Jeff Danziger’s award-winning drawings, syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group, are published by more than 600 newspapers and websites. He has been a cartoonist for the Rutland Herald, the New York Daily News and the Christian Science Monitor; his work has appeared in newspapers from the Wall Street Journal to Le Monde andIzvestia. He has published ten books of cartoons and a novel about the Vietnam War. He served in Vietnam as a linguist and intelligence officer, earning a Bronze Star and the Air Medal. Born in New York City, he now lives in Manhattan and Vermont. A video of the artist at work can be viewed here.
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By Sarah N. Lynch
(Reuters) -Former President Donald Trump said FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday and broke into his safe, possibly connected to a Justice Department investigation of Trump's removal of official presidential records to the Florida resort.
The unprecedented search of a former president's home would mark a significant escalation into the records investigation, which is one of several probes Trump is facing from his time in office and in private business.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the raid, which Trump in a statement said involved a "large group of FBI agents." The FBI's headquarters in Washington and its field office in Miami both declined comment.
The search appeared to concern boxes of documents that Trump brought with him from the White House to the Florida club, the New York Times reported, citing two unnamed people familiar with the investigation.
Trump said the estate "is currently under siege, raided, and occupied." He did not say why the raid took place.
"After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate," Trump said, adding: "They even broke into my safe!"
Later on Monday, Trump did not mention the raid during a brief tele-rally for Leora Levy, whom he has endorsed for the Republican nomination for U.S. senator from Connecticut.
CNN reported that Trump was not at the estate at the time of the raid and that the FBI had executed a search warrant to enter the premises. CNN also said the search was tied to classified documents, citing unnamed sources.
Trump, who has made his club in Palm Beach his home since leaving the White House in January 2021, has generally spent summers at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, because Mar-a-Lago typically closes in May for the summer.
The Justice Department launched an early-stage investigation into Trump's removal of records to the Florida estate, a source familiar with the matter said in April.
The investigation comes after the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration in February notified Congress that it had recovered about 15 boxes of White House documents from Trump's Florida home, some of which contained classified materials.
The House of Representatives Oversight Committee at that time announced it was expanding an investigation into Trump's actions and asked the Archives to turn over additional information.
Trump previously confirmed that he had agreed to return certain records to the Archives, calling it "an ordinary and routine process."
Other Trump Investigations Pending
Besides the presidential records case, Trump is under investigation on a number of other fronts, including a congressional probe into the Jan. 6, 2021, assault by Trump supporters on the U.S. Capitol and accusations that Trump tried to influence Georgia's 2020 election results.
In addition, the U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., is probing a scheme by Trump's allies to submit slates of fake electors in a failed bid to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Under the leadership of Matthew Graves, the U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., who was sworn in last fall, the Justice Department has started issuing grand jury subpoenas to electors in battleground states, including some electors who signed bogus certificates certifying the election for Trump.
According to several subpoenas seen by Reuters, prosecutors are seeking communications between electors and federal employees, "any member, employee or agent of Donald J. Trump," as well as with certain individuals in Trump's inner circle including attorneys John Eastman, Jenna Ellis and Rudy Giuliani.
In an interview in July with NBC News, Attorney General Merrick Garland was asked whether the Justice Department would indict Trump over the events of Jan. 6 if evidence supported such an action.
Garland replied, "We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding Jan. 6, for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable. That's what we do. We don't pay any attention to other issues with respect to that."
In Georgia, a special grand jury was selected in May to consider evidence in a Georgia prosecutor's inquiry into Trump's alleged efforts to influence the state's 2020 election results.
The investigation focuses in part on a phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, on Jan. 2, 2021.
Trump asked Raffensperger to "find" the votes needed to overturn Trump's election loss, according to an audio recording obtained by the Washington Post.
New York state Attorney General Letitia James is conducting a civil investigation examining whether the Trump Organization inflated real estate values. Two of Trump's adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, have testified in the probe, and Trump has agreed to testify.
Trump has denied wrongdoing and called the investigation politically motivated. James is a Democrat.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Eric Beech in Washington; writing by Rami Ayyub and Daniel Trotta; editing by Mary Milliken and Leslie Adler)
On July 21, Verizon followed in DirecTV’s footsteps and announced it would not be renewing its contract with the far-right conspiracy theory network One America News. Having learned nothing from its catastrophic response to DirecTV, OAN denounced Verizon and encouraged viewers to harass and boycott the “radical Marxist corporation.” And since then, OAN has only further proved its worthlessness.
Without a major carrier, OAN remains focused on national issues like a fear of roving transgender gangs harassing conservatives, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s support for gay men who flash “their genitals to little boys and girls” (she appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race -- a show with no children -- two years ago), and Verizon’s “censorship” of OAN.
