Donald Trump Announces 2016 White House Bid

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Trump bashes New York charges against company, adviser at Florida rally
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Gabriella Borter
Publishing date:Jul 03, 2021 • 20 hours ago • 3 minute read • 65 Comments
Former U.S. president Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 28, 2021.
Former U.S. president Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 28, 2021. PHOTO BY OCTAVIO JONES /REUTERS
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SARASOTA — Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday condemned New York prosecutors for bringing charges against his namesake company and longtime financial adviser, using a campaign-style rally to air a host of grievances.

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“It’s really called prosecutorial misconduct. It’s a terrible, terrible thing,” Trump told thousands of supporters gathered outdoors in Sarasota, Florida.


The Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to what a New York prosecutor called a “sweeping and audacious” tax fraud, arising from a probe into Trump’s business and its practices.

Weisselberg and other executives were accused of receiving perks and benefits such as rent-free apartments and leased cars, without reporting them properly on their tax returns. The outcome of the investigations and other lawsuits facing Trump could impact whether he decides to run again for president in 2024.

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“They’ve mobilized every power of government to come after me, my family, my wonderful employees and my company solely because of politics,” Trump told the crowd.

The rally was billed as a Fourth of July celebration with fireworks, the latest in a series of appearances as the former president tries to keep Republicans’ focus on him.

Trump used his speech to denounce the policies of his successor, Democratic President Joe Biden, and repeat his false claim that he lost the 2020 election due to fraud.

He urged his supporters to back his allies in their midterm campaigns as Republicans fight to take back control of Congress from the Democratic Party next year.

Trump dwelt heavily on Biden’s policies along the U.S. border with Mexico and rising crime, two issues that Republicans hope to use to their advantage in the 2022 midterm elections.

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Trump’s image took a beating after the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. But some 53% of Republicans believe Trump won last year’s election and blame his loss on illegal voting, and one quarter of the overall public agreed Trump won, a May 17-19 Reuters/Ipsos poll showed.

Trump, 75, has dangled the possibility of running for president again in 2024, and his latest rallies mark an effort to keep his base energized and in his camp.

“We are looking at the election, more than looking at it,” said Trump of 2024, prompting cheers from the Sarasota crowd.

Many Republicans see an appealing option for a 2024 party nominee in Florida’s 42-year-old governor, Ron DeSantis. A longtime Trump ally, DeSantis has been at the forefront of Republican-led fights against strict anti-coronavirus lockdowns, racial justice protests and expanded ballot access.

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In a straw poll of potential 2024 candidates at a conservative conference in Denver in June, DeSantis finished ahead of Trump, 74% to 71%.


DeSantis’ office has said the governor is focused on winning re-election in Florida next year, not aspiring to national office.

Lindsay Gordon, a 35-year-old Sarasota resident who works in retail, said it was her third time attending a Trump rally and she was excited to show her support for the former president. She said she hopes Trump runs again, but thought DeSantis might be a better, less-polarizing alternative.

“I think DeSantis would probably have a better opportunity seeing as he’s younger,” Gordon said. “Because he’s still new and fresh there’s still a chance to get people to understand where he’s coming from. There isn’t as much of this negativity.”

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DeSantis did not attend Trump’s rally. A spokesperson said he was spending the weekend in Surfside, Florida, where rescuers have spent more than a week searching the rubble of a condo building collapse that killed at least 24 people and left scores missing.

During his speech at the rally, which lasted about 90 minutes, Trump called out by name a number of Republican politicians who he described as warriors on his behalf, including embattled U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz.

Trump did not mention DeSantis, but told Newsmax in an interview backstage that he and DeSantis had “mutually agreed” that the governor should continue to assist with the rescue and recovery operation in Surfside.

“I told him you should stay there,” said Trump.
 

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Trump sues Facebook, Twitter and Google, claiming censorship
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Jason Lange and Jan Wolfe
Publishing date:Jul 07, 2021 • 1 day ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
In this photo illustration, the Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump is displayed on a mobile phone in Arlington, Va., Aug. 10, 2020.
In this photo illustration, the Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump is displayed on a mobile phone in Arlington, Va., Aug. 10, 2020. PHOTO BY OLIVIER DOULIERY /AFP via Getty Images / Files
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WASHINGTON — Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday filed lawsuits against Twitter Inc, Facebook Inc, and Alphabet Inc’s Google, as well as their chief executives, alleging they unlawfully silence conservative viewpoints.

