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Trump stuck taxpayers with $150K bill for 'clearly illegal' Fox News event at Lincoln Memorial: report
According to a report from the Washington Post, based on documents obtained by a watchdog group, a Donald Trump town hall event held in the chamber of the Lincoln Memorial cost taxpayers approximately $150k or more with critics also calling the use of the space "clearly illegal."
At issue was a Trump interview with Fox news personalities Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum on May, 30, 2020 that was supposed to be held on the steps of the venerable memorial but was moved inside despite federal regulations banning such use.
As the Post's Jonathan O'Connell, wrote, "In the spring of 2020, National Park Service personnel were preparing for an event President Donald Trump was holding with Fox News to address the nascent covid-19 pandemic from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, site of historic protests and inaugural concerts. But, first, they had to brief Trump on the plans."
As the report notes, the former president's involvement led his handpicked interior secretary David Bernhardt to overrule federal regulations and approve moving the event.
According to documents and emails acquired by Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, the executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice, the president's demand set off chaos the night before as changes had to made that resulted in a U.S. Secret Service official apologizing "... to colleagues for the planning process, calling it a '$#!t show.'"
"The email is among hundreds of pages of newly released government documents that help fill in the picture of how officials from multiple government agencies worked to engineer the event at the Lincoln, one of the many norm-defying moments of the Trump presidency. They show that the Park Service provided security personnel at a cost of nearly $150,000," the report states. "All presidents use national parks as backdrops for photo opportunities and promotional events, said Kristen Brengel of the National Parks Conservation Association, a nonprofit organization that works to protect the national park system... But, by siting the town hall inside the memorial, with Fox News, Brengel said, the Trump administration held an event in defiance of federal regulations in a space that is hallowed ground to many Americans."
“This wasn’t a national emergency to do an event inside the Lincoln Memorial. This was the commercial use of a park site in the middle of a pandemic,” Brengel explained.
Verheyden-Hilliard shot down Bernhardt's "record of determination" approving the use, stating, "All they are really doing is putting window dressing on something that is clearly illegal.”
The report also notes that there was some damage to the American landmark, stating, "A Park Service memo after the event said the production crew had 'generally followed previously agreed to requirements.' But it also said: 'Inside the Lincoln Chamber there are several scratches and gouges on the flooring. Photo documentation taken and referred to the park’s senior management.'"
You can read more here.
During an appearance on MSNBC's "The Cross Connection," former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner served notice to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) that he will regret ordering an investigation of Attorney General Merrick Garland should the Republican Party take control of the House in the 2022 midterm election.
Speaking with host Tiffany Cross, Kirschner didn't hold back, accusing the Republican leader of "political thuggery" in the service of former president Donald Trump.
After MSNBC played audio, McCarthy claimed that he intends to go after Garland in light of the search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort which resulted in FBI agents reclaiming stolen documents that could lead to espionage charges, the veteran prosecutor said the California Republican would rue the day.
"Kevin McCarthy is engaged in political thuggery, that's all this is," Kirschner bluntly stated. "He threatened the attorney general by saying you better clear your calendar and preserve your documents."
"Guess, what Kevin?" he continued. "Attorney General Merrick Garland and everybody at the Department of Justice preserves their documents every day. It is what I did for decades inside of the Department of Justice."
"Do you know who does not preserve documents?" he continued. "Donald Trump and his criminal associates. Instead, they steal -- and let's call it what it is -- they steal documents from the White House because none of these documents, setting classification aside, should have been taken from the White House and whisked away to Mar-a-Lago. They should have been sent over to the National Archives, be cataloged and held."
"Kevin McCarthy has nothing left but hollow threats, political thuggery and he has been on the wrong side of every argument since a couple of days after Jan. 6 six when he had a spasm of candor and good judgment. and said Donald Trump is responsible," he concluded.
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Ron DeSantis is on a 'collision course' with Trump as former president is 'besieged' by legal problems
According to a report from the Guardian, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is taking his show on the road and visiting five swing states as he mounts a low-key campaign to be the GOP presidential candidate in 2024.
As the Guardian's Adam Gabbatt wrote, this puts the rising star that is DeSantis on a "collision course" with Trump at a time when the former president is consumed with dealing with civil lawsuits and criminal investigations.
Noting that Trump reportedly now says he "hates" DeSantis, who he once championed, Gabbatt wrote, "The Florida governor – who must walk the tightrope of being both ally and rival of Trump – is hotly tipped to run for president, and this outwardly benevolent campaigning trip will further swell his profile," before adding, "Trump was key to getting DeSantis, who has been dubbed a 'mini-Trump', elected governor in 2018, but bad blood between the pair – particularly from Trump’s side – has been brewing for some time."
According to the report, while Trump is buffeted daily by bad news as multiple investigations lurch toward possible criminal indictments, Republican voters are seeing DeSantis as a more acceptable 2024 presidential candidate.
"DeSantis is seen by some conservatives as a more palatable, more electable, version of the original: still outspoken against the media or perceived foes when he wants to be, but less prone to explosions of temper, and with a less turbulent past. DeSantis has also not been impeached twice, and is not being investigated for inciting an insurrection, which could help win over wavering voters," Gabbatt explained before noting, "But DeSantis is just as extreme – perhaps more extreme – than Trump. As governor he has targeted minority groups, introducing legislation that seems designed to thrill the rightwing Republican base."
The report goes on to note that Trump has privately turned on the Florida Republican dating back to Jan 2022.
"Axios reported that behind the scenes, Trump would frequently criticize his former charge," the report states adding that a source close to Trump explained, "He says DeSantis has no personal charisma and has a dull personality."
Axios also "reported that Trump’s irritation stemmed from the fact that DeSantis has not ruled himself out of the running for the 2024 presidential election, should Trump himself run."
You can read more here.