Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, Sentenced – Says Giuliani “is just an evil man”

Rudy Giuliani Throws Lev Parnas Under the Bus: “I Feel Sorry For Him” |  Vanity Fair

Lev Parnas with Rudy Giuliani

Dear Commons Community,

Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani who was a figure in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment investigation, was sentenced yesterday to a year and eight months in prison for fraud and campaign finance crimes by a judge who said fraud had become “a way of life” for Parnas. As reported by several media sources.

Parnas, 50, had sought leniency on grounds that he’d cooperated with the Congressional probe of Trump and his efforts to get Ukrainian leaders to investigate President Joe Biden’s son. 

U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken didn’t give Parnas credit for that assistance, which came only after the Soviet-born businessman was facing criminal charges. But the judge still imposed a sentence lighter than the six years sought by prosecutors.

The judge also ordered Parnas to pay $2.3 million in restitution.

The various schemes Parnas deployed to get money that prosecutors claim say fueled a lavish lifestyle led Oetken to say that for Parnas, fraud “was essentially a way of life, a way of doing business.”

Addressing the court before the sentence was announced, Parnas sobbed and apologized to those who had lost money investing in his business ventures.

“A lot that you heard is true, your honor. I have not been a good person my whole life. I’ve made mistakes. And I admit it,” Parnas said. “I want to apologize to all the victims that I hurt. These are all people who are my friends, all people who trusted me, and I lied to them to further my personal agenda.”

The criminal case against Parnas was not directly related to his work acting as a fixer for Giuliani as the former New York City mayor lobbied Ukrainian officials to launch an investigation of Biden’s son, Hunter.

Instead, it zeroed in on donations Parnas had illegally made to a number of U.S. politicians using the riches of a wealthy Russian to jump-start a legal recreational-marijuana business.

In March, Parnas also pleaded guilty to a wire fraud conspiracy, admitting that he and a partner had given investors false information about a Florida-based business, Fraud Guarantee, that promised it could protect people against fraud.

That new company hired Giuliani as a consultant at a time when some Ukrainian figures were trying to curry favor with the Trump administration, agreeing to pay him $500,000.

Charles Gucciardo, a Long Island attorney who put up the cash to pay Giuliani, told the judge during the sentencing hearing that he hoped the former Manhattan federal prosecutor would return the money, since Fraud Guarantee turned out to be a fraud.

“My bet is he’s going to give me that money back,” he said, adding that he didn’t blame Giuliani, who has not been charged with any crimes in connection with the scheme.

Outside of court, Parnas said that he didn’t believe Giuliani would return the money.

“I don’t think he’ll pay him back because, as you can see, he’s gone down the path of no return. He’s just an evil man, unfortunately, and somebody that I’m very, very sad that I had to meet,” he said.

Giuliani, who was working at the time as a personal lawyer for Trump, has said he knew nothing about the crimes of Parnas and others.

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani’s interactions with Ukrainian figures violated a federal law that governs lobbying on behalf of foreign countries or entities.

Parnas and a business associate, Igor Fruman, attracted attention from reporters after arranging big donations to Republican politicians, including a $325,000 donation to a political action committee supporting Trump.

An October conviction also supported a finding that he made illegal donations in 2018 to promote a new energy company.

During Parnas’ sentencing hearing, the judge also heard from others who had lost money with him in failed business deals.

Dianne Pues said the businessman “destroyed my life” when he failed to repay money she and her husband had loaned him to produce a movie called “Anatomy of an Assassin.”

Parnas promised he would become a new person, sometimes turning around in court to looked for victims as he expressed contrition.

“I’d like to apologize to Mr. Gucciardo. Even though I never spent a dollar of his money. I lied to him and used our friendship. Charles, I am sorry,” he said.

Parnas got one thing right – Giuliani is evil!


Nancy Pelosi receives Communion at Mass with Pope Francis amid abortion debate!

Nancy Pelosi Makes Emotional Visit to Pope Francis | PEOPLE.com


Dear Commons Community,

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Pope Francis yesterday and received Communion during a papal Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica despite her position in support of abortion rights.   As reported  by the Associated Press.

Pelosi attended the morning Mass during which Francis bestowed the woolen pallium stole on newly consecrated archbishops. She was seated in a VIP diplomatic section of the basilica and received Communion along with the rest of the congregants. 

Pelosi’s home archbishop, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, has said he will no longer allow her to receive the sacrament in his archdiocese because of her support for abortion rights. Cordileone, a conservative, has said Pelosi must either repudiate her support for abortion or stop speaking publicly of her Catholic faith.

Pelosi has done neither. She called the recent Supreme Court ruling removing constitutional protections for abortion an “outrageous and heart-wrenching” decision that fulfils the Republican Party’s “dark and extreme goal of ripping away women’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions.”

And she has spoken openly about the Catholic faith, including at a diplomatic reception at the residence of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See on Tuesday evening marking Independence Day.

Speaking to a crowd of ambassadors, Vatican officials and other Rome-based Americans, Pelosi noted the Catholic virtues of faith, hope and charity and the important role they play in the U.S. Embassy’s mission.

“Faith is an important gift, not everyone has it but it is the path to so many other things,” she told the crowd.

Pelosi met with Francis before the Mass and received a blessing, according to one of the Mass attendees. A photo released by the Vatican showed Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi, greeting Francis off to the side of the basilica.

Francis has strongly upheld the church’s opposition to abortion, and on Wednesday said church leaders must “continue to care for human life.” But in his homily, Francis also instructed the new archbishops to welcome everyone into the church, including sinners, and to not “remain pinned to some of our fruitless debates.”

“So many times we become a church with open doors, but only to send people away, to condemn them,” he said.

