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Finnish President Pledges "We"ll Commit To Turkey"s Security" In Biden Meeting

Finnish President Pledges "We'll Commit To Turkey's Security" In Biden Meeting On Thursday Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson met Joe Biden at the White House, where the US President hailed the "momentous" NATO applications of the once-neutral countries. "Today I’m proud to welcome and offer the strong support in the United States for the applications of two great democracies, and two close, highly capable partners to join the strongest, most powerful defensive alliance in the history of the world," Biden said while standing alongside the two leaders in the Rose Garden. Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson and Finish President Sauli Niinisto met with President Biden Thursday. Getty Images "They meet every NATO requirement and then some," Biden emphasized, adding "having two new NATO members in the high north will enhance the security of our alliance." The visit came as Turkey's Erdogan is still pledging to resist their path to membership. "We have told our relevant friends we would say 'no' to Finland and Sweden’s entry into NATO, and we will continue on our path like this," Erdogan stressed in fresh Thursday remarks. President Niinisto used the occasion of the Biden meeting as an attempt at calming Turkey's concerns. "Finland has always had proud and good bilateral relations with Turkey. As NATO allies, we will commit to Turkey's security, just as Turkey will commit to our security," Niinisto stressed. "We take terrorism seriously. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and we are actively engaged in combating it. We are open to discussing all the concerns Turkey may have concerning our membership in an open and constructive manner," he added, countering Turkey's assertions. Andersson, for her part, said that the Stockholm government is "right now having a dialogue with all NATO member countries, including Turkey, on different levels to sort out any issues at hand." President Biden had also in the press conference addressed Moscow's anger over Finland, which shares a lengthy border with Russia. "New members joining NATO is not a threat to any nation," Biden said. "It never has been.” Meanwhile NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg chimed in from Copenhagen, saying, "We are addressing the concerns that Turkey has expressed." He added: "Because when an ally, an important ally as Turkey, raises security concerns, raised these issues, then, of course, the only way to do that is to sit down and find ways to find a common ground and an agreement on how to move forward." Thus far Erdogan and top Turkish officials have said that Finnish and Swedish delegations shouldn't even bother coming to Turkey if they remain unwilling to stop 'supporting' the PKK and others that Ankara sees as terrorists. At the same time, we wonder what Putin might be offering the Turkish leader to entice him to maintain his veto over the 30-member alliance, which needs consensus if it hopes to admit the new members. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 15:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 19th, 2022

Illumina Helped the World Fight COVID-19. Now, CEO Francis deSouza Has Monkeypox in His Sights

The genetic sequencing company's CEO Francis deSouza spoke to TIME about the company’s role in the battles against COVID-19 and monkeypox As chief executive of San Diego-based genomic sequencing company Illumina, Francis deSouza feels well-placed to witness the world’s next great scientific transformation. “I really believe that just like the 20th century was the era of the bit and the digital revolution, the 21st century is likely to be remembered as the era of the genome,” he says. “We’re seeing that play out in terms of genomic-based screening and diagnostics emerging, like Illumina’s offerings, but we’re also seeing the emergence of genomic-based medicine.” DeSouza’s excitement is understandable. Well over a billion doses of mRNA vaccines—developed in record-time with the help of gene sequencing—have been safely deployed around the world to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. mRNA treatments are also under development for other infectious diseases like malaria, Ebola and HIV, as well as for cancer. “We’re really seeing a huge expansion in the number of personalized therapies, gene therapies, and those are likely to have a huge impact in the coming years,” deSouza says. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] DeSouza, 51, is a veteran of the digital revolution, having spent the bulk of his career in the tech sector. At the age of 16, he entered MIT, where he studied computer science and electrical engineering. Later, he co-founded two companies that made collaborative software for large corporate clients. Symantec acquired one of the startups, and Microsoft bought the other. He did stints in executive positions at each of the acquiring companies and joined Illumina in 2013 as president. He became CEO in 2016. In that time, Illumina’s products have been central to many of the field’s advancements. “Already, any academic, commercial or pharmaceutical lab focused on doing genomics work likely owns one if not several Illumina sequencers,” wrote TIME’s Alice Park in 2021, when the company was chosen among the “TIME100 Most Influential Companies”. The business has also faced steep challenges, including a costly patent lawsuit and an E.U. antitrust probe into its acquisition of biotechnology company Grail. On Aug. 11, Illumina surprised Wall Street analysts, posting worse-than-expected second quarter earnings that showed it had swung to a loss—something deSouza attributed to a “complex macroeconomic environment” in a statement accompanying the results. At the same time, the company drastically lowered its full-year outlook. DeSouza spoke to TIME recently about motivating scientists, finding ways to make COVID-19 “our last pandemic,” and the company’s role in the fight against monkeypox. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. (For coverage of the future of work, visit TIME.com/charter and sign up for the free Charter newsletter.) Illumina has sequenced monkeypox, but there’s still work to be done. What’s been keeping you busy lately? Over the last few months, we have been engaged with health systems around the world to understand the spread of monkeypox and the evolution of the monkeypox virus. Fortunately, now many countries over the last two to three years have been standing up a genomics-based pathogen surveillance program to help fight COVID. And so, they had a bit of a head start and were able to start to repurpose some of the infrastructure that was focused on COVID to look at monkeypox. We still have big blind spots when it comes to monkeypox. So for example, over 50% of the countries that have reported a monkeypox outbreak have yet to share any data on the genomics of the monkeypox outbreak they have. And so they may not be doing the surveillance yet or they may not be in the position yet to upload that data, so we still don’t know how it’s evolving in at least 50% of the countries that already have reported it. So, we still have work to do to truly have this global pan-pathogen, genomic surveillance network. It must be an interesting time for a company like yours. The world is trying to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, and suddenly monkeypox emerges. You’re right. We’re not only still dealing with the pandemic and seeing the emergence of monkeypox, but if you look around the world, there are countries that are grappling with [tuberculosis] outbreaks, for example. We’re seeing polio reemerge in some communities where we haven’t seen it. And it really does emphasize the need for a sort of early identification of disease outbreaks and the value that a genomics infrastructure would play. The other thing that’s becoming clear is that identifying and fighting outbreaks early is not just a public health priority, but it’s also a national defense priority for countries because the same infrastructure that can help you identify a monkeypox outbreak can also help you identify a bioterrorist attack. And so, there’s a growing awareness that this is both a public health priority, as well as a defense priority. As if that wasn’t enough, most CEOs see a recession coming, according to recent surveys. How does the business landscape look from where you sit? At a very top level, there are certainly some challenges that businesses and consumers are facing right now that are likely going to continue to play out in the coming quarters. The rising interest rates and the threat of inflation, the challenges to the supply chain, the impact of the war in Ukraine, are all going to continue to be headwinds to business as a whole. So, Illumina is doing battle with COVID, monkeypox, and cancer. What’s the latest on those fronts? We launched a viral surveillance panel that can do sequencing of 66 of the most critical viruses that are of public health concern, including monkeypox. One of the important takeaways from the pandemic is that it’s important for us to do pathogen surveillance routinely so that we can identify outbreaks when they first emerge, but also how they spread and how the viruses mutate. We have now, for example, more than 700 customers around the world that are doing COVID surveillance using our sequencing. We’re enabling those customers to use the existing infrastructure by adding to it our viral surveillance panel so that they can look for outbreaks across any one of those 66 viruses. As far as monkeypox, we want to track how it’s spreading and how it’s evolving, and this will allow our customers to do that. And so, we’re making that viral surveillance panel available for early access, and then commercializing it as quickly as possible after that. What was the sequence of events that went into developing Illumina’s monkeypox test? The way the company responded to monkeypox was similar to the way we responded to the COVID outbreak. When we were in the early stages of the [COVID] outbreak, our teams got to work immediately on coming up with a panel to sequence the virus. The teams worked seven days a week, often around the clock, to go from the idea of what that product would look like to having a product that received emergency use authorization from the FDA in under 60 days. That’s unprecedented and it just took a huge amount of work from hundreds of people across Illumina to make that happen. We did that back in 2020. When we saw monkeypox emerge, we activated that same approach. We had a team come together, create the content so that the panel would be able to identify monkeypox, as well as 65 other pathogens now, and the team worked really quickly to make this panel available. We benefited from the experience of having done it before for COVID so we knew what it took, and we also now benefit from the fact that we have infrastructure in place that we can leverage to make this panel accessible more broadly. Monkeypox comes at a time when Illumina is introducing a lot of other products, right? Can you talk about that and how you insert something very quickly into the product chain, when these new viruses come along? Yeah, I think all of us have learned from the pandemic that there is a need for a global genomic pathogen surveillance infrastructure—that we need to have the capability to identify when an outbreak is happening, as quickly as possible. We need to look for the evolution and spread of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, but also for the next coronavirus, for emerging antimicrobial resistance, for a bio-terrorist attack, the next zoonotic transmission. So, for example, we are starting to see the emergence of wastewater surveillance, where counties and cities are starting to sample their wastewater regularly and sequence it to get an understanding of the viral load and the emerging strains in a community. What we are able to do is provide additional technology. So, it’s not just SARS-CoV-2 now, but we’ve given them signatures around these 66 viruses to say any one of these, if you see it, report it back, report the load associated with it. So, we get this advanced warning system about how pathogen outbreaks are emerging and evolving. I think that positions us as a global community much better to address the next outbreak. While we may not ever be able to prevent an outbreak, we should commit to making this our last pandemic. I wonder how a company like Illumina balances helping the world fight viruses and other medical concerns, while also showing investors that you’re growing revenue and increasing profitability, et cetera. How do you weigh those dual concerns? Our mission from the beginning has always been to improve human health by unlocking the power of the genome. One of the important roles we play is to drive innovation aggressively to make genomic sequencing more accessible to everyone—to make it accessible to more researchers, initially, to enable them to do larger experiments so they could uncover the discoveries around how a human genome or a plant genome or an animal genome translates into health disease characteristics. Our focus has been to drive innovation that makes sequencing cheaper, faster, easier to use. About a decade ago we started to see some of the first discoveries translated to clinical applications. We saw, for example, clinical applications like noninvasive prenatal testing emerge, also, therapy selection for cancer patients. We want to accelerate the adoption of those technologies because it improves health outcomes for people, and it is good for our business as well and it takes costs out of the healthcare system. To do that, we realized that we need to make sure that we are creating and supporting an ecosystem of partners that will create the applications that the clinicians want across a variety of different healthcare conditions—in noninvasive prenatal testing, in genetic disease testing for kids in the NICU, in helping cancer patients select the right therapies. We create our own tests as well to help catalyze the market. We also created a group that focuses on getting reimbursement for patients for genomic testing. By creating, nurturing, and supporting an ecosystem of partners that leverage our platform—as well as catalyzing support from other stakeholders, like regulatory bodies, like reimbursement authorities—that expands the market for genomics and is good for patients, is good for our customers, and is good for Illumina. That’s a lot. What are your biggest challenges to accomplishing it all? One of the challenges that we have to address is making genomics accessible to everyone. We need to increase awareness of the benefits of genomic testing and the availability of testing by patients and physicians. A lot of physicians, for example, went to medical school before the first human genome was sequenced and so there’s a need for education and awareness. There’s also a need for expanded reimbursement. Our teams at Illumina have helped deliver reimbursement for one billion people around the world for genomic testing. That’s a huge amount of progress in the last few years and we have reimbursement now in some regions for things like genetic disease testing, especially for children, for cancer therapy selection, for noninvasive prenatal testing. But there’s still a long way to go to make reimbursement broadly available around the world. It’s surprising to hear that some doctors find it difficult to change their ways and accept some of these new technologies. You’re essentially saying “Hey, we have this test that can look for 50 types of cancers.” Where’s the barrier for a doctor? There is a shortage of educational material and training available for physicians, patients, and even in academic environments. There’s still a need to expand genomics education in medical schools, in undergrad, and a lot of that is just because the field is emerging so quickly. We’re all sort of helping catch up in terms of education and awareness of genomic testing. Over the last year, Illumina’s stock has fallen by almost half. Is there something investors aren’t quite understanding about the company and its vision? I think investors appreciate the long-term opportunity for genomics to really transform healthcare and that’s a big opportunity in terms of improving patient outcomes The need is to accelerate the adoption of genomics technology in a healthcare system and continue to make sure that the benefits of genomics are understood and are absorbed at a pace that investors would like to see investors are continuing to look at how quickly genomics is being adopted in cancer, for example, whether it’s for cancer therapy selection or identification of minimal residual disease, or for screening. The GRAIL Galleri test that was launched last June is a huge breakthrough in terms of cancer screening. It is a single blood test that can identify if a patient has one of 50 types of cancer, across stages. Forty-five out of the 50 cancers that GRAIL can identify have no other screen. We know that if you identify a cancer early, your five-year survival odds are much higher than if you discover a cancer late. The challenge is that the majority of cancers don’t have any screen. Over 70% of the people who die from cancer, die of cancer that has no screen. The GRAIL test promises to be quite transformative. I have always wondered how someone in your position motivates scientists who are trained to plod slowly through research over many years and not operate on corporate timetables. How do you handle that, inspiring scientists, lighting a fire under them? The kind of people that work at Illumina are typically drawn by the mission, the idea that the work we do improves human health by unlocking the power of the genome. When you talk to our employees, they will tell you personal stories about why they’re here, whether it’s a person in their family that was impacted by cancer, or somebody in their family that has a genetic disease. What that means is there is a huge amount of self-motivation among our employees to do the work right. We take the right amount of diligence. We recognize that delivering a diagnostic is a sacred responsibility, that people make important decisions with the output of our products. And then there’s also a visceral acknowledgement of the fierce urgency of what we do. We know that in the U.S., somewhere between 1,500 to 2,000 people a day die of cancer. If we can get our products to the market faster while doing them right, that makes a difference. Similarly, we have customers working on improving food security or helping develop synthetic fuels that will help combat climate change. These are not only some of the biggest challenges humanity faces, but they’re also some of the most urgent challenges humanity faces, and everybody at Illumina gets that viscerally......»»

Category: topSource: timeAug 15th, 2022

Beijing Starts More Live Fire Drills Around Taiwan To Protest Democratic Senator Markey"s Visit

Beijing Starts More Live Fire Drills Around Taiwan To Protest Democratic Senator Markey's Visit The excessive carbon dioxide emissions from the Pelosi delegation visit is still fresh in the Taiwan air, and already China’s military warned that it is holding fresh patrols around Taiwan to “fight back” against another US congressional visit less than two weeks after the House Speaker's controversial trip to Taipei. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen meets US Senator Ed Markey at the presidential office in Taipei, Taiwan, on Monday The PLA started live drills around Taiwan on Monday, the SCMP reported, as the island’s president received the first US congress delegation since a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi drew unprecedented military pressure from Beijing two weeks ago. “This is a resolute counterstrike and solemn deterrence to the consecutive provocations by the US and Taiwan that undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Wu Qian, a spokesman for China’s defence ministry, said. He added that the visit led by Democratic Senator Ed Markey sent the wrong signals to pro-independence forces in Taiwan. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said Monday that it detected 30 Chinese military planes and five warships around Taiwan’s surrounding region. According to Bloomberg, unlike earlier this month when China conducted live-fire exercises and likely fired ballistic missiles over Taiwan’s main island, Beijing didn’t immediately specify exclusion areas for commercial planes or ships to avoid. Chinese naval vessels and warplanes have regularly breached the US-drawn median line that divides the Taiwan Strait since Pelosi’s arrival on Aug. 2. In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Beijing had repeatedly warned against the trip, which breached the one-China principle and the three joint communiques signed by Washington.  Wang also said the visit “blatantly violates” the country’s “One China” understanding with the US, was a “violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China” and cross-strait reunification was a historic trend that could not be changed. “China will take resolute and strong measures to defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Wang said. “The handful of US politicians who have been colluding with Taiwan independent separatist forces and attempting to challenge the One China principle, they are overestimating themselves and are doomed to fail.” He urged Washington to stop interfering in the internal affairs of the mainland and warned that any attempt to challenge the one-China principle and split the island from the mainland would be crushed by Beijing. Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang also accused the island’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party of repeatedly using “external force” to counter Beijing and of seeking independence for the island through support from the US. He warned the DPP against the attempts, saying they were the path to self-destruction. Markey is chair of the East Asia, the Pacific and international cybersecurity policy subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His group arrived in Taipei on a US Air Force plane on Sunday evening. They made a low-profile entry, apparently to avoid triggering fresh ire from Beijing. It was only announced by the American Institute in Taiwan – the US representative office in Taipei or de facto US embassy in the absence of official ties – soon after they arrived at Taipei’s Songshan Airport. The group was the first high-level US congressional delegation to visit Taiwan since Pelosi travelled to the island on August 2 for an unannounced visit that seriously angered Beijing and drew unprecedented military pressure from Beijing. Beijing staged a series of massive war games encircling Taiwan for a week from August 4 in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit, labelling the trip “provocation”. As the second in line to the US presidency, Pelosi became the highest ranking US politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years. Beijing saw the trip as a violation of its one-China principle and sovereignty, and sent missiles, warships and warplanes into the seas and air around the island. In a closed-door meeting with the five-member American bipartisan congressional delegation on Monday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen thanked the lawmakers for their visit, seeing it as a sure sign of rock-solid support from the US in the face of growing threats from Beijing, according to Tsai’s office. Tsai and the lawmakers discussed US-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, climate change and other significant issues of mutual interest, her office said. Tsai told the visiting US congressional delegation the island would work with Washington on security and supply chain issues. “[We] hope to continue to deepen our cooperation with the US to jointly maintain prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and we also hope we can work with like-minded international friends to strengthen economic and investment relations in order to set up a safer supply chain,” she was quoted as saying. Tsai also criticised Beijing for staging a “long period” of military drills around Taiwan after Pelosi’s visit, saying it was a serious disruption of peace and stability in the region. On Monday, Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang also condemned Beijing for its repeated actions to bully the island and its visitors, saying Taipei had the right to host to any of its friends who came to visit. “We extend our heartfelt appreciation to any countries and friends who care about us and offer their support to us,” Su said, adding Taiwan would in no way tolerate interference of the island’s affairs by its “evil neighbor”. The group ended their brief visit on Monday afternoon after meeting Foreign Minister Joseph Wu for lunch. The AIT said the congressional delegation’s stop on the island was part of a larger visit to the Indo-Pacific region. “The delegation had an opportunity to exchange views with Taiwan counterparts on a wide range of issues of importance to both the United States and Taiwan,” it said. Earlier on Monday, the US lawmakers held closed-door talks with eight Taiwanese lawmakers from the foreign relations and defence committee to discuss regional security issues. According to DPP legislator Lo Chih-cheng who led the Taiwanese lawmakers, the US visitors were also interested to know about their views on the US policy of cross-strait strategic ambiguity and whether it would be better for the US to shift to one of strategic clarity. The policy is designed to leave Beijing guessing about the US’ response to an attack on the island by neither committing to nor ruling out military action. That way, Beijing might be more cautious in taking any action. The administration of US President Joe Biden has remained committed to the policy despite repeated calls by some US congressmen and analysts for the US to be clearer. Lo said they also discussed military exchanges and cooperation between the US and Taiwan, with the Taiwanese side calling for more military cooperation. Asked if they talked about arms sales, Lo said no specific items were discussed during the meeting. “[We] hope to continue to deepen our cooperation with the US to jointly maintain prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and we also hope we can work with like-minded international friends to strengthen economic and investment relations in order to set up a safer supply chain,” she was quoted as saying. Tsai also criticised Beijing for staging a “long period” of military drills around Taiwan after Pelosi’s visit, saying it was a serious disruption of peace and stability in the region. On Monday, Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang also condemned Beijing for its repeated actions to bully the island and its visitors, saying Taipei had the right to host to any of its friends who came to visit. “We extend our heartfelt appreciation to any countries and friends who care about us and offer their support to us,” Su said, adding Taiwan would in no way tolerate interference of the island’s affairs by its “evil neighbour”. The group ended their brief visit on Monday afternoon after meeting Foreign Minister Joseph Wu for lunch. The AIT said the congressional delegation’s stop on the island was part of a larger visit to the Indo-Pacific region. “The delegation had an opportunity to exchange views with Taiwan counterparts on a wide range of issues of importance to both the United States and Taiwan,” it said. Earlier on Monday, the US lawmakers held closed-door talks with eight Taiwanese lawmakers from the foreign relations and defence committee to discuss regional security issues. According to DPP legislator Lo Chih-cheng who led the Taiwanese lawmakers, the US visitors were also interested to know about their views on the US policy of cross-strait strategic ambiguity and whether it would be better for the US to shift to one of strategic clarity. The policy is designed to leave Beijing guessing about the US’ response to an attack on the island by neither committing to nor ruling out military action. That way, Beijing might be more cautious in taking any action. The administration of US President Joe Biden has remained committed to the policy despite repeated calls by some US congressmen and analysts for the US to be clearer. Lo said they also discussed military exchanges and cooperation between the US and Taiwan, with the Taiwanese side calling for more military cooperation. Asked if they talked about arms sales, Lo said no specific items were discussed during the meeting. Tyler Durden Mon, 08/15/2022 - 09:21.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 15th, 2022

US: The New Real Hoaxes?

