No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
A GOP-led Arizona elections board called the state's vote recount a 'sham' and 'grift disguised as an audit'
  • An Arizona elections board has described the vote recount as a "circus" that weakens democracy.
  • The recount of the 2020 election ballots was backed by Trump, who maintains votes were stolen from him.
  • Observers said the auditors in the recount were seeking to prove conspiracy theories.
A Republican-led voting-supervision board in Arizona's Maricopa County has described the state's vote recount as a "laughing stock" that's eroding faith in democracy.

In a Monday letter to Republicans in the state Senate who authorized the recount, the board said it would no longer cooperate with the effort, and called on the state GOP to end the process.

The ballot audit, which started late last month, was commissioned by Republicans in the state's Senate and championed by former President Donald Trump, who maintains that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Observers and other critics have said the process is shambolic, and said auditors appear to be hunting for evidence on the basis of conspiracy theories.

... Monday's letter was written in response to a series of groundless allegations from the auditors, Cyber Ninjas, and the Arizona Senate of possible malpractice by county officials conducting last year's US Senate and presidential elections. The founder of Cyber Ninjas is a supporter of Trump's election-fraud conspiracy theories.

"These accusations are false, defamatory, and beneath the dignity of the Senate," the board of supervisors said in the letter.

"They are an insult to the dedicated public servants in the Maricopa County Elections Department and Office of the Recorder, who work incredibly long hours conducting the County's elections with integrity and honor."

The letter went on to accuse those conducting the audit of operating a scam on the basis of groundless conspiracy theories.

"The Arizona Senate is not acting in good faith, has no intention of learning anything about the November 2020 General Election, but is only interested in feeding the various festering conspiracy theories that fuel the fundraising schemes of those pulling your strings," the board said.

The board went on to rebut in length a series of allegations about the way that the 2020 elections in Maricopa County were conducted, and said it would not cooperate with the auditors in the future.

"We express our united view that your "'audit,' no matter what your intentions were in the beginning, has become a spectacle that is harming all of us," the letter said.

"Our state has become a laughingstock. Worse, this 'audit' is encouraging our citizens to distrust elections, which weakens our democratic republic."
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Why do Trump's foreign golf resorts lose millions of dollars every year? Experts say it could be incompetence, vanity, or something more sinister
  • Donald Trump posts massive losses at his flagship foreign golf resorts every year.
  • He has previously claimed they are not really golf resorts but "development deals."
  • However, experts and opponents believe Trump may have other reasons for keeping them.
Donald Trump's golf resorts lose a lot of money. According to one bombshell New York Times report published last year, the 15 courses he owns around the world have lost over $315 million dollars over the last 20 years. The interesting question is why does Trump continue to hang on to so many loss-making enterprises?

Much about Trump's financial arrangements remain a mystery, partly because privately listed companies in the US can largely avoid public scrutiny — although ongoing criminal investigations into possible banking and tax fraud may soon change that.

No-one's quite sure how much he is worth, no-one's quite sure why the self-styled "king of debt" decided to plow up to $400 million of his cash into his two Scottish golf resorts, and no-one's quite sure what his still-unpublished tax returns might turn up.

But because the United Kingdom has a registry of companies that requires them to publicly file accounts every year, we can look in granular detail at how much his two courses in Scotland lose every year, and how much debt they've racked up (Hint: It's a lot.)

... "Stupidity and grandiosity should never be overlooked as possible grounds for all of this," said Daniel Shaviro, the Wayne Perry Professor of Taxation at New York University Law School, who wrote about the former president's tax returns last year.

Trump's patchy business record is well-documented. He demonstrated a genius for self-marketing that saw him license out his to resorts and luxury developments all over the world, and ultimately propelled him to the White House. But his businesses have also filed for corporate bankruptcy six times and he counts dozens of hugely expensive failures among his successful business ventures.

Over the decades there were his Atlantic City casinos, which folded after racking up billions of dollars in debt, there was Trump University, which paid out a $25 million settlement to former students in 2017 after New York's attorney general called it "fraudulent," and there was a short-lived airline called Trump Shuttle.

