Posts tagged with "Former President Donald Trump"

House’s January 6 Select Committee subpoenas Roger Stone and Alex Jones

November 24, 2021

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol is charging ahead with subpoenas on some longtime denizens of Trump World: InfoWars head Alex Jones, self-described dirty trickster Roger Stone, and rally promoters Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence, reports Politico.

The committee is also subpoenaing former President Donald Trump’s current spokesperson, Taylor Budowich.

“The Select Committee is seeking information about the rallies and subsequent march to the Capitol that escalated into a violent mob attacking the Capitol and threatening our democracy,” Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) said in a statement. “We need to know who organized, planned, paid for, and received funds related to those events, as well as what communications organizers had with officials in the White House and Congress.”

The panel demanded that all of its subpoena targets turn over relevant documents by December 6. Depositions were scheduled for them the following week.

Monday’s batch of subpoenas focuses on the funding and organization of rallies on January 5 and January 6, as well as the march from the rally at the Ellipse to the Capitol.

Jones and Stone gave speeches to Trump supporters on January 5, urging them to push back against the election results.

“I don’t know how this is all going to end, but if they want to fight, they better believe they’ve got one,” Jones told a crowd at Freedom Plaza in Washington the night before the attack, as PBS detailed.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Jones helped secure funding for the January 6 rally. Jones has said he tried to de-escalate the riot and stop people from breaking into the Capitol, the Journal added.

For Jones, the committee’s demand is just the latest in a series of legal issues. A court last week found him liable for defamation in a lawsuit brought by parents of children killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In August, a group of Capitol Police officers sued him and a host of other defendant—including Trump himself—alleging civil rights violations. The suit accused Stone of actively participating in “Trump’s strategy to disseminate false claims of election fraud,” and of helping popularize the #StopTheSteal slogan. A process server presented Stone with the lawsuit on September 15 while he was on a talk radio show.

“This is a big, big stack of papers, which is good because we’re out of toilet paper today,” Stone told the hosts.

He later called the suit “baseless, groundless, and unsubstantiated” in an email to CNN.

Stone said in a statement that he had not yet been served by the committee, nor had he seen the details of the information requested, but that he would determine his course of action after reviewing the requests with his lawyer.

“I have said time and time again that I had no advance knowledge of the events that took place at the Capitol on that day,” he said. “Any statement, claim, insinuation, or report alleging, or even implying, that I had any involvement in or knowledge, whether advance or contemporaneous, about the commission of any unlawful acts by any person or group in or around the U.S. Capitol or anywhere in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, is categorically false.”

Research contact : @politico

U.S. judge seems set to reject Trump bid to block records requested by January 6 committee

November 8, 2021

A federal judge appeared ready to side y with Congress and the Biden White House on Thursday, November 4, against former president Donald Trump’s effort to block the release of hundreds of pages of White House records sought by a House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, reports The Washington Post.

U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan said she might curb some “unbelievably broad” requests for records about Trump’s activities and communications leading up to the attempt by rioting Trump supporters as lawmakers met to confirm the 2020 presidential election, such as polling and campaign communication dating to April.

But the judge indicated the power to assert executive privilege claimed by Trump to withhold the records from Congress ultimately rests with the current president, Joe Biden, who has waived privilege and approved their release. When a current and former president disagree, courts ought to defer to the incumbent, she suggested.

“Isn’t the person who is best able and in a position to determine the executive privilege, the executive?” Chutkan asked in a two-hour oral argument in federal court in Washington.

“It’s not a separation of powers fight [with Congress]. It may be a dispute between a former president and a current president . . . but . . . there’s only one executive,” the judge continued.

Chutkan pointed out that the SCOTUS July 2020 Mazars decision allowing the House to obtain Trump’s personal banking and accounting records for years before he took office applied to official records “that are quintessentially about government business.”

She expressed astonishment at the claim that Congress would not consider legislation after rioters breached the building believing Trump wanted them to vindicate his unfounded claims of fraud and overturn the results of the 2020 election.

“The January 6th riots happened in the Capitol—that is literally Congress’s house,” Chutkan said.

“Are you really saying that the president’s notes, talking points, and telephone conversations on January 6th, for example, have no relation to matters on which Congress is considering legislation?” Chutkan said, such as the integrity of federal elections, domestic security or the security of the Capitol.

“How are visitor logs which reveal who came to the White House on specific dates, how are those privileged?” she asked, or notes of who Trump was calling or speaking to “as people were breaking windows and climbing into the Capitol?”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Cheney drops bombshell—suggesting Trump ‘was personally involved in the planning of January 6th’

October 21, 2021

On Tuesday, October 19, Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) issued a blistering assessment of the decision by former President Donald Trump and ally Steve Bannon to stonewall the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attacks on the U.S. Capitol, reports Raw Story.

