Trump

Daily Show's Jordan Klepper goes deep into the MAGAverse — and finds frightening new Trump obsession

Jordan Klepper from the "Daily Show" has embarked on a years-long mission to understand the MAGA world of Donald Trump's most fervent supporters. In a new 35-minute segment, Klepper takes viewers deep into the trenches of the MAGAverse and uncovers the MAGA psyche that led to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Klepper has described himself on the day of the Capitol insurrection as someone who "just wanted to find some laughs," but found himself in the midst of a rage-filled rally that quickly turned south.

Klepper interviewed a man who described Donald Trump as "our first rock star, superhero president." Another woman, wearing a confederate flag shirt, said, "he's just a peaceful person in general, I think." Many of the supporters admit that he's "rough around the edges," they "don't like how he talks," and "yeah, he's an ass sometimes." But that's all part of his allure, they argued.

Klepper noted that there isn't much that could deter a Trump rally: not bad weather, an impeachment trial, or even a global pandemic called COVID-19. In regards to masks, some said "we're lions not sheep," therefore they won't follow the mask mandate that they argue infringes on their rights.

Some of the conversations went as follows:

"Read the transcript," a MAGA supporter said of the impeachment trial.

"Did you read the transcript?" asked Klepper.

"I didn't have to," he replied.

"But it's important that everyone read the transcript?"

"Yes absolutely."

"But to be clear, you have not read the transcript," Klepper pressed.

"I haven't, no… Don't be a sheep, think for yourself."

"But to be clear, you haven't read it, you just trusted someone else to have read it," Klepper confirms.

"Yes," replied the MAGA supporter.

A few women expressed their distrust of the media, including Fox News, but not including Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. A different man described his distrust for the media, but his trust in Donald Trump, Jesus, and Tucker Carlson.

Klepper reinforced that Donald Trump is a brand above anything else, with his face found on flags, shirts, pants, and hats, and his name printed on hot pink, black, red, blue, and tie dye articles of clothing.

The segment concludes with an interview with Edward Young, a fervent Trump supporter who went to more than 50 Trump rallies over the past four years. Young, sporting new fang implants on his canine teeth and a Barron 2052 pin, talked about the comradery and community he found with the MAGAverse, fondly reminiscing on the fun they had.

Klepper interjected that the last Trump rally, the insurrection, was not exactly a lot of fun. Young argued that he had heard reports that one of the rioters who broke into the capitol was an integral member of Antifa. "Some of them are being unfairly persecuted," said Young of the rioters, after Klepper mentioned they tried to kill Nancy Pelosi.

n conclusion, Klepper and Young find a solitary shred of common ground. Young argued that Trump is their William Wallace, and Klepper countered that he wouldn't give him Wallace, but "he's a lot like Mel Gibson." Young couldn't help but agree.

Watch Klepper's adventures below:


Jordan Klepper Fingers The Pulse - Into The MAGAverse: Full Special | The Daily Show www.youtube.com

Biden and Trump actually agree on a policy — and Lindsey Graham can't stand it

More often than not, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is likely to agree with former President Donald Trump rather than President Joe Biden. But this week, Graham vehemently disagreed with Trump for saying some nice things about Biden's decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by September 11 — which will be the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Trump planned to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 1 if he was reelected, and in an official statement, the former president criticized Biden for withdrawing four months later than he would have.

"We can and we should get out earlier," Trump said in his statement. "Nineteen years is enough. In fact, far too much and way too long."

Nonetheless, he shared Biden's basic aim. Trump wrote, "Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do."

Graham, in an official statement of his own, slammed Trump on Monday for agreeing with Biden.

"I could not disagree more with former President Trump regarding his support for President Biden's withdrawal of all forces from Afghanistan against sound military advice," the South Carolina senator wrote. "With all due respect to President Trump, there is nothing 'wonderful' or 'positive' about allowing safe havens and sanctuary for terrorists to reemerge in Afghanistan or see Afghanistan be drawn back into another civil war."

Graham went on to say, "The intelligence regarding withdrawal is ominous for U.S. interests, and no one believes the Taliban can be trusted to police al-Qaeda and ISIS as envisioned by the Trump-Biden plan. We will see if 'General' Biden and General Trump's withdrawal strategy turns out to be sound national security policy."

