No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
Ethics watchdog slams Trump's last-minute pardons for Steve Bannon and Elliott Broidy: 'Even Nixon didn't pardon his cronies on the way out.'
  • A DC ethics watchdog has slammed Trump's pardons for Steve Bannon and Elliott Broidy.
  • "Trump has found one more way to fail to live up to the ethical standard of Richard Nixon," CREW said.
  • Both Broidy and Bannon are prominent Trump allies.
A Washington DC ethics watchdog denounced President Donald Trump's decision to pardon former campaign strategist Steve Bannon and fundraiser Elliott Broidy, saying that "even Nixon" wouldn't do this.

The statement was by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) shortly after Trump issued a slew of pardons and commutations just before midnight Tuesday.

In total there were 73 pardons and 70 commutations of sentences. Normally, the process — a tradition of an outgoing president — is reviewed by the Department of Justice, but Trump bypassed that step.

CREW's Executive Director Noah Bookbinder wrote: "Even Nixon didn't pardon his cronies on the way out. Amazingly, in his final 24 hours in office, Donald Trump found one more way to fail to live up to the ethical standard of Richard Nixon."
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‘They Have Not Legitimately Won’: Pro-Trump Media Keeps the Disinformation Flowing
Forgoing any appeals for healing or reflection, right-wing media organizations that spread former President Donald J. Trump’s distortions about the 2020 election continued on Wednesday to push conspiracy theories about large-scale fraud, with some predicting more political conflict in the months ahead.

The coverage struck a discordant tone, with pro-Trump media and President Biden in a jarring split screen: There was the new president delivering an inaugural address of unity and hope, while his political opponents used their powerful media platforms to rally a resistance against him based on falsehoods and fabrications.

For some outlets, like One America News, it was as if Mr. Biden weren’t president at all. The network, a favorite of Mr. Trump’s because of its sycophantic coverage, didn’t show its viewers Mr. Biden’s swearing in or his inaugural address.

Rush Limbaugh, broadcasting his weekday radio show a few miles from the Palm Beach retreat where Mr. Trump is spending the first days of his post-presidency, told his millions of listeners on Wednesday that the inauguration of Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris did not make them the rightful winners of the election.

“They have not legitimately won yet,” Mr. Limbaugh said, noting that he would be on “thin ice” for making such a claim. He then gave his listeners a false and inflated vote total for Mr. Trump and predicted the Democratic victories would be “fleeting.”

... OAN personalities were also offering viewers an optimistic vision of a Republican Party that would live on in Mr. Trump’s image. The network’s White House correspondent, Chanel Rion, described Mr. Trump’s farewell remarks from Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday morning as “a temporary goodbye.”

“The fight has only just begun,” she said.
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‘A Total Failure’: The Proud Boys Now Mock Trump
Members of the far-right group, who were among Donald Trump’s staunchest fans, are calling him “weak” as more of them were charged for storming the U.S. Capitol.

After the presidential election last year, the Proud Boys, a far-right group, declared its undying loyalty to President Trump.

In a Nov. 8 post in a private channel of the messaging app Telegram, the group urged its followers to attend protests against an election that it said had been fraudulently stolen from Mr. Trump. “Hail Emperor Trump,” the Proud Boys wrote.

But by this week, the group’s attitude toward Mr. Trump had changed. “Trump will go down as a total failure,” the Proud Boys said in the same Telegram channel on Monday.

As Mr. Trump departed the White House on Wednesday, the Proud Boys, once among his staunchest supporters, have also started leaving his side. In dozens of conversations on social media sites like Gab and Telegram, members of the group have begun calling Mr. Trump a “shill” and “extraordinarily weak,” according to messages reviewed by The New York Times. They have also urged supporters to stop attending rallies and protests held for Mr. Trump or the Republican Party.

