No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
A former GOP and Senate staffer, 27, has been arrested on child pornography charges
  • Ruben Verastigui was arrested on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography on Friday.
  • Verastigui's LinkedIn shows he worked for the Senate Republican Conference until July.
  • He also previously worked for the Republican National Committee, designing ads for Trump.
According to a press release from Washington, DC's Metropolitan Police Department, 27-year-old Ruben Verastigui was arrested on Friday on charges of distributing, receiving, and possessing images of child pornography, following an investigation that started last March.

Verastigui's LinkedIn page shows a long history of working for Republicans and conservative causes.

When the investigation started, he worked as a digital strategist for the Senate Republican Conference, leaving that position in July to become communications manager at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a conservative green energy non-profit.

Verastigui appears to have been fired in the wake of his arrest.

"The details of the allegations against Mr. Verastigui are tragic and shocking," a spokesperson for the non-profit told The Daily Beast on Saturday. "He is no longer employed by the organization and we are prepared to fully cooperate with law enforcement requests in this matter to any extent needed.

He also previously worked as a senior designer for the Republican National Committee from May 2017 to July 2018. Part of his role involved designing ads for then-President Donald Trump's re-election campaign.

His work history also includes stints at various anti-abortion organizations.

The Daily Beast and The Washington Post obtained court documents on Verastigui's arrest, giving more insight into the accusations.

The documents detail how Homeland Security special agents came across Verastigui while looking for a group of at least 18 people who were trading child pornography on an unnamed website.

Verastigui sent messages to the group, saying he wanted to view "hardcore" videos, the records state.

At one point, Verastigui was alleged to have asked another member of the group to come to DC "for the purpose of sexually abusing a minor," according to the records.
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Gab's CEO says Trump doesn't use the platform, after reports wrongly suggest he returned to social media
  • Gab CEO Andrew Torba said Saturday that former President Donald Trump doesn't use the platform.
  • A number of media outlets, including Insider, incorrectly reported Trump had joined Gab.
  • Since being banned from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, Trump has been quiet online.
Gab CEO Andrew Torba said Donald Trump does not use the platform, after false reports suggested otherwise.

Multiple media outlets, including Insider, incorrectly reported that the former president broke his social media silence Friday with a post on Gab. But Torba says the account in question is not, and has never been, used by Trump.

"@realdonaldtrump is and always has been a mirror archive of POTUS' tweets and statements that we've run for years. We've always been transparent about this and would obviously let people know if the President starts using it," Torba said in a post on Gab.

Torba also criticised the media outlets that falsely reported that Trump himself was posting to the account, which features a blue check mark similar to those used on verified Twitter accounts.
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Trump's attempts to overturn the election have cost taxpayers more than $519 million so far, Washington Post finds
  • Trump spent the weeks following the election alleging mass election fraud.
  • His attempts to overturn the results have reportedly cost taxpayers more than $519 million so far.
  • More than $488 million was for Capitol security while another $30 million was in state costs.
The Post tallied the cost from reviews of local, state, and federal spending records, and interviews with government officials. The costs included legal fees, damage costs from the Capitol siege in January, military and security expenses, and more.

... Altogether, states spent $2.2 million on legal challenges and security for election officials, the Post found.

Pennsylvania, for instance, paid outside lawyers as much as $480 per hour to work against Trump's election fraud lawsuits.

... Costs for repairing the Capitol to clean up the damage of the attack, the cost for the US Park Police to clean up the National Mall, and costs for additional staffing, overtime, and medical bills from Capitol Police are also still unknown.

... Members of Congress are also now using their publicly funded Members' Representational Allowances, which comes from taxpayer money, to secure personal protective resources, from bulletproof vests to private security details and surveillance cameras,
the Post reported.

... States so far also spent $28 million for security relating to the insurrection and inauguration, the Post reported.

The costs included protecting their own statehouses following the Capitol attack. For instance, state officials in California spent around $19 million deploying National Guard and state troopers to the state Capitol and other locations between Jan. 14 to Jan. 21, the Post reported.

