Trump enters the stage

Discussion of the recent unfolding of history.

Re: Trump enters the stage - Class Act?

Postby Meno_ » Tue Feb 16, 2021 4:23 pm

What you could see and hear in the Senate as Republicans broke wi...
OPINION
Block Trump from office with the 14th Amendment's aiding an insurrection exclusion
Republicans subscribed to Trump like he was a cable package, and paid an extraordinary price to be the governing party. They can bring an end to this soon.

CHRIS DEATON | OPINION CONTRIBUTOR | 34 minutes ago


False rumors swirled that President Trump invoked the Insurrection Act after riots at the U.S. Capitol. Here's what you should know about the act.
USA TODAY
Taking Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell at his word, the buck for former President Donald Trump’s incitement of the U.S. Capitol mob should stop somewhere — just not in his house.


“He didn’t get away with anything yet,” McConnell said on Saturday evening, after enough Republican senators voted to acquit the former president of an impeachment charge. “We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation.”

Stipulated. But we still have a Congress, too.

McConnell made the case that Trump was guilty of an offense punishable by more than a Senate floor speech. The upshot of the top Senate Republican’s remarks is that he believes Trump is the but-for cause of the Jan. 6 insurrection, whose participants assaulted the Capitol “in his name,” carried “his banners,” hung “his flags” and screamed “their loyalty — to him.” His assessment was plain: “There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”

Options beyond censure, conviction
The question was left open, though, of who is responsible for penalizing the provocation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed the idea of a congressional censure: “We censure people for using stationery for the wrong purpose. We don’t censure people for inciting insurrection that kills people in the Capitol.”

McConnell’s suggestion that district attorneys’ offices could take it from here if they choose is accurate — but it also reveals his perspective that Congress’ work is finished in the meantime.

It shouldn’t be. By the GOP’s timid standards, McConnell’s comments and the surprising seven Republican votes for conviction were an authorization for use of political force against the former president. Now, more than at any point in the previous four years, there appears to be a window for bipartisan accountability on Capitol Hill.

If Congress lacked accountability mechanisms other than impeachment or censure, it’d be one thing. But it’s not wanting for options.


President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence with leading Senate Republicans in 2019 at the U.S. Capitol.
ALEX BRANDON/AP
One of them is enforcement of Section Three of the 14th Amendment, which states that no state or federal office holder “who, having previously taken an oath … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

In other words: No second chance to place your hand on the Bible and repeat after the judge if you were an insurrectionist the first go-round. This novel idea was floated by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Tim Kaine, D-Va. It merits widespread consideration now, given how it meshes with the emerging Republican position on Trump’s culpability for Jan. 6 and Congress’ capability for responding to it.

The idea moots three Republican concerns: procedural, constitutional and political.

First, is there a procedural problem? No. Forty-four Senate Republicans voted that Trump’s most recent impeachment trial was unconstitutional, but a Section Three vote is entirely different. There is no constitutional roadblock to taking up congressional enforcement of a constitutional provision itself.

Acquitted: Shared identity and fear of Trump kept most Republicans in line

Second, is the idea constitutionally unassailable? Yes. Section Three, about aiding an insurrection, relates to a judgment of Congress, not a criminal court. The House and Senate could pass a resolution that states the facts about Trump’s conduct leading up to and on Jan. 6, for example, and concludes that Section Three disqualifies him from holding office in the future.

The implications of this would be political, not criminal. It would allow state officials to call into question the legitimacy of a hypothetical Trump campaign or complicate his ballot access. Congress could approve a similar measure that permits the attorney general to render an opinion about an office seeker’s eligibility under Section Three. These are not judicial branch judgments originating from the legislative branch, and do not create constitutional problems.

Trump is not a cable package
And finally, is this politically feasible? It is. Congress already voted on language to bar Trump from future office. Such a section was included in the House’s impeachment article.

Seventeen Republicans voted in favor of it: 10 in the House; seven in the Senate. That should represent a floor, not a ceiling, for Section Three legislation. Only three more Senate Republicans would need to support the measure for the chamber to surpass a required 60-vote threshold to consider legislation of this type.

Congressional action on Section Three is the natural endpoint of Republicans’ distinguishing between Trump’s legacy and Trump the person. For the entirety of his presidential term, most Republicans subscribed to him as if he were a cable package. Many just wanted the tax reform. But to remain in his good graces, they supported him not only for signing legislation.

Trump's two impeachments: Republicans can't be trusted with our democracy

They also signed up for the international and science bundle. They defended him through the Russia investigation and Ukraine impeachment, the bullying of governors and pushing of pseudo-medicine during the coronavirus pandemic, “the tweets” and “very fine people” and, ultimately, “stop the steal.” This was the extraordinary price for Republican governance.

Those days can end soon. As presidential hopeful and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said to Politico: “Take the good that he built, leave the bad that he did, and get back to a place where we can be a good, valuable, effective party.”

Congressional Republicans should make the distinction now — and not just “leave” the bad but punish it. “Good” political parties keep their houses in order.



© Copyright Gannett 2021



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The Guardian - Back to home


Supporters wait for Donald Trump to drive by in West Palm Beach, Florida on 15 February 2021.
Show caption

Trump remains 2024 candidate of choice for most Republicans, poll shows
59% of Republican voters said they wanted Trump to play prominent role in party, but tens of thousands left after Capitol riot

Tue 16 Feb 2021 10.01 EST


If the 2024 Republican presidential primary were held today, Donald Trump would be the clear favorite to win big. That was the message from a Politico-Morning Consult poll released on Tuesday, three days after Trump’s acquittal in his second impeachment trial, on a charge of inciting the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January.

Wall Street Journal warns Republicans: ‘Trump won’t win another election’
Among Republican voters, 59% said they wanted Trump to play a prominent role in their party, up a whopping 18 points from the last such poll, taken in the aftermath of the Capitol riot. A slightly lower number, 54%, said they would back Trump in the primary.

Tens of thousands of Republicans left the party after the Capitol insurrection, and a majority of Americans have told other pollsters they would like to see Trump banished from politics.

Though the 45th president will be 78 by election day 2024, he will be able to run again if he chooses, having escaped being barred from office after a 57-43 Senate vote to convict – with seven Republican defections but 10 votes short of the majority needed.

Mike Pence’s life was threatened by Trump supporters at the Capitol, as the vice-president presided over the ratification of electoral college results confirming Trump’s defeat by Joe Biden. He placed second in the Politico-Morning Consult poll, with 12%.

Name recognition is a powerful force so far out from the contest concerned. Donald Trump Jr shared third place, with 6%, with Nikki Haley. The former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador has tried to distance herself from Trump since the Capitol riot.

“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” Haley told Politico shortly after the attack. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”

She also said Trump was “not going to run for federal office again”. Trump has not committed either way. After his acquittal, he told supporters: “Soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant and limitless American future.”

In a message seen by the Guardian on Monday, one former Trump White House insider said a run was “gonna happen … or he will be drafted”.

Mitt Romney, a figure from the Republican past as the 2012 nominee but now a Utah senator who has twice voted to convict Trump on impeachment charges, scored 4% in the new poll. Ted Cruz of Texas, one of the senators who backed Trump’s attempt to overturn his election defeat, scored 3%. Josh Hawley of Missouri, the other prominent Republican in objections to election results, was in a pack of names lower even than that.

The battle for the soul of the party is on. On Monday, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell followed an editorial in the Wall Street Journal which said Trump would not win another national election with a column of his own.

McConnell restated his argument, made in a Senate speech in which he otherwise excoriated Trump, that Trump’s acquittal was a matter of constitutional law. Scholars, and the Senate twice, have rejected the argument that Trump could not be tried because he had left office.

McConnell has also made clear that he will oppose pro-Trump candidates seeking Republican nominations in the 2022 midterms, if he thinks they would damage chances of beating a Democrat

© 2021 Guardian News & Media Limited
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Re: Trump enters the stage - ....and the beat goes on...

Postby Meno_ » Wed Feb 17, 2021 4:15 pm

Impeachment is over. The 2020 election? Not yet
Donald Trump rips Mitch McConnell as each seeks to exert leadership after impeachment trial



Moments after voting to acquit Donald Trump of the impeachment charge, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump was "practically and morally responsible" for the deadly Capitol riot. Still, he said conviction would be unconstitutional. (Feb. 13)
AP
WASHINGTON – Seeking to keep control of a divided Republican Party, Donald Trump on Tuesday attacked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – the GOP's highest-ranking elected official – after comments he made about Trump's culpability for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.


"The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political 'leaders' like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," Trump said in a written statement put out by a political action committee called the "Save America PAC."

In a stark statement that laid bare the party's fractiousness over Trump, the ex-president described McConnell as a "hack" who will not be able to lead the Republican Party back to victory. Division within the party has been on full display since the Capitol riots, after which 10 House Republicans voted to impeach him and seven Senate Republicans voted to convict him at his impeachment trial Saturday, when he was acquitted.

The statement came three days after McConnell criticized Trump over the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, even as he voted to acquit the former president at the impeachment trial. McConnell said he did so because he did not think it was constitutional to hold an impeachment trial of a former president.

The Senate Republican leader did, however, hold Trump responsible for the attack, saying Trump's false claims of fraud in his election loss to Joe Biden inspired extremist followers to commit violence.

"This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories, orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters' decisions or else torch our institutions on the way out," McConnell said on Saturday.

Trump has not spoken on camera since leaving the White House. His office has put out written statements under his name, as it did after the Senate acquittal vote on Saturday.

Trump thanked Republicans who supported him and, suggesting a future run, said the political movement he began with his 2016 election has "only just begun."

So far, at least, Trump is winning the internal battle with Republicans who want him to go away. A Morning Consult/Politico poll released Tuesday said that "a majority of Republican voters (54 percent) said they would support Trump in a hypothetical 2024 presidential primary election."

Republicans who back McConnell said Trump is the one who caused the GOP to lose control of Congress and the White House during last year's elections.

"I love Trump warning about the demise of a party that just lost the House, Senate, and White House under him," tweeted Brendan Buck, a former spokesman for GOP House speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan.

Buck later added: "I am so here for this conflict and so Team Mitch."

Then-President Donald Trump and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2017.
CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES
More: Mitch McConnell votes to acquit but says Trump's actions were a 'disgraceful dereliction of duty'

More: Republican leader Mitch McConnell: Attack at the Capitol was ‘provoked by the president’

In his written statement on Tuesday, Trump did not mention McConnell's impeachment comments. He instead accused McConnell of practicing "business as usual" politics, and failing to stand up to Chinese trade practices.

Trump also blamed McConnell for Republicans losing control of the Senate, something for which McConnell holds Trump responsible. The Senate Republican leader has suggested that the party needs to move past Trump as it tries to regain control of the House and Senate in the 2022 elections.

Trump has vowed to support primary challengers to Republican lawmakers who either supported impeachment or refused to help him overturn the election. The latter group includes state officials like Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who Trump criticized as "inept" in his statement.

More: A bloody insurrection, a deadly pandemic: Historians weigh in on Trump's legacy after his acquittal

More: 'Tribalism is a hell of a drug.' Trump impeachment trial reopens GOP battle lines even as he is acquitted

Trump also plans to get involved in the congressional elections, and may seek to win the presidency again in 2024.

"Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack," Trump said, "and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again."

Seven Republicans were among the 57 senators who found Trump guilty of inciting the riot, but conviction required 67 votes, two-thirds of the Senate.

If the Senate had voted to convict, it could also have disqualified Trump from holding office in the future, nullifying a 2024 presidential run.

As the Democratic-led House moved to impeach Trump in mid-January, McConnell at one point said he had not decided on the president's guilt. After his acquittal vote, McConnell made clear he based his decision on the belief that the trial was unconstitutional, not Trump's guilt.

"Former President Trump's actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty," McConnell said in his speech.



© Copyright Gannett 2021
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Re: Trump enters the stage - GOP big split

Postby Meno_ » Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:13 am

Impeachment is over. The 2020 election? Not yet
Donald Trump rips Mitch McConnell as each seeks to exert leadership after impeachment trial
DAVID JACKSON | USA TODAY | 7 hours ago


Moments after voting to acquit Donald Trump of the impeachment charge, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump was "practically and morally responsible" for the deadly Capitol riot. Still, he said conviction would be unconstitutional.
AP

WASHINGTON – Seeking to keep control of a divided Republican Party, Donald Trump on Tuesday attacked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – the GOP's highest-ranking elected official – after comments he made about Trump's culpability for the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.


"The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political 'leaders' like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," Trump said in a statement put out by a political action committee called the Save America PAC.

In stark terms that laid bare the party's fractiousness over Trump, the ex-president described McConnell as a "hack" who will not be able to lead Republicans back to victory. Division within the party has been on full display since the Capitol riots, after which 10 House Republicans voted to impeach him and seven Senate Republicans voted to convict him at his impeachment trial Saturday, when he was acquitted.

The statement came three days after McConnell criticized Trump over the attack on the Capitol, though he voted to acquit at the impeachment trial. McConnell said he did so because he did not think it was constitutional to hold an impeachment trial of a former president.

The Senate Republican leader held Trump responsible for the attack, saying his false claims of fraud in the election he lost to Joe Biden inspired extremist followers to commit violence.

"This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories, orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters' decisions or else torch our institutions on the way out," McConnell said Saturday.

Trump has not spoken on camera since leaving the White House. His office has put out statements under his name, as it did after the Senate acquittal vote Saturday.

Trump thanked Republicans who supported him and suggesting a future run, he said the political movement that started with his 2016 election has "only just begun."

Trump is winning the internal battle against Republicans who want him to go away. A Morning Consult/Politico poll released Tuesday said, "A majority of Republican voters (54 percent) said they would support Trump in a hypothetical 2024 presidential primary election."

Republicans who back McConnell said Trump caused the GOP to lose control of Congress and the White House during last year's elections.

"I love Trump warning about the demise of a party that just lost the House, Senate, and White House under him," tweeted Brendan Buck, a former spokesman for GOP House Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan.

Buck said, "I am so here for this conflict and so Team Mitch."

While Donald Trump was in office, he and Republican leader Mitch McConnell were allies for the most part. After election losses, the Capitol riot and the former president's impeachment, their relationship has soured.
CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES
More: Mitch McConnell votes to acquit but says Trump's actions were a 'disgraceful dereliction of duty'

Republican leader Mitch McConnell: Attack at the Capitol was ‘provoked by the president’

In his statement Tuesday, Trump did not mention McConnell's impeachment comments. He accused the Kentucky senator of practicing "business as usual" politics and failing to stand up to Chinese trade practices.

Trump blamed McConnell for Republicans losing control of the Senate, something for which McConnell holds Trump responsible. The Senate Republican leader suggested the party needs to move past Trump as it tries to regain control of the House and Senate in the 2022 elections.

Trump vowed to support primary challengers to Republican lawmakers who supported impeachment or refused to help him overturn the election. The latter group includes Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump criticized as "inept" in his statement.

A bloody insurrection, a deadly pandemic: Historians weigh in on Trump's legacy after his acquittal

'Tribalism is a hell of a drug.' Trump impeachment trial reopens GOP battle lines even as he is acquitted

Trump plans to get involved in the congressional elections and may seek the presidency again in 2024.

"Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack," Trump said, "and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again."

Seven Republicans were among the 57 senators who found Trump guilty of inciting the riot, but conviction required 67 votes, two-thirds of the Senate.

If the Senate had voted to convict, it could have disqualified Trump from holding office, nullifying a 2024 presidential run.

As the Democratic-led House moved to impeach Trump in mid-January, McConnell said he had not decided on the president's guilt. After his acquittal vote, McConnell made clear he based his decision on the belief that the trial was unconstitutional, not Trump's guilt.

"Former President Trump's actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty," McConnell said."



© Copyright Gannett 2021



Some Republican bigwigs say MCconnell is dead in the water without Trump, who now wants him out.
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Re: Trump enters the stage Dr.Fauci troubles

Postby Meno_ » Fri Feb 19, 2021 11:14 pm

NewsWorldAmericasUS politics

Fauci on the differences between Trump and Biden administrations
Dr Fauci says Trump did ‘terrible things’ to him and now has to live under armed security
The doctor said he has been living under the protection of armed security since last April

The Independent employs over 100 journalists around the world to bring you news you can trust. To support truly independent journalism, please consider making a contribution or taking a subscription.

Donald Trump would do "terrible things" anytime Dr Anthony Fauci disagreed with him publicly, the doctor revealed in a recently released interview.

The Mr Trump's antagonistic behaviour towards Dr Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, inspired his supporters to do the same. Now, Dr Fauci has to live under the care of armed guards since last April.


During an interview with The Telegraph, Dr Fauci - who became a household name thanks to his press conference appearances in the early days of the coronavirus's spread throughout the US, often times looking dismayed by Mr Trump's comments - said the former president was vindictive and used his loyalists in other government offices to undermine him.

“Like he allowed [White House trade adviser] Peter Navarro to write an editorial in USA Today saying that almost everything I’ve ever said was wrong,” the doctor said. “He allowed the communications department of the White House to send out a list to all of the media, all of the networks, all of the cables, all of the print press, about all of the mistakes I’ve made, which was absolute nonsense because there were no mistakes.”

Read more
Dr Fauci says Trump gave up fighting the pandemic once he lost the election
Dr Fauci laughs after learning the meaning of new dating term ‘Fauci-ing’
Fauci awarded $1m Israeli prize for public health career and ‘speaking truth to power’ during pandemic
Mr Trump's frustration with Dr Fauci quickly became apparent as the doctor regularly contradicted him and quickly became liberal Americans' preferred source of information regarding the pandemic. Dr Fauci became a minor celebrity, while Mr Trump faced mountain of criticism for his botched response to the pandemic.

Eventually, Mr Trump sidelined Dr Fauci, barring him from further public appearances, and replaced him with Dr Scott Atlas, who was loyal to the president.

Mr Atlas had no expertise in infectious diseases and often parroted whatever talking point Mr Trump was pushing at the time.

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Dr Fauci - who has worked with six presidents - said Mr Trump was not the first president he struggled to work alongside.

In the 1980's, Dr Fauci was serving under former President Ronald Reagan, and recalled the Republican's reluctance to take the AIDS crisis ravaging the LBGT community seriously.

Even still, Dr Fauci felt his relationship with that president was significantly better than the one he shared with Mr Trump, claiming Mr Reagan "never did anything to obstruct what I was trying to do."

He said Mr Trump's reliance on bunk "science" and insistence on repeating conspiracy theories directly undermined his attempts to let facts guide the country's coronavirus response.

“I was trying to let science guide our policy, but [Mr Trump] was putting as much stock in anecdotal things that turned out not to be true as he was in what scientists like myself were saying,” Dr Fauci said. “That caused unnecessary and uncomfortable conflict where I had to essentially correct what he was saying, and put me at great odds with his people.”

Mr Trump became fed up with Dr Fauci questioning and correcting him, and disparaged him both privately and publicly.

“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” Mr Trump said during a call with his staffers last year. “Fauci is a disaster.

The president also complained about the positive media attention Dr Fauci received.

Near the end of his time in office, Mr Trump - who was still convinced he would have a second term - openly pondered firing Dr Fauci.


Dr Fauci admits he worried about contracting Covid-19 in Trump White House
Double-masking: Should you wear two face masks to protect against Covid? Dr Fauci suggests it ‘makes sense’
The fight against vaccine hesitancy is more important than ever
Mr Trump's former strategist and ally, Steve Bannon, agreed with the idea and wanted it to be taken an extreme step further; he called for the doctor's head to be posted on a spike outside the White House.

“Now I actually want to go a step farther, but I realize the president is a kind-hearted man and a good man,” Mr Bannon said. “I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England, I’d put the heads on pikes, right, I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you’re gone – time to stop playing games.”

Dr Fauci called the comments "very unusual."
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Re: Trump enters the stage - The new justice?

Postby Meno_ » Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:33 pm

Merrick Garland: What to know about Biden's Attorney General pick
Trump's fate hangs over attorney general nominee Merrick Garland's confirmation hearing
KEVIN JOHNSON AND BART JANSEN | USA TODAY | 2 hours ago


Merrick Garland, Biden's attorney general pick, has a long history with the Justice Department. Here are three things to know about Judge Garland.
USA TODAY
When Merrick Garland accepted President Joe Biden’s nomination to serve as attorney general, the federal appeals court judge said he looked forward to a Justice Department “homecoming” where he first began in the Carter administration.


Yet any celebration marking his return to Main Justice – 24 years after departing for the federal bench – could be short-lived.

Not since Watergate has any attorney general nominee faced the kinds of questions awaiting Garland as he prepares to take his seat Monday for a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Opener: What Garland plans to say at anticipated confirmation hearing

DOJ: The Justice Department urgently needs a reset. Enter Merrick Garland. Is he up for it?

The rolling crisis that defined the Justice Department and its relationship with former President Donald Trump, who repeatedly sought to bend the agency to serve his political interests, is now just one of many challenges facing the nominee.


Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at The Queen theater in Wilmington on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.
Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at The Queen theater in Wilmington on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.
SUSAN WALSH, AP
Last month, a resurgent domestic extremist movement was thrust into public view during the deadly Capitol siege. The stunning assault has launched federal law enforcement authorities on one of the most far-reaching investigations in history while raising deeper concerns about the government’s capacity to contain the threat.

