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HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
DEC 8
 
 

In October, prosecutors told a court they did not believe Trump had turned over all the documents with classified markings in his possession, and they were particularly concerned that he carried documents with him on flights between Mar-a-Lago and his properties in New York and New Jersey. On the advice of his lawyers, Trump hired a team to search for more documents, and they have found at least two more items marked classified and have turned them over to the FBI. 

A spokesperson for Trump said in a statement that Trump and his lawyers “continue to be cooperative and transparent, despite the unprecedented, illegal and unwarranted attack against President Trump and his family by the weaponized Department of Justice.”

Trump’s lawyers are doubling down on the idea that presidential immunity protects the former president from virtually anything he might have done in office, even “seeking to destroy our constitutional system.” Today, Trump lawyer Jesse Binnall argued before the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the former president cannot be sued by police officers and members of Congress for inciting the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, that he is immune from lawsuits even if he had urged his followers to “burn Congress down.” 

Such an argument is fingernails down a chalkboard to anyone who knows anything at all about how the Framers of our Constitution thought about unchecked power. 

There is, though, ongoing congressional review of the Trump administration. Last night the chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Ron Wyden (D-OR), and the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), wrote to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III, asking for information in their “ongoing investigations into whether former Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner’s financial conflicts of interest may have led him to improperly influence U.S. tax, trade, and national security policies for his own financial gain.” 

The letter outlines the timing of the 2018 financial bailout of the badly leveraged Kushner property at 666 Fifth Avenue (now known as 660 Fifth Avenue) with more than $1 billion paid in advance from Qatar. Qatar had repeatedly refused to invest in the property, but after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates imposed a blockade on Qatar—after Kushner discussed isolating Qatar with them without informing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—Qatar suddenly threw in the necessary cash. Shortly after that, the Saudi and UAE governments lifted the blockade, with Kushner taking credit for brokering the agreement. 

Because of this case, and a number of others covered in the letter, the committees have asked the Defense Department to provide any correspondence it had with the Kushners during the Trump administration, or about the various dealings in which business and government appeared to overlap. They have asked for the information by January 13, 2023.

The ideas of the Framers on the nature of government was also in the news today thanks to arguments before the Supreme Court in the case of Moore v. Harper, a crucially important case about whether state legislatures have exclusive control of federal elections in their states, or if state courts can override voting laws they believe violate state laws or the state constitution. Conservative judge J. Michael Luttig, who sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in October called Moore v. Harper “the most important case for American democracy in the almost two and a half centuries since America’s founding.” 

The case comes from North Carolina, where the state supreme court in February declared that new congressional and state legislature maps so heavily favored Republicans as to be “unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt.” The Republican-dominated legislature says that it alone has the power to determine state districts and cannot be checked by state courts or the state constitution.

The legislature claims this power thanks to the “independent state legislature” doctrine, a new legal theory based on the election clause of the U.S. Constitution, which reads that “the Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.” Lawyers for the legislatures today claimed this clause means that the legislature alone can determine election laws in a state.

In October, Luttig published an article in The Atlantic with the unambiguous title: “There Is Absolutely Nothing to Support the ‘Independent State Legislature’ Theory.” The subtitle explained: “Such a doctrine would be antithetical to the Framers’ intent, and to the text, fundamental design, and architecture of the Constitution.”

Politicians, voting rights advocates, state attorneys general, senators, former governors, military officers, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the American Bar Association, and so on, all offered their own briefs to the court sharing Luttig’s position, with historians of the Founding Era agreeing that “[n]othing in the records of the deliberations at Philadelphia or the public debates surrounding ratification” supports the idea that state legislatures have exclusive power to regulate congressional elections. “There is no evidence that anyone at the time expressed [this] view…. [T]he interpretation is also historically implausible in view of the framers’ general fear of unchecked power and their specific distrust of state legislatures. There is no plausible eighteenth-century argument” for the independent state legislature theory, they say. 

The historians also observed that those embracing the theory ignore the ample documentary evidence and instead rely extensively on a document that scholars proved long ago was written ten years after the actual Constitutional Convention. 

Ouch.

The independent state legislature theory would also permit legislators to choose their presidential electors however they wish. Had such a theory been in place in 2020, Trump’s scheme for throwing out Biden’s electors in favor of his own would have worked, and he would now be in the White House. 

The potential for this case to upend our right to have a say in our government has had democratic advocates deeply concerned, but observers watching the court today seemed to think the right-wing justices would not embrace the theory fully. Perhaps this is in part because they know well that their legitimacy is fraying as they are increasingly perceived as partisan politicians, or perhaps the Supreme Court is wary of undermining the idea of judicial review. In any case, both Marc Elias of Democracy Docket and Rick Hasen of Election Law Blog analyzed the justices’ questions today and guessed they would find a middle ground that preserves some measure of state courts’ oversight of legislatures’ election shenanigans. 

Their analysis is only a guess, of course. Elias suggested the court would likely hand down a decision in the case in June. 

Notes:

https://abcnews.go.com/US/trump-hosts-event-featuring-qanon-pizzagate-conspiracy-theorist/story?id=94701765

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-lawyers-attend-court-hearing-as-doj-presses-aides-in-mar-a-lago-probe-11666902371

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-legal-team-finds-two-more-documents-marked-classified-11670447615

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/12/oral-arguments-colorado-wedding-alito-incomprehensible.html

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-12-07/trump-claims-immunity-over-burn-congress-down-hypothetical

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/10/moore-v-harper-independent-legislature-theory-supreme-court/671625/?fbclid=IwAR2ya630ZkNTy9FjtDWn8EWFMn3zhvgGgN8xR_30PuuQaAxjhl2u2tyeVB8

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/12/07/kushner-democrats-congressional-probe-bailout/

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Heather Cox RichardsonOct 18
 
 

Today the Biden administration opened the website to apply for relief from student debt, a policy that is expected to benefit 43 million Americans directly and others tangentially as debt relief frees up family resources. The administration also announced that the Food and Drug Administration’s final rule concerning Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy went into effect today, making hearing aids available over the counter and thereby lowering costs for the devices by as much as $3,000 a pair. 

The administration has also recently achieved a historic diplomatic victory by brokering an agreement between Israel and Lebanon, two countries that have been formally at war since 1948, to establish a maritime boundary. 

But all that news got drowned out by the continuing drama coming from the Republican Party. As Republican political strategist Sarah Longwell wrote in The Bulwark today, the Republican Party is facing an “extinction event,” having been taken over by former president Trump to become the right-wing MAGA Party. As Longwell wrote, “In the Republican party as it is currently constituted, political power emanates completely and totally from Donald Trump.” 

