Nel's New Day

September 22, 2022

More Fraud – September 22, 2022

Special master Raymond Dearie is back in the news on Thursday: he ordered the lawyers of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) to submit a sworn declaration if they believe the FBI planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago during the August 8 search. The declaration must include “a list of any specific items set forth in the Detailed Property Inventory that Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022.” DDT recently repeated the accusation of FBI planting materials this week when talking to Sean Hannity on Fox network. Dearie set September 30 for the declaration’s deadline and asked DOJ for declarations about key facts regarding the search. His actions give an opening to hearing testimony about the search and seized materials from “witnesses with knowledge of the relevant facts.

The DOJ was also ordered to submit “copies of all seized materials” except those marked classified to DDT’s lawyers by September 29. DDT’s legal team must finish reviewing all documents for potential executive or attorney-client privilege by October 14 while regularly sending designations during the interim. Reviews and final designations from both sides are due by October 21. Dearie may also send  proceedings to Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who approved the search warrant. Retired federal judge James Orenstein, appointed by George W. Bush, has been hired to help the review with his staff from the Eastern District of New York assisting. Orenstein had served “on the prosecution team in the Oklahoma City bombings trials.” Attorney General Merrick Garland played a leading role earlier in his career in the Oklahoma City investigation. Dearie said he won’t be paid for his work because the government is paying him as a federal judge but proposed that Orenstein be paid $500 per hour covered by DDT, based on an earlier court ruling.

Some of DDT’s faithful GOP senators are abandoning him, especially his ability to declassify documents just by thinking he does. John Thune (SD) said declassification has a process which should be followed and “apply to anybody who has access to or deals with classified information.” Thom Tillis (NC) agreed, and Mike Rounds (SD) called handling of classified documents a “very serious” issue. Other senators dodged the question, like Mike Braun (IN) who claimed ignorance about the “proper methodology.”

DDT made many bizarre comments about the search for government documents at Mar-a-Lago, but one that belies belief is that the FBI thought they could find “the Hillary Clinton emails that were deleted but they are around someplace.” He repeated that to Sean Hannity on Fox this week, trying to gin up rumors by lying about “a lot of speculation” in his alternative reality.   

Past fraud has returned to haunt DDT—his 2014 rivalry with the 1980s metal rocker Jon Bon Jovi to buy the football team Buffalo Bills. In the $250 million fraud civil lawsuit filed by Letitia James in New York, DDT allegedly inflated assets’ valuation to finance a purchase attempt. DDT smeared the New Jersey resident, saying was that he was too Canadian for Buffalo because of Bon Jovi’s coalition of Toronto-based investors. In his $1 billion bid for the team, DDT needed a letter from a bank that he could get $800 million in financing. A Trump Organization executive, Jeffrey McConney, told the bank that DDT’s wealth, reportedly $800 billion, had “no material decrease” since the 2013 personal statement of financial condition, but those valuations were artificially inflated with DDT’s “deceptive strategies.” Although DDT claimed Bon Jovi planned to move the Bills to Toronto, he didn’t get the team and neither did the rocker. The winning $1.4 billion bid came from Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres hockey team.

Conservatives complained that the nation’s unemployment insurance program to help people during the pandemic caused people to quit work and live on the “government dole.” Yet fraudsters skimmed over $45.6 billion from the program, using dead people’s Social Security numbers and identities of prisoners ineligible for aid. That finding could be incomplete because of the focus on “high risk” areas for fraud; billions of dollars may also have been stolen. Thus far,1,000 people have been charged for these crimes, and 190,000 investigative matters have been opened. The program began in 2020 under DDT’s term in the White House.

In another program to help people during the worst of COVID, 47 defendants have been charged with stealing over $250 million from Feeding Our Future to provide free meals for needy children. Other charges involved about $1 trillion in loans and grants intended for small businesses, and GOP governors have used funding from a $350 billion program by making tax cuts and immigration crackdowns—such as Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis shipping migrants from Texas to Massachusetts.

DeSantis has dropped to a new low in cruelty. He lured migrants to a hotel in San Antonio (TX) miles from their shelter with the promise to fly them to jobs, homes, and help in Delaware, only to cancel the flight and abandon the people. An anonymous source close to DeSantis stated that the flight, supposedly scheduled to land about 20 miles from President Joe Biden’s beach home, was to “punk” media and Democratic officials and “put a spotlight on the border.” Migrants were told they could stay in the hotel for the night before the bogus flight if they didn’t talk about the travel plans or who arranged them. The next morning, they were told the flight was canceled. Their recruiters hired a bus them back to San Antonio’s Migrant Resource Center ten miles away which would provide three days of shelter and aid. Some migrants were not told about the bus, and none of them received food after the flight was canceled.

In April, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sought federal protection for Venezuelan asylum seekers in the U.S.; five months later he accuses them of entering the U.S. “illegally.” He also doesn’t twisted the law, lying that migrants kidnapped by Florida’s governor from Texas and transported across several state lines could not sue for legal recourse. Rubio is only two points ahead of his reelection opponent, Val Deming.   

According to Rubio, health exceptions for the pregnant woman in an abortion ban are also a “massive loophole” and like vehicular manslaughter.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the man who fled the Texas cold during the energy shutdown for the Cancun warmth, is claiming “a great partisan victory!” In a video he took credit for a highway from Laredo to North Dakota that brings jobs and ”tens of billions of dollars” to his state, declaring his pride in the years of hard work for the project. Yet he voted against the bill unlike the other Texas senator, John Cornyn, among 18 Republican senators.

The GOP, party who claims to want transparency, unanimously blocked a Senate bill revealing names of donors giving over $10,000. Republicans need the dark money to get elected.

House Republicans briefly released their policy platform called “Commitment to America” on House Minority Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) website but soon dropped the public’s ability to see the document. Before its disappearance, however, multiple screenshots were taken. It criticizes the Democrats reduction of popular prescription drug costs and “fight inflation and curb the cost of living” through cuts in government spending and taxes, probably for the wealthy as in the 2017 GOP law. Its promise to “save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare” was preceded by a GOP House committee meeting to reduce coverage and cut benefits by “massively” slashing Social Security in its proposed 2023 budget. Another “commitment” is new restrictions on voter access, including mandating voter ID, loosening rules on voter roll purges, and increasing access for observers during elections.

The platform is reminiscent of Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract with America.” McCarthy, however, proposed only one bill promised to get floor votes instead of Gingrich’s ten, a Parental Bill of Rights based on blocking the teaching of “critical race theory.” Deliberately vague, the agenda doesn’t deal in specifics. The one-page document, now removed from McCarthy’s website, is here

McCarthy tried the same grocery store stunt as Pennsylvania’s GOP candidate for U.S. senate, Mehmet Oz, to show the plight of people in the U.S. and failed, just like Oz. In a video with the store as backdrop, McCarthy talked for 15 seconds about financial problems before hellish images and statements about the country’s drugs, inflation, and kids falling behind because of non-existent school closures. He lied about the U.S. being in a recession, and he had no Republican solution, only GOP control of the House.

Claremont, MAGA’s most prominent think tank, is home not only to John Eastman, legal architect of DDT’s plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election, but also the “Sheriff Fellows,” MAGA sheriffs learning the fellowship’s curriculum of two sets of people in the U.S.—communities to be treated as freely and brutally as law enforcement wish and the “real Americans” who are above the law. Sheriffs are a likely target for extremism because the office is vulnerable and can enable vigilantes to exert havoc on society. They have great authority with tanks, helicopters, SWAT teams, battering rams, surveillance technology and guns to terrify community members. Claremont’s curriculum for training these sheriffs is here. Sheriffs are elected; voters should be wary.

And Thomas Barrack, DDT’s close friend, is on trial this week for secretly lobbying DDT on behalf of the United Arab Emirates for personal power and financial gain.

August 31, 2022

No Primaries – August 30, 2022, But DDT News Worse

No primaries this week, but Alaska declared Democrat Mary Peltola the winner of a special election for its one U.S. representative. A Yup’ik, Peltola is the first Alaska Native to win a seat in Congress, the first woman to represent Alaska in the U.S. House, and the first person to win Alaska’s new ranked-choice election process. Defeating GOP candidate Sarah Palin, endorsed by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Peltola won by three percent after receiving second-choice votes from the primary’s third-runner, Nick Begich, and will serve for four months. She is also competing against Begich and Palin in November 2022 for a two-year term beginning in January 2023. Peltola replaces GOP Don Young, who served for 49 years before he died in March 2022. Only the third representative since Alaska became a state in 1959, Young replaced Democrat Nicholas Begich, the current candidate’s grandfather, after he disappeared on a campaign flight from Anchorage to Juneau in late 1972.

The major news today, however, was information about the DOJ response to DDT’s motion for an independent “special master” to review all documents taken from Mar-a-Lago in an August search warrant. Just before the midnight deadline on August 30, the DOJ submitted its 36-page response with more news about DDT illegally hiding documents from the federal government.

The DOJ filing rebuts DDT’s claims about investigators’ private interactions with DDT and his lawyers. Although DDT’s counsel and other representatives claimed a “diligent search” in June, the FBI’s August search recovered twice as many classified documents in a few hours. The statement, signed by DDT’s lawyer Christina Bobb, may be a legal problem for her because the statement, verifying the “diligent search” for “any and all” remaining and relevant documents, was delivered “on behalf of the Office of Donald J. Trump.” That indicates it was authorized by DDT himself.

