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7/1/2021 – Trump Org and Allen Weisselberg Indictments

With today’s indictments I’m briefly returning with a FAQ about what’s happened. I’m not sourcing this as everything is just from the news I’ve been reading today and knowledge from following this topic.

Who is Allen Weisselberg?

Weiselberg has been the Chief Financial Officer at the Trump Organization for over 20 years and worked there for decades before that. His tenure at the Trump Organization is longer than Donald Trump’s, having worked for Fred Trump before that.

What are the charges?

All the charges are various forms of tax evasion or fraud. The bulk of these involve benefits being given to Weisselberg which were kept off the books so he would not have to pay taxes on them.

Isn’t it normal for a company to give employees benefits like vehicles?

Absolutely it is. In fact, Eric Trump has already been on TV making that exact argument. The problem here isn’t that he received perks. The problem is that both the company and Weisselberg did this off the books so as to avoid paying taxes.

Is he guilty?

Without question. This is a document crime. They don’t need to rely on any witnesses because they have the documents proving the fraud. The Trump organization kept two sets of books – one official and one documenting the illegal payments.

Is Donald Trump the unindicted co-conspirator? Will he be implicated?

Trump is 100% NOT the unindicted co-conspirator. It’s likely the Trump Org. controller who has already testified to the grand jury. That very likely means that person struck a deal to avoid prosecution. Donald Trump does not and has never used email which means any involvement here would not be in writing. To charge him, they would need Weisselberg to flip and in my opinion, that will never happen.

Could anyone else be caught up in this?

Yes. One of the mechanisms mentioned in the indictment was that Weisselberg was paid as a consultant in addition to his pay as an employee. The way they did this is not legal. The indictment explicitly mentions other Trump Org officers used the same tax evasion scheme. We know from previous New York Times reporting that Ivanka Trump was one of them. It’s a near certainty that Donald Jr. and Eric Trump were as well as the mechanism in this case was a consulting firm run by the three of them. But from my understanding, the paper trail is much stronger implicating Ivanka.

So the Trump kids could be indicted?

Yes. I could not tell you how likely that is however.

What about the feds?

The indictments today, if proven, absolutely show federal crimes as well as New York crimes. Federal investigators have been reluctant to pursue Donald Trump so we’ll see if this triggers any actions.

How will this affect Donald Trump?

It is incredibly unlikely he gets charged with a crime here in my opinion. In the worst case scenarios, this could effectively destroy his company. That does not erase him and may make him more of a political threat going forward. He has played the victim his entire life and this would be more fuel for that.

Could more indictments be coming?

I’ve seen legal analysists saying both that the NY prosecutors could be bringing more charges and that they aren’t likely to. I don’t know. However these are not the only financial crimes we know the Trump Organization has committed. Michael Cohen testified about the frequency of the Trump Org. lying about the value of assets to defraud both lenders and the government. That was not part of today’s indictment. They are exposed there, but this may not get pursued by the federal prosectors.

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Trump Daily – The Manbaby Who Cried Fraud

Nothing that’s taken place since the election was unpredicted. Because of how several of the swing states tallied votes, we knew Trump would appear to have a lead in them early in the tally which would be wiped out when the urban areas were counted. We knew Trump would claim fraud. We knew he would attempt to have the courts overturn the election.

His refusal to admit when he’s lost drives to the very core of who Donald Trump is. Loss is weakness and since he’s a strong brave alpha male, he can’t admit loss, mistake, or anything that would lead to growth. He’s been yelling for years that he actually won the popular vote in 2016 and that millions of illegal votes were counted for Clinton. In the primary, he insisted that now-sycophant Ted Cruz had fraudulently won the Iowa caucus. But this isn’t limited to his political career. Trump threw tantrums when passed over for an Emmy for the game show he hosted. (I will continually point out that Trump has never fired anyone, even on The Apprentice, whose contestants were not employed by Donald Trump.)

But right now I want to talk about Michael Forbes.

You’ve probably never heard of Michael Forbes. And there’s little reason you would. Mr. Forbes is a quarry worker who also runs a small family farm halfway between Foveran and Balmedie in Scotland. Mr. Forbes lives a simple life but received a recognition you’d not expect someone low-key like him to ever win.