Unfortunately for Graham, of the three men, all have run for president. And only Biden and Trump were elected to be commander-in-chief of the U.S. military — while the senator from South Carolina never came close.

A seedy Trump loyalist tried to stay in government under Biden — it didn't work

Over the weekend, the Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima reported that long-time Trump loyalist Michael Ellis had resigned from his position as top lawyer for the National Security Agency after almost three months of being "sidelined" during Joe Biden's presidency. Journalist Steve Benen, in an op-ed for MSNBC's website, lays out some reasons why Ellis' departure from the NSA is an important development and a positive thing.

"Last fall, the day after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential race, Team Trump tapped Ellis to serve as general counsel of the National Security Agency, but the news wasn't well received," Benen explains. "Gen. Paul Nakasone, the NSA's director, didn't want Ellis for that post. In response, Christopher Miller, Trump's acting defense secretary, ordered the NSA director to install the Trump loyalist as the agency's top lawyer, whether Nakasone wanted him or not."

Benen notes that after Biden was sworn into office almost three months ago, "a gradual process began in which the new administration cleaned house, at least to the extent possible" — and Nakasone placed Ellis on administration leave.

"NSA general counsel is an important job, and not a position for partisan operatives," Benen points out. "With this in mind, it didn't come as too big of a surprise when Nakasone put Ellis on administrative leave literally the same afternoon as Biden's inauguration — at which point, the NSA director no longer had to worry about Team Trump's directives."

To understand just how Trumpian Ellis' history is, one should take a look at his activities during Trump's presidency. Ellis is a major ally of GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, and he was a counsel to the House Intelligence Committee when it was still being chaired by the far-right California congressman. During the Trump era, Ellis and fellow Trump loyalist Ezra Cohen-Watnick were the two White House officials who gave Nunes intelligence reports claiming to show that former officials in ex-President Barack Obama's administration had improperly "unmasked" members of the Trump transition team in late 2016/early 2017. Sen. Richard Burr, chairing the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the "unmasking" narrative was "all created by Devin Nunes."

Ellis' name was also heard in connection with the Ukraine scandal. Trump's first of two impeachments stemmed from a July 25, 2019 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who Trump tried to pressure into helping him dig up dirt on now-President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. And Ellis was the White House lawyer who ordered NSC officials to move the transcript of that conversation to a classified server.

Biden was the Democratic presidential hopeful Trump feared the most in 2019, and it isn't hard to understand why he dreaded the possibility of Biden receiving his party's nomination. Biden, in November 2020, defeated Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote.

Trump was hardly the first politician to pursue opposition research on a political rival, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — when she called for Trump's impeachment in 2019 — stressed that it was wildly inappropriate for Trump to make that request from a foreign leader. And to make matters worse, Pelosi said, Trump made that opposition research a prerequisite for military aid to Ukraine.

In March 2020, Politico's Kyle Griffin reported that Ellis had been named senior intelligence director on the NSA.

Benen wraps up his op-ed by making it clear that he is glad to see Ellis resigning from his NSA position.

"There are still plenty of Trump appointees who've 'burrowed' into career civil-service positions," Benen observes, "but as of now, they won't be in the NSA's general counsel's office."

Trump is refusing to hand over key records — leaving a big gap in the historical record

by Shannon Bow O'Brien, The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts

Public figures live on within the words they are remembered by. To understand the effect they had on history, their words need to be documented. No one is absolutely sure of exactly what Abraham Lincoln said in his most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address. Five known manuscripts exist, but all of them are slightly different. Every newspaper story from the day contains a different account.

In the case of modern presidents, for the official record, we rely upon transcriptions of all their speeches collected by the national government.

But in the case of Donald Trump, that historical record is likely to have a big gap. Almost 10% of the president's total public speeches are excluded from the official record. And that means a false picture of the Trump presidency is being created in the official record for posterity.

Saving the records

In 1957, the National Historical Publications Commission, a part of the National Archives that works to “preserve, publish, and encourage the use of documentary sources … relating to the history of the United States," recommended developing a uniform system so all materials from presidencies could be archived. They did this to literally save presidential records from the flames: President Warren G. Harding's wife claimed to have burned all his records, and Robert Todd Lincoln burned all his father's war correspondence. Other presidents have had their records intentionally destroyed, such as Chester A. Arthur and Martin Van Buren.

