Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Calling For A $10 Trillion Over 10 Years Infrastructure Plan

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) On The Rachel Maddow Show (03/31/2021)

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) appeared on the 03/31/2021 edition of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show(TRMS), to discuss the $2 trillion infrastructure plan President Biden had announced earlier the same day. Rep Ocasio-Cortez (aka AOC), told host Maddow that her Progressive colleagues in the House will “absolutely” push for a figure higher than the $2 trillion set out by President Biden, adding that her personal preference would be a $10 trillion over 10 years infrastructure plan.

AOC’s full interview on TRMS is available here, but the relevant clip is below.

Specifically, AOC told Maddow in response to a question as to whether Progressives in the House will push for a figure bigger than $2 trillion: “Absolutely. You know if we could wave a magic wand, and Progressives in the House were able to name any number and get it through, which obviously isn’t the case, but if we are looking at ideals and what we think is the actual investment that can create tens of millions of good union jobs in this country, that can shore up our healthcare, our infrastructure, our housing, and doing it in a way that draws down our carbon emissions to help us get in line with IPCC standards, we are talking about realistically, $10 trillion over 10 years.” AOC added that even though $10 trillion is an “eye popping” figure, it is not in any way unrealistic.

Basically, AOC’s message on TRMS was that even though House Progressives are very appreciative of President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, they are looking at the $2 trillion as a starting point, and not necessarily the ceiling. Progressives in the House will work hard for a higher figure. This promises to be quite an interesting battle in Congress, especially given the fact that in the recently passed American Rescue Plan(Covid), House negotiations began at $1.9 trillion and worked their way downwards. It appears for infrastructure, the House negotiations will begin at $2 trillion and possibly end up much higher. Will AOC’s $10 trillion wish come true? Hmm–time will tell.

Bottom line folks, as AOC correctly pointed out, if one considers the fact that for covid relief, Congress passed a one year $1.9 trillion package, it is not unreasonable to assume that for an infrastructure plan, we would need much more than the $2 trillion proposed by President Biden. It is a good thing that AOC threw the $10 trillion figure out there because it will inspire some imagination among House Democrats as to what’s possible–thinking big. Simply put, even though passing a “skinny” infrastructure plan is better than no infrastructure plan at all, House Democrats should not look at President Biden’s $2 trillion proposal as a limiting factor, but instead, like AOC, come up with their own imaginative ideas as to how to revamp our dilapidated infrastructure. All in all, let there be a robust infrastructure debate in Congress, and may the best ideas win.

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Fulton County DA Getting Racist Attacks After Launching Probe Into Trump’s Phone Call

Fulton County DA (Georgia) Fani Willis On The Rachel Maddow Show (2/11/2021)

Fulton County DA Fani Willis told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that after her office launched a criminal probe into former President Trump’s infamous phone call to Georgia’s Secretary of State, she has been the subject of racist attacks from Trump’s supporters. You’ll remember Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, was very troubled by the call from the former President, which was essentially urging him to commit an illegal act, that he asked his staff to record it. It is quite clear from the phone call that former President Trump wanted Raffensperger to tinker with Georgia’s election results, so as to overturn his Democratic opponent Joe Biden’s win.

In response to Maddow’s question as to whether she and her staff were concerned about their safety given the unfortunate events of DC insurrection, DA Willis responded, “Oh absolutely. Since we’ve opened this [criminal probe], my security has doubled. We’ve gotten a lot of comments. Interestingly enough, the comments are always racist, and it’s really just a waste of time and foolishness. It is not going to stop me from doing my job, and I don’t think that it is an insult to remind me that I am a Black woman, so it is a waste of their time….” The rest of DA Willis’ interview with Maddow is available here.

It is quite sad that as a result of Trumpism, it has become normal for any public official seeking to hold Trump accountable for his myriad infractions, to receive insults and threats of violence from Trumpers. This is especially so for public officials of color like DA Willis, who Trumpers go out of their way to subject to some of the most vile racist attacks imaginable, because Trump has put it in their mind that as long as they are fighting for him, they have a license to use any means.

It will be interesting to see how DA Willis’ investigation plays out, but from her appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show yesterday, Yours Truly came out with the impression that we are dealing with a serious professional here, and Trump better invest on some good legal defense team , certainly better than the one representing him at his Senate impeachment trial.

