Jerry Falwell Jr. vehemently denied that he appeared in photos taken at a Miami Beach nightclub — even after shown the evidence — but that strategy appears to have backfired.
The evangelical Liberty University and its president were the subject of a bombshell report published Monday by Politico, where insiders described Falwell’s salacious language and apparent self-dealing.
The report by university alumnus Brandon Ambrosio also examined photographs taken of Falwell and his son Trey Falwell at the Miami Beach nightclub Wall, which university sources said he tried to make disappear.
The photos taken July 19, 2014, during a performance by popular Swedish DJ John Dahlbäck were shared online by World Red Eye, an outlet that documents Miami’s nightlife scene.
Falwell denied the photos existed in a statement to Ambrosio before the Politico report was published, saying no photos had been taken of him at Wall or any other nightclub, and insisted the reporter was mistaken even after learning the photos had been obtained for the article.
“If you show me the picture, I can probably help you out,” Falwell wrote in a statement. “I think you are making some incorrect assumptions, or have been told false things or are seeing something that was photo-shopped.”
Falwell again insisted the photos had been doctored after he was shown images of him and his son in the crowd at Wall, and denied that he had ever tried to get the photos taken offline.
That denial — and Falwell’s suggestion that World Red Eye had manipulated the images — prompted the photography website’s founder to respond.
“For 21 years, I have maintained an impeccable reputation for documenting Miami Beach’s storied social scene,” wrote Seth Browarnik, founder World Red Eye.
Browarnik rejected the evangelical leader’s “baseless allegation” that images of him had been manipulated in any way, and said he was unaware that Falwell had been included in the photos posted on his website.
“We, in fact, did not know Politico’s purpose for licensing the image and were as surprised as anyone to discover that Mr. Falwell was among the partygoers we photographed on July 19, 2014 at WALL Lounge,” Browarnik wrote.
That prompted Browarnik to dig around in his archives, and he found more shots of Falwell partying at the club — which he shared online.
“We reviewed all the images we have from the event and discovered an additional four photos that include Mr. Falwell and two more of his son,” the photographer wrote.
Sources told Ambrosio that Falwell was angry the photos had been posted online, because Liberty disapproves of co-ed dancing and prohibits alcohol use.
Staffers told the reporter that Falwell went to John Gauger, who is nominally his “IT guy” but described by sources as his “fixer,” and asked him to downgrade the photos on Google searches.
Gauger has worked at Liberty since earning an MBA there in 2009, and he was promoted in 2016 as the university’s chief information officer — a rise that puzzles some officials at the school.
“I’m not being disrespectful, but John was a nobody,” said one longtime Liberty official. “And the next thing you know, he’s high up in IT.”
Statement in response to yesterday's @politico story on Jerry Falwell Jr. that included our photographs. Additional photographs of Mr. Falwell and his son are posted here: https://t.co/szq7nAFkP0 pic.twitter.com/Y8t36Qpfqa
— Seth Browarnik (@worldREDEYE) September 10, 2019
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US Intel Official’s Whistleblower Complaint Is About a ‘Promise’ Trump Made to a Foreign Leader
A U.S. Intelligence official who used to work at the White House lodged a whistleblower complaint with the Inspector General about a “promise” President Donald Trump made to a foreign leader. The subject of the communication with the unknown foreign leader is not publicly known, nor is the name of the foreign leader.
The Washington Post reported this latest development late Wednesday night, reporting that “Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a ‘promise’ that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community.”
Trump’s “direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed.”
The IC’s inspector general “determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has said.
“White House records indicate that Trump had had conversations or interactions with at least five foreign leaders in the preceding five weeks,” the Post reports. “Among them was a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the White House initiated on July 31.”
The whistleblower complaint was filed August 12.
MSNBC adds the whistleblower complaint should have been shared with the “Gang of 8,” the top leaders from each party of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. It has not been, which has become the subject of tremendous conflict between the White House, its Acting Director of National Intelligence, and Congress.
Read the entire report here.
Leaks Against Jerry Falwell Jr Suggest Liberty University Wants Him Out as President: Conservative Columnist
Jerry Falwell Jr. took over the evangelical Liberty University when his father died in 2007. Today, his myriad controversies—from his embrace of Donald Trump to the bizarre tale involving him, his wife and a pool boy—are threatening to spark a civil war at the institution.
