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New Book Reveals Top Military Officials Thought Trump Was Planning A Coup, Planned A Mass Resignation 

“I Alone Can Fix It” is a new book by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker which details reports of top military officials who knew former president Donald Trump was planning a coup after his defeat in the 2020 election. 

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley is one of the many military officials who discussed resigning if they were to be given illegal or dangerous orders from the former president should he attempt a coup. 

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Experts of the book showed Milley and others discussing the possibility of a coup with lawmakers, friends, and other White House top officials. 

“They may try, but they’re not going to succeed. You can’t do this [a coup] without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI, we’re the guys with the guns.” 

Other officials also discussed resigning one by one rather than carrying out any illegal orders they may receive. According to the book, one of the main focuses of their concern was Trump’s decision to replace top officials at the Departments of Defense and Justice.

On November 9th Trump announced that former Defense Secretary Mark Esper had been “terminated,” just one week after Esper warned if Trump replaced him, the new Secretary would be “a real yes man, and then God help us.” 

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According to the book, “Milley grew increasingly concerned by Trump’s behavior ahead of January 6, believing that Trump was deliberately seeking to stir unrest with his bogus election-fraud claims to invoke the Insurrection Act and summon the military.” One excerpt quoted an unnamed friend who warned Milley of Trump’s potential coup.

“What they are trying to do here is overturn the government. This is all real man. You are one of the few guys who are standing between us and some really bad stuff.” 

The book claimed that Milley was so concerned over Trump that he compared the former president’s behavior to Adolf Hitler’s after he used the 1933 Reichstag fire to declare a state of emergency and seize full authoritarian power. 

Milley has been the target of multiple attacks from the former president and his allies this week after he also defended the US’s military policy of teaching members about racism in the US before Congress. 

At the congressional hearing, Milley claimed that he was committed to understanding his own “white rage and the motives of the far-right Capitol insurrectionists.”

Capitol in DC

Stephen Colbert Calls Out Trump After His First Rally Since Capitol Riot 

Former president Donald Trump recently held a rally over the weekend in Wellington, Ohio; this marks the first rally Trump has held since the January 6th Capitol riots. Late night host Stephen Colbert recently called out the former president for this, asking the audience who was allowing him to speak in front of people still. 

“Why is he allowed to have rallies after that? After the assassination, John Wilkes Booth wasn’t welcomed to Broadway for a sold-out performance of I Shot Lincoln: The Musical!”

Colbert discussed how the “ex-president appeared to have nothing new to say in his 90-minute speech, as he stumbled through familiar refrains and untruths like he was reading a speech from last summer.” 

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Trump also reemphasized his point that he believes “hydroxychloroquine really works,” in terms of curing Covid-19; a theory that was widely disproven last year. 

“No one cares about that now! We have a vaccine! I can’t imagine anything more tired than the Covid drug from 12 months ago.”

Trump was also called out on social media for badly mispronouncing words and phrases, and essentially speaking complete nonsense. At one point he was attempting to reference Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, by discussing how the “US sent a brave young man from Ohio to a plant.”

“Really? To a plant? Yes, he was a brave young man from Ohio named Jack, and the nation sent him to climb that beanstalk, where he skyrocketed to Feefifofum,” Colbert responded. 

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“He’s trying to talk about Neil Armstrong, but he said plant when he meant planet, which is not where Neil Armstrong went. That’s like trying to describe George Washington by saying, ‘You know who I mean! The guy on the money with the teeth made out of the cherry tree, with the painting of him crossing the Deli-meats, you know!”

Colbert also discussed all the individuals in Trump’s inner circle that are now distancing themselves from any association with the former president and his four year reign in the White House, including daughter Ivanka Trump and former attorney general William Barr. Barr recently discussed how all of Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud were “all bullsh*t.” 

Barr recently claimed that Mitch McConnell also urged him to speak out against Trump and the claims of voter fraud in the immediate aftermath of the election. Meanwhile the senate minority leader remained completely quiet on the issue himself. 

 “McConnell would’ve spoken the truth himself last December, but he needed the former president’s help to ensure that the GOP won the two runoff elections in Georgia, which they lost. In the end, Mitch McConnell sold his soul for nothing. So, a pretty fair price,”  Colbert explained.

