GERMANY-US-POLITICS-ELECTION-ECONOMY-TESLA US entrepreneur and business magnate Elon Musk gestures during a visit at the Tesla Gigafactory plant under construction, on August 13, 2021 in Gruenheide near Berlin, eastern Germany. (Photo by Patrick Pleul / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK PLEUL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) PATRICK PLEUL / Contributor
Patrick Pleul/PATRICK PLEUL/Contributor/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

News

Wednesday | November 10th, 2021

It’s Wednesday, November 10th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:

1) Source Of Steele Dossier Indicted

The Topline: One of the main sources behind the Steele Dossier, Igor Danchenko, has been indicted under counts of lying to the FBI about the Trump campaign. The Dossier was among the catalysts for a two-year national scandal. 

Quote Of The Day: “[This] indictment is designed to smear Christopher Steele’s intelligence reports…”

– MSNBC Host Rachel Maddow

TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

Igor Danchenko

Danchenko is a Russian national who lives in the United States and formerly worked at the Brookings Institution. In 2016, Danchenko worked for Christopher Steele, giving him unfounded rumors about Donald Trump which formed the substance of the Steele Dossier.

The FBI used the Steele Dossier, which was funded by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, to petition the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for four successive warrants to spy on a Trump campaign official named Carter Paige.

Danchencko told the FBI he obtained his information from Russians with direct knowledge of the allegations, but his real source has come forward: an American named Charles Dolan Jr., a PR executive who had formal roles in the Clintons’ presidential campaigns since 1992. 

Indictment

John Durham indicted Danchenko for five counts of making false statements to federal investigators. If convicted, he could face a fine and up to 5 years in prison for each of the five counts. Last week, a judge released Danchenko on a $100,000 bond, with no electronic surveillance. The defendant has indicated he’ll plead not guilty to the charges, and his next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.

Rumors

Danchenko started the rumor about Donald Trump hiring two prostitutes to urinate on a bed Barack Obama had once slept on during a trip to Russia before he was president. 

The indictment also says Danchenko was responsible for “the allegation that there were communications ongoing between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and that … the Kremlin might be of help in getting Trump elected.”

Media Reaction: All three major network news broadcasts and CNN’s prime time hosts ignored the arrest. NBC, ABC, and CBS spent 2,202 minutes covering the alleged Russian collusion scandal in the first two years of Trump’s presidency, not to mention hundreds of hours from MSNBC and CNN. 

Jeff J Mitchell/Staff/Getty Images

2) John Kerry’s China Dilemma

The Topline: Climate Envoy John Kerry is touting the agreement of 100 nations to end deforestation by 2030 at the 26th Annual Conference of the Parties, but questions about his own priorities have been raised. 

Quote Of The Day: “The US climate envoy, John Kerry and his team, are already downplaying expectations for the climate summit…China and Russia, two of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses are no-shows at this global climate summit in Scotland.”

– CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer 

Conflicting Priorities

Ahead of the global summit, climate czar John Kerry called it the “last best hope for the world” to combat climate change. 

According to Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), Kerry has worked to undermine Congress’ efforts to hold China accountable for human rights abuses, operating under the notion that good relations with China means more cooperation on climate change

In a letter to the Biden administration, Rubio and Smith alleged Kerry “is downplaying genocide precisely because he intends to import solar panels that are produced using forced labor in the PRC to the United States in order to meet [the] administration’s climate goals.”

Kerry Conflicts

Reports show Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, has an investment of at least $1 million in a hedge fund specializing in private partnerships and investments with Chinese government-controlled funds. 

John Kerry also has an investment worth at least $1 million with an investment group that has documented financial ties to Chinese companies supporting the surveillance and slave labor apparatus in Xinjiang, China, where thousands of Uyghurs and other minorities are interned in camps or are shipped to other parts of the country to work in factories.

Kerry has been asked about why the administration isn’t doing more to protect against slave labor in China, and has stated he’s trying to “stay in his lane,” focusing on climate change rather than labor issues. 

Key Point: Provisions to protect Uyghur Muslims were conspicuously removed from Congress’ reconciliation bill in the latest draft. 

Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz / Bloomberg via Getty Images

3) Elon Musk Fights ‘Wealth Tax’

The Topline:  In recent months, multiple Democrats have been pushing for a “wealth tax,” a proposal that’s garnered strong pushback from billionaire Tesla founder, Elon Musk. 

Quote Of The Day: “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock. Do you support this?”

– Elon Musk on Twitter

Poll

On Saturday, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX with a reported net worth of over $300 billion, tweeted a poll to his 62 million followers, asking whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock.

Over 3.5 million people voted, and over 57% were in favor of Musk selling 10% of his Tesla stock, which would amount to over $20 billion.

Musk said he would abide by the results of the poll, adding, “I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”

Possible Reasons: According to CNBC, Musk may have a $15 billion tax bill coming up in the next few months because of his stock options, which made a stock sale likely. 

Musk has been outspoken against politicians like Democratic Senator Ron Wyden (OR), who is pushing for unrealized capital gains to be taxed.

The claim being pushed by those who support taxing unrealized wealth is that people are “escaping” taxation by not realizing their gains. 

Stock Point: Tesla’s stock fell by 5% on Monday morning after the markets opened, with many pointing to this as an example of another consequence of taxing unrealized capital gains.

Micah Garen/Contributor/Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Immigration Polling

A new survey from the National Republican Congressional Committee found that approximately two thirds of American adults oppose the Biden Administration plan to compensate illegal immigrants with $450,000 for “psychological trauma” related to being separated from family at the border. 72% of swing voters oppose the plan, whereas 29% of voters overall support the plan. The proposal is included in the Biden Administration’s signature $1.7 trillion “Build Back Better Act.” 

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