Donald Trump February 2021-

Written by  //  July 28, 2021  //  Politics, U.S.  //  No comments

Trump tries to sabotage the Biden infrastructure deal
Those close to the former president say he remains miffed that Senate Republicans didn’t move a bill when he was in office.
(Politico) Donald Trump tried and failed to pass an infrastructure bill so many times over the course of his presidency that his attempts were reduced to a punchline.
The former president has sounded off repeatedly in the past week about the negotiations taking place between Senate Republicans and Democrats on the Hill and in the White House. He’s encouraged GOP lawmakers to abandon the talks and criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for even entertaining them. Senate Republicans have said, in interviews, that they have directly asked the former president not just to tone down his criticism but to actually support the infrastructure deal.

Heather Cox Richardson: July 26, 2021
One of the hallmarks of a personality like that of former president Donald Trump is that he cannot stop escalating. It’s not that he won’t stop; it’s that he can’t stop. And he will escalate until someone finally draws a line and holds it.
…former president Trump and his supporters are consolidating their power over the Republican Party. Through it, they hope to control the nation.
Trump this morning tried to assert his dominance over the party by issuing a statement in which he demanded that Republican senators scrap the infrastructure bill that has been more than three months in the making. [He] is…claiming that the Movement Conservatives who now dominate the leadership of the Republican Party are not really Republicans. True Republicans, he says, are those loyal only to him. He is using the infrastructure bill as a loyalty test. The reality is that an infrastructure package is very popular, and walking away from it will cost Republicans in states that are not fully under Trump’s sway.

16 July
Dana Milbank: This historian predicted Jan. 6. Now he warns of greater violence.
(WaPo) American democracy survived that coup attempt on Jan. 6. But the danger has not subsided. I called [the eminent Yale historian Timothy] Snyder, who accurately predicted the insurrection, to ask how the history of European authoritarianism informs our current state.
“We’re looking almost certainly at an attempt in 2024 to take power without winning election,” he told me Thursday. Recent moves in Republican-controlled state legislatures to suppress the votes of people of color and to give the legislatures control over casting electoral votes “are all working toward the scenario in 2024 where they lose by 10 million votes but they still appoint their guy.”
… A survey of 327 political scientists released this week by Bright Line Watch, a project by scholars at Dartmouth College, the University of Chicago and the University of Rochester, found widespread concern: The experts collectively estimated a 55 percent likelihood that at least some local officials will refuse to certify vote counts in 2024, a 46 percent likelihood that one or more state legislatures will pick electors contrary to the popular vote, and a 39 percent likelihood that Congress will refuse to certify the election.
Gwynne Dyer: Today Zuma, Tomorrow Trump
Under no circumstances will Trump tamely show up in court to fight his case, agreeing to testify under oath. He has given too many hostages to fortune, and once that process gets underway his ultimate destination is probably huge fines and/or prison. So he must find another way to respond.
We have a very recent example of what a ruthless, trapped ex-president will do to avoid that fate. Jacob Zuma was president of South Africa for nine years, and his behaviour in power gave the world a new phrase: ‘state capture’. His friends and business partners prospered mightily, and their activities cost South Africa an estimated $83 billion.
… [Trump] will do a Zuma, stringing it out as long as possible and then finally resorting to an attempt to overawe the American state and constitution by violence in the streets. He has done that once already, and he will certainly do it again if his freedom or even just his fortune is at stake.
Excitable pundits talk about a second American civil war, and it’s true that Trump could persuade hundreds or even thousands of Americans to kill and die for him. But Trump’s first tentative use of this strategy failed on 6 January, and Zuma’s resort to similar tactics is currently failing before our eyes.
A last-ditch Trump attempt to terrorise the courts into submission is also almost bound to fail – but that doesn’t mean he will not try it.

