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Trump Organization Found Guilty on All Counts of Tax Fraud

A Manhattan jury found the Trump Organization guilty on all counts of tax fraud and related crimes.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A Manhattan jury on Tuesday found the Trump Organization guilty on all charges of tax fraud and related crimes, connected to a 15-year scheme wherein top executives were compensated off the books with luxurious secret perks, subsequently enabling them to evade paying taxes.

Two Trump Organization companies—Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp.—were convicted on 17 criminal counts, including scheming to defraud, conspiracy, tax fraud, and falsifying business records. The companies could face a maximum $1.6 million fine when sentenced next month.

Donald Trump, whose presidency benefited greatly from the company, will now be freshly associated with the criminal activity attached to the organization sporting his name as he seeks to regain the presidency.

Though Trump himself evaded any implication in the scheme, prosecutors said it was “sanctioned” and “the practice was known to Mr. Trump.” They have also indicated Trump himself remains under investigation.

The trial centered on testimony from longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who has worked with Trump’s family for nearly 50 years and who was testifying as part of a plea deal. In August, Weisselberg pleaded guilty to evading taxes on nearly $2 million in perks from the company. His testimony detailed the Trump Organization’s tactics to avoid payroll taxes and award high-level executives with perks like lavish apartments, private school tuition, and vehicles.

Numerous documents implicate some level of involvement from Trump. There was even a witness, Jeff McConney, the senior vice president at Trump Corp., who at first implicated Trump in the scheme but then walked back that testimony. McConney’s legal fees are paid for by the Trump Organization.

Meanwhile, Trump is still facing investigations on all sides—on the state and federal level—for his seizure of classified documents after he left the White House, his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and the accuracy of the Trump Organization’s financial records and valuations. The guilty verdict for his namesake organization today only adds fuel to the fire driving these investigations.

While the Trump Organization has been found guilty by the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation, the New York attorney general is also pursuing a $250 million civil lawsuit into whether Trump’s asset valuation statements were indicative of fraud. Among financial penalties, Trump and his family could be barred from leading business operations in New York ever again.

This story was updated.

Read more at CNN.

Cawthorn Fined Over $15,000 for Promoting “Let’s Go Brandon” Crypto

Representative Madison Cawthorn was fined by the House Ethics Committee for violating congressional conflict of interest rules.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images
Representative Madison Cawthorn

Representative Madison Cawthorn will have to pay more than $15,000 for promoting a cryptocurrency in violation of congressional conflict of interest rules, the House Ethics Committee said Tuesday.

An investigative subcommittee began investigating Cawthorn and his involvement with the cryptocurrency “Let’s Go Brandon,” or LGB Coin, in May. The North Carolina representative repeatedly promoted the coin on social media from December 2021 to March 2022.

The report, submitted a few weeks ago, found “substantial evidence that Representative Cawthorn promoted a cryptocurrency in which he had a financial interest in violation of rules protecting against conflicts of interest.”

According to the report, Cawthorn was not paid for his social media posts about LGB Coin, but in December 2021, he received 180 billion coins, worth more than $150,000, at a cheaper price than what was available to the public. He paid for the coins just a few days before LGB Coin announced it would sponsor a Nascar driver, sending its value up (Nascar later revoked the sponsorship). Cawthorn paid $14,237.49 less than the public price, meaning he received an improper gift from the cryptocurrency. He sold his LGB Coin shares throughout December and January.

The report also found Cawthorn failed to disclose these transactions to the House. It did not, however, find sufficient evidence that he was guilty of insider trading.

The bipartisan Ethics Committee unanimously adopted the report and ordered Cawthorn to pay $14,237.49 to a charitable organization of his choice. He must also pay $1,000 in late fees for his disclosure forms to the Treasury within the next two weeks.

LGB Coin has been accused of being a pump-and-dump scheme, meaning its value is falsely inflated through marketing. Once investors have bought in, giving it actual value (the “pump” part), the scheme organizers will “dump” their shares at a profit. After they sell off their shares, the asset’s value deflates rapidly, revealing it was worthless all along.

Cawthorn was elected in 2020 as an avid Donald Trump supporter, but his time in office has been plagued with scandal. He lost the Republican primary in May and will leave office in January. Multiple reports indicate that both his Washington and North Carolina offices have already been vacated.

Capitol Police Honored for January 6 Refuse to Shake Hands With McConnell, McCarthy

“They’re just two-faced,” said the mother of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after being injured in the riot.

Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg/Getty Images

In a scathing indictment, police officers ignored Republican leaders during a congressional ceremony Tuesday honoring law enforcement for defending the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell, and Kevin McCarthy presented the officers with Congressional Gold Medals, Congress’s highest honor. The medals will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol Police headquarters, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Capitol, and the Smithsonian Institution to recognize the hundreds of officers who tried to fend off the insurrection by Donald Trump supporters.

During the ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, the Democratic and Republican Party leaders stood in a line to greet the medal recipients, who included the parents of officer Brian Sicknick, who died after the riot. The officers and Sicknick family could clearly be seen in video shaking hands with Pelosi and Schumer but simply walking past McConnell and McCarthy.

“They’re just two-faced. I’m just tired of them standing there and saying how wonderful the Capitol Police is, and they turn around and … go down to Mar-a-Lago and kiss his ring,” Sicknick’s mother, Gladys Sicknick, said. “It just hurts.”

Sicknick’s brother Ken Sicknick said, “They have no idea what integrity is. They can’t stand up for what’s right and wrong.”

Police officers were brutally attacked during the January 6 riot by Trump supporters trying to overturn the 2020 election. In harrowing testimony, both to Congress and the House January 6 investigative committee, officers described their enduring physical and mental scars, with some detailing near-death experiences.

Two police officers died by suicide in the days after the riot. Officer Brian Sicknick collapsed when an insurrectionist sprayed him with a chemical, and he died the next day. That summer, two more officers took their own lives.

McCarthy and McConnell, both avid Trump supporters while he was in office, have failed to publicly take a firm stance on his involvement in January 6. Although they both condemned the riot, they have been careful to avoid implicating Trump directly. McCarthy has also refused to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the attack.

McConnell voted to acquit Trump during his historic second impeachment for involvement in the insurrection, and neither man has spoken out against his planned 2024 run for president, implying support.

Congress voted last summer to award the medals. Although the measure passed unanimously in the Senate, 21 House Republicans voted against it.

January 6 Committee Will Make Criminal Referrals, Chairman Says

Representative Bennie Thompson confirmed the committee will make criminal referrals to the Department of Justice.

Representative Bennie Thompson
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Representative Bennie Thompson

The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol will be making criminal referrals to the Department of Justice. Committee Chairman Representative Bennie Thompson confirmed the decision to reporters on Tuesday, according to CNN.

Thompson did not indicate exactly who will be referred. But the committee’s investigations have been extremely comprehensive, potentially implicating a very wide array of individuals. The panel has interviewed over 1,000 people, reviewed over one million documents, and subpoenaed dozens of people including Mark Meadows, Stephen Bannon, Representative Kevin McCarthy, and Donald Trump himself.

The investigation runs concurrently to other probes, including a Georgia-based investigation that has similarly called individuals including Meadows, Senator Lindsey Graham, and others to testify and hand over documents.

Senator John Kennedy Rants About “High-IQ, Stupid” Democrats Who Love Kale

Well, that’s one way to talk about kitchen table issues before a major Senate race.

Republican Senator John Kennedy

Campaigning for Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker over the weekend, Republican Senator John Kennedy stuck to the kinds of kitchen table issues voters would definitely want to hear about as the fate of the Senate is on the line: “woke” people who “walk around with zip-lock bags of kale that they can eat to give them energy.”

“These woke, high-IQ stupid people, they’re easy to recognize. They hate George Washington, they hate Thomas Jefferson, they hate Dr. Seuss, and they hate Mr. Potato Head,” Kennedy began.

“These, these woke, high-IQ stupid people, they walk around, they walk around with zip-lock bags of kale that they can eat to give them energy,” Kennedy said, horrified. “Now, if you wanna eat kale, that’s up to you. I don’t eat kale. You know why? Because kale tastes to me like I’d rather be fat,” he declared proudly.

“And these high-IQ pe—stupid people, the wokers in charge of Washington, D.C., the berserk wing of the Democratic Party—they hyperventilate on their yoga mats if you use the wrong pronoun. They’re all over Washington, D.C.”

Kennedy—a totally not-berserk man not hyperventilating over a person he just made up—is himself ostensibly a fairly intelligent person. He graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University, before receiving a law degree from the University of Virginia and another degree with honors from Oxford.

Kale seems to be a favorite target of Kennedy’s ire (to a much stronger extent than, for example, a former president who incited an insurrection on the nation’s capital, dined with Nazis, and called to terminate the U.S. Constitution).

Last year, as President Joe Biden pushed to close an inheritance-tax loophole—something many “regular” Americans would likely get behind—Kennedy blasted the effort. “This is what happens when you have a president and a Treasury secretary who are on a mission from God to please pink-haired wokers who carry around Ziploc bags of kale.”

