WTF Community

More Questionable Behavior from Trump, T Admin, DOJ, and R's vs Dems, Press, Justice

Reminds me of the line in Forest Gump - “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Yes, Sideshow Rudy…just as off-kilter as he seems. Just plain off. So T gets what he deserves.

Trump puts Giuliani in charge of his lawsuits challenging the election results.

President Trump has put his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, in charge of his campaign lawsuits related to the outcome of the election, as well as all public communications related to them, four people familiar with the move said on Friday.

Mr. Trump turned to Mr. Giuliani earlier on Friday in reaction to the latest setback he faced in court, this one relating to votes in Maricopa County, Ariz., the people said.

The president’s advisers had warned him that they were likely to lose in that case, and he faces increasingly dim hopes of overturning the election results. Nonetheless, Mr. Trump has been trying every possible option to change the outcome and trying to get what he sees as “fighters” making his case, often conflating a media strategy with a legal one.

But the involvement of Mr. Giuliani, who held a widely mocked news conference in front of a landscaping company in Philadelphia last weekend in which he claimed widespread fraud, has vexed people on the campaign and in the White House.

A half-dozen other Trump advisers have described Mr. Giuliani’s efforts as counterproductive and said that he was giving the president unwarranted optimism about what could happen. Those advisers have said that they are concerned Mr. Giuliani is damaging not only Mr. Trump’s remaining legal options, but his legacy and his future opportunities in politics as he considers another campaign in 2024.

A campaign spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. Mr. Giuliani did not respond to a message seeking comment.

In an Oval Office meeting with aides on Thursday, Mr. Trump put Mr. Giuliani on speakerphone so the others could hear him. He angrily accused the aides of not telling the president the truth, according to people briefed on the meeting. Justin Clark, the deputy campaign manager, pushed back aggressively on Mr. Giuliani, said the people briefed on what took place.

Maggie Haberman


Interview by CNN’s Chris Cuomo with Ex FBI head, Andrew McCabe discusses what sorts of classified information on T. McCabe says there is some very scandalous intel on T, but revealing it would affect their sources and methods in collecting. Whether Trump would release it, who knows? Trump wants to clear his name from any Russia scandal…

McCabe was also asserting that if Trump fired CIA head Gina Haspel, then McCabe would have to reveal the predicate for the Russia investigation…hmmmmmm

Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe has warned that classified intelligence from bureau’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign ties to Russia could contain information that would “risk casting the president in a very negative light”.

Mr McCabe has been at the centre of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, in which a Republican-controlled panel is reviewing the FBI’s recision to initiate the investigation.

He testified before the panel on Tuesday and told lawmakers that officials had a “duty” to carry out the investigation due to the information they had collected. Mr McCabe personally approved the decision to investigate Mr Trump for possible obstruction of justice.

In an interview with CNN on Friday night, Mr McCabe was asked what the risks were if more information from the Russia investigation was to be declassified.

CNN anchor Andrew Cuomo said Mr Trump was told by Devin Nunes, a close ally of the president’s and former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, that if more previously unreleased information comes out, the more it will appear that the president was “framed”.

“From your knowledge, is there anything that could come out that people would look at and say, ‘wow, I can’t believe they ever included the president in this analysis, he and his people clearly did nothing’?” asked Mr Cuomo.

Mr McCabe replied: “There is some very, very serious, very specific, undeniable intelligence that has not come out, that if it were released, would risk compromising our access to that sort of information in the future.

I think it would also risk casting the president in a very negative light - so, would he have a motivation to release those things? It’s almost incomprehensible to me that he would want that information out, I don’t see how he spins it into his advantage, because quite frankly, I don’t believe it’s flattering.

Asked if Mr McCabe thought there was more “bad stuff” about Mr Trump that wasn’t already publicly known, he replied: “There is always more intelligence, there is a lot more in the intelligence community assessment than what is ever released for public consumption.

“The original version of that report was classified at the absolute highest level I have ever seen. We’re talking about top secret, compartmentalised code word stuff, and it would be tragic to American intelligence collection for those sources to be put at risk.”

The FBI has been accused by the Senate Judiciary Committee of going “rogue” with the Russia investigation, with one senator describing it as the “biggest scandal in the history of the FBI” on Tuesday.

Mr Trump has repeatedly railed against the FBI for the investigation and maintained there was “no collusion” between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

Video of Cuomo/McCabe


Some of the purges going on in the WH, which are being commandeered by T loyalist and new fix-it guy Patrick McEntee

Over the past week, President Trump has axed his defense secretary and other top Pentagon aides, his second-in-command at the U.S. Agency for International Development, two top Homeland Security officials, a senior climate scientist and the leader of the agency that safeguards nuclear weapons.

