The Pasadena Police Department is looking into an allegation of assault involving Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, a spokesman with the department told the media on Tuesday.
“It is an active investigation,” said Lt. Bill Grisafe.
The attorney for the accuser, Marc Garelick, said in a statement that his client, whom he refers to as “Ms. Hill,” has “sought and obtained an order for Protection from the Court against Mr. Trevor Bauer, under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.”
“The order is a result of a recent assault that took place at the hands of Mr. Bauer where Ms. Hill suffered severe physical and emotional pain,” Garelick said. “Our goal is to keep Mr. Bauer from contacting our client in any way possible.”
Bauer denies the allegations, according to a statement from his agent, Jon Fetterolf.
“Mr. Bauer had a brief and wholly consensual sexual relationship initiated by Ms. Hill beginning in April 2021,” Fetterolf said. “We have messages that show Ms. Hill repeatedly asking for ‘rough’ sexual encounters involving requests to be ‘choked out’ and slapped in the face. In both of their encounters, Ms. Hill drove from San Diego to Mr. Bauer’s residence in Pasadena, Calif. where she went on to dictate what she wanted from him sexually and he did what was asked. Following each of her only two meetings with Mr. Bauer, Ms. Hill spent the night and left without incident, continuing to message Mr. Bauer with friendly and flirtatious banter. In the days following their second and final encounter, Ms. Hill shared photos of herself and indicated that she had sought medical care for a concussion. Mr. Bauer responded with concern and confusion, and Ms. Hill was neither angry nor accusatory.
“Mr. Bauer and Ms. Hill have not corresponded in over a month and have not seen each other in over six weeks. Her basis for filing a protection order is nonexistent, fraudulent, and deliberately omits key facts, information, and her own relevant communications. Any allegations that the pair’s encounters were not 100% consensual are baseless, defamatory, and will be refuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
MLB is aware of the investigation and looking into the allegation.
“The Dodgers were made aware of the allegations against Trevor Bauer late this afternoon and immediately contacted Major League Baseball, which will be handling this matter,” the team said in a statement. “The Dodgers take any allegations of this nature very seriously, but will have no further comment at this time.”
Bauer, 30, is the reigning National League Cy Young award winner.
A 10-year veteran of Major League Baseball, he pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds before joining the Dodgers in 2021.
In the week since Britney Spears’ bombshell court hearing in which she asked to terminate her nearly 13-year court-ordered conservatorship, it was reported from the source close to the singer’s family that she has “begged” her attorney, Samuel Ingham, III to file a petition to end the arrangement once and for all.
“Britney has spoken to Sam multiple times since last week and she has asked him point-blank, once again, to file the paperwork to end this,” this source told the media.
A second source close to Spears confirmed that the singer, who has been vacationing in Hawaii, had spoken to Ingham and urged him to move forward with the necessary legal efforts.
Ingham has yet to file the petition, but two sources with knowledge of the situation say that a filing could be imminent.
During the hearing last Wednesday, Spears spoke for more than 20 minutes and called the conservatorship “abusive.” She also said that she felt forced by her conservators to perform at times, take medication and use birth control against her will.
It was said that four attorneys who specialize in conservatorship law in the state of California, as well as a legal ethics attorney, about what needs to take place for Spears to be able to potentially end the conservatorship.
“If my client was conserved and said I want to terminate the conservatorship, I would bring that petition even if I personally disagreed with it,” Matthew Kanin, a Los Angeles county probate attorney who specializes in estate planning, trust and probate law said.
Erin Joyce, an ethics attorney in California echoed those sentiments.
“Why I think this case is interesting to ethics lawyers across the country is that when you have an attorney who is taking actions that are directly opposite the interests and wishes of their client, then that becomes an ethics issue, not just a probate issue.”
Ingham was appointed as Spears’ attorney by Judge Reva Goetz in 2008. During her remarks in court last week, Spears stated more than once that she wanted to hire an attorney of her choice. Judge Brenda Penny, who is currently handling the case, has the authority to appoint new counsel for Spears.
“My biggest takeaway on all of this is being denied an attorney of her choice right from the beginning of the case,” Tom Coleman, an attorney with Spectrum Institute, a non-profit organization that supports conservatorship reform in the state of California, told the media “From that moment forward, her fate was doomed … the court form when she was served said ‘you have a right to an attorney of your choice.’ And the statute itself says that as well.”
