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The Wall Street Journal: Ericsson vows ‘zealous’ defense against U.S. suits by terror victims over alleged bribes paid to al Qaeda, ISIS

Swedish telecom company faces claims from more than 500 U.S. service members and civilians who were victims of terrorist attacks and hostage takings from 2005 to 2021, along with the families of those killed in attacks......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchAug 5th, 2022

Here are all the famous people Jeffrey Epstein was connected to

Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's ex-girlfriend and madam, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday for sex-trafficking girls for the late disgraced financier. American financier Jeffrey Epstein (L) and then-real-estate developer Donald Trump (R) pose together at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 1997.Davidoff Studios/Getty Images Jeffrey Epstein was known for jet-setting with the likes of Bill Gates, President Bill Clinton, and Prince Andrew. Wall Street billionaire Leon Black paid Epstein at least $50 million in consulting and other fees, The New York Times reported. Epstein was found dead of an apparent suicide in a Manhattan jail on August 10, 2020, as he awaited trial on charges of sex trafficking minors. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Former L Brands CEO Les Wexner may have been Jeffrey Epstein's only confirmed client, but he was far from the only billionaire paying the convicted sex offender.Epstein, who pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution in Florida in 2007, ran a years-long "trafficking pyramid scheme" from the US Virgin Islands, prosecutors alleged in a lawsuit against the former wealth manager's estate in January 2020.Meanwhile, the convicted sex offender maintained a vast social and professional network both on and off the Islands, which even included the wife of the US Virgin Islands' former governor. In October 2020, Wall Street billionaire Leon Black acknowledged to The New York Times through a spokesperson that he hired Epstein as an advisor and paid Epstein at least $50 million in consulting and other fees between 2012 and 2017.Epstein, a former hedge-fund manager, kept his client list under wraps, but he often bragged of his elite social circle that included presidents and Hollywood stars."I invest in people — be it politics or science," Epstein was known to say, according to New York Magazine. "It's what I do."Epstein, 66, died by apparent suicide in a Manhattan jail on August 10, 2020, as he awaited trial on charges of sex trafficking of minors. He had been in police custody since his arrest on July 6, shortly after exiting his private jet in New Jersey's Teterboro Airport. He pleaded not guilty on July 8 and was being held without bail in New York City, where he was already on suicide watch after an earlier reported suicide attempt that had led to his hospitalization, at the time of his death. Here's what we know about the famous people who crossed paths with Epstein.Socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's ex-girlfriend and madam, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sex-trafficking young girls for Epstein.Epstein with Maxwell.Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty ImagesMaxwell is a British socialite and the daughter of media tycoon Robert Maxwell.She started dating Epstein shortly after moving to New York in 1991, Business Insider previously reported. After they broke up, court documents allege that Maxwell started recruiting underage girls for him to have sex with.The FBI began investigating Maxwell's relationship with Epstein in 2019 as the British heiress hit out with armed guards in the United States or the United Kingdom.Maxwell was ultimately found in New Hampshire, where she was arrested on charges of sex trafficking and perjury in New Hampshire on July 2, 2020.A federal jury in December 2021 convicted the former socialite of five sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors alleged Maxwell worked with Epstein to "recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse" children. In June 2022, a federal judge sentenced Maxwell to 20 years in prison for trafficking girls to have sex with Epstein and sexually abusing them herself. She was also fined $750,000, the judge said, and will have to remain on probation for five years following her time in prison.  Outgoing L Brands CEO Les Wexner is Epstein's only confirmed client.AP Photo/Matt SullivanEpstein became a trusted confidant of Wexner's while Epstein managed the CEO's fortune, according to Vanity Fair. Wexner has a net worth of $7.15 billion, Bloomberg reported. The magazine reported that Wexner allowed Epstein to take an active role in L Brands, which owns Bath & Body Works, Express, and Victoria's Secret.In 1989, Wexner used a trust to buy an Upper East Side townhouse that is believed to be the largest private residence in Manhattan for $13.2 million, Vanity Fair reported. Epstein moved in after Wexner and his wife, Abigail Koppel, moved to Ohio in 1996. Wexner's trust transferred ownership of the house to Epstein in 2011 for $0, Bloomberg reported.Wexner later fired Epstein as his money manager. "Mr. Wexner severed ties with Mr. Epstein more than a decade ago," an L Brands spokesperson told Forbes in July 2019.In February, L Brands announced that Wexner would step down after nearly six decades as the company's CEO. L Brands also announced that it would sell the majority stake in Victoria's Secret to private equity firm Sycamore Partners and spin-off Bath & Body Works into a separate company. The company has been marred in controversy following reports of the mistreatment of models and plummeting sales.More information about Wexner's relationship with Epstein may soon be revealed after US District Judge Loretta Preska ordered that Wexner's correspondence with Epstein's former lawyer Alan Dershowitz be unsealed as a part of Dershowitz and Giuffre's defamation suits against each other, Business Insider reported on August 11.Former President Donald Trump once considered Epstein a friend.From left, Donald Trump and his girlfriend (and future wife), former model Melania Knauss, financier (and future convicted sex offender) Jeffrey Epstein, and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pose together at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000.Davidoff Studios/Getty ImagesThe future president claimed in 2002 that he had a long friendship with Epstein. "I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy," Trump said, according to New York Magazine. "He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life."According to Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, Trump now believes the crimes Epstein was charged with are "completely unconscionable and obviously criminal." She also labeled them "disgusting," according to a July report from the Associated Press."The president told me this morning he hasn't talked to Epstein, he doesn't think he's talked to him or seen him in 10 or 15 years," Conway added.Prince Andrew and Epstein were close friends, the Guardian reported in 2015.WPA Pool / Getty ImagesMaxwell introduced Epstein and the Duke of York in the 1990s, the Guardian reported, and the two became close friends.The Duke is the son of the UK's Queen Elizabeth. He has also been criticized for frequently taking flights on the taxpayer's dime while serving as the country's special representative for international trade. This earned him the nickname "Airmiles Andy," according to the Washington Post.Court documents reviewed by the Guardian allege that Epstein instructed Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a 15-year-old employee at Trump's Mar-a-Largo resort, to have sex with Prince Andrew on three separate occasions. Buckingham Palace said in 2015 that the allegations against Prince Andrew were "false and without any foundation," according to the Guardian.According to a July 22 article from NY Magazine's Intelligencer, a number of royals and royal connections were among Epstein's contacts. That includes Prince Andrew's then-wife, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York; and Charles Althorp, Princess Diana's brother. According to Intelligencer, all three were named in Epstein's black book; Ferguson and Prince Andrew were also named in his private jet log.In a interview with the BBC in November, Prince Andrew said his relationship with Epstein brought him "opportunities," and that his slowness in ditching Epstein as a friend was because of his tendency to be "too honorable." The interview was widely criticized over Prince Andrew's lack of sympathy with Epstein's victims and his defense of his friendship with the convicted sex offender, Business Insider reported.Prince Andrew resigned from public royal duties in November, Business Insider reported.Former President Bill Clinton traveled with Epstein in 2002 and 2003, a Clinton representative confirmed.Andrew Chin/Getty Images, Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis via Getty ImagesA statement released in July 2019 by Clinton spokesperson Angel Ureña said the former president traveled to Europe, Asia, and twice to Africa on Epstein's private jet. Clinton's staff and Secret Service agents also went on these trips, which were to further the work of the Clinton Foundation, according to the statement.Court documents unsealed on July 31 show Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre testified that Clinton also visited Epstein's island — something the former president has denied.Last year, Clinton told New York Magazine through a spokesperson that Epstein was "both a highly successful financier and a committed philanthropist with a keen sense of global markets and an in-depth knowledge of twenty-first-century science."Ureña also said that Clinton and Epstein hadn't spoken in "well over a decade" and that Clinton "knows nothing about the terrible crimes" Epstein was charged with.Actor Kevin Spacey and comedian Chris Tucker also took trips with Epstein.Kevin Spacey attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards ProductionsEpstein, Clinton, Spacey, and Tucker spent a week in 2002 touring AIDS project sites in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, and Mozambique for the Clinton Foundation, according to a New York Magazine report.Spacey was also charged with sexual assault, but in December, The New York Times reported that the case had been dropped by the plaintiff's estate. The plaintiff, a 62-year-old massage therapist, had died in September.Former Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta worked with Epstein's legal team to arrange a plea deal after Epstein was charged with solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution in Florida in 2007.Alexander Acosta.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesAn investigation by the Miami Herald revealed that Acosta, then a US attorney, had enough evidence against Epstein to request a life sentence. Instead, he reportedly met with one of Epstein's lawyers, who happened to be a former colleague of Acosta's.In the resulting plea deal, Epstein served 13 months in a private wing of a county prison, which he was allowed to leave six days a week to work in his office.Business Insider previously reported that Acosta said he was "pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence," on Twitter.—Secretary Acosta (@SecretaryAcosta) July 9, 2019Acosta resigned on July 12, 2019.Film publicist Peggy Siegal planned a star-studded dinner party for Epstein and Prince Andrew at Epstein's New York mansion in 2010.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP ImagesSiegal, known for hosting events to promote films including "The Big Short," "Argo," and "The Revenant" to Oscar voters, invited Epstein to screenings after he was released from prison in 2010, according to The New York Times."I was a kind of plugged-in girl around town who knew a lot of people," Siegal told The New York Times. "And I think that's what he wanted from me, a kind of social goings-on about New York."Siegal also planned a dinner party for Epstein and Prince Andrew at his Upper East Side home. The event was attended by Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, and Chelsea Handler. "The invitation was positioned as, 'Do you want to have dinner with Prince Andrew?'" Siegal said. Many of the guests didn't know who the host was or about his criminal history, The New York Times reported.A spokesperson for Siegal told Business Insider that Siegal's relationship with Epstein was social, not professional. Siegal told The New York Times that she ended her relationship with Epstein at the height of the #MeToo era in 2017.Netflix, FX and Annapurna Pictures severed their ties with Siegal in July 2019 after her connection to Epstein became public, Variety reported.Epstein also told the Times that he spoke often with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.Saudi Arabia Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the G20 opening ceremony at the Hangzhou International Expo Center on September 4, 2016 in Hangzhou, China. World leaders are gathering for the 11th G20 Summit from September 4-5.Nicolas Asfouri - Pool/Getty ImagesEpstein said that MBS had visited Epstein's Manhattan mansion many times and had a framed photo of the crown prince hanging on the wall, according to New York Times reporter James B. Stewart.Representatives of MBS did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.According to the New York Times, Epstein claimed to have advised Tesla CEO Elon Musk.Tesla CEO Elon Musk was photographed at a 2014 Oscars after-party next to Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of being Epstein's madam in media reports and legal documents.Kevin Mazur/VF14/Contributor/Getty ImagesIn an interview published in the New York Times on August 12, Epstein claimed that Elon Musk had sought him out to help manage the trouble he had gotten into with the SEC a year earlier, in August 2018.Epstein told reporter James B. Stewart that he had promised to keep his work for Tesla private because of his prior conviction. Epstein also warned that both Musk and Tesla would deny their connection to Epstein if it ever became public, the Times reported. In a statement to Business Insider, a spokesperson for Musk denied Epstein's claims of having served as an adviser to the CEO.Musk and Maxwell were photographed at an Oscars after-party hosted by former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014, in West Hollywood. The same Musk spokesperson told Business Insider that "Ghislaine simply inserted herself behind him in a photo he was posing for without his knowledge."Musk has confirmed crossing paths with Epstein at least once, Business Insider reported. Musk, Epstein, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg were all guests at a dinner hosted by LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman sometime after he was released from jail in 2008.MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito quietly worked with Epstein to secure anonymous donations, Vanity Fair reported.Phillip Faraone/Getty ImagesIto worked with other directors and staff at the MIT Media Lab to quietly receive large anonymous donations from Epstein after he was convicted of soliciting underage girls for prostitution, a New Yorker exposé published on September 6 reports. The article contains emails sent between Ito and Epstein.The emails show Epstein also worked as an in-between for other wealthy donors, including Bill Gates and Leon Black, and that Epstein had a role in determining what his donations would be used for at MIT, contradicting previous statements from Ito and the university.Ito resigned from his posts at MIT, The New York Times Company, and the MacArthur Foundation on September 7, Business Insider reported.Epstein worked as a go-between for the MIT Media Lab and Bill Gates to arrange donations, Vanity Fair reported.Bill Gates speaks ahead of former U.S. President Barack Obama at the Gates Foundation Inaugural Goalkeepers event on September 20, 2017 in New York City.Yana Paskova/Getty ImagesEmails obtained and published by The New Yorker show former MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito wrote that Gates was "directed by" Epstein to donate $2 million to the research lab in October 2014.Gates also met with Epstein at least once in New York in 2013, and flew on one of his private planes to Palm Beach, Business Insider previously reported. "Bill attended a meeting in New York with others focused on philanthropy. While Epstein was present, he never provided services of any type to Bill," a Gates spokesperson told Business Insider.A spokesperson for Gates told Business Insider that "Epstein was introduced to Bill Gates as someone who was interested in helping grow philanthropy. Although Epstein pursued Bill Gates aggressively, any account of a business partnership or personal relationship between the two is simply not true. And any claim that Epstein directed any programmatic or personal grantmaking for Bill Gates is completely false."A New York Times investigation published in October found that Gates met with Epstein multiple times after Epstein's conviction in 2011, including at least three meetings at Epstein's Manhattan townhouse. Following the publication of that story, a spokesperson for Gates said Gates regretted the association, but Gates himself hadn't publicly addressed it until November, Business Insider's Aaron Holmes reported.Gates said at The New York Times' Dealbook Conference in November that he believed "billions of dollars" would come from his meetings with Jeffrey Epstein. "I made a mistake in judgment in thinking those discussions would go to global health," Gates said. "That money never appeared.""I gave him the benefit of my association," Gates said.Reid Hoffman defended Ito after news of Epstein's connections to the MIT Media Lab broke.REUTERS/Brian SnyderA "few years ago," Epstein attended a dinner Hoffman hosted to honor an MIT neuroscientist, Vanity Fair reported in July. Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk were also in attendance. Both denied having had ongoing relationships with Epstein to Vanity Fair through spokespeople.Hoffman also implicated himself in the cover up of Epstein's donations to the MIT Media Lab. As pressure mounted on Media Lab director Joi Ito to resign, Hoffman defended Ito to author and fellow MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award jury member Anand Giridharadas in a private email, Giridharadas tweeted in September. "Hoffman basically hid behind bureaucracy and the old 'ongoing investigation' excuse," Giridharadas said in the now-unavailable tweet. "He said it would be complicated to release the correspondence publicly because other names might get dragged in. Someone should tell him about redaction."According to Giridharadas, Hoffman wrote in a second email that Giridharadas was making the situation "all about you" by threatening to resign. In the end, Giridharadas resigned from the Disobedience Award jury.Hoffman not only sits on the Disobedience Award's jury, but funds it personally, according to the Media Lab's website. In 2017, MIT awarded Epstein and other donors "orbs" to thank them for their support, according to The Boston Globe. The orb looks similar to the trophy given to winners of the Disobedience Award.A lawsuit has also shined light on Epstein's connection to former U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. John P. de Jongh while he was in office.U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. John P. de Jongh participates in a meeting dealing with healthcare at the Southern Governors' Association convention in Little Rock, Ark., Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014.AP Photo/Danny JohnstonGov. John P. de Jongh's wife Cecile de Jongh served on the board of Epstein's Financial Trust Co. for most of her husband's time in office, Business Insider's Becky Peterson and John Cook reported. Cecile de Jongh held the titles of secretary and vice president in her decade-long tenure with the company, even staying on board after Epstein was first charged with sexual assault in 2007.Prosecutors in the US Virgin Islands alleged that Epstein was trafficking women and children through the US territory during that same time, as stated in a January lawsuit. The lawsuit describes one 15-year-old victim who was "forced into sexual acts with Epstein and others and then attempted to escape by swimming off the Little St. James island."In a statement, a lawyer representing Epstein's estate told Business Insider that some of the allegations in the lawsuit were inaccurate — particularly allegations that the estate to this day engages in "a course of conduct aimed at concealing the criminal activities of the Epstein Enterprise.""The Estate is being administered in accordance with the laws of the US Virgin Islands and under the supervision of the Superior Court of the US Virgin Islands," the statement said.Barclays CEO Jes Staley is under investigation by British authorities because of his friendship with Epstein.Jes Staley, CEO Barclays, arrives at Downing Street for a meeting in London on January 11, 2018. Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May mets with business leaders from the financial services sector at Downing Street. / AFP PHOTO / Tolga Akmen (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty ImagesStaley had a "professional relationship" with Epstein that dated back to "early in his career," Barclays said in a statement. "In the summer of 2019, in light of the renewed media interest in the relationship, Mr. Staley volunteered and gave to certain executives, and the Chairman, an explanation of his relationship with Mr. Epstein," Barclays stated. "Mr. Staley also confirmed to the Board that he has had no contact whatsoever with Mr. Epstein at any time since taking up his role as Barclays Group CEO in December 2015."The relationship is the subject of an investigation by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority, according to the bank.Apollo Global Management CEO Leon Black hired Epstein as an advisor.Leon Black.LUCY NICHOLSON/ReutersIn August 2019, Black said that he had only consulted Epstein on financial matters "from time to time" and that his relationship with the convicted sex offender was "limited," Business Insider previously reported.However, Black had engaged Epstein as an advisor and paid him at least $50 million, The New York Times reported on October 12. Two of the Times' sources said the total may actually be closer to $75 million.The two financiers also regularly dined together at Epstein's New York mansion, per the Times report.A spokesperson for Black confirmed that between 2012 and 2017, Black had received "personal trusts and estates planning advice as well as family office philanthropy and investment services from several financial and legal advisors" including Epstein. A spokesperson for Black also told the Times that the relationship ended after a "fee dispute" in 2018.Black "continues to be appalled by the conduct that led to the criminal charges" against Epstein, the spokesperson said, adding that Black "deeply regrets having any involvement" with Epstein.   If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit their website to receive confidential support.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 28th, 2022

