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Here Are 7 Bombshells From the NYT’s Devastating Report of Trump’s ‘War’ on the Investigations Into Him

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For more than two years, the public has known of serious allegations that President Donald Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia as it carried out an allegedly criminal operation to influence the 2016 American election. And for much of that time, Trump himself had unrelentingly attacked those raising questions about the matter and any investigators who dare probe the issue.

And as the investigations around Trump have multiplied, the president has likewise expanded his attacks.

In a new in-depth report Tuesday on Trump’s efforts to intimidate and defame the investigators, The New York Times documented many new and revealing details of this campaign. While some of the information has been made public before, its narrative account gives new life to both familiar and previously unknown facts that may one day provide the basis for an obstruction of justice charge against the president.

Here are 7 key claims from the report:

1. Trump pressured Whitaker to install a crony to oversee the SDNY investigation.

The Times reported that after installing Matthew Whitaker as the acting Attorney General,  Trump asked him to put a political appointee, Geoffrey Berman, in charge of the investigation into him and his campaign at the Southern District of New York. Whitaker refused,  according to the report, because Berman was already recused from the case, infuriating Trump.

2. Attorneys for the president dangled pardons to both Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.

The Times reported:

One of Mr. Trump’s lawyers also reached out that summer to the attorneys for two of his former aides — Paul J. Manafort and Mr. Flynn — to discuss possible pardons. The discussions raised questions about whether the president was willing to offer pardons to influence their decisions about whether to plead guilty and cooperate in the Mueller investigation.

Reports have previously indicated that Trump’s attorney may have floated the possibility of a pardon to his former aides. But it is particularly significant and yet curiously ignored, given that many experts believe using the possibility of a pardon to silence a witness could potentially be seen as obstruction of justice.

3. Even though Michael Flynn resigned voluntarily, Trump pushed the falsehood that he asked for Flynn’s resignation.

In a somewhat confusing passage, the Times indicated that after Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, resigned in light of the revelation that he lied about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, the president decided to falsely claim that he asked for Flynn’s resignation. Trump’s supposed termination of Flynn has been widely reported as fact, but, according to the report, it appears to be false.

4. White House lawyers warned about Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s spreading of misinformation.

Spicer did damage control for the White House after Flynn left, which included spreading the apparent lie about his resignation. And according to the report, White House lawyers were concerned about Spicer’s spreading of misinformation, including the false claim that an investigation had exonerated Flynn from any legal wrongdoing. (Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.) The lawyers reportedly compiled Spicer’s false statements in a memo.

5. Trump claims Rod Rosenstein told him the Michael Cohen investigation had nothing to do with him.

According to the report, when Cohen’s properties were raided as a part of the investigation that ultimately led to his conviction on multiple counts, Trump told his advisers that the deputy attorney general had assured him the case had nothing to do with him. Since it has been revealed that prosecutors believe the president directed Cohen to carry out a campaign finance crime and that he lied to Congress about the Trump Organization’s dealings with Russia, Trump now reportedly believes Rosenstein may have deliberately misled him.

6. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and other Trump allies decided in July 2017 to actively undermine Mueller.

Many of Trump’s most fervent political allies in Congress have consistently tried to run interference for the president as investigations encircle him, often trying to paint the FBI as the bad guys. The Times reported that this effort began as an explicit plan by Gaetz.

“He called Representative Jim Jordan, a conservative Republican from Ohio, and told him the party needed ‘to go play offense,’ Mr. Gaetz recalled in an interview,” the report said. “The two men believed that Republican leaders, who publicly praised the appointment of Mr. Mueller, had been beaten into a defensive crouch by the unending chaos and were leaving Democrats unchecked to ‘pistol whip’ the president with constant accusations about his campaign and Russia.

7. Trump has gone after Mueller and the Russia investigation more than 1,100 times in public.

While any American paying attention to the news will know that Trump has repeatedly attacked Mueller and his investigation, the Times documented in rigorous detail the scale of the extent of the effort. It also showed clearly that, on average, these attacks have been increasing over time.

RELATED: REVEALED: TRUMP ASKED HIS ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL TO APPOINT A LOYALIST TO OVERSEE MAJOR SDNY INVESTIGATIONS

 

Image by U.S. Department of State via Flickr and a CC license

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COMMENTARY

Grassley Slammed for Turning Photo With Iowa Family Who Drove 856 Miles to DC Into ‘Cheap Political Talking Point’

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Seven-term Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, who has served the people of Iowa since 1959, is being criticized for using a photo of a family from his home state who drove all the way to Washington, D.C. He suggested they complained about the price of gas after their long journey, and his caption on the photo of him with the family ties into his campaign re-election talking points.

Senator Grassley, 88, who is running for re-election and known for a unique style of tweeting, posted this on Monday:

That same day Grassley posted this tweet about gas prices, a common GOP talking point they are falsely blaming on President Joe Biden.

Writer, activist, former press secretary and communications director Charlotte Clymer blasted Senator Grassley, saying the family deserved “a hell of a lot better” than to be used for “a cheap and ridiculous political talking point.”

Other responses to the photo of Grassey and the Iowa family pointed out the obvious fact that if their goal was to talk about the price of gas they could have saved a 13 hour and 26-minute drive, each way (according to Google Maps) and just picked up the phone or met their Senator in a local office.

