News

Trump Signs Social Media Executive Order to ‘Protect and Uphold Free Speech Rights’

President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order allowing the government to regulate social media platforms after years of complaints that the companies are biased against conservatives.

“Today I’m signing an executive order to protect and uphold the free speech rights of the American people,” Trump said. “Social media giants like Twitter receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they’re a neutral platform, which they’re not.”

Two Republican lawmakers, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) have both already announced that they are working on legislation to remove Twitter’s liability protections.

The president was joined in the Oval Office by Attorney General William Barr, who said that the new regulations should receive bipartisan support because Section 230 has been “stretched well beyond its original intentions and people feel that on both sides of the aisle.”

Trump’s order directs an agency within the Commerce Department to file a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify the scope of Section 230, a proposition that has already drawn rebukes from the two Democratic members of the five-person commission.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Thursday that the commission “will carefully review any petition for rulemaking filed by the Department of Commerce.” He added that “this debate is an important one.”

Section 230 gives media platforms “legal immunity for content posted by third-party users while also giving them cover to make good-faith efforts to moderate their platforms,” according to the Hill.

The president claimed that the order would strip the liability protection from companies that censor content, have Barr work with states to develop regulations and ensure government funding does not go to companies that suppress free speech. The order also instructs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prohibit social media companies from engaging in “any deceptive acts or practices affecting commerce,” Trump said.

“We’re here today to defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers it has faced in American history, frankly, and you know what’s going on as well as anybody. It’s not good,” Trump told reporters. “This censorship and bias is a threat to freedom itself,” Trump said.

He said that social media companies have had “unchecked power to censure, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter virtually any form of communication between private citizens or large public audiences” and added that if he were able to shut Twitter down, he would.

“We can’t continue to let this happen, it’s very, very unfair,” Trump said.

The attorney general said that the DOJ would pursue litigation to regulate social media companies that violate users’ rights.

The president seemed to focus primarily on Twitter. “The choices that Twitter makes when it chooses to suppress, edit, blacklist, or shadowban are editorial decisions, pure and simple,” Trump said. “In that moment, Twitter ceases to be a public platform. They become an editor with a viewpoint.”

Twitter recently flagged a pair of Trump’s posts with fact-check warnings, provoking the president’s ire.

The social media giant for the first time applied a warning label to two of the president’s tweets warning of the potential for fraud in California’s mail-in voting, urging users to “get the facts about mail-in ballots.”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany spent some time on Thursday correcting the media’s misconception that California’s mail-in voting is not rife for fraud.

She also sparred with CNN’s Jim Acosta over the fact-checking issue.  Acosta claimed that Trump needs to be fact-checked because of his propensity to tell “lies,” citing the Washington Post’s absurdly biased list of 18,000 “false and misleading” statements. McEnany threw the accusation that the president needs to be fact-checked back in Acosta’s face. “There is no one that should be fact checked more than the mainstream media that has been continually wrong about a number of things,” she said as she began ticking off a list that included his own network.

In his statement Thursday, the president said that a platform’s decision to fact-check a conservative’s tweets while ignoring dubious Democrat tweets was “inappropriate” and amounted to “political activism.”

When asked about the possibility that his executive order will be challenged in court, Trump acknowledged that it would probably happen, but added, “what isn’t?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Former Acting DNI Ric Grenell Battles Leaky Dems and Fake News Media on Twitter

Since stepping down from his busy and consequential three-month stint as acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell has been engaged in a war of words with Democrats and their media allies on Twitter.

John Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor and Texas congressman, was sworn in on Tuesday as President Trump’s top intelligence adviser.

That same day, Politico posted a false story alleging that Grenell would be joining Trump’s reelection campaign in a “senior role.”

Grenell completely refuted the story after it was tweeted out by Politico fabulist “Fusion” Natasha Bertrand.

Brad Dayspring, the vice president of communications and marketing at Politico, defended the article, arguing Politico had “multiple high level [anonymous] sources,” even after Grenell said that it was “fake news.”

The longtime Democrat political operative asked Grenell to point out which “specific facts” the story got wrong.

“The entire story isn’t true,” Grenell tweeted back, calling Dayspring’s response “scary.” He added, “do you realize how ridiculous you sound?”

After being told the entire story was false, Dayspring insisted that Grenell go over with him “point by point” what he specifically believed to be untrue. Grenell refused to spend any more time refuting the article. “Delete the story, it’s false,” he tweeted.

Next Grenell took aim at former Obama official Samantha Power, who is infamous for using her position as ambassador to the UN to unmask hundreds of Americans (or allow someone to use her clearance to unmask hundreds of Americans) during the final months of  Obama’s presidency. Power had the nerve to amplify Senator Marco Rubio’s cautionary tweet about President Trump “peddling” conspiracy theories.

“After spending years peddling a Russian collusion hoax, but under oath admitting you saw NOTHING, forgive us if we ignore your new warnings,” Grenell tweeted.

Rep. Swalwell (D-Calif.) has been taunting Grenell for over a week about releasing the transcripts of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s December 2016 telephone calls with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Grenell explained last week that the Intelligence Community has not been been able to declassify all of the material because it wasn’t their product. “But I already started the declassification for the few we received. They should be released in full, though. The public deserves to see it,” he said.

“Well, you’re no longer director and the Flynn tapes never came,” Swalwell tweeted on Thursday, knowing full well why the transcripts have not been released. “ All you have to show for your work is the dirt on your boots from shoveling and burying evidence for @realDonaldTrump. #ShowUsTheTape”

Grenell assured Swalwell—again—that the transcripts are coming, and reminded him about how he spread Russian propaganda on TV for years.

The Democrat continued his disinformation campaign, repeating the liberal trope that Trump “spread Russian propaganda” by asking Putin to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails. In reality, Trump had joked in 2016 that if Putin had Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails, he should release them.

“You spent tens of millions of taxpayer dollars weaponizing the US government & telling Americans there was massive collusion. Your own committee interviewed more than 50 people under oath & they all said the same thing: they know of no collusion. But on TV you said the opposite,” Grenell wrote in response to the Dem. lawmaker.

“You said the opposite knowing what the 50 people said under oath – and yet for years you didn’t want their transcripts to be made public. Transparency is required! Americans deserve to see how this hoax developed and who silenced those who raised doubts early on,” he added.

