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Kremlin Embarrasses Trump – Again

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The Kremlin has just embarrassed President Donald Trump, again. On Tuesday the Kremlin leaked news that Russian President Vladimir Putin met with President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires in November. The meeting was previously not publicly known, but The Financial Times first reported on the story.

What made the news a bombshell is that President Trump held the meeting with President Putin without a single U.S. official present. No government officials, no translators, no one from the State Dept. Russia is a hostile foreign country that attacked America’s elections in 2016, and has been waging a cyber war against the U.S. political system since at least 2013. It is unprecedented to have held the meeting without a U.S. witness, especially someone to record the details of what happened.

That was embarrassment number one.

Embarrassment number two came Wednesday, via TASS, the official state media news outlet of the Kremlin.

In response to the news that President Trump had no translator or other official on hand as he met with Putin, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters (link to TASS article in Russian), “It’s none of our business whether Trump had an interpreter; Putin’s interpreter is always by his side — we have stability and order in that regard,” according to Russian Media Analyst Julia Davis.

And that sounds like a strong dig at the Trump White House. Basically, President Putin knows what he’s doing, it’s none of our business that President Trump does not.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has made the case that Putin could be blackmailing Trump.

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IN SWITCH EMBARRASSING TO TRUMP PUTIN NOW SAYS HE’S READY TO COME TO WASHINGTON

TRUMP BOWS DOWN TO PUTIN WHILE STANDING IN FRONT OF U.S. TROOPS

 

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2024 Fundraising Fail: Trump Took in Less Money After Declaring Run for President Than Before

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Donald Trump, the candidate who in 2015 vowed he would self-fund his presidential campaign, only to turn his White House run into a never-ending fundraising operation, is having trouble raising money.

“I don’t need anybody’s money,” Trump said when he launched his campaign in June of 2015 – despite quietly accepting over $14 million in the months after.

The ex-president, under numerous criminal investigations and facing civil court cases, now is “strapped for campaign cash,” NBC News reveals in an exclusive report. The embattled and disgraced one-term president who remains his party’s top choice, took in less money in the six weeks after he officially launched his third attempt to enter the Oval Office than he did in the six weeks before his mid-November announcement.

Trump is now revamping his fundraising machine and hiring a new company, Campaign Inbox, “to solicit the small-dollar donor set.”

READ MORE: ‘Ran a Bribery Center Blocks From the White House’: Comer Mocked for Claiming No Evidence of Trump Influence Peddling

The former president had built a massive fundraising database but decided to launch in November, which puzzled many experts. Some believe he did so in an attempt to evade any possible Dept. of Justice prosecutions. Even as far back as July those who know Trump predicted he would not only run for president again but launch his campaign early – to try to escape justice.

All this points to Trump returning to Facebook, if only to revive his “cash-strapped” campaign.

“Almost 50% of Republican donors log in to Facebook every single day,”Republican digital fundraising consultant Eric Wilson told NBC News, citing data from a survey connected to a nonprofit group he runs. “So if you are not able to reach those donors, you’re just at a huge fundraising disadvantage.”

Image: Shirley Preston/Shutterstock

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Criminal Charges Against Trump Possible as Manhattan DA Presents Grand Jury With Evidence in Hush Money Probe

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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has empaneled a special grand jury and prosecutors are now presenting evidence against Donald Trump in their revived investigation into hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and one other woman during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Calling it “a dramatic escalation of an inquiry that once appeared to have reached a dead end,” The New York Times reports the Manhattan DA is “laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against the former president in the coming months,” and says it “a clear signal” that Bragg “is nearing a decision about whether to charge Mr. Trump.”

Among the witnesses testifying is David Pecker, “the former publisher of The National Enquirer, the tabloid that helped broker the deal” with Daniels.

READ MORE: $1 Billion Campaign From Group ‘Linked to Staunchly Conservative Causes’ Will Try to ‘Redeem Jesus’ Brand’ in Super Bowl Ads

Prosecutors have also contacted members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and have subpoenaed phone records and other documents that could provide evidence.

But The Times notes that a “conviction is not a sure thing, in part because a case could hinge on showing that Mr. Trump and his company falsified records to hide the payout from voters days before the 2016 election, a low-level felony charge that would be based on a largely untested legal theory. The case would also rely on the testimony of Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer who made the payment and who himself pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the hush money in 2018.”

Cohen broke with Trump and in 2016, “made the extraordinary admission in court on Tuesday that Mr. Trump had directed him to arrange payments to two women during the 2016 campaign to keep them from speaking publicly about affairs they said they had with Mr. Trump,” The Times reported in 2018.

The payments were made “for the principal purpose of influencing the election” for president in 2016, Cohen testified.

He was sentenced to 36 months in prison.

“Days before then-President Donald Trump left the White House, federal prosecutors in New York discussed whether to potentially charge Trump with campaign finance crimes once he was out of office,” CNN reported on Friday, citing a new book from CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig.

