Donald Trump Rips Prosecutors Over Grand Jury In His Criminal Probe

6:21 PM PT -- Trump just ripped prosecutors for convening a grand jury in his criminal probe ... he says the move is purely political.

In a statement, Trump says the probe is "being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors" and he says it's just another witch hunt.

Trump adds ... "I will just have to keep on fighting like I have been for the last five years!"

Former President Donald Trump could soon be criminal defendant Trump ... prosecutors in New York have convened a grand jury that could indict him on criminal tax evasion and other charges related to the Trump org's business affairs.

The Manhattan district attorney recently convened the grand jury to hear evidence and weigh potential criminal charges against the former president ... according to the Washington Post. The grand jury will reportedly sit for 3 days a week over the next 6 months.

Prosecutors are said to be looking into Trump's business dealings before his 2016 election, including whether the Trump Organization manipulated the value of real estate properties to defraud insurance companies and banks.

The investigation was triggered by Michael Cohen's testimony before Congress about hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels. Cohen has supplied prosecutors with a boatload of documents.

Trump, meanwhile, has been keeping busy at his golf properties. The former Prez hit the links at his New Jersey course over the weekend, losing at least one ball into a manmade lake.

Originally Published -- 3:08 PM PT

Waka Flocka Flame Trump Honors Him With Lifetime Achievement Award!!!

THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT
TMZ.com

Donald Trump's apparently a big fan of Waka Flocka Flame's charity work ... because the former President recognized the rapper with a lifetime achievement award.

We are told Waka's award is for his humanitarianism and philanthropy as a volunteer for the Chicago non-profit Daughter of Destiny.

Waka received the Trump award Friday in Atlanta, his hometown, with his pastor and mentor Apostle Dr. Bridget Outlaw presenting WFF with an official certificate and medal.

As you can see, Waka was beaming from ear-to-ear with the framed award in hand and the medal around his neck, and he had a few kind words for Trump.

Daughter of Destiny's an outreach program helping women by providing employment, food, housing, community and inner healing ... and the certificate recognizes Waka's "lifelong commitment to building a stronger nation through volunteer service."

We're told 45 signed the certificate and the Trump Administration had everything approved before Trump left office in January.

Congrats!!!

Vladimir Putin I'm The Sexiest Man in Russia!!! And Don't Tell Me Differently

What a shock ... Russians cast their vote on the sexiest man in the country, and guess who won?

Yep, the guy with the killer smile, Vladimir Putin, snagged top honors ... maybe under fear of death. More than 2,000 Russians say the 68-year-old dictator is the hottest man in the land.

The Moscow Times published the results -- 18% of Russian men and 17% of Russian women thought Putin also ruled when it came to looks.  We're guessing it was a secret vote, because God help the remaining 82% if the sexiest man finds out they didn't vote for him.

Some of the 80+% may be in the clear ... turns out 19% of the men surveyed said THEY were the sexiest in the land. And, 18% of the women said there were no sexy men in Russia.

For the record, Joe Biden has never been voted Sexiest Man Alive, but for that matter neither was Donald Trump. Although the vote was to determine the sexiest man in Russia, we don't know if Trump will say it was rigged.

Senator Ron Johnson I Wasn't Scared of January 6th But I'd Have Real Fear if BLM Protested

IF IT HAD BEEN BLM...
The Joe Pags Show

Sometimes racism is subtle, oblique ... but not here.

United States Senator Ron Johnson says he didn't feel threatened at all during the failed coup attempt on January 6th, because the rioters were true patriots, but God forbid, if the shoe was on the other foot where Trump won and there was a BLM Capitol protest, well he says that would be downright scary.

The Republican Senator from Wisconsin made his comments on "The Joe Pags Show," and it's drawing heavy fire. Johnson said of the Jan. 6th insurrectionists, "Even though those thousands of people were marching on the Capitol were trying to pressure people like me to vote the way they wanted me to vote, I knew those were people that loved this country, that truly respected law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn't concerned."