The Tucker Carlson origin story

Tucker Carlson's journey from prep school provocateur to Fox News flamethrower, according to his friends and former classmates. Tucker Carlson during a CNN National Town Meeting on coverage of the White House sex scandal, on January 28, 1998.Richard Ellis/Getty Images Tucker Carlson is remembered as a provocateur and gleeful contrarian by those who knew him in his early days. His bohemian artist mother abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will. At a Rhode Island prep school and at Trinity College, classmates remember him as a skilled debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audiences. On Oct. 29, 1984, New York police killed an elderly Black woman named Eleanor Bumpurs in her own home. Bumpers, who lived in a public housing complex in the Bronx, had fallen four months behind on her rent. When officials from the city housing authority tried to evict her, she refused, and they called the police. Five officers responded by storming into her apartment. Bumpurs, who had a history of mental illness, grabbed a butcher knife as two officers pushed her against a wall with their plastic shields and a metal pole. A third officer fired two shots from his 12-gauge shotgun, striking Bumpurs in her hand and chest.Eleanor Bumpurs' death dominated the city's news for two months and led the NYPD to revise its guidelines for responding to emotionally disturbed individuals.At St. George's prep school, some 175 miles away in Rhode Island, the incident deeply haunted Richard Wayner. He was one of the school's few Black students and had grown up in a residential tower not far from where Bumpurs had lived. He earned straight As and was so admired that in 1984 his peers elected him senior prefect, the prep equivalent of student body president, making him the first Black class leader in the school's 125-year history. Harvard soon beckoned.Wayner was frustrated with how the St. George's community seemed to ignore the conversations about racial justice that were happening outside the cloistered confines of Aquidneck Island. It bothered Wayne that almost no one at St. George's seemed to know anything about Bumpurs' killing. "You had your crew, you put your head down, and you tried to get through three or four years of prep school with your psyche intact," Wayner said of those days.As senior prefect, one of the duties was to deliver an address each week at the mandatory Sunday chapel service. One Sunday, perched from the chapel podium, Wayner described the shooting as a sea of white faces stared back at him. He concluded with the words: "Does anyone think that woman deserved to die?"Near the front of the chapel, a single hand went up for a few brief seconds. It was Tucker Carlson.Eleanor Bumpurs was shot and killed by the New York Police Department on October 29, 1984APThen a sophomore, Tucker had a reputation as a gleeful contrarian – an indefatigable debater and verbal jouster who, according to some, could also be a bit of a jerk. "Tucker was just sort of fearless," said Ian Toll, a St. George's alumnus who would go on to be a military historian. "Whether it was a legitimate shooting may have been a point of debate but the fact was that Tucker was an underclassmen and the culture was to defer to the seniors." Wayner himself never saw Tucker's hand go up, and the two kept in touch over the years. (Note on style: Tucker Carlson and the members of his family are referred to here by their first names to avoid confusion.)  Four decades later, glimmers of that prep school provocateur appear on Tucker's Prime Time show on Fox, which garners an average of between 3 to 4 million viewers a night. His furrowed visage and spoiling-for-a-fight demeanor are all too familiar to those who have known him for decades. In the words of Roger Stone, a Republican political operative, frequent guest, and longtime friend of Tucker's: "Tucker Carlson is the single most influential conservative journalist in America… It is his courage and his willingness to talk about issues that no one else is willing to cover that has led to this development."Tucker's name has even been floated as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024. "I mean, I guess if, like, I was the last person on earth, I could do it. But, I mean, it seems pretty unlikely that I would be that guy." he said on the "Ruthless" podcast in June, dismissing this possibility.Tucker's four decades in Washington, and his transition from conservative magazine writer to right-wing television pundit, have been well documented. But less well known are his early years and how they shaped him: his bohemian artist mother, who abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will; the Rhode Island prep school where he met his future spouse; and his formation into a contrarian debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audience with his attention-getting tactics.Tucker declined to participate in an interview with Insider, saying in a statement. "Your level of interest in the boring details of my life is creepy as hell, and also pathetic," he wrote. "You owe it to yourself and the country to do something useful with your talents. Please reassess."California roots Tucker Carlson's West Coast roots burrow as deep as a giant redwood. He was born in San Francisco in May 1969 as the excesses of the Sixties peaked and the conservative backlash to the counterculture and the Civil Rights movement started to take shape. Tucker's mother, Lisa McNear Lombardi, born in San Francisco in 1945, came from one of the state's storied frontier families. Lisa's mother, Mary Nickel James, was a cattle baron heiress. Her great-great-grandfather had owned 3 million acres of ranchland, making him among the largest landowners west of the Mississippi. Her father Oliver Lombardi was an insurance broker and descendant of Italian-speaking Swiss immigrants. Lisa enrolled at UC Berkeley, where she majored in architecture. She met Richard Carlson, a San Francisco TV journalist from a considerably less prosperous background, while still in college. Lisa and Richard eloped in Reno, Nevada in 1967. The couple didn't notify Lisa's mother, who was traveling in Europe with her new husband at the time. "Family members have been unable to locate them to reveal the nuptials," a gossip item published in the San Francisco Examiner dished.Tucker arrived two years later. A second son, Buckley, was born two years after that. As Richard's career began to flourish, the family moved first to Los Angeles and then, in 1975, to La Jolla, a moneyed, beach-front enclave about 12 miles north of San Diego. When Lisa and Richard divorced a year later, in 1976, Richard got full custody of their sons, then 6 and 4. According to three of Tucker's childhood classmates, Lisa disappeared from her sons' lives. They don't recall Tucker talking about her, or seeing her at school events. Marc Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate who went on to be executive producer of the Tony Kornheiser Show, says the two didn't talk much about Tucker's relationship with his mother and he got the impression that Tucker and Richard were exceptionally close. When Sterne's own parents split up that year, he said Tucker was supportive and understanding. Lisa spent the next two decades as an artist – moving first to Los Angeles, where she befriended the painter David Hockney, and later split her time between France and South Carolina with her husband, British painter Michael Vaughan. In 1979, Richard Carlson married Patricia Swanson, heiress to the Swanson frozen foods empire that perfected the frozen Salisbury steak for hassle-free dinners. She soon legally adopted Tucker and Buckley.  When Lisa died in 2011, her estate was initially divided equally between Tucker, his brother Buckley, and Vaughan. But in 2013, Vaughan's daughter from another marriage found a one-page handwritten document in Lisa's art studio in France that left her assets to her surviving husband with an addendum that stated, "I leave my sons Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson and Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson one dollar each." A protracted battle over Lombardi's estate involving Vaughan and the Carlson brothers wound up in probate court. The Carlsons asserted the will was forged but a forensic witness determined that Lisa had written the note. The case eventually went to the California Appellate Court, which allowed the Carlson brothers to keep their shares in 2019."Lisa was basically sort of a hippie and a free spirit," said one attorney who  represented the Vaughan family and recalled having conversations about the case. "She was very liberal and she did not agree with Tucker's politics. But she stuck the will in the book, everyone forgot about it, and then she passed away."In a 2017 interview with The New Yorker, Tucker described the dissolution of his family as a "totally bizarre situation — which I never talk about, because it was actually not really part of my life at all." Several pieces of art produced by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderLisa When Lisa left her husband and two young sons, she was escaping suburban family life in favor of the more bohemian existence as an artist. One of Tucker and Buckley's former teachers said their mother's absence "left some sour grapes." "I felt they sided with the father," Rusty Rushton, a former St. George's English teacher said. After the divorce, Lisa returned to Los Angeles and tried to break into the city's thriving contemporary art scene. She befriended Mo McDermott, an LA-based British sculptor, model, and longtime assistant to David Hockney, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. A few years before he met Lisa, the scene was captured in Jack Hazan's 1974 groundbreaking documentary "A Bigger Splash," which followed Hockney and his coterie of gay male friends idly lounging around the pool in his Hollywood Hills home."When love goes wrong, there's more than two people who suffer," said McDermott, playing a slightly exaggerated version of himself, in a voiceover in the documentary.Lisa and McDermott became a couple and Lisa won admission into Hockney's entourage. Hockney lived a far more reclusive lifestyle than his pop art compatriot Andy Warhol but some four dozen or so artists, photographers, and writers regularly passed through his properties."She was more like a hippie, arty kind of person. I couldn't ever imagine her being a mother," said Joan Quinn, the then-West Coast editor of Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine, who knew Lisa during those years and still owns several of her works. "She was very nervous all the time… She was ill-content."The pair were often seen at Hockney's Hollywood Hills home and at Friday night gallery openings on La Cienega Boulevard. They collaborated on playful, large-scale wood sculptures of animals, vegetables, and trees. A handful of their pieces could be seen around Hockney's hillside ranch."Hockney had me over to meet them. He wanted a gallery to handle their work," said Molly Barnes, who owns a gallery in West Hollywood and gave the pair shows in 1983 and 1984. "They were brilliant and David loved Mo. He thought they were the best artists around.""She was quiet and intellectual and somewhat withdrawn," Barnes said. "She had come from a lot of money and that reflected on her personality. She wasn't a snob in any way but she had the manners of a private school girl and someone who was fighting the establishment."A sculpture by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderNone of them recall Lisa discussing her two sons. McDermott died in 1988. After his death, Hockney discovered that McDermott had been stealing drawings from him and selling them. Hockney said the betrayal helped bring on a heart attack. "I believe I had a broken heart," Hockney told The Guardian in 1995. (Hockney did not answer multiple inquiries about Lisa or McDermott.)In 1987, Lisa met Vaughan, one of Hockney's peers in the British art scene known as the "Bradford Mafia." They married in February 1989 and for years afterward they lived in homes in the Pyrenees of southwest France and South Carolina's Sea Islands.Lisa continued to make art, primarily oversized, wooden sculptures of everyday household items like peeled lemons and dice, but she exhibited her work infrequently. She died of cancer in 2011, at which point Carlson was a decade into his media career and a regular contributor on Fox News. Richard In contrast to Lisa's privileged upbringing, Richard's childhood was full of loss. Richard's mother was a 15-year-old high school girl who had starved herself during her pregnancy, and he was born with a condition called rickets. Six weeks later, his mother left him at an orphanage in Boston called The Home for Little Wanderers. Richard's father, who was 18, tried to convince her to kidnap the infant and marry him, but she refused. He shot and killed himself two blocks from her home.A Massachusetts couple fostered Richard for two years until he was adopted by a wool broker and his wife, which he described in a 2009 reflection for the Washington Post. His adoptive parents died when he was still a teenager and Richard was sent to the Naval Academy Preparatory School. He later enlisted in the Marines and enrolled in an ROTC program at the University of Mississippi to pay for college.In 1962, Richard developed an itch for journalism while working as a cop in Ocean City, Maryland at the age of 21, and the future NBC political correspondent Catherine Mackin, helped him get a copy boy job at the Los Angeles Times. Richard moved to San Francisco three years later and his career blossomed. He started producing television news features with his friend, Lance Brisson, the son of actress Rosalind Russell. They filmed migrant farm workers in the Imperial Valley living in cardboard abodes in 110 degree weather, traipsed the Sierra Nevada mountains to visit a hermit, and covered the Zodiac Killer and Bay Area riots (during one demonstration in 1966, they sent television feeds from their car where they trapped for four hours  and a crowd roughed up Brisson, which required four stitches under his left eye). Another time, they rented a helicopter in search of a Soviet trawler but they had to jump into the Pacific Ocean when the chopper ran low on fuel near the shore and crashed.In 1969, Richard and Brisson co-wrote an article for Look Magazine that claimed San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto had mafia ties. Alioto sued the magazine's owner for libel and won a $350,000 judgment when a judge determined the article's allegations were made with "actual malice" and "reckless disregard for whether they were true or not." (Richard was not a defendant in the case and has stood by his story. Brisson declined an interview.)Richard moved back to Los Angeles to join KABC's investigative team two years later. One series of stories that delved into a three-wheeled sports car called the Dale and the fraudulent marketing practices of its founder, Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael, won a Peabody award in 1975. The series also outed Carmichael as a transgender woman. (Richard's role in Carmichael's downfall was explored in the HBO documentary "The Lady and the Dale.") Soon after arriving as an anchor for KFMB-TV, San Diego's CBS affiliate, Richard ran a story revealing that tennis pro Renee Richards, who had just won a tournament at the La Jolla Tennis Club, was a transgender woman."I said, 'You can't do this. I am a private person,'" Richards, who years later would advise Caitlyn Jenner about her transition, urged the television journalist to drop his story, according to a 2015 interview. "His reply? 'Dr. Richards, you were a private person until you won that tournament yesterday.'" By the time he left the anchor chair in 1977 to take a public relations job with San Diego Savings and Loan, Richard had soured on journalism. "I have seen a lot of arrogance and hypocrisy in the press and I don't like it," he told San Diego Magazine in 1977. "Television news is insipid, sophomoric, and superficial… There are so many things I think are important and interesting but the media can be counted on to do handstands on that kind of scandal and sexual sensation."Years later, Richard said that he never tried to encourage his eldest son in politics or journalism, but that Tucker had a clear interest in both from an early age. "I never thought he was going to be a reporter or a writer. I never encouraged him to do that," Richard told CSPAN of his eldest son in 2006. "I actually attempted not to encourage him politically, either. I decided those are the things that should be left up to them."A LaJolla, California post card.Found Image Holdings/Corbis via Getty ImagesA La Jolla childhoodAfter the divorce, Richard and his boys stayed in La Jolla in a house overlooking the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Friends of Tucker's would later say that the trauma of their mother's absence brought the three of them closer together.  "They both really admired their dad. He was a great source of wisdom. He's one of the great raconteurs you'll ever meet. They loved that glow that came from him," said Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate. "They both looked up to him, it was clear from my eyes."In an essay included in his book "The Long Slide: Thirty Years in American Journalism," Tucker described Richard as a kind parent who imbued family outings with a deeper message.One of Tucker's earliest memories, he writes, was from just after the divorce, when Tucker was seven and Buckley was five: the brothers gripping the edge of a luggage rack on the roof of his family's 1976 Ford Country Squire station wagon, while their father gunned the engine down a dirt road."I've sometimes wondered what car surfing was meant to teach us," Tucker wrote. "Was he trying to instill in us a proper sense of fatalism, the acknowledgement that there is only so much in life you can control? Or was it a lesson about the importance of risk?... Unless you're willing to ride the roof of a speeding station wagon, in other words, you're probably not going to leave your mark on the world."More often, the boys were left unsupervised and found their own trouble. Tucker once took a supermarket shopping cart and raced it down a hill in front of their house with Buckley in its basket. The cart tipped over, leaving Buckley with a bloody nose. He also recalled building makeshift hand grenades with hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil – using a recipe from their father's copy of "The Anarchist Cookbook"  and tossing them onto a nearby golf course."No one I know had a father like mine," Tucker wrote. "My father was funnier and more outrageous, more creative  and less willing to conform, than anyone I knew or have known since. My brother and I had the best time growing up."Richard sent Tucker to La Jolla Country Day, an upscale, largely white private school with a reputation as one of the best in Southern California, for elementary and middle school. In his book, "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution," Tucker described his first grade teacher Marianna Raymond as "a living parody of earth-mother liberalism" who "wore long Indian-print skirts," and sobbed at her desk over the world's unfairness. "As a conservative, I had contempt for the whiny mawkishness of liberals. Stop blubbering and teach us to read. That was my position," he wrote. "Mrs. Raymond never did teach us; my father had to hire a tutor to get me through phonics.""I beg to differ," Raymond countered in an interview, saying that she was also Tucker's tutor during the summer after first grade and was even hired again. "I'm a great teacher. I'm sure he liked me." For her part, she remembered Tucker as a fair-haired tot who was "very sweet" and "very polite." (When The Washington Post reached out her her, she said Carlson's characterization had been "shocking.")  Friends from La Jolla remember that Tucker loved swimming the mile-and-a-half distance between La Jolla Shores Park and La Jolla Cove, jumping off cliffs that jut out into the Pacific Ocean, riffing on the drums, and playing Atari and BB gun games at the mall with his friends. "He was a happy kid. We were young, so we used to go to the beach. We did normal kid stuff," said Richard Borkum, a friend who is now a San Diego-based attorney. When they weren't at the beach or the mall, Borkum and another friend, Javier Susteata, would hang out at the Carlson home listening to The Who, AC/DC, and other classic rock bands. Borkum said the adults at the Carlson household largely left them alone. "I'm Jewish and Javier was Mexican and I'm not sure they were too happy we were going to their house," Borkum said.Another friend, Warren Barrett, remembers jamming with Tucker and going snow camping at Big Bear and snorkeling off Catalina Island with him in middle school."Tucker and I literally ate lunch together every day for two years," Barrett said. "He was completely the opposite of now. He was a cool southern California surfer kid. He was the nicest guy, played drums, and had a bunch of friends. And then something must have happened in his life that turned him into this evil diabolical shithead he is today."LaJolla is a upscale beach community outside of San Diego. Carlson and his family moved their in 1975.Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesSan Diego's next mayorRichard, meanwhile, was exploring a second career in public service. By 1980, he had risen to vice president of a bank headed by Gordon Luce, a California Republican power broker and former Reagan cabinet official. The following year, Richard's public profile got a boost when he tangled with another veteran television journalist, CBS's Mike Wallace. The 60 Minutes star had interviewed Richard for a story about low-income Californians who faced foreclosures from the bank after borrowing money to buy air conditioners without realizing they put their homes up for collateral. Richard had his own film crew tape the interview, and caught Wallace saying that people who had been defrauded were "probably too busy eating their watermelon and tacos." The remark made national headlines and Wallace was forced to apologize.Pete Wilson, the U.S. Senator and former San Diego mayor, encouraged Richard to run for office. In 1984, Richard entered the race to challenge San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock's re-election. "He was a very well-regarded guy," Hedgecock told Insider. "He had an almost Walter Cronkite-like appearance, but because he was in local news he was all about not offending anybody. He didn't have particularly strong views. He was nice looking, articulate, and made good appearances, but what he had to say was not particularly memorable other than he wanted me out of office."Sometimes Tucker tagged along for campaign events. "He would always show up in a sport coat, slacks and a bowtie and I thought that's really nice clothing for someone who is a kid," Hedgecock remembers. He was a very polite young man who didn't say much."Five days before voters went to the polls, Hedgecock went on trial for 15 counts of conspiracy and perjury, an issue that Richard highlighted in his television campaign ads. Richard still lost to Hedgecock 58 to 42 percent despite pouring nearly $800,000 into the race and outspending Hedgecock two to one. (Hedgecock was found guilty of violating campaign finance laws and resigned from office in 1985 but his convictions were overturned on appeal five years later.)People are seen near a beach in La Jolla, California, on April 15, 2020.Gregory Bull/AP PhotoPrep school In the fall of 1983, a teenaged Tucker traded one idyllic beachfront community for another.At 14, Tucker moved across the country to Middletown, Rhode Island, to attend St. George's School. (Buckley would follow him two years later.) The 125-year-old boarding school sits atop a hill overlooking the majestic Atlantic Ocean, and is on the other side of Aquidneck Island where Richard Carlson went to naval school. The private school was known as a repository for children of wealthy East Coast families who were not as academically inclined as those who attended Exeter or Andover. Its campus had dorms named after titans of industry, verdant athletic fields, and a white-sand beach.Senators Claiborne Pell and Prescott Bush graduated, as did Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, and poet Ogden Nash. Tucker's class included "Modern Family" actor Julie Bowen; Dede Gardner, the two-time Oscar-winning producer of "12 Years a Slave" and "Moonlight"; and former DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson. Billy Bush – "Extra" host, and cousin to George W. Bush – was three years behind him.Tuition at St. George's cost $13,000 per year in the 1980s (it's now up to $67,000 for boarding school students) and student schedules were tightly regimented with breakfast, classes, athletics, dinner, and study hall encompassing each day. Students were required to take religion classes, and attend chapel twice a week. Faculty and staff would canvass the dorms on Thursdays and Sundays to ensure no one skipped the Episcopal service. Tucker impressed his new chums as an hyper-articulate merrymaker who frequently challenged upperclassmen who enforced dorm rules and the school's liberal faculty members."He was kind of a California surfer kid. He was funny, very intelligent, and genuinely well-liked," said Bryce Traister, who was one year ahead of Tucker and is now a professor at the University of British Columbia. "There were people who didn't like Tucker because they thought he was a bullshitter but he was very charming. He was a rascal and a fast-talker, as full of shit as he is today."Back then Tucker was an iconoclast more in the mold of Ferris Bueller than preppy neocon Alex P. Keaton, even if his wardrobe resembled the "Family Ties" star. Students were required to wear jackets, ties, and khakis, although most came to class disheveled. Tucker wore well-tailored coats and chinos, pairing his outfit with a ribbon-banded watch and colorful bowtie which would later become his signature. "He was always a very sharp dresser. He had a great rack of ties. He always knew how to tie a bowtie but he didn't exclusively wear a bowtie," said Sterne, Tucker's freshman year roommate. "He always had great clothes. It was a lot of Brooks Brothers." Their crew crew held court in each others' dorm rooms at Auchincloss, the freshman hall, kicking around a Hacky Sack and playing soccer, talking about Adolph Huxley, George Orwell, and Hemingway, and dancing to Tom Petty, the Grateful Dead, and U2 on the campus lawn. Televisions weren't allowed so students listened to their Sony Walkman swapping cassette recordings of live concerts. Tucker introduced several bands to his friends."He loved classic rock and he was and still is a big fan of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead," said Sterne, who saw a Dead show with Tucker at RFK Stadium in 1986.Sometimes the clique got slices at Aquidneck Pizza and played arcade games in town, hung out in history instructor William Schenck's office, and smoked pot and Marlborough Red cigarettes on a porch in the main building's common room that faced the ocean, according to multiple sources. When the school administrators banned smoking indoors the following year so they congregated behind the dumpster behind the dining hall. Vodka (often the brand Popov) mixed with Kool-Aid was the drink of choice and students stockpiled bottles under their beds.Tucker was an enthusiastic drinker, half a dozen classmates recall. In his book, "The Long Slide," Tucker credits Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for enticing him to try drugs in 10th grade, The experience gave him "double vision and a headache." By the time he got to college, Tucker writes, "I switched to beer."By the late 1990s Tucker stopped smoking. He eventually cut alcohol too in 2002 after drinking so much while covering George W. Bush in New Hampshire during the 2000 primary that he accidentally got on the wrong plane, according to a friend.Most of Tucker's fellow students remember him best as a skilled speaker."He was always eager to take the less palatable side of the argument and argue that side," said Mahlon Stewart, who attended prep school and college with Tucker and is now a geriatric specialist at Columbia University. "Back then it was comedic. I thought it was an act.""His confidence was just amazing. He could just put out some positions and be willing to argue anything no matter how outlandish," Keller Kimbrough, a former classmate who's now a professor at the University of Colorado. "We were talking about politics and religion one time Tucker pulled this card out of his wallet and said, 'Well actually I'm an ordained minister, I'm an authority on the subject.' This was a stunt. He could literally play the religion card." "When he got the job at Fox I just thought 'Wow that's perfect for him, that's exactly what he can do.'"Their dorm room discourses were never serious. Tucker would pick a side in a debate between whether the color red or blue were better, and the crowd would erupt whenever he made a good point, friends said.  "Even at age 15 he was verbally dexterous and a great debater," Ian Toll said. "His conservative politics was fully formed even back then. He believed in strong defense and minimal government."His teachers saw a pupil who was primed for law school."Language and speaking came naturally to him. He took pleasure in it," said Rusty Rushton, Tucker's former English teacher. Tucker's politics, though, "seemed fluid to me," Rushton said. "I don't think of him as a deeply ensconced ideologue."He ditched soccer after sophomore year to act in a school theater production of Ayn Rand's courtroom thriller "Night of January 16th" (Julie Bowen starred as the prosecuting attorney. Tucker played a juror). But Tucker found his voice in competitive debate when he eventually joined the school's debate club. The team traveled to other private school campuses to compete against schools like Andover, Exeter, and Roxbury Latin in tournaments."He won some debate and basically did a victory lap afterward and got in the face of all the faculty there," one alum from a rival school who debated against Tucker said. "After defeating the student team, he started challenging the faculty, and said, 'Do any of you want to take me on? Are any of you capable of debating me?'"SusieIn the fall of Tucker's sophomore year, a new headmaster arrived at St. George's, Rev. George Andrews II. Andrews' daughter, Susie – who Tucker would eventually marry – was in Tucker's class. According to school tradition, a rotating group of underclassmen was charged with serving their classmates dinner and, one night in late September, Tucker and Susie had the shift at the same time. "They were sitting at a table at the far end of Queen Hall just leaning in, talking to each other," Sterne recalled. "You could see the sparks flying, which was cool."Susie floated between the school's friend groups easily. When she was seen mingling with Tucker, some questioned what she saw in him."People were saying, 'Come on Susie, why are you dating Tucker?' He's such a loser slacker and she was so sweet," Traister said. The pair started dating at the age of 15 and quickly became inseparable. Tucker gained notoriety on campus for repeatedly sneaking into Susie's room on the second floor of Memorial Schoolhouse, the school's stately administrative office that housed the headmaster's quarters. He had less time for his dumpster buddies now that the couple hung out on the campus lawn, attended chapel and an interdenominational campus ministry organization called FOCUS. His senior yearbook included a photo of Tucker squinting in concern to a classmate, with the caption "What do you mean you told Susie?While Susie was universally liked within the St. George's community, her father was polarizing.Andrews led the school during a turbulent period – it was later revealed – when its choirmaster Franklin Coleman was accused of abusing or having inappropriate conduct with at least 10 male students, according to an independent investigation by the law firm Foley Hoag in 2016. (Two attorneys representing several victims said 40 alumni contacted them with credible accounts of molestation and rape accusations at the hands of St. George's employees between 1974 and 2004 after a 2015 school-issued report detailed 26 accounts of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s. (Coleman was never criminally charged and he has not responded to Insider's attempts to reach him.) Over his eight-year tenure as school music director, from 1980 to 1988, Coleman invited groups of boys to his apartment for private parties. Sometimes he shared alcohol and pot with some of them, gave them back and neck rubs, showed pornographic videos, traveled with them on choral trips and stayed in their hotel rooms, and appeared nude around some of them, the report found. Several of Tucker's classmates and former faculty said they had no reason to believe he would have been aware of the accusations. "There were rumors circulating wildly that Coleman was bad news. The idea was he would cultivate relationships with young men," Ian Toll, a St. George's alum, said. "Anyone who was there at that time would have likely been aware of those rumors."Andrews told Foley Hoag investigators he was not aware of any complaints about Coleman until May 1988 (by then, Tucker had finished his freshman year in college) when school psychiatrist Peter Kosseff wrote a report detailing a firsthand account of misconduct. But Andrews acknowledged to investigators the school could have been aware of "prior questionable conduct" before then, the report said. Andrews fired Coleman in May 1988 after the school confronted Coleman with allegations of misconduct and he did not deny them. According to the investigation, Andrews told students Coleman resigned due to "emotional stress" and that he had the "highest regard and respect for him." On the advice of a school attorney, Andrews did not report the music teacher to child protective services. He also knew that his faculty dean wrote Coleman a letter of recommendation for a job at another school, according to investigators. Andrews left the school a few weeks after Coleman departed. By September 1989, he was named headmaster at St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton, Florida which he led for 18 years. (Andrews declined to speak about Tucker or his tenure at either school.) St. George's, meanwhile, reached an undisclosed settlement with up to 30 abuse survivors in 2016. Coleman found work as a choir director at Tampa Preparatory School in Tampa Bay, Florida before he retired in 2008. Tucker Carlson attended St. George’s School, a boarding school starting at age 14.Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesTrinity In the fall of 1987, Tucker enrolled at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where Rev. Andrews had also attended.Nearly two-thirds of Trinity's student body back then originated from private schools and many came from wealthy backgrounds. Tuition in 1987 cost $11,700 plus an additional $3,720 for room and board—around $27,839 in today's dollars."When the Gulf War broke out" in 1990, one Trinity alum who knew Tucker recalled, "there was a big plywood sign in front of the student center that read, 'Blood for Oil,' and someone else threw a bucket of paint on it."The posh campus was situated in the middle of Hartford, Connecticut, the state's capital and one of its poorest cities. Discussions about race and inequality were sometimes at the forefront of campus politics, but many students avoided engaging in them entirely."There were issues about whether black students should only date other black students, that kind of thing," said Kathleen Werthman, a classmate of Tucker's who now works at a Florida nonprofit for people with disabilities. "My sophomore year, for new students, they had a speaker talking about racism, and one of the students said, 'I never met a black student, how are you supposed to talk to them?' And the idea that only white people can be racist was challenged too."Susie was at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. His brother remained in Rhode Island and other prep school friends had fanned out across the East Coast. Tucker moved into a four-bedroom dormitory overlooking the main quad. One suitemate, Neil Patel, was an economics major from Massachusetts who played intramural softball. (They would co-found the Daily Caller together two decades years later.) Other roommates played on the varsity soccer team and they formed a tight-knit group."I remember being struck by him. He was the same way he is now," said Rev. Billy Cerveny, a college friend of Tucker's who's now a pastor at Redbird Nashville. "He was a force of nature. He had a sense of presence and gravitas. You might get into an argument with him, but you end up loving the guy."Tucker often went out of his way to amuse his friends. Once during the spring semester, several activists set up a podium and microphone beneath his dorm window to protest the CIA's on-campus recruitment visits. The demonstration was open-mic so Tucker went up to the stage and told the crowd of about 15 people, "I think you're all a bunch of greasy chicken fuckers.""I think people laughed. He did," Cerveny said. "There was always a small collection of people any time there was an issue who tried to stir the pot in that way. Some people were dismissive and other people loved it, thinking 'Oh we're getting a fight here.'"As a sophomore, Tucker and his friends moved into a dingy three-story house on Crescent Street on the edge of the campus. He ditched his tailored jackets, khakis, and bowties for oversized Levi jeans, t-shirts, and untucked oxford shirts. Tucker commandeered a low-ceilinged room above the front porch with so many windows he had to hang up tapestries to keep out the sun. The tiny alcove had barely enough space for an eight-foot futon and several bookshelves Tucker built himself stacked with books he collected. Friends remember Tucker receiving an 8-by-10 manilla envelope that his father sent through the mail once or twice a month containing dozens of articles from newspapers and magazines.One of Tucker's friends, Cerveny, remembered stopping by Richard's home in Washington, D.C. and finding evidence of his hobbies, including the world's second largest collection of walking sticks."His house was filled with rare canes he collected from all over the world," Cerveny said. "The hallways had really amazing rows of canes hung on hooks that were specially made to mount these things on the house. One used to be a functional shotgun, another one was made out of a giraffe. His dad would pull out newspaper clippings of WWII Navy aircraft carriers. It changed the way I thought about a lot of things. I had never seen anything like that. Who collects canes?"During sophomore year, Tucker's friends decided to rush Delta Phi, a well-to-do fraternity also known as St. Elmo's. The Greek scene had a large presence on campus — about 20 percent of men joined them even though Trinity was a liberal arts school — and St. Elmo's had a reputation as freewheeling scamps. Once a year, a St. Elmo's brother would ride his motorcycle naked through the campus cafeteria. (Faculty voted in 1992 to abolish Greek life saying they were sexist and racist, and school administrators instead forced fraternities to become co-ed.)But Tucker refused to come aboard. Some classmates thought it was because he didn't want to be hazed."Tucker was not a joiner like that," Mahlon Stewart said. "He wouldn't have set himself up for whatever humiliation would have been involved. He would not have put up with that." But Cerveny, who pledged the fraternity, said it was a matter of faith."I remember explicitly him saying 'Look, I want to focus on what my faith is about and I thought this would be a big distraction,'" Cerveny said. "But he was very much in the mix with us. When we moved to a fraternity house [on Broad Street], we asked him to live with us."Tucker occasionally dropped in on his friends' fraternity events and occasionally brought Susie when she visited or Buckley when he drifted into town. Other times they hung out at Baker's Cafe on New Britain Avenue. Mostly Tucker stayed in his room."He was basically a hermit. It wasn't like he was going to a ton of parties" one Trinity St. Elmo's brother said. "He was not a part of the organizational effort of throwing big parties, or encouraging me to join the fraternity." Susie, who didn't drink or smoke, was a moderating influence. "Tucker and Susie had their moral compass pointing north even back then," Sterne said. "Tucker's faith was not something he was focused on in his early years but when he met Susie and he became close to her family, that started to blossom and grow in him. Now it's a huge part of his life."By the time his crew moved to another house on Broad Street, they each acquired vintage motorcycles and tinkered with them in their garage. Tucker owned a 1968 flathead Harley Davidson that barely ran and relied on a red Jeep 4X4 to transport friends around town (the Volkswagen van he had freshman year blew up). He smoked Camel unfiltered cigarettes, sipped bourbon, and occasionally brewed beer in the basement, including a batch he named "Coal Porter," according to GQ.When he wasn't reading outside of his courses or tinkering with his carburetor, Tucker took classes in the humanities and ultimately majored in history. Tucker dabbled in other fields including Russian history, Jewish history, Women's Studies, and Religious Studies, sitting in the back of lecture halls with his friends. Ron Kiener, who taught an introductory level course in Judaism, recalled Tucker performing "poorly" but earning a credit. "He did not get a stellar grade from me," Kiener said. "Based on what he says now he surely didn't get very much out of my courses."But Leslie Desmangles, who led courses in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Myth, Rite, and Sacrament, said Tucker was engaged and likely did just enough to pass his courses even if he wasn't very studious or vocal in class discussions."He was interested in understanding the nature of religious belief and studying different cultures and religions but I'm not sure if he had an interest in diversity," Desmangles said. "He was genuinely interested in ritual since a lot of the Episcopal church is highly ritualistic."Tucker's fascination with religion extended to his extracurricular activities too. He and several friends joined Christian Fellowship, a Bible study group that met weekly and helped the school chaplain lead Sunday services. Some members even volunteered with ConnPIRG, a student advocacy group on hunger and environmental issues, and traveled to Washington D.C. to protest the Gulf War. But Tucker steered clear of campus activism. He spent his free time reading and seeing Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Sting perform when they came through Connecticut. Sometimes he skipped school to follow his favorite band, the Grateful Dead, on tour.He took an interest in Central American politics too. At the end of freshman year, Tucker and Patel traveled to Nicaragua. "We did not have a place to stay or any set plans," Tucker told the Trinity Tripod, his college paper, in March 1990. "It was very spontaneous. We are both extremely political and we felt that getting to know the country and some of its citizens would give us a better perspective on the situation." In February 1990, Tucker returned with three friends to Managua for 10 days to observe Nicaragua's elections. The National Opposition Union's Violetta Chamoro, which was backed by the U.S. government, defeated the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front Daniel Ortega who had been in power since 1979. A month later Tucker and his classmate Jennifer Barr, who was separately in Nicaragua to observe elections and distribute medical supplies to the Sandinistas, shared their perspectives about their visits to a small crowd at the Faculty Club for the school's Latin America Week. Tucker thought press coverage of the election was too left-leaning and criticized the media for skewing a conservative victory, according to Barr."I don't think it was necessarily true," Barr said. "He was dismissive [about my views]. I did get a sense that he believed in what he was saying, and it was very different from my experience and my understanding of the race."Tucker's stance on U.S. politics at the time was less didactic. As the 1992 presidential election loomed his senior year, Tucker touted the independent candidacy of Ross Perot, a Texas business magnate, to his friends although it did not appear that Tucker was an ardent supporter."Tucker would go on and on about how Ross Perot was the answer to this or that, as a joke, and every one would participate" one St. Elmo's brother said. "He liked the way Ross Perot was basically throwing a wrench into the system. He wasn't a serious Ross Perot proponent. He was cheering on somebody who was screwing up the system."In Tucker's college yearbook, below his tousle-haired, bowtie wearing thumbnail photo, was a list of his extra-curricular activities: "History; Christian Fellowship 1 2 3 4, Jesse Helms Foundation, Dan White Society." Neither of the latter two – named, respectively, after the ultra-conservative North Carolina Senator, and a San Francisco supervisor who assassinated Harvey Milk in 1978 – ever existed. Tucker admired Helms for being a "bull in the china shop" of Congress, one classmate said. Some friends believed Tucker slipped in the off-color references as a lark."It's like a joke you and a friend would put in a series of anagrams that only you and two friends would remember and no one else would," the St. Elmo's friend said. "It's so niche that only someone like Tucker is thinking things like that or would even know the name of the person who killed Harvey Milk. He paid attention to things like that."Others claimed Tucker was the victim of a prank."It would not at all surprise me if one of the other guys in the [fraternity] house filled it in for him, and not just an inside joke, but pegging him with something that he got grief for," another close friend said. Protesters rally against Fox News outside the Fox News headquarters at the News Corporation building, March 13, 2019 in New York City.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesAn outsider among insidersBy the spring of 1991, Tucker's academic performance had caught up with him. He had accumulated a 1.9 grade point average and may have finished with a 2.1 GPA, according to one faculty member who viewed a copy of his transcript. Tucker would eventually graduate from Trinity a year late. Falling behind was not uncommon. About 80 percent of Trinity students completed their degrees in four years, according to Trinity College records. (A Trinity spokeswoman would not comment on Tucker's transcript due to FERPA laws, which protect student privacy.Tucker's post-collegiate plans fell through too. Tucker applied to the CIA that spring. The spy agency passed."He mentioned that he had applied and they rejected him because of his drug use," another college friend said, while declining to be named. "He was too honest on his application. I also probably should say I don't know whether he was telling the truth or not." Once the school year was over, Tucker and Neil Patel hit the road on a cross-country motorcycle ride. After that: Washington DC.  Tucker's family left Southern California for Georgetown after President Reagan named his father head of Voice of America. In June 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Richard ambassador to the Seychelles and the Carlson family upgraded to a nicer house in Georgetown with a pool in the basement. That summer, with Tucker's father and stepmother often out of town, the Carlson household was the center of Tucker's social lives, the place they retired to after a night drinking at Georgetown college dive bars like Charing Cross and Third Edition, and pubs like Martin's Tavern and The Tombs, immortalized in St. Elmo's Fire. In August, Tucker and Susie got married in St. George's chapel and held a reception at the Clambake Club of Newport, overlooking the Narragansett Bay. Back in Washington, Tucker's prep school, college, and his father's Washington-based networks began to mesh. Tucker took a $14,000-a-year job as an assistant editor and fact checker of Policy Review, a quarterly journal published at the time by the Heritage Foundation, the nation's leading conservative think tank. For the next three decades, Tucker thrived in the Beltway: He joined The Weekly Standard and wrote for several magazines before appearing on cable news networks as a right-of-center analyst and host at CNN, PBS, and MSNBC. His father embarked on a third career as a television executive where he ran the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and his brother became a political operative and a pollster. By the time Tucker reached the core of the conservative media sphere, a slot on Fox News's primetime opinion lineup, he shed friends from his youth who couldn't grapple with the hard-right turn he veered once he became the face of the network.One friend was not surprised with Tucker's act. In the spring of 2016, during the heat of Donald Trump's presidential campaign against Hilary Clinton and a few months before "Tucker Carlson Tonight" premiered on Fox, Tucker had lunch with his old prep school classmate Richard Wayner who made the speech about Eleanor Bumpurs all those years ago. Wayner believed Tucker's gesture from his pew was never serious. "As a 9th or 10th grader in a chapel full of people in a conversation, he was trying to get attention," Wayner said.The two stayed in touch over the years and Tucker at one point suggested he write a handful of pieces for the Daily Caller, the conservative news and opinion site that Tucker co-founded and ran in the 2010s. As they settled into their table at a Midtown Manhattan steakhouse, the two chatted about Wayner's experience on the board of St. George's (which Susie was about to join) and their respective careers. Tucker was floating around at Fox, and Wayner, now an investor and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, said the conversation drifted toward salaries."He was asking, 'How much do you make on Wall Street' and was like, 'Wow, Wall Street guys make a lot.'" Wayner said. When they left the restaurant and headed back toward the Fox News headquarters, several people recognized Tucker on the street even though he had jettisoned his trademark bowtie years ago. Wayner saw Tucker making the pragmatic decision to follow a business model that has made his conservative media counterparts a lot of money."I don't think he has a mission. I don't think he has a plan," Wayner said. "Where he is right now is about as great as whatever he thought he could be.""Tucker knows better. He does. He can get some attention, money, or both." he added. "To me, that's a shame. Because he knows better." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 5th, 2022

The 20 best books by John Grisham, the bestselling author of legal thrillers like "A Time to Kill" and "The Pelican Brief"

