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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

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

Kamala Harris" staff turnover driven by burnout and apprehension to being labeled a "Harris person": Axios

A strategist who spoke with Axios said that Harris needed "someone loyal who can think methodically" to help spread her message and boost her numbers. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a meeting on voting rights at the TCF Center in Detroit, Mich., on July 12, 2021.AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Turnover in Harris' office is being driven by burnout and worries of being labeled a "Harris person," per Axios. For months, the vice president has battled the narrative that her office has been dysfunctional. She has seen the departure of several aides this year — notably senior advisor Symone Sanders. The ongoing staff turnover in Vice President Kamala Harris' office is being driven by burnout, a desire for more fruitful opportunities, and apprehension to being labeled a "Harris person," according to an Axios report.This past week saw the announcement of the impending departure from Symone Sanders, the rising-star senior advisor and chief spokesperson for Harris who was previously a senior advisor for now-President Joe Biden's 2020 campaign, as well as a Washington Post report detailing the expected exits of Peter Velz, the director of press operations, and Vince Evans, the deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs in Harris' office.Last month, news broke that Ashley Etienne, Harris' communications director, would also be leaving the office.For Harris — the first female, first Black, and first Indian American to hold the vice presidency — the narrative of an office is disarray is something that her allies feel can be overcome through a "reset," according to Axios.The stakes for the vice president are incredibly high. Not only does Harris play a pivotal role in the evenly-divided Senate as the tiebreaking vote — which aids Democrats in potentially passing the party's nearly $2 trillion social-spending bill — but she is the presumed frontrunner in 2024 if Biden opts out of reelection and would be seen as the natural leader of the party in 2028 if the president serves for two terms.Harris allies told Axios that the vice president has a great shot at recalibrating and moving beyond her office's wobbly start, but in the same report, it was noted that several top Biden staffers "privately roll their eyes" at her staff and would like to see more constructive leadership.A Democratic strategist who spoke with Axios said that the vice president needed "someone loyal who can think methodically" to aid in her communication strategy and help increase her poll numbers.An early November USA Today/Suffolk poll pegged Harris with a 28% approval rating, with 51% disapproving of her performance, a tough position for the vice president as she tackles some of the most challenging issues for the administration, including migration at the US-Mexico border and voting rights.Republicans – eager to win back control of Congress in 2022 and install one of their own to the White House in 2024 — have hammered Harris on immigration issues for months.A Democratic operative with ties to Harris' office who spoke with Axios said that the exits put increased pressure on Tina Flournoy, the vice president's chief of staff, to help turn around the office."If we mess this up, it's going to set women back when it comes to running for higher office for years to come," the operative told the news outlet.Several individuals close to Harris told Axios that the staff turnover is expected, as the administration nears its first year in office while dealing with a cascade of crises.However, as staffers look to 2024 and 2028, some want to work on Biden's 2024 reelection campaign, while others don't want to be too wedded to Harris — especially if they find themselves attracted to another Democratic presidential candidate in the coming years.When asked about the departure of Sanders — one of the most well-known Democratic strategists in Washington, DC — Harris on Thursday had nothing but kind words for her aide."I love Symone. I know that it's been three years jumping on and off planes going around the country and she works very hard, and I can't wait to see what she'll do next," she said."I mean that sincerely," she added.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 4th, 2021

Chris Christie says Trump should move on and "tell the truth" about the 2020 election