So the government collects and retains all presidential communications, including executive orders, announcements, nominations, statements and speeches. This includes any public verbal communications by presidents, which are also placed as public documents in the Compilation of Presidential Documents.

These are part of the official record of any administration, published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration on a weekly basis by the White House press secretary. In most presidencies, the document or transcript is available a few days to a couple of weeks after any event. At the conclusion of an administration, these documents form the basis for the formal collections of the Public Papers of the President.

As a political scientist, I'm interested in where presidents give speeches. What can be learned about their priorities based on their choice of location? What do these patterns tell us about administrations?

For example, Barack Obama primarily focused on large media markets in states that strongly supported him. Trump went to supportive places as well, including small media markets like Mankato, Minnesota, where the airport was not even large enough to fly into with the regular Air Force One.

Presidential speeches often give a very different perception of an administration. Without all the pageantry, you can quickly get to the point of the visit in the text.

In speeches that President George W. Bush gave in the 2002 midterm election period, he made the same joke more than 50 times as his icebreaker. He would apologize that audiences had drawn the “short straw" and gotten him instead of Laura. His commitment to that joke gave a glimpse of his desire to try to connect to an audience through self-deprecating humor.

I found something odd when I began to pull items from the compilation and organize my own database of locations for the Donald Trump administration. I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and I pay attention to my home state. I knew that on March 20, 2017, Donald Trump held a public rally in Louisville, where in a meandering speech he touched on everything from Kentucky coal miners to the Supreme Court, China, building a border wall and “illegal immigrants" who were, he said, robbing and murdering Americans.

But when I looked in the compilation in mid-2017, I couldn't find the Louisville speech. No problem, I thought. They are just running behind and they will put it in later.

A year later, I noticed the Louisville speech was still not there. Furthermore, other speeches were missing. These were not any speeches, but just Trump's rallies. By my count, 147 separate transcripts for public speaking events are missing from Trump's official presidential speech records. That's just over 8% of his presidential speeches.

What's in, what's out

The Presidential Records Act, first passed in 1978, says administrations have to retain “any documentary materials relating to the political activities of the President or members of the President's staff, but only if such activities relate to or have a direct effect upon the carrying out of constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President."

An administration is allowed to exclude personal records that are purely private or don't have an effect on the duties of a president. All public events are included, such as quick comments on the South Lawn, short exchanges with reporters and all public speeches, radio addresses and even public telephone calls to astronauts on the space shuttles.

But Trump's large public rallies, and what he said at them, have so far been omitted from the public record his administration supplied to the Compilation of Presidential Documents. And while historians and the public could get transcripts off of publicly available videos, that still does not address the need to have a complete official collection of these statements.

Federal law says that presidents are allowed to exclude “materials directly relating to the election of a particular individual or individuals to Federal, State, or local office, which have no relation to or direct effect upon the carrying out of … duties of the President."

The law has been interpreted to mean an administration could omit notes, emails or other documentation from what it sends to the compilation. While many presidents do not provide transcripts for speeches at private party fundraising events, rallies covered by America's press corps likely do not fall under these exclusions.

Why does it matter?

Government documents are among the primary records of who we are as a people.

These primary records speak to Americans directly; they are not what others tell us or interpret to us about our history. The government compiles and preserves these records to give an accurate accounting of the leaders the country has chosen. They provide a shared history in full instead of an excerpt or quick clip shown in a news report.

Since 1981, the public has legally owned all presidential records. As soon as a president leaves office, the National Archivist gets legal custody of all of them. Presidents are generally on their honor to be good stewards of history. There is no real penalty for noncompliance.

But these public documents, which I work with constantly, have so far always been available to the public – and they've been available quickly. Internal presidential documents like memos or email have a rigorous archival procedure that lasts years before they are even accessible. I have a record of every presidential speech from 1945 to 2021 – every president since Clinton has all their public speeches available online. Until President Trump, there have been no missing public speeches in the permanent collection. By removing these speeches, Trump is creating a false perception of his presidency, making it look more serious and traditional.

And by the way: That 2017 Louisville speech is still missing from the records in 2021.The Conversation

Shannon Bow O'Brien, Assistant Professor of Instruction, The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

A ‘direct link' from the Trump campaign to the Russians — and it may have been covered up: Mueller prosecutor

It's official, the U.S. government has the information necessary to prove that President Donald Trump's campaign was coordinating with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign. It has taken five years, but former lead prosecutor for special counsel Robert Muller explained why the evidence is clear.

