What's causing all the concern? Well, the number of lawsuits in Texas regarding voting has definitely played a major role.
What's causing all the concern? Well, the number of lawsuits in Texas regarding voting has definitely played a major role.
Chuck Rosenberg makes no secret of his admiration for Robert Mueller. Keep that in mind, along with the format of Rosenberg's podcast “The Oath,” now that NBC announced Wednesday that the former special counsel who looked into Russian interference in the 2016 election has given an extensive interview that debuts next week. Mueller, the ex-FBI director, rarely speaks publicly and has been virtually silent about his special counsel experience since testifying before Congress in July 2019.
Control of the United States Senate hinges on two January 5 runoff elections in Georgia, where incumbent Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are facing Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock respectively. Most immediately, the race is a contest over whether President-elect Joe Biden and the Democratic Party will be able to govern — especially by passing another big coronavirus rescue package.However, Loeffler and Perdue are also excellent examples of what interests the Republican Party serves — namely, the ultra-rich, which includes both Loeffler and Perdue personally. These are two people who were rich before they got into politics, and leveraged their power as senators to make themselves even more rich — by profiteering off the pandemic. It is government of, by, and for the top 0.1 percent.Let me consider their cases in turn. David Perdue is a longtime businessman who served as CEO of Dollar General in the mid-2000s, where he worked diligently to source more products from China. According to his financial disclosures, he is worth between $15 million and $43 million.As Michela Tindera writes at Forbes, Kelly Loeffler and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher own a big stake in International Exchange, a financial clearinghouse company that Sprecher founded and where he remains CEO and chairman. (That company also owns the New York Stock Exchange, where Sprecher is again chairman.) After closely examining Loeffler's financial disclosure forms and other information, Tindera estimates that the couple is worth at least $800 million, and likely over $1 billion — or roughly quadruple the wealth of the second-richest member of Congress, Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah).Here's how the pandemic profiteering worked. On January 24, there was a private all-Senate briefing about the looming disaster — long before there was a broad public understanding that the U.S. was going to get slammed by COVID-19. Immediately afterward, both Loeffler and Perdue started trading strategic stocks. As The Daily Beast reported at the time, Loeffler executed 29 transactions valued between $1.275 and $3.1 million in the following days before the market crashed, almost all of them sales — one exception was a purchase of Citrix, which sells teleworking software. (Also, Loeffler recently violated the legal prohibition on soliciting campaign funds in a Senate office building.)Perdue made a similar number of trades, but bought more than Loeffler — in particular, an investment of up to $850,000 in DuPont, which manufactures personal protective equipment. And as The Associated Press reports, in late January he sold between $1 million and $5 million in shares of Cardlytics, a financial technology firm, at $86 per share. Then, when the market had bottomed out in March, he snapped up between $200,000 and $500,000 of Cardlytics shares at $30 apiece; since then the share price has shot back up to $121. Nice tidy little profit to counterbalance the 270,000 dead Americans. (The Daily Beast also reports that in 2019, Perdue bought up shares of a submarine parts manufacturer before voting to give the company a lucrative contract, then sold it for another handsome profit.)When reports of these trades first came out, both Loeffler and Perdue insisted they had nothing to do personally with the moves. "I have never used any confidential information I received while performing my Senate duties as a means of making a private profit ... professionals buy and sell stocks on our behalf," wrote Loeffler in an April 8 Wall Street Journal op-ed. Perdue told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that advisers made his investment decisions on their own.In the first place, candidates not taking direct control of their stock trades does not actually remove the conflict of interest. If you are a senator, and you hire a bunch of asset managers to look after your investments without any kind of blind trust, you still know what those investments are. You can make decisions knowing that your Goldman Sachs lackeys will make the profit-maximizing move in response — which is the best-case scenario of what happened here.But realistically speaking, it is virtually impossible to believe that all these trades had nothing to do with the two senators. Are we really to believe it was a coincidence that these asset managers started making "there is a pandemic coming" trades the very same day the two were receiving classified briefings on the disaster? Come on. Indeed, The New York Times recently reported that Perdue was lying with his blanket denial — he did directly instruct his manager to sell the Cardlytics shares after receiving a cryptic email mentioning "upcoming changes" from the company's then-CEO. (Perdue and Loeffler have been cleared of legal wrongdoing by the Department of Justice, but given that Attorney General Barr is a shameless Trump stooge, that is hardly reassuring.)Since then, both Perdue and Loeffler have largely downplayed the pandemic. Unlike Ossoff and Warnock, both have been holding large, in-person rallies. In July, both Loeffler and Perdue came out against extending the boost to unemployment insurance in the CARES Act, and since then neither have answered questions about further economic rescue measures from Atlanta Magazine. Instead, since the election they have amplified Trump's flagrant lies that Georgia's Republican governor and secretary of state somehow helped Joe Biden steal the election there.Over the last decade or so, there has been a long discussion of why Democrats are bleeding votes in rural areas (precisely where Republicans run up huge margins in Georgia). And on one level it's an important debate — there is good evidence that as Democrats embraced austerity, deregulation, and free trade that harmed such places, it hurt their vote share.But on another level, it is frankly staggering that the Republican Party has swooped in to replace them. The Democrats may not be much of a friend to the working class or rural farmers, but Republicans are straight-up picking their pockets. If you want a couple senators to govern solely on behalf of their massive asset portfolio while leaving everyone else twisting in the wind, vote Perdue and Loeffler.More stories from theweek.com Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. Americans are choosing death over deprivation How camp explains Trump
China has provided North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his family with an experimental coronavirus vaccine, a U.S. analyst said on Tuesday, citing two unidentified Japanese intelligence sources. Harry Kazianis, a North Korea expert at the Center for the National Interest think tank in Washington, said the Kims and several senior North Korean officials had been vaccinated.