Following Spears’ remarks in court, Ingham told Penny he understood he is serving at the prerogative of the court.
“If the judge thought the current court-appointed counsel wasn’t doing the job adequately or even without any judgments on adequacy if the court simply wanted to grant the protected person’s wish for a new attorney then it could be done without much notice or warning,” Kanin said.
Anti-corruption activist and chairman of Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum, Comrade Prince Kpokpogri, has been unveiled as actress Tonto Dikeh’s new man.
Ossai Ovie Success, the media aide to Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, took to his social media accounts to celebrate Prince Kpokpogri on his birthday today and disclosed that he’s the new man in Tonto’s life.
He wrote in his caption: “Happy Birthday to @kpokpogri Prince. THE LOVE OF @tontolet TONTO W. C. DIKEH LIFE. As you Celebrate today, May God Almighty be with you always. Congratulations.”
Tonto Dikeh also took to Instagram to celebrate her new man, describing him as “the love of my life.”
In one post, the mother of one wrote:
Happy birthday to THE LOVE OF MY LIFE,
I hope you get everything your heart desires, because that’s exactly what you’ve given me. You are twice as sweet as any birthday cake. You make every day feel like my birthday, except I don’t need to blow out any candles because my wish already came true. Your smile is cause for celebration.
Your ❤️ is the most precious gift in the world. Your kisses could light a thousand birthday candles. I wanted to give you all my love ❤️ for your birthday, but there’s no box big enough to hold it. Besides, it’s already yours. Happy Birthday to A man who MAKES LIFE ITSELF FEEL LIKE A SPECIAL OCCASION I LOVE YOU BABY GOD BLESS YOU MY WORLD I CELEBRATE YOU SIR.
Comrade Prince Kpokpogri, who is from Isoko in Delta State, is an Anti-corruption activist and chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum.
Tonto Dikeh and her new man, Prince Kpokpogri, looked so in love at his birthday party which took place over the weekend. Prince turned a year older over the weekend and a birthday celebration was held in his honor.
One of the high points of the day was when Tonto presented her man with the keys to an expensive gift. She got so emotional when he received it and gave her a kiss.
A Nigerian woman, Ladunni Idowu Giwa-Osagie has welcomed her first child at almost the age of 50.
Ladun met her husband, Aigbovo-Giwa-Osagie when she turned 47, they got married at 48, she became pregnant at 49 and on June 25th, 2021, just before her 50th birthday, she gave birth to a baby boy named Osarumuwese Oluwaseyitanfunmi Nosakhare.
Her heartwarming testimony and inspiring personal story was shared by a friend, Ifeanyi Omeni on Monday, June 28. Read below:
I loved gladiator films during my growing-up years. Films like Ben Hur and its counterparts, featuring warriors of the ancient Roman Empire who fought in amphitheatres, to entertain an excited crowd, were my great delight. A little bit of that love still lingers, and I sure can settle down to watch those films at a stretch, without boredom descending on me.
Those Roman gladiators were like tin gods, ruling the amphitheatres and looked like the epitome of masculinity. Many maidens will sure feel safe, encased in those strong arms, characterised by rippling muscles. And my God, were those guys handsome? Soft on the eyes, with smiles that could charm maidens of that era. Looks like they were handpicked.
I took a trip to Rome last year and saw the Colosseum, an amphitheatre where gladiator fights took place in days of old. The monumental Roman Amphitheatre in Rome, is a golden-brownish building with perforated holes. I half-hoped to see Ben Hur arise from the arena and show his skills as a daring gladiator.
The gladiators of old were conquerors, warriors and celebrated champions. Though the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary describes a gladiator as a man in ancient Rome, who was trained to fight other men or animals, in order to entertain the public, I beg to differ from that definition, in this creative message.
I dare to define a gladiator as a male or female who has fought and won a long-drawn out war. One who can say with confidence that some may trust in chariots and horses but I will remember the name of the Lord, for his name is a strong tower and safe within those fortified walls, I have won a war and can now share the story of my gladiator fight.
This is a narrative of a female gladiator who fought and emerged victorious and whose story is told to encourage those still facing failure, that they will become gladiators, too.
Her story for me, begins many years ago…I walked into Protea Hotel that day and saw this charming lady with two prominent features. A glittering golden skin and a gap tooth that added to her charm and poise. From a distance, I admired her, and was soon brought in close contact with her.
