Promotion Of Conspiracy Theories
Before and throughout his presidency, Trump has promoted numerous conspiracy theories, including Obama birtherism, the Clinton Body Count theory, QAnon, and alleged Ukrainian interference in U.S. elections. In October 2020, Trump retweeted a QAnon follower who asserted that Osama bin Laden was still alive, a body double had been killed in his place, and that “Biden and Obama may have had SEAL Team Six killed.”
During and since the 2020 presidential election, Trump has promoted various conspiracy theories for his defeat including the “dead voter” conspiracy theory, and without providing any evidence he has created other conspiracy theories such as that “some states allowed voters to turn in ballots after Election Day that vote-counting machines were rigged to favor Mr Biden and even that the FBI, the Justice Department and the federal court system were complicit in an attempt to cover up election fraud.”
Cf Acquisition Corp Vi
Another SPAC that Trump has helped boost is called CF Acquisition Corp VI, which last week announced its intention to merge with and take public a streaming platform called Rumble. The platform claims to have fewer restrictions on content than platforms like Alphabet‘s YouTube and has attracted a more conservative and pro-Trump crowd, who feel they are being censored on traditional media outlets. Trump himself is on the platform.
What seemed to send the stock into higher gear, however, was the announcement that Rumble had a distribution partnership with Truth Social. On Dec. 6, CF Acquisition’s stock price jumped 30% at one point before giving up most of those gains on the news over the regulatory investigation of Digital World Acquisition Corp. Still, Rumble seems to be further along than Truth Social, with the site already having 36 million average active monthly users.
The site does seem to have caught fire among a similar crowd as Trump Media, but also seems interested in branching out, as it has struck a content deal with former Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Although Rumble might not be as dependent on Trump, considering the stock price movement on Dec. 6, I am sure further collaboration with Trump Media would get more investors involved. It will be interesting to see what happens if Rumble further diversifies political ideologies on the site.
Misogyny And Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct
Trump has a history of insulting and belittling women when speaking to media and on social media. He made lewd comments, demeaned women’s looks, and called them names like ‘dog’, ‘crazed, ‘crying lowlife’, ‘face of a pig’, or ‘horseface’.
In October 2016, two days before the second presidential debate, a 2005 “hot mic” recording surfaced in which Trump was heard bragging about kissing and groping women without their consent, saying “when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything… grab ’em by the pussy.” The incident’s widespread media exposure led to Trump’s first public apology during the campaign and caused outrage across the political spectrum.
At least twenty-six women have publicly accused Trump of sexual misconduct as of September 2020, including his then-wife Ivana. There were allegations of rape, violence, being kissed and groped without consent, looking under women’s skirts, and walking in on naked women. In 2016, he denied all accusations, calling them “false smears,” and alleged there was a conspiracy against him.
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Lafayette Square Protester Removal And Photo Op
On June 1, 2020, federal law enforcement officials used batons, rubber bullets, pepper spray projectiles, stun grenades, and smoke to remove a largely peaceful crowd of protesters from Lafayette Square, outside the White House. Trump then walked to St. John’s Episcopal Church, where protesters had set a small fire the night before he posed for photographs holding a Bible, with senior administration officials later joining him in photos. Trump said on June 3 that the protesters were cleared because “they tried to burn down the church and almost succeeded”, describing the church as “badly hurt”.
Religious leaders condemned the treatment of protesters and the photo opportunity itself. Many retired military leaders and defense officials condemned Trump’s proposal to use the U.S. military against anti-police brutality protesters. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General , later apologized for accompanying Trump on the walk and thereby “creat the perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”
Relationship With The Press
Throughout his career, Trump has sought media attention, with a “lovehate” relationship with the press. Trump began promoting himself in the press in the 1970s. Fox News anchor Bret Baier and former House speaker Paul Ryan have characterized Trump as a “troll” who makes controversial statements to see people’s “heads explode.”
