No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
Watchdog group accuses the Trump campaign and family members of engaging in 'schemes' that hid massive election spending and likely broke federal law
  • An election watchdog group has filed an updated complaint with the FEC against the Trump campaign.
  • The complaint cites Insider's reporting on American Made Media Consultants, a secretive shell company the Trump campaign operated.
  • The complaint asserts that Trump's team and family members may have violated federal law.
Former President Donald Trump's campaign committee and several family members participated in "schemes" to disguise the true nature of their election spending, in violation of federal law, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center asserts in a new update to an existing federal complaint.

The supplement, filed Thursday morning with the Federal Election Commission, is in part based on Insider's reporting in December about American Made Media Consultants, a secretive shell company that operated inside Trump's 2020 campaign committee.

American Made Media Consultants, the shell company, along with a political firm owned by former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, "served as conduits that hid the ultimate recipients of nearly half of the campaign's overall spending," the updated complaint states.

"These schemes disguised which firms or individuals were working for Trump's committees, how much and when they were being paid, and the purposes of those payments," it continued.

... The Campaign Legal Center specifically accused the Trump campaign of violating a federal law that requires political committees to publicly disclose the "ultimate payees" of its campaign spending if the payee doesn't have an "arm's-length" relationship with the political committee.

... The Trump campaign "hid an incredible amount of money," Campaign Legal Center Director of Federal Reform Brendan Fischer said in an interview. "The public has a right to know how presidential campaigns spend their money and who they're paying and for what purposes."

... Trump lost re-election last year despite his campaign and the RNC raising nearly $2 billion as of late November, according to FEC records.
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Georgia election board member to seek state AG probe of Trump
The lone Democrat on Georgia’s state election board plans to introduce a motion next month urging state attorney general Chris Carr to open a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.

The plan by David Worley has not been previously reported. The proposal follows other calls for an investigation into a phone call Trump made to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the election results based on false voter fraud claims.

The motion, which Worley plans to present on Feb. 10, would also urge a criminal probe by Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat who has said she would “enforce the law” in relation to Trump’s call.

... Legal experts and attorneys said Trump’s calls may have violated at least three state criminal laws: conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, and intentional interference with performance of election duties. The felony and misdemeanor violations are punishable by fines or imprisonment.

... In addition to the calls for Georgia state investigations, two Democratic members of the U.S. Congress - Kathleen Rice, of New York, and Ted Lieu, of California - asked in a Jan. 4 letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a criminal probe into Trump’s call to Raffensperger.

The calls for investigations are one illustration of the legal perils facing Trump since he lost the constitutional protections that shield sitting presidents from prosecution. Trump now faces nearly a dozen legal battles, including a criminal probe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance into his business dealings and several civil lawsuits.
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Trump officials moved most Bureau of Land Management positions out of D.C. More than 87 percent quit instead.
The decision to relocate BLM headquarters to Colorado and redistribute jobs in the West prompted 287 employees to retire or find other jobs

The Trump administration’s decision to relocate most Bureau of Land Management headquarters staffers out West — a move designed to shift power away from the nation’s capital — prompted more than 87 percent of the affected employees either to resign or retire rather than move, according to new data obtained by The Washington Post.

The exit of longtime career staffers from the agency responsible for managing more than 10 percent of the nation’s land shows the extent to which the Trump administration reshaped the federal government. The reorganization plan reestablished the bureau’s headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo., moved 328 positions out of the main D.C. office of the Department of the Interior — BLM’s parent agency — and left 60 jobs in place.

... Several experts, including former high-ranking Interior officials, said the shake-up has deprived the agency of needed expertise and disrupted its operations. The bureau oversees all oil and gas drilling on federal lands, which has emerged as a flash point in the early days of the Biden administration.
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The Republican Party is in a 'no-win situation' after the Capitol riot, and lawmakers will be watching closely to see if Trump is losing his grip on the base
  • Republicans are facing a "no-win situation" after the Trump presidency, experts told Insider.
  • How do they satisfy Trump supporters, avoid alienating moderate Republicans, and build the base?
  • And the biggest question on GOP lawmakers' minds is what Trump's next role will be within the party.
During the presidential primaries in 2016, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham made a now-infamous prediction for his party: "If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed … and we will deserve it."