The WhatsApp group was formed for singles-still-waiting-still desirous to use the way of righteousness to achieve success. I was one of them and she came on board too. With rapt attention, I viewed her contributions to the group and was eager to meet her.
The day came, at Dominoes Pizza outlet. Her sweet presence filled the place and I listened with rapt attention to her tales of her walk in the walkways of singlehood. Daring, and open, she shared her story and I was fascinated. Another meeting was at a member’s house and she once again showed she is a sweetheart.
Many more virtual meetings followed, as I heard her voice through the thought-provoking comments she made on the WhatsApp group. She has shown she is a Tale Weaver convert, on the group. Anytime I post an article and only one person reads it, it is sure to be her. Her comments come in torrents, encouraging and heartwarming.
This gap-tooth queen, is one great encourager of my creativity. She bought my recent novels and gave me my very first job of tribute writing. I crafted a birthday tribute for a friend of hers and her appreciative comments made my day and encouraged me to take up the art form as a business venture. I refused financial compensation, but she insisted and rewarded me.
Was I thrilled that day in the year 2019, when she sent the message to the WhatsApp group
I, Oladunni Idowu, finally found love at 47. Join me in appreciating God for his faithfulness and mercy. Indeed, delay is not denial.’
Her words of encouragement and inspiration brought to life dead dreams and shrivelled hopes. The members of the Mature Christian Singles celebrated one of their own, Ladunni, whose story of triumph made many believe in the message of an on-time God.
Ladunni’s story follows a trail of triumph. Of a lady who found love at 47, married at 48, got pregnant at age 49 and just before her 50th birthday, gave birth to a baby boy called Osarumuwese – The Lord has done me well; Oluwaseyitanfunmi – the Lord has done this for me in full and Nosakhare – God’s Will.
On 25th June 2021, Ladunni took a rapid leap unto the 5th floor as the mother of a baby boy.
I present the GOLDEN GLADIATOR, LADUNNI GIWA-OSAGIE, whose story has proved the biblical saying that weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Ladunni’s marriage to Aigbovo Giwa-Osagie, whom I call the husband of the year, is an encouragement to those Christian sisters who are beckoning at compromise, because they feel that God has forgotten them and they want to ‘help’ themselves.
The Gap-tooth Queen has changed address and has made many ladies dress their lives with hope.
I attended the GOLDEN CEREMONY OF LADUNNI’S ASCENSION to the fifth floor and the dedication of her son at White Stone Event Centre, Billingsway Ikeja, Lagos, on 25th June 2021, where the guests were bedecked in white, as a symbol of the purity of divine love and the freshness of a new season.
I watched Ladunni, who appeared at first in white lace with gold trimmings, and later as the lady in red, symbolizing the love she so freely shares with her husband. It was palpable as a touch, and people could not hold back their demonstrations of joy for the woman they came to honour.
Her husband dripped with joy and gratitude to God who gave him a woman he described as beyond amazing. When he stated that since he met her, he stopped having headaches, I could testify, for Ladunni is a woman who sprays her sweet fragrance wherever she steps into.
Her calls and words of encouragement to me, when she shared the testimony of her meeting with her beau, I cannot fail to recall. When she noticed my silence on the group, the absence of my usual birthday tributes for members, she alone checked on me and sent a voice note, praying for me, to uplift my spirits.
Beloved Ladunni, such an inspiring lady
I watched the glow on her face on that day of her coronation as a gladiator and could see that it went beyond the signature of a skilful makeup artist. It was a glow from within. As though a pipe connected her innermost feelings of joy, to her outer expression of delight.
Beyond the music of Yinka Alaseyori of oniduromi fame, the presence of comedian Kenny Black and Sonma Anyama, Dave of My Siblings and I comedy by Funke Akindele, there was the atmosphere of undiluted joy, a crowning of a maiden’s desire.
To Ladunni Giwa-Osagie, the Golden Gladiator, I dedicate this message. To the Golden Gladiator, who has not performed to entertain, but whose testimony has paved a way for many ladies to anchor their trust in God, I present this tribute. Remain rooted in divinity.
Ify Omeni – The Tale Weaver
I pray… For those who are younger than Ladunni, that they will not soil their garments of righteousness, while they wait.
For those older than Ladunni, that they will still look ahead and see a brilliant sunrise, where they will surely wear the garments of a gladiators.
