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Ted Cruz says he will "wait and see" what Trump does before deciding on running for president in 2024

Sen. Ted Cruz told a CPAC event in Texas that he is waiting for former President Donald Trump to make up his mind about the 2024 presidential race. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on August 5, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty Images Ted Cruz said he will "wait and see" whether Donald Trump runs in 2024 before making any decisions on running himself. Cruz previously said that Trump deciding not to run would "significantly" clear out the field. Trump and Cruz fiercely clashed during the 2016 Republican primary campaign. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz says he will "wait and see" what former President Donald Trump does before deciding on whether to run for president again in 2024.Speaking to Fox News at a Conservative Political Action Conference event in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, Cruz said Trump is going to "decide on his own timeframe" whether he will seek the presidency for the third time.Cruz, who launched a failed bid in 2016, suggested he'd hold off until Trump announced his plans. "Everyone is going to wait and see what Donald Trump decides and make decisions from there," he said.When asked about his timeframe for deciding whether he'll put his name in the running for the Republican nominee, Cruz said his focus is now on the 2022 mid-terms."I'm spending practically every waking moment on the campaign trail, focusing on retaking the House and retaking the Senate," he told Fox News. "I think we're going to win both."In July, speaking to Fox News at the Turning Point USA conference in Tampa, Florida, Cruz said that Trump deciding not to run in 2024 would "significantly" clear out the field of potential candidates.Trump has not yet announced whether he'll run in 2024, but teasers have fueled speculation that he will.Last week, he said it would be "very hard for me not to run" against President Joe Biden in 2024. And in June, he said that he would be making an announcement about it in the "not too distant future." Cruz ran against Trump for the Republican nomination in 2016, and the two politicians clashed during the primary campaign.Trump called Cruz's wife "ugly," baselessly claimed Cruz's father was involved in a plot to assassinate President John F. Kennedy and nicknamed him "Lyin' Ted Cruz."  In turn, Cruz called Trump, a "pathological liar."They have since patched things up, according to a new book by Paul Manafort. An extract obtained by the Guardian said that Trump apologized for insulting Cruz and his family. And in recent years, Cruz has become a loyal ally to the former president.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 6th, 2022

"I Didn"t See Donald Trump Sweating At All": GOP Lawmakers Who Met Trump Say He"s Not Rattled After FBI Raid

"I Didn't See Donald Trump Sweating At All": GOP Lawmakers Who Met Trump Say He's Not Rattled After FBI Raid Authored by Eva Fu via The Epoch Times, Former President Donald Trump was “very upbeat” in the wake of the FBI raid on his home, according to Republican lawmakers who met with him on Aug. 9. Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York on Aug. 9, 2022. (David 'Dee' Delgado/Reuters) About a dozen members of the Republican Study Committee, led by chairman Jim Banks (R-Ind.), met with Trump over dinner at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, a day after the FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago resort, which Trump and allies have characterized as an attempt from the left to keep the former president from taking the office again. The raid was an inevitable topic during the roughly three hours they spent together, but it wasn’t a major focus, the lawmakers said. During the meeting, which was scheduled ahead of the raid, the former president appeared to be in a great mood. He made jokes and signed autographs on his trademark red hats. He talked to all the Republican members in the room and interacted with some of their staff members. Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) (4-L) with former President Donald Trump, and other House Republicans at a meeting held at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., on Aug. 9. (Courtesy of Rep. Spartz’s office) “I didn’t see Donald Trump sweating at all last night. I didn’t see him being concerned,” Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) told The Epoch Times on Aug. 10. Trump, Nehls said, was “cordial,” “very upbeat,” and “very positive.” He and others saw the FBI’s move as part of a continued campaign to attack and discredit the former president, who, he said, was “not moved by it.” “Yes, the left is after him. But he’s been dealing with these whack jobs for five years now. So this is nothing new to him. Donald Trump knows what he’s done. And Donald Trump hasn’t done anything wrong,” he said. “He’s Teflon, everything bounces off of it,” he said. “Why? Because he’s an honorable man that loves this country.” ‘4th Impeachment’ The conversation was casual and relaxed with “fantastic food,” according to Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), who at one point shared with Trump some photos of “cute kids that are big Trump supporters” in her district. While Trump “expressed his disregard for [Attorney General] Merrick Garland and the FBI,” he was upset that the agents went through Melania Trump’s wardrobe, said Tenney. The consensus in the room, she said, was that “it was an abuse of power.” Tenney dubbed the raid a “4th impeachment.” “They tried twice to impeach him when he was in office, they had the January 6 show trial that never ends … they will convene another meeting with a predetermined outcome, just like a Soviet-style event,” she told The Epoch Times. “And now, this is another attempt.” Rep. Claudia Tenney speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on The Biden Administration’s Priorities for U.S. Foreign Policy on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 10, 2021. (Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images) Trump’s second son Eric Trump, who said he had first alerted his father, who was in New York, to the raid, on Aug. 9 said the FBI agents had breached a personal safe that was empty. The agents wouldn’t allow Trump’s representatives to oversee the 10-hour search and took boxes of documents from the Trump home, his lawyer Christina Bobb earlier told The Epoch Times. She noted that the agents were given access to a storage facility in the resort in June but didn’t leave with anything at the time. The FBI raid is reportedly in connection with a Department of Justice (DOJ) probe into whether Trump took presidential records with him after he left office. But representatives of Trump have maintained that the former president had been cooperating with the National Archives and Records Administration on this matter. The DOJ and FBI have declined to publicly comment on the case. Trump on Wednesday said the DOJ and FBI had earlier asked his legal team had put an extra lock on the door leading to the place where boxes containing records were stored, to which they agreed. “Then on Monday, without notification or warning, an army of agents broke into Mar-a-Lago, went to the same storage area, and ripped open the lock that they had asked to be installed. A surprise attack, POLITICS, and all the while our Country is going to HELL!” Trump said on his social media platform Truth Social. ‘Calculated Error’ While the White House has denied having foreknowledge of the FBI action, Tenney found it hard to believe. “Everybody behind the scenes knew exactly what they were doing and this was a calculated event,” she said. “The proof will be in the evidence when it comes out and if we can ever get to the truth.” “The Democrats thought this would really make Trump look bad,” she said. “I think they’re trying to cook up some kind of scheme, again, to prevent him from running again, should he decide to enter the race.” Tenney also saw it as a way to distract the public from the “horrific bill that they just passed,” the Inflation Reduction Act, a $700 billion Democrat spending bill that includes $80 billion in funding to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which Republicans say would allow the agency to hire an additional 87,000 enforcement agents. The bill passed along party lines in the Senate earlier this week, and is expected to pass the House on Friday, before it is sent to President Joe Biden’s desk for signing. While the White House has maintained that the IRS wouldn’t increase audits for households making less than $400,000 each year, critics have disagreed. Ultimately, the middle class will be the ones “leveraged into just paying whatever the IRS wants, because they can’t afford a lawyer to fight it,” said Tenney. With three months left until the midterm elections, Republicans are poised to take back control of the House chamber. The timing of the raid makes it a likely bid for the Democrats to discredit their opponents, suggested Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.). Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) departs from a press conference on vaccine mandates for businesses with House Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 18, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) Part of the dinner table discussions involved “putting America First in November and how the left is using every dirty trick in the book to try and save their fading majority,” she told The Epoch Times. “I was glad to see President Trump doing well and I look forward to working with him to save our country.” Tenney believes that the “weaponized federal government’s acting, whether it’s the FBI, the Department of Justice, and its two-tier justice system,” will backfire on the Democrats, and rally even those who don’t really like Trump but believe in freedom. “This is going to make people even more concerned, especially with all these IRS agents, scattering the country looking for people,” she said. “The Democrats made a calculated error, in my opinion.” Voters appear to be reacting to the raid as well, according to findings released by Convention of States Action, a conservative advocacy group, in the first national poll conducted following the raid. The poll, carried out in partnership with the Trafalgar Group on Aug. 9 and 10 canvassing 1,000 2022 election voters, found that 83 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of independent voters are more likely to vote as a result. About three-quarters of Republicans and half of the independent voters believe the raid was politically motivated, although only less than 12 percent of Democratic voters said the same. Congressman Michael Cloud, represents the 27th District, in southern Texas. (The Epoch Times) “Not only has The FBI’s raid of President Trump’s home fueled his spirit and energized his supporters—but for those on the fence, it’s pulled back the curtain on the deep partisan bias which has become entrenched in much of the bureaucracy,” Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) told The Epoch Times. 2024 Bid Trump, during the meeting, gathered viewpoints from around the room on his entering into the 2024 presidential race, and whether he should announce his bid after the midterm elections in November. Nehls, when it was his turn, urged Trump to “get out there right away” to remove anxiety from his supporters, who know how “ruthless” Trump’s enemies are and are overwhelming him with their concerns. “My phone and my texts, my emails are blowing up,” the congressman said. Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) speaks during a press conference at the Capitol Triangle in Washington, on July 21, 2022. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images) Nehls cited the success of Trump-endorsed candidates in key races as evidence of the former president’s influence among voters. Trump should “make that announcement” and “take away any doubt” from his supporters, Nehls said he told Trump. “You don’t have to wait. There’s no need to wait. You’re the leader of our party,” he told Trump, Nehls recalled. “You will put [the Democrats] on Rolaids for the next two years. And it’s going to be great to see,” the congressman also said to Trump, referring to medication used for heartburn. His confidence in Trump’s 2024 presidency was shared by another Texas Republican Rep. Randy Weber. “I encouraged President Trump to run in 2024, and I hope he does,” he told The Epoch Times. Investigations House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has pledged action against what he described as the DOJ’s “weaponized politicization” when Republicans are back in charge of the chamber. “I’ve seen enough,” he said in a statement late Monday following the raid on Trump’s property, vowing the investigation will “leave no stone unturned.” “Attorney General Garland: preserve your documents and clear your calendar,” he said. Multiple lawmakers at the dinner also echoed such calls and highlighted what they observed to be a double standard being applied to Republicans vis-à-vis Democrats. Weber noted what he described as an absence of outrage over Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails when serving as secretary of state, as well as foreign business dealings involving Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s second son. Read more here... Tyler Durden Sat, 08/13/2022 - 13:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 13th, 2022

Cruz To "Wait And See" Whether Trump Runs In 2024 Before Deciding On White House Bid

Cruz To 'Wait And See' Whether Trump Runs In 2024 Before Deciding On White House Bid Authored by Frank Fang via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference held at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images) Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said he, like everyone else, is going to “wait and see” whether former President Donald Trump is going to run in 2024, before making his own decision about a possible bid for the White House. “Everyone is going to wait and see what Donald Trump decides and make decisions from there,” Cruz told Fox News on Aug. 5 at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas. “I am grateful for his leadership,” Cruz continued. “He’s going to decide what he wants to do. And frankly, he’s going to decide on his own timeframe.” “He’s going to decide when he damn well wants to, and the rest of the world will react accordingly,” Cruz added. In 2016, Trump garnered 1,441 delegates in state primaries and caucuses, before being officially nominated as the Republican presidential candidate. Cruz finished second with 551 delegates. Donald Trump, who was then a Republican presidential candidate, gestures as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) looks on during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 15, 2015. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images) Trump has not made public announcements about running for president in 2024. However, during a speech at CPAC on Saturday, he hinted at a possible 2024 run when he said, “We may have to do it again.” Last month, he told New York Magazine that he has made up his mind about whether to run in 2024, but the “big decision” is when to make the announcement. The former president is currently the favorite for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. According to the results of a CPAC straw poll announced on Saturday, Trump won 69 percent of the vote, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 24 percent. Cruz finished a distant third with 2 percent. In a head-to-head matchup for the 2024 race, President Joe Biden and Trump are locked in a “statistical dead heat,” according to a July poll by San Francisco-based data insights company Premise. The poll found Trump with 53 percent support compared to Biden with 47 percent. Cruz has previously said he was thinking about the 2024 race for president. In an interview with Newsmax in July, Cruz said he was “certainly looking at it.” “2016 was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life,” he continued, reflecting on his last presidential campaign. “We came incredibly close, had an incredible grassroots army.” Speaking to Fox, Cruz said he is focusing on the 2022 elections at the moment. “I’m spending practically every waking moment on the campaign trail, focusing on retaking the house and retaking the Senate,” Cruz said. “I think we’re gonna win votes. I think we’re gonna see a Republican majority in the House. I think we’re gonna see a Republican majority in the Senate.” Late last month, Cruz took part in a campaign rally in Cottleville to support Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who advanced to the November general election on Aug. 2 after winning the state’s Republican Senate primary. Schmitt is endorsed by both Cruz and Trump. Schmitt will face Democratic primary winner Trudy Busch Valentine in November, to fill a Senate seat to be vacated by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who decided not to seek a third term in office. Read more here... Tyler Durden Mon, 08/08/2022 - 21:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 8th, 2022

