In a tweet, President Trump issued a threat to regulate or shut down social media platforms that "silence conservatives' voices."Warning follows Twitter's fact-checks »
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie fired back at critics of his agency's use of a controversial drug touted by President Donald Trump to treat COVID-19 patients in an interview with ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz on Tuesday. After the VA reported last week it had treated roughly 1,300 coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine -- a drug widely used in clinical trials that hasn't yet been shown to be effective -- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked Friday whether veterans were being treated like "guinea pigs." "I find that offensive, and I'll say that as many times as I can," Wilkie said in response Tuesday.
The unusual rebuke from Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley comes amid scrutiny of Trump's decision to fire the State Department's inspector general.
Republicans have argued a historic rule change would "damage the integrity of the House’s actions now and in the future.”
Trump’s former acting intel chief, who still serves as U.S. ambassador to Germany, is expected to take a senior role on the 2020 team focused on fundraising and strategy.
The White House said Tuesday that President Donald Trump remains committed to holding a Fourth of July celebration in the nation’s capital even as Democratic lawmakers from the region -- one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus -- warn that the area will not be ready to hold a major event. White House spokesman Judd Deere reiterated that Trump wants to hold an Independence Day celebration after members of Congress wrote on Tuesday to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to raise their concerns about the safety of such an event.
A U.S. attorney in Texas who was appointed by President Donald Trump announced his resignation Tuesday, providing no explanation for his unusually abrupt departure. Joseph Brown, who has served as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas since 2018, will leave office on May 31, according to a statement. It also doesn't say who would lead the office in the interim; the sprawling jurisdiction stretches from the Dallas suburbs to Beaumont.
Fireworks sparked Wednesday morning on the Squawk Box set as CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin blasted his own colleague Joe Kernen for dismissing the severity of the coronavirus pandemic that has now killed 100,000 Americans. At one point, Sorkin accused Kernen of trying to help his “friend” President Donald Trump “every single morning.”As the two discussed the recent stock-market gains, the segment grew increasingly heated as Kernen openly bashed Sorkin and “other smart people” for not being able to see why the market is rising despite the current poor state of the economy.“Joe, you missed it a hundred percent on the way down and you missed 100,000 deaths,” Sorkin snapped back. “So we can have this debate back and forth and you can try to question the questions I’m asking.”Kernen attempted to talk over Sorkin, prompting the usually mild-mannered business host to angrily interject.“Hold on, hold on,” Sorkin shouted. “I’m not going to do this with you Joe! Every morning, you try to question the questions I’m asking—these are questions investors are asking every single morning. I’m just trying to get through some of this clutter. I may be right or wrong. Investors may be right or wrong. That’s what makes the market. It doesn’t make people good or bad or right to act the way you are. I’m sorry.”After a dramatic sigh, Kernen began chiding Sorkin for scolding him as well as lecturing others over the pandemic, causing Sorkin to wave him off and tell him to read the news.“I’m sorry?” Kernen asked, prompting an incensed Sorkin to exclaim: “No you’re not. No you’re not!”At this point, Kernen began running down all the things his colleague “panicked” over, such as the virus itself, ventilators, and personal protection equipment, causing Sorkin to lose it.“Joseph, you didn’t panic about anything,” he shouted as Kernen objected. “One-hundred thousand people died. One-hundred thousand people died, Joe, and all you did was try to help your friend, the president—every single morning on this show. You abused your position!”Kernen, one of the few non-Fox hosts Trump grants interviews to, claimed Sorin was being “unfair” and that all he’s been trying to do is help “investors keep their cool and keep their heads, and as it turned out that’s what they should have done.”“Do the news,” Sorkin growled back. “I was not arguing to go sell your stocks, Joseph! I was arguing about people’s lives. Do the news, I’m begging you to do the news, Joseph!”Kernen, before getting to the news, got in the last word, saying the number of American deaths was terrible “but it was never going to be that we weren’t going to come back and return to normal,” insisting he wasn’t “trying to help Donald Trump.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
WASHINGTON -- As child hunger soars to levels without modern precedent, an emergency program Congress created two months ago has reached only a small fraction of the 30 million children it was intended to help.The program, Pandemic-EBT, aims to compensate for the declining reach of school meals by placing their value on electronic cards that families can use in grocery stores. But collecting lunch lists from thousands of school districts, transferring them to often-outdated state computers and issuing specialized cards has proved much harder than envisioned, leaving millions of needy families waiting to buy food.Congress approved the effort in mid-March as part of the Families First act, its first major coronavirus relief package. By May 15, only about 15% of eligible children had received benefits, according to an analysis by The New York Times. Just 12 states had started sending money, and Michigan and Rhode Island alone had finished.The pace is accelerating, with millions of families expected to receive payments in the coming weeks. But 16 states still lack federal approval to begin the payments and Utah declined to participate, saying it did not have the administrative capacity to distribute the money. Many Southern states with high rates of child hunger have gotten a slow start.As of May 15, states had issued payments for about 4.4 million children, out of the 30 million who potentially qualify, the Times analysis shows. If