Swalwell then pretended that because the Russia investigation was led by Republicans, Democrats didn’t have a chance to ask any questions. Grenell corrected him on that, noting that the Flynn phone call transcripts “were the only thing you didn’t leak to the DC media.”

Daniel Goldman, a lawyer for Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee during the impeachment hoax, piped in, accusing Grenell of assuming “the same kind of deceptive and deficient logic” the new DNI, former Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe used during impeachment. “If any individual *fact* witness does not or cannot assert a *legal* conclusion, that does not mean that that legal conclusion cannot be found,” he said.

“I’m being deceptive?!” Grenell tweeted back. “I’m for transparency. You DC types hide the details from the American people and then go on TV and say something they can’t check. It’s the DC way. And it usually works – until Americans see the details (i.e. the hidden transcripts).”

When Swalwell needled Grenell for refusing to brief his treacherous committee, the former DNI responded, “it’s time we brief the American people. We’re done with Washington manipulations. Transparency is needed.”

Like a broken record, Swalwell continued to assail Grenell for failing to release the Flynn transcripts, knowing that he didn’t have all of them in his possession.

Thursday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that the DOJ is indeed reviewing another trove of documents for public release that Grenell had declassified. The former DNI retweeted that information, cc’ing Swalwell.

In his first interview since he left office, Grenell also took some parting shots at the DC swamp, especially the Democrat leakers on the House Intelligence Committee.

“I have been dealing with career intelligence officials who have been literally saying they do not want to brief the Hill because they don’t want their careers to be ruined,” Grenell told conservative talk radio host Mark Levin on Wednesday. “We’ve had several people refuse to go to the Hill and brief because the atmosphere is so toxic that what they have to say is manipulated, and leaked, and cherry-picked.”

As a result, he said, members of the Intel Community had to find ways to prevent Democrats on the intelligence committees from manipulating their information.

“After hearing from the career intelligence officials being very nervous about briefing the Hill, we put forward an unclassified fact sheet that we would leave behind with the members of Congress that listed what we had just said, knowing full well that that fact sheet would be leaked to the media,” Grenell explained. “But it was important to the Intelligence Community officials to write it down and so no one could manipulate their words.”

He noted that intelligence gathering is not an exact science, saying sometimes the Intelligence Community underestimates intelligence and other times they overestimate, “but what we expect from intelligence officials are honest assessments.”

“I’m very concerned about the Hill and the leaks that are coming out of the Hill just as much as I’m concerned about the few leaks that keep coming out of the Intel Community.”

Grenell told Levin that certain members of Congress would seek information in letters and then leak those letters to the press before they even got to him.

“It’s a clear message that this is about grandstanding. That this is not about oversight and trying to get to the bottom of information,” he said.

Grenell noted that the DC Swamp has a tendency to go after people who are considered to be “outsiders.”

“Look [at] what they did when I came in and was appointed. They immediately said this is an outsider who has no experience. And I heard that over and over, Mark, from most every news outlet. No experience, no experience. That’s not true. I have different experiences. I’ve been a consumer of intelligence since 2001, longer than a lot of the people who are in charge of overseeing intelligence from Congress. But that didn’t matter to them because I didn’t grow up in the system,” he said.

“An outsider coming in with fresh eyes is like the enemy because you’re going to look at things differently,” Grenell added.

He also said that he believes the Obama White House was fully aware of the FBI’s corrupt Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Russian collusion with President Trump’s 2016 campaign, telling Levin, “there is no possible way that it wasn’t known inside the White House and that multiple layers of people knew about this.”

News

DeVos Wants Public Schools Send CARES Act Funds to Private Schools

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is calling on public institutions to share funding from the CARES Act to help private schools.

“The CARES Act is a special, pandemic-related appropriation to benefit all American students, teachers and families,” DeVos wrote in a letter to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). “There is nothing in the act suggesting Congress intended to discriminate between children based on public or nonpublic school attendance, as you seem to do. The virus affects everyone.”

DeVos claims in the letter that “a growing list of nonpublic schools have announced they will not be able to reopen, and these school closures are concentrated in low-income and middle-class communities.”

According to The New York Times, a previous guidance from DeVos asking to divert aid money to wealthy private schools was rejected by several states and local school districts.

Per federal education law, school districts are required to use funding intended for their poorest students to provide “equitable services,” according to the Times. DeVos argues that the relief aid is not limited by those provisions.

DeVos reportedly accused state education leaders of having a “reflex to share as little as possible with students and teachers outside of their control,” and said she would draft a rule that would make her guidance mandatory and “resolve any issues in plenty of time for the next school year.”

Last week, Democrats on the Senate and House education committees said DeVos’s interpretation was incorrect.

“This interpretation expands the amount of funding that [s local educational agencies] must dedicate to providing equitable services to private school students, reduces public school students’ share of funds, defies Congressional intent, and conflicts with the statutory requirements of the CARES Act,” the lawmakers wrote.

The Times writes that private school leaders​​​, who serve about 5.7 million of the nation’s children, say they, too, are in crisis. Enrollment and tuition revenues are plunging along with philanthropic donations and church collections that help some religious schools operate. Many of those schools serve low-income students whose parents have fled failing public schools. Private school groups say 30 percent of ​the​ families​ they serve have​ annual incomes below $75,000, and those families are most at-risk without federal aid. ​

 

News

Wisconsin to Mail Absentee Ballot Applications to 2.7M Voters

The Hill reports, the Wisconsin Elections Commission agreed to mail out 2.7 million absentee ballot applications to most voters in the state this fall ahead of November’s presidential election.

The vote came just a week after the six-person panel split 3-3 along partisan lines on whether to mail the forms to nearly all registered voters, even if they hadn’t requested one. The bipartisan commission on Wednesday unanimously passed the plan.

The plan could face obstacles next month if Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on the wording of the mailing.  Democrats on the commission want staff to draft the letter to avoid partisan gridlock.

“We’re going to wind up in a situation where we’re going to be parsing individual words on a letter and [having] 3-3 votes on whether we’re going to say ‘shall’ or ‘can,’ or ‘could’ or ‘would’ or ‘should.’ And it does none of us any good,” Democratic Commissioner Ann Jacobs told the Journal Sentinel. 

Republican Commissioner Bob Spindell accused Democrats on the commission of being afraid to tell recipients of other ways to vote than by absentee.

