Deep State 2020 News, Revelations, Commentary

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Editor's Choice: 2020-21 News & Views

This archive of assassination, regime change and propaganda news and commentary excerpts significant news stories and commentaries john_f_kennedy_smilingregarding alleged work by those involved with so-called "Deep State" efforts to subvert normal democratic procedures.

The materials are arranged in reverse chronological order backwards in time. They focus heavily on current news arising from the 1960s murders of President John F. Kennedy (shown in a file photo), his brother Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK). Although conventional wisdom is that the deaths were solved long ago and hence of little but historical importance our contention is that close study reveals a Rosetta Stone of lost history that makes current events far more understandable.

Much of that research probes what are known as Deep State activities, which are covert and often illegal activities by powerful private figures working with allies in government, often connected to security bodies, in ways unaccountable in the ostensible leaders. This section includes materials on such other covert activities as government-connected regime change, false flag attacks, propaganda, spy rings, blackmail, smuggling, election-rigging and other major "crimes against democracy" (in the description of historian Lance deHaven Smith). 

The top section shows excerpts since the beginning of the calendar year.  Below at far bottom also are links to the Justice Integrity Project's multi-part and separate "Readers Guides" to the JFK, MLK and RFK assassinations containing notable books, films, archives and commentary. Included also are several reports regarding other alleged political murders of prominent international leaders, or attempts. Correspondence should be sent to this site's editor, Andrew Kreig.

 

Editor's Note: Excerpts below are from the authors' own words except for subheads and "Editor's notes" such as this.

Index: Deep State News, Revelations, Commentary

 2020-21

April

April 19

Palmer Report, Opinion: QAnon has apparently infiltrated U.S. Special Forces, Robert Harrington, left, April 19, 2021. NBC News has infiltrated two private Facebook robert harringtnn portraitgroups dedicated exclusively to members of special operations forces. Disturbing trends have emerged from this investigation, including evidence that many group members support and promote certain radical political conspiracy theories, including QAnon dogma and the Big Lie that the election was stolen.

facebook logoRepublicanism is attractive to some people in the armed services because for decades Republicans have cultivated the tough guy image, despite the provable fact that they are cowards. If you need to open-carry an AR-15 in order to shop at Walmart then you’re a coward. If you need a rocket launcher to buy a sandwich at Subway then you’re a coward.

If you’re afraid of being called a snowflake because you openly weep for the less fortunate then you’re a coward. If you’re afraid that people of color have too many rights then you’re a coward. Just because Republicans have stolen the tough guy image doesn’t mean they’re tough guys. They’re not.

bill palmer report logo headerUnfortunately some members of the military’s special operations forces have fallen for this lie. Because of this they confuse conservatism with being tough. I hasten to add this is not true of all of them, or even most of them. Just enough of them to be worrying.

My best man at my first marriage was a Captain in Special Forces in Vietnam, for example, and he was an exemplary human being and a man of real strength and compassion. So I wish to emphasise that I am not excoriating all members of special forces specifically or the military in general.

But NBC has looked at two Facebook groups for special forces, “SF Brotherhood – PAC” and “US Special Forces Team Room.” These groups are largely political in nature and the forums shouldn’t be seen as necessarily reflective of the views of the special operations forces community as whole.

Department of Defense SealCollectively, the two Facebook groups have more than 5,000 members, with some belonging to both. By comparison, U.S. Special Operations Command has about 70,000 active personnel. Even so, some of the views and ideas posted to these groups are concerning.

For example, members of these groups often ridicule President Joe Biden by describing him as senile and weak and they compare him unfavourably to “stronger” leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin. They also refer to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a man of color, with derogatory terms like “bubba.”

Many of the posters are Trump supporters who believe the false narrative that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election. One member said of law enforcement officers during the January 6 attack on the Capitol, “too bad they didn’t bother to defend the Constitution.”

djt maga hatFormer Green Beret Robert Wilson, who was counterterrorism director on the National Security Council during the Obama and Trump administrations, and who commanded the 3rd Special Forces Group, said members of the community “are radicalizing themselves online, just like many of these lone-wolf ISIS terrorists did.” As we have seen in recent years, home grown American terrorists are a much larger threat than terrorists from abroad.

These Facebook groups are strictly private and members are carefully vetted. Members are encouraged to speak their minds but to keep what is said inside the groups stringently confidential. Facebook does flag some members’ wilder ideas with warnings that they are fake news, such as the notion that the election was stolen or that the Deep State is running the government, but otherwise leaves them alone. They walk a very thin line between freedom of speech and an immediate threat to national security.

April 18

washington post logoWashington Post, Book Review: Seeing a threat to democracy in a conservative Supreme Court, Geoffrey R. Stone (right, professor and former dean, University geoffrey stoneof Chicago School of law), April 18, 2021 (print ed.). Ian Millhiser argues that the Supreme Court’s 6-to-3 conservative majority is skewing the law to benefit the Republican Party.

In The Agenda: How a Republican Supreme Court Is Reshaping America, Ian Millhiser examines the current makeup of the Supreme Court and how it is likely to affect our democracy. This question is especially important in light of the wave of Republican state legislation designed to undermine the voting rights of racial minorities and other supporters of the Democratic Party. At this pivotal moment, the core precepts of our democracy are once again at risk. Will the Supreme Court live up to its essential responsibility to protect our profound constitutional commitment to democracy and equality?

ian millhiser agenda coverIn this short and very accessible work, Millhiser focuses on four facets of the court’s current and future jurisprudence: the right to vote, the dismantling of the administrative state, religion and the right to sue. It is a bit surprising that Millhiser, a senior correspondent at Vox, does not address such issues as abortion rights, gay rights and affirmative action. Although he holds out little, if any, hope that the current Supreme Court will act appropriately with respect to those matters, he maintains that, in terms of our democracy, they are less important than the four issues on which he focuses.

The most discomforting of those is the right to vote, which, of course, lies at the very heart of our democracy. At the center of today’s crisis are the ever-more-aggressive efforts of Republican legislatures to find ways to effectively disenfranchise Democratic voters — and especially Black voters. In recent years, the Roberts court has often evaded its responsibilities in this realm. In Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, for example, the court in 2008 upheld an Indiana voter ID law that would clearly have a disproportionate effect on Black voters, even though there was no evidence that the law would meaningfully deter voter fraud.

Even more dramatically, in Shelby County v. Holder, the Roberts court in 2013 held unconstitutional Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which required states and localities with a history of racial voter suppression to submit proposed changes to their election laws either to the Justice Department or to a federal court in Washington, which would not approve the changes if they had the purpose or effect of “abridging the right to vote on account of race or color.” The impact of this decision has been “profound.”

In Millhiser’s words, “many Republicans recognized immediately that they’d been given a gift,” and GOP legislators have acted quickly and aggressively to enact laws, especially in the South, that have had a significant role in preventing minority voters from exercising their most fundamental constitutional right. In light of the current makeup of the court, this trend toward allowing manipulation of the electoral process to benefit Republican candidates is likely, Millhiser predicts, to escalate. The new Georgia law on voting, which has generated a great deal of controversy, is an example of what Millhiser anticipates and fears.

Adding insult to injury, in Rucho v. Common Cause, decided in 2019, the Roberts court held that partisan gerrymandering is not unconstitutional, although it permits a state legislature to draw district lines in a way that ensures that the party in control will remain in control, even if its candidates statewide receive far less than 50 percent of the vote. As Millhiser notes, Republicans in the future “could gain a lock on the House of Representatives, not because they necessarily have the votes to win elections, but because the Supreme Court is likely to remove nearly all remaining safeguards against gerrymandering.”

The court’s actions on voting rights reflect only one part of its conservative activism. Millhiser explains that over the past decade the court has dismantled much of America’s campaign finance law; crippled the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion; created a religious exemption doctrine that permits a person or a company objecting to compliance with a law for religious reasons to deny the rights of employees and third parties; undermined the ability of public-sector unions to raise money; and halted President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, among other decisions in a similar vein. And, he notes, with “Republicans now controlling two-thirds of the seats on the Supreme Court, the Court could potentially sabotage any policy initiative pushed by President Joe Biden.”

April 16

 

joe biden black background resized serious file

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Imposes Tough Sanctions on Russia, Blaming It for Major Hack, Michael D. Shear, David E. Sanger, Steven Erlanger and Andrew E. Kramer, April 16, 2021 (print ed.). The Biden administration announced sanctions on 32 entities and individuals for disinformation efforts and for carrying out U.S. election interference. Following years of wrist slaps under former President Trump, the new measures are designed to have a noticeable impact on the Russian economy.

In the broadest effort yet to give more teeth to financial sanctions — which in the past have failed to deter Russian activity — the sanctions are aimed at choking off lending to the Russian government.

American FlagIn an executive order, President Biden announced a series of additional steps — sanctions on 32 entities and individuals for disinformation efforts and for carrying out the Russian government’s interference in the 2020 presidential election. Ten Russian diplomats, most of them identified as intelligence operatives, were expelled from the Russian Embassy in Washington. The country also joined with European partners to sanction eight people and entities associated with Russia’s occupation in Crimea.

russian flag wavingThe announcement is the first time that the U.S. government had placed the blame for the “SolarWinds” hacking attack right at the Kremlin’s feet, saying it was masterminded by the SVR, one of the Russian intelligence agencies that was also involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee six years ago. The finding comports with the findings of private cybersecurity firms.

Widely anticipated, the sanctions come amid a large Russian military buildup on the borders of Ukraine and in Crimea, the peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014.

They comprise what United States officials described as “seen and unseen” steps in response to the hacking, known as SolarWinds; to the C.I.A.’s assessment that Russia offered bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan; and to Russia’s longstanding effort to interfere in U.S. elections on behalf of Donald J. Trump. The key to the sanctions’ effectiveness, officials concede, will be whether European and Asian allies go along with that ban, and whether the United States decides to seek to extend the sanctions by threatening to cut off financial institutions around the world that deal in those Russian bonds, much as it has Vladimir Putinenforced “secondary sanctions” against those who do business with Iran.

In a conversation with President Vladimir V. Putin, right, on Tuesday, Mr. Biden warned that the United States was going to act to protect its interests, but also raised the prospect of a summit meeting between the two leaders. It is unclear whether Russia will now feel the need to retaliate for the sanctions and expulsions. American officials are already alarmed by a troop buildup along the border of Ukraine and Russian naval activity in the Black Sea.

 April 15

 

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. Credit Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005 (Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan,via Getty Images)

Miami Herald, Appeals court upholds deal that silenced Epstein victims, Julie K. Brown, April 15, 2021. Appeals court upholds Jeffrey Epstein deal that minimizedmiami herald logopunishment, silenced victims.

How a Miami Herald investigation "Perversion of Justice" and the voices of four brave survivors, once silenced by the courts, helped to blow up Jeffrey Epstein’s sweetheart deal,  Brittany Peterson | Emily Michot (Video investigation).

In a landmark decision, a U.S. appeals court on Thursday rejected the 12-year quest of a Jeffrey Epstein survivor to hold the government accountable for giving the infamous child predator a clandestine deal that essentially allowed him to get out of jail after a minimal sentence, and, according to recent lawsuits, continue to abuse girls and women.

The 7-4 decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals was split mostly along gender lines, with four female judges issuing a scathing rebuke of the majority’s interpretation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA). The decision, unless it is overturned on further appeal, could allow wealthy defendants to continue to arrange favorable plea deals from the government without any oversight or accountability, said an attorney who originally filed the challenge.

“The ruling is very disturbing. It sets up two systems of justice, one for wealthy defendants who can negotiate deals before charges are filed — and one for most criminal defendants, who don’t have the wealth and power to arrange those kinds of deals,’’ said the attorney, Paul Cassell.

The plaintiff, Courtney Wild, was 14 when she was first raped by Epstein at his Palm Beach mansion. Wild, now 33, has waged a one-woman crusade against the federal government on behalf of Epstein’s victims since the case was filed in 2008.

courtney wild

While underage, Courtney Wild was a victim of Jeffrey Epstein (Photo by Emily Michot / Miami Herald)

The court ruled that, because federal prosecutors never lodged criminal charges against Epstein — he pleaded guilty and was sentenced in state court in Palm Beach County — neither Wild nor any of Epstein’s victims has standing to successfully file such a challenge citing the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act.

perversion of justice miami herald logoCircuit Judge Kevin C. Newsom, in writing the majority’s opinion, said that while “we have the profoundest sympathy for Ms. Wild and others like her, who suffered unspeakable horror at Epstein’s hands, only to be left in the dark — and, so it seems, affirmatively misled by government attorneys,’’ the court nevertheless concludes that the CVRA doesn’t give crime victims the right to file a lawsuit or seek judicial enforcement of the law.

The CVRA, passed by Congress in 2004, enumerates certain rights that victims of crimes are entitled to during the criminal justice process. Among them: that victims have a right to confer with prosecutors about their case, that they should be treated with fairness and that they be given an opportunity to appear at sentencing.

Years later, Epstein's victims discuss the lasting impact of sexual abuse. Victims of Jeffery Epstein share the emotional toll that sexual abuse has taken on them — even years after the abuse occurred. Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown interviewed the young women, most speaking for the first time about Epstein. By Emily Michot | Julie K. Brown

Epstein signed a secret plea agreement with federal prosecutors in September 2007, agreeing to shift the case into state court. Despite the fact that a deal had jeffrey epstein sex offenderbeen negotiated and signed, federal authorities met with Wild in January 2008 and assured her that the investigation into Epstein was continuing. She didn’t learn about the deal until well after Epstein was sentenced and sent to the Palm Beach County jail, where he would serve just 13 months, most of it while on work release. He was let out for good in 2009.

Epstein’s deal was sealed by federal prosecutors at the behest of Epstein’s high-powered lawyers, who reasoned that if the victims found out, they might strenuously object and even convince the judge to derail the deal.

The Epstein case was detailed in a 2018 Miami Herald series, “Perversion of Justice,’’ that led federal prosecutors to take another look at the crime. Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges six months later in the Southern District of New York. One month after that, however, he was dead. The medical examiner ruled that he hanged himself at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.

frank hull resized In her dissenting opinion, Senior Circuit Judge Frank Hull, right, skewered the majority’s “sense of sorrow,’’ over not being able to give Epstein’s victims justice. Noting that the decision would have far-reaching impact in other cases involving wealthy defendants, she said the ruling “leaves federal prosecutors free to engage in the secret plea deals and deception’’ before criminal charges are ever made public, resulting in “the travesty” that happened in the Epstein case.

She also noted that “the Department of Justice’s failure to discipline its own prosecutors heightens the importance of the CVRA’s private right alexander acosta labor oof action.’’

DOJ’s investigation found that prosecutors exercised “poor judgment,’’ but stopped short of recommending sanctions against prosecutors, including Alexander Acosta, the U.S. Attorney in Miami who approved the secret deal.

Acosta (left, later U.S. Labor Secretary under President Trump) declined to comment on the ruling.

“Most would-be defendants lack resources and usually have no counsel during this pre-charge period,’’ Hull pointed out, referring to the time before a defendant is formally charged with a crime. “Consequently, they do not have the pre-charge opportunity to negotiate the kind of extremely favorable deal that Epstein received.’’

virginia roberts giuffre nbc screenshot
Virginia Roberts was working at Mar-a-Lago at age 17 when she was recruited to be a masseuse to Palm Beach hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein. She was lured into a life of depravity and sexual abuse. (Story by Emily Michot | Julie K. Brown, photo via recent NBC screenshot).

Cassell suggested that the case would be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, Wild continues to lobby Congress to pass the Courtney Wild Crime Victims’ Rights Reform Act, which would strengthen the law and close loopholes that federal prosecutors used to exploit the law and justify giving Epstein one of the most lenient plea deals for a serial sex offender in history.

His alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, was arrested in July and now faces sex trafficking charges in connection with Epstein’s crimes. Her trial is scheduled for July 2021.

Since Epstein’s arrest, several women have filed lawsuits claiming that they were sexually abused while Epstein was on work release and after he was released from jail.

Thus far, Epstein’s estate has paid out more than $67 million in damages to more than 175 victims who have come forward alleging they were abused by Epstein.

April 15

ny times logoNew York Times, White House Warns Russia on Bounties, but Stops Short of Sanctions, Charlie Savage, April 15, 2021. The available evidence supporting a stunning C.I.A. assessment — which President Donald J. Trump’s inaction on prompted bipartisan uproar — remains less than definitive proof.

CIA LogoThe Biden administration warned the Kremlin on Thursday over the C.I.A.’s conclusion that Russia had covertly offered payments to militants to encourage more killings of American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, delivering the diplomatic admonition as it imposed sanctions on Moscow over its hacking and election interference.

But the administration stopped short of inflicting sanctions on any Russian officials over the suspected bounties, making clear that the available evidence about what happened — primarily what Afghan detainees told interrogators — continues to fall short of definitively proving the C.I.A.’s assessment that Russia likely paid money to reward attacks.

Russian FlagThe intelligence community, a senior administration official told reporters, “assesses with low to moderate confidence that Russian intelligence officers sought to encourage Taliban attacks against U.S. and coalition personnel in Afghanistan in 2019, and perhaps earlier, including through financial incentives and compensation.”

The New York Times first reported last summer the existence of the C.I.A.’s assessment and that the National Security Council had led an interagency process to develop a range of response options — but that months had passed and the Trump White House had failed to authorize any response, not even a diplomatic protest.

NSA Official LogoThe Times also reported that the available evidence behind that assessment centered on what detainees who were believed to be part of a criminal-militant network linked to the Taliban had told interrogators, along with suspicious travel patterns and financial transfers, and that the C.I.A. placed medium confidence in its conclusion.

But, it also reported, the National Security Agency — which is focused on electronic surveillance — placed lower confidence in the assessment, citing the lack of smoking-gun electronic intercepts. Analysts at two other agencies that were consulted, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Defense Intelligence Agency, were also said to split, with the former backing the C.I.A. and the latter the National Security Agency.

Former intelligence officials, including in testimony about the issue before Congress, have noted that it is rare in the murky world of intelligence to have courtroom levels of proof beyond a reasonable doubt about what an adversary is covertly doing.

The re-scrub of available evidence by President Biden’s administration had not uncovered anything new and significant enough to bring greater clarity to that muddied intelligence portrait, so the disagreement over confidence levels remained, an official familiar with internal deliberations said.

April 10

mike pence djt side by side

Associated Press, Investigation: ‘Clear the Capitol,’ Pence pleaded, timeline of riot shows, Lisa Mascarfo, Ben Fox and Lolita C. Baldor, April 10, 2021. From a secure room in the Capitol on Jan. 6, as rioters pummeled police and vandalized the building, Vice President Mike Pence tried to assert control. In an urgent phone call to the acting defense secretary, he issued a startling demand.

ap logo“Clear the Capitol,” Pence said.

Elsewhere in the building, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were making a similarly dire appeal to military leaders, asking the Army to deploy the National Guard.

“We need help,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said in desperation, more than an hour after the Senate chamber had been breached.

At the Pentagon, officials were discussing media reports that the mayhem was not confined to Washington and that other state capitals were facing similar violence in what had the makings of a national insurrection.

mark milley army chief of staff“We must establish order,” said Gen. Mark Milley, right, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a call with Pentagon leaders.

But order would not be restored for hours.

These new details about the deadly riot are contained in a previously undisclosed document prepared by the Pentagon for internal use that was obtained by The Associated Press and vetted by current and former government officials.

The timeline adds another layer of understanding about the state of fear and panic while the insurrection played out, and lays bare the inaction by then-President Donald Trump and how that void contributed to a slowed response by the military and law enforcement. It shows that the intelligence missteps, tactical errors and bureaucratic delays were eclipsed by the government’s failure to comprehend the scale and intensity of a violent uprising by its own citizens.

With Trump not engaged, it fell to Pentagon officials, a handful of senior White House aides, the leaders of Congress and the vice president holed up in a secure bunker to manage the chaos.

While the timeline helps to crystalize the frantic character of the crisis, the document, along with hours of sworn testimony, provides only an incomplete picture about how the insurrection could have advanced with such swift and lethal force, interrupting the congressional certification of Joe Biden as president and delaying the peaceful transfer of power, the hallmark of American democracy.

Lawmakers, protected to this day by National Guard troops, will hear from the inspector general of the Capitol Police this coming week.

“Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., chair of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which is investigating the siege, said last month.

The timeline fills in some of those gaps.

At 4:08 p.m. on Jan. 6, as the rioters roamed the Capitol and after they had menacingly called out for Pelosi, D-Calif., and yelled for Pence to be hanged, the christopher miller official.jpgvice president was in a secure location, phoning Christopher Miller, left, the acting defense secretary, and demanding answers.

There had been a highly public rift between Trump and Pence, with Trump furious that his vice president refused to halt the Electoral College certification. Interfering with that process was an act that Pence considered unconstitutional. The Constitution makes clear that the vice president’s role in this joint session of Congress is largely ceremonial.

Pence’s call to Miller lasted only a minute. Pence said the Capitol was not secure and he asked military leaders for a deadline for securing the building, according to the document.

By this point it had already been two hours since the mob overwhelmed Capitol Police unprepared for an insurrection. Rioters broke into the building, seized the Senate and paraded to the House. In their path, they left destruction and debris. Dozens of officers were wounded, some gravely.

Just three days earlier, government leaders had talked about the use of the National Guard. On the afternoon of Jan. 3, as lawmakers were sworn in for the new session of Congress, Miller and Milley gathered with Cabinet members to discuss Jan. 6. They also met with Trump.

In that meeting at the White House, Trump approved the activation of the D.C. National Guard and also told the acting defense secretary to take whatever action needed as events unfolded, according to the information obtained by the AP.

The next day, Jan. 4, the defense officials spoke by phone with Cabinet members, including the acting attorney general, and finalized details of the Guard deployment.

The Guard’s role was limited to traffic intersections and checkpoints around the city, based in part on strict restrictions mandated by district officials. Miller also authorized Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy to deploy, if needed, the D.C. Guard’s emergency reaction force stationed at Joint Base Andrews.

Palmer Report, Opinion: “Clear the Capitol” – Trump busted after military leaders defied Mike Pence’s direct request for help, Bill Palmer, right, April 10, 2021. Today bill palmer report logo headerthe Associated Press bill palmerconfirmed in great detail what had already previously been vaguely reported elsewhere: Vice President Mike Pence directly called U.S. military leaders and instructed them to take control of the Capitol building during the January 6th attack, but they ignored him.

To be clear, the Vice President can’t give a formal order to the military; unless the President is unreachable or indisposed. But as a practical matter, U.S. military would never simply ignore an instruction from the Vice President, unless the President told them to ignore it.ap logoIn other words, this helps confirm that Donald Trump really did order U.S. military leaders to defy Mike Pence’s instructions to come rescue him – and only hours later did the military finally take action. This means that Trump actively worked to protect the insurrectionists inside the Capitol building, which makes him guilty of not just inciting the attack, but conspiring to commit it.

This scandal is just getting started, with hundreds of insurrectionists having been arrested, and some of them cutting plea deals, even as the low level leaders of the attack are now being hit with conspiracy charges. We expect these charges to continue to work their way all the way to the top of the hierarchy – meaning Donald Trump.

April 3

Proof via Substack, Investigation: A Comprehensive Guide to Those Responsible for the January 6 Insurrection, Seth Abramson, left, April 3, 2021 (excerpted below to about one-fourth published length). This primer also explains, in seth abramson headshotdetail, how and seth abramson proof logowhy the attack on the Capitol occurred.

The Department of Justice calls the FBI investigation into the January 6 assault on the United States Capitol one of the largest criminal probes in American history. One of the reasons the investigation is so historically vast and complex is that it encompasses five discrete yet overlapping classes of potential criminal defendants.

This article details those five classes, establishes the key intersections between each, identifies a small number of key events in the lead-up to the insurrection, and presents an overarching narrative—confirmed by both testimonial and documentary evidence—of how the insurrection occurred.

The Five Classes of Insurrectionists

Paramilitaries: The Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, Boogaloo Bois, QAnoners, and 8kun (an online community of trolls) all had a significant presence at the Capitol on January 6, as well as a patchwork of lesser-known entities that included smaller white supremacist organizations, militias, independently operating trolls from the internet, and heterogeneous breeds of conspiracy theorist.

Grassroots Organizations: This category includes at least six grassroots organizations (Stop the Steal, Women for Trump, Latinos for Trump, Students for Trump, Jericho March, and Women for America First, this last an outgrowth of Women for Trump) as well as a number of pro-Trump PACs or nonprofits (among them Save America PAC, America First Policies, and the Council for National Policy) that were involved in planning, funding, promoting, and/or coordinating the events of January 6.

The Trump Campaign: Officially, the 2020 Trump campaign began dissolving shortly after the 2020 election, but a sufficient number of loyalists and dead-enders remained to seek to assist Trump in overturning the November election. Many of these individuals had longstanding ties to the Trump family, the Trump administration, or a past Trump political campaign.

Independent Agitators and Enablers: Trump’s brand of personal and professional corruption has always attracted a bizarre swarm of persons that includes dissolute grifters, deranged ideologues, and foreign agents—essentially, unscrupulous but sufficiently well-resourced people who see in Trump a means of advancing their fringe designs with relative impunity.

Members of Congress: Trump’s GOP allies in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives did not directly participate in the January 6 insurrection, but nevertheless issued public rhetoric and engaged in actions in their official capacity as members of Congress that helped inspire the false belief that the 2020 election had been stolen—and that with sufficient pressure on Congress on and before January 6, the election result might be overturned. Many individuals listed below attended pre-January 6 strategy sessions with the president and his top advisers, while other spoke at Stop the Steal events and (in a few rare instances) arguably directly incited violence with their irresponsible rhetoric.

Seth Abramson, shown above left and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

March

March 31

 

gordon liddy

ny times logoNew York Times, G. Gordon Liddy, Mastermind Behind Watergate Burglary, Dies at 90, Robert D. McFadden, Updated March 31, 2021. Unlike other defendants in the scandal that brought down Richard Nixon, Mr. Liddy refused to testify and drew the longest prison term.

G. Gordon Liddy, a cloak-and-dagger lawyer who masterminded dirty tricks for the White House and concocted the bungled burglary that led to the Watergate scandal and the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974, died on Tuesday in Mount Vernon, Va. He was 90.

His death, at the home of his daughter Alexandra Liddy Bourne, was confirmed by his son Thomas P. Liddy, who said that his father had Parkinson’s disease and had been in declining health.

Decades after Watergate entered the lexicon, Mr. Liddy was still an enigma in the cast of characters who fell from grace with the 37th president — to some a patriot who went silently to prison refusing to betray his comrades, to others a zealot who cashed in on bogus celebrity to become an author and syndicated talk show host.

As a leader of a White House “plumbers” unit set up to plug information leaks, and then as a strategist for the president’s re-election campaign, Mr. Liddy helped devise plots to discredit Nixon “enemies” and to disrupt the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Most were far-fetched — bizarre kidnappings, acts of sabotage, traps using prostitutes, even an assassination — and were never carried out.

But Mr. Liddy, a former F.B.I. agent, and E. Howard Hunt, a former C.I.A. agent, engineered two break-ins at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex in Washington. On May 28, 1972, as Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt stood by, six Cuban expatriates and James W. McCord Jr., a Nixon campaign security official, went in, planted bugs, photographed documents and got away cleanly.

A few weeks later, on June 17, four Cubans and Mr. McCord, wearing surgical gloves and carrying walkie-talkies, returned to the scene and were caught by the police. Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt, running the operation from a Watergate hotel room, fled but were soon arrested and indicted on charges of burglary, wiretapping and conspiracy.

In the context of 1972, with Mr. Nixon’s triumphal visit to China and a steam-rolling presidential campaign that soon crushed the Democrat, Senator George S. McGovern, the Watergate case looked inconsequential at first. Mr. Nixon’s press secretary, Ron Ziegler, dismissed it as a “third-rate burglary.”

But it deepened a White House cover-up that had begun in 1971, when Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt broke into the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times, looking for damaging information on him. Over the next two years, the cover-up unraveled under pressure of investigations, trials, hearings and headlines into the worst political scandal — and the first resignation by a sitting president — in the nation’s history.

“I have lived as I believed I ought to have lived,” Mr. Liddy, a small dapper man with a baldish pate and a brushy mustache, told reporters after his release. He said he had no regrets and would do it again. “When the prince approaches his lieutenant, the proper response of the lieutenant to the prince is, ‘Fiat voluntas tua,’” he said, using the Latin of the Lord’s Prayer for “Thy will be done.”

Disbarred from law practice and in debt for $300,000, mostly for legal fees, Mr. Liddy began a new career as a writer. His first book, “Out of Control,” (1979) was a spy thriller. He later wrote another novel, “The Monkey Handlers” (1990), and a nonfiction book, “When I Was a Kid, This Was a Free Country” (2002). He also co-wrote a guide to fighting terrorism, “Fight Back! Tackling Terrorism, Liddy Style” (2006), and produced many articles on politics, taxes, health and other matters.

In 1980, he broke his silence on Watergate with his autobiography, “Will.” The reviews were mixed, but it became a best seller. After years of revelations by other Watergate conspirators, there was little new in it about the scandal, but critics said his account of prison life was graphic. A television movie based on the book was aired in 1982 by NBC.

March 30

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Republicans Have an Ambitious Agenda for the Supreme Court, Ian Millhiser (commentator on the Supreme Court, the Constitution and the intersection of law and politics), March 30, 2021. Why the G.O.P. doesn’t need to try to pass mostly unpopular policies through the elected branches.

Not so long ago, Republicans had one of the most ambitious legislative agendas of any political party in modern American history.

paul ryan wDevised by the former House speaker, Paul Ryan, left, the so-called Ryan budget sought to reduce much of the nation’s social safety net to ashes. Congressional Republicans planned to slash Medicaid spending and food stamps. In the most aggressive version of Mr. Ryan’s proposal, Republicans would have replaced Medicare with “premium support” vouchers that could be used to buy private insurance, and then reduced the value of this subsidy every year — effectively eliminating traditional Medicare over time.

But all of that has changed. The Ryan budget is a relic. At their 2020 national convention, Republicans didn’t even bother to come up with a new platform.

republican elephant logoYet while the party appears to have no legislative agenda, it’s a mistake to conclude that it has no policy agenda. Because Republicans do: They have an extraordinarily ambitious agenda to roll back voting rights, to strip the government of much of its power to regulate, to give broad legal immunity to religious conservatives and to immunize many businesses from a wide range of laws.

It’s just that the Republican Party doesn’t plan to pass its agenda through either one of the elected branches. Its agenda lives in the judiciary — and especially in the Supreme Court.

From 2011, when Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and denied President Barack Obama a governing majority, until the pandemic forced legislators’ hands in 2020, Congress enacted hardly any major legislation outside of the 2017 tax law.

In the same period, the Supreme Court dismantled much of America’s campaign finance law; severely weakened the Voting Rights Act; permitted states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion; expanded new “religious liberty” rights permitting some businesses that object to a law on religious grounds to diminish the rights of third parties; weakened laws shielding workers from sexual and racial harassment; expanded the right of employers to shunt workers with legal grievances into a privatized arbitration system; undercut public sector unions’ ability to raise funds; and halted Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Now, a 6-to-3 conservative-majority Supreme Court is likely to reshape the country in the coming decade, exempting favored groups from their legal obligations, stripping the Biden administration of much of its lawful authority, and even placing a thumb on the scales of democracy itself.

Many of these changes would build on decisions handed down long before President Donald Trump reshaped the Supreme Court. The court, for example, first allowed employers to force workers to sign away their right to sue the company — locking those workers into a private-arbitration system that favors corporate parties — in a 2001 case, Circuit City v. Adams. But the court’s current majority is likely to make it much harder for workers and consumers to overcome these tactics. In Epic Systems v. Lewis (2018), Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the court’s majority opinion favoring an employer that forced its employees to give up their right to sue.

March 28

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial, Georgia Republicans’ ban on giving voters water epitomizes the GOP’s disturbing priorities, Editorial Board, March 28, 2021 (print ed.). A petty crusade is just one provision in a bad new election law.

Let's say you sat down with a group to brainstorm on how best to strengthen our democracy. Let’s say someone said, “I know! Let’s make sure that people waiting to vote in long lines on hot days can’t be given water to drink!” You might reply: “Uh . . . what?”

Yet that is indeed one of the “reforms” Republicans in Georgia implemented this week.

Georgia has been a primary battleground in the voting wars, pitting Republicans who seek to restrict voting against Democrats, good-government groups and others who want casting a ballot to be easier, not harder. While state Republicans backed off their worst ideas, such as abolishing no-excuse absentee voting, the restrictionists still scored a victory on Thursday, when Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a bill containing plenty of noxious provisions. Among them: a ban on distributing food or water to voters waiting in long polling place lines.

This provision will do little to improve confidence in the vote, but it promises to make voting in person in Georgia — particularly in those areas that see epic voting lines — even less pleasant. Meanwhile, state lawmakers added new rules on absentee voting, which may require more people to sit out in the sun to cast a ballot.

It is clear who would be hurt most by this shift. Lines tend to be long in predominantly non-White precincts — areas that tend to vote for Democrats. State and local officials have failed to keep pace with the fast growth of ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the Atlanta area, leading to lengthy voting backups. Data on Georgia’s primary elections last June, collected by Georgia Public Broadcasting and ProPublica, revealed that the average wait after 7 p.m. in predominantly non-White neighborhoods was 51 minutes, while in predominantly White neighborhoods it was six minutes.

Georgia state law previously barred people and groups from handing out gifts, such as refreshments, to those waiting in line. But the law appeared to allow the distribution of food and water if it were available to everyone — voters, poll workers, passersby — so it did not amount to a reward for voting.

Moreover, those passing out the refreshments could not do any campaigning. Now the law restricts anyone from giving out water to any voter within a certain distance of a polling place, authorizing only election officials to provide self-service water from an unattended receptacle — and only if election officials choose to do so.

Georgia lawmakers also banned mobile voting buses such as those that Atlanta’s Fulton County used to ease lines. They added voter ID requirements for absentee voting and narrowed the amount of time people have to request mail-in ballots. They placed so many limits on ballot drop boxes as to render them practically useless. So it is now a criminal offense for someone to hand a bottle of water to an elderly Black voter in Fulton County — who had to wait in line because she could not navigate the new absentee ballot requirements.

March 27

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden attacks new Georgia voting law as ‘Jim Crow,’ Seung Min Kim, March 26, 2021. President Biden issued a full-throated attack Friday on a new Georgia law that dramatically constrains voting access in the Peach State, calling it “Jim Crow in the 21st Century” and putting his voice behind efforts to pass voting-rights legislation in Congress.

Biden’s criticism of Georgia’s SB 202, which was signed into law Thursday evening, came after similarly vehement comments from the president at his first formal news conference this week, in which he denounced efforts by Republican-led state legislatures to restrict access to voting.

georgia map“Among the outrageous parts of this new state law, it ends voting hours early so working people can’t cast their vote after their shift is over,” Biden said of the Georgia statute. “It adds rigid restrictions on casting absentee ballots that will effectively deny the right to vote to countless voters.”

Like other critics, Biden took particular aim at a provision that forbids people from providing drinks or food, including water, to voters waiting in line at the polls — arguing that it was Republicans themselves who created those lines by cutting the number of polling sites, especially in majority Black communities.

But some civil rights activists argued that Biden is not doing enough beyond his impassioned rhetoric to ensure the passage of a federal voting protection law.

“I think he has to do more, and do everything within his power,” said Helen Butler, executive director of the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “I understand he’s trying to work across the aisle and get bipartisanship, but voting is sacred. So he has to be out in public explaining why it’s necessary that it pass, that it’s important.”

republican elephant logoThe White House has been somewhat vague about Biden’s plans to push for voting rights, but the president said Friday he would continue to make the public argument that voting restrictions hurt democracy.

“I will take my case to the American people — including Republicans who joined the broadest coalition of voters ever in this past election to put country before party,” Biden said. “If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide. Let the people vote.”

SB 202 is one of the first comprehensive state bills to significantly restrict voting access in the aftermath of the 2020 election, when former president Donald Trump repeatedly and baselessly attacked the integrity of state elections systems.

Trump’s attacks were particularly severe in Georgia, after he became the first Republican presidential nominee to lose the state since 1992.

The new Georgia law has several components: It allows state lawmakers to initiate takeovers of local election boards while stripping power from the secretary of state. It institutes new ID requirements for mail ballots and curtails the use of drop boxes. It includes the ban on providing food and drink to those in line.

 

"Stop the Steal" organizer Ali Alexander, center, and his co-organizer, Infowars radio host, Alex Jones, to his right.

ny times logoNew York Times, Far-Right Extremists Move From ‘Stop the Steal’ to Stop the Vaccine, Neil MacFarquhar, March 27, 2021 (print ed.). Extremist groups are trying to bolster a rash of false and alarmist disinformation about vaccines in an effort to undermine the government.

Adherents of far-right groups who cluster online have turned repeatedly to one particular website in recent weeks — the federal database showing deaths and adverse reactions nationwide among people who have received Covid-19 vaccinations.

Although negative reactions have been relatively rare, the numbers are used by many extremist groups to try to bolster a rash of false and alarmist disinformation in articles and videos with titles like “Covid-19 Vaccines Are Weapons of Mass Destruction — and Could Wipe out the Human Race” or “Doctors and Nurses Giving the Covid-19 Vaccine Will be Tried as War Criminals.”

republican elephant logoIf the so-called Stop the Steal movement appeared to be chasing a lost cause once President Biden was inaugurated, its supporters among extremist organizations are now adopting a new agenda from the anti-vaccination campaign to try to undermine the government.

Bashing of the safety and efficacy of vaccines is occurring in chat rooms frequented by all manner of right-wing groups including the Proud Boys; the Boogaloo movement, a loose affiliation known for wanting to spark a second Civil War; and various paramilitary organizations.

These groups tend to portray vaccines as a symbol of excessive government control. “If less people get vaccinated then the system will have to use more aggressive force on the rest of us to make us get the shot,” read a recent post on the Telegram social media platform, in a channel linked to members of the Proud Boys charged in storming the Capitol.

Apocalyptic warnings about the vaccine feed into the far-right narrative that the government cannot be trusted, the sentiment also at the root of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The more vaccine opponents succeed in preventing or at least delaying herd immunity, experts noted, the longer it will take for life to return to normal and that will further undermine faith in the government and its institutions.

In April, a conference with the tagline “Learn How to Fight Back for Your Health and Freedom,” is set to bring together Trump allies like Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell along with high-profile members of the anti-vaccination effort.

Maligning the coronavirus vaccines is obviously not limited to extremist groups tied to the Capitol riot. There is deep partisanship over the vaccines generally.

One third of Republicans surveyed in a CBS News poll said that they would avoid getting vaccinated — compared with 10 percent of Democrats — and another 20 percent of Republicans said they were unsure. Other polls found similar trends.

About 100 members of the House of Representatives, roughly one-quarter, had not been vaccinated as of mid-March, according to Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House minority leader.

It is unclear where Mr. Trump will fit into the vaccine battle. The former president, who has been vaccinated, endorsed getting the shot recently, provoking some disbelief in QAnon and other chat rooms. “I would recommend it, and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me frankly,” he said in an interview with Fox News.

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Support Builds for Amazon Workers in Struggle to Obtain Union Representation in NRLB Election Ending Monday, Webster G. webster tarpley 2007Tarpley, right, March 27, 2021. Sanders, Barber Attend Rallies in Bessemer, Alabama; At Stake is a New Era of Militant Civil Rights Unionism on Ruins of Globalist anti-Worker Policies of Last Three Decades; Contest Pits Six Thousand Largely Black Workers against World’s Most Infamous Finance Predator; Bezos’ Beijing-Style Micromanagement of Workers by Algorithm Destroys Human Dignity and Must Be Stopped; Alliance of Revived Labor Movement with Democratic Party Could Stabilize US Politics for Many Years; Time for Multi-Billionaire Oppressors to Lose One for a Change!

Defeated in January 6 Bid for Dictatorship by Autogolpe, Republicans Fall Back on Gradual Creeping Coup through the Institutions, with Voter Suppression and Vote Fraud as Key Weapons; Georgia GOP Seeks to Cancel XV Amendment to Stop Black Voters; Move Condemned by Biden as Atrocity and Attack on Constitution; Blatant Gestapo Tactics against Black Legislators Likely to Trigger Backlash against Party; Trump’s New Lost Cause Narrative of to Disguise Failed Coup is a Tissue of Lies;

Xi’s Favorite Myanmar Junta Kills Over 100 in Worst Repression Yet of Protests against February Coup; Blinken Condemns Horrifying “Reign of Terror”; PRC Diplomats Keep Lying about Uighurs of East Turkestan; Pentagon Contracts for Mid-Course Defense Signal New Phase of Anti-Ballistic Measures;

Biden to Announce More Specifics of $3 Trillion Infrastructure and Industrial Policy Bill in Pittsburgh on Wednesday; No to Buttigieg’s Gambit of a Regressive “Mileage Tax.”

March 26

seth abramson headshotProof via Substack, Investigative Commentary: 15 Questions for the Secret Service About Its Conduct During the January 6 Insurrection, Seth Abramson, March 26, 2021. America deserves a thorough public Congressional inquiry into the actions of the Secret Service both before and during the January 6th, 2021 armed insurrection.

March 23

American System Network, Opinion: After Latest Gun Massacre in Boulder, Biden Calls for Background Checks and Ban on Assault Weapons, Webster G. webster tarpley 2007Tarpley, right, March 23, 2021. Extremist Cruz Leads the GOP Pack in Slandering Any and All Gun Safety Reforms as “Ridiculous Theater”; If Senate Republicans Now Insist on Carrying Out Their Usual Despicable Routine, Will This Finally Convince All Concerned that “Bipartisanship” is an Impossible Chimera?

Priority Must Be to Pass $3 Trillion Public Works Recovery Bill by Budget Reconciliation, While Ending the Filibuster and Enabling Gun Safety Legislation in the Process; Eyes of World on Monday’s NLRB Election at Amazon Shipping Center in Bessemer, Alabama Where Jeff Bezos, the World’s Richest Man, Treats His Employees Like Serfs in One of Worst Union-Busting States; Union Organizers Seeking to Win Over Last Undecided Workers;

Biden Should Put Jerome Powell on Warning that Federal Reserve will Be Called on to Help Finance $3 Trillion Infrastructure and Modernization Bill, Even if GOP Senate Blocks It; FDR Did This in 1940 When Fascist Threat Came from Abroad; Today’s Fascist Threat Comes from Within, Feeding Off Poverty and Despair;

Chinese Government Stunned by First-Time Coordinated Sanctions by EU, Five Eyes, and US: This Was Something Trump was Somehow Never Able to Do
In Fourth Israeli Election in Two Years, Fragmentation of Splinter Parties Increases, Leaving Formation of Next Government Uncertain; Netanyahyu’s Likud Party Leads with About Half of Necessary Majority, Just Two Weeks before He Enters the Next Phase of his Ongoing Corruption Trial; Jury Still Out on Worldwide Left Turn Signaled by Biden Win.

Law&Crime, High-Profile Former Mormon Accuses Church of Fraud, Seeks Millions in Restitution, Jerry Lambe, March 23, 2021. A prominent lawcrime logoformer member of the Mormon Church and brother to former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman filed a federal lawsuit on Monday accusing the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints of defrauding members by spending their charitable donations to further commercial interests.

In a 13-page lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, James Huntsman alleged that the church’s corporate arm, the LDS corporation, has been collecting tithes—ten-percent of members’ incomes—and using it to prop up private businesses with ties to the church.

“For decades, in a fraudulent effort to elicit the donation of tithing funds from Mr. Huntsman and other devout Church members, the LDS Corporation repeatedly and publicly lied about the intended use of those funds, promising that they would be used for purely non-commercial purposes consistent with the Church’s stated priorities – namely, to fund missionary work, member indoctrination, temple work, and other educational and charitable activities,” the suit states. “Behind the scenes, however, rather than using tithing funds for the promised purposes, the LDS Corporation secretly lined its own pockets by using the funds to develop a multi-billion dollar commercial real estate and insurance empire that had nothing to do with charity.”

Specifically, the complaint claims that the LDS Corporation used approximately $1.5 billion in donations to develop a for-profit shopping center in Salt Lake City called the City Creek Mall and to bail out a church-owned insurance and financial company called Beneficial Life Insurance. Huntsman said the church had explicitly stated on several occasions that tithes would not go towards those endeavors, calling those statements “outright lies.”

According to the suit, Huntsman relied on such misrepresentations when he donated $5 million to the church from 1993 to 2017, money he now wants back, saying he’ll donate any recovered funds to “benefit organizations and communities whose members have been marginalized by the Church’s teachings and doctrines, including by donating to charities supporting LGBTQ, African-American, and women’s rights.”

Huntsman claims to have discovered the church’s misdeeds after a senior portfolio manager at Ensign Peak Advisors—the church’s investment branch—became an IRS whistleblower in 2019. David A. Nielsen alleged that the LDS Corporation misappropriated more than $2 billion in the church’s charitable contributions while simultaneously failing to fund any “religious, educational, or charitable activities” for more than 20 years.

Huntsman also unequivocally stated that his lawsuit was not attacking the church’s beliefs, only its alleged financial misdeeds.

In a statement shared with news organizations following the suit’s filing, the church denied Huntsman’s claims, calling them “baseless.”

“Mr. James Huntsman resigned his Church membership last year. Now, he is demanding through his lawyers that tithing he paid to the Church as charitable contributions be returned to him. He claims that, contrary to assurances made by past Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, the Church used tithing to build City Creek, a mixed use commercial development across the street from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City,” spokesperson Eric Hawkins said. “In fact, tithing was not used on the City Creek project. As President Hinckley said in the April 2003 General Conference of the Church, the funds came from ‘commercial entities owned by the Church’ and the ‘earnings of invested reserve funds.’ A similar statement was made by President Hinckley in the October 2004 General Conference. Mr. James Huntsman’s claim is baseless.”

March 22

ny times logoNew York Times, Filmmaker’s Suit Says A&E Networks Suppressed ‘Watergate’ Series, Julia Jacobs and Nicole Sperling, March 22, 2021. The director, Charles Ferguson, said in a lawsuit that an executive was concerned about the “negative reaction it would provoke among Trump supporters and the Trump administration.”

“Watergate,” a four-hour documentary examining the scandal that ended Richard Nixon’s presidency, had its world premiere in 2018 at the Telluride Film Festival, an event known to foretell future Oscar nominations. It went on to be shown at the New York Film Festival and several others, collecting positive reviews that highlighted allusions the series made to the Trump presidency.

It aired on the History Channel over three days in early November, just before the 2018 midterm elections. To the filmmaker’s surprise, it was never broadcast on American television again.

The writer and director of the documentary, the award-winning filmmaker Charles Ferguson, is now suing the company that owns the History Channel, A&E Networks, asserting it suppressed the dissemination of his mini-series because it was worried about potential backlash to allusions the documentary makes to the Trump White House.

In the lawsuit filed Friday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Mr. Ferguson accuses the company of attempting to delay the documentary until after the 2018 midterm elections because a History Channel executive feared it would offend the White House and Trump supporters.

“He was concerned about the impact of ‘Watergate’ upon ratings in ‘red states,’” the lawsuit said of the executive, Eli Lehrer, “as well as the negative reaction it would provoke among Trump supporters and the Trump administration.”

Mr. Ferguson resisted that plan, and the mini-series ultimately aired shortly before Election Day. But the filmmaker contends the documentary was given short shrift, despite acclaim in the film industry and previous assurances that it would receive “extremely prominent treatment.”

The lawsuit describes the treatment of the documentary as part of a “pattern and practice of censorship and suppression of documentary content” at A&E Networks, and cites several others that it says were subject to attempted manipulation for political or economic reasons.

A&E called the lawsuit meritless and the assertion that the documentary was suppressed “absurd,” saying its decision to not rebroadcast it additional times was based on lower than expected ratings.

bradcast gavin newsom resized don siegelman 032221

BradBlog, Former AL Gov. Siegelman on GOP Recall of CA Gov. Newsom, Radio interview by Brad Friedman, March 22, 2021. 'It reeks of politics,' says Don Siegelman, citing Repub campaign 'laced with racism,' aimed at sabotaging 'a rising star in the Democratic Party,' Gov. Gavin Newsom (above left). Also, Siegelman (above right) on Biden and hopes for criminal justice reform; The Amazon unionization vote near Birmingham; And whether he might run for public office again in the future.

On today's BradCast: an exclusive interview with someone who knows a thing or two about GOP hit jobs on Democratic Governors. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

Republicans are having trouble of late winning elections by simply having the most popular positions. Thus, the attempts to lie about their positions, to suppress the vote and, in California, to try and recall another Democratic Governor, in a state where Republicans are wildly unpopular.

It now appears that the rightwing effort to place a recall of first-term Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on the ballot will be successful. The Republican scheme to remove Newsom has reportedly gained more than enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot (2.1 million gathered, 1.5 million needed), though those signatures now need to be certified by each of the state's 59 counties and those who signed (64% are Republicans, 25% have No Party Preference, and just 6% are registered Democrats), will also be able to remove their names by the time a date is set for the election.

When and if it happens later this year, it would place two questions on the ballot: 1) Should Newsom be recalled from office? And 2) If so, who should replace him? That second referendum also raises an interesting question: Should Democrats bother to place a plausible Dem on the ballot, in the event that Newsom is officially recalled by the first question, even as registered Democrats now outnumber registered Republicans in the Golden State by a nearly 2 to 1 margin? It was not all that long ago when Democratic Gov. Gray Davis was set up by Republicans (and a phony, Enron-generated energy "scandal") for a recall, in which he was ultimately replaced by Republicans with Hollywood superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger.

bob rileyWe're joined today by Alabama's former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman, who has, for years, explained how his election to a second term was stolen from him via a computerized optical-scan tabulator system in the middle of the night, and how he was subsequently targeted by Karl Rove and GOP operatives including Siegelman's main rival, Gov. Bob Riley, left, in a scheme which would send him to jail on a 7-year federal sentence. The "bribery" charge he was convicted of, as more than 100 former Republican and Democratic state Attorneys General explained in a letter to federal officials, should not have been considered bribery in the first place, did not net Siegelman one thin dime, and had never been a crime at all until the popular Alabama Governor was charged with it.

don siegelman stealing our democracy CustomSiegelman --- who has now finished serving his time and has written a book about it called Stealing Our Democracy: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation --- now sees a similar scheme in the effort to take down California's first term progressive Democratic Governor Newsom.

"This is nothing more than a Republican attempt to create turmoil, to rev up its troops, to try --- to try --- to replace Gavin Newsom, who is a rising star in the Democratic Party," Siegelman tells me. "This is exactly what they did to Gray Davis."

Responding to the news we shared from the San Francisco Chronicle over the weekend, detailing the repeated racist slurs from the official Recall Campaign --- on its website, by its advisors, organizers and funders --- referring to the "China virus", "Wuhan flu", etc., amid a wave of hate crimes against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community since the COVID epidemic began, Siegelman argues the effort is "laced with racism."

"Coming from Alabama, I'm steeped in the politics of racism, starting with [four-term Alabama Governor] George Wallace," Siegelman explains. "I lived through that era where he was raising the Confederate battle flag at the state capitol and a few months later, four little girls at a Birmingham Church were blown to death with a dynamite bomb by the Ku Klux Klan because they felt emboldened by the racist comments of a Southern governor. That's the danger of these people, like those who are organizing the recall of Gov. Newsom. It has serious consequences."

"On a political front," he adds, the recall effort "has to be taken seriously. Democrats have to understand that these people will do anything to try to take over our democracy, and it doesn't matter what they have to do to do it."

"Throughout the United States, they're trying to steal our democracy through changing election laws," the Governor notes, citing the more than 250 GOP measures now moving through more than 40 states to suppress the vote after the party lost the White House and U.S. Senate in last year's election. "HR1 [a massive Democratic election reform measure adopted by the U.S. House, but stalled by the filibuster in the U.S. Senate] needs to pass, in some form or other, and Joe Biden has simply got to find the votes to get it passed. If he has to run over the Republicans to get it done, so be it."

We also discuss a number of other points today during the interview with the former Alabama Governor, who was not only the last Democratic Governor to serve the state since leaving office in 2003, but also the only person to ever be elected to every major statewide office (Attorney General, Sec. of State, Lt. Governor and Governor). That, before any Presidential aspirations the then very popular Governor might have had were ultimately thwarted by the GOP hit job. (Sound familiar?)

Among the other points we discuss today: The dangers still facing federal prisoners during the COVID pandemic (which he joined us to discuss almost a year ago at the beginning of the pandemic), and his hopes that President Biden will help improve conditions in federal facilities and otherwise institute long-overdue criminal justice reform; The ongoing election at an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer, Alabama (near Birmingham) that, if successful, would result in the first unionized Amazon warehouse in the nation;

And whether Siegelman, now that he has finally completed his full sentence and served his time as a "political prisoner", has any interest in returning to elected public life. (There is, after all, a U.S. Senate seat opening up in Alabama next year, after Democrat turned Republican U.S. Senator Richard Shelby recently announced plans to retire at the end of his current term. ("Never say never," teases the former Guv...after I rudely force it out of him!)

March 21

Hollywood PoliTrivia, Film Commentary: The Hollywood Extermination List, Wayne Madsen, left, March 21, 2021. Adolf Hitler had a plan to round up all of wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallHollywood's "undesirables" and transport them to concentration camps.

The Germans relied on a massive network of U.S. collaborators -- members of such organizations as the Friend of New Germany (FNG), its successor, the German-American Bund, and the Silver Shirts -- who provided German intelligence with the personal details on key figures in the American motion picture industry.

washington post logoWashington Post, Brian Barger (1952–2021): Journalist who helped unravel Iran-contra scandal, dies at 68, Bart Barnes, March 21, 2021 (print ed.). A former reporter for the Associated Press and The Washington Post, Brian Barger in recent years worked as a full-time volunteer with immigrants’ rights organizations.

brian barger 2008 family photoBrian Barger, shown at right in a 2008 family photo, was an investigative journalist who edited and reported on Colombian drug cartels, covert operations of the CIA, international terrorism, money laundering, excessive levels of toxins in sea fish, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was among the primary reporters covering the Iran-contra arms-for-hostage scandals of the Reagan administration.

In a journalism career spanning three decades, he worked for the Associated Press, CNN and The Washington Post, among other CIA Logoorganizations. He was a restless man who disliked staying long in one place. Early in his career he was a school bus driver and a garbage collector in suburban Maryland; a bartender in Tokyo; a logging truck driver in Wyoming; and an auto mechanic, taxi driver, carpenter, house painter, short-order cook and motorcycle messenger in Washington, D.C.

For a time, he was a California farmworker and organized protests against low wages and poor working conditions. He also had been an insurance claims adjuster and an activist for political and humanitarian causes. He was arrested several times in protests against the Vietnam War.

In 1999, he took a three-year hiatus from journalism to co-found and direct Casa Amiga, a rape crisis and domestic violence counseling center network in Mexico. This, said his family, was an outgrowth of his friendship with Dianna Ortiz, a Catholic nun and missionary who in 1989 was abducted, raped and tortured by members of the Guatemalan military. She died Feb. 19 and is shown at below in a 1996 AP photo pointing at a press conference to sketches of her attackers.

sister ortiz guatemalan attackers 1996 ron edmonds apMr. Barger, a District resident who in recent years has been a full-time volunteer with immigrants’ rights organizations, died Feb. 22 at a hospital in New York. He was 68 and the cause was complications following surgery for pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Tia Duer.

Brian King Barger was born in Washington on June 21, 1952. His father was a Foreign Service officer, whom he accompanied to postings in Indonesia, Mexico and Tokyo.

He began his journalism career in 1979 as a Post news aide and retired in 2008 after seven years as an assistant foreign editor. In between, he was an independent correspondent in Latin America and an off-camera reporter with CBS and ABC News, and a Washington-based reporter with the AP, United Press International and CNN.

At the AP, Mr. Barger partnered with colleague Robert Parry on the Iran-contra story, conducting extensive and early reporting about drug trafficking by members of the right-wing Nicaraguan force known as the contras, who had U.S. backing and ties to National Security Council member Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North.

But as Mr. Barger and Parry were examining details of North’s role in the illegal Iran-contra affair, the journalists complained that the bureau chief blocked or delayed running their findings while high-level news agency officials were in discussions with North about securing the release of Terry Anderson, an AP journalist who had been taken hostage during the Lebanon civil war.

At the time, Louis D. Boccardi, president and general manager of AP, denied the allegation that he or others “were somehow editing the AP wire to suit Ollie North.” Mr. Parry soon left for CBS News.

As a foreign desk editor at The Post from 2001 to 2008, Mr. Barger worked on stories connected with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, national security issues and current events in Latin America and the Middle East.

March 20

Mary Ferrell Foundation, Analysis: State of the JFK Releases 2021, Rex Bradford

mary ferrell foundation logo

Mary Ferrell Foundation, Analysis: State of the JFK Releases 2021, Rex Bradford (director), right, March 20, 2021. This essay discusses the state of the JFK Records Collection as of March 2021. It describes the background and results of the declassifications which occurred in 2017 and 2018, and alerts readers to rex bradfordthe re-review which is taking place this year. Particular focus is placed on 3,598 "withheld in full" records which the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) declared would be finally released. Some were, and some weren't, as will be explained.

A companion column to this, Analysis: Withheld in Full -- 2021 Update, is excerpted below. It contains an interactive table where the not-released portion of the 3,598 "withheld in full" records may be explored.

A companion page, 2017 Document Releases, discusses the set of records that were released in 2017 and 2018, along with links to read and search them all.

Background: The JFK Records Act and the Assassination Records Review Board

Following public outcry over Oliver Stone's film JFK, Congress in 1992 passed the JFK Records Act. This law created the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), which from 1994 until 1998 oversaw the declassification of a large number of documents related to the assassination of President Kennedy and the various investigations into his murder; this broad effort included a wide swath of formerly-secret records on Kennedy foreign policy on Cuba and Vietnam, and FBI and CIA and other agencies' files on myriad related topics and individuals.

The revelations from the declassifications of the 1990s have rewritten the story of the formation of the Warren Commission, thrust into prominence Lee Harvey Oswald's trip to Mexico City in the fall of 1963 and the allegations of Communist conspiracy emanating from that city, and turned that story on its head with the stunning news that Director Hoover -- in a memo to the Secret Service and a now-erased presidential phone call -- relayed the FBI's determination that someone had impersonated Oswald there. Also released were formerly-secret notes of Oswald's interrogation which include an alibi for his whereabouts, buried testimony about the nature of JFK's wounds (and thus the direction of shots), which was taken by Congressional investigators and then hidden, documents revealing that CIA officers lied about their knowledge of Oswald before the assassination, a Pentagon false-flag operation named Northwoods outlining terrorist acts which could be implemented and then used to justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba, written plans kept secret for 35 years to withdraw U.S. forces from Vietnam, and so much more, far too voluminous to even summarize here.

The JFK Records Act has been in many ways a great success in reaching toward a fuller history of Kennedy's murder and its context.

The JFK Collection now sits at over 300,000 records comprising over 5 million pages, plus abundant photographic and audiovisual records. The records processed in the 1990s and later all have a unique 13-digit record number assigned to them and are represented in a master collection database. A substantial portion of the 5 million pages, including voluminous Warren Commission files, predate this system, have no record numbers, and do not appear in the database.

But while the ARRB oversaw a massive declassification effort, it also deferred in many cases to government agencies desiring continued secrecy; tens of thousands of JFK records were released with "redactions" (blackouts) -- sometimes as small as a name, sometimes entire pages. And thousands of records remained "withheld in full."

The JFK Records Act mandated that, 25 years after the passage of the Act, all such records should be released in full, barring a determination by the president that "continued postponement is made necessary by an identifable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations" and "the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure."

The 25-year deadline came on October 26, 2017. But when the 25-year deadline finally arrived, the remaining records were not released in full. Instead, under a process approved by then-President Trump:

Over 34,000 documents were released, or re-released with fewer redactions, in 7 batches in 2017 and 2018.

Hundreds of documents were declared sealed in accordance with Sections 10 and 11 of the JFK Records Act (IRS and Social Security Administration records are exempt from public disclosure, as are those sealed by court order or donated to the Archives under a restrictive "deed of gift").

On the date of the last batch of releases, April 26 2018, another Trump memorandum authorized a process whereby the more than 15,000 records with remaining redactions would be subject to re-review in 2021.

It is now 2021.

The 2017 and 2018 Releases

In seven batches in 2017 and 2018, the National Archives (NARA) put online more than 34,000 documents from its JFK Collection. Some of these had been previously released in redacted form, and were re-released in full. Others were simply re-released with fewer (or, inevitably, more) redactions. The nara logodocuments themselves may be read and searched here at the Mary Ferrell Foundation.

According to NARA's JFK Assassination Records Processing Project page, 15,834 documents still feature redactions. A listing of which particular documents remain redacted is not available, and it is not possible without access to all those records to independently make such a determination. NARA's online database of records, which does list the status of records, has not been updated since 2008, and so is quite out-of-date in this regard. The Mary Ferrell Foundation (MFF) is in possession of scanned copies of only 20% or so of the collection, and thus is not in a position to do this analysis.

NOTE: NARA has for years provided online a searchable database of the metadata -- title, date, subjects, etc. -- of the over 300,000 records in the JFK Collection. The JFK Assassination Collection Reference System webpage says the database is "currently down for maintenance"; a huge downloadable spreadsheet is available there instead. The MFF had already obtained a copy of the database and used it to fashion our innovative JFK Database FBI logoExplorer, which may be used to filter and search listings of all metadata records in the database.

The majority of the newly-released documents came from the FBI and CIA, but other agencies which released records included the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department, Department of Justice, the National Archives itself, and others. Records from previous investigations including the Church Committee, the Rockefeller Commission, and the House Select Committee on Assassinations were also declassified.

What was in the redacted text that got revealed, and what blackouts remain? There is no single answer. In many cases, the redactions relate to "sources and methods" -- agent or informant names or numbers, or names or details of particular operations. Sometimes they involve a relationship with a foreign government official. Agencies like the FBI and CIA naturally want to keep these secret, but a full accounting of the JFK assassination story can turn on such details. The issue is whether, more than 55 year later, revealing them is really a matter of "identifiable harm" of "such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure."

The 2017/2018 releases contained revelations of interest to researchers -- that the mayor of Dallas was a CIA asset, for example. Among audiotapes released were actual interrogations of Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko, whom the CIA imprisoned during the Warren Commission investigation and afterwards. Abundant details in CIA files are still being studied to fill out much of the story of the "secret war" against Castro's Cuba. Generally, the 2017/2018 releases did not produce the vast sweeping new revelations that the 1990s declassifications uncovered. But the removal of redactions is indeed helping researchers fill in previously-murky details of various aspects of the vast JFK assassination saga.

Too many redactions remain, however, without compelling reasons for them. Some examples of the kinds of redactions still seen in the records:

CIA LogoClassification that prevents the release of trivial information: In one document about CIA's Mexico City station, the word "unilateral" was made public only in 2017 (see then vs. now). In context, "unilateral" means no other intelligence service assisted in technical surveillance in Mexico City 55 years ago. Did withholding this information protect U.S. national security? It's hard to see how. This redaction is symptomatic of widespread overclassification of JFK files.

Classification that spares the CIA embarrassment and has nothing to do with national security: In this testimony of CIA officer Sam Halpern (who is one of very few insiders alleging that Robert Kennedy was a driving force in the plots to kill Fidel Castro) the Agency is still hiding the details of a 1960's scheme, in which Halpern participated, to make a fake porno film about President Sukarno of Indonesia because he charted a foreign policy independent of the U.S. government. This type of withholding is a matter of public relations, not public safety.

Classification that blocks release of potentially significant JFK information: Some of the 2017/2018 releases actually left redactions completely unchanged. For example, see this March 1964 CIA memo for the Warren Commission, then vs. now. The redacted information in this case is almost certainly the job title of counterintelligence officer Lee Wigren and the CIA component he worked in. This information could be significant in the JFK story because the Warren Commission was originally told that the CIA had only 5 documents on Lee Harvey Oswald at the time of the assassination. In fact, the true number of pre-assassination Oswald documents was at least 42. The CIA waited ten weeks to share this very basic information with the Commission. Lee Wigren did the belated sharing. What CIA office was he working for in 1964? His CIA job title/office in 1975 are declassified in this document, which has been in the public domain for decades. So why is his title/office in 1964 withheld? The answer might help illuminate the process by which the CIA slow-walked the Oswald investigation. This is exactly the kind of question the release of JFK records is supposed to answer.

Not all documents were previously seen with redactions. Also among the released files were nearly 2,500 which had been "withheld in full" -- not previously available even with blackouts. One of these is the subject of the concluding section of this essay. In general these completely-secret documents naturally invoke curiosity, and for them we do have a listing of the documents in question. Our discussion turns next to these records.

Withheld in Full - Released Now?

In 2016, in response to a Freedom of Information request from Politico, other news organizations, and researchers, the National Archives produced a listing of 3,603 documents which were at that time "withheld in full." That list was amended to 3,598 (and still later amended, mistakenly, to a count of 3,571). These records were explicitly slated for release as part of the 2017 declassifications in accordance with the JFK Records Act.

Sample metadata for a withheld JFK record

The Mary Ferrell Foundation has conducted an analysis of these 3,598 records, comparing that list to what was actually released in 2017 and 2018. We have also taken into account declarations made on NARA's project page. In summary, only 2,447 of them were released in any form; 1,151 remain withheld, were declared released but not put online, or are missing. NARA's project page contains explanations for most of these, though there are a few ambiguities and the provided explanations in some cases are questionable. Our analysis indicates that an unknown but significant number of records remain unaccounted for.

Here is a summary of the information provided by NARA regarding what we identify as 1,151 records not released online by the Archives, coupled with our own analysis:

...

[Visit Mary Ferrell Foundation site for its detailed analysis of links to this material]

...

The Upcoming 2021 Review

Where are we now? The April 26, 2018 Trump administration memorandum set a date of April 26, 2021 by which time agencies must "identify to the Archivist the specific basis for concluding that records (or portions of records) satisfy the standard for continued postponement under section 5(g)(2)(D) of the Act." It further states that "the Archivist shall recommend to the President, no later than September 26, 2021, whether continued withholding from public disclosure of the identified records is warranted after October 26, 2021."

At the time of this writing, April 26 is not much more than a month away. President Biden's decision on the fate of these continued withholdings comes six months later. Researcher Larry Schnapf has sent a detailed and compelling letter to the House Oversight Committee chairperson asking for hearings and enforcement of the JFK Records Act. Specifically, he asks that Congress:

  • Conduct an oversight hearing before the April 26th deadline established by the Archivist for the agencies to request further postponement;
  • Instruct agencies that requested records to be withheld in 2017 that they are to comply with the April 26th deadline;
  • Instruct any agency requesting further postponement to provide a Vaughn Index setting forth specific explanations on a document-by-document basis why the particular document needs to be withheld as required by Section 4(3)(e) of the JFK Act;
  • Require all agencies to provide and publish in the Federal Register explanations for each and every postponed document (or portion of a document); and
    Investigate if certain records were properly categorized as “Not Believed Relevant” (NBR).

The MFF endorses all of these requests.

The Cost to History

There is a cost to the lack of transparency, to the willful destruction of historical records, to the endless kicking the can down the road on declassification orders. John F. Kennedy was killed more than 55 years ago, and as for the figures named in these documents, the obituaries are piling up every year. That makes continued withholding less likely to hit the bar set by the Congress that "postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm..." and that "the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure."

Among the releases of December 15, 2017 was the 6/23/1978 House Select Committee on Assassinations' sworn testimony of Orest Pena, a bar owner in New Orleans. Why was the testimony of a bar owner held in complete secrecy for nearly 4 decades? Why did the Assassination Records Review Board apparently not review this testimony for release (its date of last review is 7/22/1993, before the ARRB was formed)? You may ask, but you will not find a satisfactory answer.

It has long been known that Mr. Pena told the HSCA that he knew that Lee Harvey Oswald, who frequented his bar in the summer of 1963, was an FBI informant. It has also long been known that Pena told the Committee that he himself was also an informant to the same FBI agent, Warren de Brueys, whom Pena said had threatened him physically after the assassination to keep his silence. The HSCA chose to disbelieve Pena, writing that de Brueys denied these accusations, and citing a few (weak) reasons why "he was not a credible witness."

Now that the testimony is finally public, what's in it? In one sense, nothing new -- Pena tells the story the HSCA attributed to him. The reader can judge the credibility of the witness across the 38-page transcript; to this reader he seemed compelling. More importantly, Pena named names. A Mr. Pedro to whose restaurant Oswald would "go...in the morning with other federal agents from the Customs House Building." A Victor Perez who could verify Pena's having seen Oswald in their company at that restaurant. These people are no doubt dead now. And if the HSCA ever interviewed Mr. Pedro or Mr. Perez, there is no such indication in the metadata of the records it left behind, nor were they cited in the dismissal of Orest Pena's allegations.

Regarding Oswald and U.S. Customs, the earlier Church Committee was also onto this connection during their limited review of the JFK assassination. Declassified memos written by staffer Paul Wallach made notes of phone conversations with a David Smith of Customs, and an associate named Wendall Roach of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Wallach noted that both names had been provided by none other than Orest Pena. Roach told the staffer "I've been waiting twelve years to talk to someone about this," and said he was "willing to come to D.C. at our convenience." However, there is no subsequent interview transcript with Wendall Roach to be found in the released Church Committee files. That Committee's other records on this matter are frustratingly meager.

Oswald palling around with government agents doesn't mesh well with the "lone nut" assassin theory. But the point here is not to say with any certainty that Pena's allegations and the Oswald-Customs connection would necessarily have held up under investigative scrutiny. The point is that the investigations failed in this and so many other instances to do what was needed, and their files have remained secret for too long, and thus as a country we have failed to get to the bottom of Kennedy's assassination.

This is the "identifiable harm" we should be attending to -- the harm to our nation due to ongoing secrecy - not now-inconsequential harm or embarrassment from the release of the remaining clues in these records. Justice demands allegiance to the truth, and democracy demands accountability and transparency, and we have not had enough of either in this affair. We should end the pattern of obstruction. Release all the files now.

Mary Ferrell Foundation, Analysis: Withheld in Full -- 2021 Update, Rex Bradford (director), right, March 20, 2021. In 2016, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the National Archives produced a spreadsheet of 3,598 "withheld in full" records slated for declassification in 2017. In the subsequent rex bradfordreleases of 2017 and 2018, 2,447 of these were in fact released online, but 1,151 were not. The table at the bottom of this page lets you explore those 1,151 unreleased records. As an organizational aid, the Mary Ferrell Foundation has split them into categories -- these mary ferrell foundation logocategories are an MFF invention and not official designations.

The categories into which these records are divded was developed using guidance from the JFK Assassination Records Processing Page, which described reasons why some of these documents remain withheld and declares others lost or previously released.

Each record is summarized by its 13-digit record number, agency where the record was held, date, title, and subjects, all taken from the National Archive's JFK Records database. Records can be expanded to show the full set of metadata from the database.

Here's how use the table below:

  • nara logoSelect a category. Click one of the tabs to view summaries of that category of records. A description of the category appears between the tabs and the record summaries.
  • Expand an entry. Click the record number of an entry to view full metadata for that record.
  • Expand all entries. Click the "expand all" and "collapse all" to see full metadata for the entire list

Kennedys and King, Book Review: John Fitzgerald Kennedy The Devil is in the Details By Malcolm Blunt with Alan Dale, James DiEugenio, left, jim dieugenio fileMarch 20, 2021.

Malcolm Blunt may, in fact, be the most important little-known JFK researcher of our generation. Jim DiEugenio uses this review of Alan Dale’s excellent new oral history, The Devil is in the Details, to survey Malcolm’s crucial contributions to the evidence that has been exposed today and to pay tribute to his tireless, selfless, and insightful work.

This book is an oral history. The interviewer is Alan Dale and the interviewee is Malcolm Blunt—with minor appearances by authors Jefferson Morley and John Newman.

malcolm blunt devil coverDale is the executive director of Jim Lesar’s Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC). He has worked with authors like Newman and Joan Mellen. He is a close friend and admirer of Malcolm Blunt, who is, by far, the major personage in the book. Unfortunately, many people, even in the critical community, do not know who Malcolm is. Why is that?

That is because every once in awhile there comes a character in the JFK case who isn’t interested in doing interviews, starting a blog, writing books or articles, or getting on the radio. This type of person essentially wants to dig into those 2 million pages that were declassified by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). He or she wants to find out what is and is not in that treasure trove.

I was lucky enough to know someone like this back in the nineties. His name was Peter Vea. He was an American living in Japan at the time the ARRB was forming. He said he was returning to the USA, relocating to Virginia and planned on visiting the National Archives to see what had been declassified. He asked if I would be interested in him sending me some of these documents. I said, of course I would. Many of the articles in Probe magazine were based upon the discoveries that Peter made in the archives. And Bill Davy’s fine book, Let Justice be Done, owes much to Peter’s work. But yet, Peter is virtually unknown today.

Malcolm Blunt (shown on the cover of the book at right) took up Peter’s baton. The extraordinary thing about Malcolm is this: he does not live in America. He lives across the pond in England. He travels to America to make long visits to the National Archives. Up to now, he has not written a book. He shares alan dale newhis discoveries with other researchers who he thinks would be interested in the particular subject matter. I know this because I have been the sometime recipient of his largesse.

In this book, Alan Dale, left, tried to elicit some of the discoveries Malcolm has made in his many visits to the Archives. In that regard, it is an unusual book, since I know of no prior attempt to do such a thing. The volume is made up of ten long interviews done from 2014–18. There is a lengthy back matter section, consisting of 8 appendixes and a penultimate 3-page section labeled as “Afterthought.”

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Diplomatic Clashes with Russia and China Confirm Reality of Three-Block World with US and Allies Arrayed on Defensive against webster tarpley 2007Totalitarian Aggressors, Webster G. Tarpley, right, March 20, 2021. Increased Belligerence of Moscow and Beijing Suggests Domestic Disaffection After Regime Failures and Crackdowns on Opposition.

US Alliance System Emerges as Decisive Asset, in Sharp Contrast to Trump’s Unilateral Rage and Greed; Biden Shows that Appeasement Is Over; Austin Hints US Edge Eroded by Futile Neocon Wars in Middle East.

Democrats Must Act Immediately to Disrupt GOP’s Creeping Coup Apparatus Before It Can Consolidate for 2022 Takeover of Congress; Filibuster Must Be Abolished; No More Republican Purges of Voter Rolls and Other Vote Fraud Tactics; Vigilance on Loyalty in Military; House Opens Door to Citizenship for Dreamers by 228-197 vote;

Myanmar Generals Show World the Grim Future that Awaits Beijing Satellites with Over 200 Killed in Anti-Coup Protests and Pervasive Use of Huawei’s Facial Recognition Technology;

Michael Cohen Completes Eighth Session with Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Expects More Visits, Says Charges May Be Imminent in Trump Organization Case.

jfk american university Custom

President John Kennedy delivering his iconic "Peace Speech" at American University in June, 1963.