DOJ’s filing also asserts that DDT’s attorneys moved so slowly that appointing a special master would be pointless. Investigators have already reviewed all the seized material except items set aside by the filter team. If the judge goes ahead to appoint the third party, DOJ recommends the person review seized records only for potential attorney-client privileged information and be required to have a top-level security clearance sufficient to reviewing classified documents. According to DOJ prosecutors, “even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.” According to the DOJ, DDT’s motion is only to disrupt the investigation; if one is assigned, the response asks that the work be completed by September 30.

The DOJ may be adding to DDT’s criminal charges. The affidavit stated:

“There is probable cause to believe that additional documents that contained classified NDI [national defense information] or that are Presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at [Trump’s residence].”

To justify its demand, DDT’s response added executive privilege but cited no cases in which former presidents have successfully prohibited sharing documents and made no such claim of priviege before the search. On Truth Social, DDT again claimed he had declassified the documents, but there is no proof he did so, and the law also covers unclassified documents.

DDT’s response to the DOJ states that the special master should decide questions of executive privilege as well as attorney-client privilege. Executive privilege doesn’t exist among one branch of government; the DOJ is part of the executive branch. Previously, the DOJ said that its team examining the seized materials “identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, [and] completed its review of those materials.”

In their response, DDT’s lawyers assured that there was “no cause for alarm” about finding top-secret documents at Mar-a-Lago that dealt with national security. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is conducting a review of recovered materials regarding the potential risk from disclosure of the materials. DDT lawyers also accused prosecutors wh would “impugn, leak and publicize” details of its investigation without a special master. 

The judge has scheduled a hearing on September 1 at 1:00 pm EST to determine whether to appoint a special master.

One of DDT’s lawyers, Alina Habba, complained that the DOJ investigation into DDT’s mishandling classified documents is for “mundane” offences like “espionage,” mundane meaning “commonplace.” In 105 years, only 55 people have been convicted of espionage. Habba also submitted court filings asserting she performed a “comprehensive search” of Mar-a-Lago for a separate case in New York. She’s either lying, breaking the law, or a witness. Either way, she should be ineligible to represent DDT.  

A photo of classified documents scattered on the floor among DDT’s memorabilia has gone viral with a debate about its accuracy. Phillip Bump wrote that the carpet background is typical of Mar-a-Lago, and a post from DDT indicated that was the location. A photo scale (bottom of page) and a small marker, 2A (center right), indicates it is for documentation of materials found in a “leatherbound box of documents” (not shown) with a property receipt of contents. Classified Documents 1 and 2 are dated August 16, 2018, and Document 3 is dated May, 9, 2018, one day after DDT announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. None of the documents is marked “Declassified.”

The FBI has also newly unsealed a letter from May 25 from DDT’s attorney Evan Corcoran suggesting that the team plans to use the argument that DDT is above the law, trying to persuade the court that a law against keeping U.S. classified information at home doesn’t apply to DDT. According to legal experts, a president out of office is no longer president and becomes subject to laws applying to everyone else. The “good faith” argument that documents were mistakenly taken can be negated by DDT’s refusal to return them earlier and that there may still be more classified information at Mar-a-Lago.

DDT’s desperate attempts to add members to his legal team has been the joke of the media, but he finally found one—former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise. Unfortunately, he’ll have to pay Kise: the RNC has been floating funds for his legal problems but won’t pay for the problem with hiding the documents at Mar-a-Lago. At least he’s stashed most of the tens of millions of dollars donated to sue for the “stolen election” because he never followed through with the plan. Kise, formerly adviser to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ transition team, might want to get paid up front; DDT is known for not paying his bills.

A timeline for those who thus far escaped the ongoing saga of DDT and the stolen classified documents.

Soon after the Mar-a-Lago search, the “what abouts” started with the Clinton “lock her up” trope. The differences:

Federal officials searching Clinton’s emails found 193 with classified information when they were sent. Officials have found over 322 documents with classified information, many of them top secret and some of them in a desk drawer at Mar-a-Lago. Investigators found “a conscious effort to avoid sending classified information, by writing around the most sensitive material.”

Contrary to DDT’s former CIA director Mike Pompeo’s comment, federal investigators obtained Clinton’s materials at her home. The FBI took over 30 devices from Clinton and her aide and received consent for their searches. Evidence center to DDT’s ongoing investigation were never voluntarily turned over despite government requests.

The government could find no evidence that Clinton acted “willfully,” unlike DDT’s behavior.

Clinton’s emails showed no evidence that either she or the recipient was aware that the content was classified. Documents at Mar-a-Lago were labeled with different classified levels with no indication of declassification.

Clinton’s emails, expected to be preserved in other sources and/or acquired from other devices, had been deleted from servers; DDT’s documents were originals and lying around in plain sight.

Columnist Jennifer Rubin points out that GOP candidates are caught in the middle, either defending what is becoming increasingly indefensible or risking votes by cutting loose their cult leader. They also risk ridicule from Democrats who accuse the defense hawks of having flagrant disregard for national security and irrationally strike out at government officials protecting U.S. secrets.

The current solution for Republicans is to go silent. Last weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) threatened “riots in the streets” if anyone prosecute DDT. After backlash, he backed down and said he would never say such a thing. Now he says nothing. When asked about the probe into DDT, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he has “no observations.” Republicans campaigning last week with their rage about the misnamed FBI “raid,” including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have no comment today.

Retirement for DDT means he has time to retweet QAnon accounts on his Truth Social—18 different posts in 12 different accounts within 60 hours. In between, he attacked the DOJ and AG Merrick Garland as well as pushing his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s book, described as “one of the worst political memoirs in recent history.” 

Recent polls: 76 percent are following the news about removal of classified documents; 59 percent think DDT acted inappropriately in taking them; and 64 percent think the allegations are serious.

The next two Tuesdays finish the 2022 primary round with elections in Massachusetts on September 6 and Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island on September 13. Only Louisiana doesn’t hold a primary before the general election.

August 8, 2022

The News Doesn’t Stop – Search for DDT, More CPAC, Alex Jones, Toilets

When I started writing this blog over 11 years ago, a wise friend advised me not to put everything in the first few posts so I wouldn’t run out of material. Since then, Barack Obama was in office for eight years. But then came four years of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) after over a year of his campaigning. News has so filled the media that no one can ever run out information for any political blog. Today, I told my partner that the news might settle down this month because Congress went home to persuade people to vote for them. Yes, there are a few more primaries, but then Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) broke more news.

The FBI received a warrant to search DDT’s resort in Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach (FL) while he summers at his northern home at his Bedminster (NY) residence and awaits a deposition for a lawsuit in his apartment at New York City’s Trump Tower. “They even broke into my safe,” DDT said. “My beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.”

DDT made his announcement the day after he teased a 2024 run for the president at the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) summit. In a hypothetical matchup for the presidency, DDT trailed Biden, 41 percent to 44 percent, and 75 percent of Democrats prefer Biden not run for another term in 2024.Conviction of the federal crime to wrongly remove classified documents can keep the person from running for public office.

Currently, the DOJ has active investigations regarding DDT—wire fraud, attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and the mishandling of classified documents, subject of the search. DDT took documents with him, some of them classified, after President Joe Biden’s inauguration and stored them in Mar-a-Lago’s basement. Previously, the National Archives reported that at least 15 boxes of White House records had been recovered from Mar-a-Lago, some of them classified, but more may still be there.

A search warrant, requiring two branches of the government, is issued when criminal investigators need to move quickly because sensitive materials might be moved, concealed, altered, or destroyed. It can be for a person’s residence, business, car, or other property.

Forty-eight years ago this day, Richard Nixon resigned his presidency. A month earlier, he visited Mar-a-Lago after he left the office, considering a move there.

Desperate to be re-elected—and possibly regain the House leadership—Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) threatened Attorney General Merrick Garland for the search on DDT’s property. “I’ve seen enough.” McCarthy tweeted. “Preserve your documents and clear your calendar.” As usual, the party that claims to be the one of “law and order” accused attempts to find criminal actions to be “political” but still comparable to harassment of everyday citizens in Third World Countries, or “Banana Republic” as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis accused. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) compared the search to the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said nothing.

To compound DDT’s problems, Cushman & Wakefield, DDT’s real estate appraiser, turned over 36,000 documents after being held for contempt of court for refusing a subpoena. The judge lifted the $10,000-a-day fine for not complying. State AG Letitia James’ office reported “serious problems” with some of Cushman’s appraisals for the Trump Organization over the years, including 40 Wall Street, his Seven Springs property in New York, and his Los Angeles golf club. Earlier this year, the judge found DDT in contempt for refusing to provide information but lifted the charge after DDT convinced the court he couldn’t find the information and paid $110,000 in fines.

While the FBI searches for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, photos purportedly of more documents in toilets have emerged. The information about DDT trying to flush these down toilets at the White House have been circulating for six months, but the photos create a greater sense of reality for a completely absurd—but perhaps true—situation. Images on Axios show folded paper with DDT’s handwriting using a Sharpie submerged in various toilet bowls. The book Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America by Maggie Haberman, New York Times White House correspondent, will have the images and more information when released in October. If true, the document dumps violate the Presidential Records Act.

