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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: trump pardons

Video Shows Furious Roger Stone Calling Ivanka An 'Abortionist Bitch'

Longtime Trump ally and MAGA provocateur Roger Stone flew into a rage upon learning he wouldn’t be granted a post-2020-election pardon despite extensive lobbying efforts and unleashed a flurry of expletives at former President Trump’s family, newly released footage showed.

In the video — captured by the Danish film crew “The Ark” for its forthcoming documentary A Storm Foretold, and first published by The Daily Beast — Stone is seated in a moving vehicle, seething at the discovery that there would be no 11th-hour pardon to shield him from accountability for his role in the effort he helped lead to overturn Trump’s loss in the 2020 election.

“Jared Kushner has an IQ of 70,” Stone ranted on the phone on President Joe Biden’s inauguration day, when then-outgoing President Trump could no longer grant pardons. “He’s coming to Miami. We will eject him from Miami very quickly; he will be leaving very quickly,” Stone said through gritted teeth. “Very quickly.”

His anger rising rapidly, Stone segued into a threat of violence, warning, “He has 100 security guards. I will have 5,000 security guards. You want to fight. Let’s fight. Fuck you.”

The political “dirty trickster” ended his tirade with a jab at Ivanka Trump, saying, “Fuck you and your abortionist bitch daughter!”


The Beast noted it was unclear who Stone was speaking to on the phone, but the film crew’s boss, Christoffer Guldbrandsen, confirmed to the publication there was “no doubt” it was Ivanka that Stone had called an “abortionist bitch.”

Why Stone would refer to Ivanka — who, according to the HuffPost, “staunchly declared herself in a 2020 interview ‘pro-life, and unapologetically so.’ — is not yet clear; however, Guldbrandsen told the Beast that Stone blamed Kushner for his failed bid for a second pardon.

“Aside from Donald Trump, he also held Jared Kushner responsible as being the guy who was the point man on the pardon,” Guldbrandsen said, noting that the beleaguered agitator’s vulgar rant had taken place in Fort Lauderdale on January 20, 2021.

Stone, a self-proclaimed pro-life advocate, has had no misgivings in discussing violence, a trait prominent amongst the right-wing militias he’s allegedly affiliated with, most notably the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. (His first wife Elizabeth "Bitsy" Stone operated a "pro-choice Republican" nonprofit and PAC for many years in Washington, which he supported.)

“I say fuck the voting. Let’s get right to the violence. We'll have to start smashing pumpkins, if you know what I mean," Stone said in a video clip released by the House Select Committee on Thursday.

“Shoot to kill. See an Antifa? Shoot to kill. Fuck ’em. Done with this bullshit,” Stone said in a video clip CNN obtained from the film crew last month.

Previous reporting by the Washington Post showed that vowing violence against Kushner is something Stone has done more than once.

“In two weeks [Kushner’s] moving to Miami,” Stone told a staffer on Inauguration Day, the Post reported in March, citing over 20 hours of Stone documentary footage it had reviewed. “He’s going to get a beating. He needs to have a beating. And needs to be told, ‘This time we’re just beating you. Next time we’re killing you.’”

Moments later, Stone rejected the staffer’s urging to pass his threat off as a joke, saying, “No, no, it isn’t joking. Not joking. It’s not a joke.”

In a car with the filmmakers that same day, the Post noted, Stone continued outlining plans for Kushner’s demise; this time, on the phone with a friend named Tom.

“Stone said Kushner needed to be “punished in the most brutal possible way” and would be “brain dead when I get finished with him,” the Post wrote in its report.

Stone accused the Post of attacking him using “a clever blend of ‘guilt by association,’ insinuations, half truths, anonymous claims, falsehoods and out of context trick questions.”

Representatives for Ivanka and Kushner didn’t return the Beast’s request for comment.

Stone has levied personal attacks against Guldbrandsen and threatened to file a $25 million lawsuit against the filmmaker.

Former Trump Aide Testified That Gaetz Sought Sex Crime Pardon

A former White House aide told the House Select Committee probing the January 6, 2021, insurrection that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of former President Trump’s most vocal allies, sought something in return for his subservience: a pre-emptive presidential pardon.

