Donald Trump Announces 2016 White House Bid

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Trump tried to 'corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Michael R. Sisak, Jennifer Peltz, Eric Tucker and Jake Offenhartz
Published Apr 22, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 6 minute read

NEW YORK — Donald Trump tried to illegally influence the 2016 presidential election by preventing damaging stories about his personal life from becoming public, a prosecutor told jurors Monday at the start of the former president’s historic hush money trial.


“This was a planned, long-running conspiracy to influence the 2016 election, to help Donald Trump get elected through illegal expenditures to silence people who had something bad to say about his behaviour,” prosecutor Matthew Colangelo said. “It was election fraud, pure and simple.”


A defence lawyer countered by attacking the integrity of the onetime Trump confidant who’s now the government’s star witness.

“President Trump is innocent. President Trump did not commit any crimes. The Manhattan district attorney’s office should never have brought this case,” attorney Todd Blanche said.

The opening statements offered the 12-person jury — and the voting public — radically divergent roadmaps for a case that will unfold against the backdrop of a closely contested White House race in which Trump is not only the presumptive Republican nominee but also a criminal defendant facing the prospect of a felony conviction and prison.


It is the first criminal trial of a former American president and the first of four prosecutions of Trump to reach a jury. Befitting that history, prosecutors sought from the outset to elevate the gravity of the case, which they said was chiefly about election interference as reflected by the hush money payments to a porn actor who said she had a sexual encounter with Trump.

“The defendant, Donald Trump, orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election. Then he covered up that criminal conspiracy by lying in his New York business records over and over and over again,” Colangelo said.

The trial, which could last up to two months, will require Trump to spend his days in a courtroom rather than on the campaign trail, a reality he complained about Monday when he lamented to reporters after leaving the courtroom: “I’m the leading candidate … and this is what they’re trying to take me off the trail for. Checks being paid to a lawyer.”


Trump has nonetheless sought to turn his criminal defendant status into an asset for his campaign, fundraising off his legal jeopardy and repeatedly railing against a justice system that he has for years claimed is weaponized against him. In the weeks ahead, the case will test the jury’s ability to judge him impartially but also Trump’s ability to comply with courtroom protocol, including a gag order barring him from attacking witnesses.

Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records — a charge punishable by up to four years in prison — though it’s not clear if the judge would seek to put him behind bars. A conviction would not preclude Trump from becoming president again, but because it is a state case, he would not be able to pardon himself if found guilty. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.


The case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg revisits a years-old chapter from Trump’s biography when his celebrity past collided with his political ambitions and, prosecutors say, he scrambled to stifle stories that he feared could torpedo his campaign.

The opening statements served as an introduction to the colorful cast of characters that feature prominently in that tawdry saga, including Stormy Daniels, the porn actor who says she received the hush money; Michael Cohen, the lawyer who prosecutors say paid her; and David Pecker, the tabloid publisher who agreed to function as the campaign’s “eyes and ears” and who served as the prosecution’s first witness on Monday.

Pecker is due back on the stand Tuesday, when the court will also hear arguments on whether Trump violated Judge Juan Merchan’s gag order with a series of Truth Social posts about witnesses over the last week.


In his opening statement, Colangelo outlined a comprehensive effort by Trump his allies to prevent three separate stories — two from women alleging prior sexual encounters — from surfacing during the 2016 presidential campaign. That undertaking was especially urgent following the emergence late in the race of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording in which Trump could be heard boasting about grabbing women sexually without their permission.

“The impact of that tape on the campaign was immediate and explosive,” Colangelo said.

Within days of the “Access Hollywood” tape becoming public, Colangelo told jurors that The National Enquirer alerted Cohen that Stormy Daniels was agitating to go public with her claims of a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.


“At Trump’s direction, Cohen negotiated a deal to buy Ms. Daniels’ story to prevent American voters from hearing that story before Election Day,” Colangelo told jurors.

But, the prosecutor noted, “Neither Trump nor the Trump Organization could just write a check to Cohen with a memo line that said ‘reimbursement for porn star payoff.”’ So, he added, “they agreed to cook the books and make it look like the payment was actually income, payment for services rendered.”

Those alleged falsified records form the backbone of the 34-count indictment against Trump.

Blanche, the defence lawyer, sought to preemptively undermine the credibility of Cohen, who pleaded guilty to federal charges related to his role in the hush money scheme, as someone with an “obsession” with Trump who cannot be trusted. He said Trump had done nothing illegal when his company recorded the checks to Cohen as legal expenses and that it was not against the law for a candidate to try to influence an election.


Trump has denied having a sexual encounter with Daniels.

Blanche challenged the notion that Trump agreed to the Daniels payout to safeguard his campaign. Instead, he characterized the transaction as an attempt to squelch a “sinister” effort to embarrass Trump and his loved ones.

“President Trump fought back, like he always does, and like he’s entitled to do, to protect his family, his reputation and his brand, and that is not a crime,” Blanche told jurors.

The efforts to suppress the stories are what’s known in the tabloid industry as “catch-and-kill” — catching a potentially damaging story by buying the rights to it and then killing it through agreements that prevent the paid person from telling the story to anyone else.


Besides the payment to Daniels, Colangelo also described arrangements to pay a former Playboy model $150,000 to suppress claims of a nearly yearlong affair with the married Trump. Colangelo said Trump “desperately did not want this information about Karen McDougal to become public because he was worried about its effect on the election.”

He said jurors would hear a recording Cohen made in September 2016 of himself briefing Trump on the plan to buy McDougal’s story. The recording was made public in July 2018. Colangelo told jurors they will hear Trump in his own voice saying: “What do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?”

The first and only witness Monday was Pecker, the then-publisher of the National Enquirer and a longtime Trump friend who prosecutors say met with Trump and Cohen at Trump Tower in August 2015 and agreed to help Trump’s campaign identify negative stories about him.

Pecker described the tabloid’s use of “checkbook journalism,” a practice that entails paying a source for a story.

“I gave a number to the editors that they could not spend more than $10,000” on a story without getting his approval, Pecker said Tuesday.

The New York case has taken on added importance because it may be the only one of the four against Trump to reach trial before the November election. Appeals and legal wrangling have delayed the other three cases.

— Tucker reported from Washington.
 

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Key takeaways from opening statements in Donald Trump’s hush money trial
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Alanna Durkin Richer, Jennifer Petlz And Michael R. Sisak
Published Apr 22, 2024 • 6 minute read

NEW YORK — Monday’s opening statements in the first criminal trial of a former American president provided a clear roadmap of how prosecutors will try to make the case that Donald Trump broke the law, and how the defence plans to fight the charges on multiple fronts.


Lawyers presented dueling narratives as jurors got their first glimpse into the prosecution accusing Trump of falsifying business records as part of a scheme to squelch negative stories about him during his 2016 presidential campaign.


Still to come are weeks of what’s likely to be dramatic and embarrassing testimony about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s personal life as he simultaneously campaigns to return to the White House in November.