Haberman reported DDT used these disposals many times at the White House and on at least two foreign trips. Haberman wrote that the toilet dumps are “an extension of Trump’s term-long habit of ripping up documents that were supposed to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act.” Her book also reveals she was told that DDT has kept contact with North Korean president Kim Jong-un. One legible name in the photo, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), is a possible running mate for DDT in 2024. [Left, White House; right, overseas trip.]  

Topping off a really bad week for Alex Jones after he was found guilty of defamation regarding the Sandy Hook massacre and ordered to pay almost $50 million, the House January 6 investigative committee has his cellphone contents for the past three years. Those are the same contents he mistakenly sent to the plaintiffs’ attorney. According to the attorney, Mark Bankston, the texts include “intimate messages with Roger Stone,” DDT-aligned operative. Stone has several connections with the Oath Keepers, the far-right militia charged with orchestrating the violent plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election. A major election-denier, Jones already sued the committee to block a subpoena for communications about his meeting the rally-goers intent on marching on the Capitol. Bankston said that “several law enforcement agencies” have also requested the phone data and intends to “immediately” comply with the requests. Roger Stone may be preparing a criminal defense or at least an excuse by claiming that Jones’ lawyer set him up.

The August 2022 CPAC has concluded, three days bracketed by two fascists, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and DDT. Orbán managed to outlie DDT, quite a feat considering DDT’s record. His false claims:

Zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, but he opposes race-mixing, and many of his close associates are anti-Semitic.

Stopped illegal migration with a wall that happens to be a wire fence and uses the “illegal migrants” to stir up fear so that he continues his control. Criminals can stay in the country if they purchase residency permits from his friends.

Prohibition of migration and sex education supported by Hungarians through referendums which were actually a simple questionnaire with loaded questions, ultimately invalid. Binding referendums must have 50 percent participation in an official vote.

Lower taxes in Hungary than in the remainder of Europe although the sales tax is 27 percent as well as thousands of small fees and other taxes for almost every economic transaction.

Support for families by six percent of the GDP, but really 1.3 percent, down from 2.5 percent in 1995.

CPAC’s memory will reverberate, however, through its political melodrama. Inside a cage, a barefoot man, dressed in orange jumpsuit and red MAGA hat, cried all day long in the Dallas convention center booth imitating a prison cell. Bluetooth headphones with the word “silence” were available for attendees who could listen to audio accounts from jailed January 6 defendants. Responders wept, threw money into the cage, and gave words of comfort and support to the man who wrote unhappy slogans on a blackboard, such as “Where Is Everyone?” 

Friday’s star was Brandon Straka, a 45-year-old self-proclaimed former liberal who founded #WalkAway, sponsor of the booth, a social media campaign encouraging Democrats to ditch their party for the GOP.  A gay man, the vocal “Stop the Steal” activist found himself in trouble with the government when he filmed himself on the steps of the Capitol on January 6 and encouraged the angry crowd to steal a police officer’s shield. He pled guilty to disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to 90 days of home detention, $5,000 fine, and three years probation. The public learned through mistakenly unsealed court documents that he had extensively cooperated with prosecutors and provided information to authorities about other Stop the Steal activists, including Ali Alexander, a leader in the movement.

Before putting himself in the cage, Straka berated Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on a panel, saying that he and the GOP didn’t do enough to help January 6 defendants. Riled audience members heckled and booed Biggs. The icing on Straka’s cake was the “jail guards” unlocking the cage to allow Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) inside where she hugged him and fell to her knees in front of him. They held hands and prayed.

Because of his plea deal, Straka didn’t spend any time in prison. The judge appreciated his “willingness to assist the government by providing complete and truthful information,” including at least one incriminating voicemail message he received from another conservative activist.

Straka may be back in a prison cell for real. The judge found Straka’s public comments made last week “inconsistent” with his statements in court. The DDT-appointed judge said Straka was “losing more and more credibility by the moment” and putting himself at risk of prosecution over possible lies to investigators.

And tomorrow is primary day in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Ten more states to go, with Louisiana have a free-for-all on November 8. Races not resulting in one person achieving over 50 percent of the vote return on December 10 for the run-off between the top two in the race.

I haven’t run out of ideas for the blog yet.

July 23, 2022

Secret Service Scandals, More Weekly News

A few of the text messages exchanged among Secret Service members on January 5-6 being sought by the House January 6 investigative committee and deleted by the Secret Service may have been discovered. The agency’s investigators found metadata from around that date which were not retained while examining phones of 10 Secret Service personnel. The discovery came after the DHS inspector general, James Cuffari, asked for text records last year from 24 people at the Secret Service because of demands from the House committee. It revealed only one text.

The IG had asked for text messages for January 7-8—after the insurrection was over. On January 6, the Secret Service planned and shadowed DDT’s movements, and texts would be a treasure trove of background for DDT’s activities. On July 20, the inspector general order Secret Service to stop its investigation because of a criminal probe.

The Secret Service blames the missing data on a migration of phones or a “device replacement program” beginning on January 27, 2021, one week after the inauguration of President Joe Biden. On January 16, 2021, House members sent letters to various agencies, including the Secret Service, to preserve records related to January 6. Spokesman for the Secret Service Anthony Guglielmi said the agency had no record of the letter, and Cuffari’s first request for records was on February 26, 2021, a month after the “migration” started. Both the House committee and the National Archives are searching for information with, respectively, a subpoena and a request.

Cuffari was long been aware that the texts are missing and failed to take any action for nine months. He also rejected sending an alert about the access problem until his first public statement in a letter to Congress on July 13, 2022—18 months after the House ordered him to save all records related to the insurrection. The Secret Service still stated that the migration had not lost any of the texts the inspector general was seeking, a complete falsehood.

Both Cuffari and James Murray, Secret Service director, are trying to dig themselves out of the scandal exploding after the agents’ deleted texts that could reveal DDT’s activities on the days before and of the insurrection. DDT appointed both of them, based on friends’ recommendations and their loyalty to protect him at any costs. According to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, the Secret Service were told at least three times to preserve text messages and communications on the agency’s phones, per federal law. Murray didn’t live up to his responsibility. Investigative journalist Carol Leonnig wrote that DDT wanted to appoint Secret Service Tony Ornato for the agency’s director in 2019, but Ornato recommended Murray. Ornato then became DDT’s deputy chief of staff, and Murray became the director after a ten-minute interview with DDT.  

During his Cuffari’s tenure as director:

He rejected his staff’s recommendation to investigate the Secret Service role in the June 2020 violent clearing of peaceful anti-racist protesters from Lafayette Square for DDT’s photo op at St. John’s Church.

Cuffari suppressed a report about sexual misconduct within DHS for over a year and then told Congress he would issue it because it was old information.

He attempted to limit the investigation into COVID spread within the Secret Service alleged caused by DDT’s re-election campaign not following guidelines.

He ignored staff’s request to examine Secret Service COVID protocols putting Secret Service employees at risk because DDT would not wear masks in close quarters before a vaccine was available.

He stonewalled his career staff from interviewing key officials in a review about Border Patrol employee participation in a Facebook group rife with racist and sexist messages until one of them behind it had resigned.

He was accused of stalling a whistleblower’s complaint about DHS officials politicizing its department in support of DDT and Stephen Miller until after DDT lost the election.

The DHS Office of Intelligence & Analysis also released no “intelligence products specific for January 6”, 2021, attack on the capitol.

Under Cuffari, the DHS did not launch a single probe specifically investigating the Secret Service at any point during the tenure of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT).

In another week, Murray is leaving his director of Secret Service position to become chief security officer for Snap Inc., owner of the Snapchat social media site. Despite glowing comments about the Secret Service, others have pointed out continuing scandals including prostitution, security missteps for President Obama, and the ongoing allegations of politization during DDT’s term and into that of President Joe Biden.

Recently, two of Biden’s Secret Service detail in South Korea caused an altercation with the country’s citizens while the two men were bar-hopping while off duty. A month earlier, agency leaders admitted four employees, including one assigned to protect first lady Jill Biden were allegedly hoodwinked by two men impersonating federal agents and gave them expensive gifts. On January 6, then-VP Mike Pence refused to get into a car with Secret Service agents for fear they would remove him from his responsibility to preside over counting electoral votes after the insurrection.

On July 12, 2022, the House committee hearing presented testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson; she claimed Ornato had told her that DDT lunged for the car’s steering wheel to keep the driver from returning to the White House on January 6 instead of going to the U.S. Capitol. She added that Robert Engel, head of DDT’s security detail who was present at the discussion, did not deny Ornato’s claim. They have said the incident didn’t happen but have yet to testify under oath and retained private counsel as has the driver. At the July 22, 2022 hearing, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) said two additional sources have partly corroborated the story about DDT’s attack on his Secret Service detail, one of them, “a former White House employee with national security responsibilities.” The second witness was retired Washington, DC, police Sgt. Mark Robinson, who was in DDT’s motorcade that day.

Former members of the Secret Service, media pundits, and politicians have disagreed whether the texts were maliciously deleted through politics or just lost through sloppy, bad governance. Whether from incompetence or intention, the result is criminal.

Following are a few snippets of recent news, some of them flying under the radar:

Jeffrey Clark, who DDT tried to make Acting AG to overturn the Georgia 2020 election, is facing ethics charges at the D.C. Bar which could require him to cooperate with any DOJ investigation of DDT. His choice could be prison or cooperation.