From the Jake Brigance books to "The Firm," these are John Grishman's best courtroom thrillers, according to Goodreads. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.From the Jake Brigance books to "The Firm," these are John Grishman's best courtroom thrillers, according to Goodreads.Amazon/Insider John Grisham is the master of the courtroom thriller. He's written 28 number-one bestselling novels. You'll find his 20 best books below, according to their Goodreads ratings. Read more: The best new beach reads for 2022 If you think of a heart-pumping legal thriller, you probably picture John Grisham, one of the most successful authors in modern history.Since his debut novel, "A Time to Kill," earned him mainstream popularity, Grisham has written dozens of courtroom thrillers  — including 28 consecutive number-one fiction bestsellers. "The Firm," Grisham's second book, once spent 47 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list. And, for the next two decades, he was the author of one of the 10 bestselling novels of the year. Below, you'll find Grisham's 20 most unmissable books, ranked by Goodreads readers. It's worth noting that this list is ranked by rating, so sequels may be out of chronological order. Beware of unwanted spoilers, and if you're looking for the most recent book, check out Grisham's 2022 novel, "Sparring Partners."The 20 best John Grisham books, ranked by their Goodreads ratings: Descriptions provided by Amazon and lightly edited for clarity and length.20. "The Reckoning"Amazon"The Reckoning," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29October 1946, Clanton, Mississippi.Pete Banning was Clanton, Mississippi's favorite son — a decorated World War II hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning he rose early, drove into town, and committed a shocking crime. Pete's only statement about it — to the sheriff, to his lawyers, to the judge, to the jury, and to his family — was: "I have nothing to say." He was not afraid of death and was willing to take his motive to the grave.John Grisham takes us on an incredible journey, from the Jim Crow South to the jungles of the Philippines during World War II; from an insane asylum filled with secrets to the Clanton courtroom where Pete's defense attorney tries desperately to save him. 19. "A Painted House"Amazon"A Painted House," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers — and two very dangerous men — came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke's world.A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born... and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives — and change his family and his town forever....18. "The Brethren"Amazon"The Brethren," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29They call themselves the Brethren: three disgraced former judges doing time in a Florida federal prison. One was sent up for tax evasion. Another, for skimming bingo profits. The third for a career-ending drunken joyride.Meeting daily in the prison law library, taking exercise walks in their boxer shorts, these judges-turned-felons can reminisce about old court cases, dispense a little jailhouse justice, and contemplate where their lives went wrong. Or they can use their time in prison to get very rich — very fast.And so they sit, sprawled in the prison library, furiously writing letters, fine-tuning a wickedly brilliant extortion scam — while events outside their prison walls begin to erupt. A bizarre presidential election is holding the nation in its grips, and a powerful government figure is pulling some very hidden strings. For the Brethren, the timing couldn't be better. Because they've just found the perfect victim.17. "Rogue Lawyer"Amazon"Rogue Lawyer," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29On the right side of the law — sort of — Sebastian Rudd is not your typical street lawyer. His office is a customized bulletproof van, complete with Wi-Fi, a bar, a small fridge, and fine leather chairs. He has no firm, no partners, and only one employee: his heavily armed driver, who also so happens to be his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddie. Sebastian drinks small-batch bourbon and carries a gun. He defends people other lawyers won't go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team that mistakenly invaded his house. Why these clients? Because Sebastian believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial — even if he has to bend the law to secure one.16. "Camino Island"Amazon"Camino Island," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a vault deep below Princeton University's Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, impossible to resist.Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. Very few people know that he occasionally dabbles in unsavory ventures.Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer's block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous monetary offer convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Cable's circle of literary friends, to get close to the ringleader, to discover his secrets.But soon Mercer learns far too much, and there's trouble in paradise.15. "The Chamber"Amazon"The Chamber," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.99In the corridors of Chicago's top law firm: 26-year-old Adam Hall stands on the brink of a brilliant legal career. Now he is risking it all for a death-row killer and an impossible case.Maximum Security Unit, Mississippi State Prison: Sam Cayhall is a former Klansman and unrepentant racist now facing the death penalty for a fatal bombing in 1967. He has run out of chances — except for one: the young, liberal Chicago lawyer who just happens to be his grandson.While the executioners prepare the gas chamber, while the protesters gather and the TV cameras wait, Adam has only days, hours, minutes to save his client. For between the two men is a chasm of shame, family lies, and secrets — including the one secret that could save Sam Cayhall's life... or cost Adam his.14. "The Racketeer"Amazon"The Racketeer," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29In the history of the United States, only four active federal judges have been murdered. Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five.His body is found in his remote lakeside cabin. There is no sign of forced entry or struggle. Just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe — opened and emptied.Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge's untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland.On paper, Malcolm's situation isn't looking too good these days, but he's got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price — especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett's death. And the Racketeer wasn't born yesterday.13. "The Street Lawyer"Amazon"The Street Lawyer," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29Michael Brock is billing the hours, making the money, rushing relentlessly to the top of Drake & Sweeney, a giant DC law firm. One step away from partnership, Michael has it all. Then, in an instant, it all comes undone.A homeless man takes nine lawyers hostage in the firm's plush offices. When it is all over, the man's blood is splattered on Michael's face — and suddenly Michael is willing to do the unthinkable. Rediscovering a conscience he lost long ago, Michael is leaving the big time for the streets where his attacker once lived — and where society's powerless need an advocate for justice.But there's one break Michael can't make: from a secret that has floated up from the depths of Drake & Sweeney, from a confidential file that is now in Michael's hands, and from a conspiracy that has already taken lives. Now Michael's former partners are about to become his bitter enemies. Because to them, Michael Brock is the most dangerous man on the streets.12. "The Confession"Amazon"The Confession," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29An innocent man is about to be executed. Only a guilty man can save him.In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, Travis Boyette abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what's right and confess. But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they're about to execute an innocent man?11. "The Testament"Amazon"The Testament," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29In a plush Virginia office, a rich, angry old man is furiously rewriting his will. With his death just hours away, Troy Phelan wants to send a message to his children, his ex-wives, and his minions — a message that will touch off a vicious legal battle and transform dozens of lives.Because Troy Phelan's new will names a sole surprise heir to his 11-billion-dollar fortune: a mysterious woman named Rachel Lane, a missionary living deep in the jungles of Brazil.Enter the lawyers. Nate O'Riley is fresh out of rehab, a disgraced corporate attorney handpicked for his last job: to find Rachel Lane at any cost. As Phelan's family circles like vultures in D.C., Nate goes crashing through the Brazilian jungle, entering a world where money means nothing, where death is just one misstep away, and where a woman — pursued by enemies and friends alike — holds a stunning surprise of her own.10. "The Rainmaker"Amazon"The Rainmaker," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $4 In a courtroom thriller, John Grisham tells the story of a young man barely out of law school who finds himself taking on one of the most powerful, corrupt, and ruthless companies in America — and exposing a complex, multibillion-dollar insurance scam. In his final semester of law school, Rudy Baylor is required to provide free legal advice to a group of senior citizens, and it is there that he meets his first "clients," Dot and Buddy Black.Their son, Donny Ray, is dying of leukemia, and their insurance company has flatly refused to pay for his medical treatments. While Rudy is at first skeptical, he soon realizes that the Blacks really have been shockingly mistreated by the huge company, and he just may have stumbled upon one of the largest insurance frauds anyone's ever seen — and one of the most lucrative and important cases in the history of civil litigation. The problem is, Rudy's flat broke, has no job, hasn't even passed the bar, and is about to go head-to-head with one of the best defense attorneys — and powerful industries — in America.9. "The Runaway Jury"Amazon"The Runaway Jury," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.46They are at the center of a multimillion-dollar legal hurricane: 12 men and women who have been investigated, watched, manipulated, and harassed by high-priced lawyers and consultants who will stop at nothing to secure a verdict. Now the jury must make a decision in the most explosive civil trial of the century, a precedent-setting lawsuit against a giant tobacco company. But only a handful of people know the truth: that this jury has a leader, and the verdict belongs to him.He is known only as Juror #2. But he has a name, a past, and he has planned his every move with the help of a beautiful woman on the outside. Now, while a corporate empire hangs in the balance, while a grieving family waits, and while lawyers are plunged into a battle for their careers, the truth about Juror #2 is about to explode in a crossfire of greed and corruption — and with justice fighting for its life.8. "The Pelican Brief"Amazon"The Pelican Brief," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29To Darby Shaw, it was no more than a legal shot in the dark — a brilliant guess. To the Washington establishment, it was political dynamite. Suddenly Darby is witness to a murder — a murder intended for her. Going underground, she finds there is only one person she can trust — an ambitious reporter after a newsbreak hotter than Watergate — to help her piece together the deadly puzzle.Somewhere between the bayous of Louisiana and the White House's inner sanctums, a violent cover-up is being engineered. For someone has read Darby's brief. Someone who will stop at nothing to destroy the evidence of an unthinkable crime.7. "The Client"Amazon"The Client," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.2911-year-old Mark Sway and his younger brother were sharing a forbidden cigarette when a chance encounter with a suicidal lawyer left Mark with knowledge of a bloody and explosive secret: the whereabouts of the most sought-after dead body in America.Now Mark is caught between a legal system gone mad and a mob killer desperate to cover up his crime. And his only ally is a woman named Reggie Love, who has been a lawyer for all of four years. Prosecutors are willing to break all the rules to make Mark talk. The mob will stop at nothing to keep him quiet. And Reggie will do anything to protect her client — even take a last, desperate gamble that could win Mark his freedom... or cost them both their lives.6. "Sycamore Row" (Jake Brigance, #2)Amazon"Sycamore Row," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29"A Time to Kill" is one of the most popular novels of our time. Now we return to that famous courthouse in Clanton as Jake Brigance once again finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial — a trial that will expose old racial tensions and force Ford County to confront its tortured history.Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten will. It is an act that drags his adult children, a Black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier.The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?5. "A Time to Kill" (Jake Brigance, #1)Amazon"A Time to Kill," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29The life of a 10-year-old Black girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless white men. The mostly white town of Clanton in Ford County, Mississippi, reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime — until the girl's father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own hands.For 10 days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client's life — and then his own.4. "The Guardians"Amazon"The Guardians," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.27In the small Florida town of Seabrook, a young lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead at his desk as he worked late one night. The killer left no clues. There were no witnesses, no one with a motive. But the police soon came to suspect Quincy Miller, a young Black man who was once a client of Russo's. Quincy was tried, convicted, and sent to prison for life. For 22 years he languished in prison, maintaining his innocence. But no one was listening. He had no lawyer, no advocate on the outside. In desperation, he writes a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small nonprofit run by Cullen Post, a lawyer who is also an Episcopal minister.Guardian accepts only a few innocence cases at a time. Cullen Post travels the country fighting wrongful convictions and taking on clients forgotten by the system. With Quincy Miller, though, he gets far more than he bargained for. Powerful, ruthless people murdered Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy Miller exonerated.3. "The Firm"Amazon "The Firm," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.45When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert & Locke of Memphis, he thought he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. The firm leased him a BMW, paid off his school loans, arranged a mortgage, and hired him a decorator. Mitch McDeere should have remembered what his brother Ray — doing 15 years in a Tennessee jail — already knew. You never get anything for nothing.Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch's firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice — if he wants to live.2. "The Judge's List" (The Whistler #2)Amazon "The Judge's List," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.80In "The Whistler," Lacy Stoltz investigated a corrupt judge who was taking millions in bribes from a crime syndicate. She put the criminals away, but only after being attacked and nearly killed. Three years later, and approaching forty, she is tired of her work for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct and ready for a change.Then she meets a mysterious woman who is so frightened she uses a number of aliases. Jeri Crosby's father was murdered 20 years earlier in a case that remains unsolved and that has grown stone cold. But Jeri has a suspect whom she has become obsessed with and has stalked for two decades. Along the way, she has discovered other victims.Suspicions are easy enough, but proof seems impossible. The man is brilliant, patient, and always one step ahead of law enforcement. He is the most cunning of all serial killers. He knows forensics, police procedure, and most important: he knows the law.He is a judge, in Florida — under Lacy's jurisdiction.He has a list, with the names of his victims and targets, all unsuspecting people unlucky enough to have crossed his path and wronged him in some way. How can Lacy pursue him, without becoming the next name on his list?1. "A Time for Mercy" (Jake Brigance, #3)Amazon"A Time for Mercy," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9Clanton, Mississippi. 1990. Jake Brigance finds himself embroiled in a deeply divisive trial when the court appoints him as the attorney for Drew Gamble, a timid 16-year-old boy accused of murdering a local deputy. Many in Clanton want a swift trial and the death penalty, but Brigance digs in and discovers that there is more to the story than meets the eye. Jake's fierce commitment to saving Drew from the gas chamber puts his career, his financial security, and the safety of his family on the line.In what may be the most personal and accomplished legal thriller of John Grisham's storied career, we deepen our acquaintance with the iconic Southern town of Clanton and the vivid cast of characters that so many readers know and cherish. The result is a richly rewarding novel that is both timely and timeless, full of wit, drama, and — most of all — heart.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 27th, 2022

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From "Insurrection" To Authoritarianism

