|To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (27555)||10/25/2021 9:53:39 AM|
|EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff|
Two sources are communicating with House investigators and detailed a stunning series of allegations to Rolling Stone, including a promise of a “blanket pardon” from the Oval Office
By HUNTER WALKER
As the House investigation into the Jan. 6 attack heats up, some of the planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.
Rolling Stone separately confirmed a third person involved in the main Jan. 6 rally in D.C. has communicated with the committee. This is the first report that the committee is hearing major new allegations from potential cooperating witnesses. While there have been prior indications that members of Congress were involved, this is also the first account detailing their purported role and its scope. The two sources also claim they interacted with members of Trump’s team, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who they describe as having had an opportunity to prevent the violence.
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|To: scion who wrote (27556)||10/25/2021 12:13:35 PM|
|Far-Right Congressman Tricked Jan. 6 Planners With ‘Blanket Pardon’ Promise, Says ReportTRUST ME|
Jamie Ross News Correspondent
Published Oct. 25, 2021 6:42AM ET
Hours after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) baselessly accused antifa protesters of being behind the insurrection. But, according to an exclusive report from Rolling Stone, Gosar knew exactly who was to blame—and even offered them a pardon ahead of the events of Jan. 6. An unnamed organizer of the Stop the Steal rally that preceded the riot told the magazine that Gosar offered planners a “blanket pardon” in an unrelated investigation to incentivize them to organize the pro-Trump protests on Jan. 6. “Our impression was that it was a done deal... that he’d spoken to the president about it in the Oval … in a meeting about pardons and that our names came up,” said the organizer. The source claimed Gosar told them: “I was just going over the list of pardons and we just wanted to tell you guys how much we appreciate all the hard work you’ve been doing.” Rolling Stone also reports that at least three rally organizers are cooperating with the House panel probing the riot, and have alleged several members of Congress were “intimately involved” in the plans.
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|From: Brumar89||10/25/2021 12:15:36 PM|
|Lev Parnas Is a Reminder—and Warning—of Trump’s Sleazy Corruption|
The Ukrainian-American businessman, convicted last week of campaign finance violations, was in the background of Trump’s first impeachment.
by KIMBERLY WEHLE
OCTOBER 25, 2021 5:30 AM
Lev Parnas walks into the Southern District of New York Courthouse on December 2, 2019 in New York City. A business associate of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, Parnas accused of conspiring to make illegal contributions to political committees supporting President Donald Trump and other Republicans, and wanting to use the donations to lobby U.S. politicians to support the removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
Buried in last week’s news was the conviction by a Manhattan jury of Lev Parnas for arranging over $350,000 in illegal campaign donations to two pro-Trump super PACs and a Republican member of Congress in 2018. Parnas is a Ukrainian national who, according to former House Intelligence Committee counsel Daniel Goldman, resided “in the underbelly of the Ukraine story” that gave rise to Donald Trump’s first impeachment, and who operated as “[Rudy] Giuliani’s liaison to a lot of the significant officials in Ukraine.”
Giuliani, you’ll recall, was in 2018 and 2019 acting as Trump’s personal lawyer—or really more of a fixer. With an eye on the 2020 presidential race and the expectation that Joe Biden would be a serious rival to Trump, Giuliani sought to persuade Ukrainian officials in 2019 to open a criminal investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. The events culminated in Trump’s infamous July 2019 “quid pro quo” phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. Compared to some of the intervening political crises, Trump’s pressuring Ukraine to announce a criminal investigation into Biden seems almost quaint, but less than two years ago it led to his first impeachment on abuse of power charges.
Today, Trump seems more emboldened than ever to secure power—dangling the possibility of another presidential run in front of the slavering, sycophantic Republican party. Parnas, however, faces prison time. It is worth taking a moment to revisit the basis of the charges against Parnas—which did not arise from his dealings with Giuliani—as a reminder of the kinds of corruption that surround Trump.
Federal law bans foreign donations to campaigns, and also requires public reporting to the Federal Election Commission of contributions and expenditures made in connection with federal elections. The Department of Justice indicted Parnas and three co-conspirators—Igor Fruman, David Correia, and Andrey Kukushkin—for allegedly having made false statements to the FEC, falsified records, conspired to defraud the United States by using a phony corporation to make campaign donations and by wiring hundreds of thousands of foreign-sourced dollars through a bank account under Fruman’s control. The straw company was called Global Energy Producers, a purported liquefied natural gas import-export business that Parnas incorporated with Fruman around the time of their illegal campaign contributions on behalf of a Russian financier who sought political influence to further his business interests in the U.S. marijuana industry.
Correia—who also has business ties to Giuliani—pleaded guilty in October 2020. Last month, Fruman pleaded guilty to soliciting donations from a foreign national, but made no agreement to testify against the others as part of his plea deal. Parnas and Kukushkin pleaded not guilty to all the charges and on Friday they were convicted at trial.
