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OPINION

‘Some People Still Have Guts!’: The 13 Times Donald Trump Defended Roger Stone on Twitter

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President Donald Trump is expected to commute the 40-month sentence of his longtime friend and former campaign advisor Roger Stone, as soon as this evening.  Stone was convicted on seven felony counts. Trump has been defending Stone for years, and in an interview with NBC News’ Howard Fineman late Friday afternoon, Stone all but threatened the president to commute his sentence:

“He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t,” Stone said about Trump – clearly telegraphing to the President he still could “turn on him” if Trump doesn’t keep him out of jail.

Some, like attorney George Conway, are saying Stone’s request “couldn’t be more corrupt.”

What Americans don’t know, although apparently the president does, is what Stone has on Trump.

But here’s Trump, literally over the course of the past three years, defending Stone, who last year was convicted on seven felony counts, including witness tampering, threatening a witness, lying to Congress, and obstruction.

May 10, 2017, in response to tremendous outrage one day earlier when Trump fired FBI Director Jim Comey. Stone said he had talked to Trump.

Dec 3, 2018. Trump appears to be praising Stone for not turning on him – something Stone today (above) reminded him of.

Same day. George Conway suggested Trump’s tweet was witness tampering.

Jan 26, 2019: Here Trump begins to fraudulently frame Stone’s felonies as no big deal. “What about Hillary…”

January 27, 2019: Again, Trump tries to make it appear what Stone did was not as bad as what was supposedly done to Trump. (Nothing was done to Trump.)

Trump suggests that just because Stone wasn’t working for him he wasn’t helping him. As Americans have repeatedly seen, Trump keeps certain people very close.

Quiet for many months, then, Nov 15, 2019: For the third time Trump tries to rehabilitate Stone in the minds of the American people. Stone lied, but so did other people, Trump claims, so, no big deal, he suggests.

Also, Stone wasn’t just convicted of lying to Congress. Witness tampering and obstruction were among the felonies he was charged with and convicted on.

February 12, 2020: Right after this all the DOJ prosecutors on the Roger Stone case would resign in response to Attorney General Bill Barr’s intervention to get Stone’s sentencing recommendation reduced.

Trump attacks the FBI and federal prosecutors.

Feb 13, 2020: One day later, Trump spreads fake news. The foreperson did not have a conflict of interest. And just remember, it’s unprecedented for a president to weigh in on the proceedings of almost any individual, least of all a good friend who appears to be protecting the President.

Feb 20, 2020: Seven days later. Trump works to generate public sentiment for the “dirty trickster.”

Same day. Trump repeatedly has called himself the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. Here he is essentially saying no one should be prosecuted or go to jail for any offense because other people do similar things too. Also, none of the people he mentioned committed crimes.

April 30, 2020: And here’s Trump painting the actual law enforcement agents, the FBI, as the bad guys, because Stone is his good friend and also may have the goods on him.

May 20, 2020: Less than two months ago. Poor Roger, who again reminds that he will not testify against Trump.

What comes next? Multiple news outlets report a commuted sentence. Stay tuned.

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OPINION

Signorile: The Trumpian Attacks on Pride Flags

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Anti-LGBTQ haters, mounting a resistance in Biden’s America, are targeting the rainbow symbol

This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.

I wrote a few weeks ago about several jarring incidents in which rainbow flags symbolizing queer Pride were vandalized or had triggered acts of violence against people, in addition to demands of removal from property.

Now comes this story this week out of Eastland Cove, a condo development just north of gay-friendly Fort Lauderdale, in Broward County, Florida. A gay couple, Mike Ferrari and Bob Plominski, have lived there for over 10 years, and have hung Pride flags in the past. But this year they received a letter from the Eastland Cove Homeowners Association that they must remove their flag from their mailbox or be fined $50 and $10 additionally for each day they refuse to remove it. They’re standing firm, and have taken their story nationally.

Sure, homeowners associations have wide discretion on decorations, including flags, and some are quite strict. But the key issue here is that Ferrari and Plominki have flown a rainbow flag for years. The association’s rules state that only American flags, state flags or military flags may be flown, but no one complained in the past. Now, however, one or more people lodged a complaint and the board says it was compelled to demand the couple remove the flag.

Why didn’t anyone care enough in the past to file a complaint, but now they have? It could be any of a number of reasons — including someone new moving in — but I’m betting, looking at what’s happening all over the country, that it’s more of an assertion of backlash by people who were emboldened by Donald Trump’s expressions of hate. That included his administration’s stripping LGBTQ rights and removing rainbow decorations and Pride flags from embassies around the world. The Trump White House had reversed course from the Obama White House, not marking Pride month with a proclamation, nor flying a rainbow flag or lighting the White House in rainbow colors.

But President Joe Biden, in rapid pace, reversed Trump’s horrific executive orders that harmed LGBTQ people. And now the embrace of Pride by the White House is back — and the flags are flying at embassies around the world, including at the Vatican — while the haters are lashing out now in an act of resistance in Biden’s America.

Certainly there have been hateful attacks on Pride flags since the time it was created by activist Gilbert Baker in 1978, through some of the most overtly homophobic times this country has seen, including during the escalation of the AIDS crisis. But in 2021 the attacks seem to have escalated in a way that shouldn’t be happening at this point in time. It’s like we’re gong backwards — or there is a backlash by people who feel very threatened by the current reality, in which Trump lost the election but they believe it was stolen and their rightful place was taken away. As I wrote a few weeks ago:

Sacramento church had its Pride flag burned last week. A student in Florida was brutally stomped on for bringing a Pride flag to a picnic. Boaters terrorized people in another boat on a lake in Washington state two weeks ago because they flew Pride flags on their boat (Ironically, the only harm came to the harassers, whose boat exploded, ignited by an engine fire during the altercation). Wisconsin homeowners were told by their association to remove Pride flags; they got creative and doused their home in rainbow floodlights.

