With the pandemic severely restricting economic activity, thousands of small businesses across the country are on the brink of collapse. Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program as a lifeline. The $350 billion fund was intended to rescue small businesses with forgivable loans to cover their payrolls for two months.
The Congressional race in North Carolina's 9th district, where Republican Mark Harris is leading Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes, has drawn national attention because of highly unusual patterns in mail-in absentee ballots. In Bladen County, for example, only 19% of mail-in absentee ballots were requested by Republicans, but Harris won 61% of the mail-in absentee ballot vote. In every other county, including Republican strongholds like Union County, McCready won the mail-in absentee vote.
Lying to Congress is a crime even if you are not under oath. Federal law prohibits making false statements to Congress. Trump Jr, during questioning before the Senate Intelligence Committee was asked about contacts with foreign nationals seeking to assist the campaign — and his testimony may now come back to haunt him.
Upon entering the White House, Jared Kushner divested the property only in the most technical sense. He “sold” the assets to his brother and a trust controlled by his mother. A lawyer described the transaction to the New York Times as a “shell game.” Now, with Kushner ensconced as a senior adviser in the White House, someone has emerged to bail him and his family out of this mess. The identity of Kushner’s white knight is a mystery.
Billionaire investor and longtime Trump confidant Carl Icahn dumped $31.3 million of stock in a company heavily dependent on steel last week, just days before Trump announced plans to impose steep tariffs on steel imports.
On Thursday night, the New York Times reported that President Trump tried to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last June. Trump ordered White House counsel Donald F. McGahn to oust Mueller, but backed down when McGahn threatened to resign. Trump, however, has publicly denied even considering firing Mueller.
At a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, claimed that she couldn’t remember what word Trump used to describe Haiti and African countries in an Oval Office meeting last week. According to Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin, Trump derided those nations as “shithole countries.”
After Walmart’s flashy announcement of bonuses of up to $1,000 for some of its workers, the real story played out quietly.On Wednesday, as news of the bonus announcement was lauded by Trump and Fox News, Walmart abruptly closed down 63 Sam’s Clubs stores. More than 9,000 people lost their jobs. Some only learned about the decision when they showed up to work and found the doors locked.
Corker, the lone hold out on the Republican Tax policy, changes his vote last minute. Corker made his announcement two hours before the text of the tax bill was made public. In the 503-page text was a new provision that was not in the House or Senate legislation. It would specifically benefit real estate investors who operate “pass-through” businesses. This group includes President Trump — and also Bob Corker, who “has millions of dollars of ownership stakes in real-estate related LLCs that could also benefit” from the new provision.
Until Monday, there was no evidence that Trump knew about any campaign contacts with Russians or their intermediaries. But tucked away in the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos is a piece of information that undermines Trump’s February statement and draws him more directly into the scandal. According to Papadopoulos, when he attended a March 31, 2016 campaign national security meeting he told the small group, which included President Trump, that he had ongoing communications with Russians that would allow him to facilitate a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin.
On Tuesday, the 8th person was identified: Irakly Kaveladze. Kaveladze, a U.S. citizen who was born in the former soviet republic of Georgia, currently works for the Agalarovs as a vice president of their family company, Crocus International. But Kaveladze also has a checkered history. An October 2000 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) accuses Kaveladze of being involved in a massive effort, over nearly 10 years, to launder $1.4 billion of Russian and Easter European money through U.S. banks.
The Wall Street Journal published twoexplosive reports detailing the actions of Republican operative Peter W. Smith during last year’s presidential election. According to the WSJ, Smith was seeking to acquire stolen Hillary Clinton emails from Russian hackers. Smith told associates that he discussed his activities with a key member of the Trump campaign, Michael Flynn. Smith was a longtime supporter and confidant to Newt Gingrich, a key member of the Trump campaign. Smith died about 10 days after talking to the Wall Street Journal reporter Shane Harris. While there is no evidence of foul play, and Smith was 81 years old, the cause of his death is unknown and not discussed in his obituary.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was scheduled to testify publicly next Tuesday before the House and Senate appropriations committees. On Saturday, he abruptly canceled. In letters to the chairmen of the committees, Sessions writes that he will send his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, to the hearing instead. In explaining the cancellation, Sessions writes that he believed that members of the committees were planning on asking him about “issues related to the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election.”