Conspiracy case: 6 more associated with Oath Keepers charged

As senators weigh confirmation, Garland is certain to be confronted with pointed inquiries about whether Justice should investigate, and potentially prosecute Trump, for inciting the Jan. 6 riots that left five dead, including a Capitol police officer.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., all but threw Trump’s fate to the Justice Department last week when the former president was acquitted by the Senate at his impeachment trial.

“There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said following the Senate trial. “No question about it ... He didn’t get away with anything, yet. We still have a criminal justice system in this country. We still have civil litigation and former presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.”


More: Donald Trump rips Mitch McConnell as each seeks to exert leadership after impeachment trial

While there is little open opposition to Garland's nomination, a striking departure from 2016 when President Barack Obama's pick for the Supreme Court was blocked by a Republican-controlled Senate, the contentious nature of the challenges before him now make Monday's hearing perhaps the most anticipated of any Biden Cabinet nominee.

What to know: Who is Merrick Garland, the attorney general nominee?

Should DOJ pick up where Trump's Senate impeachment left off?
At virtually every opportunity since the close of Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, the Biden administration has deflected questions about the former president's potential criminal vulnerability for inciting the Jan. 6 riots.

More: Trump impeachment trial vote acquits him in historic second impeachment proceeding

"We're doing something new here," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week, adding that an "independent Justice Department (would) determine what any path forward and any investigation would look like."

Aside from the not-so-subtle dig at the Trump White House, which routinely intervened in some of the most politically sensitive matters at Justice, Psaki effectively put the department — and Garland — in the hot seat.


Pending confirmation, it now will be largely Garland's call on a criminal investigation and the resulting shadow Trump may cast on the new administration.

As much as Biden has sought to rid Justice of the kind of politicization that marked the Trump Justice Department — from the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey for his management of the Russia investigation to dropping the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn — any decision involving Trump is fraught with political implications.

William Yeomans, a former Justice official whose service spanned the administrations of Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, said that if the facts ultimately lead to Trump, the former president "must be held accountable."

House prosecutors ended their arguments Feb. 11, the third day of former President Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial.
House prosecutors ended their arguments Feb. 11, the third day of former President Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial.
GETTY
"It has been and must remain a fundamental tenet of our adherence to the rule of law that we do not tolerate the use of the prosecution power to target individuals simply because they are political opponents," Yeomans said. "That generally means we must proceed with care in prosecuting a former president, particularly one of a different political party. But, it does not mean that a former president whose crimes are uncovered by a fair and full investigation should escape accountability."


Alberto Gonzales, who served as attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and faced difficult questions about the administration's torture policies during his Senate confirmation hearing, said Garland should not commit "one way or the other" on the possible legal jeopardy facing Trump.

"Given the political nature of the case and the public interest, he may commit or at least say he would consider appointing a career prosecutor to make an initial assessment (on) whether a formal investigation should be commenced," said Gonzales, one of two Republican attorneys general who have announced their support for Garland.

More: Gonzales, 3 other ex-attorneys general sign letter of support for Garland

At the same time, Gonzales said Garland "may be pressured by Republicans to formally recuse himself from the final decision whether to prosecute."

"I am not aware of any legitimate reason he would be required to do so under DOJ regulations if he wants to make this decision," Gonzales said. "There is no financial, political or personal reason I know of to recuse. But he will be pressed about this."


Can DOJ rebuild White House firewall?
On the campaign trail, Biden said the Justice Department had been transformed into the "president's private law firm" under Trump, who casually penetrated the institutional firewall with a well aimed tweet.

"I want to be clear to those who lead this department (about) who you will serve," Biden said when introducing Garland as his nominee Jan. 7. "You won’t work for me. You are not the president or the vice president’s lawyer. Your loyalty is not to me. It’s to the law, the Constitution, the people of this nation, to guarantee justice."

Merrick Garland: Biden's pick for attorney general
View | 9 Photos
Merrick Garland: Biden's pick for attorney general
Garland has taken his lead from Biden, drawing stark parallels to the post-Watergate era when Justice faced a similar challenge to separate itself from the raw political interests of a president.

While accepting the nomination, he invoked the name of Edward Levi, the revered former attorney general nominated by President Gerald Ford to restore the department's credibility following the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.


"As Ed Levi said at his own swearing in, 'Nothing can more weaken the quality of life, or more imperil the realization of the goals we all hold dear, than our failure to make clear by words and deed that our law is not the instrument of partisan purpose,'" Garland said, quoting the former attorney general.

If confirmed, Garland said it would be "my mission ... to reaffirm those policies as the principles upon which the department operates."

Hunter Biden and Durham probes continue
A test of that commitment looms with the continuing federal tax investigation involving the president's son, Hunter Biden, and the pending inquiry into the origins of the Russian investigation led by Connecticut federal prosecutor John Durham, appointed by former Trump Attorney General William Barr.

President-elect Joe Biden's son was in the spotlight during the presidential campaign for his business dealings with Ukraine and China.
President-elect Joe Biden's son was in the spotlight during the presidential campaign for his business dealings with Ukraine and China.
USA TODAY
Before departing in December, Barr resisted Trump's calls to appoint a special prosecutor in the Biden case.


At the time, Barr said the investigation was being handled "responsibly and professionally" by federal prosecutors in Delaware.

Although all presidentially appointed federal prosecutors are expected to submit their resignations during transitions to new administrations, the Biden administration said the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney leading the Hunter Biden inquiry and Durham would remain to complete their work.

"These were decisions that were made in order to fulfill (Biden's) promise of maintaining independence and ensuring that he sent that message and every action that was taken," Psaki said earlier this month.

The enemy within: Is domestic terror law now necessary?
The Capitol assault was still fresh when a long-simmering debate began anew: Is federal law enforcement adequately equipped to confront the resurgent domestic terror threat.


The question, which has prompted new calls for equal penalties for both domestic and international terror offenses, is certain to spill into the Senate hearing for Garland, who during his previous Justice tenure, oversaw the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing — the most deadly domestic terror attack in U.S. history.

In remarks prepared for delivery at Monday's Senate hearing, Garland cast the fight against extremism as "central" to the department's mission.

"We have to do something," House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said this month during the first congressional examination of the domestic threat following the Jan. 6 attack. Thompson has since sued Trump and Giuliani.

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.
ROBERTO SCHMIDT, AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
More: After massacres and thwarted plots, federal authorities confront limits in fighting domestic terror


For some, including Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, a former chairman of the Homeland panel, the remedies should include legislation that treats domestic terrorists no differently than their international counter-parts.

During the Homeland panel hearing, McCaul said the Capitol attack "cries out" for such action.

"I think it sends a strong message about where Congress is that we treat domestic terrorism on an equal plane as international terrorism," McCaul said.


U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, shown at an August 2019 meeting, said this week an Austin company is making progress toward a COVID-19 treatment.
RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN FILE
More: Domestic extremism has become 'mainstream,' could threaten American life for 20 years

While domestic terror is codified in federal law as an effort to "intimidate or coerce" a civilian population or government, there are no corresponding criminal penalties to back it. That has forced law enforcement to head off potential threats with the tools at their disposal, including leaning on the public to provide tips and charging suspects with violating weapons laws, hate crimes or illegal threats in the absence of a domestic terrorism charge.

The government has moved to thwart right-wing extremism when it appeared to be on the precipice of violence, though authorities face significant limits in the form of free speech rights.


And some fear that a revamped domestic terrorism law raises the prospect of formally designating groups as domestic terror organizations, similar to ISIS or al-Qaeda, merely because their messages may be repulsive.

Brian Jenkins, a longtime terror analyst and senior adviser at the Rand Corp., said any effort to single out specific domestic groups may only deepen the country's partisan divide.

"While (a domestic terror law) looks like an attractive option now, it may not be easily applied," Jenkins said.

Jenkins said Garland, whose prosecutorial experience is steeped in domestic terrorism, may be uniquely suited to confront the current threat environment.


Deputy U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland, left, and interim U.S. Attorney Patrick Ryan answer questions during a news conference May 18, 1995, in El Reno, Okla. Garland, a Harvard lawyer, was the Justice Department's point man on the Oklahoma City bombing investigation.
DAVID LONGSTREATH/AP
"This is someone who oversaw the investigation of Timothy McVeigh who was charged, convicted and ultimately executed for carrying out the worst domestic attack in U.S. history," Jenkins said, referring to the Oklahoma City bomber. "And Garland did that without a domestic terrorism law."

Are troubled police agencies back in DOJ's crosshairs?
Garland’s nomination follows a summer of racial justice protests, prompted by deaths and injuries of Black men and women during police encounters.

While the incidents highlighted troubling law enforcement tactics, they also called attention to the Trump Justice Department's departure from enforcement strategies that had sought to hold police agencies accountable for misconduct.

The Trump administration launched one investigation into a law enforcement agency during its four years, compared to 25 inquiries into "patterns and practices" of conduct in police agencies during eight years of the Obama administration.


Civil rights advocates have argued that Trump's deference to law enforcement has seriously undercut confidence in policing in Black communities, and Biden has vowed new scrutiny of police tactics led by a re-invigorated Justice Department Civil Rights Division.

If confirmed, it would be up to Garland, however, to set the tone on how aggressively to pursue those priorities.

"That mission remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice," Garland's prepared remarks state. "Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system; and bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic, pollution, and climate change."

More: 12 charts that show how racial disparities persist

Paul Butler, a Georgetown University law professor who prosecuted public corruption at the Justice Department, said Biden recognizes that policing problems are worse than “a few bad apples.”


“I think that will be a new and unique opportunity for the attorney general because no president has described bias in the terms that Biden has used, including frequently referencing white supremacy and systemic racism,” Butler said. “The reason that that’s a challenge is that systemic racism is built into operations and policies and even law. It’s daunting.”

In December, Biden joined an online meeting with seven civil rights group leaders to hash out the path forward.

During that meeting, Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told Biden the administration needed to undo “extensive damage” in enforcing federal civil rights laws.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (L) looks on as Kristen Clarke delivers remarks after being nominated to be civil rights division assistant attorney general by President-elect Joe Biden at The Queen theater January 07, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware.
CHIP SOMODEVILLA, GETTY IMAGES
“We need this administration to make fighting white supremacy, confronting racial violence, addressing police violence and tackling rampant voter suppression topline priorities,” Clarke said at the time.

More than a month after that meeting, Biden nominated Clarke to serve as an assistant attorney general in charge of Justice's Civil Rights Division. Biden also nominated another leader on that call, Vanita Gupta, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, to become associate attorney general.

Since then, Gupta, the acting Civil Rights chief in the Obama administration, has become a target of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, which has sought to brand her as a proponent for defunding police.

Vanita Gupta is President-elect Biden's nominee for Associate Attorney General.
ANDREW HARNIK, AP
But Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, called Gupta a “gifted leader” for her service in the Obama administration, when she pioneered accountability for abusive police departments.

She also fought to protect voting rights at the leadership conference, for “elections that are free, fair, secure and safe,” Waldman said.

Biden, meanwhile, has made no secret of his regard for Justice's civil rights mission.

"The Civil Rights Division represents the moral center of the Department of Justice and the heart of that fundamental American ideal that we're all created equal and deserve to be treated equally," Biden said when introducing his team of Justice nominees last month.

In preparing for the hearing, Garland noted in his written remarks that Senators had asked why he would agree to leave a lifetime judicial appointment to return to Justice.

"I have told you that I love being a judge. I have also told you that this is an important time for me to step forward because of my deep respect for the Department of Justice and its critical role in ensuring the Rule of Law."






© Copyright Gannett 2021




Merrick Garland: What to know about Biden's Attorney General pick
Trump's fate hangs over attorney general nominee Merrick Garland's confirmation hearing
KEVIN JOHNSON AND BART JANSEN | USA TODAY | 2 hours ago


Merrick Garland, Biden's attorney general pick, has a long history with the Justice Department. Here are three things to know about Judge Garland.
USA TODAY
When Merrick Garland accepted President Joe Biden’s nomination to serve as attorney general, the federal appeals court judge said he looked forward to a Justice Department “homecoming” where he first began in the Carter administration.


Yet any celebration marking his return to Main Justice – 24 years after departing for the federal bench – could be short-lived.

Not since Watergate has any attorney general nominee faced the kinds of questions awaiting Garland as he prepares to take his seat Monday for a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Opener: What Garland plans to say at anticipated confirmation hearing

DOJ: The Justice Department urgently needs a reset. Enter Merrick Garland. Is he up for it?

The rolling crisis that defined the Justice Department and its relationship with former President Donald Trump, who repeatedly sought to bend the agency to serve his political interests, is now just one of many challenges facing the nominee.


Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at The Queen theater in Wilmington on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.
Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at The Queen theater in Wilmington on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.
SUSAN WALSH, AP
Last month, a resurgent domestic extremist movement was thrust into public view during the deadly Capitol siege. The stunning assault has launched federal law enforcement authorities on one of the most far-reaching investigations in history while raising deeper concerns about the government’s capacity to contain the threat.

Conspiracy case: 6 more associated with Oath Keepers charged

As senators weigh confirmation, Garland is certain to be confronted with pointed inquiries about whether Justice should investigate, and potentially prosecute Trump, for inciting the Jan. 6 riots that left five dead, including a Capitol police officer.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., all but threw Trump’s fate to the Justice Department last week when the former president was acquitted by the Senate at his impeachment trial.

“There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said following the Senate trial. “No question about it ... He didn’t get away with anything, yet. We still have a criminal justice system in this country. We still have civil litigation and former presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.”


More: Donald Trump rips Mitch McConnell as each seeks to exert leadership after impeachment trial

While there is little open opposition to Garland's nomination, a striking departure from 2016 when President Barack Obama's pick for the Supreme Court was blocked by a Republican-controlled Senate, the contentious nature of the challenges before him now make Monday's hearing perhaps the most anticipated of any Biden Cabinet nominee.

What to know: Who is Merrick Garland, the attorney general nominee?

Should DOJ pick up where Trump's Senate impeachment left off?
At virtually every opportunity since the close of Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, the Biden administration has deflected questions about the former president's potential criminal vulnerability for inciting the Jan. 6 riots.

More: Trump impeachment trial vote acquits him in historic second impeachment proceeding

"We're doing something new here," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week, adding that an "independent Justice Department (would) determine what any path forward and any investigation would look like."

Aside from the not-so-subtle dig at the Trump White House, which routinely intervened in some of the most politically sensitive matters at Justice, Psaki effectively put the department — and Garland — in the hot seat.


Pending confirmation, it now will be largely Garland's call on a criminal investigation and the resulting shadow Trump may cast on the new administration.

As much as Biden has sought to rid Justice of the kind of politicization that marked the Trump Justice Department — from the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey for his management of the Russia investigation to dropping the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn — any decision involving Trump is fraught with political implications.

William Yeomans, a former Justice official whose service spanned the administrations of Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, said that if the facts ultimately lead to Trump, the former president "must be held accountable."

House prosecutors ended their arguments Feb. 11, the third day of former President Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial.
House prosecutors ended their arguments Feb. 11, the third day of former President Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial.
GETTY
"It has been and must remain a fundamental tenet of our adherence to the rule of law that we do not tolerate the use of the prosecution power to target individuals simply because they are political opponents," Yeomans said. "That generally means we must proceed with care in prosecuting a former president, particularly one of a different political party. But, it does not mean that a former president whose crimes are uncovered by a fair and full investigation should escape accountability."


Alberto Gonzales, who served as attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and faced difficult questions about the administration's torture policies during his Senate confirmation hearing, said Garland should not commit "one way or the other" on the possible legal jeopardy facing Trump.

"Given the political nature of the case and the public interest, he may commit or at least say he would consider appointing a career prosecutor to make an initial assessment (on) whether a formal investigation should be commenced," said Gonzales, one of two Republican attorneys general who have announced their support for Garland.

More: Gonzales, 3 other ex-attorneys general sign letter of support for Garland

At the same time, Gonzales said Garland "may be pressured by Republicans to formally recuse himself from the final decision whether to prosecute."

"I am not aware of any legitimate reason he would be required to do so under DOJ regulations if he wants to make this decision," Gonzales said. "There is no financial, political or personal reason I know of to recuse. But he will be pressed about this."


Can DOJ rebuild White House firewall?
On the campaign trail, Biden said the Justice Department had been transformed into the "president's private law firm" under Trump, who casually penetrated the institutional firewall with a well aimed tweet.

"I want to be clear to those who lead this department (about) who you will serve," Biden said when introducing Garland as his nominee Jan. 7. "You won’t work for me. You are not the president or the vice president’s lawyer. Your loyalty is not to me. It’s to the law, the Constitution, the people of this nation, to guarantee justice."

Merrick Garland: Biden's pick for attorney general
View | 9 Photos
Merrick Garland: Biden's pick for attorney general
Garland has taken his lead from Biden, drawing stark parallels to the post-Watergate era when Justice faced a similar challenge to separate itself from the raw political interests of a president.

While accepting the nomination, he invoked the name of Edward Levi, the revered former attorney general nominated by President Gerald Ford to restore the department's credibility following the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.


"As Ed Levi said at his own swearing in, 'Nothing can more weaken the quality of life, or more imperil the realization of the goals we all hold dear, than our failure to make clear by words and deed that our law is not the instrument of partisan purpose,'" Garland said, quoting the former attorney general.

If confirmed, Garland said it would be "my mission ... to reaffirm those policies as the principles upon which the department operates."

Hunter Biden and Durham probes continue
A test of that commitment looms with the continuing federal tax investigation involving the president's son, Hunter Biden, and the pending inquiry into the origins of the Russian investigation led by Connecticut federal prosecutor John Durham, appointed by former Trump Attorney General William Barr.

President-elect Joe Biden's son was in the spotlight during the presidential campaign for his business dealings with Ukraine and China.
President-elect Joe Biden's son was in the spotlight during the presidential campaign for his business dealings with Ukraine and China.
USA TODAY
Before departing in December, Barr resisted Trump's calls to appoint a special prosecutor in the Biden case.


At the time, Barr said the investigation was being handled "responsibly and professionally" by federal prosecutors in Delaware.

Although all presidentially appointed federal prosecutors are expected to submit their resignations during transitions to new administrations, the Biden administration said the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney leading the Hunter Biden inquiry and Durham would remain to complete their work.

"These were decisions that were made in order to fulfill (Biden's) promise of maintaining independence and ensuring that he sent that message and every action that was taken," Psaki said earlier this month.

The enemy within: Is domestic terror law now necessary?
The Capitol assault was still fresh when a long-simmering debate began anew: Is federal law enforcement adequately equipped to confront the resurgent domestic terror threat.


The question, which has prompted new calls for equal penalties for both domestic and international terror offenses, is certain to spill into the Senate hearing for Garland, who during his previous Justice tenure, oversaw the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing — the most deadly domestic terror attack in U.S. history.

In remarks prepared for delivery at Monday's Senate hearing, Garland cast the fight against extremism as "central" to the department's mission.

"We have to do something," House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said this month during the first congressional examination of the domestic threat following the Jan. 6 attack. Thompson has since sued Trump and Giuliani.

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.
ROBERTO SCHMIDT, AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
More: After massacres and thwarted plots, federal authorities confront limits in fighting domestic terror


For some, including Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, a former chairman of the Homeland panel, the remedies should include legislation that treats domestic terrorists no differently than their international counter-parts.

During the Homeland panel hearing, McCaul said the Capitol attack "cries out" for such action.

"I think it sends a strong message about where Congress is that we treat domestic terrorism on an equal plane as international terrorism," McCaul said.


U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, shown at an August 2019 meeting, said this week an Austin company is making progress toward a COVID-19 treatment.

More: Domestic extremism has become 'mainstream,' could threaten American life for 20 years

While domestic terror is codified in federal law as an effort to "intimidate or coerce" a civilian population or government, there are no corresponding criminal penalties to back it. That has forced law enforcement to head off potential threats with the tools at their disposal, including leaning on the public to provide tips and charging suspects with violating weapons laws, hate crimes or illegal threats in the absence of a domestic terrorism charge.

The government has moved to thwart right-wing extremism when it appeared to be on the precipice of violence, though authorities face significant limits in the form of free speech rights.


And some fear that a revamped domestic terrorism law raises the prospect of formally designating groups as domestic terror organizations, similar to ISIS or al-Qaeda, merely because their messages may be repulsive.

Brian Jenkins, a longtime terror analyst and senior adviser at the Rand Corp., said any effort to single out specific domestic groups may only deepen the country's partisan divide.

"While (a domestic terror law) looks like an attractive option now, it may not be easily applied," Jenkins said.

Jenkins said Garland, whose prosecutorial experience is steeped in domestic terrorism, may be uniquely suited to confront the current threat environment.


Deputy U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland, left, and interim U.S. Attorney Patrick Ryan answer questions during a news conference May 18, 1995, in El Reno, Okla. Garland, a Harvard lawyer, was the Justice Department's point man on the Oklahoma City bombing investigation.
DAVID LONGSTREATH/AP
"This is someone who oversaw the investigation of Timothy McVeigh who was charged, convicted and ultimately executed for carrying out the worst domestic attack in U.S. history," Jenkins said, referring to the Oklahoma City bomber. "And Garland did that without a domestic terrorism law."