Future of Freedom Foundation, Commentary: Oswald or the Pentagon/CIA? Jacob G. Hornberger, right, March 17, 2021.This evening at 7 p.m. jacob hornberger newEastern time, we continue with our online conference “The National Security State and the Kennedy Assassination.” We currently have 693 registrations.

Our speaker is Dr. John Newman, below left, adjunct professor of political science at James Madison University. Newman is the author of the seminal book JFK and Vietnam and four books relating to the JFK assassination. He served as a consultant for Oliver Stone’s movie john newman newJFK. To receive a zoom link, just register (or re-register) at our conference web page.

Our first two speakers — James DiEugenio and Michael Swanson — set the stage for John Kennedy’s assumption of the presidency in 1961. Those two talks can be found in the multimedia section of FFF’s website.

After World War II, the federal government was converted to a national-security state, which vested omnipotent, non-reviewable powers in the hands of the federal government, including the powers of assassination and regime change.

As DiEugenio and Swanson pointed out, there was already tension between Kennedy and the Pentagon and the CIA before he even became president. As DiEugenio observed, Kennedy sided with Third World independence movements, which the Pentagon and the CIA were certain were communist-directed. As Swanson indicated, Kennedy also was skeptical about sending combat troops into Southeast Asia, something that the Pentagon and the CIA believed was necessary to prevent a communist takeover of the United States.

future of freedom foundation logo squareWith Newman’s talk tonight, we head directly into the Kennedy administration and the various crises faced by Kennedy, which led to an ever-growing devolution in the relationship between Kennedy and the Pentagon and the CIA, which ultimately culminated in outright war between the executive branch and the national-security branch of the government, much as it would ten years later within the Chilean national government.

Since the time of the assassination, the official story, one promoted by both the Pentagon and the CIA, has been that a communist former U.S. Marine assassinated Kennedy because he was a little man wanting to kill a big man.

From the beginning, there have been problems with that theory. For one, Oswald denied he committed the crime. In fact, he claimed that he was being framed for the crime. That’s what he meant when he stated that he was a “patsy” or fall guy for the crime. If he was really just a little man wanting to kill a big man, wouldn’t the natural thing to do be to brag about what he had done rather than deny it?

Moreover, how many communist Marines have you known? Communists hate the Marines and vice versa. Marines kill communists. They, along with others in the military, killed millions of communists in Korea and Vietnam. Why would a communist want to join an organization that hated communists and wanted to kill them? Why would the U.S. Marines permit a communist to exist within their midst? Does that sound like the Marines you know?

john newman oswald ciaAnd it’s not as though Oswald was hiding his supposed affinity to communism while he was a Marine. His Marine buddies were jokingly calling him “Oswaldovitch.” That’s because he was learning to speak Russian fluently while in the military and studying the principles of Marxism at the same time.

This was the Cold War period of time, when the U.S. national-security establishment was infiltrating communist organizations with the intention of spying on them and destroying them. In order for a person to be a good infiltrator, he had to convince the organization that he was one of them — that he believed in Marxism and socialism as much as they did. Naturally, an infiltrator oftentimes had to be trained to be an infiltrator,

As previously secret evidence has been uncovered over the years, it has led inexorably to Oswald’s operating as a U.S. intelligence operative, one who was recruited and trained when he was in the Marines. One revealing factor here is that when Oswald returned to the United States after supposedly trying to defect to the Soviet Union, to which he promised to divulge classified information he had acquired as a Marine, they did nothing to him. No indictment. Not even a grand jury summons. No torture. No anything. Remember: This is supposedly one of the most notorious communists in U.S. history and yet they didn’t give him the treatment that they gave to people like Dalton Trumbo and many others who had done nothing more than become members of the Communist Party.

lee harvey oswald hsLet’s talk about motive. If Oswald, left, had been a genuine communist, why would he want to kill Kennedy? After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy experienced a breakthrough that would culminate in a full-fledged war between him and the Pentagon/CIA. At his Peace Speech in June 1963 at American University, he declared an end to the Cold War and America’s intention to establish peaceful and friendly relations with the Soviet Union and the communist world, a position that the Pentagon and the CIA were convinced posed a grave threat to national security.

Pursuant to this new course for America, Kennedy entered into a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviets, over the vehement objection of the Pentagon and the CIA. He also ordered a partial withdrawal of troops from Vietnam and told aides he would bring them all home after he won the 1964 presidential election. He announced that he wanted to explore the possibility of a joint moon shot with the Soviets, which meant sharing U.S. rocket technology with the communists. He sided with Martin Luther King and the civil-righs movement, which the national-security establishment, particularly the FBI, was convinced was a communist front.

Why would a genuine communist want to kill a president who was establishing peaceful and friendly relations with the communist world, especially given that Vice President Lyndon Johnson was on the same page as the Pentagon and the CIA?

It stands to reason that people who would have the motive to kill the president, and frame a “communist” for the crime, were those who vehemently objected to the new course that Kennedy was setting for the United States, a course that posed a grave threat to the existence of the national-security establishment itself.

To get a zoom link [free], just register at our conference website.

Date   Speaker(s)         Time                        Topic

3/3/21  Jim DiEugenio     7:00 PM Eastern Time  President Kennedy and the Third World
3/10/21 Mike Swanson    7:00 PM Eastern Time  JFK, the Vietnam War, and the War State
3/17/21 John Newman     7:00 PM Eastern Time  JFK and the Cold War: Deception, Treachery, and the Struggle for Power
douglas horne 20213/24/21 Jefferson Morley  7:00 PM Eastern Time  Morley v. the CIA [Part 1]
3/31/21 Jefferson Morley  7:00 PM Eastern Time  Morley v. the CIA [Part 2]
4/7/21   Douglas Horne (r.) 7:00 PM Eastern Time The JFK Medical Coverup
4/14/21 Douglas Horne     7:00 PM Eastern Time  JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment
4/21/21 Jacob Hornberger 7:00 PM Eastern Time  Regime Change: The JFK Assassination

American System Network, Opinion: After Defeat of January 6 Attempted Autogolpe, GOP Regroups around Plan for Cold Coup or Creeping webster tarpley 2007Coup Designed to Establish Dictatorship in Two Years, Webster G. Tarpley, right, March 17, 2021. Scenario Includes Subversion of Military Units as Suggested by Army Memo Supplying Reasons to Refuse National Guard Defense of US Capitol.

Republican Assault on Voting Rights Shows Intent to Seize Congress through Voter Suppression; Senate Filibuster Can Sabotage Biden’s Measures to Pacify Domestic Privations and Conflicts: GOP Attorneys General Start Legal Challenge to Rescue Plan over Ban on Using Federal Money to Fund Tax Cuts for GOP Parasites.

US Hits More Chinese Functionaries with Sanctions on Eve of Yang-Blinken Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Alaska; DNI Avril Haines Reports that Kremlin Peddled Slanders against Biden through Politicians and Media to Help Trump in 2020 Election; Biden Repeats that Sanctions Loom Next Week in Solar Winds Hack Attack.

Biden Accepts That Putin is “Killer” with “No Soul,” Signaling End of Four Years of Groveling Appeasement under Trump; Russian Ambassador to Washington Recalled in a Huff.

 nsa official logo

Wayne Madsen Report, Opinion: Intelligence cybernauts: the new spies, Wayne Madsen, left, March 15, 2021. The world of intelligence gathering is rapidly wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallchanging as a result of two major factors: increased capabilities of artificially intelligent programs to break into computer systems and networks and Covid-19 shutting down many of the venues favored by spies.

wayne madesen report logoThese include trade shows, scientific conferences, diplomatic receptions, and in-person press conferences. James Bond is being replaced by nameless AI cybernauts capable of gathering more "actionable intelligence" in an hour than many human agents could compile in a year or more. 

March 14

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Has 1,000 More Troops in Afghanistan Than It Disclosed, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt, March 14, 2021. The undercount complicates President Biden’s decision on carrying out a complete withdrawal by May 1, as his administration tries to jump-start peace talks.

Facing a high-stakes choice and running out of time to make it, the Biden administration is wrestling with whether to follow through with a full withdrawal in the next seven weeks of the 2,500 American troops still in Afghanistan — except, as it turns out, that number is actually around 3,500.

American FlagThe United States has about 1,000 more troops in Afghanistan than it has disclosed, according to U.S., European and Afghan officials. That adds another layer of complexity to the swirling debate at the White House over whether to stick with a deal, struck by the Trump administration and the Taliban, that calls for removing the remaining American forces by May 1.

A thousand troops may seem like a small number compared to the roughly 100,000 who were there at the height of the war. But the scope of the U.S. presence has become a contentious issue in Afghanistan — where the Taliban want the Americans gone, while the government’s beleaguered security forces rely on U.S. air support — and also in Washington.

Members of Congress have repeatedly called for an increase in troops if the United States decides to stay past the withdrawal date outlined in the agreement, which was reached just over a year ago.

cia logoThe cloudy accounting around the troop numbers results from some Special Operations forces having been put “off the books,” according to a senior U.S. official, as well as the presence of some temporary and transitioning units. These troops, according to a second U.S. official, include Joint Special Operations Command units, some of them elite Army Rangers, who work under both the Pentagon and the CIA while deployed to Afghanistan.

Having more troops in a country than the Defense Department officially acknowledges is common practice. From Syria to Yemen to Mali, the United States often details military troops to the CIA or other agencies, declares that information “classified” and refuses to publicly acknowledge their presence.

March 10

 

capitol weare the storm flyer resized

Organizers for the Jan. 6 terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol used as one of their tools the flyer above, distributed widely by partner organizations. See the commentary by Mark Karlin, the founder of BuzzFlash.com: Trump Didn't Just Incite Sedition on January 6. He Aided and Abetted Ongoing Insurrection, Jan. 19, 2021.

seth abramson headshotseth abramson proof logoProof via Substack, Investigation: "Here Is the Twelve-Point Plan Donald Trump Had for January 6," Seth Abramson, shown at left, (best-selling author, attorney, Harfvard Law grad, professor), March 10, 2021 (subscription required). "It's time we started talking about the former president's game plan for the armed insurrection of January 6, as all its details are now public — and they're terrifying."

 

March 9

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden’s Justice Dept. already has split from Trump. Merrick Garland will go even further, Matt Zapotosky, March 9, 2021 (print ed.). Biden nominees Monaco, Gupta face Senate confirmation hearing for high-level Justice Dept. posts.

For nearly two months, the Justice Department has quietly rolled back several Trump-era policies and shifted position in civil cases, moves that officials see as relatively noncontroversial returns to previous ways of doing business.

merrick garlandNow, with federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, right, set to take over as attorney general, the thornier work begins.

Garland, who is expected to be confirmed by the Senate this week, will inherit a Justice Department damaged by President Donald Trump’s efforts to use its power to benefit his friends and hurt his enemies. He’ll inherit a department overseeing several high-profile Justice Department log circularpolitical cases, the outcomes of which probably will leave wide swaths of the country unhappy. And he’ll inherit a department that has for the past four years vigorously implemented Trump’s conservative agenda — instituting an aggressive charging policy and reviving use of the federal death penalty.

Garland, analysts say, will have to improve morale and restore the traditional barriers between his agency and the White House on criminal matters, while shepherding the department’s leftward policy shift that seemed to begin immediately after President Biden took office.

Garland said at his confirmation hearing that his first briefing would focus on the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and the criminal cases that have emanated from it. Prosecutors have charged more than 300 people in connection with the mayhem, authorities have said, and have been working their way up from those who entered to building to those who might have planned or orchestrated the violence that day.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Here comes Merrick Garland! Bill Palmer, right, March 9, 2021. How afraid are Senate Republicans of Attorney General Merrick Garland? bill palmerThey’ve been using every procedural move in the book to drag out his confirmation process for as long as possible. There was literally nothing President Biden or the Democrats could have done to get Garland confirmed any sooner. But now the Republicans are all out of tricks, and as was always going to be the case, Garland is about to be confirmed.

bill palmer report logo headerThe full Senate is holding a cloture vote on the Garland nomination later today, meaning he’s inches away from his inevitable confirmation. This brings up two equally important issues. The first is what new shoes will drop at the Department of Justice once Garland is officially in place. There are likely federal criminal cases ready to go against everyone from Rudy Giuliani to Donald Trump, waiting for Garland to greenlight them, revise them, or whatever the case may be. We couldn’t begin to guess precisely what day they’ll happen on, but there will be indictments.

republican elephant logoThe second issue at hand is precisely why the Republicans worked so hard to drag out the Merrick Garland nomination for so long. Is it simply that they were trying to delay the federal prosecution of Donald Trump, because it’ll be embarrassing for the GOP? Or do some of these Republicans fear that the DOJ is about to hit them with criminal charges as well? There has to be a reason so many Senate Republicans are suddenly announcing that they’re not seeking reelection. We’ll see.

 

Britain's Prince Harry, his wife Meghan, center, interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for a broadcast airing on March 7, 2021 (screenshot).

Britain's Prince Harry, his wife Meghan, center, interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for a CBS broadcast that aired on March 7, 2021 (screenshot).

washington post logoWashington Post, Meghan and Harry interview has Britain abuzz; critics howl in outrage, Karla Adam, March 9, 2021 (print ed.). Any doubt that Oprah Winfrey's interview with Meghan and Prince Harry was overhyped was quickly put to rest on Monday morning, as Brits caught up with highlights from CBS's two-hour "tell-all" event.

The morning news was filled with the interview highlights about suicidal thoughts, alleged racism within the royal family and the fact that, at one point, Prince Charles stopped taking calls from Harry.

British broadcaster ITV said: “Harry and Meghan loaded up a plane and dropped bomb after heavy bomb on Buckingham Palace in their Oprah interview.”

A review in the Daily Telegraph said: “Sussexes deliver enough bombshells to sink a flotilla.”

Peter Hunt, the BBC’s former royal correspondent, said, “The claim of racism is one that will endure. No Palace spin can erase it from the collective memory.”

In his piece for the Spectator magazine, Hunt added that “the only person to emerge relatively unscathed is the Queen — apart from the minor matter that she is the head of the family that has been subjected to such a battering in this broadcast.”

 wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Harry-Meghan tribulations rooted in assassination of Diana, Wayne Madsen (shown at left, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallcommentator, author and former Navy intelligence officer), March 9, 2021. When Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, says she was scared of the royal threats, believe her.

The trials and tribulations of Harry Windsor and Meghan Markle, while serving up fare for the tabloid-format cable "news" channels, does conjure up memories of the death of Harry's mother, Lady Diana, the former Princess of Wales, Diana's contentious divorce from Charles, the Prince of Wales, Harry's alleged father and heir to the British throne.

This editor investigated Diana's August 31, 1997 death in the weeks after it occurred, traveling to London, Paris and the scene of her death at the Pont d'Alma tunnel, and one of her favorite holiday retreats, the French Riviera. Diana's death was triggered by her planned marriage to Dodi al-Fayad, a Muslim, an act that would have placed their potential Muslim offspring -- future step-siblings of Princes William and Harry -- in the royal line of succession

seth abramson proof logoProof via Substack, Analysis: The Trump-Brazil Scandal: Did Donald Trump "Attend" the January 5 War Council From the White House? Seth Abramson, March 9, 2021. Possibility emerges that one of the oddest social media typos in recent U.S. history wasn't a typo—and that the January 5 meeting was in part a Trump-Brazil summit focused on insurrection.

washington post logoWashington Post, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was in direct contact with rioters before and during Capitol breach, U.S. alleges, Spencer S. Hsu, March 9, 2021. U.S. prosecutors alleged Monday that Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was in direct contact before, during and immediately after the Jan. 6 Capitol breach with members since charged with plotting to prevent Congress from confirming the results of the 2020 presidential election.

In a late-night court filing, prosecutors alleged Rhodes directed Oath Keepers to rally during the riot to the southeast steps of the Capitol, after which several members forcibly entered the east side of the building.

Prosecutors said they had recovered a chat called “DC OP: Jan 6 21” on the encrypted Signal messaging app that “shows that individuals, including those alleged to have conspired with [others], were actively planning to use force and violence.”

Prosecutors said chat participants included Rhodes — identified only as “Person One” in the filing but whom prosecutors named in earlier court papers — and two charged Oath Keepers members, Jessica Watkins, 38, an Ohio leader; and Kelly Meggs, 52, of Florida.

U.S. authorities have charged Watkins, Meggs and seven other individuals who appear to be members or associates of the right-wing anti-government group, alleging a wider conspiracy to obstruct Congress amid rioting that led to five deaths and assaults on about 140 police officers. Charges have been brought against more than 300 defendants, but to date prosecutors led by the U.S. attorney’s office for Washington have not publicly charged anyone other than alleged rioters themselves.

In the court filing, prosecutors said Rhodes, Watkins, Meggs and “regional Oath Keeper leaders from multiple states across the country” discussed plans in the chat for members and affiliates to come to Washington for events on Jan. 5 and 6 to “provide security to speakers and VIPs.”

Prosecutors said they found “no discussion of forcibly entering the Capitol until January 6.”

jacob chansley

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘QAnon Shaman’ stays in jail as judge slams his arguments: ‘So frivolous as to insult the Court’s intelligence,’ Katie Shepherd, March 9, 2021 (print ed.). Jacob Anthony Chansley, often referred to as the “QAnon Shaman” who donned horns and red-white-and-blue face paint to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 (as shown above), has spent nearly two months pleading with a judge — and with the public in high-profile interviews — to let him go free.

He said on “60 Minutes+” last week that the Capitol riots were “not an attack on this country,” while his attorney has argued that he was actually a peaceful protester and wasn’t really armed when he was filmed storming the building with a spear.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, left, was not impressed.

royce lamberth 2009On Monday, Lamberth denied Chansley’s motion for release in a scathing memorandum that rejected his arguments as “meritless,” “mistaken” and “so frivolous as to insult the Court’s intelligence.” The judge said that Chansley was too dangerous to release and continues to pose a threat to the public.

“The statements defendant has made to the public from jail show that defendant does not fully appreciate the severity of the allegations against him,” Lamberth wrote. “To the contrary, he believes that he — not the American people or members of Congress — was the victim on January 6th.”

Chansley is charged with violently entering the Capitol, among other felony charges, and prosecutors have urged the court to keep him in jail. Chansley’s attorney, Albert Watkins, did not immediately return a request for comment late Monday.

jacob chansley shaman costume and mugThe 33-year-old Phoenix resident (shown at right in his costume and in a mug shot) quickly became one of the most recognizable people charged in the Capitol riot, in part because of the eccentric costume he wore while sitting in Vice President Mike Pence’s chair. His connection to QAnon, an extremist ideology that spreads a sprawling set of false claims, has also highlighted the movement’s role in the Jan. 6 riot.

He made headlines soon after his arrest when he asked to be fed only organic foods, citing his obscure religious beliefs, and begged to be released after Watkins said he lost 20 pounds in jail. Watkins also made a public plea for a pardon from President Donald Trump, which was ignored. Chansley has filed multiple motions for release before his trial, but none have succeeded.

Last week, he made another public appeal on “60 Minutes+,” without permission from the jail, the U.S. Marshals Service or the court — a move that led Lamberth to scold him and his attorney in a hearing on Friday.

On Monday, Lamberth, a fiery presence in D.C. courts appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, eviscerated the alleged rioter’s claims one by one.

March 8

Substack via OpEd News, Opinion: With a Second War on Terror Looming, a New Film Explores the Grave Abuses of the First, Glenn Greenwald, right, March 8, glenn greenwald hs2021. Imprisoned without charges for 14 years in Guanta'namo, Mohamedou Slahi is a symbol of humans' impulse to abuse power and their capacity for redemption.

Mohamedou Slahi, shown below left in a Red Cross photo, is an extraordinary person with a harrowing past and a remarkable, still-unfolding story. The interview I conducted with him on Saturday, which can be viewed below, is one I sincerely hope you will watch. He has much to say that the world should hear, and, with a new War on Terror likely to be launched in the U.S., his story is particularly timely now.

mohammedou ould salahi int red cross committeeKnown as the author of the best-selling Guanta'namo Diary, a memoir he wrote during his 14 years in captivity in the U.S. prison camp at Guanta'namo he is now the primary character of a new Hollywood feature film about his life, The Mauritanian. The first eight years of Slahi's imprisonment included multiple forms of abuse in four different countries and separation from everything he knew, but it afforded no charges, trials, or opportunities to refute or even learn of the accusations against him.

The film stars Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch and Shailene Woodley, while Slahi is played by the French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim. Foster last week won a Golden Globe award for her role as Nancy Hollander, Slahi's lawyer who worked for years, for free, to secure his right simply to have a court evaluate the evidence which the U.S. Government believed justified his due-process-free, indefinite imprisonment. Cumberbatch plays Slahi's military prosecutor whose friend died on 9/11 when the American Airlines passenger jet he was piloting was hijacked and flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Slahi's story is fascinating unto itself but, with a second War on Terror looming, bears particular relevance now. No matter your views on the post-9/11 War on Terror ranging from "it was necessary to take the gloves off and dispense with all limits in order to win this war against an unprecedented evil and existential threat" to "the U.S. gravely overreacted and mirrored the worst abuses of what it claimed it was fighting" to anything in between it cannot be disputed that limitless power was placed in the hands of the U.S. Government to imprison, to monitor, to surveil, to kidnap and to kill anyone it wanted, anywhere in the world, with no checks. And like most authorities vested in the state in the name of some emergency, these powers were said to be temporary but, almost 20 years later, show no signs of going anywhere. They are now embedded in the woodwork of U.S. political life.

What happened to Slahi is a vivid embodiment of how humans will inevitably abuse power when it is wielded without safeguards or limits. In November, 2001, Slahi was attending a party with his mother and other relatives in his home country of Mauritania, the U.S.-aligned nation in Northwest Africa plagued for years by dictatorships and military coups. Police arrived and told him they needed to question him. That was the last time he would ever see his mother.

After two weeks of intense interrogation about his ties to Islamic radicals, Slahi was flown in chains and shackles to Jordan, the U.S.-controlled oil monarchy where he had never visited and with which he had no ties. For the next eight months, he was interrogated on a daily basis by Jordanian and U.S. operatives, including CIA agents. The Jordanians frequently used classic torture techniques to extract information when their CIA bosses assessed that he was not being forthcoming. After eight months, the Jordanians concluded that he was not affiliated with any extremist groups and had no more information to provide, but the Americans, still reeling from the 9/11 attack, were not convinced.

He was told he would return to Mauritania but quickly realized that was a lie as he was placed in full-body shackles, chains and a jumpsuit. This time, he was flown to the notorious U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan, home to thousands of prisoners detained indefinitely by the Bush and Obama administrations with no charges or human rights protections. After two weeks of brutal daily interrogations, Slahi was told that he was being taken to a U.S. military base in Guanta'namo.

Because the camp had opened only after Slahi was first detained in Mauritania, he had no idea what Guanta'namo was. But, he told me, he was so happy and relieved to hear he was being taken to the U.S. because "the U.S. is where you get legal rights and there is a functioning court system." Upon hearing the news, he thought his nightmare, now almost a year long, was about to end. In fact, it was only beginning, and was about to get far darker than he could have imagined.

Flown to the floating island prison in the middle of the Caribbean, thousands of miles away from his home, Slahi, though in American custody on a U.S. military base, was in a place which the U.S. Government had decreed was not the United States at all. It was a no-man's land, free of any law or authority dick cheney wother than the unconstrained will of U.S. political leaders. Shortly after his arrival, the Bush administration guided by then-Vice President Dick Cheney, right, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Attorney General John Ashcroft authorized the use of multiple forms of torture that it and the U.S. press euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation techniques."

It is not in dispute, because official U.S. Government documents acknowledge it, that Slahi, along with dozens of others, was subjected to these techniques over and over. They included prolonged sleep deprivation, beatings and stress positions, a mock execution, and sexual humiliation and assault.

When he arrived at the camp, he spoke Arabic, German and French, and then quickly learned English from his captors and interrogators. His refuge from his hopelessness was the book he wrote, which he authored in English. Completed in 2005, it was taken from him by camp guards and not permitted to be published until ten years later, when it became a global bestseller while Slahi was still consigned to a cage, convicted of nothing and with no idea of when, if ever, he would be freed.

Throughout his ordeal, all Slahi wanted, as any human would, was the opportunity to be told of the charges against him and presented with the evidence corroborating the accusations. But the U.S. government's decree that Guanta'namo was foreign soil and thus free of constitutional constraints enabled them to imprison people indefinitely with no due process of any kind. A bipartisan law enacted by Congress in 2006 called "the Military Commissions Act" fortified the Bush administration's position by barring federal courts from reviewing any petitions brought by War on Terror detainees to have the validity of their imprisonment legally evaluated.

richard nephew sanction

Gray Zone, Commentary: Biden Iran envoy boasted of depriving civilians of food, driving up Iranian inequality in sadistic sanctions manual, Max Blumenthal, March 8, 2021. Richard Nephew, above at right, has taken personal credit for depriving Iranians of food and driving up their unemployment rates, celebrating the economic destruction he caused as “a tremendous success.” Under Biden, he will help direct policy on Iran.

The Joseph Biden administration has named Richard Nephew as its deputy Iran envoy. As the former principal deputy coordinator of sanctions policy for Barack Obama’s State Department, Nephew took personal credit for depriving Iranians of food, sabotaging their automobile industry, and driving up unemployment rates.

Nephew has described the destruction of Iran’s economy as “a tremendous success,” and lamented during a visit to Russia that food was still plentiful in the country’s capital despite mounting US sanctions.

Nephew’s appointment to a senior diplomatic post suggests that rather than immediately returning to the JCPOA nuclear deal, the Biden administration will finesse sanctions illegally imposed by Trump to pressure Iran into an onerous, reworked agreement that Tehran is unlikely to join.

After coordinating Obama’s sanctions regime against Iran, Nephew left the administration for a position at the energy industry-funded Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. There, he published a book outlining in blunt terms how he honed the craft of economic warfare and applied it against Iran.

Entitled The Art of Sanctions: A View From The Field, the book’s cover image features two Caucasian hands drawing a rope for a noose, presumably to strangle some insufficiently pliant Global South government. Its contents read like a list of criminal confessions, detailing in chillingly clinical terms how the sanctions Nephew conceived from inside an air-conditioned office in Washington immiserated average Iranians.

With his candor, Nephew has shattered the official US rhetoric about “targeted sanctions” that exclusively punish “bad actors” and their business cronies while leaving civilian populations unharmed.

The application of pain to a country’s civilian population is central to Nephew’s sanctions strategy. As he explains in “The Art of Sanctions,” for the unilateral coercive measures to succeed, they must impose significant pain to a state’s most vulnerable sectors, shatter the state’s political and social resolve, and ultimately force the state to cry uncle in the face of Washington’s demands.

March 7

"Stop the Steal" organizer Ali Alexander, center, and his co-organizer, Infowars radio host, Alex Jones, to his right.

huffington post logoHuffPost, Investigation: How Republican Politics (And Twitter) Created Ali Alexander, The Man Behind ‘Stop The Steal,’ Luke O’Brien, March 7, 2021. High above Constitution Avenue, on a rooftop terrace, “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander gazed down at the U.S. Capitol and the chaos he’d helped unleash.

A mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters had just stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing members of Congress to scramble for safety. White nationalists, QAnon cultists and Make America Great Again extremists roamed the halls hunting for politicians. Some carried zip-tie handcuffs. One wore a sweatshirt that read “Camp Auschwitz.”

“I don’t disavow this,” Alexander said, pointing to the scene below.

The longtime Republican political operative had spent months working with Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and far-right activists, such as Mike Cernovich, to organize nationwide protests aimed at invalidating Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win. Alexander knew plenty of influential Republicans, like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who led an effort in the Senate to dispute the election results. He had connections to the Republican Attorneys General Association, which was also involved in promoting the rally-turned-riot.

Alexander had plenty of friends in low places, too: far-right Twitter influencers and grifters; members of the violent neo-fascist Proud Boys gang who showed up at his protests; Nick Fuentes, a prominent far-right extremist who participated in 2017’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Fuentes said in 2019 that he could accurately be described as a white nationalist, being both “white” and a “nationalist,” and just two days before the riot he seemingly encouraged his followers to kill legislators.

Unsurprisingly, several of Alexander’s previous Stop the Steal events had inspired bloodshed. But none of them ― and nothing in American history ― compared to what happened Jan. 6.

The warning signs were ominous. Before the rally, white nationalists and militia members talked about smuggling guns into D.C. Pro-Trump internet forums crackled with homicidal chatter and plans to lay siege to the Capitol. And the Proud Boys were back in town. They’d turned out by the hundreds for Alexander’s two other Stop the Steal events in Washington. Brawls and stabbings occurred after those demonstrations. The Proud Boys attacked residents. In December, they ripped a Black Lives Matter banner off a Black church and burned it in the street. Their leader, Enrique “Henry” Tarrio, was arrested on Jan. 4 with high-capacity firearms magazines as he entered the city.

At the rally, the president whipped up demonstrators with a speech on the White House Ellipse, where Alexander had a front-row seat. “We will not take it anymore,” Trump said. “We will stop the steal.” The demagogue then pointed his supporters toward the heart of American democracy.

The mob arrived at the Capitol just before 1 p.m. Insurrectionists smashed through barricades and police lines. Once inside, they looted and vandalized. They urinated and defecated on floors. One of them scrawled “Murder the media” on a set of doors. Many were far-right extremists, including a Proud Boy allegedly looking to kill then-Vice President Mike Pence. Men carrying a flag from Fuentes’ “America First” group prowled through the building. Another Alexander associate, Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet, a veteran of the Charlottesville rally, livestreamed himself inside the Capitol and was later arrested.

But it was the fate of Ashli Babbitt, a military veteran and QAnon conspiracy theory devotee, that crystallized to what lengths some would go on behalf of Trump. On Twitter, Babbitt was in thrall to MAGA propagandists and Stop the Steal organizers such as Jack Posobiec — one of Alexander’s close friends and a prolific spreader of disinformation, including the Pizzagate sex trafficking conspiracy theory that in 2016 resulted in a pro-Trump gunman storming a restaurant in Washington, D.C. On Jan. 5, Posobiec tweeted a photo of a plane loaded with Trump supporters traveling to Washington and described them, seemingly in jest, as “domestic terrorists.” Babbitt retweeted the message. It was her penultimate act on a platform that helped radicalize her.

Police would later find pipe bombs outside the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee offices. They’d find Molotov cocktails in a nearby truck. National security experts declared the attack domestic terrorism. Seven people died in the mayhem or by suicide in the immediate aftermath, including three Capitol Police officers.

“I do not denounce this,” Alexander reiterated from his rooftop perch, impassively surveying the Capitol grounds in a video posted to Twitter by one of his associates and preserved by Kristen Doerer at Right Wing Watch.

On Twitter, Alexander had called violence a “natural right.” He was a prominent influencer on the platform, with almost 200,000 followers. “I am a sincere advocate for violence and war, when justified,” he tweeted in 2019. “I recognize no law above what is natural and good.” A militant Christianity has permeated his extremism; he has spoken often about being an agent of God.

Insomuch as he was a zealot, however, he was also out to make a buck. His Jan. 6 protest, which he’d dubbed the Wild Protest after Trump promoted his “March to Save America” event on Twitter ― “Be there, will be wild!” the president tweeted ― had brought in almost $200,000 in donations in just over two weeks. On his Stop the Steal site, Alexander hawked $45 T-shirts, $40 baseball caps and $75 yard signs. A bumper sticker cost $17.76. On merchandise site Gumroad, he sold self-designed “New Crusades” T-shirts for $55. Alexander hadn’t bothered to set up a business or a nonprofit, he admitted on his personal site, where he peddled a “persuasion” class for $198. Stop the Steal donations flowed initially into his personal accounts. In mid-November, his lawyer, Baron Coleman, who has also served as local counsel in Alabama for Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, registered a limited-liability company, or LLC. One of Alexander’s partners set up a political action committee.

To radical Republicans, he was worth it. Alexander, 36, represented the possibility of a multiracial far-right coalition and put a diverse sheen on a movement founded on white supremacy. And he did it from within. A lifelong product of Republican politics and activism who’d radicalized in step with his party, Alexander embodied a turn toward outright fascism. His Stop the Steal movement was simply a Trumpified extension of decades of Republican efforts to invalidate Democratic votes, especially Black ones, with false accusations of “fraud.”

The day before the riot, Alexander bounded onto a stage in Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington to prepare protesters for “rebellion.” “Victory or death!” he cried, leading Trump supporters in a chant. Proud Boys and militia members were in the crowd. Some carried knives and clubs. “These degenerates in the deep state are going to give us what we want or we are going to shut this country down!” Alexander shouted as a cold rain fell. “Our government should be afraid.”


Petty Crime, Conservative Politics

Ali Alexander was once Ali Abdul-Razaq Akbar. Alexander, who was born in Texas, claims his father was an exchange student from a “prominent family” in the United Arab Emirates who abandoned him and his Black mother when Alexander was a toddler. He says his mother raised him by herself in Fort Worth, where he went to Fossil Ridge High School. Even then, he was a conservative political junkie who liked to talk about the big sponsors he’d land who would take him to the “hieghts of the Hill” one day, as he wrote in 2005.

“Very early as a child, I sought power. I sought power and influence,” Alexander would later say.

After high school, however, he got into legal trouble. He briefly attended the University of North Texas but dropped out in 2006 and was arrested that year for stealing property. A month later, he was arrested again for debit card abuse. In 2007 and 2008, the charges resulted in felony convictions.

But the Republican Party took him in. Alexander recognized Twitter’s potential for political activism early on, creating his account less than a year after the platform launched. “I was like the first [of] four political operatives that joined Twitter, and we made sure there was mass adoption on the Republican side,” he later told Cernovich in a podcast. Alexander also had a knack for graphic design and web development. He started setting up right-wing blogs, including one that attacked then-presidential candidate Barack Obama as an elitist trying to “marginalize traditional Americans.” On his personal blog, Alexander embraced a right-wing “birther” conspiracy that disputed Obama’s birthplace and racial identity. He wrote that Obama was an “African man (he is not Black!).”

March 6

 capitol noose shay horse nurphoto via getty

A crowd of Trump supporters surrounded a newly erected set of wooden gallows outside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. "Hang Mike Pence!" members of the crowd shouted at times about the Republican Vice President who had announced that he could not comply with the president's call to block election certification that day. The wooden gallows was near the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Below is a separate photo by a suspect described in the story below.5,000 salary.

ny times logoNew York Times, F.B.I. Says Proud Boys Member and Trump Associate Had Contact Before Riot, Katie Benner, Alan Feuer and Adam Goldman, March 6, 2021 (print ed.). A leader of the far-right group separately said he had been in touch with Roger Stone, but an official said it was not the same contact investigators found.

A member of the far-right nationalist Proud Boys was in communication with a person associated with the White House in the days just before the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.

Location, cellular and call record data revealed a call tying a Proud Boys member to the Trump White House, the official said. The F.B.I. has not determined what they discussed, and the official would not reveal the names of either party.

The connection revealed by the communications data comes as the F.B.I. intensifies its investigation of contacts among far-right extremists, Trump White House associates and conservative members of Congress in the days before the attack.

The same data has revealed no evidence of communications between the rioters and members of Congress during the deadly attack, the official said. That undercuts Democratic allegations that some Republican lawmakers were active participants that day.

roger stone hands waving no credit from stone cold CustomSeparately, Enrique Tarrio, a leader of the far-right nationalist Proud Boys, told The New York Times on Friday that he called Roger J. Stone Jr., left, a close associate of former President Donald J. Trump’s, while at a protest in front of the home of Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida. During the protest, which occurred in the days before the Capitol assault, he put Mr. Stone on speaker phone to address the gathering.

A law enforcement official said that it was not Mr. Tarrio’s communication with Mr. Stone that was being scrutinized, and that the call made in front of Mr. Rubio’s home was a different matter. That two members of the group were in communication with people associated with the White House underscores the access that violent extremist groups like the Proud Boys had to the White House and to people close to the former president.

Mr. Stone denied “any involvement or knowledge of the attack on the Capitol” in a statement last month to The Times.

Mr. Tarrio was arrested in Washington on Jan. 4 on charges of destruction of property for his role in the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner that had been torn from a historic Black church during a protest in Washington in December. He was asked to leave the city, and was not present when the Capitol was attacked. His case is pending.

The Justice Department has charged more than a dozen members of the Proud Boys with crimes related to the attack, including conspiracy to obstruct the final certification of President Biden’s electoral victory and to attack law enforcement officers.

In court papers, federal prosecutors have said groups of Proud Boys also coordinated travel to Washington and shared lodging near the city, with the intent of disrupting Congress and advancing Mr. Trump’s efforts to unlawfully maintain his grip on the presidency.

The communication between the person associated with the White House and the member of the Proud Boys was discovered in part through data that the F.B.I. obtained from technology and telecommunications companies immediately after the assault.

Court documents show F.B.I. warrants for a list of all the phones associated with the cell towers serving the Capitol, and that it received information from the major cellphone carriers on the numbers called by everyone on the Capitol’s cell towers during the riot, three officials familiar with the investigation said.

The F.B.I. also obtained a “geofence” warrant for all the Android devices that Google recorded within the building during the assault, the officials said. A geofence warrant legally gives law enforcement a list of mobile devices that are able to be identified in a particular geographic area. Jill Sanborn, the head of counterterrorism at the F.B.I., testified before a Senate panel on Wednesday that all the data the F.B.I. had gathered in its investigation into the riot was obtained legally through subpoenas and search warrants.

Although investigators have found no contact between the rioters and members of Congress during the attack, those records have shown evidence in the days leading up to Jan. 6 of communications between far-right extremists and lawmakers who were planning to appear at the rally featuring Mr. Trump that occurred just before the assault, according to one of the officials.

The Justice Department is examining those communications, but it has not opened investigations into any members, the official said. A department spokesman declined to comment.

 

capitol mob-jacob-charnsley

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. judge scolds ‘QAnon Shaman’ for appearing on ‘60 Minutes Plus’ without permission, Emily Davies, March 6, 2021 (print ed.). Jacob Chansley (shown above at center) to remain in jail pending trial as a judge considers his release. The judge said in a detention hearing that Chansley appeared in an interview without proper authorization.

A federal judge chided the self-identified “QAnon Shaman,” who was part of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, for appearing in a “60 Minutes Plus” interview without permission.

During a detention hearing Friday, Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia questioned whether Jacob Chansley appeared in the interview that aired Thursday without the required clearance from the U.S. Marshals Service, the detention facility or the judge. The judge also questioned whether Chansley’s attorney, Albert Watkins, was deceitful in skirting proper authorization to appear on the show.

In what was billed as Chansley’s first interview since his arrest, he said that his actions were “not an attack on this country” and that he does not regret being loyal to former president Donald Trump. Chansley became one of the most distinct individuals arrested in the riot, photographed flexing near the vice president’s chair in the Senate while shirtless and wearing a headdress and face paint.

Watkins said he did make “independent arrangements” with “60 Minutes Plus” but denied conducting “subterfuge.” He said he assumed his client would be allowed to be captured on camera from his office.

A decision about Chansley’s detention is still pending.

Chansley has been behind bars since he was arrested in his hometown of Phoenix on Jan 9. Chansley has been charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building among other federal felony charges. He is among more than 300 charged in the Capitol riots that resulted in five deaths.

In a previous interview with the Washington Post, he said he danced, sang and prayed in the Capitol, drumming on the floor with his pole to “reclaim our nation.” He also said he left a note for Vice President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

On Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Paschall argued that Chansley is a danger to the community and should therefore remain jailed until trial. She said there was “ample evidence” that Chansley was carrying a spear while facing off with an officer inside the Senate chambers. She pointed to Chansley’s “60 Minutes Plus” interview as evidence of his still-standing belief “that the current government is not a legitimate government and that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.”

She argued that Chansley would not be capable of following conditions of release.

Watkins, meanwhile, painted his client as a nonviolent man misled and let down by Trump, whom he greatly admired. He highlighted Chansley’s lack of criminal history and said his client simply walked into the Capitol after police let him in. The judge and prosecutor pushed back.

“I am not belittling my client . . . but my client was wearing horns,” he said. “He had tattoos around his nipples. He wasn’t leading anywhere. He was a follower.”

Watkins also said that Chansley believes in ahimsa, a form of nonviolence toward living things, and denied that the flagpole he carried was a spear.

Chansley apologized last month for storming the Capitol, saying he regrets entering the building and that Trump “let a lot of peaceful people down.”

Chansley publicly requested — but did not receive — a pardon from Trump, an outcome with which he expressed disappointment in the “60 Minutes Plus” interview. At one point, Chansley had offered to testify against Trump during his impeachment trial.

On Friday, Watkins cast the absence of a pardon as a turning point for Chansley.

“My client went from that point to expressing deep disappointment in the former president,” he said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Impact of Capitol riot looms over efforts to overhaul policing in the District, Peter Hermann, March 6, 2021. The acting police chief says he needs a larger force to help combat new threat of domestic terrorism.

Amid months of protests for social justice, the D.C. Council moved quickly last year with emergency legislation to make sweeping overhauls to the police force, including cutting its budget and making it smaller.

Then came the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, when hundreds of D.C. officers rushed to help defend the building. Now the mayor’s pick for her new police leader says any further reimagining of the force must take into account what he calls a growing and persistent threat of domestic terrorism.

The coming weeks will be a pivotal moment for the future of law enforcement in the District as the city wrestles over that balance. Acting D.C. police chief Robert J. Contee III says his department needs to grow, not shrink, to confront both rising crime and extremism.

Contee, who faces a confirmation hearing later this month from a Council that last year cut the police budget, forcing it to shed nearly 200 officers, said he must prepare for “a high probability for violent confrontations that will require a significant police response.”

Last year’s budget cuts brought the District’s police force down to about 3,650 officers, below a threshold officials once considered the bare minimum. Contee said he believes 4,000 officers — a number the mayor aspired to in 2019, when the department counted 3,850 officers — are needed “to get to where we need to be in light of the things we need to contend with now.” Similarly, the Capitol Police wants to increase its force and budget following its failure to properly mobilize ahead of the deadly riot.

But Contee could face pushback from members of the D.C. Council, a progressive group of lawmakers who want police to adapt a public health approach to combating crime that de-emphasizes arrests and redirects resources into programs that attack the root causes of criminal behavior.

Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who chairs the public safety committee, said last year’s budget cuts — opposed at the time by the mayor — and other laws enacted to make police more transparent and accountable, could be just a start.

“That wasn’t a one-year budget, pat yourself on the back and call it a day,” said Allen, who will oversee hearings this month on the state of the police department and Contee’s confirmation. “We’re in the midst of a conversation on the nature of policing.”

Allen credited D.C. police with helping the overwhelmed Capitol police end the Jan. 6 riot, but he said, “I don’t think we need to be planning our force size based on an armed insurrection. We hope to never see such an event again.”

Contee will face Allen and other lawmakers at an oversight hearing on Thursday, where he is likely to field questions over rising homicides, the insurrection that involved 850 D.C. officers sent to the Capitol and his commitment to making further changes in the force to reflect new ideas born out of the protests that started with the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

That will be followed by the expected release of an independent audit of fatal shootings and a deadly use of force incidents by D.C. police, and then Contee’s confirmation hearing, where lawmakers will decided whether to make him the permanent chief.

March 5

Gray Zone, Commentary, Tulsi Gabbard calls out the US dirty war on Syria that Biden, aides admit to, Aaron Maté, March 5, 2021. As Tulsi Gabbard criticizes former Congressional colleagues for ignoring the ongoing US dirty war and sanctions on Syria, a look at the comments of Joe Biden and top aides show that they have admitted to the same underlying, horrific facts. Gabbard only stands apart — and is even vilified — for being willing to call it out.

tulsi gabbard debate stage gabe skidmore CustomWhile Joe Biden has faced some mild Congressional pushback for bombing the Iraq-Syria border, Tulsi Gabbard (shown in a Gage Skidmore photo at right) says her former colleagues are ignoring the larger issue: the ongoing US dirty war on Syria. After a decade of proxy warfare that empowered Al Qaeda and ISIS, the US is now occupying one-third of Syria and imposing crippling sanctions that are crushing Syria’s economy and preventing reconstruction.

While Gabbard has been vilified for her stance on Syria, many top White House officials — including Joe Biden himself — have already acknowledged the same facts that she has called out.

Aaron Maté plays clips of Biden and some of his most senior aides admitting to the horrific realities of the US dirty war on Syria, and argues that Gabbard only stands apart in being wiling to criticize it.

Featuring clips from: Tulsi Gabbard, former Democratic Congressmember; President Joe Biden; Brett McGurk, National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa; Martin Dempsey, former Joint Chiefs chairman; Rob Malley, Special Envoy for Iran; John Kerry, Special Envoy for Climate & former Secretary of State; former President Donald Trump; Alena Douhan, UN Special Rapporteur on Sanctions; Dana Stroul, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East; Vice President Kamala Harris.

Future of Freedom Foundation, Conference Agenda: The National-Security State and the Kennedy Assassination, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, March 5, 2021. jacob hornberger newAdmission: FREE. Register at conference website

The national-security establishment’s assassination of President John F. Kennedy was one of the pivotal events in our lifetime, and it continues to have an adverse impact on American life today. This conference will be oriented toward people who are not well-versed in the assassination and who wish to gain a deeper understanding of it.

The conference will present an easy-to-understand introduction to what happened and why. Consider it a primer on the Kennedy assassination. Attendees will learn about President Kennedy’s foreign policy and how it was so different from that of both his predecessors and successors — and why the Pentagon and the CIA considered it to be such a grave threat to future of freedom foundation logo squarenational security. Attendees will also learn about the fraudulent nature of the autopsy that the national-security establishment performed on the president’s body on the evening of the assassination and how it leads to an understanding of the assassination itself.

The conference will consist of a weekly series of online presentations by various speakers, beginning Wednesday evening, March 3, and continue every Wednesday evening through April 21. By the time it is over, participants will have a good grasp of what happened on that fateful day in November 1963 and why it is so critically important today.

Date Speaker(s) Time Topic

3/3/21 Jim DiEugenio 7:00 PM Eastern Time President Kennedy and the Third World
3/10/21 Mike Swanson 7:00 PM Eastern Time JFK, the Vietnam War, and the War State
3/17/21 John Newman 7:00 PM Eastern Time JFK and the Cold War: Deception, Treachery, and the Struggle for Power
douglas horne 20213/24/21 Jefferson Morley 7:00 PM Eastern Time Morley v. the CIA [Part 1]
3/31/21 Jefferson Morley 7:00 PM Eastern Time Morley v. the CIA [Part 2]
4/7/21 Douglas Horne (right) 7:00 PM Eastern Time The JFK Medical Coverup
4/14/21 Douglas Horne 7:00 PM Eastern Time JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment
4/21/21 Jacob Hornberger 7:00 PM Eastern Time Regime Change: The JFK Assassination

U.S. Capitol Riots, Insurrection

 capitol noose shay horse nurphoto via getty

A crowd of Trump supporters surrounded a newly erected set of wooden gallows outside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. "Hang Mike Pence!" members of the crowd shouted at times about the Republican Vice President who had announced that he could not comply with the president's call to block election certification that day. The wooden gallows was near the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Below is a separate photo by a suspect described in the story below.

federico klein fbi poster

washington post logoWashington Post, State Department aide appointed by Trump stormed the Capitol, beat police with a riot shield, FBI says, Katie Shepherd, March 5, 2021. The FBI arrested Trump appointee Federico G. Klein, a former State Department aide, on charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the agency said.

FBI logoOn Thursday, the FBI arrested a political appointee of former president Donald Trump on charges that he stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to a criminal complaint, marking the first member of the administration arrested in connection with the insurrection.

Federal agents arrested Federico G. Klein, 42, a former State Department aide, on multiple felony charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to a criminal complaint published by the New York Times. (Politico first reported the arrest.) The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Friday.

Klein (shown above circled and also at left), who is also a former Trump campaign employee, did not immediately respond to a request for comment early federico klein been cansFriday. It is unclear if he has hired a lawyer.

Klein was still employed at the State Department as a staff assistant on Jan. 6 when he joined a mob in a tunnel leading into the U.S. Capitol, the FBI said. Then he allegedly “physically and verbally engaged with the officers holding the line” at the building’s entrance, according to the complaint. After ignoring officers’ orders to move back, he assaulted officers with a riot shield that had been stolen from police, the complaint said, and then used the shield to wedge open a door into the Capitol.

At one point, Klein was caught on video shouting for more insurrectionists to come to the front lines, where officers were struggling to hold back the mob.

“We need fresh people, need fresh people,” he said, according to the complaint.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence logoKlein’s arrest is the most direct link yet between the Trump administration and the rioters, despite attempts by some conservatives to dissociate the insurrection from the former president. Many of the 300-plus people who have been charged in connection with the insurrection have described themselves as Trump supporters, while some have ties to extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.

Klein had a top-secret security clearance that was renewed in 2019, the FBI said.

A LinkedIn profile the FBI identified as Klein’s also lists a top-secret security clearance and shows that Klein has been politically active in the Republican Party since at least 2008, when he began volunteering for political campaigns. Before joining the State Department in 2017, Klein worked for the Trump campaign, which paid him a $15,000 salary.

washington post logoWashington Post, Rep. Eric Swalwell sues Trump over Jan. 6 riot, alleging he poses risk of ‘inciting future political violence,’ Spencer S. Hsu, March 5, 2021. A House impeachment manager and intelligence subcommittee chairman filed a federal lawsuit Friday against former president Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudolph W. Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), claiming they should be held liable for injuries and destruction caused by their incitement of the Jan. 6 mob assault on the Capitol.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), right, who also sits on the judiciary and homeland security committees, alleged Trump and his fellow speakers at a rally near the White House that day were directly responsible for mobilizing a crowd of tens of thousands of pro-Trump supporters to march on the Capitol and priming them for violence.

Trump’s actions before and during the assault — in which at least 800 people broke into the Capitol, attacked police and delayed Congress’s confirmation of the presidential election results — “made clear he poses a risk of inciting future political violence,” the complaint alleged.

Read the lawsuit here

“As a direct and foreseeable consequence of the Defendants’ false and incendiary allegations of fraud and theft, and in direct response to the Defendants’ express calls for violence at the rally, a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol,” the 65-page suit asserted. “Many participants in the attack have since revealed that they were acting on what they believed to be former president Trump’s orders in service of their country.”

The lawsuit claims the four speakers violated the Reconstruction-era Ku Klux Klan Act by conspiring to violently interfere in Congress’s constitutional duties and failing to act to stop the mob. It also accuses them of multiple counts of negligence under both federal and D.C. law, aiding and abetting, and infliction of emotional distress.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement, “Eric Swalwell is a low-life with no credibility.” Miller then repeated allegations in an Axios report from December that an alleged Chinese spy, Christine Fang, cozied up to Swalwell from 2012 to 2015 before he was briefed by U.S. intelligence officials about their concerns and cut off ties. Miller said “after failing miserably with two impeachment hoaxes,” Swalwell is engaging on witch hunt on behalf of the Chinese.

Justice Integrity Project Editor's Note: Miller's claim makes innuendoes from little or no evidence of any improper behavior by Swalwell, who posed in a routine photo with a Chinese-American student leader from a college in his district who had invited him to speak. She later volunteered for one of his campaigns and returned to her native China, with Republicans floating claims of inappropriate conduct.

The suit is the latest claim against Trump and top allies to assert they had a role in the storming of the Capitol through their actions that day and weeks of baseless allegations that November’s presidential election was stolen from him.

House Homeland Security chairman sues Trump and Giuliani, accusing them of inciting Capitol riot

The NAACP last month sued Trump, Giuliani and two extremist groups whose members have been accused of leading the violence at the Capitol — the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers — on behalf of Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.). Guiliani, Trump’s campaign and others also face defamation claims related to their groundless post-election criticism of a former U.S. election cyber security official and vote counting machine maker.

Thursday’s lawsuit paints a fuller picture of Trump’s actions before and after the event, drawing on the House impeachment manager’s case against the former president, suing under a wider theory of negligence. The suit does not focus on extremists who planned for violence but the “many more [who] were there for a political rally” before the defendants and others alleged “whipp[ed] them into a frenzy and turn[ed] them into a violent mob that participated in the attack.”

ny times logoNew York Times, The secretive Capitol Police Board is poised for an overhaul, if not elimination, after the Jan. 6 riot, Carl Hulse, March 5, 2021. The congressional inquiry into the security failures surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol assault has barely begun, but one outcome already seems certain: The Capitol Police Board, the secretive three-member panel that oversees protection of the complex where Congress meets, is headed for major changes, if not outright elimination.

Lawmakers of both parties in the House and the Senate, some previously unfamiliar with the sweeping authority of the board, have expressed astonishment at its lack of accountability and its inability to rapidly respond to the riot at the Capitol.

“It seems nonfunctioning to me,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut and chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, which controls money for Capitol security. “Nobody is in charge. When something goes wrong, no one has the ultimate responsibility.”

yogananda pittmanNew tension over the board’s power emerged on Thursday as Yogananda D. Pittman, right, the acting chief of the Capitol Police, appealed to House and Senate leaders to intercede to persuade the panel to grant her department’s emergency request to extend the deployment of National Guard troops at the Capitol. After her letter to the leaders became public, the board gave its approval. But the episode was reminiscent of events in the run-up to Jan. 6, when the panel rebuffed a request from the Capitol Police for National Guard reinforcements to counter a threat that had been identified by intelligence, with disastrous consequences.

Like many things on Capitol Hill, the board is a remnant of the past that has survived in large part because it suits those who hold power in Congress. A long line of House and Senate leaders in both parties have favored its existence because they handpick two of its three voting members, giving them tremendous influence over security operations with little public scrutiny.

At House and Senate hearings in recent days, lawmakers have been struck by the fact that two days before the attack, members of the board dismissed the Capitol Police request for troops to be on hand on Jan. 6. They acted with no vote, little discussion or consultation with other authorities, and no involvement by the architect of the Capitol. Then on the day of the riot, board members struggled to connect and agree to declare an emergency so that roy blunt official Smalltroops who were standing by to assist could be summoned to the Capitol.

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, left, the senior Republican on the Rules Committee, said the assault underscored longstanding problems with the police board that necessitate major changes.

“I don’t think it works well in the best of circumstances and I think it’s almost totally unworkable in crisis, and Jan. 6 was a great example of that,” Mr. Blunt said.

March 4

washington post logoWashington Post, D.C. Guard chief says ‘unusual’ restrictions slowed deployment of backup during Capitol riot, Paul Sonne, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, March 4, 2021 (print ed.). The commanding general of the D.C. National Guard told lawmakers Wednesday how restrictions the Pentagon placed on him in the run-up to the Capitol riot prevented him from more quickly sending forces to help quell the violence.

william walker resized proofMaj. Gen. William J. Walker, right, said he did not receive approval to change the D.C. Guard’s mission and send his forces to the Capitol on Jan. 6 until three hours and 19 minutes after he first received an emotional call from the Capitol Police chief requesting urgent backup.

Walker described the Pentagon’s restrictions as “unusual,” noting that he did not have such limitations last summer, when the D.C. Guard was tasked with responding to local racial-justice protests after the killing of George Floyd.

Walker, who previously detailed the restrictions placed on him ahead of Jan. 6 in an interview with The Washington Post, told lawmakers that had he not been operating under those limitations, he could have sent about 150 soldiers to the Capitol hours earlier — and got them there within 20 minutes of being asked.

“I believe that number could have made a difference,” Walker said during Wednesday’s hearing before the Senate’s Rules Committee and its Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “We could have helped extend the perimeter and helped push back the crowd.”

In addition to Walker, city officials and Capitol Police leaders have asserted that they were frustrated by a slow Defense Department response as the Capitol was breached. Defense officials have countered that the city requested only minimal assistance from the Guard in the run-up to the Jan. 6 riot event and tried to limit the military presence in the city, while the Capitol Police requested no military assistance ahead of the event, even though the Pentagon specifically asked whether it was necessary.

Robert G. Salesses, the Pentagon’s acting assistant secretary for homeland defense and global security, testified that defense officials’ tight control over the response to the Capitol — and reluctance to issue quick approvals — was shaped by controversy they faced in responding to civil unrest surrounding racial-justice protests last year.

“There was a lot of things that happened in the spring that the department was criticized for,” he said.

Much of the hearing focused on how long it took the Pentagon to give the members of the D.C. Guard who were already deployed that day a new mission and send them to the Capitol.

Though the acting defense secretary called up the full D.C. Guard shortly after 3 p.m. in response to the riot, he did not give the members of the D.C. Guard who were already deployed that day a new mission and send them to the Capitol until 4:32 p.m., Salesses said. He acknowledged, however, that the D.C. Guard did not receive that change in assignment until 5:08 p.m., more than half an hour later.

roy blunt official Small“How is that possible?” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), right, asked incredulously, noting the time gap.

“I think that’s an issue,” Salesses said, offering no explanation.

The Guard arrived at the premises at 5:20 p.m.

The absence of Pentagon officials responsible for making decisions on Jan. 6 at Wednesday’s hearing irritated committee members, including some who expressed concern that the Department of Defense sent Salesses to testify even though he was not one of the key decision-makers that day.

 william walker resized proof

Proof via Substack, Commentary: Annotated Testimony of William J. Walker (shown above), Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard, Seth Abramson, left, March 3, 2021. Before the Senate Homeland seth abramson headshotSecurity and Governmental Affairs and Senate Rules and Administration Committees, opening statement—focused on the January 6 insurrection.

I was sickened by the violence and destruction I witnessed that fateful day and the physical and mental harm that came to the U.S. Capitol Police officers and MPD [the Metropolitan Police Department of D.C.], some of whom I met with later that evening and I could see the injuries they sustained. It is my hope that my recollection of events and presentation of the facts as I know them will help your Committees in its investigation and prevent such tragic events from ever occurring again.

seth abramson proof logoFirst, I think it is critical to understand what the D.C. National Guard’s mission was on January 6, to include what civilian agency we were supporting and how requests for support of other civilian authorities were handled.

On December 31, 2020, the D.C. National Guard [PROOF annotation: later “DCNG”] received written requests from District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and her Director of D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Dr. Christopher Rodriguez. The requests sought D.C. National Guard support for traffic control and crowd management for planned demonstrations in DC from January 5 through [January] 6.

After conducting mission analysis to support the District request, I sent a letter to then Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, dated January 1, requesting approval. I received approval in a letter dated January 5 from Secretary McCarthy granting support of the MPD with 340 total personnel to include 40 personnel assigned to a Quick Reaction Force.

{PROOF annotation: Note that it took four days before Trump’s Pentagon to respond to the Democratic leadership of D.C., meaning that the District got “approval” for National Guard assistance on one of the very two days it had urgently asked for help on—January 5. Not only did this approval come too late for January 5 aid, it left under 24 hours for aid for January 6 to be readied.}

The DCNG provides support to MPD, the U.S. Park Police, U.S. Secret Service and other District and federal law enforcement agencies in response to planned rallies, marches, protests and other large scale first amendment activity on a routine basis.

A standard component of such support is the stand up of an offsite Quick Reaction Force (QRF), an element of guardsmen held in reserve equipped with civil disturbance response equipment (helmets, shields, batons, etc.) and postured to quickly respond to an urgent and immediate need for assistance by civilian authorities. The Secretary of the Army’s Jan. 5th letter withheld authority for me to employ the Quick Reaction Force....

{PROOF annotation: It is now clear that when Capitol Police issued an urgent request for help on January 6, there was absolutely no chance help would be forthcoming in any timely fashion—not because of delays on January 6, though there were many—but primarily because of the actions Trump’s Pentagon had taken prior to January 6 in taking so long to respond to Democratic officials in the District and then denying them the sort of aid those officials had every reason to expect. Media’s exclusive focus on January 6 itself continues to be misplaced; so much of what happened on January 6 was inevitable based on what had happened prior to January 6. In particular, the fact that Trump had installed loyalists Kash Patel and Ezra-Cohen Watnick immediately after learning he’d lost the November 2020 election, and that these two men were essentially controlling Trump defense secretary Chris Miller in the days before the insurrection, according to Vanity Fair, have produced a significant concern that Trump and his agents coordinated the Pentagon’s refusal of Democratic officials’ urgent pleas both before and during the insurrection.}

steve sund recroppedImmediately after the 1:49PM call with Chief [Steven] Sund (right), I alerted the Army Senior Leadership of the request. The approval for Chief Sund’s request would eventually come from the Acting Secretary of Defense and be relayed to me by Army Senior Leaders at 5:08PM—3 hours and 19 minutes later. We already had Guardsmen on buses ready to move to the Capitol. Consequently, at 5:20PM—in under 20 minutes—the District of Columbia National Guard arrived at the Capitol. We helped to re-establish the security perimeter at the east side of the Capitol to facilitate the resumption of the Joint Session of Congress.

{PROOF annotation: This is stunning. Commander Walker is saying that had he received approval from the Pentagon at 1:49PM on January 6, he could have had Guardsmen at the Capitol by somewhere between 2:05PM and 2:08PM—in time to quell the worst of the insurrection—but instead he heard nothing from Miller, Patel, and Cohen-Watnick, the Trump Pentagon power center, until 5:08PM. Meanwhile, the boss of Mssrs. Miller, Patel, and Cohen-Watnick, was gleefully watching events from the White House and refusing to contact his men at the Pentagon. There is no chance that Miller, Patel, and Cohen-Watnick would have missed the clear signal from (at the very least) Trump’s silence, if not some White House communication we don’t yet know about: don’t do anything until I tell you. By the time the Pentagon acted, Trump had issued public statements about wanting the insurrectionists to leave the Capitol grounds. It was only then that his men at the Pentagon responded to the urgent pleas for aid from the Capitol.}

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

seth abramson headshotProof via Substack, Subject: Adventures in Metajournalism Commentary, Seth Abramson, left, March 4, 2021 (podcast, Episode 2, 59 mins.). The most significant event in the insurrection timeline besides the assault on the U.S. Capitol—a January 5 “war council” at Donald Trump’s private residence in Trump International Hotel—remains almost entirely uncovered by the major media, despite three eyewitnesses confirming the secretive meeting and its attendees.

More On U.S. Capitol Riot, Insurrection

 capitol noose shay horse nurphoto via getty

A crowd of Trump supporters surrounded a newly erected set of wooden gallows outside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. "Hang Mike Pence!" members of the crowd shouted at times about the Republican Vice President who had announced that he could not comply with the president's call to block election certification that day. The wooden gallows was near the Capitol Reflecting Pool.

dana milbank Customwashington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Did the Pentagon wait for Trump’s approval before defending the Capitol? Dana Milbank, March 4, 2021 (print ed.). Three hours and 19 minutes.

That’s how long it took from the first, desperate pleas for help from the Capitol Police to the Trump Pentagon on Jan. 6 until the D.C. National Guard finally received permission to help put down the bloody insurrection.

During those 199 minutes, the mob sacked the Capitol. People died. Overwhelmed Capitol and D.C. police were beaten. Lawmakers’ lives were jeopardized. And violent extremists defiled the seat of government, temporarily halting the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

“At 1:49 p.m., I received a frantic call from then-chief of United States Capitol Police, Steven Sund, where he informed me that the security perimeter of the United States Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters,” Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, commander of the D.C. Guard, testified Wednesday to a joint Senate committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. “Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency at the Capitol, and he requested the immediate assistance of as many available national guardsmen that I could muster.”

Walker immediately alerted senior Army leadership — and then waited. And waited. Approval to mobilize the guard wouldn’t be received until 5:08 p.m.

Department of Defense SealAt best, this was a catastrophic failure of government. At worst, political appointees and Trump loyalists at the Defense Department deliberately prevented the National Guard from defending the Capitol against a seditious mob.

The man ultimately responsible for the delay, Christopher Miller, left, had been a White House aide before Donald Trump installed him as acting defense secretary in christopher miller official.jpgNovember, as the president began his attempt to overturn his election defeat. Miller did Trump’s political bidding at another point during his 10-week tenure, forcing the National Security Agency to install a Republican political operative as chief counsel.

Also involved in the Pentagon delay was Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn, brother of disgraced former Trump adviser Michael Flynn, convicted (and pardoned) for lying to the FBI. Michael Flynn had suggested Trump declare martial law, and he helped to rile Trump supporters in Washington the day before the Capitol attack. The Pentagon had falsely denied to Post journalists that Charles Flynn was involved in the pivotal call on Jan. 6.

Representing the Pentagon on Wednesday fell to Robert Salesses, who haplessly tried to explain the delay. An hour and six minutes of the holdup was because then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy “was asking a lot of questions” about the mission. Another piece of the delay: The 36 minutes between when the Pentagon claims Miller authorized the action and when the D.C. Guard was informed of the decision. “That’s an issue,” Salesses allowed.

Curiously, the Pentagon claims Miller’s authorization came at 4:32 — 15 minutes after Trump told his “very special” insurrectionists to “go home in peace.” Was Miller waiting for Trump’s blessing before defending the Capitol?

The Pentagon’s 199-minute delay looks worse in light of a Jan. 4 memo Miller issued saying that without his “personal authorization” the D.C. Guard couldn’t “be issued weapons, ammunition, bayonets, batons or ballistic protection equipment such as helmets and body armor.”

The Army secretary added more restrictions the next day, saying in a memo that he would “withhold authority” for the D.C. Guard to deploy a “quick reaction force” and that he would “require a concept of operation” before allowing a quick reaction force to react. McCarthy even blocked the D.C. Guard in advance from redeploying to the Capitol guardsmen assigned to help the D.C. police elsewhere in Washington.

Without such restrictions, Walker, the D.C. Guard commander, could have dispatched nearly 200 guardsmen soon after the Capitol Police mayday call. “That number could have made a difference,” Walker testified.

robert portmanSen. Rob Portman, left, an Ohio Republican, was incredulous. “There are three unarmed national guardsmen who are helping with traffic control … and they were not permitted to move a block away without getting permission from the secretary of the Army?”

“That’s correct,” Walker replied.

Miller “required the personal approval of the secretary of defense for the National Guard to be issued riot gear?” Portman asked.

“That’s correct,” Walker replied. “Normally for a safety and force-protection matter, a commander would be able to authorize his guardsmen to protect themselves.”

But this was not normal. The Pentagon claims the restrictions were in response to criticism of the heavy-handed deployment of the National Guard in Washington during racial justice protests last summer. Maybe so. But Walker testified that when the police chiefs “passionately pleaded” for the Guard’s help on Jan. 6, senior Army officials on the call said it wouldn’t be “a good optic.” They thought “it could incite the crowd” and advised against it.

During this moment of crisis — an attempted coup in the Capitol — the defense secretary and the Army secretary were “not available,” Walker testified.

The nation deserves to know why.

washington post logoWashington Post, At the Capitol, a March 4 threat from militant Trump supporters proves a mirage, Katie Mettler, Emily Davies and John Woodrow Cox, March 4, 2021. Trump’s most delusional supporters swore he would return to power today. That, of course, didn’t happen

National Guard members armed with M4 rifles braced for rebellion that never came. Razor wire lined miles of steel fencing that went unbreached. Trump remained in Florida, where it was 70 degrees and sunny.

Capitol Police say intelligence shows militia group may be plotting to breach the Capitol

The angst stemmed from another misguided belief within QAnon, the extremist ideology that claims Trump has been working in secret to overthrow a cabal of blood-drinking, Satan-worshipping Democratic pedophiles. After repeated unfulfilled prophecies, the group’s supporters declared in recent weeks that Trump would retake office on March 4, the country’s original Inauguration Day.

  • Washington Post, Retropolis: Why did QAnon zero in on March 4 for Trump’s comeback? March 4, 2021.

ethan nordean WSJ

washington post logoWashington Post, Judge releases Proud Boys leader after prosecutors withdraw several allegations, Spencer S. Hsu, March 4, 2021. The government has cast the Washington state Proud Boys leader as a key figure in the Jan. 6 breach.

A federal judge on Wednesday released a Washington state leader of the Proud Boys from jail pending trial, chiding prosecutors for withdrawing some of the more sensational allegations against him in the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol.

Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of Washington upheld a lower court’s Feb. 8 release order for Ethan Nordean (shown above), 30, of Seattle. She found that although Nordean appeared to be a key leader in raising money, gear and assembling Proud Boys to Washington before leading them to breach police lines in a “1776”-style revolt against the presidential election results, the government had not supplied evidence to date that he directly ordered individuals to break into the Capitol.

Nordean “was a leader of a march to the Capitol. But once he got there it is not clear what leadership role this individual took at all for the people who went inside,” Howell said. “Evidence that he directed other defendants to break into or enter the Capitol is weak, to say the least.”

Nordean’s release marked a stumble for prosecutors, who have cast him as a key figure based on what Howell agreed were “ominous” communications before Jan. 6 that they said indicated he and other Proud Boys were planning “violent action” to overwhelm police and force entry to the Capitol. The judge’s decision sets back for now the government’s efforts to establish that there was a wider plot to that end.

Howell ruled after a hearing in which prosecutors said they stood by their claim that Nordean led Proud Boys members in a plan to break into the Capitol from as many different points as possible, but withdrew it from the detention argument because it was disputed.

  •  Washington Post, Opinion: Did the Pentagon wait for Trump’s approval before defending the Capitol? March 4, 2021.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Mike Pence’s remarkable op-ed highlights the GOP’s choice on voting rights — and where it will probably land, Aaron Blake, March 4, 2021 (print ed.). In an mike pence oop-ed for the Daily Signal, Pence details his opposition to a voting rights bill spearheaded by House Democrats. He begins, “After an election marked by significant voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law, I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of the 2020 election.”

It’s a remarkable entry from Pence, given how disinformation about the election jeopardized his own safety. It’s also emblematic of the GOP’s pivot from Trump’s effort to question the election results, which divided the party in some high-profile ways, to a post-election effort to increase voting restrictions, which seems to be something that more of the Republicans can agree upon.

Palmer Report, Opinion: The big March 4th dud, Bill Palmer, right, March 4, 2021. It’s March 4th. Has Trump magically been installed as president, as his QAnon goons predicted? Have his goons bill palmertaken over the government? No, because they’re the kind of cowards who run and hide when faced with superior force, which is what they would have been facing today if they’d tried anything – just as nothing happened on Inauguration day, because the proper troops were in place. If proper troops had been in place, January 6th wouldn’t have happened either.

bill palmer report logo headerThe above is super easy to understand. Even the average kindergartner understands that it’s only worth trying to sneak into the toy box if the teacher isn’t looking. But that’s the easy part. The harder questions are precisely how to put superior forces in place, how long to leave them there, how to strike a balance between vigilance and freedom when it comes to having troops deployed in Washington DC, and so on.

But it’s more important than ever to keep in mind that these would-be insurrectionists aren’t evil geniuses. They don’t have a magic wand for doing whatever they want to us, whenever they want. They’re inept cowards who got lucky once due to inside help, and still managed to accomplish zero percent of their stated agenda on that day. We will not be held hostage by these bottom feeding idiots, their conspiracy theories, and their largely toothless threats.

Law&Crime, Defendant Flips Out in Federal Court, Says ‘It’s Not Fair’ He’s Been Locked Up ‘For a Whole Month’ After Putting His Feet on Desk in Pelosi’s Office, Aaron Keller, March 4, lawcrime logo2021. A defendant facing charges after allegedly carrying a stun gun while kicking his feet up on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office melted like a snowflake Thursday before a federal judge.

Richard “Bigo” Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Arkansas, a self-described “white nationalist” who posted on Facebook under the name “George Reincarnated Patton,” once said that he “[c]ame into this world kicking and screaming, covered in someone else’s blood” and was “not afraid to go out the same way.”

Barnett turned himself in to authorities after images of his activities spread widely both during and after the deadly riots.

Court documents say Barnett subsequently bragged about his exploits in Pelosi’s office.“I got blood on her office,” he is quoted as saying. “I put a quarter on her desk even though she ain’t fucking worth it. And I left her a note on her desk that says ‘Nancy, Bigo was here, you Bitch.'”

Barnett said he left the quarter after taking an envelope because he was not a thief. Such exploits should not, in his view, keep him behind bars pending trial. He belligerently said Thursday that “its not fair” that others were being released from custody on bail while he remains locked up.

He referred to the proceedings and the decision to keep him detained as “a bunch of crap.”

“Everyone else who did things much worse are already home,” he exclaimed.

The judge, not wanting to further listen to the outbursts, called a five-minute recess. When court resumed, Barnett’s attorneys said they were planning to file a new bond motion; the judge ended the hearing.

According the court docket, Judge Christopher R. Cooper set a new status conference the case for May 4th at 11:00 a.m. “The Court finds it in the interest of justice to toll the speedy trial clock from 3/4/2021 through 5/4/2021,” the docket continues. In other words, Barnett’s outburst, either directly or indirectly, resulted in his trial being pushed back two months — and he remain in custody, the docket says.

washington post logoWashington Post, House scraps plans for Thursday session after security officials warn of possible plot to breach Capitol, Jacqueline Alemany, March 4, 2021 (print ed.). Security detail for House impeachment managers extended through the week. The House scrapped plans for a Thursday session and moved up action on legislation to Wednesday night, when it will hold its last votes for the week. The Senate plans to be in session Thursday, with a handful of committees scheduled to meet.

The security detail assigned to the House’s Democratic impeachment managers has been extended through this week, according to two officials familiar with the assignments. The detail may last until next week, depending on the guidance from the sergeant-at-arms, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss security for lawmakers.

The extended protection comes as security officials warned of credible threats of violence circulated by right-wing extremists claiming that March 4 will be the “true Inauguration Day” for former president Donald Trump. Some congressional offices are asking staffers to stay home for the day after Capitol security officials warned of a possible plot by an unnamed militant group to breach the Capitol. Three offices have confirmed to The Washington Post that they will give staffers the option of working virtually or encourage them to work from home.

The Democratic managers argued the case against Trump last month on the impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, an assault that resulted in the death of a Capitol Police officer and four other people. The Senate acquitted Trump.

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report, Opinion: Destroying a subversive terrorist organization -- the RepubliQan Party, Wayne Madsen (left, commentator, author of 18 books and former Navy intelligence officer), March wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Small4, 2021. Today, the Congress [House] stands adjourned due to a far-right terrorist threat. The elected representatives of the American people are unable to act on important pandemic and voting rights measures due to a Qanon-inspired threat to repeat the actions of January 6.

Due to crackpot theories spread by Qanon and other far-right groups, March 4 has been declared the date on which Donald Trump will be inaugurated for a second presidential term.

republican elephant logoThere is only one way to halt the perpetuation of threats on Congress and federal and state government. For the first time since the end of World War II, the German government has declared its main opposition political party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) under legal surveillance for the party's promotion of neo-Nazi causes. Donald Trump political adviser Steve Bannon has a close relationship with AfD leader Jörg Meuthen.