Before we get to the BLM comment ... is he kidding? Cops were beaten by protesters, 140 of them were injured and one was killed -- respect law enforcement??? Law-abiding???

Now, as for Johnson's BLM comment, check this out ... "Had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned."

Johnson's noodling whether to run for re-election next year, so there's a chance he'll hang it up. 🙏

Donald Trump Protestors Mock Him in NYC Return .... Supporters Show Love

Donald Trump had to know his first trip back to NYC since leaving the White House would be a turbulent one ... and the Big Apple is delivering.

There are about a dozen or so protesters outside Trump Tower in Manhattan waving a huge "Arrest Trump" banner. There's also a giant inflatable caricature of Trump and others are holding signs that read "Go Home Florida Man" and "Indict Trump."

It ain't all bad news for 45 in the Democratic stronghold of NYC -- a throng of Trump supporters also gathered nearby pumping up his potential return to the Oval Office in 2024.

It's unclear what brought Trump, who arrived Sunday night, back to his old stomping grounds ... but it could be tied to his legal problems. The Manhattan D.A.'s Office is currently investigating Trump for tax and bank-related fraud.

Remember ... Trump's been living at Mar-a-Lago since leaving office, and he officially changed his address from NY to FLA back in 2019. Seems wherever Trump goes ... so do banners.

Tim Matheson Melania Tweet Backlash Died Down ... Not Pursuing Death Threat Charges

Tim Matheson says he's no longer getting death threats or money demands from the person who was pissed about his tweet at Melania Trump ... so he's moving on with his life.

We broke the story ... the "Animal House" star filed a report with the LAPD last month claiming he got a series of escalating messages from someone online ending with the threat, "pay me big bucks or I will kill you."

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Tim hasn't had any further communication with the suspect since contacting police, so he doesn't want to pursue charges against the unidentified suspect.

We're told the case is now closed.

As we reported ... Matheson tweeted in January -- shortly after Joe Biden's inauguration -- that it was wonderful to have a First Lady who can speak English.

He apologized days later and admitted his tweet was "stupid, ignorant,& foul," but obviously some of the backlash he got was too much to ignore.

Fortunately ... it seems cooler heads have prevailed.

Tim Matheson Files Police Report ... I Got Death Threat After Melania Tweet!!!

"Animal House" star Tim Matheson says he's getting threatened with way more than a food fight after tweeting something "ignorant" about the former First Lady.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Matheson told cops someone’s been harassing him online since he took a jab at Melania Trump last month, by saying it was wonderful to have a First Lady who can speak English.

Ironically, it's the kinda thing you'd expect to hear from Melania's husband.

Tim later apologized, but we're told the threats keep escalating -- from the person saying they're going to kick Tim's ass to ... "pay me big bucks or I will kill you."

Our sources say the actor contacted the LAPD after the death threat, filed an extortion report because of the money demands ... and now cops are investigating.

As for Tim's Twitter snafu -- he replied to Melania's farewell message on Twitter to say sorry. He wrote, "Thank you for your work as the First Lady.I apologize to you for a stupid, ignorant,& foul remark that I made."

Apologies on Twitter? Don't see that everyday.

D.L. Hughley Expel Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ... Treat Her Like Shmurda!!!

2/2/21
GET HER OUT
TMZ.com

D.L. Hughley thinks Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene would be in jail if she were a rapper like Bobby Shmurda ... but he at least wants her held accountable and booted from Congress.

We got the comedian and author at LAX Monday and our photog asked what should be done about the newly-elected Congresswoman from Georgia ... and D.L. didn't hold back.

D.L. says Rep. Greene should be expelled from Congress, prosecuted and never be allowed to hold public office again for embracing online remarks about having Speaker Nancy Pelosi killed and allegedly inciting the Capitol riots.

As you know ... MTG's old Facebook activity suggests she's been cool with executing Democrats like Pelosi, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

D.L. says the fact Rep. Greene is still in office is proof she's being held to a lower standard than rappers, like Shmurda, whose words or lyrics have contributed to their criminal convictions.