US: The New Real Hoaxes? Authored by Pete Hoekstra via The Gatestone Institute, The investigative reporting by these two organizations [the New York Times and the Washington Post] was so thorough and groundbreaking it turned up things that were not even there. For having refused to rescind these awards, the Pulitzer Committee should receive its own Pulitzer -- for fraud. The real hoax appears to have been the CCP's ostensible good behavior and the now-hugely-discredited initial reporting on the virus. Or how about the Hunter Biden laptop cover-up? Once again, On October 14, 2020, just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, a critical story of possible extensive influence-peddling with senior intelligence officers in the CCP, Russia and Ukraine by the son of a presidential candidate. The contents of the laptop raised questions that the candidate at the time, Vice President Joe Biden, could be compromised. The entire subject was decisively pushed aside, along with the potential threat to national security that such an eventuality might entail. Also not allowed during the January 6th hearings have been any witnesses for the defense, any cross-examination, or any exculpatory evidence. One wonders, for instance if the January 6th Committee will consider the July 29, 2022 tweet by General Keith Kellogg, that on January 3, 2021, Trump, in front of witnesses, did indeed ask for "troops needed" for January 6. Kellogg wrote: "I was in the room." The January 6th Committee has also not released any information about government informants or FBI undercover law enforcement officers who might have been in the crowd, and Pelosi is also said to be blocking access to a massive quantity of documents. Finally, according to attorney Mark Levin, under the Constitution's separation of powers, Congress, has no legitimacy even to hold a criminal investigation: that power belongs to the Judiciary. The entire proceeding is illegitimate and a usurpation of power. Is it surprising that after the Pulitzer decision, the Russia collusion hoax, the Whitmer kidnapping hoax, the Covid origin hoax, the Hunter Biden laptop hoax, and now the January 6th Committee hoax, that many Americans believe there is something wrong with the system? Recently former US President Donald Trump challenged the award of Pulitzer Prizes to the New York Times and the Washington Post for their investigative reporting on alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia. The investigative reporting by these two organizations was so thorough and groundbreaking it turned up things that were not even there. You have to hand it to them for this so-called "great reporting": the Pulitzer Committee sure did. We now know, of course, the grand conspiracy pushed by these papers is nothing more than thoroughly debunked disinformation. For having refused to rescind these awards, the Pulitzer Committee should receive its own Pulitzer -- for fraud. The intractability of the Pulitzer Committee is only the latest example of why so many Americans have been losing trust in their institutions, both public and private. Rather than admitting that these awards were a mistake, and that much of the reporting was not investigative reporting, but merely a recitation of fabrications put forward by political hacks for campaign purposes, the Pulitzer Committee announced that it will stand by its initial decision, facts be dammed. The Russia hoax is emblematic of the model built by the anti-Trump, anti-America First, anti-populist movement that the American people have experienced for the last six years. It embodies many of the characteristics that have frustrated Americans. It is a combination of influential forces -- media, social media, political players, and government -- that put forward information detrimental to one -- oddly always the same -- political viewpoint. In this instance, populists -- believers in the rights, wisdom or virtues of the common people, according to Merriam Webster -- who might embrace the concept of personal freedom espoused by the Constitution, a free market economy, economic growth, energy independence, school choice, equal application of the law and decentralized governance. Much of the material used to foster the Russia hoax originated from the discredited "Steele Dossier," pedaled by former British spy Christopher Steele, funded by Clinton-linked opposition research firm FusionGPS, and pushed by Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman. This discredited information was shared widely -- and often, it seems, with prior knowledge of its falseness -- through the mainstream media and social media when it was leaked to the press early in 2017 just before Donald Trump was sworn in as president. The material contributed to the launching of the Mueller "Russiagate" investigation, which cast a shadow over the first two years of the Trump administration. Government officials were involved as CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey and DNI James Clapper all lent their credibility to the supposed authenticity or seriousness of the Russian materials. All of this did tremendous damage to the effectiveness of the Trump administration, as it sought to govern, by putting it under a cloud of suspicion and illegitimacy from the outset. This, however, was not the only example. Consider the disrupted kidnapping plot against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in her key swing state for presidential elections. "The FBI got walloped [in April]", according to the New York Post, " when a Michigan jury concluded that the bureau had entrapped two men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Those men and others were arrested a few weeks before the 2020 election in a high-profile, FBI-fabricated case...." The media, however, for the most part portrayed the kidnapping plot as the work of domestic terrorists, with the implied inference being they were right-wing Trump supporters. Whitmer went so far as to accuse Trump of being complicit in the plan, even though it emerged that these alleged plotters had also supposedly wanted to hang Trump. The FBI, it was later shown, had been heavily involved in the plot through informants and individuals it had placed in the group. By the time the case came to trial after the election, Biden had won Michigan's electoral votes and the damage had been done. Consider, also, the COVID pandemic. The "facts" at the time were supposedly that it came from "nature" and that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government had supposedly known nothing about its human-to-human transmissibility, even though it had "made whistleblowers disappear and refused to hand over virus samples so the West could make a vaccine." The CCP, early on, was portrayed as a constructive player in controlling the spread of the virus, even as it was recalling and hoarding all of its Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This fiction was reinforced by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the World Health Organization, and other prominent participants – apart from Taiwan, which futilely tried to warn the WHO of the coronavirus's fierce human-to-human transmissibility, only to be dismissed. The mainstream media and social media also quickly began parroting the "official" story line. Social media companies suspended the accounts of whoever might have had a different opinion and some were even canceled. For the 10 months leading up to the November 2020 election, the narrative was set: COVID-19 was a naturally occurring virus and the CCP was in the clear. Imagine how different the 2020 presidential election might have been if the debate was how the world would have held the CCP accountable for the leak and coverup of COVID from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Now in 2022, a lab-leak is considered the most "likely cause" of the coronavirus, but again the political damage, and a gigantic amount of non-political damage, has already been done. The real hoax appears to have been the CCP's ostensible good behavior and the now-hugely-discredited initial reporting on the virus. Or how about the Hunter Biden laptop cover-up? Once again, On October 14, 2020, just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, a critical story of possible extensive influence-peddling with senior intelligence officers in the CCP, Russia and Ukraine by the son of a presidential candidate. The contents of the laptop raised questions that the candidate at the time, Vice President Joe Biden, could be compromised. The entire subject was decisively pushed aside, along with the potential threat to national security that such an eventuality might entail. Discussion of Hunter Biden's laptop with its reportedly incriminating information about the Biden family business dealings with the CCP, Russia, and other actors in what appeared to be a model of pay-for-play, was instantly shut down. Fifty-one former government intelligence officials , who we now know were perfectly well aware that the laptop was real – the FBI had been holding it for months -- wrote a letter describing the contents of the laptop as having "all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation" designed to damage Joe Biden. NPR famously downplayed the story, and once again, if you used social media to post information originally reported by the New York Post, you were canceled. A year and a half after the election, the facts were finally "officially" accepted: Well, what do you know, it really was Hunter Biden's laptop and the material on it "is real!" Once again, the leadership at the FBI, the media, social media, and former government officials had developed a hoax to damage their political opposition and the people who supported it. Finally, there is the January 6th Committee, a one-sided investigative body, sometimes called "the third (attempted) impeachment." The Committee appears to have been put in place to stop Trump from running for office again. Before the proceeding even began, its outcome was predetermined: Trump was to be found guilty of -- something. As Stalin secret police chief, Lavrentiy Beria used to say during Soviet Russia's reign of terror, "Find me the man and I'll find you the crime." So the US show trial commenced. Even its start was ominous. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in an unprecedented move, vetoed the committee appointments of Representatives Jim Banks and Jim Jordan. This rebuff led House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to pull his five Republican candidates from participating. Pelosi, it appeared, wanted only anti-Trump folks to serve on the Committee. Also not allowed during the January 6 hearings have been any witnesses for the defense, any cross-examination, or any exculpatory evidence. One wonders, for instance if the January 6th Committee will consider the July 29, 2022 tweet by General Keith Kellogg, that on January 3, 2021, Trump, in front of witnesses, did indeed ask for "troops needed" for January 6. Kellogg wrote:, "I was in the room:" "Great OpEd. Reinforces my earlier comment on 6 Jan Cmte. Has quote from DOD IG Report regarding 3 Jan 2021 meeting with Actg Def Secy Miller/CJCS Milley in the Oval on the 6 Jan NG request by POTUS on troops needed. I was in the room." While purportedly examining in detail every decision and action by Trump and his team, the Committee refuses to question Pelosi, among the leading figures responsible for the security of the Capitol. She reportedly "turned down" requests for greater security. According to the Federalist: "Four days after the riot, former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned his post in the aftermath, told The Washington Post his request for pre-emptive reinforcement from the National Guard ahead of Jan. 6 was turned down. Sund said House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, overseen by Pelosi, thought the guard's deployment was bad "optics" two days before the raid.... Despite the Associated Press and Washington Post's best efforts to run interference for the speaker, suddenly exonerating her of duties overseeing Capitol security, the riot on Jan. 6 was a security failure Pelosi owns. If the "speaker trusts security professionals to make security decisions," then why, as the police breach unfolded, did Irving feel compelled to seek the speaker's approval to dispatch the National Guard, as The New York Times reported? How could Pelosi also order the extended shut down of the Capitol to visitors, citing coronavirus, and install metal detectors in the House chamber?" The Committee has not evaluated the performance of the Capitol Police or other law enforcement agencies, but it has targeted the "private records of individuals with no connection to the violence." The January 6th Committee has also not released any information about government informants or FBI undercover law enforcement officers who might have been in the crowd, and Pelosi is also said to be blocking access to a massive quantity of documents. Finally, according to attorney Mark Levin, under the Constitution's separation of powers, Congress, has no legitimacy even to hold a criminal investigation: that power belongs to the Judiciary. The entire proceeding is illegitimate and a usurpation of power. The Committee's narrative is clear: Donald Trump is responsible for the events of January 6, now let us manufacture the evidence to prove it. This article has not even delved into the 28 states that "changed voting rules to boost mail-in ballots." Some States apparently omitted both state law and the need for states' legislatures to be the sole arbiters of election law, as required by the Constitution; the $400 million spent by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; the 2000-plus "mules" and the algorithms that sent conservative emails to spam while emails with liberal content went through to the addressees. Is it any wonder that many Americans have lost faith in their institutions and leaders? Is it surprising that after the Pulitzer decision, the Russia collusion hoax, the Whitmer kidnapping hoax, the Covid origin hoax, the Hunter Biden laptop hoax, and now the January 6th Committee hoax, that many Americans believe there is something wrong with the system? The media, social media, government officials and others have been complicit in undermining our rule of law and possibly even subverting an election. *  *  * Peter Hoekstra was US Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the second district of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently Chairman of the Center for Security Policy Board of Advisors and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute. Tyler Durden Fri, 08/12/2022 - 23:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 13th, 2022

Though Trump had a reputation for avoiding briefings and flushing meeting notes, he would ask officials for documents: "Can I keep this?"

While in office, Donald Trump would ask officials if he could keep documents, his former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told CNN's Erin Burnett U.S. President Donald Trump talks about his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a meeting with House Republicans in the Cabinet Room of the White House on July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC.Mark Wilson/Getty Images As president, Donald Trump had a reputation for being difficult to brief and destroying meeting notes.  At times, he would ask officials if he could keep documents he received, according to members of his staff. "From time to time the president would say 'Can I keep this?'" Trump's former Chief of Staff told CNN. During his presidency, Donald Trump developed a reputation for being difficult to brief and may have destroyed meeting notes by flushing them down the toilet but would ask officials to keep documents he received, according to members of his staff.  Trump's reluctance to sit for the Presidential Daily Briefing while in office was well documented. His first briefer, Ted Gistaro, told CBS News the former president "doesn't really read anything," while intelligence officers described him as "far and away the most difficult" new president to brief. The daily briefing was more often delivered to Vice President Mike Pence than the president, The Guardian reported. Hoping to encourage the president to read more of his briefings, Gistaro's successor, Beth Sanner, included a one-page outline and a set of graphics, former CIA officer John Helgerson recounted in his book, "Getting to Know the President."When he did attend meetings, former President Trump is rumored to have destroyed records, including by flushing written notes down the White House toilets. He also had a habit of ripping and shredding documents, The Washington Post reported. The shredding was so prolific, Politico reported, that an entire team was dedicated to taping documents back together for preservation."I have seen Trump tear up papers, not into small, small pieces, but usually twice — so take a piece of paper, rip it once, and then rip it again and then throw it into the garbage pail," The Washington Post reported Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer, said. In addition to his habit of destroying meeting notes, several staff members noted that Trump would ask officials if he could keep documents he received. "From time to time, the president would say 'Can I keep this?'" Trump's former Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, told CNN's Erin Burnett on Friday. Mulvaney added the White House had "entire teams" of people dedicated to preserving official documents. Though Mulvaney would not draw a direct line between Trump's habit of asking to keep records and the search of his Mar-a-Lago residence in pursuit of classified documents, his comments echoed those of John Bolton, Trump's one-time national security advisor."Often the president would say [to intelligence briefers] 'Well, can I keep this?'" Bolton told CBS News. "And in my experience, the intelligence briefers most often would say 'Well, sir, we'd prefer to take that back,' but sometimes they forgot."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 13th, 2022

Mar-a-Lago raid: What we know so far about the search of former President Donald Trump"s home and Florida resort

The FBI search of former President Donald Trump's Florida resort has prompted rampant speculation and a political firestorm. Here's what we know. A member of the Secret Service is seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022.GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images The FBI raided former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort on Monday. The raid came after the Department of Justice subpoenaed classified documents. The Washington Post reported that some of those documents related to nuclear weapons. The search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort and home in Florida has set off a firestorm, with his allies condemning a rush to judgment even as they claim the Republican leader is a victim of political repression.In the meantime, sources familiar with the investigation say the FBI — led by Trump appointee Christopher Wray — was searching for top-secret documents related to nuclear weapons.Here's what we know so far about Monday's raid and the events leading up to it:National Archives said Trump had classified documentsBack in February, the National Archives, which is charged with the safekeeping of presidential records, asked the Department of Justice to launch a criminal investigation after it said staff had collected 15 boxes of documents, including "classified national security information," that were improperly taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago following Trump's term in office.At the time, Trump described the return of the documents as part of a "collaborative and respectful" process, saying it was a "great honor" to work with the National Archives.Investigators obtained subpoenas before the search warrantIn the months following the National Archives' request, federal agents asked Trump's staff to better secure the basement room at Mar-a-Lago where they believed presidential records were being kept, specifically requesting that a padlock be added to the door.At the same time, investigators obtained a subpoena from a grand jury for documents they alleged were still wrongly in the former president's possession. In June, Jay Bratt, chief of the counterintelligence and export control at the Department of Justice — now armed with this subpoena — came to Mar-a-Lago, obtaining from Trump's attorneys at least some records that were marked as "classified," CNN reported.Weeks later, the Trump Organization was handed a subpoena for surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago, which it reportedly handed over.Mar-a-Lago informant alleged documents were withheldAccording to The Wall Street Journal, following that June meeting, "someone familiar with the stored papers told investigators there may be still more classified documents at the private club." That source potentially laid out the case investigators used to have a judge sign off on a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago that was executed on Aug. 8.Merrick Garland authorized the searchCiting the publicity around the case, Attorney General Merrick Garland held a Thursday evening conference where he confirmed that he approved of the search."First, I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter," Garland said. "Second, the department does not take such a decision lightly. Where possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search, and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken."Garland also announced that the Department of Justice was moving to unseal the search warrant itself, as well as the inventory of goods taken from Mar-a-Lago. Trump has claimed he supports releasing that information but has not done so himself.In keeping with department policy, Garland did not comment on the nature of the investigation.Nuclear documentsHours after Garland's press conference, The Washington Post reported that classified documents "relating to nuclear weapons" were among the items the Department of Justice sought at Mar-a-Lago. It is unclear whether the documents related to US weapons programs or the capabilities of other nations, the paper reported.Search warrant reveals Espionage Act investigationOn Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that 11 sets of classified information, "including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities," were recovered from Mar-a-Lago, citing a receipt of items taken on Monday.The receipt also included documents pertaining to the pardon of Trump ally Roger Stone and information concerning the president of France.A copy of the search warrant, obtained by multiple news organizations Friday afternoon and later unsealed by a federal judge, revealed that Trump is under investigation for three possible criminal offenses, including an alleged violation of the Espionage Act for improperly possessing documents that could harm national security.According to the receipt, additional items taken from Trump's property include:"Miscellaneous Top Secret Documents""Binder of photos""Handwritten note""Leatherbound box of documents," including within "various classified/TS/SCI documents," referring to top-secret national security itemsand "Miscellaneous Secret Documents"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 12th, 2022

Blake Masters says the GOP isn"t John McCain"s party anymore. Now, he"s taking on Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly for McCain"s old seat.

"John McCain, rest his soul," Blake Masters, the GOP Arizona Senate nominee once said. "It's not his Republican Party in Arizona anymore." Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters in Williams, AZ on July 6, 2022.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images Blake Masters won the Arizona GOP Senate primary by embracing Trump and the party's right fringe. But he now faces an uphill battle against Mark Kelly for the seat once held by John McCain. "John McCain, rest his soul," Masters once said. "It's not his Republican Party in Arizona anymore." APACHE JUNCTION, Arizona — It was 20 minutes into the monthly meeting of the Superstition Mountain Republican Club, and Blake Masters was running late. The host, a local constable named Ted Gremmel, had informed attendees in a large room at Avalon Elementary School on July 14 that the Republican Senate candidate was tied up with an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Masters, a towering, lanky figure, eventually walked in wearing a navy blue suit and what looked like a face full of TV makeup."Mark Kelly is the worst US senator. He's the single worst!" Masters began his pitch, skewering the Democratic senator whose seat he hopes to take. He went on to solicit the crowd's nominations for the title of "worst US Senator."One attendee shouted out the name of Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the vice-chair of the January 6 committee."Liz Cheney's in the House, but she's pretty, pretty bad!" Masters replied, adding: "What about Bernie Sanders? Chuck Schumer? Chuck Schumer's got a heck of a face! He looks like an Ayn Rand villain, right? He just looks like an evil guy."Masters eventually made the case that Kelly, the Democratic incumbent who won his seat in a special election in 2020, was the worst US senator because he "votes just as badly as Bernie Sanders," but is, according to Masters, pretending to be a moderate.Endorsed by Trump, Masters won the GOP nomination for US Senate in Arizona last week.Over the next three months, Masters will take on Kelly for the prize of a Senate seat held for 31 years by the late Sen. John McCain, a Republican with a record of bucking his party, championing bipartisan initiatives like campaign finance reform, and drawing the ire of Trump even after his death in 2018. And even as he rejects the mantle of McCain, Masters will have to woo middle-of-the-road voters in a state that's trending purple and has generally sent moderates to the Senate.A 36-year-old first-time candidate, Masters has a history of violating political taboos, hopes to establish an "America First Caucus" in the Senate, and would represent a stark departure from a 2008 GOP presidential candidate who famously defended his opponent from Islamophobic attacks."John McCain, rest his soul," Masters said during a March interview with a New York radio station. "You know, it's not his Republican Party in Arizona anymore."But observers warn that this political positioning could come back to bite Masters in the general election, when both independent voters and the Republicans he failed to win over during the primary are up for grabs."McCain absolutely does still have sway in Arizona," said Mike Noble, an Arizona pollster who leads OH Predictive Insights. "It's one of the contributing factors as to why Trump came up short in Arizona in the last presidential election."Blake Masters speaks to the Superstition Mountain Republican Club in Apache Junction, AZ on July 14, 2022.Bryan Metzger/InsiderFrom Trumpian Thiel protege to general-election 'independent'After growing up in Tucson and getting a bachelor's and a law degree from Stanford, Masters spent the majority of his professional life working in Silicon Valley. He is a close associate of conservative tech billionaire Peter Thiel, serving as the chief operating officer of Thiel's investment firm and the president of his foundation until March of this year. Masters was a student of Thiel's at one point, taking notes on the tech entrepreneur's lectures about building startups that would eventually become their co-authored book, Zero to One. Thiel's idiosyncratic brand of politics — which have evolved from an escapist libertarian tendency toward a more populist, nationalist ideology — are now part and parcel with the "New Right," a reactionary political ideology that makes critiques of capitalism, social progressivism, and other aspects of modernity. As with JD Vance, the GOP Senate nominee in Ohio, Thiel has bankrolled Masters' bid, spending at least $15 million on a political action committee backing the candidate's campaign.But while Masters has certainly gestured towards some of the economic aspects of New Right ideology, he's leaned harder into its socially conservative cultural prescriptions, which land much more comfortably with a Republican base in line with Trump, Fox News, and other influential right-wing figures. During his appearance at the Republican club meeting in July, he launched into a speech rife with incendiary claims about the country's immigration system, pitching a symbolic impeachment of President Joe Biden over border policy while arguing that the Democratic Party is waging an assault on the nuclear family and American values. He also spent considerable time on education policy, leaning into familiar GOP complaints about critical race theory and the New York Times' 1619 Project on the history of slavery."I think what's worse than this crazy racial stuff, and this crazy fake history project, is this perverse gender ideology," he said. "The progressive left, they want to teach your 5-year-old, or your 5-year-old grandchild, that he or she can change their gender, encourage these kids to change their gender. I'm sorry, but I think that is child abuse."Masters secured Trump's endorsement — and roughly 40% of the primary vote — by fully embracing the former president's false claims of a stolen 2020 election. Masters' attendance at a screening of the Dinesh D'Souza film "2000 Mules" at Mar-a-Lago in May reportedly gave him an edge as he and other Senate candidates sought to curry favor with Trump."The power of documentary — it's on video!" Masters exclaimed before the crowd in Apache Junction, urging them to watch the broadly-debunked film that makes several false claims about the 2020 election.But Masters' intentional violation of liberal pieties and political taboos is what makes him Trumpian, and it's seemingly a consistent aspect of his personality. He's chided former GOP Sen. Martha McSally for allegedly avoiding criticizing Kelly's position on guns because Kelly's wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, was shot and badly wounded by a gunman in Tucson in 2011."Mark Kelly is a gun-grabber, and we need to run a candidate who's bold enough to say, like, hey, I'm sorry about what happened to your wife," Masters said on the Charlie Kirk Show in June. "Like, it's truly horrible, like his family and Gabby Giffords, a real victim of a horrible gun crime, right?" "That doesn't give you the right, though, to disarm Arizonans," he continued.Spokespeople for both Kelly and Masters declined Insider's interview requests.Masters has also described supporters of abortion rights as "demonic" and likened the practice to a "religious sacrifice" for progressives, suggested that the FBI instigated the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, described the country's political leadership as "psychopaths," tweeted out a clip of an interview in which he articulated the "great replacement" theory just hours after a mass shooter inspired by similar ideas opened fire at a Buffalo grocery store, and referred to Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as the "affirmative action pick." After the New York Times reported on Masters' years-old incendiary posts on a CrossFit forum, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii — one of 10 Jewish members of the body in which Masters hopes to serve — called Masters anti-Semitic.But while taking controversial and unorthodox positions may play well among GOP voters, Masters still has to convince the rest of his purple state's electorate to support him.The late Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona at the Capitol on July 13, 2017.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images"That'll get you the Republican nomination, but it's not going to win you a general election," said Chuck Coughlin, a long-time political consultant in Arizona who's worked primarily for Republicans. "So he's gonna have to choose on how to narrate the campaign, and I just don't see him moving. I don't see him moving away from that narrative line, I see him doubling down on it."Ryan O'Daniel, an Arizona lobbyist and campaign consultant who managed McCain's final Senate campaign in 2016, offered a more optimistic view of Masters' chances, saying that the fundamentals of the national environment may matter more than anything else. But he also warned that the so-called "pivot" to the general election, in which candidates seek to moderate their image and appeal to a broader audience, might not be so easy for Masters."There's nowhere to hide because they've spent a year on the trail, they're all over YouTube, they're all over Twitter," he said. "There's much more of a record of things now than there used to be seven years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago. So you almost can't pivot anymore."Masters is now attempting to make that pivot. His first TV ad since winning the primary is far less dark than some of his primary campaign ads and he's now pitching himself as "independent."But he's also continued to be combative. When Tucson Mayor Regina Romero announced a press conference highlighting several Masters' controversial statements, he responded with a press release calling her a "Low IQ Activist."A 'young and dynamic' America First caucus?When asked who he'd seek to emulate as a senator, Masters has repeatedly pointed to Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a man with a history of his own provocations. "Josh Hawley is calling me saying, 'give me some backup!'" Masters told attendees in Apache Junction while condemning Big Tech. "He's the only one in the US Senate who really understands this stuff."Masters talks up the idea of an "America First Caucus" made up of other "young and dynamic" senators including Hawley, Vance (if he wins his election), and curiously, Rand Paul. Perhaps intentionally on Masters' part, the proposed caucus shares the name of an ill-fated idea that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was forced to abandon last year: a caucus that would have been organized in part around "uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions."Asked about Masters' caucus idea at the Capitol in July, Hawley demurred."Well, I — listen, I would, first of all, I welcome more Republicans next Congress to the Senate," Hawley told Insider. "I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch."But he offered praise for the first-time Senate candidate, who he endorsed earlier this year ahead of the primary election."I think Blake is thoughtful. I think that he is a tireless worker," said Hawley. "I think that he's really smart, and we agree on the — I think where he is on the issues, I really, you know, I agree with him on much of it, I'm sure not all, but, you know, much."Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ohio GOP Senate nominee JD Vance, both of whom Masters names as potential "America First" caucus-mates.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty ImagesBut Coughlin described Masters' politics as "dystopian" and drawing on people's sense of alienation from existing power structures. And he argued that having a more hardline, Hawley-esque senator from Arizona would be a "substantive break" from the state's history of electing moderates."I mean, if you really, truly understand Arizona's success as a state, you understand it as a cooperative relationship with the federal government," said Coughlin, pointing to both border security, water management issues, and military installations as key avenues where a more cooperative, compromising approach is needed. "So now, we're gonna send somebody to Washington, and all they want to do is take a sledgehammer to all those relationships? That's never been the case in the history of Arizona politics," he added.O'Daniel, meanwhile, suggested that Masters' penchant for speaking openly about his beliefs — even if it means calling the Unabomber an "underrated thinker" in the midst of an electoral campaign — could actually appeal to voters."That's part of what made Trump successful in 2016," said O'Daniel. "You know exactly what you're gonna get."'All he did was badmouth other people'During the question-and-answer portion of Masters' address to the Superstition Mountain Republican Club in Arizona, a 79-year old woman named Charlene Lockwood rose to decry the back-and-forth "football game" of Washington. She challenged Masters on whether he had read the US Constitution while praising the work of legislators who work across the aisle."I am proud of Senator Sinema. I am proud of Senator Manchin," she said, citing the two Democrats' opposition to removing the Senate's 60-vote filibuster, which has proven a formidable obstacle to passing Biden's agenda.Though Masters offered praise for Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's frequent spurning of her party — "give credit where it's due: we still have a country," he said — he largely avoided the substance of the question, seizing on a comment Lockwood had made about term limits for members of Congress to make his argument that "unelected bureaucrats" in Washington need term limits.After the event, Lockwood told Insider she would "never even consider voting for Masters" after what she witnessed."All he did was badmouth other people," she said, later adding that Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska was her favorite senator. "I don't think Blake Masters even knows what the Constitution is really, just from the way he acted."Blake Masters speaks at a campaign event on August 1, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesSeeking to capitalize on Masters' far-right politics, Kelly rolled out a list of Republican endorsements last month. And observers generally agree that Kelly's incumbency and fundraising prowess offer him a head-start in the race, despite a national environment likely to favor Republicans. "If one could give an award for best strategy and navigation of these incredibly turbulent political waters for Democrats, Mark Kelly should get a gold medal," said Noble."He's done a really, really great job of not really being in the fire, and kind of hitting the issues most important to Arizonans, and just staying planted squarely in the middle from a perception standpoint," Noble added. "Because his voting record is obviously very different."And Democrats may have something of a wild-card opportunity in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, particularly after voters in conservative Kansas rejected an anti-abortion constitutional amendment earlier this month. To that end, Kelly's first attack ad against Masters highlights the Republican's comments on abortion.On some level, the shape of the race will likely be determined by both the broader national environment and by Biden's approval ratings. In a statement to Insider, RNC Arizona spokesman Ben Petersen previewed the GOP's line of attack on Kelly, calling him a "lackey" for Biden while arguing that he "could be wielding a one-vote veto in the Senate right now."But in many ways, Sinema has embraced the mantle of McCain more than Kelly, publicly taking positions that put her at odds with the Democratic base — most prominently on the Senate filibuster and a party-line spending bill that Democrats recently passed —  while Kelly has largely voted with his party. As a result, Sinema's approval ratings are higher with Republicans than Democrats in Arizona. "I'd be hugging the shit out of her right now," said Coughlin.Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona walks with Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Sen. John McCain and the current US Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, at the Capitol on August 4, 2021.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesOne prominent Mesa Republican, outgoing speaker of the Arizona House Rusty Bowers, told Insider he's "not a fan" of Masters, citing his "lack of self awareness" and "lack of sensitivity."Bowers lost a state Senate primary to Trump-backed former Sen. David Farnsworth last week after testifying before the January 6 committee about Trump's efforts to overturn Arizona's election results.Asked directly in July how he would vote in a Kelly vs. Masters general election, Bowers stopped short of declaring his support for Kelly, but heaped praise on the incumbent Democratic senator."It's probably best to say: I'm going to vote for somebody for Senate that has got character, has got history, has got experience, who's got maturity," said Bowers. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 11th, 2022

