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Tag: trump lies

Trump PAC Raising Funds On Facebook Despite His Suspension

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Facebook's latest policy carve-out for former President Donald Trump, which allows Trump's political action committees to run ads as long they are not "in his voice," has permitted Trump to fundraise and promote his events on the platform, even though he is suspended for at least two years. In return, Facebook has earned at least $10,000 in revenue on these ads.

On June 21, Politico reported that Trump's Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, a joint venture between his Make America Great Again PAC and his newer Save America leadership PAC, had started sponsoring Facebook ads on the Team Trump campaign page. The Team Trump page, which hasn't run any ads since the 2020 election, is also now managed by the Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, and it was run by the Trump campaign as recently as May.

Media Matters analyzed data from Facebook's Ad Library and found that Team Trump has run 258 ads since June 16, spending at least $10,200 and earning at least 1.3 million impressions on ads fundraising off Trump's visit to the border, attacking President Joe Biden, supporting Trump and "the MAGA Movement," or promoting his upcoming rally in Ohio. At time of publication, 37 of the ads are active.

Trump's fundraising committee is running these ads even though Facebook has suspended him from the platform for at least two years, citing his "acts of incitement" in order "to be a deterrent to Mr. Trump and others from committing such severe violations in future." (Responding to Politico's initial reporting about the ads, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said, "Groups affiliated with the former president are not barred from posting on Facebook so long as they are not posting in his voice.")

In addition to inciting violence, thousands of Trump's Facebook posts also contained misinformation, warranted an additional information label, or contained harmful rhetoric about others. Facebook allowed Trump to abuse the platform for years, with policy exemptions and weak or ineffective attempts to rein in lies from the former president and his campaign. As but one example, the platform's policyof not fact-checking politicians in ads allowed Facebook to profit from thousands of misleading ads spreading smears and misinformation that Trump ran. And in some cases -- such as with the platform's labeling system -- Facebook's policy may have actually backfired, amplifying Trump's misinformation.

Despite Trump's suspension, his Facebook and Instagram pages remain visible and his old content continues to garner new engagement. Now, this latest policy carve-out allowing "affiliated groups" to run pro-Trump ads as long they are not "in his voice" functionally permits Trump to fundraise on Facebook and promote his events through his network of PACs.

Promoting Trump's Ohio Rally

Since June 16, Team Trump has run at least 119 ads promoting Trump's Ohio rally to be held in July, encouraging people to "get your free tickets now." At time of publication, Facebook has removed 86 of them for violating its advertising policies. (It is unclear which policy they violated.) Trump's fundraising committee spent at least $6,500 and earned more than 490,000 impressions on five different versions of these Ohio rally ads:

Team Trump Facebook ads promoting Trump's Ohio rally_1

Team Trump Facebook ads promoting Trump's Ohio rally_2

Fundraising Off Trump's Border Visit

On June 24, Team Trump started running ads fundraising off Trump's visit to the U.S.-Mexico border. At time of publication, there are at least 10 ads, four of which remain active. Trump's fundraising committee spent less than $300 and earned under 6,000 impressions on three different versions of these ads:

Team Trump Facebook ads fundraising off Trump's visit to the border (1)

Anti-Biden Fundraising

Since June 16, Team Trump has run at least 56 fundraising ads attacking Biden and declaring that "America is in DECLINE." At time of publication, 15 of these ads remain active. Trump's fundraising committee spent at least $900 and earned more than 140,000 impressions on three different versions of these ads:

Team Trump facebook anti-Biden fundraising ads (1)

Pro-Trump Fundraising

Since June 16, Team Trump has run at least 73 fundraising ads in support of Trump and "the America First agenda." At time of publication, 18 of these ads remain active. Trump's fundraising committee spent at least $2,800 and earned more than 745,000 impressions with four different versions of these ads:

Team Trump Facebook pro-Trump fundraising ads

New Poll: 'Sizable Majorities' Favor Voting Rights And Oppose GOP Suppression

A new poll finds that many of the provisions within a voting rights bill congressional Democrats are looking to pass are widely popular with Americans -- a sign that GOP outcry against the legislation has not worked.