Here’s a look at some key takeaways from opening statements:

ELECTION FRAUD VS. ‘BOOKKEEPING’ CASE
Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying internal Trump Organization business records. But prosecutors made clear they do not want jurors to view this as a routine paper case. Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo repeatedly told jurors that that at the heart of the case is a scheme to “corrupt” the 2016 election by silencing women who were about to come forward with embarrassing stories he feared would hurt his campaign.


“No politician wants bad press,” Colangelo said. “But the evidence at trial will show that this was not spin or communications strategy. This was a planned, long-running conspiracy to influence the 2016 election, to help Donald Trump get elected through illegal expenditures to silence people who had something bad to say about his behavior.” He added: “It was election fraud, pure and simple.”

The business records charges stem from things like invoices and checks that were deemed legal expenses in Trump Organization records when prosecutors say they were really reimbursements to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen for a $130,000 hush money payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels. Daniels was threatening to go public with claims she had an extramarital sexual encounter with Trump. He says it never happened.


Prosecutors’ characterizations appear designed to combat suggestions by some pundits that the case — perhaps the only one that will go to trial before the November election — isn’t as serious as the other three prosecutions he’s facing. Those cases accuse Trump of trying to overturn the 2020 election he lost to President Joe Biden and illegally retaining classified documents after he left the White House.

Trump, meanwhile, sought to downplay the accusations while leaving the courtroom on Monday, calling it all a “bookkeeping” case and “a very minor thing.”

TRUMP’S DEFENCE COMES INTO VIEW
Trump’s attorney used his opening statement to attack the case as baseless, saying the former president did nothing illegal.


The attorney, Todd Blanche, challenged prosecutors’ claim that Trump agreed to pay Daniels to aid his campaign, saying Trump was trying to “protect his family, his reputation and his brand.”

Blanche indicated the defense will argue that after all the very point of a presidential campaign is to try to influence an election.

“It’s called democracy,” Blanche told jurors. “They put something sinister on this idea, as if it’s a crime. You’ll learn it’s not.”

Blanche also portrayed the ledger entries at issue in the case as pro forma actions performed by a Trump Organization employee. Trump “had nothing to do with” the allegedly false business records, “except that he signed the checks, in the White House, while he was running the country,” Blanche said.


PROSECUTORS AIM TO PUT TRUMP AT THE CENTRE
The 34 counts in the indictment are related to the payment to Daniels. But prosecutors plan to introduce evidence about a payoff to another woman — former Playboy model Karen McDougal — who claimed a sexual encounter with Trump, as well as to a Trump Tower doorman who claimed to have a story about Trump having a child out of wedlock. Trump says they were all lies.

Prosecutors said they will show Trump was at the center of the scheme to silence the women, telling jurors they will hear Trump in his voice talking about the plan to pay McDougal. Cohen arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer supermarket tabloid to pay McDougal $150,000 but not print the story in a practice known as “catch-and-kill.”


Colangelo told jurors prosecutors will play for them a recording Cohen secretly made during a meeting with Trump weeks before the 2016 election. In the recording, which first became public in 2018, Trump is heard saying: “What do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?”

Trump “desperately did not want this information about Karen McDougal to become public because he was worried about its effect on the election,” Colangelo said.

COHEN’S CREDIBILITY IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Trump’s opening statement previewed what will be a key strategy of the defense: trying to discredit Cohen, a Trump loyalist turned critic and expected star witness for the prosecution. Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the hush money payments in 2018 and and served prison time.


Whether jurors believe Cohen, who says he arranged the payments to the women at Trump’s direction, could make or break the case for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office.

Trump’s lawyer highlighted Cohen’s criminal record, describing him as a serial liar who turned against Trump after he was not given a job in the administration after Trump’s 2016 victory and found himself in legal trouble. Blanche said Cohen’s “entire financial livelihood depends on President Trump’s destruction,” noting he hosts podcasts and has written books bashing his ex-boss.

“He has a goal and an obsession with getting Trump,” Blanche said. “I submit to you that he cannot be trusted.”

Anticipating the defense attacks on Cohen, the prosecution promised to be upfront about the “mistakes” the former Trump attorney has made. But Colangelo said “you can credit Michael Cohen’s testimony” despite his past.


“I suspect the defense will go to great lengths to get you to reject his testimony precisely because it is so damning,” the prosecutor said.

BUT UP FIRST: DAVID PECKER
Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker is the first witness for prosecutors, who say that Trump’s alleged scheme to conceal potentially damaging information from voters began with a 2015 Trump Tower meeting among the then-candidate, Pecker and Cohen. Pecker took the witness stand Monday before court broke for the day and his testimony is expected to continue Tuesday.

At the meeting, Pecker — a longtime Trump friend — agreed to aid Trump’s campaign by running favorable pieces about him, smearing his opponents, scouting unflattering stories about him and flagging them to Cohen for “catch-and-kill” deals. Those included the claims made by Daniels, McDougal and the former Trump Tower doorman, Dino Sajudin, prosecutors say. Trump says all were false.


Pecker will likely be asked about all the alleged efforts made by the Enquirer’s then-owner, American Media Inc., on Trump’s behalf. Federal prosecutors agreed in 2018 not to prosecute American Media in exchange for its cooperation in a campaign finance investigation that led to Cohen’s guilty plea, and the Federal Election Commission fined the company $187,500, calling the McDougal deal a “prohibited corporate in-kind contribution.”

Pecker’s brief turn on the stand Monday was mainly just about his background and other basic facts, though he did say the Enquirer practiced “checkbook journalism” — paying for stories — and that he had the final say on any story about a famous person.

‘THE DEFENDANT’ OR ‘PRESIDENT TRUMP’?

The prosecutor referred to Trump throughout his opening statement as “the defendant.” Trump’s lawyer took a different tack, calling him “President Trump.”

“We will call him President Trump, out of respect for the office that he held,” Blanche said. At the same time, Trump’s lawyer sought to portray Trump as an everyman, describing him as a husband, father and fellow New Yorker.

“He’s, in some ways, larger than life. But he’s also here in this courtroom, doing what any of us would do: defending himself,” Blanche said.

Trump sat quietly while listening to opening statements, occasionally passing notes to his lawyers and whispering in their ears. But outside of the courtroom, he continued his pattern of trying to capitalize politically on the case that will require him to spend his days in a courtroom rather than on the campaign trail.

“This is what they’re trying to take me off the trail for. Checks being paid to a lawyer,” Trump said.
 

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Tabloid publisher says he pledged to be Trump campaign’s ’eyes and ears’ during 2016 race
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Michael R. Sisak, Jennifer Peltz, Eric Tucker And Jake Offenhartz
Published Apr 23, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 6 minute read

NEW YORK — A veteran tabloid publisher testified Tuesday that he pledged to be Donald Trump ’s “eyes and ears” during his 2016 presidential campaign, recounting how he promised the then-candidate that he would help suppress harmful stories and even arranged to purchase a doorman’s silence.


The testimony from David Pecker was designed to bolster prosecutors’ assertions of a decades-long friendship between Trump and the former publisher of the National Enquirer that culminated in an agreement to give the candidate’s lawyer a heads-up on negative tips and stories so they could be quashed.


Pecker is the first witness in Trump’s history-making hush money trial in Manhattan, where he faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with payments meant to prevent harmful stories from surfacing during the final days of the 2016 campaign.