all states reached everyone eligible, an unlikely prospect, families could receive as much as $10 billion."The program's going to be very important, but it hasn't been fast," said Duke Storen, a former nutrition advocate who leads the Virginia Department of Social Services, which began sending money last week. "The intent is to replace lost meals at school, but the meals have been lost for months, and few benefits have gone out."Among pandemic-related hardship, child hunger stands out for its urgency and symbolic resonance -- after decades of exposes and reforms, a country of vast wealth still struggles to feed its young. So vital are school meals in some places, states are issuing replacement benefits in waves to keep grocers from being overwhelmed.The lag between congressional action and families buying food is, in many places, less a story of bureaucratic indifference than a testament to the convoluted nature of the American safety net.Many officials have worked overtime to start the program amid competing crises. Yet even in delivering a benefit as simple as a school meal, federal, state and local governments can all add delays, as can the private companies that print the cards, which can only buy food."We get it -- this is dire," said Lisa Watson, a deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. "We want these benefits out."Aid in the United States generally follows a patchwork logic, but the arbitrary nature of the moment is especially pronounced: Families with three children in Jacksonville, North Carolina, have received $1,100, while families in Jacksonville, Florida, have received nothing. One corner of red-state America (Fredonia, Arizona) can get help, while 7 miles away, another (Kanab, Utah) cannot."This is why we need a federal nutrition safety net -- hunger does not have state borders," said Crystal FitzSimons of the Food Research and Action Center, a Washington advocacy group.Many anti-hunger experts still think the program will make a big difference, and advocates generally have been reluctant to fault the states. "Obviously we feel a lot of urgency," said Lisa Davis of Share Our Strength, an anti-hunger group. But she called the administrative challenge -- old computers, multiple state agencies -- "a herculean task."But Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, who runs the Ohio Association of Food Banks, said the money was coming "as a trickle, not a fire hose as it should have been."More than half of schoolchildren qualify for subsidized meals -- 78% in Louisiana and 85% in West Virginia. The program reaches higher up the income ladder than most aid efforts, to families with incomes up to 185% of the poverty line, or $48,000 for a family of four.After classrooms closed in mid-March, most schools continued to serve meals in grab-and-go lines or along bus routes, even as cooks and drivers fell ill. But despite tenacious efforts, the meals have reached a small share of those who previously got them. National data is lacking, but weekly surveys of low-income families in Philadelphia (by Elizabeth Ananat of Barnard College and Anna Gassman-Pines of Duke University) found the share ranged from 11% to 36%.All signs show child hunger is soaring. In a survey of mothers with young children by the Brookings Institution, nearly one-fifth said their children were not getting enough to eat -- a rate three times higher than the worst of the Great Recession. The Census Bureau reported last week that 31% of households with children lacked the amount or quality of food they desired because they "couldn't afford to buy more."With big increases in other federal relief gradually reaching families, the problem could ease. But child hunger usually grows during the summer when school kitchens close, and teenagers now have less ability to supplement family budgets with summer jobs. Food prices in April rose at the fastest pace in 46 years.In creating Pandemic-EBT (for Electronic Benefit Transfer), Congress bet that plastic cards could reach more people than school meals and offer greater choice. It provides $5.70 a child for every lost school day -- $285 per child in Texas and $420 in New York, where the school year ends later. The federal government pays the benefits, and states pay half the administrative costs.Michigan set the pace, making its first payments on April 17, about four weeks after Congress passed the law. It has reached nearly 1 million children, while some states are still debating whether to proceed."The numbers on hunger are horrifying, and this was a fast way to get help to all kinds of families," said Robert Gordon, the state's health and human services director, citing research that shows children with nutritional aid do much better in school.Michigan's Midwestern neighbors Illinois and Wisconsin also sent money in April, as did Arizona, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. But Florida, Georgia and Mississippi have still not received federal permission to begin, and South Carolina has yet to apply.Two Southern states moved swiftly: Alabama and North Carolina (the third state to get a federal green light).Blue states have generally moved fastest. Two-thirds of states that sent money by May 15 have Democratic governors. Of the 16 states without waivers, 11 are led by Republicans.Among those who felt the pinch of closed schools is Melynda Baker, a Walgreens cashier in Tyler, Texas, whose boys are 15 and 12. Though the schools offered grab-and-go meals, Baker works during the pickup time and her disabled husband does not drive. That has left her replacing 20 weekly meals -- five breakfasts and five lunches for each big-eating son."I'm sorry, but they're boys -- they're 6 feet tall and need a lot of nutrients," she said.Baker makes about $10 an hour and budgets $125 in food stamps for groceries each week, with a firm rule it has to last. Now that it must stretch further, strawberries are out and sloppy joes are in.She and her husband feed their sons first, pretending to be distracted while the boys grab seconds. "We'll say, 'Oh, there's plenty left,' and then eat a bologna sandwich later," she said. But the older one caught on. "He's like, 'No, Mom, I'm full,' when I know he's not."When Baker saw a Facebook post about Pandemic-EBT she thought it was a hoax. But $570 arrived last week, and she is saving it for meat sales to stock her deep freeze."When you think about all the government has to do, the money came relatively quickly," she said. "I'm very appreciative."In South Euclid, Ohio, near Cleveland, Rebecca Payton