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Aaron Colen

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‘I wanted him to hear my voice’

Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery, said President Donald Trump was “compassionate” toward the families of victims of police brutality during a Tuesday meeting associated with his police reform executive order, Newsweek reported.

Arbery was killed by civilians, although his death and the way it was handled by local police and prosecutors set a foundation for the racial unrest that occurred after George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer on May 25. One of the men charged with Arbery’s murder was a former police officer.

“I was very very emotional throughout the whole conference,” Cooper-Jones told Fox News. “[Trump] was very compassionate. He shows major concerns for all families, not just one family but for all families. I can say that President Trump was very receiving. He listened and he addressed each and every family accordingly.”

Some were critical of Cooper-Jones and the other families for participating in the meeting with President Trump, who is often viewed unfavorably on issues of race. Cooper-Jones stands by her decision to participate.

“I wanted him to hear my voice,” Cooper-Jones said.

Cooper-Jones said the executive order was a positive step, although she doesn’t believe it goes far enough, and it doesn’t address the circumstances that led to her son’s death.

“I don’t think that’s enough, but I do think that is a start,” Cooper-Jones said. “I didn’t think that order addresses anything that concerns Ahmaud’s case at all.”

Cooper-Jones and the other families also met with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who is leading Senate Republican efforts to draft police reform legislation.

Arbery was chased down by two residents in Glynn County, Georgia, after he was suspected of burglarizing an unoccupied home under construction. Travis and Gregory McMichael pursued him in their truck, with firearms. Travis McMichael shot Arbery during a physical altercation when they cornered him.

The McMichaels were not arrested and charged with Arbery’s murder until more than two months had passed after his death, once the video of the altercation was leaked to media.

The families of the other victims, included Arbery, Botham Jean, Antwon Rose, Jemel Roberson, Atatiana Jefferson, Michael Dean, Darius Tarver, Cameron Lamb, and Everett Palmer.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: Ahmaud Arbery’s mother says President Trump was ‘compassionate’ during meeting with victims’ families

Two sets of rules

New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy embraced a clear double standard in his enforcement of COVID-19 precautions, saying the peaceful protests of the George Floyd’s killing are different from business owners protesting their inability to earn a living.

These protests, which aren’t always peaceful, include crowds of hundreds or thousands of people gathering and marching, with not everyone wearing masks, and people often seen hugging each other and certainly standing closer than the recommended six feet apart. They violate COVID-19 rules in every way.

“It’s one thing to protest what day nail salons are opening and it’s another to come out and peaceful protest about somebody who was murdered right before our eyes,” Murphy reportedly said, according to reporter Shlomo Schorr.

Restaurants in New Jersey won’t be allowed to open for outdoor dining until June 15. Salons and barbershops won’t be allowed to take customers until June 22, and even then they will be required to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Protests, Murphy claims, are subject to different rules for no other reason than he believes one cause to be more valid than the other.

While Murphy may have referred to nail salons dismissively, as if the primary concern is about people who haven’t been able to get their nails done, he fails to acknowledge that nail salons are businesses owned and operated by people who depend on them for essential income.

One might reasonably argue that, as important as the right to peacefully assemble in protest is, it is even more important that someone be allowed to earn a living. At the very least, it seems that the two concerns should be subject to the same rules.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made a comment similar to Murphy’s recently, saying concerns from religious people who wanted to gather for services weren’t the same as protesting in the context of “400 years of American racism.

The rhetoric around reopening states last month was legitimately apocalyptic, with detractors warning of spikes in deaths and overwhelmed hospitals if people were allowed to go to restaurants or stores. Now, some public health experts support mass gatherings, simply encouraging participants to be careful and social distance, if possible.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: NJ governor admits COVID-19 double standard, says recent protests are different from business owners’ complaints

Former officer already faces murder charges

The attorney representing George Floyd’s family said during an interview on NBC’s “Today” that authorities have told him the three other former officers involved in Floyd’s death will also be charged.

Derek Chauvin, the former officer seen in viral videos with his knee on Floyd’s neck, was charged last week with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Videos show two other officers — one “held Mr. Floyd’s back” and the other “held his legs” — during the incident, and the fourth officer standing nearby watching.

“They will be charged. That is what the family is hearing from authorities,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said.

