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CORRUPTION

‘Barr Lied’: AG Tried to Fire US Attorney for SDNY – Berman Says ‘I Have Not Resigned’ and He’s Not Leaving: Reports

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The US Attorney for the powerful Southern District of New York did not resign and is not “stepping down.” Attorney General Bill Barr declared in a late Friday night press release that Geoffrey Berman “is stepping down after two-and-a-half years of service.”

That was a false claim.

Katherine Faulders, an investigative reporter covering the White House and Capitol Hill for ABC News reports Berman was “fired.”

Berman says not only did he not resign, he learned of Barr’s intentions only after the press release had been published. And he says he has no intention of resigning – he will stay in his job until the Sensate confirms his replacement.

“I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney,” Berman said in a statement, ABC News reports. “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate.”

“Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption,” he continued. “I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this Office to pursue justice without fear or favor – and intend to ensure that this Office’s important cases continue unimpeded.”

Former SDNY prosecutor Mimi Rocah says Barr “lied.”

The New York Times adds the stand off sets “up a crisis within the Justice Department over one of its most prestigious jobs.”

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CORRUPTION

Matt Gaetz Begged Donald Trump for a ‘Blanket Pardon’ Before He Left Office: NYTimes

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was among those who asked for a pardon from President Donald Trump before he left office, the New York Times reported.

While Gaetz spoke to Fox News saying that Trump should pardon anyone and everyone, now it has been revealed why he was so excited about that.

A pardon requires that one outline the crimes that they were guilty of. According to the Times, however, Gaetz wanted a preemptive pardon for himself and “unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed, according to two people told of the discussions.”

At the time that Gaetz was calling for the pardons, and asking for his own pardon, the Justice Department had started questioning Gaetz’s associates about whether he had a sexual relationship with an underage girl that also violated sex trafficking laws.

“It was unclear whether Mr. Gaetz or the White House knew at the time about the inquiry, or who else he sought pardons for. Mr. Gaetz did not tell White House aides that he was under investigation for potential sex trafficking violations when he made the request. But top White House lawyers and officials viewed the request for a pre-emptive pardon as a nonstarter that would set a bad precedent,” the Times said, quoting the people familiar said.

Aides told Trump about the request, but it’s unknown if Gaetz reached out to Trump personally.

 

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CORRUPTION

Controversial High-Level Trump Official Banned From Federal Employment for 4 Years After Hatch Violation: Report

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A highly-controversial now-former Trump political appointee who worked at the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development has been fined $1000 and is banned from federal employment for four years, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel announced Tuesday.

Lynne Patton, who was hired by the Trump administration into a high-level role at HUD after being the wedding planner for Eric Trump and working at the Eric Trump Foundation, admitted to violating the Hatch Act.

“As part of the agreement Patton admitted to violating the Hatch Act by using her official position to produce a video about housing conditions for the Republican National Convention,” an OSC statement (below) reads. “As a HUD employee Patton received permission in early 2019 to temporarily live in and observe living conditions in the New York City Housing Authority. During her approximately one month stay Patton met residents and later leveraged one of those relationships to recruit participants to film a video that would air at the the RNC. Patton wanted NYCHA residents to appear in the video to explain how their standard of living had improved under the Trump administration.”

A 2016 Associated Press article on the lack of minority senior executives “in Trump’s empire” described Patton as “Eric Trump’s longtime personal assistant.”

“After the AP questioned the campaign’s citation of her as a Trump Organization executive, her title on the Eric Trump Foundation’s website and her profile on the LinkedIn service was changed to ‘vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation.’ That position did not appear on the foundation’s most recent tax filing for 2014, which said Patton was one of 16 unpaid directors who devote approximately one hour per week to the charity.”

Tenants were outraged at being used in the RNC video, according to this local NYC news report:

 

Related: Calls Grow for Trump Official to Resign After Calling Reporter April Ryan ‘Miss Piggy’

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CORRUPTION

‘60 Minutes’ Nails Ron DeSantis in Vaccine ‘Pay to Play’ — With Program Allowing the Rich to Fly in for Shots

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Last week, an angry Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) snapped at a CBS reporter asking about evidence showing a kind of “pay to play” scandal that favored the wealthy to get COVID-19 vaccinations first.

Community health officials have said that the Florida vaccine roll-out favors the rich over the rest of Florida residents, the report said.

“Florida’s rollout started pretty typically,” the report said. “The first doses were given to healthcare workers and nursing home residents in early December. But then, a few weeks later, Gov. Ron DeSantis, breaking from C.D.C. guidelines, announced he would not vaccinate teachers and essential workers next, but instead put ‘seniors first,’ making anyone 65 or over eligible for the vaccine, the first in the country to do that. DeSantis said seniors were at highest risk.”

Community health officials have said that the Florida vaccine roll-out favors the rich over the rest of Florida residents, the report said.

“Florida’s rollout started pretty typically,” the report said. “The first doses were given to healthcare workers and nursing home residents in early December. But then, a few weeks later, Gov. Ron DeSantis, breaking from C.D.C. guidelines, announced he would not vaccinate teachers and essential workers next, but instead put ‘seniors first,’ making anyone 65 or over eligible for the vaccine, the first in the country to do that. DeSantis said seniors were at highest risk.”

It caused a run on the vaccine, websites crashed and it was extremely difficult.

“Almost immediately the line-jumping started,” said the report.

West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James was trying to get vaccines for the town’s firefighters, but he later learned that some wealthy board members of a nursing home who were able to be vaccinated.

“Then, the private jets started arriving,” said the report. “Hollywood moguls, New York socialites and tourists from overseas were getting vaccinated in Florida, posting on social media and sparking outrage. Early on, there were no residency requirements to get vaccinated in the state.”

Mayor James said that there were simply no rules and everyone was taking advantage of it.

See the full report from CBS News:

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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