After dismantling Bannon’s claims that he is protected by executive privilege from testifying before the committee, Cheney speculated that Trump and Bannon have very personal reasons for not wanting any testimony to go forward.

“Mr. Bannon’s and Mr. Trump’s privilege arguments do appear to reveal one thing, however: They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th,” she said. “And we will get to the bottom of that.”

Cheney also cited Bannon’s statements on January 5th in which he seemed to anticipate that violent mayhem would break out the next day as Congress worked to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“All hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” Bannon said.

Research contact: @RawStory

Trump closes in on a deal to sell marquee Washington, D.C., hotel

October 13, 2021

The Miami-based CGI Merchant Group currently is in talks to pay ex-President Donald Trump’s family company around $370 million for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.—which, during the last administration, attracted GOP lawmakers, lobbyists and other political attention-grabbers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., is located in the former Old Post Office, a short walk down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House in a building featuring some of the largest guest rooms in the capital.

The property is owned by the federal government, but with extensions the lease runs close to 100 years. CGI also has entered into discussions with hotel operators, including Hilton Worldwide HoldingsWaldorf Astoria luxury brand, about removing the Trump name in favor of that of another hotel manager, NBC News sources said.

The lease deal could ultimately fetch closer to $400 million, which would represent roughly a doubling of the money the Trump Organization spent to convert the government building into a luxury hotel, said one of the people familiar with the matter.

The Trump Organization initially hoped to sell the lease for close to $500 million, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal in 2019.

The hotel sales talks have been heating up as Democratic-controlled House committees have been investigating and holding hearings on potential conflicts of interest and emoluments issues surrounding Trump.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform has been examining the lease terms between the Trump Organization and the federal government’s General Services Administration for use of the Old Post Office. The deal predates Mr. Trump’s entry into national politics, but the committee is probing how well Trump managed conflicts of interest while president.

A Friday report from the House committee said the hotel lost more than $70 million between its opening in 2016 and last year—leading the company to inject at least $24 million in aid.

Research contact: @WSJ

Right-wing conspiracy network OAN receives 90% of its funding from AT&T

October 8, 2021

AT&T, the world’s largest communications company, has been bankrolling a right-wing conspiracy network, an investigation by Reuters has revealed.

According to HuffPost, the damning Reuters report, published on Wednesday, October 6, shows that AT&T helped fund and create One America News Network (OAN)―a right-wing network famous for its fawning coverage of former President Donald Trump; and for spreading lies about the 2020 presidential election that Trump lost.

Without AT&T’s $250 million offering, OAN’s value “would be zero,” according to an accountant’s court testimony obtained by Reuters.

More from the publication:

  • OAN founder and chief executive Robert Herring, Sr., has testified that the inspiration to launch OAN in 2013 came from AT&T executives.
  • “They told us they wanted a conservative network,” Herring said during a 2019 deposition seen by Reuters. “They only had one, which was Fox News, and they had seven others on the other [leftwing] side. When they said that, I jumped to it and built one.”
  • Since then, AT&T has been a crucial source of funds flowing into OAN, providing tens of millions of dollars in revenue, court records show. Ninety percent of OAN’s revenue came from a contract with AT&T-owned television platforms, including satellite broadcaster DirecTV, according to 2020 sworn testimony by an OAN accountant.
  • Herring has testified he was offered $250 million for OAN in 2019. Without the DirecTV deal, the accountant said under oath, the network’s value “would be zero.”
  • Dallas-based AT&T, a mobile-phone and Internet provider, also owns entertainment giant Warner Media, which includes CNNand HBO. AT&T acquired DirecTV in 2015 and in August spun off the satellite service, retaining a 70% share in the new, independently managed company. AT&T’s total U.S. television subscriber base, including satellite and streaming services, fell from 26 million in 2015 to 15.4 million as of August.

Court filings obtained by Reuters show that Herring cited monthly fees in a five-year deal with AT&T as costing approximately $57 million.

In the last two years of his presidency, Trump repeatedly urged his followers to watch OAN, a network that has been loyal to the former president even when facts have gotten in the way of praise. Last year, as the coronavirus swept through the United States, OAN saw a ratings boost as Trump and the network churned out lies about the virus.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Truth will out: Trump’s lawsuit against niece could be huge mistake that makes all his NDAs ‘worthless’

September 24, 2021

Former President Donald Trump’s latest lawsuit may blow up in his face, Trump biographer and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston explained on MSNBC on Wednesday, September 22, Raw Story reports.

NBC News confirms Donald Trump sued The New York Times, as well as his own niece, Mary Trump, over a 2018 report that shattered him as a self-made billionaire,” anchor Joy Reid stated.

“Legal experts also say Trump should be careful what he’s wishing for — he’s staking the claim on a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that may not hold up under scrutiny,” Reid noted. “And that scrutiny is sure to entail multiple depositions under oath, which he might want to avoid.”

