Special

criminal Investigation

Claimed value of sleepy New York estate could come to haunt Donald Trump

It’s sleepy by Donald Trump’s standards, but the former president’s century-old estate in New York’s Westchester County could end up being one of his bigger legal nightmares. Seven Springs, a 213-acre swath of nature surrounding a Georgian-style mansion, is a subject of two state investigations: a criminal probe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and a civil inquiry by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Both investigations focus on whether Trump manipulated the property’s value to reap greater tax benefits from an environmental conservation arrangement he made at the end of 2015, while running for president.

Lindsey Graham

Trump may destroy Republican party but he has a ‘magic’

Senator Lindsey Graham has defended his refusal to abandon Donald Trump in the aftermath of the deadly attack on the Capitol, saying that though the former president has “a dark side … what I’m trying to do is just harness the magic”. He also said Trump’s continued grip on the Republican party could make it “bigger, he can make it stronger, he can make it more diverse. And he also could destroy it.”

Media

Rupert Murdoch prepares to hand over his media empire

Birthday parties in pandemics are dreary, even for billionaires. But Rupert Murdoch’s 90th, which he will celebrate on March 11th, should at least be less stressful than his 80th. Back then British detectives were burrowing into a subsidiary of his firm, News Corporation, then the world’s fourth-largest media company, for evidence that its journalists had hacked phones and bribed police.

Economy

Senate finally passes Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill

The Senate approved a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan on Saturday, as Democrats muscled through a marathon debate — and overcame dissent from moderates within their own ranks — to move one step closer to delivering President Biden his first legislative victory. Democrats voted to adopt the bill without any Republican support after a roughly 24-hour, around-the-clock session, though it will now fall to the House to consider the sweeping package once again before it can become law and any of the aid can be dispersed.

GOP

Donald Trump orders GOP's three biggest fundraisers to stop using his name

Donald Trump has sent legal warnings to the three biggest fundraising entities for the Republican Party, ordering them to stop using his name and likeness on emails and merchandise, according to a new report. Trump's lawyers sent the cease-and-desist letters on Friday to the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, and National Republican Senate Committee, a Trump advisor told Politico. 'President Trump remains committed to the Republican Party and electing America First conservatives, but that doesn't give anyone - friend or foe - permission to use his likeness without explicit approval,' the advisor said.

Marjorie Taylor Greene

The uprising in the GOP against the political moron continues to grow

Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's efforts to delay congressional business by forcing futile procedural votes to adjourn the House each day are disrupting committee hearings and virtual constituent meetings — and it’s ticking off a growing chorus of Republican colleagues.

Fox News

Tucker Carlson calls QAnon followers 'gentle' patriots

Followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory are “gentle people waving American flags”, Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed on Friday night – two months since many joined a mob that stormed the US Capitol seeking to overturn Donald Trump’s election defeat, a riot in which five people died.

Jacob Chansley

Capitol riot shaman's '60 Minutes' TV interview irks judge

The lawyer for the horned shaman who became one of the most iconic figures involved in the storming of the Capitol in January is in hot water with a federal judge after facilitating an interview that the judge said violated federal rules.

Josh Hawley

The villain, and America is the victim

As time goes on, Donald Trump’s future is coming to resemble the life cycle of the apocryphal Hollywood starlet. It starts with a producer calling out “Get me Donald Trump,” proceeds to “get me a Donald Trump,” and ends with “Who’s Donald Trump?”

Prince Philip

“No one is relaxing just yet”

Prince Philip has been transferred to the Edward VII hospital following a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition, Buckingham Palace announced Friday. The 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh is said to be comfortable, but he is expected to stay in hospital for a number of days, possibly weeks, until he makes a full recovery.

Eric Swalwell

Donald Trump faces new lawsuit alleging incitement of Capitol riot

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D. Calif.) on Friday sued former President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks (R., Ala.) on allegations they conspired to incite the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Recovery

White House downplays surprising February jobs gain

Top White House officials took little solace in the better-than-expected February jobs report, insisting Friday that the U.S. was far from a full and equitable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The February jobs report released Friday showed the U.S. gaining 379,000 jobs last month, nearly double the consensus estimates of economists. The unemployment rate also dropped 0.1 percentage points to 6.2 percent, its lowest level since March 2020, as businesses prepared for a post-pandemic world.

Federico Guillermo Klein

State Department aide appointed by Donald Trump stormed the Capitol

The FBI said Thursday that it arrested a political appointee of President Donald Trump on charges that he stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and assaulted an officer with a weapon, marking the first arrest of a Trump administration official in connection with the insurrection.