Conservatives have a new scapegoat for all the hate in the U.S.—Hillary Clinton. Paul Waldman has a differing opinion in his column, “The Most Dangerous Threat to America? White Male Entitlement.”

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are no longer connected to DDT’s political endeavors—at least for now.

The Senate voted 64-34 to advance a slimmer bill boosting U.S. semiconductor competition with China, $50 billion in subsidies for manufacturing computer chips and decrease dependence on Asia. The global shortage hurts many manufacturing industries—automotive vehicles, mobile phones, consumer technology, defense systems, etc. If senators pass the bill, it moves to the House. Over a year ago, the bill passed the Senate with $250 billion, but the House didn’t consider it. The House bill included climate change funding, and Republicans refused it.

As usual, DDT has soaked up media coverage with almost no space left over for Biden’s trip to the Middle East except for outrage about a fist bump with murderer Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). His trip began gathering support against Iran, a country developing much more power since DDT backed out of the agreement to keep it from having nuclear weapons. Biden’s work was to lay diplomacy for Saudi Arabia for an agreement with Israel like the Jerusalem Declaration, similar to the Abraham Accords, signed during Biden’s trip. The work with Middle East countries is vital because Russian President Vladimir Putin is building a coalition with Iran and China—a primary security threat. MBS already signed the Jeddah Communique, stressing the importance for both sides “of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.” Biden’s final stop, the GCC+3 summit with nine Middle East leaders, shows the U.S. will not leave a vacuum for China, Iran, or Russia. Global affairs, like life, are complicated.

Conservatives who follow Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post will be reading this about DDT after the eighth hearing:    

“His only focus was to find any means—damn the consequences—to block the peaceful transfer of power. There is no other explanation, just as there is no defense, for his refusal to stop the violence.”

Murdoch has sent a message to DDT about his future aspirations of completing an authoritarian regime, again weaponizing his power to force loyalty and militarize the nation with grand displays of parades. Even Murdoch wants the GOP to move on without DDT.

June 28, 2022

January 6, 2021 Hearing – June 28, 2022

The sixth hearing by the House January 6 investigative committee provided only one witness in person, Cassidy Hutchinson. As top deputy to the chief of staff Mark Meadows for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) during the insurrection and its leadup, she was in a position to know the palace intrigues: she kept the calendar, attended many meetings, and was on a first-name basis with a majority of the primary players. Before Hutchinson came to the White House, she interned for Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the current GOP whip, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Republicans argue that she is nothing but a “low-level staffer,” but Alyssa Farah, former White House communications director, explained her position in the White House as seeing everything and “always on Air Force One.” Her office is next to that of Meadows and only yards from the Oval Office.

Hutchinson knew that DDT was aware of impending violence days before January 6, approved of it, and ordered his armed supporters to head to the Capitol after the rally. He planned to meet them there despite protests from his aides and Secret Service detail. Denied this opportunity, he tried to get his own way through physical means and protect rioters who chanted “hang Mike Pence” because Pence didn’t follow DDT’s orders to overturn the election.

Today’s testimony moved into the uncharted territory of DDT’s temper and the way he exhibited and approved violence. It threw out the DDT’s claim that the insurrection was “a simple protest that got out of hand.” A chronology of events in Hutchinson’s testimony:

January 2, 2021: DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani mentioned to that “we are going to the Capitol, it’s going to be great, the president is going to be there.” When she asked Meadows what Giuliani meant, her boss warned that “things might get real, real bad on January 6.” Intelligence agencies warned in the next few days that the rally could turn violent, but DDT and Meadows did nothing. Meadows supported DDT’s plan to lead his marchers to the Capitol.  According to Hutchinson, Cipollone said that DDT’s going to the Capitol on January 6 would cause legal problems in crimes such as “obstructing justice” and “defrauding elector count.”

Although Hutchinson didn’t know what was said, Meadows talked with Roger Stone and Michael Flynn on the night of January 5 at DDT’s urging. She said she advised Meadows to go to the Willard Hotel “War Room” that evening. He didn’t go, but “dialed in.” On the morning of January 6, Cipollone told Hutchinson that if DDT marched on the Capitol with his supporters “we’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.”

January 6, 2021—the rally: Disturbed by empty spaces at his rally at the Ellipse, DDT told aides to let them in. Former deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato told DDT that the crowd was armed, but DDT said that he didn’t “f***ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f***ing mags away,” meaning magnetometers scanning for weapons. Audio of law enforcement before the January 6 rally relayed reports of attendees carrying AR-15 rifles and Glock pistols as well as brass knuckles, knives, tasers, and other weapons confiscated when the crowd passed through the magnetometers. Knowing about the weapons, DDT said, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol.”

January 6, 2021—after the rally: Furious by being told he couldn’t go to the Capitol to join the rioters, DDT “reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel” and then used his free hand to lunge towards “the clavicles” of his Secret Service agent. DDT was not in a Suburban instead of the large limo called “The Beast.” DDT said, “I’m the f***ing president! Take me up to the Capitol now!” Yet the driver took him to the White House.

January 6, 2021—at the White House: Still in a fury, DDT hurled his lunch at the wall, leaving his valet to clean up the streaming ketchup. Meadows and Cipollone met with him about the chants to hang Pence, but DDT refused to do anything to stop the rioters. Hutchinson said both Meadows and DDT seemed indifferent to the threats. Cipollone told Meadows they needed to stop it, but Meadows answered, “You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.” Her statements confirm other testimony that DDT made this comment as well as testimony that DDT believed that insurrectionists assaulting police officers and ransacking the Capital were doing nothing wrong.

Hutchinson paints a picture of DDT as approving the intentional, not accidental, violence of the day because he wanted the violent mob to attack the Capitol for his benefit, use the violence to disrupt the electoral votes certification, and illegally keep him in the Oval Office—a coup. This evidence could be the basis for criminal charges such as seditious conspiracy against DDT. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Meadows that Cabinet secretaries were considering invoking the 25 Amendment to remove DDT from the Oval Office.

In her testimony, Hutchinson also said that Meadows burned papers after a meeting with Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), advocating for DDT to stay in power by replacing DOJ leadership. Destroying public records is illegal. Meadows also tried to get a presidential pardon after the insurrection, the highest-ranking official seeking this privilege. Giuliani had also indicated an interest in a pardon. Meadows encouraged language about pardons for the rioters in a January 7 speech, but White House lawyers blocked the language.

DDT’s aides called Hutchinson’s testimony a “bombshell” with potentially huge repercussions for Trump. One adviser said, “For the first time since the hearings started, no one is dismissing this.

Even Fox’s chief political correspondent Bret Baier called Hutchinson’s testimony “stunning and compelling” especially because she was in a “proximity of power” to know what was happening. “Nervous” and “blindsided” by the news of Hutchinson’s cooperation, DDT engaged in what his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen described as “distance, disparage, and destroy.” DDT began his negative statements with his usual separation from any person, stating, “I hardly know who this person Cassidy Hutchinson is” and then accused her of being angry because he wouldn’t allow her to join his staff at Mar-a-Lago. About DDT’s rebuttal to the testimony, Baier pointed out that Hutchinson was “under oath” and DDT was “on Truth Social.”

Baier also praised the Republicans who testified before the committee and called them “patriots.”  Fox anchor Martha MacCallum described hearings’ testimonies laying out a “huge, stunning and clear moment” showing a lack of evidence to support Trump’s claims of an unfair election in 2020. Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade said that DDT’s lawyers never found evidence of voter fraud and called DDT “unhinged.”  

In addition to other charges, participants in the coup may face charges of witness tampering. At the sixth hearing, committee members expressed their concern that DDT’s allies are trying to intimidate witnesses who cooperate with the special House panel. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the committee’s vice-chair said the committee asks all witness if they have been contacted by any former DDT administration or campaign officials “who attempted to influence or impact their testimony.” Thus far, the committee has found at least two examples of potential witness intimidation.

A January 6 witness described receiving a phone call:  

 “What they said to me is as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect, you know, I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World.”

“And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceeded through my depositions and interviews with the committee.”

A second witness described receiving another phone call:

“[Someone] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”

Mick Mulvaney, former DDT top official, tweeted that reports of witness tampering could be a serious problem for DDT:

“The Press is going to focus on some sensational revelations from today:  guns, grabbing a secret service agent, etc. But the real bomb that got dropped was the implied charge of witness tampering. If there is hard evidence, that is a serious problem for the former President.”

In February, committee member Rep. Pete Aguilar (R-CA) accused DDT of trying to sway testimony by offering pardons if he’s re-elected as president. He consistently repeats this claim at his rallies related to January 6.

The committee, with the House approval, has already made criminal recommendations for people refusing to comply with subpoenas. Thus far at least 30 people have failed to appear after receiving the committee’s subpoenas, an illegal action. During its yearlong work, the committee interviewed over 1,000 witness and explored over 140,000 documents while following up on 471 tips.

June 23, 2022

January 6, 2021 Hearings – June 23, 2022 plus Breaking News

 In another bombshell ruling, six Supreme Court justices struck down a 1913 New York law requiring people to demonstrate they have a “special need for self-protection” to carry a concealed handgun in public. To an indifferent majority, Justice Stephen Breyer noted the 277 reported mass shootings, more than one per day, during fewer than the first six months of 2022. He added, “Gun violence has now surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents.” Shootings in New York City doubled between 2019 and 2021, rising much more in the first quarter of 2022. Wayne Pierre, NRA’s executive vice president, took credit for the ruling; its opinion was written by Clarence Thomas.

