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FTR #1174 Harvest Time, Part 1

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FTR #1174 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: The title refers to the U.S. and its cit­i­zens har­vest­ing the crops risen from dead­ly seeds sown for decades. The Capi­tol Riot was one of those. 

It is to the U.S. as the Beer­hall Putsch of 1923 was to Germany–a har­bin­ger of things to come.

The pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of Richard Hof­s­tadter, whose the­o­ries have been bruit­ed about in the wake of the Capi­tol Riot. An icon of the main­stream media and the so-called pro­gres­sive sec­tor, Hof­s­tadter’s work was under­writ­ten by the CIA.

In the con­text of Hof­s­tadter’s work being under­writ­ten by CIA, one of the fac­tors allow­ing the seeds of evil to grow has been the gov­ern­ment financ­ing of much of U.S. polit­i­cal life. 

Intel­lec­tu­al curios­i­ty has been damp­ened by finan­cial gain.

The armed con­fronta­tion in the Capi­tol remind­ed us of a con­fronta­tion that took place in Park­land Hos­pi­tal on 11/22/1963.

A con­tin­gent of Secret Ser­vice agents and Kennedy aide Ken­neth O’Donnell con­front­ed and threat­ened Park­land physi­cians who were going to autop­sy Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s body in accor­dance with law.

(Author Joseph McBride presents con­vinc­ing evi­dence that O’Donnell faced prob­a­ble indict­ment for cor­rup­tion. He helped arrange the Kennedy motor­cade route through Dealey Plaza, set­ting JFK up for assas­si­na­tion. O’Donnell suc­cumbed to alco­holism, dying in 1977.)

McBride—drawing on schol­ar­ship by numer­ous authors and researchers—concludes that the Fed­er­al agents were intent on pre­vent­ing an autop­sy in Dal­las, so that JFK’s body could be sur­gi­cal­ly altered to obscure the fact that Kennedy was killed in a cross­fire.

The “offi­cial ver­sion” of the murder—an insti­tu­tion­al­ized his­tor­i­cal fiction–maintains that Oswald—the lone assassin—slew Kennedy by fir­ing from the rear.

Analy­sis of the Capi­tol Riot high­lights a “Before” and an “After.”

Even rel­a­tive­ly staid polit­i­cal and nation­al secu­ri­ty insid­ers, as well as media out­lets open­ly expressed fear after a series of post-elec­tion shuf­fling by Trump at the Pen­ta­gon.

” . . . . there is spec­u­la­tion that more defense offi­cials may be on their way out and that this is just the begin­ning — even with only 70 days until the Biden admin­is­tra­tion takes over. . . . The flur­ry of depar­tures appar­ent­ly sent shock­waves through the Depart­ment of Defense. A defense offi­cial told CNN that the sit­u­a­tion was ‘unset­tling,’ adding that ‘these are dic­ta­tor moves.’ The Asso­ci­at­ed Press wrote that ‘unease was pal­pa­ble inside’ the Pen­ta­gon Tues­day. . . . ‘I’ve been shot at a lot. I’ve been near­ly killed a bunch of times. I’m not an alarmist. I try to stay cool under pres­sure. Mark me down as alarmed,’ retired four-star Gen. Bar­ry McCaf­frey said on MSNBC Wednes­day. . . .”

Unnamed offi­cials in NATO coun­tries have opined that the events of 1/6/2021 were a coup attempt by Trump’s forces.

In addi­tion, there is an ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion of an active duty PSYOP offi­cer who oper­at­ed under the Spe­cial Forces com­mand struc­ture for lead­ing a con­tin­gent of 100 strong to the “ral­ly” on 1/6/2021.

As vet­er­an listeners/readers will no doubt real­ize, these events are to be seen against the back­ground of numer­ous pro­grams and posts high­light­ing Spe­cial­ized Knowl­edge and Abil­i­ties and Ser­pen­t’s Walk.

Notable among the croc­o­diles shed­ding tears over the Capi­tol Riot was for­mer Pres­i­dent George W. Bush. Con­demn­ing the riot in one breath, he intoned that he would be attend­ing the inau­gu­ra­tion and that “ . . . . wit­ness­ing the peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er is a hall­mark of our democ­ra­cy that nev­er gets old,’ he added. . . .”

The pro­gram con­cludes with dis­cus­sion of some of the Nazi con­nec­tions to the 9/11 attacks, as well as to the busi­ness rela­tion­ship between Dubya and the Bin Laden fam­i­ly.

1a. The pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of Richard Hof­s­tadter, whose the­o­ries have been bruit­ed about in the wake of the Capi­tol Riot. An icon of the main­stream media and the so-called pro­gres­sive sec­tor, Hof­s­tadter’s work was under­writ­ten by the CIA.

Into the Night­mare: My Search for the Killers of John F. Kennedy and Offi­cer J.D. Tip­pit by Joseph McBride; High­tow­er Press [SC]; Copy­right 2013 by Joseph McBride; ISBN 978–1939795250; pp. 178; 187.

. . . . But in a strange coin­ci­dence, Hof­s­tadter first deliv­ered a ver­sion of the title essay in a talk as the Her­bert Sender Lec­ture at Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty in Novem­ber 1963. . . .

. . . . It may be coin­ci­den­tal, but Hof­s­tadter’s biog­ra­ph­er David S. Brown notes instances in the fifties and six­ties when some of the his­to­ri­an’s work was fund­ed, albeit indi­rect­ly, by the CIA. Copies of his influ­en­tial 1954 essay “The Pseu­do-Con­ser­v­a­tive Revolt,” on the dan­gers of rightwing extrem­ism and its “wide­spread lat­est hos­til­i­ty toward Amer­i­can insti­tu­tions,” and his book The Devel­op­ment of Aca­d­e­m­ic Free­dom in the Unit­ed States (with Wal­ter P. Met­zger, 1955) were dis­trib­uted by a CIA front orga­ni­za­tion, the Fund for the Repub­lic. Hof­s­tadter worked for the Amer­i­can Com­mit­tee for Cul­tur­al Free­dom, “a soci­ety of lib­er­al cold war­riors opposed to inter­na­tion­al com­mu­nism” whose par­ent orga­ni­za­tion, the Con­gress for Cul­tur­al Free­dom, was heav­i­ly fund­ed by the CIA. In the six­ties, Hof­s­tadter also wrote for Daedalus and Encounter, two pub­li­ca­tions par­tial­ly backed by the CIA.

1b. In the con­text of Hof­s­tadter’s work being under­writ­ten by CIA, one of the fac­tors allow­ing the seeds of evil to grow has been the gov­ern­ment financ­ing of much of U.S. polit­i­cal life. 

Intel­lec­tu­al curios­i­ty has been damp­ened by finan­cial gain.

Into the Night­mare: My Search for the Killers of John F. Kennedy and Offi­cer J.D. Tip­pit by Joseph McBride; High­tow­er Press [SC]; Copy­right 2013 by Joseph McBride; ISBN 978–1939795250; p. 188.

. . . . One of the many pre­scient obser­va­tions in Pres­i­dent Eisen­how­er’s 1961 farewell speech warn­ing about the dan­gers of the “mil­i­tary-indus­tri­al com­plex” was that “a gov­ern­ment con­tract becomes vir­tu­al­ly a sub­sti­tute for intel­lec­tu­al curios­i­ty. . . The prospect of dom­i­na­tion of the nation’s schol­ars by fed­er­al employ­ment, project allo­ca­tions, and the pow­er of mon­ey is ever present and is grave­ly to be regard­ed.” . . . .

2. Before high­light­ing the Capi­tol Riot, we present a dif­fer­ent, ear­li­er con­fronta­tion between fed­er­al offi­cials and Amer­i­can civil­ians.

Into the Night­mare: My Search for the Killers of John F. Kennedy and Offi­cer J.D. Tip­pit by Joseph McBride; High­tow­er Press [SC]; Copy­right 2013 by Joseph McBride; ISBN 978–1939795250; pp. 168–170.

 . . . . [Park­land physi­cian Dr. Charles] Cren­shaw recalled, “A man in a suit, lead­ing the [fed­er­al] group, hold­ing a sub­ma­chine gun, left lit­tle doubt in my mind who was in charge. That he wasn’t smil­ing best describes the look on his face . . . . Keller­man took an erect stance and brought his firearm into a ready posi­tion. The oth­er men in suits fol­lowed course by drap­ing their coat­tails behind the butts of their hol­stered pis­tols.” When Dr. Rose insist­ed on hold­ing the body in Dal­las for autop­sy, explain­ing, “You can’t lose the chain of evi­dence,” one of the men in suits screamed, “God­damit, get your ass out of the way before you get hurt,” and anoth­er snapped, “We’re tak­ing the body now.” . . . .

3. Analy­sis of the Capi­tol Riot high­lights a “Before” and an “After.”

4. Notable among the croc­o­diles shed­ding tears over the Capi­tol Riot was for­mer Pres­i­dent George W. Bush. Con­demn­ing the riot in one breath, he intoned that he would be attend­ing the inau­gu­ra­tion and that “ . . . . wit­ness­ing the peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er is a hall­mark of our democ­ra­cy that nev­er gets old,’ he added. . . .”

We call atten­tion to a num­ber of things:

  1. What hap­pened in Wash­ing­ton D.C. on 1/6/2021 was not fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent from the “Brooks Broth­ers Riot” in Flori­da that aid­ed the theft of the 2000 elec­tion. Orga­nized by Trump flak catch­er Roger Stone, that inci­dent and the efforts of cur­rent Supreme Court Jus­tices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Bar­rett saw to it that Shrub would inher­it his father’s Pres­i­den­tial man­tle.
  2. In the wake of the Capi­tol Riot, the “Opin­ing Heads” raised the sub­ject of the Turn­er Diaries and its fore­shad­ow­ing of fas­cist vio­lence. In 1998, the author of that tome,–William Luther Pierce–explic­it­ly fore­shad­owed the 9/11 attacks which defined and cement­ed Dubya’s admin­is­tra­tion. “ . . . . In one chill­ing com­men­tary Pierce, (after not­ing that Bin Laden and the rest of the lost gen­er­a­tion of angry Moslem youth had it with their par­ents’ com­pro­mis­es and were hell bent on revenge against infi­del Amer­i­ca) issued this stark, prophet­ic warn­ing in a 1998 radio address titled, ‘Stay Out of Tall Build­ings.’ ‘New York­ers who work in tall office build­ings any­thing close to the size of the World Trade Cen­ter might con­sid­er wear­ing hard hats . . .’ Pierce warned.’ . . . The run­ning theme in Pierce’s com­men­taries is—to para­phrase his hero Hitler—that Osama Bin Laden’s warn­ing to Amer­i­ca is ‘I Am Com­ing.’ And so is bio-ter­ror­ism.’ . . .”
  3.  In (among oth­er pro­grams) FTR #186–the last pro­gram record­ed in 1999–Mr. Emory not­ed that George W. Bush’s first busi­ness venture–Arbusto Energy–was cap­i­tal­ized by the fam­i­ly of Osama Bin Laden.
  4. Also in FTR #456, we also not­ed that Fran­cois Genoud was a key finan­cial advis­er to the Bin Laden fam­i­ly. One of the most impor­tant fig­ures in the Nazi dias­po­ra, Genoud was the heir to the col­lect­ed works and polit­i­cal last will and tes­ta­ment of: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Mar­tin Bor­mann. “ . . . . Accord­ing to [finan­cial expert Ernest] Back­es’ infor­ma­tion, the trail leads to Switzer­land, to the accounts of an orga­ni­za­tion that was found­ed by the late lawyer Fran­cois Genoud and evi­dent­ly still sur­vives. Says Back­es, ‘One of the grounds for accu­sa­tion is that this Swiss attor­ney had the clos­est con­nec­tions with the Bin Laden fam­i­ly, that he was an advi­sor to the fam­i­ly, one of its invest­ment bankers. It’s known for cer­tain, that he sup­port­ed ter­ror­ism and was the estate execu­tor for Hitler and part of the ter­ror milieu.’ . . .”
  5. The Bank Al-Taqwa had an account for Al Qaeda’s oper­a­tions with an unlim­it­ed line of cred­it. Also in FTR#456, we not­ed that Al Taqwa chief (and for­mer Nazi intel­li­gence agent) Youssef Nada helped the Grand Mufti escape from Europe in the after­math of World War II. “ . . . . Anoth­er val­ued World War II Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor was Youssef Nada, cur­rent board chair­man of al-Taqwa (Nada Man­age­ment), the Lugano, Switzer­land, Liecht­en­stein, and Bahamas-based finan­cial ser­vices out­fit accused by the US Trea­sury Depart­ment of mon­ey laun­der­ing for and financ­ing of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qae­da. As a young man, he had joined the armed branch of the secret appa­ra­tus’ (al-jihaz al-sir­ri) of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and then was recruit­ed by Ger­man mil­i­tary intel­li­gence. When Grand Mufti el-Hus­sei­ni had to flee Ger­many in 1945 as the Nazi defeat loomed, Nada report­ed­ly was instru­men­tal in arrang­ing the escape via Switzer­land back to Egypt and even­tu­al­ly Pales­tine, where el-Hus­sei­ni resur­faced in 1946.) . . . .”
  6. The San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle report­ed that: “ . . . . Author­i­ties believe Genoud found­ed Al Taqwa Bank and allo­cat­ed its resources to sup­port inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ists such as Vladimir Ilich Ramirez, alias Car­los the Jack­al, and Bin Laden. . . . .”
  7. One of the most impor­tant ele­ments in the inves­tiga­tive trail lead­ing to and from the 9/11 attacks is SICO–the Swiss-based hold­ing com­pa­ny that man­ages the Bin Laden fam­i­ly inter­ests. Here, too, we see the influ­ence of Genoud: “ . . . . This com­pa­ny, estab­lished by the bin Ladens in 1980, is the flag­ship for the group’s activ­i­ties in Europe. It is head­ed by Yeslam bin Laden, and the board of direc­tors is made up almost exclu­sive­ly of mem­bers of the fam­i­ly clan, except for a Swiss cit­i­zen, Bau­doin Dunand. This well-known lawyer from French-speak­ing Switzer­land, who is on the boards of sev­er­al dozen com­pa­nies, came to pub­lic notice in 1983 when he agreed to rep­re­sent the Swiss banker Fran­cois Genoud, a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure who had been a dis­ci­ple of Hitler . . . .”

 

Discussion

19 comments for “FTR #1174 Harvest Time, Part 1”

  1. Here’s an arti­cle the ongo­ing pros­e­cu­tion of the lead­ing Jan 6 insur­rec­tion­ists that rais­es a grim­ly fas­ci­nat­ing ques­tion about the scope of what was planned for that day. In par­tic­u­lar, ques­tions about the scope of the heav­i­ly armed “Quick Reac­tion Force” (QRF) that the Oath Keep­ers had ready to go that day. Ready with the expec­ta­tion that then-Pres­i­dent Trump might call them into action:

    Pros­e­cu­tors filed new court doc­u­ments relat­ed to the pros­e­cu­tion of Oath Keep­er Thomas Cald­well. Recall how Cald­well was work­ing with fel­low Oath Keep­er Jes­si­ca Watkins in coor­di­nat­ing the QRF. The court doc­u­ments con­tains a remark­able quote for Oath Keep­er founder Stew­art Rhodes. The quote was tak­en from a com­mu­ni­ca­tion between Rhodes and oth­er Oath Keep­ers in the run-up to the riot at the Capi­tol, warn­ing them not to car­ry­ing weapons at the Capi­tol and assur­ing them of the avail­abil­i­ty of weapons from the QRF if need­ed.

    Here’s the part that rais­es ques­tions about the scale or the QRF threat: We already know about the one observed instance of what appeared to be a QRF of around 10 men con­spic­u­ous­ly hang­ing around across the riv­er from the Capi­tol. But Rhodes told his fel­low Oath Keep­ers that, “We will have sev­er­al well equipped QRFs [Quick Reac­tion Forces] out­side DC. And there are many, many oth­ers, from oth­er groups, who will be watch­ing and wait­ing on the out­side in case of worst case sce­nar­ios.” So there were “sev­er­al oth­er equipped QRFs out­side DC” along with “many, many oth­ers, from oth­er groups, who will be watch­ing and wait­ing on the out­side in case of worst case sce­nar­ios,” there that day, which sounds like A LOT more than just the one group of 10 guys that we already know about. Per­haps more impor­tant­ly, Rhodes’s com­ments make it sound like the Oath Keep­ers’ plans for hav­ing QRFs with heavy weapons lay­ing in wait for the sig­nal was­n’t just an Oath Keep­er plan and there may have been numer­ous QRFs from mul­ti­ple mili­tias all work­ing in coor­di­na­tion with each oth­er:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    News

    Oath Keep­ers Leader Was Send­ing Mes­sages To Riot­ers Dur­ing Insur­rec­tion, Feds Allege

    By Cristi­na Cabr­era and Matt Shuham
    March 9, 2021 1:58 p.m.

    Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors have alleged that on the day of the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion, Stew­art Rhodes, the leader of the far-right Oath Keep­ers mili­tia group, com­mu­ni­cat­ed with the mem­bers and affil­i­ates of the group who have been charged with plot­ting to attack the Capi­tol that day.

    In a court doc­u­ment filed late Mon­day that opposed the recon­sid­er­a­tion of alleged Oath Keep­er Thomas Caldwell’s deten­tion, pros­e­cu­tors alleged that a chat group in which Rhodes post­ed fre­quent­ly was used to plan for, and then car­ry out, the use of force on Jan. 6.

    In the run-up to the attack, Rhodes, iden­ti­fied as “Per­son One” in the fil­ing, warned alleged con­spir­a­tors who were at the Capi­tol in a group chat, “DO NOT bring in any­thing that can get you arrest­ed. Leave that out­side DC,” pros­e­cu­tors said. (Rhodes has not been charged with a crime.)

    “We will have sev­er­al well equipped QRFs [Quick Reac­tion Forces] out­side DC. And there are many, many oth­ers, from oth­er groups, who will be watch­ing and wait­ing on the out­side in case of worst case sce­nar­ios,” he also alleged­ly texted.

    Rhodes also dis­cussed body armor and weapon­ry in the chat, pros­e­cu­tors said.

    “Col­lapsi­ble Batons are a grey area in the law,” he alleged­ly wrote. “I bring one. But I am will­ing to take that risk because I love em. Good hard globes, eye pro, hel­met. In a pinch you can grab Mechanix gloves and a bat­ters hel­met from Wal­mart.”

    On the day of the attack itself, pros­e­cu­tors alleged that the chat group “was acti­vat­ing a plan to use force on Jan­u­ary 6.”

    At 1:38 p.m, around 20 min­utes after then-Pres­i­dent Trump had con­clud­ed his remarks at a ral­ly that incit­ed the crowd of his sup­port­ers, Rhodes alleged­ly wrote: “All I see Trump doing is com­plain­ing. I see no intent by him to do any­thing. So the patri­ots are tak­ing it into their own hands. They’ve had enough.”

    Twen­ty-six min­utes lat­er, Rhodes alleged­ly sent pho­tos of the south­east side of the Capi­tol build­ing and direct­ed the group to come to the steps. “Patri­ots pound­ing on the doors,” he alleged­ly cap­tioned one pho­to.

    With­in sev­en min­utes, author­i­ties alleged, Cald­well wrote to his Face­book con­tacts, “We are surg­ing for­ward. Doors breached.”

    A few hours lat­er, as many riot­ers were leav­ing the Capi­tol Build­ing, pros­e­cu­tors alleged that a large group includ­ing sev­er­al co-defen­dant “gath­ered around Per­son One and stood around wait­ing for at least ten min­utes in that loca­tion.”

    ...

    The text mes­sages — as well as one mes­sage Rhodes alleged­ly post­ed on the Oath Keep­ers web­site two days before the breach urg­ing mem­bers to pre­pare to “hon­or our oaths” — show that “the co-con­spir­a­tors joined togeth­er to stop Con­gress’ cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Elec­toral Col­lege vote, and they were pre­pared to use vio­lence, if nec­es­sary, to effect this pur­pose,” pros­e­cu­tors wrote.

    Cald­well, who pros­e­cu­tors claim was part of a large group of alleged Oath Keep­ers that con­spired to attack the Capi­tol, has denied he is a mem­ber of the mili­tia group and also that he entered the Capi­tol build­ing.

    But pros­e­cu­tors have quot­ed alleged com­mu­ni­ca­tions between him and oth­ers on Jan. 6 nar­rat­ing the breach of the Capi­tol. He alleged­ly mes­saged a friend, “we start­ed steal­ing the cops riot shields and throw­ing fire extin­guish­ers through win­dows. It was a great time.”

    “The evi­dence of Defen­dant Caldwell’s role and intent in plan­ning this offense comes from his own words,” pros­e­cu­tors wrote in the new fil­ing.

    For his part, Rhodes had been ref­er­enced in court fil­ings before, but only oblique­ly, and under the label “Per­son 1.”

    For exam­ple, in an ear­ly Feb­ru­ary fil­ing in sup­port of con­spir­a­cy charges against four Oath Keep­ers, pros­e­cu­tors cit­ed a Jan. 4 email alleged­ly writ­ten by Rhodes. “As we have done on all recent DC Ops, we will also have well armed and equipped QRF teams on stand­by, out­side DC, in the event of a worst case sce­nario, where the Pres­i­dent calls us up as part of the mili­tia to to [sic] assist him inside DC,” he wrote, accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors.

    Three days pri­or, in an alleged Jan. 1 mes­sage quot­ed by pros­e­cu­tors, Cald­well even appeared to express frus­tra­tion with Rhodes.

    “I don’t know if Stewie has even got­ten out his call to arms but it’s a lit­tle frig­gin late,” he alleged­ly wrote in a Face­book mes­sage. “This is one we are doing on our own.”

    ———–

    “Oath Keep­ers Leader Was Send­ing Mes­sages To Riot­ers Dur­ing Insur­rec­tion, Feds Allege” by Cristi­na Cabr­era and Matt Shuham; Talk­ing Points Memo; 03/09/2021

    ““We will have sev­er­al well equipped QRFs [Quick Reac­tion Forces] out­side DC. And there are many, many oth­ers, from oth­er groups, who will be watch­ing and wait­ing on the out­side in case of worst case sce­nar­ios,” he also alleged­ly texted.”

    How many dif­fer­ent QRFs were in the DC area that day? And what was the extent of the Oath Keep­ers’ coor­di­na­tion with oth­er groups in plan­ning these QRFs? We’ll pre­sum­ably nev­er know the full extent of it.

    An notice the role Rhodes played in ver­bal­ly insti­gat­ing his Oath Keep­ers at 1:38 pm, 20 min­utes after Trump con­clud­ed his incit­ing speech: Rhodes had pre­vi­ous­ly told his fol­low­ers that they were wait­ing for Trump’s per­son­al order before they called in the QRF, sug­gest­ing a lev­el of coor­di­na­tion between the Oath Keep­ers and the Trump Team. And that coor­di­na­tion was already appar­ent with the reports of the Oath Keep­ers car­ry­ing out per­son­al secu­ri­ty roles for fig­ures like Roger Stone and Oath Keep­er Jes­si­ca Watkins being allowed into the VIP area of the Stop the Steal ral­ly where the Trump Team was locat­ed. So when we see Rhodes send out a com­mu­ni­ca­tion to his fol­low­ers express­ing dis­ap­point­ment that Trump was­n’t about to “do any­thing” after giv­ing his incit­ful speech at the ral­ly and call­ing for the ‘patri­ots to take things into their own hands’, we have to again ask if this was all coor­di­nat­ed and intend­ed to pro­vide Trump with a degree of plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­i­ty. They were plan­ning a coup, after all. Thoughts of what to do if it went awry had to be incor­po­rat­ed into the plan­ning:

    ...
    At 1:38 p.m, around 20 min­utes after then-Pres­i­dent Trump had con­clud­ed his remarks at a ral­ly that incit­ed the crowd of his sup­port­ers, Rhodes alleged­ly wrote: “All I see Trump doing is com­plain­ing. I see no intent by him to do any­thing. So the patri­ots are tak­ing it into their own hands. They’ve had enough.”

    Twen­ty-six min­utes lat­er, Rhodes alleged­ly sent pho­tos of the south­east side of the Capi­tol build­ing and direct­ed the group to come to the steps. “Patri­ots pound­ing on the doors,” he alleged­ly cap­tioned one pho­to.

    With­in sev­en min­utes, author­i­ties alleged, Cald­well wrote to his Face­book con­tacts, “We are surg­ing for­ward. Doors breached.”

    A few hours lat­er, as many riot­ers were leav­ing the Capi­tol Build­ing, pros­e­cu­tors alleged that a large group includ­ing sev­er­al co-defen­dant “gath­ered around Per­son One and stood around wait­ing for at least ten min­utes in that loca­tion.”
    ...

    Keep in mind that all the reports we’ve heard about Trump’s response to the storm­ing of the Capi­tol was glee. He was excit­ed it was hap­pen­ing. Also note that it took time for the pro­tes­tors to walk to the Capi­tol, so it’s almost as if Rhodes wait­ed for the crowd to reach the Capi­tol before send­ing this com­mu­ni­ca­tion that was effec­tive­ly an order to storm it.

    And whether or not Trump for­mal­ly gave the order to his fol­low­ers to storm the Capi­tol, he pret­ty clear­ly inti­mat­ed to his sup­port­ers dur­ing the ral­ly that that is exact­ly what they should do. So when Rhodes sends a com­mu­ni­ca­tion to his fol­low­ers express­ing frus­tra­tion that Trump was­n’t giv­ing the orders, we have to ask: was this arranged? Was this the pre­arranged ali­bi that was worked out where Trump would­n’t actu­al­ly give the orders? After all, it’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine Trump actu­al­ly direct­ly and open­ly giv­ing these orders. Why would he? Why not give order like that behind the scenes?

    Also note that it would appear that we can con­clude that Stew­art Rhodes him­self did give orders to storm the Capi­tol, at 1:38 pm, 20 min­utes after Trump’s speech. So based on avail­able infor­ma­tion at this point, we can say that the leader of the group that was sur­rep­ti­tious­ly coor­di­nat­ing with the Trump team was the guy who direct­ly gave orders to storm the Capi­tol. It’s not exact­ly excul­pa­to­ry evi­dence for Trump.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 9, 2021, 4:55 pm
  2. We’re learn­ing details about one of the fig­ures arrest­ed in con­nec­tion to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion: Tim­o­thy Hale-Cusanel­li. It turns out Hale-Cusanel­li worked as a secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor at Naval Weapons Sta­tion Ear­le and held a secret-lev­el secu­ri­ty clear­ance. Oh, and he’s an open neo-Nazi who would crack jokes about Hitler on a dai­ly basis. He was so open with his beliefs, that when 44 of his col­leagues were inter­viewed about him fol­low­ing his arrest, 34 of them told inves­ti­ga­tors he would open­ly express neo-Nazi belief. And when inves­ti­ga­tors searched his home, they found copies of “Mein Kampf” and “The Turn­er Diaries”. Sur­prise!

    It’s the kind of a sto­ry that’s dis­turb­ing enough on its own, with echos to the sto­ry of neo-Nazi Coast Guard offi­cer Christo­pher Has­son, who was found plot­ting bio­log­i­cal ter­ror cam­paigns with fel­low Nazis. But giv­en the grow­ing num­ber of for­mer and cur­rent mem­bers of the armed forces who have already been found to have played a role in those events, the case of Hale-Cusanel­li rais­es the ques­tion of just how many open neo-Nazis are serv­ing in the US armed forces and what role did this larg­er con­tin­gent of high­ly trained extrem­ists play in the plan­ning and exe­cu­tion of the insur­rec­tion:

    Politi­co

    Navy inves­ti­ga­tors found con­trac­tor in Capi­tol riot was known as a white suprema­cist

    A super­vi­sor for Tim­o­thy Hale-Cusanel­li told inves­ti­ga­tors she had to admon­ish him for sport­ing a “Hitler“ mus­tache.

    By KYLE CHENEY
    03/13/2021 08:12 AM EST

    A U.S. Army reservist who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Jan. 6 Capi­tol riot was wide­ly known as a white suprema­cist and reg­u­lar­ly dis­cussed his hatred of Jews while work­ing at a New Jer­sey-based naval facil­i­ty, accord­ing to new evi­dence revealed by fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors late Fri­day.

    The reservist, Tim­o­thy Hale-Cusanel­li, who worked as a secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor at Naval Weapons Sta­tion Ear­le and held a secret-lev­el secu­ri­ty clear­ance, was arrest­ed and charged Jan. 15 for alleged­ly breach­ing the Capi­tol. At the time, pros­e­cu­tors described him as an “avowed white suprema­cist” and Nazi sym­pa­thiz­er, a deter­mi­na­tion based in part on evi­dence pro­vid­ed by a con­fi­den­tial source to the Naval Crim­i­nal Inves­tiga­tive Ser­vice and a YouTube chan­nel in which Hale-Cusanel­li expressed those views.

    But Friday’s fil­ing — a bid to keep Hale-Cusanel­li in prison while await­ing tri­al — includ­ed new­ly revealed results of an exten­sive NCIS inves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing Hale-Cusanelli’s arrest. That inves­ti­ga­tion includ­ed inter­views with 44 col­leagues at NWS Ear­le con­duct­ed on Jan. 20 and 21.

    Of those inter­viewed, 34 agreed Hale-Cusanel­li held “extrem­ist or rad­i­cal views per­tain­ing to the Jew­ish peo­ple, minori­ties, and women.” One con­trac­tor col­league said he dis­cussed his dis­like for Jews every day. A super­vi­sor told inves­ti­ga­tors she had to admon­ish him for sport­ing a “Hitler“ mus­tache (images of which pros­e­cu­tors extract­ed from Hale-Cusanelli’s phone).

    “A Navy Pet­ty Offi­cer stat­ed that Defen­dant talked con­stant­ly about Jew­ish peo­ple and remem­bered Defen­dant say­ing ‘Hitler should have fin­ished the job,’” accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors’ sum­ma­ry of the report.

    ...

    Hale-Cusanelli’s case has received atten­tion because of his role in the Army reserves and active employ­ment at a mil­i­tary facil­i­ty. The new evi­dence under­scores a chal­lenge pol­i­cy­mak­ers have begun con­fronting on Capi­tol Hill and across mil­i­tary lead­er­ship: how to com­bat extrem­ist ide­olo­gies among ser­vice mem­bers. Many for­mer mil­i­tary and police were among the riot­ers.

    Pros­e­cu­tors dis­closed the NCIS inves­ti­ga­tion results in part to rebut a let­ter of sup­port from one of Hale-Cusanelli’s super­vi­sors at NWS Ear­le, Sgt. John Getz, sub­mit­ted by defense lawyers to sup­port Hale-Cusanelli’s release on bond. In a two-page let­ter, Getz told the court that he was “appalled at how [Hale-Cusanel­li] was slan­dered in the press in regards to him being a ‘white suprema­cist.’”

    “I have nev­er known him to be this way. I know that our co-work­ers would agree,” Getz wrote, adding “Nev­er have I seen Mr. Hale treat any of his African-Amer­i­can co-work­ers dif­fer­ent­ly than any­body else, nor have I heard any dis­taste­ful jokes or lan­guage leave his mouth.”

    But pros­e­cu­tors say Getz’ let­ter con­tra­dicts his own state­ments to NCIS inves­ti­ga­tors about Hale-Cusanelli’s con­duct. Getz told NCIS that Hale-Cusanel­li “would make racial jokes and wouldn’t be qui­et about it.” He said he knew Hale-Cusanel­li was a Nazi sym­pa­thiz­er and Holo­caust denier but that “noth­ing about Hale-Cusanelli’s state­ments struck him as dan­ger­ous.”

    Getz also recalled that Hale-Cusanel­li would “walk up to new peo­ple and ask ‘You’re not Jew­ish, are you?’”

    “He described Hale-Cussnelli’s demeanor as ‘jok­ing but not,’” accord­ing to the sum­ma­ry of the report.

    As a result of the con­tra­dic­tions — and the fact that the let­ter of sup­port was undat­ed and unsigned — NCIS inves­ti­ga­tors vis­it­ed Getz on March 9, pros­e­cu­tors revealed. In an inter­view, he acknowl­edged writ­ing the let­ter and that it con­tra­dict­ed his state­ments to NCIS in Jan­u­ary.

    “Sergeant Getz stat­ed that he did not feel com­pelled to include his obser­va­tions of Defendant’s con­duct, as report­ed to NCIS, in his let­ter to the Court,” pros­e­cu­tors said. “Sergeant Getz elab­o­rat­ed that he want­ed to ‘speak pos­i­tive­ly’ about Defen­dant for the bond hear­ing, and because he was not per­son­al­ly offend­ed by Defendant’s con­duct.”

    Hale-Cusanelli’s lawyer, Jonathan Zuck­er, argu­ing for his pre­tri­al release ear­li­er this month, empha­sized that Hale-Cusanel­li had not been charged with com­mit­ting any vio­lence on Jan. 6, joined no anti-gov­ern­ment groups and is accused of lit­tle more than enter­ing the build­ing and ver­bal­ly harass­ing a Capi­tol police offi­cer who deployed pep­per spray at the crowd.

    Zuck­er argued that the government’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Hale-Cusaneli as a white suprema­cist and Nazi sym­pa­thiz­er was inac­cu­rate.