New York Times

New York Attorney General Investigating Trump Organization In A ‘Criminal Capacity’ 

Letitia James, New York’s Attorney General, has been conducting a civil probe into the Trump Organization for two years now. According to a spokesperson from James’s office, the attorney general is now looking into the company in a “criminal capacity.” 

“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature. We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan District Attorney. We have no additional comment at this time,” said spokesperson Fabien Levy.

The New York Attorney General’s office initially launched a civil probe into the organization in 2019 after Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, testified to Congress. The initial probe was meant to investigate whether or not the Trump Organization “inflated the valuations of assets to reduce tax liability.” 

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has also been pursuing a separate criminal investigation since 2018 into hush money payments made by Cohen during the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen apparently made hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, and Vance’s office began investigating the payments in 2018 to see if they would lead to other potential crimes such as fraud and tax evasion. 

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Both the district attorney and attorney general’s office’s have been crossing paths throughout the past two years due to their separate investigations into Trump, his lawyers, and organization. 

According to CBS News, “in February, Vance’s office issued subpoenas related to Mr. Trump’s Seven Springs Estate, in Bedford, N.Y. In an August 2020 court filing, the New York Attorney General’s office accused the Trump Organization of refusing to produce records sufficient to show how a $21.1 million apparent tax deduction in connection with the Seven Springs conservation easement was reflected on applicable tax returns.” 

James’ office was able to secure several depositions from many Trump Organization executives, including Eric Trump; Donald Trump’s son and executive vice president of the organization. Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer for the organization, was also recently called to give a deposition. 

Vance’s office has been in contact with Jennifer Weisselberg, who told the media that “investigators with the district attorney’s office have sought information about Allen Weisselberg, and documents related to the organization’s finances and benefits.”

Facebook Phone App

Facebook’s Ban On Donald Trump Will Continue To Hold 

Facebook’s oversight board ruled this Wednesday that its suspension of former President Donald Trump was justified following his role in the January 6th insurrection attack on the Capitol building. 

The panel claimed that this means the company doesn’t need to reinstate Trump’s access to Facebook and Instagram, however, they also mentioned that the company was wrong to impose an indefinite ban, and the platform has six months to either restore Trump’s account, make his suspension permanent, or suspend him for a specific period of time. 

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Facebook joined a multitude of other social media platforms that banned Trump in January after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol Building. Trump used his accounts to “incite violent insurrection” as ruled by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a handful of other platforms. 

“In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities. The Board declines Facebook’s request and insists that Facebook apply and justify a defined penalty.”

Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg claimed that “Facebook will now determine an action that is clear and proportionate following the ruling. Until then, Trump’s accounts will remain suspended.”

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The board’s ruling could also set a potential precedent for how social media platforms treat posts from political leaders. The decision to ban Trump has led to a major debate over the power these tech companies have, but also the power that our political leaders have when it comes to the things they say and the influence they have; especially when it comes to violent attacks on our government. 

Many have argued that Facebook’s ban on Trump has been long overdue, as his posts have often started conversations that led to multiple violations of the platform’s hate speech policies, however, because of his political power, those violations were rarely regulated. 

Many researchers also emphasized the fact that Trump’s constant efforts to undermine the 2020 election and constant baseless claims against our democracy and Biden’s win created a social media environment fueled by violent political rage. 

The former president, however, has previously teased that regardless of what the platforms decide, he won;t be returning to them, and will potentially start his own social media platform to communicate with his supporters; essentially a personal blog. 

Mortgage

Biden Administration Looking To Reverse Trump-Era Mortgage Policy

The Trump-era policy removed a lot of protections for those who were dependent on loans for their payments, as well as created the space for riskier loans to be dealt out.

Capitol Rioters Using Trump As An Excuse In Court 

While Donald Trump himself was recently acquitted by the Senate for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, after being the first president to be impeached by the House twice, his supporters aren’t finding themselves so lucky. In fact, attorneys for at least seven of the rioters have referenced Trump in efforts to explain their clients actions. 

Matthew Ryan Miller was photographed discharging a fire extinguisher on the steps of the Capitol during the riot. At his hearing this past Tuesday, his attorney claimed that “his client was there at the behest of then-President Trump. Mr. Miller concedes he was on the Capitol grounds to protest along with thousands of other protesters and was merely following the directions of then-President Trump, the country’s chief law enforcement officer, and other speakers to march to the Capitol.”

