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👑 Portrait of a President

Trump and Putin have similarities expert on autocrats believes

Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have similarities expert on autocrats Masha Gessen, author of ‘Surviving Autocracy,’ believes. Gessen tells María Teresa Kumar, ‘Anxiety is the autocrat’s friend. I think Trump got elected by speaking in large part to the anxieties of the American people.’

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Messianic zeal for T as a far-right symbol in Germany…

WTF

“Trump is in Berlin!” the woman shouted from a small stage, as if to dedicate the imminent charge to him.

She was so convincing that several groups of far-right activists later showed up at the American Embassy and demanded an audience with Mr. Trump. “We know he’s in there!” they insisted.

Mr. Trump was neither in the embassy nor in Germany that day — and yet there he was. His face was emblazoned on banners, T-shirts and even on Germany’s pre-1918 imperial flag, popular with neo-Nazis in the crowd of 50,000 who had come to protest Germany’s pandemic restrictions. His name was invoked by many with messianic zeal.

It was only the latest evidence that Mr. Trump is emerging as a kind of cult figure in Germany’s increasingly varied far-right scene.

“Trump has become a savior figure, a sort of great redeemer for the German far right,” said Miro Dittrich, an expert on far-right extremism at the Berlin-based Amadeu-Antonio-Foundation.

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This thread is a hard look at the “adderall” incident that happened yesterday.

It’s a bit disgusting, but goes into how FIVE times he ejected something from his mouth or nose and it is possibly related to drug abuse.

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:flushed: :sigh:

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Don’t let it get you down. I did a thread about this, and a post elsewhere on here.

The person who nominated him is one of the two hard-right lawmakers who did so in 2018, AFTER he had two forged submissions.

His chances of winning are still nil. Ahead of him? WHO, Greta Thunberg, Jacinda Ardern, and Black Lives Matter, to name a few. All told, this is going to be another embarrassing failure for Donnie.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGNlnIAYcok

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Trump confirmed that he’d told journalist Bob Woodward the virus was easily transmitted and far more deadly than the flu at a time he was telling Americans not to worry about an outbreak he said would fade away. The revelation led swiftly to Democratic accusations that Trump had misled or outright lied to the public about the threat posed by the pandemic.

Trump’s comments lay bare a response that relied on rosy messaging over painstaking coordination with states to curb the spread of the virus. They also confirm anxieties that some voters have expressed to pollsters and others: That their leader again and again failed to take seriously a national emergency that has drastically altered their lives.

As the president minimized a threat he privately warned about, his administration lagged in laying out and enforcing measures to effectively slow the spread. And he has repeatedly discounted and contradicted the advice of his health experts, including his own recommendation that people wear a mask.

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We knew it then, we know it now, but the CYA of Saudi Crown Prince MBS is shameful.
More of the same WTFery…

What portrait does this portray of T? He’s boasting about his prowess to Woodward. WTF

  • President Donald Trump bragged that he protected Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the assassination and dismembering of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • "I saved his a–," Trump said amid the US outcry over Khashoggi’s killing, according to Bob Woodward’s new book. "I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop."
  • The president also told Woodward he doesn’t believe MBS ordered Khashoggi’s murder, despite the fact that the US and other foreign intelligence services concluded he personally ordered the attack.
  • After Khashoggi’s murder, Trump bypassed Congress to sell roughly $8 billion in arms to the Saudis and the UAE, and vetoed a trio of resolutions blocking the sale as well as a resolution to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

President Donald Trump bragged that he protected Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) from congressional scrutiny after the brutal assassination of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

That’s according to veteran reporter Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, “Rage.” The book, a copy of which was obtained by Insider, is slated for release on September 15.

Woodward conducted 18 wide-ranging interviews with the president for the book, as well as interviews with multiple senior White House officials and former administration officials. Still, Trump last month slammed the book as "a FAKE, as always, just as many of the others have been."

Woodward wrote that Trump called him on January 22 shortly after attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. During the conversation, Woodward pressed the president about Khashoggi’s gruesome murder.

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O-M-G!! :intense screaming:

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Watch: President Trump News Conference, SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

President Trump holds a news conference at the White House before heading to Michigan for campaign remarks.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?475656-1/president-trump-news-conference&live

Video thread on Twitter :point_down:

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I watched. It was insane. It began with rambling attacks on Biden and puffery about his performance, went to questions where he deflected from the expected focus on the Woodward revelations, then back to attacks on Biden courtesy of an OANN-planted question.

My thread on that. If it makes no sense, blame Trump.

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Public health officials, including Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, have blamed indoor dining, drinking and social events for seeding summer outbreaks. And a new study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people who tested positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to have dined out recently as those who tested negative.