Transcript: Graham Weaver

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Graham Weaver, Alpine Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business… Read More The post Transcript: Graham Weaver appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Graham Weaver, Alpine Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Graham Weaver is the founder and partner at Alpine Investors, a private equity firm, focusing on software and services. Graham has a really interesting background, both engineering at Princeton and essentially launching a PE firm while he was a graduate student at Stanford. Everybody knows the story about Michael Dell launching a computer business out of his dorm room in Texas. This could be the first PE firm I’m familiar with, that got started in a dorm room. What makes Graham so interesting is while everybody else in the world of private equity is focused on the analytics and crunching numbers and creating econometric models that will tell you where to invest, I think they’ve found a very different model that has been extremely successful for them, where the key focus is on talent. How do we find the best talent, put them in place running our investment companies and allow them to generate the sort of returns that you don’t really generate by just looking at a model? I found our conversation absolutely fascinating and I think you will also. With no further ado, my discussion with Alpine Investors’ Graham Weaver. Let’s jump right into this, starting with your background. When I hear someone has an engineering degree, I tend to think of venture capital, not private equity. Tell us a little bit how you went the PE route instead of the VC route. GRAHAM WEAVER, FOUNDER AND CEO, ALPINE INVESTORS: Well, I actually started in private equity right out of undergrad. I really didn’t know the difference between private equity or consulting, or anything. I had zero knowledge of that. And I was fortunate to end up in Morgan Stanley’s private equity group, I loved it and I’ve kind of been at it ever since. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. So is it from Princeton to Morgan Stanley, and then Stanford, or am I getting the order right? WEAVER: Yeah. When I was at Princeton then I went to Morgan Stanley in their private equity, then I worked at a firm called American Securities for a couple years, and then went to went to business school after that. RITHOLTZ: And somewhere in the middle of this, there’s a pig farm in Missouri that I am having a hard time figuring out what a pig farm has to do with private equity. WEAVER: So the very first deal I worked on, so I come out of school, I’m wearing my Cross pen and my lapel, and I’m like wearing a tie and — RITHOLTZ: All buttoned down. WEAVER: Exactly. And I think I’m a big shot being on Wall Street, and I get shipped out to this pig farm in Missouri which was a deal Morgan Stanley had invested in. They’ve invested a total of a billion, almost a billion dollars of debt and equity, and then suffice to say was not going well. So not that I was going to go save it as a 22-year-old analyst, but I’ve got shipped out. I lived in a CFO’s basement for about five months, and we did everything we could, but it turned out not to be a great investment. RITHOLTZ: So there’s not big money in pigs? WEAVER: Well, it turns out hog prices are wildly cyclical. And you know, there’s the expression, how does a six-foot man drowned in a river that averages five feet? You know, it’s because there’s parts of the river that are deeper. Well, you know, we build our whole model on hog prices being $47 and when we then — RITHOLTZ: And that’s what they average, right? WEAVER: That’s what they average. RITHOLTZ: But that doesn’t tell you how much they swing up and down. WEAVER: It turns out — yeah, they went to $18 and we had $700 million of debt, and that didn’t — RITHOLTZ: $18? WEAVER: That didn’t go well. So yeah. RITHOLTZ: That’s the old joke. It’s not the price, it’s the volatility. WEAVER: Yeah, it was rough. But it was a — that was my introduction to the glamorous business of private equity. RITHOLTZ: And you didn’t turn around and say, “I want nothing to do with this?” WEAVER: I had the time of my life. RITHOLTZ: Really? WEAVER: It was so fun. RITHOLTZ: How was — how was sleeping in the CFO’s basement — was his house on the pig farm? WEAVER: It was. Yeah, it was. The whole entire town smelled like a pig farm and everyone — RITHOLTZ: Which was not especially delightful? WEAVER: It’s not. No, it turns out. And pretty much everyone in the town worked and had some affiliation with the pig farm. The CFO was also a Morgan Stanley guy, and he was probably 27. So neither of us had any idea — RITHOLTZ: So many years, years of experience over you? WEAVER: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Neither of us had any clue what we were doing. But it really wouldn’t have mattered when your revenue gets cut by like 80%, there’s just not a lot you’re going to do to turn that around. RITHOLTZ: So there’s a cliche about tech firms being started in dorm rooms. How does a private equity firm start in a dorm room? WEAVER: So I show up at Stanford, and I’m in my first week of class. And then similar as today, you have to take these core classes in your first year, which are just not that — you know, they’re just fundamental. They’re not that exciting. So the first class I sit down, and there’s this 25-year-old who’s never worked a day in his life. He’s a PhD student. He’s never taught before, and he’s kind of just reciting out of this strategy book. And I just thought to myself, oh, my God, what have I signed up for? So I had this idea that I was going to go try to buy a business. And I had — you know, in your first three years as an analyst, you basically build a financial model. But I had the confidence of someone I thought I was much more — much better than I was. So I convinced an owner — I started cold calling companies in a sector that I had looked at previously, and I convinced this owner to sell me his business, and then I had to go raise the money, most of which was debt and the little bit of equity that was needed. I financed with credit cards. So that was literally how I started, not your typical private equity founding story. RITHOLTZ: How did that initial PE transaction work out? WEAVER: I did a total of three labeled deals with some add-ons, lost money on one, made money on — or lost a little bit of money on — loss — made a little bit of money on the second one. And then the third one was a total homerun, which actually just sold this year, 20 years later. So that that one turned out well. RITHOLTZ: 20 years? That’s impressive. That’s not the typical private equity holding period. WEAVER: Yeah, well, it was just me. I was the — it was just my — RITHOLTZ: So you could afford to be patient. WEAVER: And it was awesome. It was great. That one — RITHOLTZ: What space was that at? WEAVER: It was the — we had these companies that made these little labels that went on products, like for example in Trader Joe’s private labels things, we made all those labels. It’s a totally unsexy business. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: But it was very consistent and — RITHOLTZ: And it’s profitable. WEAVER: It was really profitable. And no one wakes up and says, “You know, I’m going to be a hero because I’m going to save half a cent on my label.” So it tends to kind of like just clip along like a bond. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: So it turned out — it turned out well, but I mean, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. And so I made every mistake you can imagine. RITHOLTZ: And it still worked out. When you launched in 2001, you started with $50 million, $55 million, something like that? WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And now it’s up to $8 billion close to eight funds. WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And your most recent fund just closed about $2 billion, more or less? WEAVER: Yeah, about 2.4. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: All right. So that’s real money, 2.4. Obviously, you’re doing something right. The track record has to be attractive. Is it the same investors rolling over, or new and different investors? Who is the clientele for this? WEAVER: In the very early days, it was a number of individuals because no institution was going to back — RITHOLTZ: Right. Well, you have to have a certain track record, be around for certain length of period, be able to check all of their due diligence boxes, and that takes time and money. WEAVER: Yeah. And I checked zero of those boxes. RITHOLTZ: Right. Dorm room, check. What else? What else we got? WEAVER: Yeah. Track record. RITHOLTZ: How old is he? 22? WEAVER: No. RITHOLTZ: Sure. Let’s write him a big check. WEAVER: Exactly. I checked no boxes. And that took me like almost a year to figure out. I went to all these institutions and I never got past the first meeting anywhere. And then I found a number — really two individuals who, thank God, I still owe everything to these two. One, I don’t know if I can — RITHOLTZ: Sure. You can say whatever you like. WEAVER: So, one was Tom Steyer, who ran for president. RITHOLTZ: Oh, sure. WEAVER: He was one of the early ones. And then Doug Martin from the Stephens family. And they were just the two best investors you could ever have. They were supportive. And most importantly, they were supportive after Fund I which was not a good fund. So that’s the reason we’re still in business today. RITHOLTZ: Why not good fund, just performance wise, or was it — because when you launch in ’01, we’re still in the early days of a massive downfall in technology, media, Internet straight across the board. Not — you know, it’s not — unless it’s a distressed fund, that’s not the ideal time to launch. WEAVER: Yeah. I would love to say that it was the market, but it wasn’t. It was self-inflicted. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. WEAVER: It was me making a lot of dumb mistakes, being overconfident, you know, and just investing in companies that looked great in the spreadsheet and didn’t — what looks great in the spreadsheet is low purchase price and a lot of leverage. That looks — always looks good in a spreadsheet, but the — RITHOLTZ: Leverage is the problem. WEAVER: The qualitative — yeah, the leverage is the problem and the qualitative things about is it a quality business? Those things you can’t model in a spreadsheet. And so, I just made a lot of dumb mistakes. And actually the whole fund, overall, lost money. I would highly, Barry, not recommend having your first fund when you launched and lose money. It was a — RITHOLTZ: Probably not the best long-term strategy? WEAVER: Yeah. It was anchored around our neck for pretty much a decade. RITHOLTZ: So that raises the question, if the first fund was a bit of a stiff, how did you raise money for the second fund? WEAVER: Well, thankfully, we were — I really communicated a lot with Doug and Tom, and they understood. They could see us getting better. You know, they could see us making a lot of improvements, fixing a lot of the things that we got wrong. And both of them were pretty seasoned investors, both of them had had mistakes they’ve made before. And so they, you know, thank God, were really supportive. And then it wasn’t like immediately we started knocking out of the park either, but we started getting better and better. And then really around the time of the recession was when we really completely transformed and became kind of the business that we are today. RITHOLTZ: And it’s a little bit of a cliche, they’re not so much investing in a fund as they’re investing in you as the manager. Obviously, they saw something that was, “Hey, needs a little seasoning, but there’s a lot of potential here.” WEAVER: Yeah. They saw someone who was willing to literally run through walls and run through a burning building to make it work, and I almost literally did. I mean, it was that — we were — and not just me, but our whole team was really committed to try and make it work, and I think they saw that. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: I have to talk a little bit about your growth rate. You began with $54 million. All-in, you’re $8 billion in assets totally. Obviously, a lot of that is not just growth, but new investors coming along. But still that’s a — as a PE company, Alpine has really seen quite a corporate growth trajectory. Tell us what led to this success rate. WEAVER: Yeah. So when the recession hit, we were in — we were not well positioned. We didn’t — RITHOLTZ: Now, when you say recession — WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: — because some of our audience is, you know, older than 25, I’m assuming you mean, ’08. ’09, the financial crisis? WEAVER: ’08. ‘0. RITHOLTZ: Okay. WEAVER: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Not the one in 2020. WEAVER: Right. RITHOLTZ: And not the one that maybe happened sometime in 2022 and certainly not 2000. WEAVER: That’s right. RITHOLTZ: So the great financial crisis — WEAVER: So great financial crisis happens. We were — we invested the last dollar from our third fund two weeks before — two weeks before Lehman Brothers blew up. RITHOLTZ: Wow. WEAVER: And so we were out of money and we had — it took us forever to raise the next fund. But that period, where we didn’t have any money, turned out to be the most important period for us. RITHOLTZ: Why? WEAVER: Because we started deciding we were going to look at our own business, you know, kind of like rather than working in the business, we’re going to start working on our business. So I hired an executive coach — RITHOLTZ: Really? WEAVER: — and he helped — he really helped me kind of redefine the business that I truly was in, which I’ll come back to. We hired a consulting and coaching firm for our whole organization. And so, we really started doing some soul-searching for lack of a better word. And then — and from that, we really, you know, changed our strategy and developed kind of a new playbook. RITHOLTZ: So let me interrupt you there because that you raise something that I’m fascinated by. So first, what leads you to say, “We need a pro to come in and show us how to do this?” And second, how do you even go about finding an executive coach? That sounds like, man, that’s a consulting field fraught with, you know, let’s be polite and just say high risks. WEAVER: Yeah. It’s a great question. And I am a huge fan of executive coaching. I’ve had a coach since 2009. RITHOLTZ: Wow. WEAVER: I talk to a coach every week or every other week since ’09. RITHOLTZ: No kidding? WEAVER: And we, at Alpine, have 23 coaches that are part of our — they’re 1099 folks, but they’re part of our ecosystem that’s available to our people at Alpine and our executive. So I’m just a huge fan of coaching. And basically what I love about coaching is you create space away from the busyness of the day to day. You ask yourself a bunch of really important questions. You know, what do I want? What success look like? What do I want in — what does a five-year plan look like? And you actually have to really burn some energy and some thinking time, thinking about those answers, which are really hard answers, which most of us never spend time thinking about. RITHOLTZ: Was it just in the midst of the crash and recession that you said, “Hey, maybe we just need a little help. We’re not — we don’t have the professional background to run the business. We know the investing side, but the business side is something very different.” How did you get to that — WEAVER: Yeah, 100%. I mean, I think one of the benefits of phase planning in your first fund is that you get some humility. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: And you — I’ve always just been open to learning from people that are smarter and better than I am. And so, coaching was an exercise — back then in 2009, it was not very well known and it was definitely an exercise in humility of saying, “I think I need some help.” RITHOLTZ: That’s the old joke. Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want, right? WEAVER: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: So once you make the decision, “Hey, we want to bring in a professional to show us ways to improve our business methods,” how does one go about finding a business coach? WEAVER: So I had an introduction from a friend and then we had a number of lunches, and his business wasn’t going well in ’09 either, as you could imagine, so — RITHOLTZ: Well, who’s on — and other than people doing distressed debt investing, whose business was going great in ’08? WEAVER: Yeah. Exactly. Nobody. So — RITHOLTZ: Then in short sellers, everybody else was in trouble. WEAVER: So we had this awesome conversation. I can still — it’s one of these conversations you can still remember where you are and what you — you know, exactly the moment. So we had — this is actually after I brought him on. We have this awesome conversation where I said, “Hey, I have to” — his name is JP Flaum, and I said, “Hey, I have to cancel our coaching engagement. I’m just too busy,” which was like we’ve already decided ahead of time that that was no go. I had to stick with the — we made an agreement. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: So he texts back immediately says, “No, we’re having it.” So I get on the phone, he says, “Well, what’s — you know what’s so crazy that you’re so stressed?” I said, “Oh, my God, JP, you know, I got to fly to Dallas and fix this. And then I got to — you know, we got to deal we’re about to lose and then we lost a huge customer in Chicago. And then I got to go to D.C.” and then, you know I’m going on and on. And he said, “Okay, well, let’s kind of slow down and chill out. Let’s talk about Dallas. What’s going on there?” “Well, we — you know, we just missed our bank projections a second time,” and I’m going on and on. And he starts saying, “Well, tell me about the CEO in Dallas.” I’m like, “What does that have to do with anything? You know, we’re in the middle of the Great Recession,” like, blah, blah, blah. You know, it’s not — you know, it’s the markets or whatever. Anyway, it comes to points, he says — well, eventually, he says, “Well, how would you — how would you rate that CEO, you know, A, B, C?” I was like, “Oh, he’s probably a B.” He said, “Well, Graham, in one of our engagements, you said you wanted to build the greatest private equity firm of all time. Are you going to — are you going to do that with a B CEO?” And I just — it like hit me between the eyes. And then he asked me another question, he said, “And Graham, if you’re someone who keeps a B CEO” — RITHOLTZ: What does that make you? WEAVER: — “how would you rate yourself as a CEO?” RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: and I just — like, it stopped me dead in my tracks. And that was really this light bulb that went off, that ended up having us — having me realize I’m actually in the talent business. That’s the fundamental business that I’m really in. And that was like ’09 that we came to that realization, and then started completely redesigning our firm to like build our companies around talent, build our firm around talent, build our investment strategy around talent. So that was just a huge turning point. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about that because all of your investments eventually get a CEO that’s been trained at Alpine and has the benefit of all of this coaching, all of this training, all of this expertise. It’s not that you’re just looking for attractive balance sheets, it’s where can we put someone in charge to move the needle by taking our expertise and applying it to this business model. Is that what you mean by when you say, you’re in the talent business? WEAVER: Yeah. I think that’s what I mean. There are two parts of it. One is our investment strategy, which is what you described the others, how we run our own firm. But sticking with what you were talking about, Barry, the investment strategy, we found that the single most important investment decision we make is the management team. And it’s more important than the price we pay. It’s more important than the leverage levels. It’s more important than the prior growth rate. And so, we just said, “Well, if that’s really the most correlated, most effective, or most important criteria, you know, let’s make sure we get that right. And so let’s actually kind of build our own CEOs and put our own CEOs in so that we can make sure that we’re getting a world-class person to run each one of our companies.” RITHOLTZ: So in some ways, this is almost parallel in the public markets to activist investing, where they identify a very attractive business that isn’t quite living up to potential, right? WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And they say, “Hey, with a few management changes, we can turn this into a really good business.” On the private equity side, I’m assuming the conversation is something like, “We want to either buy 30%, 40% of your business or your entire business. But regardless, we want one of our professionals to come in and manage it.” WEAVER: Yeah, that’s right. A lot of the companies we’re buying don’t have management. You know, it might be a corporate carve-out. It might be a management team that wants to retire, or exit. And that’s great. So there’s never any conflict. We’re totally transparent. We’re not doing hostile deals, nothing like that. It’s always the transaction that the seller wants to do is they want to retire. So it’s always very friendly. But we — there aren’t a lot of private equity firms that want to go through the process of changing management because it’s very, very hard to do. RITHOLTZ: And that’s the value add that you guys bring. WEAVER: That’s a big part of it. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. That’s really quite fascinating. So there’s a quote of yours I have to lead with, which I find really intriguing quote, “People create returns, not deals, not price.” That’s a huge statement, considering most of the analyst community, especially private equity, is so analytical and modern driven. You’re saying this is a people business. WEAVER: Yeah, 100%, Barry. I think that if you want to do something different than people, you have to have some fundamental belief that’s different than what other people believe. And our belief is that returns come from people. They come from talent. And I think maybe one of the reasons why people shy away from that is it’s hard to analyze, it doesn’t fit in a spreadsheet, and it’s incredibly hard to manage. It’s a lot easier to manage the hard numbers, the financial statements and things than it is to, you know, really manage a team of people. RITHOLTZ: So we were talking earlier that you appoint the CEO at these purchased businesses that you’ve trained yourself. Tell us a little bit about what that in-house training looks like. WEAVER: So a lot of the CEOs we’re hiring, we’re bringing right out of MBA programs, and they have five years of experience typically before they go into business school. And that could be anything, that could be they’re in the military. They could have been in consulting firm. They could have been in investment banking. And we have success with any of those — any and all those backgrounds. So — and they’ve just been in two years of business school, so we don’t want to put them back in business school. But what we’re really teaching them, the fundamental thing we’re teaching them is how to hire, how to build their team, how to set a vision, how to create priorities, how to get everyone in their organization excited and aligned behind what they’re trying to do. Those are things that not a lot of business schools teach. It’s one of the things I try to teach in my class, but it’s something that we bring in — it’s the biggest thing we bring in that training program that we do. RITHOLTZ: Hiring has been described as the most difficult aspect of building a company versus everything else. WEAVER: 100%. RITHOLTZ: How do you teach good hiring? WEAVER: You can actually, to some extent, make hiring a science. And the simple — I could talk for you — I could talk for three hours about this, but I’ll try to do it in about two minutes, which is you build a scorecard for what you want that role — in that role, a specific list of outcomes you want that role to do. And then as you’re assessing a candidate, you’re looking for very specific evidence that they’re going to be able to perform against that scorecard. And you have two things, you’re looking for attributes and experience. Those are the two different parts of the interview process. RITHOLTZ: But we all know what experience is. Define what attributes mean. WEAVER: So attribute is about who somebody is versus what they’ve done. So an example for us, when we’re hiring young people to become CEOs, we’re looking at, you know, do they have a will to win? Do they have emotional intelligence and self-awareness that they can get along with people? And then did they have grit? Can they — are they going to be able to see things through after getting kicked in the teeth, because they’re going to get kicked in the teeth. So those are the three attributes that we’re looking for. Those are wildly more important than experience, because they’ll get experienced quickly. And you can teach experience, you can’t teach those three things. You can’t teach, you know, the will to win. They’re kind of coming to us with that or not. RITHOLTZ: That’s an — that’s an intrinsic aspect of the personality. You either have it or you don’t. There’s no way you’re going to learn that. WEAVER: Not in a period of time, or we don’t know how to teach it if it is writable. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Really, really interesting. So you mentioned your class, let’s talk about the management course that seems to be related to that, CEOs-in-Training. Tell us about that. WEAVER: Yeah. So the CEO-in-Training is the — that’s the name for the people that we’re hiring. Did you want to talk about that, or the class itself? RITHOLTZ: Both, either/or. WEAVER: Okay. All right. So the CEO-in-Training is the name we give to those people we’re hiring right out of business school. We’re giving them that experience — training that I mentioned, and then we’re putting them right in. A lot of them are CEOs on day one of add-on acquisitions, and they get the reins and they’re — you know, they’re off to the races. And you know, there aren’t a lot of positions out of business school that you can become a CEO within — you know, right when you graduate. So we’re — we’ve designed that and it’s been — it’s been a homerun. We — I underestimated how amazing these students would do and the roles that they’ve done. And it’s been fantastic. RITHOLTZ: Do you end up hiring people right out of your classes or — WEAVER: Yeah. I mean, I don’t — RITHOLTZ: So this is really devious recruitment. WEAVER: I don’t interview anybody from Stanford, period. I don’t even know if they applied. I keep a wall between — RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: — you know, my teaching and recruiting. But I will say probably teaching there has helped the Alpine brand. RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEAVER: And helped me — and more importantly, helped me understand what students are capable of, which is a lot, and what they want, which is they want to be the boss right away. And I think — so it’s helped — it helped me learn a little bit more about how to build a program that the students want to actually do. RITHOLTZ: So one of the things the CIT program does is to try and increase underrepresented individuals in PE. Tell us a little bit about what diversity does for your business. WEAVER: Yeah. Well, it’s awesome what we can do. If you — the great thing about hiring for attributes over experience is that we can actually have a huge impact on diversity. So for example, if I said we’re hiring a CEO to run a healthcare software business and our criteria is they have to have done it for 20 years. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: Then I’m — that battle has been won or lost 20 years ago. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: Yeah. I could hire someone who’s a diverse candidate from one of my competitors, but I haven’t really created any value. If I hire someone right out of business school, let’s just use women as an example and that woman wouldn’t have necessarily seen a path to become a CEO, and I can provide her a clear path, then I can actually increase the number of women that become CEOs, which is exactly what we’ve done. We have over 50% of our CEOs-in-Training that we’ve hired have been women. About 30% to 35% have been underrepresented minorities. And so we have — we can have a — we can really move the dial on creating more diversity in CEO ranks. RITHOLTZ: That’s really kind of interesting. Let’s talk a little bit about software and services, why focus on those areas in particular? WEAVER: So one of the things that we figured out, which probably took us way too long to figure out, is if you buy recurring revenue, there’s just a lot fewer things that go wrong. So we’re not unique in focusing on recurring revenue, but that we turn the dial in around that Great Recession time, and decided that was all we were going to do. RITHOLTZ: And so it’s less focused on winning that one big sale and it’s more about building a business that has a fairly steady revenue stream? WEAVER: That’s right. And then if you marry that with what I was saying before, about putting young people to run them, recurring revenue is really helpful because in the first year, they have a big learning curve. And you — RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: You know, they — we need them to have a little bit of a cushion for them to get up to speed. So recurring revenue helps a ton because it does take a little while to learn how to be a CEO. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. Software obviously has been really hot over the past couple of years. Any chance that that changes or slows down, or is software just the driver of the future? WEAVER: I mean, I think software is the driver of the future. And I think anything, even the driver of the future can get overpriced. RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEAVER: And you can overpay for any asset. And I think in the last few years, you know, people have gotten a little ahead of themselves with some of the multiples that were paid. But I don’t think that changes fundamentally that I think software — you know, software is here for a long time and it’s got a lot of really exciting trends. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: I’m going to ask you a question. I’m going to have you put this back earlier in the hiring discussion because I missed something and I want to come back to it. You’ve discussed episodic versus programmatic hiring. Explain the difference between the two. WEAVER: Yeah, great question. So I might have made up those two terms, but — RITHOLTZ: Well, that’s why it jumped out at me. I don’t know what either those things are. I have to ask that question. WEAVER: I think I did make them up, but — so episodic hiring is what everyone does. Okay. We need a — RITHOLTZ: We have an opening. WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Fill this — go to LinkedIn — WEAVER: Exactly. RITHOLTZ: — put out an ad, get me somebody here. WEAVER: Exactly. Or yeah, we’ll hire Russell Reynolds to get us a CFO, whatever. That’s how everyone hires. That is two problems — well, a number of problems. One is it’s slow, and two is it’s expensive. And three is it actually doesn’t even work that well. Like, the hit rate is pretty low. The hit rate across the board in hiring statistically is about 50%, but that’s measured as are they still there in three years? Not this they — were they successful? So it’s even worse than that. So that’s the problem with episodic hiring. So programmatic hiring is you’re going to hire the same role a lot, and so how do you make that more of a program? So for example, you know, we’re hiring 17 people from business schools that start next month, or we’re hiring 27 undergrads to be interns who will matriculate into full time roles. And so, there’s a group of people that are graduating. You can kind of have a class of folks. You can give them way more training. You can build a whole program using the — to use the programmatic term around that, and it’s just a lot more effective. That’s two roles that we do at Alpine, the CEOs-in-Training and then the analysts. But then in our companies, you know, in some cases, that’s engineers, technicians, where that’s their recurring hire that they’re doing. And we’re helping them build programs to start with people who don’t know how to do those functions, and bring them up, you know, through training to learn those. RITHOLTZ: Really quite interesting. WEAVER: And you can scale — you can just scale a lot better, and you have a way higher hit rate doing that. RITHOLTZ: So you’re constantly maintaining a pool of either potential hires or actual employees that you’re waiting to promote? WEAVER: Absolutely. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Before we get into the current market environment for private equity, I have to circle back to you teaching at Stanford, at the graduate school, tell us a little bit about the courses you teach and what students learn. WEAVER: So I teach two courses there. I teach — they’re both — they’re both basically similar. One is for first years, and one is for second years, but they’re both centered around entrepreneurship. And the idea of the courses is that there’s lots of classes on analysis and accounting and finance; and there aren’t a lot of classes around how to actually manage people, lead people. And I’m talking the nitty-gritty stuff of literally like what to say, if you have to fire someone. My students have to rule — my students will say, “Oh, I would just fire that person.” I said, “Okay, great. I’ll be them and you tell me.” RITHOLTZ: Right. Fire me. WEAVER: Fire me, and then they have to do it and they realize — RITHOLTZ: It’s harder than it looks. WEAVER: It’s a lot harder than it looks. So they’ll say — RITHOLTZ: That’s why people just cheat and send email. He’s so mortified. WEAVER: Yeah. That would not be something we teach. We do not — we not teach people to send an email. RITHOLTZ: So tell us about the role-playing. What does that — WEAVER: So we — so the student will actually play the protagonist in the case, and I’ll play the antagonist for lack of a better word of the other characters. And then they’ll fire me, or they’ll have to demote me, or they’ll have to tell me that they no longer want to be my partner, or whatever the situation is that they’re trying to get through. And then we’ll play around with it. And they’ll realize, you know, some things they do right, some things they do poorly. And then the entrepreneur about whom we’ve written the case is in the class, and so then they’ll chime in and say, “Well, wow, this is — you did this this way, this is why I didn’t do that,” or “I wish I would have done it that way. Instead, I did this.” So it’s a really — it’s a really, really fun class. It’s — and it’s something that they don’t get anywhere else where they actually have to kind of implement the stuff they’re talking about. RITHOLTZ: So aside from firing, what else do you teach them? WEAVER: So everything, we actually teach a lot on hiring. We have whole modules and playbooks and videos and things I’ve made and we do a class on that, which is really important. We talk about complex partnership issues, things with your board. They have to sell stuff. They have to fundraise, how to make an offense and defense deck to sell — to sell something, you know, a whole list of basically things that entrepreneurs are going to have to face in their life. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. I have to imagine having been a graduate student at Stanford, it’s deeply satisfying teaching there. WEAVER: It’s a blast. I started off as a case guest, where they wrote a case about me buying stuff in my dorm room, and I was a case guest and I kept — I would come home all energized. And it was my favorite day of the year. And then when the — Irv Grousbeck, who wrote the case about me, who’s a legend at Stanford, when he — he called me one day and said, “Hey, you know, I’m going to stop teaching this class, would you want to teach in?” And my first response was, “No, I have a job, you know, and I can’t,” but I didn’t say that. I said, “Hey, I’ll think about it.” And then, thankfully, everyone I was around was like, “Graham, you have to do this. And it’s your favorite thing you do.” And we figured out a way to make it work. So it’s a blast. RITHOLTZ: That sounds like — that sounds like it’s a lot of fun. WEAVER: One more thing I would just add is what I realized after a few years is I’ll teach students all about entrepreneurship, and we have this great class. And then they go take a job, you know, in consulting or investment banking; they never become entrepreneurs, even though that was what they wrote their essay about and that was what they’re excited about. So I added to the class a whole part on, okay, wait a second, what is it you really want to do with your life? You know, what’s holding you back? How’d you make a plan to go do that? What are your limiting beliefs? What are the things — what are your fears? So we have a whole thread, probably 25% of the class is on those things because I’m like what’s the point of teaching people to be entrepreneurs if they don’t become entrepreneurs? RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: So I’ve invested a lot into, like, personal growth. And that’s a really, really fun part of us, too. RITHOLTZ: Are any of those skill sets transferable to consultants who arguably — WEAVER: Oh, 100%, a 100%. RITHOLTZ: — they’ll be working with other entrepreneurs and maybe haven’t been exposed? WEAVER: Yeah, a 100%. It wasn’t so much that I have anything against consulting, it was just that the student at the beginning of the class said, “My goal is to do X, and then they don’t do X.” That was all. RITHOLTZ: So tell us a little bit about your approach, what’s your process like to finding a potential acquisition target. And since we look at both private and public markets, what do you think of in terms of valuation? How do you come up with a number? WEAVER: Yeah. Yeah, great questions. We have a large team that looks for potential companies. We have actually 52 people at Alpine and in our portfolio companies that are looking for deals. RITHOLTZ: 52? WEAVER: 52. RITHOLTZ: So that’s a lot of people. WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: How big is the firm overall? WEAVER: Overall, if you include the CEOs-in-Training and we have — RITHOLTZ: And your 1099 consultants. WEAVER: We probably have roughly 200. RITHOLTZ: All right, so that’s a — WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: That’s a decent size. WEAVER: The 52 also includes a number of people that are working at the company who’s doing sourcing, but they’re doing the same thing. They’re calling companies, looking for investments. So we have 52 people looking for deals, and then a lot of those conversations are directly with founders. And what we’re trying to do is figure out — the way we think about it is we can pay a price, that we can hit our target returns, which I can’t talk about on, you know — RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: But if we can hit our target — RITHOLTZ: We all have compliance departments. WEAVER: So we can pay a price so we could hit our target returns with like a 70% base case. And then we need there to be a lot more upside to that than downside. So we want there to be like a case where we could hit many multiples of our target returns. And so based on that, we kind of back into a price. And then where we get in trouble or where things get turned down at Investment Committee is when everything in the world has to go perfectly to hit that target. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: Because I’ve been in this business for 28 years, and when you start pricing in perfection, that’s a time when you realize you’re overpaying. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: So that’s — it’s that 70% probability and less a margin of safety thing that you really — as someone who’s like a little bit more senior at our firm, I have to bring that to the discussions. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. That perfect 10 stuck at landing, those are the outliers. You certainly can’t rely on that. WEAVER: Exactly. You can’t underwrite to that, for sure. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. So when you look at this macro environment, it seems to be pretty supportive of economic expansion generally. How closely do you pay attention to things like, hey, the Fed is raising rates pretty rapidly, maybe they’re going to cause a recession next year? WEAVER: We pay attention to it to some extent. If you go back to the ’08 crisis — RITHOLTZ: Now, that’s a recession. WEAVER: Yeah. And we’re just in a very different position. I think we’re way underbuilt on housing. So you know, I don’t see — RITHOLTZ: Wildly. WEAVER: Wildly underbuilt on housing, so I don’t see — you know, I don’t see things happen — you know, crashing there. I think we have — the consumer isn’t as leveraged as they were back in 2008. Businesses aren’t as leveraged as they were. I just think it’s a lot healthier. On the flip side, we also don’t have — the Fed can’t print money like they did in ’08 because of inflation. But I think, generally, it just feels like we’re a lot healthier than we were back then. RITHOLTZ: Right. You’re singing my song. I’m in the exact same place. I’m kind of perplexed by all the recession chatter. I mean, what are we? 27, 28 million new jobs in this year? That’s not what you usually see. Although, to be fair, some past recessions, we were creating jobs right until the moment it stopped and the bottom dropped out. But you know, it really depends on how aggressive the powers that you’re going to get about inflation. So here’s the question related to that in ’08, ’09, let’s say the naysayers are right and the end of this year or 2023, we see something more than just a mild shallow recession, we see a real recession. How does that affect the companies you look at? And do you start doing, for lack of a better phrase, distressed private equity investing? WEAVER: You know, I think that what we’ve been trying to do over the last 14 years is underwrite companies that would do well in a recession. So hopefully, we’re going to — our company is going to hold up well in that time. In terms of what we look for, it does open up the door when — you know, when there is a recession, there’s a lot more different things that are for sale at different prices. And I think one of the great assets is if you have a whole team of managers that you can put in to run distressed things, you have a lot of options open to what you can look at. So there — you know, there will be a lot more interesting things to do with, you know, if that happens. Certainly, we don’t wish that on the economy. RITHOLTZ: On anybody else. And then, finally, I have to ask about the way you score software companies and services companies, you use a metric. I really am not familiar with eNPS. Can you tell us a little bit about that? WEAVER: Yeah. So I think in general, that there are leading indicators and lagging indicators. Lagging indicator is revenue EBITDA. Those are lagging indicators. But yet, a lot of managers, they try to manage to lagging indicators. It’s like — and that’s just not very effective. So what we try to do is develop what are the leading indicators that are going to predict success. And the number one most important leading indicator, you’re not going to be surprised to hear me say, is talent. So if you tell me, “I’m on the board of your business, and we’re starting to build the world-class management team, I can tell you in two years, we’ll have a homerun investment.” So one of those leading — two of those leading indicators related to talent are employee net promoter score, which is the eNPS. RITHOLTZ: Meaning how employees rate their employee? WEAVER: Exactly. Yeah. Would they — would they recommend this company to a friend? And we measure that every quarter for every one of our companies. We measure it at Alpine. We measure it for a whole bunch of different groups within Alpine. And then retention is the other big one. So if we can be managing those and getting those right, those are leading indicators that are going to help us set up, you know, the revenue EBITDA that come later. And those are hard things to manage. Getting those metrics right takes a lot of work. That’s actually where I spend most of my time at Alpine, believe it or not, is making sure that we’re creating an environment where the best people want to be and stay. And most people again in the finance world, they don’t think about kind of squishy, soft metrics like that, but they should be. RITHOLTZ: Well, because they have a really outsized impact on the performance of a company. WEAVER: Absolutely. That’s my view is they have — they have the biggest impact. RITHOLTZ: And my last question before I get to our favorite questions we ask all our guests, so a little bit of a curveball, you are a captain on a national championship rowing team. WEAVER: I was. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Tell us about that. WEAVER: So — RITHOLTZ: You look like you row. WEAVER: So I came to college not even knowing anything about rowing. I didn’t even know that the boats went backwards till I got in a boat. RITHOLTZ: Well, it’s not that they’re going backwards. It’s just that you’re facing backwards. WEAVER: Exactly. Yeah. I didn’t even know that. So I started as a novice, I walked on the team. And it seemed like everyone else on the team had rowed before, so I was horrible, absolutely horrible. I got cut, and then just kept kind of — and so there’s a funny story where the coach says, “Okay, these are the people who are going to boats. The rest of you are, quote, “land warriors.” And you’re a land warrior means you go on the rowing machines. And so that night when he kind of posted the boats and I wasn’t in the boat, he said, “All right.” So I did this calculus, and I’m like, okay, well, gosh, all the land warriors are going to show up before class. You know, classes — first class is at 9:00. So they’re going to show up at 8:00, but — so I got to show up at 7:00. No, no, no, everyone is going to think that, so I’ll show up at 6:00. So I show up the next morning, zero people. And one of the guys is like, “Hey, idiot, land warrior is another way to say you got cut.” But I still stayed as a land warrior, and kept getting better at — getting my Erg times better and better over time. And it was one of the greatest things I ever did. I had a great time and — RITHOLTZ: And when were they national champions? WEAVER: My senior year, I was — RITHOLTZ: So by then, you’re on the team? WEAVER: By my — yeah, by my senior year, I was pulling one of the best Erg times in the nation at the rowing machine — RITHOLTZ: Erg time? WEAVER: On the concept to rowing machine like you see in the gym, they actually have a standard test, which is 2000 meters which you submit, you know, nationally. And by my senior year, I had one of and maybe a few times the number one Erg time in the country, and I was elected captain by my teammates of our team. And then that year, we were supposed to have a rebuilding year because we lost all these seniors and we actually won the whole thing. RITHOLTZ: That’s amazing. WEAVER: So it was awesome. RITHOLTZ: Wow. That’s really amazing. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: Let’s jump to our favorite questions that we ask all of our guests, starting with what kept you entertained during the pandemic lockdown? Tell us what you were streaming. WEAVER: I went on this whole Buddhist thing during the pandemic and I started reading a lot about Buddhism and streaming Buddhism, and it was — it was amazing. RITHOLTZ: Meditating or — WEAVER: Meditating and just kind of learning about Buddhism, and you know, why we all suffer and how to — you know, how all these thoughts we have in our head, our own imagination. And I went on this whole kick during the pandemic, which was phenomenal. I highly recommend it. And basically, the concept is that your reality is going through a filter. And everything that’s happened externally, you’re telling yourself a story about what that means, and whether that’s good, or whether that’s bad. And that that’s really — your reality isn’t what’s happening, it’s the story you’re telling yourself and that you have complete control over that story. RITHOLTZ: Right. That’s the classic narrative fallacy. WEAVER: Yeah, that’s the narrative fallacy. And that’s kind of the fundamental premise of Buddhism, which is your suffering is coming, not from what’s happening, but the story you’re telling yourself. So I went on this long, you know, meditating and reading, and kind of journaling about that. And that was — that was a lot of fun. RITHOLTZ: So the — we had this old joke about, we had a softball team here over in Central Park and we had the Buddhists playing the stoics and the game never finished. Everybody just sat down instead of having a long conversation. But I’m right there with you. You mentioned your — two of your mentors, who were some of your earliest investors. Are there anybody else you want to mention as mentors? The professor at Stanford you referred to also. WEAVER: Yeah. I’ll — both of those, Tom Steyer. Doug Martin and Irv Grousbeck were super important in my life. I’ll talk about Irv. He is probably if you had — there’s probably literally, Barry, a hundred people you could have on this podcast that would list Irv as one of their most important people. RITHOLTZ: Really? WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Wow. WEAVER: He a professor at Stanford and just, you know, makes time for folks. He built an incredible business. And he just has this, you know, unwavering moral code. He was an early investor. He’s the one who asked me to teach at Stanford. And I just — I just find the way he set up his life and his — just the way he treats other people, you’re always the most important person in the world when you’re with him. And so, I’ve definitely learned a lot from him. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. Let’s talk about books. What are some of your favorites and what are you reading currently? WEAVER: I — it’s funny, I ended up rereading like the same 10 books. In terms of my favorites, I read — I have some I read currently too, but “Good to Great,” Warren Buffett’s Biography “Snowball,” Steve Jobs biography by Isaacson, Walt Disney’s biography by Neal Gabler, “Switch” by Dan and Chip Heath, “Made to Stick” by Dan and Chip Heath, Buffett’s annual letters. Like, those are like — I reread those and every time I reread them, I get kind of reenergized. And we’ve modeled a lot of our business and a lot of my life around some of the things I learned in some of those books. And a lot of those required reading and help. RITHOLTZ: I can imagine. What are you reading currently? WEAVER: And right now, I started getting on this Brene Brown kick. I don’t know if you’ve read some of her stuff, but “The Gifts of Imperfection” I’m reading right now, which is just phenomenal. She is — I actually downloaded it on Audible so I get to hear her talk about it. But she has just this incredible way of talking about things that other people don’t talk about, like shame and how to — how to deal with the things you’re not good at, and how to be intellectually honest and admit when you don’t know things. And she’s — I love her work. RITHOLTZ: What’s the title of the book you’re reading currently? WEAVER: “The Gift of Imperfection.” RITHOLTZ: It sounds really — WEAVER: Yeah, it’s phenomenal. It’s phenomenal. RITHOLTZ: Before I forget, just as an aside and you could edit this out. So I went to law school with a guy named Lawrence Cunningham, who was the first person who recognized, hey, all these letters from Warren Buffett, they’re really fascinating, deep stuff. He bound them. WEAVER: Yeah. I bought that book. I own that book. RITHOLTZ: That book has been like a perennial bestseller. WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And it’s — you know, the old joke about the two economists walking down the street. One says, “Is that a $100 bill on the floor?” And the other says, “No, if it was a $100 bill, someone would have picked it up.” It’s the same theme with that. WEAVER: He picked it up. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: These have been around for literally — WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: I mean, I think he first started in like ‘90 or ‘92, something like that. And Buffett had been around for 30 years by then already, or 25 years, nobody had thought of doing that. WEAVER: And you know what, like, it doesn’t matter if it’s crypto or software valuations or the Internet. The stuff Buffett writes about is still the right stuff. RITHOLTZ: Fundamental common sense, block and tackling. WEAVER: You’re going to discount the cash flows back and decide what you can pay. You’re going to put a premium on the discount rate if the stuff is a lot more uncertain. It’s this — it is exactly the right formula today and it was 50 years ago, and it will be 50 years from now. And anytime that there’s something new, where people says this time, it’s different, you should be really skeptical. RITHOLTZ: Always. All right. Our final two questions, what sort of advice would you give to a recent college or business school graduate interested in a career in private equity? WEAVER: Well, I’ll start with the first part, just general advice, and then I’ll go the private equity. But, you know, as you can imagine, I actually give this advice all the time teaching. But the first thing that I think a lot of people graduating don’t ask is like, what they — what do I want? What is five years from now, 10 years from now, if I could — if I knew I wasn’t going to fail, what would I want to do with my life? And they can start with that question. And then start working backwards from that about what job you should take now and next year and five years from now. Instead, a lot of people just think, “Oh, these firms are interviewing on campus, and I’ll go here, I’ll go here.” And that’s okay. But if you know where you want to be 10 years from now, it will inform which firm you go to work and what skills you’re trying to acquire. So I think — I think that would be my advice is like, in 10 years, you will — you can do almost anything you set your mind to and so give yourself permission to really answer that question, what do I want to do in 10 years? RITHOLTZ: Why does it matter if you quote, “know you wouldn’t fail?” WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Just to open the set of possibilities or — WEAVER: Because — yeah, I always frame it as if you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? Because without that, people already jumped to, “I can’t do this,” like subconsciously in the mind. RITHOLTZ: Fear of failure, is that big really? WEAVER: Fear of failure is so powerful. RITHOLTZ: Even amongst really high performing talent — WEAVER: I think it’s even — RITHOLTZ: I mean, Stanford graduate students, I have to think that’s the cream of the crop out there. WEAVER: In some ways, it’s almost more prevalent because they have had so much success, and they don’t — you know, they have this incredible track record. But I would say the number one thing that Stanford Business School students or really just about anyone in the world, it’s the same thing, which is their subconscious mind defaults to fear and fear of failure. RITHOLTZ: That’s fascinating because when I have discussions like this with colleagues or friends in Europe, the thing — or even Asia, the thing that makes United States so unique in the developed economy world is that failure isn’t a scarlet letter, especially in Silicon Valley. It’s almost a badge of honor. Look at all the VCs that list all, “Hey, we missed Apple and Cisco. We invested money in Pets.com. Look how terrible we are, except for our 40% compounded returns.” It’s a badge of honor to say, “We tried this face planted, brush yourself off and moved on.” WEAVER: But when you’re starting out your career and you don’t have anything to fall back on, and you haven’t yet had the success that you can look back, it’s really scary for people. And the thing that they miss is they underestimate what they could really do in 10 years and they underestimate themselves. They forgot what got them in that seat at Stanford Business School. RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEAVER: And they compare themselves to, you know, their roommate or their classmate or something. RITHOLTZ: So the other half of the question is advice about private equity. WEAVER: Yeah. I would say — I would say if someone is interested in a career in private equity, I would — I would say all private equity is not created equal. And there are — literally, like probably a thousand different models, and figure out, you know, go talk to a bunch of companies that are doing private equity in a whole bunch of different ways, and figure out what resonates with you and your interests and your superpowers, and where are you going to line up because it’s, it’s a very diverse industry. And you know, there are some firms that are making their money based on, you know, hardcore fundamental analysis. You know, we’re making our money on talent. There’s others that are, you know, doing cost cutting. There’s a whole bunch of different ways and one or more of those is going to line up a lot better with what you’re excited about. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what do you know about the world of software services in private equity today that you wish you knew 28 years or so ago, when you were first getting started? WEAVER: Well, two things. The first thing is I wish I knew that it was going to work out fine. So I was so stressed and I put so much pressure on myself, that I wish — if I could go back and tell myself anything, it would be like, “Hey, Graham, you know, it’s going to be okay,” because I went through a lot. RITHOLTZ: That’s a really — that’s a really interesting answer because, you know, we just don’t realize how much we freak ourselves out and very often, unnecessarily. What’s the second thing? WEAVER: The second thing would be I would — if I could have realized earlier on just how important the world of talent is, and how that was really the thing that drove performance because that that would have saved me a decade. RITHOLTZ: It sounds really like you’ve honed in on exactly what makes your business work and really quite fascinating. Graham, thank you for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with Graham Weaver, founder and partner at Alpine Investors. If you enjoyed this conversation, well, be sure to check out any of our previous 400 discussions that we’ve had over the past eight and a half years. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever you feed your podcast fix. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. Sign up for my daily reading list @ritholtz.com You can follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps put these conversations together each week. Robert Bragg is my audio engineer. Atika Valbrun is my project manager. Sean Russo runs all of our research. Paris Wald is my producer. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. END   ~~~   The post Transcript: Graham Weaver appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureJul 26th, 2022

