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Trump supporter who gave $2.5m to fight election fraud wants money back

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Floridatexan

Floridatexan

Businessman Fredric Eshelman sues pro-Trump ‘election ethics’ group citing ‘disappointing results’ of effort to expose cheating

Richard Luscombe

Sat 28 Nov 2020 16.33 EST


A Donald Trump supporter who donated $2.5m to help expose and prosecute claims of fraud in the presidential election wants his money back after what he says are “disappointing results”.

Fredric Eshelman, a businessman from North Carolina, said he gave the money to True the Vote, a pro-Trump “election ethics” group in Texas that promised to file lawsuits in seven swing states as part of its push to “investigate, litigate, and expose suspected illegal balloting and fraud in the 2020 general election”.

But according to a lawsuit Eshelman filed this week in Houston, first reported by Bloomberg, True the Vote dropped its legal actions and discontinued its Validate the Vote 2020 campaign, then refused to return his calls when he demanded an explanation.

The founder of Eshelman Ventures llc, a venture capital company, said he asked “regularly and repeatedly” for updates, the lawsuit asserts, but that his “requests were consistently met with vague responses, platitudes, and empty promises”.

The lack of success of True the Vote’s efforts to challenge the outcome appears to mirror that of the president himself, whose team has lost 38 court actions since the 3 November election, most recently in Pennsylvania where a federal appeals court panel blasted Trump’s legal team for filing a case with no merit.

True the Vote did not immediately return an email from the Guardian seeking comment. True the Vote did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment, but posted a statement on its website, attributed to the group’s founder and president, Catherine Engelbrecht, seeking to blame outside forces for the failure of its efforts.

“While we stand by the voters’ testimony that was brought forth, barriers to advancing our arguments, coupled with constraints on time, made it necessary for us to pursue a different path,” the group said, announcing that it had withdrawn legal filings in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. All four states were won by Joe Biden, the Democratic president-elect.

“Our mission is much bigger than just one election. It is about repairing the system for all future elections,” it continued.

Like the Trump campaign’s own legal filings, which have been based on scant evidence, however, the True the Vote statement did not detail any of the proof it claimed it had to support the allegations of election fraud.

Eshelman, the former chief executive of a pharmaceutical company, claims in his lawsuit that the nonprofit offered to refund him $1m if he would drop his plan to sue the group. He is seeking the return of the full $2.5m that he says he wired on Engelbrecht’s instructions in chunks of $2m and $500,000 on 5 and 13 November.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/28/trump-donor-election-fraud-sues-money-back?fbclid=IwAR1cZKv72XKuUUTHa4tf49Ct18ckKv2TgGB8MHbRPJhYBfXgLCuV7YmA8_M

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Telstar and zsomething like this post

zsomething


Trump knows he lost, fair and square. He's just continuing this "fight" because he knows his base are stupid and they'll keep sending him money as long as they think he has a "chance." Like any good con-man, he's enriching himself with the false hopes he instills in suckers.

But that's not the only con he runs:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/news/release-of-ppp-loan-recipients-reveal-troubling-patterns/ar-BB1bxQtZ?ocid=st



The data reveals the most complete accounting to date of the more than $700 billion in forgivable loans Congress and the Trump Administration introduced in the spring for allowable expenses, including payroll, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest payments.

An initial analysis by NBC News, one of eleven newsrooms which sued for the data’s release, raised questions about the equitability and distribution of the loans. Properties owned by the Trump Organization as well as President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner’s family at the Kushner Companies profited from the program. The data shows:

Over 25 PPP loans worth more than $3.65 million were given to businesses with addresses at Trump and Kushner real estate properties, paying rent to those owners. Fifteen of the properties self-reported that they only kept one job, zero jobs or did not report a number at all.

The loans to Trump and Kushner properties included a $2,164,543 loan to the Triomphe Restaurant Corp., located at Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City. The company reported the money didn’t go to keeping any jobs. It later closed.

A company called LB City Inc, which is located at Kushner’s Bungalow Hotel in Long Branch, NJ, received a loan for $505,552.50 that it used to keep 155 jobs.

Two tenants at 725 5th Avenue, Trump Tower received more than $100,000 and only kept three jobs.

Four tenants at the Kushner-owned 666 5th Avenue combined received more than $204,000, and only retained 6 jobs.


