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Singapore Starts Fraud Investigation In to Crypto Exchange Hodlnaut

The police are reportedly looking into allegations of cheating and fraud by the company and its directors......»»

Category: forexSource: coindeskNov 24th, 2022

US Prosecutors Opened Probe Of FTX Months Before Collapse

US Prosecutors Opened Probe Of FTX Months Before Collapse For all those wondering how it is possible that nobody, not a single regulator acted out on the countless red warning signs (with even CME CEO Terry Duffy issuing an explicit warning to Congress that SBF was a fraud months ago) amid the fawning and fellating media and the countless bribed politicians, we may have an answer: according to Bloomberg, long before Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX cryptocurrency empire imploded, "it already was on the radar of federal prosecutors in Manhattan." According to Bloomberg sources "familiar with the investigation", the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, led by Damian Williams, spent several months working on a sweeping examination of crypto currency platforms with US and offshore arms and had started poking into FTX’s massive exchange operations. The focus of the probe was on compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act which requires financial institutions take steps to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing, and which has been used by authorities to go after crypto platforms that allegedly falsely claimed that they don’t serve US customers. The Bahamas-based FTX, which operated one of the world’s largest international crypto exchanges as well as a separate and much more limited venue called FTX US that said it complies with the act. Now just because the NYSD AG was probing FTX doesn't mean they actually found anything - after all, as we all know, the "effective altruist" and generous Democratic donor that is SBF was protected by powerful political interests - and as BBG adds, it’s unclear whether prosecutors in Manhattan reached any conclusion in their probe before FTX collapsed. That put the federal investigation into a new trajectory, the people said. If only the Attorney's Office - headed since October 2021 by Democrat Damian Williams - had done its job better and faster, much of the ensuing fallout may have been contained. Some more details on this particular toothless office: Long known for its prowess in tackling complex financial crimes, the US attorney’s office in Manhattan has handled the lion’s share of the government’s crypto cases since digital assets came into vogue a decade ago. That includes a half-dozen in the year through October, roughly double the number brought by other Justice Department offices in that period, an analysis of federal dockets shows. The office benefits from longstanding working relationships between its prosecutors and FBI and SEC investigators, as well as its location in the nation’s largest financial hub. Funds passing through Wall Street, or an email exchange with one of the city’s many firms, can help give prosecutors there an edge in claiming jurisdiction. Prosecutors and regulators including the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission are now seeking help from new FTX Chief Executive Officer John J. Ray III, who took over as part of its bankruptcy proceeding and is navigating what he described as “a complete absence of trustworthy financial information.” As we reported last week, Ray told the bankruptcy court in a filing that his team had found loans of more than $1 billion made by Alameda to Bankman-Fried and other executives. The filing also alleged software was used to conceal the use of customer funds. Whether any such conduct broke laws will be left to prosecutors. So far, they haven’t accused anyone of wrongdoing. While Southern District prosecutors did exactly nothing to contain the FTX fraud enabled by both the fawning media and bribed politicians, that's not to say they have never acted: according to Bloomberg, they previously invoked the Bank Secrecy Act in 2020 against senior employees at the Seychelles-based crypto platform BitMEX, which allegedly allowed more than $209 million of transactions with known dark-net markets. BitMEX argued it didn’t need anti-money laundering or know-your-customer policies in part because it didn’t have US customers and wasn’t registered in the US. But clients circumvented the platform’s attempts to block IP addresses in the US, according to a government sentencing memo filed in federal court. As attention now turns to FTX, the loss of customer funds at the exchange means authorities will examine whether the exchange misled clients about how their assets would be held, former prosecutors said. To prove wire fraud, investigators would have to show someone at FTX did so for gain using a wire, such as a phone call, email or text. Which they did, of course. Repeatedly. Separately, the FTX bankruptcy case will aid prosecutors in figuring out what documents exist to subpoena. Investigators will also seek communications between employees, whether that’s via email, Slack, Signal or WhatsApp, as well as testimony from witnesses, said Anand Sithian, a former federal prosecutor now at Crowell & Moring. “What is going to be hard when you issue a subpoena to financial institutions it can take 30, 60, 90, days to process,” Sithian said. “Here if you send a subpoena, I don’t know that the company, FTX, would have that ready. They might need to recreate that.” Tyler Durden Mon, 11/21/2022 - 17:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 21st, 2022

The COVID/Crypto Connection: The Grim Saga Of FTX & Sam Bankman-Fried

The COVID/Crypto Connection: The Grim Saga Of FTX & Sam Bankman-Fried Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute, A series of revealing texts and tweets by Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced CEO of FTX, the once high-flying but now belly-up crypto exchange, had the following to say about his image as a do-gooder: it is a “dumb game we woke westerners play where we say all the right shibboleths and so everyone likes us.”  Very interesting. He had the whole game going: a vegan worried about climate change, supports every manner of justice (racial, social, environmental) except that which is coming for him, and shells out millions to worthy charities associated with the left. He also bought plenty of access and protection in D.C., enough to make his shady company the toast of the town.  As part of the mix, there is this thing called pandemic planning. We should know what that is by now: it means you can’t be in charge of your life because there are bad viruses out there. As bizarre as it seems, and for reasons that are still not entirely clear, favoring lockdowns, masks, and vaccine passports became part of the woke ideological stew.  This is particularly strange because covid restrictions have been proven, over and over, to harm all the groups about whom woke ideology claims to care so deeply. That includes even animal rights: who can forget the Danish mink slaughter of 2020? Regardless, it’s just true. Masking became a symbol of being a good person, same as vaccinating, veganism, and flying into fits at the drop of a hat over climate change. None of this has much if anything to do with science or reality. It’s all tribal symbolism in the name of group political solidarity. And FTX was pretty good at it, throwing around hundreds of millions to prove the company’s loyalty to all the right causes.  Among them included the pandemic-planning racket. That’s right: there were deep connections between FTX and Covid that have been cultivated for two years. Let’s have a look.  Earlier this year, the New York Times trumpeted a study that showed no benefit at all to the use of Ivermectin. It was supposed to be definitive. The study was funded by FTX. Why? Why was a crypto exchange so interested in the debunking of repurposed drugs in order to drive governments and people into the use of patented pharmaceuticals, even those like Ramdesivir that didn’t actually work? Inquiring minds would like to know.  Regardless, the study and especially the conclusions turned out to be bogus. David Henderson and Charles Hooper further point out an interesting fact: “Some of the researchers involved in the TOGETHER trial had performed paid services for Pfizer, Merck, Regeneron, and AstraZeneca, all companies involved in developing COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines that nominally compete with ivermectin.” For some reason, SBF just knew that he was supposed to oppose repurposed drugs, though he knew nothing about the subject at all. He was glad to fund a poor study to make it true and the New York Times played its assigned role in the whole performance.  It was just the start. A soft-peddling Washington Post investigation found that Sam and his brother Gabe, who ran a hastily founded Covid nonprofit, “have spent at least $70 million since October 2021 on research projects, campaign donations and other initiatives intended to improve biosecurity and prevent the next pandemic.” I can do no better than to quote the Washington Post: The shock waves from FTX’s free fall have rippled across the public health world, where numerous leaders in pandemic-preparedness had received funds from FTX funders or were seeking donations. In other words, the “public health world” wanted more chances to say: “Give me money so I can keep advocating to lock more people down!” Alas, the collapse of the exchange, which reportedly holds a mere 0.001% of the assets it once claimed to have, makes that impossible.  Among the organizations most affected is Guarding Against Pandemics, the advocacy group headed by Gabe that took out millions in ads to back the Biden administration’s push for $30 billion in funding. As Influence Watch notes: “Guarding Against Pandemics is a left-leaning advocacy group created in 2020 to support legislation that increases government investment in pandemic prevention plans.” Truly it gets worse: FTX-backed projects ranged from $12 million to champion a California ballot initiative to strengthen public health programs and detect emerging virus threats (amid lackluster support, the measure was punted to 2024), to investing more than $11 million on the unsuccessful congressional primary campaign of an Oregon biosecurity expert, and even a $150,000 grant to help Moncef Slaoui, scientific adviser for the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine accelerator, write his memoir. Leaders of the FTX Future Fund, a spinoff foundation that committed more than $25 million to preventing bio-risks, resigned in an open letter last Thursday, acknowledging that some donations from the organization are on hold. And worse: The FTX Future Fund’s commitments included $10 million to HelixNano, a biotech start-up seeking to develop a next-generation coronavirus vaccine; $250,000 to a University of Ottawa scientist researching how to eradicate viruses from plastic surfaces; and $175,000 to support a recent law school graduate’s job at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “Overall, the Future Fund was a force for good,” said Tom Inglesby, who leads the Johns Hopkins center, lamenting the fund’s collapse. “The work they were doing was really trying to get people to think long-term … to build pandemic preparedness, to diminish the risks of biological threats.” More: Guarding Against Pandemics spent more than $1 million on lobbying Capitol Hill and the White House over the past year, hired at least 26 lobbyists to advocate for a still-pending bipartisan pandemic plan in Congress and other issues, and ran advertisements backing legislation that included pandemic-preparedness funding. Protect Our Future, a political action committee backed by the Bankman-Fried brothers, spent about $28 million this congressional cycle on Democratic candidates “who will be champions for pandemic prevention,” according to the group’s webpage. I think you get the idea. This is all a racket. FTX, founded in 2019 following Biden’s announcement of his bid for the presidency, by the son of the co-founder of a major Democrat Party political action committee called Mind the Gap, was nothing but a magic-bean Ponzi scheme. It seized on the lockdowns for political, media, and academic cover. Its economic rationale was as nonexistent as its books. The first auditor to have a look has written:  “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here. From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented.” It was the worst example of a phony perpetual-motion machine: a token to back a company that itself was backed by the token, which in turn was backed by nothing but political fashion and woke ideology that roped in Larry David, Tom Brady,  Katy Perry, Tony Blair, and Bill Clinton to provide a cloak of legitimacy.  Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, and Sam Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas April 2022 And you can’t make this stuff up anymore: FTX had a close relationship with the World Economic Forum and was the favored crypto exchange of the Ukrainian government. It looks for all the world like the money-laundering operation of the Democratic National Committee and the entire lockdown lobby.  I will tell you what infuriates me about these billions in fake money and deep corruptions of politics and science. For years now, my anti-lockdown friends have been hounded for being funded by supposed dark money that simply doesn’t exist. Many brave scientists, journalists, attorneys, and others gave up great careers to stand for principle, exposing the damage caused by the lockdowns, and this is how they have been treated: smeared and displaced.  Brownstone has adopted as many in this diaspora as possible for fellowships as far as the resources (real ones, contributed by caring individuals) can go. But we cannot come anywhere near what is necessary for justice, much less complete with the 8-digit funding regime of the other side.  The Great Barrington Declaration was signed at the offices of the American Institute for Economic Research, which, apparently, six years prior had received a long-spent $60,000 grant from the Koch Foundation, and thus became a “Koch-funded libertarian think tank” which supposedly discredited the GBD, even though none of the authors received a dime.  This gibberish and slander has gone on for years – at the urging of government officials! – and Brownstone itself faces much of the same nonsense, with every manner of fantasy about our supposed power, money, and influence swarming the darker realms of the social-media dudgeons. In fact, the actual Koch Foundation (probably unbeknownst to its founder) was funding the pro-lockdown work of Neil Ferguson, whose ridiculous modeling terrified the world into denying human rights to billions of people the world over.  All this time – while every type of vicious propaganda was unleashed on the world – the pro-lockdown and pro-mandate lobby, including fake scientists and fake studies, were benefiting from millions and billions thrown around by operators of a Ponzi scheme based on cheating, fraud, and $15 billion in leveraged funds that didn’t exist while its principle actors were languishing in a drug-infested $40 million villa in the Bahamas even as they preened about the virtues of “effective altruism” and their pandemic-planning machinery that has now fallen apart.  Then the New York Times, instead of decrying this criminal conspiracy for what it is, writes puff pieces on the founder and how he let his quick-growing company grow too far, too fast, and now needs mainly rest, bless his heart.  The rest of us are left with the bill for this obvious scam that implausibly links crypto and Covid. But just as the money was based on nothing but puffed air, the damage they have wrought on the world is all too real: a lost generation of kids, declined lifespans, millions missing from the workforce, a calamitous fall in public health, millions of kids in poverty due to supply-chain breakages, 19 straight months of falling real incomes, historically high increases in debt, and a dramatic fall in human morale the world over.  So yes, we should all be furious and demand full accountability at the very least. Whatever the final truth, it is likely to be far worse than even the egregious facts listed above. It’s bad enough that lockdowns wrecked life and liberty. To discover that vast support for them was funded by fraud and fakery is a deeper level of corruption that not even the most cynical among us could have imagined.  Tyler Durden Fri, 11/18/2022 - 19:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 18th, 2022

Bankman-Fried Secretly Cashed Out $300 Million During FTX Funding Spree

Bankman-Fried Secretly Cashed Out $300 Million During FTX Funding Spree One can read SBF's latest, excruciatingly grating and self-serving twitter thread in 32 parts... 32) Anyway -- none of that matters now. What matters is doing the best I can. And doing everything I can for FTX's customers. — SBF (@SBF_FTX) November 16, 2022 ... which is heavy in self-pity and material, self-incriminating evidence that will be used by the prosecution, which even the FTX liquidator tried urgently to distance the now bankrupt company from... .... but sadly light on how SBF commingled and swindled billions in client funds, a question over a million FTX "creditors" demand an answer to immediately if only to get closure on how they all got "Ccompletely orzined" (speaking of other popular democrats). And while we wait for more information from the FTX liquidator on how the 30-year-old Democrat who "got Biden elected"... Source: Vox: "An interview with Sam Bankman-Fried, who uses math for ... everything" ... pilfered and pillaged the company with an $8 billion shortfall, moments ago the WSJ disclosed another nefarious, self-enriching scheme by the Bahamas-based sociopath.  According to the Journal, besides commingling and stealing client funds, Sam Bankrupt-Fraud also lied to investors that FTX was holding a primary stock offering when it was really conducting a secondary. When FTX raised $420 million from an array of big-name investors in October last year right around the peak of the crypto bubble, at an FTX valuation of $25 billion, the cryptocurrency exchange said the money would help grow the business, improve user experience and allow it to engage more with regulators. In other words, a pure primary offering. But as the Journal reports, what was left unmentioned was that nearly three-quarters of the money, $300 million, went instead to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who sold some of his personal stake in the company, according to FTX financial records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. In other words, what was repped & warranted as a primary offering was really most a secondary. Which of course is completely criminal but in SBF's case it just means "get in line." SBF's sale of stock in October 2021 came in the midst of a six-month fundraising blitz that ultimately brought in roughly $2 billion from investors including Sequoia Capital, funds managed by BlackRock and the Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek. The October 2021 fundraising valued the company at $25 billion. In a press release, Bankman-Fried said he was happy “to partner with investors that prioritize positioning FTX as the world’s most transparent and compliant cryptocurrency exchange." Of course, it ended being everything but. The amount raised contained numerical references to marijuana and oral sex: $420.69 million raised from 69 investors. An article published by one of FTX’s investors, Sequoia, called that fundraising a “meme round,” referring to the embedded jokes. Three months earlier, in July 2021, Bankman-Fried bought out the roughly 15% stake owned by Binance, FTX’s first outside investor. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted this month that the amount totaled $2.1 billion, paid in a combination of FTT, FTX’s in-house crypto currency, and BUSD, Binance’s stablecoin, whose value is pegged to the U.S. dollar. After the July 2021 sale, the FTX shares Binance previously owned ended up in Paper Bird Inc., according to FTX documents. Paper Bird is an entity 100% owned by Mr. Bankman-Fried, according to documents on FTX filed with Miami-Dade County, in Florida. Which means that in addition to the direct $300 million cash out, SBF also siphoned off $3.3 billion in "related party receivables" - as we noted yesterday, we already knew that $1 billion went directly to Bankman-Fried. We can now add the $2.3 billion to Paper Bird as part of SBF's total, bringing the total to $3.6 billion that we know of so far. As the WSJ adds, Bankman-Fried’s equity sale fraud, er, cashout was large by startup-world standards, where such sales historically were taboo because they allow founders to reap profits before investors. Bankman-Fried told investors at the time it was a partial reimbursement of money he spent to buy out rival Binance’s stake in FTX a few months earlier, according to some of the people familiar with the transaction. Additionally, the deal offers an explanation for the extremely complicated FTX org chart, whose purposes was to obfuscate fund flows... ... and to enable the transfer of money between Bankman-Fried and multiple entities he controlled while his crypto business flourished, a funding stream that helped finance a burst of Democratic political donations, "philanthropic" commitments and a large purchase of Robinhood Markets stock in the past year, all in hopes of masking the epic fraud taking place behind the scenes and greenwashing his political influence which SBF took to mean a perpetual get out of jail card signed by the democrats in return for his "generosity" with stolen funds. Of course, that swirl is now under scrutiny in the massive $10-$50BN bankruptcy of FTX and Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried’s crypto hedge fund. FTX, which lent customer funds to Alameda, faces a funding gap of roughly $8 billion, Alameda and FTX executives have said. John Ray, FTX’s new chief executive installed to oversee the bankruptcy, said in a court filing Thursday the process would involve the “comprehensive, transparent and deliberate investigation into claims against Mr. Samuel Bankman-Fried” and other cofounders of the entities. The filing highlighted numerous failings, including “the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals.” Tyler Durden Fri, 11/18/2022 - 15:46.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 18th, 2022

Manhattan US Attorney Office Probing FTX Collapse

Manhattan US Attorney Office Probing FTX Collapse With Bahamanian regulators and local police investigating SBF - who last night was so drunk and/or high he tried tweeting and failed miserably... 2) H — SBF (@SBF_FTX) November 14, 2022 ... for "criminal misconduct", the democrat-controlled US judicial system has finally been dragged kicking and screaming into investigating the single biggest fraud in crypto history, and the second biggest Democratic donor in recent history... ... just one day after Elon Musk saying that SBF will be spared any real punishment precisely because of his generosity (with other people's money). SBF was a major Dem donor, so no investigation — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2022 According to Reuters, prosecutors with the Manhattan district of New York are now probing FTX's collapse, days after the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy protection last Friday following a rush of customer withdrawals. Reuters reported last week that at least $1 billion of customer funds have vanished from FTX, citing sources; others have said the number is much bigger, with FTX holding less than $1 billion in liquid assets vs $9 billion in liabilities. Of course, the prosecution's case here is a slam dunk: all that is needed is for the DA to find a recording of the video conference that took place last Wednesday in which 27-year-old Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison (also known as @carolinecapital) said that she, Bankman-Fried and two other FTX executives, Nishad Singh and Gary Wang, were aware of the decision to send customer funds to Alameda. That should be all the vidence of criminal commingling the jury needs to send FTX's entire senior management team to prison for a long time. But of course, if Elon is right and if the prosecution instead focuses on them being Democrat Donors first and foremost, then SBF will be living a cozy life in some non-extradition country (UAE, Maldives) until the next crypto bubble helps everyone forget what happened. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/14/2022 - 10:41.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 14th, 2022

Bankman-Fried Faces SEC Probe, FTX Assets Frozen By Bahamas Regulator

Bankman-Fried Faces SEC Probe, FTX Assets Frozen By Bahamas Regulator Update (1945ET): Things just went to '11' for the Dem darling crypto billionaire as Bloomberg reports that, according to a person familiar with the matter, Sam Bankman-Fried is being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for potential violations of securities rules as the regulator deepens its probe into his crumbling FTX crypto empire. The SEC is scrutinizing Bankman-Fried’s involvement in recent moves that helped push FTX into a liquidity crisis, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing the confidential inquiry. FTX, the American platform FTX US, and Bankman-Fried’s trading house Alameda Research are already under investigation by the SEC, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday. The Justice Department is also looking into the situation. *  *  * The Bahamas Securities Commission has frozen the assets of FTX Digital Markets “and related parties" and has appointed a provisional liquidator as the Bahamas securities regulator seeks to place the beleaguered crypto exchange into receivership, i.e. bankruptcy, the agency said in a statement issued late on Thursday. The lockdown comes just hours after Sam Bankman-Fried said that he is closing his affiliated trading house at the center of the FTX scandal, Alameda Research, and after FTX said it may halt trading in FTX US, the remote US-based platform which has so far avoided scrutiny. An asset freeze was “the prudent course of action” to preserve assets and stabilize the company, the agency said. “The commission is aware of public statements suggesting that clients’ assets were mishandled, mismanaged and/or transferred to Alameda Research. Based on the commission’s information, any such actions would have been contrary to normal governance, without client consent and potentially unlawful" it warned Meanwhile, while unconfirmed but certainly not unlikely, a rumor emerged on Twitter also late on Thursday that SBF had been arrested on the tarmac at the Bahamas airport. I have no way of confirming this. Also, perhaps he went on his own volition. Also, perhaps not true. — Kevin Abosch (@kevinabosch) November 10, 2022 The Bahamas crackdown comes as Japan’s government also ordered FTX.com’s local subsidiary to suspend some operations, saying it has no structure in place to properly offer cryptocurrency exchange services to users. And while authorities finally crackdown on the biggest crypto fraud in history, who may or may not have been arrested, investors are starting to count their money, or rather lack thereof. Take the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which said it had "invested" $95 million in Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX International and FTX.US since October 2021. Pension plan initially invested $75 million in two FTX entities Oct. 2021 and made a follow-on investment of $20 million in January in FTX.US The fund wanted to gain small-scale exposure to an emerging area in the financial technology sector, it says in a statement “Naturally, not all of the investments in this early-stage asset class perform to expectations.” The pension fund, realizing that the money is gone... all gone, was quick to add that any financial loss on this investment will have limited impact on the fund. FTX investment represents less than 0.05% of fund’s net assets. Late on Thursday we also learned that the FTX-linked loss at Genesis Trading, an institutional crypto market maker, was nearly double, or $175 million "in locked funds" in its FTX account. As part of our goal in providing transparency around this week’s market events, the Genesis derivatives business currently has ~$175M in locked funds in our FTX trading account. This does not impact our market-making activities. — Genesis (@GenesisTrading) November 10, 2022 And speaking of "gone... all gone", it is ordinary retail investors who poured their life savings into crypto, for whom the stunning demise of FTX.com is a worst-case scenario. “I’m done and I think a lot of retail traders are done,” said Christ Keuchkerian, a 36-year-old FTX.com customer in Quebec who works in IT and hadn’t been able to withdraw his funds as of Thursday. “I don't think at this point I want to put any more money into this.” Keuchkerian first started using FTX about a year ago, investing approximately C$4,500 ($3,360) in tokens like Bitcoin and Ether. He considered the platform “too big to fail.” When he heard the Binance deal fell apart, his heart started palpitating. “If I’ve learned anything, it’s that centralized exchanges are dead,” he said. “The philosophy behind this movement was great, but the execution has been horrible. The people running the exchanges have been horrible.” It’s not just FTX customers who may be hurt by Bankman-Fried’s downfall. The billionaire agreed to bail out Voyager in a $1.4 billion deal in September, as part of his distressed crypto buying spree, but the transaction still hasn’t closed. Voyager declined to comment on the status of the deal on Thursday. John Gould, a 45-year-old software developer in Birmingham, Alabama, had about $2,000 in his Voyager account, mostly in altcoins, when the platform froze withdrawals. When FTX first announced it would acquire Voyager’s assets, he was optimistic he would be able to cash out, but he doesn’t think that will happen now. “This is a like domino effect,” he said. “It’s definitely shaken my faith in exchanges.” As Bloomberg adds, some retail traders who plan to keep investing in crypto say they no longer trust the exchanges and are moving their tokens to offline wallets. Considering that this is precisely what this website and other exchange skeptics have been saying for years is the only proper protocol, one can only say better late than never. If only it didn't take massive losses to make people realize just what's at stake. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/10/2022 - 18:27.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 10th, 2022

Trials, pardons, prison time: How Trump"s legal woes could play out and what it means for 2024