Rep. Greene promoted QAnon's baseless conspiracy theories on the campaign trail, and D.L. has a few thoughts on Q -- he's pretty offended white people make up bad things, when Black people actually have real terrible things happening to their kids.

D.L.'s very heated and tells us why he wants Greene and Donald Trump out of politics for good.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger Leading the Fight to Purge the Radical Right Seems Open to Presidential Run

2/1/21
FIGHT FOR THE PARTY
TMZ.com

Rep. Adam Kinzinger is fed up with today's Republican Party ... so he's starting a movement to reclaim the GOP ... and he's even open to becoming its standard-bearer.

The Republican Congressman from Illinois appeared on "TMZ Live" Monday and said he launched his Country First PAC because of the state of his party, which has embraced Donald Trump's big lie that the election was stolen ... and that's just for starters.

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Kinzinger -- who is one of 10 GOP members who voted to impeach Donald Trump -- acknowledges there's a wrestling match of sorts within the party.  He thought eyes would open after the January 6th insurrection ... he uses the metaphor of a Friday night bender to describe what he thought would be a turning point for the party, but that didn't happen.

So the Congressman has made it clear ... he will be a leader in the movement he's starting, and turns out there are like-minded members of Congress who are quietly supporting his effort.  There are also lots of Republicans who are sick and tired of people like Marjorie Taylor Greene and others with crazy conspiracy theories ... who may find a home in Kinzinger's camp.

Kinzinger acknowledges there's some risk to him professionally, but the upside is that the movement he's started will catch fire and muscle out the radical right. And of course, that led us to ask him if he's open to a Presidential run in 2024 ... he didn't say no.

Lil Wayne Back to Work Right After Pardon ... Good Times with Tory Lanez

1/25/21
WEEZY AT WORK
@torylanez / Instagram

Lil Wayne wasted no time getting back to stuntin' after he received a pardon from President Trump ... and it looks like he was enjoying the hell out of his free pass.

Tory Lanez says Tunechi was on set to help out with his music video for "Big Tipper" the very next day after Trump pardoned the rapper in his federal gun case.

In the clip Lanez shared, Lil Wayne's in a hot pink getup, flashing serious ice on both wrists, smoking and vibing to the music. Oh, and that's all with a nude model in front of him on a table.

As we reported ... Weezy was facing serious time behind bars after pleading guilty in federal court last month to illegally possessing a loaded weapon on a private jet.

Trump's pardon -- on the heels of Wayne endorsing Trump for President -- let him off the hook for all that, though ... which cleared his schedule for music vid shoots like the one with Lanez.

Tory gushed with all sorts of appreciation for Weezy coming through for him ... after Trump came though for Weezy.

Lots of backs getting washed.

Joe Exotic Still Pushing for a Pardon from Biden ... Help a Fellow Joe Out!!!

After feeling spurned by Donald Trump, Joe Exotic's officially moving on to the next POTUS ... and keeping the faith that President Biden will grant his freedom.

TMZ's obtained emails Joe's sent out to his team from prison, in which he expresses hopefulness that the new administration will come through with a pardon ... after failing to make Trump's last-minute list.

Exotic says he has more confidence in Biden regarding criminal justice and prison reform, and claims he watched a TV special on VP Kamala Harris ... leading him to believe she can "help clean up the corruption in the DOJ and other agencies."

As for his feelings about Trump ... Exotic says he always looked up to him for being a straight-shooter and never backing down, but that all changed after January 6.

Exotic feels disdain for Trump, he says partly because 45 ended up just hiding out in the White House after the riot ... never saying a word about the people who died.

Long story short ... it seems Joe is all pro-Joe now, and even claims in his emails to have new evidence in his case that he hopes the Biden administration will consider.

As we reported ... Exotic claims he was "too gay" to ever receive a pardon from Trump in the first place. Biden, on the other hand, issued a sweeping executive order on his first day in office to protect LGBTQ+ people from being discriminated against.

