The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: white house

In White House Tantrums, Trump Repeatedly Vowed To Fire Jared And Ivanka

On multiple occasions, former President Donald Trump reportedly threatened to remove his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, from their senior roles as White House advisors, a new book reveals.

Trump's threats were detailed in a new book, titled “Confidence Man.” Written by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, the book recounts multiple incidents where Trump mulled over firing the couple.

Per HuffPost: "Trump repeatedly gave instructions 'to essentially fire the pair' during meetings with Kelly and then-White House counsel Don McGahn, said Haberman."

Another incident highlighted Trump's thoughts about taking to Twitter to announce the couple's departure from the White House. Per Haberman, Trump was “'about to write on Twitter' that they’d left their unpaid jobs."

John Kelly, who was serving as White House chief of staff at the time, reportedly talked Trump out of posting the tweet telling him, per HuffPost that "he should explain to the family members what he was planning to post first."

Trump agreed to take Kelly's advice but, according to Haberman, he “never followed up with the conversation.” The couple is said to have been unaware of his disapproval.

Although Trump repeatedly gave orders to Kelly and McGahn, the two refused to adhere to the request amid fears that “he would not back them once his daughter and son-in-law pushed back.”

Although Ivanka Trump and Kushner did not take paychecks for their White House roles, they still made eight to nine figures in profits from outside ventures while working for the Trump administration.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Former White House Lawyer Warned Trump Against Illegally Keeping Documents

A new report suggests former White House counsel Eric Herschman warned Donald Trump in late 2021 that if he failed to return presidential records or classified materials he had retained after leaving office, the 45th president could face serious legal trouble.

The New York Times was the first to report the development, citing three unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

Herschmann was no longer working for Trump by the time this conversation reportedly occurred in December 2021. An exact date for the meeting was not confirmed. Trump had been out of the White House for almost a year by that point, however, and though it is unclear whether Herschmann was aware of precisely what records Trump had retained, he still felt the need to offer the caveat. Trump’s response to Herschman’s warning was allegedly “noncommittal” but courteous.


The warning likely didn’t come as a total surprise.

By the time Herschmann had offered his input, the National Archives had already informed Trump that it was missing a number of original documents from his time in the White House.

Some two dozen boxes of presidential records that were meant to go to the Archives in January 2021 didn’t. Instead, they were shipped off to Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago. This happened against the advice of Pat Cipollone, another White House attorney under Trump.

By January, the former president handed over some 15 boxes to the Archives from those he had sent to Mar-a-Lago. There were 184 classified records inside, But by May 2021, the National Archives was still trying to find other key records that appeared to be missing. Gary Stern, the Archives lead counsel, fired off letters to Trump’s attorneys and emphasized that all presidential records must be accounted for.

A back-and-forth over the documents continued. By the autumn of 2021, according to sources who spoke to The Washington Post, former deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin told the Archives that it was Mark Meadows, Trump’s onetime chief of staff, who had reassured him the documents Trump took were only inconsequential news clippings and nothing more.

But the Archives believed there was more than news clippings missing. The Archives had already informed Trump’s team by then that it was looking for specific records, like his letters with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, a letter left for him by former President Barack Obama, and, among other things, the National Weather Service map from 2019 that Trump drew on with a Sharpie marker when falsely proclaiming that Hurricane Dorian was going to hit Alabama after the National Weather Service had reported otherwise.

Around the time Herschmann reportedly offered his warning to Trump in December 2021, Trump’s team informed the Archives it had 12 boxes at Mar-a-Lago waiting to be picked up. The Archives went to retrieve them in mid-January 2022. Archive aides found 15 boxes and within weeks of reviewing all that Trump had kept, the Archives asked the Justice Department to get involved.

Many of the records that the Archives found inside the boxes at Mar-a-Lago were labeled classified. The agency was unsure to what extent documents were mishandled and an investigation got underway. This June Trump remitted more classified documents through his attorneys but it was suspected by investigators that there were more records yet to be unearthed at Mar-a-Lago.

They were right.

A search warrant was issued to the FBI, and on Aug. 8, agents picked up more than 100 new documents with classified or sensitive markings from Mar-a-Lago. The FBI said it seized roughly 11,000 documents without classified markings altogether. In its warrant, authorities cited a possible violation by Trump of the Espionage Act and noted that “evidence of obstruction” into the investigation for the classified records also likely existed.

