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Allegra Kirkland

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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Congressional investigators are digging into a Republican operative’s efforts to obtain Hillary Clinton’s private emails from Russian hackers and his claims to be carrying out that hunt on behalf of members of the Trump campaign, CNN reported Monday.

The Senate and House Intelligence Committees are both reaching out to individuals recruited by the late Peter W. Smith, a veteran Chicago-based opposition research, for inside knowledge about how exactly his email hunt worked. Smith himself was found dead in an apparent suicide weeks after after the Wall Street Journal first reported on his email campaign.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is also probing Smith’s work and whether, as he claimed, he was working “in coordination” with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn or other high-level Trump campaign officials.

An anonymous source told CNN that British security analyst Matt Tait told the House committee that he believed Smith had close ties to Flynn, former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon and White House aide Kellyanne Conway. Tait went public with Smith’s efforts to recruit him in a June blog post for Lawfare, where he wrote that it was “apparent that Smith was both well connected within the top echelons of the campaign” and that he displayed a “reckless lack of interest in whether the emails came from a Russian cut-out.”

Indeed, Smith himself told the Journal that he “knew the people who had these were probably around the Russian government.”

The House panel has also interviewed Smith’s former assistant, law student Jonathan Safron, while Senate investigators have contacted Eric York, a separate security expert Smith reached out to for assistance in obtaining and verifying Clinton’s emails, according to CNN.

Conway and Bannon have previously denied any knowledge of this plot. Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, declined CNN’s request for comment.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has also requested an interview and documents from far-right blogger Chuck Johnson, who told CNN he had done neither and would refuse any requests for a closed-door interview. Johnson recently joined pro-Russia congressman Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) for a trip to meet with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, where they discussed their shared assessment that Russia played no role in providing Clinton campaign emails to Assange’s publication during the campaign.

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A young black man photographed wielding an improvised flamethrower in front of a group of white nationalists at an August rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was arrested Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Virginia resident Corey Long, 23, was charged with disorderly conduct for his use of the makeshift flamethrower and with assault and battery for a separate skirmish that occurred during the tumultuous event, Charlottesville police spokesman Lt. Stephen Upman told the newspaper.

An Associated Press photo of a shirtless Long aiming a lighted spray can at a crowd of Confederate-flag wielding white nationalists went viral in the days after the rally, inspiring think pieces and circulating widely on social media.

Long, who the Times reported was released on bond after appearing before a magistrate, is the second black counter-protester to be charged last week in connection with the rally. A neo-Confederate group leader apparently made use of a Virginia statute to pursue a felony “unlawful wounding” charge for DeAndre Harris, a 20-year-old black man who was viciously beaten by a group of white nationalists in a parking garage.

Long is being represented by Malik Zulu Shabazz, former chairman of the New Black Panther Party, according to the Times.

Shortly after the rally, Long told the Root that he acted in self-defense in firing off the flamethrower, doing so after a white man shot at the ground in his direction.
“At first it was peaceful protest,” Long told the publication. “Until someone pointed a gun at my head. Then the same person pointed it at my foot and shot the ground.”

That person appears to be Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard and Baltimore resident Richard Wilson Preston. Preston is seen in a video taken by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Virginia chapter shouting “Hey, nigger!” just before drawing a pistol and firing into the crowd in Long’s direction. He was arrested in August for discharging a firearm within 1,000 yards of a school—a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison.

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NEW YORK—New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) announced Friday that he is teaming up with his Democratic counterparts in some dozen states to sue to block President Donald Trump’s “reckless and cruel” move to end crucial subsidies that the Affordable Care Act provides to insurers.

“People will suffer and people will die” if the Trump administration’s “unlawful” decision stands, Schneiderman warned in a press conference at his downtown Manhattan office.

The New York Democrat is joining a federal lawsuit that will be filed in the Northern District of California Friday arguing that the government is legally required under the Affordable Care Act to continue to make the payments, known as cost-sharing reductions, that allow insurers to keep out-of-pocket costs down for low-income individuals.

