|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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|From: Glenn Petersen||10/26/2021 12:56:56 PM|
|Rep. Mo Brooks, denying planning role in Jan. 6 rally, says he’d be ‘proud’ if his staff helped out|
By Timothy Bella
The Washington Post
Today at 10:08 a.m. EDT|
Updated today at 11:16 a.m. EDT
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) on Monday disputed a report that he had a role in organizing the rally on Jan. 6 that immediately preceded the riot at the U.S. Capitol. But his denial came with a note: Brooks said he would be “proud” if any of his staff had a role in planning the rally held moments before a riot that caused five deaths and hundreds of people being injured.
Brooks responded to a Rolling Stone report that found the GOP congressman or his staff to have been in contact with two unnamed organizers of the Jan. 6 rally and similar gatherings following the 2020 presidential election.
He told AL.com that the “beginning” of his involvement in the rally was when the White House asked him to speak the day before, saying he “had no intentions of going to that rally until Jan. 5.” While the congressman could not say whether any of his staff worked on the Jan. 6 rally, he acknowledged that he would be happy if they had helped organize it.
“Quite frankly, I’d be proud of them if they did help organize a First Amendment rally to protest voter fraud and election theft,” Brooks said of his staff to the outlet.
Brooks, who has pushed falsehoods about “massive voter fraud” during the 2020 election without evidence, repeated his answer to CNN’s Melanie Zanona on Monday, specifying that he would be proud if any of his staff had a role in planning the Jan. 6 rally “ at the Ellipse.”
A spokesman for Brooks did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Tuesday from The Post. Brooks has previously said he did not do anything wrong by speaking at the event.
The Alabama congressman’s response comes at a time when Brooks, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat next year, has been accused in a lawsuit of helping to incite the riot.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) filed a lawsuit earlier this year against Brooks, former president Donald Trump and several others for giving speeches at the Jan. 6 rally in which they falsely claimed the 2020 election results were fraudulent and encouraged rallygoers to march on the Capitol, where Congress was holding an accounting of the electoral college votes that would make Joe Biden president. Brooks, who told the crowd at the rally to “start taking down names and kicking a--,” asked a federal judge in August to grant him immunity from the lawsuit.
Earlier this month, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection issued another round of subpoenas for those connected to the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the violent insurrection at the Capitol. In the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, right-wing provocateur Ali Alexander, the leader of Stop the Steal, said in a since-deleted video that he had planned to put “maximum pressure on Congress” during the vote to certify the electoral college votes. In that video, he claimed he had help from three GOP lawmakers: Brooks and Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.). Brooks and Biggs previously denied aiding Alexander with planning the rally.
On Sunday, Rolling Stone reported that Brooks was among a GOP group of House lawmakers, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Madison Cawthorn (N.C.) and Lauren Boebert (Colo.), who either planned or had top staff members plan the Jan. 6 rally. The report did not specify the level of involvement that Brooks or his staff had in organizing the rally.
Brooks told the Montgomery Advertiser that he only agreed to speak at the rally that day if he was given an early time slot and enough time to speak, saying he was focused on speeches intended for Congress as the chambers certified the election results. He maintained that he had no role in fundraising for the rally or overseeing logistics.
“I was really busy,” Brooks said to the newspaper. “I was working on speeches for the House floor debates.”
Yet Brooks, who acknowledged he was wearing body armor at the rally, urged the Trump supporters gathered on the Ellipse near the White House to fight back against voter fraud. The congressman later claimed he was referring to elections in 2022 and 2024.
Brooks, without evidence, blamed “militants,” such as the Proud Boys and QAnon, for the riot instead of Trump supporters.
“They executed that attack by using the rally as cover, and also using the rally to induce other people to attack the Capitol,” he told the Advertiser.
Democrats and critics were quick to note Tuesday how Brooks appeared to suggest his own staff played a role in the Jan. 6 rally. Joyce White Vance, a professor at the University of Alabama Law School who was appointed as a U.S. district judge under President Barack Obama, tweeted that Brooks’s response to his role in the Jan. 6 rally raised more questions about why he was there in the first place.
“It takes a little time & a good bit of money to get the right body armor & it’s not particularly comfortable to wear,” she said. “It seems fair to ask Mo Brooks, under oath, what made him think it was worth going to the trouble.”
Michael Fanone, the D.C. police officer who was dragged into a pro-Trump mob and beaten while fighting insurrectionists at the Capitol, reiterated Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” the danger surrounding those who continue to downplay the events of Jan. 6.
