A Republican official just accidentally exposed the party's 'Snowflake Syndrome': columnist

A recent op-ed piece published by The Washington Post highlights the problem of Snowflake Syndrome among voters who cast ballots for former President Donald Trump. The author, Greg Sargent, notes that the current Republican agenda centers on the following: restricting voting rights, sowing doubt about the COVID-19 vaccine, and downplaying the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The problem is that there is no justification or substantial evidence to support any of their arguments regarding these initiatives. In fact, all are connected to false narratives and misinformation that has been, in some way, influenced by Trump. For example, the nationwide push for voting rights restrictions is supposedly an incentive to increase voters' confidence in the integrity of the United States' voting systems. But Sargent pushed back against that argument describing it as "bad-faith nonsense."

"Broadly speaking," Sargent wrote, "this "confidence" storyline is bad-faith nonsense: It's being widely abused to keep alive the myth of the stolen election and to justify an unprecedented wave of efforts to disenfranchise the opposition's voters. It is not designed to build confidence in our elections, but to further undermine it, for illicit purposes."

Sargent noted the problem with Texas lawmakers' efforts outlined in House Bill 241 as he discussed the argument presented by Texas state Rep. Steve Toth who co-authored the bill. Toth's proposed bill would focus on examining election results in 13 counties. However, 10 out of those 13 counties were won by President Joe Biden. The writer noted that Toth's only concern was about the blue counties, not election integrity, as a whole.

While Toth said he would support a statewide effort, he also argued the undertaking would be too expensive and time-consuming. Asked if he would consider including some smaller counties, Toth replied, "What's the point? I mean, all the small counties are red."

"Republican voters don't lack confidence in the system in counties they won; they lack it only in counties populated by a lot of Democratic voters," Sargent wrote, mocking this attitude. "So let's focus on auditing those!"

Toth's comments are revealing. They show Republicans aren't actually interested in election integrity — that's as important in red counties as it is in blue — but they just don't want to accept that Democrats can legitimately win elections.

In reference to all of the GOP-inspired antics, Sargent concluded by saying, "So enough with the bogus Snowflake Syndrome narratives already. It's a tired act — not to mention a transparently disingenuous and even dangerous one."

New report thoroughly discredits GOP's claims of widespread voter fraud

In states all over the country, former President Donald Trump and Republican officials, leaders, and lawmakers raised concerns about claims of voter fraud. To make matters worse, multiple attorneys general and prosecutors in various states also echoed the same baseless claims despite not having substantial evidence of voter fraud.

While there were isolated reports of voter fraud, many of those cases actually involved Republican voters casting illegal votes for Trump. Now, a new report reveals how sparse claims of voter fraud have been, undercutting the conservative outcry alleging election rigging.

According to Bloomberg Government:

Prosecutors across the country found evidence of voter fraud compelling enough to take to court about 200 times since the November 2018 elections, according to a 50-state Bloomberg canvass of state officials. Republican and Democratic election and law enforcement officials contacted in 23 of the states were unable to point to any criminal voting fraud prosecutions since the November 2018 midterm elections.
Despite the escalating claims from former President Donald Trump of rampant misdeeds, nearly all of the instances found by state officials were insignificant infractions during a timeframe when hundreds of millions of people participated in thousands of elections around the country. Yet, misinformation about the topic has become a driving force of political debate.

The publication warns that falsehoods about voter fraud make members of the losing political party more emboldened to resort to extreme measures.

For example, one incident of voter fraud in Seminole County, Fla., led police to one voter fraud victim's own father. At the time, a criminal complaint indicated that the man "allegedly told the police he requested and sent in the ballot in his son's name."

"It was stupid. I was pissed off the way things are going in the country," the man said, according to the complaint. "I voted but it didn't make a difference."

Nelson Bunn, Jr., the executive director of the National District Attorneys Association, noted how expensive litigation can be for voter fraud cases.

"The investigation of claims of voter fraud are extremely time-intensive and expensive to conduct with most not resulting in any case to be brought forward," Bunn Jr., said in an email. "While an important issue, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies have very limited resources in good times and the impact of COVID and the resulting case backlogs are now straining these offices and broader criminal justice system even further."

Despite an alarming number of Republicans who have questioned the outcome of the presidential election, there are a select few who have opted to remain on the right side of the law. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) was one of them. He resisted Trump's pressure to cast doubt on or overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election in his state.