Are troubled police agencies back in DOJ's crosshairs?

Garland’s nomination follows a summer of racial justice protests, prompted by deaths and injuries of Black men and women during police encounters.

While the incidents highlighted troubling law enforcement tactics, they also called attention to the Trump Justice Department's departure from enforcement strategies that had sought to hold police agencies accountable for misconduct.

The Trump administration launched one investigation into a law enforcement agency during its four years, compared to 25 inquiries into "patterns and practices" of conduct in police agencies during eight years of the Obama administration.


Civil rights advocates have argued that Trump's deference to law enforcement has seriously undercut confidence in policing in Black communities, and Biden has vowed new scrutiny of police tactics led by a re-invigorated Justice Department Civil Rights Division.

If confirmed, it would be up to Garland, however, to set the tone on how aggressively to pursue those priorities.

"That mission remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice," Garland's prepared remarks state. "Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system; and bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic, pollution, and climate change."

More: 12 charts that show how racial disparities persist

Paul Butler, a Georgetown University law professor who prosecuted public corruption at the Justice Department, said Biden recognizes that policing problems are worse than “a few bad apples.”


“I think that will be a new and unique opportunity for the attorney general because no president has described bias in the terms that Biden has used, including frequently referencing white supremacy and systemic racism,” Butler said. “The reason that that’s a challenge is that systemic racism is built into operations and policies and even law. It’s daunting.”

In December, Biden joined an online meeting with seven civil rights group leaders to hash out the path forward.

During that meeting, Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told Biden the administration needed to undo “extensive damage” in enforcing federal civil rights laws.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (L) looks on as Kristen Clarke delivers remarks after being nominated to be civil rights division assistant attorney general by President-elect Joe Biden at The Queen theater January 07, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware.
CHIP SOMODEVILLA, GETTY IMAGES
“We need this administration to make fighting white supremacy, confronting racial violence, addressing police violence and tackling rampant voter suppression topline priorities,” Clarke said at the time.

More than a month after that meeting, Biden nominated Clarke to serve as an assistant attorney general in charge of Justice's Civil Rights Division. Biden also nominated another leader on that call, Vanita Gupta, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, to become associate attorney general.

Since then, Gupta, the acting Civil Rights chief in the Obama administration, has become a target of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, which has sought to brand her as a proponent for defunding police.

Vanita Gupta is President-elect Biden's nominee for Associate Attorney General.

But Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, called Gupta a “gifted leader” for her service in the Obama administration, when she pioneered accountability for abusive police departments.

She also fought to protect voting rights at the leadership conference, for “elections that are free, fair, secure and safe,” Waldman said.

Biden, meanwhile, has made no secret of his regard for Justice's civil rights mission.

"The Civil Rights Division represents the moral center of the Department of Justice and the heart of that fundamental American ideal that we're all created equal and deserve to be treated equally," Biden said when introducing his team of Justice nominees last month.

In preparing for the hearing, Garland noted in his written remarks that Senators had asked why he would agree to leave a lifetime judicial appointment to return to Justice.

"I have told you that I love being a judge. I have also told you that this is an important time for me to step forward because of my deep respect for the Department of Justice and its critical role in ensuring the Rule of Law."




© Copyright Gannett 2021




Merrick Garland: What to know about Biden's Attorney General pick

Trump's fate hangs over attorney general nominee Merrick Garland's confirmation hearing



Merrick Garland, Biden's attorney general pick, has a long history with the Justice Department. Here are three things to know about Judge Garland.
USA TODAY
When Merrick Garland accepted President Joe Biden’s nomination to serve as attorney general, the federal appeals court judge said he looked forward to a Justice Department “homecoming” where he first began in the Carter administration.


Yet any celebration marking his return to Main Justice – 24 years after departing for the federal bench – could be short-lived.

Not since Watergate has any attorney general nominee faced the kinds of questions awaiting Garland as he prepares to take his seat Monday for a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Opener: What Garland plans to say at anticipated confirmation hearing

DOJ: The Justice Department urgently needs a reset. Enter Merrick Garland. Is he up for it?

The rolling crisis that defined the Justice Department and its relationship with former President Donald Trump, who repeatedly sought to bend the agency to serve his political interests, is now just one of many challenges facing the nominee.


Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at The Queen theater in Wilmington on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.
Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at The Queen theater in Wilmington on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.
SUSAN WALSH, AP
Last month, a resurgent domestic extremist movement was thrust into public view during the deadly Capitol siege. The stunning assault has launched federal law enforcement authorities on one of the most far-reaching investigations in history while raising deeper concerns about the government’s capacity to contain the threat.

Conspiracy case: 6 more associated with Oath Keepers charged

As senators weigh confirmation, Garland is certain to be confronted with pointed inquiries about whether Justice should investigate, and potentially prosecute Trump, for inciting the Jan. 6 riots that left five dead, including a Capitol police officer.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., all but threw Trump’s fate to the Justice Department last week when the former president was acquitted by the Senate at his impeachment trial.

“There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said following the Senate trial. “No question about it ... He didn’t get away with anything, yet. We still have a criminal justice system in this country. We still have civil litigation and former presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.”


More: Donald Trump rips Mitch McConnell as each seeks to exert leadership after impeachment trial

While there is little open opposition to Garland's nomination, a striking departure from 2016 when President Barack Obama's pick for the Supreme Court was blocked by a Republican-controlled Senate, the contentious nature of the challenges before him now make Monday's hearing perhaps the most anticipated of any Biden Cabinet nominee.

What to know: Who is Merrick Garland, the attorney general nominee?

Should DOJ pick up where Trump's Senate impeachment left off?
At virtually every opportunity since the close of Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, the Biden administration has deflected questions about the former president's potential criminal vulnerability for inciting the Jan. 6 riots.

More: Trump impeachment trial vote acquits him in historic second impeachment proceeding

"We're doing something new here," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week, adding that an "independent Justice Department (would) determine what any path forward and any investigation would look like."

Aside from the not-so-subtle dig at the Trump White House, which routinely intervened in some of the most politically sensitive matters at Justice, Psaki effectively put the department — and Garland — in the hot seat.


Pending confirmation, it now will be largely Garland's call on a criminal investigation and the resulting shadow Trump may cast on the new administration.

As much as Biden has sought to rid Justice of the kind of politicization that marked the Trump Justice Department — from the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey for his management of the Russia investigation to dropping the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn — any decision involving Trump is fraught with political implications.

William Yeomans, a former Justice official whose service spanned the administrations of Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, said that if the facts ultimately lead to Trump, the former president "must be held accountable."

House prosecutors ended their arguments Feb. 11, the third day of former President Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial.
House prosecutors ended their arguments Feb. 11, the third day of former President Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial.
GETTY
"It has been and must remain a fundamental tenet of our adherence to the rule of law that we do not tolerate the use of the prosecution power to target individuals simply because they are political opponents," Yeomans said. "That generally means we must proceed with care in prosecuting a former president, particularly one of a different political party. But, it does not mean that a former president whose crimes are uncovered by a fair and full investigation should escape accountability."


Alberto Gonzales, who served as attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and faced difficult questions about the administration's torture policies during his Senate confirmation hearing, said Garland should not commit "one way or the other" on the possible legal jeopardy facing Trump.

"Given the political nature of the case and the public interest, he may commit or at least say he would consider appointing a career prosecutor to make an initial assessment (on) whether a formal investigation should be commenced," said Gonzales, one of two Republican attorneys general who have announced their support for Garland.

More: Gonzales, 3 other ex-attorneys general sign letter of support for Garland

At the same time, Gonzales said Garland "may be pressured by Republicans to formally recuse himself from the final decision whether to prosecute."

"I am not aware of any legitimate reason he would be required to do so under DOJ regulations if he wants to make this decision," Gonzales said. "There is no financial, political or personal reason I know of to recuse. But he will be pressed about this."


Can DOJ rebuild White House firewall?
On the campaign trail, Biden said the Justice Department had been transformed into the "president's private law firm" under Trump, who casually penetrated the institutional firewall with a well aimed tweet.

"I want to be clear to those who lead this department (about) who you will serve," Biden said when introducing Garland as his nominee Jan. 7. "You won’t work for me. You are not the president or the vice president’s lawyer. Your loyalty is not to me. It’s to the law, the Constitution, the people of this nation, to guarantee justice."

Merrick Garland: Biden's pick for attorney general
View | 9 Photos
Merrick Garland: Biden's pick for attorney general
Garland has taken his lead from Biden, drawing stark parallels to the post-Watergate era when Justice faced a similar challenge to separate itself from the raw political interests of a president.

While accepting the nomination, he invoked the name of Edward Levi, the revered former attorney general nominated by President Gerald Ford to restore the department's credibility following the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.


"As Ed Levi said at his own swearing in, 'Nothing can more weaken the quality of life, or more imperil the realization of the goals we all hold dear, than our failure to make clear by words and deed that our law is not the instrument of partisan purpose,'" Garland said, quoting the former attorney general.

If confirmed, Garland said it would be "my mission ... to reaffirm those policies as the principles upon which the department operates."

Hunter Biden and Durham probes continue
A test of that commitment looms with the continuing federal tax investigation involving the president's son, Hunter Biden, and the pending inquiry into the origins of the Russian investigation led by Connecticut federal prosecutor John Durham, appointed by former Trump Attorney General William Barr.

President-elect Joe Biden's son was in the spotlight during the presidential campaign for his business dealings with Ukraine and China.
President-elect Joe Biden's son was in the spotlight during the presidential campaign for his business dealings with Ukraine and China.
USA TODAY
Before departing in December, Barr resisted Trump's calls to appoint a special prosecutor in the Biden case.


At the time, Barr said the investigation was being handled "responsibly and professionally" by federal prosecutors in Delaware.

Although all presidentially appointed federal prosecutors are expected to submit their resignations during transitions to new administrations, the Biden administration said the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney leading the Hunter Biden inquiry and Durham would remain to complete their work.

"These were decisions that were made in order to fulfill (Biden's) promise of maintaining independence and ensuring that he sent that message and every action that was taken," Psaki said earlier this month.

The enemy within: Is domestic terror law now necessary?
The Capitol assault was still fresh when a long-simmering debate began anew: Is federal law enforcement adequately equipped to confront the resurgent domestic terror threat.


The question, which has prompted new calls for equal penalties for both domestic and international terror offenses, is certain to spill into the Senate hearing for Garland, who during his previous Justice tenure, oversaw the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing — the most deadly domestic terror attack in U.S. history.

In remarks prepared for delivery at Monday's Senate hearing, Garland cast the fight against extremism as "central" to the department's mission.

"We have to do something," House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said this month during the first congressional examination of the domestic threat following the Jan. 6 attack. Thompson has since sued Trump and Giuliani.

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.
ROBERTO SCHMIDT, AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
More: After massacres and thwarted plots, federal authorities confront limits in fighting domestic terror


For some, including Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, a former chairman of the Homeland panel, the remedies should include legislation that treats domestic terrorists no differently than their international counter-parts.

During the Homeland panel hearing, McCaul said the Capitol attack "cries out" for such action.

"I think it sends a strong message about where Congress is that we treat domestic terrorism on an equal plane as international terrorism," McCaul said.


U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, shown at an August 2019 meeting, said this week an Austin company is making progress toward a COVID-19 treatment.
RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN FILE
More: Domestic extremism has become 'mainstream,' could threaten American life for 20 years

While domestic terror is codified in federal law as an effort to "intimidate or coerce" a civilian population or government, there are no corresponding criminal penalties to back it. That has forced law enforcement to head off potential threats with the tools at their disposal, including leaning on the public to provide tips and charging suspects with violating weapons laws, hate crimes or illegal threats in the absence of a domestic terrorism charge.

The government has moved to thwart right-wing extremism when it appeared to be on the precipice of violence, though authorities face significant limits in the form of free speech rights.


And some fear that a revamped domestic terrorism law raises the prospect of formally designating groups as domestic terror organizations, similar to ISIS or al-Qaeda, merely because their messages may be repulsive.

Brian Jenkins, a longtime terror analyst and senior adviser at the Rand Corp., said any effort to single out specific domestic groups may only deepen the country's partisan divide.

"While (a domestic terror law) looks like an attractive option now, it may not be easily applied," Jenkins said.

Jenkins said Garland, whose prosecutorial experience is steeped in domestic terrorism, may be uniquely suited to confront the current threat environment.


Deputy U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland, left, and interim U.S. Attorney Patrick Ryan answer questions during a news conference May 18, 1995, in El Reno, Okla. Garland, a Harvard lawyer, was the Justice Department's point man on the Oklahoma City bombing investigation.
DAVID LONGSTREATH/AP
"This is someone who oversaw the investigation of Timothy McVeigh who was charged, convicted and ultimately executed for carrying out the worst domestic attack in U.S. history," Jenkins said, referring to the Oklahoma City bomber. "And Garland did that without a domestic terrorism law."

Are troubled police agencies back in DOJ's crosshairs?
Garland’s nomination follows a summer of racial justice protests, prompted by deaths and injuries of Black men and women during police encounters.

While the incidents highlighted troubling law enforcement tactics, they also called attention to the Trump Justice Department's departure from enforcement strategies that had sought to hold police agencies accountable for misconduct.

The Trump administration launched one investigation into a law enforcement agency during its four years, compared to 25 inquiries into "patterns and practices" of conduct in police agencies during eight years of the Obama administration.


Civil rights advocates have argued that Trump's deference to law enforcement has seriously undercut confidence in policing in Black communities, and Biden has vowed new scrutiny of police tactics led by a re-invigorated Justice Department Civil Rights Division.

If confirmed, it would be up to Garland, however, to set the tone on how aggressively to pursue those priorities.

"That mission remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice," Garland's prepared remarks state. "Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system; and bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic, pollution, and climate change."

More: 12 charts that show how racial disparities persist

Paul Butler, a Georgetown University law professor who prosecuted public corruption at the Justice Department, said Biden recognizes that policing problems are worse than “a few bad apples.”


“I think that will be a new and unique opportunity for the attorney general because no president has described bias in the terms that Biden has used, including frequently referencing white supremacy and systemic racism,” Butler said. “The reason that that’s a challenge is that systemic racism is built into operations and policies and even law. It’s daunting.”

In December, Biden joined an online meeting with seven civil rights group leaders to hash out the path forward.

During that meeting, Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told Biden the administration needed to undo “extensive damage” in enforcing federal civil rights laws.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (L) looks on as Kristen Clarke delivers remarks after being nominated to be civil rights division assistant attorney general by President-elect Joe Biden at The Queen theater January 07, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware.
CHIP SOMODEVILLA, GETTY IMAGES
“We need this administration to make fighting white supremacy, confronting racial violence, addressing police violence and tackling rampant voter suppression topline priorities,” Clarke said at the time.

More than a month after that meeting, Biden nominated Clarke to serve as an assistant attorney general in charge of Justice's Civil Rights Division. Biden also nominated another leader on that call, Vanita Gupta, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, to become associate attorney general.

Since then, Gupta, the acting Civil Rights chief in the Obama administration, has become a target of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, which has sought to brand her as a proponent for defunding police.

Vanita Gupta is President-elect Biden's nominee for Associate Attorney General.
ANDREW HARNIK, AP
But Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, called Gupta a “gifted leader” for her service in the Obama administration, when she pioneered accountability for abusive police departments.

She also fought to protect voting rights at the leadership conference, for “elections that are free, fair, secure and safe,” Waldman said.

Biden, meanwhile, has made no secret of his regard for Justice's civil rights mission.

"The Civil Rights Division represents the moral center of the Department of Justice and the heart of that fundamental American ideal that we're all created equal and deserve to be treated equally," Biden said when introducing his team of Justice nominees last month.

In preparing for the hearing, Garland noted in his written remarks that Senators had asked why he would agree to leave a lifetime judicial appointment to return to Justice.

"I have told you that I love being a judge. I have also told you that this is an important time for me to step forward because of my deep respect for the Department of Justice and its critical role in ensuring the Rule of Law."



© Copyright Gannett 2021
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Lindsay Graham

Postby Meno_ » Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:17 pm

“Count me out,” Graham (R-S.C.) said in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, adding that he was sad to see his journey with Trump end this way. In an interview two days later, Graham said “he’d never been so humiliated and embarrassed for the country” and spoke in palpable frustration over how his longtime ally handled the riot.

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Just weeks later, he is singing a different tune. Graham is set to visit the former president’s gilded Mar-a-Lago Club on Sunday to spend two days golfing and dining with Trump. He has spoken to the former president nearly daily since Jan. 6 — more frequently than any of his Republican colleagues in the Senate — and served as an informal adviser to Trump’s defense team during his Senate impeachment trial this month.


Meanwhile, Graham said he has not spoken with President Biden, a longtime friend from the Senate, since his Jan. 20 inauguration.


A group of Trump supporters confronted Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) at Reagan National Airport on Jan. 8 after he condemned the violence at the Capitol. (Reuters)
Graham’s post-presidential embrace of Trump — which puts him squarely at odds with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — is the latest twist in his on-again, off-again relationship with a man he once called a “kook” and warned could destroy the party. It comes after the four-term senator said he reviewed polling in South Carolina and across the country that shows Trump’s enduring strength among Republicans, even after the Jan. 6 insurrection that resulted in five deaths.

“If he ran, it would be his nomination for the having,” Graham said of Trump in an interview. “I don’t know what he wants to do. Because he was successful for conservatism and people appreciate his fighting spirit, he’s going to dominate the party for years to come. The way I look at it, there is no way we can achieve our goals without Trump.”

Graham is now positioning himself as a leader of the pro-Trump wing of a party that is increasingly divided about how to reckon with the divisive 45th president.

In Graham’s view, embracing Trump is simply practical politics. To critics, he is showing a willingness to tolerate Trump’s attacks on democracy in exchange for proximity to power.

In the wake of the Capitol attack and the GOP’s losses of the House, Senate and White House, some in the Republican Party’s upper echelon are calling for a different path forward, worried that Trump’s toxic brand will prevent the party from winning general elections in 2022 and 2024.

Former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley has said the party needs to turn the page on Trump, who she said has “fallen so far.” After voting to acquit Trump in the impeachment trial, McConnell delivered a scathing speech, calling him “practically and morally responsible” for the violence at the Capitol — and he has told allies he plans to never speak with Trump again.

Some are trying to pave a path in the middle: Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is scheduled to visit Mar-a-Lago next week to meet with Trump, even as she vows to stay neutral in the internecine warring, according to a person familiar with her plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private meeting. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, in part to encourage Trump not to attack any incumbent House Republicans.

Graham walks out of a meeting room for Trump’s defense team on the fourth day of the Senate impeachment trial. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
But Graham is all in. While he told reporters a day after the Capitol attack that “the president needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution,” he now says he was talking narrowly about what happened Jan. 6. His “count me out” remarks were a reference to attempts to challenge the 2020 election results, he says — not a statement that he was finished with Trump.

Two days after the insurrection, he met with Trump for four hours to discuss quietly finishing his term and the potential of impeachment, among other topics. He then flew with him to Texas the next week and called fellow senators, urging them not to support a move to convict Trump in a trial and bar him from future office. In private and public, he has taken on Republicans who are critical of Trump, including McConnell, who he has pushed to change course.

“He doesn’t speak for most Republicans when it comes to the comments he made about Trump,” Graham said of McConnell’s speech after the impeachment trial. (He added that McConnell deserves credit on other fronts, such as furthering the appointment of conservative judges.)

On Feb. 13, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said former president Trump could still be held accountable within the criminal justice system. (The Washington Post)
A spokesman for McConnell did not respond to a request for comment.

Longtime GOP operatives and people who know both men have said Graham is simply seeking to stay relevant and likes being close to powerful people.

Matt Moore, a prominent South Carolina political consultant who worked for Graham in his 2020 reelection campaign and once chaired the state party, said the explanation for Graham’s posture is simple: he wants to align himself with the party’s most popular figure.

After previously facing criticism in his home state for not being conservative enough, Graham was reelected last year by double digits after his strong embrace of Trump, who romped to victory in South Carolina.

And Graham, more than anything, according to both allies and critics, wants to be as close to the action as possible.

“It’s smart politics,” Moore said. “Republican voters love President Trump. He wants to have a seat at the table than not. He knows a smart bet when he sees it.”

Graham is also well aware that those who cross Trump pay the price with his supporters. Two days after his “count me out” speech, Graham was accosted by pro-Trump supporters who denounced him as a “traitor” at Washington’s Reagan National Airport. This week, Haley’s Facebook page was inundated with thousands of commenters attacking her for criticizing Trump. The former president rejected her request for a meeting, a Trump aide said. And party officials in Kentucky have denounced McConnell and called for his resignation.

Trump-McConnell clash threatens to settle into a cold war as GOP eyes midterms

Graham has disappointed those in South Carolina who preferred the more moderate Graham — the one who was closely allied with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who died in 2018, and at one point worked on a deal with President Barack Obama to cut carbon emissions that ultimately fell apart.