In a campaign visit to Pennsylvania last week, Trump called restrictions on restaurants a “disgrace” and baselessly linked them to a conspiracy to hurt his re-election campaign, even as Birx praised the state’s cautious approach to reopening this month.

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Trump Just Couldn’t Stop Himself from Spilling His Guts to Bob Woodward

The president’s ego got in the way of his own self-preservation, leading to 18 interviews with the famed journalist. “It actually reflects how deeply insecure he is about his own self-worth,” Trump biographer Tim O’Brien told the Times .

Donald Trump ’s aides knew this would happen. Like the lawyers who didn’t want him to sit for interviews with Robert Mueller , fully aware that he would incriminate himself, many around the president knew that talking to Bob Woodward was among the dumber things he could do from a self-preservation standpoint. A lot of the time, it’s in public figures’ interest to talk to journalists, especially if the end result will be unflattering. Participating allows them, at the very least, to get their side of the story out there. But Trump is an exception to this rule: No matter how damning a portrayal will be, it can only be made worse by him opening his mouth.

That didn’t stop him, though. One of the narcissist’s defects is believing that everyone else finds him as charming as he himself does. Though Woodward had decimated him in his 2018 book, Fear , the president seemed to believe that if he could only talk to the legendary journalist—the guy whose reporting with Carl Bernstein ultimately sunk Nixon—he could get him to see things his way. Aides tried to keep him from talking. He didn’t listen. “You don’t talk the president out of things,” a White House staffer remarked to Politico earlier this week.

His judgment, once again, proved poor: Nothing reported about Trump is likely to be as damning as his own words about the coronavirus crisis in his interviews with Woodward. In the course of the 18 —18!—conversations he had with Woodward, the president casually revealed that he knew that COVID-19 was far deadlier than the flu, spread through the air, and posed a major threat to Americans’ lives and livelihoods, but intentionally played down the danger in his public comments. The president and his propagandist, Kayleigh McEnany , have twisted themselves into pretzels trying to convince Americans that he wasn’t lying to their faces and was instead “expressing calm” to avoid inciting panic. (And yet, terrifying Americans seems integral to Trump’s reelection strategy). But the truth of the matter is can’t be spun away: The president got Americans killed. How many of the nearly 200,000 dead Americans could have been saved if he had taken action sooner, if his administration had consistently treated it as the crisis it is? How many died because they believed the president when he insisted COVID-19 was like the “sniffles?” How many people got sick because they didn’t wear masks, went about their lives as if things were normal, not taking the virus seriously—all because Trump didn’t either? It’s absolutely abominable.

It’s also, politically speaking, one of the more astonishing own-goals in the history of the presidency. As David Frum pointed out, why, if he knew how bad it could get, didn’t he do anything, if for no other reason than to save his own ass? And why, after misleading the public about the scope of the crisis, did he tell all that to Woodward? Most of us still would have known that he had recklessly minimized the threat of the virus to keep up appearances, costing hundreds of thousands of lives—but he could have maintained some plausible deniability by not straight-up admitting that’s what he was doing. Instead, he didn’t just spill the secret to Woodward; he volunteered it.

Why? Because, as the Trump biographer and Bloomberg writer Tim O’Brien put it to the New York Times on Thursday, “he can’t help himself.” Woodward is a towering figure in political journalism, having chronicled decades of presidencies and bringing down one. “Bob Woodward is somebody that I respect, just from hearing the name for many, many years,” Trump told reporters Thursday. “Not knowing too much about his work, not caring about his work.” Talking to Woodward was just another step in his sad, 74-year quest for validation: If this important man wants to talk to me, I must be important, too . “[Woodward is] sort of the establishment media’s version of Zeus, and I think that makes him irresistible to Mr. Trump, in particular,” said O’Brien, who interviewed Trump for a 2005 biography. “It actually reflects how deeply insecure he is about his own self-worth.”

Other presidents, of course, have granted interviews to Woodward. But Trump seemed to treat him as if he were a confidante like Sean Hannity , phoning the journalist at night and spouting off about his love for Kim Jong Un and boasting that he “saved” Mohammed bin Salman for allegedly ordering the grisly murder and dismemberment of American resident Jamal Khashoggi. These are objectively grotesque and weird things to brag about. Trump, though, seemed to think they would impress Woodward. Indeed, the president went to at-times comic lengths to show off to the journalist. As CNN reports, Trump’s efforts to woo Woodward included “giving a tour of the Oval Office, discussing his preference for long neckties, and showing Woodward the hideaway office, which he smirked and called the ‘Monica Room,’ a reference to Monica Lewinsky .”

