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   PoliticsA Hard Look At Donald Trump

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (27533)10/23/2021 3:26:37 AM
From: scion
1 Recommendation   of 30382
Why Trump’s TRUTH Social Platform Will Probably Get Hacked Right Away

ANDREW HEINZMAN @andrew_andrew__
OCT 21, 2021, 12:04 PM EDT | 1 min read

Trump Media and Technology Group just announced TRUTH Social, a rival platform to Twitter, Facebook, and all of the other Big Tech giants. But like other specialized social media platforms, TRUTH will be a target for hackers, and it could leave your private info exposed. We’re not just speculating here—TRUTH Social has already been compromised, and it’s not even out yet!

Just two hours after Trump Media and Technology Group announced TRUTH Social, a group of Twitter users managed to access the beta website and make accounts with usernames like @donaldtrump and @mikepence. This beta website isn’t supposed to go live until November, but as reported by Insider, people simply guessed its URL to gain early access.

TRUTH Social’s beta page is now inaccessible to outsiders. But those who gained early access made some interesting discoveries. Most notably, TRUTH Social uses the open-source Mastodon 3.0 social media codebase, apparently without much customization (and without providing credit, which violates Mastodon’s terms).

That means TRUTH Media may be vulnerable to the same exploits as any other Mastodon-based site, including Gab, a niche social media platform that was recently hacked and hit with a $500,000 ransom demand. Evidently, hackers stole private user data from Gab using a simple SQL injection, something that should be impossible on a properly secured website.

Basic bugs and vulnerabilities are actually a very big problem in the world of specalized social media. Just look at Parler, a platform that lost 70TB of user data, including private posts and messages, all because it didn’t randomize its URLs.

And then there are sites like Gettr and Frank, which failed shortly after their debut due to … you guessed it, hackers. Are you noticing a trend here? These small websites are a huge target for hackers, but unlike Facebook or Twitter, they don’t have the resources or knowledge to deal with basic hacking attempts.

Even if TRUTH Social tries to take security seriously, which doesn’t seem to be the case (it’s a bare-bones uncredited Mastodon fork), the platform is a giant target for hackers. Those who sign up for TRUTH Social are almost certainly putting their private data at risk. Please keep that in mind when the platform launches this November.

Source: TMTG, Insider, @VValkyriePub

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From: Brumar8910/23/2021 8:09:16 AM
2 Recommendations   of 30382
I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021

In a recent Washington Post opinion piece, Robert Kagan presented a chilling, but disturbingly accurate, portrayal of American politics today and its dire portents given the deep political divisions and dysfunctional state of our institutions. A premise of his thesis is that “party loyalty has superseded [executive-legislative-judicial] branch loyalty … in the Trump era.” A more descriptive statement of the Republican side of the ominous national problem — Democratic extremists deserve at least equal blame — would be that loyalty to Donald Trump has superseded party loyalty.

Trump has proved himself to be the ultimate embodiment of a “Republican in name only,” or RINO, a political epithet now hurled at Republicans who dare to deviate — not from GOP principles, but from Trump adulation.

Originally a Democrat (as was Ronald Reagan), Trump suggested in 2015 he might run for president as an independent, which would have split conservative voters and ensured a Hillary Clinton victory. In the first Republican debate in 2016, he alone among a dozen GOP candidates refused to commit to support the winning party nominee.

During his presidency, he often clashed with fellow Republicans, disparaging them on a personal level as crudely and cruelly as he did Democrats. When subjected to some criticism himself recently, he said Republicans should heed Reagan’s “11th commandment” and not speak ill of another Republican.

But Reagan lived by another political maxim: that anyone who agreed with him on 80 percent of the issues was not his political enemy. Trump’s philosophy seems to be that whoever agrees with him only 90 percent of the time deserves political ostracism.

Trump has even violated the Reagan principle retroactively. He recently commented on Democrat Stacey Abrams’s refusal to accept her failed 2018 effort to unseat Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, noting that her obstinacy was deemed heroic, while his is treated as sour grapes: “When Stacey Abrams says I’m not going to concede, that’s okay.” But Trump could not resist another swipe at Republican Kemp for refusing to reverse the 2020 presidential result in Georgia: “Of course, having her I think might be better than having your existing governor, if you want to know the truth. Might very well be better.” By Trump’s score-settling and policy-free logic, a very progressive Democrat is preferable to a conservative but not Trump-compliant Republican.

In other races, Trump insists on endorsing candidates in GOP primaries who are devoted to him personally but tend to lose to Democrats in final elections.

The supreme test of Trump’s loyalty to the Republican Party and its principles occurred on Jan. 5 when Georgia held a runoff election for two Senate seats. Incumbent Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler were part of the GOP’s 52-48 Senate majority. Republicans needed to retain only one of the seats to keep control of the Senate as a last bastion against a Democratic House and the new Biden administration. All eyes were on Georgia, so naturally, Trump agreed to address an election-eve rally.

All he had to do was to remind Republican voters of what was at stake, with Georgia as the bulwark against “the radical, socialist Democrats” that Trump and many of his supporters repeatedly conjured. His task was to get out the Republican vote, not to suppress it.