Trump has spent every week since tossing out excuse after excuse for his retention of the classified records. He has also insisted that he had stand-alone power to declassify documents.

This is not possible according to most legal and national security experts in the U.S.

This has not stopped Trump from claiming the investigation into the missing classified records is a “witch-hunt” or yet more political persecution against him by the “deep state.”

Herschmann’s legal relationship with Trump has never been dull, to say the least.

Herschmann defended Trump during the former president’s first impeachment trial for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress and left a lucrative partnership at the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres to do it. Financial disclosures from 2020 show Herschmann was earning just over $3.3 million when he took on the advisory role for Trump.

When Trump and his personal attorneys and advisers like Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman pushed to overturn the results of the 2020 election ahead of Jan. 6, Herschmann was one of the few resistant voices inside Trump’s immediate orbit.

Upon cooperating with the Jan. 6 committee’s probe, Herschman said under oath that he had candidly warned officials about the legal danger underpinning schemes to overturn the election results.

One of those warnings went to Jeffrey Clark, a mid-level lawyer and former Trump lackey at the Department of Justice.

Clark, Herschmann testified, had revealed a plan to him that would see Clark installed as attorney general with Trump’s blessing if only Clark could get letters sent off to swing state legislatures falsely claiming that voter fraud had altered election results.

“I said good… fucking a-hole… congratulations. You’ve just admitted your first step or act you’d take as attorney general would be committing a felony in violation of Rule 6 (c),” Herschmann recalled telling Clark.

Herschmann was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury this summer along with former White House lawyers Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin. According to the Times, Herschmann engaged with Trump’s attorneys Evan Corcoran and John Rowley, asking for guidance on how he might field questions that could run afoul of executive privilege or attorney-client privileges.

Herschmann was told to assert executive privilege broadly. Corcoran then allegedly told him not to worry because a “chief judge” would “validate their belief that a president’s powers extend far beyond their time in office.”

So far, Cannon has ruled in favor of Trump and to some outrage from seasoned jurists and prosecutors.

On Sept. 15, Cannon rejected the Department of Justice’s request to keep investigating Trump’s handling of classified records while an independent “special master” or arbiter, was assigned to review records. Andrew Weismann, a former attorney who worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, for one, has dubbed Cannon’s decision as profoundly “stupid” and “partisan.”

The special master’s role primarily involves filtering through documents seized by the FBI to determine what may be privileged versus what may be personal. The special master, in this case, is the mutually agreed-upon appointment of Raymond Dearie, a semi-retired judge from New York. Trump proposed Dearie serve in the role first and the Department agreed. Dearie is widely regarded as a neutral choice for arbiter. Dearie is now reviewing a total of 11,000 documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

Despite having his preferred special master appointed and his appointed judge presiding, Trump is still backpedaling. Though he initially claimed publicly that he had the power to declassify documents all by his lonesome and could take taxpayer-owned records wherever he pleased, in court, he has refused to elaborate on this so-called declassification. In a letter to Dearie on Monday, Trump’s attorneys argued that they could not discuss Trump’s declassification claims because it would force the former president to expose a defense he may use against “any subsequent indictment.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

FBI's Mar-a-Lago Inventory Shows 88 Empty Folders For Classified Documents

On Friday, Judge Aileen Cannon unsealed the detailed inventory of materials that the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago. When it comes to the classified documents themselves, there’s not much new to learn here. The totals are the same as what we had already seen: 33 boxes containing over 100 documents carrying some form of classification. Unfortunately for those who are curious, there’s nothing to be learned of the documents themselves except that some had markings for confidential, some were secret, and some were top secret. Unlike that now-iconic image of documents scattered on a eye-searing carpet, there are no details about what form of contents might have been in each document.

Also on the list are hundreds of photographs that the FBI recovered, likely because the White House Records Office had informed the National Archives that many photographs considered to be presidential records were missing. The same goes for many of the non-classified documents recovered.

But the most interesting thing about the inventory may be what wasn’t there. As in, the inventory lists at least 46 “empty folders” carrying markings for classified documents, and another 42 empty folders with instructions that they be returned to a military aide.