If Woodward’s reporting reaffirms Trump’s utter rottenness and unfitness for office, Trump’s participation in the book underscores his obliviousness and his desperate, all-consuming insecurity. Beating back that insecurity, of course, has been his lifelong project. For years, these naked neuroses made him a tabloid joke. Now, they’ve made him a threat to public health. He is, as always, completely at the mercy of his impulses, completely consumed by his need to prove himself, even to those who are allegedly close to him: “Honey,” he bragged to his wife, Melania Trump , at one point during the reporting of Rage , “I’m talking to Bob Woodward.”

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:flushed::confused::joy:

He only understands celebrity, not the person. It’s so terrible and funny at the same time. What a meathead!

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Exactly. He did not begin to comprehend the implications, or that he could not win him over, or that it would all come out. He’s so blind.

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Trump said he wanted to have sex with Michael Cohen’s daughter — when she was just 15-years-old: report

“He Had a Twisted Umbilical Cord to Trump”: Michael Cohen’s Daughter Reflects On His Time With the President, and Becoming Trumpworld “Collateral Damage”

Samantha Cohen never liked Donald Trump—especially after her dad paid the price for spending years by his side. Here, she talks Trump’s creepy sexual comments, Ivanka’s iciness, and her friendship with Tiffany: “I know there’s no way she believes that s–t.”

It was a hot, sticky summer, the way Michael Cohen tells it, not unlike the one the nation is currently pulling itself out of. It was 2012, another election year, and he had taken his family to Bedminster, New Jersey, for a day of playing tennis and hanging by the pool at the club owned by his then boss, Donald Trump . At the time the job perk seemed like a real chit. Cohen was years away from watching the favors he did on behalf of his boss blow up in his face. It was well before he paid a hush money settlement to Stormy Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 election, which ultimately landed him in prison and in front of congressional and criminal investigators. And it was ages before he published a tell-all about his time in Trumpworld, aptly called Disloyal , out this week.

That summer day felt like all the others before it, standing alongside Trump outside the pool area, discussing what Cohen writes was “some pressing business matter, like the size of the breasts of a woman sunbathing on a lounge chair.” Somehow Trump’s attention was diverted to another skirt walking off a tennis court. “Look at that piece of ass,” Cohen recalls Trump saying, as he whistled and pointed. “I would love some of that.” It so happened that Trump was referring to Cohen’s then 15-year-old daughter, Samantha.

Cohen informed Trump of his mistake. “That’s your daughter?” Trump responded. “When did she get so hot?” When Samantha reached her dad, Trump asked her for a kiss on the cheek, before inquiring, “When did you get such a beautiful figure?” and warning her that in a few years, he would be dating one of her friends.

It’s a detail that strikes for obvious reasons: Trump’s history of icky comments about his own daughter Ivanka ; the dozens of allegations of sexual misconduct that have been made against him over the years (all of which he denies); the comments he made on the Access Hollywood tape about being able to “grab” women by their genitals because he was famous. At the time, Cohen writes, Samantha wanted him to quit working for Trump. Not because of his comment about her looks, but because of the way he had demeaned her father over the years, put him down, and prevented him from making strides in his career. “She was 15 years old and she saw Trump much more clearly than I could,” he writes. “Samantha said she was sick and tired of the way Trump demeaned and degraded me, as if he needed to keep me in my place.… This was part of his cult-leader persona—his slow, incremental, relentless way of saying nasty things to me about my abilities and intelligence, things that weren’t true, until some part of me started to believe them.”

Samantha, now 24 and a straight-talking, steely graduate of the University of Pennsylvania like Trump’s own daughters, told me that she believes her dad had a sort of Stockholm syndrome. In a wide-ranging interview earlier this week, she discussed why she thinks her father remained loyal; Ivanka’s iciness; her friendship with younger daughter Tiffany ; what happened the day federal agents executed search warrants on her home; and what it’s like to be at the center of a political storm beyond her control. She is a member of the scandal-adjacent, an offstage character unwittingly marked by her association with the Trumps, trying to make sense of it all. It’s a growing club, as more and more people in Trump’s orbit meet their downfall. “Samantha can tell that story better than anyone else,” Michael Cohen told me this week. Our conversation has been condensed and edited.

Emily Jane Fox: The book contains a stunning story about Trump making a comment about how you looked when you were 15.

Samantha Cohen : There are so many creepy men, and it was hardly the first comment like that I’d heard. It was almost meaningless to me at the moment because I’d heard them before. If you can hit on a 15-year-old, I am pretty sure there is something wrong with you, and when you allow someone with that little integrity to be in the most powerful office, that sets the tone for the rest of the country’s culture.