In the 2016 campaign, Trump benefited from a record amount of free media coverage, elevating his standing in the Republican primaries.New York Times writer Amy Chozick wrote in 2018 that Trump’s media dominance, which enthralls the public and creates “can’t miss” reality television-type coverage, was politically beneficial for him.
As a candidate and as president, Trump frequently accused the press of bias, calling it the “fake news media” and “the enemy of the people.” In 2018, journalist Lesley Stahl recounted Trump’s saying he intentionally demeaned and discredited the media “so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”
As president, Trump deployed the legal system to intimidate the press. In early 2020, the Trump campaign sued The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN for alleged defamation in opinion pieces about Russian election interference. Legal experts said that the lawsuits lacked merit and were not likely to succeed. By March 2021, the lawsuits against The New York Times and CNN had been dismissed.
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Allegations Of Inciting Violence
Research suggests Trump’s rhetoric caused an increased incidence of hate crimes. During his 2016 campaign, he urged or praised physical attacks against protesters or reporters. Since then, some defendants prosecuted for hate crimes or violent acts cited Trump’s rhetoric in arguing that they were not culpable or should receive a lighter sentence. In May 2020, a nationwide review by ABC News identified at least 54 criminal cases from August 2015 to April 2020 in which Trump was invoked in direct connection with violence or threats of violence by mostly white men against mostly members of minority groups. On January 13, 2021, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for incitement of insurrection for his actions prior to the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob of his supporters who acted in his name.
Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac
Trump has also been recently involved with the government-sponsored entities . After the government placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under conservatorship during the Great Recession, shareholders have been trying for years to get the two giant mortgage financing companies released from government control. They sued the government for requiring the two agencies to give all of their profits in the net worth sweep and also for making it overly difficult for the President to remove the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency , the regulator of Fannie and Freddie.
The Supreme Court earlier this year dismissed the first claim over the net worth sweep, but did not completely dismiss the challenge over the President and the FHFA director. In its opinion, the Supreme Court stated: “Or suppose that the President had made a public statement expressing displeasure with actions taken by a Director and had asserted that he would remove the Director if the statute did not stand in the way. In those situations, the statutory provision would clearly cause harm.”
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Former President Donald Trump Has Been Heavily Involved In Public Markets Lately
Former President Donald Trump’s government influence has waned in 2021, but he’s been quite relevant in the public markets lately. His name has been linked to companies planning to merge with and go public through special purpose acquisition companies , and he’s even been involved in the ongoing battle between shareholders and the government over the government-sponsored entities.
Let’s take a look at three stock situations where Trump could prove to be a big catalyst.
Image source: Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead.
Digital World Acquisition Corp
It has been a bland second half of the year for SPACs since the Securities and Exchange Commission started cracking down on the blank-check companies, and it became harder for SPACs to find attractive targets. But the stock price of Digital World Acquisition Corp. popped more than 900% at one point in mid-October when it announced that it plans to take Trump Media and Technology Group public. Trump Media’s mission, according to the company, is to build a number of digital properties to work against “liberal bias” and the “dangerous exercise of tech monopoly censorship.” One of those properties will be Truth Social, a social media platform intended to “encourage an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against global ideology.”
Truth Social still hasn’t launched its beta app yet, and recently, the company disclosed that federal regulators are investigating the SPAC over how it communicated with Trump Media before announcing the deal. It seems a little early to see such a big stock price gain. But Digital World has already seen its stock retreat from earlier gains and currently trades around $51 per share, which is still a massive gain from the $10 opening SPAC price. I’d certainly expect more volatility going forward.
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New York Attorney General Seeks To Depose Donald Trump Next Month In Civil Fraud Probe
New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking to depose former President Donald Trump as part of her civil tax fraud investigation into the Trump Organization, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.
James has requested Trump answer questions under oath on Jan. 7 in her New York office about his company’s business practices, the source said. The request was first reported by The Washington Post.
The deposition would be part of the civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization committed fraud in reporting the value of certain properties to banks and tax authorities.
