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New Details Revealed in Florida Republican’s Plot to Disrupt the 2020 Election

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New details have been released in the investigation of former Florida State Sen Frank Artiles (R) over his involvement in running “scam” campaigns in an attempt to disrupt the 2020 election.

With his trial expected to begin August 30, prosecutors are firming up their case against the former GOP lawmaker in a political corruption case the Tampa Bay Times reports, “has roped in prominent players across Florida over the last several months, including a GOP-linked research firm in Gainesville, a top not-for-profit Miami hospital network and a veteran Republican operative who leads a Tallahassee-based political organization.”

According to the Miami Herald, new revelations show that Florida political operative Alex Alvarado — linked to Artiles — was funneling money to sham campaign officials in an effort to disrupt key 2020 state Senate elections.

The report notes that “documents released late Friday, provide new details into the breadth of the criminal investigation into Artiles and his longtime acquaintance, Alexis Pedro Rodriguez.”

“Prosecutors say Rodriguez was recruited by Artiles and paid some $44,000 to change his party affiliation from Republican to no party to qualify on the ballot and attempt to sway the outcome of the Miami-Dade Senate District 37 election. GOP candidate Illeana Garcia won the race by 32 votes. Rodriguez, who shared the same surname as the Democratic incumbent, received more than 6,000 votes,” the Herald reports. “Between June 15 and November 15, 2020, Artiles was under contract to work for veteran Republican political operative Pat Bainter for $15,000 a month, court documents show. Bainter paid Artiles $90,000 and reimbursed him for his travel, a courier service and $4,000 for ‘research,’ according to those documents.”

As part of the scam, one woman who was pregnant and desperate for money agreed to take $1,500 to chair a political committee with no plans to have her do any work.

In testimony 25-year-old Hailey DeFilippis, explained to investigators she was listed as the chair of “The Truth, a dark-money-funded political committee that spent $180,000 on political mail advertisements promoting sham candidates in key 2020 state Senate elections — two in Miami-Dade and one in Central Florida.”

She was later paid $2,500 more for the “inconvenience” after reporters called up asking about the group.

“Artiles signed a contract with Bainter on June 9, 2020. The next day, Rodriguez met Artiles at Artiles’ Palmetto Bay residence to fill out campaign forms, according to investigators who noted in an arrest affidavit that Rodriguez had ‘no prior knowledge as to what forms needed to be completed to qualify as a candidate for elected office and relied on Artiles’ instructions.,'” the report adds. “Neither Bainter nor Gardner have responded to phone calls or emails seeking comment since the Herald learned they were served subpoenas. The powerful GOP-linked research firm, based in Gainesville, also served as a general consultant for Republican Senate campaigns during the 2020 election cycle.”

You can read more here.

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CRIME

Psaki Rips Doocy Apart Over Crime Claim: ‘I Think We Should Be Responsible in Reporting to the Public’

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has clearly grown tired of Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy, even growing apparently angry after delivering an exceptionally long and detailed response to his claim President Joe Biden isn’t doing enough to “keep Americans safe.”

After he asked, “would you agree that the most important job for any president is to keep Americans safe?” Doocy got slammed with facts.

Crime has existed in America since before America was America, but Doocy suggested in his first year President Biden should have somehow eliminated crime.

“If the President’s never satisfied if people don’t feel safe,” Doocy began, “does he know that after a year in office, people do not feel safe in this country?”

(Fox News has turned crime into a hot business, bragging about its “up-to-the-second crime coverage.”)

“Well, Peter, I think if we look at the facts here, we’ve seen a surge of crime over the last two years. Would you agree with that?” Psaki replied.

“So what are you attributing the rise in crime to that?” Doocy said to a very prepared Psaki, who, in a rare move, accused him of not being “responsible” in his reporting.

“Well, I think we should be responsible in how reporting to the public what the, what the, what the roles are, what the reasons for the surge in crime,” she began.