Longwell explains that Republicans have been stuck in a “Triangle of Doom,” in which Republican base voters want their media to confirm their biases. Fringe media outlets confirming those biases gain traction. In order to reach voters, Republican politicians have to go on those fringe outlets, and that, in turn, normalizes fringe media. Over time, this triangle radicalized the party until 70% of Republicans now believe the lie that Democratic president Joe Biden didn’t win the 2020 election. 

“Say goodnight,” she writes. “The party’s over.” All but the MAGA Republicans have left. “The Good Republicans are gone,” Longwell writes. “Probably for good.”

Today, Fox Nation began a mock trial of Hunter Biden, with reality TV personality Judge Joe Brown saying that “something’s way wrong here, way wrong,” and suggesting that the legal investigations into Trump and the lack of them into the Bidens give the appearance that Trump and Biden “don’t live in the same country.” 

Hunter Biden is not in the government, of course, and is not under indictment; Trump and the Trump Organization are embroiled in a number of lawsuits that suggest the former president and his associates saw government service not as a way to improve American lives but as a way to make money. Ginning up a show trial for Hunter Biden seems an attempt to rile up the base and undercut the many legal issues in the news concerning the former president. But such a show trial is also a fundamental rejection of the rule of law, suggesting that the law is simply a political tool to use against enemies rather than a body of laws before which we are all treated equally.

There is a reason Trump supporters are trying to undermine the rule of law. In New York, Trump’s wealthy friend and financial backer Thomas Barrack is on trial for selling his access to Trump to the leaders of the United Arab Emirates in exchange for investment money. The U.S. government says that Barrack fed confidential information to UAE leaders while permitting them to shape Trump’s speeches and policies. In the first three years of Trump’s term, Saudi Arabia and the UAE invested about $1.5 billion in Barrack’s real estate company. 

In Northern Virginia the trial of Igor Danchenko for making false statements to the FBI, led by John Durham and other holdovers from the Trump Justice Department, suggests the Trump administration played fast and loose with national security in an attempt to undermine the Russia investigation. Witnesses in the trial have testified that the “highly unusual” decision by Trump attorney general Bill Barr to declassify an interview with Danchenko and share it with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) hurt national security. Graham promptly made a summary of the interview public to bolster the argument that the Russia investigation was “corrupt.” But that release meant that internet hobbyists quickly figured out who Danchenko was, exposing a key FBI informant as well as his friends and family in Russia. 

This exposure for political reasons not only burned a key source, it weakened the ability of the U.S. to cultivate informants. 

Last week, Drew Harwell of the Washington Post broke the story that Will Wilkerson, an executive who had been in on the ground floor of Trump’s “Truth Social,” filed a whistleblower complaint against the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission last August 28. Wilkerson alleges that Truth Social and the special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) enlisted to finance the media company behind Truth Social violated federal securities laws. The Trump Media and Technology Group and one of those SPACs, Digital World Acquisition Corporation (DWAC), have been under criminal investigation since the summer; Wilkerson’s cooperation should advance that case.

Without laws, governmental office can be used simply as a way to amass money and power. Today the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis issued the third installment of its report. This one detailed how the Trump administration “engaged in an unprecedented campaign of political interference in the federal government’s pandemic response, which undermined public health to benefit the former president’s political goals.” 

Angry that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for masks and lockdowns, Trump and his aides attacked CDC scientists and suppressed reports. Political operatives downplayed the risks of the novel coronavirus and used the power of the CDC to achieve Trump’s political goal of shutting down legal immigration across the southern border. The administration also used “hundreds of millions” of dollars of CDC funds to “what amounted to a celebrity vanity campaign to ‘defeat despair and inspire hope’” before the 2020 election.

Today, Carol D. Leonnig at the Washington Post wrote that records obtained by the chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), show that when Trump was in office, his company charged Secret Service agents as much as five times the government rate to stay in his hotels while providing protection for Trump and his family. Secret Service supervisors frequently asked for special waivers to enable them to pay rates higher than approved government guidelines. 

Leonnig noted that billing documents representing “a fraction” of those expenses show that U.S. taxpayers paid at least $1.4 million to the Trump Organization for rooms at Trump properties, which he visited more than 500 times during his presidency and continued to visit with security after he left office. 

Eric Trump took issue with the story, saying that the Trump Organization provided services to the Secret Service at the agents’ request, and that services were provided “at cost, heavily discounted, or for free.” “The company would have been substantially better off if hospitality services were sold to full-paying guests, however, the company did whatever it took to accommodate the agencies to ensure they were able to do their jobs at the highest levels.”

Notes:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/10/17/biden-lebanon-israel-diplomatic-victory/

https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/17/politics/biden-student-loan-forgiveness-launch/index.html

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/oct/10/trump-ally-tom-barrack-trial

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/07/01/trump-media-company-subpoenaed-in-federal-criminal-probe-of-spac-deal.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/10/15/truth-social-trump-animosity-whistleblower/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/10/17/trump-secret-service-hotel-rates-records/

https://coronavirus.house.gov/news/press-releases/clyburn-trump-cdc-redfield-caputo-report

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September 23, 20226:32 PM CDTLast Updated 2 days ago

Reuters

Sept 23 (Reuters) – Some investors are backing out of Digital World Acquisition Corp’s (DWAC.O) plan to acquire former U.S. President Donald Trump’s social media firm Truth Social, the blank-check firm said on Friday.

Digital World said it had received termination notices from private investment in public equity (PIPE) investors ending nearly $139 million in investments out of the $1 billion commitment it had previously announced.

Investors, who signed the PIPE commitment about one year ago, are free to move their money after the Sept. 20, 2022 deadline if the deal has not completed.

Digital World did not disclose the investors that pulled out. Sources told Reuters Sabby Management, which had committed $100 million to the PIPE, is one of the investors who have terminated.

Sabby Management declined to comment.

More investors could pull out in the next few weeks, sources said, as they can terminate anytime after the deadline. Many are waiting for DWAC to propose more preferred terms to PIPE investors, sources added.

The deal between the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) and Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), which owns Truth Social, has been on ice due to civil and criminal probes into the circumstances around the agreement.

TMTG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The SPAC had been hoping the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is reviewing Digital World’s disclosures on the deal, would have given its blessing by now.