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From 'Insurrection' To Authoritarianism Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email: dbc6@cornell.edu, Twitter: @DavidBCollum), I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance. ~  Carl Sagan, 1995, apparently having invented a time machine Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. Read Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives here... Read Part 2 - Heart Of Darkness & The Rise Of Centralized Healthcare here... So, here we are at the third and final part of the 2021 Year in Review and it’s no longer 2021. Sorry about that pfuck-up. Think of it as not in 2021 but from 2021. You may have noticed that the first 200 pages (parts 1 and 2) were laced with a recurring catchphrase, “WTF is happening?” It was a literary device for noting that the events ceased to make sense within a conventional worldview, suggesting it is time to torch the old model and start anew. Our response to a disease that was killing a very small slice of the population was to sequester and vaccinate the entire population with an experimental drug of real but unquantified fatality rate. The apparent scientific illiteracy was not some mass psychosis. Y’all just got suckered by America’s Most Trusted Psychopathic Mass Murderer assisted by an epic media blitz sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry that had a distinct authoritarian quality. Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~ Albert Einstein During the brief period after uploading part 2 while grinding on this last portion, the Supreme Court took on the vaccine mandate issue, ruling that the only people forfeiting control of their own healthcare are the healthcare workersref 2 The court also illustrated their profound ignorance of the pandemic and what they were even charged to assess—the Constitutionality of mandates, not the efficacy.ref 3 The CEO of a major insurer reported a 40% spike in fatalities within the 18–65 age bracket that was not from Covid.ref 4 He said 10% would be a 3-sigma, once-every-200-year event: 40% is unheard of. Although he refrained from identifying a cause—deaths of despair, neglected healthcare, or a toxic vaccine—he knows precisely what did them in. They have been studying this stuff for centuries. I suspect his real message was that the insurance industry is about to contribute to inflation with rising premiums. Meanwhile, the pathological liars running the covid grift decided after two years the masks you’ve been wearing served no medical purpose and that the vaccines don’t work either. Wait: who said the masks and vaccines don’t work? We have known for many months that COVID-19 is airborne and therefore, a simple cloth mask is not going to cut it…Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. ~ Leana Wen, MD, CNN medical expert with no admitted ties to the CCPref 5 Two doses of the vaccine offers very limited protection, if any. Three doses with a booster offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and deaths. Less protection against infection. ~ Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEOref 6 Here is my most heartfelt response to them: You psychopathic lying sacks of shit. You had us wear rags across our faces and put rags across the kids’ faces when clinical studies that could be read by people with half your IQs showed they were worthless. Suicide rates and other deaths of despair soared while you petty tyrants played your little games and generated billions of dollars of profits while destroying the middle class. You have maimed or killed an unknown number of gullible victims with your lockdowns, vaccines, remdesivir, and oppression of Ivermectin. You jammed a vaccine that bypassed animal trials into the fetuses of pregnant women, assuring them it was safe. If we spoke up, we got muzzled. If we refused the vaccine, we got fired. You should all hang from your necks until dead. I will piss on your graves. I feel better already. Very refreshing. Meanwhile, many of my friends and colleagues look at the same data and say, “Oh. I guess I better get the booster and a KN95 mask.” You have got to unfuck yourselves. You’ve been duped. It will get worse. The tactics used to oppress us would have made Stalin smirk. Australia was a beta test for what is to come in the rest of the west if we don’t wake up soon. They are gonna keep coming for one simple reason: we accepted it. We got bent over and squealed like pigs. What normalization does is transform the morally extraordinary into the ordinary. It makes us able to tolerate what was once intolerable by making it seem as if this is the way things have always been. ~ Jason Stanley, How Fascism Works A person is considered ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ by the community simply because he accepts most of its social standards and behavioral patterns; which means, in fact, that he is susceptible to suggestion and has been persuaded to go with the majority on most ordinary or extraordinary occasions. ~ William Sargant, in Battle of the Mind Meanwhile, the financial world became even more dominated by central bankers who haven’t the slightest understanding of free-market capitalism. These twits or criminals—maybe both—have blown the most colossal bubble in history if you account for both price and breadth across the spectrum of asset classes. For the layperson, that means they have set us up for a colossal failure. Go back and re-read Valuations if you cannot picture the epic financial carnage lying dead ahead. The gap between the Fed funds rate and headline inflation has never been this large. These pinheads believe that if the markets do not coincide with their world views, the markets must be wrong. I am not an economist, but it appears that none of them are either. The notion that a dozen nitwits should set the most important price of them all—the price of capital—rather than letting the markets set it through price discovery is financial authoritarianism or what some call State Capitalism. I am angry in case it doesn’t show. Meanwhile, in 2020–21 the Fed contributed to destroying upwards of a half-million mom ’n’ pop businesses—they gutted the middle class—while giving BlackRock credit at 0.15% interest rates to buy up all their houses. Here is my advice to those day trading criminals: look both ways as you enter crosswalks. What I believe the response of society to a severe downturn given the current political climate will be epic. Big downturns come after euphorias. We have never entered a downturn with society at large this grumpy. We are in the early stages of The Fourth Turning.ref 7 The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded. ~ Charles-Louis De Secondat When a State has mortgaged all of its future revenues the State, by necessity, lapses into tranquility, langor, and impotence. ~ David Hume, 1752 So, WTF is going on here? In this final part, I address geopolitics. It begins with a relatively benign analysis of Biden’s first year in office, culminating with what I think Afghanistan is really about. The second section addresses my view of what may prove to be the most important day in US History—January 6, 2021. Although it is my best shot—Dave’s Narrative—I will not attempt to nor will I inadvertently spread the love to both sides of the political spectrum. It is a right-wing view that most right-wing politicians and pundits are too cowardly to state in polite company. The final section addresses the Rise of Global Authoritarianism. For a topic covered by thousands of treatises to call my knowledge skeletal is a reach. I have merely created an intellectual foundation—a chalk outline—to ponder why authoritarianism is here and what could stop it. (Plot spoiler: I do not believe it can be stopped.) They know where we are, they know our names, they know from our iPhones if we’re on our way to the grocery store or not. But they haven’t acted on that to put people in camps yet. They could do it. We could be East Germany in weeks, in a month. Huge concentration camps and so forth. ~ Daniel Ellsberg (@DanielEllsberg), author of The Pentagon Papers and Secrets Before moving on, let me give a plug for a book.ref 8 I have not even finished it yet, but it will change your worldview. Look at those ratings! I can guarantee none of those readers enjoyed it. Kennedy will curdle your bone marrow describing 35 years of atrocities commited by America’s Most Trusted Madman. It is emblematic of a much larger problem. Evil is powerless if good men are unafraid – Americans don’t realize what they have to lose. ~ Ronald Reagan The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. ~ H. L. Mencken Biden – Freshman Year Scorecard Let’s go, Brandon! ~ Cheers across America Most presidents begin their reign with a calling. Reagan raised our national self-esteem after a period of economic and political malaise. Bush Sr. took on the Gulf War, for better or worse. Clinton oversaw the economic boom and bank deregulation, again for better or worse. Bush Jr. was handed 9/11 and, in my opinion, boned it badly. Obama had to wrestle with the Great Financial Crisis. Trump was charged with disturbing the peace—drain the swamp if you will. Biden undeniably needed to begin healing the social discord that, regardless of its source, left the country wounded and divided. Maybe that was not Biden’s calling, but I wanted to see him become the president of all the people. This is not revisionist history of my failing memory: Biden’s the last of the Old Guard, which is probably why he was slipped into the office by the DNC old guard. I am guessing there will be no Supreme Court stacking; that was just rhetoric (I hope). There will be wars just like every president (except Trump, who brought troops home.) Congress is more balanced again and, at the time of this writing, the Senate is still in Republican hands. Hopefully, the gridlock will usher in some garden-variety dysfunction. I have subtle concerns about a Harris presidency. Admittedly, my opinion is based on precious few facts, but Harris displays a concerning shallowness of character, a lack of a moral compass, and the potential to slide to the left of Bernie. (I sometimes reflect on what it must have been like raising the teenaged Kamala.) I am trying to reserve judgment because first impressions scavenged from the digital world are sketchy if not worthless. ~ 2020 Year in Review By this description, Biden tanked his GPA. He ushered in a Crusade to erase the Trump era and its supporters. The weaponizing of social media and censorship against one’s opponents was probably unavoidable, but the downside will be revealed when the wind changes. Team Biden took banishing of political opponents on social media to new levels by, as noted by Jen Psaki, flagging “problematic posts” and the “spread of disinformation” for censorship. NY Timeslapdog Kevin Roose called for a “reality Czar,” not noticing the Russian metaphor problem. The War on Domestic Terror may prove to be a turning point in American history, one that risks extinguishing the flame of the Great American Experiment. Significant erosions of Constitutionally granted civil liberties discussed throughout the rest of this document may not have been Biden’s fault, but they occurred on his watch. If you see an injustice and remain silent, you own it. I can’t remain silent. Biden is the epitome of the empty, amoral creature produced by our system of legalized bribery. His long political career in Congress was defined by representing the interests of big business, especially the credit card companies based in Delaware. He was nicknamed Senator Credit Card. He has always glibly told the public what it wants to hear and then sold them out. ~ Chris Hedges, right-wing hatchet man Team Biden. Books have been written about Trump’s fumbles in the first months (or four years) of his presidency. See Josh Rogin’s Chaos Under Heaven in Books or Michael Lewis’ less balanced The Fifth Risk reviewed in last year’s YIR. The Cracker Jack team assembled for Joe reveals a glob of feisty alt-left activists and omnipresent neocons. According to Rickards, two dozen players on Biden’s roster were recruited from the consulting firm WestExec Advisors (including Psaki and Blinken.)ref 1 That’s power and groupthink. David Axelrod: You must ask yourself, ‘Why are we allowing him to roll around in the hallways doing impromptu interviews?’ Jen Psaki: That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times we say ‘don’t take questions.’ Young black entrepreneurs are just as capable of succeeding given the chance as white entrepreneurs are, but they don’t have lawyers; they don’t have accountants. ~ Joe Biden Joe Biden, President – Joe is the Big Guy. In an odd sense, he is immunized from criticism because he is visibly losing his marbles. His cognitive decline is on full display; this 52 seconds of gibberish about inflation is emblematic.ref 2 He’s 80 years old, for Cripes sake. I read a book this year entitled, When the Air Hits Your Brain, which derives from a neurosurgical aphorism that finishes with “you ain’t never the same.” Wanna guess who had two brain aneurysms (one rupturing) years ago leading to a miraculous recovery?ref 3 You’re the most famous African-American baseball player. ~ Joe Biden to the Pope, context unknown (possibly even a deep fake)ref 4 I am neither reveling in Joe’s problems nor do I believe he is calling the shots. Claims that the puppet master is Harris are, no offense, on the low side of clueless. Obama seems like a better guess but Barrack was a front man too. Having an impaired leader of a superpower, however, is disquieting and potentially destabilizing, especially with Taiwan in play. Biden’s energy policy that clamped down on fossil fuel production only to ask OPEC to open the spigots is one for the ages. The covid policies bridging both administrations were catastrophic, but throwing workers out of jobs into the teeth of unprecedented labor shortages makes zero sense. The nouveau inflation—Bidenflation—may stick to him like it stuck to Jimmy Carter, but that is unfair to both presidents. Look to the Fed in both cases for blame. Troubles at the southern border and the Afghanistan pullout are a couple of serious logs for a raging inferno that represents Biden’s first year in office. As discussed in a later section, demonizing “white supremacists”—not just political opponents but opponents labeled by their race—will not be viewed well by historians unless history is at a serious fork and Joe is ultimately protrayed as the founder of some new Fatherland. Kamala Harris, Vice President – Whenever situations heat up, Harris is off like a prom dress. During the crisis at the border that she was charged with overseeing, she took off to Europe, cackling about never even visiting the border. Kamala endorsed and claimed credit for the Kabul evacuation.ref 5,6 Realizing she had pulled yet another boner she pulled out before they renamed it Kamalabad. (Hey: At least I had the decency to pass on the Kamalatoe joke.) In a moment of surreal comedy, Harris hosted a public chat with Bill Clinton on “empowering women.”ref 7 She can even serve up semi-reasonable ideas with dollops of cringe. If the Democrats nominate her in 2024, may God have mercy on their souls—she is unelectable—or maybe on our souls—I could be wrong. Jen Psaki, Press Secretary – The role of any press secretary is to calm the press down with nuggets of insight—to feed the birds. When that fails, lie your ass off, all with a cold, calculating sociopathy. I would say she did the best job imaginable given the hand she was dealt. Disagree? I’ll just have to circle back with you on that. Ron Klain, Whitehouse Chief of Staff – This guy might be the rainmaker, but I haven’t quite figured him out. He has the durability of Andrei Gromyko, maintaining a central role through three democratic administrations. Keep an eye on him. Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury – We have yet to find out Yellen’s role because she has not been pressed into service by a crisis. To resolve the minor “meme stock” bruhaha, which did not call for a resolution, she needed an ethics waiver owing to the soft corruption of her bank-sponsored million-dollar speaking tour. My expectations of her are quite low, and I imagine she will meet them. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State – He has a good resume. Like Psaki, he is forced to play a weak hand. He lacks Psaki’s skills. Jennifer Mulhern Granholm, US Energy Secretary – In a press conference she was asked how many barrels of oil a day the US consumes and said, “I do not have those numbers in front of me.” ‘Nuff said. Get her out of there. Merrick Garland, Attorney General – The press will tear anybody a new one so snippets with bad optics are always dangerous. I would say, however, ordering the FBI to investigate parents who get irate at school boards—even those who seem rather threatening—is over the top. Leave that to the local and state police. His role in the January 6th event and push into domestic terrorism is potentially sinister and moves him onto my shitlist. Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency – This one blows my circuits. She is what in the vernacular is called “a commie” straight from Kazakhstan with a thesis on Marxism—a devout believer that the State should run the show. She also hails from Cornell Law School. (Yeah. I know. STFU.) Matthew Continetti of the National Review noted she is, “an activist intellectual who is—and I say this in the kindest way possible—a nut.”ref 8 There will be no more private bank deposit accounts and all of the deposit accounts will be held directly at the Fed. ~ Saule Omarova, Cornell Law Professor   We want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change. ~ Saule Omarova, on oil and gas companies For those who have seen the horror movie The Ring, Cornell tried to exorcise the demon by sending “the VHS tape” to Washington, D.C., but it came back stamped “Return to Sender.” She withdrew. Hey Team Biden: you could want to snatch up MIT’s Venezuelan-derived president who is already on the board of the World Economic Forum and was instrumental in pushing Aaron Swartz to off himself.ref 9 John Kerry, Climate Czar – Don’t we have enough Czars? John is charged with flying around the world in his private jet, setting the stage for a 30-year $150 trillion push to make many bank accounts much My disdain for the climate movement catches Kerry in the splash zone. Pete Buttegieg, Transportation Secretary – I must confess to liking Mayor Pete and would have been happier if he had gotten the crash course in the oval office rather than Joe. The one criticism I would make is that taking two months of paternity leave during the nation’s greatest transportation crisis seemed odd. I think when you are in such an important position you find a way. Get a nanny. Bring the twins to your office. Leave them with your spouse. For Pete’s sake (sorry), stay at your post. For the record, after my youngest son was born my wife had health problems. I used to bring him to work and lecture with him in a Snugly and changed a shitload of diapers. You could have done it too, Pete. Samantha Power, Head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – Sam is a garden-variety neocon, having served as ambassador to the UN and on the National Security Council, both under Obama. She was central to the planning behind destabilizing Libya,ref 10 which sure looks like a bad idea unless destabilizing the Middle East is our foreign policy. Please just don’t fuck up too much. Cass Sunstein, Homeland Security employee. This is not really an appointment, per se. Cass is the Harvard-employed husband of neocon Samantha Powers. In his 2008 book, Conspiracy Theories, Cass declared “the existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theories” to be our greatest threat, outlining five possible solutions, and I quote, “(1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might engage in counter-speech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counter-speech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help.” Guys like Cass who come out of Harvard’s CIA training camps are menaces to society. Marvelous hire, Joe. Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary for Political Affairs – She is famous for her hot mic “Fuck the EU” comment and for engineering the coup in Ukraine—a Wonder Bread neocon. William J. Burns, Head of the CIA – I’ve got nothing on Bill, not even a fingerprint. It would be difficult for me to grade him poorly on a curve with the likes of John Brennan, William Casey, and Alan Dulles. (I once had dinner with a former CIA head John Deutch. What a dick.) Christopher Wray, Head of the FBI – As the FBI increasingly looks like the Praetorian Guard for the power elite (both in and out of public office), Wray has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors like J. Edgar Hoover and James Comie to be both top cop and dubious scoundrel. Wray’s fate might be dictated by the ongoing Durham investigation, but I have not seen any heads roll inside the Beltway since Watergate a half-century ago. Tony Fauci, Director of NIAID – That bipartisan, power-hungry authoritarian—The Most Trusted Madman in America—is a recurring theme. He doesn’t know any science. He is a political hack—a chameleon—who survived 35 years multiple administrations by being able slither out of anybody’s claws and regrow his tail. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC – She got serious attention in part 2. I am horrified by her sociopathy. I think she is evil. Amy Gutmann, Ambassador to Germany – Guttman was given the job after giving the Big Guy more than $900,000 in speaking fees and an honorary degree from UPenn when she was the University’s president. I am sure every ambassador pays market rates for the job.  Cathy Russell, Biden’s Director of Presidential Personnel–She is married to Tom Donlin, Chairman of the gargantuan multinational investment firm, BlackRock. Their daughter made it into the Whitehouse National Security Council. A talented family enjoying the political respect accorded to billionaires. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Head of the Office of Science – Despite scientific chops as a climate-change-supporting agronomist, she has no administrative experience and is inexperienced in the scientific programs that she is overseeing. Of course, everything is now about the $150 trillion climate grift, so she’s our girl. Jared Bernstein, Whitehouse Economic Advisor – He is highly educated, with a bachelor’s degree in music, master’s degrees in social work and philosophy, and a Ph.D. in social welfare. His greatest strength may be his complete lack of training in economics. Shalanda Baker, Deputy Director for Energy Justice in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Department of Energy – Is that a salaried position? ‘Nuff said. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Mark transitioned from the Trump administration. It caused a stir when he went more “woke” than Chelsea Manning. We will no longer defeat our enemy but assign them pronouns and include them. This was followed by a scandal outlined in Bob Woodward’s book in which he instructed military leaders in a secret meeting to bypass Trump on important military decisions.ref 11 He then unilaterally told his peer in the Chinese military that he would drop a dime if there was an impending military conflict. He tried to hang it on the Secretary of Defense, but the Secretary spit the bit fast.ref 12 My theory is that the sudden wokeness was to commandeer allies on the far left knowing that scandal was coming. It worked. He looks like he is right out of Dr. Strangelove without the lip gloss and eye shadow. Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services. He refuses to acknowledge the merits of natural Covid-19 immunity. That puts him near the top of my shitlist. Becerra has no medical or scientific training. He’s a lawyer, but at least he is from an underrepresented group. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services – I know little about her. She might be the most qualified candidate, certainly more so than her boss Becerra. Call me skeptical of a purely merit-based appointment. Hunter Biden. I was going to place Hunter in the bullets and call him Head of the DEA and National Association of the Arts, but I had reservations. There are sad, heartwarming, and troubling roles played by Hunter Biden. His addiction is a highly personal problem that is difficult for the first family to deal with, especially given other tragedies in their lives. Joe Rogan succinctly explained Hunter’s remarkably odd behavior: “he is a crackhead.” They are part and parcel of being dopesick. Leaked emails from the laptop show Dad to be a compassionate and loving father struggling to save his son. Ironically, old footage surfaced of Joe ranting about how we have to deal with crackheads severely no matter whom they know.ref 13 It did not age well. It is clear that Hunter Biden was selling access and influence. It appears that Joe Biden was aware of that effort. That is very serious. If these emails are false, this is a major story. If they are true, this is a major scandal. ~ Jonathan Turley Before you start blubbering, however, recall that Hunter’s laptop revealed that he was playing critical roles in Russian and Chinese dealings for the Biden family. The Kleenex gets tossed and the gloves now come off. Hunter’s business partner stepped forward admitting nefarious deals were made with Joe involved. Joe denied knowing the clown, but a then photo of the two surfaced.ref 14 This year Hunter also began selling his artwork for up to $500,000 a pop behind a “Chinese Wall”—a veil that ensures we cannot find out who bought the art.ref 15,16,17 The money might literally be from behind a Chinese wall. That buys a lot of crack even after the Big Guy’s 10% cut. Figure 1 shows two paintings, one by a Hunter and the other by two elephants. (No joke, elephants have been painting brilliant pictures free-trunk for decades.) Figure 1. Biden art (left) brought $500,000. The elephant painting (shown being painted) brought $39,000. We are a democracy…there are things you can’t do by executive order unless you are a dictator. ~ Joe Biden, several years ago Executive Orders. Before the first week of his presidency was over, Biden had signed 37 of those beauties. Some, such as the order extending rent moratoria, were overtly unconstitutional. Some merely unwound Trump’s orders that had unwound Obama’s orders. This is dodge ball. While Yale was battling a civil rights case for discriminatory admissions practices, the Biden DOJ dismissed it without comment.ref 18 Yale is said to have promptly destroyed the evidence, which shows they have good lawyers. Transgender athletes were reinstated in women’s sports, ensuring that longstanding records will be shattered.ref 19 It got surreal when UPenn’s transgender swimmer was beaten by Yale’s transgender swimmer.ref 19a An executive order giving the IRS direct access to our bank accounts seems both sinister and inevitable…death and taxes as they say.ref 20 There are a lot of Republicans out there giving speeches about how outraged they are about the situation at the border. Not many who are putting forward solutions. ~ Jen Psaki, forgetting about the wall idea Crisis at the Border. The mainstream press covered this one exhaustively. There are parallels here with the North Africans crossing into Europe several years back. It looks intentional, but why? Don’t tell me about building a democratic base. That is too far in the future and too simplistic. It is far easier to control the elections at the server level. Baffling details include the administration’s suggestion that border agents should be empowered to authorize the immigration of “climate migrants.”ref 21 That could boost a few agents salaries. Rumors of US military planes transporting illegals into the US suggests somebody could punk the elite: load up a boat and drop a couple hundred on Martha’s Vineyard. On further thought, rather than offering Vineyardians more gardeners, drop off some Afghans.ref 22Whoever is calling the shots, this is neither about civil rights nor climate change. Attorney General Merrick Garland clarified the immigration challenge: Today marks a step forward in our effort to make the asylum process fairer and more expeditious. This rule will both reduce the caseload in our immigration courts and protect the rights of those fleeing persecution and violence. If you do that, that will set off a mass migration that’s like nothing that we have ever seen in this country because the entire world will then come on through to get their asylum, essentially legalizing illegal immigration, in a very clever way. ~ Attorney General Merrick Garland WTF did Garland just say? Both his meaning and intent are unclear. The immigrants, of course, were all unvaccinated, which would have been OK by me had the administration not gone Third Reich to vaccinate US citizens. The administration also wanted to offer $450,000 to every immigrant family separated from their loved ones: why?ref 23They seemed to walk that third-trimester idea back and then walked it forward again. A half-billion-dollar, no-bid contract to manage the immigrants went to friends of the administration.ref 24 Your tax dollars at work. At least we are back to business as usual. By the way, where is Border Czar Kamala Harris while all this is going on? Making creepy videos.ref 25,26 People who like quotes love meaningless generalizations. ~ Graham Greene Miscellaneous issues surfaced that either went away or are still festering quietly. On the positive side, stacking the Supreme Court—increasing the number of justices to get a left-leaning majority—seems to have been only a political football. Granting Washington DC statehood, while to a plebe like me doesn’t seem nuts, has the trappings of a massive powershift to the left in national elections. Joe invaded the legal process by declaring Chauvin guilty and Kyle Rittenhouse a white supremacist. Would Obama have done this? I don’t think so. Rittenhouse may get his “10% for the Young Guy” in defamation suits against Joe and every media outlet on the planet. Joe checking his watch five times at the funeral of dead marines didn’t play well,ref 27 but if you put a camera on me I wouldn’t make it to lunchtime without serving up Jim Acosta fresh meat. The main drama of Biden’s first year, however, played out in a distant land.   Afghanistan—where empires go to die. ~ Mike Malloy Afghanistan. I’ve been groping for nomenclature — Afghazi, Afghazistan, Benghanistan, Benghazistan, Saigonistan, Clusterfuckistan, and Bidenistan—to describe this odd moment in history. That 20-year skirmish cost an estimated $2.3 trillion.ref 28 The idea that it was only a few thousand troops with no fatalities in the last year or two makes me question my wisdom, but I can’t start revising history. Whether for right or wrong, I was glad we were getting out. The ensuing Crisis in Kabul looked like the graveyard of a presidency—a combination of the Bay of Pigs and the Iran Hostage Crisis that would dog us for years. They are chanting “Death to America”, but they seemed friendly at the same time. ~ CNN reporter wearing a burka looking for a husband Even before the evacuation started we were hearing about huge caches of weapons that would be abandoned.ref 29 In an eat-and-dash that would make an IHOP waiter wince, we bugged out at 2:00 AM without telling anybody.ref 30Jalalabad Joe had assured us repeatedly the 300,000-strong Afghan army would hang tough. They were defeated in time to chow down on some goat stew for dinner. Images of desperate Afghan’s clinging to transport planes brought up images of the Saigon Embassy rooftop. We left service dogs in cages.ref 31 Marines would never do that. Stranded Americans and Afghan collaborators were begging for help to get to the airport and even to get into the airport.ref 32The administration used a drone to strike on some kids and their dads loading water into a truck to change the news cycle briefly.ref 33 The Afghan who is credited with saving Joe Biden and John Kerry in a disastrous excursion to Afghanistan years earlier got left behind pleading for help:ref 34 Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family. Don’t forget me here. Mercenaries like Blackwater’s Erik Prince tried to prevent Americans from taking The Final Exit,ref 35 only to get stonewalled by the Whitehouse. Meanwhile, the top commander and four-star Wokie, Mark Milley, was too mired in scandal.ref 36 Retired generals were calling for the active-duty generals to resign.ref 37 The withdrawal could not be botched worse if you tried. The populace are now facing a winter of profound famine.ref 38 Rural Afghanistan has been rocked by climate change. The past three decades have brought floods and drought that have destroyed crops and left people hungry. And the Taliban — likely without knowing climate change was the cause — has taken advantage of that pain. ~ CBS News, sticking it like a Russian gymnast This vexing story was from the Theater of the Absurd. Starting with the caches of military equipment left behind, I have two simple solutions that a group of teenagers could have concocted: Announce Blow Shit Up Friday (BSUF). Provide the military personnel with some grenade launchers and a few kegs of beer, grill up some goat burgers, and start blowing shit up. That would be a blast. If that is too unprofessional, you gather all armaments and anything of else of value into an open space. Once the wheels go up on the last troop transport, drop a MOAB—Mother of All Bombs.ref 39 Tough luck for those who were trying to hotwire the stuff when the MOAB arrives. It will take a year to get them out…If you use those billions of dollars of weapons behind I promise they’ll be using them against your grandchildren and mine someday. ~ Joe Biden, Presidential Candidate, 2007ref 40 The collapse of the Afghan Army also couldn’t have come as a surprise. The military and CIA certainly knew that those troops wouldn’t withstand a West Side Story-level brawl.ref 41 The soldiers were paid by the US for their service COD, and there was no C left. Shockingly, most of the payroll booty had long-since been snarfed up by the politicians and top military brass from the only swamp in Afghanistan.ref 42 Whocouldanode? Taliban can murder as many people as they want. But if they keep trolling Biden like this they’re gonna get kicked off of social media. ~ Jesse Kelley, noting the Taliban has an active Twitter feed Here is a script playing out in my noggin. The Crisis in Kabul was an arms deal—Fast and Furious 2.0. One of our top diplomats called the Taliban and said, “We are pulling out in a month. We’ll leave the keys in the ignition and pallets of $100 billsref 43 to help pay for upkeep. If you guys let us sneak out unmolested, you can party like it’s 999—an authentic Taliban-themed fraternity party. We will leave you guns, money, nice facilities, and even a few wives. If you fuck this up, however, we will be right back here.” The Whitehouse also lent a legitimizing tone to the regime when speaking about “working with the Taliban” as part of the deal. In return, the State Department called on the Taliban to form an “inclusive and representative government,”ref 44 so there’s that bit of risible nonsense. Neville Chamberlain couldn’t have done any better. The bottom line: 90% of Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan were able to leave Afghanistan. ~ Jalalabad Joe Biden That might be a great poll number or inflated final exam grade at a college Joe erroneously claimed to attend, but I am not sure “90%” is impressive in this context. The actual evacuation was ineptly executed from the get-go. Mr. Rogers, with the help of his viewing audience of toddlers, could have Kabuled together a better plan based on the simple precept, “pull out the civilians then the military.” Baffling claims the Whitehouse was obstructing evacuations of charter flights containing Americans was not right-wing propaganda: Where are they going to land? A number of these planes have a handful of Americans, but they may have several hundred individuals who do not have proper documentation of identity….we don’t have manifests for them, we don’t know what the security protocols are for them, we don’t know what their documentation is…hard choices you face in government. ~ Jen Psaki, press conference WTF actually happened? When nothing makes sense your model is wrong. Glenn Greenwald got the scent that withdrawal was intentionally mishandled, suggesting this is “fully within the character of the deep-state operatives.”ref 45We also forgot to destroy our sophisticated FBI-derived software and a complete database containing the biometrics of Friends of the USA,ref 46,47,48 enabling the Taliban to find potential detractors for an attitude correction. Think of it as Afghanistan’s high-tech War on Domestic Terror. The stonewalling of help from other countries also makes no sense using a conventional model.ref 49 Biden’s CIA Director met with Taliban leadership covertly—so covertly we all knew about it—to concoct a “deal”, but what kind of deal?ref 50 During the evacuation, we gave the Taliban names of American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan allies supposedly to let them pass through the militant-controlled perimeter of the city’s airport.ref 51 They would never abuse this list, right? A large number of Afghan refugees—possibly as many as 100,000 according to Tucker Carlson—entering the US are consistent with our open border policy along the Mexican border, but what is that all about? Afghans, by the way, are reputed to be always recalcitrant to assimilate in Europe just in case you’re thinking of renting out your basement as an Airbnb.ref 52 What happened in Afghanistan is not incompetence. We are not that incompetent. ~ General George Flynn The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war. ~ Julian Assange, 2011ref y I have no doubt that blood was shed after we left. More than a few US sympathizers surely lost their heads. As to the stranded Americans, why were they still there? China had evacuated their citizens months earlier.ref 53(Hmmm…Chinese citizens were there?) Two dozen students from the Cajon Valley Union School District and 16 parents there for an enriching summer trip were stranded.ref 54 How did they get visas? That field trip will generate a few college essays that will beat any written about dead grandparents, although Kabul State College may be their only option. This is now on-track, Peter, to be the largest airlift in U.S. history. I would not say that is anything but a success. ~ Jen Psaki to Peter Doucy The media can create, steer, or smother narratives at will. I have a question: Where are all the dead Americans—thousands of them—said to be left behind? Horror stories should be surfacing daily, but they’re not. We shit a mudbrick when One Dead Kashoggi (ODK) got fed to the camels in Saudi Arabia. Three thousand fatalities on 9/11 got us into Afghanistan in the first place. We supposedly left behind “thousands of Americans” but without generating a single headline? So much for that Bay of Pigs­–Iran Hostage Crisis analogy. So here are my next questions and I am deadly serious: Did we get duped? Was the whole thing more sham than farce? There is no such thing as a true account of anything. ~ Gore Vidal Here is Dave’s Narrative. We installed the Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan as the best of many bad options. The winners are the Taliban and China. The two are inking deals for mineral rights as I type. The chaos was intentional. But why accept such a profound humiliation and dashed hopes of future alliances in global hotspots? I think that the Taliban winning the war in Afghanistan, and then the way our exit happened, has absolutely inspired jihadists all over the world. The Taliban is saying, we just didn’t defeat the United States, we defeated NATO. We defeated the world’s greatest military power, ever. I think, not only will the jihadists be inspired, but a lot of them are going to come to Afghanistan to be part of the celebration, to be part of jihadist central. We are more at risk, without a doubt. ~ Michael Morell, former CIA Director under Obama Maybe China has way more than just Hunter’s laptop to blackmail us and is about to take possession of Taiwan soon. While we await the next Kyle Rittenhouse trial to preoccupy ourselves, take a peek at this video. Skip over the election stuff since we all have rock-hard opinions on that and go to minute 55:30. Xi Jinping’s right-hand man, Di Dongsheng, publicly explained the extent Beijing controls US politics:ref 55 There is nothing in the world that money can’t fix, right? If one wad of cash can’t handle it, then I’ll have two wads. (laughter) Of course this is how I do things. In fact, to be a bit blunt, in the past 30 years or past 40 years, we manipulated the core power circle in the United States, right? I mentioned earlier that Wall Street started to have a very strong influence on U.S. domestic and foreign affairs in the 1970s. So we figured out our path and those we could be dependent on. But the problem is that Wall Street’s status has declined after 2008. More importantly, starting in 2016 Wall Street has no influence on Trump. Why? It is awkward. Trump had a soft breach of contract on Wall Street once, so the two sides had conflicts. They tried to help during the Sino-US trade war. As far as I know, friends from the U.S. told me that they tried to help, but they were too weak. But now we see that Biden has come to power. (crowd laughs) The traditional elites, political elites, and the establishment have a very close relationship with Wall Street. You all see it: Trump talked about Biden’s son, “You have investment funds around the world.” Who helped him build the funds? You understand? There are transactions involved. (laughter) So at this point in time, we use an appropriate way to express a certain kind of goodwill. (applause) ~Di Dongsheng, Vice Director and Secretary of the Center for Foreign Strategic Studies of Chinaref 55 January 6th Capitol Insurrection Alec Baldwin killed more people in 2021 than did the January 6th insurrectionists. Anybody reading this far knows that the January 6th riots stemmed from the right-wing voters who doubted the veracity of the 2020 election. Twitter polls show that view is not as partisan or as rare as the media would lead you to believe. I happen to doubt U.S. election integrity but have for quite a few election cycles. ref 1 Hacked Stratfor emails show the democrats rigged the vote in ’08 ref 2 and Republicans rigged it in ’04.ref 3 It is bipartisan Capture the Flag with red and blue pinnies.ref 4 In any event, Trump’s Green Goblin strategy was to beckon the MAGA faithful to the Capitol to protest the Electoral College signing off on the results. It was not so different than the mobs outside the courthouses trying to subvert the Rittenhouse and Chauvin trials, but the scale of January 6th was much larger and the optics were Biblical. It got out of hand and, at times, even a little Helter Skelter. Mob psychology elicits dramatic changes in brain chemistry and has been the topic of many laboratory studies.”ref 5 Temporary insanity is not a crazy defense. My Tweet got some hysterically hateful responses from the Right who missed the sarcasm and the Left who did not. I think I squandered more of my valuable time left on this planet burrowing through the January 6th story than on the Covid-Vaccine combo platter. I should preface this section by noting that I was praised by a thoughtful long-time reader for being “balanced and measured and carefully worded, even on edgy topics.” I may be on the cusp of disappointing him. It’s impossible to peer at the The Great Insurrection through a non-partisan lens. Both sides may find common ground in the belief that January 6th is a profound fork in the road of the American Experiment. The sock-starching Left will celebrate it as a national holiday every year while the bed-wetting Right will try to ignore it. Both are wrong. Look at that photo and pause to ponder its implications. Put a funny caption to it. Let’s hear from some Republicans first: We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House — every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack. ~ Liz Cheney I think Lizard nailed it. We’re on the same page. Let’s keep going… January 6 was worse than 9/11, because it’s continued to rip our country apart and get permission for people to pursue autocratic means, and so I think we’re in a much worse place than we’ve been. I think we’re in the most perilous point in time since 1861 in the advent of the Civil War. ~ Michael Dowd, former Bush strategist I would like to see January 6th burned into the American mind as firmly as 9/11 because it was that scale of a shock to the system. ~ George Will, syndicated columnist Mike and George are as unhinged as I am but on different hinges. I think they are delusional and offensive. Edging forward… The 1/6 attack for the future of the country was a profoundly more dangerous event than the 9/11 attacks. And in the end, the 1/6 attacks are likely to kill a lot more Americans than were killed in the 9/11 attacks, which will include the casualties of the wars that lasted 20 years following. ~ Steve Smith, Lincoln Project co-founder Now I’m getting the heebie-jeebies if for no other reason than the Lincoln Project is filled with Democratic operatives (or at least neocons) pretending to be Republicans—as authentic as the Indians at the Boston Tea Party or stepmoms on PornHub. We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within…There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home… But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. ~ George W. Bush, a thinly veiled allusion to January 6 George got some serious guff from more than a few of the 80 million Fox-watching extremists including the Grand Wizard: So interesting to watch former President Bush, who is responsible for getting us into the quicksand of the Middle East (and then not winning!), as he lectures us that terrorists on the ‘right’ are a bigger problem than those from foreign countries that hate America. ~ Donald Trump He nailed it. I have stated previously that Bush committed war crimes. Of course, the National Security Machine chimed in… The No. 1 national security threat I’ve ever seen in my life to this country’s democracy is the party that I’m in — the Republican Party. It is the No. 1 national security threat to the United States of America. ~ Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official Dude! You just tarred about 80 million asses with that brushstroke. Let’s move further left to find some middle ground: They swooned for him on 9/11 because he gave them what they most crave: the view that Al Qaeda is comparable to those who protested at the Capitol on 1/6. ~ Glenn Greenwald, on George Bush’s comments Glenn is part of a growing cadre of liberals including Matt Taibbi, Tim Pool, Bill Maher, The Weinstein Brothers, and Joe Rogan who are unafraid to extend olive branches across The Great Partisan Divide at risk of being labled white supremacists and Nazis, but they are hardly emblematic of the Left. From the elite Left… I think we also had very real security concerns. We still don’t yet feel safe around other members of Congress.  ~ AOC AOC’s comment prompted one pundit to tell her to “get a therapist”, which seems correct given her moment of maximum drama was when a security guard was screaming outside her door, “Are you OK, Ma’am?” #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett began trending on social media when it was disclosed that she was not even in the building when Ragnar and his buddies showed up.ref 6 They will have to decide if Donald J. Trump incited the erection…the insurrection. ~ Chuck Schumerref 7 What ya thinking about Chuckie? We are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War. The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on Jan. 6. ~ Joe Biden Joe may be on the A-Team, but he hasn’t found his way out of the locker room. The blue-check-marked liberals did not mince words… The 9/11 terrorists and Osama bin Laden never threatened the heart of the American experiment. The 1/6 terrorists and Donald Trump absolutely did exactly that. Trump continues that effort today. ~ S.V. Dáte, Huffington Post’s senior White House correspondent The only effective way for the government to respond to an act of war by domestic terrorists is to be prepared to meet them with machine guns and flamethrowers and mow them down. Not one of those terrorists who broke through police lines should have escaped alive. ~ a Washington Post commenter Moving as far left as you can by tuning into the most cunning commie who can outfox any Western leader… Do you know that 450 individuals were arrested after entering the Congress? They came there with political demands. ~ Vladimir Putin The Cast of this Drama. This Kafkaesque narrative will be scrutinized by historians and democratic operatives for years to come. The Left will cast this event as a truly unique moment in US history, but it was precedented. I see parallels with the 1920’s Bonus Army in which World War I veterans were pissed off about unpaid post-war benefits.ref 8 In the saddest of ironies, many were killed by Army regulars. Some authorities, including a young Dwight Eisenhower, thought it was a benign protest while others thought it was an assault on America. Grumpy crowds appear at the Capitol only on days of the week that end in “y.” Recently, f.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 6th, 2022

Slip Of The Tongue Temporarily Derails Ghislaine Maxwell Trial

Slip Of The Tongue Temporarily Derails Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Authored by Dave Paone via The Epoch Times, In an effort to protect the anonymity of the alleged victims in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking trial, Judge Alison Nathan instructed the lawyers and witnesses to refer to them either solely by their first names or a made-up one. Ghislaine Maxwell sits as the jurors are sworn in at the start of her trial on charges of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City on Nov. 29, 2021. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters) Earlier this week, one such witness was “Jane,” and any evidence with her actual name on it was submitted under seal. The public was not told her name. That all changed on Friday, when defense attorney Jeffery Pagliuca accidentally said a woman’s first name when referring to Jane. Pagliuca caught his faux pas immediately but the damage had been done. “You are admonished to abide by my rules,” Nathan said to Pagliuca, and then she called a sidebar. Pagliuca had stated just moments before that her name had been blacked out on the documents from which he was reading. The error occurred about a half hour into the day. Prior to this, Pagliuca was cross examining Juan P. Alessi, who managed the blue-collar workers at Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach estate. On Thursday, Alessi testified that he had returned to Epstein’s house after his employment had ended, snuck in and stole $6,300 in cash, citing “financial and marital problems.” He claimed he was confronted by Epstein, who called it a “loan,” and Alessi paid it back. Alessi also claims he went to the police regarding the matter on his own, and Epstein did not file charges. Under cross, Pagliuca reminded Alessi that yesterday he said, “I will tell the truth,” referring to details of the incident. “But you didn’t tell the truth yesterday, did you Mr. Alessi?” Pagliuca asked. He went on to claim Alessi actually entered the house on another occasion, looking for a gun, but stole $1,900 instead. “Not true,” said Alessi. Ghislaine Maxwell, the Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, watches as Lawrence Visoski, longtime pilot of the late Jeffrey Epstein, is cross examined during her trial in a courtroom sketch in New York City, on Nov. 30, 2021. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters) Pagliuca read excerpts from a police transcript in which Alessi spoke about both robberies. Alessi didn’t recall giving the deposition, but verified his signature on it. On Thursday, Alessi testified he met Jane in 1994. However, Pagliuca read from another deposition, taken when Alessi met with Virginia Roberts, another alleged victim, and her lawyer. In it, Alessi stated he met Jane in 1999 or 2000. Alessi said he may have confused Jane and another girl. Pagliuca referred to a third deposition, from 2016, when a lawyer for Jane contacted Alessi in July 2020. Referring to the document, Pagliuca asked, “Do you remember you made a sworn statement?” to which Alessi replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” However, once again he confirmed it was his signature. Pagliuca continued to read excerpts from the depositions that contradicted Alessi’s previous testimony. Alessi agreed when Pagliuca stated that no massage therapists ever performed a massage on Epstein against their will, there were never any signs of distress, and they left after they were paid. When asked if the massage therapists were of legal age, Alessi replied, “I believe so.” In this courtroom sketch, assistant U.S. attorney Alison Moe questions an unidentified victim “Jane” about her experiences with Jeffery Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, in New York, on Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams) U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey called the prosecution’s next witness, Gregory Parkinson, a retired crime scene manager and police officer for Palm Beach. Parkinson testified he had been at Epstein’s house twice: once in 2003 for one of Alessi’s thefts, and again in 2005, when a search warrant was executed for the estate. At the end of the search, evidence was brought back to the Palm Beach Police Department headquarters and then transferred to the FBI in 2006. As part of the search warrant’s execution, Parkinson shot video of the interior of the house. The 39-minute video was viewed in court by Parkinson and the jury, but not the public. Parkinson pointed out that there was one photo on the wall of Epstein and Fidel Castro, and another one of Epstein and Pope John Paul II. He gave details of each room he viewed in the video, as well as from still photos. A physical piece of evidence, a massage table taken in the search, was presented to the jury. Parkinson viewed several photos of photos from the house, which were submitted under seal. Defense attorney Christian Everdell cross examined Parkinson. Parkinson confirmed the first time he was at the Epstein house was in 2003 and the second time in 2005. Everdell contended that with all the time that passed between 1994 (when the sexual abuse of Jane is purported to have started) and 2005 (when the video and photographs were taken) that Parkinson can have no knowledge of what the house actually looked like in 1994. “I have no way of knowing that,” said Parkinson. Additionally, when Parkinson was at the house in 2003, he saw blueprints and material swatches, either for carpets or drapes, giving him reason to believe the house was going to be renovated soon after. Everdell said the “bottom line” is there is no way to know what the house looked like 11 years prior. The final witness for the week was Sgt. Michael Dawson, a detective in the Palm Beach Police Department. Dawson was part of the Oct. 20, 2005 search, but was not part of Parkinson’s team. He testified he found monitors and keyboards without towers, phone message books (which were discussed in Alessi’s testimony on Thursday), two massage tables, photos of nude females, and two “Twin Torpedo” sex toys. Comey provided Dawson with three message books, but he could not say with complete confidence they were the ones he seized. On cross, Everdell asked Dawson if he was involved with Alessi’s burglaries. He answered, “I don’t recall.” Dawson provided a document that confirmed he was. Dawson’s testimony contradicted Alessi’s, where Alessi said he went to the police on his own. According to Dawson, they went looking for him and found him first. Dawson also confirmed Alessi stole cash twice. Cross examination will continue on Monday. The first week of the trial ended with the prosecution calling its first nine witnesses. Only Jane’s had the potential of causing damage to Maxwell, although none of the damaging parts have been corroborated by an eyewitness as of yet. Tyler Durden Sun, 12/05/2021 - 12:34.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 5th, 2021

Charlottesville Verdicts Say “Sue The Bastards/Rioters”