WHITE HOUSE

AP poll puts Biden job approval at 60 percent

A solid majority of Americans say they approve of President Joe Biden’s early job performance, according to a new survey, with even more respondents giving him positive marks for his management of the coronavirus pandemic. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Friday reports that 60 percent of U.S. adults surveyed approve of Biden’s handling of his job, including 94 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of Republicans. On the subject of the pandemic, 70 percent of adults surveyed approve of how he has handled the public health crisis, a figure that includes 97 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of Republicans.

Facebook & Co

A few rightwing 'super-spreaders' fueled bulk of election falsehoods, study says

A handful of rightwing “super-spreaders” on social media were responsible for the bulk of election misinformation in the run-up to the Capitol attack, according to a new study that also sheds light on the staggering reach of falsehoods pushed by Donald Trump. A report from the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), a group that includes Stanford and the University of Washington, analyzed social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok during several months before and after the 2020 elections.

COVID-19

Andrew Cuomo advisers altered report on Covid-19 nursing-home deaths

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top advisers successfully pushed state health officials to strip a public report of data showing that more nursing-home residents had died of Covid-19 than the administration had acknowledged, according to people with knowledge of the report’s production. The July report, which examined the factors that led to the spread of the virus in nursing homes, focused only on residents who died inside long-term-care facilities, leaving out those who had died in hospitals after becoming sick in nursing homes.

LEFT WING LEGISLATORS

Socialist legislators want to impeach Cuomo for abuses of power

Six of New York’s most left-wing legislators called this week for the impeachment of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. On Tuesday, State Sens. Julia Salazar and Jabari Brisport, along with Assembly Members Emily Gallagher, Phara Souffrant Forrest, Zohran Mamdani, and Marcela Mitaynes, all self-identifying socialists, released a statement calling for Cuomo’s impeachment. If successful, it would be only the second such proceeding in state history, following the impeachment of Gov. William Sulzer in 1913.

G999 Josip Heit

The unbelievably brazen data theft by Josip Heit from his Gold Standard Partners

New serious accusations against professional criminal Josip Heit and his fraud network G999: IT specialists have analyzed the alleged "GSTelecom by G999 Blockchain". Their warning: "This app, disguised as a chat program, is nothing more than an attempt to tap personal data and collect confidential passwords." The data theft is well disguised at that: "Welcome to the first decentralized chat app", it says as a greeting. Of course, the G999 scam would be nothing if CEO Josip Heit didn't loudly proclaim: "The most advanced chat application". Of course, this is absolute nonsense.

Quinnipiac poll

Most New Yorkers don’t want Andrew Cuomo to resign

A majority of New Yorkers do not want Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign as he faces dual scandals over allegations of sexual harassment and claims he hid the number of deaths of nursing home residents, according to a poll released Thursday. The Quinnipiac Poll, which showed Cuomo’s numbers on the lower side and found that most residents are opposed to him seeking a fourth term, was far from disastrous for an increasingly embattled governor. Forty percent of voters said he should resign, while 55 percent said he should not. Most Democrats are sticking with him: Only 21 percent are saying he should leave office.

Criminal Investigation

FBI is examining communications between lawmakers and Capitol rioters

Federal investigators are examining records of communications between members of Congress and the pro-Trump mob that attacked the US Capitol, as the investigation moves closer to exploring whether lawmakers wittingly or unwittingly helped the insurrectionists, according to a US official briefed on the matter. The data gathered so far includes indications of contact with lawmakers in the days around January 6, as well as communications between alleged rioters discussing their associations with members of Congress, the official said.

Richard Barnett

Not 'fair' I'm still in jail

The man charged with illegally entering Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) office and stealing items including mail during the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol disrupted a court hearing on Thursday while yelling that his continued detention was unfair. The New York Times reported that 60-year-old Richard Barnett began yelling during a virtual hearing on his case Thursday morning that it was not "fair" that he remained in custody while some others accused of participating in the riot have been released ahead of their trials. The Arkansas resident's attorneys have reportedly attempted to secure his bonded release with no success thus far.

Wall Street Journal

Trump fires back at editorial urging GOP to move on

Former President Trump on Thursday lashed out at the Wall Street Journal editorial board for calling on Republicans to abandon him and blamed his GOP critics for the party’s Georgia Senate losses. In a statement released Thursday, Trump accused the paper’s opinion section, which has a traditionally conservative bent, of supporting “globalist policies such as bad trade deals, open borders, and endless wars.”

Shortnews

#FreeIdaho

Demonstrators burn masks in front of Idaho state Capitol

More than a hundred people gathered outside the Idaho state Capitol building in Boise on Saturday for a “burn the mask” event to push back against local orders on face coverings amid the coronavirus pandemic. Local reporters posted videos and photos on Twitter showing families, including young children and adults, at the steps of the building, gathered close together while not wearing masks. Some demonstrators hugged each other, while others displayed signs like, “I will not self-suffocate.”