Dr. Anthony Fauci Unchained!!! No More Anti-Science B.S.

1/21/2021
FAUCI FEELIN' FREE

Dr. Anthony Fauci held his breath for months with Donald Trump, but he's now fully exhaled and is having a hard time hiding his glee over the change in administrations.

The infectious disease guru made it clear at the White House coronavirus briefing Thursday ... SCIENCE RULES!!

The good doc made it clear ... there were times working with Trump when he felt uncomfortable -- fact is, you could see it all over his face. He was walking a tightrope because if he disagreed with 45 he could end up getting pink-slipped, which would have been bad for the country.

The best evidence of this, he said, is Trump touting hydroxychloroquine. He didn't want to squarely contradict Trump, because of Trump's temper ... he clearly feels comfortable giving Biden the straight take.

Fauci shaded Trump, by saying the mantra of the Biden Administration when it comes to coronavirus is simple ... "If you don't know the answer, don't guess. Just say you don't know the answer."

Dr. Fauci says getting back to facts and letting the science speak for itself in approaching the pandemic is a "liberating feeling."

As you may know ... President Biden and Dr. Fauci have also already teamed up to rejoin the World Health Organization, restoring ties that were cut by Trump.

Kwame Kilpatrick Detroit's Disgraced Ex-Mayor Released After Trump Commutation

Donald Trump's final piece of Presidential biz has Detroit's imprisoned ex-Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, enjoying his first taste of freedom in 7 years.

Kilpatrick got sprung from federal prison Wednesday and reunited with family members at Detroit's airport after Trump commuted his sentence. He had been serving a 28-year sentence for corruption crimes while he was Mayor.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Though he's a free man now, his 24 felony convictions still stand ... and he's still on the hook for $195,000 owed to the IRS and $1.5 million to Detroit.

If ya don't know ... Kilpatrick was dubbed the city's "Hip-Hop Mayor," but from his first term, he was dogged with scandals -- both accusations of misusing funds and a text-messaging sex scandal with his chief of staff.

Then, in 2013, he was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes in a scheme the government called the "Kilpatrick enterprise."

Despite all of that, Kwame still had a slew of supporters in the D who felt his sentence was too harsh and pushed for a commutation. Trump came through for him, and in shortening his sentence noted ... "During his incarceration, Mr. Kilpatrick has taught public speaking classes and has led Bible Study groups with his fellow inmates."

The former mayor is one of 143 people who Trump either pardoned or commuted their sentences ... including Lil Wayne, Kodak Black, Chris Young and the co-founder of Death Row Records, Michael "Harry-O" Harris.

President Trump Pardons Lil Wayne, Frees Kodak ... Weezy Gives Thanks

7:43 AM PT -- 1/21 -- Tunechi's publicly showing appreciation for his pardon, tweeting ... "I want to thank President Trump for recognizing that I have so much more to give to my family, my art, and my community."

Lil Wayne also thanked his lawyer for "working so diligently to secure another chance for me."

5:16 AM PT -- Lil Wayne and Kodak Black's attorney, Bradford Cohen was working behind the scenes for a while to lobby for both men's clean slate.

Cohen tells TMZ ... Wayne reached out to him shortly after he was slapped with gun charges in 2020, as they'd previously known each other over the years. Cohen got right to work, filing pardon paperwork for Weezy -- and largely relied on the argument that LW was being unfairly charged, considering he was a non-violent felon with just one previous conviction ... for which he served a great deal of time behind bars.

As for Kodak, Lord knows the guy was lobbying for his client for the longest time now -- and while Trump's staff noted Kodak's charitable work in their official reasoning ... Cohen tells us there were other factors at play too.

Cohen says he highlighted Kodak's horrible treatment while behind bars -- some of which we've documented ourselves -- as well as the fact that Kodak was being treated as a serious threat in a maximum security facility, when really ... he was convicted for a relatively low-risk crime over paperwork. Remember, Kodak was due to get out of prison no earlier than 2022 ... but Trump saw to it that the dude be sprung ASAP, noting he'd completed a good portion of his sentence.