feels less patient. When her husband, a mechanic, lost his job at the same time their children, 11 and 6, stopped going to school, food expenses rose as income vanished. A trying month ensued until they got unemployment insurance and food stamps. Worse than the deteriorating diet was the stress. "I was really worried I wouldn't be able to feed my children," she said.Until a reporter called, Payton had not heard of Pandemic-EBT. Told she qualified for $600 in emergency aid, Payton urged officials to hurry. "It doesn't seem like an emergency to them," she said. Ohio and Pennsylvania plan to start sending benefits this week.Most states are sending money first to families on food stamps, since they already have cards. It is harder to reach the others, about 40%, since eligibility lists often reside in school districts, some with obsolete addresses. Some states automatically send cards to families that lack them. Others make them apply. How many will know to do so is unknown.California enlisted a nonprofit group, Code for America, which got philanthropic support to build an online application for families without cards, a group that includes 1.7 million children. The site went live on Friday morning and by midafternoon had applications for 370,000 children."It tells me the amount of need in this state is staggering," said Tracey Patterson, the Code for America manager who oversaw the project. "It also tells me that government technology doesn't have to be bad. We tested it with 1,200 people," including non-English speakers.Unlike most aid programs, school lunches -- and Pandemic-EBT -- are available to children regardless of immigration status. But Congress left out Puerto Rico, perhaps by accident.In forgoing the program, Utah officials may have kept needy families from receiving as much as $50 million. Amid the pandemic, "changes we can implement in a short period of time must not be too complex," a human services spokeswoman, Brooke Porter Coles, wrote in an email.South Carolina hesitated because administrative costs could top $1 million, though needy families stand to collect more than 100 times as much. The state aims to seek federal approval by June 1.In New York, the pandemic's center, officials said they would start sending payments in late May but not reach all 2.1 million children until July.One big question is whether Congress will extend the program for the summer. Its supporters say the cards could pioneer an enduring solution to the summer hunger. The Democratic-led House recently included an extension in a $3 trillion aid package, which the Republican leaders of the Senate rejected.With so much effort expended on laying the groundwork, the program's advocates say it would be a waste to let it lapse. "We have the apparatus," said Mandy Cohen, North Carolina's secretary of health and human services. "I would lean heavily into extending this to make sure we don't have hungry kids."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will press President Donald Trump to invest in the nation's roads, bridges and rails during a White House meeting on Wednesday as U.S. states begin to reopen after the coronavirus outbreak left the economy in tatters. Cuomo's visit to Washington comes as his hard-hit state begins to see drops in rates of hospitalizations and deaths, while other states relax lockdowns and partygoers flout precautions aimed at curtailing the novel coronavirus. Twenty U.S. states reported an increase in new cases for the week ended Sunday as the death toll nears 100,000, according to a Reuters analysis.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to regulate or shut down social media companies, one day after Twitter Inc for the first time added a warning to some of his tweets prompting readers to fact check the president's claims. Representatives for Twitter and Facebook could not be immediately reached for comment on Trump's tweets. Trump posted similar tweets about the ballot topic on Tuesday, which had moved Twitter to add a blue exclamation mark alert underneath those tweets to warn his claims were false and had been debunked by factcheckers.
"We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen," President Donald Trump tweeted early Wednesday.
One of the so-called San Francisco “witch killers”—a husband and wife accused in a murderous spree in the 1980s—is up for parole today.Michael Bear Carson, now 69 and incarcerated at California’s Mule Creek State Prison, will have the chance to face the parole board for the first time. (His spouse and fellow convicted murderer, 77-year-old Suzan Carson, was denied early release in 2015.)But even Michael Carson’s estranged daughter is joining victims’ families in demanding the deranged killer stays locked behind penitentiary walls.“I truly believe that just because he’s old does not make him safe,” Jenn Carson, Michael’s only child, told The Daily Beast. “With his lack of regret and his views and the hate he’s filled with and his demented mind—I think in a year or less someone else will be dead.”Witch-Killers’ Family: Keep Them in JailMichael canceled a parole hearing scheduled for June 2015, according to one Orange County Register report, telling prison officials: “I know this is absurd. No one is going to parole me because I will not and have not renounced my beliefs.”Those “beliefs” included the couple’s own warped, drug-addled version of Islam. At one point, they claimed they were Muslim vegetarian “religious warriors involved in a holy war against witches” and created a hit list that included former President Ronald Reagan, ex-California Gov. Jerry Brown and TV personality Johnny Carson. In 1983, they even held a jail-house press conference, wherein Michael claimed his victims were murdered for “religious reasons” to protect America’s future. He said “witchcraft, homosexuality and abortion are causes for death.”Michael described Susan, who allegedly ordered each murder, as “a yogi and a mystic with knowledge of past, present and future events.”As part of their sickening crusade, the publicity-hungry pair murdered at least three people, including 23-year-old aspiring actress Karen Barnes (who went by “Keryn” and is of no relation to Suzan), 26-year-old cannabis farmer Clark Stephens, and a 30-year-old hippie named Jon Hellyar, who’d given the couple a ride. Michael and Suzan were each sentenced to a total of 75 years to life behind bars for the three killings. Relatives of the victims say, at the time, police believed the couple were involved in at least nine other slayings.The Carsons’ latest parole hearings stem from a 2014 federal court order aimed at combating overcrowding in California prisons by permitting hearings for prisoners age 60 and older who’ve served 25 consecutive years.Lisa Long, Karen’s sister, told The Daily Beast she plans to speak out at Michael’s hearing, which will be conducted via Skype due to COVID-19.