No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
Michael Cohen interviewed Stormy Daniels for his podcast and apologized for causing her 'needless pain'
  • Michael Cohen apologized to Stormy Daniels in an upcoming episode of his podcast. the AP reported.
  • Cohen and Daniels candidly discussed their involvement with former President Donald Trump.
  • Daniels said her sexual encounter with Trump was "the worst 90 seconds of my life."
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen interviewed porn star Stormy Daniels and apologized for his role in attempting to cover up her claims on behalf of former President Donald Trump.

Daniels was a guest for an upcoming episode of Cohen's podcast, called "Mea Culpa,", the Associated Press reported.

Cohen and Daniels have a long history: in 2018, it was revealed that Cohen had paid $130,000 to Daniels — real name Stephanie Clifford — as part of a non-disclosure agreement regarding her 2006 affair with Donald Trump.

Questions arose as to whether the money was paid from Trump's campaign fund, in violation of campaign finance law.

Trump initially claimed to have no knowledge of Daniels and pushed back via Cohen, who told The Wall Street Journal in 2018 that "President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels."

But three months later, during a call into "Fox & Friends," Trump let slip that Cohen had represented him in "the Stormy Daniels deal."

... During the interview, Daniels referred to her sexual encounter with Trump as "the worst 90 seconds of my life, for sure, because it just made me hate myself."

She told Cohen that while she didn't feel physically threatened by Trump, she did consider whether or not she'd be able to "outrun him," the AP reported.

Daniels also said that the infamy she gained through the hush-money scandal enabled her to go to "places I would never get to go."

Nonetheless, per the AP, she said that "if I could just wave a magic wand and make everything go back to the way it was before, I would absolutely do that."
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A top conservative lawyer has dismissed Republican claims that Trump can't be impeached
  • Top conservative lawyer Charles Cooper has dismissed Republican arguments against Trump's impeachment.
  • Many Republican senators argued Trump's upcoming impeachment trial was unconstitutional because he is no longer president.
  • "It defies logic to suggest that the Senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former officeholders," Cooper wrote.
Charles J. Cooper, a leading conservative lawyer in Washington, broke ranks with Republicans on Sunday to argue that former President Donald Trump can be impeached.

In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, Cooper — who has reportedly advised multiple Republicans including Ted Cruz — said that the Constitution allows the Senate to try a former federal official, in a significant blow to the argument favoured by many Republican senators against Trump's impeachment.
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All the businesses cutting ties with the Trump Organization
Businesses and other entities are severing their financial connections to Trump and the Trump Organization. Here are all the businesses and entities that have publicly split from the Trump Organization.
  • Trump resigned from SAG-AFTRA in a pointed letter, and they later voted to bar him from rejoining.
  • New York City is ending its contracts with the Trump Organization.
  • The PGA pulled its 2022 championship from Trump's Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club.
  • Deutsche Bank and Signature Bank are reportedly ending their banking services for the Trump Organization.
  • Professional Bank won't provide services for Trump or the Trump Organization.
  • The Girl Scouts want to end their lease in a Trump building.
  • The real-estate giant Cushman & Wakefield will no longer do business with the Trump Organization.
  • Shopify closed the Trump Organization's store.
  • The insurance brokerage Aon has ended its relationship with the Trump Organization.
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‘Its Own Domestic Army’: How the G.O.P. Allied Itself With Militants
Following signals from President Donald J. Trump — who had tweeted “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” after an earlier show of force in Lansing — Michigan’s Republican Party last year welcomed the support of newly emboldened paramilitary groups and other vigilantes. Prominent party members formed bonds with militias or gave tacit approval to armed activists using intimidation in a series of rallies and confrontations around the state. That intrusion into the Statehouse now looks like a portent of the assault halfway across the country months later at the United States Capitol.

As the Senate on Tuesday begins the impeachment trial of Mr. Trump on charges of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol rioting, what happened in Michigan helps explain how, under his influence, party leaders aligned themselves with a culture of militancy to pursue political goals.

Michigan has a long tradition of tolerating self-described private militias, which are unusually common in the state. But it is also a critical electoral battleground that draws close attention from top party leaders, and the Republican alliance with paramilitary groups shows how difficult it may be for the national party to extricate itself from the shadow of the former president and his appeal to this aggressive segment of its base.

... Six Trump supporters from Michigan have been arrested in connection with the storming of the Capitol. One, a former Marine accused of beating a Capitol Police officer with a hockey stick, had previously joined armed militiamen in a protest organized by Michigan Republicans to try to disrupt ballot counting in Detroit.

The chief organizer of that protest, Meshawn Maddock, on Saturday was elected co-chair of the state Republican Party — one of four die-hard Trump loyalists who won top posts.

