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babylonsister

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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
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Prosecutors Are Lining Up Witnesses to Explain Donald Trump's Many Alleged Crimes to a Jury

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/03/donald-trump-criminal-investigation-witnesses#intcid=_vanity-fair-right-rail_161f7ff4-e62e-4da1-a1bf-f69754788d4a_popular4-1

Legal Affairs
Prosecutors Are Lining Up Witnesses to Explain Donald Trump’s Many Alleged Crimes to a Jury
Countless people may relish the opportunity to tell a jury all the ways Trump (allegedly) broke the law.
By Bess Levin
March 25, 2021


As you’ve probably heard by now, Donald Trump is in a lot of legal trouble, which is unfortunate for him given the fact that legitimate lawyers want nothing to do with him and if it weren’t for the fact that the Republican Party had already decided to let him get away with inciting a violent insurrection, he almost certainly would have been found guilty at his second impeachment trial. (In fact, one of the attorneys on his dream team suggested the Department of Justice should arrest him if they thought he committed a crime.) Currently, the ex-president is the defendant in approximately 29 lawsuits, according to The Washington Post, though likely more worrisome to him are the criminal investigations he’s at the center of, particularly the one being led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. In the last several months, the D.A. has brought on the attorney who put John Gotti and other white-collar criminals behind bars, has reportedly been working to flip the Trump Organizations longtime CFO, and, most crucially, obtained Trump’s much sought-after tax returns, documents that the Queens-born real estate developer has gone to such extreme lengths to keep secret that some people have gotten the impression they contain extremely incriminating information. Now, Vance’s office has taken the next step in its criminal investigation: finding people who can explain to a jury why Trump is a possible crook.

Reuters reports that investigators are “combing through millions of pages of newly acquired records with an eye toward identifying witnesses who can bring the documents to life for a jury,” according to people familiar with the matter. Some of the individuals expected to testify are already well known and likely include the 45th president’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, who has met with prosectors eight times. (In February 2019, Cohen told lawmakers that Trump regularly inflated and deflated his assets “when it served his purposes,” whether it was to reduce his tax bill or obtain loans. Last year, he said in an interview that Trump should go to prison for 360 years.) In addition, there’s Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization employee who has described himself as Trump‘s “eyes and ears” at the company and would seemingly know if his boss had committed fraud, whether of the bank, insurance, or tax variety. But according to reporters Jason Szep and Peter Eisler, “a growing universe of people, institutions, and agencies are being scrutinized” by Vance’s team.

Per Reuters:

Prosecutors are looking to gather information and testimony from bankers, bookkeepers, real estate consultants, and others close to the Trump Organization who could provide insights on its dealings, according to interviews and court filings. The process of identifying all witnesses and targets could take months. “The next phase is identifying targets” for subpoenas and testimony, said one person familiar with the case…. Vance’s investigators need insiders who can provide the narrative behind any conflicting numbers on Trump’s financial records and testify to Trump’s knowledge and intent, said former prosecutors of white-collar fraud cases. “Even in the most heavily document-dependent case, you need witnesses to tell the story,” said Reed Brodsky, a longtime white-collar defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor.

Several potential key figures in Vance’s investigation are current or former employees of outside companies—from financial and real estate consultants to legal advisers—with inside knowledge of Trump’s dealings, according to court filings and the two people familiar with the investigation. Some performed crucial roles for many years, such as Mazars accountant Donald Bender. His signature is on the tax returns of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which was dissolved in 2018 after a probe by the New York attorney general found that the organization misused charitable funds. Trump was ordered to pay more than $2 million in damages.


more...

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/03/donald-trump-criminal-investigation-witnesses#intcid=_vanity-fair-right-rail_161f7ff4-e62e-4da1-a1bf-f69754788d4a_popular4-1
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 26, 2021, 05:00 PM (1 replies)

Wyoming Tells Donald Trump Jr. to Sit Down and STFU

Swing And A Miss
Wyoming Tells Donald Trump Jr. to Sit Down and STFU
Junior’s quest to avenge his father is not going as planned.
By Bess Levin
March 26, 2021


Back in January, Representative Liz Cheney earned the ire of many a fellow Republican when she had the audacity to claim that Donald Trump had “lit the flame” of the attack on the Capitol, announced her support to impeach him, and then, days later, voted to do exactly that. Of course, nothing that Cheney said or did was wrong—Trump quite obviously incited the violent riot and he should have been impeached—but to his band of loyalists in the party, the Wyoming lawmaker’s actions were tantamount to treason. (Which is an interesting point of view, given that the guy they were defending had literally tried to overthrow the results of a federal election.) Dozens of Republican representatives tried to strip Cheney of her role as conference chair. Florida representative Matt Gaetz flew to Wyoming and, after declaring like only a mediocre white man can that he knew everything there was to know about the place having been there for one hour, urged voters to oust her from the House. Donald Trump Jr. has spent the last two months and change attacking Cheney for disrespecting his father.

