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Trump advisor Roger Stone pleads for donations—to help sue his enemies

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In a long exhortation on his crowdfunding website, Stone said the “crushing” web of legal threats against him “threatens to destroy me and my family financially — all because I fought to elect Donald Trump.”

His legal bills, the website says, “exceed $457,000 and are likely to reach $1,000,000” in total. The amount already paid includes a $150,000 court filing to dismiss the lawsuit involving Protect Democracy, along with a “six-figure bill” from an attorney representing him in congressional investigations, he claimed.

Stone also mentioned the $457,000 figure in a video published Nov. 6, 2017.

Months later, in an April 5 post on stonezone.com directing readers to the legal fund, Stone-affiliated blogger Jacob Engels said Stone’s fees skyrocketed. “He has incurred nearly a million dollars in legal fees,” said Engels, who added that Stone will likely have to spend much more afterward.

But another account of Stone’s legal fees, delivered in an email blast from Stone on Tuesday, chafes against the April 5 claim.

“My legal bills defending against these partisan witch hunts already exceed $545,000!” Stone wrote. “I literally do not have this kind of money. It is why I must turn to you for help.”

In correspondence with CNBC, Stone’s description of his expenditures only grew more opaque.

Stone said in an April 25 email that his legal fees “are more than a half million and projected, with the bogus DNC lawsuit to reach [$1 million].”

The DNC’s suit was filed April 20 — weeks after Engels wrote that Stone has incurred “nearly a million dollars” in fees.

“I’m not at liberty to discuss or comment on his strategy or legal efforts past what I have already stated,” Engels said in an email to CNBC.

In a follow-up message Tuesday, Stone said the math was “simple.” He said that his fees for the congressional investigations totaled “just under $475,000” and that roughly another $175,000 was spent on his Florida attorneys, who attempted to dismiss the Protect Democracy lawsuit in October.

His fees so far, he said Tuesday, total $650,000. That’s more than $100,000 higher than the figure cited in a form letter sent the same day.

And in a new explanation of his projected legal costs, Stone revealed that, rather than merely defend himself against outside threats, he plans to take proactive legal actions against the government.

Stone told CNBC that his legal fees include filing public records requests and an upcoming lawsuit against the government over an alleged warrant against him through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

“It’s the greatest violation of civil liberties in American political history,” Stone said of the alleged warrant in an interview with right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. “It’s an outrageous crime for which somebody has to be punished.”

Such warrants, which are arbitrated in secret courts to spy on Americans suspected of illegal foreign activities, have become a political lightning rod in Congress in recent months. Republicans, including Reps. Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy, have accused the Justice Department of seeking warrants against Trump-connected figures based on political bias. Nunes worked on Trump’s transition team after the 2016 election.

Stone said that as much as $350,000 of the projected $1 million he faces in legal fees will be spent on proactive government litigation — which is never mentioned in the form emails sent to his subscribers or on his legal fund website.

This again contradicts Stone’s earlier remarks on his website, when he wrote that preparing to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee is what would inflate his legal bills near the million-dollar mark.

Stone did not respond to a detailed list of questions from CNBC about the legal defense fund and how he planned to use it.

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Microsoft (MSFT) earnings Q1 2021

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Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, is pictured at Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting in Bellevue, Washington on November 30, 2016.

Jason Redmond | AFP | Getty Images

Microsoft will announce its fiscal first-quarter earnings after market close on Tuesday.

Here are the numbers to watch:

  • Earnings: $1.54 per share, adjusted, as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.
  • Revenue: $35.72 billion as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.

That means analysts expect Microsoft’s revenue to be up 8% on an annualized basis, down from 13% growth in the prior quarter. Some of Microsoft’s fastest growth comes from its Azure public cloud, which companies can use to host websites and applications and competes with Amazon Web Services. Analysts expect Azure growth to slow slightly to about 44% from 47% in the previous quarter.

Microsoft is also likely to give insight into the business impact from the Nov. 10 release of new Xbox consoles.

This is the first quarter Microsoft will benefit from an accounting change that extended the useful life of its server equipment from three years to four years. That adjustment could lift Microsoft’s gross margin while some parts of Microsoft, such as LinkedIn and search advertising, experience slowdowns — in some cases because of the coronavirus pandemic. Microsoft is also expected to receive less revenue growth from companies upgrading Windows and Windows Server after the company ended support for older versions.