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The lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, allege the California-based social media platforms violated the right to freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


Trump is seeking class action status for the lawsuits, meaning he would represent the interests of other users of Twitter, Facebook, and Google’s YouTube who allege they have been unfairly silenced.

He filed three lawsuits making similar allegations – one against Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, one against Twitter and its CEO Jack Dorsey, and one against Google and its CEO Sundar Pichai.

“We will achieve a historic victory for American freedom and at the same time, freedom of speech,” Trump said at a news conference at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

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A Twitter representative declined to comment. Representatives of Facebook and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump lost his social media megaphone this year after the companies said he violated their policies against glorifying violence. Hundreds of his supporters launched a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 after a Trump speech repeating his false claims that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud, an assertion rejected by multiple courts, state election officials and members of his own administration.

The lawsuits ask a judge to invalidate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that has been called the backbone of the internet because it provides websites with protections from liability over content posted by users. Trump and others who have attacked Section 230 say it has given big internet companies too much legal protection and allowed them to escape responsibility for their actions.

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“This complaint is hard to even make sense of,” said Paul Gowder, a professor of law at Northwestern University.

Trump sought to portray the social media companies as subject to the same First Amendment requirements as government entities when it comes to censorship, but Gowder said nothing in the lawsuits “even comes close to turning social media companies into government actors.”

A federal judge in Florida last week blocked a recently enacted state law that was meant to authorize the state to penalize social media companies when they ban political candidates, with the judge saying the law likely violated free speech rights.

The lawsuit said the bill signed by Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in May was unconstitutional. It would have made Florida the first state to regulate how social media companies moderate online speech.
 

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U.S. charges 2 men for plotting to blow up Democratic headquarters in California
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Sarah N. Lynch
Publishing date:Jul 17, 2021 • 6 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
In this file photo taken on Sept. 26, 2020, man wears a "Three Percenter" patch as several hundred members of the Proud Boys and other similar groups gathered for a rally at Delta Park in Portland, Ore.
In this file photo taken on Sept. 26, 2020, man wears a "Three Percenter" patch as several hundred members of the Proud Boys and other similar groups gathered for a rally at Delta Park in Portland, Ore. PHOTO BY MARANIE R. STAAB /AFP via Getty Images
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WASHINGTON — Two California men have been indicted on charges they conspired to attack the Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento, the state’s capital city, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.

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According to the unsealed indictment, Ian Benjamin Rogers, 45, of Napa and Jarrod Copeland, 37, of Vallejo started plotting to attack Democratic targets after the 2020 presidential election. They also tried to get support from an anti-government group to further the cause.


The indictment does not name the militia group they contacted, but prosecutors in a different court filing said Copeland emailed the far-right group Proud Boys, trying to “recruit others to join the plot,” and also was a member of a militia group affiliated with the Three Percenters.

Both the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters have come under government scrutiny, after some members were indicted in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

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John Ambrosio, a lawyer for Copeland, said in an email: “We entered a plea of not guilty, denying all allegations and counts. We have no further comments at this time.” An attorney for Rogers declined to comment

In numerous messages they exchanged, the two discussed blowing up buildings, the Justice Department said.

In one exchange in January 2021, for instance, Rogers told Copeland: “I want to blow up a democrat building bad.”

“I agree,” Copeland responded. “Plan attack.”

Federal law enforcement agents executed a search warrant on Jan. 15 at Rogers’ home and seized a stockpile of weapons including 45 to 50 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and five pipe bombs.

Prosecutors say Copeland tried to destroy evidence during the investigation and communicated with the leader of a militia group who told him to switch communication platforms and delete the evidence.

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Rogers was arrested on the day the search warrant was executed and remains in the custody of the state. Copeland was arrested on Thursday and will appear for a detention hearing on July 20, the Justice Department said.

In the detention memo, prosecutors said Copeland joined the U.S. military in December 2013, but was arrested for desertion in May 2014. He received an “other than honorable discharge” in lieu of being court-martialed.


The memo says Copeland and Rogers were infuriated after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, and they “understood they would be viewed as domestic terrorists” if they carried out their vision to overturn the U.S. government.

Their plot allegedly began on Nov. 25, 2020, as Rogers told Copeland in an encrypted messaging application: “Ok bro we need to hit the enemy in the mouth.”

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Initially, it says, they discussed attacking the California governor’s mansion, though later the Democratic headquarters in California became the target. Other possible targets they discussed included the corporate offices for Twitter and Facebook.

A criminal complaint that charged Rogers in the case also said they discussed attacking Democratic contributor George Soros.

The indictment does not allege that Rogers or Copeland had any involvement in the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol.

