alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

Tom Boggioni

Cash-strapped Trump campaign in danger of having lawsuits thrown out over unpaid legal bills: report

According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump's cash-strapped campaign is frantically attempting to collect settlements in legal disputes because it needs the money to fund other lawsuits that are in danger of being dismissed.

Noting that the campaign of the embattled president is pressing Omarosa Manigault Newman to make a delinquent $52,000 payment for writing an unauthorized book about White House doings, the report explains the money is desperately needed.

According to the report, the campaign is currently engaged in a "flurry of legal actions" in the days before the election which is an indication that money is tight.

Pointing out that Trump's people had previously pushed to collect $1 million from Manigault Newman, Politico reports the campaign is under the gun to keep itself funded.

"At one point, Trump's attorneys suggested Newman pay for a nearly $1 million ad campaign "to counteract the long-term adverse effects" of her remarks," the report states. "Yet the campaign has thus far stiffed the arbitrator assigned to mediate the case, according to a letter sent to the parties in the case. If Trump's attorneys don't pay the outstanding bill by next week, the case could be tossed out."

The Omarosa lawsuit is just the tip of the iceberg of lawsuits that the campaign is involved in with Politico reporting, "The campaign is helping fight accusations Trump harassed and sexually assaulted women. It's helping keep documents about his business deals hidden. Other cases are proactive, such as attempts to enforce nondisclosure agreements and to punish media companies the campaign accuses of defamation. And it is responding to lawsuits from people who say they were assaulted at Trump events, including one from a Missouri man who claimed he was arrested after laughing at a MAGA rally."

Those lawsuits won't go away after the election with one Washington attorney saying the president is facing massive legal bills.

"Even if he loses the election, very little actually ends once Trump leaves the White House in January 2021," explained Bradley Moss, a Washington lawyer who defended one of Trump's targets. "Litigation Trump has personally brought under his own name or through the campaign, whether it be protecting his tax returns or suing Omarosa, will continue for however long there is money to pay the lawyers."

According to the report, lawyers may be wary of continuing their representation of the president once he is out of office because of his extensive history of stiffing people he owes money to.

"Private contractors, bartenders, painters, real estate brokers and others have all claimed that Trump didn't adequately compensate them for their work before he was sworn into office. More recently, Trump has been accused of failing to pay local officials who provide thousands of dollars' in security assistance to the president's campaign during rallies," the report states before highlight the president's money woes with, "The Trump campaign's financial outlook is also faltering in the election's final weeks. Trump has fallen behind Biden on fundraising. In August, Democrats for the first time outraised Republicans by a staggering $154 million, eroding the president's longstanding cash-on-hand advantage. The pattern repeated itself in September, when Biden raised $383 million to Trump's $247.8 million."

You can read more here.

Trump’s inner circle ‘furious’ with FBI’s Wray for undercutting Biden smear: report

According to a report from Politico, high-ranking members of Donald Trump's administration are "furious" with FBI Director Christopher Wray for siding with the intelligence community and calling recent revelations about former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

As the New York Post story about the Democratic presidential nominee's son continues to fall apart — with even Fox News reportedly passing on it before Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani took it to the Post — Wray, who has had a strained relationship with the president is allowing his department to investigate Russia instead of the Biden's.

That, in turn, has angered White House officials looking for a helping hand to help out the president's cratering re-election campaign.

According to Politico, "Trump's inner circle was already furious at Wray for echoing the intelligence community's finding that Russia is acting to damage Biden's candidacy, as well as his description of antifa as 'an ideology' rather than an organized entity. Now, they're ratcheting up calls for Trump to fire his handpicked director."

The report goes on to note that Republicans had been hoping that Wray would open up a full-scale investigation into the sketchy accusations based upon unverified information reportedly found on the younger Biden's laptop computer.

For his part, Wary is reportedly loath to enter the fray with an eye on the election just two weeks away, and his own future uncertain.

"Other congressional and law enforcement sources noted that Trump might lack the leverage to bend Wray — who, like past FBI directors, was appointed to serve a 10-year term, a setup designed to insulate the bureau from politics — to his will," the report states. "A public offensive against Biden by the FBI would doom Wray's chances of remaining atop the bureau in a potential Biden administration. Wray, they say, would have no incentive to burn the rulebook in order to score a point for Trump, particularly when he enjoys relatively bipartisan support in the Capitol."

