Donald Trump Announces 2016 White House Bid

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Trump challenges riot lawsuits, says fiery speech was official act

Author of the article:
Reuters
Reuters
Jan Wolfe
Publishing date:
Jan 10, 2022 • 9 hours ago • 2 minute read •
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Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during his first post-presidency campaign rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio, U.S., June 26, 2021.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during his first post-presidency campaign rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio, U.S., June 26, 2021. Photo by Shannon Stapleton /REUTERS
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Donald Trump’s lawyer argued in court on Monday that the former president cannot be sued over his fiery speech before the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol because he was acting within the scope of his official presidential duties.
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Trump’s lawyer, Jesse Binnall, said during a court hearing that Trump was “immune,” or shielded, from three lawsuits by Democratic members of Congress and two police officers.

“Executive immunity must be broad,” Binnall said.

The lawsuits, filed by plaintiffs including Democratic U.S. representatives Eric Swalwell and Jerry Nadler, argue that Trump is liable for injuries to police and lawmakers.

Looming large in the case is a Supreme Court case from 1982 holding that presidents are immune from lawsuits over their official acts.

During a five-hour court hearing, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in the District of Columbia pressed lawyers for both sides about the limits of this presidential immunity.

Plaintiffs lawyer Joseph Sellers countered that Trump’s speech was a campaign event, not an official act and said it was “inconceivable” that the Supreme Court intended to shield presidents from lawsuits over this sort of conduct.
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“There is no legitimate role for fomenting an insurrection aimed at Congress,” Sellers said.

The Democratic lawmakers have invoked an 1871 law passed to fight the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan that prohibits political intimidation.

The lawsuits charge that the Capitol attack was a direct consequence of Trump’s actions, including the speech to thousands of supporters who then stormed the building to try to overturn President Joe Biden’s election.

Mehta did not issue a ruling on Monday, saying during the hearing that the litigation raises difficult legal questions.

“If there is one thing this hearing has shown it’s that this is not an easy case,” Mehta said.

At one point, Mehta questioned whether Trump’s remarks in the aftermath of the Capitol siege were intended to encourage rioters.
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“What do I do about the fact the president didn’t denounce the conduct immediately?” Mehta said to Binnall.

“Isn’t that, from a plausibility standpoint, enough to at least plausibly infer that the president agreed with the conduct of the people that were inside the Capitol that day?”

Binnall replied: “The president cannot be subject to judicial action for any sort of damages for failing to do something.”

Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives and acquitted by the Senate on a charge of inciting the riot, which is also under investigation by a House select committee.

Swalwell’s lawsuit includes similar claims against Trump allies who also spoke at the Jan. 6 rally, including campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr., and Republican congressman Mo Brooks.

Brooks, representing himself during the hearing, asked Mehta to dismiss Swalwell’s claims against him.

Brooks argued his remarks at the Jan. 6 rally were within the scope of his duties as a House member. A law called the Westfall Act protects federal employees from being sued for actions taken as part of their jobs.

Trump and his co-defendants have argued that their remarks preceding the Jan. 6 attack were political speech protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The two Capitol Police officers who sued Trump are James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby.
 

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Oath Keepers founder pleads not guilty to sedition in U.S. Capitol attack

Author of the article:
Reuters
Reuters
Bruce Tomaso and Jan Wolfe
Publishing date:
Jan 14, 2022 • 13 hours ago • 2 minute read •
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Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes speaks during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, April 15, 2017.
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes speaks during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, April 15, 2017. Photo by Jim Urquhart /REUTERS
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PLANO, Tex. — The founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers group, Stewart Rhodes, on Friday pleaded not guilty to seditious conspiracy charges for his alleged role in the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
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Rhodes made a brief initial appearance in federal court in Plano, Texas. He was in the custody of U.S. Marshals, wearing handcuffs and leg irons.

Rhodes and 10 other associates or members of the group were accused by the Justice Department on Thursday of plotting to storm the Capitol by force, in a failed bid to block Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

Rhodes, 56, is the most high-profile defendant of more than 725 charged so far for allegedly taking part in the attack on the Capitol by former President Donald Trump’s supporters. The riot was fueled by Trump’s false claims that his election defeat was the result of fraud.