His critics say they remember a Graham who despised Trump and what Trump stood for — and was not so craven, in their view. One longtime McCain confidant said Graham is no longer in touch with many of his old friends.

Amanda Loveday, a former executive director of the South Carolina Democratic Party who helped run a Biden super PAC in 2020, said it was frustrating to watch Graham continue to prop up Trump.

“Like a lot of others, I have voted for him,” she said. “Everyone in South Carolina used to think he was the most reasonable man in Washington, and that has changed. Now people think he has tied himself to a horse that is unexplainable. There really is no explanation to it. He has the power to tell the Republican Party that they’re moving on.”

One Biden ally, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private conversation, said Biden asked last fall “what had happened to Lindsey.” The longtime former senator from Delaware, who once regarded Graham as a friend, was “shocked” by some of Graham’s comments during the campaign.

The White House declined to comment.

In an interview, Graham said he still planned to negotiate policy with Biden at the right time, and would like to work with him on an infrastructure deal.

“Joe is a fine man,” he said. “There will be a day for that.”

Graham took a very different stance toward Trump when the real estate developer was running for president in 2016. The senator regularly questioned his fitness to lead and said the Republican Party deserved to be destroyed if it selected Trump as the nominee. At one point, Graham called on Trump to “stop being a jackass,” prompting Trump to taunt him at a rally and read Graham’s cellphone number out loud.

But Graham said that once Trump was elected, he wanted to help him be successful — and has grown to like him.

Some former Trump aides and GOP strategists say Graham likes the stardom of being around Trump. Even Trump has remarked to allies that he is surprised at Graham’s approach after their brutal 2016 encounters, and former Trump aides said Graham was always angling to get on the golf course with the president.

Trump shakes hands with Graham during a November 2019 event about judicial confirmations in the White House. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Jason Miller, a spokesman for the former president, declined to comment, other than to say that the two men have a “very friendly” relationship.

In Graham’s telling, he spends time with Trump because “I genuinely like his company.”

“During the primary, I ran out of bad things to say about him. It’s an odd thing that we wound up where we did,” he said, adding: “I had more access to him than any and all presidents combined. He’s a good listener, believe it or not.”

Nowadays, he said he is driven simply by what is best for the GOP, which he says has a “conundrum” on its hands.

“You look at the polling, it shows he dominates the Republican Party, but that a majority of the general population wanted to convict him,” Graham said. “From November 3rd to January 6th he took a giant step backwards, but he had a consequential presidency. His policies are going to stand the test of time. If President Trump continues to be sort of disciplined and talks about policy, some of those personal issues will begin to lessen.”

Trump is expected to speak at the conservative conference called CPAC in Florida for his first post-presidential address, an aide said. His speech will focus on the future of the Republican Party and immigration, the aide said.

During the impeachment trial, Graham emerged as Trump’s top ally in the Senate. He regularly huddled with the lawyers, giving the team feedback from the Senate conference and proposing arguments that might keep certain Republican senators from voting to convict, and calling Trump sometimes multiple times a day, according to Trump advisers.

“He made me feel comfortable,” said David Schoen, one of Trump’s defense attorneys. “He said, ‘Don’t be nervous.’ He was very friendly the entire time.”

Graham’s post-election call with Raffensperger will be scrutinized in Georgia probe, person familiar with inquiry says

Trump initially hired another team of South Carolina lawyers upon Graham’s recommendation but split with them days before the trial. Graham said he wasn’t bothered by the abrupt change.

“Not at all,” he said. “There were too many cooks in the kitchen.”

Now, Graham says, he is intent on talking to Trump about helping the GOP win the Senate and House in 2022. Before heading to Mar-a-Lago this weekend, Graham said he was in Arizona to get an update on the border wall with Mexico, hoping to make one of Trump’s signature issues a 2022 priority.

Still, even as he touted Trump’s sway, Graham acknowledged that the party needs to expand its reach — a tacit acknowledgment of how the former president has polarized the Republican brand.

He said he planned to talk with Trump about how he can help make Republicans more electable, ticking off the very demographic groups alienated by the former president.

“Trump has got to up his game. The Republican Party has to up their game. But I like the way we’re headed,” Graham said. “We’re becoming the working-class party, and his populism is helping us. We just need to get suburban women back. What hurt us was style more than policy. Too much drama. Too much over-the-top. We’ve got to get the independents back.”






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Re: Trump enters the stage - finally the world will know""

Postby Meno_ » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:31 pm

Supreme Court allows release of Trump tax returns

Updated 10:29 AM ET, Mon February 22, 2021
article video
Supreme Court allows release of Trump tax returns What you need to know
The Supreme Court cleared the way for a New York prosecutor to obtain former President Trump's tax returns.
The documents will be subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict their public release.
The ruling deals a massive loss to Trump who has fiercely fought to shield his financial papers from prosecutors.
Our live coverage has ended. Read the latest on the Supreme Court case here.
2:11 p.m. ET, February 22, 2021
Trump slams SCOTUS decision on his tax returns
From CNN's Ariane de Vogue
Former President Trump has released a statement responding to the Supreme Court's decision on releasing his tax returns to a New York prosecutors.
"The Supreme Court never should have let this 'fishing expedition' happen, but they did," Trump said in the statement.

The former President went on to call the decision "all Democrat-inspired."

"This is something which has never happened to a President before, it is all Democrat-inspired in a totally Democrat location, New York City and State, completely controlled and dominated by a heavily reported enemy of mine, Governor Andrew Cuomo," Trump continued.

More on today's ruling: The Supreme Court's decision is a bitter loss for Trump, even if the tax records are shielded from public disclosure, after he consistently argued that the subpoena issued by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance was overbroad and issued in bad faith.
It means that the grand jury investigation into alleged hush money payments and other issues will no longer be hampered by Trump's fight to keep the documents secret.

The ruling was issued without comment or noted dissent.
Vance celebrated the order, saying in a tweet, "The work continues."

12:01 p.m. ET, February 22, 2021

Trump's accounting firm says they're "committed to fulfilling" legal obligations
From CNN's Ariane de Vogue
Mazars, Trump's accounting firm, reacted in a statement to today's Supreme Court ruling, saying it is "committed to fulfilling all of our professional and legal obligations."

The company added: "Due to our industry's professional obligations Mazars cannot discuss any clients, or the nature of our services we provide for any client, in a public forum without client consent or as required by law."

Following today's Supreme Court ruling, although Trump's personal lawyers may continue to fight their appeal in the case, the fact that the documents will be released by Mazars, effectively ends the dispute.
The subpoenas span documents from January 2011 to August 2019, including Trump's tax returns, from Mazars. The documents relate to the Trump Organization's employment of Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, and hush money payment Cohen allegedly made to two woman who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump.

11:23 a.m. ET, February 22, 2021

These are the Trump financial documents that Manhattan District Attorney Vance will get to see
From CNN's Ariane de Vogue and Kara Scannell
Today's Supreme Court ruling means that the grand jury investigation into alleged hush money payments and other issues will no longer be hampered by former President Trump's fight to keep the documents secret.
The documents, however, will be subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict their public release.

The subpoenas span documents from January 2011 to August 2019, including Trump's tax returns, from his long time accounting firm, Mazars. The documents relate to the Trump Organization's employment of Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen and hush money payment Cohen allegedly made to two woman who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's office is investigating whether the Trump Organization violated state laws and is looking into the legality of tax deductions, including from conservation easements and consulting fees the company took, as well as what the Trump Organization told lenders and tax authorities about the value of its assets.

Vance's investigation started its investigation in earnest in August 2019, initially looking into the hush-money payments Cohen facilitated to silence two women's claims that they had affairs with Trump. The former President has denied the affairs.

Vance's office has said the records are crucial to the investigation, in part because of the statute of limitations for the potential crimes they are investigating.

10:37 a.m. ET, February 22, 2021

The events that led to today's ruling
From CNN's Ariane de Vogue
Today's Supreme Court ruling to clear the way for a New York prosecutor to obtain former President Trump's tax returns is the culmination of an ongoing battle between the Manhattan DA's office and the former President.
Here's a look back at the events that took place before today's decision:

Last July, the Supreme Court, voting 7-2, rejected Trump's broad claims of immunity from a state criminal subpoena seeking his tax returns and said that as president he was not entitled to any kind of heightened standard unavailable to ordinary citizens.
The justices sent the case back to the lower court so that the President could make more targeted objections regarding the scope of the subpoena.
In October, a federal appeals court said "there is nothing to suggest that these are anything but run-of-the-mill documents typically relevant to a grand jury investigation into possible financial or corporate misconduct."
Trump's personal lawyers then took the case back to the Supreme Court, urging the justices to put the lower court ruling on hold while the justices considered whether to take up the appeal.
10:17 a.m. ET, February 22, 2021
Manhattan District Attorney responds to Supreme Court order: "The work continues"
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance released the following statement Monday in response to the US Supreme Court order in Trump v. Vance:

"The work continues," the statement read.

More on today's ruling: The Supreme Court decision is a bitter loss for Trump, even if the tax records are shielded from public disclosure, after he consistently argued that the subpoena issued by Vance was overbroad and issued in bad faith.

Vance tweeted his statement earlier today:
10:23 a.m. ET, February 22, 2021
What you need to know about the Supreme Court's ruling on Trump's tax returns
From CNN's Ariane de Vogue
The Supreme Court cleared the way for a New York prosecutor to obtain former President Trump's tax returns, dealing a massive loss to Trump who has fiercely fought to shield his financial papers from prosecutors.
The ruling is a bitter loss for Trump, even if the tax records are shielded from public disclosure, after he consistently argued that the subpoena issued by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance was overbroad and issued in bad faith.

What this means for Trump: The grand jury investigation into alleged hush money payments and other issues will no longer be hampered by Trump's fight to keep the documents secret. The documents will be subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict their public release.The ruling was issued without comment or dissent.
Some background: Last July, the Supreme Court, voting 7-2, rejected the Trump's broad claims of immunity from a state criminal subpoena seeking his tax returns and said that as president he was not entitled to any kind of heightened standard unavailable to ordinary citizens. The justices sent the case back to the lower court so that the President could make more targeted objections regarding the scope of the subpoena.

© 2021 Cable News Network. A Warner Media Company. All Rights Reserved

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Merrick Garland:



His attorney general confirmation is a foregone conclusion taken from the last two hours of hearings.

On particular to the above shift to prosecution of violation of tax laws, his statement of an objective, non partisan process was quite appearent and honest, and his plea for across the board faith in his honesty seemed like an unnecessary invocation
In fact , it appeared, that even Senator Cruise was satisfied with his given answer.

The question was about the equal responsibility to prosecute politically favored donations, such as IT&T case under the Nixon debacle and yet to resolve cases of the same sort accurred under the Trump administration., as well as the fear of unfair antitrust legislation toward Google, where it is a big Democratic donor.



There was little to conflict with the idea of relegation of political duty taken up by an objective Justice Department, and although toward the end, Barr did stand up well to pressure, overall he left the department in need of rehabilitation.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Angry Trump? Or, Mad?

Postby Meno_ » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:25 pm

Trump plots future -- and revenge -- from sunny Florida link

Updated 7:31 AM EST, Thu February 25, 2021

(CNN)In a South Florida war room, occupied most days by a party of one, a former President of the United States is plotting his return -- and his revenge.

He typically spends mornings on his nearby golf course, making and taking calls from a golf cart that doubles as his mobile, and self-driven, office. The multiple trips to the links in the last few weeks have served to accomplish a long-promised goal, says someone who spent time with him recently: Donald Trump claims he has increased his drive by 20 yards, a new favorite brag to golfing partners, or anyone who will listen.

Eighteen holes later, he leaves his Trump International Golf Club and returns to Mar-a-Lago, where he retreats within his quarters to his own private living space, separate from that of his wife, and ponders two main questions: Who is with him? And who is against him?

According to multiple people familiar with Trump's current habits, who requested anonymity to speak freely to CNN about the former President's day-to-day focus, his stated goal -- barring impact from ongoing criminal investigation -- is to run for president again, in 2024. Of course, he has no incentive to rule it out right now -- keeping himself in the mix helps sustain his kingmaker role. Looking to flex on 2022, he hopes to prove to both critics and supporters that he is the GOP's most effective puppeteer -- a role he will likely remind the party of during his weekend appearance at Conservative Political Action Conference.

His short-term goal includes watching his son Donald Trump Jr., the MAGA base's fervent mouthpiece, barnstorm his way across the country on behalf of Trump loyalists and supporters for midterms.


Donald Trump Jr. deposed by DC attorney general as part of inaugural funds lawsuit
"Once 2022 kicks into high gear, expect Don (Trump Jr.) to be an extremely active presence on the campaign trail," a person who works with Trump Jr. told CNN, confirming not only the younger Trump's taste for political battle but that of the former President, as well.

Donald Trump's influence on the elections is becoming clearer by the day. Just Tuesday, former Sen. David Perdue announced that he will not launch a campaign, though he had very recently filed papers to do so. The decision follows close on the heels of Perdue's recent visit to Palm Beach, where he played golf with Trump, says a person familiar with the Georgia Republican's schedule.

On Tuesday evening, according to The Washington Post, Trump held court with Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. The quest, say those familiar with the visits and calls of varying Republican politicos, is to feel out where the former President's head is on the party's future, and whether he feels inclined to assist or oppose a particular person.

"We've seen this for years now -- Trumpian offers of encouragement that are more like the mafioso 'nice little business you have here' threats," says Doug Heye, a longtime Republican strategist and consultant who formerly worked in senior communications roles for leadership on Capitol Hill. "The problem for these candidates moving forward is that despite always hustling to score points, Donald Trump doesn't give points, he only takes them away. One at a time."

Family dynamics in flux

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner move out of DC and lease luxury condo in Miami
At Mar-a-Lago, the family is closing ranks around the former President, and his plans, but the leader of next-gen Trump politics is not Ivanka Trump, long thought to be heiress to her father's domain, be it real estate or politics. She's been the subject of effusive comments from Trump: In 2019, in the same breath, he touted Ivanka Trump for both US ambassador to the United Nations and head of the World Bank, and in an interview with The Atlantic he said she would be "very hard to beat" if she were to run for president herself. But apparently Ivanka Trump not only has zero interest in politics at the moment, three people close to her tell CNN, she also has been surpassed in popularity with Trump's base by her older brother.

In 2019, it was clear that Trump Jr. was the ranting Republican hype-man the base couldn't live without. Trump Jr. was not only in high demand for appearances and events, but he also was filling rooms, spewing conspiracy theories on social media, freewheeling with his attacks on Democrats, so-called RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) and anyone who did not agree with Trump's theories and policies -- truthful or no.

Ivanka Trump, ensconced now in an expensive seaside Miami condominium while a new mansion nearby is set for build on a $30 million plot purchased late last year, wants "nothing to do with politics," a friend of hers said of her current state of mind.

Instead, she is "getting her family settled, and that's her only focus," said the friend.

Trump has been to Mar-a-Lago to visit her father since moving to Florida, says another person familiar with her comings and goings, but her interest in discussing her dad's next pass at the White House is nil. The five years Trump spent on the campaign and in the White House "was a lot," her friend told CNN, and talk of a political future is verboten. Paparazzi have captured shots of Trump in recent weeks, mostly lounging on the beach adjacent to her new home. One day she was spotted reading "The Book of Joy" by the Dalai Lama.

But the absence of interest in political engagement, if understandable, paves the way for her brother to shine even brighter in his dad's orbit -- even if he is not the favored child. (In an interview in 2019, Trump said of his older son, "Don is, uh, he's enjoying politics; actually, it's very good.")

Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, have served as highly effective surrogates for his father for close to three years, about as long as the couple have been a couple, and they show no sign of slowing down. Next week the pair will host a high-dollar meet-and-greet fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago, for South Dakota's Republican governor, Kristi Noem, a person with knowledge of the event told CNN.

Noem is up for reelection in 2022, and the $1,000-per-person event will technically be Trump and Guilfoyle's first official foray into the election cycle. The party's VIP experience, according to the person familiar, includes participation in a roundtable discussion with Noem, Trump and Guilfoyle, as well as a photo -- the price of the upgraded face time is $4,000 per person. No word on whether the former President will make an appearance, but Noem is a friend -- she once gifted the then-President with an $1,100 4-foot replica of Miount Rushmore with his face included, according to a New York Times report.

Sunshine State headquarters

Trump to speak at CPAC in first public appearance since leaving White House, while Pence declines invitation
Like his sister, Ivanka Trump, and his half-sister, Tiffany Trump, who also recently made a move to Miami, Trump Jr. intends to make the Sunshine State his permanent residence. Two people with knowledge of the situation said he intends to move closer to his ex-wife, Vanessa Trump, and the couple's five children.

Vanessa Trump spends a good deal of the year in Jupiter, Florida, where her ex-husband has been eyeing an $11 million waterfront mansion in the town's exclusive Admiral's Cove development. A person familiar with Trump Jr.'s ventures would not confirm the purchase of the home, which, according to real estate records, is under contract pending sale, and a representative of the real estate firm handling the sale would not comment to CNN on speculation Trump is the buyer.

But the commitment to Florida, an enthusiastically Trump-friendly state the former President won last November -- indicates the Trumps aren't tied to New York City as their hub. Besides, it's much more pleasant for Trump to host his visitors at Mar-a-Lago, which has a built-in audience of members, many of whom are also sycophants.

One person familiar with Trump's activities at Mar-a-Lago says he's more and more acting as CEO of the club, involved in operations, renovations and membership. For a time, his Palm Beach neighbors expressed disdain that Trump would be living mere blocks from their multimillion-dollar mansions -- a disruption they no longer wished to endure after the last four years of security and privacy challenges.

"I really don't think most Palm Beachers are even thinking about Trump any longer. He really never leaves his two clubs," said Laurence Leamer, a part-time Palm Beach resident and author of two tell-alls about the area, "Madness Under the Royal Palms" and "Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump's Presidential Palace."

Trump is habitual, which makes it all the easier for those who want to find him, to seek his blessing or beg forgiveness for turning their backs, a practice Heye thinks will only increase in the months to come.

"For many, the fealty never ends. But part of Trump's bet when his campaign became serious was that the party would bend to him, he would not bend to the party. He was right," he said.

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Raging Trump





POLITICS
Trump rages at top Republicans even as advisors urge him to focus attacks on Biden, Democrats

Former President Trump continues to rage at top Republicans who push back against him, despite some advisors insisting he should take aim at President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders instead.
Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, and longtime GOP political operative Karl Rove are among the targets of Trump's anger, according to people familiar with the matter.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller responded to CNBC's request for comment for this story by emailing: "Fake news. We're focused on winning back the House and Senate in 2022."
RT: Donald Trump, serious, pensive 191101
Former President Donald Trump
Tom Brenner | Reuters
Former President Donald Trump continues to rage at top Republicans who have criticized him, despite some advisors insisting he should take aim at President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders instead, according to people familiar with the matter.

Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, and longtime GOP political operative Karl Rove are among the targets of Trump's anger, these people said.


These people declined to be named in order to speak freely.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller responded to CNBC's request for comment for this story by emailing: "Fake news. We're focused on winning back the House and Senate in 2022."


CNBC had asked which Republicans Trump intended to target during midterm primaries after the former president said he plans to back several primary contenders who support his Make America Great Again agenda.

There are 20 Senate seats currently held by Republicans, including four who aren't running, which will be up for grabs in 2022. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is the only one of the seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial who is up for reelection next year. The entire House is at stake, as well.

Trump's anger at Republicans who have criticized him was most publicly evident in his statement lambasting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., whom Trump called a "dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack."


Trump's remarks came after McConnell, even after voting to acquit the former president in his second impeachment trial, said Trump was responsible for the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot. Trump said in response that he plans to back primary contenders in the 2022 midterm elections who stand with him.

Advisors have told Trump that many Republican voters, who have been polled by the former president's strategists, do not want to see an all-out war in the GOP. Instead, they would rather see Trump focus his attacks on Biden and top Democrats.

Sen. Rick Scott, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has told associates that he wants to persuade McConnell to engage with Trump in order for the two to settle their differences ahead of the midterms, according to one GOP advisor. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is reportedly planning to meet with Trump this weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in an attempt to play peacemaker.

Chris Hartline, a spokesman for the NRSC, told CNBC that Scott is "not involved in mediating anything. He's focused on the future and winning back the Senate. He's spending every day raising money and talking about how important it is to save this country by stopping the Democrats' mad rush into socialism and loss of freedom and prosperity."

"I don't know if he's spoken to the Leader recently but we don't talk about private conversations he had with other Senators," Hartline added.

Representatives for McConnell and Scott did not respond to requests for comment.

Still, Trump's allies aren't backing away from the idea that support for his agenda will help Republicans in primaries.

"When you know you've got the muscle of President Trump behind you, and all of the devoted loyal followers of the president, and even as important or more important, his America First policies, that's going to be hard to beat," Roy Bailey, a Texas businessman and former head of Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the campaign and the Republican National Committee, told CNBC.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a staunch defender of Trump's in Congress, tweeted that Republicans will be rejected by the base of the party if they don't embrace the former president's agenda. Gaetz has called for the ouster of Republican House leader Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., after she voted to impeach Trump.


