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January 22, 2022

Report: Trump and DeSantis Butting Heads Over 2024

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…
1973: Roe vs Wade: US Supreme Court legalizes most abortions

There are multiple reports that tensions between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) are intensifying ahead of a potential 2024 clash.

In private, Trump is trashing DeSantis as an ingrate with a “dull personality” and no realistic chance of beating him in the 2024 primary, Axios reported.

“In the context of the 2024 election, he usually gives DeSantis a pop in the nose in the middle of that type of conversation,” a source told Axios, adding that Trump makes a point of saying he isn’t worried about the Florida governor as a potential opponent.

“He says DeSantis has no personal charisma and has a dull personality.”

The reason for Trump’s irritation with DeSantis? “Ron DeSantis won’t say he won’t run [in 2024],” a second source told the outlet. 

“The others have stated pretty clearly they won’t challenge him.”

Several of Trump’s associates and advisors spoke to the New York Times on the condition of anonymity, saying that the former president has been questioning why DeSantis hasn’t said “the magic words” — that he won’t challenge Trump in 2024.

“I wonder why the guy won’t say he won’t run against me,” Trump said, according to the report.

“Trump has been telling a range of aides a version of, he isn’t getting the deference from DeSantis that he wants in the pre-2024 leadup,” reporter Maggie Haberman recently wrote on Twitter.

Trump’s remarks come after he appeared to take a shot at DeSantis last week for refusing the reveal his COVID-19 booster status.

“The answer is yes, but they don’t want to say it, because they’re gutless,” Trump said in an interview with One America News Network. “You got to say it. Whether you had it or not, say it.”

DeSantis has reportedly told friends he believes Trump’s expectation that he “bend the knee” is asking too much. 

During an interview on the Ruthless podcast, DeSantis said one of his biggest regrets was not forcefully opposing Trump’s calls for lockdowns at the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.

“Knowing now what I know then, if that was a threat earlier, I would have been much louder,” he said. He had been “telling Trump ‘stop the flights from China'” but argued that he never thought that the coronavirus “would lead to locking down the country.”

However, the governor has dismissed the notion that there’s tension between him and Trump, blaming the media for fanning the flames.

“You cannot fall for the bait,” DeSantis said on the Ruthless podcast. “You know what they’re trying to do, so just don’t take it. Just keep on keeping on. We need everybody united for a big red wave in 2022. We’ve got to fight the left, and not only fight, but beat the left. And that’s what we’re doing in Florida.”

DeSantis has tried to tamp down speculation about his ambitions for 2024. He officially kicked off his 2022 reelection bid in November and has said that he’s focused on the governor’s mansion.


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Trump dogs “dull” DeSantis ahead of potential 2024 matchup

January 20, 2022

NY Attorney General Alleges ‘Significant Evidence’ of Trump Business Fraud

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…
1945: Franklin D. Roosevelt sworn-in for an unprecedented (and never to be repeated) 4th term as US President

New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a motion to compel former President Donald Trump and two of his children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, to appear for sworn testimony, alleging that her office’s civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s financial dealings uncovered “significant evidence” of fraud.

“We have uncovered significant evidence indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent and misleading asset valuations on multiple properties to obtain economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions for years,” James tweeted.

James’ request comes as a response to the former president’s lawyers filing a motion on Monday for a preliminary injunction against her, alleging “unconstitutional” abuse of process. Trump has said the investigation is a “politically motivated attack.”

While James “has not yet reached a final decision regarding whether this evidence merits legal action, the grounds for pursuing the investigation are self-evident,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

Donald Trump Jr. responded to the attorney general’s motion on Twitter.

“America’s most corrupt AG won’t even directly respond to our motions about her political targeting of my family because she knows her actions are indefensible,” he wrote. “This is nothing more than political retribution from her on behalf of the entire Dem Party.”

“She should be disbarred,” Trump Jr. added.

The court filing is available to read here.


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New York Attorney General: We Found ‘Significant Evidence’ of Trump Organization Fraud

January 18, 2022

Conservative Pundit Says ‘Trump is Done’

Conservative pundit Anne Coulter says it’s time to move past former President Donald Trump.

“Trump is done,” Coulter wrote in an email to the New York Times. “You guys should stop obsessing over him.”

Coulter’s comments came in a recent article published in the Times about the rising tensions between Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) amid speculation of a potential showdown in the 2024 election.

“If he wanted to run, that’s OK with me,” Trump told a South Florida radio host last month. “I think we’d win by a lot.”

