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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Trump Had Role in Weighing Proposals to Seize Voting Machines - The New York Times

Trump Had Role in Weighing Proposals to Seize Voting Machines

MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT Luke Broadwater Maggie Haberman,  Alan Feuer,  
The New York Times

New accounts show that the former president was more directly involved than previously known in plans developed by outside advisers to use national security agencies to seek evidence of fraud.

Credit...Al Drago for The New York Times

By and

Six weeks after Election Day, with his hold on power slipping, President Donald J. Trump directed his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to make a remarkable call. Mr. Trump wanted him to ask the Department of Homeland Security if it could legally take control of voting machines in key swing states, three people familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Giuliani did so, calling the department’s acting deputy secretary, who said he lacked the authority to audit or impound the machines.

Mr. Trump pressed Mr. Giuliani to make that inquiry after rejecting a separate effort by his outside advisers to have the Pentagon take control of the machines. And the outreach to the Department of Homeland Security came not long after Mr. Trump, in an Oval Office meeting with Attorney General William P. Barr, raised the possibility of whether the Justice Department could seize the machines, a previously undisclosed suggestion that Mr. Barr immediately shot down.

The new accounts show that Mr. Trump was more directly involved than previously known in exploring proposals to use his national security agencies to seize voting machines as he grasped unsuccessfully for evidence of fraud that would help him reverse his defeat in the 2020 election, according to people familiar with the episodes.

The existence of proposals to use at least three federal departments to assist Mr. Trump’s attempt to stay in power has been publicly known. The proposals involving the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security were codified by advisers in the form of draft executive orders.

But the new accounts provide fresh insight into how the former president considered and to some degree pushed the plans, which would have taken the United States into uncharted territory by using federal authority to seize control of the voting systems run by states on baseless grounds of widespread voting fraud.

The people familiar with the matter were briefed on the events by participants or had firsthand knowledge of them.

The accounts about the voting machines emerged after a weekend when Mr. Trump declared at a rally in Texas that he might pardon people charged in connection with the storming of the Capitol last Jan. 6 if he were re-elected. In a statement issued after the rally, Mr. Trump also suggested that his vice president, Mike Pence, could have personally “overturned the election” by refusing to count delegates to the Electoral College who had vowed to cast their votes for Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The new information helps to flesh out how the draft executive orders to seize voting machines came into existence and points in particular to the key role played by a retired Army colonel named Phil Waldron.

According to people familiar with the accounts, Mr. Waldron, shortly after the election, began telling associates that he had found irregularities in vote results that he felt were suggestive of fraud. He then came up with the idea of having a federal agency like the military or the Department of Homeland Security confiscate the machines to preserve evidence.

Mr. Waldron first proposed the notion of the Pentagon’s involvement to Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, whom he says he served with in the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The plans were among an array of options that were placed before Mr. Trump in the tumultuous days and weeks that followed the election, developed by an ad hoc group of lawyers like Sidney Powell and other allies including Mr. Flynn and Mr. Waldron. That group often found itself at odds with Mr. Giuliani and his longtime associate Bernard Kerik, as well as with Mr. Trump’s White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, and his team.

Around the same time that Mr. Trump brought up the possibility of having the Justice Department seize the voting machines, for example, he also tried to persuade state lawmakers in contested states like Michigan and Pennsylvania to use local law enforcement agencies to take control of them, people familiar with the matter said. The state lawmakers refused to go along with the plan.

The meeting with Mr. Barr took place in mid- to late November when Mr. Trump raised the idea of whether the Justice Department could be used to seize machines, according to two people familiar with the matter. Mr. Trump told Mr. Barr that his lawyers had told him that the department had the power to seize machines as evidence of fraud.

Mr. Trump mentioned a specific state that had used machines built by Dominion Voting Systems, where his lawyers believed there had been fraud, although it is unclear which state Mr. Trump was referring to. Mr. Barr, who had been briefed extensively at that point by federal law enforcement officials about how the theories being pushed by Mr. Trump’s legal team about the Dominion machines were unfounded, told Mr. Trump that the Justice Department had no basis for seizing the machines because there was no probable cause to believe a crime had been committed.

It was only after several early options were exhausted that Mr. Waldron pitched the idea of using other parts of the federal government to seize the machines to both Mr. Giuliani and members of the Trump legal team, and to Mr. Flynn and his own associates, including Ms. Powell and Patrick Byrne, a wealthy business executive who funded many of the efforts to challenge the election.