“If you describe that day as anything other than brutal and violent and a disgrace to this country, you’re lying to yourself and you’re lying to those around you,” he said.
Mo Brooks says he’d be ‘proud’ if staff helped organize Jan. 6 rally preceding Capitol riot - The Washington Post
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|From: Brumar89||10/26/2021 2:08:20 PM|
|The Sh*t Just Hit the Fan on January 6. Here’s What We Know So Far and What It Means.|
Photos by Getty Images
On Sunday night, Rolling Stone dropped a bombshell story. Two witnesses considered key to the investigation of the January 6 Committee had been speaking extensively for weeks to reporter Hunter Walker about their role in organizing the pro-Trump rallies that took place on January 6. For the first time, these organizers named congressmembers as well as some key White House aides who had been part of the planning.
The names should sound familiar: Along with QAnon-associated Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), “the members who participated in these conversations or had top staffers join in included Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).” Among the White House staff named were former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Katrina Pierson, who had worked on Trump’s campaign in 2016 and 2020 and acted as “a key liaison between the organizers of the protest against the election and the White House.”
At the time these meetings were happening, what was being planned wasn’t yet known to the public, but the fact of some kind of planning actually was known. Rep. Greene, for example, seemed quite proud of her involvement, as she demonstrated to her followers in a video right after one of the meetings. She stated, “Just finished with our meeting here at the White House this afternoon. We had a great planning session for our January 6th objection. We aren't going to let this election be stolen by Joe Biden and the Democrats!”
While this is the first time the public is hearing from ordinary citizens on the inside of the White House efforts to stop the election—and there are already calls for the congressmembers to be expelled and prosecuted—the unnamed witnesses and certain congressmembers are already seeking to draw a big and likely crucial distinction: They claim that their organizing was for a peaceful protest to take place at the Ellipse near the White House, and that they were somehow duped when the rally took a turn, quite literally, and headed to Congress where the votes were being certified.
In this version of events, the congressmembers who were involved intended only to raise legitimate objections to the count based on alleged evidence of fraud that they would recite from the floor of Congress, with the hope that more GOP members, especially in the Senate, would rise to join them. Instead, they claim, the protest unexpectedly became violent and turned into a crowd bent on physically stopping the vote count, something they swear they never intended. The article quotes a spokesperson for Rep. Greene, for example, who stated, “Congresswoman Greene and her staff were focused on the Congressional election objection on the House floor and had nothing to do with the planning of any protest.”
This is probably a flat-out lie. But those accused of planning the insurrection apparently will now claim that they never intended to foment a violent one and instead merely met innocently to plan how they would rally their followers peaceably. Thus, when former president Trump told the crowd on January 6 that they were going to walk from the Ellipse to the Capitol, the two witnesses felt they had been betrayed. “I was like, ‘Let’s get the f*ck out of here,” said one. “I do feel kind of abandoned by Trump,” said the other. “I’m actually pretty pissed about it and I’m pissed at him.”
Let’s unpack this. Even taking their rather self-serving story at face value, two big questions emerge.
First, even assuming the witnesses were unaware of the violent turn the protest would take, were others inside the White House and Congress in the know? It is important to establish what the White House was aware of, even if we accept (only for the sake of argument) that the Trump Administration and the representatives did not “plan” to have Congress stormed. Note that this would not let them off the hook legally: Knowledge of a planned, violent attack could give rise to a charge of aiding and abetting (i.e. helping or encouraging the insurrection), or of being an accessory to it (i.e. giving assistance to someone else who actually commits the crime).
The witnesses themselves claim that they had voiced their concerns about the possibility of violence to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, with whom they met directly many times. “Meadows was 100 percent made aware of what was going on,” said one witness. “He’s also like a regular figure in these really tiny groups of national organizers.”
In particular, they raised concerns with Meadows about another protest that would take place at the Capitol itself, organized by “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander. Initially, they claim, Alexander agreed not to hold his “Wild Protest” at the Capitol and that there would be only a single demonstration at the Ellipse. But Alexander went ahead with his plans for a Capitol Hill demonstration anyway, even after the witnesses had raised concerns with the White House about his close association with paramilitary groups like the Oath Keepers and the 1st Amendment Praetorians.