Speaking to MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace on Thursday, Andrew Weissmann explained that up until the recent findings, there was only the information that Paul Manafort's deputy Rick Gates gave to prosecutors. Russian political consultant Konstantin Kilimnik was given internal polling information from the Trump campaign that he handed to Russian intelligence.

"But the big unknown and our report says, we did not know what Konstantin Kilimnik did with that data," Weissmann explained. "And the defense was also saying, 'well, this was just being used in Ukraine. It was for business purposes. That never made a lot of sense to us, but we didn't have evidence. And today, what is new, Nicolle, is that the Treasury Department, certainly with the approval of the DNI, that is the highest intelligence office in the government, has said that Konstantin Kilimnik gave that material, which he repeatedly got during the 2016 campaign to Russian intelligence. So, you now have a direct link of something that went internal sensitive data that went from the Trump campaign through Paul Manafort to Konstantin Kilimnik to the Russians."

Wallace asked what information the U.S. Treasury Department had before now that prevented them from being able to officially make the declaration.

"Well, the one thing that it's clear, as you've reported, Nicolle, we did not have the piece that is what Kilimnik did with the polling data that we now know from the release today actually went, as Clint said, directly to Russian intelligence," Weissmann explained. "The interesting question that I don't know the answer to is was that information known to the intelligence community at the time of the Mueller investigation. You know, my sort of educated speculation on that would be it seems like it would have to have been known because the Biden administration has only been operational for -- I'm in New York, so I'll say a New York minute. So, it seems unlikely that they really went ahead with that deep investigation and got the information that quickly."

Without saying so, Weissmann seems to imply that these facts were known while the Trump administration was in control and not acted upon and hidden from the American people.

"So, the question is, why didn't it get to the special counsel investigation?" Weissman asked. "And you know, I spearheaded the Manafort, part of that investigation. I can tell you it certainly would have been of great interest, and we tried to turn over every rock that we could to turn up this link."

He went on to compare the new information to Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal as Republicans sought to figure out what the Democrats were doing so they could win the election.

"A good analogy of this is Watergate," Weissmann went on. "You know, in Watergate, you had the Republicans breaking into the Democratic Party because you want to know what your opponent is doing. Well, now we have the complete link of we have Russia knowing exactly what the Trump campaign polling information was and what they were seeing as strengths and weaknesses of their own and of Hillary Clinton. So, they could use that to, as Clint said, target what they were doing in both the 'hack and dump' and also the influence campaign in terms of what states were vulnerable or not. One final piece is it's important to note, that this is in the Mueller report, which is that Paul Manafort was conveying to Kilimnik what they were seeing in terms of, which states were swing states, including places like Wisconsin. And that's something that was not generally well-known. And so now we know that Kilimnik was relaying all of that information back to the GRU in Russia."

See the videos below:

Part 1:

Connection officially made between Russia and Trump campaign coordination www.youtube.com

Part 2:

Mueller prosecutor on new intelligence proving Trump and Russia link www.youtube.com

Former GOP insider reveals the truth about 'scam' Republican fundraising

Both Republicans and Democrats can be incredibly aggressive when it comes to fundraising. But conservative pundit and former GOP insider Tim Miller, in a video that is at once comic and scathing, argues that as bad as Democratic fundraising can be, Republicans have become even "skeevier" when it comes to over-the-top fundraising pitches.

Miller — a Never Trumper who left the Republican Party because of his total disdain for former President Donald Trump and his sycophants — certainly doesn't let Democrats off the hook in his video, which appears in text form on the conservative website The Bulwark. But for all its Democrat-bashing, Miller's video bashes Republicans even more.

"The Democrats were the trailblazers on the obnoxious online fundraising," Miller says in his video. "They love bombarding supporters with pushy messages of doom: Kiss any hope, goodbye! We're desperate! Love Me! Give us money now! But during the Trump years, the corporate donations that used to fund the Republicans started to dry up. So, the GOP copied the Dem's tactics, but made it skeevier. You can always count on the Trump brand for a good scam."