“I’m just going to say what I have to say: how dangerous these people are and that they have promised to kill more people when they get out,” Long said. “They’re extremely dangerous, it doesn’t matter how old they get.“They show no remorse,” added Long, who lives in Georgia and traveled to the Golden State five years ago for Suzan’s parole hearing. “Neither one has done anything in prison to better themselves.”Long said it’s unfair for victims’ families to have to go through these hearings. “They’ve killed several other people in other states and over in Europe,” Long claimed, adding that authorities elsewhere didn’t pursue charges back then, believing the couple would spend life in prison anyway.“Now California is reneging on the decisions they made,” Long fumed.In a statement to The Daily Beast, Jenn Carson added, “You don’t address mass incarceration by releasing the less than 1 percent of prisoners who are serial killers. My father, Michael Bear Carson, hunted humans—young beautiful innocent victims. He is a predator who will kill again. I oppose my father’s parole.”Maggie Fleming, district attorney for Humboldt County, where Stephens was killed, said in an email: “We treat all parole hearings very seriously—we cannot assume particular outcomes in advance.” She added, “In this case, the Deputy District Attorney will argue that [Michael] Carson’s release would pose an unreasonable risk to society and of course we hope the parole board agrees.”Michael was a pot-dealing, stay-at-home dad when he met Susan Thornell Barnes, an older divorcée with two kids, at a party in the late 1970s. “He was gasoline, she was a match,” Jenn Carson said.Born James Clifford Carson, the future killer got his moniker from Susan, who called him “Michael” in homage to the biblical archangel who defeated Satan. Susan, meanwhile, had replaced one “s” in her name with a “z.” (Jenn Carson previously told The Daily Beast that Susan, the daughter of a publishing executive, had schizophrenia and “was living this posh, country club lifestyle before she started using LSD and got involved with my father.”)They abandoned their families, adopted the surname Bear, and traveled Europe before they settled in San Francisco, in the Haight-Ashbury district. It was there, in 1981, that Michael and Suzan met Karen at a party and later bunked at her apartment.“Karen was a beautiful person, inside and outside,” Long told The Daily Beast. “She would help anybody she could, and that’s how she met these people. They didn’t have a place to stay and she allowed them to stay with her for two weeks. They were not her roommates.”After their sojourn, the duo broke into Karen’s apartment, bludgeoned her with a frying pan and stabbed her 13 times. Suzan had claimed the victim was a “psychic vampire” who was draining her of her health, beauty and powers.Long says her sister—as well as her mother, another sibling, and herself—have psychic abilities and ESP, or extrasensory perception.She recited a 1980 letter she received from Karen, who said she was studying under theater director Lee Sankowich. “He has an enlightened mind which makes him clearer to see through,” Karen wrote, in what Long says is a reference to her ESP.A 1984 San Francisco Examiner article underscored Karen’s “psychic powers” and quoted Karen’s mother, Barbara Miller, who claimed her daughter had predicted she’d die before the age of 30. Karen wasn’t a witch, Miller said, but a psychic. “She could dream something, and it happened. It never failed,” Miller stated.A friend of the victim told the newspaper that the Carsons “mesmerized” Karen, who “always went for the underdog.”The Carsons’ killing spree continued in 1982 with the slaying of Clark Stephens, who was shot to death before being burned and buried in chicken manure. The couple had been working on his Humboldt County marijuana farm, which was mentioned in the Netflix true-crime documentary series Murder Mountain. Michael and Suzan told cops that Clark was a “demon” and “petty witch” who “wanted to live off [Suzan’s] life.” At trial, defense lawyers unsuccessfully argued that Michael shot Clark because he sexually attacked Suzan. Netflix’s ‘Murder Mountain’: Where Marijuana Can KillIn 1983, the killers attacked 30-year-old Jon Hellyar of San Diego, who’d spotted the couple hitchhiking near Bakersfield, California. The victim had been driving north to Santa Rosa to visit friends, according to press reports at the time.“He had always hitchhiked ever since he was 16,” Hellyar’s brother, Danny, told The Daily Beast in an interview. “Anytime he saw a hitchhiker he felt compelled to give them a ride, because he always did it.”Danny Hellyar said his brother left home to join the movement of “free-loving hippies,” rejecting authority and the establishment. Jon was turning his life around and had gotten off drugs when the Carsons killed him, Danny Hellyar added.“It’s a travesty they even have a parole hearing given the nature of the murders,” he said.The fiendish pair spent the night with Jon and his pals, and Jon drove them outside of town the following day so they could continue their journey. Before they parted ways, Michael shot Jon twice in the head and fled in his pickup truck. A 1985 article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat indicated the couple claimed they “plotted the death of Hellyar because he was a witch, triple Scorpio who was making sexual advances toward Suzan Carson, punishable by death under their faith.”While Jenn Carson has recirculated a petition demanding the California parole board deny her father’s release, Long bristled at her involvement. “We family members of the actual victims are tired of Jenn Carson capitalizing off of the murders her daddy committed,” Long said.Carson, who runs a suicide-prevention program, said she was hurt by Long’s claims. The two have appeared on TV shows together, including the canceled Crime Watch Daily, to discuss the serial killings. “It’s a shame she’s angry with me,” Carson said. “I’ll respect her space and grieving.”“I just want pressure on the parole board,” Carson said. “His last letters scared me shitless.”Carson said her father has bragged about his murders and “talked about himself as though he was a political prisoner.”Her childhood memories of Michael and Suzan include her stepmother feverishly clawing her and drawing blood when she asked for a back rub.“She tried to kill me,” Carson said of Suzan. “She wanted me dead.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