... After the riot in Washington, some argue such endorsements endanger the future of the party. “It is like the Republican Party has its own domestic army,” said Jeff Timmer, a former executive director of the Michigan party and a vocal Trump critic.

... The state’s lenient gun laws — it is permissible to openly carry a firearm in public — also make it a welcoming place for other armed extremists. Members of the Proud Boys or Boogaloo movement routinely showed up at protests in Michigan last year and sometimes got into fights with Black Lives Matter activists.

For many of the more traditional militias, however, socializing is often as much a priority as drilling. Firearms training is mixed with camping and family outings — last fall, members of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia gathered for a picnic in a park where children tossed beanbags, mothers grilled cheeseburgers and AR-15 rifles leaned against lawn chairs. Some have websites where they sell T-shirts and carry ads for gun shops.

But woven through Michigan’s militia timeline is a persistent strand of menace. In the early 20th century, the Black Legion, a paramilitary group that included public officials in Detroit and elsewhere, began as an offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan and was linked to numerous acts of murder and terrorism.
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Inside Democrats' plans to make sure there's no Trump 2.0
  • Trump proudly trashed Washington norms and pushed presidential power to its limits.
  • Now Democrats have their big chance to push massive reforms to rein in the White House.
  • They've got long lists of laws they want to rewrite or toughen in response to Trump.
Donald Trump is gone after four years of proudly obliterating political norms in Washington, openly challenging laws, and daring his enemies to stop him.

The Republican ex-president's opponents vowed for the duration of his administration to fortify existing policies, regulations, and laws as soon as they could and write new ones to keep anything like what just happened from ever happening again.

Now's their big chance.

Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress for the first time in a decade. Anti-Trump sentiment is on high after he encouraged supporters to storm the US Capitol ahead of a violent siege. Trump has even floated running again himself in 2024.

... Trump spent four years testing the limits of presidential power and brazenly ignoring lawmakers on both sides of the aisle when they tried to stand in his way. Apart from the public shaming of two House impeachments, he got away with it, although it's still to be determined whether the Senate convicts Trump at his upcoming trial and then holds another vote that would bar him from running for federal office again.

"Fundamentally, he showed us how easy it is for a president not to comply with the law, how a president can get away with breaking laws and even protect people in the White House and the administration who are breaking the laws in his name," said Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law expert at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Trump kept constitutional lawyers busy as they confronted questions about the presidency that they'd never carefully considered before, like what happens if a president pardons himself. He also has prompted a spirited constitutional debate over whether a president can even be impeached and removed from office once he's out of the White House.

The now-former president famously refused to divest from his businesses interests when he took office, prompting an outcry from critics who accused him of violating the Constitution's anti-corruption Emoluments Clauses that bar the president from profiting from his office.

Trump also infuriated lawmakers — including Republicans — when he declared a national emergency to finance construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border after Congress refused to grant him the funding he wanted.

He fought to keep his tax returns secret and argued that the Constitution gave him "absolute immunity" from criminal investigations while he was in the White House.

... Democrats and law experts worry that letting Trump's moves go unanswered means it could all happen again.

Considering "the wrecking ball the president took to institutions of government and norms," there's a "never again" mindset on Capitol Hill, said Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat who serves on the House Judiciary Committee and is one of the impeachment managers making the case against Trump.

"We can't miss the opportunity to make sure no president does this again."
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How Trump's 2nd impeachment trial could help Capitol rioters' legal defense in their criminal cases
  • Trump's impeachment trial may benefit people criminally charged in connection with the Capitol riot.
  • Many are invoking the "public authority defense," saying they stormed the Capitol on Trump's orders.
  • The more evidence Congress throws at Trump, the more rioters can try to shift blame from themselves.
While the participants in the Capitol riot won't be showing up for trial in Congress this week — even though the "QAnon Shaman" has offered to stand as a witness against Trump — what happens in Trump's second impeachment trial may have consequences for their own cases, criminal law experts say.

The evidence that House impeachment managers bring for their case against Trump, Zelin said, may also be used by the rioters' defense attorneys in court. Trump told his supporters that they would walk up to the Capitol building and "fight like hell." The lawyers representing those doing the fighting may argue they were simply acting at Trump's command.

"If you are encouraging someone who is charged with doing it, then your defense is, 'The president told me to do it. And here's the proof: Go take a look at the evidence in the impeachment proceedings,'" Zelin said.

Many of the participants in the insurrection have already used this excuse in some form, as Insider's Sonam Sheth previously reported.
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Fact check: How Trump's lawyers twisted the facts in their anti-impeachment filing
Trump's lawyers themselves twisted or omitted critical facts.

The lawyers -- Bruce L. Castor, Jr., David Schoen and Michael T. van der Veen -- made a series of constitutional arguments in the memorandum. Most notably, they argued that the Constitution does not allow the Senate to hold an impeachment trial of a former president. They also argued that it is unconstitutional to impeach Trump over "political speech" they say is protected by the First Amendment.