In January 2020, Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that Trump “knew exactly what was going on” with Giuliani in Ukraine, and that former Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General William Barr were also “in the loop.” In July of this year, new audio was leaked of a 2019 phone call between Giuliani, former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker, and Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to Zelensky. In the forty-minute recording, Giuliani is captured saying: “All we need from the President [Zelensky] is to say, I’m gonna put an honest prosecutor in charge, he’s gonna investigate and dig up the evidence, that presently exists and is there any other evidence about involvement of the 2016 election, and then the Biden thing has to be run out.”
It should go without saying that it’s bad for the American system of government if a sitting president can use his unparalleled national security, law enforcement, financial, and diplomatic power to strongarm his way into more time in office. Yet that’s precisely what Donald Trump tried to do, and thus far there has been zero accountability for it. He was impeached, but Senate Republicans blocked his conviction. Far from distancing itself from him because of his Ukraine malversation, the GOP has stuck with Trump through the pandemic, through his attempt to steal the election, through the riot he incited at the Capitol, and through the first ten months of his conspiracy-theory-spreading ex-presidency.
Lest we forget, eleven other close associates were charged with crimes in connection with Donald Trump’s presidency, including Steve Bannon (fundraising fraud and now possibly criminal contempt of Congress); Tom Barrack (providing illegal intelligence to UAE officials); Elliott Broidy (conspiracy involving secret lobbying); Michael Cohen (illegal hush money payments on Trump’s behalf); Michael Flynn (lying to the FBI); Rick Gates (concealing funds relating to Ukraine lobbying work); Paul Manafort (conspiracy to obstruct justice); George Nader (sex crimes involving minors); George Papadopoulos (lying to investigators); Roger Stone (lying to Congress and threatening a witness); and Allen Weisselberg (tax crimes). Trump pardoned Manafort, Papadopoulos, and Stone.
And that’s just the old crowd. A younger generation of Trump-supporting Republicans, who have for the last five years seen Trump’s lies and corruption without punishment as the norm, is coming up behind them. This is the slate of villains, both familiar and new, who could be expected to populate a second Trump administration in 2025.
In an interview for my YouTube show SimplePolitics, Ruth Ben-Ghiat—a professor at New York University, author of the book Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present, and expert in fascism, global autocracy, and propaganda—described “a great sense of dread” watching Trump on the campaign trail back in 2015. Although “classic fascism is a one-party state with no opposition of any sort” that uses “a combination of propaganda and repression and corruption to rule,” she explained, to think of Trump’s initial entry into politics as fascism would be a mistake. Benito Mussollini led a democracy for three years, and only slowly chipped away at it over time. Said Ben-Ghiat: “Today, it’s incremental. . . . It’s evolution and not revolution.”
What she saw “very tragically” in four years of Trump was “a shift from a culture that supports the rule of a law to a culture of corruption, a culture that supports violence, and a culture that supports lawlessness basically. Because the essence of authoritarianism is getting away with things.” Time and again, conservative elites have looked at figures like Trump and thought “that they’re going to dominate and control this outsider, this hothead, and instead the opposite happens.” Likewise, Trump “got ahold of the GOP and they were ready for a person like him. And then he instituted a kind of an authoritarian-style party discipline.”
Ben-Ghiat mapped out the next stage of democracy’s death, whereby authoritarians populate government with “zealots,” “sycophants,” and “people who are going to do your bidding.” (“The Nazis and the fascists used to hire criminals,” she added, “because they were more easy to corrupt.”) Then, once they’re in power, “the law becomes weaponized by these modern autocrats. And they use less overt mass violence and more use of regulatory codes, fiscal codes, tax codes. So they have armies of lawyers working for them. And that’s how they get at their enemies.”
Parnas’s case—the sleazy corruption and foreign influence in U.S. politics—is a reminder of what Trump administration’s was. But it’s also a harbinger of what a second Trump term might be, if Democrats in Congress and Merrick Garland at the helm of DOJ don’t avail themselves of every ounce of political and legal capital to save democracy. The clock is ticking.
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|From: Brumar89||10/25/2021 5:13:40 PM|
|The Easiest Case for the Prosecution: Trump’s Aiding and Abetting Unlawful Occupation of the Capitol|
by Albert W. Alschuler
October 25, 2021
Knowing whether former President Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6 violated one or more criminal statutes is important for several reasons. First, the public should know whether Trump committed any crimes. Second, identifying potential crimes can shape what the House Select Committee investigates. Third, Trump’s potential criminality affects Congress’s ability to obtain information in the face of a claim of executive privilege. And finally, identifying likely crimes could determine whether the Justice Department pursues a criminal investigation and then prosecutes the former president.
Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe and former U.S. Attorneys Barbara McQuade and Joyce White Vance have presented “a roadmap for the Justice Department to follow in investigating” whether Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election were criminal. Acknowledging that the facts did not yet establish any crime beyond a reasonable doubt, they listed a half-dozen offenses they said merited investigation.
Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s chief legal analyst, answered “not so fast.” Reviewing the offenses listed by Tribe, McQuade, and Vance, Toobin concluded, “[T]here is no basis to prosecute Trump and little reason even to open an investigation.”