Alexander had even made a video, which he had attempted to delete (but as they say, the Internet is forever), in which he bragged that he and three congressmembers—Reps. Gosar, Brooks, and Biggs— “schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar…” Given his prior appearance with and organizing of armed paramilitary groups, he certainly understood that this “roar” was going to be more than a vocal one.
Rep. Mo Brooks apparently knew well enough ahead of time to don body armor, even though he was allegedly only speaking at the protest at the Ellipse. Investigators and the Committee will want to know if Brooks had firsthand knowledge of the planned violence or if someone had tipped him off for its potential later at the Capitol. If the witnesses in the Rolling Stone report are to be believed, it was common knowledge, and raised several times, that the protest could turn deadly violent. (Given this apparent knowledge, it is critical also to ask why no steps were taken by lawmakers or the White House to warn law enforcement or the national guard about the danger; the common-sense answer is of course that they did not want the violence to be contained.)
Key insider and pardoned felon Steve Bannon also appears to have had advance knowledge of the plan to attack the Capitol, stating on his podcast on January 5, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It’s going to be moving. It’s going to be quick. All I can say is strap in, the War Room, a posse. You have made this happen and tomorrow is game day.” Likewise, Trump advisor and pardoned felon Roger Stone, just hours before the attack, was captured on video flanked by Oathkeepers on January 6, the same paramilitary group with which Ali Alexander was associated, raising the obvious question of why they felt the need to protect him.
Second, there appears already to be evidence that many of the named congressmembers and staff were not only aware of the possibility of violence but were deeply in on the planning. This matters a great deal: If they were in on the scheme, the charge in theory rises from aiding and abetting to actual seditious conspiracy, and the stakes and possible range of criminal charges grow even greater.
According to the Rolling Stone piece, Rep. Paul Gosar, for example, apparently dangled the prospect of presidential pardons for the two witnesses and others in exchange for their assistance organizing the protest. It is unclear at this time for what crimes the witnesses were under potential or actual investigation or prosecution—or whether this actually referred to a post-rally pardon—but the prospect of presidential pardons, if true, at the very least demonstrates that the planning and status of the protest were being discussed regularly at very high levels within the White House, including presumably with the president. It also suggests that the witnesses’ success in terms of drawing big crowds to the rally was important enough to offer juicy quid pro quos (likely illegally) of pardons in exchange. It seems unlikely in the extreme that such a coveted prize would be offered merely for organizing a rally, especially one that would remain peaceful and distant from Congress with zero chance of changing the outcome of the count.
There is also evidence that certain representatives knew exactly what was coming and were part of the execution of the attack. There is a trove of suspicious, albeit circumstantial, evidence of coordinated planning, including reports of representatives giving prohibited private Capitol group tours before the assault, the curiously quick way certain offices such as Nancy Pelosi’s were located by the rioters, and how the insurrectionists apparently knew which windows were unreinforced so they could gain quick entry. Rep. Lauren Boebert even tweeted tell-tale messages that day aimed directly at the insurrectionists, including “Today is 1776” (referring to a common refrain among the more violent paramilitary groups who favored taking the government by force) and “The Speaker has been removed from the chamber” (disclosing the whereabouts of one of the key targets of the insurrectionists just as she was being transferred to a secure location).
Perhaps the most impactful development revealed by the Rolling Stone story is a schism between the protest organizers and the Trump White House itself. If witnesses, for whatever reason, are now prepared to throw the prior administration under the bus, that will be a welcome development for investigators. It will provide a direct channel of information about what went on in those “back to back” meetings with the congressmembers, the protest organizers, and the former administration. It will also, as discussed above, tie the White House to advance knowledge of, if not outright conspiracy to commit, the insurrection.
If you recall, efforts by the January 6 Committee to obtain the phone and email records of key witnesses or suspects were met with outrage, including a letter signed by 11 representatives to the telecommunication and tech platform companies warning them not to comply with subpoenas. It is no coincidence that the letter was signed by all of the members named in the Rolling Stone story and other key allies of the former president.
Right now, House staffers and named congressmembers and White House aides are individually weighing whether to come forward willingly and cooperate. Many may be lawyering up if they have not already. They cannot freely communicate with one another or try to “get their story straight” at this time without risking additional charges of obstruction of justice or witness tampering. Visits with or by the Department of Justice are likely already occurring with some of the key civilian actors, and subpoenas likely will issue for some politicians. Be prepared to see sitting congressmembers refuse to cooperate with subpoenas or plead the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
As Steve Bannon famously said, “Strap in.”