... "For the first time, in the 2020 presidential election, the platform of the GOP was whatever that guy in the White House says," Kevin Kosar, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and co-editor of the book "Congress Overwhelmed," told Insider.

Trump basically set the agenda for the party the entire time he held power, even when that agenda contradicted traditional Republicanism, and even though many lawmakers were initially critical of him. Graham, for instance, went on to become one of Trump's most enthusiastic defenders.

And while lawmakers may have had different reasons for warming up to Trump, the simplest explanation is that he was popular with voters while being highly critical of any form of dissent. "Republicans felt they had to line up," Kosar said.

... During the Trump years, some traditional GOP values even fell by the wayside, Kosar said.

"Anti-free trade, attacking big tech, pushing away our international allies, stepping back from NATO. That was new to the Republican Party," he said. "Now that he's not here, they have to figure out what they stand for."
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Joe Biden terminates much of Donald Trump’s legacy
What a recent flurry of executive orders shows about the drawbacks of executive fiat

Building a presidential legacy out of executive actions can be like building castles out of sand—both risk being wiped out by the changing tides. Donald Trump spent much of his presidency playing in the sand. His lasting legislative accomplishments—a conventionally Republican tax cut, chiefly, and a worthwhile, albeit modest, sentencing-reform law—are few in number and hardly embody his hard-nosed populism. The most sensational bouts of Trumpism came instead through executive fiat: the order to build a border wall with Mexico, a ban on transgender Americans serving in the military, and the steady campaign to loosen pollution controls. A new administration means new rules. President Joe Biden has already rescinded many of those actions. Given his current pace and the vigour of his appointees, he may even achieve something like total de-Trumpification of federal policy.

The executive orders have been coming at an extraordinary clip. The first tranche were breezy values-signalling measures on high-profile controversies. On his first day on the job, Mr Biden posed behind the Resolute desk of the Oval Office beside a stack of 17 immediate actions—undoing his predecessor’s decisions on immigration (like banning entry from several Muslim-majority countries), climate change (by leaving the Paris climate agreement) and covid-19 knownothingism (by not mandating mask-wearing on federal property). The deeper-cleaning orders, on matters that provoke comparatively little public interest and much litigation, come later.

... It will help Mr Biden that the Trump administration was not very adept at administrative law. A tracker by the Institute for Policy Integrity, a think-tank housed at New York University (nyu) law school, found that 80% of lawsuits against the Trump administration’s regulatory changes were successful. Under a typical administration, that number is only 30%.

The process of de-Trumpification may instil some lessons on the limits of relying on transient executive action alone. Early efforts at mitigating the spread of covid-19 and its economic fallout by executive order—like increasing nutrition assistance for poor families by 15%, or mandating companies to manufacture personal protective equipment—can do some good.
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NY may strip Trump’s name from parkland he donated to state
New York state’s parks commissioner is trying to figure out if the state is obligated to keep former President Donald Trump’s name on a 436-acre state park on land he donated in the New York City suburbs 14 years ago, after local opposition sunk his plans for a golf course.

Commissioner Erik Kulleseid told lawmakers at a budget hearing Wednesday that he has received frequent emails about rebranding Donald J. Trump State Park in Putnam Valley. A 2006 agreement says the park must bear Trump’s name in exchange for the donation, but Kulleseid said the condition is not in the deed and it’s unclear if it’s binding.

Trump donated the land to the state, receiving a significant tax write-off, after he was unable to get approval for a private golf course there. It was never completed as a fully functional state park and isn’t listed on the website of the state office of parks, recreation and historic preservation.

A petition asks to rename the park for Sojourner Truth, an icon of the abolitionist and women’s rights movements. There’s also a bill under consideration to rename the park for Heather Heyer, who died when a car struck counterprotesters at the “Unite the Right” white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017.