    “In fact, dur­ing an inter­view of Mr. Hale-Cusanel­li by FBI agents, he denied this when he stat­ed that, ‘he is not a Nazi ...’ and ‘he is not a white nation­al­ist or a white suprema­cist,’” Zuck­er said, cit­ing Hale-Cusanelli’s FBI inter­view sum­ma­ry from Feb­ru­ary. “There is no evi­dence Mr. Hale-Cusanel­li is a mem­ber of any white suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tions.”

    He also called Hale-Cusanelli’s YouTube chan­nel “con­tro­ver­sial,” but pri­mar­i­ly about local New Jer­sey pol­i­tics. And he said the government’s dis­cov­ery of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and “The Turn­er Diaries” at Hale-Cusanelli’s home “does not men­tion that there were hun­dreds of oth­er books in Mr. Hale-Cusanelli’s col­lec­tion.”

    Pros­e­cu­tors rebutted those claims, reveal­ing that Hale-Cusanelli’s phone was packed with anti-Semit­ic and racist con­tent. And they con­tend his views were the ani­mat­ing impe­tus behind a “fan­ta­sy of par­tic­i­pat­ing in anoth­er Civ­il War.” His dis­charge from the Army and debar­ment from work at NWS Ear­le as a result of his alleged actions would leave him more time to pur­sue those goals if released pend­ing tri­al, pros­e­cu­tors say.

    ...

    ————

    “Navy inves­ti­ga­tors found con­trac­tor in Capi­tol riot was known as a white suprema­cist” by KYLE CHENEY; Politi­co; 03/13/2021

    “The reservist, Tim­o­thy Hale-Cusanel­li, who worked as a secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor at Naval Weapons Sta­tion Ear­le and held a secret-lev­el secu­ri­ty clear­ance, was arrest­ed and charged Jan. 15 for alleged­ly breach­ing the Capi­tol. At the time, pros­e­cu­tors described him as an “avowed white suprema­cist” and Nazi sym­pa­thiz­er, a deter­mi­na­tion based in part on evi­dence pro­vid­ed by a con­fi­den­tial source to the Naval Crim­i­nal Inves­tiga­tive Ser­vice and a YouTube chan­nel in which Hale-Cusanel­li expressed those views.”

    How many oth­er neo-Nazi with secret-lev­el clear­ances are work­ing a mil­i­tary weapons sta­tions? It’s a ques­tion inves­ti­ga­tors had bet­ter be ask­ing. Don’t for­get about the dis­cov­ery of miss­ing C‑4 from a Marine base in Cal­i­for­nia. It would only take a rel­a­tive hand­ful of embed­ded extrem­ists to give access to night­mar­ish­ly pow­er­ful weapons to the broad­er far right under­ground.

    But per­haps the most dis­turb­ing aspect of this sto­ry is how open Hale-Cusanel­li felt he could be with his Nazi beliefs while on the. 34 out of 44 col­leagues con­firmed he held extrem­ist views. In oth­er words, he was bare­ly hid­ing them if he was hid­ing them at all:

    ...
    But Friday’s fil­ing — a bid to keep Hale-Cusanel­li in prison while await­ing tri­al — includ­ed new­ly revealed results of an exten­sive NCIS inves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing Hale-Cusanelli’s arrest. That inves­ti­ga­tion includ­ed inter­views with 44 col­leagues at NWS Ear­le con­duct­ed on Jan. 20 and 21.

    Of those inter­viewed, 34 agreed Hale-Cusanel­li held “extrem­ist or rad­i­cal views per­tain­ing to the Jew­ish peo­ple, minori­ties, and women.” One con­trac­tor col­league said he dis­cussed his dis­like for Jews every day. A super­vi­sor told inves­ti­ga­tors she had to admon­ish him for sport­ing a “Hitler“ mus­tache (images of which pros­e­cu­tors extract­ed from Hale-Cusanelli’s phone).

    “A Navy Pet­ty Offi­cer stat­ed that Defen­dant talked con­stant­ly about Jew­ish peo­ple and remem­bered Defen­dant say­ing ‘Hitler should have fin­ished the job,’” accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors’ sum­ma­ry of the report.
    ...

    And note the iron­ic defense of Hale-Cusanel­li by his attor­ney in light of the dis­cov­ery of “Mein Kampf” and “The Turn­er Diaries” at his home: “There is no evi­dence Mr. Hale-Cusanel­li is a mem­ber of any white suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tions.” And while that may or may not be true, it’s also kind of at the heart of the dan­ger fig­ures like Hale-Cusanel­li rep­re­sent: He does­n’t need to be a mem­ber of a white suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tions because he is the mem­ber of a lead­er­less resis­tance move­ment. The lack of orga­ni­za­tion is a fea­ture, not a bug:

    ...
    “In fact, dur­ing an inter­view of Mr. Hale-Cusanel­li by FBI agents, he denied this when he stat­ed that, ‘he is not a Nazi ...’ and ‘he is not a white nation­al­ist or a white suprema­cist,’” Zuck­er said, cit­ing Hale-Cusanelli’s FBI inter­view sum­ma­ry from Feb­ru­ary. “There is no evi­dence Mr. Hale-Cusanel­li is a mem­ber of any white suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tions.”

    He also called Hale-Cusanelli’s YouTube chan­nel “con­tro­ver­sial,” but pri­mar­i­ly about local New Jer­sey pol­i­tics. And he said the government’s dis­cov­ery of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and “The Turn­er Diaries” at Hale-Cusanelli’s home “does not men­tion that there were hun­dreds of oth­er books in Mr. Hale-Cusanelli’s col­lec­tion.”
    ...

    Of course, it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble Hale-Cusanel­li real­ly is the mem­ber of a white nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tion. In the age of encrypt­ed inter­net com­mu­ni­ca­tions he could be the secret mem­ber of a dozen dif­fer­ent secret groups. Recall how insur­rec­tion­ist Riley Williams — the per­son who stole Nan­cy Pelosi’s lap­top out of her office — was lat­er dis­cov­ered to be a prob­a­ble mem­ber of either Atom­waf­fen or The Base. She was a known extrem­ist, but her extra-extreme affil­i­a­tions weren’t pre­vi­ous­ly rec­og­nized. What are the odds that Hale-Cusanel­li has­n’t also been secret­ly swear­ing alle­giance to accel­er­a­tionist neo-Nazi groups? How many oth­er secret accel­er­a­tionists were in that crowd? More gen­er­al­ly, just how much did the Jan 6 Insur­rec­tion end up accel­er­at­ing the growth of “accel­er­a­tionism”, in par­tic­u­lar in the US mil­i­tary? It’s the kind of ques­tion that will hope­ful­ly be answered with more inves­ti­ga­tions that lead to pros­e­cu­tions and expul­sions. But, of course, it could also be answered with mil­i­tary-grade weapons being used in a domes­tic ter­ror attack. Either way, we’ll get our answer.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 13, 2021, 4:58 pm
  3. Here’s one of those sto­ries that reminds of the say­ing, “It’s not the crime, it’s the cov­er-up.” It’s also the kind of sto­ry that rais­es the ques­tion of just how wide­ly will the broad­er GOP be dragged into the grow­ing num­ber of seri­ous inves­ti­ga­tions into Trump-relat­ed cor­rup­tion and wrong­do­ing? In par­tic­u­lar, just how exten­sive­ly will the broad­er GOP be dragged into cov­er­ing-up Trump’s numer­ous crimes:

    The Wall Street Jour­nal recent­ly report­ed­ly on a new­ly dis­cov­ered record­ed phone call between then-Pres­i­dent Trump and Fran­cis Wat­son, Brad Raf­fensperg­er’s top elec­tions inves­ti­ga­tor. Trump was, of course, try­ing to pres­sure Wat­son into over­turn­ing Geor­gia’s elec­tion results.

    First, recall the now-noto­ri­ous record­ed phone call between Geor­gia Sec­re­tary of State Raf­fensperg­er and Trump where Trump is basi­cal­ly telling Raf­fensperg­er to find enough votes to allow him to win the state. Also recall the phone ear­li­er call Trump made direct­ly to Geor­gia’s Repub­li­can gov­er­nor Bri­an Kemp pres­sur­ing him to over­turn the elec­tion results. And now we have the Wat­son call. So Trump made at least three phone calls to Geor­gia state offi­cials that were clear­ly coer­cive and ille­gal in nature. At least three phone calls.

    But here’s the poten­tial­ly scan­dalous new detail that’s emerged: The record­ing of the phone call between Wat­son and Trump was only dis­cov­ered after a pub­lic records request and found in the trash bin of Wat­son’s com­put­er. In oth­er words, Wat­son tried to delete the record­ing, but thank­ful­ly did­n’t actu­al­ly emp­ty her com­put­er’s trash bin, leav­ing it avail­able for recov­ery after the pub­lic records.

    At least that’s what it looks like: a clas­sic cov­er-up. Wat­son, or some­one in her office, tried to delete the high­ly incrim­i­nat­ing phone call but made a mis­take and now the incrim­i­nat­ing evi­dence is pub­lic. Oops.

    And that makes this sto­ry not just the lat­est exam­ple of the bla­tant cor­rup­tion of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, but also a test case. A test to see what, if any, con­se­quences that might be for the broad­er Repub­li­can Par­ty’s efforts to engage in cov­er-ups on Trump’s behalf. Because if Trump made these kinds of phone calls to at least three of dif­fer­ent Geor­gia state offi­cials, how many oth­er record­ings of this nature of phone calls to oth­er states’ offi­cials are sit­ting in PC trash bins some­where?:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    News

    Record­ing Of Trump’s Call With GA Elec­tions Inves­ti­ga­tor Found In Her Trash Fold­er

    By Cristi­na Cabr­era
    March 15, 2021 10:42 a.m.

    The damn­ing phone call record­ing of ex-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump try­ing to push Frances Wat­son, Geor­gia Sec­re­tary of State Brad Raffensperger’s top elec­tions inves­ti­ga­tor, into revers­ing his elec­toral defeat was report­ed­ly found in Watson’s dig­i­tal trash fold­er before it became pub­lic.

    CNN con­firmed that offi­cials in Raffensperger’s office dis­cov­ered the record­ing in a trash fold­er on Watson’s device.

    The Wash­ing­ton Post men­tioned that detail when it report­ed on the tape last week (which was first report­ed by the Wall Street Jour­nal). State offi­cials ini­tial­ly told the Wash­ing­ton Post and CNN that they didn’t believe that a tape of the call exist­ed. It was report­ed­ly found when they were respond­ing to a pub­lic records request.

    It is unclear why the record­ing was found there, and it remains unknown when the call file was moved to the trash. TPM has reached out to Raffensperger’s office and will update upon receiv­ing a response.

    The bomb­shell tape revealed that dur­ing the call, which took place on Decem­ber 23, Trump urged Wat­son to dig up nonex­is­tent evi­dence of vot­er fraud amid his attempt to over­turn the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion results in Geor­gia, where he was defeat­ed by now-Pres­i­dent Joe Biden.

    ...

    The con­ver­sa­tion came before Trump tar­get­ed Raf­fensperg­er him­self in anoth­er shock­ing call in ear­ly Jan­u­ary in which he demand­ed that the sec­re­tary of state “find” the votes need­ed to steal the elec­tion from Biden. The then-pres­i­dent also pub­licly tried to bul­ly Geor­gia Gov. Bri­an Kemp ® into legit­imiz­ing his bogus alle­ga­tions of vot­er fraud.

    Georgia’s Ful­ton Coun­ty Dis­trict Attor­ney Fani Willis has opened a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion into Trump and his allies’ attacks on the state’s elec­tion results. A grand jury has been empan­eled to weigh charges in the case.

    Willis sent let­ters to Geor­gia offi­cials in Feb­ru­ary order­ing them to keep doc­u­ments relat­ed to the 2020 elec­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly those that may show evi­dence of elec­tion inter­fer­ence.

    ———–

    “Record­ing Of Trump’s Call With GA Elec­tions Inves­ti­ga­tor Found In Her Trash Fold­er” by Cristi­na Cabr­era; Talk­ing Points Memo; 03/15/2021

    “The Wash­ing­ton Post men­tioned that detail when it report­ed on the tape last week (which was first report­ed by the Wall Street Jour­nal). State offi­cials ini­tial­ly told the Wash­ing­ton Post and CNN that they didn’t believe that a tape of the call exist­ed. It was report­ed­ly found when they were respond­ing to a pub­lic records request.

    Geor­gia state offi­cials ini­tial­ly claimed they did­n’t believe a record­ing of the call exist­ed. So were they mere­ly mis­tak­en? Because if not, that’s a cov­er-up. But at this point we don’t know who knew about the exis­tence of the file and who placed it in the trash. Hmm...that seems like some­thing wor­thy of inves­ti­ga­tion:

    ...
    It is unclear why the record­ing was found there, and it remains unknown when the call file was moved to the trash. TPM has reached out to Raffensperger’s office and will update upon receiv­ing a response.

    The bomb­shell tape revealed that dur­ing the call, which took place on Decem­ber 23, Trump urged Wat­son to dig up nonex­is­tent evi­dence of vot­er fraud amid his attempt to over­turn the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion results in Geor­gia, where he was defeat­ed by now-Pres­i­dent Joe Biden.

    ...

    Georgia’s Ful­ton Coun­ty Dis­trict Attor­ney Fani Willis has opened a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion into Trump and his allies’ attacks on the state’s elec­tion results. A grand jury has been empan­eled to weigh charges in the case.

    Willis sent let­ters to Geor­gia offi­cials in Feb­ru­ary order­ing them to keep doc­u­ments relat­ed to the 2020 elec­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly those that may show evi­dence of elec­tion inter­fer­ence.
    ...

    The list of poten­tial cul­prits of who delet­ed the record­ing does­n’t seem like it would be a huge list. Wat­son or oth­er peo­ple work­ing in her office are the obvi­ous sus­pects. At least in terms of actu­al­ly delet­ing the record­ing.

    But that obvi­ous­ly isn’t the full list of pos­si­ble rel­e­vant sus­pects in the cov­er-up. After all, this whole sit­u­a­tion arose when the Trump admin­is­tra­tion basi­cal­ly tried to extort Geor­gia’s state offi­cials into flip­ping the state in his direc­tion. And, in fair­ness, Brad Raf­fensperg­er’s office has over­all demon­strat­ed for more integri­ty on this mat­ter than we could expect from a lot of oth­er Repub­li­can Sec­re­taries of State.

    And that’s why the ques­tions over this pos­si­ble cov­er-up include the ques­tion of what kind of pres­sure the Trump admin­is­tra­tion was sub­se­quent­ly apply­ing to the state offi­cials Trump called and harangued to ensure they delet­ed any record­ings of those harangu­ing phone calls. Along with the ques­tion of what kind of illic­it pres­sure might be applied to state offi­cials today, with Trump out of office, to ensure any evi­dence is destroyed. After all, the guy who acts like an out of con­trol mob­ster while in office prob­a­bly isn’t going to break those mob­ster habits when out of office. Espe­cial­ly while fac­ing mul­ti­ple inves­ti­ga­tions. If there’s one thing that could free the broad­er GOP estab­lish­ment from Trump’s grip, it’s these numer­ous state-lev­el crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions. Extort­ing the broad­er GOP into silence is prob­a­bly a crit­i­cal aspect of Trump’s gen­er­al defense strat­e­gy going for­ward. Arguably the crit­i­cal step.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 15, 2021, 6:02 pm
  4. While the shad­ow of Don­ald Trump con­tin­ues to loom large over the future of the Repub­li­can Par­ty, it’s some­times easy to for­get that the shad­ow of Steve Ban­non is still out there, lurk­ing over the shad­ow of Don­ald Trump’s shoul­der, whis­per­ing in its shad­owy ears, end­less­ly plot­ting a dark­er future. So here’s a reminder that Steve Ban­non remains a dark cloud over the future:

    Last month, Ban­non told a group of Boston Repub­li­cans that not only will for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump return to the White House in 2024, but Trump might actu­al­ly first get run for the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in 2022. Why run for a House seat when he’s plan­ning on a White House rerun two-years lat­er? Because, accord­ing to Ban­non, if the Repub­li­cans retake con­trol of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in 2022, Don­ald Trump would replace Nan­cy Pelosi as Speak­er of the House.

    Should that hap­pen, the plan is for the Repub­li­can-con­trolled House to imme­di­ate­ly impeach Joe Biden. What will Biden be impeached for? For steal­ing the 2020 elec­tion from Trump. Now, as with both of Trump’s impeach­ments, it would be high­ly unlike­ly that the Sen­ate would con­vict Biden should such a sce­nario tran­spire unless the GOP some­how sweep the 2022 Sen­ate races too. But let’s not kid our­selves, the prob­a­bil­i­ty of the Repub­li­cans retak­ing con­trol of the House ion 2022 is actu­al­ly rea­son­ably high. It’s just a built in fea­ture of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy: despite scat­tered state-lev­el reforms that improved reg­u­la­tion over ger­ry­man­der­ing, the Repub­li­cans are still going to have the pow­er to ger­ry­man­der 128 more House seats than the Democ­rats dur­ing the 2020 redis­trict­ing process.

    And don’t for­get the GOP picked up House seats in 2020. Giv­en the long-stand­ing US polit­i­cal tra­di­tion of incum­bent pres­i­dents’ par­ties los­ing seats dur­ing mid-terms, it’s not all implau­si­ble that the GOP retakes con­trol of the House in 2022, and arguably prob­a­ble that it hap­pens. So Steve Ban­non’s scheme isn’t near­ly as hair­brained as many would pre­fer. In terms of giv­ing Trump a new avenue to inflict dai­ly chaos on the US polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment, this is a very rea­son­able bet.

    But there’s anoth­er dynam­ic in all of this: from a his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive, one of the pri­ma­ry rea­sons we should expect the GOP to retake con­trol of the House in 2022 is sim­ply because the ‘out of pow­er’ vot­ers tend to be much more ani­mat­ed dur­ing mid-terms. Plus, Repub­li­can vot­ers tend to be far more reli­able mid-term vot­ers than their Demo­c­ra­t­ic coun­ter­parts. So if 2022 goes as expect­ed (with­out a Trump run), the GOP con­trol of the House after the 2022 elec­tions would be a pret­ty good bet. But that dynam­ic com­plete­ly changes if Trump decides to run. All of a sud­den, the threat of Trump return­ing to pol­i­tics would become very real for mil­lions of peo­ple who vot­ed against Trump in 2020 but would oth­er­wise be unlike­ly to vote at all 2022. In oth­er words, it’s hard to imag­ine a more effec­tive fig­ure for ani­mat­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic vote in 2022 than the threat of Speak­er of the House Trump.

    So 2022 rep­re­sents a fas­ci­nat­ing puz­zle for Ban­non and Trump: win­ning a House seat and becom­ing Speak­er is arguably the fastest and like­li­est path of suc­cess for Trump return­ing to pol­i­tics in a big way. But it’s a very real gam­ble that real­ly could back­fire on the entire GOP dur­ing a year the par­ty would oth­er­wise be posi­tioned to do rather well. We don’t know if Trump is actu­al­ly con­sid­er­ing this scheme, but if he is con­sid­er­ing it that sets up the ques­tion of whose ambi­tions will take pri­or­i­ty here? Trump’s ambi­tions to reen­ter pol­i­tics? Or the House GOP’s ambi­tions to hold onto their seats and retake con­trol. The answer is obvi­ous. Trump’s ambi­tions will trump all oth­ers. And that’s why this is a sto­ry to keep an eye on: if Trump wants to do this, he’ll do it. And Steve Ban­non, the Trump-whis­per­er, real­ly wants Trump to want to do this:

    Boston Her­ald

    Steve Ban­non to Boston Repub­li­cans: Trump will ‘lead us in 2024’
    Bannon’s strat­e­gy is for Trump to run for Con­gress in 2022 and impeach Biden

    By RICK SOBEY
    PUBLISHED: Feb­ru­ary 14, 2021 at 8:08 p.m. | UPDATED: Feb­ru­ary 15, 2021 at 12:30 p.m.

    For­mer White House strate­gist Steve Ban­non told a group of Boston Repub­li­cans that for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will come roar­ing back in 2024, sug­gest­ing he may first be elect­ed to Con­gress, dis­place Nan­cy Pelosi as speak­er and launch impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings against Pres­i­dent Biden.

    “Going for­ward, we can trans­form the Repub­li­can Par­ty into more of a MAGA move­ment … just immerse the (Make Amer­i­ca Great Again) move­ment with the Repub­li­can Par­ty, and we’re going to have mas­sive vic­to­ries in the future,” Ban­non said in a Lin­coln Day Break­fast speech.

    Dur­ing his talk to the West Rox­bury Ward 20 Repub­li­can Com­mit­tee on Sat­ur­day, the same day Trump was acquit­ted by the Sen­ate in his impeach­ment tri­al, Ban­non even float­ed the idea of Trump becom­ing speak­er of the House in 2022 and impeach­ing Pres­i­dent Biden.

    “Trump is a dis­rup­tor, but he has a long-term vision because I absolute­ly believe in the mar­row of my bones that he will be our nom­i­nee in 2024,” Ban­non lat­er added. “He’ll come back to us. We’ll have a sweep­ing vic­to­ry in 2022, and he’ll lead us in 2024.”

    Ban­non, who pro­mot­ed the unsub­stan­ti­at­ed alle­ga­tions of wide­spread vot­er fraud in the 2020 elec­tion and claimed that Trump won, said his strat­e­gy is for Trump to run for Con­gress in 2022 and say he’s run­ning for speak­er of the House.

    “We total­ly get rid of Nan­cy Pelosi, and the first act of Pres­i­dent Trump as speak­er will be to impeach Joe Biden for his ille­git­i­mate activ­i­ties of steal­ing the pres­i­den­cy,” Ban­non said, lead­ing to applause and hollers from the Boston Repub­li­cans.

    Ban­non told the crowd that they “need to con­front this rad­i­cal Biden admin­is­tra­tion every day.”

    Pol­i­tics should no longer be thought of as Repub­li­cans ver­sus Democ­rats, he stressed dur­ing his talk.

    “It’s between pop­ulists, nation­al­ists, tra­di­tion­al­ists ver­sus these kind of glob­al­ists, elites, sec­u­lar rad­i­cals,” Ban­non said, adding, “This is what I think the future of this move­ment is … . We’re going to have a big aspect of dis­af­fect­ed Democ­rats that start to come over.”

    Lou Mur­ray, the chair of the West Rox­bury Ward 20 Repub­li­can Com­mit­tee, also said that “more tra­di­tion­al­ly mind­ed Democ­rats” will leave the par­ty because of the “rad­i­cal­ism” of Biden’s admin­is­tra­tion.

    “I 100% agree with that,” Mur­ray said, lat­er adding, “The Trump brand isn’t over. The MAGA, Amer­i­ca First mes­sage of Don­ald Trump is extreme­ly pop­u­lar, and that mes­sage will keep being extreme­ly pop­u­lar.”

    ...

    ————-

    “Steve Ban­non to Boston Repub­li­cans: Trump will ‘lead us in 2024’” by RICK SOBEY; Boston Her­ald; 02/14/2021

    ““We total­ly get rid of Nan­cy Pelosi, and the first act of Pres­i­dent Trump as speak­er will be to impeach Joe Biden for his ille­git­i­mate activ­i­ties of steal­ing the pres­i­den­cy,” Ban­non said, lead­ing to applause and hollers from the Boston Repub­li­cans.”

    The idea is out there. And based on the response from those Boston Repub­li­cans, it sounds like they were open to the idea:

    ...
    Lou Mur­ray, the chair of the West Rox­bury Ward 20 Repub­li­can Com­mit­tee, also said that “more tra­di­tion­al­ly mind­ed Democ­rats” will leave the par­ty because of the “rad­i­cal­ism” of Biden’s admin­is­tra­tion.

    “I 100% agree with that,” Mur­ray said, lat­er adding, “The Trump brand isn’t over. The MAGA, Amer­i­ca First mes­sage of Don­ald Trump is extreme­ly pop­u­lar, and that mes­sage will keep being extreme­ly pop­u­lar.”
    ...

    There is a cer­tain log­ic to it: Trump is the brand of the GOP at this point. And he real­ly is extreme­ly pop­u­lar with the Repub­li­can base. Why not stick with the brand? Trump did come obscene­ly close to being reelect­ed, after all. We can see the seeds of a Trump con­gres­sion­al run already tak­ing root.

    But, again, while no fig­ure would ani­mate the Repub­li­can base to come out in 2022 like Trump, there’s no avoid­ing the real­i­ty that he real­ly would be a dream for get­ting out the Demo­c­ra­t­ic vote. And then there’s the fact that it’s not actu­al­ly clear which House seat Trump would run for, in part because the obvi­ous seat — Flori­da’s 21st dis­trict, where Mar-a-Lago resides — is held by Demo­c­rat Lois Frankel, who won hand­i­ly over far right Trump super-fan Lau­ra Loomer in the 2020 elec­tion. So if Trump does decide to run for a House seat in the hopes of revenge-impeach­ing Joe Biden, he’ll prob­a­bly need to find a more Trump-friend­ly con­gres­sion­al dis­trict to move to first:

    Newsweek

    Steve Ban­non Wants Trump to Run for Con­gress in 2022 and Replace Pelosi As Speak­er

    By Jason Lemon
    On 2/16/21 at 4:36 PM EST

    Although there has been a lot of talk about for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump run­ning for the White House again in 2024, Steve Ban­non has sug­gest­ed the for­mer pres­i­dent should first run for Con­gress in 2022.

    ...

    Ban­non, like Trump, has repeat­ed­ly pushed the base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that Pres­i­dent Joe Biden won the elec­tion through wide­spread vot­er fraud. No evi­dence has been brought for­ward pub­licly to sup­port the base­less claim.

    For­mer Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials have pub­licly said the ex-pres­i­dent wants to run for the White House again in 2024. How­ev­er, the for­mer pres­i­dent has not yet revealed what his future polit­i­cal plans are besides that he will sup­port Repub­li­can efforts to retake the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Sen­ate in 2022.

    After ini­tial­ly blam­ing Trump for the insur­rec­tion against the U.S. Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6, House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy trav­eled to vis­it the for­mer pres­i­dent at his res­i­dence in Flori­da at the end of Jan­u­ary. Fol­low­ing that meet­ing, the two men released a pho­to and state­ment say­ing Trump would help Repub­li­cans win back con­trol of the House dur­ing the midterm elec­tions.

    Newsweek reached out spokes­peo­ple for Trump and McCarthy for com­ment on Ban­non’s plan, but they did not imme­di­ate­ly respond. Ban­non’s plan would also entail McCarthy step­ping aside or Trump chal­leng­ing him for the Speak­er role, assum­ing Repub­li­cans retake the House—which is cer­tain­ly not guar­an­teed.

    It’s also unclear whether Trump would be able to win a House seat. Although the state of Flori­da went for Trump in 2016 and again in 2020, the for­mer pres­i­dent would like­ly run in his cur­rent dis­trict, rep­re­sent­ed by Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gress­woman Lois Frankel. Dur­ing the 2020 elec­tion, Frankel was chal­lenged by a pro-Trump Repub­li­can can­di­date but eas­i­ly won reelec­tion by a dou­ble-dig­it mar­gin. Frankel secured the sup­port of 59 per­cent of vot­ers in her dis­trict com­pared to the 39.1 per­cent who backed her oppo­nent.

    After Trump’s acquit­tal on Sat­ur­day in his sec­ond Sen­ate impeach­ment tri­al, he released a state­ment hint­ing at future polit­i­cal ambi­tions.

    “Our his­toric, patri­ot­ic and beau­ti­ful move­ment to Make Amer­i­ca Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing our incred­i­ble jour­ney togeth­er to achieve Amer­i­can great­ness for all of our peo­ple. There has nev­er been any­thing like it!” the for­mer pres­i­dent said.

    “We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radi­ant, and lim­it­less Amer­i­can future.”

    ———-

    “Steve Ban­non Wants Trump to Run for Con­gress in 2022 and Replace Pelosi As Speak­er” by Jason Lemon; Newsweek; 02/16/2021

    It’s also unclear whether Trump would be able to win a House seat. Although the state of Flori­da went for Trump in 2016 and again in 2020, the for­mer pres­i­dent would like­ly run in his cur­rent dis­trict, rep­re­sent­ed by Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gress­woman Lois Frankel. Dur­ing the 2020 elec­tion, Frankel was chal­lenged by a pro-Trump Repub­li­can can­di­date but eas­i­ly won reelec­tion by a dou­ble-dig­it mar­gin. Frankel secured the sup­port of 59 per­cent of vot­ers in her dis­trict com­pared to the 39.1 per­cent who backed her oppo­nent.”

    Might Trump run for the House and lose? It’s hard to imag­ine he would run if he thought he might lose. It would just be too embar­rass­ing.

    At the same time, becom­ing Speak­er of the House and revenge-impeach­ing Biden must be in incred­i­bly tempt­ing option. Plus, keep in mind that, at Trump’s age and with his over­all state of health, it’s very unclear if he’ll even be alive for the 2o24 elec­tions. The 2022 elec­tion, on the oth­er hand, is just around the cor­ner. 4 years is a LONG ways away for some­one in Trump’s posi­tion. This ‘House Speak­er­ship’ avenue back to nation­al rel­e­van­cy has to be awful­ly tempt­ing for some­one with Trump’s psy­chol­o­gy.

    Will Trump play it safe and skip the oppor­tu­ni­ty? Run in his home Dis­trict 21 dis­trict and Frankel and risk los­ing? Or maybe move to anoth­er dis­trict and run from there? We’ll see. But Ban­non has no doubt made his 2022 pitch direct­ly to Trump so Trump must be think­ing about it. So for any­one who owns a gar­ish eye­sore on the mar­ket that hap­pens to be locat­ed in a Trump-friend­ly Flori­da con­gres­sion­al dis­trict, there might be a notable uptick in demand in com­ing months.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 16, 2021, 1:52 pm
  5. As we’ve watched the par­al­lel rise of the “accel­er­a­tionist” strains of neo-Nazism at the same time far right thought has cap­ture the Repub­li­can Par­ty in gen­er­al, one of the dark ques­tions raised by these trends is the extent to which there’s any mean­ing­ful dis­tinc­tion between the “accel­er­a­tionists” and the more tra­di­tion­al far right activism. After all, it’s not like the end goals dif­fer all that much between the “accel­er­a­tionsts” and their slow­er mov­ing far right brethren. The dif­fer­ences has long been a mat­ter of tac­tics and tim­ing, with of the “accel­er­a­tionists” pre­fer­ring the path of unre­lent­ing ‘lead­er­less resis­tance’ domes­tic ter­ror attacks intend­ed to desta­bi­lize soci­ety, while the more tra­di­tion­al neo-Nazis stick to the slow boil approach.

    But giv­en the way these two strate­gies can syn­er­gize with each oth­er, there’s real­ly no need to dis­tin­guish between the two move­ment. Aren’t these two sides of the same coin? It’s a ques­tion omi­nous raised by the grow­ing evi­dence that a good num­ber of those Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion­ists were, in fact, oper­at­ing under an accel­er­a­tionist mind­set. After all, “accel­er­a­tionism” could mere­ly be one wing of a much broad­er move­ment, a domes­tic ter­ror wing built in a man­ner to excu­pate the larg­er move­ment from the pub­lic blow­back over the con­se­quences of the domes­tic ter­ror attacks. That’s why we have to ask: just how many of the more ‘promi­nent pub­lic intel­lec­tu­als’ on the far right are secret accel­er­a­tionists?

    Well, based on the fol­low­ing SPLC piece, there’s at least one accel­er­a­tionist in those cir­cles: Kevin DeAn­na. And when some­one as cen­tral to the con­tem­po­rary far right cir­cles oper­at­ing in Wash­ing­ton DC as DeAn­na gets out­ed as an accel­er­a­tionist, the ques­tion starts turn­ing into who isn’t a clos­et accel­er­a­tionist in those cir­cles. After all, as we’ve seen, Project Ver­i­tas founder James O’Keefe was report­ed­ly quite chum­my with DeAn­na. DeAn­na went on to play a major role in the rise of the Alt Right at the same time DeAn­na was nav­i­gat­ing sup­pos­ed­ly respectable con­ser­v­a­tive cir­cles like the Inter­na­tion­al Lead­er­ship Insti­tute that osten­si­bly gen­er­ates the next gen­er­a­tion of con­ser­v­a­tive lead­ers. Then there’s the July 2016 far right din­ner par­ty DeAn­na attend­ed at Peter Thiel’s house, where atten­dees report­ed­ly con­clud­ed that Thiel was ful­ly on board with the ‘Dark Enlight­en­ment’. And when DHS employ­ee Ian M. Smith was forced to resign in 2018 after he was out­ed as a white nation­al­ist, we learn that Smith was hang­ing out in the same social cir­cle as DeAn­na. DeAn­na real­ly has been oper­at­ing at the heart of the far right’s oper­a­tions in DC.

    And as we’ll see in the sec­ond SPLC excerpt below, DeAn­na was active­ly solic­it­ing resumes from his far right friends on behalf of VDARE for work in the Trump White House after Trump’s vic­to­ry in 2016. The guy lives in that grey area where overt white nation­al­ism merges with ‘respectable’ Repub­li­can pol­i­tics and real pow­er in DC. And he’s an accel­er­a­tionist. It rais­es quite a few urgent ques­tions, espe­cial­ly in the wake of Trump’s ‘stolen elec­tion’ loss.

