On Instagram, you can barely tell Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry

The impeachment inquiry is moving quick. A former White House adviser on Russia told investigators that President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani ran what the Washington Post described as a “shadow foreign policy” in Ukraine that sidestepped U.S. officials to benefit Trump, while Giuliani himself told Reuters he made $500,000 for work he did for a company that — I kid you not — is called Fraud Guarantee that was co-founded by Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas, who was arrested last week on campaign finance charges. And that was just what happened Monday.

Though there’s a lot of news on the inquiry, you can’t tell from looking at Trump’s Instagram. In this week’s issue we’ll look at how Insta Trump differs from Twitter Trump, see how the Warren campaign loves trolling Facebook on Facebook, and see one artist’s reaction to LeBron James weighing in on the NBA-Hong Kong controversy.


On Instagram, you can barely tell Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry

On Twitter, @realDonaldTrump is consumed with the impeachment inquiry. In between tweets lashing out at the news media, defending his decision to withdraw troops from Syria, or calling on supporters to vote for Sean Spicer on “Dancing with the Stars,” Trump fights back.

He’s accused the whistleblower of starting a scam, called his phone call with the president of Ukraine “congenial & good,” and tweeted a nearly 10-minute long video from Fox News accusing House Democrats of going rogue. Since Speaker Pelosi announced the inquiry on September 24, Trump has tweeted the phrase “Witch Hunt” (always capitalized) 23 times. Twenty-four if you count the time he spelled it “Wirch Hunt.”

On Instagram, though, it’s a whole other world. In the past week, his account posted a graphic celebrating the U.S. Navy’s birthday, a shot of the Little League World Series champs’ Oval Office visit, and a gallery of images from his rally in Minneapolis. That’s not to say there’s no sign of the inquiry. Trump’s Instagram account has posted campaign ads accusing Democrats of trying to undo the election and a map of 2016 election results labeled “Try to impeach this” that he also tweeted.

Still, Instagram Trump mostly looks like business as usual. Trump doesn’t make news on Instagram like he does on Twitter, and on Instagram he has 15 million followers compared to 65.7 million on Twitter. But his Instagram account shows what a Trump presidency might be like if he outsourced his social media instead of posting for himself. It’s way more chill.

The Warren campaign loves trolling Facebook on Facebook

Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) campaign is currently running 14 variants of a Facebook ad sharing “fake news” about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg endorsing Trump (above). The ad indicates the endorsement news isn’t real, but it’s a troll aimed at Facebook’s decision to not fact check posts by politicians.

“What Zuckerberg *has* done is given Donald Trump free rein to lie on his platform — and then pay Facebook gobs of money to push out their lies to American voters,” the extended text of the ad reads.

The Warren campaign has run Facebook ads about breaking up Facebook before, and in March, Facebook removed Warren ads that singled out Facebook, Amazon, and Google by name before reinstating them. Facebook told Politico the ads were removed for violating their policies against using their corporate logo, but allowed them back in “the interest of allowing robust debate.”

The Warren campaign is spending between $5,000 and $11,486 on these “fake news” Zuck-endorses-Trump ads, according to a review of Facebook’s ad library. Clicking on the ad leads users to a page to sign up for the Warren mailing list as part of a petition to break up Big Tech companies.

LeBron weighs in on NBA-Hong Kong controversy, and yikes…

via @badiucao

Monday night, before the Lakers game against the Warriors, LeBron James told the press that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey “wasn’t educated” when he tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. You can see footage of James’ extended remarks here. James later came out on Twitter to “clear up the confusion” and tweeted that he doesn’t believe Morey considered the consequences of his tweet. “I’m not discussing the substance,” James tweeted. But that’s not how some people saw it.

Chinese-Australian artist Badiucao responded with the above illustration showing James in a “Lickers” jersey while the Celtics’ Enes Kanter, an outspoken critic of Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, subtweeted James with a string of tweets including “SMH” and the below tweet listing ways Erdogan has harassed him and his family that ended in an all-caps “FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.”

Trump’s tax cuts haven’t helped the art market

The New York Times published data last week showing the 400 wealthiest Americans paid a lower overall tax rate than any other group. The above chart from the Times shows the wealthiest Americans’ 2018 total tax rate at 23%, below the overall rate for the poorest half of America and down significantly from the 70+% rates in the 1950s.

Despite more cash in the pockets of America’s richest people, that hasn’t helped the art market. Artnet News reported that fine-art sales in the U.S. actually declined by 18% in the first half of 2019. The outlet pointed to a provision in Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that limited a loophole that previously allowed for investors to avoid capital-gains taxes by using the proceeds made from selling one asset to buying a similar asset — in other words, buying art from the money you made selling art. That loophole, the 1031 exchange, has now been limited to just real estate and “the art market has been suffering because of it ever since,” according to Artnet News.

Inside the efforts to preemptively trademark Space Force

ICYMI, I published a report Monday on the Air Force’s work to trademark Space Force, based on documents obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request.

One interesting thing I found was the Air Force was aware the Trump campaign had put out Space Force logos as part of fundraising efforts, but they didn’t think any of the concepts would ever become official Space Force logos because “most of the designs infringed on other’s trademarks,” per an email. You can read my story here.

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