MIAMI — Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell, the jailed alleged madam to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, have asked an appellate court to keep sealed a controversial deposition of hers but failed in a much-anticipated filing to present new information they had learned in a separate criminal case that they said would bolster their argument for keeping the material under wraps. The new filing from Maxwell hit the court docket Thursday night, hours before a deadline imposed by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. It is hearing her appeal of an order by U.S. District Judge Lorett...
Former president Donald Trump's new social media company is nothing but a scam — and the hiring of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) as its CEO proves it, according to MSNBC analyst John Heilemann, executive editor of the Recount.
"I have a fairly high degree of confidence that there will never be a media company of any kind that will get formed in this way, and that this is all some kind of a black bag job to get money — that Trump can somehow siphon some money away from people who are trying to curry favor with him," Heilemann told The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on Tuesday night.
Heilemann added that the "giveaway" is Nunes' decision to leave Congress to become CEO of the company, even though he was poised to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee — arguably the most powerful committee in Washington — if Republicans recapture the majority.
"He's leaving that why? He's leaving that for money, and that's what I think this is all about, is money," Heilemann said.
"If this company ever exists, it will be more like a laundromat than it will be like a social media company," he added. "This is a laundromat. This is about how does the money that gets put into this firm allow Trump to either raise more money, raise further debt, service debt, (and) somehow profiteer from this."
Tim O'Brien, a senior columnist for Bloomberg and the author of Trump Nation, agreed, saying Trump's media company it "has all the earmarks of a classic pump-and-dump scam." O'Brien added that he thinks it's "rather amazing" that the SEC is already investigating the company before the platform's launch.
"The whole logic here is that Donald's Trunp's political and digital mojo is so potent that a number of hedge funds, and a perhaps larger number of undisclosed investors, have put a bunch of money into this, on the idea that they will ultimately separate a bunch of suckers from their wallets," O'Brien said.
He added that while the apparent goal is to compete with Facebook and Twitter, Trump's company doesn't have a business plan or financial projections, and Nunes, whose family runs a dairy farm, has no relevant experience.
"But it already has a valuation of over a billion dollars, and Donald Trump is deeply indebted," O'Brien said. "He has over a billion dollars in debt hanging over his current real estate and resort holdings. Some of that comes due fairly soon. He's personally guaranteed it. He's feeling the squeeze. He's selling off other assets, and then lo and behold he gins up this little charade to convince people to plop money on his desk, and they have, and he will probably make out from that OK, but anyone else who thinks they're going to stick around this project for anything longer than 15 minutes and make money should have their heads examined, I think."
O'Brien added that "beyond the financial chicanery involved," the company poses a "real national security threat," pointing to a recent announcement that it raised $1 billion from anonymous investors. O'Brien noted that Trump's former treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, has been raising money from the Saudis, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has also been trying to do so.
"Is there Saudi money behind this Trump venture? Possibly," O'Brien said. "What does that mean? It means he's going to owe them if he gets back into the White House, and everybody knows that. He can be touched. He can be manipulated."
MSNBC on Trump's media company www.youtube.com
'Certifiably nuts': Lauren Boebert posts Christmas photo of her four sons brandishing assault rifles
Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert posted a photo of her young children brandishing assault rifles in front of a Christmas tree on Tuesday.
Her post came three days after Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie drew intense backlash for a similar photo. It also came one week to the day after four people were killed at Oxford High School in Michigan by a 15-year-old whose parents are now charged with involuntary manslaughter for giving him access to a gun.
"The Boeberts have your six, @RepThomasMassie!" Boebert wrote above her photo. "(No spare ammo for you, though)"
Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke was among those who expressed outrage over Boebert's photo.
"This is a sickness," Huppke wrote. "Any semblance of American decency is being ground into hamburger by people like Boebert. Do not lose your ability to be appalled. And do not underestimate the power of such poison."