Instead, Trump used most of his prime-time speech repeating his charge that the Nov. 6 election was stolen from him, particularly in Georgia with its “rigged” electoral system. He attacked Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for not “finding” the 11,780 votes he “needed” to reverse Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

Trump’s attack on Georgia’s voting system and its election officials was enough to reduce Republican turnout significantly — why vote if the system is rigged against you? — and Democrats gained both seats. With Vice President Kamala Harris there to break 50-50 ties, control of the Senate enabled a Democratic governing trifecta. The fate of the Biden agenda and the massive spending bills pushed by progressives that Trump had wielded as hobgoblins in his own campaign now rests in the hands of one or two moderate Democrats.

Trump’s obsession with retaining personal power and avoiding a loser image squandered a critical opportunity for his party. He callously cast aside the fate of the Republican governing agenda and, if he believed his own campaign rhetoric, the future of the nation.

Now, in the Virginia contest for governor, he is following the same destructive playbook that cost the GOP two critical Senate seats — Trump first, party last or maybe not at all. He recently warned that insufficient enthusiasm for the “Trump cause” could doom Republican Glenn Youngkin’s campaign: “The only guys that win are the guys that embrace the MAGA movement.” This week, he enlarged his prediction-cum-threat. Phoning in to a Republican fundraiser for state office candidates, he doubled down on his kiss-of-death approach to candidates with Trump-devotion deficiency.

While paying lip service to endorsing Youngkin — just as he had endorsed the Georgia Senate candidates almost in passing — Trump again focused on his own loss as the paramount concern for him and for the fate of the GOP: “If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.” In a written statement, he also said: “Either a new election should immediately take place or the past election should be decertified and the Republican candidate declared a winner.”

Trump did not explain why Virginia voters who share his belief that elections are fraudulent should turn out next month for Youngkin and other Republican candidates. Youngkin campaign officials scrambled to explain away any suggestion that Trump may have been calling for the state’s GOP voters to sit this election out. Newsweek reported the concerns of rank-and-file Republicans: “Donald Trump is doing everything he can to hurt Republican chances in 2022,” an account called Trump Supporters wrote on Telegram. “Donald Trump is, ostensibly, a Republican. But he has shown time and again — both in the White House and now out of it — that he cares little about helping the party and its other candidates.” According to Newsweek, another Telegram user wrote, “Not voting is not just what Marxists want. It’s also stupid no matter how rigged the system is.”

I voted for Trump in 2020 because I shared Robert Gates’s low opinion of Biden’s 40-year record on national security, and because I greatly admired the transformative China policies the Trump administration had put in place. But Chinese leader Xi Jinping must now be relishing what Trump is doing to American democracy.

Hopefully, Republicans in 2024 will have the courage and good sense to choose a nominee who shares a commitment to those policies but will not instantly alienate over half of America’s voters, including many Republicans, and provide an easy target for Democrats and their media allies. That means selecting a more suitable party representative than Donald Trump, the true and ultimate RINO.

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To: Brumar89 who wrote (27538)10/23/2021 8:13:00 AM
From: Brumar89
3 Recommendations   of 30382

A NV man, the CFO at a firm that backed Trump to the hilt, who professed to be sickened, disbelieving, and shocked when he discovered that someone voted in his dead wife’s name has been charged with two felonies for voting and mailing that ballot himself.
Show this thread

Donald Kirk Hartle allegedly forged his late wife's signature to vote twice, the Nevada attorney general's office said.


Nevada Republican who claimed someone voted as his dead wife is charged with voter fraud

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To: Brumar89 who wrote (27539)10/23/2021 8:21:48 AM
From: Brumar89
2 Recommendations   of 30382

Big loss for Michael Flynn's family in their $75 million lawsuit against CNN. A magistrate judge says it wasn't defamatory to call them QAnon followers. The judge wrote: "The Flynns’ own statements establish that they meet the dictionary definition of a follower of QAnon."

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From: Brumar8910/23/2021 10:46:35 AM
1 Recommendation   of 30382
Donald Trump Does a SPAC Deal
Also convertible-debt usury, not saying ‘deal’ and puzzle hunts.

Matt Levine
October 21, 2021, 12:03 PM CDT Corrected October 21, 2021, 12:48 PM CDT

Programming note: Money Stuff will be off tomorrow, back on Monday.

Trump SPACDonald Trump is a very famous person who likes to talk and who has a lot of enthusiastic fans. If he started a television channel that consisted of him talking about whatever for two hours every afternoon, surrounded by 22 hours of other people talking about how great he is, it would probably get a lot of viewers and could carry a lot of ads for pillows or whatever. But this would probably involve a certain amount of work and competence — you’d have to hire people to point the cameras at him and negotiate cable carriage and ad deals — and television is expensive; there would be some real financial risk to it.

Or he could start a social media company for his fans, where he could send out his thoughts without being banned. I am not going to pretend to make a business case for that one — there is a long history of hilarious failure in the “social media for Trump” category — but maybe you can. It is not a sure thing, in any case. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn’t. When Twitter Inc. went public it had never been profitable and it was, you know, a real social network that people used. Maybe Twitter But Trump would immediately be profitable but boy I have some doubts.