After the Mass, Pelosi visited the Sant’Egidio Community, a Catholic charity close to Francis where she met with refugees helped by the group. At an event to award the charity with $25,000 in State Department funding, Pelosi referred to the need to preach the Gospel with actions, not just words.

“We had the pleasure of attending Mass this morning with His Holiness and many many many leaders of the church,” Pelosi said. “In the spirit of St. Francis, which is the name of His Holiness and my city of San Francisco, I thank you for preaching the Gospel, sometimes using words.”

While Francis presided over the Mass, he did not distribute Communion himself and Pelosi received the sacrament from one of the many priests who distributed it. From the time he was archbishop in Buenos Aires, Francis has rarely distributed Communion, precisely to prevent the sacrament from becoming politicized.

Last year, President Joe Biden, another Catholic who also supports abortion rights, said after meeting with Francis that the pontiff told him to continue receiving the sacrament. Biden later received Communion during a Mass in a Rome church that is under the authority of Francis as bishop of Rome.

Pelosi’s partaking of the sacrament inside the Vatican during a Mass presided over by the pope was even more significant, and a sign of Francis’ unwillingness to refuse Communion. Francis has described the Eucharist as “not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”

Asked about some U.S. bishops who wanted to refuse Biden the sacrament, Francis told reporters during an airborne press conference in September that priests shouldn’t be politicians and condemn their flock but should be pastors who accompany the faithful with tenderness and compassion.

There was no immediate public response from Cordileone, the San Francisco archbishop.

Pope Francis again shows that he is a benevolent leader of the world’s Catholics.


National Poll: Confidence in Supreme Court collapses as just 33% agree with decision to overturn Roe v. Wade!

Dear Commons Community,

A Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that more than six in 10 Americans (61%) now have little or no confidence in the Supreme Court after its decision Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade — a near-total reversal from the 70% of voters who expressed at least some confidence in the court right before conservative justices gained a 6-3 majority with the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett in October 2020.

A more recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll conducted in May 2022 — immediately after Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion on Roe first leaked — found that the court’s standing was already slipping with conservatives in control.  As reported by Yahoo News.

Since Roe was officially reversed, however, the number of Americans who express a total lack of confidence in the court has soared by 14 percentage points (to 39%), with large increases among Democrats (+24 points) and independents (+14 points). A clear majority of Democrats (54%) now say they have zero confidence in the court, while another 22% say they have only “a little”; just a quarter have “some” (18%) or “a lot” (7%).

At the same time, half of all Americans (50%) now disapprove of the way the Supreme Court is doing its job, an 8-point jump from last month (driven by increases of 11 points among both Democrats [to 70%] and independents [to 52%]). Overall, just 37% of Americans approve.

And even fewer (33%) say they agree with the court’s actual decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — the decision at the center of its collapsing reputation.

The other two-thirds of Americans either disagree with the court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health (49%) or say they’re not sure (18%).

Now that Roe is gone, the new survey of 1,630 U.S. adults, which was conducted from June 24 to 27, is striking in part because it reveals a counterintuitive gap in energy and emotion between Americans who favor abortion rights and those who oppose them.

For decades, so-called pro-life forces have been portrayed as the more passionate side in U.S. politics. But Dobbs may change that.

Lisa Turner holds her teenage daughter Lucy Kramer during a candlelight vigil outside the Supreme Court on Sunday night. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

When asked to choose from a list of emotions describing their reaction to the end of Roe v. Wade, for instance, far more Americans say they are “disgusted” (34%), “outraged” (30%) or “sad” (31%) than say they are “happy” (16%), “grateful” (16%) or “thrilled” (11%). When combined, nearly twice as many Americans place themselves in the first category (46%) than in the second (24%).

Why? Because while 74% of Americans who think abortion should be mostly legal say they feel disgusted, sad or outraged, a far smaller percentage of Americans who think abortion should be mostly illegal say they feel grateful, happy or thrilled (57%).

This could have political consequences in the 2022 midterms. For one thing, more Democrats now name abortion (17%) over inflation (16%) as “the most important issue to you when thinking about this year’s election,” suggesting that the issue could motivate them to turn out at the polls. Among all voters, abortion (11%) now ranks third behind inflation (34%) and democracy (20%), with crime (4%), immigration (7%), health care (5%) and climate change (5%) trailing well behind.

Likewise, Americans now say the Democratic Party (40%) would do a better job handling abortion than the Republican Party (31%), up slightly from 38%-32% a month ago.

But perhaps most importantly, the new Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that 45% of registered voters now say they would vote for a Democrat for Congress if the election were held today, versus 38% who say they would vote for a Republican — a 7-point gap that has nearly doubled since last month. And when explicitly asked to choose between a “pro-choice” Democrat (47%) and a “pro-life” Republican (32%), that same gap actually doubles again, to 15 points.

Since Friday, national Democrats from President Biden on down have argued that “Roe is on the ballot” this fall; on Monday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the U.S. House would soon take up legislation to “further codify freedoms which Americans currently enjoy.” Meanwhile, former Republican Vice President Mike Pence, among others, has said conservatives “must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land.”

If the coming congressional elections do become a battle between national abortion protections on one side and a national abortion ban on the other, Democrats will likely be on firmer political footing.

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, 52% of registered voters say they want Congress to pass “a law that keeps abortion as legal and accessible nationwide as it has been under Roe”; just 35% of voters oppose such a law. Even more voters (64%) oppose “passing a law that bans abortion nationwide” (i.e., the Pence position). Less than a quarter (23%) favor such a ban — including only half of those who say abortion itself should be illegal in most or all cases.