Now that we know Trump is the target of an active criminal investigation, what comes next, and how might this end for the former president? Former President Donald Trump.Scott Olson/Getty Images The FBI waded into uncharted waters when it executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. Trump is the target of an active criminal probe. What comes next, and how might it end for him? The inquiry could wrap without charges, Trump could cut a deal to avoid indictment, or he could end up behind bars — but still be able to run in 2024. The FBI waded into uncharted territory when it executed a search warrant last week at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club and personal residence in Palm Beach, Florida.According to the unsealed warrant and an accompanying FBI manifest of items seized, the feds recovered 20 boxes from Mar-a-Lago and at least 11 sets of classified documents, including some that were marked top-secret. The warrant also indicated that the Justice Department is investigating if Trump violated three federal laws, including the Espionage Act, related to the handling of national security information.The raid — and its continued fallout — sparked a national firestorm as the public grappled with the reality that there is an active criminal investigation into the former president of the United States.It also opened up a slew of questions given the unprecedented nature of the probe. Chief among them: what happens next, and how might this end for Trump?Here are some potential scenarios:The investigation concludes with no charges filedIn the US's 250-year history, no ex-commander-in-chief has ever faced criminal charges. And while the FBI's raid indicates that its investigation has entered an aggressive phase, the inquiry could very well wrap without an indictment against the former president. For a somewhat similar example of this option playing out (albeit not involving a former president), look to Trump's ex-personal defense attorney Rudy Giuliani. The FBI raided Giuliani's home and office last year and seized more than a dozen of his electronic devices as part of a criminal investigation into whether Giuliani broke foreign lobbying laws.Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference in Miami in July 2021.Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News ServiceBut earlier this month, the feds returned Giuliani's devices to him and The New York Times reported that he's unlikely to face criminal charges related to his work in Ukraine.Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, also cautioned against assuming that the Mar-a-Lago raid will lead to an indictment and said it's possible the Justice Department only wanted to recover the sensitive records Trump had at his Florida property."I think that's one aspect of what's going on and perhaps the dominant aspect," Richman told Insider's Camila DeChalus.In this scenario, Trump would have a clear path to running for president in 2024 — as he's repeatedly indicated he'll do — and landing in the White House again.Trump agrees not to seek public office to avoid an indictmentOn the other end of the spectrum, prosecutors could pursue criminal charges against the 45th president in connection to his handling of official government records. If they do, it could go one of several ways.One option with some historical precedent: A deal in which Trump would agree not to seek public office to avoid being indicted.In 2001, on his last day in office, then President Bill Clinton cut a deal with the Whitewater special prosecutor Robert Ray: give up his license to practice law in his home state of Arkansas for five years and the Whitewater team wouldn't pursue criminal charges against him for lying under oath about his sexual relationship with the former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.Whitewater investigators also imposed a $250,000 fine on Clinton, which he paid, and the Supreme Court suspended him from arguing cases before it. The court gave Clinton 40 days to explain why he shouldn't be disbarred after the Arkansas Bar Association suspended him, but rather than face disbarment, Clinton resigned his membership on the Supreme Court bar.Monica Lewinsky worked as a White House intern under former President Bill Clinton.Getty ImagesAlthough the Justice Department's investigation into Trump's handling of government records is the most public-facing since the FBI's raid, it isn't the only ongoing federal probe connected to him. The department is also conducting a wide-ranging investigation into the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, and several former high-ranking White House officials were subpoenaed in recent weeks as at least two grand juries investigate events leading up to the attack.Prosecutors are said to be zeroing in on Trump's actions surrounding the riot and his lawyers have reportedly grown more concerned about Trump's legal exposure as the attorney general publicly emphasizes that "no person is above the law."Then there's Congress' separate investigation into January 6, which so far has highlighted five federal laws lawmakers think Trump may have broken in connection to the riot.Trump's defense lawyer, Alina Habba, recently appeared to allude to the possibility of him agreeing not to seek office again in exchange for avoiding criminal charges."I've sat across from him every time he gets frustrated and I say to him, 'Mr. President, if you would like me to resolve all your litigation, you should announce that you are not running for office, and all of this will stop,'" Habba said on Real America's Voice.Trump is indicted, convicted, and ends up behind bars — but he can still run for presidentIf Trump is charged with a crime — or crimes — but forgoes a plea deal, the case would proceed to a criminal trial. According to the FBI's search warrant, prosecutors are looking into whether Trump violated three federal laws:18 USC § 793, a key facet of the Espionage Act relating to the removal of information pertaining to the US's national defense. Conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.18 USC § 2071, which bars the concealment, removal, or mutilation generally of government records. Conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of three years and disqualification from holding public office.18 USC § 1519, which prohibits the destruction, alteration, or falsification of records. Conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.In all, the former president would be looking at potentially being incarcerated for 33 years, according to legal experts.If Trump is in prison, can he still run for president in 2024? The short answer: yes, and it's been done before.As Insider previously reported, there's nothing in the Constitution that blocks someone from mounting a presidential run if they're behind bars. The socialist candidate Eugene Debs had been convicted of treason under the Espionage Act when he ran for president in 1920. And Lyndon LaRouche, who was convicted of mail fraud in 1988 and imprisoned, ran for president in 1992.If he's convicted for violating two of the three laws mentioned above, Trump could theoretically launch a 2024 presidential campaign even if he's incarcerated. If he's convicted for violating 18 USC § 2071, however, he would be disqualified from holding office again.AP PhotoBiden grants Trump executive clemencyPresident Joe Biden could elect to grant Trump executive clemency — in the form of a pardon, commutation, amnesty, or reprieve — if Trump gets indicted, convicted, or even if he's under threat of indictment while Biden is in office. The most famous historical example of this was when President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor, Richard Nixon, after Nixon resigned from office amid the Watergate scandal.Congress dropped its impeachment investigation into Nixon following his resignation but he still faced the risk of criminal prosecution on both a state and federal level. In September 1974, Ford granted Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he may have committed while president.While the move was seen as a step towards helping the country heal in the wake of Watergate, it's also widely believed to be one of the main reasons Ford lost his own bid to serve a full term in the 1980 election against Jimmy Carter.Now, more than four decades later, legal experts suggest it's highly likely Biden would grant Trump a pardon or a commutation if he's convicted, indicted or under threat of indictment in order to avoid further inflaming political divisions in the country."My 100% is really that there is no way that a former POTUS is going to spend time in jail, or that Biden (or any normal POTUS) would allow that," Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent and a dean at Yale Law School, tweeted.Aziz Huq, a law professor at the University of Chicago, made a similar point.A narrow pardon for offenses related to the mishandling of classified information, as opposed to a blanket pardon like the one Ford granted Nixon, "might minimize damage to the rule of law, while shoring up our democratic norms," Huq wrote in Politico. "While hardly perfect, it might well be the least bad option to protect our constitutional democracy."But it's worth noting that a presidential pardon wouldn't shield Trump from possible state charges.The Fulton County district attorney's office is currently investigating if Trump and his allies violated Georgia laws in their quest to nullify Biden's election victory in the state — and some legal experts say this investigation is a bigger risk to Trump than the DOJ's. The inquiry kicked into high gear this week, when prosecutors informed Giuliani, who spearheaded Trump's legal effort to overturn the election results, that he is a target of the probe.Local prosecutors in Georgia have targeted Rudy Giuliani in their investigation into efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the state's 2020 election results.Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesGiuliani appeared before the special grand jury investigating the matter on Wednesday. If Trump himself becomes a target of the investigation and faces state criminal charges, his only hope for clemency upon conviction would be from a Georgia pardons and parole board.Trump gets indicted and acquitted following a trialIt's also possible that Trump could be criminally charged and opt not to cut a deal, and that Biden wouldn't step in with a clemency grant. If the case goes to trial, a 12-person jury would have to reach a unanimous decision in order to convict, and Trump would be off the hook if just one juror broke from the others.If he does sidestep the legal minefield he's currently in and makes it back into the White House in 2024, Trump and his allies have made clear that they intend to exact revenge on the Justice Department and the FBI.It wouldn't be the first time Trump has interfered with the department's work.He made headlines during his presidency for wondering why he couldn't have "my guys" at the "Trump Justice Department" do his bidding. He famously fired James Comey, the FBI director in charge of the investigation into the Trump campaign's links to Russia. Then he ordered the firing of the special counsel appointed to investigate Comey's firing (and only backed off when the White House counsel threatened to quit).When he lost the 2020 election, Trump tried to enlist the Justice Department to overturn Biden's victory and attempted to oust the acting attorney general before backing off when top DOJ officials threatened to resign en masse.On Wednesday, the former president took to Truth Social to post a Wall Street Journal op-ed by the pro-Trump columnist Kimberly Strassel titled, "The Payback for Mar-a-Lago Will Be Brutal.""What went around [last week] will come around hard for the Democrats when Republicans control the Justice Department and FBI," Strassel wrote, before speculating about how the rule of law will hold up "when a future Republican Justice Department starts raiding the homes of Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, James Comey and John Brennan."Michael Caputo, the former top communications aide at the Department of Health and Human Services and one of Trump's most loyal lieutenants, also alluded to what could come next if Trump is reelected."At the end of this thing the FBI is going to be four different departments spread across the federal government like seeds to the wind and probably based in Wichita," he told Insider in an interview.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 17th, 2022

Cathie Wood Dumps 1.4m Shares Of Coinbase As News Of SEC Probe Tanks The Stock

Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ:COIN) rallied on Wednesday, climbing as much as 5% right out of the gate in a major reversal from Tuesday’s plunge. Three of the funds managed by Cathie Wood‘s ARK Investment Management unloaded more than 1.4 million shares of the crypto exchange on Tuesday. The move followed the news that the company […] Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ:COIN) rallied on Wednesday, climbing as much as 5% right out of the gate in a major reversal from Tuesday’s plunge. Three of the funds managed by Cathie Wood‘s ARK Investment Management unloaded more than 1.4 million shares of the crypto exchange on Tuesday. The move followed the news that the company faces a probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Cathie Wood Unloads Coinbase Stock Wood has been bullish on cryptocurrencies and Coinbase for quite some time. ARK snapped up more than 500,000 shares in May but announced Tuesday’s sale of more than 1.4 million shares in its daily trading update sent via email on Wednesday morning. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   According to that email, ARK Innovation Exchange-Traded Fund, which trades under the ticker symbol "AARK," unloaded more than 1.1 million shares of Coinbase on Tuesday, amounting to 0.68% of its total investments. The ARK Next-Generation Internet ETF, which trades under the symbol "ARKW," sold almost 175,000 shares of the crypto exchange, amounting to 0.677 of its total investments. The ARK Fintech Innovation ETF, trading under the symbol "ARKF," sold more than 110,000 shares, amounting to 0.68 of its total investments. Coinbase Stock Tanks Coinbase stock plummeted more than 20% on Tuesday but reversed in after-hours trading, rising almost 6% after closing bell Tuesday night. Tuesday's plunge added to the stock's decline over the last 18 months and may be attributed at least in part to ARK's offloading of such a large number of shares. On its first trading day last year, Coinbase stock was trading at more than $400, but it has fallen as low as $40 at one point amid declining user transactions and news of the SEC probe. After today's reversal, Coinbase shares are trading at more than $55. Coinbase Faces SEC Probe On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the SEC was scrutinizing whether Coinbase illegally allowed its customers to trade digital assets that should have been registered as securities. Earlier this week, the crypto exchange's chief legal officer, Paul Grewal, tweeted that they are confident that their "rigorous diligence process," which the SEC itself has "already reviewed," keeps securities off their platform. The SEC investigation reportedly occurred before the alleged insider trading scheme that resulted in fraud charges being filed against a former Coinbase product manager and two other people last week. The SEC probe was also separate from those fraud accusations. However, the SEC filed its complaint against Coinbase on the same day, alleging that nine of the 25 tokens allegedly traded in the scheme were actually securities. The debate over classifying cryptocurrencies is controversial, with some declaring them to be commodities like other kinds of currencies, while others seeing them as securities. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission governs commodities, but the SEC oversees securities. However, given that the sale of speculative tokens funds many crypto projects, SEC Chair Gary Gensler has said that many of them "have the attributes of securities." Updated on Jul 27, 2022, 10:49 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJul 27th, 2022

Ex-Coinbase Manager Arrested in U.S. Crypto Insider-Trading Case

Ishan Wahi, who helped oversee listings for a Coinbase unit focused on investment products, was arrested and charged Thursday. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan brought their first ever case for insider-trading in digital coins, charging a former Coinbase Global Inc. product manager with leaking information to help his brother and a friend buy tokens just before they were listed on the exchange. The Thursday arrest of Ishan Wahi, who helped oversee listings for a Coinbase unit focused on investment products, follows a sweeping probe involving the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC also alleged Wahi violated the agency’s anti-fraud rules. “Today’s charges are a further reminder that Web3 is not a law-free zone,” Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “Our message with these charges is clear: fraud is fraud is fraud, whether it occurs on the blockchain or on Wall Street.” He added that Coinbase had cooperated with the probe. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Read More: The Man Behind Ethereum Is Worried About Crypto’s Future Coinbase lets Americans trade more than 150 tokens, including many that have been added in recent months. Because of the platform’s status as the US’s largest crypto exchange, coins can often see a rush of interest — and a surge in price — immediately after being included. Wahi tipped off his brother, Nikhil Wahi, and friend Sameer Ramini when tokens were about to be listed by the exchange, according to charges filed on Thursday in New York. Nikhil Wahi and Ramini allegedly used that information to trade dozens of tokens from at least June 2021 until April 2022 for a profit of more than $1 million, the government said. Prosecutors charged the three men with wire fraud conspiracy and wire fraud and the SEC accused them of insider trading. Andrew St. Laurent, an attorney for Ishan Wahi, 32, declined to comment. An attorney for Nikhil Wahi, 26, who was also arrested today, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Ramini, 33, remains at large, according to the US Attorney’s office. “Any illicit behavior is something we take super seriously. We have zero tolerance for it,” said Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s chief legal officer. He said Coinbase immediately conducted an investigation after learning of a potential insider trading issue and put Wahi on unpaid administrative leave. Wahi was officially fired on July 15, Grewal said. Indictment Manhattan prosecutors launched their investigation in April, after complaints surfaced on social media about unusually well-timed investments in tokens that were listed on Coinbase. The probe gained steam in mid-May, when authorities prevented Wahi from leaving the country. According to prosecutors, Coinbase arranged an interview for May 16 with Wahi in Seattle as part of its internal investigation into the suspicious trading activity. The night before, Wahi bought a one-way ticket for a flight to New Delhi scheduled to leave in 11 hours. The next day, about 35 minutes before the interview was scheduled to begin, Wahi emailed Coinbase’s director of security operations to say that he “had to fly back home” but that the meeting could be rescheduled, according to the indictment. In the 11-hour period, Wahi called and texted his brother and Ramani, sending them images of the messages he had received from Coinbase’s internal security director. Law enforcement agents showed up at the airport before Wahi could board his flight. Despite his apparent willingness to reschedule the meeting for later in the week or the following week, he brought to the airport an “extensive array of belongings, including, among other items, three large suitcases, seven electronic devices, two passports, multiple other forms of identification, hundreds of dollars in US currency” and other personal effects, according to the filing. Read More: Coinbase’s New NFT Marketplace May Solve Its Growth Problems SEC Complaint The SEC’s complaint, filed Thursday in federal court in Seattle, alleges that Ishan Wahi violated securities laws by repeatedly providing material, non-public information to his brother and friend by text and phone calls using a foreign phone. The said its case against the Wahi brothers and Ramini was its first for crypto insider trading. Nikhil Wahi and Ramani repeatedly traded on that information and recklessly or “consciously avoided knowing” that Ishan was breaching his duty of care to Coinbase in providing the information, according to the complaint. The markets regulator asked the court to order them to pay civil penalties and disgorgement of unspecified amounts. The SEC said that it was deeming nine of the digital tokens the men traded in to be “securities”– an important designation for the agency as it continues to exert its authority over the volatile digital asset market. “We are not concerned with labels, but rather the economic realities of an offering,” SEC Enforcement Director Gurbir Grewal said in a statement. “In this case, those realities affirm that a number of the crypto assets at issue were securities, and, as alleged, the defendants engaged in typical insider trading ahead of their listing on Coinbase,” he said. Coinbase had policies in place to restrict employees trading or tipping off others based on confidential information, according to the SEC. In April, Coinbase Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong said in a blog posting that the company had “received reports of people appearing to buy certain assets right before we announced they’d be listed.” Without providing specific examples, Armstrong added that there’s a chance that someone at the firm could leak information to outsiders and that it would hunt for misconduct and make referrals to authorities for possible prosecution if anything was found. Read More: ‘It Started From Nothing.’ Black NFT Artists on Inheriting the Legacy of Hip-Hop and Jazz American officials have been stepping up their oversight of an industry they say often operates in legal gray areas. Insider trading is seen as a particular problem. After years of taking a relatively cautious approach to listing tokens, Coinbase made the decision last year to significantly increase that number to take back some of the market share it had lost to competitors including rival Binance Holdings Ltd. While Coinbase wasn’t charged, the cases could lead to additional scrutiny for the platform. In a press release, the US Attorney credited the company for cooperation in the investigation. SEC Chair Gary Gensler has long argued that many cryptocurrencies fall under the regulator’s jurisdiction. He’s also said that digital-asset exchanges should register with the agency because they offer trading in those products. Coinbase and other crypto platforms haven’t done so thus far. (Updates with details on case, starting in second paragraph.).....»»

Category: topSource: timeJul 22nd, 2022

Jan. 6 live: Primetime hearing focuses on Trump"s actions during the deadly Capitol riot