On the other hand if Donald Trump launched a company that was like “I am going to start a social media platform for Trump fans,” could he get people to buy the stock? I think that two fundamental lessons of the last few years are:

You can get people to buy any stock; andDonald Trump can get people to buy anything.
The point is that if you launch a company with the goal of making it profitable, you have to, like, have a workable business plan and execute on it and deal with a million different operational complexities. If you launch a company with the goal of selling a lot of stock, you have to get people to trust you and give you their money. There is some overlap between those things! But they are different things!

So if Donald Trump announced “hey I’m gonna do a social media company, buy some stock,” people would buy some stock. And then he’d get a lot of money. 1 And then if the social media platform did not end up being profitable — as I cannot imagine it would be! — then he would, uh, still have that money? And if the social media platform did not end up being launched — if Trump and his crack team of technologists just couldn’t actually build a well-functioning online social network — then he would, uh, still have that money? And if there was no crack team of technologists at all, if nobody even tried to build the social media platform — then you see where I am going with this right?

Now, there are some difficulties with doing an initial public offering that is like “we’re gonna build a beautiful social network, trust me.” But a third important lesson of the last few years is:

3. SPACs!

If you go public by merging your private company with a special purpose acquisition company, then you can just make up whatever you want and no one will check. No, I’m kidding, that is very much not the law! But it is maybe a little bit the law? In particular, there is a view that pre-revenue private companies can go public via SPAC merger and market themselves to investors using wildly optimistic projections of their future revenue, and that if those projections do not come true they won’t get in trouble. Again, this is not quite true — talk to your lawyer before trying this! — but there is an element of truth to it. If you are in the business of raising money to fund a social media company that you haven’t built yet and perhaps never will, the SPAC format has a real appeal.

Anyway, anyway, anyway, anyway, anyway, anyway:

PALM BEACH, FL -- October 20, 2021 -- Trump Media & Technology Group and Digital World Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: DWAC) have entered into a definitive merger agreement, providing for a business combination that will result in Trump Media & Technology Group becoming a publicly listed company, subject to regulatory and stockholder approval. The transaction values Trump Media & Technology Group at an initial enterprise value of $875 Million, with a potential additional earnout of $825 Million in additional shares (at the valuation they are granted) for a cumulative valuation of up to $1.7 Billion depending on the performance of the stock price post-business combination. Trump Media & Technology Group’s growth plans initially will be funded by DWAC’s cash in trust of $293 Million (assuming no redemptions).

Trump Media & Technology Group's mission is to create a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight back against the "Big Tech” companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.

Trump Media & Technology Group (“TMTG”) will soon be launching a social network, named "TRUTH Social." TRUTH Social is now available for Pre-Order in the Apple App store. TRUTH Social plans to begin its Beta Launch for invited guests in November 2021. A nationwide rollout is expected in the first quarter of 2022. Those who are interested in joining TRUTH Social may now visit to sign up for the invite list.

President Donald J. Trump, the Chairman of TMTG, stated, “I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech. We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable. I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon. TMTG was founded with a mission to give a voice to all. I'm excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts on TRUTH Social and to fight back against Big Tech. Everyone asks me why doesn’t someone stand up to Big Tech? Well, we will be soon!”

Well. That's a real press release filed with the real Securities and Exchange Commission by Digital World Acquisition Corp., which is a real SPAC insofar as a SPAC can be real. It has $293 million in its trust. Traditionally SPAC deals are often announced with PIPEs, private investments in public equity, in which institutional or strategic investors commit hundreds of millions of dollars of their own money alongside the SPAC investment. Here, there is no PIPE; no institutional investors seem to be involved. Trump Very Tech Company Group is raising its money only from public investors in the SPAC.

Ordinarily that would be risky: The SPAC investors have withdrawal rights — they can take back their $10 per share in cash, plus a little interest, instead of leaving it in the pot for the merger — so the company might not get any money. Here, it is not risky. The reason it is not risky is that people who like Trump will buy the stock. (Also: People who think “people who like Trump will buy the stock” will buy the stock; the Keynesian beauty contest applies here too.) Yesterday, before this announcement, DWAC’s stock closed at $9.96, a bit below the approximately $10.20 per share that it has in its trust, sort of a standard price for a SPAC with no deal yet. At 11 a.m. today it was trading at about $19.38, implying a valuation for Trump Thing of something like $1.7 billion. 2 If you think Trump Thing is worth $19.38 per share, you are not going to take your $10 back; you’re going to keep the stock and let Trump have your $10. 3 He will definitely get all $293 million.