Isn’t that also a power move over your dad?

Well, if you would have asked me, I would have given a different account of the interaction. My dad always tuned out everything negative Trump said about him, but what I remember was Trump saying, “Thank God she got those looks from her mother. She certainly didn’t get them from you.” That’s the part that stood out to me. I was not desensitized to someone putting down my dad and insulting him and degrading him. That was one of the reasons I hated Trump so much. It always felt like, God forbid my dad came close to not needing him. If my dad had any successes outside of the Trump Organization, Trump cut his bonus or cut his salary. He would find ways to undermine my dad in the office. Trump was holding him back. He had a twisted umbilical cord to Trump.

How old were you when he started working for Trump?

Eleven or 12. I was really young, and I knew we lived in a Trump building, and my grandparents lived in a Trump building, and The Apprentice was the biggest show at the time. I thought it was cool, probably. But Trump occupied 99.9% of my dad’s time, and he was blatantly mean to him. Before my dad started working with Trump, he drove me to school every single morning. He had a blue Bentley Arnage and would take me each morning, and then he’d always be home when I got home every single afternoon. He was always around. [Then] suddenly his entire life became about Trump. We’d be on vacation and he’d be down the beach trying to get cell signal. When my dad says the first call and last call of Trump’s day were to him, I can tell you without any question how accurate that is because I was there for all of it.

Why do you think he was enmeshed?

I really think he had Stockholm syndrome. That’s the only way I can put it. He saw how Trump treated his own children and how mean he was to them, and I think he thought that if he’s treating me like that, then I am part of the family. That was hard for me to understand at the time, but then I realized that he spent 10 hours a day with him, and he had this whole second life. He was correct when he says he was attracted to the power and the allure, but he also believed he loved Trump. When he loves someone he would do anything for them, and unfortunately he came to care about the wrong person.

What was your relationship like with the Trump family?

At the beginning my dad and Don Jr . were really close. At the very beginning we had a big family dinner in Palm Beach. My dad used to tell me how mean Trump was to Don Jr. and how badly he felt for him. Ivanka lived in our building. She would totally ignore me if she ever saw me. I always found it so strange because she loved my dad. She came over one night because he made his “famous” lasagna. Whenever we were alone, though, she’d look past me. One time she told on me after she saw me smoking cigarettes outside of our building. It was so lame. I had an interaction with her last year. It was a couple of months before my dad got sentenced. I was walking out of the building. I knew that she was in town because Secret Service was everywhere. I walked out of the building and she was standing waiting for her driver. She saw me and I thought she was going to ignore me, as she had the rest of my life. But she grabbed my arm and said, “We all feel so terribly about what’s happening to your dad. Our hearts are breaking for him. I’m so sorry that this happened to you guys,” in this high-pitched, sugary voice. I knew how fake it was. I have no idea why she said that to me because I know she doesn’t care, and it was too late to send a message to my dad. I don’t know if she was trying to make herself feel better, or if she did it for show because there were other people in the lobby. It just felt like someone threw a bucket of slime on me because it was so phony and gross. But no one actually gave a rat’s ass about my dad or my mom or my brother or me. We were all, as my dad likes to say, collateral damage.

Tiffany and I had a mutual friend, but she knew who my dad was because Trump never wanted to deal with her, [so] my dad was helpful to her. We got super close, and whenever she’d be in New York we’d go out together. When I was a junior in high school, I went to visit her at Penn and stayed with her, and when I got into Penn she was one of my closest friends. This isn’t anything she’s explicitly said to me, but it can’t be easy being made to feel your entire life like you’re unwanted. I won’t speak to her now, but if I could, I would say something. When I see her speaking at the RNC, I know there’s no way she believes that shit. She has friends who are gay. She’s an Ivy League–educated woman. There’s no way that she thinks that any of this is a good idea, and her dad treated her like shit her whole life.

Why do you think she’s doing it, then?

She never really got the perks of being a Trump kid before. But this is how and when she wants it? Being part of the most hated family in America?

You interned in the Trump White House, right?

Yes. I was a poli sci major at the time, and I thought that working as a White House intern would look good on my résumé. Melania really liked me, or Melania and my dad were exceptionally close. I got a job working in the East Wing. I was there for about a week and I truly thought I was going to go crazy. No one was doing anything. Zero work was done. I would sit at my computer screen just staring. Everyone looked like Kellyanne Conway . I wanted to quit and called my dad. He told me to give him one day to turn it around. He called Omarosa [Manigault Newman] , who told him to get me over to her office and I could shadow her for the rest of my time there. So I did.