The former daughter-in-law of a Trump Organization officer said Monday evening that she is prepared to testify before a grand jury convened by Manhattan’s top prosecutor as part of the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s sprawling company.
Jennifer Weisselberg — a former ballet dancer who was married to Barry, the son of Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization — told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “OutFront” that “we’re prepared, and we are getting prepared” to testify before the panel.
Weisselberg declined to say whether she’d been formally asked to testify, and didn’t offer a potential date or time.
Prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office are likely to announce charges against Allen Weisselberg as soon as this week, people familiar with the matter told CNN. He is under scrutiny for benefits he received, including a company-funded apartment and car.
CNN previously reported, according to people familiar with the matter, that Allen Weisselberg’s lawyers recently informed prosecutors that he would not cooperate in the investigation, although that could change in the future. He declined to answer questions from CNN on Saturday morning.
Lawyers for the Trump Organization were expected to meet Monday with prosecutors from the Manhattan DA’s office in an effort to convince them not to pursue charges against the company, according to a source familiar with the matter. The meeting follows a virtual conference late last week where prosecutors informed the company it would likely soon be facing criminal charges in connection with benefits it has provided to company employees, an attorney for the company and other sources told CNN.
Jennifer Weisselberg said earlier this year that she was cooperating with inquiries from New York investigators and had been asked about apartments she and her ex-husband were allowed to live in rent-free.
One area prosecutors may be looking into is whether the appropriate taxes were paid on the apartments, people familiar with the matter previously told CNN. Jennifer and Barry Weisselberg were married for 14 years, divorcing in 2018. Barry Weisselberg worked for the Trump Organization for more than a decade and was involved in managing two skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park.
“For me, when the government calls you, it’s your civic duty and there’s nothing wrong with telling the truth. It wasn’t really a choice; they called me,” Jennifer Weisselberg said at the time. “I’m happy to be as honest and transparent and just be forthcoming because I don’t have anything to hide.”
Documents from Jennifer and Barry Weisselberg’s divorce show thousands of dollars in payments for cars, rent, tuition, medical bills and more coming from Allen Weisselberg to his son’s family.
Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear brand Skims will supply Team USA with undergarments, loungewear and pajamas for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the star announced Monday.
The womenswear collection features sports bras, shirts, vests, cycle shorts and high-waisted briefs printed with American flags, the five Olympic rings and Team USA branding.
Announcing the collaboration on social media, the reality star and entrepreneur said the Games are close to her heart, as her former stepparent Caitlyn Jenner was a gold medal-winning decathlete. In an Instagram post, she recalled attending Olympic trials and track events as a child, when her mother Kris Jenner was still married to the former athlete.
“As I would watch the athletes compete, I would grow to understand the dedication and honor being a part of the Olympics embodied,” Kardashian West wrote, adding: “Every moment I’ve spent admiring the strength and energy of the Olympians from the sidelines came full circle.”
A series of campaign photographs show the garments being modeled by various members of Team USA, including Paralympian Scout Bassett and basketball player A’ja Wilson. Soccer star Alex Morgan is pictured wearing a white Skims x Team USA shirt featuring a large American flag and the Olympic logo.
On Instagram, Bassett called the capsule collection “a DREAM,” adding that she was “thrilled to be part of the new @skims Team USA capsule that celebrates female athletes!” Gold medal-winning track and field athlete Dalilah Muhammad meanwhile wrote that she “can’t wait to look this good in the Olympic village.”
Kardashian said that Skims had been invited by Team USA to produce the items. The designs will be made available for sale as a limited-edition collection from mid-July, according to a press release.
The brand has previously stirred controversy in Japan, which is hosting the Olympics for the second time, having launched in 2019 under the name Kimono — a play on both the star’s name and the traditional Japanese outfit of the same name. The name attracted accusations of cultural appropriation, leading to Twitter protests under the hashtag #KimOhNo.
After Kardashian West attempted to trademark the name, the mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa, wrote an open letter to the star, saying, “We think that the names for ‘Kimono’ are the asset shared with all humanity who love Kimono and its culture therefore they should not be monopolized.”
In response, Kardashian West said her brands were “built with inclusivity and diversity at their core,” before renaming the label Skims.
If you ask the Kremlin whether Covid-19 vaccination in Russia is voluntary, its officials will tell you it is. Yet authorities in Moscow have put together a policy that essentially gives people in public-facing roles little choice but to get their shots.