The accounts for Turnberry and Trump Links suggest that they may too be two further examples of poorly run businesses. A detailed analysis of Trump's two courses by Behind the Balance Sheet, a financial research consultancy, illustrated that profits have been consistently lower than at other established rivals in Scotland, including Loch Lomond Golf Club and Gleneagles, the world-famous golf resort. Additionally, capital expenditure has consistently outstripped revenue growth at both resorts. All in all, it's difficult to see how either business will ever generate a positive return on Trump's huge initial investment.
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The Reagan Foundation demanded the 'Trump Train' bus remove an image of Ronald Reagan in a MAGA hat, according to a report
Trump Train
  • The Reagan Foundation told the "Trump Train" to remove images of Reagan, Salon reported.
  • The bus had featured images of Reagan in a red "Trump" hat and the Queen wearing a QAnon broach.
  • The foundation said that the bus' use of the Reagan image infringed trademark law, per the report.
A non-partisan organization supporting the legacy of former President Ronald Reagan demanded that the owner of the so-called "Trump Train" remove an image of Reagan from its bus, according to a report by Salon's Zachary Petrizzo.

A lawyer representing the Reagan Foundation wrote to Trump Train owner William "Buddy" Hall on May 13, saying that his use of an image of Reagan infringed trademark law, per photos of the letter shared by Salon.

The Trump Train, which is actually a bus, tours the US gathering support for former President Donald Trump, and attended a rally featuring GOP Representatives Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene in Florida earlier this month. The bus is not formally affiliated with Trump or the Trump Organization.

Recent photos showed that its decorative exterior included doctored images of Reagan and the Queen in red "Make America Great Again" hats, alongside images of Trump and his Vice-President Mike Pence.

Linda Merritt, a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, told Hall to remove Reagan's image and "permanently cease all other use of Ronald Reagan's name and likeness for your tour bus services," per Salon's report.

"Your use of Ronald Reagan's image in connection with your tour bus services and in advertising is likely to cause consumers to mistakenly believe that you are in some way affiliated, connected, or associated with the Reagan Foundation," she added, per Salon.

The report came just days after Buckingham Palace requested that the bus also remove an image of the Queen that had been edited to add a QAnon badge to her coat.

Hall told Salon Monday that he had taken the images from Google two years ago, and that he thought it was "fine" to use them because they were in the public domain.
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House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy comes out against a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot
  • Republican House leadership has formally come out against a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
  • House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday announced his opposition to the bill, which was negotiated by one of his own members.
  • Democrats agreed to nearly all of the Republicans' demands about how the commission would operate.
Republican House leadership has formally come out against a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday announced his opposition to the bill that would establish the commission, which was negotiated by Republican Rep. John Katko of New York and House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat.

The GOP leader said he opposed the commission because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "refused to negotiate in good faith on basic parameters." But Pelosi agreed to nearly all of his demands, including putting an equal number of Republicans and Democrats on the commission and requiring that both parties agree to all of the subpoenas issued.

... McCarthy's role in promoting the election lies that incited the riot and responding to the events on Jan. 6 would likely be scrutinized by a commission. McCarthy called Trump as the president's loyalists were storming the Capitol building on Jan. 6 and pleaded with the president to call off the rioters. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Washington Republican, revealed in January that McCarthy told her Trump sided with the rioters on their call.

"Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election then you are," Trump allegedly told McCarthy, who has refused to confirm or deny Herrera's claim.

McCarthy didn't answer reporters' questions on Tuesday about whether he would be willing to testify before Congress about his conversations with Trump on Jan. 6. A week after the riot, McCarthy delivered a speech on the House floor in which he said Trump "bears responsibility" for the riot and that he should have done more to end the siege. But last month, the GOP leader reversed course, claiming Trump's response to the riot was sufficient.

Many Republican lawmakers have downplayed the Capitol riot over the last several months as Trump and his allies have continued to lie about the 2020 presidential election, falsely claiming that Biden was not legitimately elected.

... Pelosi told reporters on Tuesday that some Republicans do "not want to find the truth."

"I am very pleased that we have a bipartisan bill to come to the floor, and it's disappointing but not surprising that the cowardice on the part of some on the Republican side, not to want to find the truth," she said.
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'QAnon Shaman' lawyer makes offensive comments about Capitol rioters: 'They're all f---ing short-bus people'
  • The "QAnon Shaman's" lawyer told Talking Points Memo that many alleged Capitol riot defendants are mentally impaired.
  • Albert Watkins delivered a litany of offensive claims about the accused participants' intelligence levels.
  • The attorney told Insider he made the comments in order to highlight the defendants who struggle with "mental issues."
The outspoken lawyer for one of the Capitol attack's alleged participants is claiming his client and his client's alleged compatriots were especially susceptible to former President Donald Trump's election lies due to their mental capacity.

Albert Watkins, attorney for Jacob Chansley, also known as the QAnon Shaman, delivered an offensive, expletive-laden diatribe as to why the insurrection participants took part in the deadly Capitol attack in a Talking Points Memo article published Tuesday.

"A lot of these defendants — and I'm going to use this colloquial term, perhaps disrespectfully — but they're all f---ing short-bus people," Watkins told the outlet. "These are people with brain damage, they're f---ing retarded, they're on the goddamn spectrum."

