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Bill Gates: Trump ‘probably should be allowed’ back on social media

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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has said that former President Donald Trump at some point should probably be allowed back onto social media platforms, despite his “corrosive” election fraud claims.

“I think at some point he probably will be allowed back on and probably should be allowed back on,” the billionaire philanthropist told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in an interview aired Thursday morning.

Major social media platforms either temporarily suspended or permanently banned the former president after a mob violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the day Congress was set to certify the states’ electoral votes and thus President Joe Biden‘s 2020 election victory. Trump had used his social media accounts to spread claims that the election was rigged and stolen from him through widespread fraud, claims which the rioters echoed as they stormed the Capitol.

Trump’s “deplatforming” sparked intense outcry from conservatives in particular, arguing that large technology giants were exercising anti-conservative bias and violating the principle of free speech in the process. Even world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed displeasure with the move.

Gates had been asked by “Squawk Box” co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin about if he would allow the former commander-in-chief back on social media if he were on Facebook’s oversight board.

“It’s weird when you’re, you know, saying that the election was stolen without any facts there. And how corrosive that is,” Gates said.

“But I’ll bet they’ll find a way to let him back on,” he continued, noting that Trump’s future posts could be given warning labels—as they had been in the months leading up to, and after, the November 3 general election.

“You know, in a way, his people’s interest in what he says may go down quite a bit,” Gates added. “That’ll be interesting to watch.”

Prior to being banned from Twitter, Trump had enjoyed the benefits given to him under the website’s world leader policy, which exempts world leaders from punishments for behavior on the platform violating its policies.

Despite Trump leaving a possible 2024 presidential run on the table, and with that the possibility of becoming a world leader again, Twitter’s chief financial officer has said Trump’s account will remained banned permanently.

RELATED: Poll: Majority of GOP voters still favor Trump for 2024

On February 10, CFO Ned Segal said in a CNBC interview that the former president “was removed when he was president, and there’d be no difference for anybody who [was] a public official once they’ve been removed from the service.”

“Our policies are designed to make sure that people are not inciting violence,” Segal also said, “and if anybody does that, we would have to remove them from the service and our policies don’t allow people to come back.”

At the time of his ban from the platform, Twitter said that Trump’s tweets posed “the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Moreover, Democrats—and a number of Republicans—have accused Trump of “inciting an insurrection” in part through his claims spread on social media leading up to the riot. Ultimately on Saturday, Trump was acquitted by the U.S. Senate after being impeached by the House of Representatives for that single charge.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”

Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.

RELATED: ‘Let’s play strip poker’: Fmr. Cuomo aide accuses NY governor of sexual harassment

Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.

At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.

RELATED: De Blasio ‘sickened’ by Cuomo sexual harassment claims

“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”

“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”

This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”

RELATED: Cuomo responds to sexual harassment claims, saying he ‘may have been insensitive’

During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.

“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”

“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”

Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.

RELATED: ‘Eat the whole sausage: Gov. Cuomo in hot water for resurfaced video

Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.

“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.

“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”

He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.

Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”

“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.

MORE ON CUOMO: NY dem says state legislature is ‘inching toward’ Cuomo impeachment probe

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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