There were also some troubling signs of mismanagement revealed in Tuesday evening’s data release. Over 100 loans were made to companies where no business name was listed, were listed as “no name available” or showed potential data entry errors, such as names that appeared to be dates or phone numbers. More than 300 companies appear each to have gotten more than $10 million in loans through their subsidiaries. Businesses were not supposed to receive more than $10 million per entity, except for those in the food, hospitality or hotels industries.

The findings immediately raised concerns with government accountability groups.

“Many months and broken promises later, the court-ordered release of this crucial data while the Trump administration is one foot out the door is a shameful dereliction of duty and flagrant mismanagement of a program that millions of workers and small businesses needed to get through this pandemic,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, an accountability watchdog in a statement.

Everybody says Trump mis-managed the pandemic. Well, it kinda depends on what you mean by that. If you mean how he managed it for the American people, well, that's a fucking disaster and utter failure. But if you look at it as "did he manage to exploit it to make a lot of money for himself and his family," then the "success rate" goes waaaaaaaaaaay up.

It's there in their face, but all they'll talk about are fantasies of what Hunter Biden might have done via some magic laptop.

Like I keep saying, you can't help these people...

Floridatexan and RealLindaL like this post

Floridatexan

Floridatexan

And Mnuchin has sequestered 75% of CARES ACT funds, while 98,000 US businesses crashed and burned.

75% of the $454 Billion CARES Act Money Never Went to the Fed; It Was Invested by a Mnuchin Slush Fund Called the ESF

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 27, 2020 ~

Trump supporter who gave $2.5m to fight election fraud wants money back U.S.-Treasury-Secretary-Steve-Mnuchin
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin aka fish lips


The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27. Congress earmarked $454 billion of that stimulus money to be distributed by the Treasury to the Federal Reserve to be used for emergency lending programs to save businesses and jobs during the pandemic and keep credit flowing to the U.S. economy. The catch was that the Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, would have to give his approval for each of the programs.

Since June, Wall Street On Parade has been reporting that $340 billion of the $454 billion that Mnuchin was instructed to turn over to the Fed was unaccounted for. We noted that 98,000 businesses had permanently closed in the U.S. while this money, intended for economic relief, went missing.

On November 19, Mnuchin publicly issued a letter to Fed Chair Jerome Powell, making it sound like most of the CARES Act money has been sitting idle at the Fed and Mnuchin was demanding it back to put to better use.

Adding to our conviction that Mnuchin was intentionally misleading the public, Bloomberg News published an article on Tuesday about the funds that Mnuchin planned to claw back from the Fed. The Bloomberg article carried this sentence: “The money in question includes $429 billion that Mnuchin is clawing back from the Fed — which backed some of the central bank’s emergency lending facilities…”

But for months now, the Federal Reserve’s weekly financial statements known as the H.4.1 have indicated that all the Fed received from Treasury for its emergency lending facilities was $114 billion, leaving $340 billion unaccounted for.

Wall Street On Parade has repeatedly asked the press office of the U.S. Treasury to explain this discrepancy. It has refused to answer our inquiries. We have repeatedly asked the Fed’s press office to explain this discrepancy and it has directed us to its official financial statements which show it has received just $114 billion from the Treasury for its emergency lending programs.

This morning, we located the missing funds on our own with no help from the Treasury’s press office that is paid by American taxpayers to keep the public informed. Tens of billions of dollars of CARES Act money has been put to very strange use by Mnuchin in a slush fund called the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) which states that it gives the U.S. Treasury Secretary “considerable discretion in the use of ESF resources.”

We located the financial statements for the Exchange Stabilization Fund and they confirmed that all the Treasury has given the Fed for its emergency lending facilities was the same $114 billion that the Fed has been reporting on its financial statements.

We compared the Exchange Stabilization Fund’s most recent financial statement for September 30, 2020 to its fiscal year-end financial statement for September 30, 2019. At the end of 2019, the ESF had assets of $93.3 billion. With the money from the CARES Act, that amount had grown to $682 billion by September 30, 2020.

Here are some of the peculiar line items that show how Mnuchin allocated money meant to save businesses in the U.S. during the pandemic and avoid millions of unnecessary job losses in the United States:

$7.5 billion was deposited with “official institutions” to buy Euros — the currency of the European Union;

$5 billion was used to buy Euro-denominated “securities” – whether that means stocks or bonds, we can’t say;

$8.4 billion was deposited with “official institutions” to buy Japanese Yen;

$375 million was invested in Yen-denominated “securities” – whether that means stocks or bonds, we can’t say;

$11 billion was used to buy U.S. government securities. (Apparently, the Treasury has its own Quantitative Easing program in addition to the Fed.)