The Justice Department will request that Rhodes be detained while he awaits trial, a prosecutor said at Friday’s hearing.
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James Lee Bright, a lawyer for Rhodes, told reporters Rhodes intends to fight the charges.

“He believes he will be found not guilty,” Bright said, adding that Rhodes will oppose the government’s request for pretrial detention.

“He has no reason to flee. He has no passport. He has nowhere to go,” Bright said.

Rhodes and his associates are the first people charged with seditious conspiracy for their alleged role in the attack. That charge can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Another Oath Keeper, Edward Vallejo, appeared in a Phoenix courtroom to face seditious conspiracy charges.

A judge scheduled a follow-up court hearing for Vallejo on Jan. 20 to determine whether the 63-year-old will be detained while he awaits trial. A lawyer for Vallejo indicated he planned to enter a not guilty plea at a future hearing.
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A prosecutor said during Friday’s hearing that the Justice Department will request pretrial detention for Vallejo.

Rhodes founded the Oath Keepers, which believes the federal government is encroaching on its rights. Its membership is largely made up of current and retired military and law enforcement officials.

The indictment portrayed Rhodes as a ringleader who warned his members to prepare for a “bloody and desperate fight” to prevent Democrat Joe Biden from becoming president.

It says he helped rally his members to go to Washington and played a key role in organizing and helping stage logistics for the group, including the establishment of so-called “quick reaction force” teams that stashed firearms outside the city limits.

The indictment also says Rhodes spent thousands of dollars stockpiling gear and weapons, including an AR-15 rifle, night vision goggles and ammunition.
 

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Hillary-Trump presidential battle again in 2024?
Author of the article:
Postmedia News
Publishing date:
Jan 17, 2022 • 12 hours ago • 1 minute read •
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U.S. President Donald Trump (inset) and Hillary Clinton.
U.S. President Donald Trump (inset) and Hillary Clinton. Photo by Martin H. Simon - Pool/Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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U.S. Election Redux?
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There are rumblings of another Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump face off again in the 2024 federal election, according to the New York Post.

A former top adviser to former President Bill Clinton told WABC radio host John Catsimatidis on Sunday “there’s a good chance of it,” if other factors fall into place.

Dick Morris said if Democrats lose control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections, it’s all systems go for a second presidential bid by Hillary, who lost who lost the 2016 presidential election to Trump, with Bill as the head of her strategy.

“Hillary has set up a brilliant strategy that nobody else is able to do,” Morris told Catsimatidis.

“Knowing the people around her, I believe there is only one person capable of that level of thinking — and that’s her husband, Bill. The second the election is over … every Democrat is going to take a shot at (President Joe) Biden and (Vice-President Kamala) Harris. They will be D.O.A.”
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Morris added while no Democrats are publicly criticizing Biden, Clinton, a former secretary of state under Barack Obama, has been warning the party behind the scenes about becoming too cosy with progressive Democratic policies.

“She has set up a zero-sum game where the worse [Biden] does, the better she does, because she’s positioned herself as the Democratic alternative to Biden,” he said.

“Not just to Biden, but to the extreme left in the Democratic Party. The person who staked out the turf first and owns the turf in the Democratic Party is going to be Hillary. It’s a brilliant, brilliant strategy.”

While Trump has yet to announce his intentions for 2024, a recent Reuters/Ipsos survey showed 54% of Republicans chose him as a candidate with their second choice being Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with just 11% of support.
 

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Hillary-Trump presidential battle again in 2024?
Author of the article:
Postmedia News
Publishing date:
Jan 17, 2022 • 12 hours ago • 1 minute read •
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U.S. President Donald Trump (inset) and Hillary Clinton.
U.S. President Donald Trump (inset) and Hillary Clinton. Photo by Martin H. Simon - Pool/Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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U.S. Election Redux?
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There are rumblings of another Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump face off again in the 2024 federal election, according to the New York Post.

A former top adviser to former President Bill Clinton told WABC radio host John Catsimatidis on Sunday “there’s a good chance of it,” if other factors fall into place.

Dick Morris said if Democrats lose control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections, it’s all systems go for a second presidential bid by Hillary, who lost who lost the 2016 presidential election to Trump, with Bill as the head of her strategy.

“Hillary has set up a brilliant strategy that nobody else is able to do,” Morris told Catsimatidis.

