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WATCH: Trump Tells Italian Prime Minister Pavarotti Is a ‘Great Friend.’ Pavarotti Died 10 Years Ago.

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Pavarotti’s Family Didn’t Think So

As he so often does, President Donald Trump embellished a written speech with some personal anecdotes Thursday afternoon, but this time they turned out to be rather embarrassing. In a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Italy, Paolo Gentiloni, the U.S. President heralded his “great friend“ Luciano Pavarotti.

Luciano Pavarotti died in 2007.

“Through the ages your country has been a beacon of artistic and scientific achievement,” Trump told Prime Minister Gentiloni. “That continues today.”

“From Venice to Florence to Verdi to Pavarotti – friend of mine,” President Trump said. “Great friend of mine,” he concluded.

Trump should remember the late Italian operatic tenor. Last summer during the race for the White House the Trump campaign frequently used Pavarotti’s rendition of the Puccini’s aria “Nessun Dorma” (“None Shall Sleep”) without permission. Pavarotti’s family sent a letter requesting they stop using his music.

The family’s statement was not a generic request, but rather, an attack on Trump’s character. It said that “the values of brotherhood and solidarity which Luciano Pavarotti expressed throughout the course of his artistic career are entirely incompatible with the worldview offered by the candidate Donald Trump.”

So much for being great friends.

UPDATE:
Mic’s Andrew Joyce writes:

There are other reasons to doubt the supposed friendship between Pavarotti and Trump. One account from a 2002 report in the Guardian claims that Pavarotti once gave such a lackluster performance at one of Trump’s Atlantic City casinos that Trump demanded Pavarotti return his fee for the event. 

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Image: Screenshot via Washington Post

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘God Anointed Him’: Christian Right Expert Explains Conservative Outrage After FBI Raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

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Veteran journalist Sarah Posner, who has spent years writing about religion and the Christian right, has an explanation for the outraged response from some Trump supporters over the FBI executing a legal search warrant on Mar-a-Lago.

Hours after the news broke, Florida Republican state representative Anthony Sabatini called for “an emergency legislative session” to “Sever all ties with DOJ immediately” over the FBI executing a legal search warrant of Trump’s home. “Any FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State should be arrested upon sight,” he wrote, apparently unaware of the U.S. Constitution.

Tuesday night Trump supporters formed a small convoy driving outside Mar-a-Lago, some with Trump banners, Trump flags, or the American flag, – even one vehicle painted with the American flag – to show their support for the former president who might be facing legal consequences, as video from NBC 6 reporter Cristian Benavides shows.

READ MORE: ‘This Is a National Security Issue’: Former FBI Agents Note Key Details About ‘Raid’ on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

“The GOP position is that Trump is above the law,” writes The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent. “That’s what the GOP position on Trump was throughout his presidency, and that’s what it is now. Say it that way. Don’t let Republicans get away with using fake outrage to obscure this fundamental reality.”

Posner has written two books on the Christian Right including “UNHOLY: How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency, And the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind.”

In response to Sargent’s remarks she advises: “Remember too that much of Trump’s base believes that God anointed him, that it’s God’s will that he be back in the White House. And that they need to engage in ‘spiritual warfare’ with ‘demonic’ enemies of Trump — keep this in mind as right-wing influencers call for civil war.”

READ MORE: IRS Under Trump Allowed a Decades-Old Influential Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group to Change Its Tax Status and Become a Church

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Monday night tweeted, “The FBI is raiding President Trump’s home in Maralago! This is the rogue behavior of communist countries, NOT the United States of America!!! These are the type of things that happen in countries during civil war. The political persecution MUST STOP!!!”

Tuesday morning CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan posted a graph and noted the “big spike in tweets referencing ‘civil war’ right after the news of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago broke last night.”

Dr. Caroline Orr Bueno posted an image of a large number of tweets that mention civil war and other related calls, including: “I already bought my ammo,” “Civil war! Pick up arms, people!” “Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,” “Let’s do the war,” and “One step closer to a kinetic civil war.”

 

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‘This Is a National Security Issue’: Former FBI Agents Note Key Details About ‘Raid’ on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

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Two former FBI agents are weighing in on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s execution of a search warrant Monday at the Florida residence of Donald Trump, the former President, which he called a “raid.”