    So how many of DeAn­na’s fel­low trav­el­ers are accel­er­a­tionists too? We have no idea. But with Trump out of pow­er and his based get­ting increas­ing­ly rad­i­cal­ized towards polit­i­cal vio­lence, odds are there’s a lot more fel­low accel­er­a­tionist trav­el­ers than there used to be:

    South Pover­ty Law Cen­ter

    White Nation­al­ist Who Met With Peter Thiel Admired Ter­ror­is­tic Lit­er­a­ture

    A white nation­al­ist pro­pa­gan­dist who met with bil­lion­aire investor Peter Thiel has been deeply embed­ded in the move­ment for well over a decade, and has pro­vid­ed an ide­o­log­i­cal bridge between suit-and-tie white nation­al­ism and its more vio­lent fringe, accord­ing to leaked emails and texts shared with Hate­watch.

    Han­nah Gais
    March 18, 2021

    Kevin DeAn­na – who met with Thiel on the evening of July 29, 2016, in the midst of the 2016 elec­tion cycle – was not mere­ly a par­tic­i­pant in a white suprema­cist sub­cul­ture when he met Thiel but also was immersed in its most extreme ele­ments, includ­ing lit­er­a­ture admired by ter­ror­ists. Dean­na wrote under the pseu­do­nyms “Gre­go­ry Hood” and “James Kirk­patrick” over a decade for white nation­al­ist pub­li­ca­tions such as VDARE and Amer­i­can Renais­sance, as Hate­watch report­ed in a four-part series pub­lished in March 2020. He cit­ed texts like “SIEGE” and used ter­mi­nol­o­gy drawn from such oth­er books as “The Turn­er Diaries” in his work and in pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion. “The Turn­er Diaries,” orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in 1978, has influ­enced some of the most infa­mous acts of U.S. domes­tic ter­ror­ism, includ­ing the mur­der of Alan Berg in 1984 and the Okla­homa City bomb­ing in 1995. “SIEGE,” once an obscure neo-Nazi newslet­ter, has resur­faced in recent years as the pre­ferred text of neo-Nazi ter­ror­is­tic orga­ni­za­tions such as the now-defunct Atom­waf­fen Divi­sion.

    DeAn­na was also con­nect­ed to peo­ple in the U.S. gov­ern­ment. About six weeks pri­or to his meet­ing with Thiel, DeAn­na dis­cussed recruit­ing for a white nation­al­ist group with State Depart­ment offi­cial Matthew Q. Gebert. Gebert, who used the pseu­do­nym “Coach Fin­stock” online, recruit­ed mem­bers for “D.C. Heli­copter Pilots” – a Vir­ginia and Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based orga­niz­ing chap­ter of white nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tion The Right Stuff. Gebert was sus­pend­ed from his job in the Bureau of Ener­gy Resources, but the State Depart­ment has nev­er clar­i­fied whether or not he is still being paid.

    Hate­watch con­firmed report­ing first pub­lished in Buz­zfeed sug­gest­ing Thiel met with DeAn­na, using a cache of images pro­vid­ed by for­mer Bre­it­bart edi­tor Katie McHugh, who has since renounced white nation­al­ism. McHugh cap­tured a pic­ture of DeAnna’s exchange with Thiel, as well as of sev­er­al oth­er emails, in August 2016. Hate­watch was able to com­pare a screen­shot of one of these pho­tos, giv­en to us by McHugh in Novem­ber 2018, with a series of cached images uploaded to her iCloud. Hate­watch has also been able to ver­i­fy anoth­er email thread between DeAn­na and his edi­tors at VDARE, a white nation­al­ist web­site where he wrote under the pseu­do­nym “James Kirk­patrick,” dis­cussing the meet­ing in the same man­ner.

    Hate­watch reached out to Thiel, DeAn­na, Gebert and sev­er­al oth­er fig­ures men­tioned in this arti­cle. All but one, VDARE edi­tor Peter Brimelow, declined to com­ment. Brimelow told Hate­watch that he “[didn’t] have clear rec­ol­lec­tion of the events” men­tioned in an email and asked, “Isn’t it rather a long time ago?” Hate­watch also reached out to both Face­book and Palan­tir, a data ana­lyt­ics firm co-found­ed by Thiel. Palan­tir declined to respond, and a spokesper­son from Face­book declined to com­ment.

    The images pro­vid­ed to Hate­watch show a series of mes­sages between Thiel, DeAn­na and Bren­dan Kissam. Kissam, accord­ing to Buz­zFeed, is a for­mer con­ser­v­a­tive activist who has pro­duced videos for VDARE under a pseu­do­nym. Archived posts from Kissam’s Face­book, which were pro­vid­ed to Hate­watch by a group of antifas­cist researchers known as the Anony­mous Com­rades Col­lec­tive, showed him inter­act­ing with white nation­al­ists such as Counter-Cur­rents’ Greg John­son and “Mil­li­cent Wil­lows” – an account that appears to belong to the white nation­al­ist YouTu­ber Col­in Robert­son, who pub­lished videos under the pseu­do­nym “Mil­len­ni­al Woes.” (“Mil­li­cent Wil­lows” used the same logo as Robertson’s “Mil­len­ni­al Woes” YouTube chan­nel.) On Jan. 21, 2017, the same week­end as Trump’s pres­i­den­tial inau­gu­ra­tion, he post­ed a self­ie with Richard Spencer, who lived near Wash­ing­ton, D.C., at the time.

    Kissam intro­duced the two men over email on July 30, 2016 – a few days after Thiel appeared at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion. The mes­sage used the sub­ject line “Right Wing Din­ner Squad III.” Though the intent is unclear, the sub­ject line appears sim­i­lar to a meme pop­u­lar on the far right, “Right Wing Death Squad.” As a meme it refers to the his­to­ry of author­i­tar­i­an far-right dic­ta­tor­ships and their extra­ju­di­cial killings.

    Kissam wrote that he had been “look­ing for­ward to you guys get­ting to meet.” Thiel then fol­lowed up with DeAn­na indi­vid­u­al­ly, say­ing he “real­ly enjoyed meet­ing you last night” and sug­gest­ing they meet up when Thiel was in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., next or when­ev­er DeAn­na was in “SF” – which like­ly stood for San Fran­cis­co, where Thiel lived.

    As Hate­watch has not­ed, DeAn­na had been involved with far-right and, lat­er, white nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tions for 10 years at the time the email was exchanged with Thiel.

    It is unclear who else was at the gath­er­ing. How­ev­er, in anoth­er email ref­er­enc­ing the meet­ing, DeAnna’s edi­tor at VDARE, Peter Brimelow, cit­ed a few oth­er pos­si­ble atten­dees. Dat­ed July 2, a lit­tle less than 30 days before Thiel, DeAn­na and Kissam met, Brimelow chas­tised DeAn­na for not keep­ing him “abreast of Alt Right devel­op­ments.” He cit­ed a forth­com­ing “meet­ing with the Right Stuff, Ann Coul­ter, Thiel, etc.” as an exam­ple.

    DeAnna’s work as a white nation­al­ist pro­pa­gan­dist tied him to Kissam

    DeAn­na was one of numer­ous peo­plewho attempt­ed to bal­ance careers in main­stream insti­tu­tions in and around Wash­ing­ton, D.C., with a “secret” life as a white nation­al­ist orga­niz­er. In 2006, he found­ed a far-right stu­dent group, Youth for West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion (YWC), while work­ing at the right-wing Lead­er­ship Insti­tute as a field rep­re­sen­ta­tive. (Lead­er­ship Insti­tute, which has pro­vid­ed train­ing for a num­ber of promi­nent right-wing fig­ures in the past, denied any affil­i­a­tion with YWC.) While head of YWC, DeAn­na began writ­ing under the bylines “Gre­go­ry Hood” and “James Kirk­patrick” on hate sites in 2008 and 2011, respec­tive­ly. Over the course of the next 12 years, DeAn­na wrote well over 1,700 arti­cles for white nation­al­ist out­lets, includ­ing VDARE, the Nation­al Pol­i­cy Institute’s Radix Jour­nal, Amer­i­can Renais­sance, Counter-Cur­rents and The Social Con­tract.

    Kissam, for his part, was clear­ly aware of DeAnna’s pseu­do­ny­mous per­sonas at the time he con­nect­ed DeAn­na to Thiel.

    As McHugh recalled to Hate­watch, Kissam had attend­ed an event where DeAn­na was sched­uled to speak as “Gre­go­ry Hood” a few months pri­or to his meet­ing with Thiel. She not­ed that both men were atten­dees at Counter-Cur­rents’ inau­gur­al New York Forum in May 2016. DeAn­na, who had been a Counter-Cur­rents con­trib­u­tor since 2011, was billed as one of the main speak­ers. McHugh, who attend­ed the event with DeAn­na, told Hate­watch that she met Kissam after the event. She not­ed that Kissam accom­pa­nied Counter-Cur­rents pub­lish­er Greg John­son, as well as oth­er speak­ers, to a restau­rant in the city after the speech­es at the forum con­clud­ed.

    How DeAnna’s work bridged suit-and-tie white nation­al­ism with its more vio­lent fringe

    DeAn­na indulged deep­er, more sin­is­ter cur­rents with­in the white pow­er move­ment as well.

    DeAnna’s work under the pseu­do­nym “Gre­go­ry Hood” drew upon foun­da­tion­al white nation­al­ist and neo-Nazi texts that have inspired numer­ous acts of domes­tic ter­ror­ism. As both “Kirk­patrick” and “Hood,” DeAn­na fre­quent­ly refers to a “Sys­tem” – often with a cap­i­tal “S,” mir­ror­ing “Turn­er Diaries” author William Pierce’s own orthog­ra­phy. DeAn­na, like Pierce, presents “the Sys­tem” as both a gov­ern­men­tal and non­govern­men­tal coali­tion of minor­i­ty groups set out to destroy whites.

    Writ­ing as Hood, DeAn­na cit­ed “SIEGE,” a col­lec­tion of neo-Nazi James Mason’s writ­ings, on numer­ous occa­sions. In 2013, years before the text was pop­u­lar­ized by the neo-Nazi forum Iron March, DeAn­na cit­ed “SIEGE” in a Counter-Cur­rents essay about the need to destroy the Repub­li­can Par­ty. DeAn­na wrote that Mason was cor­rect in stat­ing that “white advo­cates must think of all white peo­ple every­where as our army.” The orig­i­nal post, pub­lished on Counter-Cur­rents’ web­site on Jan. 31, 2013, linked to a part of the site where one could buy Mason’s tract for $20, plus ship­ping and han­dling.

    McHugh, who dat­ed DeAn­na from 2013 to 2016, and again briefly in 2017, told Hate­watch that DeAn­na owned a copy of “SIEGE” pri­or to its pop­u­lar­iza­tion by the neo-Nazi forum Iron March.

    “The bold, red let­ter­ing of ‘SIEGE’ on the book spine is unmis­tak­able. It is a heavy book, and DeAn­na told me not to read it,” she told Hate­watch.

    Some of DeAnna’s writ­ing, such as an April 2016 essay in Radix Jour­nal titled “On LARP­ing,” com­bined ref­er­ences to both “The Turn­er Diaries” and “SIEGE.”

    “Most of us don’t do any­thing. . . . We don’t take to the streets; we don’t hang the trai­tors from lamp­posts; we don’t revolt the same way any of our ances­tors would,” DeAn­na wrote.

    “Unless you’re not pay­ing tax­es, liv­ing out­side the law, or in some form of war against the pow­ers that be, you’ll be objec­tive­ly help­ing the Sys­tem keep going, what­ev­er sub­ver­sive thoughts you have with­in your own head. Hence, the rad­i­cal (even by Nation­al Social­ist stan­dards) James Mason rec­om­mend­ed either total war or drop­ping out of the Sys­tem entire­ly,” he con­tin­ued.

    The essay earned him the praise of at least one user on Iron March, an inter­na­tion­al neo-Nazi forum that birthed the ter­ror­is­tic neo-Nazi group Atom­waf­fen Divi­sion.

    “Gre­go­ry Hood is by far the clos­est writer to our views that [Radix Jour­nal has],” wrote one user, “James Futur­ist,” on Nov. 16, 2016.

    DeAn­na helped car­ry water for the more vio­lent wing of the move­ment in oth­er ways. The email thread between DeAn­na and the Brimelows refer­ring to his forth­com­ing meet­ing with Thiel con­tained a ref­er­ence to a “Gre­go­ry Hood arti­cle about Sacra­men­to on AmRen.” Here, Brimelow is ref­er­enc­ing a piece penned by DeAn­na under his “Hood” pseu­do­nym about the “bat­tle of Sacra­men­to” – a June 26, 2016, riot in Sacra­men­to that broke out after mem­bers of the neo-Nazi Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty and Gold­en State Skin­heads clashed with antifas­cist coun­ter­pro­test­ers. As Hate­watch report­ed, the event result­ed in 514 mis­de­meanor and 68 felony charges, and it involved over 100 peo­ple.

    “There is no doubt that it was the left­ists who start­ed the vio­lence, but by most accounts, it was the TWP that fin­ished it,” DeAn­na wrote on July 1, 2016, par­rot­ing the lan­guage used by TWP’s leader Matthew Heim­bach. DeAn­na called TWP and GSS’s event a “legal­ly sanc­tioned demon­stra­tion,” and wrote, “It is invari­ably vio­lent or poten­tial­ly vio­lent left­ists who attack white advo­cates who are demon­strat­ing or meet­ing peace­ful­ly.”

    How­ev­er, Heim­bach – who was not present at the event – boast­ed at the time that “we,” refer­ring the par­tic­i­pants in the TWP and GSS event, sent six antifas­cist pro­test­ers to the hos­pi­tal.

    DeAn­na was invit­ed by a for­mer State Depart­ment offi­cial to a white nation­al­ist meet­up

    Around the same time he met with Thiel, DeAn­na was invit­ed to a white nation­al­ist recruit­ment meet­ing by for­mer State Depart­ment offi­cial Matthew Q. Gebert.

    In June, a lit­tle less than two months before his post-RNC din­ner with Thiel, DeAn­na received an email from Gebert invit­ing him and McHugh to a gath­er­ing of what appeared to be mem­bers of the white nation­al­ist group “D.C. Heli­copter Pilots.” The group appeared to be large­ly active between 2016 and 2018.

    “Our nucle­us (about 10 sharp and accom­plished goys) will meet for din­ner around 6 pm in Old Town, then head out to a few bars where some prospects from the Forum will join. If your plans fall through, we’d be hon­ored to host you and the lady as spe­cial (sur­prise) guests for din­ner, or just grab a few drinks after,” Gebert wrote from a Pro­ton Mail account asso­ci­at­ed with his “Coach Fin­stock” pseu­do­nym on June 16, 2016.

    “Old Town” here appears to refer to the his­toric dis­trict of Alexan­dria, Vir­ginia.

    The “prospects” from the Forum appears to refer to mem­bers look­ing to join the local chap­ter of TRS for which Gebert per­formed recruit­ment, as Hate­watch pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed.

    ...

    ———–

    “White Nation­al­ist Who Met With Peter Thiel Admired Ter­ror­is­tic Lit­er­a­ture” by Han­nah Gais; South Pover­ty Law Cen­ter; 03/18/2021

    “DeAnna’s work under the pseu­do­nym “Gre­go­ry Hood” drew upon foun­da­tion­al white nation­al­ist and neo-Nazi texts that have inspired numer­ous acts of domes­tic ter­ror­ism. As both “Kirk­patrick” and “Hood,” DeAn­na fre­quent­ly refers to a “Sys­tem” – often with a cap­i­tal “S,” mir­ror­ing “Turn­er Diaries” author William Pierce’s own orthog­ra­phy. DeAn­na, like Pierce, presents “the Sys­tem” as both a gov­ern­men­tal and non­govern­men­tal coali­tion of minor­i­ty groups set out to destroy whites.

    Yes, DeAn­na’s writ­ings mir­ror the Turn­er Diaries. Imag­ine that. But it’s not just the Turn­er Diaries where DeAn­na finds his inspi­ra­tion. DeAn­na’s ex-girl­friend Katie McHugh con­firmed that, yes, DeAn­na owned a copy of James Mason’s “SIEGE” — the hand­book for accel­er­a­tionists — before its recent rise in pop­u­lar­i­ty. He even ref­er­enced it in some of his pseu­do­ny­mous writ­ings:

    ...
    Writ­ing as Hood, DeAn­na cit­ed “SIEGE,” a col­lec­tion of neo-Nazi James Mason’s writ­ings, on numer­ous occa­sions. In 2013, years before the text was pop­u­lar­ized by the neo-Nazi forum Iron March, DeAn­na cit­ed “SIEGE” in a Counter-Cur­rents essay about the need to destroy the Repub­li­can Par­ty. DeAn­na wrote that Mason was cor­rect in stat­ing that “white advo­cates must think of all white peo­ple every­where as our army.” The orig­i­nal post, pub­lished on Counter-Cur­rents’ web­site on Jan. 31, 2013, linked to a part of the site where one could buy Mason’s tract for $20, plus ship­ping and han­dling.

    McHugh, who dat­ed DeAn­na from 2013 to 2016, and again briefly in 2017, told Hate­watch that DeAn­na owned a copy of “SIEGE” pri­or to its pop­u­lar­iza­tion by the neo-Nazi forum Iron March.

    “The bold, red let­ter­ing of ‘SIEGE’ on the book spine is unmis­tak­able. It is a heavy book, and DeAn­na told me not to read it,” she told Hate­watch.

    Some of DeAnna’s writ­ing, such as an April 2016 essay in Radix Jour­nal titled “On LARP­ing,” com­bined ref­er­ences to both “The Turn­er Diaries” and “SIEGE.”

    “Most of us don’t do any­thing. . . . We don’t take to the streets; we don’t hang the trai­tors from lamp­posts; we don’t revolt the same way any of our ances­tors would,” DeAn­na wrote.

    “Unless you’re not pay­ing tax­es, liv­ing out­side the law, or in some form of war against the pow­ers that be, you’ll be objec­tive­ly help­ing the Sys­tem keep going, what­ev­er sub­ver­sive thoughts you have with­in your own head. Hence, the rad­i­cal (even by Nation­al Social­ist stan­dards) James Mason rec­om­mend­ed either total war or drop­ping out of the Sys­tem entire­ly,” he con­tin­ued.

    The essay earned him the praise of at least one user on Iron March, an inter­na­tion­al neo-Nazi forum that birthed the ter­ror­is­tic neo-Nazi group Atom­waf­fen Divi­sion.

    “Gre­go­ry Hood is by far the clos­est writer to our views that [Radix Jour­nal has],” wrote one user, “James Futur­ist,” on Nov. 16, 2016.
    ...

    So the guy has effec­tive­ly been act­ing as an accel­er­a­tionist evan­ge­list with­in far right circles...at the same time he’s snug­gled up to the GOP estab­lish­ment in DC. Which, again, rais­es the ques­tion of how many oth­er clos­et accel­er­a­tionists are oper­at­ing in the shock­ing­ly ‘main­stream’ far right cir­cles with­in the con­tem­po­rary Repub­li­can Par­ty. Along with the ques­tion of how many of those clos­et accel­er­a­tionists man­aged to get jobs in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion:

    South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter

    White Nation­al­ists Sought Resumes for Trump White House, Emails Show

    Activists linked to the white nation­al­ist hate group VDARE sought resumes to fill out White House admin­is­tra­tion jobs days after media out­lets declared Don­ald J. Trump the win­ner of the 2016 elec­tion, leaked emails show.

    Michael Edi­son Hay­den and Han­nah Gais
    Decem­ber 14, 2020

    The emails fur­ther cor­rob­o­rate Hate­watch analy­sis show­ing that the extreme far-right fringe of U.S. pol­i­tics grew bold­er due to Trump’s rise in the Repub­li­can par­ty and then received unprece­dent­ed access to pow­er after he took office.

    Hate­watch pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that both White House senior advis­er Stephen Miller and deputy com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor Julia Hahn direc­tor Julia Hahn knew VDARE founder Peter Brimelow before Trump appoint­ed them to posi­tions in his admin­is­tra­tion at the start of his term. For­mer Bre­it­bart News edi­tor Katie McHugh, who pro­vid­ed evi­dence of Miller and Hahn’s con­nec­tions to the move­ment, also told Hate­watch about the efforts of VDARE activists to influ­ence the staffing of the admin­is­tra­tion. As with pre­vi­ous inves­ti­ga­tions, she leaked email exchanges to back up her claims.

    One email sent to McHugh on Nov. 10, 2016, shows promi­nent white nation­al­ist pro­pa­gan­dist and long­time VDARE author Kevin DeAn­na solic­it­ing resumes, which he claimed to be doing on behalf of VDARE-linked pun­dit Ann Coul­ter. Time­stamps show DeAn­na sent the email two days after the 2016 elec­tion. Under the sub­ject line “Admin­is­tra­tion jobs,” he wrote:

    Katie,

    Ann Coul­ter asked if you want to get a job in the Admin­is­tra­tion. She wants names. I mean, you have a bet­ter in than me with [Steve] Ban­non and all, but it’s some­thing you should con­sid­er.

    Send me a one page resume (boast­ful as if Ann was writ­ing it, not you) if you can.

    Great work with every­thing you did this cycle.

    KJD

    DeAn­na is a far-right extrem­ist and a white nation­al­ist. He has pub­lished near­ly 2,000 arti­cles for more than half a dozen white nation­al­ist sites under the pseu­do­nyms “James Kirk­patrick” and “Gre­go­ry Hood” across the last twelve years, as Hate­watch pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed. While writ­ing as Gre­go­ry Hood in 2018 for the white suprema­cist web­site Amer­i­can Renais­sance, DeAn­na defend­ed the for­ma­tion of coun­tries built only for white peo­ple, writ­ing that “white nation­al­ists are the true defend­ers of exist­ing nation-states.”

    Coul­ter, a fix­ture in the right-wing media cir­cuit for a gen­er­a­tion, emerged as one of Trump’s most high-pro­file back­ers ear­ly on in the 2016 elec­tion cycle. Coul­ter said her anti-immi­grant book “Adios Amer­i­ca” influ­enced Trump’s run for office in an Octo­ber 2015 inter­view on a tele­vi­sion show aired by a Sin­clair Broad­cast Group affil­i­ate, claim­ing Trump read the book “cov­er to cov­er” pri­or to announc­ing his can­di­da­cy.

    Coulter’s byline first start­ed appear­ing on VDARE’s web­site in 2013. To date, her byline has appeared on VDARE’s web­site near­ly 400 times across a span of sev­en years, mak­ing her arguably the most famous per­son on it, along with anti-immi­grant politi­cian Pat Buchanan. McHugh told Hate­watch she first met Coul­ter at a VDARE Christ­mas par­ty in New York City in Decem­ber 2014. Hate­watch reached out to DeAn­na and Coul­ter for com­ment on the email exchange McHugh shared, but they did not respond.

    McHugh replied to DeAnna’s email seek­ing resumes for the admin­is­tra­tion by rec­om­mend­ing that he also apply. DeAn­na wrote back: “Doing my best. Please put a good word in for [Steve] Ban­non for me if you can. Doing resume as we speak and drink­ing Trump cham­pagne.” Ban­non, Trump’s chief strate­gist at that time, served as the exec­u­tive chair­man of Bre­it­bart News while McHugh wrote for them.

    ...

    McHugh wrote anti-immi­grant posts for Bre­it­bart News at the time DeAn­na solicit­ed her resume, and she asso­ci­at­ed with a num­ber of open white nation­al­ists. These asso­ci­a­tions includ­ed DeAn­na, whom she dat­ed from 2013 to 2016 and again briefly in 2017, she said. McHugh has since renounced racism and leaked to Hate­watch an entire hard dri­ve of pri­vate mes­sages she shared with DeAn­na and oth­er far-right extrem­ists dur­ing her time in the move­ment.

    Although VDARE founder Peter Brimelow denies being a white nation­al­ist, he has for decades traf­ficked in white nation­al­ist rhetoric. In one exam­ple from June 2017, VDARE gave a plat­form to white nation­al­ist activist Jason Kessler to pro­mote the “white geno­cide” con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry on their web­site. Kessler helped orga­nize the dead­ly “Unite the Right” ral­ly in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, in August 2017, which VDARE pub­licly defend­ed as recent­ly as this year.

    In Sep­tem­ber 2019, Media Mat­ters high­light­ed the degree to which VDARE’s YouTube chan­nel embraced rhetoric employed by far-right ter­ror­ists. Face­book and YouTube sus­pend­ed VDARE’s accounts dur­ing the spring and sum­mer of 2020, respec­tive­ly. VDARE offered read­ers a “Cyber Mon­day” deal after Thanks­giv­ing this year for the vir­u­lent­ly racist nov­el “The Camp of the Saints” – a book beloved by white suprema­cists and oth­er far-right extrem­ists.

    Hate­watch reached out to Brimelow for a com­ment on this sto­ry, but he did not respond. Hate­watch also emailed the White House for a com­ment. Deputy Press Sec­re­tary Judd Deere replied, “Who is Peter Brimelow?” After Hate­watch answered him, Deere wrote back that the premise of Hatewatch’s sto­ry was untrue.

    “This is cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly false as evi­denced by the fact that the SPLC can­not name a sin­gle per­son who was alleged­ly installed as a result of this sup­posed process,” Deere wrote.

    ‘VDARE is look­ing for good peo­ple to help fill Trump admin­is­tra­tion ranks’

    McHugh for­ward­ed addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al to cor­rob­o­rate her claim that VDARE sought resumes to staff the White House in the ear­ly days of the tran­si­tion of pow­er from Pres­i­dent Oba­ma to Pres­i­dent Trump. She sent one email to Coul­ter sep­a­rate­ly to demon­strate her inter­est in work­ing for the White House.

    “Hi, Ann, I received a mes­sage from a mutu­al acquain­tance say­ing you want­ed to know if I’d like a job in the admin­is­tra­tion. The answer is whole­heart­ed­ly yes. Any­thing I can do to MAGA,” McHugh wrote to Coul­ter lat­er that night on Nov. 10, 2016, refer­ring to a slo­gan asso­ci­at­ed with Trump’s cam­paign. Coul­ter did not reply.

    On Nov. 11, 2016, McHugh con­tact­ed her for­mer men­tor, John Elliott, about the same oppor­tu­ni­ty. Elliott recruit­ed McHugh into a jour­nal­ism pro­gram at the lib­er­tar­i­an-lean­ing Insti­tute for Humane Stud­ies, she told Hate­watch. At the time McHugh sent the email about admin­is­tra­tion posi­tions, Elliott had been strug­gling to find con­sis­tent full-time work after leav­ing his pre­vi­ous post at the con­ser­v­a­tive Inter­col­le­giate Stud­ies Insti­tute in 2015, she said.

    McHugh wrote in explic­it terms that VDARE – not Coul­ter, or DeAn­na, but the orga­ni­za­tion itself – sought resumes to help fill out Trump admin­is­tra­tion posi­tions:

    VDARE is look­ing for good peo­ple to help fill Trump admin­is­tra­tion ranks with the help of one of our friends in high places.

    Feel free to use me as a ref­er­ence and resume proof­read­er.

    Send a one-page resume to James Kirk­patrick [email link] — who knows, maybe we can all get into the White House.

    Eight years of gov­ern­ment work plus health ben­e­fits would solve a lot of prob­lems.

    Emails show he wrote back to McHugh a few hours lat­er on Nov. 11 seek­ing help draft­ing his resume. McHugh and Elliott both con­tributed at that time to a small, pri­vate email list­serv known as “Morn­ing Hate.” As Splin­ter report­ed in 2019, the group was large­ly steered by Elliott. The list­serv includ­ed a hand­ful of indi­vid­u­als work­ing in the con­ser­v­a­tive media world. Elliott pub­lished hate on the list­serv, refer­ring to some of his for­mer IHS interns as “homos” while prais­ing Hitler as “our good friend.”

    VDARE’s four-year prox­im­i­ty to pow­er

    The White House nev­er hired DeAn­na, Elliott or McHugh, but the office has employed mul­ti­ple peo­ple with ties to VDARE under Trump’s lead­er­ship.

    Stephen Miller, who served as an advis­er on Trump’s cam­paign pri­or to work­ing for the White House, invit­ed VDARE founder Peter Brimelow to speak at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty in 2007. McHugh also leaked to Hate­watch an email show­ing that Miller for­ward­ed her a link to a post from VDARE’s web­site in 2015 on the sub­ject of Tem­po­rary Pro­tec­tive Sta­tus for refugees, while she worked for Bre­it­bart, and while he served as an aide to then-Sen. Jeff Ses­sions of Alaba­ma.

    Julia Hahn came into the White House as a spe­cial assis­tant to Trump and became his deputy com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor this March, around the time when crit­ics accused the pres­i­dent of mis­man­ag­ing the response to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. Brimelow wrote to Hahn and McHugh in 2014, ref­er­enc­ing her appar­ent atten­dance of a writer’s work­shop host­ed by the white nation­al­ist group The Social Con­tract Press, emails show. Hahn also emailed McHugh in 2016, rec­om­mend­ing that she inter­view “Peter” for a sto­ry, refer­ring to Brimelow by his first name.

    Lar­ry Kud­low, Trump’s eco­nom­ic advis­er, invit­ed Brimelow to his home for his birth­day par­ty in August 2018. When asked about Brimelow’s propen­si­ty to pub­lish white nation­al­ist pro­pa­gan­da by The Wash­ing­ton Post, Kud­low claimed not to know he held those views.

    “If I had known this, we would nev­er have invit­ed him,” Kud­low said. “I’m dis­ap­point­ed and sad­dened to hear about it.”

    The White House ter­mi­nat­ed speech­writer Dar­ren Beat­tie from his posi­tion in the admin­is­tra­tion in August 2018, after CNN revealed he had addressed the white nation­al­ist H.L. Menck­en Club at its Novem­ber 2016 con­fer­ence along­side a clus­ter of VDARE con­trib­u­tors. Beat­tie had been one of three speak­ers on a pan­el dis­cussing “The Right and Its Ene­mies,” along­side Brimelow and Ilana Mer­cer, a South African-born far-right writer whose columns had been pub­lished at VDARE in the past. The same con­fer­ence fea­tured a num­ber of oth­er VDARE affil­i­ates and con­trib­u­tors, includ­ing colum­nists John Der­byshire and Jack Ker­wick. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion brought Beat­tie back into the gov­ern­ment in Novem­ber despite his white nation­al­ist ties, appoint­ing him to the Com­mis­sion for the Preser­va­tion of America’s Her­itage Abroad.

    When reached for com­ment, Beat­tie said, “I had no con­tact with VDARE as it relates to find­ing work in the admin­is­tra­tion, and VDARE had noth­ing to do with my being hired for any posi­tion in gov­ern­ment or oth­er­wise.”

    VDARE’s fund­ing and pur­chase of Berke­ley Springs cas­tle

    The Cen­ter for Media and Democ­ra­cy report­ed in Decem­ber that DonorsTrust, a dark mon­ey group that “man­ages and dis­pers­es wealthy con­ser­v­a­tives’ char­i­ta­ble funds anony­mous­ly,” gave VDARE a stag­ger­ing $1.5 mil­lion in 2019. DonorsTrust bun­dles mon­ey from “Repub­li­can bil­lion­aire fam­i­lies such as the DeVos­es, Kochs, and Mer­cers,” the watch­dog not­ed.

    VDARE may have spent some of their rich­es sit­u­at­ing them­selves clos­er to the seat of pow­er in the U.S. In Feb­ru­ary, Brimelow’s hate group pur­chased a his­toric cas­tle in the vaca­tion town of Berke­ley Springs, West Vir­ginia. The white nation­al­ists spent $1.4 mil­lion on the cas­tle and did so with­out the help of a loan. Accord­ing to res­i­dents of Berke­ley Springs, some of whom have protest­ed VDARE’s pres­ence there, the cas­tle offers res­i­dents a one-and-a-half-hour com­mute to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., bring­ing them much clos­er to the cap­i­tal than they were at their pre­vi­ous home in Con­necti­cut.

    ———–

    “White Nation­al­ists Sought Resumes for Trump White House, Emails Show” by Michael Edi­son Hay­den and Han­nah Gais; South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter; 12/14/2020

    McHugh replied to DeAnna’s email seek­ing resumes for the admin­is­tra­tion by rec­om­mend­ing that he also apply. DeAn­na wrote back: “Doing my best. Please put a good word in for [Steve] Ban­non for me if you can. Doing resume as we speak and drink­ing Trump cham­pagne.” Ban­non, Trump’s chief strate­gist at that time, served as the exec­u­tive chair­man of Bre­it­bart News while McHugh wrote for them.”

    The exchange between McHugh and DeAn­na, where McHugh encour­ages DeAn­na to apply for a White House job him­self, real­ly cap­tures the spir­it of that moment for the far right. It was like an open invi­ta­tion to the White House. They just need­ed to be a lit­tle sur­rep­ti­tious about it, which might explain why, in some cas­es, the 2016 White House recruit­ment cam­paign DeAn­na was run­ning seemed like it was being done an behalf of Ann Coul­ter, but was lat­er revealed to be done on behalf of VDARE:

    ...
    One email sent to McHugh on Nov. 10, 2016, shows promi­nent white nation­al­ist pro­pa­gan­dist and long­time VDARE author Kevin DeAn­na solic­it­ing resumes, which he claimed to be doing on behalf of VDARE-linked pun­dit Ann Coul­ter. Time­stamps show DeAn­na sent the email two days after the 2016 elec­tion. Under the sub­ject line “Admin­is­tra­tion jobs,” he wrote:

    Katie,

    Ann Coul­ter asked if you want to get a job in the Admin­is­tra­tion. She wants names. I mean, you have a bet­ter in than me with [Steve] Ban­non and all, but it’s some­thing you should con­sid­er.

