News Round-Up: October 8, 2021

A still from the Netflix holiday rom-com "Single All The Way"

Some news items you might have missed:

GQ Magazine UK: Billy Porter on the Actors Fund of America when he found out he was HIV positive: “They showed up for me and saved my life. I’m so grateful that there was some place for me to go where I was not shamed but instead lifted up and supported so I could get back on my feet. And now look at what has happened, all because someone cared enough to help.” Continue reading “News Round-Up: October 8, 2021”

News Round-Up: February 24, 2021

French InstaHunk Yeti (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Just because I like looking at nice things…Hump Day moment via French hunk Yeti (above). Follow him here.

Instinct Magazine: A new documentary, Trans in Trumpland, shines new light on how the Trump administration affected the lives of transgender people.

Washington Blade: D.C.’s FOX 5 News anchor Blake McCoy, who’s gay, has been suspended from his job following a since-deleted tweet saying he is “annoyed obese people of all ages get priority vaccine access before all essential workers” like himself. He later apologized saying he regretted his words and asked “that you accept my sincere apology.”

CNBC: The Food and Drug Administration’s staff endorsed Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, a critical step in bringing a third shot to the U.S. marketplace. The vaccine’s level of protection varied by region demonstrating 66% effectiveness overall, 72% in the United States, 66% in Latin America and 57% in South Africa.

NPR: The cost of repairing damages from the attack on the U.S. Capitol and related security expenses have already topped $30 million and will keep rising, Architect of the Capitol J. Brett Blanton told lawmakers on Wednesday.

CNN: The Manhattan district attorney’s office has subpoenaed financial records related to Steve Bannon’s crowd-funding border-wall effort, signaling that its criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s chief strategist is advancing. Bannon’s presidential pardon only shields him from federal, not state, crimes.

Steve Bannon Concerned About Upcoming Doc Film ‘The Brink’

After allowing filmmakers to follow him for a year, former White House adviser and Trump campaign chair Steve Bannon isn't happy about the resulting documentary, "The Brink"
Steve Bannon

After allowing filmmakers to follow him for a year, former White House adviser and Trump campaign chair Steve Bannon isn’t happy about the resulting documentary.

Despite his cooperation, the doc film draws a “damaging portrait” of his efforts in spreading a nationalist message.

“If I had not come on as CEO of the campaign, Trump would not have won,” Bannon says in a preview of The Brink.

Pretty sure the Donald won’t be happy to hear that.

From the official description:

THE BRINK follows Bannon through the 2018 mid-term elections in the United States, shedding light on his efforts to mobilize and unify far-right parties in order to win seats in the May 2019 European Parliamentary elections. To maintain his power and influence, the former Goldman Sachs banker and media investor reinvents himself — as he has many times before — this time as the self-appointed leader of a global populist movement. Keen manipulator of the press and gifted self-promoter, Bannon continues to draw headlines and protests wherever he goes, feeding the powerful myth on which his survival relies.

One critic called the film “a damaging portrait,” and Variety wrote “the film sees through his hate games.”

Watch the trailer below. Arriving in theaters March 29.

Steve Bannon: Trump Doesn’t Lie, He Speaks In A ‘Special Vernacular’

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon tells ABC News that Donald Trump has never lied that he knows of. Bannon says Trump speaks in a "special vernacular" that connect with the American people
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon

During an interview with Jon Karl on ABC News’ This Week, former Trump campaign and White House adviser Steve Bannon declared President Trump has never lied to his knowledge.

Umm, ok. And I’m Justin Timberlake.

Karl had played clips of Trump promising to never lie to the American public during the 2016 campaign. As Karl points out that was a promise the Trumpster “obviously broke. He has not always told the truth.”

“I don’t know that,” replied Bannon. “From what I’ve seen, he has.” Karl asked him again, “you think the President has never lied?” “Not to my knowledge, no,” Bannon said again. Then he joked “except when he called me ‘Sloppy Steve.’”

Bannon went on to say that Trump simply speaks in a “special vernacular” that resonates with the American people.

I don’t think Bannon knows what “vernacular” means.

Watch the exchange below.

Report: Donald Trump Personally Ordered Bannon To Curtail His House Intel Committee Testimony

Donald Trump (L), Steve Bannon (R)

According to Foreign Policy, Donald Trump himself ordered Steve Bannon to refuse to answer questions before a House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday:

Trump acted to limit Bannon’s testimony based on legal advice provided by Uttam Dhillon, a deputy White House counsel, who concluded that the administration might have legitimate executive privilege claims to restrict testimony by Bannon and other current and former aides to the president, according to these same sources.

But Dhillon has also concluded that Bannon and other current and former Trump administration officials do not have legitimate claims to executive privilege when it comes to providing information or testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller, according to the sources.

Personally, I’m not sure executive privilege really applies to any questions from the campaign or the transition period after the election since Trump was not president yet. If you’re not the “executive,” then you have no executive privilege.

Several outlets have reported that Bannon has agreed to be open and transparent with Robert Mueller’s investigators in exchange for avoiding testimony before a grand jury.