Follow the latest on Election 2020

Engineering much of the post-election purge is Johnny McEntee, a former college quarterback who was hustled out of the White House two years ago after a security clearance check turned up a prolific habit for online gambling.

A staunch Trump loyalist, McEntee, 30, was welcomed back into the fold in February and installed as personnel director for the entire U.S. government. Since the race was called for President-elect Joe Biden, McEntee has been distributing pink slips, warning federal workers not to cooperate with the Biden transition and threatening to oust people who show disloyalty by job hunting while Trump is still refusing to acknowledge defeat, according to six administration officials.

More firings are expected, White House and agency officials said, including a top cybersecurity official whose agency on Thursday disputed Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud. While the motives are not always clear — is the White House pursuing last-minute policy goals or simply punishing disloyalty? — critics say the dismissals threaten to destabilize broad swaths of the federal bureaucracy in the fragile period during the handover to the next administration.

McEntee is not just firing people. The Pentagon general counsel this week hired former Republican operative and political appointee Michael Ellis as general counsel of the National Security Agency, making him a civilian member of the senior executive service. That gives Ellis civil service protections that will make it hard for Biden’s team to push him out. Several officials said McEntee also wants to help campaign allies secure jobs in the White House.

Some officials said they worry the new hires could destroy briefing documents prepared for the incoming Biden administration. Others criticized McEntee’s choices for key government roles.

“Johnny is loyal to a fault to the president, but doesn’t have the basic understanding of how departments operate and what skills are required to hold certain Cabinet-level positions,” said one senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. “It’s actually hampered the president by putting unqualified people throughout senior roles.”

McEntee declined to comment through a White House spokesman. In a statement, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said: “John McEntee has supported the President’s initiative from day one and does an outstanding job working to help make sure our administration implements the Trump agenda. He’s a valuable asset to our team and no doubt the unfair criticisms being directed his way are from individuals who don’t know the facts.”

Some Trump allies applauded McEntee’s performance.

“Conservatives believe that the president was not well served by the original people staffing [the White House Personnel Office]. They systematically excluded strong Trump supporters,” said Cleta Mitchell, a partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner and a prominent conservative activist.

Of McEntee, she said: “I wish he had been there in the beginning.”

The post-election firings are the culmination of a months-long crusade by McEntee, who reports directly to the president and sits just outside the Oval Office. Obsessed with leaks and mistrustful of veteran government officials who have served multiple administrations, Trump has complained that he finds it more difficult to deal with the federal bureaucracy than with foreign leaders.

“I’ve fired some. I say, some, just get rid of them,” Trump told donors last month in Nashville. “We have some pretty deep-seated people, and we got rid of a lot of them.”

The president has long relied on McEntee, who worked for Trump at his organization in New York and on his presidential campaign. After the 2016 election, according to a tell-all book by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former aide to the first lady, McEntee happened to be delivering a turkey sandwich when Winston Wolkoff informed Trump that his inaugural committee was a “s— show.”

“Donald grabbed the [sandwich] bag and told the kid to sit down. ‘You’re in charge of the inauguration now,’ he said.”

McEntee soon became the president’s trusted personal aide, accompanying him on the golf course, watching TV off the Oval Office and carrying his large box of papers on Air Force One. Officials described him as jovial and omnipresent, but not particularly influential.

In 2018, McEntee was ousted by then-Chief of Staff John Kelly, who discovered his gambling habit. Kelly had McEntee immediately escorted out of the West Wing, a move that enraged many Trump loyalists.

“The president values him as a very trusted, very loyal man,” said Chris Ruddy, a close Trump friend.

Trump rehired McEntee in the weeks after the impeachment process, when Trump had been frustrated to see federal officials testify against him, and granted McEntee wide latitude to make personnel changes. McEntee quickly made aggressive moves, replacing longtime staff in the personnel office with a coterie of aides in their 20s and purging officials viewed as insufficiently loyal.

“I’m only here for the president,” McEntee said, according to one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share a private conversation. And, he said, “I’m not afraid to fire people.”

Other senior aides say McEntee has offered to fire people they wanted gone. The moves created a toxic culture across the government, officials said, and several Cabinet members have complained to Trump about McEntee.

McEntee’s office soon launched an interview process to suss out disloyalty, asking: “Who on your team is good? Who on your team is bad? Who is not working to serve the president’s agenda? Who brought you into the administration? What do you think of a particular policy?” said one administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe the internal questioning.