A 3-way game of geriatric chicken featuring Trump, Biden, and Bernie has younger Democrats and Republicans itching for change

President Joe Biden, 79, insists he's running for reelection. Donald Trump, now 76, wants a rematch. But don't count out Bernie Sanders, 80, either. Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders are all top top contenders for the 2024 presidential election.David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images The 2024 presidential race is already coming into view. It looks as though the two oldest presidents in history are readying for a rematch. And don't count 80-year-old Bernie Sanders out entirely. The 2024 presidential campaign, at this earliest of stages, is becoming an epic game of 3-way geriatric chicken. In one corner is Joe Biden, who at 79 insists he's running for reelection despite being the oldest president in nearly 250 years of US history. Sen. Bernie Sanders is in another corner. A top political advisor for the 80-year-old socialist has said he'd make a third attempt to win the White House as a Democrat, but only if Biden doesn't run. And the biggest wild card of them all is Donald Trump. At 76, the man who before Biden held the designation of being the oldest president in US history appears intent on getting his old job back for the power and prestige, for revenge, and perhaps to even pardon himself should it come to that.No one can lay exclusive claim to a spot on their respective party primary ballots. But each of those three men do hold an outsized sway right now over their party's leadership apparatus in what could be an otherwise wide-open presidential campaign. To many observers, the three have created a power vacuum unlike anything seen in modern US history. It's also the case that Trump and Biden have the most say in the entire matter."Maybe they can have a meeting and shake hands and agree that neither would run," Trent Lott, the former Senate GOP leader, told Insider in an interview where he acknowledged the desire for fresh faces in the next crop of 2024 presidential candidates. That's a growing sentiment. Mitch McConnell, the current Senate Republican leader, recently predicted there would be a "crowded" field for the GOP in 2024. Others worry that if Trump, Biden, and Sanders don't get out of the way then everyone else on the bench may need to wait even longer to forge their own path to the White House. "I think it's time to get a fresh look at some new candidates," Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox, 47, said in an interview. Added presidential historian Douglas Brinkley: "It's a sad state when the parties can't put up candidates in their 40s, 50s, and maybe in their 60s, but they're having to resort to people in their 70s and 80s. It stunts the outgrowth of democracy. You lose years on that kind of safe strategy."Joe Biden and Donald Trump exchange words at the final presidential debate of 2020.Chip Somodevilla / POOL / AFPThe sole candidate who can beat Trump?Biden won the presidency in the first place by making the argument that he was the sole candidate among the Democrats who could beat Trump. It's an argument he's ready to try to make again as Trump flirts with another run, even if there are now many new headwinds including his own abysmal public approval rating, soaring inflation, and angst from inside the party that Democrats failed to deliver on an ever-growing list of demands from the economy to climate change to safeguarding democracy. It's also the case that Sanders' 2024 aspirations remain in their own holding pattern until Biden makes his own formal declaration of his intentions.After spending stretches of the 2020 presidential campaign in his basement, Biden sought to portray himself as a youthful, active commander-in-chief.But that hasn't always worked out. Conservatives gleefully highlight his every misspoken word or verbal stumble as evidence of mental decline. Biden tumbled from his bicycle during a June ride in Delaware. And after a lengthy swing through the Middle East, Biden returned to Washington with an unexpected parting gift: COVID-19. —Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) June 18, 2022 Biden would be 86 years old when, in 2029, he'd complete a second term. It's a fact the White House doesn't want to talk about. "That is not a question that we should be even asking," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded in June when asked on CNN about Biden's health and stamina.  Biden recently snapped at a reporter during a White House picnic for lawmakers when asked if he should skip a second term because of public opinion polling that says he shouldn't run. "They want me to run," the president remarked. "Read the poll. Read the polls, Jack. You guys are all the same. That poll showed that 92% of Democrats, if I ran, would vote for me."Age is likewise something neither Trump nor Sanders are keen to discuss."78 is not old," Trump told a New York Post gossip columnist this week ahead of the funeral for his ex-wife, Ivana, who died earlier this month after a fall at the age of 73.Although Sanders hasn't spoken publicly about his 2024 intentions, a recently leaked memo written by a top political advisor described a scenario in which he'd jump in if Biden didn't. Asked recently about the age of America's overall leadership, Sanders snapped to Insider: "The issue facing America is not age. It is the power of a handful of billionaires who to a significant degree, control the economic and political life of the country."Votes are tabulated on the set of ABC-TV's news coverage of the 1972 presidential election between President Richard Nixon and the Democratic nominee, George McGovern. Nixon won 49 states and captured a second term.Hulton Archive/Getty Images'George McGovern syndrome'What's driving all three men — who'd all otherwise be well into their retirements — to stay engaged? Experts cite ego as a major factor for both Biden and Trump."The fact they both made it to the White House makes them think they both know how to get to the White House," said Brinkley. "Once you have power, it's very hard to let it go." Biden's insistence on staying in office also likely stems from his own awareness of history. In particular, he has a longstanding fear that Democrats nominating a more liberal candidate such as Sanders would mean giving Republicans a better shot at winning the White House."The problem with the Democratic party is George McGovern syndrome," said Brinkley, referencing the anti-war nominee Democrats ran in 1972 against the incumbent GOP President Richard Nixon. McGovern won a single state — Massachusetts — plus the District of Columbia. Incidentally, 1972 is the same election cycle when Biden, at age 29, was first elected to the US Senate.This history in mind, Democratic brass are likely to continue to coalesce against the likes of Sanders — or even a Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — as a party standard-bearer.Mark Longabaugh, a longtime Democratic operative who worked on Sanders' 2016 and 2020 campaigns, said Trump is the singular driving force behind what happens to the rest of the field. If the ex-president ultimately enters the race, Biden will find it even easier to stick around. "I think Trump is at the center of the decision just because of the way Biden and Biden's core supporters have positioned him as the only one to defeat Trump," he said.But Longabaugh also said he's not completely convinced any of them will enter the 2024 primaries. "I think there's a lot of doubt on all three of those and whether they square off again in 2024," Longabaugh said. "I can be dead wrong and Biden and Trump are in, and that's that, and we've got a general election. But I just see a lot more play on the playing field than is conventional wisdom." That's a view that Cox, the 47-year-old first-term Utah governor, said he hopes plays out."A lot can change over the next year, year and a half," he said. "I'm certainly hoping that there are governors on both sides of the aisle, other candidates, who are willing to step up and challenge the status quo that are going to say, 'Hey, look, for the good of our country, we're not going to stand aside and we're going to go to battle here because we think that we have a vision to offer.'"That Democratic bench could include Vice President Kamala Harris, 57; California Gov. Gavin Newsom, 54; Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, 40; and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, 57.Potential Republican challengers for 2024 include well-known names such as former Vice President Mike Pence, 63; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 43; former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, 50; former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, 58; and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, 51; Marco Rubio of Florida, 51; and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, 45.Lott, the former Senate GOP leader, said it was important for new people to assume leadership at the highest levels of government. His own career in politics lasted from the time he was age 32 until he turned 67. "You have to know when to hold `em," said Lott, who left public office to work as a lobbyist, "and when to fold `em."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJul 23rd, 2022

Fiona Hill talks Ukraine, January 6, Trump, Republicans, and 2024: "We"re in a mess"

"It's a part of our democracy where we can all hold opposing views. That's important. Trump was not doing that," Hill told Insider Fiona Hill,arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on November 21, 2019.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Fiona Hill recently spoke to Insider about Ukraine, Putin, January 6, Trump, and more. Hill said the war in Ukraine has global ramifications and could spark conflicts elsewhere. She also issued dire warnings about the state of US democracy. As the top Russia expert on the National Security Council under the Trump administration, Fiona Hill had a front-row seat to Russian President Vladimir Putin's efforts to manipulate former President Donald Trump. Hill also watched Trump attempt to emulate autocrats like Putin. In 2019, Hill was thrown into the national spotlight as a key witness during the House impeachment inquiry into Trump's dealings with Ukraine.Insider recently spoke with Hill about the Ukraine war, Russia, Putin, the January 6 hearings, Trump, Republicans and the future of US democracy. The conversation revealed how all of these issues are tied together.Editor's Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. INSIDER: In November, you told me that Putin was "deadly serious" about neutralizing Ukraine. At the time, there was a fair amount of skepticism about whether Russia would actually invade. You were ultimately correct. But what's been most surprising to you about how the Ukraine war has unfolded so far? Hill: It was clear he was going to do something military to me — but it wasn't clear he was going to try for a full-on invasion. They went full-on, everything at once, which was a bit of a surprise. But I think that's kind of the surprise for Putin as well. They miscalculated, right? They obviously thought — the Russians, Putin, the people around him who planned this adventure with him — that this "special military operation" would be over in a matter of days. And it wasn't. Everyone's surprised by that. The Ukrainians are surprised by it, because they managed to fend it off. Clearly, Putin's surprised by it. But it was clearly because the planning was not for a full-on, full-scale, grinding war that we're seeing now. The surprising element for a lot of people is that it has gone beyond these confines of a much shorter, sharper conflict. It's obvious to all of us that [Putin] massively miscalculated.INSIDER: It's clear that there were major miscalculations here, and the early days of the war were fairly embarrassing for Russia and for Putin. But we're beginning to see Russia make progress in the eastern Donbas region. And the Russian economy, while not exactly in the best shape, has managed to stay afloat. Is the tide turning in Putin's favor?Hill: He wants us to think that. We have to be very careful about that. That's becoming kind of the conventional wisdom — that he can wait us out. It's that whole idea of time and tide. There's that old expression "time and tide wait for no man" — not even for Vladimir Putin. Because he wants us to basically capitulate at this point. He doesn't want this dragging on, either. So all of these statements that Putin is saying like "we haven't even started yet, the worst is yet to come," it's meant to have Ukraine and everybody else just sort of give up now. This is classical medieval siege mentality, right?This is a guy whose father went through the siege of Leningrad. He's thinking in siege-like mentalities, laying siege to all of us. Just basically saying, "I'm going to wait you all out. You cannot prevail because I've got all the time in the world." And that's just not true.The problem becomes one of maintaining the military equipment and everything over the longer term. They're going to be cannibalizing equipment.We're seeing them reverting back, not just to the tactics of earlier times, but the equipment of earlier times. Pulling lots of things out of the scrapyard or cold storage. There's a lot of speculation about how long it will take for them to replenish the equipment that's lost. Russia's got a lot of problems, and over the longer term.We see signs of desperation there in terms of just trying to bring more people in without having a full-on mobilization that would bring in the kids of elites in Moscow and St. Petersburg, etc.INSIDER: In light of these questions regarding whether Russia actually has the manpower and weaponry to continue waging this war in the long-term, where do you see this war going? What are Putin's objectives at this stage of the conflict? Hill: His objectives have not changed. Putin wants to find a way of subjugating Ukraine one way or another. He might take what he can get in the short-term and medium-term. One of the big risks is that if he manages to get some kind of nominal control of the Donbas — Donetsk and Luhansk. But then there might be some kind of effort to create an operational pause for regrouping.And then it just results in a renewal of conflict when the Russians feel that they're in a good position to press ahead again. There are going be ramifications from this war for a very long time. It's an epoch-making war in many respects. It's shaping a whole set of interactions. The war in Chechnya was very similar. For years that went on and it shaped a lot of the dynamics within Russia itself and in neighboring countries. The war in Ukraine has a global reach, global implications — with the food security, Russia's nuclear sabre rattling, Putin running around to Turkey and Iran and reaching out to China for support. This is a conflict already with global dimensions. INSIDER: Putin has offered a series of shifting justifications for the Ukraine war. He's portrayed it as an effort to reclaim lands that he views as historically Russian. He's also framed it as the beginning of the end of a US-led world order. What does he really believe?Hill: Both, because he thinks that the US is an imperial power that has been occupying Europe because it's an outside power. He says it all the time. He's been saying it for forever. The Soviets said it as well — that the US was alien to Europe.The US — we always think of ourselves as liberators, right? World I, World War II, coming in to liberate Europe from the destruction by Germany. And we did occupy Germany. We did occupy Europe. There were US bases all over the place. And there still are in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy, and other places. And the US military is present in NATO, etc. At the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union/Russia was forced to pull out. Pulling its military back from everywhere. But the US didn't go anywhere. So that's the Putin argument the whole time — the US is an imperial power, we have to get rid of it. Really, what Putin wants to be is the dominant power in Europe.INSIDER: When we spoke in November, you said Putin had an upper hand over the West and the only way this would change was if there's a "collective, forceful, diplomatic response." Does Putin still have the upper hand?Hill: Putin was never so powerful as on February 22nd and 23rd, or in November when he was massing those forces and he was putting all this pressure and everybody's running around trying to appease him and placate him. And then he goes in and he does this. Then everyone has to respond to that and he loses that power of coercion and persuasion.INSIDER: Do you think that the West has the political will to maintain the support that Ukraine needs to withstand Russia? Hill: Well, Putin doesn't think we have. And we can nay-say ourselves into not having it, either. I think it's up to us. What's going on in Ukraine is much larger than Ukraine and Russia, or NATO or the European Union. The food security, knock-on effects of energy, the precedent Putin is setting for similar activities elsewhere. This is really one of those massively transformative conflicts now. People freak out when you use the idea of World War III, but it's that epoch-changing war. There's been many of them in European history. Putin's trying to basically say that all of the history of the past several centuries in Europe doesn't count. All that counts is Putin's version of events — that Ukraine belongs to Russia. What about all the other countries in the world that have come out of multiethnic states or empires?INSIDER: When you learn about the history of World War I in high school, they teach you about the "powder keg of Europe." All of the right elements were there for it to explode, but everyone seemed to be looking the other way. Is that the kind of moment we're in?Hill: We're in it. Look at what's happening with food security and famine. I've used the idea of Putin as the four horsemen of the apocalypse in some of my presentations.Death, famine, destruction, pestilence. This is what Putin's creating here, and it's now on a global scale.INSIDER: Do you think there's a real risk of direct conflict or fighting between the major powers? Hill: There's always a risk. There's a risk of this sparking off other conflicts, just like the Arab Spring did. The Arab spring was initially triggered off by food prices from food shortages and rising inflation and unemployment. And if Putin's war in Ukraine compounds problems we've already had from COVID and other things that are happening, that compounding effect can spark off conflicts in other places. It doesn't have to be between the great powers.I want to be very careful about this because, of course, Putin wants us to believe that this is a proxy war with NATO. He's telling everybody else it is, but it's a war of conquest. INSIDER: What are the stakes if Ukraine loses and Putin gets what he wants?Hill: The stakes are it helps make the case for China with Taiwan. We all worry about that. These things are all fused together now. There's also a real risk of a rift internationally. It's a different form of rift. It's not across Europe, but it's kind of globally with the West and then Russia with the rest. All the countries caught in the middle of all of this and all these sort of knock-on effects of realignments as a result. Is Russia going to reconstruct Ukraine? Hell no. What happens to Ukrainian agriculture? What happens to millions of Ukrainians stuck somewhere else?You just then take out of play, in the same way that Afghanistan and Iraq and other places were taken out of play, a very large country that was contributing a great deal to global markets, commodities, etc. The potash, the fertilizer, all the grain, sunflower oil, all kinds of things there. The weakening of Europe overall as a result of all of this. Russia becomes incredibly weakened over the longer term, too. A win for Putin is a pretty Pyrrhic victory. He'll take it. But everything that people have achieved in Russia in terms of building real businesses, all the steps Russia's taken forward in alleviating poverty, building up a private sector for the last 30 years — is out the window. INSIDER: And a win in Ukraine is really key to Putin's survival politically and maybe even existentially?Hill: Yes. This is why he's trying to tell us that time is on his side when actually it isn't really so much. INSIDER: President Joe Biden has repeatedly said there's a global fight between democracy and autocracy, and has presented the Ukraine war as part of this. Meanwhile, America's democracy isn't in the best shape. Have you been following the January 6 hearings? Do you think they're having an impact? Hill: Yes and yes. But it doesn't mean that everybody else is watching and is being persuaded.There's a lot of people who just won't believe it, no matter what's presented to them.We've become so polarized and partisan. Biden tried to tap toward the center and pull others together, but he hasn't succeeded. Maybe the argument could be that he couldn't possibly succeed given the weight of all the problems. There's just been so much polarization and it doesn't just date back to Trump, it dates back even further. But, of course, the way he handled all this made it infinitely worse. Biden couldn't possibly — against the backdrop of an ongoing pandemic and everything else that's happening — have turned this around. But we always expect that the silver bullet is going to come from the man in the White House, rather than from people doing things for themselves. I guess that's what the January 6 committee is trying to get across here. I personally think they've done a pretty good job. Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, they're playing those roles, but not getting anybody to stand up as well. Liz Cheney has not stopped being a conservative or a Republican in her defense of our democracy. And it's been weird to see this support for her from Democrats when they probably disagree with her on pretty much every policy issue.But everybody should stand up. It's a part of our democracy where we can all hold opposing views. That's important. Trump was not doing that, he was just basically standing up for himself. And this is what's happening in the case of Putin and Russia. Where you get unchecked power, where there's no consultation, and there's no kind of system of checks and balances. When you get to a situation where there is no institutional check on someone's power, that's the kind of thing you get — somebody could then just declare war. If you got somebody like Trump — we all know that he was running around saying "bomb this person" — if he managed to stay in power and blast through all of the institutional checks and balances, we might be in that situation, too. INSIDER: In your book, you wrote that Trump may have paved the way for someone who's a little less insecure and more capable to "pull a Putin" in America. Based on the current political climate, how worried are you that someone will "pull a Putin" in the US in the near future?Hill: I'm very concerned about it.A lot of people are still running on the back of the lie that the January 6th committee has really tried very hard to refute. Some of the people who will run — and maybe most of those people beat Trump — have not refuted what he's said and never recognized Biden as a legitimate president. Some people have said that might have been our last fair election in 2020. And it's disastrous because that means that a portion of the population will always believe that whoever got elected is illegitimate. And that's a recipe for communal violence and ultimately we could end up in a civil conflict here. Maybe it's at the local level. Maybe it's not at the national level. Or it's inter-communal violence.It's like Northern Ireland. When trust in the different communities and authorities breaks down to such an extent that just people just start fighting with each other. We've already got it. We've already got that happening.INSIDER: Some academics have already said that the US is in a civil conflict or at least a slow-moving civil war. Do you agree?Hill: I've said that myself at times and I've dialed it back a bit. We've got a lot of communal violence. So, we're already kind of in that. But we may have just become ungovernable by many of the things that have happened here. I don't think we'd end up in the kind of conflict that we had between the states — the Union and the Confederacy — back in the day. But people's sense of the civil and civic ways of resolving disputes are out the window. When you get people storming the US Capitol or storming the capitol of different states, for example, thinking about taking the governor hostage, mass violence that's targeted — in some cases against racial groups like we saw Buffalo — this whole atmosphere where everyone's on edge and feeling that they need to resolve the disputes themselves, you're just in really big trouble. However you define it, you're in big trouble.When you go abroad, people just can't believe it. People say to me, "The US is out of control."Our leadership is really tarnished. And that will have negative effects on the US as well because we won't be able to press our interests and the interests of our population internationally.INSIDER: You've said that if Trump is elected again, it's the end of US democracy. But what if someone else who is Trumpian, and who has embraced his false statements on the election, wins in 2024? Hill: If any of these other people who want to present themselves as a Republican candidate win on that basis, it's equally as bad. And it's disastrous if Trump wins on that basis, but also anybody else who's basically helped enable this or perpetuate it and is tapping into it. I am not a partisan person, but it's a little bit hard to take a neutral stance. When I was in the UK, for example, people described the Republican party as a charismatic satanic death cult.[The GOP] seems to be trying to undermine democracy, at least a large number of its members do, particularly on the congressional side. INSIDER: A lot of experts have accused the GOP of embracing authoritarianism. Is the Republican party authoritarian?Hill: It's getting all the hallmarks. This is not the Republican party old. We can also be very critical of the Democrats, but the Democrats are not trying to undermine the overall democratic system. Right now it has to be said that the Republican party, the congressional Republican party, so it seems, so it would appear, is hellbent on undermining democracy to exert minority rule. My reading of the Constitution and all of the writings of the Founding Fathers is they were trying to prevent tyranny of all kinds — including the tyranny of the minority, not just the tyranny of the majority. And they never envisioned this kind of party over country, or individual in the case of Trump. He doesn't care about the Republican party. He says it doesn't exist. We're in a mess, but it doesn't mean to say that we have to be. And you know, that gets back to the whole point about the January 6th committee and how it's talked about more broadly and getting a bit of empathy back in politics.INSIDER: Are Democrats meeting the moment in terms of countering this assault on democracy?Hill: I don't think any of us are meeting the moment. We're all in this together. If we want to still have this democracy, we've all got to work at it. So yeah, they've got to step up, but the rest of us have got to step up as well. Everybody's individually got to think about what can they do in this moment, and really look at things long and hard about the kind of country that they want to live in. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJul 16th, 2022

Trump announces his Boeing 757 private jet is set to return as he hints at 2024 Presidential run

