FEC “Its clear the Law was broken” Fines Clinton 8,000 bucks

Proverbs 12:19:  “The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Scoop: FEC fines DNC and Clinton for Trump dossier hoax
  • A combined $1,024,407.97 was paid by the treasurers of the DNC and Clinton campaign to law firm Perkins Coie for Fusion GPS’s information, and the party and campaign hid the reason, claiming it was for legal services, not opposition research.
  • The memo added that neither the campaign nor the party conceded to lying but won’t contest the finding. “Solely for the purpose of settling this matter expeditiously and to avoid further legal costs, respondent[s] does not concede, but will not further contest the commission’s finding of probable cause to proceed” with the probe, said the FEC.
  • The FEC, in a memo to the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, which filed its complaint over three years ago, said it fined Clinton’s treasurer $8,000 and the DNC’s treasurer $105,000.
  • Dan Backer, who brought the complaint on behalf of the foundation, which focuses on free speech and the First Amendment, told Secrets, “This may well be the first time that Hillary Clinton — one of the most evidently corrupt politicians in American history — has actually been held legally accountable, and I’m proud to have forced the FEC to do their job for once.
  • Backer, with Washington’s Chalmers & Adams law firm, held out hope for further action against the former first lady.

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Durham Report on the Origins of the Russia Hoax

Important Takeaways:

  • Durham Revelation Called a ‘Bombshell’: Is It a Smoking Gun on the Origins of Trump-Russia Hoax?
  • A tech executive is accused of exploiting access to White House data looking for incriminating information about Donald Trump. That’s among what some describe as “bombshell” revelations recently filed by Special Counsel John Durham.
  • Some legal observers insist the filing proves what President Trump and many of his supporters maintained all along – specifically, that opponents were spying on him and that Hillary Clinton’s campaign lied about its involvement.
  • At issue is Durham’s memo which points out Clinton’s campaign paid for computer “research” that might link Donald Trump to Russia by mining data from Trump Tower and later the White House. It’s a claim Trump has been repeating for years.
  • Trump called it “the crime of the century.” Clinton called it a “fake scandal.”
  • “This kind of unauthorized access of a computer system beyond access you’ve been given, is a federal crime,” said Hans von Spakovsky of The Heritage Foundation.

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‘Enough Evidence in Durham’s Russia probe to indict Multiple people’ Former DNI says

Exodus 18:21 “Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.

Important Takeaways:

  • Ex-Director of National Intelligence claims Biden and Obama KNEW ABOUT Hillary campaign plot to hack Trump servers: ‘Enough evidence in Durham’s Russia probe to indict MULTIPLE people’
  • Ratcliffe’s pointed Durham to a declassified CIA memo of Clinton approving looking into Trump’s Russia ties as a way of distracting from her email scandal
  • The report was sent directly to then FBI Director James Comey and then-Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok
  • New bombshell reports now reveal Clinton paid people to hack servers at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign and White House servers following the election
  • A poll taken before those reports came out show that now even Democrats want Clinton questioned over her role in the Russian secret server scandal
  • 44% of party loyalists believed she should be interrogated last October, but the number jumped to 66% in a January polling

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Iran Threatens Violence, US Warns of ‘Severe Consequences’

Matthew 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

Important Takeaways:

  • Iran Threatens Violence Against Trump Officials, US Warns of ‘Severe Consequences’ if Americans Attacked
  • On Saturday, Iran sanctioned 51 Americans over the 2020 killing of top Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani. The sanctions will allow Iran to seize any assets those individuals may have in Iran, but as Reuters noted, the move is largely symbolic.
  • But the Iranian regime is now indicating that it’s seeking violent revenge against members of the Trump administration, and it is essentially calling on assassins within the U.S. to carry out its wishes.
  • Commander Esmail Qaani of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps said, “We provide the ground for revenge against the Americans from inside their homes…We deal with the enemies and the crime of Commander Soleimani’s assassination with our own tactics… They did what they did, it’s far less expensive for the United States than for the children of the Resistance Front, who know no borders, to go and take revenge on themselves. This revenge has begun.”
  • The White House warned that America would work with its allies in the Middle East to “deter and respond to any attacks carried out by Iran.”