People familiar with the interviews said Trump appointees wanted names of people perceived as disloyal. One Environmental Protection Agency employee was asked his opinion on pulling troops out of Afghanistan. “I work at the EPA,” the official said, startled.

Another official said she was asked her opinion about the president’s proclamation on transgender troops. And one senior government appointee was asked by McEntee where he gets his news. (He said his answer — Fox News — seemed to meet with McEntee’s satisfaction.)

“These were some really heavy-handed interviews,” one administration official said.

Since the election, the pace of removals seems to have accelerated. Some of the removals appear to create opportunities for policy gains in the waning days of the Trump administration.

For example, the White House on Nov. 6 abruptly removed Michael Kuperberg, the career climate scientist who has for five years overseen the National Climate Assessment, one of the most important federal documents in the battle against climate change**. In his place, the White House is detailing** David Legates, a meteorologist who claims that excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is good for plants and that global warming is harmless. Legates was appointed in September to a top post at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The White House is also assigning Ryan Maue, a meteorologist who had worked for the libertarian Cato Institute and questioned whether climate change impacts would be as catastrophic as many scientists have projected, to help oversee the report.

According to people familiar with the matter, the moves would fulfill a promise by White House officials to take steps to install like-minded staffers at NOAA and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Myron Ebell, a climate change contrarian at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who is close to the administration, called McEntee “a very strong supporter of the Trump agenda, and so he moved to get Trump people into political positions. It took him a while to get to NOAA, because it’s probably not at the top of their list. They’re going to get the National Climate Assessment started in the right direction.”

“Better late than never is a good way to describe it,” said James Taylor, president of the conservative Heartland Institute.

At the Department of Homeland Security, McEntee’s office is determined to get all disloyal employees removed in upcoming days, three people familiar with the matter said. Trump has long chafed at the agency.

At the Pentagon, recently fired Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper mostly stayed quiet as a series of mid-level political appointees were ushered out by the White House over the past year. But other more senior officials, including Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Joe Kernan and acting undersecretary of defense for policy James Anderson, continued to stay on — until Esper was fired this week and the relative top cover that he had provided disappeared.

And at USAID, a top official, Bonnie Glick, was removed abruptly to make way for a Trump loyalist after she had been supportive of transition planning, including the preparation of a 440-page manual for the next administration.

In some cases, the rush to oust political appointees has been confoundingly haphazard. Neil Chatterjee, who was demoted Nov. 5 from his post chairing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said in an interview Friday that it is unclear whether the White House actually took the necessary steps to remove him from his post.

“Here’s the crazy thing: I don’t actually know that I’ve been demoted,” said Chatterjee, who was appointed by Trump to a five-year term on the independent commission in 2017 and remains a member of the five-person panel.

The president must sign a legal designation for a new FERC chair, he said, and typically the White House makes a public announcement. Instead, he said, three officials from McEntee’s office sent “a one-sentence email” to the commission’s executive director and human resources chief saying that another Republican commissioner, James Danly, would replace Chatterjee in the top spot.

“We still have no record evidence that the designation was signed. But what’s stranger is there’s been no public announcement from the White House,” said Chatterjee, who only learned about his ouster when Danly called him the evening of Nov. 5.

It is unclear why the White House moved to oust Chatterjee, a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and a longtime supporter of fossil fuels. However, he has taken steps to allow regional power administrators to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions linked to climate change and pushed back against a recent White House ban on diversity training for federal employees.

“No one from the White House has actually spoken to me about this,” Chatterjee said. “So I can only speculate as to why I was demoted.”


I do believe I’ve found the location where Rudy intends to litigate all of this:

A Distinctive Location - An Outstanding Menu

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Looks like the Newsmax switch for Trump and his enthusiasts is in the works.

For nearly two years, allies of President Trump have been exploring ways to build up a formidable competitor to Fox News. One target they recently zeroed in on: the fledgling pro-Trump cable channel Newsmax TV.

Hicks Equity Partners, a private-equity firm with ties to a co-chair of the Republican National Committee, has held talks in recent months about acquiring and investing in Newsmax, according to people familiar with the matter, part of a larger effort that could also include a streaming-video service.

Newsmax’s viewership has risen sharply since Election Day, as it wins over viewers loyal to Mr. Trump who are frustrated that Fox News and other networks have declared Democrat Joe Biden the president-elect. Newsmax hosts have promoted Mr. Trump’s claims that the election was stolen. No evidence of significant fraud has emerged or been presented.

It is unclear whether Hicks Equity’s talks with Newsmax will move forward. The discussions show the belief among some investors and allies of Mr. Trump that there is room to mount a real challenge to Fox News, which has dominated the conservative media landscape for two decades.