The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,630 U.S. adults interviewed online from June 24 to 27, 2022. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2020 presidential vote (or non-vote) and voter registration status. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adults. The margin of error is approximately 2.9%.


Major takeaways from Cassidy Hutchinson’s Jan. 6 Testimony!

Cassidy Hutchinson made a Donald Trump indictment more likely

Dear Commons Community,

Yesterday, Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified at the televised House Committee January 6th hearing.  She was close to a lot of the action that took place up to and during the insurrection. Her testimony was riveting revealing snippets of Donald Trump’s inflated, unhinged personality.  Even Fox News reporter Bret Baier said Hutchinson was “stunning and compelling.”

Ryan Grenoble, a national reporter at the Huffington Post, has provided a review of the hearing including nine key takeaways or “bombshells” that  Hutchinson dropped.  See below.

The country owes Ms. Hutchinson a great deal of gratitude for her courage in testifying yesterday knowing full well the abuse and threats that those who cross Donald Trump  often suffer. She did so because, unlike so many of the bootlickers with whom Mr. Trump surrounds himself, she wanted to do the right thing.



Meadows thought things might get “real, real bad on Jan. 6.”

On Jan. 2, Hutchinson escorted Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to his car after a meeting at the White House. Hutchinson said Giuliani told her they were “going to the Capitol” as part of a plan to keep Trump in power, and that “the president’s going to be there” and “it’s going to be great.”

When Hutchinson asked Meadows to clarify, he replied, “things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6.”

Trump knew the crowd was heavily armed.

The president knew members of the crowd at the “Stop the Steal” rally had AR-15s, handguns, bear spray, spears and other weapons, and were wearing body armor when he directed the mob to the U.S. Capitol.

Hutchinson testified that Trump urged the Secret Service to take down the magnetometers that were set up at the location of his speech so more people could attend, because armed individuals were unwilling to go through them. Audio from Capitol Police played at the hearing also shows officers were concerned about highly armed individuals wearing military fatigues outside Trump’s speech before he told them to march to the Capitol.

“They’re not here to hurt me.”

Trump, having been warned about the weapons, was aware of the danger they posed but was seemingly OK with it, Hutchinson testified.

“I heard the president say something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons,’” she said. “‘They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f-ing mags [metal detectors] away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.’”

The House minority leader told Trump not to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was adamant Trump not go to the U.S. Capitol after his rally on Jan. 6, and was under the impression he would not.

Hutchinson said McCarthy called her sounding “frustrated and angry” when, during his speech, Trump declared he intended to nevertheless go to the Capitol along with the mob.

“Well, he just said it onstage, Cassidy. Figure it out. Don’t come up here,” Hutchinson recalled him saying on the call.

Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of his limousine and assaulted a Secret Service agent.

Hutchinson testified that Trump tried to grab the wheel of his armored limousine when the Secret Service informed him they’d be unable to take him to the Capitol for security reasons. An agent removed his hand from the wheel, at which point he lunged at Special Agent Bobby Engel.

“The president said something to the effect of, I’m the f-ing president, take me up to the Capitol now.’ To which [Secret Service agent Bobby Engel] responded, ‘Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing,’” Hutchison said.

She continued: “The president reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm and said, ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel, we’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.’”

“Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel and when Mr. [Anthony] Ornato had recounted the story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicles,” she said.

Trump repeatedly threw his food at the wall.

The former president was so angry after Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press there was no evidence of widespread election fraud in the 2020 election that he threw his lunch against the wall.

Hutchinson told lawmakers she heard a noise from the White House dining room after Trump learned of the interview, and peeked into the room soon after.

“I first noticed there was ketchup dripping down the wall, and there was a shattered porcelain plate,” Hutchinson said. She added that the valet conveyed “that the president was extremely angry at the attorney general’s AP interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall, which was causing them to have to clean up.”

Hutchinson said she grabbed a towel and helped the valet wipe ketchup off the wall, and testified that there were “several times” of Trump “either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth” throughout her tenure at the White House.

Michael Flynn pleaded the Fifth instead of supporting the peaceful transfer of power.

Hutchinson testified that Meadows talked to both Roger Stone and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn on Jan. 5 at Trump’s urging.

Video from Flynn’s deposition shows he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights when asked by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) if he believed in the peaceful transition of power.

Incidentally, Trump gave presidential pardons to the men, both convicted felons.

“He thinks Mike deserves it.”

Hutchinson told the panel she remembered White House counsel Pat Cipollone telling Meadows, with a high degree of alarm, that the mob was “literally calling for [Vice President Mike Pence] to be f-ing hung.”

Meadows replied, “You heard [Trump], Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”

“This is f-ing crazy,” Cipollone replied.

Rudy Giuliani and Mark Meadows both asked Trump for pardons.

Rudy Giuliani and Mark Meadows both asked for presidential pardons after the Capitol attack, Hutchinson told Cheney.

“Did Rudy Giuliani ever suggest that he was interested in receiving a presidential pardon related to Jan. 6?” asked Cheney.

“He did,” Hutchinson replied.

“Did White House chief of staff Mark Meadows ever indicate that he was interested in receiving a presidential pardon related to Jan. 6?” Cheney asked.

“Mr. Meadows did seek that pardon,” said Hutchinson. “Yes, ma’am.”


Rudy Giuliani’s Darkest Moment!