The Boeing 757 was frequently used as a prop for rallies during Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. It was nicknamed Trump Force One. Donald Trump's Boeing 757.Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press Donald and Eric Trump have announced the former President's Boeing 757 private jet is back in use.  The news comes as Trump continues to hint at a 2024 presidential re-run.  In March, Trump PAC sent a fundraising email to supporters advising them about a new 'Trump Force One' jet. As Donald Trump continues to hint at running for the US Presidency in 2024, his son has announced that his VIP Boeing 757 private jet is back after an extensive refit. Writing on Twitter, Eric Trump announced "SHE'S BACK," as a video unveiled the word "TRUMP" plastered across the plane in gold writing. —Eric Trump (@EricTrump) July 6, 2022 Writing on his Truth Social app, the former President said the plane has been completely modernized and renovated and looks GREAT, all done in the Great State of Louisiana and coming back to the skies in the Fall of 2022, or maybe sooner. Get ready!"The Boeing jet, dubbed Trump Force One, was frequently used as a prop for rallies during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. When he became president, he switched to using the president's official Boeing 747, Air Force One. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen previously owned the 31-year-old jet. The plane was decked out with 24-karat gold fixtures and seatbelt buckles by Trump. In March, Trump PAC sent a fundraising email to supporters advising them about a new 'Trump Force One' jet, after a plane he was traveling in was forced to make an emergency landing."Before becoming the greatest President of all time, I traveled the Country in my plane, known as Trump Force One," he wrote in the email. "The construction of this plane has been under wraps — not even the fake news media knows about it — and I can't wait to unveil it for everyone to see," the email read.  The email did not directly ask potential donors to contribute money for the construction of the plane. But it included several links to a donation site asking for recurring contributions of up to $2,500 a month. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 9th, 2022

An extremely early Trump 2024 announcement would be a "train wreck" for the GOP that also won"t deter the prosecutors on his heels, experts say

Donald Trump has little to gain — politically and legally — from an early campaign launch as damning revelations stack up about the former president. Donald Trump is mulling a pre-midterms campaign launch as damaging revelations pile up.Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images) Trump may be set on announcing a presidential bid this year to cow his GOP rivals. An announcement before November's midterms would be a "train wreck" for Republicans, a GOP strategist told Insider. It also would have little, if any, impact on whether the Justice Department decides to charge Trump. House investigators have aired damning testimony and unfurled reams of evidence. The Justice Department is closing in with search warrants and subpoenas to key figures in the efforts to overturn the 2020 election. In Atlanta, a local prosecutor is summoning several Trump allies — including Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rudy Giuliani — to testify before a grand jury.None of which seems to be deterring Donald Trump.Far from on his heels, the former president is mulling an unusually early announcement that he is running for president, a move designed to steal oxygen from emergent Republican rivals and shield him from the damning revelations spilling out of the inquiries into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Multiple news organizations have reported that he could announce a third White House bid as early as this month, but Trump recently backed off that idea, a Republican strategist told Insider following conversations with two of the former president's advisors.An early announcement by Trump may intimidate some of his up-and-coming rivals out of the 2024 race, but it would mean tolerating some tactical downsides.Trump would be ineligible to tap into the millions of dollars stashed in his political action committee to directly support his presidential run. Federal campaign finance laws would cap donations to a Trump campaign at $2,900 per person through the primaries, limiting the former president's ability to tap into wealthy donors. And an early announcement would thrust the polarizing former president into the midterms and backfire on Republicans aiming to focus on President Joe Biden and inflation in their bid to retake control of Congress.Nor would an early announcement stave off potential charges stemming from his efforts to hold onto the White House.To be sure, an official announcement would only raise the already high stakes of charging the former president for a Justice Department determined to remove itself from the politicization of the Trump era.But Trump should not expect another run for president to serve as any kind of forcefield against prosecution, former prosecutors and other legal experts said, no matter how much an active candidacy would complicate a case for the Justice Department."Announcing years before an election, I don't think that will serve as the proper prophylactic to have DOJ back off," said former acting US attorney Michael Sherwin, who led the federal prosecutor's office in Washington, DC, in the final months of the Trump administration and oversaw the initial prosecutions stemming from the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks about President Donald Trump during a campaign rally Tuesday, November 26, 2019, in Sunrise, Florida.Brynn Anderson/AP Images'Win first'An early campaign announcement could carry the political upside of crowding out Republican rivals who prefer not to enter a contest against him.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has polled at or even ahead of Trump, hasn't said whether he'd run for the White House as he gears up for his gubernatorial reelection this year. It's not clear how a Trump announcement would factor into his decisionmaking.That attention isn't lost on Trump. He sees DeSantis as a rival and, in conversations with advisors that have spilled into news reports, chafed at a governor 33 years his junior who represents a new generation of Republican populists informed by Trump.It's growing increasingly clear that not all Republicans see Trump as the de-facto nominee for their party in 2024, regardless of when he announces, NBC News reported.Trump's advisers are urging him to delay an announcement until 2023, but a chief perspective for Trump would be that of of his wife, Melania Trump, according to the GOP strategist who has spoken to Trump's advisors. One of the reasons Republicans are urging Trump to wait is to help congressional candidates and sitting lawmakers make inroads in the November midterms. Democrats are beleagured by soaring inflation and their failure to deliver on key aspects of Biden's agenda, with Republicans poised to benefit from voter dissatisfaction. Republicans have focused much of their campaign messaging on the high prices weighing down voters under President Joe Biden's watch, and a Trump announcement could impact the 2022 midterms "in uncertain ways," said one Republican strategist who discussed an early announcement with Trump.   "Win first, answer questions later," the person said. Some worry that Republicans' chances to retake the House could be hurt if Democrats are successfully able to make midterms about Trump, a circumstance that likely contributed to GOP losses in two 2021 runoffs that gave Democrats their razor-thin control of the Senate.One top GOP strategist told Insider that a pre-midterm announcement from Trump would be a "train wreck for the party" and "a complete mess.""It will take the emphasis off Biden and the administration and put it on Trump — which is right where he likes it — and would be terrible for candidates" who will then be asked about Trump's campaign as well as their thoughts on the January 6 hearings, the person said.Campaign finance laws are another reason to wait. After an announcement, Trump would have to set up an official campaign account that would accept no more than $2,900 for donations from individuals, said Sheila Krumholtz, executive director of OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan reseach organization focused on money in politics. Currently, Trump can raise unlimited sums through Super PACs and coordinate on messaging and events. He also doesn't have to report all the spending details from his political operation, which would include everything from payroll and travel to polling firms. "The more money politicians can raise and stand outside of the limits before they start a campaign, the easier it is to raise money," Krumholtz said. The testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, shed light on Trump's mindset in the run-up to the Jan. 6 attack.Brandon Bell/Getty Images'I'm off-limits'Trump has a reputation for responding to investigations with accusations of political bias. In the face of an investigation into the Trump Organization, Trump's lawyers accused New York Attorney General Letitia James of prosecutorial misconduct and highlighted past statements in which she referred to Trump as an "illegitimate president" who "should be scared" of her.Meanwhile, Trump deployed a label he'd previously used against the Russia investigation: "witch hunt."During the Russia investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller III's team declined to consider indicting Trump in light of the Justice Department's longstanding policy against charging a sitting president. Now, more than a year removed from the presidency, Trump has lost that protection at a time of mounting legal risk."You can't let the former president immunize himself by declaring his candidacy super early and then claiming, 'Now I'm off-limits, you can't indict me,'" said Randall Eliason, a George Washington University law professor and former public corruption prosecutor in the US attorney's office in Washington, DC. "If he is charged, no matter when it happens, part of what he's going to claim is: This is political and this is the Biden Justice Department trying to take me out. He will claim that whether or not he has announced his candidacy."In damning testimony last week, a former White House aide said Trump learned that some supporters gathered on January 6, 2021, were armed before he urged them to "fight like hell" and march on the Capitol. The bombshell testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, once a top aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, shed light on Trump's mindset and activities ahead of the Capitol attack and eroded any potential legal defense that he was merely propounding well-founded concerns about election fraud.Hutchinson's testimony came within a week of the Justice Department issuing subpoenas and executing search warrants in connection with January 6 and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. On June 22, federal investigators searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department who backed Trump's baseless election fraud claims, and FBI agents seized the phone of John Eastman, a conservative attorney behind a fraught legal theory for then-Vice President Mike Pence to delay or block the certification of Joe Biden's electoral victory.It is unclear to what extent the Justice Department's intensifying inquiry is focusing on Trump. But legal experts said the testimony before the House committee investigating January 6 could support an eventual prosecution.A third run for president could influence any decision by the Justice Department to bring charges — "but not yet," said Barb McQuade, a University of Michigan law professor and former US attorney in Detroit.McQuade pointed to a Justice Department policy to avoid bringing cases or taking investigative steps that could affect the outcome of an election. "That usually results in inaction around 60 days before an election. Primary elections will not be held until 2024, so I don't think a campaign announcement will have much effect on a DOJ investigation," she said. "I would expect charges, if any, to be filed well before then."Hutchinson's testimony was particularly damaging in that it addressed areas of potential criminality that House lawmakers, lawyers, and judges had already identified. In her two-hour appearance before the House select committee, Hutchinson recounted a conversation she had with then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who pulled her aside just days before January 6 out of concern about Trump's considerations of marching to the Capitol with supporters."We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable," Cipollone said, according to Hutchinson's recollection of the January 3, 2021 conversation.One of the crimes on Cipollone's mind at the time was the same one the House committee accused Trump of committing in a March court filing: obstruction of an official proceeding, a felony carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. A federal judge in California also said that Trump "likely" obstructed Congress, in a ruling that described the former president and Eastman's activities as a "coup in search of a legal theory."Another judge suggested that Trump incited the crowd that gathered near the White House on January 6 for a "Stop the Steal" rally. In a February ruling, Judge Amit Mehta said that, after fostering an "air of distrust and anger" with his claims the 2020 election had been stolen, Trump should have realized that his supporters would have interpreted his incendiary speech as a "call to action." Mehta's ruling allowed civil lawsuits to proceed against Trump in connection with January 6.Ultimately, the decision of whether to charge Trump falls to the Justice Department, where Attorney General Merrick Garland has repeatedly declared himself unmoved by political pressure and stressed that prosecutors will "follow the facts and the law." Garland has also reiterated that "no one is above the law."Still, any charges against Trump would surely draw outcry from Republicans and claims that the Justice Department was taking out Biden's political rival.Norm Eisen, who served as counsel for House Democrats in Trump's first impeachment, told Insider that a 2024 candidacy would be a "complicating factor" in any consideration of charges against Trump.But, he told Insider, "we can't allow a presidential candidate to effectively self-pardon by a premature, atypically early announcement of a reelection campaign."I don't think prosecutors should allow his decision whether or not to run again to influence them. I would prefer a world in which we weren't forced to make these decisions about an ex-president, but it would be even worse to have a world in which an ex-president could behave with utter legal impunity and get away with it and commit really outrageous violations of law with no consequences."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 6th, 2022

Democrats say the January 6 hearings reveal Trump"s "criminality" but think a 3rd impeachment would be futile

Democrats say the January 6 committee hearings reveal Donald Trump's 'criminality' but think a 3rd impeachment trial would be futile A tweet from former President Donald Trump is shown on a screen at a hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 09, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.Photo by Jabin Botsford-Pool/Getty Images Democrats want to block Trump from ever holding office again. But lawmakers are divided on how to stop him from running again. Overplaying their hand could backfire in the 2022 midterms, a Democratic strategist warned. The former president's demand to loosen security at his raucous "Stop the Steal" rally despite being told his supporters may be armed. The top White House lawyer warning on January 6, "We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable."State and local election officials pressed and threatened to overturn election results. Top Justice Department officials telling the president they are ready to resign en-masse.In a span of three weeks, the bipartisan House January 6 committee has painted a troubling portrait of Donald Trump grasping at every straw that might allow him to cling to presidential power during his administration's last days. But with at least two more hearings on the horizon, Democratic lawmakers are unsure what action they should take next to try to stop Trump, a hugely popular Republican who has survived repeated scandals, including two impeachments, and is considered a top 2024 presidential contender despite the legal clouds surrounding him. Their options to lock him out of the Oval Office are unprecedented and fraught. They could try to impeach Trump for the third time and get the deadlocked Senate to convict him, which then would open the door to another simple majority vote as specified under the Constitution that would bar him from every holding federal office again. Or lawmakers could invoke the 14th amendment and get Congress to approve a bill disqualifying him from holding office. Many of them suggested they wanted to wait for the Justice Department to weigh in, reasoning that even the latest revelations of abuse of power wouldn't sway Republican senators to vote against Trump and risk his vengeance.The 14 Democratic lawmakers who spoke to Insider say that the increasingly explosive public hearings reveal an unhinged Trump, a portrayal that could diminish his political support as he eyes a future run. But some warn the risks to democracy are so imminent that extraordinary steps are needed now, and can't wait for state or federal prosecutors to bring charges."I would love it if we could disqualify him," Senate Judiciary Committee member Mazie Hirono told Insider at the US Capitol.The Hawaii Democrat said she doesn't need any more convincing about Trump's guilt. "I think that the hearings have very much shown a pattern of, I would say criminality," Hirono said. Impeaching or barring Trump would require more support from Republicans than previous efforts have garnered, and others in their caucus worry that the time for legislators to hold Trump accountable is past, as Americans express concerns about runaway inflation, gun violence and the chaos after the overturning of constitutionally guaranteed abortion rights. Former President Donald TrumpAlex Wong/Getty ImagesSearching for 'the right remedy'Democratic lawmakers are deeply divided over Trump.The House select committee is presenting evidence that Trump was personally involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and as the former federal judge Michael Luttig testified, may try to do so again in 2024. But the decision about whether he broke the law falls to Attorney General Merrick Garland and his prosecutors. One of the Democrats' options would be to impeach Trump for a third time, even though they've twice fallen short of convicting him in the Senate, where a two-thirds supermajority is required to remove from office. Senate Judiciary Committee member Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said he was unsure if another impeachment would even be possible given that Trump is no longer in office, but didn't put too much stock in that anyway. "I don't know that impeachment would be the right remedy," Blumenthal told Insider while walking to the Senate chamber. "I think more likely is some kind of criminal enforcement. And that's why I need to hear the evidence."Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia immediately shut down any talk of a third impeachment trial when Insider asked, and actually made a case for reconsidering the last attempt. "Instead of the second impeachment trial, since Trump was already out of office, I would have preferred that we look at invoking the 14th Amendment resolution or something like that. I think that would have been more productive, and it would have had a greater likelihood of success because it didn't take a two-thirds vote."But that moment has passed, Kaine said. "I'm not interested in Donald Trump anymore," he said.Senate Judiciary Committee member Chris Coons of Delaware said more Republicans would need to get on board with impeaching Trump in order to make another trial worthwhile. "I think former President Trump is clearly, as was stated by Judge Luttig, a clear and present danger to the democracy of the United States," Coons told Insider. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said the best course of action is for the select committee to turn all its evidence over to the Department of Justice – steps it has so far refused to do while hearings are underway –  and for Garland to make a judgment call on prosecuting Trump. Pushing for a third impeachment seems futile to Reed, who predicted that such an attempt "wouldn't be accepted by most of my colleagues." "We have seen, twice, that the Senate is not willing to hold Trump accountable," Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey told Insider. "So it seems to me that the Justice Department, through the regular legal system, may be the venue."The Justice Department is currently conducting its own investigation into the January 6 insurrection. In the last few days, it has issued several subpoenas to individuals involved in Trump's scheme to overturn the 2020 election results.The recent revelations from the hearings could push Trump closer to facing criminal charges. The committee has laid out evidence that Trump could potentially be charged for breaking four other federal laws, including witness tampering, conspiracy to defraud the government, and obstructing an official proceeding.Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff of California, Zoe Lofgren of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and January 6 committee co-chair Bennie Thompson of Mississippi confer during a break during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on June 9, 2022 in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesTime is running outThe recent revelations of Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election comes as Democrats face a tough upcoming midterm elections. If they try to block Trump from ever holding office again, they risk ignoring other issues plaguing Democrats now and losing the majority in both chambers in Congress — hindering President Job Biden's ability to carry out his agenda. Democratic strategist John LaBombard congratulated the select committee for orchestrating "an historic public accounting" of Trump's gross dereliction of duty while in office, and urged politicians to point out how Republican's claims about the 2020 election are out of step with voter's current concerns."Independent voters are sure to take an even more skeptical eye to those candidates relitigating the 2020 campaign and pushing the lie that the election was rigged," he said, though he added that "voters don't often reward candidates of either party who are more focused on the past than the future." LaBombard urged Democrats to stay "laser-focused on the issues that matter most" including rising gas prices, inflation, and supply chain breakdowns. President Joe Biden addresses the nation at the White House in Washington, DC on June 24, 2022 following the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty ImagesOthers warned that the already charged political climate could become even more volatile if Democratic lawmakers pursue a third impeachment.Robert Ray, a former federal prosecutor who defended Trump during his first impeachment trial, said that there could be another January 6-like riot if they carry out this plan. "The best way to handle this — whether you like Trump or you don't like Trump or you want him to hold off or you don't want him to hold office — is to battle this thing out in the political process. It is not to use prosecution as a tool to prevent it from happening," Ray told Insider.Whether Democrats decide to take matters into their own hands or leave it to Garland, one thing is clear — time is running out. Maryland Democrat and January 6 committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin said committee members are still ironing out their recommended next steps. "We will have a whole set of sweeping recommendations  … about what needs to be done to fortify ourselves against coups, insurrections, political violence, and election fraud, moving forward," Raskin told reporters after a recent hearing. He deflected when Insider asked whether impeaching Trump a third time is one of those moves the committee may recommend. "The Department of Justice is obviously the center of the law enforcement function for the federal government. And they, presumably, are following these hearings, and they will be in possession of all information that we're going to be releasing," Raskin said. "So they will have to make their judgments."Raskin insisted, however, that the committee is determined to send "a strong message from the House of Representatives … that these assaults on American constitutional democracy will not stand." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 3rd, 2022

White House Is Quietly Modeling For $200 Oil "Shock"

White House Is Quietly Modeling For $200 Oil "Shock" While the Biden administration is hoping and praying that someone - anyone - will watch the comical "Jan 6" kangaroo hearsay court taking place in Congress and meant to somehow block Trump from running for president in 2024 while also making hundreds of millions of Americans forget that the current administration could very well be the worst in US history, it is quietly preparing for the worst. As none other than pro-Biden propaganda spinmaster CNN reports, when it comes to what really matters (at least according to Gallup), namely the economy, and specifically galloping gasoline prices, the White House is in a historic shambles. For an administration that ended last year forecasting a leveling off of 40-year high inflation and eager to tout a historically rapid recovery from the pandemic-driven economic crisis, there is a level of frustration that comes with an acutely perilous moment. Asked by CNN about progress on a seemingly intractable challenge, another senior White House official responded flatly: "Which one?" The suspects behind the historic implosion are well known: "soaring prices, teetering poll numbers and congressional majorities that appear to be on the brink have created no shortage of reasons for unease. Gas prices are hovering at or around $5 per gallon, plastered on signs and billboards across the country as a symbolic daily reminder of the reality -- one in which White House officials are extremely aware -- that the country's view of the economy is growing darker and taking Biden's political future with it." "You don't have to be a very sophisticated person to know how lines of presidential approval and gas prices go historically in the United States," a senior White House official told CNN. A CNN Poll of Polls average of ratings for Biden's handling of the presidency finds that 39% of Americans approve of the job he's doing. His numbers on the economy, gas prices and inflation specifically are even worse in recent polls. What CNN won't tell you is that Biden is now polling well below Trump at this time in his tenure. The CNN article then goes into a lengthy analysis of what is behind the current gasoline crisis (those with lots of time to kill can read it here) and also tries to explains, without actually saying it, that the only thing that can fix the problem is more supply, but - as we first explained - this can't and won't happen because green fanatics and socialist environmentalists will never agree to boosting output. Which brings us to the punchline: as CNN's Phil Mattingly writes, "instead of managing an economy in the midst of a natural rotation away from recovery and into a stable period of growth, economic officials are analyzing and modeling worst-case scenarios like what the shock of gas prices hitting $200 per barrel may mean for the economy." Well, in an article titled "Give us a plan or give us someone to blame", this seems like both a plan, and someone to blame. But unfortunately for Biden - and CNN which is hoping to reset expectations - it's only going to get worse, because as we noted moments ago, while nobody was paying attention, Cushing inventories dropped to just 1 million away from operational bottoms at roughly 20MM barrels. This means that the US is officially looking at tank bottoms. But wait, there's more... or rather, it's even worse, because as even Bloomberg's chief energy guru Javier Blas notes, over the last 2 weeks, the US gov has drained 13.7 million barrels from the SPR, "and yet, commercial oil stockpiles still fell 3 million barrels over the period." Just imagine, Blas asks rhetorically, "if the SPR wasn't there. Or what would happen post-Oct when sales end." OIL MARKET: Over the last 2 weeks, the US gov has injected 13.7 million barrels from the SPR into the market. And yet, commercial oil stockpiles still fell 3 million barrels over the period. Just imagine if the SPR wasn't there. Or what would happen post-Oct when sales end #OOTT — Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) June 29, 2022 And here is the punchline: at the current record pace of SPR drainage, one way or another the Biden admin will have to end its artificial attempts to keep the price of oil lower some time in October (or risk entering a war with China over Taiwan with virtually no oil reserve). This means that unless Putin ends his war some time in the next 5 months, there is a non-trivial chance that oil will hit a record price around $200 - precisely the price the White House is bracing for - a few days before the midterms. While translates into $10+ gasoline. And while one can speculate how much longer Democrats can continue the "Jan 6" dog and pony show as the entire economy implodes around them, how America will vote in November when gas is double digits should not be a mystery to anyone. Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 13:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 29th, 2022