Neither Tribe and his coauthors nor Toobin mentioned what may be the clearest case for prosecuting the former president. By violating his legal duty to do what he could to end the unlawful occupation of the Capitol, Trump became an accomplice to that crime. He is subject to the same punishment as the rioters who entered the building.
More than 575 of the 674 people charged in the Jan. 6 insurrection have been charged with unlawfully entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds. This offense is usually a misdemeanor, but it becomes a felony punishable by as much as 10 years in prison when it results in significant bodily injury or when an offender uses or carries a dangerous weapon or firearm during the crime.
Failing to prevent a crime usually does not make someone an accomplice, but it is sufficient when this person had a legal duty to intervene. For this reason, a railroad conductor who failed to prevent passengers from transporting bootleg liquor was himself convicted of transporting the liquor. Similarly, a parent who made no effort to stop an assault on her child was guilty of the assault herself. And a police officer who arranges to be somewhere else at the time of a robbery aids and abets the robbery. This officer can be convicted along with the robbers at the scene.
The Constitution gave Trump a clear legal duty to intervene. Article II, Section 3 provides, “[The President] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This provision permits good-faith exercises of law-enforcement discretion, but a president unmistakably violates his duty when he refuses to enforce the law because he wants a crime to occur—when, for example, he hopes to advance his own interests through the criminal conduct of others. As abundant evidence shows, that’s what transpired on Jan. 6.
Trump’s ability to enforce the law was unique. Like other public officials, he could have sought the assistance of additional police officers or military forces, but, unlike anyone else in America, he had a less costly and probably more effective way to bring the crime to a halt: He could simply have asked his followers to stop.
More than three hours after the rioters violently entered the Capitol grounds and two hours after they forced their way into the building, Trump did post a video telling them to go home. But he resisted sending any cease-and-desist message earlier, thereby violating his duty to see the law enforced.
Trump had another legal duty—a duty apart from his duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”—to do what he could to end the occupation. Even if his direction to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell” was not intended to start a riot, it led to violence and placed the Vice President and members of Congress in peril. A person who creates a physical danger—even innocently—has a legal duty to take reasonable measures to prevent injury from occurring. Someone who’s started a fire can’t just let it burn out of control.
Trump could not be convicted without proof of his criminal intent, but his desire for continued occupation of the Capitol seems clear. Why else did he fail for hours to ask his supporters to desist, and why, even then, did he tell these criminals “we love you” and “you’re very special”? And why, according to ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl, did the first takes of his message leave out a request to end the occupation, prompting his aides to request repeated do-overs?
A president unmistakably violates his duty when he refuses to enforce the law because he wants a crime to occur.
White House officials told a Republican senator that Trump was “delighted” when rioters pushed their way past police officers to enter the building. A close advisor to the President informed the Washington Post that “rather than appearing appalled, Trump was , , , enjoying the spectacle and encouraged to see his supporters fighting for him.” Officials told Kate Collins of CNN that Trump was “borderline enthusiastic because it meant the certification [of the election] was being derailed.” Trump booster Sen. Lindsey Graham observed, “The president saw [the rioters] as allies in his journey.”
Trump’s rebuffs of specific requests for assistance supply further proof of his intent. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy now refuses to confirm or deny it, but he told House members of Trump’s response to McCarthy’s urgent request for presidential action—“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig reported that Ivanka Trump urged her father repeatedly to ask the rioters to disperse, that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and other White House staff encouraged her effort, and that Trump refused to take calls from advisors he knew would give him the same message. New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote that “many aides believed Trump was pleased by what he was seeing . . . as he repeatedly refused requests to get him to say something clearly rejecting the violence.”
Second-hand reports of Trump’s behavior during the Jan. 6 occupation are inadmissible hearsay, but the House Select Committee can seek and require the testimony of people who observed Trump’s conduct and heard his remarks. A federal grand jury convened by the Justice Department should investigate Trump’s conduct as well.
Trump has instructed his former aides and unofficial advisors to resist the Select Committee’s subpoenas by claiming executive privilege. One, Steve Bannon, already has refused to appear, and the House has voted to hold him in contempt.
Failing to prevent a crime usually does not make someone an accomplice, but it is sufficient when this person had a legal duty to intervene.
The Supreme Court has recognized that executive privilege “survives the individual President’s tenure,” but when Congress seeks “important” information that cannot be obtained elsewhere, this privilege is unavailable. Moreover, although no court has ruled on the issue, executive privilege must be subject to the same “crime-fraud” exception as the privilege for confidential attorney-client communications. A client’s statement to a lawyer that he intends to go on committing a crime is not privileged.
To establish the “crime-fraud” exception, the committee would need to present a prima facie case that Trump engaged in criminal conduct. If the committee were to rely only on the crimes listed by Tribe, McQuade, and Vance, that showing might be difficult, but establishing a prima facie case that Trump unlawfully aided the occupation of the Capitol looks easy. A judicial determination of the former president’s criminality could come quickly (for example, in contempt-of-Congress proceedings), and with that determination, his invocation of executive privilege would have backfired.
Both the Select Committee and a federal grand jury should also investigate the serious crimes listed in Tribe, McQuade, and Vance’s roadmap. Although the Select Committee appears to be considering evidence of these offenses, there is no sign the Justice Department has begun an investigation.