Mr. Waldron, who owns a bar and distillery outside Austin, Texas, was previously best known for having circulated a 38-page PowerPoint presentation to lawmakers and White House aides that was filled with extreme plans to overturn the election.

Mr. Giuliani was vehemently opposed to the idea of the military taking part in the seizure of machines, according to two people familiar with the matter. The conflict between him and his legal team, and Mr. Flynn, Ms. Powell and Mr. Byrne came to a dramatic head on Dec. 18, 2020, during a meeting with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office.

At the meeting, Mr. Flynn and Ms. Powell presented Mr. Trump with a copy of the draft executive order authorizing the military to oversee the seizure of machines. After reading it, Mr. Trump summoned Mr. Giuliani to the Oval Office, according to one person familiar with the matter. When Mr. Giuliani read the draft order, he told Mr. Trump that the military could be used only if there was clear-cut evidence of foreign interference in the election.

Ms. Powell, who had spent the past month filing lawsuits claiming that China and other countries had hacked into voting machines, said she had such evidence, the person said. But Mr. Giuliani was adamant that the military should not be mobilized, the person said, and Mr. Trump ultimately heeded his advice.

Shortly after the Oval Office meeting, Mr. Waldron amended the draft executive order, suggesting that if the Defense Department could not oversee the seizure of machines then the Department of Homeland Security could, the person said.

Around that time, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Giuliani to call Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the acting deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, to ask about the viability of the proposal, according to two people familiar with the matter. Mr. Cuccinelli said that homeland security officials could not take part in the plan.

All of this was playing out amid open acrimony among White House aides and outside advisers about how best — and how far — to proceed with efforts to pursue Mr. Trump’s claims of fraud in the election. That same month, during a meeting on another matter, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Cuccinelli what he thought of appointing a special counsel to investigate election fraud. Mr. Cuccinelli, according to two people briefed on the conversation, said it was not a good idea for a variety of reasons.

When Mr. Flynn, Ms. Powell and Mr. Byrne arrived at the White House to discuss their plan to use the military to seize voting machines, they were not let into the Oval Office by a typical gatekeeper, like Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff. Rather, they were escorted in by Garrett Ziegler, a young aide to another Trump adviser, Peter Navarro, according to Mr. Ziegler’s account.

“I waved in General Flynn and Sidney Powell on the Friday night of the 18th — for which Mark Meadows’s office revoked my guest privileges,” Mr. Ziegler said on a podcast, adding that he had done so because he was “frustrated with the current counsel” Mr. Trump was getting.

Even Mr. Giuliani, who had spent weeks peddling some of the most outrageous claims about election fraud, felt that the idea of bringing in the military was beyond the pale.

After Mr. Flynn and Ms. Powell left the Oval Office, according to a person familiar with the matter, Mr. Giuliani predicted that the plans they were proposing were going to get Mr. Trump impeached."

Trump Had Role in Weighing Proposals to Seize Voting Machines - The New York Times

Covid was the leading cause of death among US law enforcement in 2021.


The Republican coup is ongoing. The only question is what will Americans do about it?


18 U.S. Code § 2101 - Riots | U.S. Code | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute. Trump has repeatedly violated this federal statute. Where are the charges?

Trump has repeatedly violated this federal statute.  Where are the charges?

"18 U.S. Code § 2101 - Riots
(a) Whoever travels in interstate or foreign commerce or uses any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including, but not limited to, the mail, telegraph, telephone, radio, or television, with intent—
to incite a riot; or
to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot; or
to commit any act of violence in furtherance of a riot; or
to aid or abet any person in inciting or participating in or carrying on a riot or committing any act of violence in furtherance of a riot;
and who either during the course of any such travel or use or thereafter performs or attempts to perform any other overt act for any purpose specified in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of this paragraph— [1]
Shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

In any prosecution under this section, proof that a defendant engaged or attempted to engage in one or more of the overt acts described in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) [2] and (1) has traveled in interstate or foreign commerce, or (2) has use of or used any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including but not limited to, mail, telegraph, telephone, radio, or television, to communicate with or broadcast to any person or group of persons prior to such overt acts, such travel or use shall be admissible proof to establish that such defendant traveled in or used such facility of interstate or foreign commerce.
A judgment of conviction or acquittal on the merits under the laws of any State shall be a bar to any prosecution hereunder for the same act or acts.