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|From: Brumar89||10/26/2021 6:26:54 PM|
| ]Heather Cox Richardson|
“Caravans” of migrants to our southern border are once again headline news on the Fox News Channel, but while these anti-immigrant stories divert attention from news that those on the right would like to bury, as usual, they also establish a larger pattern.
Whipping up fears of immigration is standard for authoritarians trying to convince followers to support the loss of civil liberties in order to promote law and order. One of those who rose to power with just such an argument is Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, a figure those on the right are championing these days. Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson broadcast from Hungary appreciatively earlier this year, presenting Orbán’s government, which has systematically dismantled democracy, as enviable. The American Conservative Union is planning to have its 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Hungary, as well.
This backstory gave disturbing context to today’s news from the Government Accountability Office. The GAO is a government agency within the legislative branch (most of the ones you’re used to hearing about are in the executive branch) that audits, investigates, and issues reports for Congress. Known as the congressional watchdog, the GAO tries to cut through spin to do honest, thorough, and nonpartisan evaluations of government issues.
Today, the GAO reported that actions of the Trump administration had undermined U.S. goals in the Northern Triangle countries that are currently driving immigration to the southern border. Since 2008, the U.S. has funded development projects in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to promote economic development, provide security, and combat corruption. This investment was designed, in part, to slow the movement of immigrants escaping the violence and economic dislocation of the region to the U.S. border.
In March 2019, the Trump administration abruptly halted promised money, and that freeze continued until June 2020. Today’s GAO report documented how that suspension hurt 92 of the 114 projects underway under the control of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and 65 of the 168 projects operating under the State Department.
Migration to the border soared, right before the 2020 election.
While Trump Republicans were trying to convince white American voters that immigrants threatened them, another story today suggests the real goals of the Trump machine.
The Guardian revealed that several members of the secretive Council on National Policy (CNP) claim that they were the ones behind the 2017 tax cuts on corporations and wealthy Americans. Wealthy right-wing Christian activists organized the CNP in 1981 to push the country toward religious and libertarian policies.
Also today, the Washington Post Magazine ran a long story about CNP, calling it “the most unusual, least understood conservative organization in the nation’s capital.” CNP is registered as a charity, but it is essentially a central planning center for right-wing activists across the country. Washington Post reporter Robert O’Harrow, Jr., explained how CNP members, who initially opposed Trump, swung behind him when he promised to combat abortion.
Members of CNP are a who’s who of wealthy conservative figures, including Leonard Leo, a leading light of the Federalist Society, which advocates for a conservative judicial system; Steve Bannon, a key Trump adviser; David Bossie, who headed the group Citizens United and who was Trump’s deputy campaign manager; and Kellyanne Conway, a White House adviser. Their goal, they say, is to create a moral America.
So, it appears, the fearmongering about immigrants helped to give power to a secret group of wealthy Americans who lobbied for huge tax cuts for the richest Americans.
The stories about CNP suggest its members have focused on keeping emotions high and Trump in power. The CNP was instrumental in opposing business closures and mask mandates to combat the coronavirus. A number of members, including Cleta Mitchell—the lawyer who was on the phone with Trump during his infamous call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to switch the state into the Trump column although Biden had won it—and Ginni Thomas, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife, backed “Stop the Steal” efforts.
Their efforts, we have increasing evidence, were promoted by Facebook, the giant social media company. Starting last Friday, 17 different news outlets have been publishing the “Facebook Papers” based on internal company documents provided to Congress and the press by whistleblower Frances Haugen. The stories allege that Facebook prioritized profits over truth and safety, deliberately amplifying right-wing voices and dividing the country.
Facebook denies the allegations.
Reports of migrant caravans might well be attempts to divert attention from the service of the Republicans to the wealthy, as well as from the story of January 6, which is becoming clearer as information continues to come out.
Today, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol interviewed Steve Bannon associate Dustin Stockton. Stockton was one of the organizers of the Women for America First rally on January 6 that got taken over by the unpermitted Stop the Steal rally which led to the attack on the Capitol.
According to a piece by Joshua Kaplan and Joaquin Sapien in ProPublica last June, Stockton was so concerned about the Stop the Steal people that he urged Amy Kremer, another leader of the Women for America First rally, to contact her associate Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, in the days before January 6 to warn him things were getting out of hand. The committee has subpoenaed Kremer to testify on October 29. There are signs that Kremer or an associate might have been a source for yesterday’s Rolling Stone article, suggesting that someone from Women for America First is willing to cooperate with the committee.