Why would you think Trump Thing, a company with no product and no revenue, is worth $1.7 billion? Are you looking at the wildly optimistic projections of future revenue in the investor presentation? No you certainly are not! The initial SEC filing doesn’t include an investor presentation, but there is a “Company Overview” deck on Trump Thing’s website, and, fun fact, there is not a single dollar sign in the whole deck. There is no financial analysis, no sources and uses of funds for the deal, no capital structure, and certainly no projections of future revenue. It does have a mock-up of the app with Donald Trump tweeting (TRUTHing?) “lorem ipsum” text:

Here’s a slide with Donald Trump presenting a trophy to a sumo wrestler:

Here’s a slide about “Tech Monopoly Censorship Threatens Free Speech”:

That sort of thing. You are not buying this stock because you have faith in its optimistic cash-flow forecasts; it has not bothered with cash-flow forecasts. You are buying this stock because you like Donald Trump and think that Tech Monopoly Censorship Threatens Free Speech. Cash flows, valuation, etc., are all irrelevant. It is just vibes.

It does feel a little bit like all of recent financial history has been leading up to this moment? Like, Donald Trump, sure; obviously part of the Donald Trump thing is “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters.” Similarly, he can launch a company with no product, business plan or capital structure and the stock will double.

But also the SPAC boom has made it viable for pre-product, pre-revenue companies to go public at multibillion-dollar valuations if they can get enough hype. But also meme stocks have prepared everyone for the notion that the value of a stock is based on the fervor of its community of online fans, not its projected cash flows. But also the cryptocurrency boom seeded that notion, and paired it with libertarianism and resistance to tech-company dominance. But also the boom in non-fungible tokens further proved the idea that membership in an online community has a value that can be captured and financialized and traded and turned into a bubble.

Or I talk sometimes about the “ Elon Markets Hypothesis,” the notion that stocks (or cryptocurrencies) go up because Elon Musk tweets about them. Musk’s online cult of personality is enough to create financial value. I joke sometimes that he should use that to extract some of that value for himself, but honestly Musk is super-rich and has a lot of weird hobbies and just isn’t that interested in pumping Dogecoin to make a little day-trading profit. 4 But if anyone else has their own large devoted online cult, they can use it to pump a stock and extract some value for themselves. Donald Trump has a Musk-level online cult and is clearly not above extracting value for himself.

What is the long-term value of Trump Thing? Well I suppose you could make an optimistic case that it will eventually displace Twitter and Facebook and CNN and … Netflix? and … Amazon? and … Stripe? ... and become a dominant multi-trillion-dollar tech giant. Again the investor presentation doesn’t make that case but it does have a slide with Stripe’s logo:

And then you’d feel pretty good about getting in at $1.7 billion. Or you could make a more normal case that Donald Trump is a big media personality and you can sell a certain number of pillow ads against him and this will end up being a viable, profitable business and $1.7 billion is roughly the right price for it.

But I think that a more realistic valuation method here is not to worry about cash flows at all — as Trump SPAC clearly does not — and treat the stock simply as a token of public interest in Donald Trump. My guess is that the price of Trump SPAC stock will not, for instance, be much affected by its earnings announcements, unless Trump himself does the earnings calls in which case it will go up no matter what he says. My guess is that the stock will not be particularly correlated with the stocks of other media or technology companies. My guess is that the stock will go up when Trump is on television, or if he announces that he’s running for president again. My guess is that if something bad happens to Trump — if he’s sued or arrested or banned by a new tech company or some new scandal comes out — then that will also make the stock go up, to own the libs or whatever. My guess is that each day that goes by without Trump news, the stock will go down a bit. My guess is that the stock is essentially a bet on Trump’s personal newsiness, on Trump-news volatility. 5

To be clear I have absolutely no corporate finance basis for these guesses; I don’t think that, like, getting sued for attacking protesters will be good for Trump Thing’s ad revenue or whatever. I don’t have some story of “public interest in Trump increases the expected value of Trump Thing's cash flows so the stock will go up.” I just think that the stock price will have nothing to do with the ad revenue; it will be based entirely on how much attention Trump’s fans are paying to Trump.

At the beginning of February, when GameStop Corp.’s stock price became unmoored from anyone's expectations about future cash flows, I wrote a paragraph that people still tweet at me from time to time:

But I tell you what, if we are still here in a month I will absolutely freak out. Stock prices can get totally disconnected from fundamental value for a while, it’s fine, we all have a good laugh. But if they stay that way forever, if everyone decides that cash flows are irrelevant and that the important factor in any stock is how much fun it is to trade, then … what are we all doing here?

When people tweet this at me it is because GameStop’s price is still pretty much where it was in February (though arguably a bit more justified by actual changes to the business!), and they say “so are you freaked out yet?” And, I don’t know, yes? Doesn’t it feel like there has been a paradigm shift, a regime change? Doesn’t it feel like for the last 80 or so years there has been a dominant view of investing, a first-page-of-the-textbook given, that investments are worth the present value of their expected future cash flows? Doesn’t it feel like that world has ended and a new one has begun? I should go buy some Dogecoin.

Oh, also. One other thing that I like to say around here is that “ everything is securities fraud”: Every bad thing that a public company, or a public-company executive, does can be recast as securities fraud and lead to securities lawsuits. There will be like 200 securities-fraud lawsuits against Donald Trump by Christmas, enjoy!