During a previous interview, he explained how Georgia investigates fraud as he offered a true definition of election integrity.

"We looked into all possible areas of fraud. I was the first Georgia Secretary of State to even look at double-voting. We set up an absentee ballot task force made up of prosecutors to further look into absentee ballot fraud," Raffensperger said in an interview. "People may not like the results. I understand that—I'm a Republican, I was disappointed, too. But at the end of the day those were the results.

"Look at your precinct workers—people that you go to church with, that you see at Kiwanis or Rotary or some service organization. They're the salt of the earth folks that are doing their job," he said. "And you can trust those folks because they have the most important thing in elections: that's integrity."

The evolution of the GOP's COVID vaccine opposition

Since the onset of the pandemic, Republicans have viewed the coronavirus through a relatively different lens than the rest of the country. As the months progressed, not only did their political views shape their belief systems about many aspects of science and the virus but also their opposition to the vaccine.

Although former President Donald Trump has adamantly demanded credit for the COVID vaccine, ironically Republicans have been the most apprehensive to get vaccinated despite blindly following the former president on many other key issues.

According to The New York Times, the Republican "wave of opposition to COVID vaccines" has accelerated in recent months due to the onslaught of misinformation perpetuated by conservative, right-wing news outlets. In fact, some Republican lawmakers have even embraced conspiracy theories that have influenced their push-back against initiatives pitched in order to improve vaccination rates across various states.

"A wave of opposition to Covid vaccines has risen within the Republican Party, as conservative news outlets produce a steady diet of misinformation about vaccines and some G.O.P. lawmakers invite anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists to testify in statehouses and Congress. With very little resistance from party leaders, these Republican efforts have elevated falsehoods and doubts about vaccinations from the fringes of American life to the center of our political conversation."

For example, in the state of Tennessee, Republican lawmakers have managed to deter public health officials' efforts to get children vaccinated across the board. From the COVID vaccine to routine inoculations, the lawmakers' guidance prohibits health officials from sending reminders to students. Instead, lawmakers are wanting those reminders rerouted to parents.

On July 13, Tennessee's Public Health Department spokesperson Sarah Tanksley explained how the department is making changes to incorporate lawmakers' new guidance, according to The Tennessean. She said, "the agency's online vaccine scheduling system also sends out automated reminder emails, but the agency is working to alter the system so reminders never go to minors and are instead rerouted to their parents."

Currently, Republican lawmakers are pushing back against the Biden administration's push to implement a door-to-door vaccination strategy in order to get low-income Americans vaccinated.

"Think about what those mechanisms could be used for," Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) said condemning the Biden administration's proposed initiative as he baselessly added, "They could then go door-to-door to take your guns. They could go door-to-door to take your Bibles."

However, a small number of Republican lawmakers have pushed back against the widespread opposition to vaccines. "We don't control conservative media figures so far as I know — at least I don't," Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told the publication. "That being said, I think it's an enormous error for anyone to suggest that we shouldn't be taking vaccines."

How the GOP's vaccine position has evolved since Trump left office

Since the onset of the pandemic, Republicans have viewed the coronavirus through a relatively different lens than the rest of the country. As the months progressed, not only did their political views shape their belief systems about many aspects of science and the virus but also their opposition to the vaccine.

Although former President Donald Trump has adamantly demanded credit for the COVID vaccine, ironically Republicans have been the most apprehensive to get vaccinated despite blindly following the former president on many other key issues.

According to The New York Times, the Republican "wave of opposition to COVID vaccines" has accelerated in recent months due to the onslaught of misinformation perpetuated by conservative, right-wing news outlets. In fact, some Republican lawmakers have even embraced conspiracy theories that have influenced their push-back against initiatives pitched in order to improve vaccination rates across various states.

"A wave of opposition to Covid vaccines has risen within the Republican Party, as conservative news outlets produce a steady diet of misinformation about vaccines and some G.O.P. lawmakers invite anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists to testify in statehouses and Congress. With very little resistance from party leaders, these Republican efforts have elevated falsehoods and doubts about vaccinations from the fringes of American life to the center of our political conversation."