Rove has emerged as a leading Republican critic of Trump, and the former president isn't happy about it, one person said. Rove, an ex-senior advisor to former President George W. Bush, wrote a recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal defending his longtime ally McConnell and holding Trump directly responsible for the party's losses in the dual Georgia Senate runoffs.

"Mr. Trump lost those Georgia seats by making his campaign appearances there not about the need for checks and balances on the incoming Biden administration, but instead about his rage over losing the presidential election," Rove wrote on Wednesday.

Trump is also mad at Thune, who is up for reelection next year, another person said. The South Dakota Republican voted with Trump over 90% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight data. But he has also been a vocal Trump critic regarding the Capitol Hill insurrection.

Trump had warned in December that Thune would face a primary challenge after the senator said efforts to challenge the Electoral College results would "go down like a dog" in the Senate. The Cook Political Report has Thune's race as "solid Republican."

After voting to acquit the president in his impeachment trial, Thune said: "What former President Trump did to undermine faith in our election system and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power is inexcusable."

Thune criticized Republican activists in a recent interview with the Associated Press. He said that these activists have engaged in "cancel culture" by rushing to censure GOP lawmakers who voted to support Trump's impeachment.

Thune, according to the AP, said he plans to assist candidates "who don't go off and talk about conspiracies and that sort of thing."

"At the grassroots level, there's a lot of people who want to see Trump-like candidates," he said. "But I think we're going to be looking for candidates that are electable."



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Taxes!






The Week

Journalist Tim O'Brien, who's seen Trump's taxes, thinks Trump's accountant will now flip in D.A. inquiry


Bloomberg's Tim O'Brien, one of the few journalists who has seen former President Donald Trump's tax returns, told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Thursday night he will sleep better now that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance finally has eight years of Trump's financial documents, from 2011 to 2019. Trump "is very afraid of what's in these documents, I think," because they put him in serious criminal jeopardy, O'Brien said, but he isn't the only one implicated.

O'Brien went on to explain why he thinks it's likely Trump's chief accountant, Allen Weisselberg, will flip on Trump. "The thing to really focus in on here is that it's not just the tax records that Cy Vance has now," O'Brien said. "He probably has reams and reams of the accountant's work product. This is a criminal case, they're going to need to prove criminal intent on the part of Trump, his three eldest children, Allen Weisselberg, and anyone else in the Trump Organization who's fallen under the parameters of this investigation. And if there are email and notes and other records of communication about what they intended to do when they inflated the value of buildings so they could get loans against them and then turned around and deflated the value of the buildings so they could pay lower taxes on them, and there's a communication around that that predates any of these tax entries, that is gold for a prosecutor."



A few hours earlier, O'Brien told MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace that the particular eight years of documents Vance's team has "is important, because it predates Trump's ascent into the White House, and I think helps build the narrative around the money trail and Trump's motivations for his destructive and obscene dance with people like Vladimir Putin. It's a shame they couldn't go back further — think this is one of the tragic misses of Robert Mueller's investigation, he could have gone back further, I think, than Cy Vance is able to into Trump's finances."

O'Brien also underscored that the investigation implicates at least Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, and "it also targets people inside the Trump Organization who might flip on Trump if they're exposed to criminal liability," but "the brass ring in all of this is that if Trump has a criminal conviction, he cannot run for president again, and that's looming over this entire thing as well."
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump redux

Postby Meno_ » Sat Feb 27, 2021 3:47 am

"CPAC

Published February 26, 2021

Last Update 3 hrs ago

Is Trump the GOP's future? Here's what CPAC attendees think

Trump still leader of the party, CPAC attendees say, but many think Gov. Ron DeSantis should be 2024 presidential nominee





Former President Donald Trump isn't the leader of the free world anymore. But many of the attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, still want him to be the leader of the Republican Party. 

The annual conservative confab, even during its first event after the Trump presidency, is still very much a pro-Trump gathering.

Make America Great Again hats are some of the most popular attire among the attendees, and there's plenty of locations for people to buy more Trump gear. There are even some folks in "Students for Trump" yarmulkes and the viral "Lady MAGA" drag queen is one of the most visible attendees. 






But despite the pro-Trump nature of the gathering, many attendees aren't necessarily committed to Trump being the 2024 presidential nominee. In fact, many CPAC attendees thought Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who gave the first major address of CPAC Friday, could be the party's standard-bearer going forward. 

"I think President Trump is the leader of the Republican Party. He is still the leader even if he's not president -- at least of our party," said Val Biancaniello, who was a Pennsylvania delegate for Trump at the 2020 Republican National Convention. "I'm looking forward to President Trump coming here and speaking on Sunday, seeing what he has to say. He still has a huge amount of support in the Trump base."

But despite her support for Trump, Biancaniello said she thinks 2024 may be DeSantis' time. 

"I really like Ron DeSantis in '24. I think President Trump has a huge role in our party ... fundraising and helping candidates get elected. His America First policy is still a very strong sentiment," she said. "If the theme of CPAC is 'America Uncancelled,' I think Ron DeSantis is really the face of that right now ... He's a proactive governor instead of a reactive governor."



Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (AP Photo/John Raoux)

"We've seen this with [Ronald] Reagan. Even when Reagan left office we didn't want to see him go away, because obviously when someone does good for a party you don't just want to push him out," said Aaron Rosenthal, who runs a Facebook Page called Americaplus. 

"The way it stands right now, if I were to make my very own prediction, my hopes as a native Floridian is it's going to be our very own Ron DeSantis," Rosenthal said when asked about who may be the 2024 nominee.

"He was our past president so he's definitely a leader," Michael Straw, the Media Borough, Pennsylvania, Republican Party Chairman, said of Trump. "At this point, I think we have to look at a multitude of leaders because he may not be the only person that's looking at the nomination for 2024." 

"If Donald Trump doesn't get in, I'm gonna say Gov. DeSantis" will get the 2024 GOP nomination, Straw added.



Media Borough, Pa., Republican Party Chairman Michael Straw told Fox News that Trump is "definitely" a GOP leader but that the party should be looking to "a multitude of leaders" ahead of 2024. (Fox News)

Aaron Timpko, a CPAC attendee who is a Florida native and took advantage of the fact that CPAC was moved to Orlando to explore the movement, also told Fox News DeSantis may be the best person for the GOP in 2024. 

"Donald Trump undoubtedly has a role as a leader of the Republican Party," Timpko said. "With how much he has changed the Republican Party ... he will continue to be a leader going forward."

"I'd have to go with DeSantis or Ted Cruz," Timpko responded when asked who might be the 2024 GOP nominee. "Somebody who is not Trump. Somebody in the Republican Party who can stand up to the media with a bit more regality than Trump can. Despite how wonderful he was for the country, we can't have a media focusing on him for the next four years instead of Biden."

"One-hundred percent, I think he has a role," Carson Wolf, who is attending CPAC with his parents, said of Trump. "I think he defined the future of the Republican Party as a populist organization. You know, we used to be so conservative and always sticking to the same rules and the same set of standards that haven't evolved. But he has pushed us forward in helping us become a more national populist side of things."



Carson Wolf is attending CPAC with his parents. He said He would be happy with former President Donald Trump as the 2024 GOP nominee but would prefer Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas. (Fox News)

But Wolf said he hopes the GOP will go with someone other than Trump as its 2024 presidential nominee. 

"I can see him as the Republican nominee," Wolf said. "I personally really want to see somebody like Gov. DeSantis or somebody like Dan Crenshaw running. I think we need a new face, you know? But I love Trump and I'd be so satisfied to see him in 2024."

Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. will deliver an address to the CPAC crowd on Friday while the former president will be the keynote speaker on Sunday afternoon. 

On Friday, CPAC kicked off with an emphasis on the Constitution. 






High-profiles speakers including Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, spoke about the Bill of Rights and how it applies to modern America. 

Lee's speech was titled "Why the Left Hates the Bill of Rights ... and We Love It."

Cruz is considered to have potential presidential ambitions, as are Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., both of whom also addressed CPAC on Friday. "





©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump : manifest destiny?

Postby Meno_ » Sun Feb 28, 2021 9:37 pm

SUN FEB 28, 2021 / 11:58 AM EST
Trump to proclaim himself as the future for Republicans in speech








"Former President Donald Trump on Sunday will declare himself the dominant figure in the fractured Republican Party and attack President Joe Biden in his first major appearance since leaving the White House nearly six weeks ago.

"I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over," Trump will tell the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, according to speech excerpts released by his team.

"We are gathered this afternoon to talk about the future --the future of our movement, the future of our party, and the future of our beloved country," he will add.



Trump’s tumultuous final weeks in office saw his supporters launch a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an attempt to block Congress from certifying Biden’s election victory, a win that Trump falsely claimed was tainted by widespread fraud.

A civil war has erupted within the Republican Party with establishment figures like Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell eager to put Trump in the rear-view mirror and others, like Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham, believing the party's future depends on the energy of the pro-Trump conservative base.

"The Republican Party is united. The only division is between a handful of Washington D.C. establishment political hacks, and everybody else all over the country," Trump will say.

Trump fervor at the four-day CPAC event has been so strong that Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. declared it "T-PAC" and participants rolled out a golden statue of the former president.

Trump has discussed privately running again for president in 2024, according to advisers, but the speech excerpts gave no hint of what he might do.

"That's going to be a decision he makes down the road," Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel told CBS's "Face the Nation."


In the short term, he is making plans to set up a superPAC political organization to support candidates who mirror his policies, an adviser said.

Trump's speech will include attacks against Biden to try to position himself as the lead critic of the new president, including on immigration and security along the U.S. border with Mexico, and the slow reopening of schools closed due to the pandemic.

"We all knew that the Biden administration was going to be bad--but none of us imagined just how bad they would be, and how far left they would go," Trump will say. "Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history."

The Biden White House has made it clear it plans to ignore Trump's speech.

“Our focus is certainly not on what President Trump is saying” at CPAC, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters last week.








© 2021 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump political afterglow or fo

Postby Meno_ » Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:59 pm

BBC News

CPAC 2021: Who won the Republican civil war

01 March 2021 US & Canada


If you're looking for evidence of a Republican civil war, the Conservative Political Action Conference was not the place to be.

No grappling with the party's future in the face of Donald Trump's defeat. No pondering the loss of control of the US Senate.

No reflecting on continued minority status in the House of Representatives. And certainly no regret over the January assault on the US Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.

The annual gathering of right-wing activists isn't exactly a representative cross-section of the Republican Party, but it does show where the passions of grassroots and youth organisers reside. And within the confines of a sprawling hotel conference centre in Orlando, Florida the Republican fight over the future of conservatism, if it ever happened, appeared to be over with hardly a metaphorical shot fired.

It's still Donald Trump's party - and on Sunday, he basked in the reflected glow of the crowd's adoration.

"Miss me yet?" Trump asked the thousands, many maskless, cheering in the ballroom. "I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together... is far from over."

Also far from over is Trump's fixation on his election loss last year. During an extended riff on the topic Sunday evening, which included a criticism of the US Supreme Court for declining to overturn the results, the CPAC crowd responded with a chant of "You won! You won! You won!"

Trump's 38 days of self-imposed seclusion after leaving the White House haven't lessened his willingness to traffic in the kind of unsupported claims of election fraud that culminated in the attack on the US Capitol - an event he made no mention of during his speech.

Trump did coyly hint at a 2024 president bid, however, saying that he might beat the Democrats "for a third time".

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESCheering crowd at Cpac 2021
Image captionAt Cpac this year, Trumpism drove the agenda
There has been a tradition in modern US politics for former presidents to refrain from direct criticism of their successors, at least in the opening days of a new administration. On Sunday this became only the latest tradition that Trump discarded, as he lashed out at Democrat Joe Biden for his handling of immigration and the coronavirus pandemic recovery.

He also defined what he considered his political ideology - "Trumpism" - including reformed trade deals, regulatory cuts, low taxes, gun rights, "strong" borders and "no riots in the streets". It was all part of a nearly two-hour speech which at times felt like the former president's attempt to test out new political material for the Biden era, leavened with a heavy dose of aired grievances.

There were dozens of various panels and speakers at CPAC over the course of the three-day event, but Trump was the rhetorical fireworks at the end, and Trumpism drove the agenda and dominated the conversation.

Gold statues and white nationalists
CPAC has sometimes been referred to as the Star Wars cantina of the Republican Party - a hodgepodge collection of quirky characters from across the conservative galaxy. There was plenty of that this year, with an Uncle Sam on roller skates, a "samurai futurologist" from Japan whose adverts ran nonstop in the convention hall, a merchant hawking Trump-themed hammocks and the much-reported gold statue of Trump in red-white-and-blue shorts (made in Mexico by an American expat).

There were also some unsavoury moments, such as the America First Political Action Conference event that drew Cpac patrons to a nearby hotel on Friday night, where organiser Nick Fuentes made remarks heavy in racially tinged rhetoric.

"Our country was founded by white people," Fuentes said. "This country wouldn't exist without white people. And white people are done being bullied."

He also praised the January Capitol attack as "awesome".

The following morning, Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona - the one Republican officeholder who spoke at the Fuentes event - attempted to distance himself from the controversial remarks.

"I denounce when we talk about white racism," he said at the start of a CPAC panel on immigration. "That's not appropriate."

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe former president - and a gold statue of his likeness - drew the crowds
That evening, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green - who was recently censured by the House of Representatives for social media posts about conspiracy theories and endorsing threats to Democratic politicians - made an unscheduled appearance at the conference.

Dozens of people lined up to pose with her for photographs.

Ambition in Trump's shadow
CPAC has traditionally been a proving ground for Republican politicians aspiring to higher office. Over the course of three days, an array of contenders tested how messages and applause lines might resonate with the well-heeled grass-roots activists and college-age conservatives who made the trip to Florida.

Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri - at times sounding a bit like Democratic Elizabeth Warren during her 2020 presidential campaign - railed against powerful technology companies like Google and Twitter, which he said should be broken up.

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas offered a "law and order" theme.

"We've seen what happens when people lose the nerve to defend America," he said. "Last summer, chaos and riots engulfed our streets."

Kristi Noem, governor of South Dakota, touted her decision to keep her state's schools and businesses open during much of the coronavirus pandemic as a victory for freedom (despite her state having a Covid-19 death rate that is one of the highest in the US).

"Covid didn't crush the economy," she said to cheers. "Government crushed the economy."

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionTexas Senator Ted Cruz made an appearance - right on the heels of his trip to Cancun
Even the auditions from political suitors were still mostly about Donald Trump, however. His son, Donald Trump Jr, got some of the biggest cheers on Friday. His former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, noted his accomplishments in foreign policy and tied himself to the entirety of Trump's political record. His former economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said the development of Covid vaccines and a recovering economy were one of Trump's greatest achievements.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who gave the conference's introductory remarks on Thursday morning, talked up the power of the Trump attitude.

"We can sit around and have academic debates about conservative policy," he said. "But the question is, when the klieg lights get hot, when the left comes after you, do you stand strong or do you fold?"

The former president, time and time again, was simply the biggest applause line for speakers here.

Hawley received a standing ovation for noting that he objected to the Senate certification of Biden's electoral victory on 6 January, even though he was labelled an "insurrectionist".


Image captionBridgette, from south Florida, felt welcomed among fellow conservatives
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who has had a rough few weeks after a family holiday to Cancun during his state's weather-related energy crisis became a public-relations disaster, got a warm reception from the CPAC crowd, with a speech heavy on personal liberties in the face government-enforced Covid lockdowns. His clincher, though, involved the man who beat him in the 2016 presidential race.

"Let me tell you right now," he said. "Donald J Trump ain't going anywhere."

A loyal base
Among the conference's attendees, seldom a discouraging word was heard regarding the president. For them, the election was stolen; the party was his; the January attack on the US Capitol was the distant past; and the future for Trump has a rosy hue.

"What I love about President Trump - and I still call him my president - is he started the movement about what we needed for conservativism," said Mary O'Sullivan, a college student from Massachusetts. "A lot of conservatives in the past were very quiet in their views, but he kind of woke a lot of people up to not be silent and stand back but rather take action and take initiative."

Many conference-goers acknowledged that the past few months have been a challenge for Trump supporters. Watching Biden recite the oath of office and quickly roll back many of the executive actions taken by Trump - particularly on immigration - was disheartening. Being able to gather around fellow conservatives who share their continued support for the former president alone was a psychological boost.

"We just needed to have some backup and people that really feel what we feel," said Bridgitte Bass, a retiree from south Florida. "We needed to know that there is support out there for us and that maybe we can start spreading the word and not be so afraid that we're going to get attacked or shut out or cancelled."

Video captionCPAC attendees express their fears about Joe Biden's presidency
And while the 6 January riot was hardly acknowledged from the CPAC stage - even when the conversation turned to law and order and criticism of the Black Lives Matter unrest from last summer - when pressed most spectators acknowledged that the images from that day, of Trump-clad supporters fighting police and vandalising the US Capitol, was damaging to the movement.

"The unfortunate part is we get labelled with some of the fringe on our side - and we have nothing to do with them at all," said Sany Dash of Texas, who ran one of the merchandise stands at the CPAC convention and has travelled to Trump rallies and other conservative events for several years.

Her current selection of souvenirs includes T-shirts, flag purses, socks and bejewelled cowboy hats. One thing she isn't selling - yet - is anything touting a potential Trump president in 2024.

"We're holding off out of respect," she said. "We want to hear the president give us the green light that he's running."

Read more from Anthony
Cancel culture: Have any two words become more weaponised?
What next for Trump - and Trumpism?
What the impeachment verdict means for Trump, Biden and America
Can Biden move America beyond Trump?
Whether Trump's future includes another presidential bid is a complicated question. There were plenty in Orlando who expressed hope that the former president might make a return to the White House, but the annual CPAC secret-ballot straw poll taken of conference attendees gave a more mixed picture.

While 95% of those who responded wanted to see Trump's policies and agenda continue and 89% strongly approved of his job as president, only 68% said he should run again. In a trial heat of potential 2024 candidates, Trump garnered 55% of the vote, with Florida Governor DeSantis at 21%.

It was a dominating lead, but not the sort of prohibitive advantage that would dissuade some of the other presidential hopefuls from continuing to test the water.

The absent dissenters
Voices critical of Trump within the Republican Party stayed far away from Orlando this weekend, either by choice or because they received no invitation to speak.

Former ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who left her job in Trump's good graces but distanced herself from the president after the Capitol attack, reportedly declined an invitation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the highest-ranking officeholder in the party, was not welcome.

Video captionThe BBC's Anthony Zurcher visits a Florida coffee shop for people on the political right
Mitt Romney, the party's 2012 presidential nominee, offered his analysis of the former president from back in Washington.

"I don't think he is the leader of our party in terms of the thought leader or the policy leader, but he obviously has enormous support and will have as much influence as he wants I think," he told the BBC. "Will there be new voices that step forward? I hope so - but everyone is trying to be as much like Donald Trump as they can be."

Romney has said that Trump could end up the party's pick if he runs again in 2024, and even McConnell has indicated he would support the former president if he's the choice of Republican voters.

Only Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice-president and third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, has been unequivocal in her opposition - and that opposition has come with a price.

In his speech on Sunday, Trump named-checked every single congressional Republican who voted for his impeachment or conviction - ending with Cheney, who he accused of being a warmonger.

"Get rid of them all," he said.

And while Republican leaders in Washington may be relieved that Trump said he would not start a third party with his supporters, they're probably less enthusiastic about his pledge to unseat his critics and adversaries within the party.

"I will be actively working to elect strong, tough and smart Republican leaders," he said, to yet another standing ovation.

Video captionHow Mike Pence became a villain in Trump world
Trump recently endorsed a primary challenger to Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, one of the House Republicans who voted to impeach. It is sure to be just the beginning.

Last week, Senator Rick Scott of Florida - the head of the committee responsible for electing Republicans senators - sent a letter to Republican donors and activists claiming "the Republican Civil War is now cancelled".

His declaration may end up premature, but a war between the former president - cheered on by rank and file Republicans and lauded by elected officeholders with the most ambition - and a scattered array of politicians and commentators isn't much of a fight.



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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump past, present and future

Postby Meno_ » Thu Mar 04, 2021 5:13 am

OPINION

Is Donald Trump a declining parody or a terrifying threat? Mastio & Lawrence on CPAC 2021
Can we agree with Trump? Yes, we are 'in the middle of a historic struggle for America’s future,


Former President Trump speaks to a crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida, promises not to start a new political party.
STAFF VIDEO, USA TODAY
Donald Trump emerged from his luxurious Palm Beach exile to wallow in the warmth of devotees at the Conservative Political Action Conference 170 miles away in Orlando. Is he a spent supernova, or a giant barely submerged land mine that could obliterate the landscape at any time? Either way, we've seen our future. There will be no avoiding him. Deputy Editorial Page Editor David Mastio and Commentary Editor Jill Lawrence consider his Sunday speech, all 90-plus minutes:


David: Trump’s CPAC comeback speech revealed a sad little man, angry at local courts and politicians and disappointed in the federal judges he seated, but who “didn’t have the guts or the courage” to bow to him. Trump tried to carry on as if he hadn’t been impeached after the Capitol was ransacked by a mob, but even the lies seemed faintly ridiculous. “We will win. We’ve been doing a lot of winning,” was the wacko fib he launched his speech with, as if he hadn’t cost Republicans control of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House. Trump Republicans know that truth.