Roughly 730,000 New York residents receive some $900 million in cost-sharing reduction payments, according to Schneiderman’s office.

The Trump administration’s announcement late Thursday that it will halt the subsidies threatens to throw the individual insurance market into turmoil. The state attorneys general are seeking a temporary restraining order that would require the government to continue making these payments going forward, including the next one due Oct. 18.

As Schneiderman pointed out, the Washington, D.C. district court judge overseeing a separate, related lawsuit—House vs. Price—acknowledged that the loss of these payments would directly lead to an increase in premiums and in the number of insured individuals nationwide. He and other state attorneys general were permitted to intervene in that case this summer in what Schneiderman said was a recognition on that judge’s part that she “could no longer rely on the Trump administration to provide proper defense for the Affordable Care Act.” That case has been on pause as the new administration and the House GOP decided on a new way forward.

Though Trump hasn’t been shy about his desire to watch Obamacare “implode,” Schneiderman said the president’s willingness to take such significant steps to undermine the law “with no warning or even a plan to contain the fallout is breathtakingly reckless.”

Massachusetts, Connecticut and Kentucky are among the states joining New York and California in the lawsuit.

These states all have Democratic attorneys general, but a number of Republican lawmakers on Friday expressed grave concern about what will happen to residents in their states when these payments are gone—something that could happen as early as next week.

Update: The lawsuit the attorneys general are bringing has been filed in the U.S. District Court of California for the Northern District. It alleges that Trump is in violation of the Affordable Care Act, Administrative Procedure Act and the Constitution’s Take Care clause. Nineteen states are on the lawsuit. Read the lawsuit below:

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An odd statute tucked into the Virginia state code has led to a rather mind-boggling situation in which a neo-Confederate leader appears to have gotten a young black man who was brutally beaten in a Charlottesville, Virginia parking garage at August’s “Unite the Right” rally arrested this week on an assault charge.

In the Old Dominion, a resident may file a complaint with police and bring it to a magistrate to make the case that there’s probable cause to seek a warrant; for a felony charge, either the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office or police must sign off after reviewing the facts of the police report.

Local legal experts, as well as the Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, say that process played out rather unusually in the arrest of 20-year-old DeAndre Harris.

“I’m perplexed,” said Josh Bowers, a criminal law professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, noting that in most jurisdictions only police have the power to initiate the arrest process.

Bowers said this manner of legal recourse reminded him of the pre-Revolutionary War justice system, much of which was carried out by private individuals. He said the statute makes it easy for a person to use “the authority of the state to settle scores or promote private biases,” as exemplified in the case against Harris.

A magistrate issued a warrant for “unlawful wounding” against Harris on Monday at the request of a man Harris’ attorney identified as Harold Ray Crews, an attorney who chairs the neo-Confederate League of the South’s North Carolina chapter. Harris turned himself in to Charlottesville Police on Thursday and was released on bond.

Lloyd Snook, a Charlottesville-based criminal defense attorney, said that the Commonwealth Attorney’s office is “typically” asked to approve warrants. But that doesn’t appear to have happened in this case.

“We did not have anything to do with it,” a spokeswoman for the Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office told TPM in a Thursday phone call, drawing out the pauses between each word. “And we’re after the fact like ‘Hey!’”

Charlottesville police have acknowledged that one of their detectives responded to and “verified the facts” of the complaint filed against Harris, allowing a magistrate to issue the warrant. But that officer apparently was not Det. Sgt. Jake Via, who’s been overseeing the investigation into the parking garage incident.

“We were not expecting this,” Via told the Washington Post earlier this week. “We were expecting to do our own investigation into the man’s allegations.”

Charlottesville police spokesman Lt. Steve Upman told TPM he could not provide further information on why Via, who was most familiar with the case, wasn’t asked to approve the warrant or notified that it was issued.

