about the validity of the 2020 election and spawned copycat audits nationwide.

“We haven’t learned anything new,” said Matt Masterson, a top U.S. election security official in the Trump administration. “What we have learned from all this is that the Ninjas were paid millions of dollars, politicians raised millions of dollars and Americans’ trust in democracy is lower.”

Cyber Ninjas acknowledged in its report that there were “no substantial differences” between the group’s hand count of ballots and the official count. But the report also made a series of other disputed claims the auditors say should cast doubt on the accuracy and warrant more investigation.

Trump issued statements Friday falsely claiming the review found widespread fraud. He urged Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican vying for his party’s U.S. Senate nomination, to open an investigation.

Brnovich, who has been criticized by Trump supporters for not adequately backing the review, did not commit: “I will take all necessary actions that are supported by the evidence and where I have legal authority,” he said in a statement before the report was made public.

Republicans in the state Senate ordered the review under pressure from Trump and his allies, subpoenaing the election records from Maricopa County and selected the inexperienced, pro-Trump auditors. It took months longer than expected and was widely pilloried by experts.

Still, the Arizona review has become a model that Trump supporters are pushing to replicate in other swing states where Biden won. Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general sued Thursday to block a GOP-issued subpoena for a wide array of election materials. In Wisconsin, a retired conservative state Supreme Court justice is leading a Republican-ordered investigation into the 2020 election, and this week threatened to subpoena election officials who don’t comply. Backers also called for additional election reviews in Arizona on Friday.
None of the reviews can change Biden’s victory, which was certified by officials in each of the swing states he won and by Congress on Jan. 6 — after Trump’s supporters, fueled by the same false charges that generated the audits, stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to prevent certification of his loss.

The Arizona report claims a number of shortcomings in election procedures and suggested the final tally still could not be relied upon. Several were challenged by election experts, while members of the Republican-led county Board of Supervisors, which oversees elections, disputed claims on Twitter.

“Unfortunately, the report is also littered with errors & faulty conclusions about how Maricopa County conducted the 2020 General Election,” county officials tweeted.

Election officials say that’s because the review team is biased, ignored the detailed vote-counting procedures in Arizona law and had no experience in the complex field of election audits.
Two of the report’s recommendations stood out because they showed its authors misunderstood election procedures — that there should be paper ballot backups and that voting machines should not be connected to the internet. All Maricopa ballots are already paper, with machines only used to tabulate the votes, and those tabulators are not connected to the internet.

The review also checked the names of voters against a commercial database, finding 23,344 reported moving before ballots went out in October. While the review suggests something improper, election officials note that voters like college students, those who own vacation homes or military members can move to temporary locations while still legally voting at the address where they are registered.

“A competent reviewer of an election would not make a claim like that,” said Trey Grayson, a former Republican secretary of state in Kentucky.

The election review was run by Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, whose firm has never conducted an election audit before. Logan previously worked with attorneys and Trump supporters trying to overturn the 2020 election and appeared in a film questioning the results of the contest while the ballot review was ongoing.

Logan and others involved with the review presented their findings to two Arizona senators Friday. It kicked off with Shiva Ayyadurai, a COVID-19 vaccine skeptic who claims to have invented email, presenting an analysis relying on “pattern recognition” that flagged purported anomalies in the way mail ballots were processed at the end of the election.
Maricopa County tweeted that the pattern was simply the election office following state law.

“‘Anomaly’ seems to be another way of saying the Senate’s contractors don’t understand election processes,” the county posted during the testimony.

Logan followed up by acknowledging “the ballots that were provided for us to count ... very accurately correlated with the official canvass.” He then continued to flag statistical discrepancies — including the voters who moved — that he said merited further investigation.

The review has a history of exploring outlandish conspiracy theories, dedicating time to checking for bamboo fibers on ballots to see if they were secretly shipped in from Asia. It’s also served as a content-generation machine for Trump’s effort to sow skepticism about his loss, pumping out misleading and out-of-context information that the former president circulates long after it’s been debunked.

In July, for example, Logan laid out a series of claims stemming from his misunderstanding of the election data he was analyzing, including that 74,000 mail ballots were recorded as received but not sent. Trump repeatedly amplified the claims. Logan had compared two databases that track different things.

Arizona’s Senate agreed to spend $150,000 on the review, plus security and facility costs. That pales in comparison to the nearly $5.7 million contributed as of late July by Trump allies.
Maricopa County’s official vote count was conducted in front of bipartisan observers, as were legally required audits meant to ensure voting machines work properly. A partial hand-count spot check found a perfect match.

Two extra post-election reviews by federally certified election experts also found no evidence that voting machines switched votes or were connected to the internet. The county Board of Supervisors commissioned the extraordinary reviews in an effort to prove to Trump backers that there were no problems.

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By Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors on Monday unsealed criminal charges against two longtime Republican Party operatives, accusing them of illegally funneling a foreign campaign contribution to former President Donald Trump in 2016.

According to an indictment unsealed in federal court in the District of Columbia, Jesse Benton and Doug Wead "conspired to illegally funnel thousands of dollars of foreign money from a Russian foreign national into an election for the Office of President of the United States of America."

U.S. law bans foreign nationals from donating money to presidential campaigns.

According to the indictment, Benton and Wead helped a Russian national get a ticket to a fundraiser with Trump in Pennsylvania in September 2016.