The most serious of the crimes on the roadmap is inciting an insurrection, but, as the authors acknowledged, a court might rule that Trump’s remarks on Jan. 6 were protected by the First Amendment. That obstacle would disappear if the government sought to punish, not the incitement (or not just the incitement), but Trump’s refusal to enforce the law after the insurrection began. Even if Trump’s remarks could not be punished, they could be received in evidence as proof of his intent. Although his call to “fight like hell” initially might have seemed ambiguous, the ambiguity disappeared when Trump’s supporters invaded the building and he refused to call them off.
Trump surely must have intended at least the illegal occupation. In addition, his refusal to enforce the law would make him an accomplice to every other crime he sought to promote.
President Biden is said to have little appetite for prosecuting his predecessor, and Attorney General Garland may share the president’s concern that an attempt to send Trump to prison would polarize our nation even further. There is indeed reason for concern, but Biden could avoid imprisoning Trump and could move toward healing America by pardoning him and other Jan. 6 offenders after a conviction. Truth could precede forgiveness. Biden might follow the example of President Washington who, in the first U.S. pardons ever given, extended amnesty to participants in the Whiskey Rebellion and set aside the death sentences of two of its leaders.
The time to forgive Trump is not now, and the way to forgive him is not for the Justice Department to rule out prosecution from the outset. Far from desisting or repenting, Trump continues to praise the crime he aided and abetted. On Oct. 21, as the House asked the Justice Department to prosecute Steve Bannon for criminal contempt, Trump issued this “war is peace” proclamation: “The insurrection took place on . . . Election Day. Jan. 6 was the protest!” Prosecuting 674 foot soldiers while exempting their chief for political reasons would be disgraceful.
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|To: Brumar89 who wrote (27560)||10/25/2021 5:14:46 PM|
|The January 6th scandal just exploded – and these House Republicans may go down for it|
Bill Palmer | 9:09 am EDT October 25, 2021 Palmer Report
There are always two things to keep in mind about federal criminal investigations into a wide scale criminal conspiracy: 1) the Feds work from the bottom up, busting the low level henchmen and trying to flip them upwards – meaning we never do know for sure whether the higher ups will end up indicted until the probe has advanced quite a ways. 2) the DOJ makes indictment decisions based on whether there’s at least an 85-90% chance of conviction at trial, meaning there has to be substantial evidence against them in order for them to go down.
This brings us to the DOJ criminal probe into the January 6th Capitol attack, which thus far has resulted in hundreds of low level arrests as the probe has attempted to work its way upward. Now we’re getting solid confirmation that this effort is succeeding. Rolling Stone is reporting that multiple leaders of the Capitol attack are cooperating with the DOJ, and ratting out several political higher ups in the process.
According to the leaders who are cooperating, Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows helped coordinate the January 6th protests, and refused to intervene once they turned violent. Worse, House Republican Paul Gosar goaded the Capitol attackers ahead of time by dangling a “blanket pardon” in an “unrelated ongoing investigation” in exchange for carrying out the protests.
Two thoughts immediately come to mind here. First, if this reporting is accurate, then Gosar might as well start getting fitted for a prison jumpsuit. Offering pardons in exchange for, well, anything is a felony – and offering pardons in exchange for leading protests that turned into an insurrection is a whole lot of felonies.
Second, if you’re thinking that Paul Gosar can’t pardon anyone, you’re right. Gosar was clearly offering to have Donald Trump pardon these January 6th ringleaders. It’s not clear if Gosar was merely floating this on his own, or if he discussed it with Trump before making the offer. But if it’s the latter, this might be the smoking gun that finally nails Trump on federal charges for public corruption.
In any case, it’s clear that the lid has now been blown completely off the January 6th criminal conspiracy. Over the weekend the Washington Post exposed the Trump command center at the Willard Hotel during the insurrection. At the time, Palmer Report pointed to this as a sign that the media was finally gearing up to push January 6th front and center in its daily coverage, and to specifically the role that Trump and his people played in helping to plan the attack. Now this Rolling Stone expose further points to this process being underway.
Now that the bright lights are shining on this criminal conspiracy, we’re likely about to see some cockroaches scattering. The Rolling Stone article says that Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert, and Madison Cawthorn all either met with or sent staffers to meet with the insurrectionists to plot the January 6th rally. Given that these staffers are surely going to face criminal scrutiny, we’ll see if any of them abruptly resign, which we could take as a sign that they plan to flip on their bosses.
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|To: Brumar89 who wrote (27561)||10/25/2021 5:16:38 PM|
The so-called “Goyim Defense League” hung a banner declaring “Vax the Jews” from an overpass near a large concentration of Austin’s Jewish population, while a high school was vandalized with antisemitic slogans the same day, leaving local Jews in shock.