Chauvin and the two other officers were on Floyd’s neck and back for more than eight minutes, even after he fell unconscious. He had no pulse and was unresponsive when first responders arrived, and his condition never improved even as medical workers tried to revive him for more than an hour on the way to the hospital and at the emergency room.

The death was ruled a homicide by the Hennepin County medical examiner and by an independent autopsy done at the family’s request, although the two reports listed different causes of death.

The county’s report said he died of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” and pointed out that he had “arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease,” fentanyl intoxication, and recent methamphetamine use.

The independent report listed the cause of death as asphyxia, saying his brain and other organs stopped functioning because his oxygen was cut off due to the pressure on his neck and back.

All four officers have been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department. The University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Public School district cut ties with the department as a result of the incident. The state Human Rights Department has launched an investigation into the MPD to examine its practices and policies for potential patterns of discrimination.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: Three other former officers involved in George Floyd’s death will be charged, family lawyer says

He later claimed he didn’t mean what he said

CNN’s Chris Cuomo doesn’t seem to be enjoying his job anymore, and during a radio segment Monday night on SiriusXM, he expressed just how fed up he is with the work in political media that he’s best known for.

Cuomo was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 31 and said his experience with the disease has caused him to rethink his values, according to the New York Post:

“I don’t want to spend my time doing things that I don’t think are valuable enough to me personally,” Cuomo said. “I don’t value indulging irrationality, hyper-partisanship.”

Cuomo said his battle with COVID-19 has made him rethink his values and question his position as a public figure.

“I don’t like what I do professionally,” he said. “I don’t think it’s worth my time.”

Cuomo also said he’s no longer interested in “trafficking in things that I think are ridiculous,” such as “talking to Democrats about things that I don’t really believe they mean” or “talking to Republicans about them parroting things they feel they have to say.”

He’s also tired of analyzing President Donald Trump, who Cuomo said is full of s*** by design.”

The CNN host referred to a public confrontation from last year when someone approached him at a restaurant and tauntingly referred to him as “Fredo.” Cuomo said he’s frustrated that he can’t retaliate in situations like that.

“I want to be able to tell you to go to hell, to shut your mouth … I don’t get that doing what I do for a living,” Cuomo said, according to the Post. “Me being able to tell you to shut your mouth or I will do you the way you guys do each other.”

By Tuesday, however, Cuomo was backpedaling and claiming he didn’t mean what he said.

“I didn’t mean it that way,” Cuomo said on radio Tuesday.

“I have never been in a better position, professionally, than I am in right now,” Cuomo said of CNN. “They’ve been so good. They’ve been so supportive of me in ways I could never have imagined. … I’ve never had a group of people professionally care about me the way they have shown. I’ll never be able to repay them, but I’ll try hard to do so. I’ve never been more grateful. I’ve never been on a better team.”

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: Chris Cuomo rips his own CNN career, says COVID-19 has changed his values: ‘I don’t think it’s worth my time’

Capitalizing on the crisis

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) sees the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to push progressive policies, and his comments are the latest evidence that politicians are eager to use the crisis to advance their own agendas.

Newsom was asked during a news conference Tuesday whether he saw the potential for the coronavirus outbreak to be used for the advancement of more progressive policies on the national and state level — a chance for a new “progressive era.”

The governor started his answer by detailing persistent issues of growing income inequality in California and elsewhere, before circling back to the question he was asked.

“Forgive me for being long-winded, but absolutely we see this as an opportunity to reshape the way we do business and how we govern,” Newsom said. “And that shouldn’t put shivers up the spines of you know one party or the other. I think it’s an opportunity anew for both parties to come together and meet this moment and really start to think more systemically, not situationally, not just about getting out of this moment, but more sustainably and systemically to consider where we can go together in this historic moment if we meet it at a national level, in a state, and sub-national level. So, the answer is yes.”

Newsom isn’t the first Democrat to publicly state that coronavirus is a political opportunity. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said recently that the negotiations for the stimulus bill represented “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”

Democrats were advocating for environmental and labor reforms in the stimulus bill that did not directly relate to aiding Americans or struggling businesses. Something Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was highly upset by the attempt.