Donald Trump"s docket: The latest on key cases and investigations faced by the ex-president

Donald Trump and his business are involved in at least a dozen significant investigations and lawsuits. Here's the latest on all of them. Former President Donald Trump addresses the America First Agenda Summit in Washington, DC, on July 26, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty Images Donald Trump and his business are involved in at least a dozen significant investigations and lawsuits. They include probes into election, insurrection and financial wrongdoing in Georgia, DC and New York. Check back here for updates on what's happening — and what's next. It's hard to keep track of Donald Trump's very busy legal docket. The former president is the subject of at least three major investigations into wrongdoing relating to the election, the insurrection, and his finances — probes based in Fulton County, Georgia; Washington, D.C.; and New York.Trump's business remains under indictment in Manhattan for an alleged payroll tax-dodge scheme. On top of all that, Trump is fighting or bringing a grab-bag of important lawsuits. Keep up to date on the latest of Trump's legal travails, both criminal and civil, with this guide to the ever-evolving Trump docket.Indictments Trump with his former CFO Allen Weisselberg at Trump Tower in 2017.Evan Vucci/APThe Trump Organization Payroll Case The Parties: The Manhattan DA is prosecuting The Trump Organization, and his former CFO Allen Weisselberg.The Issues: Trump's business could be fined, and his ex-CFO jailed for anywhere from one to 15 years, if they are found guilty of a 2021 indictment alleging a years-long payroll tax-dodge scheme in which key officials received some pay in off-the-books perks like free apartments, cars and tuition reimbursement.   Weisselberg and lawyers for the business have entered not-guilty pleas to charges including grand larceny, conspiracy and scheme to defraud. What's next: Barring a plea deal, the parties are scheduled to set a trial date when they next meet in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, tentatively on August 12.Criminal InvestigationsFulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis is photographed in her office in Atlanta, on Jan. 4, 2022.AP Photo/Ben Gray, FileThe Fulton County election interference probeThe parties: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Trump, and his Republican associates The issues: Willis is investigating whether Trump and his associates tried to interfere in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Her probe has expanded to also include investigating an alleged scheme to send a fake slate of electors to Georgia's state Capitol in an attempt to overturn the elections.Willis's investigation experienced a minor setback after an Atlanta judge said on June 25 that Willis cannot question Georgia Republican state Sen. Burt Jones due to a conflict of interest. Jones was among a dozen Republicans issued a subpoena by a Fulton County special grand jury. What's next: Rudy Giuliani, Trump's former personal attorney, was ordered to appear on August 17 before the Fulton County special grand jury as part of Willis probe into Trump's possibly interference in the Georgia elections.Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.Jon Cherry/Getty ImagesThe Justice Department investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 electionThe parties: Federal investigators are increasingly scrutinizing the role Trump and his allies played in the effort to overturn the 2020 election.The issues: The Justice Department is facing pressure to prosecute following a string of congressional hearings that connected the former president to the violence of January 6, 2021, and to efforts to prevent the peaceful handoff of power.In a series of eight hearings, the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol described Trump's conduct in criminal terms and pointed to an April court decision in which a federal judge said the former president likely committed crimes in his effort to hold onto power. In that ruling, Judge David Carter called Trump's scheme a "coup in search of a legal theory."Prosecutors have asked witnesses directly about Trump's involvement in the effort to reverse his loss in the 2020 election and are likely to issue more subpoenas and search warrants in the weeks ahead.In June, federal investigators searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who advanced Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.On the same day, federal agents seized the phone of John Eastman, a lawyer who helped advise Trump on how to overturn the 2020 election. A top prosecutor in the Justice Department's inquiry, Thomas Windom, revealed in late July that investigators had obtained a se cord warrant allowing a search of Eastman's phone. What's next:  The Justice Department has remained largely silent about how and whether it would consider charges against Trump, but in July, prosecutors asked witnesses directly about the former president's involvement in the attempt to reverse his electoral defeat. FBI agents descended on Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2022, with a search warrant.Darren SamuelsohnThe Justice Department investigation into the handling of classified documentsThe parties: The FBI searched Trump's estate in South Florida, Mar-a-Lago, on August 8 as part of an investigation into the possible mishandling of government records, including classified documents. Trump and his lawyers alleged prosecutorial misconduct and condemned the search as politically motivated.The issues: Early in 2022, Trump turned over 15 boxes of documents — including some marked as classified and "top secret" — to the National Archives. But federal investigators scrutinizing the former president's handling of records reportedly grew suspicious that Trump or people close to him still retained some key records. The FBI seized about a dozen boxes of additional documents during the raid of Mar-a-Lago, in a search that immediately demonstrated how Trump's handling of records from his administration remains an area of legal jeopardy.What's next: The Justice Department is facing pressure to provide more details about the search, with Republicans — including some Trump critics — calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to at least release documents authorizing the raid. To obtain the warrant, the Justice Department needed to convince a federal judge there was probable cause that a crime was committed and that evidence could be found at Mar-a-Lago. The warrant and supporting documents appear to be under seal.Civil InvestigationsNew York Attorney General Letitia James speaks on June 6, 2022, in New York.Mary Altaffer/APThe NY AG's Trump Organization probeThe parties: New York Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating Trump, his family and the Trump Organization for three years. The issues: James says she has uncovered a decade-long pattern of financial wrongdoing at Trump's multi-billion-dollar hotel and golf resort empire.She alleges Trump misstated the value of his properties on annual financial statements and other official documents used to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in bank loans and tax breaks. Trump has called the probe a politically motivated witch hunt.What's next: Court-ordered depositions of Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., were delayed by the death of family matriarch Ivana Trump. But their depositions finally wrapped on August 10, when Donald Trump testified before investigators in James' Manhattan offices. He vowed beforehand to plead the Fifth rather than cooperate.The contentious, massive probe — involving more than 5 million pages of documents — appears close to filing a several-hundred-page lawsuit that could seek to put the Trump Organization out of business entirely. Lawsuits against TrumpSupporters of then-President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DCBrent Stirton/Getty ImagesLawsuits alleging 'incitement' on January 6The Parties: House Democrats and two Capitol police officers accused Trump of inciting the violent mob on January 6.The Issues: Trump's lawyers have argued that his time as president grants him immunity that shields him from civil liability in connection with his January 6 address at the Ellipse, where he urged supporters to "fight like hell."A federal judge rejected Trump's bid to dismiss the civil lawsuits, ruling that his rhetoric on January 6 was "akin to telling an excited mob that corn-dealers starve the poor in front of the corn-dealer's home."Judge Amit Mehta said Trump later displayed a tacit agreement with the mob minutes after rioters breached the Capitol, when he sent a tweet admonishing then-Vice President Mike Pence for lacking the "courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country."What's Next: Trump has appealed Mehta's ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and requested an oral argument. In a late July court filing, Trump's lawyers said the immunity afforded to the former president cannot be "undercut if the presidential act in question is unpopular among the judiciary."Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on October 18, 2021 in New York City.James Devaney/GC ImagesGalicia v. TrumpThe Parties: Lead plaintiff Efrain Galicia and four other protesters of Mexican heritage have sued Trump, his security personnel, and his 2016 campaign in New York.The issues: They say Donald Trump sicced his security guards on their peaceful, legal protest outside Trump Tower in 2015. The plaintiffs had been demonstrating with parody "Make America Racist Again" campaign signs to protest Trump's speech announcing his first campaign for president, during which he accused Mexican immigrants of being "rapists" and drug dealers. Trump fixer-turned-critic Michael Cohen said in a deposition that Trump directly ordered security to "get rid of" the protesters; Trump said in his own deposition that he didn't even know a protest was going on until the next day. His security guards have said in depositions that they were responding to aggression by the protesters.What's next: Trial is set for jury selection on September 6 in NY Supreme Court in the Bronx.Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is pictured in New York in 2020.Seth Wenig/APE. Jean Carroll v. TrumpThe Parties: Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for defamation in federal court in Manhattan in June 2019.The Issues: Carroll's lawsuit alleges Trump defamed her after she publicly accused him of raping her in a Bergdorf-Goodman dressing room in Manhattan in the mid-90s.Trump responded to Carroll's allegation by saying it was untrue and that she was "not my type." Trump also denied ever meeting Carroll, despite a photo to the contrary.What's next: Arrangements for the sharing of evidence are ongoing behind the scenes, including for the possible collection of Trump's DNA.Carroll has said she wants to compare Trump's DNA with unidentified male DNA on a dress she wore during the alleged rape. Trial is tentatively set for Feb. 6, 2023; Carroll has said she would never settle the case.Donald Trump Jr, Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump during the filming of the live final tv episode of The Celebrity Apprentice on May 16 2010 in New York City.Bill Tompkins/Getty ImagesThe 'multi-level marketing' pyramid scheme caseThe Parties: Lead plaintiff Catherine McKoy and three others sued Trump, his business, and his three eldest children, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, in 2018 in federal court in Manhattan.The Issues: Donald Trump is accused of promoting a scam multi-level marketing scheme on "The Celebrity Apprentice." The lawsuit alleges Trump pocketed $8.8 million from the scheme — but that they lost thousands of dollars. Trump's side has complained that the lawsuit is a politically motivated attack. What's Next: The parties say in court filings that they are working to meet an August 31 deadline for the completion of depositions. Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney, testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill February 27, 2019 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesMichael Cohen's 'imprisonment' caseThe Parties: Trump fixer-turned-critic Michael Cohen sued Donald Trump, former Attorney General Bill Barr, and more than a dozen federal prison officials and employees, in federal court in Manhattan in 2021.The Issues: The president's former personal attorney is seeking $20 million in damages relating to the time he spent in prison for financial crimes and lying to Congress about Trump's dealings in Congress. Cohen says in his suit that he had been moved to home confinement for three months in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic, but was then vindictively thrown into solitary confinement when he refused to stop speaking to the press and writing a tell-all book about his former boss. A judge ordered him released after 16 days.What's Next: Oral arguments on pending defense motions to dismiss are set for August 2. Singer Eddy Grant performs in concert in honor of Nelson Mandela in Hyde Park, London June 27, 2008.Andrew Winning/ReutersThe Electric Avenue copyright caseThe Parties: Eddy Grant, the composer/performer behind the 80s disco-reggae mega-hit "Electric Avenue," sued Donald Trump and his campaign in federal court in Manhattan in 2020.The Issues: Grant is seeking $300,000 compensation for copyright infringement. His suit says that Trump made unauthorized use of the 1983 dance floor staple during the 2020 campaign. About 40 seconds of the song played in the background of a Biden-bashing animation that Trump posted to his Twitter account. The animation was viewed 13 million times before being taken down a month later. Trump has countered that the animation was political satire and so exempt from copyright infringement claims. He's also said that the campaign merely reposted the animation and have no idea where it came from.What's Next: There is an August 21 deposition completion deadline for both sides. Pretrial motions are not due to be filed until October.Mary Trump speaks to Katie Phang on MSNBC on June 17, 2022.MSNBCMary Trump v. Donald TrumpThe Parties: The former president's niece sued him and his siblings in 2020 in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.The Issues: Mary Trump alleges that she was cheated out of at least $10 million in a 2001 court settlement over the estate of her late father, Fred Trump, Sr. Mary Trump alleges she only learned by helping with a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times article that she'd been defrauded by her Uncle Donald, her aunt, Maryanne Trump Barry, and the late Robert Trump, whose estate is named as a defendant.The Times' 18-month investigation "revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges," the Pulitzer Committee said in praising the piece. Lawyers for the Trumps have countered that it's far too late for Mary Trump to sue over a 2001 settlement that she had knowingly participated in.What's next: The defendants' motion to dismiss, including on statute of limitations grounds, is still pending.Lawsuits brought by Trump Donald Trump v. Mary Trump The Parties: The former president counter-sued his niece Mary Trump — and the New York Times — in 2021 in New York state Supreme Court in Dutchess County.The Issues: Mary Trump, the Times and three of its reporters  "maliciously conspired" against him, Trump alleges, by collaborating with the Times on its expose of and breaching the confidentiality of the family's 2001 settlement of the estate of Mary Trump's father, Fred Trump, Sr. What's Next: Mary Trump's motion to dismiss is pending in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, where the case has since been transferred to.Hillary Clinton.Photo by: Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesDonald Trump v. Hillary ClintonThe Parties: Trump has sued Hillary Clinton, her campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and prominent Democrats including former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in a federal court in southern Florida in March, 2022.The Issues:  Trump alleges in this unusual use of federal racketeering statutes that Clinton and her campaign staff conspired to harm his 2016 run for president by promoting a "contrived Trump-Russia link." The defendants are trying to get the massive lawsuit dismissed on statute of limitation grounds, to which Trump's side counters that the "conspiracy" wasn't fully disclosed until the 2019 report on the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation.What's Next: Trump's side is asking that a tentative May, 2023 trial date be pushed back to November of 2023.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 10th, 2022

Here"s what it"s like to traverse the members-only grounds of Mar-a-Lago, from a reporter who"s been there