Christie has broken with Trump in the past, saying last September that Trump should "accept defeat." Chris Christie is urging former president Donald Trump to "move on" from the 2020 election, particularly with the 2022 mid-term elections around the corner. Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is urging Donald Trump to "move on" from the 2020 election. Christie told CNN that Trump must "tell the truth" if he wants to be a positive force in the midterms. Christie has broken with Trump in the past, saying last September that Trump should "accept defeat." Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said former President Donald Trump needs to "tell the truth" about the 2020 election and move on. Christie also had advice for the GOP, saying that if it wants to build on electoral wins - like Glenn Youngkin's win in Virginia's heated gubernatorial race last week - Republicans need to move past Trump's voter-fraud claims.In an interview with CNN this weekend, Christie said he thought Trump could be a "very positive force for Republican candidates" in the 2022 midterm elections if he would start "talking about the future and tell the truth about the election and move on."The former governor spoke to CNN after a Las Vegas event where he addressed supporters at the Republican Jewish Coalition conference. According to the Coalition's website, among the big GOP names at the three-day event were former Vice President Mike Pence, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.Christie told CNN that with the midterms coming up, Trump must decide if he wants to be "a leader for tomorrow or a figure of yesterday.""We can no longer talk about the past and the past elections - no matter where you stand on that issue, no matter where you stand, it is over," Christie said at the conference, per CNN. "People want us to be direct with them. They want someone to fight for them. But they want them to fight in a way that doesn't hurt their ears." Christie has broken with Trump in the past on the latter's baseless allegations of voter fraud. Last December, Christie called for Trump and the GOP to "accept defeat" after "no evidence" surfaced of electoral fraud.In September, Christie also asked Republicans to "face the realities of the 2020 election and learn, not hide from them." "​​We need to renounce the conspiracy theorists and the truth deniers. The ones who know better and the ones who are just plain nuts," Christie said at a September 9 event at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, per CNN. "We need to give our supporters facts that will help them put all those fantasies to rest."There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, and the Trump camp's lawsuits alleging voter fraud in states including Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania have failed.Even so, the former president has continued to call for vote audits in various states. On October 15, Trump called for a vote recount in Pima County, Arizona's second-most populous county after Maricopa County. Trump has also continued to claim the Cyber Ninjas' vote recount in Maricopa County uncovered "undeniable evidence" of fraud, despite the Republican-driven audit confirming that President Joe Biden beat Trump by 261 more votes than were initially counted.Christie, who ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, told CNN he would wait until after the midterms to see if he wants to throw his hat into the ring in 2024. He said his decision would hinge on whether he believes he has "the talent, the skill and the ability to be able to win," and not be based on whether Trump is running or not.The former governor has been mired in his fair share of scandals, too. In the 2013 Bridgegate scandal, Christie's staff members were indicted for purposefully closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge to cause massive traffic jams, a move that was theorized to be a retributive political attack on Mark Sokolich, the Democrat mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey.Christie was formerly a Trump ally, having supported the former president in 2016 and 2020. He has since blasted Trump's legal team and called them a "national embarrassment," and slammed Trump's conduct following the January 6 Capitol riot.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 7th, 2021

New Poll Suggests GOP Victory In 2022; Biden Approval Sinks To 38% While Kamala"s Even Worse

New Poll Suggests GOP Victory In 2022; Biden Approval Sinks To 38% While Kamala's Even Worse A new poll out from USA Today/Suffolk University does not bode well for Democrats going into next year's midterm elections. Perhaps most notable is a complete crash President Biden's approval ratings among independent voters - who just 12 months ago were a deciding factor in his win over former President Donald Trump. According to the poll, Biden's approval rating is now just 38%, while 59% disapprove - the loweest rating of any modern president at this point in his term aside from Trump - who was up against heavily polls which oversampled Democrats. Suffolk University hasn't actually published this poll on its website, so we are unable to report on bias as of this writing. More via USA Today: Nearly half of those surveyed, 46%, said Biden has done a worse job as president than they expected, including 16% of those who voted for him. Independents by 7-1 (44%-6%) said he's done worse, not better, than they expected. Nearly two-thirds of Americans, 64%, said they didn't want Biden to run for a second term in 2024. That included 28% of Democrats. Opposition to Trump running for another term in 2024 was nearly as high, at 58%. That included 24% of Republicans. Vice President Kamala Harris' approval rating was 28% – even worse than Biden's. The poll showed that 51% disapproved of the job she's doing. One in five, 21%, were undecided. Americans overwhelmingly supported the infrastructure bill that Biden is about to sign.  But they were split on the more expensive and more far-reaching Build Back Better Act now being debated in Congress. Only one in four said the bill's provisions would help them and their families.  The poll also found that Biden has lost massive ground with voters who backed him in 2020. Among those who voted for him last year, 39% said they hoped he doesn't run for a second term, while 50% hoped he would. Among Trump voters, 26% hoped he wouldn't run again vs. 65% who hoped he would. "I thought he did a great job then and I know he'll do a great job in the future," said Lynda Ensenat, 54, a Trump voter and independent insurance adjuster from New Orleans. "There's a whole lot going wrong in this society right now, and all the Democrat liberals – that's what they're 100% for." Biden has "been wrong on absolutely everything he's touched," she added. Also interesting: If the presidential election were today between Biden and Trump, 44% said they would vote for Trump, 40% for Biden, 11% for an unnamed third-party candidate. In the election last year, Biden beat Trump 54%-47%. -USA Today Midterms could be a bloodbath for Democrats, as those polled said they would vote for their local GOP congressional candidate over the Democratic one by 46% - 38%, and 8% margin of victory that would likely hand control over both the House and Senate. Republicans need to flip just five seats in the House and one seat in the Senate to regain control.  More from the poll Two-thirds of respondents (66%) said America has gotten off on the wrong track, while 20% said it was headed in the right direction Americans are sharply divided over the Build Back Better Act - with 47% supporting the $1.85 trillion bill, and 44% opposing it. Those surveyed were more likely to say the bill's provisions would hurt, rather than help them, by a margin of 30-26%. Congress had dismal ratings - with just 12% approving and 75% disapproving of the job they're doing. Congressional Democrats had a favorable rating of just 29% vs. 35% for Republicans. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/07/2021 - 14:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 7th, 2021