The comments are a startling turn for the Proud Boys, which for years had backed Mr. Trump and promoted political violence. Led by Enrique Tarrio, many of its thousands of members were such die-hard fans of Mr. Trump that they offered to serve as his private militia and celebrated after he told them in a presidential debate last year to “stand back and stand by.” On Jan. 6, some Proud Boys members stormed the U.S. Capitol.

But since then, discontent with Mr. Trump, who later condemned the violence, has boiled over. On social media, Proud Boys participants have complained about his willingness to leave office and said his disavowal of the Capitol rampage was an act of betrayal. And Mr. Trump, cut off on Facebook and Twitter, has been unable to talk directly to them to soothe their concerns or issue new rallying cries.

The Proud Boys’ anger toward Mr. Trump has heightened after he did nothing to help those in the group who face legal action for the Capitol violence. On Wednesday, a Proud Boy leader, Joseph Biggs, 37, was arrested in Florida and charged with unlawful entry and corruptly obstructing an official proceeding in the riot. At least four other members of the group also face charges stemming from the attack.
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QAnon believers struggle with inauguration.
Followers of QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory, have spent weeks anticipating that Wednesday would be the “Great Awakening” — a day, long foretold in QAnon prophecy, when top Democrats would be arrested for running a global sex trafficking ring and President Trump would seize a second term in office.

But as President Biden took office and Mr. Trump landed in Florida, with no mass arrests in sight, some believers struggled to harmonize the falsehoods with the inauguration on their TVs.

Some QAnon believers tried to rejigger their theories to accommodate a transfer of power to Mr. Biden. Several large QAnon groups discussed on Wednesday the possibility that they had been wrong about Mr. Biden, and that the incoming president was actually part of Mr. Trump’s effort to take down the global cabal.

“The more I think about it, I do think it’s very possible that Biden will be the one who pulls the trigger,” one account wrote in a QAnon channel on the messaging app Telegram.

Others expressed anger with QAnon influencers who had told believers to expect a dramatic culmination on Inauguration Day.

“A lot of YouTube journalists have just lost one hell of a lot of credibility,” wrote a commenter in one QAnon chat room.

Still others attempted to shift the goal posts, and simply told their fellow “anons” to hang on and wait for future, unspecified developments.

“Don’t worry about what happens at 12 p.m.,” wrote one QAnon influencer. “Watch what happens after that.”

And some appeared to realize that they’d been duped.

“It’s over,” one QAnon chat room participant wrote, just after Mr. Biden’s swearing-in.

“Wake up,” another wrote. “We’ve been had.”
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Look what Bernie Sanders (those mittens!) and Garth Brooks (that hat!) wore to the inauguration.
But the man whose inaugural fashion choices might have most stood out was the country singer Garth Brooks, who performed “Amazing Grace” near the end of the swearing-in ceremony.

Mr. Brooks, a last-minute addition to the lineup, emerged from the Capitol in a black cowboy hat, a black blazer and shirt and dark denim jeans — a considerably dressed-down look compared to the formal suits and ties surrounding him.

In deference to the occasion, he removed his hat, which is long a staple of his look, before he began to sing.

Garth Brooks Performs ‘Amazing Grace’ at Inauguration

Following President Biden’s inaugural speech that called for unity, Garth Brooks sang “Amazing Grace,” asking the audience, both in attendance and watching on television, to join him for the final verse.
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The Financial Minefield Awaiting an Ex-President Trump
Baseless election fraud claims and the Capitol riot have compounded already-looming threats to his bottom line. And the cash lifelines he once relied on are gone.

Donald J. Trump will step into a financial minefield that appears to be unlike anything he has faced since his earlier brushes with collapse.

The tax records that he has long fought to keep hidden, revealed in a New York Times investigation last September, detailed his financial challenges:

Many of his resorts were losing millions of dollars a year even before the pandemic struck. Hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, which he personally guaranteed, must be repaid within a few years. He has burned through much of his cash and easy-to-sell assets. And a decade-old I.R.S. audit threatens to cost him more than $100 million to resolve.