The testimony, first reported by the Washington Post on Saturday, corroborates earlier reports that the Republican congressman had sought a pardon for himself and provides new insight into the nature of that requested favor.

According to the Post, citing sources privy to his testimony, Johnny McEntee, the former director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office, told committee investigators that Gaetz had talked to him about a pardon in a brief meeting one evening.

McEntee testified that Gaetz had said that “they are launching an investigation into him or that there’s an investigation into him” without specifically referring to the Department of Justice. The Post also noted that investigators had asked McEntee if he believed the context of Gaetz’s pardon request pertained to the DOJ investigation into him over sex trafficking allegations, to which the aide replied, “I think that was the context, yes.”

The former Trump aide also testified that Gaetz had protested his innocence and whined that “they are trying to make his life hell, and, you know, if the president could give him a pardon, that would be great.”

McEntee added that Gaetz had told him he would ask Mark Meadows, Trump’s last chief of staff, for a pardon -- a development the select committee had revealed at a June hearing. At the time, though, it was uncertain exactly why Gaetz had asked for the pardon.

McEntee said he no longer remembers whether the brief conversation with Gaetz happened before or after the Capitol riot, the Post noted in its report, quoting sources aware of the testimony.

McEntee’s sworn testimony mirrors that of former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann, who told the committee in a deposition that he believed Gaetz had sought a presidential pardon from Trump.

“The general tone was we may get prosecuted because we were defensive of the president’s positions on these things. The pardon that he was discussing, requesting was as broad as you could describe. From beginning — I remember he said, from the beginning of time up until today for any and all things. He had mentioned Nixon, and I said Nixon’s pardon was never nearly that broad,” Herschmann testified, according to taped testimony that the select committee unveiled during its hearing.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former Meadows aide, testified to the select committee in June that “Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon, and he was doing so since early December, I’m not sure why. Mr. Gaetz had reached out to me to ask if he could have a meeting with Mr. Meadows about receiving a presidential pardon.”

The Justice Department kick-started its probe into whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws — specifically, whether he paid for sex and had sex with a 17-year-old and transported her across state lines — with former attorney general Bill Barr’s approval during the final months of the Trump Administration.

The probe, which Gaetz has repeatedly disputed -- and once tried to mock as “Gaetzgate" -- stemmed from a federal investigation into Joel Greenberg, one of the Floridian’s close confidants. In May 2022 Greenberg, formerly a Florida tax collector, admitted to a federal judge that he had solicited and paid a minor for sex and pleaded guilty to six sex trafficking charges. He is reportedly cooperating with the investigation of Gaetz.

Gaetz has repeatedly denied reports of his own misconduct. Last March, he wrote The Daily Beast, saying, “The last time I had a sexual relationship with a seventeen-year-old, I was seventeen.”

The following month, he penned an opinion piece in the Washington Examiner deriding the “swamp” for “repeating false allegations” about him and said that he had “never, ever paid for sex.”

“I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old.,” Gaetz added.

A representative for Gaetz ignored the Post’s questions about McEntee’s testimony but told the publication that Gaetz never directly asked the former president for a pardon.

“Congressman Matt Gaetz discussed pardons for many other people publicly and privately at the end of President Donald Trump’s first term,” the spokesperson said, per the Post. “As for himself, President Trump addressed this malicious rumor more than a year ago stating, ‘Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon.’ Rep Gaetz continues to stand by President Trump’s statement.”

Last May, Gaetz’s close confidant, Joel Greenberg, formerly a Florida tax collector, admitted to a federal judge that he had solicited and paid a minor for sex and pleaded guilty to six sex trafficking charges.

Trump Pardons Accused Fraudster Bannon During Final Hours In Office

President Donald Trump pardoned his former campaign strategist Steve Bannon on his last day in office, according to CNN, following a fierce internal debate over Bannon's fate that was ultimately decided in his favor.

Bannon faced charges brought by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York in an indictment released last August. Prosecutors allege that Bannon and three co-defendants defrauded thousands of donors to "We Build The Wall," a group raising money to construct a barrier along the southern border. The indictment charged that Bannon, Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea siphoned at least a million dollars from the non-profit organization while claiming that the money went only to their construction project.