Unfortunately for Junior, his quest to avenge Daddy Trump and maybe get more than one biannual hug, is not going so hot. Per CNN:

A Wyoming Senate bill to create election runoffs failed on Wednesday, despite Donald Trump Jr.’s campaign to pass it in an attempt to defeat Republican Rep. Liz Cheney in 2022. The vote was 14–15 with one lawmaker excused. The former president’s son has increasingly attacked the No. 3 House Republican since she voted to impeach his father following the deadly attack on the Capitol…. In January, Trump Jr. called into an anti-Cheney rally led by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, urging Republicans to coalesce around a single candidate to challenge her. And in March, Trump Jr. publicly pressured the state senators on the committee working on the bill, tweeting their email addresses to his 6.8 million followers. “Any Republican in Wyoming who does Liz Cheney’s bidding and opposes SF145 is turning their back on my father and the entire America First movement,” Trump Jr. tweeted.

The bill would’ve forced Cheney and other candidates to receive more than 50% of the vote to win a primary, and potentially pit her against one Trump-backed opponent in a runoff primary election…. But despite Trump Jr.’s efforts, a Wyoming state Senate committee amended the bill so it wouldn’t take effect until 2023, as some legislators pushed to give county clerks enough time to adapt.


more...

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/03/don-jr-liz-cheney-defeat
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 26, 2021, 04:35 PM (3 replies)

The Rude Pundit: Republicans Need to Feel Way More Heat for Their Opposition to New Gun Laws

https://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2021/03/republicans-need-to-feel-heat-for-their.html


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
3/25/2021
Republicans Need to Feel Way More Heat for Their Opposition to New Gun Laws


snip//

In Florida, a February 2020 poll found that 86% of voters in that state supported universal background checks for all gun purchases. That includes 96% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans. 72% of voters said they "strongly support" the idea, with majorities in both parties agreeing with that sentiment. Yet, even in the wake of the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, skeevy Republican Senator Marco Rubio has never supported universal background checks, completely ignoring the wishes of the vast majority of his constituents.

In Indiana, an April 2019 poll found that 90% of voters in that state supported universal background checks for all gun purchases. That includes over 80% of Republicans and over 90% of Democrats. Interestingly, it also includes 88% of gun owners and 73% of NRA members. But Republican Todd Young, one of that shitty state's shitty senators, has an A+ rating from the NRA for, among other reasons, opposing universal background checks. Young has occasionally made noise about supporting some kind of "strengthening" of background checks, but he's never followed through because of course he won't.

In Utah, a September 2019 poll found that 88% of people in that state supported universal background checks for all gun purchases. That includes around 80% of Republicans and nearly 100% of Democrats. And it includes 88% of people who identify as active Mormons. Batshit insane Republican Senator Mike Lee proudly opposes gun laws and thinks that people need guns to prevent the government from taking their guns or some such vaguely treasonous nonsense.

The point here is not that universal background checks would end mass shootings. It would hinder some sales, but it needs to be paired with an assault weapons ban and other measures. But that's not the point of all that information.

What should be clear by now is that universal background checks are not controversial or extreme, no matter how much the corrupt slugfuckers at the NRA screech that they are. In fact, the extremist position is opposing them. You are going against what almost every American believes and wants. Sure, you can call yourself a lone warrior for Second Amendment rights or whatever the fuck you wanna say to make yourself feel better, but, mostly, you're just a dick who's busy rubbing your nipples with gun lobby cash.

And the three dicks up there are all up for reelection in 2022. I'm under no illusion that Utah, Florida, and Indiana are gonna elect Democrats (although Florida is a little more likely and Indiana did have Evan Bayh for a couple of terms not that long ago), but Rubio, Young, and Lee need to feel some fucking pressure on this issue. Here they are, dismissing the overwhelmingly position of 9 out of 10 of their constituents. There's gotta be some pain for doing that, an ad or two calling them extremists who don't give a fuck about the voters of their state.

Because, see, if they end up having to pledge to support background check expansion, and that actually passes through the filibuster-fucked Senate, that opens the door just a little. Then we can move on to the other anti-gun laws that are also incredibly popular. Or we just fucking elect more Democrats and tell the GOP to go fuck themselves with their AR-15s. You know what the AR means now.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 26, 2021, 04:30 PM (1 replies)

Roosevelt. Johnson. Biden?

https://politicalwire.com/2021/03/26/roosevelt-johnson-biden/

Roosevelt. Johnson. Biden?
March 26, 2021 at 6:27 am EDT By Taegan Goddard


Charlie Cook: “Anyone who referred to Biden a year ago as a ‘centrist’ probably got carried away. One could have plausibly argued that he has long been in the ideological center of the Democratic Party, but he’s pretty far from the 50-yard line of the electorate as a whole. Still, his ideological posture of late has been surprising.”