In his earlier dark moments, Mr. Trump was able to rescue businesses he runs with multimillion-dollar infusions from his father or licensing deals borne of his television celebrity. Those lifelines are gone. And his divisive presidency has steadily eroded the mainstream marketability of the brand that is at the heart of his business.

That trend has only accelerated with his evidence-free campaign to subvert the outcome of the presidential election, which culminated in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. In its wake, his last-ditch lender vowed to cut him off. The P.G.A. canceled an upcoming championship at a Trump golf course, and New York City moved to strip him of contracts to run several venues.

... “Trump is so reputationally toxic that a lot of financial institutions won’t want to do business with him,” said Adam J. Levitin, a law professor at Georgetown University who focuses on finance and bankruptcy.

And while Mr. Trump maintains a vast and devoted following among working-class supporters, they are not, for the most part, the future clientele of the resorts that became magnets for suitors seeking to rub shoulders, or win favors, from a sitting president. ... He received the last multimillion-dollar share of his inheritance about two years ago. And the wellspring of entertainment riches had nearly dried up by the time he entered politics, falling from profits in excess of $50 million during peak years to below $3 million in 2018. (Of course, not paying his debts also played a significant role in both turnarounds.) ... But now he faces loans coming due: $100 million on Trump Tower next year; $125 million on his Doral golf resort in Florida in 2023; and $170 million on the Washington hotel in 2024. Mr. Trump personally guaranteed most of that debt, which means the lenders could pursue his other assets if he cannot pay or refinance. ... Mr. Trump also faces legal threats that could deepen any financial hardship, including investigations into potential tax fraud being pursued by the Manhattan district attorney and the New York attorney general, as well as civil suits for his role in promoting a multilevel marketing scheme.
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China’s Official Farewell to Trump: ‘Good Riddance!’
Some countries use a U.S. presidential transition as a time to move beyond the harsh rhetoric that may have accompanied the outgoing administration and to set a new tone for the incoming one.

China in 2021 is not one of them.

"Good riddance, Donald Trump!" read a gleeful tweet from Chinese state news service Xinhua in the early morning hours on Wednesday, shortly before President Donald Trump left the White House for the last time. The post linked to a column that blasted the waning days of the Trump administration as a "preposterous show" and decried allied politicians of continued efforts to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on Beijing.

Moments later, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying in a press conference called outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a "doomsday clown."
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Biden's inauguration is a promise for a better, more normal America
  • Now-President Joe Biden's inauguration is a promise that the US can come back from its nadir.
  • Former President Trump will fade, while Biden becomes even more popular.
  • Millions of Americans voted for a return to normalcy, and Biden will deliver that.
Donald Trump will fade from power and influence quicker than the pundit class expects. He will have a pulpit for a while, but it will get smaller and smaller as the seasons pass.

More important than Trump's ugly asterisk to history, today the United States inaugurates a new president who can restore hope in the majority of Americans who voted for him.
  • We inaugurate a president for all
  • We inaugurate progress
  • We inaugurate normalcy
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Donald Trump didn't pardon himself. Here's the massive tsunami of legal peril that now awaits him
  • Former President Donald Trump faces numerous legal issues at the federal and state levels that could last for years.
  • His administration, campaign, business interests, and role in the January 6 Capitol are under scrutiny.
  • An impeachment conviction by the Senate could lead to Trump being banned from running for president again.
Here's a look at the specific — and numerous — legal dramas that could haunt Trump for years to come:
  • Inciting an attack on the US Capitol
  • Georgia vote-call fallout
  • Cracking a Trump campaign shell company
  • Attack of New York state
  • Presidential-pardon brouhaha
  • Tax man's revenge?
  • Mueller investigation hangover
  • Emoluments: still afloat
  • A never-ending Trump inauguration
  • Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, and 'Individual-1'
  • Truth commission cometh?
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Melania Trump reportedly asked a staffer to write her thank you notes to White House residence employees
  • Melania Trump asked an employee to write thank you notes to White House staff on her behalf.
  • The staffer wrote approximately 80 notes that Trump then signed herself, sources told CNN.
  • In a farewell speech issued on Tuesday, she said the last four years had been "unforgettable."
Former first lady Melania Trump asked a staffer to write thank you notes to White House residence employees "in her voice," according to a report from CNN.