President Donald Trump’s threat to pull the Republican National Convention from Charlotte, North Carolina is gut wrenching for Ayman Abusamak. The president of A Step Above Limousine in Charlotte is counting on the GOP mega event to boost his business after the coronavirus pandemic wounded his fleet during a normally busy time of year, when proms and graduations can help the transportation company’s bottom line. But after seeing Trump’s tweet pondering whether to take the party’s business elsewhere, Abusamak is fretting about how deeply the move could wound the city trying to move forward during the public health crisis, and what his company would do without the business he expected the RNC to bring in. “It’s going to be devastating if that does occur,” Abusamak said of Trump’s threat, warning if the president followed through “it's going to cripple us.” “If we don't get this RNC, then our whole future is gone,” Abusamak said. “The future of our industry is gone in this area.” Trump’s Memorial Day morning tweet, where he criticized North Carolina’s Democratic governor for being “still in Shutdown mood,” and raised the idea of the RNC leaving if the convention isn’t “allowed to be fully occupied,” sparked weariness and concern from businesses in the southern city that were anticipating a windfall later this summer. And the potentially dire economic implications of his earlier warning wasn’t lost on some area businesses. “We have plans for events during the convention, so it would have a huge economic impact on us,” said Lauren Shoaf, the director of sales at Charlotte's Essex Bar & Bistro. Tillis Backs McConnell to Halt Funds to Needy States, Even as NC StrugglesTrump maintained the threat during a press conference Tuesday at the White House. He wants a fast decision from North Carolina’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who Trump criticized as "acting very, very slowly and very suspiciously." “We have to know, yeah I would say within a week that certainly we have to know,” Trump said. “Now if he can't do it, if he feels that he's not going to do it, all he has to do is tell us and then we'll have to pick another location. And I will tell you, a lot of locations want it.” Trump hasn’t been shy about wanting the country to reopen fast during the coronavirus pandemic. But he has also maintained that a major concern of the pandemic era is the hurt businesses and employees are feeling during the crisis. Yet by raising the idea of abandoning Charlotte in August, Trump managed to draw out even more worry from some businesses, while also setting up the potential of hurting his re-election in a state that may be crucial to his returning to the White House for another term. It also gave Republicans looking to flex loyalty to Trump another opportunity to do so. Georgia Republican Brian Kemp made sure to say his state's doors were open for the GOP convention if Trump does indeed decide to leave North Carolina behind. “With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention,” Kemp tweeted at the president Tuesday morning. According to a fact section on the RNC convention’s website, 50,000 visitors are expected with an estimated economic impact of more than $300 million. Despite those figures, the president’s twitter warning seemed to do little to alarm North Carolina’s Democratic leader. During a press briefing Tuesday, Cooper cautioned that the virus will still be around come August. “We want to see from the RNC what their plans are and we have asked them to submit those plans to our public health officials,” Cooper said, adding that he hoped to see a resolution to the issue “that everybody can be reasonable about that puts public health, safety, the science and the facts as the number one thing we’re trying to do here.” The president’s missive also put some in Charlotte, like Larry Farber, the owner of Middle C Jazz, in a tense position.His club has been shuttered from the virus since March and is one of the more than a dozen places listed by the GOP event as being official convention venues for the August festivities. Watching the president from afar, Farber is hoping the convention doesn’t leave. But even though he predicted his club will survive no matter Trump’s decision, Farber believes the convention could help the city in a far reaching way. “Almost like a stimulus package, more so than anything the government could have provided us through (the Paycheck Protection Program) or any small business loan that they're doing,” Farber said. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
The Instagram presence of META 1 Coin, a “digital currency” backed by a former Washington state senator and a YouTube mystic who claims she can “channel the archangel Metatron,” has a few quirks. For one, the account favors photos of massive, gold coins that look like something a cartoon bandit would carry around in a sack marked “$$.” For another, it leans hard into hashtags, piling on labels like dream, live, love, or vsco, the photo editing app that became shorthand for zoomers with small backpacks. But the main quirk of @meta1coin might be that it continues to update daily—two months after the Securities and Exchange Commission froze the company’s assets, one month after a Texas district court held the board members in contempt, and just weeks after a judge issued warrants for two members’ arrest, over running what the SEC claims is a $9 million scam involving a coin “backed by nothing.”On its Instagram page, Meta 1 Coin describes itself as a “Coin for Humanity / Making History / Liquidity of Gold.” It is listed as a “Local Business.” The local business emerged in April of 2018, from two Boca Raton residents named Robert Dunlap and Nicole Bowdler. Dunlap, according to court documents, served as the “architect” of the coin and its “Executive Trustee and Global Visionary.” Bowdler, the YouTube mystic who calls herself “an Earth Angel incarnated to help humanity” and now runs an online school for psychics, came on board as the coin’s “Trustee and Art Acquisitions & Forensics Director of Business Development.” Dave Schmidt, a former Republican representative in the Washington state legislature who was found to have misappropriated over $32,000 in campaign funds, joined META 1’s Board to do publicity. He talks about the endeavor frequently on his blog, “The Cosmic Connections,” and radio show, “The Sedona Connection” (“Sedona…….” the description reads. “It’s All About the ‘Energy.’ This Program reflects that ‘energy of life.’) None of them was licensed to sell securities or registered with the SEC “in any capacity.” The basic gist was that META 1 would convert fiat currency, like the U.S. dollar, into a “tokenized” currency, comprising 450 million coins backed by hard assets. Investors who bought one of the coins at $22.22 a pop would supposedly see its value skyrocket to $50,000 within two years. Put another way, that’s a 224,923 percent return on investment (a “very conservative” estimate, Schmidt claimed). But it was a sure thing. Or at least, Bowdler said as much on Crypto Visions, Evolutionary Journeys, an online talk show run by another YouTube psychic, who claims that “spirit guides” give her reliable crypto investment advice. Per the complaint: “Bowdler told the audience that Metatron and Abraham Lincoln revealed to her what would happen in the world’s financial and economic structure over the next 20 years.” But on March 16, 2020, the SEC filed a lawsuit against META 1 Coin, alleging the company was “nothing but a vehicle to steal investors’ money.” The commission’s request for a temporary restraining order to freeze META 1’s assets was granted within a day. In an amended complaint filed on May 14, the commission accused Dunlap, Schmidt and Bowdler of raising over $9 million from at least 500 investors, across 40 states and six foreign countries. The complaint claimed they had funneled the money into personal accounts and phony trusts. One manager allegedly used over $510,000 to buy a house and $215,000 to buy a Ferrari. On March 30, Dunlap filed a six-sentence rebuttal calling the case an accident. “I am presuming this matter was mistakenly made and looking forward to the immediate dismissal and sealing of this accidental filing while reversing all frozen assets,” he wrote, signing the letter with a stamp of a Tiffany lamp, framed by his signature, “\\\I AM// Robert Paul Dunlap.”Schmidt took to his radio show to call the allegations a “flat-out lie” and accuse the commission’s attorneys of perjury. “This is basically a direct attack from the SEC toward us and we have solid, hard, in-court recorded evidence to back up what we are saying,” Schmidt said on air. “They said they have facts. But it was just hearsay. And in a court of law, when you present it to a judge, it’s called perjury. Perjury is what it’s called, you SEC attorneys.” In the two months since, Dunlap, Schmidt, Bowdler, and three other associates named in the complaint have returned court subpoenas with the word “fraudulent” written on each page. They have all refused to testify, save for Dunlap, who, according to the court record, declined to answer several important questions, “claiming at various times the questions were ridiculous, the answers were none of the SEC’s business, and he has ‘no contract with the SEC.’” Only Bowdler agreed to turn over documents. Representatives for META 1 Coin did not respond to several requests for comment, except for one Instagram message, directing inquiries to their “investment team.” The investment team did not get back. * * *The court case was filed in the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, because Dunlap and Bowdler were living in the nearby town of Fredericksburg when they first started META 1. The company operated there for over a year, according to court documents, offering locals a chance to invest in its “cyber coins,” backed by assets “with skyrocketing values over the last century!” What those assets were, the SEC complaint alleges, changed over time. As early as April of 2019, META 1 claimed the coin was secured by a $1 billion art collection, featuring “Humanity’s greatest expressions of Life, by Master artists such as Picasso and Van Gough [sic].” The basis for the claim stemmed from a contract Dunlap had signed, while posing as a “wealthy banker,” according to the SEC, to buy 18 pieces of rare art from a local collector. The dealer, identified in the filings as “Art Collector,” never appraised or authenticated the pieces, estimating their worth at about $100 million. Either way, Dunlap never paid any money. The sale did not go through. In January of 2019, when the collector learned that Dunlap had been advertising his ownership of the works, he sued. That June, a judge declared that neither Dunlap nor META 1 had “any interest, right, or title to the artwork,” and awarded the “Art Collector” $25 million in damages. By November 2019, according to court documents, META 1 Coin was backed by a new hard asset. This time, it was “vaults of gold” worth $2 billion, which the company secured through a gold mine in Nevada. (According to the SEC, META 1 Coin does not own the mine or have any claim to it. Also, the mine does not produce gold). “In reality,” the complaint reads, “the Coin is backed by nothing.” After Dunlap and Bowdler relocated to Florida, they added more board members. Their “Senior Director of Operations” was a woman named Wanda Ironheart Traversie-Warner, a self-proclaimed shamanic healer who runs a website called “Ironheart Energy Healing,” and who served two prison terms, at least one for check forgery. Her husband came on board as META 1’s “Forensics Lab/Board Member, Meta 1 Coin Contractor.” Neither was licensed to sell securities.The board promoted their coin on social media, online workshops, email newsletters, and radio broadcasts on Blog Talk Radio, YouTube, and Facebook. In early 2019, when online forums were already calling the project a scam, Dunlap and Schmidt used those platforms to address the claims. In an episode of Schmidt’s radio show, he interviewed Dunlap about it. “People have been viciously attacking us and calling us scammers. They’ve been telling everybody, ‘Call the SEC. Call the SEC and report them,’” Schmidt said. “Here’s what’s so ironic. Robert... recently had about a one-hour discussion with a man from the SEC... He was so impressed with everything that we’re doing—that’s absolutely upfront and legal—he came in and bought coins. Was that correct?” Dunlap replied: “Absolutely.” According to the SEC and Dunlap’s subsequent testimony, however, it was not. Dunlap had never spoken to anyone from the commission until it sued him. That might not have struck META 1 as a problem. In their complaint, the SEC wrote that the company claimed it was “not bound by any laws.” Specifically, the whitepaper identified the business as a: > Private trust operating in a ‘Private Jurisdiction.’ Meaning [sic] Meta 1 Coin is not within a State or Federal jurisdiction and not accepting contracts from any such parties. The various federal agencies and their attempts of defaming and stopping the advent of digital assets have no legal bearing on META 1 allowing META 1 to operate without the interference of such agencies.” But neither the SEC nor Texas District Court Judge Robert Pitman appears to agree. On April 8, Judge Pitman granted a preliminary injunction against META 1 Coin. Two weeks later, after all three key defendants failed to show up for a video hearing, Judge Pitman ruled to hold the company in civil contempt. He issued warrants for Schmidt and Dunlap’s arrest, and banned META 1 Coin from “posting content to YouTube, Facebook, or any social media.” The case, despite COVID-19 delays, is ongoing. As is META 1’s social media. Tuesday morning, @meta1coin posted a video on Instagram of a leaf fluttering in the wind. “META 1 Coin is a paramount investment of security,” the caption read, “considering the status of the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, and the downward trajectory of the US Dollar...dreamlivelove.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
As the head of Cowboys for Trump, Couy Griffin has led pro-Trump horse rides through Washington, D.C., and posed for a photo in the White House with Donald Trump. He’s a superfan of the president and on May 17, he made the case that Democrats should die.“I’ve come to a place where I’ve come to a conclusion where the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” Griffin said to cheers at a rally at a New Mexico church. He was there to defy a public safety order pertaining to the coronavirus. Griffin, a county commissioner in the state, hastily added that he only meant Democrats who were dead in “the political sense”—an effort at cleanup he repeated in an interview with The Daily Beast on Tuesday.“I could’ve chosen a different verbiage, you know. I guess I need to be more careful when I choose the words that I speak,” Griffin said. “But you know, it’s just so hypocritical of the left how they’re blowing this up, like I’m some hate-speech murderer.”But in the interview, Griffin also repeated his claim that “the only good Democrat is a dead one” and signaled that he still thinks some top Democrats—such as governors Ralph Northam (D-VA) and Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI)—could be guilty of treason and the punishment that comes with it.“You get to pick your poison: you either go before a firing squad, or you get the end of the rope,” Griffin said. Asked by The Daily Beast about whether anti-lockdown protesters are increasingly considering violence, he didn’t hesitate in his reply. “I’ll tell you what, partner, as far as I’m concerned, there’s not an option that’s not on the table,” Griffin said. Anti-Lockdown Protesters Now Have a 21-Year-Old MartyrEnvisioning a scenario in which one's political opponents are hurt or dead is about as dark a turn as there can be for political discourse. And yet, Griffin has company. Anti-lockdown protesters across the country are ramping up their calls for violence against Democrats, even as states relax the coronavirus restrictions they’re protesting. On Sunday, anti-lockdown protesters in Frankfort, Kentucky, hung an effigy of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear from a tree outside the state capitol. The effigy bore Beshear’s face and a message: “Sic Semper Tyrannis.” The slogan, which means “thus always to tyrants,” is associated with the assassination of Julius Caesar and has become popular with anti-government groups. In North Carolina, prominent anti-lockdown activist Adam Smith posted a Facebook Live video on Friday saying he and other activists were “willing to kill people” over coronavirus restrictions. “But are we willing to kill people? Are we willing to lay down our lives?” Smith said in the video. “We have to say, ‘Yes.’ We have to say, ‘Yes.’ Is that violence? Is that terrorism? No, it’s not terrorism. I’m not trying to strike fear in people by saying, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ I’m gonna say, ‘If you bring guns, I’m gonna bring guns. If you’re armed with this, we’re going to be armed with this.’”This isn’t the first time Smith has toyed with the idea of using violence to oppose coronavirus rules. He appeared at an armed “Big Igloo” protest in the state, in a reference to the “Boogaloo”—a movement of armed anti-government extremists eager for a second civil war that they’ve dubbed the “Boogaloo.” Other armed Boogaloo activists around the country have rallied to oppose coronavirus stay-at-home and public safety orders, with several showing up to “defend” businesses operating in defiance of them.Smith has since tried to distance himself from his “willing to kill” video, claiming on Monday in a local television interview that he was just making a reference to the American Revolution. “I’m just doing this in the mindset of 1776,” Smith said. He didn’t respond to a request for comment. But the growing extremism from him and other anti-lockdown protesters and groups has created some fractures in the movement. Smith’s wife, Ashley Smith, is the co-founder of “Reopen NC,” a North Carolina Facebook group devoted to opposing pandemic-related restrictions. In April, Ashley Smith told The Daily Beast that she wasn’t concerned about catching COVID-19. “When it’s my time to go,” she explained. “God’s going to call me home.” But Ashley Smith’s commitment to risking arrest over coronavirus restrictions has split her from at least one of her Facebook group’s founding members. In late April, ReOpen NC co-founder Kristen Cochran publicly broke with the group, saying she and Smith disagreed over “civil disobedience.” “This movement has taken a turn that we were not in agreement with,” Cochran wrote on Facebook. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
President Donald Trump believes there would be "no greater example of reopening" than holding a summit of Group of Seven leaders in the United States near the end of June, the White House said on Tuesday. White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said the goal was for the summit to be held at the White House and that world leaders who attend would be protected. "The president thinks no greater example of reopening in his transition to greatness would be the G7 and the G7 happening here," McEnany told reporters.