Based on the RepubliQan Party now being no different than Qanon, neo-Nazi groups, and the Ku Klux Klan, the Biden administration should follow the example of Germany and place the Republican Party, its elected members, and the party leadership, including the Trump family, under court-authorized surveillance and asset freezes for constituting major threats to the U.S. Constitution and national security.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Turns out the insurrectionist members of Congress may be seeing their worst fears come true after all, Bill Palmer, right, March 4, 2021. During congressional hearings bill palmerthis week, a couple of Republican Senators made a point of grilling FBI Director Chris Wray on what evidence had been collected of cellphone communications in relation to the January 6th Capitol attack. It couldn’t have been more obvious that they were fishing to see if the FBI had evidence linking them to the Capitol attackers.

bill palmer report logo headerNow it sounds like their worst fears may indeed be real. CNN is reporting that the Feds are investigating “communications between members of Congress and the pro-Trump mob that attacked the US Capitol,” in an attempt at determining whether members of Congress aided the attackers with the information they provided. No members of Congress have been specifically named, and we’ll have to let the investigation play out. But it sounds like some members of Congress really need to be worried right about now.

Interestingly, the overly defensive Senators who grilled Wray this week seem to have given away a key angle that they’ll use for mounting a political and criminal defense if they do end up getting charged: they’ll argue that the cellphone records were obtained illegally. In other words, they’ll try to blame their own domestic terrorism on the “deep state.”

Future of Freedom Foundation, Kennedy’s Policy Toward Third World Nations, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, March 4, 2021. Last night, we had the first presentation in jacob hornberger newour online conference “The National Security State and the Kennedy Assassination.” Our first speaker was James DiEugenio, below at left, who has been the leading figure in the JFK assassination research community highlighting how President Kennedy’s policy toward independence movements in Third World countries was contrary to the policy held by the U.S. national-security establishment, namely the Pentagon and the CIA.

After World War II, the federal government was converted from a limited-government republic to a national-security state. This was when the U.S. government, future of freedom foundation logo squarespecifically the CIA, acquired the powers of assassination and regime change.

The justification for this monumental change in America’s governmental structure, which was accomplished without a constitutional amendment, was a supposed grave threat to the United States from a supposed international communist conspiracy to take over the world that was supposedly based in Moscow, Russia.

Americans barely had time to celebrate their victory in World War II when they began to be told that they were now facing an even more dangerous enemy than Nazi Germany. That enemy was the Soviet Union (i.e., Russia), which, ironically, had been America’s partner and ally in World War II.

Public officials, from the president down to the local public school teacher, inculcated Americans with a deep fear of communism and communists. Everyone was told that the communists were coming to get us. And supposedly the Reds were everywhere. The State Department. Congress. The army. Hollywood. The public schools. Some people even claimed that President Eisenhower was a communist agent. And by 1959, they were only 90 miles away from American shores, in Cuba.

jim dieugenio PhotoIt is impossible to overstate the deep fear of communism and communists that was inculcated into the American people. This is why so few people objected when U.S. officials intervened in Korea’s and Vietnam’s civil wars. The notion was that if we don’t stop the Reds there, it won’t be long before they are on American shores.

As Jim (shown at left) pointed out in his talk last night, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there were independence movements in Third World nations that were trying to cast off the shackles of colonial rule by such imperialist powers as Great Britain, France, and Belgium. Colonial rule, more often than not, had turned out to be brutal for the people living in those nations. They had had enough and were now agitating and fighting for independence.

Taking the position that these independence movements were communist-inspired, the Pentagon and the CIA sided with the colonial powers. Pentagon and CIA officials supported their efforts to brutally put down these revolts to ensure that these Third World nations remained as part of the “free world.”

While he was a U.S. Senator and before he was running for president, Kennedy took an opposite position. He came out publicly in favor of these independent movements, arguing that the United States should be siding with the rebels rather than with the imperial powers.

As Jim related in his talk, knowing that Kennedy sympathized with Congo leader Patrice Lumumba and his independence movement, the CIA decided to act fast, before Kennedy could interfere with its plans to rid the world of Lumumba through assassination. The CIA succeeded in its goal. Lumumba, who was an innocent man, was assassinated just a few days before Kennedy assumed the presidency. The CIA then waited three weeks to inform Kennedy that Lumumba was dead. As Jim pointed out, Kennedy’s anguish upon learning of Lumumba’s death through a telephone call was captured by a photographer. You can see Kennedy’s reaction to Lumumba’s death here.

Thus, in the eyes of the national-security establishment, which had already been opposing the supposed international communist threat for some 20 years, Kennedy was beginning his presidency in a very auspicious way, given his support for what the Pentagon and the CIA were certain was a grave threat to U.S. national security. As we will see as their conference proceeds, things would only go from bad to worse as Kennedy term in office proceeded.

Over the years, people have sometimes asked me what the relevance is of the JFK assassination given the long passage of time since it occurred. The relevance is this: It’s a straight line from that assassination to what we are living under today — a system of state-sponsored assassinations, including against American citizens, anti-democratic coups, installation of dictatorial regimes, alliances with dictatorial regimes, support of dictatorial regimes, wars of aggression, perpetual wars, the war on terrorism (and Muslims and communists), fear of Russia, fear of China, denial of due process, torture, indefinite detention, prosecution of people who reveal the dark-side secrets of the deep state, and much more. Understanding the who and the why of the Kennedy assassination enables one to gain a deeper understanding of the way of life we live under today — and what we need to do to extricate ourselves and our nation from this deadly, destructive, and immoral morass.

The Q&A after Jim’s talk was lively. We started the evening at 7 p.m. Eastern Time. When we finally wrapped up, it was 9:30 pm. And there were still lots of questions from the audience pending.

We recorded the talk and it will be on our website shortly. If you missed it, I recommend watching it before the next talk by Mike Swanson about the origins of the war state and the Vietnam War. Mike’s talk will be Wednesday, March 10. at 7 pm Eastern. Register at our conference website. Registration is free.

March 1

ny times logoNew York Times, Prosecutors Investigating Trump Focus on His Finance Chief, Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum and Maggie Haberman, March 1, 2021. State prosecutors in Manhattan who are investigating former President Donald J. Trump and his family business are sharpening their focus on the company’s long-serving chief financial officer, asking witnesses questions about his dealings at the company, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

allen weisselberg croppedThe increased focus on the executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, right, could step up pressure on him to cooperate with the investigation if the prosecutors unearth evidence of wrongdoing on his part. He has served as the Trump Organization’s financial gatekeeper for more than two decades and could be a vital source of information for the government about the inner workings of the company.

In recent weeks, the prosecutors working for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., have been interviewing witnesses who know Mr. Weisselberg and have asked at least one witness about Mr. Weisselberg’s sons, Barry and Jack Weisselberg, according to two of the people with knowledge of the matter.

Barry Weisselberg has been the property manager of Trump Wollman Rink in Central Park, and Jack works at Ladder Capital, one of Mr. Trump’s biggest lenders.

The district attorney’s office has not accused Mr. Weisselberg or his sons of any wrongdoing, and there is no indication that the sons are a focus of the investigation.

If the prosecutors were to secure Allen Weisselberg’s cooperation, it might provide a significant boost to the long-running investigation and deliver a blow to Mr. Trump, who has long depended on Mr. Weisselberg’s unflinching loyalty.

 djt cpac 2021 cspan

 Donald Trump at CPAC on Feb. 28 in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Courtesy of C-SPAN.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump rules out third party as he moves to firm up control of GOP, David Weigel and Michael Scherer, March 1, 2021 (print ed.). Making his first speech since leaving the White House, former president Donald Trump hinted he was contemplating another run in 2024.

Former president Donald Trump declared Sunday that he is considering a presidential run in 2024, has ruled out forming a third party and will devote himself to building up Republican efforts to take on Democrats and others he claimed have targeted his movement.

The address before an ebullient crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference marked Trump’s first political speech since leaving the White House. It was staged as a public declaration of Trump’s intention to play a dominant political role in controlling the GOP through the 2022 election — and to potentially set himself up for a third campaign for the White House.

“We began it together four years ago, and it is far from being over,” Trump said of the political journey launched by his 2016 campaign. “Let there be no doubt we will be victorious, and America will be stronger and greater than ever before.”

republican elephant logoTrump’s speech came as he has been putting the finishing touches on a new political structure that he intends to use to cement his dominance over the GOP.

“We are not starting new parties,” he said. “We have the Republican Party. It is going to unite and be stronger than ever before.”

Trump also launched an expected attack on President Biden, echoing many of the themes of the Republican’s winning 2016 presidential campaign and its losing sequel in 2020. He alleged that Biden had “the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history,” before attacking the president for his position on border security policy, his erasure of Trump executive orders and his energy policies.

He predicted withering Democratic losses in the 2022 midterms and a Democratic loss of the White House four years from now, prompting a standing ovation and chants of “USA!” and “Four more years!”

He repeated his false claims about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, which Biden won.

 

February

Feb. 24

couy griffin facebook

In a now-deleted Facebook post, New Mexico county official Couy Griffin, above, predicted of Inauguration Day at the Capitol, “blood will run out of the building.”

washington post logoWashington Post, FBI alert on possible ‘war’ on Congress reached police on eve of attack, deepening questions, Beth Reinhard and Matt Zapotosky, Feb. 24, 2021 (print ed.).  A joint hearing by two Senate committees spotlighted the stark warnings issued before the Jan. 6 riot.

Around 7 p.m. on Jan. 5, less than 24 hours before an angry mob overran the U.S. Capitol, an FBI bulletin warning that extremists were calling for violent attacks on Congress landed in an email inbox used by the D.C. police department. That same evening, a member of the Capitol Police received the same memo.

FBI logoBut the alert was not flagged for top officials at either agency, according to congressional testimony Tuesday — deepening questions about the breakdowns that contributed to massive security failures on Jan. 6.

steve sund recroppedBoth acting D.C. police chief Robert J. Contee III and former Capitol Police chief Steven Sund, left, said the intelligence community at large failed to detect key information about the intentions of the attackers and adequately communicate what was known in the run-up to the Capitol riot.

“I would certainly think that something as violent as an insurrection at the Capitol would warrant a phone call or something,” Contee told lawmakers.

Sund cast the Capitol Police as a “consumer” of intelligence from 18 federal agencies.

“If they were finding efforts that this was a coordinated attack, that had been coordinated among numerous states for some time in advance of this, that’s the information that would have been extremely helpful to us,” Sund said, adding, “That type of information could have given us sufficient, advance warning to prep, plan for an attack such as what we saw.”

But Tuesday’s joint hearing by two Senate committees also spotlighted the stark warnings that were issued before Congress met in a joint session to formalize President Biden’s victory.

 

More On Trump Mob Capitol Riot

 

Former Trump 2016 Campaign CEO and White House advisor Steve Bannon after his arrest last August 21 on a fugitive Chinese billionaire's yacht, portrayed in the background.

Former Trump 2016 Campaign CEO and White House advisor Steve Bannon after his arrest last August 21 on a fugitive Chinese billionaire's yacht, portrayed in the background. President Trump pardoned Bannon from federal charges alleging that he profited from a scheme to bilk pro-Trump donors hoping to build a "Wall" at the U.S.-Mexico border with private funds.

 wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: Key indicators that January 6 was an attempted coup d'etat, Wayne Madsen (left, author of 18 books, former Navy intelligence officer and wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallNSA analyst), Feb. 24,2021. The history of modern political era coups and coup plots provides a great deal of insight in forming a conclusion that what occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was no mere "riot" or protest "gone wild."

wayne madesen report logoRecent disclosures in federal charging documents of insurrection participants and leaders, as well as the feeble attempt by the Capitol's three top law enforcement officials -- who either resigned or were fired after the melée -- to blame others for the lack of security all point to a coordinated operation involving the Trump White House, the political leadership of the Pentagon, far right extremist groups, and last, but not least, GOP Congressional insiders, including Senators and U.S. Representatives and their staffs.

It can also be ascertained what sort of post-constitutional government Donald Trump and his collaborators planned to form after eliminating the legislative branch of the federal government as a threat.

What is being largely missed by the corporate media is the fact that former and, reportedly, current Trump political adviser Steve Bannon is in league with far-right fascist parties around the world that seek to oust existing democratic governments and replace them with far-right regimes. Bannon's efforts are being financially supported by Rebekah Mercer, the deep-pocketed billionaire daughter of hedge fund mogul and major alt-right media financier Robert Mercer; exiled Chinese billionaire and would-be fascist warlord of a post-Communist Chinese state, Guo Wengui; and right-wing, anti-Pope Francis elements of the fascist Roman Catholic order Opus Dei.

washington post logoWashington Post, Major Trump backer Rebekah Mercer orchestrates Parler’s second act, Rachel Lerman, Feb. 24, 2021. The daughter of a major Republican donor is a founding investor of the social media network, where she reportedly is pulling strings.

When social media website Parler’s founding CEO John Matze was pushed out last month, it was at the direction of a quiet but powerful political megadonor backing the right-leaning site.

parler logoRebekah Mercer, right, the 47-year-old daughter of major Republican donor Robert Mercer, is a founding investor of Parler. She increasingly pulls the strings at the company, according to people familiar with the company who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private business matters. She holds the majority stake in Parler and rebekah mercercontrolled two of three board seats as of early February — a board to which she recently appointed allies.

The social media company started garnering a name for itself last year as a friendly gathering spot for Republican politicians and pundits turned off by fact-checking and moderation on sites like Facebook and Twitter. But Parler, which publicly extolled itself as a free-speech-focused network with minimal rules, became a breeding ground for conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election. The site was knocked offline shortly after the riot at the U.S. Capitol for its alleged role in allowing the rioters to plan and egg each other on.

Now Mercer, who is credited with helping get Donald Trump elected president in 2016, is working to revive the site. It came back online last week with her new handpicked CEO, former tea party patriots leader, Mark Meckler, at the helm. It’s the latest in a long line of maneuvers by the Mercer family to create an alternative media industry that pushes a version of the cambridge analytica facebook logosnews that fits with their right-wing, populist political agenda — while keeping a low profile themselves.

Mercer has worked with her father for years to fund and support a complicated web of foundations and companies designed in part to sow distrust of big government. The Mercers invested in data company Cambridge Analytica, the firm that spurred a long-running scandal over misuse of Facebook data. They also invested heavily in right-wing site Breitbart News and were instrumental in connecting its former CEO, Stephen K. Bannon, with Donald Trump, for whom he served in a senior adviser role until mid-2017.

Palmer Report, Opinion: They’re either lying, or they were in on it, Bill Palmer, right, Feb. 24, 2021. We all knew that a ton of deranged Trump supporters would be outside the Capitol on January bill palmer6th. Everyone paying attention to the news cycle knew it. Anyone reading Trump’s tweets knew it.

bill palmer report logo headerWe just expected it not to go anywhere, because we presumed that law enforcement leaders would prepare for it, in which case the invasion never would have happened. It would have merely been a bunch of angry goons yelling stupid things outside the building, and nothing more.

During Tuesday’s congressional hearings, we kept hearing from law enforcement leaders who claim they had no idea Trump’s goons were going to be outside the Capitol on January 6th. But any law enforcement leader who says they didn’t see it coming is lying – or in on it.

Part of the reason these kinds of congressional hearings take place is that they force the people involved in the scandal to publicly stake themselves to a position on what happened, which can then point criminal investigators in the right direction when it comes to uncovering what really happened. The law enforcement leaders who are currently playing dumb are the ones who have something to hide.

ny times logoNew York Times, Retired N.Y.P.D. Officer Who Guarded City Hall Charged in Capitol Riot, Jonah E. Bromwich, Feb. 23, 2021. Thomas Webster turned himself in on charges that he assaulted a Washington police officer with a flagpole during the Jan. 6 attack on Congress.

A retired New York police officer who once was part of the security detail at City Hall was charged on Tuesday with assaulting a police officer with a metal flagpole during the pro-Trump riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

thomas webster resized headshotThe former officer, Thomas Webster, shown in an FBI photo, served in a New York Police Department unit that provided security for the mayor, Gracie Mansion and City Hall, according to a law enforcement official. He retired from the force in 2011.

Mr. Webster, 54, a former Marine, surrendered to the F.B.I. on Monday and was charged with six counts relating to the attack on an officer from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., and his participation in the violent attempt to stop Congress from certifying the presidential election results.

A federal prosecutor said there were videos of Mr. Webster attacking the Washington officer, first with a metal flagpole that earlier had flown a Marine Corps flag, and then with his bare hands.

According to court documents, after the officer wrestled the flagpole away from Mr. Webster, the former Marine tackled the officer, pinned him to the ground, straddled him and attempted to rip off his face shield and gas mask — an attack that left the officer unable to breathe.

“These videos shock the conscience,” the prosecutor, Benjamin A. Gianforti, said. He said Mr. Webster had shown an utter lack of compassion and had pursued the officer he attacked “like a junkyard dog.” The government did not immediately identify the officer.

ron johnson palmer

washington post logoWashington Post, Critics slam Sen. Ron Johnson for unfounded claim that ‘fake Trump protesters’ led riots: ‘It’s disgraceful,’ Katie Shepherd, Feb. 24, 2021. As senators on Tuesday worked to unpack the security failures that allowed a pro-Trump mob to storm the Capitol last month, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), shown above, offered a wholly different take on what had happened: that “agent provocateurs” and “fake Trump protesters” were to blame.

Critics, including some within his party, promptly slammed Johnson over his unfounded suggestions that the Jan. 6 insurrection had been a “jovial” protest and that rioters who stormed the Capitol were not supporters of Donald Trump. “It’s disgraceful for a sitting Senator to spread disinformation so blatantly,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who has been an outspoken djt maga hatcritic of Trump and his role in the insurrection, said Tuesday evening on Twitter. “It’s a disservice to the people he serves to continue lying to them like this. It’s dangerous and it must stop.”

As security officials testified about the intelligence lapses that allowed an armed group of insurrectionists to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, Johnson repeated unfounded claims about the riot that have become a familiar refrain from those who want to minimize the event’s seriousness and distance the worst participants from Trump.

Quoting an article published on a far-right website, Johnson claimed the “great majority” of protesters had a “jovial, friendly, earnest demeanor” and blamed the violence that turned deadly on “plainclothes militants, agent provocateurs, fake Trump protesters, and disciplined uniformed column of attackers.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Life amid the ruins of QAnon: ‘I wanted my family back,’ Greg Jaffe and Jose A. Del Real, Feb. 24, 2021 (print ed.). An epidemic of conspiracy, fanned by social media and self-serving politicians, is tearing families apart.

She bought ammunition, camping gear, a water purifier and boxes of canned food. Then, Tyler’s mother started wearing a holstered pistol around the house, convinced that 10 days of unrest and mass power outages were coming.

The chaos would culminate, she assured her son, in former president Donald Trump’s triumphant return to power on March 4, the original Inauguration Day before the passage of the 20th Amendment in 1932.

Tyler, 24, had been living with his mother an hour north of Minneapolis since he graduated college in 2019. The paranoia and fear that had engulfed his home had become unbearable in the months since Trump began to falsely claim that the 2020 election had been stolen from him.anthony warner

ny times logoNew York Times, Behind Nashville Bombing, a Conspiracy Theorist Stewing Over Government, Steve Cavendish, Neil MacFarquhar, Jamie McGee and Adam Goldman, Feb. 24, 2021.  Anthony Warner, above, who was obsessed with an outlandish tale about lizard aliens and other plots, had been planning the Christmas Day bombing for months.

Mr. Warner, the authorities said, drove his booby-trapped white recreational vehicle to Second Avenue North in the pre-dawn hours. The detonation damaged some 50 buildings, collapsing a few and shearing the antique brick facades off others that will require years and tens of millions of dollars to restore. Two months later, the blast area remains a confused, desolate patchwork of boarded-up buildings, cyclone fencing and uneven reconstruction efforts.

The explosion, in front of an AT&T hub, crippled cellular, internet and cable service across several states for two days and underscored the vulnerability of such common yet unprotected facilities.

Though Mr. Warner’s motive remains shrouded in mystery, false information and outlandish tales had poisoned his mind, apparently driving him to spectacular violence. This mind-set has become alarmingly familiar to law enforcement officials now reckoning with the destructive force of conspiracy theories that mutate endlessly online and played a role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Mr. Warner, who was 63 when he died, was not among the angry QAnon followers who came to believe the unlikely theory that Donald J. Trump would hold onto power by defeating a satanic cabal. He was a computer specialist with a deep distrust of government, according to his own writings and to those who knew him. A loner, he had made at least one female friend feel manipulated and frightened. And he had cultivated a bizarre obsession with shape-shifting alien lizards and a dense thicket of other peculiar ideas.

Biden Transition

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden turns to Obama administration veteran to lead key federal personnel agency, Lisa Rein and Eric Yoder, Feb. 24, 2021 (print ed.). Kiran Ahuja will lead the Office of Personnel Management, a department that is expected to take on a high-profile role.

joe biden oPresident Biden has tapped Kiran Arjandas Ahuja, a civil rights lawyer, activist and Obama-era veteran, to lead the Office of Personnel Management, a department the Trump administration tried to kill but is now expected to take on a high-profile role.

Ahuja, 49, served as the personnel agency’s chief of staff from 2015 to 2017 as it faced fallout from a massive data breach that compromised the personal information of millions of federal workers and contractors. Before that, she led the Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Obama White House.

Ahuja returned to federal personnel matters during the Biden transition as head of the team reviewing OPM and other agencies that deal with the federal workforce, taking a leave from her role as chief executive of Philanthropy Northwest, a regional philanthropic network of six northwestern states. Her nomination was announced Tuesday.

Ahuja would have a mandate to reverse course on former president Donald Trump’s policies on the civil service, which he and his top aides often derided as a “deep state” of Democratic bureaucrats. Many agencies lost experts in a range of fields during the Trump era, and Biden has pledged to revitalize the workforce.

The agency became deeply politicized under the Trump administration, which installed a record number of political appointees there as personnel policy was increasingly dictated by the White House. Trump’s last confirmed personnel chief, Dale Cabaniss, quit with no notice last year after five months on the job, following months of tension with political appointees installed by the White House to monitor how she ran the office.

Trump’s first chief, Jeff Tien Han Pon, was fired after seven months because he resisted the administration’s plan to dismantle the office and farm out its functions to other departments, including the White House.

UN logo

washington post logoWashington Post, Senate confirms Biden’s nominee for ambassador to United Nations, John Hudson and Anne Gearan, Feb. 24, 2021 (print ed.). The Senate confirmed President linda thomas greenfieldBiden’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday, elevating an African American woman and career diplomat to one of the most high-profile jobs in diplomacy.

The upper chamber took an initial step, voting 78 to 20 to elevate Linda Thomas-Greenfield, right, to ambassador status, with Democrats and moderate Republicans praising her decades of experience serving under presidents of both parties. A second vote to make her “representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations” was 78 to 21.

The votes come as the United States prepares to take over the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council for the month of March. Thomas-Greenfield has promised to work with foreign countries to achieve common goals and defend human rights around the world.

 

colin kahl proof

Proof via Substack, Investigative Commentary: A Statement on Colin Kahl, Seth Abramson, Feb 24, 2021. New reporting suggests that Senate Republicans may try to use me as part of a bid seth abramson headshotto scuttle one of Joe Biden's Pentagon nominations (shown above)—a sad misdirection doomed to fail.

It recently came to my attention that there’s a distant chance my name will come up at a televised Congressional hearing on March 4, 2021. Because—if this comes to pass—it would be part of a preposterous sideshow deeply incongruous with the dignity of the Senate and the gravity of the hearing in question, I thought I’d issue a statement now that anyone can refer to later if they wish to, or if circumstances should warrant it. I regret that this is even necessary.

I don’t know Colin Kahl. I’ve never met or spoken to Colin Kahl. I know so little about the man that in drafting this brief statement I repeatedly spelled his name “Kohl” until I looked it up and saw that I’d been mistaken. Yes, Colin Kahl follows me on Twitter, but then so do nearly a million people—including an arch-conservative like Charlie Kirk and one of the chief critics of “Russiagate” reporting (as he calls it), Matt Taibbi. My Twitter feed is followed by thousands of major-media journalists and by hundreds of politicians, local and state and federal, who hail from both major political parties.

seth abramson proof logoOn March 23, 2017, approximately 60 days after the release of the Steele dossier and many months before the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel in the Trump-Russia affair, I published a lengthy thread on Twitter. I was already becoming well known on Twitter for such threads, which I mercifully briefly—though March 2017 happens to be in a sweet spot in this regard—called “mega-threads.” By the late summer of 2017, both I and Colin Kahl would be remarked upon by Politico as being among the ten most notable “threaders” on Twitter. It’s entirely possible that, to the extent Kahl took any notice of my “mega-threads” in the spring of 2017, it was in part because they stood out to him for their length, and in certain respects mirrored his own crowbarring of Twitter’s rather straitjacketed UX for his own rhetorical purposes.

Kahl was one of literally millions of Twitter users—according to Twitter analytics—who read my now-famous (or now-infamous, depending on your historical view and your politics) “Mayflower Thread,” a work that was inspired by the fact that in early 2017 journalists around the country, metajournalists like myself included, were still trying to determine the validity of the Steele dossier. I ultimately came down on the same side as many folks in journalism and indeed as Steele himself, concluding that the dossier was likely about one-third false and two-thirds accurate, consistent with what we might expect from a bundle of raw intelligence from one of the world’s top spies and a longtime partner of the FBI. I understand that conservatives demur from this assessment, in response to which I comfort myself with the knowledge that almost none of the critics of the Steele dossier have read it. I not only read it countless times, I wrote a bestselling trilogy of books on Trump’s foreign policy scandals in Russia and the Middle East (Proof of Collusion in 2018, Proof of Conspiracy in 2019, and Proof of Corruption in 2020) that spanned 2,500 pages and 12,000 major-media citations. So my assessment of the Steele dossier is that of a researcher and an author, not a partisan.

christopher steele ex MI6 spy express croppedMy March 2017 “Mayflower Thread” sought to investigate whether a then-only-lightly-reported event in the late period of Donald Trump’s 2016 primary campaign, his April 27 foreign policy speech (indeed his first such speech) at the Center for the National Interest, dovetailed with the raw intel [Christopher Steele, the former British spy and Russia expert, shown at left] had provided to the FBI in the summer of 2016. It turned out that in certain respects it did; with respect to other components, such as the dossier’s recitation of contacts between Trump national security adviser Carter Page and Kremlin agents, we would only discover how on point the dossier was many months later, when Page publicly lied about the contacts on national television.

Because I am a metajournalist, not a reporter, my thread drew almost exclusively from major-media sources, citing and linking to, variously, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Politico, Slate, BuzzFeed News, New York Magazine, and the website for the Center for the National Interest, among other sources. Content from the Mayflower Thread would later be included in my book Proof of Collusion, which was published by Simon & Schuster—Bob Woodward’s publisher—and became a New York Times bestseller in November of 2018. The number of significant insights in the Mayflower Thread is what caused it to go viral and receive media coverage on both sides of the Atlantic, with me thereafter appearing on CNN, the BBC, the CBC, CBS News, HBO, and countless other media outlets in significant part on the strength of the revelations in the thread. These included 14 ultimately prescient observations, all based on OSINT and my own past experience as a criminal investigator in the federal criminal justice system in D.C. (as well as my years of experience as a public defender in multiple jurisdictions in New England):

  • Paul Manafort took over effective control of Trump’s 2016 campaign far earlier than many realized, in fact in early April 2016.
  • Top players in Trump’s campaign—and top advisers in Trump’s social circle— wanted Manafort to take over the campaign from Corey Lewandowski almost immediately after the former’s hire.
  • Jared Kushner had orchestrated Trump’s first foreign policy speech through extensive contact with the Center for the National Internet and its director, a man (Dimitri Simes) who was the Trump campaign’s top adviser on Russia in 2016 and now works as a paid propagandist for Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
  • Kushner and Manafort were keen to work with the Center in part because of its close ties to Moscow and Trump’s professed desire for a detente with Russia.
  • Manafort made the decision to move Trump’s speech from the National Press Club to the Mayflower Hotel just days before the event, doing so in part to facilitate a private VIP event before the speech to which media would not be invited.
  • The VIP event included a large number of people who shared Trump’s goal of a detente with Russia, including Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Iran-Contra figure Bud McFarlane, and ambassadors from countries rooting for a U.S.-Russia breakthrough in part because they were involved in a massive oil-and-LNG deal with the Kremlin (a deal often referred to, at the time, as the “Rosneft deal”).
  • Trump had had secret meetings at Trump Tower with Kislyak and McFarlane—both of who would later be involved in White House efforts to broker a secretive multilateral foreign policy deal with the Kremlin involving oil and LNG in the Middle East and elsewhere—during a 3-day period in which the aforementioned Rosneft deal was closing.
  • Richard Burt, an adviser to Russia’s Alfa Bank, had participated in the vetting of Trump’s April 27 speech.
  • One of the attendees at the VIP event at the Mayflower Hotel, Jeff Sessions, chose to lie to Congress about his attendance.
  • Trump miscast the length and nature of the VIP event to falsely portray himself and his top advisers as having had no significant contact with any of the event’s attendees.
  • Kislyak also lied about his contact with the Trump campaign—both his contacts in April 2016 and thereafter.
  • Manafort, based on a long history of working on behalf on pro-Kremlin interests, was well-positioned to seek out secret contacts with such interests, or even with agents of the Kremlin.
  • Many of the Kremlin agents or pro-Kremlin advisers Trump and his top advisers (including Kushner) met with at Trump Tower during the 2016-2017 presidential transition were brought into Trump Tower through alternate entrances to keep the meetings secret from the media and the American people.
  • Bud McFarlane came to be keen on Trump and a Trump-Russia detente because he knew his designs on energy interests in the Middle East could be further effectuated by a historic geopolitical agreement between Trump and Putin.

Whatever you may think of the Trump-Russia investigation broadly writ, none of the above is controversial—as it was all later contained within the Mueller Report and, thereafter, in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report. I just happened to put together this information years before either DOJ or Congress did. And I put it together both accurately and responsibly, calling for additional investigations of the Rosneft deal mentioned in the Steele dossier without drawing any conclusions about that deal or the dossier that first brought it to the attention of the intel community.

So why am I writing now about a Twitter thread from nearly four years ago, which, to the extent it could come in for any criticism at all, would almost surely face such criticism from individuals employing 20/20 hindsight to make the hectic early days of the Trump-Russia probe seem more incautious than they were (or my thread was)?

Well, because apparently, three days after I posted the Mayflower Thread and it was being widely discussed on Twitter, Colin Kahl wrote that my research for the thread was “intriguing” and “seem[ed] worth [a] closer look.” It was hardly a fawning endorsement, especially as it came three days after the work had been published, at a time it was in general conversation on both the left and right of American politics. Indeed, Kahl did no more than say that the April 27 event “seemed” to be worth a “closer look,” without prejudging what that “look” might produce—if anything at all.

In the event, of course, it produced quite a lot. Nearly everything in my thread was confirmed, including Trump-Russia lies by the president, his top staffers, Putin’s top representative in the U.S., the now-disgraced director of the Center for the National Interest, Paul Manafort, Jeff Sessions, and many others in Trump’s personal, political, and professional milieus. While it did not turn out that there were significant sideline meetings at the Mayflower Hotel event—at least that we know of—there is no longer any doubt that the event was a turning point in Trump’s ongoing effort to woo Putin. The Mayflower Thread noted the possibility of sideline meetings at the Mayflower Hotel in April 2016, but it did not go beyond the then-available evidence to claim that such meetings were a certainty—merely that the possibility was worth consideration and additional investigation. That was, at the time, the prevailing view in America among those following the Trump-Russia scandal, with Colin Kahl being just one of many millions in agreement.

Apparently, Kahl’s mild approval of a stock of OSINT research that turned out to be years ahead of the curve is now a problem for his Senate confirmation as Joe Biden’s pick to run the Pentagon’s policy shop. Instead of lauding Kahl for recognizing solid independent journalism that turned out to be better sourced intelligence than almost anything Trump loyalists in the ODNI and elsewhere put out during the entirety of the Trump administration, the fact that Kahl quote-tweeted a New York Times-bestselling Trump biographer, Newsweek columnist, experienced attorney, journalism professor, and trained federal criminal investigator is now supposed to be some sort of problem.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

ny times logoNew York Times, Biden’s C.I.A. Pick Warns of China and Russia at Amicable Confirmation Hearing, Julian E. Barnes, Feb. 24, 2021. The nominee, William J. Burns, appears likely to win bipartisan support from senators.

williams burns 2005President Biden’s nominee to lead the C.I.A. pledged during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday to improve spying on China, warned of Russia’s ability to interfere with American affairs and promised to deliver apolitical intelligence to the White House, leaning on his long diplomatic experience to win over senators.

The nominee, William J. Burns, right, argued that China was an adversarial power and the intelligence community’s greatest geopolitical challenge. He called for investing more resources and personnel as well as technological innovation.

He also warned that even as a declining power, Russia has shown it can be disruptive. And he pledged to examine evidence about mysterious attacks that have left a number of C.I.A. officers with lingering ailments, making a commitment to a work force battered for years by former President Donald J. Trump.

cia logoMr. Burns’s confirmation as C.I.A. director seems all but assured, with a large bipartisan majority of senators supporting him. A vote by the full Senate could come next week.

The Senate Intelligence Committee hearing was far more of a coronation than a confrontational question-and-answer session, with more of the discussion focusing on foreign policy than intelligence matters, perhaps unsurprising given Mr. Burns’s experience as ambassador to Jordan and Russia, as well as the senior State Department positions he has held.

That deep experience and ability to clearly explain complex foreign policy challenges appealed to President Biden, according to current and former officials.

Feb. 22

djt handwave file

Proof via Substack, Investigative Commentary: Leading Republican Candidate for Governor of Virginia Met with Insurrectionists and Discussed Armed Rebellion the Day Before the January 6 seth abramson headshotInsurrection, Seth Abramson, left, Feb. 22, 2021 (republished from subscription site with permission). Recorded discussion included consideration of Donald Trump raising a personal army of more than a million combat veterans to help him retain control of the White House.

In the Republican gubernatorial primary in Virginia, State Senator Amanda Chase, below right, has a healthy lead of 7% over her nearest competitor. The bad news for Chase is that just 48 hours ago she lost a lawsuit seeking to compel the Republican Party of Virginia to hold a conventional primary rather than—as the party is now considering, and has until Tuesday to decide upon—a state “convention” at which the party’s 2021 gubernatorial candidate would be selected by a committee of just 72 party members.

Chase, who has been called “controversial” by local media, even “the Donald Trump of Virginia politics” by one source, certainly has reason to fear that her party’s leaders, as opposed to amanda chase resizedVirginia’s Trumpist voter base, might not select her to be their standard bearer for the November 2, 2021 gubernatorial election.

And it now appears that there’s very good reason for Virginia’s Republican leaders not to do so.

A no-longer-publicly-available social media thread allegedly depicting a January 5, 2021 Facebook Live event involving Chase and several infamous insurrectionists is now getting renewed attention. In the video (originally posted on a Facebook page that Facebook on January 8 suspended for 60 days) Chase speaks with Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, and Joshua Macias, head of Vets for Trump. CNN notes that the FBI is investigating many of Rhodes’ associates in the Oath Keepers, and has arrested some of them in a plot detailed by the Wall Street Journal as involving gassing all of Congress to death in the tunnels beneath the United States Capitol. As for Macias, he was arrested on gun charges during the counting of seth abramson proof logovotes in Philadelphia and was later charged with felony election interference in November of 2020.

At one point in the video, with Senator Chase sitting between them, Macias and Rhodes have the following incredible exchange (made all the more harrowing because it comes just hours before Insurrection Day):

MACIAS: “…[t]he most well-trained—crucible-trained—combat veterans this world has ever seen….there are veterans out there that are well-trained, that can immediate [sic] president be brought in as a special group and be utilized—in any way, shape or form—at his [the president’s] disposal. And we have a million just in Vets for Trump right now, standing at the ready, let alone those within one degree of separation, and the six million that didn’t even vote before [in 2016], that now voted in the 2016 [sic] election. So here we sit [on January 5] at a precipice of change, where we have the community that’s ready to step in, do what is needed, we have those that are—the president has all the power and the authority to do so—and he has all the backing of “we the people” and the 80 million that voted for him.

RHODES: In fact, us veterans, until age 65, under federal statute, still are subject to being called up as a militia. It goes from 17 to 45 if you’re not a veteran; if you’re a veteran, because of our prior experience and training, it goes to age 65. He could call us up right now as a militia—

MACIAS: Right now!

RHODES: —and put us to work.

MACIAS: And he has the ability—with special groups—that he can pull them in in other ways as well, and we can intake all of them, and place them wherever he needs it. So he has, standing at the ready, well-trained—crucible-trained—veteran volunteers that are at the ready right now.

At another point in his comments, Macias spreads anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about George Soros controlling the U.S. criminal justice system and opines that “the Communists have taken over so many places in our country.” At several points in the Vets for Trump leader’s diatribe, Senator Chase visibly nods.

Less than two weeks later, Macias would, alongside Latinos for Trump—whose leader Bianca Gracia not only also appears in the January 5 video alongside Chase, Rhodes, and Macias, but had also appeared at the Stop the Steal/Rally to Save America that day—seek a Temporary Restraining Order in federal court in Texas to try to keep Joe Biden from being inaugurated. {Note: Other speakers at the January 5 rally included Roger Stone and Alex Jones, both of whom say—see the prior articles in Proof on this subject—that they were in touch with Trump or the White House in the days leading up to the insurrection.}

djt maga hatSenator Chase attended the January 6 Stop the Steal/March to Save America event that incited the armed insurrection that day, and indeed recorded a video from the event in which she confirmed that “everyone” at the event was a Trump supporter and that there were “no counter-protestors”—a statement that, as of February 21, 2021, 58% of Trump voters disagree with (they claim, instead, per a USA Today poll, that it was “mostly an antifa-inspired attack that only involved a few Trump supporters”). In fact, New York Times cell phone tracking data confirms that the same group that attended the Trump rally at the White House Ellipse, which Chase denominated in her video as composed wholly of Trump supporters, thereafter stormed the Capitol.

Chase’s personal Facebook page, which has not yet been suspended by Facebook, includes the January 6 video but not the January 5 video of her discussion with several insurrectionists. In the January 6 video, which Chase closes with the words “stay tuned”, she can be seen wearing a lanyard around her neck that is attached to some sort of identification badge or access pass whose contents can’t readily be determined.

The New York Times calls Amanda Chase a Trump loyalist; Chase has called herself “Trump in heels.” Now that Chase’s hob-knobbing with insurrectionists to discuss—among other matters, like anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and false claims of a Communist takeover in the United States—armed insurrection is publicly known, it becomes a key question in American politics whether Trump will publicly endorse her. Per the Times, Chase called the January 6 insurrectionists “patriots” and “was still arguing with less than a week left in Mr. Trump’s presidency that he could yet be inaugurated for a second term.” At stake, therefore, in Virginia right now is whether Trump plans to make an active play to get insurrectionists into positions of power in America.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

Feb. 20

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Signs of Positive Turn in Direction of World Events, Webster G. Tarpley, Feb. 20, 2021. As Post-Trump Era Begins, Signs of Positive Turn in Direction of World Events Away webster tarpley 2007from Fascist Nihilism, Pessimism, and Despair Towards Rationality. World Affairs Starting to Stabilize under Biden as US Abandons Wrecking Role of Last Administration; Russian and Chinese Designs for International Anarchy Can Now Be Checked; Claims by Totalitarian Powers of Decline and Decadence of US Democracy Refuted.

US Economic Recovery Now within Reach as Biden Shows Determination to Pass $1.9 Billion Rescue Bill despite GOP Sabotage; $15 Minimum Wage is Now Central Issue;Republican Party in Crisis as Trump Attacks Mitch, Who Embodies GOP’s Vital Money Pipeline from Reactionary Megadonor Billionaires to Candidates and Advertising; Texas-Cruz Debacle Is Case Study of Bankruptcy of Anti-Government, pro-Speculation Thinking Under Globalization;

US Returns to World Affairs at NATO, G-7, and Munich Security Conferences; State Department Working to End Genocidal Yemen War Trump Enabled MBS to Unleash;
A Bad Day for the Kremlin and Beijing: Biden Proclaims US Will Respect NATO Article Five Pledge of Mutual Aid for Allies, Stresses End of America First aka America Alone; Discusses Need for Public Health Cooperation and Joint Opposition to Beijing and Moscow; Europe Welcomes Junking of Trump Interlude; Concept of “Westlessness” as Discussed at Recent Munich Conferences Is Obsolescent;

New York Magazine, Commentary: An Ex-KGB Agent Says Trump Was a Russian Asset Since 1987. Does it Matter? Jonathan Chait, Feb. 20, 2021. In 2018, I became either famous or notorious — depending on your point of view — for writing a story speculating that Russia had secret leverage over Trump (which turned out to be correct). The story’s most controversial suggestion was that it was plausible, though hardly certain, that Russia’s influence over Trump might even date back as far as 1987.

I conceded it was probably just a coincidence that Trump came back from his trip to Russia and started spouting themes that happened to dovetail closely with Russia’s geopolitical goal of splitting the United States from its allies. But there was a reasonable chance — I loosely pegged it at 10 or 20 percent — that the Soviets had planted some of these thoughts, which he had never expressed before the trip, in his head.

If I had to guess today, I’d put the odds higher, perhaps over 50 percent. One reason for my higher confidence is that Trump has continued to fuel suspicion by taking anomalously pro-Russian positions. He met with Putin in Helsinki, appearing strangely submissive, and spouted Putin’s propaganda on a number of topics including the ridiculous possibility of a joint Russian-American cybersecurity unit. (Russia, of course, committed the gravest cyber-hack in American history not long ago, making Trump’s idea even more self-defeating in retrospect than it was at the time.) He seemed to go out of his way to alienate American allies and blow up cooperation every time they met during his tenure.

A second reason is that reporter Craig Unger, left, got a former KGB spy to confirm on the record that Russian intelligence had been working Trump for decades. In his new book, “American craig unger twitterKompromat,” Unger interviewed Yuri Shvets, who told him that the KGB manipulated Trump with simple flattery. “In terms of his personality, the guy is not a complicated cookie,” he said, “his most important characteristics being low intellect coupled with hyperinflated vanity. This makes him a dream for an experienced recruiter.”

craig unger resized american kompromatThat’s quite similar to what I suggested in my story:

Russian intelligence gains influence in foreign countries by operating subtly and patiently. It exerts different gradations of leverage over different kinds of people, and uses a basic tool kit of blackmail that involves the exploitation of greed, stupidity, ego, and sexual appetite. All of which are traits Trump has in abundance.

This is what intelligence experts mean when they describe Trump as a Russian “asset.” It’s not the same as being an agent. An asset is somebody who can be manipulated, as opposed to somebody who is consciously and secretly working on your behalf.

Shvets told Unger that the KGB cultivated Trump as an American leader, and persuaded him to run his ad attacking American alliances. “The ad was assessed by the active measures directorate as one of the most successful KGB operations at that time,” he said, “It was a big thing — to have three major American newspapers publish KGB soundbites.”

To be clear, while Shvets is a credible source, his testimony isn’t dispositive. There are any number of possible motives for a former Soviet spy turned critic of Russia’s regime to manufacture an indictment of Trump. But the story he tells is almost exactly the possibility I sketched out. And it fits the known facts about how Russian intelligence works and what Trump has done pretty tightly.

One thing I have changed my mind on since my story ran is the effect any this would have on the American public even if it were proven.

If something like the most sinister plausible story turned out to be true, how much would it matter? Probably not that much. Don’t get me wrong: Russia having secret channels of leverage over an American president isn’t good. I have merely come to think that even if we could have confirmed the worst, to the point that even Trump’s supporters could no longer deny it, it wouldn’t have changed very much. Trump wouldn’t have been forced to resign, and his Republican supporters would not have had to repudiate him. The controversy would have simply receded into the vast landscape of partisan talking points — one more thing liberals mock Trump over, and conservatives complain about the media for covering instead of Nancy Pelosi’s freezer or antifa or the latest campus outrage.

One reason I think that is because a great deal of incriminating information was confirmed and very little in fact changed as a result. In 2018, Buzzfeed reported, and the next year Robert Mueller confirmed, explosive details of a Russian kompromat operation. During the campaign, Russia had been dangling a Moscow building deal that stood to give hundreds of millions of dollars in profit to Trump, at no risk. Not only did he stand to gain this windfall, but he was lying in public at the time about his dealings with Russia, which gave Vladimir Putin additional leverage over him. (Russia could expose Trump’s lies at any time if he did something to displease Moscow.)

Mueller even testified that this arrangement gave Russia blackmail leverage over Trump. But by the time these facts had passed from the realm of the mysterious to the confirmed, they had become uninteresting.

We don’t know what other sources of leverage Russia had, or how far back it went. Ultimately, whatever value Trump offered to Russia was compromised by his incompetence and limited ability to grasp firm control even of his own government’s foreign policy. It was not just the fabled “deep state” that undermined Trump. Even his own handpicked appointees constantly undermined him, especially on Russia. Whatever leverage Putin had was limited to a single individual, which meant there was nobody Trump could find to run the State Department, National Security Agency, and so on who shared his idiosyncratic Russophilia.

Feb. 14

Proof via Substack, Investigative Commentary: Some Say the Criminal Justice System Will Save Us From Trump — But Can It? Seth Abramson, left, Feb. 14, 2021. The "New Big Lie" is a bait-and-switch involving the indictment of Donald Trump.
seth abramson headshot

Having spent nearly a decade working in state and federal criminal justice systems — including as a criminal investigator in the federal justice system in D.C. and a criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts and New Hampshire — I have as many opinions as everyone else about what our justice system is equipped to handle and what it is not.

Right now we have many D.C. politicians, particularly powerful Republicans like Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), telling us the appropriate forum for disqualifying a politician from future office is the federal criminal justice system. They sagely aver that if we will just accept that the proper jurisdiction for litigating a President of the United States inciting armed insurrection against the government in the waning days of his administration is the federal courthouse in D.C. — not, say, the chambers of Congress—all will be well. America will be rid of the scourge of Trump.

Except, per usual, they’re lying. But this lie is far more pernicious than many realize.

seth abramson proof logoFirst, understand while our justice systems can indict, prosecute, and incarcerate citizens for countless statutory crimes, they struggle to do so in a timely fashion — sometimes at all — if a defendant is rich, particularly if he’s also powerful and famous. There are many reasons for this, perhaps foremost among them that prosecutors in the United States are not apolitical. In fact, for reasons passing understanding, we created state and federal justice systems in which the most politically oriented prosecutors flourish — those who avoid pushing cases that are or may become politically unpopular, corner a defendant with powerful allies, or lead to a precedent that disadvantages the already advantaged.

Donald Trump is almost the Platonic case of a prospective federal defendant who, if disposed of in the same way any of the rest of us would be, could destroy not just the professional futures but also the personal lives of anyone who takes him on. Why should an ambitious prosecutor hoping to leverage that career track into some future political office take the risk of becoming a pariah to about half of the voters they may ultimately need to rely upon? Why risk losing a high-profile case someone above you in the hierarchy believes should have been won, and therefore losing your job rather than being vaulted even higher into the ranks of high-visibility public servants? And why do any of this when the very scions of public service you most wish to impress — the folks who work in D.C. and, in that group, particularly those in the White House — have already publicly decided not to pursue any action against Donald Trump, even a slam-dunk campaign finance case in which he remains an unindicted co-conspirator?

Second, the simple fact is that our criminal justice systems have no authority at all to bar someone from future office. Their only option, instead, is to incarcerate people for such a long period of time that they will die before they can run for office again. Is this what McConnell and Rubio would have us think they believe may happen here? That Trump — a seventy-something with no prior record; enough money to delay any case almost indefinitely through frivolous legal action (and a track record of always doing so successfully); at least 74 million supporters who wanted him to be the most powerful man in America not 120 days ago, many of whom (more than half) think he’s currently America’s rightful president; and access to legions of domestic terrorists likely to threaten and perhaps harm any prosecutor who juror who takes any adverse action against him—is going to be not just indicted and prosecuted and caged but for so long his political career will be effectively over? At a moment his popularity within the Republican Party remains well over 70%?

It won’t happen. It would be a miracle surpassing human understanding — and defying hundreds of years of history within the federal justice system—if, in prospective cases in Washington and Georgia, Trump were to be charged at all, let alone successfully prosecuted and then imprisoned. America has no track record of incarcerating a man of Trump’s notoriety, stature, and authority, let alone in a way that incapacitates him for a long period of time. Even the friends of men as powerful as Trump — think Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, or Steve Bannon — consider themselves immune from any long-term consequences for their actions; history has proven their presumption to be correct.

Donald Trump has recourses no other federal defendant would have, for instance to convincingly claiming that any prosecution of him is “political,” or having legions of powerful Republicans with ready access to the media saying as much at all hours of the day; he has civilian supporters he can effortlessly marshal to so intimidate any federal prosecutors, investigators, law enforcement officials, judges, or juries pursuing him as to make successfully convicting him (let alone caging him) so distant a possibility that only the most devout left-wing wish-casters can fathom it. Do I wish it were otherwise? Have I argued daily for years that it should be otherwise? Did I and millions of others work in the justice system at various points in our lives in part as an effort to ensure that all defendants are treated fairly, no matter their resources? Yes, yes, and again yes. Which is why I can report that anyone in D.C. now claiming that Trump will be dealt with properly by our legal system is lying to you. Our system isn’t equipped to do it.

Third, we must understand that the only reason men like McConnell and Rubio are pointing toward federal courts in D.C. and Georgia, or the state courts in New York, as the appropriate venues for disposing of Trump post-impeachment, is because they want to (a) distract us, (b) move the goalposts of accountability, (c) remove themselves from responsibility for whatever happens.

Per the Constitution, the body with the power to disqualify an elected official from holding future office is Congress — not the federal courts. We find this power enshrined, in both of its two instances frustratingly vaguely, in both the Impeachment Clause and Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In the former case, the disqualification vote requires only a majority of members of Congress, but it remains unclear whether this vote can be taken, during an impeachment proceeding, whether or not the respondent in such a proceeding is convicted. While the issue hasn’t been litigated in the past, to date both Democrats and Republicans have seemed to presume that you can’t be disqualified from future office until you’ve been convicted of having committed malfeasance in your present (or recent) office. It’s an argument that doesn’t explain why the vote threshold required is different in the two instances, or for that matter why senators are allowed to use whatever standard of proof they wish in either of the two inquiries.

Even though we know the Constitution is silent on the standard of proof in an impeachment proceeding, politicians have — perhaps to better protect themselves—decided a senator can’t deem the bar for conviction to be higher than the bar for disqualification from future office.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

Feb. 13

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Kennedys and King, Book Review: Litwin and the Warren Report, James DiEugenio, below left, Feb. 13, 2021. As an introduction to the Fred Litwin Follies, Jim DiEugenio jim dieugenio filereviews his first book, which attempts to validate the Warren Commission using the thesis that “the authors of the Warren Report were honorable men who conducted an honest investigation and reached the right answer.” Jim, of course, decimates this thesis using a wealth of facts clearly available in the historical record.

It is not possible to understand Fred Litwin’s second book on the JFK case, dealing with Jim Garrison, without addressing his first book, which tried to uphold the Warren Commission. David Mantik did an excellent job in critiquing that first work. But I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak is such a shabby book that no one person could expose the scope and depth of its tawdriness.

One of the most startling remarks Litwin makes in the first book—and one which shows how politically slanted his work is—appears relatively early. (Since this review is based on the e-book version, the pages I quote may differ slightly for the reader.) On page 51, Litwin writes: “The authors of the Warren Report were honorable men who conducted an honest investigation and reached the right answer.”

In this day and age, for anyone to infer that Allen Dulles and John McCloy were honorable men indicates either:

  • Staggering ignorance
  • The writer lives in an alternative moral universe, one outside the bounds of a normal ethical system, or
  • The writer does not care what he writes since he has an agenda a mile long.

In reality, there were very few prominent Americans of the 20th Century who were more utterly dishonorable than Dulles and McCloy.

While working in the War Department during World War II, John McCloy (shown at the far left of the 1964 photo of the Warren Commission presenting its report to President Lyndon B. Johnson). was one of the strongest advocates for the Japanese internment. This removal and detainment of mostly American citizens was so ethically indefensible that even J. Edgar Hoover opposed it. When his opponents argued that if American jfk warren  comm. to lbj 1964citizens were deprived of property and rights, they deserved due process, McCloy replied with one of the most shocking remarks an attorney could make:

If it is a question of the safety of the country or the Constitution of the United States, why the constitution is just a scrap of paper to me. (Jacob Heilbrunn, The New Republic, “The Real McCloy,” May 11, 1992.)

Attorney McCloy was so determined to discard the Constitution that he used unethical means to keep the victims in detention. He deleted important evidence from the record in the appeals of the case. (Ibid) To any objective person, such behavior would be relevant to his performance on the Commission. Yet one will not read about it in Litwin’s book. And, make no mistake about this affair, the “honorable” John McCloy was also a racist. In a letter to a friend, he talked about how the internment was an opportunity to “study the Japanese in these camps.” The last part of this passage is a doozy in delineating McCloy:

I am aware that such a suggestion may provoke a charge that we have no right to treat these people as guinea pigs. But I would rather treat them as guinea pigs and learn something useful, than merely to treat them…as they have been in the past with such unsuccessful results. (Kai Bird, The Chairman, pp. 165–66)

Whatever McCloy meant by that last statement, I don’t think anyone could describe it, in Litwin’s phrase, as honorable and honest. I should add, McCloy never admitted he could have been wrong about this shameful exercise. In the seventies, with over twenty years to think about it, he objected to any monetary compensation to those who had their rights trampled, property confiscated, and lives detoured. He called even the consideration of compensation, “utterly unconscionable.” (Op. cit., Heilbrunn)

McCloy’s bizarre sense of justice is further exemplified by his involvement in the other theater of World War II, in Europe. McCloy objected to the bombing of the Nazi concentration camps. He replied to this proposal with another of his jarring leaps of logic. He said that even if it were possible—which it was—it could lead the Germans to do something even more vindictive. (Heilbrunn, p. 42) As many have commented about that reply: What could be worse than the Holocaust?

This lack of mercy for the Jews of Eastern Europe made an interesting contrast with McCloy’s sympathy for the Nazis responsible for slaughtering them. McCloy was involved with the escape of Klaus Barbie out of Germany to Bolivia after the war. There, the former Gestapo chief became a drug lord. (Bird, p. 346). Even for a Nazi, Barbie was sadistic. He liked torturing his victims before killing them. A favorite method was hanging them upside down by hooks. In the deportation of French Jews to Auschwitz, Barbie decided there should be no age barrier to an early exposure to poison gas. He emptied a French orphanage of 41 children ages three to thirteen and sent them to the gas chambers.

But aiding Barbie wasn’t enough for the man who did not want to attack and liberate Auschwitz. After the war, McCloy became High Commissioner for Germany. He decided that many of the former Nazis who had been given prison sentences deserved to be set free early. In just six weeks, McCloy reviewed 93 cases. (Bird, p. 336) In 77 of those cases, McCloy’s board recommended reductions in sentencing. In some instances, this meant commutations of death sentences. That group included 20 former SS officers who served in the Einsatzgruppen. (Heilbrunn, p. 44) The Einsatzgruppen was Hitler’s first method of Jewish extermination. In this phase of the Holocaust, the SS troops, and, at times, the regular army, would round up the victims and herd them onto a bus. They would then drive them to a rural wooded area and, in this concealed area, they would machine gun them. Somehow, some way, McCloy thought the Allies had been too hard on these killers. After viewing this record, instead of calling McCloy honest and honorable, journalist Jacob Heilbrunn had a different opinion of the man. He called him a thoroughly despicable character. (Heilbrunn, p. 41)

Again, none of the above is in Litwin’s book, which is doubly strange. Because, as we shall see, Litwin likes playing the anti-Semite card against Commission critics. But somehow, the Jewish Litwin is able to, not just stomach all of the above, he eliminates it from the record. Only in Fred Litwin’s moral universe does endorsing the Single Bullet Theory erase crimes of the magnitude of John McCloy’s.

allen w dullesWhat I have done with McCloy, I could also do with Dulles (shown second from right in the above photo regarding the Warren Commission and at right here) and Commissioner Jerry Ford. And, in fact, I have done so. (James DiEugenio, The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today, pp. 325–41).

But further, by necessity, Litwin’s term “honest and honorable” extends to the man who provided the overwhelming majority of investigative materials to the Commission. Or else how could they have come up with the “right answer”? That would be the Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. (DiEugenio, pp. 237–40) But wisely, Litwin does not directly describe Hoover as honest and honorable. Probably because, with all that is now known today about the man, if he did, the reader would start laughing and throw the book into the trash can. But the key point to understand here is that Litwin is willing to censor or curtail important information, in order to disguise who the perpetrators of the cover up actually were—some of the worst Americans of that era. If you conceal that record, then you can hide from the reader the things they would be willing to do.

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About the Reviewer: One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).

Feb. 12

Seattle Times, Judge blocks sale and closure of National Archives in Seattle; notes ‘public relations disaster’ by feds, Erik Lacitis, Feb. 12, 2021. In the National Archives and Records Administration building on Sand Point Way Northeast in Seattle are records created by federal agencies and courts in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour granted a preliminary injunction Friday morning to stop the sale of the National Archives property in Seattle.

He pointedly asked Brian Kipnis, an assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle, if anybody on the five-person Public Buildings Reform Board was from the Pacific Northwest.

nara logoThat’s the little-known entity that in January 2020recommended the Archives be shuttered in Seattle. The board was created in 2016 to find what it deems excess federal property.

Kipnis said he didn’t know.

Coughenour said the feds could have avoided a “public relations disaster” if they had “displayed some sensitivity” to how the closure affected the Northwest.

Coughenour also asked Kipnis what he knew about this quote in a Thursday Seattle Times story from a spokesperson for the White House Office of Management and Budget: “Tribal consultation is a priority for this administration, and we will further assess the extent to which tribes were consulted under the previous administration on this proposal.”

Kipnis answered, “I can tell you there is truth to that statement.”

He also said that “in a week or so” he expected to learn the Biden administration’s position on the archives here.

Coughenour said he’d issue a written decision next week.

Going forward, said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, “Unless the federal government formally reverses course, at some point we’ll be asking for a final decision on the merits of the case.”

Ferguson’s office, along with 29 tribes and other groups, filed a lawsuit Jan. 4 seeking to declare the sale to developers illegal. But that lawsuit could take a while to wind its way through the courts, prompting the request for the preliminary injunction.

Having declared the 10-acre site on Seattle’s Sand Point Way Northeast as surplus, the federal government plans to move 800,000 cubic feet of archival records from here to facilities in Kansas City, Missouri (1,840 miles away), and Riverside, California (1,200 miles away). The archives hold millions of boxes of documents, and only a tiny fraction of them have been digitally scanned.

Set to be moved are the histories of 272 federally recognized tribes in Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Idaho, as well as all federal records generated in the Pacific Northwest, including military, land, court, tax and census documents. The collection also includes more than 50,000 original files related to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

The archives in Seattle would have stayed open for another three years after any sale of the property. It is currently closed to the public because of the pandemic.

Ferguson said about Coughenour’s decision, “I hope these agencies have gotten the memo that their conduct isn’t acceptable and is illegal.”

The U. S. Attorney’s Office here had no comment about the ruling.

Adam Bodner, executive director of the buildings board, also had no comment Friday on the ruling.

The Seattle facility is one of 12 surplus properties identified by the board. The original plan was to sell them individually, which would have given opponents until July 2021 to fight the move.

Feb. 10

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capitol noose shay horse nurphoto via getty

A crowd of Trump supporters surrounded a newly erected set of wooden gallows outside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. "Hang Mike Pence!" members of the crowd shouted at times about the Republican Vice President who had announced that he could not comply with the president's call to block election certification that day. The wooden gallows near the Capitol Reflecting Pool was just one example of the racist and anti-Semitic imagery on display at the riot. The noose is a racist symbol of the lynching of Black Americans. (Photo by Shay Horse  via NurPhoto / Getty).

ny times logoNew York Times, Senate Votes to Allow Trump Impeachment Trial to Proceed, Peter Baker, Feb. 10, 2021 (print ed.). Trial of Former President Is Found Constitutional, With 6 G.O.P. Votes, Senate Votes to Proceed With Trump’s 2nd Impeachment Trial.

The Senate voted on Tuesday to proceed with the impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump, rejecting his defense team’s claim that it would be unconstitutional to prosecute a president after leaving office. But the final tally signaled that his Republican allies could muster enough support to potentially block the two-thirds necessary for conviction.

The 56-to-44 vote, with six Republicans joining all 50 Democrats, paved the way for the House Democrats trying the case to formally open their arguments on Wednesday afternoon as they seek to prove that Mr. Trump incited an insurrection by encouraging supporters who stormed the Capitol last month and disrupted the counting of Electoral College votes.

But the 44 Republicans who agreed with Mr. Trump’s claim that a former president cannot be subject to an impeachment trial seemed to all but guarantee that he would have the 34 votes he needs on the final verdict to avoid conviction. To succeed, the House managers would need to persuade at least 11 Republican senators to find Mr. Trump guilty in a trial that they have deemed unconstitutional.

The vote came after House managers, arguing to proceed with the trial, presented the Senate with a vivid and graphic sequence of footage of Mr. Trump’s backers assaulting the Capitol last month.

american flag upside down distressThe managers wasted no time moving immediately to their most powerful evidence: the explicit visual record of the deadly Capitol siege that threatened the lives of former Vice President Mike Pence and members of both houses of Congress juxtaposed against Mr. Trump’s own words encouraging members of the mob at a rally beforehand.

The scenes of mayhem and violence — punctuated by expletives rarely heard on the floor of the Senate — highlighted the drama of the trial in gut-punching fashion for the senators who lived through the events barely a month ago and now sit as quasi-jurors. On the screens, they saw enraged extremists storming barricades, beating police officers, setting up a gallows and yelling, “Take the building,” “Fight for Trump” and “Pence is a traitor! Traitor Pence!”

jamie raskin feb 10 resized senate“You ask what a high crime and misdemeanor is under our Constitution,” Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, right, the leader of the House Democrats prosecuting the case, told the senators after playing the video. “That’s a high crime and misdemeanor. If that’s not an impeachable offense, then there’s no such thing.”

Mr. Trump’s lawyers responded by arguing that his words at the rally on Jan. 6 constituted free speech akin to typical political language and hardly incited the violence. They characterized the impeachment as yet another partisan attack driven by animus that will set a precedent for political retribution as power changes with each election.

“The political pendulum will shift one day,” Bruce L. Castor Jr., the lawyer leading off for the former president, told the Senate. “This chamber and the chamber across the way will change one day and partisan impeachments will become commonplace.”

The second trial of Mr. Trump opened in the crime scene itself, the same chamber occupied on Jan. 6 by the mob that forced senators to evacuate in the middle of counting the Electoral College votes ratifying President Biden’s victory.

Never before has a president been tried by the Senate twice, much less after his term has expired, but Mr. Trump’s accusers argue that his actions in his final days in power were so egregious and threatening to democracy that he must be held accountable.

“What you experienced that day, what we experienced that day, what our country experienced that day, is the framers’ worst nightmare come to life,” Representative Joe Neguse, Democrat of Colorado and another impeachment manager, told the senators. “Presidents can’t inflame insurrection in their final weeks and then walk away like nothing happened.”

Even though Mr. Trump can no longer be removed from office, conviction would stand as a statement of repudiation for history and permit the senators to bar him from running for federal office again.

The managers maintained that there must be no “January exception” for presidents to escape repercussions through impeachment on their way out of office and cited a series of writings by the nation’s framers as well as contemporary conservative scholars.

 ny times logoNew York Times, What to Watch For on Day 2 of Trump’s Impeachment Trial, Zach Montague, Feb. 10, 2021. House Democrats will make their case for convicting former President Trump in what could be an exceptionally short impeachment trial. Senators narrowly voted on Tuesday to move ahead with the trial, an indication that Mr. Trump is likely to be acquitted. Here’s what to expect today.

House Democrats will lay out the case for convicting former President Donald J. Trump on Wednesday as the Senate forges ahead with what could well become the fastest presidential impeachment trial in history.

After a compact debate on Tuesday over the constitutionality of the proceeding, senators narrowly voted to move ahead with the trial to decide whether Mr. Trump is guilty of inciting a deadly mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The central question facing lawmakers on Tuesday was whether a former president could be tried by the Senate for high crimes and misdemeanors. By a 56-to-44 vote, senators found that the body did have jurisdiction to do so.

The Senate will convene again at noon Wednesday.

How quickly will this go?

Under the rules agreed to by both sides, the prosecution and defense each have up to 16 hours to present their cases.

jamin raskin american university Custom 2Both the House managers, led by Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, right, and Mr. Trump’s defense lawyers will be limited to eight hours on any given day of the trial.

Neither side is expected to fully use the allotted time, as both parties appear eager to conclude the proceedings as quickly as possible, particularly given that Mr. Trump seems headed toward an all but certain acquittal.

This was reflected in the latest draft of the trial rules, which has senators scheduled to meet for a rare Sunday session if no verdict has been reached before then. The trial had already been set to continue into the weekend after Mr. Trump’s lawyers withdrew a request to break on Friday evening in observance of the Jewish Sabbath.

Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial, last year, lasted only 21 days, but his second could move even faster.

Wednesday’s arguments may very well establish the pace for the rest of the proceedings.

How will House prosecutors connect the dots?

House prosecutors set the tone for their opening arguments on Tuesday by sharing an arresting video montage of the violence at the Capitol last month, laying out a chronological account of the rampage as it unfolded.

The 13-minute clip showed scenes of brutality and mayhem, laced with profanities, forcing some television networks to add content warnings and many of those present in the chamber to relive the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as they met to affirm President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s election victory.

The House managers appear to have at least two goals: dredging up vivid and emotional memories from that day, and hammering home their point that Mr. Trump was personally responsible for igniting the violence. 

jamie raskin feb 10 resized senate

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Jamie Raskin won the impeachment trial before it began, Jennifer Rubin, Feb. 9, 2021. Raskin, above, delivers emotional jennifer rubin new headshotrecollection of Capitol attack. “Winning” the impeachment trial means removing any reasonable doubt in the minds of Americans that President Donald Trump incited a riot, that he let it continue in desperate attempt to keep power and that Republicans simply do not care. The House impeachment managers did a masterful job on all points in their opening arguments on Tuesday.

Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), the lead House manager, demolished the notion that presidents get a free pass to commit high crimes in the waning days of their terms. On its face, Raskin explained, it’s absurd to argue that “conduct that would be a high crime and misdemeanor in your first year as president and your second year as president and your third year as president and for the vast majority of your fourth year as president, you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office without facing any constitutional accountability at all,” he said, adding that it would have been the Founders’ “worst nightmare.”

Let’s not forget that the only reason the impeachment, which the House voted on before Trump left office, was not sent to trial immediately was because then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his fellow Republicans stalled. They break the hypocrisy meter by turning around and claiming that the Senate, therefore, cannot try Trump now.

Beyond conclusively establishing the trial’s constitutionality, Raskin brought back to life the horrifying hours of Jan. 6 when insurrectionists, hyped-up on Trumpian fury, assaulted the Capitol. The Post reported: “Almost every senatorial eye in the chamber was glued to the screens as lead House manager Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) played a 13-minute video depicting the events of Jan. 6 to introduce the impeachment case against [former president Donald Trump] — with a few notable exceptions.” It was obvious why Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Rick Scott (Fla.), and Rand Paul (Ky.) cravenly averted their gaze: The scenes were so disturbing as to render their defense of the former president a moral abomination.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trial begins with clash over proceedings’ constitutionality, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz and Felicia Sonmez, Feb. 10, 2021 (print ed.). Senators hear debate over trying a former president.

  • Raskin, overcome with emotion, pleads: ‘People died that day. Senators, this cannot be our future'
  • Trump ‘sided with the insurrectionists,’ Rep. Cicilline says
  • Rep. Neguse says Jan. 6 was ‘the framers’ worst nightmare come to life’
  • Rep. Neguse cites historical precedents, views of conservative legal scholars
  • As video of Capitol riot played, some GOP senators turned away
  • Constitutional expert quoted by Trump’s attorneys says his views are ‘misrepresented’

 

djt handwave file

ny times logoNew York Times, Meandering Performance by Defense Lawyers Enrages Trump, Maggie Haberman, Feb. 10, 2021 (print ed.) The former president was particularly angry at Bruce L. Castor Jr., one of his lawyers, for acknowledging the effectiveness of the House Democrats’ presentation.

On the first day of his second impeachment trial, former President Donald J. Trump was mostly hidden from view on Tuesday at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Fla., moving from the new office that aides set up to his private quarters outside the main building.

bruce castorMr. Trump was said to have meetings that were put on his calendar to coincide with his defense team’s presentation and keep him occupied. But he still managed to catch his two lawyers, Bruce L. Castor Jr., right, and David I. Schoen, on television — and he did not like what he saw, according to two people briefed on his reaction.

Mr. Castor, the first to speak, delivered a rambling, almost somnambulant defense of the former president for nearly an hour. Mr. Trump, who often leaves the television on in the background even when he is holding meetings, was furious, people familiar with his reaction said.

On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the angriest, Mr. Trump “was an eight,” one person familiar with his reaction said.

And while he was heartened that his other lawyer, Mr. Schoen, gave a more spirited performance, Mr. Trump ended the day frustrated and irate, the people familiar with his reaction said.

Unlike his first Senate impeachment trial, just over a year ago, Mr. Trump has no Twitter feed to do what he believes he does better than anyone else — defend himself — and to dangle threats of retaliation over the heads of Republican senators who serve on the impeachment jury.

So the former president was forced to rely on a traditional method of defense — lawyers in the well of the Senate chamber, and allies spreading word about their plans to defend him against the charge of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the deadly assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6 by a mob of supporters.

In the lead-up to the trial this week, Mr. Trump’s allies and advisers said he seemed to be taking his second impeachment more or less in stride, preoccupied with his golf game and his struggling business, and trying to ignore what was happening in Washington.

But the fact that he struggled to retain a full team of lawyers for the trial was a source of concern to some of his aides. None of the lawyers from the first impeachment trial who defended Mr. Trump returned for the second round. And most of the team he initially hired abruptly parted ways with him days before the trial began.

capitol peter stager

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Why Democrats must make the full case against Trump, Megan McArdle, right, Feb. 10, 2021 (print ed.). If Donald Trump directly megan mcardlecaused the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6 (shown above), then Democrats need to prove it.

To be clear, I believe Trump deserves to be convicted of grave crimes against the republic and barred from ever again running for office. But I also believe that asserting these things will not suffice; Americans need to see all the evidence. And I’m worried that Democrats won’t supply enough of it.

Citizens need testimony and documentation that painstakingly lays out the theory of the case: how Trump planned to claim fraud well before the election and how he followed through afterward, using false statements and frivolous lawsuits to deceive his followers into believing that he hadn’t really lost; how his political team helped bring the angriest and most extreme of those followers to D.C. on the day the results were being certified and whipped the crowd into a rage; how Trump himself then pointed that mob at Congress; and how the president both demonstrated and magnified his complicity by refusing to intervene for long hours as his supporters rampaged through the U.S. Capitol.

Yet as I write, opening arguments have begun in Trump’s Senate trial, and Democrats aren’t even sure whether they’re going to call witnesses.

Despite the gravity of the charges, already the situation looks similar to what happened in Trump’s first Senate trial: Democrats accuse Trump of outrage after outrage, and Republicans call this a frivolous political witch hunt, until finally proceedings end in a mostly party-line vote that Trump will use to claim persecution. The only difference is that this time a few more brave Republicans may vote to convict.

Why, then, do I think that meticulous case must nonetheless be made, even if it takes weeks and means losing momentum for other items on the Biden agenda?

djt maga hatOne reason is to put the powerful people who colluded with Trump on the record, under penalty of perjury. People who made baseless claims of election fraud, or helped assemble that volatile mob on the day of the certification, are more responsible for what happened than the deluded fanatics who followed their lead; they should be more accountable. Force them to acknowledge what they did, or let history record their refusal to do so.

More important is to lay out the entire case before the large number of Americans who haven’t understood exactly how the events of Jan. 6 unfolded or how much Trump and his allies did to foment that insurrection. That is, those Americans who support impeachment, but weakly, should be left in no doubt that they are on the right side. And Republicans who support Trump, but weakly, should be given every chance to change their minds.

ny times logoNew York Times, Georgia Prosecutors Open Criminal Investigation of Trump Call, Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim, Feb. 10, 2021. Prosecutors are investigating former President Trump’s January phone call to the Georgia secretary of state asking him to “find” votes.

georgia mapProsecutors in Fulton County have initiated a criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to overturn Georgia’s election results, including a phone call he made to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Mr. Trump pressured him to “find” enough votes to help him reverse his loss.

brad raffenspergerOn Wednesday, Fani Willis, the recently elected Democratic prosecutor in Fulton County, sent a letter to numerous officials in state government, including Mr. Raffensperger, left, requesting that they preserve documents related to Mr. Trump’s call, according to a state official with knowledge of the letter. The letter explicitly stated that the request was part of a criminal investigation, said the official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal matters.

The inquiry comes as Mr. Trump faces a second impeachment trial in Washington this week, on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in stirring up the mob that attacked the Capitol on Jan 6. The violence that day followed weeks of false claims by the former president that election fraud deprived him of victory, including in Georgia, where he lost by about 12,000 votes.

For two months after Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the winner, Mr. Trump relentlessly attacked election officials in Georgia, including Mr. Raffensperger and the Republican governor, Brian Kemp, claiming they were not doing enough to uncover instances of voting fraud that might change the outcome. In addition to the phone call to Mr. Raffensperger, he also called Gov. Brian Kemp in early December and pressured him to call a special legislative session to overturn his election loss. Later that month, Mr. Trump called a state investigator and pressed the official to “find the fraud,” according to those with knowledge of the call.

The inquiry makes Georgia the second state after New York where Mr. Trump faces a criminal investigation. And it comes in a jurisdiction where potential jurors are unlikely to be hospitable to the former president; Fulton County encompasses most of Atlanta and overwhelmingly supported President Biden in the November election.

ny times logoNew York Times, Biden Bars Trump From Receiving Intelligence Briefings, Citing ‘Erratic Behavior,’ David E. Sanger, Updated Feb. 10, 2021. President Biden said there was “no need” for former President Donald J. Trump to get the briefings, traditionally given to ex-presidents as a courtesy and to keep them informed if their advice is needed.

joe biden flag profile uncredited palmerPresident Biden said on Friday that he would bar his predecessor, Donald J. Trump, from receiving intelligence briefings traditionally given to former presidents, saying that Mr. Trump could not be trusted because of his “erratic behavior” even before the Jan. 6 attack on the CIA LogoCapitol.

The move was the first time that a former president had been cut out of the briefings, which are provided partly as a courtesy and partly for the moments when a sitting president reaches out for advice. Currently, the briefings are offered on a regular basis to Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Mr. Biden, speaking to Norah O’Donnell of CBS News, said Mr. Trump’s behavior worried him “unrelated to the insurrection” that gave rise to the second impeachment of Mr. Trump.


“I just think that there is no need for him to have the intelligence briefings,” Mr. Biden said.