Faced with stubbornly low vaccination rates, Moscow authorities announced just over a week ago that at least 60% of staff in service industries — spanning everything from catering to housing and transport — must get vaccinated with at least one shot by July 15.
But while Peskov says someone can refuse a vaccine, they just might lose their livelihood for doing so.
“If a Muscovite works in the service sector and he has to get a vaccine but he has made a decision not to get vaccinated, he simply has to stop working in the service sector. And if he wants to, he will look for a job in another place that is not connected with those areas where the mandatory presence of vaccinations is imputed,” he said.
As of Monday, people in Moscow are now required to show to show proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test result or proof of a past Covid-19 infection in the last six months to be allowed entry to the city’s cafes and restaurants.
Russian officials have been giving regular updates on television and in briefings on the rapidly worsening situation across the country. Worrying images have started popping up again on Russian social media sites illustrating the increasing burden of coronavirus across the country. Both Moscow and St. Petersburg reported record high daily death tolls Monday, according to Russia’s anti-coronavirus crisis center.
Patients have been seen lying in hospital corridors in St. Petersburg — which is currently playing host to a number of Euro 2020 soccer matches — as an overburdened medical system battles an increasing number of infections. Images of queues of ambulances waiting outside hospitals to admit patients are reappearing.
Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin warned Monday that the burden was also growing on hospitals in the capital. “Over the past week, we have broken new records for the number of hospitalizations, people in intensive care, and the number of deaths from coronavirus,” he said, according to state media agency RIA Novosti.
Despite being the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, for use in August 2020, Russia has since lagged behind much of the world in vaccination rates.
As of Monday, 23 million people in Russia — a country of around 146 million — had been vaccinated with at least one dose, the health minister told state media. Some 16.7 million people have had both shots, according to figures released by the government last week. That’s around 11% of the population. Around 46% of people in the US have been fully vaccinated. In the UK, it’s about 48%.
As of Monday, Russia had reported 5,472,941 coronavirus cases and 133,893 deaths, according to official state figures, though the true toll is believed to be much higher due in part to the way Russia classifies coronavirus deaths.
Even though the pandemic has hit Russia hard, the idea of being forced into vaccination is unpopular.
While the Russian government insists it has not introduced a blanket mandatory vaccination scheme, testimony from ordinary workers — who did not want their full names to be used — suggests a huge sense of pressure and urgency to get vaccinated across the board.
Among the Muscovites lining up outside a vaccination center opposite Gorky Park in the blistering June heat were people working in hospitality, construction and business, as well as students. The center’s receptionist said that in the last few days people had been lining up between 8 a.m. right through to closing time at 10 p.m.
“I have to get vaccinated because of my work, because I work in the catering industry,” said 29-year-old bartender Dmitry, who was waiting for his first shot
“But I know that I would have to do this one way or another. Sooner or later they will press everyone to the point that we will all have to do it,” he said.
Also waiting in line was Yegor, an IT specialist. Despite not having a client-facing role, he said he had no choice about taking the vaccine.
“My work made me,” he said, also declining to give his full name. “They told me at work that I need to [get vaccinated].”
“I actually think it’s bad that they did this. It’s supposed to be voluntary, while in fact it is ‘voluntary-compulsory,'” Yegor said referring to an ironic term harking back to the Soviet-era meaning people have freewill, but in reality have no choice but to comply with what authorities want.
“It is not right. Every person has to have a free choice whether or not to get vaccinated.”
Russian authorities have tried to cajole people to get the shot by offering sweeteners, such as free cars and circus tickets. But now they are also turning to more restrictive measures. Employees in Moscow face losing their jobs if they don’t get vaccinated when asked to, and employers could be subject to fines or administrative suspension of their businesses for up to 90 days if they don’t meet their targets.
Moscow authorities appear to have known the policy would face some resistance — they announced the new policy as Russians’ attention was drawn to a highly anticipated meeting between President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden.
Around 500 people protested in the Novopushkinsky square, in the center of Moscow, on Saturday, state-run media TASS reported. They were demanding the right to choose whether to be vaccinated, and to stop the dismissal of workers and immediately restore them in their jobs, according to independent monitoring site OVD-Info. They called for the removal of coronavirus restrictions in the catering industry “and any kind of Covid discrimination in society and business,” according OVD-Info.