The Rolling Stone article, which provided names of lawmakers allegedly involved in planning the January 6 rally, refocused attention on the fact that it was Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) who was speaking at length as the mob broke into the building. His speech delayed the evacuation of the House chamber for 15 minutes, so that the House members were still present when the mob, including Ashli Babbitt, tried to get at them. A police officer shot and killed Babbitt as she broke through the doors.
Last night’s Rolling Stone story also identified Republican Lauren Boebert (CO) as a participant in planning meetings for the events of January 6. Today she said in a carefully worded statement: “I had no role in the planning or execution of any event that took place at the Capitol or anywhere in Washington, DC on January 6.”
Today, once again, President Joe Biden refused to claim executive privilege to prevent the January 6 committee from seeing documents Trump wants to hide.
Meanwhile, the Democrats in Congress continue to try to move the country forward, hammering out their infrastructure measure. They hope to have it finished before President Biden leaves for meetings with European leaders later this week.
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|To: Brumar89 who wrote (27568)||10/26/2021 6:29:51 PM|
|(CNN)At least five former Trump administration staffers have voluntarily spoken with the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, CNN has learned.|
Those discussions come as lawyers working for the committee have also reached out to a range of other Trump aides to inquire whether they would be interested in speaking with the committee voluntarily, without the threat of a subpoena.
The five former staffers who have had conversations with the committee have done so with either members or their staff. Some believe they have information worth sharing, while others are hoping to avoid being legally compelled to talk to the committee.
"I've got good reason to believe a number of them are horrified and scandalized by what took place on January 6th and they want to do their legal duty and their civic duty by coming forward to explain exactly what happened," Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democratic member of the committee, said on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" Tuesday. "We're going to continue to encourage everybody who has relevant information to come and talk."
The engagement could provide insight for the committee that's seeking to learn more about the actions of former President Donald Trump and his supporters in the lead up to the riot.
According to five former Trump aides, counsel for the committee has emailed or texted them directly to ask whether they are interested in coming in to talk to the congressional investigators, often looking for context on what happened inside the West Wing before the insurrection on January 6.
While several people have voluntarily sat down with the committee, others have declined the committee's request or not responded at all. The outreach has ranged from junior-level staffers to more seasoned officials.
The outreach is not necessarily because the committee believes the staffers were involved in what happened that day. But the investigative staff appears to be trying to glean more context on what was happening inside the West Wing before, during and after the attack, according to the sources.
A committee spokesman declined to comment.
CNN previously reported that Alyssa Farah, former director of strategic communications in the Trump White House, had voluntarily met with Republicans on the House select committee and provided information in several meetings, sources familiar with the matter said. Farah left the White House in December 2020.
RELATED: Former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, who pushed baseless election fraud claims, expected to testify before January 6 committee
News of the outreach comes as Trump is engaged in a legal battle over the committee's investigation. Trump has sued the committee and the National Archives in an attempt to shield documents from them. And an attorney for the former President recently instructed four former Trump administration officials -- Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino, Stephen Bannon and Kash Patel -- not to provide any testimony or documents to the investigative panel, claiming they are protected "from disclosure by the executive and other privileges, including among others the presidential communications, deliberative process, and attorney-client privileges."
On Monday, White House counsel Dana Remus informed the National Archives once again that President Joe Biden is refusing to assert privilege over additional documents that Trump argues should remain secret.
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|From: Glenn Petersen||10/27/2021 4:53:49 AM|
|Opinion: This is how the anti-democratic right wins|
By Greg Sargent
The Washington Post
Yesterday at 5:00 p.m. EDT
CNN has an appalling new report documenting the threats that elections officials around the country are receiving, in part because Donald Trump and his movement continue feeding his lies about the 2020 election. To take one vile example, Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, got a voicemail saying: "I am a hunter — and I think you should be hunted.”
There are many other similarly disgusting threats, which you can peruse in the CNN piece.
But as horrifying as the threats themselves are, the consequences of these threats are also alarming when it comes to the future of U.S. democracy. In particular, the head of the group that oversees the Democratic secretaries of state fears that elections workers may be cowed into refraining from returning to work in future elections.
This is how the anti-democratic right wins: Every time a public spirited elections worker decides that helping to administer democracy in good faith is too personally dangerous to carry out, the threats are achieving precisely their desired end.
