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Feds Looking Into Trump’s Intentionally Confusing Network of Super PACs: ‘All of This Is Totally Unprecedented’

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Federal authorities are looking into the relationships between a dozen similarly named political action committees aligned with former President Donald Trump.

The inquiry is linked back to a super PAC named “Make America Great Again, Again!” that was set up after former top aide Corey Lewandowski got fired from another pro-Trump super PAC after allegedly sexually assaulting a major donor but refused to step down, and federal election officials are looking into why some of these groups aren’t properly reporting their payments, reported The Daily Beast.

“It is worth emphasizing: All of this is totally unprecedented for a former president,” said Brendan Fischer, deputy executive director of good government group Documented. “Even if Trump kept it simple, and just had one hard money PAC, a single super PAC, and a pair of 501(c)(3)/501(c)(4) nonprofits, there would be no parallel with any former president in American history.”

Trump’s personal financial disclosures reveal ties to more than 500 entities, including nearly 400 that use his name or initials, and many of them have tangled links to one another, and this intentionally confusing structure makes it difficult to trace the billions of dollars he and his accountants move around — and he has brought the same practices to his political operations.

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“Typically, former presidents focus on their presidential library, or start a charitable foundation, but Trump is staying in the political game and raising a staggering amount of cash,” Fischer said.

Trump-aligned super PACs raised hundreds of millions of dollars last year, but it won’t be clear how much so-called dark money groups raised or how they spent those funds until after the midterms, and filing on Wednesday showed the Trump campaign isn’t even able to follow its own money.

“The central lesson of Watergate is ‘Follow the money,’” said Brett Kappel, a specialist in campaign finance and nonprofit law at Harmon Curran, “and this byzantine structure of different types of legal entities — which are subject to different fundraising restrictions and file different reports with different agencies according to different filing schedules — appears to be designed to make that task as difficult as possible.”

 

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Trump’s Authoritarian Movement Is ‘Determined to Restore the Original Racial and Religious Foundation of America’: Columnist

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New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall on Wednesday shined a light on the conspiratorial religious nationalism that has overwhelmed the Republican Party thanks in large part to former President Donald Trump.

In describing the Trump movement as a “chilling amalgam of Christian Nationalism, white replacement theory and conspiratorial zeal,” Edsall argued that their overall goal is “to restore what they see as the original racial and religious foundation of America.”

Edsall then quotes a series of experts on Christian Nationalism in the United States who note there are several different strands of it, and that not all of them are explicitly about white supremacy.

Ruth Braunstein, a professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, tells Edsall that there is a difference between what she calls “white Christian nationalism,” which “explicitly fuses whiteness, Christianity, and Americanness,” and “colorblind Judeo-Christian nationalism,” which “either ignores race or uses colorblind language to describe ideal Americanness.”

READ MORE: DOJ transcript request shows criminal probe of Trump allies just moved into the open: legal expert

Robert Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, tells Edsall that Christian Nationalist attitudes show up most clearly in polling on immigration, where they’re mostly likely to describe immigrants as “invading” the United States.

“Among all voters, according to Jones, 29 percent believe that immigrants are invading our county; among Republicans, it’s 60 percent; among Democrats, 11 percent; among QAnon believers, 65 percent; among white evangelicals, 50 percent; and among white non-college voters, as pollsters put it, 43 percent,” writes Edsall.

Edsall concludes with a warning about Christian Nationalists potentially resorting to violence, and he cites “their ambition to restore an imagined past, by any means necessary.”

Read the whole column here.

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Madison Cawthorn Projected to Lose Seat – GOP Nominee Will Face LGBTQ Democrat

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U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn is projected to have lost his primary Tuesday night and be a one-term Congressman.

Dave Wasserman, the U.S. House editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report first made the call Tuesday night:

Business Insider also reports Cawthorn was “ousted.”

Republicans in Cawthorn’s North Carolina district had eight candidates to choose from and picked state Senator Chuck Edwards. As recently as last week Edwards was “polling a distant second at 21 percent,” Newsweek reported.