“The Republicans are better at voting on election day than are the Democrats and the Democrats are better at using mail absentee votes than the Republicans are,” he contended. “Are you afraid to put in this letter that there are a couple of other ways of voting in this thing? I don’t see any problem whatsoever on this letter as long as those topics are covered appropriately.”

According to the Journal, the mailing is expected to cost about $2.25 million and would be funded using part of a $7.3 million grant that Congress gave Wisconsin to deal with higher election costs during the pandemic.

Mail voting surged to nearly 1 million in the April election for state Supreme Court as people tried to stay at home as much as possible during the coronavirus outbreak. Mail voting this fall is expected to surpass the record set in April, according to the Journal.

The commission’s vote comes after President Trump on Tuesday warned in a tweet that increased mail voting would lead to ballots being stolen and forged, prompting Twitter to append a “get the facts” link to his tweet that said his claims were unsubstantiated. That label led Trump to accuse Twitter of interfering in the presidential election.

According to The Hill, polling has shown former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, slightly ahead of Trump in the battleground state, which Trump won by a narrow margin in 2016.

News

President Trump to Sign Major Executive Order on Social Media

President Donald Trump is going to sign an executive order later today addressing social media platforms, and specifically censorship of conservatives, according to CNN.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, while unable to hint at what the exact content of the executive order would be, said that the order would constitute one of the biggest steps taken in the fight against Big Tech censorship.

The move comes after Twitter performed its first-ever act of censorship against President Trump’s Twitter account, putting a “fact-check” notice beneath two of his tweets about how mail-in ballots can lead to voter fraud. Despite overwhelming evidence that such practices can and do lead to widespread voter fraud, Twitter’s left-wing sources asserted that President Trump’s claim is false.

As a result of its actions, Twitter is now facing widespread criticism, ranging from attempted election interference, to finally providing an editorial addition to someone else’s content; the latter case would technically make Twitter susceptible to having its status as a neutral platform challenged, and instead be labeled as a publisher, which would allow it to be more heavily-regulated.

Former 2016 Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller, who currently cohosts the podcast “War Room” with former campaign manager and Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon, noted that President Trump’s use of Twitter is “one of his super powers,” since it “gave him unvarnished access to the American people and his supporters,” and allowed him to “bypass the artificial conversation created by the mainstream media.”

News

Michigan Almost Approved a Contract Allowing Democratic Activists to Collect Medical Information

In an exclusive report from Breitbart, the administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) initially approved, then cancelled, a contract with a Democratic consulting firm that would have allowed hundreds of activists to collect private citizen’s medical information, in the name of “contact tracing.”

The contract was between the Michigan Public Health Institute, and a left-wing organization called Great Lakes Community Engagement, which is run by a Democratic consultant named Mike Kolehouse.

The agreement would have allowed GLCE to work directly with the MPHI to organize a team of volunteers as large as 400, for the purpose of collecting medical information from private residents in order to determine if anyone had either had the coronavirus, or been in contact with someone who had. Excerpts from the document showed that GLCE would have been paid over $190,000 for the deal.

The contract has since been cancelled, and Whitmer claimed in a press conference that she was behind the decision to cancel the deal. But she nevertheless defended the MPHI as a nonpartisan entity, saying that the institute “does not have a political bone in their theoretical body.”

Whitmer has faced a new wave of criticism for her actions lately, as she appears to have increasingly ignored the rules of her own statewide lockdown. Most recently, it was revealed that her husband attempted to use his position of power to get a request approved that would have allowed their family to launch their boat onto the great lakes during the Memorial Day weekend. Whitmer is also facing a lawsuit from Republicans in the state legislature who assert that she is abusing her power by repeatedly extending the lockdown order.

News

Amazon Board of Directors Encouraged Investors to Vote Against Resolution to End Political Bias

The board of directors at tech giant Amazon encouraged their investors to oppose a proposal that would have ended the company’s practice of political discrimination against certain brands, websites, and individuals, as reported by the Daily Caller.

The proposal came from the Free Enterprise Project (FEP), which aimed for Amazon to specifically end its censorship of certain organizations by its charity branch, AmazonSmile. The proposal pointed out that Amazon’s standards for who to discriminate against relied almost entirely on the far-left hate group known as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Through AmazonSmile, customers can donate a small percentage of their overall purchases to various charitable organizations. However, the SPLC has had several charities banned from being able to receive such contributions. The SPLC has previously celebrated this practice of blatant censorship, falsely claiming that all the banned organizations were “racist and white nationalist.”

The board of directors ultimately rejected the FEP’s proposal, maintaining that “diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of our continued success and critical components of our culture.”

News

Morning Greatness: Rioting, Protesting Continues Over Death of George Floyd

Good Thursday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • The President and First Lady receive a briefing on the 2020 Hurricane Season
  • Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a briefing

I have a condensed version of the briefing for you this morning. I’ve been fighting a wicked ear infection this week and it’s knocked me out.

Coronavirus news:

Of course. 6 feet likely not far enough to stop COVID-19 transmission: experts

Texas bar owner bans customers from wearing coronavirus masks inside

‘There’s no stigma attached to wearing a mask’: McConnell makes plea in favor of face masks

Los Angeles sues antibody test broker Wellness Matrix and executives

DeVos says she’ll ensure public schools send CARES Act funds to private schools

NY Gov Andrew Cuomo Uses Cooked Numbers To Defend Record On Nursing Homes

Newsom faces growing concerns that he’s reopening California too quickly

Canceled Contact Tracing Contract Reveals Michigan Authorized Democrat Firm for 400 Activists to Collect Medical Information

George Floyd roundup:

Minneapolis Police Protesters Seen Looting TVs, Clothes From Target

George Floyd death: Minneapolis mayor calls for police officer to face charges

New surveillance video shows moments leading up to George Floyd’s arrest

Deadly shooting near George Floyd protest as looting, arson grip Minneapolis

Protesters stop LA freeway traffic, smash patrol car windows

University of Minnesota scales back Minneapolis police ties after death of George Floyd

Other morsels:

Matt Gaetz Drafting Bill to Drop Big Tech’s Legal Immunity over One-Sided ‘Fact Checks’

Investigation launched into Central Park incident involving white woman and black man

Biden says he hopes to name vice presidential pick around August 1

Twitter defends embattled employee against attacks

Pompeo: All Iran sanctions waivers covering nuclear projects are ending

Canada braces for consequences from China after Huawei exec loses bid to dismiss extradition to U.S.