The six Supremes also blocked people from suing police if they are not given their Miranda rights. Samuel Alito wrote the violation is not “a violation of the Fifth Amendment.” Therefore police are required to read everyone their Miranda rights, but not doing it doesn’t violate the law.  

By 65-14, the Senate passed its lukewarm “gun reform” bill that one media sourced called the “most significant gun legislation in three decades.” The anti-assault law, which saved many lives, passed in 1994 but expired in 2004, resulting in thousands of deaths. The bill now goes to the House for debate, revisions, and a vote.

Since the fourth hearing by the House January 6 investigative committee on June 21, the number of violent threats against committee members has been on the rise, probably requiring security detail for all of them. Even before that hearing, the wife of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) received a letter threatening to execute her and their five-month-old baby. He said that violence will not lessen until people believe the truth. Despite her security detail since last year, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has not been able to have publicized campaign events because of security concerns.

After his day in the sun on June 21 for his testimony about denying the demands of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to violate the law and the U.S. Constitution, Rusty Bowers, Arizona state House speaker, destroyed his credibility when he said he would still vote for DDT in 2024. He testified that DDT “wanted him to take illegal, immoral, unprecedented, and unconstitutional steps to overturn the 2020 election results in his state,” according to Oliver Knox. “And Trump never provided a shred of evidence for his false claims of voter fraud.”

DDT attacked Bowers for being a RINO, “Republican in Name Only,” and repeated his lie that Bowers had told DDT he believed “the election was rigged.” Bowers needs DDT’s base in his state senate run against against another Mormon during the August 2 primary as he leaves the House. DDT has also become increasingly angry with the failed strategy of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) who tried to close down the House investigative committee by pulling his appointments after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refused two of them, one of them now subpoenaed.

McCarthy advised Republicans to ignore all these hearings, but DDT isn’t following that advice. McCarthy said that appointing Republicans to the committee would create more difficulty if they attacked it as political, but DDT wants to know why no one is defending him on television. DDT has also not endorsed McCarthy for becoming House speaker job if the GOP takes over the chamber in 2022, and McCarthy needs DDT’s base.

The first GOP failure in blocking an investigation was their refusal to create an independent commission with five Republicans and five Democrats who would equally share subpoena powers and prepare the final report. McCarthy had agreed to the commission if Democrats agreed to five changes. The Democrats agreed with the changes, but McCarthy backed out. House Republicans said they voted against it after DDT opposed the idea. The five GOP members who McCarthy withdrew from the official committee have formed their own “shadow” group to center on “the real true story about what took place on Jan. 6” largely focusing on alleged security failures under Pelosi’s watch with a report released before the August recess.

The official committee is now able to investigate and present findings without distraction. It behaves in a highly professional manner, and obstructive Republicans have no information to prepare DDT’s defense, no way to influence the committee’s direction, no contrary questions, no leaking, and no diluting findings before the final report. Republicans other than DDT are upset with McCarthy.

The night before the June 23 hearing, law enforcement officers used an FBI-issued warrant to search the home of Jeffrey Clark, Assistant AG for the Environment. Warrants are given only with evidence of a crime. DDT had planned to install Clark as acting AG in January 2021 to replace Jeffrey Rosen and make Clark the third AG in two weeks, after DDT fired his own appointee Bill Barr. The proposal failed when hundreds of DOJ employees threatened to quit if DDT replaced Rosen with Clark who planned to tell Georgia officials the lie that the department had proof for the state to rescind its certification of Joe Biden for the presidency.

When earlier called by the investigative committee to testify, Clark declared both attorney-client privilege—although he worked for an independent agency—and the Fifth Amendment over 100 times to not incriminate himself. He can’t do both. On January 3, DDT started calling Clark his acting AG, although he had not appointed him, to give Clark the power to endorse his lies about election fraud.  

[The hearings require an elaborate production as shown by this shot of the MSNBC control room.] 

Witnesses at the June 23 hearing included Rosen, acting AG during the January 6 insurrection; Richard Donoghue, Rosen’s top deputy; and Steven Engel, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel. Both Donoghue and Engel had threatened to resign if DDT replaced Rosen with Clark. All witnesses detailed their clarifications with DDT about the invalidity of DDDT’s accusations of the “stolen election” theories. Donoghue testified that DDT asked him to tell the public that the election had “widespread fraud” despite no evidence. He said, “Leave the rest of it to us,” meaning himself and the “U.S. Congressmen.” DDT’s former White House attorney Eric Herschmann told Clark, considered incompetent because he knew nothing about criminal law, sarcastically told Clark he was perfect for the job because he was willing to commit a felony.  

Some of today’s revelations:

Congressional co-conspirators to overturn the 2020 presidential election: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), sworn into the House three days before the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) attended a December meeting at the White House to discuss strategy although DDT knew there was no evidence of fraud. Perry introduced DDT to Clark who had no connection to election fraud or criminal investigations outside environmental damage.

Request for DDT’s pardons: Among members of Congress asking for DDT’s pardons to cover their crimes were GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz (FL), Mo Brooks (AL), Andy Biggs (AZ), Louie Gohmert (TX), Scott Perry (PA), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA). Both Gaetz, under investigation for federal child sex-trafficking and other crimes, and Brooks wanted blanket pardons for all possible crimes in the past and future, according to Mark Meadows’ former aide Cassidy Hutchinson. More members of Congress may have asked for presidential pardons. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) also asked if DDT would be giving pardons to congressional members. Pardoned people have to testify because they cannot plead the Fifth Amendment, not incriminating themselves.

Links with DOJ to overturn the election: In addition to the hearing’s DOJ witnesses and news about Clark, new DOJ attorney Ken Klukowski worked with Clark and DDT’s lawyer John Eastman to overturn the election, according to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). Their dual method was to overhaul DOJ for it to focus on fraud claims and persuade legislatures to sign off on alternate slates of electors.

Pentagon involvement: DDT told former Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller to call a high-ranking official in Rome (Italy) about the conspiracy theory “Italygate” that an Italian defense contractor uploaded software to a satellite to switch votes from DDT to Joe Biden. It was just one of the conspiracy theories that DDT told the DOJ to follow.

Film footage: British filmmaker Alex Holder testified behind closed doors and showed the raw footage of DDT, his family, friends, and then-VP Mike Pence from September 2020 to after the January 6 attack. DDT told the filmmakers, “I think I treat people well, unless they don’t treat me well, in which case you go to war.”

Sedition: DDT’s daily pressure on members of an independent government agency presents a clear picture of his opposition to his own government which was searching for justice, support the will of the people, and following the Constitution.

After this evidence of DDT’s incessant push at the DOJ to make the independent agency an arm of his campaign to create a coup, the next hearings, expected to cover domestic extremism and DDT’s actions inside the White House, will be scheduled starting the week of July 11. The wait is to incorporate the “new evidence [the committee reveives] on a daily basis with enormous velocity,” according to Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). The two hearings may not be the last before the panel issues final reports later this year.

A more detailed summary of the June 23 hearing by Heather Cox Richardson.

December 3, 2021

A Roundup of January 6 Political Rogues

Instead of tapering off with time, the news from the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol is building as the “stop the steal” movement created by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues to dominate the media.

DDT’s lawyers are beginning to suffer from the court rulings after his failure to overturn the election. A grand jury found that Sidney Powell, the leader of his legal campaign, filed false incorporation papers in Texas for her non-profit, Defending the Republic. She listed two men on the three-person board of directors who had not given her permission to use their names. A federal criminal inquiry has been investigating allegations of her fundraising and financial fraud in running the group, including the possibility that she falsely claimed donations financed her lawsuits. Powell also named several plaintiffs and co-counsel in her election-related cases without their permission and exaggerated the role in the cases.     

Powell is also one of nine lawyers connected to DDT who were ordered to pay Detroit and Michigan $175,000 for abusing the court system with a sham lawsuit trying to overturn the 2020 election results. The state is also seeking disbarment for four of the attorneys, one of them Powell who is licensed in Texas. Earlier, a Colorado judge fined two lawyers $187,000 for filing a frivolous lawsuit, stating, “They need to take responsibility.” In a class action suit for 160 million U.S. voters, the two had alleged a plot to give the president win to Joe Biden who received more than seven million votes than DDT.

Rioters from January 6 also continue to receive sentences. A federal judge told one of them, who was waving a 1776 flag, while attacking the Capitol that his attempt to overturn a democratic was the opposite of the American Revolution values. She pointed out:

“In 1776, the people who went on to form a democracy didn’t do that at the urging of a single head of state. … The point of 1776 was to let the people to decide who would rule them. [On January 6] the point was to substitute the will of the people with the will of the mob… You were a participant, albeit a minor one, in an effort to subvert and overturn the democratic process. That day didn’t just cost you a lot, it cost our country a lot.”

On January 6, Rep. Lauren Boebert tweeted, “Today is 1776.”

Meanwhile, the House January 6 Committee has assiduously pursued its goal to investigate the involved people and events surrounding the insurrection. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of two Republicans on the committee, announced the panel will hold “multiple weeks public hearings” next year, detailing “in vivid color” those events, including the ones concerning from the White House. Cheney stated that the hearings will lay out “exactly what happened every minute of the day on Jan. 6 here at the Capitol and at the White House and what led to that violent attack.”