My visits there as a White House reporter for Politico more than five years ago came during the earliest days of Trump's presidency. Insider DC bureau chief Darren Samuelsohn in March 2017 at Mar-a-Lago, while working as a White House reporter for Politico. Also pictured is the backyard of Donald Trump's private club.Darren Samuelsohn Trump beat reporters have been trying for years to get inside the members-only Mar-a-Lago club. In early 2017, Darren Samuelsohn visited on three different occasions while working for Politico. His photographs show what it's like inside a private club that now doubles as Trump's residence. Memories of Mar-a-Lago came flooding back Monday night when the news broke that the FBI had executed a search warrant on Donald Trump's permanent residence.My visits there as a White House reporter for Politico more than five years ago came during the earliest days of Trump's presidency. They gave me an up-close look into all of the controversy and celebrity hoopla that surrounded a man who just months earlier had become the most powerful person on the planet.In all, I made three trips in March 2017 to go inside Trump's exclusive South Florida resort.I toured the well-manicured grounds and snapped my own picture of the famous Trump painting that hangs in the main bar and watched Melania Trump from a distance as she headed into a gathering of Republican donors. I even held open the big iron main door for Ivanka Trump and her three young children before they all sat down with Jared Kushner for brunch just a few feet away from my own table. A post shared by Ivanka Trump (@ivankatrump) Ivanka posted this picture on Instagram on that same morning just a short time after I saw her and her family.Trump's private residencePeople walking outside Mar-a-Lago in March 2017.Darren SamuelsohnMar-a-Lago is sandwiched between the Lake Worth Lagoon on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. A short tunnel takes people under the famous A1A boulevard to get to the pool and the beach. Only members and their guests are allowed into the club, which boasts a couple of swimming pools, a restaurant serving foods named after various members of the Trump family, a bar and cardroom, as well as a spa and gym. There are also high-priced private hotel rooms, though I didn't get to see inside one. Back in March of 2017, when Trump was just settling into the presidency, he used Mar-a-Lago as his seasonal weekend retreat. His main bedroom, my tour guide explained, includes a bedroom located right above the man in the yellow pants in my picture.Reminder of the club's historyA fountain at Mar-a-Lago with a plaque that says Trump purchased the club in 1985.Darren SamuelsohnTrump bought Mar-a-Lago in 1985 for about $10 million, using it as a residence for several years before opening up the private club a decade later. A plaque near one of the two swimming pools and just below the main outdoor dining area gives a very brief overview of that history.  Bathroom glamor photosPhotos of Trump on the cover of New York magazine and running with the Olympic torch hangs in a lobby bathroom at Mar-a-Lago in March 2017.Darren SamuelsohnIt's hard to go anywhere in Mar-a-Lago without being reminded who is the owner of the place. These photos are in the men's bathroom just off the main entrance lobby. There was also another one of Trump standing with a big wide grin next to professional golf legend Arnold Palmer, but my picture came out too blurry to share it. Spa timeThe entrance to the Trump Spa at Mar-a-Lago.Darren SamuelsohnNext to one of the swimming pools is the Trump spa. We only visited for a few minutes but there were massage treatments available, as well as locker rooms, and a gym.The presidential motorcade waitsDonald Trump's presidential motorcade waiting at Mar-a-Lago in March 2017.Darren SamuelsohnTrump was visiting his club pretty much every weekend back in the early days of his presidency, dragging along the national press corps with him.A handful of reporters would sit for hours in vans waiting in motorcade formation for something to happen. Except for events where they got an invitation, rarely did the press get anywhere close to Trump and his members.But that didn't stop details from leaking about what happened at the club while the president was there.Right before one of my visits, for example, Trump caused a huge stir by working with his aides on a response to a North Korea missile test. He did that in front of his dinnertime guests. I also learned much later through the Mueller report that one of my visits to Mar-a-Lago coincided with a critical weekend meeting at the club where Trump hosted Jeff Sessions and then-White House counsel Don McGahn. There, Trump urged his attorney general at the time to unrecuse himself from the FBI's Russia investigation. Oceanfront swimmingOne of the Trump Mar-a-Lago swimming pools overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.Darren SamuelsohnMar-a-Lago has two pools, including this one overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It was deserted in the spring of 2017, as it was also a bit cold outside by Florida standards. This is also where there are multiple guest cottages overlooking the beach, including villas my tour guide told me were frequently used by Trump's adult children when they visited.   Trump's portrait and MAGA schwagA portrait of Donald Trump hangs in the bar of Mar-a-Lago in March 2017, and Make America Great Again hats adorn chairs in the ballroom before a GOP dinner.Darren SamuelsohnI returned to Mar-a-Lago for two more stops a few weeks later.During one trip, I toured the bar area and snapped this picture of the famous portrait of Trump.I also scored a press credential to cover the Lincoln Day dinner, an annual event hosted by the Palm Beach Republican Party. They had MAGA schwag for the people who paid $300 for a seat or as much as $5,000 for a table.A Melania sightingMelania Trump walking the grounds of Mar-a-Lago during the Palm Beach Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner on March 24, 2017.Darren SamuelsohnMelania Trump was in town for the weekend, and she made an appearance before the dinner at an exclusive cocktail hour. Reporters were kept a good distance away, which is why you can barely see the now-former first lady there in my photograph.The Donald J. Trump BallroomA speaker introduces then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott in the Donald J. Trump Ballroom at Mar-a-Lago during the March 2017 Palm Beach Republican Party's Lincoln Dinner.Darren SamuelsohnMy reporting at the time for Politico noted that the GOP attendees described the dinner as "the most overtly political shindig at Mar-a-Lago since its host moved into the White House."Rick Scott was governor of Florida at the time, and his speech included details about a recent DC visit with Trump that included lunch and a showing of "La La Land" in the White House theater. 'Deport ILLEGAL CRIMINALS'Guests hold up a sign about immigration at Mar-a-Lago during the Palm Beach Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner on March 24, 2017.Darren SamuelsohnCredentialed reporters were free to move around the Donald J. Trump Ballroom and mingle with the guests. There were plenty of pro-Trump advocates like this, as well as some big names in Florida politics.  On this particular night, I met Adam Putnam, who was serving as Florida's Agriculture commissioner and was jockeying for a run to succeed Scott as governor.Putnam announced his campaign a few weeks after this dinner, and he was seen as an early frontrunner. But then Trump endorsed Ron DeSantis, a sitting congressman, and, well, we know the history from there. Tastes like TrumpTrump-branded mouthwash in the Mar-a-Lago ballroom men's bathroom in March 2017.Darren SamuelsohnThere were more Trump-branded products in this men's restroom, including mouthwash. It tasted like mouthwash.My Mar-a-Lago selfieDarren Samuelsohn, a Politico White House reporter at the time, poses for a selfie outside Mar-a-Lago during a tour in March 2017. He has much less hair now.Darren SamuelsohnThe Mar-a-Lago trips weren't just to soak up color.My reporting revealed Trump was very much OK with using the presidential seal at his club and that foreign spies had an unprecedented amount of access to US officials due to lax background screening.I covered other national security concerns associated with a president of the United States who mixes his taxpayer-funded job with dues-paying members of his own private club. In the following years, many of the issues I was reporting on during my early Mar-a-Lago visits would keep coming back up again. Then came the FBI raid on Monday, and a whole new set of reminders about what I witnessed during those early days of Trump's White House.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 9th, 2022

Trump Says Only One Thing Can Fix Economy

Trump Says Only One Thing Can Fix Economy Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Former President Donald Trump has warned Americans to brace for something “a lot worse than a recession” while blaming the Biden administration’s poor stewardship of the economy for soaring inflation and denouncing the tax hikes in the latest Democrat spending bill. Former President Donald Trump prepares to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, on Aug. 6, 2022. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images) Trump made the remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas on Saturday, where the former president raised the alarm on the state of the union. “Our country is being shot. It’s being destroyed,” Trump told attendees, while touting his administration’s record on the economy and national security. Trump spoke of “creating the most secure border in American history, record tax and regulation cuts, $1.87 gasoline, no inflation, low interest rates, record growth in real wages, record growth in our economy.” Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on August 6, 2022. (Bobby Sanchez for The Epoch Times) Soaring Inflation, Recession During Trump’s tenure, the highest the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation gauge came in at was 2.9 percent in July 2018, while in his final month in office, January 2021, inflation clocked in at 1.4 percent. Under Biden, inflation has climbed steadily, soaring 9.1 percent year-over-year in June 2022, a figure not seen in more than 40 years. In his speech, Trump drew a contrast with the economy under President Joe Biden, blaming the president for the highest inflation in decades that Trump estimates is costing American families as much as $7,000 a year. “After the pandemic, we handed the radical Democrats the fastest economic recovery ever recorded, the history of our country, ever recorded,” Trump continued. “They’ve turned that into two straight quarters of negative economic growth, also known, despite their protestation to the contrary, as a recession.” Two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth are a common rule-of-thumb definition for a recession, although recessions in the United States are officially declared by a committee of economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) using a broader definition than the two-quarter rule. Despite a number of economists arguing that the United States is in a recession based on the two-consecutive-quarters rule, the Biden administration insists that the economy isn’t in a recession, citing NBER’s consideration of a broader range of indicators. A key argument against recession made by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and others in the Biden administration is that the U.S. labor market remains tight, with unemployment at 3.5 percent and, at 10.7 million, the number of job openings remaining well above the 6 million or so people classified as unemployed. President Joe Biden gives remarks during a meeting on the economy with CEOs and members of his Cabinet in the South Court Auditorium of the White House on July 28, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) Worse Than Recession In his CPAC speech, Trump then issued an ominous warning that, absent a course correction, the recession could spiral into something even worse. “Just hope that the recession doesn’t turn into a depression, because the way they’re doing things, it could be a lot worse than a recession,” Trump said, echoing similar remarks he made at a rally in Arizona at the end of July, where he warned that “we’re going to have a serious problem” unless political change takes place. “We got to get this act in order, we have to get this country going, or we’re going to have a serious problem,” Trump said at a rally in Arizona, warning that “we’re going to have a much bigger problem than recession. We’ll have a depression.” During his appearance at CPAC, Trump issued a call for urgent action at the polls in the upcoming midterms. “The future of our country is at stake. We don’t have time to wait years and years. We won’t have a country left. What I used to say about Venezuela is true. We have to save the economy, defeat the Biden, Pelosi, Schumer tax hike, which is happening right now tonight,” Trump continued, referring to the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” that cleared the Senate not long after his speech. Senators passed the sweeping bill, estimated at $740 billion, in a 51–50 vote on Aug. 7, with the package next going to the House for consideration. During the deliberations, Senate Democrats rejected an amendment offered by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) that sought to ban any of the $80 billion for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from being used to target Americans making less than $400,000 per year. “My colleagues claim this massive funding boost will allow the IRS to go after millionaires, billionaires and so-called rich ‘tax cheats,’ but the reality is a significant portion raised from their IRS funding bloat would come from taxpayers with income below $400,000,” Crapo said in a statement. Crapo’s amendment was rejected on a party-line vote, with the Democrat bill including softer language that features a non-binding statement of intention not to squeeze more revenue from America’s middle class. Tax Hikes According to an analysis by Americans for Tax Reform, a U.S. advocacy group, the spending bill includes a number of tax hikes on American households and businesses. This includes a $6.5 billion natural gas tax that ATR says will increase household energy bills, a $12 billion crude oil tax that will end up being passed on to drivers in the form of higher gas prices, and a $52 billion income tax hike on mid-sized and family businesses. In a separate analysis, ATR said that the Democrat bill’s changes to the book tax threaten small businesses. Elaborating on that theme, economist and author Antonio Graceffo wrote in an op-ed for The Epoch Times that the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” would drive up prices for American households. “Nearly half of these new taxes will be paid by manufacturers, creating disincentives to produce. Diminished industrial output will drive up the cost of goods and reduce the variety and quantity of goods available on store shelves,” Graceffo wrote. “Beyond the manufacturing sector, the act increases taxes on businesses in general, which, combined with higher interest rates will decrease new investment and hamper job creation. Ultimately, these increased costs will be passed on to customers,” he added. We Have to Win’ During his CPAC speech, Trump revealed what he sees as the key to bringing the country and its economy back on track. “We have to win an earth-shattering victory in 2022. We have to do it, coming up in November,” Trump said. Read more here... Tyler Durden Tue, 08/09/2022 - 14:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 9th, 2022