For example, in the state of Tennessee, Republican lawmakers have managed to deter public health officials' efforts to get children vaccinated across the board. From the COVID vaccine to routine inoculations, the lawmakers' guidance prohibits health officials from sending reminders to students. Instead, lawmakers are wanting those reminders rerouted to parents.

On July 13, Tennessee's Public Health Department spokesperson Sarah Tanksley explained how the department is making changes to incorporate lawmakers' new guidance, according to The Tennessean. She said, "the agency's online vaccine scheduling system also sends out automated reminder emails, but the agency is working to alter the system so reminders never go to minors and are instead rerouted to their parents."

Currently, Republican lawmakers are pushing back against the Biden administration's push to implement a door-to-door vaccination strategy in order to get low-income Americans vaccinated.

"Think about what those mechanisms could be used for," Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) said condemning the Biden administration's proposed initiative as he baselessly added, "They could then go door-to-door to take your guns. They could go door-to-door to take your Bibles."

However, a small number of Republican lawmakers have pushed back against the widespread opposition to vaccines. "We don't control conservative media figures so far as I know — at least I don't," Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told the publication. "That being said, I think it's an enormous error for anyone to suggest that we shouldn't be taking vaccines."

Ted Lieu slams Megyn Kelly after she told him to 'grow up' over his concerns about the Capitol riots

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) fired back at Megyn Kelly after she waved off the severity and detriment of the deadly Capitol riots. On Monday, July 12, the former Fox News anchor discussed the Capitol riots during a segment of her podcast, "The Megyn Kelly Show."

According to Kelly, what transpired at the Capitol building on Jan. 6 "wasn't an insurrection." During the segment, Kelly claimed, "There is no question the media represented it as so much worse than it actually was," reports Newsweek.



After the segment, Lieu took to Twitter with a message leveled at Kelly. "Dear Megyn Kelly: I reviewed a lot of videos and evidence for the second impeachment trial," he tweeted on Tuesday. "The most accurate way I can say this is that you have no idea what you are talking about. 140 police officers were injured, some critically. People died. Why are you downplaying Jan 6?"



Hours later, the California lawmaker tagged Kelly in a statement to Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) who has also made remarks downplaying the Capitol insurrection. He previously made headlines for describing the chaos at the Capitol as a "normal tourist visit."

With a clip of the latest footage released of the Capitol riots, Lieu included a letter to Clyde that read: "Dear @Rep_Clyde: Can you take 34 seconds of your time to watch insurrectionists brutally assault police, and the cheering by the mob on Jan 6? This was not, as you say, a "normal tourist visit." Will you apologize to police for your disparaging comments?"

Kelly responded to Lieu's open post telling him to "grow up." She wrote, "Hey @tedlieu - I realize you get more attention by using my name since most ppl have no clue who you are, but try to get this: saying it was awful but the media overplayed it is not that controversial. Grow up."

Lieu offered a simple response to her message tweeting, "Thank you @megynkelly for following me on Twitter."

'It just spews out': Michael Wolff reveals more details about 'deranged' Trump in his scathing new book

Author Michael Wolff is shedding light on some of the most scathing details included in his new book chronicling former President Donald Trump's last days in office.

On Tuesday, July 13, Wolff appeared on MSNBC's "11th Hour" with host Brian Williams, to discuss and promote his new book, "Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency" He was asked if he had ever considered breaking government confidentiality to raise awareness about Trump's actions behind closed doors.

Based on his response, it did not seem as if he was worried about the consequences of doing so.



"What I know is in this book," Wolff said. "I wrote this book in just about three months. So, I rushed this book. I rushed through this book because I had quite a bit of practice now writing books about Trump. But also because I thought that this was incredibly important for people to know, for people to know that the President of the United States -- Let me very specific about this. -- The President of the United States is deranged."

Wolff's interview came only one day after his first appearance on MSNBC where admitted he initially was unsure about the level of crazy Trump possessed.

He also stressed the importance of always recording Trump when he speaks. According to Wolff, Trump has a knack for spewing remarks aimlessly. "I think that anyone who speaks to Donald Trump should be switching on their iPhone to tape what's going on," Wolff said on MSNBC. "Donald Trump is only half aware of what he's saying, it just spews out."

Now, he is fully aware of the dangerous man who ran the country and made decisions driven by focusing solely on his sole well-being.