Mr. Trump and Fox News have had a complicated relationship. The network’s opinion hosts are highly supportive of the president. He devours Fox content, tweets about it and is influenced by it in policy and personnel decisions, aides say. Yet he spars with the network when he feels it is criticizing or undermining him.

The election’s aftermath has stoked those tensions: Mr. Trump has criticized Fox News on Twitter while promoting segments on the network favorable to him and heaping praise on Newsmax and One America News Network, another small right-wing channel.

Creating a television network to rival Fox News, which has led the cable-news ratings for years, is a longshot. Newsmax’s average prime-time audience jumped 156% to 223,000 viewers during the week of the election, according to Nielsen data, and last Thursday crossed one million from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., about half of Fox’s audience during the time period. Sustaining those gains when interest in the election subsides won’t be easy. Fox averaged nearly six million prime-time viewers during the week of the election, about 22% higher than the previous four weeks.

The cable-TV business as a whole is under pressure as consumers increasingly “cut the cord.” Big media conglomerates are generally in a better position to weather that storm than smaller or independent competitors, because they have more leverage to extract monthly fees from distributors.

Wall Street Journal parent News Corp NWS 3.56% and Fox News-parent Fox Corp. share common ownership.

In an interview, Newsmax Media Chief Executive Chris Ruddy said he has had many discussions with interested parties over the years looking to buy or invest in Newsmax. “Newsmax never had any deal with the Hicks group, and if it’s true they were using our name for the purposes of capital fundraising, that is wholly inappropriate,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Fox Corp. had no comment. The company’s chief executive, Lachlan Murdoch, said on a recent earnings call that the company “loves competition.”

The Trump campaign declined to comment. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.

People close to Mr. Trump say he is focused on the results of the election, and his pending litigation about it, and there are no signs he is taking any steps of his own to launch a network.

If Mr. Trump wanted to create his own media business from scratch, the most likely avenue would be a subscription streaming service, some industry executives said, and he could likely create a viable business, though perhaps not one with the scale of a TV network. “I think for someone like Trump it’s an easy million,” said Chris Balfe, a partner at the digital media consulting firm Red Seat Ventures, referring to the number of subscribers Mr. Trump could launch with. Typical industry prices for such services can run from roughly $6 to $10 a month.

Fox News already has a streaming-video service, Fox Nation, that offers a combination of opinion programming and entertainment. The network declined to say how many subscribers Fox Nation has, but has said 80% of people who sample the service convert to paying customers.

Trump supporters’ dissatisfaction with their media choices after the election have created opportunities on digital platforms as well. Libertarian-leaning social-media platform Parler became the most downloaded app on both Android and Apple devices for most of last week thanks to conservatives’ anger at Facebook and Twitter.


Wrong sentiment here Jim Jordan. Health trumps everything you idiot.


Sen Graham pressuring GA Sec of State Raffensperger to throw out ballots which may not have matching signatures. Graham is denying he was implying this of course.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger stood firm Monday on his account that Sen. Lindsey Graham had hinted that he should try to discard some ballots in Georgia, where a recount is underway after the state went for President-elect Joe Biden in the presidential election.

"He asked if the ballots could be matched back to the voters," Raffensperger told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” Monday evening. “And then he, I got the sense it implied that then you could throw those out for any, if you look at the counties with the highest frequent error of signatures. So that’s the impression that I got.”

He later added, "It was just an implication of, ‘Look hard and see how many ballots you could throw out.’ "

Raffensperger’s comments come after he told The Washington Post on Monday that Graham had cast doubt on Georgia’s signature-matching law in a conversation on Friday, and had also floated the possibility that biased poll workers could have counted ballots with inconsistent signatures.

Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also inquired if Raffensperger could discard all mail-in ballots from counties that had shown higher rates of unmatched signatures, the Republican secretary of state told the Post on Monday.

There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, and fraudulently altering a federal election vote tally is a federal crime.

Graham denied Raffensperger’s claim on Monday, telling CNN that he had said he wanted to understand the process for verifying the signatures on mail-in ballots. He said President Donald Trump did not urge him to make the call.


I can’t help but notice that when asked about this, Graham said he had thought it was “a very good call”, just like Trump’s “perfect call.”



President Trump, after boasting that two Republican officials blocked certification of the votes in Wayne County, Mich. Tuesday, and praising their “courage,” on Wednesday morning claimed they were “FORCED” to reverse themselves by being “threatened, screamed at and viciously harassed.”