Bottom line folks, it was well known before, and Trump’s niece Mary Trump recently confirmed it, that Trump pretty much went through life without ever being held accountable for anything. We saw this throughout his presidency too, where at every turn, Republican members of Congress went out of their way to shield him from facing the consequences of his actions. This Fulton County criminal probe is in many ways the very first time Trump is staring at the potential of facing consequences for his actions, and ending up in jail. If Trump does indeed end up in a Georgia jail, it will be impossible to ignore the powerful poetic justice behind it–that the same Black women who Trump routinely maligned and addressed with great contempt as somehow inferior or unqualified, are the same ones who formed the backbone of the successful resistance to his presidency, picked Trump’s successful Democratic challenger Joe Biden (especially South Carolina women), and now one of them, Fulton County DA Fani Willis, appears poised to succeed in what everybody else has failed–holding Trump accountable for his actions.

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GA Governor’s Former Campaign Manager Is A Lobbyist For Voting Machine Company Responsible For GA Voting Debacle

Tuesday night’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show(TRMS) featured a segment about the numerous problems voters experienced when trying to cast their ballots in Georgia’s primary elections. As usual, the voting problems were concentrated in democratic party strongholds–urban areas where minorities live. The Maddow segment however threw in an interesting tidbit into the story and that is, the lobbyist for the voting machine company(Dominion) at the center of Georgia’s primary voting debacle is none other than the former campaign manager for Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp. The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

Maddow specifically said, “An electronic voting machine company[Dominion Voting Systems] hired [Governor] Brian Kemp’s former campaign manager to be it’s lobbyist, and then the Brian Kemp administration in Georgia, hired that company to replace all of the voting machines in every city, town and county in Georgia, all in record time–literally record time. The state had this board of evaluators that was looking at the various companies who were trying to get that voting machine contract. This board of evaluators looked at the different bids from the different companies and what they were offering. They did not pick the company that Georgia ultimately went with. They picked a different company altogether. But no, the state administration instead decided they would go with the company that Brian Kemp’s campaign manager was the lobbyist for. The company had never had a job this big ever, in fact there has never been a bigger job in U.S. election history. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution pointed out last November, what Georgia was trying to roll out here, was the largest and fastest roll out of elections equipment in U.S. history.”

Maddow’s segment raises the prospect that the Tuesday primary election debacle we witnessed in Georgia may not have been the result of some random or unforeseeable technical difficulties but rather, a well orchestrated plan of voter suppression by Georgia Republicans. Governor Brian Kemp is no stranger to allegations of voter suppression. As a matter of fact Kemp has been a constant target of election integrity/security advocates like Jennifer Cohn for years.

This troubling revelation that Kemp’s former campaign manager is the lobbyist for the voting machine company at the center of Georgia’s voting debacle should be cause for a complete and thorough voter suppression investigation. We simply cannot afford to wait until the November general elections to be “surprised” by the same voting machine problems.

Bottom line folks, there’s no longer any doubt that the unpopular policies of the republican party are increasingly turning it into a marginal/regional party. Republican party leaders have long realized that their only chance of clinging on to power is to make sure as few people as possible vote, especially minorities who traditionally vote against them. What we witnessed in Georgia’s primary elections was just the latest example of GOP voter suppression but it definitely will not be the last. If we are going to have free and fair election this Fall, it is imperative that the mainstream media and members of congress take voter suppression allegations like the ones in Georgia very seriously. Simply put, Governor Kemp must not be allowed to orchestrate yet another voting “debacle” in November for GOP’s benefit.

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Is Barr’s DOJ Targeting Sen Burr To Thwart His TrumpRussia Collusion Findings?