Stephanie Grisham thought it would have been "cheap and self-serving" for her to speak out on January 6 because "someone had died"

"I just needed some time to be deprogrammed, and calm, and quiet," Grisham said of why didn't she publicly speak in the months after January 6. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham listens during a signing of a “safe third country” agreement in the White House on July 26, 2019. Alex Wong/Getty Images Stephanie Grisham explained to Insider she didn't speak out when she resigned on January 6. "At that point, one person had died," she said, referring to rioter Ashli Babbitt. "I honestly felt like it would have been cheap of me or self-serving of me," Grisham told Insider. Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham didn't speak out upon resigning from the White House because she thought it would be "cheap" and "self-serving" in the wake of a person dying on January 6, she told Insider in a Friday interview.Grisham, who was then former First Lady Melania Trump's chief of staff and top spokeswoman, just released a new tell-all memoir, "I'll Take Your Questions Now," about her time in the White House. She told Insider that she had been "done" with the White House for "about six months" but finally resigned over the events of January 6, when a pro-Trump mob overtook the US Capitol to stop Congress from affirming then-President Donald Trump's Electoral College loss. "On January 6th, it wasn't as much about the election being stolen for me as watching people desecrate our Capitol and burn it and people were dying and the president was doing nothing to try and stop up it," Grisham told Insider in a Friday interview when asked why she didn't forcefully denounce the lie driving the rioters that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Grisham "said she actually did talk to a couple of reporters about kind of speaking up." One of them was New York Magazine's Olivia Nuzzi, who recalled trying to convince her to publicly announce her resignation in a recent profile of Grisham. CNN eventually broke the news of her departure."But at that point, one person had died, and I honestly felt like it would have been cheap of me or self-serving of me to be talking about stuff like that when somebody had died," she said, referring to rioter Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a law enforcement officer while trying to break through the glass window of the Speaker's Lobby. "So that was why I thought I would just kind of wait and take my time."When asked why she didn't address the riot in the months that followed, Grisham cited both the terms of her book deal and her need to disappear from the spotlight to decompress after years in the White House and Trumpworld. "I just needed some time to be deprogrammed, and calm, and quiet, and just figure out, you know, where I stood on a lot of things," she told Insider. "And then I knew I was going to be writing the book and I was put under a pretty heavy NDA gag order with my publisher with the knowledge though that I was going to be coming out very strong and not only talking about the fact that this election wasn't stolen, but what to me now is important while I'm focusing on is 2022 and 2024," she added. "And the damage - if people think 2016 administration was bad, I just don't think people understand what a 2024 admin would look like." Grisham said she isn't thinking about work right now, but told Insider she eventually wants to help stop Trump from running again in 2024. "I still am kind of healing from the whole process and I am still really enjoying kind of reconnecting with family and friends. So for me, that's still my priority, but as we get closer to 2022 and 2024, if, you know, if people ask me for help in any way, yes, I will be right there to do it," she said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 8th, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

Former Trump aide Omarosa, newly freed from her NDA, suggests Trump won"t "be healthy enough" for a 2024 run