Edwards will face a formidable Democrat, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara. A Buncombe County Commissioner, Beach-Ferrara is an ordained Christian minister and the founding Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE).

Beach-Ferrara has a strong focus on policy. Unlike many modern-day candidates, especially on the right, her website lists her positions on 16 different issues: Agriculture, Children’s Issues, Choice, Climate Issues, COVID, Economic Opportunity & Job Creation, Education, Healthcare, Higher Education & Student Loan Debt, Legalizing Marijuana, LGBTQ Rights, Opioid Crisis, Racial Justice, Social Security & Medicare, Veterans, and Voting Rights & Independent Redistricting.

“Jasmine and her wife, Meghann Burke, live in Asheville with their oldest child Cal, twins Lily and Wyatt and dog, Ruggles,” her campaign website says. “They love hiking, swimming, exploring every playground in the county, and BBQ-ing. Jasmine is a fan of the UNC Tarheels, Carolina Courage, and Carolina Panthers.”

Chuck Edwards was endorsed by several Republicans, including U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, Phil Berger, the President pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate, and North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore.

But Cawthorn’s constituents reportedly had grown tired of his immaturity, including, as Newsweek noted, “being stopped by police three times since October—for alleged speeding and driving with a revoked license—being caught for the second time with a gun at airport security and accusations he was involved in illegal insider trading in relation to his ties to a ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ cryptocurrency.”

“Images have also been leaked of him wearing women’s lingerie. Another leaked video appeared to show him naked in bed thrusting against another person. Cawthorn said he was being ‘crass with a friend.'”

UPDATE: 10:24 PM ET –
MSNBC reports Cawthorn has conceded the race.

Image via Facebook

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‘Here We Go’: Legal Experts Discuss New DOJ Request for Transcripts From Jan. 6 Committee for ‘Criminal’ Investigation

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The U.S. Dept. of Justice has formally requested transcripts from the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, saying their extensive interviews “may contain information relevant to a criminal investigation we are conducting.” The House Select Committee has conducted interviews with more than 1000 people, including former Trump associates and even his family members.

The New York Times, which broke the story Tuesday, reports the request comes “as Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appears to be ramping up the pace of his painstaking investigation into the Capitol riot,” and calls it “the clearest sign yet of a wide-ranging inquiry at the Justice Department.”

Also telling is that the request came from Kenneth A. Polite Jr., the assistant attorney general for the criminal division, and Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

But House Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) says not so fast, according to The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell:

Former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega suggests Chairman Thompson’s remarks may be to ensure no one thinks there was coordination behind the scenes:

“DOJ will get what it needs from the January 6 committee. There might have to be some negotiation, maybe even grand jury subpoenas, but the committee doesn’t want to be seen as working hand in glove with DOJ.”

Meanwhile, Glenn Kirschner, a federal prosecutor for 30 years who is now a popular NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst notes the Dept. of Justice may get access to a wealth of testimony that it might not have been able to obtain otherwise:

“Whether this was always the DOJ plan (& whether the J6 committee knew it or not), important info has been developed by the [January 6 Committee] that would not have been developed had the witnesses been subpoenaed to the grand jury (as they would have pled the 5th).”

(In March, Kirschner concluded that Donald Trump “will be charged” after remarks Attorney General Merrick Garland made.)

National security and civil liberties expert and journalist Marcy Wheeler also suggests this may have been the plan all along, and implies it is a smart strategy:

“And YES, it allowed Jan 6 to interview people against whom DOJ did not and/or would never get probable cause a crime had committed to share evidence,” she adds.

But former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig, now a CNN legal analyst, is less complimentary of Garland and DOJ, calling the request for access to transcripts “an obvious and overdue move.”

MSNBC legal analyst Daniel Goldman, the well-known former Lead Counsel for the House Impeachment Inquiry, and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for SDNY agrees it’s wise for the Jan. 6 Committee to focus on its own work and deal with DOJ after the public hearings.

Former U.S. Attorney and national security prosecutor Barb McQuade, now a well-known MSNBC and NBC News legal analyst and law professor summed up what many appear to be thinking: “Here we go.

 

 

 

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