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ANALYSIS

‘Shouting Into the Void’: Trump’s Social Media Launch Laughed Off by Experts

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On Saturday, Business Insider profiled the ways that former President Donald Trump’s banishment from social media has affected the viability of his message on the national stage — and the halfhearted way he is trying to make up for what he has lost.

“Former President Donald Trump’s new ‘communication platform’ launched this week was widely mocked as little more than a ‘glorified blog,'” reported Thomas Colson. “The site — revealed on Tuesday — followed Trump’s longtime adviser Jason Miller promising that Trump would soon create a social media platform that would ‘completely redefine the game’ on social media.”

“‘A challenge for Trump is that the most effective online engagement requires interaction,’ Peter Loge, associate professor school of media and public affairs at the George Washington University, told Insider,” continued the report. “‘Fans want to feel as if they have a relationship with their favorite celebrity. These ‘parasocial relationships’ are what keep fans coming back and buying more stuff,’ he said. ‘At this point, Trump is just shouting into the void. He isn’t letting anyone shout back.'”

This week, Facebook’s independent oversight board, commonly referred to as the social network’s “Supreme Court,” upheld the former president’s ban from the platform following his conspiracy theories that contributed to the violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol. However, the board also urged Facebook to create more workable standards for issuing such bans, and revisit the Trump case in six months.

 

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ANALYSIS

Watergate Prosecutor Explains Why It’s Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions Who Are Lying About Trump’s Spying

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Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks explained on MSNBC Sunday that there’s no way that Attorneys General Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions didn’t know about the warrants to spy on reporters, Democratic members of Congress, their staff and families, and of his own White House counsel.

Barr, Sessions and former Justice Department deputy Rod Rosenstein have all denied they knew of the subpoenas to spy, but Wine-Banks explained that’s impossible because something like this would go all the way to the top.

“It may be that the person that they were investigating, had a legitimate predication for the search warrants and that they had some reason to do this,” she told MSNBC. “It could have been that he got called by somebody that they were already investigating. It doesn’t mean this is normal. It is not normal, and I think the investigation is absolutely critical, holding someone accountable is important to stop this from ever happening again. We can’t have members of Congress, the press, and the White House counsel subjected to this. And the reason Don McGahn, of course, is of concern is because he was cooperating with Mueller which made him an enemy of Donald Trump. Donald Trump was calling out [Adam] Schiff, he was calling out [Eric] Swalwell, people who were subject to this search warrant, and he certainly must have felt uncomfortable with his own White House counsel who was cooperating and telling the truth to Mueller. So, that’s why it’s of concern.”

Sessions said that he was never briefed on this seizure of records. Barr played fast and loose with the language, saying that he never discussed the leak cases with Trump. That was similar language to Barr’s refusal to answer when then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) questioned him about Trump or anybody else who “asked or suggested” that he open an investigation into his political foes. Barr pretended not to know what the word “suggested” meant and refused to answer.

Host Alicia Menendez asked Wine-Banks if it was possible they didn’t have any idea what was going on.

“In my opinion, no, and let me tell you why,” said Wine-Banks. “First of all, we had [Osmar] Benvenuto, who was brought in at the recommendation of the U.S. Attorney from New Jersey, who was put in by Barr to replace the New York attorney who he was pushing out. He recommended Benvenuto who came in, and Benvenuto has said — in a recording, that he briefed Barr at least every other week. So, it is not credible. And if Barr didn’t know about this, then Barr is the worst manager, the worst Attorney General ever, because that is his job. The Department of Justice policy requires that there be notice and approval from a higher source. So, it’s not something that you can just subpoena a member of Congress’ records or a reporter’s records without something much more. So, it doesn’t pass what I call the ‘red face test.’ It’s like, could I stand up before a jury and say this in front of them without blushing or giggling? The answer is, no, I couldn’t.”

Apple said in a statement that the DOJ request provided “no information on the nature of the investigation and it would have been virtually impossible for Apple to understand the intent of the desired information without digging through users’ accounts.”

Presumably, the court documents would have detailed who appeared in court for the warrant and there should be enough of a paper trail that some of the Justice Department officials involved were named. Barr hasn’t actually denied that he played any role in renewing the requests or that he didn’t know of the investigation. He’s only said he didn’t discuss it with Trump. It’s unclear why he would have discussed it given he wasn’t there when the investigation was launched. The gag order against Apple was renewed over and over again, which would have also required a lot of paperwork.

