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10 Things Politics: Trump faces a tsunami of legal peril – Business Insider



President Donald Trump addresses guests at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021, his last day in office.

Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. I’m Brent Griffiths. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day.

I hope you enjoyed our longer weekend. Our thoughts are with everyone in the middle of these terrible winter storms.

Send your tips and musings to or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. FULL COURT PRESS: Former President Donald Trump survived impeachment by being out of office. But the same status could prove to be a future detriment. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP senators who voted to acquit Trump say the court system is the best suited to potentially charge Trump over the Capitol insurrection. Other prosecutors have pledged to investigate. This, combined with ongoing probes, could escalate into a legal tsunami.

My colleague Dave Levinthal illustrates in an exclusive report why may still see Trump in court.

  • Why is this happening now?: A longstanding Justice Department tradition calls for not prosecuting sitting presidents. Presidents can also argue they are too busy to cooperate with lawsuits. And finally, there are a number of ways to bend the bureaucracy in your favor, as Trump found out when the DOJ intervened in a defamation suit against him. All of these protections are now gone.

What might be on the docket?: The list ranges from before Trump even entered office to his final days trying to cling to power.

  • The investigations that left the headlines: Southern District of New York prosecutors named Trump as “Individual-1” in their investigation of the hush-money scheme to silence Stormy Daniels. Also, DC Attorney General Karl Racine is investigating whether Trump’s inauguration included improper payments to his private businesses. There’s also Trump’s years-long audit fight with the IRS.
  • The most recent issues: Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, are investigating Trump’s efforts to pressure the state’s secretary of state to “find” votes for him. The Capitol riots also open the former president to other liabilities far beyond what impeachment would have imposed on him.
  • A congressional commission?: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to create a congressional investigation similar to the famous 9/11 commission to investigate the riots. Some Democrats want to go further by forming a “truth commission” to review any number of Trump-era policies, from child separations to his pandemic response.

Read more of Dave’s report here.

2. Millions of Americans are without power amid freezing temps: 150 million Americans are under storm warnings, per The New York Times. Residents in 14 different states are facing rolling blackouts.

  • The situation in Texas is particularly dire: 2 million Texans are without power. Some in the state, including in Austin, are experiencing outages that lasted overnight, the Texas Tribune reports. A particularly severe cold snap is stressing the grid, made worse by limited gas supplies and frozen wind turbines.

3. Liz Cheney faces a brutal fight: The Wyoming Republican is used to clashing with parts of the GOP, but the heat from her colleagues is spreading back home. She is already facing a primary challenger over her vote to impeach Trump. Former Sen. Alan Simpson, a long-time ally, told my colleague Kayla Epstein that Cheney maintains a more quiet base of supporters in the state that will outnumber the more vocal, pro-Trump “zealots.”

biden vaccine

President Joe Biden.

Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

4. Biden wants to reverse the federal employee exodus: Government employees were “gutt[ed]” under Trump, someone who worked on the Biden transition said, per my colleague Robin Bravender in her exclusive report. Extremely thin ranks could hamper Biden’s ambitious agenda. His goal of reorienting foreign policy will run into a depleted State Department, and bold climate actions face an EPA that lost an average of 219 scientists per year while Trump was in power.

5. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:

  • 11:30 a.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing.
  • 5:30 p.m.: The Senate holds a procedural vote on Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s nomination to be Ambassador to the UN.
  • 8:00 p.m.: Biden speaks during a live CNN town hall from Wisconsin.

6. Virus cases are dropping across the country: While possibly influenced by the holiday weekend, Monday saw the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases since October. “[T]he seven-day average, considered a more reliable measure, has dipped below 90,000 a day for the first time since early November,” per The Washington Post. Experts disagree on the exact reason for the drop, but attribute it to a combination of more vaccines, fewer tests, and some seasonal patterns typical with similar viruses. 

7. Parler is back online: The preferred social media of far-right has returned with a Tea Party co-founder serving as interim CEO. The site was previously offline after Amazon Web Services dropped it on January 11.