Sustainability Focus Drives Barrick"s Performance

Second Quarter 2022 ResultsAll amounts expressed in US dollars TORONTO, Aug. 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A stronger Q2 performance across the portfolio has kept Barrick on course to achieve its annual gold and copper production guidance while continuing to progress its key growth projects. Gold production for the quarter was higher than Q1 at 1.04 million ounces — driven mainly by Carlin and Turquoise Ridge in Nevada, Veladero in Argentina, and Bulyanhulu and North Mara in Tanzania — and is expected to grow further in the second half of the year. Copper production came to 120 million pounds. Operating cash flow was $924 million and free cash flow1 was $169 million for the quarter. Net earnings per share were $0.27 and adjusted net earnings per share2 were $0.24. A dividend of $0.20 per share was declared for the quarter on the back of the strong operating performance and net cash of $636 million.3 During the quarter, Barrick repurchased $182 million in shares under the $1 billion share buy-back scheme introduced earlier this year. It also repatriated the balance of Kibali's surplus cash from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the Dominican Republic, the Pueblo Viejo expansion project advanced with the commencement of the public consultation process and the selection of a preferred site for the new tailings storage facility, subject to the completion of an environmental and social impact assessment. The massive project has the potential to extend the mine's life to 2040 and beyond with an estimated minimum average annual production of 800,000 ounces.12 In Nevada, the public review period of the Goldrush project has started with the record of decision expected in the first half of 2023, when the production timetable will be confirmed. The definitive agreements underlying the framework agreement between Barrick and the governments of Pakistan and Balochistan on the Reko Diq project are being finalized. Once this process has been completed and the necessary legalization steps have been taken, Barrick will update its feasibility study on what is one of world's largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits, with first production expected in 2027/2028. Barrick is continuing to expand its global exploration footprint with a strengthened team. In North America the search has extended from Nevada to active projects in Canada. The intensified exploration drive in Latin America led to an entry into the Guiana Shield, and in Africa & the Middle East, new projects have been initiated in Zambia, Tanzania and Egypt. A new Asia Pacific team is making progress at Reko Diq, as well as Japan, while also looking for fresh opportunities elsewhere in this region. Reviewing the quarter, president and chief executive Mark Bristow said the critical scrutiny of ESG and sustainability disclosures was intensifying in a climate of skepticism about so-called greenwashing. Against this background, Barrick's annual Sustainability Scorecard, an industry first, continues to report the group's performance transparently and objectively against a wide range of standard metrics. "We've taken the leadership in integrating the various aspects of ESG and managing these complex issues in a measured and holistic manner," he said. "There are challenging times ahead, but Barrick faces them with strong and agile leadership, a robust balance sheet, solid Life of Mine plans, a reliable cash flow and a strategy focused on sustainability and value creation." KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Financial and Operating Highlights Financial Results Q2 2022 Q1 2022 Q2 2021   Realized gold price4,5 ($ per ounce) 1,861 1,876 1,820   Net earnings($ millions) 488 438 411   Adjusted net earnings2 ($ millions) 419 463 513   Net cash provided by operating activities($ millions) 924 1,004 639   Free cash flow1 ($ millions) 169 393 (19 ) Net earnings per share($) 0.27 0.25 0.23   Adjusted net earnings per share2($) 0.24 0.26 0.29   Attributable capital expenditures6,7($ millions) 587 478 518   Operating Results Q2 2022 Q1 2022 Q2 2021   Gold       Production5 (000s of ounces) 1,043 990 1,041   Cost of sales (Barrick's share)5,8 ($ per ounce) 1,216 1,190 1,107   Total cash costs5,9 ($ per ounce) 855 832 729   All-in sustaining costs5,9 ($ per ounce) 1,212 1,164 1,087   Copper       Production5 (millions of pounds) 120 101 96   Cost of sales (Barrick's share)5,8 ($ per pound) 2.11 2.21 2.43   C1 cash costs5,10 ($ per pound) 1.70 1.81 1.83   All-in sustaining costs5,10 ($ per pound) 2.87 2.85 2.74   Best Assets Stronger Q2 performance across the portfolio keeps Barrick on track to achieve 2022 production targets Goldrush Notice of Availability published in Federal Register starting the public comment period Significant progress made with the Pueblo Viejo expansion project and additional tailings storage facility Copper portfolio delivers with growing prospectivity Continued focus on brownfields and greenfields exploration, driven by energized new leadership, delivers results Leader in Sustainability Launched sustainability-linked credit facility Progress made with newly developed Scope 3 emissions reduction roadmap North Mara received award for the best community health outreach program in Tanzania Public hearings completed for Pueblo Viejo's new tailings storage facility Year-on-year improvement in water reuse and recycling Seamless leadership succession underpins Barrick's management bench strength Delivering Value Operating cash flow of $924 million and free cash flow1 of $169 million for the quarter Net earnings per share of $0.27 and adjusted net earnings per share2 of $0.24 for the quarter Remaining surplus cash balance repatriated from Kibali Net cash of $636 million3 supports a $0.20 per share dividend for Q2 2022 ~$182 million of shares repurchased under our $1 billion buy-back program11 Q2 2022 Results PresentationWebinar and Conference Call President and CEO Mark Bristow will host a virtual presentation on the results today at 11:00 EDT, with an interactive webinar linked to a conference call. Participants will be able to ask questions. Go to the webinar US and Canada (toll-free), 1 800 319 4610 UK (toll-free), 0808 101 2791 International (toll), +1 416 915 3239 The Q2 2022 presentation materials will be available on Barrick's website at www.barrick.com and the webinar will remain on the website for later viewing. QUARTERLY DIVIDEND OF $0.20 PER SHARE MAINTAINED Barrick today announced the declaration of a dividend of $0.20 per share in respect of performance for the second quarter of 2022. The dividend, which is unchanged from Q1, is consistent with the Company's Performance Dividend Policy announced at the start of the year. The Q2 2022 dividend will be paid on September 15, 2022 to shareholders of record at the close of business on August 31, 2022.13 "On the back of our strong operating performance, we are once again able to provide a leading dividend yield to our shareholders, whilst still maintaining a strong balance sheet," says senior executive vice-president and chief financial officer Graham Shuttleworth. "We believe this continues to show the benefit of the dividend policy that we announced in February 2022, including the guidance it provides to our shareholders on future dividend streams." NGM BUILDING NEW GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES Three years after establishing the joint venture that created the world's largest gold mining complex, Nevada Gold Mines ("NGM") is stepping out on its next phase by identifying new opportunities for discoveries and additions. In one of the largest and most complex mergers in the history of the industry, assets, operations, systems, people and cultures were combined successfully to build a business that will unlock the full potential of the region and create value for all stakeholders, deliver real jobs and be a key partner to Nevada. Its workforce of more than 7,000 already makes it one of the state's largest employers. In its short life, NGM has produced 10 million ounces of gold15 and generated significant free cash. Greatly improved knowledge of the orebodies support robust 10-year plans and increased the pre-merger life of mine substantially. At the existing operations, brownfields exploration is replacing reserves depleted by mining and identifying new targets while the greenfields team is hunting further afield for a new Tier One14 discovery in North America to further augment the existing NGM portfolio. NGM's journey to its next growth phase is being guided by a strengthened management team, led by Christine Keener, who joined Barrick earlier this year as chief operating officer of its North America region. Peter Richardson has been appointed incoming executive managing director of NGM, replacing Greg Walker who retires at the end of the year. A new North America organizational structure, incorporating NGM, has been designed to integrate and strengthen mineral resource management, operational and project leadership to drive continued performance improvements and support regional growth. NGM continues to invest in people, both current and future employees, through education partnerships and training programs. It supports the College of Southern Nevada and the Clark County School District, where high school students can get certificates in industrial maintenance or diesel technology, and has renewed its partnership with Discovery Education® for the Nevada Department of Education's outreach program. It is also working with the University of Nevada and the Great Basin College in Elko to develop mining-centered programs. Internally, NGM has established training mines and facilities for underground and surface mining, and process operations. During the first half of the year, NGM posted and improved operational performance at all of its sites apart from Cortez, which is transitioning from Pipeline to Cortez Pits and the next phase of Crossroads. Going forward, the Goldrush project will drive further improvements at Cortez. BARRICK EXTENDS GLOBAL EXPLORATION REACH Barrick continues to expand its global exploration footprint as a renewed and re-energized team hunts down opportunities across an expanding global footprint. In North America, the search has expanded from Nevada to active projects in Canada. The intensified exploration drive in Latin America led to an entry into the Guiana Shield, and in Africa & the Middle East, new projects have been initiated in Zambia, Tanzania and Egypt. A new Asia Pacific team is making progress towards the reconstitution and restart of Reko Diq in Pakistan, as well as Japan, while also looking for other fresh opportunities. President and chief executive Mark Bristow said in pursuit of Barrick's global growth strategy, significant changes have been made in the senior management of the exploration team, led by Joel Holliday. Three of the four regional exploration teams – Latin America, Africa & Middle East and Asia Pacific – are now being managed by new vice-presidents, two of whom were internal appointments. In Canada, the recently created positions of exploration manager and new opportunities manager were filled and a dedicated growth manager for the Latin America and Asia Pacific regions has been appointed. "Our geological teams now have strength in depth and we're building a pipeline of high-potential managers and technical specialists. The highly experienced new appointees are already driving significant change and this renewed energy and focus is already delivering robust results," Bristow said. The exploration strategy is designed to: deliver short to medium term projects that will support improvements in mine plans; make new discoveries for Barrick's Tier One gold and copper portfolio; optimize the value of major undeveloped projects; and identify and secure emerging opportunities early in their value curve. PUEBLO VIEJO EXPANSION PROJECT CONTINUES TO ADVANCE Pueblo Viejo's conversion into a long-life mine is progressing after discussions with the Dominican Republic's government identified a site for the new tailings storage facility and the terms of reference for the environmental and social impact assessment were published. The mine was heading for closure because its vast resources could not be converted to reserves due to limitations on its current tailings storage facility. The massive integrated expansion has the potential to extend the mine's life to 2040 and beyond with an estimated minimum average annual production of 800,000 ounces.12 This means that Pueblo Viejo, long the country's largest corporate taxpayer, will be able to continue delivering value to its Dominican stakeholders for generations to come. In line with Barrick's partnership philosophy, it is engaging with the local communities and authorities to keep them informed about the project. In spite of a contractor workforce of 3,500 being added to the mine's 2,700 permanent employees, Pueblo Viejo is maintaining an exemplary safety record. At the end of this year's second quarter, the project had been injury free for 5 million hours or 10 months. BARRICK BUILDS ON TRANSFORMED TANZANIAN ASSETS Barrick has been recognized as the largest contributor to Tanzanian government revenue in 2021, confirming its position as a key partner in the socio-economic development of the country. Since the company took control of North Mara and Bulyanhulu in September 2019, its total in-country investment has totaled $1.995 billion.15 In the first half of this year, it has paid $158 million in taxes, royalties and levies, $42 million in distributions to the Government of Tanzania in the form of dividends and shareholder loans as well as $210 million to local suppliers. It has also now paid $140 million of its $300 million settlement with the government. Barrick has committed $6 for every ounce of gold sold by the two mines to improving healthcare, education, infrastructure and access to potable water in their communities. A further $70 million has been allocated to investment in value-adding national projects, including mining related training and scientific facilities at Tanzanian universities. "When we took over these mines they were a moribund burden on the government and their investors. In a very short time, we redesigned and re-engineered them, creating what are in effect two new mines. They are well placed to deliver their annual production guidance and have the potential to achieve a combined Tier One status in Barrick's portfolio, meaning that they are capable of producing at least 500,000 ounces of gold annually for more than 10 years at the lower end of the cost spectrum as a combined complex," president and chief executive Mark Bristow says. "We are continuing to replace resources depleted by mining and we are targeting new opportunities as well, increasing our footprint around Bulyanhulu through the acquisition of six highly prospective licences. We're also updating the geological models in the North Mara region and identifying potential targets elsewhere in Tanzania." Bulyanhulu now has a life of more than 20 years and continues to deliver a significant growth in reserves over and above depletion. Development of its new Deep West extension is scheduled to start this quarter. North Mara's open pit has been successfully ramped up and the new Gena pushback is planned for the second half of the year. An investment of $65 million in water treatment and management has reduced the volume in North Mara's tailings dam from 7 million m3 to less than 800,000 m3, returning it to its designed and legislated capacity. In July, Bristow met with the elected Chairmen of the 11 villages around North Mara, as well as elders, officials, the District Commissioner and the local Member of Parliament, following a similar meeting in March. The Chairmen made constructive suggestions on solidifying the relationship and reaffirmed their satisfaction with Barrick's sustainability and partnership policies and practices. During the past quarter, Bulyanhulu was named the overall winner of the Tanzanian OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Authority) award for 2022 while North Mara received the award for the best community health outreach program. An investment in a landmark potable water project, scheduled for completion in October, will benefit more than 30,000 people in four villages around North Mara. In line with Barrick's policy of local employment, Tanzanian nationals now account for 96% of the two mines' workforces and 64% of their senior management are Tanzanians. The mines are also driving the increased employment of women in a traditionally male-dominated industry through targeted recruitment and development programs. AFTER 25 YEARS OF DELIVERING VALUE TO MALI BARRICK CONTINUES TO INVEST IN THE FUTURE Barrick continues to invest in creating value for all stakeholders and in supporting the communities that host its mines, through among other things, the commissioning of the Gounkoto underground mine and the Gara West open pit, the continuing replacement of reserves, the extension of the solar power plant and the further strengthening of local partnerships as instances of the company's long-term commitment to the country. "In the first half of the year we've contributed $337 million to the Malian economy in the form of taxes, royalties, dividends, salaries and payments to local suppliers, taking the lifetime contribution of Barrick, previously Randgold, to $8.5 billion. We're particularly proud of the fact the Gara West pit is being mined for us by two Malian contractors we have mentored," says Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow. At the halfway mark of the year, the complex is on track to meet its production guidance for 2022, replace annual reserve depletion to further extend its mine life, and maintain its exemplary safety record, with no lost time injuries or major environmental events during the past quarter. It continues to invest in sustainable economic community projects, establishing a motel, a farm for Kenieba women and three water supply systems during the quarter. The Loulo agricultural college, designed as the foundation of a sustainable regional agribusiness, has already trained 21 women and 143 men and created 30 farms. Since the opening of the mine, Loulo-Gounkoto has built 20 schools in its neighboring villages, taking student enrollment from 500 to more than 5,000. Seventy-eight of them are currently benefiting from the complex's bursary program and Loulo-Gounkoto is also supporting teachers' salaries. "First as Randgold and now as Barrick, we've been operating in Mali for 25 years and we plan to be here for at least as long again. The strong and mutually rewarding partnerships we have forged with the government, local business partners and our host communities are the key to our success and an example to Africa's other mining countries," Bristow says. REKO DIQ ALLIANCE BETWEEN PAKISTAN AND BARRICK SET TO CREATE LONG-TERM VALUE Pakistan's finance minister Miftah Ismail and Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow said after their meeting in Islamabad that they shared a clear vision of the national strategic importance of the Reko Diq copper-gold project and were committed to developing it as a world-class mine that would create value for the country and its people through multiple generations. Reko Diq is one of the world's largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits. An agreement in principle reached between the government of Pakistan, the provincial government of Balochistan and Barrick earlier this year provides for the reconstitution and restart of the project, which has been on hold since 2011. It will be operated by Barrick and owned 50% by Barrick, 25% by the Balochistan Provincial Government and 25% by Pakistani state-owned enterprises. The definitive agreements underlying the framework agreement between Barrick and the governments of Pakistan and Balochistan are being finalized. Once this has been completed and the necessary legalization steps have been taken, Barrick will update the original feasibility study, a process expected to take two years. Construction of the first phase will follow that, with first production of copper and gold expected in 2027/2028. "During the negotiations the federal government and Barrick confirmed that Balochistan and its people should receive their fair share of the benefits as part of the Pakistan ownership group," Bristow said. "At Barrick, we know that our long-term success depends on sharing the benefits we create equitably with our host governments and communities. At Reko Diq, Balochistan's shareholding will be fully funded by the project and the Federal Government, allowing the province to reap the dividends, royalties and other benefits of its 25% ownership without having to contribute financially to the project's construction or operation. It's equally important that Balochistan and its people should see these benefits from day one. Even before construction starts, when the legalization process has been completed we will implement a range of social development programs, supported by an upfront commitment to the improvement of healthcare, education, food security and the provision of potable water in a region where the groundwater has a high saline content." Finance minister Ismail said the development of Reko Diq represented the largest direct foreign investment in Balochistan and one of the largest in Pakistan. "Like Barrick, we believe that the future of mining lies in mutually beneficial partnerships between host countries and world-class mining companies. The Reko Diq agreement exemplifies this philosophy and also signals to the international community that Pakistan is open for business," he said. Subject to the updated feasibility study, Reko Diq is envisaged as a conventional open pit and milling operation, producing a high-quality copper-gold concentrate. It will be constructed in two phases, starting with a plant that will be able to process approximately 40 million tonnes of ore per annum which could be doubled in five years following first production from phase one. With its unique combination of large scale, low strip and good grade, Reko Diq will be a multi-generational mine with a life of at least 40 years. During peak construction the project is expected to employ 7,500 people and once in production it will create 4,000 long-term jobs. Barrick's policy of prioritizing local employment and suppliers will have a positive impact on the downstream economy. KIBALI DRIVES SUSTAINABLE VALUE CREATION The Kibali gold mine's investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo now exceeds $4 billion and it has created a thriving regional economy in a remote part of the country through partnering with and mentoring local entrepreneurs, uplifting host communities and upgrading essential infrastructure. Kibali is not only Africa's largest gold mine, it is also a global leader in automation, sustainability initiatives, clean energy and skills training. "Thanks to Barrick's policy of local employment and advancement, 94% of Kibali's workforce, including its management, are Congolese nationals. It is now also driving the employment of women in the traditionally male-dominated mining industry through targeted recruitment campaigns and development programs designed to equip them for rewarding careers at all levels of the organization," says Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow. Kibali is on track to meet its full-year production guidance and has again posted an injury-free quarter. Its three world-class hydropower stations are mitigating the impact of higher fuel prices and significantly reducing the mine's carbon footprint. Bristow said the stations were built well before climate change became a priority issue, demonstrating Barrick's long-standing commitment to sustainability in all its activities. Kibali's gold reserves have grown net of depletion for three successive years, and ongoing conversion drilling is expected to continue this trend, despite producing in excess of 5.7Moz of gold to date.15 Ongoing exploration is delivering new growth opportunities with the potential to grow the mineral resource base beyond the original feasibility study. Local sustainability projects include the construction of a world-class aquaponics farm and the erection of a vocational and technical training center to promote capacity building in the community. Implementation of the cahier des charges mechanism has started, following its approval by the government. This will add to the current commitment of investing 0.3% of revenue in community projects identified in consultation with the mine's community development committees. Kibali also continues to invest in the future of Africa's biodiversity through its support for the Garamba National Park which has seen a substantial increase in the giraffe population and the near-elimination of elephant poaching. It is also sponsoring a project for the re-introduction of white rhino into the park, critical in the long-term campaign to protect this endangered species. "Kibali's journey has created enormous value for all its stakeholders and it's a standout example of what mutually beneficial partnerships can achieve. Its great gold endowment means that it has a long future ahead as an engine for economic growth and community development," Bristow says. BARRICK EXTENDS REVOLVING CREDIT FACILITY AND ESTABLISHES SUSTAINABILITY-LINKED METRICS Barrick has completed an amendment and restatement of the company's undrawn $3.0 billion revolving credit facility, including an extension of the termination date by one year to May 2027, replacement of LIBOR with SOFR as the floating rate mechanism related to the interest rate for any US dollar funds drawn down, and the establishment of sustainability-linked metrics. The sustainability-linked metrics incorporated into the revolving credit facility are made up of annual environmental and social performance targets directly influenced by Barrick's actions, rather than based on external ratings. The performance targets include Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions intensity, water use efficiency (reuse and recycling rates), and Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR).16 Barrick may incur positive or negative pricing adjustments on drawn credit spreads and standby fees based on its sustainability performance versus the targets that have been set. Senior executive vice-president and chief financial officer Graham Shuttleworth said, "The extension of the termination date of our undrawn credit facility, combined with our strong balance sheet, highlights the current strength of Barrick's liquidity, while the establishment of sustainability-linked metrics, along with Barrick's recently released 2021 Sustainability Report, continues to show Barrick's commitment to ESG." Barrick's long-term credit is currently rated BBB+ and Baa1 by S&P Global Ratings and Moody's Investors Service, respectively. Appendix 12022 Operating and Capital Expenditure Guidance GOLD PRODUCTION AND COSTS   2022 forecastattributable production(000s oz) 2022 forecast costof sales8 ($/oz) 2022 forecast totalcash costs9 ($/oz) 2022 forecast all-insustaining costs9($/oz) Carlin (61.5%)17 950 - 1,030 900 - 980 730 - 790 1,020 - 1,100 Cortez (61.5%)18 480 - 530 970 - 1,050 650 - 710 1,010 - 1,090 Turquoise Ridge (61.5%) 330 - 370 1,110 - 1,190 770 - 830 930 - 1,010 Phoenix (61.5%) 90 - 120 2,000 - 2,080 720 - 780 890 - 970 Long Canyon (61.5%) 40 - 50 1,420 - 1,500 540 - 600 540 - 620 Nevada Gold Mines (61.5%) 1,900 - 2,100 1,020 - 1,100 710 - 770 990 - 1,070 Hemlo 160 - 180 1,340 - 1,420 1,140 - 1,200 1,510 - 1,590 North America 2,100 - 2,300 1,050 - 1,130 740 - 800 1,040 - 1,120           Pueblo Viejo (60%) 400 - 440 1,070 - 1,150 670 - 730 910 - 990 Veladero (50%) 220 - 240 1,210 - 1,290 740 - 800 1,270 - 1,350 Porgera (47.5%)19 — — — — Latin America & Asia Pacific 620 - 680 1,140 - 1,220 700 - 760 1,040 - 1,120           Loulo-Gounkoto (80%) 510 - 560 1,070 - 1,150 680 - 740 940 - 1,020 Kibali (45%) 340 - 380 990 - 1,070 600 - 660 800 - 880 North Mara (84%) 230 - 260 820 - 900 670 - 730 930 - 1,010 Tongon (89.7%) 170 - 200 1,700 - 1,780 1,220 - 1,280 1,400 - 1,480 Bulyanhulu (84%) 180 - 210 950 - 1,030 630 - 690 850 - 930 Africa & Middle East 1,450 - 1,600 1,070 - 1,150 720 - 780 950 - 1,030           Total Attributable to Barrick20,21,22 4,200 - 4,600 1,070 - 1,150 730 - 790 1,040 - 1,120           COPPER PRODUCTION AND COSTS   2022 forecastattributable production(Mlbs) 2022 forecast costof sales8 ($/lb) 2022 forecast C1cash costs10 ($/lb) 2022 forecast all-insustaining costs10($/lb) Lumwana 250 - 280 2.20 - 2.50 1.60 - 1.80 3.10 - 3.40 Zaldívar (50%) 100 - 120 2.70 - 3.00 2.00 - 2.20 2.50 - 2.80 Jabal Sayid (50%) 70 - 80 1.40 - 1.70 1.30 - 1.50 1.30 - 1.60 Total Attributable to Barrick21 420 - 470 2.20 - 2.50 1.70 - 1.90 2.70 - 3.00           ATTRIBUTABLE CAPITAL EXPENDITURES         ($ millions)       Attributable minesite sustaining6 1,350 - 1,550       Attributable project6 550 - 650       Total attributable capital expenditures7 1,900 - 2,200       2022 OUTLOOK ASSUMPTIONS AND ECONOMIC SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS   2022 GuidanceAssumption Hypothetical Change Impact on EBITDA23 (millions) Impact on TCC andAISC9,10 Gold price sensitivity $1,700/oz +/- $100/oz +/- $580 +/- $5/oz Copper price sensitivity $4.00/lb +/- $0.25/lb +/- $60 +/- $0.01/lb Appendix 2Production and Cost Summary - Gold   For the three months ended   6/30/22 3/31/22 % Change 6/30/21 % Change Nevada Gold Mines LLC (61.5%)a           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                        462 459 1% 452 2% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                        751 747 1% 735 2% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     1,171 1,169 0% 1,111 5% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        856 820 4% 717 19% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                     1,238 1,118 11% 1,014 22% Carlin (61.5%)c           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                        243 229 6% 190 28% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                        394 373 6% 309 28% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     1,042 1,015 3% 1,043 0% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        862 829 4% 852 1% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                     1,192 1,139 5% 1,310 (9)% Cortez (61.5%)d           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                          97 115 (16)% 110 (12)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                        158 187 (16)% 178 (12)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     1,168 1,113 5% 1,167 0% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        850 784 8% 793 7% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                     1,538 1,150 34% 1,029 49% Turquoise Ridge (61.5%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                          75 67 12% 78 (4)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                        122 109 12% 128 (4)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     1,289 1,436 (10)% 1,131 14% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        928 1,030 (10)% 752 23% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                     1,195 1,281 (7)% 904 32% Phoenix (61.5%)c           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                          26 23 13% 28 (7)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                          43 37 13 % 45 (7)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     2,114 2,253 (6)% 1,864 13% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        895 835 7% 279 221% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                     1,152 1,027 12% 401 187% Long Canyon (61.5%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                          21 25 (16)% 46 (54)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                          34 41 (16)% 75 (54)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     1,280 1,093 17% 691 85% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        450 342 32% 168 168% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                        459 366 25% 191 140% Pueblo Viejo (60%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                        105 104 1% 117 (10)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                        175 174 1% 195 (10)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     1,154 1,077 7% 904 28% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        724 682 6% 533 36% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                     1,024 948 8% 723 42% Loulo-Gounkoto (80%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                         140 138 1% 143 (2)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                         175 172 1% 179 (2)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      1,093 1,088 0% 993 10% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                         730 721 1% 610 20% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                      1,013 982 3% 1,073 (6)% Kibali (45%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                           81 76 7% 91 (11)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                         180 168 7% 202 (11)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      1,164 1,137 2% 1,038 12% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                         738 744 (1)% 645 14% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                         946 996 (5)% 894 6% Veladero (50%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                           58 46 26% 31 87% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis) 116 92 26% 62 87% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      1,369 1,348 2% 1,231 11% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                         861 847 2% 774 11% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                      1,461 1,588 (8)% 1,698 (14)% Porgera (47.5%)e           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                            — — —% — —% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                            — — —% — —% Cost of sales ($/oz)                            — — —% — —% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                            — — —% — —% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                            — — —% — —% Tongon (89.7%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis) 41 35 17% 48 (15)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis) 46 39 17% 53 (15)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      2,025 2,036 (1)% 1,446 40% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                      1,558 1,667 (7)% 1,045 49% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                      1,655 1,803 (8)% 1,162 42% Hemlo           Gold produced (000s oz) 36 31 16% 42 (14)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      1,698 1,727 (2)% 1,603 6% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                      1,489 1,503 (1)% 1,314 13% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                      1,804 1,982 (9)% 1,937 (7)% North Mara (84%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis) 66 56 18% 63 5% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis) 79 66 18% 75 5% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      1,060 852 24% 975 9% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                         756 709 7% 816 (7)% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                         957 874 9% 952 1% Buzwagi (84%)f           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)       19   Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)       22   Cost of sales ($/oz)       1,315   Total cash costs ($/oz)b       1,244   All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b       1,242   Bulyanhulu (84%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis) 54 45 20% 35 54% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis) 65 53 20% 42 54% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      1,163 1,216 (4)% 1,164 0% Total cash costs ($/oz)b 836 847 (1)% 776 8% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                      1,094 984 11% 916 19% Total Attributable to Barrickg           Gold produced (000s oz)                      1,043 990 5% 1,041 0% Cost of sales ($/oz)h                      1,216 1,190 2% 1,107 10% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                         855 832 3% 729 17% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                      1,212 1,164 4% 1,087 11% These results represent our 61.5% interest in Carlin (including NGM's 60% interest in South Arturo up until May 30, 2021 and 100% interest thereafter, reflecting the terms of the Exchange Agreement with i-80 Gold to acquire the 40% interest in South Arturo that NGM did not already own in exchange for the Lone Tree and Buffalo Mountain properties and infrastructure, which closed on October 14, 2021), Cortez, Turquoise Ridge, Phoenix and Long Canyon. Further information on these non-GAAP financial performance measures, including detailed reconciliations, is included in the endnotes to this press release. On September 7, 2021, NGM announced it had entered into an Exchange Agreement with i-80 Gold to acquire the 40% interest in South Arturo that NGM did not already own in exchange for the Lone Tree and Buffalo Mountain properties and infrastructure. Operating results within our 61.5% interest in Carlin includes NGM's 60% interest in South Arturo up until May 30, 2021, and 100% interest thereafter, and operating results within our 61.5% interest in Phoenix includes Lone Tree up until May 31, 2021, reflecting the terms of the Exchange Agreement which closed on October 14, 2021. Includes Goldrush. As Porgera was placed on care and maintenance on April 25, 2020, no operating data or per ounce data is provided. With the end of mining at Buzwagi in the third quarter of 2021, we have ceased to include production or non-GAAP cost metrics for Buzwagi from October 1, 2021 onwards. Excludes Pierina, Lagunas Norte up until its divestiture in June 2021, and Buzwagi starting in the fourth quarter of 2021. Some of these assets are producing incidental ounces while in closure or care and maintenance. Gold cost of sales per ounce is calculated as cost of sales across our gold operations (excluding sites in closure or care and maintenance) divided by ounces sold (both on an attributable basis using Barrick's ownership share). Production and Cost Summary - Copper   For the three months ended   6/30/22 3/31/22 % Change 6/30/21 % Change Lumwana           Copper production (Mlbs) 75 57 32% 56 34% Cost of sales ($/lb) 2.01 2.20 (9)% 2.36 (15)% C1 cash costs ($/lb)a 1.68 1.86 (10)% 1.72 (2)% All-in sustaining costs ($/lb)a 3.28 3.16 4% 2.92 12% Zaldívar (50%)           Copper production (Mlbs attributable basis) 25 25 0% 22 14% Copper production (Mlbs 100% basis) 50 51 0% 44 14% Cost of sales ($/lb) 2.88 2.85 1% 3.56 (19)% C1 cash costs ($/lb)a 2.17 2.15 1% 2.68 (19)% All-in sustaining costs ($/lb)a 2.65 2.64 0% 3.15 (16)% Jabal Sayid (50%)           Copper production (Mlbs attributable basis) 20 19 5% 18 11% Copper production (Mlbs 100% basis) 40 38 5% 36 11% Cost of sales ($/lb) 1.45 1.30 12% 1.47 (1)% C1 cash costs ($/lb)a 1.09 1.10 (1)% 1.27 (14)% All-in sustaining costs ($/lb)a 1.19 1.17 2% 1.39 (14)% Total Attributable to Barrick           Copper production (Mlbs attributable basis) 120 101 19% 96 25% Cost of sales ($/lb)b 2.11 2.21 (5)% 2.43 (13)% C1 cash costs ($/lb)a 1.70 1.81 (6)% 1.83 (7)% All-in sustaining costs ($/lb)a 2.87 2.85 1% 2.74 5% Further information on these non-GAAP financial performance measures, including detailed reconciliations, is included in the endnotes to this press release. Copper cost of sales per pound is calculated as cost of sales across our copper operations divided by pounds sold (both on an attributable basis using Barrick's ownership share).  Appendix 3Financial and Operating Highlights   For the three months ended   For the six months ended    6/30/22 3/31/22 % Change   6/30/21 % Change   6/30/22 6/30/21 % Change Financial Results ($ millions)                     Revenues 2,859   2,853   0 %   2,893   (1)%   5,712   5,849   (2)% Cost of sales 1,850   1,739   6 %   1,704   9 %   3,589   3,416   5 % Net earningsa 488   438   11 %   411   19 %   926   949   (2)% Adjusted net earningsb 419   463   (10)%   513   (18)%   882   1,020   (14)% Adjusted EBITDAb 1,527   1,645   (7)%   1,719   (11)%   3,172   3,519   (10)% Adjusted EBITDA marginc 53 % 58 % (9)%   59 % (10)%   56 % 60 % (7)% Minesite sustaining capital expendituresb,d 523   420   25 %   452   16 %   943   857   10 % Project capital expendituresb,d 226   186   22 %   203   11 %   412   334   23 % Total consolidated capital expendituresd,e 755   611   24 %   658   15 %   1,366   1,197   14 % Net cash provided by operating activities 924   1,004   (8)%   639   45 %   1,928   1,941   (1)% Net cash provided by operating activities marginf 32 % 35 % (9)%   22 % 45 %   34 % 33 % 3 % Free cash flowb 169   393   (57)%   (19 ) 989 %   562   744   (24)% Net earnings per share (basic and diluted) 0.27   0.25   8 %   0.23   17 %   0.52   0.53   (2)% Adjusted net earnings (basic)b per share 0.24   0.26   (8)%   0.29   (17)%   0.50   0.57   (12)% Weighted average diluted common shares (millions of shares) 1,777   1,779   0 %   1,779   0 %   1,778   1,779   0 % Operating Results                     Gold production (thousands of ounces)g 1,043   990   5 %   1,041   0 %   2,033   2,142   (5)% Gold sold (thousands of ounces)g 1,040   993   5 %   1,070   (3)%   2,033   2,163   (6)% Market gold price ($/oz) 1,871   1,877   0 %   1,816   3 %   1,874   1,805   4 % Realized gold priceb,g ($/oz) 1,861   1,876   (1)%   1,820   2 %   1,868   1,798   4 % Gold cost of sales (Barrick's share)g,h ($/oz) 1,216   1,190   2 %   1,107   10 %   1,203   1,090   10 % Gold total cash costsb,g ($/oz) 855   832   3 %   729   17 %   844   723   17 % Gold all-in sustaining costsb,g ($/oz) 1,212   1,164   4 %   1,087   11 %   1,188   1,052   13 % Copper production (millions of pounds)g 120   101   19 %   96   25 %   221   189   17 % Copper sold (millions of pounds)g 113   113   0 %   96   18 %   226   209   8 % Market copper price ($/lb) 4.32   4.53   (5)%   4.40   (2)%   4.43   4.12   8 % Realized copper priceb,g ($/lb) 3.72   4.68   (21)%   4.57   (19)%   4.20   4.32   (3)% Copper cost of sales (Barrick's share)g,i ($/lb) 2.11   2.21   (5)%   2.43   (13)%   2.16   2.26   (4)% Copper C1 cash costsb,g ($/lb) 1.70   1.81   (6)%   1.83   (7)%   1.75   1.71   2 % Copper all-in sustaining costsb,g ($/lb) 2.87   2.85   1 %   2.74   5 %   2.86   2.48   15 %    As at 6/30/22 As at 3/31/22 % Change   As at 6/30/21 % Change         Financial Position ($ millions)                     Debt (current and long-term) 5,144   5,144   0 %   5,152   0 %         Cash and equivalents 5,780   5,887   (2)%   5,138   12 %         Debt, net of cash (636 ) (743 ) (14)%   14   (4,643)%         Net earnings represents net earnings attributable to the equity holders of the Company. Further information on these non-GAAP financial performance measures, including detailed reconciliations, is included in the endnotes to this press release. Represents adjusted EBITDA divided by revenue. Amounts presented on a consolidated cash basis. Project capital expenditures are included in our calculation of all-in costs, but not included in our calculation of all-in sustaining costs. Total consolidated capital expenditures also includes capitalized interest of $6 million and $11 million, respectively, for the three and six month periods ended June 30, 2022 (March 31, 2022: $5 million and June 30, 2021: $3 million and $6 million, respectively). Represents net cash provided by operating activities divided by revenue. On an attributable basis. Gold cost of sales per ounce is calculated as cost of sales across our gold operations (excluding sites in closure or care and maintenance) divided by ounces sold (both on an attributable basis using Barrick's ownership share). Copper cost of sales per pound is calculated as cost of sales across our copper operations divided by pounds sold (both on an attributable basis using Barrick's ownership share). Consolidated Statements of Income Barrick Gold Corporation(in millions of United States dollars, except per share data) (Unaudited) Three months ended June 30,   Six months ended June 30,      2022       2021       2022       2021   Revenue (notes 5 and 6) $ 2,859     $ 2,893     $ 5,712     $ 5,849   Costs and expenses (income)         Cost of sales (notes 5 and 7)   1,850       1,704       3,589       3,416   General and administrative expenses   30       47       84       85   Exploration, evaluation and project expenses   100       77       167       138   Impairment (reversals) charges (notes 9b and 13)   3       2       5    .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaAug 8th, 2022