Mr. Forbes, according to legendary Scotch brand Glenfiddich, was 2012’s “Scot of the Year.” (The company does not choose the recipient but rather runs a poll as a marketing stunt.) Being Glenfiddich’s Scot of the Year does not result in prize money. I don’t believe there’s a ceremony. Aside from those who read articles about the award, I doubt many people have any idea what it is or who has been selected.

Save Donald Trump.

Trump was FURIOUS that Glenfiddich named Mr. Forbes Scot of the Year. He banned their liquor from his properties – all of them. He attacked Glenfiddich on Twitter, back when no one gave a shit what Donald Trump said on Twitter because we all realized what a pathetic whining loser he was. Trump went so far as to insist the poll itself was fraudulent and a large number of people must have voted multiple times in order to select Mr. Forbes over Trump’s choice, tennis player Andy Murray.

If you think it’s odd Trump would be this involved in a COMPLETELY meaningless online poll, I’d point you to the time he spent months giving unsolicited relationship advice to Kirsten Stewart, a woman he’d never met. But in this case, there’s a reason that Donald Trump hated Michael Forbes.

Trump built his golf course next to Mr. Forbes’s farm. Mr. Forbes refused to sell it to him. That’s it. Most adults would either offer more money or move on. The farm belongs to Mr. Forbes and if he wanted to keep it, he was well within his rights. Trump began removing equipment from Mr. Forbes’s property anyway and fenced in part of it to begin construction. He even convinced the local police he owned the Forbes property. He did not. Once that failed, Trump tried to have the property condemned so that he could then buy it via the same sort of eminent domain transfers possible in The United States. He of course failed.

Michael Forbes was recognized in the Glenfiddich poll because he stood up to Donald Trump – and the Scots LOVED him for it.

And because Trump is a pathetic child, he couldn’t process this and insisted people hadn’t voted for Forbes. They hadn’t recognized and sided with a man who let Trump know he was an asshole.

That’s what’s happening right now in America. Biden soundly defeated Trump. And Trump is absolutely incapable of processing this. He has not been able to accept rejection his entire life – not from women, not from awards shows, not from the courts, and not from the people of this country. He’s treating the election the same way he treated Michael Forbes.

It can’t be that a record number of people voted against him. It can’t be that the majority of us recognize the incompetent failure that is Donald Trump. It can’t have anything to do with people rejecting Donald Trump.

So we get the old standbys – things that don’t go his way aren’t fair. Votes that go against him are fraudulent.

While it’s exceedingly dangerous that almost no Republicans are standing up to this coward, it’s also almost over. He will whine and throw a tantrum over this election until the day he dies.

And it won’t matter because the country is moving on in January and starting to heal the damage he has done.

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Trump Daily – Election Week Three

For months before the election, pundits predicted there was no way Trump would concede and the constant rhetoric about mail-in ballots leading to massive fraud would serve as an excuse for him to not accept the results and to delay starting the transition.

And here we are.

Trump has posted dozens of conspiracy theories, flagged by Twitter, all of which are completely devoid of factual basis. Biden has a large margin in the Electoral College and won several swing states by huge numbers. In order for Trump to win, literally hundreds of thousands of ballots would need to be fraudulent.

So that’s exactly what the president is claiming.

This is of course, bullshit. So far there have been fewer than 5 cases of attempted voter fraud and zero cases of a fraudulent ballot being cast.

Trump has now lost or withdrawn THIRTY FOUR court cases over the election. As each argument has been swatted down, they’ve simply predictably moved on to the next.

Initially the suits focused on issues with the counting process itself. They solicited 234 pages of affidavits which included such egregious issues of poll workers being rude, a pollworker being large which was intimidated (yes, really), and someone saying it was suspicious that people in the military were voting for Biden. Needless to say, this was tossed out.

Once it became obvious they were losing every single lawsuit over the counting process, they pivoted to the next step – asking the courts and legislatures to just ignore the vote entirely. In multiple states, the Trump campaign has asked the courts to simply ignore the ballots entirely and declare Trump a winner. Trump is directly intervening to stop the certification of results so that sympathetic legislatures can declare him the victor. In Wayne County, Michigan, where Detroit is located. The two Republicans on the canvassing board said they would not vote to certify the results. They went so far as to say they’d certify the results in the cities outside of Detroit – which happen to be overwhelmingly white whereas Detroit has a huge black population. It turns out one of these board members for over a decade has been posting conspiracy theories about Democrats and racist memes about Obama. After a large public outcry, the Wayne County board voted to certify the results.