Whenever, in the opinion of the Attorney General or of the appropriate officer of the Department of Justice charged by law or under the instructions of the Attorney General with authority to act, any person shall have violated this chapter, the Department shall proceed as speedily as possible with a prosecution of such person hereunder and with any appeal which may lie from any decision adverse to the Government resulting from such prosecution.

Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to make it unlawful for any person to travel in, or use any facility of, interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of pursuing the legitimate objectives of organized labor, through orderly and lawful means.

Nothing in this section shall be construed as indicating an intent on the part of Congress to prevent any State, any possession or Commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia, from exercising jurisdiction over any offense over which it would have jurisdiction in the absence of this section; nor shall anything in this section be construed as depriving State and local law enforcement authorities of responsibility for prosecuting acts that may be violations of this section and that are violations of State and local law.".

18 U.S. Code § 2101 - Riots | U.S. Code | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute

Georgia DA asks for FBI help after Trump speech. Charge and arrest Donald Trump!

'He must be kidding': Lawmaker reacts after Trump goes after Pence. When will Trump be prosecuted. I am sick of the double standard. A kid gets arrested in some placers for a blunt and a politician incites a coup d’etat and after a year he is still walking wherever he chooses. American justice is not and has never been blind.

Judge asks why Trump was silent during riot

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Sympathy For Joe Biden

Opinion | What the Battle Over Banning Books Is Really About - The New York Times

My Young Mind Was Disturbed by a Book. It Changed My Life.

Delcan & Co.

By Viet Thanh Nguyen

"Mr. Nguyen is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Sympathizer” and the children’s book “Chicken of the Sea,” written with his then 5-year-old son, Ellison.

When I was 12 or 13 years old, I was not prepared for the racism, the brutality or the sexual assault in Larry Heinemann’s 1974 novel, “Close Quarters.”

Mr. Heinemann, a combat veteran of the war in Vietnam, wrote about a nice, average American man who goes to war and becomes a remorseless killer. In the book’s climax, the protagonist and other nice, average American soldiers gang-rape a Vietnamese prostitute they call Claymore Face.

As a Vietnamese American teenager, it was horrifying for me to realize that this was how some Americans saw Vietnamese people — and therefore me. I returned the book to the library, hating both it and Mr. Heinemann.

Here’s what I didn’t do: I didn’t complain to the library or petition the librarians to take the book off the shelves. Nor did my parents. It didn’t cross my mind that we should ban “Close Quarters” or any of the many other books, movies and TV shows in which racist and sexist depictions of Vietnamese and other Asian people appear.

Instead, years later, I wrote my own novel about the same war, “The Sympathizer.”

While working on it, I reread “Close Quarters.” That’s when I realized I’d misconstrued Mr. Heinemann’s intentions. He wasn’t endorsing what he depicted. He wanted to show that war brutalized soldiers, as well as the civilians caught in their path. The novel was a damning indictment of American warfare and the racist attitudes held by some nice, average Americans that led to slaughter and rape. Mr. Heinemann revealed America’s heart of darkness. He didn’t offer readers the comfort of a way out by editorializing or sentimentalizing or humanizing Vietnamese people, because in the mind of the book’s narrator and his fellow soldiers, the Vietnamese were not human.

In the United States, the battle over books is heating up, with some politicians and parents demanding the removal of certain books from libraries and school curriculums. Just in the last week, we saw reports of a Tennessee school board that voted to ban Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, “Maus,” from classrooms, and a mayor in Mississippi who is withholding $110,000 in funding from his city’s library until it removes books depicting L.G.B.T.Q. people. Those seeking to ban books argue that these stories and ideas can be dangerous to young minds — like mine, I suppose, when I picked up Mr. Heinemann’s novel.

Books can indeed be dangerous. Until “Close Quarters,” I believed stories had the power to save me. That novel taught me that stories also had the power to destroy me. I was driven to become a writer because of the complex power of stories. They are not inert tools of pedagogy. They are mind-changing, world-changing.

But those who seek to ban books are wrong no matter how dangerous books can be. Books are inseparable from ideas, and this is really what is at stake: the struggle over what a child, a reader and a society are allowed to think, to know and to question. A book can open doors and show the possibility of new experiences, even new identities and futures.

Book banning doesn’t fit neatly into the rubrics of left and right politics. Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” has been banned at various pointsbecause of Twain’s prolific use of a racial slur, among other things. Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” has been banned before and is being threatened again — in one case after a mother complained that the book gave her son nightmares. To be sure, “Beloved” is an upsetting novel. It depicts infanticide, rape, bestiality, torture and lynching. But coming amid a movement to oppose critical race theory — or rather a caricature of critical race theory — it seems clear that the latest attempts to suppress this masterpiece of American literature are less about its graphic depictions of atrocity than about the book’s insistence that we confront the brutality of slavery.