7 July
Trump’s Fantasy Legal World
The former president is obscuring the very real legal problems he has with imaginary ones he wants.
By David A. Graham
(The Atlantic) Donald Trump has some big summer plans…He’s going to be reinstated to the presidency by August, and he’s going to sue Facebook, Twitter, Google’s YouTube, and their respective CEOs for violating his First Amendment rights. The first of these is impossible. The second, which Trump announced during a press conference this morning, is only marginally more likely to succeed.
The question is not whether Trump was banned by Facebook and Twitter but whether he has any legal recourse. Conservatives have long complained that the platforms are throttling their posts, but they haven’t produced any significant evidence to back that up. A useful Twitter feed created by Kevin Roose of The New York Times shows just how much conservatives dominate Facebook’s most popular posts on a daily basis. Trump is not banned from Twitter and Facebook because he is conservative (to the extent that he has any ideological commitments beyond himself), but because he used those platforms to foment violence and spread disinformation—a habit that eventually became too embarrassing and politically hazardous for the sites to bear.

Sheer greed
Trump charged Secret Service nearly $10,200 in May for agents’ rooms
The records — released by the Secret Service in response to a public-records request — show that the ex-president has continued a habit he began in the first days of his presidency: charging rent to the agency that protects his life.
Since Trump left office in January, U.S. taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $50,000 for rooms used by Secret Service agents, records show.

1 July
Trump Is Preparing for the Worst
Watch for early indications that the legal process may end badly for the former president.
By David Frum
A grand-jury indictment of Donald Trump’s business and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, unsealed this afternoon in New York, alleges tax evasion arising from an attempt to pay Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives extra money “off the books.” Prosecutors charge that Weisselberg and others received rent payments and other benefits without paying the appropriate taxes on them. Weisselberg and the Trump Organization have said they will plead not guilty.
So far, the danger is to Trump’s friends and his business, not the former president himself. But the danger could spiral, because Trump knew only so many tricks. If Trump’s company was bypassing relatively moderate amounts of tax on the income flows to Trump’s friends, what was it doing with the much larger income flows to Trump and his own family? Even without personal testimony, finances leave a trail. There is always a debit and a credit, and a check issued to the IRS or not.
… Trump is not claiming that “all taxes were paid” or that “it was a perfect tax return.” He’s readying his supporters for bad revelations about his company’s taxes and directing them to a fallback line that singling him out as a tax scofflaw is politically unfair.
Trump worked all his life on the theory that law can be subordinated to political favors and political pressures. That theory has carried him this far—and it’s pretty far, all things considered. We are now about to see a mighty test, before the country and the world, of whether that theory will carry him the rest of the way home.

Heather Cox Richardson June 27, 2021
Rather than inspiring continued resistance, Trump increasingly looks like President Richard M. Nixon, whose support eroded as more and more sordid information about his White House came to light. Exposés of the Trump White House recently have shown his cavalier approach to the pandemic that has killed more than 600,000 Americans, and his willingness to employ force against peaceful protesters in summer 2020.
Last week, news broke that the Manhattan district attorney is considering criminal charges against the Trump Organization—news that will likely hurt the organization’s ability to borrow money—and prosecutors have given the Trump Organization’s lawyers until Monday afternoon to finish their arguments about why the organization should not be charged. Further, we know a special grand jury is set to meet three times a week until November, suggesting that more information may be forthcoming.

15 June
The nation cannot forget Donald Trump’s betrayal of his oath
(WaPo editorial) The House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Tuesday released emails showing that the White House waged a behind-the-scenes effort to enlist the Justice Department in its crusade to advance Mr. Trump’s baseless allegations of fraud in the 2020 election.
… Given Mr. Trump’s reckless actions after losing the 2020 vote, and the violence they spurred, the newly released emails are unsurprising. But consider that fact for a moment: It is unsurprising that the president of the United States leaned on the Justice Department to help him try to steal an election. The country cannot forget that Mr. Trump betrayed his oath, that most Republican officeholders remain loyal to him nonetheless — and that it could be worse next time.