Bill Barr resigned one day before Trump's DOJ tried to retrieve journalists' records: report

The Trump-led U.S. Justice Department went on a mission to retrieve email records for three Washington Post reporters just one day before former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr resigned from his post. Now, newly unsealed court documents are explaining the reason for his departure.

According to The New York Times, the Biden administration's effort to disclose the requests led to the unsealing of the documents. The publication reports that the DOJ previously submitted a 12-page application to the court requesting the email records for the three Washington Post reporters who wrote the articles: Adam Entous, Greg Miller and Ellen Nakashima.

The request seeking journalists' records, which was submitted on Dec. 22, was one of his last initiatives while still in office. The publication reports that the move was "part of a major escalation by the Trump administration during its final weeks in power of a yearslong campaign to crack down on leaks of classified information to the news media."

The court documents indicated that the government said, "Congress requested access to highly classified information in 2017 as part of a congressional inquiry. The Post on two occasions subsequently published "information that was contained within the classified materials that had been made available to select congressional personnel."

During that time frame, the Trump DOJ also requested records for New York Times reporters. Amid the disclosures, President Joe Biden has made it clear that the Justice Department will no longer be allowed to "use subpoenas and court orders to obtain such data in hunts for confidential sources."

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is also expected to release documentation to all federal prosecutor offices detailing the extent of the newly implemented ban. In addition to the efforts to seek reporters' records, the Justice Department's inspector general is also focused on uncovering leak investigations involving efforts to obtain records for Congressional members and their staff.

'Greedy, hungry and desperate': ​​Bank executive found guilty of bribing Manafort for a Trump admin job

A former executive banker in Chicago has been found guilty on multiple charges after allegedly conspiring with former President Donald Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort to approve high-risk bank loans in exchange for a top position in the Trump administration.

On Tuesday, July 13, Stephen Calk, who was employed as the former CEO of The Federal Savings Bank, was found guilty of "one count of financial institution bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit financial institution bribery. The charges carry 30 and 5-year maximum prison sentences, respectively," CNN reports. The jury deliberated for just two hours over the course of two days before reaching their verdict.

While Calk reportedly closed the deal with Manafort with hopes of receiving a position in the president's administration, the publication notes that he was never offered a position and never accepted one. The bank was also left in a bind when Manafort defaulted on the loans, which were worth more than $16 million.

Although Calk has been found guilty, his defense attorneys argued that Manafort was the one who committed fraud by providing false information about his wealth to be approved by the lender. However, prosecutor Paul Monteleoni argued otherwise.

"Prosecutors called Calk greedy, hungry and desperate to get into the Trump administration, telling jurors during closing arguments Monday that the bank CEO pushed his employees to approve Manafort's risky loans despite debt and properties in foreclosure," CNN reported.

"No matter how many problems the loans just would not die. Why not? Because Calk wanted them to close," Monteleoni reportedly said. "That's the second of seven reasons why you know Calk had corrupt intent because he gave Manafort such special treatment. And he did it with both eyes open. So the idea that everyone else was moving alone forward and keeping things from Calk is 100% backwards. Calk was deep in the weeds on this loan."

In the last days of his presidency, Trump gave Paul Manafort a pardon for the vast array of crimes for which he had been found guilty as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. That pardon offered no protection for Calk, Manafort's co-conspirator.

'Ahead of his time': How astrophysicist Carl Sagan predicted 2021's problems -- 25 years ago

Carl Sagan in 1995 ultimately predicted a number of pitfalls and challenges the United States would be facing 25 years later when he published his last book just months before his death in 1996.

During the July 12 segment of MSNBC's "11th Hour," the network paid homage to Sagan describing him as "A Man Ahead of His Time." With four college degrees, Sagan was not only well-educated but also well-informed.

As an astrophysicist and author, Sagan made a number of predictions in his writings that are currently unfolding in today's America.

In the book, "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," the former exobiology expert and astronomer famously discussed the Ides of March as he offered a hauntingly grim assessment of the decades to come in the United States.

"I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness."

He also expressed concern about America's future generations being "dumbed down."

Sagan continued, "The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance."

The reflection on Sagan's written material comes at a time where the United States is eerily impacted by much of what the former astronomer spoke of. The coronavirus pandemic also shed light on a number of the nation's weak spots that government officials and lawmakers are trying to address before it is too late.