The committee has recommended a vote on declaring former acting assistant AG Jeffrey Clark in contempt for not responding to a subpoena although he claimed he would appear before the panel to plead the Fifth Amendment. He tried unsuccessfully to get the DOJ involved in overturning the 2020 election. Instead of appearing at a hearing, he claimed a medical problem; the hearing is reset for December 16. Clark would be the second person refusing to testify and be declared in contempt after Steve Bannon’s name was sent to the DOJ and indicted on two criminal counts by a federal grand jury. Steve Bannon’s lawyer to fight the charge of contempt is David Schoen, the man who Bannon ridiculed during DDT’s second impeachment trial.

Bannon may face more criminal charges, this one about illegally coordinating with Cambridge Analytica’s foreign employees for the elections in 2014 and 2016, that one for DDT. While DDT was in the White House FEC commissioners ignored his 2016 campaign, but a statement from Rebekah Mercer, former Bannon’s business partner and DDT’s supporter, revealed a complaint alleging illegal activities and pointed the finger at Bannon.

Attorney John Eastman, who wrote a memo for VP Mike Pence explaining how Pence could overturn the election on January 6 by denying the Electoral Votes, also took the Fifth Amendment in Eastman’s letter to the committee. The Fifth Amendment permits people the right to refuse testifying to avoid incriminating themselves. DDT called the Fifth Amendment the refuge of mobsters, and President Nixon, during Watergate, told his aides, “I want you all to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up, or anything else.”  

DDT may be the most notable person trying to avoid compliance with a subpoena regarding January 6. This week, a three-judge panel of DC Circuit Court heard his appeal to hide documents revealing his communication and events pertaining to the insurrection. Biden had waived executive privilege for these materials, declared the committee needed to see them for the national interest. One of DDT’s lawyers struggled for an answer when a judge asked him why a former president had more authority than the current one concerning executive privilege.

DDT’s last chief of staff Mark Meadows may be another witness to declare executive privilege to avoid revealing what happened. In his new book, he writes about his attempts to use the DOJ to push the “stolen election” lies and tried to use the Pentagon, FBI, national security council, and the office of the Director of National Intelligence to find information to support about China hacking the election. Supposedly, she didn’t believe these lies but followed them to please DDT. Meadows also put conspiratorial tales about voter fraud on YouTube. He was also behind the myth that people in Italy used satellites to change votes.

Meadows’ private Gmail account tells how he pressured Georgia officials to get the extra votes for DDT. The telephone call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was preceded by 18 other calls from Meadows, and Raffensperger told the chief of staff he thought the Gmail messages were a prank. A question is what other evidence is on those emails. Meadows’ attempt to withhold information may be compromised by his having put the details into his book, The Chief’s Chief, and cause trouble in his claiming executive privilege. He, too, is on the verge of being accused of contempt. Legal experts assert the privilege does not exist if information has already been made public.

Last week, five more subpoenas from the committee included those for Roger Stone and Alex Jones. Jones’ subpoena cited his assignment from the White House “to lead a march to the Capitol where President Trump would meet the group …” DDT never appeared, and hundreds of his followers face criminal charges. Yet documentation shows the plan came from DDT. Roger Stone turned on Katrina Pierson, who he said was “deeply involved in the violent and unlawful acts of January 6.”

In the past five months, the House panel has issued 45 subpoenas to organizations and individuals: close DDT allies, 4; rallies and events organizers before January 6, 19; Department of Justice, 1; DDT campaign officials, 6; DDT White House officials, 10; and groups and individuals linked to the Capitol Hill riot on January 6, 5. The names are here.

Some notable subpoena recipients:

William Stepien: manager of DDT’s 2020 campaign which asked states not to certify the legal election results.

Jason Miller: DDT’s advisor who talked about a stolen election before people voted.

Angela McCallum: executive assistant to DDT’s 2020 campaign who pressured a Michigan state representative to appointed alternate electors because of “election fraud.”

Bernard Kerik: former New York City police commissioner who paid for the Willard Hotel rooms, the plotters’ command center. (DDT pardoned him after his convictions for tax fraud, ethics violations, and criminal false statements.)

Michael Flynn: DDT ally who told DDT to declare martial law and “rerun” the election and participated in the December 18, 2020, at the Oval Office “during which participants discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency, invoking certain national security emergency powers, and continuing to spread the false message that the November 2020 election had been tainted by widespread fraud.”

Steven Miller: the architect of DDT’s anti-immigration policies and his voter fraud conspiracies before the January 6 rally.

Kayleigh McEnany: DDT’s press secretary who made many statements from both the White House and media outlets about “very real claims” of fraud.   

John McEntee: DDT’s former bagman and White House personnel director who tried to halt the transition process to President Joe Biden.

Members have also privately interviewed over 250 people, most of whom responded voluntarily, including one of the 650 rioters charged in the insurrection and state GOP officials who worked with DDT to overturn the election.  

DDT has come full circle since his inauguration: his biggest problem about January is that no one admires the size of his crowd at the rally. He had no regrets about holding the rally leading to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, just complaints about how people weren’t talking about the number of people who attended.


October 30, 2021

Zuckerberg Faces Big Problems

Mark Zuckerberg has skated along since he was a teenager who used a website for a contest between female classmates and farm animals for desirability and then stole the invention of a social-networking site from other students. At the time, he said he discovered how “voyeuristic” people are and has used that cynicism to make over $120 billion with his Facebook empire.

Throughout his career, Zuckerberg has skirted scandals, but his callous indifference to helping the January 6 insurrection may be the tipping point. After two whistleblowers came forward with testimony and a treasure trove of damning internal documents, 18 news outlets formed the “Facebook Consortium” to report on those documents, called “The Facebook Papers.” The announcement led to Facebook warning staffers about upcoming “bad headlines.” An overview of the news outlets and their reporting.

Multiple articles have resulted in public revelations about Facebook activities:

Promoting the “Stop the Steal” movement lying about the election: FB removed “guardrails” used before the 2020 election to slow the spread of hate and misinformation after Joe Biden was elected president and replaced “only after the insurrection flared up,” according to whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony. Other FB employees maintain leadership decisions helped create conditions for the January 6 attack on the U.S. capitol.

Facilitating human trafficking: FB has known it was responsible for advertising “domestic servitude” for at least three years but didn’t work to correct it until Apple threatened to drop FB and Instagram access to the App store. Yet FB has failed, offering women for physical and sexual abuse, deprived of food and pay, without travel documents for escape.

Stoking political violence: FB employees warned about the company’s failure to incite violence in “at risk” countries such as Ethiopia during its civil war when “problematic actors,” including states and foreign organizations, spread hate speech and discontent against ethnic minorities. FB estimates 72 percent of its 1.84 billion daily active users are outside North America and Europe. Haugen called Myanmar and Ethiopia “the opening chapter” in killing “a large number of people.” In 2018, the UN said FB had “turned into a beast” for promoting violence and hatred against Myanmar’s minority Rohingya population. FB’s permitted disinformation in India resulted in similar hate messages.

Another indictment of FB is Maria Ressa’s Nobel Prize for her independent news outlet, Rappler. She had tried—and failed—to convince Zuckerberg of his social responsibility as she told him about the problems he was causing in her native Philippines by Duterte’s dictatorship and his abuse of her and her reporters. When she told him that he was spreading disinformation to 97 percent of the people in the country, his only response was how to get the other three percent onto FB.

Supporting foreign elections: As FB CEO, Zuckerberg gave Vietnam’s Communist government almost complete control over postings before the country’s elections. Because they could, leaders crack down on dissidents’ free speech ahead. Zuckerberg said he was promoting free speech, but his motivation was the country’s threat to shut down his $1 billion market in Vietnam. 

Permitting QAnon to develop on FB: The company knew the extremists’ false beliefs reached users unchecked for over a year but even created sites from research to promote them.

Pushing people toward radicalizing content for business interest: A FB researcher invented accounts to promote and spread QAnon conspiracies to examine the use of recommendation systems to misinform and polarize users.  

Failing to block disinformation about the pandemic: Internal documents show studies of how damaging the lies about COVID were, but FB refused to remove the instigators except for a few direct complaints.

Allowing foreign troll farms to run top Christian pages: With the knowledge of FB, Eastern European organizations deliberately created conflict and manipulated opinion through coordinated offensive and provocative online posts on 19 of the top FB pages for U.S. Christians in 2019. They reached 75 million users a month, 20 times the next largest Christian FB page.

Fostering rage through algorithms: Using the reaction emoji to push more provocative content, FB weighted the “anger” response at five times more valuable than the ones for “like” or “love.” The method of growth is keeping people engaged, an easier response if they are upset. Researchers discovered that pushing these “controversial” posts could open “the door to more spam/abuse/clickbait inadvertently,” but FB didn’t stop the practice to use hatred and rage in shaping its readership for a much wider audience.

Growing FB at any cost to people: In a reflection of FB’s indifference, Andrew Bosworth, now chief technology officer at the company, sent a memo to employees in 2016 justifying growth at any human cost, connecting people whether they commit suicide, die in a terrorist attack, or suffer other disasters. To Bosworth—and FB—”questionable contact importing practices” and “subtle language that helps people stay searchable” are acceptable growth tactics.

