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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 04:15 PM
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Jared Kushner helped create a Trump campaign shell company that secretly paid the president

Source: Business Insider

EXCLUSIVE: Jared Kushner helped create a Trump campaign shell company that secretly paid the president's family members and spent $617 million in reelection cash, a source tells Insider

President Donald Trump's most powerful advisor, Jared Kushner, approved the creation of a campaign shell company that secretly paid the president's family members and spent almost half of the campaign's $1.26 billion war chest, a person familiar with the operation told Insider.

The operation acted almost like a campaign within a campaign. It paid some of Trump's top advisors and family members while shielding financial and operational details from public scrutiny.

When Kushner and others created the company in April 2018, they picked Trump's daughter-in-law Lara Trump, to become its president, Vice President Mike Pence's nephew John Pence as its vice president, and Trump campaign CFO Sean Dollman as its treasurer and secretary, the person who spoke on the condition of anonymity said.

Insider independently verified details of this person's account with other sources close to the Trump campaign.

Read more: https://www.businessinsider.com/jared-kushner-trump-campaign-shell-company-family-ammc-lara-2020-12

(Axios) Scoop: Trump pardons expected today

Source: Axios

President Trump plans to issue a wave of pardons today, moving to expedite acts of clemency before Christmas, according to a source with direct knowledge and advocates who have been briefed on the plans.

What to watch: Trump has been considering pardons for friends and allies, as Axios reported, interrupting conversations with associates to spontaneously suggest he add them to his pardon list. He already pardoned his former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

It was unclear who will be included in this batch.

Sen. Rand Paul called on Trump to pardon Edward Snowden in an article for The Federalist on Thursday. A source with direct knowledge of the planning said they did not expect Trump to follow through with a Snowden pardon.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/trump-pardons-christmas-bff29efa-b52b-4336-9fa4-650c13558a96.html?stream=politics&utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=alerts_politics

Nuclear weapons agency breached amid massive cyber onslaught

Source: Politico

The Energy Department and National Nuclear Security Administration, which maintains the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, have evidence that hackers accessed their networks as part of an extensive espionage operation that has affected at least half a dozen federal agencies, officials directly familiar with the matter said.

On Thursday, DOE and NNSA officials began coordinating notifications about the breach to their congressional oversight bodies after being briefed by Rocky Campione, the chief information officer at DOE.

They found suspicious activity in networks belonging to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories in New Mexico and Washington, the Office of Secure Transportation and the Richland Field Office of the DOE. The hackers have been able to do more damage at FERC than the other agencies, the officials said, but did not elaborate.

Federal investigators have been combing through networks in recent days to determine what hackers had been able to access and/or steal, and officials at DOE still don’t know whether the attackers were able to access anything, the people said, noting that the investigation is ongoing and they may not know the full extent of the damage “for weeks.”

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/17/nuclear-agency-hacked-officials-inform-congress-447855

Pfizer Says No Vaccine Shipments Have Been Delayed

Source: Bloomberg

Pfizer Inc. said it has shipped all 2.9 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine that the U.S. government ordered this week and that it has millions more doses sitting in warehouses awaiting instructions for where to ship.

Officials from Operation Warp Speed have said that the second shots of the two-dose vaccines are being withheld until they are due in three weeks.

Some governors have complained this week that their allocations of Pfizer’s vaccine are less than what they had expected. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said Pfizer is experiencing production issues, an assertion that Pfizer rejected. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar made similar claims in a briefing Wednesday.

Pfizer’s statement Thursday is the latest volley in a back-and-forth between Pfizer and U.S. officials over vaccine supply as the first shots roll out.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-17/pfizer-says-no-vaccine-shipments-have-been-delayed?utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_medium=social&cmpid=socialflow-twitter-business&utm_content=business&utm_source=twitter

House Democrats roll out resolution calling for Biden to forgive $50,000 of borrowers' student debt

Source: VOX

The pressure is building for President-elect Joe Biden to cancel federal student debt. The latest: a resolution led by prominent House Democrats urging Biden to act.

On Thursday, Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alma Adams (D-NC), and Maxine Waters (D-CA) are introducing a resolution, shared exclusively with Vox, that pushes the incoming Biden administration to take action on student debt. The resolution doesn’t force the next administration to do anything, but calls on Biden to forgive up to $50,000 of federal debt for student borrowers. It’s the companion to a Senate resolution put forth by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in the fall.

“The student debt crisis is a racial and economic justice issue and we must finally begin to address it as such,” Pressley said in a statement accompanying the resolution. “Broad-based student debt cancellation is precisely the kind of bold, high-impact policy that the broad and diverse coalition that elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris expect them to deliver.”