Adam Kinzinger ridicules 'tough guy' GOPers claiming door-to-door vaccines are threatening

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) is pushing back against his Republican colleagues' suggestion that the Biden's administration's door-to-door COVID vaccination initiative is nothing more than a "socialist" campaign for public health.

On Saturday, July 10, the Republican lawmaker sounded off the "Republican outrage of the week" via Twitter. "Republican Outrage of the week- 'door to door' vaccines. OH NO." he tweeted.

Despite the floating conspiracy theories, Kinzinger encouraged his followers to ignore the "tough guy" politicians and get COVID vaccine. "All these 'tough guy' politicians pretending this is a real threat, all do door-to-door campaigning. It's so nice to live so comfortably that this is what consumes us and not real problems. Get vaccinated."


Kinzinger's tweet comes shortly after several Republican lawmakers including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Andy Bigg (R-Ariz.) penned an open letter in response to President Joe Biden's push to "go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood and often times door-to-door' to make sure every American has at least had the opportunity to receive the vaccine."

The lawmakers accused the president of supporting "'a deeply disturbing' violation of Americans' privacy," according to Newsweek. On Saturday, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) even went a step further as he claimed the latest vaccine initiative could eventually become a way for the administration to "take your guns, take your Bibles."

Kinzinger's Saturday morning tweet is his latest pushback against the Trump-loyal Republican lawmakers' conspiracy theories. Since the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol Kinzinger has become an outspoken figure often breaking from lawmakers within his party. In response to Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) decision to join the bandwagon to condemn the door-to-door vaccine campaign, Kinzinger fired back at him, as well.

With an excerpt of Cruz's proposed bill to ban vaccine passports, he tweeted, "Nothing is a bigger wake up call that we are on the verge of communism than an increase of convenient options to get vaccinated. Ted maybe just focus on recommending vaccinations and not spewing outrage."


Bizarre feud between GOP senator and pop singer Taylor Swift intensifies

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has started another fire taking aim, yet again, at pop singer Taylor Swift. Speaking to the right-wing media outlet Breitbart, the Republican lawmaker "criticized the left for making country music "woke," according to Insider.

Blackburn also insisted entertainers like the "Shake it Off" singer would suffer in a Marxist, socialist-driven society. "If we have a socialistic government, if we have Marxism, you are going to be the first ones who will be cut off because the state would have to approve your music," she said.

"When you look at Marxist socialistic societies, they do not allow women to dress or sing or be on stage or to entertain or the type of music she would have," Blackburn said. "They don't allow protection of private intellectual property rights."

She added, "Taylor Swift came after me in my 2018 campaign, but Taylor Swift would be the first victim."


Blackburn's latest remarks follow Swift's criticism of the lawmaker. In an Instagram post shared in 2018, Swift noted Blackburn's voting record as she explained why she would not support her.

"As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn," Swift wrote at the time.

"Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values."


Back in 2020, Swift also took a subliminal jab at Blackburn during her Netflix documentary "Miss Americana." Sharing her reaction to Blackburn's Senate victory, Swift said, "She gets to be the first female senator in Tennessee, and she's Trump in a wig."

Capitol rioter lawyer argues for a lighter sentence because it could 'heal the nation'

One of the first alleged suspects to plead guilty to crimes in connection with the U.S. Capitol insurrection has asked the court to grant him a lenient sentence. His reason for the request has caught the attention of social media users across the country.

According to The Daily Beast, Paul Hodgkins' attorney is asking for a "slap on the wrist" for his participation in the U.S. riots. In a sentencing memo to Judge Randolph D. Moss, the 38-year-old's defense attorney Patrick Leduc argued that a lighter sentence for his client might actually "heal" the nation.

"This case is the story of a man who represents all that we would want in our fellow Americans," Leduc said in the memo to Moss. "It is the story of [a] man who for just one hour on one day, lost his bearings and his way."

Leduc added, "A sentence that provides Paul Hodgkins 'charity' would go a very long way toward healing a nation in dire need of seeing what undeserved 'grace' looks like."

That claim is one of the many perplexing arguments in the defense's 32-page memo which also includes a declaration that says, "Hodgkins should not be cancelled."

He also argued that the court's handling of Hodgkins could set a new precedent and emphasize how the nation is "healing" during particular time.