Here’s the thing: If we oppose banning some books, we should oppose banning any book. If our society isn’t strong enough to withstand the weight of difficult or challenging — and even hateful or problematic — ideas, then something must be fixed in our society. Banning books is a shortcut that sends us to the wrong destination.

As Ray Bradbury depicted in “Fahrenheit 451,” another book often targeted by book banners, book burning is meant to stop people from thinking, which makes them easier to govern, to control and ultimately to lead into war. And once a society acquiesces to burning books, it tends to soon see the need to burn the people who love books.

And loving books is really the point — not reading them to educate oneself or become more conscious or politically active (which can be extra benefits). I could recommend “Fahrenheit 451” because of its edifying political and ethical dimensions or argue that reading this novel is good for you, but that really misses the point. The book gets us to care about politics and ethics by making us care about a man who burns books for a living and who has a life-changing crisis about his awful work. That man and his realization could be any of us.

It’s not only books that depict horror, war or totalitarianism that worry would-be book banners. They sometimes see danger in empathy. This appeared to be the fear that led a Texas school district to cancel the appearance of the graphic novelist Jerry Craft and pull his books temporarily from library shelves last fall. In Mr. Craft’s Newbery Medal-winning book, “New Kid,” and its sequel, Black middle-schoolers navigate social and academic life at a private school where there are very few students of color. “The books don’t come out and say we want white children to feel like oppressors, but that is absolutely what they will do,” the parent who started the petition to cancel Mr. Craft’s event said. (Mr. Craft’s invitation for a virtual visit was rescheduled and his books were reinstated soon after.)

Mr. Craft’s protagonist in “New Kid” is a sweet, shy, comics-loving kid. And it’s his relatability that makes him seem so dangerous to some white parents. The historian and law professor Annette Gordon-Reed argued on Twitter that parents who object to books such as “New Kid” “don’t want their kids to empathize with the black characters. They know their kids will do this instinctively. They don’t want to give them the opportunity to do that.” The historian Kevin Kruse went a step further, tweeting, “If you’re worried your children will read a book and have no choice but to identify with the villains in it, well … maybe that’s something you need to work through on your own.”

Those who ban books seem to want to circumscribe empathy, reserving it for a limited circle closer to the kind of people they perceive themselves to be. Against this narrowing of empathy, I believe in the possibility and necessity of expanding empathy — and the essential role that books such as “New Kid” play in that. If it’s possible to hate and fear those we have never met, then it’s possible to love those we have never met. Both options, hate and love, have political consequences, which is why some seek to expand our access to books and others to limit them.

These dilemmas aren’t just political; they’re also deeply personal and intimate. Now, as a father of a precocious 8-year-old reader, I have to think about what books I bring into our home. My son loves Hergé’s Tintin comic books, which I introduced him to because I loved them as a child. I didn’t notice Hergé’s racist and colonialist attitudes then, from the paternalistic depiction of Tintin’s Chinese friend Chang in “The Blue Lotus” to the Native American warriors wearing headdresses and wielding tomahawks in the 1930s of “Tintin in America.” Even if I had noticed, I had no one with whom I could talk about these books. My son does. We enjoy the adventures of the boy reporter and his fluffy white dog together, but as we read, I point out the books’ racism against most nonwhite characters, and particularly their atrocious depictions of Black Africans. Would it be better that he not see these images, or is it better that he does?

I err on the side of the latter and try to model what I think our libraries and schools should be doing. I make sure he has access to many other stories of the peoples that Hergé misrepresented, and I offer context with our discussions. These are not always easy conversations. And perhaps that’s the real reason some people want to ban books that raise complicated issues: They implicate and discomfort the adults, not the children. By banning books, we also ban difficult dialogues and disagreements, which children are perfectly capable of having and which are crucial to a democracy. I have told him that he was born in the United States because of a complicated history of French colonialism and American warfare that brought his grandparents and parents to this country. Perhaps we will eventually have less war, less racism, less exploitation if our children can learn how to talk about these things.

For these conversations to be robust, children have to be interested enough to want to pick up the book in the first place. Children’s literature is increasingly diverse and many books now raise these issues, but some of them are hopelessly ruined by good intentions. I don’t find piousness and pedagogy interesting in art, and neither do children. Hergé’s work is deeply flawed, and yet riveting narratively and aesthetically. I have forgotten all the well-intentioned, moralistic children’s literature that I have read, but I haven’t forgotten Hergé.