Omarosa Manigault Newman recently won a legal battle against Donald Trump, who tried to enforce an NDA over a tell-all book she wrote in 2018. Omarosa Manigault Newman. Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Sky News Omarosa Manigault Newman told MSNBC Trump "needs to come clean " about his health. She gave no evidence or details of his supposed problems. Trump, 75, has insisted he is healthy. Trump recently lost a legal battle to enforce a nondisclosure agreement with Manigault Newman. See more stories on Insider's business page. Former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman said Sunday that if Donald Trump wants to run for president again in 2024 he "needs to come clean to the American people" about his health.Fresh off her court win against the former president, Manigault Newman told MSBC's Rev. Al Sharpton that she's concerned about the fact that Trump "hasn't come forward and talked about his health."She did not give any details of what gave her cause for concern, or provide any evidence of a particular reason that Trump, who is 75, should need to worry."I don't know if he will even be healthy enough to run in 2024," she said, according to MSNBC. "I think he needs to come clean to the American people about where he is on that before deciding to get into a very stressful and strenuous race for the White House." Trump himself has repeatedly said he is in good health.Watch the full interview with Manigault Newman below:Last month, Trump lost an expensive three-year legal battle to enforce a nondisclosure agreement with Manigault Newman, who was among the first of many former staffers to disparage him in a tell-all book.Her book, titled "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House," was published while Trump was still in the White House and is a highly critical account of the year she spent working for him between 2017 and 2018.In an interview last month, Trump said the only thing that would stop him from running for president in 2024 would be a "bad call from a doctor," Insider reported previously."You get that call. Come on down and see because we've got a bad report ... Things happen, through God, they happen," Trump told David Brody, a host on the right-wing network Real America's Voice.His implication was that nothing like this had happened yet - appearing to contradict Manigault Newman.He added: "I feel so good and I hate what's happening to our country. Our country has never been in a position like this. We were so good ten months ago and we're so bad now."Trump was hospitalized in October 2020 after contracting COVID-19, but later recovered and was vaccinated.Following his three-day stay at Walter Reed Medical Center, Trump said he beat COVID-19 "because I'm a perfect physical specimen and I'm extremely young," The Guardian reported.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

Donald Trump is raising money off a "ransacking" in Florida — but it has nothing to do with Hurricane Ian

Trump is asking his supporters for at least $25 after the FBI raid on his Palm Beach, Florida, estate, while Floridians are bearing the brunt of Hurricane Ian. Former President Donald Trump references a map while talking to reporters following a briefing from officials about Hurricane Dorian in 2019.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Former President Donald Trump emailed his supporters about the FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago home, asking for donations.  Meanwhile, Hurricane Ian made landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast. More than 1 million residents in southwest Florida are experiencing blackouts.  As Hurricane Ian barreled toward the Gulf Coast, former President Donald Trump emailed his supporters about a very different situation in Florida — the FBI raid of his home, Mar-a-Lago."It has already been proven that so much has been wrongfully taken," Trump said in the email. "It was "ransacked" and in a far different condition than the way I left it. So sad!"Mar-a-Lago, a sprawling 17-acre estate owned by Trump, is located in Palm Beach, Florida, and Trump is himself a Florida resident. Trump, who is facing numerous points of legal peril, went on: "The 4th Amendment, and much more, has been totally violated, a grave invasion of privacy."Ian, which is now an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm, has already left more than 1 million Floridians with no power. The National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Ian was generating a "catastrophic storm surge" with "widespread, life-threatening catastrophic flash and urban flooding."In the email, Trump asked his supporters to take a poll, titled, "Official Trump Election Year Poll." They are taken through a number of questions, from "Do you think the FBI raiding Mar-a-Lago was unconstitutional?" to "Do you believe Joe Biden is fit to run this Country?" until they are eventually asked to donate $25 or more to Trump. Trump sent the email during the 1 p.m. hour Eastern Time as Hurricane Ian neared landfall. Money raised from the email will benefit Save America JFC, a federal joint fundraising committee composed of Save America and Make America Great Again PAC — two of Trump's post-presidential political action committees.Trump has openly flirted with running for president again in 2024, but he has not yet formally declared his candidacy.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nyt10 hr. 48 min. ago

Republicans use Biden gaffe about dead congresswoman to bash the aging president and his White House aides