When a name change was proposed in 2015, Trump threatened to take back the land if his name was stripped.
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Why Madison Cawthorn is Trump 2.0
In an email sent to his Republican House colleagues earlier this month, Cawthorn, who at 25 is the youngest person ever to be elected to Congress, boasted: "I have built my staff around comms rather than legislation."

As in: He is far more focused on putting together a communications team to help in building a profile -- in and out of the House -- than he is on, you know, actually doing the work that he was elected to do. Although he has been an official House member for just a few weeks, Cawthorn has already shown his penchant for publicity.

... All of the controversy and attention is directly out of the Donald Trump playbook. "The show is 'Trump,' " he told Playboy magazine in 1990. "And it is sold-out performances everywhere."

The controversy, the attention, the -- ugh -- buzz is the whole point. You're not in office to do something, you're there to be someone. Which is why you would not only build your congressional staff around your communications operation -- not your policy objectives -- but then also brag about doing just that to your colleagues!

The Point: This is the next iteration of Trumpism. The same naked desire for attention and dismissal of the "serious" parts of the job, just younger and with a sprinkle more self-awareness.
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After Presidency, Trump Hotel in Washington Is a Limited Draw
Traffic on two recent evenings at the hotel was exceedingly slow, even after the city lifted a ban on indoor dining.

Congress was in session. The White House has been humming with activity for the past few days.

This would normally mean a busy time for the 263-room Trump International Hotel, which is just a few blocks away. But on two evenings this week, the famed lobby that drew so many lobbyists, White House officials and Trump supporters over the past four years was largely vacant. The waiters and staff members outnumbered the customers.

Part of it, of course, is the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected hotels and restaurants in Washington and around the nation. Current regulations limit indoor dining to 25 percent capacity in Washington.

Until last Friday, indoor dining had been banned. The hotel’s lobby, as well as its two restaurants, was closed, although the hotel itself remained open to a very limited number of customers checking in. The bar was still closed this week.

On Tuesday night, in a section of the lobby with dozens of tables serviced by Benjamin Bar and Lounge, there were eight to 11 customers.

... The only prominent Trump allies in sight inside the hotel on two recent nights were on large televisions broadcasting Fox News and CNN into the nearly empty lobby.
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Trump's legacy of mistrust sends Congress into total war
Nine days after newly sworn-in President Joe Biden told America that "every disagreement doesn't have to be a cause for total war," recriminations between the parties and the Republican meltdown are consuming Congress.

It's now clear that the January 6 mob attack on Capitol Hill, while failing in its bid to reverse Trump's election loss, has utterly fractured the basic level of trust needed to make a political system function — at a critical national moment.

In the quarter century of bitter political battles since former speaker Newt Gingrich's Republican revolution, Washington has never been this inflamed.

At times on Thursday, it appeared that the whole of Congress was fixated on its own civil wars, cut off from behind its high iron fence from the reality of America's darkest modern winter.

... Adding to the sense of unchained uproar, the Republican Party is eating its own. Trump protege, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, flew to Wyoming Thursday to lead a revolt against No. 3 House Republican leader Liz Cheney, who -- in a vote of conscience -- voted to impeach the former President over the mob assault.

It is extraordinary that the only senior Republican in danger of being toppled over the insurrection that has been forgotten or excused by many Republican leaders is Cheney, an authentic and lifelong conservative.

Rank-and-file Democrats, meanwhile, are pushing an attempt to expel newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has supported the fringe conspiracy movement QAnon, following a report by CNN's KFile that before running for office she supported calls for the assassination of Democratic leaders on social media.

... The acidic mood in Congress is also caused by the chasm on whether to punish the ex-President for inciting the riot.

Republican disinterest in holding the former President accountable for the insurrection in his impeachment trial starting next month is eroding the already tenuous effectiveness of the 50-50 Senate.

