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‘Ugly Scene’ As Proud Boys Target Nevada GOP For Takeover

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

There is a civil war brewing within the Republican Party in Nevada. According to the Las Vegas Sun, tensions began to rise when members of the Clark County Republican Party (CCRP) expressed concern about the state party's director Michael McDonald who is accused of recruiting members of the far-right group The Proud Boys to run for public office.

The move was reportedly an effort to increase the extremist presence in the state's political party. On July 20, CCRP members held a meeting to select officers. However, that meeting was interrupted when individuals affiliated with The Proud Boyscrashed it. The publication offered a clear depiction of how the scene erupted.

"It was an ugly scene with echoes of the January 6 riot, except instead of Big Lie insurrectionists trying to take over the Capitol, they were trying to bully their way into a takeover of the county party's moderate leadership," the publication noted.

It added, "Egged on by the Proud Boy members, the crowd broke into angry chants of 'Stop the steal' and 'Let us in.' Security officers had to face down crowd members rushing the meeting room entrance before a small army of Metro officers arrived to quell the situation and break up the crowd."

The latest news follows the CCRP's previous cancellation of a meeting due to fears of a Proud Boys insurgency. Back in May, The Daily Beast reported about the far-right extremist group's targeting of the CCRP. At the time, Stephen Sliberkraus, the CCRP vice chair, spoke during a press conference where he highlighted concerns about neo-Nazi content from the far-right group.

"Members of this group have launched online attacks against some of our female elected officials including a district court judge, a school board trustee, a state senator, and our secretary of state," Sliberkraus said. "The Proud Boys call themselves 'proud chauvinists' and by their actions, demonstrate an intent to target women and minorities in positions of authority."

The Trump Phone Call That May Have Sparked Insurrection

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former President Donald Trump was relentless in his efforts to overturn the presidential election. Although he has adamantly insisted that his actions were not an attempt at a coup, there is reportedly evidence indicating that it was. According to The Daily Beast, details have been revealed about Trump's phone call that may have led to the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol.

The Department of Justice has provided Congress with documentation of the call Trump placed to outline his grievances of presumed voter fraud. At the time, the call had been taken by Acting. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.

Per the publication:

"According to documents that the Justice Department has now turned over to Congress, and that were made public for the first time on Friday, Trump called to discuss his phony voter fraud claims, as if the very political William Barr hadn't conceded, on his way out the door, that despite looking, he'd found none."

With no real evidence of voter fraud, Beast columnist Margaret Carlson notes how Trump turned to what she describes as his "people tell me" tactic.

At the time, Trump reportedly claimed:

"Thousands of people' called, complaining to him about the election, the inaction of DOJ, and how none of them 'trust the FBI." Other "people" say how great Jeff Clark is, as in the acting chief of the civil division who supported all things Trump. People wanted Trump to "replace DOJ leadership" with him.

The publically released details about the phone call "are a roadmap to Trump's twisted thinking," the writer explains. Trump claimed he could get a number of so-called "allies" on board to back his claims of voter fraud if he could just get the Department of Justice to sign off in support of his mission. Disturbingly, the majority of House Republican lawmakers had no problem blindly following the embattled former president which only caused more chaos.

Despite his denial of an attempted coup, the details of the call indicate that Trump's actions were not just an example of an impulsive decision, but could rather be described as a twisted concoction of thinking he dwelled on before attempting to execute.

Poll: Nearly Half Of Republicans Justify Political Violence By ‘Patriotic Americans’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Nearly half of Republican voters believe there will come a time when the so-called "American patriots" will "have take the law into their own hands," the findings of a new survey reveal.

The new survey, conducted by GW Politics Poll, analyzed the belief systems of Democrats and Republicans. Based on the survey's findings, there are stark differences between Democratic and Republican voters' perspectives of the law and their trust and confidence in the government.

Republican voters in states former President Donald Trump won during the 2020 election have a higher level of trust in their state and local officials than Republicans residing in blue states won by President Joe Biden. While the same trend is evident where Democratic voters are concerned, the survey indicates it is far "less profound."

Danny Hayes, a George Washington University political science professor and co-director of the GW Politics Poll weighed in with more details about the survey findings.

"Most of the state and local officials who run our elections are long-time public servants whose goal is simply to help our democracy operate smoothly," Hayes said. "But if we've gotten to a place where voters trust the electoral system only when their side wins, then that undermines the idea of non-partisan election administration, which is essential for democracy."