Los Angeles hospitality workers react to proposal that would require hotels to offer up vacant rooms to homeless people

"Hotels did not cause the homeless problem. Hotels are not the solution for the homeless problem," Stuart Waldman told the LA city council on Friday. "Hotels did not cause the homeless problem. Hotels are not the solution for the homeless problem," Stuart Waldman, the president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, told LA council members on Friday.Walter Bibikow/Getty Images A recently proposed ordinance in Los Angeles would require hotels to open up vacant rooms to homeless people. Hotel workers spoke both for and against the proposal at a city council meeting on Friday.  The ordinance will appear on Los Angeles voters' ballots in 2024, the council decided.  Hotel workers, some of whom have experienced homelessness themselves in recent years, shared their input Friday on a controversial ordinance that would require Los Angeles hotels to rent vacant rooms to homeless people through a voucher program. The proposed initiative, titled the "Responsible Hotel Ordinance," is backed by the hospitality worker union Unite Here Local 11 and will appear on Los Angeles' voters ballots in 2024, the Los Angeles Times first reported. At a city council meeting on Friday, hotel workers and industry players voiced opinions for and against the proposal, with several noting that staff members are not properly trained to provide the mental health and social services required to adequately address unsheltered individuals' needs. Thomas Franklin, a night auditor at the Beverly Hills Marriott in West Los Angeles, said he himself was homeless ten years ago and described a "chaotic" experience living in a transitional housing program that had 24-hour security and staff on hand. "With all the drugs, all the fighting ... we did not have the support in order to make it a successful program there," he told council members on Friday. "Without having a clearly defined support from policing and mental services, there's no way that I think that this is something that we should be able to do."An owner of the Hampton Inn Suites in Los Angeles reiterated these concerns, saying his employees are "absolutely scared and fear not just for their lives and their safety, but also for how we are treating the homeless and unsheltered.""There has to be a more humane way to take care of this problem," he continued. "My staff is here with me today ... this is no joke to them. If this passes, they will look for other opportunities."Dixie Moore (right) talks with representatives from St Joseph Center Homeless Services who will help her move from her tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk to short-term housing in a nearby hotel on July 2, 2021.Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty ImagesCarly Kirchen, an organizer for the worker's union backing the ordinance, said hotel owners are perpetuating the "myth" that "every person experiencing homelessness is so sick that they are a danger to the people around them," adding that thousands of Local 11 members are currently facing eviction. "Even as a union member with a good-paying job, I was recently homeless due to the housing crisis in our city,"  Bambian Taft, a hotel minibar attendant and former housekeeper, said. Other speakers noted the proposed ordinance's lack of economic data and funding information. Richard Earle, an executive at the hotel insurance provider Petra RiskSolutions, said the proposal would cause carriers to "legitimately pull coverage.""It will not be available because it changes the entire scope of the business," he said, adding that coverage for hotels adhering to the initiative would be four to five times more expensive than their current rates. "It will be a direct destructive punitive impact on their business."The ordinance would also require hotels that demolish housing in order to build new developments to replace the destroyed units with affordable housing. Ronald Bermudez, who said he works as a bellman at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, voiced support for this initiative at the meeting Friday. "I'm a renter at near the downtown area," he told council members. "It will become so difficult to stay in Los Angeles due to the high cost of rent. We need to do everything we can to protect housing in our city."Are you a hotel worker struggling to afford housing? Reach out to this reporter from a non-work address at htowey@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 7th, 2022

A former federal prosecutor believes Mark Meadows will turn on Donald Trump and "snitch" on him to Justice Department investigators

Trump's niece predicted that if indicted, Trump will cast blame elsewhere, but Glenn Kirschner believes Mark Meadows won't take the fall for him. Mark Meadows, left, and former President Donald Trump, right, in a composite image.Getty Images A former federal prosecutor predicts Mark Meadows will eventually snitch on Donald Trump. "He's going to rat Trump out. He's going to snitch," ex-prosecutor Glenn Kirschner said. Kirschner's remarks come after the January 6 hearings in which lawmakers heard damning testimony. Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner believes former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will eventually turn on former President Donald Trump."Do you really think Mark Meadows is just going to sit quietly by and take the fall for Donald Trump? Maybe just volunteer to dive under the bus? No," Kirschner said in a video posted to YouTube. "He's going to cut his losses. He's going to cooperate. He's going to flip. He's going to turn state's evidence. He's going to rat Trump out. He's going to snitch."—Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) August 5, 2022 Kirschner's remarks come after shocking testimony given by former aides during the recent House January 6 committee hearings, including by former Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who made several shocking claims that stunned former Trump aides.She said, for example, that Trump had expressed approval when rioters chanted about hanging Vice President Mike Pence.She also detailed the intense effort that Trump made to get to the Capitol, even when security detail said they were instructed to take him elsewhere. Hutchinson described him lunging forward at a driver and grabbing at the throat of a Secret Service agent in an effort to demand that they take him to the Capitol. She also said Trump urged Secret Service to get rid of metal detectors. "I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, 'I don't effing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here,'" Hutchinson said.After her testimony, Trump railed against Hutchinson, calling her a "total phony" and denying many of her claims.Rep. Liz Cheney has said the committee could make multiple criminal referrals to the Justice Department, including one against Trump. The committee wouldn't be able to legally prosecute Trump, but its members can inform the Justice Department of possible criminal conduct, as Insider's John Dorman previously reported.Trump's niece Mary predicted last month that if he's indicted, Trump will take action and attempt to clear his name or cast blame in another direction. "We should expect a full court press, by him and everybody in his orbit, to change the subject, muddy the waters, deflect, project, cast blame on everybody from the lowliest of White House aides on up," she said. "He will not take it lying down and he will engage everybody who continues to be a hanger-on to do his bidding."The Capitol riot left five people, including one police officer, dead. Members of the Proud Boys, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were also present. Organizers were emboldened by Trump's urges to protest the results of the 2020 election with him, despite Joe Biden's election victory. While members of Congress were meeting inside the Capitol to certify the results and verify Biden's electoral win, Trump supporters organized an attempted coup and stormed the Capitol.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 7th, 2022

It"s time to start worrying about China again

China is one of the US' largest customers. As its economy struggles and tensions over Taiwan rise, the United States is bracing for impact. biden, xi meeting 2011Lintao Zhang/Getty Images China's slowing economic growth and supply-chain challenges have impacted the US economy. US-China tensions have risen amid news House Speaker Pelosi will visit Taiwan. These economic and national security challenges could rival international focus on Russia and Ukraine. The US economy is already struggling as new GDP data shows multiple quarters of contraction. But it could face further pressure as developments in China — a familiar economic foe — threaten to spill over globally.A few weeks ago, China reported GDP growth of 0.4% in the second quarter, falling short of the 1% projected by analysts polled by Reuters. It was the worst report since the country reported a 6.8% contraction in the first quarter of 2020 as it began battling the pandemic. Additionally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just landed in Taiwan as part of her Asian tour, the highest-ranking US official to visit the island nation in 25 years. This has escalated tensions between the US and China, which views Taiwan — a self-governing democracy — as a Chinese territory. China has said it would view Pelosi's visit as support for the island's independence, and her visit "will lead to serious consequences," according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.Both developments could have major economic and national security implications for the US and echo back to the last time China ruled economic news during trade wars with former-President Trump in which the two countries traded tariffs in attempt to each protect their domestic industries.China accounts for a large chunk of US exports: The 3rd-biggest customer in 2021 at $151 billion through its purchases of goods like machinery, oilseeds and soybeans. And supply chain constraints hampering China's economy are among the many factors pushing inflation in the US to record-high levels and feeding fears of a pending recession. And whether it be next year or in a decade, if a Chinese invasion of Taiwan leads to something beyond a trade war, the economic ramifications could be substantial, to say the least. China's economy is slowing China's muted second quarter growth was driven in part by the zero-Covid policies, which included strict lockdowns and quarantines intended to stamp out the virus. They brought much of the economy to a standstill. In June, the unemployment rate in China of people in cities aged 16 to 24 rose to 19.3%, the highest level since the figure was first released in 2018. In addition to falling short of projections, the GDP report may have even understated the slowing of the Chinese economy. There is widespread skepticism among economists about the accuracy of Chinese economic data, and many have speculated the Chinese economy actually experienced a contraction in the second quarter. "We think the evidence is clear that China's economy contracted significantly in the second quarter," Logan Wright, director of China markets research at Rhodium Group, told The Washington Post. A disappointing GDP report isn't the only bad news for the Chinese economy in recent weeks. In June, property values fell for a 10th straight month, and as construction has slowed, homebuyers in over 20 cities have begun refusing to pay their mortgages on unfinished projects.China's manufacturing activity also unexpectedly contracted in July — further highlighting the economy's sluggish growth as of late. And due to all of these factors, Chinese consumer confidence has taken a nosedive. Despite some scaling back Covid restrictions as cases eased in June, which allowed business activity to resume, recent case spikes tied to a new variant have led to some restrictions being reinstated, suggesting there could be further economic disruptions in the months ahead. Economists have long debated when China will surpass the US as the world's largest economy — some estimates predict 2030. But if slowing growth, a potential overseas debt crisis, and a shrinking workforce — spurred by the country's one-child policy — generate further economic obstacles down the road, the passing of the torch may be less inevitable than it once seemed. Tensions over Taiwan are rising as China's economic power dragsWhile China's economic challenges have negative impacted the US economy, a significant political conflict could make things even worse — potentially putting the countries' economic relationship in jeopardy. Such a conflict isn't unthinkable, particularly if tensions escalate further in response to Speaker Pelosi's visit to Taiwan on Tuesday.While the US does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, President Biden has suggested it would supply weapons to Taiwan in the event of an attack from China. Whether the US would take action beyond this — potentially leading to a military conflict — remains uncertain. The world may receive the answer soon enough. While there has been previous speculation China would invade Taiwan by 2025 or 2030, some US officials reportedly fear it could come within the next 18 months.  After all, Chinese President Xi Jinping, reportedly doesn't see the economy as the only path to making China the "great power" he hopes it to be."It's the idea of China standing up, no longer hiding and biding, and being a world power be taken seriously, " Gerard DiPippo, a senior fellow in the economics program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, told Axios. "Economics is part of that, but the non-economic side is louder now than it was ten years ago."While an economic slowdown may weaken China to some degree, it's possible this shift in focus to the "non-economic side" could actually increase the likelihood of a confrontation with the US.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 3rd, 2022

Pelosi Confirms Start Of Asia Trip, Makes No Mention Of Taiwan As Chinese Anger Grows

Pelosi Confirms Start Of Asia Trip, Makes No Mention Of Taiwan As Chinese Anger Grows The budding army of amateur flight-trackings sleuths on twitter was proven correct again when less than a day after a barrage of unconfirmed reports that the world's greatest investor, Nancy Pelosi, was on her way to Asia - where he supposedly is planning to visit Taiwan, a move which some say could spark World War 3 - on Sunday morning her office confirmed that the House Speaker has begun her anticipated trip to Asia, with her office naming four destinations but making no mention of Taiwan. The official release of her itinerary comes amid more warnings from Beijing over her possible visit to the island. Pelosi, the third in line of US presidential succession, is leading a six-member congressional delegation to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, according to a statement released by her office early on Sunday which however skipped any mention of Taiwan, after days of intense speculation about a likely stop there fuelled tensions, with Beijing calling it a “provocation” and warning Washington against “playing with fire”. But the careful wording of the statement did not rule out the possibility of a visit either. "In Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, our delegation will hold high-level meetings to discuss how we can further advance our shared interests and values, including peace and security, economic growth and trade, the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, human rights and democratic governance,” the statement said. “America is firmly committed to smart, strategic engagement in the region, understanding that a free and flourishing Indo-Pacific is crucial to prosperity in our nation and around the globe.” Singapore’s foreign ministry confirmed on Sunday that Pelosi would be visiting for two days starting on Monday. The delegation led by Pelosi includes Gregory Meeks, chairman of the US House foreign affairs committee, Mark Takano, chairman of the veterans’ affairs committee, and Suzan DelBene, vice chairwoman of the ways and means committee. Two other Democratic congressmen, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Andy Kim, are also travelling with her. To be sure, Beijing will be following every move of the delegation extremely closely as it regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, to be reunited by force if necessary, and has repeatedly warned against any official exchanges with the self-governed island, going so far as hinting it would shoot down her plan and start a war if Pelosi were to visit the island. It earlier described the possible trip to Taiwan as a move to support “Taiwan independence”, in violation of the one-China policy. Meanwhile, the possibility for a stopover in Taiwan has not been ruled out completely. “The statement is very carefully written. It only says that Pelosi is going for a trip to the Indo-Pacific region, including four nations while making no mention of Taiwan. So, in the case of Pelosi making a surprise visit to Taiwan, the press release still holds as she has never formally acknowledged or denied that Taiwan is a stop in her trip,” said Wu Junfei, a researcher at the Hong Kong-China Economic and Cultural Development Association think tank. “For now, Pelosi still has ample room to manoeuvre. The final result will still depend on how China and the US continue with the negotiations.” In recent day, China doubled down on its warning rhetoric to the US. On Saturday the state broadcaster CCTV published for the first time a video showing the launch of DF-17 hypersonic missile – a clip that was later deleted. The move has been widely seen as a clear warning, even though the video, which was subtitled “the target: win”, was ostensibly celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the army. Also on Friday, in another signal of Beijing's displeasure with Pelosi's trip, the Chinese military started a series of exercises, including live-fire drills in the waters off Fujian, the province adjacent to Taiwan Island. Air force spokesman Shen Jinke said on Sunday: “The air force has a strong will, full confidence and sufficient capability to defend the national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Xiaoyu Pu, associate professor of political science at the University of Nevada in Reno, said one possibility was that Pelosi could touch down on Taiwan “just for a short while” before proceeding to Japan and South Korea. If that happens, he predicted a strong military response from Beijing but not to the point of no return. “You have to bear in mind that while China is putting tremendous pressure on the Biden administration to stop the trip, it is also hard for her to back down from this trip after the hype. There will be lots of domestic political pressures if the trip is cancelled, given the current anti-China atmosphere in the US,” Pu said. “Xi [Jinping] and [Joe] Biden had certainly spoken on this issue on their recent call. Both sides must have talked about potential responses and consequences … Both sides shall leave some rooms for the preparation of their face-to-face meeting in November.” In other words... On Saturday, we reported that online flight trackers showed that a plane believed to be carrying Pelosi’s party had landed in Hawaii in the early hours of Saturday and stayed there for 16 hours. The plane then took off at 7pm local time (5am on Sunday GMT) heading towards Asia, about an hour before Pelosi’s statement was released. Pelosi said they had a fuel stop in Hawaii where they also had a briefing from US Indo-Pacific Command leadership, as well as a visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial and the USS Arizona. Hu Xijin, the outspoken former state media editor of state-owned tabloid Global Times, posted on Weibo that Pelosi’s latest statement may have been an attempt to “reduce the provocative meaning of her visit to Taiwan”, but “as long as she lands in Taiwan, the Chinese side will not accept it”.  He added: “Now we must not be careless, and must continue to warn her loudly: do not go to Taiwan, there will be serious consequences.” Earlier on Saturday, Hu said “it is OK [for the People’s Liberation Army] to shoot down Pelosi’s plane” if it was escorted to Taiwan by US fighter jets. In an earlier post on Twitter, the former head of a tabloid published by the Chinese Communist party’s flagship newspaper group said that China should “punish” Pelosi if she did not cancel her planned visit to Taiwan. “[The] PLA Air Force will surely make her visit a disgrace to herself and to the US,” Hu added. “Pelosi is one of the most important national leaders in the US,” said Lu Xiang, a US expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. “For people in her position, every move comes with consequences. If she visits Taiwan without the consent of China there would be serious consequences, including military consequences.” Biden last week said the Pentagon believes it is “not a good idea” for Pelosi to visit Taiwan at the moment. In response to the latest developments, the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's newspaper of record since British colonial rule and currently controlled by Alibaba published an op-ed slamming Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen, titled "Cowardly silence in Taipei as Pelosi plans trip", in which the author slams the president writing that "aAt a moment of real danger, by staying quiet and letting Washington decide whether the US House speaker should visit as if the island has no say in the matter, President Tsai Ing-wen is turning Taiwan into America’s 51st state." "For Beijing, it’s sheer provocation. For Washington, it’s showing support to a friend. Of course, both countries have agendas quite at odds with the best interests of the Taiwanese." Still, when all is said and done, we still remain confident that World War 3 will not begin over the itinerary of the most infamous Congressional insider-trader. Still, US Congress is best known for its unfathomable stupidity and hubris, so keep a close eye on the plane's current flight path which is available below: Tyler Durden Sun, 07/31/2022 - 11:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJul 31st, 2022

Pelosi Confirms Start Of Asia Trip, Makes No Mention Of Taiwan Amid Accusations Of "Cowardice"

Pelosi Confirms Start Of Asia Trip, Makes No Mention Of Taiwan Amid Accusations Of "Cowardice" The budding army of amateur flight-trackings sleuths on twitter was proven correct again when less than a day after a barrage of unconfirmed reports that the world's greatest investor, Nancy Pelosi, was on her way to Asia - where he supposedly is planning to visit Taiwan, a move which some say could spark World War 3 - on Sunday morning her office confirmed that the House Speaker has begun her anticipated trip to Asia, with her office naming four destinations but making no mention of Taiwan. The official release of her itinerary comes amid more warnings from Beijing over her possible visit to the island. Pelosi, the third in line of US presidential succession, is leading a six-member congressional delegation to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, according to a statement released by her office early on Sunday which however skipped any mention of Taiwan, after days of intense speculation about a likely stop there fuelled tensions, with Beijing calling it a “provocation” and warning Washington against “playing with fire”. But the careful wording of the statement did not rule out the possibility of a visit either. "In Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, our delegation will hold high-level meetings to discuss how we can further advance our shared interests and values, including peace and security, economic growth and trade, the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, human rights and democratic governance,” the statement said. “America is firmly committed to smart, strategic engagement in the region, understanding that a free and flourishing Indo-Pacific is crucial to prosperity in our nation and around the globe.” Singapore’s foreign ministry confirmed on Sunday that Pelosi would be visiting for two days starting on Monday. The delegation led by Pelosi includes Gregory Meeks, chairman of the US House foreign affairs committee, Mark Takano, chairman of the veterans’ affairs committee, and Suzan DelBene, vice chairwoman of the ways and means committee. Two other Democratic congressmen, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Andy Kim, are also travelling with her. To be sure, Beijing will be following every move of the delegation extremely closely as it regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, to be reunited by force if necessary, and has repeatedly warned against any official exchanges with the self-governed island, going so far as hinting it would shoot down her plan and start a war if Pelosi were to visit the island. It earlier described the possible trip to Taiwan as a move to support “Taiwan independence”, in violation of the one-China policy. Meanwhile, the possibility for a stopover in Taiwan has not been ruled out completely. “The statement is very carefully written. It only says that Pelosi is going for a trip to the Indo-Pacific region, including four nations while making no mention of Taiwan. So, in the case of Pelosi making a surprise visit to Taiwan, the press release still holds as she has never formally acknowledged or denied that Taiwan is a stop in her trip,” said Wu Junfei, a researcher at the Hong Kong-China Economic and Cultural Development Association think tank. “For now, Pelosi still has ample room to manoeuvre. The final result will still depend on how China and the US continue with the negotiations.” In recent day, China doubled down on its warning rhetoric to the US. On Saturday the state broadcaster CCTV published for the first time a video showing the launch of DF-17 hypersonic missile – a clip that was later deleted. The move has been widely seen as a clear warning, even though the video, which was subtitled “the target: win”, was ostensibly celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the army. Also on Friday, in another signal of Beijing's displeasure with Pelosi's trip, the Chinese military started a series of exercises, including live-fire drills in the waters off Fujian, the province adjacent to Taiwan Island. Air force spokesman Shen Jinke said on Sunday: “The air force has a strong will, full confidence and sufficient capability to defend the national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Xiaoyu Pu, associate professor of political science at the University of Nevada in Reno, said one possibility was that Pelosi could touch down on Taiwan “just for a short while” before proceeding to Japan and South Korea. If that happens, he predicted a strong military response from Beijing but not to the point of no return. “You have to bear in mind that while China is putting tremendous pressure on the Biden administration to stop the trip, it is also hard for her to back down from this trip after the hype. There will be lots of domestic political pressures if the trip is cancelled, given the current anti-China atmosphere in the US,” Pu said. “Xi [Jinping] and [Joe] Biden had certainly spoken on this issue on their recent call. Both sides must have talked about potential responses and consequences … Both sides shall leave some rooms for the preparation of their face-to-face meeting in November.” In other words... On Saturday, we reported that online flight trackers showed that a plane believed to be carrying Pelosi’s party had landed in Hawaii in the early hours of Saturday and stayed there for 16 hours. The plane then took off at 7pm local time (5am on Sunday GMT) heading towards Asia, about an hour before Pelosi’s statement was released. Pelosi said they had a fuel stop in Hawaii where they also had a briefing from US Indo-Pacific Command leadership, as well as a visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial and the USS Arizona. Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of state-owned tabloid Global Times, posted on Weibo that Pelosi’s latest statement may have been an attempt to “reduce the provocative meaning of her visit to Taiwan”, but “as long as she lands in Taiwan, the Chinese side will not accept it”.  He added: “Now we must not be careless, and must continue to warn her loudly: do not go to Taiwan, there will be serious consequences.” Biden last week said the Pentagon believes it is “not a good idea” for Pelosi to visit Taiwan at the moment. In response to the latest developments, the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's newspaper of record since British colonial rule and currently controlled by Alibaba published an op-ed slamming Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen, titled "Cowardly silence in Taipei as Pelosi plans trip", in which the author slams the president writing that "aAt a moment of real danger, by staying quiet and letting Washington decide whether the US House speaker should visit as if the island has no say in the matter, President Tsai Ing-wen is turning Taiwan into America’s 51st state." "For Beijing, it’s sheer provocation. For Washington, it’s showing support to a friend. Of course, both countries have agendas quite at odds with the best interests of the Taiwanese." Still, when all is said and done, we still remain confident that World War 3 will not begin over the itinerary of the most infamous Congressional insider-trader. Still, US Congress is best known for its unfathomable stupidity and hubris, so keep a close eye on the plane's current flight path which is available below: Tyler Durden Sun, 07/31/2022 - 11:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 31st, 2022