Charlottesville Verdicts Say “Sue The Bastards/Rioters”; Other Victims of Unpunished Rioters Should Follow This Lead Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Jury Hands Down Verdict On Charlottesville Riots WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 23, 2021) – A jury has just handed down multi-million dollar verdicts, including punitive damages, against 12 individuals and several organizations it […] Charlottesville Verdicts Say “Sue The Bastards/Rioters”; Other Victims of Unpunished Rioters Should Follow This Lead 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); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Jury Hands Down Verdict On Charlottesville Riots WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 23, 2021) - A jury has just handed down multi-million dollar verdicts, including punitive damages, against 12 individuals and several organizations it found were responsible for the riots in Charlottesville in 2017. This should further encourage - and perhaps even help to provide a blueprint for - victims of many other riots over the past several years to bring civil suits to recover for the damages they suffered, and to deter further criminal actions, especially in situations where known participants in riots were able to walk away without paying for any of the damages they caused, or spending any time in jail, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf. These new verdicts come on the heels of several civil lawsuits which were filed against former President Donald Trump and some of his allies for harm caused by the January 6th riots, but now a major new civil lawsuit targeting some of those who actually engaged in the criminal activities has finally been filed. The suit, filed by seven Capital Police officers, and which named as defendants individual members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, came as D.C. judges are expressing frustration about alleged leniency in the criminal cases of those who actually participated in the riot. This is a good sign, and may encourage other civil legal actions where - as has been proven in case after case and in many cities where protestors engaged in destructive conduct - the criminal law isn't working to deter such criminal conduct, nor to make the perpetrators pay for the harm they caused, says Banzhaf, who has been proposing and developing tactics for such lawsuits. Three other similar riot lawsuits have been filed against Trump, but this appears to be the first, and apparently the most important, to target the actual criminal rioters, and not just those who allegedly inspired the riots, argues Banzhaf. The Trump Train As another example, consider that victims of a criminal political protest - when Trump supporters allegedly harassed and tried to force their campaign bus off the road - have sued several members of the caravan (called the "Trump Train") in a civil law suit; accusing them of violating the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which bars violent election intimidation, as well as local Texas laws. As predicted and encouraged by Professor Banzhaf, whose complaints triggered two separate criminal investigations of Donald Trump in Georgia, this was only the latest is a growing number of law suits using civil actions to obtain some redress, and hopefully to also deter future unlawful actions, by those who engage in criminal conduct to advance a political purpose or goal. Banzhaf notes that, in addition to the KKK act, there are numerous grounds under existing law which would probably apply to this and many other situations in which political activities extend far beyond protected free speech and involve clear violations of criminal law, often against innocent and uninvolved third parties. In another recent legal action likewise using the KKK act, Representative Bennie Thompson filed a civil lawsuit against Trump, as well as against his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, notes Banzhaf, who has urged victims of unlawful criminal protests - whether by or against Trump supporters, protests against alleged police misconduct, etc. - to use civil law and civil lawsuits since the criminal law is too often ineffective in deterring such unlawful conduct. Here are few examples where others have followed the route he has suggested. Street Violence In New York City In New York City, victims of street violence are in fact beginning to sue those whose criminal conduct caused injury, with one law suit already filed, one by a civilian broadcaster being weighed, and several more promised. A New York City police detective has filed a civil tort suit seeking monetary damages against an alleged rioter for physical injuries he alleges he suffered during widespread looting. A broadcaster discussed on his TV program. with Professor Banzhaf as his guest, his hopes of suing the criminals who damaged his studio during the New York City rioting. The president of the New York City Detectives' Endowment Association, which represents some 19,000 current and former detectives, has vowed to sue any protestor, rioter, or looter who attacked its members. And a civil law suit inspired by Banzhaf against those who unlawfully blocked the George Washington Bridge, effectively imprisoning thousands in their cars, and allegedly leading to a death when an ambulance was delayed, is ongoing. One journalist has now brought a civil law suit, and another has publicly discussed bringing such an action, says Banzhaf, who has been urging adding civil law suits, and especially class actions, to the weapons against those who engage in criminal conduct to make a point. Banzhaf was recently called "a king of class action lawsuits." Journalist Andy Ngo has filed a law suit against rioters and others who physically beat him while he was covering a protest which turned into a riot. The law suit, filed in Oregon's Multnomah County, includes claims of assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and Oregon's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act. More recently, journalist John Tabacco discussed, on his program "Liquid Lunch," how he is considering bringing a law suit for damages his TV studio suffered as a result of the recent riots. Banzhaf, who was his on-air guest on the program, explained the advantages of a civil law suit, and how Tabacco might go about bringing it. Criminal Protest Actions Continue To Proliferate Banzhaf notes that criminal protest actions have continued to proliferate, despite increased law enforcement presence, curfews, and pious pronouncements, and many of the victims of this criminal conduct are members of minority groups whose places of business - often uninsured - were damaged or even destroyed. But just because government has so far proven ineffective in protecting them, the innocent victims are not without some remedy, notes Banzhaf, who is known for advocating and using legal action as a tool for fighting wrongdoing and achieving social justice. For example, he and his law students successfully sued former vice president Spiro Agnew to force him to disgorge - with interest - the money he received in illegal bribes. Although arrests (with little threat of significant jail time) and small fines have generally be ineffective from discouraging those seeking to draw attention to causes by going far beyond their First Amendment rights to protest, and instead engaging in serious crimes against the public welfare and against completely innocent third parties, a major civil class action lawsuit for all the damages suffered by the hundreds of people adversely affected is much more likely to deter them from engaging in such crimes in the future, suggests Banzhaf. The law professor notes that, under the legal doctrine of "joint and several liability," any one person or business injured or damaged as a result of criminal rioting can sue any one or more of the criminals (called joint tort feasors) who actively engaged in criminally destructive and unlawful behavior for the total of all the damages caused, even if it is impossible to identify with specificity which criminal caused each specific instance of damage. If the threat of arrests and possible fines for rioters who commit serious crimes which endanger or harm others isn't enough to deter them from engaging in criminal trespass, destruction of property, arson, looting, obstruction of traffic, destructive vandalism, and even physical attacks, perhaps it's time for a new remedy - civil law suits by one or more victims of such crimes, where the standard of proof needed to win is much lower than in a criminal trial - says Banzhaf. The idea of using class action law suits to punish criminal activities and deter such illegal wrongdoing is neither new nor strictly academic, notes Banzhaf. For example, at least one law suit inspired by Banzhaf was brought on behalf of drivers effectively imprisoned (the tort of false imprisonment) by illegal blockages of the George Washington Bridge in New York City. Indeed, now that the Supreme Court vacated the criminal sentences of two major conspirators, this civil action may be the only hope of bringing justice to the victims, and of deterring such unlawful action for the future. Banzhaf notes that civil law suits against those who commit criminal riots in concert with others - even those actions far less serious and less harmful than burning buildings and assaulting police or even blocking traffic - to try to advance their cause have also been successful in a number of notable instances. For example, as early as 1988, a federal jury found two white supremacist groups - the Ku Klux Klan and the Southern White Knights - and 11 people responsible for the violent disruption of a 1987 civil rights march in Forsyth County, Ga., and awarded nearly $1 million in damages to the plaintiffs who filed the suit. When other groups learn that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been forced to pay $2.55 million to Japanese companies for illegally using acid and smoke bombs to disrupt their whaling, they may think twice before blocking traffic or occupying buildings - much less engaging in widespread destruction - to advance their agenda, says Banzhaf, who has promoted the idea - and the very slogan - of "Suing the Bastards" when the law is broken. In another example, a student who illegally chained himself to some construction equipment because he opposed an oil pipeline was forced to pay out big bucks for his criminal conduct. As NPR reported it, he was apparently ready to accept a relatively painless conviction for trespass, but not to pay the pipeline company $39,000 in restitution. Similarly, eleven protesters who allegedly engaged in illegal activities at the Mall of American faced restitution claims from the City of Bloomington. In these and many similar situations, criminal protesters are often willing to accept a small fine for a chance to focus attention on their cause, especially if it means they get to have a criminal trial which can generate even more publicity for them and for their grievance, argues Banzhaf. In contrast, a civil law suit, in which each and every participant in the criminal riot can be sued for the entire amount of the damages suffered by all victims under the legal principle of "joint and several liability," might serve as a much more effective deterrent than the minor threat of arrests and possible criminal prosecution, suggests Banzhaf. While everyone has a constitutional right to protest in public, that right clearly does not extend to engaging in serious crimes to draw attention to a cause or grievance, no matter how important or righteous that cause may seem. As illegal criminal riots by various groups - including the riot in Charlottesville - continue to proliferate, causing serious harm to governmental bodies as well as to innocent third parties, those harmed may no longer be helpless, even when police refuse to take appropriate action and/or prosecutors decline to prosecute, and even when the individuals who actually caused specific harms cannot be conclusively identified, says Banzhaf. Banzhaf, famous for developing novel winning law suits - including over $12 million from McDonald's over its french fries, and against Spiro Agnew to recover the money he took in bribes - has been called "a Driving Force Behind the Lawsuits That Have Cost Tobacco Companies Billions of Dollars," "The Law Professor Who Masterminded Litigation Against the Tobacco Industry," and an "Entrepreneur of Litigation, [and] a Trial Lawyer's Trial Lawyer." Updated on Nov 23, 2021, 5:22 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: valuewalkNov 23rd, 2021

The curious afterlife of the Lord of the Skies

Conspiracy theories about the death of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, Lord of the Skies, have lingered for years, most recently among fans of Narcos: Mexico. The casket with Amado Carrillo Fuentes' remains at his mother's ranch in northwestern Mexico on July 11, 1997. Reuters When Mexico's most powerful drug lord died an unbelievable death, a team of federal agents raced against the clock to identify his body. Conspiracy theories about his demise have lingered for years, even getting a wink in Netflix's Narcos: Mexico. Speaking publicly for the first time, DEA agents who helped confirm his death give the full story behind one of the strangest chapters in the annals of Mexico's drug war. The departed smiled up at the ceiling, his lips pulled back to reveal a row of bright white teeth.The skin on the man's hideously distended hands shone a sickening gray-green color of rot, and his long, puffy face was heavily bruised, with deep, dark circles ringing his eyes and nostrils. Mottled patches of discoloration spread up his high forehead and across his cheeks.Under the harsh glare and buzz of fluorescent lights, the body of one of Mexico's most powerful men lay in state, nestled within the plush white confines of a metal casket. The body was clad in a dark suit and a blue-and-red polka dot tie, his deformed hands deliberately forced together at his waist to mimic a state of repose, a hideous parody of an open-casket funeral.In the place of mourners, photojournalists pressed up to the edge of the casket, inches away from a man who just days before could have, with a wave of his hand, ordered unspeakable violence against anyone insane enough to have treated him with such disrespect.Along one wall, a row of men, some in white lab coats, others in drab, police-issue suits, stood with grim discomfort written across their faces as shutters clicked.This ghastly wake in a government building in Mexico City on July 8, 1997 was the first glimpse of a man whose name much of the country knew but few dared to utter. Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the Lord of the Skies, the boss of Ciudad Juárez, and arguably the most powerful criminal kingpin in the nation's history was dead and his rotting corpse was displayed for all to see. Amado's body was displayed on July 8, 1997, at the Judicial Police morgue in Mexico City. A group of police pathologists look on. Reuters It was perhaps one of the most macabre press scrums in history, and a bitterly ironic fate for a man who had so carefully seen to it that so few photos of his likeness existed.News of Amado's death had begun to filter out days before. According to the Mexican Attorney General's office - known by its Spanish acronym as the PGR - Amado had died on the operating table while undergoing plastic surgery, to alter his appearance, and liposuction.Amado's family soon confirmed the story, lipo and all, telling reporters that he'd suffered a heart attack while under anesthesia. But for many Mexicans, the story was almost too bizarre to believe. The PGR had invited reporters to see the body in hopes of dispelling any rumors or suspicion about Amado's fate. It didn't work. The idea of Amado faking his death and vanishing into retirement flourished in Mexico's bustling rumor mills. One doubter, a barber cutting the hair of a Los Angeles Times reporter, insisted that the key to the coverup lay in the corpse's decaying limbs."Those aren't his hands," the barber said. "Those are the hands of a classical pianist.""Some poor unfortunate person"In the nearly quarter-century that has elapsed, a host of rumors and conspiracy theories have, unlike Amado, stubbornly refused to die - even in the archives of the wire service Agence Press Press, which listed a photo of Amado's "alleged" body.In 2015, the idea found new life thanks to an article published on the English-language site of the Venezuelan state-sponsored news network Telesur. According to the report, which relied mostly on the extremely dubious word of a supposed cousin of Amado, Sergio Carrillo, the drug lord was doing just fine."He is alive," Carrillo said, according to Telesur. "He had surgery and also had surgery practiced on some poor unfortunate person to make everybody believe it was him, including the authorities."This claim would be easily dismissed were it not for the larger constellation of conspiracies surrounding Amado's death. Instead, it's taken on a life of its own in a string of tabloid stories that have repeated Sergio Carrillo's claim.(Attempts by Insider to verify Carrillo's existence or reach him for comment were unsuccessful.)The persistence of such stories has also been helped along thanks to the popularity of the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico, which stars a heavily fictionalized - and rather sympathetic - version of Amado. In the third and final season, which became available on Friday, Amado takes center stage as the show follows a greatest-hits summary of his empire building and eventual fall from grace. Eduardo Gonzalez Matta, a general director of the Mexican Attorney General's office, points to evidence charts at a July 10, 1997 press conference aimed at convincing the public of Amado's death. OMAR TORRES/AFP via Getty Images In one of the final scenes, a moody Amado is shown prowling around the empty operating room prior to his surgery, and the narrator says outright that Amado has died. But then the show slyly drops an easter egg to superfans in the form of a final post-credits scene: As Amado's girlfriend wanders about in a seaside mansion, the camera cuts to a shot of a toy airplane that her lover had given her.The myth has resonated for a reason in Mexico, where a toxic mix of authoritarian governance, pervasive corruption, a powerful criminal underground protected by the state and shrouded in lies and half truths has fueled a highly justified skepticism of any official narrative.Here, for the first time, is the most complete account of one of the strangest chapters in the annals of Mexico's drug war. Speaking publicly about the episode in detail for the first time, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration who helped identify the body and confirm his death have laid out the full story behind one of the strangest incidents in the annals of the war on drugs.Lord of the SkiesLike virtually every major drug trafficker of his generation - Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera, Benjamín and Ramón Arellano-Félix, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada García - Amado was a native of the northwestern state of Sinaloa, that long, thin state in Mexico's northwest whose western borders greet the waves of the Gulf of Cortez and whose eastern borders end in the highlands of the Sierra Madre Occidental.It's a rugged, hardscrabble region populated by ranchers with weather-beaten faces and farmers who for the better part of a century represented the bottom rung of the marijuana and opium trade in the Western Hemisphere. Amado and his 10 siblings grew up in a tiny settlement in the scrubland just north of Navalato, a tough little bread-basket town surrounded by fields of sugarcane, maize, and wheat.Also like many of his fellow future kingpins, Amado's family had been involved in the drug business in one way or another since who-knows-when. It was a more humble business back then, small-time farmers selling opium and weed to small-time traffickers who brought the stuff north to the border. But thanks to the booming demand for marijuana in the late 1960s, and the shutdown in 1972 of the main pipeline for Turkish heroin from Europe to New York, Sinaloa's illicit economy became turbocharged. An undated photo of Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Reuters So it helped that Amado's uncle was one of those traffickers. A murderous brute of a man, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, better known as Don Neto, was by the 1980s a key partner in the trafficking network often referred to as the Guadalajara Cartel.It was the advent of the cocaine boom, when Mexican traffickers began to branch out from weed and dope and made use of their existing smuggling routes to move Colombian cocaine, and the cash flowing back south twisted and perverted every facet of society.Amado was an innovator in his own right, and is often credited as a pioneer of moving drugs by airplane, overseeing ever larger fleets of ever larger planes groaning under the weight of ever larger shipments of Colombian coke. This vocation earned him the nickname "el señor de los cielos," or the Lord of the Skies, and made him fantastically wealthy, with money to buy as many cops, judges, generals, and politicians as he needed to stay on the right side of things.As the criminal landscape in Mexico shifted in the late 1980s following the breakup of the old guard in Guadalajara, Amado had relocated to Ciudad Juárez, a sprawling desert city just across the Río Grande from El Paso, Texas.With its bustling border crossing that sees billions of dollars in cargo cross each way every year - an economic engine that leapt into overdrive with the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement - Juárez was the crown jewel in the constellation of smuggling routes into the United States.The local capos who controlled the Juárez smuggling route, or "plaza," soon began to display a curious habit of dying, one after another. Amado, for his part, showed a talent for stepping out from the wings to claim their turf. Vehicles crossing from Ciudad Juarez towards El Paso, Texas. Ivan Pierre Aguirre/AP Photo Amado was a skilled smuggler. He was also a brilliant manager with a head for politics, and he built a vast network of street enforcers, informants in every agency of Mexican law enforcement and military, and connections to powerful friends capable of easily quashing the political will to arrest him.While other traffickers fought bloody turf battles and moved coke, weed, and heroin across remote border crossings in the desert, Amado was consolidating power and largely keeping the peace in Juárez, where he proved a reliable colleague to corrupt officials turned off by the ostentatious violence of his competitors. In a few short years, he had become the most influential drug trafficker in Mexico.But even for a guy with the political savvy that Amado had in spades, remaining atop the tangled web of shifting alliances and competing priorities that dictate the status quo in Mexico was a deadly game, and any number of brand-name narcos who came before him had enjoyed that sweet spot for a time before they attracted too much attention and with it their own expiration date.By the mid-1990s, Amado had become the most powerful drug lord in the country."A guy of absolute, unquestioned integrity"Early in 1997, the balance that Amado had so skillfully maintained was thrown into a tailspin with the arrest of General Jesús Héctor Gutierrez Rebollo, Mexico's top drug warrior. He had worked closely with agents of the DEA to pursue trafficking networks and had the endorsement of many in Washington.President Ernesto Zedillo had appointed the general to lead the fight against drugs as part of an effort to cut out the notoriously corrupt alphabet soup of police agencies in favor of the military, which despite its own legacy of corruption and human-rights abuses enjoyed a level of trust and respect that most other branches of the government had long ago squandered. Washington had enthusiastically supported the appointment, and General Barry McCaffrey, President Bill Clinton's drug czar, had praised the general as "a guy of absolute, unquestioned integrity" as recently as in December of 1996.So the DEA and their higher ups in D.C. were shocked when, on Feb. 17, 1997, the general was suddenly dismissed, and even more so a day later when Mexican officials announced that Gutierrez Rebollo had been arrested for receiving payoffs from one Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Amado (L) is seen at a party in an undated photo. Reuters As winter turned into spring, Guttierez Rebollo was sitting in irons, and Washington was sporting a deeply embarrassing black eye. At a hearing in March, DEA chief Thomas A. Constantine mused that major traffickers in Mexico "seem to be operating with impunity," and a congressional subcommittee convened soon thereafter to discuss slamming shut the faucet of foreign aid to Mexico.The Mexican government has never reacted well to its frenemies in the drug trade catching the undivided attention of the U.S. government, as a long line of Amado's former compatriots found out the hard way.And now the high-beams were focused on Amado. As one of the key public faces of drug trafficking in Mexico - and as the man whose bribes were the stated reason for the general's arrest - Amado found himself suddenly, dangerously exposed, and desperate to disappear, according to Ralph Villaruel, a retired DEA agent who was stationed in Guadalajara at the time."We were hearing he was in Russia, that he was in Chile," Villaruel told me in an interview. "We heard that he wanted to pay [the government] to be left alone, that he didn't want nothing to do with drug trafficking no more."Amado was a wreck. Overweight and reportedly strung out on his own personal stash carved off the tens of thousands of kilos his men continued to smuggle north, he seems to have opted for a radical solution: he would alter his appearance with plastic surgery.So on July 3, 1997, he used a false name to check into a hospital in a ritzy neighborhood of Mexico, and, in a heavily guarded operating room, the lord of the skies succumbed to a lethal dose of anesthesia and sedatives."We think Amado Carrillo Fuentes is dead"Mauricio Fernandez wasn't getting much sleep in those days.Fernandez, newly married, had been working at the Mexico City office of the DEA for about a year. He'd joined the agency in 1991 after serving in the Marines, and threw himself into his new vocation with a zeal inspired in part by the ravages of drug addiction he'd witnessed back home growing up in the Bronx.A dedicated posting to the resident office in Mexico City should have brought a bit of stability to his life after having spent the past few years working in an elite unit with special-forces training, bushwhacking coca fields in the high Andes of Bolivia, raiding drug labs in the lush mountain valleys of Peru, and chasing down a Colombian rival of Pablo Escobar whose brilliance earned him the nickname "the Chessmaster." A gun that once belonged to Amado Carrillo Fuentes is displayed in the Drugs Museum at the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense in Mexico City. Henry Romero/Reuters But when he arrived in Mexico City, he was soon stunned by the level to which drug traffickers were entangled with the state at every level, from local cops on up to judges, military officers, and members of the political and business elite. It was hard to know who to trust. He was getting death threats."The deception was more sophisticated in Mexico," he told me in an interview. "The level of deception was so embedded that even for people you thought were vetted, even them you could not trust. There was no such thing as safe partnership."Cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico on anti-drug policy was then and is now deeply fraught, riven with well-earned mutual distrust. But Fernandez and his fellow DEA agents had worked hard to build relationships with a few key members of Mexican anti-drug units, and it was starting to pay dividends. Through a contact in the Attorney General's office, or PGR, Fernandez and his partner had extensive access to sensitive information, and did their best to share intel with their counterparts. Fernandez and his partner were the lead case agents on investigations into some of Mexico's most notorious drug traffickers, and they routinely pulled 80-hour weeks, living and breathing their work, sleeping at the office. They were investigating a handful of different drug-trafficking networks, but one man stood above the rest: Amado Carrillo Fuentes. A photograph that includes this caption: "Mexico City, Mexico. Hospital Santa Monica, where ''drug lord'' Amado Carrillo Fuentes died whilst having plastic surgery to change his identity to help him evade police." Getty Images Most roads led to Amado in some way or another, or they led as close as the DEA could get anyway. Any time they thought they might be getting close, witnesses had a way of turning up dead, warning had a way of finding itself to their query, and Amado cruised along as always.As he played the delicate game of political maneuvering necessary to survive in the underworld of Mexican organized crime, Amado was building a business empire of global proportions.Even now, decades later, Fernandez still speaks of Amado with the grudging respect of a guy who knows the folly of underestimating one's enemies."It was a slap in the face to say that Amado was simply a drug trafficker," Fernandez told me. "His span was incredible. He touched Asia, he touched Europe, all parts of the world, and that's when you start to understand the vastness of his enterprise."With a query like that, no, Fernandez wasn't sleeping much.So when July 4, 1997 rolled around, Fernandez was looking forward to a bit of R&R, a chance to spend some time with his wife and shoot the shit with his colleagues and their families at the annual Independence Day bash at the ambassador's residence in Lomas de Chapultepec, a lavish neighborhood of rolling hills and the gated mansions of the Mexican elite.But work found him anyway, as it often did, in the form of a call from a high-ranking Mexican law-enforcement official. It was one of the men with whom he'd spent the past year building up a cautious but increasingly strong rapport. The ramifications of the news that came through the phone are still playing out today."We think Amado Carrillo Fuentes is dead," the official told him."All kinds of rumors are going to spring up"The details were sketchy, no one knew for sure what to believe, but Fernandez' source told him what he could: the Lord of the Skies had the day before slunk into a private clinic in Mexico City for some kind of operation, maybe liposuction, maybe plastic surgery, and had died on the operating table. Whether it was negligence or homicidal intent was unclear. ut word was, Amado was dead.Those words hit Fernandez like a thunderclap. After hanging up, he sidled over to his boss and his boss's boss, who were standing about chatting and soaking up the unique glory of a Mexico City summer day. Fernandez pulled the two more senior agents aside and told him what he had just heard.Before long, the news rippled out through the crowd and the DEA agents in attendance huddled up to figure out what do do next.In the middle of that scrum was Larry Villalobos, a DEA intelligence analyst who'd arrived in Mexico the year prior after a stint in El Paso building dossiers on the major drug traffickers operating in Mexico. He knew everybody. To this day, Villalobos has the uncanny ability to summon up the names of men long dead and recall the bit-part roles they played in the larger action. Mexican special forces police guard the morgue in Mexico City where the remains of Amado Carrillo Fuentes were held after his death. Reuters At the ambassador's residence the party continued. But for Fernandez, Villalobos, and the rest of the DEA crew in attendance that day, there was work to do. They had a window in which they could confirm that Amado was dead and that window was already closing rapidly, Villalobos recalled."We knew from working in Mexico that if you wait any goddamn longer than that all kinds of rumors are going to spring up," Villalobos told me.A fingerprint matchAs they hustled away from the ambassador's residence, Fernandez, Villalobos, and the other DEA agents knew that the first thing they had to do was find the body.According to the law-enforcement source Fernandez, by the time the DEA agents hightailed it away from their aborted Fourth of July party, the body was already on a plane en route to Sinaloa. But by the time it landed, a team of agents with the Attorney General's office were waiting.They seized the casket and immediately put it on a plane back to Mexico City. According to an Associated Press report a few days later, the agents had to forcibly part Amado's mother from the casket that she clearly believed held the remains of her son. Amado's mother, Aurora Fuentes (L), arrived at the morgue to collect the body of her son on July 10, 1997. Reuters Some of the field agents began to press all their sources for information. But for Villalobos, who had worked as a fingerprint technician with the FBI before joining the DEA, it all came down to the body. And suddenly, he recalled an astonishing fact: the U.S. was in possession of Amado's fingerprints, taken by Border Patrol agents in Presidio, Texas way back in 1985 and later unearthed from the files of the Immigration and Naturalization service.He got on the phone with his old intelligence office in El Paso, and had them overnight a set of the prints to Mexico City while a Mexican technician did his best to harvest a set from the corpse, which had long since gone stiff with rigor mortis. As the body decomposes after death, the quality of the available prints start to degrade, but after comparing the prints on file with those taken from the corpse, Villalobos was certain.His boss wanted to know how certain he was that this was, in fact, Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Ever precise, Villalobos clarified the issue."I didn't say that it was Amado. What I said was that the fingerprints that were taken from a young man who resembles the Amado that we all know, and was fingerprinted as an illegal alien 20 years ago, is the same person as this corpse," Villalobos recalled telling the senior DEA attache in Mexico City. Amado's sister, Alicia Carrillo Fuentes (L), and other family members mourn Amado's death at the home of his mother. Huge wreaths were delivered, including some by other alleged drug barons. Reuters "Whether it's Amado or not, that's a different matter, but it would have had to been some type of conspiracy over 20 years that some guy was gonna die and they were gonna substitute the body of the guy who was in Presidio, Texas 20 years ago."In other words, it was Amado.The positive ID on the fingerprints that Villalobos made came no more than 72 hours after Amado died in surgery, but already speculation was buzzing about the possible death of the kingpin of Juárez.While Villalobos had been doing his thing, other agents like Mauricio Fernandez had been working their sources and keeping in constant contact with trusted Mexican officials doing the same, and they were starting to get indications from the underworld that the big guy really was gone.Meanwhile, in Mexico City, a forensics expert from Mexico's Attorney General's office held a press conference where he presented the fingerprint evidence."It would have made for a wonderful story"After the confirmation from DEA, after the confirmation from the Mexican government, after the body was returned to Amado's family and buried in his hometown of Guamuchilito, Sinaloa, the myth of Amado's survival began to grow, and it has never really gone away. Even now, Fernandez said he understands why the myth of Amado has clung on for so long."There was a lot of folklore around Amado and who he was, and I think for a lot of people, they wanted to keep that thought alive," Fernandez said. "It would have made for a wonderful story, but the fact is that that wasn't the case. It just was not the case." Chilean authorities identified this home as one of the eleven houses that Amado Carrillo Fuentes bought in Santiago several months before his death. Reuters Regardless of where one stands on the fact that Amado Carrillo Fuentes died in July 1997, no one disputes the fact that his death was a turning point, one of the periodic tectonic shifts throughout the history of the war on drugs in Mexico. Amado's younger brother Vicente took the reins, but he didn't have it in him, and people didn't respect him the way they had Amado. The alliances that Amado held together soon started to fray, and that breakdown helped contribute to the staggering wave of violence that washed over Mexico a decade later and has yet to truly recede.This dynamic within Amado's network may have played a part in the myths that sprung up so soon after his death. With a weak leader like Vicente running the ship and its increasingly mutinous crew aground, the idea of a vengeful Amado out there, maybe coming back some day, might have been useful for keeping people in line, according to Jesús Esquivel, a veteran Mexican journalist who was one of the first reporters to break the news of Amado's death. Amado Carrillo Fuentes's home in the Alvaro Obregon municipality of Mexico City. It was raffled off by Mexico's National Lottery in September 2021. XAVIER MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images "Vicente was weak, and the local criminals knew, and they said 'this is our time,'" Esquivel told me. "So they were playing with Amado's shadow."Larry Villalobos, for his part, still hears the old conspiracy theories from time to time, occasionally from unlikely sources."I had an FBI agent come up to me less than 10 years ago and he says to me 'what if I told you Amado was still alive?'" Villalobos told Insider. "I was like 'get the fuck outta here, I don't wanna hear that shit. I saw the fingerprints, I made the identification, what are you talking about?"According to Villalobos, the FBI agent was insistent, telling him that a trusted source had recently claimed to have spotted Amado in his old stomping grounds of Ojinga, just over the border from Texas. Even better, the source claimed to know where exactly they could find him.Villalobos was not moved."I hope the FBI didn't pay too much for that tip," Villalobos said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 6th, 2021

