Posts tagged with "CNN"

January 6 Committee returns with another public hearing on Wednesday, September 28

September 27, 2022

“If he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican.” That’s how Wyoming GOP Representative Liz Cheney framed the danger of another Donald Trump presidency—vowing on Saturday, “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he is not the nominee,” should he run again,” reports CNN.

Her pointed comments come ahead of what’s likely to be the final public hearing from the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, before it releases its final report.

The 1 p.m. (EDT) start time on Wednesday is perhaps more calculated than meets the eye. Discussing the timing on CNN Sunday, Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren noted, “In the past, Fox News does play our hearings if the hearing is in the daytime.”

“So that’s a factor in reaching an audience that is not watching CNN,” the California Democrat added.

As Cheney’s fate last month showed, the committee is up against the clock. Neither she nor Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger—the only two Republicans on the panel—will be returning to Congress next year, when a possible House GOP majority could look much different

What will the committee present this week? Panel members are keeping this close to the chest.

“I think it’ll be potentially more sweeping than some of the other hearings, but it too will be in a very thematic—it will tell the story about a key element of Donald Trump’s plot to overturn the election,” Democratic Representative Adam Schiff of California told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday.

The chairman of the committee, Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said last week, “We have substantial footage of what occurred that we haven’t used.”

Thompson also said there was “significant witness testimony that we haven’t used in other hearings,” calling it “an opportunity” to get it in front of the American people.

And, while Cheney said on Saturday she believes former Vice President Mike Pence has an “obligation” to speak with the committee, Lofgren was pessimistic on Sunday that the committee would hear from either the former President or former vice president.

“The vice president had said publicly that he thought he might want to come in, and so we were very encouraged by that. But since that time, his people have walked it back,” Lofgren said on CNN.

“And to be honest, given that select committees of this Congress—not just this select committee but all the select committees—exist only for the life of the Congress, if we were trying to get into a subpoena fight with either the former vice president or the former president, that litigation could not be concluded during the life of this Congress.”

One person who may be showing up for an interview in the coming weeks, though? Ginni Thomas. The House committee has come to an agreement with the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, CNN first reported last week.

Research contact: @CNN

Something you shouldn’t miss in the New York lawsuit against Donald Trump

September 26, 2022

Amid the 200-plus page lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Donald Trump on Wednesday, September 21, one allegation comes bursting through: The former president is simply not as rich as he has long said he is, reports Chris Cillizza for CNN.

Consider the following

  • Trump estimated that his triplex unit in Trump Tower was more than 30,000 square feet and was worth $327 million at one point. The apartment, according to James’ suit, was 11,000 square feet. And she noted that no apartment in the history of New York real estate has ever sold for that sort of sum.
  • Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was valued as high as $739 million, but should have been, according to James, assessed more in the $75 million range.
  • Trump’s property on Park Avenue was assessed in 2010 as worth $72.5 million, but Trump’s company claimed in financial statements that it was worth $292 million, the lawsuit stated.

It goes on like that, says Cillizza, but you get the idea: Time and again, according to James’ lawsuit, Trump vastly exaggerated the value of his properties in order to gain favorable loan terms on other properties – many of which he then made a profit on.

This would fit into a pattern in Trump’s life. “I mean, part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich,” Trump told ABC way back in 2012. “So, if I need $600 million, I can put $600 million myself. That’s a huge advantage. I must tell you, that’s a huge advantage over the other candidates.”

Just before he started running for president, Trump released a “Statement of Financial Condition” from 2014 that said he was worth $5.8 billion. But when he announced his candidacy in 2015, he said that same statement put his net worth at $8.7 billion. “I’m really rich,” Trump said in his announcement speech. “I’m not doing that to brag. I’m doing that to show that’s the kind of thinking our country needs.”

A month after he entered the race, his campaign revised that estimate upward again. “Real estate values in New York City, San Francisco, Miami, and many other places where he owns property have gone up considerably during this period of time,” read a statement from his campaign. “His debt is a very small percentage of value, and at very low interest rates. As of this date, Mr. Trump’s net worth is in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS.”

It’s decidedly difficult to know exactly what Trump is worth because he has never released his tax returns or other detailed financial information that would allow us to make that determination.

Forbes, which closely tracks the wealth of the country’s richest people, said earlier this year that Trump is worth $3 billion—up from $2.4 billion during his final year as president.