Austin Jewish Community Stung by Two Antisemitic Outrages on Same Day
A white supremacist group with a record of pushing “vitriolic antisemitic propaganda” carried out another outrage in Austin, Texas on…
Austin Jewish Community Stung by Two Antisemitic Outrages on Same Day by Algemeiner Staff
Supporters of the “Goyim Defense League”, some making Nazi salutes, hung an antisemitic banner at an overpass in Austin, Texas. Photo: Twitter
A white supremacist group with a record of pushing “vitriolic antisemitic propaganda” carried out another outrage in Austin, Texas on Saturday, as a high school in the same city was vandalized with antisemitic slogans in a separate incident, leaving local Jews in shock.
Supporters of the so-called “Goyim Defense League” hung a banner at an overpass in the city that declared “Vax the Jews” along with a link advertising the group’s website. The location of the overpass near Far West Boulevard is home to a large concentration of Austin’s Jewish population, with the Shalom Austin Jewish Community Center and no fewer than four congregations nearby.
The same group has been responsible for similar actions over the last year, including a banner that was hung at an overpass in Los Angeles in August that stated, “The Jews Want a Race War.”
The group was also behind the harassment of pro-Israel activists who attended a rally in Boca Raton, Fl. at the height of the war between Israel and Hamas in May this year. A white van emblazoned with racist messages including “Hitler Was Right” and “Vax the Jews,” while flying a Palestinian flag, repeatedly drove around the rally.
Austin’s mayor condemned the banner as a violation of the city’s values.
“I am heartbroken to see antisemitic hatred in Austin, a welcoming and respectful place,” Mayor Steve Adler wrote on Twitter. “Hatred of any kind has no place in our city.”
On Saturday, Rabbi Daniel Septimus — the CEO of Shalom Austin — sent a letter to community members stating: “We understand this is extremely upsetting and unsettling. We are always vigilant in monitoring antisemitic groups and work closely with law enforcement to share information about their activities.”
There was controversy over the police response to the banner, when one officer who arrived at the scene to organize its removal was seen fist bumping with one of the far right activists. The Austin Police Department later explained that the officer had been carrying out his mission to remove the banner peacefully. “Hate and bigotry have absolutely no place in our community and certainly are not welcome in our police department,” Austin police chief Joseph Chacon said in a statement on Sunday.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the “Goyim Defense League” espouses “vitriolic antisemitism via the internet, through propaganda distributions and in street actions.” The ADL has described the group in a briefing as a “small network of virulently antisemitic provocateurs led by Jon Minadeo II of Petaluma, California.” Its main centers of activity are in California, Colorado, Florida and New York. The term ‘goyim’ is a derogatory word in Yiddish and Hebrew for “non-Jews.”
The antisemitic banner was sighted on Saturday as police were called to a separate incident of antisemitic vandalism in Austin.
Racist and antisemitic slogans and symbols were daubed across several parking spots at Anderson High School. One senior at the school, Aiden Horwitz, told local CBS News that “it was just really scary to see that going into school.”
Horwitz added: “It’s just surprising that this is still happening in 2021 and that this hate is still so prevalent in the world.”
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|To: Brumar89 who wrote (27562)||10/25/2021 6:04:40 PM|
|Trump Was No Reagan Conservatism has had better leaders in the past and could have such leaders once again, if it would just get off this damn train.|
The original version of this article was published as a guest article on the Saving Elephants blog.
Over the years, many of President Trump’s supporters have claimed numerous similarities between Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan.
They point at the irrational fear that gripped the media and others as President Reagan took office in order to excuse the ever-present fear during Donald Trump’s presidency and the fear that he’ll run again.
They point at Reagan’s past as a member of the Democratic Party to excuse Donald Trump’s former left-leaning beliefs and activity in Democratic circles.
They trumpeted the fact that Making America Great Again was one of Reagan’s slogans and believed that Trump returned conservatism to form, shook things up, and re-established Reagan Era conservatism by refusing to back down and refusing to be politically correct.
They disregarded concerns about Trump’s ability to hold office given his lack of experience and ignored derisions of Trump as a reality tv politician by saying, “They said the same about Reagan, the actor!”
While there are definitely some circumstantial similarities, these are predominantly surface parallels. A deeper inspection would reveal that Ronald Reagan had very stark fundamental differences with Donald Trump, amounting to distinct underpinnings of ideological disagreement and dramatically alternate visions for the country’s direction.
Ronald Reagan and Modern Conservatism’s CoalitionRonald Reagan was President at a juncture of history that many political scientists and historians consider the height of modern conservatism. He not only presided over a moment in our nation’s history where the most significant swath of American voters affirmed their acceptance of a conservative national direction but also at a point where conservatism, in general, was the most united around a single cohesive vision.
Modern conservatism has flavorings of both neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism because it involved a developed coalition between three generalized factions represented by Barry Goldwater (libertarians), Pat Buchanan (paleoconservatives/social conservatives), and Henry Kissinger (foreign policy hawks).
Ronald Reagan was a successful candidate and effective president primarily because he tapped into, maintained, and championed the unique ideology of this coalition while preserving flexibility in policy as realities dictated. This unique ideology, often called fusionism, was concerned with limited government, moral imperatives, constitutional orthodoxy, fiscal responsibility, and international strength with singular and practical purpose.