“Here are some of the items on the Democratic wish list, over which they choose to block this legislation last night,” McConnell said on March 23. “Tax credits for solar energy and wind energy. Provisions to force employers to give special new treatment to big labor. And listen to this: New emissions standards for the airlines. Are you kidding me? … Democrats won’t let us fund hospitals or save small businesses unless they get to dust off the Green New Deal.”

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: California Gov. Newsom sees coronavirus as an opportunity to usher in a new, ‘progressive era’

Broken promises

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg spent hundreds of millions of dollars on his failed Democratic presidential campaign before dropping out and endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden.

In the process of running for president, he hired a large staff, paying some of them well above average salaries and allegedly promising them employment through November, even if Bloomberg was not the nominee.

In the weeks following Bloomberg dropping out, however, some staffers were abruptly fired and left without promised health insurance benefits — just as COVID-19 was spreading across the United States. So, they’re taking action against Bloomberg in two separate lawsuits.

One lawsuit alleges that employees were recruited under false pretenses and not paid adequately for overtime. The second lawsuit addresses the alleged promises of employment through November. From NPR:

“The Bloomberg campaign’s hiring managers understood that potential applicants for field staff positions like the plaintiffs would be motivated to work for Mike Bloomberg 2020 because of their interest in working on the general election to defeat Donald Trump,” the lawsuit states.

“Accordingly, the Mike Bloomberg 2020 hiring managers expressly promised field staff applicants for Mike Bloomberg 2020 that they would be employed by Mike Bloomberg 2020 to perform work on the primary campaign to elect Michael Bloomberg as the Democratic nominee and election, regardless of whether Bloomberg won the nomination, and stated that the Bloomberg campaign would keep open and financially support its field offices through the general election campaign.”

Bloomberg dropped out of the primary after a disappointing Super Tuesday finish and endorsed Biden, who has opened up a potentially insurmountable lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Bloomberg also made what amounts to an $18 million personal donation to the Democratic National Committee, which was allowable because it came from his campaign committee — which was self-funded. Bloomberg spent nearly $1 billion on his campaign.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: Former campaign staffers file class-action lawsuit alleging Mike Bloomberg promised pay through November then fired them

It’s not working

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has once again been caught exaggerating his support from a black leader or celebrity as he desperately tries to prove that he can put together a diverse coalition of support.

Buttigieg, who has failed in numerous polls to get even one black person to choose him as their top candidate, had to walk back a claim that he had received the endorsement of actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key. From ABC News:

When Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg touted support from African American comedian and actor Keegan-Michael Key last week, his campaign was forced just hours later to clarify that the actor had not officially endorsed the former South Bend mayor, telling reporters he only sought to “encourage early voting and voter registration.”

Key appeared with Buttigieg on Saturday to drum up voter support at his Henderson, Nevada field office.

Could this be an innocent misunderstanding? Possibly. But it’s not the first time the campaign has been caught overstating its level of support from influential black leaders.

The Buttigieg campaign published a list of black supporters in South Carolina, which included three leaders and hundreds of other supporters. The problem is, those three leaders all said they had not endorsed Buttigieg. Even worse, many of the names on the list were shown multiple times — and about 40% of the names were white people.

Related to that situation, the Buttigieg campaign put out a promotion for a policy to benefit the black community, but in the promotion they used a stock image of a woman and a child in Kenya rather than an actual picture of black people who supported Buttigieg.

Buttigieg had moved up to 2% support with black voters in South Carolina in a January Fox News poll.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: Pete Buttigieg caught exaggerating his black support — and this isn’t the first time

Civility

Dave Chappelle is certainly not a conservative. In fact, he’s endorsed Andrew Yang in the Democratic primary — the candidate whose signature policy proposal is a $1,000 per month universal basic income.

But Chappelle has both sparked criticism and gained some admiration for calling things like he sees them, even when it goes against what might be expected of him as a wealthy liberal celebrity.

His latest violation of liberal elite dogma: He doesn’t hate people who voted for or support President Donald Trump.

“I don’t look at Trump supporters as my enemy at all,” Chappelle said. “I understand why people voted for Trump, I understand people are desperate. And I think that Andrew is right you run against the reasons that Trump got elected. I got friends on both sides of the political aisle, I got fans on both sides of the political aisle. A lot of people say professionally it’s not wise to support any candidate, but this idea is so good, that I think it should exist. And I think the fountainhead of many of the good ideas on the table this year are coming from a single source — Andrew Yang. And for some reason, no one’s paying attention. This guy is the origin of a platform that really does address where I think the country needs to go.”