The Most Important Battle For Press Freedom In Our Time

The Most Important Battle For Press Freedom In Our Time Authored by Chris Hedges via MintPressNews.com, For the past two days, I have been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing a lower court ruling that denied the US request to extradite Assange not, unfortunately, because in the eyes of the court he is innocent of a crime, but because, as Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January concluded, Assange’s precarious psychological state would deteriorate given the “harsh conditions” of the inhumane US prison system, “causing him to commit suicide.” The United States has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of trying to hack into a government computer, charges that could see him imprisoned for 175 years. Assange, with long white hair, appeared on screen the first day from the video conference room in HM Prison Belmarsh. He was wearing a white shirt with an untied tie around his neck. He looked gaunt and tired. He did not appear in court, the judges explained, because he was receiving a “high dose of medication.” On the second day he was apparently not present in the prison’s video conference room. Assange is being extradited because his organization WikiLeaks released the Iraq War Logs in October 2010, which documented numerous US war crimes — including video images of the gunning down of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians in the Collateral murder video, the routine torture of Iraqi prisoners, the covering up of thousands of civilian deaths and the killing of nearly 700 civilians that had approached too closely to US checkpoints. He is also being targeted by US authorities for other leaks, especially those that exposed  the hacking tools used by the CIA known as Vault 7, which enables the spy agency to compromise cars, smart TVs, web browsers and the operating systems of most smart phones, as well as operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux. If Assange is extradited and found guilty of publishing classified material, it will set a legal precedent that will effectively end national security reporting, allowing the government to use the Espionage Act to charge any reporter who possesses classified documents, and any whistleblower who leaks classified information. If the appeal by the United States is accepted Assange will be retried in London. The ruling on the appeal is not expected until at least January. Assange’s September 2020 trial painfully exposed how vulnerable he has become after 12 years of detention, including seven in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He has in the past attempted suicide by slashing his wrists. He suffers from hallucinations and depression, takes antidepressant medication and the antipsychotic quetiapine. After he was observed pacing his cell until he collapsed, punching himself in the face and banging his head against the wall he was transferred for several months to the medical wing of the Belmarsh prison. Prison authorities found “half of a razor blade” hidden under his socks. He has repeatedly called the suicide hotline run by the Samaritans because he thought about killing himself “hundreds of times a day.” James Lewis, the lawyer for the United States, attempted to discredit the detailed and disturbing medical and psychological reports on Assange presented to the court in September 2020, painting him instead as a liar and malingerer. He excoriated the decision of Judge Baraitser to bar extradition, questioned her competence, and breezily dismissed the mountains of evidence that high-security prisoners in the United Sates, like Assange, subjected to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), and held in virtual isolation in supermax prisons, suffer psychological distress. He charged Dr. Michael Kopelman, emeritus professor of neuropsychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, who examined Assange and testified for the defense, with deception for “concealing” that Assange fathered two children with his fiancée Stella Morris while in refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He said that, should the Australian government request Assange, he could serve his prison time in Australia, his home country, after his appeals had been exhausted, but stopped short of promising that Assange would not be held in isolation or subject to SAMs. The authority repeatedly cited by Lewis to describe the conditions under which Assange will be held and tried in the United States was Gordon Kromberg, the Assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Kromberg is the government’s grand inquisitor in cases of terrorism and national security. He has expressed open contempt for Muslims and Islam and decried what he calls “the Islamization of the American justice system.” He oversaw the 9-year persecution of the Palestinian activist and academic Dr. Sami Al-Arian and at one point refused his request to postpone a court date during the religious holiday of Ramadan. “They can kill each other during Ramadan, they can appear before the grand jury. All they can’t do is eat before sunset,” Kromberg said in a 2006 conversation, according to an affidavit filed by one of Arian’s attorneys, Jack Fernandez. Kromberg criticized Daniel Hale, the former Air Force analyst who recently was sentenced to 45 months in a supermax prison for leaking information about the indiscriminate killings of civilians by drones, saying Hale had not contributed to public debate, but had “endanger[ed] the people doing the fight.” He ordered Chelsea Manning jailed after she refused to testify in front of a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. Manning attempted to commit suicide in March 2020 while being held in the Virginia jail. Having covered the case of Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was arrested in London in 2006, I have a good idea of what waits Assange if he is extradited. Hashmi also was held in Belmarsh and extradited in 2007 to the United States where he spent three years in solitary confinement under SAMs. His “crime” was that an acquaintance who stayed in his apartment with him while he was a graduate student in London had raincoats, ponchos and waterproof socks in luggage at the apartment. The acquaintance planned to deliver the items to al-Qaida. But I doubt the government was concerned with waterproof socks being shipped to Pakistan. The reason, I suspect, Hashmi was targeted was because, like the Palestinian activist Dr. Sami Al-Arian, and like Assange, he was fearless and zealous in his defense of those being bombed, shot, terrorized and killed throughout the Muslim world while he was a student at Brooklyn College. Hashmi was deeply religious, and some of his views, including his praise of the Afghan resistance, were controversial, but he had a right to express these sentiments. More important, he had a right to expect freedom from persecution and imprisonment because of his opinions, just as Assange should have the freedom, like any publisher, to inform the public about the inner workings of power. Facing the possibility of a 70-year sentence in prison and having already spent four years in jail, much of it in solitary confinement, Hashmi accepted a plea bargain on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism. Judge Loretta Preska, who sentenced the hacker Jeremy Hammond and human rights attorney Steven Donziger, gave him the maximum 15-year sentence. Hashmi was held for nine years in Guantanamo-like conditions in the supermax ADX [Administrative Maximum] facility in Florence, Colorado, where Assange, if found guilty in an American court, will almost certainly be imprisoned. Hashmi was released in 2019. The pre-trial detention conditions Hashmi endured were designed to break him. He was electronically monitored 24-hours a day. He could only receive or send mail with his immediate family. He was prohibited from speaking with other prisoners through the walls. He was forbidden from taking part in group prayer. He was permitted one hour of exercise a day, in a solitary cage without fresh air. He has unable to see most of the evidence used to indict him which was classified under the Classified Information Procedures Act, enacted to prevent US intelligence officers under prosecution from threatening to reveal state secrets to manipulate the legal proceedings. The harsh conditions eroded his physical and psychological health. When he appeared in the final court proceeding to accept a guilty plea he was in a near catatonic state, clearly unable to follow the proceedings around him. If the government will go to this length to persecute someone who was alleged to have been involved in sending waterproof socks to al-Qaida, what can we expect the government to do to Assange? A society that prohibits the capacity to speak in truth extinguishes the capacity to live in justice. The battle for Assange’s liberty has always been much more than the persecution of a publisher. It is the most important battle for press freedom of our era. And if we lose this battle, it will be devastating, not only for Assange and his family, but for us. Tyrannies invert the rule of law. They turn the law into an instrument of injustice. They cloak their crimes in a faux legality. They use the decorum of the courts and trials, to mask their criminality. Those, such as Assange, who expose that criminality to the public are dangerous, for without the pretext of legitimacy the tyranny loses credibility and has nothing left in its arsenal but fear, coercion and violence. The long campaign against Assange and WikiLeaks is a window into the collapse of the rule of law, the rise of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of inverted totalitarianism, a form of totalitarianism that maintains the fictions of the old capitalist democracy, including its institutions, iconography, patriotic symbols and rhetoric, but internally has surrendered total control to the dictates of global corporations and the security and surveillance state. There is no legal basis to hold Assange in prison. There is no legal basis to try him, an Australian citizen, under the US Espionage Act. The CIA spied on Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers as they discussed his defense. This fact alone invalidated the trial. Assange is being held in a high security prison so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, has testified, continue the degrading abuse and torture it hopes will lead to his psychological if not physical disintegration.The architects of imperialism, the masters of war, the corporate-controlled legislative, judicial and executive branches of government and their obsequious courtiers in the media, are guilty of egregious crimes. Say this simple truth and you are banished, as many of us have been, to the margins of the media landscape. Prove this truth, as Assange, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond and Edward Snowden have by allowing us to peer into the inner workings of power, and you are hunted down and persecuted. Assange’s “crime” is that he exposed the more than 15,000 unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians. He exposed the torture and abuse of some 800 men and boys, aged between 14 and 89, at Guantánamo. He exposed that Hillary Clinton in 2009 ordered US diplomats to spy on U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and other U.N. representatives from China, France, Russia, and the UK, spying that included obtaining DNA, iris scans, fingerprints, and personal passwords, part of the long pattern of illegal surveillance that included the eavesdropping on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the weeks before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. He exposed that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the CIA orchestrated the June 2009 military coup in Honduras that overthrew the democratically-elected president Manuel Zelaya, replacing it with a murderous and corrupt military regime. He exposed that George W. Bush, Barack Obama and General David Petraeus prosecuted a war in Iraq that under post-Nuremberg laws is defined as a criminal war of aggression, a war crime, which authorized hundreds of targeted assassinations, including those of US citizens in Yemen. He exposed that the United States secretly launched missile, bomb, and drone attacks on Yemen, killing scores of civilians. He exposed that Goldman Sachs paid Hillary Clinton $657,000 to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe, and that she privately assured corporate leaders she would do their bidding while promising the public financial regulation and reform. He exposed the internal campaign to discredit and destroy British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by members of his own party. He exposed how the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency permits the wholesale government surveillance of our televisions, computers, smartphones and anti-virus software, allowing the government to record and store our conversations, images and private text messages, even from encrypted apps. He exposed the truth. He exposed it over and over and over until there was no question of the endemic illegality, corruption and mendacity that defines the global ruling elite. And for these truths alone he is guilty. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/03/2021 - 00:05.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 3rd, 2021

Biden risks killing more civilians with drone strikes in Afghanistan as part of his "over-the-horizon" strategy, experts warn

Without a robust intelligence network on the ground, it's difficult for the US to know who it's targeting with drone strikes. Ajmal Ahmadi, weeps alone in a room after members of his family were killed on Sunday, in an American drone strike that targeted and hit a vehicle in their home in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. Marcus Yam/Getty Images Biden's "over-the-horizon" strategy could lead to more civilian deaths in Afghanistan, experts warn. Without a robust intelligence network on the ground, it's difficult for the US to know who it's targeting. An August 29 drone strike in Kabul killed 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children. See more stories on Insider's business page. A US drone strike in Kabul on August 29 killed 10 civilians, including an aid worker and seven children. It was not an isolated incident. Drone strikes conducted by the US, in Afghanistan and beyond, have often resulted in civilian casualties.The Biden administration last week apologized for the strike, pledging to take steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.President Joe Biden has vowed to continue going after ISIS-K in Afghanistan via an "over-the-horizon" approach, which essentially involves conducting operations or strikes without boots on the ground. The White House on Monday signaled that he remains undeterred in this regard despite the controversy over the August 29 strike. "The President's desire to continue to go after ISIS-K has not changed," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.But Biden's strategy could result in even more civilian deaths moving forward and is likely illegal, experts warn. "I'm definitely concerned that the Biden administration's 'over-the-horizon' approach will result in more civilian casualties, because the accuracy of drone strikes depends heavily on the quality of intelligence, and if the US does not have an actual presence in Afghanistan, it's hard to see how it can determine whether the information it's getting from any supposed partners on the ground is reliable," Daphne Eviatar, Amnesty International USA's director of Security With Human Rights, told Insider.'Strikes are only as accurate as the targeting intelligence' Relatives and neighbors of the Ahmadi family gathered around the incinerated husk of a vehicle targeted and hit earlier Sunday afternoon by an American drone strike, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. Marcus Yam/Getty Images The drone strike on August 29 came after an ISIS-K attack near the Kabul airport, which killed 13 US service members and 169 Afghans. The US military initially offered a full-throated defense of the drone attack, calling it a "righteous strike." The US thought it was targeting a car packed with explosives for another ISIS-K attack. But a report from the New York Times revealed that the military actually launched the strike at a vehicle that an aid worker, Zemari Ahmadi, was filling with water containers for his home. "Drone strikes create the illusion that there's some sort of high tech, antiseptic, risk-free way to use force, but no matter how fancy the technology is, such strikes are only as accurate as the targeting intelligence," Rosa Brooks, a professor of law and policy at Georgetown University, told Insider. "The tragic results of the strike that followed the Kabul airport attack is a case in point: precision targeting technologies count for nothing if you have bad intel."Brooks, who also served as counselor to undersecretary of defense for policy Michele Flournoy from 2009 to 2011, added that having assets on the ground is also not necessarily "sufficient to prevent mistakes." Local informants can be wrong and even lie at times, Brooks said, and we've seen "plenty of drone-strikes-gone-wrong in places and time periods in which we did have assets on the ground."To this point, it's estimated US drone strikes have killed between 4,126 to 10,076 people in Afghanistan since January 2004, including between 300 to 909 civilians, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a UK-based organization that has tracked US drone strikes for years.Not having troops in the country does not necessarily mean the US has no intel or resources in Afghanistan, Brooks went on to say, but the withdrawal has made it "even more difficult to get good ground level intelligence." Complicating the matter is the fact that ISIS-K is a decentralized group that's made up of semi-autonomous cells, making it harder to track. The US pullout from Afghanistan has "decimated" its intelligence network in the country, Charles Lister, a senior fellow and the director of the Syria and counterterrorism programs at the Middle East Institute, told Insider last month."The dispersed and cellular challenge like ISIS-K requires constant air surveillance and an extensive and ground force effort - and that really is beyond the realm of reality now," Lister added.'It will be virtually impossible to use drone strikes legally' Mechanics trail an MQ-9 Reaper as it taxis for takeoff August 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Reaper is the Air Force's first "hunter-killer" unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), designed to engage time-sensitive targets on the battlefield as well as provide intelligence and surveillance. The jet-fighter sized Reapers are 36 feet long with 66-foot wingspans and can fly for up to 14 hours fully loaded with laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images The use of drones by the US in counterterrorism operations dates back to the earliest days of the war on terror, and the practice has consistently raised myriad ethical and legal questions. Similarly, experts are expressing serious concerns about the legality over-the-horizon approach . "Not only do remote pilots have only a vague idea in most cases who they are killing, now that the war is over in Afghanistan, it will be virtually impossible to use drone strikes legally," Mary Ellen O'Connell, Notre Dame Law School professor and expert on international law in relation to the use of force, told Insider."During on-going armed conflict hostilities, target selection could be made based on who was fighting against US and allied forces," O'Connell added. "Going forward, everyone has the presumption of civilian status and cannot be summarily killed with a drone strikes."Along these lines, Eviatar questioned what authorization the US has to use lethal force unless the strike is in response to an actual imminent threat to human life, which "will be difficult to determine from 'over the horizon.'"Such concerns underscore the need for greater transparency from the government when it comes to drone strikes, Brooks said. "There will always be disagreement about what level of inadvertent civilians casualties - if any - is 'too much,' but without transparency we can't even begin to have that discussion, and without accountability our conclusions won't change anything," Brooks said. If reporting from the Times and other outlets like the Washington Post hadn't undermined the US military's narrative on the strike in such glaring ways, it's an open question as to whether the Pentagon would've admitted that the drone attack killed civilians. Drone strikes, which the US has conducted everywhere from Somalia to Yemen, tend to occur in remote areas and far from reporters or watchdogs. This has opened the door for the Pentagon to be opaque about the bombings and their consequences."In the past, the US has often refused to admit that the victims were civilians, even when confronted with detailed evidence from groups like Amnesty International and others demonstrating the victims' civilian status," Eviatar said. "And the US has almost never provided reparations or any sort of compensation or assistance to the civilian victims it's harmed."'A positive step' Men look at wall graffiti depicting a U.S. drone along a street in Sanaa, Yemen, November 9, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi Biden is hardly the first US president to look to drones as a means of combatting terrorism without putting American forces in harms way. The use of drone strikes in counterterrorism operations began under the Bush administration. President Barack Obama accelerated the use of drone strikes when he was in office, facing rampant criticism over civilian casualties in the process.The Obama administration eventually took steps that aimed to reduce civilian deaths from drone strikes, which were ultimately reversed by the Trump administration. There was a massive spike in civilian deaths in Afghanistan from airstrikes under President Donald Trump, who in 2017 relaxed the rules of engagement for strikes.Biden initiated a review of US drone policy after coming into office that's ongoing. Eviatar said it's "a positive step" that the Biden administration has acknowledged the harm caused by the August 29 trike and that the Pentagon expressed a willingness to pay reparations to the families of the victims. But "we'd like to see a much stronger break with past policies than what we've seen so far," Eviatar added. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 21st, 2021

Escobar: The Fugitive Who Tried To Spark A US-China War

Escobar: The Fugitive Who Tried To Spark A US-China War Authored by Pepe Escobar, Guo Wengui, also known as Guo Haoyun, and by his English names Miles Kwok and Miles Guo, is a politically connected, self-proclaimed exiled Chinese billionaire who tried to start a U.S.-China war. On Feb. 15, the billionaire filed for Chapter 11, personal bankruptcy protection in US Bankruptcy Court in Bridgeport, CT, listing assets of just $3,850 and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million. Guo’s declaration came after a Hong Kong money manager, Pacific Alliance Group, sued him over unpaid debts. That certainly didn’t add up. Only three months after filing for bankruptcy, Guo had spent nearly $2 million on legal fees. Yet on May 11, he filed a waiver of personal bankruptcy with the court through his lawyer, stating he had no more funds to pay his legal fees. During the bankruptcy hearing, Guo claimed he owned no house, no car, and no credit cards. That certainly didn’t square up with the lavish lifestyle he flaunted on social media – replete with mansion, private jet and yacht. So is this story really about bankruptcy? Or a very elaborate ruse? ‘I Wanna Be a Part of It, New York, New York’ Guo was born to a modest family in February 1967 in a rural area of Shandong province. According to the news site China Youth Network, he went through proverbial, eye-opening experiences as a teenager, such as skipping school, brawling and gambling. He married at 18; got his own brother killed for an argument revolving around a mere 7,000 yuan; and was sentenced to three years in prison and four years probation for fraud. Guo rose to fame by building a real estate empire in Beijing, which earned him titles such as “Capital Giant”, “Power Hunter” and “Pirate of the Caribbean” from awed Chinese netizens. In 2017, Interpol issued a Red Notice for Guo, who had already fled to the US in 2015 after being accused by the Chinese government of fraud, bribery, and money laundering. He denied all charges. Yet according to information publicly available, Guo committed a series of financial frauds, including a $539 million scam targeting small investors in the United States, a $470 million fraudulent loan in China, and a $43 million cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme. In recent years, Guo has had a quite active life online, amassing special notoriety for his fierce criticism of the Chinese Communist Party. According to China’s Chongqing Public Security Bureau, Guo has been building a case since August 2017 for political asylum in the US by concocting a series of online exposés. Some of these, revolving around Hunter Biden’s sex antics , caught the attention of US media. Guo’s central spin at the time was that “We have to express…the Chinese Communist Party used these to threaten Hunter and [Joe] Biden.” But he provided no proof of this. In 2017, Guo gained the attention of Foreign Affairs in an article co-written by Rush Doshi, who’s now senior director for China at the US National Security Council. The article focused on how Guo – without providing sources or conclusive evidence – threw lurid allegations at Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, the head of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. “Guo Wengui, an expatriate Chinese billionaire, began to make explosive allegations on YouTube and Twitter about China’s leaders,” Doshi and co-author George Yin explained. “President Xi Jinping, Guo claimed, had sought incriminating information about Wang Qishan, Xi’s right-hand man and the chief of his anti-corruption campaign. The figure tasked with rooting out China’s official graft, Guo suggested, was himself corrupt — if not directly, then through his family’s alleged financial holdings. Guo’s claims seemed designed to sever China’s most important political relationship before this fall’s 19th Party Congress, where officials will determine Xi’s longevity as president and select members for China’s top decision-making bodies.” Guo’s patrons included disgraced Chinese security officials Ma Jian, Vice-Minister of Public Security 2006-2015 and Zhou Yongkang, Minister of Public Security 2002-2007. A powerful member of the Politburo’s Standing Committee, Zhou was expelled from the Communist Party in 2014 and sentenced to life in prison the following year. In 2018, Ma was sentenced to life in prison for taking bribes from Guo, according to court proceedings. Another of Guo’s handlers, Politburo member Sun Zhengcai, got a life sentence for bribery in 2018. Sun was the Communist Party boss in the western megacity Chongqing. After Sun’s disgrace, the supervision of Guo passed to China’s vice-minister of police Sun Lijun (no relation), and Justice Minister Fu Zenghua. Sun Lijun was convicted of corruption in July 2022 and awaits sentencing. Fu is under arrest and awaiting trial. What stands out is that throughout this period Guo acted as an agent of elements in China’s security services purged and convicted for corruption. Later, in 2021, Guo switched to promoting the allegation that Chinese hackers had shifted presidential election votes from Trump to Joe Biden. Guo’s politicking is just as intriguing as his business adventures. Especially because of his status as former protégé of the very powerful ex-Vice Minister of State Security Ma Jian, who was himself a mentor of security chief Zhou Yongkang, then a Politburo member. It’s not an accident that Guo fled China soon after Ma and Zhou were arrested as part of President Xi’s anti-corruption campaign. At the time, Guo was in a bitter business dispute with his former partner and politically connected tycoon Li You. That was bringing unwanted attention to his financial dealings. The central plot in this murky saga revolves around opaque developments inside the all-powerful Ministry of State Security (MSS) in the early 2010s, when Xi Jinping came to power. Guo’s intelligence handlers, Ma and Zhou, were allies of Ling Jihua, who was former President Hu Jintao’s chief of staff. The crucial link between Ma and Ling was provided by Sun Zhengcai, the former party secretary of Chongqing, also a Politburo member. As we’ve seen, Zhou, Ling, and Sun all ended up in jail – targets of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign. But, remarkably, not Guo – who according to former Chinese government officials was Ma’s MSS agent in charge of special ops overseas. Guo’s job in 2012 was to sabotage the ascension of Xi by spreading an array of fake news in China and among the Chinese diaspora. That failed. Nonetheless, Guo remained at work as an MSS agent until at least October 2021, according to well-placed Chinese sources. Considering his recent activities and the fact he was lavishly embraced by prominent US China hawks, it appears that his assignment was to cause maximum damage to US-China relations, arguably derailing them to a point of no return. How to Profit From Lavish Overseas Funds Guo impressed his American hosts with a show of vast wealth. After fleeing China he took up residence in New York in a $70 million apartment in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel on Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park. His bragging rights included buying more than 200 custom-tailored suits a year; spending more than $20 million in legal fees around the world; smoking $10,000 cigars; and drinking limited editions of the Chinese liquor Moutai. All that, of course, neatly fit his claim to bankruptcy court of holding only $3,850 in personal assets. In his bankruptcy filing, Guo argued to the court that his expenses were funded by his family. The luxury apartment in New York was owned by the family company; a villa was owned by his wife’s company; daily expenses and all those customized suits were provided by Golden Spring, a New York-based company owned by his son Guo Qiang. Qu Guojiao, or Natasha Qu, Guo Wengui’s former financial assistant, still living in China, revealed in an exclusive interview that in the space of over 20 years, Guo set up more than 100 companies in Hong Kong, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. None of these were under his name, she said. Yet regardless of who and which company holds them, the ultimate flow of funds and shareholding arrangements always proceeded at Guo’s own discretion, Qu said. Guo is known to have amassed a huge fortune by colluding with corrupt Chinese powerbrokers and business tycoons: that’s the reason for his fame among Chinese netizens as a “Capital Giant”. Yet most of the funds came from unknown sources, and were never under his name. The Blair Connection As previously reported by the respected Chinese business newspaper Caixin Global, one of Guo’s main sources of money materialized with the help of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. With Blair’s endorsement, Guo raised $3 billion from the Abu Dhabi royal family. Blair flew on a luxury private jet during a visit to the Middle East in 2013 when he was the U.N. Quartet’s Middle East envoy; he was accompanied by Guo, who was responsible for paying for the flight, according to Caixin. Guo won the Blairs’ favor when he bought 5,000 copies of Blair’s wife Cherie’s new autobiographical book in Chinese, Speaking for Myself, in August 2009. In 2013, Blair introduced Guo to a group of dignitaries from the Abu Dhabi royal family, the newspaper reported. In 2014 Guo, with the support of all-powerful Ma Jian, then Chinese vice minister of security, used Blair’s position as the Special Envoy to the Middle East Quartet to gain the trust of the Abu Dhabi royals. Guo ended up signing a contract with them in Macau on Dec. 16 that year, setting up a “China-Arab Fund,” according to China Daily. The first $1.5 billion was paid from Abu Dhabi’s Cayman Islands-registered company Roscalitar 2 to one of Guo Wengui’s bank accounts the following day. Guo’s assistant at the time, Qu, confirmed in the interview that the money was used to buy Hong Kong stocks, property, a yacht and other assets. (CAPTION: Voucher signed and authorized by Guo Wengui for the transfer of €25.2 million from Bravo Luck Ltd to DWF LLP for the balance of the purchase of the Lady May yacht) Natasha Qu stated: “In December 2014, the Abu Dhabi side transferred 1.5 billion to Guo Wengui, who immediately instructed her to transfer the money to HK International Funds Investment Ltd, a company controlled by Guo Wengui through her and Guo Qiang.” Guo, according to Qu, “asked to transfer a total of $520 million in two installments to the Bravo Luck Ltd account. Payments were then made through the Bravo Luck Ltd account to purchase the Lady May yacht, the luxury apartment in New York, and money was also transferred to Guo Qiang himself and to his controlled [company] Golden Spring” at its Hong Kong head office. (CAPTION: Voucher signed and authorized by Guo Wengui for transfer from Bravo Luck Ltd $62,990,741.85 to IVEY Barnum & O’Mara LLC for the balance of the apartment in the Sherry Netherland Hotel in New York) Natasha Qu adds: “Although Guo Wengui had more than a hundred companies in Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands, none of them had any real business and there was basically no money in the company accounts. They were set up simply to raise and transfer money. All of Guo Wengui’s spending in those two or three years both at home and abroad came from this Abu Dhabi money.” There’s no information as to whether any of these funds are still left. What is clear is that Guo kept spending right up until and after his recent bankruptcy filing. After claiming he was flat broke, Guo hired three big-name lawyers from top US law firm Brown Rudnick LLP each charging more than $1,000 an hour, according to news reports of the bankruptcy filing. (Lawyers’ fees listed in the court papers submitted by Guo Wengui) Documents in Guo’s bankruptcy case show that the day before filing for bankruptcy, he sent $1 million to law firm Brown & Rudnick from Lamp Capital Ltd (Lamp Capital). In addition to this firm, Guo also hired the services of Stretto Insolvency Solutions and V&L Financial Services, according to court filings. In May 2022 Guo set up an $8 million loan from his own New York-based company Golden Spring to pay for insolvency administration and financial services. Should I Stay (Bankrupt) or Should I Go? It’s not clear how wealthy Guo Wengui really is, and what are his real assets. One of the most contentious assets in the years-long litigation between Hong Kong’s Pacific Alliance Group and Guo Wengui is the now-famous Lady May yacht, where federal officials had arrested Steve Bannon in 2020 for alleged fraud. Guo claimed that he sold the yacht to his daughter Guo Mei for $1, and that it is docked in a Spanish harbor. Natasha Qu reports that “the yacht was purchased in February 2015 by Guo Wengui for €28 million, with funds from the first US$1.5 billion released by the China-Arab Fund, in the name of Hong Kong International Fund Investment Ltd, and registered in the same name.” Qu says she transferred the ownership of Lady May to Guo Mei for US$1 on June 17, 2017, as instructed by Guo. Back in October 2014, Guo asked Natasha Qu to sign a Declaration of Trust to hold Hong Kong International Fund Investment Limited for him, after which the company was transferred to Natasha Qu to hold on his behalf for the price of HK$1. The Declaration of Trust made it clear that all actions of the trustee, Natasha Qu, in relation to the shareholding of the company were to be done in accordance with the instructions of the beneficiary, Guo Wengui. After Qu signed the Declaration of Trust, she said the document was taken away by Guo and kept by his lawyer. As Natasha Qu explains, “When the Hong Kong police investigated Guo Wengui for money laundering in 2017, Guo asked me to prepare the paperwork for a trip to the United States to transfer the entirety of Hong Kong International Fund Investment Limited to Guo Mei.” (CAPTION: Declaration of trust signed by Natasha Qu to hold Hong Kong International Fund Investment Limited for Guo Wengui). After he fled to the US, Guo tried his best to package himself as deeply hostile to Beijing. Guo’s patrons in the security services were convicted of major crimes or under investigation, and he feared arrest under corruption charges. According to the New York Times, Guo was on China’s most-wanted list for bribery, fraud and money laundering. Guo spent lavishly to win the support of associates of President Donald Trump. He hired former White House strategist Steve Bannon for a $1 million a year retainer. In 2020, alongside Bannon, Guo announced the creation of the “New Federal State of China,” supposedly to overthrow China’s Communist Party. The “Federal State” held an event in New York on June 4, 2022, with Bannon and a group of former senior Trump aides, including White House trade advisor Peter Navarro and speechwriter Jason Miller. Before the “Federal State” adventure, Guo set up the Rule of Law Foundation in 2018; launched a G series of investment projects such as GTV and G Coin, as well as farm loans, G-Club cards and Xi Coin. These ventures brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in sales and donations, but landed him in legal trouble. In May 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) imposed a $539 million penalty for Guo’s US$487 million in illegal private placements of GTV and G Coin. The remaining projects are also being investigated to varying degrees, including a “farm loan” of almost US$200 million at the end of 2020 and over US$100 million from the sale of one billion H-coins in 2021. The whereabouts and use of these funds are a complete mystery. Guo Wengui’s personal bankruptcy case is still pending. Under court order, Guo, as the owner of the Lady May yacht, promised on April 6 to allow the yacht to return to the US by July 15 and to post a US$37 million bond. On April 17, the bankruptcy court held Guo in contempt for hiding his yacht overseas. On May 11, Guo voluntarily filed to dismiss his personal bankruptcy case. This bizarre behavior caught the attention of major news media. Bankruptcy Court Acts On June 16, the Connecticut Bankruptcy Court noted that Guo Wengui and his family had interests in numerous limited liability companies and allegedly hid assets and defrauded creditors by depositing substantial personal assets among numerous subordinates and family members. The court ultimately denied Guo’s motion to dismiss, appointed a trustee for the bankruptcy assets, continued the bankruptcy proceedings, and appointed a trustee to conduct a worldwide investigation into Guo’s assets and whether Guo had acted in good faith in filing for bankruptcy. If creditors pursuing their investigation find that Guo has hidden assets and filed for bankruptcy, he may be found guilty of violating US bankruptcy laws as well as bankruptcy fraud. That would land him in serious legal trouble. And this time there won’t be any powerful Ministry of State Security patrons to lend a helping hand. Tyler Durden Wed, 08/10/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 10th, 2022

Transcript: Graham Weaver

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

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureJul 26th, 2022

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

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

Category: smallbizSource: nytJul 21st, 2022

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

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

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 21st, 2022

Jan. 6 live: Witness Trump tried to call is a White House support staffer, reports say

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

Category: dealsSource: nytJul 16th, 2022

Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein"s madam who lived in a $5 million NYC mansion, was convicted to 20 years in prison. Here"s what we know about the British socialite"s finances and assets.