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Trump campaign challenges election results in Wisconsin Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump campaign said it filed a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging Wisconsin’s results in the 2020 presidential election in the state’s Supreme Court, the latest in a series of legal challenges to the Nov. 3 election.

“Today’s suit includes four cases with clear evidence of unlawfulness, such as illegally altering absentee ballot envelopes, counting ballots that had no required application, overlooking unlawful claims of indefinite confinement, and holding illegal voting events called Democracy in the Park,” the campaign said in a statement.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Franklin Paul)

Unsettled by election drama, markets look on the bright side

By Sujata Rao and Tommy Wilkes

LONDON (Reuters) – Those who banked on a big U.S. government spending splurge may be dismayed but two days on from U.S. Election Day, investors are looking on the bright side – less regulatory tightening than feared and a central bank still in full money-printing mode.

Global stocks extended their surge on Thursday as Democratic challenger Joe Biden edged closer to snatching the presidency from Donald Trump, and there is little sign of panic about an election outcome that may end up in the courts.

Disappointment over stimulus appears to have been replaced by relief that without a Biden clean sweep of Congress and the White House, gridlock between a Biden administration and a potentially Republican Senate would scupper any plans to tighten the screws on tech and pharma giants.

Bets on those sectors gathered momentum, even as shares in renewables – where Biden has pledged large investment – rallied on an assumption that climate-friendly assets will emerge winners no matter who the next president is.

“Less regulation…is a huge positive and offsets the probability of reduced stimulus,” said Justin Onuekwusi, portfolio manager at Legal & General Investment Management.

“You go back into the medium-term scenario of reflation as well as the lower-for-longer scenario,” he said, referring to expectations of rock-bottom borrowing costs alongside a smaller fiscal spending package.

The market gyrations of the past 36 hours represent some position unwinding, given the tighter-than-expected race, investors said, but with the U.S. and global backdrop one of abundant liquidity and rock-bottom bond yields, flows into equities and company debt are likely to continue.

That is especially so for the mega-tech firms – shares in Apple, Amazon and Alphabet extended Wednesday’s rally.

For Jonathan Bell, chief investment officer at Stanhope Capital, the outcome was the best of both worlds.

“Biden being elected increases the chances of a fiscal stimulus deal, but (with a Republican Senate) it also reduces the ability for him to push through significant taxes rise or policies that might constrain the likes of Amazon and Apple,” Bell said.

“Tech seems to be thinking that the disruptors, most of which are anti-trust regulations will not be significant and that the Senate will be able to prevent it.”

Similarly, Didier Saint-Georges, managing director at asset manager Carmignac in Paris, noted the positives for pharma shares.

The election has done little to alter the broadly positive investment backdrop, Saint-Georges said, adding: “Moving from Trump to Biden looks like a revolution but in market terms it may not be that significant.”

FED TO THE RESCUE?

Cue central banks.

Their money-printing largesse has floored bond yields and volatility, sending investment flooding into stocks. The S&P 500 index has gained more than 60% since 2016. This week it is already up 7%.

The bet now is that any fiscal stimulus shortfall may force the Federal Reserve and peers to pick up the slack. The Bank of England on Thursday announced a bigger-than-expected expansion of its bond-buying scheme.

U.S. Treasury yields slid further as “reflation” trades were unwound, with 10 and 30-year yields down more than 15 basis points each in the past two sessions.

The Fed releases its latest policy statement on Thursday. Amid the election uncertainty it is expected to stick closely to its last statement and repeat its pledge to do whatever it can to help the economy.

Investors are hoping policymakers might provide some stronger guidance of future easing.

“I am not sure the Fed will just abandon (calls for fiscal stimulus) and say ‘don’t worry we will do the heavy lifting,’ Carmignac’s Saint-George said.

“But what can’t be done on fiscal will have to be done on the monetary front.”

(Additional reporting by Susan Mathew in Bangalore, David Randall and Lewis Krauskopf in New York; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Analysis: Trump or Biden, new U.S. president faces troubled economy

By Ann Saphir and Jonnelle Marte

(Reuters) – It’s still not clear yet if the next U.S. president will be incumbent Donald Trump or Democratic challenger Joe Biden, but whoever triumphs will face monumental challenges on the economic front.