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Heather Cox RichardsonAug 31

The big news until shortly before midnight tonight was that businesses do indeed seem to be coming home after the pandemic illustrated the dangers of stretched supply lines, the global minimum tax reduced the incentives to flee to other countries with lower taxes, and the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act spurred investment in technology.

Yesterday, Honda and LG Energy Solution announced they would spend $4.4 billion to construct a new battery plant in the U.S. to join the plants General Motors is building in Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee; the ones Ford is building in Kentucky and Tennessee; the one Toyota is building in North Carolina; and the one Stellantis is building in Indiana. The plants are part of the switch to electric vehicles.  According to auto industry reporter Neal E. Boudette of the New York Times, they represent “one of the most profound shifts the auto industry has experienced in its century-long history.”

Today, Kentucky governor Andy Beshear (D) announced that Kentucky has secured more than $8.5 billion for investment in the production of electric vehicle batteries, which should produce more than 8,000 jobs in the EV sector. “Kentuckians will literally be powering the future,” he said. 

Also today, First Solar, the largest solar panel maker in the U.S., announced that it would construct a new solar panel plant in the Southeast, investing up to $1 billion. It credited the Inflation Reduction Act with making solar construction attractive enough in the U.S. to build here rather than elsewhere. First Solar has also said it will upgrade and expand an existing plant in Ohio, spending $185 million.

Corning has announced a new manufacturing plant outside Phoenix, Arizona, to build fiber-optic cable to help supply the $42.5 billion high-speed internet infrastructure investment made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. AT&T will also build a new fiber internet network in Arizona.

The CHIPS and Science Act is spurring investment in the manufacturing of chips in the U.S. Earlier this month, Micron announced a $40 billion investment in the next eight years, producing up to 40,000 new jobs. Qualcomm has also committed to investing $4.2 billion in chips from the New York facility of GlobalFoundries. Qualcomm says it intends to increase chip production in the U.S. by 50% over the next five years. In January, Intel announced it would invest $20 billion, and possibly as much as $100 billion, in a chip plant in Ohio.

This investment is part of a larger trend in which U.S. companies are bringing their operations back to the U.S. Last week, a report by the Reshoring Initiative noted that nearly 350,000 U.S. jobs have come home this year. The coronavirus pandemic, Russia’s war on Ukraine, and China’s instability were the push to bring jobs home, while the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act were the pull. Dion Rabouin notes in the Wall Street Journal that this reshoring will not necessarily translate to blue-collar jobs, as companies will likely increase automation to avoid higher labor costs. 

President Joe Biden’s record is unexpectedly strong going into the midterms, and he is directly challenging Republicans on the issues they formerly considered their own. Today, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, he challenged the Republicans on their claim to be the party of law and order, calling out their recent demands to “defund” the FBI and saying he wants to increase funding for law enforcement to enable it to have more social workers, mental health care specialists, and so on. 

He noted that law enforcement officers want a ban on assault weapons and that he would work to pass one like that of 1994. When that law expired in 2004, mass shootings in the U.S. tripled.  

Then the president took on MAGA Republicans: “A safer America requires all of us to uphold the rule of law, not the rule of any one party or any one person.” He addressed Senator Lindsey Graham’s comment yesterday about how there would be violence if the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Trump. “Let’s be clear,” Biden said, “You hear some of my friends in the other team talking about political violence and how it’s necessary.” But violence is never appropriate, he said. “Never. Period. Never, never, never. No one should be encouraged to use political violence. None whatsoever.”

To audience applause, he called out those who supported the January 6 attack on the Capitol: “Don’t tell me you support law enforcement if you won’t condemn what happened on the 6th…. For God’s sake, whose side are you on?… You can’t be pro-law enforcement and pro-insurrection. You can’t be a party of law and order and call the people who attacked the police on January 6th ‘patriots.’ You can’t do it.”

While Biden is consolidating and pushing the Democrats’ worldview, the Republicans are in disarray. The revelation that former president Trump moved classified intelligence to the Trump Organization’s property at Mar-a-Lago has kept some of them sidelined, as they didn’t want to talk about the issue, and has forced others to try to justify an unprecedented breach of national security. Republican candidates for elected office who are not in deep red districts have been taking references to Trump (and to abortion restrictions) off their websites. 

The deadly seriousness of what he has done is clear in part from the former president’s own behavior over it. Yesterday, he demanded to be made president or to have a do-over of the 2020 election; today, after constant reposting of conspiracy theories and defenses on his ailing Truth Social, he wrote: “Why are people so mean?”

The reason for his fear turned up tonight in a Department of Justice filing in response to his demand for the appointment of a special master to review the documents, and for the return of several of them to him. His requests gave the DOJ an opening to correct the record that he and his allies have been muddying.

This document replaced the economic news as today’s big story. The DOJ laid out the timeline behind the attempt of the U.S. government to recover the materials Trump took. First, officials from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recognized that materials were missing and tried to get Trump to return them voluntarily. When he finally handed over 15 boxes, the officials recognized that some of the materials were “highly classified” and told the Department of Justice. 

Trump delayed the FBI examination of the boxes, but when officials got into them, they recognized their haphazard storage threatened national security. They got evidence of more records at Mar-a-Lago, for which they obtained a grand jury subpoena. Trump’s representatives handed over a few more documents, and a lawyer certified that that was it—they had done a diligent search and now could confirm that there were no more documents left. They said there were no materials stored anywhere but a storeroom, but they refused to let agents look inside the boxes there.

It was a lie both that there were no more documents, and that materials were contained in the storeroom. The FBI learned there were still more documents, got a search warrant, and on August 8 seized from at least two locations 33 more boxes with more than 100 classified records—twice as many classified documents as Trump and his representatives had handed over under the subpoena.

The U.S. government spelled out that “those records do not belong to him”; they belong to the United States. It said that Trump never asserted that the records had been declassified or asserted any claim of executive privilege, and Trump’s representatives indicated they thought the documents were classified. It made a strong case that the former president and his lawyer obstructed the search for the documents. 

Even more chilling than the words of the filing was the exhibit attached: a photo of SECRET, TOP SECRET, and SECRET/SCI files recovered from a container, spread out on a carpeted floor next to a banker’s box containing framed TIME magazine covers. 

Trump has added Chris Kise, the former solicitor general of Florida, to his legal team. Although the Republican National Committee has been paying the former president’s legal bills since he left office, it will not pay the legal fees he racks up over this issue.