Chinese special operators are getting more resources and going through more training, but there are something you can't teach.
The United States imposed sanctions on Monday on Chinese firm China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC), accusing it of supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's efforts to undermine democracy. The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement the Chinese company supported the leftist government of Maduro in its "efforts to restrict internet service and conduct digital surveillance and cyber operations against political opponents." "The United States will not hesitate to target anyone helping to suppress the democratic will of the Venezuelan people and others around the world," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
On Tuesday Gabriel Sterling of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office spoke forcefully against post-election threats and rhetoric directed at election staff.
Pakistan’s top court on Tuesday resumed the hearing of an appeal from the family of American journalist Daniel Pearl against the acquittal of a British-born Pakistani man convicted over the 2002 beheading of the Wall Street Journal reporter. The key suspect in Pearl’s slaying, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, was sentenced to death and three others were sentenced to life in prison for their role in the plot. The acquittal is now being appealed separately by the government and Pearl’s family, a process that under Pakistani law could take years.
The news that former Vice President Joe Biden would become the next president of the United States was met in Russia with grim resignation, bordering on despair. Experts on Russian state television have described Biden’s presidency as “Obama’s third term” and predicted a slew of new sanctions dreaded by the Kremlin. This anticipation revived the wave of racist attacks against former President Barack Obama, which were commonplace during his administration.Overt racism in Russian state media is far from uncommon but nonetheless continues to be shocking. Tigran Keosayan—the husband of Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Kremlin-funded RT and Sputnik—took racist mockery to new lows on his program Mezhdunarodnaya Pilorama (“International Sawmill”). Keosayan described Barack Obama as “the dark page of American history,” while introducing a highly offensive sketch by an actress in blackface impersonating the former president, which was first reported by the Moscow Times.The purported portrayal of Obama was tasteless and crude, with the actress in a bandana gesticulating as a rapper and describing the former president as a “chocolate bunny.” The show, which aired on NTV—a network funded by state-owned gas company Gazprom, mocked “Black Lives Matter” and claimed that none of Obama’s relatives know how to write. The sketch concluded with a recommendation that rather than read Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, viewers should opt for “reading the label on the bathroom air freshener.”Facing worldwide condemnation for the latest racist episode, Margarita Simonyan—heralded as one of the most influential women in news media—attempted to backpedal, using her husband’s Armenian ethnicity as some kind of an excuse for his indefensible racism. She described the offensive sketch as a “parody of Obama” and disingenuously claimed, “As someone who is part of an ethnic minority in Russia, Tigran regularly makes fun, on the air, of his large 'ethnic' nose and his belonging to a 'Black' community (look it up if you don't know which ethnicities are referred to as 'Black' in Russia).”Despite Simonyan’s clumsy excuses, her husband is not the only one who considers himself somehow entitled to mock Black Americans. In June, RT’s editor-in-chief shared a despicably racist article from the Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, which made references to “muscular criminal Negroes,” described “twerking” as the “national Negro dance,” recommended the use of amphetamines, and encouraged violence and death.Russian state media outlets have long expressed their desire for civil unrest in the United States. The author of the article, Dmitry Steshin, urged, “Beat the whites until they turn Black.” Simonyan shared the article, describing it as a piece of “good advice from an international journalist to the negroes of Minnesota and the United States.”Simonyan’s husband followed up the obscene sketch on his program with a ludicrous assertion: “There is no racism in Russia.” It was no more believable than the notorious Soviet claim, “There is no sex in the USSR.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Juan Guaido will still be Venezuela's legitimate head of state even if he loses his seat as head of the country's parliament on Sunday, Chile's foreign minister said on Tuesday, saying the Dec. 6 vote for a new assembly lacked any credibility. Opposition leader Guaido is recognised by dozens of countries, including the United States and most of the European Union (EU), as the nation's rightful leader following the disputed 2018 re-election of President Nicolas Maduro. "We assign no legitimacy to the elections next Sunday," Chile's Foreign Minister Andres Allamand told reporters during a visit to Brussels, where he met EU lawmakers and diplomats.