What has the blowback been like for you?

A lot of doors did close to me. There were employers at dream jobs who I’d been speaking with at the time who just ghosted me because of the association with my dad. At the time I was studying really hard for the LSAT. I was working with a counselor who told me that I wasn’t going to get in anywhere because of it. Socially, friends I’d had my entire life were nervous to have me in their house. I was in a relationship at the time, and the private equity firm where he was going to work did a background check and I came up as what they deemed a “reputational hazard,” and he dumped me.

My dad and I didn’t speak at the start of the campaign for two to three months. It was the comment about Mexicans that really threw me over the edge. Before this I didn’t think Trump was a flaming racist. But I realized that Trump will turn into anything if it meant getting elected. That scared me. There was no bottom to how low Trump would go. He’d just keep going lower and lower and lower to get further and further and further. I never thought he would win, but I thought it would change the shape of politics for a very long time. I kept saying to my dad, “This is going to be so bad, and you are insane for being part of this.”

Not only has it been a nightmare for the country, but it turned into a nightmare personally too. Can we talk about the day of the raid?

I woke up at my then boyfriend’s apartment. I shared a trainer with my mom at the time, and the trainer had texted me saying that she wasn’t sure what was going on, but that my mom had told her not to come and to tell me not to come home until she contacts you. Things had taken a weird turn already before this because of the Stormy Daniels stuff. I was freaked out and called everyone—my dad, my mom, my brother—and no one answered. We were living in a hotel at the time because the apartment had flooded, and when I got back the people who worked there were all looking at me weirdly. When I got up to our floor, there were 10 federal agents in the hallway. I couldn’t understand any of it. I told them that I lived there and asked where my parents were. So they let me in, and my parents were in their pajamas. They didn’t handcuff them, but they weren’t even in real clothes. I started freaking out, but my dad told me that I had to let them do whatever they wanted. I went downstairs to get coffee and food, and they were in my room. I was like, “What the hell? Why are you going through my things?” They were in my underwear drawer taking photos of everything, where I kept my secret stash of cigarettes. They went through every single item of my clothing taking photos. I could not believe that it came to that.

What is your personal takeaway from what has happened?

People are so quick to jump to conclusions and make assumptions. People are complex. People are flawed. People are different versions of themselves in different aspects of their lives. My dad was villainized over the last several years by the same people who are now praising him for standing up and telling the truth. I get that people are angry. I get that people hate Trump. But think about the effect that has on a person, on their family, on the people who love them. The level of hatred and vitriol thrown at us terrifies me. When I was walking my dad into court for his sentencing, I had just gotten hip surgery and was on crutches, and the internet went crazy calling me Tiny Tim. People tried to dig stuff up on me. Reporters were sniffing around.

You were the subject of attention because you had posted photos of parties when your dad was in the thick of things. The New York Post wrote about you going to a charity event right after he was sentenced.

I needed to do something that made me feel normal, more like myself. I had people who were in my social circle asking how I could go out and show my face. I had to continue having some semblance of normalcy because my entire life was upside down. For anyone who judges me for having maintained a social life or for posting on Instagram, what use is it to judge how anyone chooses to try and make it through a hard time? I just tried to go on feeling like myself.

Are you able to feel like yourself now?

I’ve changed a lot. I had major health trauma over the last two years that coincided with this. While I was having multiple surgeries for endometriosis, you couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing my dad’s face. I couldn’t open up Apple News without reading something about him. I lost utter faith in the justice system. I lost utter faith in the media. I lost utter faith in my relationships. That was a really difficult place to come out of.

I am still angry. But my dad is also my best friend and the best dad ever. Throughout my entire health situation, he was being hounded by all of his lawyers and calls from Congress and investigators, and he would sleep in the hospital with me. He took care of me as long as he was home. We’re abnormally close, so what happened to him really hurt me. As difficult as it was for me because I was so angry at him—for blowing up our lives, for taking away opportunities from me, for destroying my world as I was trying to find my footing—I also internalized a lot that was being thrown at him. It hurt me more than it hurt him at times. He has thick skin.

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Finding news on what the President could be charged with just reminds me of how hated T is within certain parts of the country, and particularly in New York where T’s malfeasance - bankruptcies, lies and misdeeds have always irked New Yorkers. I learned what the title of Woodward’s book - Rage means, and Woodward says that T knows that he brings up a lot of rage for people. This is a supreme example - sending him to trial and jail, with no pardons available in the Civil courts area (DA Vance’s area.)

Here, according to the legal experts, is how Trump could become the first former president in American history to find himself on trial — and perhaps even behind bars.