But the upshot was that the four-member board of canvassers backtracked and unanimously certified results showing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the county, the largest in Michigan, which includes the city of Detroit. The certification makes it virtually certain that Biden has carried the state and its 16 electoral votes.

Trump has refused to admit defeat there and in numerous other states, claiming in a tweet “I win Michigan!” Twitter tagged the tweet as “disputed.”

The board of canvassers in Wayne County met Tuesday to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election in what is usually a routine procedure. But two Republicans on the four-member panel — Monica Palmer and William Hartmann — voted against certifying them, citing discrepancies in certain Detroit precincts between the numbers of voters and the numbers of ballots tabulated. In theory those should be the same, but results that are “out of balance” by small amounts are not unusual and do not generally signify tampering or fraud, or change the final results appreciably when they are corrected.

The unofficial results showed Biden won Wayne County by a margin of about 323,000 votes.

“Monica Palmer sat there and said she’s willing to approve the results of the lily-white city of Livonia, which had the second-highest number of out-of-balance precincts, but she won’t certify the city of Detroit,” Mr. Brewer said. “There is no reason to single out the city of Detroit for this racist treatment.”

“You have extracted a Black city out of a county and said the only ones that are at fault is the city of Detroit, where 80% of the people who reside here are African Americans," the Rev. Wendell Anthony, a well-known pastor and head of the Detroit branch of the NAACP, said. "Shame on you!”

Ned Staebler, a local tech-industry CEO who tweets as @Ned BLACK LIVES MATTER Staebler posted a video in which he said that the two Republicans would “forever be known in southeastern Michigan as two racists who did something so unprecedented that they disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Black voters in the city of Detroit.”

“The Trump stain, the stain of racism that you, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, have covered yourself in, is going to follow you throughout history,” Staebler said.

Why the 2 Republicans backtracked in Wayne County, MI in the vote certification process - public pressure and hopes that the Secretary of State would look at this closely, per Hartmann.

In Michigan, Trump allies and Republican poll challengers have spent days launching unsuccessful litigation. They claimed fraud during absentee ballot counting at a Detroit convention center, but two judges found no evidence and refused to stop the canvassing process.

It’s against that backdrop that the Wayne County Board of Canvassers met Tuesday. In a rare and extraordinary move, they did not bless the will of Detroit-area voters. Instead, the panel split in a 2-2 vote, with Republicans voting against certification of the results.

Monica Palmer, one of the two Republicans, said poll books in certain precincts in Detroit — a majority-Black city — were out of balance. Jonathan Kinloch, a Democrat on the panel, said the discrepancies were the result of “human error" and called it “reckless and irresponsible” to not certify the results.

There has been no evidence of widespread voting fraud in Michigan, or in any other state. Federal and state officials from both parties have declared the 2020 election safe and secure.

Still, Trump has spent the two weeks since Election Day raising false claims of voter fraud and refusing to concede to Biden. He relished the initial developments in Michigan, tweeting, “Having courage is a beautiful thing."

But the broader condemnation was swift, including from the meeting’s online spectators, who blasted Palmer and fellow Republican William Hartmann during a public comment period over Zoom.

The Rev. Wendell Anthony, a well-known pastor and head of the Detroit branch of the NAACP, called their actions a “disgrace.

“You have extracted a Black city out of a county and said the only ones that are at fault is the city of Detroit, where 80% of the people who reside here are African Americans. Shame on you!” Anthony said, his voice rising.

Ned Staebler, a vice president at Wayne State University in Detroit, said, “The stain of racism that you, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, have just covered yourself in is going to follow you throughout history.”

Law student Joseph Zimmerman, a veteran, told the canvassers “it breaks my heart” to see them undermine the “sacred right” to vote.

After the meeting, Hartmann said the intense criticism didn’t cause him to change his vote. Rather, he said he acted because the board had agreed to ask the secretary of state to investigate Detroit’s election results.

Certification of the Nov. 3 election results in each of Michigan’s 83 counties is a step toward statewide certification by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers and the eventual awarding of 16 electoral votes.

"Glad to see common sense prevailed in the end,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said after the Wayne County reversal. “Thank you to all those citizens who spoke up so passionately. You made the difference!


Another repeated lie concerning votes in the election, and a German server really says that Trump won by a landsclide. Rep Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is on top of this one, and going on Newsmax to spread the lies.

Allies of President Trump are spreading another baseless rumor about computer-based vote manipulation, days after they gained attention for falsely claiming that a widely used piece of election administration software had been used to delete votes for the president.

The newest conspiracy theory involves Scytl, a software company in Barcelona, Spain, that makes software for local election officials.