“Knowing the people around her, I believe there is only one person capable of that level of thinking — and that’s her husband, Bill. The second the election is over … every Democrat is going to take a shot at (President Joe) Biden and (Vice-President Kamala) Harris. They will be D.O.A.”
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Morris added while no Democrats are publicly criticizing Biden, Clinton, a former secretary of state under Barack Obama, has been warning the party behind the scenes about becoming too cosy with progressive Democratic policies.

“She has set up a zero-sum game where the worse [Biden] does, the better she does, because she’s positioned herself as the Democratic alternative to Biden,” he said.

“Not just to Biden, but to the extreme left in the Democratic Party. The person who staked out the turf first and owns the turf in the Democratic Party is going to be Hillary. It’s a brilliant, brilliant strategy.”

While Trump has yet to announce his intentions for 2024, a recent Reuters/Ipsos survey showed 54% of Republicans chose him as a candidate with their second choice being Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with just 11% of support.
The media would like nothing more , watch this to be a common theme in the coming months . Yikes .
 

Tecumsehsbones

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Need some new blood all round...in both our countries.
One of the reasons I supported Pete Buttigieg. Don't know what I'll do in 2024.

Heck, don't know if I'll be here. Guess I'll see what's on offer before I worry about it.

"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
--Vincent Van Gogh

Nice ear, dude.
 

spaminator

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Trump campaign officials, including Giuliani, reportedly oversaw 2020 fake electors' plan

Author of the article:
Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:
Jan 20, 2022 • 9 hours ago • 1 minute read •
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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, then-personal attorney to U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks about the 2020 U.S. presidential election results during a news conference in Washington, U.S., November 19, 2020.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, then-personal attorney to U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks about the 2020 U.S. presidential election results during a news conference in Washington, U.S., November 19, 2020. Photo by Jonathan Ernst /REUTERS
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LOS ANGELES — Officials on Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, led by his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, oversaw efforts to put forward illegitimate electors from seven states that the former president lost, CNN reported on Thursday, citing three sources.
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There were multiple planning calls between campaign officials and Republican Party state operatives with Giuliani being involved in at least one call, one source said, in efforts to stop Joe Biden’s victory when Congress met on Jan 6, 2021.

Trump and officials are facing several probes after failing to accept the election result, which is decided by the electoral college, where each person’s ballot goes toward a statewide tally, requiring the votes of at least 270 electors for victory.

The former president’s campaign lined up supporters to fill elector slots, had rooms for fake electors to meet and circulated draft certificates, CNN reported.

Bob Costello, a lawyer for Giuliani, and Liz Harrington, a spokesperson for Trump, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
 

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Ex-Giuliani associate Fruman sentenced to one year in prison in campaign finance case

Author of the article:
Reuters
Reuters
Luc Cohen
Publishing date:
Jan 21, 2022 • 15 hours ago • 1 minute read •
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Businessman Igor Fruman leaves after his arraignment at the United States Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., October 23, 2019.
Businessman Igor Fruman leaves after his arraignment at the United States Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., October 23, 2019. Photo by Jefferson Siegel /REUTERS
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NEW YORK — Igor Fruman, who helped Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani collect damaging information about Joe Biden before he was elected president, was sentenced on Friday to one year in prison after pleading guilty to violating campaign finance law.
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Federal prosecutors in Manhattan had recommended that Fruman, 55, spend 37 to 46 months in prison, mirroring recommended federal sentencing guidelines.

Fruman had sought no time behind bars, saying he had already accepted responsibility and spent more than two years in home confinement since his October 2019 arrest.

The government originally charged the Belarus-born Fruman and another former Giuliani associate, Ukraine-born Lev Parnas, with concealing an illegal $325,000 donation to support Trump’s 2020 failed bid to be re-elected U.S. president.

Fruman’s plea related to an effort to obtain legal, recreational marijuana distribution licenses by donating to candidates in U.S. states where he sought to do business.
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In his allocution last year, Fruman said he understood that foreign nationals could not contribute to U.S. political campaigns, but nonetheless sent a list of officials to whom he planned to donate to a foreign national backing the cannabis venture.

Prosecutors identified the foreign national as Andrey Muraviev, a Moscow-based businessman.

Muraviev’s identity became known during the October trial of Parnas, which ended with his conviction for violating campaign finance laws related to the marijuana licenses and the donation supporting Trump.