The Pew Research Center survey found that "sizable majorities favor several policies aimed at making it easier for citizens to register and vote," with 61 percent of voters supporting automatically registering eligible citizens to vote, 63 percet saying anyone should be able to vote absentee without an excuse, 70 percent supporting giving people their voting rights back after serving their felony sentences, and 78 percent supporting two weeks of in-person early voting.

All of those provisions are within the "For the People Act," which House Democrats passed in March, and Senate Democrats are now rallying behind.

Republicans have vilified the act, making hyperbolic claims and flat-out lying about what the bill would do in order to justify their opposition to it.

Among the lies Republicans have told about the legislation is that it will allow undocumented immigrants to vote, makes elections more vulnerable to foreign interference, and rig elections in Democrats' favor.

None of those claims have much merit. Rather, the legislation would:

  • Require states to implement automatic voter registration for federal elections. That means anytime an eligible voter has contact with a state agency — most often the Department of Motor Vehicles — they are automatically registered to vote. If they do not want to be registered, they can opt out;
  • Give money for states to use paper ballots to prevent foreign interference in vote totals;
  • Allow anyone who wants to vote by mail to do so without needing an excuse, as well as require states to have early voting for federal elections;
  • And restore voting rights to those who have completed felony sentences.

Privately, Republicans worry that making it easier to vote will hamper GOP chances in future elections.

"H.R. 1's only objective is to ensure that Democrats can never again lose another election, that they will win and maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate and of the state legislatures for the next century," Cruz told a conservative group in a private call, according to the Associated Press.

It's a belief held by Donald Trump, who has said publicly that he believes Republicans wouldn't win elections again if people have easier access to the ballot box. It's believed to be part of the reason he railed against the explosion in absentee ballots in the 2020 election, which he blames in part for his loss.

And Trump's belief that more access to voting hurts their chances has led to an explosion of voter suppression legislation from Republicans in state legislatures across the country.

A number of states have already passed laws restricting the right to vote.

For example, Republicans in Iowa shortened the state's early, in-person voting period from 29 days to 20 days. And Texas Republicans are looking to make it even harder to vote by mail by requiring the disabled to show written proof of their disability in order to receive their absentee ballot.

Passing the "For the People Act" would block almost every single GOP voter suppression bill that has passed or is moving toward passage across the country.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

GOP Fundraisers Mimic Trump’s Deceptive Tactics To Swindle Donors

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Although former President Donald Trump has been gone from the White House since January 20, he continues to aggressively raise funds for his political operation. According to Never Trump conservative pundit Tim Miller, Trump's fundraising tactics are still as sleazy as they were when he was in the White House — and recent fundraising from the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to Miller, is just as bad.

In an article published by the website The Bulwark this week, Miller describes the NRCC's offers to join Trump's "new social media site" — which, Miller stresses, has yet to be created. The anti-Trump conservative notes that on Tuesday, he received a text message from the NRCC that read, "Friend request expiring in 10 minutes! Trump needs to know if you're joining his new social media site, Timothy. We won't ask again."

Miller explains, "For starters, Donald Trump has not started a new social media site yet, he's just talked about it…. But even if Trump Social does come into existence, the NRCC — which is a Republican Party committee not affiliated with Donald Trump — would have no operating control or ability to sign people up for this private enterprise. Which creates an ontological conundrum: Can an offer that doesn't exist expire in 10 minutes? "

The Never Trumper notes that he received these NRCC texts only a few days after the New York Times published a "bombshell" article by journalist Shane Goldmacher, who reported that Trump's campaign was repeatedly billing supporters who had only agreed to single contributions.

Miller observes, "The crux of the grift was the Trump campaign's deceptive e-mail practices which, among other things, chose to make recurring donations the default setting for supporters who were lured in by the campaign's hyperbolic and conspiratorial fundraising pitches. As a result, elderly Trump supporters on fixed incomes had their bank accounts depleted, causing their rent and utilities checks to bounce. Altogether the Trump campaign had to refund $122 million in online donations from their own supporters who had been duped."

In his Bulwark article, Miller also describes an NRCC text in which Trump supporters are insulted as "defectors" if they uncheck a box for recurring donations. That box reads, "If you UNCHECK this box, we will have to tell Trump you're a DEFECTOR & sided with the Dems…. Make this a monthly recurring donation."