The Coalition is DeadIt is important to understand that the coalition of modern conservatism is dissolved, and its ideology is fragmented. Modern conservatism has generally devolved into separate bickering camps of libertarians (Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Justin Amash, Thomas Massie), neoconservatives (John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney, Jeff Flake), and a new amalgamation of paleo and social conservatives that we can call populist nationalism, chiefly represented by Donald Trump and most conservative talk radio hosts.
Populist nationalism has risen to the forefront of Republican Party direction because the libertarian and neoconservative branches of conservatism vehemently oppose each other and have proven feckless in mounting a unified front in moderating the rise of populist nationalism.
The coalition fell apart for many reasons, some connected and some not. I will only attempt to list several main reasons for the purposes of example.
Neoconservatives dominated party leadership post-Clinton and led America into the Iraq War while engaging in Keynesian economics and centrist social platforms at home, alienating libertarians and social conservatives.
Paleo and social conservatism came to dominate the conservative media complex (Fox News and Talk Radio). This complex has come to revolve mostly around personalities who have grown rich engaging in provocation and anti-intellectual punditry. That these personalities and their media companies have become the so-called “gatekeepers” of conservativism has alienated libertarians and neoconservatives who must either pander to the personalities and their viewers or be left impotent and irrelevant.
Meanwhile, libertarians have become more and more marginalized over the last thirty years and have embraced their existence as outliers and increasingly live up to their characterizations as crackpots and anarchists.
Many libertarians owe more deference to Ayn Rand (someone who cared very little for Reagan) and a branch of libertarianism more attached to European anarchism and minarchism than anything in American political traditions. For example, we can look at the behavior of overly-zealous Ron Paul supporters in the 2008 and 2012 elections (particularly the attempted hostile takeovers of Republican Party caucuses). Their hardcore adherence to extreme libertarian doctrine keeps them from engaging in coalition building or embracing the traditions of fusionism.
With the coalition dead, the conservative movement and the Republican Party were ripe for a usurper who could tap into animating and motivating anger to create a new populist nationalism.
Populist NationalismSo, what is populist nationalism, why is it different than modern conservatism, and why do the underpinnings of this new movement make Donald Trump so different from Ronald Reagan?
Chiefly, the motivation is not to conserve any type of moral or geopolitical norms but to restore an “American Ideal” that allegedly existed sometime in the past and now faces an existential threat of being defeated completely.
This may not seem like a significant difference, but it is a foundational shift that creates an entirely new narrative and introduces new motivations, rationale, and behaviors.
Modern conservatism was concerned with maintaining a status quo, an established order, and a balance of power under an established constitutional orthodoxy. It sought to make its argument to as many Americans as possible and craft a “big tent” (Reagan liked to assert that someone who agrees with you on four out of five issues is 80 percent a friend, not 20 percent an enemy).
This is in complete contrast with Donald Trump and his populist-nationalist approach.
Populist nationalism believes in the “Bull In The China Shop” ideal of political leadership (“Trump was our bull in their china shop”). They feel that our nation’s government, our nation’s institutions, and our prevailing and rising “liberal” culture has engaged in a systematic attack upon “Middle America” and must therefore be torn down, burned down, and dismantled at the seams by any means and through any strategy possible.
Populist nationalism is not concerned with maintaining any ideal of norms but rather with victory-at-all-costs over the “other” who its adherents see as endangering and preventing a return to “American Greatness,” whether that be Islamic Terrorists, Liberal Media, Illegal Immigrants, College Elites, Progressive Politicians, the GOP Establishment, Environmentalists, or any other group which is viewed as threatening or having already corroded the “American Ideal.”
While modern conservatism was concerned with orthodoxy, populist nationalism feels that any form of moral or ideological constraint weakens its ability to combat the existential threat presented by the “other” (this is why “playing by the rules” is now derided as weakness when it was once a sign of moral authority).
Winning at all costs is the only consistent motivation of populist nationalism and why shifting ideals and norms are defended or attacked based on the motivation of the actions (An extra-legal executive order or arbitrary presidential action by President Obama was an outrage because it supported the “enemy” but similar behavior from President Trump got celebrated because it helped “us”).
Even with all of this, the most significant difference between Trump and Reagan is that Trump had no interest in building coalitions, engaging in big tent politics, or in selling his vision to the country as a whole. In fact, his approach was the complete opposite.
President Trump believed if you weren’t 100% with him, you were 100% against him. He chiefly pandered to his base while disregarding all others as “losers” whose opinions and concerns could be disregarded based on his electoral victory…and his followers followed him in that mantra.
That’s why Mark Sanford lost his primary election despite voting over 80% for Trump initiatives. That’s why Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan were seen as the “evil establishment” even though their efforts have directly resulted in most Trump policy victories (Supreme Court nominations and the Tax Plan are good examples).
That’s why Republicans who were hesitant or unwilling to shout praises to Trump’s name got called RINOs, traitors, and “cuckservatives” until they were hammered into submission or pushed into irrelevancy, regardless of where they actually stood on the issues.