And even with a golden Trump idol on hand, 45% of CPAC attendees, in the organization’s straw poll, said they’d vote for someone other than the former president in the 2024 Republican primary. That’s a disappointing showing for a man out of the limelight for only a few weeks and way up from 2019, the last time the straw poll was taken, when fewer than 20% were looking for an alternative to Trump.

If he can’t get to 90% support at CPAC, the core of the Trumpian Republican base, he’s going to be weaker nationwide. Maybe Republicans are looking for a new messenger, even if they’ll stick with the redefined platform of Trumpism. That’s the one optimistic takeaway I saw anyway in a crowd happily nodding along to nonsense.

Jill: I had no luck finding any sliver of hope. Trump came out to the strains of Lee Greenwood’s totemic Republican song about being “proud to be an American," and then his whole speech was an attack on America, laced with ad hominem attacks on his enemies, from Joe Biden (cruel, anti-science and not grateful enough to Trump for his COVID shot) to Liz Cheney (“warmonger”), including a callout of every member of Congress who voted to impeach or convict him. That is frightening.

Checking the facts: Trump clings to his election falsehoods at CPAC

Even more frightening was his checklist of voter suppression measures for state legislators — no early voting, “eliminate the insanity of mass ... mail-in voting,” voter ID required, and (cue the outrage) get rid of automatic registration for felons and welfare recipients. Why? Because our election system is worse than a third world nation and, oh yeah, he won, but maybe he didn’t, but he will again. Maybe in 2024.

Fact-checking is a useless exercise for a speech like this one. It was a swollen greatest-hits parade of lies, laughable braggadocio, deliberate double talk, ugly insults, ugly transactionalism and — from the man who tried to overturn an election, incited a deadly riot and is under investigation in many civil and criminal cases — the despicable (from him) claim that "we know that the rule of law is the ultimate safeguard. We affirm that the Constitution means exactly what it says, as written. As written."


Former President Donald Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Feb. 28, 2021.
JOE RAEDLE, GETTY IMAGES
Most disastrous first month in history
David: Maybe I am drunk on relief that Trump is no longer in office, but I found a lot to be positive about in the quality of the lies Trump delivered. They were down, way down.

He referred to “Joe Biden’s anti-science school closures,” when every parent who has been awake and home-schooling or hybrid schooling their kids knows who was president when schools closed and when they failed to open this fall. Those are Donald Trump’s school closures, if any president has anything to do with them.

He called Biden’s first month in office the “most disastrous … in modern history.” Please, is that even plausible? It doesn’t take some fact-checking whiz kid to point out that’s not true; it merely takes consciousness, or a look at Biden's approval ratings. If anything, this has been the most boring first month in history. We’re reduced to getting worked up about Neera Tanden’s mean tweets.

Trump says his listeners are going to face “$5, $6, $7" a gallon gas. Yeesh. Gas prices are going to triple? I’ll take that bet.

RINOs are out to “destroy our country itself.” Everyone knows that the Republicans in name only are plotting just that.

I know this is wildly optimistic, but I’ll just say it: Trump is becoming a parody of himself, and his hold on the Republican Party is only going to weaken. Four years is a long time, and without constant access to American brains, Trump is going to fade.


View | 7 Photos
President Donald Trump speaks at CPAC 2019
Jill: There were actually a few points on which I found myself nodding in full agreement with Mr. Trump. For instance, when he said that “we’re in the middle of a historic struggle for America’s future, America’s culture, and America’s institutions, borders and most cherished principles,” why yes, yes we are. “Our security, our prosperity and our very identity as Americans is at stake, like perhaps at no other time.” Yes to that, too.

Disinformation pandemic: Fake news victims are using lawsuits to shut down the lies. Can courts cure this plague?

He is the threat. He and those who follow him and believe him when he calls the Republican Party “the party of love.” I truly hope you are right that he is fading. Listening to him echo his Jan. 6 speech, I was haunted by the prospect of more violence, more killing, from those who aren’t satisfied by a conference at an Orlando Hyatt or watching it on TV.

I suppose there is some encouragement in the “mere” 55% support level for Trump in the straw poll, but isn’t second-place Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis just a mini-Trump? Together they’ve got 76% of that crowd. Not enough to give me hope. And you know what did better than anyone? Trump’s agenda at 95%. Whatever the heck that means. Sex, lies and racism? Deadly riots fueled by Trump delusions? Corruption and grifting and cozying up to despots? How about potentially criminal, irrefutably fatal dereliction of duty in the face of a pandemic?

No, I’m not over it yet.

I just wish I didn’t have to be reminded of it again. And again. And again.

Trump will be with us, world without end, God help us. "



© Copyright Gannett 2021
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Re: Trump enters the stage stranger and stranger ""

Postby Meno_ » Fri Mar 05, 2021 3:55 am

WTRF

Today Is The Day QAnon Believes Donald Trump Will Be Reinstated As President

14 hours ago

(WTRF)- QAnon has marked March 4th as a very significant date in their calendar.

Antifa website redirects to White House website
QAnon who gained attention during the Capitol Insurrection on January 6th believes this is the day Donald Trump will return to power as president.

The FBI is listing this as a domestic terrorist threat.


Experts say QAnon follower’s latest theory will cause further humiliation for the radical group when their threat fails.

QAnon believes a secret law that was actually passed back in 1871 changed the United States into an actual corporation.

In essence, to these followers, all presidencies after Ulysses S. Grant have been illegitimate.

This would make former President Donald Trump the 19th president instead of the 45th.

The reason behind the March 4th date is that this is when presidential inauguration ceremonies used to take place before it was moved to January 20th in 1933.

Both Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Departments are continuing to monitor potential threats and are aware of the significance of QAnon’s March 4th date.

U.S. Capitol Police are increasing security around the building following threats of more violence from a militia group Thursday.

The U.S. House of Representatives has canceled its Thursday session because of the threat.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby MagsJ » Fri Mar 05, 2021 12:54 pm

_
Watch.. this.. space?

Interesting information, on legislative and electoral changes.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ
I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Huh! - MagsJ
You’re suggestions and I, just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a really bad DJ - MagsJ
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Re: Trump enters the stage - hustling for dough or legit don

Postby Meno_ » Tue Mar 09, 2021 11:47 pm

DONALD TRUMP

Trump, RNC clash over using his name in fundraising

The RNC's counsel said it “has every right to refer to public figures" while engaging in political speech. Trump responded, “No more money for RINOS."




March 9, 2021, 12:34 PM EST
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Republican National Committee is defending its right to use former President Donald Trump's name in fundraising appeals after he demanded they put an end to the practice.

In a Monday letter to Trump attorney Alex Cannon, RNC chief counsel J. Justin Riemer said the committee “has every right to refer to public figures as it engages in core, First Amendment-protected political speech" and said "it will continue to do so in pursuit of these common goals.”


But he maintained that Trump had also “reaffirmed” to the chair of the RNC, Ronna McDaniel, over the weekend "that he approves of the RNC’s current use of his name in fundraising and other materials, including for our upcoming donor retreat event at Palm Beach at which we look forward to him participating.”

Trump responded to the letter with a statement that put that agreement in doubt.

“No more money for RINOS," or Republican in name only, he stated. “They do nothing but hurt the Republican Party and our great voting base — they will never lead us to Greatness.”


Trump instead again urged his supporters to send their contributions directly to his own Save America PAC by using his personal website, adding, "We will bring it all back stronger than ever before!”


The flap reflects the tensions that have divided the GOP in the months since Trump left the White House. The party is eager to tap into his popularity among the Republican base to raise money ahead of next year's midterms. But that runs counter to Trump's instinct to control the use of his name and image as he aims to position himself as the undisputed leader of the GOP.



DONALD TRUMP

Trump, RNC clash over using his name in fundraising

In his first major speech since leaving office, Trump urged his supporters to give their money to Save America, his political action committee, instead of the GOP's traditional fundraising organizations. And on Friday, his group sent letters to the RNC and others asking them to “immediately cease and desist the unauthorized use of President Donald J. Trump’s name, image, and/or likeness in all fundraising, persuasion, and/or issue speech," according to the RNC letter.

The House and Senate Republican campaign committees and a Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The RNC and Trump's campaign worked hand-in-hand during the 2020 election, including raising money through a joint fundraising committee. And ties between them remain.

Trump is scheduled to speak at the RNC’s spring donor retreat in April in Palm Beach, Florida, and has told McDaniel that he wants to continue raising money for the RNC even as he amasses cash for his own pursuits. That includes exacting revenge by backing challengers to Republican incumbents who crossed him by voting to impeach him for inciting the Capitol riot.

Despite the letters, the RNC and others have continued to fundraise off of Trump's name.

“CONGRATULATIONS! You have been selected as one of the FIRST to be invited to claim your Trump Legacy Membership,” the RNC wrote in one appeal on Sunday.

“We NEED 10,000 patriots who still stand with President Trump before midnight tonight," “URGENT: TRUMP SUPPORTERS NEEDED,” added the National Republican Senatorial Committee Monday afternoon.

The Associated Press

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Re: Trump enters the stage - the beat goes on""

Postby Meno_ » Wed Mar 10, 2021 10:55 pm

The New York Times

Trump, Hungry for Power, Tries to Wrestle Away G.O.P. Fund-Raising

Angry at his critics in the party and seeking to keep his options for raising money open, the former president is trying to take charge of the online fund-raising juggernaut he helped create.




Since leaving office, President Donald J. Trump has made moves to try to remain an influential force in Republican politics.
Since leaving office, President Donald J. Trump has made moves to try to remain an influential force in Republican politics.Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

By Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman
March 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — It was a familiar play by Donald J. Trump: lashing out at his enemies and trying to raise money from it.

The former president this week escalated a standoff over the Republican Party’s financial future, blasting party leaders and urging his backers to send donations to his new political action committee — not to the institutional groups that traditionally control the G.O.P.’s coffers.

“No more money for RINOS,” he said in a statement released on Monday by his bare-bones post-presidential office, referring to Republicans In Name Only. He directed donors to his own website instead.

The aggressive move against his own party is the latest sign that Mr. Trump is trying to wrest control of the low-dollar online fund-raising juggernaut he helped create, diverting it from Republican fund-raising groups toward his own committee, which has virtually no restrictions on how the money can be spent.


Last week, Mr. Trump sent cease-and-desist letters — which appear to have little legal standing — to the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, warning them not to appeal to donors using his name and image.

The jockeying comes as the party struggles to chart its path forward after losing the House, the Senate and the White House during Mr. Trump’s tenure, with moderate party leaders pushing the party to move beyond the divisive former president while much of the G.O.P. base remains firmly behind him. Who controls a majority of donors’ cash is set to be a fiercely contested point of dispute as Republicans try to regroup and take back power in the 2022 midterm elections.

What’s more, Mr. Trump’s advisers believe the future of party fund-raising is in low-dollar contributions, not the class of major donors who have mostly signaled that they want distance from him after his monthslong push falsely claiming that the Nov. 3 election had been stolen, which led to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.


Mr. Trump’s maneuvering is born partly out of his anger toward Republican leaders who he feels were disloyal when they edged away from him after Jan. 6. The former president is also being encouraged by people like Dick Morris, the notorious political consultant known for flipping between the parties, who has been meeting with him in New York and encouraging him to take on the party he once led.



Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, spoke out against Mr. Trump after the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, and has indicated that he wants Republicans to map out a post-Trump future. Credit...Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
Mr. Trump’s actions could give him a stream of money at a time when his private company is struggling under the scrutiny of investigations, with some discussions of whether properties need to be sold. His business is now politics, and political action committees have few restrictions on how they operate and use their money, according to campaign finance experts.

The former president could, in theory, pay himself and his family members salaries from the money raised there.

“That sort of PAC has no meaningful restrictions on how it could spend its money,” said Adav Noti, the senior director of trial litigation at the Campaign Legal Center.


People close to the former president say there has been no discussion about Mr. Trump giving himself a salary. But historically, his political committees have paid to use his properties, among other things, indirectly enriching him.

Republican fund-raising groups have pushed back against the former president. In a letter on Monday responding to the cease-and-desist request by Mr. Trump’s committee, Justin Riemer, the chief counsel for the R.N.C., stated, “The R.N.C., of course, has every right to refer to public figures as it engages in core, First Amendment-protected political speech, and it will continue to do so in pursuit of those common goals.”

But in a sign of the delicate dance between Mr. Trump and a Republican Party fearful of alienating its most popular figure, Mr. Riemer also said that the R.N.C. had not and would not make fund-raising appeals using Mr. Trump’s name or likeness without his approval.

And on Tuesday night, Mr. Trump released a second statement walking back his earlier attacks on the Republican committees.


“I fully support the Republican Party and important GOP Committees, but I do not support RINOs and fools, and it is not their right to use my likeness or image to raise funds,” he said. But even as he tried to clarify that he supported his party, he gave another plug for his own group. “If you donate to our Save America PAC at DonaldJTrump.com, you are helping the America First movement and doing it right,” he said.

For now, aides said, Mr. Trump’s plan is to stockpile money so he can remain a force in politics and help candidates challenging dissident Republicans like Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who supported impeaching him this year.

Mr. Trump, along with the national party, raised roughly $250 million between Election Day and President Biden’s inauguration. More than $60 million of that went to a new political action committee. That committee and the former president’s campaign committee were both converted to linked political action committees. Mr. Trump’s aides said this week that they had not yet started to send fund-raising solicitations since he left office, but planned to do so in the coming days.

The Republican clash could resonate particularly in the House.

If Mr. Trump is successful in persuading donors to give money to him instead of supporting Republican House candidates directly, he could cause problems for Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, who is trying to take back the House in two years. He needs to flip five seats to do so.


“If you control the money, you control the party,” said Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor.

Some Republican strategists noted that less than a decade ago, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, was the biggest fund-raising name in G.O.P. politics. Now he barely recognizes his party.

The strategists played down the threat Mr. Trump poses to Republican fund-raising. “The donors that are unique to him who would be affected by that message are people who wouldn’t have donated in the first place,” said Josh Holmes, a political adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader.

Mr. Holmes also said that as the Biden administration rolled out new policies like a nearly $2 trillion relief bill, Republicans would coalesce in opposition and develop new fund-raising constituencies.

“In midterms, you raise a lot of money out of opposition to an administration and policy,” Mr. Holmes said. “In presidential years, it becomes more of a face and name of each of the parties. We’re naturally entering a different era of fund-raising.”



So far, all Mr. Trump’s organization has done is release endorsements for loyalists in key states, like Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina, who is running for re-election. But longtime party fund-raisers see that as a reminder by Mr. Trump to those lawmakers that they need to stick with him, or else he could pull his endorsement down the road.





Trump aides were split over whether the R.N.C. should have received the threatening letter at all. Ronna McDaniel, the group’s chairwoman, won her job in large part because of Mr. Trump’s support. Some of his aides told her that Mr. Trump himself had not known that she received one of the threatening letters.

There have historically been tensions between some of Mr. Trump’s advisers and R.N.C. officials. But in a phone call with Ms. McDaniel over the weekend to smooth over the relationship, Mr. Trump played down any intent to directly target the R.N.C. or prevent it from reaching its donors. The takeaway from an overall pleasant conversation, people familiar with the call said, was that Mr. Trump was still supportive of Republican donors’ giving money to the R.N.C. and that he did not plan to stand in the way.
The R.N.C. is planning to hold part of its spring fund-raising gala at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla. That plan was in the works before the cease-and-desist letters. The Four Seasons in Palm Beach, which is hosting the rest of the gala, had social distancing and space requirements that would not allow for the 350 people who wanted to attend the Saturday night reception where Mr. Trump is scheduled to speak. The hotel also expressed concerns about hosting the former president.


© 2021 The New York Times
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Re: Trump enters the stage - the stage is set? for what?

Postby Meno_ » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:19 pm

Democracy Dies in Darkness

Perspective

Trump may be in real trouble from new civil and criminal cases
Courts in D.C., New York and Georgia are moving to rein in the former president’s false statements
Image without a caption
Former president Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month in Orlando. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

By Donald Ayer and Norman Eisen
March 11, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. EST

"Recent statements by Donald Trump and his enablers prove that he and his Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen aren’t departing from American politics anytime soon. But neither is the push to hold him legally accountable, as shown by a new lawsuit — the second against Trump by a member of Congress arising out of the failed Jan. 6 insurrection. As attorneys who have overseen prosecutions or other accountability efforts in Republican and Democratic administrations alike, we believe the combination of civil cases and a pair of rapidly accelerating state criminal investigations make for a potent force to combat the ex-president’s ongoing wrongdoing.

The new litigation, filed Friday by impeachment manager Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), alleges that the former president, his son Don Jr., his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) conspired to prevent Swalwell and other members of Congress from discharging their duty to certify that Joe Biden had won last year’s presidential election. The complaint says the defendants engaged in an extensive, months-long promotion of the Big Lie, capped off by Trump’s fighting words and the violence that followed on the day of the electoral vote count.


Such alleged conspiracies are prohibited by the Ku Klux Klan Act, which was passed during the Reconstruction era to fight efforts to block public officials from performing their duties. The new suit joins the pending one initiated by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who is also suing the former president and Giuliani, as well as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers on similar grounds.


Both cases are assigned to the same capable and speedy D.C. federal judge, Amit Mehta, and Trump’s first deadline to answer is approaching next week. So the floodgates of civil litigation are now open. Once preliminary motions are over, we can expect a rush of new information to add to the public record of the events leading up to and including Jan. 6, perhaps further implicating the former president and his cronies. And the financial claims against Trump will accumulate, too. Because of the potentially vast damages that can be awarded by D.C. juries for the very severe wrongdoing alleged, these civil actions have the capacity to financially break even wealthy individuals like the Trump and some of his alleged co-conspirators.


The Post’s Rosalind Helderman explains the lawsuits against former president Donald Trump and his allies for trying to change election results. (Mahlia Posey/The Washington Post)
You don’t have a ‘right’ to a lawyer when you’re trying to steal an election

But as important as civil accountability is, Trump faces an even more immediate set of legal troubles that threaten to complicate his attempted reemergence into public life. Recent days also saw the delivery of long-sought tax and financial information to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. as part of an investigation into Trump’s many alleged misdeeds in New York City’s jurisdiction, including bank and tax fraud. That should greatly accelerate the long-running investigation. So too should Vance’s recent hiring of a top deputy with extensive experience trying complex criminal matters, Mark Pomerantz. He and Vance are reportedly sharpening their focus on the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, whose cooperation could also speed up the case.

The First Amendment doesn’t protect Trump’s incitement

And Vance is not alone in investigating criminal liability — there’s a matching criminal threat from Fulton County, Ga., District Attorney Fani Willis over Trump’s call to ask that the secretary of state in Georgia “just … find 11,780 votes” to help Trump beat Biden. This is a more recent investigation, but it’s also potentially much less complex than the case in Manhattan, now in its third year. As a result, the Fulton County investigation may move even faster. Indeed, a grand jury met in the Georgia investigation last week, and Willis recently added a nationally recognized racketeering expert to her investigative team. Look for the New York and Georgia probes into criminal liability to close in on Trump.

Of course, Trump would not be Trump without his many legal enablers, and they, too, are facing mounting troubles for their part in spreading the Big Lie. Judge James E. Boasberg of the D.C. District Court recently referred attorney Erick Kaardal to a court grievance committee for potential punishment because Kaardal filed an allegedly bogus case attacking the November election results. Two Georgia counties have recently filed to recover legal fees stemming from the Trump campaign’s frivolous lawsuit to overturn the state’s election results. They are the latest in a nationwide series of actions seeking sanctions against the attorneys who presented allegedly voluminous election falsehoods to the courts, including multiple bar complaints against Sidney Powell and Giuliani. Giuliani is beset with even greater challenges: Late last week, news reports indicated that federal prosecutors in Manhattan had resumed their investigation into whether he broke federal law in his Ukraine dealings, which helped lead to Trump’s first impeachment.

The lawyers who pushed Trump’s falsehoods may soon be done lawyering

In light of all this court action, Trump may come to regret his recent CPAC speech filled with debunked lies, such as that “this election was rigged,” and that there were “more votes than they had people voting” in Michigan and Pennsylvania. The ex-president’s behavior at issue in the cases does not end on Jan. 6, or even Jan. 20, when he left office. The law allows post-wrongdoing acts to be admitted if they bear upon relevant issues such as motive or a lack of remorse. As civil and criminal proceedings press forward, the CPAC speech and others like it could be admissible in court as evidence to shed light on Trump’s intent in inciting the attack on the Capitol.

This is to say nothing of the other ongoing investigations into the events of Jan. 6 that could continue to implicate Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s proposed commission to look into the riot remains under consideration, and in the meantime, standing congressional committees are investigating the events of that day as well. Whether through the special commission or otherwise, Congress’s findings will illuminate Trump’s full role in the incitement of political violence.