Ghislaine Maxwell lived in an NYC mansion with links to Jeffrey Epstein and ran a foundation that donated to a charity for victims of sex trafficking. Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at an event in New York on June 13, 1995.Patrick McMullan via Getty ImagesThe British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison after her conviction in December 2021.Maxwell is said to have been in the inner circle of the financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died in prison in 2020 awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy.She is alleged to have acted as Epstein's madam; she's accused of recruiting victims and abusing them alongside the convicted sex offender.Maxwell, 58, the daughter of the media mogul Robert Maxwell, moved to New York City from England in 1991, reportedly living off a $100,000-a-year trust fund.Maxwell integrated herself into the city's high society, attending parties, charity galas, and other events with celebrities, presidents, CEOs, and other members of the city's wealthy and powerful elite.For seven years she ran an ocean-conservation nonprofit, which abruptly shut down in July 2019.Until 2016, Maxwell lived in a 7,000-square-foot Manhattan townhouse with links to Epstein. It was sold in 2016 for $15 million.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.Nearly two years after her arrest and following conviction in December 2021, Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for trafficking girls to have sex with financier Jeffrey Epstein.Maxwell was arrested by the FBI on July 2, 2020, according to multiple reports.The British socialite became one of the most prominent and mysterious figures linked to Epstein, who died by apparent suicide in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy.She was alleged to have acted as Epstein's madam, recruiting and abusing underage victims alongside the convicted sex offender. Maxwell denied these allegations.Maxwell's legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.Born in France, Maxwell is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, the British media mogul who mysteriously drowned after falling or jumping from his yacht near the Canary Islands in 1991.Here's what we know about how Maxwell's finances.The British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has become one of the most prominent and mysterious figures linked to the financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died by apparent suicide in a Manhattan prison in August 2019.Marc Dimov/Patrick McMullan via Getty ImagesMaxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for acting as Epstein's madam, recruiting and abusing underage victims alongside the convicted sex offender. Maxwell previously denied any wrongdoing.Born in France, Maxwell is the daughter of the British media mogul Robert Maxwell.Robert and Ghislaine Maxwell watch an Oxford-Brighton football match in October 1984.Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty ImagesRobert Maxwell was a member of Parliament from 1966 to 1970 and the owner of the British tabloid the Daily Mirror.In March 1991, months before his death, he bought the New York Daily News.In England, Maxwell was an Oxford-educated socialite.Ghislaine Maxwell in 1986.Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty ImagesMaxwell attended one of England's top private boarding schools and later graduated from Oxford University. She went on to found a social club for women in London.In 1991, Robert Maxwell died while cruising on his yacht, called the Lady Ghislaine after his daughter.The Lady Ghislaine in Spain in 1991.Bruno Bachelet/Paris Match via Getty ImagesHis body was found floating in the Atlantic Ocean after he disappeared from his private yacht. According to The Guardian, it was ruled that he died from a heart attack combined with accidental drowning, but his daughter reportedly believed her father was murdered.After his death, his yacht was sold to an American buyer and is now known as Lady Mona K. The 190-foot-yacht sleeps up to 12 guests in six cabins.Maxwell moved to the US in 1991, reportedly living off a $100,000-a-year trust fund set up by her father.Maxwell at a party at her New York City home on March 13, 2007.Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty ImagesHer father's business was more than $4 billion in debt following his death, so Maxwell didn't move to the US as a lavishly wealthy heiress.The British socialite, about 30 years old at the time, quickly became a staple of the city's high society, rubbing shoulders with celebrities, presidents, CEOs, and other members of the city's wealthy and powerful elite.According to a 2000 article by the New York Post, she started out in New York working in real estate and living off about $100,000 a year from a trust fund set up by her father.Soon after she moved to New York, Maxwell reportedly began a relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell at a 2005 benefit for Wall Street Rising at Cipriani Wall Street on March 15, 2005.Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty ImagesAccording to the Post, Maxwell started dating Epstein around 1992.Maxwell is said to have introduced Epstein to many of her high-flying friends.Donald Trump, Melania Trump (then Melania Knauss), Epstein, and Maxwell at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, in February 2000.Davidoff Studios/Getty ImagesMaxwell reportedly socialized with high-profile people including John F. Kennedy Jr., Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, and the Clinton family.Maxwell introduced Epstein to Bill and Hillary Clinton, whom she knew through their daughter, Chelsea, according to Politico. Maxwell was a guest at Chelsea Clinton's wedding in July 2010.Bill and Chelsea Clinton.GettyAccording to Politico, Maxwell grew close with Chelsea Clinton after her father left office."Ghislaine was the contact between Epstein and Clinton," a person familiar with the relationship told Politico in July. "She ended up being close to the family because she and Chelsea ended up becoming close."When reached for comment by Business Insider, Bari Lurie, Clinton's chief of staff, said Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, were not aware of the allegations against Maxwell until 2015."Chelsea and Marc were friendly with her because of her relationship with a dear friend of theirs," Lurie said. "When that relationship ended, Chelsea and Marc's friendship with her ended as well."A person close to Clinton told Business Insider that she and her husband knew Maxwell through a close family friend, Ted Waitt, and that Clinton and Maxwell were never "close."Maxwell was at Clinton's wedding only because she was Waitt's girlfriend at the time, the person said.Waitt cofounded the personal-computing company Gateway in 1985 and is now chairman of the Waitt Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the oceans.Maxwell's social life wasn't confined to New York City.Calvin Klein, Aby Rosen, and Maxwell at a dinner on December 3, 2009, in Miami Beach, Florida.BILLY FARRELL/Patrick McMullan via Getty ImageShe attended events like a dinner in Miami Beach, Florida, hosted by the New York real-estate tycoon Aby Rosen, where guests included the fashion designer Calvin Klein.Maxwell is accused of approaching and recruiting girls to visit Epstein in his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.Until 2016, Maxwell lived in a $5 million New York townhouse bought by a company with the same address as Epstein's business office.A Google Maps street view of Maxwell's former home.Google MapsTax records reviewed by Business Insider show that the Manhattan townhouse was purchased for $4.95 million in October 2000 by an anonymous corporation with the same address as Epstein's finance office on Madison Avenue.The seller was Lynn Forester.Business Insider was unable to confirm that the seller of the home is the same Lynn Forester who has been linked to Epstein. Lynn Forester de Rothschild, the chair of the E. L. Rothschild family investment office and the wife of the British billionaire financier Sir Evelyn Robert Adrian de Rothschild, was one of the names on Epstein's private-jet log. In October 2000, she was not yet married to de Rothschild.Forester sold the mansion for about $8.5 million less than its assessed market value, which was more than $13.4 million. Forester bought the home in 1997 for $4.475 million, according to tax documents.The 7,000-square-foot home on Manhattan's Upper East Side has 12 rooms, eight fireplaces, and an elevator.Lynn Forester de Rothschild did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.The townhouse Maxwell lived in is about six blocks from Epstein's former home on 71st Street.Google MapsThe home was sold in the spring of 2016 for $15 million.For seven years Maxwell operated an ocean-conservation nonprofit organization, which was abruptly shut down in July.Westchester Digital Summit/YoutubeMaxwell founded the TerraMar Project in 2012 to promote conservancy of the world's oceans.Days after Epstein was arrested on charges of sex trafficking, the organization's website was shut down and now includes only a statement announcing its closure: "The TerraMar Project is sad to announce that it will cease all operations. The web site will be closed ... TerraMar wants to thank all its supporters, partners and fellow ocean lovers."Business Insider's Áine Cain reviewed the nonprofit's tax documents and found that it was a relatively small enterprise. No employee was ever paid more than $100,000, and most of its funds went into website development, office expenses, travel, phone and utilities fees, merchant fees, contractor fees, professional fundraising services, and insurance policies.Maxwell reported working 60-hour weeks and pouring thousands into the organization, but by 2017 TerraMar was $550,546 in the hole in terms of revenue.INSIDER's Ellen Cranley recently reported that investigators were looking into the nonprofit for possible connections to Epstein.Tax documents reviewed by Business Insider show that Epstein donated $57,000 to the organization in the tax year ending in January 2013.Through a private foundation, Maxwell has donated to various charitable organizations — including a charity for victims of sex trafficking.Maxwell in New York in September 2005.Scott Rudd/Patrick McMullan via Getty ImagesAccording to tax filings published by ProPublica and reviewed by Business Insider, Maxwell is the trustee of a philanthropic organization called Max Foundation Tr.Tax filings show that in 2008, Maxwell's foundation donated $350 to Girls Educational & Mentoring Services, a charity whose stated mission is to end the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children and young women.When reached by email, Rachel Lloyd, GEMS's founder and CEO, told Business Insider they could not find a record of the donation, noting that it was for less than $500 and that they had changed donor databases since 2008."We would never knowingly accept monies from anyone who was working against [our] mission," Lloyd said. "We fully support all the victims who have been brave enough to come forward against Jeffrey Epstein and hope that they will still be able to find a measure of justice from those [who] perpetuated his crimes."Maxwell's other donations through her foundation include $275 in 2011 to the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, a chapter of Boys & Girls Clubs of America that provides after-school programs for under-resourced youth in New York City.In 2007, she donated $300 to Hale House, a New York charity that took in homeless infants and toddlers. In 2008, Hale House ended its residential program and became a daycare service known as the Mother Hale Learning Center.The tax filings also show that Maxwell donated $2,500 to the Clinton Library and Foundation in 2003, as well as at least $1,625 from 2003 to 2008 to the Wayuu Taya Foundation, a nonprofit focused on improving the lives of Latin American indigenous communities.According to the tax filings, from 2002 to 2018, Maxwell's foundation held an average of about $20,000 in total assets each year and appeared to be used to make a few small donations per year, possibly to purchase tickets to some of the fundraisers and charity galas at which she was often photographed.The foundation's total recorded assets peaked in the tax year ending in June 2003 at $42,947, according to available tax filings. By 2018, that number had dwindled to $1,245.Maxwell's whereabouts have been unknown, and authorities have had trouble locating her, The Washington Post reported.Kevin Mazur/VF14/Contributor/Getty ImagesThe Post reported on August 11, 2019, that Maxwell was believed to be living abroad and that authorities had not been able to locate her.A Daily Mail report from August 14, 2019, said Maxwell had been living in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, with the tech CEO Scott Borgerson.However, when contacted by Business Insider, Borgerson denied that Maxwell was staying at his house. He said that he had been out of the country traveling for work for the past week and that the house had been empty.Maxwell's legal team did not previously respond to Business Insider's request for comment on her location.But after a year of laying low, Maxwell was arrested by the FBI on July 2, 2020, according to multiple reports.Ghislaine Maxwell at Spring Studios in New York City on October 18, 2019.Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via GettySenior law enforcement officials told News 4 New York, an NBC affiliate, that Maxwell faces "Epstein-related" charges and will appear in federal court in the Southern District of New York later Thursday.Her arrest comes a year after Epstein himself was arrested.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 28th, 2022

Everything Is A Weapon: The US Government Is Waging Psychological Warfare On The Nation

Everything Is A Weapon: The US Government Is Waging Psychological Warfare On The Nation Authored by  John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “Have you ever wondered who’s pulling the strings? … Anything we touch is a weapon. We can deceive, persuade, change, influence, inspire. We come in many forms. We are everywhere.” - U.S. Army Psychological Operations recruitment video The U.S. government is waging psychological warfare on the American people. No, this is not a conspiracy theory. Psychological warfare, according to the Rand Corporation, “involves the planned use of propaganda and other psychological operations to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of opposition groups.” For years now, the government has been bombarding the citizenry with propaganda campaigns and psychological operations aimed at keeping us compliant, easily controlled and supportive of the police state’s various efforts abroad and domestically. The government is so confident in its Orwellian powers of manipulation that it’s taken to bragging about them. Just recently, for example, the U.S. Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group, the branch of the military responsible for psychological warfare, released a recruiting video that touts its efforts to pull the strings, turn everything they touch into a weapon, be everywhere, deceive, persuade, change, influence, and inspire. This is the danger that lurks in plain sight. Of the many weapons in the government’s vast arsenal, psychological warfare may be the most devastating in terms of the long-term consequences. As the military journal Task and Purpose explains, “Psychological warfare is all about influencing governments, people of power, and everyday citizens… PSYOP soldiers’ key missions are to influence ‘emotions, notices, reasoning, and behavior of foreign governments and citizens,’ ‘deliberately deceive’ enemy forces, advise governments, and provide communications for disaster relief and rescue efforts.” Yet don’t be fooled into thinking these psyops (psychological operations) campaigns are only aimed at foreign enemies. The government has made clear in word and deed that “we the people” are domestic enemies to be targeted, tracked, manipulated, micromanaged, surveilled, viewed as suspects, and treated as if our fundamental rights are mere privileges that can be easily discarded. Aided and abetted by technological advances and scientific experimentation, the government has been subjecting the American people to “apple-pie propaganda” for the better part of the last century. Consider some of the ways in which the government continues to wage psychological warfare on a largely unsuspecting citizenry. Weaponizing violence. With alarming regularity, the nation continues to be subjected to spates of violence that terrorizes the public, destabilizes the country’s ecosystem, and gives the government greater justifications to crack down, lock down, and institute even more authoritarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry. Weaponizing surveillance, pre-crime and pre-thought campaigns. Surveillance, digital stalking and the data mining of the American people add up to a society in which there’s little room for indiscretions, imperfections, or acts of independence. When the government sees all and knows all and has an abundance of laws to render even the most seemingly upstanding citizen a criminal and lawbreaker, then the old adage that you’ve got nothing to worry about if you’ve got nothing to hide no longer applies. Add pre-crime programs into the mix with government agencies and corporations working in tandem to determine who is a potential danger and spin a sticky spider-web of threat assessments, behavioral sensing warnings, flagged “words,” and “suspicious” activity reports using automated eyes and ears, social media, behavior sensing software, and citizen spies, and you having the makings for a perfect dystopian nightmare. The government’s war on crime has now veered into the realm of social media and technological entrapment, with government agents adopting fake social media identities and AI-created profile pictures in order to surveil, target and capture potential suspects. Weaponizing digital currencies, social media scores and censorship. Tech giants, working with the government, have been meting out their own version of social justice by way of digital tyranny and corporate censorship, muzzling whomever they want, whenever they want, on whatever pretext they want in the absence of any real due process, review or appeal. Unfortunately, digital censorship is just the beginning. Digital currencies (which can be used as “a tool for government surveillance of citizens and control over their financial transactions”), combined with social media scores and surveillance capitalism create a litmus test to determine who is worthy enough to be part of society and punish individuals for moral lapses and social transgressions (and reward them for adhering to government-sanctioned behavior). In China, millions of individuals and businesses, blacklisted as “unworthy” based on social media credit scores that grade them based on whether they are “good” citizens, have been banned from accessing financial markets, buying real estate or travelling by air or train. Weaponizing compliance. Even the most well-intentioned government law or program can be—and has been—perverted, corrupted and used to advance illegitimate purposes once profit and power are added to the equation. The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on COVID-19, the war on illegal immigration, asset forfeiture schemes, road safety schemes, school safety schemes, eminent domain: all of these programs started out as legitimate responses to pressing concerns and have since become weapons of compliance and control in the police state’s hands. Weaponizing entertainment. For the past century, the Department of Defense’s Entertainment Media Office has provided Hollywood with equipment, personnel and technical expertise at taxpayer expense. In exchange, the military industrial complex has gotten a starring role in such blockbusters as Top Gun and its rebooted sequel Top Gun: Maverick, which translates to free advertising for the war hawks, recruitment of foot soldiers for the military empire, patriotic fervor by the taxpayers who have to foot the bill for the nation’s endless wars, and Hollywood visionaries working to churn out dystopian thrillers that make the war machine appear relevant, heroic and necessary. As Elmer Davis, a CBS broadcaster who was appointed the head of the Office of War Information, observed, “The easiest way to inject a propaganda idea into most people’s minds is to let it go through the medium of an entertainment picture when they do not realize that they are being propagandized.” Weaponizing behavioral science and nudging. Apart from the overt dangers posed by a government that feels justified and empowered to spy on its people and use its ever-expanding arsenal of weapons and technology to monitor and control them, there’s also the covert dangers associated with a government empowered to use these same technologies to influence behaviors en masse and control the populace. In fact, it was President Obama who issued an executive order directing federal agencies to use “behavioral science” methods to minimize bureaucracy and influence the way people respond to government programs. It’s a short hop, skip and a jump from a behavioral program that tries to influence how people respond to paperwork to a government program that tries to shape the public’s views about other, more consequential matters. Thus, increasingly, governments around the world—including in the United States—are relying on “nudge units” to steer citizens in the direction the powers-that-be want them to go, while preserving the appearance of free will. Weaponizing desensitization campaigns aimed at lulling us into a false sense of security. The events of recent years—the invasive surveillance, the extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests, the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises and active shooter drills, the lockdowns, the color-coded alerts and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, the distribution of military equipment and weapons to local police forces, the government databases containing the names of dissidents and potential troublemakers—have conspired to acclimate the populace to accept a police state willingly, even gratefully. Weaponizing fear and paranoia. The language of fear is spoken effectively by politicians on both sides of the aisle, shouted by media pundits from their cable TV pulpits, marketed by corporations, and codified into bureaucratic laws that do little to make our lives safer or more secure. Fear, as history shows, is the method most often used by politicians to increase the power of government and control a populace, dividing the people into factions, and persuading them to see each other as the enemy. This Machiavellian scheme has so ensnared the nation that few Americans even realize they are being manipulated into adopting an “us” against “them” mindset. Instead, fueled with fear and loathing for phantom opponents, they agree to pour millions of dollars and resources into political elections, militarized police, spy technology and endless wars, hoping for a guarantee of safety that never comes. All the while, those in power—bought and paid for by lobbyists and corporations—move their costly agendas forward, and “we the suckers” get saddled with the tax bills and subjected to pat downs, police raids and round-the-clock surveillance. Weaponizing genetics. Not only does fear grease the wheels of the transition to fascism by cultivating fearful, controlled, pacified, cowed citizens, but it also embeds itself in our very DNA so that we pass on our fear and compliance to our offspring. It’s called epigenetic inheritance, the transmission through DNA of traumatic experiences. For example, neuroscientists observed that fear can travel through generations of mice DNA. As The Washington Post reports, “Studies on humans suggest that children and grandchildren may have felt the epigenetic impact of such traumatic events such as famine, the Holocaust and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.” Weaponizing the future. With greater frequency, the government has been issuing warnings about the dire need to prepare for the dystopian future that awaits us. For instance, the Pentagon training video, “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity,” predicts that by 2030 (coincidentally, the same year that society begins to achieve singularity with the metaverse) the military would be called on to use armed forces to solve future domestic political and social problems. What they’re really talking about is martial law, packaged as a well-meaning and overriding concern for the nation’s security. The chilling five-minute training video paints an ominous picture of the future bedeviled by “criminal networks,” “substandard infrastructure,” “religious and ethnic tensions,” “impoverishment, slums,” “open landfills, over-burdened sewers,” a “growing mass of unemployed,” and an urban landscape in which the prosperous economic elite must be protected from the impoverishment of the have nots. “We the people” are the have-nots. The end goal of these mind control campaigns—packaged in the guise of the greater good—is to see how far the American people will allow the government to go in re-shaping the country in the image of a totalitarian police state. The facts speak for themselves. Whatever else it may be—a danger, a menace, a threat—the U.S. government is certainly not looking out for our best interests, nor is it in any way a friend to freedom. When the government views itself as superior to the citizenry, when it no longer operates for the benefit of the people, when the people are no longer able to peacefully reform their government, when government officials cease to act like public servants, when elected officials no longer represent the will of the people, when the government routinely violates the rights of the people and perpetrates more violence against the citizenry than the criminal class, when government spending is unaccountable and unaccounted for, when the judiciary act as courts of order rather than justice, and when the government is no longer bound by the laws of the Constitution, then you no longer have a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” What we have is a government of wolves. Our backs are against the proverbial wall. “We the people”—who think, who reason, who take a stand, who resist, who demand to be treated with dignity and care, who believe in freedom and justice for all—have become undervalued citizens of a totalitarian state that views people as expendable once they have outgrown their usefulness to the State. Brace yourselves. As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, “we the people” have become enemies of the Deep State. Tyler Durden Thu, 06/09/2022 - 23:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJun 10th, 2022

Will the Pornhub mansion fire ever be solved?

A year later, the fire that engulfed the $16 million Montreal mansion of Pornhub CEO Feras Antoon remains unsolved. Feras Antoon's multi-million dollar home in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville section of Montreal on the night of the fire.Stéphane Grégoire/Radio-Canada On April 25, 2021, a $16 million Montreal mansion belonging to the CEO of Pornhub went up in flames. The fire remains under investigation, and no one has been charged.  By his own admission, CEO Feras Antoon has scores of enemies—complicating the investigation. Last April 25, just before midnight, beneath a nearly full moon, two figures were spotted on the construction site of a massive, nearly-completed mansion on the edge of a suburban Montreal nature park.The hulking structure, two grinding years of construction in the making, was so large that a local newspaper called it "pharaonic." Plans called for eight bedrooms, seven baths, multiple elevators, a piano suite, an art gallery, a spa, and a sports complex that doubled as a grand ballroom.In minutes, the mansion was ablaze. Neighboring homes in the affluent Ahuntsic-Cartierville community were evacuated, their occupants hustled away in pajamas. Eighty firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze well into dawn. Investigators quickly determined the fire's source and within hours the incident was designated a criminal arson, according to a Montreal Police spokesperson. A year later, no one has been charged, and investigators say, in all likelihood, that no one ever will be. ("The investigation into this criminal arson is still ongoing," a spokesman said last week.) Fingers have been pointed in all directions and nearly every element of the crime remains shrouded in mystery. One reason for this comes down to the dizzying array of possible motives. That's because the mansion's owner, Feras Antoon, the CEO of Pornhub, was one of the most despised men in Canada, and beyond. Complicating things further is the fact that arson is a notoriously difficult crime to prosecute: because fire often destroys the evidence necessary to prove an ignition source and tie a suspect to the crime. Between 2016 and 2020, only 10.1% of arson investigations in Canada resulted in arrests, according to government statistics. "At the end of the day, this is one of the easiest crimes you can commit," said Glenn Corbett, associate professor of fire science at John Jay College in New York. Sudden scrutiny At the time of the fire, Antoon—who co-founded Pornhub's parent company, Mindgeek, in 2007—was tumbling through a bruising season of public relations disasters, investigations, lawsuits, and death threats. "I can't even count how many comments I saw from people saying to burn the company or my house down,"Antoon told Vanity Fair earlier this year. "For a while, it was easy to dismiss the tweets as just people on the internet talking. Then my house burned down."For nearly two years, victims of child porn, revenge porn, rape and sexual assault had been coming forward to say that Pornhub had ruined their lives. Many described the same harrowing one-two punch: First, learning that their sexual assault (or in some cases their private, consensual sexual encounters) was streaming on Pornhub. Then, being repeatedly ignored or rebuffed when they demanded the videos be taken down. Months of social media campaigns, news probes, and civil lawsuits against Pornhub had reached a fever pitch by December 2020, when New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof published a scathing portrait of the company. Kristof charged that Pornhub was "infested with rape videos [and] monetizes child rape, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags." In a statement released in response to the Kristof's reporting, the company said that "Pornhub is unequivocally committed to combating child sexual abuse material, and has instituted a comprehensive, industry-leading trust and safety policy to identify and eradicate illegal material from our community." The company added that any assertion that the company allows child videos on the site "is irresponsible and flagrantly untrue."Feras Antoon's mansion on Jean-Bourdon Avenue on an April night in 2021.Stéphane Grégoire/Radio-CanadaMastercard, Visa and Discover all cut ties, and under enormous public pressure, Pornhub deleted all non-verified user-uploaded content—80% of its library. It also promised it had significantly improved its auditing and moderation software and staffing levels. (Pornhub no longer allows unverified users to upload X-rated content, according to company news releases.)  In February 2021, Antoon and Pornhub's COO were summoned to testify before the Canadian House of Commons' ethics committee, part of five months of hearings into the business practices of Pornhub and its parent company, MindGeek.For all Antoon's notoriety and wealth—he reportedly tools around Montreal in a bright yellow Lamborghini with vanity plates—the controversial porn king has gone to great lengths to protect his own privacy. He rarely speaks in public, instead communicating through press releases. The hearings marked the first time many longtime critics of Pornhub had ever seen Antoon's face. "We are very proud that we built a product that gets 170 million people visiting a day, four million Canadians, 30% of them women," Antoon said, referring to Pornhub. "Don't you believe if those four million Canadians who come to our site every day saw something so heinous and criminal, they would be calling the police?" Antoon continued, according to a transcript of his testimony. "We created a very good product that I and our 1,800 employees who have families and children are proud of. It is not perfect."Two weeks before the fire, with the Pornhub hearings dominating Canadian headlines, Vice published a piece focused on far-right extremists' calls on alt social platforms like Gab for violence against company executives. The piece was headlined, "The Crusade Against Pornhub is Going to Get Somebody Killed."On April 22—three days before the fire—the mansion went up for sale for close to $16 million.Repeated attempts to reach Antoon and other Pornhub executives through Pornhub's public relations liaisons were unsuccessful. A company official who identified himself only as Ian and used a Gmail account did not respond to written questions about the fire or claims made about the company. A 'Tube' site revolutionBut where did Pornhub come from, and why was it so loved but also so hated? Almost immediately after YouTube debuted in 2005, a flurry of knock-offs—then known as "Tube" sites—began popping up. Along with a few friends, Antoon and a few college friends at Montreal's Concordia University launched a series of X-rated Tube sites that encouraged users to upload and share videos. "Suddenly porn went from being something people would happily pay an inflated price for to something that people would not pay anything for," said Lux Alptraum, a veteran writer and podcaster on the porn industry.   As the deluge of pirated porn flooded to Pornhub and other Tube sites, traditional porn sites saw their revenue streams dry up. Once they began to fail, MindGeek eventually became the dominant player, Alptraum said. Pornhub, the most successful of the Tube sites, became the crown jewel. "It cannot be stressed enough that these [other tube] sites were built on pirated content," Alptraum said. "It wasn't that they were creating their own content or relying on amateur content. They were allowing users to steal content from other sites and upload it."A PornHub logo is seen displayed on a smartphone screen on March 16, 2022.Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesWhile critics contend that Antoon and fellow MindGeek executives built their empire on aggressive tactics, they were also seen, even grudgingly by some, as innovators.  In 2019, a pair of prominent U.S. law professors published a paper in the New York University Law Review contending that MindGeek was on "the leading edge of data-driven creativity," and had grown more adept at data crunching and fine-tuning user experience algorithms than even Netflix.'Sick to my stomach'Around the time construction began on Antoon's mansion in 2018, strange things had begun happening to Vicky Galy, a 34-year-old paralegal more than 11,000 miles away in Hendersonville, Tennessee.People she met on the street would insist they knew her from somewhere, but from precisely where they could never recall. Strange men sat in parked cars outside her home. A new male friend on Facebook made sudden, indiscreet sexual overtures.A single mom raising a teenage son and a daughter with Down syndrome, Galy said she had made some bad decisions regarding men she met online. One of them, she said, would often record their sexual encounters, with or without her consent."There were three kinds of videos he made of me," she recalled with a sigh when we spoke. "At first, he would pull out his phone on me" during sexual encounters. "The second kind were hidden camera video during our consensual sex. The third kind were made on a trip to Vegas where I was either drugged or intoxicated." As she would later testify in February, during the Pornhub hearings, Galy told me she was floored one day to learn that at least 30 of those videos were circulating on Pornhub under some variation of her name "Vicky." (Galy was one of numerous Pornhub victims who testified before Canadian lawmakers earlier this year.) "To think of the amount of money that Pornhub has made off my trauma, date rape and sexual exploitation," Galy told lawmakers, "makes me sick to my stomach."Another was Serena Fleites, who brought several lawmakers to tears when she told them about how she had developed a crush on an older boy in eighth grade and how he begged her to send him a nude video of herself and she ultimately complied, only to learn the boy had uploaded it to Pornhub and shared it with his classmates.Victim testimony from Fleites, Galy and several women identified as "Jane Does" directly contradicted Pornhub executives' claims that the site responds swiftly to takedown requests and works diligently to remove child pornography. For some victims, like Galy, feelings of frustration and embarrassment were compounded by outrage upon learning that both her alleged abuser and Pornhub were profiting from the scheme. She said she went to the police, but that they didn't believe her. She contacted local law firms to help her sue, but each wanted a $10,000 retainer, she said, and besides, she said, "no one wanted to sue him because he was worth nothing anyway." She cut five inches from her hair and dyed it brown so she wouldn't look like the woman people recognized from the Pornhub videos, took a leave of absence from work, and she and her children moved in with her mother.  'Not having people believe me was the hardest part of this whole thing," she said. "I had a sergeant tell me, 'I'm not going to have my detectives sit and watch porn all day.'"Galy was also contacting Pornhub's legal department to get the videos taken down. "They mostly ignored me, and then kept insisting it wasn't me," she said. Two days before the Canadian hearings began, Galy said, she received an email from Pornhub's legal director saying they would delete the account."That was the happiest day of my life," Galy said. "I didn't know then that there were hundreds more videos on other sites. With some of them there's not even a way to report [an unauthorized] video like this, so I'll really never be able to get these videos down completely."  A protester holds a placard during a demonstration following the blocking of the adult website Pornhub outside the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society in Bangkok.Yuttachai Kongprasert/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesMafia RowDuring the same two years leading up to the hearings, Antoon had been quietly overseeing the construction of a massive mansion for himself and his wife and two children on a prime tract of land that bordered a cherished nature park. According to Vanity Fair, the property was within walking distance from where Antoon grew up.  Located on the northern edge of Montreal, the spot had a fraught history even before Antoon became involved—first as the site of a notorious Gangland assassination, and then as a front line between environmentalists and developers. The Mafia had moved into the neighborhood in the 1970s. Antoine Berthelet Avenue, the road just behind where Antoon would later build his mansion, became known as "Mafia Row." It was there that the Sicilian crime family led by Nicolo Rizzuto would run their operations for the next few decades. On November 10, 2010, an assassin crept onto what would later be Antoon's property, and fired a single shot through the double-reinforced pane glass windows of Nicolo Rizzuto's solarium, killing Rizzuto in his kitchen, according to mob author Peter Edwards. "This was an extremely good sniper shot," Edwards said, noting that investigators long-suspected the triggerman to be Calabrian soldier Salvatore Calautti, who himself was assassinated in 2013.The fatal shot effectively ended the Rizzuto family's three-decade long reign. (The hit series 'Bad Blood' was based on a book about Rizzuto's son and successor, Vito Rizzuto.)The assassination, like the arson fire, remains unsolved to this day—though a source told Insider that while Montreal Police are exploring theories related to Pornhub and Antoon's spectrum of critics, Mafia involvement is not suspected.   An 'eco-corridor' vs. a development Four years after Rizzuto's shooting, a different kind of war broke out on the same spot over a plan to clear 200 trees on the border of the Bois-de-Saraguay nature park.The community had been trying to create an "eco-corridor" between the river and Bois de Saraguay nature park so that boaters could dock on the riverside and then hike through trails to the nature park. While the park itself was protected from development as a national heritage site, sections of the border woodlands remained in private hands. The local government didn't have the funding to purchase and preserve the land, according to Simon Van Vliet, a reporter for Ahuntsic-Cartierville's Neighborhood Journal newspaper, which produced a three-part series on the controversy during the months leading up to the arson fire. A green alley in Montreal's Ahuntsic-Cartierville district, the district where Antoon's mansion was also located.Anne-Sophie Thill/AFP via Getty ImagesLocal property owner Francesco Lapara had other plans – to cut down the trees and subdivide his land into residential lots. Van Vliet said local officials repeatedly rejected Lapara's development applications, but he went to court and won. Antoon and his sister, Dana Antoon, a local real estate agent, purchased all four lots, according to Van Vliet's reporting. Construction began in 2018. Reached by Business Insider, Dana Antoon declined any comment on the land deals. Van Vliet described Antoon's compound as a "castle" among mansions."People were just kind of baffled by the lavishness of the place, and obviously upset about the ecological loss and the setback to the project of building this eco corridor."  Jacques LeBlue, a spokesman for Environmental Mobilization Ahuntsic-Cartierville which fought the clearing of trees on Antoon's property, seemed to echo this frustration when he said "the subject of Mr. Antoon has been a tragicomic distraction from our core activities, every time his name gets associated with ours. This only got worse with the fire." LeBleu declined further comment.Sylvia Oljemark, 81, a neighborhood resident since her birth, said local residents watched in disbelief as the structure rose up over the neighborhood."It was enormous," she said. "Enormous.""To think [local officials] could permit somebody to purchase land and build a huge structure [and] take down all the trees," she said, "it was personally reprehensible to me."No resolution  The hearings neither shut Pornhub down nor rehabilitated the public image of Antoon and Pornhub COO David Tassillo, who also testified. Arnold Viersen, a conservative MP from Alberta, said the executives' defense, which he saw as "Hey, we're just doing business here, we're just making money," was "very frustrating to us as members of Parliament.""The Canadian public was outraged at the smugness," he said. Viersen said that he has been investigating Pornhub for five years, and noted that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were equally frustrated in questioning Pornhub executives during the hearing. "It's a fairly non-partisan thing," he said. "While [Liberal MP] Charlie Angus and I don't agree on much we were both fighting on the same side of the war."Personally, Viersen said he was "incredulous that the fire happened to come in the middle of the ethics committee hearings." "I've just got a feeling it's just a masterful sympathy play," he said, though he offered no evidence that Antoon, or anyone Angus has knowledge of, had a hand in torching the mansion. "That's my intuition on it, given what I know about them. They are very good at changing people's perceptions." Last week, a Toronto personal injury law firm announced it had filed a $500 million class action lawsuit against Pornhub. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 25th, 2022