It’s absolutely possible that the contents of these folders were simply scattered among the boxes of documents that the FBI recovered, or were part of the folder given to agents on June 3, or were in the boxes handed to the National Archives back in January. After all, one of the things that has so concerned both the archives and the intelligence community is the utter disdain with which critical documents have been treated by Trump. From the information given, it’s not possible to map these folders back to the precise level of classification given to the documents they once held.

Those January boxes contained classified materials filed haphazardly among magazines and newspaper clippings. The disorder and failure to properly restrict access to these documents was part of why the Archives immediately went on alert and considered going to the Department of Justice to let them know of the danger.

However, the idea that some or all of these folders may have contained classified documents or military information that is now missing in action seems all too possible.

Considering that the affidavit sworn out to obtain the search warrant indicated that the Department of Justice had evidence that some documents were “likely concealed and removed” the idea that Trump’s files were full of empty folders for documents that could contain critical national security information is both frightening and infuriating.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

White House: Graham's 'Riots' Threat Displays MAGA 'Semi-Fascism'

The White House says Sen. Lindsey Graham‘s threat of “riots in the streets” should the Justice Department decide to prosecute Donald Trump proves President Joe Biden’s label of “semi-fascism” for the “MAGA Republicans” is correct.

“We have seen MAGA Republicans attack our democracy. We have seen MAGA Republicans take away our rights. Make threats of violence, including this weekend, and that is what the President was referring to when you all asked me last week about the ‘semi-fascism’ comment,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a reporter Monday (video below) when asked about Sen. Graham’s threat.

President Biden “was clear, not all Republicans,” Jean-Pierre stressed.

“There are some mainstream Republicans he mentioned, governor of Maryland Larry Hogan, and talked about him and what he’s been doing.”


“But we have seen these MAGA extreme Republicans making these kinds of comments, which is, which is dangerous. And and this is what we are talking about,” she said, “when President Biden was making his comments last week.”

“Look, this is a president that believes when you are President of the United States, it is your duty, it is your responsibility to have the strongest voice we have when it comes to democracy, when speaking about democracy. And that’s what you’re going to continue to hear from this President.”

Sunday evening in what some, including legal experts saw as a clear threat, Sen. Graham declared, “If there’s a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information … there’ll be riots in the streets.”

Thursday night at a Maryland rally President Biden infuriating the right told supporters, “It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I’m going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism.”

“The MAGA Republicans don’t just threaten our personal rights and economic security,” Biden said. “They’re a threat to our very democracy. They refuse to accept the will of the people. They embrace political violence. They don’t believe in democracy.”

“I want to be crystal-clear about what’s on the ballot this year,” Biden continued. “Your right to choose is on the ballot this year. The Social Security you paid for from the time you had a job is on the ballot. The safety of our kids from gun violence is on the ballot.”

“MAGA Republicans don’t have a clue about the power of women. Let me tell you something: They are about to find out.”

“I respect conservative Republicans,” Biden added. “I don’t respect these MAGA Republicans.”

Watch below or at this link:


Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

White House Mocks Margie Greene's Hypocrisy Over Student Loan Relief

In an extremely unusual move for the Biden Administration, the White House responded to an attack on the President’s student loan forgiveness plan by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene by announcing that the far right wing Georgia GOP Congresswoman had over $180,000 in PPP loans forgiven.

Highlighting the hypocrisy of Greene and other Republicans claiming it’s unfair to have loans forgiven at taxpayer expense, the White House also posted to Twitter that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and other Republicans attacking the administration for its student loan forgiveness program, had massive PPP loans forgiven.

“Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven,” the Biden White House tweeted from its official verified Twitter account late Thursday afternoon.

That is correct.


According to ProPublica, Rep. Greene’s family construction business took out a PPP loan on April 10, 2020, for $182,300. In total, including interest, the federal government forgave her and her family’s loan totaling $183,504.

The PPP loans, also known as the Paycheck Protection Program, originated under President Donald Trump and was facilitated via the Small Business Administration. The were $800 billion in PPP loans made, according to NBC News.

Watchdogs estimate billions in fraudulent PPP loans were forgiven.

“For for our government just to say, you know, ‘okay, well your debt is completely forgiven.’ Obviously they have an agenda for that they need votes in November,” Greene can be heard saying ion Newsmax in the video below. “So the timing is a pure coincidence there as well, but it’s completely unfair and taxpayers all over the country, taxpayers that never took out a student loan, taxpayers that pay their bills and and you know, maybe even never went to college or just hard-working people. They shouldn’t have to pay off the great big student loan debt for some college student that piled up massive debt going to some Ivy League school. That’s not fair.”