Though Coulter was an early supporter of Trump’s 2016 campaign, she became increasingly critical over his time in office.

Last week, she rebuked Trump after he criticized politicians for not revealing their COVID-19 booster status, calling them “gutless.” Many interpreted Trump’s remark as a veiled shot at DeSantis, who has repeatedly avoided questions about his vaccine booster status.

“Trump is demanding to know Ron DeSantis’s booster status, and I can now reveal it,” Coulter tweeted. “He was a loyal booster when Trump ran in 2016, but then he learned our president was a liar and con man whose grift was permanent.”


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Who Is King of Florida? Tensions Rise Between Trump and a Former Acolyte.

January 18, 2022

Report: There’s a ‘Good Chance’ DOJ Will Prosecute Trump

Senate Democrats believe there’s a “good chance” that Attorney General Merrick Garland will prosecute former President Donald Trump over the January 6 Capitol riot, according to a new report from The Hill.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told the outlet that “clearly what [Trump] did” in the days leading up to January 6 “falls in the ambit of what’s being investigated and perhaps is criminal.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said it’s up to the Justice Department to decide to charge the former president, but he believes Trump’s actions on and before January 6 likely violate federal law.

“My intuition is that they are” looking carefully at whether Trump broke the law, Kaine told the outlet. “My sense is they’re looking [at] everything in a diligent way, and they haven’t made a decision.” 

“I believe there are federal statutes that are very much implicated” by Trump’s efforts to overturn Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, he added.

When asked if Trump violated the law, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said, “I’m not going to say he’s guilty before I see evidence,” but there’s “a lot of evidence that he was complicit.”

An unnamed Democratic senator said many Democratic lawmakers believe Trump violated the law by attempting to halt the certification of the 2020 presidential election. But, the anonymous lawmaker told The Hill that it could be difficult to win a conviction in court.

“If you pull the trigger on this one, you have to make sure that you don’t miss, because this is one if you miss it essentially validates the conduct,” a second unnamed Democratic senator said.

One legal expert told Bloomberg that Trump’s First Amendment rights would make any case against him difficult to prosecute.

“You can’t allow the government to lock up protest leaders whenever the protests produce violence,” said Andrew Koppelman, a constitutional law expert at Northwestern University. “The Trump speech was full of lies, but that’s not a crime. He told them to ‘fight like hell,’ but that’s familiar political language that does not ordinarily produce violence.”

Meanwhile, in Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) recently told the AP that she’s leaning toward requesting to authorize subpoenas to advance her investigation of Trump’s conversation with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R).

A decision whether to bring criminal charges against Trump would likely come within the next six months, Willis said.


Source:

Democrats see good chance of Garland prosecuting Trump

January 15, 2022

Family of American Held Hostage By Taliban Begs Biden for Help

The family of the sole American hostage being held in Afghanistan by the Taliban is desperate for help.

According to the Washington Examiner, “the Taliban have been saying for more than a year that they are willing to negotiate [Mark Frerichs’] release and were on board for a prisoner swap. The Biden administration hasn’t bitten, though similar deals were made during the Obama and Trump administrations.”

A civil engineer and former member of the U.S. Navy, Frerichs worked as a contractor for a decade overseas before he was abducted in Kabul on January 31, 2020.

According to the Examiner, the Taliban has said they’re willing to free Frerichs if the U.S. releases Bashir Noorzai, an Afghan drug lord serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for smuggling $50 million of heroin into the country.

Frerichs’ sister, Charlene Cakora, told the outlet she wants the government to make the deal and bring her brother home but has hit a wall, first with the Trump administration and now with the Biden administration.

“Three months before Frerichs’s kidnapping, former President Donald Trump approved a controversial prisoner swap that sparked protests internationally. The Haqqanis released two American University professors, Kevin King and Timothy Weeks, who were taken at gunpoint in Kabul in August 2016, as well as 10 Afghan soldiers. In exchange, and under pressure from the State Department, the Afghan government released three high-ranking Haqqani commanders who had a disturbing history of carrying out car bombings and assassinations,” the Washington Examiner reported.

Cakora told the outlet she thought the Trump administration would negotiate with the Taliban for her brother’s release, but instead, it repeatedly ignored the family’s requests, shut it out of conversations, and then finally just said no.

Then a month after her brother’s kidnapping, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Afghanistan’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Taliban negotiators to formalize the agreement to withdraw the U.S. military. They eventually reached a deal on February 29, 2020, which included feeding up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners in Afghanistan. There wasn’t any mention of the only known U.S. hostage still being held captive in Afghanistan.