Then Donald Trump personally called them. After which both Republicans published affidavits saying they were forced to vote to certify the results and they wanted to “rescind” their certifications. Luckily, that isn’t a thing and there is no mechanism for them to change their votes. But to underline the danger here, the president is directly intervening with local officials pleading with them to reverse an election he decisively lost.

As Trump openly asks the Michigan legislature to simply ignore the election and appoint electors who will name him president, Trump reached out to two state Republican leaders and invited them to the White House. They discussed the election there. Both men, Lee Chatfield and Jim Lilly spent the night in DC after the meeting. They of course stayed at the Trump Hotel. Michigan taxpayers paid for their representatives to patronize the president’s private business as he was asking them to instigate a coup in his favor.

Conspiracy theorist lawyer Sidney Powell has joined Trump’s legal team after an exodus of more legitimate lawyers. She is claiming that a software company has flipped hundreds of thousands of votes nationwide. Recounts have compared paper results to the computer tallies. This is an insane lie. She’s blamed Hugo Chavez, who died 7 years ago, in part for this process. Why? The partial owner of one voting machine company is a Venezuelan immigrant. As part of this conspiracy theory, she says the US military has seized a computer server from a voting company in Germany that proves massive fraud nationwide. She has presented no evidence of this and there are the slight problems that we don’t send election data overseas, the company in question does not have any offices in Germany, and the US military does not conduct police raids in foreign countries we aren’t hostile towards.

This is not the fringe babbling of a crackpot. This is the president’s lawyer. The Republican Party itself sent out the video of her making these claims on their own social media.

The head of the GSA, the organization which kickstarts the transition process, is refusing to name Biden the apparent winner. Until she does so, he cannot access ANY government resources including information about the pandemic and the disease. She’s a Trump loyalist. One of her first official acts was to look into the conflict of Trump renting the building for his DC hotel from the government while also overseeing this government. This was explicitly forbidden by the lease. She resolved the conflict by declaring there wasn’t a conflict.

Meanwhile, Trump has ceased doing the job of the president other than a mass number of firings. He’s spent every weekend since the election golfing. This morning, the heads of the G-20 states held a Zoom meeting about the global pandemic response. Donald Trump skipped it to golf.

Four of the top Pentagon officials, including the Secretary of Defense, have been replaced with Trump loyalists. A court ruled that Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf’s appointment was illegal and therefore his orders were invalid. Trump has addressed this by appointing a new head of DHS for an afternoon, assigning Wolf to a new role, and then removing the temporary Secretary to re-appoint Wolf to the role. This, like so many other Trump actions, is an end-around to avoid seeking the required Senate confirmation for his subordinates. This will absolutely be challenged in court, but the point here isn’t validity – it’s simply chaos. The head of the DHS cybersecurity division which oversaw election security publicly stated that the election was secure, free of direct interference, and that no votes were electronically changed. In short, all of the president’s conspiracies about winning by a landslide were lies. He was repaid by getting fired, along with one of his deputies.

This isn’t limited to Trump. Lindsay Graham has called multiple Secretaries of State and in the case of Georgia’s, pressured him to throw out ballots which would swing the election to Trump there. (Georgia has since certified the election for Biden. So far, none of these efforts have succeeded.)

Trump is going to do as much damage to the country as he possibly can before leaving office and for the same reason he ran in the first place – spite.

And as he does this, elected Republicans simply stand by and watch. They are fine with burning the system to the ground. They are fine with the mass numbers of dead from the virus. And all of this because they know how unpopular their actual stances are and they think the chaos will help them retain power. None of this for them is about the 2016 election. This is a dry run for future elections. They are seeing what their supporters will go along with as far as fraudulently reversing elections they lose.

And the answer is anything at all.

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The Election and Moving Forward

In 2018 on election night, a narrative emerged that the Democrats had underperformed and the “blue wave” so many had predicted had never materialized. This was despite warnings that the final count would take days to finish.