As Forbes wrote in April:

“Donald Trump, master of reinvention, has a new title: tech entrepreneur. It’s a stretch for [Trump], who doesn’t even use email, preferring instead to scrawl notes in marker. But he doesn’t mind jumping into ventures in which he has little previous experience – and this gig should prove far more lucrative than the presidency. In fact, it has already boosted his net worth by $430 million.”

The reality is—and has always been—that Trump is very rich. But not nearly as rich as he has claimed to be. It is the prime example of the “truthful hyperbole” that Trump laid out way back in the late 80s in his book “The Art of the Deal.”

“People want to believe that something is the biggest, and the greatest, and the most spectacular,” he wrote. “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration, and a very effective form of promotion.”

Research contact: @CNN

CNN exclusive: Mark Meadows has complied with DOJ subpoena in January 6 probe

September 16, 2022

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has complied with a subpoena from the Justice Department’s investigation into events surrounding the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, sources familiar with the matter have told CNN—making him the highest-ranking Trump official known to have responded to a subpoena in the federal investigation.

Meadows turned over the same materials he provided to the House select committee investigating the US Capitol attack, one source said, meeting the obligations of the Justice Department subpoena, which has not been previously reported.

Last year, Meadows turned over thousands of text messages and emails to the House committee, before he stopped cooperating. The texts he handed over between Election Day 2020 and Joe Biden’s inauguration, which CNN previously obtained, provided a window into his dealings at the White House, though he withheld hundreds of messages, citing executive privilege.

In addition to Trump’s former chief of staff, one of Meadows’ top deputies in the White House, Ben Williamson, also recently received a grand jury subpoena, another source familiar with the matter has informed CNN.

That subpoena was similar to what others in Trump’s orbit received. It asked for testimony and records relating to January 6 and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Williamson previously cooperated with the January 6 committee. He declined to comment to CNN.

Meadows’ compliance with the subpoena comes as the Justice Department has ramped up its investigation related to January 6, which now touches nearly every aspect of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss—including the fraudulent electors plot, efforts to push baseless election fraud claims and how money flowed to support these various efforts, CNN reported this week.

An attorney for Meadows declined comment. The Justice Department did not respond to CNN requests for comment.

As White House chief of staff, Meadows was in the middle of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election in the two months between Election Day and Biden’s inauguration. Meadows communicated with numerous officials who tried to find election fraud and pushed various schemes to try to overturn the election, according to text messages obtained by CNN that Meadows turned over to the House select committee.

Meadows also shared baseless conspiracy theories with Justice Department leaders, as Trump tried to enlist DOJ’s help in his push to claim the election was stolen from him.

After Meadows stopped cooperating with the House committee, Congress referred him to the Justice Department for contempt of Congress. DOJ declined to prosecute him for contempt earlier this year.

It’s not yet clear whether the Justice Department will seek more materials from Meadows as part of the ongoing criminal investigation, which could lead to a legal fight over executive privilege.

Following last month’s FBI search of Trump’s Florida residence and resort, the Ma-a-Lago Club, Meadows handed over texts and emails to the National Archivesv that he had not previously turned over from his time in the administration, CNN previously reported. Last year, Meadows spoke with Trump about the documents he brought to Mar-a-Lago that the National Archives wanted returned.

Trump has been counseled to cut contact with Meadows—and some of Trump’s attorneys believe Meadows could also be in investigators’ crosshairs and are concerned he could become a fact witness if he’s pushed to cooperate, CNN reported last month. Still, Trump and Meadows have spoken a number of times, according to a source familiar with their relationship.

Another source described their relationship as “not the same as it once was” while in the White House, but said they still have maintained a relationship, even as Trump has complained about Meadows to others.

Research contact: @CNN

Sarah Palin loses special election for Alaska seat in U.S. House

September 2, 2022

On Tuesday, August 30, Democrat Mary Peltola won the special election to fill Alaska’s only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for the remainder of 2022, according to unofficial results released by the Alaska Division of Elections—halting former Governor Sarah Palin’s bid at a political comeback, reports CNN.

Palin, the Republican Party’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, will get another shot at the House race in a few months, as she and Peltola are among those vying to fill the full term in a separate election in November.

Peltola emerged as the victor on Wednesday when Alaska’s Division of Elections tabulated ranked-choice ballots in the state’s first use of the system.

  With her victory, the former state lawmaker will flip the seat held for nearly half a century by the late GOP Representative Don Young, and is set to become the first Alaskan Native in Congress.