The effort to suppress unflattering information was designed to illegally influence the election, prosecutors have alleged in seeking to elevate the gravity of the first trial of a former American president and the first of four criminal cases against Trump to reach a jury.


With Trump sitting just feet away in the courtroom, Pecker detailed his intimate, behind-the-scenes involvement in Trump’s rise from political novice to the Republican nomination and then the White House. He explained how he and the National Enquirer parlayed rumor-mongering into splashy tabloid stories that smeared Trump’s opponents and, just as crucially, leveraged his connections to suppress seamy stories about Trump, including a porn actor’s claim of an extramarital sexual encounter a decade earlier.

Pecker traced the origins of their relationship to a 1980s meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and said the friendship bloomed alongside the success of the real estate developer’s TV show “The Apprentice” and the program’s subsequent celebrity version.


Their ties were solidified during a pivotal August 2015 meeting at Trump Tower involving Trump, his lawyer and personal fixer Michael Cohen, and another aide, Hope Hicks, in which Pecker was asked what he and the magazines he led could do for the campaign.

Pecker said he volunteered to publish positive stories about Trump and negative stories about his opponents. But that wasn’t all, he said, telling jurors how he told Trump: “I will be your eyes and ears.”

“I said that anything I hear in the marketplace, if I hear anything negative about yourself, or if I hear about women selling stories, I would notify Michael Cohen,” so that the rights could be purchased and the stories could be killed.

“So they would not get published?” asked prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked.


“So they would not get published,” Pecker replied.

To illustrate their point, prosecutors displayed for the court a screenshot of various flattering headlines the National Enquirer published about Trump, including: “Donald Dominates!’ and “World Exclusive: The Donald Trump Nobody Knows.” The jury was also shown disparaging and outlandish stories about Trump’s opponents in the race, including the surgeon Ben Carson and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Pecker painted Cohen as a shadow editor of the National Enquirer’s pro-Trump coverage, directing the tabloid to go after whichever Republican candidates was gaining in momentum.

“I would receive a call from Michael Cohen, and he would direct me and direct Dylan Howard which candidate and which direction we should go,” Pecker said, referring to the tabloid’s then-editor.


Pecker said he underscored to Howard that the agreement he struck with the Trump operation was “highly, highly confidential.” He said he wanted the tabloid’s bureau chiefs to be on the lookout for any stories involving Trump and said he wanted them to verify the stories before alerting Cohen.

“I did not want anyone else to know this agreement I had and what I wanted to do,” the ex-publisher added.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges related to his role in the hush money payments. A onetime confidant of Trump’s, their relationship has deteriorated in spectacular fashion, with Cohen expected to be a star government witnesses and routinely posting profane broadsides against Trump on social media.

Trump’s lawyers are expected to make attacks on Cohen’s credibility a foundation of their defence, but in opening with Pecker, prosecutors hope to focus attention on a witness with a far less volatile backstory.


Pecker’s resumption of testimony Tuesday followed a hearing earlier in the day in which prosecutors urged Judge Juan Merchan to hold Trump in contempt and fine him $1,000 for each of 10 social media posts that they say violated an earlier gag order barring attacks on witnesses, jurors and others involved in the case.

Merchan did not immediately rule, but he seemed skeptical of a defence lawyer’s arguments that Trump was merely responding in his posts to others’ attacks and had been trying to comply with the order.

Pecker’s testimony began Monday after opening statements that offered the 12-person jury — and, just as important, the voting public — radically divergent roadmaps for a case that will unfold against the backdrop of a closely contested White House race in which Trump is not only the presumptive Republican nominee but also a criminal defendant facing the prospect of a felony conviction and prison.


Prosecutors allege that Trump sought to illegally influence the 2016 race through a practice known in the tabloid industry as “catch-and-kill” — catching a potentially damaging story by buying the rights to it and then killing it through agreements that prevent the paid person from telling the story to anyone else.

In this case, that included a $130,000 payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels to silence her claims of an extramarital sexual encounter that Trump denies.

Defence lawyers have said Trump is innocent and that Cohen cannot be trusted.

Prosecutors also described other arrangements, including one that paid a former Playboy model $150,000 to suppress claims of a nearly yearlong affair with the married Trump, which Trump also denies.


In another instance, Pecker recounted a $30,000 payment from the National Enquirer to a doorman for the rights to a rumor that Trump had fathered a child with an employee at Trump World Tower. The tabloid concluded the story was not true, and the woman and Trump have denied the allegations.

As Pecker described receiving the tip in court, Trump shook his head.

Pecker said upon hearing the rumor, he immediately called Cohen, who said it was “absolutely not true” but that he would look into whether the people involved had indeed worked for Trump’s company.

“I made the decision to purchase the story because of the potential embarrassment it had to the campaign and to Mr. Trump,” Pecker said.

In response to the prosecutor’s question about who he understood the boss to be, Pecker replied: “Donald Trump.”


Explaining why he decided to have the National Enquirer foot the bill, Pecker testified: “This was going to be a very big story. I believe it was important that this story be removed from the marketplace.”

If he published the story, Pecker said it would be “probably the biggest sale of the National Enquirer since the death of Elvis Presley.”

Trump’ s 34 felony counts of falsifying business records arise from reimbursements that prosecutors say Trump’s company made to Cohen over the hush money payments.

The charges punishable by up to four years in prison — though it’s unclear if Merchan would seek to put him behind bars. A conviction would not preclude Trump from becoming president again, but because it is a state case, he would not be able to pardon himself if found guilty. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

— Tucker reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in New York contributed to this report.
 

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What to know in the Supreme Court case about immunity for former president Trump
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Mark Sherman
Published Apr 23, 2024 • 5 minute read

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has scheduled a special session to hear arguments over whether former president Donald Trump can be prosecuted over his efforts to undo his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.


The case, to be argued Thursday, stems from Trump’s attempts to have charges against him dismissed. Lower courts have found he cannot claim for actions that, prosecutors say, illegally sought to interfere with the election results.

The Republican ex-president has been charged in federal court in Washington with conspiring to overturn the 2020 election, one of four criminal cases he is facing. A trial has begun in New York over hush money payments to a porn star to cover up an alleged sexual encounter.

The Supreme Court is moving faster than usual in taking up the case, though not as quickly as special counsel Jack Smith wanted, raising questions about whether there will be time to hold a trial before the November election, if the justices agree with lower courts that Trump can be prosecuted.


The justices ruled earlier this term in another case that arose from Trump’s actions following the election, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The court unanimously held that states could not invoke a provision of the 14th Amendment known as the insurrection clause to prevent Trump from appearing on presidential ballots.

Here are some things to know:

WHAT’S THE ISSUE?
When the justices agreed on Feb. 28 to hear the case, they put the issue this way: “Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.”

That’s a question the Supreme Court has never had to answer. Never before has a former president faced criminal charges so the court hasn’t had occasion to take up the question of whether the president’s unique role means he should be shielded from prosecution, even after he has left office.