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From: Glenn Petersen10/23/2021 11:26:21 AM
1 Recommendation   of 30382
Ahead of Jan. 6, Willard hotel in downtown D.C. was a Trump team ‘command center’ for effort to deny Biden the presidency

By Jacqueline Alemany, Emma Brown, Tom Hamburger and Jon Swaine
The Washington Post
Today at 8:46 a.m. EDT

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.

The Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse and the ensuing attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob would draw the world’s attention to the quest to physically block Congress from affirming Joe Biden’s victory. But the activities at the Willard that week add to an emerging picture of a less visible effort, mapped out in memos by a conservative pro-Trump legal scholar and pursued by a team of presidential advisers and lawyers seeking to pull off what they claim was a legal strategy to reinstate Trump for a second term.

They were led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. Former chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon was an occasional presence as the effort’s senior political adviser. Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik was there as an investigator. Also present was John Eastman, the scholar, who outlined scenarios for denying Biden the presidency in an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 4 with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

They sought to make the case to Pence and ramp up pressure on him to take actions on Jan. 6 that Eastman suggested were within his powers, three people familiar with the operation said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. 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 effort underscores the extent to which Trump and a handful of true believers were working until the last possible moment to subvert the will of the voters, seeking to pressure Pence to delay or even block certification of the election, leveraging any possible constitutional loophole to test the boundaries of American democracy.

“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,” one of those present, senior campaign aide and former White House special assistant Boris Epshteyn, told The Washington Post. “Our efforts were focused on conveying that message.”

In seeking to compel testimony from Bannon, the congressional panel investigating Jan. 6 this week cited his reported presence at the “‘war room’ organized at the Willard.” The House voted Thursday to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with the committee’s subpoena.

The committee has also requested documents and communications related to Eastman’s legal advice and analysis.

Eastman told The Post on Wednesday that he has not yet been contacted by the House select committee investigating the insurrection. Asked about his involvement in the Trump team’s operation at the Willard, Eastman said: “To the extent I was there, those were attorney discussions. You don’t get any comment from me on those.”

In May, Eastman indicated that he was at the hotel with Giuliani on the morning of Jan. 6. “We had a war room at the at the Willard ... kind of coordinating all of the communications,” he told talk show host Peter Boyles, comments first reported in the newsletter Proof.

Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, did not respond to requests for comment.

Also present was One America News reporter Christina Bobb, a lawyer by training who was volunteering for the campaign at the time, according to people familiar with the operation. Bobb declined to comment.

Kerik said his firm billed the Trump campaign more than $55,000 for rooms for the legal team. The former police commissioner, who was helping to head up efforts to collect and investigate allegations of election fraud, was later reimbursed, records show.

The three people familiar with the operation described intense work in the days and hours leading up to and even extending beyond 1 p.m. on Jan 6, when Congress convened for the counting of electoral votes.

In those first days in January, from the command center, Trump allies were calling members of Republican-dominated legislatures in swing states that Eastman had spotlighted in his memos, including Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona, encouraging them to convene special sessions to investigate fraud and to reassign electoral college votes from Biden to Trump, two of the people familiar with the operation said.

On Jan. 2, Trump, Giuliani and Eastman spoke to 300 state legislators via a conference call meant to arm them with purported evidence of fraud and galvanize them to take action to “decertify” their election results. “You are the real power,” Trump told the state lawmakers, according to a Washington Examiner report. “You’re the ones that are going to make the decision.”

A participant on the call, Michigan state Sen. Ed McBroom (R), recalled listening as Trump, Giuliani, Eastman and others described the power state legislators have over the certification of electors. “I didn’t need any convincing about our plenary powers,” McBroom told The Post. “I was listening to hear whether they had any evidence to substantiate claims” of significant voter fraud that could change the results in Michigan. The callers did not provide additional information, he said, and he did not support a delay in the electoral vote count.

But others appear to have been persuaded. Three days after the call, dozens of lawmakers from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin wrote to Pence. They asked that he delay certification of Biden’s victory for 10 days to allow “our respective bodies to meet, investigate, and as a body vote on certification or decertification of the election.”

Also on Jan. 2, Eastman, Giuliani and Epshteyn appeared on Bannon’s podcast to make the case directly to Bannon’s pro-Trump listeners. They discussed what Bannon called that day’s “all-hands meeting with state ... legislators that the Trump campaign and also others are putting on.” The comments were first highlighted by Proof.

They argued that state lawmakers were legally bound to reexamine their election results. “It’s the duty of these legislatures to fix this, this egregious conduct, and make sure that we’re not putting in the White House some guy that didn’t get elected,” Eastman said. He contended that Congress could itself decide on Jan. 6 to select Trump electors in contested states, but that “it would certainly be helped immensely if the legislatures in the states looked at what happened in their own states and weigh in.”

Eastman was not the first or the only person in Trump’s sphere to argue that Pence was empowered to block or delay certification of Biden’s victory. Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn — and Trump himself — suggested as much on Dec. 23, retweeting a post about the possibility of invoking “the Pence card.”

But after other efforts failed, as Jan. 6 neared, the Eastman strategy came into bloom. Eastman, a Federalist Society member, law professor and former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, had the conservative legal credentials to burnish the argument.