$481 billion simply describes itself as “Fund balance with Treasury.”

The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing with Mnuchin and Powell next Wednesday, December 2. We are forwarding this article to the Congressional members of the Committee, asking that they get to the bottom of this as they question Mnuchin and Powell. We’re not holding our breath.

Editor’s Note: In case that September 30, 2020 ESF financial statement disappears from the Treasury’s website, we’ve archived a copy here.

https://wallstreetonparade.com/2020/11/11440/

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zsomething likes this post

Floridatexan

Floridatexan

Also this:

Trump Has Discussed With Advisers Pardons for His 3 Eldest Children and Giuliani

Rudolph W. Giuliani, who is promoting baseless claims of widespread election fraud, talked about a pardon with President Trump as recently as last week.


A pardon for Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer, is certain to prompt accusations that Mr. Trump has used his power to obstruct investigations and insulate himself and his allies.

By Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt
Dec. 1, 2020

President Trump has discussed with advisers whether to grant pre-emptive pardons to his children, to his son-in-law and to his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and talked with Mr. Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Trump has told others that he is concerned that a Biden Justice Department might seek retribution against the president by targeting the oldest three of his five children — Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — as well as Ms. Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser.

Donald Trump Jr. had been under investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for contacts that the younger Mr. Trump had had with Russians offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign, but he was never charged. Mr. Kushner provided false information to federal authorities about his contacts with foreigners for his security clearance, but was given one anyway by the president.

The nature of Mr. Trump’s concern about any potential criminal exposure of Eric Trump or Ivanka Trump is unclear, although an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney into the Trump Organization has expanded to include tax write-offs on millions of dollars in consulting fees by the company, some of which appear to have gone to Ms. Trump.

Presidential pardons, however, do not provide protection against state or local crimes.

Mr. Giuliani’s potential criminal exposure is also unclear, although he was under investigation as recently as this summer by federal prosecutors in Manhattan for his business dealings in Ukraine and his role in ousting the American ambassador there. The plot was at the heart of the impeachment of Mr. Trump.

The speculation about pardon activity at the White House is churning furiously, underscoring how much the Trump administration has been dominated by investigations and criminal prosecutions of people in the president’s orbit. Mr. Trump himself was singled out by federal prosecutors as “Individual 1” in a court filing in the case that sent Michael D. Cohen, his former lawyer and fixer, to prison.

The discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani occurred as the former New York mayor has become one of the loudest voices pushing baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, which Mr. Trump still proclaims publicly that he won. Many of Mr. Trump’s longtime aides have refused to do his bidding to try to overturn an election that President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. won by nearly seven million votes. But Mr. Giuliani has repeatedly thrust himself into the spotlight to cast doubt on the results, which has ingratiated him with the president.

ABC News reported earlier on Tuesday that Mr. Trump was considering pardoning family members.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Trump did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Mr. Giuliani did not respond to a message seeking comment, but after a version of this article was published online, he attacked it on Twitter and said it was false.

Christiann√© L. Allen, Mr. Giuliani’s spokeswoman, said Mr. Giuliani “cannot comment on any discussions that he has with his client.”

And Mr. Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, said, “He’s not concerned about this investigation because he didn’t do anything wrong, and that’s been our position from Day 1.”

The Fox News host and Trump ally Sean Hannity said on Monday that given the animosity from Democrats directed at Mr. Trump, the president should consider pardoning his entire family. “If Biden ever became president, I’d tell Trump pardon yourself and pardon your family,” Mr. Hannity told his viewers.

Mr. Trump is an avid consumer of Fox News, particularly Mr. Hannity’s show.

Such a broad pardon pre-empting any charge or conviction is highly unusual but does have precedent. In the most famous example, President Gerald R. Ford pardoned Richard M. Nixon for all of his actions as president. President George Washington pardoned plotters of the Whiskey Rebellion, shielding them from treason prosecutions. And President Jimmy Carter pardoned thousands of American men who illegally avoided the draft for the Vietnam War.

Mr. Trump has wielded his clemency powers liberally in cases that resonate with him personally or for people who have a direct line to him through friends or family, while thousands of other cases await his review.