For analysis, Reid interviewed Johnston, who is the author of the 2016 book,  The Making of Donald Trump;  and the 2018 book,  It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America.

“I feel like this is a giant tell by Trump that he’s really, really angry that he was exposed for the brokeness that really engulfs him,” Reid said. “Your thoughts?”

“Well, this is another gambit by Donald to stay in front of his dwindling supporters,” Johnston replied. “They haven’t dwindled much, but they are starting to dwindle.”

“He needs to raise money, he’s become America’s beggar-in-chief,” he continued. “And there is no case here against The Times—and my law school students are going to examine this case, I assure you, in the spring semester.”

Johnston described the two problems Trump created with his lawsuit.

“One is discovery and being questioned under oath, but the second one is the courts have held basically that Mary Trump can’t be stopped by the non-disclosure agreement,” he explained.

“She may suffer civil penalties if Donald Trump wants to sue her over it, but we could end up with a court decision that says all your NDAs are worthless.”

“That would be interesting,” Reid replied.

Research contact: @RawStory

Pelosi says lawmakers will get security briefing on ‘Justice for J6’ rally

September 9, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said on Wednesday, September 8,  that lawmakers will be briefed in the coming days about security plans for the Capitol during a rally later this month in support of people charged with crimes related to the January 6 insurrection—and maintained that “we intend to have the integrity of the Capitol be intact,” reports The Hill.

Pelosi said that “there are some briefings going on at the appropriate level” with the House Administration Committee, which will be followed by additional ones for other members of Congress ahead of the September 18 “Justice for J6” rally, when people demonstrating against those arrested for invading the Capitol are set to gather.

When asked if there are plans to reinstall a fence around the Capitol complex, which came down this spring, Pelosi told the press pool: “Not necessarily.”

“What happened on January 6 was such an assault on this beautiful Capitol,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “And now these people are coming back to praise the people who were out to kill. Out to kill members of Congress, successfully causing the deaths—successfully is not the word, but that’s the word, because it’s what they set out to do—of our law enforcement.”

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died a day after engaging with the violent mob of former President Donald Trump‘s supporters, while four other police officers from the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department died of suicide in the weeks after the attack. More than 140 police officers between the two departments were injured.

The Hill reported on Tuesday that the Capitol Police are planning to present a security plan this week to the Capitol Police Board, which oversees its activities. The Metropolitan Police Department is also planning an “increased presence around the city,” according to a spokesperson.

The September 18 rally in support of the more than 570 people charged with crimes related to the attack on the Capitol is being organized by a group called Look Ahead America, which is led by a former Trump campaign official. The event is not expected to draw as many people as the rally on January 6, but some members of the same right-wing extremist groups that were at the Capitol on the day of the insurrection also may be in attendance on September 18.

Matt Braynard, the executive director of the group organizing the September 18 rally, has urged attendees to “be respectful and kind to all law enforcement officers” and advised only bringing signs or clothing focused on “demanding justice for these political prisoners.”

Neither chamber of Congress is scheduled to be in session on September18, which falls on a Saturday. The House isn’t expected to return from its summer recess until two days later.

Research contact: @thehill

Two Trump Organization employees are called to testify before Manhattan grand jury

September 3, 2021

Two Trump Organization employees—a senior finance official and a director of security—are expected to testify before a grand jury early this month, as Manhattan prosecutors seek to advance their criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business affairs, according to people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Matthew Calamari Jr., the Trump Organization’s corporate director of security—and the son of the company’s COO—was served a subpoena for his testimony this week, the sources said. Prosecutors have examined an apartment Calamari received from the Trump Organization and how he reported that apartment on his taxes, according to those same sources.

Jeffrey McConney, a senior finance official at the Trump Organization, also is expected to go before the grand jury again very shortly.

Citing people with knowledge of the matter, The New York Times reported that the order for McConney—the long-standing Trump Organization controller and one of a small group of officials supervising the company’s fiscal matters—to testify before a state grand jury relating to the office’s ongoing probe into top Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.

McConney, who previously testified before the grand jury prior to the indictments of the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer earlier this summer, prepared the personal tax returns of Matthew Calamari Sr. , people familiar with the matter said.

Calamari Jr.’s testimony before the grand jury would grant him immunity on the subjects about which he testified—signaling that prosecutors don’t plan to indict him. Prosecutors continue to investigate whether the elder Calamari received tax-free fringe benefits and to determine whether his cooperation would be helpful to them, according to people familiar with the matter.

Nicholas Gravante Jr., the Calamaris’ lawyer, denied wrongdoing by his clients and said: “If either of my clients [is] subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury, they have no choice but to do so, and will appear and testify truthfully.”