Local defense attorneys were baffled. Dave Heilberg, a former assistant Commonwealth attorney for Rockingham County, noted that there has already “been quite a police investigation of this incident,” which took place nearly two months ago.

“Why wouldn’t that magistrate send it to that officer?” he asked.

Cheryl Thompson, regional supervisor for the magistrate’s office that covers Charlottesville, told TPM her office was “barred from discussing pending or concluded proceedings” and referred questions to Kristi Wright, the director of Virginia’s Department of Legislative and Public Relations. Wright did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.

In a statement, Harris’ attorney, S. Lee Merritt, accused the magistrate of allowing Crews “to exploit the judicial system by bypassing CPD and presenting incomplete and misleading evidence directly to a magistrate” without “a proper investigation.”

Crews has not responded TPM’s repeated requests for comment this week.

Both Crews’ and Harris’ versions of events hinges on just a few minutes of a melee captured in photos and on video. Video shows a man that Merritt identifies as Crews trying to stab a friend of Harris’ with a pole bearing a Confederate flag. Harris can be seen swinging back with a large flashlight, and is promptly kicked to the ground and beaten with a shield and wooden batons by six white nationalists, leaving him with grave bodily injuries.

Merritt maintains that a cranial injury Crews sustained that day occurred during a “completely separate subsequent incident” that occurred after Harris had already been hospitalized.

Crews and his white nationalist defenders have flooded the Internet with other videos they claim shows Harris attacking Crews first and wounding him in the head.

When asked how the police decided to sign off on the warrant against Harris, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office pointed to the video evidence.

“They have to look into it briefly,” the spokeswoman said. “I think the understanding was that was out there on the web; you can go look for it and probably would find it.”

Three of the men accused of beating Harris have already been arrested and charged with “malicious wounding”; all three were arrested only after being identified by internet sleuths who combed the video and photos of the parking garage attack.

For Harris, the next step is a Friday arraignment, followed by a preliminary court hearing in mid-December.

But in the meantime, the League of the South and other white nationalists who marched with guns and armor to “Unite the Right” are celebrating the arrest and charges against this “young negro male,” pointing to it as proof that the media unfairly painted them as the aggressors in Charlottesville.

As Bowers, the UVA law professor put it, Harris, who now faces up to five years prison and a $2,500 fine, is being “doubly attacked” by the same people who left him with fractures, cranial lacerations and internal bodily injuries.

“Being the subject of an arrest warrant is a profoundly unnerving thing,” Bowers said. “It has reputational wounds, it puts Mr. Harris back in a spotlight he may reasonably want to avoid. He’s dealing with injuries, and now he’s subjected to a new form of injury altogether.”

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In August, heavily armed white nationalists in matching uniforms roved the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, knocking down crowds of counter-protesters and chanting Nazi slogans. Now the city is taking a stand of its own.

Charlottesville officials, businesses, and neighborhood associations filed a lawsuit in federal court on Thursday suing the organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally as well as the militia groups that guarded them for “unlawful paramilitary activity.”

Pointing to thousands of dollars in lost business and legal and security costs, the terror felt by Charlottesville residents, and the defendants’ pledge to return to the city many more times, the plaintiffs asked the court to intervene so that “roving paramilitary bands and unaccountable vigilante peacekeepers” would be forbidden from taking over their city again.

Relying on an obscure provision of the Virginia Constitution, the plaintiffs asked the court to recognize that there is no “protection under the law” for armed men who stated their intention to commit violence to flood the streets of a city, nor for unauthorized militia groups to take on the role of “peacekeepers.”

Virginia law specifies that “in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”

The suit names 22 white nationalist groups, leaders and private militia groups as defendants, including the rally’s primary organizer Jason Kessler, the Traditionalist Worker Party, Vanguard America, League of the South and the Pennsylvania Lightfoot Militia.

These groups’ penchant for self-promotion and habit of describing their activities in militaristic terms has come back to bite them. Much of the case is built around their quotes to the press and on social media about the “command structures” they used, their extensive preparations for the rally and their eagerness to commit violence.