We shall see…

Former Trump Adviser Steve Bannon Gets Hit With TWO Subpoenas

Donald Trump (L), Steve Bannon (R)

After telling the House Intelligence committee he would not answer questions about his time in the White House, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon got slapped with a subpoena in an effort to force his testimony.

From Politico:

Bannon appeared before the committee as part of its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, speaking just weeks after a falling-out with Trump over comments he made in an explosive new book.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) confirmed Tuesday that he issued a subpoena for Bannon.

“Of course I authorized the subpoena,” he told reporters. “That’s how the rules work.”

According to the person familiar with the interview, Bannon’s attorney told the committee he wouldn’t discuss anything about his time in the White House or during the transition after the 2016 election. During that period, Trump allegedly sought a pledge of loyalty from then-FBI Director James Comey and later fired him.

The source said Republicans lawmakers — including Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and former federal prosecutor Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) — were frustrated that Bannon was not more forthcoming. Bannon did not invoke executive privilege, the source said.

Bannon was quoted extensively in the explosive new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which was none too kind to the Trump administration.

Some feel Bannon’s performance today was an attempt to curry favor again with the Trumpster by demonstrating his loyalty.

In addition to the House subpoena, The New York Times reported today that Bannon was hit with a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation last week calling him to testify before a grand jury.

That subpoena marks the first time Mr. Mueller has subpoenaed a member of the Trump inner circle in his investigation into Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election.

Basically, from here on out, Bannon will be testifying under oath. #DangerWillRobinson

Steve Bannon OUT At Breitbart News

How far the self-perceived mighty can fall…

Former White House chief strategist and founding member of Breitbart News has been ousted from his position at the far-right leaning website.

Steve Bannon is out at far-right Breitbart News, the outlet confirmed Tuesday.

Bannon has served as executive chairman of Breitbart News since 2012 following founder Andrew Breitbart’s death.

From HuffPost:

Rumors of Bannon’s ouster from the conservative news outlet began Thursday, when The Wall Street Journal reported that the owners of the publication were debating Bannon’s future.

During a press briefing Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Breitbart should consider firing Bannon.

“I certainly think that it’s something they should look at and consider,” she said.

Bannon’s exit comes after he feuded with President Donald Trump last week. The former executive was quoted saying that a 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., other Trump associates and a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower was “treasonous.”

“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor — with no lawyers,” Bannon told Michael Wolff in an excerpt from Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury.

“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately,” Bannon added.

Rebekah Mercer, a major financial backer of Breitbart, recently distanced herself from Bannon in an interview with The Washington Post.

Steve Bannon Backtracks On “Fire And Fury” Statements, Regrets Delay In Responding

Axios reports that beleaguered former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has issued a statement of “regret” regarding statements he made that have been quoted in Michael Wolff’s explosive new exposé, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

Via Axios:

“Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man. He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around.”

“My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda — as I have shown daily in my national radio broadcasts, on the pages of Breitbart News and in speeches and appearances from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Arizona and Alabama.”

“President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus. I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breach for this president’s efforts to make America great again.”

“My comments about the meeting with Russian nationals came from my life experiences as a Naval officer stationed aboard a destroyer whose main mission was to hunt Soviet submarines to my time at the Pentagon during the Reagan years when our focus was the defeat of ‘the evil empire’ and to making films about Reagan’s war against the Soviets and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in selling uranium to them.”

“My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.”

“Everything I have to say about the ridiculous nature of the Russian ‘collusion’ investigation I said on my 60 Minutes interview. There was no collusion and the investigation is a witch hunt.”

“I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.”

Not sure how Bannon squares his statements about the Trump Tower/Russian meeting as being about Paul Manafort when he clearly said, according to Wolff, “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.'”

Donald “I Have The Best Words” Trump: I Don’t Talk To Steve Bannon – “That’s Just A Misnomer”

Donald “I Have The Best Words” Trump told reporters today that he no longer talks to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

“I don’t talk to him. I don’t talk to him. That’s just a misnomer,” Trump told the press during a meeting with Republican senators at the White House.

Dictionary’s twitter account got sassy:

Trump Attempts To Block Publication Of Behind-The-Scenes White House Exposé

It comes as no surprise that Donald Trump is attempting to block the publication of the explosive, upcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by journalist Michael Wolff.

From The Washington Post:

The legal notice — addressed to author Michael Wolff and the president of the book’s publisher — said Trump’s lawyers were pursuing possible charges including libel in connection with the forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

The letter by Beverly Hills-based attorney Charles J. Harder demanded the publisher, Henry Holt and Co., “immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the book” or excerpts and summaries of its contents. The lawyers also seek a full copy of the book as part of their investigation.

The latest twist in the showdown came after lawyers accused Bannon of breaching a confidentiality agreement and Trump denounced his former aide as a self-aggrandizing political charlatan who has “lost his mind.”

It’s worth noting that Wolff has already made public he has hours and hours of recorded interviews with the folks he interviewed including Bannon and former White House deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh.

Trump has also reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to his former chief strategist Steve Bannon in regard to numerous inflammatory statements he made to Wolff in the book. Trump claims Bannon breached a nondisclosure agreement in speaking with Wolff.

I’ve already ordered my copy of the book due out January 9.