Howard Forman, a professor at the Yale School of Management and a former U.S. Senate staffer, said Boebert and Massie appeared to be "competing to show the world that gun fetishism is alive and well; that exploiting your children to advance your career is ok; & teenagers that died last week are long forgotten."
MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan noted that Boebert's photo showed four children holding guns.
"That’s exactly the same number of kids gunned down and murdered by another kid with a gun just days ago," Hasan wrote. "This party is a death cult, part 335."
According to the Herald Times, Boebert's sons were ages 14, 12, 10 and 7 in January 2020, when she took office.
Always nice to make gun porn a family affair for the holidays... just like Jesus would want.https://twitter.com/laurenboebert/status/1468411381653323777\u00a0\u2026— Josh Jordan (@Josh Jordan) 1638933865
too much to hope for that the Colorado Department of Children\u2019s Services could save these kids I guess.https://twitter.com/laurenboebert/status/1468411381653323777\u00a0\u2026— Brian S. Faughnan (@Brian S. Faughnan) 1638933834
Lauren Boebert\u2019s husband showed his penis to young girls. That\u2019s probably why he\u2019s not in the picture. https://twitter.com/laurenboebert/status/1468411381653323777\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/iIzPD43MLq— I'm That Type Of Guy (@I'm That Type Of Guy) 1638933501
Christmas in the Trumpocene. (GOP leaders from Nevada, Kentucky, Colorado.)pic.twitter.com/qgk9XunDL9— Jeff Sharlet (@Jeff Sharlet) 1638934406
Mike Lindell's nightmare: Conservative group finds Trump did better than expected in counties with Dominion machines
A conservative legal group found “no evidence of fraud” in Wisconsin during the last presidential election. But that top-line conclusion confirming the obvious wasn’t quite as striking as one that had to rock the world of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) -- a far-right nonprofit legal firm that has sued to stop mask mandates among its initiatives -- conducted a 10-month review of Wisconsin’s 2020 election. It didn’t mince words about one of the key tenets of the Big Lie.
“THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF SIGNIFICANT PROBLEMS WITH VOTING MACHINES” one of the reports main sections declared.
The more interesting findings have to do with how Trump fared in counties that used Dominion voting machines, which Lindell infamously accused of rigging the election for President Joe Biden.
“Donald Trump won communities that used Dominion voting machines with 57.2%, an increase from 2016," the report states. "WILL could not access voting machines as a part of this review, but we did model the various machines to evaluate their effect on the outcome of the election. Just 14.7% of Wisconsin jurisdictions employ the Dominion voting machines, maligned by many as a culprit in changing votes for Joe Biden."
In fact, the report overall found "Democrats actually did worse than expected in areas that used Dominion machines.”
Take that, Mike Lindell.
The WILL findings, released today, had started on what might have seemed an optimistic note for Trump sycophants:
“It is almost certain that in Wisconsin’s 2020 election the number of votes that did not comply with existing legal requirements exceeded Joe Biden’s margin of victory.”
But it immediately added, “This does not necessarily mean that Biden did not win a majority of the votes of those eligible to vote, but the questions of fraud and unlawful processes are related.”
And this: “There was no evidence of widespread voter fraud. In all likelihood, more eligible voters cast ballots for Joe Biden than Donald Trump. We found little direct evidence of fraud, and for the most part, an analysis of the results and voting patterns does not give rise to an inference of fraud.”
The report alleged “widespread abandonment of proper procedures,” criticized the maintenance of voter rolls and advocated for numerous changes that would have been expected from a conservative legal group. But that will hardly numb the pain of its surprisingly candid findings, such as these:
“Our hand review found that the counts closely matched those reported by the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC)," the group explains. "The review found no evidence of fraudulent ballots. The wards WILL reviewed came from: Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Fox Crossing, Mequon, Waukesha, and West Bend. In many of the wards examined, WILL found a significant number of voters who voted for Biden and a Republican for Congress, while far fewer voters split the other way. This is consistent with the explanation that a key driver of Trump’s loss was a segment of traditional Republican voters choosing not to support him."