That’s why anti-Trump protestors in the wake of the 2016 election were derided as “cry-babies” and “snowflakes” in a break against the tradition of newly elected Presidents attempting to consolidate the nation post-election (also an interesting example of cognitive dissonance considering what happened after Trump lost in 2020).
Reagan sought common cause with the various factions of conservatism and communicated to his opponents that while they disagreed in many instances, he believed they still deserved a place at the table of discussion.
Under his direction, Trump and the Republican Party actively purged the GOP of libertarians, neoconservatives, moderates, and anybody not willing to get with the program. And, they engaged in a systematic campaign that declared any viewpoint dissenting from Trump’s vision of America as quintessentially anti-American.
Reagan believed in pluralism and envisioned an America where dramatically different beliefs and ideologies could live together in coexistence under the constitutional order. Trump believed in himself as the dispenser of what American Greatness is, of what things should come first to put America First, and attempted to make himself an avatar of America to his followers. To Trump and his supporters, opposing Trump was the same as opposing America.
From Ascendancy To the Last Puff of SmokeRonald Reagan so totally changed the political dynamic of the United States (He won 49 states in 1984) that for the first time since Roosevelt and Truman, a full-term President was followed by a President of his own party. The opposing party felt forced to pick a Democrat from Arkansas who portrayed himself as very much a moderate in order to defeat the incumbent four years after Reagan left office (and it still took a split conservative vote for Clinton to win).
Speak to somebody about a “golden age of conservatism,” and chances are they will think Reagan. Even in the ’90s, Bill Clinton generally governed as a moderate (Hillary was always the true progressive believer). Obama, Trump, and Biden-era Democrats would condemn most of Clinton’s policy decisions.
Conservatism under Reagan and after Reagan was inclusive, ascendant, dominant, and indestructible.
Today, conservatism looks very different. No longer confident or inclusive, it is angry and hostile. No longer ascendant as a “moral majority,” polls show a growing majority of Americans see conservatism as backward and narrow-minded, back-biting, and even racist.
Instead of dominant and indestructible, conservatism’s opponents can easily pander to identity politics and promises of free education and healthcare to cobble together coalitions to threaten Republicans in state and national elections.
Whereas Reagan once turned the entire map red, the national electoral map looks more impossibly blue every election (Even Trump, whose supporters herald as the “map breaker,” seems to have broken the map in favor of the Democrats).
Ronald Reagan left his mark on Generation X (the most consistently conservative generation in most polls) by converting them to his vision and making them part of his coalition. Donald Trump has nearly completely alienated the Millennial Generation, who now vote more overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates than any previous generation (and Post-Millenials are trending even further left).
While 2020 wasn’t quite a “blue wave,” it nevertheless handed both the executive and legislative branches to the Democrats. And, they have largely been successful at undoing Trump’s actions, reaffirming Obama’s legacy, and proceeding to make the national conversation revolve around a quite progressive legislative vision.
While Reagan left office with his legacy firmly in place and his principles held dear by most Americans, President Trump left office with the disdain of well over half the country. While the governing priorities of the Democratic Party have left the door open for a resurgent Republican Party, Donald Trump’s continued influence in the GOP and among conservatives are seriously hobbling the opportunity to take back Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024.
The bombastic way that President Trump and his supporters sought and gained short-term victories on policy has seriously damaged long-term goals of principle and vision.
Defeat Is Not Set in StoneDespite the realities of populist nationalism, despite the bombastic and derisive approach with which Donald Trump addressed the nation and exercised his office, and despite the rabid support he received on one side and the rabid opposition he received on the other, Trump’s presidency does not have to be doomed as a disaster for conservatism’s future. All it would take for conservatism to turn a corner is a healthy dose of self-awareness.
If a majority of conservatives could understand many of the realities that I have attempted to lay out, it could become possible to take steps towards reversing the dissolution of the once-powerful conservative coalition. If this could happen, many untapped groups of Americans might find that their interests would be well aligned with a renewed conservative “big tent.”
Millennials, despite voting overwhelmingly for leftist politicians, also demonstrate unique and broad support for libertarian ideas. Many groups engulfed in identity politics, especially recent immigrants, feel forced to set aside their generally social conservative religious and cultural beliefs to vote for Democrats. Texas, for example, has traditionally been one of the most powerful bastions of conservatism and has probably been so because it has embraced its Hispanic population.
And, a renewed understanding of how Reagan’s foreign policy approach struck a good balance between strength and prudence could win over many Americans equally frustrated with the foreign quagmires of Bush, Obama, Trump, and now Biden.
But, conservatives need to understand that they can’t save themselves if they go down shouting glory to Trump to the bitter end.
By all means, point out the radical nature of Biden’s agenda and call out the left-biased media for their cognitive dissonance, intellectual inconsistency, and pure hypocrisy, but do so without smearing yourself by refusing to unhitch yourself from the dumpster fire that was Trump’s presidency.
Turn off talk radio for a moment and recall that most of you initially voted for Trump because you were voting against Hillary, because Trump was the lesser of two evils, and because the Supreme Court was not something we could lose.
