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Trump charged US taxpayers $40,000 for Secret Service to use a room at Mar-a-Lago in the months since he left office
  • Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort charged the US government at least $40,000 for the use of a room between January 20 and April 30, The Washington Post reported.
  • Trump's Palm Beach resort charged $396 per night, which is almost double the federally mandated maximum rate for most government employees in that county.
  • Trump moved to his Bedminster, New Jersey resort earlier this month and it's unclear whether he's charging Secret Service to stay or work there.
Former President Donald Trump charged the US government at least $40,000 for Secret Service to use a room at his Mar-a-Lago resort after he left the White House, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

Trump's Palm Beach, Florida resort charged taxpayers $396.15 every night from January 20 to at least April 30 for a single room Trump's security detail worked out of, according to spending records The Post obtained through a public-records request.

The nearly $400-per-night cost is less than the original $546-per-night rate Mar-a-Lago charged the government during Trump's first months in office. But under federal rules, most government employees are limited to spending $205 a night for accommodation in Palm Beach County, according to the General Services Administration.

Trump moved to Mar-a-Lago on his last day in office and lived there full time until early May, when he moved to his Bedminster, New Jersey club for the summer. It's unclear whether his property is charging the Secret Service to stay in Bedminster or use any of the facilities.

This comes after Mar-a-Lago charged the Secret Service almost $16,000 for Trump's week-long Christmas visit to his club in December 2020, while he was still president.

Former US presidents are given Secret Service protection for the rest of their lives, in addition to a $219,000 annual pension and staff paid for by the government. But it is highly unusual for a former president to charge his protective detail.

When President Joe Biden was vice president, he charged the Secret Service $2,200 per month to rent a cottage on his Delaware property. But he hasn't charged the US government since becoming president, the White House told The Post.

During his four years in office, Trump charged US taxpayers more than $2.5 million to use facilities at his properties, The Post reported. Trump's properties raked in another $5.6 million from his campaign and fundraising group. A self-declared billionaire, Trump has faced scrutiny and criticism for allowing his properties around the US and the world to charge the US government during his many visits.
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Rudy Giuliani is not 'above the law' or immune to criminal probes despite acting as Trump attorney, Feds say
Federal prosecutors said in a court filing Friday that "the mere fact" that Rudy Giuliani is a lawyer — one who represented former President Donald Trump — does not meant he is "above the law or immune to a criminal investigation."

The filing pushed back on efforts by Giuliani's attorneys to attack the legality of search warrants for his iCloud account in 2019 and for his Manhattan home and office last month, which were issued as part of an ongoing criminal probe into his activities in and related to Ukraine.

Eighteen electronic devices belonging to New York's former mayor and to employees of Giuliani Partners were seized in late April as part of those warrants.

Giuliani's lawyers argue that the search of his iCloud — which was not known to Giuliani for about 18 months — may have violated his attorney-client privilege and the right of Trump as president to have his communications with his lawyer protected.

And they say the recent search warrants may be tainted by their reliance on information obtained from the iCloud search.

Another well-known Republican lawyer, Victoria Toensing, was the subject of similar search warrants.

"The warrants authorizing the searches of those devices were issued by a United States District Judge — this Court — on a finding that there was probable cause to believe that those devices contained evidence, fruits, and instrumentalities of specified federal crimes," prosecutors from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York wrote in their new filing in Manhattan federal court.

Prosecutors said the search of devices and electronic accounts belonging to attorneys such as Giuliani and Toensing "requires special care in order to protect the confidentiality of attorney-client communications that may be found in search materials."

To that end, prosecutors said they have "gone above and beyond those obligations" by asking a judge to appoint a so-called special master to review the recently seized materials for potentially privileged material, which then would be kept from investigators who are conducting the criminal probe of Giuliani.

Prosecutors said a so-called filter team served that purpose in reviewing the 2019 warrants for his and Toensing's iCloud accounts.

"But, to be clear, the mere fact that Giuliani and Toensing are lawyers does not mean that they are above the law or immune to criminal investigation," prosecutors wrote.

"Yet that is effectively what Giuliani and Toensing argue in their motions: because they are lawyers, the execution of search warrants, upon them was illegal and inappropriate, and as such they are entitled to the extraordinary and unprecedented remedy of converting lawfully-issued search warrants into subpoenas, so that they can review their own materials and decide what the Government gets to see. That is not the law, and their requests otherwise should be denied," the filing said.

Prosecutors argued in the filing that a judge should deny requests by Giuliani and Toensing to unseal the affidavits filed to obtain the warrants.
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Trump 'acts like a mafioso': why NY's AG may treat the Trump Organization like a mob racket in its criminal probe, according to legal experts
  • The Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg are now facing criminal probes from the New York attorney general's office.
  • As part of those investigations, prosecutors could pursue racketeering charges under state "RICO" laws.
One route prosecutors could take is to treat the Trump Organization like an organized crime operation and seek charges under Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) laws.

Insider spoke with University of Notre Dame law professor G. Robert Blakey, who helped draft the 1970 federal RICO Act and similar legislation in 22 states, and Jeffrey Robbins, a white-collar attorney and former federal prosecutor, about how such laws could come into play.

The federal RICO Act was enacted in 1970 as a way to combat organized crime, and a majority of states have since passed similar laws.