Since then, a Pride flag was vandalized at a vintage shop in a town in Maine. A church outside of Cleveland reported its Pride flags were stolen two dozen times. Pride flags were stolen from the streets of Boise, Idaho. A teen at a Washington state university allegedly burned a Pride flag. A California city even refused to fly the flag at the request of residents.

 

Read the entire article and subscribe at The Signorile Report.

 

Image by Gallant’s Photography via Flickr and a CC license

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OPINION

Sessions Joins Barr in Pleading Ignorance About Trump DOJ Spying on Dems – Is Rosenstein the Guy or Are They Setting Him Up?

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Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions late Friday afternoon announced that he too, just like former Attorney General Bill Barr, had no idea the Dept. of Justice was spying on at least two top House Democrats on the Intelligence Committee. The scandal has shaken both the DOJ and the general public so broadly the Inspector General – less than 24 hours after The New York Times bombshell dropped – announced a wide-ranging internal investigation.

The track records of both Barr and Sessions when it comes to telling the truth – even under oath – are questionable at best and subject to interpretation.

Are they setting former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein up to take the fall? Or was it Rosenstein all along? Or both – were they all in on spying on Democrats?

Many Americans will remember that Sessions lied under oath during his confirmation hearing:

And this famous video of then-Senator Kamala Harris, now Vice President Kamala Harris, grilling Barr to a crisp is legendary:

Barr on Friday also claimed Trump knew nothing about the “investigation” and did not order the spying.

At the FBI, which the DOJ oversees, it’s called “lack of candor” and it’s a fireable offense. Unless you’re the Attorney General and your boss is Donald Trump and you’re helping him.

(Sessions was fired by Trump, not directly for this lie, but as a result of it: he was was forced to recuse himself from all things Russia, including protecting Trump, which led to Trump giving him the ax.)

Legal experts have said there is no way any investigation into a sitting member of Congress could have taken place – including, especially, with subpoenas of at least a dozen staffers, family members, and a minor child signing off on those warrants – unless a very top official or officials at DOJ approved the investigations.

On Friday both Barr and Sessions claimed they knew nothing about the investigations involving members of Congress, so, if Americans are to believe them, (and there’s great reason to not,) presumably the only other person who conceivably could have approved the spying on top elected Democrats would be Rod Rosenstein.

Rosenstein is also the only top DOJ official who was there throughout the spying, which started in 2017 under Sessions, ended after nothing was found, and was started up again under Barr.  And again, came up empty.

Speaking of lack of candor, Congressman Matt Gaetz, who is under DOJ investigation and has every reason to want to take a swipe at DOJ, would like you to believe Rosenstein is the one who OK’d the spying:

So all we know is that we don’t know, but hopefully the Inspector General will find out and let the American people know who approved spying on Democrats for political retribution.

 

 

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OPINION

‘Sit This One Out Champ’: Trump Surgeon General Slammed for Being ‘Uncomfortable’ With Biden Support of Anheuser’s Beer-for-Vaccine Incentive

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After spending the first year of the pandemic generally staying quiet about President Donald Trump’s downplaying of the coronavirus pandemic, comparison to the flu, calling it the “China virus,” opposing masks and social distancing, promoting hydroxychloroquine and other fake “cures,” refusing to invoke the Defense Production Act, and using the pandemic as a way to get on TV every day while spreading false information, former Trump Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams is “uncomfortable” with the Biden administration supporting a private company’s free beer incentive, and wonders, “Are cigarettes next?”

“Do public health advocates who’ve tried to raise the alarm about the health complications of increasing alcohol consumption really not have a problem with a federally sanctioned beer giveaway?” Dr. Adams, a former Vice Admiral, asked on Twitter Tuesday.

That “federally sanctioned beer giveaway” comes courtesy of Anheuser-Busch, which has “partnered with the Biden White House to give every American a free beer if 70% of Americans are vaccinated with at least one shot by the Fourth of July,” according to Fortune.

Americans are not given a COVID-19 vaccine shot and then a beer chaser at their local CVS, Walgreen’s or hospital or health clinic.

It’s merely one way to get more people vaccinated.

Given that the Trump administration is responsible for what the media generously calls “vaccine hesitancy,” it’s stunning the top health official who sat back and said little as Trump spread falsehoods – literally creating the situation we now see, where 41% of Republicans say they will never get vaccinated – is “uncomfortable.”

“I’m all for incentives/ rewards, and I’m not against people making personal choices to drink, but even the current Surgeon General put out a report warning about the health effects of alcohol consumption. Donuts, gambling (lottery tickets)… Are cigarettes next? Just me?” Dr. Adams asked.

He then suggested he had tried to take the high road, but just could not stand by any longer.

“I’m just really starting to get uncomfortable with the public health trade offs here,” he said, which would be trying to unite America by motivating people to get their friends and family members who refuse to follow the science and get vaccinated to save their lives and the lives of those around them, vaccinated. “And the messages we’re subtly sending our youth. Is it really worth it?”

Many argue that, yes, it is. Some agreed with Adams. Some criticized him for his performance as Surgeon General.

And some asked why he didn’t have a problem with the gun giveaway.

 

Image: Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen via Flickr 

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