According to those who know Wray, he is unlikely to take the president's side this time.

"Chris does not need my advice," explained Chuck Rosenberg, a former FBI chief of staff. "He is smart and thoughtful and principled and has the best interests of the FBI and the nation in mind."

You can read more here.

Dr. Birx confronted Pence with demand he fire Trump’s ‘dishonest’ herd immunity doctor

Delving into the battle inside the White House task force overseeing the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington Post is reporting that Dr. Deborah Birx has grown fed up with Dr. Scott Atlas who is encouraging Donald Trump to let herd immunity resolve the nation's health crisis that has led to almost 220,000 dead Americans.

The report notes that at some meetings Birx and fellow public health official Dr. Anthony Fauci have been excluded and that Atlas — a radiologist with no experience in epidemiology — has been holding sway, including sitting at the head of the table.

According to the report, "Discord on the coronavirus task force has worsened since the arrival in late summer of Atlas, whom colleagues said they regard as ill-informed, manipulative and at times dishonest," while noting that Atlas has dismissed out of hand data provided by Birx while pushing what some members on the task force call "junk science."

The report notes that friction came to a head recently which led Birx to confront task force head Mike Pence and demand he dismiss Atlas for doing damage to the government's work on stemming the spread of COVID-19.

"Birx recently confronted Vice President Pence, who chairs the task force, about the acrimony, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Birx, whose profile and influence has eroded considerably since Atlas's arrival, told Pence's office that she does not trust Atlas, does not believe he is giving Trump sound advice and wants him removed from the task force, the two people said," the Post reports, before adding Pence suggested she and Atlas come back with data "bolstering their perspectives to the task force and to work out their disagreements themselves."

The report notes that Pence's mismanagement of the conflict and the continuing presence of the controversial Atlas has resulted in "a U.S. response increasingly plagued by distrust, infighting and lethargy, just as experts predict coronavirus cases could surge this winter and deaths could reach 400,000 by year's end."

You can read more here.

Evangelicals went all in on Trump and he played them like ‘suckers’: ex-White House advisor

In a column for the Atlantic, a former adviser to Republican President George W. Bush made the charge that evangelical Christians sold their souls to support Donald Trump while he secretly held them in contempt and used them to advance his political ambitions.

Using an article from McKay Coppins who reported, "many of Trump's comments about religion are marked by cynicism and contempt, according to people who have worked for him. Former aides told me they've heard Trump ridicule conservative religious leaders, dismiss various faith groups with cartoonish stereotypes, and deride certain rites and doctrines held sacred by many of the Americans who constitute his base," Peter Wehner stated it's time for Christians who supported the president to reconsider their view of him before they cast their ballots.

"Let's start with the president," Wehner, who focuses on the role of religion in government, wrote. "A man whose lifestyle is more closely aligned with hedonism than with Christianity, Trump clearly sees white evangelicals as a means to an end, people to be used, suckers to be played. He had absolutely no interest in evangelicals before his entry into politics and he will have absolutely no interest in them after his exit."

Conceding that extremely conservative Christians have made some "transactional' gains under the president — in particular appointments of conservative-leaning judges — the former White House official suggested it may have not been worth it.

"Trump has reshaped the federal judiciary, particularly compared with what would have happened if Hillary Clinton had been president, and nothing else Trump has done—no moral line he has crossed, no offense he has committed—can take away from his achievements in this area," he wrote, "But if politically conservative evangelicals have things they can rightly claim to have won, what has been lost?"

According to Wehner, there is abject hypocrisy in the evangelical movement when it comes to Democrats who don't follow Christian ideals as they see them and Republican apostates who are forgiven with "verses like 'Judge not lest you be judged," with the columnist using, "If it's Bill Clinton in the dock, savage him; if it's Donald Trump, savage his critics," as an example.

"If evangelical supporters of Trump are honest, they should admit—at least to themselves, if not to the rest of the world—that something has gone terribly amiss and that the power they have achieved is coming at the expense of the faith they proclaim," he wrote.

