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The official serving as President Donald Trump’s eyes and ears at the Justice Department has been banned from the building after trying to pressure staffers to give up sensitive information about election fraud and other matters she could relay to the White House three people familiar with the matter tell The Associated Press.

Heidi Stirrup, an ally of top Trump adviser Stephen Miller, was quietly installed at the Justice Department as a White House liaison a few months ago. She was told within the last two weeks to vacate the building after top Justice officials learned of her efforts to collect insider information about ongoing cases and the department’s work on election fraud, the people said.

Stirrup is accused of approaching staffers in the department demanding they give her information about investigations, including election fraud matters, the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.

The effort came as Trump continues to level baseless claims that he won the election and alleges without evidence that massive voting fraud was responsible for his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden.

Stirrup had also extended job offers to political allies for positions at some of the highest levels of the Justice Department without consulting any senior department officials or the White House counsel’s office and also attempted to interfere in the hiring process for career staffers, a violation of the government’s human resources policies, one of the people said.

The Justice Department declined to comment. Attempts to reach Stirrup for comment were not immediately successful.

Earlier this week, Attorney General William Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and the FBI had looked into allegations of election irregularities and found no evidence of widespread voting fraud that would change the outcome of the election.

“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” he said on Tuesday.

Trump shot back at Barr on Thursday, saying the Justice Department “hasn’t looked very hard” and calling it a disappointment. But he stops short of implying Barr’s future as attorney general could be cut short.

“Ask me that in a number of weeks from now,” Trump said when asked if he still has confidence in Barr.

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“They should be looking at all of this fraud,” Trump said.

He was also critical of Barr’s statement that much of what has been presented so far by the Trump campaign and its allies amount to allegations that belong in lawsuits, not federal crimes.

“This is not civil. This is criminal stuff. This is very bad, criminal stuff,” Trump said.

Stirrup, who previously was a central figure in the Trump administration’s push for hard-line immigration policies, technically remains in her position after being placed at the Justice Department by the White House Office of Presidential Personnel.

The Trump administration has been working to have liaisons report directly to the White House instead of the agencies where they work. Across the administration, there have been concerns that the liaisons were undercutting the work not just of career professionals but also of Trump’s political appointees.

Shortly after the election, the presidential personnel office had also instructed the liaisons to fire any political appointees who were looking for jobs while Trump refused to accept the election results. Trump’s term ends at noon on Jan. 20. Several thousand political appointees across the government will see their jobs end by that date.

The White House personnel office has been headed by former Trump personal assistant John McEntee, who has renewed Trump’s push to rid the administration of those deemed “disloyal” to the president.

In September, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson inadvertently made public his anger with McEntee when cameras captured writing on the back of a page he was consulting during a speech.

In a reference to the White House Presidential Personnel Office, Carson’s notes said: “I am not happy with the way PPO is handling my agency.” It’s a sentiment that has been shared across the government.

Stirrup, a close ally of Miller, previously served as the acting director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement and was also a deputy White House liaison at the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Donald Trump

Trump Appeals Suspension to Rejoin Facebook, Instagram

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. The decision is expected to take around two and a half months.

Former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is a co-chair of the oversight board, told UK’s Channel 4 News that they are currently looking into the appeal concerning Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. The board was set up to be an independent group to hear users’ appeals and is comprised of 19 former politicians, journalists, and academics.

“It’s a very high profile case but that is exactly why the Oversight Board was created in the first place,” Thorning-Schmidt said.

In a statement to The Epoch Times, the board confirmed that “a user statement has been received in the case before the Oversight Board concerning President Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.”

“We will have no further comment concerning that statement until the Board has issued its decision,” they added.

Trump’s office did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

Thorning-Schmidt said that the board has 90 days to render a decision, adding that although the members would like to expedite the process, the time frame is necessary to allow for translations and experts to share their opinions.

The board is also reviewing public comments on Trump’s appeal. Thorning-Schmidt said they have already received “thousands” of public comments in this case.

Facebook suspended Trump indefinitely in early January following the breach of the U.S. Capitol. The Silicon Valley company was not the only platform to ban Trump amid a campaign these companies say is to remove harmful content from their platforms. Twitter, Google, Snapchat, Twitch, and other platforms also suspended Trump’s access around the same time.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg justified his company’s censorship by claiming the risks of Trump using the platform through Inauguration Day were too great.

“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete,” Zuckerberg said in a statement at the time.

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On the day that the Capitol was breached as Congress was gathered to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, Trump made two posts on Facebook that the company found objectionable and removed, publicly citing Trump’s “use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.”

In both of the posts, one being a video, Trump told his supporters that “we have to have peace” and told them to “go home.”

Facebook said it removed the two posts for violating its Community Standard on Dangerous Individuals and Organizations under its policy prohibiting praise, support, and representation of events that Facebook designates as “violating.”

Later, after reviewing Trump’s communications outside the platform, Facebook determined to extend the block indefinitely.

Trump said last week that he was looking into options to return to social media including joining an existing platform or creating his own. He has, however, ruled out re-joining Twitter, which he called “very boring” after many conservative users departed from the platform after his permanent ban.

Perceived unbalanced moderation of users’ content by social media companies has raised concerns over First Amendment rights and a lack of checks and balances for decisions made by Big Tech companies.

Congress is looking to hold Big Tech companies accountable for their actions and has been seeking to legislate a new antitrust law. On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced a March 25 hearing with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who will be expected to testify on misinformation on online platforms.

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Arizona GOP

GOP split over whether to ‘bend the knee’ by visiting Trump at Mar-a-Lago

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Republican lawmakers are split over whether to pay tribute to Donald Trump by visiting the former president at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) are visiting for a Saturday night fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago to help raise money for the 2022 re-election campaign of Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) was spotted at Mar-a-Lago on Friday night.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is planning a visit.

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) won’t be going.

“The Kentucky Republican is ‘not going to bend the knee’ and travel to Mar-a-Lago, a close McConnell associate told CNN, adding that McConnell will ‘probably never speak’ to Trump again if he can avoid it,” CNN reported Saturday.

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“If they don’t figure it out soon, some GOP leaders fear, there could be a major crash ahead. As some see it, that presents the greatest risk for McConnell, who — despite his power in the Senate — isn’t nearly as popular as Trump with Republican voters across the country,” CNN explained.

“It’s a “collision between a tractor-trailer and a Volkswagen,” said one person familiar with both Trump and McConnell’s thinking, emphasizing the damage that Trump and his massive base of loyal supporters are capable of inflicting.”
(Raw story)

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Donald Trump

Trump to speak at CPAC conference in Florida

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Former President Donald Trump will speak at the annual CPAC conference in Orlando, Florida, next week about the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.

People familiar with Mr. Trump‘s plans say he will also speak about President Biden’s immigration policies. Mr. Trump has spoken at the conference previously during his presidency when the event was held in Washington.

It will be Mr. Trump‘s first public appearance since leaving office on Jan. 20. Several House and Senate Republicans are urging him to campaign for GOP candidates in the 2022 election cycle.

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The former president’s allies have warned that Mr. Trump will back primary candidates against Republicans who supported his second impeachment.
(Washington Times)

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