The FBI is still searching for an unknown suspect who planted explosive devices near the Democratic and Republican committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 5.
 

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U.S. ELECTION: 2020 polls suffered worst performance in decades
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Publishing date:Jul 19, 2021 • 5 hours ago • 2 minute read • 17 Comments
U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a campaign rally for Republican U.S. senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, ahead of their January runoff elections to determine control of the U.S. Senate, in Valdosta, Georgia, U.S., December 5, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo ORG XMIT: FW1
U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a campaign rally for Republican U.S. senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, ahead of their January runoff elections to determine control of the U.S. Senate, in Valdosta, Georgia, U.S., December 5, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo ORG XMIT: FW1 PHOTO BY JONATHAN ERNST /REUTERS
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Public opinion polls in the 2020 presidential election suffered from errors of “unusual magnitude,” the highest in 40 years for surveys estimating the national popular vote and in at least 20 years for state-level polls, according to a study conducted by the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).

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The AAPOR task force examined 2,858 polls, including 529 national presidential race polls and 1,572 state-level presidential polls. They found that the surveys overstated the margin between President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump by 3.9 points in the national popular vote and 4.3 percentage points in state polls.


Polls understated the support for Trump in nearly every state and by an average of 3.3 percentage points overall. Polls in Senate and gubernatorial races suffered from the same problem.

“There was a systematic error that was found in terms of the overstatement for Democratic support across the board,” said Josh Clinton, a Vanderbilt University political science professor who chaired the 19-member task force. “It didn’t matter what type of poll you were doing, whether you’re interviewing by phone or Internet or whatever. And it didn’t matter what type of race, whether President Trump was on the ballot or was not on the ballot.”

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The polls did a better job of estimating the average support for Biden, with a few exceptions. In general, support for Biden in the polls was 1 percentage point higher than his actual vote.


An AAPOR task force conducted a similar examination after the 2016 election. Then, national polls generally accurately predicted the size of Hillary Clinton’s popular vote victory over Trump, but state polls proved more problematic, causing many analysts at the time to predict wrongly that Clinton also would win an electoral college majority.

In the new study, task force members were able to rule out a series of reasons that might have caused the 2020 polls to show a bigger margin for Biden over Trump than the actual results. That included some of the problems that affected polling in 2016, such as the failure in that year to account for levels of education in the samples of voters.

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But the task force members were not able to reach definitive conclusions on exactly what caused the problems in the most recent election polls and therefore how to correct their methodology ahead of the next elections. “Identifying conclusively why polls overstated the Democratic-Republican margin relative to the certified vote appears to be impossible with the available data,” the report states.

Polling in senatorial and gubernatorial races showed a similar pattern, overstating the margin for Democratic candidates versus their Republican opponents. When state-level presidential polls were removed from the sample, the error level was even higher. For example, polling pointed to possible Democratic gains in House races. Instead, Republicans gained seats.
 

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'QAnon Shaman' in plea negotiations after mental health diagnosis: Lawyer
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Sarah N. Lynch
Publishing date:Jul 23, 2021 • 20 hours ago • 4 minute read • Join the conversation
Jacob Chansley, holding a sign referencing QAnon, speaks as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather to protest about the early results of the 2020 presidential election, in front of the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC), in Phoenix, Arizona November 5, 2020.
Jacob Chansley, holding a sign referencing QAnon, speaks as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather to protest about the early results of the 2020 presidential election, in front of the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC), in Phoenix, Arizona November 5, 2020. PHOTO BY CHENEY ORR /REUTERS
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WASHINGTON — The participant in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots nicknamed the “QAnon Shaman” is negotiating a possible plea deal with prosecutors, after prison psychologists found he suffers from a variety of mental illnesses, his attorney said.

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In an interview, defense lawyer Albert Watkins said that officials at the federal Bureau of Prisons, or BOP, have diagnosed his client Jacob Chansley with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.

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The BOP’s findings, which have not yet been made public, suggest Chansley’s mental condition deteriorated due to the stress of being held in solitary confinement at a jail in Alexandria, Virginia, Watkins said.

“As he spent more time in solitary confinement … the decline in his acuity was noticeable, even to an untrained eye,” Watkins said in an interview on Thursday.

He said Chansley’s 2006 mental health records from his time in the U.S. Navy show a similar diagnosis to the BOP’s.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment on the case.

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Chansley is one of the most recognizable of the hundreds of Donald Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol after the then-president in a fiery speech falsely claimed that his November election defeat was the result of fraud.