No sentencing date has been set for Parnas. Fruman did not enter a cooperation deal with prosecutors in agreeing to plead guilty.

Before the charges against Fruman and Parnas were brought, Giuliani had enlisted the pair to help uncover dirt on Biden and Biden’s son Hunter during Trump’s re-election bid.

Giuliani has not been charged and denies wrongdoing.
 

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Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks about the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, during an appearance on the John Catsimatidis radio show in New York City, on Sept. 10, 2021.
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks about the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, during an appearance on the John Catsimatidis radio show in New York City, on Sept. 10, 2021. PHOTO BY BRENDAN MCDERMID /REUTERS
‘AMERICA’S MAYOR’ SELLING 9/11 SHIRTS FOR $911

Rudy Giuliani is known for being “America’s Mayor,” after the 9/11 terror attacks.

It looks like the former New York City mayor and Donald Trump lawyer is exploiting the 2001 tragedy by selling 9/11 T-shirts for $911, according to U.S. political news site Hill Reporter .

Giuliani is also a radio personality with a show on WABC . The radio station is selling the autographed 9/11 shirts — which are available in patriotic colours of red, white and blue — with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the WABC Radio Foundation, a non-profit run by the station.

The Hill Reporter speculated that some of the funds from shirt sales will go towards Giuliani’s legal fund as it’s likely Trump won’t pay the ex-mayor for representing him in several cases.

CNN commentator John Avon discussed the shirt sales recently, stating it’s “total disrespect for the dead” and a “departure and a further descent for Rudy from principles he once would have held.”
 

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Some Republicans warn Trump's latest Jan. 6 speech shows he would 'do it all again'
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
David Morgan
Publishing date:Jan 31, 2022 • 18 hours ago • 2 minute read • 18 Comments
Former President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a rally, in Conroe, Texas, January 29, 2022.
Former President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a rally, in Conroe, Texas, January 29, 2022. PHOTO BY GO NAKAMURA /REUTERS
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WASHINGTON — A handful of Republicans pushed back against former President Donald Trump’s weekend offer to consider pardoning people convicted of joining the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, saying it showed he would “do it all again” if he regains the White House in 2024.

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“Trump uses language he knows caused the Jan. 6 violence; suggests he’d pardon the Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy; threatens prosecutors; and admits he was attempting to overturn the election,” U.S. Representative Liz Cheney posted on Twitter on Monday. “He’d do it all again if given the chance.”

Cheney is one of just two Republicans taking part in the U.S House of Representatives’ official investigation of Jan. 6.

Cheney and a few other Republicans spoke out after a weekend in which former President Trump at a Saturday rally in Conroe, Texas, offered to consider pardoning people convicted of joining the attack if elected to a second term in 2024 and called for protests against prosecutors in New York and Georgia investigating him and his company.

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He followed up Sunday evening with a statement repeating his false claims that his vice president, Mike Pence, “could have overturned the election” that Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

He also lambasted a bipartisan effort led by Republican Senator Susan Collins to reform the federal law that allows Congress members to dispute presidential election results.

Representative Adam Kinzinger, the other Republican on the Jan. 6 committee, wrote on Twitter late on Sunday that it was “time for every Republican leader to pick a side … Trump or the Constitution, there is no middle on defending our nation anymore.”

Trump’s comments on targeting prosecutors led Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating whether Trump tried to influence the state’s handling of the election, to ask the FBI for additional security for her office.

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She noted in a Sunday letter to the FBI’s Atlanta field office that her concerns were driven by Trump’s comments in Texas attacking “radical, vicious racist prosecutors” and encouraging protests in Washington, New York and Atlanta.

Trump was impeached in the House but acquitted in the Senate last year on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 attack, in which thousands of his supporters stormed the Capitol in the worst assault on Congress since the War of 1812. Cheney and Kinzinger voted for his impeachment, and Collins voted to convict him.

Fueled by Trump’s false claims that his November 2020 election defeat was the result of fraud, the attackers sought to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s victory and threatened to hang Pence for refusing to overturn the results. More than 700 people have been charged with joining in the assault.

Other Republicans on Sunday also rejected his remarks about pardons.

“The folks that were part of the riots and, frankly, the assault on the U.S. Capitol, have to be held accountable. There is a rule of law,” New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu told CNN.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally, voiced his own concerns about the potential for repeated violence.