Notes:

Kyle Cheney @kyledcheneyNEWS: DOJ’s new filing includes. photo of the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8. storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.usco…

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August 31st 20226,360 Retweets18,752 Likes

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Brian Tyler Cohen @briantylercohenSources: Corning: axios.com/2022/08/30/fib…LG/Honda:cnn.com/2022/08/29/bus…Micron:cnbc.com/2022/08/09/mic…Qualcomm:reuters.com/technology/qua…Intel:Intel to invest up to $100 billion in Ohio chip plantsAn initial $20 billion investment – the largest in Ohio’s history – on a 1,000-acre site in New Albany will generate 3,000 jobs, Gelsinger said.cnbc.comAugust 30th 2022116 Retweets370 Likes

Governor Andy Beshear @GovAndyBeshearKentucky has secured the spot as the top electric vehicle battery producer in the United States. In the past few months, we’ve announced more than $8.5 billion in investment and more than 8,000 jobs in the EV sector. Kentuckians will literally be powering the future. August 30th 2022120 Retweets755 Likes

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/30/first-solar-to-build-new-panel-factory-following-inflation-reduction-act.html

https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/29/business/honda-lg-electric-vehicles/index.html

https://www.axios.com/2022/08/30/fiber-optic-cable-corning-factory-broadband-att

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/09/micron-to-invest-40-billion-in-us-chip-manufacturing.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/21/intel-plans-20-billion-chip-manufacturing-site-in-ohio.html

https://www.reuters.com/technology/qualcomm-globalfoundries-sign-pact-double-chip-manufacturing-2022-08-08/

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-companies-on-pace-to-bring-home-record-number-of-overseas-jobs-11660968061

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/08/30/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-safer-america-plan/

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/30/trump-forces-republicans-off-script-again-00054121

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/08/30/republicans-abortion-trump-online/

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/30/trump-florida-solicitor-general-mar-a-lago-probe-00054219

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The uproar over changes in the IRS with increased funding and arming some agents is overblown and driven primarily by the GOP. Let’s look at a bit of history, first most people have a poor image of the IRS because of misinformation and a poor contact with the agency. The job of that agency is to ensure the proper collection of taxes (which are used to run the country). The “horror” stories are in part true, but many are self-inflicted by the people who have had poor to no correct information on filing taxes. The agency has been underfunded for years and that lack of funding precludes the ability to have enough workers to do the job. The paucity of Workers extends time to audit and process tax forms, look carefully at bad actors looking to “cheat” the government (this means more taxes on you and me). The well-off have always pushed the idea that the government is after you, the average taxpayer in pursuit of your support against the agency, this is also why certain laws are in force that allow big businesses and big money donors to donate to their favorite candidates for high elected offices that enact the laws that prevent IRS expansion and limit their power to pursue tax cheats many of which are the same people we elect time after time. The political parties are quite good at making another agency the scapegoat for their purposes while at the same creating divisions between people (taxpayers) much like the events that preceded the “war between the states”. I have attached a brief history of the IRS; it is worth noting that this is a history that can be explored more, and I recommend it.

1862 – President Lincoln signed into law a revenue-raising measure to help pay for Civil War expenses. The measure created a Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the nation’s first income tax. It levied a 3 percent tax on incomes between $600 and $10,000 and a 5 percent tax on incomes of more than $10,000.

1867 – Heeding public opposition to the income tax, Congress cut the tax rate. From 1868 until 1913, 90 percent of all revenue came from taxes on liquor, beer, wine and tobacco.

1872 – Income tax repealed.

1894 – The Wilson Tariff Act revived the income tax and an income tax division within the Bureau of Internal Revenue was created.

1895 – Supreme Court ruled the new income tax unconstitutional on the grounds that it was a direct tax and not apportioned among the states on the basis of population. The income tax division was disbanded.

1909 – President Taft recommended Congress propose a constitutional amendment that would give the government the power to tax incomes without apportioning the burden among the states in line with population. Congress also levied a 1 percent tax on net corporate incomes of more than $5,000.

1913 – As the threat of war loomed, Wyoming became the 36th and last state needed to ratify the 16th Amendment. The amendment stated, “Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” Later, Congress adopted a 1 percent tax on net personal income of more than $3,000 with a surtax of 6 percent on incomes of more than $500,000. It also repealed the 1909 corporate income tax. The first Form 1040 was introduced.

1918 – The Revenue Act of 1918 raised even greater sums for the World War I effort. It codified all existing tax laws and imposed a progressive income-tax rate structure of up to 77 percent.

1919 – The states ratified the 18th Amendment, barring the manufacture, sale or transport of intoxicating beverages. Congress passed the Volstead Act, which gave the Commissioner of Internal Revenue the primary responsibility for enforcement of Prohibition. Eleven years later, the Department of Justice assumed primary prohibition enforcement duties.

1931 – The IRS Intelligence Unit used an undercover agent to gather evidence against gangster Al Capone. Capone was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years.

1933 – Prohibition repealed. IRS again assumed responsibility for alcohol taxation the following year and for administering the National Firearms Act. Later, tobacco tax enforcement was added.

1942 – The Revenue Act of 1942, hailed by President Roosevelt as “the greatest tax bill in American history,” passed Congress. It increased taxes and the number of Americans subject to the income tax. It also created deductions for medical and investment expenses.

1943 – Congress passed the Current Tax Payment Act, which required employers to withhold taxes from employees’ wages and remit them quarterly.

1944 – Congress passed the Individual Income Tax Act, which created the standard deductions on Form 1040.

1952 – President Truman proposed his Reorganization Plan No. 1, which replaced the patronage system at the IRS with a career civil service system. It also decentralized service to taxpayers and sought to restore public confidence in the agency.

1953 – President Eisenhower endorsed Truman’s reorganization plan and changed the name of the agency from the Bureau of Internal Revenue to the Internal Revenue Service.

1961 – The Computer Age began at IRS with the dedication of the National Computer Center at Martinsburg, W.Va.

1954 – The filing deadline for individual tax returns changed from March 15 to April 15.

1965 – IRS instituted its first toll-free telephone site.

1972 – The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division separated from the IRS to become the independent Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

1974 – Congress passed the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act, which gave regulatory responsibilities for employee benefit plans to the IRS.

1986 – Limited electronic filing began. President Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act, the most significant piece of tax legislation in 30 years. It contained 300 provisions and took three years to implement. The Act codified the federal tax laws for the third time since the Revenue Act of 1918.

1992 – Taxpayers who owed money were allowed to file returns electronically.

1998 – Congress passed the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act, which expanded taxpayer rights and called for reorganizing the agency into four operating divisions aligned according to taxpayer needs.