It’s often noted that many Republicans loyal to Trump’s 2020 lies are running for positions of influence over the machinery of democracy. This is generally described as some sort of half-baked plot to put in place the building blocks of a future election theft effort by Trump.
But the more worrisome thing here is that some of these candidates appear to be unshackling themselves from any sense of obligation to implement elections in good faith or even to abide by their legitimate outcomes. Never mind Trump’s future intentions; this trend is worrying as a separate matter, independent of Trump.
Now add into the mix the prospect of elections officials and workers feeling too intimidated to make the system work properly.
Colorado secretary of state Jena Griswold — who is also head of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State — raised this prospect in the CNN piece.
I contacted Griswold to ask her view of how serious a problem this has become. She pointed to a Reuters report documenting more than 100 threats of violence or death to elections workers and officials in key swing states, largely inspired by the Trump movement’s lies. Griswold noted that she had personally fielded reports of such threats to elections officials and elected county clerks in her home state.
“One county clerk works behind bulletproof glass,” Griswold told me. This was the subject of an account by a local Colorado news outlet, which reported that this had been installed in the Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder’s office.
Griswold also said some Colorado elections officials have been threatened for refusing to carry out fake third-party election “audits” of the sort we’ve seen in Arizona. Griswold said these threats are a topic of conversation among other secretaries of state, and noted that it’s “incredibly concerning” that officials are getting threatened for “doing their jobs and upholding the will of the voters."
To be fair, we really don’t know how widespread this all is. The CNN report does note that federal law enforcement officials are taking this increasingly seriously and exploring ways to take over some responsibilities in investigating these threats, which have historically been handled by local law enforcement. That’s a pretty bad sign.
But however widespread it is, let’s think of it this way: Any time a single individual fears for her personal safety in carrying out the work of democracy, it’s a victory for the anti-democratic right.
They will stop at nothing. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) just unleashed a disgusting diatribe filled with lurid lies about how the left, antifa, Black Lives Matter protesters and assorted “Marxist-communist” operatives allied with Democrats were far worse than the Jan. 6 rioters, who, she said, were carrying out the spirit of the Declaration of Independence’s directive to “overthrow tyrants.”
And Trump has now gone all the way into declaring the Jan. 6 rioters the heroes and the implementers of the 2020 election as the insurrectionists.
The 2020 election isn’t often thought of this way, but it was a civic triumph. Countless elections officials and workers implemented the election under extraordinarily difficult conditions — a pandemic, upended procedures to deal with it, a president relentlessly casting the whole process as irredeemably corrupt and egging on angry mobs to terrorize them — yet it came off relatively smoothly, with the horrible exception of the violence on Jan. 6.
This is exactly what the anti-democratic right hates about what happened. And they’ll do all they can to ensure that people who heroically implemented a legitimate election last time will refrain from doing so next time.
Opinion | This is how the anti-democratic right wins - The Washington Post
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|From: Brumar89||10/27/2021 7:44:04 AM|
|GOP Demands Justice Department Back Off Threat To Protect School Board Members From Violent MobsWe wish it were a joke.|
By LIZ DYE
onOctober 26, 2021 at 3:15 PM
What are we mad about this week? The wingnut rage machine has spoken, and it seems America’s number one threat is school boards. Obviously the officials who give their time to guide children’s education are a dangerous scourge which must be stopped.
Whipped into a frenzy by social and rightwing media (Thanks, Zuck! Thanks, Rupert!), “concerned” parents have engaged in a sustained campaign of harassment, disrupting school board meetings to scream inanities about “critical race theory” and insist on their children’s sacred right to sneeze droplets on other people’s kids.
We’ve all seen the videos, like this one of medical personnel leaving a school board meeting in Tennessee while an angry crowd menaces them, shouting “We know who you are, you can leave freely, but we will find you,” and “You will never be allowed in public again.”
Last week, Jennifer Jenkins, a school board member in Florida, wrote in the Washington Post about enduring months of harassment that included protestors outside her home threatening “to make you beg for mercy,” a state rep posting her cellphone number on Facebook and urging citizens to call her (they did), having her lawn vandalized, and a false child abuse report against her.
Be careful, your mommy hurts little kids!” one shouted at my daughter. “You’re going to jail!” they chanted. As I read my daughter a bedtime story inside, they walked outside her bedroom window toward their parked cars. I went out to ensure that they were leaving. One coughed in my face while another shouted, “Give her covid!” A third swung a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag near my face. My neighbors told me they had seen protesters brandishing weapons in the church parking lot behind my house.