“With most of this benefit expected to be absorbed in Commercial Cloud, we think the accounting changes will buttress continued margin expansion in FY21, addressing one of the main concerns investors had coming into the new fiscal year, considering the headwinds from the lower margin console cycle and as we lapse the tailwinds previously felt in the higher-margin Server & Tools and Windows OEM segments,” Morgan Stanley analysts Keith Weiss and Josh Baer, who have the equivalent of a buy rating on Microsoft stock, wrote in a note distributed to clients earlier this month.

With respect to guidance, analysts polled by Refinitiv are expecting $40.43 billion in fiscal second-quarter revenue, which implies 9.5% growth.

In the quarter Microsoft announced the $7.5 billion acquisition of Zenimax Media, the company behind video game franchises such as Doom and Quake, and Microsoft failed to make a deal involving the video-sharing app TikTok.

In January Microsoft announced a goal to be carbon-negative, which would involve removing more carbon than it emits, by 2030. In the fiscal first quarter Microsoft provided an update, saying it had extended an internal carbon tax to all parts of its operations and updated its code of conduct for suppliers so that suppliers will have to specify their emissions.

The company will give guidance and discuss the quarter’s results on a conference call with analysts starting at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Microsoft shares are up about 36% since the start of 2020, while the S&P 500 is up 5% over the same period.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

WATCH: Microsoft partners with SpaceX to launch Azure Space—Here’s what to know about the initiative

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IFC invests in start-up tackling $2.5 trillion food waste issue

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3M making more N95 masks than ever as Covid cases rise: CEO Mike Roman

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3M has continued to ramp up production of its N95 respirator masks, Chairman and CEO Mike Roman told CNBC on Tuesday, as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies again in parts of the world.

“We are bringing capacity on. We are making more N95 respirators than ever, and we’ll continue to add some capacity as we go into the end of the year, into next year,” Roman said on “Squawk on the Street.”

The medical-grade masks are widely seen as the highest-quality option to protect against infection, and they have been in high demand throughout the health crisis. 3M began increasing its production of N95s in late January, just weeks after the novel coronavirus emerged late last year in China. The industrial giant is now on track to produce 2 billion N95 masks this year, about half of which will be in the United States, according to Roman.

Even so, shortages of personal protective equipment for health-care workers, including masks, have remained present during the pandemic. The issue is taking on renewed salience in the U.S. now as hospitalizations from Covid-19 are rising in 36 states.

Public health experts have stressed the importance of people wearing face coverings to slow transmission of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the general public should not wear N95s in order to reserve the supply for health-care workers and first responders. Instead, the agency recommends people wear cloth face coverings.

In March, as the Covid-19 outbreak in the U.S. was worsening, some retailers were criticized for having N95 masks on their shelves. Roman acknowledged there is “strong consumer demand” for the respirator masks due to their reputation of being highly effective.

But he said 3M continues to direct its new supply toward hospital workers and other medical professionals. The company also is working alongside the Department of Health and Human Services to “make sure we’re focused on the hot spots,” Roman said.

“That still is the priority,” he added. “We’ll continue to look for ways to support consumers, and our consumer teams are looking at innovative, new mask kinds of solutions in addition to the N95 respirators, so we’ll work to respond to that, as well.”

3M also has filed more than a dozen lawsuits in response to fraudulent N95 masks and price gouging during the health crisis. As of mid-October, about 3.5 million fake respirators have been seized by law enforcement, CNBC’s Seema Mody reported.

Shares of 3M were lower by 1.4% on Tuesday after the Dow component reported third-quarter earnings that eclipsed Wall Street expectations. The company saw strong sales for its personal safety and health equipment.

Roman said he believes the company has done an “incredible job” responding to the pandemic. “We said we’d add capacity both through our own investments and in partnership with the Department of Defense. We’ve now followed through on that, and we’ve added that capacity to be stepping into what we saw as a potential for a second wave of Covid cases,” he said.

“And we followed through on the commitment to bring over 200 million respirators in from production overseas into the U.S. because of the demand here, so we have found ways to react,” he added.

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