The survey highlighted the following:

"Support for fundamental principles such as free and fair elections, free speech, and peaceful protest are nearly unanimous among both Democrats and Republicans. Their views on other democratic values, however, differ dramatically. Over half of Republicans (55 percent) supported the possible use of force to preserve the "traditional American way of life," compared to 15 percent of Democrats. When asked if a time will come when "patriotic Americans have to take the law into their own hands," 47 percent of Republicans agreed, as opposed to just 9 percent of Democrats."

The reference to patriotic Americans could raise concerns given what transpired at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the deadly event serves as a reminder of what could happen when Americans "take the law into their own hands."

Air Force Ousts White Nationalist Enlistee After Bombshell Investigation

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A well-known white nationalist has been booted from the U.S. military shortly after an investigation uncovered his enrollment in the U.S. Air Force and graduation from basic training.

An investigation conducted by HuffPost revealed Shawn McCaffrey's status. On Thursday, July 22, Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek released a statement confirming McCaffrey had been kicked out.

"Information brought to the attention of his command after Mr. McCaffrey's enlistment led to an entry-level separation due to erroneous enlistment," Stefanek said without disclosing any specific details.

The publication reports that as of last month, McCaffrey was still in active-duty technical training and ranked as an Airman First Class. After learning of McCaffrey's continued enlistment, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif., chair of the military personnel subcommittee, sounded off as she demanded to know what type of recourse would be taken regarding McCaffrey.

In a statement addressing top-ranking officials of the Air Force, Speier wrote:

"I will be contacting Air Force leadership to find out why this individual ― who has his own author page on a website for far-right extremists, describes himself as an 'activist,' and co-hosted a weekly podcast in which he attacked Jews, women, LGBTQ+ people, the U.S. armed forces, and many others using unacceptable slurs ― remains on active duty and under review given the very public and abundant evidence of his extremist ties," Speier said in a statement at the time.

Speier's demand comes months after U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin released a memo detailing the Pentagon's planned efforts to confront extremism within the ranks of the armed forces. He made it clear no level of extremism will be tolerated.

"We will not tolerate actions that go against the fundamental principles of the oath we share, including actions associated with extremist or dissident ideologies," he wrote in a memo announcing the order.

Ted Cruz Sounds Off On Cleveland Team Mascot — And Suffers Extreme Blowback

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was one of many Republican lawmakers who expressed faux outrage over the Major League Baseball (MLB) announcement of Cleveland's new mascot. On Friday, July 23, Cruz took to Twitter with a quick post sharing his reaction to the Cleveland Indians being renamed the Cleveland Guardians.

The Texas lawmaker tweeted, "Why does MLB hate Indians?"

It certainly did not take long for Twitter users to step up to the plate. With their responses, they hit a home run with relentless insults leveled toward the Republican lawmaker. One Twitter user wrote, "Wait, I thought businesses were free to make their own decisions free of government meddling."

Another Twitter user challenged Cruz with a question about the blatant disregard for indigenous people. That person wrote, "Really Ted? Is disliking native Americans what this name change is about? You're incredibly disingenuous."

Cruz's latest remark comes just months after his previous, baseless remark arguing that the name change was a partisan effort that appeared to be in favor of one political party. Speaking to reporters back in April, Cruz said, "If they're gonna play partisan enforcer, they shouldn't expect to see special goodies from Washington when they are dishonestly acting to favor one party against the other."

Cruz Faces Wicked Backlash Over His Failed Pandemic ‘Guarantee’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is now haunted by a 2020 prediction he made about the future of the COVID-19 pandemic if President Joe Biden were to win the election. As Delta variant cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the country at alarming rates, Cruz is being reminded of how he envisioned the pandemic ending if Democrats managed to win in November 2020.

Speaking to The Hill last July 22, the Texas lawmaker claimed the pandemic would magically disappear if Democrats won the presidential election.

"If it ends up that Biden wins in November -- I hope he doesn't, I don't think he will -- but if he does, I guarantee you the week after the election, suddenly all those Democratic governors, all those Democratic mayors, will say, 'Everything's magically better. Go back to work. Go back to school. Suddenly all the problems are solved.' You won't to have to wait for Biden to be sworn in. All they'll need is Election Day and suddenly their willingness to just destroy people's lives and livelihoods, they will have accomplished their task. That's wrong. It's cynical. And we shouldn't be a part of it."