The United States has a mounting student debt problem: 45 million Americans owe a total of about $1.6 trillion in student loans, and one in 10 loans are in delinquency or default. The Federal Reserve estimates the typical monthly payment to be between $200 and $299.

Read more: https://www.vox.com/2020/12/17/22179577/biden-student-debt-house-resolution

Dominion Voting demands Sidney Powell retract "baseless" election claims

Source: Axios

Dominion Voting Systems sent a letter to former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell on Wednesday night demanding that she retract her “wild, knowingly baseless and false accusations” about the company’s voting machines.

Why it matters: The letter is the first step in possible legal action against Powell, who has made several public appearances claiming, without evidence, that Dominion's machines were involved in an international communist conspiracy to commit voter fraud and rig the election against President Trump.

Specifically, Powell has claimed that the company worked with Hugo Chávez, the late Venezuelan dictator, and employed machines with a "vote flipping" algorithm.

The Trump campaign announced in November that Powell was no longer working with President Trump or the campaign after a wild press conference in which she said President-elect Biden won the 2020 election thanks to "communist money" from the Venezuelan regime.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/dominion-voting-sidney-powell-retraction-d2942b1e-e370-4491-8e50-ada3182d61c3.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=organic&utm_content=1100

Hillary Clinton slams Trump supporters 'claiming to be offended' by Biden staffer cursing

Source: The Hill

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Thursday took to Twitter to push back against any Trump supporters “offended” by President-elect Joe Biden’s former campaign manager cursing when talking about GOP lawmakers in a recent interview.

Republicans had aim at incoming deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon after she called GOP lawmakers “a bunch of f---ers” and said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is “terrible” in an interview published by Glamour Tuesday.

Clinton responded to the criticism in a tweet Thursday, writing, “People who stood by Donald Trump for the last four years are now claiming to be offended that a Democratic campaign manager used a curse word?”

Users who responded to Clinton’s tweet were quick to point out Trump’s past use of explicit language, especially in a 2005 “Access Hollywood” video clip which resurfaced weeks before the 2016 election in which he bragged about kissing and groping women without their consent.

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/news/530657-hillary-clinton-slams-trump-supporters-offended-by-biden-staffer-using-curse


Trump asks about special counsel for Hunter Biden tax investigation

Source: USA Today/AP

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is considering pushing to have a special counsel appointed to advance a federal tax investigation into Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joe Biden, setting up a potential showdown with incoming acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen.

Trump — angry that out-going Attorney General William Barr didn’t publicly announce the ongoing, two-year investigation into Hunter Biden — has consulted on the matter with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and outside allies.

That’s according to several Trump administration officials and Republicans close to the White House who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss private matters.

Beyond appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the younger Biden, the sources said Trump is interested in having another special counsel appointed to look into his own baseless claims of election fraud. But if he’s expecting his newly named acting attorney general to go further than Barr on either matter, he could end up quickly disappointed.

Read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/12/16/trump-asks-special-counsel-hunter-biden-tax-investigation/3926416001/

White House counsel's office warned Trump not to fire Chris Wray

Source: NBC News

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has come so close to firing FBI Director Christopher Wray in recent months that the White House counsel’s office has warned him not to do so because it could put him in potential legal jeopardy, according to a senior administration official with direct knowledge of the discussion and a U.S. official familiar with the discussion.

White House lawyers “strongly” advised Trump against firing another FBI director out of concern that doing so would risk creating the perception that a “loyalty test” was being imposed on a position that traditionally has maintained independence from the White House, according to the senior administration official.

The lawyers, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, specifically said that firing Wray could spark legal issues similar to those raised after Trump ousted James Comey as FBI director in 2017 in the midst of the Russia investigation, the officials said.

Their concern was that firing Wray could be seen as retaliation because the president has publicly pressured him to take specific actions on certain investigations — such as announcing a probe into President-elect Joe Biden’s son — and then expressed frustration that Wray has not followed his suggestions.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/white-house-counsel-s-office-warned-trump-not-fire-chris-n1250956

Sen. Ron Johnson calls election legitimate and acknowledges Biden victory but still plans hearing...

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/USA Today

One day after the Electoral College affirmed Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., said in an interview that he acknowledged Biden as the president-elect and believed the election was legitimate.

At the same time, Johnson plans to hold a Senate hearing Wednesday on election “irregularities,” saying there are “legitimate questions” about the way the election was administrated in Wisconsin and other states.

“All I’m trying to do is hold a very upfront, straightforward hearing talking about what controls there are in place, what fraud does occur, what can we do to prevent fraud in the future,” said Johnson in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


But asked if he regarded the election as "legitimate," he said, "Yes. I haven’t seen anything that would convince me that the results — the overall national result — would be overturned."

Read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/12/15/ron-johnson-calls-election-legitimate-and-acknowledges-biden-victory/3909332001/
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