Cakora said the situation had taken a massive toll on their family. So far, there hasn’t been any indication of help from President Joe Biden.

“In late June, then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was pressed by reporters to comment on Frerichs’s kidnapping. He said his government would do what it could to help but admitted the topic never came up during his meeting with [Biden] at the White House,” the outlet reported.

The U.S. failed to utilize one of the last times it had leverage to demand Frerichs’ release: during the chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

The State Department told the outlet it had been in regular contact with the family, though it didn’t say “what, if anything,” it’s doing to bring Frerichs home.

“The families of Americans held captive abroad can face incredible hardships as they tirelessly advocate for their loved ones,” the department told the outlet in an emailed statement. “We remain in regular contact with families, including the family of Mark Frerichs. We are grateful for their partnership and feedback, and we work to ensure that we are sharing information in a way that is helpful.”

The email added: “The safe and immediate release of U.S. citizen and Navy veteran Mark Frerichs is imperative. We have made that clear to the Taliban. As the Taliban seek legitimacy, they cannot continue to hold a U.S. citizen hostage. The Taliban must immediately release Mark Frerichs.”


Source:

Mark Frerichs, sole American hostage held in Afghanistan, nears third year in captivity

January 13, 2022

Trump Hangs Up on NPR Interviewer

Former President Donald Trump hung up on National Public Radio (NPR) midway through their scheduled conversation after the interviewer pressed him on his repeated claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent.

The segment, which aired on Wednesday, was originally scheduled to last 15 minutes, but Trump disconnected the call after about nine minutes.

“Are you telling Republicans in 2022 that they must press your case on the past election in order to get your endorsement? Is that an absolute?” host Steve Inskeep asked Trump.

“They are going to do whatever they want to do — whatever they have to do, they’re going to do,” Trump responded.

Trump added: “But the ones that are smart – the ones that know, you take a look at. Again, you take a look at how Kari Lake is doing, running for [Arizona] governor. She’s very big on this issue. She’s leading by a lot.

“People have no idea how big this issue is, and they don’t want it to happen again. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen, and they don’t want it to happen again.”

Inskeep attempted to ask Trump another question, but Trump continued.

“And the only way it’s not going to happen again is you have to solve the problem of the presidential rigged election of 2020,” Trump said.

The NPR host tried interjecting, but Trump signed off: “So Steve, thank you very much. I appreciate it.”

Inskeep, who mentioned earlier that he’d been trying to interview Trump since 2015, had started to ask him another question. The NPR host resigned to the fact that Trump had hung up, saying, “He’s gone. OK.”

View a complete transcript of the call here.


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Pressed on his election lies, former President Trump cuts NPR interview short

January 10, 2022

Dems Quietly Explore Banning Trump From Office

According to a report from The Hill, some Democrats have been quietly exploring if they could permanently prevent former President Donald Trump from holding office again, using a post-Civil War amendment.

After the January 6 Capitol riot, calls for Congress to bar Trump from office peaked and have since dwindled. But some are still discussing potentially applying Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

“If anything, the idea has waxed and waned,” Laurence Tribe, a constitutional expert at Harvard Law School, told the outlet. “I hear it being raised with considerable frequency these days both by media commentators and by members of Congress and their staffs, some of whom have sought my advice on how to implement Section 3.” 

The Hill reported, “around a dozen Democratic lawmakers have spoken either publicly or privately over the last year about how Section 3 of the 14th Amendment might apply.”

Recent inquiries include the offices of Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).

“I continue to explore all legal paths to ensure that the people who tried to subvert our democracy are not in charge of it,” Wasserman Schultz told the outlet.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says those who “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same” are disqualified from holding office in the future.

“The point is that the constitutional purpose is clear, to keep people exactly like Donald Trump and other traitors to the union from holding public office,” Raskin told ABC News on February 17, 2021. Raskin, a former constitutional law professor, sits on the January 6 House Select Committee.

From The Hill‘s report:

Most constitutional scholars who spoke to The Hill think the provision is not “self-executing.” In practical terms, that means applying Section 3 to Trump would require an additional step by lawmakers to make the 14th Amendment operative. 

Some scholars believe that Congress, by a simple majority in both chambers, could act on its own to find Trump engaged in insurrection, which would implicate the constitutional provision. Under the 14th Amendment, restoring Trump’s eligibility would then require a supermajority vote. 

