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The Latest – Tuesday, December 1

:zap: A community space for breaking news :zap:

A daily community thread to collect updates and events pertinent to the daily shock and awe, this is The Latest.

:warning: This thread has ended. The discussion continues: The Latest – Tuesday, December 2

What we’re talking about


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Bill Barr just admitted there is no evidence of election fraud and Biden won.

Good-bye, Mr. Barr.


Mary Trump is writing a book called “The Reckoning” on how the country can heal from the effects of Trump and his lot. From a psychologist’s vantage point and someone who knows T, she will provide some healing and ‘balm’ for the trauma that T has inflicted on the nation.

Donald Trump’s niece Mary Trump will follow her bestselling exposé of her dysfunctional family life with a new book on “America’s national trauma”, her publisher has announced.

Too Much and Never Enough review: Mary Trump thumps Donald

The Reckoning will be published by St Martin’s Press in July 2021. According to St Martin’s, it “will examine America’s national trauma, rooted in our history but dramatically exacerbated by the impact of current events and the Trump administration’s corrupt and immoral policies”.

Mary Trump is the daughter of Fred Trump Jr, the president’s older brother who died aged 42 in 1981, from illness relating to alcoholism. Much of Mary Trump’s first book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, was informed by her father’s treatment by his siblings and parents.

The Trump family sought to block publication but the book, published by Simon & Schuster, became an enormous hit, selling 1.35m copies in its first week alone.

The president’s niece, a trained psychologist, has since emerged as a prominent critic. “I don’t think he has any political ideology,” she told the Guardian in July. “I would say he behaves like a white supremacist, certainly.”

In a statement on Tuesday, Mary Trump said: “For four years, Donald Trump has inflicted a series of traumas upon the American people, targeting anyone he perceived as the ‘other’ as an enemy.

“Women were discounted and derided, the sick were dismissed as weak and unworthy of help, immigrants and minorities were demonized and discriminated against, and money was elevated above all else.

“Finally, he demonstrated his stunning lack of concern for the American people with his willful mishandling of the pandemic and the ensuing economic collapse. In short, he transformed our country into a macro version of my malignantly dysfunctional family.”

Trump is currently refusing to concede defeat to Joe Biden, while making baseless claims of electoral fraud, pursuing long-shot lawsuits and encouraging rumors that he may run for president again in four years’ time.

Jennifer Enderlin, St Martin’s president and publisher, said Mary Trump was “uniquely positioned … to make sense of the consequences of our living through what could be the greatest mental health crisis we have ever experienced as a nation.”

St Martin’s Press said: “America is suffering from PTSD – a new leader alone cannot fix us.”

President Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, is set to release a second book that will “examine America’s national trauma” and her uncle’s “corrupt and immoral policies.”

Mary Trump, a clinical psychologist, will release “The Reckoning” on July 20.

Trump earlier this year released a tell-all memoir about the Trump family and the president. “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” sold more than 950,000 copies in pre-orders and first-day sales on July 14.


Barr is keeping one iron in the fire - keeping John Durham in as a Special Counsel and working on whether the FBI messed up in the Mueller investigation. It is cover for Barr’s assertions that FBI did wrong, and also keeps alive the notion that the FBI is corrupt, which T and his supporters want.

Attorney General William Barr has given extra protection to the prosecutor he appointed to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, giving him the authority of a special counsel to complete his work without being easily fired.

Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel in October under the same federal statute that governed special counsel Robert Mueller in the original Russia probe. He said Durham’s investigation has been narrowing to focus more on the conduct of FBI agents who worked on the Russia investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane.

The investigations grew out of allegations of cooperation between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russians to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

With the 2020 election approaching, Barr told the AP on Tuesday, “I decided the best thing to do would be to appoint them under the same regulation that covered Bob Mueller, to provide Durham and his team some assurance that they’d be able to complete their work regardless of the outcome of the election.”

The current investigation, a criminal probe, had begun very broadly but has since “narrowed considerably” and now “really is focused on the activities of the crossfire hurricane investigation within the FBI,” Barr said. He said he expects Durham would detail whether any additional prosecutions will be brought and make public a report of the investigation’s findings.

In an Oct. 19 order, obtained by The Associated Press, Barr says Durham is authorized “to investigate whether any federal official, employee or any person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence or law enforcement activities” directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns, anyone associated with the campaigns or the Trump administration.

A senior Justice Department official told the AP that although the order details that it is “including but not limited to Crossfire Hurricane and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III,” the Durham probe has not expanded. The official said that line specifically relates to FBI personnel who worked on the Russia investigation before the May 2017 appointment of Mueller, a critical area of scrutiny for both Durham and for the Justice Department inspector general, which identified a series of errors and omissions in surveillance applications targeting a former Trump campaign associate.

The focus on the FBI, rather than the CIA and the intelligence community, suggests that Durham may have moved past some of the more incendiary claims that Trump supporters had hoped would yield allegations of misconduct, or even crimes — namely, the question of how intelligence agencies reached their conclusion that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election.

Appointing Durham as a special counsel would mean that he could only be fired for very specific reasons under the law.

Under the regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons, such as misconduct, dereliction of duty, conflict of interest of other violations of Justice Department policies. An attorney general must allow document those reasons in writing.


Glad there is SOME movement on this front - people need help right now, but is far too slimmed down and more Republican very limited help. Dems will not be thrilled by it.

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a coronavirus aid proposal worth about $908 billion on Tuesday, aiming to break a months-long partisan impasse over providing emergency federal relief to the U.S. economy and the ongoing pandemic response.