A pardon for Mr. Giuliani is certain to prompt accusations that Mr. Trump has used his pardon power to obstruct investigations and insulate himself and his allies. Andrew A. Weissmann, a top prosecutor for Mr. Mueller, has said that Mr. Trump’s dangling of pardons for his allies impeded their work.

In July, the president commuted the sentence of his longtime adviser Roger J. Stone Jr., who had refused to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigators and was eventually convicted of seven felonies. Last week, Mr. Trump pardoned his former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, who had backed out of his cooperation agreement with the special counsel’s office for “any and all possible offenses” beyond the charge he had faced of lying to federal investigators.

The Flynn pardon raised expectations that Mr. Trump would bestow clemency on other associates — like his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who refused to discuss matters from the 2016 election with prosecutors — in his final weeks in office.

Mr. Giuliani has asked Mr. Trump’s campaign to pay him $20,000 a day for his work on trying to overturn the election, a figure that would make him among the most highly paid lawyers in the world. The staggering sum has stirred opposition among Mr. Trump’s aides who worry that Mr. Giuliani has perpetuated the claims of election fraud in hopes of making as much money as possible.

Mr. Giuliani has expressed concern that any federal investigations of his conduct that appear to have been dormant under the Trump administration could be revived in a Biden administration, according to people who have spoken to him.

Legal experts say that if Mr. Trump wants to fully protect Mr. Giuliani from prosecution after he leaves office, the president would most likely have to detail in the language of the pardon what crimes he believed Mr. Giuliani had committed.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have since 2019 been investigating the role of Mr. Giuliani and two other associates in a wide-ranging pressure campaign directed at pushing the Ukrainian government to investigate Mr. Trump’s rivals, namely Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden.

The two Giuliani associates — Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — were arrested in October 2019 as they prepared to board a flight from Washington to Frankfurt with one-way tickets. They were charged with violating campaign finance laws as part of a complex scheme to undermine the former American ambassador in Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, who Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump believed should have been doing more to pressure the Ukrainians.

Prosecutors in Manhattan continued to investigate Mr. Giuliani’s role in the scheme over the past year, focusing on whether he was, in pushing to oust Ms. Yovanovitch, essentially double dipping: working not only for Mr. Trump but also for Ukrainian officials who wanted the ambassador gone for their own reasons, according to people briefed on the matter.

It is a federal crime to try to influence the United States government at the request or direction of a foreign official without disclosing their involvement. Mr. Giuliani has said that he did nothing wrong and that he did not register as a foreign agent because he was acting on behalf of Mr. Trump, not any Ukrainians.

Even as Mr. Trump maintains that the election was stolen and files lawsuits aimed at delaying its certification, his White House is preparing for the final stages of his presidency. The end of any administration typically prompts a wave of pardons, particularly when a term has been engulfed in controversy like Mr. Trump’s, in which several people close to him became ensnared in federal investigations.

“The pardon power has been used by many presidents in politically self-serving ways, whether it was George H.W. Bush or Clinton,” said Jack L. Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School, citing how Mr. Bush pardoned six of his associates — including the former Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger — for their role in the Iran-contra affair.

“Politically, a pardon of Giuliani would be explosive,” Mr. Goldsmith added, “but pardoning pals has been done before.”

Under previous administrations, presidents have largely granted pardons after they have gone through a formal review process at the Justice Department, where lawyers examined the convictions, discussed the ramifications of a potential pardon with prosecutors and then provided the White House with recommendations on how to proceed. On several occasions, Mr. Trump has gone against the Justice Department’s recommendations and the advice of his own White House advisers, granting pardons to political allies and celebrities.

When presidents have deviated from that process, scandals have occasionally occurred, especially after pardons in the last days of an administration. On the final day of Bill Clinton’s presidency, he granted a pardon to Marc Rich, a wealthy financier and longtime Democratic donor who was considered a fugitive as he had fled the United States to avoid tax charges.

Prosecutors in Manhattan investigated whether the pardon had been part of a quid pro quo, but no one was ever charged. At the time, Mr. Giuliani, who had helped bring criminal charges against Mr. Rich years earlier as a federal prosecutor, was deeply critical of the move, calling it “a disgrace” and declaring it “a midnight pardon.”

