No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
Business Coalitions Speak Out Against Voting Restrictions in Texas
Companies including HP, Microsoft and Unilever are calling for expanded voting access in the state after weeks of silence from national businesses on Republicans’ voting bills there.

Two broad coalitions of companies and executives released letters on Tuesday calling for expanded voting access in Texas, wading into the contentious debate over Republican legislators’ proposed new restrictions on balloting after weeks of relative silence from the business community in the state.

One letter comes from a group of large corporations, including HP, Microsoft, Unilever, Salesforce, Patagonia and Sodexo, as well as local companies and chambers of commerce, and represents the first major coordinated effort among businesses in Texas to take action against the voting proposals.

The letter, under the banner of a new group called Fair Elections Texas, stops short of criticizing the two voting bills that are now advancing through the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature, but opposes “any changes that would restrict eligible voters’ access to the ballot.”

A separate letter, also released on Tuesday and signed by more than 100 Houston executives, goes further. It directly criticizes the proposed legislation and equates the efforts with “voter suppression.”

That letter was organized by a breakaway faction of the Greater Houston Partnership, the equivalent of a citywide chamber of commerce in the country’s fourth-largest city, and came after a month of intense debate within the organization over how to respond to the voting proposals.

Together, the letters signify a sudden shift in how the business community approaches the voting bills in Texas. Until now, American Airlines and Dell Technologies were the only major corporations to publicly speak out about the Texas legislation, and after doing so they quickly found themselves threatened by Republicans in Austin, the state capital.

But with a varied coalition that numbers well into the dozens, companies are hoping a collective voice willing to apply pressure at the state level could break through and sway the thinking of some Republican legislators who may be wavering on the bills.
Read the full article: Business Coalitions Speak Out Against Voting Restrictions in Texas - The New York Times

Lawmakers slam Facebook oversight board’s decision to uphold Trump ban.

Facebook’s ban of Donald Trump was upheld by a company-appointed panel after his posts about the Capitol riot.

The panel, a group of journalists, activists, academics and lawyers, ruled that the ban was justified at the time but added that the company should reassess the decision to make the ban “indefinite” and make a final decision in six months.

The ruling diminished the prospect of the former president’s return to mainstream social media and renewed a debate about big tech’s power over free speech. Republicans blasted the decision as “disgraceful.”
Read the full article:

The Texas House presses forward on a sweeping voting bill after DeSantis signs voting restrictions in Florida.
Florida joined a growing list of Republican-led states in making it more difficult to vote.

The governor, Ron DeSantis, signed new voting restrictions into law that limit the use of ballot drop boxes and absentee ballots.

The next big move could happen in Texas, where Republicans are brushing aside objections from corporate titans and moving on a vast election bill that would be among the most severe in the nation.

During a bill-signing ceremony from West Palm Beach broadcast exclusively by Fox News, DeSantis praised the Florida legislation as the “strongest election integrity measures in the country,” though there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the presidential election.

His actions are part of a national effort by Republicans to reverse gains Democrats made in Georgia, Arizona and elsewhere.
Read the full article:

Daylight Attack on 2 Asian Women in San Francisco Increases Fears
The stabbing on Market Street this week and other attacks have caused some older Asian-American residents in the Bay Area to fear going outdoors, community leaders said.

A man has been charged with attempted murder after the stabbing of two Asian women in broad daylight in San Francisco.

Witnesses, like Patricia Lee, said the man was wielding a large, military-style knife when he lunged at two women, one of them 84 years old, on Tuesday as they waited for a bus on one of San Francisco’s busiest thoroughfares. Five people in the city have been charged with anti-Asian hate crimes this year.