The next day, a large “FU” was burned into my lawn with weed killer. The bushes in front of my house were hacked down. That was the day the Department of Children and Families investigator showed up.
Clearly things have gotten out of hand, hence the September 29 letter from the National School Board Association to the president requesting “federal law enforcement and other assistance to deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.”
On October 4, the Justice Department responded with a memo directing the FBI to convene meetings with local law enforcement officials to address “threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” At which point, it was off to the races, with bad faith actors in the GOP pretending that Biden’s Justice Department was targeting parents for exercising their First Amendment right to speak in defense of their precious children.
“Joe Biden’s attorney general wants the FBI to go after parents for speaking out at school board meetings to protect kids from radical curriculum like critical race theory,” tweeted Florida Sen. Rick Scott.
“For those of us who missed the McCarthy era, I guess this president is intent on bringing it to us,” Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley vamped at a Judiciary Committee hearing with Deputy AG Lisa Monaco.
The hearing was on the Violence Against Women Act, but no matter.
“I think parents across this country are going to be stunned to learn — stunned! — that if they show up at a local school board meeting, by the way where they have the right to appear and be heard, where they have the right to say something about their children’s education, where they have the right to vote, and you are attempting to intimidate them,” he howled. “You are attempting to silence them. You are attempting to interfere with their rights as parents, and yes, with their rights as voters.”
Literally none of that is happening. But in the face of unrelenting pressure, the NSBA apologized for the tone of its letter to the Biden administration and promised many days of self flagellation and reflection on its sin of daring to protect its members.
Sensing an advantage in the forever culture war, House Judiciary Committee members pounced, demanding that Garland withdraw the October 4 memo and refrain from any use of federal law enforcement to protect educators and school board members.
“Because the NSBA letter was the basis for your memorandum and given that your memorandum has been and will continue to be read as threatening parents and chilling their protected First Amendment rights, the only responsible course of action is for you to fully and unequivocally withdraw your memorandum immediately,” they huffed indignantly, before racing to screech in one million news hits that “Parents who voice their opinion should never be labeled as domestic terrorists.”
They also appear to blame him for a sexual assault that happened in a Virginia High School, because if you’re going to throw a sucker punch, you might as well go for the knee to the groin while you’re at it. And so the astroturf campaign to harass teachers and school officials goes on, with the perpetrators conveniently recast as victims of evil government storm troopers intent on suppressing their free speech.
If it weren’t for bad faith, these people would have no faith at all.
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|To: Brumar89 who wrote (27571)||10/27/2021 8:29:23 AM|
|Charlie Kirk Gets Asked at TPUSA Event: ‘How Many Elections Are They Gonna Steal Before We Kill These People?’|
By Leia IdlibyOct 26th, 2021
While speaking at a Turing Point USA event, Charlie Kirk was asked when “we get to use the guns” to “kill these people” over baseless election fraud claims.
Kirk spoke at Boise State University on Monday night as part of his Exposing Critical Racism tour, during which he condemned critical race theory and pushed false claims of voter fraud.
Roughly one hour and 12 minutes into the event, Kirk was asked something the audience member himself deemed “a bit out of the ordinary.”
“At this point, we’re living under corporate and medical fascism. This is tyranny. When do we get to use the guns? No, and I’m not — that’s not a joke,” asked the audience member. “I’m not saying it like that. I mean, literally, where’s the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?”
Kirk immediately denounced the question and claimed that those on the left are “trying to provoke you and everyone here,” adding, “They are trying to make you do something that will be violent that will justify a takeover of your freedoms and liberties, the likes of which we have never seen.”
The audience member replied by saying that Democrats are already provoking him enough to get violent, prompting Kirk to push for the use of “peaceful means.”
“A mistake would all of a sudden be getting into physical, violent confrontation,” Kirk continued. “You think that this regime has all of a sudden sprung into action? Wait until they get what they want. They want that. Why would we give that to them? Follow up point.”
Seemingly unsatisfied with the response, the audience member went on to ask Kirk where Republicans draw the line regarding those on the left.
“The line is when we exhaust every single one of our state ability to push back against what’s happening,” Kirk replied, later claiming again that Democrats want Republicans to get violent.
