Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden appears to be inching toward victory as counting continues in several key states that could put him over 270 electoral votes, the threshold needed to win the Electoral College and take the White House. President Trump and his supporters, meanwhile, have attacked the process and falsely claimed Democrats are stealing the election, and the Trump campaign has launched a barrage of legal challenges in swing states related to ballot counting. With the results closer than many pollsters had predicted, Democracy Now! co-host Juan González says “a false narrative” is taking root that Latinx voters were primarily to blame for the weak Democratic result. “The main story is that people of color, especially Latinos, flocked to the polls in numbers that far exceeded what the experts had expected, while the total number of votes cast by white Americans barely increased from the last presidential election,” says González. “How come none of the experts are asking why white voters underperformed the Democratic Party?”
America's largest grocery store chain is once again in the headlines over how the company demonstrated its values during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Kroger Co. Chief Executive Officer Rodney McMullen found himself in a hailstorm of criticism last spring over hazard pay to frontline workers. In early 2020, as the coronavirus swept across the U.S., McMullen announced a $2 hourly hazard increase, or 'Hero Bonus,' for store and warehouse workers. Two months later, the company ended the raise -- even as critics pointed out that the hazard remained," Bloomberg News reported Thursday. "McMullen, meanwhile, collected a $22.4 million pay package for 2020 -- his largest haul since he became Kroger's boss in 2014."
"The package, disclosed Thursday in a regulatory filing, rose almost 6% from the prior year thanks to a bigger bonus, a larger package of stock awards and a salary increase. Pay for Kroger's median employee fell 8% to $24,617," the report noted. "Kroger posted record revenue last year as scores of Americans stockpiled groceries and ate most meals at home."
Read the full report.
In their long-running plot to discredit so-called "deep state" actors within the federal government, loyalists of then-President Donald Trump enlisted the help of a British spy and a "network of conservative activists" to root out public officials they believed were insufficiently loyal to Trump, according to a bombshell report in The New York Times published Thursday.
The group's wide-ranging operations allegedly targeted high-level officials, including Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, as well as FBI agents and other less prominent government employees.
It's the most brazen example to be made public thus far of the lengths to which Trump's most loyal supporters went to push out the government employees they saw as watering down the former president's agenda — although, according to the Times reporting, it remains unclear whether Trump or anyone within the upper echelons of the White House was aware of these efforts.
Project Veritas, the conservative group known for its long run of failed sting operations against Democratic officials and news outlets, apparently played a central role in the schemes. The Times reports that one of the organization's largest efforts involved a series of undercover missions against the FBI in which female recruits would arrange dates with bureau employees and attempt to record them making anti-Trump comments.
Erik Prince, the founder of shadowy military contractor Blackwater Worldwide and brother of Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos, plays an important role in the Times story for recruiting a former British spy, Richard Seddon, to train Project Veritas operatives to infiltrate trade unions and Democratic campaigns. Prince has a long history arranging intelligence training for the group, as The Intercept outlined in a 2019 investigation.
The scheme to tar McMaster, which also involved a woman surreptitiously recording her interactions with the retired three-star general, sputtered out when he resigned for unrelated reasons in 2018, the Times reports. And though there were several Project Veritas members involved in the plot, the Times notes that it is unclear whether the group itself was directing the operation.
Barbara Ledeen, a former staff member for the Senate Judiciary Committee, alleged that she was recruited to assist in the sting by someone "with access to McMaster's calendar" — though it is not clear in context whether that meant the person she mentioned worked in the White House.
James O'Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, responded to the Times in a defiant statement, calling the paper's reporting a "smear piece" and attributing the Times' interest in the story to a defamation lawsuit his group is currently litigating against the Gray Lady. He also released a video late Thursday in which he denied any involvement in the undercover plot against McMaster.
"Because The New York Times is losing to Project Veritas in a court of law, it is trying to smear Project Veritas in the court of public opinion," he told the newspaper. "I think the court, like me, may well be appalled at The New York Times's continued pattern of defamation of Project Veritas."
Read the full report here.
Controversial former GOP state Rep. Anthony Kern is no longer being allowed to participate in Arizona's audit of election results in Maricopa County.
Kern was allowed to count votes even though his own name appeared on the ballot as a Trump elector and he traveled to DC for the "Stop the Steal" rally and posted a photo to social media praising the insurrection.
Looks like we have former AZ lawmaker Anthony Kern reviewing ballots #azauditpool pic.twitter.com/lCr7Cpy5MS
— Ryan Randazzo (@utilityreporter) April 30, 2021
The same reporter, Ryan Randazzo of the Arizona Republic, was back covering the audit on Thursday. Randazzo reports former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said Kern has not been allowed back.
"Not the best optic," he admitted.
Ken Bennett came by for an update. He said @anthonykernAZ has not been allowed back to count votes after the contractor decided it was not a good look. “Not the best optic."
— Ryan Randazzo (@utilityreporter) May 14, 2021
Here is the photo Kern posted from the Capitol on January 6th:
In DC supporting @realDonaldTrump and @CNN @FoxNews @MSNBC are spewing lies again. #truth https://t.co/MeZ8bEq9mG— Anthony Kern (@Anthony Kern)1609963352.0
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