Both sides point to the absence of previous prosecutions to undergird their arguments. Trump’s lawyers told the court that presidents would lose their independence and be unable to function in office if they knew their actions in office could lead to criminal charges once their terms were over. Smith’s team wrote that the lack of previous criminal charges “underscores the unprecedented nature” of what Trump is accused of.

NIXON’S GHOST
Richard Nixon resigned the presidency in disgrace nearly 50 years ago rather than face impeachment by the House of Representatives and removal from office by the Senate in the Watergate scandal.

Both Trump’s lawyers and Smith’s team are invoking Nixon at the Supreme Court.

Trump’s team cites Nixon v. Fitzgerald, a 1982 case in which the Supreme Court held by a 5-4 vote that former presidents cannot be sued in civil cases for their actions while in office. The case grew out of the firing of a civilian Air Force analyst who testified before Congress about cost overruns in the production of the C-5A transport plane.


“In view of the special nature of the President’s constitutional office and functions, we think it appropriate to recognize absolute Presidential immunity from damages liability for acts within the ‘outer perimeter’ of his official responsibility,” Justice Lewis Powell wrote for the court.

But that decision recognized a difference between civil lawsuits and “the far weightier” enforcement of federal criminal laws, Smith’s team told the court. They also invoked the high court decision that forced Nixon to turn over incriminating White House tapes for use in the prosecutions of his top aides.

And prosecutors also pointed to President Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon, and Nixon’s acceptance of it, as resting “on the understanding that the former President faced potential criminal liability.”


TIMING IS EVERYTHING
The subtext of the immunity fight is about timing. Trump has sought to push back the trial until after the election, when, if he were to regain the presidency, he could order the Justice Department to drop the case. Prosecutors have been pressing for a quick decision from the Supreme Court so that the clock can restart on trial preparations. It could take three months once the court acts before a trial actually starts.

If the court hands down its decision in late June, which would be the typical timeframe for a case argued so late in the court’s term, there might not be enough time to start the trial before the election.

WHO ARE THE LAWYERS?
Trump is represented by D. John Sauer, a former Rhodes Scholar and Supreme Court clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia. While serving as Missouri’s solicitor general, Sauer won the only Supreme Court case he has argued until now, a 5-4 decision in an execution case. Sauer also filed legal briefs asking the Supreme Court to repudiate Biden’s victory in 2020.


In addition to working for Scalia early in his legal career, Sauer also served as a law clerk to Michael Luttig when he was a Republican-appointed judge on the Richmond, Virginia-based federal appeals court. Luttig joined with other former government officials on a brief urging the Supreme Court to allow the prosecution to proceed. Luttig also advised Vice President Mike Pence not to succumb to pressure from Trump to reject some electoral votes, part of Trump’s last-ditch plan to remain in office.

The justices are quite familiar with Sauer’s opponent, Michael Dreeben. As a longtime Justice Department official, Dreeben argued more than 100 cases at the court, many of them related to criminal law. Dreeben was part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and joined Smith’s team last year after a stint in private practice.


In Dreeben’s very first Supreme Court case 35 years ago, he faced off against Chief Justice John Roberts, then a lawyer in private practice.

FULL BENCH
Of the nine justices hearing the case, three were nominated by Trump — Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. But it’s the presence of a justice confirmed decades before Trump’s presidency, Justice Clarence Thomas, that’s generated the most controversy.

Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas, urged the reversal of the 2020 election results and then attended the rally that preceded the Capitol riot. That has prompted calls for the justice to step aside from several court cases involving Trump and Jan. 6.

But Thomas has ignored the calls, taking part in the unanimous court decision that found states cannot kick Trump off the ballot as well as last week’s arguments over whether prosecutors can use a particular obstruction charge against Capitol riot defendants. Trump faces the same charge in special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution in Washington.
 

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Supreme Court seems skeptical of Trump’s claim of absolute immunity but decision’s timing is unclear
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Mark Sherman
Published Apr 25, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 6 minute read

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday appeared likely to reject former President Donald Trump’s claim of absolute immunity from prosecution over election interference, but several justices signaled reservations about the charges that could cause a lengthy delay, possibly beyond November’s election.


A majority of the justices did not appear to embrace the claim of absolute immunity that would stop special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of Trump on charges he conspired to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. But in arguments lasting more than 2 1/2 hours in the court’s first consideration of criminal charges against a former president, several conservative justices indicated they could limit when former presidents might be prosecuted, suggesting that the case might have to be sent back to lower courts before any trial could begin.


Justice Samuel Alito said that “whatever we decide is going to apply to all future presidents.”

The timing of the Supreme Court’s decision could be as important as the outcome. Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee, has been pushing to delay the trial until after the election, and the later the justices issue their decision, the more likely he is to succeed. If Trump regains the presidency, he could order the Justice Department to dismiss the case or, as two justices suggested, pardon himself if convicted.


Since conservatives on the court gained a supermajority with the confirmation of three Trump appointees, they have cast aside decades-old precedent on abortion and affirmation action. Now Trump is asking them to rule that one of the fundamental tenets of the American system of government — that no person is above the law — should be rejected as well, at least as it applies to him.

The active questioning of all nine justices left the strong impression that the court was not headed for the sort of speedy, consensus decision that would allow a trial to begin quickly.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, two of Trump’s three high court appointees, and Alito said their concern was not the case against Trump, but rather the effect of their ruling on future presidencies.


Each time Justice Department lawyer Michael Dreeben sought to focus on Trump’s actions, these justices jumped in. “This case has huge implications for the presidency, for the future of the presidency, for the future of the country,” Kavanaugh said. The court is writing a decision “for the ages,” Gorsuch said.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the other Trump appointee, seemed less open to arguments advanced by Trump lawyer D. John Sauer, searching for a way a trial could take place.

Smith’s team is asking for a speedy resolution. The court typically issues its last opinions by the end of June, about four months before the election. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who would preside over the trial, said pre-trial issues could take up to three months.


The court has moved very quickly in prior cases involving presidential power, deciding the Watergate tapes case against President Richard Nixon just 16 days after arguments. Earlier this year, it took the justices less than a month to rule unanimously that states couldn’t kick Trump off the ballot.

Trump, the first former president charged with crimes, had said he wanted to be at the Supreme Court on Thursday. Instead, he was in a courtroom in New York, where he is standing trial on charges that he falsified business records to keep damaging information from voters when he directed hush money payments to a former porn star to keep quiet her claims that they had a sexual encounter.

Sauer argued that former presidents are entitled to absolute immunity for their official acts. Otherwise, he said, politically motivated prosecutions of former occupants of the Oval Office would become routine and presidents couldn’t function as the commander in chief if they had to worry about criminal charges.


Lower courts have rejected those arguments, including a unanimous three-judge panel on an appeals court in Washington, D.C.

Several justices drilled down on trying to come up with a definition of what constituted an official act, and whether charges based on one should be thrown out.

Justice Elena Kagan at one pointed wondered whether a former president could escape prosecution even if he ordered a coup or sold nuclear secrets. Sauer said prosecutions might not be allowed if those were determined to be official acts.

“That sure sounds bad, doesn’t it?” Kagan asked.

Chief Justice John Roberts conjured up a president being indicted for receiving a bribe in exchange for an ambassadorial appointment. How could the indictment go forward if prosecutors had to remove the official act, the appointment? “That’s like a one-legged stool, right?” Roberts asked.