Going on Vacation This Summer? Welcome to the ‘Revenge Travel’ Economy

Demand is soaring for vacations that are more frequent, more indulgent, and far from home. The clock had not yet struck noon on a recent sunny day in Copenhagen, but the hour didn’t stop Hannah Jackson and her friends from ordering a bottle of Champagne. After the waiter at one of the outdoor restaurants that line the Danish capital’s colorful harbor popped the cork, the four women from Texas gleefully toasted to their European adventure. “This is my first trip in more than two years,” said Jackson, 32. “We are celebrating every moment we can.” Because no phenomenon can be real until it can be hashtagged, the travel industry has been quick to brand the impulse driving Jackson and countless others this summer as “revenge travel.” Like revenge spending and even revenge bubble-tea drinking, the phrase refers to consumers’ increased willingness to cough up cash after 28 long months of lockdowns and restrictions. In travel’s case, that means a newly unbridled demand for vacations that are more frequent, more indulgent, and—more than anything—far from home. That demand got a boost on June 13 when the U.S. stopped requiring a negative COVID-19 test for entry. But as it rises to and even surpasses pre-pandemic levels, a host of challenges, from inflation to war to, yes, the lingering threat of COVID-19, casts a shadow on the rosy predictions of a rebound. Will this be the summer in which the travel industry does indeed get revenge on the pandemic? Or will its hopes be dashed once again? [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Read More: Can Barcelona Fix Its Love-Hate Relationship With Tourists After the Pandemic? “The truth is that tourism is rebounding very, very quickly,” says Luís Araújo, president of the European Travel Commission (ETC), which represents the continent’s national tourism organizations. “It’s quite impressive.” At this juncture, revenge travel looks to be off to a good start. Among Europeans, 70% are planning vacation trips between now and November, according to an ETC survey. The numbers are almost as strong among Americans, with 65% planning leisure trips within the next six months according to MMGY Travel Intelligence, a global marketing and research company based in Kansas City. According to Mastercard, bookings on short and medium-haul flights have surpassed pre-pandemic levels. And travel searches for the first quarter of 2022 were above their 2019 levels, according to Google, while searches for passport appointments jumped 300% in the first three months of this year. Carl Court—Getty ImagesTravelers wait in a long queue to pass through the security check at Heathrow in London, on June 1, 2022. “Pent up demand is already delivering rapid growth,” says David Goodger, Europe director for Tourism Economics, a U.K.-based company that provides forecasting and analysis to the travel industry. It’s driven, he adds, “by excess savings accumulated during the period when people couldn’t spend or travel as usual.” Those extra savings are affecting not only the amount of travel people are undertaking but the kind of travel as well. After decades of appealing to budget travelers with low-cost flights and party buses, many European destinations are emerging from the pandemic with a new emphasis on upscale travel. “A lot of enterprises, big and small, have spent the past two years renovating their facilities, upgrading, investing in their hospitality—adapting to the new needs of the customer,” says Araújo of the ETC. “We also see a lot of countries adjusting their communication to high-end travel.” Certainly companies that specialize in high-end travel are experiencing a boom. At Black Tomato, a luxury tour company with headquarters in London, the interest in itineraries that have guests island hopping in Greece or bottling their own perfumes in Provence is at record levels. “Demand for Europe is insane right now,” says Brendan Drewniany, director of communications. “We’re advising our clients that if they want to go to specific destinations in Europe at this point they’re going to have to be pretty open-minded about alternatives.” Nick Paleologos—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesVisitors take photos of the sunset in Chora, Mykonos, Greece, on June 11, 2022. Drewniany says that travelers started planning for this summer early: the company had its best quarter ever at the end of 2021, and in the first quarter of 2022, its clients are spending on average 31% more per booking. “We’re seeing a lot more multi-destination trips, and a lot more multi-generational ones,” he says. “People are traveling to celebrate milestones, and they want to bring the grandparents now.” And after all that time stuck at home with nothing to do except stream Netflix and tend their sourdough starters, travelers are eager for experiences. “I prefer to call it ‘liberation travel,’ rather than revenge travel,” Araújo says with a chuckle. “But there’s an increase in people wanting to stay in independent hotels, partly because they care about sustainability. And they’re looking for more authentic experiences as well.” Katie Parla can testify to that. The author of several books on Italian food, she leads culinary tours in Rome, and has seen her bookings surge 200% in the last several months compared to the same period in 2019. “People are just so grateful to be having these experiences,” Parla says. “Often they’re doing trips that they had planned to do in 2020, so even then something is closed or things don’t go as planned, they’re tolerant and understanding. They’re just so happy to be there.” Alessandra Tarantino—APTourists visiting the interior of Rome’s Pantheon stand in the light circle projected on the marble floor, on June 17, 2022. But we have been here before. In fact, the notion of revenge travel first emerged ahead of the summer of 2021, when everyone thought the worst was over and the world would soon open up again. In many ways, it did. Domestic travel in many places surged to nearly 90% of its 2019 rates that summer, and, as MMGY senior analyst Leanne Hill points out, tourists spent unusually high amounts that were, she says, “largely revenge-travel oriented.” But slow vaccine rollouts and adoption rates, coupled with the slew of ever-changing travel restrictions and newly emerging virus variants ultimately stymied expectations. International tourism was down 67% in July 2021 over its rates that same month in 2019. This time around, the obstacles to the fulfillment of travel fantasies, vengeful and otherwise, are less about the virus (all of the experts TIME consulted agreed that there was little tolerance for more lockdowns and restrictions) than other ills that have sprung up in its wake. “Inflation and staff shortages is the twin-headed monster threatening the travel recovery this summer,” says Tourism Economics’ Goodger. Staffing shortages are cutting into service across Europe. Many hotels have responded by automating some aspects like check in, and trimming once routine benefits like daily room cleaning. Restaurants from Copenhagen to Madrid have cut their operating hours and, in some cases, shut down altogether. But perhaps nowhere is the impact of the shortage on travelers clearer than in the scenes of chaos emerging from airports across Europe and the United States: flight cancellations, long waits for baggage that frequently fails to appear altogether, excruciating lines through security. “Demand is ramping up much more quickly than businesses, having shed workers during the pandemic, have been able to recruit for,” says Goodger. Horacio Villalobos—Corbis/Getty ImagesA couple sunbathes as tourists are seen in the background in Cais das Colunas in Lisbon, Portugal on May 19, 2022. And although American travelers are, according to MMGY estimates, planning on spending an average of $600 more per trip than they did a year ago, it’s unclear, analyst Hill says, “whether that’s because of increased costs or overall willingness to spend more.” There are clear signs, she adds, inflation is definitely starting to bite. “We’re beginning to see travel intentions start to erode slightly, particularly among travelers making less than $100,000.” Those concerns are echoed among Europeans travelers, according to the ETC, which found that while only 7% of travelers expressed concern about inflation and costs affecting their vacations in 2021, 13% do so now. At the high end too, pricing is “definitely a real challenge,” says Black Tomato’s Drewniany. “Hotel properties are all still recouping and it’s not that they’re trying to be extortionist, but prices are definitely worse. So it’s a challenge to explain and translate that to clients.” The war in Ukraine is also having an impact, at least in countries close to the border that, although they may not be major destinations, had experienced tourism growth prior to the pandemic. “These countries are running as smoothly as in any other country, but we’ve seen that they’ve had a hard time getting that message across to travelers,” says Araújo, especially when compared to the rapidly rebounding Mediterranean area. Inside Europe, he adds, the recovery has “two velocities.” Sarah Meyssonnier—ReutersA tourist stands in front of the glass pyramid of the Louvre museum in Paris, France, June 15, 2022. All that, and the uncertainty of COVID-19 to boot. When the U.S. lifted the requirement of a negative test to enter the country on June 12, it spurred an immediate boomlet within the larger boom of American travel plans. One global tour operator Explore, saw a 12% increase in website traffic immediately following the news, according to MMGY. Within Europe, though, some countries still have some restrictions in place, and the lack of clarity has translated, according to the ETC, into a weaker resurgence of long-haul flights to Europe, including from the US; those numbers are not expected to return to 2019 levels until 2024. Even so, most industry insiders are feeling optimistic about the summer ahead of them. And even more than revenge, that may be due to another pandemic-generated emotion: resilience. “You hear things like, oh, people are valuing experiences over Rolexes, and I think that is the reality right now: people are putting their money into experiences,” says Drewniany. But, he adds, there’s something else in play. “After everything everyone’s been through, there’s not a ton of fear about the unknown anymore. People know that if they’re scheduled to go to London in October and for some reason, London locks down or something, they know that we’ll figure it out. What you’re seeing renewed right now is this sort of inherent mindset of flexibility.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJun 21st, 2022

Trump thinks he"d defeat Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis if they face each other in a 2024 presidential run

Trump told The New Yorker he's "very close" to deciding on a 2024 run. He said it's DeSantis' "prerogative" to run but "I think I would win." Then-President Donald Trump greets then-Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis during a campaign rally at the Hertz Arena on October 31, 2018 in Estero, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Donald Trump thinks he'd beat Florida governor Ron DeSantis if they both ran for president in 2024. Trump told The New Yorker, "I think I would win." Trump added that he's "very close to making a decision" about whether or not he'll run. Former President Donald Trump thinks he'd defeat Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis if they both ran for president in 2024."I don't know if Ron is running, and I don't ask him," Trump told The New Yorker in a story published on Monday. "It's his prerogative. I think I would win."It's not the first time Trump has said he'd beat DeSantis. Speaking of DeSantis in an October interview with Yahoo Finance, Trump said: "If I faced him, I'd beat him like I would beat everyone else."Speaking with the New Yorker, Trump also said he doesn't think DeSantis would have been elected governor without his support."If I didn't endorse him, he wouldn't have won," Trump told the New Yorker.Neither DeSantis nor Trump has officially announced a run for president.Trump told the New Yorker he's "very close to making a decision" on whether or not he'll run for president again.Rolling Stone reported last week that Trump is mulling announcing a 2024 White House bid near Tallahassee, Florida's capital, to show DeSantis "who the boss is."In a straw poll held during the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, 59% of attendees said they wanted Trump to be the GOP nominee in 2024. DeSantis came in second with support from 28% of CPAC attendees.Earlier this month, in a poll taken during the Western Conservative Summit, attendees were asked to vote for all of the candidates they'd approve for president. DeSantis prevailed with approval from 71.01% of voters, compared to 67.68% for Trump.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJun 20th, 2022

Trump considers Florida as launching pad for his 2024 White House run to show Gov. Ron DeSantis "who the boss is": report

"He calls DeSantis 'a stiff' and 'ungrateful.' Adjectives," a GOP strategist told Insider about how former President Donald Trump describes the Florida governor. Then-President Donald Trump greets then-Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis during a campaign rally at the Hertz Arena on October 31, 2018 in Estero, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Polls are showing that Trump '24 would be at the top of the GOP ticket.  But Trump has noticed the attention DeSantis is getting nationally, reports say. He's considering announcing his White House bid on DeSantis' home turf, according to Rolling Stone. Former President Donald Trump has his eye on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as one of the key Republicans standing in his way should he plan to have another go at the presidency.Trump is even considering announcing his 2024 White House bid near Tallahassee, the state's capital, to show DeSantis "who the boss is," according to a Rolling Stone report. "He calls DeSantis 'a stiff' and 'ungrateful.' Adjectives," said a GOP strategist who spoke to Insider on condition of anonymity, citing conversations with two separate people who'd spoken to Trump about it.Trump, 75, endorsed DeSantis during the 2018 gubernatorial primary, propelling the former congressman to the top of the ticket. During TV interviews Trump has been quick to claim credit for the governor's rise and has said he doesn't think DeSantis would mount a presidential campaign against him. The DeSantis running for reelection this year isn't the same candidate who won in 2018 by only 33,000 votes. This round, DeSantis, 43, is expected to sail to reelection to the governorship in November and is widely considered to be a top contender for the presidency in 2024.The governor has not said he's running for president and tends to brush off questions about it when he's asked. But political insiders assume he will run because he has raised an enormous amount of campaign cash and has been unafraid to insert himself into high-profile battles against the Biden administration.He might have a shot at defeating Trump in a GOP primary. Earlier this month DeSantis beat Trump in a straw poll of self-identified conservative conference-goers at the Western Conservative Summit who were asked who they'd like to be the 2024 presidential nominee. "The reality is that the Republican nominee in 2024 with either be Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis, with the caveat that Tucker Carlson would not enter the race," Sam Nunberg, who advised Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, told Insider in an interview Monday.  Carlson, a Fox News host, will be attending the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, in July. The event is considered a stomping ground for future presidential candidates, so it raised speculation about Carlson's political ambitions. Trump announcement could be soonTrump could easily wait until the middle or even end of 2023 to reveal his intentions to run for president and still have plenty of time to qualify for primary ballots and run a nationwide campaign. But he might instead announce as early as July 4, according to NBC News. Most congressional Republicans would prefer that he wait until after the midterms so that they can keep their campaign messaging focused on President Joe Biden's low approval ratings and the prices on daily necessities that have surged under his watch. Otherwise, the races would become a referendum on Trump. Meanwhile, DeSantis is grabbing tons of national headlines. He holds several press conferences a week in Florida, often answering questions from reporters on any topic they raise.Lately he has been kicking off his events by hammering home talking points that bash the Biden administration's policies and taking a victory lap over his own actions in Florida to keep businesses and schools open during the coronavirus pandemic despite federal health guidance. First Lady Casey DeSantis would like her husband to run in 2024, said The Washington Post reports, citing anonymous sources. Casey DeSantis, 41, who used to be a TV news host, is widely known among GOP circles to be her husband's top confidante.The couple worries that if they don't strike while the iron is hot then they may miss DeSantis' political moment, according to The PostDeSantis' appeal does appear to be growing outside Florida — and political insiders can't help but take notice.Gunner Ramer, political director for the Republican Accountability Project, an anti-Trump organization that supports pro-Democracy Republicans, told Insider that DeSantis' name comes up the most during focus groups he does with GOP primary voters. "I'd say they're DeSantis-curious," Ramer said, "but a majority support Donald Trump still." Neither the DeSantis campaign nor Trump's post-presidency office immediately responded to questions about the 2024 race.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 13th, 2022

Republicans aching for the 2024 presidential nomination shouldn"t expect the January 6 hearings to be their saving grace to beat Trump, political insiders say

Many Republicans are watching and waiting to see whether the former president will seek the White House again, expecting that he'll land the nomination if he wants it. Former US President Donald Trump is displayed on a screen during a hearing by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 09, 2022 in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer/Getty Images Lots of Republicans are waiting to see whether Trump will run for the White House. The general consensus is that they don't stand a chance of beating him in a primary.  This is their take even with the Jan. 6 hearings in the mix.  The many Republicans jonesing for the 2024 presidential nomination shouldn't count on this month's January 6 hearings to give them the edge against former President Donald Trump. GOP strategists and people close to the president predict the hearings will make little difference on whether any other Republicans choose to challenge Trump in 2024 if he runs again."I don't think it changes their calculus," said Mike DuHaime, the CEO of MAD Global who managed former Gov. Chris Christie's 2016 presidential campaign. "Those who are afraid to run against Trump still will be, and those who aren't were all ready to go.""Those who have already signaled that they won't run against Trump know that he will still maintain a core of support by playing the victim through this process," he added.The acceptance of Trump's hold on the nomination is notable after the January 6 committee released graphic, violent footage of the attack and emotional testimony from a badly wounded police officer to an audience of over 19 million viewers.Thursday evening marked the first of six public hearings that the panel plans to hold in June to reveal its findings after a year-long investigation and more than 1,000 interviews. Their goal is to make the case that Trump — then, now, and in the future — poses a grave threat to Democracy.But the committee is trying to reach voters who have been diminishingly likely to believe that Trump had a clear role in the riot. Right after January 6, one quarter of voters polled by the Pew Research Center said they thought Trump had no responsibility for the attack. One year later, that total rose to one-third. People have already decided where they stand on the issue and the hearings will have a "minimal effect," said Saul Anuzis, a GOP political consultant with Coast to Coast Strategies and former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party."Either this is a devastating conviction of Trump and his agenda, or nothing more than a sham hearing trying to blame Trump and hurt Republicans," Anuzis said of where voters stood on the topic of January 6. Rehashing the events certainly doesn't help Trump, according to Sam Nunberg, who advised Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.He said the hearings were a "deep cut" and part of what has been a slow bleed for the former president since he left office, including lower fundraising totals and several losses among candidates he endorsed. "He has got his failings and this certainly brought it out in the clear," Nunberg said. But Nunberg doesn't think the issue will stick with conservative voters. If Republicans plan to run against Trump, they shouldn't make the Capitol riot their lead attack because it won't be the top issue for voters, he said. "That's a losing tactic," he said. "It's worse than pointless. It's actually going to hurt your own candidacy."Instead, he said they should blame Trump for "handing the presidency over to Fauci" during the COVID-19 pandemic — meaning Dr. Tony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert — and for losing majorities. The hearings aren't expected to dent the midterms for RepublicansRepublicans in Congress are banking that the riot will be a low priority for voters and expect to shellac Democrats in the midterms because of Biden's poor polling. They predict voters will care more about record-high inflation and high gas prices. "From a Republican perspective you want to keep the focus on Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, and what we call the radical left progressive agenda and the things they are doing regarding inflation and cultural issues," Anuzis said.House Republican leaders have stood by Trump, and like him have called the January 6 investigation a "sham" that will result in a dishonest inquiry. They refused to appoint Republicans members to participate in the committee after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio, who voted against certifying the 2020 election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, two states that President Joe Biden won.The hearings could help Democrats in states where they're running against insurrectionists in the general election, said Gunner Ramer, political director for the Republican Accountability Project, an anti-Trump organization that supports pro-Democracy Republicans. He cited as an example election denier Doug Mastriano, who won the GOP nomination for governor in Pennsylvania. But for the 2024 Republican nomination for president, Ramer predicted it would have little effect."I still think he is the likely Republican nominee and this doesn't change anything," he said. Jason Miller, the CEO of social media company GETTR who was Trump's spokesman during the 2020 election, predicted on Friday that the hearings would have "zero impact on either front," whether it be how voters feel about Trump or in who chooses to run in 2024. On Thursday evening, the committee aired one of Miller's responses to their questions and he defended himself on social media, providing the full transcript of his remarks. —Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) June 10, 2022"Everything being done by this committee is for political gain," Miller told Insider. "Selectively editing my testimony proves that." Michael Caputo, who worked on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and at the Department of Health and Human Services, said he was delayed at the airport when the hearings were taking place and found a corner to sit where he wouldn't have to look at CNN. "I don't know one Republican primary voter who watched the sham January 6 hearing," he said, calling it a "series of performances" that was "clearly partisan" and "filled with lies." "The only people who believe this crap are already voting against Trump — and any Republican who watched Thursday night should have their red card pulled immediately," he said.   A large number of Republicans might run in 2024 Plenty of Republicans have been buzzed about for a potential 2024 run. They include come-again candidates such as GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, and would-be first-time presidential candidates like former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, UN Secretary Nikki Haley, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.Both Christie and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, an anti-Trump Republican, have said they'd run for president regardless of what Trump does. A recent NBC News report said that Trump might choose to announce as early as July 4 that he's running. But the former president could easily wait until the middle or even end of 2023 to reveal his intentions and still have plenty of time to qualify for primary ballots and run a nationwide campaign. But winning the nomination doesn't mean Trump would win the presidency, DuHaime said."Biden and Democrats are really hoping Republicans nominate Trump," he said. "Almost any Republican other than Trump could keep 2024 focused on Biden's performance. All other Republicans could focus on the future while Trump can't help but focus on the past."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 11th, 2022