3-5 June
Ross Douthat: Three Paths to Containing Trump
The first theory, held by many liberals and centrists and a few anti-Trump conservatives, is that we’re in a continuing emergency that will end in one of two ways: Either a Democratic Congress will enact far-reaching electoral reforms that decisively weaken the current G.O.P., or else Trump and his supporters will make a more effective and destructive bid to steal the 2024 election
Under this theory, non-Trumpist Republicans should be speaking out constantly, in the model of Liz Cheney, against the threat Trump poses to democracy. The Biden White House should give up on bipartisanship and spend its capital trying to kill the filibuster and go big on voting rights. And Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema should be reminded daily that it will be their fault when the crisis comes.
At the moment, however, this theory appears to be a counsel of despair, since not only Manchin and Sinema but other Democratic senators using them as cover have little appetite for the maximalism that it demands. …
This is the point when I’m supposed to tell you which of these three approaches will actually Stop Trump and which will ignominiously fail. But the frustrating truth is that as adaptations to the unprecedented weirdness of the Trump phenomenon, all three attitudes — maximalist, moderate and deliberately inactive — seem somewhat reasonable.
Which means, in our era of guaranteed surprises, that all three will probably be rendered irrelevant by some turn of events between now and 2024.
Trump advances dangerous disinformation campaign as more states move to restrict the vote
(CNN) Donald Trump’s speech before the North Carolina Republican Party Saturday night was a reminder of the danger the former President poses as he undermines America’s election system while attempting to reassert himself as kingmaker on the national stage.
Donald Trump is getting worse
CNN’s Dana Bash reported Thursday morning that former President Donald Trump is “more obsessed than ever with the 2020 election,” with one former Trump aide telling her that the former President is only listening to “the bottom of the bottom of the crazies in the barrel.”
That follows on reporting from The New York Times and The Washington Post that Trump is convinced that he will, at some point this summer, be reinstated as president once a variety of kooky and non-credible audits come to, uh, fruition.
As Trump swerves more and more into ever-wilder fantasies about his return to power, the GOP base follows right along with him. And since no politician can hope to win elections without the base of their party behind them, Republican elected officials go along for the ride.
Which means they are now on board with a man who believes he will be reinstated as president this summer because of a series of outlandish recounts and audits in swing states.
What’s more worrisome for Republicans: There is zero evidence that Trump has hit rock bottom yet. Or that there is a bottom at all.

2 June
Trump Wasn’t Cut Out for a Blogger’s Life
Donald Trump’s short-lived attempt to blog is over.
He’ll keep releasing statements about “junky” racehorses and sometimes politics, he’ll go back to having rallies, and I assume he will seethe. Although the blog has gone to join its compatriots in the great internet beyond, this probably won’t be Trump’s last attempt to find a way to post.

21 May
The Trump criminal probe’s heating up. Here’s why the Trump children might want to lawyer up.
Depending on what Trump Organization family members have said so far, it may already be too late to avoid legal drama.
By Frank Figliuzzi, MSNBC Opinion Columnist
This week, New York Attorney General Letitia James revealed that her civil law inquiry into the corporate entity known as the Trump Organization has become a criminal investigation. In that same brief statement, New York state’s top law enforcement official also explained that James’ office has partnered with the Manhattan district attorney, who is already investigating potential criminal tax fraud violations committed personally by former President Donald Trump.

20 May
The Odds Of Donald Trump’s CFO Flipping and Helping Send Him to Prison Just Shot Up

13 May
POLITICO Playbook: How Palm Beach is preparing for a possible Trump indictment
Among the topics discussed in those meetings: how to handle the thorny extradition issues that could arise if an indictment moves forward.
An obscure clause in Florida’s statute on interstate extradition gives Gov. Ron Desantis the ability to intervene and even investigate whether an indicted “person ought to be surrendered” to law enforcement officials from another state — which means that as Mar-a-Lago prepares to close down for the season and Trump relocates to Bedminster, N.J., it isn’t just the Florida heat he’s leaving behind: He could lose a key piece of political protection.