President Trump came through for Lil Wayne with a full pardon that gets him off the hook for a gun charge that could've meant serious prison time, and rapper Kodak Black also got clemency with a commutation of his sentence.

Wayne's pardon announcement included a statement of support by Brett Berish of Sovereign Brands, who described him as "trustworthy, kind-hearted and generous." The pardon statement then reads, "Mr. Carter has exhibited this generosity through commitment to a variety of charities, including donations to research hospitals and a host of foodbanks."

Deion Sanders, also a supporter of the pardon, referred to Lil Wayne as "a provider for his family, a friend to many, a man of faith, a natural giver to the less fortunate, a waymaker [and] a game changer."

Weezy's pardon came just hours before the sun set on Trump's Presidency ... and it's just one of a stack of pardons, including Kodak Black. Black, who was sentenced to 46 months in prison for making a false statement on a Federal document, served nearly half his sentence.

The pardon statement notes he has been charitable in various ways, "such as providing educational resources to students and families of fallen law enforcement officers and the underprivileged." It goes on to note KB has provided funding to daycare centers, helped with food banks and worked with underprivileged children. And, the statement notes Kodak donated $50k to Dave Portnoy's Barstool Fund, which provides financial assistance to struggling businesses in the wake of COVID.

Wayne endorsed Trump in the final days of the 2020 election campaign -- posing for a photo, talking up Trump's criminal justice reform efforts and his proposed "platinum plan" to benefit the Black community.

With the pardon ... Weezy no longer has to worry about his federal gun case. As we reported ... he pled guilty in federal court last month to illegally possessing a loaded weapon while traveling to Miami on a private jet a year earlier.

He hadn't been sentenced, but faced the possibility of up to 10 years. That's all in Wayne's rearview mirror now.

Originally Published -- 3:52 AM PT

President Joe Biden Addressing His Staff ... Respect One Another, Or You're Fired!!!

NOT ON MY WATCH
CNN

3:50 PM PT -- Biden's laying down the law right off the bat with his team at The White House ... letting them know he won't hesitate to fire any one of them if he catches them disrespecting or talking down to a colleague.

The new Prez was swearing in his political appointees when he dropped the hammer and threw some shade at the previous administration at the same time ... saying people getting treated with "decency and dignity" has been missing the past 4 years.

It's kind of ironic ... Biden's threatening to use Trump's old catchphrase -- You're fired! -- if his staff acts in a way he's suggesting is Trump-like.

2:19 PM PT -- President Biden is now at The White House for the first time since taking office, and he shared a hug with his wife, Jill, before walking in with his family.

TO NEW BEGINNINGS
C-SPAN

Biden was accompanied by Vice President Harris and her husband, Doug, and the new Prez is getting to work right away in the Oval Office ... by taking 17 executive actions aimed at addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and reversing some of Trump's signature policies.

Biden also addressed the note his predecessor left behind for him, calling it "very generous" but saying he's going to keep it private for now.

The Bidens' arrival at their new home was around 4 PM in D.C. as the "Parade Across America" virtual inaugural celebration was going off ... hosted by Tony Goldwyn from "Scandal" and featuring appearances by Jon Stewart and the New Radicals. It closed with an awesome "Dance Across America" montage after honoring many of the country's everyday heroes.

9:16 AM PT -- Joe Biden just delivered his Inauguration speech as the 46th President, and it was all about America's resilience and the need to unite under a new chapter in the country.

Biden laid out the challenges facing the U.S. at large -- including perhaps the most pressing being the pandemic, for which he led a moment of silence and a prayer -- and vowed that his whole soul was in the cause of moving us forward together, to get past the ugliness that's been exposed among so many of us of late.