His claim was, essentially, that Democrats were fabricating their concern about the virus in order to hurt Trump's re-election chances. It was clearly false then, but it has definitively proved wrong in the meantime.

Cruz's epic blunder wasn't missed by news outlets or on social media. In fact, Twitter users wasted no time reminding him of his baseless comments as they tossed his words back at him.

Despite Cruz's prediction, the coronavirus is far from non-existent, and Democrats have been trying to fight the virus just as aggressively since the election as they were before.

Utah’s GOP Governor Blasts Right-Wing Anti-Vax Propaganda

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) blasted right-wing media outlets for "propaganda" he believes has influenced the widespread vaccine hesitancy contributing to the current uptick in COVID-19 cases.

On Thursday, July 15, Cox appeared for a news conference where he admitted to KUED News that he believes media outlets like Fox News and Newsmax, which have often questioned COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and safety, are not helping the situation. "I think it's harmful. It's certainly not helpful," Cox said.

For example, Newsmax primetime host Rob Schmitt recently argued that vaccines go "'against nature,' that some diseases are 'supposed to wipe out a certain number of people' and that 'vaccines kind of stand in the way of that,'" according to Newsweek.

However, Newsmax pushed back against that claim, telling The Washington Post that Schmitt's perspective was not shared by the network. Distancing from Schmitt's claim, the network also claimed it encourages the American public to get vaccinated.

"Medical professionals who have appeared on Newsmax have strongly encouraged Americans to get the vaccine," the spokesperson said. "From time to time, a guest or host may not be as supportive of these efforts. However, they do not reflect the position of Newsmax."

However, footage and reports suggest otherwise. A segment that recently aired on CNN featured "New Day" hosts John Berman and Brianna Keilar highlighting anti-vaccination footage and rhetoric. Media Matters also released a list of the most notable anti-vaccination quotes that aired on Fox News. The latest remarks from right-wing media have criticized the Biden administration's push for a door-to-door vaccine initiative to treat low-income Americans.

"If someone comes on my property, not always a good result," said Fox News' Jesse Watters, adding, "And I'm a lightweight. Think about the people in Texas."

Former White House Press Secretary and current Fox News host Kayleigh McEnany has also slammed the initiative describing it as "Orwellian." She said, "We cannot allow the government to seize on a COVID-19 outbreak to take our freedoms in this manner."

Cox also sounded off about news hosts and the irony of their remarks.

"We have these talking heads who have gotten the vaccine and are telling other people not to get it. That kind of stuff is dangerous, it's damaging, and it's killing people," Cox said.

The government is continuing its push to get as many Americans vaccinated as possible as case numbers begin to rise again.

Flood Of Scathing New Books  Angers Trump And Unnerves His Aides

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former President Donald Trump isn't very pleased about the onslaught of harsh new books and memoirs documenting his chaotic presidency, but there is just one problem with his disapproval.

According to Politico, Trump actually conducted interviews for each book being released. The publication noted that Trump agreed to conduct interviews thinking it would put a "positive spin" on the books being developed. In fact, Trump even sat down with the Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender and author Michael Wolff, two authors who have been at the center of scathing reports this week documenting excerpts from their books.

Per Politico:

"Eager to put his own positive spin on the books, Trump agreed to sit down with a parade of reporters at Mar-a-Lago. That included interviews with Bender, author Michael Wolff, ABC News' Jonathan Karl, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalists Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman, and Jeremy Peters, among others."

While the Trump administration worked tirelessly to keep a lid on some of the fires the former president had caused, all of that is about to change now because books are hitting shelves all across the United States.

However, Trump reportedly is not the only one concerned about the release of the books. His former officials and advisors are also unnerved by what could be divulged in the coming weeks. In particular, many Trump officials have expressed deep concern about the books that will be released by actual members of the Trump administration like Kellyanne Conway, former counselor to the president, and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

The publication reports: "Fear is mounting, too, about the tea-spilling to come. In particular, Trump officials are anxiously awaiting the books set to be published by actual colleagues, chief among them counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway and Jared Kushner, who plan to write their own accounts of the Trump presidency."

"I think it's fraught right now as to who is telling the truth," said a Trump adviser. "They're all trying to go back in time and curate their own images."

One former Trump administration official also admitted to being surprised that some of the more interesting details remain unreported until the books are released.