7 May
Trump’s out-of-power agenda: Retribution against foes, commanding the spotlight and total domination of GOP
Six months removed from his Election Day loss, Trump has emerged from his West Palm Beach hibernation — refashioning himself as the president of the Republican States of America and reshaping the party in ways both micro and macro.
He has also privately revived his claims that he plans to run for president again in 2024, decrying what he views as the “low ratings” of the Biden administration, said one person who has spoken with Trump recently. He rails that President Biden is “a disaster” and argues that “Joe isn’t in charge, everybody knows it’s Kamala” — a preview of his likely message portraying Biden as an unwitting stooge of Vice President Harris, this person said. Nonetheless, Trump is not expected to make an official decision or announcement until after the midterm elections, an adviser said.
Trump’s reappearance is fueled by an ego-driven desire to remain at the center of national attention, said former advisers and allies who are in touch with him.

Heather Cox Richardson May 3, 2021
Since the January 6 insurrection, Democrats have called the Republican adherence to the idea that Biden did not win the 2020 election “the Big Lie.”
One of the hallmarks of the former president was his ability to turn any accusations against him into an attack on his opponents. True to form, this morning he set out to appropriate the term “the Big Lie” for his own. Rather than meaning his refusal to admit he lost the election, he wants to use the phrase to mean the opposite: that it refers to “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020.”
As he has consolidated power over the Republican Party after leaving office, the former president has been less and less tolerant of those Republicans who have called out his refusal to recognize the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s election for what it is: a dangerous attack on our democracy.
This fight is a proxy fight over whether Trump will win full control over the Republican Party. His loyalists have vowed to get rid of Cheney from her position in party leadership by the end of the month.
But Cheney appears to have some key backing, including that of former president George W. Bush. … [and] is speaking out and standing firm.

17 April
Trump’s grip on GOP looms as support falters for independent probe of Capitol riot
(WaPo) Congress’s pursuit of an independent investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection is facing long odds, as bipartisan resolve to hold the perpetrators and instigators accountable erodes, and Republicans face sustained pressure to disavow that it was supporters of former president Donald Trump who attacked the U.S. Capitol.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced late last week that she had drafted a fresh proposal for an outside commission to examine what caused the deadly riot. But in a sign of how delicate the political climate has become, she has yet to share her recommendations with Republican leaders, who shot down her initial approach, labeling it too narrow in scope and too heavily weighted toward Democrats in composition.

6 April
Donald Trump tumbles down billionaires’ rankings
According to the latest list, Donald Trump’s standing among other billionaires has plummeted almost 300 places since 2020, down to No 1,299. The humiliating fall sits on Forbes’ next to a quote from the former president reading: “I took a lot of finance courses at Wharton. First they taught you all the rules and regulations. Then they taught you that those rules and regulations are really meant to be broken.”
Trump has lost millions on his retail locations, hotels and golf resorts in the last few years. But it does seem that businesses who were distancing themselves from Trump after the Capitol attack, continue to lease his properties, helping him to rake in millions on some properties in the last year.

4 April
Dominion: will one Canadian company bring down Trump’s empire of disinformation?
Dominion has filed defamation lawsuits against several Trump allies for pushing election ‘radioactive falsehoods’ – could it triumph?
David Smith
(The Guardian) When Donald Trump and his allies pushed the “big lie” of voter fraud and a stolen election, it seemed nothing could stop them spreading disinformation with impunity.
Politicians and activists’ pleas fell on deaf ears. TV networks and newspapers fact-checked in vain. Social media giants proved impotent.
But now a little-known tech company, founded 18 years ago in Canada, has the conspiracy theorists running scared. The key: suing them for defamation, potentially for billions of dollars.