Senator Richard Burr(R-NC) and U.S. Attorney General William Barr (right)

On Thursday’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (TRMS), host Maddow advanced a provocative theory as to the real reason Attorney General Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ) may be going after senate intelligence committee chairman Richard Burr(R-NC) for possible covid-19 insider trading. According to Maddow, DOJ and by extension AG Barr’s pursuit of senator Burr may have very little to do with the serious covid-19 insider trading allegations, and more to do with the fact that senator Burr was getting ready to release the final installment of his committee’s findings on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

Host Rachel Maddow said, “As bad as the insider trading allegations are against Senator Burr, we also simultaneously have to worry whether the U.S. justice department under Attorney General William Barr might be targeting Senator Burr for reasons that are less about insider trading and more about convenience to the Trump administration. Sen Burr you will recall, has led the only functional bipartisan congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His committee’s findings have supported the intelligence community’s conclusions that for example, Russia interfered in the 2016 election to support Donald Trump’s candidacy. That is something President Trump continues to deny as recently as an interview that aired this morning. More to the point though, Senator Burr’s committee is set to release it’s final report on the Russia issue in the coming months and that last installment we are expecting is on ‘possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.’ That’s what Burr is working on right now, but he’s had to step down as chair of the committee.”

As Maddow correctly points out, given AG Barr’s demonstrable pattern of acting as president Trump’s personal defense attorney, it is not entirely implausible for one to conclude that the AG’s pursuit of senator Burr is also about defending Trump from a potentially damning senate intelligence committee finding that the Trump campaign did indeed collude with Russia in 2016. Maddow also correctly points out that an investigation into a sitting U.S. senator, especially one who chairs the powerful senate intelligence committee, must have been approved at the very highest levels of DOJ meaning AG Barr’s footprints are all over this.

Bottom line folks, AG Barr has so tarnished DOJ’s reputation that even when it undertakes a valid high profile criminal prosecution like senator Burr’s, the general perception among members of the public is that it must have something to do with helping president Trump politically. The very same thing happened during Jeffrey Epstein’s high profile criminal prosecution. I will say again what I have repeatedly stated before and that is, the only way DOJ can cure its tarnished reputation is for career officials within the DOJ to pressure AG Barr to step aside. Because it is highly unlikely that Trump will ever push aside his trusted defender, the onus is on career DOJ officers to begin demanding that AG Barr step down for the good of the department. Simply put, continued silence by career DOJ officials regarding AG Barr’s conduct at this juncture is tantamount to complicity.

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Deutsche Bank Employee Was Fired After Flagging Trump/Kushner-Russia Transactions

A bombshell segment on yesterday’s (2/17/20) edition of Rachel Maddow show took a deep dive into Trump’s long history of shady transactions at the troubled Deutsche Bank. Among the eye-popping revelations on Maddow show which are detailed in a new book called “Dark Towers”, was the fact that a Deutsche Bank employee, one Tammy McFadden, was fired after flagging suspicious transactions Trump and Kushner made with Russian individuals via Deutsche Bank.

Maddow asked “Dark Towers” author David Enrich, who’s also the Finance Editor at New York Times, “During the presidential election [2016], a Deutsche Bank employee raised concerns about transactions related to Jared Kushner. There seemed to be a link between Kushner’s dealings with Deutshe Bank and Trump’s dealings. They involved the same banker, they seemed to sort of be cultivating the same ties, what do you know about the seriousness of the concerns that were raised about Kushner and sending money to Russia during the campaign?”

Author David Enrich responded, “They were extremely serious. The woman who raised these concerns named Tammy McFadden, I spent a lot of time talking with her, and she was so concerned that she not only filed a suspicious activity report…but when that report was killed, she started complaining so loudly internally that she had to be transferred to another part of the bank and then ultimately was fired. She still feels very strongly about this. She had the courage to speak out publicly and talk to me, have her picture taken, which is something that in this day and age, in this political climate, just takes such guts and people who don’t feel really strongly, really alarmed about something don’t do.”

Right off the bat, it is very hard to swallow the fact that during the thick and thin of the 2016 presidential election, Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner was making wire transfers to individuals in Russia, which regulators at Deutsche Bank found highly suspicious. How thoroughly did Special Counsel Mueller dig into these transactions before arriving at the “no collusion” conclusion? Did Mueller ever interview Tammy McFadden? If not, why not?

As for the brave and heroic whistleblower Tammy McFadden, who is apparently ready to share her story with anybody who would listen, why hasn’t the mainstream media given her an exclusive interview yet. Why hasn’t she been called to testify before Congress so the public can know exactly what Trump and Kushner were doing with the Russians?