AG Barr Appoints Federal Prosecutor To Review Obama Admin ‘Unmasking’ Of Trump Associates

LOL No. ‘The Five’ Panel Explodes When Donna Brazile Claims There’s ‘No First Amendment Right To Lie’

Republicans cast doubt on future of House bills passed by proxy

U.S. state of Arizona files consumer fraud lawsuit against Google

Three white men charged in Georgia slaying of black man to face judge

Trump’s executive order targets political bias at Twitter and Facebook: draft

Trump threatens to veto FISA bill ahead of House vote

Man loses office lease after viral video shows him calling police on black entrepreneurs using building’s gym

Virus fear alone not enough for mail balloting, Texas court says

Wisconsin will mail absentee ballot applications to 2.7M voters

Amazon Board Of Directors Tells Investors To Reject Proposal To End Viewpoint Discrimination

Trump Orders DOJ, FBI To Investigate George Floyd’s Death In Police Custody

Twitter’s anti-porn filters block stories on scandal over UK politician Dominic Cummings

African-American activists escalating efforts to persuade Biden not to pick Klobuchar for VP

All-female ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot faced animosity tied to ‘anti-Hillary movement,’ director says

Man who hanged effigy of Kentucky governor fired from job

Prosecutors open probe into whether Biden accuser Tara Reade lied under oath in court appearances

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!

News

Key Questions Former DAG Rod Rosenstein Should Be Asked at Senate Oversight Hearing Next Week

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has called up former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to testify in the first of a series of hearings examining the Obama administration’s the Trump-Russia investigations and misuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Graham announced the June 3 hearing in a press release on Wednesday.

Rosenstein responded in a statement that he was “grateful” for the opportunity to explain himself.

“I am grateful to Chairman Graham for the opportunity to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about information that has come to light concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process and the FBI’s counterintelligence decision-making, as a result of completed inquiries by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz and ongoing reviews by U.S. Attorneys John Durham and Jeff Jensen,” Rosenstein wrote. “During my three decades of service in law enforcement, I learned firsthand that most local, state, and federal law enforcement officers deserve the high confidence people place in them, but that even the best law enforcement officers sometimes make mistakes and that some engage in willful misconduct.”

“We can only hope to maintain public confidence if we correct mistakes, hold wrongdoers accountable, and adopt policies to prevent problems from recurring,” the former DAG added in his statement.

Rosenstein oversaw the Russia investigation at the DOJ after Sessions recused himself from anything related to the investigation. Republicans will want him to explain a number of documents from that time period that were unearthed by Judicial Watch, last Fall.

The watchdog released 145 pages of Rosenstein’s communications, including a one-line email from Rosenstein to Robert Mueller stating “The boss and his staff do not know about our discussions.” That email came just five days before Rosenstein appointed Mueller to take over the FBI’s Russia investigation as special counsel, roiling Trump’s presidency.

The damning communications also include “off the record” emails with major media outlets around the date of Mueller’s appointment.

On May 8, 2017, Rosenstein wrote a memo to President Trump recommending that FBI Director James Comey be fired. The next day, President Trump fired Comey. Just three days later, on May 12, Rosenstein sent an email assuring Robert Mueller that “The boss and his staff do not know about our discussions.”

In a May 16, 2017 email, sent the day before Mueller’s appointment, Rosenstein emailed former Bush administration Deputy Attorney General and current Kirkland & Ellis Partner, Mark Filip stating, “I am with Mueller. He shares my views. Duty Calls. Sometimes the moment chooses us.”

On May 17, he appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to conduct the investigation into “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” as well as any matters arising directly from that investigation.

Some time between May 8 and May 17, according to then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s notes, Rosenstein met with McCabe and other senior Justice Department and FBI officials to discuss wearing a wire into the oval office to spy on Trump, as well as invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president.

When McCabe’s claim was made public, Rosenstein denied the charge, calling it “inaccurate and factually incorrect.” However, McCabe’s notes about the meeting  (also released by Judicial Watch), tell a different story: “The DAG proposed that he could potentially wear a recording device into the Oval Office to collect additional evidence on the President’s true intentions,” McCabe wrote. “He said he thought this might be possible because he was not searched when he entered the White House. I told him that I would discuss the opportunity with my investigative team and get back to him.”

In  February of 2019, Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe insisted that Rosenstein was “absolutely serious” about wearing the wire and further claimed that Rosenstein discussed with Justice Department officials a plan to recruit members of President Trump’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.

The Justice Department firmly denied McCabe’s stunning claims, saying Rosenstein did not believe there were any grounds to remove Trump from office via the 25th Amendment.

Rosenstein will undoubtedly also be asked to explain why he signed the June 2017 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant application to renew surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page. The FISA warrant was based heavily on the now discredited Steele dossier.

Last December, Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that the FBI had made “at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications and many errors in the Woods Procedures” during its Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

By signing the fatally flawed application, he had assured the FISA court that the information collected by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele was credible and “verified.” He will likely be asked to explain why the application he signed  failed to note that in May of 2017, a month earlier, Steele admitted that his information was “unverified.”

In truth, Steele’s anti-Trump dossier was cobbled together using Russian disinformation at the behest of the sleazy oppo research firm Fusion GPS. The effort was funded by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee through the Dem-friendly Perkins Coie law firm.

Recently declassified footnotes revealed that the FBI was aware that Steele may have been fed Russian disinformation yet used his dossier anyway.

Senators Grassley and Graham noticed inconsistancies in Steele’s interrogatory responses in January of 2018, and referred him to the Justice Department for criminal investigation. In their memorandum on the topic dated January 4, 2018, they wrote that “FBI and DOJ officials misrepresented Steele’s credibility to the FISA Court in order to make Steele appear more credible than the facts would justify.”

Was Rosenstein kept in the dark about all of this? If so, why would he sign off on a surveillance warrant he knows nothing about?

The former DAG is also likely to be asked to explain his three “scope memos” to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The first Mueller scope memo was part of Mueller’s appointment order by Rosenstein on May 17, 2017, just over a week after Trump fired Comey. Rosenstein authorized Mueller to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”

The second Mueller scope memo, written by Rosenstein in August 2017, authorized Mueller to investigate allegations against Page, Flynn, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. The allegations against Page in the memo echoed claims made against him in Steele’s unverified anti-Trump dossier, and the claims leveled against Flynn reference the possibility that Flynn broke the law under the Logan Act during his discussions with Russia’s ambassador, which were picked up in a U.S. surveillance operation.