Police arrest New York man accused of slapping Rudy Giuliani on back | Rudy  Giuliani | The Guardian

Dear Commons Community,

Andrew Kirtzman, a writer and biographer, had a guest essay over the weekend entitled, “Giuliani’s Loyalty to Trump Was Born in His Darkest Moment.”  Mr. Kirtzman has a book coming out on Giuliani later this year.  He provides insights into Giuliani’s relationahip with Donald Trump  at a time when Rudy was in a severe depression. Using information provided by associates including Giuliani’s ex-wife, Judith, Kirtzman reveals a pathetic view into Giuliani’s descent from America’s mayor to vicious hit man.  His conclusion:

Ms. [Judith] Giuliani always felt that her husband’s Achilles’ heel was his bottomless need for validation. It would lead him to make a lot of bad decisions. He would never stop protecting Mr. Trump. As the nation witnessed in the hearings of the past two weeks, he worked to upend a legitimate presidential election, destroying reputations and sabotaging American democracy in the process, all without batting an eye.”

The entire essay is below.


The New York Times

Giuliani’s Loyalty to Trump Was Born in His Darkest Moment

June 25, 2022

By Andrew Kirtzman

Mr. Kirtzman, who has written books about Rudy Giuliani’s mayoralty and the Bernie Madoff scandal, is the author of the forthcoming biography “Giuliani: The Rise and Tragic Fall of America’s Mayor,” from which this essay is adapted.

Shaye Moss, a Georgia election worker, described on national television on Tuesday the smear campaign that Rudy Giuliani waged against her and her mother. Mr. Giuliani, speaking to Georgia legislators weeks after the 2020 presidential vote, had accused the two women of engaging in “surreptitious, illegal behavior” while working the polls on election night and conjured a racist image of them “passing around USB ports as if they are vials of heroin or cocaine.” The fabricated allegations, based on a cynical misrepresentation of a video, were designed to persuade Georgia officials to overturn the election results in their state, and they triggered an avalanche of harassment and death threats against the women.

How did America’s mayor get to this low point? Mr. Giuliani’s rise to power in New York was often marked by venality, but nothing from his mayoral or prosecutorial years resembles his near-complete moral collapse under Donald Trump. They have been a pernicious team, and the strength of their bond — and how it ultimately drove the attempted subversion of the 2020 election — is rooted in Mr. Trump’s veneration of a bygone champion and Mr. Giuliani’s almost primal need to remain relevant.

On election night, Mr. Giuliani was the only one of Mr. Trump’s advisers pushing him to declare victory early, even though Mr. Trump was behind in the count, with millions of ballots outstanding. Jason Miller, a Trump adviser, said in video testimony released on June 13 that Mr. Giuliani appeared inebriated when he pushed this dubious strategy, bringing his mountain of personal problems to a defining moment in history. (Mr. Giuliani has denied that he was intoxicated on election night and has previously denied that he has a drinking problem. A spokesman for Mr. Giuliani declined to comment for this essay.)

Mr. Trump, never known for his loyalty to aides, has stood by Mr. Giuliani for years and through many embarrassments, including a raft of bungled television appearances, a compromising scene in a “Borat” film, a nationally televised news conference held in a parking lot of a landscaping company and another in which what appeared to be hair dye streamed down his cheeks. “Rudy was there when a lot of you guys weren’t,” the former president would snap at staff members.

Mr. Trump rarely gushes about anyone besides himself, but there is something about Rudy Giuliani that has always made him swoon. “Some people don’t like him and some people love him totally,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Giuliani on “Larry King Live” on Oct. 7, 1999. “I happen to be in love.” As president, Mr. Trump often spoke about him with a deference that virtually no other aide received. Mr. Giuliani as mayor was a role model for Mr. Trump; his raw exercise of power, his use of bombast as a weapon and his relentless attacks on his critics and the media all made a huge impression. His style influenced Mr. Trump’s approach to the presidency “more so probably than any other political figure,” Mr. Miller, the Trump adviser, told me over the course of reporting for a new biography of Mr. Giuliani.

The two men go back decades. As mayor, Mr. Giuliani looked favorably upon Mr. Trump’s development projects. He spoke at the funerals of both of Mr. Trump’s parents. Mr. Trump, in turn, wasn’t just “in love” with the New York mayor — Mr. Giuliani was perhaps the most famous national political leader with whom Mr. Trump had longstanding ties as he explored a presidential bid in 2000 and beyond. Mr. Trump saw how Mr. Giuliani became a hero after Sept. 11 and how he became a punchline after losing the run for the White House in 2008. Mr. Trump went to some lengths to help Mr. Giuliani in that low period. Indeed, the hallmarks of what would become one of the most toxic partnerships in recent presidential history came into stark relief during the months after Mr. Giuliani’s lifelong hopes of becoming president ended in humiliation.

Mr. Giuliani was the favorite to win that race. Beloved for his leadership after Sept. 11, the former mayor was at one point more admired than the pope. He spent nearly a year as the front-runner before the start of the 2008 Republican presidential primaries. But an almost comically misguided campaign ended nearly four weeks after the Iowa caucus, when he withdrew from the race with some $4 million in debt and just one delegate to show for his efforts.

The ridicule that he endured in its aftermath was merciless. T. Boone Pickens, the Texas billionaire, went public with his displeasure in a written letter of apology to donors he recruited to the campaign. Mr. Giuliani “rode up to the grandstand and fell off his horse,” he wrote.

Mr. Giuliani’s ex-wife Judith, who was with him at the time, told me that what gnawed at the former mayor most was a creeping fear of irrelevancy. (The couple divorced in 2019.) The flameout forced him to lower his sights from how to amass power to how to hold on to what he had left. When he offered a reporter a rare post-mortem on the race in 2009 he betrayed his concern. “I think I should’ve fought Iowa harder,” he told New York magazine. “That was the beginning of becoming irrelevant.”