Before OAN was officially kicked off national television, however, the network spent its last week much like the years before, warning viewers of “Fauci-funded bioweapons” unleashed against the people, hand-wringing over billionaires “pushing the transgender issue,” speculating about gay men with monkeypox sexually assaulting children, lamenting the need for a literal war against drug cartels, and discussing the left’s grand plot to steal the 2022 midterms, beginning with the “Marxist censorship” of OAN and other right-wing voices.
Prior to the drop, Pearson Sharp, Infowars’ favorite OAN correspondent, delivered one more report about the “predator class” using COVID-19 vaccines to “depopulate the world” by 15 percent.
“They want to kill off the useless people, as they call us,” Sharp ominously said. “And you can already see it happening. … We know these vaccines are hardest on the elderly, so it makes perfect sense that the Bolsheviks in our government would want to wipe out as many retired Americans as possible. Can’t pay Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security if people are dead, don’t you know?”
“These Fauci-funded bioweapons,” Sharp warned, “are products of a rogue globalist government that hates America and hates its citizens, and is doing everything in its power to wipe us out. This is corporate domestic bioterrorism, plain and simple,” and “the predator class in Washington” which is “responsible for this genocide” must pay the price.
OAN’s final days of national carriage also targeted LGBTQ people with bigoted nonsense. For making investments in transgender issues and “quote-unquote, ‘gender care,’” Tipping Point host Kara McKinney labeled Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his cousin, Jennifer -- whom McKinney also deadnamed and misgendered -- “two prime examples of transhumanists trying to play God by reshaping the world through technology.” McKinney said the Pritzkers are an example of billionaires who are “ really pushing the transgender issue” alongside Big Pharma, which she said sees it as “another potential moneymaker” as “COVID starts to wind down at least somewhat.”
Before inisting that he did not want to sound homophobic, Real America’s Ball took news of multiple children testing positive for monkeypox as a potential sign that they had been sexually assaulted by gay men. “How does a kid in Washington, D.C., and a kid in California -- we’re talking toddlers -- get monkeypox if it’s barely ever transmitted through just touching the skin,” Ball asked, exactly describing monkeypox transmission, “because otherwise, you know where I’m going with this.”
Ball’s guest, the anti-COVID-19 vaccine Dr. Brian Tyson, replied that he believed that both children “came from a gay relationship family, or had contact with somebody in the gay community, and I think that that’s really where we’re going with this.” Speculating that one child may be undocumented, Tyson said, “Who knows what’s happened to that kid. And we see bad things happen to kids all the time in those situations.”
“That’s what I’m saying. That’s where I’m going with it,” Ball replied, talking over Tyson’s hedge that “it’s a little too early to draw conclusions on that.”
Speaking of Ball and children, the Real America host also spent part of his last week on national television encouraging parents to hit their children for misbehaving. After a guest blamed “psychotropic drugs” and other “externalities” for mass shootings, Ball suggested parents should ignore medical treatments for behavior problems and just hit them instead.
“We can’t say enough about what we’re doing to our children, folks. The next time you take your kid who you think’s a little bit hyper, or a little bit despondent, or a little bit sidetracked in the classroom, don’t feed him drugs.” Ball continued, “I’m of a different age … and when they said, 'Dan's hyperactive. Dan won't sit still in class. Dan won’t shut his mouth,' nobody said, 'Pump Dan full of drugs' 40 years ago when I was seven or eight. You know what they did? They cracked me one and then I got in line."
In its final days of national carriage, OAN also called for military action against drug cartels. With no concern for the possibility of starting a war with Mexico, or U.S. airstrikes on U.S. soil, host Addison Smith called for “using the unfathomable power and strength of our military to deal with Mexican drug cartels” and compared the would-be war to ongoing U.S. special operations and drone campaigns.
“The Mexican drug operation is one of, if not the, biggest threat to this nation right now,” Smith warned. “If our United States military has a job to deal with any group, that should be target number one, and we could do it very easily.” His guest, Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX), agreed that the U.S. should “use every means necessary to secure our southern border, to protect the American people against the Mexican drug cartels.”
OAN’s final days on national television were a shameful mess of the vitriol and dangerous conspiracy theories it is known for, down to the network’s explanation of why it was leaving Verizon. According to Sharp, “there’s no chance in hell” Democrats will allow Republicans to win control of Congress in November, so they will cheat as they did in 2020, “and the process starts, of course with a massive, widespread, coordinated campaign of censorship,” which naturally included DirecTV and Verizon dumping OAN.
“It's essentially institutionalized discrimination,” Sharp complained as his network’s time ran out. “It’s appalling to think that the criminals in Washington are colluding with the criminals in the media to prevent you, the American people, from figuring out just how much of the Constitution they're willing to shred to stay in power.”
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.