2000 – IRS enacted reforms, ending its geographic-based structure and instituting four major operating divisions: Wage and Investment, Small Business/Self-Employed, Large and Mid-Size Business and Tax Exempt and Government Entities. It was the most sweeping change at the IRS since the 1953 reorganization.

2001  IRS administered a mid-year tax refund program to provide advance payments of a tax rate reduction.

2003 – IRS administered another mid-year refund program, this time providing an advance payment of an increase in the Child Tax Credit. Electronic filing reached a new high – 52.9 million tax returns, more than 40 percent of all individual returns.

Now the current GOP is raging about the recent bills passed by the house and signed by President Biden. In case you’ve not paid attention or read any of this bill, it provides funding to increase the hiring of IRS personnel and upgrading equipment among other things. The GOP has latched onto the fabricated idea that these taxes will hit the poorest the hardest, this tale has been told before and was untrue then and is untrue now. The tax relief bill put in effect by the former guy took away most of the deductions used by many lower income folks and homeowners while giving tax breaks to the wealthy and big companies (which includes many of our congressional members and their big money backers) with the absurd idea that these tax breaks would allow these companies to give more to the workers, instead these companies took the money and did stock buybacks which increased stock prices while paying stock dividends. How much stock do most people who are at the lower incomes have? The new bill does not increase taxes on the lower income people and the additional IRS personnel will be able to fully examine and find tax cheats while pushing through the simpler returns of the less than wealthy. One thing to know about tax returns: if the numbers work then you are not likely to audited and audits ARE RANDOM unless there is a glaring mistake! Please Do not be pulled into the GOP’s circle of lies.

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There is and will be for a long-time debate on the fate of Afghani’s who assisted the American forces in Afghanistan. The country has reverted to pre-Russian state where the religious right (Taliban) has assumed control. The article below explains exactly what happened and where the blame (if any) lies.MA

Trump’s deal with the Taliban, explained

Analysis by Amber Phillips

Staff writer

August 26, 2021 at 7:27 p.m. EDT

U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, left, and Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s top political leader, shake hands in February 2020 as a peace deal is signed. (Hussein Sayed/AP)

This has been updated with the latest.

With the withdrawal from Afghanistan turning deadly for U.S. troops, President Biden faces new criticism for a situation that he argues presents him few options.

The deal that President Donald Trump cut last year with the Taliban forced Biden to choose between a withdrawal now or an escalation of the war, Biden said Thursday, as he addressed the nation after at least 13 members of the U.S. military were killed in Kabul.

He chose to withdraw.

“I had only one alternative,” he said, “to send thousands more troops back into Afghanistan to fight a war that we had already won, relative to the reason why we went in the first place.”

When the deal was cut in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020, it wasn’t treated as huge news, because the war itself wasn’t big news. So many people don’t actually know its contents.

Here is what’s in it and how it has been perceived.

Biden: ‘These ISIS terrorists will not win’

0:53

President Biden said he had asked for plans to strike ISIS-K assets in light of the Aug. 26 attacks in Kabul that killed civilians and 13 U.S. service members. (Video: The Washington Post)

Why Trump cut the deal

When Trump came into office, he was pretty transparent — he just wanted out of Afghanistan. “Trump had no real sense of what was at stake in the war or why to stay,” writes Georgetown professor Paul Miller in a digestible history of the 20-year war.

So Trump took a swing at something his predecessors hadn’t: a full-bore effort to strike a deal with the Taliban. It took nine rounds of talks over 18 months. At one point, Trump secretly invited the Taliban to the presidential retreat at Camp David on the eve of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But he shut that down — and on Twitter threatened to shut down all talks — after an American service member was killed and there was bipartisan backlash over the invitation.

An image of Trump’s 2019 tweets on the Taliban deal. (Factba.se)

Talks continued in Doha, and in February 2020, Trump announced that there was a deal. The basic contours: The United States was to get out of Afghanistan in 14 months and, in exchange, the Taliban agreed not to let Afghanistan become a haven for terrorists and to stop attacking U.S. service members.

The Taliban also agreed to start peace talks with the Afghan government and consider a cease-fire with the government. (The Taliban had been killing Afghan forces throughout this, attempting to use the violence as leverage in negotiations, U.S. intelligence officials believed.)

The deal laid out an explicit timetable for the United States and NATO to pull out their forces: In the first 100 days or so, they would reduce troops from 14,000 to 8,600 and leave five military bases. Over the next nine months, they would vacate all the rest. “The United States, its allies, and the Coalition will complete withdrawal of all remaining forces from Afghanistan within the remaining nine and a half (9.5) months,” the deal reads. “The United States, its allies, and the Coalition will withdraw all their forces from remaining bases.”

The United States would release 5,000 Taliban prisoners; the Taliban would release 1,000 of its prisoners.

The Taliban’s end of the deal asked a lot from the group — too much to be realistic, critics said. In addition to making sure nowhere in the country harbored a terrorist cell, the Taliban agreed to be responsible for any individual who might want to attack the United States from Afghanistan, including new immigrants to the country.

The Taliban “will send a clear message that those who pose a threat to the security of the United States and its allies have no place in Afghanistan,” the deal read. And the Taliban agreed to “prevent any group or individual in Afghanistan from threatening the security of the United States and its allies, and will prevent them from recruiting, training, and fundraising and will not host them in accordance with the commitments in this agreement.”

This deal required taking the Taliban’s promises on faith.

“I really believe the Taliban wants to do something to show that we’re not all wasting time,” Trump said as he announced the agreement. He added as an aside: “If bad things happen, we’ll go back with a force like no one’s ever seen.”

The deal was a sweet one for the Taliban, critics say

Members of the Taliban delegation in Doha in February 2020 for peace talks with the United States. (Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images)

One gaping problem, say scholars (including some from the Trump administration): The peace agreement came with no enforcement mechanism for the Taliban to keep its word.

The Taliban basically had to sign a pledge saying it wouldn’t harbor terrorists. Nowhere did the Taliban have to — nor did it choose to — denounce al-Qaeda, the terrorist group that launched the 9/11 attacks from Afghanistan, Miller writes.

The biggest tangible commitment from the Taliban looked like this: For seven days before the deal was signed, its leaders significantly reduced their attacks on Afghan forces to show they were capable of controlling the group across the country. But the deal didn’t require that the Taliban stop its attacks against Afghan security forces.

Overall, it was a pretty good deal for the Taliban, critics said. “Trump all but assured the future course of events would reflect the Taliban’s interests far more than the United States,” Miller writes. H.R. McMaster, Trump’s second national security adviser, has recently called it “a surrender agreement with the Taliban.” Another member of Trump’s National Security Council said it was “a very weak agreement.”