On the same day, 49 Buddhist leaders gathered in Los Angeles for a ceremony of healing following recent attacks. One organizer called it an effort “to repair the racial karma of this nation.”
Read the full article:

Dominion bashes the election firm running the Trump-supported recount in Arizona, saying it's already 'committed serious errors'
  • Dominion criticized the firm recounting votes in Arizona as having "committed serious errors."
  • The CEO of the company, called Cyber Ninjas, previously tweeted conspiracy theories about the election.
  • The recount has been promoted by Donald Trump, who falsely believes he won the 2020 election.
In a statement Tuesday, the company said Cyber Ninjas wasn't qualified to conduct a recount and that its leader was operating with "a false, pre-determined conclusion" that votes were altered in the first place.

"The firms conducting this so-called audit are not federally-accredited Voting Systems Test Labs," Dominion said in the statement. "The lead firm, Cyber Ninjas, has no election experience, and publicly available information shows its leader has helped spread debunked lies about election fraud."

... Maricopa County, the largest county in the state and where the Republican recount is taking place, has already conducted two separate audits of its 2020 election results. Both found that the results were correct and Dominion machines had produced accurate results.

In its statement, Dominion said it had numerous security measures in place for its election machines, including creating a voter-verified paper trail for each vote, using two-factor authentication that requires a physical key, and putting measures in place to ensure the machines don't connect to the internet.

"Local election officials securely store and monitor the machines at all times," the company said. "Thousands of poll workers, party officials, and election officials across Arizona watch over precincts on election day and guard tabulation sites in the days following."
Read the full article:

Man charged with joining the Capitol riot after the FBI saw his wife's Facebook posts bragging about it
  • A man has been charged with joining the Capitol riot after his wife posted to Facebook about it.
  • The FBI received a tip about the bragging posts, which they say have since been deleted.
  • Officials matched a Facebook portrait of Gary Edwards to a man seen in footage from January 6.
A man was charged with joining the Capitol riot after his wife made Facebook posts talking about his involvement, court documents say.

According to DOJ filings released Wednesday, the FBI got a tip pointing them to a Facebook page in the name of Lynn Feiler Edwards, with posts talking about the involvement of her husband Gary Edwards on January 6.

... Gary Edwards was arrested Tuesday in connection to the riot, and has been charged with entering and disorderly conduct in a restricted building, disruption of official business, among other charges.

His wife Lynn's Facebook posts have since been deleted, the filing said. But according to officials, Lynn bragged: "Okay ladies let me tell you what happened as my husband was there inside the Capitol Rotunda."

In the filing, officials say they matched photographs of Lynn's husband Gary from the Facebook page to his driver's license, and used these to identify him in video footage and social media posts from the Capitol, showing "an individual who appeared to be Edwards."
Read the full article:

Donald Trump's latest attempt to return to Twitter ends a day later with a suspension
  • A new Twitter account associated with Donald Trump was suspended.
  • The account @DJTDesk was suspended for violating Twitter's policies.
  • Twitter banned Trump from the site earlier this year following the Capitol insurrection.
Twitter suspended former president Donald Trump's latest attempt to get back on the social media site.

The new account, called @DJTDesk, on Thursday morning read "account suspended" for violating Twitter's rules.

In a statement to Insider, a Twitter spokesperson said, "As stated in our ban evasion policy, we'll take enforcement action on accounts whose apparent intent is to replace or promote content affiliated with a suspended account."

The account, which was created in May, said in its bio that it contained "Posts copied from Save America on behalf of the 45th POTUS; Originally composed via *Note: Not Donald J. Trump Tweeting."

... After losing access to Twitter, Trump attempted to send tweets from different accounts before they were also shut down. His social-media ban led him to resort to sending press releases, which often read like tweets, via email. He told Fox News that he didn't miss "vey boring" Twitter and that his press releases were more elegant anyway.