After endorsing John McCain at the end of January, Mr. Giuliani disappeared from public view. Eager to escape the dreary cold of February in New York, he and his wife packed their bags and went to Florida to stay at her parents’ two-bedroom condo in Palm Beach, which Mr. Giuliani bought for them. They lived in Palm Beach Towers, an upscale high-rise apartment complex, with views of the crystalline blue Intracoastal Waterway, a swimming pool, landscaped gardens and nearby golf courses — a natural place to relax after a brutal campaign. But he rarely left the apartment, spending his time sitting listlessly on his in-laws’ living room couch, sleeping late in the bedroom or smoking cigars in his bathrobe on the terrace facing a parking lot.

Ms. Giuliani said he refused to socialize or sit for meals, even as her mother, Joan, tried to entice him with his favorite dish, pasticcio. “It started to really worry me because he was waking up only if I would wake him,” she said. He became melancholy and self-pitying (“You should leave me”), she said. Her response — “You still have kids that love you, you have me, you have your health” — failed to assuage his sense of failure. “He just could not get over it,” she said.

She said he started to drink more heavily. While Mr. Giuliani was always fond of downing a scotch with his cigars, his friends never considered him a problem drinker. Ms. Giuliani felt he was drinking to dull the pain. The situation was concerning enough to send the couple searching for a more discreet locale for his recuperation, as the press caught on to their stay at Palm Beach Towers and photographers started popping up.

In search of a friend to turn to, they found one in Donald Trump. “We moved into Mar-a-Lago and Donald kept our secret,” Ms. Giuliani said.

Mr. Trump provided them with a hideaway that was secluded from the press and passers-by, a safe space for an ailing friend who was a magnet for photographers. He had a perfect spot for them — a bungalow across the street from Mar-a-Lago. A small tunnel ran underneath South Ocean Boulevard, a narrow two-lane highway, allowing the Giulianis to walk to dinner beyond the glare of the press. “He thought he was finished,” she told me. His drinking accelerated, she said, the beginning of a series of episodes in which he fell and hurt himself. “He was always falling shitfaced somewhere,” she said.

The true depth of his depression was something that only she and Mr. Giuliani knew for certain, because they were largely isolated at the time. Many of Mr. Giuliani’s aides considered his wife a loose cannon, prone to exaggeration. Mr. Giuliani’s only mention of that period was to tell The New York Times in 2018 that he “spent a month at Mar-a-Lago, relaxing.” Their friends in New York said the two were out of touch with them. Joseph Lhota, the former deputy mayor, told me that his vague recollection was that Mr. Giuliani “kind of lost himself. No one heard from him for a while.” He recalled that Tony Carbonetti, Mr. Giuliani’s political adviser and closest aide, told him at the time that Mr. Giuliani was “in a dark place.”

Mr. Carbonetti now says that only the Giulianis know for sure how bad things were for his old boss. “There was a period where it was just the two of them for two or three months,” he told me. “She was the only person really spending significant time with him.”

Both Donald and Melania Trump kept a protective eye on them, Ms. Giuliani said. According to a confidante of hers, she and Ms. Trump were practicing yoga on the beach one day when Ms. Trump spotted a Mar-a-Lago employee shooting photos of them. Ms. Trump complained to her husband, who marched to the scene and confronted the employee. After some back-and-forth, the man grudgingly handed Mr. Trump his camera. When Mr. Trump saw the photos his employee had taken of his wife and her companion, he fired him on the spot.

During their stay, Ms. Giuliani said, she and her husband decided to see a movie at a West Palm Beach shopping center one afternoon. The outing ended soon after it began. She said he stumbled out of the car, fell to the ground and gashed his forehead so badly he needed stitches. Several weeks later, he made his first public appearance since arriving at Mar-a-Lago, traveling to New York to appear on “Saturday Night Live.” He sat on the set of “Weekend Update” making self-deprecating jokes about the failure of his campaign. His makeup just barely hid a scar above his right eyebrow.

Notwithstanding the turmoil in Mr. Giuliani’s life, it was clear that he and Mr. Trump had found a compelling kinship. The former mayor and the celebrity developer were two New York colossuses, dinosaurs from another time and place — or perhaps it was just a state of mind — in which powerful men flaunted their money and influence to prove their dominance over other powerful men, and wives were first and foremost arm candy, the more beautiful and diamond bedecked the better. “He would always come home and bring these beautiful gifts,” Ms. Giuliani said of her former husband. “He wanted it to be ostentatious, he wanted me to walk down Madison Avenue with a big pearl necklace or a big diamond ring. He loved that it was emblematic for him of his not being, as he used to say, just a Brooklyn boy. He needed that validation.”

That Mr. Trump would take Mr. Giuliani under his protective wing at a desperate time in the former mayor’s life was a glimpse into their unique bond, and may well have solidified the relationship. What’s clear is that it survived when other Trump relationships died away like so many marriages of convenience. For decades the two have performed a dance of respect and loyalty that has endured their shifting power dynamics.

When Mr. Trump’s presidential candidacy reeled from the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, Mr. Giuliani was one of few who defended him. When Robert Mueller investigated Mr. Trump’s Russia ties, Mr. Giuliani promoted a theory about a nonexistent Biden-Ukraine conspiracy. When Mr. Trump faced the abyss in 2020, the two needed each other more than ever. Mr. Giuliani was the last of the president’s high-profile advisers willing to lead his immoral battle. Seventy-six years old at the time, Mr. Giuliani’s political and financial future, possibly even his escape from prosecution, was now dependent upon Mr. Trump’s remaining in office.

Ms. Giuliani always felt that her husband’s Achilles’ heel was his bottomless need for validation. It would lead him to make a lot of bad decisions. He would never stop protecting Mr. Trump. As the nation witnessed in the hearings of the past two weeks, he worked to upend a legitimate presidential election, destroying reputations and sabotaging American democracy in the process, all without batting an eye.