The checkbox itself isn't even next to the phrase "recurring donation," leaving the effect of the checked box potentially unclear to many donors, some of whom may not be that familiar with computers. The Times report found that these types of tactics led to many more Trump donors seeking refunds and unintentionally giving more money — sometimes much more than they could possibly afford — than is common in political fundraising.

"I'm sure there's some formal legal difference between the NRCC tricking someone into signing up for a nonexistent social media site — and then having a default box opting them in to both double their pledged amount and make it recurring—and the criminal advance-fee scams made famous by the imaginary Nigerian princes," Miller writes. "But as a moral matter, the difference is awfully hard to suss out."

The NRCC has come under fire for opting people into making multiple donations, which many experts argue is manipulative and can border on fraud. The organization pushed back on some of the reporting, pointing out to Forbes that Democrats, too, have used in opt-out mechanisms to push donors into greater contributions. However, the examples provided appeared to show a much clearer choice between recurring donations and one-time donations and did not include the manipulative language calling one-time donors "defectors:

Former GOP Speaker: Trump Lies ‘Incited That Bloody Insurrection’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner is blasting Donald Trump, laying blame for the deadly January 6 insurrection squarely at the former Republican President's feet. True to form, Trump and his team punched back below the belt.

The New York Times reports Boehner writes in his new book that Trump "incited that bloody insurrection for nothing more than selfish reasons, perpetuated by the bullshit he'd been shoveling since he lost a fair election the previous November."

"He claimed voter fraud without any evidence, and repeated those claims, taking advantage of the trust placed in him by his supporters and ultimately betraying that trust."

Boehner, whose tenure as Speaker was focused on trying to first tamp down then ride the Tea Party wave and the growth in power of the far right House Republican Study Committee. He was unsuccessful, and exited in 2015, the same year the even more extreme House Republican Freedom Caucus formed, and Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign.

He is now warning the GOP it must "take back control from the faction that had grown to include everyone from garden-variety whack jobs to insurrectionists."

It does not appear that will happen. Just as the extremist Tea Party took over the Republican Party, Trump, Trumpism, and his MAGA acolytes have already taken control of the GOP.

In typical Trumpian fashion, the Times reports, the former president's current spokesperson, Jason Miller, "called Mr. Boehner a 'Swamp Creature' and accused him of favoring 'Communist China' (The former speaker's lobbying firm represents the Chinese Embassy in the United States). In a separate email to the Times, Mr. Trump asked of Mr. Boehner, whose love of merlot wine is legendary in Washington: 'Was he drinking when he made this statement? Just another RINO who couldn't do the job!'"

Researchers: Trump’s Mishandling Of Pandemic Cost 400K American Lives

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

From the beginning, it was clear that Donald Trump was handling the COVID-19 pandemic poorly … where "poorly" can be read as any synonym for "in the worst way possible." Trump disbanded agencies meant to deal with pandemics, ignored the outbreak long after it was a clear threat to the nation, failed to make tests available, failed to provide national standards for social distancing, failed to create a national system of testing and case management, promoted phony cures, discouraged the use of masks, undercut health officials, and even encouraged his supporters to engage in armed insurrection against governors who were trying to take effective action. And that's just a select list of ways Trump screwed this thing up, down, and sideways.

That Trump failed massively was obvious. But while it was nice to fantasize about how much better things might have gone under a President Hillary Clinton, it's not really been possible to put a number to just how much of the disaster in the U.S. comes down to Trump's mishandling.

As Reuters reports, a conference at the Brookings Institute this past week included the introduction of a series of research papers on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The conclusion of those researchers: "The United States … could have avoided nearly 400,000 deaths with a more effective health strategy ..." And it could have done so while spending billions of dollars less.

The researchers aren't actually claiming that Trump is responsible for over four out of every five deaths, because they're projecting that 400,000 lives saved against an expected total for the pandemic—which they believe will end up being around 670,000 lives lost. Had Trump taken prompt action, they believe the total would have been under 300,000.

What would have made this difference? All the things Trump failed to do: mandating mask use, enforcing social distancing, and a program of uniform testing. As one of the researchers pointed out, the way the the rules were put in place—with each state adopting its own regulations, and a tendency to drop those regulation at the first sign of improvement—was a system that was almost purpose-built to drive the caseload ever higher, while making the public more and more frustrated with both state and federal action.