The false theory alleges that the U.S. Army recently raided Scytl’s office in Frankfurt and seized a computer server containing authentic vote totals for the 2020 election. This “undoctored” data, the theory claims, shows that Mr. Trump was not defeated but instead won in a landslide with 410 electoral votes.

Both Scytl and the Army have refuted the claim. An Army spokesperson told The Associated Press that there had been no raid on Scytl’s offices and no servers seized. In a fact-check posted to its website, Scytl said it did not “tabulate, tally or count votes” in U.S. elections or have an office in Frankfurt.

Jonathan Brill, the president and general manager of Scytl’s U.S. division, said in an interview on Tuesday that the rumor that the company’s software had been used to tamper with vote tallies was “totally false, every single bit of it.”

The false claim appears to have originated with a Twitter post on Nov. 8 by a user, @zeynep_mol, who claimed to have heard about the raid. (“I haven’t been able to confirm the accuracy yet,” the account tweeted.) The story was then picked up by a little-known Indian news website, GreatGameIndia, which gained notoriety this year for spreading false claims about the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.

It was then repeated by Representative Louie Gohmert, Republican of Texas, during interviews with Newsmax, the conservative TV network, and Charlie Kirk, the right-wing activist, and has since been shared by other prominent conservatives hoping to cast doubt on the election outcome.

Despite the Scytl server saga making zero sense, it’s really catching on with some big name right-wing characters.

— Will Sommer (@willsommer) November 17, 2020

Scytl, which was started in Spain in 2001, does make software for local election officials, including some in the United States. In the 2020 election, it says, it provided four types of products to local authorities. One is a system that allows election officials to display results from their elections in a user-friendly format. Another product, “electronic ballot delivery,” helps local election officials deliver ballots to absentee voters.

But the company says none of its products are used to count votes, or allow voters to vote online.

Some people who have shared the Scytl theory have alleged that the company has ties to George Soros or Bill Gates, two billionaire philanthropists who are often featured in right-wing conspiracy theories.

Mr. Brill, the president of Scytl’s U.S. division, said there was no truth to those rumors, either.

“We have no investment from George Soros nor Bill Gates,” he said.

1 Like

This is terrifying…

The nation is entering a particularly dangerous period of Donald Trump’s presidency. Still refusing to concede his election loss and angrily tweeting at all hours of the night, Trump faces the dwindling days of his administration, with all the authorities of the office intact and nothing left to lose. Among the authorities he’ll retain until his final minutes in office? The awesome and awful power to launch the United States’ nuclear arsenal on command.

Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” presidency has exposed all too clearly the intellectual fallacy at the heart of the nation’s nuclear plans: that the commander-in-chief will always be the most sober, rational, and conservative person in the room.

Many people assume, wrongly, that some other official has to agree with a presidential order to launch nuclear weapons; surely the White House chief of staff, the secretary of defense, the vice president, or maybe the general in charge of the nation’s nuclear forces has to concur with a presidential launch order, right? Nope. The president can choose to consult with those officials, or whoever else he may like, but from the dawn of the atomic age in the 1940s and 1950s, there has been no procedure to require any such second, concurring opinion in order to authorize a nuclear strike.

The nation’s hair-trigger alert system is an anachronism of the early days of the Cold War, when the limited size of the US arsenal and its comparatively primitive technology meant that if the weapons weren’t quickly used, they might be destroyed by an incoming attack—and with them, the country’s nuclear deterrent. Advancing technologies and expanding arsenals have negated that fear; today’s nuclear submarines ensure a so-called “survivable deterrent” such that even under the most extreme surprise attack scenarios, the US could still destroy dozens of foreign targets and kill tens of millions of people.

Even as the underlying technology and need changed, the US has never revisited its launch strategy. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. There’s simply no need for the nation’s weapons to be placed on routine high-alert and left in the hands of a single individual. We shouldn’t have to worry whether presidential whims endanger our world and human civilization.


Death threats for Sec of State Katie Hobbs (D-Az)

The truth is, I was prepared for these threats of violence and vitriol. I have been a social worker for many years and can anticipate this reaction when certain people feel powerless and angry,” Hobbs’s statement began. “These actions are utterly abhorrent, especially when directed at my family and my staff. They are a symptom of a deeper problem in our state and country—the consistent and systematic undermining of trust in each other and our democratic processes.”

Hobbs then noted that the “president, members of Congress, and other elected officials […] are perpetuating misinformation and are encouraging others to distrust the election results in a manner that violates the oath of office they took.”

“It is well past time that they stop,” Hobbs continued.” Their words and actions have consequences.”

The Arizona Secretary of State called on Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and other elected officials in the state to “stand up for the truth.”