The election interference conspiracy case brought by Smith in Washington is just one of four criminal cases confronting Trump. Smith was in the courtroom Thursday, seated at the table for lawyers taking part in the case.

Smith’s team says the men who wrote Constitution never intended for presidents to be above the law and that, in any event, the acts Trump is charged with — including participating in a scheme to enlist fake electors in battleground states won by Biden — aren’t in any way part of a president’s official duties. Dreeben said that even if some of the acts are considered part of the president’s powers, like talking to Justice Department officials, they still should be kept in the indictment.

Trump’s conversations with then-Vice President Mike Pence, urging him to reject some electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021, might also fall under official acts.


Barrett asked Dreeben whether Smith’s team could “just proceed based on the private conduct and drop the official conduct.” Dreeben said that might be possible, especially if prosecutors could, for example, use the conversations with Justice Department officials and Pence to make their case.

Nearly four years ago, all nine justices rejected Trump’s claim of absolute immunity from a district attorney’s subpoena for his financial records. That case played out during Trump’s presidency and involved a criminal investigation, but no charges.

Justice Clarence Thomas, who would have prevented the enforcement of the subpoena because of Trump’s responsibilities as president, still rejected Trump’s claim of absolute immunity and pointed to the text of the Constitution and how it was understood by the people who ratified it.


“The text of the Constitution … does not afford the President absolute immunity,” Thomas wrote in 2020.

Commentators had speculated about why the court took up the case in the first place.

Phillip Bobbitt, a constitutional scholar at Columbia University’s law school, said he worries about the delay, but sees value in a decision that amounts to “a definitive expression by the Supreme Court that we are a government of laws and not of men.”

The court also may be more concerned with how its decision could affect future presidencies, Harvard law school professor Jack Goldsmith wrote on the Lawfare blog.

But Kermit Roosevelt, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said the court never should have taken the case because an ideologically diverse panel of the federal appeals court in Washington adequately addressed the issues.


“If it was going to take the case, it should have proceeded faster, because now, it will most likely prevent the trial from being completed before the election,” Roosevelt said. “Even Richard Nixon said that the American people deserve to know whether their president is a crook. The Supreme Court seems to disagree.”

The court has several options for deciding the case, though something between a complete win for Trump or prosecutors seemed most likely.

The court might spell out when former presidents are shielded from prosecution. It could then either declare that Trump’s alleged conduct easily crossed the line or return the case to Chutkan so she can decide whether Trump should have to stand trial.
 

spaminator

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Ex-tabloid publisher testifies he scooped up possibly damaging tales to shield his old friend Trump
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Jennifer Peltz, Michael R. Sisak, Colleen Long And Jake Offenhartz
Published Apr 25, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 6 minute read

NEW YORK — As Donald Trump was running for president in 2016, his old friend at the National Enquirer was scooping up potentially damaging stories about the candidate and paying out tens of thousands of dollars to keep them from the public eye.


But when it came to the seamy claims by porn performer Stormy Daniels, David Pecker, the tabloid’s longtime publisher, said he put his foot down.


“I am not paying for this story,” he told jurors Thursday at Trump’s hush money trial, recounting his version of a conversation with Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen about the catch-and-kill scheme that prosecutors alleged amounted to interference in the race. Pecker was already $180,000 in the hole on other Trump-related stories by the time Daniels came along, at which point, he said, “I didn’t want to be involved in this.”

Pecker’s testimony was a critical building block for the prosecution’s theory that their partnership was a way to illegally influence the 2016 presidential election. The Manhattan district attorney is seeking to elevate the gravity of the history-making first trial of a former American president and the first of four criminal cases against Trump to reach a jury.


Trump’s lawyers also began their cross-examination of Pecker, using the time to question his memory of years-old events and to suggest his account had evolved over time.

But the hush money trial was just one of the consequential legal matters facing the Republican presidential candidate on Thursday.

The U.S. Supreme Court also heard arguments over whether Trump should be immune from criminal prosecution while he was the president, stemming from federal charges over his efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden. The high court justices appeared likely to reject his claims of absolute immunity, though it seemed very possible that trial could be delayed beyond November’s election.

Trump’s many legal problems collided this week. The hush money case includes a looming decision on whether he violated a gag order and should be held in contempt. His former lawyers and associates were indicted in a 2020 election-related scheme in Arizona. And a New York judge rejected a request for a new trial in a defamation case that found Trump liable for $83.3 million in damages.


But the former president has a long history of emerging unscathed from sticky situations — if not becoming even more popular.

The Supreme Court’s decision will have lasting implications for future presidents, because the justices were seeking to answer the never-before-asked question of whether and to what extent does a former president enjoy immunity from prosecution for conduct during his time in office. But it may not impact the New York City case, which hinges mostly on Trump’s conduct as a presidential candidate in 2016 — not as a president.

Trump had asked to skip his New York criminal proceedings for the day so he could sit in on the Supreme Court’s special session, but that request was denied by Judge Juan M. Merchan, who is overseeing Trump’s trial on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with the hush money payments, which involved buying the rights to someone’s story but never publishing it.


“I think the Supreme Court has a very important argument before it today,” Trump said outside the courtroom. “I should be there.”

Instead, he sat at the defence table in a Manhattan courtroom with his lawyers, listening intently to Pecker testify how he and his publication parlayed rumor-mongering into splashy stories that smeared Trump’s opponents and, just as crucially, leveraged his connections to suppress unflattering coverage.

Trump has maintained he is not guilty of any of the charges, and says the stories that were bought and squelched were false.

“There is no case here. This is just a political witch hunt,” he said before court in brief comments to reporters.

As Pecker testified in a calm, cooperative tone about risque tales and secret dealings, the atmosphere in the utilitarian 1940s courtroom was one of quiet attentiveness. Two Secret Service agents were stationed in the first row of the courtroom gallery directly behind Trump. Ten court officers stood around the room. Jurors intently listened, and some took notes.


Pecker recalled that the publication bought a sordid tale from a New York City doorman and purchased accusations of an extramarital affair with former Playboy model Karen McDougal to prevent the claims from getting out. There was some talk of reimbursement from Trump’s orbit, but Pecker was ultimately never paid.

The breaking point came with Daniels, who was eventually paid by Cohen to keep quiet over her claim of a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump. The ex-president denies it happened.

Pecker recalled to the jury that he was dining with his wife the night after the public learned of the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump discussed grabbing women sexually without permission, when then-editor Dylan Howard called with an urgent matter.


Howard said he heard from Daniels’ representatives that she was trying to sell her story and that the tabloid could acquire it for $120,000, Pecker told jurors. Pecker was tapped out; he told Cohen as much.

At the same time, Pecker advised that someone — just not him _ should do something to prevent the story from going public.

“I said to Michael, ‘My suggestion to you is that you should buy the story, and you should take it off the market because if you don’t and it gets out, I believe the boss will be very angry with you.”’

Cohen followed his advice.

Pecker testified that Trump later invited him to a White House dinner in July 2017 to thank him for helping the campaign. The ex-publisher said Trump encouraged him to bring anyone he wanted, recounting that the then-president told him, “It’s your dinner.”