The third Mueller scope memo, authored by Rosenstein in Oct. 2017, has not been declassified yet. However, it was described in Mueller’s report, released in April 2019, which said the Russians interfered in the 2016 election in a “sweeping and systematic fashion,” but that investigators “did not establish” any criminal conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Mueller’s report laid out 10 possible instances of obstruction of justice. Barr and Rosenstein said they examined the evidence and concluded that it did not rise to the level of obstruction of justice, but Democrats still saw it as a road map for impeachment.

Republicans will also want to ask Rosenstein why he steadfastly refused their requests to appoint a second special counsel to investigate the Obama administration’s surveillance abuses.

He resigned from his post as second-in-command at the Justice Department in April of 2019, shortly after Barr took over as attorney general.

A few days before he submitted his resignation, Rosenstein spoke at an event in New York City where he opened up about the special counsel’s Russia investigation, and threw shade on critics, politicians, the media, and members of the Obama administration, including James Comey.

“The FBI director [Comey] announced at a congressional hearing that there was a counterintelligence investigation that might result in criminal charges. Then the former FBI director alleged that the president pressured him to close the investigation, and the president denied that the conversation occurred,” he said.

Rosenstein added that “the FBI disclosed classified evidence about the investigation to ranking legislators and their staffs,  lawmakers and their staffers,” and then “someone selectively leaked details to the news media.”

He also defended his boss, Attorney General William Barr in a rare interview with the WSJ before he left: “He’s being as forthcoming as he can, and so this notion that he’s trying to mislead people, I think is just completely bizarre,” Rosenstein said.

In January of this year, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson filed a lawsuit against Rosenstein, claiming that he led the task force that spied on her computers.

While his relationship with Trump was rocky at times, he left office on good terms with the president.

In his resignation letter, Rosenstein told Trump: “I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education and prosperity, because ‘a nation exists to serve its citizens.’”

 

News

Former Mueller Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann Now Fundraising for Joe Biden

Robert Mueller’s hard-charging former “pit bull” Andrew Weissmann plans to participate in an upcoming fundraiser for Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, effectively ending his television career at NBC News. The network’s policy reportedly requires that employees avoid activities “that may create the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

“If the fundraiser goes forward, I’m withdrawing from MSNBC so I can be in compliance with their policy,” Weissmann told the Washington Free Beacon on Friday.

Weissmann joined MSNBC as a legal analyst in November, offering advice to House Democrats during their unsuccessful impeachment gambit against President Trump.

He told the Free Beacon that when he notified the network about his plan to headline the June 2 fundraiser for Biden, he understood that the activity was prohibited by his contract.

“I knew what I was getting into and what the consequences would be,” Weissmann said. “They wanted me to adhere to their policy.”

The Free Beacon had previously reported on Weissmann’s fundraising plans, noting that the political activity would have violated the network’s longstanding policies.

The decision to overtly campaign for Biden comes shortly after it was announced that Weissmann would be rejoining law firm Jenner & Block, where he was a partner before he was hired by the Department of Justice in 2011. He will take over the firm’s investigations division on July 1.

“It doesn’t get any swampier than this: trying to stage a partisan coup against the president and then raising money for his political opponent,” said Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh.

The “legendary prosecutor” is known for engaging in ruthless and unethical behavior in several high-profile cases at the Justice Department.  Gen. Michael Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell, in fact, made him the lead villain in her book “Licensed to Lie” and has labeled him “the poster boy for prosecutorial misconduct.”

Before he became Mueller’s top deputy in the special counsel investigation, Weissmann was involved with the corrupt, election-year Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

In 2018, DOJ official Bruce Ohr told a House task force investigating the Trump-Russia affair that in July of 2016, he met with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the discredited anti-Trump dossier for the opposition research firm Fusion GPS.  By that time, Steele had completed a few installments of the dossier, including the salacious and never-verified sex allegations about  Trump and prostitutes in a Moscow hotel.

Ohr testified that he relayed that information to Andrew McCabe, who was at the time the number-two man at the FBI, then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and top FBI agent Peter Strzok. Ohr said that he told three people at the DOJ, including Andrew Weissmann, who was already “working on some of these matters.”

Earlier this month, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, vowed to pursue multiple new criminal referrals on members of the special counsel team.

“We’re looking at doing criminal referrals on the Mueller team, the Mueller dossier team, the Mueller witch hunt, whatever you want to call it. That’s where we are now in our investigation,” Nunes told Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett on May 13.

“We’re doing a large criminal referral on the Mueller dossier team that put together a fraudulent report — that knew there was no collusion the day that Mueller walked in the door,” said Nunes. “They set an obstruction of justice trap. There’s no doubt in my mind that we will make a conspiracy referral there.”

When he joined the MSNBC team last Fall, Weissmann was focused on the effort to oust President Trump from office. The impeachment hoax ultimately failed and now as the entire Russia hoax is completely unraveling and implicating many FBI/DOJ bad actors in the process. It’s no wonder that the “the poster boy for prosecutorial misconduct” is doing what he can to help get Biden elected.

 

 

 

 

News

DOJ Drops Investigations Into Senators’ Coronavirus Stock Trades

Politico reports, the Republican and Democratic senators were being investigated after they sold off stocks following early briefings on the coronavirus pandemic.

The Justice Department has ended its investigation into three senators’ controversial stock trades made by the Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, their offices confirmed Tuesday.

The decision comes after the FBI served Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) a search warrant and seized his cell phone earlier this month, as part of its broader investigation into his financial transactions.

Burr stepped aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and still remains under investigation, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The senators have come under scrutiny for making stock trades after receiving briefings on the coronavirus and before the pandemic caused the markets to drop. All four senators have denied any wrongdoing.

“Today’s clear exoneration by the Department of Justice affirms what Sen. Loeffler has said all along: She did nothing wrong,” said Stephen Lawson, a spokesperson for Loeffler. “This was a politically motivated attack shamelessly promoted by the fake news media and her political opponent.”

Loeffler cooperated with the Justice Department, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee, after she sold millions in stocks following a private all-senators briefing on the coronavirus.

News

USPS Mail Carrier Charged with Fraud After Allegedly Altering Absentee Ballot Requests

Federal and state prosecutors announced on Tuesday that a mail carrier for Pendleton County, West Virginia has been charged with attempted election fraud for allegedly tampering with vote-by-mail requests.

