“The Justice Department on Friday sued Roger Stone, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, accusing Stone and his wife of owing nearly $2 million in unpaid income taxes,” NBC News reports.
“The New York attorney general’s office has partnered with Manhattan’s district attorney to investigate Stephen Bannon for the alleged fundraising scam that prompted his federal pardon in the waning hours of Donald Trump’s presidency,” the Washington Post reports.
“The move adds prosecutorial firepower to a criminal case widely seen as an attempted end-run around the former president’s bid to protect a political ally.”
“Stephen Bannon, the firebrand political strategist and ex-confidant to former president Donald Trump, is fighting to get his federal fraud case formally dismissed over the strong objection of prosecutors, who have argued that his full pardon does not mean his indictment must be wiped from the record,” the Washington Post reports.
“It is not clear why the U.S. attorney is challenging what was expected to be a straightforward dismissal of Bannon’s case, or whether prosecutors believe the case against the remaining three would suffer strategically at trial should Bannon be officially excluded.”
“House Democrats’ campaign arm is officially ending its controversial ban on political consultants who work with candidates challenging sitting Democratic incumbents in primaries, clinching a major victory for progressives,” Politico reports.
“Enacted in 2019, the new policy forbade the committee from contracting with or recommending to any House campaign a consultant or firm who worked to primary a sitting Democratic incumbent. It spurred an unexpectedly strong backlash — but was popular with members who are more prone to primary challenges and don’t want their party apparatus, to which they pay dues, to enable their opponents.”
David Winston: “Today, our system of campaign politics rewards anger…and defines success by a model that produces money for campaign consultants, whether they win or lose. We can thank the combination of the McCain-Feingold law and the Citizens United decision for our current predicament.”
“Together, they minimized the role of the parties and candidate campaigns and made PACs and super PACs the dominant power in many campaigns for one simple reason: That’s where the money is. Many times, you won’t find top strategists or ad people working directly on major campaigns these days. They operate independently, legally restricted from any interaction with the candidates and campaigns they are supporting and often serving up background information for the media. But most importantly, they employ a circular model to attract donors by offering them a way to have a bigger impact on the election and its outcome.”
Video evidence shows that six members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia who guarded Roger Stone on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 later stormed the Capitol, the New York Times reports.
“The Manhattan district attorney’s attempt to prosecute former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman was dealt a final blow when New York’s highest court said quietly last week it would not review lower court rulings on the case,” the New York Times reports.
“The court’s decision brings to an end the district attorney’s quest to ensure that the campaign chairman, Paul J. Manafort, will face state charges for mortgage fraud and other state felonies, crimes similar to those for which he was convicted in federal court and then pardoned by Mr. Trump.”
“A new video has surfaced showing former President Donald Trump’s longtime adviser Roger Stone in Washington, D.C., on the morning of Jan. 6, flanked by members of the Oath Keepers militia group just hours before the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building,” ABC News reports.
Hawkfish, the Democratic data firm backed by Michael Bloomberg, is shutting down, Politico reports.
“Hawkfish was the main vehicle for Bloomberg’s failed presidential bid, which never took off despite the hundreds of millions of dollars spent. After he dropped out, Bloomberg invested another $20 million into the company, as it pitched its work to Joe Biden’s campaign. But the Biden campaign declined to use Hawkfish, in part because of fierce pushback from progressives and campaign advisers who did not want to outsource the work.”
“Still, Hawkfish played an active role in the general election… In the final months of the campaign, the firm focused a large share of its effort on Florida after Bloomberg pledged to spend $100 million to turn the state blue. Those efforts were unsuccessful too. Biden ended up losing Florida by 3 points.”
“John Weaver, a longtime Republican strategist and co-founder of the prominent anti-Trump group the Lincoln Project, has for years sent unsolicited and sexually provocative messages online to young men, often while suggesting he could help them get work in politics, according to interviews with 21 men who received them,” the New York Times reports.
“His solicitations included sending messages to a 14-year-old, asking questions about his body while he was still in high school and then more pointed ones after he turned 18.”
“These messages from Mr. Weaver, 61, who helped run John McCain’s presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2008 and John Kasich’s in 2016, did not lead to physical encounters except in one consensual case, and none of the men accused Mr. Weaver of unlawful conduct. Rather, many of them described feeling preyed upon by an influential older man in the field in which they wanted to work, and believing they had to engage with his repeated messaging or lose a professional opportunity.”
John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.
Said Weaver: “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you.”
He added: “The truth is that I’m gay. And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”
New York Times: “Mr. Parscale, President Trump’s former campaign manager, said he was trying to move on from that bleak Sunday in late September when he made the national newscasts, after police were called to his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. His wife told officers he was inside the house, ranting, acting erratically, with a loaded and cocked gun.”
“Now he is turning to real estate and plans to buy houses and flip them, he said in an interview this month, something he said he was good at. He is also restarting his political consulting firm, Parscale Strategy, and trying to kick off a start-up called Nucleus, to process and analyze data for conservative politicians.”
In his first radio interview since being pardoned, Roger spoke told WABC that he plans to sue Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N-NY) for defamation.
He also made the case for President Trump to pardon Julian Assange.
“Three top officials on President Donald Trump’s reelection effort are going into business together to help Republicans navigate the post-Trump world,” Politico reports.
“Bill Stepien, Justin Clark, and Nick Trainer are relaunching National Public Affairs, a political consulting shop that will aid the president as he decides which 2022 races to engage in, as well as bolster pro-Trump candidates and advise the party’s campaign committees.”
Longtime GOP strategist Steve Schmidt announced on his podcast that he is registering as a Democrat after nearly 30 years with the Republican Party.
Said Schmidt: “I spent 29 years as a Republican, I’ve spent two and a half as an independent, and later this afternoon I will register as a member of the Democratic Party. Because in America today, it’s only the Democratic Party—which is the oldest political party in the world—that stands for the ideas and ideals of American liberty.”
Prominent California Democratic strategist Nathan Ballard — a longtime friend and adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) — was arrested and jailed on two felony domestic violence charges that include attempting “to suffocate a child with a pillow,” Politico reports.
“Attorneys for Brad Parscale argued in court Thursday morning that the city of Ft. Lauderdale had no right to take his guns away after his wife told police in September he was ‘ranting and raving’ with a handgun,” Business Insider reports.
“The hearing, over Zoom, was to determine whether Ft. Lauderdale has the right to obtain Parscale’s psychiatric records and use them to make a decision. Florida’s ‘red flag’ law could allow the city to hold on to his 11 guns for one year if authorities determine he poses a significant threat to himself or others.”