Miller goes into specifics about a Trump campaign fundraising "scam," drawing on New York Times reporting about GOP donors who wanted to make a single donation but were slammed with recurring payments instead.

"When new Trump donors signed up," Miller explains in his video, "the campaign would leave a fine print disclaimer pre-checked which committed people to making that donation every month. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters contributed money they didn't mean to. Stacey Blatt, a 63-year-old with cancer, said his utility and rent payments bounced — and he wasn't alone. Banks got so many complaints about fraudulent charges from the Trump campaign that they had to refund $122 million back to supporters after the election. 122 million!"

He continued:

Republicans in Congress saw that, and their response was, "Hold my hemlock". What they were doing was even more sus than Trump. Here's how it worked: They sent a text message asking people if they wanted to sign up for Trump's new social network. (Which, by the way, doesn't exist.) When you put in money to sign up, there were two pre-checked boxes. The first makes your contribution monthly. And it says, if you uncheck it, they'll tell Trump that you're a defector. The next doubles your contribution and says if you uncheck it that you've abandoned Trump. Getting out of this window is harder than canceling an Equinox membership.
These schemes prey on older voters, people who aren't tech savvy, and gullible Trump supporters.

The boom in small donations, Miller complains, is "empowering the most extreme politicians in both parties, but especially on the right."

"After the insurrection," Miller observes, "insane Congresswoman Marjorie 'QAnon' Greene and pro-coup Sen. Josh Hawley raised $3 million from small dollar donors, setting a record."

One of the problems with Democratic small-dollar fundraising, Miller argues, is that liberal donors are being given false hope in deep-red states.

"On the left, it's resulting in viral candidates, with no hope of winning, taking money that could be better used elsewhere," Miller argues. "Last cycle, Amy McGrath and Jamie Harrison raised $200 million, half the GDP of Micronesia. And they both got crushed! They used cherry-picked polling to lure in liberals who were salivating at the possibility of beating Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, even though it was never gonna happen."

Watch the video below:

Not My Party Episode 209 | WE'RE DOOMED send us money youtu.be

Federal judge offers an unprompted warning for Trump: 'Legal consequences' for Jan. 6 may be coming

In a ruling on Wednesday in the case of one of the accused Capitol rioters, U.S. Judge Emmett Sullivan offered a provocative aside about former President Donald Trump's role in the attack.

Sullivan ruled that Jeffrey Sabol of Colorado is too dangerous and too much of a flight risk to be released prior to his trial. Sabol is accused of beating a cop during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which sought to prevent Congress from officially counting the Electoral College votes that made Joe Biden president.

The judge rejected the argument that Sabol was prompted to engage in the insurrection in the heat of the moment, spurred on by Trump's rally. Evidence suggests, instead, that Sabol engaged in "prior planning" ahead of the attack, Sullivan found, which distinguishes him from rioters who are not being held pre-trial.

"He brought tactical gear, including a helmet, steel-toe boots, zip ties, a radio and an ear piece," Sullivan said. "He later admitted to law enforcement that he had equipped himself with this gear because he anticipated encountering counter-protesters. ... He also maintained, even days after the riot when he believed he was wanted by the FBI, that he had been "fighting tyranny in the D.C. Capitol."

He continued: "The Court is ultimately unpersuaded by Mr. Sabol's argument that he did not plan to commit violence or disrupt the electoral process on January 6, 2021, but rather was caught up in the “frenzy" that was created in part by then-President Trump's, and his associates', words and actions."

Then, in a section of the ruling flagged by journalist Marcy Wheeler, Sullivan indicated he believes Trump and his allies may have significant legal exposure for their roles.

"To be sure, to what extent President Trump's words and actions led to the violent and shocking storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 is an important question, and one that could still have legal consequences for the former President and his prominent supporters," Sullivan wrote, citing a civil lawsuit against the former president. "But President Trump's culpability is not before this Court."

He continued, noting that Trump's own role in spurring the attack would not exonerate Sabol:

To the extent Mr. Sabol raises this issue to suggest he has a complete defense to the criminal charges he faces based on President Trump ostensibly or actually giving the rioters permission to use violence to interfere with the peaceful transition of power, that argument fails for the reasons clearly and thoughtfully articulated by Chief Judge Howell ... Indeed, "even if former President Trump in fact . . . 'told the assembled rabble what they must do' (i.e., attack the Capitol and disrupt the certification of the electoral vote count) and 'ratified their actions,' . . . he acted 'beyond [his] power' as President, . . . and his statements would not immunize defendants charged with offenses arising from the January 6 assault on the Capitol from criminal liability."