Biden's gaffe about late Rep. Jackie Walorski and the White House's tortured attempt at damage control gave the GOP a chance to hit both today. US President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a celebration of the 1990 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 28, 2022 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Biden asked if late Rep. Jackie Walorski was in attendance during a Wednesday press conference. "Jackie, are you here?" Biden said, referring to an Indiana Republican you died in August. Republicans are demanding apologies, questioning Biden's awareness and dunking on White House aides. Republicans lit into President Joe Biden awkwardly talking about late Rep. Jackie Walorski as if she were still alive on Wednesday, going after the 79-year-old president and his press staff on social media for the rhetorical stumble. Biden, who keeps saying he plans to run again in 2024, and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who dug in on defending Biden's behavior by repeating like a mantra that Walorski was simply "top of mind," were taken to task about the bizarre episode by political opponents all around the country.  —Rep. David Schweikert (@RepDavid) September 28, 2022 "The White House Press Secretary completely failed to defend Biden's unacceptable comments about my late friend and colleague Jackie Walorski," Republican Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona fumed online, adding that Biden "should personally apologize to her family and loved ones immediately."GOP House hopeful Jennifer-Ruth Green, who is running to unseat incumbent Democratic Rep. Frank Mrvan in Indiana's 1st Congressional District, went the totally disappointed route. —Jennifer-Ruth Green (@JenRuthGreen) September 28, 2022 "I struggle with the lack of awareness here," Green wrote on Twitter about the odd back-and-forth regarding Walorski's posthumous treatment. Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas didn't bother wading into the he said-she said, training his sights directly on the administration in general. —Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) September 28, 2022 "To be fair, this is no less truthful than everything else from this White House," the likely 2024 presidential contender wrote on Twitter. The anticipated pile-on comes on the heels of GOP claims that Biden is "diminished" and unable to do the job of president, even as Biden's allies insist he is capable as ever. A recent poll conducted as part of Insider's "Red, White, and Gray" project — which explores the costs, benefits, and dangers of life in a democracy helmed by those of advanced age — showed that a majority of respondents consider Biden and presumptive 2024 Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, who is 76, to be too old to serve again.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nyt10 hr. 48 min. ago

Podcasters Are Buying Millions of Listeners, Raising Questions About Marketing Tactics