The suit quotes Eli Mosley, head of white nationalist group Identity Evropa, as saying that he runs his team “as a military organization” and warning police that he would send in “at least 200 people with guns” if they did not let ralliers enter Emancipation Park to collect equipment left behind.

It also quotes Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard Richard Preston as threatening to “shoot that fucking nigger” while brandishing a pistol, which he then allegedly fired at a counter-protester.

The lawsuit explicitly notes that both peaceable right to assemble and gun ownership are protected activities, but that serving as “members of a fighting force” unsanctioned by the government is not.

“In Charlottesville today, as through centuries of American tradition, the government alone retains a monopoly on the organized use of force,” it reads.

The suit describes in detail the heavy weaponry that white nationalists brought to the rally, including semiautomatic AR-15 assault rifles, body armor and Kevlar helmets, as well as the way group leaders issued commands to their subordinates to smash their shields into clergymembers and other counter-demonstrators.

“The Alt-Right Defendants did not come to Charlottesville merely to espouse their controversial ideas in a public park,” the complaint reads. “They came to coerce and terrorize.”

It is separate from another lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Charlottesville by eleven residents injured during the chaotic rally. That suit names a number of the same groups, including Vanguard America and League of the South, as defendants, and seeks monetary damages and a ban on similar paramilitary-style white nationalist rallies.

Read the full complaint below:

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One of the most enduring and shocking moments from the white nationalist march on Charlottesville this summer was the parking garage beating of counter-protester DeAndre Harris by a crowd of khaki-clad white nationalists, who swarmed around the 20-year-old with flagpoles and shields.

One of the hate group leaders involved in that clash successfully persuaded a local magistrate on Monday to issue an arrest warrant for Harris on a felony charge of “unlawful wounding,” complicating an ongoing police investigation into the men who attacked the counter-protester.

Both Harris’ lawyer and the League of the South, a neo-Confederate organization, say Harold Ray Crews, the group’s North Carolina chairman, pursued the warrant. In order to do so, he took advantage of a quirk in the judicial system, according to a Charlottesville police detective and Harris’ lawyer.

After trying to file a compliant with police, Crews apparently went to the magistrate’s office, which requires only a police report based on the complainant’s testimony and the determination of probable cause to issue a warrant. In a statement, S. Lee Merritt, Harris’ attorney, Merritt attributed the charge to a “successful campaign” by the League of the South to “manipulate the Charlottesville judiciary and further victimize Mr. Harris.” He denied that his client was involved in causing the head injuries Crews sustained.

Charlottesville police detectives and Merritt have expressed surprise that local authorities issued the warrant at all.

“This is the first time I’ve seen this situation happen,” Merritt told TPM.

In a Wednesday phone call, Merritt told TPM that Crews and his fellow League of the South members have been discussing pressing charges against Harris on their podcast, “Southern Nationalist Radio,” “for quite some time,” but that he did not expect “a magistrate to sort of decide to independently run with it.”

Charlottesville Det. Sgt. Jake Via, who is supervising the parking garage case, told the Washington Post that he, too, was “not expecting this.”

“We were expecting to do our own investigation into the man’s allegations,” Via told the newspaper.

Crews, a 48-year-old North Carolina real estate lawyer who describes himself as a “Southern Nationalist” on his Twitter bio, did not respond to TPM’s email and phone calls requesting comment. But the League of the South posted several items celebrating the pending arrest of the “young negro male” involved with “harassing their members” in the parking garage.

Crews has deep ties to the League, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, has reported that he runs their Facebook, website and a related YouTube channel that’s posted under his own name.

His allies have celebrated the arrest warrant as a victory for their side, with white nationalist blogger Hunter Wallace calling Harris’ charge the end of “another race hoax” and prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer cheering “the end of the Deandre Haris [sic] myth.”