 The race for Young’s seat had been viewed nationally through the lens of the attempted political comeback of Palin, who, after the 2008 presidential election, resigned midway through her lone term in the governor’s office in 2009.

 Palin, who has not run for office since leaving the governor’s office, had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. He called into tele-rallies for her campaign and appeared at an event in Alaska in July to back Palin and other Republican candidates he has endorsed in this year’s races.

Palin criticized ranked-choice voting in a statement after the results were released on Wednesday, calling it a “new crazy, convoluted, confusing” system.

 “Though we’re disappointed in this outcome, Alaskans know I’m the last one who’ll ever retreat. Instead, I’m going to reload. With optimism that Alaskans learn from this voting system mistake and correct it in the next election, let’s work even harder to send an America First conservative to Washington in November,” Palin said.

 Candidates will get another shot at the House seat in November. Peltola, Palin and Nick Begich—who was eliminated earlier—were the top three finishers in the primary for the regular election for the next full term.

 Research contact: @CNN

Twitter’s former security chief accuses it of ‘egregious deficiencies’

August 24, 2022

Twitter’s former head of security has accused the company of “extreme, egregious deficiencies” in its spam- and hacker-fighting practices, according to a whistle-blower complaint, reports The New York Times.

The complaints by Peiter Zatko, the former executive, said that the shortcomings in enforcing security, privacy, and content moderation policies dated to 2011.

Zatko, a well-known hacker who is known in the security community as Mudge, joined Twitter in late 2020 and was terminated by the company in January of this year.

His complaints were sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Justice Department, and Federal Trade Commission on July 6. The Washington Post and CNN first reported on the complaints.

Zatko accuses Twitter, its CEO Parag Agrawal, and other executives and directors of “extensive legal violations,” including making misleading statements to users, misrepresentations to investors and acting with “negligence and even complicity” toward efforts by foreign governments to infiltrate the platform, according to the complaint filed with the SEC, which was obtained by The New York Times.

The allegations come at a perilous time for Twitter, which is locked in a legal battle with Elon Musk over his efforts to walk away from a $44 billion agreement to acquire the social media company. Twitter has sued Musk to force him to close the deal, and the two sides are set to go to trial at the Delaware Chancery Court in October.

The complaints put forward by Zatko and Musk are in some ways similar—focusing on the number of fake users on Twitter’s website. Musk claims that Twitter’s public disclosures about those figures are materially misleading.

Perhaps most damaging, if true, is Zatko’s allegation that Twitter is in violation of its 2011 settlement with the FTC over its safeguarding of user information. The agency had accused Twitter of “serious lapses” in data security that “allowed hackers to obtain unauthorized administrative control of Twitter” including the ability to send out phony tweets.

A spokesperson for Twitter said Zatko was fired for ineffective leadership and poor performance. “What we’ve seen so far is a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lacks important context,” she said.

“Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing,” she said, “appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter, its customers, and its shareholders. Security and privacy have long been companywide priorities at Twitter and will continue to be.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Pelosi visit to Taiwan is expected by both Taiwanese and U.S. officials

August 2, 2022

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan  as part of her tour of Asia, according to a senior Taiwanese government official and a U.S. official—despite warnings from Biden Administration officials, who are worried about China’s response to such a high-profile visit, reports CNN.

China considers  Taiwan  to be a breakaway province destined for reunification, and strongly objects to all acts that appear to support  Taiwan  as an independent sovereign state, according to the BBC. Already, the People’s Republic has threatened to shoot down Pelosi’s plane, should it navigate into the Taiwan area.

The stop in Taiwan—the first for a U.S. House speaker in 25 years—is not currently on Pelosi’s public itinerary and comes at a time when U.S.-China relations are already at a low point.

The Taiwanese official added that she is expected to stay in Taiwan overnight. It is unclear when exactly Pelosi will land in Taipei.

The U.S. official added that U.S. Defense Department officials are working around the clock on monitoring any Chinese movements in the region and securing a plan to keep her safe.

During a regular foreign ministry briefing Monday, China warned against the “egregious political impact” of Pelosi’s planned visit to the self-governing island that China claims as a part of its territory and reiterated that its military “won’t sit by idly” if Beijing feels its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is being threatened.

“We would like to tell the U.S. once again that China is standing by, and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never sit idly by. China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters, adding, “As for what measures, if she dares to go, then let’s wait and see,” Zhao added.

National Security Council coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said on Monday that the Biden Administration will support Pelosi on a trip to Taiwan.

“We want to make sure that when she travels overseas, she can do so safely and securely and we’re going to make sure of that.”