Geoffrey S. Berman, the ousted federal prosecutor in Manhattan who led several investigations into President Donald Trump's allies, has been hired by a white-shoe law firm in New York. Berman will provide criminal defense in white-collar cases and work on complex commercial litigation at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, the firm announced Tuesday. The firm is “well known for its cutting-edge counsel to top tier companies and high-profile individuals,” Berman said in a statement.
A three-week deputy operation has led to over 50 arrests and more than $300,000 of illicit money being confiscated by the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Documents leaked to CNN show that the real tally of coronavirus cases was significantly higher than public figures suggested.
Adam Laxalt, the co-chair of the Trump campaign in Nevada, is fighting ferociously against his state’s decision to reward its six electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden, alleging widespread voter fraud and hyping litigation to overturn Biden’s victory.But a nonprofit ethics and transparency group affiliated with Laxalt, Nevada’s former attorney general, has already conceded Biden’s victory and is looking ahead to the new administration.“It’s become clear that we’re going to be having a Biden team and a Biden administration in 2021,” said Caitlin Sutherland, the executive director of Americans for Public Trust, in an interview on Tuesday. The new administration is “what we will remain focused on going into next year.”Sutherland stressed that Laxalt’s work with the Trump re-election campaign, and his efforts to invalidate Biden’s win in Nevada, were entirely separate from his work with APT, a tax-exempt nonprofit that’s barred by law from engaging in political or partisan activity. “That is something he does in a personal capacity outside his role in APT,” Sutherland said. “As a 501c3, we, and Adam when he works with us, do not engage in anything with a partisan or political bent.”Nevada Gov. Calls Trump’s Conspiracy Theory Retweet ‘Unconscionable’ But Laxalt maintains his position as APT’s outside counsel and frequent spokesman even as he works with the Trump team in a personal capacity. And the fact that the group he works with is planning for a reality he refuses to concede underscores just how great a divergence has developed within the broader conservative movement. One faction appears unable to acknowledge the reality of Joe Biden’s win—perhaps for fear of offending Trump. Another doesn’t want to get caught flat-footed for when that reality comes about.Illustrating the political complications that these two pulls can create for the president’s political allies, Sutherland followed up on her initial interview with The Daily Beast to clarify her statement—and hedge her view on the outcome of the election. “As Biden is working to build out his team, APT will provide transparency and scrutiny, even as litigation on the election results are ongoing,” she wrote.As a leading Trump campaign official in Nevada, Laxalt has been a face of the campaign’s efforts to overturn the state’s presidential contest. Last month, he appeared at a news conference in North Las Vegas—alongside former Trump intelligence chief Ric Grenell and GOP lobbyist Matt Schlapp—to level allegations of widespread voter fraud and preview a lawsuit demanding that a state court declare Trump the winner, despite trailing by more than 33,000 votes.The Shady Ex-Cop Behind Trump’s Nevada Voter-Fraud FarceAs part of that lawsuit, the campaign submitted a list of thousands of voters who it said had cast ballots in Nevada despite living out of state. Many of those voters turned out to be military servicemen and their families stationed outside of Nevada, but who are permitted by law to cast ballots in the state.Like nearly all of the Trump campaign’s election-related lawsuits over the past month, the Nevada effort has so far fallen short. Last week, Nevada’s Supreme Court certified Biden’s win in the state. The campaign’s efforts persist nonetheless, and the president and his attorneys continue to gripe about a nonexistent conspiracy against him perpetrated by high-level government officials—including Republicans—and voting machine companies with nebulous ties to foreign dictators.On Tuesday, the president hailed a Nevada court ruling allowing both presidential campaigns to inspect voting machines used in the state’s largest county. In a tweet on the ruling, Trump tagged Grennell, Schlapp, and Laxalt.Founded this year, APT uses open records requests and other transparency tools to root out apparent conflicts of interest and ethical breaches among government officials and interest groups. APT is a conservative-leaning group, though Sutherland, a former research director at the National Republican Congressional Committee, said it has and will continue to investigate Republicans and Democrats alike.“We have demanded accountability and transparency from a variety of groups and politicians from both sides of the aisle. That momentum will not change as we head into a Biden administration,” she said.APT has already begun to file open records requests for documents related to incoming Biden administration officials, Sutherland said. “We are taking a look at each individual that will be nominated to the cabinet, and who President-elect Biden is surrounding himself with, what that network has done in the past, and what they would mean in a Biden administration.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.