The recession has been ugly. It has wiped away more than a year of economic output and more than five years of jobs growth.

The workforce is now smaller than it was a year before Trump first took office.

One bright spot – consumer spending – is stronger than it was right after the pandemic exploded in March, but still only back to where it was last June.

Housing prices are on the rise, which is a great thing for U.S. homeowners but at the same time is worsening the affordability crisis for aspiring home buyers.

Manufacturing activity – a key concern in the Midwestern battleground states – has rebounded, but manufacturing employment is in worse shape than employment overall.

And the coronavirus is still surging across most of the United States. Nearly 6,000 people died last week, and there’s growing concern that the U.S. might need to reinstate lockdowns that happened across Europe in order to get it under control.

But despite signs the economy has begun to slow again amid another viral onslaught, “it is almost certain that the economy will get better over the course of 2021,” says Jason Furman, a key economic advisor to Barack Obama, the last U.S. president elected during a time of economic turmoil.

Late 2021 is still a long ways away, not just in political terms but for those living paycheck to paycheck, or out of work.

Federal Reserve policymaker projections put unemployment at 5.5% by the end of next year – worse than the 4.7% when Trump was first elected, but an improvement over the current 7.9%.

Beyond jobs lost and economic output curtailed, either Trump or Biden will face a list of long-term headwinds including deepening inequality, rising federal debt and tattered international trade relations.

In the run-up to the election, Trump consistently polled better than Biden on his ability to create jobs and manage the economy, if not the virus.

But even with the election outcome uncertain, and likely to remain so for some time amid legal challenges, stock market investors like what they see.

That’s partly because Republicans look likely to keep their hold on the Senate, leaving policy priorities relatively unchanged if it’s Trump emerging the winner, or as preventive force to a president Biden from trying to push through any big policy changes should he come out on top in the ballot box.

It’s also because Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell signaled Wednesday he was open to a new coronavirus aid bill in the “lame duck” session before the elected members of Senate and U.S. House of Representatives are sworn in.

For the still-weak economy, a lot will depend on the timing, size and shape of a pandemic relief package, which eluded lawmakers and the White House before the election.

A more modest fiscal package could mean “the growth outlook and corporate profits may not be as vigorous as hoped,” said James Knightley, chief international economist for ING.

A Biden presidency with a majority Republican Senate could offer the worst case for the economy in 2021 because Republicans are likely to oppose a substantial stimulus package, said Matthew Luzzetti, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank.

That would be bad news for the millions of low- and middle-income Americans out of work and struggling to find jobs in sectors such as travel and entertainment that are likely to remain moribund until the pandemic is under better control.

A scenario where Trump is re-elected and the Senate stays in Republican control could potentially result in more stimulus because Trump has advocated for more stimulus and could have more sway if he is re-elected, Luzzetti said.

Whatever the election outcome, any aid package should provide additional assistance for the unemployed, help for small businesses and assistance for state and local governments, to keep economic momentum going, Luzzetti said.

(Reporting by Ann Saphir and Jonnelle Marte; Editing by Heather Timmons, Paul Simao and Edward Tobin)

Khamenei says Iran’s U.S. policy not affected by who wins election

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday the U.S. presidential election’s result will not impact Tehran’s policy towards Washington.

“Our policy towards the United States is clearly set and does not change with the movement of individuals. It does not matter to us who comes and goes,” Khamenei said in a speech carried live on state TV.

Khamenei was speaking on the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, which coincided with the birthday of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad.

“The students’ attack on this den of spies was quite appropriate and wise,” Khamenei said, referring to radical Islamist students who stormed the embassy, taking hostage 52 staff for an eventual 444 days. There have been no U.S.-Iranian diplomatic relations since.

Iran this year cancelled rallies and other events marking the embassy seizure because of concerns over the spread of the coronavirus which has killed about 36,000 people in the country, the worst hit in the Middle East.

The Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, has pledged to rejoin Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers if Iran returns to compliance with it.