Books should not be consumed as good for us, like the spinach and cabbage my son pushes to the side of his plate. “I like reading short stories,” a reader once said to me. “They’re like potato chips. I can’t stop with one.” That’s the attitude to have. I want readers to crave books as if they were a delicious, unhealthy treat, like the chili-lime chips my son gets after he eats his carrots and cucumbers.

Read “Fahrenheit 451” because its gripping story will keep you up late, even if you have an early morning. Read “Beloved,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “Close Quarters” and “The Adventures of Tintin” because they are indelible, sometimes uncomfortable and always compelling.

We should value that magnetic quality. To compete with video games, streaming video and social media, books must be thrilling, addictive, thorny and dangerous. If those qualities sometimes get books banned, it’s worth noting that sometimes banning a book can increase its sales.

I know my parents would have been shocked if they knew the content of the books I was reading: Philip Roth’s “Portnoy’s Complaint,” for instance, which was banned in Australia from 1969 to 1971. I didn’t pick up this quintessential American novel, or any other, because I thought reading it would be good for me. I was looking for stories that would thrill me and confuse me, as “Portnoy’s Complaint” did. For decades afterward, all I remembered of the novel was how the young Alexander Portnoy masturbated with anything he could get his hands on, including a slab of liver. After consummating his affair with said liver, Alex returned it to the fridge. Blissfully ignorant, the Portnoy family dined on the violated liver later that night. Gross!

Who eats liver for dinner?

As it turns out, my family. Roth’s book was a bridge across cultures for me. Even though Vietnamese refugees differ from Jewish Americans, I recognized some of our obsessions in Roth’s Jewish American world, with its ambitions for upward mobility and assimilation, its pronounced “ethnic” features and its sense of a horrifying history not far behind. I empathized. And I could see some of myself in the erotically obsessed Portnoy — so much so that I paid tribute to Roth by having the narrator of “The Sympathizer” abuse a squid in a masturbatory frenzy and then eat it later with his mother. (“The Sympathizer” has not been banned outright in Vietnam, but I’ve faced enormous hurdles while trying to have it published there. It’s clear to me that this is because of its depiction of the war and its aftermath, not the sexy squid.)

Banning is an act of fear — the fear of dangerous and contagious ideas. The best, and perhaps most dangerous, books deliver these ideas in something just as troubling and infectious: a good story.

So it was with somewhat mixed feelings that I learned some American high school teachers assign “The Sympathizer” as required reading in their classes. For the most part, I’m delighted. But then I worry: I don’t want to be anyone’s homework. I don’t want my book to be broccoli.

I was reassured, however, when a first-year college student approached me at an event to tell me she had read my novel in high school.

“Honestly,” she said, “all I remember is when the sympathizer has sex with a squid.”

Mission accomplished.

Viet Thanh Nguyen is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Sympathizer” and the children’s book “Chicken of the Sea,” written with his then 5-year-old son, Ellison, among other books.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email:"

Opinion | What the Battle Over Banning Books Is Really About - The New York Times

New Ad Calls Out GOP Leaders' Hypocrisy Over Jan 6

Susan Collins gives JAW-DROPPING response to supporting Trump in 2024. This is incredibly dumb.

Grisham says Trump held secret meetings prior to January 6

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Kyrsten Sinema: A Pain In The Butt For Years

'Embarrassment': Taylor Greene criticized by call-in listeners as guest ...

Natalia Veselnitskaya, Trump Tower Lawyer, Accused of Brand New Crime in Leaked Docs

Trump Tower Lawyer Veselnitskaya Accused of Brand New Crime in Leaked Docs

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

"LONDON—Trump Tower lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya has been accused of an elaborate new plot to pervert the course of justice.

Veselnitskaya, the pro-Kremlin lawyer who attended the notorious 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, allegedly doctored official documents, according to leaked files viewed by The Daily Beast.

The lawyer, who was tasked with pushing one of President Vladimir Putin’s most cherished propaganda campaigns in the U.S., has already been indicted on obstruction of justice charges by prosecutors for the Southern District of New York.

New documents allege that Veselnitskaya or her team may have employed a similar strategy to tamper with supposedly independent evidence submitted to a court in a related case in Switzerland, where Veselnitskaya’s clients—Denis Katsyv and his company Prevezon—were at the center of a massive tax fraud and money-laundering investigation that was dropped last year.

“Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer of a major suspect in the Swiss case, has been editing the testimony directly obstructing justice in the Swiss criminal case,” claims a document laying out new evidence submitted to the Federal Criminal Court of Switzerland, which has been seen by The Daily Beast.

The court filing by Hermitage Capital—who the Russian government blames for the fraud—includes emails obtained by the Dossier Center, an anti-corruption organization based in London, which appear to show that formal evidence from the Russian state in the case against Veselnitskaya’s client was not independently produced, as Moscow had claimed.

The metadata on one crucial Word document handed over by the Prosecutor General’s office in Moscow shows that one of the editors of the report was an account in the name of “Veselnitskaya N.V.”

Metadata on a second Word document—also obtained by the Dossier Center—showed that the file was authored by someone called “Natalia” and then edited by an account called “Mitusova N.A.” Natalia Alexandrovna Mitusova is the name of Veselnitskaya’s step-daughter and a former colleague from when they both worked at the law firm Camerton Consulting.

The second document, seen by The Daily Beast, was the translation of a supposedly independent investigator’s report commissioned by Russian officials, which became a key piece of evidence in the case. Neither Veselnitskaya nor Mitusova responded to a request for comment.

U.S. prosecutors indicted Veselnitskaya in January 2019 over similar allegations. They claim she secretly worked with the Russian Prosecutor General’s office to draft a document which was shared with the U.S. under the mutual legal assistance treaty. The document in question purported to show that an independent Russian investigation had found Veselnitskaya’s client had nothing to do with the money laundering they had been accused of in a New York court.

U.S. prosecutors obtained emails, however, which showed that Veselnitskaya was in touch with one of the officials in the department via email. Examination of the Word documents they shared showed that Veselnitskaya made crucial revisions to the document using the track-changes feature.

The document—with Veselnitskaya’s changes incorporated—was submitted to U.S. prosecutors by the authorities in Moscow, proving just how closely the Trump Tower lawyer was working with the Russian state.

When it emerged that Don Jr., Kushner and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, had met Veselnitskaya in 2016 to discuss damaging information she might have on Hillary Clinton, it was claimed that the Moscow lawyer had no ties to Putin’s government.

In fact, she was pushing one of his pet projects: the overturning of the Magnitsky Act. The anti-corruption legislation, signed by President Obama in 2012, was named in honor of Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered a $230 million fraud before he was jailed by the Russian authorities, mistreated and left to die.

The Magnitsky Act placed sanctions on people accused of covering up that fraud and laundering the proceeds as well as providing a mechanism to sanction corrupt individuals in Russia and beyond. Magnitsky-style legislation has since been passed in the European Union and eight countries around the world, most recently including Australia.

Katsyv and his company Prevezon have been accused by U.S. prosecutors of helping to launder the proceeds of that massive fraud, which they deny.

The Swiss authorities froze assets worth around $8 million related to the alleged fraud a decade ago but they made a decision to return the majority of the money last year despite full knowledge that their investigation had been compromised by Russia.

A consultant to the Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office, named in court as Victor K, was sacked after allegations of bribery and “unauthorized clandestine behavior” which included secret meetings with Veselnitskaya. The former anti-corruption policeman was also helicoptered to a bear hunting trip in Russia’s Far East. He took another luxury trip to Russia along with Swiss prosecutor Patrick Lamon and Switzerland’s attorney general Michael Lauber. The three of them were photographed enjoying a boat trip on the Baikal with senior Russian officials.

Despite the utter humiliation of the Swiss justice system, the court still decided to return the Russian money in a ruling in July 2021. New allegations of Russian interference are likely to be submitted as part of an ongoing appeal against that ruling. If the appeal is successful, the funds would not be returned.

It is already alleged in the court papers submitted on January 17, 2022—first reported by Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger—that Veselnitskaya edited the transcript of an interview carried out in Moscow by Victor K and Lamon, which took place at the Prosecutor General’s office. That official transcript was handed to the Swiss prosecutors.

The submission to the court was made by Hermitage Capital, which is owned by U.S.-born businessman Bill Browder. The Russian government has claimed—without foundation—that Browder and Magnitsky were really the men behind the fraud.

Further emails uncovered by Dossier Center now appear to show that someone with the name of Veselnitskaya’s step-daughter may also have been involved in the drafting of another document. This one purported to contain the independent testimony of an expert witness in Russia who argued it was impossible to trace the allegedly laundered funds which found their way into Prevezon accounts.