As The Fix’s Aaron Blake notes, former Trump officials are suddenly and conspicuously scrambling to distance themselves from that deal.

Cracks in the deal emerge almost immediately

A few months after the agreement was signed, there was plenty of evidence that the Taliban wasn’t as sincere as it appeared about peace. The United Nations said it had evidence that the Taliban and al-Qaeda still had ties. U.S. intelligence warned that al-Qaeda was “integrated” into the Taliban. The Taliban launched dozens of attacks in Afghanistan, ramping up its violence.

“The Taliban views the negotiations as a necessary step to ensure the removal of U.S. and other foreign troops under the U.S.-Taliban agreement, but the Taliban likely does not perceive that it has any obligation to make substantive concessions or compromises,” a U.S. inspector general report read.

It was all enough that when Biden came into office, U.S. officials questioned whether the Taliban was breaking its side of the deal.

But Trump chose to continue taking U.S. troops home

And he had bipartisan support for it.

It’s important to remember that by the time Trump came into office, the public debate about whether to stay in Afghanistan was largely over. Most Americans were done with the war. Even the military realized it couldn’t effect much more change on the current course. “The only way forward was going to be a political agreement,” Mark T. Esper, Trump’s former defense secretary, said recently. “Not a military solution.”

To a number of those who were paying attention, the whole deal felt like a naked attempt to just get out of Afghanistan. It was a campaign promise of Trump’s to be the president who finally ended America’s longest war. It would be something no other president had been able to accomplish.

Before the peace talks really got going, Trump had already started withdrawing thousands of troops, and he fired his defense secretary, Esper, after he wrote a memo disagreeing. (Esper later said that Trump’s withdrawing too many troops too soon contributed to what we see now in Afghanistan.)

Biden criticizes the deal but hews to it

When Biden took over, there were just 3,500 U.S. troops left in the country (from a high of 100,000 during the Obama years). He pushed back the date of the planned withdrawal from May 1 to four months later, but he kept the deal intact. U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

“It’s time to end America’s longest war,” he said.

The Taliban didn’t even wait for the Americans to completely leave before it took over the country in a matter of days. As the world watched Kabul fall, Biden has defended his decision not to stay and fight by saying Trump’s deal required him to either maintain the withdrawal or escalate fighting.

“When I became president, I faced a choice — follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict,” he said in a statement.

On Thursday, he credited the deal for the fact that the Taliban hadn’t attacked Americans during the withdrawal. “The commitment was made by President Trump: I will be out May 1st. In the meantime, you agree not to attack any Americans. That is the deal. That’s why no American was attacked.”

Critics have contended that’s a false choice, noting how many other international agreements of Trump’s that Biden has eschewed or rewritten. But given that Biden shared the goal to withdraw, it left him little leverage to renegotiate with the Taliban.

For both presidents, the peace deal with the Taliban presented a good opportunity to pursue their own agendas with regard to America’s longest war. And neither has seemed particularly regretful about doing so.

“Leaving having proposed a peace effort and then blaming the Afghans for not reaching peace is as good a cover for leaving as any,” said Anthony Cordesman, a Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


 

Analysis by Amber Phillips 

Staff writer 

August 26, 2021 at 7:27 p.m. EDT 

This has been updated with the latest. 

With the withdrawal from Afghanistan turning deadly for U.S. troops, President Biden faces new criticism for a situation that he argues presents him few options. 

The deal that President Donald Trump cut last year with the Taliban forced Biden to choose between a withdrawal now or an escalation of the war, Biden said Thursday, as he addressed the nation after at least 13 members of the U.S. military were killed in Kabul. 

He chose to withdraw. 

“I had only one alternative,” he said, “to send thousands more troops back into Afghanistan to fight a war that we had already won, relative to the reason why we went in the first place.” 

When the deal was cut in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020, it wasn’t treated as huge news, because the war itself wasn’t big news. So many people don’t actually know its contents. 

Here is what’s in it and how it has been perceived.: ‘These ISIS terrorists will not win’ 

0:5 

Why Trump cut the deal 

When Trump came into office, he was pretty transparent — he just wanted out of Afghanistan. “Trump had no real sense of what was at stake in the war or why to stay,” writes Georgetown professor Paul Miller in a digestible history of the 20-year war

So Trump took a swing at something his predecessors hadn’t: a full-bore effort to strike a deal with the Taliban. It took nine rounds of talks over 18 months. At one point, Trump secretly invited the Taliban to the presidential retreat at Camp David on the eve of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But he shut that down — and on Twitter threatened to shut down all talks — after an American service member was killed and there was bipartisan backlash over the invitation. 

Talks continued in Doha, and in February 2020, Trump announced that there was a deal. The basic contours: The United States was to get out of Afghanistan in 14 months and, in exchange, the Taliban agreed not to let Afghanistan become a haven for terrorists and to stop attacking U.S. service members. 

The Taliban also agreed to start peace talks with the Afghan government and consider a cease-fire with the government. (The Taliban had been killing Afghan forces throughout this, attempting to use the violence as leverage in negotiations, U.S. intelligence officials believed.) 

The deal laid out an explicit timetable for the United States and NATO to pull out their forces: In the first 100 days or so, they would reduce troops from 14,000 to 8,600 and leave five military bases. Over the next nine months, they would vacate all the rest. “The United States, its allies, and the Coalition will complete withdrawal of all remaining forces from Afghanistan within the remaining nine and a half (9.5) months,” the deal reads. “The United States, its allies, and the Coalition will withdraw all their forces from remaining bases.” 

The United States would release 5,000 Taliban prisoners; the Taliban would release 1,000 of its prisoners. 

The Taliban’s end of the deal asked a lot from the group — too much to be realistic, critics said. In addition to making sure nowhere in the country harbored a terrorist cell, the Taliban agreed to be responsible for any individual who might want to attack the United States from Afghanistan, including new immigrants to the country. 

The Taliban “will send a clear message that those who pose a threat to the security of the United States and its allies have no place in Afghanistan,” the deal read. And the Taliban agreed to “prevent any group or individual in Afghanistan from threatening the security of the United States and its allies, and will prevent them from recruiting, training, and fundraising and will not host them in accordance with the commitments in this agreement.” 

This deal required taking the Taliban’s promises on faith. 

“I really believe the Taliban wants to do something to show that we’re not all wasting time,” Trump said as he announced the agreement. He added as an aside: “If bad things happen, we’ll go back with a force like no one’s ever seen.” 