The other major finding of the research is that by not addressing the pandemic quickly and consistently, the end cost is enormously higher in dollars, as well as lives. The American Rescue Plan, recently passed through Congress without Republican help, is just the latest of three massive attempts to stabilize an economy rocked by the pandemic and its secondary effects. The total tab on those attempts is now in excess of $5 trillion.

Had the scope of the pandemic been reduced at the outset, its price tag in terms of the national debt would have been much lower, and bills like the American Rescue Plan may not have been necessary. If there had been an adequate medical response to the pandemic—say, a national program of testing and case management—that might have been paired with a financial program that paid people who were forced to be away from work in isolation or quarantine. The impact on both individuals and companies might have been reduced, at huge savings.

Researchers reported that the big spending bills that were produced did what they intended. They shored up incomes, propped up spending, and helped to both buffer the nation against lost jobs and shuttered businesses. But some programs, such as the Payroll Protection Plan, got decidedly mixed reviews. Which isn't hard to understand, considering the number of issues that have surfaced since the secrecy began to fall away from who got PPP payments. (Note: Daily Kos obtained a loan through the Payroll Protection Plan Act.)

The other big finding on the economic front wasn't just that the cost of the reacting to the pandemic was much higher than the cost of getting out in front of COVID-19. The cost of every dollar spent on stimulus was less effective than had that same dollar gone to a project such as improving infrastructure or addressing climate change. The dollars that pass into those programs are expected to generate both more jobs, more spending, and more long term benefits that the checks mailed out as stimulus.

Which makes it nice that President Biden has made it clear—infrastructure is up next. And it's getting more than a week.

Trump's Election Lies Will Spur More Extremist Terror, Intelligence Agencies Warn

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

On Wednesday, U.S. intelligence agencies released their newest assessment of the threat to America from domestic violent extremism, singling out rhetoric like Donald Trump's election lies as a driver of continued violent events.

The unclassified report was released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security.

The report notes that violent extremists "pose an elevated threat to the Homeland in 2021" and were "galvanized by recent political and societal events in the United States."

"Newer sociopolitical developments—such as narratives of fraud in the recent general election, the emboldening impact of the violent breach of the US Capitol, conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and conspiracy theories promoting violence—will almost certainly spur some DVEs [domestic violent extremists] to try to engage in violence this year," the report goes on to note.

In the aftermath of his loss to President Joe Biden, Trump has frequently and repeatedly made baseless allegations of fraud against the election process in multiple states.

Trump's team sought to make similar allegations in federal courts in the aftermath of the election and were repeatedly rejected, sometimes even by judges that had been appointed by Trump.

In his interview on Tuesday night with Fox Business's Maria Bartiromo, Trump again reiterated his election falsehoods, lamenting to the conservative host that the "Supreme Court didn't have the courage to overturn elections that should have been overturned."

The January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters was sparked by Trump's lies about the election, with many of those who breached the building citing the desire to prevent the election results from being certified.

Their actions were reinforced by congressional Republicans like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), who joined with House Republicans in an attempt to object to the certification and overturn the results in Trump's favor.

Biden defeated Trump in both the popular vote and the electoral college, including wins certified by Congress in key states like Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Michigan, which Trump had won in 2016.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Top US Agencies Officially Smash Giuliani’s Election Conspiracy Claims

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a joint statement addressing right-wing claims of foreign interference in the 2020 elections — and found that according to an investigation, there is no evidence that such interference occurred in the ways that were alleged.

DOJ and DHS, in their statement, explained, "The Departments investigated multiple public claims that one or more foreign governments owned, directed, or controlled election infrastructure used in the 2020 federal elections; implemented a scheme to manipulate election infrastructure; or tallied, changed, or otherwise manipulated vote counts. The Departments found that those claims were not credible."

The foreign governments mentioned in the press release include those of China and Iran. As DOJ and DHS note, "The Departments found no evidence that any foreign government-affiliated actor manipulated election results or otherwise compromised the integrity of the 2020 federal elections."

Following the 2020 presidential election, then-President Donald Trump and attorneys who supported him — including Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Jenna Ellis — claimed that Trump had been the victim of widespread voter fraud. But that claim was totally debunked, and according to former DHS cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs, the election was quite secure. Trump fired Krebs for debunking his own conspiracy theories.