“I don’t want to reinforce that defiling the Capitol was OK. I don’t want to do anything that would make this more likely in the future,” he told CBS.
 

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Georgia prosecutor seeks FBI protections after Trump remarks
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:Jan 31, 2022 • 14 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks at a news conference in Atlanta, Georgia, May 11, 2021.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks at a news conference in Atlanta, Georgia, May 11, 2021. PHOTO BY LINDA SO/FILE PHOTO /REUTERS
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WASHINGTON — A Georgia prosecutor who is conducting a criminal investigation of Donald Trump has asked the FBI for a risk assessment and security protections, citing the former president’s “alarming” rhetoric about prosecutors and the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

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Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating whether Trump tried to influence the state’s handling of the 2020 election, told the FBI’s Atlanta field office that her concerns were driven by Trump’s comments in Texas on Saturday, when he attacked “radical, vicious racist prosecutors” and encouraged protests in Washington, New York and Atlanta.

In a letter dated Sunday, Willis said her staff has already made security accommodations around the Fulton County courthouse and government offices.

“Security concerns were escalated this weekend by the rhetoric of former President Trump at a public event in Conroe, Texas,” she wrote, adding that the event was “undoubtedly watched by millions.”

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“This rhetoric is more alarming in light of his statements” concerning pardons for those convicted of crimes in last year’s deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Willis asked the FBI for an immediate risk assessment and protective resources including intelligence and federal agents.

She said it was important the resources were in place well before a special grand jury convenes in the case on May 2.

The FBI field office did not return a request for comment.

The investigation by Willis, a Democrat, is the most serious probe facing Trump in Georgia after he was recorded in a phone call pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the state’s election results based on unfounded claims of voter fraud.
 

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Republican Party censures Cheney, Kinzinger, calls Jan. 6 attack 'legitimate political discourse'
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:Feb 04, 2022 • 15 hours ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
In this file photo taken on Dec. 1, 2021, U.S. Republican Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger listen during a select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
In this file photo taken on Dec. 1, 2021, U.S. Republican Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger listen during a select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. PHOTO BY DREW ANGERER/POOL /AFP via Getty Images
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WASHINGTON — The Republican Party on Friday censured U.S. Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for joining Congress’ probe of then-President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, calling the Jan. 6 Capitol attack “legitimate political discourse.”

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Cheney and Kinzinger voted to impeach Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection after last year’s deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot and are the only Republicans taking part in the House of Representatives’ investigation of the attack.

The Republican National Committee on Friday passed a resolution rebuking Cheney and Kinzinger for their involvement on the Jan. 6 select committee, accusing them of “participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

The resolution passed on a voice vote as 168 members of the RNC gathered for their winter meeting in Salt Lake City. The yes votes were overwhelming, with a handful of nays, according to reporters at the meeting.

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It said their actions have damaged Republican efforts to win back majorities in Congress.

The measure said the RNC will “immediately cease any and all support of them” as party members, but stops short of calling for their ouster from the party, as initially proposed. The committee uses some of its funds to help support Republican candidates in their campaigns.

Trump, who retains a strong grip over his party as Nov. 8 midterm congressional elections draw closer, has been on the warpath against Republicans who have taken a stand against him. Republicans are trying to take control of both the House and the Senate from President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats.

‘PERSONS OF CONSCIENCE’

Both lawmakers issued statements in anticipation of Friday’s vote.

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“The leaders of the Republican Party have made themselves willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to overturn a presidential election and suggests he would pardon Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy,” Cheney said, referring to the hundreds of Trump supporters accused of various crimes in the violent attack.


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Four people died on Jan. 6, and a Capitol Police officer died the next day. About 140 police officers were injured, and four later died by suicide.

Cheney said she does not recognize those in her party who “abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump, who has endorsed her challenger in the Wyoming Republican primary.

Kinzinger, who is not seeking re-election, said he has been a conservative Republican since before Trump entered politics. He vowed to continue “working to fight the political matrix that’s led us to this point.”


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Not all Republicans are lining up against the two.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney praised Cheney and Kinzinger as honorable in a Twitter post on Friday. “Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol,” he wrote.


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At least 71 Republican members of Congress transferred money last year to the campaigns of congressional Republicans, including Cheney’s, that supported booting Trump from office, a Reuters analysis found.