The House select committee is investigating the Capitol riot and the role Donald Trump and his allies played in trying to overturn the 2020 election. 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 Thursday's hearing in the Jan. 6 probe is focusing on Trump's actions as his supporters stormed the Capitol. Two administration officials — national security adviser Matthew Pottinger and deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews — are testifying. The panel plans to keep digging through August and with more hearings to come in September. Jan. 6 panel has summertime plansJan. 6 Committee vice-chair Liz CheneySaul Loeb/AFPThe January 6 Committee leaders kicked off Thursday's hearing by outlining their plans for more summertime work as their panel continues its investigation of the 2021 insurrection at the Capitol.Rep. Bennie Thompson, the panel's chairman, said via video that there'd be more hearings in September. A few moments later, Rep. Liz Cheney, said the panel plans to spend the August recess "pursuing emerging information on multiple fronts" before turning to additional hearings."The damn has begun to break," Cheney said.   Latest hearing will focus on Trump's reaction to the Capitol riot — and his alleged inaction to stop it.Former President Donald Trump gives the keynote address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition during their annual conference on June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesThe House panel investigating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 will hold its eighth hearing on Thursday night.The hearing — scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET — will focus on Trump's actions during the deadly insurrection at the Capitol building.Committee members have argued that Trump knew of the violence and refused to take actions to prevent or stop it, despite the pleas from advisors in his inner circle.Former national security adviser Matthew Pottinger and Sarah Matthews, former deputy press secretary in the Trump administration, are expected to testify.The committee is expected to add to the public's understanding of the critical 187 minutes between when Trump stirred up a crowd of his supporters at the Ellipse to when he posted a video to Twitter asking them to "go home."READ FULL STORYRep. Kinzinger says Trump acted like an angry child during January 6 attackRepublican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois during a hearing on Capitol Hill on March 10, 2021.Ting Shen-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who is expected to play a leading role in Thursday's primetime hearing, will focus on Trump's mindset and actions as he watched his supporters assault law enforcement and desecrate the Capitol.In an interview with The Bulwark, Kinzinger said Trump "was someone who knew exactly what he was doing."Read Full StoryTrump spent most of the January 6 attack watching TV in the White House dining room: new videoFormer President Donald Trump speaks during a "Save America" rally in Anchorage, Alaska, on July 9, 2022.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesTrump spent the bulk of his time during the Capitol attack watching reports of the insurrection on TV, according to video testimony given to the January 6 House panel.Ahead of Thursday night's hearing on how Trump reacted to the storming of the Capitol, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a member of the House Select Committee, shared a video compilation of the depositions on Twitter.—Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) July 21, 2022Read Full StorySecret Service may have violated federal law by deleting messages around January 6The leaders of the January 6 hearings say the Secret Service may have violated federal law by undergoing a process that led to text messages from the time of the Capitol riot to be deleted."The procedure for preserving content prior to this purge appears to have been contrary to federal records retention requirements and may represent a possible violation of the Federal Records Act," a letter from Reps. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney said.So far, the committee had received one text message from the agency.Jan. 6 hearings are 'undoubtedly starting to take a toll' on Trump's popularity, former ambassador saysFormer White House counsel Pat Cipollone is seen on a video display during the seventh hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 12, 2022.Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty ImagesA former ambassador who served during the Trump administration says the former president's popularity is taking a hit as more revelations about Trump's actions before and during the Capitol riot come out.Attorney Randy Evans, who was ambassador to Luxembourg, said the hearings' "steadiness, the repetitiveness, has had a corrosive effect."Evans added it's "all undoubtedly starting to take a toll — how much, I don't know. But the bigger question is whether it starts to eat through the Teflon. There are some signs that maybe it has. But it's too early to say right now."Read MoreSecret Service has only submitted 1 text to the Jan. 6 committee: panel memberThe House panel investigating the Capitol riot has received just one text message from the Secret Service in response to a subpoena, Rep. Zoe Lofgren said."In their letter they gave no indication that they have secured the phones in question and done some forensic work with them. That's something we want to know," Lofgren told MSNBC on Tuesday."Obviously, this doesn't look good ... Coincidences can happen but we really need to get to the bottom of this and get a lot more information than we have currently."Read Full StoryJan. 6 panel subpoenas Secret Service for text messages as DHS watchdog accuses agents of deleting them after being askedA US Secret Service agent takes position outside the White House in November 2020.J. Scott Applewhite/AP PhotoThe House committee investigating the Capitol riot has issued a subpoena to the US Secret Service after the Department of Homeland Security inspector general accused the agency of deleting text messages after being asked.Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee's chairperson, said in a Friday letter to Secret Service director James Murray that the panel was seeking text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021.Thompson mentioned three previous requests for information, sent in January, March, and August of last year, pertaining to all communications between DHS officials and then-President Donald Trump about the Capitol riot.Read Full StoryThe Jan. 6 witness Trump tried to call is a White House support staffer, reports sayThe Jan. 6 committee witness whom former President Donald Trump is alleged to have tried to contact is a White House support staffer, reports say. At Tuesday's hearing, committee member Rep. Liz Cheney claimed that Trump sought to contact a witness who had not appeared publically, in what she characterized as a form of witness tampering. CNN first reported, citing two sources, that Trump made the call to the witness after the June 28 testimony by another witness, the former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson.According to the report, the support staffer was in a position to corroborate parts of Hutchinson's testimony, and had been providing evidence to the committee. NBC News later said it had confirmed CNN's reporting. Neither outlet named the person.Read Full StoryWatergate star witness predicts criminal charges after latest Jan. 6 testimony: 'Trump is in trouble'Former White House Counsel John Dean testifying on Capitol Hill on June 10, 2019.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesJohn Dean, a key witness in the Watergate investigation, said that former President Donald Trump and others will likely face legal repercussions from evidence presented at Tuesday's January 6 committee hearing. In an interview with CNN, Dean highlighted testimony by former members of extremist group the Oath Keepers, who were part of the mob that stormed the Capitol.Dean described them as "really classic authoritarian followers, following the leader."He argued that the testimony proves the extent to which the rioters believed they had been sent by Trump, which he said could be used by prosecutors were they to bring charges against the former president.Read Full StoryTrump 'liked the crazies' and wanted Alex Jones and Ali Alexander as Jan. 6 rally speakers despite red flags raised, former spokesperson saysKatrina Pierson, a former campaign spokesperson for Donald Trump and one of the organizers of the January 6 "Stop the Steal" rally, said Trump wanted Alex Jones and Ali Alexander to speak at the event despite the "red flags" they raised.On Tuesday, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a member of the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, played a video of Pierson's testimony to the panel in which Pierson commented on Trump's love for "crazies" like Jones and Alexander."Yes, I was talking about President Trump. He loved people who viciously defended him in public," Pierson said in her deposition.Read Full StoryPhoto shows Mark Meadows escorting Rudy Giuliani from the White House following 'UNHINGED' West Wing meeting about 2020 election resultsA photo that Cassidy Hutchinson took of Mark Meadows leading Rudy Giuliani away from the Oval Office.Courtesy of CSPANFormer Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had to escort former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani from the Oval Office following a chaotic, late-night December 2020 West Wing meeting about the election results, according to new January 6 testimony.Cassidy Hutchinson, the former Trump White House aide whose explosive testimony stunned Washington last month, shared with the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot a photo she took of Meadows leading  Giuliani away from the Oval Office following the turbulent gathering, which was the site of a face-off between Trump's legal allies and White House lawyers over efforts to promote the then-president's baseless claims of election fraud, according to testimony.The January 6 panel shared the photo alongside real-time text messages Hutchinson was sending from the meeting during its seventh live hearing on Tuesday. READ FULL STORYFormer Twitter employee feared people were going to die on January 6A former Twitter employee told the House committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol that activity on the platform raised concerns that there would be deadly violence in Washington on January 6.The former employee, whose voice was obscured in a recording played during Tuesday's hearing, testified about trying and failing to get the company to intervene as former President Donald Trump's extremist supporters used the platform to repeat his statements about the upcoming protests to the 2020 election results.On the night of January 5, the employee testified about slacking a colleague, a message to the effect of, "When people are shooting each other tomorrow, I will try and rest in the knowledge that we tried."The former employee was on a team responsible for platform and content moderation policies during 2020 and 2021.READ FULL STORYOath Keepers attorney used the 'Queer Eye' loft kitchen from Season 3 as her video background before the January 6 committeeOath Keepers attorney Kellye SoRelle.C-SPANTestifying remotely before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, the Oath Keepers' attorney and acting president used a green screen background from the Netflix show "Queer Eye."Erin Ryan, host of Crooked Media's "Hysteria" podcast, tweeted out a screenshot of the remote deposition from Oath Keepers acting president Kellye SoRelle alongside an image from the third season of the streaming series, which Ryan said she found from a reverse Google image search.READ FULL STORYRep. Liz Cheney ends hearing with bombshell: Donald Trump called a witness in the House January 6 investigationFormer President Donald Trump called a witness in the congressional inquiry into the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, Rep. Liz Cheney said Tuesday, prompting House investigators to notify the Justice Department. "After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation. A witness you have not yet seen in these hearings. That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump's call and, instead, alerted their lawyer to the call," said Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, in a bombshell revelation that concluded the House January 6 committee's seventh public hearing."Their lawyer alerted us, and this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice," she added. "Let me say one more time: We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously."READ FULL STORYThe January 6 investigators obtained a video of Roger Stone reciting the Proud Boys' 'Fraternity Creed,' the first step for initiation to the extremist groupAn image of Roger Stone is shown on a screen as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.Doug Mills/Pool via APNew details emerged at Tuesday's January 6 committee hearing on the close ties between Roger Stone and extremist groups, including that the longtime Donald Trump confidante was recorded reciting the Proud Boys' so-called "Fraternity Creed." Rep. Jamie Raskin, who co-chaired the public hearing, described reciting the creed as "the first level of initiation" into the far-right group, five members of which are scheduled to be tried on seditious conspiracy charges in December.  "Stone's ties to the Proud Boys go back many years," Raskin said. "He's even taken their so-called "Fraternity Creed," required for the first level of initiation to the group."Video then played showing Stone in a crowded outdoor setting, saying, "Hi, I'm Roger Stone. I'm a Western chauvinist, and I refuse to apologize for the creation of the modern world." READ FULL STORYTrump planned to call on his supporters to march to the Capitol on January 6, according to a draft tweetThe House committee investigating the Capitol riot on Tuesday revealed a draft tweet in which President Donald Trump called on his supporters to go to the US Capitol after his speech on January 6, 2021."I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!!" Trump wrote in the draft tweet, which is undated.Trump never sent the tweet, but its existence, along with other messages exchanged between rally organizers, offer proof that the march to the Capitol was premeditated, the January 6 committee said.Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida presented the evidence during Tuesday's hearing, and said: "The evidence confirms that this was not a spontaneous call to action, but rather it was a deliberate strategy decided upon in advance by the president."READ FULL STORYTrump's ex-campaign manger Brad Parscale said in private texts that Trump is to blame for Capitol rioter's deathIn a series of texts revealed at the 7th hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, President Donald Trump's former campaign manger Brad Parscale suggested in a message to former Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson that Trump's words led to the death of a capitol rioter.Messages show Pierson tried to push back, writing that "it wasn't the rhetoric.""Katrina," Parscale wrote back. "Yes it was."Read Full StoryPat Cipollone suggested Pence should get the Presidential Medal of Freedom for refusing to block the Electoral Collage count certificationA video of Pat Cipollone, former White House counsel, is shown as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.Doug Mills/Pool via AP"I think the vice president did the right thing, I think he did the courageous thing," Cipollone said in testimony revealed at the House January 6 committee's seventh public hearing on Tuesday. "I have a great deal of respect for Vice President Pence."Cipollone added that he didn't think Pence had any "legal authority" to do anything other than refuse to give into President Donald Trump's pressure campaign and interfere with the Electoral College certification on January 6, 2021.Read Full Story  11 House Republicans met with Trump to strategize overturning the election results on January 6, and 5 of them later asked for pardonsAccording to Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida, a member of the January 6 committee, several Republicans met at the White House on December 21, 2020, as part of an effort to "disseminate his false claims and to encourage members of the public to fight the outcome on January 6."Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Rudy Giuliani were all at the meeting, along with President Donald Trump.According to White House visitor logs, Rep. Brian Babin of Texas, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Rep. Paul Gosar of Florida, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Rep-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia all attended the meeting.Read Full StoryFormer Twitter employee tells January 6 committee that Trump received special treatment from TwitterAn evidence tweet is shown on a screen during a full committee hearing on "the January 6th Investigation," on Capitol Hill on July 12, 2022, in Washington, DC. - The House committee probing the 2021 assault on the US Capitol is examining connections between associates of former US President Donald Trump and far right-wing extremist groups at its seventh hearing on Tuesday.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images"I believe that Twitter relished in the knowledge that they were also the favorite and most used service of the former president and enjoyed having that sort of power within the social media ecosystem," the former Twitter employee told investigators in testimony aired in Tuesday's hearing of the congressional committee investigating January 6.The employee, whose identity was kept secret, was introduced by Rep. Jamie Raskin as having worked on Twitter's content moderation team from 2020 to 2021.Read Full StoryCassidy Hutchinson texted a fellow White House aide 'the west wing is UNHINGED' as Oval Office meeting almost devolved into a brawlCassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection in the Cannon House Office Building on June 28, 2022 in Washington, DC.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesAccording to messages released by the House January 6 committee, Hutchinson texted the message to another top aide, Anthony Ornato.It was sent amid the scene of a December 2020 Oval Office meeting as Trump attorney Sidney Powell and White House lawyers clashed over efforts to push Trump's debunked election fraud claims. Read Full Story Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone 'set a new land speed record' trying to break up a meeting between Trump, Michael Flynn, and Overstock's CEO, Sidney Powell saidDemocratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, one of the committee members leading Tuesday's January 6 hearing, said former President Donald Trump, election lawyer Sidney Powell, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com, had met to discuss an ongoing effort to reverse the results of the 2020 election.Powell told investigators in previously recorded testimony, however, that the group had "probably no more than 10 or 15 minutes" with Trump before Pat Cipollone, then the White House Counsel, intercepted the meeting."I bet Pat Cipollone set a new land speed record," Powell quipped.Rep. Jamie Raskin says the 'oldest domestic enemy' of US democracy' is 'whipping up mob violence to destroy fair elections'Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., left, listens as Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite"The problem of politicians whipping up mob violence to destroy fair elections is the oldest domestic enemy of constitutional democracy in America," Raskin said in his opening statement during Tuesday's January 6 hearing.He mentioned a time during Abraham Lincoln's presidency, when an 1837 racist mob in Alton, Illinois, during which rioters broke into an abolitionist newspaper's office and murdered the paper's editor, Elijah Lovejoy."If racist mobs are encouraged by politicians to rampage and terrorize, Lincoln said, they will violate the rights of other citizens and quickly destroy the bonds of social trust necessary for democracy to work," Raskin said.Read Full StoryConvicted Capitol rioter testifying in front of the committee warned that a 'Civil War will ensue' if Trump got robbed in 2020Stephen Ayres, who pleaded guilty last month to disorderly conduct in connection to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, is set to testify in from to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack.His testimony is expected to underscore how Trump summoned supporters to Washington DC on the day Congress was scheduled to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.On December 26, 2020, Ayres posted to Twitter: "If the [deep state] robs president Trump!!! Civil War will ensue!" It was posted days after Trump called for a "big protest" in his own tweet.Read Full StoryEx-White House counsel Pat Cipollone was against Trump naming Sidney Powell special counselA video of former White House counsel Pat Cipollone is shown as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteIn previously unseen footage from his deposition to the House Select Committee last Friday, Cipollone spoke about Powell being Trump's pick to be special counsel for the Department of Justice to investigate repeatedly disproven wide spread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election."I was vehemently opposed," Cipollone said when asked about Powell being made special counsel. "I didn't think she should've been appointed to anything."Read Full StoryRep. Jamie Raskin says Trump 'electrified and galvanized' his extremist supporters with a tweet calling for a 'big protest'Jamie Raskin listens as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteRaskin, a Maryland Democrat, referenced a December 19, 2020, tweet from Trump during the House's January 6 committee hearing on Tuesday."Big protest in D.C. on January 6th," Trump's tweet said. "Be there, will be wild!" Raskin said that Trump's tweet spurred on "the dangerous extremists in the Oathkeepers, the Proud Boys and other racist and white nationalist groups spoiling for a fight against the government.""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 added. "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."Read Full Story  Ivanka Trump told the House January 6 committee that she believed her father lost re-election 'probably prior' to a formal Electoral Collage vote in December 2020Ivanka Trump.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesIvanka Trump told the House January 6 committee that she believed her father lost the 2020 presidential election likely before a formal Electoral College vote on December 14, 2020."Was that an important day for you? Did that affect your planning or your realization as to whether or not there was going to be an end to this administration?" an attorney for the committee asked Ivanka Trump in video taped testimony."I think it was my sentiment, probably prior as well," Ivanka Trump said in response.Read Full StoryPat Cipollone's testimony 'met our expectations," Cheney saysFormer White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesJanuary 6 committee vice chair and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney said former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone testified before the panel — and that his testimony "met our expectations."The House committee then aired several clips of Cipollone's sworn testimony at the start of their seventh hearing on Tuesday.Cipollone told the January 6 committee that he agreed Trump should concede the 2020 election and that he lost to Democratic nominee Joe Biden fair and square.  Read Full StoryCheney: Trump is 'not an impressionable child'GOP Rep. Liz CheneyAP Photo/ Andrew Harnik)GOP Rep. Liz Cheney pushed back on excuses for former President Donald Trump's actions during the Capitol riot, saying he was not simply misled about his election lies but knew they were false."President Trump is a 76-year-old man," Cheney said as the January 6 committee began its hearing on Tuesday. "He is not an impressionable child. Just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices."Cheney said evidence shows Trump was warned "over and over" that there was no sign of widespread election fraud."No rational or sane man in his position could disregard that information and reach the opposite conclusion," she said, "and Donald Trump cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind."Read Full StoryJan. 6 committee's next hearing expected to link Trump even more closely to the Capitol attackLawmakers on the House January 6 committee will air the inquiry's findings during a public hearing Thursday.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesFrom its very first hearing, the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol made a point of connecting former President Donald Trump to the violence of that day.A month later, the House panel is poised to delve even deeper. At its next public hearing, set for 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, the committee is expected to focus on how the violent pro-Trump mob coalesced on January 6 and the involvement of far-right groups, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.Committee aides said Monday during a background call with reporters that the panel's seventh hearing would underscore how a single tweet from Trump mobilized his supporters, proving a "pivotal moment that spurred a chain of events, including pre-planning by Proud Boys.""Big protest in D.C. on January 6th," Trump tweeted on December 19, 2020. "Be there, will be wild!"READ FULL STORYCassidy Hutchinson's testimony jolted the DOJ into focusing on Trump in its Jan 6 investigation, report saysCassidy Hutchinson testifying before the Jan. 6 committee on June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoTestimony by Jan. 6 witness Cassidy Hutchinson sparked debate among top Justice Department officials about Donald Trump's potential criminal culpability for the Capitol riot, The New York Times reported. The June 28 testimony by the former White House aide prompted officials to discuss Trump's actions on January 6, 2021, and questions about potential legal ramifications for the former president, sources told The Times. Present at some of the discussions were Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, the report said. Read Full StoryCassidy Hutchinson and Rep. Liz Cheney have forged an 'unlikely bond' amid January 6 testimony process, per reportCassidy Hutchinson, the former Trump White House aide whose explosive January 6 testimony stunned Washington last month, has found a friend and ally in Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who has been ostracized from the GOP for criticizing the former president and serving as vice-chair on the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot, according to The New York Times.The two Republican women — both on the outs with the party's overwhelming Trump faction — have developed an unlikely bond in recent weeks as the January 6 panel riot zeroes in on increasingly damning testimony against former President Donald Trump.The congresswomen admires Hutchinson's dedication to country over personal power, according to The Times. "I have been incredibly moved by young women that I have met and that have come forward to testify in the Jan. 6 committee," Cheney said in a recent speech at the Reagan Library.Read Full Story A bad day for Steve BannonSteve Bannon asked to delay his mid-July trial by at least three months.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesMonday was not a good day in court for Steve Bannon.The former Trump aide lost on several key pre-trial motions ahead of his upcoming July 18 federal trial on contempt of Congress charges.U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, ruled from the bench that Bannon's defense attorneys couldn't use several of their planned arguments. Nichols also denied Bannon's bid to have the trial date delayed.Insider's Ryan Barber was at the courthouse in Washington, DC, and has more in his dispatch linked below. Read Full Story'That mob on the Mall'An Oath Keeper from Idaho in Bozeman, Montana.William Campbell/Corbis via Getty ImagesWe've got a handy preview for you on Tuesday's next big House January 6 hearing, which will focus on the right-wing extremist groups that in the words of Rep. Adam Schiff helped lead "that mob on the Mall." Laura Italiano breaks down the five potential bombshells she'll be looking out for when the panel convenes at 1 pm. Check out what those are here:Read Full Story The most shocking revelations from the January 6 committee's first hearings on the Capitol attackCassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoThe next January 6 committee hearing is scheduled for July 12, at 10 a.m. ET.Catch up on the biggest revelations from the public hearings thus far.Read Full StoryTeasing new witnesses, Rep. Adam Kinzinger says of Trump and his allies: 'They're all scared. They should be.'Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesIn a series of Sunday tweets, Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Donald Trump and his allies, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are "scared" following last week's testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson before the Jan. 6 select committee. "This BIPARTISAN committee has been able to find out things that up until recently were denied by the Jan 6th truthers, so they are left with trying to discredit a young woman with more courage than they could muster in a lifetime. Except… that isn't working," Kinzinger tweeted."Cassidy doesn't seek the limelight, but she is compelled with honor. She didn't even have to swear an oath to the constitution like Kevin, Elise, Kristi Noem and others did. But she volunteered to come under oath to tell what she knows. She is a better person than them all. "Read Full StoryLiz Cheney says the January 6 panel won't 'stand by' and let 'men who are claiming executive privilege' attack Cassidy Hutchinson's characterCassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, arrives to testify during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesRep. Liz Cheney in an interview that aired on Sunday reaffirmed her confidence in former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony and said that the House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol wouldn't sit by idly and let her endure anonymous attacks.While sitting down with ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., the Wyoming Republican expressed confidence in Hutchinson and the credibility of future hearings."What Cassidy Hutchinson did was an unbelievable example of bravery and of courage and patriotism in the face of real pressure," she said."The Committee is not going to stand by and watch her character be assassinated by anonymous sources and by men who are claiming executive privilege. And so we look forward very much to additional testimony under oath on a whole range of issues," she added.Read Full StoryKinzinger says new witnesses have been coming forward to the Jan. 6 committee since Cassidy Hutchinson's 'inspiring' testimonyRep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesRep. Adam Kinzinger says that more witnesses have come forward since Cassidy Hutchinson's blockbuster testimony during the Jan 6. hearings last week.  "She's been inspiring for a lot of people," Kinzinger said Sunday on CNN's  "State of the Union." "Every day, we get new people that come forward and say, 'hey, I didn't think maybe this piece of the story that I knew was important, but now that you guys are talking' — I do see this plays in here."Hutchinson, an ex-aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, revealed in front of the Jan. 6 committee shocking details of former president Donald Trump's behavior on the day of the Capitol attack, including that he attempted to grab the steering wheel of his SUV and lunged at one of his Secret Service agents, as Insider's Grace Panetta previously reported. "I mean, look, she is going to go down in history," Kinzinger said, referring to the 25-year-old. "People can forget the names of every one of us on the committee. They will not forget her name. And, by the way, she doesn't want that. She doesn't want to be out in the public spotlight."Read Full StoryLiz Cheney says the Jan. 6 committee could potentially make multiple criminal referrals, including one against TrumpU.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 9, 2022.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesRep. Liz Cheney in an interview broadcast on Sunday said that the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol could potentially make multiple criminal referrals, including one against former President Donald Trump.During an interview on ABC's "This Week," Cheney — who serves as the vice-chair of the panel — was asked by correspondent Jonathan Karl if the work conducted by its members has shown that Trump's conduct warrants prosecution."Ultimately, the Justice Department will decide that," the Wyoming Republican said. "I think we may well as a committee have a view on that."She continued: "If you just think about it from the perspective of what kind of man knows that a mob is armed and sends the mob to attack the Capitol and further incites that mob when his own vice president is under threat — when the Congress is under threat? It's just very chilling. And I think certainly we will continue to present to the American people what we've found."Read Full StoryDOJ wants a DC judge to reject Steve Bannon's request to delay his contempt-of-Congress trial over January 6 hearings' publicity, saying that he has 'barely been mentioned'Steve Bannon argued in April that his criminal prosecution should be dismissed.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe Department of Justice asked a DC judge on Friday to reject Trump ally Steve Bannon's request to delay his contempt-of-Congress trial, arguing that the January 6 hearings have not revolved around him to the point of distraction.On Wednesday, Bannon's lawyers asked a DC judge to delay his July 18 trial, citing a "media blitz" from the public January 6 committee hearings and saying the request was "due to the unprecedented level of prejudicial pretrial publicity."DOJ lawyers said that Bannon is not as popular as he thinks he is."The Defendant's motion gives the false impression — through general statistics about the volume of viewership of the Committee's hearings and overall media coverage of the Committee's hearings — that all of the Committee's hearings and the attendant media coverage is about him," DOJ lawyers wrote in a filing on Friday. "The truth is just the opposite — the Defendant has barely been mentioned in the Committee's hearings or the resulting media coverage of them."Read More2 Secret Service sources told CNN that Trump angrily demanded to be taken to the Capitol on January 6, partly confirming Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimonyFormer President Donald Trump.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesTwo Secret Service sources told CNN on Friday that they heard about former President Donald Trump lunging at the driver of his presidential SUV on January 6, 2021.The pair of sources, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, backed up much of former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimony on the altercation in the motorcade vehicle known as "the Beast" after Trump found out he wouldn't be driven to join his supporters at the Capitol."He had sort of lunged forward – it was unclear from the conversations I had that he actually made physical contact, but he might have. I don't know," one of the Secret Service sources told CNN. "Nobody said Trump assaulted him; they said he tried to lunge over the seat – for what reason, nobody had any idea."Read Full StoryMichael Cohen says Trump uses a 'mob boss' playbookMichael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal attorney, compared the former president to a "mob boss" amid allegations that Trump allies sought to intimidate Jan. 6 witnesses."Donald Trump never changes his playbook," Cohen told The Washington Post. "He behaves like a mob boss, and these messages are fashioned in that style. Giving an order without giving the order. No fingerprints attached."Read Full StoryTrump allies paid legal fees for multiple Jan. 6 witnesses, including Cassidy Hutchinson, sparking witness-influencing concerns, report saysCassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies before the January 6 committee in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump's allies and supporters paid the legal fees for multiple people who had provided testimony to the January 6 committee, including the former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, The New York Times reported.Hutchinson eventually fired the lawyer who was paid for a pro-Trump group, and went on to provide damning testimony about Trump, the report said. Two sources familiar with the committee told The Times that they believe Hutchinson's decision to part ways with the lawyer — who had been recommended by Trump allies and paid for by a pro-Trump PAC — likely played a role in her decision to provide new evidence. There are no laws against a third party paying for a witness' legal representation in a congressional inquiry, but the situation may raise some ethical concerns, according to the report.Read Full StoryFormer Secret Service agent said he, too, would have defied Trump's request to be taken to the Capitol on January 6Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.PhoPhoto by Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesFormer Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow said in an op-ed that he also would not have taken then-President Donald Trump to the Capitol on January 6, 2021.In an op-ed published by Newsweek, Wackrow said he was shocked by Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony to the January committee regarding Trump's actions on the day of the Capitol riot. Hutchinson, a former aide in the Trump White House, claimed that Trump had gotten into a physical altercation with the head of his security detail while demanding to be brought to the Capitol."If I had been working on Trump's security detail on January 6, I would have made the same decision as Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Robert Engel to not go to the Capitol based on the known escalating threats," Wackrow wrote.He added, however, that he believed Trump still respects the Secret Service because he probably has seen "first-hand what they're willing to do to protect him and his family." Read Full StoryGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger says Cassidy Hutchinson is a 'hero' and has 'more courage than most' Republicans after January 6 testimonyCassidy Hutchinson testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Thursday applauded Cassidy Hutchinson for her testimony to the January 6 committee, saying the former top aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has "more courage" than most of his Republican colleagues. "Cassidy Hutchinson is a hero and a real patriot (not a faux 'patriot' that hates America so much they would attempt a coup.)," Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, said in a tweet."Of course they will try to bully and intimidate her. But she isn't intimidated. More courage than most in GOP," Kinzinger added of Hutchinson.Read Full StoryGOP Sen. Pat Toomey says Trump's chances of winning the party's 2024 presidential nomination are 'much more tenuous' following the January 6 committee's hearingsRepublican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania at the White House with Trump in February 2018.AP Photo/Evan VucciRepublican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania suggested Thursday that public hearings from the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, had damaged former President Donald Trump politically, even among Republicans.At the end of a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg that focused on the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Reserve's approach to tackling inflation, the retiring lawmaker was asked whether he believed the hearings would preclude Trump from seeking a second term as president in 2024."I don't know that it means that. I mean he gets to decide whether he's going to run," said Toomey, who was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump on a charge of incitement of an insurrection after the Capitol riot."Look, I think he disqualified himself from serving in public office by virtue of his post-election behavior, especially leading right up to January 6," Toomey said. "I think the revelations from this committee make his path to even the Republican nomination much more tenuous."Read Full StoryCheney 'absolutely confident' that former White House aide's explosive testimony is credibleRepublican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, vice-chair of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, speaks during a business meeting on Capitol Hill on December 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves as vice-chair of the House's January 6 committee, said she is "absolutely confident" that a former White House aide's damning testimony is accurate."I am absolutely confident in her credibility. I'm confident in her testimony," Cheney told ABC News's Jonathan Karl about the allegations made by top Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson this week.Cheney said that Hutchinson showed "an unbelievable example of bravery and of courage" by testifying.Read MoreBannon wants his contempt trial to be delayed because of Jan. 6 hearingsSteve Bannon outside of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on June 15, 2022 in Washington, DC.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesTrump ally Steve Bannon has asked for his contempt-of-Congress trial to be delayed because the hearings on the Capitol riot are getting so much publicity.A federal grand jury indicted Bannon in November 2021 on two counts of contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.In a Wednesday court filing, Bannon's lawyers argued that the coverage of the committee's hearings would make his trial unfair.Read More January 6 panel subpoenas former White House counsel Pat CipolloneFormer White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said he would testify about Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ official who outlined ways for Trump to challenge the 2020 election.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThe House's panel investigating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, has subpoenaed former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.The demand for Cipollone to appear before the committee comes after explosive testimony from a former top White House aide in the Trump administration, who described Trump and his inner circle's actions before and during the insurrection.Read Full StoryFormer Secret Service agent says Trump's 'girth' would have made it impossible to attack driverOutgoing US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2021.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty ImagesA former White House aide testified that former President Donald Trump grabbed the steering wheel of his SUV and lunged at a Secret Service agent on January 6, 2021, after they refused to take him to the Capitol building.But former Secret Service agents told Insider they have doubts about the story."Trump's not a little guy, right? And the space to actually be able to lunge towards the wheel is not that big," one former agent said, speaking on background to Insider.  "I don't mean to sound disparaging to the former president, but just his girth would prevent him from actually getting to the steering wheel."Keep ReadingHouse Republican who led rioter on tour before insurrection could oversee Capitol policeRep. Barry LoudermilkBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Barry Loudermilk — who led a Capitol rioter on a tour of the building the day before the insurrection — could end up overseeing Capitol police.If Republicans regain control of the House, Loudermilk would be next in line to lead the committee that has oversight over the police force attacked by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.Loudermilk has faced backlash from Democrats after video showed him taking a group on a tour of the Capitol building, showing them hallways, security areas, and stairwells. The next day, members of the tour flaunted a sharpened flagpole bearing the American flag as they marched near the Capitol.It remains unclear whether the group entered the Capitol building itself during the riot.Read Full Story Former Jan. 6 committee investigator announces run for SenateSenior investigative counsel John Wood questions witnesses during the third public hearing of the January 6 committee on June 16, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesJanuary 6 committee investigator John Wood is launching an independent Senate campaign in Missouri in an effort to stop GOP nominee Eric Greitens.Wood told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he believes Greitens — the former Missouri governor — is likely to win the Republican nomination, and that voters deserved an alternative.Wood, a Republican, said he will run as an independent.Read MoreTrump ally says Hutchinson's testimony was a 'campaign commercial' for Ron DeSantis in 2024Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisPhelan M. Ebenhack/AP PhotoExplosive testimony by a former Trump White House aide could be a boost to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to replace Trump on the presidential ticket in 2024, CNN reported.One Trump adviser said the hearings — which painted as Trump as violent and volatile — were "basically a campaign commercial" for DeSantis. Another told CNN that "no one is taking this lightly."DeSantis has flirted with larger political ambitions and is a rising Republican star who would be poised to fill the leadership vacuum if Trump is forced aside.Read Full StorySecret Service agents willing to dispute Hutchinson's claims about Trump's outburst, reports sayFormer President Donald TrumpSAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesSecret Service agents are willing to testify before the January 6 House panel to refute former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's claim that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel when he demanded to be taken to the Capitol on the day of the insurrection, according to multiple reports.The driver of the car and the head of Trump's security are ready to testify under oath that the former President never lunged for the wheel or physically assaulted the driver, according to CBS News.Read More Hutchinson's testimony could lead to legal trouble for Trump: reportCassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoFormer aides to Donald Trump worry the explosive testimony by a former White House aide could put Trump in legal jeopardy, according to the New York Times."This hearing definitely gave investigators a lot to chew on," former Attorney General Bill Barr told the Times after testimony from top White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson detailed Trump's behavior on the day of the Capitol riot.Hutchinson's testimony painted Trump as a volatile man who knew his supporters were armed on January 6, 2021. Trump also demanded to be taken to the Capitol building, but his security staff refused, Hutchinson said.Mick Mulvaney, who was once Trump's White House Chief of Staff, said evidence of possible witness tampering could open his orbit up to charges.Keep Reading  Former Trump press secretary shares text that appears to show Melania Trump to condemn Capitol riot violenceMelania Trump speaks at the White House on October 09, 2019Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesFormer Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham shared a text exchange on Tuesday that purportedly showed former First Lady Melania Trump refusing to condemn the violence during the Capitol riot. The apparent screengrab of a text exchange was between Grisham and a person named "MT." "Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness & violence?" read the message. "No," the person replied.Representatives for Melania Trump at Trump's post-presidential press office did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.Read Full StoryJohn Eastman drops lawsuit blocking his phone records from January 6 committeeJohn Eastman testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2013.Charles Dharapak/APIn a late Tuesday filing, John Eastman dropped a lawsuit he'd filed to prevent the Jan. 6 committee from accessing his phone records."Plaintiff brought this lawsuit primarily to protect the content of his communications, many of which are privileged," the latest filing read. "The Congressional Defendants represented in their motion to dismiss that they were not seeking the content of any of Plaintiff's communications via the subpoena they had issued to Defendant Verizon."The former Trump lawyer's phone was seized by federal agents on June 22, according to a separate suit he filed on Monday, seeking the return of his property. Of interest to investigators are call logs from Eastman's personal device, and the search warrant indicates investigators will not review any additional content from his phone without a court order. Read Full StoryTrumpworld shocked by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive January 6 testimony, calling it the 'most damning day' and 'insane'Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoIt took six hearings for the January 6 select committee to finally break through to embattled former President Donald Trump's inner circle.Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified during a surprise hearing Tuesday that Trump was determined to go to the US Capitol with his armed supporters on January 6, 2021, as Congress was certifying the election results. Hutchinson's additional revelations about that day came crashing down on Trumpworld during the two-hour hearing. Among them were that Meadows told Hutchinson "things might get real, real bad" on January 6, that Trump knew his supporters were armed when they flooded the Ellipse to attend his "Stop the Steal" rally, and that Trump said "Mike deserves it" when rioters chanted "hang Mike Pence." "Definitely most damning day of testimony," one former White House aide told Insider. READ MOREFox News host says it's not 'wholly out of character' that Trump 'might throw his lunch' after January 6 testimony on ketchup dripping down the wallFormer President Donald Trump and Fox News Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier.Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesMoments after a colleague referred to Tuesday's January 6 committee testimony as "stunning," Fox News host Martha MacCallum downplayed new revelations about former President Donald Trump's violent outbursts surrounding his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Trump threw a plate in the White House dining room after he found out former Attorney General Bill Barr publicly said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, leaving "ketchup dripping down the wall.""I mean, I'm not sure that it really shocks anybody that the president just — knowing what we've seen, observing him over the years — if he got angry then he might throw his lunch," MacCallum said. "I'm not sure. It's obviously a very dramatic detail, and the way that she describes it, um, is. But I'm not sure if this is wholly out of character with the Donald Trump and the President Trump that people came to know over the years."READ MOREHere are all the people who sought preemptive pardons from Donald Trump after the Capitol riot, per January 6 committee witnessesRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., joined from left by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at a news conference about the treatment of people being held in the District of Columbia jail who are ch.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJul 21st, 2022