Bottom line folks, even though Mueller’s TrumpRussia probe is officially over, it is very clear that there are still many questions regarding TrumpRussia that remain unanswered. After Maddow’s bombshell show, the public must demand to hear from Tammie McFadden about her tenure at Deutsche Bank, and specifically what she detailed in her suspicious activity reports that the bank killed. It would be great if the mainstream media would grant McFadden an exclusive interview but the best option by far would be her testimony before Congress under oath.

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Lev Parnas Says It Was All About Biden, Not Corruption

In an explosive interview on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show, Lev Parnas, the indicted Ukrainian-American at the very center of President Trump’s impeachment saga, appears to have dealt a death blow to Trump’s defense when he told host Maddow that all Trump wanted from President Zelensky of Ukraine was dirt on Biden and that he was never interested in rooting out corruption in the country.

Parnas told Maddow, “It[Ukrainegate]was all about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and also Rudy [Giuliani]had a personal thing with the Manafort stuff, the black ledger. That was another thing that they were looking into. But it was never about corruption, it was strictly about Burisma which included Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.”

This is a very problematic revelation for the Trump team because their entire defense has been that as President, Trump had every right to deny aid to Ukraine if he felt that hard earned U.S. tax dollars would be misappropriated by corrupt Ukrainian officials.

Republican Senators, especially those from swing states who are up for reelection this year, have found it impossible to defend Trump against allegations that he sought help from a foreign country (Ukraine) to dig up dirt on his political opponent (Biden). These Senators have instead rested on the more palatable anti-corruption defense.

If Parnas’ allegation that this was all about Joe Biden pans out, and all indications are that they will, then the vulnerable Republican Senators who have relied on the anti-corruption defense will have no leg to stand on and may be forced to do the unthinkable–put the country’s interests over the GOP and vote to remove Trump from office .

Bottom line folks, we all know that Washington and indeed the rest of the country has become deeply polarized as a result of the Trump presidency. Under any other normal administration, the revelations brought forward by Ukrainegate would be enough to garner bipartisan support both in the House and Senate for a president’s impeachment and removal from office. It will be interesting to see whether partisanship in Washington has become so bad under Trump, that he is allowed to get away with his very troubling conduct re Ukrainegate–the quintessential “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

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Trump Has Already Lost Tax Return Battle

In case you missed it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in a very encouraging segment recently revealed that despite the unprecedented stonewalling Trump has engaged in regarding the release of his tax returns, there’s strong reason to believe he has all but lost the fight. According to Maddow, a lot of the banks Trump has used for his business dealings over the years have already shared these transactions with the various congressional committees. It therefore turns out that with these treasure troves of Trump’s financial records, we may not even need his actual tax returns to get an accurate picture of his financial dealings–especially with the Russians.

It is very sad that even in this day and age Americans would have to fight this hard to get a public official to release his financial records–records he swore on the campaign trail he would release to the public.

It is also very sad that a major U.S. political party–The GOP–has aided and abetted Trump in this unprecedented stonewalling in total breach of the public’s trust. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in particular has gone as far as violating well-laid IRS statutes in an effort to aid Trumps stonewalling–a total travesty of public service and borderline criminal conduct.

Bottom line if Maddow’s reporting pans out that congressional Democrats do indeed already have much of Trump’s financial records, then this should not only be celebrated as a big win for government transparency advocates, but it should also lead to louder calls for Secretary Mnuchin and others to be held accountable. This is especially so if evidence of criminal conduct is unearthed in Trump’s financial records–a very likely outcome.

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Austrian Video Reignites TrumpRussia Questions

In case you missed it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recently veered into a story about Austrian politics that even by her own admission, appeared awkwardly off topic. However a few minutes into the Austria segment, it quickly became apparent as to how the story was 100% relevant to the current situation in American politics especially as it relates to the ongoing TrumpRussia controversy.

Maddow featured a bombshell video that is reportedly making rounds in Europe showing details of how the Kremlin helped install an ex-Nazi political party to power in Austria. The video which is apparently seven hours long, shows a meeting between an Austrian politician and a Russian woman, the niece of a Russian Oligarch, scheming on how the Kremlin will install the politician’s party(Freedom Party) to power in return for lucrative government construction/infrastructure contracts. In other words, the Russians help the Austrian get elected and once he is in office, he swings Austrian government contracts to companies run by the Russian Oligarch. The full Maddow segment is available here but relevant clip is below.

