Posts tagged with "HuffPost"

Judge rules Trump can ignore Special Master’s order to prove claim FBI ‘planted’ docs

October 3, 2022

U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida Aileen Cannon—who was nominated to the court by former President Donald Trump in April 2020—ruled on Thursday, September 29, that Trump does not have to comply with an order by the Special Master to put up or shut up about his claims that the FBI “planted” information among documents that agents seized from Mar-a-Lago, reports HuffPost.

Special Master Raymond Dearie—a federal judge who was recommended by Trump’s own legal team—had given the former president’s lawyers until Friday to confirm or refute an inventory list of items taken by the FBI agents that was provided by the Justice Department.

Dearie’s order, in essence, demanded proof of Trump’s claims that some White House files agents confiscated at Mar-a-Lago had been “planted.” It was a claim pointedly not ever made by his attorneys.

“This submission shall be Plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory,” Dearie, a former federal prosecutor and a U.S. district judge in Brooklyn, New York, said when he issued the order.

Trump said that he and family members watched agents search sections of his Mar-a-Lago home and resort on surveillance cameras—raising the question of how the FBI could have secretly planted evidence at the same time.

Two lawyers for Trump were also at Mar-a-Lago during the search, and one signed off on a list of boxes and “miscellaneous top secret documents” that were removed.

In a letter written on Sunday, September 25, and made public late Wednesday, Trump’s team attempted to duck Dearie’s demand.

“Because the Special Master’s case management plan exceeds the grant of authority from the District Court on this issue, plaintiff must object,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.

Cannon agreed in her order Thursday, saying Trump’s attorneys would not be required to affirm the accuracy of the FBI’s inventory from Mar-a-Lago before getting a chance to review the records themselves.

“There shall be no separate requirement on Plaintiff at this stage, prior to the review of any of the seized materials. … The Court’s Appointment Order did not contemplate that obligation,” Cannon wrote.

Her order also extended the timeline to review the documents Trump took from the White House to stash at Mar-a-Lago from November 30 until December 16. The records, which belong to the public, are supposed to be held by the National Archives.

Dearie is supposed to be reviewing the several boxes of documents to determine if any may be protected by lawyer-client or executive privilege.

While Dearie appeared to be speeding up the process, Cannon is slowing it down— which will delay revealing any damning information until after the midterm elections.

In a blow to Trump, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled last week that the Justice Department can resume reviewing the seized classified records—blocking a portion of a stay issued earlier by Cannon. The appeals court also prohibited Dearie from vetting the documents marked classified.

After the ruling, Cannon—whose decision in Trump’s favor protecting the records seized at Mar-a-Lago has been criticized by several legal expert— amended her own order. It now states that material subject to a special master review no longer includes the “approximately one-hundred documents bearing classification markings.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

ADL: Hundreds of police and military officers, and public officials are members of the Oath Keepers

September 8, 2022

The names of hundreds of U.S. law enforcement officers, elected officials, and military members appear on the leaked membership rolls of a far-right extremist group that’s accused of playing a key role in the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to a report released on Wednesday, September 7, reports HuffPost.

 The Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism pored over more than 38,000 names on leaked Oath Keepers membership lists and identified more than 370 people it believes currently work in law enforcement agencies—including as police chiefs and sheriffs—and more than 100 people who are currently members of the military.

 It also identified more than 80 people who were running for or serving in public office as of early August. The membership information was compiled into a database published by the transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets.

 The data raise fresh concerns about the presence of extremists in law enforcement and the military who are tasked with enforcing laws and protecting the USA. It’s especially problematic for public servants to be associated with extremists at a time when lies about the 2020 election are fueling threats of violence against lawmakers and institutions.

“Even for those who claimed to have left the organization when it began to employ more aggressive tactics in 2014, it is important to remember that the Oath Keepers have espoused extremism since their founding, and this fact was not enough to deter these individuals from signing up,” the report says.