One gaping problem, say scholars (including some from the Trump administration): The peace agreement came with no enforcement mechanism for the Taliban to keep its word. 

The Taliban basically had to sign a pledge saying it wouldn’t harbor terrorists. Nowhere did the Taliban have to — nor did it choose to — denounce al-Qaeda, the terrorist group that launched the 9/11 attacks from Afghanistan, Miller writes. 

The biggest tangible commitment from the Taliban looked like this: For seven days before the deal was signed, its leaders significantly reduced their attacks on Afghan forces to show they were capable of controlling the group across the country. But the deal didn’t require that the Taliban stop its attacks against Afghan security forces. 

Overall, it was a pretty good deal for the Taliban, critics said. “Trump all but assured the future course of events would reflect the Taliban’s interests far more than the United States,” Miller writes. H.R. McMaster, Trump’s second national security adviser, has recently called it “a surrender agreement with the Taliban.” Another member of Trump’s National Security Council said it was “a very weak agreement.” 

As The Fix’s Aaron Blake notes, former Trump officials are suddenly and conspicuously scrambling to distance themselves from that deal. 

Cracks in the deal emerge almost immediately 

A few months after the agreement was signed, there was plenty of evidence that the Taliban wasn’t as sincere as it appeared about peace. The United Nations said it had evidence that the Taliban and al-Qaeda still had ties. U.S. intelligence warned that al-Qaeda was “integrated” into the Taliban. The Taliban launched dozens of attacks in Afghanistan, ramping up its violence. 

“The Taliban views the negotiations as a necessary step to ensure the removal of U.S. and other foreign troops under the U.S.-Taliban agreement, but the Taliban likely does not perceive that it has any obligation to make substantive concessions or compromises,” a U.S. inspector general report read. 

It was all enough that when Biden came into office, U.S. officials questioned whether the Taliban was breaking its side of the deal. 

But Trump chose to continue taking U.S. troops home 

And he had bipartisan support for it. 

It’s important to remember that by the time Trump came into office, the public debate about whether to stay in Afghanistan was largely over. Most Americans were done with the war. Even the military realized it couldn’t effect much more change on the current course. “The only way forward was going to be a political agreement,” Mark T. Esper, Trump’s former defense secretary, said recently. “Not a military solution.” 

To a number of those who were paying attention, the whole deal felt like a naked attempt to just get out of Afghanistan. It was a campaign promise of Trump’s to be the president who finally ended America’s longest war. It would be something no other president had been able to accomplish. 

Before the peace talks really got going, Trump had already started withdrawing thousands of troops, and he fired his defense secretary, Esper, after he wrote a memo disagreeing. (Esper later said that Trump’s withdrawing too many troops too soon contributed to what we see now in Afghanistan.) 

Biden criticizes the deal but hews to it 

When Biden took over, there were just 3,500 U.S. troops left in the country (from a high of 100,000 during the Obama years). He pushed back the date of the planned withdrawal from May 1 to four months later, but he kept the deal intact. U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. 

“It’s time to end America’s longest war,” he said. 

The Taliban didn’t even wait for the Americans to completely leave before it took over the country in a matter of days. As the world watched Kabul fall, Biden has defended his decision not to stay and fight by saying Trump’s deal required him to either maintain the withdrawal or escalate fighting. 

“When I became president, I faced a choice — follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict,” he said in a statement. 

On Thursday, he credited the deal for the fact that the Taliban hadn’t attacked Americans during the withdrawal. “The commitment was made by President Trump: I will be out May 1st. In the meantime, you agree not to attack any Americans. That is the deal. That’s why no American was attacked.” 

Critics have contended that’s a false choice, noting how many other international agreements of Trump’s that Biden has eschewed or rewritten. But given that Biden shared the goal to withdraw, it left him little leverage to renegotiate with the Taliban. 

For both presidents, the peace deal with the Taliban presented a good opportunity to pursue their own agendas with regard to America’s longest war. And neither has seemed particularly regretful about doing so. 

“Leaving having proposed a peace effort and then blaming the Afghans for not reaching peace is as good a cover for leaving as any,” said Anthony Cordesman, a Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 

By Amber Phillips 

Amber Phillips explains and analyzes politics and authors The 5-Minute Fix newsletter, a quick analysis of the day’s biggest political news.  Twitter 

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Heather Cox RichardsonAug 4

I have spent the day rereading the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the news of the day has heightened its relevance.

During the Trump administration, after an extensive investigation, the Republican-dominated Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that “the Russian government engaged in an aggressive, multifaceted effort to influence, or attempt to influence, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election…by harming Hillary Clinton’s chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin.” 

But that effort was not just about the election. It was “part of a broader, sophisticated, and ongoing information warfare campaign designed to sow discord in American politics and society…a vastly more complex and strategic assault on the United States than was initially understood…the latest installment in an increasingly brazen interference by the Kremlin on the citizens and democratic institutions of the United States.” It was “a sustained campaign of information warfare against the United States aimed at influencing how this nation’s citizens think about themselves, their government, and their fellow Americans.”

That effort is not limited to foreign nationals. This week, Alex Jones, a purveyor of conspiracy theories and false information on his InfoWars network—the tagline is “There’s a War on For Your Mind!”—is part of a civil trial to determine damages in his defamation of the parents of one of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre in which 26 people, 20 of them small children, were murdered.

Jones claimed that the massacre wasn’t real, and his listeners harassed the grieving families. A number of families sued him. In the case currently in the news, Jones refused for years to comply with orders to hand over documents and evidence, so finally, in September, District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble of Travis County, Texas, issued a default judgment holding him responsible for all damages. Since the judge has repeatedly had to reprimand Jones for lying under oath during this trial, it seems that Jones intended simply to continue spinning a false story of his finances, his business practices, and his actions. 

The construction of a world based on lies is a key component of authoritarians’ takeover of democratic societies. George Orwell’s 1984 explored a world in which those in power use language to replace reality, shaping the past and people’s daily experiences to cement their control. They are constantly reconstructing the past to justify their actions in the present. In Orwell’s dystopian fantasy, Winston Smith’s job is to rewrite history for the Ministry of Truth to reflect the changing interests of a mysterious cult leader, Big Brother, who wants power for its own sake and enforces loyalty through The Party’s propaganda and destruction of those who do not conform. 