A joint statement by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell, and Secretary of State Mac Warner said:

Thomas Cooper, 47, of Dry Fork, stands charged with attempting to defraud the residents of West Virginia of a fair election. An affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint states Cooper fraudulently altered eight absentee ballot requests in Pendleton County, of which the complaint states he fraudulently changed the party affiliation on five from Democrat to Republican.

“Manipulating one’s absentee ballot or application is not a laughing matter – it’s a federal offense,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We must protect the integrity of the ballot box, and this demonstrates the aggressive action we will take to do so. It is more important now than ever for voters to watch for unexplained or suspicious marks and/or any other irregularity with their ballot. If something looks suspicious, let us know right away.”

The affidavit states Cooper accessed the ballot requests through his employment as a rural mail carrier. He was responsible for mail delivery in the three towns from which the tampered requests were mailed – Onego, Riverton and Franklin.

According to the affidavit, Cooper admitted to altering some of the requests.

According to an earlier press release the fraud was uncovered early by investigators and will have no impact on the election’s outcome.

The announcement of charges came at the same time Twitter assigned a fact check warning to President Donald Trump for his claims that voting by mail was uniquely susceptible to fraud.

It was the first time that Twitter had used such a label with one of Trump’s tweets

News

Dem. State Rep. Sues Over Censure After Thanking President Trump

Michigan state Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit) has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) after the Democrat Party censured Whitsett over her praise for President Trump.

The 13th Congressional District Democrat Party committee reprimanded Whitsett for being critical of the goveror and appearing alongside Trump at the White House.

Whitsett filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and several fellow Democrats.

Whitsett claimed Whitmer and the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party Organization sought to deprive her of her right to engage in protected speech after she publicly thanked President Donald Trump for his suggestion of using the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat her coronavirus case, MLive reported.

Whitsett visited the White House earlier this month to thank Trump.

“Thank you for everything that you have done,” Whitsett told Trump.

“I didn’t know that saying thank you had a political line,” she said. “I thought just saying thank you meant thank you.”

According to the suit, Whitmer texted Whitsett after the White House meeting and said, “You’re entitled to your opinion, I’m just disappointed you’d take your theories public without seeking to get answers first. Take care.”

The resolution read in part, according to Gongwer:

State Representative Karen Whitsett has repeatedly and publicly praised the president’s delayed and misguided COVID-19 response efforts in contradiction with the scientifically based and action-oriented response from Michigan’s duly election Democratic leadership … endangering the health, safety and welfare of her constituents, the city of Detroit, and the state of Michigan.

Whitsett alleged Whitmer “prompted” according to MLive.

“Folks in the 13th were complaining about why is she attacking, why can’t she just sit down, she’s always acting like a fool up there in Lansing,” 13th District Democrat Party Chairman Jonathan Kinloch told Breitbart News in April.

MLive reported:

The suit accuses Whitmer of being aware of a conspiracy to publicly shame, defame and humiliate Whitsett. Whitmer did not try to stop the scheme and actually prompted it, making her liable for damages, the lawsuit claims.

Due to the censure, the lawsuit also claims Whitsett has been “ousted” by the party, and the defendants continue to hinder her ability to do her job. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of money for damages, reimbursement for all court fees, lawyers fees and other costs related to the case and any further relief the court deems appropriate.

News

Twitter Begins ‘Fact-Checking’ President Trump’s Tweets

Twitter began censoring President Donald Trump’s tweets yesterday, with a “fact-checking” notice being attached to two of the president’s tweets discussing mail-in ballots and voter fraud, as reported by USA Today.

The original tweet said that “there is no way (zero!) that mail-in ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent.” A follow-up tweet added that “this will be a rigged election” if nationwide mail-in voting is legalized.

Now, both tweets have notices below them that read “Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” which lead to a page listing left-wing stories and “fact-checks” of the president’s tweets, which claim that “Trump falsely claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to a ‘rigged election.’” The page then falsely claims that “fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.”

Mail-in voting has become one of the Democrats’ major goals in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with the state of California becoming the first to mandate mailing of ballots to every single registered voter. But similar methods, including California’s legalization of the practice of ballot-harvesting, has in fact led to voter fraud in California, such as the 2018 midterms.

Twitter noticeably has not fact-checked any claims by left-wing figures or Democratic politicians, including Representative Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) false claims of “Russian collusion” with the Trump Administration. This further confirms a clear bias on Twitter and other major social media sites against conservatives, which has increased significantly in the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election.

News

House GOP Sues Nancy Pelosi Over Proxy Voting Rule Change

Republican members of the House of Representatives filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), challenging her recent change to procedural rules allowing for a system of proxy voting due to the coronavirus, as reported by Fox News.

Pelosi announced the change last week, upending centuries of historical precedent in the House of Representatives by allowing members to vote on behalf of another member if they are not present. Almost 60 Democrats have already chosen this option since the rule change was announced.

The lawsuit argues that the rule change is unconstitutional, since the Constitution requires a quorum of a majority of lawmakers to be present in order for any votes to be cast. The change also gives far too much power to a small handful of members, who now can essentially vote multiple times.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called the rule change “a dereliction of our duty as elected officials,” while Pelosi fired back by calling the lawsuit “a sad stunt,” and falsely claimed that the proxy voting rule change would “save lives.”

News

Robert O’Brien Cuts Total Number of NSC Staff by More Than Half

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has further reduced the size of the National Security Council staff, slashing it down to about half the size it was during the Obama Administration, according to the New York Post.

The NSC peaked at nearly 240 employees during Obama’s tenure, which was over twice the peak of the NSC under the Bush Administration, at 115. Under O’Brien’s leadership, the body will consist of only about 105 employees. It is the latest of O’Brien’s efforts to reduce the size and power of the NSC after he replaced John Bolton in September of last year.

In a statement to the Post, O’Brien pointed out that “Under previous administrations, the NSC more than doubled in size and duplicated many of the functions of DoD, State, and the intelligence community. Under President Trump, we have brought the NSC back to its proper size and role as a coordinating body.”

As the Post reports, the elimination of certain staff “is not performance-based, and will be carried out by returning staffers on assignment from the State and Defense departments.” O’Brien is reportedly following orders from President Trump himself to reduce the size and scale of the NSC, as part of President Trump’s broader efforts to weaken the “Deep State” of various federal agencies and the intelligence community.