"I know that there are still a lot of major excerpts that will come out in the future," said a former senior administration official who participated in multiple book interviews. "The most interesting thing to me is how much the big scoops actually hold until publication."

‘If I Was Going To Do A Coup’: Trump’s Bizarre Response To Gen. Milley

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former President Donald Trump is not pleased with the reports about General Mark Milley's concern that he would attempt a coup after losing the presidential election to President Joe Biden. He lashed out at Milley in a bizarre new statement on Thursday, and it didn't take long for social media users to fire back at him.

In the statement, which included more than 400 words, the former president denied that he ever "threatened, or spoke about, to anyone, a coup of our Government," describing the allegation as "So ridiculous!"

"Sorry to inform you, but an Election is my form of 'coup,'" Trump said, "and if I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley."

Trump's statement came shortly after excerpts of a forthcoming book were made public. The book, written by Washington Post writers Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, detailed Milley's alleged concerns and remarks about Trump's relentless push to overturn the presidential election. Christopher Miller, acting Defense secretary in the final days of Trump's term, has already publicly revealed that he was trying to avoid a coup in that period.

Milley likened Trump's rhetoric and falsehoods about the election to "the gospel of the Führer" and compared the former president's unwavering efforts to overturn the election as "a Reichstag moment" — referring to Adolph Hilter's 1933 attack on Germany's parliament building to solidify Nazi supremacy, according to Leonnig and Rucker's detailed report.

Trump's attempts to weaponize the military were also high on Milley's list of concerns. But despite Milley having legitimate concerns based on Trump's rhetoric and actions, the former president fired back with an insulting dig at Milley.

Taking a verbal jab at Milley's career and accolades, Trump claimed he only appointed the four-star Army general as Joint Chiefs chair "because the world's most overrated general, James Mattis, could not stand him, had no respect for him, and would not recommend him."

"To me," Trump said, "the fact that Mattis didn't like him, just like Obama didn't like him and actually fired Milley, was a good thing, not a bad thing. I often act counter to people's advice who I don't respect."

Trump's lengthy statement has caught the attention of lots of social media users. Some have even taken to Twitter to criticize the former president as they shared endless reasons why Milley's concerns were justified.

Unhinged: Carlson Savages His First-Grade Teacher With Angry Lies

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Tucker Carlson's first-grade teacher is speaking out against the scathing remarks he made about his time in her class. Speaking to The Washington Post, 77-year-old Marianna Raymond pushed back against her former student's assessment of her.

In his 2018 memoir titled, Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution, Carlson recalled his time at the prestigious La Jolla Country Day School and how he grew to detest his first-grade teacher. According to The Washington Post, Carlson "caricatured her [Raymond] as 'a parody of earth-mother liberalism' who 'wore long Indian-print skirts. . . . She had little interest in conventional academic topics, like reading and penmanship.'"

The publication also highlighted the excerpt from his book where he "recalled her sobbing theatrically at her desk, saying, 'The world is so unfair! You don't know that yet. But you'll find out!'"

Carlson claimed educators should "stop blubbering and teach us to read. . . . Mrs. Raymond never did teach us; my father had to hire a tutor to get me through phonics."

However, in comments to the Post, Raymond argues otherwise. She insists Carlson's assessment is highly "embellished." Speaking briefly to the paper, Raymond said, "That is the most embellished, crazy thing I ever heard." The former teacher also admitted that she found Carlson's claim relatively shocking because he remembered him as being "very precious and very, very polite and sweet."

Raymond said she was completely unaware of her former student's claims until she was contacted for comment by the publication.

Per The Washington Post:

"Raymond said in an interview that she never sobbed at her desk, didn't wear an Indian skirt, and didn't advocate her political views. She said that not only did she teach Carlson reading at La Jolla Country Day School — with a student body that was "very affluent and White" — but that she also was then hired to tutor him at his home."

In wake of the latest developments, the Fox News network has also spoken out. As expected, the network is continuing to stand by Carlson.

In a brief statement to the Post, a representative defended the primetime host saying, "Tucker Carlson is an important voice in America which deeply resonates with millions of viewers via our powerful primetime lineup and two in-depth shows on FOX Nation – we fully support him."

Mel Gibson Torched On Twitter For Saluting Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Famed actor Mel Gibson found himself at the center of controversy after he appeared to salute former President Donald Trump when he spotted him at the Ultimate Fighting Championship bout last weekend.