The Russian, who was not identified in the indictment, donated $25,000 to political action committees associated with Trump in order to attend the event, according to prosecutors.

But the true source of the donation was concealed from the Trump campaign, the indictment said, because the payment was secretly funneled through Benton, who acted as a "straw donor."

Benton, 43, previously managed campaigns for Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky before he was convicted for his role in a political endorsement scheme. Benton avoided jail time and received a presidential pardon in December 2020 from Trump.

Wead, 75, worked as a senior adviser on multiple presidential campaigns and ran for Congress as a Republican in 1992.

It was not yet clear if the two had engaged legal counsel.

Bachmann had narrowly defeated Paul to win the Ames Straw Poll in August 2011, an early measure of support in the state. 

A top aide in the 2008 Ron Paul presidential bid, Dennis Fusaro, provided several emails to According to the address fields in the emails, Fusaro was copied on the messages, which all date from late 2011.

Five days before the caucus, in late 2011, Sorenson abruptly switched his support from Bachmann to Paul, and the Bachmann campaign at the time charged that he had done so for money.
  • Benton is married to Ron Paul's granddaughter, Rand Paul is Benton's uncle -in-law.  Benton lived in Rand Paul's house for a number of years.
    • Benton ran Rand's run for Senate in 2010 and Grandpa Paul's 2012 Presidential Bid.
      • In an Oct. 29, 2011 email, a representative of Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson, a Republican, asks the Paul campaign to provide Sorenson with $8,000 per month in salary for him, $5,000 per month in salary for a Sorenson ally, as well as $100,000 in contributions for a newly created PAC that Sorenson planned to use to support conservative candidates for Iowa state office.
      • In exchange, the email, which was allegedly written by Aaron Dorr, executive director of Iowa Gun Owners, says Sorenson would abandon his support for Rep. Michele Bachmann‘s campaign, endorse Paul, campaign for him and provide access to an email list of Iowans who support homeschooling.
        • That is, the director of Iowa Gun Owners is so deep inside the pockets of the Pauls that he can offer six-figure bribes on the Pauls' behalf.
    • Benton was convicted of bribing Sorenson to throw his support to Ron Paul and given two years probation.  Just two days after his conviction, Benton was setting up the illegal meeting for payment scheme on Roman Vasilenko's behalf.
      • This sort of open corruption and graft was so appealing to Mitch McConnell that he hired Benton to run his 2014 Senatorial bid.  Benton was forced to step down after many reporters questioned such open corruption but to this day, Benton still serves as the primary channel between McConnell and the Pauls.
      • Trump pardoned Benton in January of this year, explicitly as a favor to Rand Paul.
    • Benton is accused setting up a meeting between Trump and Vasilenko in Sept 2016 at a Philadelphia Fundraiser.  Since the price of admission was a $25,000 donation to the Trump campaign and no foreign national should therefore be able to attend, Vasilensko mingled with his translator and had his picture taken with many top GOP officials without batting an eye.  It just wasn't that strange to have Russians openly loitering in the belly of the GOP in 2016, apparently.
    • Wead is a longtime GOP operative and consultant, whose ties to the Russian business magnate go back decades.
      • Wead is credited with authoring the Bush campaign phrase "Compassionate Conservative."
      • Wead has given lectures in Russia bolstering Vasilenko's self-help seminars and  in 2009, Wead appointed Vasilenko to the board of directors for a Christian boarding school where Wead was president.
    • Although the price of dinner with Trump was minimum $25,000, Wead and Benton's consulting firm took a check for $100,000 from Vasilenko.
      • Benton tried to tell the Trump campaign that he had already made his donation (that is tried to hold on to all of the money himself) until Trump's fundraisers insisted.  Benton paid the $25,000 minimum and we can assume Benton and Wead split the $75,000 remainder.  Whether Trump, the Pauls, and McConnell also all get a taste of that money is unclear but that's the way it works in Russia and other mob organizations.  Certainly, nobody in the GOP has bothered to condemn such fairly straightforward bribery by one of America's principle enemies.  I wonder what Vasilenko asked Trump for and whether that request came straight from Putin?  From what little  we can tell of Trump's presidency we should probably assume he got whatever he asked for.

Current events
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The Western Conservative Summit, an annual gathering of conservatives in Denver, was a scaled-back event this year, but that didn’t stop it from making headlines on Monday.

In a straw poll conducted at the summit, 371 attendees were asked who they would vote for in the 2024 presidential election, and out of 31 potential Republican and Democratic candidates, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finished at the top.

Western Conservative Summit 2021 non-partisan approval voting poll results:
1. Ron DeSantis - 74.12%
2. Donald Trump - 71.43%
3. Ted Cruz - 42.86%
4. Mike Pompeo - 39.35%
5. Tim Scott 35.58%

If Trump want to maintain his current domination of the Republican Party, it looks like he's going to have to take out the Governor of his own home state.

Naturally, I'm no fan of DeSantis's governorship but I have to believe that a guy who holds a bachelor's from Yale in history and a Harvard law degree would make a improvement in intellect over Trump and I have to believe that a Seal Team One member who fought at the 2nd Battle of  Fallujah would make an improvement in loyalty to country over Trump.  I'll hope that Republicans lose generally but I certainly would like to see a better Republican shut out of that party the worst American citizen ever.
Current events
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