Asked if the United States was prepared for fallout with China over the visit, Kirby said, “… there is no change to our policy. No change to our focus on trying to keep a free and safe and open Indo-Pacific.”

What’s more, he stated, “There is no reason for the Chinese rhetoric. There is no reason for any actions to be taken. It is not uncommon for congressional leaders to travel to Taiwan,” Kirby told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on “New Day.”

“We shouldn’t be as a country—we shouldn’t be intimidated by that rhetoric or those potential actions. This is an important trip for the speaker to be on and we’re going to do whatever we can to support her.”

The issue of Taiwan remains one of the most contentious. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping discussed it at length in a two-hour-and-17-minute phone call on Thursday, as tensions mounted between Washington and Beijing.

While Biden has said publicly the US military did not believe it was a good time Pelosi to visit Taiwan, he has stopped short of telling her directly not to go, according to two sources.

Research contact: @CNN

Toys ‘R’ Us is coming back—again!—at 400 Macy’s stores nationwide

July 20, 2022

Once left for dead, Toys“R”Us is making a major comeback. The toy store brand will be just about everywhere for the holidays, reports CNN.

Toys “R” Us will be in every U.S.-based Macy’s store within the next few months, part of an expanded partnership with the toy retailer’s parent company, WHP Global.

The toy stores will range in size from 1,000 square feet in smaller locations to up to 10,000 square feet in flagship Macy’s in Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. The Toys“R”Us footprints may expand during the peak holiday season.

The stores will roll out at Macy’s beginning in late July and going through October 15. Macy’s plans some customer-friendly perks, including demonstration tables for new toys and a life-size Geoffrey giraffe photo opp.

The once-storied toy store went bankrupt and closed all its stores in 2018. It has attempted several unsuccessful comebacks via various owners.

But Toys“R”Us got a new lease on life last year thanks to the Macy’s  partnership, when the two companies agreed to sell toys on Macy’s website and opened shops-within-shops at 400 department stores. Toys “R” Us products have been available on Macy’s website and ToysRUs.com since last August.

WHP Global bought the toy retailer from Tru Kids, which took over the failing brand in a liquidation sale. Tru Kids had opened stores in New Jersey and Texas, but it closed them in early 2021 because of the pandemic.

Both Macy’s and Toys“R”Us. But Macy’s had a turn of fortune in recent months—outperforming the competition. The company said in its first-quarter earnings report that its toy sales were 15 times higher than the comparable period prior to the partnership.

Research contact: @CNN

On Thursday, January 6 Committee to focus on Donald Trump’s actions during Capitol attack

July 19, 2022

The House select committee investigating the events of January. 6, 2021, will present a minute-by-minute look this Thursday at then-President  Donald Trump’s activities as the Capitol was attacked, reports The Wall Street Journal.

“He was doing nothing to actually stop the riot,” Representative Elaine Luria (D- Virginia) said Sunday on CNN.

“The [former] president didn’t do very much but gleefully watch television,” Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) said on CBS.

A spokesperson for Trump didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump has said he has done nothing wrong and has called the select committee a partisan effort.

Kinzinger on Sunday also expressed frustration at what he called “very conflicting statements” about the availability of evidence the committee has sought from the U.S. Secret Service, which includes text messages from January 6 and the preceding day.

Congressman Kinzinger said that the Inspector General—who acts as a watchdog over the Secret Service—reported that many texts from those two days were erased after he had requested them for his own investigation.

The Secret Service in a statement on Thursday, July 14, said data were lost from some phones during a technology change that had been previously planned, but that it didn’t lose any texts the inspector general had sought for his January review.

The House committee issued a subpoena to the agency on Friday, July 15—requesting information about the text messages by Tuesday. “They said we’ll meet this deadline, and we’ll see what we get here,” Kinzinger said.

“In the very least, it is quite crazy that the Secret Service would actually end up deleting anything related to one of the more infamous days in American history, particularly when it comes to the role of the Secret Service,” Kinzinger said.

The House select committee has been piecing together Trump’s actions back at the White House during the afternoon of January. 6—even as his supporters broke into the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election.

The committee’s focus for the Thursday hearing will be on a 187-minute period that culminated in a 4:17 p.m. video by Trump in which he asked rioters, whom he called “very special,” to leave the Capitol.

Representative Luria on Sunday said the hearing will include witnesses whom the public hasn’t heard from yet, but she didn’t give details. A committee spokesperson declined to comment.