Other experts, like Tribe of Harvard, say Congress would need to go further, either by establishing a neutral fact-finding body to determine whether Trump engaged in insurrection under Section 3, or assigning that fact-finding role to a federal court.

Whether a push to use the 14th Amendment to disqualify Trump gains traction may depend on what the House panel ultimately determines about his involvement in the incident, Tribe said.

“Once that committee makes clear, as I trust it will, that what took place was indeed an insurrection that triggers Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and that supports criminal prosecution by DOJ of those responsible, it is difficult to imagine this not becoming a logical next step,” Tribe said. 


Source:

Democrats quietly explore barring Trump from office over Jan. 6 

January 9, 2022

Trump’s Social Media Platform Gets Launch Date

Former President Donald Trump’s new social network, Truth Social, will launch on iOS on President’s Day, February 21st, according to its listing on the App store.

Trump’s new media company, the Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), is developing the app. Based on the images in the App Store listing, the platform is an alternative to Twitter, with posts including icons to reply, retweet, favorite, and share. Instead of tweets, the individual posts on Truth Social are called “truths.” Instead of retweeting, users “re-truth.”

In December, TMTG released a press statement announcing its partnership with Rumble Inc., which will provide video and streaming capabilities for Truth Social. Trump said Truth Social launched in beta for “invited guests only.”

TMTG is currently valued at $4.3 billion based on the stock price of Digital World Acquisition Corp.

The Truth Social app is currently available for pre-order, and you can join the waiting list on its website.


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Trump’s social media app to launch in February, App Store listing says

January 8, 2022

GOP Goes After ‘Big Tech’ Following Greene’s Twitter Ban

After Twitter banned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)’s personal account, Republicans are bolstering their attacks against “Big Tech” and social media giants.

Former President Donald Trump issued a scathing statement, saying the platform was “a disgrace to democracy.”

“They shouldn’t be allowed to do business in this Country,” Trump said. “Marjorie Taylor Greene has a huge constituency of honest, patriotic, hard-working people. They don’t deserve what’s happened to them on places like low-life Twitter and Facebook.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) addressed the situation, vowing that the GOP will hold the social media giant “accountable,” should they win back the House in the 2022 midterm elections.

Twitter banned Trump a year ago, but experts say Greene’s ban sets a “more far-reaching precedent,” since Trump’s ban came as he was about to leave office.

“The fact that Twitter cut her off, despite being an elected official, is a substantial change in the broad latitude that elected officials have had in the past,” said Darrell West, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also criticized the company’s decision to permanently suspend a “sitting member of Congress.”

“It is clear any speech that does not fit Big Tech’s orthodoxy gets muzzled. America is poorer for that conduct,” McCarthy said in a statement.

Twitter’s action against Greene is fueling accusations from the GOP that “Big Tech” has an anti-conservative bias.

McCarthy said he directed “relevant committees and task forces to continue their work in getting answers — voluntarily or through rigorous congressional oversight — from Twitter and other Big Tech companies surrounding their decision to silence certain Americans and to hold these companies accountable.”

“House Republicans will be ready to take action that protects Americans when they express their constitutionally safeguarded views, just like we have laws on the books today that prohibit discrimination by corporations in many other contexts,” he said. 


Source:

Twitter’s Marjorie Taylor Greene ban fuels GOP attacks on ‘Big Tech’

January 8, 2022

Trump Rebukes Dems, Media Over Jan. 6 Anniversary

Former President Donald Trump emphatically rebuked Democrats and the media after the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot, accusing them of using the event as a political tool.

Trump issued a statement through his leadership PAC on Friday, saying Democrats and the “media establishment” had “driven our country into the ground.”

“These radical leftists in Washington care NOTHING for American Democracy,” Trump said. “All they care about is control over you, and wealth and riches for themselves.”

“But they are failing. No one believes them anymore,” he added. “And the day is quickly coming when they will be overwhelmingly voted out of power.”

The former president assigned blame to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for the pandemonium that day, calling it “a Pelosi-led security failure at the Capitol.”

Trump also criticized Democrats’ efforts to pass election reforms, accusing them of dubious intentions.

“The reason the Democrats are doing all of this is not because they believe they will win a fair and honest election,” Trump said. “It’s because they know they will overwhelmingly LOSE one.”

The former president has faced criticism for sowing division and undermining democracy by rejecting the results of an election. He pushed back against those claims in his statement.

“Remember, I am not the one trying to undermine American Democracy,” Trump said. “I am the one trying to SAVE American Democracy.”


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Trump rips Democrats, media over Jan. 6 anniversary

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