The latest suspended Twitter account was an extension of Trump's new website called, "From the Desk of Donald J. Trump," which was launched on Tuesday. On the site, he shares Twitter-like statements that his followers can share to social media.
Read the full article:

The guy who crowdfunded $25 million to build Trump's border wall just got indicted on tax fraud charges
  • Brian Kolfage, who founded "We Build the Wall," with Steve Bannon, was indicted in a new tax case.
  • A New York grand jury separately found the crowdfunding effort to be fraudulent in August 2020.
  • Donald Trump pardoned Bannon before he left office, but didn't pardon Kolfage.
Brian Kolfage — the cofounder of a failed crowdfunding effort to build a wall along the US-Mexico border with Steve Bannon — is facing a new tax case after being indicted on federal fraud charges last year.

Newly unsealed court documents show that a federal grand jury in Florida indicted Kolfage on accusations of fraud and filing false tax returns.

According to charging documents reviewed by Insider, Kolfage's tax filings for 2019 represented an income of $63,574. In fact, the charges say, Kolfage personally received hundreds of thousands of dollars that year through his "We Build a Wall" project and other organizations.

... In August, federal prosecutors in New York filed an indictment against Kolfage and Bannon, accusing them of using some of the $25 million raised for the "We Build a Wall" organization to line their own pockets. Two other right-wing political operatives, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, were also charged in the scheme.

The prosecutors accused Kolfage of using $350,000 in donor money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including spending money on home renovations, a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, plastic surgery, and credit-card debt.

Kolfage launched the "We Build a Wall" fundraiser in December 2018, during a government shutdown, in a failed attempt to raise $1 billion to build a US-Mexico border privately. Trump himself had distanced himself from the project.

... Additional charging documents in the Florida case detailing how Kolfage handled his money were not immediately available in public court records. The indictment says Kolfage kept his money in the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which typically represents members of the US Military. Kolfage is an Air Force veteran and lost both arms and a leg in the Iraq War.
Read the full article:

An attorney for an accused Capitol rioter claimed his client participated in the January 6 siege because he had 'Foxitus' and 'Foxmania' from watching Fox News for 6 months
  • An attorney for a Capitol riot defendant said his client was radicalized by Fox News ahead of January 6.
  • The lawyer for Anthony Antonio said he started "believing what was being fed to him" by the news outlet and Trump.
  • The attorney made the claim during a Thursday court hearing for other accused rioters.
An attorney for an accused Capitol rioter claimed his client had been radicalized by Fox News, saying he had "Foxitus" and "Foxmania."

Anthony Antonio watched Fox News for six months prior to the Capitol riot, the attorney said during a multi-defendant hearing on Thursday related to the Capitol siege.

... Antonio, who was wearing a black tactical bulletproof vest with a "Three Percenter" patch when pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, was included in a "Seeking Information" list posted by the FBI following the incident, according to court documents.

Federal investigators interviewed Antonio on February 4, and he admitted to being at the Capitol on January 6. However, he did not answer when investigators asked if he entered the building. Court documents allege that Antonio entered the Capitol through one of the broken windows.

"Although his face was not visible, he was identifiable by the tattoo on his wrist and the distinctive black gloves with white writing," according to the document. A video also captured Antonio inside the building "picking up a piece of furniture, which appeared to have a broken leg, with another individual and tossing the furniture off to the side," the documents said.

In the February 4 interview with investigators, Antonio described his account of what happened when protestors confronted police officers outside the building, saying he saw "death" in the eyes of one officer who he said was asking for help.

Metropolitan Police Officer Mike Fanone was tased by accused rioter Danny "DJ Rodrguez," who has been charged in relation to the incident. Video footage showed Antonio near Rodriguez at the time of the incident, who was holding a stun gun, HuffPost reported.

A criminal complaint was filed against Antonio on April 14, charging him with unlawfully entering restricted building or grounds, violent entry and disorderly conduct, obstruction of law enforcement, obstruction of an official proceeding, and destruction of government property.
Read the full article:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' former aides say he treated them 'like a disposable piece of garbage'
  • Many of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' former staffers told Politico they felt abused by the politician.
  • A group of the ex-staffers have formed a "support group" to discuss their experiences.
  • DeSantis is closely aligned with former president Donald Trump, who recently said he'd consider the governor as a potential running mate.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is a rising star in the Republican Party. But many of his former staffers told Politico they felt used and abused by the MAGA politician.