Pecker said that he and Howard, as well as some of his other business associates, posed for photos with Trump in the Oval Office. Pecker said others at the dinner included Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and press adviser Sean Spicer.

At one point during the evening, Pecker said Trump asked him for an update on Karen McDougal.

“How’s Karen doing?” he recalled Trump saying as they walked past the Rose Garden from the Oval Office to the dining room.

“I said she’s doing well, she’s quiet, everything’s going good,” Pecker testified.

But months later, in March 2018, the president became furious when McDougal gave an interview to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Pecker testified.

“I thought you had and we had an agreement with Karen McDougal that she can’t give any interviews or be on any TV channels,” Trump told Pecker by phone, the former National Enquirer publisher said.


He said he explained to the then-president that the agreement had been changed to allow her to speak to the press after a November 2016 Wall Street Journal article about the tabloid’s $150,000 payout to McDougal.

“Mr. Trump got very aggravated when he heard that I amended it, and he couldn’t understand why,” Pecker told jurors.

Later, Trump defence attorney Emil Bove opened his cross-examination by grilling Pecker on his recollection of specific dates and meanings. He appeared to be laying further groundwork for the defence’s argument that any dealings Trump had with the National Enquirer publisher were intended to protect himself, his reputation and his family — not his campaign.

In other developments, prosecutors argued Trump again violated a gag order, all while waiting to hear whether he would be held in contempt on other suspected violations. Merchan has barred the GOP leader from making public statements about witnesses, jurors and others connected to the case. He set a hearing for next Thursday on the new claims.


Trump was dismissive about the looming decision. When asked by reporters if he would pay fines if ordered, he replied, “Oh, I have no idea.” He then said, “They’ve taken my constitutional right away with a gag order.”

A conviction by the jury would not preclude Trump from becoming president again, but because it is a state case, he would not be able to pardon himself if found guilty. The charge is punishable by up to four years in prison — though it’s not clear if the judge would seek to put him behind bars.

— Long reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Michelle L. Price contributed to this report.
 

spaminator

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Judge reject’s Trump’s bid for a new trial in $83.3 million E. Jean Carroll defamation case
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Karen Matthews
Published Apr 25, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 2 minute read

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge in New York rejected Donald Trump’s request for a new trial on Thursday after a jury awarded $83.3 million in damages to a longtime magazine columnist who sued the former president for defamation for calling her claim that he had sexually assaulted her in a Manhattan department store a lie.


The judge rejected the former president’s claims that the compensatory and punitive damages awarded to writer E. Jean Carroll in January were excessive.


The January verdict came after Carroll, 80, an author and former advice columnist for Elle magazine, testified that Trump’s public statements about her had led to death threats.

Judge Lewis Kaplan said in his ruling Thursday that the jury was entitled to find that “the degree of reprehensibility” of Trump’s attacks against Carroll on social media was high.

“Far from being purely ‘defensive,’ there was evidence that Mr. Trump used the office of the presidency — the loudest ‘bully pulpit’ in America and possibly the world — to issue multiple statements castigating Ms. Carroll as a politically and financially motivated liar, insinuating that she was too unattractive for him to have sexually assaulted, and threatening that she would ‘pay dearly’ for speaking out,” Kaplan said.


The decision was the second time that a civil jury returned a verdict related to Carroll’s claim that an encounter with Trump in 1996 in a Bergdorf Goodman’s dressing room ended violently. She said Trump slammed her against a wall, pulled down her tights and forced himself on her.

A different jury awarded Carroll $5 million in May 2023. It found Trump not liable for rape, but responsible for sexually abusing Carroll and then defaming her by claiming she made it up. He is appealing that award as well.

Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said in a statement that she was “pleased though not surprised” by the decision from the judge, who is no relation.

A spokesperson for Trump attorney Alina Habba said she was confident that the decision would be overturned on appeal.

The decision came as Trump, the presumed Republican candidate for president, spent the day in a criminal courtroom where he is on trial for hush money payments allegedly made to an adult film star in a scheme to cover up negative stories Trump feared would hurt his 2016 presidential campaign. He has pleaded not guilty and says the stories were false.
 

spaminator

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South Dakota governor writes in new book shooting, killing puppy
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Apr 26, 2024 • 3 minute read
The Guardian has obtained a copy of Noem's soon-to-be released book, where she writes about killing an unruly dog, and a smelly goat, too. She writes, according to the Guardian, that the tale was included to show her willingness to do anything "difficult, messy and ugly."
The Guardian has obtained a copy of Noem's soon-to-be released book, where she writes about killing an unruly dog, and a smelly goat, too. She writes, according to the Guardian, that the tale was included to show her willingness to do anything "difficult, messy and ugly."
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem — a potential running mate for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump — is getting attention again. This time, it’s for a new book where she writes about killing an unruly dog, and a smelly goat, too.


The Guardian obtained a copy of Noem’s soon-to-be released book, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward.” In it, she tells the story of the ill-fated Cricket, a 14-month-old wirehaired pointer she was training for pheasant hunting.


She writes, according to the Guardian, that the tale was included to show her willingness to do anything “difficult, messy and ugly” if it has to be done. But backlash was swift against the Republican governor, who just a month ago drew attention and criticism for posting an infomercial-like video about cosmetic dental surgery she received out-of-state.

In her book, Noem writes that she took Cricket on a hunting trip with older dogs in hopes of calming down the wild puppy. Instead, Cricket chased the pheasants while “having the time of her life.”


On the way home from the hunting trip, Noem writes that she stopped to talk to a family. Cricket got out of Noem’s truck and attacked and killed some of the family’s chickens, then bit the governor.

Noem apologized profusely, wrote the distraught family a check for the deceased chickens, and helped them dispose of the carcasses, she writes. Cricket “was the picture of joy” as all that unfolded.

“I hated that dog,” Noem writes, deeming her “untrainable.”

“At that moment,” Noem writes, “I realized I had to put her down.” She led Cricket to a gravel pit and killed her.

That wasn’t all. Noem writes that her family also owned a “nasty and mean” male goat that smelled bad and liked to chase her kids. She decided to go ahead and kill the goat, too. She writes that the goat survived the first shot, so she went back to the truck, got another shell, then shot him again, killing him.


Soon thereafter, a school bus dropped off Noem’s children. Her daughter asked, “Hey, where’s Cricket?” Noem writes.

The excerpts drew immediate criticism on social media platforms, where many posted photos of their own pets. President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign surfaced the story on social media alongside a photo of Noem with Trump.

The Lincoln Project, a conservative group that opposes Trump, posted a video that it called a “public service announcement,” showing badly behaved dogs and explaining that “shooting your dog in the face is not an option.”

“You down old dogs, hurt dogs, and sick dogs humanely, not by shooting them and tossing them in a gravel pit,” Rick Wilson of the Lincoln Project wrote on X. “Unsporting and deliberately cruel … but she wrote this to prove the cruelty is the point.”

Noem took to social media to defend herself.

“We love animals, but tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm,” she said on X. “Sadly, we just had to put down 3 horses a few weeks ago that had been in our family for 25 years.”