Chappelle’s stance on Trump supporters is vastly different than that of CNN host Don Lemon and his guests, Rick Wilson and Wajahat Ali. A Saturday night segment on Lemon’s show devolved into hysterical mocking of Trump supporters as uneducated “boomer rube[s].”

During the segment, Lemon threw all pretense of professionalism out the window, doubling over and laughing until he cried as his guests impersonated stereotypical Trump supporters using mock redneck accents. That segment has become a representation of liberal elite condescension of Trump supporters, and has even found its way into a GOP political ad.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: Dave Chappelle: ‘I don’t look at Trump supporters as my enemy’

All part of the plan

Former colleagues of alleged impeachment whistleblower Eric Ciaramella say they heard him discussing ways to get President Donald Trump out of office within days of his inauguration in January 2017, according to RealClearInvestigations.

The sources, who spoke to RCI under the condition of anonymity, said Ciaramella talked about ousting Trump with Sean Misko. Ciaramella and Misko were holdovers from the Obama Administration’s national security team.

According to the sources, Ciaramella and Misko, who are reportedly friends, were upset about Trump’s policy changes from the Obama administration.

“They were popping off about how they were going to remove Trump from office. No joke,” one ex-colleague told RCI.

From RCI:

And both expressed anger over Trump’s new “America First” foreign policy, a sea change from President Obama’s approach to international affairs.

“Just days after he was sworn in they were already talking about trying to get rid of him,” said a White House colleague who overheard their conversation.

“They weren’t just bent on subverting his agenda,” the former official added. “They were plotting to actually have him removed from office.”

Misko joined House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s staff last July, one day after President Trump’s infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky. Misko allegedly advised the whistleblower during the process of filing the complaint and helped run the impeachment investigation.

The whistleblower complaint was filed in August and made public in September, alleging that the whistleblower “received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals.”

The whistleblower failed to disclose his communications with Schiff’s staff when interviewed by the Intelligence Community Inspector General, and Schiff himself was misleading about what communication he or his staff may have had with the whistleblower.

Although Ciaramella is widely believed to be the whistleblower, the whistleblower’s identity has not been officially revealed. He is currently identified only as an unnamed CIA analyst.

Some Republicans want the whistleblower to be called as a witness during the impeachment trial, but Democrats have fiercely refused any attempts to publicly disclose his identity.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: Co-workers of alleged whistleblower say they heard him plotting Trump’s removal in 2017: Report

The aid delay is central to the impeachment trial

The Trump administration violated the law when it withheld military aid to Ukraine for policy reasons, according to a Government Accountability Office memo released just as articles of impeachment are being transmitted from the House to the Senate.

The House impeachment saga has centered on the accusation that President Donald Trump abused his presidential power by withholding military aid in order to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine.

According to the GAO, an independent congressional watchdog, delaying aid to advance a policy agenda rather than for programmatic reasons is illegal.

“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the GAO report reads. “[The Office of Management and Budget] withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.”

OMB issued a statement defending the legality of the decision to temporarily withhold the military aid.

“We disagree with GAO’s opinion,” OMB spokeswoman Rachel Semmel said, according to the Washington Post. “OMB uses its apportionment authority to ensure taxpayer dollars are properly spent consistent with the President’s priorities and with the law.”

There are no criminal penalties associated with violation of the ICA, and the determination by the GAO is not likely to have any direct impact on impeachment — although Democrats have already used it as justification to call additional witnesses for the Senate trial.

Previous administrations have been called out by the GAO for violations of the law as well, although they may not have created as big a media splash since they lacked the context of a related impeachment trial. From the Post:

Several administrations have been slapped by the GAO, including that of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In general, those administrations released funds after being cited, making lawsuits unnecessary. Most recently, in December 2018, the GAO said the Department of Homeland Security illegally withheld $95 million appropriated for the Coast Guard to support national security efforts. The funds were eventually released.

GAO also found in 2014 that the Obama administration broke the law in exchanging five Taliban commanders for a captured U.S. soldier without giving Congress 30 days notice.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: GAO report: Trump administration violated law by withholding aid to Ukraine

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