Jan. 6 live: Latest hearing will focus on Trump"s actions during the deadly Capitol riot

The House select committee is investigating the Capitol riot and the role Donald Trump and his allies played in trying to overturn the 2020 election. 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 Thursday's hearing in the Jan. 6 probe will focus on Trump's actions as his supporters stormed the Capitol. Two administration officials — national security adviser Matthew Pottinger and deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews — are expected to testify. The panel has also called for the Secret Service to turn over text messages sent around the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. Latest hearing will focus on Trump's reaction to the Capitol riot — and his alleged inaction to stop it.Former President Donald Trump gives the keynote address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition during their annual conference on June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesThe House panel investigating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 will hold its eighth hearing on Thursday night.The hearing — scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET — will focus on Trump's actions during the deadly insurrection at the Capitol building.Committee members have argued that Trump knew of the violence and refused to take actions to prevent or stop it, despite the pleas from advisors in his inner circle.Former national security adviser Matthew Pottinger and Sarah Matthews, former deputy press secretary in the Trump administration, are expected to testify.Trump spent most of the January 6 attack watching TV in the White House dining room: new videoFormer President Donald Trump speaks during a "Save America" rally in Anchorage, Alaska, on July 9, 2022.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesTrump spent the bulk of his time during the Capitol attack watching reports of the insurrection on TV, according to video testimony given to the January 6 House panel.Ahead of Thursday night's hearing on how Trump reacted to the storming of the Capitol, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a member of the House Select Committee, shared a video compilation of the depositions on Twitter.—Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) July 21, 2022Read Full StorySecret Service may have violated federal law by deleting messages around January 6The leaders of the January 6 hearings say the Secret Service may have violated federal law by undergoing a process that led to text messages from the time of the Captiol riot to be deleted."The procedure for preserving content prior to this purge appears to have been contrary to federal records retention requirements and may represent a possible violation of the Federal Records Act," a letter from Reps. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney said.So far, the committee had received one text message from the agency.Jan. 6 hearings are 'undoubtedly starting to take a toll' on Trump's popularity, former ambassador saysFormer White House counsel Pat Cipollone is seen on a video display during the seventh hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 12, 2022.Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty ImagesA former ambassador who served during the Trump administration says the former president's popularity is taking a hit as more revelations about Trump's actions before and during the Capitol riot come out.Attorney Randy Evans, who was ambassador to Luxembourg, said the hearings' "steadiness, the repetitiveness, has had a corrosive effect."Evans added it's "all undoubtedly starting to take a toll — how much, I don't know. But the bigger question is whether it starts to eat through the Teflon. There are some signs that maybe it has. But it's too early to say right now."Read MoreSecret Service has only submitted 1 text to the Jan. 6 committee: panel memberThe House panel investigating the Capitol riot has received just one text message from the Secret Service in response to a subpoena, Rep. Zoe Lofgren said."In their letter they gave no indication that they have secured the phones in question and done some forensic work with them. That's something we want to know," Lofgren told MSNBC on Tuesday."Obviously, this doesn't look good ... Coincidences can happen but we really need to get to the bottom of this and get a lot more information than we have currently."Read Full StoryJan. 6 panel subpoenas Secret Service for text messages as DHS watchdog accuses agents of deleting them after being askedA US Secret Service agent takes position outside the White House in November 2020.J. Scott Applewhite/AP PhotoThe House committee investigating the Capitol riot has issued a subpoena to the US Secret Service after the Department of Homeland Security inspector general accused the agency of deleting text messages after being asked.Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee's chairperson, said in a Friday letter to Secret Service director James Murray that the panel was seeking text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021.Thompson mentioned three previous requests for information, sent in January, March, and August of last year, pertaining to all communications between DHS officials and then-President Donald Trump about the Capitol riot.Read Full StoryThe Jan. 6 witness Trump tried to call is a White House support staffer, reports sayThe Jan. 6 committee witness whom former President Donald Trump is alleged to have tried to contact is a White House support staffer, reports say. At Tuesday's hearing, committee member Rep. Liz Cheney claimed that Trump sought to contact a witness who had not appeared publically, in what she characterized as a form of witness tampering. CNN first reported, citing two sources, that Trump made the call to the witness after the June 28 testimony by another witness, the former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson.According to the report, the support staffer was in a position to corroborate parts of Hutchinson's testimony, and had been providing evidence to the committee. NBC News later said it had confirmed CNN's reporting. Neither outlet named the person.Read Full StoryWatergate star witness predicts criminal charges after latest Jan. 6 testimony: 'Trump is in trouble'Former White House Counsel John Dean testifying on Capitol Hill on June 10, 2019.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesJohn Dean, a key witness in the Watergate investigation, said that former President Donald Trump and others will likely face legal repercussions from evidence presented at Tuesday's January 6 committee hearing. In an interview with CNN, Dean highlighted testimony by former members of extremist group the Oath Keepers, who were part of the mob that stormed the Capitol.Dean described them as "really classic authoritarian followers, following the leader."He argued that the testimony proves the extent to which the rioters believed they had been sent by Trump, which he said could be used by prosecutors were they to bring charges against the former president.Read Full StoryTrump 'liked the crazies' and wanted Alex Jones and Ali Alexander as Jan. 6 rally speakers despite red flags raised, former spokesperson saysKatrina Pierson, a former campaign spokesperson for Donald Trump and one of the organizers of the January 6 "Stop the Steal" rally, said Trump wanted Alex Jones and Ali Alexander to speak at the event despite the "red flags" they raised.On Tuesday, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a member of the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, played a video of Pierson's testimony to the panel in which Pierson commented on Trump's love for "crazies" like Jones and Alexander."Yes, I was talking about President Trump. He loved people who viciously defended him in public," Pierson said in her deposition.Read Full StoryPhoto shows Mark Meadows escorting Rudy Giuliani from the White House following 'UNHINGED' West Wing meeting about 2020 election resultsA photo that Cassidy Hutchinson took of Mark Meadows leading Rudy Giuliani away from the Oval Office.Courtesy of CSPANFormer Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had to escort former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani from the Oval Office following a chaotic, late-night December 2020 West Wing meeting about the election results, according to new January 6 testimony.Cassidy Hutchinson, the former Trump White House aide whose explosive testimony stunned Washington last month, shared with the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot a photo she took of Meadows leading  Giuliani away from the Oval Office following the turbulent gathering, which was the site of a face-off between Trump's legal allies and White House lawyers over efforts to promote the then-president's baseless claims of election fraud, according to testimony.The January 6 panel shared the photo alongside real-time text messages Hutchinson was sending from the meeting during its seventh live hearing on Tuesday. READ FULL STORYFormer Twitter employee feared people were going to die on January 6A former Twitter employee told the House committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol that activity on the platform raised concerns that there would be deadly violence in Washington on January 6.The former employee, whose voice was obscured in a recording played during Tuesday's hearing, testified about trying and failing to get the company to intervene as former President Donald Trump's extremist supporters used the platform to repeat his statements about the upcoming protests to the 2020 election results.On the night of January 5, the employee testified about slacking a colleague, a message to the effect of, "When people are shooting each other tomorrow, I will try and rest in the knowledge that we tried."The former employee was on a team responsible for platform and content moderation policies during 2020 and 2021.READ FULL STORYOath Keepers attorney used the 'Queer Eye' loft kitchen from Season 3 as her video background before the January 6 committeeOath Keepers attorney Kellye SoRelle.C-SPANTestifying remotely before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, the Oath Keepers' attorney and acting president used a green screen background from the Netflix show "Queer Eye."Erin Ryan, host of Crooked Media's "Hysteria" podcast, tweeted out a screenshot of the remote deposition from Oath Keepers acting president Kellye SoRelle alongside an image from the third season of the streaming series, which Ryan said she found from a reverse Google image search.READ FULL STORYRep. Liz Cheney ends hearing with bombshell: Donald Trump called a witness in the House January 6 investigationFormer President Donald Trump called a witness in the congressional inquiry into the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, Rep. Liz Cheney said Tuesday, prompting House investigators to notify the Justice Department. "After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation. A witness you have not yet seen in these hearings. That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump's call and, instead, alerted their lawyer to the call," said Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, in a bombshell revelation that concluded the House January 6 committee's seventh public hearing."Their lawyer alerted us, and this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice," she added. "Let me say one more time: We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously."READ FULL STORYThe January 6 investigators obtained a video of Roger Stone reciting the Proud Boys' 'Fraternity Creed,' the first step for initiation to the extremist groupAn image of Roger Stone is shown on a screen as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.Doug Mills/Pool via APNew details emerged at Tuesday's January 6 committee hearing on the close ties between Roger Stone and extremist groups, including that the longtime Donald Trump confidante was recorded reciting the Proud Boys' so-called "Fraternity Creed." Rep. Jamie Raskin, who co-chaired the public hearing, described reciting the creed as "the first level of initiation" into the far-right group, five members of which are scheduled to be tried on seditious conspiracy charges in December.  "Stone's ties to the Proud Boys go back many years," Raskin said. "He's even taken their so-called "Fraternity Creed," required for the first level of initiation to the group."Video then played showing Stone in a crowded outdoor setting, saying, "Hi, I'm Roger Stone. I'm a Western chauvinist, and I refuse to apologize for the creation of the modern world." READ FULL STORYTrump planned to call on his supporters to march to the Capitol on January 6, according to a draft tweetThe House committee investigating the Capitol riot on Tuesday revealed a draft tweet in which President Donald Trump called on his supporters to go to the US Capitol after his speech on January 6, 2021."I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!!" Trump wrote in the draft tweet, which is undated.Trump never sent the tweet, but its existence, along with other messages exchanged between rally organizers, offer proof that the march to the Capitol was premeditated, the January 6 committee said.Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida presented the evidence during Tuesday's hearing, and said: "The evidence confirms that this was not a spontaneous call to action, but rather it was a deliberate strategy decided upon in advance by the president."READ FULL STORYTrump's ex-campaign manger Brad Parscale said in private texts that Trump is to blame for Capitol rioter's deathIn a series of texts revealed at the 7th hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, President Donald Trump's former campaign manger Brad Parscale suggested in a message to former Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson that Trump's words led to the death of a capitol rioter.Messages show Pierson tried to push back, writing that "it wasn't the rhetoric.""Katrina," Parscale wrote back. "Yes it was."Read Full StoryPat Cipollone suggested Pence should get the Presidential Medal of Freedom for refusing to block the Electoral Collage count certificationA video of Pat Cipollone, former White House counsel, is shown as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.Doug Mills/Pool via AP"I think the vice president did the right thing, I think he did the courageous thing," Cipollone said in testimony revealed at the House January 6 committee's seventh public hearing on Tuesday. "I have a great deal of respect for Vice President Pence."Cipollone added that he didn't think Pence had any "legal authority" to do anything other than refuse to give into President Donald Trump's pressure campaign and interfere with the Electoral College certification on January 6, 2021.Read Full Story  11 House Republicans met with Trump to strategize overturning the election results on January 6, and 5 of them later asked for pardonsAccording to Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida, a member of the January 6 committee, several Republicans met at the White House on December 21, 2020, as part of an effort to "disseminate his false claims and to encourage members of the public to fight the outcome on January 6."Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Rudy Giuliani were all at the meeting, along with President Donald Trump.According to White House visitor logs, Rep. Brian Babin of Texas, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Rep. Paul Gosar of Florida, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Rep-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia all attended the meeting.Read Full StoryFormer Twitter employee tells January 6 committee that Trump received special treatment from TwitterAn evidence tweet is shown on a screen during a full committee hearing on "the January 6th Investigation," on Capitol Hill on July 12, 2022, in Washington, DC. - The House committee probing the 2021 assault on the US Capitol is examining connections between associates of former US President Donald Trump and far right-wing extremist groups at its seventh hearing on Tuesday.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images"I believe that Twitter relished in the knowledge that they were also the favorite and most used service of the former president and enjoyed having that sort of power within the social media ecosystem," the former Twitter employee told investigators in testimony aired in Tuesday's hearing of the congressional committee investigating January 6.The employee, whose identity was kept secret, was introduced by Rep. Jamie Raskin as having worked on Twitter's content moderation team from 2020 to 2021.Read Full StoryCassidy Hutchinson texted a fellow White House aide 'the west wing is UNHINGED' as Oval Office meeting almost devolved into a brawlCassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection in the Cannon House Office Building on June 28, 2022 in Washington, DC.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesAccording to messages released by the House January 6 committee, Hutchinson texted the message to another top aide, Anthony Ornato.It was sent amid the scene of a December 2020 Oval Office meeting as Trump attorney Sidney Powell and White House lawyers clashed over efforts to push Trump's debunked election fraud claims. Read Full Story Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone 'set a new land speed record' trying to break up a meeting between Trump, Michael Flynn, and Overstock's CEO, Sidney Powell saidDemocratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, one of the committee members leading Tuesday's January 6 hearing, said former President Donald Trump, election lawyer Sidney Powell, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com, had met to discuss an ongoing effort to reverse the results of the 2020 election.Powell told investigators in previously recorded testimony, however, that the group had "probably no more than 10 or 15 minutes" with Trump before Pat Cipollone, then the White House Counsel, intercepted the meeting."I bet Pat Cipollone set a new land speed record," Powell quipped.Rep. Jamie Raskin says the 'oldest domestic enemy' of US democracy' is 'whipping up mob violence to destroy fair elections'Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., left, listens as Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite"The problem of politicians whipping up mob violence to destroy fair elections is the oldest domestic enemy of constitutional democracy in America," Raskin said in his opening statement during Tuesday's January 6 hearing.He mentioned a time during Abraham Lincoln's presidency, when an 1837 racist mob in Alton, Illinois, during which rioters broke into an abolitionist newspaper's office and murdered the paper's editor, Elijah Lovejoy."If racist mobs are encouraged by politicians to rampage and terrorize, Lincoln said, they will violate the rights of other citizens and quickly destroy the bonds of social trust necessary for democracy to work," Raskin said.Read Full StoryConvicted Capitol rioter testifying in front of the committee warned that a 'Civil War will ensue' if Trump got robbed in 2020Stephen Ayres, who pleaded guilty last month to disorderly conduct in connection to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, is set to testify in from to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack.His testimony is expected to underscore how Trump summoned supporters to Washington DC on the day Congress was scheduled to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.On December 26, 2020, Ayres posted to Twitter: "If the [deep state] robs president Trump!!! Civil War will ensue!" It was posted days after Trump called for a "big protest" in his own tweet.Read Full StoryEx-White House counsel Pat Cipollone was against Trump naming Sidney Powell special counselA video of former White House counsel Pat Cipollone is shown as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteIn previously unseen footage from his deposition to the House Select Committee last Friday, Cipollone spoke about Powell being Trump's pick to be special counsel for the Department of Justice to investigate repeatedly disproven wide spread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election."I was vehemently opposed," Cipollone said when asked about Powell being made special counsel. "I didn't think she should've been appointed to anything."Read Full StoryRep. Jamie Raskin says Trump 'electrified and galvanized' his extremist supporters with a tweet calling for a 'big protest'Jamie Raskin listens as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteRaskin, a Maryland Democrat, referenced a December 19, 2020, tweet from Trump during the House's January 6 committee hearing on Tuesday."Big protest in D.C. on January 6th," Trump's tweet said. "Be there, will be wild!" Raskin said that Trump's tweet spurred on "the dangerous extremists in the Oathkeepers, the Proud Boys and other racist and white nationalist groups spoiling for a fight against the government.""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 added. "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."Read Full Story  Ivanka Trump told the House January 6 committee that she believed her father lost re-election 'probably prior' to a formal Electoral Collage vote in December 2020Ivanka Trump.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesIvanka Trump told the House January 6 committee that she believed her father lost the 2020 presidential election likely before a formal Electoral College vote on December 14, 2020."Was that an important day for you? Did that affect your planning or your realization as to whether or not there was going to be an end to this administration?" an attorney for the committee asked Ivanka Trump in video taped testimony."I think it was my sentiment, probably prior as well," Ivanka Trump said in response.Read Full StoryPat Cipollone's testimony 'met our expectations," Cheney saysFormer White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesJanuary 6 committee vice chair and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney said former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone testified before the panel — and that his testimony "met our expectations."The House committee then aired several clips of Cipollone's sworn testimony at the start of their seventh hearing on Tuesday.Cipollone told the January 6 committee that he agreed Trump should concede the 2020 election and that he lost to Democratic nominee Joe Biden fair and square.  Read Full StoryCheney: Trump is 'not an impressionable child'GOP Rep. Liz CheneyAP Photo/ Andrew Harnik)GOP Rep. Liz Cheney pushed back on excuses for former President Donald Trump's actions during the Capitol riot, saying he was not simply misled about his election lies but knew they were false."President Trump is a 76-year-old man," Cheney said as the January 6 committee began its hearing on Tuesday. "He is not an impressionable child. Just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices."Cheney said evidence shows Trump was warned "over and over" that there was no sign of widespread election fraud."No rational or sane man in his position could disregard that information and reach the opposite conclusion," she said, "and Donald Trump cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind."Read Full StoryJan. 6 committee's next hearing expected to link Trump even more closely to the Capitol attackLawmakers on the House January 6 committee will air the inquiry's findings during a public hearing Thursday.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesFrom its very first hearing, the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol made a point of connecting former President Donald Trump to the violence of that day.A month later, the House panel is poised to delve even deeper. At its next public hearing, set for 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, the committee is expected to focus on how the violent pro-Trump mob coalesced on January 6 and the involvement of far-right groups, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.Committee aides said Monday during a background call with reporters that the panel's seventh hearing would underscore how a single tweet from Trump mobilized his supporters, proving a "pivotal moment that spurred a chain of events, including pre-planning by Proud Boys.""Big protest in D.C. on January 6th," Trump tweeted on December 19, 2020. "Be there, will be wild!"READ FULL STORYCassidy Hutchinson's testimony jolted the DOJ into focusing on Trump in its Jan 6 investigation, report saysCassidy Hutchinson testifying before the Jan. 6 committee on June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoTestimony by Jan. 6 witness Cassidy Hutchinson sparked debate among top Justice Department officials about Donald Trump's potential criminal culpability for the Capitol riot, The New York Times reported. The June 28 testimony by the former White House aide prompted officials to discuss Trump's actions on January 6, 2021, and questions about potential legal ramifications for the former president, sources told The Times. Present at some of the discussions were Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, the report said. Read Full StoryCassidy Hutchinson and Rep. Liz Cheney have forged an 'unlikely bond' amid January 6 testimony process, per reportCassidy Hutchinson, the former Trump White House aide whose explosive January 6 testimony stunned Washington last month, has found a friend and ally in Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who has been ostracized from the GOP for criticizing the former president and serving as vice-chair on the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot, according to The New York Times.The two Republican women — both on the outs with the party's overwhelming Trump faction — have developed an unlikely bond in recent weeks as the January 6 panel riot zeroes in on increasingly damning testimony against former President Donald Trump.The congresswomen admires Hutchinson's dedication to country over personal power, according to The Times. "I have been incredibly moved by young women that I have met and that have come forward to testify in the Jan. 6 committee," Cheney said in a recent speech at the Reagan Library.Read Full Story A bad day for Steve BannonSteve Bannon asked to delay his mid-July trial by at least three months.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesMonday was not a good day in court for Steve Bannon.The former Trump aide lost on several key pre-trial motions ahead of his upcoming July 18 federal trial on contempt of Congress charges.U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, ruled from the bench that Bannon's defense attorneys couldn't use several of their planned arguments. Nichols also denied Bannon's bid to have the trial date delayed.Insider's Ryan Barber was at the courthouse in Washington, DC, and has more in his dispatch linked below. Read Full Story'That mob on the Mall'An Oath Keeper from Idaho in Bozeman, Montana.William Campbell/Corbis via Getty ImagesWe've got a handy preview for you on Tuesday's next big House January 6 hearing, which will focus on the right-wing extremist groups that in the words of Rep. Adam Schiff helped lead "that mob on the Mall." Laura Italiano breaks down the five potential bombshells she'll be looking out for when the panel convenes at 1 pm. Check out what those are here:Read Full Story The most shocking revelations from the January 6 committee's first hearings on the Capitol attackCassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoThe next January 6 committee hearing is scheduled for July 12, at 10 a.m. ET.Catch up on the biggest revelations from the public hearings thus far.Read Full StoryTeasing new witnesses, Rep. Adam Kinzinger says of Trump and his allies: 'They're all scared. They should be.'Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesIn a series of Sunday tweets, Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Donald Trump and his allies, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are "scared" following last week's testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson before the Jan. 6 select committee. "This BIPARTISAN committee has been able to find out things that up until recently were denied by the Jan 6th truthers, so they are left with trying to discredit a young woman with more courage than they could muster in a lifetime. Except… that isn't working," Kinzinger tweeted."Cassidy doesn't seek the limelight, but she is compelled with honor. She didn't even have to swear an oath to the constitution like Kevin, Elise, Kristi Noem and others did. But she volunteered to come under oath to tell what she knows. She is a better person than them all. "Read Full StoryLiz Cheney says the January 6 panel won't 'stand by' and let 'men who are claiming executive privilege' attack Cassidy Hutchinson's characterCassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, arrives to testify during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesRep. Liz Cheney in an interview that aired on Sunday reaffirmed her confidence in former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony and said that the House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol wouldn't sit by idly and let her endure anonymous attacks.While sitting down with ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., the Wyoming Republican expressed confidence in Hutchinson and the credibility of future hearings."What Cassidy Hutchinson did was an unbelievable example of bravery and of courage and patriotism in the face of real pressure," she said."The Committee is not going to stand by and watch her character be assassinated by anonymous sources and by men who are claiming executive privilege. And so we look forward very much to additional testimony under oath on a whole range of issues," she added.Read Full StoryKinzinger says new witnesses have been coming forward to the Jan. 6 committee since Cassidy Hutchinson's 'inspiring' testimonyRep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesRep. Adam Kinzinger says that more witnesses have come forward since Cassidy Hutchinson's blockbuster testimony during the Jan 6. hearings last week.  "She's been inspiring for a lot of people," Kinzinger said Sunday on CNN's  "State of the Union." "Every day, we get new people that come forward and say, 'hey, I didn't think maybe this piece of the story that I knew was important, but now that you guys are talking' — I do see this plays in here."Hutchinson, an ex-aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, revealed in front of the Jan. 6 committee shocking details of former president Donald Trump's behavior on the day of the Capitol attack, including that he attempted to grab the steering wheel of his SUV and lunged at one of his Secret Service agents, as Insider's Grace Panetta previously reported. "I mean, look, she is going to go down in history," Kinzinger said, referring to the 25-year-old. "People can forget the names of every one of us on the committee. They will not forget her name. And, by the way, she doesn't want that. She doesn't want to be out in the public spotlight."Read Full StoryLiz Cheney says the Jan. 6 committee could potentially make multiple criminal referrals, including one against TrumpU.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 9, 2022.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesRep. Liz Cheney in an interview broadcast on Sunday said that the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol could potentially make multiple criminal referrals, including one against former President Donald Trump.During an interview on ABC's "This Week," Cheney — who serves as the vice-chair of the panel — was asked by correspondent Jonathan Karl if the work conducted by its members has shown that Trump's conduct warrants prosecution."Ultimately, the Justice Department will decide that," the Wyoming Republican said. "I think we may well as a committee have a view on that."She continued: "If you just think about it from the perspective of what kind of man knows that a mob is armed and sends the mob to attack the Capitol and further incites that mob when his own vice president is under threat — when the Congress is under threat? It's just very chilling. And I think certainly we will continue to present to the American people what we've found."Read Full StoryDOJ wants a DC judge to reject Steve Bannon's request to delay his contempt-of-Congress trial over January 6 hearings' publicity, saying that he has 'barely been mentioned'Steve Bannon argued in April that his criminal prosecution should be dismissed.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe Department of Justice asked a DC judge on Friday to reject Trump ally Steve Bannon's request to delay his contempt-of-Congress trial, arguing that the January 6 hearings have not revolved around him to the point of distraction.On Wednesday, Bannon's lawyers asked a DC judge to delay his July 18 trial, citing a "media blitz" from the public January 6 committee hearings and saying the request was "due to the unprecedented level of prejudicial pretrial publicity."DOJ lawyers said that Bannon is not as popular as he thinks he is."The Defendant's motion gives the false impression — through general statistics about the volume of viewership of the Committee's hearings and overall media coverage of the Committee's hearings — that all of the Committee's hearings and the attendant media coverage is about him," DOJ lawyers wrote in a filing on Friday. "The truth is just the opposite — the Defendant has barely been mentioned in the Committee's hearings or the resulting media coverage of them."Read More2 Secret Service sources told CNN that Trump angrily demanded to be taken to the Capitol on January 6, partly confirming Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimonyFormer President Donald Trump.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesTwo Secret Service sources told CNN on Friday that they heard about former President Donald Trump lunging at the driver of his presidential SUV on January 6, 2021.The pair of sources, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, backed up much of former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimony on the altercation in the motorcade vehicle known as "the Beast" after Trump found out he wouldn't be driven to join his supporters at the Capitol."He had sort of lunged forward – it was unclear from the conversations I had that he actually made physical contact, but he might have. I don't know," one of the Secret Service sources told CNN. "Nobody said Trump assaulted him; they said he tried to lunge over the seat – for what reason, nobody had any idea."Read Full StoryMichael Cohen says Trump uses a 'mob boss' playbookMichael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal attorney, compared the former president to a "mob boss" amid allegations that Trump allies sought to intimidate Jan. 6 witnesses."Donald Trump never changes his playbook," Cohen told The Washington Post. "He behaves like a mob boss, and these messages are fashioned in that style. Giving an order without giving the order. No fingerprints attached."Read Full StoryTrump allies paid legal fees for multiple Jan. 6 witnesses, including Cassidy Hutchinson, sparking witness-influencing concerns, report saysCassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies before the January 6 committee in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump's allies and supporters paid the legal fees for multiple people who had provided testimony to the January 6 committee, including the former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, The New York Times reported.Hutchinson eventually fired the lawyer who was paid for a pro-Trump group, and went on to provide damning testimony about Trump, the report said. Two sources familiar with the committee told The Times that they believe Hutchinson's decision to part ways with the lawyer — who had been recommended by Trump allies and paid for by a pro-Trump PAC — likely played a role in her decision to provide new evidence. There are no laws against a third party paying for a witness' legal representation in a congressional inquiry, but the situation may raise some ethical concerns, according to the report.Read Full StoryFormer Secret Service agent said he, too, would have defied Trump's request to be taken to the Capitol on January 6Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.PhoPhoto by Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesFormer Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow said in an op-ed that he also would not have taken then-President Donald Trump to the Capitol on January 6, 2021.In an op-ed published by Newsweek, Wackrow said he was shocked by Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony to the January committee regarding Trump's actions on the day of the Capitol riot. Hutchinson, a former aide in the Trump White House, claimed that Trump had gotten into a physical altercation with the head of his security detail while demanding to be brought to the Capitol."If I had been working on Trump's security detail on January 6, I would have made the same decision as Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Robert Engel to not go to the Capitol based on the known escalating threats," Wackrow wrote.He added, however, that he believed Trump still respects the Secret Service because he probably has seen "first-hand what they're willing to do to protect him and his family." Read Full StoryGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger says Cassidy Hutchinson is a 'hero' and has 'more courage than most' Republicans after January 6 testimonyCassidy Hutchinson testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Thursday applauded Cassidy Hutchinson for her testimony to the January 6 committee, saying the former top aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has "more courage" than most of his Republican colleagues. "Cassidy Hutchinson is a hero and a real patriot (not a faux 'patriot' that hates America so much they would attempt a coup.)," Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, said in a tweet."Of course they will try to bully and intimidate her. But she isn't intimidated. More courage than most in GOP," Kinzinger added of Hutchinson.Read Full StoryGOP Sen. Pat Toomey says Trump's chances of winning the party's 2024 presidential nomination are 'much more tenuous' following the January 6 committee's hearingsRepublican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania at the White House with Trump in February 2018.AP Photo/Evan VucciRepublican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania suggested Thursday that public hearings from the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, had damaged former President Donald Trump politically, even among Republicans.At the end of a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg that focused on the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Reserve's approach to tackling inflation, the retiring lawmaker was asked whether he believed the hearings would preclude Trump from seeking a second term as president in 2024."I don't know that it means that. I mean he gets to decide whether he's going to run," said Toomey, who was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump on a charge of incitement of an insurrection after the Capitol riot."Look, I think he disqualified himself from serving in public office by virtue of his post-election behavior, especially leading right up to January 6," Toomey said. "I think the revelations from this committee make his path to even the Republican nomination much more tenuous."Read Full StoryCheney 'absolutely confident' that former White House aide's explosive testimony is credibleRepublican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, vice-chair of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, speaks during a business meeting on Capitol Hill on December 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves as vice-chair of the House's January 6 committee, said she is "absolutely confident" that a former White House aide's damning testimony is accurate."I am absolutely confident in her credibility. I'm confident in her testimony," Cheney told ABC News's Jonathan Karl about the allegations made by top Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson this week.Cheney said that Hutchinson showed "an unbelievable example of bravery and of courage" by testifying.Read MoreBannon wants his contempt trial to be delayed because of Jan. 6 hearingsSteve Bannon outside of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on June 15, 2022 in Washington, DC.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesTrump ally Steve Bannon has asked for his contempt-of-Congress trial to be delayed because the hearings on the Capitol riot are getting so much publicity.A federal grand jury indicted Bannon in November 2021 on two counts of contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.In a Wednesday court filing, Bannon's lawyers argued that the coverage of the committee's hearings would make his trial unfair.Read More January 6 panel subpoenas former White House counsel Pat CipolloneFormer White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said he would testify about Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ official who outlined ways for Trump to challenge the 2020 election.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThe House's panel investigating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, has subpoenaed former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.The demand for Cipollone to appear before the committee comes after explosive testimony from a former top White House aide in the Trump administration, who described Trump and his inner circle's actions before and during the insurrection.Read Full StoryFormer Secret Service agent says Trump's 'girth' would have made it impossible to attack driverOutgoing US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2021.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty ImagesA former White House aide testified that former President Donald Trump grabbed the steering wheel of his SUV and lunged at a Secret Service agent on January 6, 2021, after they refused to take him to the Capitol building.But former Secret Service agents told Insider they have doubts about the story."Trump's not a little guy, right? And the space to actually be able to lunge towards the wheel is not that big," one former agent said, speaking on background to Insider.  "I don't mean to sound disparaging to the former president, but just his girth would prevent him from actually getting to the steering wheel."Keep ReadingHouse Republican who led rioter on tour before insurrection could oversee Capitol policeRep. Barry LoudermilkBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Barry Loudermilk — who led a Capitol rioter on a tour of the building the day before the insurrection — could end up overseeing Capitol police.If Republicans regain control of the House, Loudermilk would be next in line to lead the committee that has oversight over the police force attacked by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.Loudermilk has faced backlash from Democrats after video showed him taking a group on a tour of the Capitol building, showing them hallways, security areas, and stairwells. The next day, members of the tour flaunted a sharpened flagpole bearing the American flag as they marched near the Capitol.It remains unclear whether the group entered the Capitol building itself during the riot.Read Full Story Former Jan. 6 committee investigator announces run for SenateSenior investigative counsel John Wood questions witnesses during the third public hearing of the January 6 committee on June 16, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesJanuary 6 committee investigator John Wood is launching an independent Senate campaign in Missouri in an effort to stop GOP nominee Eric Greitens.Wood told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he believes Greitens — the former Missouri governor — is likely to win the Republican nomination, and that voters deserved an alternative.Wood, a Republican, said he will run as an independent.Read MoreTrump ally says Hutchinson's testimony was a 'campaign commercial' for Ron DeSantis in 2024Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisPhelan M. Ebenhack/AP PhotoExplosive testimony by a former Trump White House aide could be a boost to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to replace Trump on the presidential ticket in 2024, CNN reported.One Trump adviser said the hearings — which painted as Trump as violent and volatile — were "basically a campaign commercial" for DeSantis. Another told CNN that "no one is taking this lightly."DeSantis has flirted with larger political ambitions and is a rising Republican star who would be poised to fill the leadership vacuum if Trump is forced aside.Read Full StorySecret Service agents willing to dispute Hutchinson's claims about Trump's outburst, reports sayFormer President Donald TrumpSAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesSecret Service agents are willing to testify before the January 6 House panel to refute former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's claim that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel when he demanded to be taken to the Capitol on the day of the insurrection, according to multiple reports.The driver of the car and the head of Trump's security are ready to testify under oath that the former President never lunged for the wheel or physically assaulted the driver, according to CBS News.Read More Hutchinson's testimony could lead to legal trouble for Trump: reportCassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoFormer aides to Donald Trump worry the explosive testimony by a former White House aide could put Trump in legal jeopardy, according to the New York Times."This hearing definitely gave investigators a lot to chew on," former Attorney General Bill Barr told the Times after testimony from top White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson detailed Trump's behavior on the day of the Capitol riot.Hutchinson's testimony painted Trump as a volatile man who knew his supporters were armed on January 6, 2021. Trump also demanded to be taken to the Capitol building, but his security staff refused, Hutchinson said.Mick Mulvaney, who was once Trump's White House Chief of Staff, said evidence of possible witness tampering could open his orbit up to charges.Keep Reading  Former Trump press secretary shares text that appears to show Melania Trump to condemn Capitol riot violenceMelania Trump speaks at the White House on October 09, 2019Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesFormer Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham shared a text exchange on Tuesday that purportedly showed former First Lady Melania Trump refusing to condemn the violence during the Capitol riot. The apparent screengrab of a text exchange was between Grisham and a person named "MT." "Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness & violence?" read the message. "No," the person replied.Representatives for Melania Trump at Trump's post-presidential press office did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.Read Full StoryJohn Eastman drops lawsuit blocking his phone records from January 6 committeeJohn Eastman testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2013.Charles Dharapak/APIn a late Tuesday filing, John Eastman dropped a lawsuit he'd filed to prevent the Jan. 6 committee from accessing his phone records."Plaintiff brought this lawsuit primarily to protect the content of his communications, many of which are privileged," the latest filing read. "The Congressional Defendants represented in their motion to dismiss that they were not seeking the content of any of Plaintiff's communications via the subpoena they had issued to Defendant Verizon."The former Trump lawyer's phone was seized by federal agents on June 22, according to a separate suit he filed on Monday, seeking the return of his property. Of interest to investigators are call logs from Eastman's personal device, and the search warrant indicates investigators will not review any additional content from his phone without a court order. Read Full StoryTrumpworld shocked by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive January 6 testimony, calling it the 'most damning day' and 'insane'Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoIt took six hearings for the January 6 select committee to finally break through to embattled former President Donald Trump's inner circle.Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified during a surprise hearing Tuesday that Trump was determined to go to the US Capitol with his armed supporters on January 6, 2021, as Congress was certifying the election results. Hutchinson's additional revelations about that day came crashing down on Trumpworld during the two-hour hearing. Among them were that Meadows told Hutchinson "things might get real, real bad" on January 6, that Trump knew his supporters were armed when they flooded the Ellipse to attend his "Stop the Steal" rally, and that Trump said "Mike deserves it" when rioters chanted "hang Mike Pence." "Definitely most damning day of testimony," one former White House aide told Insider. READ MOREFox News host says it's not 'wholly out of character' that Trump 'might throw his lunch' after January 6 testimony on ketchup dripping down the wallFormer President Donald Trump and Fox News Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier.Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesMoments after a colleague referred to Tuesday's January 6 committee testimony as "stunning," Fox News host Martha MacCallum downplayed new revelations about former President Donald Trump's violent outbursts surrounding his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Trump threw a plate in the White House dining room after he found out former Attorney General Bill Barr publicly said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, leaving "ketchup dripping down the wall.""I mean, I'm not sure that it really shocks anybody that the president just — knowing what we've seen, observing him over the years — if he got angry then he might throw his lunch," MacCallum said. "I'm not sure. It's obviously a very dramatic detail, and the way that she describes it, um, is. But I'm not sure if this is wholly out of character with the Donald Trump and the President Trump that people came to know over the years."READ MOREHere are all the people who sought preemptive pardons from Donald Trump after the Capitol riot, per January 6 committee witnessesRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., joined from left by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at a news conference about the treatment of people being held in the District of Columbia jail who are ch.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 21st, 2022

What"s Going On With Nancy Pelosi"s Son?

What's Going On With Nancy Pelosi's Son? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's son, Paul Pelosi Jr., has been called out by the Daily Mail over his close ties to "a host of fraudsters, rule-breakers and convicted criminals," yet has never been charged himself. Paul Pelosi Jr. (left), and his former cousin-by-marriage California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), 2009 Once dubbed the 'rising prince' of the Pelosi political dynasty by the now-defunct Men's Vogue, Pelosi Jr. had "years-long repeated business dealings" with unsavory characters, in what may have been efforts to curry favor with the Democrat's powerful family. Via the Daily Mail, Pelosi Jr.'s links to alleged lawbreakers include: The 52-year-old joined the board of a biofuel company after it defrauded investors according to an SEC ruling, and whose CEO was convicted after bribing Georgia officials  Pelosi Jr. was president of an environmental investment firm that turned out to be a front for two convicted fraudsters  He joined a lithium mining company and received millions of shares, allegedly issued as part of a massive $164 million fraud  He was vice president of a company previously embroiled in an investigation of scam calls that targeted senior citizens  He has close business ties with a man accused by the Department of Justice of running a fake UN charity that stole investors' money  A medical company Pelosi Jr. worked for tested drugs on people without FDA authorization, according to an FDA investigation According to the report, "sources close to the Democrat power broker's son – and even Pelosi Jr. himself – admit that some of his business dealings may have arisen from savvy entrepreneurs hiring him in an attempt to curry favor with his powerful family." For starters, Paul Pelosi landed a $180,000 per year job as Senior Vice President at data company InfoUSA - while he was also a full-time loan officer at Countrywide Home Loans in San Mateo and had zero experience in database marketing. According to investigators, between 2001 and 2004, before Pelosi Jr. joined the company, InfoUSA knowingly sold fraudsters the data of millions of Americans - which was then used to scam elderly people out of their life savings. According to a 2007 New York Times report on the investigation, InfoUSA sold a list of 500,000 gamblers over age 55 called 'Oldies but Goodies', which described its members as 'gullible'. InfoUSA also sold lists of people with cancer or Alzheimer's called 'Suffering Seniors', the Times reported. The data company denied their lists had such titles. Iowa investigators found emails showing InfoUSA staff knew the firms they were selling to were being investigated for fraudulently targeting old people, but continued to sell the data regardless, the state's AG said. -Daily Mail More on Gupta from Inc.com: How about this for a story? A man leaves India for Omaha with $58 in his pocket. He starts a company in 1972 that reaches peak revenue of $400 million, spends a night in the Lincoln bedroom, puts Bill Clinton on its payroll, sails Bill on his 80-foot yacht with an all-female crew, and flies Hillary Clinton to campaign events on his corporate jet. And he’s as happy as a clam — despite getting sued by shareholders, being pushed out as CEO, incurring over $12 million in debts to settle shareholder lawsuits, and using insurance to pay $13 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that he sold his company — netting him $150 million for his 40% stake — at too low a price. The man is Vinod Gupta, former CEO of InfoUSA, a company that built a database that marketers use to sell everything from consumer products to politicians. Gupta got himself into a larger-than-life heap of trouble. And according to the Daily Mail, some people thought Gupta put Pelosi Jr. on his payroll to curry favor with his powerful mother. Jr. denied it at the time. "I don't think that's really what happens," Paul told NewsMax in 2007. "I don't see it that way, but I could see why you'd ask the question... I guess you always wonder why somebody hires you, right?" Meanwhile, Paul was recruited to be the president of an environmental investment company - Natural Blue Resources. According to 2014 charges against the company, Pelosi Jr. was recruited along with former New Mexico governor and AG Toney Anaya, to create the company and ostensibly find new underground aquifers in New Mexico. A SEC investigaiton, however, found that the company was "secretly controlled" by two convicted criminals - making Pelosi Jr. a cutout used (along with others) to let them "personally profit from the company without disclosing their past brushes with the law to investors." The two men? James Cohen and Joseph Corazzi. Cohen had previously been jailed for financial fraud, and Corazzi had been charged with breaking federal securities laws and was permanently barred from acting as an officer of a public company.  Though Anaya was charged, Pelosi Jr. was not. Pelosi Jr. served as president and board member of Natural Blue from its public stock exchange listing in August 2009 for five months, and served on the board of another company run by Cohen’s wife. -Daily Mail The SEC concluded that Pelosi Jr. didn't play a "meaningful role" in one of Natural Blue's key transactions, and "strenuously object[ed]’ to proposed fundraising contracts, was ousted from the board by the accused fraudsters," ultimately appearing as a witness for the prosecution. Then, in October 2013, Paul landed a job as VP of biofuel company FOGFuels - one month after the SEC announced that it had filed charges against the company and its founder, Paul Marshall (via the Mail). The federal complaint said Marshall stole $3 million from mostly elderly investors in FOGFuels and another of his companies 'to pay for a variety of Marshall's personal expenses, including luxury vacations, child support and alimony payments, and private school tuition and camps for his children.' At the same time, an Atlanta, Georgia official was found guilty of helping arrange city contracts for Marshall's wireless internet company in exchange for bribes. Marshall had previously agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in his $3 million fraud case, and was not charged in the bribery case. FOGFuels, of which Pelosi Jr. was Vice President at the time, also won an Atlanta City Council resolution to turn waste restaurant grease into biofuel. -Daily Mail Read the rest of the report here. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 14:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 14th, 2022