In the end the Democrats gained 41 seats, a massive shift in The House. The predictions were correct – the Democrats won in a landslide.

We’re in the middle of that process right now regarding Joe Biden. Pundits warned that states like PA would count Biden-heavy mail/early ballots last which would cause a huge apparent shift from Trump to Biden in the days after the election. And that’s what we’re seeing.

Trump won 306 electoral votes in 2016. He called this a massive landslide. Republicans said this was a mandate from the people, despite the large popular vote gap.

Biden is tracking to win 306 electoral votes as well and may win the popular vote by the largest margin in history – over 7 million people. There are a lot of issues apparent from election night the Democrats need to work on (I’ll get to that later). But Biden’s victory is huge.

This was not the repudiation of Trumpism many of us hoped for but it was still a great accomplishment. You can breathe slightly easier for now.

As for this blog, the news about Trump is not slowing down especially as he’s openly contesting the election. I am going to continue documenting his malfeasance.

If you’re a Patreon subscriber and ready to tune all of this out, I do not blame you and thank you for your support through this endeavor. For those who want to, I am keeping the Patreon active until Biden’s inauguration. After that I’ll be shutting down donations.

If the news cycle on Trump continues past that, especially regarding investigations or criminal actions, I will continue writing about it for as long as it lasts.

Thank you to everyone for reading over these past five years. I know I’ve directly impacted the vote of some of you. You were seen. And you’ve perhaps made a bit of a dent in my Imposter Syndrome.

Thank you and I’ll be back to normal updates this week.

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What to Expect on Election Night or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Board

After four grueling years of chaos, we are nearly there – the beginning of the end. As journalists everywhere have tried to prepare people for NOT knowing who won on election night, the president has insisted the winner must be declared Tuesday night and even said that judges need to stop states from counting past election night. The latter is blatantly illegal and almost nothing has been discussed about it because the bar for this president’s criminality is so incredibly low.

Aside from the strictly illegal nature of the president’s comment, the problem is that states NEVER certify their results on election night. Media outlets predict how states will certify their votes. President Trump does not understand the difference. With the increased number of mailed ballots and early voting prompted by the pandemic, an unprecedented number of people will have voted before election day. Some states count these votes early. Some states do not count them until after election day.

If you want to skip to the conclusion, there are too many factors at play to know if we can declare a winner on election night. But I think it’s more likely than not. The prevailing wisdom that mail-in ballots will cause a lag doesn’t hold up when you look at the states in question.

Everything here is sourced either from my personal knowledge or two New York Times articles: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/10/13/us/politics/when-votes-counted.html and https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/10/27/upshot/election-results-timing.html

I’m going to look at 538 and what they say are the 9 closest races. These are the ones to watch on Tuesday: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania. Combined, these states are worth a whopping 153 electoral votes.

Arizona started counting their early ballots on Oct. 7. We should have a good idea who wins on election night.

Florida, despite the reputation from the 2000 election, counts their early ballots as received. Unless Florida is extremely close, we will probably know who won on election night. If Biden wins Florida, it’s over. Trump will not win the election without it.

Georgia processes early ballots when received. We’ll know what happens in Georgia on election night.

Iowa processes early ballots beginning on Halloween. It’s likely we know what happens here but that might be delayed if their initial count takes a few days.

Nevada counts their ballots as received. We’re going to know on election night.

North Carolina doesn’t tally early ballots until election night but has them processed and ready to go. It’s likely we know on election night.

Ohio is an odd duck. They will release numbers for early ballots and everything they can count on election day. After that however they provide NO updates until November 28th. This is another state Trump must win. If Biden takes it, it’s unlikely Trump has a path to re-election. The state is a coin flip according to 538 right now. A nightmare scenario is neither candidate having the votes to win without Ohio and Ohio being too close to call until they certify. That means waiting almost FOUR WEEKS to find out who won. While I don’t think this will happen, it’s a scenario people should be ready for.

Pennsylvania CANNOT count early votes until the polls close. Their secretary of state expects most of their votes will be counted on election night, but this is another possible problem area.

Texas processes early ballots as they arrive but does not begin tabulating them until this weekend. I think it’s likely we know Texas on election night but this is another state which could take a while if the race is close. Needless to say, Trump cannot lose Texas. In fact if every state remains the same as it did in 2016 but Texas flips, Biden wins.