Providers are scrambling as Florida"s abortion "safe haven" for out-of-staters nears its end under the 15-week ban Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed into law

Until today, Florida has had some of the loosest abortion regulations in the US. Patients travel there not just from nearby states but from Puerto Rico, the Caribbeans, and South America. Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro, co-executive director of Florida Access Network at her home office in Orlando, Florida.Courtesy Juan Raul Piñeiro Florida has long allowed abortion until 24 weeks into a pregnancy, making it a safe haven.  But a new law will ban abortions after 15 weeks starting July 1.  Providers will have to find ways to offer transportation, lodging, and other support to patients. These days, Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro receives about 60 requests a week from people who need help getting an abortion. As the co-executive director of Florida Access Network, it's her job to make sure the organization's clients have money for gas, food, or a hotel room. She'll help people think of options for childcare and how to fundraise for the procedure. She will line up volunteer drivers. "My role as a facilitator is to make sure people get the support and services they need free from stigma and with as much love and support as possible," Piñeiro told Insider from her home office in Orlando. She estimates that 15% of the people she helps are from outside of Florida. They increasingly are coming from neighboring states where abortion clinics are rare and regulations are getting tighter, places where the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision establishing the right to abortion is largely meaningless. That's because, despite the state's recent red voting patterns, Florida has had some of the loosest regulations on abortion in the US. Patients travel there not just from nearby states but from Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and South America. "A few states such as Florida and Illinois have been safe havens in highly restrictive regions," said Debasri Ghosh, managing director at the National Network of Abortion Funds. "They have seen an influx of patients from out of state."By this summer, however, a growing part of Piñeiro's job will include supporting people who need to leave Florida if they want an abortion after roughly the first trimester. On Thursday, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks into a pregnancy. The law would take effect July 1 unless a court intervenes. "Thousands of patients who usually get care closer to home will now be driven further away and out of state," said Samantha Deans, an obstetrician-gynecologist who provides abortions as associate medical director of Planned Parenthood of South, East, and North Florida. The new law comes as a relief to organizations that oppose abortion. They have long seethed at Florida's laws, which allowed abortions for up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, close to the third trimester. Florida clinics provided 76,648 abortions in 2021, state data show. "We never wanted Florida to be an abortion destination," Lynda Bell, president of Florida Right to Life, told Insider. "That's the last thing we want for Florida."The GOP-controlled legislature became emboldened to crack down on abortion after DeSantis appointed conservative justices to the state Supreme Court. Republicans also expect the US Supreme Court will overturn or chip away at Roe by the summer. The 6-3 conservative majority is readying a ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson, a case that will determine the legality of a Mississippi law that, like Florida, bars abortion past 15 weeks gestation. "There is so much positive evidence that our cause is winning," said Mallory Carroll, spokeswoman for Susan B. Anthony List, a national organization that supports candidates who pledge to fight for tighter anti-abortion laws. "There are a significant number of abortions happening post 15 weeks in Florida — more than 3,300 according to the most recent state health department data — so this will save lives," she said. Florida Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Democrat, is running for governor to unseat Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.Wilfredo Lee/AP PhotoMapping out travel routesOrganizations that provide abortions have already been mapping out travel routes. The further people have to travel, the more complicated and expensive abortion care becomes, said Ghosh from the National Network of Abortion Funds. The organization has become busier in the last decade, she said, as more states have imposed restrictions."Calls have skyrocketed starting with the pandemic and carrying over now to this wave of bans we are seeing move through legislatures," Ghosh said. According to Deans from Planned Parenthood, North Carolina would be the next closest location for Floridians who are seeking abortions after 15 weeks into a pregnancy, but she expects state lawmakers will soon curb access there. That then leaves patients going further north to places such as Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and New York. Planned Parenthood will work to increase access to abortion earlier in pregnancy by opening more appointment slots, hiring more doctors, and reducing wait times, Deans said.  "We are already so busy with the influx from other states," she said. "Our appointments can be four weeks away. That's inappropriate if we are staring down the barrel of a 15-week ban. We don't want to be a barrier to women not being able to access care." Abortion rights supporters could also battle the Florida law legally or politically. State Sen. Annette Taddeo, who is running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination to unseat DeSantis, told Insider that if elected she would challenge the 15-week ban in court given that Florida's constitution guarantees a "right to privacy."With a GOP-controlled legislature, she would not be able to codify Roe into state law as governor. Therefore, Taddeo said, she wanted to be "realistic" about the promises she makes on abortion rights, so she recently asked experts to research how she could expand abortion access through executive actions. "Florida has been the place to come where you could drive here and not be as restricted," Taddeo said. "Now we are joining many of these southern states." Members of the Florida House of Representatives convene during a legislative session April 30, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida.Wilfredo Lee/AP PhotoAnti-abortion groups are gearing up for new law Anti-abortion groups both nationally and locally say they're also strategizing for the new law. Last week, congressional Republicans began circulating talking points that argued communities are already supporting families by increasing funding for pregnancy care centers as well as access to childcare and paid family leave.  Neither childcare nor paid leave is universal in the US. Pregnancy Care Centers vary in what they offer, but are typically faith-based and work to dissuade patients from abortion while offering emotional and financial support, and sometimes also provide medical services. Florida's health department pays $4.5 million toward these organizations. This week, on top of the 15-week ban, a circuit judge allowed a 24-hour waiting period to take effect in Florida.Bell of Florida Right to Life said organizations like hers needed to push back on messages that tell women having a baby would ruin their education or careers, or increase their chances of living in poverty. "If abortion was banned tomorrow our job gets much harder," Bell said. "We need to be there for education and to provide services for women." She also noted the law, formally called the Fetal and Infant Mortality Act, includes provisions to reduce smoking during pregnancy and directs health agencies to propose ways for reducing fetal and infant mortality. Republican state lawmakers tackled family legislation this session that went beyond abortion. This week DeSantis signed a bill into law to encourage fathers to be in their children's lives and fund mentorship programs for fatherless children. He also signed a bill into law that expands funding for foster care.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds up a child welfare bill he signed, Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at Miami Dade College in Miami. The bill increased benefits for foster care parents, guardians, and children.Wilfredo Lee/AP PhotoMost US voters support limits on late-pregnancy abortionAbortion rights organizations won't have an easy job fighting a Florida-style law. DeSantis is widely considered to be a 2024 GOP candidate for president, and polling shows that single-issue voters on abortion are more likely to identify as "pro-life" than "pro-choice." Polling also shows most voters support restrictions on abortion later in pregnancy. Permitting later abortions is out of step from what most other countries allow. But abortion rights organizations contend there should be no cutoffs. Patients who need late-pregnancy abortions have received a devastating medical diagnosis, are in vulnerable situations, or didn't know they were pregnant, Deans said.Others may have wanted to have an abortion sooner but didn't because of restrictions in their states that forced them to take the time to save money to travel elsewhere. By the time they can get an abortion, they're further along in their pregnancies than they'd hoped to be, even past the 15-week mark, Deans said. She added that voters who oppose late-pregnancy abortions don't have the full story. "If they see what I see, if they spoke to the women I did, if they saw what their decisions are, they would feel very differently," Deans said, citing the story of an 11-year-old girl who came to her 23 weeks pregnant after being raped by a family member. The new Florida law doesn't have exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. Of 4,838 abortions performed in the second trimester in Florida, three were performed in cases of incest, and 14 were performed in cases of rape, state data from 2021 show.The law provides exemptions if the pregnancy is life-threatening or would cause serious injury, or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. But Deans said the law's language is too broad, and doctors won't want to risk going to prison if they have doubts about whether a condition is fatal."Asking that patient to make a time-limited decision is cruel," Deans said. "It can take weeks for a person to wrap their minds around what's going on and make a decision." Anti-abortion advocates are against abortion even in such circumstances. Instead, they favor letting fetuses die naturally or having hospitals provide perinatal hospice, which alleviates a baby's pain after birth and allows families to spend time with the infant before death.No comprehensive data exist on why abortions happen in the third trimester. When they do, they cost thousands of dollars and can take several days.For Florida Access Network, trying to help a patient get an abortion early in pregnancy whenever possible helps to minimize costs and other logistical hurdles, Piñeiro said. The organization contributes about $250 per abortion, though people generally report that they need between $700 to $4,000, given that they may also need help with lost wages if they have to take time off work.  Piñeiro will not only help people get the funding they need through various organizations and fundraising tools but will tell them about how she got two abortions when she was a teenager, including after one pregnancy that was the result of sexual assault. The organization has a staff of five based in Orlando and Jacksonville, as well as a network of volunteers all over the state. There are times when last-minute requests will come in and Piñeiro has to run off to drive clients to appointments. "We wish we didn't have to exist," she said. "I wish we lived in a country that made sure to take care of their people, that made sure to provide healthcare at an affordable rate, and that abortion was included." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytApr 14th, 2022

Ex-Sanders presidential advisors are pushing for progressive Rep. Ro Khanna to run for president in 2024 if Biden declines to run for reelection: report

Ex-Sanders figures Jeff Weaver and Mark Longabaugh have both pushed for Khanna to mount a 2024 bid in the event that President Biden opts out of a campaign. Rep. Ro Khanna of California speaks at an “End Fossil Fuel” rally near the US Capitol on June 29, 2021.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images Two ex-Sanders advisors have quietly pushed for Rep. Ro Khanna to launch a 2024 presidential bid if Biden doesn't run. Per a Politico report, Jeff Weaver and Mark Longabaugh have thrown out the idea to Khanna. Khanna, a progressive Democrat, told the news outlet that he fully supports Biden's 2024 plans. Top aides from Sen. Bernie Sanders' former presidential campaign are privately pressing Rep. Ro Khanna to launch a presidential bid in 2024 if President Joe Biden declines to mount a reelection bid, according to Politico.In promoting the progressive California Democrat, the figures from the Sanders camp are seeking to influence the future of the party as its liberal wing has become more ascendant in Congress and in local positions across the country, from mayors to district attorneys.Jeff Weaver, who managed Sanders' presidential campaign during the Vermont independent's first White House bid in 2016 and served as a senior advisor in the senator's second campaign in 2020, along with 2016 consultant Mark Longabaugh, have both asked Khanna to consider running in the event that Biden opts out of what is expected to be a bruising campaign.Former President Donald Trump — who lost to Biden in the 2020 election — has been angling to launch a third White House campaign, but has not officially declared his candidacy, which has effectively frozen the field of likely GOP contenders.And Democrats have been tight-lipped about a potential open seat, especially given Biden's indication that he fully intends to run in 2024 with Vice President Kamala Harris as his ticketmate once again. Harris, who also hails from California and served as the state's junior senator from 2017 to 2021, had been long thought of as Biden's heir apparent in 2024 or 2028, but her rocky start to the vice presidency made some party members take a wait-and-see approach while looking at other candidates who could assemble a coalition needed to win a national election.Biden's numbers have been largely stagnant since the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan last year, although recent polling has indicated a bump in support for the president, fueled by his handling of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.However, the former Sanders staffers remain committed to cultivating a next-generation leader who could take over the reins of what the Vermont senator started in his unsuccessful presidential bids.Longabaugh sang Khanna's praises as a lawmaker who could connect with ordinary Americans, but reiterated that he was only promoting a 2024 candidacy if Biden chose not to run for reelection."I think Ro would be a very effective candidate," he told Politico. "This guy has a message that's very powerful. … Ro is basically saying, 'Is there a way in which we can reconstruct the economy so that all of the wealth is not just being generated on the East Coast, West Coast, or out of my congressional district?'"Khanna told The Washington Post last November that Biden should expect strong backing from progressives in 2024."President Biden will enjoy strong support from many progressives when he runs for reelection," he told the newspaper. "He will certainly have mine."In a recent interview with Politico, Khanna dismissed talk of a 2024 campaign, but did not rule out a 2028 race."I'm not running in 2024," he told the outlet. "I fully expect the president to run and intend to support him strongly. If for some reason he didn't, that would be very disappointing, but there are a number of other candidates who I think I could get behind who would make sure that the Democrats beat Donald Trump."The congressman — who represents the Silicon Valley-anchored 17th congressional district that includes Cupertino, Santa Clara, and parts of San Jose — added that "after the '24 cycle will be a time where America will start to look to the future."Rep. Ro Khanna of California.AP Photo/Andrew Harnik'The next generation of progressive leadership in America'While serving as a national cochair of Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign, Khanna spent a good deal of time in early-voting states, likely gaining invaluable contacts along the way.In February, he released the book "Dignity in the Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us," holding virtual and in-person events to promote the publication, which outlined his vision for tackling the country's technological divide.In a recent interview, Democratic consultant Joe Caiazzo told Politico that Khanna represents the future of the party's left-flank."It's crystal-clear that Ro Khanna is a part of the next generation of progressive leadership in America," he told the outlet.Khanna, who attended the University of Chicago and Yale Law School and describes himself as a "progressive capitalist," wants to see the US economy buttressed by tech jobs in Middle America.Weaver said that Sanders would likely start a presidential bid with the strong backing of many progressives, who have long yearned for concrete action on issues ranging from student-loan debt to climate change, only to see more conservative Democrats stymie many of the party's boldest initiatives like the Build Back Better Act. He also reiterated that his comments about a 2024 Khanna campaign are only applicable if Biden declines to run for a second term."I think he would have tremendous appeal among people who supported Bernie. I do, absolutely, 100 percent," Weaver said to Politico regarding Khanna. "He has a thoughtful take on the economy, which I think a lot of working-class people that Democrats have had difficulty reaching would hear."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMar 19th, 2022

Trump has been talking trash about Ron DeSantis in private, saying the Florida gov. has a "dull personality" and is ungrateful: report

Sources said Trump made a point of saying he isn't worried that DeSantis will run for president in 2024. President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in Sunrise, Fla., on November 26, 2019.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Trump has been trash-talking Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in private, per an Axios report. Behind closed doors, Trump has been saying that DeSantis has a "dull personality."  According to Axios, Trump is also sore about DeSantis' not publicly ruling out running for president in 2024. Former President Donald Trump trash-talked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis behind closed doors, slamming him for his perceived ungratefulness and saying the governor has a "dull personality." According to sources who spoke to Axios' Jonathan Swan, Trump has criticized DeSantis multiple times in private."In the context of the 2024 election, he usually gives DeSantis a pop in the nose in the middle of that type of conversation," said one source, who spoke to Swan under the condition of anonymity. "He says DeSantis has no personal charisma and has a dull personality."The source also told Axios that Trump goes out of his way during these conversations to say that he isn't fussed about having to potentially take DeSantis on to clinch the GOP nomination in 2024. A second anonymous source who spoke to Swan said that Trump was irritated with DeSantis because the latter had not yet publicly ruled out a 2024 presidential run. Axios reported that the former president also said in private that he doesn't understand what the "big deal" is for DeSantis to make a declaration that he won't be running in 2024, saying: "Why won't he just say he's not going to run against me?"The second source also told Swan that the former president was particularly annoyed over perceived ungratefulness from DeSantis, telling people in private that "there's no way" that DeSantis would have been elected governor without his endorsement.According to Axios, Trump has been keeping tabs on who has ruled out running in 2024. Several prominent Republicans have not publicly ruled out running in 2024, including former Vice President Mike Pence, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who said in December that he would run for president again "in a heartbeat," and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who in recent months has become an outspoken critic of Trump's fixation on election fraud. DeSantis is viewed as a prominent frontrunner to challenge Trump for the Republican presidential ticket. Insider's Kimberly Leonard reported that DeSantis' name kept coming up among Trump supporters gathered outside Mar-a-Lago on January 6, 2021, the first anniversary of the Capitol attack, with people picking the Florida governor as their second favorite for the ticket. DeSantis said in October that he is not considering a presidential run because he's "busy trying to make sure people are not supporting critical race theory."DeSantis also dismissed rumors that there is any tension between him and Trump. However, on a conservative podcast this week, he admitted he wished he'd been "much louder" in his opposition to Trump when the former president issued COVID-19 stay-at-home-orders.Despite criticizing DeSantis, Trump has signaled that he would be open to having the Florida governor as a vice-presidential running mate.Trump has not yet announced a presidential run and said in November that he will "probably" wait until after the midterm elections to confirm if he will make a presidential bid in 2024. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 16th, 2022

Anxiety clouded a DNC gathering this weekend in South Carolina where Jaime Harrison quoted Beyoncé and another party leader said the "time for hand-wringing is over"

Insider spoke with party sources in Charleston concerned about 2022, the president's future, and Republicans taking credit for infrastructure. President Joe Biden and US First Lady Jill Biden speak during a holiday reception for the Democratic National Committee at Hotel Washington. Biden is relying on DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison to protect majorities in the House and the Senate.Alex Edelman / AFP Democrats gathered in Charleston for a year-end strategy and training meeting. "We're like Beyoncé, we get in formation," DNC Chairman Jamie Harrison said of party unity. Interviews with nearly a dozen state party chairs and strategists painted a bleak picture of 2022. CHARLESTON, S.C.— Jaime Harrison, the Democratic National Committee chair, quoted Beyoncé to his party's leaders on Friday to kick off a weekend of official strategizing and informal commiserating over internal divisions and the brutal 2022 midterm cycle ahead."From this moment on, Democrats aren't in disarray," Harrison told the roughly 100 Democrats from 53 of the 57 states and territories who gathered for a meeting with the Association of State Democratic Committees. "We're like Beyoncé, we get in formation."Harrison—who some DNC members have fretted hasn't been getting the autonomy he needs from the White House to be successful in his role— received a standing ovation. But Democrats gathered here did not seem to take his admonishment to heart. At the Charleston Marriott this weekend, Democrats tried to publicly quell fears about a blowout in next year's midterm elections, as they attempt to defend majorities in the House and Senate. A Democratic loss in Virginia's off-year 2021 gubernatorial race hung over much of the proceedings. "The time for hand-wringing is over," Ken Martin—the association's president and chair of Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party—told fellow Democrats.  In conversations over the weekend, outside the rah-rah events on the official agenda, the Democratic hand-wringing continued. Democrats wrung their hands about their 2022 prospects. They wrung their hands about whether Biden would run for reelection (White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said he intended to do so). They wrung their hands about changing the order of their presidential nominating rules and calendar. They wrung their hands about Republicans taking credit for their legislative accomplishments such as the bipartisan infrastructure law (there was talk of deploying "Democratic truth squads" around the country to correct the record). Democrats even wrung their hands about how to get their message out on social media. "We're exploring what it might look like to start a TikTok account," Shelby Cole, who leads content and creative for the DNC, told the executive committee on Saturday.The event itself reflected the dour atmospherics in which Democrats find themselves. At the beginning of Friday's programming, an official announced to the room that two vendors had tested positive for COVID-19—among the 170,000 new cases across the country that day as the Omicron variant surges—silencing the room. Across the nation, Democrats find themselves pinioned by economic forces such as inflation and political crosscurrents resulting from a divided Senate that has made it difficult for them to act on crucial parts of the president's agenda. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released last month showed that a generic Republican enjoys a historic 10-point advantage over a generic Democratic counterpart.   COVID, economy make for a challenging '22 Interviews with nearly a dozen state party chairs and strategists painted a bleak picture ahead of 2022 for the party's chances to defend the House and Senate."It would be silly of me if I'm looking at how we are politically with COVID, with the economy, with all these various things that we talked about to say, 'Oh this is going to be an easy challenge,'" a Democratic strategist told Insider.Others said the party could still be competitive if Congress passes two critical parts of Biden's plan in the coming weeks: the president's $1.7 trillion social spending package and voting rights legislation. "We would have plenty of time if Build Back Better gets passed [within the administration's first year]," said Michael Ceraso, executive director of Winning Margins, a progressive consultancy, referencing Biden's social spending program.Ceraso's comment came a day before Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia effectively killed the possibility of the program becoming law. "I can't get there," the Democratic senator said in an interview on 'Fox News Sunday.'Trav Robertson, the South Carolina Democratic Party Chair, told Insider that talk of a Democratic gutting at the ballot box was overblown. "I think that one thing we got to get away from is the Washington insiders or the Washington elite who have this defeatist attitude because they don't live in or visit Middle America or the South or the West," Robertson said. "That's something we talked about, and that's something that we're challenging ourselves to do going forward." Democrats also previewed a future potential dispute over how to order the presidential nomination calendar—including deciding whether to keep the Iowa-New Hampshire-Nevada-South Carolina lineup—when the party reconvenes in DC for its March meeting. "Those conversations have started in earnest," a Democratic official said. Some have suggested moving to a regional rotating primary system rather than giving less-diverse states such as Iowa and New Hampshire an outsized role early in the process. "There's been talk about that for 50 years, but none of it makes any sense at all, because whatever it is, if you do a regional primary, then only the mega-wealthy, mega-star candidates have the ability to seek the nomination," Raymond Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, which oversees the Democrats' first-in-the-nation primary. The deliberations underscore how quickly talk would turn to 2024 and whether President Joe Biden would run again. "Yes, Biden has obviously made it clear that he is running again, but nobody really knows that for sure," one state party chair told Insider. This person added: "I just think the DNC is going to prepare for all scenarios."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 20th, 2021

