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‘Troubling’ Questions Raised About Disappearing Millions From Trump’s Dark Money Machine: Report

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According to a deep dive by the Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, the “dark money” machine that is raking in hundreds of millions of dollars to promote Donald Trump recently changed ownership hands and questions are being raised about where all the money is going and who controls it.

As the report notes, Trump’s ouster from the White House in 2020 set in motion a collection of allies creating PAC’s aimed at promoting him as he ostensibly plans to make another presidential run in 2024, and that the non-profit formerly known as America First Policies underwent an ownership change that further has obscured how the money is being used.

Pointing out that the changes “cast another layer of opacity over millions of dollars in already obscured donations the group made to controversial far-right causes in 2020,” the report quotes University of Notre Dame non-profit law expert Lloyd Mayer calling the changes “troubling.”

“Whatever your views of so-called ‘dark money’ may be, these groups are further obscuring money flows,” he explained.

Mayer went on to explain that the selling of a non-profit is quite unusual, telling the Beast, “Nonprofits generally do not have owners as a matter of state law, so I am not sure what they mean by ‘sold.’ Nonprofits can sell their assets, including their name, as long as they do so for fair market value,” before adding, “the nonprofit itself would have received the proceeds.”

According to Sollenberger, “The sale also shows that the byzantine pro-Trump dark money machine is reconfiguring itself ahead of the 2022 midterms, as well as Trump’s possible candidacy in 2024,” before continuing, “All the confusion has one immediate upshot: It makes it even more difficult to understand who exactly is responsible for millions of dollars in shady grants that [Trump affiliated group] America First Policies doled out last year.”

“Those grants appeared in the tax report covering America First Policies’ activity last year, which was filed by America First Works and first obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Some of the listed recipients have been tied to voter-suppression activity, and one of them is a hotbed for bigoted anti-LGTBQ rhetoric,” the report continues. “But paper trails vanish almost immediately, with some entities appearing to have evaded scrutiny after failing to file tax reports for several years—a pattern which raised concerns among experts in nonprofit law.”

After noting several other off-shoots that have also undergone multiple name changes — and in many cases have not made IRS filings — Sollenberger wrote, “Of course, the Trump money machine has never been easy to follow. But the connections appear even blurrier now that Trump is out of office. And thanks to IRS filing deadlines, voters may not know what these groups are currently up to until next November, after the midterms.”

Non-profit expert Mayer added, “Timing matters. The longer it takes for the information to come out, the less it’s on the public’s mind. And by delaying flings and obscuring who these groups are, that information only gets older and colder and staler. Even if it all comes out accurately and on time in 2022, it still may not make the news.”

You can read the detailed report here — subscription required.

 

Image: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

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Pat Cipollone Is ‘A Greatest Hits Package of Crazy Statements’ by Donald Trump: Legal Expert

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Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has agreed to speak to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress on Friday.

Former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Harry Litman told CNN that Cipollone has carefully negotiated the testimony and he will likely “steer around down the middle” of the attorney/client privilege. However, former President Donald Trump is not the client of a White House counsel, the White House is. President Joe Biden has waived executive privilege for anything involving Jan. 6 or the 2020 election.

“He is a greatest hits package of crazy statements by Donald Trump,” Litman said of Cipollone. “He is the one who says to Mark Meadows, ‘You know, if you do this, you’ll have blood on your effing hands.’ He’s the one who says to Mark Meadows about [Mike] Pence, ‘You’ve got to stop it’ and Meadows says, ‘You’ve heard him. He thinks the rioters are right.’ He’s the one who has to go to Cassidy Hutchinson, a 25-year-old, and plead with her because Meadows won’t speak to him. ‘Please try to keep him from going to the Capitol.’ He’s the one who says, ‘if I go to the Capitol, it will be every effing crime imaginable.'”

READ MORE: Longtime friend of GOP’s Eric Greitens calls him a ‘broken man’ and accuses him of lying about his beliefs

“Now, they’ve negotiated it up, and probably what he wants is to say he’s not piercing attorney/client privilege. But all these statements I’ve said to you, Trump’s nowhere around. So, attorney/client has to be with the client for the purpose of getting legal advice, so he’s got tons to say without that.”