Appearing in the Oath Keepers’ database doesn’t prove that a person was ever an active member of the group or shares its ideology. Some people on the list contacted by The Associated Press said they were briefly members years ago and are no longer affiliated with the group. Some said they were never dues-paying members.

 “Their views are far too extreme for me,” said Shawn Mobley, sheriff of Otero County, Colorado. Mobley told the AP in an email that he distanced himself from the Oath Keepers years ago over concerns about its involvement in the standoff against the federal government at Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, among other things.

 The Oath Keepers, founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, is a loosely organized conspiracy theory-fueled group that recruits current and former military, police, and first responders. It asks its members to vow to defend the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” promotes the belief that the federal government is out to strip citizens of their civil liberties, and paints its followers as defenders against tyranny.

 More than two dozen people associated with the Oath Keepers—including Rhodes—have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack. Rhodes and four other Oath Keeper members or associates are heading to trial this month on seditious conspiracy charges for what prosecutors have described as a weekslong plot to keep President Donald Trump in power. Rhodes and the other Oath Keepers say they are innocent and that there was no plan to attack the Capitol.

 Among the elected officials whose names appears on the membership lists is South Dakota state Representative Phil Jensen, who won a June Republican primary in his bid for reelection. Jensen told the AP he paid for a one-year membership in 2014, never received any Oath Keepers’ literature, attended any meetings, or renewed his membership.

 Jensen said he felt compelled to join because he “believed in the oath that we took to support the U.S. Constitution and to defend it against enemies foreign and domestic.” He wouldn’t say whether he now disavows the Oath Keepers, saying he doesn’t have enough information about the group today.

 “Back in 2014, they appeared to be a pretty solid conservative group, I can’t speak to them now,” he said.

 ADL said it found the names of at least ten people who now work as police chiefs and 11 sheriffs. All of the police chiefs and sheriffs who responded to the AP said they no longer have any ties to the group.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Surf’s up, Dawg! Gnarly pups catch waves at World Dog Surfing Championship

August 11, 2022

A bunch of very cool dogs went toe to toe at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, California, on Saturday, August 6, for the World Dog Surfing Championships, reports HuffPost.

The event, which donates a portion of its proceeds to dog-related nonprofits, invites surfer dogs and their human pals to hang ten at the beach for a day of activities, including surf and doggy costume competitions, dog adoptions, a pet wellness fair and a “yappy hour” to end the festivities.

“Humans aren’t the only ‘surf dogs’—surfers’ four-legged friends love water too, and many even like catching waves,” the event’s website said. “These amphibious canines are special creatures: Top surfers believe that dogs who learn to surf develop a unique attitude, knowing they have something that sets them apart from other dogs.”

Surf prizes were awarded, based on dog size and other categories–including tandem dogs and human/dog tandem. Skyler, an Australian cattle dog, won the top prize, placing first in the Top Dog Final Overall Champ.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Donald Trump gets a tax break by burying ex-wife Ivana at his golf club

August 2, 2022

Donald Trump’s first wife Ivana was buried in a gold-hued coffin at the former president’s New Jersey golf club last month, following an Upper East Side funeral service  at which she was remembered as a woman who was “adored,” reports Fortune Magazine.

However, the Trump family has been accused of having ulterior motives, Fortune says, for choosing the golf course as her final resting places—motives that could benefit the family patriarch’s finances.

Trump’s first wife—and mother to his three oldest children Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric—passed away in July.

She was laid to rest at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to the New York Post, which reported that her grave was “not too far from the main clubhouse” and below the backside of the first tee.

Documents  published by ProPublica show that the Trump Family Trust previously sought to designate a property in Hackettstown—around 20 miles from the golf course where Ivana now is buried—as a non-profit cemetery company.

Indeed, defining the golf course as a cemetery could grant the business a whole raft of tax breaks.

Under New Jersey law, land being used for cemetery purposes is exempt from real estate and personal property taxes, as well as sales tax, inheritance tax, business tax and income tax.

Cemetery property is also exempt from sale for collection of judgements, with cemetery trust funds and trust income exempt from both tax and sale or seizure for collection of judgments against the company.