Attorneys and other Trump aides reportedly tried to discourage Trump from pardoning Bannon, but the president suddenly was keen to protect his former adviser, who has echoed Trump's lies about the presidential election. In fact Bannon has been among the most fanatical media promoters of unrest and even violence, as a leading voice in the "Stop the Steal" crusade that led to the sacking of the Capitol. That campaign apparently soothed Trump's fury at Bannon over disparaging public remarks about the president and his older children, especially Don Jr., whom he accused of "treasonous" behavior for secretly meeting with Kremlin agents during 2016.

If Bannon was auditioning for a pardon in recent weeks, his bloodthirsty pandering still gave pause to Trump's lawyers – who worried that the former adviser played a culpable role in the Capitol riot on January 6. For many weeks leading up to the assault on the Capitol, he broadcast strident calls to action, comparing the present political standoff to the bloody confrontations of the Revolutionary War and D-Day.

"All hell is going to break loose tomorrow," crowed Bannon on his January 5 "War Room" podcast, hours before erupting violence left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. "And all I can say is, strap in ... You have made this happen and tomorrow it's game day. So strap in. Let's get ready."

Until Tuesday evening, Trump aides and lawyers thought they had quashed the Bannon pardon. Evidently they were wrong.

'Call Your Lawyer': Experts Warn Of Legal Jeopardy For Trump's Coup Enablers

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Legal experts including a Harvard professor and a top election and voting rights attorney are weighing in on Sunday night's bombshell report from Rolling Stone naming members of Congress and the Trump administration who were involved in the planning and organizing of the January 6 rally and/or "Trump's efforts to overturn his election loss," according to two of the planners of the "Stop the Steal" rally.

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Former NY Observer Editor, Pardoned by Trump, Faces New Charges

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ken Kurson, a former editor of the New York Observer newspaper who was pardoned in January by then-U.S. President Donald Trump, was criminally charged on Wednesday by Manhattan prosecutors with spying on his former wife by accessing her computer.

Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney, said Kurson used spyware from computers at the Observer and elsewhere between September 2015 and March 2016 to obtain his wife's passwords and access her Gmail and Facebook accounts.

Kurson, who was divorcing his wife around that time, also anonymously disseminated some of her private Facebook messages, Vance said. The Observer was once owned by Trump's son-in-law and Kurson's friend Jared Kushner.

Kurson, 52, of South Orange, New Jersey, was charged with eavesdropping and computer trespass, both felonies carrying a maximum four-year prison term. Kurson is a political consultant and former speechwriter for Trump's former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

A lawyer for Kurson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.S. prosecutors in Brooklyn last October charged Kurson with cyberstalking three people, at least one of whom he blamed for the breakdown of his marriage.

Though Trump's pardon ended that case, U.S. presidents cannot pardon people for state crimes.

"We will not accept presidential pardons as get-out-of-jail-free cards for the well-connected in New York," Vance said in a statement.

In announcing the pardon in January, Trump's White House said the federal probe of Kurson began only because of his reported nomination to the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Kurson was the Observer's editor in chief from 2013 to 2017. The newspaper endorsed Trump for president in 2016.

Another pardon recipient, former 2016 Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was separately charged by Vance with mortgage fraud and other crimes, but that case was dismissed in February on double jeopardy grounds.

In July, Vance charged Trump's family business, the Trump Organization, and its chief financial officer with running a "sweeping" 15-year tax fraud. Both pleaded not guilty.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Will Dunham)

VIDEO: Flynn Jokes About Assassination While Brandishing Assault Rifle

Former Trump administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has made more than his fair share of disturbing, jaw-dropping remarks-- like telling the former guy he should impose martial law to hold a new election or suggesting a Myanmar-like coup at a QAnon conference in May. But he seemed to reach a new low when he joked about using a newly gifted assault rifle to carry out an assassination in the nation's capital.

"We were trying to come up with a rifle that we thought was appropriate for a general, so we went with an old-school Woodland camouflage...one of our top-quality guns," said Jason Parker, a gun company employee who gifted the weapon to Flynn.