Thursday’s prime-time hearing is the eighth and final one in a series planned by the House select committee. However, committee members said the investigation would continue and that more hearings could follow.

“New witnesses are coming forward. Additional information is coming forward,” Reprentative  Zoe Lofgren (D-California), another committee member, said Sunday on ABC. “There are things that we are looking at still.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Trump committed ‘serious’ crime, if found to have used IRS as weapon, says Lawrence Tribe

July 11, 2022

A top legal expert has suggested it is “no coincidence” that former  FBI  Director  James Comey  and former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe—both of whom were both fired by former President Donald Trump—were selected for a rare and intensive audit by the Internal Revenue Service, reports Newsweek.

Comey and McCabe both were subjected to random tax audits in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

However, as noted by The New York Times, the odds of being selected for the audit is around one in 30,600, raising questions on the likelihood that two high-ranking FBI officials who were previously fired by Trump, and that the former wanted to prosecute, both happened to be chosen.

Responding to the news, Laurence Tribe, professor emeritus of Constitutional Law at Harvard University, dismissed the idea that both men were randomly selected and implied that Trump may have been using the IRS as a weapon against his foes.

“This kind of political targeting is a serious federal crime. No coincidence, for sure. Odds are 30,000 to 1,” Tribe tweeted.

Joe Scarborough, the co-host of  Morning Joe on MSNBC, who previously worked as an attorney, also suggested: “Did Trump use IRS to target Comey and McCabe? Looks like it.”

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, who was appointed by Trump in 2018, declined to comment. The agency later said he had no role in selecting those subjected to the intensive audit.

 “As IRS commissioner, he has never been in contact with the White House — in either administration—on IRS enforcement or individual taxpayer matters,” the statement said. “He has been committed to running the IRS. in an impartial, unbiased manner from top to bottom.”

“It just defies logic to think that there wasn’t some other factor involved,” McCabe told CNN. “I think that’s a reasonable question. I think it should be investigated. People need to be able to trust the institutions of government and so that’s why there should be some… we should dig through this and find out what happened.”

In a statement, Comey added: “I don’t know whether anything improper happened, but after learning how unusual this audit was and how badly Trump wanted to hurt me during that time, it made sense to try to figure it out.

“Maybe it’s a coincidence or maybe somebody misused the IRS to get at a political enemy. Given the role Trump wants to continue to play in our country, we should know the answer to that question.”

When asked about the audits, Trump, via a spokesperson, told the Times: “I have no knowledge of this.” Trump has been contacted for further comment.

Research contact: @Newsweek

Daily Harvest lawsuits: Why the meal-kit service is being sued over gallbladder removal surgeries

July 5, 2022

Following a recall late last week, meal-kit service Daily Harvest—which produces and delivers “chef-crafted sustainably sourced fruits and veggies”—is now facing two lawsuits from consumers who claim they had their gallbladders removed after consuming its French Lentil and Leek Crumbles, reports International Business Times.

The recall notice said that the affected product could cause “gastrointestinal illness and potential liver function issues.”

Daily Harvest issued an updated statement on Monday, June 28, saying that after an investigation and toxicology testing, the results came back negative and it has no known cause for the linked illnesses.

But by Wednesday, a personal injury lawsuit was filed against the company by a Portland man who said he was healthy and without significant health problems before eating the recalled crumbles, CNN reported.

The man, Luke Wesley Pearson, claims in his suit that he became violently ill, required hospitalization, and had his gallbladder removed after consuming the Daily Harvest Lentil Crumbles, CNN said.

The lawsuit also contends that Daily Harvest doesn’t warn about the dangers of its products and “issued vaguely worded and insufficient warnings to its customers and influencers,” according to the news outlet.

In a second lawsuit, Carol Ann Ready claims she was hospitalized and had her gallbladder removed after eating the crumbles. In her complaint, Ready said she was sent to the emergency room twice after consuming the product two times. She was eventually diagnosed with liver and gallbladder dysfunction, CNN said. .

As of last week, Daily Harvest had received 470 reports of illnesses or adverse reactions related to the Lentil Crumbles.

In response to the outbreak, Daily Harvest founder and CEO Rachel Drori said in a statement, “I’m reaching out today to update you on everything that we are doing to get to the root cause of the issues that have been reported with our French Lentil + Leek Crumbles. We are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week on this. You deserve answers.

“I recognize this is so frustrating. I am incredibly frustrated,” she added.

Research contact: @IBTimes