Maddow summed up the bombshell video thus; “The blonde lady who you see there whose face is pixellated, she is posing in this interaction as the niece of a Russian Oligarch who would like to support the Freedom Party. That’s who these Freedom Party guys think she is. She is visiting from Russia with a whole bunch of money to spend to help them out. In this video which stretches for seven hours, the Vice Chancellor of Austria, the guy in the front of the screen here, head of the Freedom Party….a group founded by ex-Nazis, who they[Russians] elevated to the number two person in that government, he chats with this young woman about what he wants from her uncle, what he wants from a Kremlin-connected Russian Oligarch to support his party and to support his political aspirations. He tells this woman that this Russian Oligarch should use Russian money to take control of the biggest tabloid newspaper in Austria, turn that tabloid into a mouthpiece for the Freedom Party, help them get elected. Once they get control of the government, the Russian Oligarch should then form a construction company and then this guy who would then be running the government would make sure that all the road building contracts, all the big infrastructure contracts in Austria would then go to the new construction company secretly set up for that purpose and run by the Russian Oligarch who spent all that money to get the ex-Nazi party in charge. So you pay for us to get in power, we will pay you. You infiltrate our country and our press on behalf of Russia. You install a Kremlin-friendly far right political party in Austria and once we are in there we will pay you back in cash with public contracts. Win win win!”

Millions of Americans followed closely Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into TrumpRussia. Any one of them presented with the details of this video of the Kremlin’s operation in Austria would immediately be struck by the shocking similarities this video has to the Russian influence in our 2016 elections. The first image that comes to mind when watching this Austrian video is the infamous Trump Tower meeting where Don Jr and other senior members of the Trump campaign met with now confessed Russian agent Maria Butina. Was a similar deal struck–help us get elected and we will pay you back with government contracts?

Fox News and The National Enquirer also come to mind. The Austrian politician is seen begging the Russians to buy an Austrian tabloid newspaper and turn it into his political party’s mouthpiece to help him get elected. Was Fox News, The National Enquirer, or both of them influenced by Russia to help Trump get elected in 2016? Are they still being influenced by Russia for Trump’s benefit as we head into 2020?

The proposed $200 million investment in Senator Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky by a formerly sanctioned Oligarch who was a key TrumpRussia suspect also comes to mind. Is Oligarch Deripaska getting “paid” by Mitch McConnell for helping Republicans win the White House in 2016? Remember Sen Mitch McConnell was one of the Senators who voted down efforts to keep sanctions on Derpaska’s businesses. If the U.S. Senate had left the sanctions intact, Deripaska’s company Rusal would not have been able to invest $200 million in Kentucky.

Maddow also points out the troubling role of Steve Bannon in Russia’s global quest for political dominance. Bannon who was part of the Trump campaign and helped craft Trump’s far right nativist, even xenophobic message, is apparently now based in Europe helping nativist political parties like the one featured in this Austrian video, gain political power in Europe. There is no question that Putin’s Russia is behind Bannon’s efforts in Europe, just like they were during our 2016 elections.

Bottom line folks, this Austrian video is yet another stark reminder that despite Trump’s constant dismissal of the TrumpRussia conspiracy as a hoax, the Russian global political operation is alive and well. Yours Truly sincerely hopes that this seven hour video depicting Russian election meddling in Austria will be carefully perused by the relevant U.S. law enforcement agencies as a blueprint of how Putin’s global election meddling scheme works. Importantly, U.S. law enforcement agencies should look at the implications of this Austrian story to our current political climate. Americans for example would like to know why a formerly sanction Russian Oligarch with deep ties to the Kremlin is all of a sudden making a significant investment in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky. Isn’t this exactly the kind of pay-for-play scheme we see in the Austrian story? This video should also be cause for further inquiry into the infamous Trump Tower meeting featuring Natalya Veselnitskaya. Lastly but not least, there should be more light shed on the troubling actions of Republican Party operative Steve Bannon who is seemingly helping Russia install nativist, xenophobic governments in Europe. Does that help or hurt the U.S.?