Adam Schiff“What value is giving him an intelligence briefing?” Mr. Biden added. “What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?”

The White House said this week that it had been reviewing whether the former president, whose impeachment trial in the Senate begins on Tuesday, should receive the briefings. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff, left, said last month, just before Mr. Biden’s inauguration, that Mr. Trump’s access to any classified information should be cut off.

“There is no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now and not in the future,” said Mr. Schiff, Democrat of California, who was the House manager for Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial, a year ago.

 

More On Trump Trial

"Stop the Steal" organizer Ali Alexander, center, and his co-organizer, Infowars radio host, Alex Jones, to his right.

Proof via Substack, Investigative Commentary: Solving the Biggest Mystery of January 6, Seth Abramson, left, Feb. 10, 2021. Unraveling contacts between the seth abramson headshotWhite House and three Stop the Steal coordinators is the key to the House managers' case. But it appears that no one is looking into it.

The Mystery

seth abramson proof logoTeam Trump wanted Stop the Steal to tell the mob on January 6 that Trump was going to the Capitol, even though Team Trump knew that wasn’t true. And Trump told the mob directly that he was going to the Capitol during his January 6 speech, even though he knew that wasn’t true.

And the result of these actions is that the Stop the Steal organizers of the March to Save America told thousands and thousands of people that it was okay to trespass on the Capitol grounds because Trump would be joining them there. In other words, it was lies by Team Trump, including those very close to him and possibly the man himself, that not only brought the mob to D.C. but go the mob to trespass on the Capitol grounds.

We have no idea if the FBI has spoken to Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Ali Alexander is currently in hiding. Meanwhile, we know that the third Stop the Steal organizer, Roger Stone, below left, somehow had enough concern about the march that after raising money for “protective equipment” for the Proud Boys and Oath roger stone hands waving no credit from stone cold CustomKeepers who would on January 6 be marching to the Capitol, Stone declined (after being asked, he said, though he does not say by whom) to lead the march. And indeed he never went to the Capitol.

This leaves open the distinct possibility that Stone knew, perhaps even from Trump himself—the two men speak by phone regularly—that Trump was lying to the Stop the Steal organizers in order to swell and encourage and embolden the mob that he knew would head to the Capitol on January 6.

This would explain the now-ubiquitous, universal major-media reporting confirming that Trump was thrilled as he watched the insurrection from the White House.

Why does all this matter? Because we learned during Day 1 of the impeachment trial that a part of Trump’s defense will be that the breach of the Capitol was pre-planned. But now we have evidence that Team Trump was part of that planning — through both lies, omissions, and disinformation about Trump’s January 6 movements. Do the House managers have sufficient information in their hands to make this argument? I hope so.

The Twist

On the evening of Day 1 of Trump’s second impeachment trial, the director of Jason Rink’s Stop the Steal documentary, Paul Escandon—the documentary is simply called “The Steal”—contacted this writer to say that in fact the Stop the Steal organizers never believed Trump was coming to their event at the Capitol (see tweets below). So now we have a battle of potential federal witnesses: Paul Escandon says one thing, Alex Jones and Ali Alexander seem to say another, and two witnesses who could clarify things — Roger Stone and Kimberly Guilfoyle — are not, it seems, in contact with the FBI. So what’s going on here, exactly? This is the key mystery in the federal case of the century and it’s not clear that anyone is tracking down answers.

So Team Trump wanted Stop the Steal to tell the mob on January 6 that Trump was going to the Capitol, even though Team Trump knew that wasn’t true. And Trump told the mob directly that he was going to the Capitol during his January 6 speech, even though he knew that wasn’t true. And the result of these actions is that the Stop the Steal organizers of the March to Save America told thousands and thousands of people that it was okay to trespass on the Capitol grounds because Trump would be joining them there. In other words, it was lies by Team Trump, including those very close to him and possibly the man himself, that not only brought the mob to D.C. but go the mob to trespass on the Capitol grounds.

We have no idea if the FBI has spoken to Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Ali Alexander is currently in hiding. Meanwhile, we know that the third Stop the Steal organizer, Roger Stone, somehow had enough concern about the march that after raising money for “protective equipment” for the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who would on January 6 be marching to the Capitol, Stone declined (after being asked, he said, though he does not say by whom) to lead the march. And indeed he never went to the Capitol.

This leaves open the distinct possibility that Stone knew, perhaps even from Trump himself—the two men speak by phone regularly—that Trump was lying to the Stop the Steal organizers in order to swell and encourage and embolden the mob that he knew would head to the Capitol on January 6.
This would explain the now-ubiquitous, universal major-media reporting confirming that Trump was thrilled as he watched the insurrection from the White House.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

 

Feb. 9

capitol weare the storm flyer resized

Sample promo, entitled #WeAreTheStorm, for the pro-Trump riots that killed five on Jan. 6 in the effort to halt the U.S. presidential election certification.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s impeachment trial will tackle constitutional questions, Ann E. Marimow and Tom Hamburger, Feb. 9, 2021.  His attorneys’ arguments in the trial beginning today are expected to revolve around a First Amendment defense of his fiery speech before the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and a challenge to the legality of putting a former president on trial.

The arguments by opposing lawyers in the Senate impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump this week are expected to revolve largely around a pair of constitutional questions: A First Amendment defense of his fiery speech ahead of the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and a challenge to the legality of putting a former president on trial.

Trump is the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, and the only one to be tried in the Senate after leaving office. While an impeachment proceeding is distinct from a typical criminal trial, with a different set of rules, Trump’s case will feature broad legal questions about whether his actions violate the Constitution.

Most legal scholars who have studied the issue think post-presidential impeachment and conviction are allowed based on history and past practice in Congress. “The overwhelming scholarly consensus supports this argument,” said Steve Vladeck, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

A prominent conservative lawyer added political and legal heft to the Democrats’ argument that Trump can be tried in the Senate even after he has left office. The assertion from Republican lawyer Charles J. Cooper in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece published Sunday undercuts the central argument embraced by most GOP lawmakers that it is unconstitutional to convene the Senate trial because Trump is no longer president.

Proof via Substack, Investigative Analysis: A Comprehensive Analysis of Trump's January 6 "Incitement to Insurrection" Speech: Part III, Seth Abramson, Feb. 8, 2021. This breakdown of one of the most dangerous presidential addresses in American history confirms the need for a Senate conviction and rigorous criminal investigation.

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: The Senate must convict Donald Trump, Editorial Board, Feb. 9, 2021 (print ed.). The Senate will begin considering Tuesday whether to convict Donald Trump following the House’s unprecedented second impeachment of the former president. Mr. Trump’s lawyers, as well as many Republicans, deny that the proceedings are legitimate. They are wrong. The Senate must hold its trial, and the right vote is for conviction.

The House was able to impeach Mr. Trump quickly in the final days of his presidency because he betrayed the nation on live television. The House impeachment managers’ brief is damning, even though it reveals little that was not already in the public record.

After Mr. Trump lost the Nov. 3 presidential election, he conducted a persistent campaign of lies alleging that Joe Biden’s victory was fraudulent. His campaign escalated after he failed in court; he suggested Senate Republicans should “fight to the death.” He asked supporters to descend on Washington on Jan. 6, the day Congress was to count electoral votes. Some of those supporters responded by planning to attack the Capitol.

On the morning of Jan. 6, Mr. Trump instructed the crowd to go to the Capitol and warned, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Supporters screamed, “Take the Capitol right now!” That is what they did after Mr. Trump stopped speaking. Mr. Trump watched as a mob chanting, “Hang Mike Pence” stormed the building, resulting in multiple deaths, the interruption of the electoral vote counting and the desecration of the nation’s seat of government. Some in the mob reported that they were following Mr. Trump’s directions. Mr. Trump eventually issued meek statements designed as much to justify the mob’s rage as to pacify it.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers claim that the former president was just exercising his First Amendment rights. But public officials are accountable for the things they say; Mr. Trump would have fired any member of his Cabinet who had, say, publicly denounced him. Mr. Trump is responsible for whipping extremists into a frenzy with lies, encouraging violence and directing those extremists to the chambers in which members of Congress were overseeing the transfer of power. He betrayed his oath to faithfully execute his duties and defend the Constitution; indeed, he disrupted the core operations of the constitutional system.

Many Republicans avoid saying much about Jan. 6, instead claiming that the Senate cannot try to convict Mr. Trump after he has left office. This is a convenient but faulty interpretation. The Constitution contemplates two potential punishments for impeached officials: removal and barring from further service. If former officials could not be impeached and convicted, those facing impeachment could resign quickly and avoid being blacklisted. Historically, Congress has avoided this nonsensical view. What’s more, the House impeached Mr. Trump while he was still in office, and the Constitution states unambiguously that “the Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”

Senators must not hide behind fig-leaf arguments. They should listen to the nearly 400 congressional staffers who wrote them a letter about the trauma they endured on Jan. 6, begging them to convict Mr. Trump. And they should think about the precedent they set. As the House managers put it, “Failure to convict would embolden future leaders to attempt to retain power by any and all means — and would suggest that there is no line a President cannot cross.”

Feb. 8

washington post logoWashington Post, As impeachment trial nears, court documents cite Trump’s rage-fueling rhetoric, Rosalind S. Helderman, Rachel Weiner and Spencer S. Hsu, Feb. 8, 2021 (print ed.). Evidence to bolster the Democratic case has already emerged in federal criminal cases filed against more than 185 people so far in the aftermath of the insurrection.

Storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was no spur-of-the-moment decision for Jessica Marie Watkins, an Ohio bartender and founder of a small, self-styled militia, federal prosecutors allege.

In documents charging her with conspiracy and other crimes for her role in the insurrection, they say she began planning such an operation shortly after President Donald Trump lost the November election, ultimately helping recruit and allegedly helping lead dozens of people who took violent action to try to stop congressional certification of the electoral college vote last month.

In text messages cited in court documents, Watkins was clear about why she was heading to Washington. “Trump wants all able bodied patriots to come,” she wrote to one of her alleged co-conspirators on Dec. 29, eight days before prosecutors say they invaded the building.

The question of what exactly motivated Watkins and other alleged rioters — and when their plans took shape — will be among the central questions of Trump’s impeachment trial this week, when the Senate will consider whether to convict the former president on charges that he incited the crowd to attack the Capitol.

The nine House impeachment managers leading Trump’s prosecution made clear in an 80-page brief filed last week that they will argue that his role in inspiring the crowd to action began long before the 70-minute speech he gave that day.

They assert that the violence was virtually inevitable after Trump spent months falsely claiming that the election had been stolen from him.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live updates: Trump attorneys call Senate trial over deadly Capitol riot a ‘brazen political act’ by Democrats, John Wagner and Paulina Firozi, Feb. 8, 2021. Attorneys for Donald Trump asked the Senate to dismiss the impeachment case against him in a brief filed Monday that contends the Constitution does not permit a trial of a former president and accuses Democrats of a “hunger for this political theater.”

President Biden, who returned to Washington from Delaware on Monday morning, plans to take a virtual tour of a professional football stadium in Arizona that has been turned into a mass coronavirus vaccination site as he continues to focus on combating the pandemic.

Here’s what to know:

  • Rep. Ron Wright (R-Tex.) has died after contracting covid-19. In a statement, Wright’s office said the 67-year-old lawmaker, who had been battling cancer, will be “remembered as a constitutional conservative.”
  • Two in 3 Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll by ABC News-Ipsos that also shows widespread support for his efforts to pass a relief bill.

Filmmaker, libertarian, and avid Ron Paul supporter Jason Rink, left, working with

Filmmaker, libertarian, and avid Ron Paul supporter Jason Rink, left, working with "Stop the Steal" organizer Ali Alexander (Screenshot).

Proof, Investigative Commentary: Trump Told Stop the Steal Organizers He Would Speak at the Front of the Capitol After His January 6 Speech at the Ellipse, seth abramson headshotSeth Abramson, left, Feb. 8, 2021. New revelations about Trump's schedule for January 6 confirm that the White House was indispensable to the events that led to an armed assault on the U.S. Capitol.

In November 2020, filmmaker, libertarian, and avid Ron Paul supporter Jason Rink produced a short video romanticizing the then-nascent post-election Stop the Steal movement led by convicted felon and far-right activist Ali Alexander.

seth abramson proof logoAlexander quickly sent Rink his thanks for the short, and afterward the two continued their conversation via email, with Rink agreeing to go to Georgia to produce a one-day documentary on Alexander’s operation. That one day expanded into several days, and eventually into a feature-length documentary, The Steal, that Rink hopes to release by mid-2021. {Note: Ali Alexander claims to have planned the pre-breach events of January 6 along with three Trump Congressional allies: Reps. Mo Brooks, Paul Gosar, and Andy Biggs.}

A trailer of The Steal—a still from which tops this article—reveals that Jason Rink’s weeks of shadowing Alexander, whom he now calls a “friend”, involved him also getting substantial footage of the pre-insurrection activities of Trump adviser and Stop the Steal organizer (as well as “Stop the roger stone hands waving no credit from stone cold CustomSteal” phrase-coiner) Roger Stone, left, in addition to footage of conspiracy theorist, InfoWars host, and third Stop the Steal organizer Alex Jones. It appears, too, that insurrectionist and far-right activist Nick Fuentes, often referred to as a white supremacist, is featured in Rink’s documentary.

Following the insurrection, Rink conducted a January 13, 2021 podcast interview with fellow libertarian Tatiana Moroz, during which chat he made the following striking statement (see 34:10 in this video; emphasis supplied):

“I was actually right at the front of the breach [of the Capitol] because I left Trump’s speech like 15 minutes into it [approximately 12:13 PM on January 6] because I was helping to set up a stage that was permitted [had received a permit to be erected] on the other side [the front] of the Capitol. And so I walked over early....[and] when I got to the Capitol, I actually have a little video clip, when people started first coming up to the gates and people started jumping over the fence to get onto the Capitol lawn. And it was kind of, like, regular angry MAGA people trying to get to the Capitol steps, is what I saw. And there was very little security out front of there. Surprisingly little.”

Those who haven’t been tracking the shocking statements made by Ali Alexander, Roger Stone, and Alex Jones on January 6 and January 7 may not immediately see why Rink’s statement is so striking, so I’ll unpack it in five steps

Feb. 6

djt looking up

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s access to sensitive briefings will be determined by intelligence officials, White House clarifies, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Feb. 6, 2021. The statement clarifies comments from President Biden to "CBS Evening News" expressing reluctance about making the briefings available to his predecessor.

The White House on Saturday said President Biden’s comment that his predecessor should not receive intelligence briefings was not a final decision on the matter, which will instead be resolved by intelligence officials.

Biden made his views known during an appearance on “CBS Evening News” with Norah O’Donnell. Asked whether former president Donald Trump should receive the briefings, as is customary for ex-presidents, Biden said, “I think not.”

“What value is giving him an intelligence briefing?” Biden said in a portion of the interview aired Friday. “What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?” (See previous story: New York Times, Biden Bars Trump From Receiving Intelligence Briefings, Citing ‘Erratic Behavior,’ David E. Sanger.)

Biden has the unilateral authority to deny intelligence access to anyone he chooses, and his remarks seemed to suggest he considered Trump enough of a risk to do so. But his aides said he would leave that decision to his intelligence team.

“The president was expressing his concern about former president Trump receiving access to sensitive intelligence, but he also has deep trust in his own intelligence team to make a determination about how to provide intelligence information if at any point the former president Trump requests a briefing,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement issued Saturday.

Former presidents do not receive the same classified daily briefing as a sitting commander in chief. Still, their briefings are typically delivered by current intelligence officers — partly out of respect and convention and partly to prepare them if their advice is solicited or if they’re representing the administration abroad.

The response made clear that Biden’s concerns go beyond the events of Jan. 6, which are core to the Senate impeachment trial set to begin in a few days. As president, Trump selectively revealed highly classified information to attack his adversaries, gain political advantage and impress or intimidate foreign governments, in some cases jeopardizing U.S. intelligence capabilities.

ny times logo

New York Times, Biden Bars Trump From Receiving Intelligence Briefings, Citing ‘Erratic Behavior,’ David E. Sanger, Feb. 6, 2021 (print ed.). Mr. Biden said there was “no need” for former President Donald J. Trump to get the briefings, traditionally given to ex-presidents as a courtesy and to keep them informed if their advice is needed.

President Biden said on Friday that he would bar his predecessor, Donald J. Trump, from receiving intelligence briefings traditionally given to former presidents, saying that Mr. Trump could not be trusted because of his “erratic behavior” even before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The move was the first time that a former president had been cut out of the briefings, which are provided partly as a courtesy and partly for the moments when a sitting president reaches out for advice. Currently, the briefings are offered on a regular basis to Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Mr. Biden, speaking to Norah O’Donnell of CBS News, said Mr. Trump’s behavior worried him “unrelated to the insurrection” that gave rise to the second impeachment of Mr. Trump.


“I just think that there is no need for him to have the intelligence briefings,” Mr. Biden said.

“What value is giving him an intelligence briefing?” Mr. Biden added. “What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?”

The White House said this week that it had been reviewing whether the former president, whose impeachment trial in the Senate begins on Tuesday, should receive the briefings. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff, said last month, just before Mr. Biden’s inauguration, that Mr. Trump’s access to any classified information should be cut off.

“There is no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now and not in the future,” said Mr. Schiff, Democrat of California, who was the House manager for Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial, a year ago.

Feb. 5

Proof, Investigative Commentary:  If You Love America, You Want Donald Trump Convicted. Here's Why, Seth Abramson, below left, Feb. 5, 2021. Far more is at stake now than the fate of a single political party or former president.

seth abramson headshotSome on both the left and right of American politics say that the main reason not to hold a trial of Donald Trump isn’t some fraudulent constitutional dodge cooked up by Trump, his lawyers, and Congressional Republicans — namely the canard, rejected by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, that the Senate can’t convict former presidents — but rather that an acquittal would signal our acquiescence to insurrection.

I don’t know what sort of backwards thinking this country’s intelligentsia has come to that it would embrace the paradox that upholding American rule of law undermines it; that way lies madness.

seth abramson proof logoIndeed, the very fact that an acquittal would signal the country’s acquiescence to insurrection is the reason to hold a trial. Nations hold trials as much to hold themselves accountable to their first principles as to hold defendants accountable.

american flag upside down distressThe jury in Trump’s upcoming trial is ostensibly the senators of the 117th Congress, but in fact it’s you, me, and every patriotic American. A conviction of Donald Trump for incitement to insurrection would be a vote by all of us to continue moving toward the America we wish to become, away from a dark period in our history of which so many of us are deeply ashamed.

By comparison, an acquittal would open the door to a return to that darkness in 2024, in the form of an embossed invitation for Trump to run for president again and to undoubtedly sow insurrection again.

Those in media today, and it is far too many, whose focus of late has not been on the future of our country but the daily political “horserace” that pays their salaries — and who, in inconsequence, have spent each hour of each day telling us that the verdict in this trial has already been determined — should be ashamed of themselves. And they should be shamed in the eyes of the tens of millions of Americans who understand that convicting Donald Trump of the most grave crime against an Oath of Office that any American president has ever committed is not a game, but a national imperative.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

 World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Biden’s Programs for Public Health and Economic Recovery Gain Support, Webster G. Tarpley, left, Feb. 6, 2021. With Trump webster tarpley 2007Impeachment Trial Imminent, Biden’s Programs for Public Health and Economic Recovery Gain Support; Choice for GOP: Impeach and Disqualify Trump Before He Is Indicted for Federal and State Infractions, or Face Early Extinction.

AP-NORC Poll Shows 61% Approval for Biden, including a Quarter of Republicans; 74% Have Confidence in Biden’s Handling of the Pandemic, and 65% Trust His Approach to Rebuilding Economy; 54% Want No More of Trump’s Wall; In Party Poll, 48% Favor Democrats, 23% Like Trump’s Hypothetical “Patriot Party”; 17% Are Backing GOP; 14% Respond with “Other”; Dems Must Obtain $15 Minimum Wage;

Putin’s Nomenklatura Dictatorship Seriously Shaken by Two Weekends of Pro-Navalny Demonstrations; US Demands Navalny’s Release; BBC Finds Widespread Rape and Torture of Moslem Uighur Women in Despot Xi’s East Turkestan Concentration Camps; Any US Official Who Argues that Washington Should “Cooperate with Beijing on Climate” Should Be Fired for Appeasement;

Biden Take Notice: After Their Treason in the War of 1812 Hartford Convention, the Federalist Party Became Extinct, Opening the Way to the Era of Good franklin d rooseveltFeelings under the Presidency of James Monroe; Today’s Path to National Reconciliation Passes Through Collapse of GOP as Contender for Power in Washington;

The Reward for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 100 Days of Fighting the Herbert Hoover/GOP Depression: In 1934 Mid-Term Election, Democrats Took 313 Seats in House for a Gain of 9, Leaving Just 117 Republicans; In 48-State Senate, Democrats Took 69 Seats with a Gain of 9, with Only 25 Republicans Surviving; These Are Best Results for Any US Party in Modern History, Proving the Power of a Strategy that Favors Working People Over the Forces of Organized Money!

Feb. 4

American System Network, Commentary: Biden Launches New Foreign Policy Based on Reconstruction of Alliances, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Feb. 4, 2021.webster tarpley 2007Biden Launches New Foreign Policy Based on Reconstruction of Alliances; Breaking Sharply with Trump’s Appeasement Line, US Demands Russia Release Jailed Opposition Leader Navalny; This Can Be Based on Human Rights Basket Three of Helsinki Final Act of 1975;

No More US Military Role in the Genocidal Saudi War on Yemen, which Has Generated Some 233,000 Dead and Inflicted Food Insecurity on 20 Million More; This Trump’s War; No Blanket Charge of Terrorism against the Shiite Houthi Rebels; US Demands that Burmese Generals Give Up Power and Refrain from Violence; Communist China Emerges as Main Sponsor of Mynanmar Coup; Biden Confident US Will Prevail over Beijing;

Defense Secretary Austin will Carry Out Worldwide Review of US Military Posture; No Reductions in US Forces in Germany before this Study Has Been Completed; Focus is Broadened to Include Indo-Pacific;

Biden Must Go Full Speed Ahead to Pass $1.9 Trillion Pandemic Relief; GOP Gambits All Boil Down to Sabotage and Delay; No Need for Romney’s Weak and Inadequate “Family Security Act”, Since Biden’s Own Child Tax Credit Increase Can Already Cut Child Poverty by about 50%, Far More than Romney’s Plan; Question Remains: How Many Americans Are Supposed to Die in Search of Chimera of Bipartisanship, Meant only to Prop Up the Moribund GOP, Prime Vehicle of Sedition;

Warren Wants New Education Secretary Cardona to Use Administrative Cancellation to Wipe Out $50,000 per Debtor in Student Loan Debt; Move Would Win a Whole Generation as Democratic Voters; Pay for it with a 1% Wall Street Sales Tax!

White House Briefing Suggests that US Concern about Covid Vaccinations Goes No Further than the American People, which Is Hardly the Language of Alliances and Cooperation; Psaki Strikes the Wrong Tone Again;

National Bolsheviks and Fascists for MAGA: Lead Impeachment Manager Raskin Notes that “Extremist Elements in Russia and Germany View the Storming of the Capitol as a Great Victory for 21st Century Fascism.”

Feb. 2

American System Network, Commentary: GOP Gang of Ten Uses the Usual Republican Tricks to Sabotage Biden’s Opening Legislative Gambit, the Urgently webster tarpley 2007Needed $1.9 Trillion Pandemic Relief Bill, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Feb. 2, 2021. Comments from President and White House Reject the Ten’s Proposal as Far too Meager for the Present Emergency.

One Week Before Trump’s Impeachment Trial Begins, Lawyers Submit Legal Briefs; On Trump’s New Legal Team, Attorney David Schoen Was Recruited by Jeffrey Epstein to Lead His Defense; On His schoenlawfirm.com Website, Schoen Lists Some of the Famous Defendants He Has Defended, Including the Boss of One of New York’s Five Crime Families, plus the World Capo of the Italian Mafia and the American Leaders of the Russian and Israeli Mafia; Do Q-Anon Who Prate about Draining the Swamp Smell a Fault?

Trump’s Tired and Discredited Arguments Include the Absurd Claim that Trump Cannot Be Tried as a Private Citizen; But Impeachment Started when He Was Still in Office, and Main Issue is His Disqualification for Future Federal Office; Trump Sure to Claim Landslide Victory in 2020 Election; Democratic Case to Concentrate on Evoking Psychological Truth of Trump’s Crimes;

Chinese Communists Strictly Limit WHO Inspectors in Wuhan; International Organizations Have Long Had Bad Record in Resisting Tyranny; By Late 1930s, Nazis and Fascists Were in Control of League of Nations, Bank for International Settlements, and Interpol!
Breaking: Moscow Court Sends Navalny Back to Jail for Two and a Half Years; His Powerful Speech Declares Bankruptcy of Putin’s Oppressive Regime; Blinken Condemns Kangaroo Court Verdict

 

January Update

Jan. 31

Proof via Substack, Investigative Commentary: Donald Trump's Dozen Impeachment Defenses, Ranked in Order of Legal and Factual Validity, Seth Abramson seth abramson proof logo(shown at right, lawyer, professor, author, syndicated columnist), Jan. 31, 2021. A dry run of Donald's dozen debunked, discredited, and disreputable defenses.

Here are the dozen defenses Trump will flirt with at his impeachment trial, ranked by their plausibility, viability, and accuracy as a matter of both law and fact. {Note: Keep in mind that “trial” should be in quotes here, as this isn’t a criminal trial but a political one, so typical courtroom protocols regarding evidence, witnesses, conflicts of interest, decorum, examinations, and common sense are thrown over the balcony.}

Jan. 30

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Speculative Mania in Heavily Shorted Stocks is Probable Harbinger of Brutal Day of Reckoning, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Jan. 30, 2021. webster tarpley 2007The Story of Joseph P. Kennedy and the Bellboy in 1929 Teaches that When People of Modest Means Start Borrowing Money on Margin and Attempt to Join Bubble Very Late in the Game, the End is Near; Leveraged Buying Frenzy by Retail Investors Cannot Last; Gamestop and Some Other Distressed Stocks Make Gains, but Overall Market Declines below 30,000; Recent Market Favorites Like Apple Pulled Down into Vortex.

Biden Administration Must Defend US from Looming Crash with Aggressive Re-Regulation, Bringing Back Classic New Deal Safeguards: Restore Glass-Steagall, While Using Federal Reserve Regulation T to Impose 100% Margin Requirements; Naked Shorting of Stocks, Bonds, and Derivatives Must Be Banned Entirely, as in Europe During 2010 Bond Crisis;

Fallacy of Speculators: For Small Retail Investors to Defend Themselves from Giant Zombie Banks and Vicious Hedge Fund Hyenas, They Must Have the Support of Government; Biden Must Suppress Speculation with 1% Wall Street Sales Tax on All Wall Street Transactions in Stocks, Bonds, and Derivatives; Camouflaged by the Crowd of Neophytes, It Must Be Assumed that Malefactors of Great Wealth Have Infiltrated the Various Chat Rooms for Purposes of Manipulation; When the Finance Oligarchs Bolt for the Exits, the Credulous Little People Will Be Left Holding the Bag.

Jan. 27

Proof via Substack, Investigation: More Revelations About Secretive January 5 War Council at Trump International Hotel, Seth Abramson, Jan. 27, 2021. A few seth abramson proof logokey questions have been resolved, but significant unsolved mysteries remain.

Reporting in the Omaha World-Herald, as well as social media screenshots and videos, confirm a January 5 pre-insurrection war council at DC’s Trump International Hotel. Also confirmed by the evidence is a list of the gathering’s (minimum) fifteen attendees.

The first Proof article on this subject can be found here.

The secretive January 5 meeting — which one attendee, Senator Tommy Tuberville, has already been caught lying about, and which another, Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster, has attempted to scrub his social media to conceal — included eight different components of Trump’s political machine:

  • Family members: Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Kimberly Guilfoyle (current girlfriend of Trump Jr., and a former on-air Fox News personality).
  • Trump’s legal team: Rudy Giuliani.
  • United States senators: Tuberville and at least two other senators (see below).
  • Administration officials: Peter Navarro and Charles Herbster.
  • January 6 organizers: Ali Alexander, Adam Piper, and Michael Flynn.
  • Trump campaign officials: Corey Lewandowski (former), David Bossie (former).
  • Cyberintelligence specialists: Flynn (information operations) and possibly Phil Waldron (self-described—see more below—as skilled in “intelligence analysis”).
  • Trump donors: Mike Lindell, Daniel Beck, and Herbster.

Due to minimal ongoing coverage of this extraordinary pre-January 6 strategy meeting, questions about the Trump International Hotel gathering remain. This article outlines key questions and reveals the answers to several — all uncovered over the last 24 hours.

Question 1: How many senators attended Team Trump’s January 5 war council?

...

Seth Abramson, shown at right, founder of Proof, is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

Jan. 26

U.S. Politics, Governance, Civic Life

Steve Bannon at a 2013 Tea Party Rally (Photo via C-SPAN)

Steve Bannon at a 2013 Tea Party Rally (Photo via C-SPAN)

Wayne Madsen Report, Commentary: The battle against fascism and a looming World War III, Wayne Madsen, right, Jan. 26, 2021. The threat of international wayne madsen screen shotfascism is now so great, the world's democracies must declare total war on the leadership, militias, political constructs, and infrastructure of global fascism.

On January 25, the House of Commons in Canada got the ball rolling by unanimously voting for a motion put forth by the New Democratic Party (NDP) that canadian flagdeclares the pro-Donald Trump Proud Boys a terrorist organization and bans it from operating on Canadian soil.

The U.S. government should awake to the dangers of the global fascist movement.

Two overseas organizations that involve Americans, The Movement and The Base, should be squeezed politically and financially by the Biden administration. The Movement, which is headquartered in Brussels and is Steve Bannon's fledgling Fascist International, has managed to secure funding guo wen gui 2017from exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, left -- who has replaced Robert and Rebekah Mercer as Bannon's primary sugar daddy -- and moneyed interests in the Roman Catholic Church that are affiliated with the fascist religious order Opus Dei.

Guo has provided Bannon with media platforms, including a television network, that are being used to rally the extreme right around the United States and the world. Guo was granted political asylum by the Trump administration after China issued a warrant for his arrest for epoch timesseveral counts of financial fraud in China.

Guo and Bannon have linked their media efforts with those of the religious cult Falun Gong, which publishes the pro-Trump and far-right conspiracy newspaper Epoch Times. Bannon's strategy is to infiltrate existing political parties with far-right activists. So far, Bannon's ploy has seen success with the Republican Party, especially its state-level party organizations in Arizona, Oregon, Maine, Texas, and Hawaii that have been largely taken over by conspiracy theorists touting Qanon inanity.

Proof via Substack, Investigation: January 5 Meeting at Trump International Hotel Could Hold the Key to the January 6 Insurrection, Seth Abramson, Jan. 26, seth abramson proof logo2021. The night before the insurrection, a large group of Trump family and advisers held an urgent meeting with January 6 organizers at the president's private residence in DC.

Well after dark on January 5, 2021 — just 15 hours before an insurrection against the United States government incited by the President of the United States — Nebraska Republican Charles W. Herbster, at the time the National Chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Advisory Committee for the Trump administration, attended a private meeting of Trump family members, Trump administration officials, Trump campaign advisers, January 6 organizers, and at least one member of the United States Senate at Trump International Hotel in Washington.

In attendance at the large and only recently uncovered meeting, conducted “in the private residence of the President” at his hotel, were, according to Herbster’s account, the following individuals (Note: Donald Trump’s presence at the meeting, either in person or via speakerphone, as yet remains unclear, so his name is temporarily absent from this listing):

  • Donald Trump Jr., eldest son of the president
  • Eric Trump, second-eldest son of the president
  • Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor to the president
  • Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President, Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, and National Defense Production Act Policy Coordinator
  • Corey Lewandowski, 2016 Trump campaign manager
  • David Bossie, 2016 Trump deputy campaign manager
  • Adam Piper, executive director of the Republican Attorneys General Association
  • Tommy Tuberville, United States senator from the State of Alabama

According to research by political strategist and regular CNN, MSNBC, The Hill, CBS, and Fox News contributor Cheri Jacobus, Txtwire CEO Daniel Beck claims he was at the January 5 meeting also, and that additional attendees at the gathering included the following three people:

  • Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney to the President of the United States
  • Kimberly Guilfoyle, girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr.
  • Michael Lindell, Trump donor and MyPillow CEO

In a Facebook post, Beck claims that there were “fifteen of us [who] spent the evening [January 5]” at Trump International Hotel in DC, a statement that tracks with the nine attendees listed by Herbster, the additional three referenced by Beck himself, and a photograph Beck took on January 5 in which he appears outside the hotel with an unidentified woman and three unidentified men, two wearing red “Make America Great Again” caps:

Guilfoyle’s presence at the meeting is critical given that Stop the Steal coordinator Ali Alexander claims he received a call from Guilfoyle during the evening of January 5 — when she would have been with Trump’s family and advisers at Trump International. As for Tuberville, he now claims, contrary to the statements of Herbster and Beck, that he was never at the Trump International Hotel on January 5.

An Instagram photograph from January 5, taken at Trump International Hotel in DC, appears to show Senator Tuberville on-site, as described by both Beck and Herbster:

In Charles Herbster’s Facebook post detailing the meeting — a post that looks forward with anger and trepidation to the upcoming January 6 certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory, and has since been hidden and reposted, along with all photos of the Trump family on Herbster’s Facebook account posted from December 2020 through January 2021 — the Nebraska Republican writes of the “battles and blood” that in the past have been required to “protect our way of life”, as well as his own decision “[not to] choose the easy path” but instead “fight” the “widespread voter fraud that happened on November 3.”

Herbster is, as of January 26, not yet speaking to media about January 5, nor about Senator Tuberville’s contrary account of the events of that evening in DC.

...

Seth Abramson, shown at right, founder of Proof, is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

Palmer Report, Opinion: Removing Louis DeJoy, Rob Partridge, Jan. 26, 2021. Dr. Benjamin Franklin established America’s postal service in 1775, operating out of a small storefront that still exists on Market Street in Philadelphia. Time-honored and highly popular, the USPS oath remains: “Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

bill palmer report logo headerWith the Trump campaign staring at a likely presidential election loss, could it be that a sinister Roger Stone inspired heist was planned focused on derailing the USPS?

What if a mere 3% of the mail could be delayed by a month or more – especially in ‘blue’ cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee and Atlanta? In that case the mail-in ballot option driven by COVID-19, and utilized far more by Democratic Party and Independent voters, might be muted. Voting center deadlines for mail arrival would pass with millions of such votes rendered ineligible to be counted under state laws. A mere 3%.

The problem with that plan might have emerged when Louis DeJoy was appointed as Postmaster General and used a sledgehammer on the USPS rather than a scalpel. High speed sorting machines were disabled and thousands of the ubiquitous blue mail boxes were removed from local street corners. Thousands of veterans saw their needed medicines delayed. Millions of Social Security check deliveries were late. Everyone noticed, Congress got involved, and small but important corrections were forced just in time.

The House and Senate must subpoena Mr. DeJoy at the earliest possible date to investigate his role in that debacle. Concurrently, the entirety of the Trump-appointed Postal Board of Governors must resign, so that a new Board can be appointed, and quickly relieve Mr. DeJoy of his post.

Jan. 25

Proof via Substack, Investigation: The Fingerprints of Top Trump Adviser Roger Stone Are All Over the January 6 Insurrection, Seth Abramson, Jan. 26, 2021. seth abramson proof logoStone says he wasn't involved, but the evidence suggests he's lying — yet again.

Roger Stone’s fingerprints are all over the January 6 insurrection.

And the fact that no Trump friend, ally, or adviser granted clemency by the former president was more attentively aided by him — Trump first commuted Stone’s 40-month prison sentence in July 2020, then later pardoned him — raises the question of whether Trump needed Stone both out of prison and beholden to him as part of the president’s own plans: specifically, a scheme to overturn the November 2020 election.

The evidence that has emerged since January 6 — discussed at length here, and fully sourced via major-media investigative reporting — suggests that’s just what happened.

Trump would have known in advance of his commutation of Roger Stone’s prison sentence in July 2020 exactly what Stone would start doing thereafter, as Stone had coined the phrase “Stop the Steal” in the lead-up to the 2016 election, declaring at the time that “If this election is close, THEY WILL STEAL IT” (emphasis in original, both here and in every all-caps quotation that appears hereafter). Stone’s 2016 “Stop the Steal” effort was a massive fundraising scam that would see its echo in Trump’s 2020 post-election Save America PAC, an “election defense” fund that raised hundreds of millions of dollars via hundreds of November and December emails to frustrated Trump voters.

While we don’t know where the money Stone needlessly raised in 2016 went, we do know that virtually none of the hundreds of millions raised by Trump in 2020 via his Save America PAC went to election defense. The most recent assessment puts the percentage of the money raised that went to Trump lawsuits at under 10%. The rest went to either the RNC or, to a far greater degree, a political fund that Trump can now draw from in the future for almost any purpose, including domestic and international travel self-declared by the man himself as being for “political” purposes.

Roger Stone’s “Stop the Steal” tagline was picked up, during Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, by a man he describes as a “good friend”, far-right activist Ali Alexander. Stone, at the time, was under the scrutiny of the federal justice system and was constricted in his political activities.

Beginning in midsummer 2020, however — just in time for the start of the 2020 general election — Stone was unleashed, thanks to Trump, thereafter conjoining his efforts with Alexander’s even as the latter bolstered his ties with a group with which Roger Stone has been associated: the Proud Boys, a far-right neofascist “club” for men.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has gone so far as to call the infamous white supremacist organization “affiliated with” Roger Stone, and vice versa. This is significant, given that blaze orange-hatted Proud Boys were, per the Wall Street Journal, at the forefront of the breach of the Capitol on January 6.

...

Seth Abramson, shown at right, founder of Proof, is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

mar a lago aerial Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, Supreme Court ends lawsuits alleging Trump illegally profited from business interests, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, Jan. 25, 2021. All sides agreed that cases involving “emoluments clauses” are moot after Donald Trump lost reelection.

The Supreme Court on Monday put an end to lawsuits alleging that former president Donald Trump violated a constitutional anti-corruption prohibition by profiting from his business empire while president.

The justices, without comment or noted dissent, declined to hear Trump’s request to consider lower court orders that said lawsuits could go forward, agreeing with those on both sides of the issue that the cases became moot with Trump no longer in office.

The justices also vacated the lower court judgments in the cases, one of which was filed by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

It means that there is no definitive answer after years of legal wrangling over the Constitution’s emoluments clauses, which prohibit presidents and others from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments without congressional approval.

The question has rarely been presented because presidents rarely maintain active business interests in office, as Trump did. Much of the litigation turned on the president’s interest in the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, near the White House, which became a magnet for foreign dignitaries and others doing business with the government.

The litigation was consumed with questions about who had the right to bring such a suit, and legal questions without precedent.

“We are proud that because of our case, a court ruled on the meaning of ‘emoluments’ for the first time in American history, finding that the Constitution prohibits federal officials from accepting almost anything of value from foreign or domestic governments,” District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said in a joint statement.

ny times logoNew York Times, Supreme Court Won’t Hear Appeal from Sheldon Silver, Former N.Y. Lawmaker, Adam Liptak, Jan. 25, 2021. Mr. Silver, who once dominated state politics as the speaker of the New York Assembly, was convicted of taking illicit payments from real estate developers.

sheldon silver wThe Supreme Court on Monday let stand the conviction of Sheldon Silver, right, the once-powerful State Assembly speaker in New York who went to prison last summer on federal corruption charges.

As is the court’s custom, its brief order gave no reasons for turning down the case. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, dissented, saying the court should have heard the case to clarify its rulings on bribery and extortion.

The court has in recent years been skeptical of broad interpretations of public corruption laws, saying they are not all-purpose devices to ensure good government.

Mr. Silver’s lawyers told the justices that prosecutors had overreached in his case by securing his conviction of accepting bribes in a real estate scheme without proving that those who made the payments had intended to influence particular official actions.

The federal appeals court in New York, in affirming Mr. Silver’s conviction for his role in the scheme, said it was enough that he understood that he would take official actions in exchange for the payments.

washington post logoWashington Post, Six shot dead, including pregnant woman, in ‘mass murder,’ Indianapolis officials say, Meryl Kornfield, Jan. 25, 2021 (print ed.). Authorities said they have determined the attack was “targeted” and there may have been more than one shooter, but no suspects have been identified.

FBI crime data indicated killings rose nearly 21 percent nationwide in the first nine months of the year, The Post previously reported.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Finishing off Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Palmer, Jan. 25, 2021. Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse expressed his ongoing exasperation this week that the Trump-era DOJ never did properly investigate Brett Kavanaugh, and now Kavanaugh is casting absurd Supreme Court votes unabated.

bill palmer report logo headerThe minute President Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland is confirmed, I strongly urge Senate Democrats to refer Brett Kavanaugh to the DOJ for felony perjury. It’s an easily proven charge, as we all saw him lie under oath about various key topics during his confirmation hearing.

If the DOJ brings a case, Kavanaugh will end up having to resign in exchange for non-prosecution. There’s never a guarantee that the DOJ will bring a case. But with Trump gone, and the DOJ being back to making decisions based on the merits of any given case, it’s difficult to imagine the DOJ not bringing a case in such a clear cut instance of felony perjury. For that matter, once the DOJ opens the perjury case, it can investigate the things he was lying about, such as how his debts magically disappeared, and get to the bottom of that as well.

Kavanaugh has to go. Even if we can’t nail him for sexual assault, we can nail him for perjury. Getting him off the Supreme Court won’t fix what’s currently wrong with the court – but it’ll make doing so easier.

Jan. 24

madison cawthorne hunting amazon

Proof via Substack, Investigation: It's Time to Talk About Madison Cawthorn, Seth Abramson, Jan. 24, 2021. The North Carolina Congressman (shown above) is seth abramson proof logoa key January 6 figure too few are talking about.

We’ve entered an era of American history in which we must be more on guard against recurrences of the past than ever before. Donald Trump, if not convicted of incitement to insurrection by the Senate in February, may run again for president—in a storm of vengeance and spite—in 2024. If he doesn’t, one or another of those of his offspring who haven’t fallen far from the tree might well do so, bringing with them the same depravity of spirit and hatred of democracy that festered in their father for decades.

But it may equally be that, over the next ten or twenty or thirty years, the recurrence of Trumpism as a dangerous monolith at the center of our democracy comes to us in the form of someone outside the Trump family: another man or woman with no scruples, a history of deceit, a willingness to incite the very worst in us, and a penchant for fraud.

It’s in this spirit that I write about a twenty-five year-old Republican Congressman from North Carolina, Madison Cawthorn. Cawthorn, we recently learned from The Nation, was elected to Congress of the strength of lies about his military service, his educational background, his work experience, and even his experience—as it turns out, wholly illusory—as a Paralympian. Why these lies weren’t caught by media before this Trump-in-waiting made it to the halls of Congress, we don’t yet know.

What we do know is that in mid-December 2020, Madison Cawthorn “encouraged” Trump voters to call the Capitol and “lightly threaten” members of Congress on the subject of the 2020 election results, in doing so saying to members of Congress, as he explicitly recommended, “‘You know what? If you don’t start supporting election integrity, I’m coming after you, Madison Cawthorn’s coming after you, everybody’s coming after you.’”

In the event anyone thought Cawthorn had accidentally slipped into unfortunate and indelicate hyperbole, the Congressman appeared at Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6 to expand on his prior incitement. He repeated that he was “encouraging” Trump voters to “make their voice[s] heard” because “our Constitution was violated [on November 3].” He ranted that the mob was “doing this”—what he thought or believed the crowd was about to do is unclear—because they’d been forced to do so, indeed because no one else would “make sure they [their representatives in Congress] stood up for election integrity.”

Cawthorn spoke closer in time to Donald Trump on January 6 than either of Trump’s adult sons, and was introduced by the same music Trump himself is introduced by (“Macho Man” by the Village People). He began his speech on the day of the armed insurrection by shouting, “Wow, this crowd really has some fight in it! I’m so glad each and every one of you have come.” He proceeded to underscore to the gathered mob that the Capitol was only “two miles away” down “Pennsylvania Avenue”—as though he were a traffic cop directing them to their final destination. He juxtaposed the lack of “courage” at the Capitol—just two miles away, down Pennsylvania Avenue, you can’t miss it!—with the “courage” that he said he saw in the angry masses before him.

Jan. 23

Justice Department logo

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump and Justice Dept. Lawyer Said to Have Plotted to Oust Acting Attorney General, Katie Benner, Jan. 23, 2021 (print ed.). Trying to find another avenue to push his baseless election claims, Donald Trump considered installing a loyalist, and had the men make their cases to him.

The Justice Department’s top leaders listened in stunned silence this month: One of their peers, they were told, had devised a plan with President Donald J. jeffrey rosenTrump to oust Jeffrey A. Rosen, right, as acting attorney general and wield the department’s power to force Georgia state lawmakers to overturn its presidential election results.

The unassuming lawyer who worked on the plan, Jeffrey Clark, left, had been devising ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to jeffrey clark ocarry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark.

The department officials, convened on a conference call, then asked each other: What will you do if Mr. Rosen is dismissed?

The answer was unanimous. They would resign.

Their informal pact ultimately helped persuade Mr. Trump to keep Mr. Rosen in place, calculating that a furor over mass resignations at the top of the Justice Department would eclipse any attention on his baseless accusations of voter fraud. Mr. Trump’s decision came only after Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark made their competing cases to him in a bizarre White House meeting that two officials compared with an episode of Mr. Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice,” albeit one that could prompt a constitutional crisis.

georgia mapThe previously unknown chapter was the culmination of the president’s long-running effort to batter the Justice Department into advancing his personal agenda. He also pressed Mr. Rosen to appoint special counsels, including one who would look into Dominion Voting Systems, a maker of election equipment that Mr. Trump’s allies had falsely said was working with Venezuela to flip votes from Mr. Trump to Joseph R. Biden Jr.

dominion voting systemsThis account of the department’s final days under Mr. Trump’s leadership is based on interviews with four former Trump administration officials who asked not to be named because of fear of retaliation.

Mr. Clark said that this account contained inaccuracies but did not specify, adding that he could not discuss any conversations with Mr. Trump or Justice Department lawyers. “Senior Justice Department lawyers, not uncommonly, provide legal advice to the White House as part of our duties,” he said. “All my official communications were consistent with law.”

nancy pelosi chuck schumer cropped jan 8 2019 screengrab

 washington post logoWashington Post, Senate reaches deal to start Trump’s trial Feb. 9, Mike DeBonis, Jan. 23, 2021 (print ed.). The majority leader said the wait would allow the Senate to make further progress on President Biden’s nominations and his $2 trillion pandemic relief proposal.

The impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump will begin Feb. 9 under a deal reached Friday by top Senate leaders — delaying by two weeks the us senate logohigh-stakes proceedings over whether Trump incited the violent Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The agreement was made by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), above left, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), right, following a standoff over the timing of the trial, which could permanently bar Trump from holding public office.

mitch mcconnellThe House on Jan. 13 passed a sole impeachment article, alleging “incitement of insurrection.” House leaders could have forced the Senate to begin the trial immediately by transmitting the papers across the Capitol. But a delay serves the former and current presidents: Trump has struggled to assemble a legal team and muster a defense, and President Biden needs the Senate to confirm most of his Cabinet appointees.

McConnell pushed Thursday for a three-week delay, but Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), above right, on Friday morning announced their intention to deliver the impeachment papers Monday — setting up a trial as soon as Tuesday. Later in the day, Biden publicly called for a delay, saying, “the more time we have to get up and running to meet these crises, the better.”

Announcing the two-week timetable Friday, Schumer said the wait would allow the Senate to make further progress on Biden’s nominations and his $2 trillion pandemic relief proposal — the centerpiece of his early legislative agenda — before shifting to Trump.

“We all want to put this awful chapter in our nation’s history behind us, but healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability, and that is what this trial will provide,” he said.

ny times logoNew York Times, White House Orders Assessment on Violent Extremism in the U.S., Julian E. Barnes and Hailey Fuchs, Jan. 23, 2021 (print ed.). President Biden on Friday ordered the director of national intelligence to work with the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the threat from domestic violent extremism, a sign of how seriously the new administration is taking the issue in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

The request comes only days after Avril D. Haines, the newly installed director of national intelligence, pledged to members of Congress during her confirmation hearing that she would help with just such an assessment.

FBI logoThe new intelligence work began as people charged in the mob attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald J. Trump continued to appear in court. On Friday, a federal magistrate judge in Dayton, Ohio ordered Donovan Crowl, an accused rioter linked to the far-right group the Oath Keepers, detained until his trial, citing the safety of the community.

Domestic terrorism and violent groups are a thorny issue for intelligence agencies like the C.I.A., which are limited to tracking attempts by foreign governments or organizations to influence extremist groups in America. The F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security have more leeway to investigate domestic groups and homegrown terrorism.

But Friday’s order will have practical as well as symbolic import. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the assessment would help Mr. Biden hone his policies aimed at curbing violent extremism in the United States.

“This assessment will draw on the analysis from across the government and, as appropriate, nongovernmental organizations,” Ms. Psaki said. “The key point here is that we want fact-based analysis upon which we can shape policy.”

In recent years, some parts of the intelligence community have been working to increase their focus on the threat of domestic terrorism, particularly by doing more to track growing foreign influence operations on domestic groups. The C.I.A. also has officers in its counterterrorism section who specialize in tracking racially-motivated violent extremists overseas.

The order for the evaluation from the intelligence community comes as judges continue to deny bail for suspects in the Capitol riot.

Jan. 23

Justice Department logo

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump and Justice Dept. Lawyer Said to Have Plotted to Oust Acting Attorney General, Katie Benner, Jan. 23, 2021 (print ed.). Trying to find another avenue to push his baseless election claims, Donald Trump considered installing a loyalist, and had the men make their cases to him.

The Justice Department’s top leaders listened in stunned silence this month: One of their peers, they were told, had devised a plan with President Donald J. jeffrey rosenTrump to oust Jeffrey A. Rosen, right, as acting attorney general and wield the department’s power to force Georgia state lawmakers to overturn its presidential election results.

The unassuming lawyer who worked on the plan, Jeffrey Clark, left, had been devising ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to jeffrey clark ocarry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark.

The department officials, convened on a conference call, then asked each other: What will you do if Mr. Rosen is dismissed?

The answer was unanimous. They would resign.

Their informal pact ultimately helped persuade Mr. Trump to keep Mr. Rosen in place, calculating that a furor over mass resignations at the top of the Justice Department would eclipse any attention on his baseless accusations of voter fraud. Mr. Trump’s decision came only after Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark made their competing cases to him in a bizarre White House meeting that two officials compared with an episode of Mr. Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice,” albeit one that could prompt a constitutional crisis.

georgia mapThe previously unknown chapter was the culmination of the president’s long-running effort to batter the Justice Department into advancing his personal agenda. He also pressed Mr. Rosen to appoint special counsels, including one who would look into Dominion Voting Systems, a maker of election equipment that Mr. Trump’s allies had falsely said was working with Venezuela to flip votes from Mr. Trump to Joseph R. Biden Jr.

dominion voting systemsThis account of the department’s final days under Mr. Trump’s leadership is based on interviews with four former Trump administration officials who asked not to be named because of fear of retaliation.

Mr. Clark said that this account contained inaccuracies but did not specify, adding that he could not discuss any conversations with Mr. Trump or Justice Department lawyers. “Senior Justice Department lawyers, not uncommonly, provide legal advice to the White House as part of our duties,” he said. “All my official communications were consistent with law.”

nancy pelosi chuck schumer cropped jan 8 2019 screengrab

 washington post logoWashington Post, Senate reaches deal to start Trump’s trial Feb. 9, Mike DeBonis, Jan. 23, 2021 (print ed.). The majority leader said the wait would allow the Senate to make further progress on President Biden’s nominations and his $2 trillion pandemic relief proposal.

The impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump will begin Feb. 9 under a deal reached Friday by top Senate leaders — delaying by two weeks the us senate logohigh-stakes proceedings over whether Trump incited the violent Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The agreement was made by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), above left, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), right, following a standoff over the timing of the trial, which could permanently bar Trump from holding public office.

mitch mcconnellThe House on Jan. 13 passed a sole impeachment article, alleging “incitement of insurrection.” House leaders could have forced the Senate to begin the trial immediately by transmitting the papers across the Capitol. But a delay serves the former and current presidents: Trump has struggled to assemble a legal team and muster a defense, and President Biden needs the Senate to confirm most of his Cabinet appointees.

McConnell pushed Thursday for a three-week delay, but Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), above right, on Friday morning announced their intention to deliver the impeachment papers Monday — setting up a trial as soon as Tuesday. Later in the day, Biden publicly called for a delay, saying, “the more time we have to get up and running to meet these crises, the better.”

Announcing the two-week timetable Friday, Schumer said the wait would allow the Senate to make further progress on Biden’s nominations and his $2 trillion pandemic relief proposal — the centerpiece of his early legislative agenda — before shifting to Trump.

“We all want to put this awful chapter in our nation’s history behind us, but healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability, and that is what this trial will provide,” he said.

ny times logoNew York Times, White House Orders Assessment on Violent Extremism in the U.S., Julian E. Barnes and Hailey Fuchs, Jan. 23, 2021 (print ed.). President Biden on Friday ordered the director of national intelligence to work with the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the threat from domestic violent extremism, a sign of how seriously the new administration is taking the issue in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

The request comes only days after Avril D. Haines, the newly installed director of national intelligence, pledged to members of Congress during her confirmation hearing that she would help with just such an assessment.

FBI logoThe new intelligence work began as people charged in the mob attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald J. Trump continued to appear in court. On Friday, a federal magistrate judge in Dayton, Ohio ordered Donovan Crowl, an accused rioter linked to the far-right group the Oath Keepers, detained until his trial, citing the safety of the community.

Domestic terrorism and violent groups are a thorny issue for intelligence agencies like the C.I.A., which are limited to tracking attempts by foreign governments or organizations to influence extremist groups in America. The F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security have more leeway to investigate domestic groups and homegrown terrorism.

But Friday’s order will have practical as well as symbolic import. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the assessment would help Mr. Biden hone his policies aimed at curbing violent extremism in the United States.

“This assessment will draw on the analysis from across the government and, as appropriate, nongovernmental organizations,” Ms. Psaki said. “The key point here is that we want fact-based analysis upon which we can shape policy.”

In recent years, some parts of the intelligence community have been working to increase their focus on the threat of domestic terrorism, particularly by doing more to track growing foreign influence operations on domestic groups. The C.I.A. also has officers in its counterterrorism section who specialize in tracking racially-motivated violent extremists overseas.

The order for the evaluation from the intelligence community comes as judges continue to deny bail for suspects in the Capitol riot.

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Majority of Americans Want Trump Convicted and Barred Forever from Holding Federal Office, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Jan. 24, webster tarpley 20072021. Majority of Americans Want Trump Convicted and Barred Forever from Holding Federal Office; Zero Tolerance Here for Fascist Coup d’État and Dictatorship; Some GOP Intrigues Want Trump Gone.

In Spirit of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Hundred Days, Biden Launches 30 Executive Orders and Actions to Defeat Pandemic and Worsening Economic Conjuncture; On Friday, Biden Established $15 Minimum Wage for Federal Workers and Contractors, Plus More Money for Food Stamps and Meals for School Kids;
16 Senators Set to Meet with Biden’s Top Economist Deese; Goal Must Be Full $2 Trillion Pandemic Relief and Stimulus Bill;

1% Wall Street Sales Tax on Turnover of Stocks, Bonds and Derivatives, plus 0% Century Bonds Bought by Fed Are Key to Financing Recovery and Reconstruction Programs;

Trump Economy’s Farewell Week Came with 900,000 New Jobless, Exposing Once Again the Catastrophe of Trump’s Policies; This is Worst Labor Market in Recent US History, Far Worse than the 700,000 per Month Faced by Obama-Biden in 2009 Depression; GOP Lunatic Fringe in Flux After Q Fails to Deliver Stormy Putsch; Some Groups Turn Against Trump;

Merchants of Death: US Exceeds Death Toll of World War II under Trump; British Count Under Johnson Exceeds Civilians Killed in World War II.

Jan. 20

julian assange screenshot arrest (Ruptly)

London police arresting the bearded WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (screenshot from Ruptly video).

Information Clearing House, No Pardons For Edward Snowden Or Julian Assange, Kevin Gosztola, Jan. 20, 2021. Although several long shot campaigns were mounted, President Donald Trump did not pardon any whistleblowers who were indicted or prosecuted under the United States Espionage Act. He also declined to pardon the only journalist ever to be indicted under the World War I-era law.

djt on wikileaksWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, right, were not offered clemency because Trump "did not want to anger Senate Republicans who will soon determine whether he's convicted during his Senate trial."

"Multiple GOP lawmakers had sent messages through aides that they felt strongly about not granting clemency to Assange or Snowden," according to CNN.

NSA whistleblower Reality Winner, who was the first to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act under Trump, and former CIA officer John Kiriakou pursued pardons. They were effectively denied as well.

wikileaks logo2On January 17, the New York Times reported that an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Kiriakou a pardon would cost him $2 million.

"I laughed. Two million bucks—are you out of your mind?" Kiriakou told the Times. "Even if I had two million bucks, I wouldn't spend it to recover a $700,000 pension."

The report exposed a sliver of the corruption around pardons in the final days of the Trump presidency, as "several people with connections" to Trump apparently "accepted large sums of money" in return for clemency.

john kiriakouKiriakou, right, said Trump was not the only president in history to encourage this kind of behavior. "Certainly, Bill Clinton did at the end of his administration well. But this just highlights how the pardon process in the United States is broken."

Throughout the past three months, prominent supporters of Assange, like Pamela Anderson and Glenn Greenwald, were frequent guests on Fox News during primetime in order to communicate the case for a pardon directly to Trump.

A few Republicans in Congress, like Senator Rand Paul and Representative Matt Gaetz, crafted a partisan pitch for pardoning Snowden that went something like Democratic allies, such as former director of national intelligence James Clapper, persecuted him.

“He revealed that James Clapper, the highest-ranking, most powerful spy in the world, was spying on Americans and lied to us about it,” Paul declared. “So I think what Snowden, right, did was a service to the American people and he ought to be pardoned.”

Edward SnowdenBut Snowden did not have millions of dollars to pay off Trump nor was he ever going to do Trump any political favors.

Snowden responded, "Reports that Trump has let himself be bullied out of pardoning Assange, mistakenly believing Senate Republicans won't vote to impeach him if he caves. Once he's out of power, they're going to vote to impeach him anyway. Which, well—that's one way to be remembered."

"Trump will either be remembered as the first president since JFK, who from his first to last day in office was hated by the NSA, CIA, and FBI, or as the one who caved to pressure at the very last moment," Snowden further suggested.

He constantly bashed the "deep state" during his campaign and presidency, but whenever he needed to challenge national security institutions and stand up to their apparatchiks in the Republican Party, he showed there was nothing behind it.

"[The rhetoric] ended up not really serving anybody," Kiriakou contended.

Which is not to say the pardon campaigns by Assange, Snowden, Winner, Kiriakou, and others were a waste of time. Nobody would have predicted President Barack Obama would commute U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning's sentence in 2017 during the final days of his administration.

Assange, who was indicted under Trump, will remain in Belmarsh, a high-security prison in London where COVID-19 has recently spread through his unit. reality winner mug CustomThe Biden Justice Department is expected to pursue an appeal of a British court’s decision to deny the U.S. government's extradition request against Assange.

With a newborn, Snowden and his wife, Lindsay Mills, will remain in Moscow. They will live in exile at least until Snowden can return and defend his whistleblowing acts in a courtroom in the Eastern District of Virginia. (Significant reform is necessary for that to happen.)

Winner, shown at right in prison garb, will be able to leave Federal Medical Center Carswell and go to a halfway house as early as November 2021. However, she also must worry about COVID-19 outbreaks at Carswell.

Because Kiriakou completed his sentence several years ago, his circumstances are far less dire. He still would like to reclaim his pension.

In the end, a president who built up a brand of standing up to the so-called swamp did not want to take any heat for pardoning individuals loathed by the very establishment that despises him. He was spineless and weak.

Trump risked a scandal over pardons for his son-in-law or any one of his cronies. He was not willing to take the same risk for Assange, Snowden, or Kiriakou.

"No president wants to really be involved in a controversy. Donald Trump [was] no different," Kiriakou concluded.

Jan. 12

 

ali akbar alexander stop the steal

Legal Schnauzer, Investigation: As Parler data leak spews forth files about planning of deadly Trump rally, organizer Ali (Akbar) Alexander goes into hiding, with legal problems likely looming, Roger Shuler, Jan. 12, 2021. Stop the Steal organizer Ali (Akbar) Alexander, he of the Alabama ties via Montgomery lawyer and talk-show host Baron Coleman, has gone into hiding, according to a report at the Daily Beast.

Is Alexander's disappearing act driven, in part, by reports that security researchers have cracked all the files at Parler, the site reportedly used by right wingers to plan last week's protest-turned-riot at the U.S. Capitol? Does Alexander (shown above in a file photo) know the security pros plan to provide Parler files to law enforcement, perhaps posing serious legal implications for planners from the Trump fringe who launched the rally that turned into a deadly assault on Congress?

It's too early to have definitive answers to those question, but it appears likely Alexander knows he's gone too far and might need to lawyer up shortly. Under the headline, "Stop the Steal’ Organizer in Hiding After Denying Blame for Riot," the DailyBeast's Will Sommer writes:

Two weeks before thousands of Trump rioters breached Congress, “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander said his group wasn’t violent—“yet.”

“One of our organizers in one state said, ‘We’re nice patriots, we don’t throw bricks,’” Alexander told a crowd at a Dec. 19 rally at Arizona’s state capitol. “I leaned over and I said, ‘Not yet. Not yet!’ Haven’t you read about a little tar-and-feathering? Those were second-degree burns!”

Alexander, who has described himself as one of the “official originators” of the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, went on to use “yet” as a code word for violence. Then Alexander told the Phoenix crowd about his plans for Washington.

“We’re going to convince them to not certify the vote on January 6 by marching hundreds of thousands, if not millions of patriots, to sit their butts in D.C. and close that city down, right?” Alexander said. “And if we have to explore options after that…‘yet.’ Yet!”

Alexander apparently is not quite so glib these days. Writes Sommer:

Alexander led a host of activists in ratcheting up the rhetoric ahead of Congress’ certification of the electoral votes, threatening to “1776” opponents of Trump’s re-election. Now that five people, including a Capitol Police officer, are dead, however, Alexander has gone into hiding, and the website promoting his Jan. 6 rally has been wiped from the internet.

Alexander is defiant, saying he won’t “take an iota of blame that does not belong to me.”

“I didn’t incite anything,” Alexander said in a video posted Friday to Twitter. “I didn’t do anything.”

That last statement suggests Alexander already is thinking of a defense to federal incitement charges that could be coming. Does Alexander's claim that he "didn't incite anything" mesh with reality? Not exactly. Writes Sommer:

Alexander’s voice grew more menacing in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 rally. He tweeted that he would “give my life for this fight,” a call that was promoted by the Arizona Republican Party.

Alexander also began tweeting frequently about “1776,” a reference to the start of the American Revolution. Alexander wrote in one post that the choice was “45”—Trump’s re-election—“or 1776.” In another message, he wrote that “1776 is always an option for free men and women.”

Most pointedly, Alexander responded to a tweet from QAnon-supporter Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) claiming that top congressional leaders were working to block objections to the electoral vote. If that happened, Alexander said, he and hundreds of thousands of other protesters would “1776” the Capitol.

“If they do this, everyone can guess what me and 500,000 others will do to that building,” Alexander tweeted on Dec. 30. “1776 is *always* an option”

The night before the Jan. 6 rally, Alexander riled up Trump supporters in Washington with a “victory or death” chant and once again brought up “1776.”

“1776 is always an option,” Alexander told the crowd. “These degenerates in the deep state are going to give us what we want, or we are going to shut this country down.”

For now, Alexander is out of sight and begging his followers for money:

Alexander claims to be in hiding, alleging in a video posted Friday that he needs $2,000 a day to fund his security detail and other expenses and hitting his fans up for donations. In a bizarre moment in his fundraising pitch, Alexander claimed that he was being targeted by the supernatural: “Witches and wiccans are putting hexes and curses on us.”

It’s not clear how, however, if Alexander’s supporters can send him money at all. On Saturday, he posted on Parler that he had been banned from Venmo and PayPal.

In his Friday video, Alexander claimed that his “rally never turned violent.” But Alexander also read a quote from talk radio host Rush Limbaugh that positively compared the rioters to the heroes of the American Revolution, and said rioters who entered the Capitol should suffer light consequences, if any.

“I think people should be rowdy, I think people should be messy,” Alexander said. “I do believe that we own that U.S. Capitol. So I’m not apologizing for nothing.”

As for Parler, the story of its downfall -- and the resulting data leak -- broke early yesterday, and that could prove to be a gift from heaven for federal investigators. Writes Dell Cameron at Gizmodo:

parler logoIn the wake of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by scores of President Trump’s supporters, a lone researcher [from Austria] began an effort to catalogue the posts of social media users across Parler, a platform founded to provide conservative users a safe haven for uninhibited “free speech” — but which ultimately devolved into a hotbed of far-right conspiracy theories, unchecked racism, and death threats aimed at prominent politicians.

The researcher, who asked to be referred to by her Twitter handle, @donk_enby, began with the goal of archiving every post from January 6, the day of the Capitol riot; what she called a bevy of “very incriminating” evidence. According to the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, among other sources, Parler is one of a several apps used by the insurrections to coordinate their breach of the Capitol, in a plan to overturn the 2020 election results and keep Donald Trump in power.

Operating on little sleep, @donk_enby began the work of archiving all of Parler’s posts, ultimately capturing around 99 percent of its content. In a tweet early Sunday, @donk_enby said she was crawling some 1.1 million Parler video URLs. “These are the original, unprocessed, raw files as uploaded to Parler with all associated metadata,” she said. Included in this data tranche, now more than 56 terabytes in size, @donk_enby confirmed that the raw video files include GPS metadata pointing to exact locations of where the videos were taken.

@donk_enby later shared a screenshot showing the GPS position of a particular video, with coordinates in latitude and longitude.

The privacy implications are obvious, but the copious data may also serve as a fertile hunting ground for law enforcement. Federal and local authorities have arrested dozens of suspects in recent days accused of taking part in the Capitol riot, where a Capitol police officer, Brian Sicknick, was fatally wounded after being struck in the head with a fire extinguisher.

Jan. 11

American System Network, House Democrats Introduce Resolution for Second Impeachment of Trump, Webster G. Tarpley, |Jan. 11, 2021. Biden Suggests webster tarpley 2007Two-Tiered Bifurcated Schedule to Handle Confirmations, Emergency Legislation, and Trump Senate Trial; Republicans Block Ultimatum to Pence to Activate XXV Amendment Immediately, which Will Be Approved on Tuesday;

Memo from FBI, DEA, ATF, Defense Department, US Park Police, and US Marshals Warns of Armed Fascist Attacks on Public Buildings in All 50 State Capitals from January 16 to January 20; This is in Addition to Previous Warning of Armed Putsch Attempts in Nation’s Capital Expected between January 17 and January 20; DC Mayor Bowser Demands and Gets Declaration of State of Emergency from White House; Beware of Fascist Networks Infiltrated into Law Enforcement, and of Foreign Intelligence Services at Work for Subversion!

Former AG Barr and Current White House Counsel Cipollone Warn Trump not to Attempt Self-Pardon; Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf is Third Cabinet Office to Quit Since January 6 Putsch Attempt; Does Cabinet Still Have Quorum Needed to Oust Trump?; Ongoing Probe of January 6 Coup Attempt Points to Attempted Violent Overthrow of US Government;

Across Entire Society, Proliferating Signs of Traditional American Revulsion Against Fascism: Array of Social Media Banish Don and His Lies; Business CEOs and Trade Associations Cutting Campaign Contributions to GOP Fanatics; Professional Golfers’ Association Boycotts Trump Country Club in New Jersey; Calls for New York Bar to Ban Giuliani; Broadcasters Admonish Reactionary Talkers to Stop Raving About Trump Victory and Stolen Election or Be Fired; Cutoff of Cash from Big Money Donors is Threat to GOP Supply Line, Bringing Extinction into View;

About 100 Perpetrators Arrested So Far, with Many More to Come; Sentiment Growing in Congress for Expulsion of Cruz, Hawley, and Brooks;”
Waiting for Certification of Georgia Results, which Will Deprive McConnell of Senate Control and Empower New Majority Leader Schumer to Determine the Legislative Calendar;

Jan. 9

capitol guns drawn

Police with guns drawn watch as rioters and vandals break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (Source: J. Scott Applewhite/AP); Separately, Fox News reported that an unidentified shooting victim, a California woman, was evacuated from the Capitol to a hospital in critical condition and died after being shot during unidentified circumstances, with at least three other dead during the attempted insurrection at the Capitol.

Trump Removal Pressures?

 

U.S. Police, Capital Mob Riot

 

More On U.S. Elections, Politics

 

Trump Removal Pressures

djt nancy pelosi

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump faces mounting demands to leave office or face impeachment, Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey, Mike DeBonis and Tom Hamburger, Jan. 9, 2021 (print ed.). President Trump faces mounting pressure for his immediate ouster after he incited Wednesday’s violent siege at the Capitol — an increasingly louder drumbeat chastising his actions that threatens not only to prematurely end his waning tenure but to put him in legal jeopardy once he leaves office.

democratic donkey logoIn Congress, a growing cadre of House Democrats is pushing to rapidly impeach Trump a second time before he is scheduled to leave office on Jan. 20. They are preparing to introduce articles charging him with inciting an insurrection and having “gravely endangered the security of the United States” and its institutions.

In public, Trump has come as close as he is likely to get to admitting he lost the election, acknowledging that there will be a transfer of power and confirming Friday that he will not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. But in private, the president has tried to rationalize his actions, saying he wanted only to encourage a large protest that would garner news coverage and rattle members of Congress — not for his supporters to actually storm the Capitol in the worst breach of its security since the War of 1812.

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden stimulus plan includes checks, jobless aid, Jeff Stein, Erica Werner and Mike DeBonis, Jan. 9, 2021 (print ed.). President-elect Joe Biden said Friday he is assembling a multitrillion-dollar relief package that would boost stimulus payments for Americans to $2,000, extend unemployment insurance and send billions of dollars in aid to city and state governments, moving swiftly to address the nation’s deteriorating economic condition and the rampaging pandemic.

joe biden twitterThe package will also include billions of dollars to improve vaccine distribution and tens of millions of dollars for schools, as well as rent forbearance and assistance to small businesses, especially those in low-income communities, Biden said at a news conference in Wilmington, Del.

“We need to provide more immediate relief for families and businesses now,” Biden said.

“The price tag will be high,” he said, adding, “The overwhelming consensus among leading economists left, right and center is that in order to keep the economy from collapsing this year, getting much, much worse, we should be investing significant amounts of money right now.”

Biden said he would lay out the package in more detail next week. It would build on some $4 trillion in economic assistance Congress has already devoted to battling the devastating pandemic, including a $900 billion package President Trump signed into law last month.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live U.S. Political Update: Democrats Lay Groundwork for Impeaching Trump Again, Staff Reports, Jan. 9, 2021. ‘I Want Him Out’: Murkowski Is First G.O.P. Senator to Call for Removal.

House Democrats intend to introduce an article of impeachment on Monday charging President Trump with “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States.” President-elect Joe Biden prioritizes the economy, saying there is a “a dire, dire need to act now.”

  • Furious Democrats, backed by a handful of Republicans, pressured President Trump to leave office after a violent mob attack on the Capitol this week.
  • Senator Lisa Murkowski suggested she may leave the Republican Party if it continued to align itself with Mr. Trump.
  • But the president struck a defiant tone. Behind closed doors, he made clear that he would not resign. Here’s the latest from Washington.
  • Biden pledges action to address the economy and the pandemic.
  • Pelosi asked the Pentagon about preventing Trump from using the nuclear codes.
  • A judge has blocked Trump’s sweeping restrictions on asylum applications.
  • Trump's suspension from Twitter caps an online revolt against him.

washington post logoWashington Post, McConnell memo outlines how Senate would conduct second trial for Trump if House impeaches, Seung Min Kim, Jan. 9, 2021 (print ed.). Based on the Senate schedule and timelines, the proceedings would occur after the president leaves office.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump held Senators hostage in the Capitol while calling them and demanding the election be overturned, Bill Palmer, right, Jan. 9, bill palmer2021 (12:03 a.m.). We all saw Donald Trump incite the domestic terrorist attack on the United States Capitol Building. And it’s since been revealed that Trump refused to sign off on the mayor’s request that the DC National Guard be sent in to retake the Capitol. But now things have taken an even darker turn.

bill palmer report logo headerCNN is reporting that while the Capitol was under siege by Trump-terrorists, and while Trump was refusing to sign off on sending the National Guard, he called at least one Senator on the phone and demanded that the election results be overturned. CNN is reporting that Trump tried to call Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville and instead reached Republican Senator Mike Lee, making his demand.

This means that if the timeline of events as we understand it is indeed accurate, Donald Trump was holding members of Congress hostage in the basement while calling them and making demands. This is way beyond merely inciting the attack, or even refusing to do anything to put it down. This is some kind of ransom situation. Trump allowed the Vice President, every Senator, and every House member to remain held hostage and in danger of violence, while he made demands. This is one of the ugliest crimes in American history – and Trump will never get out of prison.

washington post logoWashington Post, Twitter permanently suspends Trump’s account, Nitasha Tiku and Tony Romm, Jan. 9, 2021 (print ed.). “Despite our efforts to serve the public conversation, as Trump’s megaphone, we helped fuel the deadly events of January 6th,” the employees wrote.

Hundreds of Twitter employees demanded in a letter written this week that the company’s leaders permanently suspend Donald Trump’s Twitter account because of his actions surrounding the storming of the U.S. Capitol Tuesday, calling the company’s response insufficient.

twitter bird CustomIn an internal letter addressed to chief executive Jack Dorsey and his top executives viewed by The Washington Post, roughly 350 Twitter employees asked for a clear account of the company’s decision-making process regarding the President’s tweets the day that a pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol. Employees also requested an investigation into the past several years of corporate actions that led to Twitter’s role in the insurrection.

donald trump twitter“Despite our efforts to serve the public conversation, as Trump’s megaphone, we helped fuel the deadly events of January 6th,” the employees wrote. “We request an investigation into how our public policy decisions led to the amplification of serious anti-democratic threats. We must learn from our mistakes in order to avoid causing future harm.”

“We play an unprecedented role in civil society and the world’s eyes are upon us. Our decisions this week will cement our place in history, for better or worse,” the added.

In a statement, Twitter spokesperson Brandon Borrman wrote, “Twitter encourages an open dialogue between our leadership and employees, and we welcome our employees expressing their thoughts and concerns in whichever manner feels right to them.”