I want to note there are states which we KNOW will take weeks to finish counting – Alaska and California for example. They aren’t going to figure into the presidential race, but there will absolutely be House races we don’t know the outcome of for several weeks. This is completely normal and happens every election year. We are more likely to know who holds the Senate, but it may take a few weeks to know the specific number of Senators from each party.

In summation, I think it’s most likely we know if Biden or Trump wins late on Tuesday. If not then, most likely some time the following day. There are plausible nightmare scenarios where we don’t know for weeks. In 2000 it wasn’t until mid-December we knew who the next president would be. While not quite normal, there is no particular harm in having to wait for the results, though Trump is sure to claim victory in any such close scenario.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

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Trump Daily – 10/22/20 Jagshemash

Madison Cawthorn is a Republican House candidate who spoke at their convention. He’s published an attack website that included a criticism of a reporter who “quit his academia job in Boston to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.” The website has since been changed. At the time of publication, Cawthorn had not offered a statement.

The New York Post piece about Hunter Biden’s laptop was written by a journalist who refused to attach his name to the story because he doubted the veracity. One of the women whose name was attached had never had an article published in the paper before and previously worked for Sean Hannity. The Republicans are thinking this story is the “Clinton’s emails” of 2020 but it does not appear that anyone cares in the least. Among many other stories, Giuliani is claiming the hard drive which he’s had a copy of for quite some time has child pornography on it – a fact he has conveniently not mentioned until two weeks before the election. Right-wing media has alleged the laptop is now part of a money laundering investigation. They’re likely correct. What they’re leaving out is that Giuliani is the one under investigation. DNI Ratcliffe announced the laptop is definitely not part of any foreign disinformation campaign. The FBI contradicted him and have not reached that conclusion.

The Trump campaign accused Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer of promoting the assassination of president Trump because she displayed a sign saying “86 45.” 86 does not mean to kill. Both Trump and the campaign have been viciously attacking Whitmer just days after a right wing terrorist group was arrested for planning to kidnap her.

The Department of Justice is continuing to argue in court that when President Trump said “she’s not my type” of E. Jean Carroll, who is accusing him of rape, that he was acting in his official capacity as president and therefore should be defended by government lawyers, not his own personal lawyers. The goal here is to claim immunity to have the lawsuit tossed. Needless to say, denying an accusation of rape has nothing at all to do with the job of the president.

The New York Times has dropped another Trump tax story. Despite his claims of being tough on China, the president used a shell corporation to hide a Chinese bank account. His companies have been pursuing licensing deals in China which have not been previously disclosed.

The White House is looking into cutting off funding for all manner of government services which it has deemed “anarchist” cities. There are zero cities in the US experiencing any form of anarchy. What the president wants is for police to be more brutal with and arrest more protesters.

Lawyers have been unable to find the parents of 545 children who were separated at the border due to Trump’s kidnapping policy. The program was implemented without any sort of tracking system and parents were deported with absolutely no record of how to get in touch with them. Unable to complete the tasks themselves, Department of Justice lawyers eventually said that ACLU lawyers, along with other groups, should track down the parents themselves – which they’ve done. This should be one of the biggest stories in US political history.

Trump is considering firing FBI director Christopher Wray because Wray will not publicly announce that Hunter and Joe Biden are under investigation. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is the exact same demand Trump made of the Ukrainian government which is what he was impeached over.

DNI Ratcliffe is trying to declassify a document, originated by House Republicans, that concludes Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf. This directly contradicts the finding of every US intelligence agency, the very groups Ratcliffe oversees. The Director of National Intelligence is not supposed to be a partisan position but Ratcliffe has been taking actions solely to benefit the Trump campaign.

Rudy Giuliani was taken in during a stunt for Sacha Baron Cohen’s new Borat movie. Giuliani has correctly pointed out that he was not taken in by Cohen himself and that he recognized him interrupting an interview. The interview itself was the setup. He ended up alone in a hotel room with an actress he thought was a Russian journalist. This is the president’s personal lawyer, placed in a compromising position by two actors. He is a massive national security threat from foreign agencies who are far more skilled at spycraft than Borat.

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