See the White House’s tweets and video of Congresswoman Greene’s remarks below or at this link.





Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Why He May Not Get Away This Time

Most Americans have long believed former President Donald Trump perpetrated multiple felony offenses both before and after entering the White House, according to opinion surveys — and yet those same citizens have also assumed that Trump would never be held accountable. But just at the moment that his escape from the law no longer seems quite so certain, the Republicans have almost all fallen into line behind him like lemmings.

There can be little doubt that the former president is in deep legal trouble. To evade the law, he is employing his usual tactics, from slick spin to torrential lying to feigned outrage to threats of mob violence, but mostly delay.

Let us leave aside for a moment the various crimes that Trump clearly appears to have committed in his attempts to overthrow the U.S. government and Constitution leading to the insurrection of January 6, as well as his schemes to defraud tax authorities. Currently under investigation by grand juries in New York, Washington and Georgia, and being prepared for referral by the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection to the Justice Department, these crimes will be addressed in due course.


What we have before us now are a whole new set of specific potential crimes enumerated in the federal warrant that enabled FBI agents to search Trump's offices and home at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Revealed on August 12 pursuant to an unusual request "in the public interest" from Attorney General Merrick Garland, the warrant and accompanying receipt for items seized during the search confirm that Justice Department prosecutors had "probable cause" to believe that Trump violated three federal statutes.

By taking hundreds of pages of top secret, secret, and classified documents to his private home, they believe he violated the Espionage Act, 18 U.S. Code 793, which prohibits the removal of national defense materials from government facilities without authorization; they also believe he obstructed repeated attempts over the past 18 months to retrieve those documents, in violation of 18 U.S. Code 1519, and concealed, altered, or defaced them in violation of 18 U.S. Code 2701.

All are serious crimes subject to punishment by long prison terms and heavy fines.

The list of items removed from the Mar-a-Lago premises last Monday includes 11 boxes of classified documents. At least three boxes held "miscellaneous documents" at the very highest level of secrecy that requires them to be examined only in a "secure compartmented information facility" or SCIF — a heavily fortified space that doesn't exist at the porous country club and Trump abode at Mar-a-Lago. Among those are thought to be nuclear secrets that the Washington Post reported have caused grave concern to Justice Department officials.

Ever since the search and seizure occurred, Trump and his apologists have aimed to provoke rage against federal law enforcement by concocting lies about what was happening and why. The Republican yes-men offer a rotating set of excuses and distractions to cover up Trump's transgressions.

Following Trump's brazen lie, his echo chamber in right-wing media blasts that FBI agents "planted" the many boxes of documents on Trump's property, an outlandish accusation to match their absurd claims of "voter fraud." Trump and his gang. have also ludicrously pointed to former President Barack Obama, claiming that he took millions of documents with him, including "lots" of nuclear data, all debunked by the National Archives and Records Administration, which oversees the Obama White House records.

They have claimed — and this one is calculated obviously as a possible criminal defense — that Trump had the authority to declassify all the documents he stole. But that argument suffers from at least two major flaws. Trump didn't possess the lawful power unilaterally to declassify top secret materials, which must undergo a process that never occurred here; and Trump's absconding with these documents and failure to return them finally on the demand of a grand jury subpoena in June violated the law whether they were classified or not.

In short, the rhetorical confetti spewing from the Trump clown cars just gets swept away when the elephants leave the ring. It's just another act to distract his endlessly gulled marks, who are dunned every day to hand over their money to defend him.

Since his first trip to Moscow in 1986, we have known that Trump, despite his "America First" blather and his flag-kissing antics, always has had self-aggrandizing motives at the heart of everything he has done. For the moment, we can see only the bare outline of these grave misdeeds. How far he went — whether he tried to monetize national security information or destroyed incriminating documents — we may only find out when he is prosecuted.

What we have learned from Merrick Garland is that he means business when he talks about the rule of law. Trump is only at the beginning of a long process of unraveling his nefarious plots.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Former Trump Counsel Cipollone Will Meet With House Select Committee

Fresh off a subpoena requesting his cooperation, former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone is slated to testify before the House Select Committee for a private, transcribed, and videotaped interview.

A committee aide did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The New York Times was the first to report the development Wednesday, citing a person briefed on the matter.