Ivana Trump is the only known person to have been buried onsite at Trump National Golf Club, according to reports.

Brooke Harrington, a tax researcher and professor of sociology at Dartmouth, said in a tweet on Sunday, July 31, that using the golf course as a cemetery was “a trifecta of tax avoidance.”

She added that in New Jersey, there was “no stipulation regarding a minimum [number] of human remains necessary for the tax breaks to kick in.”

“Looks like one corpse will suffice to make at least three forms of tax vanish,” she said.

A representative from the Trump Organization told Fortune in an email on Monday that links being made between Ivana Trump’s grave site and tax laws were “truly evil.”

Trump himself has previously expressed wishes to be buried at his New Jersey golf club, telling the New York Post  in 2007 that he wanted to be laid to rest in the “beautiful land” of Bedminster.

“Mr. Trump … specifically chose this property for his final resting place as it is his favorite property,” his company wrote in a 2014 filing  seen by The  Washington Post.

The filing sought approval to build a ten-plot private family mausoleum at Trump National Golf Club.

Resistance from local decisionmakers reportedly led to withdrawals and resubmittals of proposed burial sites over the years, with Trump’s ideas ranging from a small but opulent family mausoleum to a 1,000-grave site that would see plots for sale to members of the golf club.

While registering the golf course as a cemetery would exempt it from taxes, the former president already found a way to slash his tax bill for the New Jersey club by registering it as a farm, the Huffington Post  reported in 2019.

Trump reportedly owns several goats and farms hay at the resort, which reduced his tax bill by around $88,000 a year, according to a Huffington Postanalysis

Under this arrangement, the golf course was taxed at just over $6 an acre in 2019, rather than $462 an acre.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Meet Isa, the new Gerber Baby Contest winner

May 9, 2022

It’s official! There’s a new Gerber baby in town. On Wednesday, May4, the baby food brand announced the winner of its 12th annual Gerber Baby Photo Search Contest: 7-month-old Isa Slish from Edmond, Oklahoma, reports HuffPost.

A panel of judges selected Isa from a pool of more than 225,000 entrants to serve as the 2022 Gerber “spokesbaby” and honorary “chief growing officer.” She will hold the title of “chief taste tester” and “review” the brand’s new baby food products, the company says.

Isa also will appear on Gerber’s social media channels and marketing campaigns for the year. Her family will receive a $25,000 cash prize, free Gerber products for up to a year, $1,000 in Gerber baby clothes and a $1,000 gift card from the ezpz brand of developmental feeding tools.

Isa’s win is not just an exciting moment for her family but also marks a victory for disability inclusion. The 7-month-old was born with congenital femoral deficiency and fibular hemimelia, which in her case means she was born without a femur or fibula in her right leg.

“Ever since we knew Isa was going to be born with a limb difference, we’ve wanted to raise awareness and advocate as much as possible,” Isa’s mother Meredith Slish told HuffPost. “After I saw the call for entries, we thought this could be a great opportunity to show off our beautiful baby girl and raise awareness around limb difference.”

Meredith and her husband, John, feel it’s fitting that they were able to enter Isa into the Gerber contest during the month of April, which is Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month. As for her win, they are excited the judges recognized how “amazing” and “special” their joy-filled daughter is.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Gerber for choosing a baby who represents diversity,” Meredith said. “And we hope going forward she will not only be the wonderful, fun-loving, giggly, smiling, beautiful girl she is, but also help us raise awareness—communicating to families that there is hope, and if babies are supported and loved by the family, friends and community around them, that they can really grow and be whatever they want to be.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Roe v. Wade may be overturned, a leaked draft of Supreme Court opinion reveals

May 4, 2022

A leaked Supreme Court draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito  and  published late Monday by Politico  indicates that the court may be preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 precedent that established a constitutional right to an abortion, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The draft, dated from February, couldn’t be independently confirmed, but legal observers said it appeared to be authentic. On Tuesday, May 2, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the draft was authentic and launched an investigation into the leak, according to a report by HuffPost.