You might think, given all the crimes Trump has bragged about committing during his time in office, that the primary path to prosecuting him would involve the U.S. Justice Department. If Joe Biden is sworn in as president in January, his attorney general will inherit a mountain of criminal evidence against Trump accumulated by Robert Mueller and a host of inspectors general and congressional oversight committees. After the DOJ’s incoming leadership is briefed on any sensitive matters contained in the evidence, federal prosecutors will move forward with their investigations of Trump “at the fastest pace they can,” says Mary McCord, a former deputy assistant attorney general.

They’ll have plenty of potential charges to choose from. Both Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee — a Republican-led panel — have extensively documented how Trump committed obstruction of justice (18 U.S. Code § 73), lied to investigators (18 U.S. Code § 1001), and conspired with Russian intelligence to commit an offense against the United States (18 U.S. Code § 371). All three crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison — per charge. According to legal experts, federal prosecutors could be ready to indict Trump on one or more of these felonies as early as the first quarter of 2021.

But prosecuting Trump for any crimes he committed as president would face two significant and perhaps fatal hurdles. First, on his way out of office, Trump could decide to preemptively pardon himself. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he issues a broad, sweeping pardon for any U.S. citizen who was a subject, a target, or a person of interest of the Mueller investigation,” says Norm Eisen, who served as counsel to House Democrats during Trump’s impeachment. Since scholars are divided on whether a self-pardon would be constitutional, what happens next would depend almost entirely on which judge ruled on the issue. “One judge might say, ‘Sorry, presidential pardons is something the Constitution grants exclusively to the president, so I’m going to dismiss this,’ ” says Gershman. “Another judge might say, ‘No, the president can’t pardon himself.’ ” Either way, the case would almost certainly wind up getting litigated all the way to the Supreme Court, perhaps more than once, causing a long delay.

Even if the courts ultimately ruled a self-pardon unconstitutional, another big hurdle would remain: Trump’s claims that “executive privilege” bars prosecutors from obtaining evidence of presidential misconduct. The provision has traditionally been limited to shielding discussions between presidents and their advisers from external scrutiny. But Trump has attempted to expand the protection to include pretty much anything that he or anyone in the executive branch has ever done. William Consovoy, one of Trump’s lawyers, famously argued in federal court that even if Trump gunned someone down in the street while he was president, he could not be prosecuted for it while in office. Although the courts have repeatedly ruled against such sweeping arguments, Trump will continue to claim immunity from the judicial process after he leaves office — a surefire delaying tactic. “If federal charges were ever brought, it is unlikely that a trial would be scheduled or start anytime in the foreseeable future,” says Timothy W. Hoover, president of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. By the time any federal charges come to trial, Trump is likely to be either senile or dead. Even if he broke the law as president, the experts agree, he may well get away with it.

But federal charges aren’t the likeliest way that The People v. Donald J. Trump will play out. State laws aren’t subject to presidential pardons, and they cover a host of crimes beyond those committed in the White House. When it comes to charging a former president, state attorneys general and county prosecutors can go places a U.S. Attorney can’t.

According to legal experts, the man most likely to drag Trump into court is the district attorney for Manhattan, Cyrus Vance Jr. It’s a surprising scenario, given Vance’s well-deserved reputation as someone who has gone easy on the rich and famous. After taking office in 2010, he sought to reduce Jeffrey Epstein’s status as a sex offender, dropped an investigation into whether Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. had committed fraud in the marketing of the Trump Soho, and initially decided not to prosecute Harvey Weinstein despite solid evidence of his sex crimes. “He has a reputation for being particularly cautious when it comes to going after rich people, because he knows that those are the ones who can afford the really formidable law firms,” says Victoria Bassetti, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice who served on the team of lawyers that oversaw the Senate impeachment trial of Bill Clinton. “And like most prosecutors, Vance is exceptionally protective of his win-loss rate.”

But it was Vance who stepped up when the federal case against Trump faltered. “He’s a politician,” observes Martin Sheil, a former IRS criminal investigator. “He’s got his finger up. He knows which way the wind’s blowing, and he knows the wind in New York is blowing against Trump. It’s in his political interest to join that bandwagon.”

Last year, after U.S. Attorneys in the Southern District dropped their investigation into the hush money that Trump had paid Stormy Daniels, Vance took up the case. Suspecting that l’affaire Stormy might prove to be part of a larger pattern of shady dealings, his office started digging into Trump’s finances. What Vance is investigating, according to court filings, is evidence of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization,” potentially involving bank fraud, tax fraud, and insurance fraud. The New York Times has detailed how Trump and his family have long falsified records to avoid taxes, and during testimony before Congress in 2019, Trump’s longtime fixer Michael Cohen stated that Trump had inflated the value of his assets to obtain a bank loan.