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy came to their defense late Thursday, writing on Twitter, “The RNC is censuring Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger because they are trying to find out what happened on January 6th – HUH?”


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House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy did not return a request for comment on the measure. House Republicans in May ejected Cheney from their leadership ranks as punishment for repudiating Trump’s false claims of a stolen election.
 

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Pence: Trump wrong that VP could have overturned 2020 election result
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Alexandra Ulmer
Publishing date:Feb 04, 2022 • 8 hours ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence officiates as a joint session of the House and Senate convenes to confirm the Electoral College votes cast in the 2020 election, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence officiates as a joint session of the House and Senate convenes to confirm the Electoral College votes cast in the 2020 election, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021. PHOTO BY SAUL LOEB / POOL /REUTERS / FILES
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In a sharp rebuke of his former boss, former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday that Donald Trump was wrong to believe Pence had the power to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election that Trump has falsely claimed was stolen from him.

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After losing his re-election campaign to Democrat Joe Biden in November 2020, the Republican Trump in a bid to stay in office pressured Pence to block congressional certification of the results while presiding over the proceedings on Jan. 6, 2021.

Pence, a loyal lieutenant during the four years of Trump’s tumultuous presidency, opted not to block certification.

Trump has often disparaged Pence since then, and on Sunday issued a fresh statement saying the former vice president could have “overturned” the election.

“President Trump is wrong,” Pence said in a speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. “I had no right to overturn the election.”

“The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone. And frankly there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president,” Pence added.

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Pence’s comments represented his most forceful criticism of Trump to date. A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I understand the disappointment many feel about the last election. I was on the ballot,” Pence said. “Whatever the future holds, I know we did our duty that day. John Quincy Adams reminds us: Duty is ours; results are God’s,” Pence added, quoting a 19th century U.S. president.

“And the truth is there’s more at stake than our party or political fortunes. Men and women: if we lose faith in the Constitution, we won’t just lose elections, we’ll lose our country,” Pence added.

Trump issued a statement later on Friday disagreeing with Pence.

“I was right and everyone knows it. If there is fraud or large scale irregularities, it would have been appropriate to send those votes back to the legislatures to figure it out,” the former president said.

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‘DARK DAY’

While Pence was presiding over the certification, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a failed bid to stop the certification. Pence and U.S. lawmakers inside the Capitol fled from the rioters.

In his speech on Friday, Pence called Jan. 6 a “dark day.”

His comments stand in contrast to the Republican Party, which on Friday censured Republican U.S. Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for joining a House of Representatives select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. The party said the Democrat-led inquiry was persecuting “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

Some Republicans aligned with Trump have made the false election claims a key part of their campaigns heading into the November 2022 midterm elections in which the party is seeking to win back control of Congress from the Democrats. Around 55% of Republicans nationally think the 2020 election was stolen, according to Reuters/Ipsos polls.

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Trump, who continues to have a strong grip over the party more than a year after he left office, has hinted he could run for president again in 2024.

At a rally in Texas on Saturday, he said that if he were to win in 2024, he would pardon people charged with criminal offenses in connection with the Jan. 6 riot.

In a speech moments before the Jan. 6 attack, Trump repeated his false claims that the election was stolen through widespread voting fraud. Trump called upon Pence to “do the right thing” and block certification of the election results, while urging his supporters to go to the Capitol to “stop the steal.”

Later, some of the rioters at the Capitol chanted “Hang Mike Pence” and some set up a makeshift gallows.

Olivia Troye, a former national security aide to Pence who has become a Trump critic, said it was the first time she had heard her former boss publicly say Trump was wrong.

“It’s a start,” Troye wrote on Twitter.
 

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'Snake oil salesmen' advised Trump on 2020 election, Pence aide says
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Sarah N. Lynch
Publishing date:Feb 06, 2022 • 13 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
In this file photo taken Nov. 19, 2020, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the James S. Brady Briefing Room of the White House, in Washington, D.C.
In this file photo taken Nov. 19, 2020, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the James S. Brady Briefing Room of the White House, in Washington, D.C. PHOTO BY BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI /AFP via Getty Images / Files
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WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump received bad advice from “snake oil salesmen” who falsely told him Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short said.