5 crypto scams to know before you start trading coins

Scammers use various techniques to rob crypto investors. Here are five scams to know and how to avoid them. Since cryptocurrency markets are still relatively new and less regulated, they’re more vulnerable to market manipulation.Victoria Gnatiuk/Getty Cryptocurrency is less regulated than other assets, which can lead to scams, fraud, and financial ruin. There are various forms of crypto market manipulation, including pump-and-dump schemes and rug pulls. Investors can avoid several common crypto scams by performing thorough due diligence before trading. Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. A cryptocurrency is a digital token that can be exchanged for goods and services. But many retail investors and institutions treat cryptos as investments instead of means of exchange, buying certain coins and hoping to sell them for a profit at a later date. But investors must be careful before dabbling in these widely misunderstood assets. Cryptocurrencies are speculative by nature. They lack traditional fundamentals that investors can analyze and assign value to. As a result, cryptos tend to be volatile assets — their prices can drastically fluctuate on any given day. Crypto markets are also less regulated in general, so it's easier for bad actors to maliciously influence prices and take advantage of unsuspecting investors. For these reasons, investors should be wary of the following crypto scams before they start investing in crypto. 1. Market manipulationMarket manipulation is the deliberate attempt to artificially influence or interfere with asset prices. Typically, scammers manipulate markets to tip the scales in their favor and make quick returns. Several illicit trading activities fall under this umbrella term, including:Spoofing: This creates an illusion of momentum by placing fake buy or sell orders, which are canceled before they're filled. Scammers frequently use dummy accounts and bots to place large trades, giving other investors the impression that demand is either increasing or decreasing. Front-running: This is the practice of making trades based on knowledge of future transactions. For instance, miners or node operators can have insight into pending trades. They could then leverage their inside access to make profitable trades ahead of major price swings. Churning: This is excessive trading by a broker in a client's crypto account to generate additional commissions. Asset management firms can receive fees for managing crypto holdings. Therefore, nefarious brokers could abuse a commission-based payment structure to profit off of unaware clients. On top of unwarranted fees, the impacted individuals could also incur unnecessary tax liabilities as a result of churning. Since cryptocurrency markets are still relatively new and less regulated, they're more vulnerable to market manipulation. However, there are ways crypto traders can avoid falling victim to these scams. For starters, it's best to trade on larger, reputable exchanges that have established security policies and internal controls. Additionally, investors can safeguard against unlawful tactics in the crypto markets by thoroughly researching coins, brokers, and exchanges before making any financial decisions. For instance, legitimate cryptos and companies typically offer potential investors an abundance of learning materials on their websites.Quick tip: Although plenty of investors day trade crypto, market manipulation usually impacts short-term trading activity. So, you can help protect against spontaneous price jumps by adopting a long-term outlook, otherwise known as "HODL-ing." This stands for "hold on for dear life" and encourages a buy-and-hold investing strategy.2. Pump-and-dump schemesA pump-and-dump scheme represents an individual or group's effort to inflate the price of an asset so that they can sell their own holdings for a profit. It starts with the "pump." To convince people to buy in, crypto schemers spread false or misleading information about minimally traded coins through social media, forums, and online communities. These posts often contain embellished due diligence (or "DD") and promise an impending surge. They'll use emojis like rocket ships paired with moons and diamonds alongside outstretched hands, implying an investment is about to pop and that investors should buy and hold. Then comes the dump. As momentum swells, other investors cash in and drive the price up, while the schemers cash out and make a quick fortune. Once the market realizes the hype was fake, investors scurry to limit losses and the coin's price plummets.Spotting a pump-and-dump scheme boils down to credibility. If you use social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter to track crypto movements, look out for anonymous accounts with minimal posting history — or a track record of baseless pumping. These are likely fraudsters. 3. Rug pulls A rug pull occurs when crypto developers abandon a project but keep the funds raised from investors. Bad actors can list a new token on a decentralized exchange, pair it with a legitimate cryptocurrency, and drum up interest on social media to lure in investors. Once enough money funnels into their token, the developers scratch the project and run with investor funds. This scam plagues early investors who think they're getting early access to up-and-coming cryptos, when in reality they're scammed out of their money. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," explains Shaun Heng, the VP of Growth & Operations at CoinMarketCap, one of the most frequented websites for tracking crypto prices."Pay close attention to the websites and third parties involved. Don't rely on comments from anyone on social media, no matter what people are saying or how many positive reviews there are. If you can't find verifiable reviews, the chances of the opportunity being a scam are higher," Heng adds.Quick tip: By sticking to centralized cryptocurrency exchanges, which typically have stricter oversight and regulations, you have a better chance of avoiding illegitimate projects. 4. Traditional hacking and theft Crypto markets have unique characteristics relative to other asset markets. But investors are still susceptible to traditional scams like account hacks and identity theft. To trade crypto, investors need a crypto wallet, which can be a digital or physical device. These wallets have keys — both public and private. The former is a public address that allows crypto to be deposited into the wallet, similar to how routing and bank account numbers enable direct deposits. The latter is like the password to an online banking platform. Whoever has access to that password can control the funds within the account. Just as you wouldn't share your credit card number with a stranger, keep your private keys somewhere safe. Fraudsters can use this information to hack accounts and withdraw funds — and they'll employ various tricks to get investors to reveal their private information. Be cautious of crypto phishing emails that may pose as a crypto exchange or wallet provider. The same goes for out-of-the-blue and unsolicited promotions from suspicious websites and imposter accounts. Scammers often pretend to be celebrities or affiliates of major companies, promising guaranteed and immediate returns if you act quickly. Quick tip: To avoid accidentally falling for phishing emails, verify that the sender's email address is valid and/or recognizable. Often, scammers use addresses with generic domains and random characters.5.  Initial coin offering (ICO) scamsAn initial coin offering (ICO) is the crypto equivalent of an initial public offering (IPO) for a stock. Through an ICO, companies can raise money to fund a crypto development, such as a token, app, or relevant service. In exchange for pledging funds, the investor receives an issuance of newly minted coins. While IPOs are typically for well-established private businesses, companies that pursue ICOs aren't necessarily in the same position. They could be fledgling startups without any operating history whatsoever, which can make it difficult to differentiate between a real offering and a scam. Similar to rug pulls, ICO scams collect the funds of early investors only to abandon the project shortly after. An easy way to recognize an ICO scam — or simply an unprepared management team — is to review the company's whitepaper. This document details the specifications behind the project, including strategy, goals, and market analysis. If the company doesn't provide a whitepaper, that's a red flag. Quick tip: You can perform a background check on the ICO's developers and management team. If the company's ownership is anonymous or has a minimal track record in the crypto space, that should also be a cause of concern.The financial takeawayDecentralized finance can be a Catch-22. On one side, the lack of a singular governing body allows community-wide decisions and can open the doors to additional opportunities. On the other side, without standardized oversight, bad actors can commit fraud and deceive unsuspecting investors in a variety of ways. However, much like in traditional asset markets, crypto investors can lower their risk of succumbing to market manipulation by being wary of these schemes and taking proactive measures. That includes using reputable exchanges and performing thorough research before making any investment decisions. If you come across a scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 1st, 2021

Polymarket platform for placing crypto bets on COVID, Bennifer 2.0, and Trump"s return is under investigation by the CFTC, report says

The CFTC is investigating whether Polymarket allows its customers to improperly trade swaps or binary options, Bloomberg reported. Donald Trump. James Devaney The CFTC is investigating whether Polymarket allows improper trading of swaps or binary options, Bloomberg reported. The regulator, which is investigating Binance for insider trading, is scrutinizing the crypto industry closely. Polymarket gathers prediction data by letting people bet crypto on beliefs such as whether Trump will be re-elected. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Polymarket, one of the biggest cryptocurrency prediction venues, is being scrutinized by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission over whether it is allowing users to make improper trades, Bloomberg reported Saturday.The US-based platform lets people place crypto bets on what will happen next in topics in the news and social media, such as whether former president Donald Trump will return to the White House. That trading activity is then turned into prediction data.The CFTC, the US derivatives markets regulator, is probing whether Polymarket let users improperly trade swaps or binary options, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Its officials are also looking to see whether the platform should be registered with the CFTC.Swaps are derivative contracts to exchange money for a set period of time, while binary options let investors trade on price fluctuations. Polymarket and the CFTC did not respond to requests for comment. On the Polymarket platform right now, people can place bids on whether Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck will get engaged again by Thanksgiving - so far, most have said no. Wagers have been placed on whether Nicki Minaj will get the COVID-19 vaccine by November 29 (most said no). When a prediction proves to be true, the person betting gets a return.Polymarket is not the only crypto-related company to come under the CFTC's lens, as the regulator has been investigating crypto exchange Binance for insider trading since late September. Its officials are looking into whether Binance profited from trading on customer orders before they were executed. Other US regulators have trained their sights on crypto. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Treasury Department are looking at how they can tax and regulate crypto trading better, to prevent fraud and "malign actors" from transferring funds across borders. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 25th, 2021

CFTC Fines Bitfinex, Tether $43MM For "Misleading" Claims About Reserves

CFTC Fines Bitfinex, Tether $43MM For "Misleading" Claims About Reserves Years ago, several anonymous accounts on twitter, reddit and other social media platforms complained that tether, one of the original stablecoins, and Bitfinex, the crypto exchange that helped create tether, were conspiring to drain the reserves from Tether's bank accounts, something that Bloomberg appeared to confirm in a report published earlier this month. The SEC has been saying for months that regulating stablecoins is a priority, just like finally legalizing a bitcoin ETFs. But stablecoins present a unique threat to the US dollar, as one Treasury official explained earlier. Their lack of volatility (even tether continues to trade at roughly $1 despite reports about tether's reserves) mean they could be used for payments, making them a competitor to the dollar (while bitcoin and altcoins are more accurately compared with precious metals). The agency said Friday that tether and Bitfinex will pay a combined $42.5MM, with $41MM of that coming from tether, and the remaining $1.5MM coming from Bitfinex. Tether's fine was imposed over the company's claims that its stablecoin was "fully backed" by US dollars (which, as Bloomberg demonstrated, it's not). Bitfinex, meanwhile, will pay $1.5MM over findings that "Bitfinex engaged in illegal, off-exchange retail commodity transactions in digital assets with U.S persons on the Bitfinex trading platform and operated as a futures commission merchant (FCM) without registering as required," according to the statement. The CFTC took a few seconds to pat itself on the back in its press release as the feuding over which agencies have jurisdiction over crypto continues to intensify. "This case highlights the expectation of honesty and transparency in the rapidly growing and developing digital assets marketplace," said Acting Chairman Rostin Behnam. "The CFTC will continue to take decisive action to bring to light untrue or misleading statements that impact CFTC jurisdictional markets.”" The CFTC added that it imposed these charges in keeping with its Congressional mandate to protect American investors from scams and fraud. "As demonstrated by today’s actions against Tether and Bitfinex, the CFTC is committed to carrying out its statutory charge to promote market integrity and protect U.S. customers," said Acting Director of Enforcement Vincent McGonagle. "The CFTC will use its strong anti-fraud enforcement authority over commodities, including digital assets, when necessary. The CFTC will also act to ensure that certain margined, leveraged or financed digital asset trading offered to retail U.S. customers must occur on properly registered and regulated exchanges. Moreover, as the Bitfinex order reflects, the CFTC will take decisive action against those who choose to violate CFTC orders." The penalties stemmed from the same findings about tether's lack of verifiable reserves that Bloomberg disclosed earlier this month. Since..."at least June 1, 2016 to February 25, 2019, Tether misrepresented to customers and the market that Tether maintained sufficient U.S. dollar reserves to back every USDT in circulation with the “equivalent amount of corresponding fiat currency” held by Tether and “safely deposited” in Tether’s bank accounts. In fact Tether reserves were not “fully-backed” the majority of the time." The CFTC also found that tether only held the amount of fiat reserves that it advertised during only 27.6% of the days in a 26-month sample time period from 2016 through 2018. The investigation also showed how Bitfinex helped tether essentially launder its reserves. "...[I]nstead of holding all USDT token reserves in US dollars as represented, Tether relied upon unregulated entities and certain third-parties to hold funds comprising the reserves; comingled reserve funds with Bitfinex’s operational and customer funds..." Tether also neglected to complete mandatory audits during this time. The company even went so far as to put up tether's reserves to cover Bitfinex losses when it was struggling with a hacker-induced "liquidity crisis." Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 14:26.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Snowden: Your Money AND Your Life

Snowden: Your Money AND Your Life Submitted by Edward Snowden via Continuing Ed, 1. This week's news, or “news,” about the US Treasury’s ability, or willingness, or just trial-balloon troll-suggestion to mint a one trillion dollar ($1,000,000,000,000) platinum coin in order to extend the country’s debt-limit reminded me of some other monetary reading I encountered, during the sweltering summer, when it first became clear to many that the greatest impediment to any new American infrastructure bill wasn’t going to be the debt-ceiling but the Congressional floor. That reading, which I accomplished while preparing lunch with the help of my favorite infrastructure, namely electricity, was of a transcript of a speech given by one Christopher J. Waller, a freshly-minted governor of the United States’ 51st and most powerful state, the Federal Reserve. The subject of this speech? CBDCs—which aren’t, unfortunately, some new form of cannabinoid that you might’ve missed, but instead the acronym for Central Bank Digital Currencies—the newest danger cresting the public horizon. Now, before we go any further, let me say that it’s been difficult for me to decide what exactly this speech is—whether it’s a minority report or just an attempt to pander to his hosts, the American Enterprise Institute.  But given that Waller, an economist and a last-minute Trump appointee to the Fed, will serve his term until January 2030, we lunchtime readers might discern an effort to influence future policy, and specifically to influence the Fed’s much-heralded and still-forthcoming “discussion paper”—a group-authored text—on the topic of the costs and benefits of creating a CBDC. That is, on the costs and benefits of creating an American CBDC, because China has already announced one, as have about a dozen other countries including most recently Nigeria, which in early October will roll out the eNaira. By this point, a reader who isn’t yet a subscriber to this particular Substack might be asking themselves, what the hell is a Central Bank Digital Currency?  Reader, I will tell you. Rather, I will tell you what a CBDC is NOT—it is NOT, as Wikipedia might tell you, a digital dollar. After all, most dollars are already digital, existing not as something folded in your wallet, but as an entry in a bank’s database, faithfully requested and rendered beneath the glass of your phone. In every example, money cannot exist outside the knowledge of the Central Bank Neither is a Central Bank Digital Currency a State-level embrace of cryptocurrency—at least not of cryptocurrency as pretty much everyone in the world who uses it currently understands it. Instead, a CBDC is something closer to being a perversion of cryptocurrency, or at least of the founding principles and protocols of cryptocurrency—a cryptofascist currency, an evil twin entered into the ledgers on Opposite Day, expressly designed to deny its users the basic ownership of their money and to install the State at the mediating center of every transaction.  2. For thousands of years priors to the advent of CBDCs, money—the conceptual unit of account that we represent with the generally physical, tangible objects we call currency—has been chiefly embodied in the form of coins struck from precious metals. The adjective “precious”—referring to the fundamental limit on availability established by what a massive pain in the ass it was to find and dig up the intrinsically scarce commodity out of the ground—was important, because, well, everyone cheats: the buyer in the marketplace shaves down his metal coin and saves up the scraps, the seller in the marketplace weighs the metal coin on dishonest scales, and the minter of the coin, who is usually the regent, or the State, dilutes the preciosity of the coin’s metal with lesser materials, to say nothing of other methods. Behold the glory of thelaw The history of banking is in many ways the history of this dilution—as governments soon discovered that through mere legislation they could declare that everyone within their borders had to accept that this year’s coins were equal to last year’s coins, even if the new coins had less silver and more lead. In many countries, the penalties for casting doubt on this system, even for pointing out the adulteration, was asset-seizure at best, and at worst: hanging, beheading, death-by-fire. In Imperial Rome, this currency-degradation, which today might be described as a “financial innovation,” would go on to finance previously-unaffordable policies and forever wars, leading eventually to the Crisis of the Third Century and Diocletian’s Edict on Maximum Prices, which outlived the collapse of the Roman economy and the empire itself in an appropriately memorable way: Tired of carrying around weighty bags of dinar and denarii, post-third-century merchants, particularly post-third-century traveling merchants, created more symbolic forms of currency, and so created commercial banking—the populist version of royal treasuries—whose most important early instruments were institutional promissory notes, which didn’t have their own intrinsic value but were backed by a commodity: They were pieces of parchment and paper that represented the right to be exchanged for some amount of a more-or-less intrinsically valuable coinage. The regimes that emerged from the fires of Rome extended this concept to establish their own convertible currencies, and little tiny shreds of rag circulated within the economy alongside their identical-in-symbolic-value, but distinct-in-intrinsic-value, coin equivalents. Beginning with an increase in printing paper notes, continuing with the cancellation of the right to exchange them for coinage, and culminating in the zinc-and-copper debasement of the coinage itself, city-states and later enterprising nation-states finally achieved what our old friend Waller and his cronies at the Fed would generously describe as “sovereign currency:” a handsome napkin. Sovereign currency, as known to history Once currency is understood in this way, it’s a short hop from napkin to network. The principle is the same: the new digital token circulates alongside the increasingly-absent old physical token. At first. Just as America’s old paper Silver Certificate could once be exchanged for a shiny, one-ounce Silver Dollar, the balance of digital dollars displayed on your phone banking app can today still be redeemed at a commercial bank for one printed green napkin, so long as that bank remains solvent or retains its depository insurance.  Should that promise-of-redemption seem a cold comfort, you’d do well to remember that the napkin in your wallet is still better than what you traded it for: a mere claim on a napkin for your wallet. Also, once that napkin is securely stowed away in your purse—or murse—the bank no longer gets to decide, or even know, how and where you use it. Also, the napkin will still work when the power-grid fails. The perfect companion for any reader’s lunch. 3. Advocates of CBDCs contend that these strictly-centralized currencies are the realization of a bold new standard—not a Gold Standard, or a Silver Standard, or even a Blockchain Standard, but something like a Spreadsheet Standard, where every central-bank-issued-dollar is held by a central-bank-managed account, recorded in a vast ledger-of-State that can be continuously scrutizined and eternally revised. CBDC proponents claim that this will make everyday transactions both safer (by removing counterparty risk), and easier to tax (by rendering it well nigh impossible to hide money from the government).  CBDC opponents, however, cite that very same purported “safety” and “ease” to argue that an e-dollar, say, is merely an extension to, or financial manifestation of, the ever-encroaching surveillance state. To these critics, the method by which this proposal eradicates bankruptcy fallout and tax dodgers draws a bright red line under its deadly flaw: these only come at the cost of placing the State, newly privy to the use and custodianship of every dollar, at the center of monetary interaction. Look at China, the napkin-clingers cry, where the new ban on Bitcoin, along with the release of the digital-yuan, is clearly intended to increase the ability of the State to “intermediate”—to impose itself in the middle of—every last transaction. “Intermediation,” and its opposite “disintermediation,” constitute the heart of the matter, and it’s notable how reliant Waller’s speech is on these terms, whose origins can be found not in capitalist policy but, ironically, in Marxist critique. What they mean is: who or what stands between your money and your intentions for it. What some economists have lately taken to calling, with a suspiciously pejorative emphasis, “decentralized cryptocurrencies”—meaning Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others—are regarded by both central and commercial banks as dangerous disintermediators; precisely because they’ve been designed to ensure equal protection for all users, with no special privileges extended to the State. This “crypto”—whose very technology was primarily created in order to correct the centralization that now threatens it—was, generally is, and should be constitutionally unconcerned with who possesses it and uses it for what. To traditional banks, however, not to mention to states with sovereign currencies, this is unacceptable: These upstart crypto-competitors represent an epochal disruption, promising the possibility of storing and moving verifiable value independent of State approval, and so placing their users beyond the reach of Rome. Opposition to such free trade is all-too-often concealed beneath a veneer of paternalistic concern, with the State claiming that in the absence of its own loving intermediation, the market will inevitably devolve into unlawful gambling dens and fleshpots rife with tax fraud, drug deals, and gun-running.  It’s difficult to countenance this claim, however, when according to none other than the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the US Department of the Treasury, “Although virtual currencies are used for illicit transactions, the volume is small compared to the volume of illicit activity through traditional financial services.” Traditional financial services, of course, being the very face and definition of “intermediation”—services that seek to extract for themselves a piece of our every exchange. 4. Which brings us back to Waller—who might be called an anti-disintermediator, a defender of the commercial banking system and its services that store and invest (and often lose) the money that the American central banking system, the Fed, decides to print (often in the middle of the night). You’d be surprised how many opinion-writers are willing to publicly pretend they can’t tell the difference between an accounting trick and money-printing. And yet I admit that I still find his remarks compelling—chiefly because I reject his rationale, but concur with his conclusions. It’s Waller’s opinion, as well as my own, that the United States does not need to develop its own CBDC. Yet while Waller believes that the US doesn’t need a CBDC because of its already robust commercial banking sector, I believe that the US doesn’t need a CBDC despite the banks, whose activities are, to my mind, almost all better and more equitably accomplished these days by the robust, diverse, and sustainable ecosystem of non-State cryptocurrencies (translation: regular crypto).  I risk few readers by asserting that the commercial banking sector is not, as Waller avers, the solution, but is in fact the problem—a parasitic and utterly inefficient industry that has preyed upon its customers with an impunity backstopped by regular bail-outs from the Fed, thanks to the dubious fiction that it is “too big too fail.” But even as the banking-industrial complex has become larger, its utility has withered—especially in comparison to crypto. Commercial banking once uniquely secured otherwise risky transactions, ensuring escrow and reversibility. Similarly, credit and investment were unavailable, and perhaps even unimaginable, without it. Today you can enjoy any of these in three clicks. Still, banks have an older role. Since the inception of commercial banking, or at least since its capitalization by central banking, the industry’s most important function has been the moving of money, fulfilling the promise of those promissory notes of old by allowing their redemption in different cities, or in different countries, and by allowing bearers and redeemers of those notes to make payments on their and others’ behalf across similar distances. For most of history, moving money in such a manner required the storing of it, and in great quantities—necessitating the palpable security of vaults and guards. But as intrinsically valuable money gave way to our little napkins, and napkins give way to their intangible digital equivalents, that has changed. Today, however, there isn’t much in the vaults. If you walk into a bank, even without a mask over your face, and attempt a sizable withdrawal, you’re almost always going to be told to come back next Wednesday, as the physical currency you’re requesting has to be ordered from the rare branch or reserve that actually has it. Meanwhile, the guard, no less mythologized in the mind than the granite and marble he paces, is just an old man with tired feet, paid too little to use the gun that he carries.  These are what commercial banks have been reduced to: “intermediating” money-ordering-services that profit off penalties and fees—protected by your grandfather. In sum, in an increasingly digital society, there is almost nothing a bank can do to provide access to and protect your assets that an algorithm can’t replicate and improve upon. On the other hand, when Christmas comes around, cryptocurrencies don’t give out those little tiny desk calendars. But let’s return to close with that bank security guard, who after helping to close up the bank for the day probably goes off to work a second job, to make ends meet—at a gas station, say.  Will a CBDC be helpful to him? Will an e-dollar improve his life, more than a cash dollar would, or a dollar-equivalent in Bitcoin, or in some stablecoin, or even in an FDIC-insured stablecoin? Let’s say that his doctor has told him that the sedentary or just-standing-around nature of his work at the bank has impacted his health, and contributed to dangerous weight gain. Our guard must cut down on sugar, and his private insurance company—which he’s been publicly mandated to deal with—now starts tracking his pre-diabetic condition and passes data on that condition on to the systems that control his CBDC wallet, so that the next time he goes to the deli and tries to buy some candy, he’s rejected—he can’t—his wallet just refuses to pay, even if it was his intention to buy that candy for his granddaughter. Or, let’s say that one of his e-dollars, which he received as a tip at his gas station job, happens to be later registered by a central authority as having been used, by its previous possessor, to execute a suspicious transaction, whether it was a drug deal or a donation to a totally innocent and in fact totally life-affirming charity operating in a foreign country deemed hostile to US foreign policy, and so it becomes frozen and even has to be “civilly” forfeited. How will our beleagured guard get it back? Will he ever be able to prove that said e-dollar is legitimately his and retake possession of it, and how much would that proof ultimately cost him? Our guard earns his living with his labor—he earns it with his body, and yet by the time that body inevitably breaks down, will he have amassed enough of a grubstake to comfortably retire? And if not, can he ever hope to rely on the State’s benevolent, or even adequate, provision—for his welfare, his care, his healing?  This is the question that I’d like Waller, that I’d like all of the Fed, and the Treasury, and the rest of the US government, to answer:  Of all the things that might be centralized and nationalized in this poor man’s life, should it really be his money? Subscribe here Tyler Durden Sun, 10/10/2021 - 20:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 10th, 2021

FTX Post Mortem Part 2 Of 3: How Did We Get Here?