The supposedly independent testimony of Edward Shakirov was sent for translation by Veselnitskaya’s assistant in October 2015, according to leaked emails. Metadata on the resulting document was edited by someone using the name of Veselnitskaya’s step-daughter, Mitusova.

A copy of that translated testimony was then sent through to the Swiss authorities by Russian officials in December of that year.

This evidence appeared to really strike a chord with the Swiss authorities, since the prosecutor’s closing order mentioned Shakirov’s name 15 times.

A federal judge is expected to rule soon on whether the case should be re-opened and sent back to the prosecutors for further investigation."

Natalia Veselnitskaya, Trump Tower Lawyer, Accused of Brand New Crime in Leaked Docs

GOP senator criticized for remark about Biden's SCOTUS pick

Amid omicron wave, some ignore the pandemic as hospitals are packed - The Washington Post

Amid omicron wave, some ignore the pandemic as hospitals are packed - The Washington Post

Friday, January 28, 2022

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 14 Republicans tied to fake elector push

Billionaire Republican backer donates to Manchin after he killed key Biden bill | Joe Manchin | The Guardian

Billionaire Republican backer donates to Manchin after he killed key Biden bill

"Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone, author of I Love Capitalism!, said of the Democratic senator: ‘Thank God for Joe Manchin’

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia received the maximum permissible donation of $5,000 each from the Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone and his wife.
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia received the maximum permissible donation of $5,000 each from the Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone and his wife. Photograph: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Rex/Shutterstock

A billionaire Republican donor and Trump supporter donated the maximum allowed amount to Joe Manchin after the West Virginia Democrat sank Joe Biden’s signature domestic spending plan.

The Build Back Better plan sought to boost health and social care, and to help combat the climate crisis, at a price tag of $1.75tn.

Manchin, one of two key swing votes in the 50-50 Senate, used a Fox News Sunday interview in December to say he was finally a “no” on the legislation.

The move appeared to surprise Biden, and enraged progressives, but Ken Langone was presumably delighted.

The co-founder of Home Depot and author of a 2018 book called I Love Capitalism! had signaled his support for Manchin before the senator made his move on Build Back Better.

“I don’t see leadership any place in this country. Thank God for Joe Manchin,” Langone told CNBC in November. “I’m going to have one of the biggest fundraisers I’ve ever had for him. He’s special. He’s precious. He’s a great American.”

Manchin voted for Biden’s earlier Covid relief and stimulus package, as well as for a bipartisan infrastructure bill, but helped to water down both.

In December, shortly after Manchin torpedoed Biden’s flagship legislation, Langone and his wife each gave $5,000 to Manchin’s Country Roads political action committee, CNBC reported. The amount is the most any individual can give in a year.

CNBC also listed donations from major corporations that helped Country Roads raise more than $150,000 more in December than it did in November.

Manchin is next up for re-election in 2024. As the only Democrat in a high office in West Virginia, he holds outsized power in the evenly divided Senate – a position that would change if Republicans take back the chamber in November.

Langone has contributed to Democrats but predominantly supports Republicans. He backed Trump in 2016, and continued to support him throughout Trump’s tenure in the White House, though he chided him over the Capitol riot.

CNBC reported that Langone has recently made much larger donations than to Manchin, including $1m to a fund that works to defeat Democratic senators and half a million dollars to Americans for Prosperity Action, a group backed by the hard-right Koch family.

In his book I Love Capitalism!, Langone writes of his fear of socialism in the US, a fear stoked by the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders’s run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

Some young Americans, Langone says, think the US “should be headed toward something that, in my mind, resembles socialism: guaranteed income. Free college tuition. Single-payer healthcare.

“I disagree. Strongly.”

He also writes that he disagrees “not (as you might believe) because I’m a rich guy trying to hold on to my money. I disagree because socialism is based on the false notion that we should all be exactly equal in every single way.”

Neither Langone nor Manchin immediately responded to requests for comment."

Billionaire Republican backer donates to Manchin after he killed key Biden bill | Joe Manchin | The Guardian

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We Still Can’t See American Slavery for What It Was - By Jamelle Bouie The New York Times

We Still Can’t See American Slavery for What It Was

“After nearly 10 years as physical media, SlaveVoyages was introduced to the public as a website in 2008 and then relaunched in 2019 with a new interface and even more detail. As it stands today, the site, funded primarily by grants, contains data sets on various aspects of the slave trade: a database on the trans-Atlantic trade with more than 36,000 entries, a database containing entries on voyages that took place within the Americas and a database with the personal details of more than 95,000 enslaved Africans found on these ships.