Writing in the conservative publication The Bulwark, columnist Andrew Egger chronicles Falwell’s recent PR problems.
“Fallout from a legal dispute led to a series of bombshell reports about Falwell, which unearthed wacky details about, in the words of the New York Times, ‘the friendship between Mr. Falwell, his wife, and a former pool attendant at the Fontainbleau hotel in Miami Beach; the family’s investment in a gay-friendly youth hostel, and purported sexually revealing photographs involving the Falwells,’” Egger writes.
He points out that recent stories about Falwell Jr. in Politico and Reuters indicate Liberty insiders are leaking embarrassing information to reporters. The Reuter’s story contained nasty emails Falwell had written about students and faculty. In one, he called a student “emotionally imbalanced and physically retarded.” He also denigrated the police chief as a “half-wit.”
Eggers observes that whoever leaked the emails does not have a lot of faith in Falwell’s leadership. “Somebody, or some group of somebodies, wants Falwell out,” he notes. “The dispute is partly personal—Falwell certainly doesn’t come across as a guy who’s a good leader and manager in those emails—but also partly ideological.”
He notes that Falwell’s tenure has not been entirely unsuccessful: he’s upped enrollment, possibly grooming future right-wing leaders. Yet, his vulgar demeanor—confirmed by the leaked emails—makes him an uneasy fit in the evangelical movement.
Egger observes that Falwell is very similar to Donald Trump in this way. “In other words, the argument for evangelicals supporting Falwell as president of Liberty bears a strong resemblance to the argument Falwell pioneered for evangelicals supporting Donald Trump as president of the United States,” he writes. “You don’t have to like everything he gets up to; in fact, plenty of it you’re probably better off not knowing about. But he’s the kind of guy, the argument runs, that you want in your corner when the chips are down.”
But that can easily backfire. “Because the trouble with having a guy like Falwell or Trump running your institution, is that there’s always a danger that the institutional brand is consumed by the individual’s personal brand.”
“A few years more of that, and what brand beyond Fallwellism will Liberty have to call its own?” he asks.
Trump Signal Boosted Dangerous Tweet Falsely Claiming Democratic Congresswoman ‘Partied’ on 9/11 Anniversary
A dangerous and false tweet claiming Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar “partied on the anniversary of 9/11” has been deleted. President Donald Trump retweeted the lie, which includes a video of the Minnesota Congresswoman dancing at a Congressional Black Caucus event on Sept. 13. The original video had been posted by progressive activist Adam Green, but was co-opted and repurposed by a Trump supporter.
Here’s the original tweet from Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee:
— Adam Green (@AdamGreen) September 14, 2019
Here’s a screenshot of the now-deleted, dangerous and false tweet from Trump loyalist and “comedian” Terrence Williams who has over 600,000 followers. It includes the video from Green’s tweet:
And here’s Trump’s retweet, which is still up:
IIhan Omar, a member of AOC Plus 3, will win us the Great State of Minnesota. The new face of the Democrat Party! https://t.co/aQFEygSa4D
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
Here’s how the tweet looked before the offending tweet was deleted by the Trump-supporting troll:
Trump has not removed his tweet, but he subsequently posted this tweet about Williams:
Terrence K. Williams, “You can’t impeach Trump for being a winner!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
Williams last month reportedly suggested former President Bill Clinton was involved in the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein.
A CNN reporter cites Twitter saying Williams deleted the original tweet:
— Donie O’Sullivan (@donie) September 18, 2019
Some responses to Trump’s retweet:
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) September 18, 2019
Our co-founder @AdamGreen posted this video from a CBC event on Sept 13, and @IlhanMN retweeted it. Today @realDonaldTrump tweeted that she “partied on the anniversary of 9/11.” This is an abhorrent lie that endangers a Member of Congress. Twitter must remove Trump’s Tweet now. https://t.co/zzeb1dXTzc
— BoldProgressives.org (@BoldProgressive) September 18, 2019
Fucking shameful lie. Any other President did this and he’d be out of office by sunrise. https://t.co/E67CdqbMXK
— Kevin Stapleton (@KStapleton_BTV) September 18, 2019
— Richard W. (@IceManNYR) September 18, 2019
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