Twitter on Wednesday initially labeled Trump’s tweets about the election as disputed. But a subsequent video from the president — calling for calm while continuing to peddle disinformation — prompted the company to step up its enforcement actions.

Twitter ultimately locked the president out of his account for the first time, requiring him to delete his offending tweets — then wait 12 hours — in order to regain access. That came Thursday morning, and Trump issued his first public comments on the site later that night. Twitter said it would suspend Trump permanently if he continues to break its rules, putting users at risk.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump pressured Ga. elections investigator in a separate call that experts say could amount to obstruction, Amy Gardner, Jan. 9, 2021
More than a week before he urged the Georgia secretary of state to overturn the election results, the president urged the state’s chief elections fraud investigator to “find the fraud.

 ali alexander resized greg palast

"Stop the Steal" Republican operative Ali Alexander, top right, is shown with two others in revelations excerpted below by investigative reporter Greg Palast.

GregPalast.com, Investigation: Why did the Georgia GOP Team up with a riot instigator? Greg Palast, Jan. 8-9, 2021. “WE’LL LIGHT THE WHOLE SH*T ON FIRE!”

The star of the GOP’s get-out-the-vote door-knocking program in the Georgia Senate run-off, standing next to Alex Jones, was blasting his threat through a georgia map 2megaphone in front of the Governor’s home. “We’ll light the whole sh*t on fire!”GOP Operative: “We’ll light the whole sh*t on fire!”

Ali Alexander’s threat in December would become all too real when he repeated his performance on January 6 in Washington, DC.

In the U.S. Capitol that day, looking over the scene of screams, tear gas, and mayhem, Alexander said, “I warned you this would happen.”

Yes, he did. Nevertheless, the Georgia Republican Party’s Metro Atlanta Field Director Kevin Mason was more than happy to team up with Alexander. With his huge reach within the Alt-Right, Alexander could bring in a swarm of volunteers for the door-knocking campaign they desperately needed to hold back the looming Democratic victory in the US Senate run-offs.

republican elephant logoThe far-right celebrity was the magnet to draw scores of young enthusiasts to a January 3 training session at the DoubleTree Hotel in Roswell, an Atlanta suburb. The Palast Investigative Fund’s photojournalist, Zach D. Roberts, a specialist in white-fringe violence who’d been tracking Alexander’s pitch for mayhem across the nation, signed up.

Roberts, who joined up through Alexander’s website, StopTheSteal.US, was quite surprised to receive instructions, not from the right-wing group, but from Daniel George of the National Republican Senate Committee.

Why would the GOP team up with Alexander, a leader of the Stop the Steal extremists, especially after his well-broadcast warning of violence? The threat was not out of character. There are widely circulated films of Alexander with Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes. And there is a video chat with Alexander yucking it up with a right-wing jokester holding up a giant flag with a Nazi Swastika flag.

That is, if “Alexander” is his real name. He adopted it after his reported conviction for a felony crime under the name “Ali Akbar.” [See 2012 column excerpted immediately below.]

Alexander is a shapeshifter, sometimes the eye-swiveling crazy, sometimes the dapper guest for Alt-Right podcasts. We cannot link to his most incendiary outlets such as WildProtest.com because they’ve been taken down for inciting violence.

In Georgia, with Alex Jones and Nick Fuentes, a known white nationalist, Alexander hid nothing of his hopes for Washington on January 6. “Either they take Trump, prove that they won or they’re not going to hand them back the country again. We’ll light the whole sh*t on fire!”

To fire up its base, the GOP is apparently willing to cavort with the violence-threatening fringe. The Grand Old Party dismissed Alexander’s warnings. And they also forgot John Kennedy’s warning that “Those who ride the tail of the tiger soon end up inside.”

greg palast logo

Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC), shown above, is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" and "Billionaires & Ballot Bandits," out as major motion non-fiction movie: "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Case of the Stolen Election," available on Amazon and Amazon Prime.

 ali akbar mugshot

Crooks and Liars, The National Bloggers Club And Their Super PAC Friends, Matt Osborne, Co-authored with Alex Brant-Zawadzki and Bill Schmalfeldt, Research assistance by Melissa Brewer, Sept. 12, 2012. Ali Akbar, now President of the National Bloggers Club, is one of the conservative blogosphere's most infamous characters. He began his campaign of notoriety with a crime spree in 2006, blazing a six-year trail of fraud. That's him up there, in the mug shots.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump just screwed himself even worse than you think, Bill Palmer, Jan. 9, 2021. If Donald Trump had behaved during the transition period, he probably could have convinced the judge in his New York criminal trial to let him serve house arrest at Mar-a-Lago, perhaps even let him out on bail completely, while awaiting trial. But now that he’s a documented domestic terrorist threat, the odds of his pretrial incarceration just went up.

bill palmer report logo headerI’d like to thank Donald Trump for doing more to destroy Trumpism this week than I ever could have done on my own. I’d like believe i’ve certainly put a dent in Trump these past four years, but he just took a sledgehammer to his own cause.

Donald Trump’s subreddit has just been banned from Reddit. Do you know how badly you have to screw up in life to get banned from Reddit? YouTube has permanently banned Steve Bannon.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump just got kicked off Twitter for the THIRD time tonight, Bill Palmer, Jan. 8, 2021. Shortly after Donald Trump got permanently banned from Twitter tonight, he tried rogue tweeting from the @POTUS account, which is supposed to be for government use. That only lasted about thirty seconds before Twitter cracked down, deleting his rant. Now it’s happened again on another account.

bill palmer report logo headerTwitter has now permanently suspended Donald Trump’s official campaign Twitter account @TeamTrump after he and/or his handlers used it to post the same rant that Twitter had just removed from the @POTUS account. That’s right, Trump has now been kicked off Twitter for the third time tonight.

At this rate Donald Trump’s next move will be to create a new account called “Ronald Trump” and hope that Twitter doesn’t figure out it’s also him. Trump is the dumbest villain of all time, and he’s getting dumber as the night goes on.

washington post logoWashington Post, Voting machine firm Dominion sues pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, seeking more than $1.3 billion in defamation claim, Emma Brown, Jan. 9, 2021 (print ed.). Dominion Voting Systems on Friday filed a defamation lawsuit against lawyer Sidney Powell, demanding more than $1.3 billion in damages for havoc it says Powell has caused by spreading “wild” and “demonstrably false” allegations, including that Dominion played a central role in a fantastical scheme to steal the 2020 election from President Trump.

For weeks, Powell has claimed that Dominion was established with communist money in Venezuela to enable ballot-stuffing and other vote manipulation, and that those abilities were harnessed to rig the election for former vice president Joe Biden.

dominion voting systemsIn a 124-page complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Dominion said its reputation and resale value have been deeply damaged by a “viral disinformation campaign” that Powell mounted “to financially enrich herself, to raise her public profile, and to ingratiate herself to Donald Trump.” The defendants named in the lawsuit include Powell, her law firm and Defending the Republic, the organization she set up to solicit donations to support her election-related litigation.

In an interview, Dominion CEO John Poulos said the lawsuit aims to clear his company’s name through a full airing of the facts about the 2020 election.

lin wood gage skidmorePoulos said he would like the case to go to trial rather than settle. “We feel that it’s important for the entire electoral process,” he said. “The allegations, I know they were lobbed against us . . . but the impacts go so far beyond us.”

Powell did not immediately respond to a request for comment. L. Lin Wood, left, a lawyer who has worked alongside Powell on post-election lawsuits and who says he is representating her in connection to defamation matters, called the lawsuit an attempt “to censor speech or try to intimidate people from telling the truth.”

 

Deaths From Pro-Trump Riot

brian sicknick

ny times logoNew York Times, He Dreamed of Being a Police Officer, Then Was Killed by a Pro-Trump Mob, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Tracey Tully, Jan. 9, 2021 (print ed.). The death of Brian Sicknick, above, a veteran and experienced officer, amplified the tragedy of the riots and undermined President Trump’s pro-police claims.

Brian Sicknick followed his Air National Guard unit to Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan and a military base in his home state of New Jersey, all in the hopes of one day wearing a police uniform. It was a wish fulfilled more than 10 years ago when he joined the police department tasked with protecting the U.S. Capitol.

Then on Wednesday, pro-Trump rioters attacked that citadel of democracy, overpowered Mr. Sicknick, 42, and struck him in the head with a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials. With a bloody gash in his head, Mr. Sicknick was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support. He died on Thursday evening.

“Brian is a hero,” his brother Ken Sicknick said. “That is what we would like people to remember.”

The death of Officer Sicknick amplified the nation’s grief in the wake of the shocking attack on the Capitol by rioters, inflamed by President Trump’s calls to stop Congress from counting electoral votes and officially declaring Joseph R. Biden Jr. the winner of November’s election. One of those rioters, Ashli Babbitt, also died in the melee, shot by a police officer as she tried to push her way into the heavily protected Speaker’s Lobby, just outside the House chamber.

In all, five have died since the riot began, though three of them were not killed by hostile action. But the beating of an officer brought waves of condolences from lawmakers in both parties still reeling from the event. It also exposed one of the many contradictions of the Trump presidency in his final weeks in the Oval Office. A president who campaigned as a “law and order” candidate, boasting about his relationships with police unions and demonizing those protesting racist policing, incited a riot that led to the death of a member of the law enforcement community.

“It’s a bunch of” nonsense, William J. Bratton, the former New York City police commissioner, said of Mr. Trump’s pledges to the police, though he used a stronger word. “It was a misappropriation of the term ‘law and order.’”

Justice Department officials said during a news conference on Friday that they were investigating the circumstances of Mr. Sicknick’s death, but would not say whether it was a federal murder investigation. One official said that “felony murder is always in play,” but that investigators needed to complete their work.

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. Capitol police officer dies after engaging rioters, Peter Hermann, Jan. 9, 2021 (print ed.). Officer Brian D. Sicknick, below right, brian sicknickcollapsed after returning to his division office and was rushed to a hospital, where officials said he died Thursday night.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff.

“The violent and deadly act of insurrection targeting the Capitol, our temple of American Democracy, and its workers was a profound tragedy and stain on our nation’s history. But because of the heroism of our first responders and the determination of the Congress, we were not, and we will never be, diverted from our duty to the Constitution and the American people,” Pelosi said in a statement.

capitol ties

An as-yet unidentified rioter, center, heavily disguised, invades the U.S. Capitol as part of the pro-Trump "Stop the Steal" protest carrying plastic "ties," which are normally used by law enforcers to bind the wrists of suspects but which are used also by terrorists to subdue hostage victims.

washington post logoWashington Post, FBI focuses on whether some rioters intended to harm lawmakers or take hostages, Devlin Barrett, Spencer S. Hsu and Matt Zapotosky, Jan. 9, 2021 (print ed.). FBI agents are trying to determine whether some who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday intended to do more than cause havoc and disrupt the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, and they are sifting through evidence to see whether anyone wanted to kill or capture lawmakers or their staffers, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Dozens have been arrested, and Friday, officials announced charges against an Arkansas man photographed in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office chair with a foot on her desk. But investigators also are working to determine the motivations and larger goals, if any, of those who had weapons or other gear suggesting they planned to do physical harm.

FBI logoSome rioters, for instance, were photographed carrying zip ties, a plastic version of handcuffs, and one man was arrested allegedly carrying a pistol on the Capitol grounds.

“We’re not looking at this as a grand conspiracy, but we are interested in learning what people would do with things like zip ties,” said a law enforcement official, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation.

No photos or videos that have surfaced so far suggest any of the individuals with zip ties tried to take hostages. One possibility being pursued by investigators is that some who burst into the building may be current or former law enforcement officers, or current and former military personnel, people familiar with the investigation said.

Some who participated in the larger pro-Trump protest this week do work in law enforcement.

Chris West, the sheriff of Canadian County in Oklahoma, for example, held a news conference Friday to dispute that he was the person pictured on social media who claimed he was inside the Capitol, according to a Fox affiliate there. West told reporters that though he did come to rally in D.C. as an “individual” and Trump supporter, he never set foot in the Capitol building and thought he was walking from Liberty Square in the direction of the Capitol when the violence began.

A sheriff in Bexar County, Tex., meanwhile, told reporters that one of his lieutenants ­— Roxanne Mathai ­— was under investigation after her Facebook posts appeared to show she was at the Capitol, according to a local ABC station. Mathai has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

rnc logoMany of the initial charges have been for unlawful entry, but authorities also found suspected pipe bombs outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee, and they arrested the owner of a truck they said was spotted nearby with 11 molotov cocktails inside. The FBI is still searching for the person who left the suspected pipe bombs.

Adding to the investigation’s urgency, Twitter on Friday noted that plans for future armed protests have begun circulating online, including a proposed second attack on the U.S. Capitol and assaults on state government buildings Jan. 17.

Officials cautioned that there may be a variety of motives among those who broke into Congress, and they said that a key part of their investigation is determining whether any individuals or groups had planned in advance or were coordinating in the moment to commit violence against individual politicians. Others may simply have been caught up in the moment and committed rash, unplanned crimes, officials said.

capitol mob

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), The anatomy of a fascist military-police coup in the United States, Wayne Madsen, left, Jan. 8, 2021. This editor worked for several wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallyears out of the U.S. Capitol complex, attending press conferences, covering hearings, and interviewing members, and got to know almost every nook and cranny.

On January 6, 2021 – truly a date that will live in infamy – armed marauders believing conspiracy theories were able to enter the U.S. Capitol unimpeded by Capitol police.

wayne madesen report logoThe reason was simple. They were aided and abetted in an attempted coup d’etat against the United States by top law enforcement officials of the U.S. Capitol, far-right Republican members of the Senate and House of Representatives, the Department of Defense, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), elements within the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Park Service and Police, Secret Service, and state-level offices.

The conspiracy to do exactly what was done on January 6 was advertised on social media, from Gab and Parler to Facebook and Instagram.

USA Today via Yahoo News, Florida man photographed carrying Speaker's lectern in Capitol riot arrested by federal marshal, Rich McKay, Jan. 9, 2021. A usa today logoFlorida man photographed carrying U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's lectern from the House of Representative chambers during the riot at the U.S. Capitol was arrested late Friday, according to jail records.

Adam Christian Johnson, 36, of Parrish, Florida, was arrested on a federal warrant and booked into the Pinellas County jail Friday night, the records said. No bond was allowed.

Following the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday, where lawmakers had gathered to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden, the FBI had asked the public for help identifying participants, given the proliferation of images of the riots on the internet.

Five people died in the riot, including a Capitol Hill police officer.

Johnson was one of those identified on social media and was identified by the Bradenton Herald as being from Parrish, a community about 25 miles (40 km) south of Tampa.

In addition to the arrest of Johnson, there were at least 13 people facing criminal charges in U.S. District Court in connection to the riot, and at least another 40 people were facing lesser charges in the District of Columbia Superior Court, a local venue.

Many of those individuals were arraigned on Thursday and released, with an order from the judge not to return to Washington unless it is for court appearances or meetings with their attorneys.

They included Cleveland Meredith, who was charged with threatening Pelosi as well as possession of an unregistered firearm and unregistered ammunition, and Richard Barnett, the Gravette, Arkansas, man who was photographed sitting at Pelosi's desk and is also known as Bigo.

USA Today, Fact check: Claims of electoral fraud in Rome, dubbed 'ItalyGate,' are baseless, Camille Caldera, Jan. 8, 2021. The claim: Votes were switched usa today logofrom Trump to Biden at the U.S. Embassy in Rome. At 3:41 a.m. on Jan. 7, Vice President Mike Pence confirmed that President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump — an act that marked the formal end of the presidential race, per USA Today.

Nonetheless, some internet users have continued to levy baseless claims about electoral fraud. This week, there were multiple videos posted to Facebook that alleged the vote count was changed in Rome.

Pages like Conversation Controversy and Trump Train News Media shared a 52-minute video in which Maria Strollo Zack explains the theory, dubbed "ItalyGate."

"The theft of the election was orchestrated in the Rome Embassy, on the second floor of Via Veneto, by an employee, Stefano Serafini, foreign service officer of over 20 years," she said. "Stefano Serafini coordinated with a General Claudio Graziano."

"General Graziano is on the board of Leonardo — the defense contractor, Leonardo SPA," Strollo Zack continued. "Leonardo used their military satellite uplink to load the software and transfer it over to change the votes from Trump to Biden."

"ItalyGate" has quickly spread to around the internet. The three videos have amassed a combined 100,000 views and 7,000 shares on Facebook. An interview of Strollo Zack on America Can We Talk? on YouTube has also garnered over 400,000 views.

Conversation Controversy, Strollo Zack, American Can We Talk? have not responded to requests from USA TODAY for comment. Trump Train News Media told USA Today that they are not responsible for the content, since it was sent to the page to share.

Johnson told USA Today that "it’s clear from Italian newspapers this is going on," though he provided no proof.

The claims in both videos on "ItalyGate" are baseless. They are also easily contradicted by statements from multiple federal officials who have found no proof of electoral fraud.

On Nov. 12, a national coalition of election security officials announced that "there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised," per USA Today.

washington post logoWashington Post, Twitter warns of new plans for violence, brewing again on social media, as reason for Trump ban, Craig Timberg and Drew Harwell, Jan. 9, 2021. The company described a looming “secondary attack” on the U.S. Capitol and state government facilities next weekend.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Schmitt had ‘no knowledge’ of AG group’s robocall before Capitol siege, spokesman says, Eric Schmitt, Jan. 9, 2021. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt had “no knowledge” of a robocall a group tied to GOP attorneys general sent out ahead of violent clashes at the U.S. Capitol, Schmitt’s spokesman said Saturday.

The Rule of Law Defense Fund, a fundraising entity connected to the Republican Attorneys General Association, sent out the robocalls a day before the siege, NBC News reported, following an investigation by the watchdog group Documented.

The robocall urged people to march to the U.S. Capitol, using phrases such as “continue to fight” and “stop the steal,” Documented reported.

“(W)e will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal,” the robocall said, according to Documented. “We are hoping patriots like you will join us to continue to fight to protect the integrity of our elections.”

Schmitt is vice chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.

“Attorney General Schmitt absolutely had no knowledge of or involvement in the robocall, and condemns the violence that took place on Wednesday in the strongest possible terms, period,” Schmitt spokesman Chris Nuelle said in a statement.

djt handwave file

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: House Will Vote Monday on Impeachment Resolution, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Jan. 9, 2021. House Will Vote Monday on Impeachment webster tarpley 2007Resolution by Democrats Cicilline, Raskin, and Lieu with Single Article Focused on Trump’s Attempt to Steal Georgia Electoral Votes and His Open Incitement to Violent Riot During Electoral Vote Count; Abundant Evidence to Convict and Remove is Already Available on Videotape; 185 Democratic and One Republican Co-Sponsor So Far; Craven Pence and Cabinet of Bootlickers are AWOL on XXV Amendment Duty; Parts of Trump’s Base Attack Him for Cowardice;

In Fading Twilight of His Lost Senate GOP Majority, Moscow Mitch Undermines US National Security with More Dangerous Stalling; Impeachment Even After January 20 is Imperative to Bar the Demagogue from Any Future Federal Office; Right Now, He Must Be Deterred and Dissuaded, Hemmed In, Pinned Down, and Boxed In, with All Circuits Overloaded to Prevent Wag the Dog Attempts; Trump, Who Claimed to Love Cops, Takes No Notice of Murder of US Capitol Policeman;

Decisive Practical Argument for Rapid Second Impeachment is to Keep Trump’s Tiny Fingers Away from Nuclear Button; We Need New Version of Schlesinger-Kissinger 1974 Restraints on Nixon’s Access to Nuclear Launch Codes;

Trump Tweets Finally Shut Down after Fomenting Violence; He Reportedly Reneges on Promise of Peaceful Transfer of Power; Over-Ripeness of Seditious GOP for Extinction is Now Beyond Doubt, but Many of the Deluded Are Dodging the Obvious; Sherrod Brown: Expel Cruz and Hawley!

Fascists Planning More Terrorist Actions in Washington and State Capitals on January 17 and January 19-20; FBI Dragnet Arrests Ringleaders; Grotesque and Infantile Excuses from Rioters: Sovereign Individuals Claim They Were Duped by Antifa Provocateurs!;

More Likely: Private Military Contractors and Espionage Agents of Foreign Enemies; Planned Actions May Have Included Kidnapping, Assassination, or Demolition; Government Computers Were Stolen, Pipe Bombs at DNC and RNC; Were SKIFS Penetrated?

Ossoff and Warnock Await Certification by Georgia Authorities, Who Need to Accelerate Process to Protect Nation; Toomey, Murkowski and Other Senate Republicans Waver; Arrival of Two New Democrats Will Flip Senate, Demote McConnell, and Bring Removal Closer!

Tragic Irony: Magamuffins Are Broken Souls, Reduced by Finance Capital to Desperation and Frenzy, and Deployed for Reactionary and Fascist Purposes.

Jan. 8

NBC News, Investigation: Republican AGs group sent robocalls urging march to the Capitol, Laura Strickler and Lisa Cavazuti, Jan. 8, 2021. “At 1 p.m., we will nbc news logomarch to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal,” said the voice on the recording, which was obtained by NBC News.

An arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association, a national group representing the top law enforcement officers in their states, sent out robocalls encouraging people to march to the U.S. Capitol the day before the building was stormed by a pro-Trump mob.

“At 1 p.m., we will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal,” said the voice on the recording, which was obtained by NBC News.

The calls, which did not advocate violence or suggest the building should be breached, was sent out by the Rule of Law Defense Fund, a fundraising arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association. The groups share funding, staff and office space in Washington, D.C.

In a statement to NBC News, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, who runs the fund, said the calls were sent out without his knowledge.

“I was unaware of unauthorized decisions made by RLDF staff with regard to this week’s rally,” said Marshall, who assumed his role Nov. 10. “Despite currently transitioning into my role as the newly elected chairman of RLDF, it is unacceptable that I was neither consulted about nor informed of those decisions. I have directed an internal review of this matter.”

A website set up to promote the rally that preceded the Capitol incursion lists the Rule of Law Defense Fund as one of the participating organizations. The site has since been taken down.

Adam Piper, the executive director of the Republican Attorneys General Association, and Peter Bisbee, the executive director of the fundraising arm, did not return requests for comment about the robocalls, which were first reported by the watchdog group Documented.

A spokesperson for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, the chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, said he “had no knowledge or involvement in this decision.”

“Attorney General Carr has been working diligently to determine how this situation occurred and ensure that it does not happen again,” said spokesperson Katie Byrd. “The stance of the protestors was not consistent with Attorney General Carr’s position on election fraud. And, as he has been saying since moments after seeing news break, the violence and destruction we saw at the U.S. Capitol is unacceptable and un-American.”

microsoft logo CustomThe Republican Attorneys General Association raised more than $18 million in 2020 from several top corporations, including Pepsi, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase and Comcast, the parent company of NBC News. Its supporters also include interest groups such as the NRA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which was its top donor in 2020 with a $750,000 contribution.

nra logo CustomMany companies that donated to the Republican Attorneys General Association also gave to the Democratic Party equivalent. Several told NBC News that spending money on this kind of recruitment for protest runs counter to the purpose of their donation.

Reached for comment, the Chamber of Commerce provided a statement from Harold Kim, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

“We are appalled at Wednesday's incursion into the Capital, and did not support any efforts by the Rule of Law Defense Fund,” he said. “We do not support any similar activities now, and will not in the future.”

A Microsoft spokesperson said: “We condemn the actions taken by the RLDF and are raising our concerns directly with RAGA. Earlier this week, we spoke out alongside others in the business community regarding the violence that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol.”

A JPMorgan spokesperson said its political action committee donated $25,000 to the attorneys general group and none of it went to the Rule of Law Defense Fund.

Jan. 4

American System Network, Opinion: Rep. Clyburn Predicts Victory for Warnock and Ossoff in Georgia Primary, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Jan. 4, 2021. Rep. Clyburn webster tarpley 2007Predicts Victory for Warnock and Ossoff Over GOP Foes in Tuesday Georgia Primary; To Help Save the Country, Georgians Must Vote for These Democrats;

Trump Caught Red-Handed in Taped Telephone Conversation Attempting to Extort Extra Votes from Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger to Reverse Election Result; Call Includes Threats of Criminal Prosecution, Cajolery, and Hectoring of Georgia Officials, Who Stick to their Finding that Election Was Legitimate; The Tell-Tale Modus Operandi of the Zelenski Phone Call Confirmed; How Many Similar Phone Calls Has Trump Made to Other State Officials? How Many to Military Leaders?; Overriding Need to Prosecute Trump After January 20 Now Gathering Support in Large Parts of US Public Opinion;

john gotti mug shotsTrump Fails to Learn Lesson of John Gotti (shown at left in mug shots), Who Was Finally Indicted and Convicted Because of Too Much Explicit Talk in Telephone Conversations with Partners in Crime;

Reps. Lieu and Rice Urge Wray to Launch FBI Investigation of Trump Under 52 USC 2511 and Georgia State Code; All Ten Living Defense Secretaries Warn Armed Forces to Stay Out of Election Disputes, Which Would Throw US “Into Dangerous, Unlawful, and Unconstitutional Territory”; Accountability May Include “Criminal Penalties”;

Trump Fanatics Determined to Disrupt Wednesday’s Official Counting; Cruz-Hawley Putsch Faction Now Has 13 Senators; Former House Speaker Ryan: Tactics of GOP Hill Extremists Are Not Conservative; Nation’s Capital Awaits Arrival of Pro-Trump Hooligan Demonstrators; DC Mayor Wisely Tells Citizens to Stay Home; BLM Renounces Counter-Protests;

enrique tarrio stone facebookBrutal Faction Fight among Republicans Points Again to Early Extinction of Party on Model of Rotten Federalists, Whigs, and Knownothings — Condign Punishment for Enabling Trump!

Breaking: Proud Boys Boss Enrique Tarrio (shown at right in file photo with Roger Stone) Arrested upon Arrival in Washington DC; Convicted Felon Charged with Weapons Violations and Earlier Destruction of Property in Burning of BLM Banner.

Jan. 3

Breitbart, President Trump to Address ‘Stop the Steal’ Protesters on White House Lawn on January 6, Matthew Boyle, Jan. 3, 2021. President Donald Trump breitbart logoand a list of other high-profile speakers will address “Stop the Steal” protesters on Wednesday, Jan. 6, ahead of an effort by some congressional Republicans to challenge the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory, Breitbart News has learned.

Thousands of Trump supporters are expected to gather in Washington, DC, for the occasion, and members of Trump’s team have been brought in to help organize the event which is officially being hosted by Women for America First.

The main event will happen on the Ellipsis at the White House—informally called “the President’s Lawn”—a source familiar with the organizational efforts said. The president tweeted Sunday morning that he will be there on Wednesday.

The president is expected to deliver remarks beginning at around 11 a.m. He will cap off an event at which several other high-profile names, including his eldest son Donald Trump, Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, Amy Kremer, Rudy Giuliani, Katrina Pierson, Boris Ephsteyn, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Diamond and Silk, Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones, Roger Stone, Benny Johnson, Scott Presler, Bernie Kerik, and Ali Alexander are all among those expected to speak, per a source involved in the matter.

Many of these speakers, and others, will also speak on Tuesday, Jan. 5—the day before the official festivities—at an event at Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington, DC. But the main event is on Wednesday, at the Ellipsis at the White House.

The doors for the White House Ellipsis event will open at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, and while event-goers will not need to formally enter White House grounds through a White House gate there will be Secret Service checkpoints on the way in. Technically, event-goers do not need to register or have tickets, but are being encouraged to RSVP on the website MarchtoSaveAmerica.com.

The official program will begin around 9 a.m., and again will be capped by Trump’s speech beginning around 11 a.m. When the president finishes his remarks, organizers then will lead a march up to the U.S. Capitol where they are expected to arrive around 1 p.m.—the time during which the new Congress, which is being sworn in on Sunday, will consider certification of the electoral college results.

More than a hundred House Republicans are expected to challenge the certification of the electoral college results, and they will be joined by at least a dozen Senate Republicans. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) was the first one to announce he would join House GOP challenges last week, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) led an effort this weekend of 11 more Senate Republicans to join the cause.

With numbers like this, the effort is by far the most serious in modern history to challenge, via the process of Congress certifying the electoral college results, an election. There have been other attempts, like after Trump’s win in 2016 in early 2017 some House Democrats tried to challenge the results but did not get a senator on board with their challenge. Also, in early 2005, some House Democrats joined with then-Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to challenge then-President George W. Bush’s re-election. That effort failed, as vast majorities in both chambers of Congress rejected it.

This effort is similarly expected to fail, as the Democrats control the U.S. House so despite the impressive showing of more than 100 House Republicans siding with Trump he will fall short of a majority in that chamber. Similarly, some Senate Republicans—ranging from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) to Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—have said they recognize Biden as the legitimate president-elect and will not go along with this effort.

Therefore, given that the Senate GOP majority is tight—currently 52 members, which may change depending on what happens in Tuesday’s runoff elections in Georgia where Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) face Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff respectively—there are already not enough votes for Trump to even get a majority in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Nonetheless, the success of those cheering this challenge on in getting as many members of Congress as they have gotten on board this fight—even if it is doomed to fail no matter what—is remarkable. It also resembles the anger and fury of the GOP base in the wake of the Nov. 3 contest, and signals that Trump base voters are seeking fighters in the future for the party. But it is also a tough balancing act for GOP leaders, as they seek to show the base they are willing to fight but also attempt to move forward with the reality of an incoming Biden administration that is fast-approaching in just a couple weeks.

The U.S. Senate has not started holding hearings for Biden’s cabinet picks, and may not start until after the inauguration. A large part of what will determine Biden’s administration post selections’ fates looms in Georgia on Tuesday, as those runoffs will ascertain which party controls the U.S. Senate for the foreseeable future and could mean the difference between some of Biden’s selections getting confirmed or not.

But the energy on the right as evidenced by the thousands of Trump supporters who months after the election will still descend on Washington, DC, this week is something Republicans will seek to harness in the future as they go into battle with the incoming Biden administration and as they seek to retake the House majority in 2022 after winning unexpected gains in the 2020 congressional elections.

Ultimately, too, this will all culminate in the 2024 White House battle, with what is expected to be a huge field of potential contenders bidding for their shot at Trump’s mantle, assuming he doesn’t run again which is no foregone conclusion.

Dec. 18

Southern Poverty Law Center, "Hatewatch" Opinion: Law Firm Tied to Far-Right Fringe Registers Stop the Steal LLC in Alabama, Michael Edison Hayden, Dec. 18, 2020. A law firm associated with activists on the far-right fringe registered the Limited Liability Company (LLC) Stop the Steal in Montgomery, Alabama, in November, state records show. “Stop the Steal” is the name of a nationwide protest movement focused on overturning President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election based upon unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

George Coleman of the law firm Baron Coleman registered the Stop the Steal LLC in Montgomery on Nov. 13. Far-right activist Ali Alexander, 35, the self-described “National Organizer” for the Stop the Steal, told Hatewatch over text that Baron Coleman represents him. Alexander promoted Stop the Steal events to Twitter soon after it became apparent that Trump lost the 2020 election and has done so persistently ever since. Baron Coleman registered the LLC one day before protesters associated with Ali’s Stop the Steal movement descended on Washington D.C. The event gave way to violent clashes between Stop the Steal supporters and counterprotesters.

Hatewatch has so far been unable to determine what the LLC does, but it borrows from a brand name first associated with Roger Stone Jr. A former adviser to Donald Trump and a convicted felon, Stone first launched Stop the Steal during the 2016 election as a group of poll watchers tasked with disputing Democratic votes in urban, multiracial areas. Like the current iteration of Stop the Steal, Stone gathered the group together under the auspices of fighting voter fraud, as Hatewatch has reported. Hatewatch reached out to Stone by phone and email, but he did not respond.

Baron Coleman also represents Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes in his defamation lawsuit against Southern Poverty Law Center, which is based upon its designation of them as a hate group. Alexander and lawyers for Baron Coleman appeared with McInnes outside the center’s headquarters in Montgomery on Feb. 4, 2019, when he announced that suit. Alexander told Hatewatch over text that Baron Coleman advised him in responding to Hatewatch’s request for comment.

“[Baron Coleman] advised me to tell you not to contact me while I’m representing a client suing y’all. Conflict of interest. Thanks!” Alexander wrote.

Alexander does not appear to be an attorney, so it is unclear what he meant by representing. Alexander is a far-right operative linked to a number of political smear campaigns and is known for posting disinformation to Twitter. One example of that behavior includes a sustained campaign he created promoting the unsubstantiated claim that Biden is “sick” and suffers from some form of otherwise unreported, degenerative illness. Mother Jones reported that Alexander is a convicted felon. Hatewatch obtained records showing Alexander entered a guilty plea on charges of “debit card abuse” in Tarrant County, Texas, in April 2008. He went by the name “Ali Akbar” at that time.

Hatewatch followed up with another text, but Alexander did not respond. Hatewatch was therefore unable to ask him about the LLC.

Baron Coleman sent Hatewatch the following comment:

I received your request for comment and don’t have much I can add. As you know any conversations between my clients and me are privileged.

Stop the Steal, LLC, is an Alabama limited liability company I organized for clients of mine. I’m afraid I’m limited by my professional duties to defer to my clients – owners of the privilege – on whether they would like to add anything more.

I appreciate you reaching out. If you can think of anything else I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to contact me at your convenience. I’ll do my best to answer anything that isn’t privileged.

Sincerely,

Baron Coleman

Stone appeared with Alexander in the trailer of an apparent film about Stop the Steal activism, which was published to Twitter on Dec. 9. The trailer also featured an appearance by white nationalist live-streamer Nick Fuentes and anti-immigrant pundit and VDARE contributor Michelle Malkin, among other activists who are promoting the falsehood that Trump won the 2020 election.

Proud Boys have also turned up at Alexander’s events. At a Stop the Steal-linked event on Dec. 12, members of the hate group reportedly took down two Black Lives Matter banners from two historic Black churches in Washington, D.C., and destroyed them. The Washington Post reported that police were investigating the incidents on hate crime charge

Dec. 8

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: A decade of wringing money and power out of conservative victimhood nears its apex, Philip Bump, Dec. 8, 2020. Ali Alexander is a right-wing personality who has worked with a rogue’s gallery of notorious characters in that world: Alex Jones, Roger Stone, Jacob Wohl, Laura Loomer, you name it.

A decade ago, he was flitting around on the fringes of the conservative movement where his past legal troubles contributed to scrutiny of his efforts to raise funds for an online publishing venture. Now, he identifies himself as “national organizer” for “Stop the Steal,” an organization which adopts the tagline of President Trump’s ploy to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Alexander’s group isn’t linked to the Trump campaign. Instead, as CNN reported last week, his “Stop the Steal” website solicits contributions that aren’t bound by nonprofit rules or constraints and which, at least in its initial iteration, went straight to him. In a brief encounter at a rally focused on the election results, CNN’s Drew Griffin asked Alexander how much he was getting from the effort.

“Zero,” Alexander insisted. He then accused Griffin of being a racist for his past reporting.

You don't need to read between the lines much to understand that there's a distinct possibility that Alexander, after years of building his name through right-wing agitation, might similarly see an opportunity in Trump's effort to throw out the results of the 2020 contest. You might suspect that Alexander's more virulent rhetoric has, at a minimum, multiple motivations. If bolstering concerns about the election is lucrative, why draw a line on how far you're willing to go to bolster those concerns?

It’s not insignificant that Alexander’s emergence coincided with the rise of the tea party movement during President Barack Obama’s first term in office. For all of the legitimate energy that the movement fostered, there was also a lot of grifting — financial and political — associated with the effort. A number of groups emerged to fundraise off the energy of the movement and amplified concerns about the future of the country, not all of them legitimate. The passion of supporters could be easy to parlay into money and political support, something which Trump himself explored with his overt flirtations with the movement in his brief consideration of a 2012 run.

Kelli Ward is another person who rose within Republican politics through the tea party movement. After winning a seat in the Arizona state Senate in 2012, she twice tried to earn the party’s nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate, without success. She, too, has embraced the fringes of right-wing, including demonstrating support for rancher Cliven Bundy during his standoff with federal officials in 2014 and joining Loomer for an event last year.

Ward is now the head of the Republican Party in Arizona. She’s been outspoken in her criticism of Gov. Doug Ducey (R) since he certified the results of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state. When Ducey explained in a series of tweets why he was legally bound to do so, Ward told him to “STHU” — to shut up.

Ward, too, has an interest in boosting the idea that the election was stolen. Much of the most vocal part of her party believes Trump’s rhetoric on the matter and sees nefarious efforts playing a role in the results. That doesn’t mean that her position is insincere; like many Republicans, she may in fact believe the baseless claims that rampant fraud occurred. But that doesn’t mean that fighting against Ducey on the point isn’t politically useful.

Sept. 12, 2012.

ali akbar mugshotCrooks and Liars, The National Bloggers Club And Their Super PAC Friends, Matt Osborne, Co-authored with Alex Brant-Zawadzki and Bill Schmalfeldt, Research assistance by Melissa Brewer, Sept. 12, 2012. Ali Akbar, now President of the National Bloggers Club, is one of the conservative blogosphere's most infamous characters. He began his campaign of notoriety with a crime spree in 2006, blazing a six-year trail of fraud. That's him up there, in the mug shots.

Akbar's story is as improbable as the Tea Party movement itself, and a lesson on the privileges of power in the age of Citizens United. How did a petty crook rise to these heights in such a short time? Why does he enjoy such influential connections today?

We ask these questions because we see an emerging bipartisan consensus that Akbar's National Bloggers Club (NBC) is entirely notional. Akbar has never applied to the IRS for 501(c)3 status -- despite having claimed as much on the NBC Facebook page. While the NBC requires an unusual amount of personal information from donors, they do not offer those donors an EIN (Employer ID Number) to make their contributions tax deductible.

An EIN is provided upon application for nonprofit status, and should be available if the National Bloggers Club has applied. It is an easy online process. Yet we have been unable to locate an EIN in any database, and inquiries by both liberal and conservative bloggers have been met with silence. When journalist Bill Schmalfeldt contacted the Internal Revenue Service, he was informed that no EIN existed in their database for a National Bloggers Club.

This would be less distressing if Akbar didn't have a long history of covering up his tracks and minimizing his criminal past. In 2006, he stole items from a woman's home; he later broke into a vehicle, stole a debit card, and withdrew money from the victim's account, earning a felony conviction. Yet this record did not keep Akbar out of Republican politics.

Barely a year later, Akbar was accused of discussing election fraud tactics. The accuser, Joey A. Dauben, was a former colleague. In coverage of the controversy, Akbar was frequently and mistakenly identified as a John McCain campaign staffer due to his involvement in Bloggers for McCain, a "cooperating" website independent from the campaign itself. Akbar also caught flak for “scrubbing the web” to cover the tracks of Michael Meissner, a former police chief who was charged with posing as a woman and soliciting photos of underaged boys.

In April 2008, Akbar pleaded guilty to the debit card fraud and was sentenced to four years probation and restitution of the stolen money. His probation ended in May of this year. In the meantime, Akbar has built quite a blog empire for himself -- and runs it from his mother's house.

By 2008 Akbar had linked up with Eric Odom's Don't Go movement. They likely met up when Akbar’s firm, Republic Modern, designed the old website of Sam Adams Alliance, for which Odom was the new media director. When Odom started American Liberty Alliance (ALA), a tea party website that was mainly in the business of monetizing other Tea Party sites with ads, he brought Akbar along with him. Starting off as ALA’s Technology Consultant, Akbar would eventually became Chairman of ALA's Board, spending much of his time collecting non-deductible donations.

Yes, despite claiming to be in the application process for 501(c) 4 status in August 2009, ALA eventually was embarrassed into posting the following caveat on their website (though not their donation page): “The American Liberty Alliance is not a 501c3, 501c4 or a PAC. We are not registered as a non-profit and we do not raise funds as such.” Yet they incorporated under the name “American Liberty Alliance - A Non-Profit Corporation.”

The most excoriating examination of the ALA came from Erick Erickson, who reported that ALA had eventually been rolled up into an Eric Odom PAC:

For a number of months I have had more than my share of phone calls from conservative donors, bloggers, activists, campaigns, and others wishing someone would speak out. Several tried pushing this story into the mainstream media, but we all know what would happen there ? we’d turn people into martyrs who shouldn’t be.

At best this conduct looks like ignorance of the complex bureaucracy and regulations surrounding the FEC. At its worst, it looks like . . . well, you decide. I’m sure even more will come out now that I’m willing to speak up and it does not look like a case of simple ignorance. If it were an isolated incident it’d be one thing, but it is a pattern.

Indeed, the pattern begins with a profitable deception. Although ALA was registered as a non-profit in Nevada, as far as we can determine they never actually applied for non-profit status with the IRS, despite always claiming they were "in the process" of doing so. The pattern repeats with NBC, which incorporated in Texas as a non-profit, and has collected donations as a non-profit, without ever applying for legal non-profit designation. (The NBC has scrubbed 501(c)3 language from its donations page at Rally.org.) Our attempts to reach the law firm listed as the NBC's registered agent have been rebuffed. (Update: the address appears to be a "virtual" office.)

These dubious credentials in the new Tea Party movement propelled Akbar into the upper echelons of conservative organizing, where he has apparently met Karl Rove. Yet Akbar seems to have done remarkably little real work during his ascension.

Jan. 2

djt biden smiles

cnn logoCNN, Federal judge throws out Gohmert lawsuit asking Pence to interfere in Electoral College count, Dan Berman, Updated Jan. 2, 2021. A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit from Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and several Arizona Republicans seeking to force Vice President Mike Pence to help throw the election to President Donald Trump next week when Congress meets to count the Electoral College votes.

Judge Jeremy Kernodle of the Eastern District of Texas said on Friday that Gohmert, below left, and the others lacked standing to sue.

louis gohmertGohmert's suit was part of the desperate and extraordinary GOP attempt to overturn the presidential election using baseless and unproven allegations of mass voter fraud and charging that multiple states that President-elect Joe Biden won illegally changed their voting rules due to the pandemic. Those arguments have failed dozens of times in state and federal courts over the past two months.

Gohmert and a slate of would-be Trump electors from Arizona had said only Pence could decide what electoral votes count -- a remarkable argument suggesting vice presidents can directly determine who wins a presidential election, regardless of the results.

 

lin wood djt march 2020

Palmer Report, Opinion: Trump world hits panic button after Donald Trump lawyer Lin Wood violently threatens Mike Pence, Bill Palmer, Jan. 1, 2021 (11:30 p.m. EST). Donald Trump has a long and strange history of hiring new lawyers who are so profoundly deranged, they end up making Trump’s existing deranged lawyers uncomfortable. We saw this when Trump had Sidney Powell filing court cases so absurd, Rudy Giuliani arbitrarily announced that Powell didn’t work for Trump.

bill palmer report logo headerNow we’re seeing a whole new round of this lunacy, but even worse. Trump is now conspiring with attorney Lin Wood (shown above at the White House in a file photo), who tweeted his expectation today that Mike Pence, below right, will “face execution by firing squad.”

Even as we wait to see whether Wood gets arrested over this apparent threat on Pence’s life, Trump’s other election lawyer Jenna Ellis mike pence o Small– a deranged lunatic in her own right – just tweeted “To be clear: I do not support the statements from Attorney Lin Wood. I support the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.”

When you consider that Ellis has spent the past two months trying to illegally overturn the election in Trump’s favor, it’s not clear what laws she supposedly believes in. But it is clear that she’s worried about getting caught up in the criminal hole that Lin Wood is digging for himself right now.

We have a feeling that either Ellis (shown below) or Wood will no longer be Trump’s lawyer by the end of the weekend, as they can’t both be on the same legal team after this. Then again, at this rate, Wood is about to need a lawyer of his own. Trump’s endgame is getting more pointlessly deranged by the hour.

Sidney Powell, right, and Jenna Ellis

Trump attorneys Jenna Ellis, left, and Sidney Powell conduct a press conference with Trump counsel Rudy Giuliani before Trump fired Powell.

ny times logoNew York Times, Senate Overrides Trump’s Veto of Defense Bill, Dealing a Legislative Blow, Catie Edmondson, Jan. 2, 2021 (print ed.). The 81-to-13 vote, the last vote expected in this Congress, is the first time lawmakers have overridden one of Mr. Trump’s vetoes. It reflected the sweeping popularity of a measure that authorizes a pay raise for the nation’s military and amounted to an extraordinary reprimand delivered to Mr. Trump in the final weeks of his presidency.

The margin surpassed the two-thirds majority needed to force enactment of the bill over Mr. Trump’s objections. The House passed the legislation on Monday, also mustering the two-thirds majority required.

Mr. Trump, making good on a monthslong series of threats, vetoed the bipartisan legislation last week, citing a shifting list of reasons including his objection to a provision directing the military to strip the names of Confederate leaders from bases. He also demanded that the bill include the repeal of a legal shield for social media companies that he has tangled with, a significant legislative change that Republicans and Democrats alike have said is irrelevant to legislation that dictates military policy.

Those objections infuriated lawmakers, who had labored for months to put together a bipartisan bill. They had prided themselves on passing the military bill each year for 60 years, and lawmakers in Mr. Trump’s own party ultimately moved to mow over his concerns and advance the legislation.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump is destroying the Republican Party in real time, Bill Palmer, right,Jan. 1, 2021. Donald Trump’s approval rating is down eight bill palmerpoints since he lost the election, largely due to his sore loser antics, and it’ll drop further as his antics grow more embarrassing.

bill palmer report logo headerI’d rather Trump just pack up and leave quietly. But if he insists on going out this embarrassingly, at least he’s destroying the viability of a lot of his fellow bad people on his way out. His overall drop in popularity is going to convince a lot of people in the middle not to vote Republican next time. And his ongoing attacks on the Republicans will convince a chunk of his base not to vote Republican next time. The real losers here are, deservedly, the Republicans who let Trump get this far.

If this weren’t such an embarrassment to the country, it would almost be funny watching Trump-aligned clowns like Pence, Pompeo, Hawley, Cotton, and Sasse all scrambling to figure out which side of the no-win scenario they want to be on as Trump makes his exit. They’d all love to run for president in 2024, but they’re destroying their viability just by taking any position on Trump during his downfall.

julian assange stella morris son gabriel righ max belmarsh prison irish examiner com

Stella Moris and son Gabriel, right, and Max leave Belmarsh prison after visiting her partner and their father, Julian Assange. His two children could lose their father for the rest of their lives [Source: irishexaminer.com].

Covert Action Magazine, Opinion: Upcoming Ruling in Assange Trial Threatens More Than Just Freedom of the Press, Steve Brown, Jan. 2, 2021. Although important legal principles are at stake in the extradition trial of Julian Assange, below right in a file photo, for which a ruling will be handed down on January 4, it should not be forgotten that there are important human issues at stake as well.

One such issue is Assange’s health, which has progressively worsened under what seems to be cruel and even sadistic maltreatment by the British government, including the refusal of appropriate medical care and confining him in his cell for 23 hours a day, seven days a week.

The other is that, if the Judge’s ruling is adverse, Julian’s two children may never see their father again.

julian assange facts wikileaks CustomMany stories have been written about the legal issues in Julian’s case, and the chilling effect that his extradition to the U.S.  — where he will almost certainly be imprisoned for life — would have on journalists around the world who seek to expose the lies and crimes committed by their own governments.

Most of those stories present Julian, primarily, as a symbol, a hero to his principles, and an ominous example in how far tyrannical governments and corrupt politicians will go to keep their citizens ignorant and submissive.

But Julian is more than a symbol. He is also a father, a husband-to-be (even if he may have to be married in prison) and, most importantly, a human being —o ne who, as the world watches in horror and shame, is being subjected to calculated assaults on his physical and mental health in hopes that he will quickly die and spare the British and American governments the embarrassment of having to deal with him.

For nearly three years Assange and his partner, Stella Moris, had successfully kept their personal relationship and the existence of their two children a secret. Moris only revealed it (on April 11) because “Julian’s poor physical health puts him at serious risk, like many other vulnerable people, and I don’t believe he will survive infection with coronavirus” — which had been spreading rapidly through the British prison system, especially at Belmarsh, the high security prison in which Assange is being held.

Jan. 1

lin wood djt march 2020

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s lawyer Lin Wood goes on violent tirade about Mike Pence, Bill Palmer, Jan. 1, 2021. Donald Trump’s election lawyer Lin Wood (shown above at the White House and at right in a Gage Skidmore photo) is now tweeting about Mike Pence facing “execution by firing squad.” So if Wood gets arrested for making threats against the sitting Vice President of the United States, will Trump pardon him for it? This Trump endgame is all so pointless and so stupid.

bill palmer report logo headerFor reference, this is the same Lin Wood who keeps urging Republican voters in Georgia to boycott next week’s Senate runoff races, on the grounds that the runoff is somehow null and void because Trump secretly won Georgia to begin with.

Wood is an obvious crackpot who’s so far gone, he arguably makes Trump’s other lawyers like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell look lin wood gage skidmorementally stable in comparison. The only reason we’re even writing about Wood is that, best anyone can tell, he’s actively representing Trump as a client while carrying on about these deranged conspiracies and pushing these violent threats.

Lin Wood should obviously be arrested immediately. But then what? Each time one of Trump’s crackpot election lawyers flames out, he manages to find an even crazier one who’s willing to spew even wackier and more irrelevant conspiracy theories. This is all obviously having no impact whatsoever on the fact that Trump lost and will be leaving office on January 20th. But this all keeps getting more dangerous for the Republican Party.

December

Dec. 31

djt handwave file

ny times logoNew York Times, Plan to Challenge Election Results Exposes Rift Among Republicans, Catie Edmondson, Jan. 1, 2021 (print ed.). After Senator Josh Hawley said he would object to the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, Senator Ben Sasse rebuked the effort as a “dangerous ploy.”

Senator Ben Sasse on Thursday condemned a drive by his Republican colleagues in Congress to challenge the results of the 2020 election, rebuking the effort as a “dangerous ploy” led by lawmakers who are “playing with fire.”

ben sasse o croppedIn a blistering open letter to his constituents, Mr. Sasse of Nebraska, left, became the first Republican senator to publicly condemn a decision by Senator Josh Hawley to challenge President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, saying it was intended to “disenfranchise millions of Americans.”

“Let’s be clear what is happening here: We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage,” Mr. Sasse wrote. “But they’re wrong — and this issue is bigger than anyone’s personal ambitions. Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government.”

josh hawley missouriMr. Sasse’s scathing remarks came a day after Mr. Hawley, right, Republican of Missouri, announced that he would object to Congress’s certification of the Electoral College results on Jan. 6, the final procedural step in affirming Mr. Biden’s victory.

Mr. Hawley’s move ensures that the process, usually a formality, will force up-or-down votes on the House and Senate floors, requiring lawmakers to either show loyalty to President Trump and object to the results or protect the sanctity of the electoral process.

There is almost no chance that the effort, led by Mr. Hawley in the Senate and a small group of Republican lawmakers in the House, will succeed in reversing the outcome. But Mr. Hawley’s decision to challenge the results is forcing a test of how far the Republican Party is willing to go to back Mr. Trump’s false claims.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has discouraged lawmakers from objecting to the results, and on Thursday, he told members of his conference on a private call that he considered his vote on Jan. 6 the most consequential one he would ever cast, according to two people familiar with the discussion.

Mr. McConnell did not explicitly say how he would vote, and made clear he was not trying to sway senators to vote one way or another, the people said. But he framed the vote to certify the election results as a critical moment to defend the backbone of the electoral system and invoked votes he had taken on wars and impeachment to underscore its significance.

djt maga hatEven some of Mr. Trump’s usual allies have called his efforts to cling to power unseemly.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board called it a “kamikaze mission” this week and said “Republicans should be embarrassed by Mr. Trump’s Electoral College hustle.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump has yet to accept the election results months after Republicans said he would, JM Rieger, Jan.1, 2021 (print ed). The Republican Party continues refusing to accept the election results even as state and federal investigations have found little or no voter fraud and as Trump has lost 59 of 60 election lawsuits filed by his campaign and political allies, including two filed at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosAmong the roughly three dozen congressional Republicans who have publicly acknowledged Biden’s win, many waited days or weeks after the election was called before doing so. It was a stark departure from the public congratulations that many of those same Republicans gave to then-President-elect Trump in the hours and days after the 2016 election was called.

That so many elected Republicans still refuse to accept the election’s outcome is perhaps not surprising, given how many Trump supporters falsely think that Biden did not legitimately win the election.

Mediaite,140 GOP House Members Expected to Challenge Electoral College Vote: CNN, Leia Idliby, Dec. 31, 2020. At least 140 House Republicans are reportedly planning to vote against confirming the electoral votes that would verify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, according to CNN.

republican elephant logoDespite no evidence of systemic voter fraud, two Republican members of the House told CNN that their colleagues will attempt to block the count of the Electoral College’s votes on Jan. 6, according to a report from Jake Tapper.

Although President Donald Trump has lost the election, and his House supporters have essentially no chance of changing the result, the motion will delay Biden’s confirmation by a couple of hours.

Trump and his colleagues and allies have spent almost two months working to overturn the election, making baseless claims of election fraud without any legal luck.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had reportedly warned fellow Republican senators not to attempt to challenge Biden’s victory, as he’s nervous the turmoil could lose the GOP Georgia’s two Senate seats.

many Trump supporters falsely think that Biden did not legitimately win the election.

 

djt i dont take responsibility at all

Strategic Culture Foundation, Investigative Commentary: Terrorism: A Menace From the Right-Wing and Allied wayne madsen screen shotFundamentalists, Wayne Madsen, right, syndicated columnist, autor of 18 books and former U.S. Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst, Dec. 31, 2020.

att logoOn early Christmas morning a vehicle bomb exploded in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The target was the AT&T metropolitan area network hub “Batman” building, a 33-story structure – the tallest building in Tennessee – which resembles the fictional cape crusader’s cowl.

The bomber turned out to be a 63-year-old white man. Anthony Quinn Warren, who blew himself up in the terrorist attack, apparently subscribed to the babble from the pro-Donald Trump “Qanon” group of far-right conspiracy advocates who believe that Fifth Generation (5G) wireless communications networks are linked to both the anthony warnerCovid pandemic and electronic surveillance.

Warren, right, broadcast an evacuation message to residents of the downtown Nashville neighborhood prior to his detonating the bomb. After the explosion, police arrested another Tennessee man who broadcasted a similar message from his truck while driving on a highway in Lebanon, Tennessee. It turned out that there was no bomb in the truck. A third incident in strategic culture logoLeavenworth, Washington involved a bomb threat to the 911 emergency number. The claim, that there was a bomb in a garbage can on a downtown street, prompted a major evacuation of the town.

Such bombings and threats of bombings encompass the “accelerationist” doctrine of far-right Trump supporters who believe such attacks will hasten a civil war in the United States and the overthrow of the government.

The same belief system prompted a conspiracy by a pro-Trump group of armed terrorists to kidnap Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, seize control of the Michigan state legislature in Lansing, and execute legislators and state gretchen whitmer o smile Custompolice officers, in addition to Whitmer, right. Similar plots were uncovered by right-wing groups targeting the Democratic governors of Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Nevada, Maine, New York, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Illinois, Wisconsin, and North Carolina and the Republican governor of Ohio.

Law enforcement investigators believe that Warren was part of a clandestine far-right group that has been targeting 5G infrastructure targets across Tennessee and the nation. These have included several cell towers that were damaged by arson in Memphis, Tennessee in December 2019. The anti-5G activists have found a ready-made audience with other right-wing groups across the United States, including racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists (REMVEs), anti-government militias, and “sovereign citizen” lone wolves.

Trump and his supporters have managed to draw the public’s and media’s attention away from the far-right’s terrorist activities by conjuring up a fictional strawman – “antifa” or anti-fascism. Far from being an actual group, antifa is a political philosophy centering on opposition to fascism and all of its offshoots, from Nazism to Trumpism.

Just as Adolf Hitler, below, and his Nazis convinced the German people that “Communists” were behind the 1933 arson attack on the adolf hitlerReichstag – the actual culprits were the Nazis, themselves – Trump and his followers believe that antifa forces are carrying out arson and looting in American cities.

In fact, the actual perpetrators of violent attacks are the far-right: Patriot Prayer, Proud Boys, Wolverine Watchmen, Boogaloo Bois, Three Percenters, etc. The far-right or their religious fundamentalist counterparts have been behind almost every major terrorist attack in the United States since 1975. On December 29, of that year, a powerful bomb exploded in the TWA baggage claim area of LaGuardia Airport in New York. Eleven people were killed and 75 injured.

The confluence of anti-5G and anti-vaccination modern-day Luddites and the far-right is seen in groups like the neo-Nazi “Vorherrschaft Division,” Germany “Forke und Schaufel” (FaS), California’s Freedom Angels 2.0, and Wisconsinites Against Excessive Quarantine.

The unholy alliance of far-right and fundamentalist religious groups – be they Islamic, Christian or Jewish – has resulted in democracy coming under siege. Right-wing militia groups have occupied state legislatures in Michigan, Washington state, and Oregon. Political leaders from governors to members of the U.S. Congress and state legislators to mayors and public health officials have been threatened with physical harm.

 

Michigan thugs yell State Sen. Dayna Polehanki

Protester at Michigan's State Capitol on April 30, 2020.

An overwhelming majority of terrorist incidents in the past several decades have been carried out by the far-right, either directly or by false flags, and religious extremists, including Islamists taking their cues from the most far-right of regimes, the feudal monarchy of Saudi Arabia and the Likud-Orthodox government of Israel.

It is beyond clear where the threat of terrorism exists today. In October 2020, the Department of Homeland Security us dhs big eagle logo4concluded in a report that “violent white supremacy was the most persistent and lethal threat” in the United States. A September 29, 2020 report from the FBI Field Office in Dallas that was marked FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY/LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE stated that the Boogaloo movement was “increasing anti-government violent rhetoric and activities . . . domestic violent extremist threat in the FBI Dallas Area of Responsibility.”

 Just as Hitler diverted suspicion for the Reichstag fire to fanciful “communists,” Trump employed the same tactic regarding far-right terrorism. Just prior to his electoral defeat, Trump lied when he stated, “Somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem.”

FBI logoTrump’s own FBI director, Christopher Wray, countered Trump during a September 17, 2020 hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee. Wray testified: “What I can tell you is that within the domestic terrorism bucket category as a whole, racially-motivated violent extremism is, I think, the biggest bucket within that larger group, and within the racially-motivated violent extremists bucket, people subscribing to some kind of white supremacist-type ideology is certainly the biggest chunk of that.” As for antifa, Wray said it was “more of an ideology or a movement than an organization.”

It is past time for the far-right to be dealt with harshly for their repeated terror acts, from the Oklahoma City and Nashville bombings to mass shootings in El Paso, Pittsburgh, Dayton, Charleston, and Las Vegas.

steve bannon sofa shotAt the same time, far-right extremists should be summarily purged from law enforcement and the military.

Financiers of the extreme right, including hedge fund tycoon Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer, as well as Trump adviser Steve Bannon, right, should have their activities and finances thoroughly investigated. These must be a key agenda items on President Joe Biden’s “to do” list after he assumes the U.S. presidency.

Dec. 30

American System Network, Opinion: Four Epiphanies for the First Week of the New Year, Webster G.Tarpley, right, Dec.30, 2020. First, Georgia: Trump Demands webster tarpley 2007the Ouster of Republican Governor Kemp for Insufficient Zeal; Don also Condemns Secretary of State Raffensperger for Alleged Communist Chinese Ties of Alleged Brother; Thanks to this Chaos, Democrats Ossoff and Warnock Have Real Chance to Win in Jan. 5 Double Run-Off for Senate.

Second: Trump Camp Hyping Jan. 6 Protests Against Honest of Electoral Votes in Congress; Sen. Hawley of Missouri Defies Orders from Mitch and Thune, Pledges to Object to Legal Slates of Electors, Threatening to Split GOP and Make Unprincipled Opportunists Choose Between Legality and Loyalty to Trump;

Three: Will there be Demos in Washington DC and Other Cities? Will They Be Violent? Plan is to Use Conflict to Declare Martial Law and Cancel Results of November 3 Ballot in Battleground States Trump Lost;

Four: Pentagon Bigwigs Refuse to Brief Biden Transition About What They Are Doing, Raising Specter of Autogolpe and Putsch; Why Are Kash Patel and Cohn-Watnick Tampering with NSA, US Cybercommand, and FBI?; One Insider Scenario Has NSA Splitting from Cybercommand under Control of pro-Trump Bureaucrats and Joining with Decapitated FBI to Keep Usurper in Power;

As Part of Same Effort, Sharp High-Level Disagreements Are Reported about Whether Iran is Preparing a Surprise Strike against US Assets in Gulf Region for Suleimani Anniversary; Is This a Smokescreen for Trump War Provocations?

Manhattan DA Hires Leading Forensic Accounting Firm to Prepare Expected Tax and Bank Fraud Case against Don after January 20; Tonight, Trump Abruptly Announces Surprise Early Return from Florida to White House; Why Would He Be Needed in Capital?

Dec. 29

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Will Pence Do the Right Thing? Neal K. Katyal, right, and John Monsky, Dec. 29, 2020. On Jan. 6, neal katyal othe vice president will preside as Congress counts the Electoral College’s votes. Let’s hope that he doesn’t do the unthinkable — and unconstitutional.

President Trump recently tweeted that “the ‘Justice’ Department and FBI have done nothing about the 2020 Presidential Election Voter Fraud,” followed by these more ominous lines: “Never give up. See everyone in D.C. on January 6th.”

The unmistakable reference is to the day Congress will count the Electoral College’s votes, with Vice President Mike Pence presiding. Mr. Trump is leaning on the vice president and congressional allies to invalidate the mike pence leftNovember election by throwing out duly certified votes for Joe Biden.

Mr. Pence, shown in a file photo thus far has not said he would do anything like that, but his language is worrisome. Last week, he said: “We’re going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted. We’re going to win Georgia, we’re going to save America,” as a crowd screamed, “Stop the steal.”

And some Republicans won’t let up. On Monday, Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas and other politicians filed a frivolous lawsuit, which has multiple fatal flaws in both form and substance, in an attempt to force the vice president to appoint pro-Trump electors.

Mr. Katyal, a law professor at Georgetown, is a former acting solicitor general of the United States. Mr. Monsky is the creator of the American History Unbound Series of multimedia productions that covers watershed moments in American history and a board member of the New-York Historical Society.

Dec. 27

ny times logoNew York Times, George Blake, British Spy Who Betrayed the West, Dies at 98, Robert D. McFadden, Dec. 27, 2020 (print ed.). He was caught spilling secrets to the Soviets in 1961 and imprisoned. Five years later, he escaped and fled to Moscow, where he was hailed a hero. He is shown below in a 1992 george blake 1992 at left 1961 mugshotphoto and at right in a 1961 mug shot.

George Blake, a notorious British double agent who betrayed Cold War secrets and Western spies to the Soviet Union in the 1950s and, after being caught, staged a spectacular escape to live out his life as a K.G.B. colonel in Moscow, has died. He was 98.

Like the Cambridge-educated moles Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, Blake became a dedicated Marxist, disillusioned with the West, and a high British intelligence officer while secretly working for the Soviets. His clandestine life lasted less than a decade, but had cost the lives of many agents and had destroyed vital British and American operations in Europe.

United Kingdom flagBut unlike the Cambridge clique, who defected when the authorities closed in, Blake was caught in 1961, tried secretly and sentenced to 42 years in prison. Five years later, with inside and outside help, he escaped from London’s Wormwood Scrubs prison and fled to Moscow. He left behind a wife, three children and an uproar over his getaway, the tatters of a case that encapsulated the intrigues of a perilous nuclear age, with flash points in Korea and Germany, where Blake served.

Settling into a new life in Moscow in 1966, Blake assumed the identity of Colonel Georgiy Ivanovich Bleyk, was awarded the Order of Lenin and given a pension and an apartment. He divorced his wife, remarried and had a son and grandson, helped train Soviet agents and on his 85th birthday in 2007, received the Order of Friendship from President Vladimir Putin of Russia. He wrote an autobiography, No Other Choice (1990) and a memoir, Transparent Walls (2006).

In a 1991 interview with NBC News, Blake voiced regret over the deaths of agents he had exposed, but not over his espionage. He denied being a traitor, insisting he had never regarded himself as British, though he was the son of a naturalized subject. “To betray, you first have to belong,” he later said. “I never belonged.”

Dec. 25

michael flynn djt

Former general and Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, shown above in a file photo separate from Trump's, has called for a military coup to maintain the presidency of Trump, who has pardoned Flynn from federal crimes stemming from lying at Flynn's contacts with Russians before taking office in January 2017. Flynn's attorney Sydney Powell, invited to the White House three times in recent days to meet with Trump, has been working on courtroom, political and media strategies to disallow voting results in multiple swing states to keep Trump in office.

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Sidney Powell’s secret intelligence contractor witness is a pro-Trump podcaster, Jon Swaine, Dec. 25, 2020 (print ed.). As she asked the U.S. Supreme Court this month to overturn President Trump’s election loss, the attorney Sidney Powell cited testimony from a secret witness presented as a former intelligence contractor with insights on a foreign conspiracy to subvert democracy.

sidney powellPowell, right, told courts that the witness is an expert who could show that overseas corporations helped shift votes to President-elect Joe Biden. The witness’s identity must be concealed from the public, Powell has said, to protect her “reputation, professional career and personal safety.”

The Washington Post identified the witness by determining that portions of her affidavit match, sometimes verbatim, a blog post that the pro-Trump podcaster Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman published in November 2019. In an interview, Maras-Lindeman confirmed that she wrote the affidavit and said she viewed it as her contribution to a fight against the theft of the election.

“This is everybody’s duty,” she said. “It’s just not fair.”

terpsichore maras lindemanIn a recent civil fraud case, attorneys for the state of North Dakota said that Maras-Lindeman, shown in a screenshot at left, falsely claimed to be a medical doctor and to have both a Ph.D. and an MBA. They said she used multiple aliases and social security numbers and created exaggerated online résumés as part of what they called “a persistent effort . . . to deceive others.”

Powell’s reliance on Maras-Lindeman’s testimony may raise further questions about her judgment and the strength of her arguments at a time when she is becoming an increasingly influential adviser to the president.

Trump’s legal team distanced itself from Powell last month after she falsely claimed Republican state officials took bribes to rig the election. But she has visited the White House three times in the past week, once to participate in an Oval Office meeting. Trump has weighed naming Powell a special counsel to investigate the election, according to previous reports.

Maras-Lindeman, 42, served in the Navy for less than a year more than two decades ago and has said she worked later as a government contractor and part-time interpreter. She has identified herself as a “trained cryptolinguist.”

North Dakota’s assertions about her credentials came in a civil case brought by the state’s attorney general in 2018 over a purported charitable event she tried to organize in Minot, N.D., where she and her family resided. Attorneys for the state said she used money she collected — ostensibly to fund homeless shelters and wreaths for veterans’ graves — on purchases for herself at McDonald’s, QVC and elsewhere.

A judge ultimately found that Maras-Lindeman violated consumer protection laws by, among other things, misspending money she raised and soliciting donations while misrepresenting her experience and education. He ordered her to pay more than $25,000.

Maras-Lindeman has appealed to the state Supreme Court. In court filings and in her interview with The Post, she denied mishandling the funds or misleading donors. She blamed identity theft and bureaucratic failings for a proliferation of variations on her name and social security numbers associated with her.

Dec. 22

william barr doj announcement Custom

ny times logoNew York Times, Barr Sees ‘No Reason’ for Special Counsels for Hunter Biden or the Election, Katie Benner, Dec. 22, 2020 (print ed.). The outgoing attorney general, William Barr, again broke with President Trump on his unsupported claims of widespread election fraud and the need to appoint a special counsel to investigate the president-elect’s son.

Attorney General William P. Barr, shown above in a file photo, said Monday that he saw no reason to appoint special counsels to oversee the Justice Department’s ongoing criminal investigation into Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr., or to investigate President Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, again undercutting Mr. Trump’s efforts to bend the department to his political will and to overturn the results of the election.

President Donald Trump officialAt a news conference to announce charges in an unrelated terrorism case, Mr. Barr said that he did not “see any reason to appoint a special counsel” to oversee the ongoing investigation into the younger Mr. Biden.

“I have no plan to do so before I leave,” Mr. Barr said. ”To the extent that there is an investigation, I think that it’s being handled responsibly and professionally.”

He also said that he would name a special counsel to oversee an inquiry into election fraud if he felt one was warranted. “But I haven’t and I’m not going to,” Mr. Barr said. He added that he saw “no basis” for the federal government to seize voting machines.

Mr. Barr’s comments are sure to further poison his relationship with Mr. Trump, who has expressed rage that Mr. Barr has not done more to help him overturn the results of the November election.

Mr. Barr has long been regarded as Mr. Trump’s most loyal and effective cabinet member, who on several occasions made decisions that directly benefited Mr. Trump and his allies. But his relationship with the president fractured in the wake of the election after he publicly said that he had not seen enough voter fraud to change the election’s outcome and it became clear that he had kept the ongoing investigation in Mr. Biden’s son under wraps.

tommy tuberville doug jonesIncoming Republican U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, left, is shown with the incumbent Alabama Democrat whom he defeated, Doug Jones.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s final hope rests with Tommy Tuberville. Sad! Dana Milbank, right, Dec. 22, 2020 (print ed.). dana milbank CustomPresident-unelect Trump has studied every play in the Coups-for-Dummies playbook: court challenges, pressure on Republican officials to overturn the election, even a half-baked plan for martial law from pardoned convict Michael Flynn. But no luck.

Now, Trump’s final hope rests with Tommy Tuberville.

This is like finding out your death-row appeal will be argued by Sidney Powell.

Tuberville — or “Tubs,” from his college football coaching days — is the Republican senator-elect from Alabama, and he’s proposing to object to the election results in the Senate on Jan. 6. Trump exulted: “Great senator.”

Problem is, Tubs, if he were a Democrat, is what Trump might call a “low-IQ individual.” In their wisdom, the voters of Alabama chose to replace Democrat Doug Jones, who prosecuted the Birmingham church bombing, with a man who recently announced his discovery that there are “three branches of government,” namely, “the House, the Senate and the executive.”

Tuberville was baffled by the vote counting after Election Day (“The referees are suddenly adding touchdowns to the other team’s side of the scoreboard”), and last week said he plans a Senate challenge to the electoral college tally.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Has Jared Kushner finally punched his ticket to prison? Robert Harrington, right, Dec. 22, robert harringtnn portrait2020. What do Jared Kushner (Senior White House advisor and son-in-law to Donald Trump), Lara Trump (Eric Trump’s wife), John Pence (Mike Pence’s nephew) and Sean Dollman (Trump campaign CFO) all have in common? That’s a question that is going to become increasingly relevant to DOJ prosecutors and investigators as the pirate ship known as the Trump administration winds down into irrelevance.

bill palmer report logo headerIt turns out that Kushner helped to create a shell corporation called American Made Media Consultants Corporation, also known as American Made Media Consultants LLC. Kushner named Lara, John and Sean to the board of that corporation. Some $617 million was funnelled to that corporation to spend as it saw fit. Some of the spending was legitimate. But $170 million of it was not. That money found its way into the greedy pockets of the Trump family. And that, my friends, is what’s known as campaign finance fraud — writ large.

The $170 million was laundered as unearned salaries for various members of the Trump family together with a slush fund for various types of spending. But it all ended up being used for the personal gain of Trump family members.

donald trump twitterWhy was this done? The shell corporation was created in order to hide from Trump’s donors the fact that their money was being funneled directly into the pockets of Trump family members, and not for the Trump campaign or to help in the defense fund to reclaim the “stolen” election. In other words, those members of Trump’s following who dug deep into their own pockets to help their “Dear Leader” win re-election, and later, to help him take his “rightful place” to a second term, are really just losers and suckers financing the lifestyles of the already rich.

william barr new oIt turns out that the Department of Justice (that’s right, Bill Barr’s very own DOJ) is already looking into this. (Apparently, when you inherit a contraption the size of the DOJ you can’t always control all of its moving parts.) Once President Biden’s administration takes over it can pick up where they left off.

It’s probably no coincidence, therefore, that the defense bill that Donald Trump wants to veto also contains a rider intended to crack down on the creation of just such shell corporations as American Made Media Consultants LLC. The more you drill down, the more self-serving and incestuous the relationships become.

Naturally, so many of Trump’s followers are such thoroughly glassy-eyed dybbuks that they won’t care about this scam, but some of the not yet thoroughly zombified will. Whatever the case, one does not create a shell corporation for just such an operation unless one has something to hide.

 wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Damage assessment on possible sleeper agent Mike Flynn, Wayne Madsen (shown at left, syndicated wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallcolumnist, author of 18 books and former Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst), Dec. 22, 2020.

Retired three-star Army General Michael Flynn's recent call for Donald Trump to declare martial law and effect a military-run redo of the presidential election requires the law enforcement and intelligence arms of the armed forces to conduct a damage assessment covering Flynn's entire military career.

It is known that upon retiring as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Flynn began working for at least two foreign governments, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and perhaps others. 

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump administration weighs legal immunity for Saudi crown prince in alleged assassination plot, Spencer S. Hsu and Kareem Fahim, Dec. 22, 2020 (print ed.). Riyadh has asked the State Department to shield Mohammed bin Salman from a U.S. lawsuit by a former Saudi intelligence officer who claims he was targeted days after Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in 2018. Mohammed Bin Salman Al-Saud

The U.S. government is weighing a request to declare Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, immune from a federal lawsuit accusing him of targeting for assassination a former top intelligence officer who could disclose damaging secrets about the prince’s ascent to power, according to legal documents related to the case.

The Saudi government has asked that the prince be shielded from liability in response to a complaint brought by Saad Aljabri, a former Saudi counterterrorism leader and longtime U.S. intelligence ally now living in exile in Canada.

A State Department recommendation could also lead to the dismissal of the prince as a defendant in other cases recently filed in the United States, including ones accusing him of directing the death and dismemberment of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018; and of targeting a hack and leak operation to discredit an Al Jazeera news anchor, Ghada Oueiss, in retaliation for her critical reports on Mohammed and the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates.

The request to the Trump administration comes as the State Department, Aljabri’s family and supportive U.S. lawmakers have condemned Riyadh for detaining two of Aljabri’s children in a bid to silence him.

President Trump, though, has been an ardent supporter of the crown prince, who is sometimes referred to by his initials, MBS.

Dec. 21

Palmer Report, Opinion: Bill Barr sides with Mike Pompeo against Donald Trump as everything falls apart, Bill Palmer, Dec. 21, 2020. There is no longer any plan, strategy, or scheme that will magically save Donald Trump from being booted out of office in thirty days. He can’t accept that, because once he’s out of office, he’ll be on a path to prison, bankruptcy, and the end of his life as he knows it.