While the judge's remarks on their own don't have any legal significance for the former president, they're a useful reminder of a fact that is far too quickly being swept under the rug. The former president had a clear role in the most direct attack on American democracy in memory, and he has not yet been held legally responsible for it. Many others who believed his lies about the election, on the other hand, are suffering dearly. And while there's been significant attention paid to the ongoing investigations of Trump in New York and Georgia, his most egregious violations took place in the American capital.

Trump launches bizarre attack over vaccine pause — as the right wing moves to weaponize doubt

News that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can cause blood clots in about one in 1 million women under 50 has exploded across the social media world. Republicans, along with countries that hate America, are smiling.

A fellow who runs a couple of communities on a popular social media site called into my program yesterday saying that the vaccine news had caused an "absolute explosion" of vaccine denialism. People who'd been on the fence are now outright opposed to getting the jab.

And Trump and the GOP are making hay with the announcement.

Discouraging Americans from getting vaccinated, and thus preventing President Joe Biden from getting the economy back on track, has been the first order of business for the GOP ever since Trump lost the election.

It is now their primary Electoral Strategy going into 2022 and 2024.

And, if the spam I'm seeing in my inbox and the trolls I'm seeing on social media are any indication, several countries that would like to see America fail are also enthusiastically encouraging Americans not to get vaccinated.

Tucker Carlson and Fox News are also pushing the "uncertainty, be careful!" meme.

Trump, of course, tripled down on the news.

He floated a bizarre conspiracy theory of his own, that he had promoted back in December as well.

Feigning outrage and using it to trash our new president, Trump wrote: "The Biden Administration did a terrible disservice to people throughout the world by allowing the FDA and CDC to call a 'pause' in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine."

This is the same Donald Trump who, along with his wife, were both vaccinated while he was still president but went out of his way to keep it secret until long after he had left the White House.

He's all about sabotaging Joe Biden. There's probably nobody in the world Trump hates more, at this moment, than the guy who beat him badly in 2020. And he partially blames Pfizer.

"Remember," Trump wrote yesterday, "it was the FDA working with Pfizer, who announced the vaccine approval two days after the 2020 presidential election. They didn't like me very much…"

Warning his followers, once again, not to trust the American government, he added that the FDA "has to be controlled" particularly because of the "long time bureaucrats within."

If you want to see what the US will look like if Trump and the GOP prevail and create widespread vaccine denialism and hesitancy, just look at Michigan right now. The British variant is ripping through that state, throwing huge numbers of people under 40 into hospitals.

This is exactly what Republicans want.

It's the reason why the Republicans who control the Michigan House and Senate forced through legislation over Governor Whitmer's unsuccessful veto requiring the state's website to point out that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was tested on fetal stem cells.

Now another whole cohort of Americans are all hysterical about "baby parts" in their vaccines (they're not) and vaccine compliance is starting to collapse in Michigan.

Sabatoge that Democratic governor!

It's also why about half of all the Republicans in the US Congress refuse to disclose whether they have been vaccinated, and Senators Paul and Johnson openly proclaim that they won't take a vaccine.

It has nothing to do with "freedom." It's all about sabotaging the Biden administration. And doing the same to any state with a Democratic governor.

Many Americans were shocked when they realized that Donald Trump's deadly push to "open the economy" in September and October was just to try to get the economic numbers up so he could win reelection.

They're even more dismayed now, learning that Trump and the GOP are actively working to sabotage any effort to get the pandemic under control so Democrats will lose next year's elections and in 2024.

Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election, and his encouragement of the January 6 insurrection against our republic, were both treasonous and seditionist. He has demonstrated beyond any doubt that he is a traitor to our ideals and our nation.

But encouraging the deaths of hundreds of thousands more Americans is taking treason and sabatoge to a whole new level.

It took our media about three years to figure out and explicitly point out that Donald Trump was intent on destroying democracy in America. It took them more than two years to use the word "lies" to describe his…lies.

As Americans today are dying all across our country because of the vaccine skepticism promoted by Trump and the GOP, it's more important than ever that all of us, including our media, call this what it is.