On Saturday, July 10, Gibson attended Conor McGregor's fight with Dustin Poirier at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. When Trump entered the arena, Gibson made a military-style gesture toward the former president, reports HuffPost. Almost immediately after it was caught on camera, the footage was uploaded to TikTok and it quickly began circulating on social media platforms.

To Twitter users, Gibson's actions appeared clear. Then, Snopes.com confirmed the Oscar awarding-winning actor's identity citing a clip of him that was uploaded to Twitter by UFC Australia.

It didn't take long for Twitter users to sound off. One user wrote, "Of course Mel Gibson would stand and salute Donald Trump as he entered a UFC competition in Las Vegas. That's what one racist, misogynistic, homophobic, fascist does to another. Scum of the earth salutes scum of the earth."

Top Pennsylvania Democrat Says Trumpists Committed All Voter Fraud In State

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) is fed up with Republicans' circulation of false claims about voter fraud in his state. On Saturday, July 10, Fetterman appeared on MSNBC where he raised concerns about the dangerous spread of misinformation about the 2020 presidential election.

Speaking to MSNBC's Ali Velshi, Fetterman made it clear that the claims of voter fraud in his state were widely committed by voters registered to the Republican Party casting illegal ballots for former President Donald Trump.

During the interview, he said:

"The grand irony in all of this, of course, is that the voter fraud that we did have in Pennsylvania was all Republicans voting, having their dead relatives vote for Donald Trump.

"And the bottom line is simply this. And here's another fact is that Republicans that I talk to in Pennsylvaniadon't believe there was any election fraud. I mean, of course, there's a segment of people — if you're already following or listening to a dude that sells pillows on TV, you know, you're kind of beyond reaching. But Republicans don't want to run on this in '22. They may be forced to, but Senator Mastriano is just sending out love letters to the former president in the hopes of getting his endorsement to run. That would be a good thing for Democrats in Pennsylvania because he would get — we'd mop the floor with him."

Despite Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud in the battleground state, the state has only had approximately 10 cases of fraud. According to PoliticusUSA, all of Pennsylvania's cases of voter fraud center around Trump supporters. In fact, Fetterman previously broke down the math via Twitter as he argued that "7M Pennsylvania voters cast their ballots in 2020. The odds of *actual* voter fraud are worse than an actual lottery ticket."

Bannon’s 'Private Border Wall' Partner Indicted For Tax Fraud

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The Florida man who served as the co-founder of the "We Build The Wall" project has been indicted on another charge for tax fraud, according to a report from the Associated Press. The latest charges are in addition to his previous tax and fraud charges.

On Tuesday, July 6, Brian Kolfage of Miramar Beach, Florida, was indicted by a grand jury for filing a false tax return. This new charge expands on allegations first brought against Kolfage two months ago. In May, the prosecutors offered details about Kolfage's involvement in a previous scheme "to defraud the government in relation to his 2019 federal income tax returns." The leaders of the "We Build the Wall" project were first indicted for allegedly defrauding donors in August 2020.

Per the AP:

"Kolfage received hundreds of thousands of dollars from multiple organizations during 2019, including We Build the Wall Inc., which were deposited into his personal bank account, prosecutors said. Kolfage failed to report this income to the IRS, officials said. The new charge is related to Kolfage filing a false amended tax return in December 2020, investigators said."

Last year, Kolfage and Steve Bannon were indicted by a New York federal grand jury as prosecutors alleged they "worked to divert some of the $25 million raised for the wall project for their own personal use." Former President Donald Trump pardoned Bannon for the charges prior to leaving office.

Attorneys for Kolfage have not yet responded to the AP's requests for comment.

QAnon Cultists Disguise Themselves To Run For School Boards

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Since former President Donald Trump's election loss, QAnon believers have been working around the clock to incorporate new ways to get their message across.

According to NBC News, their latest plan involves infiltrating schools by way of the school boards. The publication recently highlighted details from Drake Wuertz's appearance at the Seminole County School Board. In a video posted to the school district's YouTube account, Wuertz expressed concern about the possibility of children being exposed to "systemic abuse."

"They're being carried away through our education system, through the woke ideology that's infiltrated professional sports, through the sexual grooming and pedophilia that's apparent in the entertainment industry," Wuertz said. "We need to run for precinct committees, we need to run for City Council, run for school board and primary the RINOs in this room," he said, using the RINO acronym which stands for Republicans in Name Only.