62% of Russians don’t want a Sputnik shot
Beyond the Russian capital, other regions are also introducing restrictions. The governor of the southern Russian region of Krasnodar, home to the vacation resort city of Sochi, announced that from July 1, hotels will only accommodate guests with a negative coronavirus test result or a vaccination certificate, and from August 1, only vaccinated travellers will be allowed in.
Anna Popova, the head of Russia’s public health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, has said compulsory vaccination could be introduced in other regions of the country “if necessary.”
Part of the major uphill battle for Russia is that vaccine hesitancy is rife in the country. A survey published last month by independent pollster Levada-Center suggested 62% of Russians are unwilling to get vaccinated with Sputnik V.
Alexandra Arkhipova, a social anthropologist and researcher at the university RANEPA in Moscow, also said there was a “crisis of people’s confidence in political and medical institutions.” Arkhipova has been studying trends of social media engagement and internet searches of Russian citizens and said that many believe there is no “clear and transparent information” about the vaccination process, so they are driven to look for ways to get around the system.
Russian media has been filled with reports of some people buying illegal counterfeit vaccination certificates to circumvent the measures.
Sellers offering fake certificates which Russians can use as “proof” of getting the vaccine are prevalent on Russia social media sites and encrypted messenger app Telegram. Prices vary depending on whether the buyer just wants a physical certificate or if they want their data uploaded to state databases and registers, Russian media reported.
Russian state media has also been reporting on the government’s crackdown on what they call “scam artists,” with the interior ministry releasing video of sting operations against couriers and sellers of the counterfeit certificates.
“The constant feeling that officials are lying or forcing them to get vaccinated, hiding the truth about vaccines, makes people feel morally right to buy a fake vaccination certificate,” Arkhipova said.
A 31-year-old businesswoman from Moscow who wished to remain anonymous said she wanted to buy a fake certificate because she didn’t think enough was known generally about Covid-19 vaccines.
“In Moscow, it’s prohibited to go to restaurants [without a negative PCR test or a proof of vaccination]. I live alone and eat out all the time, all my meetings take place at restaurants. Doing a PCR test every time I want to have a cup of coffee is not an option,” she said.
Advocate Chris Setlhako, the chairperson of the college council, commended EWC for an initiative that does not only touch the lives of the people but also helps in the prevention and spread of Covid-19.
“This initiative shows that the college does not only look at its own interest but also at the interests of the community it is serving,” said Setlhako.
On behalf of the Gauteng Department of Education, Nonceba Ntuta, director for GDE Ekurhuleni North district, expressed gratitude to the college and appreciated the donations.
Former President Donald Trump is facing a wall of accountability and truth as new revelations and investigations expose his abuses of power, delusional lies about the election and business conduct to ever greater scrutiny.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday announced a House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection Trump incited. • Details in new books about Trump’s misconduct in office underscore the depth of his autocratic threat. • A stunning report revealed that former Attorney General William Barr thought his voter fraud claims were “bull—,” shattering Trump’s voter fraud lies. • A GOP-led report into Trump’s delusional claims of a stolen election in Michigan turned up nothing. • Trump’s chief propagandist of voter fraud, Rudy Giuliani, already suffered the consequences for his campaign of falsehoods by seeing his law license suspended. • And, perhaps most seriously for Trump, the ex-President’s lawyers met prosecutors on Monday in a last-ditch effort to stave off criminal charges possibly targeting the Trump Organization and its namesake’s longtime financial guru, Allen Weisselberg.
The confluence of dangers facing Trump would usually be sufficient to doom any presidential legacy and rupture any hopes of a political comeback in 2024. Yet the question is now what it always has been: Will a twice-impeached former President who has always kept one step ahead of the law and political gravity by disdaining truth and ignoring shame pay a price for any of it?
This issue is all the more acute in the wake of the former President’s wild rally in Ohio on Saturday night, when his unhinged rhetoric and dark demagoguery highlighted the peril he still poses to democratic values.
He took the stage facing legal, political and personal challenges that have grave implications for his hopes of a political rebound and the fate of his business, which forms the foundation of his legend of deal-making greatness. But as his rapturous reception showed, the former President’s impervious support among the Republican base and devoted millions of followers means there is probably nothing that emerges from any kind of investigation that will dent his personality cult.
And while in Ohio, Trump spelled out that he knows exactly what power he has over his base.
“I represent what they want,” Trump said, speaking of a police officer he supposedly met while in office. “They want law, and they want order. And that’s what you want. That’s what this country wants.”