American genocide for political purposes. Treason.

Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of The Hidden History of American Oligarchy and more than 30 other books in print. He is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute and his writings are archived at hartmannreport.com.

This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Trump has a brand new excuse for why Congress can’t see his tax returns: report

Donald Trump continues to resist efforts by investigators to obtain his tax returns.

"Donald Trump said a New York law enabling Congress to ask for his state tax returns no longer applies because he isn't president. The law, known as the Trust Act, allows the state to share the president's tax information with a congressional committee that asks for it. Trump sued the House and Ways and Means Committee to block it from requesting information," Bloomberg News reported Monday.

Trump's lawyers told U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols the law "does not apply to former presidents."

The filing is however an admission that he is not president anymore.

"Trump had also sued the New York attorney general's office and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to block them from handing over the information to Congress," Bloomberg News reported. "Nichols dismissed the case against the New York defendants, saying he had no jurisdiction over them, but said that Trump could file his lawsuit in that state. The case against the House Ways and Means Committee was allowed to go on."

Read the full report.

Nikki Haley buckles again to Trump in her latest humiliating surrender

Nikki Haley wants to be president. But as she tries to navigate the tides of public opinion, she finds herself repeatedly thrashed about by forces she struggles to understand.

In her latest capitulation to circumstance, Haley reversed herself on President Donald Trump once again. Asked Monday at a press event if she would support Trump in 2024 if he ran for the White House, she was unequivocal.

"Yes," she said "I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it. And I would talk to him about that. That's something that we will have a conversation about, at some point."

As many people pointed out, Haley was singing a very different tune not very long ago. In an excellent profile by Politico's Tim Alberta, Haley predicted that Trump wouldn't run against, and said that his actions in the aftermath of the 2020 election precluded that possibility. She was positively scathing in her assessment of him:

I asked Haley whether she has spoken to Trump since January 6. She shook her head.
"When I tell you I'm angry, it's an understatement," Haley hissed, leaning forward as she spoke. "Mike has been nothing but loyal to that man. He's been nothing but a good friend of that man. … I am so disappointed in the fact that [despite] the loyalty and friendship he had with Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I'm disgusted by it."
...
"I think he's going to find himself further and further isolated," Haley said. "I think his business is suffering at this point. I think he's lost any sort of political viability he was going to have. I think he's lost his social media, which meant the world to him. I mean, I think he's lost the things that really could have kept him moving."
I reminded her that Trump has been left for dead before; that the base always rallied behind him. I also reminded her that the argument for impeachment—and conviction—is that he would be barred from holding federal office again.
"He's not going to run for federal office again," Haley said.
But what if he does? Or at least, what if he spends the next four years threatening to? Can the Republican Party heal with Trump in the picture?
"I don't think he's going to be in the picture," she said, matter-of-factly. "I don't think he can. He's fallen so far."
This was the most certainty I'd heard from any Republican in the aftermath of January 6. And Haley wasn't done.
"We need to acknowledge he let us down," she said. "He went down a path he shouldn't have, and we shouldn't have followed him, and we shouldn't have listened to him. And we can't let that ever happen again."

On Monday, though, she had nothing but positive things to say about Trump: "I had a great working relationship with him. I appreciated the way he let me do his job. I thought we did some fantastically great foreign policy things together. And look, I just want to keep building on what we accomplished and not watch it get torn down." (She also noted that he is "opinionated," referencing his recent criticisms of Republicans.)

It was an awkward display for Haley, who had often been accused of turning in whatever direction the wind blows. She was a sharp critic of Trump during the 2016 primary, only to join his administration and praise him effusively. She has tried to break with him in the past at other points, but she has consistently returned to his side, clearly inferring that there's no path for her to the presidency — or even to relevancy in GOP politics — if she makes him an enemy.

Alberta's profile showed Haley to be calculating and ruthless, driven primarily by a sense of her own personal advantage. In one event that stood out, however, he describes her as taking a bold risk to get the Confederate Flag taken down from the state capitol in South Carolina when she was governor, motivated in part by her moral conviction and her own experiences with racism. The gambit paid off, making her stand out as a powerful and seemingly principled political actor. It's possible she thought that speaking out against Trump after Jan. 6 could be a similarly galvanizing moment for her.

That's not the way it's playing out.

