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Author: ProPublica

Fabricating the Big Lie: An inside look at how the stolen election myth was constructed by Trump

By the time Leamsy Salazar sat down in front of a video recorder in a lawyer’s office in Dallas, he had grown accustomed to divulging state secrets. After swearing to tell nothing but the truth so help him God, he recounted that he was born in Venezuela in 1974, enlisted in the army and rose through its special operations ranks. He described how in 2007 he became the chief of security for Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan leader whose electoral victories had been challenged by outside observers and opposition parties. After Chávez died in 2013, Salazar said he provided intelligence...

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Punished by the System: Why Julie Valadez is determined to be an active mother to her children again

After the judge in her Wisconsin divorce case ruled that her ex-husband, a man who had sought treatment for anger and alcohol issues, would get legal custody of and equal time with their four children, Julie Valadez vowed to fight back. But in every key ruling that followed, the Waukesha County Circuit Court judge overseeing her case, Michael J. Aprahamian, found Valadez’s concerns about her ex-husband not credible and her actions unacceptable. Aprahamian took away her ability to co-parent her children. He held her in contempt four times. And after Aprahamian ordered her arrest, she braced herself for jail....

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Of Mice and Men: How Joe Tsien became a celebrated scientist without a country

Celebrated scientist Joe Tsien retreated to China after his Georgia university and the U.S. government began investigating him. He says he is a victim of anti-Asian discrimination, but key parts of his story do not add up. On September 9, 1999, David Letterman entertained millions of television viewers by riffing on a scientific breakthrough that had made an obscure Princeton assistant professor famous overnight. The late-night host’s top-10 list of “Term Paper Topics Written by Genius Mice” — including “A Sociological Study of Why Cats Suck” and “Outsmarting The Mousetrap: Just Take The Cheese Off Really, Really Fast” —...

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Efforts by White nature conservationists are upending a generations-old way of life for Black farmers

In Pembroke, the well-intended efforts of mostly white nature conservationists overlook one thing: The township’s Black farming community has never fully supported them. Now, a generations-old way of life is threatened by the push for conservation. The Sweet Fern Savanna Land and Water Reserve, in the heart of Pembroke Township, Illinois, offers a glimpse into what much of the area looked like before European settlers drained swamps and cleared forests to grow corn and soybeans. At least 18 threatened or endangered plant and animal species, including the ornate box turtle and regal fritillary butterfly, have been sighted here. Mature...

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ProPublica Report: Ron Johnson finagled $200M tax break for Uihleins and his other wealthy benefactors

Billionaire business owners deployed lobbyists to make sure Trump’s 2017 tax bill was tailored to their benefit. Confidential IRS records show the windfall that followed was due in large part to assistance from Senator Ron Johnson. In November 2017, with the administration of President Donald Trump rushing to get a massive tax overhaul through Congress, Senator Ron Johnson stunned his colleagues by announcing he would vote “no.” Making the rounds on cable TV, the Wisconsin Republican became the first GOP senator to declare his opposition, spooking Senate leaders who were pushing to quickly pass the tax bill with their...

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New details suggest senior Trump officials worked to appease leaders of the January 6 insurrection

On December 19, 2020, Then-President Donald Trump blasted out a tweet to his 88 million followers, inviting supporters to Washington for a “wild” protest. One of his senior advisers had released a 36-page report alleging significant evidence of election fraud that could reverse Joe Biden’s victory. “A great report,” Trump wrote. “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” The tweet worked like a starter’s pistol, with two pro-Trump factions competing to take control of the “big protest.” On one side stood Women for America First, led...

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