Still, Wuertz has made attempts to publicly distance himself from what he describes as "Q theories."

"I can tell you that I 100 percent don't subscribe to Q theories. Q theories hurt the mission of fighting sex trafficking and bring negative attention," Wuertz said.

The publication notes that many QAnon believers are taking the same course of action publicly. As they position themselves to run for public office, they are speaking less about the movement publicly. Mike Rothschild, author of The Storm Is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy, weighed in on how QAnon believers are flipping the perspective of their movement.

"If you identify as QAnon, people look at you like you're crazy. But if you passionately talk about how we need to be saving children and protecting them from trafficking, then you come off as a compassionate person who really cares about the welfare of children," Rothschild said. "You're no longer one of those crazy cult people who thinks Hillary Clinton is trafficking kids in a tunnel under Central Park."

Since Trump's election loss, Rothchild explained how QAnon believers are making impromptu changes.

He later added, "QAnon traditionally was top-down. It was, at its heart, Donald Trump tweeting, 'My fellow Americans, The Storm is upon us,' followed by hundreds of thousands of arrests. They know now that's not happening," Rothschild said. "The prophecy around which QAnon was built is now done, but this movement now is bigger and stronger and more vocal than ever. So rather than just abandon it, they are changing it. They're rewriting it on the fly. And now it's really coming from the bottom up."

What Major Media Misunderstood About Trump Firm’s Fraud Indictment

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Last Thursday, an unsealed indictment of the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg revealed a long series of serious charges, including substantial tax fraud. Shortly after, former President Donald Trump's son Eric Trump conducted multiple interviews where he weighed in on the charges his family's organization is facing.

At one point during his appearance on Fox News, Eric Trump waved off the incentives as "fringe benefits." However, a comprehensive piece published by Just Security pushes back against Eric's claims explaining why the investigation covers much more area than that.

The pieces offers several specifics that highlight why the case is not as frivolous as the former president's son tried to suggest. It argues: "This is no mere fringe benefits case" but rather a "straight-out fraud case, claiming that the defendants kept double books: phony ones to show the tax authorities, and accurate ones to be hidden from view."

Offering an analogy of the charges brought against the organization, author Daniel Shaviro laid out an example scenario of what has allegedly been done in comparison to the diluted version of the allegations Trump's lawyers are trying to perpetuate:

"Suppose that your employer pays you monthly, through automatically deposited paychecks that end up being included on your annual W-2. But suppose that each month you could stop by the front office, request an envelope full of cash in unmarked bills, and have your W-2 reduced accordingly. So your true income would be the same as if you hadn't stopped by, but you'd be reporting less salary. If your employer kept careful records of all the cash it gave you, and also still deducted it all, we would basically have this case. That is far different from simple failure to pay taxes on fringe benefits, which is how the indictment has been widely misunderstood, thanks in part to Trump's defense lawyers' laying the groundwork before the charges were made public on Thursday."

As for "fringe benefits," the publication notes that the problem centers on the fact that the items Weisselberg received that were funded by the company "had no relationship whatsoever to the sort of items that, under appropriate circumstances, might potentially constitute tax-free employee fringe benefits."

The piece explained:

But the following items that the company paid for, on Weisselberg's behalf, most emphatically do not fit the profile of potentially excludable fringe benefits:
• private school tuition expenses for Weisselberg's family members (First Count ¶9).[2]
• a Mercedes Benz automobile that was the personal car of Weisselberg's wife (First Count ¶10).
• unreported cash that Weisselberg could use to pay personal holiday gratuities (First Count ¶11).
To treat cash as a "fringe benefit" would imply that the term covers all employee compensation. Does this mean that, whenever one is paid with cash off the books and does not report it, the IRS is merely quibbling over fringe benefits? Of course not.
• personal expenses for Weisselberg's other homes and an apartment maintained by one of his children; these included such items as new beds, flat-screen televisions, the installation of carpeting, and furniture for his home in Florida (First Count, ¶12).
• rent-free lodging and other benefits to a family member of Weisselberg (First Count, ¶13).

The extent of the charges in the indictment was also highlighted. The main charges include "New York State fraud, conspiracy, and grand larceny statutes." Other points to highlight include double bookkeeping, deceptive bookkeeping, "and fraudulent mischaracterization of employee compensation" which make the organization's actions appear to deliberate actions "conceal the fraud."