"The Trump era is hardly the first or most egregious time that people who speak for Christianity have disfigured their faith. Furthermore, evangelicalism isn't the whole of Christianity in America, and Christianity in America isn't the vital center of Christianity in the world," he added before concluding, "What American evangelicals do certainly matters, though perhaps not quite as much as its champions and critics might think. And there are pockets of renewal within American evangelicalism, along with a deep desire among many Christians to close this unfortunate chapter in their history and write a far more enchanting and captivating one next."

You can read more here.

Mitch McConnell waited too long to distance himself from Trump — and now it will cost him: report

According to a report from USA Today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and fellow Republican senators waited too long to put some distance between themselves and unpopular President Donald Trump and that will likely cost McConnell his power and GOP control of the Senate.

With the election a little more than two weeks away and Trump appearing to be heading to defeat, members of the Republican Party have begun to openly suggest they are facing a "bloodbath" on November 3rd. According to the USA Today report, conservatives lawmakers have only themselves to blame for the coming debacle.

According to Jessica Taylor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, "It just shows that these senators are pulled in two different directions. They can't irritate the very conservative Trump base but they also need independents to win the general election. It's a no-win situation for them in many regards."

The report notes that McConnell is pushing through the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and scheduling a vote of COVID-19 relief this coming week in an effort to give GOP candidates something to brag about while avoiding mention of the president.

"McConnell, known for bringing home the political bacon to Kentucky, looked to give GOP colleagues a way out when he announced the Senate's schedule was shifting," the report stated.

"As a general rule, presidential candidates have coattails that help down-ballot candidates of their own party because they help expand the participation of like-minded voters. But that wasn't the case in 2016 with Trump," the report continued. "Four years ago, a number of senators publicly disavowed Trump, many of them breaking with him over the Hollywood Access tape in which the then-reality show star Trump was caught on a hot mic bragging about groping women."

This go-around it appears that Republican Senators from North Carolina, Maine, Colorado, Nebraska, Arizona and Georgia could be out of a job after election day because they failed to disavow the president — thereby handing control of the Senate to the Democrats.

You can read more here.

Trump’s collapsing campaign is crippling Lindsey Graham’s re-election prospect: report

According to a report from Politico, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is in the fight of his political life that could see his time in the Senate come to a close in November due to his close association with Donald Trump.

With his numbers in the polls showing him in a virtual tie with Democratic challenger Jamie Harrison, Graham is reportedly hoping his rush to seat Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court will rally enough conservatives to turn out at the polls to stave off what would be an embarrassing defeat.

According to the report, Graham is "facing an opponent who is the best-funded Senate candidate in American history; anger from the left over his metamorphosis from scathing Trump antagonist to fierce loyalist; and lingering distrust from a small but not insignificant slice of conservatives over his past as an aisle-crossing compromiser."

As the report notes, Graham's advocacy of the controversial Barrett has been a double-edged sword; encouraging conservative voters on one side and rallying Democrats to turn out and vote against him on the other side.

Also dogging Graham is the public's view that he is too attached to a president who is highly unpopular, according to the polls, and whose faltering campaign is also dragging the South Carolina Republican's chances with it.

"Trump's sagging poll numbers are creating problems for Graham. Harrison's campaign is blanketing the airwaves and the web with ads portraying the incumbent as untrustworthy and two-faced, pointing to his transformation into a Trump cheerleader," the report states.

According to House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), "[Voters] tend to have a very low regard for hypocrites. And they look at these candidates, and when they can see authenticity, they tend to buy into it. That's what Jaime has done."

You can read more here.

Trump facing a 'crushing loss' on election day as he scrambles to save states he won in 2016: report

When Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign kicked off the president and his aides targeted states they felt they could pick up that went to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016.

That was then and this is now.

According to a report from Politico, with the president's approval numbers in freefall and pollsters predicting a substantial Electoral College loss, the president is now being forced to appear in states he won in 2016 to keep them out of the loss column in what could be a "crushing loss" at the ballot box.

According to the report from Politico's Gabby Orr, "In the final 18 days before voters decide whether to keep President Donald Trump in the White House, the incumbent Republican is spending precious time in states that were never supposed to be this close but now threaten to upend his reelection campaign."