Then there is the sprawling federal criminal probe into Jan. 6. It has already resulted in nearly 300 cases, and investigators have said that all potential defendants are subject to review. Last week, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the agency was pursuing roughly 2,000 domestic terrorism cases across the country, representing a huge spike in such investigations. That attention and focus cannot be good news for the former president.

Trump was able to delay personal accountability during his term in office by using the presidency itself as a shield. He argued that Article II of the Constitution prohibited him from being investigated, stalled legal proceedings and treated the Department of Justice as his own personal law firm. And his allies in the halls of Congress spent four years either agreeing with Trump’s assessment of immunity or choosing the compliance-through-silence option, including by acquitting him at two impeachment trials despite his evident culpability.

Today, however, Trump is a private citizen. His friends in Congress are less reliably loyal. He must defend himself. This is not to say that exacting justice will be easy — as a private businessman, Trump was notorious for using the law as a weapon. But the walls seem to be rapidly closing in. If they do, they may finally mark an end to the ex-president’s involvement in our public life. It is not easy to be involved in politics if you are broke and in jail.

‘Trump said I could’: One possible legal defense for accused rioters

The Capitol riot shouldn’t have surprised us. Trump forecast it for five years.

Trump could be sued for damages under the federal Ku Klux Klan Act"






Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump’s failure to act after a mob stormed the Capitol







Donald Ayer served as U.S. attorney and principal deputy solicitor





Kamala Harris may be our best bet to prevent a return of Trumpism

Biden is leading a quiet revolution

Roy Blunt wanted compromise and cordiality. He couldn’t survive the Trump GOP’s descent.



QAnon is an American invention, but it has become a global plague


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Re: Trump enters the stage - business as usual

Postby Meno_ » Tue Mar 16, 2021 3:58 pm

Republicans flock to Mar-a-Lago for Trump fundraising, photo-ops
The events likely bring lucrative deals for Trump's business.


How Donald Trump spent his last days as presidentTrump spent his last days in office seeking ways to challenge the outcome of the election, culminating in a riot at the Capitol and an unprecedented second impeachment.Joe Raedle/Getty Images
As former President Donald Trump plots his post-White House political life, his flashy country club private properties have emerged as destination spots for Republicans looking to raise money through events that are also sure to line the former president's pockets.

Republicans have been making the trip to Trump's Mar-a-Lago Resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to meet with donors -- despite running for office in other states. While it’s common for politicians to travel outside of their state to reach bigger donors, in the age of Trump, meet-and-greets with Trump at what was once deemed the "Winter White House" have become a particularly attractive option.


Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders held a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend with Trump making a "surprise appearance." A loyalist of Trump's since leaving the administration, Sanders is vying for the position her father, Mike Huckabee, held from 1996 to 2007 as governor of Arkansas.

"Great weekend on the campaign trail featuring a surprise appearance at one of my events by President Trump," Sanders tweeted on Sunday evening, along with a photo of her and the former president. Social media posts on Instagram show Sanders at Mar-a-Lago with former White House deputy chief of staff and social media director Dan Scavino and other guests at the fundraising event.


Sanders, who was publicly encouraged to run for governor by Trump, raised $1 million in the first four days after announcing her run, her campaign has said. Her 2022 race could become one of the first official tests of how much the Republican Party is influenced by the former president versus the GOP establishment.

"The Arkansas Governor's race will be decided by Arkansas voters, not the rich and famous of New York and Palm Beach," Christian Gonzalez, a campaign spokesperson for Sanders' only Republican opponent, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, said in a statement to ABC News. "The only time Attorney General Rutledge has been to Mar-a-Lago was to fundraise for President Trump. Attorney General Rutledge's events usually involve barbecue and catfish not crab cakes and escargot."

Since leaving the White House, Trump has hosted numerous other Republican allies at Mar-a-Lago as he continues to exert his influence over several potential contenders in upcoming elections.

The price tags of the recent Mar-a-Lago fundraisers have not yet been publicly reported and it's unclear how much money the Trump allies are raking in from those fundraisers. But they're likely lucrative deals for the former president's business, based on the five to six-figure expenditures that the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and various other GOP allies have reported in connection with hosting fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago in recent years.

MORE: Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeals to Trump voters in bid for Arkansas governor
Over the last four years, campaigns and political groups have together spent at least $12 million at various Trump properties, including more than $9 million spent by Trump's own presidential campaign, the RNC, and their shared fundraising committees.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and the Trump Tower in New York City have thrived in recent years not only as campaign headquarters and go-to places for lavish GOP fundraising events, but also as popular lodging options for traveling campaign staffers and hotspots for various supporter gatherings.

Mar-a-Lago, where Trump has resided since his departure from the White House, now appears to be taking on more of that role.

In late February, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, up for reelection in 2022, held a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago where guests included Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, both firebrand conservatives and staunch supporters of the former president. Dinner for the fundraiser ran $10,600 per couple, according to an invitation obtained by the Washington Post.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, thought to be a 2024 presidential hopeful, has also trekked to Mar-a-Lago this month to greet donors at an event hosted by Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle.

An invitation for Noem's March 5 event that was obtained by Politico indicated a $1,000 minimum contribution to attend the fundraiser. Attending a private discussion and photo-op with Noem, Guilfoyle and Trump Jr., required a contribution of $4,000 per individual or $8,000 per couple.

Campaign representatives for Sanders, Noem and Lee did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for comments.

Trump has also issued a number of endorsements from Mar-a-Lago, including endorsing his former aide Max Miller, who is running for Congress in Ohio against Republican incumbent Anthony Gonzalez, who voted for Trump's last impeachment.

Over the weekend, during a fundraiser held at Mar-a-Lago for Big Dog Ranch Rescue, a nonprofit, cage-free dog rescue organization, Trump teased that his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, married to his son Eric, may run for the Senate in North Carolina in 2022.

Earlier this year, Trump hosted Republicans including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.

Regarding his own political aspirations, Trump has yet to declare his own intentions for 2024, freezing Noem and other potential contenders in place as they balance appealing to the former president's base with solidifying independent support of their own.

The one-term president has not shied away from maintaining a strong influence over the conservative political field. Immediately after Democrat Joe Biden was announced the winner of the 2020 presidential election, Trump launched a new leadership PAC called Save America, eventually directing much of the money raised through the Trump-RNC joint fundraising effort to the new PAC.

Through his post-election fundraising efforts, Trump's massive fundraising prowess raised hundreds of millions of dollars through a joint fundraising apparatus with the Republican Party in just the two months following the November election.

MORE: Trump fundraising for new 'Save America' PAC while still contesting election results
But Trump's team and the Republican Party have since parted ways in regard to fundraising, as Trump spars with the GOP over the use of his name in recent weeks. The former president has encouraged voters not to donate to establishment GOP candidates, but has instead endorsed only those candidates who remain loyal to him. And as he seeks to even the score with politicians he believes betrayed him, he has already vowed to campaign against an incumbent Senate Republican: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Earlier this month, Trump also turned his presidential committee into a political action committee designed to support multiple candidates, further signaling a move to support his allies in the 2022 midterm elections.

In addition, Trump and his allies are reportedly in the process of launching a new super PAC, which could accept big checks from donors and spend an unlimited amount of money supporting candidates -- unlike regular PACs that are bound by $5,000 contribution limits per donor and per candidate. According to Politico, Trump told his advisers at a meeting at Mar-a-Lago last month that his one-time campaign manager Corey Lewandowski would lead the new super pack


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Re: Trump enters the stage - legal problems coming home

Postby Meno_ » Fri Mar 19, 2021 4:43 pm

"The district attorney is sifting through millions of pages of his tax records. The state attorney general has subpoenaed his lawyers, his bankers, his chief financial officer — even one of his sons.

And that’s just in New York. Former president Donald Trump is also facing criminal investigations in Georgia and the District of Columbia related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And Trump must defend himself against a growing raft of lawsuits: 29 are pending at last count, including some seeking damages from Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, when he encouraged a march to the Capitol that ended in a mob storming the building."



Washington Post
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump reset?

Postby Meno_ » Mon Mar 22, 2021 12:14 am

"Donald Trump will soon use “his own platform” to return to social media, an adviser said on Sunday, months after the former president was banned from Twitter for inciting the US Capitol riot.

'His new business': Trump seeks personal political brand as he grips Republican base
Trump has chafed in relative silence at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida since losing his Twitter account and the protections and powers of office. Recently he has released short statements which many have likened to his tweets of old.

Speculation has been rife that Trump might seek to create his own TV network in an attempt to prise viewers from Fox News, which was first to call the crucial state of Arizona for Joe Biden on election night, to Trump’s considerable anger.


But on Sunday adviser Jason Miller said social media was the immediate target.

“The president’s been off of social media for a while,” he told Fox News Media Buzz host Howard Kurtz, “[but] his press releases, his statements have actually been getting almost more play than he ever did on Twitter before.”

Miller said he had been told by a reporter the statements were “much more elegant” and “more presidential” than Trump’s tweets, but added: “I do think that we’re going to see President Trump returning to social media in probably about two or three months here with his own platform.


“And this is something that I think will be the hottest ticket in social media, it’s going to completely redefine the game, and everybody is going to be waiting and watching to see what exactly President Trump does. But it will be his own platform.”

Asked if Trump was going to create the platform himself or with a company, Miller said: “I can’t go much further than what I was able to just share, but I can say that it will be big once he starts.

“There have been a lot of high-power meetings he’s been having at Mar-a-Lago with some teams of folks who have been coming in, and … it’s not just one company that’s approached the president, there have been numerous companies.

“But I think the president does know what direction he wants to head here and this new platform is going to be big and everyone wants him, he’s gonna bring millions and millions, tens of millions of people to this new platform.”


Trump, his supporters and prominent conservatives alleged bias from social media companies even before the events of 6 January, when five people including a police officer died as a mob stormed the Capitol, seeking at Trump’s urging to overturn his election defeat.

In the aftermath of the attack, Trump was also suspended from Facebook and Instagram. Rightwing platforms including Gab and Parler have come under intense scrutiny amid investigations of the Capitol putsch.

Trump was impeached for inciting the attack but acquitted when only seven Republican senators voted to convict.

He therefore remains free to run for office and has dominated polls regarding prospective Republican nominees in 2024, raising impressive sums in political donations even while his business fortunes suffer amid numerous legal threats.

Miller emphasised the hold Trump retains on his party.

Ex-Trump aide tweets 'executive orders' after Google lists him as president
“He’s already had over 20 senators over 50 members of Congress either call or make the pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago to ask for [his] endorsement,” he said.

With the sort of performative hyperbole Trump aides often display for their watching boss, Miller claimed endorsements from the former president were “the most important in world history. There’s never ever been this type of endorsement that’s carried this much weight.”

Saying the media should “pay attention to Georgia on Monday”, Miller said an endorsement there would “really shake things up in the political landscape”.

Trump faces an investigation in Georgia over a call to a Republican official in which he sought to overturn defeat by Joe Biden. In January,

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Strange and stranger political

Postby Meno_ » Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:35 pm

POLITICO

POLITICS

‘He’s toast’: GOP leaves Raffensperger twisting in the wind
The Georgia GOP secretary of state who bucked Donald Trump is up against serious resistance within his own party.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Atlanta. | Brynn Anderson/AP Photo



03/28/2021 07:00 AM EDT

"The former president is obsessed with defeating him next year. He’s getting mauled by his own state party. Last week alone, a Republican congressman announced he’d challenge in the primary and the state legislature voted to strip his office of some official powers.

By most accounts, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger doesn’t have a prayer of being reelected.



“He’s toast,” said Jay Williams, a Georgia-based Republican strategist. “I don’t know that there’s a single elected official who would put their neck out for Brad Raffensperger right now.”

Not everyone in state political circles is convinced Raffensperger’s political plight is so grim. Some still see a path to reelection, despite the serious resistance within his own party.

Either way, as the GOP forges its post-Trump era identity, Raffensperger’s reelection campaign is emerging as one of the earliest and most contentious test cases for the direction of the party. At issue is more than just whether critics of the former president can succeed in the party. It’s whether a Republican who rejects the lie that the last election was stolen has any chance of winning another one.

The answer in Georgia, so far, is that it will be exceedingly difficult — if not flat-out impossible.



It is a remarkable turn of events for a conventional Republican politician whose down-ballot election in 2018 went largely unnoticed outside his own state. Yet after refusing to buckle to Donald Trump’s requests to change the state’s vote count and feuding with Trump over the former president’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, Raffensperger’s reelection campaign is unfolding, improbably, as one of the most consequential of the election cycle – with implications for the GOP in every state and at all levels of government.

Jason Shepherd, the chair of the Republican Party in Cobb County, Georgia, said he has friends who are “completely uninvolved in politics” who tell him “there is no way they are going to vote to reelect Raffensperger.”

That sentiment, he said, is coming from “the type of person you’re almost surprised they know the name of the secretary of state.”

“I don’t want to say there’s zero chance, but at this point right now, it’s nearly impossible to find anyone in the party who supports the reelection of [Raffensperger],” he said.



Raffensperger still has more than a year to turn it around. But he is running up against the heavy weight of GOP’s election fraud orthodoxy. Earlier this week, Rep. Jody Hice, a defender of Trump’s effort to overturn the election, announced he’s running with Trump’s endorsement to unseat Raffensperger. And the Georgia Republican Party isn’t exactly sitting on the sidelines.

The state executive committee publicly called this week on Raffensperger to repudiate his staff for misquoting Trump’s words in a December phone call in which Trump urged a Georgia elections official to find “dishonesty” in the vote in an attempt to reverse the election results.

The party said Raffensperger has “dodged repeated attempts” by committee members to discuss the issue with him.

Closer to home, Raffensperger failed this past weekend to get Republicans in his own precinct to elect him as a delegate to his county’s upcoming Republican Party convention, said Stewart Bragg, executive director of the Georgia Republican Party. After Raffensperger wrote a letter asking to be elected, no one at the precinct meeting moved to nominate him, Bragg said.

In a statement, the chair of the Fulton County Republican Party, Trey Kelly, said he was unaware of any letter from Raffensperger, adding that, “like many others who did not attend Saturday, he was not added to the delegate or alternate list for the county convention.” A person close to Raffensperger also denied that he sent a letter seeking election.

His representatives otherwise declined to comment for this story, pointing to Raffensperger’s past public statements.

Raffensperger's official responsibilities have also been targeted by Republicans in the state. On Thursday, the Republican-controlled state legislature passed a law, signed by Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, that removes the secretary of state as the state election board chair — to be replaced by a person approved by the state legislature.

The law, in effect, hands control of the five-person board over to the state legislature: Two other members on the board are picked by the respective legislative chambers. The law also gives the state election board the ability to suspend county election officials, who are replaced by an individual picked by the board.


Raffensperger is not without a fan base. In fact, he’s the most popular Republican in Georgia, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll in January — even more than Kemp or Trump.

But that feat is in large part because Raffensperger is admired by Democrats, who viewed him as a truth-telling, elections administration equivalent of Dr. Anthony Fauci after the November vote. Nearly 45 percent of Republicans in the state disapprove of Raffensperger’s performance, according to the poll.

Raffensperger has been a focal point for Trump and his supporters since shortly after the presidential election. Even as early as November, he said he was preparing for a primary challenge because of how angry some in the state may be with him.

In an election cycle where secretary of state races are likely to get a near-unprecedented amount of attention, Georgia’s may be the most competitive. Not only is Raffensperger facing a Trump-backed primary challenger, Democrats will be gunning for the office in 2022 as well, enraged by the Republicans in the legislature pushing through bills that will restrict voter access to the polls and emboldened by the party’s successes in the state’s last election.

Raffensperger has joined the chorus of Republicans across the country in opposing H.R. 1, or the For the People Act, congressional Democrats' sweeping piece of legislation that would drastically remake most aspects of federal elections, penning an op-ed in USA Today on Friday that says the bill makes "reckless demands of Georgia’s elections system."

At the same time, Raffensperger has been harshly critical of the falsehoods about the 2020 election promoted by Trump and embraced by Hice, saying voters will punish Hice because of it.

“We saw in January what Georgia voters will do to candidates who use that rhetoric,” he said in a statement shortly after Hice got into the race, alluding to the two GOP Senate runoff losses. “His recklessness is matched by his fecklessness as a congressman. Georgia Republicans seeking a candidate who's accomplished nothing now have one.”

Hice also isn't Raffensperger's only primary challenger. David Belle Isle, the former mayor of Alpharetta who Raffensperger handily defeated in a 2018 runoff for the nomination, also announced he was running again.


Raffensperger’s newly acquired national profile means the outcome will reverberate far beyond Georgia, where Republican primaries are emerging as litmus tests on questions about voter fraud and fealty to Trump’s grievances.

"Raffensperger is not just somebody running in a Republican primary,” said Sarah Longwell, the founder of the Republican Accountability Project, an anti-Trump group working to promote non-MAGA Republicans. “He is being primaried by Jody Hice, who is somebody who has been an election truther.”

The umbrella organization that RAP belongs to has pledged a $50 million campaign to back Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, and a sister organization of RAP previously ran ads defending Raffensperger’s handling of an election, saying he ran “a “textbook election under extraordinary circumstances.”

But the issue will likely play out across the country, Longwell said. “In a Republican primary — like the Ohio Senate primary, for example — I suspect the challengers are going to be MAGA, or more MAGA, or mega MAGA. … You can definitely see that people will try to outmatch each other by the extent to which they will play up the election being stolen.”

The national primary environment appears more favorable to Republicans running on the idea that the election was illegitimate, with a majority of Republican voters saying the November election wasn’t free or fair.

Still, it’s possible that in Raffensperger’s race and elsewhere, the electorate’s view of 2020 will shift by 2022 — especially as more information undercutting Trump’s voter fraud claims materializes about the election. Pointing to a recent court filing from Sidney Powell — the former Trump lawyer who recently conceded that “no reasonable person” would believe what she had been saying was factual — Georgia Republican John Cowan said he is not yet sure how he will vote in Raffensperger’s primary.

The secretary of state “admirably stood up to power, the-guy-in-Tiananmen-Square kind of stuff,” said Cowan, a neurosurgeon who ran against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in a 2020 House primary and is considering running against her again next year.

Right now, Cowan said Raffensperger is getting “scapegoated.”


But “when the anger and the passion subsides,” he said, “I think people are going to say, ‘Gosh, we just got beat.’ And unless we want to get beat again, we’ve got to get our act together.”


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Re: Trump enters the stage - Reality versus propaganda?

Postby Meno_ » Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:49 pm

Former Trump chief of staff calls ex-President's Capitol riot claims 'manifestly false'

Updated 8:19 PM EDT, Sat March 27, 2021

"(CNN)The former chief of staff to ex-President Donald Trump on Saturday pushed back against his former boss' recent attempt to whitewash the history of the January 6 Capitol riot.

Mick Mulvaney, who stepped down as Trump's special envoy to Northern Ireland after the insurrection, called Trump's comments that his supporters were "hugging and kissing" police officers and posed "zero threat," despite widespread violence, "manifestly false."

"I was surprised to hear the President say that. Clearly there were people who were behaving themselves, and then there were people who absolutely were not, but to come out and say that everyone was fine and there was no risk, that's just manifestly false -- people died, other people were severely injured," Mulvaney told CNN's Pamela Brown on "Newsroom."


"It's not right to say there was no risk, I don't know how you can say that when people were killed," he added.

Mulvaney was one of a handful of senior officials who resigned in the wake of the January 6 riot, including former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and former Trump deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger.

Trump earlier this week attempted to rewrite the history of the insurrection, which he stoked by repeatedly and falsely claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him. There is no evidence of widespread fraud, but Trump and many of his conservative allies in the media and on Capitol Hill have continued to push the narrative.

Calling into Fox News on Thursday night, Trump was asked if he was concerned about the US Capitol's beefed-up security, including razor-wire fencing, which he derided as "disgraceful" and a "political maneuver."

"It was zero threat, right from the start, it was zero threat. Look, they went in, they shouldn't have done it. Some of them went in, and they are hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know, they had great relationships," Trump told Fox News' Laura Ingraham. "A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out."

Trump's comments came after the world has been presented with reams of video evidence of the violence that broke out on January 6, charges filed against alleged rioters, police officers' accounts of the violence and lawmakers' descriptions of the fear they experienced that day. The riot left five people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, and more than 100 other police officers were injured.

Still, Mulvaney said he "absolutely would" still vote for Trump if he were to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

"I think the more interesting question is what does the Republican primary look like," Mulvaney said, "And nobody knows, up to and including, I believe, the President. I absolutely believe the President has not made up his mind yet, and probably won't for a long period of time, maybe even after the primaries start in 2024, so it's a long way off."

Mulvaney acknowledged, however, that if Trump were to run again, he'd likely have to answer for the events of January 6.

"He's still a major player in the Republican Party -- there's a lot of folks who were turned off by the last six weeks, and especially the riots, that he's going to have to do some work to sort of build bridges back with, if he wants to run again."


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Re: Trump enters the stage - Aftershocks

Postby Meno_ » Fri Apr 02, 2021 6:24 pm

POLITICO





POLITICS

Inside the ‘Lord of the Flies’ factionalism now plaguing Trumpland
Distrust, whisper campaigns and a bit of backstabbing are rampant as aides scramble for access and power.