Political philosopher Hannah Arendt went further, saying that the lies of an authoritarian were designed not to persuade people, but to organize them into a mass movement. Followers would “believe everything and nothing,” Arendt wrote, “think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.” “The ideal subject” for such a dictator, Arendt wrote, was not those who were committed to an ideology, but rather “people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction…and the distinction between true and false…no longer exist.”

It has been a source of frustration to those eager to return our public debates to ones rooted in reality that lies that have built a certain right-wing personality cannot be punctured because of the constant sowing of confusion around them. Part of why the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has been so effective is that it has carefully built a story out of verifiable facts. Because House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) withdrew the pro-Trump Republicans from the committee, we have not had to deal with the muddying of the water by people like Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), who specializes in bullying and hectoring to get sound bites that later turn up in on right-wing channels in a narrative that mischaracterizes what actually happened.

But today something happened that makes puncturing the bubble of disinformation personal. In the damages trial, the lawyer for the Sandy Hook parents, Mark Bankston, revealed that Jones’s attorney accidentally shared a digital copy of two years’ worth of the texts and emails on Jones’s phone and, when alerted to the error, didn’t declare it privileged. Thus Bankston is reviewing the material and has said that Jones lied under oath. This material includes both texts and financial reports that Jones apparently said didn’t exist.

This is a big deal for the trial, of course—perjury is a crime—and it is a bigger deal for those who have believed InfoWars, since it reveals how profitable the lies have been. Bankston revealed that for all of Jones’s claims of low income, in 2018 InfoWars made between $100,000 and $200,000 a day, and some days they made $800,000. But there is more. People calculating the math will note that if indeed there are two years of records on that phone, the messages will include the weeks around the events of January 6, 2021. 

Adam Rawnsley and Asawin Suebsaeng of Rolling Stone report that the January 6th committee will request the text messages and emails, which should cover the period around January 6. Jones, who has already spoken with the committee, played a role in the events of that day, whipping up supporters and speaking at a rally on January 5. He is also close to Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers, who appeared often on Jones’s InfoWars show and provided Jones’s security. When he testified before the committee, Jones invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 100 times.

The January 6 insurrection relied on the Big Lie that Donald Trump had won the 2020 election, a lie that has dramatically destabilized our country. Republicans have only deepened their commitment to that lie since January 6. After yesterday’s Republican primaries, in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, all key states for 2024, election deniers have clinched the Republican nomination for secretary of state—the person in charge of elections—or the governor who would appoint that officer. 

In Arizona, Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake claimed there was fraud in her election, without evidence and even before the votes had been counted. “I’m gonna go supernova radioactive,” she told supporters. “We’re not gonna let them steal an election.” (Lake’s election is still unresolved as ballots are being counted.) 

If indeed Jones’s phone turns out to have key texts that go to the January 6 committee, it might provide more facts that will help to diminish the Big Lie. Tonight another piece of information about that lie came from Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater, who reported in the New York Times that John Eastman, the lawyer who produced the memo explaining the plan to have then–vice president Mike Pence overturn the 2020 presidential election, told Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani that they must continue to fight even after January 6, suggesting they contest Georgia’s election of Jon Ossoff and the Reverend Raphael Warnock to the Senate in the hope that those races might yield the evidence of voter fraud that until then they hadn’t found. “A lot of us have now staked our reputations on the claims of election fraud, and this would be a way to gather proof,” he wrote.

Eastman also asked Giuliani to help him collect a $270,000 fee from the Trump campaign for his work on overturning the election, and he implied that the effort could be ongoing. 

Way back in 2004, an advisor to President George W. Bush told journalist Ron Suskind that people like Suskind were in “the reality-based community”: they believed people could find solutions based on their observations and careful study of discernible reality. But, the aide continued, such a worldview was obsolete. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore…. We are an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

I wonder if reality is starting to reassert itself.

Notes:

emptywheel @emptywheelThis explains how the Sandy Hook team got Alex Jones’ phone. dan solomon @dansolomonAlso here is what happened with Alex Jones’s cell phone, according to Mark Bankston: the phone’s contents were put in a Dropbox folder the two parties had been to using to exchange materials roughly ten days agoAugust 3rd 2022113 Retweets379 Likes

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/gop-candidates-just-cant-stop-lying-about-elections-even-when-theyre-winning

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/08/03/alex-jones-sandy-hook-phone/

The Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate on Russian Active Measures, Campaigns, and Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election, Volume 2: Russia’s Use of Social Media, pp. 3-12. 

Joyce Alene @JoyceWhiteVanceAlex Jones took the 5th more than 100 times when he testified in front of the January 6 Cmte. Imagines what’s in his text messages, which are likely to land in the hands of committee investigators & DOJ promptly.August 3rd 20225,511 Retweets31,683 Likes

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Ivana Trump’s Burial Place May Have Landed Donald Trump These Huge Tax Breaks

  •  

Kristyn Burtt

Mon, August 1, 2022 at 10:54 AM·2 min read

Ivana Trump’s death has taken a strange turn now that it’s been revealed that she’s buried by the first hole of Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The reason why she’s there suddenly makes sense because we all know Donald Trump loves a good deal, and he’s possibly getting one by creating a cemetery on his property.

Thanks to New Jersey’s unique tax code, “land dedicated to cemetery purposes owned by any person shall be exempt from all taxes, rates or assessments.” So by burying Ivana on the golf course, the former president can take advantage of that cemetery loophole — and make it look like he took care of his first wife at the end of her life. He’s always working an angle. The news is just enough to make any tax expert “skeptical” that someone would do that, but Dartmouth College’s Professor of Sociology Brooke Harrington looked into the situation.

She tweeted, “As a tax researcher, I was skeptical of rumors Trump buried his ex-wife in that sad little plot of dirt on his Bedminster, NJ golf course just for tax breaks. So I checked the NJ tax code & folks…it’s a trifecta of tax avoidance. Property, income & sales tax, all eliminated.” Harrington added a snapshot of Ivana’s grave with the outline of freshly dug dirt, white flowers, and a small, engraved marker with her name and date of birth and death — no headstone or sentimental note about her being a loving mother to three kids. It’s a stark comparison to her very glamorous Manhattan life in the 1980s.

The college professor also added some personal thoughts to her thread that vocalized what many people were thinking after seeing such a sad grave alone on a golf course. “I couldn’t believe her 3 kids–whom she apparently loved & who loved her–would allow their father to treat their mother like this,” she wrote. “Burying Ivana in little more than a pauper’s grave disgraces them all.” It seems like Ivana was outside the Trump inner circle after her divorce from Donald Trump — and they aren’t letting her forget that even in death.

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