Video: 46 migrants found dead in abandoned trailer in San Antonio!

Dear Commons Community,

Forty-six people were found dead after being abandoned in a tractor-trailer on a remote back road in San Antonio, Texas, in what marked the latest tragedy to claim the lives of migrants smuggled across the border from Mexico to the U.S. Sixteen people were hospitalized, including four children.  Reporting in  video above provided by The Guardian.

A city worker heard a cry for help from the truck shortly before 6 p.m. Monday and discovered the gruesome scene, Police Chief William McManus said. Hours later, body bags lay spread on the ground near the trailer as a grim symbol of the calamity.  As reported by the Associated Press.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the 46 who died had “families who were likely trying to find a better life.”

“This is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy,” Nirenberg said.

It’s among the deadliest tragedies to have claimed thousands of lives of people attempting to cross the U.S. border from Mexico in recent decades. Ten migrants died in 2017 after being trapped inside a truck that was parked at a Walmart in San Antonio. In 2003, 19 migrants were found in a sweltering truck southeast of San Antonio.

The home countries of the immigrants and how long they were abandoned on the side of the road was not immediately known.

South Texas has long been the busiest area for illegal border crossings. Migrants ride in vehicles though Border Patrol checkpoints to San Antonio, the closest major city, from which point they disperse across the United States.

A city worker at the scene on a remote back road in southwest San Antonio was alerted to the situation by a cry for help shortly before 6 p.m. Monday, Police Chief William McManus said. Officers arrived to find a body on the ground outside the trailer and a partially opened gate to the trailer, he said.

Hours later, body bags lay spread on the ground near the trailer as a grim symbol of the calamity. Bodies still remained inside.

Of the 16 taken to hospitals with heat-related illnesses, 12 were adults and four were children, said Fire Chief Charles Hood. The patients were hot to the touch and dehydrated, and no water was found in the trailer, he said.

“They were suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion,” Hood said. “It was a refrigerated tractor-trailer, but there was no visible working AC unit on that rig.”

Those in the trailer were part of a presumed migrant smuggling attempt into the United States, and the investigation was being led by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, McManus said.

Three people were taken into custody, but it was unclear if they were definitively connected with human trafficking, McManus said.

Big rigs emerged as a popular smuggling method in the early 1990s amid a surge in U.S. border enforcement in San Diego and El Paso, Texas, which were then the busiest corridors for illegal crossings.

Before that, people paid small fees to mom-and-pop operators to get them across a largely unguarded border. As crossing became exponentially more difficult after the 2001 terror attacks in the U.S., migrants were led through more perilous terrain and paid thousands of dollars more.

Heat poses a serious danger, particularly when temperatures can rise severely inside vehicles. Weather in the San Antonio area was mostly cloudy Monday, but temperatures approached 100 degrees.

Some advocates drew a link to the Biden administration’s border policies. Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council, wrote that he had been dreading such a tragedy for months.

“With the border shut as tightly as it is today for migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, people have been pushed into more and more dangerous routes. Truck smuggling is a way up,” he wrote on Twitter.

Stephen Miller, a chief architect of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, said, “Human smugglers and traffickers are wicked and evil” and that the administration’s approach to border security rewards their actions.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican running for reelection, was blunt in a tweet about the Democratic president: “These deaths are on Biden. They are a result of his deadly open border policies.”

Migrants — largely from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — have been expelled more than 2 million times under a pandemic-era rule in effect since March 2020 that denies them a chance to seek asylum but encourages repeat attempts because there are no legal consequences for getting caught. People from other countries, notably Cuba, Nicaragua and Colombia, are subject to Title 42 authority less frequently due to higher costs of sending them home, strained diplomatic relations and other considerations.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported 557 deaths on the southwest border in the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, more than double the 247 deaths reported in the previous year and the highest since it began keeping track in 1998. Most are related to heat exposure.

CBP has not published a death tally for this year but said that the Border Patrol performed 14,278 “search-and-rescue missions” in a seven-month period through May, exceeding the 12,833 missions performed during the previous 12-month period and up from 5,071 the year before.

What a horrific tragedy!


Video: Brian Kilmeade is the Latest Rupert Murdoch Fox News Host to Rip Trump over Baseless Election Claims!

Dear Commons Community,

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade attacked Donald Trump yesterday and said he has seen no evidence that proves the former president’s claims of election fraud.

Kilmeade joined the growing chorus of criticism from the staunchly Trump-supporting Fox News amid reports that owner Rupert Murdoch is turning his back on Trump in favor of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for a possible White House run in 2024. Neither Trump nor DeSantis have announced that they’re running.

The “Fox & Friends” host told Howard Kurtz on “Media Buzz” about his experience interviewing Trump at West Point where he watched the Army-Navy game after the 2020 election (see video clip above).  As reported by Mary Papenfuss of the Huffington Post.

“The president was unhinged during that period,” Kilmeade recalled. “…As soon as we were done, he just stormed off. And you know how long I’ve known him, for 15 years or 20 years prior to him going to the White House. I’ve never seen him so angry.”

He’s convinced he was robbed, Kilmeade said, referring to Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud.

“I’ve said this before: I believe from the time when the election results came in until January 6th is the worst moment of Donald Trump’s political career,” said Kilmeade.

“I think how you lose in life defines who you are,” he added. “And even if there are things that bother you, welcome to the world. A lot of times times things don’t work out, and are so-called ‘unfair.’ Your team couldn’t prove [the vote was rigged], move on,” Kilmeade added.

Trump became angry with Kilmeade during the West Point interview because the Fox host briefly challenged him on the vote fraud claims.