There’s a reason why Trump is now reduced to listening to the delusional fantasies of his crackpot election lawyers: they’re the only people still floating any scenarios for magically saving him. Trump’s “adult” henchmen already know it’s over, and are now trying to cover their own backsides.

bill palmer report logo headerAttorney General Bill Barr is publicly admitting that Trump lost the election fair and square. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is publicly admitting that it was indeed Russia who hacked U.S. government agencies. Barr has lost his job over it, and Pompeo might be about to. But now Barr is publicly siding with Pompeo on the Russia thing, contradicting Trump’s assertion that the hack was either overblown, or fake, or somehow done by China.

It’s clear that henchmen like Barr and Pompeo are trying to rehabilitate their images now that Trump is taking a fall. After all, the DOJ could easily charge them both with felonies for the criminal antics they carried out while in office. The best way to beat those charges is to establish the narrative now that they couldn’t have been willing Trump henchmen, since they stood up to him in the end.

Barr and Pompeo shouldn’t be let off the hook at all. They each belong in prison; Barr for numerous instances of felony obstruction of justice and Pompeo for his criminal antics in the Ukraine scandal. But for now, the point is that some of Trump’s biggest henchmen are already selfishly turning against him. They know Trump is finished.

Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jennar Ellis allege election fraud to Republican legislators this month in a performance widely ridiculed because of lack of evidence persuasive to courts and Giuliani's flatulence (heard shortly before this screenshot).

Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jennar Ellis allege election fraud to Republican legislators this month in a performance widely ridiculed because of lack of evidence persuasive to courts and Giuliani's flatulence (heard shortly before this screenshot).

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: How Trump drove the lie that the election was stolen, undermining voter trust in the outcome, Amy Gardner, Dec. 21, 2020 (print ed.). Flanked by pro-Trump media outfits and an assortment of state lawmakers and lawyers who gave oxygen to debunked allegations, the president persuaded millions of Americans that the vote was rigged.

Mediaite, Rudy Giuliani Disavows Sidney Powell’s Role in Trump Legal Fight — After Her Third Oval Office Visit in Four Days, Reed Richardson, Dec 21, 2020. Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and quixotic leader of the campaign to overturn the 2020 election, Rudy Giuliani, labored to distance the president from fellow legal conspiracist Sidney Powell, even though she has visited the White House in three of the last four days.

During an appearance on Newsmax’s Spicer & Co, Giuliani insisted that Powell was acting independently and was not associated with his official efforts on behalf of Trump, despite those visits.

Giuliani’s reference to “special counsel” came after news reports that, during Powell’s Friday Oval Office audience with the president, he reportedly floated the idea of naming Powell as special counsel to investigate election fraud — a move that it should be pointed out is beyond Trump’s authority, since, by regulation, only the attorney general can appoint a special counsel.

However, just moments later, Giuliani appeared to subtly cast aspersions on Powell’s legal strategy. “We’re going to be extremely aggressive, we’re going to fight for our client as hard as we can,” he added. “But we’re also going to do in within the bounds of rationality, common sense, and the law. And it can be done. There’s no reason to go beyond anything.”

This isn’t the first time Giuliani has ruled out Powell having an official role in the legal fight, as he claimed the pair were “pursuing two different theories” just before Thanksgiving. Still, Giuliani’s disavowal rings hollow, since Powell continues to have the president’s ear and, just days before his earlier disavowal, Giuliani and Powell held a surreal, joint press conference where he stood beside her as she pushed delusional election conspiracies involving George Soros, Hugo Chavez, the Clintons, and Antifa, among others.

djt looking up

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump is leaving behind crises and undermining Biden before he takes office, Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey and Anne Gearan, Dec. 21, 2020 (print ed.). In a situation without precedent in U.S. history, one president is ending his term amid a global emergency while seeking to delegitimize a successor — and floating the prospect of mounting a four-year campaign to return to power. 

Biden’s incoming administration has long described a “perfect storm” of four crises facing the country — the pandemic, economic distress, climate change and racial justice. It suddenly has another to add: a historic cyber intrusion into government networks that likely began months ago and could reverberate for months to come.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: The ‘Red Slime’ Lawsuit That Could Sink Right-Wing Media, Ben Smith, Updated Dec. 21, 2020. Last week, a lawyer for Antonio Mugica sent scathing letters to Fox, Newsmax and OAN demanding that they immediately, forcefully clear his company’s name. Voting machine companies threaten “highly dangerous” cases against Fox, Newsmax and OAN, says Floyd Abrams.

antonio mugicaAntonio Mugica, left, was in Boca Raton when an American presidential election really melted down in 2000, and he watched with shocked fascination as local government officials argued over hanging chads and butterfly ballots.

It was so bad, so incompetent, that Mr. Mugica, a young Venezuelan software engineer, decided to shift the focus of his digital security company, Smartmatic, which had been working for banks. It would offer its services to what would obviously be a growth smartmaticindustry: electronic voting machines. He began building a global company that ultimately provided voting machinery and software for elections from Brazil to Belgium and his native Venezuela. He even acquired an American company, then called Sequoia.

Last month, Mr. Mugica initially took it in stride when his company’s name started popping up in grief-addled Trump supporters’ wild conspiracy theories about the election.

“Of course I was surprised, but at the same time, it was pretty clear that these people were trying to discredit the election and they were throwing out 25 conspiracy theories in parallel,” he told me in an interview last dominion voting systemsweek from Barbados, where his company has an office. “I thought it was so absurd that it was not going to have legs.”

rudy giuliani recentBut by Nov. 14, he knew he had a problem. That’s when Rudy Giuliani, right, serving as the president’s lawyer, suggested that one voting company, Dominion Voting Systems, had a sinister connection to vote counts in “Michigan, Arizona and Georgia and other states.” Mr. Giuliani declared on Twitter that the company “was a front for SMARTMATIC, who was really doing the computing. Look up SMARTMATIC and tweet me what you think?”

Soon his company, and a competitor, Dominion — which sells its services to about 1,900 of the county governments that administer elections across America — were at the center of Mr. Giuliani’s and Sidney Powell’s theories, and on the tongues of commentators on Fox News and its farther-right rivals, Newsmax and One America News.

Here’s the thing: Smartmatic wasn’t even used in the contested states. The company, now a major global player with over 300 employees, pulled out of the United States in 2007 after a controversy over its founders’ Venezuelan roots, and its only involvement this November was with a contract to help Los Angeles County run its election.

In an era of brazen political lies, Mr. Mugica has emerged as an unlikely figure with the power to put the genie back in the bottle.

djt maga hatLast week, his lawyer sent scathing letters to the Fox News Channel, Newsmax and OAN demanding that they immediately, forcefully clear his company’s name — and that they retain documents for a planned defamation lawsuit.

He has, legal experts say, an unusually strong case. And his new lawyer is J. Erik Connolly, who not coincidentally won the largest settlement in the history of American media defamation in 2017, at least $177 million, for a beef producer whose “lean finely textured beef” was described by ABC News as “pink slime.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: There is no middle ground between fact and fiction on the election results, Editorial Board, Dec. 21, 2020 (print ed.). As President Trump continues to lie about last month’s election, national Republican leaders are trying to stake out what they imagine as a middle ground: While Joe Biden is the president-elect, the 2020 election was marred by substantial fraud and election irregularities. In fact, this is also a lie, and their dishonesty damages U.S. democracy.

ron johnson oAt a Wednesday Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), right, declared that it is “not sustainable” for a large proportion of Americans to believe the election results are illegitimate. He then set about encouraging this false belief by dignifying debunked attacks on the vote’s integrity. Mr. Johnson insisted that pro-Trump forces have raised “legitimate concerns” about “violations of election laws,” “fraudulent votes and ballot stuffing,” and “corruption of voting machines and software that might be programmed to add or switch votes.”

Republicans are inaugurating a new, dangerous era in which political parties may refuse to acknowledge election results merely because they dislike the choices voters made. The damage is twofold: Dignifying fake claims of widespread election irregularities shreds confidence in democracy, destabilizing the nation’s politics and encouraging potentially violent resistance to duly elected leaders.

Meanwhile, GOP state lawmakers in swing states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania have responded to Republican outrage about Mr. Trump’s loss by promising major voting overhauls. This would fit into Republicans’ longer-term efforts to impose restrictions on casting ballots that depress voter participation yet provide little improvement in election integrity.

Sidney Powell, right, and Jenna Ellis

Trump attorneys Jenna Ellis, left, and Sidney Powell conduct a press conference with Trump counsel Rudy Giuliani before Trump fired Powell.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump checks out, Bill Palmer, right, Dec. 21, 2020. Donald Trump’s election lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood have spent this bill palmerevening using social media to rather viciously attack Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, accusing them of being part of some kind of ill-defined conspiracy against Trump.

Presumably, this is because Meadows dared to tell Trump that Powell’s lunatic plans to magically overturn the election were literally impossible, and that Pompeo dared to publicly admit that it was Russia who hacked U.S. government agencies. But the specific reasoning behind the scuffle is less important than the fact that it’s happening at all, and what it tells us about Donald Trump himself.

bill palmer report logo headerPowell, Wood, Meadows, and Pompeo are all fully complicit in Trump’s overall corrupt agenda. They’re all his henchmen. If Trump were still in the game, he’d be giving them marching orders, telling them what to do, and getting them all on the same page – his page.

Instead, Trump’s henchmen are all eating each other alive, even as Trump says and does little. This is a clear sign that he’s checked out mentally, and his henchmen are each left to their own devices and trying to fill the resulting power vacuum with their own personal agendas.

Best anyone can tell, Trump likes to hear from his lunatic lawyers because their magical imaginary solutions make him feel good – but then he also likes it when his more stable henchmen explain why none of it’s real, because that gives him an excuse not to have to take action.

Donald Trump is in that place where he’s scared of his own shadow, knows he’s one false move from finished, also knows that he’s doomed if he doesn’t do anything, and just wants to be told that it’s all going to be magically okay. In other words, he’s checked out entirely.

Dec. 18

Southern Poverty Law Center, "Hatewatch" Opinion: Law Firm Tied to Far-Right Fringe Registers Stop the Steal LLC in Alabama, Michael Edison Hayden, Dec. 18, 2020. A law firm associated with activists on the far-right fringe registered the Limited Liability Company (LLC) Stop the Steal in Montgomery, Alabama, in November, state records show. “Stop the Steal” is the name of a nationwide protest movement focused on overturning President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election based upon unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

George Coleman of the law firm Baron Coleman registered the Stop the Steal LLC in Montgomery on Nov. 13. Far-right activist Ali Alexander, 35, the self-described “National Organizer” for the Stop the Steal, told Hatewatch over text that Baron Coleman represents him. Alexander promoted Stop the Steal events to Twitter soon after it became apparent that Trump lost the 2020 election and has done so persistently ever since. Baron Coleman registered the LLC one day before protesters associated with Ali’s Stop the Steal movement descended on Washington D.C. The event gave way to violent clashes between Stop the Steal supporters and counterprotesters.

Hatewatch has so far been unable to determine what the LLC does, but it borrows from a brand name first associated with Roger Stone Jr. A former adviser to Donald Trump and a convicted felon, Stone first launched Stop the Steal during the 2016 election as a group of poll watchers tasked with disputing Democratic votes in urban, multiracial areas. Like the current iteration of Stop the Steal, Stone gathered the group together under the auspices of fighting voter fraud, as Hatewatch has reported. Hatewatch reached out to Stone by phone and email, but he did not respond.

Baron Coleman also represents Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes in his defamation lawsuit against Southern Poverty Law Center, which is based upon its designation of them as a hate group. Alexander and lawyers for Baron Coleman appeared with McInnes outside the center’s headquarters in Montgomery on Feb. 4, 2019, when he announced that suit. Alexander told Hatewatch over text that Baron Coleman advised him in responding to Hatewatch’s request for comment.

“[Baron Coleman] advised me to tell you not to contact me while I’m representing a client suing y’all. Conflict of interest. Thanks!” Alexander wrote.

Alexander does not appear to be an attorney, so it is unclear what he meant by representing. Alexander is a far-right operative linked to a number of political smear campaigns and is known for posting disinformation to Twitter. One example of that behavior includes a sustained campaign he created promoting the unsubstantiated claim that Biden is “sick” and suffers from some form of otherwise unreported, degenerative illness. Mother Jones reported that Alexander is a convicted felon. Hatewatch obtained records showing Alexander entered a guilty plea on charges of “debit card abuse” in Tarrant County, Texas, in April 2008. He went by the name “Ali Akbar” at that time.

Hatewatch followed up with another text, but Alexander did not respond. Hatewatch was therefore unable to ask him about the LLC.

Baron Coleman sent Hatewatch the following comment:

I received your request for comment and don’t have much I can add. As you know any conversations between my clients and me are privileged.

Stop the Steal, LLC, is an Alabama limited liability company I organized for clients of mine. I’m afraid I’m limited by my professional duties to defer to my clients – owners of the privilege – on whether they would like to add anything more.

I appreciate you reaching out. If you can think of anything else I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to contact me at your convenience. I’ll do my best to answer anything that isn’t privileged.

Sincerely,

Baron Coleman

Stone appeared with Alexander in the trailer of an apparent film about Stop the Steal activism, which was published to Twitter on Dec. 9. The trailer also featured an appearance by white nationalist live-streamer Nick Fuentes and anti-immigrant pundit and VDARE contributor Michelle Malkin, among other activists who are promoting the falsehood that Trump won the 2020 election.

Proud Boys have also turned up at Alexander’s events. At a Stop the Steal-linked event on Dec. 12, members of the hate group reportedly took down two Black Lives Matter banners from two historic Black churches in Washington, D.C., and destroyed them. The Washington Post reported that police were investigating the incidents on hate crime charge

Dec. 17

webster tarpley 2007American System Network, Opinion: Trump Still Threatening to Veto National Defense Authorization Act, Webster G. Tarpley, Dec. 17, 2020. Trump Still Threatening to Veto National Defense Authorization Act; Claims Bill Favors China; He also Wants to End Liability Shield for Social Media and Stop Removal of Confederate Names from US Bases; Likely Real-World Goal: To Cripple US Intelligence Defenses as Part of Appeasement.

While Trump Remains Spitefully Silent, New Reports on Extent of Russian SVR Hack Demonstrate Break-Ins at State, Defense, Treasury, Homeland Security, NIH, and other Government Agencies Since March.

New Attacks Revealed on Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Federal Energy Regulatory Regulatory Commission, and the Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories; US “Einstein System” Fails to Detect Presence of Hackers; Trump Cabinet Vet Bossert Warns that Current Level of Russian Access Could be Used for Things Far Worse than Just Spying.

Biden Calls Hack Attacks “a Matter of Great Concern…my Administration will Make Cybersecurity a Top Priority at Every Level of Government”; Coons, Evidently Acting as Semi-Official Transition Spokesman for Biden, Condemns Extraordinary Russian Aggressivity, Noting Ominously that Blatant Cyber-War Attack Proves “Deterrence Has Failed”; Putin Refuses to Deny Kremlin Role in Poisoning of Opposition Figure Navalny; Accuses Navalny of Working with CIA. 

virginia roberts giuffres st tropaz naomi cambpell

Sex fiend Jeffrey Epstein's accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, recruited by the Mar-a-Lago member Epstein's operation from her work as a towel girl at poolside at the Trump-owned club in Florida, is shown at center at a party in St. Topez during her global travels as a 17-year-old in bygone days with such society figures as model Naomi Campbell, top right, and Epstein's friend, sex partner and alleged recruiter, Ghislaine Maxwell, back to camera at upper right. Maxwell, aughter of the late "billionaire" press lord, con man and espionage opertive Robert Maxwell,  is seeking release from pre-trial custody for the holidays on bond pending trial on sex trafficking charges next summer.

New York Post, Jeffrey Epstein’s modeling agent pal Jean-Luc Brunel detained in Paris, Rebecca Rosenberg, Dec. 17, 2020. Jean-Luc Brunel, model-scout pal of late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, has been taken into custody in France for questioning on suspicion of raping and trafficking minors, Paris prosecutors said.

jean luc brunelBrunel, who was being investigated as part of a French probe into the sexual abuse of women and girls by Epstein and his friends, was picked up Wednesday at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, officials said. He was about to board a flight to Dakar, Senegal, the Guardian reported.

Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre alleges that Brunel, 74, had once “gifted” the late financier three 12-year-old French girls from poor families for his birthday.

She alleged that Brunel bought them in Paris from their parents, promising to promote their modeling careers, then shipped them to New York to be sexually abused by Epstein. They were allegedly returned to France the following day.

Giuffre, who has claimed she was coerced into being Epstein’s “sex slave,” made the disturbing disclosure in court papers.

Brunel’s lawyer has previously said he denies the allegations. He has been dogged by sexual abuse claims for decades. Ghislaine Maxwell introduced Brunel to Epstein in the 1980s, according to the Guardian. Maxwell was arrested in July on charges she recruited girls and women to be abused by her and Epstein. She has pleaded not guilty.

Dec. 13

 michael pack

washington post logomargaret sullivan 2015 photoWashington Post, Opinion: Restoring the Voice of America after a Trump ‘wrecking ball’ won’t be easy. But it’s worth saving, Margaret Sullivan, right, Dec. 13, 2020. The global news organization has been under siege by CEO Michael Pack (shown above), who claims to be rooting out bias.

Dec. 10

American System Network, Opinion: 106 Seditious House Republicans Endorse Dictatorship in Form of Attack on Presidential Election, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Dec. 10, 2020. Trump is Said to Be Taking Names, So Voters Should Take Names Too; McConnell’s GOP Has Time to Shred webster tarpley 2007Constitution, But No Time to Pass Urgently Needed Pandemic Relief; Extinction of Republican Party Is Necessary Response to GOP’s Monstrous Excesses.

1,500 Lawyers Want Disbarment of Trump Lawyers for Lying as Officers of the Court; Federal Rule Eleven Sanctions for Bringing Frivolous Law Suits Are Also Long Overdue;

FDA Advisory Panel Votes 17 to 4 to Approve Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer-Biontech Vaccine for Those 16 and Up; Final Decision on Vaccine from FDA Officials Expected Momentarily;

Biden Reminds Black Leaders that Unwise Slogan of Defund the Police Helped GOP to “Beat the Living Hell” Out of Democrats in Election; Stresses that Much Can Be Done Provided It Be Done Carefully, After January 5 Runoff; Since Vilsack Erred in Firing Shirley Sherrod, Compensate Her for the Injustice; Last Tango in Brussels: British Press Now View Catastrophic No-Deal Brexit as Likely; Biden Should Again Demand that BoJo & Co. Stop Wrecking the West;

Trump-Barr Death Cult Setting Up Busiest Year for Federal Executions Since 1896, Including First Woman in 70 Years; Death Penalty is a Racist Relic of Barbarism and Must Be Abolished;

Determined to Keep Americans Divided Even as Trump Rides Into Oblivion, Limbaugh Talks Culture Wars and Secession Once Again; But Lesson of Civil War is Never Again; And That Means Never Again Trump, and Never Again GOP!

Dec. 9

American System Network, Opinion: All Fifty States Have Now Certified Their Election Results and Electors in Conformity with Safe Haven Requirements, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Dec. 9, webster tarpley 20072020. Biden’s 306 Electoral Vote Total Makes Him Next President, According to Applicable Law; Electoral College Meets in State Capitals on Monday;

But Trump Presses Last-Ditch Lawsuit to Shred the Right to Vote of Americans: Seventeen Reactionary State AGs Join Rogue Attorney General Paxton of Texas in Attack on Statehood of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia; Supremes to Hear Initial Arguments Thursday; Time for Rule Eleven Sanctions Against These AGs and Pro-Trump Lawyers.

Will States Accept Lessons in Election Organization from Voter Suppression Leader Texas, Where Only One Drop Box for Paper Ballots Was Allowed in Each County; GOP Hates All Voter-Verifiable Paper Trails Because They Make Theft by Republicans More Difficult.

GOP’s Armed Fascist Gangs Run Wild in Various States with Political Cover from White House Usurper.

How Biden’s Personal Friendship with Defense Secretary-Designate Lloyd Austin Can Help Block Coups, Autogolpes, Putsches, and Other Subversive Chicanery Coming from the Trump Camp; In Parlous Times, President Has Right to Choose a Defense Minister He Knows and Trusts; Austin is Expert in Logistics, a Specialty Needed During Pandemic; Expertise in Directed Energy Weapons Using New Physical Principles Also Needed.

Gen. McCaffrey Backs Austin as Bulwark Needed in Pentagon to Counter “Squirrely Lads Burrowing In,” i.e. Trump’s Incompetent Recent Appointments Spreading Chaos!

Dec. 8

Attorney Mark Anderl, his wife, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and their son, Daniel Anderl

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: My Son Was Killed Because I’m a Federal Judge, Esther Salas, shown above with her son and husband, is a United States District Court judge for the District of New Jersey who sits in Newark, Dec. 8, 2020. Protecting judges is essential to our families, and our democracy.

“Let’s keep talking; I love talking to you, Mom.” Those were the last words spoken to me by my only child, Daniel, as we cleaned up the basement from his birthday festivities. He was still glowing from a glorious weekend at home with his parents and friends.

Then the doorbell rang. Daniel raced up the stairs. Seconds later, as I stood alone in our basement, my beloved son was shot to death. Mark Anderl, my husband of 25 years was shot three times and critically injured.

This tragedy, every mother’s worst nightmare, happened for a reason wholly unrelated to either my husband or my son, but because of my job: I am a United States District Court judge. A lawyer who had appeared before me was angered by the pace of a lawsuit he had filed in my court. He came to my home seeking revenge.

My attacker sought to hurt me but his ire, and his focus, were not unique. Federal judges are at risk from other would-be attackers.

The threat to judges is intensifying. Security incidents targeting judges and other personnel who play integral roles in federal court cases rose to 4,449 threats and inappropriate communications in 2019, from 926 such incidents in 2015, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

roy den hollander esther salasIn my case, Roy Den Hollander [shown at right with the judge in file photos), a New York lawyer who had filed a suit against the male-only military draft, harbored deadly grudges.

On July 11, 2020, he killed a lawyer in California. Eight days later, he came to our door and killed Daniel. Too late, I learned that he had often described himself as “anti-feminist.” In a self-published memoir, he described me as “a lazy and incompetent Latina judge appointed by Obama.”

For judges and their families, better security is a matter of life and death. But its importance goes beyond our well-being alone. For our nation’s sake, judicial security is essential. Federal judges must be free to make their decisions, no matter how unpopular, without fear of harm. The federal government has a responsibility to protect all federal judges because our safety is foundational to our great democracy.

Dec. 8

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: A decade of wringing money and power out of conservative victimhood nears its apex, Philip Bump, Dec. 8, 2020. Ali Alexander is a right-wing personality who has worked with a rogue’s gallery of notorious characters in that world: Alex Jones, Roger Stone, Jacob Wohl, Laura Loomer, you name it.

A decade ago, he was flitting around on the fringes of the conservative movement where his past legal troubles contributed to scrutiny of his efforts to raise funds for an online publishing venture. Now, he identifies himself as “national organizer” for “Stop the Steal,” an organization which adopts the tagline of President Trump’s ploy to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Alexander’s group isn’t linked to the Trump campaign. Instead, as CNN reported last week, his “Stop the Steal” website solicits contributions that aren’t bound by nonprofit rules or constraints and which, at least in its initial iteration, went straight to him. In a brief encounter at a rally focused on the election results, CNN’s Drew Griffin asked Alexander how much he was getting from the effort.

“Zero,” Alexander insisted. He then accused Griffin of being a racist for his past reporting.

You don't need to read between the lines much to understand that there's a distinct possibility that Alexander, after years of building his name through right-wing agitation, might similarly see an opportunity in Trump's effort to throw out the results of the 2020 contest. You might suspect that Alexander's more virulent rhetoric has, at a minimum, multiple motivations. If bolstering concerns about the election is lucrative, why draw a line on how far you're willing to go to bolster those concerns?

It’s not insignificant that Alexander’s emergence coincided with the rise of the tea party movement during President Barack Obama’s first term in office. For all of the legitimate energy that the movement fostered, there was also a lot of grifting — financial and political — associated with the effort. A number of groups emerged to fundraise off the energy of the movement and amplified concerns about the future of the country, not all of them legitimate. The passion of supporters could be easy to parlay into money and political support, something which Trump himself explored with his overt flirtations with the movement in his brief consideration of a 2012 run.

Kelli Ward is another person who rose within Republican politics through the tea party movement. After winning a seat in the Arizona state Senate in 2012, she twice tried to earn the party’s nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate, without success. She, too, has embraced the fringes of right-wing, including demonstrating support for rancher Cliven Bundy during his standoff with federal officials in 2014 and joining Loomer for an event last year.

Ward is now the head of the Republican Party in Arizona. She’s been outspoken in her criticism of Gov. Doug Ducey (R) since he certified the results of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state. When Ducey explained in a series of tweets why he was legally bound to do so, Ward told him to “STHU” — to shut up.

Ward, too, has an interest in boosting the idea that the election was stolen. Much of the most vocal part of her party believes Trump’s rhetoric on the matter and sees nefarious efforts playing a role in the results. That doesn’t mean that her position is insincere; like many Republicans, she may in fact believe the baseless claims that rampant fraud occurred. But that doesn’t mean that fighting against Ducey on the point isn’t politically useful.

The Intercept, Opinion: The Great Reset Conspiracy Smoothie, Naomi Klein, Dec. 8, 2020. Writing about “The Great Reset” is not easy. It has turned into a viral conspiracy theory purporting to expose something no one ever attempted to hide, most of which is not really happening anyway, some of which actually should.

It’s extra confusing for me to unpick this particular knot because at the center of it all is a bastardization of a concept I know a little something about: the shock doctrine. But here goes nothing:

Back in June, the World Economic Forum, best known for its annual Davos summit, kicked off a lunge for organizational relevance at a time when it was already clear that, for the foreseeable future, packing thousands of people, injected-cheek by lifted-jowl, into a Swiss ski resort to talk about harnessing the power of markets to end rural poverty was a nonstarter.

The effort was called the Great Website — I mean the Great Reset. And through articles, videos, webinars, podcasts, and a book by WEF founder Klaus Schwab, it provided a coronavirus-themed rebranding of all the things Davos does anyway, now hastily repackaged as a blueprint for reviving the global economy post-pandemic by “seeking a better form of capitalism.” The Great Reset was a place to hawk for-profit technofixes to complex social problems; to hear heads of transnational oil giants opine about the urgent need to tackle climate change; to listen to politicians say the things they say during crises: that this is a tragedy but also an opportunity, that they are committed to building back better, and ushering in a “fairer, greener, healthier planet.” Prince Charles, David Attenborough, and the head of the International Monetary Fund all figured prominently. That kind of thing.

In short, the Great Reset encompasses some good stuff that won’t happen and some bad stuff that certainly will and, frankly, nothing out of the ordinary in our era of “green” billionaires readying rockets for Mars. Indeed, anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Davos speak, and the number of times it has attempted to rebrand capitalism as a slightly buggy poverty alleviation and ecological restoration program, will recognize the vintage champagne in this online carafe. (This history is explored in an excellent new book and film by the law professor Joel Bakan, “The New Corporation: How ‘Good’ Corporations Are Bad for Democracy.”)

Through its highly influential Global Competitiveness Report, the WEF has played a leading role in the transnational campaign to liberate capital from all encumbrances (like robust regulation, protections for local industries, progressive taxation, and — heaven forbid — nationalizations). Long ago, however, Schwab realized that if Davos didn’t add some do-gooding to its well-doing, the pitchforks that had started amassing at the foot of the mountain would eventually storm the gates (as they came close to doing during the 2001 summit).

And so the giddy sessions on new markets in Malaysia and new startups in California were complemented with somber ones on melting ice caps, United Nations development goals, “impact investing,” “stakeholder capitalism,” and “corporate global citizenship.” In 2003, Schwab introduced the tradition of each January summit having a big theme, starting with the appropriately chastened “Building Trust.” The new Davos tone, though, was truly set in 2005, when actor Sharon Stone, upon hearing Tanzania’s president speak of his nation’s need for mosquito nets to battle malaria, leapt to her feet and turned the session into an impromptu charity auction to purchase the nets. She raised $1 million in five minutes, and a new Davos era was on its way.

If Davos wasn’t “seeking a better form of capitalism” to solve the spiraling crises Davos itself systematically deepened, it wouldn’t be Davos.

The Great Reset is merely the latest edition of this gilded tradition, barely distinguishable from earlier Davos Big Ideas, from “Shaping the Post-Crisis World” (2009) to “Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild” (2010) to “The Great Transformation” (2012) and, who can forget, “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” (2018). If Davos wasn’t “seeking a better form of capitalism” to solve the spiraling crises Davos itself systematically deepened, it wouldn’t be Davos.

And yet search for the term “global reset” and you will be bombarded with breathless “exposés” of a secret globalist cabal, headed by Schwab and Bill Gates, that is using the state of shock created by the coronavirus (which is probably itself a “hoax”) to turn the world into a high-tech dictatorship that will take away your freedom forever: a green/socialist/Venezuela/Soros/forced vaccine dictatorship if the Reset exposé is coming from the far right, and a Big Pharma/GMO/biometric implants/5G/robot dog/forced vaccine dictatorship if the exposé hails from the far left.

Confused? That’s not on you. Less a conspiracy theory than a conspiracy smoothie, the Great Reset has managed to mash up every freakout happening on the internet — left and right, true-ish, and off-the-wall — into one inchoate meta-scream about the unbearable nature of pandemic life under voracious capitalism. I’ve been doing my best to ignore it for months, even when various Reset “researchers” have insisted that all of this is an example of the shock doctrine, a term I coined a decade and a half ago to describe the many ways that elites try to harness deep disasters to push through policies that further enrich the already wealthy and restrict democratic liberties.

There has been a tsunami of examples of the real shock doctrine since the pandemic began: Trump’s attacks on Washington’s regulatory architecture; Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s amped-up campaign for “school choice,” rather than, say, giving public schools the resources they need to keep children safe; Silicon Valley’s multiheaded power grab, which I wrote about as the Screen New Deal; the Modi government’s cruel attacks on price protections for India’s farmers (setting off a wave of heroic protests) — and so many more.

Dec. 6

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Why Do So Many Americans Think the Election Was Stolen? Ross Douthat, Dec. 6, 2020 (print ed.). Looking for the reasons behind a seemingly unreasonable belief.

There have been few surprises this past month in how Donald Trump has dealt with the reality of his electoral defeat.

Anyone familiar with his career could have predicted that he would claim to have been cheated out of victory.

So far, so predictable. But speaking as a cynical observer of the Trump era, one feature of November did crack my jaded shell a bit: not his behavior or the system’s response, but the sheer scale of the belief among conservatives that the election was really stolen, measured not just in polling data but in conversations and arguments, online and in person, with people I would not have expected to embrace it.

Drawn from my conversations in the past few weeks, here’s an attempt at a taxonomy of these unlikely seeming fraud believers.

  • The conspiracy-curious normie.
  • The outsider-intellectual
  • The recently radicalized

At the moment, the voter-fraud narrative is being deployed, often by people more cynical than the groups I’ve just described, to help an outgoing president — one who twice lost the popular vote and displayed gross incompetence in the face of his administration’s greatest challenge — stake a permanent claim to the leadership of his party and establish himself as the presumptive Republican nominee in 2024.

And it’s being used to push aside the more compelling narrative that the Republican Party could take away from 2020, which is that Trump’s presidency demonstrated that populism can provide a foundation for conservatism, but to build on it the right needs a very different leader than the man Joe Biden just defeated.

Dec. 4

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: America may not be so lucky next time. Benjamin L. Ginsberg, Dec. 4, 2020. Benjamin L. Ginsberg practiced election law for 38 years. He co-chaired the bipartisan 2013 Presidential Commission on Election Administration.

The country was lucky that President Trump and his reelection campaign were so inept. He ultimately lost by a wide margin, and his challenges to the results have been farcical. His rhetoric ramped up in inverse proportion to his ability to produce evidence supporting his charges of systemic “fraud” or “rigged” elections.

The United States might not be so lucky next time. What if the 2020 election had been as close as it was in 2000, and the outcome hinged on a state (or states) with a truly narrow margin? How would the country have fared under a Trump-style assault on democracy’s foundations?

Trump’s attempts to negate millions of votes by challenging state certifications revealed cracks in those foundations. Some shoring-up is clearly needed before the next election cycle begins. A good place to start might be with the appointment of a bipartisan commission that would propose election reforms to Congress and the states. Here are half a dozen suggestions to get things started:

Revise the Electoral Count Act of 1887, a law that came perilously close to being invoked for the first time in its history. Its muddled language would not have provided clear answers to myriad crucial questions. What happens if a state submits competing slates of electors? How to determine if a “majority” of the electoral college refers to all 538 electors or only those present and voting? If choosing the president fell to the House, with a single vote for each state, could a majority of members prevent the swearing-in of enough minority members (who nonetheless represented more states) so that the majority’s presidential candidate would win? The 1887 law clearly needs updating and clarifying.

Dec. 3

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation: The enemy within: Trump's coup and martial law attempt, Wayne Madsen, left, Dec. 3, 2020. WMR has learned wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallof a coordinated effort by Donald Trump loyalists Steve Bannon, exiled Chinese billionaire fugitive Guo Wengui, Trump lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, retired Army Lieut. General and former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and other members of Trump's political inner circle to not only attack the results of the 2020 presidential election but also call for Trump to suspend the U.S. Constitution and impose martial law.

Flynn has echoed Bannon in calling for Trump to "temporarily suspend the Constitution, declare limited martial law, have the military oversee a national re-vote, and silence the destructive media." Under the terms of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Flynn could be called back to active duty for the purpose of court-martialing him for sedition.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Michael Flynn goes completely off the deep end – and he’s making things worse for himself, Bill Palmer, Dec. 3, 2020. Michael Flynn is now openly calling for the overthrow of the United States government on Twitter, urging Donald Trump to “temporarily suspend michael flynn microphonethe Constitution” and “silence” the media. To be clear, it would be literally impossible for Trump to do these things – and Flynn isn’t helping himself.

bill palmer report logo headerFlynn (shown in a file photo) has already gotten his pardon. There is no (sane) reason for him to continue acting like this. All he’s doing is painting himself as a dangerous madman. This means that if federal prosecutors decide to challenge Flynn’s flimsy preemptive pardon in court by hitting him with additional criminal charges, Flynn’s behavior right now will help make their argument stronger – both in federal court, and in the court of public opinion.

What Michael Flynn, a retired U.S. military general, is doing right now is dangerous. But in the end, all he’s doing is helping to ensure a worse outcome for himself. Then again, Flynn has been self destructively unraveling for years.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump escalates baseless attacks on election with a 46-minute video rant, Philip Rucker, Dec. 3, 2020 (print ed.). He claimed without evidence that the nation’s election system was “under coordinated assault and siege” and that it was “statistically impossible” for him to have lost to President-elect Joe Biden.

President Donald Trump officialEscalating his attack on democracy from within the White House, President Trump on Wednesday distributed an astonishing 46-minute video rant filled with baseless allegations of voter fraud and outright falsehoods in which he declared the nation’s election system “under coordinated assault and siege” and argued that it was “statistically impossible” for him to have lost to President-elect Joe Biden.

Standing behind the presidential lectern in the Diplomatic Reception Room and flanked by the flags of his office and of the country whose Constitution he swore an oath to uphold, Trump tried to leverage the power of the presidency to subvert the vote and overturn the election results.

The rambling and bellicose monologue — which Trump said “may be the most important speech I’ve ever made” and was delivered direct-to-camera with no audience — underscored his desperation to reverse the outcome of his election loss after a month of failed legal challenges and as some key states already have certified Biden’s victory.

washington post logoWashington Post, President is said to be livid at attorney general, with one official suggesting termination is possible, Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey and Devlin Barrett, Dec. 3, 2020 (print ed.). Attorney General William P. Barr had undercut President Trump’s unfounded claims of a rigged election.

william barr new oPresident Trump remained livid at Attorney General William P. Barr, right, on Wednesday, with one senior administration official indicating there was a chance Barr could be fired — not just for his public comments undercutting Trump’s unfounded claims of election-shifting fraud, but also for steps he did not take on a probe of the FBI’s 2016 investigation into Trump’s campaign.

A day after Barr told the Associated Press that he had “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” Trump continued to complain about his attorney general, people familiar with the matter said.

Trump, the official said, was perhaps even angrier that Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham did not issue a public report of his findings before last month’s election, and that Barr had secretly appointed Durham as special counsel in October, giving him extra legal and political protection to continue the work he started a year ago. Durham is examining whether crimes were committed by law enforcement during its 2016 investigation of whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia.

joseph diGenova victoria toensig fox

washington post logoWashington Post, Joseph diGenova resigns from Gridiron Club after saying fired cybersecurity official should be shot, Elahe Izadi, Dec. 3, 2020 (print ed.). The elite Washington journalism social organization asked the Trump campaign lawyer to step down.

Joseph diGenova, (shown above with his wife and law partner Victoria Toensig) the Trump campaign lawyer who had been a fixture in Washington legal circles for decades, resigned under pressure Tuesday from the elite Gridiron Club after an uproar over his comments suggesting a former government official should be executed.

DiGenova later said he was joking when he made the comments about Christopher Krebs, right, the federal cybersecurity official who was fired by chris krebs oPresident Trump after asserting that the 2020 election was secure and free of widespread voter fraud. “Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs . . . ." diGenova said on the conservative “Howie Carr Show” on Monday. “He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.”

Still, the White House denounced the statement, Krebs said he would consider legal action — and the 135-year-old Gridiron Club asked diGenova to step down.

The Gridiron Club is primarily an organization for Washington journalists, but it is best known for an annual formal dinner that also ropes in political luminaries and a raucous musical-comedy presentation of satirical songs and skits. DiGenova, who served as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia in the 1980s, had been a “limited” member for more than 25 years, one of a handful of “ringers” recruited for their impressive singing voices.

His comments have also caused alarm on Capitol Hill. On Wednesday, U.S. Reps. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and Ted W. Lieu (D-Ca.), both former prosecutors, called on the disciplinary arm of the D.C. bar to immediately open an investigation into diGenova’s statements as an incitement to violence and a violation of rules of professional conduct. “If a lawyer licensed in the District of Columbia can – while speaking in a representative capacity – publicly call for the death of his client’s perceived adversaries without consequences, the [bar] Counsel has abjectly failed in its duty,” the lawmakers wrote.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Reaping what they have sown, Robert Harrington, right, Dec. 3, 2020. In the 24 hours since last I wrote to you, brothers and sisters, robert harringtnn portrait90 more Americans have died from coronavirus than died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. That is, 2,889 coronavirus victims against the 2,799 who died that fateful day nearly 20 years ago. My hope is that grim statistic is more than just a mind-numbingly large number, but a reminder that there are often somber repercussions to ignorance. Most of those coronavirus deaths were preventable.

bill palmer report logo headerThe difference between those coronavirus deaths and the deaths of September 11, of course, is they did not occur in the midst of the shocking spectacle of mammoth collapsing buildings and shrieking terror-inspired New Yorkers in full flight for their lives, but quietly, unobtrusively, in a hospital bed, or at home.

To put it in cynical terms, September 11th had the better publicist. Even so, in some ways the coronavirus deaths are even more shocking. September 11th was the result of an attack by inimical foreign agents living outside the United States and setting out to murder Americans. The coronavirus deaths, on the other hand, were caused by ignorant Americans misled by the president of the United States. And, of course, Donald Trump is still killing Americans in 9/11 orders of magnitude every single day.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Why Prosecuting Trump Is a Very Bad Idea, Eric Posner (University of Chicago law professor and the author of “The Demagogue’s Playbook: The Battle for American Democracy From the Founders to Trump”), Dec. 3, 2020. The goal would be to renew faith in our government, but its effect would be the opposite.

As the Biden administration slowly coalesces, there have been many calls for its Justice Department to prosecute Donald Trump for any crimes he may have committed while in office. The hope, proponents of this view argue, is to establish that the president is subject to the rule of law and to deter future presidents from breaking the law.

The problem with this agenda is that there is little evidence that Mr. Trump did commit crimes as president. A conviction, given what we know now, is all but impossible. The calls to investigate him echo the president’s own calls to investigate Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden based on mere speculation — calls that most people, especially liberals, rightly condemned.

The most plausible charge is that Mr. Trump obstructed justice by interfering with, and possibly lying to, Robert Mueller and his investigators. Critics also argue that Mr. Trump may have broken the law by threatening to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless the Ukrainian government announced the opening of an investigation into the Bidens. A third possible charge is that Mr. Trump corruptly mixed his financial affairs with government business.

All of these charges would face formidable difficulties in court.

Investigations into allegations that Mr. Trump was involved in credit and tax fraud and campaign finance violations before his presidency are another matter. But convictions based on such pre-presidential behavior will not reflect on his presidency nor hold lessons for future presidents.

And even these investigations run the risk of turning Mr. Trump into one of the last things we want him to be: a martyr.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Washington DC Attorney General fires back at Ivanka Trump, Bill Palmer, Dec. 3, 2020. Yesterday the news broke that Ivanka Trump had been forced to testify in the Washington DC Attorney General’s civil investigation into alleged Trump inauguration fund fraud. It turns out Ivanka isn’t happy about it, and it further turns out that the Attorney General isn’t impressed with her whining.

bill palmer report logo headerIvanka posted a tweet today, revealing that she was forced to testify for five-plus hours. She accused the entire investigation of being a “politically motivated demonstration of vindictiveness.”

Washington DC Attorney General Karl Racine fired back at Ivanka: “We filed suit after gathering evidence that the Presidential Inaugural Committee knowingly entered into a grossly overpriced contract with the Trump Hotel. Any claim to the contrary is incorrect … DC law requires nonprofits to use funds for stated public purposes, and to avoid unreasonable, wasteful expenses. Our investigation revealed the Committee willfully used nonprofit funds to enrich the Trump family. It’s very simple: They broke the law. That’s why we sued.”

karl racineRacine, left, also posted an email from former Melania Trump friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who is now working with investigators, addressed to convicted felon Rick Gates, and CC’d to Ivanka Trump. In the email, Wolkoff expressed concern that the inflated Trump hotel inaugural pricing would end up being “audited” and become a problem.

Here’s what stands out. There is no indication that Ivanka is a target of the investigation; thus far it’s merely established that she’s a witness to the alleged fraud. Also, this is merely a civil investigation, and not (yet) a criminal one. But Ivanka is reacting in remarkably angry, bitter, defensive, and conspiratorial fashion. Since her father lost the election, she’s starting to sound more like her father with every passing day.

Dec. 2

American System TV, Opinion: Pelosi and Schumer Support $908 Billion Bipartisan Interim Relief and Stimulus Measure for Pandemic-Stricken US webster tarpley 2007Economy, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Dec 2, 2020. Will McConnell and His Two Score GOP Austerity Hypocrites Vote for It, or Will They Try to Hide Behind Their Rediscovered Obsession with Deficits and Debt?; And Will Trump Go Along with the Bill?; Six Battleground States Have Already Certified for Biden.

GOP Split in the Making: Two Vital Georgia Runoff Elections on January 5 as Microcosm of US Politics: Ultra-MAGA Forces Around Sidney Powell and Lin Wood Call on GOP Voters to Boycott Senate Candidates Perdue and Loeffler for Insufficient Fanaticism for Don; Others Want Marshal Law to Overturn Election;

To Keep GOP Senate Control, Sen. Loeffler Baits Dems for Talking Defunding of Police; Obama Wisely Urges His Party to Steer Clear of Such Inflammatory Slogans and Stress Police Reform and Fairness; Omar of Ultra-Left Squad Defends Verbal Radicalism; Rep. Clyburn Backs Obama, Citing Vast Damage to Civil Rights Movement Wrought by “Burn Baby Burn” Extremists of 1960s;

“The Planet is Broken”: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Launches Hysterical Malthusian Campaign of Killer Energy Austerity Under Slogan of “Net Zero”; Not Mentioned in UN Charter; Proclaims that World’s Working People Will Have to Pay “Price on Carbon;” Focus on Glasgow Conference, Coming in November 2021;

The Pardoner’s Tale: Trump’s Plans for Executive Clemency Scrutinized;

Beijing Communist Regime Sentences Hong Kong Opposition Leaders to Multi-Month Jail Terms: Our Advent Wish is for a World More Concerned with the Fate of Brave Pro-Democracy Fighters Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and Ivan Lam than with the Posturing of Greta Thunberg.

Dec. 1

washington post logoWashington Post, To boost voter-fraud claims, Trump advocate Sidney Powell turns to unusual source: The longtime operator of QAnon’s Internet home, Drew Harwell, Dec. 1, 2020. In her legal quest to reverse the reality of last month’s election, President Trump’s recently disavowed attorney Sidney Powell has gained a strange new ally: The longtime administrator of the message board 8kun, the QAnon conspiracy theory’s Internet home.

Powell on Tuesday filed an affidavit from Ron Watkins, the son of 8kun’s owner Jim Watkins, in a Georgia lawsuit alleging that Dominion Voting Systems machines used in the election had been corrupted as part of a sprawling voter-fraud conspiracy.

Powell has claimed that a diabolical scheme backed by global communists had invisibly shifted votes with help from a mysterious computer algorithm pioneered by the long-dead Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez — a wild story debunked by fact-checkers as a “fantasy parade” and devoid of actual proof.

No real evidence was included in Watkins’ affidavit, either. But Watkins, who said in the affidavit that he lives in Japan, nevertheless speculated that — based on his recent reading of the Dominion software’s online user guide — it may be “within the realm of possibility” for a biased poll worker to fraudulently switch votes.

Watkins’ affidavit marks one of the first official connections between a notable player in the QAnon conspiracy universe and Trump’s muddled multistate legal campaign, which some of the president’s allies have labeled, in the words of Chris Christie, a “national embarrassment.”

But many similar Trump-QAnon overtures have already played out on TV and social media since the election nearly one month ago. Watkins made similar allegations in an unchallenged segment on the far-right One America News network, which Trump retweeted to his 88 million followers last month.

Powell and her client Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, are effectively celebrities to QAnon loyalists, who posit online that both will soon help “release the Kraken” and expose a bombshell that could salvage a Trump second term, vanquish his enemies and unveil the hidden machinations of a communist conspiracy.

Since claiming to have resigned last month from 8kun, Watkins has devoted much of his online activity to claims about unfounded suspicions regarding Dominion, an 18-year-old voting-technology company whose computer programs, ballot printers and other products are used by elections officials in 28 states. Trump and his supporters have loudly attacked the Denver-based company as having contributed in some unproven way to steal the vote.

In a lengthy rebuttal last week, Dominion said that Powell’s claims were nonsensical: Manual recounts, machine tests and independent audits had reaffirmed that the voting systems had given accurate, undistorted results. Her “wild and reckless allegations,” the company added, were “not only demonstrably false” but had “led to stalking, harassment, and death threats to Dominion employees.”

In his affidavit, Watkins called himself an information security expert with nine years of experience as a “network and information defense analyst” and security engineer. But he did not mention that his experience had come largely through 8kun, the site once called 8chan that was knocked offline for nearly three months last year.

The message board is infamous for its anonymous threads of racist bile and extremist threats, and the site was used by gunmen to announce and celebrate three fatal attacks last year at an El Paso Walmart, a San Diego-area synagogue and a New Zealand mosque.

Major web-services providers that form the Internet’s backbone have refused to work with the site, with one executive telling The Washington Post last year that Watkins’ site had facilitated “mass shootings and extreme hate speech with intolerable consequences.”

Q has posted more than 4,000 times since 2017, but only three times since the election, sparking a mix of anxiety and faith-based recommitment among QAnon believers.

 

November

Nov. 30

CBS News 60 Minutes, Fired director of U.S. cyber agency Chris Krebs explains why President Trump's claims of election interference are false, Correspondent Scott Pelley, posted Nov. 30, broadcast Nov. 29, 2020. Chris Krebs, a lifelong Republican, was put in charge of the agency handling election security by President Trump two years ago. When Krebs said the election was the country's most secure ever, Mr. Trump fired him. Now, Krebs speaks to Scott Pelley.

“We can go on and on with all the farcical claims alleging interference in the 2020 election, but the proof is in the ballots. The recounts are consistent chris krebs owith the initial count,” says Christopher Krebs, right. “The American people should have 100% confidence in their vote.”

Though the transition has begun, President Trump remains largely holed up in the White House tweeting false accusations of a rigged election from behind a crumbling wall of lawsuits. No legal challenge, no recount, no audit has changed the outcome in any state.

Mr. Trump's claim that millions of votes were deleted or switched is denied by the official he chose to secure the nation's election systems. Christopher Krebs called the 2020 vote "the most secure in American history" which promptly got him fired. Tonight, in his first interview since he was dismissed, Krebs tells us why he believes the vote was accurate and why saying otherwise puts the country in danger.

Chris Krebs: "I have confidence in the security of this election because I know the work that we've done for four years in support of our state and local partners. I know the work that the intelligence community has done, the Department of Defense has done, that the FBI has done, that my team has done. I know that these systems are more secure. I know based on what we have seen that any attacks on the election were not successful."

Two years ago, President Trump put Christopher Krebs in charge of the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Krebs, a lifelong Republican, was confirmed unanimously by the Senate.

Nov. 28

American System TV, Opinion: Assassination of Leading Iranian Nuclear Scientist Fakhrizadeh Appears as Provocation by Pro-War Forces Calculated to webster tarpley 2007Cripple Biden’s Diplomacy as New Administration Seeks to Clean Up Wreckage Left by Trump, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Nov. 28, 2020. Iranian President Rouhani Blames Israel, But Urges More Restraint Despite Multiple Provocations; Warns Against Falling into Trap of Swift Retaliation when World Conditions Will Change in Just a Few Weeks;

For Lame Duck Trump, this Parthian Shot Could Provide Basis for Wag the Dog Operations to Make a Coup More Plausible; Trump-Kushner Normalization Deals by Gulf States with Israel Are Making War Easier;

Four Hundredth Anniversary of Mayflower Compact, the First Known Written Instrument of Democratic, Majority Self-Rule, Sharply Refutes the Manichean Distortion of American History Purveyed by the Anarchist Howard Zinn and his Co-Thinkers;

In Our Time, Positive Tradition of Plymouth Colony Has Done Its Part in Blocking Trump’s Bid for Authoritarianism; This Tradition Provides More Efficient Self-Government than Neo-Legalist Dictatorship in Beijing or Byzantine Oppression in Moscow

Third US Circuit Court of Appeals Gives Scathing Rebuff to Trump-Giuliani Attack on Pennsylvania Election; Will Supreme Court Now Accept Trump’s Appeal?

Nov. 24

nbc news logoNBC News, Opinion: Senate Republicans' Georgia bullying failed. But Lindsey Graham's ethics violations stand out, Richard Painter (right, former chief ethics richard painterlawyer for President George W. Bush) and Claire O. Finkelstein (faculty director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania), Nov. 24, 2020. Graham’s actions should be clearly identified and vociferously rejected by his fellow senators, as well as by the Biden administration.

Republican Party organizations have continued to support President Donald Trump’s unfounded allegations of voter fraud, amplifying his message in the press and in court filings. No such claim has survived legal scrutiny.

The president's own Department of Homeland Security has said that the 2020 election was “the most secure in American history,” a statement that resulted in the firing of the director of that agency’s cybersecurity division. Just last week Trump summoned Michigan Republican leaders to the White House to try to throw out the state's election results. Despite these efforts, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania have certified the results in favor of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. And on Monday, the head of the General Services Administration approved the official transition process.

A handful of Republican senators has particularly disgraced the U.S. Senate in their willingness to support Trump’s doomed attempt to reverse the results of a lindsey grahamlawful and secure election.

A handful of Republican senators has particularly disgraced the U.S. Senate in their willingness to support Trump’s doomed attempt to reverse the results of a lawful and secure election. The most egregious example is Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the subject of an ethics complaint we filed, along with former Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub, last Wednesday with the Senate Ethics Committee.

The complaint centers on a phone call Graham, left, placed to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to propose that Raffensperger invalidate thousands of mail-in ballots. According to The Washington Post, Graham “asked whether Raffensperger had the power to toss all mail ballots in counties found to have higher rates of nonmatching signatures,” which would have included ballots legally cast by eligible voters. In a subsequent interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Raffensperger explained that he took the senator’s message to mean “look hard and see how many ballots you could throw out.”

Graham denies this account and maintains he was merely inquiring into the standards for mail-in ballots. His denial is not plausible. CNN reported that a staffer for Raffensberger, Gabriel Sterling, said “he participated in a controversial phone call with Sen. Lindsey Graham and claimed he heard Graham ask if state officials could throw out ballots.” Sterling and his family have received death threats and are now under 24-hour police protection.

Moreover, in the process of denying an attempt to invalidate ballots in Georgia, Graham admitted to reporters that he had also spoken with officials in Arizona, Nevada and possibly other states, because, as he said, “the future of the country hangs in the balance.”

Almost as worrisome as these attempts to influence election officials is Graham’s invocation of his authority as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to further the Republican narrative of fraud. Four days after the election, he vowed to launch a committee investigation into alleged irregularities, declaring that as chairman "all credible allegations of voting irregularities and misconduct will be taken seriously.” The next day he credited “allegations of system failure, fraud” as the reason Trump lost the election.

Graham is indeed empowered to investigate irregularities. But it would be a profound misuse of his office to call for an investigation for the purpose of bolstering Trump’s bid for re-election. Thus far there has been no public disclosure of any further plans regarding Graham’s promised investigation. Let’s hope it stays that way. If, however, Graham follows through, it will be clear that the investigative powers of the U.S. Senate are being pressed into service to challenge election results after the fact, either to reverse the outcome of the presidential election or to intimidate voters, election workers and the Georgia secretary of state in the upcoming January Senate runoff.

As we documented in an October report issued under the auspices of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the use of public investigatory powers for partisan political purposes has been a hallmark of the current administration, as demonstrated by William Barr’s Department of Justice. If our norms have become so distorted that the investigative powers of the Senate are similarly available for misuse, our country is experiencing a rule-of-law crisis of the first order.

Senate ethics rules prohibit Senate employees from engaging in campaign activity, unless it is clear that they do so on their own time, outside of Senate space, and without using Senate resources.

Senate ethics rules prohibit Senate employees from engaging in campaign activity, unless it is clear that they do so on their own time, outside of Senate space, and without using Senate resources. But there is no reason to suppose that Graham’s attempt to interfere in either the presidential election or the Georgia Senate runoff is being done in his personal capacity, rather than as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Taken in the context of the threats to launch an investigation into voter fraud, it is difficult to separate Graham’s official position from his personal one in support of Trump and GOP candidates in Georgia. It would not have been necessary to disentangle the two, however, had Graham steered clear of any conduct that cast doubt on his impartiality as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Perhaps the most deeply concerning aspect of Graham’s disenfranchisement campaign lies in its motive and methodology, namely to coordinate efforts across the Republican Party to flip the results of the election, a goal that could not be accomplished without disenfranchising a large number of Black voters. Both Georgia and South Carolina, Graham’s home state, have a history of infringing on the voting rights of African Americans. In recognition of this history, both states were previously under the supervision of the Department of Justice based on provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In the 5-4 Shelby County v. Holder decision, however, the Supreme Court in 2013 rescinded this supervision. Graham’s actions are illustrative of the type of conduct that might not have happened had the Voting Rights Act been fully in effect.

Graham did not succeed in his apparent attempt to disenfranchise thousands of Georgians in the November 2020 election. But if the Georgia secretary of state or his staffer had had less integrity, Graham might have prevailed. Such misconduct on the part of a sitting senator is an embarrassment to the Senate and a threat to our democracy, one that must be addressed in a full assessment of U.S. election security in the new administration. Graham’s actions should be clearly identified and vociferously rejected by his fellow senators, as well as by the Biden administration. They should make clear that interference with the counting or certification of votes is conduct unbecoming of a senator and will not be tolerated.

Nov. 23

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The Republican Party has split in two. Let’s keep it that way, Jennifer Rubin, Nov. 23, 2020. In one half of the former GOP stand President Trump, his pathetic enablers in his campaign and in right-wing media, and the vast majority of Senate and House Republicans.

In the other half of the party, we see individuals from varying ideological backgrounds but who share a fundamental belief in democracy and the rule of law. These Republicans promptly declared that Trump had lost and insisted it was time to move on. In the Senate, Ben Sasse (Neb.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) swiftly recognized the results of the election. (Belatedly, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania joined them.)

 supreme court Custom

Politico Magazine, Analysis: The Supreme Court’s “Breathtakingly Radical” New Approach to Election Law, Wendy Weiser and Daniel Weiner, Nov. 22, 2020. The justices won’t end up deciding the 2020 presidential race, but they have set the stage for a massive rollback of voting rights.

In the end, the blizzard of lawsuits from President Donald Trump’s campaign will amount to nothing beyond a megaphone for disinformation about the integrity of the 2020 election. As destructive as the president’s attempts to undermine democracy are, the most lasting damage to America’s election system is likely to come instead from a series of Supreme Court rulings that appear perfunctory but actually could restrict voters’ rights for years to come.

In the weeks before Election Day, the court weighed in on more than a dozen cases in a way that many portrayed as a mixed bag for voting rights—allowing voting expansions to stand in some cases and sharply curtailing them in others. But that scorecard approach obscures the principal effect of the court’s rulings: In all of the cases, regardless of whether the Trump campaign won or lost, the justices quietly—yet dramatically—rolled back Americans’ voting rights in ways that could do permanent harm—that is, unless Congress steps in.

Let’s start with the visible damage.

In multiple cases, and often without a shred of explanation, the Supreme Court affirmatively stepped in to make it harder to vote. The first case was in Wisconsin in April, right after the pandemic hit. A lower court had extended the deadline for returning mail ballots in the presidential primary by six days. But the night before the election, over a withering dissent by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—one of her last written opinions—the Supreme Court blocked that extension, leaving voters only hours to obtain and return their ballots. The result: thousands of citizens were unable to return their ballots on time, and their votes were not counted.

Likewise, in South Carolina in early October, the court reinstated a witness requirement for absentee ballots after voting had already started and weeks after the ballot instructions had been printed. While the court exempted voters whose ballots were delivered within two days of its ruling without a witness signature, at least 2,509 ballots arrived after that date and were disqualified. In Alabama, the court stepped in two weeks before Election Day to reinstate witness identification requirements for absentee ballots and a ban on curbside voting.

Until these rulings, federal courts across the country had generally responded to the pandemic by expanding voting access, applying well-established legal doctrines to evaluate burdens to voting rights under the Constitution. Their decisions mainly allowed more voters to take advantage of mail voting and to have safe ballot drop-off and voting locations. Election officials adapted their systems accordingly, and voters requested and received ballots in keeping with the new procedures.

After the Supreme Court ruled in South Carolina, however, appellate courts followed its lead and blocked more than a dozen voter-friendly rulings and settlements within a span of a few weeks. In one egregious case only four days before Election Day, a federal appeals court halted a settlement allowing Minnesota voters to mail back their ballots up until Election Day. At the time, there were more than half a million ballots—all containing instructions with the previous deadline—still outstanding.

These decisions likely disenfranchised tens of thousands of Americans this year, disproportionately people of color. But their most significant damage is not limited to this election. Although the Supreme Court didn’t provide a rationale for its rulings, individual justices articulated two principles that guided their votes, and the way the court applied those principles this election season sets dangerous precedents for the future.

First, there’s what’s known as the Purcell principle, which maintains that federal courts shouldn’t make changes to voting rules close to an election. The supposed purpose of this judge-made doctrine is to prevent confusion and chaos by requiring last-minute changes to election practices that could disenfranchise voters or cause administrative snafus. But in many cases during the lead-up to this election, the Supreme Court itself caused confusion and administrative problems by reversing voting rights rulings from lower federal courts that had already been implemented by election officials, and the circuit courts followed suit. (This would seem to suggest that while the Supreme Court believes this rule applies to lower courts, it is not a constraint on its own rulings.)

What’s more, the Purcell principle has never before been applied as a blunt instrument to block all voting rights protections close to an election, regardless of their impact, as the Supreme Court seemed to do this year. A broad application of this precedent could make it impossible to challenge barriers to voting that were themselves imposed at the last minute, including obstacles erected purposefully to thwart certain voters. This isn’t theoretical; it’s precisely what happened in Texas when a federal appeals court used the Purcell principle to uphold Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Oct. 1 executive order, which sharply limited the number of ballot drop-off sites in a way that targeted voters in more populous counties, after a federal district court ruled against it.

Second, and even more dangerous, five of the court’s justices have signed onto opinions endorsing a brand new legal theory—that the Constitution gives state legislatures virtually untrammeled authority to set voting rules for federal elections, no matter how arbitrary or unreasonable. This previously discredited theory, which was first articulated by three justices in one of the cases concerning the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida, could insulate most anti-voter laws—from arbitrary voting restrictions to burdensome registration requirements—from constitutional review by federal courts. What is more, the Court may be poised to prevent even state courts from reviewing their own state’s laws for compliance with state constitutional protections. Indeed, that was the logic Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas wanted to apply to strike down the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling extending the absentee ballot receipt deadline this year. They were outvoted this time, but this logic could also be applied to prevent state and local election officials from expanding voter access beyond legislative mandates—as many did to ensure voters’ health and safety this year.

These theories are breathtakingly radical, and if they take root, they will seriously undermine Americans’ voting rights going forward. But here is the good news: When it comes to voting rights, the Supreme Court does not necessarily get the last word. Congress can take the lead.

Wendy Weiser is vice president for democracy and Daniel Weiner is deputy director of the Election Reform Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law.

Nov. 22

Global Research via Truth & Reconciliation Committee, Opinion and Memoir: Unspeakable Memories  -- The Day John Kennedy Died, Edward Curtin, right, Nov. 22, edward curtin2020. There is a vast literature on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who died on this date, November 22, 1963. I have contributed my small share to such writing in an effort to tell the truth, honor him, and emphasize its profound importance in understanding the history of the last fifty-seven years, but more importantly, what is happening in the U.S.A. today.

Unless one is a government disinformation agent or is unaware of the enormous documentary evidence, one knows that it was the U.S. national security state, led by the CIA, that carried out JFK’s murder.

Confirmation of this fact keeps arriving in easily accessible forms for anyone interested in the truth. A case in point is James DiEugenio’s posting at his website, KennedysandKing, of James Wilcott’s affidavit and interrogation by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, declassified by the Assassinations Record Review Board in 1998.

In that document, Wilcott, who worked in the finance department for the CIA and was not questioned by the Warren Commission, discusses how he unwittingly paid Lee Harvey Oswald, the government’s alleged assassin, through a cryptonym and how it was widely known and celebrated at his CIA station in Tokyo that the CIA killed Kennedy and Oswald worked for the Agency, although he did not shoot JFK. I highly recommend reading the document.

I do not here want to go into any further analysis or debate about the case. I think the evidence is overwhelming that the President was murdered by the national security state. Why he was murdered, and the implications for today, are what concern me. And how and why we remember and forget public events whose consequences become unbearable to contemplate, and the fatal repercussions of that refusal. In what I consider the best book ever written on the subject, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters (2009), James W. Douglass explains this in detail, including the James Wilcott story.

Realizing what I am about to say might be presumptuous and of no interest to anyone but myself, I will nevertheless try to describe my emotional reactions to learning of John Kennedy’s murder so long ago and how that reverberated down through my life.

I hope my experiences might help explain why so many people today can’t face the consequences of the tragic history that began that day and have continued to the present, among which are not just the other assassinations of the 1960s but the lies about the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent endless and murderous “war on terror” with its mind-numbing propaganda and the recent anti-Russia phobia and the blatant celebration of the so-called “deep-state’s” open efforts to overthrow another president, albeit a very different one.

....

Many people will pretend that they are exposing themselves to such traumatic memories and are investigating the events and sources of their disquietude. It is so often a pretense since they feel most comfortable in the land of make-believe. What is needed is not a dilettantish and superficial nod in the direction of having examined such matters, but a serious in-depth study of the facts and an examination of why doing so might make one uncomfortable.

Perhaps a reason we remember so much trivia is to make sure we forget profound experiences that might shake us to our cores. The cold-blooded public execution of President John Kennedy did that to me on that melancholy Friday when I was 19, and by trying to forget it and not to speak of it, I hoped it would somehow go away, or at least fade to insignificance. But the past has a way of never dying, often to return when we least expect or want it.

Nov. 21

World Crisis Radio, Scoundrel Time! Opinion: Autogolpe [coup against one's own government) Loses Some Momentum, but MAGA Fanatics Keep Trying, Webster G. webster tarpley 2007Tarpley, right, Nov. 21, 2020. Georgia Finally Certified for Biden with 16 Electoral Votes, but Fraudster Gov. Kemp is still Seeking to Filch Them; Michigan State Reps Visit Trump, and Do Not Openly Embrace His Coup Plan; Monday’s Meeting of State Canvassing Board in Lansing is Next Crucial Moment; Michigan AG Eyes Charges for Attempted Election Subversion.

US Government Faces Possible Government Shutdown and More Chaos on Dec. 11, with Moscow Mitch Once More the Culprit; Meadows Won’t Guarantee that Closure Can Be Averted; First-Time Jobless Claims Rise to 742,000, Still Depression Levels.

djt maga hatChristmas Cliff Looms for Sick and Needy, as Mnuchin Proclaims the End of Emergency Spending while Pandemic Rockets Ahead; Even Federal Reserve Wants to Spend More; No More Help for Self-Employed, Gig Workers; No More 13-Week Extension of Jobless Benefits; Eviction Freeze, Student Loan Forbearance, and Withdrawals from Retirement Accounts All Ending; Trump Gang from Super-Spreaders to Super-Scrooges.

Pompeo Meets Taliban to Press for Less Afghan Violence at Appeasement Talks in Qatar Just After 8 Die in Kabul Mortar Attacks; European Leaders in US-Led Coalition Warn that Trump’s Plan to Run for the Exits is Fraught with Peril.

The Lazy Putschist: Trump Flees Pandemic Discussion at Virtual G-20 Conference to Goof Off on Golf Links while Nation Suffers; This Negates His Oath to Promote the General Welfare and Should Force Him Out of Office; Show Him the American People Are More Teed Off than He Is! Seventy-Five Years Ago, the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials – Still Applicable Today.

Nov. 20

djt handwave file

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump uses power of presidency to try to overturn the election, Philip Rucker, Amy Gardner and Josh Dawsey, Nov. 19, 2020. The president is orchestrating a far-reaching pressure campaign to persuade Republican officials in Michigan, Georgia and elsewhere to overturn the will of voters, who chose President-elect Joe Biden.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump tries delaying count to cast doubt on Biden win, Amy Gardner, Robert Costa, Rosalind S. Helderman and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Nov. 19, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump has abandoned his plan to win reelection by disqualifying enough ballots to reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s wins in key battleground states, pivoting instead to a goal that appears equally unattainable: delaying a final count long enough to cast doubt on Biden’s decisive victory.

joe biden oOn Wednesday, Trump’s campaign wired $3 million to election officials in Wisconsin to start a recount in the state’s two largest counties. His personal lawyer, ­Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has taken over the president’s legal team, asked a federal judge to consider ordering the Republican-controlled legislature in Pennsylvania to select the state’s electors. And Trump egged on a group of GOP lawmakers in Michigan who are pushing for an audit of the vote there before it is certified.

Giuliani, below left, has also told Trump and associates that his ambition is to pressure GOP lawmakers and officials across the political map to stall the vote certification in an effort to have Republican lawmakers pick electors and disrupt the electoral college when it convenes next month — and Trump is encouraging of that plan, according to two senior rudy giuliani recentRepublicans who have conferred with Giuliani and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter candidly.

But that outcome appears impossible. It is against the law in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin law gives no role to the legislature in choosing presidential electors, and there is little public will in other states to pursue such a path.

Behind the thin legal gambit is what several Trump advisers say is his real goal: sowing doubt in Biden’s victory with the president’s most ardent supporters and keeping alive his prospects for another presidential run in 2024.

The shift in strategy comes after the president has suffered defeat after defeat in courtrooms around the country. And it serves as a tacit acknowledgment that Trump has failed to muster evidence to support his unfounded claims about widespread fraud.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Trump Attempts to Overturn Election Are Unparalleled in U.S. History, David E. Sanger, Nov. 19, 2020.  The president’s push to prevent states from certifying electors and get legislators to override voters’ will is an audacious use of brute political force.

Mr. Trump’s chances of succeeding are somewhere between remote and impossible, and a sign of his desperation after President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. won by nearly six million popular votes and counting, as well as a clear Electoral College margin. Yet the fact that Mr. Trump is even trying has set off widespread alarms, not least in Mr. Biden’s camp.

 djt ivanka rnc photo

Palmer Report, Opinion: New York State is criminally targeting Donald Trump over payments to Ivanka Trump, Bill Palmer, Nov. 19, 2020. Now that Donald Trump has lost the election and will be eligible for arrest and asset seizures as soon as he’s gone from office, we’ve been waiting for New York State to tip off how its ongoing investigations into Trump are going to come to a head. Tonight we got a big piece of the puzzle.

bill palmer report logo headerThe New York Times is reporting that New York’s ongoing investigation into the Donald Trump and the Trump Organization has expanded to include massive consulting fees that were paid to Ivanka Trump and then written off. It’s not against the law for Ivanka to accept those payments. But the Trump Organization reportedly wrote off those payments as tax losses, which is illegal.

What stands out here is that the Times says New York’s civil and criminal investigations have expanded to include these payments. This means New York isn’t merely looking at taking the money back that was improperly written off; it’s looking into this in terms of felony tax fraud. That would include criminal charges for whoever in the Trump Organization made the decision to write it off, which would ostensibly be Donald Trump himself, along with Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. This comes after last week’s report djt prison palmer reportthat New York is putting the squeeze on Weisselberg and his family, in an apparent attempt at getting him to flip on Donald Trump.

This is important because it makes clear that New York State really is about to rip Donald Trump’s life to pieces, on both a civil and criminal level. We’ll see asset forfeitures. We’ll see indictments. We’ll see Trump on trial. As a reminder, no President can pardon state level charges. This news comes just hours after CNN reported that the FBI is now zeroing in on Rudy Giuliani. The sharks are circling pretty heavily now.

washington post logoWashington Post, Wayne County Republican who asked to ‘rescind’ her vote certifying results says Trump called her, Tom Hamburger, Kayla Ruble and Tim Elfrink, Nov. 19, 2020. The certified election results have already been sent to the secretary of state.

President Trump called a GOP canvassing board member in Wayne County who announced Wednesday she wanted to rescind her decision to certify the results of the presidential election, the member said in a message to The Washington Post on Thursday.

“I did receive a call from President Trump, late Tuesday evening, after the meeting,” Monica Palmer, one of two Republican members of the four-member Wayne County canvassing board, told The Post. “He was checking in to make sure I was safe after hearing the threats and doxing that had occurred.”

djt maga hatThe call came after an hours-long meeting Tuesday in which the four-member canvassing board voted to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election, a key step toward finalizing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

For now, Trump’s intervention seemed unlikely to change the course of events in Michigan. Biden is winning the state by a wide margin, more than 148,000 votes. The state said Palmer’s board has done its job, and cannot retract its votes. The state’s board of canvassers is still scheduled to hold a hearing Monday to certify the results.

ny times logoNew York Times, Timeline of the Certification Process That Trump Is Trying to Disrupt, Maggie Astor, Nov. 19, 2020. Despite Republican efforts to undermine the process, state officials say they fully expect to meet their upcoming deadlines.

As President Trump and his Republican allies continue trying to undermine the election, the certification of the vote totals in each state is the next major step in formalizing President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory; Election workers recounted ballots in Atlanta last week. The deadline for Georgia to certify its election results is Friday at 5 p.m.

A key part of the G.O.P. strategy has been to delay certification processes in battleground states that Mr. Biden won, in the hopes that, if state officials miss their deadlines, legislators will subvert the popular vote and appoint pro-Trump slates to the Electoral College. But that’s extremely unlikely to happen.

Here’s a breakdown of the certification deadlines and other key dates in battleground states, and what will happen between now and Inauguration Day.

Friday, Nov. 20: Georgia

There is a 5 p.m. Friday deadline for officials to certify election results in Georgia, which Mr. Biden won in a rare Democratic victory in the Deep South that has left Republicans deeply frustrated.

The Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, has said the state will meet the Friday deadline despite having conducted a time-consuming hand recount of the five million ballots cast there.

Mr. Raffensperger is responsible for certifying the results, and he has fiercely defended the state’s electoral process against attacks from Mr. Trump. And on Thursday, a federal judge in Georgia — Steven Grimberg, whom Mr. Trump appointed — rejected a request to block certification.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Federal judge rules against Donald Trump in Georgia, clears way for Joe Biden victory certification, Bill Palmer, Nov. 19, 2020. Federal judge rules against Trump, clears the way for Georgia to certify its results with Joe Biden as the winner on tomorrow’s deadline. This was the last court case that Trump had in place in Georgia, and now it’s gone. This was always going to go this way. There was literally zero chance Trump was going to magically overturn Georgia, just as there is literally zero chance he’s going to magically overturn Michigan or any other state.

bill palmer report logo headerThe kicker: the federal judge who just ruled against Trump was appointed by Trump. Again, no surprise. As Palmer Report explained at the very start of this process, judicial bias may play a role in narrowly nuanced cases, but it never plays a role when one side has literally no case.

If you’re preparing to panic and fret over Trump’s meeting with Michigan officials tomorrow, you’re setting yourself up for another day of worry and strife over something that will ultimately turn out to be nothing.

It couldn’t be much more clear that Trump is merely using these tactics to drag out the illusion that he’s somehow “contesting” the election, so he can continue fundraising on it. He knows he’s lost. This was always about money.

ny times logoNew York Times, Rudy Giuliani made accusations of fraud that the Trump team has failed to support in court, Alan Feuer and Linda Qiu, Nov. 19, 2020. At a rambling news conference on Thursday, Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, mixed misleading statements, wild conspiracy theories and outright fabrications as he attempted to suggest that Mr. Trump still had a viable pathway to winning the election.

Over and over again, Mr. Giuliani and other members of the president’s legal team suggested that Mr. Trump had evidence to prove that “massive fraud” had been committed in swing states across the country. But Mr. Giuliani himself had undercut that accusation in one high-profile case, telling the federal judge overseeing a suit in Pennsylvania, “This is not a fraud case.”

Mr. Giuliani, speaking at the Republican National Committee’s headquarters in Washington, claimed that Mr. Trump would prevail in the election if only he could get his day in front of a judge.

“Give us a chance to prove it in court and we will,” he said.

The problem? In many of the instances that Mr. Giuliani mentioned, the Trump campaign has already had its chance in court — and failed.

jfk limo dallas 31kb

Future of Freedom Foundation, Analysis: The Cunning Plot to Kill Kennedy, Jacob Hornberger, right, Nov. 20, 2020. If anyone murders a federal official, you can be assured jacob hornberger newof one thing: the feds will do everything they can to ensure that everyone involved in the crime is brought to justice. It's like when someone kills a cop. The entire police force mobilizes to capture, arrest, and prosecute everyone involved in killing the cop. The phenomenon is even more pronounced at the federal level, especially given the overwhelming power of the federal government

Yet, the exact opposite occurred in the Kennedy assassination. The entire effort immediately became to pin the crime solely on a "communist" ex-U.S. Marine named Lee Harvey Oswald and to shut down any aggressive investigation into whether others were involved in the crime.