Both Merritt, Harris’ attorney, and the white nationalists say they believe the copious video evidence of the incident will vindicate them. Video shows the man that Merritt says identifies as Crews trying to stab a counter-protester with the pole of a Confederate flag, and Harris swinging a flashlight in response. Merritt said in a statement that the flashlight “did not make significant contact” with Crews before Harris was kicked to the ground by six white nationalists who beat him with wooden sticks and a shield, leaving him with a cranial lacerations and several fractures. Photos show Harris bleeding profusely from his head.

According to Merritt’s statement, the injury Crews sustained to his head came from “a completely separate subsequent incident” involving a clash “between at least four white males,” which was also appears to have been captured in multiple photographs.

Three of the white nationalists involved in the parking garage beating have since been arrested.

As the Post reported, Commonwealth’s Attorney Warner “Dave” Chapman, a Democrat, will decide whether to prosecute the case once the warrant is served against Harris.

Merritt told TPM he is working with Charlottesville police to determine the terms of Harris’ surrender, but would not release the date out of “concerns about his safety and people knowing he’s in town.”

“He had to leave Charlottesville because he no longer felt safe in the city,” Merritt said of Harris, who was a resident of the city at the time of the August rally. “He couldn’t continue his job as an assistant school teacher because of anxiety that he gets around large crowds. He was doing a pretty good job recovering. But there’s still this angst of him being charged after being the recipient of this brutal attack. It’s set him back emotionally.”

This post has been updated.

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Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page on Tuesday denied a report that he informed the Senate Intelligence Committee he would refuse to appear before the panel to answer questions in its investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

As Page told TPM, he remains eager to do so, but wants to testify publicly. He said he was offering to appear at a Nov. 1 open hearing on the role social media played in influencing U.S. voters.

At the same time, however, Page confirmed Politico’s reporting that he plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid turning documents over to the committee.

Page told TPM that the committee asked for information on “every aspect of my life”—a request that he said goes beyond the confines of the panel’s investigation. Pointing to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant that the Washington Post reported the FBI took out to monitor his communications, Page said that intelligence agencies already had access to all the relevant information they needed to know.

“Asking for more information is by definition a false testimony/perjury trap,” Page said in a Wednesday phone call. “They’ll say, ‘You said X and Y, but we see you also see you also said X, Y and Z. It makes no sense at all.”

Page did not elaborate on how testifying publicly precluded the possibility that he could contradict the information intelligence agencies may have collected about him.

This unusual legal strategy is of Page’s own design. The former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, who is under scrutiny for his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 race, is representing himself in federal and multiple congressional investigations.

It’s unclear if the committee has formally invited Page to testify or considered his offer to appear on Nov. 1. A spokeswoman did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment.

Page claims to have sent lengthy letters to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees refuting any inappropriate contacts with Kremlin-linked officials and accusing lawmakers of engaging in a “witch hunt.” He also released those letters to reporters.

The energy consultant has been more forthcoming with federal investigators looking into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, sitting down for some ten hours of interviews with FBI agents earlier this year.

This post has been updated. 

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White nationalist Richard Spencer says he first learned of “flash mobs” from a viral YouTube video that showed dozens of people twirling around Antwerp, Belgium’s Central Station in a spontaneous, coordinated performance of the Sound of Music’s “Do-Re-Mi.”

He told TPM he’s trying to adapt that absurdist concept for an entirely different purpose: unannounced public expressions of pro-Confederate, white nationalist sentiment, like Saturday’s 15-minute long torch-lit rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Both the last-minute rally organizers and policing experts point out that this is one of the few types of events that white nationalists can expect to pull off after their 1500-person strong August rally in Charlottesville devolved into deadly chaos. With something like Saturday’s flash mob, it’s easier to control who participates and the counter-protesters who flocked to their previous events don’t have any advance notice. Those conditions provide white nationalists with a less fraught, if inherently sillier, method of keeping their names in the headlines.

“If the goal is to get attention to bring a light to their antics on a small stage, I don’t think there’s any question that it’s working,” Seth Stoughton, a policing expert at the University of South Carolina School of Law, told TPM.