New Hampshire"s GOP Gov. Chris Sununu avoided answering whether he"d support Trump running in 2024

"I have hospitals that are really at capacity," Sununu said Sunday. "I don't want to say I don't care about '24, but the furthest thing down on the priority list." Scott Eisen/Getty Images for DraftKings New Hampshire Gov. Sununu dodged a question about backing Trump if he ran for president again. During an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Sununu said he's "not even looking at '24." He added that he is more focused on issues happening in his state including tackling COVID-19. New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu dodged answering if he would back a 2024 run by former president Donald Trump.During an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, Jake Tapper asked if he would support Trump — who was defeated by President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election— if he decided to run for office again. "Not even looking at '24," Sununu responded. "Look, I'm a big believer; if you spent all your time looking at what happened in 2020 and all your time thinking about 2024, as a Republican Party, we're going to miss 2022. And that's where you got to hopefully inspire new folks to step up, to want to run every for everything from governor to the town planning board."—The Recount (@therecount) December 19, 2021"You want folks that believe in that local control, that believe in contributing, as opposed to the polarization you see in politics, so not even considering '24," Sununu continued. " I think, if we do that, whether you're Democrat or Republican, you're really missing the boat."Trump has teased a potential 2024 presidential campaign, but it has yet to be confirmed. During a recent interview with Fox News in November, Trump said he is considering a run and may wait until after the 2022 midterm election to announce his decision. "I am certainly thinking about it, and we'll see," Trump said.  "I think a lot of people will be very happy, frankly, with the decision and probably will announce that after the midterms."Sununu indicated that he's concentrating on managing the issues in his state, including COVID-19, which is causing hospitals to become overwhelmed, leading officials to tap on National Guard members for assistance. "I have hospitals that are really at capacity. We're managing this kind of stuff every single day," Sununu added. "I don't want to say I don't care about '24, but the furthest thing down on the priority list, as you can imagine."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 19th, 2021

Trump"s control over the GOP is near absolute and he"s hinting he"ll run again in 2024: Here are the issues shaping his final decision

Above all other variables, Trump will have to weigh his desire to vindicate himself with the risk of another defeat A truck with a 'Trump 2024' flag arrives at a "Save America" rally with former President Donald Trump at York Family Farms on August 21, 2021 in Cullman, Alabama.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Whether Donald Trump runs for president again remains the central variable in American politics. His appeal among the GOP base remains strong, but he also cost the party dearly in 2020. There are also potential GOP candidates who have signaled they'll run regardless of what Trump does. Former President Donald Trump is teasing a 2024 presidential bid. After leaving office in January with the lowest approval ratings of his presidency following the Capitol riot, Trump has restored his overwhelming popularity with Republican voters and maintained influence over his party's leadership. In recent months, Trump has repeatedly hinted that he'll launch another presidential campaign, but suggested he'll wait to announce his decision after the 2022 midterms. Polling has shown that he's the strongest candidate for the GOP nomination. A large majority of Republican voters say they want Trump to run for re-election, according to surveys this fall. And prominent Republicans who distanced themselves from Trump in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot have changed their tune. Why Trump might not runMatt Mackowiak, a Texas-based Republican strategist, thinks Trump has five major things to consider when it comes to a 2024 bid: a desire to run, financial concerns, legal entanglements, health, and the political environment. While Trump appears eager to run again,Mackowiak thinks the work-life balance he's enjoying on his various golf resorts could erode his willingness to take on the responsibilities of commander-in-chief again. "It's often said that the best job in the world is being a former US president. And I imagine he may be liking that somewhat," he said. "The indications right now are that he wants to do it, but that can change."If Trump runs again, he'll be 78 years old on Inauguration Day 2025, as old as Biden was when he was sworn in as president. There's no evidence that Trump has health issues that could prevent him from running, but septuagenarian candidates like him have to consider their health as they decide to embark on a grueling campaign. Trump must deal with complicated legal and financial entanglements if he runs again. Trump and his real estate company, the Trump Organization, are facing a slew of legal challenges. The Manhattan district attorney's office and the New York attorney general's office are both investigating the Trump Organization's alleged tax avoidance schemes and property value manipulation. Trump is also at risk of being criminally prosecuted for his role in the Capitol riot. The health of Trump's businesses and his personal finances could also play a role in his decision. Trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars to major banks. And since losing reelection, he's created a new social media company, Trump Media and Technology Group, which aims to compete with the leading social platforms. Why Trump is still relevant and might enter the raceOver the last year, Trump has stayed active in politics, holding rallies and headlining events across the country, and raking in millions with his aggressive fundraising efforts. Teasing a presidential bid has been lucrative for the ex-president. According to federal campaign filings over the summer, Trump had more than $100 million cash on hand at the end of July, and raised more money in the first half of 2021 than any other Republican, a remarkable feat for a twice-impeached ex-president banned from most social media platforms. Trump has focused much of his fundraising on lies about the 2020 election being "stolen" and "rigged" by Democrats."I was right about everything," the subject line of a recent Trump fundraising email read.The former president has also sought to exercise his influence over Republican primary races, backing primary challenges against incumbent Republicans he views as insufficiently loyal to him. Some Trump world figures say the former president has his mind set on 2024. Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows claimed in his newly-released memoir that Trump told him he'd run for a second term. "'We have to be ready,'" Trump told Meadows, according to the book. "'We have to do it again for the sake of our great country.'"Meadows added, "The message was clear: We had to prepare for the second term that had been denied him. We needed four more years." But Trump will have to weigh his desire to vindicate himself with the risk of another defeat. "I think it comes down to one thing," Mackowiak said. "He clearly believes that he was cheated out of the last election and the best way for him to overcome that would be to run again and win. Now the risk is that if he were to run again and lose, it would probably double the discomfort that he feels."What the 2024 GOP field could look like, with or without TrumpAnother uncertainty tied up with Trump's 2024 decision is who will comprise the rest of the GOP primary field. An August poll from the Republican-leaning firm Echelon Insights found half of its sample of likely 2024 GOP voters identifying as "Trump-first," while 68% said they would vote for him again in 2024 if he ran. Despite costing Republicans the House, Senate, and White House by the end of his single term in office, Trump's lasting appeal among the party's base has put many of the possible primary entrants in a bind. Some potential candidates, such as Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former UN Secretary Nikki Haley and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem have all stated to varying degrees to say they would support a Trump 2024 bid and put their own presidential ambitions on hold if he were to run. Florida's pair of GOP senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, have also said they would support Trump in 2024 despite early rumors about each of them entering the primary.A smaller cadre of potential candidates have made it clear through a mix of statements and hiring maneuvers that they're prepared to launch 2024 campaigns regardless of what Trump does. Among them are former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.Pence already assembled a campaign leadership team in waiting and has visited the key first-in-the-nation states of Iowa and New Hampshire at various fundraisers for local candidates and county GOPs. He also hasn't ruled out a run in 2024 if Trump enters the race.Christie, who lost to Trump in the 2016 primary, has expressed open disdain for anyone who would decide whether to enter the primary depending upon Trump's decision."If you're saying you're deferring to someone, that's a real sign of both weakness and indecision," the former Trump advisor and New Jersey governor said on a podcast in May.DeSantis, who's facing reelection in 2022, has been a consistently vocal Trump fan but nonetheless reportedly annoyed him by not publicly ruling out a 2024 run if the former president jumps in.For his part, the Florida governor has gone on the record to say he's not considering a presidential bid because he's busy "trying to make sure people are not supporting critical race theory."Then there's the wildcard side of the potential field, with conservative celebrities or those with the ability to self-fund a campaign able to mount a functional campaign without the constraints many current GOP office holders face.The biggest X-factor in this category is Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who, despite not publicly flirting with a run to any extent, has been bandied about by GOP donors as a potential contender, as Insider reported back in July 2020. But as long as Trump positions himself for a run other potential contenders will have little room to grow their support. "Some of this is probably promotional and some of it too is he wants to freeze the field so that he can buy himself some time to make the decision he wants, number one, and then number two, act as a kingmaker," Mackowiak said.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 9th, 2021

Despite promises, Biden has yet to issue a single pardon, leaving reformers depressed and thousands incarcerated

President Biden has the unchecked power to grant clemency to any federal prisoner. But he hasn't used it. US President Joe Biden participates in the 74th annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon of Peanut Butter in the Rose Garden of the White House November 19, 2021 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong/Getty Images Presidents have the sweeping ability to commute sentences, immediately freeing any federal prisoner. They can also grant pardons, which erase a criminal conviction from a person's record. But Biden, like others before him, has been hesitant to use the power early on in his presidency. At this point in his presidency, Joe Biden has pardoned just two sentient beings: Peanut Butter and Jelly, 40-pound turkeys from Jasper, Indiana.Former President Donald Trump, by contrast, had pardoned three: a pair of flightless birds and Joe Arpaio, the ex-Arizona sheriff known for illegally detaining Latinos.Over the past three decades, that's pretty much been the norm, regardless of which political party claims the White House. Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush all waited until at least their second year in office before granting clemency to a human being.That's not because there is a dearth of potential candidates. As of October 2021, the Department of Justice had just under 17,000 pending petitions for clemency, up from 15,000 around the time of the 2020 election.The problem, critics say, is one of urgency, or the lack thereof."Just because that's what the situation has been doesn't mean that's how it has to be," Nkechi Taifa, an attorney, activist, and leader of the progressive Justice Roundtable, said in an interview. "Where there's a will there's a way."President Joe Biden has a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Nov. 15, 2021.AP Photo/Susan WalshThat's the message Taifa delivered to the Biden White House. In an early December meeting with Susan Rice, director of the Domestic Policy Council, and staff from the Office of the White House Counsel, she implored the administration to act now.More than 7,700 federal inmates are currently on home confinement, granted release from prison on the grounds that they pose no security threat and are at a heightened risk of suffering severe complications from COVID-19. When the public health emergency is declared over, they could be forced to return. Leading Democrats, including Senate Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, have argued it would be an injustice to send them back, urging the White House to consider granting clemency en masse.In the meeting, White House staff appeared to agree, Taifa said. That's not the problem."Their rhetoric says that they understand what we're saying, and that they're working on it," she said. The issue is the conversation is taking place in December."If it's going to take this long for a first step, how long is it going to take for the rest?"A 'bureaucratic morass' to wade throughBiden has never been a favorite of those advocating criminal justice reform.In the 2020 primaries, he was arguably the most conservative Democrat running for his party's nomination. But he was also not the same man who, as a senator from Delaware, helped author legislation that put many people behind bars for nonviolent drug offenses.On his campaign website, Biden promised to use his clemency power, like Obama, "to secure the release of individuals facing unduly long sentences for certain non-violent and drug crimes."But others pledged to go further. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a former prosecutor, proposed a new clemency advisory board that could issue recommendations directly to the White House, bypassing what is currently a seven-step process.Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas on Feb. 19, 2020.AP Photo/John Locher"What we've got is this bureaucratic morass," Mark Osler, a former federal prosecutor, said in an interview. "There's seven levels of review, one after the other, and the first four levels are all in the Department of Justice, which of course is conflicted because they're the ones who sought the sentence in the first place."The first step is the Office of the Pardon Attorney, which is currently led, on an acting basis, by Rosalind Sargent-Burns, a career department lawyer former Attorney General William Barr appointed. They then present their recommendations on who should get clemency to the deputy attorney general's office, where another staffer reviews it and passes it on — maybe — to their boss. Then it goes to the staff for the White House counsel, then the actual counsel, then an aide to the president and then, if all goes well, to Biden himself.The president could, at any time, bypass this process. Trump did when he pardoned Arpaio and his other allies, such as Roger Stone and Steve Bannon.If anything, Osler, now a professor at the University of Saint Thomas, told Insider he thinks Biden is too committed to the way things were. It's one thing to respect the Justice Department's career bureaucracy when it comes to deciding who deserves prosecution but, he said, "it doesn't make sense in terms of clemency."A White House official told Insider the president is "exploring the use of his clemency power" for non-violent drug offenders who were moved to home confinement at the start of the pandemic, a transfer authorized by the March 2020 CARES Act — specifically, those with fewer than four years left on their sentences (one activist who has engaged the White House expects those with less than two years remaining will also be excluded)."At the same time," the official said, Biden "continues to consider requests for pardon and commutation that are submitted in the ordinary course."That's not exactly what reformers want to hear. While Obama granted clemency to more than 1,900 people — compared to just 200 under George W. Bush and 238 under Trump — the byzantine process for requesting one's freedom, "the ordinary course," means many more deserving cases likely never reach the president's desk for consideration.The American Civil Liberties Union has called on Biden to immediately grant clemency to 25,000 people, namely those serving sentences longer than those handed out today, nonviolent drug offenders, and the elderly."If it's unjust at the end of the term," when presidents typically wait to grant pardons, "it's unjust during the entire term," Cynthia Roseberry, deputy director at the ACLU's national policy advocacy department, told Insider.She argued that it would be a failure if the administration tried to achieve its stated goals — of racial justice and correcting past wrongs — by relying on prosecutors and judges who sent people to prison to co-sign petitions for release."Justice hasn't been done under that draconian system, and we can't expect justice from that kind of system going forward," she said. "It has to be radically changed."The Department of Justice declined to comment on how many petitions for clemency have received favorable recommendations within the department or have been referred to the White House. It is impossible to say for sure, then, how much the delay in granting pardons is due to bureaucracy or stalling by political actors.But sticking with the opaque status quo is itself a political decision — the president could unilaterally discard it — and it's a disappointment, if not a surprise, to people like Osler. He's not expecting big things."I haven't heard anything from the administration that gives me hope," he said.Reform, deniedIn 2020, there appeared to be a new consensus.Joe Biden greets Sen. Bernie Sanders before the Democratic presidential primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 14, 2020.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesA "unity" task force composed of Biden supporters and those backing Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont issued a report endorsing the creation of a independent board to recommend pardons, saying it would "ensure an appropriate, effective process for using clemency, especially to address systemic racism." The call also made it into the Democratic Party platform.But it didn't make it into the president's agenda. Respect for institutions, however slow and flawed, is one explanation. Bureaucracy could also explain the lack of pardons. It's not clear where in the process the 17,000-odd petitions for clemency are — if they are sitting on the president's desk or in a cabinet somewhere else in the White House or Department of Justice.The fear of political fallout could be another reason. Reports of someone who received a presidential pardon going on to commit a serious crime are extremely rare. But if it happens, that's a television ad; the benefits of mercy toward those who go on to lead quiet lives in obscurity are perhaps less obvious.The current political environment at least raises the question. Since the start of the pandemic, major cities in the US, red state and blue state alike, have seen an uptick in violent crime. Daring instances of smash-and-grab robberies have gone viral. And the opposition party has been eager to pin blame on the White House, despite the trend beginning under its previous inhabitant."It's less about the review process and more about power," Jeffrey Crouch, an expert on federal clemency at American University, told Insider. New presidents are, of course, focused on passing the big-ticket items in their agenda — think infrastructure and "building back better."They "may want to avoid potential controversy before a midterm election," Crouch added.Kermit Roosevelt, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, likewise thinks pardons are a victim of competing priorities, and not something that a new administration wants leading the news cycle."Some pardons are probably politically popular," he said, "but many of them don't actually look that good, which is why presidents tend to issue a lot just before leaving office."The vast majority of pardons, in fact, are uncontroversial. No one, for example, criticized Trump when he granted clemency to Alice Marie Johnson, a Black woman in her 60s who had already served two decades behind bars for a nonviolent drug offense.U.S. President Donald Trump signs a document as Alice Johnson looks on during an event in the Oval Office of the White House August 28, 2020 in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker/Pool/Getty ImagesBut it is the "bad" pardons — of political allies, be they Trump's former aides or, under Clinton, Democratic donor Marc Rich — that tend to stick out.The president's unique, unchecked power to commute sentences and free the imprisoned could, then, be seen as a potential liability with little upside.But fear is not typically a good basis for policy."I think it reflects an outdated view of the clemency power as something politically risky," Ames Grawert, senior counsel at the Brennan Center's Justice Program, told Insider.There may always be demagoguery associated with incarceration, but in recent years there has been increasing bipartisan agreement that too many people have been locked up for too long. Indeed, thousands of federal prisoners are serving sentences that would not be handed out today thanks to 2018 reform legislation that Trump signed into law."I understand the fear of backlash for perceived leniency — as if any tampering with the federal system, which is excessively punitive through and through — would be 'lenient' vs. 'just,'" Grawert said, "but I don't know if there's a constituency for that."'I pretty much lost all hope'On the surface, an article The New York Times published last May was a victory for reformers."Biden Is Developing a Pardon Process With a Focus on Racial Justice," the headline asserted, and this was the substance: that the president would begin to aggressively employ the power of his office ahead of the 2022 midterm elections — "identifying entire classes of people who deserve mercy."But to Rachel Barkow, a vice dean and law professor at New York University who is one of the nation's leading advocates of clemency reform, the piece was anything but inspiring."It was kind of the death knell," she said in an interview. "There were so many red flags that this was going to be a disaster that I pretty much lost all hope then."For starters, the piece said the Biden administration would continue to "rely on the rigorous application vetting process" at the Department of Justice. That process was established, in part, not by the US Constitution — which does not mention it at all — but by former President Ronald Reagan, whose administration issued strict guidelines on who is even eligible to ask for reprieve.From left: Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, George Bush, and Barack Obama.Mandel NGAN/AFP via Getty; Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Common Sense Media; Win McNamee/Getty; Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty; Scott Olson/Getty; Shayanne Gal/InsiderWhat the White House is calling "the ordinary course" was, Barkow said, an "historical accident." And not a best practice."No state does this," she said. "'Ordinary course' is not that you ask the same prosecutors who brought a case, 'Should this person now get clemency?' No one in their right mind would set clemency up that way."Every administration deals with competing priorities, and Biden, objectively, was dealt a bad hand, inheriting an economy still struggling to recover from a pandemic that continues to kill more than a thousand Americans every day. And his agenda is constrained by a slim Democratic majority in the House and a 50-50 Senate.But that's also why people like Barkow are so disappointed.They're passionate about freeing those they see as unjustly incarcerated, but they are not simply naive idealists, unaware of political realities. Clemency is an area where Biden can act alone and immediately improve lives. Democrats may feel constantly on the defensive over issues of criminal justice, but none other than Trump saw clemency as such a feel-good winner that his campaign ran a Super Bowl ad telling the story of one woman he freed from prison."Anyone who has spent any time with people who are incarcerated, with their loved ones, who have talked with people who were formerly incarcerated, would get the urgency of this," Barkow said. "You wouldn't be able to sleep at night."But there doesn't appear to be urgency at the White House.So far, roughly 1,200 petitions for pardons or commutations have been closed "without presidential action," per the Department of Justice. Each day, loved ones are separated due to policies that the current president helped shape, which he now says were mistaken — contributors to racial injustice — and which he has thus far declined to ameliorate."It's very depressing," Barkow said. "I think it's words on paper," she said of the administration's talk of change."It's just not really something that they're feeling in their bones. And as a result, it's not getting done."Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 8th, 2021