No president has tried to grant someone a pardon for crimes they have not yet committed — essentially a prospective get-out-of-jail-free card — and legal experts say it is unlikely to hold any weight. In the case of Donald Trump Jr., Mr. Mueller’s investigation examined questions of whether his contacts during the 2016 election with WikiLeaks and Russians offering dirt on Mrs. Clinton amounted to campaign finance violations. Donald Trump Jr. was never interviewed by the special counsel’s office and was never charged.

In the case of Mr. Kushner, he omitted several significant contacts with foreigners when he filled out a form for his White House security clearance, including ones with the Russians offering damaging information on Mrs. Clinton during the campaign. Under federal law it is a crime to provide inaccurate or incomplete information on the background check documents for security clearances.

In 2018, the White House counsel and chief of staff recommended that Mr. Kushner not receive a Top Secret security clearance because of issues that had been discovered during his background check. Over the objections of Mr. Trump’s aides, the president unilaterally granted Mr. Kushner the clearance.

Ben Protess contributed reporting.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/01/us/politics/rudy-giuliani-pardon.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&fbclid=IwAR2Ptpzr1aWgN2KjJob7SOyvXFPh5l1U_-5Cdm7qUD9-ZgS8EQOtgLV1MVY

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zsomething likes this post

PkrBum

PkrBum
https://www.axios.com/china-spy-california-politicians-9d2dfb99-f839-4e00-8bd8-59dec0daf589.html

The woman at the center of the operation, a Chinese national named Fang Fang or Christine Fang, targeted up-and-coming local politicians in the Bay Area and across the country who had the potential to make it big on the national stage.

Through campaign fundraising, extensive networking, personal charisma, and romantic or sexual relationships with at least two Midwestern mayors, Fang was able to gain proximity to political power, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials and one former elected official.

Even though U.S. officials do not believe Fang received or passed on classified information, the case "was a big deal, because there were some really, really sensitive people that were caught up" in the intelligence network, a current senior U.S. intelligence official said.
Private but unclassified information about government officials — such as their habits, preferences, schedules, social networks, and even rumors about them — is a form of political intelligence. Collecting such information is a key part of what foreign intelligence agencies do.

Among the most significant targets of Fang's efforts was Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.).

Fang took part in fundraising activity for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign, according to a Bay Area political operative and a current U.S. intelligence official. Swalwell’s office was directly aware of these activities on its behalf, the political operative said. That same political operative, who witnessed Fang fundraising on Swalwell's behalf, found no evidence of illegal contributions.

Federal Election Commission records don’t indicate Fang herself made donations, which are prohibited from foreign nationals.

Fang helped place at least one intern in Swalwell's office, according to those same two people, and interacted with Swalwell at multiple events over the course of several years.
A statement from Swalwell's office provided to Axios said: "Rep. Swalwell, long ago, provided information about this person — whom he met more than eight years ago, and whom he hasn’t seen in nearly six years — to the FBI. To protect information that might be classified, he will not participate in your story."

What happened: Amid a widening counterintelligence probe, federal investigators became so alarmed by Fang's behavior and activities that around 2015 they alerted Swalwell to their concerns — giving him what is known as a defensive briefing.

Swalwell immediately cut off all ties to Fang, according to a current U.S. intelligence official, and he has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Fang left the country unexpectedly in mid-2015 amid the investigation. She did not respond to multiple attempts by Axios to reach her by email and Facebook.

Between the lines: The case demonstrates China’s strategy of cultivating relationships that may take years or even decades to bear fruit. The Chinese Communist Party knows that today’s mayors and city council members are tomorrow’s governors and members of Congress.

In the years since the Fang probe, the FBI has prioritized investigations into Chinese influence operations, creating a unit in May 2019 within the bureau solely dedicated to countering Beijing’s activities at the state and local levels. U.S. national security officials believe the threat posed by China has only grown with time.

"She was just one of lots of agents," said a current senior U.S. intelligence official.
Beijing "is engaged in a highly sophisticated malign foreign influence campaign," FBI director Chris Wray said in a July 2020 speech. These efforts involve "subversive, undeclared, criminal, or coercive attempts to sway our government’s policies, distort our country's public discourse, and undermine confidence in our democratic processes and values," Wray said.

Telstar

Telstar
Looks like the Chinese are wasting their money. Maybe they should be seducing right wing reality show hosts. The ones that see republican voters as easy to fool nimrods and know how to fire them up. Twisted Evil

Floridatexan and zsomething like this post

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