As Litman explained, Cipollone is in “everything.”

See the discussion below.

Image: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks  via Flickr:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump talk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, her husband Jesse Barrett, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife Virginia Thomas, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Deputy White House Counsel Kate Comerford Todd in the Blue Room of the White House Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, after attending Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony as Supreme Court Associate Justice.

 

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‘This Is a Business’: New Footage of Trump Family Emerges From Jan. 6 Investigation

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Newly revealed video footage shows how close British filmmaker Alex Holder got to the Trump family in the lead-up to the January 6th insurrection.

The family allowed Holder to gain exclusive access to them and the former president’s inner circle in the period between the 2020 election and the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and Politico obtained a new trailer for the upcoming documentary “Unprecedented,” which will stream on the Discovery+ network.

“Ivanka frets about a line on her dress, and jokes about covering it with a pet roaming about. ‘Can I borrow your dog?’ she asks her makeup artist,” Politico reported. “Jared nervously repositions his tie and asks, ‘Is that okay?’ Don Jr., seen at a rally, screams, ‘We will make liberals cry again!’ Eric is caught on a phone call, mysteriously saying, ‘For the sake of this country, we’re going to get these guys.'”

Those mundane moments build up to Jan. 6, and the film shows Donald Trump encouraging his supporters to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, and Holder’s photographer joins the throng.

READ MORE: Robert Crimo III’s family noticed nothing amiss, but social media posts painted a darker picture

“We’ve got to get the roaches out, all of them,” a Trump supporter yells to the photographer.

The documentary crew also recorded scenes from the ensuing attack, and Holder has turned over the raw footage to the House select committee investigating the riot.

“Gaining power is easy,” the narrator says in the trailer. “Surrendering it is not.”

Watch the video below or at this link.

 

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Trump Celebrates Fourth of July by Attacking His Enemies as Biden Hails the American ‘Idea’ of ‘Hope’

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President Joe Biden is celebrating Independence Day by promoting the American “idea” of “hope” while his predecessor, Donald Trump, is spending the Fourth of July by attacking his enemies and airing his grievances. Later today the President and First Lady will “host a Fourth of July BBQ with military families and deliver remarks to celebrate Independence Day,” according to the president’s official schedule.

Trump is celebrating the most patriotic day on the calendar by attacking his enemies, revisiting his impeachments, the Mueller Report, the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, falsely characterizing global challenges, and declaring, “it’s not looking good for our Country right now.”

President Biden on Monday declared on Twitter, “America is an idea.”

“An idea that is stronger than any army, bigger than any ocean, more powerful than any dictator or tyrant,” Biden said. “It gives hope to the most desperate people on Earth, it guarantees that everyone is treated with dignity and gives hate no safe harbor. It instills in every person in this country the belief that no matter where you start in life, there’s nothing you can’t achieve if you work at it.”

Banned from Twitter and Facebook, Trump posts on the social media platform he owns to his 3.4 million followers, a small fraction of the 88.9 million followers he amassed on Twitter.

“I know it’s not looking good for our Country right now,” Trump says on his Truth Social platform, adding a series of claims like there’s “a major War raging out of control in Europe, the Highest Inflation in memory, the worst 6 month Stock Market start in History, the highest Energy Prices EVER, and that is the Good News. Happy Fourth of July!!! ((Don’t worry, We will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, and remember, none of these terrible events would have happened if I were President!!!))”

He also criticizes the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack as a group of “political thugs,” spreads false information about his impeachments and the Mueller Report, while painting himself as a victim.

Trump targets Committee Vice-Chair Liz Cheney, declaring that she “keeps saying, over and over again, that HER Fake Unselect Committee may recommend CRIMINAL CHARGES against a President of the United States,” which she did this weekend.

 

Image: The Bidens watch the fireworks from the White House on July 4, 2021. Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz.

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