PRESIDENTIAL PROMISE

Biden says we must meet this moment as the UNITED States of America -- adding that America has never failed in that regard. He urged us to start fresh, to listen to one another ... and to respect one another. He also said this ... not every disagreement has to result in war.

He had very telling line at one point, saying ... "We'll lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example" as he was addressing foreign nations looking to see what the U.S. would do next.

The speech was both realistic, yet hopeful ... and definitely a change of pace from what we've experienced of late. After Joe's remarks, Garth Brooks performed "Amazing Grace," capping off an inauguration that went as well as one could hope.

8:53 AM PT -- Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have officially been sworn in as the 46th President and Vice President of United States, taking their oaths of office from two Supreme Court Justices ... Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, respectively.

A NEW ERA

Prior to Vice President Harris taking her oath, Lady Gaga came out and sang the National Anthem in a very unique outfit -- complete with what appeared to be a golden dove broach. After her, Jennifer Lopez came out to sing "America the Beautiful" ahead of Biden's swearing-in ... and both performances went off without a hitch.

SINGING TO AMERICA
White House

J Lo said a part of the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish, to rousing applause.

It's been a looooong journey, but Joe Biden's big day is finally here -- he'll be sworn in as 46th President of the United States in an inauguration ceremony unlike any other in American history ... and you can watch it live right here.

The President-elect and Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, are set to be sworn in Wednesday in D.C. shortly after noon, and then Biden will deliver his first presidential address to the nation.

Along the way during the "America United"-themed Inauguration Day, many of the normal ceremonial displays, tributes to the troops, A-list performances and former presidents will be featured, but otherwise ... it will be far from normal.

That's because COVID-19 continues to ravage the country, and because 2 weeks ago ... pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol and wreaked havoc in a coup attempt that resulted in multiple deaths.

For a combination of those reasons, Biden's inauguration will not draw a large crowd -- in fact, his team hopes it's the smallest ever, with folks opting to watch at home -- nor will it be followed up by a series of inauguration balls.

Instead, there will be a heavy police and security presence ... as the threat of more violence continues to loom large following the Capitol riots.

And, of course, Biden's inauguration will be different due to the fact for the first time since Andrew Johnson left office in 1869 ... the outgoing President, Donald Trump, is choosing to skip it. VP Mike Pence will attend, along with past presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and their former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton.

If all goes well though, the only other big news of the day will be the performances of Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Springsteen and Garth Brooks, a virtual parade ... and the inauguration television special called "Celebrating America" hosted by Tom Hanks.

Hopefully, America gets that lucky.

Originally Published -- 7:20 AM PT

National Guard in D.C. Vetted Using Facial Recognition ... Scouring Social Media

With 25,000 National Guard members set to protect D.C. for Joe Biden's inauguration, each member has been subject to a heavy vetting, which includes high-tech facial recognition.

Federal law enforcement sources tell us ... FBI vetting -- which is normal for high-security events -- begins by checking social media accounts, looking for connections to extremist groups.

Along with reviewing posts, comments and photos ... we're told the feds are using facial recognition software to track the activities of guardsmen and women, specifically searching for photos or videos tying them to radical activities.

Our sources say all 21,000+ National Guard members currently in D.C. -- who have come in from all 50 states -- have been scrutinized by facial recognition and other high-tech methods to determine if they had any involvement -- direct or indirect -- in the Capitol riots.

As for how that works ... all Guard members were required to take a photo when they showed up in D.C. for duty. We're told that photo is then cross-referenced with security camera footage along with online content to make sure there's no connection to extremist, far-right or fringe groups.

Along with the high-tech vetting tricks, our sources say the more common criminal background checks are also conducted ... in order to pick up on any red flags such as arrests or police report mentions.

When it's all said and done ... the FBI's goal is obviously to weed out anyone who might not have national security as their top priority while serving with the National Guard.

A U.S. official announced Tuesday, 2 Guardsmen apparently fit into that category and were removed from the inauguration security detail ... after the vetting process determined they had ties to far-right extremist groups. Later, that number was reported to be "about a dozen."

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