Eastman’s first memo, only two pages long, described a six-point plan by which Pence could effectively commandeer the electoral counting process and enable Trump to win. The memo was first revealed last month in the book “ Peril,” by Washington Post writers Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

Eastman has said it was a “preliminary draft” of a more complete and nuanced memo that outlined multiple possible outcomes following the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6. The ideas in the memos were the basis for a discussion of options Pence had with Eastman and Trump in the Oval Office on Jan. 4, he has said.

Eastman has more recently distanced himself from the memos, telling the National Review on Friday that the options he outlined did not represent his advice. He said he wrote the memos at the request of “somebody in the legal team” whose name he could not recall.

In the Sacramento Bee, Eastman wrote on Oct. 7 that he advised Pence to delay counting the electoral votes to give the states time to resolve concerns about voting irregularities.

This was the strategy around which the Trump advisers in the Willard command center coalesced, according to two of the people familiar with the discussions there in the early days of January. For that scenario to upend Biden’s win, legislatures in those states would investigate alleged fraud and, if they chose, could decertify their results.

“All we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at one o’clock he let the legislatures of the states look into this so that we get to the bottom of it and the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government or not!” Eastman told the crowd gathered at the Ellipse on Jan. 6. “We no longer live in a self-governing republic if we can’t get the answer to this question!”

Pence withstood the pressure. Around 1 p.m., as he prepared to gavel in the joint session, he announced via a letter posted to Twitter that he would count the electoral college votes as they had been cast several weeks earlier.

When the violence erupted a short time later, forcing Congress into recess, some of the most ardent Trump supporters saw an opportunity.

“Congress is adjourned. Send the elector choice back to the legislatures,” Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona GOP, tweeted at 3:30 p.m., more than half an hour after insurrectionists in tactical gear made their way to the floor of the Senate.

Ward did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Epshteyn told The Post, “In line with President Trump’s position and message, the Trump legal team immediately made it clear that any and all violence is not acceptable.” At 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 6, shortly after the Capitol was breached, Epshteyn tweeted: “To all those protesting, please stay PEACEFUL and respect the LAW.”

After the violence began, Trump used his Twitter account to ask his supporters to “Stay peaceful,” but notably did not tell them to go home until 4:17 p.m., when he tweeted a video of himself addressing the Capitol rioters. “I know your pain. I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” he said. “We have to have peace. So go home. We love you, you’re very special.”

While the lawyers at the Willard were focused on promoting the legal strategy Eastman outlined, Kerik helped head up efforts to sift through allegations of election fraud. Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel who specialized in psychological operations, led a team of people who provided Kerik with analyses of state data, which purported to show fraudulent voting, according to two of the people familiar with activities at the Willard.

Waldron was working closely with Russell Ramsland, a Texas Republican who had been spreading election-fraud conspiracy theories for months before the election and submitted sworn affidavits to multiple post-election lawsuits claiming fraud, The Post has previously reported. Ramsland was present in one of the Willard rooms on the evening of Jan. 6, according to photographs posted to Instagram that circulated widely after the congressional committee’s mention of the “war room.”

Waldron and Ramsland did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Kerik said he had been working alongside Giuliani since Nov. 5, two days after the election, and that they continued until Jan. 19. “I believed until Inauguration Day that something could be done — that’s why the fight was still going on,” Kerik told The Post. “There were a lot of people who thought on the 6th that it was over, but I didn’t believe that because the evidence seemed so overwhelming to me.”

Kerik and Giuliani set up shop in Washington in early November at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, according to Kerik, and in the third week in December moved to the Willard, closer to the White House. The Willard attracted many pro-Trump figures around that time, including “Stop the Steal” provocateur Roger Stone. Stone was not part of the Giuliani team at the Willard and did not participate in the team’s efforts, according to the three people with knowledge of the matter.

On Jan. 8, Kerik billed the Trump campaign for $66,371.54 in travel expenses, including $55,295 on rooms for legal team members at the Willard from Dec. 18 to Jan. 8, according to Kerik and documents reviewed by The Post. The legal team members referenced in the documents include Kerik, Giuliani and Eastman.

Documents also show that Kerik paid for rooms for William Ligon, a Georgia state senator who had chaired two hearings in Atlanta at which Giuliani aired false claims of election fraud, and Preston Haliburton, at Atlanta attorney who had represented a Coffee County Republican leader who claimed to be a whistleblower with evidence about Dominion voting machines.

Ligon and Haliburton did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Kerik initially sought reimbursement from the Republican National Committee, but said he was told the party would not foot the bills. The bills were eventually submitted to the Trump campaign, which agreed to pay them.

Kerik told The Post he was “furious” with the RNC because it collected tens of millions of dollars in support of Trump’s legal battle, “yet didn’t spend a dime on [Giuliani’s] legal team or their expenses.”

The RNC has previously said that it did not pay the legal bills because neither Giuliani nor Kerik were hired by or represented the organization.

Eastman stayed at the Willard from Jan. 3 until after breakfast on Jan. 8, according to records showing that the hotel charged $1,407 for his lodging and meals during that time.