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ANALYSIS

Critics Blast Manchin Over Two Facts That Decimate Why He Says He Opposes the ‘For the People’ Voting Rights Bill

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U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is working hard to make sure everyone know he opposes the “For the People Act,” a large piece of legislation that protects the rights of voters, makes it easier to vote, reduces the influence of dark money in political campaigns, limits partisan gerrymandering, and installs rules of ethics for elected officials. But two critical data points make his arguments useless.

“I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act,” Manchin said in a now-infamous op-ed in a West Virginia newspaper.

He offered zero criticisms of the legislation itself, just that no Republican supports it. And that it is 800 pages, if that is even a criticism.

That’s it.

But as Business Insider reports, “Joe Manchin cosponsored the voting-rights bill in 2019 that he’s now blocking on the grounds that the GOP doesn’t like it.”

That’s one problem. Here’s the second, or, as MSNBC Opinion Columnist Hayes Brown writes, “the real kicker“:

“Unless the senator’s office has some private polling that they’d like to share, Manchin’s assumptions about what West Virginians want are wrong. According to a poll released last month — commissioned by End Citizens United and Let America Vote Action Fund and conducted by Global Strategy Group and ALG Research — the For the People Act is wildly popular among likely voters in West Virginia. Like ’76 percent of Republicans are in favor’ levels of popularity, to say nothing of the 79 percent of independents and 81 percent of Democrats.”

Here’s MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Monday night explaining this second critical fact. She says the “For the People Act” legislation “is more popular than the infrastructure bill, it is more popular than COVID relief.”

So why is Senator Manchin really against legislation that he supported two years ago and that eight in 10 of his constituents support?

Judd Legum, the ThinkProgress co-founder and the founder of Popular Information calls Manchin’s publicly-stated reasons for opposing the For the People Act “very strange.”

“On an entirely partisan basis, Republicans in the states are taking steps that Manchin himself acknowledges ‘needlessly restrict voting.’ But Manchin says he will only agree to stop this partisan power grab if Republicans agree to join him.”

“This is the exact same argument the Chamber used in talking points it sent to Senators in April opposing the legislation,” Legum writes, offering up the Chamber of Commerce’s own words (bolding his):

The Chamber believes the ability of Americans to exercise their right to vote in accessible and secure elections and to be able to trust in a free and fair outcome is fundamental to who we are as a nation. The Chamber is deeply troubled by efforts at the state and federal level to enact election law changes on a partisan basis. Changes enacted on a partisan basis are the most likely to erode access and security and undermine public confidence and the willingness of the American people to trust and accept future election outcomes.

 

 

 

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ANALYSIS

‘Not a Snowball’s Chance in Hell’: MSNBC Analyst Delivers Devastating News on the Filibuster

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Jake Sherman, one of the top reporters on Capitol Hill right now, strongly disagreed with former GOP strategist Matthew Dowd’s optimistic take on Joe Manchin and the filibuster, telling MSNBC viewers Monday the West Virginia Senator is not the only Democrat who will refuse to end the 60-vote margin that is crippling democracy right now.

Dowd’s claim is that Senator Joe Manchin is taking the heat for several Senate Democrats who do not want to eliminate the filibuster, but if he moved to support ending it, they would move with him.

“Not a snowball’s chance in hell,” Jake Sherman, an MSNBC political analyst and the co-founder of Punchbowl News, told Dowd.

“No way. Not a chance, there’s no, there’s no, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that’s true, it’s just not true,” said Sherman, strongly disagreeing with Dowd, who is now an ABC News political pundit.

“I mean I can tell you from spending five days a week up here that there’s no chance that those that, that if Joe Manchin came out – by the way, Joe Manchin’s not going to come out against the filibuster, just like I’m not going to fly back to my office, just because I want to,” Sherman, fighting to contain himself, told Dowd, as former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) looked on, agreeing with Sherman.

Sherman has what many progressives and pro-democracy Americans will see as depressing news.

“And by the way, there are a lot of Democratic senators who don’t want to do this, and who are, like, just if Joe Manchin somehow folded – which is again not going to happen ever – those senators would still find a way to not be forced to not want to blow up the filibuster,” Sherman added, concluding that “the filibuster is nowhere close to being gone.”

Later, Dowd declared, “Well then, we’re no longer a democracy. We have to just say it. We’re not a democracy.”

Watch:

 

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