The podcast networks that are actively mining downloads in the mobile game space are doing so through an intermediary company called Jun Group. Podcasters are always hunting for new, flashy places to promote their shows, ranging from billboards to floats in parades to airplane banners. Some networks, though, have uncovered a less-glamorous, yet highly effective way to gain millions of bankable listeners: loading up mobile games with a particular kind of ad. Each time a player taps on one of these fleeting in-game ads—and wins some virtual loot for doing so—a podcast episode begins downloading on their device. The podcast company, in turn, can claim the gamer as a new listener to its program and add another coveted download to its overall tally. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] The practice allows networks to amass downloads quickly by tapping into a wellspring of hyperactive video-game users. But it also calls into question who a legitimate podcast listener is and what length of time should be required to count as a download. “Not all impressions are created equal,” said Larry Chiagouris, a marketing professor at Pace University. “I’m not saying [this tactic is] not ethical or illegal, but it raises issues. If someone is trying to play a game and that’s the purpose of this interaction, they may just be eager to play the game and are not that interested in the information being shared.” Read More: The Promise—And Possible Perils—of Editing What We Say Online Podcasts typically rely on downloads as the primary metric for ad sales. When an individual taps on an in-app play button on their mobile device, an entire episode begins downloading so they can listen to it even in the absence of a good internet connection—say, on an airplane or in the subway. An episode’s ads are inserted at that moment of download, meaning that even if a consumer only listens to 10 minutes of a 30-minute show, the mid-roll ad at the 15-minute mark is often ready to be heard—not to mention, counted by the sales team. To date, the podcast industry has said next to nothing about its embrace of this video-game strategy. In August, DeepSee, an ad fraud detection company, published a research paper revealing how the practice harnesses gamers’ attention. “No one really asked questions about this, or what the experience is like for users,” said Rocky Moss, DeepSee’s co-founder and chief executive officer. More from TIME [video id=wgQEJ6Fh autostart="viewable"] One game referenced in DeepSee’s paper is Subway Surfers, a popular mobile app from the Danish company Sybo, which has been downloaded some 3 billion times since its debut in 2012. Over a period of two weeks in August, Bloomberg found multiple publishers using the game to rack up podcast downloads, including the New York Post, independent podcaster Scott Savlov and IHeartMedia Inc. Representatives for the Post and IHeart declined to comment. Read More: The Best Podcasts of 2022 So Far Savlov says he spends “nominal” money on in-game ads and initially used them to drum up interest in his show when it first launched. These days, he says, he looks more to social platform algorithms to promote his celebrity interviews. “Don’t rely on [in-game ads] exclusively because at some point you’re going to want as much organic and authentic growth as you can get,” he said. The podcast networks that are actively mining downloads in the mobile game space are doing so through an intermediary company, called Jun Group, which was founded in 2005 and sold to Advantage Solutions Inc., a marketing and sales company, in 2018. Corey Weiner, CEO at Jun Group, said the company specializes in making consumers aware of products, websites and podcasts by placing its ads in over 1,000 mobile apps that collectively reach 100 million unique users. “There is a very big reason why all the largest brands in the world invest so much money in brand awareness, because without it you have no chance of breaking through the clutter,” he said. “Every publisher, every content creator, has invested in marketing to promote themselves since the dawn of time, and this is just another way of doing it.” He said the company hasn’t specifically tracked how long gamers will stay on a podcast after clicking on an ad. “I think that the standards bodies, the people who are involved in deciding what a play of a podcast is, could decide to raise the bar on what constitutes as a play of a podcast,” Weiner said. “Even if you raise the bar, [the ad] is still going to exceed the bar. So, in fact, I actually suggest let’s raise the bar because we can hop right over it.” According to someone who’s spoken with Jun Group, the price the company charges podcast networks for these ads can vary depending on whether they’re targeted to particular demographics or guaranteed to attract unique listeners. The starting rate for a 20-second ad is $27 per 1,000 website page views. To monetize such downloads, podcast networks can turn around and sell the resulting audience to brand advertisers, presumably at a nice markup over what they pay to Jun Group. Jun Group’s main podcast client is IHeart, the maker of shows from Will Ferrell, Charlamagne tha God and Shonda Rhimes. According to a person familiar with the effort, the radio company, which bills itself as the top podcast publisher globally, has shelled out more than $10 million and gained approximately 6 million unique listeners per month through these ads since 2018. The company primarily runs its in-game campaigns at the beginnings and ends of months. The impact can be seen on the publicly available charts produced by Chartable, a podcast marketing company owned by Spotify Technology SA. Read More: 9 Podcasts That Were Turned Into TV Shows During the last week of August, IHeart podcasts represented more than half of the top 10 trending shows—even though one of the listed podcasts hadn’t published new episodes in months and another hadn’t published any new programming in over a year. Several of the specific shows that Bloomberg encountered in Subway Surfers appeared lower in the charts, as well, including “Life in Spanglish,” “Run That Prank” and “All the Smoke.” (Disclosure: IHeart is a partner of Bloomberg Media, and DeepSee discovered promotions for one Bloomberg podcast running in Subway Surfers). IHeart also maintains the top position on Podtrac, a monthly podcast ranker that measures networks’ unique audience and downloads. For the month of August, it reached approximately 35.5 million unique listeners, 11 million above its closest competitor, Amazon.com Inc.’s Wondery. The company first arrived at the top of that list in August 2020, with 24.6 million unique listeners compared with National Public Radio’s 24 million. The incentives to invest in marketing channels like Jun Group’s are clear. The audio industry has been marked by a frenzy of investments. To make back the money as fast as possible, companies will be relying, in part, on growing the reach of their podcasts in order to bring in more advertising revenue. The industry is expected to surpass $4 billion in revenue in 2024, up from around $700 million in 2019......»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 27th, 2022

Liz Cheney Says Will Campaign For Democrats, Leave Republican Party If Trump Is 2024 Nominee