FTX Post Mortem Part 2 Of 3: How Did We Get Here? Authored by Scott Hill via BombThrower.com, Last week we covered the collapse of FTX as it happened but there’s a lot more to the story. How did FTX grow from a tiny Hong Kong bucket shop into a top three Crypto exchange over the course of just a few years? What was Alameda research and were they ever legitimate? Most importantly, how exactly does an exchange lose track of up to $10 billion worth of customer deposits? Most of this material is still an educated guess, but the guessers are out there putting together clues from private discussions which have been leaked, the bankruptcy proceedings and first hand dealings shared on Crypto Twitter. It’s worth noting that there is a whole deep state angle to this story. I won’t go into it in this article because so little is known (see endnote) What we do know is mostly confined to the fact that FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was the second largest donor to Democrat political campaigns since 2019. His Co-CEO for part of the FTX Empire, Ryan Salame, was a top 10 donor to the Republican party in the same period. Sam Bankman-Fried met with SEC Chairman Gary Gensler seeking a “no action” letter on an enforcement matter in April, shortly before SBF began pushing the DCCPA, a bill which the Crypto industry mainly saw as a subtle crackdown on DeFi wrapped in a reasonable sounding regulatory framework. The biggest question mark is the identity of FTX CTO and co-founder Garry Wang. The man is a ghost with very little online presence and only a handful of photos. Famed short seller Marc Cohodes is under the impression that Wang is a state actor for the CCP. These questions are important and interesting, but they don’t make for a useful article because of the complete absence of detail. Alameda Research Alameda Research, the market maker or crypto hedge fund founded by SBF in Hong Kong during the bull run of 2017 is the start of the rot. The official story is that the firm was formed from a team of young hotshots who learned to trade at Jane Street, a notoriously secretive global market maker which trades more than $10 trillion in securities volume each year. In January 2018 as Bitcoin was collapsing, Alameda research were performing the Japan arbitrage trade. They purchased Bitcoin in the US, moved it onto Japanese exchanges and cashed in on the gap between markets. The spread was often as wide as 10%. SBF claimed the firm made $10M on the arbitrage over the course of several weeks. This was a complicated trade. Japanese capital controls are strict with only Japanese nationals allowed to hold bank accounts, making it extremely difficult to get the money out of Japan and requiring a reasonable level of sophistication and corporate legitimacy to pull off. Following the Japan arbitrage, Alameda went after the “Kimchi Premium”. This was the same type of arbitrage trade, with Bitcoin on South Korean exchanges worth up to 20% more than Bitcoin on US exchanges. The capital controls were tighter, the ability to set up corporate infrastructure in the nation was more restricted and Bitcoin was in the middle of collapsing making trading the asset much more risky. Some people are suggesting that Alameda lost $10 million on the Kimchi Premium trade, but no one really knows whether any of this story is even true. I’m deeply skeptical of this entire backstory given what we have now seen about how careful SBF is with his public image. It’s entirely possible that this whole story was a fabrication to paint the picture of a boy genius trader with a Jane Street pedigree striking out on his own in Crypto land. Completely Absurd Fundraising In early 2018, Alameda Research established headquarters in Hong Kong. While SBF was a complete unknown to Crypto insiders at the time, Alameda Research was making a name for itself, frequently up the top of the Bitmex trading leaderboard. Crypto markets in 2018 were very different to the last few years. While 2017 had seen a burst of activity during Bitcoin’s bull run, volumes were still tiny and there were very few professional firms taking the asset class seriously. It’s completely plausible that in the absence of professional market makers, Alameda Research could have done very well. It also seems likely that the edge that such a small team had would have disappeared quickly as the market became more professional. Alameda Research only had a handful of employees. Nowhere near enough to build and execute a sophistical algorithmic market making strategy, such as those employed at Jane Street. In December 2019 an investment pitch deck for Alameda Research circulated among Crypto insiders. The firm was seeking to raise $200 million in debt funding and was offering 15% payments on the debt. The pitch itself made ridiculous claims about the firm’s edge and was riddled with red flags. “High Returns with no risk – These loans have no downside” Insiders that viewed the pitch deck were confused. The whispers within the industry were that this firm was highly profitable yet they seemed desperate to raise $200 million. Most stayed away and it’s unclear whether or not the fundraising was successful. Launch of FTX FTX was founded in May 2019 but had very little volume until the following year when they established the regulatory status to allow US customers to trade. FTX later acquired Blockfolio to obtain additional US licensing and the bones of a trading app. Even with this boost in volume, FTX was considered an unfavorable exchange to make markets for among established industry participants. The presumption was that Alameda Research was an embedded market maker that was given an unfair advantage on the platform and rival firms stayed clear. At the time SBF was still the CEO of both companies. There were claims of a separation of the firms, but it was known that they both operated out of the same offices in Hong Kong. It was rumored that Alameda had full access to customer position data and would hunt for liquidations. FTX was seen as a shady offshore bucket shop. By early 2021 little had changed in the industry perception of FTX, but volume was growing. In January SBF was busy arguing on Twitter, leading to the infamous “I’ll buy as much Solana as  you have, right now, at $3” tweet. He was not taken seriously until later that year when this huge Solana bet seemed to pay off. FTX gains Legitimacy By the middle of 2021, with Crypto in a raging bull market and FTX capturing significant market share, the exchange became too large to ignore. A big part of the story was China putting in place another round of Crypto bans in September which forced many major Crypto traders and market makers to find new venues to trade. Zhu Su, founder of disgraced Crypto Hedge fund Three Arrows Capital said recently that he had moved his fund’s trading from Huobi and Okex to FTX and Binance in the wake of the China ban. FTX gave them extremely favorable terms. A big reason that firms began to feel comfortable with FTX was the splashy fundraising FTX was able to pull off. Market participants assumed that among the billions of dollars of venture capital money that had been invested in FTX, someone had done basic due diligence on the firm. We now know that during these heady days of free money SBF was demanding investment commitments quickly from VCs or he would move on to the next phone call. There was a giant line of VCs desperate to get into an FTX round. The July fundraising list was a who’s who of Silicon Valley VC. Led by Sequoia, the round included Softbank, Temasek and VanEck. Apparently none of these firms insisted on even the most basic corporate controls, like installing a board of directors. A later round included a strategic investment from Blackrock. FTX was a blue ribbon investment. They all needed Crypto exposure now and FTX was the hottest Crypto startup in town. The other piece of the puzzle was that trading firms were now making money on FTX, when before they were simply getting their positions hunted by Alameda. Leverage was handed out in ample servings. Compliance was lax. Payouts were quick. It seemed to most that FTX had moved on from its shady beginnings to become a legitimate venue for market makers to use. Tokens A giant part of understanding exactly what went down at FTX is understanding the Tokens they had launched or partnered with. In 2019 FTX launched FTT, an Ethereum ecosystem token which represented a cut of exchange fees and offered discounts to traders for holding it. It was the same model that Binance launched their token with in 2017. Tokens would be bought out of the market with a portion of exchange profits on a regular basis, delivering a return to investors. A huge portion of FTT tokens were held on the FTX balance sheet as an asset. Even more egregious were the Solana ecosystem tokens which FTX helped launch. The leaked balance sheet showed that FTX had large holdings of Serum, Maps and Oxy. It showed Serum tokens marked as a $2.2 billion asset. Available market cap at the time was less than $500 million. We don’t know for sure, but it seems likely that loans were taken out backed by FTT and other minor tokens. Essentially, it seems that SBF invented his own currency from this air and then took out US dollar loans against it from anyone that would offer.  We haven’t heard from any major Crypto lender about whether or not they took FTT as collateral. We may never hear an admission on that point. What we do know is that Solana DeFi, where SBF had significant influence, largely took these minor tokens as collateral for loans on much more generous terms than seems reasonable now. And why wouldn’t Crypto lenders offer loans to FTX on whatever collateral was offered? FTX was the fastest growing exchange in industry history. It had prestigious investors. Its CEO was throwing around cash on advertising and political donations. Surely FTX was profitable enough to service their loans. So what happened to the money? When FTX blew up there was a balance sheet hole of somewhere between $6-10 billion. It was reported as “missing customer funds” but judging from recent public comments made by SBF it seems more likely that there was a complex web of loans and cross company funding arrangements than just straight up theft of customer assets. An underreported part of this story which fills in a key gap is that the offshore FTX entity apparently didn’t have its own bank account. Wires to the offshore exchange would go directly into a bank account held by Alameda Research. It seems that FTX didn’t secretly transfer customer funds to its associated hedge fund, it probably didn’t even make loans between companies. The most likely explanation is that Alameda Research just had direct access to customer funds  which were wired to them. While shocking, it wouldn’t be as egregious if the FTX terms didn’t explicitly say that assets were held on trust for customers. FTX wasn’t supposed to touch customer funds once they were deposited. Maybe that’s the whole point, that SBF was relying on some bizarre technicality or legal fiction to convince himself that he had the right to deal with customer assets. Did I mention that both of his parents are compliance lawyers, with one a leading expert on tax havens. If there’s anyone that could access the advice to set up a complex piece of legal fiction entitling him to pilfer customer funds in a defensible way, it’s SBF. Liquidations That only explains how Alameda Research got access to customer funds, but how did they lose the funds? Alameda Research is a market maker primarily and was the key integrated market maker on FTX. Among other things that gave Alameda the ability to purchase liquidated positions of customers, likely at a huge discount. In a bull market this is a hugely advantaged position to be in. Say Bitcoin drops 5% in an hour and longs get liquidated, Alameda was able to purchase those long Bitcoin positions and then resell them later, after the liquidation cascade was over and price had recovered. Alameda was exempt from liquidation on FTX, so they could hold underwater positions for as long as they wanted without being forced to close them. In a bear market, Alameda would likely accumulate underwater positions that they couldn’t get out of without incurring a large loss. Other market makers will generally sell a liquidated position off as soon as possible, to avoid being liquidated themselves. This doesn’t appear to be a check and balance that was in place for Alameda’s operations on FTX. Another key feature of the leverage trading offered at FTX was cross asset collateral. Essentially this means that leverage was offered on the entire portfolio of a customer. There wasn’t a segregation of collateral, users could simply offer up a mixed list of tokens and take margin loans against the whole pie. This included FTT and Serum at much more generous collateral ratios than other exchanges offered. Whatever low quality collateral you had, FTX would take it, and it seems that it would end up on Alameda’s books when a customer was liquidated. Luna Eclipse In a collapsing market, this lack of controls over Alameda is potentially disastrous. Luna had the most high profile collapse in the history of Crypto tokens in May this year, losing 99.7% of its value in a week before getting as close to absolute zero as possible. FTX and Binance were the major venues for trading the Luna collapse. Traders bought the dip on leverage all the way down. It seems likely that Alameda took all of those liquidated positions onto their own balance sheet. Luna started its collapse at around $90. The following week it was at essentially zero. There is no way that Alameda could have sold off all of those liquidated customer positions as the token collapsed. This type of liquidation transaction is known as “toxic flow” and is a surefire way to bankrupt a market maker. If FTX’s famously specialized liquidation engine simply meant that customer positions were shunted onto the Alameda balance sheet to be cleared at a later date, then the amount of toxic flow from junk tokens in the last year would build up quickly. This seems to be the only way the size of the hole makes any sense. Other Problems If we assume that Luna blew a giant hole in the balance sheets within the FTX empire then what happened next makes a whole lot more sense. SBF went on a buying spree as Crypto lenders collapsed, backstopping insolvent firms and being proclaimed as Crypto’s JP Morgan. In the cold light of day a more likely explanation than wanting to save the industry is wanting to save himself. If insolvent Crypto lenders like Voyager and Celsius had given loans to FTX, taking FTT and other minor tokens as collateral then those tokens would be seized and sold into the market during a bankruptcy, cratering the price and liquidating FTX loans with other lenders. Don’t forget, for tokens like Serum, FTX held and likely pledged as collateral more than the entire free float on the market. All of this isn’t to say that funds didn’t go missing in other ways though. According to the Bankruptcy filings, FTX had loaned more than $1 billion to SBF individually and $2.3 billion to his investment company, Paper Bird Inc. There were also 9 figure loans to other executives and Bahamas real estate purchased by SBF’s parents and associates worth $300 million. There are even suggestions that the $420 million meme fundraise in October 2021 basically just ended up in the pocket of SBF, rather than productively invested in the company. It seems like the FTX balance sheet was used as a slush fund for SBF. None of this in any way can add up to $6-10 billion in stolen customer funds and it’s unlikely that the mechanism was brazen theft. The scenario outlined above, poor trading controls at Alameda creating bad debt within the corporate structure and a CEO that was scrambling to keep the empire afloat, is far more likely. This also casts a new light on the “generous terms” offered to other major market participants in 2021. Taking VC money What if Alameda’s goal wasn’t to make money, but to lose money to other traders in a perverse growth hack used to attract the next round of “smart money” investors? After all, at best Alameda had been making a few hundred million from trading over the course of its existence and likely much less than that. As spreads closed with more market makers flooding into the asset class it’s much easier to take money from Sequoia and Softbank than it is to make money trading. Running an unprofitable casino is a terrible business, but selling an unprofitable casino that looks extremely busy to a private investor is a fantastic business. This part of the story seems like the inevitable end state of the 2010s dominance of Venture Capital and private investing. After a decade of easy money, low interest loans and an insatiable appetite for tech investments we were bound to see someone game the system. In 2021 VCs were not doing diligence, they were shoving newly raised funds into startups as fast as possible. Venture capital firms invested $643 billion in 2021. Almost double the pace of 2020 and five times as much as was committed in 2012. For context, noted scam company Theranos raised $1.4 billion over 13 years. FTX raised $1.8 billion in only 3 years. The entire story of the growth of FTX is a story of the driving forces of tech stock investing being applied to Crypto and fintech. The problem is that when a social media company blows up, users just lose their photos and social graph. When a fintech or Crypto company blows up, customers lose their funds and lives are ruined. A big part of the problem with FTX was that tech growth hacking and the infinite pot of VC money was applied to financial services with little regard for the safety of users. No one did the diligence. The regulators were asleep at the wheel. “Grow fast and break things” isn’t an appropriate model for the financial sector. We Have Questions… This article mostly dealt with how FTX managed to grow so fast and then blow up so spectacularly but it didn’t touch on the why. As stated in the introduction, there are some major question marks about state entanglement, potential involvement of intelligence operatives and the corruption of captured regulators are all major open questions that I just don’t have answers to. Was FTX a plant to bring down the Crypto industry and justify tighter regulation? Was FTX a front for money flowing from Crypto traders and Tech VCs into Democrat coffers? Why is the mainstream media reporting on this event as if SBF is just a failed entrepreneur who dreamed too big, rather than a fraud who appropriated customer funds? Who was behind the success of FTX? Who is Gary Wang? We likely won’t ever get satisfactory answers to these questions. The family political links between major characters in this story are deeply suspicious. As one Crypto Twitter account that has been covering the news relentlessly said: “This FTX fiasco is *really* doing its best to confirm every single conspiracy theory anyone has ever had about anything.” Next week in the conclusion of this three part article I’ll cover some of the fallout surrounding the FTX collapse that is important to understand and the lessons being learned by the industry in its attempt to rebuild. [A good place to start down the deep state rabbit hole in all this is Mathew Crawford’s  ‘A Grand Unified Theory of FTX’ – which I printed off to read and it clocks in around 65 pages – markjr] *  *  * Today’s post is from contributing analyst Scott Hill. To receive further updates of this series and our overall investment thesis for digital assets (even in this climate), subscribe to the Bombthrower mailing list.  Tyler Durden Sun, 11/27/2022 - 20:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt6 hr. 54 min. ago

Short seller Jim Chanos blasts crypto, warns the S&P 500 may plunge 55%, and predicts Tesla"s growth will slow in a new interview. Here are the 10 best quotes.

Jim Chanos tore into crypto after Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX exchange imploded, and compared the current coin crash to the dot-com bubble bursting. Jim Chanos.Brendan McDermid/Reuters Jim Chanos tore into crypto after Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX exchange imploded. The short seller compared the crypto crash to the dot-com bubble bursting. Chanos expects the S&P 500 to plunge, Tesla's growth to slow, and Twitter to distract Elon Musk. Jim Chanos has trashed cryptocurrencies after Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX became the latest industry player to collapse into bankruptcy.The famed short-seller and Chanos & Company boss compared the ongoing crypto crash to the dot-com bubble bursting on Bloomberg's "Odd Lots" podcast this week.Chanos warned that the S&P 500 could plunge another 55% before bottoming out. He also predicted Tesla's growth would slow as its rivals catch up and it runs short of customers, and suggested Twitter might be an expensive distraction for its new owner, Elon Musk.Here are Chanos' 10 best quotes, lightly edited for length and clarity:1. "The various parts of speculation are getting wrung out of this market one by one. We've waded right into the middle of our second crypto crisis. On top of that you've got the tech complex melting down. Whether it's crypto, whether it's NFTs, whether it's SPACs, the poster children for that speculation are basically being taken out to the woodshed and disposed of. "2. "All the use cases for crypto kept changing. It was going to be an alternative currency. It was going to be a store of value. It was going to be an inflation hedge. At the end of the day, it was really just a speculative asset class with an immense cost structure built around it. The idea for the crypto community really was, 'How can we extract the most amount of fees from unsuspecting investors?'"3. "When you need fiat is the time when people are most afraid, and when fear stalks the markets. Governments can not only enforce contracts and adjudicate fraud, but they can act as lenders of last resort and establish deposit insurance — which is exactly what everyone looks for when people are worried about getting their money back."4. "Typically, fraud thrives in a bull market. When markets turn down and people become a little bit more leery, since most frauds require new capital to keep going, they tend to get exposed. Madoff in December of 2008 is a good example. Enron and WorldCom and Tyco are also in that class. In this cycle, I think crypto is probably going to be right up there."5. "Regulators are archaeologists, not detectives. Asset prices are both the staunchest defense attorney and the harshest prosecutor for financial fraud. Nobody's out looking to bring the bad guys in when everybody's making money. It's only when people start losing money that you begin to get a public outcry of 'throw the rascals in jail'."6. "This looks a lot more to me like the dot-com era on steroids than the prelude to the global financial crisis. It's a pretty bad mark-to-market effect for equity-type investors, much like the dot-com era, but I don't see contagion through the credit markets." (Chanos noted the crypto industry is relatively small and largely separated from the traditional banking and payments system.)7. "If it was a bottom, it would be the most expensive bottom probably in modern financial history. Most bear markets have basically bottomed out somewhere between nine and 15 times the previous peaks of earnings. If we think that earnings are peaking right now, nine to 15 times would be 1,800 to 3,000, 3,100 on the S&P. We're a long way away from that." (Chanos' comments suggest the S&P 500 could fall as much as 55% from its current level of about 4,000 points.)8. "Tesla has immense gross profit margins of 30%, when the rest of the industry is lucky to get 15% or 20%. We don't think that's sustainable. Investors are still looking for 40% to 50% growth for the next decade, which pretty much means Tesla is going to be the entire car industry by the early 2030s. We just don't think that's going to happen." (Chanos, who is short Tesla, underscored the relatively small size of the luxury-car market, and mounting competition from legacy automakers.)9. "I don't think it was worth $44 billion. I think he thinks it probably wasn't worth $44 billion. I'm scratching my head at some of the initiatives. It's probably going take a disproportionate amount of his attention over the near term." (Chanos was discussing Musk's recent Twitter acquisition and the early changes he's made to the social-media company.)10. "Some of these business models have been questionable from the get-go. Take a look at at ride hailing or food delivery. These companies have been around for 10 or 15 years, and they haven't found a way to make profit. They're not scaling. DoorDash actually has higher losses per order now than a few years ago."Read more: Goldman Sachs says the S&P 500 will remain flat through 2023. Here's their 5-step playbook for finding returns — and avoiding crippling losses — next yearRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 26th, 2022