She urged readers to preorder her book if they want “more real, honest, and politically INcorrect stories that’ll have the media gasping.”

Republican strategist Alice Stewart said that while some Republican voters might appreciate the story “as a testament to her grit,” it ultimately creates a distraction for Noem.

“It’s never a good look when people think you’re mistreating animals,” Stewart said. “I have a dog I love like a child and I can’t imagine thinking about doing that, I can’t imagine doing that, and I can’t imagine writing about it in a book and telling all the world.”

It’s not the first time Noem has grabbed national attention.

In 2019, she stood behind the state’s anti-meth campaign even as it became the subject of some mockery for the tagline “Meth. We’re on it.” Noem said the campaign got people talking about the methamphetamine epidemic and helped lead some to treatment.

Last month, Noem posted a nearly five-minute video on X lavishing praise on a team of cosmetic dentists in Texas for giving her a smile she said she can be proud of. “I love my new family at Smile Texas!” she wrote.

South Dakota law bans gifts of over $100 from lobbyists to public officials and their immediate family. A violation is a misdemeanor punishable up to a year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. The state attorney general’s office has declined to answer questions about whether the gift ban applies to people who are not registered lobbyists.
 

justfred

Electoral Member
Dec 26, 2004
242
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Drumheller
We hear reports from old Donnie about it being cold in the court room. Would it be out of order to suggest that if he paid all of his fines and judgments, they would be able to turn up the heat. Having increased the heat by one half degree, he would whine that he is too hot. Oh, is his female side coming out. The $9,000 fine he received this week only adds to his need to whine. He is not spending his money as the MAGA group keep sending him money so he can push the limit. I think the judge should not send him to JAIL, send him to SCHOOL for 30 days, at Rikers Island , charge him a million dollars a month while at school, teach him (opps sorry) try to teach him that if he worked within the law, his court cases may diminish, only from now on. The thought behind charging him, it is like university, if you pay a fee to attend, you will learn more.
 

spaminator

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GOP VP hopeful Kristi Noem's dog killing gives fans paws

Author of the article:Brad Hunter
Published Apr 29, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 2 minute read

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem may have her chances at being Donald Trumps running mate.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem may have her chances at being Donald Trumps running mate.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has followed the GOP template of guns and gams to a tee.


Call it Sarah Palin 2.0.


And for the controversial conservative, the strategy appeared to put her firmly in the winner’s circle as former U.S. President Donald Trump’s vice-presidential running mate in the November election.

Now, it appears that’s all gone to the dogs.


The 52-year-old confessed in her new book — No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward — that she shot and killed her 14-month-old wirehair pointer puppy.

Even conservatives were shocked by the revelation.

On Sunday, she took to X (formerly Twitter): “I can understand why some people are upset about a 20-year-old story of Cricket, one of the working dogs at our ranch. The fact is, South Dakota law states that dogs who attack and kill livestock can be put down. Given that Cricket had shown aggressive behaviour toward people by biting them, I decided what I did.”


Noem is a huge proponent of the Second Amendment.
Noem is a huge proponent of the Second Amendment.
She added: “As I explained in the book, it wasn’t easy. But often the easy way isn’t the right way.”

But oddsmakers say the brunette lightning rod’s chances of being Trump’s running mate have dropped like a stone.

Noem admitted she also iced the family goat. As for the late Cricket, Noem said once the dog and slaughtered another family’s chickens like a “trained assassin”.

She wrote: “I hated that dog … [it was] less than worthless … as a hunting dog. It was not a pleasant job,” Noem said, “but it had to be done. And after it was over, I realized another unpleasant job needed to be done.”


The uncastrated family goat was next on the kill list. Noem said the animal was “nasty and mean”, “smelled disgusting”, and would aggressively chase her children.


Anti-Trump co-founder of the Lincoln Project Rick Wilson called the governor “Trash”.

“Puppies need slow exposure to birds, and bird scent. She killed a puppy because she was lazy at training bird dogs, not because it was a bad dog. Not every dog is for the field, but 99.9% of them are trainable or re-homeable,” he said.

BOEBERT: Loves guns and boys.
BOEBERT: Loves guns and boys.
Like her fellow GOP stars, Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, Noem has come under fire for her views on guns, abortion, same-sex marriage, Native issues and a slew of other hot-button issues.

Noem was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives in 2006. In 2010, she ran for Congress and served until 2019 when she was elected governor on the GOP ticket.

The politician is married with three children.

Daughter Kassidy Peters got the governor in trouble.
Daughter Kassidy Peters got the governor in trouble.
In 2020, she came under fire when her daughter Kassidy Peters was denied a real estate appraisal license. Noem demanded that the woman who denied the licence resign. The woman received a $200,000 settlement as part of a nondisclosure agreement to withdraw her complaint and leave her position.

“Listen I get it. I signed up for this job. But now the media is trying to destroy my children,” Noem charged. “This story is just another example of the double standard that exists with the media … going after conservatives and their kids while ignoring Liberals.”

bhunter@postmedia.com

@HunterTOSun
 

spaminator

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Politicians and dog experts vilify South Dakota governor after she writes about killing her dog
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Heather Hollingsworth
Published Apr 29, 2024 • 4 minute read

Politicians and dog experts are criticizing South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem after she wrote in a new book about killing a rambunctious puppy. The story — and the vilification she received on social media — has some wondering whether she’s still a viable potential running mate for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Experts who work with hunting dogs like Noem’s said she should have trained — not killed — the pup, or found other options if the dog was out of control.

Noem has tried to reframe the story from two decades ago as an example of her willingness to make tough decisions. She wrote on social media that the 14-month-old wirehaired pointer named Cricket had shown aggressive behavior by biting.

“As I explained in the book, it wasn’t easy,” she said on X. “But often the easy way isn’t the right way.”



Still, Democrats and even some conservatives have been critical.

“This story is not landing. It is not a facet of rural life or ranching to shoot dogs,” conservative commentator Tomi Lahrenco posted online.

Several posters described Noem as Cruella de Vil, the villain from the Disney classic “101 Dalmatians.” A meme features a series of dogs offering looks of horror.

“I’m not sure which thing she did was stupider: The fact that she murdered the dog, or the fact that she was stupid enough to publish it in a book,” said Joan Payton, of the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America. The club itself described the breed as “high-energy,” and said Noem was too impatient and her use of a shock collar for training was botched.


But South Dakota Democratic Senate Minority Leader Reynold Nesiba considered the disclosure more calculated than stupid. He said the story has circulated for years among lawmakers that Noem killed a dog in a “fit of anger” and that there were witnesses. He speculated that it was coming out now because Noem is being vetted as a candidate for vice president.

“She knew that this was a political vulnerability, and she needed to put it out there, before it came up in some other venue,” he said. “Why else would she write about it?”

In her soon-to-be-released book, No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward, of which The Guardian obtained a pre-release copy, Noem writes that she took Cricket on a bird hunting trip with older dogs in hopes of calming down the wild puppy. Instead, Cricket chased the pheasants, attacked a family’s chickens during a stop on the way home and then “whipped around to bite me,” she wrote.