“Your guys have been unable to prove it as of now,” Kilmeade told Trump.

“Excuse me, excuse me, we have proven it,” Trump insisted.

Trump also boasted in the interview about the upcoming “Stop the Steal” rally that would end with the storming of the U.S. Capitol, injurious attacks on some 140 police officers and the arrests of 840 Trump supporters.

Earlier this year, Kilmeade lectured Trump in an appearance on Media Buzz, saying: “In life, you have to learn to lose.”

Kilmeade’s comments on Sunday were the latest in a recent series of attacks on Trump by Murdoch-controlled media outlets.

Last Tuesday, Fox anchor Martha MacCallum called out the “stunning” absence of proof to support Trump’s election fraud claims during the hearing about the Jan. 6, 2021 attack.

Two days later, Fox anchor Bret Baier praised the Republican election officials and members of Trump’s own administration who stood up to his bogus election claims.

Both The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal have also launched attacks on Trump in scathing editorials.

“Trump betrayed his supporters by conning them on Jan. 6, and he is still doing it,” the Journal editorial stated on June 10.

“The King Lear of Mar-a-Lago” who cannot accept defeat has “become a prisoner of his own ego,” the Post said the same day. “He won’t stop insisting that 2020 was ‘stolen’ even though he’s offered no proof that it’s true.”

In an opinion piece in the Post, longtime Murdoch employee Piers Morgan called Trump an “aging, raging gorilla who’s become a whiny, democracy-defying bore.”

The headline declared: “It’s Time to Dump The Donald.”

Without Fox News and other Murdoch controlled media outlets to support him, Trump has no chance to launch a successful political comeback!


More than 1 million voters switch party affiliation to Republican – Bad news for Democrats!

Why are voters changing their party affiliation this election cycle? - CBS News

Dear Commons Community,

The Associated Press has a sobering article this morning reporting that more than one million voters have switched their party affiliation to Republican.  Here is an excerpt.

“A political shift is beginning to take hold across the U.S. as tens of thousands of suburban swing voters who helped fuel the Democratic Party’s gains in recent years are becoming Republicans.

More than 1 million voters across 43 states have switched to the Republican Party over the last year, according to voter registration data analyzed by The Associated Press. The previously unreported number reflects a phenomenon that is playing out in virtually every region of the country — Democratic and Republican states along with cities and small towns — in the period since President Joe Biden replaced former President Donald Trump.

But nowhere is the shift more pronounced — and dangerous for Democrats — than in the suburbs, where well-educated swing voters who turned against Trump’s Republican Party in recent years appear to be swinging back. Over the last year, far more people are switching to the GOP across suburban counties from Denver to Atlanta and Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Republicans also gained ground in counties around medium-size cities such as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Raleigh, North Carolina; Augusta, Georgia; and Des Moines, Iowa.

Ben Smith, who lives in suburban Larimer County, Colorado, north of Denver, said he reluctantly registered as a Republican earlier in the year after becoming increasingly concerned about the Democrats’ support in some localities for mandatory COVID-19 vaccines, the party’s inability to quell violent crime and its frequent focus on racial justice.

“It’s more so a rejection of the left than embracing the right,” said Smith, a 37-year-old professional counselor whose transition away from the Democratic Party began five or six years ago when he registered as a libertarian.

The AP examined nearly 1.7 million voters who had likely switched affiliations across 42 states for which there is data over the last 12 months, according to L2, a political data firm. L2 uses a combination of state voter records and statistical modeling to determine party affiliation. While party switching is not uncommon, the data shows a definite reversal from the period while Trump was in office, when Democrats enjoyed a slight edge in the number of party switchers nationwide.

But over the last year, roughly two-thirds of the 1.7 million voters who changed their party affiliation shifted to the Republican Party. In all, more than 1 million people became Republicans compared to about 630,000 who became Democrats.

The broad migration of more than 1 million voters, a small portion of the overall U.S. electorate, does not ensure widespread Republican success in the November midterm elections, which will determine control of Congress and dozens of governorships. Democrats are hoping the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to overrule Roe v. Wade will energize supporters, particularly in the suburbs, ahead of the midterms.

Still, the details about party switchers present a dire warning for Democrats who were already concerned about the macro effects shaping the political landscape this fall.

Roughly four months before Election Day, Democrats have no clear strategy to address Biden’s weak popularity and voters’ overwhelming fear that the country is headed in the wrong direction with their party in charge. And while Republicans have offered few policy solutions of their own, the GOP has been working effectively to capitalize on the Democrats’ shortcomings.

Republicans benefited last year as suburban parents grew increasingly frustrated by prolonged pandemic-related schools closures. And as inflation intensified more recently, the Republican National Committee has been hosting voter registration events at gas stations in suburban areas across swing states like Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania to link the Biden administration to record-high gas prices. The GOP has also linked the Democratic president to an ongoing baby formula shortage.”

This is horrendous news and supports the fear that this year’s 2022 midterm elections will be a bloodbath for Democrats!


Maureen Dowd on Clarence Thomas and the Radical Supreme Court!

Analysis | The Supreme Court's draft opinion on overturning Roe v. Wade,  annotated - Washington Post

Dear Commons Community,

In light of the reversal of Roe v. Wade, Maureen Dowd in her column this morning views the U.S. Supreme Court as now being led by Clarence Thomas.  Thomas’s concurring opinion to the fanatical Samuel Alito’s majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade chillingly warned that he would apply the same rationale to contraception, same-sex marriage and same-sex consensual relations.  She comments that Chief Justice John Roberts is taking a backseat to the five conservative judges and that the court is out of control.  Dowd states: “We feel powerless to do anything about it. Clarence Thomas, of all people, has helped lead us to where we are, with unaccountable extremists dictating how we live. And that is revolting.”