If recent polling is to be believed, Trump is in danger of losing normally stalwart Republican states like Georgia, Arizona, Iowa and Florida -- making his path to re-election near impossible.

As Orr wrote, "The president's campaign schedule in the final weeks is either a tacit acknowledgment that he's on the brink of crushing losses in major battlegrounds and once-impenetrable red states, or an over cautious exercise in due-diligence." She then added, "Trump's defensive posture follows a stretch of devastating blows to his reelection campaign that further imperiled his standing in the industrial Midwest, where the 2020 election is likely to be decided, and cast new doubt on his ability to keep the Sun Belt in his column."

Noting the stunning reversal of Trump's political fortunes, one person close to Trump's campaign admitted, "I've never seen a Republican president with numbers like this in Arizona."

According to the Politico report, "Trump is expected to remain on the campaign trail nearly every day until the election, zig-zagging between the Midwest and southern tier of the U.S. to cover all his bases. Next week he will participate in his second and final debate against Biden at Belmont University in Nashville."

You can read more here.

‘A major, major problem’: GOP lawmakers panicking over Dem’s huge cash advantage as election looms

According to a report from Politico, Republican lawmakers on the November ballot are in a panic over the fact that their Democratic opponents are awash in cash three weeks before the election while they are still begging for support from their backers.

With Politico's James Arkin and Elena Schneider dubbing what the GOP is facing a "green tsunami," the report states that the Republican leadership met in April to discuss fundraising for the November election and were given a warning then that the party had fallen behind in digital fundraising.

"Six months later, the green tsunami is here. And it's threatening to wipe out the Republican Senate majority," the report states.

According to the report, Republicans are facing a perfect storm that arose out of the public's disgust with Donald Trump, the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 215,000 Americans and crippled the economy, the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the growing unpopularity of some sitting senators who allied themselves with an even more unpopular president. Those factors, and more, have led voters to open their wallets and flood Democrats with cash.

"Propelled by the wave of money, Democrats have suddenly expanded the Senate battlefield to a dozen competitive races, burying long-contested states like Iowa and Maine in TV ads while also overwhelming Republican opponents in states like Alaska, Kansas and South Carolina that are suddenly tightening," the report states before adding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has expressed displeasure at the turn of events that could end with him stripped of his powers in the Senate.

"On a call with lobbyists and donors last week, McConnell grumbled that GOP incumbents were getting beaten financially across the board in every competitive race, citing their edge on ActBlue, the preferred Democratic fundraising platform, according to three people who participated in the call," Politico reports.

According to one GOP lobbyist the cash disparity is a "major, major problem for us."

One complaint Republicans have is that they did not prepare to ramp up collecting more cash if the political tides turned against them or to react to events on the ground.

"You get to a certain point where the die is cast," explained one Republican strategist. "You can't capitalize on a huge moment like SCOTUS vacancy if you haven't spent the last 6 months or 12 months building the asset to maximize the value of it. There's a limit to what you can accomplish if you haven't done the work."

Even more frustrating is the fact that longtime big-money GOP donors have been more tightfisted as of late.

"I think the donor community, at times, doesn't appreciate that volatility extends across the country and not just in four or five Senate seats," explained one GOP consultant.

"For some Republicans, the money is exacerbating broader issues as the party battles to hold the majority: Trump's sagging poll numbers, an environment tilted against them, and a map with more and more incumbents under duress and only two legitimate offensive opportunities." Politico reports with one lobbyist lamenting, "It's red alert at this point. I don't think anyone has written off the Senate, but everyone knows the snapshot in time is pretty bleak and things need to stabilize pretty quickly."

You can read more here

Doctor busts White House physician for ‘cherry-picking’ info to get Trump back out on the campaign trail

Appearing on CNN early Sunday morning, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed stated that White House physician Dr. Sean Conley is not being straightforward with the public about Donald Trump's health and that he is "cherry-picking" the information to be released to help out the president's faltering re-election campaign.

Speaking with host Victor Blackwell, the epidemiologist said there is way more information missing about the president's COVID-19 infection than was revealed in a letter clearing the president to travel this week to rallies.