Liz Cheney Says Will Campaign For Democrats, Leave Republican Party If Trump Is 2024 Nominee Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said on Saturday that she will not remain a Republican if former President Donald Trump is the GOP presidential nominee in the 2024 elections, and that she would also be willing to campaign for Democrats to stop GOP nominee Kari Lake from being elected in the Arizona gubernatorial race. Cheney, who has been called a “Republican in name only” by others in her party and lost the Republican primary to Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman in August, made the comments at The Texas Tribune festival in Austin. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure Kari Lake is not elected,” Cheney said. Former television anchor Lake, who is endorsed by Trump, won the Republican nomination in the Arizona primary election in August. Lake has been vocal in contending fraud in the 2020 election and has pledged to improve election security if she wins the gubernatorial race. When asked by Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith whether doing everything she can to ensure Lake is not elected included campaigning for Democrats, Cheney simply stated: “Yes.” Cheney, who has become one of the most vocal voices in the Republican Party against former President Donald Trump, later added that she would not remain a Republican if he were to gain the party’s nomination in 2024. “I’m going to make sure Donald Trump, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he is not the nominee. And if he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican,” Cheney said. Cheney also mentioned Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has said he will campaign for Lake. “He’s demonstrated that he’s somebody who has not bought into the toxin of Donald Trump—but he campaigned recently for Kari Lake, who’s an election denier, who is dangerous,” Cheney said. ... Cheney announced in August that she’s considering running for president in 2024 but has not yet made a decision on the potential run. “That’s a decision that I’m going to make in the coming months,” she said on Aug. 17 in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, despite having just lost in the Republican primary for the seat she now holds. Cheney was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump. She is also one of two Republican members sitting on the Democrat-led House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol. ... Read more here... Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 21:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 27th, 2022

Pennsylvania Democrat says having all-octogenarian House leadership has put him at ease about the president running in 2024: "To me, Joe Biden is young"

Rep. Brendan Boyle said he's good with an aging Joe Biden running again in 2024 because he sees octogenarian House leaders doing the work regularly. US President Joe Biden takes a selfie with supporters after speaking at a Democratic National Committee event at the headquarters of the National Education Association on September 23, 2022 in Washington, DC.Samuel Corum/Getty Images Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle said he's fine with having an 80-plus year old Biden running in 2024. "I serve in Congress. To me, Joe Biden is young," Boyle said, referring to aging House leaders. House Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Jim Clyburn are all in their early 80s. Rep. Brendan Boyle said watching the House Democratic leadership's reigning octogenarians work the levers of power in Washington is proof enough for him that President Joe Biden is fit to run for reelection in 2024. "I serve in Congress. To me, Joe Biden is young," the 45-year-old Pennsylvania Democrat told CNN, gesturing towards the House chamber run by 82-year-old Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 83-year-old House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and 82-year-old Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. Boyle added that he puts no stock in attacks against Biden's cognitive or physical health because he believes "the age thing is a convenient place to go" for critics who'd rather see Biden, who's 79, fade away for other reasons. The vote of confidence clashes with responses gathered in a recent poll conducted as part of Insider's "Red, White, and Gray" project, which explores the costs, benefits, and dangers of life in a democracy helmed by those of advanced age. A majority of respondents said they considered Biden and presumptive 2024 Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, who is 76, to be too old to serve again.  Biden, who has already spent more than half of his life in public office, has repeatedly said that he'll run again. That sounds good to Boyle, who told CNN that having an 80-plus year old Biden at the top of the next presidential ticket would be something special. "It will be unique to have someone that age running for president," Boyle said. Boyle's enthusiastic endorsement isn't totally surprising, given that Biden stumped alongside him just days before the 2020 election.—US Rep Brendan Boyle (@RepBrendanBoyle) November 1, 2020 Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 26th, 2022

Donald Trump privately slammed Ron DeSantis, calling him "fat," "phony," and "whiny": book