Stoughton pointed out that unlike the August “Unite the Right” rally, which was intended to bring different factions of the racist and neo-Confederate far-right together, a smaller event like Saturday’s flash mob is “directed outward,” at the media and at communities like Charlottesville.

But the attention these events draw is much more limited, and such rallies’ small size serves as evidence to those who oppose white nationalists’ message that mass public backlash is an effective protest tactic.

“It’s a sign that as a physical presence they are not able to pull off the kind of thing they’ve done in the past,” David Harris, a professor on policing and national security issues at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, told TPM of these smaller demonstrations.

“After Charlottesville, [Spencer] said ‘We’re going to be back; you haven’t seen the last of us,” Harris continued. “This fulfulls that pledge, if you like, but it also exposes the current weakness of their position in terms of what they’re actually able to do.”

The flash mob model is limited by various logistical constraints. Organizers can’t use public social media accounts to attract participants; need attendees to live in close proximity to the chosen location so that they can travel there on relatively short notice; and only so many participants can be invited without word leaking out.

Spencer and Mike Enoch, the creator of a white nationalist blog who attended the Saturday event, both acknowledged those limitations. But they said the point of the demonstration was simply to get their message out without their opponents learning about the events and shutting them down.

“We want to show that we have the logistics and the apparatus to do these things on short notice and without any warning to the places where we’re gonna show up,” Enoch said, adding that “the statement we wanted to make didn’t require 1500 people.”

Spencer, Enoch, and Identity Evropa leader Eli Mosley were among the 40-something people that showed up on the University of Virginia’s campus on Saturday evening after driving down from Washington, D.C.

The students they encountered there seemed uninterested in what the spontaneous ralliers had to say. Spencer said a group of undergraduates was having a house party right near the spot where they disembarked and lit up their tiki torches; realizing what was happening, the students immediately tipped off the police.

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Color guard displays, enlistment ceremonies, military appreciation nights: These were among the many displays of “paid patriotism” that NFL teams once regularly carried out as part of lucrative contracts with the U.S. Defense Department. But what about standing during the national anthem?

Questions swirled about whether those contracts had anything to say about requiring players to stand during the pre-game ceremonies after President Donald Trump forcibly inserted himself into an ongoing debate about players protesting racial inequality and police brutality by kneeling during the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Given what’s known about the DOD and the NFL’s once-cozy patronage relationship, the widespread social media speculation is understandable; both entities say standing during the anthem is voluntary, however, and there’s no evidence of any contract requiring players to do so.

The controversy dates back to early 2015, when Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) drew attention to the tens of thousands of dollars that the New Jersey Army National Guard paid the New York Jets for military-related “advertising and promotion,” calling it an “egregious and unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars.” Flake followed up with a report co-authored with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that excoriated both the NFL and the military for allowing members of the armed services to be used as a “marketing ploy.” It ran through specific team’s contracts in detail, finding 14 teams received $5.4 million in taxpayer money from 2011-2014 for the so-called “patriotic displays.”

The report ricocheted through the media, and fans questioned what exact role the national anthem played in these lucrative deals after then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the anthem in the summer of 2016 to protest police brutality.

At the time, Comcast Sportsnet New England’s Tom E. Curran published a story that observed “prior to 2009, players being on the field for the national anthem wasn’t even standard practice.” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Curran that though this practice did date back to 2009, players were never told how they had to position their bodies during the song.

“As you know, the NFL has a long tradition of patriotism,” McCarthy told him. “Players are encouraged but not required to stand for the anthem.”

McCarthy appeared to provide a bit more detail after Trump forced the issue back into the headlines at a September campaign rally, where he said that any “son of a bitch” who refuses to stand during the anthem should be fired. As Snopes reported, he explained that an adjustment in network timing issues allowed players to come out onto the sidelines for the anthem during primetime games, whereas they had previously waited in locker rooms. Being on the field for the anthem was already standard practice for daytime games, according to that report.