12 News, an NBC affiliate, reported early Wednesday that Arizona law enforcement is **investigating a death threat made against Hobbs on **Parler.

Hobbs said she was doxed on Parler. Her son’s cell phone number and the family’s address was posted on the social networking site, she said.

The threat was something like, ‘Let’s burn her house down and kill her and her family, and teach these fraudsters a lesson,’” Hobbs told 12 News.

President-elect Joe Biden won the Grand Canyon State by around 11,000 votes; Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by around 90,000 votes in 2016. The Trump campaign’s lawsuit in Arizona, which did not allege fraud, fell flat.

A New York man who had allegedly parroted the president’s baseless “stolen” election rhetoric was recently arrested. Brian Maiorana was accused of threatening Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and others online because he was angry about the election results.

“The Department of Justice will not stand idly by when people like the defendant allegedly threaten to kill elected officials, lawful protesters and law enforcement simply because of animus towards the outcome of an election,” the Eastern District of New York’s Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said in a statement. “Americans have a constitutional right to voice their opinions, but this office will not tolerate violence or threats of violence used to intimidate others with whom they disagree.”


Stupid is as stupid does…Nunes launches another liability case towards Washington Post. One of the reasons - his "midnight run’ took place during the daylight.

Denies ‘midnight run’

But in the legal complaint, Nunes says the allegations are false. He says the midnight run “never happened” and that he “never made a ‘surreptitious visit to the White House grounds’ in March 2017.”

Nunes has told author Lee Smith that the midnight run actually took place in daylight, and that he went to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House and “I got my hands on the documents I was looking for and the next morning briefed (former House) Speaker (Paul) Ryan on it.”

Nunes in Smith’s book, “The Plot Against the President,” acknowledged someone helped him get the documents. “I wouldn’t have known where to find the records without the sources.”


Giuliani press conference! Now.

Just heaps of lies…



More idiocy…

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Some subpoenas has gone out…to the Trumps for financial wrong doings.

NYTimes: Trump Tax Write-Offs Are Ensnared in 2 New York Fraud Investigations

Two separate New York State fraud investigations into President Trump and his businesses, one criminal and one civil, have expanded to include tax write-offs on millions of dollars in consulting fees, some of which appear to have gone to Ivanka Trump, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The inquiries — a criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., and a civil one by the state attorney general, Letitia James — are being conducted independently. But both offices issued subpoenas to the Trump Organization in recent weeks for records related to the fees, the people said.

The subpoenas were the latest steps in the two investigations of the Trump Organization, and underscore the legal challenges awaiting the president when he leaves office in January. There is no indication that his daughter is a focus of either inquiry, which the Trump Organization has derided as politically motivated.

The development follows a recent New York Times examination of more than two decades of Mr. Trump’s tax records, which found that he had paid little or no federal income taxes in most years, largely because of his chronic business losses.

Among the revelations was that Mr. Trump reduced his taxable income by deducting about $26 million in fees to unidentified consultants as a business expense on numerous projects between 2010 and 2018.

Some of those fees appear to have been paid to Ms. Trump, The Times found. On a 2017 disclosure she filed when joining the White House as a presidential adviser, she reported receiving payments from a consulting company she co-owned, totaling $747,622, that exactly matched consulting fees claimed as tax deductions by the Trump Organization for hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver, British Columbia.

The subpoenas were focused on fees paid to the firm on her disclosures, TTT Consulting L.L.C., and represented just a portion of the $26 million, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The name of the firm appears to be a reference to Ms. Trump and other members of her family.

Ms. Trump was an executive officer of the Trump companies that made the payments, meaning she appears to have been treated as a consultant while also working for the company. While companies can deduct professional fees, the Internal Revenue Service requires that consulting arrangements be market-based and reasonable, as well as “ordinary and necessary” to running a business.

Alan Garten, general counsel for the Trump Organization, said in a statement that “this is just the latest fishing expedition in an ongoing attempt to harass the company.”

“Everything was done in strict compliance with applicable law and under the advice of counsel and tax experts,” he added. “All applicable taxes were paid and no party received any undue benefit.”

The I.R.S. has sometimes rejected attempts to write off consulting fees if they were meant to avoid taxes and did not reflect arms-length business relationships. It is not known if the I.R.S. has ever questioned the Trump Organization about the practice. The tax benefit to Mr. Trump from deducting the fees on his companies’ federal returns would also be reflected on his New York returns, making it of possible interest to the state.

A tax adviser who has worked with the Trump Organization said that such consulting fees were not uncommon.

The offices of the district attorney and the attorney general declined to comment. A lawyer for Ms. Trump did not return calls about the inquiries.