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Defense attorney for accused Proud Boys member Ethan Nordean wrote in a filing that Trump “egged on” his client. Dominic Pezzola, another accused Proud Boy, claimed that he was “duped and just responding to the entreaties of the then commander in chief.” 

Randy Zelin is a criminal defence attorney who claims that these attorney’s strategies are similar to an “advice of counsel” defense. “The tactic argues that a defendant couldn’t have had criminal intent if they were acting on advice from their attorney. Although Mr. Trump isn’t an attorney, there is a notion that if someone who makes the laws tells you what to do, someone could argue they had no intention to break the law.”

Zelin continued to explain that “The president of the United States telling you that it’s OK to do something or telling you to do something — that destroys your intention, your intent to commit a crime, because the president is telling you it’s OK. Basically, the argument is ‘I had no knowledge that I was breaking the law because I was told by the president of the United States to go ahead and do it.'”

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Harry Litman is a former US attorney who, on the other hand, claimed blaming Trump in court would be extremely difficult for these accused rioters. “The ‘Trump made me do it’ defense is a real long-shot, legally, but the move could still be smart because it may create sympathy with jurors, and may even require Mr. Trump to be subpoenaed — a major logistical obstacle that could slow down a case and force prosecutors to drop to lesser charges,” Litman explained. 

At least one defendant has so far attempted to distance himself from the former president during his trial to argue that he can safely be released from jail. Christopher Ray Grider’s attorney released a memo that claimed his client “no longer cared about politics or who the President is.” 

Documents charging Kenneth Grayson show a social media post in which Grayson wrote “”I’m there for the greatest celebration of all time after Pence leads the Senate flip!! OR IM THERE IF TRUMP TELLS US TO STORM THE F***N CAPITAL IMA DO THAT THEN!”

Derrick Evans, a former lawmaker in West Virginia, has an official complaint filed against him that cites a tweet from Trump with the caption “This is why we are going to DC #StopTheSteal.” 

While Trump himself has avoided conviction for a second time by the US Senate after being impeached twice by the House, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed he was voted to be acquitted based on a constitutional limit of impeachment, not because Trump wasn’t to blame for the riot.

Major Conservative Attorney Claims Trump Impeachment Trial Is Constitutional

Conservative attorney Chuck Cooper, most recently known for being the lawyer for former national security adviser John Bolton, has gone public with his argument that the Senate impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump is solidly grounded in the Constitution and should proceed as planned. 

“The strongest argument against the Senate’s authority to try a former officer relies on Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution,” Cooper wrote in The Wall Street Journal this week. This section in the Constitution basically states that any individual holding political power who breaks the law will be removed and held accountable. 

The president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

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“The trial’s opponents argue that because this provision requires removal, and because only incumbent officers can be removed, it follows that only incumbent officers can be impeached and tried. But the provision cuts against their interpretation. It simply establishes what is known in criminal law as a ‘mandatory minimum’ punishment: If an incumbent officeholder is convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate, he is removed from office as a matter of law,” Cooper explained. 

After Trump was historically impeached for the second time by the House, Senator Rand Paul introduced a measure to dismiss the Senate trial, claiming the proceedings to be unconstitutional since Trump has already left office. Five Senate Republicans joined Democrats in voting against Paul’s measure, which never passed. 

“Given that the Constitution permits the Senate to impose the penalty of permanent disqualification only on former officeholders, it defies logic to suggest that the Senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former officeholders. The senators who supported Mr. Paul’s motion should reconsider their view and judge the former president’s misconduct on the merits.” 

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Trump was impeached for the second time on one article of inciting insurrection against the government after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol building on January 6th. The mob began to storm the federal building after Trump held a rally telling his supporters to march on Congress and contest the election results. This also came after two months of Trump making baseless claims of a fraudulent election, and vilifying the sanctity of the democracy that shapes America. 

“Like the first, it is too narrowly drawn (first Ukraine, now the Capitol desecration) and was rushed through the House on largely partisan lines. Neither scenario is the right way to do impeachments, 50 percent of which in U.S. history have occurred in the past twelve months,” said John Bolton after Cooper made his remarks. 

Several individuals were injured at the riot, and five died, including one Capitol police officer. Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is projected to begin this week.