“It shouldn’t surprise us any longer. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the parliamentary maneuvering over the stimulus wasn’t merely a tactical decision to skip the bipartisan approach; it was more strategic, more foundational…”

“Some wags used to joke that Biden was the type of politician who could put out the fire in a fireside chat. But truly, Biden’s agenda is more reminiscent of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal or Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society than the more modest and forgettable Fair Deal of Harry Truman, Bill Clinton’s New Covenant, or Jimmy Carter’s New Spirit. As our nation’s 47th vice president once said about another expansion of federal authority, ‘this is a big fucking deal.'”
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 26, 2021, 07:23 AM (9 replies)

Biden's Eye-On-The-Prize Strategy

https://politicalwire.com/2021/03/26/bidens-eye-on-the-prize-strategy/


Biden’s Eye-On-The-Prize Strategy
March 26, 2021 at 6:41 am EDT By Taegan Goddard


“President Biden revealed in vivid display this week the thinking animating his 100-day plan: Do not allow outside events to take his eye off the make-or-break imperatives of virus eradication and economic growth,” Axios reports.

Said Biden: “Successful presidents — better than me — have been successful, in large part, because they know how to time what they’re doing — order it, decide and prioritize what needs to be done.”

Playbook: “Over and over in the East Room, the president made it clear Thursday that he’s in control of the timing of his legislative priorities and that he would not allow events to overtake his plans. Guns, immigration, voting rights, filibuster reform — the big issues that have intervened recently and that dominated questioning by reporters — would have to wait.”

Gary Abernathy: “The most impressive revelation on Thursday from President Biden’s first news conference was that he has a plan and he intends to stick with it.”
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 26, 2021, 07:20 AM (4 replies)

Biden tasks Harris with addressing influx of migrants at the southern border

Biden tasks Harris with addressing influx of migrants at the southern border
Yahoo News
Caitlin Dickson
March 24, 2021, 4:30 PM


President Biden announced Wednesday that he is putting Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of efforts to stem the increased flow of immigrants and asylum seekers along the southern border of the United States.

“I can think of nobody who is better qualified to do this,” Biden told reporters at the White House. Harris, he said, will take the helm of diplomatic efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador), where a significant portion of the migrants seeking protection at the border come from, including an influx of unaccompanied minors.

Prior to the announcement, a senior administration official told reporters Wednesday that Harris will be focused on coordinating with those countries to stem the current tide of illegal immigration while also addressing the root causes of migration from those countries.

Harris’s new assignment is her biggest yet as vice president, as the Biden administration faces intense scrutiny from both sides of the aisle over its response to the current influx of children. This migration has overwhelmed the Department of Health and Human Services’ network of shelters for children, resulting in overcrowding and prolonged detention at Border Patrol facilities. According to HHS, there were approximately 11,350 children in the care of its Office of Refugee Resettlement, with thousands more waiting in custody at the border.

more...

https://www.aol.com/news/biden-tasks-harris-addressing-influx-203026234.html
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Mar 24, 2021, 09:47 PM (2 replies)

Navalny Says His Health Has Deteriorated

https://politicalwire.com/2021/03/24/navalny-says-his-health-has-deteriorated/

Navalny Says His Health Has Deteriorated
March 24, 2021 at 6:28 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard


Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has complained of a “sharp deterioration” in his health in prison and has been blocked from meeting lawyers, The Guardian reports.

Navalny has reported “serious back pain” and numbness in one of his legs that has left him unable to stand on it.

Bill Browder: “This is how the hell that Putin has in store for him begins. I’ve seen it before with Sergei Magnitsky and it’s horrific.”
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Mar 24, 2021, 09:00 PM (1 replies)

Historians Call Out Mitch McConnell: Filibuster Is Racist


3/24/21 2:18pm
Historians Call Out Mitch McConnell: Filibuster Is Racist
Duh, Mitch McConnell is wrong.
By Common Dreams
3 hours ago by Frances Langum


Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday made the sweeping claim that the legislative filibuster has "no racial history at all" and further insisted that historians don't dispute his view—an assertion that historians immediately disputed.

"Strom Thurmond disagrees," tweeted historian Patrick Wyman, referring to the late Republican senator from South Carolina whose 24-hour filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1957 remains the longest in U.S. history.

During a press briefing Tuesday, McConnell offered a full-throated defense of the filibuster amid growing calls by Senate Democrats to significantly weaken or abolish the 60-vote rule, which in its current form gives the minority party enormous power to block legislation. Progressive advocacy groups and some Democratic lawmakers have taken to describing the filibuster as a "Jim Crow relic" to denote its past use as a weapon against civil rights legislation.