Crucially, all of these alleged crimes occurred before Trump took office. That means no claims of executive privilege would apply to any charges Vance might bring, and no presidential pardon could make them go away. A whole slew of potential objections and delays would be ruled out right off the bat. What’s more, the alleged offenses took place less than six years ago, within the statute of limitation for fraud in New York. Vance, in other words, is free to go after Trump not as a crooked president but as a common crook who happened to get elected president. And the fact that he has been pursuing these cases while Trump is president is a sign that he won’t be intimidated by the stature of the office after Trump leaves it.

In writing up an indictment against Trump, Vance’s team could try to string together a laundry list of offenses in hopes of presenting an overwhelming wall of guilt. But that approach, experts warn, can become confusing. “A two- or three-count indictment is easier to explain to a jury,” says Ilene Jaroslaw, a former assistant U.S. Attorney. “If they think the person had criminal intent, it doesn’t matter if it’s two counts or 20 counts, in most cases, because the sentence will be the same.”

There are two main charges that Vance is likely to pursue. The first is falsifying business records (N.Y. Penal Law § 175.10). During Cohen’s trial, federal prosecutors filed a sentencing memorandum that explained how the Trump Organization had mischaracterized hush-money payments as “legal expenses” in its bookkeeping. Under New York law, falsifying records by itself is only a misdemeanor, but if it results in the commission of another crime, it becomes a felony. And false business records frequently lead to another offense: tax fraud (N.Y. Tax Law § 1806).

If Trump cooked his books, observes Sheil, that false information would essentially “flow into the tax returns.” The first crime begets the second, making both the bookkeeper and the tax accountant liable. “Since you have several folks involved,” Sheil says, “you could either bring a conspiracy charge, maximum sentence five years, or you could charge each individual with aiding and abetting the preparation of a false tax return, with a max sentence of three years.”

To build a fraud case against Trump, Vance subpoenaed his financial records. But those records alone won’t be enough: To secure a conviction, Vance will need to convince a jury not only that Trump cheated on his taxes but that he intended to do so. “If you just have the documents, the defense will say that defendant didn’t have criminal intent,” Jaroslaw explains. “I call it the ‘I’m an idiot’ defense: ‘I made a mistake. I didn’t mean to do anything.’ ” Unfortunately for Trump, both Cohen and his longtime accountant, Allen Weisselberg, have already signaled their willingness to cooperate with prosecutors. “What’s great about having an accountant in the witness stand is that they can tell you about the conversation they had with the client,” Jaroslaw says.

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Trump’s Doral Hotel to Host a Confab of Anti-Vaxxers and Leading QAnon Champions

MAGA world meets science deniers with a large scoop of conspiracy theorists on top.

Donald Trump has pinned his re-election hopes on a coronavirus vaccine. As the death toll from the pandemic approaches 200,000, the president has hyped up his administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine effort and claimed, in the face of expert opinion, that a vaccine could be available within four weeks. His party, in turn, has chastised anyone who has suggested that he may be politicizing vaccine development as an anti-vaxxer.

But next month, as the COVID-19 virus could very well be entering an expected second wave, one of Trump’s hotels will become a hub for anti-vaccine activism. Some of the most notorious figures in the anti-vaccine movement are set to converge on the president’s Trump National Doral Miami resort in early October for a MAGA-world conference.

The anti-vaccine figures won’t be the only fringe GOP movement represented at Trump’s property during the American Priority Conference or “AMPFest,” which runs between Oct. 8 and Oct 11. They’ll be joined by top QAnon conspiracy theory promoters, including one with a history of anti-Semitic remarks.

There’s even a pool party.

Anti-vaccine heavyweights Robert Kennedy Jr. and Del Bigtree are scheduled to appear in early October at Doral Miami for the MAGA-heavy AMPFest, a conglomeration of Trumpworld personalities now in its third year that was started by a handful of conservative internet activists as a more explicitly pro-Trump alternative to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Kennedy, who has become perhaps the leading anti-vaccine figure in the country while being denounced by other members of his own family, appears near the top of AMPFest’s program. So does Bigtree, who once donned a Nazi-style Jewish star in opposition to government mandates for people to take the measles vaccine.

Kennedy even qualifies as a headliner on AMPFest advertisements online, pictured alongside other scheduled speakers like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), former Trump adviser Roger Stone, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza.