In Texas and North Carolina, taxpayers paid for helicopters to monitor potential protests, and in cities like Lansing, Michigan, and Olympia, Washington, they paid for temporary fencing and extra security details for state lawmakers going to legislative sessions.
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Former GOP senator dismissed the party as 'a grotesque caricature' of its former self
  • Former Sen. John Danforth said that today's GOP is "a grotesque caricature" of its former self.
  • Danforth expressed that the party is "in decline" in uncompetitive in swaths of the country.
  • He also said that Trump should be convicted in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial.
"America needs a strong, responsible conservative party," he said. "That has been the Republican Party. It is neither strong, nor responsible, nor conservative today."

He added: "It's losing, I think, its grip on the country as a whole. It's becoming increasingly a regional party. With almost no exceptions, the Northeast now is gone as far as the US Senate is concerned. The West Coast is completely gone."

... Danforth reiterated that the party is "in decline."

"In the last two presidential elections, President Trump lost in 2016 by three million votes," he said. "He lost in 2020 by seven million votes. We're going in the wrong direction."

... The former senator, who served in the upper chamber from 1976 to 1995, said that the party's current messaging has strayed deeply from its roots.

"The worst thing is that we have become really kind of a grotesque caricature of what the Republican Party has traditionally been," he said. "We were founded as the party of the union, of holding the country together. Now we have got on this populist tack, which is very much us against them."

He added: "There are conspiracies out there involving liberals and corporations and big tech. They're picking on you, the American people. You should resent this. You should feel your grievances. We feel them for you. And we're going to continue to create wedges to drive Americans apart."

... Danforth also said that former President Donald Trump should be convicted in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial for "incitement of insurrection" regarding the Capitol riots.

"If this — if what he did doesn't warrant conviction, what does?," he said. "I think anything other than a strong vote of conviction by Republicans is going to be viewed, rightly so, as condoning Trump."
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Trump could be fined $12 million after an Illinois judge ruled his Chicago hotel violated an environmental protection law for 3 years
  • Trump's Chicago hotel is violating environmental protection laws, an Illinois judge ruled.
  • The ruling stems from a 2018 lawsuit against the former president's hotel, The Washington Post reported.
  • The hotel is improperly using water from the Chicago River to cool the building, the judge decided.
Former President Donald Trump's Chicago hotel is improperly using water from the Chicago River to cool the building in violation of environmental protection regulations, a judge in Illinois ruled this week.

The ruling stems from a 2018 lawsuit against the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, The Washington Post reported. The Illinois attorney general had argued that Trump's property used 19 million gallons of water each day from the Chicago River to cool the property and returned the water to the river at a warmer temperature.

The hotel had initially secured a permit that allowed it to cool the building in this way, but the permit expired in 2017 and was not renewed, according to the report, sparking more than three years of violations.

... Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall, who decided the case, said a penalty would be decided at a future date.

According to the Washington Post, the office of the Illinois Attorney General had asked that the judge impose the maximum possible fines: $50,000 for two violations plus an additional $10,000 per day for each day the hotel continued to cool the building using water from the river.

With violations occurring since 2017, the former president's hotel chain could be ordered to pay as much as $12 million in fines, The Chicago Tribune reported. It added, however, that fines that high were ultimately unlikely.
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Republican Sen. Josh Hawley used campaign funds to pay for $197 in food during family Universal Studios trip
  • The New York Post uncovered questionable spending by Republican Sen. Josh Hawley.
  • FEC records show the Missouri senator using campaign funds to pay for food on a family outing.
  • Hawley's office told The Post that the expenses were reimbursed on January 30 — 10 months later.
Politicians are expressly prohibited from using campaign funds to pay for personal expenditures.

Hawley took his family to Universal Studios during a trip to Florida in March 2020 to attend a lobbyist retreat.

When reached for comment by The Post, Hawley's office said the spending in question was later reimbursed, albeit more than 10 months later, on January 30. His office said that the event "is designed specifically for families to attend."
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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 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.

Trump, whom many observers consider an anomaly, left the White House by saying, “We will be back in some form.” His legacy is “Trumpism” – a wave of white nationalism.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.