    Send me a one page resume (boast­ful as if Ann was writ­ing it, not you) if you can.

    Great work with every­thing you did this cycle.

    KJD

    ...

    Coulter’s byline first start­ed appear­ing on VDARE’s web­site in 2013. To date, her byline has appeared on VDARE’s web­site near­ly 400 times across a span of sev­en years, mak­ing her arguably the most famous per­son on it, along with anti-immi­grant politi­cian Pat Buchanan. McHugh told Hate­watch she first met Coul­ter at a VDARE Christ­mas par­ty in New York City in Decem­ber 2014. Hate­watch reached out to DeAn­na and Coul­ter for com­ment on the email exchange McHugh shared, but they did not respond.

    ...

    In Sep­tem­ber 2019, Media Mat­ters high­light­ed the degree to which VDARE’s YouTube chan­nel embraced rhetoric employed by far-right ter­ror­ists. Face­book and YouTube sus­pend­ed VDARE’s accounts dur­ing the spring and sum­mer of 2020, respec­tive­ly. VDARE offered read­ers a “Cyber Mon­day” deal after Thanks­giv­ing this year for the vir­u­lent­ly racist nov­el “The Camp of the Saints” – a book beloved by white suprema­cists and oth­er far-right extrem­ists.

    ...

    McHugh for­ward­ed addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al to cor­rob­o­rate her claim that VDARE sought resumes to staff the White House in the ear­ly days of the tran­si­tion of pow­er from Pres­i­dent Oba­ma to Pres­i­dent Trump. She sent one email to Coul­ter sep­a­rate­ly to demon­strate her inter­est in work­ing for the White House.

    “Hi, Ann, I received a mes­sage from a mutu­al acquain­tance say­ing you want­ed to know if I’d like a job in the admin­is­tra­tion. The answer is whole­heart­ed­ly yes. Any­thing I can do to MAGA,” McHugh wrote to Coul­ter lat­er that night on Nov. 10, 2016, refer­ring to a slo­gan asso­ci­at­ed with Trump’s cam­paign. Coul­ter did not reply.

    On Nov. 11, 2016, McHugh con­tact­ed her for­mer men­tor, John Elliott, about the same oppor­tu­ni­ty. Elliott recruit­ed McHugh into a jour­nal­ism pro­gram at the lib­er­tar­i­an-lean­ing Insti­tute for Humane Stud­ies, she told Hate­watch. At the time McHugh sent the email about admin­is­tra­tion posi­tions, Elliott had been strug­gling to find con­sis­tent full-time work after leav­ing his pre­vi­ous post at the con­ser­v­a­tive Inter­col­le­giate Stud­ies Insti­tute in 2015, she said.

    McHugh wrote in explic­it terms that VDARE – not Coul­ter, or DeAn­na, but the orga­ni­za­tion itself – sought resumes to help fill out Trump admin­is­tra­tion posi­tions:

    VDARE is look­ing for good peo­ple to help fill Trump admin­is­tra­tion ranks with the help of one of our friends in high places.

    Feel free to use me as a ref­er­ence and resume proof­read­er.

    Send a one-page resume to James Kirk­patrick [email link] — who knows, maybe we can all get into the White House.

    Eight years of gov­ern­ment work plus health ben­e­fits would solve a lot of prob­lems.

    ...

    Final­ly, just to high­light how high up the sup­port goes for fig­ures like DeAn­na and groups like VDARE, here’s a quick reminder that the most promi­nent right-wing main­stream polit­i­cal dark mon­ey group, DonorsTrust, gave VDARE $1.5 mil­lion in 2019 so it could by a cas­tle near DC in West Vir­gina. Yes, main­stream big mon­ey Repub­li­can donors effec­tive­ly bought VDARE a real cas­tle last year:

    ...
    The Cen­ter for Media and Democ­ra­cy report­ed in Decem­ber that DonorsTrust, a dark mon­ey group that “man­ages and dis­pers­es wealthy con­ser­v­a­tives’ char­i­ta­ble funds anony­mous­ly,” gave VDARE a stag­ger­ing $1.5 mil­lion in 2019. DonorsTrust bun­dles mon­ey from “Repub­li­can bil­lion­aire fam­i­lies such as the DeVos­es, Kochs, and Mer­cers,” the watch­dog not­ed.

    VDARE may have spent some of their rich­es sit­u­at­ing them­selves clos­er to the seat of pow­er in the U.S. In Feb­ru­ary, Brimelow’s hate group pur­chased a his­toric cas­tle in the vaca­tion town of Berke­ley Springs, West Vir­ginia. The white nation­al­ists spent $1.4 mil­lion on the cas­tle and did so with­out the help of a loan. Accord­ing to res­i­dents of Berke­ley Springs, some of whom have protest­ed VDARE’s pres­ence there, the cas­tle offers res­i­dents a one-and-a-half-hour com­mute to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., bring­ing them much clos­er to the cap­i­tal than they were at their pre­vi­ous home in Con­necti­cut.
    ...

    So at least one of DonorTrusts super-wealthy donors is a big fan of VDARE’s white nation­al­ists con­tent. You have to won­der how many of DeAn­na’s numer­ous VDARE arti­cles were read and enjoyed by this anony­mous donor. But more impor­tant­ly, we have to won­der if this anony­mous VDARE donor hap­pens to share DeAn­na’s accel­er­a­tionist mind-set. Just how pop­u­lar is James Mason’s SIEGE these days? That remains unclear. But as the sto­ry of DeAn­na’s accel­er­a­tionist evan­ge­liz­ing makes clear, accel­er­a­tionism is prob­a­bly a lot more pop­u­lar than many peo­ple want to admit...at least admit out­side of their secret elite white nation­al­ist din­ner par­ty cir­cles.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 18, 2021, 4:00 pm
  6. Here’s a set of arti­cles about the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion into the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion that relates to the ques­tions of the extent to which ‘accel­er­a­tionist’ thought has over­tak­en the far right and the broad­er ques­tions about the risks of a sus­tained Trump-inspired domes­tic ter­ror move­ment for the US going for­ward. Per­haps a Trump-inspired domes­tic ter­ror move­ment designed, in part, to help Trump avoid the legal reper­cus­sions over the insur­rec­tion:

    Michael Sher­win, the for­mer act­ing US attor­ney who ini­tial­ly led the inves­ti­ga­tion into the insur­rec­tion, just gave an inter­view on “60 Min­utes” last night about the direc­tion of the inves­ti­ga­tion. Sher­win con­firmed that sedi­tion charges are being exam­ined and that, in Sher­win’s mind, there are facts that sup­port sedi­tion charges against at least some of the riot­ers.

    And that rais­es the obvi­ous ques­tion of poten­tial sedi­tion charges against the chief riot­er: the-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. Does Sher­win see pos­si­ble sedi­tion charges against Trump too? Yes, accord­ing to Sher­win, Trump may be cul­pa­ble. It’s not a guar­an­tee, but the door to sedi­tion charges against Trump appears to be open. And as we’ll see in the third arti­cle below, Har­vard con­sti­tu­tion­al lawyer Lau­rence Tribe con­curred on Sun­day that, yes, Trump should face sedi­tion charges over his actions lead­ing up to the insur­rec­tion. And he should prob­a­bly face extor­tion charges over his phone calls to Geor­gia state offi­cials try­ing to coerce them into over­turn­ing the elec­tion results.

    So while we have yet to see what, if any, charges Trump will face over his mul­ti-faceted efforts to over­turn the elec­tion results, it’s sound­ing like a real pos­si­bil­i­ty he could face seri­ous charges. The kind of charges that could result in major jail time. And the clos­er we get to Trump fac­ing seri­ous crim­i­nal charges, the clos­er we like­ly get to Trump and oth­ers in his move­ment going down the ‘accel­er­a­tionist’ path of domes­tic ter­ror and ret­ribu­tive vio­lence. That’s part of why these sto­ries about the grow­ing legal per­il for Trump and his fol­low­ers are so sig­nif­i­cant. Because if they start arriv­ing at the con­clu­sion that they have noth­ing to lose because they are already in legal per­il, they might act like peo­ple with noth­ing to lose:

    Reuters

    DOJ offi­cial says there is evi­dence to charge sedi­tion in U.S. Capi­tol assault:’60 Min­utes’

    By Reuters Staff
    March 21, 2021 8:47 PM
    Updat­ed

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors have found evi­dence that would like­ly allow the gov­ern­ment to file sedi­tion charges against some of those involved in the dead­ly Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capi­tol, a Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cial told CBS’ “60 Min­utes” on Sun­day.

    “I believe the facts do sup­port those charges,” said act­ing U.S. Attor­ney Michael Sher­win for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia. “I think that, as we go for­ward, more facts will sup­port that.”

    Hun­dreds of sup­port­ers of then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump stormed the Capi­tol in a failed bid to stop Con­gress from cer­ti­fy­ing Demo­c­rat Joe Biden’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion vic­to­ry, send­ing law­mak­ers flee­ing and leav­ing five dead.

    The Jus­tice Depart­ment has already filed cas­es against 400 sus­pects involved in the assault, but none have yet been accused of sedi­tion, the crime of oppos­ing the author­i­ty of the U.S. gov­ern­ment through force.

    ...

    ————

    “DOJ offi­cial says there is evi­dence to charge sedi­tion in U.S. Capi­tol assault:’60 Min­utes’ ” By Reuters Staff; Reuters; 03/21/2021

    “The Jus­tice Depart­ment has already filed cas­es against 400 sus­pects involved in the assault, but none have yet been accused of sedi­tion, the crime of oppos­ing the author­i­ty of the U.S. gov­ern­ment through force.

    No one has been charged with sedi­tion yet. But the avail­able fact do sup­port sedi­tion charges accord­ing to the guy who was ini­tial­ly lead­ing this inves­ti­ga­tion which means we should prob­a­bly expect at least some sedi­tion charges. Will that include sedi­tion charges against Trump? Accord­ing to Scher­win, yes, evi­dence would sup­port a sedi­tion charge. In par­tic­u­lar, the vol­ume of evi­dence pro­vid­ed by the arrest­ed riot­ers them­selves who make it very clear to inves­ti­ga­tors that they felt they were act­ing on Trump’s orders when they raid­ed the Capi­tol. On the oth­er hand, there’s the mili­tia mem­bers who claim they raid­ed the Capi­tol in response to Trump being ‘all talk’, which could act as a defense of Trump against sedi­tion charges. Although it’s not obvi­ous why being accused of being ‘all talk’ is nec­es­sar­i­ly a defense against charges that your words were delib­er­a­tive­ly incit­ful. So it sounds like sedi­tion charges are a pos­si­bil­i­ty against Trump, but not a slam dunk and depen­dent in part on the insur­rec­tion­ists’ claim of how Trump’s words and actions, or lack there­of, influ­enced their own words and actions.

    It’s an inter­est­ing sit­u­a­tion from a MAGA-land game the­o­ry stand­point: the best defense for the insur­rec­tion­ists — that they were just fol­low­ing Trump’s lead — is the most damn­ing indict­ment of Trump. While the mili­tia mem­bers who claim Trump was all talk and no action, on the oth­er hand, are pro­vid­ing the best legal defense of Trump but the most damn­ing indict­ment of Trump’s lead­er­ship qual­i­ties. They’re basi­cal­ly call­ing him a paper com­man­der in chief. It’s the kind of dynam­ic that rais­es the ques­tion of of what Trump is per­son­al­ly hop­ing to hear from the his fol­low­ers under ques­tion­ing: that he as lead­ing them in into the insur­rec­tion with his fiery rhetoric, or dis­ap­point­ing them into the insur­rec­tion with his gen­er­al weak­ness:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    News

    Ex-Pros­e­cu­tor In Insur­rec­tion Probe Says Trump May Be ‘Cul­pa­ble’ In Capi­tol Siege

    By Cristi­na Cabr­era
    March 22, 2021 8:14 a.m.

    Michael Sher­win, the for­mer act­ing U.S. attor­ney in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. who led the inves­ti­ga­tion into the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion on Jan­u­ary 6, con­firmed on Sun­day night that the feds are inves­ti­gat­ing ex-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s role in the vio­lence that unfold­ed that day.

    The pros­e­cu­tor told “60 Min­utes” reporter Scott Pel­ley in a pre-taped inter­view that the ques­tion is whether the for­mer pres­i­dent, who told a crowd of his sup­port­ers to “fight like hell” and go to the Capi­tol right before they stormed the build­ing, was “crim­i­nal­ly cul­pa­ble for every­thing that hap­pened.”

    “What I could tell you is this: Based upon what we see in the pub­lic record and what we see in pub­lic state­ments in court, we have plen­ty of peo­ple-we have soc­cer moms from Ohio that were arrest­ed say­ing, ‘Well, I did this because my pres­i­dent said I had to take back our house.’ That moves the nee­dle towards that direc­tion,” Sher­win said. “Maybe the pres­i­dent is cul­pa­ble for those actions.”

    “But also you see in the pub­lic record too mili­tia mem­bers say­ing, ‘You know what? We did this because Trump just talks a big game. He’s just all talk. We did what he wouldn’t do,’” the pros­e­cu­tor added.

    ...

    The day after the Capi­tol siege, Sher­win did not rule out the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Trump would be fac­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion for encour­ag­ing the mob to go to the Capi­tol after enrag­ing them with lies claim­ing the 2020 elec­tion was stolen from him.

    Sher­win offi­cial­ly left his post after Pres­i­dent Joe Biden appoint­ed act­ing U.S. Attor­ney for D.C. Chan­ning Phillips, who is now lead­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion into the siege, as his replace­ment.

    ———–

    “Ex-Pros­e­cu­tor In Insur­rec­tion Probe Says Trump May Be ‘Cul­pa­ble’ In Capi­tol Siege” By Cristi­na Cabr­era; Talk­ing Points Memo; 03/22/2021

    ““What I could tell you is this: Based upon what we see in the pub­lic record and what we see in pub­lic state­ments in court, we have plen­ty of peo­ple-we have soc­cer moms from Ohio that were arrest­ed say­ing, ‘Well, I did this because my pres­i­dent said I had to take back our house.’ That moves the nee­dle towards that direc­tion,” Sher­win said. “Maybe the pres­i­dent is cul­pa­ble for those actions.”

    Was Trump an effec­tive leader? If so, it’s hard to avoid a guilty rul­ing. But if he was just this blowhard that was los­ing his grip on the hearts of minds of his most ded­i­cat­ed fol­low­ers, well, then maybe he isn’t direct­ly cul­pa­ble for the riot. That’s one of the key ques­tion fac­ing pros­e­cu­tors:

    ...
    “But also you see in the pub­lic record too mili­tia mem­bers say­ing, ‘You know what? We did this because Trump just talks a big game. He’s just all talk. We did what he wouldn’t do,’” the pros­e­cu­tor added.
    ...

    Recall how, as we’ve seen, the Trump team was work­ing extreme­ly close­ly with groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keep­ers, with mem­bers of the Oath Keep­ers being allowed into the VIP area of the Jan 6 “Stop the Steal” ral­ly, osten­si­bly to pro­vide VIP secu­ri­ty. Also recall how the “Quick Reac­tion Forces” (QRFs) — which were posi­tioned to rapid­ly deploy large stores of heavy arms to the insur­rec­tion­ists — were report­ed­ly wait­ing for orders from Trump him­self. But then, at 1:38 pm, about 20 min­utes after Trump con­clud­ed his speech at the ral­ly, Oath Keep­er leader Stew­art Rhodes wrote, “All I see Trump doing is com­plain­ing. I see no intent by him to do any­thing. So the patri­ots are tak­ing it into their own hands. They’ve had enough.”. And while the QRFs don’t appear to have ever been called in, the full-scale storm­ing of the Capi­tol clear­ly hap­pened. So Oath Keep­er leader Stew­art Rhodes made a state­ment that osten­si­bly would clear Trump of some rhetor­i­cal cul­pa­bil­i­ty, but this is lit­er­al­ly the guy lead­ing the orga­ni­za­tion that was clear­ly work­ing close­ly with the Trump team on that very day and pro­vid­ing the pri­vate ‘mus­cle’ to the move­ment. It’s not like any­thing Rhodes says should be seen as absolv­ing Trump of cul­pa­bil­i­ty over the events of that day. They’re effec­tive­ly co-con­spir­a­tors.

    So as we can see, the evi­dence both indict­ing and defend­ing Trump against sedi­tion charges is a bit messy. At best, the argu­ment that Trump lit­er­al­ly left the mili­tias so dis­ap­point­ed that they decid­ed to uni­lat­er­al­ly car­ry out the insur­rec­tion (still on his behalf) is a pret­ty bad sedi­tion defense. But a bad defense might be good enough in a court a law. Although as Con­sti­tu­tion­al law expert Lau­rence Tribe points out in the fol­low­ing arti­cle, there are dif­fer­ent pos­si­ble sedi­tion-relat­ed charges. There’s the charge of actu­al­ly lead­ing the sedi­tion con­spir­a­cy, which could be pun­ish­able with up to 20 years in prison. But there’s also the les­son charge that applies to “any­one who gives aid or com­fort to insur­rec­tion or rebel­lion,” which could be pun­ish­able with up to 10 years and prison and would per­ma­nent­ly dis­qual­i­fy the per­son from hold­ing any state or fed­er­al office. Yep, impeach­ment isn’t the only way to keep Trump out of office. Charg­ing him with doing what he bla­tant­ly did in pub­lic — giv­ing aid or com­fort to insur­rec­tion or rebel­lion — will do the trick. Oh, and then there’s all the extor­tion in Geor­gia:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Lau­rence Tribe: Evi­dence Appears To Sup­port Sedi­tion Charge Against Trump
    As for Geor­gia, Trump “basi­cal­ly tried to steal” the elec­tion, the Har­vard law pro­fes­sor says.

    By Mary Papen­fuss
    03/22/2021 03:40 am ET

    Con­sti­tu­tion­al law expert Lau­rence Tribe said on MSNBC Sun­day that evi­dence appears to sup­port sedi­tion charges against for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump regard­ing his role in the Capi­tol riot.

    While var­i­ous finan­cial cas­es against Trump are very strong, the Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty law pro­fes­sor said they won’t hold him account­able for the abus­es he alleged­ly com­mit­ted as pres­i­dent. How­ev­er, far more seri­ous for Trump was the Ful­ton Coun­ty inves­ti­ga­tion into his efforts to over­turn Georgia’s vote for Joe Biden for pres­i­dent in the 2020 elec­tion.

    If Trump is con­vict­ed of “con­spir­a­cy to com­mit sedi­tion — which is a fan­cy way of talk­ing about try­ing to pre­vent the gov­ern­ment from func­tion­ing,” — Trump could get 20 years in prison, Tribe said. A con­vic­tion on anoth­er charge, which applies to “any­one who gives aid or com­fort to insur­rec­tion or rebel­lion,” would be pun­ish­able by up to 10 years and per­ma­nent dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from ever hold­ing any state or fed­er­al office.

    It’s that sec­ond charge where the evi­dence “seems to point to the president’s guilt” con­cern­ing the Capi­tol riot on Jan. 6, Tribe said.

    “It looks like the evi­dence sup­ports a con­clu­sion that the pres­i­dent and the peo­ple imme­di­ate­ly around him direct­ly gave aid and com­fort to an insur­rec­tion against the Unit­ed States to pre­vent the gov­ern­ment from func­tion­ing and to pre­vent the instal­la­tion of a new pres­i­dent through the count­ing of the elec­toral votes on Jan. 6th,” said Tribe.

    As for Geor­gia, Trump basi­cal­ly tried to steal that elec­tion, Tribe added.

    Last Jan­u­ary, in a record­ed phone call, Trump pressed Georgia’s Sec­re­tary of State Brad Raf­fensperg­er and his attor­ney to find enough votes to give him a win over Biden. Tribe described the call as “code for ’Give me a vic­to­ry that I didn’t win or else you’re in trou­ble.”

    “That’s real­ly strong-arm­ing extor­tion, a vio­la­tion of the elec­tion laws,” he said. “And we saw it hap­pen in real-time and we heard it with our own ears. So, it’s real­ly hard to wig­gle out of that.”

    ...

    ————

    “Lau­rence Tribe: Evi­dence Appears To Sup­port Sedi­tion Charge Against Trump” by Mary Papen­fuss; The Huff­in­g­ton Post; 03/22/2021

    “If Trump is con­vict­ed of “con­spir­a­cy to com­mit sedi­tion — which is a fan­cy way of talk­ing about try­ing to pre­vent the gov­ern­ment from func­tion­ing,” — Trump could get 20 years in prison, Tribe said. A con­vic­tion on anoth­er charge, which applies to “any­one who gives aid or com­fort to insur­rec­tion or rebel­lion,” would be pun­ish­able by up to 10 years and per­ma­nent dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from ever hold­ing any state or fed­er­al office.

    Did then-Pres­i­dent Trump give aid or com­fort to insur­rec­tion or rebel­lion? For peo­ple with eyes and ears, yes. And that aid and com­fort may be enough to per­ma­nent­ly dis­qual­i­fy Trump from hold­ing office. Are pros­e­cu­tors look­ing into this option?

    ...
    It’s that sec­ond charge where the evi­dence “seems to point to the president’s guilt” con­cern­ing the Capi­tol riot on Jan. 6, Tribe said.

    “It looks like the evi­dence sup­ports a con­clu­sion that the pres­i­dent and the peo­ple imme­di­ate­ly around him direct­ly gave aid and com­fort to an insur­rec­tion against the Unit­ed States to pre­vent the gov­ern­ment from func­tion­ing and to pre­vent the instal­la­tion of a new pres­i­dent through the count­ing of the elec­toral votes on Jan. 6th,” said Tribe.
    ....

    And then there are the charges with even more bla­tant evi­dence: elec­tion fraud and extor­tion in Geor­gia. As Tribe puts it, “And we saw it hap­pen in real-time and we heard it with our own ears. So, it’s real­ly hard to wig­gle out of that.” Again, Trump’s guilt isn’t real­ly in ques­tion for peo­ple with func­tion­ing eyes and ears:

    ....
    As for Geor­gia, Trump basi­cal­ly tried to steal that elec­tion, Tribe added.

    Last Jan­u­ary, in a record­ed phone call, Trump pressed Georgia’s Sec­re­tary of State Brad Raf­fensperg­er and his attor­ney to find enough votes to give him a win over Biden. Tribe described the call as “code for ’Give me a vic­to­ry that I didn’t win or else you’re in trou­ble.”

    “That’s real­ly strong-arm­ing extor­tion, a vio­la­tion of the elec­tion laws,” he said. “And we saw it hap­pen in real-time and we heard it with our own ears. So, it’s real­ly hard to wig­gle out of that.”
    ...

    Will Trump find a way to wig­gle out of anoth­er legal pinch? You can’t just declare bank­rupt­cy and walk away from some­thing like this. And if there is no walk­ing away, what are Trump’s oth­er options? The guy isn’t going to allow him­self to go to jail. So if he real­ly is fac­ing real pos­si­ble jail time, what is he going to do? Oh right, foment anoth­er insur­rec­tion. Although, logis­ti­cal­ly speak­ing, anoth­er insur­rec­tion of that nature isn’t exact­ly easy to orga­nize. A ‘lead­er­less resis­tance’ domes­tic ter­ror cam­paign, on the oth­er hand, is exact­ly the kind strat­e­gy that could be deployed in that kind of sit­u­a­tion. A domes­tic ter­ror cam­paign designed to not only pro­tect the Trump fam­i­ly but extend a pro­tec­tive threat vir­tu­al­ly all of the per­pe­tra­tors of the insur­rec­tion and send the mes­sage that the price of legal­ly pun­ish­ment over the insur­rec­tion will be too high and not worth the blood and tur­moil. Is that some­thing we should expect to emerge from this sit­u­a­tion­al bile? An unoffi­cial­ly-Trump-led domes­tic ter­ror move­ment intend­ed to thwart the pros­e­cu­tion of the insur­rec­tion­ists? Hope­ful­ly not, but as the above arti­cles make clear, it’s not like Trump has a lot oth­er great legal defens­es avail­able.

    Plus, while the idea of Trump foment­ing a domes­tic ter­ror cam­paign as an indi­rect legal defense against sedi­tion charges might seem iron­ic, you can’t argue with the under­ly­ing log­ic there for some­one with few oth­er options. It’s awful preda­to­ry log­ic, but it does make sense as a last ditch move by some­one with noth­ing to lose. And thanks to Trump’s ‘lead­er­ship’, a whole lot of the most vio­lence-prone peo­ple who fol­lowed him may have noth­ing to lose too, legal­ly speak­ing. It’s iron­i­cal­ly one of Trump’s great­est accom­plish­ments, albeit more of an accom­plish­ment on behalf of ‘accel­er­a­tionist’ groups like Atom­waf­fen.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 22, 2021, 4:59 pm
  7. Here’s an arti­cle that’s notable not so much for its con­tent but for the fact that it’s like­ly the first in what will be a new genre of hor­ri­ble Trump-focused arti­cles: It’s the first post-Pres­i­den­cy inter­view of Don­ald Trump where he basi­cal­ly calls for a rev­o­lu­tion after grous­ing about how the elec­tion was rigged and stolen from him. Or, in the Trumpian way he put it, “What hap­pened to us with the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion could nev­er have hap­pened to the Democ­rats. You would have had a rev­o­lu­tion if the tables were turned, you would have lit­er­al­ly had a rev­o­lu­tion. And guys like Mitch McConnell, they don’t fight.” Yes, Trump is now basi­cal­ly sham­ing his con­ser­v­a­tive audi­ence for not suc­ceed­ing in keep­ing Trump in office dur­ing the Jan 6 insur­rec­tion. The Democ­rats would have suc­cess­ful­ly foment­ed a coup. Only weak Repub­li­cans allowed this to hap­pen. That’s Trump’s cur­rent mes­sage to MAGA-land.

    It’s arguably sur­pris­ing that it’s tak­en Trump this long to give an inter­view where he makes these kinds of state­ments. Trump has been odd­ly qui­et over the past cou­ple of months and it was­n’t clear if that silence was due to legal fears or the guy just want­ed to take a break from being a loud­mouthed fas­cist 24/7. But he’s now arrived at this seem­ing­ly inevitable rhetor­i­cal place, essen­tial­ly telling the audi­ence of Fox News’ Lisa Boothe’s “The Truth” pod­cast that they did­n’t riot for him hard enough. And the 2024 race to the White House has clear­ly already begun:

    Medi­aite

    Trump Appar­ent­ly For­gets About Capi­tol Attack, Says If Democ­rats Lost in 2020 ‘You Would Have Had a Rev­o­lu­tion’

    By Ken Mey­er
    Mar 22nd, 2021, 8:31 am

    For­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump decid­ed to com­plete­ly gloss over the events of Jan. 6 by claim­ing the coun­try would’ve wit­nessed a “rev­o­lu­tion” if he were a Demo­c­rat and the 2020 elec­tion was “rigged” against him.

    Fox News’ Lisa Boothe inter­viewed Trump on her new “The Truth” pod­cast, where the for­mer pres­i­dent began by blast­ing the “very unfair sit­u­a­tion” he’s deal­ing with as he remains under mul­ti­ple inves­ti­ga­tions. This quick­ly led to Trump once again push­ing the “big lie” that the 2020 elec­tion was stolen from him.

    We had a great elec­tion and we won and they took it away. It was a rigged elec­tion. Cause as you know, we won the first one, but we did much bet­ter in the sec­ond one. So peo­ple always say, Oh, what do you mean you did bet­ter? I say, we did much bet­ter, almost 75 mil­lion votes. And that’s the votes that we know about. And it was a real­ly a ter­ri­ble thing. I mean, it was real­ly an unfair thing to the peo­ple that sup­port us.

    Trump then went off on Sen­ate Minor­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell for not doing more to help him fight Sec­tion 230 while he was in office. As Trump claimed that McConnell is polit­i­cal­ly “hang­ing by a thread,” he then said “you would have lit­er­al­ly had a rev­o­lu­tion” if what hap­pened in the 2020 elec­tion hap­pened to a Demo­c­rat.

    If you look at what hap­pened in the elec­tion, Mitch McConnell should’ve fought. You know, he did noth­ing. He should’ve fought. They should’ve fought. That could nev­er have, that could nev­er have hap­pened to a Demo­c­rat. What hap­pened to us with the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion could nev­er have hap­pened to the Democ­rats. You would have had a rev­o­lu­tion if the tables were turned, you would have lit­er­al­ly had a rev­o­lu­tion. And guys like Mitch McConnell, they don’t fight.

    None of this drew any push­back from Boothe.

    Both of these remarks from Trump come less than three months after his sup­port­ers stormed the U.S. Capi­tol in a vio­lent attempt to stop Con­gress from cer­ti­fy­ing the results of the 2020 elec­tion. Trump’s sup­port­ers were fueled by his rhetoric dele­git­imiz­ing the elec­tion, and the for­mer pres­i­dent was sub­se­quent­ly impeached for incite­ment of insur­rec­tion with the most bipar­ti­san tri­al vote in U.S. his­to­ry.

    The inter­view went on with Trump trash­ing Biden while prais­ing him­self for his han­dling of immi­gra­tion issues at the U.S. south­ern bor­der. This was most­ly an exten­sion of his lat­est press state­ment where he slammed Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty Sec­re­tary Ale­jan­dro May­orkas’ “pathet­ic, clue­less per­for­mance” in defend­ing the Biden administration’s bor­der cri­sis response.

    ...

    ———–

    “Trump Appar­ent­ly For­gets About Capi­tol Attack, Says If Democ­rats Lost in 2020 ‘You Would Have Had a Rev­o­lu­tion’” by Ken Mey­er; Medi­aite; 03/22/2021

    We had a great elec­tion and we won and they took it away. It was a rigged elec­tion. Cause as you know, we won the first one, but we did much bet­ter in the sec­ond one. So peo­ple always say, Oh, what do you mean you did bet­ter? I say, we did much bet­ter, almost 75 mil­lion votes. And that’s the votes that we know about. And it was a real­ly a ter­ri­ble thing. I mean, it was real­ly an unfair thing to the peo­ple that sup­port us.”

    Cries of a rigged elec­tion cer­tain­ly aren’t unprece­dent­ed for Trump. But it has­n’t been entire­ly clear what to expect from Trump after the Jan 6 insur­rec­tion, espe­cial­ly since he still has a legal expo­sure to those events, includ­ing pos­si­ble sedi­tion charges. But we now appear to have got­ten our answer. Damn the legal threats, Trump is going to keep shout­ing at the world about how the elec­tion was rigged and stolen from him. And rais­es anoth­er ques­tion about this recent Trump inter­view and the like­li­hood of more inter­views of this nature going for­ward: Do inter­views like this that con­tin­ue to push the ‘stolen elec­tion’ claims while dis­miss­ing or mis­char­ac­ter­iz­ing the nature of events of Jan 6 while encour­ag­ing a repeat con­sti­tute an ongo­ing form of sedi­tion? How about if there’s a sus­tained rhetor­i­cal cam­paign by Trump claim­ing the elec­tion was stolen fol­lowed by a sus­tained that pro-Trump domes­tic ter­ror cam­paign? Will it be sedi­tion at that point? Or is Trump more or less free to spend the rest of his life giv­ing inter­views like this where he laments the lack of courage among con­ser­v­a­tives unwill­ing to fight for his vic­to­ry? As Con­sti­tu­tion­al schol­ar Lau­rence Tribe point­ed out over the week­end, in addi­tion to direct charges of sedi­tion, there are also pos­si­ble charges direct­ed at “any­one who gives aid or com­fort to insur­rec­tion or rebel­lion.” So did Trump’s inter­view rise to the lev­el of giv­ing “aid or com­fort to insur­rec­tion or rebel­lion”? No enough? How about if he deliv­ers the same under­ly­ing mes­sage in every inter­view he gives in the next four years? Because that’s prob­a­bly what’s going to hap­pen, so hope­ful­ly some pros­e­cu­tors are tak­ing a clos­er look at sedi­tion-relat­ed laws. Because while it’s not clear yet if Trump is active­ly try­ing to find ways around sedi­tion laws, or if he’s just ‘being Trump’ as usu­al, it’s pret­ty clear that Trump is still active­ly pin­ing for some sedi­tion. Or as Trump would put it, pin­ing for “the Rev­o­lu­tion” he’s hop­ing his sup­port­ers will still bring him.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 23, 2021, 4:07 pm
  8. Here’s a pair of updates on the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion into the role the Proud Boys played in orga­ni­za­tion and exe­cut­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion:

    First, the legal defense of Proud Boys leader Joseph Big­gs, who was indict­ed back on March 10 over his role in the insur­rec­tion, raised eye­brows after Big­gs’s lawyer assert­ed to the court that Big­gs had been a will­ing FBI infor­mant after FBI agents approached him in July of 2020 want­i­ng to know what he was “see­ing on the ground” in rela­tion to Antifa. Big­gs appar­ent­ly answered an agen­t’s fol­low-up ques­tions in a series of phone calls over the new few weeks. In addi­tion. Big­gs’s attor­ney claims Big­gs received “cau­tion­ary” phone calls from FBI agents and rou­tine­ly spoke with local and fed­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cials in Port­land, Ore­gon, about ral­lies he was plan­ning there in 2019 and 2020.