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#FreeIdaho

Demonstrators burn masks in front of Idaho state Capitol

More than a hundred people gathered outside the Idaho state Capitol building in Boise on Saturday for a “burn the mask” event to push back against local orders on face coverings amid the coronavirus pandemic. Local reporters posted videos and photos on Twitter showing families, including young children and adults, at the steps of the building, gathered close together while not wearing masks. Some demonstrators hugged each other, while others displayed signs like, “I will not self-suffocate.”

Several posters hung up outside the Capitol building said “BURN THE MASK” and “#FreeIdaho,” along with crossed-off images of a face mask and papers that read, “Emergency Orders” and “Mandates.”

One video posted on Twitter by Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter Sergio Olmos showed a demonstrator carrying an assault rifle and placing a picture of President Biden, who he called “sleepy Joe,” into the fire.

Reporters at the event noted that a number of children present were directed by their family members to burn their masks, as well.

One of the event’s organizers, Darr Moon, husband of Idaho state Rep. Dorothy Moon (R) told Olmos in a video posted on Twitter that the demonstration was a “rally,” rather than a “protest.”

“It’s important and I think people need to realize that we’re standing here today to reign back government, to reestablish our Republican form of government, a government that has balance between the branches,” Darr Moon explained, as a small American flag hung out of his front shirt pocket.

“We’re kind of that belief that we need well-defined government and certain boundaries, and that’s not what we have today,” he added.

Moon said that the mask burning event was just one of several occurring across the state Saturday.

The events come as calls have increased throughout Idaho and across the country against mask mandates and lockdown orders, with some arguing that the restrictions violate personal freedoms. While Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) has resisted issuing a statewide mask mandate, he repeatedly wears a mask in public and encourages citizens in the state to do so, as well.

Seven Idaho counties and 11 cities, including Boise, currently have mask mandates in place in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

A bill seeking to ban mask mandates was introduced in the Idaho state legislature this week. The Associated Press reported that GOP Rep. Karey Hanks said the legislation was inspired by the “physical and emotional and even mental injuries to our bodies, and possibly even our souls, as healthy individuals are required to wear these masks.”

Multiple studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health agencies have shown that wearing masks helps protect the wearer and others from the virus that causes COVID-19.

WHITE HOUSE

AP poll puts Biden job approval at 60 percent

A solid majority of Americans say they approve of President Joe Biden’s early job performance, according to a new survey, with even more respondents giving him positive marks for his management of the coronavirus pandemic. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Friday reports that 60 percent of U.S. adults surveyed approve of Biden’s handling of his job, including 94 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of Republicans. On the subject of the pandemic, 70 percent of adults surveyed approve of how he has handled the public health crisis, a figure that includes 97 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of Republicans.

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WHITE HOUSE

AP poll puts Biden job approval at 60 percent

A solid majority of Americans say they approve of President Joe Biden’s early job performance, according to a new survey, with even more respondents giving him positive marks for his management of the coronavirus pandemic. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Friday reports that 60 percent of U.S. adults surveyed approve of Biden’s handling of his job, including 94 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of Republicans. On the subject of the pandemic, 70 percent of adults surveyed approve of how he has handled the public health crisis, a figure that includes 97 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of Republicans.

Although Biden’s approval numbers dip slightly for his handling of the economy, he still maintains majority support on that issue, with 55 percent of adult respondents — including 88 percent of Democrats and 17 percent of Republicans — favoring his fiscal policy.

Other public polling published this week has shown Biden with similar margins of support. A POLITICO-Morning Consult poll pegged the president's job approval rating at 57 percent among registered voters, and a Reuters-Ipsos poll put the number at 58 percent of Americans.

The AP-NORC survey’s results come as Biden wraps up his sixth full week in office since assuming the presidency in January, during which time he has reiterated that the pandemic and its economic fallout are his top priorities, along with efforts to counter climate change and the push for racial equity.

The president’s primary focus on the job thus far has been shepherding the legislative progress of his $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” stimulus measure, which won approval from the House last weekend. The administration is now seeking Senate passage of the expansive relief bill before March 14, when key federal unemployment benefits are set to expire.

The AP-NORC poll was conducted Feb. 25 to March 1, surveying 1,434 adults. Its margin of sampling error is plus-or-minus 3.4 percentage points.

Richard Barnett

Not 'fair' I'm still in jail

The man charged with illegally entering Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) office and stealing items including mail during the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol disrupted a court hearing on Thursday while yelling that his continued detention was unfair. The New York Times reported that 60-year-old Richard Barnett began yelling during a virtual hearing on his case Thursday morning that it was not "fair" that he remained in custody while some others accused of participating in the riot have been released ahead of their trials. The Arkansas resident's attorneys have reportedly attempted to secure his bonded release with no success thus far.