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Ivanka’s Lawyer Told Cohen To Lie About Her Role In Trump Tower Moscow

There was a bombshell revelation in MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show yesterday that Ivanka Trump’s lawyer Abbe Lowell directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about Ivanka’s role in the Trump Tower Moscow project. You’ll remember that Ivanka’s role in Trump Tower Moscow project became a huge issue of concern among those who believed President Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 elections. Intense media coverage around this issue led to Ivanka’s infamous remark that she knew “literally almost nothing” about the Trump Tower Moscow project. The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

Maddow said on last night’s show, “One of the allegations at issue here for which there is apparently some sort of documentary trail, is the allegation that lawyer Abbe Lowell specifically told Cohen that he should tell Congress Ivanka Trump had essentially no knowledge of Trump Tower Moscow. According to Michael Cohen that wasn’t true. According to Cohen, Ivanka Trump was regularly briefed on Trump Tower Moscow. Well, if as Cohen alleges, Abbe Lowell was involved in telling Michael Cohen to lie to Congress specifically about the involvement of Ivanka Trump in that scheme….that is sensitive on a lot of different levels.”

Maddow’s segment essentially raised questions as to why Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen was prosecuted and is now serving prison time while the people who crafted the said lies that got him in legal trouble (attorneys Abbe Lowell, Jay Sekulow and others) got away scot-free. Maddow’s segment also raised legitimate questions as to why Trump’s eldest son Don Jr was never prosecuted even though there is enough evidence showing he engaged in the exact similar conduct as Cohen–lying to Congress. Even more troubling, as Maddow correctly pointed out, Don Jr has not just gotten away with clear cut felonies, he is also now dictating to Congressional committees the terms under which he will testify before them–a total travesty of justice.

Bottom line, as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated in previous posts, we are facing a crisis of confidence in the U.S. justice system. Specifically, it is becoming quite evident that there is a separate and distinct system of justice that applies to the poor (especially minorities) and the one that applies to the rich (especially rich White people like Don Jr and Abbe Lowell). All reasonable people will agree that if Michael Cohen was prosecuted and is now serving prison time for lying to Congress, then lawyer Abbe Lowell and others who crafted the lie he presented to Congress should also be criminally prosecuted or face some kind of sanctions up to and including disbarment. Reasonable people will also agree that if Michael Cohen was prosecuted for lying to Congress as part of the TrumpRussia investigation, then Don Jr should also be prosecuted for committing the exact similar offense. Simply put folks, we either have equal justice under the law or we don’t.

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Was Jerry Falwell Jr Blackmailed Into Endorsing Trump?

A bombshell Reuters piece featured on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show says leading Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr may have been blackmailed by Michael Cohen into endorsing then presidential candidate Trump during the 2016 GOP primaries. As Maddow correctly points out, it was widely expected that Jerry Falwell Jr and other leading Evangelicals would throw their support behind Ted Cruz who at that time was very popular among Evangelicals.

However in a strange turn of events, Falwell Jr endorsed the Trump candidacy right before the crucial 2016 Iowa caucus. We now find out that days before endorsing Trump, then Trump attorney Michael Cohen had “taken care of” a situation involving racy photos of Falwell Jr and his wife. Specifically, someone was blackmailing Jerry Falwell Jr and his wife using their racy personal photos. Jerry Falwell Jr enlisted Cohen’s services (the “Fixer”) to get the photos from the blackmailer. Cohen apparently succeeded in the mission but according to the Reuters piece, kept one of the racy photos as leverage over the Falwells. According to Maddow, shortly after Jerry Falwell Jr found out that Michael Cohen had retained one of the racy photos, he abruptly endorsed Trump for president even though he had been widely expected to endorse Ted Cruz . The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

Bottom line, while this is not concrete proof that Jerry Falwell Jr endorsed Trump in 2016 because of the racy photos, it certainly adds to the questions many have over the Evangelical support for Trump. It also, as Maddow correctly points out, raises legitimate questions as to whether the Trump campaign violated campaign finance laws in seeking Jerry Falwell Jr’s endorsement in this manner.

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