Destroying the environment: This year, Oregon passed a law to regulate submarine cable projects because of FB’s destruction of part of the coastline. The company’s project suffered a massive drilling fluid leak and abandoned tons of abandoned equipment and two sumps while the state receives only $500,000 from the company. Another FB problem for communities is its high level of water for data centers. An internet search finds most articles cover how the company promises to develop water conservation methods in the future, but the reservoir for Prineville (OR), also home to Apple data centers, was at 21 percent of its capacity last summer. 

Zuckerberg denied the accusation in Max Chafkin’s newly published book The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power that he promised DDT he wouldn’t fact-check the campaigner’s political post in exchange for not being regulated, but his actions demonstrate a high level of support for DDT:

  • A secret dinner between the two of them at the White House a week after Zuckerberg promised not to fact-check political ads.
  • Removal of the fact-check of a “partly false” article about climate change published by right-wing news site, The Daily Wire, by top FB official.
  • DDT’s posts calling for violence against Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters and his “Big Lie” about the “stolen” 2020 election.

A major complaint from conservatives is that social media favors liberal views, and noted conspiracy theorist Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) complained about his belief during a committee hearing on October 29. Mary Anne Franks, law professor at the University of Miami School of Law, explained the need for regulation of right-wing content because it isn’t covered by constitutional free speech in the case of social media:

“Yes, we do have a First Amendment. We do have a right to free speech but we also know, of course, that private companies are not obligated under the First Amendment to take all comers. They are allowed to make their own decisions about what is considered to be high-quality and low-quality content. They can make any number of decisions and I think we would applaud them in many cases to make those decisions…

“The data actually do indicate that right-wing content is more amplified on these social media platforms than left-wing content and that right-wing content is more disproportionately associated with real-world violence; not hurt feelings, people being upset but, in fact, actual violence, actual armed insurrections, actual notions of terrorism, and anarchy.”

Despite DDT’s complaints about not being allowed on social media, he has effectively skirted that ban as well as the law preventing him for using his current fundraising for another presidential campaign. His primary PAC, Save America, has weekly spend $100,000 in October on Facebook advertising, many of them using the lies about a stolen election for donor requests. The money funds his current political operation—travel, staff, rallies—before he announces a campaign. When he starts fresh with a new account, he can rent the updated donor list collected by the current PAC and transfer the funds to another outside group for his campaigning. By the end of July, his three principal fundraising operations had over $100 million; the next reporting deadline isn’t until January 1, 2022. The ads, news releases, and rallies are ways of lying to the U.S. public.

Avoiding any repair of FB’s toxicity, Zuckerberg plans to change the Facebook name to Meta although he still faces 2018 charges in the District of Columbia for permitting Cambridge Analytic to collect personal data about 87 million users, including over half D.C.’s residents. Although the term “meta” has a rather nebulous definition in current slang—not quite crystalized, as one source wrote—it has a number of other definitions that Zuckerberg might not like: concerned with cultural conventions, reference of oneself in an ironic way, behind or at the back, either of the conical columns at each end of a Roman circus, and, in chemistry, a compound formed by dehydration.       

His new concept is a “metaverse” moving people from reality into emersion of a fabricated dystopian science fiction inside the computer instead of being with actual people—an elaborate, permanent video game. Zuckerberg has faced much ridicule for his new name but now much more in the Jewish community: meta means “dead” in Hebrew.

October 25, 2021

More January 6 Info Goes Public

For over nine months, most Republicans in Congress have fought any investigation into the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, intended to overthrow the legal 2020 presidential election of Joe Biden. After rumors about GOP congressional members involved in the attack, a Rolling Stone report substantiates the belief with details from two staffers.

The two sources, identified as a rally organizer and a planner, have listed representatives involved in the planning of the rally at the Ellipse along with the team of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), including his chief of staff Mark Meadows who could have stopped the violence: Andy Biggs (AZ), Lauren Boebert (CO), Mo Brooks (AL), Madison Cawthorn (NC), Louie Gohmert (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA). In “dozens” of briefings, the teams not only planned to challenge the electoral votes at the Capitol but also pressured senators to support their actions by planning rallies in specific states represented by key senators who “we considered to be persuadable.”

Gosar suggested a “blanket pardon” in another investigation as a sweetener to plan January 6 protests, insinuating he had talked to DDT for a “done deal.” Both sources were in contact with Gosar on January 6, and his chief of staff, Thomas Van Flein, has been named in the official January 6 Committee in “sweeping” requests for documents and communications from DDT’s administration. Van Flein was part of the discussion about the “blanket pardon” and DDT’s disputing the election, according to the sources.

Obviously ready for combat, Brooks wore body armor when he said at the rally, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.” Despite the armor, Brooks denied any part in the January events in an interview with a Montgomery (AL) newspaper: 

“If you’re talking about someone participating in meetings, setting the agenda, raising the money, I don’t know of anything that suggests my staff as doing that stuff.”

Earlier, Brooks claimed he just followed DDT’s orders, the January 6 attack was all DDT’s doing, and he spoke at the rally only because DDT ordered him to do so. Brooks has not stopped pushing lies about voter fraud since the November 2020 election, despite no evidence for his declarations, but he denied meeting with DDT and Cawthorn at the rally on January 6. Brooks is seeking the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat which Richard Shelby is leaving.

Boebert, Gosar, and Greene were all billed as speakers at the “Wild Protest,” also on January 6 at the Capitol. Greene’s communications director, Nick Dyer, said the public doesn’t care about January 6 because of Biden’s problems. On a now-deleted livestream broadcast, Ali Alexander, an organizer for the “Wild Protest,” said Biggs, Brooks, and Gosar helped him develop the strategy for the event. The rally planner confirmed the contacts and expect to publicly testify.

Both sources still support DDT’s agenda and maintain DDT lost unfairly, not because of the vote count but because of the “unacceptable” social media censorship of DDT’s allies and the voting rules in connection with the pandemic. They see themselves in a more positive light than their former allies, based on their willingness to cooperate with investigators, particularly with details about funding for the demonstrations and communications between organizers and the White House.

They also implicated Katrina Pierson, a DDT campaign worker in both 2016 and 2020, who acted as key liaison between the organizers of protests against the election and the White House. The rally organizer said, “Katrina was like our go-to-girl [and] primary advocate. According to the sources, participants raised concerns to Meadows about the potential for violence from Alexander’s protest at the Capitol. A third source said key event organizer Kylie Kremer bragged about meeting Meadows at the White House before the rally. Alexander changed the arrangement to protesting at the Capitol, but Meadows ignored all concerns about violence.

The Rolling Stone has been stung before in investigations, specifically in reporting the University of Virginia rape scandal seven years ago. Yet the award-winning non-profit news organization Truthout reports “good reason to believe the Rolling Stone report is sound.” The two sources have cooperated with the January 6 committee and provided specific details without being debunked. At the same time, Washington Post reported details about the use of space within the Washington, D.C. Willard Hotel as a war room for attempts to overthrow the 2020 election. 

“They called it the ‘command center,’ a set of rooms and suites in the posh Willard hotel a block from the White House where some of President Donald Trump’s most loyal lieutenants were working day and night with one goal in mind: overturning the results of the 2020 election…. Their activities included finding and publicizing alleged evidence of fraud, urging members of state legislatures to challenge Biden’s victory and calling on the Trump-supporting public to press Republican officials in key states.”

The Willard team of presidential advisers and lawyers working on a strategy to put DDT back into the White House for a second term was led by DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Some of the 25-30 participants

  • Former DDT adviser Steve Bannon, under criminal charges for refusing a subpoena, sometimes attending.
  • Former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik, convicted for tax fraud, ethics violations, and criminal false statements, as an investigator. Later, DDT’s campaign paid Kerik’s firm $66,371.54 in travel expenses, including $55,295 on the team’s rooms from December 18 to January 8.)
  • John Eastman, who advised former VP Mike Pence to refuse the legal electoral votes.
  • Pence, who listened to Eastman’s arguments, asking former VP Dan Quayle and once a senator from Indiana whether he should reject the electoral votes.
  • Christina Bobb, One America News reporter who later became an instrumental part of Arizona’s fake ballot count.
  • Boris Epshteyn, Russian-American Republican senior campaign aide for DDT and former White House special assistant, who supported Eastman’s position. He said, “I firmly believed then, as I believe now, that the vice president—as president of the Senate—had the constitutional power to send the issue back to the states for 10 days to investigate the widespread fraud and report back well in advance of Inauguration Day, January 20th.”
  • Russell J. Ramsland Jr., co-owner of cybersecurity Allied Security Operations Group to push election fraud conspiracy theories.
  • Philip Luelsdorff, director of the fascist paramilitary security group Business Development for 1st Amendment Praetorian (1AP) providing “security” for far-right politicians and fascist rallies.
  • Joe Oltmann, founder of reactionary Colorado group FEC United (Faith, Education, Commerce United) closely connected to far-right militia United American Defense Force.
  • QAnon member Michael Flynn and DDT’s friend Roger Stone photographed at the hotel.

Among the team’s actions:

Calling members of GOP-dominated legislatures in swing states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona, pressuring them to convene special sessions investigating fraud and reassign electoral votes to DDT from Biden.

Speaking to 300 state legislatures in a conference call with false evidence of fraud as motivation to “decertify” election results. Speakers were DDT, Eastman, and Giuliani.