Many legal experts say that both of these arguments are wrong.

Trump's use of the word "fight"

Trump's lawyers wrote that, of over 10,000 words in Trump's speech at The Ellipse park near the White House on the day of the insurrection, "Mr. Trump used the word 'fight' a little more than a handful of times and each time in the figurative sense that has long been accepted in public discourse when urging people to stand and use their voices to be heard on matters important to them; it was not and could not be construed to encourage acts of violence."

Facts First: Trump used the word "fight" or its variants 20 times in his January 6 speech.

The insurrection timeline

Trump's lawyers claimed that "a simple timeline of events demonstrates conclusively that the riots were not inspired by the President's speech at the Ellipse." The lawyers cited an article that noted the park is 1.6 miles away from the Capitol and that barriers around the Capitol were first breached before Trump had even finished speaking.

Facts First: Because rioters were still present at the Capitol more than three hours after Trump concluded the speech, people had more than enough time to attend Trump's speech at the park and then storm the Capitol; the FBI alleges that some participants did make this walk, including one who allegedly went from the Trump speech to her hotel and then into the Capitol. It is true that the timeline shows that someone who attended the entirety of the speech at the park could not have been among the very first people to breach the Capitol grounds, but that's a narrower claim than the one Trump's lawyers are making.

And all of this ignores the fact that insurrectionists near the Capitol could have listened to Trump's speech on their phones or could have been inspired by Trump's previous rhetoric.

Who breached the Capitol and why

Trump's lawyers argued, "The real truth is that the people who criminally breached the Capitol did so of their own accord and for their own reasons, and they are being criminally prosecuted."

Facts First: This is inaccurate by omission. Numerous participants in the insurrection are alleged in court documents to have told the FBI their actions were motivated by their support for Trump -- and some have even said they felt they had been directly instructed by Trump to take action. The list of people charged over the insurrection includes both pro-Trump alleged members of right-wing extremist groups and Trump supporters unaffiliated with formal groups.

Trump's video during the insurrection

Trump's lawyers noted that during the insurrection, Trump "told rioters to go home." In a footnote on the same page, the lawyers elaborated that "upon hearing of the reports of violence," Trump tweeted a video "urging people to 'go home' and to do so in 'peace.'"

Facts First: These statements omit key context. In the same video in which Trump urged rioters to "go home in peace," he continued to lie that the election was "stolen from us" and that it was a "fraudulent election." (And he told the rioters that "we love you" and that "you're very special.") In addition, Trump did not tweet the video until 4:17 PM Eastern, about two hours after the rioters forced their way into the Capitol and more than three hours after barricades outside the building were first breached. Also, CNN and other media outlets have reported that Trump had to be lobbied by allies to release the video.

Trump's reaction to the violence

Trump's lawyers rejected media reports about the former President's reaction to the riot. "There is no legitimate proof, nor can there ever be, that President Trump was 'delighted' by the events at the Capitol. He, like the rest of the Country, was horrified at the violence," they wrote.

Facts First: This is disputed. Multiple media outlets reported in January that Trump was not horrified by the riot as he watched it unfold on television.

Trump's behind-the-scenes actions

Trump's lawyers said of the former President: "He and the White House further took immediate steps to coordinate with authorities to provide whatever was necessary to counteract the rioters."

Facts First: This is also disputed. Trump's lawyers did not say what these "immediate steps" were, so this claim is too vague for us to definitively fact check, but it's worth noting that Trump initially resisted deploying the National Guard. It was Pence who took the lead on the Guard deployment and spoke to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and then-acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller.
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Republican lawmaker says Trump needs to be convicted in order to 'save America'
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger is one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump.
  • In an opinion column, he writes that Republicans need to "learn the lessons of the recent past."
  • "Convicting Donald Trump is necessary to save America from going further down a sad, dangerous road."
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of the 10 Republican lawmakers who crossed party lines to vote for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, asked his congressional colleagues to "learn the lessons of the recent past" and vote to convict the former president.

In an opinion column published in the Washington Post on Monday, Kinzinger wrote that "the future of our party and our country depends on confronting what happened" after the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill. Kinzinger argued that the riot "didn't come out of nowhere" and that it was perpetuated by "four-plus years of anger, outrage and outright lies."

"Perhaps the most dangerous lie — or at least the most recent — was that the election was stolen," Kinzinger wrote. "Of course it wasn't, but a huge number of Republican leaders encouraged the belief that it was. Every time that lie was repeated, the riots of Jan. 6 became more likely."

... "The better path is to learn the lessons of the recent past," Kinzinger added in his column. "Convicting Donald Trump is necessary to save America from going further down a sad, dangerous road."
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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.