His arrival at the Willard came on the same day that Trump convened an Oval Office meeting to discuss replacing then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey B. Clark, a Justice Department official friendly with Eastman who proposed that the department encourage investigation of Trump’s election fraud claims in Georgia and other states. The three-hour meeting with Trump ended after Rosen, other department officials and White House counsel Pat Cipollone threatened to resign if Clark were appointed.

Clark has been subpoenaed by the House panel investigating Jan. 6 and is required to appear for questioning at the end of next week. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Although Clark’s proposal was rebuffed, those working in the Willard command center continued to push the idea that Pence could intervene on Jan. 6 itself. Other legal scholars disagreed.

Two experts — former federal Judge J. Michael Luttig and former Justice Department official John Yoo, both known as stalwart conservatives — advised Pence’s staff that there was no basis for the vice president to intervene in the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6.

“I advised that there was no factual basis for Mike Pence to intervene and overturn the results of the election,” said Yoo, who now teaches law at the University of California at Berkeley. “There are certain limited situations where I thought the Vice President does have a role, for example in the event that a state sends two different electoral results. .?.?. But none of those were present here.”

Luttig, a former federal appellate judge well known to Trump and for whom Eastman had clerked early in his career, told Pence’s staff on Jan. 4 that the analysis Eastman offered in his first memo was “incorrect.” Luttig said subsequently that Eastman’s advice was wrong “at every turn,” including his suggestion that the vice president could delay the electoral vote count.

Dalton Bennett, Alice Crites and Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.

Willard hotel was Trump team 'command center' for denying Biden presidency ahead of Jan. 6 - The Washington Post

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From: Brumar8910/23/2021 5:30:29 PM
2 Recommendations   of 30382
Pro-Trump Utah event flops after only 1,000 show up with promoters expecting 10,000: report

Tom Boggioni
October 23, 2021

According to a report from the Salt Lake Tribune, a two-day pro-Donald Trump event that commenced at the Salt Palace Convention Center was filled with more empty chairs than attendees on its first day.

The promoters behind the Western Conservative Action Network, or WeCANact event, that promised former White House official Michael Flynn as a headliner, had boasted that they expected 10,000 participants, but the Tribune reported that about 1000 showed up to hear about the fight against, " socialist, communist, and Marxist ideologies" in government and schools.

According to the Tribune's report, "The event did focus on that promise, but also offered up a large helping of misinformation about COVID-19, vaccines and the 2020 election. And, to top off the fringe political buffet, there were lots of references to the QAnon conspiracy theory."

To make the point about the small turnout, the Tribune included a photo from the hall showing row upon row upon row of empty seats.

Schott added, "More than a few speakers referred to anything they viewed as the enemy as communist or Marxist. Leigh Dundas, who cheered on the crowd who attacked Congress during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, warned the crowd that a plot launched by former Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev to replace the U.S. government with a communist dictatorship was coming to fruition."

"This is how a communist totalitarian takeover starts. They make divorce easy. They want to normalize deviant sexual practices. They want to get rid of obscenity laws and frame anyone who opposes that as against free speech. They want to get rid of prayer in schools," Dundas told the small crowd.

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To: Brumar89 who wrote (27543)10/23/2021 5:31:41 PM
From: Brumar89
2 Recommendations   of 30382
Looks like the Steve Bannon criminal referral did the trick: major 1/6 witness agrees to testify
Bill Palmer | 10:03 pm EDT October 22, 2021 Palmer Report

Steve Bannon – who is reportedly under criminal investigation in New York – was always going to be highly hesitant to testify to the January 6th Committee, for fear of further incriminating himself in the process. In fact Palmer Report has wondered aloud if the committee made a point of going after Bannon first, knowing he wouldn’t comply, so it could make an example out of him and scare other more valuable witnesses into cooperating.

Sure enough, just twenty-four hours after the House referred Bannon to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution for contempt of Congress, former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark has suddenly agreed to testify. In fact, according to CNN, Clark has agreed to testify as soon as next week.

This testimony is a major coup, from a witness that we (and many others) expected would be hesitant to cooperate. Did Clark suddenly agree to testify because he’s afraid of also being referred to the DOJ for criminal prosecution? There’s no way to know for sure, but it sure feels like it.

In any case, Jeffrey Clark is a big fish. He was the DOJ official who conspired with Donald Trump to try to convince the DOJ leadership to ask the Supreme Court to overthrow the 2020 election result. The Trump-Clark scheme didn’t come close to working; it was shut down by the Acting Attorney General and others at the DOJ, and even if it hadn’t been, the Supreme Court ended up unanimously shutting Trump down anyway. But the Trump-Clark effort ended up serving as the basis for Trump’s false claims of a “rigged” election, and helped lead to the January 6th insurrection.

Clark’s testimony will likely end up being something of a mixed bag. He certainly has to be worried about incriminating himself with his testimony, so he may invoke the Fifth Amendment in response to some of the dicier questions. He also may try to paint things as much in his own favor as he can, just shy of committing actual perjury.