A group of former DeSantis staffers have formed a "support group" to regularly discuss their adverse experiences working for the governor, Playbook reported Friday. DeSantis reportedly has very few veteran advisers and largely relies on himself and his wife, Casey DeSantis, to guide his political strategy.

"Loyalty and trust, that is not a currency he deals in," one former adviser told Politico. "It's him and Casey. But everyone else is like a disposable piece of garbage."

After DeSantis faced widespread criticism for saying his Black competitor in the 2018 governor's race would "monkey up" the state, DeSantis and his wife reportedly blamed campaign staffers for the fallout. DeSantis fired five aides within the first few months of taking office as governor. And he reportedly had the leader of the Florida Republican Party fire a staffer in their first week back at work after having surgery for cancer.
Read the full article:

A Capitol riot suspect yelled 'f--- all of you!' at his Zoom court hearing then hung up on the judge, reports say
  • A Capitol riot suspect caused chaos at his own Zoom court hearing, according to reports.
  • Landon Copeland yelled expletives at the judge during the call, The Daily Beast and NBC reported.
  • His charges include violent entry into the Capitol and assaulting or resisting officers.
A Capitol riot suspect unleashed an expletive-filled tirade and hung up on the judge in a chaotic Zoom hearing, according to reports.

Landon Copeland was charged with violent entry to the Capitol and assaulting and obstructing law enforcement, among other charges relating to the January 6 insurrection.

A criminal complaint said Copeland pushed against a police line with a stolen riot shield and attempted to destroy a barricade while approaching the building.

At his Thursday court hearing, Copeland yelled: "You people f---ed this up. You're going to give me a psych eval. I don't like 70% of my income going to the government. F--- all of you!" according to The Daily Beast's Pilar Menendez.

As NBC's Scott MacFarlane reported it, Copeland also yelled: "How long can I postpone this? I'm a vet. You owe this to me. You've all f---ed this up. You're a robot to me. You can't come get me if I don't want you to!"

There was then an hourlong break, after which Copeland's lawyer said he was "in a crisis" — which upset Copeland so much he eventually hung up on the hearing, The Daily Beast reported.

A number of Copeland's friends, whom The Daily Beast described as Trump supporters, and his mother also joined the Zoom call. The judge ended up kicking out one of his friends after they used an expletive in their Zoom username, The Daily Beast reported.

Prosecutors have previously acknowledged that Copeland — who says he is a combat veteran who was shot in Iraq — may have post-traumatic stress disorder, The Daily Beast reported.

... Copeland also disrupted another session related to Capitol riot suspects earlier on Thursday, according to reports. It is not clear how he gained access to that session.

He told the courtroom clerk during that call, according to The Daily Beast: "You are evil!"
Read the full article:

Homeland Security reverses Trump-era DNA collection plan for immigration vetting
The withdrawal is "consistent" with President Joe Biden's February executive order focused on legal immigration, as well administration efforts to reduce barriers in the immigration system, according to a department statement.

The Trump administration rule, which was proposed in September 2020, would have removed age restrictions for biometric collection and would have given DHS the authority to require biometrics for every application, petition or related immigration request.

It would have also expanded the use of DNA collection.

At the time of the initial proposal, senior DHS official Ken Cuccinelli said that the collection of biometric information "guards against identity theft and thwarts fraudsters who are not who they claim to be."

Vera Eidelman, staff attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, praised Friday's move.

"The Biden administration is right to withdraw this DHS proposal, which would have massively expanded the government's collection of sensitive biometric identifiers out of all proportion to any legitimate need," Eidelman said.