Bigtree and Kennedy aren’t the only anti-vaccine movement figures set to appear at AMPFest. The speakers’ list also includes Dr. Shannon Kroner, the head of a group devoted to preserving religious exemptions to vaccine mandates, and Dr. James Neuenschwander, a doctor who’s appeared on Bigtree’s online show and suggested—wrongly—that autism is tied to vaccines.

The prominence of anti-vaccine figures on the AMPFest program marks a change for American Priority, whose earlier conferences didn’t prominently feature vaccine opponents. And it comes amid a flood of medical disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. AMPFest’s 2019 iteration became briefly infamous after the conference played an edited video from 2014 action movie Kingsman: The Secret Service that showed Trump massacring his political critics and media figures in a church.

The Trump Organization didn’t respond to a request for comment about the anti-vaccine figures appearing at Doral Miami. American Priority president Alex Phillips didn’t address the new prominence of anti-vaccine figures on this year’s program in an email to The Daily Beast, writing instead that AMPFest’s doesn’t have “ideological purity tests” for speakers.

“We as an organization respect the sanctity of free speech and free association as a cornerstone of the American constitution,” Phillips wrote in an email to The Daily Beast.

AMPFest attendees who pony up for the $300 general admission ticket or a $2,500 VIP ticket—as well as a $36 boxed lunch with sandwich, cookies, and soda if COVID-19 restrictions force the hotel to close its restaurants—will also be treated to a series of more mundane MAGA-world activities. There’s a speech from Stone, a pool party featuring “MAGA DJ” duo Milk N Cooks, and the debut of a swimsuit line designed by Simona Mangiante, the wife of former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

AMPFest is scheduled to feature a rogue’s gallery of MAGA internet characters. Tina Forte, a trash-talking anti-mask activist who has risen to fame on the right during the pandemic for viral, expletive-filled rants in which she rages against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), is also set to appear. So is anti-Muslim figure Laura Loomer, now a Republican House candidate running a longshot campaign in the Florida congressional district that includes Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

The speaker’s line-up also includes Matt Couch, an internet conspiracy theorist being sued by the brother of murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.

QAnon conspiracy theory promoters are also set to appear at Doral Miami. Tracy Diaz, who uses the alias “Tracy Beanz” online, was one of the first QAnon promoters and is scheduled to speak at AMPFest. So is DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, a failed GOP congressional candidate and QAnon supporter who was recently hired at conspiracy theory outlet InfoWars.

AMPFest’s line-up also includes Zach Vorhies, a conspiracy theorist with a history of anti-Semitic remarks. Vorhies initially earned some fame on the right after serving as a “whistleblower” for undercover conservative operative James O’Keefe. But Vorhies has a long record of anti-Semitic remarks, once alleging that “Zionists” killed Andrew Breitbart and that Israel planned 9/11.

Vorhies has used tweets with the “echo parentheses” used by white supremacists to denote Jewish people and the phrase “ZOG,” a white supremacist term for the idea that the United States is a “Zionist Occupied Government.”

Despite his history of anti-Semitic remarks, Vorhies has become a prominent figure on the fringe right, and played a key role in disseminating Plandemic, the viral coronavirus disinformation video.

In 2019, The Washington Post reported that Doral Miami’s receipts had plummeted over the last two years, with its net operating income dropping by 69 percent over two years. The president himself seems acutely aware of the hotel’s financial situation. In the fall of 2019, he decided to schedule the G7 meeting there despite widespread outcry that it was a blatant use of his office for personal enrichment. He eventually backed down.

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After an early coronavirus warning, Trump is distracted as he downplays threat

In explaining why he repeatedly misled the American public about the early dangers posed by the novel coronavirus, President Trump has argued that he did not want to engender panic — and suggested that his actions showed he took the looming pandemic seriously.

But a detailed review of the 10-day period from late January, when Trump was first warned about the scale of the threat, and early February — when he acknowledged to author Bob Woodward the extent of the danger the virus posed — reveals a president who took relatively few serious measures to ready the nation for its arrival.

Instead, enabled by top administration officials, Trump largely attempted to pretend the virus did not exist — spending much of his time distracted by impeachment and exacting vengeance on his political enemies. He also carried on as usual with showy political gatherings and crowded White House events.

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When news broke on Friday that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died, President Trump was just five minutes into a campaign rally in Minnesota and aides opted not to pass word to him onstage. If he announced the death of the liberal justice from the lectern, they feared the crowd would cheer.

But cheers that would have looked unseemly one night were welcomed in another form a night later as the next rally crowd chanted, “Fill that seat!” To a president lagging in the polls, the chance to fill a Supreme Court vacancy has become a political lifeline, a chance to mobilize supporters and talk about something, anything, other than the coronavirus that has killed 200,000 Americans.

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