    Keep in mind that we’ve been get­ting reports about the Port­land police coor­di­nat­ing with far right groups for years now. For exam­ple, recall how, back in 2017, the Mult­nom­ah Coun­ty Repub­li­can par­ty chair­man James Buchal announced he was inter­est­ed in using groups like the Oath Keep­ers and Proud Boys as secu­ri­ty for par­ty events. Which end­ed up actu­al­ly hap­pen­ing. And as this sto­ry played out we learned about the exten­sive con­tacts and coor­di­na­tion between the Port­land police and a num­ber of far right groups and that was just one of the exam­ples in recent years of sto­ries of the Port­land police coor­di­nat­ing with these groups. So Joe Big­gs’s asser­tions that he rou­tine­ly spoke with local and fed­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cials in Port­land, Ore­gon, is just the lat­est detail in a larg­er well-estab­lished sto­ry.

    And as we’ll see in the sec­ond arti­cle excerpt below, about the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion charges against Big­gs and three oth­er Proud Boys mem­bers, it appears that, while evi­dence against Big­gs’s role in the direct break in of the Capi­tol build­ing remains unclear, there is evi­dence that Big­gs was play­ing a lead­er­ship role in the Proud Boys’ plans for pos­si­ble vio­lence in the lead up to the events of that day. In oth­er words, to the extent that the Proud Boys active­ly had a plan on break­ing into the Capi­tol and poten­tial­ly seiz­ing law­mak­ers, Big­gs is like­ly a top design­er of that plan. And that’s the guy law enforce­ment was cre­at­ing this exceed­ing­ly cozy rela­tion­ship with in recent years. So cozy that the FBI was ask­ing Big­gs to act as their eyes and ears against Antifa months before the insur­rec­tion:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    Lawyer: FBI enlist­ed Proud Boys leader to inform on antifa

    By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, MICHAEL BALSAMO and GILLIAN FLACCUS
    March 30, 2021

    FBI agents recruit­ed a Proud Boys leader to pro­vide them with infor­ma­tion about antifa net­works months before he was charged with storm­ing the U.S. Capi­tol with oth­er mem­bers of the far-right extrem­ist group, a defense attor­ney says.

    Proud Boys “thought leader” and orga­niz­er Joseph Big­gs agreed to pro­vide the FBI with infor­ma­tion about anti-fas­cist activists in Flori­da and else­where after an agent con­tact­ed him in late July 2020 and arranged to meet at a restau­rant, Big­gs’ lawyer, J. Daniel Hull, wrote Mon­day in a court fil­ing.

    The two agents who met with Big­gs want­ed to know what he was “see­ing on the ground,” Hull said. Over the next few weeks, Big­gs answered an agent’s fol­low-up ques­tions in a series of phone calls.

    “They spoke often,” added Hull, who is peti­tion­ing a judge to keep Big­gs out of jail pend­ing tri­al.

    The defense lawyer’s claims but­tress a wide­ly held view among left-lean­ing ide­o­log­i­cal oppo­nents of the Proud Boys that law enforce­ment has cod­dled them, con­doned their vio­lence and even pro­tect­ed them dur­ing their fre­quent street brawls with anti-fas­cists. The Proud Boys even have count­ed some law enforce­ment offi­cers among their ranks, includ­ing a Con­necti­cut police offi­cer and a Louisiana sheriff’s deputy.

    Big­gs also received “cau­tion­ary” phone calls from FBI agents and rou­tine­ly spoke with local and fed­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cials in Port­land, Ore­gon, about ral­lies he was plan­ning there in 2019 and 2020, accord­ing to Hull.

    “These talks were intend­ed both to inform law enforce­ment about Proud Boy activ­i­ties in Port­land on a cour­tesy basis but also to ask for advice on planned march­es or demon­stra­tions, i.e., what march routes to take on Port­land streets, where to go, where not to go,” Hull wrote.

    FBI Direc­tor Christo­pher Wray has said there was no evi­dence that antifa was to blame for the Jan. 6 vio­lence. But that hasn’t stopped some on the right from mak­ing the claims.

    Antifa was the Trump administration’s vil­lain­ous scape­goat for much of last year’s social unrest fol­low­ing the death of George Floyd. Trump and then-Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr blamed antifa activists for some of the vio­lence at protests over police killings of Black peo­ple across the U.S.

    The FBI and the Jus­tice Depart­ment had launched a num­ber of inves­ti­ga­tions into extrem­ist groups around that time. They were focused on whether peo­ple were vio­lat­ing fed­er­al law by cross­ing state lines to com­mit vio­lence or whether any­one was pay­ing to send antifa fol­low­ers to com­mit vio­lence, a law enforce­ment offi­cial told The Asso­ci­at­ed Press. The offi­cial could not dis­cuss the inves­ti­ga­tions pub­licly and spoke to the AP on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty.

    FBI agents respond­ed to police sta­tions in sev­er­al cities, includ­ing New York, to ques­tion sus­pects arrest­ed dur­ing protests and focused on those who self-iden­ti­fied as fol­low­ers of the move­ment, the offi­cial said.

    But inves­ti­ga­tors strug­gled to make any cas­es, in part because there is no hier­ar­chi­cal struc­ture to antifa; it’s not a sin­gle orga­ni­za­tion but rather an umbrel­la term for far-left-lean­ing mil­i­tant groups that con­front or resist neo-Nazis and white suprema­cists at demon­stra­tions, accord­ing to the offi­cial.

    The FBI would not com­ment on why agents were meet­ing with Big­gs or why the bureau was try­ing to solic­it infor­ma­tion about antifa through the Proud Boys.

    Big­gs, 37, of Ormond Beach, Flori­da, wouldn’t be the first Proud Boys infor­mant. The group’s chair­man and top leader, Enrique Tar­rio, pre­vi­ous­ly worked under­cov­er and coop­er­at­ed with inves­ti­ga­tors after he was accused of fraud in 2012, court doc­u­ments show.

    Eric Ward, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Port­land-based West­ern States Cen­ter, which tracks hate groups, said it was “deeply con­cern­ing” to learn that Big­gs had worked with the FBI, par­tic­u­lar­ly because law enforce­ment has “fre­quent­ly main­tained inap­pro­pri­ate­ly close rela­tions with far-right groups.” The Proud Boys active­ly pro­mot­ed vio­lence and street brawl­ing at the ral­lies in Port­land, he said, and Big­gs “called for vio­lence in the streets.”

    ...

    Big­gs and three oth­er Proud Boys lead­ers were indict­ed March 10 on charges that they planned and car­ried out a coor­di­nat­ed attack on the Capi­tol on Jan. 6 to stop Con­gress from cer­ti­fy­ing Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s elec­toral vic­to­ry. At least 20 oth­ers in the group have been charged in fed­er­al court with offens­es relat­ed to the riots out of about 350 peo­ple charged so far in the dead­ly riot.

    Proud Boys mem­bers describe them­selves as a polit­i­cal­ly incor­rect men’s club for “West­ern chau­vin­ists.” Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, who found­ed the Proud Boys in 2016, sued the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter for label­ing it as a hate group. In response, the law cen­ter said Proud Boys mem­bers often spread “out­right big­otry” over the inter­net and have post­ed social media pic­tures of them­selves with promi­nent Holo­caust deniers, white nation­al­ists and “known neo-Nazis.”

    Jus­tice Depart­ment pros­e­cu­tors want to jail Big­gs while he and the oth­ers await tri­al because he “presents a dan­ger not only based on his own poten­tial vio­lence, but vio­lence by oth­ers who undoubt­ed­ly still sup­port him.”

    But Big­gs’ lawyer said the incar­cer­a­tion bid hinges on evi­dence that is spec­u­la­tive at best.

    “Impor­tant­ly, the FBI has known about his polit­i­cal com­men­tary and role in plan­ning events and counter-protests in Port­land and oth­er cities since at least July 2020 and arguably ben­e­fit­ted from that knowl­edge in efforts to gath­er intel­li­gence about Antifa in Flori­da and Antifa net­works oper­at­ing across the Unit­ed States,” Hull wrote.

    The dis­clo­sures are rem­i­nis­cent of an ear­li­er col­lab­o­ra­tion between law enforce­ment and a right-wing group in Port­land dur­ing repeat­ed clash­es between left- and right-wing demon­stra­tors. The far-right group Patri­ot Prayer staged mul­ti­ple ral­lies and march­es in the lib­er­al city, draw­ing out hun­dreds of res­i­dents to oppose its mes­sage in stand­offs that some­times end­ed in vio­lence.

    In 2019, Port­land opened an inter­nal inves­ti­ga­tion after more than 11,500 text mes­sages between Patri­ot Prayer founder Joey Gib­son and police Lt. Jeff Niiya became pub­lic. Niiya was cleared in the inves­ti­ga­tion, but the episode led to train­ing and changes in the way liai­son offi­cers com­mu­ni­cate with groups before and dur­ing planned protests.

    ———–

    “Lawyer: FBI enlist­ed Proud Boys leader to inform on antifa” by MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, MICHAEL BALSAMO and GILLIAN FLACCUS; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 03/30/2021

    Big­gs, 37, of Ormond Beach, Flori­da, wouldn’t be the first Proud Boys infor­mant. The group’s chair­man and top leader, Enrique Tar­rio, pre­vi­ous­ly worked under­cov­er and coop­er­at­ed with inves­ti­ga­tors after he was accused of fraud in 2012, court doc­u­ments show.”

    The Proud Boys are clear­ly proud to act as FBI infor­mants. At least when it comes to inform­ing on Antifa. And then he waged an insur­rec­tion. It’s the kind of sto­ry arc that makes the FBI’s encour­age­ment of Hal Turn­er seem tame in com­par­i­son. It’s a reminder that a will­ing­ness to coop­er­ate with law enforce­ment isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly an indi­ca­tion some sort of respect for jus­tice or democ­ra­cy:

    ...
    The two agents who met with Big­gs want­ed to know what he was “see­ing on the ground,” Hull said. Over the next few weeks, Big­gs answered an agent’s fol­low-up ques­tions in a series of phone calls.

    “They spoke often,” added Hull, who is peti­tion­ing a judge to keep Big­gs out of jail pend­ing tri­al.

    ...

    Big­gs also received “cau­tion­ary” phone calls from FBI agents and rou­tine­ly spoke with local and fed­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cials in Port­land, Ore­gon, about ral­lies he was plan­ning there in 2019 and 2020, accord­ing to Hull.

    “These talks were intend­ed both to inform law enforce­ment about Proud Boy activ­i­ties in Port­land on a cour­tesy basis but also to ask for advice on planned march­es or demon­stra­tions, i.e., what march routes to take on Port­land streets, where to go, where not to go,” Hull wrote.

    ...

    Eric Ward, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Port­land-based West­ern States Cen­ter, which tracks hate groups, said it was “deeply con­cern­ing” to learn that Big­gs had worked with the FBI, par­tic­u­lar­ly because law enforce­ment has “fre­quent­ly main­tained inap­pro­pri­ate­ly close rela­tions with far-right groups.” The Proud Boys active­ly pro­mot­ed vio­lence and street brawl­ing at the ral­lies in Port­land, he said, and Big­gs “called for vio­lence in the streets.”

    ...

    And recall that, in 2019, when Port­land opened an inter­nal inves­ti­ga­tion after more than 11,500 text mes­sages between Patri­ot Prayer founder Joey Gib­son and police Lt. Jeff Niiya, we had already received con­fir­ma­tion back in 2017 from the Port­land police that Sgt Niiya had been in exten­sive con­tact with Stew­art Rhodes of the Oath Keep­ers. So when that inter­nal Port­land police inves­ti­ga­tion was opened in 2019, it was already kind of old news:

    ...
    The dis­clo­sures are rem­i­nis­cent of an ear­li­er col­lab­o­ra­tion between law enforce­ment and a right-wing group in Port­land dur­ing repeat­ed clash­es between left- and right-wing demon­stra­tors. The far-right group Patri­ot Prayer staged mul­ti­ple ral­lies and march­es in the lib­er­al city, draw­ing out hun­dreds of res­i­dents to oppose its mes­sage in stand­offs that some­times end­ed in vio­lence.

    In 2019, Port­land opened an inter­nal inves­ti­ga­tion after more than 11,500 text mes­sages between Patri­ot Prayer founder Joey Gib­son and police Lt. Jeff Niiya became pub­lic. Niiya was cleared in the inves­ti­ga­tion, but the episode led to train­ing and changes in the way liai­son offi­cers com­mu­ni­cate with groups before and dur­ing planned protests.
    ...

    Ok, and now here’s an arti­cle from a cou­ple of weeks ago about the nature of the charges against four of Proud Boys who were charged on March 10 over their roles in the insur­rec­tion. And as the arti­cle describes, while the exact nature of the the plan­ning that went into the Proud Boys’ actions dur­ing the insur­rec­tion remain some­what unclear based on the evi­dence laid out in the dif­fer­ent tri­als already under­way, it is extreme­ly clear that the Proud Boys were plan­ning for vio­lence of some sort. With Big­gs, but no exclu­sive­ly Big­gs, lead­ing the plan­ning:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    4 men linked to Proud Boys charged in plot to attack Capi­tol

    By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
    March 19, 2021

    Four men described as lead­ers of the far-right Proud Boys have been charged in the U.S. Capi­tol riots, as an indict­ment ordered unsealed on Fri­day presents fresh evi­dence of how fed­er­al offi­cials believe group mem­bers planned and car­ried out a coor­di­nat­ed attack to stop Con­gress from cer­ti­fy­ing Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s elec­toral vic­to­ry.

    So far, at least 19 lead­ers, mem­bers or asso­ciates of the neo-fas­cist Proud Boys have been charged in fed­er­al court with offens­es relat­ed to the Jan. 6 riots. The lat­est indict­ment sug­gests the Proud Boys deployed a much larg­er con­tin­gent in Wash­ing­ton, with over 60 users “par­tic­i­pat­ing in” an encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing chan­nel for group mem­bers that was cre­at­ed a day before the riots.

    The Proud Boys aban­doned an ear­li­er chan­nel and cre­at­ed the new “Boots on the Ground” chan­nel after police arrest­ed the group’s top leader, Enrique Tar­rio, in Wash­ing­ton. Tar­rio was arrest­ed on Jan. 4 and charged with van­dal­iz­ing a Black Lives Mat­ter ban­ner at a his­toric Black church dur­ing a protest in Decem­ber. He was ordered to stay out of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia.

    Tar­rio hasn’t been charged in con­nec­tion with the riots, but the lat­est indict­ment refers to him by his title as Proud Boys’ chair­man.

    Ethan Nordean and Joseph Big­gs, two of the four defen­dants charged in the lat­est indict­ment, were arrest­ed sev­er­al weeks ago on sep­a­rate but relat­ed charges. The new indict­ment also charges Zachary Rehl and Charles Dono­hoe.

    All four defen­dants are charged with con­spir­ing to impede Con­gress’ cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Elec­toral Col­lege vote. Oth­er charges in the indict­ment include obstruc­tion of an offi­cial pro­ceed­ing, obstruc­tion of law enforce­ment dur­ing civ­il dis­or­der and dis­or­der­ly con­duct.

    Nordean, 30, of Auburn, Wash­ing­ton, was a Proud Boys chap­ter pres­i­dent and mem­ber of the group’s nation­al “Elders Coun­cil.” Big­gs, 37, of Ormond Beach, Flori­da, is a self-described Proud Boys orga­niz­er. Rehl, 35, of Philadel­phia, and Dono­hoe, 33, of North Car­oli­na, serve as pres­i­dents of their local Proud Boys chap­ters, accord­ing to the indict­ment.

    ...

    Proud Boys mem­bers, who describe them­selves as a polit­i­cal­ly incor­rect men’s club for “West­ern chau­vin­ists,” have fre­quent­ly engaged in street fights with antifas­cist activists at ral­lies and protests. Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, who found­ed the Proud Boys in 2016, sued the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter for label­ing it as a hate group.

    The Proud Boys met at the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment around 10 a.m. on Jan. 6 and marched to the Capi­tol before then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump fin­ished address­ing thou­sands of sup­port­ers near the White House.
    0
    Around two hours lat­er, just before Con­gress con­vened a joint ses­sion to cer­ti­fy the elec­tion results, a group of Proud Boys fol­lowed a crowd of peo­ple who breached bar­ri­ers at a pedes­tri­an entrance to the Capi­tol grounds, the indict­ment says. Sev­er­al Proud Boys also entered the Capi­tol build­ing itself after the mob smashed win­dows and forced open doors.

    At 3:38 p.m., Dono­hoe announced on the “Boots on the Ground” chan­nel that he and oth­ers were “regroup­ing with a sec­ond force” as some riot­ers began to leave the Capi­tol, accord­ing to the indict­ment.

    “This was not sim­ply a march. This was an incred­i­ble attack on our insti­tu­tions of gov­ern­ment,” Assis­tant U.S. Attor­ney Jason McCul­lough said dur­ing a recent hear­ing for Nordean’s case.

    Pros­e­cu­tors have said the Proud Boys arranged for mem­bers to com­mu­ni­cate using spe­cif­ic fre­quen­cies on Baofeng radios. The Chi­nese-made devices can be pro­grammed for use on hun­dreds of fre­quen­cies, mak­ing them dif­fi­cult for out­siders to eaves­drop.

    After Tarrio’s arrest, Dono­hoe expressed con­cern that their encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions could be “com­pro­mised” when police searched the group chairman’s phone, accord­ing to the new indict­ment. In a Jan. 4 post on a new­ly cre­at­ed chan­nel, Dono­hoe warned mem­bers that they could be “look­ing at Gang charges” and wrote, “Stop every­thing imme­di­ate­ly,” the indict­ment says.

    “This comes from the top,” he added.

    A day before the riots, Big­gs post­ed on the “Boots on the Ground” chan­nel that the group had a “plan” for the night before and the day of the riots, accord­ing to the indict­ment.

    In Nordean’s case, a fed­er­al judge accused pros­e­cu­tors of back­track­ing on their claims that he instruct­ed Proud Boys mem­bers to split up into small­er groups and direct­ed a “strate­gic plan” to breach the Capi­tol.

    “That’s a far cry from what I heard at the hear­ing today,” U.S. Dis­trict Judge Beryl How­ell said on March 3.

    How­ell con­clud­ed that Nordean was exten­sive­ly involved in “pre-plan­ning” for the events of Jan. 6 and that he and oth­er Proud Boys “were clear­ly pre­pared for a vio­lent con­fronta­tion” that day. How­ev­er, she said evi­dence that Nordean direct­ed oth­er Proud Boys mem­bers to break into the build­ing is “weak to say the least” and ordered him freed from jail before tri­al.

    On Fri­day, How­ell ordered Proud Boys mem­ber Christo­pher Wor­rell detained in fed­er­al cus­tody pend­ing tri­al on riot-relat­ed charges. Pros­e­cu­tors say Wor­rell trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton and coor­di­nat­ed with Proud Boys lead­ing up to the siege.

    “Wear­ing tac­ti­cal gear and armed with a can­is­ter of pep­per spray gel mar­ket­ed as 67 times more pow­er­ful than hot sauce, Wor­rell advanced, shield­ed him­self behind a wood­en plat­form and oth­er pro­tes­tors, and dis­charged the gel at the line of offi­cers,” pros­e­cu­tors wrote in a court fil­ing.

    Defense attor­ney John Pierce argued his client wasn’t aim­ing at offi­cers and was only there in the crowd to exer­cise his free speech rights.

    “He’s a vet­er­an. He loves his coun­try,” Pierce said.

    ————

    “4 men linked to Proud Boys charged in plot to attack Capi­tol” by MICHAEL KUNZELMAN; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 03/19/2021

    All four defen­dants are charged with con­spir­ing to impede Con­gress’ cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Elec­toral Col­lege vote. Oth­er charges in the indict­ment include obstruc­tion of an offi­cial pro­ceed­ing, obstruc­tion of law enforce­ment dur­ing civ­il dis­or­der and dis­or­der­ly con­duct.”

    Note the charges: con­spir­ing to impede Con­gress’ cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Elec­toral Col­lege vote. Not just a charge about riot­ing or prop­er­ty dam­age. A con­spir­a­cy to stop the Elec­toral Col­lege vote cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. And it’s not low-lev­el Proud Boy mem­bers get­ting these charges. It’s lead­ers like Big­gs. This was a high-lev­el Proud Boys oper­a­tion. They even com­mu­ni­cat­ed about “regroup­ing with a sec­ond force” as some riot­ers began to leave the Capi­tol. That’s a planned inva­sion:

    ...
    Nordean, 30, of Auburn, Wash­ing­ton, was a Proud Boys chap­ter pres­i­dent and mem­ber of the group’s nation­al “Elders Coun­cil.” Big­gs, 37, of Ormond Beach, Flori­da, is a self-described Proud Boys orga­niz­er. Rehl, 35, of Philadel­phia, and Dono­hoe, 33, of North Car­oli­na, serve as pres­i­dents of their local Proud Boys chap­ters, accord­ing to the indict­ment.

    ...

    The Proud Boys met at the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment around 10 a.m. on Jan. 6 and marched to the Capi­tol before then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump fin­ished address­ing thou­sands of sup­port­ers near the White House.
    0
    Around two hours lat­er, just before Con­gress con­vened a joint ses­sion to cer­ti­fy the elec­tion results, a group of Proud Boys fol­lowed a crowd of peo­ple who breached bar­ri­ers at a pedes­tri­an entrance to the Capi­tol grounds, the indict­ment says. Sev­er­al Proud Boys also entered the Capi­tol build­ing itself after the mob smashed win­dows and forced open doors.

    At 3:38 p.m., Dono­hoe announced on the “Boots on the Ground” chan­nel that he and oth­ers were “regroup­ing with a sec­ond force” as some riot­ers began to leave the Capi­tol, accord­ing to the indict­ment.

    “This was not sim­ply a march. This was an incred­i­ble attack on our insti­tu­tions of gov­ern­ment,” Assis­tant U.S. Attor­ney Jason McCul­lough said dur­ing a recent hear­ing for Nordean’s case.
    ...

    And note the seem­ing aware­ness of the sever­i­ty of what they were engaged in: when Proud Boy leader (and pro­lif­ic FBI infor­mant) Enrique Tar­rio was arrest­ed, the group freaked out about their com­mu­ni­ca­tions being com­pro­mised and one of them issued an order to “Stop every­thing imme­di­ate­ly”. It rais­es the ques­tion of whether or not what we saw tran­spire was actu­al­ly a much scaled-back ver­sion of what they were actu­al­ly plan­ning:

    ...
    Pros­e­cu­tors have said the Proud Boys arranged for mem­bers to com­mu­ni­cate using spe­cif­ic fre­quen­cies on Baofeng radios. The Chi­nese-made devices can be pro­grammed for use on hun­dreds of fre­quen­cies, mak­ing them dif­fi­cult for out­siders to eaves­drop.

    After Tarrio’s arrest, Dono­hoe expressed con­cern that their encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions could be “com­pro­mised” when police searched the group chairman’s phone, accord­ing to the new indict­ment. In a Jan. 4 post on a new­ly cre­at­ed chan­nel, Dono­hoe warned mem­bers that they could be “look­ing at Gang charges” and wrote, “Stop every­thing imme­di­ate­ly,” the indict­ment says.

    “This comes from the top,” he added.

    A day before the riots, Big­gs post­ed on the “Boots on the Ground” chan­nel that the group had a “plan” for the night before and the day of the riots, accord­ing to the indict­ment.
    ...

    But despite all that evi­dence, it’s not clear pros­e­cu­tors are going to be able to prove that the Proud Boys actu­al­ly planned on break­ing into the Capi­tol build­ing. They had plans, it’s just not clear if that was in their plans:

    ...
    In Nordean’s case, a fed­er­al judge accused pros­e­cu­tors of back­track­ing on their claims that he instruct­ed Proud Boys mem­bers to split up into small­er groups and direct­ed a “strate­gic plan” to breach the Capi­tol.

    “That’s a far cry from what I heard at the hear­ing today,” U.S. Dis­trict Judge Beryl How­ell said on March 3.

    How­ell con­clud­ed that Nordean was exten­sive­ly involved in “pre-plan­ning” for the events of Jan. 6 and that he and oth­er Proud Boys “were clear­ly pre­pared for a vio­lent con­fronta­tion” that day. How­ev­er, she said evi­dence that Nordean direct­ed oth­er Proud Boys mem­bers to break into the build­ing is “weak to say the least” and ordered him freed from jail before tri­al.
    ...

    So the out­come of the tri­al remains very much uncer­tain, in part because the defense can legit­i­mate­ly claim their clients were indeed FBI infor­mants. Arguably exten­sive and enthu­si­as­tic FBI infor­mants who have been work­ing with the agency for years, in addi­tion to their work with who knows how many local law enforce­ment agen­cies.

    It points towards one of the more inter­est­ing, and iron­ic, aspects of the ongo­ing tri­als over the per­pe­tra­tors of the Jan 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion: their best defense against charges that amount to war against democ­ra­cy will be their exten­sive his­to­ry of enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly help­ing the gov­ern­ment crack down on anti-fas­cists and civ­il rights activists. Because of course that’s how it turned out.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 1, 2021, 3:51 pm
  9. Here’s a sto­ry that’s kind of inter­est­ing on its own, but it’s real­ly as a kind of barom­e­ter of the strength of the Trumpian grip on the hearts and mind of the GOP vot­ing base. It’s also a barom­e­ter of the the strength of the gag reflex that’s devel­oped in the GOP in recent years in response to the name ‘Bush’:

    George P. Bush, son of Jeb and cur­rent Texas Land Com­mis­sion­er, is report­ed­ly seri­ous­ly con­sid­er­ing run­ning for attor­ney gen­er­al of Texas. This would pit him against sit­ting Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton. And Pax­ton isn’t just any Repub­li­can. He’s a wild­ly cor­rupt Trump super-fan-style politi­cian and it’s that open cor­rup­tion that appears to be the basis for George P’s planned bid.

    But this is Trump’s GOP. Open cor­rup­tion is poten­tial­ly polit­i­cal asset these days. Espe­cial­ly if it’s open cor­rup­tion in ser­vice of Trump’s glo­ry, and that’s been a theme for Pax­ton. For exam­ple, recall how, back in June of 2016, Pax­ton tried to use a cease and desist order to muz­zle a for­mer state reg­u­la­tor who says he was ordered in 2010 to drop a fraud inves­ti­ga­tion into Trump Uni­ver­si­ty for polit­i­cal rea­sons. Flash for­ward to Decem­ber of 2020, where we find Pax­ton lit­er­al­ly peti­tion­ing the US Supreme Court to over­turn the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion results for the states of Wis­con­sin, Penn­syl­va­nia, Geor­gia, and Michi­gan. We also dis­cov­ered that Pax­ton was work­ing direct­ly with far right dis­in­for­ma­tion out­let Project Ver­i­tas in order to whip up vot­er fraud alle­ga­tions well over a year before the 2020 elec­tion. He’s even refused to turn over com­mu­ni­ca­tions about his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Jan­u­ary 6 “Stop the Steal” ral­ly that pre­ced­ed the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. And going for­ward under a Demo­c­ra­t­ic White House, Pax­ton’s open sup­port of “nul­li­fi­ca­tion” legal the­o­ries will prob­a­bly be pret­ty pop­u­lar with a lot of con­ser­v­a­tive vot­ers.

    And then there’s the more tra­di­tion­al forms of cor­rup­tion, like the charges for secu­ri­ties fraud, bribery, and abuse of office.

    So Pax­ton is open­ly and gross­ly cor­rup­tion. As shock­ing as it is to say, but George P. Bush just might be a seri­ous step up from the rot cur­rent­ly fes­ter­ing in the attor­ney gen­er­al’s office. And yet it’s not at all clear that Pax­ton’s rot isn’t actu­al­ly quite pop­u­lar. Sure, the secu­ri­ties fraud prob­a­bly isn’t pop­u­lar. But the rest? Are we sure the GOP elec­torate would­n’t see those cor­rupt acts as a plus?

    It’s also worth not­ing that George P. stood out from the rest of his fel­low Bush fam­i­ly mem­bers in hearti­ly endors­ing Trump. So this race would­n’t descend into a pro-Trump can­di­date vs anti-Trump can­di­date kind of ref­er­en­dum. At least not on the sur­face, although we should expect it to include a com­pe­ti­tion over who loves Trump more. But if the race is going to be about Ken Pax­ton’s cor­rup­tion as George P. intends, well, that is at least kind of a ref­er­en­dum on Trump. Pax­ton’s cor­rup­tion is Trump­ism. Gross open cor­rup­tion sold to the mass­es as bold pop­ulism while dis­miss­ing the charges as attacks from the ‘Deep State’. That’s why the sto­ry of this race is poten­tial­ly a lot big­ger than just the sto­ry of whether or not some­one named ‘Bush’ can still win Repub­li­can elec­tions. It’s a real test of whether or not the Trump­ism mod­el of turn­ing gross open cor­rup­tion into polit­i­cal gold can trans­late to oth­er gross­ly open­ly cor­rupt politi­cians:

    The Texas Tri­bune

    Texas Land Com­mis­sion­er George P. Bush “seri­ous­ly con­sid­er­ing” run for attor­ney gen­er­al, lays out case against Ken Pax­ton

    Bush said the state’s top law enforce­ment offi­cial “needs to be above reproach.”

    by Patrick Svitek
    April 8, 2021 Updat­ed

    Texas Land Com­mis­sion­er George P. Bush said Thurs­day he is “seri­ous­ly con­sid­er­ing” run­ning for attor­ney gen­er­al in 2022 — and detailed how he would chal­lenge the incum­bent, embat­tled fel­low Repub­li­can Ken Pax­ton.

    “There have been some seri­ous alle­ga­tions levied against the cur­rent attor­ney gen­er­al,” Bush said in an inter­view with Dal­las radio host Mark Davis. “Per­son­al­ly I think that the top law enforce­ment offi­cial in Texas needs to be above reproach.”

    Bush, the grand­son of for­mer Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush and nephew for Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, went on to say a Pax­ton chal­lenge would not be cen­tered on “con­ser­v­a­tive cre­den­tials” but how the incum­bent has run his office. “I think char­ac­ter mat­ters and integri­ty mat­ters,” Bush said.

    The land com­mis­sion­er, cur­rent­ly in his sec­ond term, has for months kept open the pos­si­bil­i­ty of run­ning for anoth­er statewide office in 2022 — includ­ing attor­ney gen­er­al — but his remarks Thurs­day offered the stark­est indi­ca­tion yet that he is focused on Pax­ton. Bush did not give a time­line for a deci­sion on the race beyond say­ing he is cur­rent­ly focused on the leg­isla­tive ses­sion and will vis­it with vot­ers after­ward. The ses­sion ends May 31.

    Bush has giv­en oth­er inter­views in recent days in which he has also made clear his inter­est in chal­leng­ing Pax­ton, telling Fox News ear­li­er this week that he is “tak­ing a very seri­ous look” at the con­test.

    Pax­ton has repeat­ed­ly said he plans to seek a third term next year despite a series of new and old scan­dals. Last year, sev­en of Pax­ton’s top aides accused him of accept­ing bribes and abus­ing his office to assist a wealthy donor. Those aides were sub­se­quent­ly fired or resigned, and it has since come out that the FBI was inves­ti­gat­ing the claims against him. And for almost his entire time as attor­ney gen­er­al, he has been under indict­ment on state secu­ri­ties fraud charges.

    ...

    Bush did not let up on Pax­ton in the Davis inter­view, say­ing the attor­ney gen­er­al “has been in pub­lic ser­vice now for 20 years, and I’m not sure anoth­er four years is gonna bring Texas any­thing bet­ter.”

    “From my perch in Austin, I’ve seen some high-qual­i­ty attor­neys leave that office,” Bush said. “I’ve vis­it­ed with many con­ser­v­a­tive attor­neys gen­er­al through­out the coun­try. They’re embar­rassed by the con­duct, and I think Tex­ans deserve bet­ter.”

    Bush said Tex­ans “need a top cop that the law enforce­ment of our great state” can trust and added that sher­iffs across the state have told him the same thing. Asked by Davis to iden­ti­fy sher­iffs who have told him that, Bush declined to do so, say­ing he promised the sher­iffs “con­fi­den­tial­i­ty.”

    For­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump would undoubt­ed­ly be a point of dis­cus­sion in any Bush-Pax­ton show­down. Pax­ton has close­ly aligned him­self with Trump as attor­ney gen­er­al, most notably ask­ing the Supreme Court late last year to over­turn Trump’s reelec­tion loss in four bat­tle­ground states. Pax­ton then spoke in Jan­u­ary at the pro-Trump ral­ly that pre­ced­ed the dead­ly U.S. Capi­tol riot. And Pax­ton has stayed in touch with Trump since he left office, vis­it­ing him at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Flori­da in late Feb­ru­ary.

    Bush is the most promi­nent mem­ber of his famous polit­i­cal fam­i­ly to have backed Trump, get­ting behind him in the sum­mer of 2016 after he offi­cial­ly became the GOP nom­i­nee.

    Speak­ing with Davis, Bush argued there is “no sep­a­ra­tion” between him­self and Pax­ton when it comes to being con­ser­v­a­tives and sup­port­ing Trump.