But even though they've come to be associated with cases involving the mafia, Robbins said RICO laws can apply to any situations where organizations engage in criminal activity for the benefit of their officers or owners.

"The RICO statute is brought all the time in cases which do not involve physical violence, but which involve financial criminality, so it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that, among the things that prosecutors are looking at, [is] whether there's a basis to charge the organization with racketeering," Robbins said, though he added that it's too early to predict prosecutors' plans.

While they're complex and vary by state, RICO laws typically involve a person engaging in a "pattern of criminal behavior" through an "enterprise" over a certain period of time for their financial gain, according to Blakey.

Prosecutors could look at criminal activity involving not just the Trump Organization, but also Trump's use of the US government for his personal gain, Blakey added.

Compared to conspiracy or other charges prosecutors could pursue, racketeering charges carry much longer jail sentences and larger financial penalties.

"A five-year issue would become a twenty-year issue," Blakey said.

Also, instead of having to pay a (relatively) small fine, he said, the convicted person must forfeit assets and profits they gained because of their criminal activity, based on the value of the illegal transactions.

"It's flexible in amount, but it's mandatory," he added.

Blakey said that can make a huge difference in practice: "You're a dope dealer, you made $1 million dollars — you owe [the government] $1 million. You make $2 million — you owe [the government] $2 million. If it was just a fine for doing the dope, it would be $10,000."

There are also considerations around the narrative prosecutors might try to create to persuade a jury if a case against Trump or the Trump Organization went to trial.

"He talks like a mafioso, he acts like a mafioso... his legal campaign was actually taking over a legitimate organization to run it criminally," Blakey said.

... The simplest case would be a civil case without rackeetering charges, which would be easiest to win and could at least help prosecutors prove a symbolic point that "nobody is above the law," Blakey said.

Going the criminal route, with or without RICO charges, would be much harder because jury verdicts in criminal cases must be unanimous. And, he added: "You always run the risk of a diehard Trump supporter who will vote against you no matter what your evidence is."

Seeking racketeering charges in either a criminal or civil case would add yet another layer of difficulty for prosecutors.

"You have to show a pattern" of crimes, Blakey said. "More than a few, over a substantial period of time."
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GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn said he missed 15 House votes because he was fulfilling his 'service as a husband'
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn said he missed votes to fulfill his "service as a husband" on his honeymoon.
  • An analysis from Quorum showed Cawthorn has missed the most votes of any freshman lawmaker.
  • Cawthorn told Real America's Voice News that all the votes he missed were on "Democrat garbage."
GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn said his "service as a husband" kept him from over a dozen congressional votes in April, and described all the missed votes as "Democrat garbage" during an interview on the conservative program, Real America's Voice News.

Data collected by legislative analysis firm Quorum and reported on by Axios found that Cawthorn has missed the highest percentage of votes — 16.2% — of any freshman House member during the 117th Congress. The top five freshmen to miss the most votes are all Republicans.

"To that, I really laugh. It shows how the Democrats feel about the nuclear family in America right now. I was doing the only thing that I find more important than my service in Congress, and that's my service as a husband," Cawthorn told host David Brody when asked about Axios' reporting on his missed votes.

Cawthorn explained that "they had the votes pile up" the week he was away for his honeymoon after marrying his wife Cristina Bayardelle in his home state of North Carolina in early April, resulting in him missing out on 15 votes.

"Every single vote that came up was some Democrat garbage, so I was happy to be able to not actually have to vote on those," Cawthorn said. "They're eliminating our voices, they're not allowing us to debate on the House floor, and I'm telling you, if I had to choose between voting with Nancy Pelosi or spending time with my beautiful wife, I'll choose Cristina every time."

Cawthorn also did not designate an another lawmaker to enter votes on his behalf while he was on his honeymoon. Under special COVID-19 procedures, House members can vote by proxy via a colleague.
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Matt Gaetz's ex-girlfriend to cooperate with federal authorities in sex-trafficking probe, CNN reports
  • A former Capitol Hill staffer who used to date Matt Gaetz is cooperating with authorities, CNN reported.
  • His ex-girlfriend is expected to help investigators make sense of hundreds of transaction records, CNN reported.
  • Gaetz's lawyers told Insider they are "ready for a fair fight on the facts and the law."
The ex-girlfriend of Rep. Matt Gaetz will cooperate with federal authorities who are investigating the Florida lawmaker, sources told CNN.

The news comes days after Joel Greenberg, a former Gaetz ally and Florida county tax collector, formally pleaded guilty to six felony counts and agreed to cooperate with the US government in its investigation into Gaetz.

Gaetz's ex-girlfriend, a former Capitol Hill staffer has been linked to the Republican since at least the summer of 2017 — an apparent time period of interest for investigators. According to CNN, the woman is expected to help prosecutors understand hundreds of transactions they've obtained records of.

Investigators have been pushing for the woman's agreement since earlier this month, CNN reported. Sources did not share with CNN if there is a formal agreement to cooperate.
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Donald Trump's online traffic has slumped massively, as he struggles to win back his audience after being banned from social networks
  • Trump's blog posts weren't being widely shared on social networks, The Washington Post reported.
  • His blog posts were reportedly shared less than 2,000 times each day on Facebook last week.
  • Engagement on Trump-related posts on social networks reportedly fell by about 95% since January.
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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.