Out of control indeed!

The entire column is below.


The New York Times

The Radical Reign of Clarence Thomas

June 25, 2022

By Maureen Dowd

WASHINGTON — “What is happening here?” a distraught Nancy Pelosi said on Friday.

It’s a good question and I can answer it, because I was there at the start of the corrosive chain of events that led to women losing control of their own bodies. I saw how America went from a beacon of modernity to a benighted outlier.

Over the last three decades, I have witnessed a dismal saga of opportunism, fanaticism, mendacity, concupiscence, hypocrisy and cowardice. This is a story about men gaining power by trading away something that meant little to them compared with their own stature: the rights of women.

It started innocently enough on a beautiful summer day in Kennebunkport, with the ocean sparkling and a lunch of crab meat salad and English muffins.

I was covering the first President Bush’s nomination of a 43-year-old U.S. appeals court judge for the D.C. Circuit to take the seat of retiring Justice Thurgood Marshall. Clarence Thomas, standing in front of a weather-beaten shingled cottage, looked uneasy as Bush defended his conservative choice.

The warnings were clear even then. Democratic Senator Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio threatened to investigate Judge Thomas’s record on abortion, saying, “I will not support yet another Reagan-Bush Supreme Court nominee who remains silent on a woman’s right to choose and then ascends to the court to weaken that right.”

Thomas was a far cry from the liberal lion and civil rights hero Marshall. He opposed affirmative action, even though it contributed to his rise, and he was championed by anti-abortion activists, who were confident that he would weaken a woman’s right to choose.

H.W. and his father were New England Episcopalians with a proud history of supporting Planned Parenthood. Prescott Bush had been an early supporter in the ’40s and once served as a treasurer of a fund-raising campaign. As a Texas congressman, H.W. was christened “Rubbers” by his colleagues because he was such a cheerleader for family planning in the United States and around the world.

But when Bush joined Ronald Reagan on the ticket in 1980, he adopted Reagan’s more restrictive position. The right remained suspicious of Bush, though, and hoping to bring it around for his re-election, he appointed the ultraconservative Thomas. He also wanted to appeal to Black voters, still angry at the Willie Horton ugliness that had helped propel him to the White House.

Women’s rights had to take a back seat to re-election.

Three months later, Anita Hill told her story to Congress about her boss, Thomas, tormenting her with unwanted attention and dirty talk about the pornographic films he liked to watch. Joe Biden was the chairman of those Senate hearings.

He let Hill be viciously ripped apart by Republicans and then abruptly ended the hearings, canceling the appearance of her two corroborating witnesses. Many senators on the committee — composed entirely of white men — privately thought it was an office romance gone wrong. Poor guy, they said among themselves, no point in letting his life be ruined by someone they thought, with absolutely no evidence, was a vengeful ex. Hill was smeared as a perjuring erotomaniac, and Biden, wasting a Democratic Senate majority, allowed a liar, a pervert and a sexual harasser to be elevated to a lifetime seat on the court.

Women’s rights had to take a back seat to Biden’s desire to foster bipartisanship with his conservative colleagues. And with Thomas, those conservatives got the justice of their dreams, the first in a line of right-wing radicals.

When Donald Trump came along, trailing a history of lurid sexual transgressions, the family-values Republicans and religious right didn’t care. They knew he was the one who could bring them to Valhalla on the Supreme Court.

Mitch McConnell and his Federalist Society minions used Trump as the host body. After wrecking the rules to keep Merrick Garland off the court, McConnell jammed through Amy Coney Barrett. Trump, who had once been a pro-choice, Nancy-and-Hillary-and-Chuck loving Democrat, was happy to flip to gain the fervor of an anti-abortion base.

Women’s rights had to take a back seat to Trump’s ego and ambition and McConnell’s desire for a conservative court that would pull back the reach of the government, denying protections to Americans who need or value them. They pushed through three conservative justices — one had to defend himself against sexual assault charges and one was in a weird “Handmaid’s Tale”-style sect — and that was checkmate for Roe.

Neil Gorsuch and another Trump appointee, Brett Kavanaugh, are now facing accusations from senators that they dissembled to get on the court and played down their intentions to throw out Roe. “I am a don’t-rock-the-boat kind of judge,” Kavanaugh told Susan Collins, according to The Times’s Carl Hulse.

Thomas’s concurring opinion to the fanatical Samuel Alito’s majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade chillingly warned that he would apply the same rationale to contraception, same-sex marriage and same-sex consensual relations.

Back when Thomas’s nomination ran into resistance, the Bush administration sold him as a sterling example of a Black man who had pulled himself up from rough beginnings. That day in Kennebunkport, Thomas talked about being raised by his grandparents, sharecroppers from rural Georgia.

But on the court he has been cruel, pushing opinions that would grind down the poor and underprivileged.

While his wife ran around helping Trump with his coup, Thomas was the senior firebrand in a coup of extremists on the court. They yanked power away from John Roberts and are defying the majority will in this country in ways that are terrifying.

On Thursday, in the middle of an epidemic of mass shootings, with Congress finally getting a mild victory on gun control, Thomas opened the door to more guns on the street. He wrote the majority opinion overturning a New York law limiting the right to carry a handgun in public, throwing out a requirement over a century old.

In another ruling this past week, the justices chipped away at the First Amendment’s separation between church and state, a foundation of the Republic. And next, they will get around to removing environmental protections and gutting the government’s ability to regulate and restrict business rights.

The court is out of control. We feel powerless to do anything about it. Clarence Thomas, of all people, has helped lead us to where we are, with unaccountable extremists dictating how we live. And that is revolting.