    “When you pick up the paper, yes, there’s good law­suits, there’s good ide­ol­o­gy and fil­ings, but it’s about how you run an office, it’s about how you lead and it’s about how you’re a role mod­el for our chil­dren and for mem­bers of the Texas bar,” Bush said.

    ...

    ————

    “Texas Land Com­mis­sion­er George P. Bush “seri­ous­ly con­sid­er­ing” run for attor­ney gen­er­al, lays out case against Ken Pax­ton” by Patrick Svitek; The Texas Tri­bune; 04/08/2021

    “Bush, the grand­son of for­mer Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush and nephew for Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, went on to say a Pax­ton chal­lenge would not be cen­tered on “con­ser­v­a­tive cre­den­tials” but how the incum­bent has run his office. “I think char­ac­ter mat­ters and integri­ty mat­ters,” Bush said.”

    “I think char­ac­ter mat­ters and integri­ty mat­ters.” LOL. It’s almost quaint. And that’s why this could be such an inter­est­ing race. Pax­ton is both the poster child for why char­ac­ter and integri­ty should mat­ter in pol­i­tics. But he’s also the poster child for the polit­i­cal suc­cess of Trump­ist-style wild open cor­rup­tion. The guy lit­er­al­ly got reelect­ed in 2018 while fac­ing secu­ri­ties fraud charges. It’s that open cor­rup­tion that makes him such a tempt­ing polit­i­cal tar­get for fig­ures like George P., and yet there’s no deny­ing he’s still in office despite those charges. It remains very unclear if any of it mat­ters or if it’s even an asset. After all, every legal charge against a Repub­li­can these days dou­bles as a new excuse to claim the ‘Deep State’ is attack­ing them:

    ...
    Pax­ton has repeat­ed­ly said he plans to seek a third term next year despite a series of new and old scan­dals. Last year, sev­en of Pax­ton’s top aides accused him of accept­ing bribes and abus­ing his office to assist a wealthy donor. Those aides were sub­se­quent­ly fired or resigned, and it has since come out that the FBI was inves­ti­gat­ing the claims against him. And for almost his entire time as attor­ney gen­er­al, he has been under indict­ment on state secu­ri­ties fraud charges.

    ...

    For­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump would undoubt­ed­ly be a point of dis­cus­sion in any Bush-Pax­ton show­down. Pax­ton has close­ly aligned him­self with Trump as attor­ney gen­er­al, most notably ask­ing the Supreme Court late last year to over­turn Trump’s reelec­tion loss in four bat­tle­ground states. Pax­ton then spoke in Jan­u­ary at the pro-Trump ral­ly that pre­ced­ed the dead­ly U.S. Capi­tol riot. And Pax­ton has stayed in touch with Trump since he left office, vis­it­ing him at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Flori­da in late Feb­ru­ary.

    Bush is the most promi­nent mem­ber of his famous polit­i­cal fam­i­ly to have backed Trump, get­ting behind him in the sum­mer of 2016 after he offi­cial­ly became the GOP nom­i­nee.

    Speak­ing with Davis, Bush argued there is “no sep­a­ra­tion” between him­self and Pax­ton when it comes to being con­ser­v­a­tives and sup­port­ing Trump.

    “When you pick up the paper, yes, there’s good law­suits, there’s good ide­ol­o­gy and fil­ings, but it’s about how you run an office, it’s about how you lead and it’s about how you’re a role mod­el for our chil­dren and for mem­bers of the Texas bar,” Bush said.
    ...

    It’s going to be a race of the past vs the future: the ‘char­ac­ter mat­ters’ polit­i­cal aes­thet­ics of yes­ter­year the Bush fam­i­ly long played to vs the ‘noth­ing mat­ters, burn it all down’ con­tem­po­rary pol­i­tics of Trump. Old awful or new awful. It’s going to be awful either way, but the par­tic­u­lar fla­vor of awful remains in ques­tion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 9, 2021, 3:40 pm
  10. A new time­line of the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion was just released by the AP. The new details are report­ed­ly based on a pre­vi­ous­ly undis­closed doc­u­ment pre­pared by the Pen­ta­gon for inter­nal use. It con­firms what we’ve already known for the most part. But there’s some inter­est­ing new infor­ma­tion on the actions tak­en by Mike Pence that day. It turns out Pence issued a direct order to then-act­ing defense sec­re­tary Christo­pher Miller at 4:08 PM to “Clear the Capi­tol”. This was hap­pen­ing around the same time Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi were mak­ing sim­i­lar requests to mil­i­tary lead­ers. 9 min­utes after Pence issued that order, then-Pres­i­dent Trump broke his long silence about the riot that was hours-old at that point and tweet­ed for his fol­low­ers to “go home and go in peace.” At 4:40 PM, Pelosi and Schumer were on a call with the Pen­ta­gon lead­er­ship, ask­ing Miller to secure the perime­ter. Dur­ing that call, they accused “the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus of know­ing that pro­tes­tors planned to con­duct an assault on the Capi­tol,” accord­ing to the doc­u­ments.

    So only min­utes after Mike Pence issues the order to clear the Capi­tol does Trump tell his fol­low­ers to “go in peace”. And that rais­es the ques­tion: so was Trump ‘in the loop’ about Pence’s orders? It’s part of the larg­er ques­tion about how aware Trump was of all of the chaos and pleas for help com­ing from the Capi­tol and the gov­ern­ment lead­ers holed up inside. After all, if there’s one per­son who could over rule Pence or the con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship, it’s Trump. So was Trump at all play­ing a ‘com­man­der in chief’ role that day or were those respon­si­bil­i­ties pre­emp­tive­ly passed off to Pence? That’s still unclear. But what is clear from this new time­line is that Trump did­n’t call off the par­ty until just min­utes after Pence issued the order:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    ‘Clear the Capi­tol,’ Pence plead­ed, time­line of riot shows

    By LISA MASCARO, BEN FOX and LOLITA C. BALDOR
    April 10, 2021

    WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.

    “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.

    “We must estab­lish order,” said Gen. Mark Mil­ley, 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.

    ...

    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.

    ...

    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 vice pres­i­dent was in a secure loca­tion, phon­ing Christo­pher Miller, 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.

    The Trump admin­is­tra­tion and the Pen­ta­gon were wary of a heavy mil­i­tary pres­ence, in part because of crit­i­cism offi­cials faced for the seem­ing­ly heavy-hand­ed Nation­al Guard and law enforce­ment efforts to counter civ­il unrest in the after­math of the police killing of George Floyd in Min­neapo­lis.

    In par­tic­u­lar, the D.C. Guard’s use of heli­copters to hov­er over crowds in down­town Wash­ing­ton dur­ing those demon­stra­tions drew wide­spread crit­i­cism. That unau­tho­rized move prompt­ed the Pen­ta­gon to more close­ly con­trol the D.C. Guard.

    “There was a lot of things that hap­pened in the spring that the depart­ment was crit­i­cized for,” Robert Saless­es, who is serv­ing as the assis­tant defense sec­re­tary for home­land defense and glob­al secu­ri­ty, said at a con­gres­sion­al hear­ing last month.

    On the eve of Trump’s ral­ly Jan. 6 near the White House, the first 255 Nation­al Guard troops arrived in the dis­trict, and May­or Muriel Bows­er con­firmed in a let­ter to the admin­is­tra­tion that no oth­er mil­i­tary sup­port was need­ed.

    By the morn­ing of Jan. 6, crowds start­ed gath­er­ing at the Ellipse before Trump’s speech. Accord­ing to the Pentagon’s plans, the act­ing defense sec­re­tary would only be noti­fied if the crowd swelled beyond 20,000.

    Before long it was clear that the crowd was far more in con­trol of events than the troops and law enforce­ment there to main­tain order.

    Trump, just before noon, was giv­ing his speech and he told sup­port­ers to march to the Capi­tol. The crowd at the ral­ly was at least 10,000. By 1:15 p.m., the pro­ces­sion was well on its way there.

    As pro­test­ers reached the Capi­tol grounds, some imme­di­ate­ly became vio­lent, bust­ing through weak police bar­ri­ers in front of the build­ing and beat­ing up offi­cers who stood in their way.

    At 1:49 p.m., as the vio­lence esca­lat­ed, then- Capi­tol Police Chief Steven Sund called Maj. Gen. William Walk­er, com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the D.C. Nation­al Guard, to request assis­tance.

    Sund’s voice was “crack­ing with emo­tion,” Walk­er lat­er told a Sen­ate com­mit­tee. Walk­er imme­di­ate­ly called Army lead­ers to inform them of the request.

    Twen­ty min­utes lat­er, around 2:10 p.m., the first riot­ers were begin­ning to break through the doors and win­dows of the Sen­ate. They then start­ed a march through the mar­bled halls in search of the law­mak­ers who were count­ing the elec­toral votes. Alarms inside the build­ing announced a lock­down.

    Sund fran­ti­cal­ly called Walk­er again and asked for at least 200 guard mem­bers “and to send more if they are avail­able.”

    But even with the advance Cab­i­net-lev­el prepa­ra­tion, no help was imme­di­ate­ly on the way.

    Over the next 20 min­utes, as sen­a­tors ran to safe­ty and the riot­ers broke into the cham­ber and rifled through their desks, Army Sec­re­tary McCarthy spoke with the may­or and Pen­ta­gon lead­ers about Sund’s request.

    On the Pentagon’s third floor E Ring, senior Army lead­ers were hud­dled around the phone for what they described as a “pan­icked” call from the D.C. Guard. As the grav­i­ty of the sit­u­a­tion became clear, McCarthy bolt­ed from the meet­ing, sprint­ing down the hall to Miller’s office and break­ing into a meet­ing.

    As min­utes ticked by, riot­ers breached addi­tion­al entrances in the Capi­tol and made their way to the House. They broke glass in doors that led to the cham­ber and tried to gain entry as a group of law­mak­ers was still trapped inside.

    At 2:25 p.m., McCarthy told his staff to pre­pare to move the emer­gency reac­tion force to the Capi­tol. The force could be ready to move in 20 min­utes.

    At 2:44 p.m., Trump sup­port­er Ash­li Bab­bitt was fatal­ly shot by a Capi­tol Police offi­cer as she tried to climb through a win­dow that led to the House floor.

    Short­ly after 3 p.m., McCarthy pro­vid­ed “ver­bal approval” of the acti­va­tion of 1,100 Nation­al Guard troops to sup­port the D.C. police and the devel­op­ment of a plan for the troops’ deploy­ment duties, loca­tions and unit sizes.

    Min­utes lat­er the Guard’s emer­gency reac­tion force left Joint Base Andrews for the D.C. Armory. There, they would pre­pare to head to the Capi­tol once Miller, the act­ing defense sec­re­tary, gave final approval.

    Mean­while, the Joint Staff set up a video tele­con­fer­ence call that stayed open until about 10 p.m. that night, allow­ing staff to com­mu­ni­cate any updates quick­ly to mil­i­tary lead­ers.

    At 3:19 p.m., Pelosi and Schumer were call­ing the Pen­ta­gon for help and were told the Nation­al Guard had been approved.

    But mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment lead­ers strug­gled over the next 90 min­utes to exe­cute the plan as the Army and Guard called all troops in from their check­points, issued them new gear, laid out a new plan for their mis­sion and briefed them on their duties.

    The Guard troops had been pre­pared only for traf­fic duties. Army lead­ers argued that send­ing them into a volatile com­bat sit­u­a­tion required addi­tion­al instruc­tion to keep both them and the pub­lic safe.

    By 3:37 p.m., the Pen­ta­gon sent its own secu­ri­ty forces to guard the homes of defense lead­ers. No troops had yet reached the Capi­tol.

    By 3:44 p.m., the con­gres­sion­al lead­ers esca­lat­ed their pleas.

    “Tell POTUS to tweet every­one should leave,” Schumer implored the offi­cials, using the acronym for the pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. House Major­i­ty Leader Ste­ny Hoy­er, D‑Md., asked about call­ing up active duty mil­i­tary.

    At 3:48 p.m., frus­trat­ed that the D.C. Guard hadn’t ful­ly devel­oped a plan to link up with police, the Army sec­re­tary dashed from the Pen­ta­gon to D.C. police head­quar­ters to help coor­di­nate with law enforce­ment.

    Trump broke his silence at 4:17 p.m., tweet­ing to his fol­low­ers to “go home and go in peace.”

    By about 4:30 p.m., the mil­i­tary plan was final­ized and Walk­er had approval to send the Guard to the Capi­tol. The reports of state cap­i­tals breached in oth­er places turned out to be bogus.

    At about 4:40 p.m. Pelosi and Schumer were again on the phone with Mil­ley and the Pen­ta­gon lead­er­ship, ask­ing Miller to secure the perime­ter.

    But the acri­mo­ny was becom­ing obvi­ous.

    The con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship on the call “accus­es the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus of know­ing that pro­tes­tors planned to con­duct an assault on the Capi­tol,” the time­line said.

    The call lasts 30 min­utes. Pelosi’s spokesman acknowl­edges there was a brief dis­cus­sion of the obvi­ous intel­li­gence fail­ures that led to the insur­rec­tion.

    It would be anoth­er hour before the first con­tin­gent of 155 Guard mem­bers were at the Capi­tol. Dressed in riot gear, they began arriv­ing at 5:20 p.m.

    They start­ed mov­ing out the riot­ers, but there were few, if any, arrests. by police.

    At 8 p.m. the Capi­tol was declared secure.

    ———–

    “‘Clear the Capi­tol,’ Pence plead­ed, time­line of riot shows” by LISA MASCARO, BEN FOX and LOLITA C. BALDOR; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 04/10/2021

    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.”

    With Trump not engaged, it was up to Mike Pence and the con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship to issue the calls to restore order on the Capi­tol. Which, again, rais­es the ques­tion of why Trump was­n’t engaged? Did he just decide to go incom­mu­ni­ca­do dur­ing the riots? Or was it arranged in advance that Pence would be the act­ing com­man­der in chief? But for what­ev­er rea­son, it was up to Pence, Pelosi, and Schumer to try to get the mil­i­tary to step into action. And at 4:08 PM, as riot­ers were call­ing for Pence’s hang­ing, we learn that Pence called Christo­pher Miller to issue the “clear the capi­tol” order. Less than 10 min­utes lat­er, Trump breaks his silence and issues the “go in peace” tweet:

    ...
    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.

    “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 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 vice pres­i­dent was in a secure loca­tion, phon­ing Christo­pher Miller, 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.

    ...

    Trump broke his silence at 4:17 p.m., tweet­ing to his fol­low­ers to “go home and go in peace.”
    ...

    The tim­ing sure is inter­est­ing. Was Trump direct­ly told about the order Pence made? Or was he per­haps sur­rep­ti­tious­ly tipped off about it? Was Trump being inten­tion­al­ly kept ‘out of the loop’ that day and secret­ly giv­en tips? It’s a ques­tion that’s been raised a num­ber of times as we’ve learned about the time­line of that day. For exam­ple, recall the ear­li­er reports about Michael Fly­n­n’s broth­er, Charles Fly­nn, was sit­ting in on the chaot­ic Pen­ta­gon con­fer­ence call that day. Did Charles per­haps tip off his broth­er about the “clear the Capi­tol” order, who then passed it along to Trump? Or was Trump told right away? We have no idea but these are increas­ing­ly impor­tant ques­tions:

    ...
    At 1:49 p.m., as the vio­lence esca­lat­ed, then- Capi­tol Police Chief Steven Sund called Maj. Gen. William Walk­er, com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the D.C. Nation­al Guard, to request assis­tance.

    Sund’s voice was “crack­ing with emo­tion,” Walk­er lat­er told a Sen­ate com­mit­tee. Walk­er imme­di­ate­ly called Army lead­ers to inform them of the request.

    Twen­ty min­utes lat­er, around 2:10 p.m., the first riot­ers were begin­ning to break through the doors and win­dows of the Sen­ate. They then start­ed a march through the mar­bled halls in search of the law­mak­ers who were count­ing the elec­toral votes. Alarms inside the build­ing announced a lock­down.

    Sund fran­ti­cal­ly called Walk­er again and asked for at least 200 guard mem­bers “and to send more if they are avail­able.”

    But even with the advance Cab­i­net-lev­el prepa­ra­tion, no help was imme­di­ate­ly on the way.

    Over the next 20 min­utes, as sen­a­tors ran to safe­ty and the riot­ers broke into the cham­ber and rifled through their desks, Army Sec­re­tary McCarthy spoke with the may­or and Pen­ta­gon lead­ers about Sund’s request.

    On the Pentagon’s third floor E Ring, senior Army lead­ers were hud­dled around the phone for what they described as a “pan­icked” call from the D.C. Guard. As the grav­i­ty of the sit­u­a­tion became clear, McCarthy bolt­ed from the meet­ing, sprint­ing down the hall to Miller’s office and break­ing into a meet­ing.
    ...

    Final­ly, note the con­tents of the phone call from Pelosi and Schumer to the Pen­ta­gon lead­er­ship that took place around a half hour after Pence issue that order:

    ...
    By about 4:30 p.m., the mil­i­tary plan was final­ized and Walk­er had approval to send the Guard to the Capi­tol. The reports of state cap­i­tals breached in oth­er places turned out to be bogus.

    At about 4:40 p.m. Pelosi and Schumer were again on the phone with Mil­ley and the Pen­ta­gon lead­er­ship, ask­ing Miller to secure the perime­ter.

    But the acri­mo­ny was becom­ing obvi­ous.

    The con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship on the call “accus­es the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus of know­ing that pro­tes­tors planned to con­duct an assault on the Capi­tol,” the time­line said.

    The call lasts 30 min­utes. Pelosi’s spokesman acknowl­edges there was a brief dis­cus­sion of the obvi­ous intel­li­gence fail­ures that led to the insur­rec­tion.
    ...

    Keep in mind that we’re learn­ing about this phone call from an inter­nal Pen­ta­gon doc­u­ment that got leaked. So when we read that the con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship on the call “accus­es the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus of know­ing that pro­tes­tors planned to con­duct an assault on the Capi­tol,” we’re real­ly just get­ting a vague sum­ma­ry of those accu­sa­tions. It would be inter­est­ing to know if the actu­al con­tents of that phone call are record­ed some­where.

    So the new AP report based on this inter­nal Pen­ta­gon time­line has­n’t pro­found­ly changed our under­stand­ing of what hap­pened on Jan­u­ary 6. But it does raise impor­tant ques­tions. Impor­tant ques­tions like whether or not Trump made his “go in peace” tweet with the aware­ness that Pence had just ruined all the fun by issu­ing an order to clear the Capi­tol of the Trump’s insur­rec­tionary mob try­ing to find and hang him.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 13, 2021, 3:59 pm
  11. Fol­low­ing up on the dou­bling down by Fox News on Tuck­er Carl­son’s repeat­ed prime-time pro­mo­tion of the “Great Replace­ment” white nation­al­ist meme, here’s anoth­er exam­ple of the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment being led off the far right cliff:

    It’s look­ing like we might be get­ting an idea of the direc­tion the QAnon move­ment is tak­ing now that “Q” has effec­tive­ly dis­ap­peared from the inter­net and the iden­ti­ty of “Q” was poten­tial­ly revealed a few weeks ago in an HBO doc­u­men­tary. Recall how “Q” went silent fol­low­ing the Novem­ber 2020 elec­tion. And that silence was quick­ly fol­lowed by accu­sa­tions by major fol­low­ers that the account for con­trol­ling the “Q” per­sona had been sold on the dark web for $1 mil­lion, rais­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that “Q” would some day return, under new man­age­ment. So major ques­tions ahve been swirling for months now about the future of the QAnon move­ment.

    Then, a few weeks ago, an HBO doc­u­men­tary appeared to out the iden­ti­ty of ‘Q’. It’s not a con­firmed ‘out­ing’, but based on the doc­u­men­tary it sure looks like Ron Watkins has either been “Q” all along or was at least play­ing a sup­port­ing role. Watkins made what appeared to an acci­den­tal admis­sion in pass­ing dur­ing the film­ing and con­tin­ues to deny that he is “Q”.

    So how have the QAnon fol­low­ers respond­ed to this rev­e­la­tion? By ignor­ing it entire­ly or dis­miss­ing it as fake news. That’s been the response so far.

    But as the sec­ond excerpt below reminds us, the QAnon phe­nom­e­na has always been less about “Q” and more about being a tool for peo­ple to indulge in warped and fan­ta­sy. Warped fan­tasies with a dis­tinct far right white nation­al­ist apoc­a­lyp­tic tinge. Which is why we should­n’t at all be sur­prised to learn that the lead­ing Q fol­low­er in con­gress, Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, is plan­ning on form­ing a new con­gres­sion­al cau­cus: The Amer­i­ca First cau­cus. It’s going to call for the com­plete end­ing of immi­gra­tion and the pro­mo­tion of Amer­i­ca’s Anglo-Sax­on her­itage. Yes, that’s right, this cau­cus will specif­i­cal­ly ensure that Amer­i­ca’s Anglo-Sax­on her­itage, and no oth­er her­itage, is pro­mot­ed as essen­tial­ly the core her­itage of Amer­i­ca. Even US archi­tec­ture should reflect an Anglo-Sax­on aes­thet­ic, accord­ing to the leaked draft of the Amer­i­ca First cau­cus doc­u­ments.

    Oth­er mem­bers of the GOP who have come out in sup­port of the Amer­i­ca First cau­cus idea include Matt Gaetz, cur­rent­ly under inves­ti­ga­tion for under­age sex-traf­fick­ing charges, and Paul Gosar, the lone mem­ber of con­gress who attend­ed the far right Amer­i­ca First PAC con­fer­ence.

    Tak­en togeth­er, it’s a hint. A very big hint about what we should expect next from the QAnon crowd, which is exact­ly what we should have expect­ed all along: a full embrace of white nation­al­ist mytholo­gies. And a con­tin­ued embrace of “Q”, no mat­ter what:

    Vice News

    Q Acci­den­tal­ly Out­ed Him­self, But QAnon Fol­low­ers Don’t Care
    In a new doc­u­men­tary, the admin­is­tra­tor of 8kun all but admits to being Q, but fol­low­ers insist their leader is a gov­ern­ment insid­er with ties to the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

    by David Gilbert
    April 6, 2021, 8:12am

    In the final episode of Cullen Hoback’s six-part QAnon doc­u­men­tary, which aired late Sun­day night, the admin­is­tra­tor of 8kun effec­tive­ly admit­ted to post­ing there as Q, the con­spir­a­cy movement’s anony­mous leader.

    In one of the final scenes of “Q: Into the Storm,” Ron Watkins spoke about his new­found fame as a key spread­er of base­less claims about vot­er fraud after Don­ald Trump’s loss in the 2020 elec­tion. Then he said: “It was basi­cal­ly three years of intel­li­gence train­ing, teach­ing normies how to do intel­li­gence work. It was basi­cal­ly what I was doing anony­mous­ly before.“

    Real­iz­ing his mis­take, Watkins quick­ly added, “...but nev­er as Q.”

    For Hoback, who’d spent three years fol­low­ing Ron and his father, Jim, in the Philip­pines, Japan, and the U.S., this was a tac­it admis­sion of guilt. Watkins seemed to think so too, because he smiled ner­vous­ly before burst­ing out laugh­ing and adding, “Nev­er as Q. I promise.”

    The admis­sion was a bomb­shell end­ing to a doc­u­men­tary that gave view­ers the most com­pre­hen­sive view yet at how QAnon devel­oped on 4chan in Octo­ber 2017, before it moved to 8chan in ear­ly 2018 and most recent­ly to 8kun, the rebrand­ed ver­sion of 8chan.

    QAnon fol­low­ers believe Q is a gov­ern­ment insid­er with close ties to the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, who has been post­ing top-secret intel­li­gence in the form of almost 5,000 posts, first on 4chan but most­ly on 8chan, which is owned by Jim Watkins.

    This is the big reveal in the finale of #QIn­totheStorm where Ron Watkins says too much to Cullen Hoback and lets his guard slip.It was so good it made the whole six hours worth it. pic.twitter.com/QzwTGNcl5q— Shayan Sar­darizadeh (@Shayan86) April 5, 2021

    You might imag­ine that the rev­e­la­tion that Q is not in fact a per­son with top-secret gov­ern­ment clear­ance but rather the admin­is­tra­tor of a fringe web­site best known for boost­ing Gamer­gate and host­ing white suprema­cist hate speech, would rock the QAnon com­mu­ni­ty to its core.

    But in real­i­ty, it has bare­ly reg­is­tered with them.

    In pub­lic chan­nels on fringe net­works like Gab and Par­ler, on QAnon forums like the Great Awak­en­ing, and on Telegram, where hun­dreds of thou­sands of QAnon sup­port­ers now com­mu­ni­cate, the rev­e­la­tion about Watkins has bare­ly been men­tioned.

    None of the main QAnon influ­encer accounts have men­tioned the doc­u­men­tary on Gab, and aside from a cou­ple of ran­dom ques­tions by fol­low­ers of the biggest QAnon chan­nels on Telegram, the documentary’s explo­sive find­ings have not been dis­cussed.

    In one of the few dis­cus­sion threads about it on the Great Awak­en­ing, users have round­ly dis­missed the claims that Watkins is Q, with one post­ing: “Q is a group of genius lev­el mil­i­tary intel­li­gence with very high secu­ri­ty clear­ances. There is 0 chance Ron is Q or is direct­ly involved with the oper­a­tion.”

    One per­son who did ref­er­ence the doc­u­men­tary was Watkins him­self, who post­ed a mes­sage to his 150,000 Telegram fol­low­ers hours before the final episode aired, sim­ply writ­ing: “Friend­ly reminder: I am not Q.”

    And yet, Hoback’s six-hour doc­u­men­tary series has built up a very con­vinc­ing argu­ment that Ron Watkins real­ly is Q.

    Pri­or to the doc­u­men­tary, there was very lit­tle pub­lic footage of Watkins on cam­era. But Hoback gained remark­able access to both Ron and Jim Watkins over three years, film­ing them at their pig farm in the Philip­pines, in Japan where Ron now lives, and in the U.S., show­ing Jim’s efforts to get 8chan back online after it was deplat­formed in 2019.

    As well as film­ing Ron Watkins run­ning up a moun­tain with a sledge­ham­mer and singing opera in the mid­dle of the night, Hoback catch­es him mak­ing mul­ti­ple con­tra­dic­to­ry state­ments about his lev­el of knowl­edge about QAnon. One day, he says he knows noth­ing about the move­ment, and the next he gives detailed insights about the conspiracy’s devel­op­ment.

    At one point in the series, Watkins attempts to throw the doc­u­men­tary mak­er off the scent by claim­ing for­mer Trump advis­er Steve Ban­non was Q, pre­sent­ing “evi­dence” from the 8kun web­site to sug­gest the QAnon posts were made from a loca­tion close to where Ban­non lived.

    Hoback’s doc­u­men­tary ulti­mate­ly proved what a lot of QAnon researchers had already con­clud­ed: that Ron and Jim Watkins were the gate­keep­ers for Q, and with­out their help — at the very least — the per­son or per­sons claim­ing to be Q would not have been able to post their updates.

    “Some of the evi­dence has been out there for a long time, and some of it was evi­dence that Hoback either uncov­ered or put togeth­er,” Mike Roth­schild, a QAnon researcher, wrote for the Dai­ly Dot.

    “But all of it leads back to the same place: that there are very few oth­er peo­ple who could have and would have made the Q drops oth­er than the per­son who ran the place where they were post­ed. QAnon can’t exist with­out the Watkins­es, and 8kun with­out Q’s devo­tees may as well not exist.”

    But for all the rev­e­la­tions in the doc­u­men­tary, there are still lots of unan­swered ques­tions about QAnon. It is still unknown who first post­ed as Q on 4chan, before Watkins took con­trol when the move­ment moved to 8chan.

    And most crit­i­cal­ly, the doc­u­men­tary doesn’t tell us what’s next for QAnon.

    Q hasn’t post­ed in four months, and both Jim and Ron Watkins told Hoback that posts would like­ly end after the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. In that vac­u­um, some influ­encers have attempt­ed to assert con­trol, but for now, QAnon remains in a state of flux.

    QAnon has moved from the fringes of the inter­net to a main­stream phe­nom­e­non in the last 12 months, boost­ed by Con­gress mem­bers like Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene and ulti­mate­ly Trump, who repeat­ed­ly retweet­ed Watkins in the wake of his elec­tion loss.

    ...

    ———–

    “Q Acci­den­tal­ly Out­ed Him­self, But QAnon Fol­low­ers Don’t Care” by David Gilbert; Vice News; 04/06/2021

    “None of the main QAnon influ­encer accounts have men­tioned the doc­u­men­tary on Gab, and aside from a cou­ple of ran­dom ques­tions by fol­low­ers of the biggest QAnon chan­nels on Telegram, the documentary’s explo­sive find­ings have not been dis­cussed.”

    Ron Watkins basi­cal­ly admit­ted it on cam­era. We can all watch it over and over. And yet this has­n’t even dis­cussed in the QAnon forums. It’s a remark­able form of...not quite self-discipline...more like denial. But it’s remark­able. The com­mu­ni­ty fix­ates on every last Q utter­ance but does­n’t care at all about the rev­e­la­tion of Q’s iden­ti­ty. It rais­es the ques­tion of just how many of the self-pro­fessed Q super-fans believe any of it ever or it was always just a giant scam *wink* *wink* joke on the rubes.

    And note Ron Watkin­s’s attempts to sug­gest it was Steve Ban­non who was real­ly Q. Keep in mind that, based on what we know, it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble both Watkins and Ban­non share con­trol of the Q per­sona. It’s not mutu­al­ly exclu­sive:

    ...
    At one point in the series, Watkins attempts to throw the doc­u­men­tary mak­er off the scent by claim­ing for­mer Trump advis­er Steve Ban­non was Q, pre­sent­ing “evi­dence” from the 8kun web­site to sug­gest the QAnon posts were made from a loca­tion close to where Ban­non lived.
    ...

    And as the response, or lack of response, by the QAnon com­mu­ni­ty to this rev­e­la­tion reveals, we still have no way to pre­dict what’s next for a move­ment of this nature, even after its prophet is seem­ing­ly revealed. Q has­n’t spo­ken since the elec­tion. The QAnon com­mu­ni­ty — per­haps the most gullible online com­mu­ni­ty in exis­tence — is rud­der­less and with­out its leader:

    ...
    And most crit­i­cal­ly, the doc­u­men­tary doesn’t tell us what’s next for QAnon.

    Q hasn’t post­ed in four months, and both Jim and Ron Watkins told Hoback that posts would like­ly end after the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. In that vac­u­um, some influ­encers have attempt­ed to assert con­trol, but for now, QAnon remains in a state of flux.

    QAnon has moved from the fringes of the inter­net to a main­stream phe­nom­e­non in the last 12 months, boost­ed by Con­gress mem­bers like Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene and ulti­mate­ly Trump, who repeat­ed­ly retweet­ed Watkins in the wake of his elec­tion loss.
    ...

    But as the fol­low­ing arti­cle reminds us, it’s not like we have no idea at all where the QAnon com­mu­ni­ty will go with­out its leader. We have a very good idea because QAnon is basi­cal­ly just a main­stream extra-trashy rehash­ing of the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion. So the com­mu­ni­ty will pre­sum­ably just con­tin­ue down that path and con­tin­ue net­work­ing and merg­ing with oth­er extrem­ist move­ments. Which is why the new reports about the new pro-Anglo-Sax­on Amer­i­ca First cau­cus being start­ed by the biggest Q fan in con­gress is exact­ly what we should expect:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Rep. Greene tries to dis­tance her­self from ‘Amer­i­ca First Cau­cus’ doc­u­ment denounced as racist

    By Amy B Wang and Col­by Itkowitz
    April 17, 2021 at 8:58 p.m. UTC

    Rep. Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene on Sat­ur­day tried to dis­tance her­self from a doc­u­ment pub­lished by Punch­bowl News that pur­port­ed­ly out­lined the goals of a new “Amer­i­ca First Cau­cus” being formed by Greene and oth­er hard-right GOP law­mak­ers. The doc­u­ment had received blow­back from Democ­rats and some Repub­li­cans for pro­mot­ing nativist poli­cies and per­pet­u­at­ing the false­hood that there was wide­spread fraud and cor­rup­tion in the 2020 elec­tion.

    On Sat­ur­day, Greene (R‑Ga.) described the doc­u­ment as “a staff lev­el draft pro­pos­al from an out­side group” and claimed she had not read it. She blast­ed the media for “tak­ing some­thing out of con­text,” but did not spec­i­fy to which poli­cies in the doc­u­ment she object­ed.

    How­ev­er, Greene did not deny plans to start an “Amer­i­ca First Cau­cus” and end­ed a lengthy Twit­ter thread by say­ing she sup­port­ed for­mer pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s “Amer­i­ca First agen­da.”

    “Amer­i­ca First poli­cies will save this coun­try for all of us, our chil­dren, and ulti­mate­ly the world,” Greene tweet­ed. Trump’s “Amer­i­ca First” agen­da was char­ac­ter­ized by a nation­al­ist approach to issues such as immi­gra­tion, trade and for­eign pol­i­cy. It was crit­i­cized by Democ­rats and some Repub­li­cans as some­times back­ing xeno­pho­bic or racist poli­cies.