Ex-Goldman Sachs Banker Convicted in ‘Single Largest Heist in the History of the World’

NEW YORK (AP) — A former Goldman Sachs banker was convicted on Friday on bribery and other corruption charges accusing him of participating in a $4.5 billion scheme to ransack the Malaysian state investment fund known as 1MDB. A jury reached the verdict at the U.S. trial of Roger Ng in federal court in Brooklyn.… NEW YORK (AP) — A former Goldman Sachs banker was convicted on Friday on bribery and other corruption charges accusing him of participating in a $4.5 billion scheme to ransack the Malaysian state investment fund known as 1MDB. A jury reached the verdict at the U.S. trial of Roger Ng in federal court in Brooklyn. Jurors heard nearly two months of evidence about tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks allegedly orchestrated by Malaysian financier and fugitive socialite Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low. The embezzlement bankrolled lavish spending on jewels, art, a superyacht and luxury real estate. The spoils even helped finance wild parties and Hollywood movies, including the 2013 Martin Scorsese film “The Wolf of Wall Street” that starred Leonardo DiCaprio. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] A former head of investment banking in Malaysia, Ng is the only Goldman banker to stand trial in the 1MDB scandal. The 49-year-old had pleaded not guilty to three counts — conspiring to launder money and violating two anti-bribery laws. Prosecutors alleged that Ng and other Goldman Sachs bankers helped 1MDB raise $6.5 billion through bond sales — only to divert $4.5 billion of it to themselves and their co-conspirators through bribes and kickbacks. “The harm to the people of Malaysia is immeasurable,” prosecutor Alixandra Smith said during closing arguments. “It is deeply unfair to everyone else who plays by the rules.” Ng’s defense attorneys have described the looting of 1MDB state investment fund as “perhaps the single largest heist in the history of the world.” But they contend U.S. prosecutors scapegoated Ng for crimes committed by others, including the government’s star witness, Tim Leissner. “Roger is basically the fall guy for this whole thing,” attorney Marc Agnifilo said. “And Tim Leissner is looking to close the biggest deal of his life.” Agnifilo accused Leissner, a higher-ranking Goldman banker, of falsely implicating Ng in a bid for leniency in his own criminal case. Leissner “never stopped lying ever, and he didn’t stop lying in this courtroom,” Agnifilo said. During several days on the witness stand, Leissner testified that he, Ng and Low used offshore accounts and shell companies to “disguise the flow of funds.” The money laundering efforts also involved drawing up fake contracts with banks, he said. “If we told any bank the truth, it wouldn’t work,” he said. “The house of cards would have fallen down.” He also described a dinner in London around 2012 where Low informed he and Ng they would be receiving kickbacks. Leissner said he knew that would be illegal, but didn’t care because if the deal went through he would be “a hero” at Goldman Sachs. Ng, he added, was “particularly glad he was going to be paid some money” because he felt the firm had undercompensated him over the years. The defense claimed that some of the $35 million Ng received through Leissner — money prosecutors said were illicit proceeds from the scheme — was actually the proceeds of a legitimate business transaction between the two men’s wives. On cross-examination, Ng’s attorney sought to attack Leissner’s credibility by peppering him with questions about his history of lying about his marital status. He admitted he forged documents in 2014 to dupe his now-estranged wife, Kimora Lee Simmons, into believing he was divorced so she would agree to marry him. Simmons is a model, reality TV personality and ex-wife of rap mogul Russell Simmons. Leissner, 52, pleaded guilty in 2018 to paying millions of dollars in bribes to government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi. He was ordered to forfeit $43.7 million as part of his guilty plea and agreed to testify against Ng. Low, who maintains his innocence, became well known in the New York City and Los Angeles club scenes. In 2012, he threw an opulent 31st birthday bash attended by DiCaprio, Kim Kardashian and other celebrities — a fete described by The Wall Street Journal as the “wildest party (Las) Vegas ever saw.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeApr 8th, 2022

The Necro-Neologism Of Lethal Legal Experts

The Necro-Neologism Of Lethal Legal Experts Authored by Laurie Calhoun via The Libertarian Institute, The power of language is magical to behold. Through the mere pronouncement of words, people can be persuaded to do what they would never have thought to do, left to their own devices. The playbook with the most success in this regard is that of war. When people are “informed” that they and their families are in mortal danger, they can and often will acquiesce to any and all policies which government authorities claim to be necessary in order to protect them. Young people can be coaxed into killing complete strangers who never did anything personally to them. Citizens can be brainwashed to believe that suitably labeled persons can and indeed must be denied any and all human rights. When the stakes are claimed to be life and death, even apparently intelligent people can be goaded to accept that the mere possession of a divergent opinion is evil, and the expression of dissent a crime. The use of military weapons to execute obviously innocent, entirely innocuous civilians, including children, suddenly becomes permissible, so long as the victims have been labeled collateral damage. All any of this takes is to identify “the enemy” as evil. In centuries past, “the laws of war” were said to require the humane treatment of enemy soldiers. They were diagnosed as suffering from “invincible ignorance,” misled and mistaken about the dispute said to necessitate recourse to war, but still acknowledged as persons capable of being courageous combatants who found themselves through historical fortuity on the wrong side. An enemy soldier was to be provided with the opportunity to lay down his weapon and surrender in order to save his own life. Disarmed or incapacitated soldiers were not to be executed by their captors, for they had already been neutralized and posed no more danger than unarmed civilians. Prisoners of war were to be treated as human beings, and when they were tortured or summarily executed, this constituted a war crime. Such “laws of war,” which form the basis of international agreements, including the Geneva Conventions, have needless to say often been flouted, but, in theory, they were to be upheld by civilized people. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, political leaders and government officials proclaimed that “everything changed.” The Bush administration legal team deployed linguistic innovation to issue in an entirely new era of warfare, wherein the “laws of war” would still be said to obtain, but they would be inapplicable to entire classes of human beings. Jihadist soldiers for radical Islamist causes were labeled unlawful enemy combatants, whose “unlawful” status was said to imply that they were protected by neither international norms such as the Geneva Conventions nor the laws of civil society. Under this pretext, terrorist suspects were tortured while held captive at prisons in Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and Baghram, in addition to many black sites around the world. Ever keen to cover their tracks, the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) also flatly denied that they ever tortured anyone, by redefining as enhanced interrogation techniques the abusive practices inflicted on hundreds, if not thousands, of men in an effort to extract from them actionable intelligence. And just in case any of this “logic” was called into question by pesky human rights advocates, Bush administration officials also derided the Geneva Conventions as “quaint.” Imminent vs. Immediate in the Global War on Terror The “peace candidate” Barack Obama was elected in 2008 on the promise to rein in the excesses of the Bush administration, including what Obama characterized as the “dumb” war on Iraq. The new president publicly denounced “enhanced interrogation techniques” as torture but then proceeded to take linguistic neologism to an entirely new level by not only redefining assassination as targeted killing but also labeling any suspect eliminated through the use of lethal drones as an Enemy Killed in Action (EKIA). The slaughtered “soldiers” were assumed to be guilty of possible complicity in future possible crimes, a preposterous position never fully grasped by Obama’s devotees, who somehow failed to recognize that the specific implement used to kill does not distinguish various types of homicide from one another, morally speaking. The extrajudicial execution of individual human beings in civil society is illegal, but the Obama administration effectively maintained that the targeting of suspicious persons and their associates in lands far away was perfectly permissible, so long as the victims were killed by missiles launched from drones, thereby rendering them “acts of war.” The entire drone program, whether within or far from areas of active hostilities (i.e., war zones), was portrayed by Obama and his administration as just another facet of “just war.” Blinded to the moral atrocity of this new lethal-centric approach to dealing with suspected enemies, whereby they would be executed rather than taken prisoner, Obama’s loyal supporters blithely embraced the propaganda according to which he was a smart warrior. After demonstrating his death creds to the satisfaction of hawks, by killing not only Osama bin Laden, but also U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, suspected of complicity in factional terrorism, Obama was reelected for a second term in 2012, despite having summarily executed thousands of men—mostly brown-skinned, unnamed, and unarmed—located in their own civil societies, far from any U.S. citizen, and in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions. The deft deployment of two simple words, immediate and imminent, played a key role in allowing Obama to get away with murder, even of U.S. citizens such as Anwar al-Awlaki and his sixteen-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. Guided by drone-killing czar John Brennan, Obama’s lawyers calmly explained in public addresses and official documents that suspects who posed imminent threats to the United States could be targeted by lethal drones because an imminent threat did not imply immediacy. In other words, they could be killed even when they were currently unarmed and living in their own civil society, surrounded by family members and friends, and even when the future crime of which they were vaguely suspected was merely hypothetical and therefore had no specific date. When targets were “nominated” for execution, the administration operated under the assumption that they were guilty unless specific information was brought forth to demonstrate their innocence. The victims themselves obviously could not do this, initially, because they were not informed that they were being targeted and, later, because they were dead. Meanwhile, local residents and journalists on the ground who knew these people’s names and dared to assert that the victims were not terrorists were either denounced as propagandists or cast as misguided persons hoodwinked by the rhetoric of jihadists. As the death toll mounted, outspoken critics in the vicinity of the missile strikes became progressively more terrified of being themselves eliminated for seeming to support terrorist groups. Their concerns were not unfounded, for they risked being affixed with the lethal label associate and added to hit lists for execution if they dared to question the drone warriors’ narrative. This oppressive climate needless to say served actively to suppress dissent from the U.S. government’s official story of what they had done, even among locals who witnessed the grisly scenes where entirely innocent community members were incinerated by missiles launched from drones. Imminent vs. Immediate in the Opioid Crisis Improbably enough, the very same two words, imminent and immediate, used by the Obama legal team to invert the presumption of innocence to a presumption of guilt in the case of terrorist suspects located abroad, proved to be deadly in an entirely different context during the twenty-first century as well. The causes of the sudden and shocking increase in the number of narcotics addicts and overdose deaths all over the United States are manifold, but a tidal wave of diversion was made possible by drug-dealer doctors and the notorious “pain clinics” where they plied their trade. Manufacturers produced and pharmacies dispensed billions of pills as demand multiplied in tandem with the creation of more and more new addicts, who could no longer function without narcotics. Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family are widely regarded as the prime movers of the opioid crisis, having undertaken a highly successful campaign to coax doctors into believing that their patented time-release prescription narcotic Oxycontin was nonaddictive and could be safely provided to patients even for moderate pain. This marketing feat was achieved by influencing key players at the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), who not only approved the medication but permitted it to be sold along with a package insert falsely suggesting that it was less prone to abuse than other narcotics. In its quest to sell as many pills as possible, the pharmaceutical industry repeatedly pivoted to neologize in lethal ways over the two decades following the launch of Oxycontin in 1996. When it emerged that the pills sometimes wore off before the twelve-hour time release period, marketers and sales representatives claimed that those patients were suffering from breakthrough pain, the remedy for which was (surprise!) to double their dose. The narcotics marketers indulged in flat-out sophistry when they insisted that patients who appeared to be addicted to their painkillers were in fact suffering from pseudoaddiction, the remedy for which was (surprise!) even higher doses of their drugs. As farcical as these arguments may seem in retrospect, with the benefit of hindsight and in the light of the overdose epidemic now running rampant, many doctors appear to have been persuaded to believe that their patients’ miserable condition was not indicative of addiction but a manifestation of their ongoing and unbearable pain, the solution to which was to ply them with yet more powerful narcotics. Pharma-coopted lawmakers were notified of the proliferating addiction problem early on but refused to stop the runaway train by demanding that the FDA cease playing along with Purdue’s insane pro-narcotics marketing campaign. Other companies needless to say contributed as well, through promulgating the “pain epidemic” propaganda so as to expand the market niche of such products, which had previously been reserved for terminally ill patients. Johnson & Johnson played a causal role in what became the opioid crisis by growing tons of poppies (in Tasmania) to meet the enormous increased industry need for raw opium, without which the billions of pills prescribed could not and would never have been produced. As the opioid crisis began to become recognized for what it was, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sought to issue “Immediate Suspension Orders” (ISOs) against the three major drug wholesale distributors to pharmacies, Cardinal Health, McKesson, and Amerisource Bergen. Through issuing such orders, Joe Rannazzisi, the deputy director of the Office of Diversion Control, hoped to halt the ongoing mass shipments of opioids to retailers such as CVS in cases where the sheer volume of prescriptions could not be explained by ordinary medical practice and so was a clear indication that widespread diversion of narcotics was underway. Rannazzisi ended up being hobbled by a team of corporate lawyers and lobbyists who managed to cobble together a new law in 2014 which, despite its beneficent-sounding name, “The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act” (HR4709), served to protect, above all, drug manufacturers and distributors. The Act rewrote the law already on the books through redefining the imminent danger required to issue an ISO to mean “a substantial likelihood of an immediate threat.” One of the new Act’s enthusiastic promoters, Linden Barber (a former DEA officer and lawyer who had left his government position to represent the drug distributors), persuasively explained on the floor of Congress that “having a clear legal standard is always better.” The measure passed unanimously, without a roll call vote, for the simple reason that it sounded like a policy to which no decent person could object. But rather than stemming the tide of the opioid crisis, the Act severely hampered the DEA’s ability to issue ISOs, for it was prohibitively difficult for officials to meet the newly stipulated legal standard of imminence as requiring immediacy. President Obama signed the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2014 into law, and the marketing campaign used to promote the use of highly addictive time-release narcotics barreled ahead. The DEA’s sudden inability to call a halt to the shipment of tons of narcotics to retailers effectively guaranteed that the number of dependent persons would multiply, as potent prescription pills continued to be diverted for recreational uses and thereby create more addicts. But more addicts meant more overdoses, not only from the potent pills themselves, but also because the street supplies of heroin to which many users eventually turned were often cut with extremely dangerous fentanyl. Unfazed by the death tolls, which had already soared to many thousands by 2014, the pharmaceutical giants insisted that the sorry situation of addicts was no argument against helping patients genuinely in pain, who would in fact be wronged if their access to narcotics were curbed. The addicts dropping like flies were painted as solely responsible for their plight, despite ample evidence that many of the overdose victims began as legitimate pain patients, who became aware of their dependency only upon reaching the bottom of their amber vials. The Role of Obamacare in Propelling and Augmenting the Opioid Crisis “Everything changed” in the twenty-first century, not only with the war on terror, the rebranding of torture, and the normalization of assassination, but also in the pharma-friendly approach to healthcare ushered in by President Barack Obama. By pushing through his signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, which leftists were led to believe would create a system of socialized medicine (referred to by many as Obamacare), the president notoriously bowed to drug makers and the insurance industry, extending to those sectors the very form of crony corporate welfare already enjoyed by companies in the military industry. Obama’s collaboration with pharmaceutical and insurance company executives in crafting the ACA allowed them to secure advantageous pricing arrangements to ensure the maximization of their profits, while at the same time massively increasing the sheer volume of sales. The pharmaceutical industry was greatly enriched through the provision of virtually limitless free psychiatric medications to low-income patients through government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, and to veterans through the VA (Veterans Administration). Mental health-based disability claims soared, and the sales of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), anti-anxiety, atypical anti-psychotic medications and other psychotropes, including narcotics, increased accordingly. The millions of new prescription medications dispensed to formerly uninsured Americans ended up being paid for by the middle class, who were mandated by law to sign up for Obamacare or else face a hefty tax penalty, should they decline to comply. Despite what may have been Obama’s initial good intention, to make healthcare available to uninsured persons, Obamacare ultimately made medical treatment in the United States prohibitively expensive for many middle class families, whose copays, premiums and deductibles increased dramatically. The new mandatory healthcare program skyrocketed the salaries of health industry executives while pricing drugs and procedures out of reach for many persons who had previously been able to afford them. Millions of people in the United States have filed medical bankruptcy in recent years. In cases where prescription narcotics addicts became uninsured because they lost their jobs, they turned to the streets for their needed drugs, given the impossibility of paying out of pocket for extraordinarily expensive prescription pills. Given the story of Obamacare, perhaps no one should be surprised that when the Obama administration finally took action to address the opioid epidemic, most of the allocated $1.1 billion was for the alternative medication of already existing addicts. The pharma-friendly approach prevailed once again, encouraging the sale of more and more drugs (such as Suboxone) to help addicts to wean themselves off their narcotics. Obama’s dilatory and pro-pill approach to the opioid crisis ultimately generated even more people who, in order to kick their narcotics habit, would need to avail themselves of further pharmaceutical means, effectively trading one drug for another. In other words, both the problem of opioid overprescription, facilitated through Obamacare by providing easy access to narcotics to formerly uninsured persons, and the measures implemented by the Obama administration in response to the overdose epidemic, served to increase pharmaceutical industry profits. The Death Connection Whether or not one wishes to connect any further dots in the cases of drone assassination and the opioid epidemic, it does seem worth pointing out that Obama’s own attorney general, Eric Holder (2009-2015), was a former legal counselor to Purdue Pharma, who in fact defended the company in a 2004 lawsuit alleging deceptive marketing of Oxycontin. This is noteworthy because it was none other than Eric Holder who, in an infamous White Paper and various public addresses, so adamantly defended the creative interpretation of imminence as not implying immediacy, the crucial linguistic maneuver used to defend and promote Obama’s drone killing spree. The normalization of assassination achieved by the Obama administration expanded the domain of what was said to be legitimate state killing by inverting the burden of proof on suspects while simultaneously claiming (illogically enough) that “areas outside active hostilities” were in fact war zones. Together, all of these linguistic tricks generated a veritable killing machine, opening up vast new market niches and dramatically increasing the profit potential for companies in the shockingly lucrative business of state-inflicted homicide. Not only weapons manufacturers but also logistics and analytics companies were able to reap hefty profits through eliminating as many people pegged as “terrorist suspects” as possible. The imminent vs. immediate dichotomy was inverted and redeployed, but in the opposite direction, by pharmaceutical company legal teams and collaborating lawmakers in 2014 to permit the promiscuous sale of narcotics to continue on despite the opioid overdose epidemic on display throughout the United States. The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2014 ironically “ensured” only profits for drug companies, as millions of new addicts would be created during the second decade of the twenty-first century, accelerating and multiplying the domino effect of diversion and overdoses already ravaging communities all across the United States. It matters not that pharmaceutical company executives sought not to kill people but to sell pills. They aggressively pushed narcotics without regard for the likely future consequences of their drive for profit. Indeed, they persisted in pushing narcotics even as drug overdose deaths reached record levels. Under Obama, more than two thousand suspects outside areas of active hostilities were premeditatedly and intentionally incinerated by missiles launched from drones. The tally of overdose deaths in the United States exceeded 100K for the single year ending in April 2021. The long-range effects of the normalization of assassination, however, are likely to be more deadly than the opioid crisis, given that many other governments have followed suit in acquiring lethal drones for their own use, having been persuaded by the precedent set by the U.S. government that this form of state-inflicted homicide is perfectly permissible. In contrast, the promiscuous opioid prescription practices of doctors in the United States has been curtailed and was not emulated in the UK or in Europe, although the pharmaceutical giants do appear to have continued their morally dubious marketing practices in other countries abroad, especially in less-developed lands. As both the drone program and the opioid prescription debacle illustrate, when government agencies such as the Pentagon and the FDA have been captured by industry forces focused above all on maximizing profits, they will simply look the other way as the corpses pile up, denying responsibility for any and all “collateral damage.” This tendency of bureaucrats and corporate leaders to shirk responsibility for the negative consequences of their policies helps to explain the ease with which lawmakers are coopted by lobbyists from not only the military but also the pharmaceutical industry. The recent deployment of imminent and immediate by lethal legal “experts” serves to underscore why the censorship of language by government officials themselves is inherently dangerous, given that their policies in recent years have multiplied, not prevented, the deaths of human beings. In a representative democracy, the lawmakers promote the interests of the voters who elected them. What kind of government sacrifices the lives of human beings in order to maximize the profits of corporate leaders? Tyler Durden Fri, 04/01/2022 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 2nd, 2022

How lagging prosecutions and long jail stays are fanning the flames of Jan. 6 extremism

Fewer than one in ten of all Capitol riot defendants are in pre-trial detention. But calls to "Free the Patriots" are galvanizing the radical right. Philadelphia Proud Boys leader Zachary Rehl, left, and Washington State Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean attend the "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.Carolyn Kaster/AP A growing "Free the Patriots" movement is fueling anti-government extremism, watchdogs say.  The movement centers on a small number of jailed defendants in the DOJ's Jan. 6 insurrection probe. Long pretrial jail stays and slow-moving prosecutions are reinforcing themes of a tyrannical government. To federal prosecutors, Zachary Rehl is a dangerous radical, a Proud Boys leader who helped mastermind the hate group's barrier-toppling, window-busting breach of the US Capitol and afterward bragged he was "proud as fuck."But to a robust and growing "Free the Patriots" movement, Rehl and other jailed "January Sixers" are something else entirely.They are American heroes, ripped by a tyrannical government from their homes and loved ones — in Rehl's case "an eight-month-old baby that he has never held in his hands," as his lawyer told a judge last week.It's a reality-bending, "political prisoner" narrative, spread on far-right chat channels, at patriotic rallies, and through commissary fundraisers and "Patriot Mail Project" letter-writing campaigns.  "Free the Patriots" is already "terrifying" in its power to radicalize, according to extremism expert Alex Friedfeld, a researcher with the Anti-Defamation League.But year-long jail stays and slow-moving prosecutions — a consequence of the Department of Justice's ongoing and massive 775-defendant investigation of the Capitol breach — are fanning the flames of hate, Friedfeld and other extremism watchdogs say."It's a very powerful thing they're doing," Friedfeld told Insider of the far right's outrage campaign on behalf of just under 70 "patriots" now held without bail while awaiting trial on the attempted coup's most serious charges.  "You start to think the government is the bad guy in this story," Friedfeld said of the messaging on chat platforms like Telegram, on church-themed fundraising websites, and in right-wing media like Gateway Pundit and Fox News."And it leads to the reinforcement of the same narratives of January 6, which is that a government run by Democrats is a threat to conservatives in America and will destroy this country."Long jail stays, no trial in sightThe case of Rehl, leader of the Philadelphia Proud Boys, may be the most extreme — and sympathetic — example. The 36-year-old is one of the hate group's top three "operations" planners for January 6, according to a DOJ indictment, which charges him and five other Proud Boys leaders with conspiring to obstruct the certification of the 2020 presidential election by Congress.The Proud Boys, an all-male group known for street-brawling with leftist protesters, were the spear tip of the Donald Trump-supporting mob that attacked the Capitol, prosecutors allege.Their members toppled the first police barrier, prosecutors say. And it was a Proud Boy, allegedly Dominic Pezzola of Rochester, NY, who first breached the Capitol itself, by busting a window with a stolen police riot shield in the shadow of the reviewing stands that were still being built for President Biden's inauguration.Three accused members of the hate group Proud Boys march on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. From left, co-defendants Ethan Nordean, Zachary RHEL and Joseph Biggs.Carolyn Kaster/APRehl was allegedly one of the group's masterminds.According to the indictment, he helped raise $5,000 for the effort. He also handed out walkie-talkie-style radios on the morning of the riot, as 100 Proud Boys assembled at the Washington Monument. And just before 3 pm that day he entered the Capitol through a west side door that was held open by other insurrectionists.But what the father of two did not do, at least according to the indictment, is directly engage in violence. Nor did he carry a weapon or personally destroy property.Rehl, a Marine Corps vet and the son and grandson of Philadelphia cops, has nonetheless been locked up nearly a year in pre-trial detention.So have his Proud Boy co-defendants save one, Enrique Tarrio. The group's national leader at the time of the attack, Tarrio was only added to the indictment and taken into custody earlier this month.Meanwhile, there is no clear trial date in sight.Last week, federal prosecutors said they need to push back the original trial date of May 18, hinting in a filing that still more Proud Boys may yet be added to the indictment — a possible reference to the "PERSONS 1-3" the indictment mentions without naming.Defense lawyers say the pre-trial detentions have already stretched on too long.Tarrio and any other new defendants "will likely need the rest of the year, if not longer, to prepare for trial," Rehl's lawyer, Hernandez, complained in a filing that asks Rehl be freed in the interim.Hernandez declined to be interviewed for this story.Federal Judge Timothy J. Kelly, meanwhile, has signaled that the six Proud Boys will stay put until he presides at their trial, whenever that may be."We've litigated the incarceration issue quite extensively," he said at a hearing last week. "We are where we are on that issue."An alternate universe of 'patriots' Well under ten percent of those charged in the DOJ's sweeping January 6 prosecution are locked up in pre-trial detention, according to Jonathan Lewis, an extremism watchdog who's keeping count."My rough number right now is 66," Lewis, a research fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University told Insider on Tuesday."That's out of nearly 800 who have been arrested, and out of the 2,000 who have been estimated to have committed crimes that day," he said.Still, "mainstream right and far right propaganda would have you think every single defendant is in detention as a political prisoner," he said. "That's just not true." Trump supporters clash with police and security forces while storming the Capitol on January 6, 2021.Brent Stirton/Getty ImagesRehl's online fundraising websites — through which he's raised more than $60,000, according to a December court document— are a door into an alternate universe where anti-government rioters are patriots and political prisoners. "Zach is a father, a husband, Marine Corps Veteran, and Patriot who loves his Country," states his donation page on GiveSendGo. "He has fought for all of us, now he needs us to fight for him," says the Christian crowdfunding site. The American Gulag website offers donation links for Rehl and other "J6ers," along with "Political Prisoner Updates." The website was created by Jim Hoft, founder of the alt-right news site Gateway Pundit, where its launch was first reported.A third fundraising site, the Patriot Freedom Project, lists Rehl as one of 34 detained "J6ers." The site is "dedicated to bringing awareness to the plight of those being politically persecuted and supporting their families and friends," it says. Funded by Cynthia Hughes — aunt to "J6er"and alleged white supremacist Timothy Hale-Cusanelli — Patriot Freedom has contributed $20,000 to Rehl, court papers say. Accused Philadelphia Proud Boys leader Zachary Rehl flash hand signals associated with the white power movement in front of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.U.S. District Court handoutThe "DC Gulag" If the "Free the Patriots" movement has a single nerve center, it's the "DC Gulag," nickname for the District of Columbia jail where half Capitol riot's pre-trial detainees are being held, Rehl included.Rehl and the 40-or-so "J6ers" who call it home share the same segregated cell block, called C2B or the "Charlie Two Bravo" block, where they sing patriotic songs, join in Bible study sessions and avidly watch the Bachelor reality shows, The Washingtonian reported in January. A series of Telegram channels is spreading their voices beyond the jail walls.On Tuesday, detainee Brandon Fellows took to the platform's "J6 Patriot News" channel to celebrate the end of a COVID-19 prompted ban on haircuts for the vast majority in the medium security "Patriot Pod," as they call it, who are unvaccinated."Victory!!!!" posted Fellows, jailed awaiting trial on charges he entered the Capitol through a broken window on January 6 — and then smoked marijuana in Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley's office.    There have been more complaints than victories."Yes, the abuses are numerous," "Patriot Pod" detainee Brian Mock wrote, vaguely, on the Telegram "AmericanGulagChronicles" channel last week."I am sure, when I am out, I will not stop until this country is what it should be or they put a bullet in me," added Mock, who prosecutors say was caught on police-worn body camera shoving a Capitol Police officer to the ground. On his GiveSendGo page, he claimed last week that his jailors are violating his civil rights before signing off, "God bless all of my fellow Patriots!"On March 3, detainee Jeff McKellop — charged with hurling a flagpole at a Capitol cop, javelin style — claimed on the J6 Patriot News channel that jail conditions include "human fecal matter, urine stains on the floors and walls, the man spray of DNA all over the doors and walls."Complaints from the "Patriot Pod" — including a big batch detailed in an August letter signed by three detainee defense lawyers — prompted an investigation by the US Marshalls Service, which declared the jail is fine.But they have fired the imagination of far-right politicians.  Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., held a news conference in December about conditions at the jail, all the while calling the detainees politically imprisoned patriots.Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., joined from left by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at a news conference about the treatment of people being held in the District of Columbia jail who are charged with crimes in the Jan. 6 insurrection, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.J. Scott Applewhite/AP"These are elected officials lending the air of legitimacy to this cause," said the ADL's Friedfeld."The overall majority of J-sixers are not being held pretrial," he added."But they're portraying the prosecution as a nefarious plot against Trump supporters in America — and saying these folks are being held for their political beliefs and not because of their actions on January 6." "Free the Patriots" is continuing to spread from alt-right chat channels and fundraisers into the national discourse.Far right politicians and Fox celebrity Tucker Carlson — host of a reality-twisting "Patriots Purge" documentary in November — are now recasting the insurrection as a largely peaceful exercise of free speech, and the prosecution as proof of tyranny against not only the jailed "J6ers," but all conservatives."They are turning the alleged perpetrators into victims," said Friedfeld, "and making you sympathize with them." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 30th, 2022