According to the Journal, the 67-page opinion, marked as a first draft, declared that Roe was “egregiously wrong and deeply damaging,” and that Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision that limited but didn’t eliminate abortion rights, prolonged the court’s error.

“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” the draft opinion said. “Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

The draft does not necessarily represent the court’s ultimate decision in the case or even the majority’s current thinking. However, it is consistent with the tenor of December’s oral arguments in the case challenging Roe, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationconcerning Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks. The draft was labeled the opinion of the court—implying that a majority of justices had agreed with it.

The apparent leak represents a nearly unheard of breach of the court’s private, behind-the-scenes deliberations on a blockbuster case that the court hasn’t yet publicly issued. It also could threaten longstanding bonds of trust on a court that has already been under ideological and personal strains.

After an initial vote among justices on a case, Supreme Court decisions can undergo considerable evolution in tone and substance as justices circulate draft opinions for weeks and months. Those drafts are circulated between chambers—with justices typically offering feedback, support, and criticism in writing—until the court arrives at a final ruling, which is frequently accompanied by concurring and dissenting opinions that weigh in on the court’s holding.

Given those internal processes, it’s possible that there are more recent versions of the decision that look different than the draft Politico published. And on occasions, justices can change their positions during deliberations.

The court’s decision has been expected by the end of June or early July.

Research contact: @WSJ

Florida reportedly is probing Melania Trump’s tea for a charity that doesn’t seem to exist

February 15, 2022

Officials have launched an “inquiry” into an upcoming Florida fundraiser organized by Melania Trump for a charity that isn’t registered in the state, as is required by law, The New York Times reported on Saturday, February 12—and it isn’t clear whether the charity even exists.

Indeed, according to HuffPost, tickets are being sold to an “exclusive high tea” scheduled for April 9—and featuring the former first lady—in Naples, Florida.

According to information from Trump’s office, the tea will raise money for the charity Fostering the Future, which is described as an initiative of Be Best, the anti-bullying mission launched by Trump when she was living in the White House. Money is supposed to fund computer science scholarships to young people who have been in foster care, according to the ticket sales site. Tickets for a VIP table sponsor cost $50,000. Patron tickets are going for $3,000.

But no such charity is registered in Florida, the Times reported. Nor does it appear to exist anywhere else. Officials at the Florida agency that oversees charity fundraising confirmed to the Times that there is no state registration of the charity, and they are investigating.

“Consumer Services Division is currently investigating whether this event involves an entity operating in violation of Chapter 496, Florida Statutes,” Erin Moffet, an agency spokesperson, said in a statement to the Times, referring to the state law requiring charities to register before soliciting money.

There is a website called “Fostering the Future” for the nonprofit organization Children’s Rights Inc., which is located in New York City. It’s described in a charity form as “advocating on behalf of abused and neglected children.” There is no mention on its website of Melania Trump, Be Best, or the upcoming Florida fundraiser.

HuffPost could not immediately reach Children’s Rights for comment.

There is also a Fostering the Future in Illinois, which exists on the internet only as a name on a donation site with no information about the organization. The charity tracking organization Charity Navigator also has little information about it.

Responding to the Times story on Twitter, Melania Trump called it “dishonest reporting” by “corrupt media,” and said all documents are “in the works.”

She also stated that “we are working” with the Bradley Impact Fund, a “donor-advised fund,” to “select charities that will receive the donations to foster children.” The statement sounds like the charities haven’t yet been picked, which appears to contradict the information on the ticket sales site for the high tea with Trump.

The Bradley Impact Fund has been linked to organizations pushing Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election he lost was rigged.

The Times’ story about the former first lady’s upcoming high tea also examined all the ways her husband is lining his pockets in his post-White House life.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Controversy: Starbucks fires union leaders In Memphis

February 10, 2022

Starbucks has fired several workers in Memphis, Tennessee, who were part of the growing unionization effort that’s spreading quickly throughout the coffee chain, reports HuffPost.