Following the insensitive insults he leveled against the accused participants, Watkins argued those specific traits make many of them deserving of sympathy, suggesting they were subjected to World-War II-levels of propaganda in the years leading up to January 6.
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A timeline of the accusations against Matt Gaetz, from playing Harry Potter-themed sex games in the Florida legislature to a DOJ sex trafficking investigation
  • Matt Gaetz may be in bigger legal peril after an associate of his agreed to cooperate with the feds.
  • The DOJ is investigating Gaetz for possible sex trafficking crimes. He denies the claims.
  • Insider put together a timeline that shows how Gaetz got here, starting from his high school days.
Insider has put together a timeline of the allegations against Gaetz, accusations that include career marked with toxic behavior and inappropriate treatment of women, and the series of events that have stemmed from the DOJ sex trafficking investigation.
  • 2010-2016: Gaetz allegedly concocted sex competitions while in the Florida statehouse, which included a 'Harry Potter' challenge and 'extra points' for sleeping in sorority houses
  • 2014: Gaetz, then in the Florida statehouse, launches a campaign to enact "scorched earth" policies against sexual predators.
  • 2015: Matt Gaetz posed on a playground for a 2015 campaign ad and said he'd 'always fight to protect our kids'
  • 2017-2021: Gaetz heads to Congress, where staffers say surprises — from doing the boss' TV makeup to cleaning up after messy controversies — are part of the job
  • March 30, 2021: The DOJ is reportedly investigating whether Rep. Matt Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and violated sex trafficking laws
  • March 30, 2021: Republicans are unloading on Rep. Matt Gaetz in gossipy texts and snide asides amid reports of a DOJ sex investigation: 'He's the meanest person in politics'
  • April 1, 2021: Matt Gaetz reportedly showed fellow lawmakers nude photos of women he was dating while on the House floor
  • April 2, 2021: We asked 30 Republicans who know and have worked with Rep. Matt Gaetz if they've reached out to him as his sordid sex stories snowball. Their collective silence was deafening.
  • April 9, 2021: Matt Gaetz employs Trump-style fundraising pitches — including automatic recurring contributions that could dupe donors
  • April 14, 2021: Gaetz's high school classmates dish to Insider that they could have seen the congressman's sex scandals coming
  • April 21, 2021: Joel Greenberg's lawyer warns that Gaetz shouldn't feel 'very comfortable'
  • April 23, 2021: The DOJ is reportedly investigating if Matt Gaetz was illegally influenced to push pro-cannabis legislation and violated sex trafficking laws 
  • May 17, 2021: Matt Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg pleads guilty to 6 felony counts and agrees to cooperate with prosecutors
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McConnell said Senate GOP 'undecided' on commission to investigate Jan. 6 Capitol siege. 8 Senate Republicans voted against certifying the election after the attack.
  • Sen. McConnell said the Senate GOP is "undecided" on whether to back a commission to probe the Capitol siege.
  • The House is set to vote on a bill to establish a commission to probe the Jan. 6 riots.
  • Eight GOP senators voted to overturn the election even after the insurrection.
Even after the January 6 siege on the Capitol, 147 GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate voted to overturn the election, including eight senators, who backed challenges to certifying Arizona and Pennsylvania's electors:
  • Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas - Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri - Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama - Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas - Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi - Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana - Arizona
  • Sen. Rick Scott of Florida - Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming - Pennsylvania
If approved by the House — which it is poised to do given the Democratic party majority — the bill goes to the Senate to confirm the commission. At least 10 Republican senators must support the bill for it to pass. McConnell said members of his caucus want to "read the fine print" of the legislation.
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Trump Organization now subject to criminal investigation in New York, state attorney general's office tells CNN
  • New York prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization, CNN reported.
  • "We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity," the New York Attorney General's office said.
The New York Attorney General's office is now conducting a criminal probe into the Trump Organization, a spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday.

"We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the Organization is no longer purely civil in nature," spokesperson Fabien Levy told the outlet. "We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA."

The news comes weeks after it was revealed that Michael Cohen, former President Donald Trump's one-time personal attorney, had been interviewed multiple times by Manhattan's district attorney. The DA's criminal inquiry has focused on whether the Trump Organization — an umbrella company for the former president's business interests — engaged in tax and insurance fraud, among other crimes.

Speaking to Insider, Cohen said his former boss should expect more bad news.

"As more documents are reviewed by the NYAG and NYDA, it appears that the troubles for Donald Trump just keep on coming," he said. "Soon enough, Donald and Associates will be held responsible for their actions."
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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.