Few details have been publicly disclosed about the district attorney’s investigation, the only known active criminal case involving Mr. Trump. Mr. Vance’s office began the inquiry more than two years ago, initially focusing on the Trump Organization’s role in hush money paid during the 2016 presidential campaign to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress who claimed to have had an affair with Mr. Trump.

The investigation has been stalled since last fall, after the president filed a lawsuit to block a subpoena for his tax returns and other financial records.

The legal fight is before the United States Supreme Court for a second time, with a ruling expected soon. Prosecutors have suggested in court filings that their investigation has expanded far beyond the hush money and is focused on a number of potential financial crimes, including insurance and bank-related fraud, tax evasion and grand larceny.

Mr. Trump has said the investigation is part of “the greatest witch hunt in history.” Both Mr. Vance and Ms. James are Democrats.

Ms. James’s civil investigation is focused on the Trump Organization’s business practices, though she can make a criminal referral and can seek authority from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration or the state comptroller to bring charges on her own.

Her inquiry began last year in March, after Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, told Congress that Mr. Trump had inflated his assets in financial statements to secure bank loans and understated them elsewhere to reduce his tax bill. In August, the attorney general’s office asked a judge to force the president’s son Eric Trump to testify in the inquiry, and he did so last month. Eric Trump is an executive vice president at the Trump Organization, running its day-to-day operations.

Investigators in Ms. James’s office have scrutinized a widening array of transactions. One of them is a 2010 financial restructuring of the Trump Hotel & Tower in Chicago, when the Fortress Credit Corporation forgave debt worth more than $100 million. The attorney general’s office said in court documents filed in August that the Trump Organization had thwarted efforts to determine how that money was reflected in its tax filings, and whether it was declared as income, as the law requires in most instances. The Times’s analysis of Mr. Trump’s financial records found that he had avoided federal income tax on almost all of the forgiven debt.

The attorney general’s office is also examining whether the Trump Organization used inflated appraisals when it received large tax breaks for promising to conserve land where its development efforts faltered, including at its Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, N.Y.

“The outcome of the election will have no impact on our investigations,” Ms. James said in a television interview this month, adding: “No one is above the law. We will just follow the facts and the evidence, wherever they lead us.

Mr. Trump has frequently assailed Ms. James, the latest in a string of New York attorneys general with whom he has clashed. Ms. James presided over the final stages of an investigation that led to the closing of his scandal-marred charitable foundation. She is also seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association, a key ally of the president.

They sue on everything, always in search of a crime,” he tweeted last year, though his own litigiousness is legendary. His campaign and its allies have filed more than two dozen lawsuits in recent days aimed at overturning the results of the election he lost this month.

The examination of fees apparently paid to his older daughter is likely to arouse even more vitriol from the outgoing president. And it raises questions about whether the payments were a tax-deductible way for him to compensate his children, or avoid gift taxes he might incur from transferring wealth to them, something Mr. Trump’s father had done through legally questionable schemes uncovered by The Times in 2018.

This is not the first investigation from the attorney general’s office to involve Mr. Trump’s children. As part of the settlement that led to the shuttering of the president’s charitable foundation, Ms. Trump and her brothers, who were board members, were to receive “training on the duties of officers and directors of charities so that they cannot allow the illegal activity they oversaw at the Trump Foundation to take place again,” according to the terms of the agreement.

In September, after a state judge rejected arguments from Trump lawyers to further delay a deposition of Eric Trump, the president’s son called the investigation “a continued political vendetta.”


Here’s a pretty good assessment of where Trump sees his ‘end game.’ This from actor Edward Norton. Worth a read.


This is good.

Updated at 3:09 p.m. ET

The chief executive over the Voice of America and its sister networks has acted unconstitutionally in investigating what he claimed was a deep-seated bias against President Trump by his own journalists, a federal judge has ruled.

Citing the journalists’ First Amendment protections, U.S. Judge Beryl Howell on Friday evening ordered U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack to stop interfering in the news service’s news coverage and editorial personnel matters. She struck a deep blow at Pack’s authority to continue to force the news agency to cover the president more sympathetically.

Actions by Pack and his aides have likely “violated and continue to violate [journalists’] First Amendment rights because, among other unconstitutional effects, they result in self-censorship and the chilling of First Amendment expression,” Howell wrote in her opinion. “These current and unanticipated harms are sufficient to demonstrate irreparable harm.”


Business Leaders, Citing Damage to Country, Urge Trump to Begin Transition

At the urging of New York’s attorney general, business leaders in New York push for the Trump administration to begin a transfer of power.