Chansley, of Arizona, was photographed inside the Capitol wearing a horned headdress, shirtless and heavily tattooed. He is a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory that casts Trump as a savior figure and elite Democrats as a cabal of Satanist pedophiles and cannibals.

He faces charges including civil disorder and obstructing an official proceeding.

Watkins did not say what Chansley was considering pleading guilty to, but defendants negotiating plea deals typically seek to plead to a less serious charge to reduce their potential prison sentences.

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Watkins said authorities will need to determine how Chansley can get access to the treatment he needs to “actively participate in his own defense.” Pleading guilty to a charge negates the need for a trial, but defendants still have to be declared mentally competent to do so.

Watkins said the BOP’s evaluation of his client did not declare Chansley to be mentally incompetent, and he does not expect Chansley to be ordered to undergo what is known as competency restoration treatment.

‘CHOCOLATE SOUP MESS’

Watkins said his client has expressed some delusions including “believing that he was indeed related directly to Jesus and Buddha.”

“What we’ve done is we’ve taken a guy who is unarmed, harmless, peaceful … with a pre-existing mental vulnerability of significance, and we’ve rendered him a chocolate soup mess,” Watkins said.

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Federal prosecutors have arrested more than 535 people on charges of taking part in the violence, which saw rioters battle police, smash windows and send members of Congress and then-Vice President Mike Pence running for safety.

About 20 defendants so far have pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with the attack, according to a government tally.

Chansley is jailed as he awaits trial, after prosecutors convinced a federal judge he remains a danger if released.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth in May ordered him to undergo a competency evaluation.

As of July 5, he was one of 188 men and women undergoing an initial mental health evaluation to determine if they are competent to stand trial, according to BOP data.

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The BOP in 2017 was faulted by the Justice Department’s inspector general for its use of special housing units to confine inmates with mental illness, and the BOP agreed to place limits on the amount of time inmates remain in restrictive housing and to ensure they have meaningful human contact.

But the COVID-19 pandemic led the BOP to step up its use of solitary housing units as a way to quarantine inmates to contain the spread of the virus.

A BOP spokeswoman said that inmates are sometimes held alone in a cell, but they are not cut off from human contact or services.

“While we do have a need to place individuals in a single cell for various reasons, such as medical isolation, they have access to staff and programming,” she said.

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These COVID-19 restrictions, Watkins said, is what led the BOP to place Chansley in solitary confinement.

Seeking a competency evaluation for a federal inmate can be a slippery slope for defense attorneys.

On the one hand, incompetent defendants cannot be prosecuted if they cannot understand the charges or assist in their defense.

However, if a judge declares there is a preponderance of evidence to show a defendant is incompetent to stand trial, then the defendant is jailed because federal law requires inmates undergoing competency restoration treatment to be committed to a federal prison hospital.

There are only three federal prison hospitals offering restoration treatment for male inmates, and the average wait time for a bed this year for men has been 84 days, according to BOP data.
 

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Guilty pleas for men who took photos at Pelosi's office on Jan. 6
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Mark Hosenball
Publishing date:Jul 23, 2021 • 15 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
A mob of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at a door they broke open as they storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021.
A mob of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at a door they broke open as they storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. PHOTO BY LEAH MILLIS /REUTERS
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WASHINGTON — Two Ohio men face up to six months in prison after pleading guilty on Friday to disorderly conduct during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, where one photographed the other in the offices of House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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Derek Jancart, 39, of Canal Winchester, Ohio, and fellow Ohioan Erik Rau, 28, are at least the 20th and 21st persons to plead guilty to criminal charges stemming from the Jan. 6 attack, when thousands of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the building in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.


More than 535 people have been charged with taking part in the violence. Trump falsely claims he lost the election because of widespread electoral fraud.


According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jancart posted pictures on Facebook from the riot, including a photograph taken from outside Pelosi’s conference room showing Rau inside the room which carried the caption “We’re in.”

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During hearings before U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, Jancart and Rau, appearing via video link, both acknowledged that they entered the Capitol during the riot and went to Pelosi’s office. Jancart acknowledged he photographed Rau inside the room.

Jancart and Rau both were initially charged with four riot-related misdemeanors after their arrests. Jancart was arrested in February while Rau was not arrested until earlier this month.

Both men pleaded guilty to single counts of disorderly conduct in the U.S. Capitol building. They face a maximum sentence of six months and a $5,000 fine, though Boasberg could sentence them to probation. Sentencing for both men was set for Sept. 29.