"How this Court deals with Paul Hodgkins can stand as a symbol of what we are and, in the event 'charity' is given, what President Lincoln hoped we would always be: A nation that forgives, gives undeserved grace, and restoration that promotes healing," Leduc said.

Hodgkins' sentencing is only the second occurrence of someone actually facing real consequences for storming the Capitol.

Although Leduc insists a lenient sentence for his client could help the nation, Anna Morgan-Lloyd's sentence of three months probation following a guilty plea to one misdemeanor count of storming the federal building actually appears to have set the tone for cases going forward.

It's obvious because Hodgkins' legal team quickly seized the opportunity to present an argument along the same lines.

Fox's Tucker Carlson torched for latest 'disturbing' and 'dishonest' commentary

MSNBC's Chris Hayes had a piercing assessment of Fox News' Tucker Carlson's disturbing remarks about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Speaking to Media Matters President & CEO Angelo Carusone on Thursday, July 9, Hayes asked about "just-asking-questions trollingly, you know, opposition to any pro-vaccine moves."

According to Media Matters, Carusone immediately noted the seemingly reckless and irresponsible content and conspiracy theories Carlson has been perpetuating on his primetime broadcast. A very, very minor conspiracy theory that was circulating online in the fever swamps," Carusone said. "And he plucked it out of there and gave it a lot of push and that was really when things started to shift over at Fox News."


All In With Chris Hayes 7/9/21 | MSNBC Breaking News Today July 9, 2021 youtu.be


In response to Carusone's remarks, Hayes also offered his take on Carlson's rhetoric on the COVID vaccine. Pushing back against Carlson's claims about the dangers of the vaccine, Hayes shed light on the statistics that highlight the effectiveness of the vaccine. He also noted that millions of people have already been vaccinated as others are beginning the process.

Hayes ended with a lambasting statement about Carlson's reporting of the vaccine killing people" describing his remarks as "deeply, deeply stupid, like aggressively stupid" whether he "misunderstand that intentionally or not."

"I should just be clear here about what he did because I think it's worth taking a second to just talk about how dishonest and despicable it was."

There's a public record of vaccine outcomes that's traced, and millions of people are getting the vaccine, so some percentage of those people die after getting the vaccine in the same way that some percentage of all people, particularly when you're vaccinating seniors, die or get sick… This started online. People taking those examples and saying, 'Look. Two plus two equals four. The vaccine is killing people.' It's just, like, obviously deeply, deeply stupid, like aggressively stupid, to misunderstand that intentionally or not.

Hayes' Friday night comments came just one day after he sounded off about Carlson and other Fox News hosts who have sown seeds of doubt where the vaccine is concerned. According to Hayes, its simply a "cowardly" act to do so.

Why Mike Pence exploded at Trump — and 5 other stunning details from a new report on their final days

It's no secret that former President Donald Trump's last days in office were a political rollercoaster. Some of the chaos happened in plain sight, especially before he was kicked off Twitter. But despite his Twitter obsession, there were still things that occurred behind closed doors that are just coming to light. A new report published by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday sheds light on the unceasing chaos that ensued as the clock ticked down to 0 on Trump's presidency. The author Michael C. Bender offered a detailed depiction of what went on behind the scenes of the Trump administration.