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COMMENTARY

‘Find a Spine’: State Farm Criticized After Celebrating Pride Then Dropping Program Supporting LGBTQ Books in Schools

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Over the past year, insurance giant State Farm has posted ten tweets supporting LGBTQ people, programs, and organizations, as recently as last week:

The $79 billion company will turn 100 years old next month, which coincidentally is LGBTQ Pride Month. It has made strong statements in support of LGBTQ equality and diversity. Just last June they tweeted: “We believe no one should be afraid to celebrate who they are. Let’s support our LGBTQ+ neighbors and show our Pride together!” They even tagged the tweet with their own corporate branding, using #GoodNeighbor and #PrideMonth hastags.

So many were left stunned when the Illinois-based corporation’s chief diversity officer sent an email to employees and agents, as The Daily Beast reports, stating it was dropping its “support of a philanthropic program, GenderCool,” saying it “has been the subject of news and customer inquiries.”

The program helps put LGBTQ-inclusive books into libraries and schools.

“This program that included books about gender identity was intended to promote inclusivity,” Victor Terry continued. “We will no longer support that program.”

And in an apparent bowing down to rising far right-wing extremism and anti-LGBTQ hate, the diversity expert declared, “conversations about gender and identity should happen at home with parents.”

The right-wing outlet Washington Examiner on Monday, as part of a series titled “Restoring America” published a report on State Farm’s support of LGBTQ students: “Backlash prompts State Farm to end program donating trans books to schools.” That article was a follow-up to one the very same day titled, “State Farm donating transgender books for 5-year-olds to schools in Florida.”

Here’s what those two pieces look like:

 

Outrage over State Farm’s “180” was immediate.

Well-known LGBTQ Activist and writer Charlotte Clymer explained via her Substack platform:

Parker Molloy, also a well-known LGBTQ activist and writer, blasted State Farm.

She adds: “One of the reasons this is getting to me so much has to do with the fact that my dad (who is great and accepting, etc.) is a State Farm agent. That company has been a part of my life for as long as I’ve been alive.”

Bobby Lewis, who writes for Media Matters, tweeted, “something as anodyne as a fucking insurance company buying kids books turned into another fascist outrage campaign, and the corporate cowards caved in a second. it’s pathetic.”

He wasn’t finished, adding: “corporate pride is all window dressing that will never save anyone, but goddamn find a spine you sniveling cowards.”

RELATED –
Far Right Activist Behind CRT Panic Brags About Attacks on Disney, State Farm for LGBTQ Support: Others ‘Will Be Next’

Veteran journalist Michelangelo Signorile, host of the SiriusXM Progress’ “Signorile Show” and writer of The Signorile Report newsletter calls State Farm’s actions “grotesque as LGBTQ rights are backsliding across the country. Now companies joining Ron DeSantis, MAGA and the ‘don’t say gay’ purge.”

More responses:

 

Image by State Farm via Flickr and a CC license

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COMMENTARY

‘Sordid, Corrupt, Lawless’: Experts Call New Ginni Thomas Revelations ‘Breathtaking’ and Ask ‘What Did Her Husband Know?’

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The latest revelations about the actions of Ginni Thomas, the far right wing activist, lobbyist, and spouse of a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House are leading experts to demand Clarence Thomas’ recusal while calling the combination of their actions “breathtaking corruption,” and noting the Justice’s extraordinary hypocrisy.

Later Friday morning The Washington Post reported that Ginni Thomas pressed two Arizona lawmakers to overturn the will of Arizona’s voters in the 2020 presidential election by choosing a “clean” slate of electors, representing Donald Trump and not Joe Biden. The Post notes Thomas did not mention any candidate by name but reports “the context was clear.”

“Before you choose your state’s Electors … consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you don’t stand up and lead,” an email bearing Ginni Thomas’ name, sent to the Arizona lawmakers, reads.

It included a link to a video of a man delivering a message meant for swing-state lawmakers, urging them to “put things right” and “not give in to cowardice.”

“You have only hours to act,” said the speaker, who is not identified in the video.

Thomas also pressed Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to work to overturn the election, as has been widely reported.

Her efforts, combined with Justice Thomas’ actions on the Supreme Court, amount to “breathtaking corruption,” writes Slate’s legal expert Mark Joseph Stern.

“The conflict of interest between Ginni and Clarence Thomas has never been greater. While Clarence was applying the ‘independent state legislature doctrine’ from the bench, Ginni was using the exact same theory to try to overturn the 2020 election. Just breathtaking corruption,” Stern says.

He adds:

Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, now an NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst and law professor, issued a strong warning:

“Either Justice Thomas recuses in every case that comes to the Court where his wife is heavily involved in the action or the public’s confidence in the Court will be damaged beyond repair.”

Reuters reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court, Lawrence Hurley:

Former federal corruption prosecutor Noah Bookbinder, who is president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) says it is “outrageous” Justice Thomas has refused to recuse:

“New evidence that Ginni Thomas’s participation in efforts to overturn the 2020 election was even greater than we knew; in this case pressure on AZ legislators to overturn that state’s vote. Makes it even more outrageous that Justice Thomas did not recuse.”

“Wow!” exclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona legislators to overturn Biden’s win and choose a ‘clean slate of electors.’ In other words, she supported a coup to overthrow an elected president. What did her husband know?”

Economist and frequent political commentator David Rothschild observes, “Ginni Thomas was conspiring with high ranking Republicans to overturn [the] republic, and her husband was either privy to or actively involved in this conspiracy before using his position to coverup his wife’s role.”

Former SDNY Asst. U.S. Attorney Richard Signorelli sums up:

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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