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February 21, 2020

Trump Ally Roger Stone Gets 40 Months in Prison

This Day in History | 1965

Racial justice leader Malcom X is assassinated in New York City. 

Good morning Middle Americans, 

They finally got him. Roger Stone, a long-time ally of Donald Trump, notorious “rat fuc#er”, master of the political dark arts is going to jail for three years and four months, barring appeal.  That was the sentence handed down by Judge Amy Berman Jackson. She clearly wasn’t playing around. The latest developments in the Roger Stone have increased the pressure on Attorney General William Barr. President Trump’s tweet about the sentence recommendation for Stone, is what brought out the tension the president and his top cop. Now with President Trump hinting at a pardon before Stone’s appeal is even complete, Barr is reportedly seething at the president. Stone was a divisive guy in the GOP.  Some people love him, some hate him. 

We can probably all agree that Rep. Adam Schiff botched the impeachment investigation of President Trump. But one western New York man was so upset he threatened to kill Schiff and Sen. Chuck Schumer.  Just a reminder folks, no matter how much you hate a politician or what they’ve done, don’t fantasize about becoming  John Wilkes Booth.

The Russians are at it again, and President Trump is furious that reports about Russian meddling in the 2016 election in his favor have leaked out. 

Finally Twitter is testing labels for politicians tweets. If a politician is less than truthful with a tweet, Jack and co. might label it “harmfully misleading”.  Political twitter is going to be pretty quiet if that happens. 

Read all about it

– Fraser Dixon 

Roger Stone Sentenced to Three Years, Four months for Witness Intimidation, Lying to Congress

(New York Post) – Roger Stone was sentenced to three years and four months on Thursday in federal court in Washington for his conviction on witness intimidation and lying to Congress about the Russia collusion investigation.

US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said a harsh punishment instead of probation was necessary because of Stone’s threats against a witness and because his obstruction led to an “inaccurate, incorrect and incomplete report” from the House.

“This is intolerable to the administration of justice and the courts should not sit idly by, shrug its shoulders and just say it’s ‘Roger being Roger,’” she said in court.

The initial sentencing recommendation called for up to nine years in prison, which Jackson called “inflated.”

Stone’s defense team asked for no jail time.

“Given Mr. Stone’s larger-than-life persona, it’s particularly important to remind the court that Stone” isn’t just a name in the news, “he’s a real human being,” Seth Ginsberg told the judge.

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Man Arrested for Threatening to Kill Schiff, Schumer Over Impeachment

(ABC News) – A Western New York man was arrested Wednesday on charges that he threatened to kill Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Salvatore Lippa, 57, of Greece, New York, was charged with threatening to assault and murder a federal official on account of the performance of their official duties.

According to the criminal complaint, on Jan. 23, Schiff’s Washington, D.C., office received a threatening voicemail that included a death threat.

Lippa started the threatening message by calling the congressman “Schiff, Shifty Schiff,” invoking the nickname used by President Donald Trump for Schiff, the lead House manager during Trump’s impeachment trial.

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Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump

(New York Times) – Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him.

The day after the Feb. 13 briefing to lawmakers, the president berated Joseph Maguire, the outgoing acting director of national intelligence, for allowing it to take place, people familiar with the exchange said. Mr. Trump was particularly irritated that Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the leader of the impeachment proceedings, was at the briefing.

During the briefing to the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Trump’s allies challenged the conclusions, arguing that he had been tough on Russia and that he had strengthened European security.

Some intelligence officials viewed the briefing as a tactical error, saying the conclusions could have been delivered in a less pointed manner or left out entirely to avoid angering Republicans. The intelligence official who delivered the briefing, Shelby Pierson, is an aide to Mr. Maguire and has a reputation for speaking bluntly.

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Twitter Tests Labeling ‘Harmfully Misleading’ Tweets by Politicians

(CNET) -Twitter is exploring whether to add brightly colored labels beneath misleading tweets from politicians and public figures, a move that could make high-profile users more wary about spreading lies.

The social network is still testing these labels and it’s unclear if Twitter will eventually roll out the feature. The experiment shows that Twitter is considering new ways to combat misinformation, including from politicians, a top concern ahead of the 2020 US elections. 

NBC News, citing a leaked demo that included the new feature, reported Thursday that tweets from journalists and fact-checkers who correct the misleading information could appear below the label and the visibility of the tweet would be reduced. Twitter’s approach is similar to how Facebook handles misinformation on its site, but it goes a step further because it involves political speech. Facebook doesn’t send posts and ads from politicians to fact-checkers, because it considers them newsworthy. 

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