Some legal experts and observers believe the current charges are only the "first wave" for what appears to be an ongoing investigation. It's unclear yet how expansive any future charges may be.

Trump Firm Indictments May Signal Further Charges Soon

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The Trump Organization is facing an onslaught of charges in connection with alleged tax fraud, and according to legal experts and observers, the indictments handed down this week may only be the beginning of what's to come for the real estate corporation, according to Talking Points Memo.

Speaking with the publication, Brian Galle, a former DOJ tax prosecutor offered his assessment of the indictment. While prosecutors have been relatively tight-lipped about the case, he noted that the indictment did offer a few "hints."

According to Galle, "the document contained allegations that other, unnamed executives participated in the same income concealment schemes of which Weisselberg is accused, and that at least two other employees received the same benefits: free leases on Mercedes-Benz cars and rent-free apartments."

"This looks like a pretty standard tax evasion case like you'd see in a lot of family-owned businesses," Galle said. "You'd see senior executives taking corporate money for heir own personal use and not reporting it as income."

With so much to unpack due to all of the details in this complex case, legal observers have taken the time to dissect all that has transpired over the last couple of days. Bennett Gershman, a current Pace University law professor and former prosecutor for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, offered his take on the preliminaries of the case and the indictments.

"This is a preliminary charging document, as I see it," Gershman said. "You've got an ironclad case against Weisselberg, an ironclad case against the Trump Org, and they want to make that very clear right out front."

Michael Shapiro, a prosecutor and New York City attorney held similar views as he shared his own assessment. While charges have been filed against Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization's chief financial officer (CFO), Shapiro noted that the ultimate goal remains the same: to bring down Trump and possibly members of his family.

"This is just a first step," said Shapiro. "The DA's office is not particularly interested in having their ultimate goal be Allen Weisselberg; their ultimate goal was to go after Trump and members of his family."

So what does the future hold for the Trump Organization, collectively? Shapiro noted that while the organization is at the center of the alleged tax fraud scheme, it may be virtually impossible to incarcerate everyone.

"The potential penalties to the Trump Org are relatively small — all that they could do to an organization is fine it, and make it pay restitution," Shapiro said. "And the potential fines and restitution, in this case, are at most hundreds of thousands or low millions of dollars, which even to the Trump Organization, is probably not a big hit."

Shapiro added, "You can't put an organization in jail."

So will Weisselberg flip on his longtime business acquaintance? Facing 15 counts in the alleged tax fraud scheme, some believe there is a strong possibility that he will, considering all that he has at stake. "If Weisselberg faces not only his own incarceration, but that of his children, if there's that possibility, it's hard to see see how he can be loyal to Trump and throw his children into the gutter," Gershman said. "But we'll have to wait and see."

Defying Court Order, Ex-Cop Busted In Capitol Riot Buys Dozens Of Guns

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

When Thomas Robertson was granted release by a federal judge in January, the decision was made under a number of very clear conditions. The judge made it clear that he "could not own any firearms, destructive devices or dangerous weapons while his case was pending."

If he owned any firearms, he was given two days to move them. However, Robertson has reportedly failed miserably in holding up his end of that agreement. According to The Washington Post, Robertson was prohibited from owning firearms but just days after his release, local authorities found approximately eight firearms at his home. He was given a reprieve for that occurrence but to no avail.

More recently, prosecutors noted that authorities found a number of disturbing items when Robertson's Ferrum, Viriginia, home was searched last month. According to court records, authorities discovered a "loaded M4 carbine and a partially assembled pipe bomb." Robertson, a former Rocky Mount, Virginia., police officer is "also accused of buying 34 firearms online and "transporting them in interstate commerce while under felony indictment."

In wake of the latest discoveries, prosecutors are now requesting that the judge revoke Robertson's release and issue a new warrant for his arrest as this is considered his second pretrial violation.

In a motion filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, June 30, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth Ann Aloi and Risa Berkower laid out their request.

"Because the defendant has shown utter disregard for the Court's orders prohibiting his possession of firearms and other weapons during the time he has been on pretrial release, and because he has further flouted his release conditions through repeated violations of the federal firearms laws, the defendant presents a danger to the community that no release conditions will adequately mitigate," they wrote.

Robertson entered a not guilty plea for all of the charges he is facing in connection with the Capitol riots. His charges include: "obstruction of an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building."