Cipollone’s full compliance could be illuminating for the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. According to sworn testimony already delivered by former members of the Department of Justice under Trump, as well as Trump White House officials, Cipollone was often a firsthand witness to make-or-break moments in Trump’s attempted coup.

Cipollone was privy to multiple conversations about the bunk elector scheme championed by Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, witnesses have said, and Cipollone was also present when Trump raised the question of seizing voting machines.

The former president’s counsel attended a meeting recently detailed at length—and under oath—by the nation’s former acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, and Rosen’s deputy, Richard Donoghue.

Rosen and Donoghue testified that it was Cipollone who stood tall against Trump in the Oval Office during a meeting where Trump nearly fired Rosen and replaced him with yes-man Jeffrey Clark, a mid-level environmental lawyer at the Department of Justice who strongly supported Trump’s baseless election fraud claims.

Like Cipollone, Clark was subpoenaed by the committee. But Clark refused to answer any questions and instead pleaded the Fifth Amendment repeatedly during a private meeting with committee counsel.

When Rosen and Donoghue testified, they described how the draft letter written by Clark rattled off a long series of bogus claims about election fraud in Georgia and urged that “alternate” electors be seated.

Rosen’s predecessor, Attorney General Bill Barr, had already declared publicly and in private meetings with Trump, that there was no evidence of fraud widespread enough that it would alter the outcome of the election. But Clark, Rosen and Donoghue said, pushed ahead anyway.

When Cipollone saw the draft letter, Donoghue told the committee he remembered the counsel’s reaction vividly.

If the DOJ cosigned it, Cipollone allegedly said, it would be a “murder-suicide pact.”

The draft letter never went out because Donoghue, Rosen, and others at the Department of Justice threatened to resign en masse if Trump insisted on replacing Rosen with Clark.

According to sworn testimony already provided by former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, Cipollone was also part of key conversations with Mark Meadows, then Trump’s chief of staff.

Hutchinson said Cipollone pleaded with Meadows to act as the mob grew larger, gallows were erected on the Capitol lawn and chants of ‘Hang Mike Pence’ reverberated on Capitol grounds.

Hutchinson recalled Cipollone telling Meadows how desperate the situation had become on Jan. 6 and urged Meadows to understand that the mob was quite literally calling to kill then-Vice President Mike Pence.

“You heard him, Pat,” Hutchinson recalled Meadows saying. “He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”

According to Hutchinson's recounting of the day, Cipollone was flabbergasted.

“This is f-ing crazy. We need to be doing something more,” Cipollone allegedly said.

Cipollone has been a stalwart ally to Trump, representing the 45th president for both of his impeachments and in various other legal matters. When Trump was impeached for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power in 2019, Cipollone offered a vehement and sharp defense of Trump, taking up the “witch hunt” mantle at length and slamming the inquiry as meritless and part of a campaign by Democrats and those on the left to punish Trump for political differences.

When Trump was impeached the first time, Cipollone notably called for cameras to be barred from proceedings, arguing it would create a circus-like atmosphere. The cameras would stay.

Trump was ultimately quite pleased with Cipollone’s performance during the first impeachment, calling him a “Great White House counsel.”

This latest decision to comply with the January 6 committee’s subpoena will put Trump’s relationship with Cipollone to the test and the extent of Cipollone’s cooperation will naturally hinge on what he actually discloses.

When Trump attorney John Eastman tried to fend off the committee’s subpoena for his records, Eastman cited attorney-client privilege but was unable to overcome the crime-fraud exception to this assertion. The crime-fraud exception essentially says that confidentiality is not blanketed and if a client sought advice from an attorney that would help that client pull off or commission a crime, then work product or correspondence can be disclosed.

A Washington Post profile of Cipollone from January 2020 notes the counsel’s propensity to keep himself out of the national spotlight.

His profile was so low in Washington, D.C., in fact, that when Cipollone first took to the Senate floor during Trump’s impeachment, it was his first time ever appearing on C-SPAN.

Memorably, even while presiding over the inquiry, Chief Justice John Roberts introduced Cipollone and mispronounced his last name.

Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal attorneys, told Yahoo! News in January 2020 that Cipollone was a “serious tactician” and described him as an “aggressive advocate” for the 45th president, though “measured.”