    Greene and Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R‑Ariz.) are report­ed­ly behind the new cau­cus, accord­ing to Punch­bowl News. A spokes­woman for Rep. Bar­ry Moore (R‑Ala.) told the Mont­gomery Adver­tis­er Fri­day that the con­gress­man had not yet joined the Amer­i­ca First Cau­cus, dis­put­ing reports that he had signed on as an ear­ly mem­ber.

    Rep. Matt Gaetz (R‑Fla.), who faces fed­er­al and House Ethics Com­mit­tee inves­ti­ga­tions over alle­ga­tions of sex­u­al mis­con­duct and illic­it drug use, tweet­ed Fri­day that he was join­ing Greene in the cau­cus.

    “We will end wars, stop ille­gal immi­gra­tion & pro­mote trade that is fair to Amer­i­can work­ers,” said Gaetz, who has denied all alle­ga­tions against him.

    Accord­ing to the sev­en-page doc­u­ment, the group says it seeks to advance Trump’s lega­cy, which means step­ping “on some toes” and sac­ri­fic­ing “sacred cows for the good of the Amer­i­can nation.”

    In a sec­tion on immi­gra­tion, the doc­u­ment describes the Unit­ed States as a place with “unique­ly Anglo-Sax­on polit­i­cal tra­di­tions” and argues that “soci­etal trust and polit­i­cal uni­ty are threat­ened when for­eign cit­i­zens are import­ed en-masse into a coun­try, par­tic­u­lar­ly with­out insti­tu­tion­al sup­port for assim­i­la­tion and an expan­sive wel­fare state to bail them out should they fail to con­tribute pos­i­tive­ly to the coun­try.”

    Ear­ly Sat­ur­day morn­ing, Greene spokesman Nick Dyer wrote, “Noth­ing that was released today was approved by Con­gress­woman Greene what­so­ev­er.” Her office has main­tained that the doc­u­ment was sim­ply a pro­pos­al.

    ...

    While the lan­guage used in the doc­u­ment and its overt­ly nativist tone was con­demned by some GOP lead­ers, some of the poli­cies and ideas it con­tained are embraced by many in the par­ty, includ­ing a restric­tive immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy, cut­ting for­eign aid and the unfound­ed alle­ga­tions of wide­spread vot­er fraud.

    The lan­guage used in the “Amer­i­ca First Cau­cus” doc­u­ment indi­cates just how com­fort­able some Repub­li­cans are open­ly express­ing extreme posi­tions in stark terms. The doc­u­ment calls to sus­pend all immi­gra­tion, say­ing such paus­es are “absolute­ly essen­tial in assim­i­lat­ing the new arrivals and weed­ing out those who could not or refused to aban­don their old loy­al­ties and plunge head-first into main­stream Amer­i­can soci­ety.”

    On infra­struc­ture, the cau­cus calls for the con­struc­tion of roads, bridges and build­ings that reflect “the archi­tec­tur­al, engi­neer­ing and aes­thet­ic val­ue that befits the prog­e­ny of Euro­pean archi­tec­ture, where­by pub­lic infra­struc­ture must be util­i­tar­i­an as well as stun­ning­ly, clas­si­cal­ly beau­ti­ful, befit­ting a world pow­er and source of free­dom.”

    The cau­cus also crit­i­cizes U.S. for­eign aid, blasts coro­n­avirus restric­tions as an over­re­ac­tion, and sug­gests the country’s edu­ca­tion sys­tem “is active­ly hos­tile to the civic and cul­tur­al assim­i­la­tion nec­es­sary for a strong nation.”

    ...

    ———–

    “Rep. Greene tries to dis­tance her­self from ‘Amer­i­ca First Cau­cus’ doc­u­ment denounced as racist” by Amy B Wang and Col­by Itkowitz; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 04/17/2021

    In a sec­tion on immi­gra­tion, the doc­u­ment describes the Unit­ed States as a place with “unique­ly Anglo-Sax­on polit­i­cal tra­di­tions” and argues that “soci­etal trust and polit­i­cal uni­ty are threat­ened when for­eign cit­i­zens are import­ed en-masse into a coun­try, par­tic­u­lar­ly with­out insti­tu­tion­al sup­port for assim­i­la­tion and an expan­sive wel­fare state to bail them out should they fail to con­tribute pos­i­tive­ly to the coun­try.””

    When will Amer­i­ca return to is “unique­ly Anglo-Sax­on polit­i­cal tra­di­tions” and end the ero­sion of trust that comes with non-Anglo-Sax­on immi­grants? It’s the log­i­cal illog­i­cal next step for the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ments plunge into the QAnon abyss:

    ...
    The lan­guage used in the “Amer­i­ca First Cau­cus” doc­u­ment indi­cates just how com­fort­able some Repub­li­cans are open­ly express­ing extreme posi­tions in stark terms. The doc­u­ment calls to sus­pend all immi­gra­tion, say­ing such paus­es are “absolute­ly essen­tial in assim­i­lat­ing the new arrivals and weed­ing out those who could not or refused to aban­don their old loy­al­ties and plunge head-first into main­stream Amer­i­can soci­ety.”

    On infra­struc­ture, the cau­cus calls for the con­struc­tion of roads, bridges and build­ings that reflect “the archi­tec­tur­al, engi­neer­ing and aes­thet­ic val­ue that befits the prog­e­ny of Euro­pean archi­tec­ture, where­by pub­lic infra­struc­ture must be util­i­tar­i­an as well as stun­ning­ly, clas­si­cal­ly beau­ti­ful, befit­ting a world pow­er and source of free­dom.”
    ...

    Will Pres­i­dent Biden’s big infra­struc­ture pack­age now face calls from Repub­li­cans for the inclu­sion of a more Anglo-Sax­on aes­thet­ic on Amer­i­ca’s roads and bridges? We’ll see, but there’s no deny­ing that what we find in the “Amer­i­ca First” cau­cus doc­u­ment cap­tures the con­tem­po­rary GOP’s id. It’s bare­ly any weird­er than what Don­ald Trump would tweet out on a dai­ly basis for the past four years.

    And its Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, Q leader in con­fess, appar­ent­ly lead­ing the way on this ini­tia­tive. It gives us a sense of where the QAnon move­ment will go from here as ‘Q’ steps out of the spot­light: into greater and more influ­en­tial lead­er­ship posi­tions inside the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 17, 2021, 4:04 pm
  12. There’s a new Reuters report out on the exist­ing rela­tion­ship between the Proud Boys and the FBI in the lead up to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion and the ongo­ing ques­tions about what the FBI knew about the Proud Boys’s insur­rec­tionary plans:

    First, recall how one of the Proud Boy lead­ers who appears to have played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the group’s Jan 6 plan­ning, Joseph Big­gs, was also one of the mem­bers of the group with the most exten­sive his­to­ry of pass­ing infor­ma­tion on to the FBI. Also recall how the Trump team was work­ing close­ly with the Oath Keep­ers for pro­vid­ing VIP secu­ri­ty for fig­ures like Roger Stone at the ‘Stop the Steal’ ral­ly the imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ed the insur­rec­tion. Stone is noto­ri­ous­ly close to the Proud Boys and has used them for secu­ri­ty in the past, which is the kind of fun fact that rais­es obvi­ous ques­tions about how much the Trump team’s secret plan­ning in the lead up to the Jan 6 insur­rec­tion includ­ed secret plan­ning with the Proud Boys.

    That’s the con­text that makes one of the new­ly report­ed details in the fol­low­ing arti­cle poten­tial­ly so sig­nif­i­cant. Because it turns out the Proud Boys held a pre­vi­ous­ly unknown vote on Decem­ber 12, weeks before the insur­rec­tion, that was specif­i­cal­ly intend­ed to obscure the size of the Proud Boys’ pres­ence in the upcom­ing Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly. The vote was held after pro-Trump ral­ly in DC where Proud Boys end­ed up wan­der­ing the streets look­ing for Antifa mem­bers to beat up. Four peo­ple were stabbed by the end of the night. In response to the bad press, the Proud Boys vot­ed to ban the wear­ing of Proud Boy col­ors and out­fits at future ral­lies. And that means the Proud Boys’ pres­ence at the Jan 6 riots was almost cer­tain­ly much larg­er than cur­rent­ly rec­og­nized:

    Reuters

    Exclu­sive-Before Jan. 6, FBI col­lect­ed infor­ma­tion from at least 4 Proud Boys

    By Aram Ros­ton
    April 26, 2021 9:59 AM
    Updat­ed

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Among the far-right groups whose mem­bers are sus­pect­ed of plan­ning the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capi­tol are the Proud Boys. In March, the Fed­er­al Bureau of Investigation’s direc­tor told the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee that he “absolute­ly” wished the agency had pen­e­trat­ed the group before­hand, or knew its plans.

    “I do not con­sid­er what hap­pened on Jan­u­ary 6th to be an accept­able result,” Direc­tor Christo­pher Wray said. “We are focused very, very hard on how can we get bet­ter sources, bet­ter infor­ma­tion, bet­ter analy­sis.”

    The FBI had deep­er insight into the group than Wray dis­closed, how­ev­er.

    Bureau agents main­tained con­nec­tions with key Proud Boys lead­ers start­ing as ear­ly as 2019, a Reuters exam­i­na­tion has found. At least four Proud Boys have pro­vid­ed infor­ma­tion to the FBI, Reuters learned. Often these lead­ers were shar­ing intel­li­gence about Antifa, a loose move­ment of left-wing activists opposed by for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and right-wing media.

    The con­nec­tions between the Proud Boys and the FBI do not mean the agency had thor­ough­ly pen­e­trat­ed the far-right group. But some law enforce­ment vet­er­ans say the ties show the agency could have done more to pre­pare for the dead­ly Jan. 6 upris­ing, which sought to over­turn the elec­tion of Demo­c­rat Joe Biden as pres­i­dent.

    “This was a group com­mit­ting vio­lence in pub­lic and pro­mot­ing them­selves as a vio­lent group,” said Mike Ger­man, a for­mer FBI agent who inves­ti­gat­ed domes­tic ter­ror­ism. Ger­man pre­vi­ous­ly has crit­i­cized the bureau over what he says was a fail­ure to focus on the Proud Boys ahead of Jan. 6. Told of the find­ings of this sto­ry, Ger­man said: “It’s hard to under­stand how the FBI could have had a rela­tion­ship with four indi­vid­u­als in the Proud Boys and didn’t under­stand the nature of the threat to the Capi­tol.”

    The FBI declined to answer writ­ten ques­tions for this sto­ry or to com­ment on the four Proud Boy con­nec­tions detailed here. An FBI offi­cial said Wray’s Sen­ate tes­ti­mo­ny rein­forced “the need to detect and deter acts of vio­lence.”

    Reuters inter­viewed two Proud Boys mem­bers who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty about some mem­bers’ inter­ac­tions with the FBI. Reuters also inter­viewed Proud Boys leader Enrique Tar­rio, exam­ined court records and inter­viewed sources close to the fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tion.

    The report­ing showed:

    - One Proud Boy left the group in Decem­ber after telling oth­er mem­bers he was coop­er­at­ing with the FBI by pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion about Antifa, say Tar­rio and two oth­er Proud Boy sources. The for­mer mem­ber, whom Reuters was unable to iden­ti­fy, insist­ed to group lead­ers that he had not revealed infor­ma­tion about the Proud Boys, these peo­ple say.

    - A sec­ond Proud Boy leader bragged in 2019 about shar­ing infor­ma­tion with the FBI about Antifa, accord­ing to pri­vate chats leaked on social media. The chats’ authen­tic­i­ty was con­firmed by a source famil­iar with the Proud Boys and the Jan. 6 case, as well as by the Proud Boy leader’s lawyer.

    - A third Proud Boy leader, Joseph Big­gs, who was indict­ed and charged with con­spir­a­cy in the Jan­u­ary attack, has said in court papers he report­ed infor­ma­tion to the FBI about Antifa for months. Reuters spoke to Big­gs two days before the riot. In that inter­view, he said he had spe­cif­ic plans for Jan. 6, but declined to dis­close them. But, he vol­un­teered to Reuters in that call, he was will­ing to tell his FBI con­tact of his plans for the com­ing ral­ly, if asked. Reuters wasn’t able to deter­mine whether such a con­tact took place.

    - The fourth Proud Boy, Tar­rio, pre­vi­ous­ly had worked as a coop­er­at­ing wit­ness, some­times under­cov­er, for the FBI and local author­i­ties in South Flori­da two years before the far-right group was formed, as Reuters report­ed in Jan­u­ary. Tar­rio told Reuters he con­tin­ued inter­mit­tent­ly to talk to the FBI, though he insists he nev­er spoke about the inner work­ings of the Proud Boys. Instead, he said, he pro­vid­ed infor­ma­tion about Antifa and about march­ing plans. Tar­rio also spoke to the FBI in Octo­ber, he said, when the Proud Boys were briefly accused of threat­en­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers via email. The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty lat­er alleged that Iran had “spoofed” Proud Boys email address­es, in a strange effort to dis­rupt the elec­tion. Iran denied it.

    Tar­rio, who was arrest­ed two days before Jan. 6 on van­dal­ism and firearms charges, did not take part in the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. He says the group had no plans for vio­lence that day. “We were actu­al­ly look­ing for­ward to just hav­ing a fuc king relax­ing day, watch­ing the pres­i­dent speak,” he said, refer­ring to Trump.

    Still, at least 18 Proud Boys mem­bers have been arrest­ed since the Capi­tol riots, on charges rang­ing from con­spir­a­cy to assault­ing police offi­cers. At least six oth­ers asso­ci­at­ed with or accom­pa­ny­ing the group have also been charged. Over­all, over 400 hun­dred peo­ple have been arrest­ed in the broad­er fed­er­al case.

    When Jan. 6 arrived, fed­er­al and local agen­cies were unpre­pared for the assault, in which riot­ers attempt­ed to block U.S. law­mak­ers’ for­mal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Biden’s elec­tion and keep Trump in office. The Capi­tol Police were unable to hold back the onslaught, law enforce­ment bar­ri­cades were eas­i­ly over­run, and five peo­ple died.

    ‘MINISTRY OF SELF DEFENSE’

    The Proud Boys have earned a rep­u­ta­tion as right-wing pro­tes­tors and street fight­ers who have clashed with left­ists at ral­lies in Port­land, New York, Wash­ing­ton and else­where. Found­ed in 2016, the avowed­ly male chau­vin­ist orga­ni­za­tion chal­lenges what it per­ceives as exces­sive polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. Its mem­bers have often embraced their rep­u­ta­tion for vio­lence.

    Proud Boys mem­bers, includ­ing Tar­rio, have said they have told the FBI of protest routes, for instance, when plan­ning ral­lies. They say they do not view such dis­clo­sures as inform­ing or coop­er­at­ing, but rather as a pub­lic safe­ty pro­to­col.

    On Dec. 12, 2020, a month before the insur­rec­tion, Proud Boys, many clad in tac­ti­cal vests and body armor over their sig­na­ture yel­low and black shirts, were greet­ed with rous­ing applause by Trump sup­port­ers in a ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton to protest the Republican’s loss to Biden.

    Vio­lence spi­raled out of con­trol. Clutch­es of Proud Boys prowled the streets, attack­ing peo­ple they claimed were aligned with Antifa. Four peo­ple were stabbed.

    From that chaos grew the seeds of the Proud Boys plan­ning for Jan. 6.

    After the vio­lence of Dec. 12, the pres­i­dents of the 155 Proud Boy chap­ters held a vote to ban the orga­ni­za­tion from offi­cial­ly spon­sor­ing such ral­lies. “We vot­ed against any more ral­lies until fur­ther notice,” one Proud Boy leader said. The vote meant that Proud Boys could not wear their “col­ors” – yel­low and black para­pher­na­lia adorned with var­i­ous insignia, includ­ing roost­ers and lau­rel wreaths.

    The point was to rein in the bad pub­lic­i­ty stem­ming from the ram­pant vio­lence, and to pre­vent Proud Boys from get­ting injured.

    The vote has not been pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed. It was an impor­tant deci­sion, mem­bers said, because it’s the rea­son the Proud Boys went to Wash­ing­ton as they did on Jan. 6: with­out wear­ing their Proud Boy gear. No col­ors meant the Proud Boys would not be eas­i­ly iden­ti­fi­able by the pub­lic and law enforce­ment; so long as they weren’t in offi­cial garb, they could still turn out for Trump despite the ban.

    To pre­pare for Jan. 6, Tar­rio and oth­er lead­ers set up a vir­tu­al “ral­ly chap­ter” they called the Min­istry of Self Defense, or MOSD, on a chat on the Telegram mes­sag­ing plat­form, two Proud Boy sources say. That chan­nel, say the sources, would become a plan­ning tool for Jan. 6.

    By the end of Decem­ber, pros­e­cu­tors now say, Tar­rio and Big­gs were pub­licly announc­ing their instruc­tions to Proud Boys to go to Wash­ing­ton, DC, “incog­ni­to,” as they called it. Tar­rio promised they would turn out “in record num­bers.”

    Before the pres­i­den­tial cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, in late Decem­ber, a Proud Boy with the han­dle “Dan­ny Mac” came for­ward to the group with a con­fes­sion.

    “He said he was an infor­mant,” one Proud Boy said. “He said he was giv­ing them infor­ma­tion for two years.”

    Dan­ny Mac dis­closed to the Proud Boys lead­er­ship the FBI had paid him for infor­ma­tion about Antifa, two mem­bers told Reuters. But soon, he told the lead­ers, the FBI was demand­ing infor­ma­tion about the Proud Boys group itself. Dan­ny Mac said he was com­ing clean to the Proud Boys, and promised that he had not dis­closed any secrets.

    Nev­er­the­less, accord­ing to a Dec. 19 mes­sage on Proud Boys chat rooms that was read by a mem­ber to Reuters, Dan­ny Mac was “excom­mu­ni­cat­ed” from the group. His access was delet­ed from any chats.

    In an inter­view, Tar­rio was cau­tious in dis­cussing the for­mer mem­ber. “He com­mu­ni­cat­ed with me that he was in touch with law enforce­ment,” Tar­rio said, with­out elab­o­rat­ing. Tar­rio said the mem­ber was root­ed out over his “lead­er­ship style,” not his coop­er­a­tion, but offered no fur­ther detail.

    ...

    The group delet­ed the Min­istry of Self Defense chats after Tar­rio was arrest­ed Jan. 4 for his actions in the Decem­ber ral­ly. Tar­rio faced a mis­de­meanor war­rant for burn­ing the Black Lives Mat­ter flag and a felony charge for bring­ing two high capac­i­ty rifle mag­a­zines with him. He has not entered a plea and was released from cus­tody after one night in jail. He is sched­uled to appear in court in June.

    After his arrest, a new pri­vate chat group was set up, pros­e­cu­tors say. It was called “New MOSD.”

    Proud Boys say that the FBI’s inter­est in tap­ping into the far-right group appeared to stem from mem­bers’ con­flicts with and knowl­edge of Antifa – the loose col­lec­tive of left­ist activists who fight against forces they deem to be fas­cist. “Fu ck Antifa!” Proud Boy mem­bers chant at ral­lies. Some wear “Death to Antifa” t‑shirts.

    In Jan­u­ary 2019, a mem­ber of the Philadel­phia chap­ter of the Proud Boys who called him­self “Aaron PB” was on a Telegram chat with fel­low mem­bers to gath­er infor­ma­tion about Antifa, accord­ing to leaked chat screen­shots whose authen­tic­i­ty was con­firmed by a source famil­iar with the Proud Boys and by a lawyer for Aaron PB. Aaron PB said in a chat that he was gath­er­ing “info we want to send our FBI con­tact.”

    A source close to the fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tion told Reuters that “Aaron PB” is a Philadel­phia Proud Boy leader named Aaron Whal­lon-Wolkind.

    Whal­lon-Wolkind did not respond to phone calls or ques­tions sent via text. Reached by a Reuters reporter, he hung up.

    Patrick Train­or, a New Jer­sey lawyer for Whal­lon-Wolkind in an unre­lat­ed law­suit, said Whal­lon-Wolkind and oth­er Philadel­phia Proud Boys had talked about incon­se­quen­tial mat­ters with the FBI over the years. Those con­tacts did not amount to any­thing sub­stan­tive, Train­or said. Train­or rep­re­sents oth­er Proud Boys as well.

    “They’ve all been approached at dif­fer­ent times at dif­fer­ent ral­lies in the city of Philadel­phia,” he said. “Plain­clothes FBI guys want­ed to talk to them. You know: ‘We heard this hap­pened. This hap­pened so let’s talk about it.’”

    Train­or acknowl­edged Whal­lon-Wolkind made the com­ments about “our FBI con­tact” on the Telegram chat, but believes they were not meant to be tak­en seri­ous­ly. “I think he was just break­ing balls,” Train­or said. “I think there was no con­tact with the FBI.”

    Train­or says the FBI has been unfair­ly tar­get­ing Proud Boys, whom he says are not racist but “are just a bunch of dif­fer­ent guys drink­ing beers, hav­ing laughs, break­ing balls, telling dirty jokes.”

    PROUD BOY CHARGED

    Proud Boy mem­ber Big­gs, an Army vet­er­an with com­bat expe­ri­ence in Iraq and Afghanistan, has plead­ed not guilty to fed­er­al charges of con­spir­ing to dis­rupt the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. A judge has ordered him jailed until tri­al.

    Big­gs was one of the most vis­i­ble lead­ers among the Capi­tol riot­ers on Jan. 6. That day he was wear­ing black tac­ti­cal gloves with rein­forced knuck­le pro­tec­tion, and a dis­tinc­tive black, gray and white flan­nel shirt with a two way radio clipped to the upper right pock­et. He strode at the head of the Proud Boys col­umn that marched around the Capi­tol Build­ing.

    In a court fil­ing last month, Big­gs’ lawyer argued that his client should not be jailed before tri­al. The lawyer wrote that the Proud Boy leader has, for years, coop­er­at­ed with the FBI and devel­oped ties with at least one agent. That coop­er­a­tion start­ed, the lawyer wrote, when Big­gs would call or meet with the FBI and local author­i­ties to explain Proud Boys march routes and plans.

    ...

    By July 2020, the lawyer wrote, Big­gs’ rela­tion­ship with the FBI ratch­eted up when the Proud Boy leader met with two spe­cial agents for two hours. Big­gs “spoke often” on the phone with a Day­tona Beach agent, the lawyer wrote. The fil­ing said FBI agents want­ed Big­gs to tell them what he knew about Antifa.

    Two days before the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion, Reuters reached Big­gs on the phone. He wouldn’t say what the group had planned for the sched­uled Jan. 6 protest.

    “If I tell you right now, it will give away my play,” he said in the Jan. 4 inter­view. But, he said, he was will­ing to tell his plans to a spe­cial agent in the FBI whom he knew, if he were asked. “If the guy that I know called me and had any ques­tions, I would respond.”

    ———-

    “Exclu­sive-Before Jan. 6, FBI col­lect­ed infor­ma­tion from at least 4 Proud Boys” by Aram Ros­ton; Reuters; 04/26/2021

    “A third Proud Boy leader, Joseph Big­gs, who was indict­ed and charged with con­spir­a­cy in the Jan­u­ary attack, has said in court papers he report­ed infor­ma­tion to the FBI about Antifa for months. Reuters spoke to Big­gs two days before the riot. In that inter­view, he said he had spe­cif­ic plans for Jan. 6, but declined to dis­close them. But, he vol­un­teered to Reuters in that call, he was will­ing to tell his FBI con­tact of his plans for the com­ing ral­ly, if asked. Reuters wasn’t able to deter­mine whether such a con­tact took place.”

    They just can’t stop drop­ping hints about all the details the Proud Boys have been shar­ing with the FBI. Joseph Big­gs lit­er­al­ly told a reporter two days before the insur­rec­tion that, while he was unwill­ing to share his plan for Jan 6 with the reporter, Big­gs would be will­ing to share them with his FBI con­tact. It was an intrigu­ing pub­lic admis­sion that got a lot more intrigu­ing after the insur­rec­tion two days lat­er. And even more intrigu­ing now that we’ve learned about the pre­vi­ous­ly undis­closed secret vote on Decem­ber 12 where the Proud Boys planned on show­ing on Jan­u­ary 6 effec­tive­ly as a secret army:

    ...
    Proud Boys mem­bers, includ­ing Tar­rio, have said they have told the FBI of protest routes, for instance, when plan­ning ral­lies. They say they do not view such dis­clo­sures as inform­ing or coop­er­at­ing, but rather as a pub­lic safe­ty pro­to­col.

    On Dec. 12, 2020, a month before the insur­rec­tion, Proud Boys, many clad in tac­ti­cal vests and body armor over their sig­na­ture yel­low and black shirts, were greet­ed with rous­ing applause by Trump sup­port­ers in a ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton to protest the Republican’s loss to Biden.

    Vio­lence spi­raled out of con­trol. Clutch­es of Proud Boys prowled the streets, attack­ing peo­ple they claimed were aligned with Antifa. Four peo­ple were stabbed.

    From that chaos grew the seeds of the Proud Boys plan­ning for Jan. 6.

    After the vio­lence of Dec. 12, the pres­i­dents of the 155 Proud Boy chap­ters held a vote to ban the orga­ni­za­tion from offi­cial­ly spon­sor­ing such ral­lies. “We vot­ed against any more ral­lies until fur­ther notice,” one Proud Boy leader said. The vote meant that Proud Boys could not wear their “col­ors” – yel­low and black para­pher­na­lia adorned with var­i­ous insignia, includ­ing roost­ers and lau­rel wreaths.

    The point was to rein in the bad pub­lic­i­ty stem­ming from the ram­pant vio­lence, and to pre­vent Proud Boys from get­ting injured.

    The vote has not been pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed. It was an impor­tant deci­sion, mem­bers said, because it’s the rea­son the Proud Boys went to Wash­ing­ton as they did on Jan. 6: with­out wear­ing their Proud Boy gear. No col­ors meant the Proud Boys would not be eas­i­ly iden­ti­fi­able by the pub­lic and law enforce­ment; so long as they weren’t in offi­cial garb, they could still turn out for Trump despite the ban.
    ...

    So in addi­tion to the ongo­ing ques­tions about the extent of the Trump team’s secret plan­ning and coor­di­na­tion with the Proud Boys, we now have ques­tions about the size and intent of this secret Proud Boy army. Ques­tions that should prob­a­bly include ques­tions about the futures plans for this secret army.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 26, 2021, 3:44 pm
  13. Just how much of a real dif­fer­ence is there real­ly between pro­to-fas­cist Trump-wor­ship­ping groups like the Proud Boys and Accel­er­a­tions neo-Nazi groups like Atom­waf­fen? That’s the ques­tion raised by a recent set of failed “White Lives Mat­ter” ral­lies that were planned for cities across the US on April 11. It sounds like the idea behind the ral­lies were was very sim­i­lar to the intent of the 2017 Char­lottesville “Unite the Right” ral­ly: to cre­ate a pub­lic-friend­ly pres­ence for the far right while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly bring­ing togeth­er mem­bers of groups like the Proud Boy with more their overt vio­lent neo-Nazis under a com­mon ban­ner. Giv­ing the appear­ance of a gen­uine grass-roots spon­ta­neous “White Lives Mat­ter” move­ment was seen as a top pri­or­i­ty and, as such, one of the rules the ral­ly orga­niz­ers imposed was no sym­bol­ism of orga­nized groups like the Proud Boys.

    There was­n’t a sin­gle orga­niz­er of the planned ral­lies although the Proud Boys appear to have played a sig­nif­i­cant role. At least, the Proud Boys played a sig­nif­i­cant role until a bunch of antifas­cist infil­tra­tors leaked the chats of their plans to the media, reveal­ing that this ‘grass roots’ event was heav­i­ly a Proud Boys oper­a­tion that includ­ed a num­ber of oth­er open vio­lent neo-Nazis. Those leaked chats, com­bined with some orga­niz­ers sim­ply being unable to pub­licly con­tain their neo-Nazi track-record, end­ed up get­ting most of the ral­lies can­celed, although a few sparse­ly pop­u­lat­ed ral­lies did take place.

    So we recent­ly learned that the Proud Boys — a group that played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the Jan­u­ary 6 insur­rec­tion and could almost be seen as a kind Trump mili­tia — tried to secret­ly coor­di­nate a nation-wide series of “White Lives Mat­ter” ral­lies in coor­di­na­tion with a num­ber of oth­er far right white suprema­cists, but had to can­cel the plan after their secret orga­niz­ing role was revealed. So, again, what exact­ly dis­tin­guish­es the Proud Boys from the vio­lent neo-Nazis they orga­nize with oth­er than per­haps a more refined sense of optics?

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Infil­tra­tors Are Sab­o­tag­ing the Proud Boys’ ‘White Lives Mat­ter’ Day

    Extrem­ists tried to make planned ral­lies look like a grass­roots movement—but their secret chats have been leaked.

    Kel­ly Weill
    Pub­lished Apr. 09, 2021 6:11PM ET

    Accord­ing to anony­mous inter­net trolls, April 11 will be a day of spon­ta­neous far-right anger. That’s when a sup­pos­ed­ly “grass­roots” coali­tion of demon­stra­tors plan “White Lives Mat­ter” ral­lies in cities across the coun­try. But despite its “grass­roots” claims, the move­ment is secret­ly being orga­nized by a coali­tion of Proud Boys and oth­er far-right fig­ures, leaked chat logs reveal.

    Now some of the ral­lies are in freefall, with mem­bers of their groups being out­ed as neo-Nazis. That’s bad news for orga­niz­ers, who spent weeks try­ing to make the ral­lies appear as tame as pos­si­ble in order to attract new recruits.

    In late March, in a pub­lic Telegram chan­nel for the White Lives Mat­ter ral­lies, admin­is­tra­tors empha­sized that the march­es were unaf­fil­i­at­ed with far-right groups like the Proud Boys. “No men­tion­ing of any groups,” a mes­sage read. “This is grass­root and no groups are affil­i­at­ed.”

    ...

    But pri­vate­ly, those rules were being work­shopped in a Telegram group called “ADMINS OF WLM ZONE,” accord­ing to chat logs reviewed by The Dai­ly Beast. Mul­ti­ple mem­bers of that group were self-described Proud Boys, while oth­ers had user­names with ref­er­ences to Nazis. The orga­niz­er of a White Lives Mat­ter march in Mass­a­chu­setts claimed to be affil­i­at­ed with Nation­al­ist Social Club, a New Eng­land-based neo-Nazi group.

    One self-described Proud Boy from Michi­gan wrote in the pri­vate chat group that orga­niz­ers should hide their extrem­ist ties, for fear of alien­at­ing new­com­ers.

    “It should­n’t have to be said but if your pro­file pic­ture has swastikas, iron cross­es or any oth­er sym­bols that is com­mon­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the NS move­ment con­sid­er remov­ing them. They will only give legit­i­ma­cy to the insults our ene­mies throw at us to dis­cred­it this move­ment, plus it will alien­ate peo­ple of oth­er races who are sym­pa­thet­ic to this cause,” he wrote.

    He con­tin­ued: “It should also be said if you’re already a mem­ber of anoth­er fra­ter­nal orga­ni­za­tion; i.e Fra­ter­nal Order of the Eagles, Proud Boys, Knights of Colum­bus, Shriners, Patri­ot Front, con­sid­er not using com­mon lan­guage and terms or sym­bols that you would use amongst each oth­er. Again this lends legit­i­ma­cy to the left­ists.”

    That same Proud Boy’s user­name con­tained a ref­er­ence to fas­cist Ital­ian leader Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni. Oth­er mem­bers of the pri­vate chat used swastikas as their avatars.

    The ral­lies, some of which are still sched­uled to take place on Sun­day, were trou­bled from the out­set. Ear­li­er this month, the blog Left Coast Right Watch revealed that the orga­niz­er of Philadelphia’s planned White Lives Mat­ter ral­ly was actu­al­ly a leader of the “New Jer­sey Euro­pean Her­itage Asso­ci­a­tion,” a far-right orga­ni­za­tion that the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter has des­ig­nat­ed as a hate group. He was iden­ti­fied, in part, because he post­ed neo-Nazi con­tent in a Telegram group for “White Lives Mat­ter Philadel­phia,” where he bragged about par­tic­i­pat­ing in past Nazi demon­stra­tions.

    Orga­niz­ers in the pri­vate chan­nel react­ed with irritation—not because any appeared to dis­agree with the Philadel­phia orga­niz­er, but because he was blow­ing their cov­er.

    ...

    The pri­vate group was deter­mined not to fight over pet­ty dif­fer­ences like neo-Nazism, how­ev­er.

    “This sh it is why we fail,” one, who used a swasti­ka avatar lam­bast­ed the group when mem­bers had a dis­agree­ment. “We all have dif­fer­ent options [opin­ions] about things. Deal with it! I don’t care if you are a proud boy or Nat­soc [Nation­al Social­ist] or fuc king Attomwaf­fen.” (Mem­bers of the fas­cist group Atom­waf­fen are tied to at least five mur­ders.)

    The group sug­gest­ed invit­ing the orga­niz­er of the Philadel­phia march to the pri­vate chat “to keep him in line and fix the dam­age he caused.” It is unclear whether he joined the pri­vate group. But else­where in the chat, mem­bers became para­noid that anti-fas­cists were mon­i­tor­ing their con­ver­sa­tions.

    They were right to wor­ry. Two dif­fer­ent infil­tra­tors scraped the group’s con­tents and pro­vid­ed them to The Dai­ly Beast. An Ore­gon anti-fas­cist group pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished some of those leaked mes­sages.