Donald Trump"s docket: The latest on key cases and investigations facing the ex-president

Donald Trump and his business are involved in at least a dozen significant investigations and lawsuits. Here's the latest on all of them. Former President Donald Trump addresses the America First Agenda Summit in Washington, DC, on July 26, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty Images Donald Trump and his business are involved in at least a dozen significant investigations and lawsuits. They include probes into election, the insurrection and financial wrongdoing in Georgia, DC and New York. Check back here for updates on what's happening — and what's next. It's hard to keep track of Donald Trump's very busy legal docket. The former president is the subject of at least three major investigations into election, insurrection or financial wrongdoing — probes based in Fulton County, Georgia; Washington, D.C.; and New York.Trump's business remains under indictment in Manhattan for an alleged payroll tax-dodge scheme. On top of all that, Trump is fighting or bringing a grab-bag of important lawsuits. Here's the latest on Trump's legal travails, both criminal and civil, with this guide to the ever-evolving Trump docket.Indictments Trump with his former CFO Allen Weisselberg at Trump Tower in 2017.Evan Vucci/APThe Trump Organization Payroll Case The Parties: The Manhattan DA is prosecuting The Trump Organization, and his former CFO Allen Weisselberg.The Issues: Trump's business could be fined, and his ex-CFO jailed for anywhere from one to 15 years, if they are found guilty of a 2021 indictment alleging a years-long payroll tax-dodge scheme in which key officials received some pay in off-the-books perks like free apartments, cars and tuition reimbursement.   Weisselberg and lawyers for the business have entered not-guilty pleas to charges including grand larceny, conspiracy and scheme to defraud. What's next: Barring a plea deal, the parties are scheduled to set a trial date when they next meet in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, tentatively on August 12.Criminal InvestigationsFulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis is photographed in her office in Atlanta, on Jan. 4, 2022.AP Photo/Ben Gray, FileThe Fulton County election interference probeThe parties: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Trump, and his Republican associates The issues: Willis is investigating whether Trump and his associates tried to interfere in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Her probe has expanded to also include investigating an alleged scheme to send a fake slate of electors to Georgia's state Capitol in an attempt to overturn the elections.Willis's investigation experienced a setback after an Atlanta judge said on June 25 that Willis cannot question Georgia Republican state Sen. Burt Jones due to a conflict of interest. Jones was among a dozen Republicans issued a subpoena by a Fulton County special grand jury as part of Willis's investigation. What's next: Willis has said she could reach a decision on whether to formally charge the president as early as this fall. Election fraud solicitation, interference in an official election proceeding and racketeering are among the laws Trump could be charged with, legal experts say.Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.Jon Cherry/Getty ImagesThe Justice Department investigation The parties: Federal investigators are increasingly scrutinizing the role Trump and his allies played in the effort to overturn the 2020 election.The issues: The Justice Department is facing pressure to prosecute following a string of congressional hearings that connected the former president to the violence of January 6, 2021, and to efforts to prevent the peaceful handoff of power.In a series of eight hearings, the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol described Trump's conduct in criminal terms and pointed to an April court decision in which a federal judge said the former president likely committed crimes in his effort to hold onto power. In that ruling, Judge David Carter called Trump's scheme a "coup in search of a legal theory."Prosecutors have asked witnesses directly about Trump's involvement in the effort to reverse his loss in the 2020 election and are likely to issue more subpoenas and search warrants in the weeks ahead.In June, federal investigators searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who advanced Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.On the same day, federal agents seized the phone of John Eastman, a lawyer who helped advise Trump on how to overturn the 2020 election. A top prosecutor in the Justice Department's inquiry, Thomas Windom, revealed in late July that investigators had obtained a se cord warrant allowing a search of Eastman's phone. What's next:  The Justice Department has remained largely silent about how and whether it would consider charges against Trump, but in July, prosecutors asked witnesses directly about the former president's involvement in the attempt to reverse his electoral defeat. Civil InvestigationsNew York Attorney General Letitia James speaks on June 6, 2022, in New York.Mary Altaffer/APThe NY AG's Trump Organization probeThe parties: New York Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating Trump, his family and the Trump Organization for three years. The issues: James says she has uncovered a decade-long pattern of financial wrongdoing at Trump's multi-billion-dollar hotel and golf resort empire.She alleges Trump misstated the value of his properties on annual financial statements and other official documents used to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in bank loans and tax breaks. Trump has called the probe a politically motivated witch hunt.What's next: Court-ordered depositions of Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., were delayed by the death of family matriarch Ivana Trump. The contentious, massive probe — involving more than 5 million pages of documents — appears close to filing a massive lawsuit that could seek to put the Trump Organization out of business entirely. Lawsuits against TrumpSupporters of then-President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DCBrent Stirton/Getty ImagesLawsuits alleging 'incitement' on January 6The Parties: House Democrats and two Capitol police officers accused Trump of inciting the violent mob on January 6.The Issues: Trump's lawyers have argued that his time as president grants him immunity that shields him from civil liability in connection with his January 6 address at the Ellipse, where he urged supporters to "fight like hell."A federal judge rejected Trump's bid to dismiss the civil lawsuits, ruling that his rhetoric on January 6 was "akin to telling an excited mob that corn-dealers starve the poor in front of the corn-dealer's home."Judge Amit Mehta said Trump later displayed a tacit agreement with the mob minutes after rioters breached the Capitol, when he sent a tweet admonishing then-Vice President Mike Pence for lacking the "courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country."What's Next: Trump has appealed Mehta's ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and requested an oral argument. In a late July court filing, Trump's lawyers said the immunity afforded to the former president cannot be "undercut if the presidential act in question is unpopular among the judiciary."Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on October 18, 2021 in New York City.James Devaney/GC ImagesGalicia v. TrumpThe Parties: Lead plaintiff Efrain Galicia and four other protesters of Mexican heritage have sued Trump, his security personnel, and his 2016 campaign in New York.The issues: They say Donald Trump sicced his security guards on their peaceful, legal protest outside Trump Tower in 2015. The plaintiffs had been demonstrating with parody "Make America Racist Again" campaign signs to protest Trump's speech announcing his first campaign for president, during which he accused Mexican immigrants of being "rapists" and drug dealers. Trump fixer-turned-critic Michael Cohen said in a deposition that Trump directly ordered security to "get rid of" the protesters; Trump said in his own deposition that he didn't even know a protest was going on until the next day. His security guards have said in depositions that they were responding to aggression by the protesters.What's next: Trial is set for jury selection on September 6 in NY Supreme Court in the Bronx.Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is pictured in New York in 2020.Seth Wenig/APE. Jean Carroll v. TrumpThe Parties: Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for defamation in federal court in Manhattan in June 2019.The Issues: Carroll's lawsuit alleges Trump defamed her after she publicly accused him of raping her in a Bergdorf-Goodman dressing room in Manhattan in the mid-90s.Trump responded to Carroll's allegation by saying it was untrue and that she was "not my type." Trump also denied ever meeting Carroll, despite a photo to the contrary.What's next: Arrangements for the sharing of evidence are ongoing behind the scenes, including for the possible collection of Trump's DNA.Carroll has said she wants to compare Trump's DNA with unidentified male DNA on a dress she wore during the alleged rape. Trial is tentatively set for Feb. 6, 2023; Carroll has said she would never settle the case.Donald Trump Jr, Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump during the filming of the live final tv episode of The Celebrity Apprentice on May 16 2010 in New York City.Bill Tompkins/Getty ImagesThe 'multi-level marketing' pyramid scheme caseThe Parties: Lead plaintiff Catherine McKoy and three others sued Trump, his business, and his three eldest children, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, in 2018 in federal court in Manhattan.The Issues: Donald Trump is accused of promoting a scam multi-level marketing scheme on "The Celebrity Apprentice." The lawsuit alleges Trump pocketed $8.8 million from the scheme — but that they lost thousands of dollars. Trump's side has complained that the lawsuit is a politically motivated attack. What's Next: The parties say in court filings that they are working to meet an August 31 deadline for the completion of depositions. Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney, testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill February 27, 2019 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesMichael Cohen's 'imprisonment' caseThe Parties: Trump fixer-turned-critic Michael Cohen sued Donald Trump, former Attorney General Bill Barr, and more than a dozen federal prison officials and employees, in federal court in Manhattan in 2021.The Issues: The president's former personal attorney is seeking $20 million in damages relating to the time he spent in prison for financial crimes and lying to Congress about Trump's dealings in Congress. Cohen says in his suit that he had been moved to home confinement for three months in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic, but was then vindictively thrown into solitary confinement when he refused to stop speaking to the press and writing a tell-all book about his former boss. A judge ordered him released after 16 days.What's Next: Oral arguments on pending defense motions to dismiss are set for August 2. Singer Eddy Grant performs in concert in honor of Nelson Mandela in Hyde Park, London June 27, 2008.Andrew Winning/ReutersThe Electric Avenue copyright caseThe Parties: Eddy Grant, the composer/performer behind the 80s disco-reggae mega-hit "Electric Avenue," sued Donald Trump and his campaign in federal court in Manhattan in 2020.The Issues: Grant is seeking $300,000 compensation for copyright infringement. His suit says that Trump made unauthorized use of the 1983 dance floor staple during the 2020 campaign. About 40 seconds of the song played in the background of a Biden-bashing animation that Trump posted to his Twitter account. The animation was viewed 13 million times before being taken down a month later. Trump has countered that the animation was political satire and so exempt from copyright infringement claims. He's also said that the campaign merely reposted the animation and have no idea where it came from.What's Next: There is an August 21 deposition completion deadline for both sides. Pretrial motions are not due to be filed until October.Mary Trump speaks to Katie Phang on MSNBC on June 17, 2022.MSNBCMary Trump v. Donald TrumpThe Parties: The former president's niece sued him and his siblings in 2020 in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.The Issues: Mary Trump alleges that she was cheated out of at least $10 million in a 2001 court settlement over the estate of her late father, Fred Trump, Sr. Mary Trump alleges she only learned by helping with a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times article that she'd been defrauded by her Uncle Donald, her aunt, Maryanne Trump Barry, and the late Robert Trump, whose estate is named as a defendant.The Times' 18-month investigation "revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges," the Pulitzer Committee said in praising the piece. Lawyers for the Trumps have countered that it's far too late for Mary Trump to sue over a 2001 settlement that she had knowingly participated in.What's next: The defendants' motion to dismiss, including on statute of limitations grounds, is still pending.Lawsuits brought by Trump Donald Trump v. Mary Trump The Parties: The former president counter-sued his niece Mary Trump — and the New York Times — in 2021 in New York state Supreme Court in Dutchess County.The Issues: Mary Trump, the Times and three of its reporters  "maliciously conspired" against him, Trump alleges, by collaborating with the Times on its expose of and breaching the confidentiality of the family's 2001 settlement of the estate of Mary Trump's father, Fred Trump, Sr. What's Next: Mary Trump's motion to dismiss is pending in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, where the case has since been transferred to.Hillary Clinton.Photo by: Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesDonald Trump v. Hillary ClintonThe Parties: Trump has sued Hillary Clinton, her campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and prominent Democrats including former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in a federal court in southern Florida in March, 2022.The Issues:  Trump alleges in this unusual use of federal racketeering statutes that Clinton and her campaign staff conspired to harm his 2016 run for president by promoting a "contrived Trump-Russia link." The defendants are trying to get the massive lawsuit dismissed on statute of limitation grounds, to which Trump's side counters that the "conspiracy" wasn't fully disclosed until the 2019 report on the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation.What's Next: Trump's side is asking that a tentative May, 2023 trial date be pushed back to November of 2023.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 31st, 2022

UN, World Economic Forum Behind Global "War On Farmers": Experts

UN, World Economic Forum Behind Global 'War On Farmers': Experts Authored by Alex Neuman via The Epoch Times, The escalating regulatory attack on agricultural producers from Holland and the United States to Sri Lanka and beyond is closely tied to the United Nations’ “Agenda 2030” Sustainable Development Goals and the U.N.’s partners at the World Economic Forum (WEF), numerous experts told The Epoch Times. A sign of the World Economic Forum (WEF) is seen at the Congress centre during its annual meeting in Davos on May 23, 2022. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images) Indeed, several of the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are directly implicated in policies that are squeezing farmers, ranchers, and food supplies around the world. High-level Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members within the U.N. system helped create the SDGs and are currently helping lead the organization’s implementation of the global plan, The Epoch Times has previously documented. If left unchecked, multiple experts said, the U.N.-backed sustainability policies on agriculture and food production would lead to economic devastation, shortages of critical goods, widespread famine, and a dramatic loss of individual freedoms. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), is seen at the opening of the WEF Davos Agenda in Cologny, Switzerland, on Jan. 17, 2022. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images) Already, millions of people worldwide are facing dangerous food shortages, and officials around the world say those are set to get worse as the year goes on. There is an agenda behind it all, experts told The Epoch Times. Even private land ownership is in the crosshairs, as global food production and the world economy are transformed to meet the global sustainability goals, U.N. documents reviewed by The Epoch Times show. As explained by the U.N. on its SDG website, the goals adopted in 2015 “build on decades of work by countries and the U.N.” One of the earliest meetings defining the “sustainability” agenda was the U.N. Conference on Human Settlements known as Habitat I, which adopted the Vancouver Declaration. The agreement stated that “land cannot be treated as an ordinary asset controlled by individuals” and that private land ownership is “a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth, therefore contributes to social injustice.” “Public control of land use is therefore indispensable,” the U.N. declaration said, a prelude to the World Economic Forum’s now infamous “prediction” that by 2030, “you’ll own nothing.” Numerous U.N. agencies and officials have outlined their vision of “sustainability” since then, including calls for drastic restrictions on energy, meat consumption, travel, living space, and material prosperity. Experts interviewed by The Epoch Times say that some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful corporate leaders are working with communists in China and elsewhere in an effort to centralize control over food production and crush independent farmers and ranchers. Tractors drive by Dutch police officers standing guard as police close access to Apeldoorn on the A1 highway to block farmers from demonstrating against the Dutch government’s plans to cut nitrogen emissions, on June 29, 2022. (JEROEN JUMELET/ANP/AFP via Getty Images) According to critics of the policies, though, the goal isn’t to preserve the environment or fight climate change at all. Instead, the experts warn that the “sustainability” narrative and the other justifications are a tool to gain control over food, agriculture, and people. “The end goal of these efforts is to reduce sovereignty on both individual nations and people,” said Craig Rucker, president of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a public policy organization specializing in environmental and development issues. “The intent for those pushing this agenda is not to save the planet, as they purport, but to increase control over people,” he told The Epoch Times, adding that the goal is to centralize power at the national and even international level. UN Sustainable Development Goals—Agenda 2030  The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, often referred to as Agenda 2030, were adopted in 2015 by the organization and its member states as a guide to “transforming our world.” Hailed as a “master plan for humanity” and a global “declaration of interdependence” by top U.N. officials, the 17 goals include 169 targets involving every facet of the economy and life. “All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan,” declares the preamble to the document, repeatedly noting that “no one will be left behind.” Among other elements, the U.N. plan calls for national and international wealth redistribution in Goal 10, as well as “fundamental changes in the way that our societies produce and consume goods and services.” Overview of the session of the Human Rights Council during the speech of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet at the United Nations in Geneva on Feb. 27, 2020. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse/File Photo) Using government to transform all economic activity is a critical part of the SDGs, with Goal 12 demanding “sustainable consumption and production patterns.” Among the specific targets outlined in Goal 12 are several directly linked to agricultural policies that undermine food production. These include “sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.” Perhaps more importantly, the document demands “environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks.” As a result, people and especially farmers must “significantly reduce their release to air, water, and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.” Other SDGs that are directly tied to what critics have called the “war on farmers” include Goal 14, which addresses “marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including … nutrient pollution.” The U.N. regularly describes agriculture and food production as a threat to the ocean. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), led by former CCP Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Qu Dongyu, is helping to lead the charge. In its 2014 report “Building a Common Vision for Sustainable Food and Agriculture: Principles and Approaches,” the U.N. agency calls for drastic restrictions on the use of fertilizers, pesticides, emissions, and water in the agricultural sector. As an example of how agriculture must be reformed to be considered sustainable by the U.N., the FAO report declares that “excessive use of nitrogen fertilizer is a major cause of water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.” The Rome-based FAO didn’t respond to a request for comment. Then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) gives a speech during a three-day summit on food security at U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome on June 3, 2008. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP via Getty Images) Another of the 17 SDGs with a direct impact on agriculture and food production is Goal 2, with its calls for “sustainable agriculture” and “sustainable food production.” Goal 6, meanwhile, calls for “sustainable management of water,” which includes various targets involving agricultural water use and runoff. Because U.N. leaders see agriculture and food production as key contributors to what they call manmade climate change, Goal 13 is important, too. It calls for governments to “integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.” Goal 15, which deals with sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, also has multiple targets that affect agriculture and food production. All over the world, national and regional governments are working with U.N. agencies to implement these sustainability goals in agriculture and other sectors. For instance, responding to U.N. biodiversity agreements, the European Union has enacted various U.N.-backed biodiversity programs such as Natura 2000 and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, which have been cited by the Dutch government and others in their agricultural policies. The U.N. also boasts publicly about its role in imposing the SDGs in Sri Lanka and other nations suffering from food shortages and economic calamities linked to the very same global sustainability programs. Around the world, almost every national government says it’s incorporating the SDGs into its own laws and regulations. World Economic Forum ‘Partnership’  Alongside the U.N. are various “stakeholders” that are critical to implementing sustainable development policies through “public-private partnerships.” At the heart of that effort is the WEF, which since 2020 has been pushing a total transformation of society known as the “Great Reset.” In 2019, the WEF signed a “strategic partnership” with the U.N. to advance Agenda 2030 within the global business community. The official agreement defined “areas of cooperation to deepen institutional engagement and jointly accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Many of the key officials behind Agenda 2030, including top U.N. leaders such as current Secretary-General António Guterres—a self-proclaimed socialist—have also been working with the WEF for decades. Meanwhile, the WEF has been explicit with its goals. It recently launched a “Food Action Alliance” (FAA) that acknowledges on its website that Agenda 2030 “informs the ambition of the FAA to provide an enduring and long-term platform for multi-stakeholder action on food systems to meet the SDGs.” Alongside the U.N.’s “Food Systems Summit” in September 2021, the WEF’s FAA released a report outlining its own “leadership agenda for multi-stakeholder collaboration to transform food systems.” Among other elements, the document summarizes the FAA’s insights on “supporting transformative food system partnerships, and its value proposition beyond the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” The WEF’s public concern with transforming agriculture and the food supply goes back over a decade, at least. In partnership with various companies, the WEF released a 2010 report outlining a “new vision for agriculture” that included a “roadmap for stakeholders.” Many of the world’s largest food companies that dominate the market and own countless popular brands are involved. The WEF’s website is packed with information purporting to justify a total transformation of the food supply by “stakeholders.” “As global food systems become increasingly interconnected, effective coordination among a diverse set of stakeholders will be required,” WEF says on its “Strategic Intelligence” platform, frequently citing the FAO as its source. “The potential to craft new, systemic approaches to food systems that include a diverse array of stakeholders presents opportunities to help sustainably feed the world well into the future.” The organization’s frequent references to “stakeholders” refers to governments, companies, and so-called nongovernmental organizations that are often funded by those same companies and governments. They are all working together on the issue. For instance, the WEF boasts that it has brought corporate giants such as Coca-Cola and Unilever into the fold toward promoting a “more sustainable future.” The Rockefeller Foundation, which recently released a report on how to “Reset the Table” and “Transform the U.S. Food System,” is also a key player. The WEF’s “Food Innovation Hubs” around the world are set to be a major part of this global transformation. Speaking to the World Economic Forum on “transforming food systems and land use” at last year’s Davos Agenda Week, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that the Netherlands would host the “Global Coordinating Secretariat of the World Economic Food Innovation Hubs.” The secretariat, he said, “will connect all other Food Innovation Hubs” in order to facilitate creating “the partnerships we need.” Neither the WEF nor the Rockefeller Foundation responded to requests for comment on their role in Agenda 2030 and on the agricultural policies being pursued around the world. Other organizations and entities involved in the push include powerful tax-exempt foundations such as the Gates Foundation, the EU-style regional governments proliferating around the world, and various groups funded by them. Squeezing Farmers—and the Food Supply  All over the globe, U.N. SDG-aligned government policies are squeezing farmers—especially smaller, independent producers unable to absorb the added costs of added regulation and control. Celebrating U.N. sustainability ideas, recently ousted Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced at the U.N. COP26 climate summit in 2021 that his government was banning chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Read more here... Tyler Durden Sat, 07/30/2022 - 07:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJul 30th, 2022