In 2018 President Donald Trump abandoned the deal, under which Iran international financial sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs to its nuclear program. Iran followed Washington’s rejection by reducing its compliance.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told U.S. network CBS on Monday that he wants the United States to rejoin the accord, but that “re-engagement does not mean renegotiation” because “if we wanted to do that [renegotiate], we would have done it with President (Donald) Trump four years ago.”

Zarif told CBS that “the statements by the Biden camp have been more promising, but we will have to wait and see”.

Trump has said he wants to strike a broader accord that would also address Iran’s missile program and regional activities. Iran has ruled out any negotiations unless Washington first returns to the agreement.

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi, additional reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Peter Graff)

Trump or Biden’s big economic challenge: millions of struggling Americans

By Jonnelle Marte

(Reuters) – The winner of the race for the White House will face a generation of low-to-middle income Americans struggling to get back to work because of a health crisis not seen in more than 100 years.

Whether it’s President Donald Trump or Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden, the reality is grim: about half of the 22 million who lost their jobs during the pandemic are still out of work.

New hiring is slowing, dimming prospects for the low-wage workers hit hardest by job losses. Infections of the virus that killed more than 225,000 Americans are rising to new records. Hotels, transportation companies and food providers warn that more layoffs are coming, and the government aid that helped many pay the bills is long gone.

Securing a future for a vast, growing underclass “is the most important challenge America faces over the next few years, 10 years, 20 years,” said Gene Ludwig, a former comptroller of the currency under President Bill Clinton and author of “The Vanishing American Dream,” a book about the economic challenges facing lower and middle income Americans.

“We cannot sustain a democratic society that has these kinds of numbers of low and middle income people that aren’t able to have a hope for the American dream and live decently.”

Congressional Democrats and the Trump administration have been trying to negotiate a $2 trillion coronavirus aid bill, but many Senate Republicans object to the cost and question whether more stimulus is needed. A deal may not be reached until early 2021.

SAVINGS DRY UP

That’s going to be too late for some.

Direct cash payments and enhanced unemployment benefits established by the CARES Act, which added $600 a week to state unemployment benefits, lifted more Americans out of poverty in April even as unemployment soared, according to research by the Center on Poverty & Social Policy at Columbia University.

People receiving the enhanced benefits were able to spend more, build savings and pay off debt, according to an analysis by the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

But after the benefits expired at the end of July, poverty is once again on the rise – with the monthly poverty rate reaching 16.7% in September from 15% in February, according to the Columbia study. After a decade of decline, hunger is rising nationwide.

Lisandra Bonilla, 46, saved roughly a third of the enhanced unemployment benefits she received after she was furloughed in late March from her job at an employment agency in Kissimmee, Florida. “I had saved a lot because I didn’t know what was going to happen,” she said.

It was smart planning: in August her benefits were cut to $275 a week before taxes, the maximum in Florida, down from more than $800.

Bonilla returned to work part-time in late September, but now she is struggling to pay the bills on half her previous pay, and fears her savings will be gone by December.

If she isn’t hired full time soon, she needs to find another job.

“We’re trying to shovel ourselves out of the hole, but at the same time the hole is getting bigger,” said Wendy Edelberg, director of the Hamilton Project and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Two factors are particularly worrying, she said. More than 420,000 small businesses shuttered between March and mid-summer, which is more than three times the typical pace, she estimates. And permanent layoffs are also on the rise, hitting 3.8 million in September from 1.3 million in February – similar to levels seen before the 2008 election.

THE LONGTERM UNEMPLOYMENT TRAP

Bishop Donald Harper has been on more than 50 job interviews since he was furloughed in March.

Harper, 55, a veteran chef, most recently oversaw five restaurants at an Orlando resort. But with occupancy still low, it’s not clear when he’ll get back to work.

Applications for jobs at super markets or in health care have also been fruitless.

“I can do anything and everything,” said Harper, who also serves as a bishop for a nondenominational church. He is struggling to pay for food and utilities on $275-a-week unemployment, and three months behind on his $1,900 a month rent.

“I don’t want to be homeless,” said Harper, who lives with two children ages 10 and 13. He has reached out to more than 20 groups seeking rental assistance, with no luck.