Noem’s spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press about whether the dog actually bit her or just tried to do so, or whether Noem had to seek medical treatment. The book’s publisher declined to provide AP an advance copy of the book.

Afterward, Noem wrote, she led Cricket to a gravel pit and killed her. She said she also shot a goat that the family owned, saying it was mean and liked to chase her kids.

The response to the story was swift: “Post a picture with your dog that doesn’t involve shooting them and throwing them in a gravel pit. I’ll start,” Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz posted on X. The post included a photo of him feeding ice cream off a spoon to his Labrador mix named Scout.


President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign added a photo of the president strolling on the White House lawn with one of his three German Shepherds. Two of Biden’s dogs, Major and Commander, were removed following aggressive behavior, including toward White House and Secret Service personnel. The oldest, Champ, died.

Democrat Hillary Clinton reposted a 2021 comment in which she warned, “Don’t vote for anyone you wouldn’t trust with your dog.” She added Monday, “Still true.”

Conservative political commentator Michael Knowles said on his titular podcast that while Noem could have handled the situation differently, “there is nothing wrong with a human being humanely killing an animal.” He later added: “Fifty years ago, this political story would not have made anyone in most of America bat an eyelash. And the fact that it does today tells you something, not about the changing morality of putting down a farm animal, but about the changing politics of America.”


He later said that the story is “extremely stupid and insignificant” because Noem doesn’t have a chance of being selected as Trump’s running mate.

Payton, who is a delegate to the American Kennel Club and lives in Bakersfield, California, said the situation was a mess from beginning to end.

“That was a puppy that had no experience, obviously no training,” she said. “If you know a minuscule amount about a bird dog, you don’t take a 14 month old out with trained adult dogs and expect them to perform. That’s not how it works.”

The club itself said puppies learn best by hunting one-to-one with their owners, not with other dogs.

When problems arose she should have called the breeder, Payton said, or contacted rescue organizations that find new homes for the breed.


Among those groups is the National German Wirehaired Pointer Rescue, which called on Noem in a Facebook post to take accountability for her “horrific decision” and to educate the public that there are more humane solutions.

“Sporting breeds are bred with bird/hunting instincts but it takes training and effort to have a working field dog,” the group’s Board of Directors wrote in the post.

Payton described Cricket as nothing more than “a baby,” saying the breed isn’t physically mature until it is 2 years old and not fully trained it’s 3- to 5-years old.

“This was a person that I had thought was a pretty good lady up until now,” she said. “She was somebody that I would have voted for. But I think she may have shot herself in the foot.”
 

pgs

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Politicians and dog experts vilify South Dakota governor after she writes about killing her dog
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Heather Hollingsworth
Published Apr 29, 2024 • 4 minute read

Politicians and dog experts are criticizing South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem after she wrote in a new book about killing a rambunctious puppy. The story — and the vilification she received on social media — has some wondering whether she’s still a viable potential running mate for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Experts who work with hunting dogs like Noem’s said she should have trained — not killed — the pup, or found other options if the dog was out of control.

Noem has tried to reframe the story from two decades ago as an example of her willingness to make tough decisions. She wrote on social media that the 14-month-old wirehaired pointer named Cricket had shown aggressive behavior by biting.

“As I explained in the book, it wasn’t easy,” she said on X. “But often the easy way isn’t the right way.”



Still, Democrats and even some conservatives have been critical.

“This story is not landing. It is not a facet of rural life or ranching to shoot dogs,” conservative commentator Tomi Lahrenco posted online.

Several posters described Noem as Cruella de Vil, the villain from the Disney classic “101 Dalmatians.” A meme features a series of dogs offering looks of horror.

“I’m not sure which thing she did was stupider: The fact that she murdered the dog, or the fact that she was stupid enough to publish it in a book,” said Joan Payton, of the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America. The club itself described the breed as “high-energy,” and said Noem was too impatient and her use of a shock collar for training was botched.


But South Dakota Democratic Senate Minority Leader Reynold Nesiba considered the disclosure more calculated than stupid. He said the story has circulated for years among lawmakers that Noem killed a dog in a “fit of anger” and that there were witnesses. He speculated that it was coming out now because Noem is being vetted as a candidate for vice president.

“She knew that this was a political vulnerability, and she needed to put it out there, before it came up in some other venue,” he said. “Why else would she write about it?”

In her soon-to-be-released book, No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward, of which The Guardian obtained a pre-release copy, Noem writes that she took Cricket on a bird hunting trip with older dogs in hopes of calming down the wild puppy. Instead, Cricket chased the pheasants, attacked a family’s chickens during a stop on the way home and then “whipped around to bite me,” she wrote.


Noem’s spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press about whether the dog actually bit her or just tried to do so, or whether Noem had to seek medical treatment. The book’s publisher declined to provide AP an advance copy of the book.

Afterward, Noem wrote, she led Cricket to a gravel pit and killed her. She said she also shot a goat that the family owned, saying it was mean and liked to chase her kids.

The response to the story was swift: “Post a picture with your dog that doesn’t involve shooting them and throwing them in a gravel pit. I’ll start,” Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz posted on X. The post included a photo of him feeding ice cream off a spoon to his Labrador mix named Scout.


President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign added a photo of the president strolling on the White House lawn with one of his three German Shepherds. Two of Biden’s dogs, Major and Commander, were removed following aggressive behavior, including toward White House and Secret Service personnel. The oldest, Champ, died.

Democrat Hillary Clinton reposted a 2021 comment in which she warned, “Don’t vote for anyone you wouldn’t trust with your dog.” She added Monday, “Still true.”

Conservative political commentator Michael Knowles said on his titular podcast that while Noem could have handled the situation differently, “there is nothing wrong with a human being humanely killing an animal.” He later added: “Fifty years ago, this political story would not have made anyone in most of America bat an eyelash. And the fact that it does today tells you something, not about the changing morality of putting down a farm animal, but about the changing politics of America.”


He later said that the story is “extremely stupid and insignificant” because Noem doesn’t have a chance of being selected as Trump’s running mate.

Payton, who is a delegate to the American Kennel Club and lives in Bakersfield, California, said the situation was a mess from beginning to end.

“That was a puppy that had no experience, obviously no training,” she said. “If you know a minuscule amount about a bird dog, you don’t take a 14 month old out with trained adult dogs and expect them to perform. That’s not how it works.”

The club itself said puppies learn best by hunting one-to-one with their owners, not with other dogs.

When problems arose she should have called the breeder, Payton said, or contacted rescue organizations that find new homes for the breed.


Among those groups is the National German Wirehaired Pointer Rescue, which called on Noem in a Facebook post to take accountability for her “horrific decision” and to educate the public that there are more humane solutions.

“Sporting breeds are bred with bird/hunting instincts but it takes training and effort to have a working field dog,” the group’s Board of Directors wrote in the post.

Payton described Cricket as nothing more than “a baby,” saying the breed isn’t physically mature until it is 2 years old and not fully trained it’s 3- to 5-years old.

“This was a person that I had thought was a pretty good lady up until now,” she said. “She was somebody that I would have voted for. But I think she may have shot herself in the foot.”
She was never going to be Trump’s running mate .