Oil prices fell on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was working on a strong response to China's proposed security law in Hong Kong. Brent crude fell 90 cents, or 2.5%, to $35.27 a barrel by 1342 GMT and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 81 cents, or 2.4%, at $33.54. The euro zone economy is likely to shrink between 8% and 12% this year, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said, warning that a mild scenario was already outdated and the outcome would be between medium and severe.
Hong Kong's exchange is launching derivatives with index provider MSCI in a deal that hurts rival Singapore and boosts its global appeal amid U.S. warnings that Chinese pressure on the city’s autonomy threatens its future as a financial hub. The announcement comes days after China's National People's Congress said it would impose new national security legislation on Hong Kong, which U.S. government officials have warned could bring into question the city's special economic status under U.S. law. On Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said president Donald Trump had told her "it's hard to see how Hong Kong can remain a financial hub if China takes over."
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper went scorched earth Tuesday night on President Donald Trump, calling the president a “little man” for peddling baseless murder conspiracy theories about a dead congressional staffer even while her family begs Trump to stop.First taking aim at Trump for mocking former Vice President Joe Biden for wearing a face mask during a pandemic that’s killed nearly 100,000 Americans, Cooper moved on to Trump’s recent obsession with falsely accusing MSNBC host Joe Scarborough of murdering Lori Klausutis, an aide who died in Scarborough’s congressional office in 2001.Noting that the widower of Klausutis had unsuccessfully pleaded with Twitter to take down Trump’s “vile” tweets, the CNN anchor aired footage of the president claiming that Klausutis’ family wants “to get to the bottom” of her death, despite her husband explicitly stating that the tweets were causing the family tremendous pain.“What a little man,” Cooper seethed. “He’s just a little man. He’s the leader of the free world and he is a little, little man.”‘Fox & Friends’ Confronts Kayleigh McEnany With Chris Wallace CriticismAdding that Trump has been boasting that he’s a “wartime president” during the COVID-19 crisis, the veteran CNN anchor asserted that the president “doesn’t have the guts to say he doesn’t care” about the anguish being caused to Klausutis’ family.“No, no, he doesn’t have the guts to say, I don’t care what they think because this serves my political purposes,” Cooper exclaimed. “That’s why he’s doing it. He doesn’t have the guts to say it because he is just a little man despite his girth and size. He’s a little man inside and he knows that.”Cooper would go on to describe what presidential “leadership looks like” now: “The President of the United States raising conspiracy theories about a dead woman, though her family is begging Twitter to take them down.”The anchor wrapped up his barn-burning monologue by highlighting the fact that Twitter, while declining to enforce any actions on the president’s Scarborough tweets, added a fact-check link to Trump’s recent mail-in voting tweets.“Twitter is now acknowledging you won’t find facts in the president’s statements. That’s where we are,” Cooper concluded. “In the midst of a pandemic, this is what we’re talking about, this is what the president is talking about every single day. You think it’s normal. You start to think this is just normal. It’s not. Man, we are in trouble.”Anderson Cooper Dumbfounded by Trump’s ‘Sarcasm’ Excuse: Does He Think We’re ‘Morons’Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, an ardent Trump supporter, cautioned that an abrupt withdrawal would be "horrendous."
A group of Republican lawmakers have filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the chamber's new proxy voting system, which allows lawmakers to designate another member to vote on their behalf due to the coronavirus
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday called his Republican rival Donald Trump an "absolute fool" for not wearing a mask at a series of recent public events, saying his lack of leadership on the issue is "costing peoples' lives." The decision whether to wear a face mask in public has emerged as a national political battle, and the two presidential candidates have adopted very different approaches. Biden's decision to wear a mask outdoors on Memorial Day at his first public event since March caught the attention of Trump, who retweeted an image of Biden at the event accompanied by a comment: "This might help explain why Trump doesn't like to wear a mask in public."
U.S. House of Representatives Republicans will sue Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi over rule changes that allow members to vote on each other's behalf during the coronavirus pandemic, Republican aides said on Tuesday. The lawsuit, to be filed in federal court in Washington, will seek to block the new system passed by the Democratic-majority House and intended to allow the chamber to function while observing social distancing guidelines. It will argue that the rule changes are unconstitutional, the Republican aides said.
President Donald Trump's latest tangent ended up in a speculative riff about whether he should take insulin during a seniors event.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he is preparing to take action against China this week over its effort to impose national security laws on Hong Kong, but did not give details. "It's something you're going to be hearing about ... before the end of the week - very powerfully I think," Trump said in response to a second question.
“To fire him carries a political risk that Trump is apparently unwilling to take — for now.”
“Trump could simply ignore him rather than work with him.”
“While Trump may have turned against Fauci, he is unlikely to go away.”
“The only federal official who stands between us and repeated waves of COVID will continue to be downsized by Trump.”
“Even if you put aside the political firestorm it would cause, Trump could not just oust Fauci from his position by tweet.”