And in a previously unthinkable suggestion, the acting chief of the Capitol Police proposed a permanent fence around the Capitol. Not even the terrorist attacks on September 11 led to proposals for such draconian security measures.
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Trump supporter accused of targeting California governor
A suspected far-right extremist and radicalized supporter of former President Donald Trump facing federal explosives charges may have been targeting California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Bay Area headquarters of social media giants Twitter and Facebook, according to the FBI.

Federal prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers, 43, of Napa County, after investigators found five homemade pipe bombs in a search of his home and auto repair business on Jan. 15. They also confiscated additional bomb-making material along with 49 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

According to an FBI affidavit, Rogers made multiple threats in text messages to attack Democratic targets and ensure that Trump stayed in office.

In the texts, Rogers stated, “Let’s see what happens then we act” and later added, “I’m thinking sac office first target” and “Then maybe bird and face offices.”

FBI Special Agent Stephanie Minor, who is part of the agency’s domestic terrorism squad in San Francisco, said the texts were indications of his targets.

... For weeks since the election, pro-Trump supporters have rallied in Sacramento. Associated with those events have been more than a half-dozen fights between anti-fascist counterprotesters and far-right groups including the Proud Boys.

... Much of the anger of right-wing anti-government militias has been aimed at governors because of pandemic shutdown orders that they claim are infringements on their rights and represent an illegal overstepping of power, beliefs that have spread in online forums. At protests against pandemic-related closures across California, some demonstrators have described Newsom as a fascist for implementing those restrictions, and have regularly displayed an image of the governor as Adolf Hitler, with a tagline that reads, “end his tyranny.”
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Trump's rise and fall unified the two most pernicious, racist myths about America
White Christian nationalism and the "Lost Cause" myth used to exist in opposition to each other. But now they're a singular danger to our democracy.

For some Republicans, Inauguration Day did not bring the joyful deliverance experienced by Democrats or even simple disappointment. Rather, it opened a new chapter in the long history of white Christian nationalism and perhaps the beginning of a new Lost Cause myth — a very worrisome development for the future of American democracy.

The basic storyline of white Christian nationalism is simple, and you've assuredly heard it before: America was founded as a Christian nation by (white) Christians based on "biblical" (meaning "Protestant") principles. America's white, Christian heritage is, adherents claim, the source of America's power and prosperity — both of which they believe are threatened by the increasing number of nonwhites, non-Christians and noncitizens on American soil.

... The merging white Christian nationalism — which requires a triumphant and ongoing American state — and the Lost Cause philosophy — which essentially argues for its destruction so the racist Confederacy can rise — may not have begun with Trump, but his campaign and then his presidency crystallized it. One reason is that the "Make America Great Again" narrative echoes the white Christian nationalist philosophy: When Trump said, "Make America Great Again," many conservative white evangelicals heard "Make America Christian Again."

And they — and those more interested in the Lost Cause — heard its unmistakable subtext: "Make It White Again, Too."

Trumpism added something new, as well: political messianism. The American revolutionaries had proclaimed "No King but King Jesus!" but their would-be modern-day heirs seem to see Trump as, if not Jesus, at least a king sent by God to deliver us from the hands of our enemies. White Christian nationalists had long worshipped a Golden Calf in the shape of the United States; after 2016, they bowed down before an Orange Monarch.

After Trump lost the election in November, the two philosophies drew even closer. Increasingly, white Christian nationalists and Lost Causers bought into the conspiracy theory that the election had been stolen, and they fixated on the syllogism that the (fake) stolen election was effectively the death of America — and tantamount to the crucifixion of Christ. Then, after the second impeachment vote on Jan. 13, Franklin Graham compared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to Judas Iscariot, implying that Trump was a betrayed Christ. (Some on the Trump sub-Reddit went even further, posting depictions of Trump as a crucified Christ.) The clear implication, of course, was that they would all rise again together.

So why does this still matter? After all, the man who would be king has been banished to his Epcot Versailles in Palm Beach. The most immediate danger is that he will seek and perhaps even achieve a royal Restoration that is also a divine Resurrection. Certainly, Trump's disciples have not given up hope.
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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.