But they “decided to not seek an indictment of Trump for several reasons, Honig writes, including the political ramifications and the fact that Trump’s other scandals, such as efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and the January 6, 2021, insurrection, ‘made the campaign finance violations seem somehow trivial and outdated by comparison.'”

Award-winning journalist and author Brian Karem tweeted: “As someone who worked extensively with [Michael Cohen] on the book ‘Revenge’ I can say this: Facts show that the MOST dangerous criminal case against Donald Trump could be made by the Manhattan D.A.”

Read The Times’ full report here.

This article has been updated to include Brian Karem’s tweet.

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$1 Billion Campaign From Group ‘Linked to Staunchly Conservative Causes’ Will Try to ‘Redeem Jesus’ Brand’ in Super Bowl Ads

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From electric vehicles to cosmetics, and even the word “mummy,” there is a lot of rebranding going on.

Bowing to anger from right-wingers and conservative commentators, M&M’s decided to rebrand the decades-old multi-colored candies after outrage over its latest addition, purple, and its new “spokescandy,” also named “Purple.”

“Roughly a year ago, Mars Wrigley updated the look of its M&M’s characters, announcing an initiative to make the mascots fit a ‘more dynamic, progressive world.’ As part of these changes, the company introduced new designs of some of M&M’s characters and wrote weirdly elaborate backstories for others. Most notably, the company made the green M&M less ‘sexy’ by shortening her legs and replacing her high-heeled boots with sneakers,” Vox Media’s Polygon reported last week.

Fox News personality Tucker Carlson infamously has waged war on the “woke” spokescandies, declaring at one point, “M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous.”

Fast forward to now: Actress and comedian Maya Rudolph is their new spokesperson, although the “spokescandies,” perhaps after some additional rebranding, will be returning in a new ad on Super Bowl Sunday.

Which brings us to the rebranding of another icon: Jesus Christ.

He too will be part of the Super Bowl Sunday ads.

READ MORE: Trump-Aligned Christian Nationalist Group ‘Taps Into Unholy Well’ That Threatens Democracy

Over the next three years a $1 billion mostly-dark-money campaign – which reportedly will include funds from billionaire right wing anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ funder David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby – will promote Jesus in ads, including during the Super Bowl on February 12. Those two Super Bowl ads to “to redeem Jesus’ brand” will cost $20 million, Religion News Service reports.

The campaign to promote Jesus includes $100 million in ads declaring “He Gets Us,” from “the Servant Foundation, an Overland Park, Kansas, nonprofit that does business as The Signatry,” RNS adds.

The “donors backing the campaign have until recently remained anonymous — in early 2022, organizers only told Religion News Service that funding came from ‘like-minded families who desire to see the Jesus of the Bible represented in today’s culture with the same relevance and impact He had 2000 years ago.'”

But the full list of donors remains unknown.

“Jason Vanderground, president of Haven, a branding firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan, that is working on the ‘He Gets Us’ campaign, confirmed that the Greens are one of the major funders, among a variety of donors and families who have gotten behind it.”

READ MORE: Pelosi Attack Video Release Leads to Criticism of Musk, Right Wingers Who ‘Trafficked in Homophobic Conspiracy Nonsense’

In a Washington Post interview last year, Vanderground “said Christians see their faith as the greatest love story, but those outside the faith see Christians as a hate group.”

But rather than try to convince self-identified followers of Christ to act as Jesus would want, right-wing interests are spending $1 billion to convince others of what Christianity is supposed to be about.

“Our research shows that many people’s only exposure to Jesus is through Christians who reflect him imperfectly, and too often in ways that create a distorted or incomplete picture of his radical compassion and love for others,” Vanderground told The Washington Post. “We believe it’s more important now than ever for the real, authentic Jesus to be represented in the public marketplace as he is in the Bible.”

Some are not impressed, and are more-or-less asking, “What would Jesus do?”

“They are latching on to this touchy-feely, conveniently vague, designer Jesus,” podcaster, author, and secular activist Seth Andrews told RNS. Andrews “poses the question of what Jesus would think of the amount of money spent on the ads. Would he prefer that the money be spent on ministering to people’s physical needs or making the world a better place?”

READ MORE: McCarthy Sat for an Interview With Trump Jr. – One Bragged About an ‘Illegal’ Act, One Wished His Dad Would ‘Show Some’ Love

“Or would he say, no, go ahead and spend $100 million to tell everybody how great I am?”

On-air, CNN said, “at first blush, it can all read like a stand against radical right-wing politics and related divisiveness,” but adds that “some are calling this a ‘right-wing stunt for politics.'”

“‘He Gets Us’ is funded by anonymous donors acting through a Kansas non-profit linked to staunchly conservative causes,” CNN’s report (video below) notes, saying it “raises alarms for some skeptics.”

Watch CNN’s report below or at this link.

Image: Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock

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