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REPORT: Steve Bannon Under Criminal Investigation For Florida Residency Claim

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Trump’s Chief Strategist May Have Provided False Information To Obtain Voter Registration

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is the subject of a criminal investigation into whether he falsely claimed he was a Florida resident from 2014 to 2016, possibly to avoid paying state income taxes. 

The Washington Post reported Saturday that state prosecutors in Miami have subpoenaed documents including Bannon’s lease of a home in Coconut Grove, Florida. They’ve also contacted landlords, a gardener and a handyman. 

The State Attorney’s Office for Miami-Dade County declined to provide further details, citing confidentiality rules for “active criminal investigative information.” But a spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office said of the probe, “At this point it is not over.” 

Under Florida law, it is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to provide false information on a voter registration application. However, proving wrongdoing could be difficult because state law does not clearly define residency. 

Last year, after he was hired to lead Trump’s campaign, The Guardian reported that Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News, was registered to vote at a then-vacant house in Miami-Dade County. 

According to the Post’s subsequent investigation, two homes that Bannon leased in Florida — and where he claimed residency — were in fact occupied by his third ex-wife, whom he divorced in 2009. 

“The Post found that Bannon left a negligible footprint in Florida,” the newspaper reported. “He did not get a Florida driver’s license or register a car in the state. He never voted in Florida, and neighbors near two homes he leased in Miami said they never saw him. His rent and utility bills were sent to his business manager in California.” 

 

 

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'WORSE THAN NOTHING'

‘Basically Outlaws Responding to This Pandemic’: Texans Blast Abbott for New ‘Right to Infect’ Order

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Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott is under fire after signing a wide-ranging COVID-19 executive order Thursday that bans any mask or vaccine mandates, bans anyone requesting or requiring proof of vaccination to obtain goods or services, but promotes “personal responsibility” as the means to control what is quickly becoming a new Delta variant-fueled wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the CDC Texas has had over 47,000 new COVID cases and 240 new COVID deaths in the past seven days, with a huge 15%-19.9% positivity rate. Since the start of the pandemic Texas has, under Governor Abbott’s leadership, seen nearly 3.1 million coronavirus cases and almost 52,000 deaths. Texas reports just 52% of its population 12 and older has been vaccinated.

Abbott’s executive order says, “There are no COVID-19-related operating limits for any business or other establishment,” and “no person may he required by any jurisdiction to wear or to mandate the wearing of a face covering.”

“Texans are strongly encouraged as a matter of personal responsibility to consistently follow good hygiene, social-distancing. and other mitigation practices,” and vaccines “will never be mandated by the government,” although “it is strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one.”

The order also overrides and voids any “COVID-19-related limitations imposed by local governmental entities or officials.”

One local Texas NBC affiliate reports, “Abbott pushes personal responsibility over government mandates as pandemic surges.”

Here’s what some Texans are saying:

 

 

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Dozens of House Republicans Refusing to Wear Masks March to Senate Side for ‘Taste of Freedom’

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After falsely blaming Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the newly-announced mask mandate on the House side of Congress, dozens of Republicans Thursday afternoon engaged in a performative protest, not against the coronavirus but against efforts to end the pandemic. What appeared to be 50 or so House GOP  lawmakers marched over to the Senate side of the Capitol Hill building for what one called a “taste of freedom.”

The Attending Physician of the United States Congress, following updated CDC guidance this week ordered anyone on the House side of the Capitol to wear a mask if in a group, regardless of vaccination status, but did not make the same order for the Senate side.

While Dr. Brian Monahan did not explain why the rules were different, at last cxount only about half of the Republicans on the House side have said they are vaccinated. Almost every Republican on the Senate side is. All Democrats on both sides are fully vaccinated. Dr. Monahan’s office announced fines and possible removal for repeat offenders.

Among those in the maskless pack making their way to the Senate side were Reps. Madison Cawthorn, Lauren Boebert, Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Chip Roy.

Roll Call’s Chris Cioffi and The Hill’s Scott Wong posted video:

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TRUTH IN ADVERTISING?

Far Right Republican Concocts Fundraising Scheme to Bail Out Mask Rule-Breakers — but the Cash Goes to His Campaign

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Right-wing Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is asking for donations so that he can pay for the fines for Congressional members and their staff who refuse to wear a mask in the Capitol. But when clicking the link to donate, it takes you to his campaign page.

Typical members of Congress are paid $174,000 annually, so it’s unclear why they would need donations to cover their own rule-breaking. Staffers certainly make much less, however, Washington, D.C. has mandated face masks in public places again. So, they would be in violation of the Capitol rules as well as D.C. rules. It’s unclear if their Republican members would be willing to pay their fees themselves if the staffer follows their boss’s lead.

While the Capitol has instituted fines, the Capitol Police released a statement that seemed like a veiled threat to those anti-maskers refusing to follow the rules.

“Regarding the House mask rule, there is no reason it should ever come to someone being arrested. Anyone who does not follow the rule will be asked to wear a mask or leave the premises. The Department’s requirement for officers to wear masks is for their health and safety,” said the statement.

See Cawthorn’s fundraising tweet below:

 

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