“Gun violence is a huge reason for the surge in crime. Underfunding of some police and police departments and their need for additional resources, something the President has advocated for consistently through the course of his career. That’s something we know we need to take action on. And it is absolutely true that he will not be satisfied or complacent when officers are being gunned down or when Americans have to worry about whether they can safely ride the subway or bus,” Psaki continued, growing more and more angered. “That should not be a political issue. He’s somebody who has had a long career many decades of fighting for funding for police departments for local communities in order to reduce crime.”

Doocy was undeterred.

“He’s been here in office for more than a year, and the murder rate is nearing a 25-year high. So why don’t we see and hear more from the President about this? We hear all the time about things that you guys are doing to fight the pandemic. Because that is a risk to American people. A rising murder rate is a risk to American people too.”

“And he has spoken to crime, but I think what people are most focused on as they should be or what actions he has taken. He has unveiled a strategy to focus federal law enforcement resources on combating violent crime, offered unprecedented levels of funding through the rescue plan for cities and states to put more cops on the beat and invest in proven community anti-violence programs, something every Republican voted against.”

“The Department of Justice has announced $139 million in grants to cities for community policing, which will put 1000 more officers on the streets. He’s also proposed doubling those grants, and he’s called for an additional $750 million for federal law enforcement. He’s announced a zero-tolerance policy for gun dealers who sell, willfully sell, illegal guns and we’ve launched gun trafficking strike forces in New York and cities across the country. Actions are important here and he has a long record of them.”

“Does the President think that any of that is working?” Doocy dared to ask.

“The president thinks you should have a plan to address crime and gun violence. He has one, and we look forward to working with people who support that effort.”

Watch:

 

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CRIME

Trumps Could ‘Turn on One Another’ as Investigations ‘Go Up the Food Chain’: MSNBC Analyst

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Former president Donald Trump and his family are facing “existential” threats from ongoing criminal investigations in New York and Georgia, according to MSNBC political analyst and Trump biographer Tim O’Brien.

“I think you’re going to start to see this vice squeeze in,” O’Brien said Saturday. “The Trumps will happily throw underlings under the bus as this gets hotter. I think the question is whether or not the family members will turn on one another as it goes up the food chain.”

“The Manhattan DA’s case has existential consequences to it,” O’Brien added. “Donald Trump and perhaps his children could end up in orange jumpsuits if that case goes the full route. That’s not going to be the case with (New York AG) Letitia James’ prosecution, that’s a civil case. I also think the Georgia case has an existential threat. Donald Trump acting like a 19th-century ward heeler, called up the secretary of state and said find me some votes, and there’s proof of that, there’s evidence.”

Watch the full interview below.

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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CRIME

New York AG Finds ‘Significant Evidence’ Donald Trump Committed Fraud — and Files Motion to Force Him to Testify

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The New York attorney general’s office filed a motion Tuesday aimed at forcing former president Donald Trump to testify as part of an ongoing probe into his company’s financial dealings.

In addition to the former president, the motion seeks to compel the testimony of his son Donald Trump Jr. and daughter Ivanka Trump, as well as the production of documents. According to a news release from the AG’s office, “each of the individuals was directly involved in one or more transactions under review.” The release notes that earlier this month, the Trumps filed a motion seeking to quash the interviews. Tuesday’s filing by the AG’s office opposes their motion.

“Since moving to compel the testimony of Eric Trump in August 2020, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has collected significant additional evidence indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent or misleading asset valuations to obtain a host of economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions,” the release states. “While OAG has not yet reached a final decision regarding whether this evidence merits legal action, the grounds for pursuing the investigation are self-evident. The OAG filed today’s motion to get necessary testimony and evidence from high-ranking corporate personnel with close involvement in the events under investigation to determine, among other things, their relevant knowledge about those events.”

Attorney General Letitia James said: “For more than two years, the Trump Organization has used delay tactics and litigation in an attempt to thwart a legitimate investigation into its financial dealings. Thus far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit. The Trumps must comply with our lawful subpoenas for documents and testimony because no one in this country can pick and choose if and how the law applies to them. We will not be deterred in our efforts to continue this investigation and ensure that no one is above the law.”

 

Image: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

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