What's up with that? That's not the way we would expect federal officials to handle the assassination of any federal official, especially the president of the United States. We would expect them to do everything -- even torture a suspect -- in order to capture and arrest everyone who may have participated in the crime.

For example, just three days after the assassination and after Oswald himself had been murdered, Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach sent out a memo stating, "The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial."

How in the world could he be so certain that Oswald was the assassin and that he had no confederates? Why would he want to shut down the investigation so soon? Does that sound like a normal federal official who is confronted with the assassination of a president?

The answer to this riddle lies in the brilliantly cunning scheme of the U.S. national-security establishment to ensure that the investigation into Kennedy's assassination would be shut down immediately and, therefore, not lead to the U.S. national-security establishment.

The assassination itself had all the earmarks of a classic military ambush, one in which shooters were firing from both the front and back of the president. It is a virtual certainty that responsibility for the ambush lay with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who had been waging a vicious war against Kennedy practically since the time he assumed office. (See Future of Freedom Foundations book JFK's War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne, who served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s.)

While the JCS were experts at preparing military-style ambushes, they lacked the intellectual capability of devising the overall plot and cover-up, given its high level of cunning and sophistication. That responsibility undoubtedly lay with the CIA, whose top officials were brilliant graduates of Ivy League Schools. Moreover, practically from its inception the CIA was specializing in the art of state-sponsored assassinations and in how to conceal the CIA's role in them.

To ensure that the role of the Pentagon and the CIA in the Kennedy assassination would be kept secret, they had to figure out a way to shut down the investigation from the start. Their plan worked brilliantly. While the normal thing would have been all-out investigations into the murder, in this particular murder the state of Texas and U.S. officials did the exact opposite. They settled for simply pinning the crime on Oswald, the purported lone nut communist ex-U.S. Marine.

Here is how they pulled it off.

As the years have passed, it has become increasingly clear that Oswald was a government operative, most likely for military intelligence or maybe the CIA and the FBI as well. His job was to portray himself as a communist, which would enable him to infiltrate not only domestic communist and socialist organizations but also communist countries, such as Cuba and the Soviet Union.

After all, how many communist Marines have you ever heard of? The Marines would be a good place to recruit people for intelligence roles. Oswald learned fluent Russian while in the military. How does an enlisted man do that, without the assistance of the military's language schools? When he returned from the Soviet Union after supposedly trying to defect and after promising that he was going to give up secret information he had acquired in the military, no federal grand jury or congressional investigation was launched into his conduct, even though this was the height of the Cold War.

Thus, Oswald would make the perfect patsy. He could be stationed wherever his superiors instructed. And he would have all the earmarks of a communist, which would immediately prejudice Americans at the height of the Cold War.

lee harvey oswald in dallas custodyBut simply framing Oswald (shown in custoday in Dallas after the shooting) wouldn’t have been enough to shut down the investigation. An aggressive investigation would undoubtedly be able to pierce through the pat nature of the frame-up. They needed something more.

If you’re going to frame someone who is supposedly firing from the rear, then doesn’t it make sense that you would have shots being fired only from the rear? Why would they frame a guy who is supposedly firing from the rear by having shots fired from the front?

That’s where the sheer brilliance of this particular regime-change operation came into play. The plan was much more cunning than even the successful regime-change operations and assassinations that took place prior to the one against Kennedy — i.e., Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Cuba from 1959-1963, and the Congo in 1961.

There is now virtually no doubt that Kennedy was hit by two shots fired from the front. Immediately after Kennedy was declared dead, the treating physicians at Parkland Hospital described the neck wound as a wound of entry. They also said that Kennedy had a massive, orange-sized wound in the back of his head. Nurses at Parkland said the same things. Two FBI agents said they saw the big exit-sized wound. Secret Service agent Clint Hill saw it.

Navy photography expert Saundra Spencer told the ARRB in the 1990s that she developed the JFK autopsy photos on a top-secret basis on the weekend of the assassination and that they depicted a big exit-sized wound in the back of JFK’s head. A bone fragment from the back of the president’s head was found in Dealey Plaza after the assassination. That is just part of the overwhelming evidence that establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the shot that hit Kennedy in the head came from the front.

Okay, if you’ve got a shooter firing from the back and he’s a communist, and if you have other shooters firing from the front, then they have to be working together. So, who would the shooters be who were firing from the front? The logical inference is that they had to be communist cohorts of Oswald.

That’s what Oswald’s supposed visits to the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico just before the assassination were all about — making it look like Oswald was acting in concert with the Soviet and Cuban communists to kill Kennedy.

If the assassination was part of the Soviet Union’s supposed quest to conquer the world, retaliation would mean World War III, which almost surely would have meant nuclear war, which was the biggest fear among the American people in 1963.

But why not retaliate in some way? Would U.S. officials at the height of the Cold War hesitate to retaliate for the communist killing of a U.S. president, simply because they were scared of nuclear war? Not a chance! In fact, throughout Kennedy’s term in office the Pentagon and the CIA were champing at the bit to attack Cuba and go to war with the Soviet Union.

But here’s the catch: How do you take action that is going to destroy the world when it was your side that started the assassination game in the first place? Remember: It was the CIA that started the assassination game by partnering with the Mafia to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Thus, Lyndon Johnson, the CIA, and the JCS had the perfect excuse to shut down the investigation and pin the crime only on Oswald: If they instead retaliated, it would be all-out nuclear war based on an assassination game that the U.S. had started.

In fact, when Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade alleged from the start that Oswald was part of a communist conspiracy, Johnson told him to shut it down for fear that Wade might inadvertently start World War III.

earl warrenMoreover, when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, right, initially declined Johnson’s invitation to serve on what ultimately became the Warren Commission, Johnson appealed to his sense of patriotism by alluding to the importance of avoiding a nuclear war. Johnson used the same argument on Senator Richard Russell Jr.

From the start, the Warren Commission proceedings were shrouded in “national-security” state secrecy, including a top-secret meeting of the commissioners to discuss information they had received that Oswald was an intelligence agent. When Warren was asked if the American people would be able to see all the evidence, Warren responded yes, but not in your lifetime.

Does that make any sense? If the assassination was, in fact, committed by some lone nut, then what would “national security” and state secrecy have to do with it?

...

Thus, the plan entailed operating at two levels: One level involved what some call the World War III cover story. It entailed shutting down the investigation, as well as a fraudulent autopsy, to prevent nuclear war. The other level involved showing the American people that their president had been killed by only one person, a supposed lone nut communist former Marine.

...

Gradually, as the years have passed, the incriminating puzzle has come together. The big avalanche of secret information came out in the 1990s as part of the work done by the Assassination Records Review Board.

Of course, there are still missing pieces to the puzzle, many of which are undoubtedly among the records that the CIA and national-security establishment are still keeping secret. But enough circumstantial evidence has come to light to enable people to see the contours of one of the most cunning and successful assassination plots in history.

Nov. 19

rudy giuliani nov 19 2020

American System TV, Opinion; Scoundrel Time! Trump’s Multi-State Attempt to Steal Electoral Votes and Stage Coup for Dictatorship Descends Into Theatre of the Absurd with Deranged Press webster tarpley 2007Conference by Giuliani and Friends, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Nov. 19, 2020. Allegations of Plot to Falsify Outcome with Rigged Voting Machines Bought with “Communist Money”; Plan Targets Democratic Cities with Black Majorities; Demand is Still that State Legislatures Junk Popular Votes and Choose Slates of MAGA Toadies as Electors; Grotesque Proceedings Make “Ghouliani” and His Claim of Win into Laughingstock.

After Dropping Lawsuits in Michigan, Trump Invites GOP Legislature Reps Chatfield and Shirkey to White House Friday in Open Conspiracy to Subvert Legal Nov. 3 Vote; Don Also Convinced Two Wayne County GOP Hacks to Recant Their Votes to Certify Votes There, but Secretary of State Rules It’s too Late; Trump’s Arizona Lawsuits Also Ended; Alexandria Ocasio Cortez officialIn Pennsylvania, House Orders “Audit” of Election Returns.

Biden Confers with Bipartisan Group of Ten Governors, Pledging Necessary Aid to States; Says that Legal Action May Take Too Long to Be Relevant, But Does Not Rule It Out; Pledges No National Shutdown.

Far From the Battlefield, AOC [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left], is already Protesting Fellow Dems When Maximum Unity against Fascism is Imperative.

Nov. 17

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden dials up pressure on Trump to engage in handoff, Matt Viser, Nov. 17, 2020 (print ed.). The president-elect warned that more American lives would be at risk if members of the new administration are unable to plan for the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine in coordination with current Trump administration officials.

joe biden twitterPresident-elect Joe Biden on Monday ratcheted up pressure on the Trump administration to engage in a transition of power, mincing no words on the dire consequences if his incoming team faces further delays in working with federal agencies.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden said during a news conference in Wilmington, Del., following remarks on the economic impact of the coronavirus in which he warned of a “very dark winter” where “things are going to get much tougher before they get easier.”

He also pointed out the absurdity that Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), the vice president-elect, still has access to classified intelligence briefings because she is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. But Biden himself is not able to get those briefings because Trump’s administration has yet to acknowledge that Biden won the election.

 Michigan thugs yell State Sen. Dayna Polehanki

Anti-Government Protesters at Michigan's State Capitol on April 30, 2020.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump coronavirus adviser tells Michigan to ‘rise up’ against new shutdown orders, Katie Shepherd, Nov. 17, 2020 (print ed.). I’m not going to be bullied into not following reputable scientists and medical professionals,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) responded.

On Sunday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced a three-week “pause to save lives,” closing colleges, high schools, workplaces and in-person dining as new coronavirus cases have spiked.

scott atlas resized After she appealed to the Trump administration to intervene in the pandemic, White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas responded with a call to action. But instead of supporting Whitmer’s efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in Michigan, he urged residents to reject the state’s public health guidelines.

“The only way this stops is if people rise up,” Atlas said in a tweet Sunday night, which quoted a reporter who had shared information about Whitmer’s new restrictions. “You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp.”

gretchen whitmer o horizontal Custom

Critics immediately condemned Atlas’s “rise up” rhetoric, which mirrored President Trump’s previous calls to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and statements that correlated “tyranny” with the pandemic restrictions put in place by Whitmer, who was the target of an alleged kidnapping plot that was thwarted last month. The suspects said they planned the attack because the Michigan governor was a “tyrant b----,” according to the FBI.

Whitmer responded to Atlas’s tweet Sunday night on CNN, where she defended the three-week pause that resembles the stay-at-home orders issued in many cities and states early in the pandemic.

“We know that the White House likes to single us out here in Michigan, me out in particular,” Whitmer told CNN. “I’m not going to be bullied into not following reputable scientists and medical professionals.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) also slammed Atlas, calling the tweet “disappointing, irresponsible, and the reason why the United States finds itself in such desperate circumstances regarding COVID-19.” She said the opposition to restrictions would lead to more coronavirus cases and deaths.

washington post logoWashington Post, The longer Republicans cower to Trump, the more damage they do to democracy, Editorial Board, Nov. 17, 2020 (print ed.). The Republican Party’s national leadership now stands squarely against fair and secure elections — or accepting results, for that matter.

djt virus trump did it Custom

ny times logoNew York Times Magazine, Can America Restore the Rule of Law Without Prosecuting Trump? Jonathan Mahler, Nov. 17, 2020.  Donald djt smiling fileTrump’s potential criminal liability is the key to understanding his presidency. When he leaves office, it will present a historic dilemma.

Last year, one of Trump’s lawyers, William Consovoy, memorably argued in open court that a sitting president could shoot a man in public and not be prosecuted. The legal validity of this claim notwithstanding, there is nothing to protect a former president from prosecution. No ex-president has ever been indicted before, but no president has ever left office with so much potential criminal liability.

wayne madesen report logo

ny times logoWayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: A perilous presidential interregnum, Wayne Madsen, below left, Nov. 17, 2020. Not since the presidential transition from James Buchanan to Abraham Lincoln in 1861 has an incoming president been threatened with what amounts to calls for an armed insurrection against an newly-inaugurated president.

wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallMany of the threats aimed at President-elect Joe Biden are being egged on from the core of the Donald Trump camp, which includes neo-Nazi and fascist groups like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and III%ers. These insurrectionists are also receiving aid and comfort from individuals like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a state that figured as heavily in the sedition against President Lincoln as it does today in the insurrectionism against President-elect Biden.

Soon-to-be President Biden should be as wary about dealing with the neo-insurrectionists as was Lincoln in keeping a watchful eye on the treason being organized in South Carolina.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Popular Political Site Made a Sharp Right Turn. Why? Jeremy W. Peters, Nov. 17, 2020. Real Clear Politics pitches itself as a “trusted, go-to source” for unbiased polling. The Trump era changed its tone and funding sources.

For three days after every major news organization declared Joseph R. Biden Jr. the victor of the presidential election, one widely read political site maintained that Pennsylvania was still too close to call.

The delay was welcome news to allies of President Trump like Rudolph W. Giuliani and friendly outlets like The Gateway Pundit, which misrepresented the site’s decision in their efforts to spread false claims that Mr. Biden’s lead was unraveling.

That site, Real Clear Politics, is well known as a clearinghouse of elections data and analysis with a large following among the political and media establishment — and the kinds of political obsessives who might now have all the counties in Georgia memorized. It markets itself to advertisers as a “trusted, go-to source” admired by campaign and news professionals alike. Its industry benchmark polling average is regularly cited by national publications and cable news networks.

But less well known is how Real Clear Politics and its affiliated websites have taken a rightward, aggressively pro-Trump turn over the last four years as donations to its affiliated nonprofit have soared. Large quantities of those funds came through two entities that wealthy conservatives use to give money without revealing their identities.

The founders of Real Clear Politics, two self-described news junkies who became friends at Princeton and started the website in 2000, said over email that they “fully stand behind” the average and their editors’ decision to publish those pieces. “Our advertisers, sponsors, supporters, and readers represent an array of perspectives across the political spectrum,” wrote John McIntyre, the chief executive, and Tom Bevan, the president. “And they know we practice fiercely independent journalism that necessarily covers all relevant sides of our national political and policy debates.”

Nov. 16

Top Headlines

 

Top Stories

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump, Trying to Cling to Power, Fans Unrest and Conspiracies, Michael D. Shear, Nov. 16, 2020 (print ed.). The president’s refusal to concede has entered a more dangerous phase as he blocks his successor’s transition, withholding intelligence briefings, pandemic information and access to the government.

joe biden oMore than a week after President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the winner, Mr. Trump continues to block his successor’s transition, withholding intelligence briefings, critical information about the coronavirus pandemic and access to the vast machinery of government that Mr. Biden will soon oversee.

Some former top advisers to Mr. Trump have said that his refusal to cooperate is reckless and unwise. John F. Kelly, Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, called it “crazy” on Friday. John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser who wrote a scathing memoir about his time in the administration, said the refusal “harms the country.”

john bolton hands up uncredited Custom“Every day that he delays under the pretense that he’s simply asking for his legal remedies ultimately is to the country’s disadvantage,” Mr. Bolton (shown at right in a file photo) said on ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday morning.

The president’s attempt to cling to power played out against a backdrop of protests by Trump supporters and opponents late Saturday, with sporadic clashes near the White House. The police arrested 21 people as one protester was stabbed and four officers were injured. Rather than seek to calm tensions, Mr. Trump lashed out.

“ANTIFA SCUM ran for the hills,” he posted on Twitter on Saturday as he urged the police to move in aggressively. “DC Police, get going — do your job and don’t hold back!!!”

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: The Cities Accused in Fraud Conspiracies Didn’t Cost Trump the Election, Emily Badger, Nov. 16, 2020. Yet Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Detroit have become the targets of G.O.P. allegations of voting shenanigans.

President Donald Trump officialThat these three cities would become the chief sites of Republican claims of fraud in this election is unsurprising. All three are heavily Democratic. They have large African-American populations. And in their respective states, they have long been targets of racialized charges of corruption.

But in one revealing way, the fixation this year is misplaced. All three cities voted pretty much the same way they did in 2016. Turnout barely budged, relative to other areas in these states. Joseph R. Biden Jr. saw no remarkable surge in support — certainly nothing that would bolster claims of ballot stuffing or tampered vote tallies. Mr. Trump even picked up marginally more votes this year in all three cities than he did four years ago.

Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Detroit, in other words, were not decisive in explaining why the Northern battleground states flipped from Mr. Trump four years ago to Mr. Biden in 2020. Voters outside of these cities made the difference.

 Michigan thugs yell State Sen. Dayna Polehanki

Anti-Government Protesters at Michigan's State Capitol on April 30, 2020.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump coronavirus adviser tells Michigan to ‘rise up’ against new shutdown orders, Katie Shepherd, Nov. 16, 2020. I’m not going to be bullied into not following reputable scientists and medical professionals,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) responded.

On Sunday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced a three-week “pause to save lives,” closing colleges, high schools, workplaces and in-person dining as new coronavirus cases have spiked.

scott atlas resized After she appealed to the Trump administration to intervene in the pandemic, White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas responded with a call to action. But instead of supporting Whitmer’s efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in Michigan, he urged residents to reject the state’s public health guidelines.

“The only way this stops is if people rise up,” Atlas said in a tweet Sunday night, which quoted a reporter who had shared information about Whitmer’s new restrictions. “You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp.”

gretchen whitmer o horizontal Custom

Critics immediately condemned Atlas’s “rise up” rhetoric, which mirrored President Trump’s previous calls to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and statements that correlated “tyranny” with the pandemic restrictions put in place by Whitmer, who was the target of an alleged kidnapping plot that was thwarted last month. The suspects said they planned the attack because the Michigan governor was a “tyrant b----,” according to the FBI.

Whitmer responded to Atlas’s tweet Sunday night on CNN, where she defended the three-week pause that resembles the stay-at-home orders issued in many cities and states early in the pandemic.

“We know that the White House likes to single us out here in Michigan, me out in particular,” Whitmer told CNN. “I’m not going to be bullied into not following reputable scientists and medical professionals.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) also slammed Atlas, calling the tweet “disappointing, irresponsible, and the reason why the United States finds itself in such desperate circumstances regarding COVID-19.” She said the opposition to restrictions would lead to more coronavirus cases and deaths.

washington post logodjt hands up mouth open CustomWashington Post, Analysis: The ending of Trump’s presidency echoes the beginning — with a lie, Ashley Parker, Nov. 16, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump’s term is poised to come full circle in myriad ways, from a consistent lack of strategic vision to his enduring efforts to delegitimize his political rivals, whoever they might be.

washington post logoWashington Post, Fact Checker: Giuliani’s fantasy parade of false voter-fraud claims, Glenn Kessler, Nov. 16, 2020. In interviews with sympathetic Fox News hosts, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, right, has made several wild claims alleging that election fraud and malfeasance was responsible for Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

rudy giuliani recentHis claims have been echoed in weekend tweets by President Trump, accusing a software company of somehow manipulating the vote in favor of Biden. These presidential tweets have been flagged by Twitter as misleading.

Moreover, this nonsense has already been debunked by Trump’s own government. In a statement issued Nov. 12, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, and partners such as the National Association of Secretaries of State declared: “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

That sentence was posted in boldface, just to make it clear. The statement added: “While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too. When you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump is putting this country through something unprecedented. Here are three scenarios, Fred Hiatt (Post editorial page editor), Nov. 16, 2020 (print ed.).

Scenario 1: President Trump is trying to overturn the results of a freely conducted election.
Scenario 2: Trump knows he has lost and must leave office Jan. 20, but he is salting the soil to make governing impossible for Biden while preparing his own political and financial comeback.
Scenario 3: Trump has no plan but is lashing out in anger and disbelief that he could have lost an election.

washington post logoWashington Post, Election Live Updates: Biden delivers address on the economy as Trump refuses to concede, Staff reports, Nov. 16, 2020. Reps. Cheri Bustos, Tim Walberg test positive for coronavirus; Reps. Mark Pocan, Debbie Lesko quarantining; Wisconsin says recount would cost Trump campaign $7.9 million; Delaware is famous for corporations, chemicals, chickens — and now, finally, a president.

President-elect Joe Biden spoke with business and labor leaders and then delivered an address about the economy and his “build back better” plan. He said coordination between his team and President Trump’s administration is key as vaccine development progresses and the question of distribution looms, while Trump continued to refuse to acknowledge his loss.

Former president Barack Obama, in a “60 Minutes” interview broadcast Sunday, urged Trump to “put the country first” and concede.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has called for oil and gas firms to pick spots where they’d like to drill on Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as it races to open the pristine wilderness to development and lock in drilling rights before Biden takes office.

Nov. 14

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: The Whole World Is Watching: Will It Be Wag the Dog against Iran, 'Autogolpe' (Coup against one's own government), or webster tarpley 2007Legal Transfer of Power to Biden? Webster G. Tarpley, right,Nov. 14, 2020. Destiny of 330 Million Americans Might Now Depend on the Whim of One Mentally Troubled Adventurer; By Acting as Accessories, Republican Party Has Earned Extinction – Let’s Make Sure that They Get It, Starting in Georgia on January 5!

Decapitated US Government Leaves Window of Vulnerability Wide Open on World Stage; Pompeo Eyed with Suspicion by emmanuel macronFrench President Macron, left, Who Promises to Keep Biden Informed of All that Transpires in Monday Meeting; French Views Reflect Recent Terror Attacks by Jihadis; Pompeo’s Visit to Israel Prepared by Veteran Neocon Warmonger Eliot Abrams.

Trump Fanatics Gather in DC’s Freedom Plaza (Capacity 15,000); Few Elected Officials Present Reportedly Include One QAnon Fanatic from Georgia; Not Enough for Coup; Trump Makes Perfunctory Drive-By Cameo Appearance but No Rousing Speech, then Hurries Off to Play Golf; Energy Level Falling; Anti-Trump Forces Wisely Declined Provocation.

One Week After Associated Press Called Election for Biden, Concern Grows of Threat of Public Health Chaos due to Failure to Ascertain Him as Victor; Trump’s GSA Overseer Emily Murphy, Now Sabotaging Transition, Has Been Faulted for Misleading Congress on Trump Hotel and New FBI Headquarters Issues.

Is Time for New 1776 or Rather a New 1865, which Was Already the Second American Revolution? From Mussolini’s March on Rome in October 1922 to the Pathos of the “Million MAGA March”: The First Time as Tragedy, the Second Time as Farce!

Miami Herald, Investigation: FBI wanted to arrest Epstein while he was judging a beauty pageant. The plan was overruled, Ben Wieder and Kevin G. Hall, Nov. 14, miami herald logo2020. A Justice Department look-back report into its abortive 2008 prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein found that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had planned to arrest Jeffrey Epstein in May 2007, but pulled back after the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, led by former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, frowned on the plan.

The report also concludes that Epstein wasn’t assisting the federal government in prosecuting Wall Street traders behind the collapse of investment bank Bear Stearns or serving as an “intelligence asset,” long rumored to be reasons for his notoriously lenient treatment.

That determination raises questions about an FBI document that seems to identify Epstein as providing information to the bureau.

Buried in a 350-page report by the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) — obtained by McClatchy and the Miami Herald — are references to a story that said Epstein was given a lighter sentence and avoided federal prosecution because he cooperated with authorities on other matters.

jeffrey epstein sex offenderThat was an “urban myth” federal prosecutor Ann Marie Villafaña told her superiors at the time, according to the new DOJ report, which said it found no evidence that he was a government witness.

It would seem at odds with a declassified FBI document, dated Sept. 18, 2008, in which the agency was closing out a forfeiture proceeding as part of a deal that allowed Epstein to be prosecuted on the state level and avoid more severe punishment by federal prosecutors.

“Epstein has also provided information to the FBI as agreed upon. Case agent advised that no federal prosecution will occur in this matter as long as Epstein continues to uphold his agreement with the State of Florida,” reads the declassified document. The document cited Epstein and child prostitution.

The document has led to the view that Epstein served as an informant. The OPR report, whose executive summary was made public Thursday, does not rule out that possibility but said it found no evidence of that status in relation to the Florida prosecution.

The report found that Acosta exercised poor judgment in reaching a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein, an agreement that allowed a more lenient state prosecution instead. It also faulted Acosta for failing to ensure that Epstein’s victims would be notified of developments in the case. Epstein would go on to plead guilty in June 2008 to two solicitation counts, one involving a minor, in Florida state court and serve 13 months in the private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade, allowed to leave and work from his West Palm Beach office up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.

perversion of justice miami herald logoThe report shows that Villafaña, a federal prosecutor in the West Palm Beach office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Southern Florida, submitted an 82-page prosecution memorandum on May 1, 2007, for her superiors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Acosta, proposing a 60-count indictment against Epstein for sex crimes against minors.

In a statement to the Herald on Thursday, she hinted at how she was thwarted and expressed disappointment the Justice Department didn’t publicly release the full document.

The Herald and McClatchy later obtained the full report, and it shows she planned to file charges by May 15, 2007, and the FBI had been hoping to arrest Epstein soon after at a beauty pageant in the Virgin Islands, where Epstein was serving as a judge, a fact first published by NBC News.

But Villafaña’s superiors in the Southern District of Florida, notably Jeffrey Sloman, Acosta’s top deputy, and Matthew Menchel, the chief of the office’s criminal division, pushed back on her efforts to file charges, arguing that they needed more time to evaluate her sentencing memorandum and wondering why she was in a “rush.” Sloman could not immediately be reached by the Herald.

Villafaña told the report’s authors that her reasons for wanting to rush were to prevent Epstein from abusing more girls.

Background: JIP Editor's Note: The Miami Herald published a multi-part investigative project — "Perversion of Justice" — on Nov. 28 reporting how top officials gave a sweetheart deal to billionairre perversion of justice miami herald logomiami herald logopervert Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of future President Trump and past president Clinton, along with a promise not to investigate Epstein's friends and accomplices in a ring allegedly involving hundreds sex victims, many of them high school and junior high schoolers.

The Justice Integrity Project also has extensively covered this case, Jeffrey Epstein (shown below at right), and his enablers, who include prominent prosecutors and other lawyers, including President Trump's Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.

Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University But this Miami Herald series goes far beyond all previous news reports, which now number in the hundreds. The Herald credited reporter Julie K. Brown and visual producer Emily Michot with the series. The Herald obtained thousands of FBI and court records, lawsuits, and witness depositions, and went to federal court in New York to access sealed documents in the reporting of "Perversion of Justice." The Herald also tracked down more than 60 women who said they were victims, some of whom had never spoken of the abuse before.. 

Miami Herald, Perversion of Justice: A decade before #MeToo, a multimillionaire sex offender from Florida got the ultimate break, Investigative project, Nov. 28, 2018.

    • Part One: How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime
    • Part Two: Cops worked to put serial sex abuser in prison. Prosecutors worked to cut him a break
    • Part Three: Even from jail, sex abuser manipulated the system. His victims were kept in the dark
    • Interactive: Sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein was surrounded by powerful people. Here’s a sampling
    • Timeline: For years, Jeffrey Epstein abused teen girls, police say. A timeline of his case
    • Overview: How Miami Herald journalists investigated Jeffrey Epstein

Nov. 13

djt march 2020 Custom


ny times logoNew York Times, Biden Flips Arizona, Further Cementing His Presidential Victory, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Jennifer Medina and Eileen Sullivan, Nov. 13, 2020 (print ed.). President-elect Joe Biden narrowly won the state, which had not elected a Democrat for president since 1996.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has narrowly won Arizona, capturing the state’s 11 electoral votes and strengthening his Electoral College margin as President Trump continues to make baseless attacks on the vote counts favoring Mr. Biden.

Mr. Biden, whose margin in Arizona is currently over 11,000 votes, or about 0.3 percentage points, is the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since President Bill Clinton in 1996. Four years ago, Mr. Trump won the state by 3.5 percentage points.

joe biden twitterThat Arizona — the home of the late Senator John McCain and Senator Barry Goldwater, a founder of the 20th century conservative political movement and the 1964 Republican presidential nominee — was in play for Democrats at all is remarkable. Before the state voted for Mr. Clinton, the last Democrat it had supported for president was Harry S. Truman in 1948.

Mr. Biden’s win underscored a profound political shift in Arizona, a longtime Republican bastion that has lurched left in recent years, fueled by rapidly evolving demographics and a growing contingent of young Hispanic voters championing liberal policies.

Last week, the Democratic challenger Mark Kelly defeated the state’s Republican senator, Martha McSally, in a special election, making Mr. Kelly and Senator Kyrsten Sinema the first pair of Democrats to represent Arizona in the Senate since the 1950s.

The Arizona victory brings Mr. Biden to 290 electoral votes, 20 more than the 270 required to take the White House.

Republicans have been mounting long-shot legal attempts to try to upend results in key battleground states, but they have mostly been dealt setbacks — and some of their cases deal with small numbers of ballots.

ny times logoNew York Times, Presidential Transition Live Updates: Election Officials Say ‘There’s No Evidence’ of Breached Voting Systems, David E. Sanger, Matt Stevens and Nicole Perlroth, Nov. 13, 2020. A group of federal, state and local officials working with a Department of Homeland Security agency directly contradicted President Trump’s claims about voter fraud. Republicans are beginning to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden despite Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede.

Hours after President Trump repeated a baseless report that a voting machine system “deleted 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide,” he was directly contradicted by a group of federal, state and local election officials, who flatly declared Thursday that the election “was the most secure in American history” and that “there is no evidence” any voting systems were compromised.

The rebuke, in a statement by a coordinating council overseeing the voting systems used around the country, never mentioned Mr. Trump by name. But it amounted to a remarkable corrective to a wave of disinformation that Mr. Trump has been pushing across his Twitter feed.

“While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should, too,” the officials added in their statement. “When you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections.”

us dhs big eagle logo4The statement was distributed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is responsible for helping states secure the voting process. Coming directly from one of Mr. Trump’s own cabinet agencies, it further isolated the president in his false claims that widespread fraud cost him the election.

The statement also came as a previously unified Republican Party showed signs of cracking on the question of whether to keep backing the president.

Across the country, election officials have said the vote came off smoothly, with no reports of systemic fraud in any state, no sign of foreign interference in the voting infrastructure and no hardware or software failures beyond the episodic glitches that happen in any election. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s lead in the popular vote has expanded to more than five million, and he remains on track to win a solid victory in the Electoral College.

The group that issued the statement was the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council, which includes top officials from the cybersecurity agency, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and secretaries of state and state election directors from around the country. The group also includes representatives from the voting machine industry, which has often been accused of being slow to admit to technological shortcomings and resistant to creating paper backups.

Many of the charges of fraud, illegal voting and software troubles have come from President Trump and his sons.

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washington post logoWashington Post, Two senior Homeland Security officials forced out as White House firings widen, Nick Miroff and Ellen Nakashima, Nov. 13, 2020 (print ed.). Cybersecurity chief Christopher Krebs could be fired next, after his agency released a statement refuting the president’s election fraud allegations.

The White House has forced out two top Department of Homeland Security officials as part of a widening purge of anyone suspected of lacking us dhs big eagle logo4complete loyalty to President Trump, three people familiar with the removals said Thursday.
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Valerie Boyd, above  left, the top official for international affairs at DHS, was asked for her resignation, as well as Bryan Ware, above, a senior policy aide at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The requests came from the White House’s Presidential Personnel Office, whose 30-year-old director, John McEntee, has recently intensified efforts to purge appointees who have failed to demonstrate sufficient fealty to the president.

“They’re looking for complete loyalty, and someone with experience serving different administrations is not perceived as sufficiently loyal,” said one person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the moves, referring to Boyd’s previous roles in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.

washington post logoWashington Post, As Trump stews over election, he mostly ignores the public duties of the presidency, David Nakamura, Nov. 13, 2020 (print ed.). He has been mostly absent from view, focused on purging disloyal aides and tweeting grievances and misinformation even as the pandemic rages.

On Thursday, six American service members were killed in a helicopter crash during a peacekeeping mission in Egypt. Tropical Storm Eta made landfall in North Florida, contributing to severe flooding. The number of Americans infected with the novel coronavirus continued at a record-setting pace, sending the stock market tumbling.

At the White House, President Trump spent the day as he has most others this week — sequestered from public view, tweeting grievances, falsehoods and misinformation about the election results and about Fox News’s coverage of him.

Neither he nor his aides briefed reporters on the news of the day or reacted to Democratic leaders who accused Republicans of imperiling the pandemic response by “refusing to accept reality” over the election results.

The contrast between the nation grappling with an ongoing global crisis and a president consumed with his own political problems highlighted a fundamental contradiction at the heart of Trump’s assault on the integrity of the U.S. election system: He is leveraging the power of his office in a long-shot bid to stay in the job while ignoring many of the public duties that come with it.

Nov. 11

Top Headlines

 

Attempted Coup By Trump?

 

Top Stories

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ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: The Times Called Officials in Every State: No Evidence of Voter Fraud, Nick Corasaniti, Reid J. Epstein and Jim Rutenberg, Nov. 11, 2020 (print ed.). New York Times, Statements Amount to Forceful Rebuke of Trump’s False Claims. The president and his allies have baselessly claimed that rampant voter fraud stole victory from him. Officials contacted by The Times said that there were no irregularities that affected the outcome.

Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race, amounting to a forceful rebuke of President Trump’s portrait of a fraudulent election.

Over the last several days, the president, members of his administration, congressional Republicans and right wing allies have put forth the false claim that the election was stolen from Mr. Trump and have refused to accept results that showed Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the winner.

But top election officials across the country said in interviews and statements that the process had been a remarkable success despite record turnout and the complications of a dangerous pandemic.

“There’s a great human capacity for inventing things that aren’t true about elections,” said Frank LaRose, a Republican who serves as Ohio’s secretary of state. “The conspiracy theories and rumors and all those things run rampant. For some reason, elections breed that type of mythology.”

Steve Simon, a Democrat who is Minnesota’s secretary of state, said: “I don’t know of a single case where someone argued that a vote counted when it shouldn’t have or didn’t count when it should. There was no fraud.”

“Kansas did not experience any widespread, systematic issues with voter fraud, intimidation, irregularities or voting problems,” a spokeswoman for Scott Schwab, the Republican secretary of state in Kansas, said in an email Tuesday. “We are very pleased with how the election has gone up to this point.”

The New York Times contacted the offices of the top election officials in every state on Monday and Tuesday to ask whether they suspected or had evidence of illegal voting. Officials in 45 states responded directly to The Times. For four of the remaining states, The Times spoke to other statewide officials or found public comments from secretaries of state; none reported any major voting issues.

Statewide officials in Texas did not respond to repeated inquiries. But a spokeswoman for the top elections official in Harris County, the largest county in Texas with a population greater than many states, said that there were only a few minor issues and that “we had a very seamless election.” On Tuesday, the Republican lieutenant governor in Texas, Dan Patrick, announced a $1 million fund to reward reports of voter fraud.

Some states described small problems common to all elections, which they said they were addressing: a few instances of illegal or double voting, some technical glitches and some minor errors in math. Officials in all states are conducting their own review of the voting — a standard component of the certification process.

President Trump and his allies have baselessly claimed that rampant voter fraud stole victory from him. The Times contacted officials, representing both parties, in almost every state, who said that there were no irregularities that affected the outcome.

 Trump by Michael Vadon Creative Commons e1486885124813

ny times logoNew York Times, Fighting Election Results, Trump Employs a New Weapon: The Government, Peter Baker and Lara Jakes, Nov. 11, 2020 (print ed.). As President Trump and his administration insist he didn’t lose, the rest of the world has increasingly moved to accept Joe Biden’s victory.

President Trump, facing the prospect of leaving the White House in defeat in just 70 days, is harnessing the power of the federal government to resist the results of an election that he lost, something that no sitting president has done in American history.

In the latest sign of defiance, the president’s senior cabinet secretary fueled concerns on Tuesday that Mr. Trump would resist handing over power to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. after legal challenges to the vote.

“There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

djt pence yard sign logoMr. Trump’s attorney general has at the same time authorized investigations into supposed vote fraud, his general services administrator has refused to give Mr. Biden’s team access to transition offices and resources guaranteed under law and the White House is preparing a budget for next year as if Mr. Trump will be around to present it.

The president has also embarked on a shake-up of his administration, firing Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper as well as the heads of three other agencies while installing loyalists in key positions at the National Security Agency and the Pentagon. Allies expect more mike pompeo portraitto come, including the possible dismissals of the directors of the F.B.I. and the C.I.A.

He snapped when asked if Mr. Trump’s delaying tactics undermined the State Department’s efforts to pressure political leaders abroad to accept losing results. “That’s ridiculous and you know it’s ridiculous, and you asked it because it’s ridiculous,” he said.

Mr. Pompeo, right, can often be sarcastic, particularly when speaking to reporters, but the State Department made no effort to clarify if he was joking. Asked later on Fox News if he was serious, he did not say. “We will have a smooth transition,” he said. “And we will see what the people ultimately decided, when all the votes have been cast.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Postal worker admits making up allegations of ballot tampering, officials say, Shawn Boburg and Jacob Bogage, Nov. 11, 2020 (print ed.). A Pennsylvania postal worker whose claims have been cited by top Republicans as potential evidence of widespread voting irregularities recanted to U.S. Postal Service investigators.

us mail logoA Pennsylvania postal worker whose claims have been cited by top Republicans as potential evidence of widespread voting irregularities admitted to U.S. Postal Service investigators that he fabricated the allegations, according to three people briefed on the investigation and a statement from a House congressional committee.

Richard Hopkins’ claim that a postmaster in Erie, Pa., instructed postal workers to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day was cited by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) in a letter to the Department of Justice calling for a federal investigation. Attorney General William P. Barr subsequently authorized federal prosecutors to open probes into credible allegations of voting irregularities and fraud, a reversal of long-standing Justice Department policy.

But on Sunday, Hopkins, 32, told investigators from the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General that the allegations were not true, and he signed an affidavit recanting his claims, according to the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation. Democrats on the House oversight committee tweeted late Tuesday that the Justice Department logo“whistleblower completely RECANTED.”

The reversal comes as Trump has refused to concede to President-Elect Joe Biden (D), citing unproven allegations about widespread voter fraud in an attempt to swing the results in his favor. Republicans held up Hopkins’ claims as among the most credible because he signed an affidavit swearing that he overheard a supervisor instructing colleagues to backdate ballots mailed after Nov. 3.

The Trump campaign provided that affidavit to Graham, who in turn asked the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation to launch an investigation. The Trump campaign also cited reports of the allegation in a federal lawsuit filed Monday against Pennsylvania election officials that seeks to prevent them from certifying the states’ election results.

 

Attempted Coup By Trump?

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washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: John Bolton: Time is running out for Trump — and Republicans who coddle him, John R. Bolton, above right in a cable screenshot, Nov. 11, 2020. A Ylale Law School graduate and lifelong Republican, John R. Bolton served as national security adviser under President Trump and is the author of “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.”

As of this writing, the Republican Party has not suffered permanent damage to its integrity and reputation because of President Trump’s post-election rampaging. This will not be true much longer.

john bolton room where cover CustomIt is simply a truism that Trump has a legal right to pursue all appropriate election-law remedies to ensure an accurate, lawful vote count. To be credible, however, any aggrieved candidate must at some point produce valid legal arguments and persuasive evidence.

Trump has so far failed to do so, and there is no indication he can. If he can’t, his “right” to contest the election is beside the point.

The real issue is the grievous harm he is causing to public trust in America’s constitutional system. Trump’s time is running out, even as his rhetoric continues escalating. And time is running out for Republicans who hope to maintain the party’s credibility, starting with Georgia’s two Senate runoffs in January. Here is the cold political reality: Trump is enhancing his own brand (in his mind) while harming the Republican brand. The party needs a long internal conversation about the post-Trump era, but first it needs to get there honorably.

Consider the competing interests. Donald Trump’s is simple and straightforward: Donald Trump. The near-term Republican interest is winning the mark esperGeorgia runoffs. The long-term Republican interest emphatically involves winning those Senate seats, but it also involves rejecting Trump’s personalized, erratic, uncivil, unpresidential and ultimately less-than-effective politics and governance.

Trump is engaging in what could well be a systematic purge of his own administration, starting with the utterly unjustified firing of Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, right, this week and continuing through high- and mid-level civilian offices in the department. Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, head of the National Nuclear Safety Administration, was forced to resign. Washington is filled with rumors that the CIA and FBI directors are next.

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OpEdNews, Opinion: Trump and Republicans Staging a Hayes/Tilden Coup, Rob Kall, right, Nov. 11, 2020. They Don't Need to Win Lawsuits, Just Stall. rob kall newoenearthlogoDonald Trump and the leadership of the Republican party are aggressively staging a coup, inspired by the 1876 Tilden Hayes election, and the Democratic Party and their mainstream media surrogates, CNN and MSNBC have not yet caught on. They are laughing at a situation that must be aggressively addressed with dire urgency. Mainstream Pundits are smarmily laughing at Trump, when it is they who are the clueless ones.

Mark my words. The 1876 Hayes Tilden election will become a frequently cited element of the news very soon.

It doesn't matter if Trump wins or loses the plethora of lawsuits he and his surrogates are filing across the nation. As long as he slows down the process and delays the finalization and confirmation of state vote counts he will win the election. If even a few Republican run states refuse to certify the vote counts, Biden will no longer have the 270 electoral votes. If that happens, Trump won't have the 270 electoral votes either. Under those circumstances, the election will fall to be decided by the House of Representatives. The process there will hand the victory to Trump.

Thom Hartmann and Greg Palast predicted this possibility earlier in the year. Now, election integrity activist Jonathan Simon and journalist David Sirota are also weighing in.

Earlier this week, in an interview, Greg Palast explained to me, describing the coup as an "article 2 gambit. Now article 2 of the constitution says that the state legislatures pick your electors. Now i bet you thought we all know we don't actually vote for president we vote for electors. No, you don't even vote for electors, your vote is purely advisory.

America does not have a democracy. We give advice to each state legislature and the legislatures then determine which electors go to the electoral college."

On May 8th, in an interview on my Bottom-up Show, Thom Hartmann theoretically described what is actually now happening, citing a similar occurrence in the 1876 Tilden Hayes presidential election, where the article 2 Gambit worked to reverse the election.

OpEdNews, Opinion: Trump Is Sandbagging to Send Election to the House; Election Integrity Should Not Help Him, Jonathan Simon, shown at right oenearthlogobelow, author of "Code Red: Computerized Election Theft," also shown below, Nov. 11, 2020.  jonathan simonAs Donald Trump, facing a defeat he signaled in advance he would not (and could not, given the stakes and his nature) accept, files lawsuit after lawsuit in a kind of virtuoso false-note cadenza improvised on a lifelong theme of litigiousness, some of my election integrity colleagues (and good friends) have declared support for Trump's attempted putsch, "open-mindedly" asserting it is our vehicle to a new election-integrity dawn. The ironies could not be much richer.

We do face what one of my colleagues, appalled by Trump, described as a "horrible dilemma:" to seize the rarest of opportunities to secure bipartisan support and press for serious election reform or essentially keep silent vigil and pray Trump's con doesn't work. The answer, to me, becomes clearer with every CAPS LOCK TWEET, frivolous lawsuit, and breathless Trump/GOP fundraising appeal. This crisis is being played for money (lots of it) and short- and long-term political advantage. It has literally nothing to do with democracy or election integrity. And it is being played by the same cynics who doubled down on every thumb on the electoral scales, including voter-suppression and disinformation schemes galore.

It is worthy of note that Trump has never stopped claiming that there were "millions of illegal voters" who cost him the popular vote victory in 2016 without ever producing a shred of evidence to substantiate that eternally repeated claim. In fact, he slapped together an Electoral Integrity "Commission" to ferret out the fraudsters and then disbanded it without so much as a Report.

We do face what one of my colleagues, appalled by Trump, described as a "horrible dilemma:" to seize the rarest of opportunities to secure bipartisan support and press for serious election reform or essentially keep silent vigil and pray Trump's con doesn't work. The answer, to me, becomes clearer with every CAPS LOCK TWEET, frivolous lawsuit, and breathless Trump/GOP fundraising appeal. This crisis is being played for money (lots of it) and short- and long-term political advantage. It has literally nothing to do with democracy or election integrity. And it is being played by the same cynics who doubled down on every thumb on the electoral scales, including voter-suppression and disinformation schemes galore.

It is worthy of note that Trump has never stopped claiming that there were "millions of illegal voters" who cost him the popular vote victory in 2016 without ever producing a shred of evidence to substantiate that eternally repeated claim. In fact, he slapped together an Electoral Integrity "Commission" to ferret out the fraudsters and then disbanded it without so much as a Report.

jonathan simon code redAnd it is further worthy of note that Trump's current strategy is not about actually overturning enough votes to win election legitimately. His own aides have acknowledged that is impossible. Rather it is fixed on delaying certification past the applicable deadlines. The law favors delay and Team Trump knows it.

His plan is to prevent certification of 270 Biden electoral votes by tying up several state processes in court past the state deadlines (the "hard" one being 12/14, when the Electoral College votes on slates) and then either importuning friendly state legislatures (the GOP controls Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona) to send Trump elector slates to Congress, or simply throwing the election to the House, where the GOP controls the majority of state delegations (under the Twelfth Amendment, the House votes for president by state delegation) so Trump wins.

Does that look like democracy or electoral integrity to you? To me it looks like yet another right-wing scheme to steal an election and haven't we been through (and been irreparably harmed by) enough of those? Don't kid yourselves this is a clear and present danger.

So I think we should examine what's going on now in context. Yes, our electoral system is manifestly in need of serious reform. And yes, no Democrat, since The Help America Vote Act (2002) ushered in the Computerized Voting Era, has challenged the system's non-transparency or the parade of red flags that that non-transparency has given rise to. But Trump has no intention of pursuing a genuine investigation bent on bringing transparency to the system. He is interested in the welfare of no one and nothing other than Donald J. Trump not his party, not his nation, not its voters. That has been demonstrated beyond any disputing. He will lie. He will falsely accuse. He might even commit fraud as part of his desperate putsch.

I think our responsibility is not to join the Democrats and media in chanting how wonderful and legitimate our electoral system is. We know better than anyone that it is not. But our responsibility is to keep careful watch over the delay-scam that Trump is now setting in motion, and give what support we can to the beleaguered election officials who will now be attacked ruthlessly and desperately (my god, they're even going after their own GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in Georgia!). So far Trump has failed for lack of evidence in virtually every case he has taken to court, some before highly partisan right-leaning judges. We can let that process play out (it is infinitely more than Kerry or Clinton or Ossoff or Coakley or any Democrat-of-note with the exception of Al Franken has ever ventured). But we don't have to and shouldn't provide more anecdotal or ambiguous forensic fuel to a desperate man who has utter contempt for fact and evidence, or to the party that yet again is riding cynical shotgun for him.

It's not that we as Democrats, Progressives, or EI advocates "won." Given the polls and the control of the equipment, and given all the other outcomes (from Senate to House to state legislatures), Democrats are hardly the "winners" of this election. We have at least as good reason, in the pervasive red shift from both exit and tracking polls, to suspect wholesale rigging to benefit Republican candidates, as Trump has to suspect retail indeed much better, given the egregious numbers and the whole forensic history of the post-HAVA era.

Perhaps this will turn out to be a long-postponed moment of truth and reckoning for our voting system and for a counting process incidentally or diabolically designed for concealment. We continue to crunch numbers and search for telltale patterns of "mistabulation." Computerized election fraud rarely, if ever, comes out and shakes your hand. Trust in our electoral process and its core protocols has, as I've cautioned with increasing urgency over the past two decades, at last jumped the shark, hit the wall, gone over the cliff so perhaps there will now be a more receptive audience for our near-proofs and desperate pleas.

But you don't get Trump if you don't get that he will use everyone and everything he possibly can for his own ends -- and lose you when you no longer serve them. He's demonstrated that his whole life with hardly a single flinch.

You think you'll ride his scattershot charges to some new dawn for electoral integrity. If you get in bed with him (and do anything to further nurture the hopes of his besotted followers), don't expect to get up in the morning.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Pompeo committed treacherous sedition with his announcement of Trump's coup, Wayne Madsen, left, Nov. 11, 2020. Secretary wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallof State Mike Pompeo committed an act of treacherous sedition when he commented on a smooth presidential transition at a Tuesday press conference at the Department of State. In answer to a Fox News's reporter's question about the transition, Pompeo relied, "There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration."

That comment, by the senior Cabinet officer of the United States, sent foreign ministries around the world, as well as the diplomatic corps in the United States, into a bewildered frenzy.

wayne madesen report logoThe U.S. Secretary of State position is far more than that of a foreign minister. The Secretary of State also acts as a type of notary and official document repository for the Executive Branch of government. The Secretary of State acknowledges and archives documents such as international treaties, instruments of surrender, and letters of resignation from the president and vice president of the United States.

When Pompeo wrongly announced that Donald Trump had been elected to a second term, over the wishes a majority of the state electors chosen by the American voters, he was misusing his position in an official capacity and to a degree never before seen in American history.

American System Network, Opinion: Tensions Grow in Washington over Highly Suspicious Pattern of Trump’s Late Term Firings and Incompetent webster tarpley 2007Replacements, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Nov. 11, 2020. Is This a Dream Team for an Autogolpe? Or for a Wag the Dog Attack on Iran?

Esper, an Opponent of Using Active Duty Troops Against Peaceful Protests, Is Being Replaced by Low Intensity Special Forces Expert Gen. Chris Miller; Will Miller’s Counter-Insurgency Skills, Learned in Afghanistan, Now Be Deployed against Americans Protesting Fascist Rule?

Miller’s Top Aide and Chief of Staff Is Trump Minion and Conspiracy Freak Kash Patel, a Key Director of Trump’s Pentagon Purge and Planner of Rep. Devin Nunes’ Infamous March 2017 Midnight Ride to Block Probes of Trump’s Russia Links.

Patel Crony Ezra Cohen-Watnick Is Don’s Choice for Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, Moving Up from Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict; Cohen-Watnick, a Top Dog at the Special Operations Command, Had Served Confessed Felon Gen. Michael Flynn and Ousted AG Jeff Sessions; Cohen Watnick Contributed to the Nunes Midnight Ride to Halt Investigations of Trump.

Another Promotion Goes to White House Operative Michael Ellis, Now Made General Counsel to the National Security Agency Against the Opposition of NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone, Who Is Not a Trump Lackey; Ellis is Yet Another Alumnus of the Devin Nunes Midnight Ride.

anthony tata resized 2013Gen. Anthony Tata, left, Is New Acting Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; Tata was Fox News Commentator and Conspiracy Theorist Who Failed to Get Senate Confirmation in Spring 2020; He Had Posted Deranged Emails Calling Obama a Moslem and Terrorist, Inveighing against a Deep State Cabal, and Threatening to Execute Ex-CIA Director Brennan by Various Means.

CIA Director Haspel and FBI Director Wray May Be Next to Fall; Reports Say Any Mention of Biden or the Presidential Transition by Staffers at Robert O’ Brien’s National Security Council Team is Grounds for Immediate Firing. Biden Now Leads Trump by 5.2 Million Popular Votes; Otherwise, Trump Administration Is Catatonic as Today’s Covid Cases Set New Record Beyond 145,000; Federal Judges Must Re-Discover Rule Eleven Sanctions to Use against GOP’s Avalanche of Frivolous Lawsuits.

Palmer Report, Opinion: The Georgia hand recount is about to put Donald Trump one step closer to the door, Bill Palmer, Nov. 11, 2020. Joe Biden is ahead by 14,000 votes in Georgia, making him the clear winner, but due to the relatively close margin the state has ordered a hand recount. Good. This will help to finish off Donald Trump more quickly.

Trump has literally 0.0% chance of somehow magically overturning the election result, and he knows it. He’s only “contesting” the election so he can keep fundraising from his gullible supporters; the fine print literally says that he gets to keep the majority of the money he raises. Trump won’t give up the ghost until the money starts running dry.

  • The Georgia recount has no chance of changing the result; even hand recounts never change the margin by more than a few hundred votes. So once this recount is finished, Joe Biden will be way ahead again, and the major media outlets will go ahead and declare him the winner there.

    That’s a big deal, because Trump’s argument that he’s magically going to overturn the election result is based on the notion that he can somehow win Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia to get him over 270. Some news outlets have called Arizona for Biden and some haven’t. But once they all call Georgia for Biden after the recount, it’ll mean that Trump can’t get to 270 even if he somehow flipped Pennsylvania, which has been the main focus of his imaginary voter fraud claims.

    In other words, once the Georgia recount is over, Donald Trump will have a hard time selling the “I still might secretly win” nonsense to anyone, even many of his own supporters. At that point there won’t be any money in pretending to contest the election anymore, and Trump will have to shift his focus to trying to give himself a softer landing when it comes to facing prison and bankruptcy after he’s out of office.

Nov. 10

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washington post logoWashington Post, Biden behaves as the incoming president, even as Trump balks at giving up power, Annie Linskey and Sean Sullivan, Nov. 10, 2020 (print ed.). President-elect Joe Biden sought to project the authority of an incoming president Monday as he dealt with matters domestic and international, even as the defeated incumbent continued to balk at turning over the reins.

Biden began taking calls from foreign leaders, speaking Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He also was weighing whom to appoint to top White House positions, with several of his longtime advisers expected to take senior roles. And he turned his attention to the coronavirus, dispatching a key aide to brief Senate Democrats this week and making a strong pitch to Americans of every ideology to follow public health recommendations.

Biden urged Americans to wear masks, at one point holding one up during a speech in Wilmington, and sought to depoliticize the act of putting one on.

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washington post logoWashington Post, White House orders agencies to rebuff Biden transition team, Lisa Rein, Matt Viser, Greg Miller and Josh Dawsey, Nov. 10, 2020 (print ed.). The Trump White House on Monday instructed senior government leaders to block cooperation with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team, escalating a standoff that threatens to impede the transfer of power and prompting the Biden team to consider legal action.
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Officials at agencies across the government who had prepared briefing books and carved out office space for the incoming Biden team to use as soon as this week were told instead that the transition would not be recognized until the Democrat’s election was confirmed by the General Services Administration, the low-profile agency that officially starts the transition.

While media outlets on Saturday projected Biden as the winner, President Trump has not conceded the election.

“We have been told: Ignore the media, wait for it to be official from the government,” said a senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly.

washington post logoWashington Post, Top Trump appointee at USAID tells colleagues not to support Biden transition, Yeganeh Torbati and John Hudson, Nov. 10, 2020 (print ed.). The top political appointee at the U.S. Agency for International Development told officials during a phone call Monday that the agency will not cooperate with the transition to a Biden administration until a Trump appointee signs paperwork ascertaining the winner of the presidential election, three officials with knowledge of the conversation told The Washington Post.

USAID officials were also told on the call that three Trump loyalists are being elevated to top positions at the agency, even as the administration enters its waning days, according to the officials, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment on internal discussions.

The shifting leadership and the stance on the transition are causing some alarm within the agency, given President Trump’s refusal to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden. John Barsa, who holds the title of acting deputy administrator, told political appointees at USAID on Monday afternoon that the agency would not cooperate with the transition until Murphy does so. Barsa has told colleagues in other conversations that Biden has not won and emphasized the importance of not abetting the process, two people said.

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP leaders back efforts to challenge Biden’s win, Amy Gardner, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Emma Brown, Nov. 10, 2020 (print ed.). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans on Monday backed President Trump’s efforts to contest his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, despite the lack of evidence of significant fraud and sharp rebukes from election officials who defended the integrity of the vote.

McConnell (R-Ky.) said from the floor of the Senate that the president is “100 percent within his right” to pursue recounts and litigation. McConnell did not repeat Trump’s baseless assertions that fraud had cost him the election, but he said he had met with Attorney General William P. Barr earlier in the day and supports the president’s right to investigate all claims of wrongdoing.

“We have the tools and institutions we need to address any concerns,” McConnell said. “The president has every right to look into allegations and request recounts under the law.”

Separately, Barr on Monday gave federal prosecutors a green light to pursue allegations of voting irregularities in certain cases before results are certified. The memo appeared to reverse previous Justice Department guidance that prosecutors generally should not take overt steps in cases involving alleged voter fraud until results are in and official.

Meanwhile, other GOP officials also rushed to bolster Trump’s case, including the two U.S. senators from Georgia, who demanded the resignation of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, after his office said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the state.

 

Trump by Michael Vadon Creative Commons e1486885124813

washington post logoWashington Post, As an ex-president, Trump could disclose the secrets he learned while in office, current and former officials fear, Shane Harris, Nov. 10, 2020 (print ed.). As president, Donald Trump selectively revealed highly classified information to attack his adversaries, gain political advantage and to impress or intimidate foreign governments, in some cases jeopardizing U.S. intelligence capabilities. As an ex-president, there’s every reason to worry he will do the same, thus posing a unique national security dilemma for the Biden administration, current and former officials and analysts said.

All presidents exit the office with valuable national secrets in their heads, including the procedures for launching nuclear weapons, intelligence-gathering capabilities — including assets deep inside foreign governments — and the development of new and advanced weapon systems.

But no new president has ever had to fear that his predecessor might expose the nation’s secrets as President-elect Joe Biden must with Trump, current and former officials said. Not only does Trump have a history of disclosures, he checks the boxes of a classic counterintelligence risk: He is deeply in debt and angry at the U.S. government, particularly what he describes as the “deep state” conspiracy that he believes tried to stop him from winning the White House in 2016 and what he falsely claims is an illegal effort to rob him of reelection.

washington post logoWashington Post, Barr clears Justice Dept. to investigate alleged voting irregularities as Trump makes unfounded claims, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, Nov. 10, 2020 (print ed.). Attorney General William P. Barr on Monday gave federal prosecutors approval to pursue allegations of “vote tabulation irregularities” in certain cases before results are certified and indicated he had already done so “in specific instances” — a reversal of long-standing Justice Department policy that quickly drew internal and external criticism for fueling unfounded claims of massive election fraud pushed by President Trump and other conservatives.

Richard Pilger, head of the Justice Department’s Election Crimes Branch, stepped down from his position in protest over Barr’s directive — though he remains at the agency, according to people familiar with the matter, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a politically volatile situation.

The people said Barr had first broached a similar idea some weeks ago and that political leadership in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, of which the Election Crimes Branch is a part, pushed back. Those officials were blindsided when Barr’s memo was released on Monday, the people said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Christopher Miller, Trump’s surprise acting defense secretary, has a thin resume for the job but deep experience in counterterrorism, Dan Lamothe, Ellen Nakashima and Alex Horton, Nov. 10, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump’s new acting defense secretary comes to the job with deep experience in special operations, including the hunt for Osama bin Laden, but has never served in the Pentagon’s most senior ranks and only recently became the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

Christopher Miller’s rapid ascension to acting Pentagon chief was announced by Trump on Monday as he fired Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, who fell out of favor after disagreeing with the president over his threat in June to use active-duty military forces to quell unrest in America’s streets.

“I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately,” Trump tweeted. “Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.”

Although rumors of Esper’s departure had swirled for months, Trump had held back on firing him out of concern that it could hurt his reelection chances, according to several officials familiar with the president’s thinking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

But with Trump losing last week and refusing to concede, there was seemingly little to stop him, despite concerns that ousting a defense secretary during a presidential transition could be damaging to national security.

ny times logoNew York Times, Growing Discomfort at Law Firms Representing Trump in Election Lawsuits, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Rachel Abrams and David Enrich, Nov. 10, 2020 (print ed.). Some lawyers at Jones Day and Porter Wright, which have filed suits about the 2020 vote, said they were worried about undermining the electoral system.

Like many big law firms, Jones Day, whose roots go back to Cleveland in the late 1800s, has prided itself on representing controversial clients.

There was Big Tobacco. There was the Bin Laden family. There was even the hated owner of the Cleveland Browns football team as he moved the franchise to Baltimore.

Now Jones Day is the most prominent firm representing President Trump and the Republican Party as they prepare to wage a legal war challenging the results of the election. The work is intensifying concerns inside the firm about the propriety and wisdom of working for Mr. Trump, according to lawyers at the firm.

Doing business with Mr. Trump — with his history of inflammatory rhetoric, meritless lawsuits and refusal to pay what he owes — has long induced heartburn among lawyers, contractors, suppliers and lenders. But the concerns are taking on new urgency as the president seeks to raise doubts about the election results.

Some lawyers at Jones Day and Porter Wright, which have filed suits about the 2020 vote, said they were worried about undermining the electoral system.

At another large firm, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, based in Columbus, Ohio, lawyers have held internal meetings to voice similar concerns about their firm’s election-related work for Mr. Trump and the Republican Party, according to people at the firm. At least one lawyer quit in protest.

Already, the two firms have filed at least four lawsuits challenging aspects of the election in Pennsylvania. The cases are pending.

The latest salvo came on Monday evening, when the Trump campaign filed a suit in federal court in Pennsylvania against the Pennsylvania secretary of state and a number of county election boards. The suit — filed by lawyers at Porter Wright — alleged that there were “irregularities” in voting across the state.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump Loves to Use the Pardon Power. Is He Next? Jack Goldsmith (co-author of “After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency”), Nov. 10, 2020 (print ed.).  There is little to be done right now about the president’s self-serving ways, but Congress can limit future abuses.

President Trump has abused the pardon power like none of his predecessors. But we likely ain’t seen nothing yet. Now that he has lost the election, Mr. Trump will likely pardon himself, friends, family members and Trump business entities and employees for any crime they might have committed before or during his presidency.

Mr. Trump’s pardons to date, and those likely to come during a transition, reveal the problems with the supposed “absoluteness” of the pardon power — and should prompt legal reform to clarify limits on its abuse.

The pardon power that the Constitution confers on the president has just two stated limitations: A president cannot pardon for impeachment, and a presidential pardon can excuse or mitigate punishment only for federal offenses. There is little that can be done at this point to stave off a potential wave of pardons in the lame duck period, but the federal crime limitation means that Mr. Trump cannot stop state criminal investigations, including one in progress by the Manhattan district attorney into possible bank and insurance fraud by Mr. Trump and his companies.

Nov. 7

joe biden kamala harris campaign shot

ny times logoNew York Times, BIDEN BEATS TRUMP; Harris Is First Woman Elected Vice President, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, Nov. 7, 2020. Biden Wins Presidency, Ending Four Tumultuous Years Under Trump; Joseph R. Biden Jr. achieved victory offering a message of healing and unity. He will return to Washington facing a daunting set of crises.

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was elected the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, promising to restore political normalcy and a spirit of national unity to confront raging health and economic crises, and making Donald J. Trump a one-term president after four years of tumult in the White House.

Mr. Biden’s victory amounted to a repudiation of Mr. Trump by millions of voters exhausted with his divisive conduct and chaotic administration, and was delivered by an unlikely alliance of women, people of color, old and young voters and a sliver of disaffected Republicans. Mr. Trump is the first incumbent to lose re-election in more than a quarter-century.

The result also provided a history-making moment for Mr. Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, who will become the first woman to serve as vice president.

With his triumph, Mr. Biden, who turns 78 later this month, fulfilled his decades-long ambition in his third bid for the White House, becoming the oldest person elected president. A pillar of Washington who was first elected amid the Watergate scandal, and who prefers political consensus over combat, Mr. Biden will lead a nation and a Democratic Party that have become far more ideological since his arrival in the capital in 1973.

He offered a mainstream Democratic agenda, yet it was less his policy platform than his biography to which many voters gravitated. Seeking the nation’s highest office a half-century after his first campaign, Mr. Biden — a candidate in the late autumn of his career — presented his life of setback and recovery to voters as a parable for a wounded country.

The race, which concluded after four tense days of vote-counting in a handful of battlegrounds, was a singular referendum on Mr. Trump in a way no president’s re-election has been in modern times. He coveted the attention, and voters who either adored him or loathed him were eager to render judgment on his tenure. Americans rarely turn incumbent presidents out of office, but from the beginning to the end of the race, Mr. Biden made the president’s character central to his campaign.

This unrelenting focus propelled Mr. Biden to victory in historically Democratic strongholds in the industrial Midwest, with Mr. Biden forging a coalition of suburbanites and big-city residents to claim at least three states his party lost in 2016.

Yet even as they turned Mr. Trump out of office, voters sent a more uncertain message about the left-of-center platform Mr. Biden ran on as Democrats lost seats in the House and made only modest gains in the Senate. The divided judgment — a rare example of ticket splitting in partisan times — demonstrated that, for many voters, their disdain for the president was as personal as it was political.

ny times logoNew York Times, First Candidate to Beat an Incumbent in More Than a Quarter Century, Live Updates, Nov. 7, 2020. Election Highlights: Biden Defeats Trump as Pennsylvania Puts Him Over the Top; The state’s 20 electoral votes vaulted Joe Biden past the 270-vote threshold needed to take the White House. He leads in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. President Trump has vowed to file legal challenges.

After several tense days of vote-counting in a handful of battlegrounds, Joe Biden achieved a decades-long ambition in his third attempt at the presidency.

Mr. Biden’s victory amounted to a repudiation of President Trump by millions of voters exhausted with his divisive conduct and chaotic administration.

The result also provided a history-making moment for Kamala Harris, who became the first woman — and first woman of color — on a winning presidential ticket.

djt looking up

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden inches closer to victory as Trump’s chances fade, Updated results show Joe Biden ahead in four key states, Toluse Olorunnipa, Nov. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Biden’s strong showing as mail-in votes were counted in critical cities had him leading in Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and — very narrowly — Georgia.

Former vice president Joe Biden appeared to be on a clear path to being elected the 46th president of the United States, after updated vote counts on Friday put him ahead in several key states and seemed to all but close off President Trump’s already dwindling chances of remaining in office.

Although no winner had been projected in the presidential race, Biden’s strong showing as mail-in votes were counted in key cities had him leading Trump in Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and — very narrowly — Georgia.

After securing 253 electoral votes since Election Day on Tuesday, Biden was on the cusp of being declared the winner as the remaining states neared the end of the ballot-counting process.

“The numbers tell us a clear and convincing story: We’re going to win this race,” Biden said Friday in Wilmington, Del., with Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), his running mate, next to him. “We’re going to win this race with a clear majority of the nation behind us.”

Speaking from a stage at the Chase Center, Biden forcefully declared that he had “a mandate” on a number of policy issues and said he has begun preparing to take office.

“I know watching these vote tallies on TV moves as slow as it gets and can be numbing,” he said. “But never forget, the tallies aren’t just numbers. They represent votes and voters, men and women who exercised their fundamental right to have their voice heard.”

washington post logoWashington Post, White House chief of staff tested positive for coronavirus, then told others not to disclose it, Josh Dawsey and Amy B Wang, Nov. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Mark Meadows was in the East Room of the White House on election night when the president addressed a crowd of about 150 people. During that event, Meadows worked the room extensively, without a mask, speaking to dozens.

mark meadows SmallWhite House chief of staff Mark Meadows has tested positive for the coronavirus, and told others not to disclose his condition, according to an official with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Meadows, right, was at the White House early Wednesday as President Trump spoke about the election.

The diagnosis, first reported by Bloomberg News, comes a little more than a month after Trump and other members of his family and inner circle also tested positive for coronavirus. Two weeks later, at least five aides or advisers to Vice President Pence were infected.

The repeated infections within the White House underscore the attitude with which the administration has handled the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed at least 235,000 Americans since February. Trump and his allies, including Meadows, have frequently flouted public health guidelines and continued to hold large indoor gatherings where few people wear masks or socially distance.

Meadows has fought with the doctors about the severity of the virus, argued about the effectiveness of masks and has repeatedly sought to move the president away from focusing on the virus, officials say.

After the outbreak in Pence’s office, Meadows appeared on CNN to say the administration had effectively given up on trying to slow the virus’s spread.

“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” Meadows said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Oct. 25. “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations.”

Meadows has for months openly brushed off the importance of wearing masks during the pandemic. On Election Day, Meadows visited the Trump campaign headquarters in Arlington, where he was photographed not wearing a mask.

Meadows was also among those in the East Room of the White House when Trump gave remarks around 3 a.m. Wednesday to a crowd of about 150 of his top aides, donors and allies, as well as family members. During that event, Meadows worked the room extensively, without a mask, speaking to dozens. He stood near Trump campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski, one of the few people there who was wearing a mask.

djt smiling fileThe same carelessness hurt Trump in the election, as the president trails Joe Biden in four of six battleground states where votes are still being counted. For months, Trump was criticized for publicly playing down the dangers of the virus. Leading up to Election Day, polls showed that voters overwhelmingly trusted Biden over Trump when it came to handling the pandemic.

After Trump was hospitalized for the coronavirus for four days in early October, some wondered if it would prompt the president to take the pandemic more seriously. Instead, Trump began boasting that he was “immune” to the virus, after having received experimental therapeutics. He also has in recent weeks declared that the United States was “rounding the corner” on the pandemic, as cases in the country exceed record highs.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Looks like Donald Trump’s election night party may have been a super spreader event, Bill Palmer, right, Nov. 7, 2020. When the news broke bill palmertonight (Nov. 6-7) that Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff has coronavirus, it raised questions about whether it meant that the White House outbreak that started a month ago was still underway. Now we’re starting to get some answers – and they’re ugly.

bill palmer report logo headerABC News is now confirming that Meadows is one of six people in Donald Trump’s immediate political orbit who currently have coronavirus – meaning the White House outbreak is definitely still happening. CNN is confirming that Meadows was at Trump’s election night party at the White House, and that he wasn’t wearing a mask. Given the way the virus is spreading among Trump staffers, it seems likely that Meadows either caught the virus while at the party, or infected the others while at the party, which is starting to look like another super spreader event.

In any case it’s doubtful that the outbreak will end up being limited to just six people in Donald Trump’s immediate orbit. So at a time when Trump has lost the election and is begging his remaining advisers to stick around and go down with the ship while he insists he somehow didn’t actually lose, he’s now facing a severe coronavirus outbreak among his staff.

How many of Trump’s remaining White House staff will be too sick to help him at this point? How many will resign in order to avoid getting sick while working on a sinking ship? As with all things Trump, this is going to get ugly.

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Biden-Harris Take Presidency with 279 Electoral Votes by Winning Pennsylvania and Nevada, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Nov. 7, 2020. AP and Networks Make Call At webster tarpley 200711:25 AM EST Based on Raft of Philadelphia Votes; Trump and Minions Refuse to Concede, Promising More Lawsuits and Obstruction; Honest Judges Should Impose Severe Rule Eleven Sanctions on Trump’s Legal Henchmen for Filing Frivolous Lawsuits; Election Spotlight Now Turns to Struggle To Seat Two New Democratic Senators in Georgia In January.

Dancing in Streets of US Cities with Music, Joy and Laughter as Americans Celebrate End of the Nightmare; Merkel of Germany, Macron of France, Conte of Italy, Irish Prime Minister, Modi of India, Trudeau of Canada, Sanchez of Spain and Many Other Heads of State and Government Congratulate Biden-Harris; Don’s International Isolation Means Other Nations Will Not Grant De Jure Recognition to an Illegal Trump Regime; Biden-Harris Need a Coup Watch and Close Attention to Possible Troop Movements; Keep the General Strike Option Ready in Case of New Machinations by Trump’s Fascist Judges.

Thanks to Trumps’ Genocidal Policies, Americans Are Now Dying at Rate of Almost One Per Minute; To Save 100,000 Lives or More Before January 20, Let Trump Cop a Plea Deal in Spiro Agnew Tradition and Leave Office at Once for Exile and Oblivion; Then Have Pence Push Through Pelosi’s $3.2 Trillion HEROES Act.

Tasks for Biden: Re-State the US Security Commitment to Taiwan to Deter Aggression by Beijing During US Transition; Tell UK’s Boris Johnson No Trade Accord with US if He Goes for Illegal No Deal Brexit at End of December, Which is Threat to NATO and to World Economic Stability.

Keystone State of Pennsylvania Helped Saved the Constitution at Gettysburg in 1863, and Is Now Helping to Save It Again; Way Is Clear for New Birth of Freedom Foreshadowed by Lincoln.

Vox, Opinion: A Coup Attempt In Plain Sight, Ezra Klein, Nov. 7, 2020. How do we cover it when it’s happening here? A few years ago, there was a boom of articles called “If it happened there,” imagining how the American press would cover this or that story if it happened in another country. How would we cover the government shutdown if it happened in another country? The Ferguson protests? The Oregon militia siege? George Floyd’s killing? Mike Bloomberg?

Slate’s Joshua Keating popularized the form, but other outlets, including Vox, have deployed it. The intent was to use the tropes of foreign coverage to create a sense of what the literary critic Darko Suvin called “cognitive estrangement”: severing us from the familiarity and overconfidence that can dull our awareness of extraordinary events. And so you’d get leads like, “the pleasant autumn weather disguises a government teetering on the brink. Because, at midnight Monday night, the government of this intensely proud and nationalistic people will shut down, a drastic sign of political dysfunction in this moribund republic.”

djt as chosen oneBut the slight air of parody lent the whole enterprise a sense of unreality. America isn’t a banana republic. It wasn’t happening there. It was happening here, and that made all the difference. In order to even see the danger, to recognize the depth of tensions or the possibilities of fracture, we had to control for American exceptionalism, for the implicit belief that we were the United States of America, and we were different.

If the past four years — and the past four days — have proven anything, it’s that we are not as different as we believed, not as kissed by providence as we hoped. Perhaps we are not different at all. We need to cover it as if it happening here, because it is.
Donald Trump is trying to discredit an election he is losing

Joe Biden has won the presidency. But the current president of the United States, Donald Trump, is attempting a coup in plain sight. “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” he tweeted on Saturday morning. This came after he demanded that states cease counting votes when the total began to turn against him, after his press secretary shocked Fox News anchors by arguing that legally cast votes should be thrown out.

The Trump administration’s current strategy is to go to court to try and get votes for Biden ruled illegitimate, and that strategy explicitly rests on Trump’s appointees honoring a debt the administration, at least, believes they owe. One of his legal advisers said, “We’re waiting for the United States Supreme Court — of which the President has nominated three justices — to step in and do something. And hopefully Amy Coney Barrett will come through.”

If that fails, and it will, Mark Levin, one of the nation’s most popular conservative radio hosts, is explicitly calling on Republican legislatures to reject the election results and seat Donald Trump as president anyway. After Twitter tagged the tweet as contested, Trump’s press secretary weighed in furiously on Levin’s behalf.

That this coup probably will not work — that it is being carried out farcically, erratically, ineffectively — does not mean it is not happening, or that it will not have consequences. Millions will believe Trump, will see the election as stolen. The Trump family’s Twitter feeds, and those of associated outlets and allies, are filled with allegations of fraud and lies about the process (reporter Isaac Saul has been doing yeoman’s work tracking these arguments, and his thread is worth reading). It’s the construction of a confusing, but immersive, alternative reality in which the election has been stolen from Trump and weak-kneed Republicans are letting the thieves escape.