Presidents and first ladies traditionally write thank you cards to butlers, cooks, housekeepers, maintenance workers, and other White House staff who remain in the building through administration shifts, but this year Melania opted to outsource the job.

Instead of writing them herself, she asked an employee who worked in the East Wing to type out about 80 thank you cards. Melania then signed them all with her name,
sources told CNN.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the former first lady had been "emotionally checked out" in recent weeks, having made few public appearances.

Yesterday, President Joe Biden's daughter said that Melania hadn't reached out to her mother, now-first lady Jill Biden, in the weeks leading up to Wednesday's inauguration.

The Washington Post reported that she "quietly" worked with White House Chief Usher Timothy Harleth to help coordinate the logistics around the Bidens' move into the White House.
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La Casa Blanca Returns: Spanish-Language Version of White House Website Back Under Biden
The official White House website is back in Spanish.

The Spanish-language version of the site went live just minutes after the inauguration of President Joe Biden as the new administration officially took over the government and its webpages.

The Trump White House did not maintain a Spanish-language site. The designated webpage went dark shortly after former President Donald Trump took office, and though Trump officials originally promised that the administration was working to get it back up, it never returned and the URL displayed an error message for four years.

Republican President George W. Bush was the first to create and maintain Spanish-language content on the White House website. The Obama White House also published and managed a Spanish-language version of the site.

The quick return of the Spanish-language site seems a clear representation of Biden's stated commitment to inclusion and his policy priorities around immigration, which stand in stark contrast to Trump's restrictive immigration policy actions and demeaning rhetoric about immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries.
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Trump's biggest accomplishments and failures from his 1-term presidency
  • Former President Donald Trump was among the most controversial presidents in US history.
  • He's the only American president to be impeached twice.
  • Trump's legacy will be defined by his disastrous handling of COVID-19.
  • Accomplishment: Reshaping the federal judiciary
  • Accomplishment: Space Force
  • Accomplishment: Tax reform
  • Accomplishment: First Step Act
  • Accomplishment: Defeating ISIS's caliphate and killing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
  • Failure: Charlottesville and George Floyd
  • Failure: America's global image is in shambles
  • Failure: Family separations and the deaths of migrant children
  • Failure: Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan
  • Failure: Replacing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare)
  • Failure: Impeachment
  • Failure: COVID-19 pandemic
  • Failure: The US economy
  • Failure: Contracting COVID-19
  • Failure: Damaging democracy
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Trump reportedly granted Secret Service protections to all his adult children and 3 top officials before he left the White House. It will cost US taxpayers millions.
  • Former President Donald Trump granted extended Secret Service protections to his four adult children and their spouses before he left the White House, The Washington Post reported.
  • Former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and former National Security Advisor Robert C. O'Brien will also receive the expensive, full-time security detail.
  • The extended security detail could cost taxpayers millions of dollars, especially given the amount of traveling that the Trump children do related to the family company.
"From 2017 to 2019, government records show, Trump family members took more than 4,500 trips that required the Secret Service to travel alongside them, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars," according to The Post report.

Typically, Trump and his wife Melania are automatically granted the expensive 24-hour protection for their lifetimes, and their 14-year-old son Barron will receive such protections until the age of 16. Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence are also entitled to full-time security detail post-administration for the next six months.

Trump isn't the first president to extend Secret Service protections to those who aren't automatically entitled to receive them. Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush granted security details to their college-age daughters for a period of time following their terms. Former President Barack Obama extended protections to his daughters Sasha and Malia after he left office, who were in high school and college respectively.
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No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites was formerly Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites.

or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by US President Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.