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Richard Barnett

Not 'fair' I'm still in jail

The man charged with illegally entering Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) office and stealing items including mail during the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol disrupted a court hearing on Thursday while yelling that his continued detention was unfair. The New York Times reported that 60-year-old Richard Barnett began yelling during a virtual hearing on his case Thursday morning that it was not "fair" that he remained in custody while some others accused of participating in the riot have been released ahead of their trials. The Arkansas resident's attorneys have reportedly attempted to secure his bonded release with no success thus far.

“They’re dragging this out!” he yelled at one point, according to the Times. “They’re letting everybody else out!"

His outburst appeared to come in response to the judge setting Barnett's trial date in May, a prospect which he exclaimed would force him to remain in jail “another month.”

In response, Judge Christopher Cooper called a five-minute recess while Barnett's attorneys calmed him down, according to the newspaper. It then resumed without incident.

Photos of Barnett with his feet up behind the desk in Pelosi's office went viral in the hours and days after the Capitol siege, resulting in him becoming one of the most widely recognizable participants in the riot along with others, such as the self-proclaimed "QAnon Shaman" and another man who was seen grinning as he walked away with a stolen lectern.

Barnett plead not guilty earlier this month to a handful of charges stemming from the riot, including bringing a weapon into a restricted area as well as obstruction of Congress.

COVID-19

'Neanderthal thinking': Biden lays into states lifting restrictions

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that moves by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and others to lift statewide Covid restrictions showed 'Neanderthal thinking': “I think it’s a big mistake. I hope everyone has realized right now these masks make a difference," Biden said of the decision to lift mask mandates and other Covid mitigation measures. "We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we are able to get vaccines in people’s arms.”

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COVID-19

'Neanderthal thinking': Biden lays into states lifting restrictions

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that moves by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and others to lift statewide Covid restrictions showed 'Neanderthal thinking': “I think it’s a big mistake. I hope everyone has realized right now these masks make a difference," Biden said of the decision to lift mask mandates and other Covid mitigation measures. "We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we are able to get vaccines in people’s arms.”

The president's remark came after both Texas and Mississippi issued executive orders Tuesday to eliminate mask mandates and let all businesses open at 100 percent capacity, flying in the face of health officials who have urged continued Covid restrictions. Biden has signed an executive order requiring mask-wearing on federal property but has little authority to overrule governors and other state and local officials.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, laid into Biden for his comments Wednesday.

"President Biden said allowing Mississippians to decide how to protect themselves is 'neanderthal thinking.' Mississippians don’t need handlers," Reeves wrote in a tweet. "As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts. I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them."

In a statement to POLITICO, Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze said Abbott was "clear in telling Texans that COVID hasn’t ended, and that all Texans should follow medical advice and safe practices to continue containing COVID."

"The fact is, Texas now has the tools and knowledge to combat COVID while also allowing Texans and small businesses to make their own decisions," Eze said. "It is clear from the recoveries, the vaccinations, the reduced hospitalizations, and the safe practices that Texans are using, that state mandates are no longer needed. We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans."

Ku Klux Klan

No charges for man who displayed Klan flag next to Black neighbor's home

A prosecutor has declined to file charges against a man who displayed a Ku Klux Klan flag in his window in suburban Detroit, next to the home of a Black family. Such “horrible conduct” doesn’t violate Michigan law, Wayne county prosecutor Kym Worthy said on Tuesday, adding that an ethnic intimidation charge would require physical contact, property damage or threats of such activity.

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Ku Klux Klan

No charges for man who displayed Klan flag next to Black neighbor's home

A prosecutor has declined to file charges against a man who displayed a Ku Klux Klan flag in his window in suburban Detroit, next to the home of a Black family. Such “horrible conduct” doesn’t violate Michigan law, Wayne county prosecutor Kym Worthy said on Tuesday, adding that an ethnic intimidation charge would require physical contact, property damage or threats of such activity.

“I strongly encourage the Michigan legislature to look, revise and create laws to protect citizens from this kind of horrible conduct,” said Worthy, who is Black.

JeDonna Dinges, 57, of Grosse Pointe Park, said the flag was hanging next door in a window directly across from her dining room. The incident occurred two weeks ago.

The flag was removed after police carrying large cloths visited the home and made a switch, the city manager, Nick Sizeland, told the Detroit Free Press last week.

The man’s girlfriend claimed they could not afford a curtain, Sizeland said.

“There is absolutely no question that what happened to Ms Dinges was despicable, traumatizing and completely unacceptable,” Worthy said. “But, very unfortunately in my view, not a crime. The KKK flag, while intending to be visible to Ms Dinges, was hanging inside of her neighbor’s house.”

The Klan was a secretive society organized in the southern US after the civil war to assert white supremacy, often using violence. It flourished well into the 20th century.

Dozens of people turned out for a 21 February march and rally to support Dinges. Before the flag incident, she said she was concerned about her safety after finding a full gas can inside her outdoor recycling bin.