But despite internet rumors suggesting a connection, it seems unlikely the U.S. military had anything to do with these shifting practices. The McCain-Flake report looked at contracts dating back to 2011, not 2009, and made no specific reference to the military requesting that players stand during the anthem.

Anthem-related requests that pop up in the contracts typically involved having state national guard members perform it, or having soldiers come onto the field or participate in a color guard ceremony during the performance. None mention player behavior.

The DOD recently denied requesting that athletes from any professional sports league take part in the anthem.

“DoD does not require or request that athletes be on the field during the playing of the national anthem when military members are part of the patriotic opener,” Pentagon spokesman Army Major Dave Eastburn told CNN in a statement.

“Community relations participation, such as flyovers, color guards, and military band support, are unpaid activities,” Eastburn added. “DoD does not pay outside parties to host such community outreach activities.”

Some of the most egregious taxpayer funded displays of patriotism at NFL games have come to an end: The league returned over $700,000 of money paid to teams for military tributes last year, and Pentagon higher-ups have issued guidance banning sports marketing contracts for some of these “paid patriotism” activities, including national anthem performances.

Still, the financial ties between the two bodies run deep, with the league describing supporting the military as “part of the fabric of the NFL” in a description of its “Salute to Service” partnership, which funnels proceeds to non-profit partners like the Wounded Warrior Project. On the NFL’s online store, fans can purchase “Salute to Service” gear like a $99.99 camouflage-toned pullover, emblazoned with the logo of their favorite team.

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New York prosecutors had investigated Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. for allegedly giving false information to prospective buyers of condo units in their troubled Trump SoHo development, according to a joint investigation out Wednesday from ProPublica, WNYC and The New Yorker.

While the report found prosecutors gathered significant evidence for a criminal case, no indictment ever came down against the siblings. As the report revealed, Mark Kasowitz, one of Trump’s longtime personal attorneys who had donated thousands of dollars to the reelection campaign of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, asked Vance to drop the investigation. The district attorney ultimately did so, overruling his own prosecutors.

The existence of a criminal investigation into the Trump SoHo project was first reported by the New York Times last year. Buyers were angry that the Trump family had publicly insisted that the development was selling units like hotcakes, when it actually was hobbled by a bursting real estate bubble, an odd zoning situation and press reports on the involvement of a Trump associate with a felony record: Felix Sater.

The Trump Organization ultimately settled a civil suit related to the development in 2011, admitting no wrongdoing but agreeing to refund much of the deposits, as the Times reported.

But the new collaborative reporting project is the first to reveal that prosecutors were focused on Trump’s eldest children; that they had email evidence; and that Kasowitz may have had a hand in how the case shook out.

The evidence accumulated by Vance’s team included emails in which the Trump siblings discussed how to coordinate misleading information they would provide to people interested in their condo units, according to the report. Trump Jr. told a broker in one message that no one would ever find out about those false statements because the deception was kept strictly within the Trump Organization, according to a person who saw the email.

One of the individuals who viewed the emails told reporters that the Trump children “approved, knew of, agreed to, and intentionally inflated the numbers to make more sales” and that “they knew it was wrong.”

The investigation into the siblings originated in the D.A.’s Major Economic Crimes Bureau in 2010. It dragged on through 2012, with Trump Organization attorneys reportedly arguing that the siblings’ exaggerations did not amount to criminal misconduct.

Kasowitz donated $25,000 to Vance’s reelection campaign in January 2012, and Vance returned that money so as not to accept funds from a donor with a case before his office, according to the report. Shortly after Vance returned his donation, Kasowitz met with the district attorney in May to repeat the defense’s arguments that there’d been no wrongdoing; Vance dropped the case three months afterward, and Kasowitz subsequently donated and helped raise an additional $50,000 for Vance’s campaign.

Both men denied to the reporters that there was anything improper about how the case played out.

Read the full report here.

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