Sifting through allegations of election fraud by analyzing state data supposedly to show fraudulent voting. Phil Waldron, retired Army colonel specializing in psychological operations, let this team and worked with Russell Ramsland, the Texas Republican spreading election-fraud conspiracy theories.

Promoting the Eastman six-point plan for Pence to control the electoral counting process for DDT to remain in the White House.

Thus far, 19 subpoenas demand testimony from witnesses regarding what they knew about premeditated plans for the January 6 violence and how high the premeditation went in the government. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the January 6 committee chair, has said that there is “no question” the attack that day was premeditated.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called for the expulsion of congressional members identified as aiding far-right organizers of the January 6 insurrection.

“This was a terror attack. 138 injured, almost 10 dead. Those responsible remain a danger to our democracy, our country, and human life in the vicinity of our Capitol and beyond.”

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) had already called for House members to investigate and possibly expel congressional lawmakers voting against the certification of the electoral results:

“My resolution to investigate and expel the Members of Congress who helped incite the deadly insurrection on our Capitol is just waiting for a vote. It’s inexcusable to wait any longer.”

Candidates appearing at the January 6 rally are searching for a hiding place. In a speech supporting the re-election of New Jersey’s Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, President Obama said that speaking at a “Stop the Steal” rally means not being a champion of democracy, referring to Murphy’s GOP opponent Jack Ciatttarelli. The former president continued to ridicule Ciattarelli:

“Apparently Phil’s opponent says, well he didn’t know it was a rally to overturn the results of the last election, didn’t know it… When you’re standing in front of a sign that says, ‘Stop the Steal’ and there’s a guy in the crowd waving a Confederate flag, you know this isn’t a neighborhood barbecue. You know it’s not a League of Women Voters rally. Come on! Come on, man! That’s not what New Jersey needs.”

The January 6 Committee is still on target to get documents about DDT surrounding the insurrection events: Biden has rejected another DDT request claiming executive privilege to hide documents from Congress.

October 24, 2021

Congress Needs to Shut Down Corruption

Creeping among all the other stories about fraud during the past week was the indictment of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) for his lying to the FBI about taking $30,000 from Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, funneled through Californians and distributed to four politicians. Fortenberry alternately expressed shock, surprise, and expectation to be indicted. He resigned from his leadership on the Agriculture Committee but made a lovely video sitting in his vintage pickup with his wife and dog, cornfields in the background, explaining why he had done nothing wrong. His wife, Celeste, stood by her man, also claiming that her husband didn’t lie to the FBI. Fortenberry used the indictment for fundraiser, calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a “swamp creature.”

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Central District of California stated a federal grand jury was charging Fortenberry with “concealing information and making false statements to federal authorities who were investigating illegal contributions made by a foreign national to the congressman’s 2016 re-election campaign.” Charges include one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of knowingly and willingly making false statements and representations to federal investigators. Chagoury has cooperated with the investigation and paid $1.8 million in fines.

It seems that Fortenberry faces at least three false statements charges under 18 U.S.C. § 1001:

  • He was aware after the fundraiser that Chagoury was the real source of the $30,000 he received and were funneled to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and himself.
  • The fundraiser host began cooperating with the FBI in September 2016, and Fortenberry asked him to host another event in 2018. The informant told Fortenberry several times that Chagoury provided the original funds, violating both the ban on foreign campaign contributions and the ban on straw man donors.
  • Fortenberry also lied by saying he ended the phone call with the fundraiser after he made a “concerning comment”: in fact, Fortenberry asked him to host another fundraiser.

During the term of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), two sitting congressional members, both Republicans, were criminally charged: New York’s Chris Collins for insider trading, and California’s Duncan Hunter for stealing over $250,000 from his campaign donations. Both were re-elected but resigned, both were sentenced to prison, and both were pardoned by DDT. If guilty, Fortenberry faces up to five years in federal prison. 

DDT supported Fortenberry by saying:

“Isn’t it terrible that a Republican Congressman from Nebraska just got indicted for possibly telling some lies to investigators about campaign contributions, when half of the United States Congress lied about made up scams.”

Fortenberry belongs to the secretive political evangelical Christian group, The Family, highlighted in Jeff Sharlet’s book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. The organization is tied to the Uganda lawmaker who pressured his country to pass legislation called “Kill the Gays.” The Family supports the bill that sentences people committing homosexual acts with the death penalty. In 2014, the text was softened to “Jail the Gays,” sentencing LGBTQ people to life imprisonment, but the Ugandan Supreme Court invalidated the law. Fortenberry’s chief of staff, Andy Braner, is a fellow insider of The Family. The Family has funded Fortenberry’s multiple events overseas connected to the group. 

Another current GOP may be moving toward toward indictment. The FBI has assigned two more two prosecutors to sex-trafficking probe of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one expert in child exploitation crimes and the other a leader in the public corruption unit. The sentencing of Joel Greenberg, a witness against Gaetz, has been postponed until March as, according to prosecutors, Greenberg continues to provide valuable assistance in their investigation. Gaetz not only lost money on his “America First” tour around the country with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) but also paid $613,000 in the third quarter of 2021 to get under $500,000 in donations. It has been reported that, before DDT left the White House, Gaetz “privately asked” administrators “for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies.” 

Gaetz can no longer practice law because he failed to pay his license annual dues. For reinstatement he would have to pay the $265, an extra $150 reinstatement fee, and a $50 late fee. In addition, he would need to petition the executive director to be reinstated. Convicted of any felonies, he would be disbarred anyway. 

USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, appointed under DDT, appears intent on running his agency into the ground. He’s raising prices, slowing down delivery, and appears to be steering the government work to his former company. More conflicts of interest have emerged from his and his family’s investments in XPO, where he served as CEO, and 13 other major companies with relationships to the postal services. With a financial interest between $30 million and $75 million in XPO, DeJoy refused to divest himself for months after he was confirmed and has more investments in companies such as AT&T, CVS, Verizon, Lockheed Martin, Discover Financial Services, IBM, and JPMorgan Chase—all with USPS government contracts. Federal law requires government employees, including agency heads, to divest from investments worth more than $15,000 in companies that may be affected by their work.

Also ongoing is a probe into DeJoy’s campaign-finance scandal when he coerced employees to donate to Republican candidates. President Joe Biden cannot fire DeJoy without approval by the USPS governing board, who must also be confirmed by the Senate. Although the board president is a Democrat, he said DeJoy is “the proper man for the job.” Bloom’s tenure on the board expires, however, in December 2021. 

Republicans may give up on DeJoy after he began banking in post offices located in Washington, Baltimore, Falls Church (VA), and the Bronx by accepting paychecks or business checks of up to $500 in exchange for prepaid Visa gift cards. Postal officials plan to expand the program in 2022 with bill-paying services and ATMS in post offices. Republicans still want DeJoy’s campaign donations but don’t like the USPS competing with private financial institutions. In a letter to DeJoy, Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC) wrote that the program “undermines the trust during your engagements with Congress and raises questions as to whether you worked with us in good faith.”

More corruption, money-laundering on a large scale, has been discovered in the Midwest: federal prosecutors seized $12 million allegedly part of “The Shadow Exchange” between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates. Some of the money was used to buy armored vehicles for an illegal drug trafficking operation in Michigan. The money origins were hidden with fake invoices and other documents sent to banks, including major ones in the U.S., through wire transfers. Federal authorities obtained the money in December 2020, January 2021, and May 2021.

Ukrainian banking oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky bought a disintegrating factory Harvard (IL), population 9,281, much to the delight of the depressed community. He did nothing with the factory, originally built in the late 1990s by Motorola before the business failed, and the U.S. has hit him with sanctions for “significant corruption” in Ukraine for overseeing Ponzi schemes. Before Kolomoisky, a Miami investor, Chaim Schochet, purchased the facility on behalf of Optima International, a company buying commercial real estate throughout the Midwest. Both Schochet and Kolomoisky used laundered money and fraudulent loans to buy property and then let it rot. They paid no property taxes, starving the communities, and in 2016 Kolomoisky sold the Harvard property to a Chinese Canadian businessman. After spreading dreams throughout the community for a year, Canadian authorities charged the new owner of a money laundering scheme, and New Zealand detailed how he led a “multi-national pyramid scheme.”   

Money laundering moved to the Midwest from urban areas because they have no laws against anonymous real estate purchases, unlike cities like New York City, Dallas, and Seattle. Desperate for help, places suffering from economic decline are also ripe for this kind of corruption. When Kolomoisky bought up many downtown Cleveland buildings, the Ohio city was helpless when he let them fall apart. Last year, Congress banned anonymous shell company formations, overriding DDT’s veto, and will be debating the Transnational Repression Accountability and Prevention Act to counter authoritarian regimes targeting journalists in democratic countries—if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) permits.  

In an unusual coalition, four members of the House—Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Joe Wilson (R-SC)—are introducing the Establishing New Authorities for Business Laundering and Enabling Risks to Security (ENABLERS) Act closing loopholes foreign kleptocrats use to launder money in the United States. Financial institutions are required to report suspicious transactions; ENABLERS expands that requirement to others such as law and public relations firms, accountants, investment and real estate advisors, and art dealers who allow the secrecy of origins through shell companies, trusts, and other investment vehicles. The four representatives founded the Caucus Against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy recently leading the charge to anti-corruption legislation in the House’s national defense bill.

Now the country needs ten good Republicans in the Senate to fight corruption.

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