"It has no racial history at all. None. So, there's no dispute among historians about that," said McConnell, who stood by the GOP's intention to use the filibuster to block the For the People Act, Democratic legislation aiming to expand ballot access as Republicans press ahead with sweeping voter suppression measures at the state level.

"Historian of the 20th century South here. I dispute Mitch's statement," responded Charles Westmoreland, a professor of history at Delta State University in Mississippi. "The filibuster has a ton of 'racial history.'"

https://twitter.com/i/status/1374433682119749637
Kevin Kruse, professor of history at Princeton University, offered a non-exhaustive list of filibuster use against civil rights and anti-lynching legislation over the past 150 years:

more...

https://crooksandliars.com/2021/03/historians-call-out-mitch-mcconnell
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Mar 24, 2021, 05:25 PM (8 replies)

Republicans' Latest Anti-Gun-Control Excuse: It Hurts Minorities

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/03/republicans-gun-control-racism

Mass Shootings
Republicans’ Latest Anti-Gun-Control Excuse: It Hurts Minorities
The GOP is suddenly extremely concerned about racism.
By Bess Levin
March 24, 2021


If you’ve paid any attention at all to the Republican Party recently or not so recently, one thing you’ve probably noticed is that racism is basically one of its core tenets. Whether it’s suppressing the Black vote, glorifying lynchings, whitewashing history, or just coming out and saying they’re afraid of Black people, members of the GOP’s feelings about nonwhite people are clear. Yet according to Republican lawmakers, they care deeply about minorities and other disenfranchised groups, which is why they are...opposing gun control legislation.

During Tuesday’s hearing on gun violence—in the wake of two mass shootings in the span of a week—Senator Mike Lee explained that the party refuses to restrict access to guns because it would infringe on the rights of minority communities. Per BuzzFeed:

GOP senators on Tuesday framed gun control as part of a long and racist history of restricting the rights of minority groups during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence. While they still put forward traditional arguments that gun laws infringe on Second Amendment rights and punish law-abiding gun owners, much of their questions to witnesses focused on minority communities needing guns to protect themselves. “Very often, inevitably in American history but even prior to American history, we’ve seen it’s rarely the empowered, very rarely the wealthy or those with political connections to the government, who have their rights interfered with,” said Republican senator Mike Lee.

Chris Cheng, a witness invited by Senate Republicans and a sports shooter who won the season four championship of the History Channel show Top Shot, related gun control to a historic pattern of infringing on minority rights that included the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. “We need to defend ourselves,” he said. Congress is not currently considering any legislation to take away guns or bar any group of people from owning them, though President Joe Biden did call Tuesday to renew the ban on assault weapons enacted in 1994 that expired a decade later.


This new and bizarre argument for doing nothing to try and prevent gun violence in the U.S. follows the standard ones trotted out by Republicans every time the discussion of stronger gun control measures comes up, which include, as New York magazine notes, “New laws wouldn’t have prevented this”; “It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun”; and “Guns protect our freedom,” among others. Elsewhere in anti-gun-control arguments that make no sense, Senator John Kennedy told Fox News on Tuesday, “In my judgment, we don’t need more gun control, we need more idiot control.” (Apparently Kennedy liked this line so much that he essentially repeated it.)
https://twitter.com/i/status/1374535090286563330
Yes, there’s definitely an “idiot control” problem in the U.S., though Kennedy is apparently unaware of where it’s actually coming from.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Mar 24, 2021, 04:46 PM (7 replies)

Paparazzi Agency Goes Bankrupt After Meghan Markle's Lawsuit



https://www.thedailybeast.com/paparazzi-agency-goes-bankrupt-after-meghan-markles-lawsuit?ref=home

Paparazzi Agency Goes Bankrupt After Meghan Markle’s Lawsuit
BAD PHOTOS
Jennifer Adams, Breaking News Intern
Published Mar. 24, 2021 1:03PM ET


Splash News & Picture Agency has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after a recent lawsuit with Meghan Markle exacerbated its already-struggling business, The Hollywood Reporter reports. The agency was among many companies that suffered economic loss from the pandemic, but a legal battle with the Duchess of Sussex has pushed them into massive debt. In December, Markle sued Splash for taking photos of her family during a “private family outing” in Canada, and the company tried to argue free speech. The agency ultimately agreed to a settlement and will “not take unauthorized photographs of the family of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex,” a spokesperson said.

“As a consequence of the global pandemic the availability of celebrity images has declined and budgets within media companies have been cut to reflect wider macro-economic challenges,” the company’s president, Emma Curzon, said. “This situation has been exacerbated by two ongoing litigation cases and the costs of defending these cases.” The company has been known to sue celebrities for posting copy-righted images of themselves. Splash has taken out a $1 million loan and is now pursuing protection from a Nevada bankruptcy court.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Mar 24, 2021, 03:12 PM (1 replies)
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