Nikolai Patrushev — a longtime Putin ally — would "almost certainly" replace Putin if he falls ill, predicts former British intelligence chief

Speculation over a possible Putin replacement has surged in recent months amid conflicting reports that the president's health could be in decline. Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with the Secretary-General of the Japanese National Security Council.Mikhail MetzelbackslashTASS via Getty Images The former head of MI6 predicted Nikolai Patrushev will replace Putin if the president falls ill. Patrushev, a top security official, is one of few people known to have Putin's ear. Richard Dearlove made the comments this week on his podcast "One Decision." A former KGB comrade of Vladimir Putin's could be next in line to take the Russian president's place in power, the former head of British intelligence predicted.Speculation over a possible Putin replacement has surged in recent months amid conflicting reports that the Russian leader's health could be in decline. Kremlin insiders have even quietly begun discussing potential successors in case Putin is forced out over the Ukrainian invasion or succumbs to a hypothetical illness, according to reports. Sir Richard Dearlove, who served as head of the UK's Secret Intelligence Service from 1999 to 2004, asserted this week that the most likely heir candidate is Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia's Security Council and a longtime Putin ally known to be one of exceedingly few officials to have the president's trust."I'm almost certain it would Patrushev," Dearlove said on a Thursday episode of the podcast "One Decision," which he co-hosts, during a discussion about the ongoing impacts of Putin's war in Ukraine, more than five months after Russian forces invaded. The former MI6 chief has previously theorized about Putin's likely longevity. In May, Dearlove on his podcast predicted that Putin will be out of power by 2023 and forced into a medical facility for long-term illness in an effort to remove the president without a coup.  The Kremlin has denied that Putin is suffering from any health issues, and Putin himself said in June that such claims were "greatly exaggerated." CIA Director William Burns this month also dispelled rumors about the state of Putin's health, saying "as far as we can tell, he's entirely too healthy." But questions remain, and Patrushev's emergence as a dependable frontman and frequent, public promoter of Russia's war in recent months has prompted questions about his personal aims and whether or not he may be seeking Putin's power for himself. A Kremlin spokesperson told The Washington Post earlier this month that Patrushev's role had not significantly changed and brushed off suggestions that the security secretary had amassed new powers. Similarly, a spokesperson for the Security Council denied to the outlet that Patrushev is seeking any advancement.Still, it seems experts consider Patrushev a man to watch. On Thursday's "One Decision" episode, both Dearlove and Louise Shelley, an expert on Russian money, predicted that, should Putin fall ill, it would be a member of the Siloviki — or high-ranking officials in top Russian institutions — that would take his place. Patrushev's role as Security Council secretary is akin to the national security adviser in the US. While Russia's oligarchs have become fodder for fascination in the wake of the war, Shelley told the podcast that Putin's replacement would be unlikely to come from such a pool."In general, the oligarchs at the moment have very little influence  on Putin," she said. "He is living in a very close circle with his close advisers." But whether Patrushev or any other replacement would last, is another question entirely, the experts said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 28th, 2022

The Jan. 6 panel is gathering evidence Trump may have broken these 5 federal laws

Five legal experts examined how the Justice Department could build a criminal case against Trump as the federal probe widens to his inner circle. Former President Donald Trump.Joe Maiorana/AP Photo The House January 6 panel is gathering evidence that Trump may have broken several federal laws. But experts say Trump could mount a strong legal defense. The committee is presenting evidence to support their claims that Trump tried to block the peaceful transfer of power. When the House select committee began its 10-month investigation into the January 6 insurrection, lawmakers set out to uncover and present evidence from the first disruption of the peaceful transfer of power in American history.Now, the committee has wrapped up its final July hearings and put its goal into sharper focus: To painstakingly show why they believe then President Donald Trump violated several federal laws in the events leading up to the insurrection and its aftermath. A federal judge ruled in March that Trump "likely" committed a felony.The committee explicitly stated that it has evidence to show that Trump and his campaign staff carried out an "illegal" and "unconstitutional" attempt to obstruct Congress' election certifying Joe Biden's victory and "engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States."It does not have the authority to prosecute — unlike the Justice Department. Recent moves suggest the DOJ investigation is reaching into Trump's inner circle. Investigators have obtained phone records belonging to key aides, including Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff. Two former top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence testified before a federal grand jury, and prosecutors have asked witnesses directly about Trump's involvement. Five legal experts told Insider about the federal laws the Justice Department could use to prosecute Trump but noted the former president may have a strong legal defense.Lawmakers on the House January 6 committee will air the inquiry's findings during a public hearing Thursday.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images'Conspiracy to defraud the government'The House select committee stated in a March 2 court filing that it has evidence that Trump and his campaign team violated one federal law by engaging in "a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States."If the Justice Department, likely via the US attorney in Washington, DC, were to charge Trump with breaking this law, federal prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the former president knowingly agreed with others to attempt to obstruct Congress's election certification process by deceit or dishonesty, said John Q. Barrett, a former associate independent counsel in the Iran-contra investigation."The challenge for prosecutors, of course, is to prove each element of the crime. And one element of these various charges is the criminal intent, the mental state, and the culpable mind of the defendant," said Barrett, a law professor at St. John's University in New York City.If federal prosecutors were to get evidence that Trump privately acknowledged to a confidant or in a written statement that he lost the election fairly, it would strengthen a case. Legal experts told Insider that the Justice Department's biggest challenge in prosecuting Trump would be dispelling the notion that he honestly believed that election fraud occurred during the 2020 presidential election, claims that officials and aides are testifying they'd told Trump were baseless and "bullshit." If the prosecutors cannot prove that there was an  "intent to defraud" beyond a reasonable doubt then their case will not hold up.The committee has tried to illustrate that Trump broke this law by playing video testimonies of former Trump advisers who told the president not to prematurely declare victory, as he did, and that there was no evidence of election fraud. The committee has not revealed any evidence that Trump may not have believed the conspiracies he was pushing.Even without that evidence, a case could rely on the concept of "willful blindness," which can be used against a defendant who tries to avoid or ignore facts that may implicate them. This approach has been suggested by former US attorney Barbara McQuade.Vice President Mike Pence certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.Scott J. Applewhite/AP'Obstructing an official proceeding'The House select committee also argued that Trump violated another law by allegedly trying to "obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding of the United States."Prosecutors could make a case that he broke this law by pressuring his then-Vice President Mike Pence to stop Congress's election certification process or for telling his followers the election was "criminal" and to march on the Capitol where the certification was about to start. Prosecutors can also use evidence of how Trump tried to pressure Georgia election officials to overturn the election results to claim that he broke this law and another Georgia state law by engaging in "criminal solicitation to commit election fraud."This is the strongest legal argument they can make against Trump compared to the other charges because they have amassed a lot of evidence, Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, told Insider. "The committee has presented a lot of evidence that Donald Trump was told that there was no election fraud, and that he lost fair and square, but he chose to reject that," he said. "And it's well established that the January 6 vote count was an official proceeding."Federal prosecutors have charged many rioters with violating this law, making it likely Trump would face this charge should he eventually be indicted, the legal experts told Insider.Since the January 6 insurrection, federal authorities have apprehended more than 800 individuals in connection to the attack on the Capitol. Of them, more than 280 have been charged with "corruptly obstructing, influencing, or impeding an official proceeding" as of June 8, according to the Justice Department. Lawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/AP'Wire Fraud'During a hearing held on June 13, the House select committee revealed that Trump's campaign raised more than $250 million from his support base and claimed that he would use the money to create a legal fund to challenge the 2020 presidential election result. The committee revealed that the fund never was made, and money was directed toward a new political action committee called "Save America." The PAC then sent the money Trump's campaign raised to several pro-Trump organizations.Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, a member of the panel, said during the third hearing that "the Big Lie was also a big rip-off."Some legal experts have hinted this evidence could be used to make a case that Trump committed the crime of wire fraud by participating in a scheme to defraud individuals of money. Under federal law, wire fraud is committed when an individual has devised or intends to devise a plan to defraud or obtain money through false or fraudulent pretenses and carries out the scheme by a telephone call or electronic communication.The Justice Department has not traditionally prosecuted campaign solicitations as wire fraud in the past, said Mariotti."The issue I would say is, it's going to be hard to find victims to come forward," Mariotti said, "because the people that have donated the money felt so strongly about Trump that they're not going to necessarily support the government prosecuting Trump."Stephen Saltzburg, a former deputy attorney general with the Justice Department and an associate independent counsel during the Iran-Contra investigation, said it could be hard for prosecutors to make a case on these grounds."I don't think we have enough information about it," Saltzburg, a law professor at George Washington University, said.Salzburg added that Trump's defense attorneys could argue that these advertisement and campaign fundraising emails did not explicitly promise his supporters that they would set up a separate account to legally challenge the 2020 elections.One attorney close to Trump told Insider that at most these emails could be evidence that leads to a campaign finance violation, rather than a federal charge. "There's a lot of other things in this world to worry about. That's not one of them," Robert Ray, a former prosecutor who defended Trump in his first Senate impeachment trial, said in an interview.Under campaign finance laws, the Federal Election Commission, a regulatory agency that enforces campaign finance law, limits how much an individual can donate to a political campaign. But there are no limitations on donations that go to legal defense funds because it falls outside of typical campaign finance. Insider previously reported that it is unlikely for the former president to be charged with fraud even if his campaign sent misleading emails to its donors. Legal experts told Insider that there are still a lot of details that remain unknown about the Trump campaign's fundraising for the legal defense fund."You need to prove to the jury that somebody authorized solicitations that said the money was going to be spent on election contests knowing that was false," Adav Noti, vice president and legal director at the Campaign Legal Center who previously served as the Federal Election Commission's associate general counsel for policy, recently told Insider in an interview. "You need to find the individuals, it wouldn't be enough for criminal purposes to say, 'Here's what happened.'"Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.Brandon Bell/Getty Images'Witness tampering'During the latest January 6 hearing on July 12, the committee provided new evidence that Trump tried to call a January 6 witness—a action that could have consituted as witness tampering.Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who is vice chair of the committee, did not disclose the identity of the witness was but said that the person "alerted their lawyer, who alerted us." The Wyoming Republican said that the committee has referred this matter to the Justice Department.During another hearing on June 28, the House panel also offered evidence that unnamed associates of Trump may have engaged in witness tampering in an attempt to withhold truthful information that may be damaging or incriminating.The committee withheld the names of the witnesses and callers. Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, vice-chair on the committee, presented two messages that witnesses received before their testimony.Cheney read a description of a witness who recalled phone calls they received: "What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I'm on the team, I'm doing the right thing, I'm protecting who I need to protect, you know, I'll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World."—January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 28, 2022Cheney said a second witness also received a phone call before they were expected to testify. The caller told them: "[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he's thinking about you. He knows you're loyal, and you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition." Cheney's remarks on Tuesday came after the public testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who delivered damning testimony against Trump, including that the then-president had dismissed concerns that some of the protesters on Jan. 6 may be armed. Past witnesses include several prominent Republican state officials, election workers, and former Justice Department officials.If prosecutors were to charge Trump or his associates with witness tampering, they would have to prove that they attempted to threaten or intimidate a witness to "influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding."This is very hard to prove because you need to establish the intent of why someone would do this, said Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.Richman, who has tried witness tampering cases in the past, said prosecutors would need to gather evidence of who made these calls, their timing, and look at the circumstantial evidence of why they'd made them.What's more, Trump could not be charged with this crime without evidence he knew the call would be made and what the conversation would be about.Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.Jon Cherry/Getty Images'Inciting a rebellion'The House select committee is revealing more evidence on Trump's direct involvement in the January 6 insurrection. Federal prosecutors could potentially build a case that Trump incited a rebellion or insurrection against the US.Hutchinson previously testified that Trump knew his supporters at his Ellipse rally held earlier that day were armed and carrying weapons.She recalled Trump saying: "I don't effing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in."During the committee's seventh public hearing held on June 12, lawmakers presented new evidence claiming that Trump knew in advance that his supporters would march to the US Capitol building on January 6.Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland said Trump's tweet on December 19, 2020, which said: "Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 election. Big protest in DC on January 6. Be there, will be wild!" was heavily circulated among extremist groups."Here were thousands of enraged Trump followers, thoroughly convinced by the Big Lie who traveled from across the country to join Trump's wild rally to 'stop the steal,'" he said during the hearing. "With the proper incitement by political leaders, and the proper instigation from the extremists, many members of this crowd could be led to storm the Capitol, confront the vice president in Congress and try to overturn the 2020 election results."The committee also revealed more details about Michael Flynn, Trump's national security advisor, having direct ties with extremist groups.If Trump is charged with this crime, prosecutors would have to prove that Trump knew in advance that violence would occur on January 6.  The prosecutors could possibly use the testimony Hutchinson provided where she recalled a conversation that she had with former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, as evidence against Trump. During her conversation with Cipollone, he expressed concerns about the potential criminal charges they could face if Trump went to the US Capitol building with protesters on January 6.Hutchinson recalled him saying "we're going to get charges of every crime imaginable if we make that move."Prosecutors would need more testimonies from people who had conversations with Trump to prove he knew what would unfold on January 6.Former President Donald Trump speaks on May 28, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming.Chet Strange/Getty ImagesTrump's possible defenseMariotti told Insider that Trump could claim he is not guilty of attempting to obstruct or impede a US official proceeding and was just following the advice of his legal adviser John Eastman, who repeatedly pushed Pence to reject electors from some states Trump had lost to throw the election."It's hard to convince a jury that somebody who was following the lawyer's advice was acting corruptly," he said.Some legal experts have hinted that Trump could possibly plead not guilty by reason of insanity in order to avoid being prosecuted if he is charged. Former Attorney General William Barr testified to the committee that Trump had become "detached from reality," referring to Trump's belief that there was voter fraud despite his advisers telling him there wasn't. But other legal experts caution this would be extremely unlikely."I don't think it's very likely that assuming an indictment and a trial that Donald Trump would defend himself as insane or mentally deranged and thus not criminally culpable," Barrett said. "I think Trump would largely defend himself the way he has conducted himself. He would say I won. It was a steal. You know, bad things happen to prevent my inauguration."The House select committee has interviewed more than a 1,000 people, including members of Trump's family like his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. It also has issued several subpoenas and reviewed thousands of documents related to the January 6 insurrection. Legal experts told Insider that these public hearings could put more pressure on the Justice Department to decide whether to indict Trump. The Justice Department is closely monitoring the public hearings. Shannon Wu, a former federal prosecutor in Washington DC, told Insider that there are most likely concerns within the Justice Department that possibly charging the former president could exacerbate America's deepening political tensions."I think he's really worried that such an explosive, unprecedented case might open the DOJ to charges of being political," Wu said.But Wu added that not charging the former president could have far worse consequences. "If you don't try to hold Trump accountable," Wu added, "then you're really endangering the whole foundation of the country and the justice system." Brent D. Griffiths and Dave Levinthal contributed to this report. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 27th, 2022

Steve Bannon"s rise and fall: How the former Trump adviser went from the White House to the Big House

Steve Bannon, once called the most powerful person in Trump's White House, was convicted of contempt of Congress. His sentencing is set for October. Steve Bannon argued in April that his criminal prosecution should be dismissed.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Steve Bannon, once considered the most powerful man in Trump's White House, was convicted Friday. Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress after refusing to comply with the January 6 panel. After the conviction, the former Trump adviser said he was willing to go to prison for Trump. Steve Bannon was convicted Friday of contempt of Congress — marking a dramatic turn for the media executive turned political strategist who was once considered one of the most powerful people in former President Donald Trump's White House.The conviction was related Bannon's refusal to comply with the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. A jury found him guilty on two counts, each of which carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. His sentencing is set for October 21.As he left the courtroom Friday, Bannon said he had lost the "battle" but not the "war," vowing to appeal the conviction. Speaking later on Fox News, he also warned the January 6 committee that "there's going to be a real committee, and this is going to be backed by Republican grassroots voters."Here's how Bannon went from Trump's oval office to facing jail time.Bannon served seven years in the NavyFormer Trump advisor Steve Bannon.JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty ImagesBannon, 68, grew up in Virginia served in the Navy for seven years, including as an officer, in the late '70s and '80s. He was deployed to sea twice and spent a few years working at the Pentagon, an experience that would later be cited when he was tapped for Trump's White House. Bannon would say his experiences in the Navy significantly informed his politics and foreign policy views.Before working for Trump, Bannon was best known for his work with Breitbart NewsBreitbart News Daily host Stephen Bannon live on air at SiriusXM Broadcasts' New Hampshire Primary Coverage Live on February 8, 2016.Paul Marotta/Getty Images for SiriusXMAfter his military service, Bannon worked in a number of roles, including as an investment banker and an executive producer in the film and media industry.But Bannon was best known for his work with Breitbart News, the far-right media website founded by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart in 2007. Bannon was a founding member of the board and served as executive chariman. He became the de facto face of Breitbart when its founder died in 2012. In 2016, Bannon declared the site "the platform for the alt-right.""We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly 'anti-' the permanent political class," Bannon told The Washington Post in January 2016.Bannon joined Trump's 2016 campaign two months before the electionSteve Bannon, campaign CEO for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, looks on during a national security meeting with advisors at Trump Tower, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in New York.Evan Vucci/Associated PressBannon stepped down from his role at Breitbart to join Trump's campaign as its chief executive in August 2016, two months before the election.The appointment of Bannon was notable as Breitbart was well known for its nationalist views, conspiratorial bent, and attacks on the Republican party establishment — points that would become hallmarks of Trump's politics.The decision also suggested Trump was uninterested in distancing himself from the controversial, racially-charged comments he made during his campaign that mainstream Republicans had hoped he would reel in.Trump appointed Bannon as his chief strategist and senior counselIn this Jan. 23, 2017 file photo, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, right, and others, watch as President Donald Trump signs an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.Evan Vucci, File/Associated PressDays after Trump won the election in 2016, he announced he was appointing Bannon to serve as his chief strategist and special counselor. A statement issued by the president-elect said Bannon and Trump's Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, would be "equal partners."The appointment of Bannon prompted criticism, including from some Republicans and strategists who worried about the alt-right figure's connection to white nationalists, who had embraced him."I want to thank President-elect Trump for the opportunity to work with Reince in driving the agenda of the Trump Administration," Bannon said in a statement after his appointment. "We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda."Bannon gained a reputation as the most powerful man in Trump's White House"War Room" podcast host and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon.DOMINICK REUTER/AFP via Getty ImagesAfter Trump took office in January 2017, Bannon quickly gained a reputation as one of the most powerful people in the White House, as demonstrated in a Time Magazine cover story about him that ran the following month titled "The Great Manipulator."Time cited early actions taken by Trump that appeared to satisfy some of Bannon's top priorities, like abruptly shutting down the US refugee program for 120 days and banning travelers from Muslim-majority countries.Bannon was ousted from White House after a turbulent seven monthsCharlie Rose talks to Stephen K. Bannon in his first extended interview since leaving his job as chief strategist in the Trump White House on August 18, 2017.CBS via Getty ImagesIn August 2017, seven months after Trump took office, Bannon's time in the White House ran out. He was one of several officials ousted in the fallout of Trump saying "both sides" were to blame at the Charlottesville, Virginia, Unite the Right rally during which a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer.The New York Times reported issues between Trump and Bannon had sprung up well before then, with the president thinking his chief strategist was taking too much credit for the administration's work and possibly leaking to the press.Bannon returned to Breitbart but left shortly after amid his spat with TrumpSteve Bannon, former White House chief strategist and chairman of Breitbart News, attends a discussion on countering violent extremism, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, October 23, 2017 in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesWithin days of leaving the White House in August 2017, Bannon was back at Breitbart. But in January 2018, he again stepped down after negative comments he made about Trump resulted in tension between him and other conservatives.After Bannon was quoted in a book criticizing Trump and his adult children, Trump blasted Bannon, saying he had "very little to do with our historic victory" in 2016 and that Bannon had "lost his mind" when he was fired from the White House.Bannon was indicted on federal fraud charges in 2020 but was later pardoned by TrumpPresident Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon speaks with reporters after pleading not guilty to charges that he ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme to build a southern border wall, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in New York.Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Associated PressBannon was charged in August 2020 with defrauding donors in an online fundraising effort called "We Build the Wall."Bannon and three others were charged in the plot, which prosecutors said intended to defraud donors out of $25 million that they claimed would be used on Trump's border wall. Bannon has denied the charges.However, in his last days in office Trump pardoned Bannon, granting him clemency from the money laundering and fraud charges. Despite their prior falling out, the two went on to make positive comments about each other. In fall 2021, Bannon refused to comply with the January 6 committee and was indicted on contempt of CongressFormer White House strategist Steve Bannon speaks with reporters after departing federal court on Nov. 15, 2021, in Washington.Alex Brandon, File/Associated PressIn September 2021, the House committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas for a number of people close to Trump, including Bannon.The following month, Bannon's lawyer sent a letter to the committee saying Bannon would not comply and that he didn't need to because of Trump's right to executive privilege.In November, a federal grand jury indicted Bannon on contempt of Congress for refusing to appear for a deposition and failure to produce documents for the January 6 committee.Bannon was found guilty on two counts of contempt of CongressSteve Bannon accompanied by his attorneys speaks with the media as he departs the federal court after a jury found him guilty of contempt of Congress in Washington, Friday, July 22, 2022.Jose Luis Magana/Associated PressOn Friday, Bannon was found guilty of two contempt of Congress charges after his attempts to delay the trial were denied."Mr. Bannon had an obligation to appear before the House Select Committee to give testimony and provide documents," Matt Graves, the Biden-appointed US attorney in Washington, DC, said, hailing the verdict. "His refusal to do so was deliberate and now a jury has found that he must pay the consequences."Bannon, whose sentencing is set for October, has vowed to appeal the decision.After the verdict, he said he was willing to go to prison if it meant standing by Trump and refusing to comply with the committee."I support Trump and the Constitution and if they want to put me in jail for that, so be it," Bannon said on Fox News.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 24th, 2022