"They talked about advanced diagnostics, meaning they were looking for a test to spin this argument because it's clear it's coming from the president," the doctor explained. "In fact, all of the information that we've gotten about the president's health has usually just come via the doctor from the president."

"And so that's number one," he continued. "Number two, right, there are open questions right now. One, he wouldn't have met criteria in terms of just basic CDC protocol and in fact, the CDC recommends for someone who has had a serious case, which the president had — he had to be hospitalized, his oxygen saturation dipped below 94 several times, he needed supplemental oxygen — that those folks require 20 days, 20 days. He's not even at ten from today."

"That's one point," El-Sayed added. "The second points also the fact that, you know, as much as we understand the president wants to get back there on the campaign trail, ask yourself if you or someone you worked on Air Force One, if you were someone who worked at the White House after 37-plus people tested positive from one super-spread event, would you want to be on an airplane with the president of the United States based on what is the flimsiest of arguments about his non-contagiousness? I don't think so."

"Am I reading too deeply into this, or am I characterizing this wrong to say that this is cherry-picked happy talk?" host Blackwell asked.

"Whatever the good news is — remember, we heard from Dr. Conley on the first update that, you know, he wouldn't confirm oxygen or no supplemental oxygen, and the next day said, well, I just wanted to give everyone the optimistic view to reflect how upbeat everyone is," the doctor explained. "If he hasn't been febrile for over 24 hours, they're picking some number that can seem reassuring. That means that two days ago, right, he probably had a fever. People don't pop fevers for no reason; they have fevers because there are viruses in their body. And what that indicates is that at least two days ago the president's body was reacting to a virus that was inside of it by spiking a fever. That's one of the things the body does to try and raise the temperature on the virus so the bacteria in your body can try and kill it. It's a marker of a much more active immune response."

Watch below:

CNN 10 11 2020 07 04 20

'The entire map has moved': Trump's faltering campaign has handed Biden 'multiple pathways' to victory

According to a report from CNN, Donald Trump's chances of being re-elected are diminishing daily which is handing his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, multiple pathways to the presidency.

Noting the president is falling behind in both polling and fundraising, CNN's Eric Bradner writes the president, since he was released from Walter Reed Medical Center, has done nothing but waste his time airing his personal grievances which has done nothing to bring any new voters into the fold. That, in turn, is letting the Biden campaign go on the attack in states where the president is showing surprising weakness.

"With 24 days until the election and millions of votes already being cast, Biden's aides and Democratic allies say Trump's missteps and the former vice president's message have given him a broad map with numerous paths to 270 electoral votes. Time is running out for Trump to change the race's trajectory -- and he is failing to capitalize on the opportunities that do exist," Bradner wrote, before adding, "Trump's actions over the week provoked a round of politically damaging headlines and left him without what could have been a valuable opportunity to improve on his first showing against Biden in a debate next week."

Lending credence to Biden's increasing chances of unseating Trump, Guy Cecil of the Priorities USA PAC claimed Trump "is struggling to bring new voters into the fold."

Pointing to battleground states Michigan, Wisconsin and now Georgia, Cecil added, "The entire map has moved. Some states might move by a little more than others, but we have seen the entire map move towards Biden."

According to the report, Trump is now in danger of losing both Ohio and Iowa, which would doom any chance he has of remaining in office. Should that happen, Bradner claims Trump would be looking at a "blowout."

"As Trump pulls back, Biden -- fueled by what sources familiar with the matter said will be a record-breaking fundraising month in September, topping August's $365 million -- is seeking to expand the competitive map, with ads in Texas and Iowa and a major statewide buy in Ohio this week," the report continues. "Biden to date has outspent Trump in all six of those core battleground states, making them his campaign's central focus even as it eyes a broader playing field that includes Ohio, Iowa and potentially Texas and Georgia."

"Trump's campaign has been aimed squarely at his base of White men without college degrees, and the President insisted on Limbaugh's program Friday that they will turn out in vast numbers on Election Day." Bradner wrote before adding, "But down-ballot, there were signs across the map that Republicans are in peril. Campaign finance reports show that Democratic Senate candidates swamped their GOP rivals in fundraising in the third quarter, giving the party a hefty advertising advantage in the race's final days."

You can read more here.