CPAC attendees trolled into waving Russia flags during Trump’s speech

Aaron Rupar

Aaron Rupar Journalist, Think Progress

During his Friday speech to CPAC speech, President Donald Trump tried to quash coverage of his administration’s Russia scandal in an indirect way by taking aim at the anonymous leakers who have regularly revealed new allegations about his shady connections with Russia and the Russian government’s attempt to sway the 2016 presidential election in his favor.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name,” Trump opined. “Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out.”

The president might not have directly addressed the Russia scandal, but liberal activists trolled CPAC attendees into making it visible during the speech by handing out Russia flags with “TRUMP” emblazoned on them.

The activists behind the flags are Americans Take Action members Jason Charter and Ryan Clayton.

Conservative activist James O’Keefe posted video of them being escorted out of CPAC once their shenanigans came to light:

Reached for comment, Clayton, using a Borat accent, told ThinkProgress that “I’m for strong leader like President Trump — that’s why Putin picked him!”

Speaking more soberly, Charter said the idea was to “shed some light on an important issue, but using laughter” in an environment where people are “being bombarded with negative news stories.”

He added that “most people did not have a clue about what was going on.”

“They took the flags and waved them not realizing they’re Russia flags,” Charter said. “I was actually really hopeful to see that a lot of people at CPAC were not Trump supporters, they were libertarians mortified at what Trump is doing.”

Trump may want the Russia story to go away, but his CPAC speech came the same day news broke that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had attempted to meddle in the FBI investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election. In light of that revelation, Democratic member of Congress are expressing increased interest in an investigation. And following a briefing from FBI Director James Comey a week ago, Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee seem to be on the same page.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

An Invitation to Sunny Miami. What Could Be Bad?

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

If a billionaire “invites” you somewhere, you’d better go. Or be prepared to suffer the consequences. This past May, hedge fund kingpin Carl Icahn announced in a letter to his New York-based staff of about 50 that he would be moving his business operations to Florida. But the 83-year-old Icahn assured his staffers they had no reason to worry: “My employees have always been very important to the company, so I’d like to invite you all to join me in Miami.” Those who go south, his letter added, would get a $50,000 relocation benefit “once you have established your permanent residence in Florida.” Those who stay put, the letter continued, can file for state unemployment benefits, a $450 weekly maximum that “you can receive for a total of 26 weeks.” What about severance from Icahn Enterprises? The New York Post reported last week that the two dozen employees who have chosen not to uproot their families and follow Icahn to Florida “will be let go without any severance” when the billionaire shutters his New York offices this coming March. Bloomberg currently puts Carl Icahn’s net worth at $20.5 billion.

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