The United States has 2.4 million and growing “long-term” unemployed, officially defined as those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Getting everyone back to work is crucial, but economists say these job seekers are at greater risk of dropping out of the labor market or taking lower paying jobs.

This week, the U.S. Commerce Department is expected to report that Gross Domestic Product surged in the third quarter, thanks in part to fiscal stimulus that kept U.S. workers afloat, but has mostly expired.

Now, people who are out of work or in low-wage jobs need rental support, direct cash payments and food assistance, as well as federal jobs projects and retraining programs, labor economists say.

If elected, Biden has pledged to raise the federal minimum wage, and roll out trillions of dollars in infrastructure and green energy programs. But he’ll need the votes in Congress to do it.

Trump has signaled support for more federal stimulus, but has offered fewer specifics on jobs.

Until help arrives, workers are struggling.

Rachel Alvarez, 44, a single mother of three in Naples, Florida, starts a new job this week as a server at a restaurant – her first time working since she lost her job in March.

Restaurant workers who depend on tips aren’t making much money, because business remains slow due to the coronavirus, she said. She hasn’t paid rent since June, and is still waiting to hear from the county government about a grant.

“I’m going to keep my head up, because if shit like this ever happens to my children I want them to keep their head up too,” said Alvarez.

(Reporting by Jonnelle Marte. Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan and Richard Cowan; Editing by Heather Timmons and Edward Tobin)

More than 4 million Americans have already voted, suggesting record turnout

By John Whitesides

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans are rushing to cast ballots ahead of the Nov. 3 election at an unprecedented pace, early voting numbers show, indicating a possible record turnout for the showdown between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

With four weeks to go before Election Day, more than 4 million Americans already have voted, more than 50 times the 75,000 at this time in 2016, according to the United States Elections Project, which compiles early voting data.

The shift has been driven by an expansion of early and mail-in voting in many states as a safe way to cast a ballot during the coronavirus pandemic and an eagerness to weigh in on the political future of Trump, said Michael McDonald of the University of Florida, who administers the project.

“We’ve never seen this many people voting so far ahead of an election,” McDonald said. “People cast their ballots when they make up their minds, and we know that many people made up their minds long ago and already have a judgment about Trump.”

The early surge has led McDonald to predict a record turnout of about 150 million, representing 65% of eligible voters, the highest rate since 1908.

Biden leads Trump in national opinion polls, although surveys in crucial battleground states indicate a tighter race.

The numbers reported so far come from 31 states, McDonald said, and will grow rapidly as more states begin early in-person voting and report absentee mail-in totals in the next few weeks. All but about a half-dozen states allow some level of early in-person voting.

The percentage of voters who cast their ballot at a voting machine on Election Day already had been in steady decline before this year, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, a federal agency.

The total number of early or mail-in votes more than doubled from nearly 25 million in 2004 to 57 million in 2016, it said, representing an increase from one in five of all ballots cast to two in five of all ballots cast.

Trump has railed against mail-in voting, making unfounded accusations that it leads to fraud. Experts have said such fraud is rare.

Those attacks by the president have shown signs of depressing Republican interest in voting by mail. Democrats have more than doubled the number of returned mail-in ballots by Republicans in seven states that report voter registration data by party, according to the Elections Project.

In the crucial battleground state of Florida, Democrats have requested more than 2.4 million mail-in ballots and returned 282,000, while Republicans have asked for nearly 1.7 million and returned more than 145,000.

A national Reuters/Ipsos poll taken last week found 5% of Democrats nationwide said they had already voted compared to 2% of Republicans. About 58% of Democrats planned to vote early compared to 40% of Republicans.

McDonald said early voting typically starts strong, then drops before surging just ahead of the election. But in some states, rates of participation already have skyrocketed a month out.

In South Dakota, early voting this year already represents nearly 23% of the total turnout in 2016. It is nearly 17% of total 2016 turnout in Virginia and nearly 15% of total 2016 turnout in the battleground state of Wisconsin.

“That’s just nuts,” McDonald said. “Every piece of data suggests very high turnout for this election. I think that’s just a given.”

(Reporting by John Whitesides; Editing by Scott Malone, David Gregorio and Will Dunham)