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“Unfortunately, the president had many bad advisers who were basically snake oil salesman giving him really random and novel ideas as to what the vice president could do,” Short said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Short’s comments came two days after Pence rebuked Trump in a speech to the conservative Federalist Society, saying Trump was wrong to suggest the vice president has the power to overturn an election.

“I believe that Joe Biden is the duly elected President of the United States,” Short said on Sunday. “The reality is that there was not enough significant fraud that was presented that would have overturned any of those states’ elections.”

Short, who was with Pence on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a failed bid to overturn the election results, recently appeared before the House Select Committee investigating the siege to answer questions.

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During the attack, some of the rioters shouted “Hang Mike Pence!” and one now-convicted Trump supporter known as the “QAnon Shaman” left the vice president a note that read: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

Last week, the National Archives announced it would be turning over Pence’s records to the panel, after Trump lost a legal bid to block the committee from seeing them.

Short did not discuss the details of his testimony on Sunday, saying only that he was complying with a subpoena.

However, he cast doubt on whether Pence would ever appear before the committee to testify, telling NBC “that would be a pretty unprecedented step.”

“I think it is very different to subpoena a former vice president to talk about private conversations he had with the president,” Short said. “It’s never happened before.”

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The committee is investigating whether any of Trump’s inner circle helped plan the attack on the Capitol. It is also scrutinizing what steps Trump took to keep himself in power.

Last week, new details emerged in media reports suggesting Trump was actively exploring whether the U.S. government had the power to seize voting machines.

Reuters has confirmed that in one meeting with former Attorney General William Barr in late November 2020, Trump broached the topic, telling Barr his legal team told him the Justice Department was sitting on its hands when it could be seizing voting machines, according to one person familiar with the matter.

Barr immediately shut the idea down, saying the department had no such power, the person added.

Short, speaking on NBC on Sunday, said he had not personally heard that Trump was interested in seizing voting machines.
 

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Trump backers seize on GoFundMe controversy as truckers linger in U.S. headlines
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
James McCarten
Publishing date:Feb 07, 2022 • 8 hours ago • 4 minute read • 75 Comments
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a press conference at the Miami Dade College's North Campus on January 26, 2022 in Miami, Florida.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a press conference at the Miami Dade College's North Campus on January 26, 2022 in Miami, Florida. PHOTO BY JOE RAEDLE /Getty Images
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WASHINGTON — An outsized American display of financial largesse, political support and right-wing media sympathy for ongoing trucker protests in Canada have observers in both countries accusing some in the U.S. of fanning the flames for their own partisan gain.

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For more than a week, viewers of Trump-friendly platforms like Fox News, Newsmax and One America News have been getting something exceedingly rare in the U.S. media landscape: regular doses of Canadian coverage.

And prominent Republican lawmakers like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz spent the weekend seizing on last week’s controversy over the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to keep the story alive.

DeSantis and Cruz both want GoFundMe investigated after it froze roughly $9 million in donations earmarked for the ongoing Ottawa protest, then announced Friday it would issue refunds upon request or distribute the money to charities chosen by the protest organizers.

The company reversed course within hours “due to donor feedback,” promising automatic refunds. But attorneys general in Florida, Texas, West Virginia and Louisiana — Republicans all — nonetheless urged donors to come forward in the name of launching investigations.

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For Bruce Heyman, a former U.S. ambassador to Canada under Barack Obama, it all smacks of foreign interference, and he believes Trump is at its centre.

“I do not believe that Americans should fund disruptive activities in Canada. Ever. Full stop,” Heyman said in an interview Monday.

“What we’re seeing through (the) former president, for his disciples, for people who have positioned themselves in the extreme right wing of the Republican Party — if we call it that today — all of them have now jumped on and (are) somehow using Canada as a cause to galvanize support amongst their followers.”

For his part, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino wanted nothing to do with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who vowed on Twitter to examine GoFundMe for diverting funds away from a “worthy cause.”

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“It is certainly not the concern of the Texas attorney general about how we in Canada go about our daily lives in accordance with the rule of law,” Mendicino said. “We are Canadian, we have our own set of laws, and we will follow them.”

Added Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair: “We’re all entitled to an opinion, and in my opinion, (Paxton is) wrong.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked Monday whether the Biden administration is concerned about conservative movements in the U.S. trying to exert influence north of the border.

Psaki had some talking points ready, but they were focused on the potential impact of the protests on security at the Canada-U.S. border and on supply chains that are already creaking under the weight of COVID-19.