A lawyer for McConney didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In July, the Manhattan district attorney’s office announced indictments—charging the Trump Organization and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg with tax fraud. Prosecutors accused Weisselberg and the company of a 15-year-long tax-fraud scheme involving off-the-books payments and perks like cars and apartments to employees at the company. Prosecutors from the New York attorney general’s office are working with the district attorney’s office on the case.

According to the Journal, Weisselberg and lawyers for the Trump Organization have pleaded not guilty. Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said that the case was brought because of the Trump name and that compensation cases are resolved by civil tax authorities.

Since then, prosecutors have fought with the Trump Organization over documents the district attorney’s office subpoenaed.

A second sealed court appearance over that dispute took place last week, according to people familiar with the matter.

Research contact: @WSJ

Alan Dershowitz laments he’s lost ‘lots and lots’ of pals after blow-up with Larry David over Trump ties

August 23, 2021

A pretty, pretty strange scene that could have appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm played out in real life when Larry David cussed out Alan Dershowitz over his ties to former President Donald Trump during an encounter in a Martha’s Vineyard grocery store, Newsweek reports.

As also reported by Page Six and Raw Story—and confirmed by Dershowitz himself—the two former friends were spotting coming to blows at grocery store and community hub Chilmark General Store on the island, which is known to be a haunt of Democrat mainstays.

The Harvard Law professor is said to be persona non grata on the island due to his links with former President Donald Trump.

Appearing on Newsmax on Thursday night, August 19, the high-profile attorney was asked about the highly-publicized shouting match with the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star outside of the local grocery store.

According to the New York Post, David confronted the attorney—who had asked if they were still friends, and received a tongue-lashing in return.

“No,” the comedian reportedly shot back. “No. We really can’t. I saw you. I saw you with your arm around [Former Trump Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo! It’s disgusting!”

David then reportedly added, “It’s disgusting. Your whole enclave — it’s disgusting. You’re disgusting!”

During his Newsmax appearance, Dershowitz went on at length about his continued lack of popularity—after having served as a legal adviser to Trump—and even though he claims he voted for President Joe Biden in 2020.

“There I was having a cup of coffee with a friend on the porch of the Chilmark store, which is a kind of local gathering place a general store, and Larry starts screaming at me saying, you know—ah he just couldn’t control himself,” the attorney recalled. “I thought he was going to have a stroke.”

Noting Pompeo is a former student of his, Dershowitz continued, “He’s my former student; of course I’m going to pat him on the back and congratulate him for the work he has done. But that wasn’t enough for Larry David—I’m disgusting,” before pointedly adding he helped David’s daughter get into college.

Dershowitz continued, “I defended President Trump in front of the Senate and I patted Mike Pompeo on the back that’s enough to end a 25-year friendship,” before being asked if he feels like he feels being treated like a “traitor.”

“I’m a Democrat. I defended Ted Kennedy; I defend Senator Alan Cranston; I tried to help defend President Clinton—almost all of my clients who have been politicians have been Democrats—but because I also defended the constitution on behalf of Donald Trump that was enough,” he recalled, with Newsweek reporting, “Dershowitz went on to say he doesn’t mind being socially ostracized but that he has been ‘canceled’ by a number of local Chilmark institutions on Martha’s Vineyard including the library, community center, the book fair, and Hebrew center.”

With that, he claimed he’s lost “lots and lots of friends” over his Trump ties, before adding, “When you start blaming the lawyer because you don’t agree with the client, that’s McCarthyism.”

Research contact: @Newsweek

Ex-U.S. attorney reportedly testifies, ‘I quit before Trump could fire me for denying election fraud claims’

August 12, 2021

During closed-door testimony on Wednesday, August  11, Byung J. Pak, a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he resigned abruptly last January after being told that then-President Donald Trump was going to fire him for refusing to say there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia, a person familiar with the testimony told The New York Times.

Pak said the warning came on January 3 from top Justice Department officials who relayed that Trump wasn’t happy when Pak announced he had investigated Trump’s claims of voter fraud in Fulton County and found no evidence, the Times notes.

Rather than be publicly fired, Pak wrote a letter of resignation on January 4—stating that he did his best “to be thoughtful and consistent, and to provide justice for my fellow citizens in a fair, effective, and efficient manner,” The Week reports.

On anuary 3, audio was leaked to The Washington Post of a January 2 phone call Trump had with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), during which Trump asked Raffensperger to find the number of votes needed to overturn the state’s election results and deliver him a victory.  During the call, Trump made a reference to “your never-Trumper U.S. attorney there.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating the last weeks of the Trump presidency and pressure his administration put on the Justice Department to falsely claim the election was stolen. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters that Pak “answered all questions in a seemingly honest and candid way, and my impression is that he believes in the rule of law and that he stood up for it.”

The WeeResearch contact: @TheWeek