“And so what is the line? Look, man, I think, I think we’re – I think we’re at the teetering edge of a regime that knows that good and decent Americans are going to get to the place in the movie Network, I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore, right? Well, guess what? Know that there’s a deeper game at play,” he said. “Understand the psychological warfare that’s being played here. They’re trying to animate you. They’re trying to get you to do something that then justifies what they actually want to do.”
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|From: Brumar89||10/27/2021 12:06:51 PM|
|An Open Letter in Defense of Democracy|
The future of democracy in the United States is in danger.
by TODD GITLIN, JEFFREY C. ISAAC, AND WILLIAM KRISTOL
OCTOBER 27, 2021 9:00 AM
(Design by Hannah Yoest / Photos: GettyImages / Shutterstock)
[This open letter is being published simultaneously by The Bulwark and the New Republic.]
We are writers, academics, and political activists who have long disagreed about many things.
Some of us are Democrats and others Republicans. Some identify with the left, some with the right, and some with neither. We have disagreed in the past, and we hope to be able to disagree, productively, for years to come. Because we believe in the pluralism that is at the heart of democracy.
But right now we agree on a fundamental point: We need to join together to defend liberal democracy.
Because liberal democracy itself is in serious danger. Liberal democracy depends on free and fair elections, respect for the rights of others, the rule of law, a commitment to truth and tolerance in our public discourse. All of these are now in serious danger.
The primary source of this danger is one of our two major national parties, the Republican Party, which remains under the sway of Donald Trump and Trumpist authoritarianism. Unimpeded by Trump’s defeat in 2020 and unfazed by the January 6 insurrection, Trump and his supporters actively work to exploit anxieties and prejudices, to promote reckless hostility to the truth and to Americans who disagree with them, and to discredit the very practice of free and fair elections in which winners and losers respect the peaceful transfer of power.
So we, who have differed on so much in the past—and who continue to differ on much today—have come together to say:
We vigorously oppose ongoing Republican efforts to change state election laws to limit voter participation.
We vigorously oppose ongoing Republican efforts to empower state legislatures to override duly appointed election officials and interfere with the proper certification of election results, thereby substituting their own political preferences for those expressed by citizens at the polls.
We vigorously oppose the relentless and unending promotion of unprofessional and phony “election audits” that waste public money, jeopardize public electoral data and voting machines, and generate paranoia about the legitimacy of elections.
We urge the Democratic-controlled Congress to pass effective, national legislation to protect the vote and our elections, and if necessary to override the Senate filibuster rule.
And we urge all responsible citizens who care about democracy—public officials, journalists, educators, activists, ordinary citizens—to make the defense of democracy an urgent priority now.
Now is the time for leaders in all walks of life—for citizens of all political backgrounds and persuasions—to come to the aid of the Republic.
Professor of Journalism, Sociology and Communications
Jeffrey C. Isaac
James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science
Indiana University, Bloomington
Editor at Large, The Bulwark
Director, Defending Democracy Together
CosignersAffiliations listed for identification purposes only.
Professor of Political Science
Council on Foreign Relations
Assistant to the President
American Federation of Teachers
Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics Emeritus
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor of Journalism
Eliot A. Cohen
Robert E. Osgood Professor
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
National Legal Director
American Civil Liberties Union
Laura K. Field
Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow
Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
William A. Galston
Jeffrey C. Goldfarb
Michael E. Gellert Professor Emeritus
New School for Social Research
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor of Political Science
Director, SNF Agora Institute
Johns Hopkins University
Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History
Professor of History
Michael R. Klein Professor of Law
Steven R. Levitsky
Professor of Government
Robert Jay Lifton, M.D.
Psychiatrist and author
Professor of Journalism
New York University
Charles F. Adams Professor, Emerita
Harvard Kennedy School
Editor in Chief
The New Republic
Professor of Linguistics
Professor of Politics and Liberal Studies
New School for Social Research
Nell Irvin Painter
Edwards Professor of American History Emerita
Professor of History
New School for Social Research
William S. Beinecke Professor of Law
Emeritus Professor of Political Science
University of Pennsylvania
Kim Lane Scheppele
Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs
Founder and Editor at Large
Burnet C. Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions
Claremont McKenna College
Editor, The New Republic
Editor, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
Jeffrey K. Tulis
Professor of Government and Law
University of Texas
Professor Emeritus of Social Science
Institute for Advanced Study
Dorian T. Warren
George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History
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