The new plan came amid a flurry of congressional jostling about the shape of economic relief, with House Democrats assembling a new proposal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) creating a new plan, and President-elect Joe Biden calling for a massive government response. The growing calls for action - so far - have not rallied behind a unified approach, which has prompted the political leaders to forge ahead in different directions.

Still, the new actions and statements on Tuesday may reflect movement toward some level of pandemic relief for millions of Americans. Congress has faced increasing pressure to approve additional economic aid since talks between the White House and House Democrats collapsed, first over the summer and then again in the fall ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Senate Republican leaders, though, circulated a slimmed down plan Tuesday that would likely be fiercely opposed by Democrats. The measure includes a liability shield for businesses and more small business assistance. It would provide short-term, limited jobless aid but no additional funding for state and local governments or help for cash-strapped transit agencies.

The plan represented a conservative turn from the Senate Republican leader follow the defeat of Trump, who had pushed the GOP to support more spending ahead of his election. In September, McConnell pushed a federal supplement of unemployment benefits of $300 per week. The latest proposal from his office would for about one month extend base unemployment benefits and a program for gig workers and independent contractors, but would otherwise not provide supplemental federal unemployment benefits — a reversal in Republicans’ positions. A spokesman for McConnell did not immediately respond to a question about the change.

The McConnell bill also reintroduces a Republican plan to allow diners to claim a tax deduction on their meal expenditures, a provision pushed by the business lobby but viewed skeptically by economists and even some Republicans.

Coronavirus stimulus: Lawmakers unveil $908 billion bipartisan relief proposal

A group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers unveiled a $908 billion stimulus plan on Dec. 1, in an attempt to break through partisan gridlock after months of failed relief negotiations.

Lawmakers and the White House are facing growing pressure to pass additional coronavirus relief as COVID-19 cases surge, states and cities put more restrictions in place and existing relief programs soon expire.

“It’s not the time for political brinkmanship,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) at a press conference on Tuesday.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers — including Manchin, Senators Mark Warner (D., Virg.), Bill Cassidy (R., La.), Susan Collins (R., Me.), Mitt Romney (R., Utah) and several others — say their plan aims to find common ground on some of the most pressing issues, and it could be used as a framework for the next stimulus package.

The compromise proposal, which totals $908 billion, includes $160 billion for state, local and tribal governments —a top priority for Democratic lawmakers, which most Republicans opposed — and short-term protections from coronavirus lawsuits, a “red line” for Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that Democrats have rejected. Those two issues alone have caused significant problems throughout negotiations so far. Romney said the temporary protections give states time to put their own protections in place.

The proposal also includes $288 billion to support small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury and Disaster Loans and other provisions. The lawmakers are calling for $180 billion for additional unemployment insurance, which would provide a $300 weekly boost to jobless benefits. The extra $600 per week included in the CARES Act expired earlier this year.

The proposal also calls for funding for vaccine development and distribution, testing and tracing, education, child care, rental assistance, student loan assistance, transportation and more. The plan does not include another round of stimulus checks.

Republicans and Democrats, neither of us got everything we wanted. Both of us got much of what we wanted. I think that combination reflects what Congress is supposed to do — Reconciling different priorities but ultimately doing something good for the American people,” said Cassidy.

The framework aims to provide relief through the first quarter of 2021, when President-elect Biden and the next Congress could decide what further measures are necessary.

It would be stupidity on steroids if Congress left for Christmas without doing an interim package as a bridge,” said Warner.

Manchin said the lawmakers could put together an actual bill quickly, and he’s hopeful Congressional leadership would put that legislation on the floor for a vote. Senators said the group has presented some of its ideas to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and sought his input on necessary funding, but they told reporters they didn’t know if the White House would support the plan.

In a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Mnuchin said they had not seen the specific details of the $908 billion proposal.

Lots of calling out from election officials to stop the lies directed to the WH, because you are putting election workers in danger.

Georgia elections official urges Trump to ‘stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence.’

Gabriel Sterling, a high-ranking Georgia elections official, walked to a lectern in the State Capitol in Atlanta on Tuesday and angrily denounced the violent threats and harassment directed at people working on elections issues, urging President Trump to condemn it.

“It has to stop,” said Mr. Sterling, a Republican. “Mr. President, you have not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop. We need you to step up, and if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some.

Mr. Sterling, a wonkish former city councilman in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs, has taken on a starring role as Georgia’s voting system implementation manager while the president continues to call the election “rigged” and urge for the results to be nullified.

Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia,” Mr. Sterling said on Tuesday. “We’re investigating. There’s always a possibility, I get it, you have the right to go to the courts. What you don’t have is the ability to — and you need to step up and say this — is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone’s going to get hurt. Someone’s going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed.

Mr. Sterling’s boss, the Republican secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, has come under fire from Trump allies, particularly Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia, Republicans who criticized Mr. Raffensperger’s handling of the election and called for him to step down.

A number of lawsuits have been filed seeking to halt the certification of the results in Georgia. A second of two recounts, requested by the Trump campaign, is being conducted. The internet and right-wing news media have flooded the state with baseless conspiracy theories.

Mr. Sterling, who seems to know the ins and outs of the election and recount process in more detail than Mr. Raffensperger, has had the shared duty of explaining and defending these processes, which the secretary of state’s office oversees. The two officials have said that their office is investigating reports of irregularities in the state. But both have maintained that the election results are trustworthy, and that President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. narrowly defeated Mr. Trump.


Hmm, yes, no way we can trust Bill Barr, but he’s smart enough to start playing “both sides”.