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Indiana Spends Millions On PR Firm To Fix Image Fallout From ‘Religious Freedom’ Fight

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Indiana taxpayers will be on the hook for millions of dollars the state will spend on a huge PR firm hired to fix the Hoosier brand.

The State of Indiana’s economic development and tourism offices have contracted to spend at least $2 million, plus all advertising costs, after Governor Mike Pence‘s disastrous decision to sign a so-called “religious freedom” law, and then to defend it publicly in a career-crushing Sunday morning news show interview. 

Polling showed the people of Indiana are strongly opposed to measures that discriminate against any group, and as a result, the Republican Governor’s approval rating has taken a double-digit nosedive. 

LOOK: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s Approval Ratings Crash, Burn After ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Firestorm

“Clearly the last two weeks have beat up and tarnished the state’s reputation as a welcoming place,” Chris Gahl, vice president of marketing for Visit Indy, Indianapolis’ tourism office told the Indy Star.

International public relations firm Porter Novelli, which has 100 offices in 60 countries around the world and represents top brands like McDonald’s, UPS, and Gillette, says it is about “influence.”

“We motivate people to change deeply ingrained behaviors rooted in cultural and social norms,” its website reads. “Our results are greater than influencing people. We make them believe.”

Meanwhile, Indy Star opinion writer Matthew Tully this morning scoffed at the plan.

“A $2 million problem? You must be joking. You’d be joking if you argued that Indiana could reclaim everything it has lost with 10 times that. Or 20 times,” he writes. “An image makeover is not going to be enough. We need action, not just ads.”

Tully is calling for Indiana “to pass a statewide anti-discrimination law that includes protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Plenty of other states have these laws, and if Indiana had one it wouldn’t have been bloodied during the RFRA debate over the past month.”

“Pass a state law that ensures gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are covered by civil rights protections. It’s that simple. It’s that easy,” he says. “There. I’ve just saved the state $2 million.”

 

Related:

Sorry, GOP: Most Americans Support Gay People Over Businesses That Use Religion To Discriminate

Corp. That Advocated Against Indiana ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Posts Beautiful Thank You Video

SNL: Michael Keaton Leads Spoof CNN Reenactment Of Indiana ‘Religious Freedom’ Law In Action

Watch: Indiana ‘Religious Freedom’ Lobbyist Says ‘I Have Gay And Lesbian Friends’

Exposed: Mike Pence’s 2000 Congressional Campaign Site Was A War On LGBT People And Women

 

Image: Religious freedom bill protest rally, March 28. Photo by Felipe N. Martinez via Twitter

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News

Cheney ‘Thinking About’ White House Run – Will Do ‘Whatever It Takes’ to Keep ‘Grave Threat’ of Trump From Oval Office

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After a staggering loss in her congressional primary Tuesday U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) is making more headlines at the moment than the man who promised to ensure her defeat: Donald Trump. Cheney says she’s “thinking about” running for president.

Rep. Cheney lost her Wyoming GOP primary by a 66.3% to 28.9% estimated margin Tuesday night, after winning her district just two years ago with more than 70% of the votes, and having the added benefit of being the daughter of a former GOP vice president, defense secretary, and congressman.

As she has since the January 6, 2021 insurrection, Cheney still has Donald Trump in her sights.

READ MORE: ‘Enabled White Supremacy’: Liz Cheney Goes on Attack Against Stefanik and GOP Leaders After Buffalo Mass Shooting

“I believe that Donald Trump continues to pose a very grave threat and risk to our republic. And I think that defeating him is going to require a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents, and that’s what I intend to be a part of,” she told Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “TODAY” show Wednesday morning.

She said she will do “whatever it takes” to keep the former president from returning to the Oval Office.

That could include running for president, which Cheney hesitantly says she’s “thinking about,” telling NBC News she will make a decision “in the coming months.”

RELATED: Liz Cheney Serves Notice to Ginni Thomas That the Jan 6th Committee Is Prepared to Subpoena Her

“We’ve now got one major political party, my party, which has really become a cult of personality, and we’ve got to get this party back to a place where we’re embracing the values and the principles on which it was founded,” she said.

Cheney, who still is vice chair of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, did not appear to have a dedicated, scripted response to Guthrie’s questions, but she did file papers early Wednesday morning to reorganize her re-election account into a leadership PAC.

Cheney “renamed her re-election account THE GREAT TASK sometime early this morning. It’s now a leadership PAC,” Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman reports. He notes it’s “flush with $7 million.”

Watch Cheney’s “TODAY” show interview below or at this link:

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COMMENTARY

Morning Joe Reveals ‘Disturbing’ Talk With ‘Washington Fixture’ Who Wants to ‘Destroy Our Country’ to Save Trump

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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough revealed a pair of “disturbing” phone calls he had this week with a friend and family member calling for the destruction of the U.S. government as investigators move closer to Donald Trump.

The FBI search of Mar-A-Lago has spooked the former president and enraged his supporters — which Trump has tried to use as leverage to reduce the heat on himself — and the “Morning Joe” host said that included some previously “boring” moderates who were now willing to destroy the constitutional republic rather than hold Trump accountable.