News

Morning Greatness: Grenell Leaves a Going Away Present at the ODNI

Good Wednesday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • President Trump participates in a meeting with the Governor of New York
  • The President and First Lady participate in a NASA Crew Quarters Tour at the Kennedy Space Center, FL
  • The President and First Lady participate in an Orion Capsules Tour
  • The President and First Lady receive a SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 Launch Briefing
  • The President and First Lady participate in a viewing of SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 Launch
  • President Trump delivers remarks at Kennedy Space Center

Grenell declassifies information on his way out…

Ambassador Rick Grenell left a gift on his way out as acting Director of National Intelligence: a treasure chest of declassified RUSSIA hoax documents! One is reported to be “very significant in understanding how intelligence was manipulated to support launching the Russia investigation.” Among the other declassified documents is the infamous Kislyak/Flynn phone call that launched the Logan Act scream heard ’round the world. The ball is in the new director John Ratcliffe’s court.  All eyes are on you Ratcliffe, let’s get those documents out!

“Richard Grenell brought unmatched energy and transparency to ODNI during his tenure there,” a senior administration official told Fox News. “He took seriously the rule that classification must not be used to hide potential misconduct or to save the government from embarrassment.”

Grenell was criticized by hacks like Adam Schiff, who said of Grenell’s declassifications: “It was a transparent political act — in an election year and during a pandemic, no less — in which you used the authorities of your position to insinuate wrongdoing by officials who acted appropriately in requesting the identity of masked U.S. persons to better understand foreign intelligence reports,” Schiff wrote. “This is inconsistent with the oath and obligations of an acting Director of National Intelligence.”

How rich is that? The scumbag who sat on transcripts from the Intel Committee hearings for more than a year thinks Grenell is politicizing intelligence. We know now that it was Schiff and his army of resistance flying monkeys who sat in those hearings and turned around and lied to the public about all the “evidence” of RUSSIA collusion. Sit down and shut up Adam Schiff.

DoJ drops insider trading investigation against Loeffler, Feinstein, Inhofe but not Burr

Oh dear. The Department of Justice has closed their investigations into suspicious pre-Chinese virus stock trades by various elected officials. The trades were made “shortly before markets plummeted amid the coronavirus pandemic.” Sens. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif. have been cleared but former Senate Select Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr (R-NC) is not so lucky.

Weeks ago the Feds seized Burr’s cell phone for their investigation and Burr resigned his seat as the head of the powerful intelligence committee. The law prohibits elected officials from using private information for financial gain. Developing.

Trump wants congress to to block FISA bill extension

President Trump has asked Republicans to block a bill that will reauthorize provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I’m good with this, let’s shut it down, get a warrant.

Writes the New York Post:

Trump’s call to action is a boon to privacy advocates in both parties, who for years have faced narrow defeats on measures to restrain government surveillance. But with Republicans in the minority in the House, they will need support from left-wing Democrats who also want to change a Senate-passed bill. If the bill is altered, it will return again to the Senate.

The bill was negotiated in part by Attorney General Bill Barr and passed the Senate 80-16 this month after senators rejected by a single vote a measure to protect US internet browsing records from warrantless collection. With 59 votes in favor and a supporter, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, absent, the provision failed.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has asked Democrat leaders to “to hold off on putting a bill on the floor to renew a trio of expired surveillance tools.”

The House will return to session with their wacky distance “proxy” voting because congresspeople are lazy trash who don’t want to come to Washington D.C. to do their job. Senators are here. Grocery store employees are working, CVS employees are working, Amazon delivery people are working. Get your asses back here.

Coronavirus news:

VA secretary fires back at critics of controversial COVID-19 treatment touted by Trump

When can you be around others? CDC updates coronavirus guidance

New York reported the fewest number of daily coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began

California Gov. Newsom lets hair salons, barbershops reopen after coronavirus closures

Canadian Nursing Homes Found Infested With Cockroaches, Residents Left In Soiled Diapers

Packed crowds spark pandemic alarms as states reopen

He looks like an idiot. Biden changes Twitter, Facebook avatars to him wearing mask

Without Evidence, Joe Biden Blames Nearly Half Of US COVID Deaths On Trump’s ‘Ego,’ ‘Folly’ And ‘False Masculinity

Gloom and doom. Vitamin D’s effect on Covid-19 maybe be exaggerated. Here’s what we know

How 53 members of this choir were infected in ‘super spreader’ event

Other morsels:

House Republicans sue Pelosi in bid to stop proxy voting amid coronavirus concerns

Grenell to join Trump campaign

LOL, guess not. Richard Grenell accuses Politico of ‘fake news’ over report that he’s joining Trump campaign

Trump issues North Carolina an ultimatum on Republican convention

White woman fired from job after calling cops over black man in NY Central Park

Jimmy Fallon Apologizes For Doing Blackface On ‘Saturday Night Live’ 20 Years Ago

UNHINGED, F*CKER. ‘I SURE DID, F**CKER’: Kathy Griffin Doubles Down On Hoping Trump Gets Stabbed With Potentially Fatal Air-Filled Syringe

Bye. Pentagon watchdog resigns after being sidelined by Trump

DOJ drops investigations into 3 senators’ stock trades

The Health 202: The Trump appointee you’ve never heard of who’s reshaping health policy

‘Contain potentially misleading information’: Twitter fact-checks Trump’s tweets

Twitter Has Not Fact-checked Adam Schiff’s False Claims of ‘Russian Collusion’

OH. YouTube investigating ‘error’ that deleted comments offensive to China’s Communist Party

Chicago’s bloody Memorial Day weekend ‘nothing short of alarming,’ top cop says

Ex-Nevada AG describes ballots ‘piled up in apartments and trash cans and in hallways’ due to mail-in voting

Israel rejects $1.5B Chinese water plant after Pompeo said it could affect working relationship with US

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Trump faces backlash for celebrating layoffs at The Atlantic, calling it ‘Great News’

Australia angered China by calling for a coronavirus investigation. Now Beijing is targeting its exports

USPS Mail Carrier Charged with Fraud After Allegedly Tampering with Vote-by-Mail Requests

Democrat State Rep Sues Gretchen Whitmer over Censure After Thanking President Trump

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!