But this isn’t about getting perfect testimony from Clark. This is about getting him to testify at all, so the viewing public can be made more aware of just how ugly January 6th was, and just how directly Donald Trump was involved in planning and inciting it. It’s a huge victory for the committee that Clark is promptly testifying, rather than trying to drag it out. Looks like the hammer the committee dropped on Bannon is producing results already.

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From: Brumar8910/24/2021 8:20:01 AM
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Bob Woodward finds 'seven conspiratorial actions' by Trump and Bannon
by Daniel Chaitin, Deputy News Editor |
| October 23, 2021

Investigative journalist Bob Woodward said his reporting shows "seven conspiratorial actions" between former President Donald Trump and Steve Bannon as part of an effort to overturn the 2020 election.

Claiming to have made a new discovery, Woodward said his book, Peril , which he wrote with fellow Washington Post journalist Robert Costa, lays out the blueprint of a scandal akin to the Watergate controversy that is now under investigation by a House select committee looking into the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

"I just looked back at what we have in the book, and quite directly, we have the dots. We didn't connect them, though they're there," Woodward said during a CNN interview Thursday.

"There are seven conspiratorial actions by Trump and Bannon, essentially, to subvert and destroy the process of certifying who the next president is going to be. And when you think about it, it's just like Watergate."

Woodward, who helped expose the 1970s Watergate scandal in the Nixon administration with Carl Bernstein, came on the air after CNN's John Berman played a clip of Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of the Jan. 6 panel, tying Trump to Bannon in the lead-up to the Capitol riot.

"It appears that Mr. Bannon had substantial advanced knowledge of the plans for Jan. 6 and likely had an important role in formulating those plans," Cheney said at the select committee meeting. "Mr. Bannon was in the 'war room' at the Willard on Jan. 6. He also appears to have detailed knowledge regarding the president's efforts to sell millions of Americans the fraud that the election was stolen."

Bannon served as Trump's White House chief strategist for much of 2017. And although he was not a member of the administration around the time of the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 siege of Congress as lawmakers met in Washington to certify Joe Biden's electoral victory, he had reemerged as a force on the outside boosting Trump. Bannon acted as a senior political adviser behind an effort, centered in what allies called a "command center" at the Willard InterContinental Washington hotel, to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Woodward picked up a page of notes and went over some of the "conspiratorial actions" he had mentioned.

"First of all, on Dec. 30, Bannon talks to Trump and says, 'You've got to make a dramatic return to Washington,'" Woodward said, paraphrasing some of the quotes in Peril. "Trump is in Mar-a-Lago, he's going to have the New Year's Eve party down there, but he comes back, and Bannon says to Trump, 'You've got to call Vice President Pence off the ski slopes,' where Pence's staff and advisers have kind of stashed him away because they know in a week he's going to have to certify or decide what he's going to do about who the next president is. And then, Bannon says to Trump, 'Jan. 6 is the moment of reckoning here,' and if we can challenge the legitimacy of Biden, it casts a shadow over the Biden presidency, and then, he says, 'We are going to kill the Biden presidency in the crib.' The violent language, of course, it was manifest, the violence itself, on Jan. 6."

"Then, on Jan. 5, as Liz Cheney was pointing out, Bannon meets with others, including Rudy Giuliani and their phony Republicans, to block the certification of Biden, and then, you put all this in, and Trump put out a phony statement at the time — this is on the public record — saying he and Pence agreed that Pence has the power to walk away and essentially get Trump certified as president. But that's totally untrue," Woodward added.

Despite pressure from Trump and the chaos on Jan. 6, Pence did not try to send the results back to certain states Trump lost in November. In fact, he sent a letter to Congress saying he did not have the power to reject Electoral College votes, dealing a further blow to Trump’s hopes to deny a presidential victory to Biden.

The House voted Thursday to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the select committee. Before that, during her speech , Cheney, a Republican, said arguments made by Trump and Bannon that relevant information sought by the committee is protected by executive privilege "appear to reveal" that Trump was "personally involved in the planning and execution" of the events on Jan. 6.

If the Justice Department prosecutes Bannon and he is convicted, he could face fines up to $100,000 and up to a year in prison. Woodward predicted the Justice Department will go further and appoint a special counsel.

"We have a very clear-cut case. I would suspect it is quite possible that Attorney General Merrick Garland will appoint a special counsel to look at this, because the evidence is so clear for a massive Watergate-style attempt to destroy the process of electing a president," Woodward said.

Its been a year since Trump tried to steal the lost election. When is the special counsel going to be appointed?

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From: kidl10/24/2021 9:57:04 AM
1 Recommendation   of 30382
Money and misinformation: how Turning Point USA became a formidable pro-Trump force

The rightwing group outgrew its origins on campuses to hobnob with Republican operatives and donors – despite some discomfort in the party

he powerful conservative youth group Turning Point USA, which has forged strong ties to Donald Trump and his son Don Trump Jr, has raised tens of millions of dollars from super rich donors and secret backers while pushing disinformation about Joe Biden’s win in 2020, Covid-19 vaccines and other extremist and rightwing issues.

The group is campaigning on college campuses across the US, as well as expanding into rightist media and faith activities and – through its campaign arm – is getting directly involved with elections, where it often supports pro-Trump and conservative candidates.


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