Republicans rally behind biggest election liars just three months after Capitol riot

Just three months after political pundits predicted a seismic shift in the Republican Party in the wake of the deadly Capitol riot, the GOP is all but embracing the members blamed for inciting it.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, awarded former President Donald Trump with the group's newly-invented "Champion for Freedom Award" over the weekend as top Republican donors descended on Trump's adopted hometown of Palm Beach to hear him bitterly relitigate baseless complaints about his election loss.

"President Trump is a proven champion for all Americans," Scott said in a statement alongside a photo of him presenting Trump with a small ceremonial bowl, reminiscent of a third-place trophy in a local golf tournament. "Throughout his administration, he made clear his commitment to getting government out of the way of people's success, paving the way for American families and job creators to reach new heights. … We are grateful for his service to our country and are honored to present him with the NRSC's first Champion for Freedom award."

The award came ahead of Trump's speech to donors at a Republican National Committee retreat near Mar-a-Lago, where the former president ripped into Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as a "dumb son of a bitch" for not backing his efforts to overturn his electoral defeat. Much of Trump's speech was devoted to bashing fellow Republicans who did not support his attempt to block the certification of votes in certain states, including former Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump has vowed to campaign against Republicans who voted to convict him of inciting the riot, like Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. That could soon put him against groups like the NRSC after Scott vowed to back her re-election campaign.

Trump's speech was widely panned by attendees, some of whom left early, according to The Washington Post. "It was horrible, it was long and negative," one attendee told Politico, which noted that donors are worried about their "money going toward his retribution efforts."

But donors and lawmakers are afraid to speak out publicly against the former president because of the grasp he maintains on the party's voter base. Even potential presidential contenders are nervous to tip their hands because Trump has continued to tease a possible third run himself.

"No one knows what the Trump effect will be in 2022 or 2024. He has promised to primary [Republicans who don't support him], so a great number of them don't want to risk that," GOP donor Fred Zeidman told CNN. "He has not made a statement about not running in 2024, so it limits what anyone can do now, for fear of alienating the Trump supporters."

Republican voters have widely rejected the clearly visible images of Trump supporters hunting lawmakers through the halls of Congress, with a majority instead buying into false (and contradictory) claims that the riot was actually a peaceful protest or the work of left-wing activists "trying to make Trump look bad." Polls suggest that a majority of Republicans would back Trump in the 2024 primary campaign if he decides to run again. A straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year found that 68% of attendees want him to seek another term while a whopping 95% want the party to advance his policies and agenda. Trump has continued to raise staggering amounts of money off his election falsehoods, with his Save America PAC reporting 10 times more money in the bank than his campaign had in the first three months after he took office in 2017.

But it's not just Trump. The biggest supporters of Trump's election lies have cashed in on the controversy as well.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who led the Senate objections to the certification of election results in several states, raised more than $3 million in the three months since he pumped his fist to the mob that would soon attack Capitol Police officers and overrun the halls of Congress. That number is more than 10 times what some of his colleagues raised at a similar point in their terms, according to Politico, and a massive increase from the $43,000 he raised in the first quarter of the last election cycle. He even brought in nearly $600,000 in the two and a half weeks immediately following the riot despite temporarily pausing his fundraising efforts.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., also one of the most ardent backers of Trump's election lies, raised an even more eye-popping $3.2 million in the first three months of the year despite largely having to self-fund her campaign in 2020 — and despite representing a deep-red district where Democrats are unlikely to mount meaningful opposition.

But while Republicans have long relied on big-money donors, support for the likes of Hawley and Greene is coming from the party's grassroots, primarily through the donation platform WinRed, despite the scam-adjacent tactics employed by Trump's campaign and Republican fundraising groups. Hawley received more than 57,000 donations with an average contribution of $52. Greene received 100,000 donations, averaging $32 each.

Corporations that swore off making political donations in the wake of the riot have also started to reverse course. Just months after the attack, companies like AT&T, Intel and Cigna already appear to have broken their pledges to stop donating to Republicans who voted to overturn the election, making big contributions to the NRSC and the National Republican Campaign Committee.

JetBlue Airways' PAC became the first to end its pause on direct contributions to Republicans who voted to block the election results with a donation to Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., who continued to echo Trump's lies even after the deadly insurrection of Jan. 6.

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