“This is a nat sec/CI issue,” tweeted Asha Rangappa Tuesday morning, meaning national security and counterintelligence. Rangappa is an attorney, former FBI special agent, senior lecturer at Yale, and CNN commentator.

She was pointing to a tweet by another former FBI special agent, James Harris.

READ MORE: ‘Coverup of Treason’: Trump-Appointed IG, Under Investigation, Knew of Missing Secret Service and DHS Texts Far Earlier

Harris has an extensive bio, highlights of which include his role at FBI HQ Cyber Division as a Program Manager and then Unit Chief (Acting), FBI Senior Liaison Officer to DHS Cybersecurity and Communications, and FBI Assistant Section Chief of the Counterterrorism Internet Operations Section. Earlier in his FBI career he says he “built up the largest Federal Cybercrime Task Force in the US.”

Harris points to this section of a CNN article published Tuesday morning, written by seven CNN reporters:

“In early June, a handful of investigators made a rare visit to the property seeking more information about potentially classified material from Trump’s time in the White House that had been taken to Florida. The four investigators, including Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department, sat down with two of Trump’s attorneys, Bobb and Evan Corcoran, according to a source present for the meeting.”

READ MORE: Trump’s Legal Team Now in ‘Direct Communication’ With DOJ Officials About J6 Criminal Investigation: Report

Harris on Twitter highlights this sentence: “The four investigators, including Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department…”

He tweets: “All you ‘outraged’ GOPers better cool your jets. You might be walking your rhetoric back really fast when you figure out what this seems to be. The devil is in the details.”

In January the National Archives was forced to transport from Mar-a-Lago 15 cartons of documents and other items that, according to the Presidential Records Act and the National Archives, should have been turned over to the Archives.

The FBI’s execution of the search warrant and reports that they left with a large quantity of documents suggests Trump might not have turned over everything taken from the White House.

Rangappa earlier Tuesday tweeted: “Ask yourself: What kind of info makes its way to the WH, and specifically to the president? —> HIGH LEVEL SECRETS. PDB stuff. Defense info. These aren’t low-level diplomatic cables or overclassified State Dept. correspondence. Just saying.”

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‘I’d Be Advising My Client to Tell Their Family I’m Looking at Jail Time’: Mueller Prosecutor on the FBI’s Trump Raid

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Former Justice Department prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, explained on MSNBC that if he was advising a client facing what former President Donald Trump is, there would be a strong warning.

“If I were Donald Trump’s lawyer right now, thank God I’m not, I would be advising my client to be telling [their] family, ‘I am looking at jail time, and we should make plans accordingly.'”

After House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) threatened Attorney General Merrick Garland, Weissmann said that he should just keep his head down and keep doing his job.

“That is such a palpably false statement, the comment from Mr. McCarthy that he has seen enough,” said Weissmann. “One of the things that none of us has seen is the warrant, an application to the court. It’s very important to remember this was not a break-in, this was not a raid, this was not the attorney general of the United States deciding willy-nilly on his own that he was going to do the search. A court had to approve the search here based on, as you point out Lawrence, evidence. The evidence had to show that there was probable cause of a crime. That is the way our judicial system works, and that is what happened here.”

While McCarthy may want to hold a public hearing of Garland and demand documents, what the Republicans might ultimately end up doing is drawing additional attention to what Trump stole or attempted to destroy.

“I think the thing that I found the most remarkable and I think it’s really worth people really taking a step back, is this does mean the attorney general of the United States did not trust the former president to simply produce the documents voluntarily pursuant to a subpoena,” said Weissmann. “And it was necessary to go via search warrant. Normally, you think that if you order a subpoena to any reputable person they will produce documents. When you issue and obtain a search warrant, it is because you do not trust that the person will actually produce the documents. That means if they had to have evidence of that that led Merrick Garland to take this step. It was bold but certainly approved by the courts.”

He went on to joke that the irony is that, all of a sudden, Kevin McCarthy cares about document preservation.

“The Trump administration pioneered all these different ways of doing it from flushing it down the toilet, to burning it in the White House fireplace,” recalled Weissmann. “Points for creativity, but, all in all, I don’t think I expect a statement from the Justice Department about [McCarthy’s threats].”

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