Eidelman also called to rescind a Trump-era rule requiring "forced DNA collection from individuals in immigration detention."
Read the full article:

Pollster Frank Luntz says Trump's 'big lie' may cost Republicans the House in 2022
  • Donald Trump could ruin the GOP's chances at retaking the House in 2022, according to Frank Luntz.
  • The longtime pollster said Trump's "big lie" could hurt turnout among conservatives.
  • "What Donald Trump is saying is actually telling people it's not worth it to vote," Luntz said.
"This could cost the Republicans the majority in the House in 2022," Luntz said. "What Donald Trump is saying is actually telling people it's not worth it to vote. Donald Trump single-handedly may cause people not to vote. And he may be the greatest tool in the Democrats' arsenal to keep control of the House and Senate in 2022."

Although many pundits think the GOP has a great chance at regaining the House in 2022 after taking back 13 seats from Democrats in 2020, Luntz argued Trump's "big lie" that the 2020 election was stolen will suppress turnout among the base.

As Insider's Grace Panetta reported recently, many of the recent voting restriction bills in Republican majority state legislatures address specific Trumpian grievances, but they won't necessarily help the GOP win elections.

Luntz has been conducting various focus groups for decades and cut his teeth as Pat Buchanan's pollster in the 1992 presidential race. He's also credited with coining terms such as "death taxes" and "government takeover of healthcare," but he no longer identifies as a Republican.

... "If Donald Trump runs for president as a Republican, he's the odds-on favorite to win the nomination," he said. "He could never win a general election, but I can't imagine losing a Republican primary. That's how significant he is within the GOP. And yet he's lost all of those crossover voters that would deny him the chance to win in a general election."
Read the full article:

Trump DOJ secretly pulled Washington Post reporter phone records, and tried to score email records
  • The Washington Post reported that the Trump DOJ secretly pulled three of their reporters' phone records in 2017.
  • The three reporters had been covering Russia's influence in the 2016 election.
In the early days of the Trump administration, the Justice Department covertly pulled phone records from several Washington Post journalists and also tried to source their email records, according to government letters sent to the reporters and reviewed by The Post.

... The Post reported that in three separate letters dated May 3 and addressed to reporters Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller, and former reporter Adam Entous, the DOJ told the reporters, they were, "hereby notified that pursuant to legal process the United States Department of Justice received toll records associated with the following telephone numbers for the period from April 15, 2017 to July 31, 2017."

The letters said that the records included their personal, work, or home phone numbers and allegedly did not include any information about whether Justice Department leadership approved the subpoena.

... "We are deeply troubled by this use of government power to seek access to the communications of journalists," The Post's acting executive editor Cameron Barr told the outlet. "The Department of Justice should immediately make clear its reasons for this intrusion into the activities of reporters doing their jobs, an activity protected under the First Amendment."
Read the full article:

The White House needed extensive security upgrades but the Trumps didn't want to deal with the noise and made it a problem for Biden's administration
  • Trump passed on important security upgrades for the White House during his tenure, CNN reported.
  • Now, the needed renovations are ongoing during Biden's presidency.
  • Trump reportedly passed because he didn't want to deal with the noise.
Former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump decided to pass along much-needed upgrades to White House security to President Joe Biden because they didn't want to deal with construction noise or alter the aesthetic, CNN reported.

The United States Secret Service, the National Park Service, and the White House worked together to implement new security changes in several phases so it wouldn't upset the first family, but when the final phase was set to start, the Trumps said they didn't want to deal with the construction.

The first lady specifically didn't want the effort to impact the aesthetics of the back lawn, where events could be hosted, CNN reported.

The needed updates have now been going on for several weeks and are forcing Biden to have to take a motorcade for about two minutes every time he wants to get on and off his helicopter, Marine One, because it can't land right by the White House.

"It's been a headache," said one Secret Service source with knowledge of altered movements to circumvent the construction.

The renovations start from the farthest southern juncture of the lawn to the foot of the South entrance of the White House building.

This isn't the first instance that Biden had to deal with the issues remaining from the Trump era.
Read the full article:

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.