  1. Most of those around Trump actually believed he would eventually concede and do the right thing: Vice President Mike Pence and Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna McDaniel believed time would eventually give Trump the space he needed to process the devastating loss, Bender reported. Even his daughter Ivanka, who presumably knows her father better than others in his orbit, also thought he would come around and maybe invite Biden to the White House. That never happened, of course, and even now Trump insists he really won the election.
  2. Losing allies: During Trump's last days, his camaraderie with former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr also came to a screeching halt. At one point, he even offered the job to former National Intelligence Director, John Ratcliffe. Although it was Ratcliffe's dream job, he already knew the high consequences of taking the position at such a critical and controversial time during Trump's presidency.
  3. Bill Barr's breaking point: When Barr decided he'd had enough Trump's desperation to overturn the presidential election had escalated. In fact, it was so severe that the former president was "personally phoning U.S. attorneys—against Justice Department protocol—urging them to focus on election fraud."
  4. Even U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was concerned: Although Pompeo was a devout supporter of Trump, Bender notes that even he "conveyed concern to others that Mr. Trump might be more willing to engage in an international conflict to strengthen his political argument for remaining in office."
  5. Once upon a time, Vice President Mike Pence exploded: When Trump expressed disdain over Pence's committee hiring his advisor, Corey Lewandowski, as he claimed it was a sign of disloyalty, Pence reportedly had enough of Trump's antics and exploded. Bender wrote, "Mr. Pence lost it. Mr. Kushner had asked him to hire Mr. Lewandowski, and he had discussed the plan with Mr. Trump over lunch. Mr. Pence picked up the article and threw it back at Mr. Trump. He leaned toward the president and pointed a finger a few inches from his chest. "We walked you through every detail of this," Mr. Pence snarled. "We did this for you—as a favor. And this is how you respond? You need to get your facts straight."
  6. All bark and no bite? After facing the reality of losing the election, Trump asked numerous aides if he should run again. According to the report, some encouraged him but few actually believed he would go through with another presidential run. In fact, the publication also explained, "His advisers have pushed him to carefully cultivate his political power and delay deciding whether to run again in 2024 until after the midterms."

New report reveals how the media has 'widely misunderstood' the Trump Organization indictment

On Thursday, an unsealed indictment of the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg revealed a long series of serious charges, including substantial tax fraud. Shortly after, former President Donald Trump's son Eric Trump conducted multiple interviews where he weighed in on the charges his family's organization is facing.

At one point during his appearance on Fox News, Eric Trump waved off the incentives as "fringe benefits." However, a comprehensive piece published by Just Security pushes back against Eric's claims explaining why the investigation covers much more area than that.

The pieces offers several specifics that highlight why the case is not as frivolous as the former president's son tried to suggest. It argues: "This is no mere fringe benefits case" but rather a "straight-out fraud case, claiming that the defendants kept double books: phony ones to show the tax authorities, and accurate ones to be hidden from view."

Offering an analogy of the charges brought against the organization, author Danial Shaviro laid out an example scenario of what has allegedly been done in comparison to the diluted version of the allegations Trump's lawyers are trying to perpetuate:

"Suppose that your employer pays you monthly, through automatically deposited paychecks that end up being included on your annual W-2. But suppose that each month you could stop by the front office, request an envelope full of cash in unmarked bills, and have your W-2 reduced accordingly. So your true income would be the same as if you hadn't stopped by, but you'd be reporting less salary. If your employer kept careful records of all the cash it gave you, and also still deducted it all, we would basically have this case. That is far different from simple failure to pay taxes on fringe benefits, which is how the indictment has been widely misunderstood, thanks in part to Trump's defense lawyers' laying the groundwork before the charges were made public on Thursday."

As for "fringe benefits," the publication notes that the problem centers on the fact that the items Weisselberg received that were funded by the company "had no relationship whatsoever to the sort of items that, under appropriate circumstances, might potentially constitute tax-free employee fringe benefits."

The piece explained:

But the following items that the company paid for, on Weisselberg's behalf, most emphatically do not fit the profile of potentially excludable fringe benefits:
• private school tuition expenses for Weisselberg's family members (First Count ¶9).[2]
• a Mercedes Benz automobile that was the personal car of Weisselberg's wife (First Count ¶10).
• unreported cash that Weisselberg could use to pay personal holiday gratuities (First Count ¶11).
To treat cash as a "fringe benefit" would imply that the term covers all employee compensation. Does this mean that, whenever one is paid with cash off the books and does not report it, the IRS is merely quibbling over fringe benefits? Of course not.
• personal expenses for Weisselberg's other homes and an apartment maintained by one of his children; these included such items as new beds, flat-screen televisions, the installation of carpeting, and furniture for his home in Florida (First Count, ¶12).
• rent-free lodging and other benefits to a family member of Weisselberg (First Count, ¶13).


The extent of the charges in the indictment was also highlighted. The main charges include "New York State fraud, conspiracy, and grand larceny statutes." Other points to highlight include double bookkeeping, deceptive bookkeeping, "and fraudulent mischaracterization of employee compensation" which make the organization's actions appear to be deliberate actions to "conceal the fraud."

Some legal experts and observers believe the current charges are only the "first wave" for what appears to be an ongoing investigation. It's unclear yet how expansive any future charges may be.

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