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“In terms of an assessment of any other engagement from here, we don’t really have any update on that or investigations to read out at this point in time.”

Brett Bruen, a former diplomat and White House adviser who now works as a consultant in Washington, said it will be difficult to parse the movement’s authentic grassroots elements from any political jerry-rigging.

“An element is likely organic, but then it gets exploited by other interests — including by foreign interests — who want to sow further division in Canadian society, but also seek to maximize the benefit for their own political purposes at home,” Bruen said.

“I think there has to be a close review of some of the laws and regulations that govern what can be funded, what can be done in co-ordination with foreign political interests.”

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Heyman said the last thing he wants to do is tell the federal government in Ottawa how to deal with the situation, but he urged Canadians to band together to fight the hate that has been on display in the national capital.

Swastikas, Confederate flags and even the yellow Star of David symbol the Nazis used to identify Jews during the Second World War have all been features of the protest, which has entered its second week.

“The symbolism of all of this is real, and it is hateful,” Heyman said. “We’re seeing this going on not just in Canada and the U.S. but around the world. And this is like a virus in and of itself — a virus of hate.”

On Saturday, a group of young white men wearing red baseball caps with the slogan “Canada First,” evoking Trump’s signature look and slogan, traded insults with counter-protesters at Ottawa City Hall.

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One of them identified the group as “Groypers,” an extreme-right nationalist movement bent on pushing their views on mainstream conservative politics in the U.S. and around the world.

“The Groypers will take back Canada for the Canadian people,” said one, who derided the counter-protesters as “globalists” before police intervened.

The space vacated by GoFundMe was quickly filled by an alternative service, GiveSendGo, which bills itself as a free “Christian crowdfunding” site. That “freedom convoy” campaign, which has a stated goal of US$16 million, had already raised more than $5 million by late afternoon Monday.

Most of the donors were anonymous, with typical contributions between $20 and several hundred dollars. Many left comments that suggested they were contributing either from inside the U.S. or from further abroad.

“Thank you Canada for showing the western world what matters,” said one. “Many of us in the States are with you,” read another.

Neither crowdfunding site responded to media queries Monday about where the bulk of the money was coming from. But in the case of GiveSendGo, not all of the donations were foreign, nor were they modest sums.

The largest, registered on the weekend, was for $215,000, followed by four $20,000 contributions. A gun range in Langley, B.C., offered up $18,000, while an auction house in Chilliwack, B.C., contributed $5,000.

— With files from Mike Blanchfield in Ottawa
 

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Podcaster Joe Rogan gets $100M offer from Trump-affiliated site Rumble
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:Feb 07, 2022 • 13 hours ago • 1 minute read • 50 Comments
Joe Rogan introduces fighters during the UFC 269 ceremonial weigh-in at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Dec. 10, 2021.
Joe Rogan introduces fighters during the UFC 269 ceremonial weigh-in at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Dec. 10, 2021. PHOTO BY CARMEN MANDATO /Getty Images / Files
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Rumble Inc, a YouTube-style website popular among U.S. conservatives, has offered Joe Rogan $100 million over four years for all his shows, days after the podcaster apologized for using racial slurs in his content.

Rogan is also facing backlash for COVID-19 misinformation in his program hosted on Spotify, after singer-songwriters including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their content from the streaming platform.

The incidents prompted Spotify to add a “content advisory” to any episode featuring discussion of COVID-19 as scientists and medical professionals urged the platform to prevent Rogan from spreading falsehoods.

“Dear Joe, we stand with you, your guests and your legion of fans in desire for real conversation,” Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski said in an email to Rogan posted on Rumble’s twitter page on Monday.

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“How about you bring all your shows to Rumble, both old and new, with no censorship, for 100 million bucks over four years?”

Rogan did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

His show, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” has become one of the most popular podcasts on Spotify after the streaming platform started featuring it in 2020. The Wall Street Journal had then reported that Spotify’s exclusive licensing deal for the show was worth more than $100 million.

Shares of CF Acquisition VI, the SPAC that has agreed to take Rumble public, surged more than 18% on the news. The deal, announced in December, had valued Rumble at $2.1 billion.

Launched in 2013, Canada-based Rumble has also entered an agreement to deliver video and streaming for Truth Social, former U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed social media app.