James’ office is looking into whether to file a civil suit against the company.
A spokesman for James, Fabien Levy, declined to comment.
A lawyer for Trump, Ronald Fischetti, said he was “not surprised” by the move, which he called “purely political.”
“We will wait until we see what they show us in their subpoena and we will respond with our motions,” Fischetti said. “They have been investigating this for three years. We are not concerned about it because he has done nothing wrong,” he added, referring to Trump.
The attorney general’s office is also assisting a criminal investigation headed by the Manhattan district attorney into alleged tax fraud schemes at Trump’s company. The D.A.’s office charged the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, with tax fraud earlier this year. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Legal Affairs And Bankruptcies
FixerRoy Cohn served as Trump’s lawyer and mentor for 13 years in the 1970s and 1980s. According to Trump, Cohn sometimes waived fees due to their friendship. In 1973, Cohn helped Trump countersue the United States government for $100 million over its charges that Trump’s properties had racial discriminatory practices. Trump and Cohn lost that case when the countersuit was dismissed and the government’s case went forward. In 1975, an agreement was struck requiring Trump’s properties to furnish the New York Urban League with a list of all apartment vacancies, every week for two years, among other things. Cohn introduced political consultant Roger Stone to Trump, who enlisted Stone’s services to deal with the federal government.
As of April 2018, Trump and his businesses had been involved in more than 4,000 state and federal legal actions, according to a running tally by USA Today.
While Trump has not filed for personal bankruptcy, his over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection six times between 1991 and 2009. They continued to operate while the banks restructured debt and reduced Trump’s shares in the properties.
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From Our January/february 2022 Issue
Check out the full table of contents and find your next story to read.
The prospect of this democratic collapse is not remote. People with the motive to make it happen are manufacturing the means. Given the opportunity, they will act. They are acting already.
Who or what will safeguard our constitutional order is not apparent today. It is not even apparent who will try. Democrats, big and small D, are not behaving as if they believe the threat is real. Some of them, including President Joe Biden, have taken passing rhetorical notice, but their attention wanders. They are making a grievous mistake.
The democratic emergency is already here, Richard L. Hasen, a professor of law and political science at UC Irvine, told me in late October. Hasen prides himself on a judicious temperament. Only a year ago he was cautioning me against hyperbole. Now he speaks matter-of-factly about the death of our body politic. We face a serious risk that American democracy as we know it will come to an end in 2024, he said, but urgent action is not happening.
The Big Story: Join Barton Gellman, along with staff writer Anne Applebaum and Atlantic editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg, for a live virtual conversation about the threats to American democracy on December 13.
Listen to an interview with William J. Walker, sergeant-at-arms of the U.S. House of Representatives, on The Experiment.
Double Negative In Donald Trump Election Fraud Statement Raises Eyebrows
Donald Trump raised several eyebrows with a double negative in a recent statementwhich read as him taking aim at those supporting his ongoing election fraud claims.
The statement from the former president, shared via email on Saturday, read: “Anybody that doesn’t think there wasn’t massive election fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election is either very stupid or very corrupt.”
Trump’s comments were met with sarcastic tweets from several of his detractors, who were keen to point out the double negative read as him taking aim at those who supported his repeated fraud claims.
NEW!President Donald J. Trump:”Anybody that doesnt think there wasnt massive Election Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election is either very stupid, or very corrupt!”
George Conway, founding member of the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project, which he has since departed, appeared to relish pointing out the grammatical error at Trump’s expense.
He said in a tweet shared late on Saturday: “When you’re right, you’re right.”
Conway then followed up his tweet with a double-negative-ridden comment of his own, which read: “Seriously, I usually don’t find it unsurprising when he says something that’s not inaccurate, but no onenot even the former guycan be not correct all the time.”
Jon Cooper, former Long Island campaign chair for Barack Obama tweeted: “Somebody should explain to Donald Trump what a double negative is.”
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