Why El Salvador’s Bukele Is Doubling Down on Bitcoin Despite the Crypto Crash

President Nayib Bukele is buying more Bitcoin, despite the Crypto crash. The cryptocurrency crisis, worsened by the dramatic collapse of fast-growing crypto exchange FTX in mid-November, has raised questions about the future of these digital currencies. Bitcoin, the largest and most well known among them, has fallen to a two-year low in recent days. But one of the cryptocurrency’s most prominent backers is doubling down. On Nov. 17, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele, who last year made his country the first in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, responded to the crypto slide with a pledge that the government would purchase one Bitcoin every day going forward. On Nov. 22, Bukele’s administration sent a bill to El Salvador’s Congress that would allow it to sell $1 billion in so-called “volcano bonds”—government debt, denominated in U.S. dollars and paying out 6.5% interest a year to bond holders—in order to buy even more of the cryptocurrency and build a coastal “Bitcoin City.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] It may be difficult to understand why Bukele remains so enthusiastic about a policy that has been, by almost all metrics, a disaster. Bukele’s attempt to get Salvadorans to use the notoriously volatile cryptocurrency has left the country looking like a much riskier place to invest. The policy has stalled El Salvador’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $1.3 billion loan, needed to plug big gaps in its public finances. Bukele’s government has been courting alternative sources of cash, announcing new trade talks with China on Nov. 9. But few economists believe Salvadoran vice president Félix Ulloa’s claim that China is willing to help El Salvador with the all-time-high $21 billion debt burden it owes to foreign lenders. If it can’t find new creditors to help service that debt, El Salvador runs the risk of a default early next year. Though Bukele has refused to disclose how much taxpayer money he has spent on Bitcoin, the best guess, based on his purchase announcements, is $107 million, with a further $200 million on administration and infrastructure—equivalent to nearly 4% of the developing country’s 2023 budget. El Salvador’s Bitcoin holdings are now worth less than $40 million. To cap it all, Salvadorans just aren’t that into Bitcoin: an in-person survey of 1,269 residents published by the José Simeón Cañas Central American University (UCA) in October found that less than a quarter of respondents had used the cryptocurrency in 2022. Just 17% said the Bitcoin rollout had been a success, while 66% said it was a failure. And 77% want Bukele to stop using public funds to buy Bitcoin. Marvin Recinos—AFP/Getty ImagesA government worker is seen at an ATM of the state-owned Chivo electronic wallet in San Salvador, on November 17, 2022. And yet, Bukele’s Bitcoin policy hasn’t hurt his approval rating, which has remained reliably above 85% since he took office in 2019. In fact, the cryptocurrency is arguably giving the President exactly what he wants. On the world stage, Bitcoin has pulled media focus from El Salvador’s long-running problem with gang violence, and from the authoritarian moves that Bukele has made to deal with it, including mass arrests, ousting supreme court judges who oppose his agenda, and launching an unconstitutional bid for reelection in 2024. At home, Bitcoin is a key part of the narrative that Bukele is pushing, both of El Salvador—as a rejuvenated, innovative country, delivering new opportunities for young Salvadorans—and of his presidency. He presents himself not as a classic strongman, but as a provocative young visionary challenging the Western financial elite. That means Bukele has little incentive to abandon Bitcoin—despite mounting losses for his country, says Tiziano Breda, Central America analyst at Crisis Group. “It’s Bukele’s ultimate [goal] to rebrand the country,” he says. “And he doesn’t seem like a person who can admit failure. He will go until the last consequences of this experiment.” Why Salvadorans don’t care about Bitcoin Most credit the President’s wide-ranging crack down on gang violence for his sky-high approval ratings. Bukele has overseen the arrest of more than 50,000 alleged gang members and a dramatic fall in El Salvador’s murder rate. Watchdogs say that has come at the cost of “eviscerating human rights” both for gang members and innocent Salvadorans caught in the crossfire. But civil society pushback has been relatively weak, Breda says, with Bukele successfully dismissing protest groups and critical media as puppets for the two establishment parties who ruled El Salvador for three decades before him. Though most Salvadorans don’t like Bitcoin, they view the policy more as an eccentricity of Bukele’s than as a serious threat to economic security, says Ricardo Castaneda, a San Salvador-based economist at the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies. Mounting concern about public finances hasn’t yet translated into severe economic pain, he says: the government has shielded the population from the worst of global inflation by subsidizing gasoline prices. And remittances from the U.S., which make up a staggering 26.7% of El Salvador’s GDP, have not slowed. Marvin Recinos—AFP/Getty ImagesSoldiers listen as El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele addresses them near a military barracks on the outskirts of San Juan Opico,west of San Salvador, on November 23, 2022. Bukele, meanwhile, insists that Bitcoin is the long-term solution to El Salvador’s economic problems. Like most crypto enthusiasts, he says the price will soon rally and eventually deliver huge profits to El Salvador. In the meantime, the President’s Twitter account shows an endless stream of retweets of foreign crypto influencers: they’re celebrating El Salvador’s coffee and beaches, and sharing tales of Salvadorans who left their country decades ago and now, apparently thanks to Bitcoin, have decided to return. A looming credit crunch There are clouds on the horizon for Bukele’s Bitcoin dream, though. El Salvador has to come up with a way to pay around $667 million in bonds that come due in January 2023, and another $1 billion in 2025. The government has announced plans to buy back portions of that debt by using reserves from its central bank, in hopes of inspiring enough confidence in the market to allow it to sell new bonds. Analysts say such moves might help El Salvador avoid default next year. But with shrinking cash reserves and unsustainably high levels of debt to service, the risk will remain. If Bukele can’t find buyers for his “volcano bonds” or another way to plug the fiscal hole, he may be forced to return to negotiations with the IMF. The lender would likely make a loan conditional on Bukele removing Bitcoin as legal tender and introducing tighter regulations on the use of cryptocurrencies, to reduce the risk of criminal groups using El Salvador to launder money. Bukele will only accept those terms when the economy starts to struggle enough that Salvadorans feel it, per Castaneda. “There is already a small crack there,” he says, noting that 58% of respondents to the October UCA poll identified El Salvador’s greatest problem as the economy—a 15% spike from May and the highest proportion in the last decade. (The drop in concern about crime likely helped). “If things don’t improve, that crack will get bigger and bigger, and then the applause will turn into boos.” Until then, Bukele will likely keep rolling the dice on Bitcoin. “He’s like a gambler in a casino who’s losing,” Castaneda says. “Instead of walking away or being more careful, they go all in.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 25th, 2022

Gold"s Climb Amidst Wisdom"s Decline

Gold's Climb Amidst Wisdom's Decline Authored by Matthew Piepenburg via GoldSwitzerland.com, As the latest headlines from the FTX implosion remind us yet again of a politicized and rigged market riddled with deception, gold’s climb becomes easier to foresee. But first, a little philosophical musing… Modern Policy: High Office, Low Wisdom I have often referred to La Rochefoucauld’s maxim asserting the highest offices are rarely, if ever, held by the highest minds. Nowhere has this been more apparent than among the halls of the physically impressive yet intellectually vacant Eccles Building on Constitution Ave in Washington DC, where a long string of Fed Chairs have been un-constitutionally distorting free market price discovery for over a century. The media-ignored levels of open fraud and inflationary currency debasement which passes daily for monetary policy (namely monetizing trillions of sovereign debt with trillions of mouse-clicked Dollars) within the FOMC would be comical if not otherwise so tragic in its crippling ripple effect to the Main Street citizen. From Greenspan to Powell, we have witnessed example after example of error after error and gaffe after gaffeon everything from mis-defining inflation narratives as “transitory” to re-defining a “recession” as non-recessionary. And all this while the Fed (and its creative writing team at the BLS) simultaneously and deliberately fudges the math on everything from misreported CPI data to artificial U6 employment statistics. Pondering the Philosophically Nobel Amidst the Administratively Dishonest To any who have pondered the philosophical pathways (as well as elusive definition) of wisdom (from the ancient Greeks to the pre- and post-modern Europeans, romantic Emersonians, tortured Russians or enlightened Confucians), one common trait of wisdom through time, culture and language is the ability to admit, and then learn from, error–as any man’s journey is one riddled with countless opportunities for teachable error. Yet when it comes to public mea-culpas and the grand teaching moments of “I was wrong,” it seems our central and commercial bankers have failed miserably. Infallible Bankers or Exceptional Finger Pointers? Not only have bank leaders taken little to no responsibility for (or contrition of) their many financial, political and moral sins (think billion-dollar bailouts, a 0 in 10 record for recession forecasting or the creation of the greatest and levered asset bubble and wealth transfer in history), they have a remarkable talent for blaming anyone (Putin et al) or anything (COVID or coal) but themselves or the derivative toxins and unpayable debt piles they alone created… In summary, it seems we are living in era of great change, great turmoil and great risk, yet also one of very little accountability, transparency and hence: wisdom. Sustained Levels of Mediocrity Instead, from DC to Wall Street, Tokyo to Brussels, Canada to Australia, and Brainard to Draghi, the world is increasingly led by figures (left, right and center) who are capable, at best, of little more than a sustained level of mediocrity and an over-paid repertoire of canned phrases and prompt-read platitudes rather than actual, economic savvy, candor or personal wisdom. Such high-office mediocrity and lack of wisdom, of course, spills well beyond the centers of political power and office; in fact, it thrives with equal force in the private sector and public markets, as any who have tracked and pre and post Enron world will and do know… Modern Dystopia: High Tech, Low Wisdom As to more recent scandals and headlines related to the staggering blowout at FTX, enough has already been written/said of its impressive mix of fraud, leverage and corrupt (paid-for) politics for me to add more mathematical detail here. Unfortunately, FTX’s scandalous scheming with investor money (ala Madoff) and bank leverage (ala Bear Sterns) is nothing new. The broader sins of fractional reserve banking, historical debt levels and trillions in mouse-click monetary policies have effectively murdered honest capitalism within a rigged-to-fail financial system whose destructive consequences far outpace the FTX headlines of late. I am thinking of 1) the leverage-poisoned MERK, compliments of Leo Melamed and Alan Greenspan in the 80’s, 2) a completely fixed paper gold pricing exchange, 3) the post Glass-Steagall (nod to Larry Summers) banking era which turned depositor accounts into levered ammunition for banks speculating like hedge-funds or 4) the open fraud (legalized counterfeiting) which daily passes for monetary policy at a central bank near you. As Henry Ford warned, if more folks actually understood banking practices and the false idols hiding behind expert masks, the net result would be chaos. Patterns of Fake Genuis As for the recent chaos in the C-suites of our tech leadership, an equally clear, and all too familiar pattern of under-30 millionaire/billionaires (from WeWork’s Adam Newman to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried) is the now obvious as well as inverse correlation between so-called “technological genius” and basic human wisdom. In short, we would be right to ask if our modern technological progress and high-office prestige has far outpaced our human wisdom. All Piano, No Music As Antoine de St. Exupery warned (as far back as 1944), the world is capable of producing 1000 pianos per hour but unable to produce enough worthy pianists to play them. In short, the speed of our so-called “progress” (from computer chips, social media, Fauci-science and digital money to de-regulated margin accounts) seems to have tragically outpaced the philosophical measure of our wisdom. Despite some wonderful exceptions from Wall St to Pal Aalto, many of our best and brightest are driven by the timeless and “human all too human” impulses of greed, FOMO, and telegraphed/photographed virtue-signaling rather anonymous good work or honest commerce. Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), for example, was a master at appearing like a Robin Hood despite having the instincts of a robber baron. Self-Service Masquerading as Virtue Signaling The end result is a literal “selfie culture” which, fractured by identity politics, victim narratives and resentment on the fly, has morphed into a priority of the “I” over the good of (or genuine concern for) the many. This trend is equally true of our public and private markets. Moral, legal and economic laws have become more and more, shall we say… “elastic” as the sins and consequences (from currency debasement to anti-trust/monopolies and cancerous debt levels) of one generation are happily billed to the next. Such patterns of ignored decencies/rules in which a Madoff sits comically on the NASDAQ board or an SBF ironically teaches a paid-for Congress about crypto safety, are common. Equally disconcerting is a celebrity-mad population who trusts its mandate science to Spike Lee or its crypto advice from Matt Damon. If one is financially “successful” it is assumed he is wise; that is a dangerous assumption… Meanwhile, headline spin and financial lobbying has replaced the ideal of genuine capitalism with a kind of neo feudalism in which figures like Bezos (with easier access to capital after years of violating anti-trust principles and CEO-to-employee salary ratios) have become part of a new aristocracy rather than exemplars of democratic meritocracy or fair-priced capitalism. Back to the Markets: What FTX Portends Given the foregoing cynicism/realism emanating from our modern markets, there is still much we can glean about the direction of, and risks to, our current markets. For example, it will come as no surprise that the FTX fiasco has already been spun into a positive rather than negative narrative for the BTC camp. As to cryptos in general and BTC in particular, I have already written and spoken at length of my views. Toward this end, and to the understandable chagrin of the crypto camp, I (rightly or wrongly) view BTC more as a speculative growth/tech stock than as a viable alternative currency or long-term store of value. Nothing about the recent FTX blowup has altered this view. Again (and I could very easily be wrong), I don’t see BTC as money, a view which seems to be shared by a large number of emerging markets and central banks who are loading up on record amounts of physical gold rather than invisible cryptos. Just saying… And to re-heat a tired yet accurate quote by JP Morgan, I (we) still fully embrace the “barbarous” notion that gold is money, the rest is credit/debt. BTC As Market Indicator Regardless, however, of one’s views, biases or take on cryptos, Bitcoin’s pricing still has immense relevance to modern markets, including gold markets. In terms of US stocks, for example, BTC has been an exceptional leading liquidity metric outside of the derivatives markets or Fed-manipulated bond markets. In other words, stock, bond and even property markets tend to behave and move a lot like BTC behaved just a short period before. In short, and regardless of one’s pro or con take on BTC, as an asset class and market indicator, this “coin” still clearly matters. BTC: Local to Systemic Sickness? And perhaps more to the point: As a tanking asset class with trillions in losses, BTC, like any bleeding asset in a grotesquely over-levered system, really matters. Why? Because BTC’s local sickness can easily become systemic. The risk of this systemic spread, for example, will increase if there are less and less “dip buyers” for BTC, especially when inflation factors should otherwise favor the asset. The potential for such a low-bid trend for BTC (based on FTX-like fears of broken exchanges and hence broken TRUST) could easily and accurately portend a low-bid contagion effect in the broader equity markets in general and the already bleeding tech sector in particular. That said, an increasingly cynical as well inflation-ravaged generation of jaded outsiders are feeling increasingly cornered, which means they have less and less to lose. This desperation may lead to more distrust in the system and hence more buying of BTC as a modern 9and fully understandable) middle-finger to that system. For now, let’s wait and see what the post-FTX trend will be for BTC; I personally foresee an eventual (though not immediate) rip in its price. The Bond Market Matters Equally, if not more importantly, the current and declining liquidity canary in the BTC coalmine, as stated above, has been a leading indicator for equal liquidity risks (and hence declining behavior) in the bond and property sectors as well. With US debt to GDP levels above the precarious 120% level and US deficits spiking, Uncle Sam is going to need to need to find liquidity somewhere to cover its bond obligations. One can not emphasize enough how much this bond market matters. Hawk to Dove—A Brewing & Golden Tailwind And as I’ve been arguing ever since Powell went Hawkish, it is my conviction that such liquidity will ultimately (and only) be found when that hawk becomes a doveand the Fed reverts to the desperate mean of relying (tragically/addictively) on the only consistent income source it has, namely: A mouse clicker at the Eccles Building. Such mouse-clicked “magical money,” of course, has immediate as well as immense inflationary and currency (USD) ramifications, which means the pivot will have immediate as well as immense ramifications on the price of gold in USD.   Expanding Deficits: More Tailwinds for Gold Equally bullish for gold yet equally tragic for the US are the recent (and doubling) deficit forecasts coming out of DC. That is, the US Treasury has already announced its borrowing amounts for the next 6 months ($1.3T), which is an indirect way of revealing a federal deficit doubling (on an annualized basis) for the same period. For me, the implications of such added debt levels are mathematicalrather than just cynical or political. That is, Uncle Sam simply can’t afford to pay ever-increasing debt piles of this embarrassing magnitude unless interest rates are decidedly negative rather than painfully positive. Stated even more plainly, all debtors love (and hence eventually engineer) inflation rates to be higher than interest rates. And since Uncle Sam (and the Fed) are not only powerfully distorted, but powerfully in control, one can easily predict what any all-powerful but debt-cornered policy hack would and will do as we stumble into 2023, namely: Seek more inflation and lower rates while simultaneously under-reporting inflation by at least 50%. How’s that for trust building, wisdom and central bank accountability? In the end, as wisdom dies from above, and hence trust rots from within as inflation rises and real rates go increasingly negative, Gold will do what it always does in such man-made settings—namely surge north as the USD, now artificially supported by rising rates, sinks dramatically south once those rates go dovishly in the same direction. Defaulting Bonds, Tanking Treasuries, Rising Gold Of course, as soon as the market collectively realizes that negative yielding bonds (the historical instrument of all debt-soaked and hence failing regimes) are effectively defaulting bonds, investor interest in US Treasuries will fall while interest in gold will rise, as is already the case: Cynics, of course, might say that $260B in gold is a trifle amount compared to other asset classes. Fair point. Gold: Repressed Today, Fairly Priced Tomorrow But here’s the rub: The central banks are (and have been) intentionally suppressing paper gold in order to take more physical delivery today before they inevitably reprice gold higher tomorrow to recapitalize their horrific balance sheets. This trend is easy to see simply because the rigged game played by the broken actors described above is as easy to predict as their lack of wisdom is easy to measure. As Egon and I have often remarked, the central banks are unwittingly gold’s best friend, for the bankers’ lack of wisdom and abundance of self-interest in otherwise desperate times makes them easy to track. Or stated more simply: As the system gets more corrupt (as it always does when backed against a debt wall and a moral vacuum), gold gets more loyal. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/25/2022 - 06:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2022

Post-FTX Regulatory Crackdown Will Erode Liberties, Accelerate Path To CBDC "Social Engineering"

Post-FTX Regulatory Crackdown Will Erode Liberties, Accelerate Path To CBDC 'Social Engineering' Authored by Michael Washburn via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and the worldwide outcry over the billions of dollars wiped off the platform, are likely to trigger a massive regulatory reaction that would further erode citizens’ economic freedoms without addressing the issues that fostered demand for an alternative to the fiat dollar, economists have told The Epoch Times. A detailed view of the FTX sign prior to a game between the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat at FTX Arena in Miami, Fla., on Nov. 14, 2022. (Megan Briggs/Getty Images) An international scandal has embroiled FTX and its founder, 30-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried, in the wake of the firm’s crash earlier this month precipitated by a run on the exchange. Since then, reports have emerged that Alameda Research, a crypto hedge fund established by Bankman-Fried, was trading billions of dollars from FTX accounts without clients’ knowledge. FTX has filed for bankruptcy protection, Bankman-Fried has stepped down from his role as CEO, and John J. Ray III, the former CEO of Enron, has taken over the insolvent company with a plan to sell it off if a successful restructuring is impossible. An estimated 1 million customers and other investors are facing total losses of billions of dollars. FTX, in a recent court filing, said it owes $3.1 billion to its top 50 creditors, and its collapse has rocked the $839 billion global crypto market. On Nov. 22, the trading value of bitcoin tumbled to $15,480, a two-year low, before edging up slightly to $15,909. Ray has claimed that subsidiaries of FTX in the United States and abroad “have solvent balance sheets, responsible management and valuable franchises,” but so far the shock and alarm over the exchange’s implosion have shown no sign of abating. Meanwhile, a number of big names in sports and entertainment, such as comedian Larry David, NBA star Stephen Curry, and quarterback Tom Brady, have become the subject of a probe by the Texas State Securities Board over their public endorsements of FTX. The celebrities have also become the targets of class action lawsuits filed by disgruntled investors, with more expected in the days to come. Then CEO of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried testifies during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington, on Dec. 8, 2021. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) Madoff’s Heirs Observers of the FTX blowup are extremely candid about the severity of the exchange’s mismanagement and the recent historical analogs for its unraveling. Wayne Davis, a partner at the law firm Tannenbaum Halpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt in New York, drew a parallel with one of the most notorious cases of fraud in the history of finance, that of the Bernard L. Madoff, whose Ponzi scheme bilked some 4,800 clients of $64.8 billion. In both cases, clients were insufficiently attentive to the lack of internal controls, he suggested. “Madoff comes to mind. Perhaps not the same criminal intent components, but there are certainly similarities as far as investor/customer enthusiasm notwithstanding signs of lax compliance and risk management engagement,” Tannenbaum told The Epoch Times. Other observers see parallels in earlier events in the development of banking and currencies. Charles Steele, chair of the department of economics, business, and accounting at Hillsdale College in Michigan, said that the blow-up of FTX reminds him of the first stock market bubble and financial crisis to afflict the world, namely the collapse of France’s Banque Royale in 1720. “Scotsman John Law set up a central bank for the French monarchy that began paying enormous returns on its shares and its sister Mississippi Company. It was heralded as a great triumph of new financial technology, a nearly miraculous breakthrough, but in fact, it was effectively what we now call a Ponzi scheme,” Steele told The Epoch Times. “In the case of FTX, it appears that Samuel Bankman-Fried was heralded as a crypto genius, but was simply engaged in a lot of shady business disguised as ‘philanthropy,’ using other people’s money. He was apparently the second-largest donor to the Democrat Party campaigns in the 2022 elections, and also was positioning himself to be a major player in the design of federal regulations for cryptocurrency,” Steele added. The Likely Reaction The magnitude of the FTX scandal—the amounts of money involved and the number of people suffering possibly permanent financial harm—means that its ramifications are likely to continue to affect all players in the crypto space in coming weeks and months, said Jeffrey Guernsey, a professor of economics at Cedarville University in Ohio. The very lack of a fixed value that made crypto investing exciting for some people may also be among its singular vulnerabilities in the face of emboldened regulators, he suggested. “While this thought does not originate with me, it is clear that crypto is not a currency, if one attribute of a currency is a stable value. The collapse of FTX certainly puts the entire asset class under review and question and may lead to calls for governmental regulation,” Guernsey said. Given the priorities of the Biden administration, the notably harsher tone of federal guidance and rulemaking since he took office, and officials’ well-documented hostility to financial innovation and decentralization, the reaction from regulators is likely to be extremely draconian and may even cross lines that the regulators have hitherto respected, observers say. But whether the coming crackdown will address concerns of fiat currency that helped feed demand for alternative exchanges, platforms, and markets is a different question. “I expect that this debacle will lead to greatly increased federal regulation of cryptocurrencies,” Steele said. In Steele’s view, the fiasco is likely to speed up the crafting and implementation of central bank digital currencies (CBDC). Steele noted that the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a joint study, Project Hamilton, whose objective is to devise a CBDC for the United States. While ignored by many people, this is one of the most potentially concerning recent developments given the unprecedented powers that it stands to place in the hands of a central regulatory authority, he said. While some might initially welcome a CBDC, it could have unforeseen consequences and ultimately could help extend the role of government into people’s lives in ways to which they are so far unaccustomed. “I think a CBDC is very dangerous, because it would enable a central bank or government to monitor, control, and record every exchange made with the currency. If, for example, a government decided it did not want citizens buying, say, firearms, or perhaps donating funds to a political candidate, the central bank could prevent the transaction. Alternatively, it could have a permanent record of a citizen’s purchases and use these to establish a social credit score for the person,” Steele said. “In this way, a CBDC could become the ultimate tool of social engineering and tyranny. A true cryptocurrency keeps transactions anonymous, which is one of its great benefits. Governments tend to dislike tools that give citizens such privacy,” he added. The FTX website is seen on a computer in Atlanta, Ga., on Nov. 10, 2022. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images) Legitimate Demand The tragedy of the FTX scandal and the possible meltdown of other crypto entrepreneurs as more and more people panic and seek to redeem their assets is that such platforms arose partly in response to an understandable demand for alternatives to the fiat dollar, or a dollar whose value and use flow from government dictates and are unrelated to any external commodity or asset such as gold. The heavy-handed reaction expected in the coming months as a consequence of FTX’s blow-up is unlikely to take account of this truth. That’s the view of Brian Domitrovic, a professor of economic history at Sam Houston State University, who sees negative long-term consequences to the country’s abandonment of the gold standard in 1971. “I don’t think there’s any kind of broad popular support for a fiat dollar, a non-gold dollar. There hasn’t been since 1971. A lot of popular dissatisfaction with this has been very clearly expressed,” Domitrovic told The Epoch Times. “The Federal Reserve is not a popular institution at all. I think there’s just a general sense on the part of the public that we should have something more like the classical monetary system that we used to have. And I think crypto has tapped into that more effectively than anything since the end of the gold standard,” he added. The New Non-Fiat From a certain standpoint, cryptocurrencies took over where gold left off following the shift away from the gold standard, Domitrovic said. Like gold, it is limited in supply and requires mining, though of course not the same kind of mining. In the case of the former commodity, the mining is a process of physical extraction of a substance from the earth, and in the latter, it is mathematical and theoretical in nature. Despite the differences, both currencies have the effect of eroding centralized power and oversight by making institutions such as the Federal Reserve less integral to the functioning of the economy, Domitrovic said. “Bitcoin aspires to mimic gold in many respects. This is what you had when money was not a creation of the Federal Reserve,” he added. Much of today’s demand for bitcoin and kindred currencies flow from a widespread desire to go back to how things were before 1971, Domitrovic argued. “Before 1971, the United States led the world in becoming the greatest economy ever, with hundreds of millions of people living at high levels of prosperity. There is a very strong reason why people associate the pre-1971 period with a magnificent achievement economically,” he added. In this analysis, the federal government has sought to maintain centralized oversight over the economy and the level of prosperity attainable by citizens partly by not allowing crypto to compete with the fiat dollar. “Even if there is fraud, I’m still going to lay a lot of the blame at the feet of the government and the official definition of policy, because they’re not taking crypto as seriously as they should. They consider it non-money,” he said. Read more here... Tyler Durden Fri, 11/25/2022 - 07:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2022