8. Gov. Andrew Cuomo accepts some blame for nursing home scandal: The New York Democrat admitted a “void” was created by failing to respond to journalists’ and state lawmakers’ requests for more data on COVID-19 related deaths in nursing homes. But Cuomo refused to express any further contrition as bipartisan calls grow for further investigations, and to strip him of some of his powers.

9. Biden’s lawyers told the vice president’s niece to stop selling merch featuring her aunt: Transition team lawyers told Meena Harris to stop producing products using Vice President Kamala Harris’ name and image. “Behavior needs to change,” a White House official told the Los Angeles Times of the ethics issues arising from such sales. But Meena Harris has remained defiant on social media.

10. Forget sheep or stars, one Twitch user is counting the commas: Asian Andy is among the influencers making money on “sleep streams.” Andy pocketed $16,000 for a stream that enabled text-to-speech recognition so viewers could play music and issue commands. And he’s far from the first to find a way to make money in his sleep.

Today’s trivia question: Biden took his first trip to Camp David as president over the holiday weekend. What did FDR first name the presidential retreat? Email your response and a suggested question to me at

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Week In Politics: Republicans Urge Vaccine Hesitant Citizens To Get The Shot – NPR



Republican leaders urge the unvaccinated to roll up their sleeves; Plus, increased pressure is for infrastructure talks.

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‘It’s 2021, it’s not 1950:’ Women politicians in N.S. show support for Robyn Ingraham – Global News



Pamela Lovelace is no stranger to the sexism encountered by women in politics.

She ran for Liberal nomination back in 2013, and is now a Halifax regional councillor for District 13 and says she’s encountered all sorts of comments — because she is a woman — while trying to get elected.

“I remember someone saying ‘why are you here? Why are you doing this, you have a family?’” said Lovelace. “I said, ‘well my opponent has a family too’ and the response was ‘yeah, he has a wife though.’”

While Lovelace says politics is still very much an old boys’ club and that it’s hard for women to get into office, she says parties should support diversity among their candidates.

READ MORE: Liberals face heat after N.S. election candidate says she was ousted over ‘boudoir photos’

She says it was discouraging to find out a Liberal candidate in this provincial election was kicked out of the party for posting and selling boudoir photos online.

“I was really disappointed to hear that the political landscape is talking about what a person has done with their body rather than the actual ideas that Nova Scotians care about,” Lovelace said.

Earlier this week Robyn Ingraham withdrew as the Liberal candidate for Dartmouth South. She originally posted online that it was due to mental health reasons, but then she later posted to her Instagram account that the party had taken issue with her boudoir photos and Only Fans account despite her having disclosed that during the nomination process.

A barber and small business owner, Ingraham also published an email she said she had sent to Rankin, which stated the party had made a mistake by forcing her out. “The misogynistic behaviour of those above you is not tolerable,” she wrote to the premier. “It’s not my job to make old white men comfortable.”

Click to play video: 'Former Liberal candidate says party ousted her over ‘boudoir photos’'

Former Liberal candidate says party ousted her over ‘boudoir photos’

Former Liberal candidate says party ousted her over ‘boudoir photos’

On Friday, Rankin’s news conference in rural Cape Breton about tourism funding quickly turned into a barrage of questions from reporters about how the ousting of Ingraham occurred, what was said and who was responsible. He confirmed his team “assisted” Ingraham with her resignation statement and said he has been repeatedly trying to contact her to learn her version of events.

But in a brief interview with The Canadian Press at her barbershop in Dartmouth, N.S., Ingraham said she doesn’t plan to speak with Rankin.

“I haven’t spoken to him and I have no intention of speaking to him,” she said. “I just wanted my story to get out there.”

She also said she doesn’t want to run for any other party. “I just want to get back to running my business,” she said at her shop, called Devoted Barbers and Co.