The campaign, Starbucks Workers Unitedsaid on February 8 on Twitter that the company had canned “virtually the entire union leadership in Memphis”—calling it a case of retaliation for their union support. The group said the total number of firings came to seven, or about one-third of the workers at the store.

“The arc of Starbucks’ union-busting is long, but it bends toward losing,” the campaign wrote.

Reggie Borges, a Starbucks spokesperson, said the company did not fire workers for organizing, but for violating safety and security protocols. He said workers opened the locked store after close of business without permission and let nonemployees in.

Several workers recently gave MWC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Memphis, an in-store interview about the union campaign.

Richard Bensinger, a longtime organizer involved in the Starbucks campaign, said on Twitter that the workers were fired “for talking to local TV reporters in their store!”

Borges said he wanted to make it “unequivocally clear” that the company didn’t fire the workers for talking to the media. “To suggest that is to completely ignore the clear violations of known policies that these partners openly acknowledged they were aware of as part of this investigation,” he said in an email.

But Nikki Taylor, a shift supervisor at the store, said in a statement through the union that she was “fired by Starbucks today for ‘policies’ that I’ve never heard of before.” She called the firing a “clear attempt by Starbucks to retaliate.”

The Starbucks workers have been organizing with the union Workers United, which plans to file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board over the firings. The union would argue that the workers were illegally targeted because of their union support.

In a statement, Starbucks Workers United called the firings the “most blatant act of union-busting yet.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Adam Schiff explains why Trump’s pardon promise is ‘very important evidence’

February 4, 2022

Representative Adam Schiff (D-California) says former President Donald Trump’s dangling of the prospect of pardons for the U.S. Capital rioters is “very important evidence as to his intent” for the violence unleashed by his supporters on January 6, 2021, reports HuffPost.

Schiff, a member of the House select committee investigating the insurrection, suggested on MSNBC on Wednesday, February 2, that Trump’s comments at a weekend rally were part of a broader pattern of using pardons to influence and intimidate witnesses.

“I think his recent statements, as well as the public reports of prior inquiries about pardoning people involved in attacking the Capitol police that day, they go to a couple of things,” Schiff told anchor Lawrence O’Donnell, referencing new reports Trump considered blanket pardons for the rioters before he left office.

“They go to his intent,” Schiff opined. “If this violence against the Capitol wasn’t part of the plan, or wasn’t something he condoned, then why would he consider pardoning them?”

“So, I think it’s very important evidence as to his intent. But it also is I think part of that broader pattern … to influence potentially what witnesses have to say, or whether they will say it,” he added.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Disney defends its ‘Snow White’ remake amid criticism from Peter Dinklage

Janaury 27, 2022

Disney has gone on the defensive after actor Peter Dinklage criticized its plans to release a live-action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as “hypocritical,” reports HuffPost.

The film studio has insisted they are “taking a different approach” after the Game Of Thrones star said it “made no sense” to produce a live-action reboot.

Th star, who has a form of dwarfism known as achondroplasia, said it “made no sense” for the production to go ahead—describing it as “a f*cking backwards story”, during an appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.

Following his comments, Disney issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, January 25. “To avoid reinforcing stereotypes from the original animated film, we are taking a different approach with these seven characters and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community,” a Disney spokesperson said, adding, “We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period.”

The remake follows the huge box office success of live adaptations of other Disney classic—among them, Beauty And The Beast and The Lion King.

Peter accused Disney of “hypocrisy” for pushing for a racially diverse cast but reverting to harmful stereotypes.

“There’s a lot of hypocrisy going on I’ve got to say,” he said.

“No offence to anything but I was a little taken aback by [the fact] they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White, but you’re still telling the story of Snow White And The Seven Dwarves.

“They were so proud of that, and all love and respect to the actress and the people who thought they were doing the right thing but I’m just like, ‘what are you doing?’”

He continued: “Take a step back and look at what you’re doing there. It makes no sense to me. You can be progressive in one way but you’re still making that f*cking backwards story of the seven dwarves living in the cave.

“What the f*ck are you doing man? Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soapbox? I guess I’m not loud enough.”

Research contact: @HuffPost