If, at the tail end of a single-term presidency, you’re still heralding Donald Trump as some sort of political messiah, consider that supporting him and standing by him has changed you, and not for the better.
Conservatives were once umpires of those that claimed to represent them and not unconditional cheerleaders. Conservatives once held higher expectations of character and dignity in themselves and their leaders than they did their opposition and didn’t justify failings in morals, norms, or rhetoric by engaging in toxic moral equivocations (Whataboutism).
Conservatives once overcame false characterizations from the media and their opposition by maintaining intellectual consistency, unchanging principles, and clear, persuasive language. Instead, the Trump era has seen a squandering of copious amounts of limited political capital running interference for the vague language of an ideologically meandering and disgraced former President who can’t move on from his embarrassing defeat for the good of the country, the good of the party, or the good of conservative values.
Reagan Did Not Believe In “Trust Me” Government“I am your voice,” said Donald Trump to the shouting praise of the Republican National Convention in 2016, “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”
This was the main plank of Trumpism, the assertion that Donald Trump believed was his grandest argument in his case to lead the country and the thing that motivated so many to support him and defend him no matter what.
To follow Trump was to believe the system was broken, corrupt, and could not have been fixed by anyone else but Donald Trump. To follow Trump was to believe that an attack upon him was an attack upon you because he was your voice. To follow Trump was to believe that those who could not stomach him were okay with the status quo, were the status quo, and didn’t matter anymore.
This is what Ronald Reagan called “Trust Me” government, and it is what he chiefly stepped forward into the realm of presidential politics to oppose. Thirty-six years before Donald Trump declared himself the sole political savior of the conservative cause, the man we affectionately remember as “the Gipper” stood at a very different Republican National Convention and spoke as if in direct challenge to the direction the Republican Party took under Donald J. Trump:
“‘Trust me’ government asks that we concentrate our hopes and dreams on one man; that we trust him to do what’s best for us. My view of government places trust not in one person or one party, but in those values that transcend persons and parties….I ask you not simply to ‘Trust me,’ but to trust your values–our values–and to hold me responsible for living up to them.”
Conservatism does have a way forward. It does have a path back to ascendancy and endurance. It doesn’t have to die as one last puff of smoke or go loudly, but impotently, into the night of American history. The train does not have to go over the cliff of reactionary suicide or descend into a gulf of things that were…things that will not be so again. We can still have a future but only if we can fully understand that when it comes to Donald Trump…he was no Reagan.
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|From: Brumar89||10/26/2021 8:13:17 AM|
|Did it really come this close?|
But they did not come into Jan 6th without a strategy. They did have one very specific thing they were after that they needed the mob's help with: delay. They needed to stop the certification of electoral votes in the hopes that one state, any state, would decertify.
And if you can delay the vote, you give Trump a chance to work over GOP governors in AZ and GA. All he needed was one of them to say "hey, we are concerned enough about voting irregularities that we want to decertify" and you create enough doubt to paralyze Congress.
If you can get the mob to push around a few cops, shove some barriers, even get the cops to fire some tear gas, you can get Congress to delay the vote and flee the building, especially when the Vice President and Secret Service are inside.
What they needed was two things: time and a show of force. A rowdy crowd of thousands outside the Capitol helped them with both of these things. It showed GOP state legislatures how passionate their base was about the issue and could create a security concern that delayed voting.
2) Congress did not delay. To their credit and to the credit of Mike Pence, they refused to walk away and give Trump the time he needed. They reconvened and still certified that day. Without more time, there was nothing the seditionists could do. It was over.
But two things happened that the seditionists did not expect: 1) the mob broke into the Capitol and started hurting cops. Any hope Trump had of getting a governor to decertify was gone when the protest became an unruly mob of would-be terrorists. They became the bad guys.
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|From: Brumar89||10/26/2021 8:33:30 AM|
|Jan. 6 investigators privately question Bannon associate|
By Betsy Woodruff Swan, Heather Caygle and Kyle Cheney 16 hrs ago
Dustin Stockton, a conservative activist linked to Steve Bannon, is fielding questions Monday from congressional investigators scrutinizing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to two sources familiar with the interview.
.A spokesperson for the committee declined to comment. Stockton did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Stockton previously drew national media attention for his connection to We Build The Wall, a crowdfunding effort that purported to raise money to construct a wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Prosecutors in New York charged Steve Bannon and three others with defrauding donors in relation to the fund. In his final weeks in office, Trump pardoned Bannon for his involvement.
Stockton has not been charged with any wrongdoing but has reportedly been linked to the investigation. He’s spoken to multiple media outlets about the events leading up to the Capitol attack.
In the days and weeks leading up to the pro-Trump Jan. 6 rallies, Stockton heavily promoted the event. And in the aftermath, he has defended some of the militia groups who had significant contingents charged with participating in the attack on the Capitol.
The Jan. 6 select committee subpoenaed 11 organizers of the pro-Trump rallies that preceded the riot. Stockton was not among them, but he has ties to some of those involved. Several of the top organizers, including Women For America First leader Amy Kremer and “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander, were subpoenaed to testify this week. It’s unclear if they’ve indicated their plans to cooperate.
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