READ MORE: Women still under-represented in Nova Scotia politics — ‘We need those voices’

Lovelace said what was done to Ingraham was an injustice.

“Let’s get her back on the ballot,” said Lovelace. “It’s 2021, it’s not 1950, so let’s move on to better politics in Nova Scotia.”

Claudia Chender is running as the NDP candidate for the same riding Ingraham has dropped out of and says this whole situation shows the double standard for men and women in politics.

“I think we are past the point where we should be embroiled in this type of situation as a scandal, but unfortunately we still have a lot of misogyny, frankly, in Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia politics.”

Chender says whether or not someone takes or sells revealing photos of themselves does not have an impact on how they can help the community.

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia housing prices an election issue'

Nova Scotia housing prices an election issue

Nova Scotia housing prices an election issue

“Political candidates should be judged on how are you going to make things better, how are you going to fix things?” said Chender.

“I think anything else that’s happening in their own personal lives that isn’t causing people harm is nobody’s business.”

Ingraham’s removal from the ballot has caught the attention of women across the country and many are showing her their support.

In a Twitter post, Mackenzie Kerr, a Green Party candidate in British Columbia posted her own boudoir  image with the caption “It’s time we change the definition of professionalism.”

READ MORE: Allegations of misogyny in premier’s office could impact recruitment of female candidates

Back in Nova Scotia, a former PC candidate for Dartmouth South says she can’t believe women are still being judged for taking control of their own bodies.

“It’s horrible because Robyn is experiencing what I went through,” said Jad Crnogorac.

Crnogorac is a fitness instructor and says she herself has had professional boudoir photos done and hasn’t been shy of posting those photos or bikini photos of herself online.

She says when she was nominated as a PC candidate the party knew all of this but says just before the writ dropped she was approached and asked to remove some of her photos.

“I was really really angry,” said Crnogorac. “This is why strong women don’t go into politics because someone always finds a way to drag you through it and it’s just not appealing.”

Crnogorac was ultimately kicked out of the PC party as a candidate after tweets deemed racist surfaced but she maintains there’s a double standard for women in politics versus men.

“The leader of a party can do something illegal and have two DUIs and still be the leader of the party,” she said, referring to Iain Rankin’s recent admission to past impaired driving charges.

“Why do we have to have this picture-perfect female versus the men who can do whatever they want and still be a politician?” she asks.

–With files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Politics: The Minders and Mandarins of Capitalism – The Wall Street Journal



Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

James R. Otteson’s “Seven Deadly Economic Sins” (Cambridge, 305 pages, $27.95) is a fine effort to introduce readers to the basic principles of market economics. The hamartiological framing—the “sins” are bad assumptions about how markets work—is part of the author’s effort to make the subject more engaging than a typical treatise on economics. It works. Mr. Otteson, a professor of business ethics at Notre Dame, writes with an apt combination of casual wit and rigorous logic. 

I only regret that the book had to be written at all. There was a time in this country’s history—if the reader will allow a bit of declinist gloom—when America’s political class understood by instinct that wealth in a market economy comes about by voluntary exchanges in which all parties benefit. We do not live in such a time. About half of this country’s high-level elected officials appear to believe that some Americans have money because they took it from other Americans (the rich got rich “on the backs of workers” is a common trope). And so it is left to scholars such as Mr. Otteson to spell out the difference between zero-sum and positive-sum economic relationships.

A transaction based on extraction or theft is zero-sum (1 – 1 = 0). A transaction based on a mutual exchange is positive-sum (1 + 1 = 2). Wealth in most societies before about 1800, he reminds us, was based on the former model; wealth in market economies is based on the latter. What we need is someone able to explain to our well-intentioned politicos that the wealth they want to reallocate came about from mutually beneficial positive-sum transactions and not from zero-sum extraction. The way to diminish poverty and aid the disadvantaged is therefore not to punish positive-sum exchanges by taxation, but to allow more of them.