Powell and other pro-Trump attorneys baselessly claimed that the voting technology of Dominion Voting Systems was used to help Joe Biden steal the 2020 U.S. presidential election, suggesting it had nefarious ties to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Dominion, debunking Powell's false claims, responded that its voting technology had never even been used in Venezuela, and brought a wave of defamation lawsuits against those falsely making such claims.

Politico reporter Kyle Cheney notes that DOJ and DHS have investigated "Sidney Powell-fueled claims that Venezuela, China and Iran had some sort of control over U.S. election infrastructure" and found no evidence to support such claims.

The DOJ/DHS statement released on Tuesday notes that in 2020, election officials went to great lengths to maintain election security.

"During the 2020 election cycle, federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, non-governmental, and private sector partners nationwide worked together in unprecedented ways to combat foreign interference efforts and support election officials, political organizations, campaigns, and candidates in safeguarding their infrastructure," the DOJ/DHS release states. "The Departments remain committed to continuously strengthening the nation's cybersecurity, critical infrastructure, supply chain risk management, public-private partnerships, and public messaging to enhance the resiliency of our democratic institutions."

Caught Profiting From Canine Charity, Trump Lies About White House Efforts To Save Dogs

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Donald Trump and the Trump family are being lambasted amid reports that he and daughter-in law Lara have taken about $2 million from an animal rescue charity, donations that were made presumably to help the group rescue dogs, not to improve the former president's finances.

At an event for the same charity this past weekend, hosted at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Trump told donors to the Big Dog Ranch Rescue that he's a big supporter of helping dogs.

"What you're doing is so important. It's so great and so important. And I'm with you 100 percent," says Trump in the video below.

"And we had many meetings in the White House, in the Oval Office, having to do with saving and helping dogs. And that's what we wanted to do."

That's a lie.

"And tremendous progress has been made," he continued. "We've had many meetings actually on it and things that I never even would think is possible in terms of some of the cruelty and the horrible things that happen. And we've turned them around and made them great things."

Our search of the archives of the Trump White House found many references to dogs, few positive, and none involving meetings about helping to save them.

The Washington Post agrees with our fnidings.

"A review of Trump's calendar as president reveals no other events or meetings focused on dogs or pets," the Post's Philip Bump reports. "It is certainly the case that Trump's days were often filled with informal conversations in person and on the phone, some of which may have included discussion of the subject."

HuffPost reported this weekend, that a "dog rescue charity with links to Lara Trump has spent as much as $1.9 million at former President Donald Trump's properties over the last seven years and will drop an additional quarter-million at his Mar-a-Lago country club this weekend."

Here are a few of the items about dogs we found in the archives of the Trump White House.

January 10, 2018: "The drugs, for a lot of reasons, are far more dangerous than they've ever been. Even the dogs can't track them down. If they track them, they die. The dogs die just from the scent. Nobody's ever seen anything like it. So you imagine what it does to people," Trump said at a bill signing.

August 13, 2020: "And then you look at what happened in Virginia, where they have 500,000 applications sent out at random to people that have no idea what happened. And they admitted they made a mistake. And many were sent to dead people and many were sent to — a number was sent — I guess, two — that at least two, three, four were sent to dogs. One was sent to a cat," Trump said in a briefing published that day.

August 18, 2020: "You have to get voting — voting right. You can't have millions and millions of ballots sent all over the place — sent to people that are dead; sent to dogs, cats; sent to everyone. I mean, this is a serious situation. This isn't games," Trump said at the signing of a Proclamation on the 100th Anniversary of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment.

The Post adds, "People who failed or whom Trump wanted to depict as impotent had 'choked like dogs' or were 'fired like dogs' or couldn't be elected dogcatcher. The dogs he liked were ones that caught drug dealers (far better than drug detection technologies, Trump would often say, crediting anonymous law enforcement officials) or the military dog that was credited with trapping the leader of the Islamic State before he killed himself."

"In fact, I love dogs," Trump said at an event celebrating Conan, the dog credited with taking out an Islamic State leader, "but they gave the dog full credit."

"They didn't give me any credit," he added, "but that's okay."