3 April
How Trump Steered Supporters Into Unwitting Donations
Online donors were guided into weekly recurring contributions. Demands for refunds spiked. Complaints to banks and credit card companies soared. But the money helped keep Donald Trump’s struggling campaign afloat.
(NYT) Facing a cash crunch and getting badly outspent by the Democrats, the campaign had begun last September to set up recurring donations by default for online donors, for every week until the election.
Contributors had to wade through a fine-print disclaimer and manually uncheck a box to opt out.
As the election neared, the Trump team made that disclaimer increasingly opaque, an investigation by The New York Times showed. It introduced a second prechecked box, known internally as a “money bomb,” that doubled a person’s contribution. Eventually its solicitations featured lines of text in bold and capital letters that overwhelmed the opt-out language.
The tactic ensnared scores of unsuspecting Trump loyalists — retirees, military veterans, nurses and even experienced political operatives. Soon, banks and credit card companies were inundated with fraud complaints from the president’s own supporters about donations they had not intended to make, sometimes for thousands of dollars.
Meanwhile
Trump calls for Republicans to boycott companies amid voting law controversy
“For years the Radical Left Democrats have played dirty by boycotting products when anything from that company is done or stated in any way that offends them. Now they are going big time with the WOKE CANCEL CULTURE and our sacred elections,” Trump said in a statement on Saturday released by Save America PAC.

21 March
Access, Influence and Pardons: How a Set of Allies Shaped Trump’s Choices
A loose collection of well-connected groups and individuals led by a pair of Orthodox Jewish organizations had striking success in winning clemency for white-collar criminals during the Trump presidency.
(NYT) The efforts to seek clemency for these wealthy or well-connected people benefited from their social, political, or financial ties to a loose collection of lawyers, lobbyists, activists and Orthodox Jewish leaders who had worked with Trump administration officials on criminal justice legislation championed by Jared Kushner.
That network revolved around a pair of influential Jewish organizations that focus on criminal justice issues — the Aleph Institute and Tzedek Association — and well-wired people working with them, including the lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz, Brett Tolman, a former U.S. attorney for Utah, and Nick Muzin, a Republican operative.
Trump will use ‘his own platform’ to return to social media after Twitter ban
Former president was banned over his incitement of Capitol riot
Adviser says Trump will ‘redefine the game’ with his return

23 March
Facebook’s New Board Has Incentives to Bring Back Donald Trump
The panel is structured in ways that help the former president’s chances of regaining his posting privileges.
(Bloomberg) Trump’s return to social media would bolster his attempt to remain the dominant figure in the Republican Party. More broadly, it could reshape the way political speech is governed for Facebook’s 2.8 billion users, making it more difficult for the company to remove harmful content and bad actors. A pro-Trump decision could also influence other platforms, including Twitter, which permanently banned the former president after the ransacking of the Capitol, and YouTube, which said on March 4 that it would end its suspension of Trump when the risk of political violence recedes.

28 February
CPAC Takeaways: Trump Dominates, and DeSantis and Noem Stand Out
(NYT) Any lingering belief that Donald J. Trump would fade from the political scene like other past presidents evaporated fully on Sunday as he spoke for more than 90 minutes in a grievance-filled and self-promoting address that sought to polish up his presidential legacy, take aim at his enemies and tease his political future.
Trump Keeps Up Conspiracies, Blasts Biden And GOP Foes In 1st Post-Presidency Speech
During a keynote address that lasted an hour and a half — and began more than an hour late — in Orlando, Fla., to the friendly Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, Trump blasted Biden’s tenure so far. … It was similar to the dark and nativist anti-immigration vision that helped launch Trump to political prominence in the first place, from his 2015 presidential campaign announcement.

27 February
‘It’s Donald Trump’s party’: How the former president is building a political operation to further cement his hold on the GOP
Ahead of his first major post-White House address at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the former president is making plans to launch a super PAC, has begun endorsing candidates and is plotting a possible 2024 run.
(WaPo) Any lingering doubts about Donald Trump’s primacy in the Republican Party have been settled in recent weeks by the parade of petitioners he has welcomed to his Florida social club.
The party chairwoman, the top two House Republicans, the senior senator from South Carolina and a coterie of other former aides and advisers have all made appearances at Mar-a-Lago, offering their counsel and seeking the favor of a former president who many believe controls the short-term fortunes of GOP candidates up and down the ballot — and has made it clear he plans to use that power.

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