“If people want to understand the depths to which this anti-American sentiment is running in the Republican Party, I had two conversations yesterday,” Scarborough said. “One with a family member and one with a Washington fixture, since the days of Ronald Reagan. Both were talking about how the FBI was the gestapo and they needed to be stamped out, spoke of revolution, and the Washington fixture, a guy who I always considered to be a mainstream conservative, a guy who, in the past at least, expressed concerns about some of Donald Trump’s extremities, said to me, ‘Joe, we can replace the U.S. government.”

“It’s not about the government, it’s about an individual,” he added. “Here’s a guy that said we can throw away Madisonian democracy, we can throw away the Bill of Rights, we can throw away the Constitution. We can just get rid of a government that has fed and feeds more people, that’s liberated more people throughout history, that’s keeping the flames of freedom alive right now in Ukraine and in Central Europe, than any other country on the planet, and we can replace the U.S. government. That is the depths to which this cancer has spread among mainstream Republicans, and Liz Cheney is right. These people are angry, and they want to destroy our country — the country where we have democratic elections and the winners who get the most votes are recognized as the winners, and the losers concede to those winners, and Donald Trump has changed all of that now.”

READ MORE: ‘Oh my lord!’ CNN legal analyst astounded by ‘all the crimes’ Trump and his lawyers could be charged with

Cheney, who until last year was the third-ranking Republican in the U.S. House and had one of the most conservative ratings in Congress, lost her GOP primary to pro-Trump candidate Harriet Hageman after voting to impeach the former president and serving on the Jan. 6 Committee investigating his attempt to overturn his 2020 election loss.

“Well, the hatred and the animosity spewed towards [president] Joe Biden from these people I spoke to yesterday, said — they said, he’s a moderate — like boring guy from Delaware,” Scarborough said of his friend. “Like, he used do do this to [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez], you used to do this to [Sen.] Bernie Sanders and used to do this to [House speaker] Nancy Pelosi, and now Joe Biden is the radical who is destroying them?”

“It’s just, it’s nonsense,” Scarborough added. “The problem is, it’s dangerous nonsense when they start talking about the FBI being the gestapo and how the FBI needed to be defunded and how the FBI needs to be wiped out, and how we can replace the U.S. government. That’s treasonous talk. Five years ago, that would be considered treasonous talk.”

Watch the video below or at this link.

 

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News

‘Confessing to the Crime’: Reporter’s Claim About Trump Being ‘Reluctant’ to Return Records Ignites Legal Experts

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Donald Trump, speaking at Mar-a-Lago

Legal experts including Neal Katyal, Andrew Weissmann, and others are responding to a claim made by a right wing reporter that they say indicts rather than vindicates Donald Trump.

The claim was made by Paul Sperry, a former D.C. bureau chief for Investor’s Business Daily, who has worked for the far right wing website WorldNetDaily. He is described as having a “long record of promoting anti-Muslim conspiracy theories” by Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative Team.

If his reporting is true, legal experts say it is a confession to unlawful actions regarding the 35 cartons of White House records that belong not to the former president, as he reportedly stated, but to the National Archives.

RELATED: ‘It’s Not Theirs, It’s Mine’ Trump Told Aides About White House Records Including Classified Documents: NYT

“BREAKING,” Sperry’s post on the right wing social media site Gettr begins. “Sources close to Trump say the former president was reluctant to furnish presidential records to the National Archives after he found out partisan Democrat political appointees there were releasing thousands of his White House documents to the January 6 Committee in spite of his lawyers’ claims of executive privilege. They say the former president simply ‘does not trust’ the Obama and Biden political appointees running the National Archives to act in good faith and in bipartisan spirit.”

That post was included as a screenshot and tweeted by attorney Ron Filipkowski.

Former FBI General Counsel  Andrew Weissmann responds by saying: “Legally, this is a confession, not a defense, even if Trump thinks this plays to his base. The more Trump keeps talking, the more he keeps digging his legal grave.”

Weissmann also served as an Assistant United States Attorney, chief of the criminal fraud section of the U.S. Department of Justice, and worked under Robert Mueller during the Trump investigation.

This “is Trump confessing to the crime,” says former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal. “If this report is accurate, Trump is saying he took these doc[uments] for his personal gain. It’s no defense to say ‘the govt was going to be unfair.’ These are the govt’s docs, not his. He doesn’t get to hide them& benefit.”

READ MORE: Trump’s Weaponization of DOJ Notice to Pick Up His Passports Negates Claim He Will ‘Do Whatever’ to Tamp Down Anger

The nonpartisan watchdog Citizens for Ethics (CREW) writes: “So Trump was intentionally breaking the law. That’s really not the winner they think it is.”

Attorney Owen Barcala offers up this sarcastic response: “‘How dare you say he negligently retained classified documents! He did so intentionally and with the specific purpose to interfere with a Congressional investigation!'”

National security lawyer Mark S. Zaid: “These ‘sources’ close to Trump are undermining any possible factual or legal defenses he might assert. Please keep talking!”

Journalists are also weighing in.

Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler: “These ‘sources close to Trump’ LITERALLY just confessed to concealing official records to thwart an investigation, which is one of the crimes under investigation, 18 USC 1519.”

Columbia Journalism School Professor Bill Grueskin: “Each story is more confession-y than the previous one.”

New York Times opinion columnist Farhad Manjoo: “he’s admitting to taking classified documents from the White House in order to keep them away from government officials? convenient, because that is … specifically one of the crimes he’s being investigated for.”

 

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