In that same 2020 article, an unnamed Trump White House official said Trump saw Cipollone as “beyond loyal.”

Cipollone will appear before the committee for his private session this Friday.

The committee’s next public hearing is July 12 at 10 AM ET and there will be at least one more hearing to follow. The committee is expected to focus on the extremist elements involved in the insurrection as well as unpack exactly what was going on during the 187 minutes of silence from the White House as the Capitol was under attack.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Trump’s New Attorney Demanded ‘Capital Punishment’ For Biden Officials

Peter Ticktin, an attorney for former President Donald Trump, has repeatedly gone on online shows hosted by supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory. During some of these appearances, hosts have asked Ticktin to connect them with Trump, and in one instance, Ticktin and the host suggested members of the Biden administration should be put to death.

In March, Politico reported that Trump filed a lawsuit against some of his perceived political enemies, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey, and the Democratic National Committee, accusing them of a “racketeering conspiracy for allegedly joining in ‘an unthinkable plot’ to falsely accuse Trump of colluding with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.” Ticktin, who is a longtime friend of Trump’s, is serving as one of the lead counsels for Trump on the case.

Later that month, Ticktin spoke at Mar-A-Lago for an event for QAnon-supporting Florida congressional candidate Darlene Swaffar, during which QAnon influencers Ann Vandersteel and Jeffrey Pedersen — who is known online as “intheMatrixxx” — also spoke. Pedersen was photographed with Ticktin at the event.

In June, Ticktin appeared on RedPill78, which is hosted by QAnon supporter Zak Paine, who participated in the January 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol. During the interview, Ticktin told Paine that “the real insurrection occurred on November 3 and 4,” referring to false voter fraud claims, and that “if we had a stolen election, that means the people that are in the White House are criminals -- not only criminals but criminals guilty of capital punishment crimes.” Paine agreed, later saying, “You’re absolutely right when you said that these are capital crimes. We’re talking about treason.”

When Paine asked Ticktin “what are we doing” in terms of “exposing this fraud,” Ticktin said, “I've got one thing I’m working on now that you're going to hear about in about a month.” And at the end of the interview, after they discussed Trump’s lawsuit, Paine asked Ticktin to “tell Donald Trump I said hello” and to “help me get an invite to Mar-A-Lago,” adding after the interview, “Hopefully one of these days, I am going to be able to get down to Mar-A-Lago and if I could interview President Trump, you all know it would be a dream come true.”

A couple of months earlier, on April 11, Ticktin appeared on Vandersteel's online show, Steel Truth. During the interview, the two discussed Trump’s lawsuit and Ticktin’s book about Trump (Vandersteel suggested Ticktin signed a copy for her), and she told Ticktin, “It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance the other evening at another event in Mar-A-Lago.”

The following day, Ticktin appeared on the QAnon-supporting MatrixxxGrooove Show (or MG Show), co-hosted by Pedersen. During the interview, Ticktin promoted Trump’s lawsuit and pushed false voter fraud claims alongside the hosts, suggesting the 2020 presidential election was “the real insurrection.” While promoting Ticktin’s book, Pedersen also noted that he had a signed copy, and he asked Ticktin to tell Trump that “we’d love to have him on the show.” (Pedersen had also claimed to be at Ticktin’s office the day before, weeks after claiming that he “might be meeting with” Ticktin “for some other things too.”)

Days later, Pedersen claimed on his show that he had met Trump at Mar-A-Lago that past weekend, saying that “Peter Ticktin also let him [Trump] know that we were there” and that Trump “knew we were there. He knew who we were.”

Ticktin’s association with the far-right internet extends beyond QAnon as well: In April, Ticktin apparently teamed up with far-right blog The Gateway Pundit to “crowdsource videos” from the January 6 insurrection, “requesting footage of ‘Trump protestors being peaceful’ and of ‘police or anyone else waving/encouraging people to go into the Capitol building,’” as reported by Mediaite.

This is not the first time a person in Trump's orbit has associated with QAnon-connected figures. Trump himself amplified and praised the QAnon community when he was president. And Pedersen and his co-host Shannon Townsend obtained press credentials for a Trump rally last July, after which “Trump associates … told POLITICO that they had attempted to weed out any QAnon influences — both adherents and postings — getting close to him.” But Trump has continued to amplify QAnon-promoting accounts since he began actively using his social media platform Truth Social.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.