This is, to borrow Hungarian sociologist Bálint Magyar’s framework, “an autocratic attempt.” That’s the stage in the transition toward autocracy in which the would-be autocrat is trying to sever his power from electoral check. If he’s successful, autocratic breakthrough follows, and then autocratic consolidation occurs. In this case, the would-be autocrat stands little chance of being successful. But he will not entirely fail, either. What Trump is trying to form is something akin to an autocracy-in-exile, an alternative America in which he is the rightful leader, and he — and the public he claims to represent — has been robbed of power by corrupt elites.

The corruption of the GOP will outlive Trump’s presidency

Members of the Trump family are explicitly, repeatedly, trying to make the acceptance of their conspiracies a litmus test for ambitious Republicans. And it is working. To read elected Republicans today — with a few notable exceptions, like Sen. Mitt Romney — is to read a careful, cowardly double-speak. Politician after politician is signaling, as Vice President Mike Pence did, solidarity with the president, while not quite endorsing his conspiracies. Of course every legal vote should be counted. Of course allegations of fraud should be addressed. But that is not what the president is demanding — he is demanding the votes against him be ruled illegal — and they know it.

What we are not seeing, in any way, is a wholesale rejection on the right of Trump’s effort to delegitimize the election. And thus there is no reason to believe Trump will not retain his hold over much of the party, and much of its base, going forward.

Even if Trump is rejected in this election, the Republican Party that protected and enabled him will not be. Their geographic advantage in the Senate insulates them from anything but massive, consecutive landslide defeats, and their dominance over the decennial redistricting process has given them a handicap in the House, too.

Here’s the grim kicker: The conditions that made Trump and this Republican Party possible are set to worsen. Republicans retained control of enough statehouses to drive the next redistricting effort, too, and their 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court will unleash their map-drawers more fully. The elections analyst G. Elliott Morris estimates that the gap between the popular vote margin and the tipping point state in the Electoral College will be 4 to 5 percentage points, and that the GOP’s control of the redistricting process could push it to 6 to 7 points next time.

Nov. 6

 

djt biden smiles resized

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Biden Edges Into Lead in Georgia as Nation Awaits Winner, Staff reports, Nov. 6, 2020 (5:56 a.m. ET). Biden now leads Trump in Georgia, where the count continues. Joe Biden is leading in Nevada and Arizona and threatening to erase President Trump’s advantage in Pennsylvania. The Trump team is pressing legal challenges in several states.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. stood on the threshold of the American presidency in the early hours of Friday, seizing a slim lead over President Trump in Georgia and drawing ever closer to overtaking him in Pennsylvania. Those victories would secure the 270 electoral votes he needs to lay claim to the White House.

Mr. Biden had already begun to project the image of a man preparing to assume the mantle of office, meeting on Thursday with his economic and health advisers to be briefed on the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking briefly to reporters in Wilmington, Del., Mr. Biden, the former vice president, urged the public to show a “little patience,” as the vote counting in battleground states stretched into a third day.

“Democracy,” he acknowledged, “can sometimes be messy.”

Mr. Biden’s appeal to let the process play out contrasted starkly with Mr. Trump, who took the lectern in the White House briefing room to falsely claim that the election was riddled with fraud, as part of an elaborate coast-to-coast conspiracy by Democrats, the news media and Silicon Valley to deny him a second term.

Mr. Trump was left increasingly with only legal challenges to forestall defeat, while Mr. Biden was betting on the steady accumulation of mail-in ballots to vault him over the top in Pennsylvania. Georgia, which has not elected a Democrat since Bill Clinton in 1992, was headed for a photo finish that could supply an extra cushion of electoral votes to Mr. Biden.

Yet both men were hostage to fortune — waiting, like the rest of America, for the verdict of a counting process that had become a game of inches. Inside the campaign war rooms, staffers took urgent soundings with their field operations to see where the outstanding votes were and how they would break for the candidates.

In Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump’s lead stood at fewer than 20,000 votes, with roughly 175,000 absentee ballots still to count in the state, including more than 58,000 in the Democratic bastion of Philadelphia. In Georgia, Mr. Biden’s total vaulted above Mr. Trump’s around 5 a.m., giving the former vice president a 917-vote lead.

If the eastern battlegrounds were trending toward Mr. Biden, the Trump campaign drew some comfort from the West.

In Arizona, the continuing count whittled Mr. Biden’s early lead in the state to less than 47,000 votes. After a delay in counting the remaining ballots from Maricopa County early in the day on Thursday, election officials continued to plow through tens of thousands of ballots from Phoenix and its sprawling suburbs. In Nevada, where the counting was also slow, Mr. Biden clung to a lead of slightly more than 11,000, with absentee ballots left to count in vote-rich Clark County, home of Las Vegas.

Still, Mr. Biden’s victory in the two Midwestern battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin put him in a strong position, with multiple paths to victory, depending on what happens in the states yet to be called. Mr. Trump needed a victory in Pennsylvania.

The process was agonizing for partisans on both sides, though for the most part, fears of widespread unrest did not materialize. Officials reported few instances of problems with the voting-counting process.djt looking up

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden renews call for patience as Trump assails vote-counting process, Matt Viser and Toluse Olorunnipa, Nov. 6, 2020 (print ed.). The former vice president said he was confident he would be named the winner, while the president promoted unfounded allegations about voter fraud.

Joe Biden insisted Thursday that he was on the verge of winning the presidency, urging calm and patience as the final votes were methodically counted. As he did, President Trump made frantic legal claims and promoted unfounded allegations about voter fraud in a number of states where he was losing or seeing his lead swiftly diminish

Trump on Thursday evening unleashed a tirade from the White House briefing room that was filled with falsehoods about the American electoral system. He claimed that there was widespread fraud in states in which he was losing, but not in those he was winning. He provided no evidence for any of his statements.

“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” he said, in remarks that contained so much fabrication that several networks stopped airing them. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”

After spending months telling Republicans not to vote by mail, Trump said it was suspicious that so many mail-in ballots were for Biden. He suggested corrupt actions were somehow helping Biden cut into his lead in Pennsylvania, while touting that additional votes coming in from Arizona were bolstering his chances.

“We are on track to win Arizona,” he claimed, despite trailing Biden there. He also impugned the integrity of those across the nation who are counting ballots.

Trump claimed Republicans did not lose a seat in Tuesday’s House races (they did), that all of the states too close to call have election systems overseen by Democrats (they don’t), that votes are still being cast (they are not), and that he won Michigan and Wisconsin (he did not).

Palmer Report, Opinion: Joe Biden has TAKEN THE LEAD in Pennsylvania, Bill Palmer, Nov. 6, 2020 (9:14 am EST). It’s been fairly clear since late on Tuesday night that Joe Biden was going to end up winning Pennsylvania, even though the numbers were very skewed against him at the time.

bill palmer report logo headerWe’ve been waiting all night for Biden to finally take the lead in Pennsylvania, and now it’s finally happened.

Thanks to a batch of votes that just arrived from Philadelphia, Joe Biden now leads Donald Trump in Pennsylvania by 6,000 votes. Based on the available math, there is no question that Biden will remain in the lead in Pennsylvania, and win the state by a fairly decent margin.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: In a speech of historic dishonesty, Trump tried to reinforce his long-planned effort to retain power, Philip Bump, Nov. 6, 2020 (print ed.). Well into a presidency defined by disinformation and falsehoods, President Trump managed something remarkable on Thursday evening. Speaking to american flag upside down distressreporters in the White House briefing room, he offered the most thoroughly dishonest comments of his tenure.

For 15 minutes, he delineated nonsensical allegations about the state of the presidential election, claiming to be the victim of nefarious efforts to prevent him from earning a second term. And when he finished, after espousing obviously false claims to a room of reporters who knew better, he didn’t even have the courage to face their inevitably probing and challenging questions.

Solely for the purposes of illustrating how divergent from reality Trump’s remarks were, we’ll delineate his argument before picking it apart.

washington post logoWashington Post, Fact Checker Analysis: Trump’s White House statement: Falsehood upon falsehood, Glenn Kessler, Nov. 6, 2020 (print ed.). As Trump began floating baseless claims of election fraud, television networks cut away.

washington post logoWashington Post, Centrist House Democrats lash out at liberal colleagues, blame far-left views for loss of seats, Rachael Bade and Erica Werner, Nov. 6, 2020 (print ed.). An angry dispute erupted among House Democrats on Thursday, with centrist members blasting their liberal colleagues during a private conference call for pushing far-left views that cost the party seats in Tuesday’s election that they had worked hard to win two years ago.

The bitter exchange, which lasted more than three hours as members sniped back and forth over tactics and ideology, reflected the extent to which the 2020 campaign exposed simmering tensions in the party even as its presidential nominee, Joe Biden, stands on the brink of achieving their biggest goal of the year — ousting President Trump.

Party leaders had expressed certainty that Trump’s divisiveness and mishandling of the pandemic would help them expand their majority with wins in GOP-held districts — and yet they lost at least a half-dozen seats and failed to retake the Senate. The explanation laid out by centrists, according to multiple people who were on the call and spoke on the condition of anonymity, is that Republicans were easily able to paint them all as socialists and radical leftists who endorse far-left positions such as defunding the police.

bill palmerPalmer Report, Opinion: The end of Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, right, Nov. 6, 2020 (4:08 am EST). Donald Trump illegally shut down the Post Office just to block people from being able to vote against him, and he’s still going to lose by seven million votes. He got blown out. This was a historic rejection of Trump and Trumpism. Any pundit claiming otherwise is full of it.

We’re now hours away from the first woman Vice President.

bill palmer report logo headerJoe Biden’s acceptance speech is just going to be “come with me if you want to live.”

If you’re hating having to wait up all night to hear that Donald Trump has lost, imagine how much Donald Trump is hating having to wait up all night to hear that he’s lost.

I told you all along that Donald Trump’s evil plan for stealing the election was faulty and stupid and inept and wasn’t going to work. The evidence always overwhelmingly pointed to this outcome. It wasn’t optimism on my part; it was simply the most likely outcome.

 

Scandal At U.S. Postal Service

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Wayne Madsen Report, Opinion: This is the perilous period we were warned about, Wayne Madsen, left, Nov. 6, 2020. These are the perilous times that were predicted wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallby many scholars, politicos, and legal experts should Donald Trump lose re-election. Not only has Trump, contrary to the electoral map, declared victory over Joe Biden, but his supporters are advocating violence on a scale not seen in the United States since the Civil War.

With Biden winning Pennsylvania, he has 273 electoral votes, three more than required to be elected the 46th President of the United States. Trump has made it clear to his aides and Republicans in Congress that he has no intention of conceding the election to Biden.

steve bannon court aug 21 2020Former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, right, recently called for the beheading of FBI director Christopher Wray and National Institutes of Health Infectious Disease top expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Bannon suggested that the heads of Wray and Fauci be placed on pikes at the White House as a warning to all other "bureaucrats."

YouTube and Twitter suspended Bannon's accounts after his comments, prompting Trump to tweet another one of many attacks on Twitter. Bannon is free on bail after his federal indictment on charges of fraud involving a non-profit entity dedicated to building a stretch of wall on the U.S. southern border. There are calls for his bail to be revoked for threatening the lives of two senior federal officials.

Trump longtime friend Roger Stone recently called for former FBI director James Comey, former CIA director John Brennan, former director of National Intelligence James Clapper (shown rrom the left in a file photo below of their congressional testimonies), and other Trump enemies (which, according to a text message sent by Stone to one of his attorneys last December, includes this editor) to be "hung by the neck until dead." Stone made his remarks on the "Bubba The Love Sponge Show" on YouTube.

james comey john brennan james clapper michael flynn matthew olsen 2 4 2014

A few Qanon supporters of Trump drove their Humvee from Virginia to Philadelphia to attack the site of the city's vote counting. Philadelphia police found the lindsey graham judiciary chairmanvehicle and arrested two heavily-armed men believed associated with the plot.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, right, who is facing increased accusations that he has hired underage "rent boys" for sex and is highly blackmailed, is suggesting Republican state legislatures in states won by Biden to appoint "faithless" rival electors to vote for Trump in the Electoral College.

 

us dc federal courthouse Small

U.S. District Courthouse in Washington, DC, site of historic confrontation between a federal judge and the new Trump-appointed Postmaster General who has delayed delivery of ballots in Democratic-leaning districts.

OpEdNews, Opinion: Postmaster General DeJoy Defies Federal Judge as Mail-In Ballots Surge for Biden, Harvey Wasserman, Nov. 6, 2020. At a critical turning point in the 2020 election, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a close Trump consigliere, has defied a federal court order meant to track down and deliver some 300,000 mailed-in ballots.

louis dejoy CustomIn turn, federal Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has warned DeJoy, right, that "someone might have a price to pay" for the postal service's refusal to sweep some 300,000 votes stranded in swing state post offices and deliver them to election boards for counting, where they may, in fact, make a critical difference in the outcome of this astounding election.

As the battle for the presidency boils down to uncounted mailed-in ballots, Trump's deconstruction of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has taken center stage.

The spread of the coronavirus long ago made it clear this election would be deeply impacted by tens of millions of mailed-in ballots.

Throughout his mercenary presidency, Trump has escalated his assaults on the Postal Service. Republicans of his corporate ilk have long wanted to dismantle the USPS, largely to destroy its powerful union.

us mail logoThey've also wanted to benefit huge private delivery companies like FedEx and UPS. DeJoy's own business, XPO Logistics, recently landed a $5 million contract with the USPS. (DeJoy claims he has divested his stake in the company, but the reality is unclear.)

When the coronavirus hit, the Postal Service became a political football. Throughout the U.S., concerned citizens worried that suffering through long lines to finally arrive at cramped voting centers would expose them to potential illness. As lines backed up in Wisconsin for this past spring's primary, reports of infection ran rampant. Some reports claim at least 71 deaths were the tragic result.

Since the 1980s, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Washington State and Hawaii have automatically mailed ballots to registered voters. The systems work extremely well. After the fearsome warnings spread from Wisconsin's primary, California, Nevada, and a number of other states jumped in.

In swing states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Republican legislatures demanded voters fill out applications online or by mail to get their ballots. The requirements can be complex and confusing, apparently aiming to restrict the popular vote.

As Trump assaulted the Postal Service (which he termed "a joke"), he openly feared being overwhelmed by absentee ballots. If everyone could easily vote by mail, he complained, Republicans would never get elected.

djt smiling fileTrump himself has voted absentee since occupying the White House. (He officially lives in Florida.) But he complains vote by mail is somehow different. (It isn't.)

So he threatened to sue Nevada when it announced it would join five other states in mailing ballots to all registered voters. Those votes are now being hotly disputed.

Trump also threatened to cut election board funding in Michigan for daring to mail ballots to all registered voters. "Michigan sends absentee ballot applications to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election," he tweeted. "This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!"

Through the summer, DeJoy brutally gutted much of the USPS's highly evolved functional core, removing sorting machines, trashing long-established procedures, firing essential long-term personnel and removing postal drop boxes throughout the country.

As USPS revenues plummeted due to the virus, and as service deteriorated, Trump made little attempt to hide that the dismantlement was being done at least in part to undermine the service's ability to deliver ballots that he thought (correctly) might threaten to end his presidency.

The USPS is one of the U.S.'s most cherished institutions, regularly listed as the public's favorite government-related operation. Anger over its dismemberment has been palpable.

"In the Postal Service's 240 years of delivering the mail, how can one person screw this up so fast?" Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D- Massachusetts) asked DeJoy amid angry congressional hearings in August. "What the heck are you doing?"

DeJoy told Congress his "cost-cutting" measures were necessary and offered assurances that the fall election's ballots would be efficiently handled.

But very long delays prompted election protection advocates who'd supported voting by mail to push early voting or depositing ballots in official drop boxes.(Ohio and Texas responded by limiting drop boxes to one per county.)

Tennessee Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper told DeJoy: "For anyone thinking of voting absentee, the effect of your changes is to move Election Day from November 3 up to something like October 27."

As Trump's Republicans demanded ever-more stringent deadlines for receiving ballots at postal centers, the courts finally stepped in. As of November 3, USPS records in various states showed more than 300,000 absentee ballots had been received but had not gone back out to the election boards.

emmet sullivan 2012U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington, D.C., had ordered on September 28 that the USPS cease its delivery cutbacks before the election.

On November 3, Judge Sullivan, left, ordered DeJoy to sweep Postal Service facilities in a dozen key districts where those 300,000 ballots had been reported undelivered. Sullivan's order included processing centers in Detroit, Houston, Atlanta and Philadelphia, as well as in central Pennsylvania, south Florida, South Carolina, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arizona, Wyoming and Alabama.

Sullivan particularly focused on districts with low on-time delivery records, including Philadelphia and Detroit.
But DeJoy's USPS proceeded to ignore Judge Sullivan's ruling, citing "physical and operational limitations." The service also complained that complying with the order might disrupt its regularly scheduled service.

Sullivan responded with fury. "I'm not pleased about this 11th-hour development last night," he said in a hearing Wednesday. "Someone might have a price to pay."

But the whereabouts of those 300,000 ballots remains a matter of dispute, as does their potential impact on the outcome of the presidential election.

And in an election where razor-thin margins can make all the difference, and where Trump supporters some of them armed are demanding to "stop the count" (see Florida 2000), the questionable whereabouts and date stamping of 300,000 votes becomes a matter of life or death.

Thus, Judge Sullivan is not happy. DeJoy, he says, "is either going to have to be deposed or appear before me and testify under oath " about why some measures were not taken after the court issued its injunction."

DeJoy might also be asked about how those missing mail-in ballots which have trended heavily for Joe Biden might affect the electoral fortunes of his boss and benefactor, Donald J. Trump.

More On U.S. Elections

washington post logodjt pence yard sign logoWashington Post, GOP splits over Trump’s false election claims, unfounded fraud allegations, Katie Shepherd, Nov. 6, 2020. Trump’s broadsides on Thursday exposed tensions within his party, splitting GOP officials who spoke publicly into warring camps: those who defended the president and those who defended the U.S. election process.

washington post logoWashington Post, How Trump loyalists are driving his campaign’s legal efforts to challenge ballots, Rosalind S. Helderman, Josh Dawsey and Elise Viebeck, Nov. 6, 2020 (print ed.). In 2000, when George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore were deadlocked in the Florida vote for president, a high-powered team of legal experts flocked south to lead Bush’s ultimately successful strategy to prevail in a recount, guided by the Republican Party’s premier strategist of the time, former secretary of state James Baker.

djt rncThis year, as President Trump’s campaign mounts a multistate effort to challenge the counting of ballots around the country, many of the GOP’s preeminent election-law litigators remain on the sidelines.

Instead, the legal team driving the efforts under the leadership of deputy campaign manager Justin Clark includes longtime Trump loyalists and the president’s personal attorneys. Among them: Jay Sekulow, the conservative lawyer who defended the president during the special counsel probe and the impeachment process, and William Consovoy, an experienced Supreme Court litigator who has led the efforts in New York courts to withhold the president’s tax returns from investigators.

washington post logoWashington Post, Facebook bans ‘STOP THE STEAL’ group Trump allies were using to organize vote-counting protests, Tony Romm, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Elizabeth Dwoskin, Nov. 6, 2020 (print ed.). The group, which had attracted more than 360,000 members, was among widespread efforts by conservative activists to spark protests challenging the legitimacy of the election.

ny times logopaul krugmanNew York Times, Opinion: Is America Becoming a Failed State? Paul Krugman, right, Nov. 6, 2020 (print ed.). Mitch McConnell may make the nation ungovernable.

As I write this, it seems extremely likely that Joe Biden has won the presidency. And he clearly received millions more votes than his opponent. He can and should claim that he has been given a strong mandate to govern the nation.

But there are real questions about whether he will, in fact, be able to govern. At the moment, it seems likely that the Senate — which is wildly unrepresentative of the American people — will remain in the hands of an extremist party that will sabotage Biden in every way it can.

Normally, there are many things a president can achieve for good (Obama) or evil (Trump) through executive action. In fact, during the summer a Democratic task force identified hundreds of things a President Biden could do without having to go through Congress.

But here’s where I worry about the role of a heavily partisan Supreme Court — a court shaped by McConnell’s norm-breaking behavior, including the rushed confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett just days before the election.

Six of nine justices were chosen by a party that has won the popular vote only once in the past eight elections. And I think there’s a substantial chance that this court may behave like the Supreme Court in the 1930s, which kept blocking New Deal programs until F.D.R. threatened to add seats — something Biden wouldn’t be able to do with a Republican-controlled Senate.

So we are in big trouble.

washington post logoWashington Post, Stephen Colbert briefly breaks down, says Trump’s baseless claims of fraud ‘cast a dark shadow on our most sacred right’ (with video), Emily Yahr, Nov. 6, 2020. CBS’s “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert has spent the past four years skewering President Trump, sometimes with jokes and sometimes with serious monologues. But he seemed to reach his breaking point Thursday night, as he became visibly choked up delivering an emotional speech about Trump’s attempts to cast doubt on the election with evidence-free claims of fraud.

Colbert filmed the show shortly after Trump’s White House address, which The Washington Post called “a speech of historic dishonesty” and “a litany of falsehoods and grievances, with some baseless conspiracy theories thrown in for good measure.” The three major broadcast networks all cut away from the briefing not long after it started.

The late-night comedian was not in a joking mood, as he started off standing next to his desk and was dressed in all black clothing.

“We’re taping this just a little while after Donald Trump walked into the White House briefing room, actually, and tried to poison American democracy. That’s why I’m not sitting down yet. I just don’t feel like it yet,” he said in a video that started to make the rounds on social media early Friday morning. “That’s also why I’m dressed for a funeral. Because Donald Trump tried really hard to kill something tonight.”

He also implored Republicans who have stayed silent to condemn Trump. “Republicans have to speak up — all of them. Because for evil to succeed, all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing,” he said. “Say something right now, Republicans … it’s in your best interest. You only survived this up till now because a lot of voters didn’t want to believe everything that was obvious to so many of us: that Donald Trump is a fascist. And when it comes to democracy versus fascism, I’m sorry, there are not fine people on both sides. So you need to choose: Donald Trump or the American people? This is the time to get off the Trump train. Because he just told you where the train is going.”

Palmer Report, Opinion: Joe Biden has TAKEN THE LEAD in Georgia, Bill Palmer, Nov. 6, 2020 (4:25 am EST). Now Joe Biden has finally pulled ahead of Donald Trump in Georgia by 914 votes. There is every mathematical reason to expect Biden to remain in the lead and win the state. But based on how bill palmer report logo headerclose it could end up being, major news outlets could decide to wait until more straggler votes come in before calling the state. In any case, Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia merely gives him 269 electoral college votes. He needs 270 to win the presidency. So even if Georgia is called for him, he’ll need to win one additional state.

Nov. 4

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Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion:The world has seen this nightmare before, Wayne Madsen, left, Nov. 4, 2020. Voter suppression and intimidation resulted in what all the "predictions" had augured, an outright electoral victory was declared for a far-right and nationalist bloc. At two o'clock in the morning, with 90 percent of the vote counted, the far-right and nationalist bloc was declared wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallthe victor. Out of 648 seats in the national legislature, the far-right and nationalist bloc received a total of 341 or 52 percent.

The leader of the rightist bloc claimed immediate victory. Just as Donald Trump is trying to manipulate himself into a second term as U.S. president after a concerted campaign of voter suppression, mail-in ballot interference, and intimidation of voters, Adolf Hitler capped off his campaign victory by declaring that he had a popular mandate to scrap Germany's democracy in favor of authoritarian rule. Of course, Hitler's victory, after acts of violence committed by his followers on peaceful citizens, was a morally shallow one.

Make no mistake about it. What occurred in the morning of March 6, 1933 in Berlin was not much different than Trump, the son of a Nazi intelligence plant in New York City and other locations in the 1930s and 40s, declaring in the early morning hours of November 4, 2020 a premature victory in an election that had millions of ballots remaining to be counted.

djt smiling fileBy March 12, Hitler had added the Steel Helmets and Nazi Storm Troopers to the ranks of the police. Across the United States, police and pro-Trump militias and white nationalist provocateurs have been witnessed as comrades-in-arms.

The Nazi government also set out to purge the German Civil Service of all those who entered government service after 1918 and were not Nazi loyalists. Mr. Trump had ordered a similar purge of the U.S. Civil Service of non-Trump loyalists a few weeks prior to the November 3 election.

Today, there is no FDR to help guide the nation through economic and political turmoil. There is only a menacing Donald Trump, who has vowed to remain in power at all costs and with, perhaps, thousands of vigilantes, police, and armed militia gangs to enforce his every dictate.

djt biden smiles resized

washington post logoWashington Post, Counting continues in key battlegrounds: Biden 224, Trump 213, John Wagner, Nov. 4, 2020 (8:06 a.m. EST). White House race hangs in balance as votes are counted in key states.

With millions of votes still being counted, the outcome of the race between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden remained in flux, with the possibility that the winner would not be known for days. Key states where results were outstanding included Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan; Democratic stronghold counties in Georgia were still being counted, as well.

Early Wednesday, Trump falsely asserted election fraud, pledged to mount a legal challenge to official state results and made a premature claim of victory. Biden insisted that “we believe we’re on track to win this election” and pleaded for patience, citing several key states where the vote count was ongoing.

  • Biden is projected to win California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Oregon, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware and the District of Columbia, plus one electoral vote in Nebraska.
  • Trump is projected to win Texas, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Alabama, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Utah, West Virginia, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming, plus three electoral votes in Nebraska, according to Edison Research.
  • House Democrats appeared on track to secure another two years in the majority. But the party looked set to fall drastically short of its bullish predictions that it would cut deep into Trump country to grow its majority.
  • Party control of the Senate hung in the balance, but Democratic hopes of securing a majority appeared to dwindle.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Here’s what it comes down to now, Bill Palmer, right, Nov. 4, 2020 (7:37 a.m. EST). In the end, it all comes down to five states. The good news for Joe Biden is that the states he bill palmerneeds to win seem to be trending in his direction as the sun is coming up.

Joe Biden has clearly pulled ahead in Wisconsin. Decision Desk has him up by about 17,000 votes; MSNBC has him up by about 21,000 votes. Kornacki just said on air that there isn’t much bill palmer report logo headerleft to come in for Wisconsin one way or the other.

An hour ago Joe Biden was down by a couple hundred thousand votes in Michigan, but now Decision Desk says he’s behind by just 2,200 votes. With most of the uncounted votes in Biden-friendly places like Detroit, expert Nate Cohn tweeted that it’s trending toward Biden and that it “may not be particularly close.”

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosWe should potentially know the Wisconsin and Michigan results by sometime later today. If Joe Biden wins them both, then he’ll only need to win one state out of Nevada, Pennsylvania, and. Georgia.

Nevada has turned out to be surprisingly close, but Cohn is seeing a “pretty good set of news” for Biden in the state. Pennsylvania and Georgia could go either way at this point. But if Biden wins Nevada, Michigan and Wisconsin, then he’s at 270, it’s over, and won’t have to wait for Pennsylvania or Georgia.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Biden Urges Patience as Trump Threatens Court Action, Staff reports, Nov. 4, 2020. Dawn broke over the United States with the presidential election undecided and the specter of hours or even days of uncertainty ahead; Several states counted millions of ballots in razor-thin contests that could tip the balance to President Trump or Joe Biden; President Trump made reckless and baseless claims and said he would go to the Supreme Court before the vote count was complete. Here’s the latest.

Joe Biden expressed confidence to supporters, and President Trump falsely claimed victory. The threat of legal challenges mounted as lawyers were dispatched to battleground states. In Senate races, Democrats faced an uphill battle to claim a majority.

The morning after a chaotic, suspenseful Election Day, Americans awoke on Wednesday to the specter of hours or even days of uncertainty ahead, as several states counted millions of ballots in razor-thin contests that could tip the balance to President Trump or former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

After a long election night rife with dramatic twists and victories by both candidates, Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden battled to a near draw in electoral votes, each several dozen votes shy of the 270 needed to capture the presidency.

The field of battle had dwindled to a trio of northern states — Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — that vaulted Mr. Trump to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, as well as Arizona and Nevada, where Mr. Biden had narrow leads, and Georgia, where he trailed but was gaining ground with every vote counted. Mr. supreme court graphicTrump prematurely declared victory and said he would petition the Supreme Court to demand a halt to the counting. Mr. Biden urged his supporters — and by implication, Mr. Trump — to show patience and allow the process to play out.

Their dueling, post-midnight appearances captured the raw struggle of a contest that many feared would leap from the campaign trail to the courts, as Mr. Trump’s lawyers readied legal maneuvers.

The president’s statement, delivered in the White House, amounted to a reckless attack on the democratic process during a time of deep anxiety and division in the country. Mr. Biden, speaking from a flag-draped stage in Wilmington, Del., appealed for calm and tried to reassure supporters rattled by a vote that was much closer than the pollsters or political analysts had predicted.

“It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who has won this election,” Mr. Biden said, to a chorus of honking car horns at a drive-in rally. “That’s the decision of the American people.”

Mr. Trump, however, derided the vote-counting as “a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner,” he said. “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.”

Vote counting continued into the morning from Pennsylvania to Nevada, as election officials labored to process a flood of mail-in ballots and huge numbers of in-person votes in an election that was sure to shatter records.

So far, Mr. Trump was holding off Mr. Biden in two Southern states that the former vice president had hoped to snatch back from the Republican column: Georgia and North Carolina. These were not must-win states for Mr. Biden, but he spent heavily in both and visited them in the final stretch of the campaign.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump blatantly seeks to undermine democracy with attempts to falsely claim victory, subvert election, Dan Balz, Nov. 4, 2020. For four years, President Trump has sought to undermine the institutions of a democratic society, but never so blatantly as in the early morning hours of Wednesday. His attempt to falsely claim victory and to subvert the election itself by calling for a halt to vote-counting represents the gravest of threats to the stability of the country.

djt hands up mouth open CustomMillions of votes remain to be counted, votes cast legally under the laws of the states. Until they are all counted, the outcome of the election remains in doubt. Either he or former vice president Joe Biden could win an electoral college majority, but neither has yet done so, no matter what he says. Those are the facts, for which the president shows no respect.

A president who respected the Constitution would let things play out. But Trump has shown once again he cares not about the Constitution or the stability and well-being of the country or anything like that. He cares only about himself and retaining the powers he now holds. And so he cries “fraud” when there is no evidence whatsoever of any such thing.

amy coney barrett djt white house swearing in

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump campaign vows legal challenges as narrow race raises stakes for battles over which ballots will count, Elise Viebeck, Robert Barnes, Josh Dawsey, Emma Brown and Jon Swaine, Nov. 4, 2020. Razor-thin vote margins in a half-dozen presidential battleground states are raising the stakes for legal fights over which ballots will count, a strategy that President Trump’s campaign vowed Wednesday to aggressively pursue.

Legal experts noted that Trump cannot simply seek the Supreme Court’s intervention in the election and stop the counting of ballots, as he said early Wednesday that he intended to do.

djt pence yard sign logoBut with pivotal states such as Nevada, Michigan and Wisconsin still too close to call Wednesday morning, lawyers on both sides were gearing up for litigation — particularly over mail ballots. On Wednesday, the Trump campaign said it would immediately seek a recount in Wisconsin, where former vice president Joe Biden held a narrow edge.

Pennsylvania could also emerge as ground zero for legal jockeying. Before Election Day, the Supreme Court had declined to hear a challenge to the state’s extended deadline for accepting mail ballots, a case it could now take up if four justices agree. And Republicans have already filed two lawsuits in the state seeking to block votes from people who were allowed to correct mistakes on their mail ballots, alleging problems with that “cure” process.

Justin Clark, Trump’s deputy campaign manager, told allies, surrogates and donors in a call Wednesday morning that there will be “more litigation today, likely,” in the state, without offering specifics.

“We are full-court press to make sure all legal votes get counted properly in Pennsylvania,” he added, according to a recording of the call obtained by The Washington Post.

Top Trump campaign officials said that they expect a slate of legal challenges and have already deployed lawyers to a range of states.

“We are in recount territory in Wisconsin, in Michigan, the same way,” Clark said. “I believe we will be lodging legal challenges in both of those places because there is some . . . to counteract any funny business going on in both of those places.”

Meanwhile, the Biden campaign Wednesday said it was well-prepared to fend off any legal actions by the Trump campaign.

“We’re winning the election, we’ve won the election, and we’re going to defend that election,” Bob Bauer, a top attorney for the Biden campaign, said Wednesday morning in a call with reporters. “So we don’t have to do anything but protect the rights of voters and to stand up for the democratic process.”

Here are the voting lawsuits that could lead to post-election fights over ballots

Trump said early Wednesday that he wants the Supreme Court to determine which votes should count, falsely claiming victory while millions of votes were still outstanding.

“Frankly, we did win this election,” the president said at the White House. “We did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation. This is a very big moment. This is a major fraud in our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

There is no routine review of election results at the Supreme Court, and the court’s most consequential election case — Bush v. Gore, which effectively determined the outcome of the 2000 presidential race — did not arrive there for about a month.

The court’s power is constrained, and justices can entertain only specific constitutional questions that have risen from lower courts. A direct appeal from the president to intervene in an election does not count under these rules.

“You can’t bring a case directly to the Supreme Court in an election dispute. . . . And there’s no legal cause of action that says, ‘Stop the count and declare me the winner,’ ” said Joshua A. Douglas, law professor at the University of Kentucky’s Rosenberg College of Law.

Bauer said that if Trump at some point sought to go before the court to try to stop the counting of ballots that were lawfully cast, “he will be in for one of the most embarrassing defeats the president ever suffered before the highest court of the land.”

The Supreme Court’s work typically comes after a ruling in a case by a local judge that has gone through the appellate process. In Bush v. Gore, the court was reviewing decisions of the Florida Supreme Court, for instance, and issued its opinion Dec. 12, with the deadline for naming members of the electoral college looming.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Joe Biden pulls ahead, Donald Trump melts down about it, Twitter cracks down on him, Bill Palmer, Nov. 4, 2020. Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe just announced on NBC News that “all of the ballots have indeed been counted” in the state. This is a big deal because Biden is ahead by about 21,000 votes. No news outlet has called the state quite yet, but this mathematically means that Biden is the unofficial, likely, apparent, winner.

wisconsin map with largest cities Custombill palmer report logo headerMeanwhile Joe Biden pulled ahead in Michigan earlier this morning, and there is strong reason to believe that his lead there will continue to widen as the final ballots come in from Biden-friendly districts. If Biden wins Wisconsin and Michigan – along with Nevada, where he maintains a slim lead – then he’ll be President of the United States without even needing Pennsylvania or Georgia.

Suffice it to say that Donald Trump isn’t taking the news well. He tweeted a phony map which falsely claimed that Biden got 100% of late votes, adding “WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?” In response, Twitter quickly pasted over his tweet with a warning label about it being misleading. Twitter also pasted over another conspiratorial Trump tweet.

While nothing is certain, it’s now clear that Joe Biden is likely to win the election – and Donald Trump knows it. No wonder he’s melting down.

 ny times logoNew York Times, The Remaining Vote in Pennsylvania Appears to Be Overwhelmingly for Biden, Nate Cohn, Nov. 4, 2020. Updated 7:19 a.m. EST. The president leads by nearly 700,000 votes, but there are 1.4 million absentee votes outstanding.

Joe Biden has won absentee ballots counted in Pennsylvania by an overwhelming margin so far, according to data from the Secretary of State early Wednesday. If he carried the remaining absentee ballots by a similar margin, he would win the state.
Votes in Pennsylvania

President Trump leads by nearly 700,000 votes in Pennsylvania as of 5 a.m. on Wednesday, and Mr. Biden’s chances depend on whether he can win a large percentage of the more than 1.4 million absentee ballots that remain to be counted.

So far, Mr. Biden has won absentee voters in Pennsylvania, 78 percent to 21 percent, according to the Secretary of State’s office. The results comport with the findings of pre-election surveys and an analysis of absentee ballot requests, which all indicated that Mr. Biden held an overwhelming lead among absentee voters.
If Mr. Biden won the more than 1.4 million absentee votes by such a large margin, he would net around 800,000 votes — enough to overcome his deficit statewide.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that Mr. Biden will win the remaining absentee vote by quite so much.

Nov. 2

david kaplan

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Has the Court Learned Nothing From Bush v. Gore? Apparently not, David A. Kaplan (author of The Accidental President: How 413 Lawyers, 9 Supreme Court Justices and 5,963,110 Floridians (Give or Take a Few) Landed George W. Bush in the White House, and The Most Dangerous Branch, shown above), Nov. 2, 2020.

You remember the legal horror show called Bush v. Gore? The Supreme Court couldn’t possibly replicate that. But don’t underestimate the justices’ capacity for self-inflicted wounds. The sequel’s being scripted and it may be worse.

Twenty years ago, the court stepped in to halt a recount in the disputed 2000 presidential election. Both the Constitution and federal law specifically entrusted Congress to resolve such a deadlock. But the justices recklessly inserted themselves anyway. The fiercely divided ruling cost the court its legitimacy and hurt the country.

Now there are widespread worries that the court will jump in again. “I think this will end up in the Supreme Court,” President Trump said in late September. Having just placed Amy Coney Barrett, the sixth Republican-appointed justice on the court, he is evidently thrilled about that prospect.

Only two justices remain on the court who were there in 2000 — Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Have they and their fellow justices learned anything from the court’s misadventure?

One of the biggest myths about the court — born of its continuing gratuitous interventions in contentious issues that should have been left to Congress and states — is that it had no choice but to meddle. That self-proclaimed textualist, Justice Antonin Scalia, told an interviewer years after Bush v. Gore, “We were the laughingstock of the world — the world’s greatest democracy that couldn’t conduct an election.” He omitted any mention of where in the Constitution he had unearthed a “Laughingstock” clause that justified the court’s intrusion.

On occasion, he had a smugger response when asked about the 5-to-4 ruling. “Get over it!” he’d say. Justice David Souter, who dissented, never did, so appalled was he about Bush v. Gore.

The court’s docket is discretionary. The only plausible explanation for the court’s taking up Bush v. Gore is institutional arrogance — the belief that the justices alone could save the country from a crisis that wasn’t a crisis. But the Constitution and a federal statute provide what to do in such instances, even if a president isn’t chosen by Inauguration Day. That hubris not only made the justices look like partisans in robes but also raised the stakes for future court nominations.

When the court shuts down a recount, invents an individual’s right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, unleashes big money into campaigns, guts voting rights and sets abortion policy, presidents and senators react accordingly. The storm over Justice Barrett’s confirmation is the latest chapter in a story that begins with the justices themselves.

Bush v. Gore involved just one state, Florida. This year, that case might look like a picnic. With so many battleground states and with hundreds of lawsuits, no doubt this is the most litigated election ever.

Still, elections should be garden-variety state matters, even races for the presidency. State courts should be left to make decisions based on their own state laws and state constitutions. Yet there’s plenty of reason to think some of the justices would be happy to substitute their own judgment.

In 2000, the court’s logic was that the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection” rendered Florida’s system unconstitutional because different counties used different standards to evaluate contested ballots. Never mind that the counties all set out to determine the intent of any given voter. Never mind that George W. Bush’s lawyers had raised the equal protection argument only in passing.

Why would they do otherwise? There were 3,141 counties in the United States. Most contained multiple municipalities, most of which had separate voting precincts. There were different machines, ballot designs and instructions. Lines could be short in some neighborhoods, around the block in others. Many of the disparities disproportionately affected Black people, the chief intended beneficiaries of the 14th Amendment. Yet the court had never gone near declaring that such variances amounted to constitutional transgressions.

In Bush v. Gore, the justices did. Had they finally seen the light when it came to voting inequities? Nope. They were apparently ambivalent enough about their own reasoning that they said the case should not be considered a precedent. Bush v. Gore is the Lord Voldemort of Supreme Court jurisprudence — the case that must not be named.

ny times logoNew York Times, Federal Judge Rejects G.O.P. Attempt to Toss 127,000 Ballots in Texas, David Montgomery and Nick Corasaniti, Nov. 2, 2020. Republicans had tried to invalidate votes that were cast at drive-through locations in Harris County, a Democratic stronghold that includes Houston.

A federal judge in Houston on Monday rejected Republican efforts to invalidate more than 127,000 votes that were cast at drive-through locations in Harris County, a Democratic stronghold that includes Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city.

texas mapThe lawsuit was one of the most aggressive moves by Republicans in an election marked by more than 400 voting-related lawsuits. And it came as Texas, long considered reliably Republican in presidential elections, has emerged as a swing state this year, with polls showing an unusually close race there.

Harris County, the most populous county in Texas, is home to one of the state’s largest concentrations of Democratic voters. It had set up 10 drive-through voting sites to offer a safe, in-person voting option amid the pandemic, and polls were open for 18 days.

But in a lawsuit, Republicans argued that Chris Hollins, the Harris County Clerk, did not have the authority to allow drive-through voting in the county.

Judge Andrew S. Hanen, a federal judge who was appointed by former president George W. Bush, held an emergency hearing for the lawsuit on Monday and ruled against tossing the ballots. On Sunday, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court had rejected a similar effort to get those ballots tossed out.

“We win,” texted Susan Hays, the elections counsel for Mr. Hollins.

In a motion on Friday asking to intervene in the case, Democrats said the suit threatened to “throw Texas’ election into chaos by invalidating the votes of more than 127,000 eligible Texas voters who cast their ballots” at the drive-through sites. The motion was filed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the campaign of M.J. Hegar, a Democratic candidate for the Senate in Texas.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Republicans now think Texas courts don’t decide their own election law, Steve Vladeck (professor at the University of Texas School of Law, co-editor in chief of Just Security, co-host of the National Security Law Podcast and a CNN legal analyst), Nov. 2, 2020. The Harris County drive-through voting case has national ramifications.

On Monday, a day before Election Day, federal district court Judge Andrew Hanen will hold a hearing on whether Harris County, Tex., clerk Chris Hollins violated the Constitution by making provisions for some Houstonians to vote in drive-through polling stations.

Although the same lawsuit has been rejected twice by the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court, the plaintiffs — who include a prominent Republican activist and a Republican state legislator — are asking Hanen to invalidate more than 100,000 ballots cast, in some instances, in temporary structures set up by Harris County. His decision may not tip the outcome of the presidential election, but it could influence a number of down-ballot races, and maybe even control of Texas’s house of representatives.

texas mapLike so many 11th-hour voting-related suits filed by Republicans in recent weeks, this suit has almost nothing to do with voter fraud. Rather, it’s the latest in a consistent and cynical line of suits — in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, among others — that appear motivated by partisan gain, assuming that the exclusion of any set of ballots from Harris County, the third-largest in the country and one of Texas’s key Democratic strongholds, is good for Republicans.

The Harris County case, in particular, gives away the game: It lays bare how little this case and others have to do with the public interest. And it’s easy to see how the plaintiffs’ argument, if taken seriously by the court and followed to its logical conclusion, would actually invalidate any number of state election laws on the ground that no two jurisdictions have exactly the same voting rules.

It would certainly be less chaotic if all Americans voted pursuant to a uniform set of federally imposed procedures — if forms, machines, drop-box specifications, mail-in ballot receipt deadlines and early voting schedules were exactly the same, from county to county and state to state — but inefficiency is not, of itself, unconstitutional.

The suit is already beset with procedural problems: Although the drive-through voting policy was announced months ago, piloted this summer and had the tacit approval of Texas’s director of elections, the plaintiffs waited until last week to first bring this federal suit. It’s also unclear how these plaintiffs (or anyone else, for that matter) are injured by having eligible voters cast timely ballots. And under something called the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, lawsuits like this — in which someone who lost in state court brings the same suit against the same party in federal court — are supposed to be barred. In other words, without ever reaching the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims, this suit could — and should — be quickly dismissed.

The merits of the suit are a sloppy rehash of two different arguments that have shown up in a number of these recent lawsuits: The first claim is that, by allowing drive-through voting, Hollins usurped the power of Texas’s legislature under the federal Constitution to set the rules for elections. Never mind that, by statute, Texas already gives election administrators some flexibility over the exact physical spaces used for polling places; that drive-through voting used security procedures and equipment comparable to that at permanent indoor stations; and that Texas’s Supreme Court, the definitive expositor of Texas election law, turned away the plaintiffs’ objections.

On Nov. 2, one day before Election Day, federal court Judge Andrew Hanen holds a hearing on whether Houston drive-through polling stations will be counted. (The Washington Post)

Trump says he can adjourn Congress. He's misreading the Constitution.

In the alternative, the plaintiffs argue, allowing citizens of Harris County to vote via drive-through voting in this respect violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, because Harris County has adopted a “manner of voting” not adopted by other counties. Never mind that different counties in Texas have different rules about the number and locations of polling places, their hours of operation during early voting and so on. Indeed, for one night, Harris County also offered 24-hour early-voting centers. Was that likewise unconstitutional entirely because other counties didn’t?

In essence, the plaintiffs are taking the equal protection argument controversially adopted by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore (which, despite the justices’ specific admonition to the contrary, these plaintiffs cite as authority), and stretching it well beyond its breaking point. In Bush v. Gore, the equal protection violation the justices identified was that different counties were using different standards to evaluate the intent of voters for ballots that had “hanging” or “dimpled” chads. If the same two voters indented their ballots in the exact same way, it was possible that the vote would count in one jurisdiction but not in another.

Today, the argument is not about the same two voters having the same ballot counted differently; it’s about access to voting. And if what Harris County did violates equal protection, then unless every single voter in a state has the exact same access to a polling place in every single respect, the state law is unconstitutional. Were that so, then a host of state election laws would have to be struck down. States would have to ensure a comparable number of polling places per capita; that polling places were roughly the same location from voters in every jurisdiction; that the voting hours and staffing for polling places were uniform; and any number of other technical requirements that rather miss the point — which, in case we need to be reminded, is to enable eligible voters to vote.

The absurd legal theory conservative judges are using to restrict voting

Galling, also, is that like other recent election lawsuits, the plaintiffs (and some courts) completely fail to acknowledge the other side of the equation — the 100,000-plus Harris County voters who stand to have their votes invalidated — having voted under rules announced in advance, approved by local officials, and left intact during weeks of early voting, potentially too late for them to do anything about it. Just like Minnesota voters whose otherwise valid mail-in ballots may be tossed because a federal appeals court suggested that the state may have erroneously extended the receipt deadline for such ballots, the mind-set appears to be that no cost is too high, and no amount of disenfranchised voters too large, in cases where, at most, local election officials erred on the side of counting more legal votes from eligible voters. What some courts forget is that these citizens who voted in good faith, before these suits were filed, also have 14th Amendment rights.

That’s perhaps the most stunning feature of this latest suit. When courts consider whether to enjoin government action, they’re supposed to consider more than just the merits of the case. Among the traditional factors in such cases are whether the plaintiffs have suffered an irreparable injury; whether that injury has no other remedy; whether the balance of hardships weighs more strongly in favor of the plaintiffs or the defendant; and whether the public interest would be served by injunctive relief.

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘Presidents Don’t Determine Who Gets to Vote,’ Biden Says, Katie Glueck, Nov. 2, 2020. Joseph R. Biden Jr. kicked off the final day before the election with a foray into a state that for four years has been a symbol of Democratic disappointment: Ohio.

“Ohio: One more day!” Mr. Biden said at a drive-in rally at an airport hangar in Cleveland. “Tomorrow we have an opportunity to put an end to a presidency that’s divided this nation. Tomorrow we can put an end to a presidency that has failed to protect this nation. And tomorrow we can put an end to a presidency that’s fanned the flames of hate all across this country.”

“My message is simple,” Mr. Biden said. “The power to change the country is in your hands.”

His remarks there come amid record-setting early in-person voting in Cuyahoga County, a major Democratic county in a Trump-friendly state that his team has watched closely. Ohio, which helped deliver the presidency to Donald J. Trump in 2016, is still seen by many Democrats as a reach for Mr. Biden, who is otherwise expected to spend the day campaigning in nearby western Pennsylvania.

But his campaign is seeking to create as many pathways to 270 electoral votes as possible, and a number of officials on Mr. Biden’s team have personal connections to the state, including Steve Ricchetti, a top Biden adviser and Ohio native.

“Ohio is like Iowa, is like Texas,” said Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, in a briefing later Monday. “These expansion states on both sides that, you know, frankly, are in play. And what we’ve seen coming into this final stretch is that more states are in play than less.”

“They’re in play even further,” she added, “if we keep pushing on turnout.”

At the rally, Mr. Biden also referenced the electoral success of Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, in a state that has become increasingly challenging for Democrats. “So when Sherrod tells me to come to Ohio the day before, I come to Ohio,” Mr. Biden said.

Ohio twice voted for the Obama-Biden ticket, Mr. Biden reminded voters on Monday.

“In 2008, 2012, you placed your trust in me and Barack,” Mr. Biden said. “In 2020 I’m asking you to trust me again. I’m proud of the coalition this campaign has built. We welcome Democrats, Republicans and independents.”

In his remarks, Mr. Biden took aim at Mr. Trump’s remarks on Sunday in which he appeared to entertain the idea of firing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert.

“Elect me and I’m going to hire Dr. Fauci,” Mr. Biden said. “We’re going to fire Donald Trump.”

In his address in Ohio, Mr. Biden hit many of the same things he has been stressing for months, even years in some cases: that Mr. Trump’s divisive presidency poses a unique threat to the nation’s character, that he does not respect even members of the military, that he does not grasp the threat of climate change and that he has mishandled the pandemic at every turn.

“The first step to beating the virus,” Mr. Biden said, “is beating Donald Trump.”

Mr. Biden then headed to Pennsylvania, where he, Senator Kamala Harris and their spouses, Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff, are fanning out across the state, seeking to promote his message to a broad coalition of voters and, in some cases, also targeting their message toward key House districts.

Nov. 2

American System TV, Opinion: On Election Day, Vote to Free American from the Nightmare of Trump and Trumpism, Webster G. Tarpley, Jr., right, Nov.2, 2020.  webster tarpley 2007Fate of US and World Is Riding on This Election; Almost 100 Million Americans So Far Have Made Clear that They Believe in Voting and Majority Rule, Unlike the Aspiring Great Dictator.

Trump Claim of Victory Would Be Seen as Signal to Fascist Gangs to Attack, Providing a Pretext for Martial Law and Halting of Vote Count; Dems’ Legal Defense Chief Bob Bauer Says They Are Ready; Federal Judge Rejects Attempt by Texas GOP to Shred 125,000 Drive-Thru Ballots.

Experienced Political Operatives and Pollsters Predict That Trump’s Defeat Could Be Obvious by About Ten O’Clock Tuesday Evening; They Predict Alternatives Come Down to a Skinny Biden Win with About 300 Electoral Votes, or else a Biden Landslide Victory; Biden Warned Never to Concede or Capitulate; Carville Urges that Biden Declare Himself the Winner Early in the Evening to Beat Trump to the Draw.

Biden’s Simplest Path is Winning Clinton States, Plus Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, along with North Carolina or Georgia as Insurance Against Surprises Elsewhere.

Democrats Expected to Gain 10 to 15 Seats in House; GOP’s Senate Majority Likely to Evaporate; Total Wipeout for Republicans Could Put GOP on Path to Extinction as National Force.

At This Point, Any Riot is a Pro-Trump Riot, and Must Be Denounced and Isolated; Deranged Ultra-Left Provocateurs Tout Plans to Shut Down Washington Without Waiting for Election Result; Their Posturing is Grist for Propaganda Mill of Alt-Right!

 

October

Oct. 31

 djt march 2020 Custom

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Polling Inspires Cautious Optimism That Would-Be Dictator Can Be Defeated, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Oct. 31, 2020. Persons of webster tarpley 2007Good Will Must Devote Every Waking Hour to Defense of Democracy with Biden; 91 Million Americans Have Now Voted.

Record 100,000 Covid Cases and 1,000 Deaths on Friday Give the Lie to Trump’s Mantra That US Has Turned the Corner.

Trump Machine Prepares Legal Obstructions to Negate the Will of the People, with Focus on Attacking Blue Wall of PA, MI, WI; US Postal Service Thoroughly Sabotaged by GOP Stooge DeJoy.

djt maga hatDon’s Mouthpieces Will Work in Tandem with Gangs of Fascist Hooligans Encouraged to Harass and Intimidate Voters while Posing as Poll Watchers; Fascists Planning to Attack Elections in Oregon, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania; National Guard Deployed in Philadelphia; Democratic Governors and Mayors Must Not Hesitate to Deploy Guard if Riots Erupt; Any Riot Now S a Pro-Trump Riot, Allowing Him to Impose His Brand of Martial Law to Stop Voting; Oath Keeper Honcho Blusters His Phalanxes Will Arrest Deep State if Biden Wins.

boris johnson tieDeclaring “No Alternative,” Trump Clone BoJo (Boris Johnson, right) Institutes Lockdown Light with Schools Open in England and Across UK, Citing Threat to NHS Hospital System; Promises 80% of Wages Will Be Paid; Move Follows Similar Restrictions by Italy, Spain, France, and Germany.

A Mirror for Kushner and Kayleigh: France’s Marshal Pétain Worked During 1930s to Weaken France, and Helped Impose Surrender in 1940: He Knew Fascists Were an Unpopular Minority Which Could Take Power Only in Wake of Huge National Defeat; After 1940 Crushing of France, Pétain Ended Democratic Republic and Set Up Vichy Fascist Regime as German Puppet State; Same Pattern Can Be Seen with Covid Today.

Breaking: Friedman of New York Times Calls on Biden to Form National Unity Government to Include Top Republicans after Trump Defeat; But Long Overdue US Party Re-Alignment Requires That GOP Quickly Follow Federalists, Whigs, and Knownothings into Oblivion; GOP as Party of Trump Enablers Has Earned Extinction, So Let’s Be Sure They Get It This Year; Incorrigible Republicans Cannot Be Salvaged or Break Habits of Plutocracy and Sabotage of Public Interest.

Oct. 30

amy coney barrett djt white house swearing in

Buzzflash, Investigation: Amy Coney Barrett Got Thousands of Tainted GOP Mail-In Ballots Counted in Florida in 2000, Invaluably Helping Bush to Steal Election, Staff report, Oct. 30, 2020. Amy Coney Barrett set the tone for her role as a party hack on the Supreme Court as she willingly posed maskless with Donald j. Trump for campaign photo-ops on the night of her nomination on Monday (shown above in a White House photo).

Amy Coney Barrett set the tone for her role as a party hack on the Supreme Court as she willingly posed maskless with Donald j. Trump for campaign photo-ops on the night of her nomination on Monday. (The White House)

Amy Coney Barrett, that icon of judicial integrity — as Trump and the DC Republicans would have you believe — may soon commit gross hypocrisy if she rules on Team Trump’s efforts to have Democratic votes invalidated in the 2020 election. In fact, the SCOTUS dissenters in allowing Pennsylvania to allow three extra days for the state to count ballots postmarked by November 3 but delivered up to three days later, indicate they may consider retroactively tossing out the votes.

Barrett didn’t vote on the Florida and North Carolina cases because, according to the Court, she did not have the time to read up on them, but she will likely rule on Trump retroactive voter suppression and theft of the election legal efforts after the election unless Biden wins with an irreversible lead.

A clear argument can be made that she allowed herself to be used as a pawn for Trump’s reelection with two White House appearances and a photo-op on the Truman balcony. A stronger case can be made because she helped implement a legal strategy in 2000, working through a law firm for the Bush campaign, that allowed the counting of thousands of Republican absentee ballot requests with missing information to be taken out of a Republican-run county election office and filled out by local Republican operatives at another location.

As Mother Jones on October 11:

Republicans sought to count mail ballots that were disputed by Democrats because of evidence that Republican operatives had altered incomplete absentee ballot request forms. That position stands in sharp contrast to Trump’s current assault on mail voting. But there’s a certain consistency here: Republicans will take whatever stance on mail ballots maximizes their electoral chances. And Barrett’s work in 2000 suggests she might be willing to play along.

Election Law Blog added:

After county officials allowed the GOP to take the forms back and fill in the missing information, a Democratic voter sued, saying ballots cast by those voters should be tossed out. The county canvassing board, the Florida Republican Party and the Bush campaign argued that the votes should still count.

Barrett’s work on the case serves as a reminder of how aggressively the Republican Party has sought to harness mail voting for years, in contrast to President Trump’s relentless attacks on the practice….

Request forms sent by the party to Republican voters mistakenly omitted their voter registration numbers, leading those requests to be set aside by the Martin County elections office. The county elections supervisor allowed a local Republican Party official to take the incomplete request forms [out of the office], add the missing numbers and return them the following day, according to court filings. GOP voters who had used the request forms to seek absentee ballots were then able to receive them….

Democrats sued that neither the Marin County or nearby Seminole County, which had up to 25,000 absentee ballot irregularities “corrected,” should not have these “tainted” votes counted, which Barrett and her legal colleague argued for the counting of the ballots. A state court ruled with Barrett’s argument and the Bush Campaign, and Bush “won” Florida by 537 votes until the Supreme Court anointed him president by a 5-4 vote, while it forbade a recount that would have made Al Gore president.

The state and county Democrats said that the process had been so tainted and in violation of Florida Election law (Democrats absentee ballot requests were not corrected and the Democrats were not notified that their absentee ballot requests were not processed), including allowing Republican operatives to break the chain of vote custody by taking the ballot requests out of the election office. But the Gore campaign curiously did not join the suit, and so the state Democrats lost the case.

An October 10 Washington Post article confirms these details of Barrett’s role in an article entitled, “How Amy Coney Barrett Played a Role in Bush v. Gore — and Helped the Republican Party Defend Mail Ballots.”

Meanwhile, just recently in Iowa, according to CBS News:

Iowa's highest court upheld a state directive Wednesday that was used to invalidate tens of thousands of absentee ballot requests mailed to voters pre-filled with their personal information.

The Iowa Supreme Court issued its ruling in favor of President Donald Trump's campaign and Republican groups as Trump held an evening rally in Des Moines.

The court rejected a Democratic challenge that argued the directive issued by Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate was unconstitutional.

In a similar vein, Brett Kavanaugh, who was coming off his recent role as top aide to the Ken Starr inquisition of Bill Clinton, was also aiding the Bush Campaign in 2000 to argue for what Trump would call fraudulent mail-in votes to be counted. According to The Intellectualist:

However, in Bush v. Gore — the Supreme Court decision that handed the presidency to a man who lost the popular vote — a younger Kavanaugh argued it would be unfair if ballots received after election day were not counted.

Kavanaugh was on the legal team that “argued during that contested election that ballots arriving late and without postmarks, which were thought to benefit Bush, must be counted in Florida,” Salon noted on Tuesday.

In 2001, The New York Times laid out how Bush’s team went about ensuring his presidential win….

Now, Kavanaugh — as well as a slew of Republicans, including President Donald Trump — argue that ballots received after Election Day should not be counted, claiming it opens the door to fraud and will cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election results.

As Salon noted,

Whatever the reasons behind Kavanaugh’s performance on Monday, he has given the nation another legitimate reason to fear that this election may end with a Bush v. Gore–like disaster for American democracy, but even worse than the original.

On Monday night, Kavanaugh debased the dignity of the Supreme Court in parroting Trump in claiming a presidential winner should be announced on November 3, because it would be unfair to count votes, even if they arrived before that day, because it would be unfair to the candidate leading on November 3. These were the ludicrous claims of a party hack, not a Supreme Court justice.

Justice Elena Kagan took snarling Kavanaugh to the woodshed:

Justice Kagan: Justice Kavanaugh alleges that “suspicions of impropriety” will result if “absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election.” Ante, at 7. But there are no results to “flip” until all valid votes are counted. And nothing could be more “suspicio[us]” or“improp[er]” than refusing to tally votes once the clock strikes 12 on election night. To suggest otherwise, especially in these fractious times, is to disserve the electoral process.

Finally, remember that John Roberts is a third lawyer on the Supreme Court who worked on legal strategy for the theft of the 2000 election by George W. Bush.

American System Radio, Opinion: Four Days before General Election, US Proceeds toward Fateful Choice between Freedom and Fascism, Webster G. webster tarpley 2007Tarpley, right, Oct. 29, 2020. Vote Now by Any Available Means to Make Sure You Get on the World-Historical Scoreboard.

After Atrocity Shooting of Black Citizen Walter Wallace Jr. by Philadelphia Cops, Protests Multiply, but Provocateurs Also Move in, Fomenting Widespread Looting and Violence; Trump’s Demagogy Seizes in Situation; 11 People Shot and Scores of Police Injured; Highly Suspicious Van Found with Propane Tanks, Torches and Possible Dynamite; Gov. Wolf and Mayor Kenny Have Mobilization National Guard; Situation Must Be Pacified Quickly for Sake of National Election; Philadelphia DA Krassner Warns Proud Boys and Other Trump to Stay Away or Be Jailed; After Failure of anti-Hunter Biden Offensive, Is GOP Eyeing Riots and Martial Law as Ways to Interfere with Vote?

Looking Back at 2000: Biden and Rest of Party Must Know That No Concession to Trump Will Be Acceptable to Rank and File Voters under Any Circumstances Whatsoever; Instead, Country Needs Determined Will to Fight Through to Victory for Constitutional Government under Biden, Not Dictatorship by Financier Oligarchy and Its Puppet.

How Lincoln Defied Supreme Court Chief Justice and Traitor Roger Taney to Save Washington, and Rejected Dictatorship of Supreme Court at Opening of Civil War; Breaking: US Exceeds 85,000 Cases Today, the Worst Toll Ever; In Georgia, Ossoff Excels in Debate with Sleazy Sen. Purdue.

Oct. 26

American System Radio, Opinion: Barrett Confirmed for Supreme Court by 52-48 Vote in Senate, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Oct. 26, 2020. Ultra-Reactionary webster tarpley 2007Majority of Republican Legal Positivists Takes Shape on High Court; GOP Orgy of Rule Breaking Must Set Stage for Reform of Hijacked Court, Adding Justices; New Extremist Majority Is Designed to Enable a Trump November Coup and Resulting Dictatorship; Perversion of Judiciary Was Key Feature of Fascist Regimes Like Italy in 1920s and Germany in 1930s; Expect Atrocities against Constitution and General Welfare within Days!

More Plans for Second Term Dictatorship: Trump Wants to Fire Esper of Pentagon, Wray of FBI, and Haspel of CIA; Replacements Are Guaranteed to Be Worse; Don Plans Purge of Federal Civil Service and Removal of Safeguards against Partisan Thuggery; Ronald Sanders, a Trump Appointee on Civil Service Commission, Resigns in Protest

FBI logoEurope and US Face Exponential Growth of Pandemic, as Spain and Italy Implement New Countermeasures; White House Chief of Staff Meadows Admits US Defeat in Pandemic That Trump Cannot Control; Herd Immunity Rules; On Campaign Trail, Trump Again Suggests that Contagion Is Political Hoax against Him That Will Disappear on November 4; US Deaths Pass 225,000.

Biden to Campaign in Georgia, Visiting Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Polio Treatment Center at Warm Springs.

Note to Media: Stop Helping GOP by Calling Them Conservatives! Most Are Reactionaries, with Not a Few Fascists! Breaking: In Harbinger of Horrors to Come, pre-Barrett Supreme Court Stops Wisconsin from Counting Mail-In Ballots Arriving after Election Day.

Oct. 24

American System Network, Opinion: Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin at the Crossroads of World History as Struggle Enters Final Ten Days, Webster G. webster tarpley 2007Tarpley, right, Oct. 26, 2020. Time to Vote Trump Out for the Sake of the Nation and of Humanity!

Are You Better Off Now? Manufacturing Jobs in These Three States Plus Ohio, North Carolina, and Minnesota Have Been Reduced by over 188,000 under Trump after Increasing by over 126,000 in Obama’s Second Term; Three Quarters of Americans Want Another Package of Economic Stimulus and Pandemic Relief Now, but 20 Senate GOP Ultra-Reactionaries Are Blocking Needed Action; Two Thirds Welcome Biden’s Plan to Reach 97% Coverage with a Public Option as Employer-Based Insurance Becomes Scarcer; Trump’s Super-Spreader Rallies Are the New Trail of Tears: Friends Don’t Let Friends Attend!

With 84,000 New Infections Reported on Friday, US Rounds the Turn to All-Time Daily Record for Highest Number of Covid Cases During Current Pandemic; Europe on Path into Grim Winter; President of Poland Tests Positive; Italy, Spain, UK, and France Eye More Restrictions.

Moscow Mitch Breaks Senate Rules, Pushes Toward Confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett on Monday; Trump Gang Laying Groundwork for Political Purge of Federal Civil Service If He Wins Second Term; As Defeat Looms, Feuds Break Out in Trump Camp: “De Facto Chief of Staff” Lou Dobbs Calls for Defeat of Lindsey Graham for Not Using His Committee to Slander Biden; Wray and Barr Are Still Targets of Don’s Wrath!

Oct. 23

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Investigation: $80 million dark money group tied to Trump Supreme Court advisor, Leonard Leo, Robert Maguire, Oct. 23, 2020. A close informal advisor to President Trump who has been deeply involved in all three of his Supreme Court nomination battles is the sole trustee of a mysterious group that brought in more than $80 million in 2018, according to a previously unreported tax return uncovered by CREW. The filing vastly expands the amount of money known to be flowing into the growing constellation of dark money groups tied to Federalist Society co-chairman Leonard Leo and provides new details about his role in a secretive firm that was responsible for one of the largest donations received by President Trump’s inaugural committee.

What makes Rule of Law Trust (RLT) particularly interesting is that despite its $80 million haul, the group seems remarkably hollow. It claimed it had no employees and no volunteers in its first year and listed what appears to be a virtual office in Virginia as its main address. Its stated mission is “to advance conservative principles and causes through communications, research, strategy and assistance to other organizations,” but there’s no apparent public information to demonstrate what that work entails, not even a website.

In an unusual financial arrangement, the group also appears to have channeled nearly all of its $2.7 million in expenditures through the BH Group — an enigmatic firm that, the filing reveals, is partly owned by Leo. The company has long been known to be tied to Leo, but the nature of his role was unknown until now. Just months after it was formed in 2016, the BH Group gave $1 million to President Trump’s inaugural committee — though the only known funds that it has received during that time came from other dark money groups allied with Leo. The ultimate source of the money remains unknown to this day.

“The filing vastly expands the amount of money known to be flowing into the growing constellation of dark money groups tied to Federalist Society co-chairman Leonard Leo.”

The only other people linked to RLT in the sparse filing are either longtime Federalist Society officials-turned-consultants like Leo, or operatives with a long history working behind the scenes on dark money groups tied to Leo. For example, RLT’s single largest payment in 2018 was a $1.5 million consulting fee paid to Jonathan Bunch, a former vice president of the Federalist Society who has been involved in a number of entities tied to Leo. Bunch is now the president of CRC Advisors, a firm formed by Leo this past January. RLT paid an additional $300,004 to a firm called YAS, LLC for consulting. According to DC government records, the firm is registered to Maria Marshall, a former director of operations at the Federalist Society who currently serves as the vice president of CRC Advisors.

The records for RLT are maintained by Neil Corkery — who, along with his wife, Ann, is a longtime ally of Leo’s and has been tied to some of the largest conservative dark money groups in the country for more than a decade. Neil Corkery’s most notable connection is to two groups called the Wellspring Committee and Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), both 501(c)(4) social welfare groups like RLT. For ten years, from 2008 until its termination in 2018, Wellspring served as little more than a passthrough for anonymous money into politically active nonprofits that spent tens of millions of dollars on elections around the country and, in the case of JCN, judicial nominations. Leo has never personally held a formal position at either group, but he is reportedly closely involved in the fundraising for both groups.

As of last year, JCN operated out of an office on the same hallway as the Federalist Society in downtown Washington, DC. For years, JCN has been funded almost entirely by the Wellspring Committee — which was in turn funded by massive seven- and eight-figure contributions from anonymous donors. In 2016, JCN spent millions to pressure senators to not consider President Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. The following year, it poured millions into the fight to confirm President Trump’s first nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, to fill the same seat on the bench. The group’s president, Carrie Severino, tweeted a picture from Gorsuch’s swearing-in in the White House Rose Garden.

In 2018, the cycle repeated for Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination, and now JCN is pouring millions into the fight to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat opened by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Throughout these confirmation contests, Wellspring and JCN have funneled millions of dollars into the BH Group. Leo’s ties to the firm were first identified after he listed it as his employer on a contribution reported to the Federal Election Commission, but the nature of his role in the BH Group has been unclear for years. The Rule of Law Trust filing offers some new details, though. In a note buried deep in the return, RLT reports having reimbursed the BH Group for more than $4.3 million in expenditures that it describes as “independent contractor expenses incurred on behalf of Rule of Law Trust” and notes that BH Group is “more than 35% owned by Leonard Leo.”

But even as the note provides new details, it raises new questions. In particular, it explains that the more than $2.7 million that RLT spent in 2018 was funneled through the BH Group. In other words, it appears that a firm partly owned by the sole trustee of RLT paid all of RLT’s expenses, including $1.8 million in consulting payments to two former Federalist Society associates who now work at a consulting firm founded by the trustee, and then RLT reimbursed that firm for the expenses.

Another question looms even larger, though, stemming from the fact that RLT ended 2018 with more than $78.2 million on hand. What did it actually do with all its money? It’s not clear, and because of the lag in filings for nonprofit groups like this, no 2019 tax return is currently available. The group likely won’t file a 2020 tax return until late 2021. The same goes for the growing number of dark money groups tied to Leo in recent years.

A picture is emerging, but it will take years to sort out. One thing is clear, though: Leo and his allies have amassed a massive war chest of anonymous donations for their fight to remake the federal judiciary.

Oct. 21

Guardian, Revealed: ex-members of Amy Coney Barrett faith group tell of trauma and sexual abuse, Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Oct, 21, 2020. People of Praise hire lawyers to investigate historical sexual abuse allegations as former members speak of ‘emotional torment.’ 

Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the supreme court has prompted former members of her secretive faith group, the People of Praise, to come forward and share stories about emotional trauma and – in at least one case – sexual abuse they claim to have suffered at the hands of members of the Christian group.
'It instilled such problems': ex-member of Amy Coney Barrett's faith group speaks out.

In the wake of the allegations, the Guardian has learned that the charismatic Christian organization, which is based in Indiana, has hired the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan to conduct an “independent investigation” into sexual abuse claims on behalf of People of Praise.

The historic sexual abuse allegations and claims of emotional trauma do not pertain specifically to Barrett, who has been a lifelong member of the charismatic group, or her family.

But some former members who spoke to the Guardian said they were deeply concerned that too little was understood about the “community” of People of Praise ahead of Barrett’s expected confirmation by the Senate next week, after which she will hold the seat formerly held by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Two people familiar with the matter say that more than two dozen former members of the faith group, many of whom say they felt “triggered” by Barrett’s nomination, are participating in a support group to discuss how the faith group affected their lives.

“The basic premise of everything at the People of Praise was that the devil controlled everything outside of the community, and you were ‘walking out from under the umbrella of protection’ if you ever left,” said one former member who called herself Esther, who had to join the group as a child but then left the organization. “I was OK with it being in a tiny little corner of Indiana, because a lot of weird stuff happens in tiny little corners in this country. But it’s just unfathomable to me – I can’t even explain just how unfathomable it is – that you would have a supreme court justice who is a card-carrying member of this community.”

Barrett was not asked about her involvement in People of Praise during her confirmation hearings last week, and has never included her involvement with the group in Senate disclosure forms, but has in the past emphasized that her religious faith as a devout Catholic would not interfere with her impartiality.

People of Praise is rooted in the rise of charismatic Christian communities in the late 1960s and 1970s, which blended Pentecostal traditions like speaking in tongues and prophecy with Catholicism. It is an ecumenical group – meaning it accepts members of different Christian churches – though its members are mostly Catholic. Proponents say charismatic Christians are bound together by members’ shared personal presence of Christ, and “empowerment through the Holy Spirit.”

Its handbook emphasizes an insular view of the world, stressing obedience and devotion to other members, and communal living.

Barrett’s father has served as a leader in the community. Barrett was also listed as a “handmaid” in a 2010 directory, or female leader, served as a trustee at a school associated with the group, and has been featured in People of Praise magazines that were removed from the group’s website following her appointment as an appeals court judge in 2017.

The Guardian has confirmed that Barrett lived in a household led by one of the founders of the People of Praise, Kevin Ranaghan, while she was a law student at Notre Dame, and lived with another People of Praise family – Barbette and William Brophy – in Virginia after she graduated.

Proponents of the faith community have said in other press reports that they are misunderstood, and that it is a close-knit community that seeks to support other members “financially and materially and spiritually”.

But former members paint a different picture. Allegations and concerns center on claims of the intense subjugation of women by the community leaders; control of members’ lives and decisions, including marriage, living arrangements, and child rearing; and in one case, the mishandling of allegations of sexual abuse. Members who admit to having gay sex are expelled from the group, which staunchly opposes same-sex marriage.

For Sarah (Mitchell) Kuehl, a 48-year-old former member who grew up in the community, discussions about Barrett’s possible nomination prompted her – after years of trying to figure out how to address it – to send an email on 23 September to Craig Lent, the current head of People of Praise who also works as a professor at Notre Dame. In it, Kuehl claimed she had been sexually abused decades earlier by a “household member”, a male member of “the community” who had lived with the Mitchell family as part of the group’s communal living practices. Single people were expected to be celibate and live in family households which were expected to provide an example of married life, former members say.

After her alleged abuser – who along with her family was technically a member of a precursor group called Servants of the Light/Lord that merged in 1984 with People of Praise – admitted to her father that he had been molesting Kuehl, he was moved to another household and eventually had a marriage “arranged” for him, she said. She was four years old when the abuse began and it lasted for two years. At the time, her family also lived with other single men and women.

“I have struggled for years on whether to hold PoP accountable for what they knew, when they knew it and their attempt to hide and cover up. Like the Catholic church, who covered up and moved priests around, PoP has had a history of these same behaviors,” Kuehl alleged in her email to Lent.

Letters provided to the Guardian by Kuehl dating back to the late 1980s and early 1990s substantiate claims of abuse and attempts by her parents to address the issue with senior leaders of People of Praise. The documents include references to a psychological evaluation of the alleged abuser and confirmation that he did abuse Kuehl. The documents also revealed there were additional victims and that other minors were at risk.

Years later, when Kuehl sought to discuss the issue with her “handmaid” – a female guide and senior member of the organization, when she was at college – she said she was discouraged from talking about it.

“She told me NOT to talk about it with anyone because it could ‘hurt the reputation of the community’,” Kuehl wrote in her letter to Lent.

Weeks later, on 5 October, Lent responded to Kuehl’s email. He wrote: “I am just reaching out to you to let you know that we take this matter very seriously.”

He added: “We very much want to look into this. To that end we have contracted with Diane Doolittle of Quinn Emanuel, who specializes in exactly this sort of investigation. (This took some time to arrange.) I want to stress that, although she is a lawyer, her role is not to defend PoP, but rather she is very much in the role of an independent investigator. We thought that better than trying to investigate it directly ourselves. We want to know the truth of the matter. She will be talking to other people as well.”

Doolittle’s online bio states that she is a Silicon Valley-based trial lawyer who is involved in “high-stakes complex commercial, intellectual property and white collar cases”. She is also listed as having been engaged in “sensitive #MeToo cases, including by conducting corporate internal investigations”.