Many have wondered where Walker’s dishonest, incoherent, and culture-war-focused candidacy came from. Kennedy’s recent remarks affirm the idea that his candidacy is really nothing more than a weak appendage of the Republican Party.

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Is Under Federal Investigation for Animal Abuse

Musk reportedly pressured staff, telling them to “imagine they had a bomb strapped to their heads,” leading to rushed animal testing.

Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Elon Musk’s medical implant company Neuralink is facing a federal probe over potential animal welfare violations.

Reuters first reported Monday evening that the company, which Musk says could begin human trials in the next six months, is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture over how Neuralink treats and conducts tests on animals.

Neuralink has killed about 1,500 animals during testing since 2018, Reuters said, citing internal documents and anonymous sources “with direct knowledge of the company’s animal-testing operations.”

Current and former Neuralink employees told Reuters that they worked under a constant state of pressure, with Musk repeatedly demanding that they work faster and encouraging them to “imagine they had a bomb strapped to their heads” or threatening to trigger a “market failure” at the company if they didn’t meet his goals.

As a result, animal testing was often rushed, meaning that the data sometimes contained errors and tests had to be repeated, causing unnecessary deaths. Other times, there were human errors during the surgeries to implant Neuralink chips, which employees attributed to lack of preparation.

Both Neuralink and Musk have publicly stated that their animal testing is used as the last step in the research process, with Musk describing it as “confirmatory, not exploratory” at a presentation in late November. But Reuters found that in October, Neuralink scrubbed the word “exploration” from study titles and banned employees from using it in the future.

What’s more, there have been numerous exploratory surgeries over several years, Reuters said, again citing company documents and anonymous internal sources.

Musk has previously been called out for his company’s use of animal testing. A few days before his November presentation, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit research and advocacy group, set up a website detailing the effects of Neuralink tests on animals.

“Monkeys suffered paralysis, seizures, and such poor psychological health that they pulled out their own hair,” the group said.

The group’s director of research advocacy, Ryan Merkley, slammed Musk as “a modern-day P.T. Barnum.”

He’s a showman who makes big promises while hiding the grisly details from the public.”

Musk’s slapdash approach to Neuralink testing should come as no surprise, given the way he has handled Twitter since taking over the social media platform in late October.

Unfortunately More on Elon

Republicans Begin Speaking Against Trump’s Call to Terminate Democracy

After a period of radio silence, Republicans are finally condemning Donald Trump’s call to terminate the U.S. Constitution and restore him to power.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

After a remarkable period of radio silence, some Republicans are finally saying something about their party leader calling to terminate the Constitution, counteract democracy, and crown him as an unelected president.

On Saturday, former President Donald Trump called to terminate the U.S. Constitution and reinstate himself back to power. He then tried to briefly walk back the comments, before doubling down on Monday, claiming yet again that there was massive fraud in the 2020 election.

Now Senate Republicans are beginning to finally speak out against Trump’s ridiculous remarks.

“I swear an oath to uphold the Constitution and it is a bedrock principle—it is the principle, the bedrock of our country. I couldn’t disagree more,” said Senator John Thune, the number two Senate Republican. “If you’re one of these other people who’s interested in running this year, this is certainly an opportunity that would create some contrast.”

Senator Roy Blunt echoed Thune, saying, “I think you take an oath to the Constitution. You don’t take it provisionally. And I can’t imagine that a former president would make that statement.”

Senator Mike Rounds released a full statement, saying, “Anyone who desires to lead our country must commit to protecting the Constitution. They should not threaten to terminate it.” He also noted “there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would alter the results of the 2020 election.”

Senator John Cornyn said Trump’s tirade was “not a responsible thing to say.”

Late Sunday, Senator Lisa Murkowski tweeted, “Suggesting the termination of the Constitution is not only a betrayal of our Oath of Office, it’s an affront to our Republic.”

Nevertheless, none of these explicitly, once and for all, denounce Trump. And these quotes come from just a smattering of Republicans among a larger party apparatus that refuses to stand unequivocally against Trump’s anti-democratic impulses. Senator Mitch McConnell, for example, has yet to say anything.

And if an entire political party largely refuses to defend basic democracy, all in deference to one individual, one could rightly denote that party as divested from democracy—or, as the White House said earlier this year, invested in fascism.

Twitter Janitors Are Striking After Being Laid Off With No Warning

Vicious layoffs continue at Elon Musk’s Twitter.

Twitter logo on brick wall
Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress

As Elon Musk continues on his quest to make Twitter as garbage as possible, he is ensuring no one will be around to clean it up—online or off.