Other chapters in the book treat the “Good Is Good Enough Fallacy,” or the idea that every beneficial end is worth pursuing by all available means; the “Progress Is Inevitable Fallacy,” or the idea that a certain level of prosperity is guaranteed no matter what we do; and the “Great Mind Fallacy,” or the idea “that there is some person or group that possesses the relevant knowledge to know how others should allocate their scarce time or treasure.”

This latter point isn’t new—you can read the gist of it in Friedrich Hayek’s essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society” (1945) or Thomas Sowell’s book “Knowledge and Decisions” (1980)—but Mr. Otteson helpfully elucidates it in terms of individual experience. The experts may know that high-sugar carbonated drinks are on balance bad for your health, but they cannot know if you, in your circumstances, should or shouldn’t have a Coke. Most people would agree with that observation, but it is remarkable how many government policies are premised on its antithesis. City bans on unhealthy habits, state subsidies for favored industries, tax breaks meant to encourage virtuous behavior—these and a thousand other state-backed strategems assume the authorities and their experts understand immeasurably complex circumstances that they can’t possibly understand. But the alternative—allowing the people who do understand them to make their own decisions, even if they’re wrong—isn’t so satisfying to our governmental minders.

“The Power of Creative Destruction” (Belknap/Harvard, 389 pages, $35), translated by Jodie Cohen-Tanugi, is a full expression of the Great Mind outlook. Not that the authors—Philippe Aghion, Céline Antonin and Simon Bunel, all associated with the Collège de France—are socialists or militant redistributionists. They are mandarins. They recognize that you can’t pay for the modern welfare state or enjoy high levels of prosperity without robust economic growth. But capitalism, in their view, is constantly menacing itself and requires the aid of sage policy makers to prevent its collapse.

The authors are heavily influenced by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter. In “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” (1942), Schumpeter contended that capitalism was doomed by its own logic. The capitalist system depends on a constant succession of entrepreneurs dislodging established firms—a process he called “creative destruction.” But eventually, he saw, yesterday’s innovators become today’s monopolists and learn to use the levers of power to prevent further innovation. Growth diminishes; a dissatisfied public demands welfare-state protections and restrictions on entrepreneurial activity; and capitalism, deprived of growth, slowly transmutes into socialism. 

Clearly some parts of that analysis are valid, although Schumpeter was mistaken, in my view, to think of capitalism as a “structure” that can’t adapt to the demands placed on it by an intermittently irrational public. Mr. Aghion, Ms. Antonin and Mr. Bunel share Schumpeter’s overdefined understanding of capitalism. “Capitalism must reward innovation,” they write, “but it must be regulated to prevent innovation rents”—rents meaning profits accruing to incumbent firms—“from stifling competition and thus jeopardizing future innovation.” 

And what sort of regulations do they think will encourage innovation, foster competition and save capitalism from itself? You may have guessed already. Industrial policy: tariffs and other protections, subsidies to viable industries and firms, “investments” in R&D and higher education, and so on. What capitalism needs, if I may put their argument in my own words, is more public officials ready to heed the advice of centrist academic economists. 

The book is rife with charts and graphs, and the authors cite a bewildering array of highly specialized studies. Much of this technical argumentation strikes me as overdone. I appreciate, for instance, the conclusion that lobbying and barriers to entry are likelier than innovation and competition to aggravate inequality. But people who think markets worsen inequality are committed to an unfalsifiable ideology and won’t be moved by any combination of graph-packed quantitative studies.

What to Read This Week

Love and death in a utopian community, the remorseless business of slavery, a passion for peacocks, updating Sir Gawain and more.

“The Power of Creative Destruction” is an impressive book in its way, but the authors don’t acknowledge the—to me—obvious objection. Once you afford governmental bodies the power to manage the economy, you also give established firms the tools with which to insulate themselves from competition. Wouldn’t it be easier and more effective to deprive incumbent firms of any special privileges and let them figure out how to survive? Then again, if we did that, we wouldn’t need so many mandarins.

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