News

Media Fail: MSNBC Reporter Called Out on Camera While Trying to Shame Holiday Revelers in Wisconsin

Corporate media “Karens” were out in full force over the Memorial Day weekend to scold holiday revelers across the country for enjoying the great outdoors without wearing masks.

Despite the media’s coronavirus obsession, crowds of people flocked to beaches on the East and West coasts and to lakes throughout the Midwest, perhaps confident that the sun—with it’s powerful disinfecting properties—would quickly destroy any coronavirus germs discharged into the air.

In Wisconsin, hundreds of people gathered in Lake Geneva to enjoy the swimming, sunbathing, and culinary pleasures the area offers.

MSNBC was on the scene to record the uncouth savagery of the throngs.

“Are the people there just not worried about it?” asked reporter Katy Tur with obvious disdain. “They’re not worried about their own personal safety?”

“I haven’t met anyone who is,” replied on the ground reporter Cal Perry, who was apparently there to observe whether vacationers were practicing safe social distancing.  Perry, who was wearing a mask himself, added that he talked to some people from Lake Geneva who were worried that people coming to the area from Chicago might cause a “second spike.”

“But they’ll quickly add at the same time that this is a place that relies on that business,” Perry continued.

“I think people around here want a little bit more funding when it comes to these programs so that they [can] stay closed,” he added without evidence.

As the camera panned on a man who was walking by without a mask, Perry said, “as you can see, no one is wearing them.”

“Including your cameraman,” the man shot back. “Half your crew’s not wearing them!”

“Yeah—’kay!” the flustered reporter replied, throwing up his hands in embarrassment.

“Striking images!” Tur declared, ending the awkward moment.

On Tuesday, a woman who claimed to be the man’s wife posted the video he took onto Twitter.

“Full video my husband, Andy, took of @CalNBC at Lake Geneva on Memorial Day! Hypocrites on full display! @MSNBC Cameraman and other crew NOT wearing masks while shaming others exercising their freedom not to!” @Deana921 tweeted.

News

Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Idaho–Both Republicans–Clash on Reopening Guidelines

Fed up with Idaho’s draconian cornonavirus policies, the Republican lieutenant governor of Idaho is openly disputing her governor’s reopening guidelines. According to the Daily Beast, “anti-lockdown” Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin has “gone rogue” in defiance of Gov. Brad Little’s reopening orders. The two have reportedly not spoken to each other in weeks due to the policy divide.

Little—also a Republican—ordered bars to stay closed until at least May 30, but McGeachin has already reopened a tavern she owns with her family in Idaho Falls.

McGeachin, who owns four small businesses with her family, has for months been butting heads with Little over his oversight of the coronavirus pandemic. In April, she wrote to the governor, urging him to commit to fully reopening the economy no later than May 1st.

The day after Little’s stay-at-home order was lifted earlier this month, McGeachin also attended a “Disobey Idaho” protest outside the state capitol building.

After Little announced a four staged plan to reopen businesses in the state earlier this month, McGeachin wrote a withering opinion piece in the Idaho Statesman blasting the “heavy hand” of the government, and accusing the state of “picking winners and losers” by “unilaterally deciding which businesses were ‘essential.’”

“My reputation and current position has many constituents asking me why small businesses and entrepreneurs — who make up the backbone of Idaho’s economy — are largely underrepresented in the governor’s coronavirus advisory committees, task forces and economic reopening committees,” McGeachin wrote in her May 13 piece.

I lose sleep at night because the heavy hand of our government is hurting so many Idahoans. Idahoans were sidelined and left to watch silently as the government closed Main Street by unilaterally deciding which businesses were “essential” and which ones were not. By deciding that certain goods can only be purchased at certain places, or not at all, our government has been selecting economic winners and losers throughout this pandemic.

McGeachin has taken exception to the idea that her family broke any rules by re-launching The Celt Pub and Grill in mid-May, explaining in a Facebook post that The Celt is a restaurant and was thus allowed to reopen earlier. Moreover, the tavern says it’s taking precautions: “operating at 50 percent capacity; capping parties at six people; using paper menus.”  Also, staff are required to wear face masks during their shifts.

Earlier this month, a bar in Kendrick, Idaho defied the governor’s “Stay Healthy” reopening orders by reopening its doors a month early.  McGeachin, and three other local Republican lawmakers, along with about 30 other people patronized the financially stressed business to express their support.

Law enforcement visited the establishment multiple times during the relaunch to talk to the owners but no arrests were made.

McGeachin said at the time that she traveled to Kendrick from Boise to show her support after Christine and Doug Lohman invited her to their reopening of the Hardware Brewing Co.

She told the Spokesman-Review that the state should provide guidelines—not mandates during the pandemic.

“People can manage themselves and we know how to take care of our customers, our employees, our business,” McGeachin said. “We don’t need the government to mandate things.”

She said she is thankful Little lifted the stay-home order, but she is deeply opposed to the government deciding which businesses are essential and nonessential.

“It’s been frustrating because I have tried to convey as best as I can (to Little) the frustration and the anxiety that I sense from people all over the state and to convey how important it is that we try to do something to help the average person who’s been suddenly unemployed,” McGeachin said.

As of May 5, 117,811 people had filed for unemployment in Idaho since mid-March,  twice the total number of initial claims filed in all of 2019, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.

Idaho has only had 2,606 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 79 deaths.

 

 

News

Successful Colorado Restaurant Owners Sue Governor and State Officials

The owners of a Colorado restaurant that reopened in defiance of the governor’s lockdown orders are now suing the state government, as reported by The Hill.

Jesse and April Arellano, the owners of C&C Coffee and Kitchen, generated headlines when they reopened their business on Mother’s Day and saw a flood of customers, even though the state’s lockdown orders were still in effect at the time.

The lawsuit has been filed in the Douglas County District Court, and names Governor Jared Polis (D-Colo.), the Tri-County Health Department, and Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Jill Ryan as defendants. The suit alleges that the state government’s decision to retaliate by suspending the restaurant’s license was “unlawful.”

Polis defended his actions at the time, saying that “if the state didn’t act and more businesses followed suit” in reopening just like C&C, then “it’s a near guarantee people would lose their lives,” a claim that he made without any evidence.

Resistance to ongoing lockdown orders has been growing rapidly across the country. Businesses have been reopening in even the strictest Democratic states, including Michigan, and videos went viral of Memorial Day vacationers gathered in massive crowds in Maryland and Missouri at the Lake of the Ozarks.