On Monday, janitors and allies picketed outside of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, in response to more than 20 workers being haphazardly laid off, according to a representative from SEIU Local 87, the union that represents the workers. Late last week, workers were told with no notice that Friday would be their last day.

Workers have been picketing most of Monday morning, and the union representative said they will continue until their demands for recourse are met—whether it’s getting their job back or attaining some form of compensation for lost wages and being abruptly fired with no notice.

This is not the first time Musk laid off unionized workers. At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic (shortly after Musk had said, “The coronavirus panic is dumb,” before over one million Americans would proceed to die from the virus), the Tesla CEO laid off 280 janitors and bus drivers. This, while fellow tech giants, including Facebook and Google, committed to keep paying their hourly workers during the pandemic.

This is a developing story.

Unfortunately More on Elon

Herschel Walker’s Ex-Girlfriend Details Abuse: “I Have to Say What I Know”

Cheryl Parsa, who says she dated Herschel Walker, said the Georgia Senate candidate grabbed her throat and threw a punch that missed.

Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

A woman who says she was in a romantic relationship with Herschel Walker says the Georgia Senate candidate abused her and is lying to American voters.

Cheryl Parsa, who dated Walker for five years in the early 2000s, told NBC that he physically attacked her in 2005 after she caught him with another woman.

When Parsa confronted him, Walker backed her against a wall and grabbed her throat. “You want to see a man? I’ll show you a man!” he shouted, his face so close to hers that he sprayed her with saliva.

Walker then tried to punch her, but Parsa says she was able to dodge and get away.

“I believe the deception now is on the American people, and I have to say what I know,” she said in an interview Sunday.

Parsa has also described Walker’s manipulative tendencies. She attended a few of his sessions with a therapist helping him work to control his dissociative identity disorder, or DID, a mental health condition where people have multiple, distinct personalities. Both Walker and his therapist convinced her to stay in the relationship longer than she wanted, insisting she was the only one who could save him from himself.

He knows how to manipulate his disease, in order to manipulate people, while at times being simultaneously completely out of control,” she told The Daily Beast on Friday.

“He is not well.… He cannot be a senator. He cannot have control over a state when he has little to no control of his mind.”

Walker has been accused multiple times of physical abuse and emotional manipulation. His ex-wife and son have both said he threatened to kill them. The Daily Beast spoke with four other women, in addition to Parsa, whom Walker dated from the 1990s to the early 2010s, sometimes simultaneously.

The other women, who spoke anonymously, describe how Walker would overwhelm them with expressions of almost aggressive affection, known as “love-bombing.” He also proposed to at least one of the women while seeing some of the others.

Walker has branded himself on the campaign trail as a MAGA Republican and ultraconservative traditionalist. He has condemned absentee Black fathers and does not believe in abortion.

He has not responded to Parsa’s accusations, but he has denied the accusations from his ex-wife and son, who says his father is not present in his life. Walker has also denied allegations from two other women, who came forward anonymously in October, that he forced them to get abortions while they were dating.

This article has been updated to clarify Parsa’s allegations.

GOP Leadership Silent on Trump’s Calls to Terminate Constitution

Republican officials have remained largely silent after former President Donald Trump suggested the Constitution be terminated.

Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy stand in the background, Trump sits in the foreground (not in focus)

Over two years after he lost the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump whined on Saturday once again about it, this time calling to terminate the U.S. Constitution and reinstate him back to power.

“Do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!”

Following Trump’s call to throw out the results of an election he lost by seven million votes, Republicans have largely remained silent—particularly party leadership. Neither Senator Mitch McConnell nor Representative Kevin McCarthy have said a word. This after McCarthy pledged to read the Constitution on the first day of the next congressional session.

RNC chair and election denialist Ronna McDaniel has also remained mum.

Among the Republicans who have spoken out, there’s little that gives confidence.

Representative David Joyce, chairman of the Republican Governance Group, a coalition of self-proclaimed “moderate” Republicans, refused to denounce Trump on ABC Sunday. After confirming he would support “whoever the Republican nominee is,” he said Trump simply “says a lot of things.”

Also on Sunday, Representative Mike Turner said he “vehemently disagree[s]” with Trump’s statement, saying it’s “certainly not consistent with the oath we all take.”

Incoming Representative Mike Lawler said, “The Constitution is set for a reason, to protect the rights of every American. So I certainly don’t endorse that language or that sentiment.”

Representatives and outspoken Trump critics Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger both criticized the former president’s comments. Both are outgoing members of Congress.

All this radio silence follows a refusal by many Republicans, including the leadership, to simply and clearly denounce Trump’s antisemitic proclivities. Then, as now, reveals how pathetically submissive the Republican Party is.