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote that Trump also poked fun at former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's "weight problem." Then-President Donald Trump campaigning with Ron DeSantis at a rally in Pensacola, Florida, on November 3, 2018.AP Photo/Butch Dill, FileTrump slammed DeSantis in private, wrote New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman in her new book.Citing sources, Haberman wrote that Trump had called DeSantis "fat" and "whiny."He also said Chris Christie, another rival, had a "weight problem," per Haberman's book.Former President Donald Trump has been making rude comments in private about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, according to a new book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.In an excerpt from "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America," published by The Atlantic on Sunday, Haberman detailed a meeting she had in the summer with Trump at the latter's golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.During the meeting, she spoke with Trump about Christie, one of his 2016 election rivals."I was compared to him? Why? I didn't know I had that big of a weight problem," Trump told Haberman, per her account. He also called Christie an "opportunist."Haberman also wrote that she had heard of Trump using similar terms to describe DeSantis. She also recalled learning from sources that Trump had called DeSantis "fat," "phony," and "whiny" while also taking credit for the latter clinching the governor's seat in 2018.Per the excerpt, Trump told Haberman that the question he most often received was whether he would be running for president again."The answer is, yeah, I think so. Because here's the way I look at it. I have so many rich friends and nobody knows who they are," Haberman wrote of Trump's response.She added: "Reflecting on the meaning of having been president of the United States, his first impulse was not to mention public service, or what he felt he'd accomplished, only that it appeared to be a vehicle for fame, and that many experiences were only worth having if someone else envied them."Representatives for DeSantis and Christie and an aide at Trump's post-presidential press office did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.DeSantis and Trump have been posited as leading contenders for the 2024 Republican presidential ticket, though neither has made a formal declaration about running in the next election.In July, a DeSantis representative told Insider that DeSantis remains "focused on Florida and running for reelection as governor this year." However, the governor has been boosting his political profile — launching a fundraising blitz that included selling a gold "Florida First Fighter" card that appeared to resemble the Trump Card. DeSantis also has high-profile supporters, such as podcast host Joe Rogan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and billionaire and Trump megadonor Peter Thiel.Trump has reacted harshly to the idea that DeSantis might be a potential competitor for the 2024 GOP ticket. In July, the former president slammed "Fox & Friends" for reporting on polls that showed DeSantis taking the lead over him, accusing the show's hosts of having "gone to the dark side." Earlier this month, Trump took a swipe at DeSantis, sharing an Insider story about his polling lead over DeSantis via his Save America political action committee.Rolling Stone also recently reported that Trump was irritated that DeSantis was stealing his limelight with a political stunt that involved two planeloads of migrants being flown to Martha's Vineyard, a Democratic enclave.Meanwhile, Trump also fat-shamed Christie on Truth Social after Christie gave an unflattering interview to ABC News' "This Week" about the Mar-a-Lago raid.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 26th, 2022

Ron DeSantis thinks Chris Christie "missed his moment" by skipping a 2012 presidential bid, report says

After mulling over a 2012 presidential bid, Christie eventually declined to challenge then-President Obama and instead opted to run for reelection. Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File DeSantis thinks Chris Christie "missed his moment" in running for the White House in 2016, per WaPo. Christie passed on a 2012 campaign and opted to run in 2016, where he faced Donald Trump. DeSantis is up for reelection in November and could potentially launch a 2024 campaign of his own. In 2009, Chris Christie leaped to the top of the national political conversation, having won the New Jersey gubernatorial election as a Republican only a year after then-President Barack Obama won the solidly-blue state in a landslide.Christie, a hard-charging former federal prosecutor with a blunt demeanor, quickly became a leading pick among Republican voters to potentially take on Obama in the 2012 presidential election. But after mulling over a presidential run that year, Christie eventually declined to challenge Obama and instead opted to run for reelection in 2013.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is up for reelection in November and could potentially launch a 2024 presidential bid of his own, has thought about Christie's decision to forgo a 2012 campaign and instead run in 2016, according to The Washington Post.DeSantis, who could find himself in a race with both Trump and Christie in 2024, feels that the New Jersey governor "missed his moment" by choosing to run in 2016 instead of 2012, according to the report.By the time Christie entered the 2016 contest, Donald Trump had just announced his White House campaign and was quickly becoming a phenomenon within the party, which would lead to him winning the GOP nomination and the general election. And Christie's aura had also dimmed.The New Jersey governor was bruised after a high-profile scandal — dubbed "Bridgegate" — in which several of his political appointees colluded to create backups at the heavily-trafficked George Washington Bridge as political retribution against a local official. There is no indication that DeSantis, who critics note has some political baggage of his own, would defer on a 2024 White House bid should Trump decide to launch a campaign.Per the report, Dan Eberhart, a donor to DeSantis, said that several advisors informed him of the governor's thinking.Eberhart told The Post that many individuals in DeSantis' political orbit want him to run for president in 2024.Earlier this year, The Washington Post reported that Casey DeSantis, the governor's wife, wanted him to launch a 2024 White House bid, citing three individuals with knowledge of related conversations.A recently-released USA Today/Suffolk University poll showed DeSantis ahead of Trump 48%-40% among Florida Republicans in a potential primary matchup.But Trump remains — at the moment — far ahead of any of his potential rivals in virtually every major national poll surveying GOP voters.In a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted in mid-September, 52% of respondents said they would back Trump in a 2024 GOP presidential primary, compared to DeSantis with 19% support. Christie was backed by 1% of the respondents.Insider reached out to the DeSantis campaign for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 25th, 2022