Still, Trump’s uncontrolled behavior and extremism helped devastate the Republican vote in suburbs in swing states like Michigan, Arizona and Pennsylvania. So while he might still be seen as the favorite for the 2024 GOP nomination, his chances of winning a national election may be further eroding.
While there has been a series of blows in recent days to Trump’s false narrative that he was deprived of a second term by a massive Democratic Party conspiracy, facts are again unlikely to tip the balance among supporters fed a stream of lies about the election by a compliant conservative media machine.
The former President is doing what he always does, portraying scrutiny and accountability as evidence of an establishment conspiracy biased against him, and painting a narrative of grievance that his supporters always buy in to. Such a conceit has always been at the center of his political appeal for voters who gravitated toward his assaults on a political system from which they felt alienated. To further his strategy, any legal cases against the Trump Organization are sure to be turned into a pageant of personal persecution by the former President.
New evidence that November’s election was free and fair is also no more likely to convince his followers that their hero lost than the multiple cases thrown out of court.
A sham audit of votes in Arizona by Republican state senators is, in fact, likely to further fuel the former President’s volcanic behavior if it feeds the conservative narrative of irregularities that were rejected by multiple judges.
For example, after details emerged from an excerpt of a new book — “Betrayal,” by ABC’s Jon Karl — that depicts Barr as savaging Trump’s claim he was cheated out of power last November, the former President issued an extraordinary statement.
The more than 500-word rant not only blasted Barr, despite his repeated impression of tilting the scales of justice to benefit the ex-President. It also suggested that Trump has traveled even further from reality in his five months out of power as he pointed to “incredible facts” about cheating that were largely recycled and already disproven conspiracies born of conservative media.
It was unhinged rhetoric that gave a strong impression that the former President now exists in a bunker-like mentality, deeply convinced of his own invented version of reality.
Yet this is the same powerful political force that is still effectively the leader of the Republican Party — one who has left party leaders like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky afraid to take him on and is making support for his election lies the dominant issue in Republican Party primary races.
Trump’s fantastical claims of voter fraud are also the driving force behind multiple efforts by GOP state lawmakers across the country to make it harder for many Democrats, including minorities, to vote
Some bills equip partisan officials to interfere in local certification processes and institutionalize the kind of pressure that Trump placed on local GOP officials in Georgia to steal victory in November.
Former President Barack Obama warned on Monday that such measures could effectively make it easier for malcontents like Trump to cheat in future elections.
“If we don’t stop these kinds of efforts now … we are going to see a further delegitimizing of our democracy,” Obama said.
It’s also unlikely that Pelosi’s select committee will fracture the fallacies Trump supporters believe about January 6. In fact, Trump acolytes like Georgia’s Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene are trying to get appointed to the panel in order to turn its meetings into a circus.
A grave legal threat
There was fresh evidence of Trump’s incandescent state of mind as his lawyers met with prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office in an effort to persuade them not to pursue charges for alleged financial crimes by the company.
Trump claimed the team was “rude, nasty, and totally biased” against him, claimed they were trying to destroy him and the “Make America Great Again” movement and were radical leftists who were a disgrace to the nation.
The former President no longer has his social media accounts and cannot propagate his fury without the help of retweets and conservative media appearances. But his statement was a taste of the vitriol sure to flow from his camp if charges are brought against his organization.
A flurry of exposés from Trump’s desperate last days in office is emerging, meanwhile, from a series of forthcoming books. According to Karl, the then-President had “the eyes and mannerism of a madman,” in the words of one attendee at a meeting between Trump and Barr after the attorney general said there was no evidence of widespread election fraud.
In another account, by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender, Trump is depicted as getting into a shouting match with Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after saying he wanted to send the US military into cities that he claimed were in flames amid violence.
Critics often accuse the Washington media of addiction to insider accounts of the crazed behavior inside Trump’s West Wing. Yet while these books, and the contributions of officials like Barr, who spoke to Karl on the record, do come across as an attempt at reputation repair, they also perform a valuable service.
The accounts are building a record of malfeasance on the behalf of the former President. They show just how close American democracy came to the brink, thanks to a former commander in chief who tried to use tactics familiar to the autocrats, like China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who he so admired.
Trump’s certain attempts to make his enemies pay a price for a tightening vice of accountability mean that the process of healing from the trauma of his aberrant presidency is only just beginning, and is likely to further disrupt the country’s fragile political equilibrium.