The white oak tree located beside the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church is more than 600 years old. (Photo courtesy Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church)
BERNARDS -- What is believed to be the oldest white oak tree in the country, one that has called Basking Ridge home for more than 600 years, is now dramatically showing signs of age and causing concern. The tree is located beside the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church, where it already stood for nearly 300 years before…
Former President Donald Trump boasted at a Fox event in Iowa last week about a massive purchase of oil he made during his presidency, as a contrast to President Joe Biden's energy policy.
“We had so much oil we didn’t know what to do with it. We bought a lot of it for very little for the strategic national reserves,” said Trump. “Think of it: 75 million barrels, and I bought it for peanuts, and Congress – I had to fight Congress, and the pricing was so crazy and so good.”
There's just one problem, according to CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale: Trump didn't buy 75 million barrels of oil.
"Trump did propose to buy 77 million barrels for the reserve in 2020 as oil prices cratered because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the Democratic-controlled Congress rejected the $3 billion in funding that would have paid for the purchase, describing it as a subsidy to big oil companies," reported Dale.
"Various Republicans have since criticized the Democrats for blocking Trump’s proposal, arguing that they caused the country to miss a golden opportunity to fill the reserve while prices were unusually low. That’s fair game. But Trump boasted on Fox that he overcame the congressional opposition and did buy tens of millions of barrels at those prices. That’s not true."
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve declined under Biden, as the administration sold off barrels to ease global energy price shocks that drove up the price of gasoline sharply last summer. However, it also declined under Trump, from 696 million barrels to 638 million. The only purchase made for the reserve under the Trump administration was a restocking of 124,000 barrels in 2020.
Trump also claimed at the same event that the SPR is now "close to empty" under Biden, but that is false as well — just over 355 million barrels remain, which is a 40-year low but still more than half of what it was when Trump left office. And he claimed that Biden misused the reserve because it is just "meant for times of war." Not only is that not true — SPR is used for peacetime emergencies as well — but the Russian invasion of Ukraine was indeed a factor in the decision to release reserves.
The meeting followed a letter sent to the Department of Justice by his legal team – and posted on Truth Social – that alleged "ongoing injustice."
But, according to former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal, the impropriety complaint it absurd.
"This is the kind of thing defense attorneys will try and do as a last-ditch effort, to try and meet with the prosecutor, try and talk them out of it," explained Katyal. "Try and say, 'Oh, you abused my client's rights and so on. But I think, you know, those kinds of claims, we've heard them before, are pretty much going to fall on deaf ears.
"The idea that the attorney-client privilege was violated here is exactly what was litigated before the district judge and then going up to our second highest court, the D.C. Circuit, which rebuked that kind of idea. So, it pierced attorney-client privilege."
The reference is to information that Trump's lawyer Evan Corcoran had about the documents scandal, and that he was told to turn over notes and recordings – using a "crime-fraud" exception to attorney-client privilege.
"For those really highly respected judges to have done that in the Mar-a-Lago investigation tells me that they believed a serious crime had been committed and that the attorney was part of that situation," Katyal said.
"And so they needed to get that information to the prosecutors of what that attorney knew and what that attorney did and what that attorney saw. That is a rare, rare thing. You almost never see it in the law. But it occurs only in really grave circumstances. Here all of those judges said this meets that criteria.
"So, what I think we are looking at is really truly, Nicolle, a situation where all signs are indicating Donald Trump will be indicted by Jack Smith for the mishandling of classified information at Mar-a-Lago as well as the obstruction of the investigation afterward, hiding the boxes, dress rehearsals, all that kind of stuff."
United States Representative Jared Moskowitz (D-Florida) made fun of former President Donald Trump's business failures during an interview about the debt ceiling on Monday's edition of Meet the Press on NBC News.
"All right. You said you plan on using the debt ceiling actually in your campaign messaging. This is something that you said in Axios. 'Moskowitz who just won by five points in 2022 says he does plan to incorporate the debt ceiling into his campaign message, arguing that a vote for Democrats is a vote for normalcy on the issue.' And you said, 'We already had Donald Trump saying live on CNN that the US should default. Imagine what he would say in January or February or March of the next year,'" the host recalled.
"Do you think your voters are paying attention to the debt ceiling, that they know what's going on, that that's something you can use as a pitch to them to see you reelected in the next campaign?" Moskowitz was asked.
"Well, look, obviously, thankfully we didn't see, like, a decrease in our credit rating like we saw ten years ago So I don't know that they were paying attention to it as much this time as they, we were, they were last time. Quite frankly, Washington has cried wolf a lot on the debt ceiling, so possibly people tune it out," Moskowitz replied.
02:37"But I will say I, I was concerned when I see a former president of the United States saying, 'We should default' as if somehow the United States would just go to bankruptcy court, which is what that president is used to," Moskowitz quipped of Trump's history of insolvency.
"Imagine what he would say a year from now — exactly my point — weaponizing, you know, the full faith and credit of the United States," Moskowitz added. "So what I am gonna say to my voters is, what I did say before, is what you saw in the midterm election. I was elected in the midterm election where Democrats did a lot better than everybody thought. It's because I am pushing normal. I am pushing sanity. I am pushing logic. It's enough of all the noise. I mean, we're not gonna govern via