The newest addition to SlaveVoyages is a data set that documents the “coastwise” traffic to New Orleans during the antebellum years of 1820 to 1860, when it was the largest slave-trading market in the country. The 1807 law that forbade the importation of enslaved Africans to the United States also required any captain of a coastwise vessel with enslaved people on board to file, at departure and on arrival, a manifest listing those individuals by name.

Countless enslaved Africans arrived at ports up and down the coast of the United States, but the largest share were sent to New Orleans. This new data set draws from roughly 4,000 “slave manifests” to document the traffic to that port. Those manifests list more than 63,000 captives, including names and physical descriptions, as well as information on an individual’s owner and information on the vessel and its captain.

Because of its specificity with regard to individual enslaved people, this new information is as pathbreaking for lay researchers and genealogists as it is for scholars and historians. It is also, for me, an opportunity to think about the difficult ethical questions that surround this work: How exactly do we relate to data that allows someone — anyone — to identify a specific enslaved person? How do we wield these powerful tools for quantitative analysis without abstracting the human reality away from the story? And what does it mean to study something as wicked and monstrous as the slave trade using some of the tools of the trade itself?

Before we go any further, it is worth spending a little more time with the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade itself, at least as it relates to the United States.

A large majority of people taken from Africa were sold to enslavers in either South America or the Caribbean. British, Dutch, French, Spanish and Portuguese traders brought their captives to, among other places, modern-day Jamaica, Barbados, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Haiti, as well as Argentina, Antigua and the Bahamas. A little over 3.5 percent of the total, about 389,000 people, arrived on the shores of British North America and the Gulf Coast during those centuries when slave ships could find port.

In the last decades of the 18th century, moral and religious activism fueled an effort to suppress British involvement in the African slave trade. In 1774, the Continental Congress of rebelling American states adopted a temporary general nonimportation policy against Britain and its possessions, effectively halting the slave trade, although the policy lapsed under the Confederation Congress in the wake of the Revolutionary War. Still, by 1787, most of the states of the newly independent United States had banned the importation of slaves, although slavery itself continued to thrive in the southeastern part of the country.

From 1787 to 1788, Americans would write and ratify a new Constitution that, in a concession to Lower South planters who demanded access to the trans-Atlantic trade, forbade a ban on the foreign slave trade for at least the next 20 years. But Congress could — and, in 1794, did — prohibit American ships from participating. In 1807, right on schedule, Congress passed — and President Thomas Jefferson, a slave-owning Virginian, signed — a measure to abolish the importation of enslaved Africans to the United States, effective Jan. 1, 1808.

But the end to American involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade (or at least the official end, given an illegal trade that would not end until the start of the Civil War) did not mean the end of the slave trade altogether. Slavery remained a big and booming business, driven by demand for tobacco, rice, indigo and increasingly cotton, which was already on its path to dominance as the principal cash crop of the slaveholding South.

Within a decade of the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, annual cotton production had grown twentyfold to 35 million pounds in 1800. By 1810, production had risen to roughly 85 million pounds per year, accounting for more than 20 percent of the nation’s export revenue. By 1820, the United States was producing something in the area of 160 million pounds of cotton a year.

Fueling this growth was the rapid expansion of American territory, facilitated by events abroad. In August 1791, the Haitian Revolution began with an insurrection of enslaved people. In 1803, Haitian revolutionaries defeated a final French Army expedition sent to pacify the colony after years of bloody conflict. To pay for this expensive quagmire — and to keep the territory out of the hands of the British — the soon-to-be-emperor Napoleon Bonaparte sold what remained of French North America to the United States at a fire-sale price.

The new territory nearly doubled the size of the country, opening new land to settlement and commercial cultivation. And as the American nation expanded further into the southeast, so too did its slave system. Planters moved from east to west. Some brought slaves. Others needed to buy them. There had always been an internal market for enslaved labor, but the end of the international trade made it larger and more lucrative.

It is hard to quantify the total volume of sales on the domestic slave trade, but scholars estimate that in the 40-year period between the Missouri Compromise and the secession crisis, at least 875,000 people were sent south and southwest from the Upper South, most as a result of commercial transactions, the rest as a consequence of planter migration.

New, more granular data on voyages and migrations and sales will help scholars delve deeper than ever into the nature of slavery in the United States, into specifics of the trade and into the ways it shaped the political economy of the American republic.“