Just one month after Donald Trump left the White House, a top donor to his campaign received a call on his personal cellphone from a Republican candidate seeking financial support.

The call was unsolicited, according to four people familiar with the situation, and it rubbed the donor, whose friends had received similarly unexpected fundraising pleas, the wrong way. Shortly thereafter, the firm Jones Day, which served as counsel to Trump’s campaign committee, sent out a letter to former staff and consultants, warning them that they risked prosecution if they misused campaign resources. The letter then asked recipients to destroy or return any information they might have taken from the Trump campaign’s vast Rolodex of donor contacts.


A senior adviser to Trump insisted that the directive wasn’t in response to “a particular act” but merely to “make sure no one was misusing valuable campaign data.”

But inside Trumpworld, the episode sparked a game of whodunit over who had the audacity to abuse the confidential donor list, with GOP sources speculating that a pair of ex-Trump campaign hands were working to amass a donor profile of their own. And it added to the cold war that has broken out among competing factions that are seeking to capitalize on their time with Trump to score new business and political clients.

“These are people who didn’t like each other four months ago and now they all have a common interest: how to get some coin out of the Trump post-presidency,” said a former senior administration official, who like others would talk about internal squabbles only on condition of anonymity.

For staff of a losing presidential candidate, the weeks and months after that loss present difficult career choices. Many choose to move on from politics altogether, worn down from the days on the trail. Others take time off or explore the lucrative fields of consultancy or K Street.

For some Trump aides, the landscape has been different. Getting jobs in corporate America has been difficult, owing to the often toxic reputation of the 45th president, especially after the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill. Their boss, meanwhile, continues to float the idea that he will run for president again, and he is in the process of setting up a political — and, potentially, social media — apparatus aimed at cementing him as a lasting fixture in GOP politics. That has incentivized his onetime aides to stay in the game. It's also sparked infighting, as those aides view maintaining their MAGA bona fides as critical for landing jobs on current and future Republican campaigns.

Within Trump’s orbit, former aides and advisers have been squabbling for direct access to the former president as they filter in and out of Mar-a-Lago. Privately, they have accused others of overstating that access in order to score House and Senate clients. There have been whisper campaigns that some former staffers are misleading potential campaigns by telling them that, if hired, their candidate would have a better chance of securing Trump’s endorsement. Other former aides who have promised to organize posh fundraisers for incumbent Republicans and GOP candidates at Mar-a-Lago have become targets of mockery among their peers, who insist there is no single gatekeeper to Trump’s gilded club, where donors regularly gather to hear from the party’s rising stars.

Former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort where he resides after leaving the White House.


Recalling a recent fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago for one incumbent Republican, a Trump aide was incredulous that another had claimed to those in attendance that he was instrumental for arranging such gatherings — and, naturally, should be hired as a fundraising consultant for them.

“I don’t begrudge anyone for wanting to make money ... but don’t be so brazen about it,” the aide said.

Several former campaign officials and top White House aides who’ve retained access to Trump — either through regular meetings at Mar-a-Lago or weekly phone calls — have launched their own ventures since the 2020 election. As they’ve tried to ingratiate themselves with new clients and donors, they have settled into different camps, each wary of the others.

Former campaign manager Bill Stepien teamed up with deputy campaign manager Justin Clark and adviser Nick Trainer to form a political consulting firm; former 2016 campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and Dave Bossie have been tasked with creating a new super PAC for the former president; former White House policy adviser Stephen Miller is in the midst of launching a new legal group; and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is working for the Conservative Partnership Institute, which has a donor summit planned in Palm Beach next week. Others, like Sergio Gor, the former chief of staff for the Trump campaign’s finance committee, and Caroline Wren, another Trump fundraiser, have been working closely with Republican candidates in 2022 races.

“Trump is surrounded by people who are telling him ‘you need us,’ but they really need him,” said the person close to the former president.








Panic Rooms, Birth Certificates and the Birth of GOP Paranoia

WHITE HOUSE

Interior Department chief of staff being removed from post after indoor party fiasco


Inside the ‘Lord of the Flies’ factionalism now plaguing Trumpland


Dems pine to face Ron Johnson just one more time


Trump spokesperson Jason Miller, who is in regular contact with the former president and the aides currently working for him, disputed claims of friction inside Trump’s orbit. Instead, Miller said he’s never seen such harmony.

“Having been around Trump World for five years now, I would argue that here’s the least amount of ally competition or conflict at this point than I’ve ever seen,” he said. “The people who the president has kept in his orbit are all true believers who understand that he makes his own decisions, and we have very specific roles supporting him.”

Another former aide who is still in frequent contact with Trump’s advisers agreed that the skeleton political operation is “getting along.”

But the whisper campaigns and mudslinging have been noticed well beyond Trump’s immediate team of aides. Some of the former president’s most trusted external allies have personally urged him to dump his current squad, claiming that those he’s surrounded himself with are singularly focused on enriching themselves or too clumsy to be running a successful post-presidential operation.


“They’re competing for his money. I’ve told the president, ‘You need to be cognizant of this,’’' said a former senior Trump administration official. “He does not need a huge organization right now peppered with crazy monthly retainers and unnecessary overhead.”

Trump himself is aware of the dynamics at play, according to multiple people who have either had direct discussions with the former president or are familiar with the situation. Some of his closest aides say they wish he would lie low until the 2022 midterm cycle kicks into full gear, a move that they believe would help mitigate the private clashes and confusion that some feel have consumed his current orbit.

But the chaos may not be disorienting for Trump. From the earliest days of his 2016 campaign through the end of his presidency, the former New York real estate mogul has surrounded himself with strong personalities and constantly shifted his favor from one clique to the next.

“Trump has always encouraged that kind of behavior,” said a former aide. “But it is difficult to do the job like that.”

The warning shot fired over unauthorized use of the Trump Victory donor list was, for many, a clear example of the eagerness that some Trump aides or former staff have to exploit what one 2016 Trump campaign official described as a “Wild West” environment at Mar-a-Lago.

“Right now, it’s like a daycare if you took all the adults away. There’s virtually nobody with organizational skills left,” said a person familiar with Trump’s operation.





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Re: Trump enters the stage - more than meets the eye"""

Postby Meno_ » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:40 am

The New York Times

Trump Lashes His Enemies Anew as G.O.P. Dances Around His Presence
A gathering of Republican leaders and top donors in Florida this weekend is less a reset of priorities and more a reminder of the tensions that Donald J. Trump instills in his party.


Republicans in the party would like to maintain the energy that propelled former President Donald J. Trump without allowing him to dominate it.
Republicans in the party would like to maintain the energy that propelled former President Donald J. Trump

The first spring donor retreat after a defeat for a political party is typically a moment of reflection and renewal as officials chart a new direction forward.

But with former President Donald J. Trump determined to keep his grip on the Republican Party and the party’s base as adhered to him as ever, the coming together of the Republican National Committee’s top donors in South Florida this weekend is less a moment of reset and more a reminder of the continuing tensions and schisms roiling the G.O.P.

The same former president who last month sent the R.N.C. a cease-and-desist letter demanding they stop using his likeness to raise money on Saturday evening served as the party’s fund-raising headliner.

“A tremendous complication” was how Fred Zeidman, a veteran Republican fund-raiser in Texas, described Mr. Trump’s lingering presence on the political scene.



The delicate dance between Mr. Trump and the party — after losing the House, the Senate and the White House on his watch — was evident in some actual shuttle bus diplomacy on Saturday, as the party’s top donors attended a series of receptions and panels at the Four Seasons Resort before traveling to Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s private club, to hear Mr. Trump speak.

The former president’s insistence on leading the party “affects every member,” Mr. Zeidman said, as lawmakers and would-be elected officials jockey for a Trump endorsement that was as powerful in a Republican primary as it could be problematic in a general election.

“He’s already proven that he wants to have a major say or keep control of the party, and he’s already shown every sign that he’s going to primary everybody that has not been supportive of him,” Mr. Zeidman said. “He complicates everything so much.”

As donors and G.O.P. leaders looked on Saturday night, Mr. Trump quickly cast aside his prepared remarks and returned to his false claims that the election was stolen from him. He referenced “Zuckerberg” and $500 million spent on a “lockbox” from which, he said, every vote was marked, according to remarks described by an attendee. “Biden. Saintly Joe Biden,” he said.



Mr. Trump praised loyalists like Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff, while lashing his enemies — among them Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker; former President Barack Obama, whom he called “Barack Hussein Obama”; Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser; and Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, whom he berated anew for not helping overturn Mr. Biden’s win in the state.

He saved much of his vitriol for Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, calling him a “dumb son of a bitch” and a “stone cold loser,’’ according to the attendee. A “real leader,” he said, would never have accepted the results of that election.

Late in his remarks, Mr. Trump praised the crowd that attended his rally on Jan. 6, admiring how large it was, the attendee said. Mr. Trump added that he wasn’t “talking about the people that went to the Capitol,” though hundreds of the rally attendees left the rally at the Ellipse to go to the Capitol.

Among other things, Mr. Trump is considering running again in 2024. Though few of his allies believe he will follow through, his presence could have a chilling effect on other potential candidates.

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“The party is still very much revolving around” Mr. Trump, said Andrea Catsimatidis, chairwoman of the Manhattan Republican Party and a donor who attended the retreat. “He was the one who very much revived the party when we weren’t winning.”

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Also inescapable is the fact that Mr. Trump has quickly built a political war chest that rivals that of the R.N.C. An adviser to Mr. Trump said he currently had about $85 million on hand, compared with nearly $84 million for the R.N.C.

“Send your donation to Save America PAC,” Mr. Trump urged supporters last month, not to “RINOS,” the derisive acronym for “Republicans in Name Only.” Mr. Trump has appeared as passionate about punishing Republicans who crossed him, especially those who supported his second impeachment, as he has about taking back the House and the Senate in 2022.

For party officials, the goal is keeping the energy that has propelled Mr. Trump to success inside the Republican tent while not entirely allowing the former president to dominate it. Ronna McDaniel, the R.N.C. chairwoman whom Mr. Trump supported for a second term, has vowed to remain neutral in a potential 2024 primary should Mr. Trump run again.

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“It is a difficult balancing act,” said Bill Palatucci, a Republican National Committeeman from New Jersey who has been critical of Mr. Trump.

“The president certainly has devoted followers,” Mr. Palatucci said, “but he also more than offended a lot of people with his conduct since the November election, which culminated in his helping to incite the riot on Jan. 6.”

Image

Organizers moved the final Saturday evening events to Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property, meaning the party will again be paying the former president’s private club to use its space.Credit...Saul Martinez for The New York Times
Some donors are hoping to quickly move past Mr. Trump, but they are also focused on the current Oval Office occupant.

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“It is very important the Republican Party puts Donald Trump as far into the past as possible,” said William Oberndorf, an investor in California who has given millions to G.O.P. candidates but said he would now only give to Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach Mr. Trump.

“However, if Joe Biden does not ensure that major pieces of legislation have bipartisan support, it is he who will bear more responsibility than any group of Republican donors ever could for resurrecting Mr. Trump’s political future and fortunes,” he added.

Among donors, the jockeying for favor and financing extends beyond Mr. Trump and the R.N.C.

On Thursday and Friday, a separate but overlapping gathering for Republican contributors was held at Mr. Trump’s private club: an “investors meeting” of the Conservative Partnership Institute (C.P.I.), a nonprofit organization. Mr. Meadows is now a senior adviser for the group, and Caroline Wren, who used to fund-raise for the former president, is raising money for it.

Donors are being pitched on a dizzying array of Trump-adjacent projects, including a new political advocacy group from former Vice President Mike Pence, and new entities being started by Ben Carson, Mr. Trump’s former housing secretary; Stephen Miller, his former White House adviser; and Russell Vought, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget.

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Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump’s first campaign manager in 2016, is said to be involved with efforts to start a Trump-aligned super PAC, as well.

Mr. Trump, who continues to talk privately about a future campaign of his own in 2024, spoke to donors for the Meadows-linked group for more than an hour on Thursday, also at his private club.

“All Republican roads lead to Mar-a-Lago,” said Jason Miller, an adviser to Mr. Trump. “Trump is still the straw that stirs the news cycle. His influence will be central to every speech and story line this week.”

Those who have trekked there to meet Mr. Trump in recent months include Sarah Huckabee Sanders, his former press secretary and a candidate for governor of Arkansas; Senator Rick Scott of Florida, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee; and Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the House minority leader.

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In a suit and red “Make America Great Again’’ hat, Mr. Trump stopped by a fund-raiser for Ms. Sanders this weekend at his club.

The R.N.C. had initially planned for its entire retreat to be held nearby in Palm Beach, but organizers moved the final Saturday evening events to Mr. Trump’s resort, meaning the party will again be paying the former president’s private club to use its space.

During Mr. Trump’s White House tenure, his political campaign, the R.N.C. and his allies spent millions of dollars at Trump businesses, including his hotel in Washington near the White House and a resort property in Miami, where yet another pro-Trump group also held a conference this week.

Party officials maintained that donors and a number of party activists were happier being at Trump-branded properties than they were anywhere else.

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Still, the Trump branding of official Republican events had alienated what was once the Republican establishment.

“This is all about the Trump circle of grift,” said former Representative Barbara Comstock of Virginia, who is close to another high-profile Republican — and a frequent target of Mr. Trump’s — who was also notably absent: Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

Ms. Comstock said that the Republicans keeping their distance were wise to “build their own coalitions” and “not get sucked into Trumpism, which has a limited and short-term appeal with demographics dying in this country.”

Henry Barbour, an influential R.N.C. member from Mississippi, said that the party was still in a transitional phase since Mr. Trump’s loss.


“When you lose the White House, you kind of figure it’s going to take a little bit of healing, and I think probably first quarter has hopefully got us moving on a better path,” Mr. Barbour said. Mr. Trump, he said, is a “big force in the party, but the party is bigger than any one candidate including Donald Trump.”

With Mr. Trump’s priorities differing from those of other party leaders, the tension remains palpable. On Friday, the super PAC for Senate Republicans, which is aligned with Mr. McConnell, announced its backing of Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, who infuriated Mr. Trump by voting to impeach him. (Some Trump 2020 advisers are working for Ms. Murkowski’s Republican challenger, Kelly Tshibaka.)

Last month, Mr. McConnell privately boasted of the super PAC’s fund-raising in a meeting with Senate Republicans, bragging that it had raised more than Mr. Trump’s super PAC had in 2020. He even distributed a card to hammer home the point: “In three cycles: nearly $1 billion,” the card said. Below that were Mr. Trump’s super PAC statistics: “Trump: $148+ million,” referring to the group America First.

But the Republican small donor base remains very much enamored with Mr. Trump.

“He’ll still be the most significant figure in the party in November 2022,” predicted Al Cardenas, a former chairman of the Florida Republican Party and former chairman of the American Conservative Union. “Everybody has a shelf life and Donald Trump has lost a bit of his shelf life.”

“It could be two years,” Mr. Cardenas added. “It could be 10.”

Donald Trump and the Republican Party
How a Defeated Trump Is Making a Muddle of the G.O.P.


Trump’s Republican Hit List at CPAC Is a Warning Shot to His Party


McConnell Was Done With Trump. His Party Said Not So Fast.






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Re: Trump enters the stage - more then meets the eye

Postby Meno_ » Tue Apr 13, 2021 1:24 am

"
POLITICO

Magazine
OPINION | FOURTH ESTATE

Sebastian Gorka’s New Show Proves that Propaganda Makes Lousy TV
Is retreaded flattery really the best way to turn MAGAWorld into loyal viewers?

White House Deputy Assistant To The President Sebastian Gorka speaks as he is interviewed by Fox News remotely from the White House June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

By JACK SHAFER

04/12/2021 05:15 PM EDT

Jack Shafer is Politico’s senior media writer.

Almost nobody tuned into the first episode of Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s new talk show on Newsmax, The Gorka Reality Check, with high expectations.

Since Donald Trump’s defeat, there’s been a TV land rush to capture as much of the Trump base as possible, turn their Trumpian grievances and nostalgia for the past four years into a reliable viewership. In December, Newsmax executed the formula so well that it temporarily displaced the dominant Fox News Channel as the center of the Trump media universe, inspiring producers at Newsmax, OAN and eventually Fox to pander to the nationalist right, Trump uber alles audience. Fox, feeling the Newsmax heat, even demoted a “newsy” show, The Story With Martha MacCallum, from 7 p.m. to 3 p.m. to make way for more overt opinion in prime time.


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This right-wing gold rush bestowed a show on Gorka, who is both handicapped and blessed by the limited range he brings to the microphone when singing his right-wing hymns. He flattens Trumpism, which is pretty flat to begin with, into an even simpler set of pro-Trump, anti-“Democrat Party” homilies. In other words, he’s the Trump administration’s eternal flame, doggedly burning to illuminate the path to Trump’s restoration for the faithful.

If the one-time Trump administration aide, current radio host, and occasional book author possessed much in the way of broadcast potential, wouldn’t his ideological comrades at Fox have given him a show or, at the very least, let him enter the try-outs the network has been holding to select a host for its currently open 7 p.m. slot? None of the candidates who have appeared so far, Trey Gowdy, Maria Bartiromo, Mark Steyn and Brian Kilmeade, has secured the permanent host position at the prestigious—or at least, better-watched—Fox News. But Gorka has a history at Fox. He worked there as a contributor from November 2017 to March 2019, when he was pushed out. His version of his Fox departure was that he wanted to spend more time on his syndicated radio show and his commitment to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. But according to a 2018 Daily Beast piece, the doctor earned a “soft ban” from producers on the news side (as opposed to the talk side), with one anonymous producer telling the Beast it avoided Gorka because he was essentially “useless” to shows, unable to produce anything but routinized songs of praise for President Donald Trump. When Fox news producers dismiss you as a mere Trump propagandist, it makes sense to move your act to a lesser network like Newsmax where that’s an asset.

Routinized Songs of Praise for President Donald Trump would be a good title for the Gorka TV hour-long show, which debuted on Sunday at 7 p.m. The program, shot cheaply on a no-budget set in front of a Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument screen, consumed its first quarter-hour extolling Trump and Trumpism in the grandest and blandest terms possible as he set the stage for his three guests: Brexit activist and Trump pal Nigel Farage; Hoover Institution scholar Victor Davis Hanson, author of The Case for Trump; and Conrad Black, the newspaper publisher, who won a 2019 pardon from Trump after publishing a laudatory biography of him. “Life changed” when Trump ran, Gorka said, setting up the interviews, using his voice that has always sounded both mechanical and desynchronized. Trump was important, Gorka said, because he interrupted the age of the professional politician and was a threat to the establishment because nobody owned him.

Farage, Hanson and Black followed Gorka’s lead in their segments, mouthing soft platitudes about Trump as the host pitched them balloon-sized whiffle balls for his guests to swing at. “What is Donald Trump really like,” Gorka asked Farage. “He’s a great, fun president to be with,” Farage said. Hanson spoke of the “radical—what’s the word?—recalibration” of Wall Street, the military, sports and entertainment in the Biden era. “Can this radicalism in the left be challenged robustly or must we just wait for it to burn itself out? What is your prediction?” Gorka asked. Challenged, of course, responded Hanson, as if passive resistance was really an option. Black, who is ordinarily no doofus, wandered into a magical world of his own imagination when he embraced Gorka’s advice that Republicans carry on as “happy warriors,” a term usually applied to liberals like Franklin D. Roosevelt. Black responded, citing something he just wrote in the National Review: “If Roosevelt was alive today, he would be for Trump, and not for Biden. He wouldn’t sign on to any of this woken nonsense.” FDR as a Trumpist? If not for the pardon, one would say that Black deserves to complete his jail term for that lunacy. As for Trump’s post-presidency performances, Black effused that Trump was doing everything right.

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How many ways can you say that Trump is good in all things and Biden is bad? The coming weeks will surely reveal the answer. But the sort of weekly confab of agreement and enthusiastic seconding that is The Gorka Reality Check isn’t a total waste. For Trump fans, Newsmax is a safe place where they go and hear the man’s message, and The Gorka Reality Check seems to aspire to be the very safest show in its line-up. You can’t really disparage a reverend for preaching to the choir. The reason they come to church week after week is to hear the same old gospel. Gorka knows his gospel, all right, chapter and verse, and one suspects he will be unmoved by people who find his ditto-head act so sad and so lacking in debate and discourse.

We know from inspecting the fossil record of Gorka’s career that he can shout hell and damnation and put the pug in pugnacious when in close proximity to his political and media foes. Remember his barking match with Playboy’s Brian Karem in the Rose Garden during Trump’s Social Media Summit? If he can’t bring even a tad of his Morton Downey Jr. energy to his show, how is he going to be of interest even to the most abject Trump supporter? They want blood or at least the threat of it. If, as he insists, the legacy media is “morally bankrupt,” he’ll have to start showing the receipts in his show, and not just spoon with his guests and the memory of Trump.

In Gorka’s mind, the catcalls and jeers from his critics will surely function like an elixir, convincing him of the correctness of his Trumpism and fueling his ego for the next disputation-free episode."

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