Trump Attempts To Lift Covid-19 Travel Restrictions, Biden Moves To Block The Order 

President Donald Trump on Monday lifted Covid-19 travel restrictions for a majority of Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil, which would become effective on January 26th. President-elect Joe Biden immediately responded to this order by claiming that he would be blocking it immediately once inaugurated on January 20th. 

The CDC recently announced that the US should expect to hit 500,000 Covid-19 deaths by the middle of February, so Biden’s announcement that he would be blocking this order has a lot of Americans taking a big sigh of relief after a treacherous and deadly past year. 

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Trump claimed that he had been advised to lift the restrictions on incoming travelers to the US from 26 European countries in the Schengen Zone, the UK, and Brazil. Trump explained that he agreed with “the Secretary that this action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from Covid-19 while enabling travel to resume safely,” which immediately raised some red flags for Americans watching the news everyday and seeing case numbers rise exponentially. 

Biden’s incoming press secretary, Jen Psaki, is already hard at work ensuring the public that the Biden administration would not be lifting these restrictions. Psaki tweeted out to the public this week that “with the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.”

Psaki continued that based “on the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

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Last month the CDC released new guidelines in terms of traveling in the US. All air passengers coming into America are required to have a negative Covid-19 test, and get tested within three days before their flight. Passengers must also provide written documentation of their lab results, or documentation that they recently recovered from Covid-19 and were therefore more likely to be immune. 

The potential lifting of the travel restrictions in Europe were thought to be a response to these new measures, however, the current administration is struggling greatly to get its country vaccinated; healthcare experts promised 20 million Americans would receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of 2020 and as of last week about 6 million Americans had received their initial dose. 

Biden’s incoming administration has a task force of healthcare experts and scientists who are all sworn to lead the pandemic response without any political bias and strictly based on the data provided by the nation’s leading healthcare workers.

The White House Podium

How Trump Plans To Hand Off The ‘Nuclear Football’ To Biden 

President Donald Trump will not be in attendance for President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration this Wednesday, which has many Americans wondering how certain transitional proceedings that traditionally occur on inauguration day will move forward; the handing off of the “nuclear football” being the most discussed proceeding that needs to occur. 

The “football” is obviously not a real ball, and contains the equipment that Trump would use to authenticate his orders to launch a nuclear strike. This “football” is carried by a military aide who accompanies the president at all times up until his term officially ends on January 20th. Traditionally, the aide would hand off the football to another military aide as the next president-elect takes his oath of office. 

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Trump is currently projected to head to Florida before inauguration day even begins, which means the nuclear football will likely travel with him, presenting some difficulty in transferring that authority smoothly. While that process may have to look a little different this year, there are a multitude of constitutional safeguards put in place to ensure a seamless transition of nuclear control from one president to the next, regardless of the circumstance; which includes the double-impeached president heading to Florida to play some golf. 

Stephen Schwartz, a senior fellow at the Bulletin of the Atomic scientists, recently discussed how regardless of where Trump is on inauguration day, the nuclear football will be passed off to Biden and Trump’s reign as president will come to an official close. 

“There are at least three to four identical ‘footballs’: one follows the president, one follows the vice president, and one traditionally is set aside for the designated survivor at events like inaugurations and State of the Union addresses.”

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“On January 20, the extra footballs will be out of town somewhere with their designees, leaving just Vice President Mike Pence’s briefcase unless the White House Military Office has prepared (or already has on hand) another backup for Biden,” he told the press, adding that the president is required to carry a plastic card on them at all times known as the “biscuit,” which contains codes used to positively identify the president. 

“Under the 20th Amendment — and absent any invocation of the 25th Amendment that would make Mike Pence the acting president — Donald Trump is president through 11:59:59 am on January 20. Up to that point in time, he has the sole, legal authority to authorize the use of any or all of the US nuclear arsenal,” Schwartz explained, adding that “if an aide with the football accompanies Trump on Air Force One to Florida, that aide will remove himself or herself from Trump’s presence at noon and return to Washington, DC, with the briefcase.”

After that point Trump will no longer have the authority to launch a nuclear strike and all nuclear codes that he carries will be deactivated permanently. Biden will automatically inherit the power to launch a nuclear strike at that same moment of deactivation; as in that moment his personal codes will be officially activated.

TV Host

Late-Night Hosts Discuss House Impeachment Proceedings And Trump’s Final Week In Office

This week late-night commentators and television hosts have spent their evenings discussing Donald Trump’s final week in office.