"Maybe I'll find somebody in Washington, D.C.," Flynn replied, prompting an uproar of chuckles.

The disgraced Trump official made the chilling "joke" on Sunday at the Church of Glad Tidings in Yuba City, California while accepting what appeared to be a Woodland Camo AR-15 from the church

Flynn, a devout QAnon follower and retired Army general, has continued to raise eyebrows and the anxiety levels of Americans with his extremist comments since being pardoned by the former president.

Needless to say, Flynn's latest push for terrorism received ignominy from across the country.

Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration, said:

Columnist David Weissman, a former U.S. Army vet and Trump supporter, had this to say:

Sarah Reese Jones of PoliticusUSA chimed in:

Gaetz Exposure Deepens With New Evidence Of Trump Pardon Effort

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene were about to kick off a road show, traveling the nation to attack "the radical left" and insufficiently extremist Republicans. And then the other shoe dropped in the ever-developing scandal around Gaetz's apparent habit of paying for sex, in one case allegedly with a minor.

That scandal has been developing for a month, starting with the revelation that Gaetz is under federal investigation as part of a broader sex trafficking investigation involving former Seminole County, Florida, tax collector Joel Greenberg, who is under indictment already. Gaetz initially tried to deflect by claiming his family was being extorted in a bizarre scheme involving a hostage in Iran who is generally believed to be dead—a claim that Gaetz mostly moved on from when it became clear that no one thought it exonerated him.

Revelation after revelation followed: Gaetz had showed nude pictures of women to fellow members of Congress. As a Florida legislator, he participated in a sex game in which points were awarded for sex with different categories of women, including interns. He took a trip to the Bahamas paid for in part by a "marijuana entrepreneur" … and part of what was paid for may have included women.

So we've already heard a lot. Really, we've probably heard more than enough about Matt Gaetz and sex, because even before you get to the predatory behavior, just … ick. But there is more.

Gaetz typically didn't pay women for sex directly — instead, he paid Greenberg, who then paid the women. That means Greenberg knows a lot, and since Greenberg is facing significant legal trouble, he appears to be motivated to talk. But before he started talking to the federal government, Greenberg talked to Roger Stone in late 2020 in hopes that Stone could convince Donald Trump to give him a last-minute pardon.

Greenberg talked to Stone a lot, and The Daily Beast has the receipts in the form of Signal chats between Greenberg and Stone, and a lengthy confession letter Greenberg wrote for Stone to use in his efforts with Trump. Of note, Gaetz had at one point posted a social media picture of himself, Stone, and Greenberg.

In the letter, of which The Daily Beast has multiple drafts, Greenberg describes learning through "an anonymous tip" that a woman—well, as it turned out, girl—in his and Gaetz's sex trafficking scheme was 17 years old.

"Immediately I called the congressman and warned him to stay clear of this person and informed him she was underage," Greenberg wrote. "He was equally shocked and disturbed by this revelation."

They were so shocked and disturbed that they stayed away from the girl only until after she turned 18. She was one of the women paid by Greenberg immediately after Gaetz sent him $900 through Venmo with the note "hit up [her nickname]."

In his communications with Stone, Greenberg was hanging his argument for a pardon in part on the threat to Gaetz. "And while I have not had any communication with MG, he absolutely has to know that the sex charge they hit me with would be what they would hit him with," he wrote in one of the Signal messages. "All he has to is explain to POTUS the situation and his exposure, and it would be very easy to do."

"MG is like a son to POTUS. MG is like a brother to me."

Well, we know how far "like a son" goes with Donald Trump, and now we know how far "like a brother" goes with Matt Gaetz. And to Greenberg, who seems to have been screen-shotting his Signal chats with Stone before they could disappear, in just one of a series of insurance policies he set up for himself should the pardon effort fail, as it did.

Gaetz is defiant and is attempting to remain a significant figure in the Republican Party, as his planned tour with Greene shows. But even before the investigation into him became public, it was serious enough that then-Attorney General William Barr was reportedly taking steps to avoid being photographed near him. Attacking the media will only go so far if and when he faces federal charges.