    Mean­while, in more pub­lic White Lives Mat­ter chan­nels, oper­a­tions were also going awry. Sev­er­al Telegram chan­nels for local­ized White Lives Mat­ter marches—including those in New Jer­sey, Seat­tle, and New York City—revealed them­selves to have been decoys oper­at­ed by the left. Anoth­er Telegram group, for an Ohio ral­ly issued an apol­o­gy on Fri­day, stat­ing that it would post­pone its event due to lack of RSVPs.

    Some of the planned Sun­day march­es have not been can­celed, how­ev­er. Among them are planned ral­lies in North Car­oli­na and North Dako­ta, where activists on the left have announced counter-demon­stra­tions.

    The leader of the North Car­oli­na fac­tion used a swasti­ka avatar and boast­ed in pub­lic chats of show­ing up ready for a fight, Raw Sto­ry pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed. “I want this to be peace­ful, but come pre­pared to fight if we have to,” he wrote, rec­om­mend­ing atten­dees bring mace and batons.

    He also sug­gest­ed atten­dees all wear sim­i­lar cloth­ing “because I am being a fashy [fas­cist] nerd.”

    ———-

    “Infil­tra­tors Are Sab­o­tag­ing the Proud Boys’ ‘White Lives Mat­ter’ Day” by Kel­ly Weill; The Dai­ly Beast; 04/09/2021

    “In late March, in a pub­lic Telegram chan­nel for the White Lives Mat­ter ral­lies, admin­is­tra­tors empha­sized that the march­es were unaf­fil­i­at­ed with far-right groups like the Proud Boys. “No men­tion­ing of any groups,” a mes­sage read. “This is grass­root and no groups are affil­i­at­ed.””

    There’s no group behind the “White Lives Mat­ter” ral­lies. It’s a pure­ly grass roots phe­nom­e­na. That was a core rule for the ral­lies from the very begin­ning, issued by the Proud Boys and friend­ly neo-Nazis behind the whole thing:

    ...
    But pri­vate­ly, those rules were being work­shopped in a Telegram group called “ADMINS OF WLM ZONE,” accord­ing to chat logs reviewed by The Dai­ly Beast. Mul­ti­ple mem­bers of that group were self-described Proud Boys, while oth­ers had user­names with ref­er­ences to Nazis. The orga­niz­er of a White Lives Mat­ter march in Mass­a­chu­setts claimed to be affil­i­at­ed with Nation­al­ist Social Club, a New Eng­land-based neo-Nazi group.

    One self-described Proud Boy from Michi­gan wrote in the pri­vate chat group that orga­niz­ers should hide their extrem­ist ties, for fear of alien­at­ing new­com­ers.

    ...

    That same Proud Boy’s user­name con­tained a ref­er­ence to fas­cist Ital­ian leader Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni. Oth­er mem­bers of the pri­vate chat used swastikas as their avatars.

    The ral­lies, some of which are still sched­uled to take place on Sun­day, were trou­bled from the out­set. Ear­li­er this month, the blog Left Coast Right Watch revealed that the orga­niz­er of Philadelphia’s planned White Lives Mat­ter ral­ly was actu­al­ly a leader of the “New Jer­sey Euro­pean Her­itage Asso­ci­a­tion,” a far-right orga­ni­za­tion that the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter has des­ig­nat­ed as a hate group. He was iden­ti­fied, in part, because he post­ed neo-Nazi con­tent in a Telegram group for “White Lives Mat­ter Philadel­phia,” where he bragged about par­tic­i­pat­ing in past Nazi demon­stra­tions.

    Orga­niz­ers in the pri­vate chan­nel react­ed with irritation—not because any appeared to dis­agree with the Philadel­phia orga­niz­er, but because he was blow­ing their cov­er.
    ...

    And while dif­fer­ences erupt­ed in the pri­vate chat groups over these rules, and the inevitable vio­la­tions of these rules by neo-Nazis who can’t fea­si­bly hide their neo-Nazi sta­tus, note how the attempts to bring every­one togeth­er relied on acknowl­edg­ing that the Proud Boys and Atom­waf­fen have dif­fer­ent opin­ions about things but they should still be able to come togeth­er under a com­mon cause. The same orga­ni­za­tion of this North Car­oli­na ral­ly used a swasti­ka avatar. The reg­u­lar ol’ neo-Nazi is the ‘peace­mak­er’ between the Proud Boys and Atom­waf­fen in this dynamic...although the guy sounds a like an Atom­waf­fen mem­ber him­self:

    ...
    The pri­vate group was deter­mined not to fight over pet­ty dif­fer­ences like neo-Nazism, how­ev­er.

    “This sh it is why we fail,” one, who used a swasti­ka avatar lam­bast­ed the group when mem­bers had a dis­agree­ment. “We all have dif­fer­ent options [opin­ions] about things. Deal with it! I don’t care if you are a proud boy or Nat­soc [Nation­al Social­ist] or fuc king Attomwaf­fen.” (Mem­bers of the fas­cist group Atom­waf­fen are tied to at least five mur­ders.)

    ...

    The leader of the North Car­oli­na fac­tion used a swasti­ka avatar and boast­ed in pub­lic chats of show­ing up ready for a fight, Raw Sto­ry pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed. “I want this to be peace­ful, but come pre­pared to fight if we have to,” he wrote, rec­om­mend­ing atten­dees bring mace and batons.

    He also sug­gest­ed atten­dees all wear sim­i­lar cloth­ing “because I am being a fashy [fas­cist] nerd.”
    ...

    So that was a high­ly reveal­ing fiz­zled ral­ly attempt. Thanks to the “White Lives Mat­ter” fias­co, we now know that the Proud Boys — the pri­ma­ry para­mil­i­tary group behind the Jan 6 insur­rec­tion — was net­work­ing with vio­lent neo-Nazis just a few months lat­er. And while that net­work­ing may not have result­ing in the nation-wide “White Lives Mat­ter” ral­lies like they hoped, that does­n’t mean some­thing awful isn’t going to emerge from this effort. In fact, it turns out that the same NC orga­niz­er who was call­ing for the Proud Boys and Atom­waf­fen to embrace their com­mon cause decid­ed to cre­ate a new group ded­i­cat­ed to doing exact­ly that.

    This still-anony­mous indi­vid­ual, who goes by the online mon­ick­er “Bolts”, also claims to have joined the Nation­al Guard in recent months and has been hop­ing the 2020 elec­tion results and cries of a stolen elec­tion will trig­ger a civ­il war soon. For “Bolts”, the com­mon cause that should unite the Proud Boys and Atom­waf­fen is this com­ing civ­il war. And, again, this is the guy posi­tion­ing him­self as the rel­a­tive ‘mod­er­ate’ in this move­ment:

    Raw Sto­ry

    Leaked chats reveal ‘Nation­al Guards­man’ and White Lives Mat­ter orga­niz­er is form­ing new fas­cist group that wants a race war

    Jor­dan Green, Staff Reporter
    April 15, 2021

    The orga­niz­er of the abort­ed White Lives Mat­ter ral­ly in Raleigh, NC claims to be a Nation­al Guard mem­ber who wants to launch an “above­ground fas­cist move­ment,” accord­ing to record­ings from an April 9 voice chat leaked to Raw Sto­ry.

    Upon learn­ing that antic­i­pat­ed sup­port from Proud Boys would not mate­ri­al­ize and the event was like­ly to draw sig­nif­i­cant oppo­si­tion from anti-fas­cists, the host of the North Car­oli­na White Lives Mat­ter chan­nel on Telegram — known as “Bolts ” — abrupt­ly can­celed the event and changed the name of the chan­nel to “Amer­i­can Union Fas­cist.”

    In a post in the pub­lic chan­nel, “Bolts” announced that the faith­ful rem­nants of the failed “White Lives Mat­ter” effort are form­ing a new group ded­i­cat­ed to white pow­er activism in North Car­oli­na, which he hopes to ramp up this sum­mer.

    Lament­ing that “the nation­al social­ist and fas­cist move­ment has been thrown under­ground in the last few years,” he vowed, “This will stop with us.”

    He con­tin­ued: “We are no longer going to be afraid to spread truth and hold space in pub­lic areas. We will start slow. We will gain sup­port online and through pro­pa­gan­da runs in major cities around the state. We will have in-per­son pri­vate meet­ings to get to know one anoth­er, share ideas and push us to the future. Then, when we are secure and have enough sup­port, we will march. We will take the streets back from the degen­er­ates.”

    The iden­ti­ty of the orga­niz­er of the can­celed Raleigh event is not known at this time. He post­ed in the White Lives Mat­ter orga­niz­ing chats under the user­name “Ride_The_Bolts,” and tweets at @Freihet2018, which now also dou­bles as the offi­cial account for the new Amer­i­can Union Fas­cist.

    And, as he revealed in the voice chats, “Bolts” claims he joined the Vir­ginia Army Nation­al Guard “a few months ago.” Dur­ing the April 9 voice chat, the cell leader told anoth­er mem­ber of the nascent Amer­i­can Union Fas­cist that his mil­i­tary occu­pa­tion­al spe­cial­ty is 13‑B, which is part of an artillery unit.

    After can­cel­ing the “White Lives Mat­ter” ral­ly, “Bolts” invit­ed the clus­ter of sup­port­ers involved in plan­ning for the scut­tled event into a pri­vate voice chat to dis­cuss the launch of the new group. A major pre­oc­cu­pa­tion of the dis­cus­sion was how they will be per­ceived by the pub­lic.

    “The optics for this is going to be key,” “Bolts” said. “We don’t want to be going out there — we can have our views, we keep them to our­selves — we invite these peo­ple in, we wake them up and we give it to them dose by dose, and we get them on that lev­el. But when we are out there in pub­lic, what we don’t want to be doing is call­ing peo­ple n*****s, we don’t want to be talk­ing about the hook-nose Jew. The key to suc­cess here is above-ground fas­cist move­ment. They’re gonna call us… don’t give ’em the bul­lets, you know.”

    The oth­er mem­bers in the chat expressed skep­ti­cism about whether it would be pos­si­ble to con­ceal their racism.

    “It’s tough to do that though,” a user named “Japhetite” said. “Some­times espe­cial­ly.”

    “Bolts” told the oth­er mem­bers of the chat that he envi­sions a group that per­forms com­mu­ni­ty out­reach to peo­ple expe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness, with some mem­bers film­ing so they can lat­er share their good deeds on Twit­ter and Telegram. He added that he hopes the pro­pa­gan­da will elic­it a response of, “It’s fu cking cool. These peo­ple are out here help­ing the home­less.”

    Chris Mag­yarics, a research fel­low with the ADL Cen­ter on Extrem­ism, said there’s noth­ing par­tic­u­lar­ly new or nov­el about white pow­er groups attempt­ing to bur­nish their image by per­form­ing com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice. Patri­ot Front, a neo-Nazi group that “Bolt” cit­ed as a mod­el, almost con­stant­ly posts pho­tos of its mem­bers col­lect­ing trash from pub­lic areas. In the same way, Ku Klux Klan groups his­tor­i­cal­ly picked up lit­ter through the Adopt-A-High­way pro­gram to gen­er­ate pos­i­tive pub­lic­i­ty.

    The pub­lic-fac­ing com­mu­ni­ty out­reach pos­ture that “Bolts” wants to pro­mote belies the views expressed on his Twit­ter account, which show some­one eager for white suprema­cists to make their pres­ence felt in the street and to see a race war take place in the Unit­ed States.

    In July 2020, “Bolts” expressed admi­ra­tion for Adolph Hitler and George Lin­coln Rock­well, founder and com­man­der of the Amer­i­can Nazi Par­ty, on Twit­ter. In anoth­er tweet last Decem­ber that cel­e­brat­ed the Holo­caust, he tweet­ed a Christ­mas-themed image of a rail line lead­ing into the Auschwitz death camp, with a San­ta hat placed atop the guard tow­er.

    “Con­tin­u­ing our #Christ­mas count­down,” Bolts wrote. “10 more days. Mer­ry Christ­mas to my fol­low­ers and keep up the fight!”

    “Bolts” shared with his Twit­ter fol­low­ers that he attend­ed the Unite the Right 2 ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton DC, a sparse­ly attend­ed sequel in August 2018 to the vio­lent white suprema­cist gath­er­ing that took place one year ear­li­er in Char­lottesville, Va. He tweet­ed at Jason Kessler, who orga­nized both Unite the Right ral­lies, and white suprema­cist Richard Spencer, lat­er in 2018. Dur­ing the first Unite the Right ral­ly, in 2017, James Fields, who marched along­side the now-defunct white suprema­cist group Van­guard Amer­i­ca, plowed a car into a crowd of antiracists and mur­dered Heather Hey­er. Many of the con­stituent groups behind Unite the Right dis­solved as a result of infight­ing, law­suits and oppo­si­tion from counter-pro­test­ers. The last major ral­ly in which white suprema­cists had a siz­able street pres­ence was a march led by Spencer in Lans­ing, Mich. in March 2018.

    As protests against the police killing of George Floyd swept the nation in late May 2020, “Bolts” avid­ly fol­lowed the events, tweet­ing scenes of urban chaos. Tweet­ing a screen­shot of a man who was appar­ent­ly shot out­side a store on the third night of protests in Min­neapo­lis, “Bolts” wrote, “This coun­try is about to slide into a civ­il war in the next few years.” Soon after­wards, he began append­ing the hash­tag #CivilWar2 to his protest-relat­ed posts.

    On May 31, he even showed up in per­son to film the protest in down­town Raleigh.

    Tweets dur­ing the fol­low­ing month show that “Bolts” was eager for white pow­er activists to mobi­lize in response to the racial jus­tice protests.

    “We need to pre­pare for war, noth­ing less,” he wrote on June 23.

    And in response to anoth­er white pow­er activist com­plain­ing about Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments being top­pled, “Bolts” wrote on June 26: “Then we orga­nize some­thing. I don’t want this to come off as I’m mad at you, but we real­ly need to get the fu ck off the inter­net bitch­ing and moan­ing about his like we can’t do some­thing. If we show up, they will be pet­ri­fied. Let’s fix this.”

    After the 2020 elec­tion, “Bolts” began to pin his hopes for a vio­lent nation­al reck­on­ing on Don­ald Trump, tweet­ing a meme at the pres­i­dent that said, “C’mon. Do a civ­il war.”

    Fol­low­ing the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion, “Bolts” tweet­ed, “The pres­i­dent had a hard choice to make yes­ter­day. Start a civ­il war and lead patri­ots to vic­to­ry like our founders had to. Or let the scum­bag elite have full and total con­trol of our nation. Trump will soon be in a jail cell, the Repub­li­can Par­ty will be dead.” Then, mak­ing clear that he viewed Trump as a trai­tor, he post­ed an anti­se­mit­ic and misog­y­nis­tic car­toon por­tray­ing Trump as a house­wife stab­bing a grim mili­tia­man in the back while wear­ing a bon­net stitched with the star of David.

    In anoth­er tweet, “Bolts” explic­it­ly tied the failed Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion to the project of estab­lish­ing a white eth­no-state through a race war.

    “But the ques­tion is what will you do as a per­son?” he wrote. “What will you do to secure the exis­tence of your peo­ple, your nation and your birth right? If the takeover is inevitable, make them at least take it from your cold dead hands. This is your nation and your home. #DCRiot #1776Again #Civil­War.”

    The phrase “secure the exis­tence of your peo­ple” is a direct ref­er­ence to the 14 Words, a slo­gan that has become the uni­fy­ing creed among white suprema­cists in North Amer­i­ca, Europe and Aus­tralia. The slo­gan was coined by David Lane, a mem­ber of the ter­ror­ist group the Order who received a 150-year sen­tence for his role in the 1984 mur­der of Alan Berg, a Jew­ish talk-radio host who spoke out against white suprema­cists.

    In the pri­vate Telegram chan­nel where the top admins involved in plan­ning the “White Lives Mat­ter” ral­lies gath­ered, “Bolts” posi­tioned him­self as a medi­a­tor eager to pro­mote uni­ty. Express­ing frus­tra­tion about infight­ing and bick­er­ing in the group, he wrote on April 5: “This shit is why we fail. We all have dif­fer­ent options about things. Deal with it! I don’t care if you are a Proud Boy or [Nation­al Social­ist] or fuc king Atom­waf­fen.

    Lat­er that week, after break­ing from the hub orga­niz­ing group for “White Lives Mat­ter,” he told the Raleigh group involved in the found­ing of Amer­i­can Union Fas­cist that he is dis­en­chant­ed with elec­toral pol­i­tics. In doing so, he espoused an anti­se­mit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that the Jews are pro­mot­ing immi­gra­tion to destroy white peo­ple. He said he envi­sioned his new group as a force for action in between two poles of the white pow­er move­ment.

    “So, you’ve got peo­ple on the oth­er end of the spec­trum, talk­ing about, ‘Oh, fu ck it, this is total war. We’re gonna be fight­ing with guns for our race,’ ” Bolts said. “We’ve got peo­ple on the oth­er side say­ing shit­posts. We’ve got peo­ple in the mid­dle like us say­ing, ‘We will do what we have to do.’ I don’t wake up in the morn­ing with a bon­er to go kill peo­ple. I real­ly don’t. If you look at Atom­waf­fen or some shit, or some peo­ple like that, I don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly want that. I want to be the per­son, I want to be the group that’s in the mid­dle say­ing, ‘We will do what we have to do.’ ”

    “Bolts” dis­closed his enlist­ment in the Nation­al Guard when one of the oth­er chat par­tic­i­pants, an old­er man with the user­name “Dale Grib­ble,” shared that he had served in the Guard.

    “What are you?” “Dale Grib­ble” asked. “I mean, you don’t have to dis­close that. But, no, it’s just good for cama­raderie’s sake, you know?”

    “I go to Vir­ginia Beach once a month,” “Bolts” respond­ed. “My MOS is 13‑B. Like I said, I just start­ed a cou­ple months ago.”

    Fol­low­ing the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion, Defense Sec­re­tary Lloyd Austin ordered a stand down requir­ing com­man­ders and lead­ers in all units to address extrem­ism in the ranks. But accord­ing to the Nation­al Guard Asso­ci­a­tion of the Unit­ed States, Austin’s order grant­ed exten­sions to Guard and Reserve units.

    “If word gets to the Nation­al Guard and the actu­al iden­ti­ty of this per­son is deter­mined, the way the Depart­ment of Defense is tak­ing steps for­ward, I real­ly think they would take infor­ma­tion about this indi­vid­ual seri­ous­ly, inves­ti­gate whether he was involved, and take appro­pri­ate action,” said Mag­yarics of the ADL.

    Fear of dox­ing is like­ly to con­strain Amer­i­can Union Fas­cist and sim­i­lar groups spun off from the “White Lives Mat­ter” effort, at least in the short term, accord­ing to both Mag­yarics and Megan Squire, a data sci­en­tist at Elon Uni­ver­si­ty who mon­i­tors extrem­ist groups.

    In the case of the April 11 event, fear of counter-pro­test­ers proved to be an effec­tive deter­rent. (Ulti­mate­ly, 90 antifas­cists showed up in Raleigh on April 11. They took to the streets, chant­i­ng, “When Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back.”)

    Imag­in­ing the out­come if he were to fol­low through on the plan for the “White Lives Mat­ter ral­ly,” Bolts pre­dict­ed two days pri­or to the sched­uled event: “Those march­es, they’re going to be a fuc king fail­ure. I mean, one of them might be okay, but it’s going to either be they get a whole bunch of peo­ple to show up and it’s going to be fuc king Char­lottesville all over again or 12 peo­ple are going to show up and get the shit kicked out of them.”

    Squire said the out­come of the “White Lives Mat­ter” march­es sug­gests that for the time being, white pow­er orga­niz­ing is like­ly to remain large­ly in the dig­i­tal space.

    ...

    ———–

    “Leaked chats reveal ‘Nation­al Guards­man’ and White Lives Mat­ter orga­niz­er is form­ing new fas­cist group that wants a race war” by Jor­dan Green; Raw Sto­ry; 04/15/2021

    After can­cel­ing the “White Lives Mat­ter” ral­ly, “Bolts” invit­ed the clus­ter of sup­port­ers involved in plan­ning for the scut­tled event into a pri­vate voice chat to dis­cuss the launch of the new group. A major pre­oc­cu­pa­tion of the dis­cus­sion was how they will be per­ceived by the pub­lic.”

    The implo­sion of the “White Lives Mat­ter” ral­ly after the expo­sure of the group’s real intent has clear­ly trig­gered the far right. And with good rea­son. The move­ment real­izes it has to trick peo­ple into sup­port­ing it so get­ting exposed like this was kind of a big deal. At least, if would be a big deal if this new got the kind expo­sure it deserves. After all, we’re talk­ing about the unof­fi­cial Trump mili­tia, the Proud Boys, net­work­ing with vio­lent neo-Nazis just months after the insur­rec­tion. The seeds for future nation­al crises are being sown. And if “Bolts” has any­thing to say about it, those future nation­al crises will revolve around the active coor­di­na­tion of all of the dif­fer­ent White Pow­er move­ments act­ing as one:

    ...
    In the pri­vate Telegram chan­nel where the top admins involved in plan­ning the “White Lives Mat­ter” ral­lies gath­ered, “Bolts” posi­tioned him­self as a medi­a­tor eager to pro­mote uni­ty. Express­ing frus­tra­tion about infight­ing and bick­er­ing in the group, he wrote on April 5: “This shit is why we fail. We all have dif­fer­ent options about things. Deal with it! I don’t care if you are a Proud Boy or [Nation­al Social­ist] or fuc king Atom­waf­fen.

    Lat­er that week, after break­ing from the hub orga­niz­ing group for “White Lives Mat­ter,” he told the Raleigh group involved in the found­ing of Amer­i­can Union Fas­cist that he is dis­en­chant­ed with elec­toral pol­i­tics. In doing so, he espoused an anti­se­mit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that the Jews are pro­mot­ing immi­gra­tion to destroy white peo­ple. He said he envi­sioned his new group as a force for action in between two poles of the white pow­er move­ment.
    ...

    But, of course, the Proud Boys were already work­ing as one with the rest of the vio­lent far right when these ral­lies were get­ting orga­nized. It was only the expo­sure of their plans, along with the boast­ings of over­ly proud neo-Nazis, that real­ly derailed it. The Proud Boys clear­ly had no actu­al issue of direct­ly net­work­ing with oth­er vio­lent extrem­ists. So, again, we have to ask: what exact­ly is the dif­fer­ence at this point between the Proud Boys and Atom­waf­fen oth­er than a more refined sense of optics?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 3, 2021, 3:39 pm
  14. The Repub­li­can lead­er­ship in the House is in the mid­dle of a fas­ci­nat­ing iden­ti­ty cri­sis right now. The kind of iden­ti­ty cri­sis that, depend­ing on how its resolved, could end up fast-track­ing the next Trump-led insur­rec­tion:

    The grow­ing ten­sions between House GOP cau­cus chair Liz Cheney and the rest of the GOP over whether or not to con­demn Don­ald Trump over the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion hit a boil­ing point this week. On Mon­day, we got reports that House minor­i­ty leader Kevin McCarthy was caught on a ‘hot mic’ episode trash­ing Cheney while appear­ing on Fox News. The next day, Cheney pub­lished a scathing op-ed in the Wash­ing­ton Post call­ing this moment a turn­ing point for the GOP while warn­ing that a fail­ure to con­demn Trump’s insur­rec­tionary Big Lie about a stolen elec­tion is set­ting the stage for future insur­rec­tions.

    And, of course, there’s no way in hell Cheney’s op-ed is going to change more than a hand­ful of minds in her cau­cus. So Cheney essen­tial­ly com­mit­ted polit­i­cal sui­cide by mak­ing such warn­ings. She real­ly must feel a need to issue those warn­ings.

    And now, today, we are learn­ing that the House mem­ber who has been tapped by Trump him­self as the favored replace­ment for Cheney in her GOP cau­cus lead­er­ship posi­tion, Elise Ste­fanik, just went on Steve Ban­non’s War Room pod­cast where she ful­ly endorsed the ‘stolen elec­tion’ meme while pro­mot­ing the GOP’s joke ‘audits’ of the Ari­zona vote.

    So all indi­ca­tions are that Liz Cheney is set to be pun­ished for her con­dem­na­tion of the Jan­u­ary 6 insur­rec­tion and replaced with a Trump syco­phant who has been giv­ing full-throat­ed endorse­ments of vir­tu­al­ly all of the stolen elec­tion lies. All in all, that sure sounds like the seeds of the next insur­rec­tion being sown. Although the next insur­rec­tion won’t be a ‘Trump insur­rec­tion’. It’s too late for that. It’s going to be a full blown ‘GOP insur­rec­tion’ after the par­ty refus­es to heed Cheney’s warn­ings:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Opin­ion: Liz Cheney: The GOP is at a turn­ing point. His­to­ry is watch­ing us.

    Opin­ion by Liz Cheney
    May 5, 2021 at 9:05 p.m. UTC

    Liz Cheney, a Repub­li­can, rep­re­sents Wyoming’s at-large con­gres­sion­al dis­trict in the U.S. House.

    In pub­lic state­ments again this week, for­mer pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has repeat­ed his claims that the 2020 elec­tion was a fraud and was stolen. His mes­sage: I am still the right­ful pres­i­dent, and Pres­i­dent Biden is ille­git­i­mate. Trump repeats these words now with full knowl­edge that exact­ly this type of lan­guage pro­voked vio­lence on Jan. 6. And, as the Jus­tice Depart­ment and mul­ti­ple fed­er­al judges have sug­gest­ed, there is good rea­son to believe that Trump’s lan­guage can pro­voke vio­lence again. Trump is seek­ing to unrav­el crit­i­cal ele­ments of our con­sti­tu­tion­al struc­ture that make democ­ra­cy work — con­fi­dence in the result of elec­tions and the rule of law. No oth­er Amer­i­can pres­i­dent has ever done this.

    The Repub­li­can Par­ty is at a turn­ing point, and Repub­li­cans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fideli­ty to the Con­sti­tu­tion. In the imme­di­ate wake of the vio­lence of Jan. 6, almost all of us knew the grav­i­ty and the cause of what had just hap­pened — we had wit­nessed it first­hand.

    House Repub­li­can leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) left no doubt in his pub­lic remarks. On the floor of the House on Jan. 13, McCarthy said: “The pres­i­dent bears respon­si­bil­i­ty for Wednesday’s attack on Con­gress by mob riot­ers. He should have imme­di­ate­ly denounced the mob when he saw what was unfold­ing.” Now, McCarthy has changed his sto­ry.

    I am a con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can, and the most con­ser­v­a­tive of con­ser­v­a­tive val­ues is rev­er­ence for the rule of law. Each of us swears an oath before God to uphold our Con­sti­tu­tion. The elec­toral col­lege has spo­ken. More than 60 state and fed­er­al courts, includ­ing mul­ti­ple Trump-appoint­ed judges, have reject­ed the for­mer president’s argu­ments, and refused to over­turn elec­tion results. That is the rule of law; that is our con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem for resolv­ing claims of elec­tion fraud.

    The ques­tion before us now is whether we will join Trump’s cru­sade to dele­git­imize and undo the legal out­come of the 2020 elec­tion, with all the con­se­quences that might have. I have worked over­seas in nations where changes in lead­er­ship come only with vio­lence, where democ­ra­cy takes hold only until the next vio­lent upheaval. Amer­i­ca is excep­tion­al because our con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem guards against that. At the heart of our repub­lic is a com­mit­ment to the peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er among polit­i­cal rivals in accor­dance with law. Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan described this as our Amer­i­can “mir­a­cle.”

    While embrac­ing or ignor­ing Trump’s state­ments might seem attrac­tive to some for fundrais­ing and polit­i­cal pur­pos­es, that approach will do pro­found long-term dam­age to our par­ty and our coun­try. Trump has nev­er expressed remorse or regret for the attack of Jan. 6 and now sug­gests that our elec­tions, and our legal and con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem, can­not be trust­ed to do the will of the peo­ple. This is immense­ly harm­ful, espe­cial­ly as we now com­pete on the world stage against Com­mu­nist Chi­na and its claims that democ­ra­cy is a failed sys­tem.

    ...

    His­to­ry is watch­ing. Our chil­dren are watch­ing. We must be brave enough to defend the basic prin­ci­ples that under­pin and pro­tect our free­dom and our demo­c­ra­t­ic process. I am com­mit­ted to doing that, no mat­ter what the short-term polit­i­cal con­se­quences might be.

    ———

    “Opin­ion: Liz Cheney: The GOP is at a turn­ing point. His­to­ry is watch­ing us.” by Liz Cheney; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 05/05/2021

    “In pub­lic state­ments again this week, for­mer pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has repeat­ed his claims that the 2020 elec­tion was a fraud and was stolen. His mes­sage: I am still the right­ful pres­i­dent, and Pres­i­dent Biden is ille­git­i­mate. Trump repeats these words now with full knowl­edge that exact­ly this type of lan­guage pro­voked vio­lence on Jan. 6. And, as the Jus­tice Depart­ment and mul­ti­ple fed­er­al judges have sug­gest­ed, there is good rea­son to believe that Trump’s lan­guage can pro­voke vio­lence again. Trump is seek­ing to unrav­el crit­i­cal ele­ments of our con­sti­tu­tion­al struc­ture that make democ­ra­cy work — con­fi­dence in the result of elec­tions and the rule of law. No oth­er Amer­i­can pres­i­dent has ever done this.”

    Liz isn’t minc­ing words. There real­ly is very good rea­son to believe that Trump’s lan­guage can pro­voke vio­lence again. Espe­cial­ly if the Big Lie behind that insur­rec­tion is ful­ly backed by the rest of the par­ty.

    And note her obser­va­tion about the broad­er impact this stolen elec­tion Big Lie could end up hav­ing around the world: the GOP is effec­tive­ly under­min­ing the idea that the insti­tu­tions that run a democ­ra­cy, or at least mul­ti-eth­nic democ­ra­cy, can be trust­ed. It’s a meme no doubt appre­ci­at­ed by author­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ments around the world, includ­ing the gov­ern­ment of Chi­na that the has become the a GOP pro­pa­gan­da focal point in recent years:

    ...
    While embrac­ing or ignor­ing Trump’s state­ments might seem attrac­tive to some for fundrais­ing and polit­i­cal pur­pos­es, that approach will do pro­found long-term dam­age to our par­ty and our coun­try. Trump has nev­er expressed remorse or regret for the attack of Jan. 6 and now sug­gests that our elec­tions, and our legal and con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem, can­not be trust­ed to do the will of the peo­ple. This is immense­ly harm­ful, espe­cial­ly as we now com­pete on the world stage against Com­mu­nist Chi­na and its claims that democ­ra­cy is a failed sys­tem. ...

    And that brings us to the inter­view just done by Cheney’s Trump-annoint­ed replace­ment as cau­cus chair, Elise Ste­fanik, on Steve Ban­non’s War Room pod­cast. An inter­view where Ste­fanik ful­ly backed the stolen elec­tion Big Lie and the sham ‘audits’ schemes. In oth­er words, it was basi­cal­ly an audi­tion for Cheney’s role as House cau­cus leader and Ste­fanik made it clear she wants the job:

    Talk­ing Points Memo

    In Inter­view With Ban­non, Ste­fanik Cozies Up To Big Lie While Prais­ing Sketchy AZ Audit

    By Sum­mer Con­cep­cion
    May 6, 2021 2:01 p.m.

    As House GOP lead­er­ship open­ly boosts her bid to replace Rep. Liz Cheney (R‑WY) as con­fer­ence chair, Rep. Elise Ste­fanik (R‑NY) on Thurs­day flirt­ed open­ly with for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump’s elec­tion fraud false­hoods dur­ing an appear­ance on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” pod­cast.

    Ban­non, who served as Trump’s White House strate­gist and was among the 143 peo­ple grant­ed clemen­cy in the hours before the for­mer pres­i­dent left office, asked Ste­fanik to weigh in on the sketchy “audit” of 2020 elec­tion results in Arizona’s largest coun­ty.

    Ste­fanik replied that she “ful­ly sup­ports” the bat­tle­ground state’s so-called “audit.”

    “We want trans­paren­cy and answers for the Amer­i­can peo­ple — what are the Democ­rats so afraid of?” Ste­fanik said.

    Stefanik’s remarks on Bannon’s pod­cast came a day after the for­mer Pres­i­dent revived his post-insur­rec­tion attacks against promi­nent Repub­li­cans.

    In a state­ment issued Wednes­day morn­ing, Trump made clear that he has not let go of his grudge against Cheney, and revived attacks against for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence and Sen­ate Minor­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell (R‑KY) for rat­i­fy­ing Pres­i­dent Biden’s elec­toral vic­to­ry.

    Trump issued anoth­er state­ment lat­er Wednes­day announc­ing his endorse­ment of Ste­fanik to replace Cheney as House GOP con­fer­ence chair.

    “We want lead­ers who believe in the Make Amer­i­ca Great Again move­ment, and pri­or­i­tize the val­ues of Amer­i­ca First. Elise Ste­fanik is a far supe­ri­or choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorse­ment for GOP Con­fer­ence Chair,” Trump said. “Elise is a tough and smart com­mu­ni­ca­tor!”

    Ste­fanik thanked Trump for his “100% sup­port” while attack­ing Democ­rats.

    Thank you Pres­i­dent Trump for your 100% sup­port for House GOP Con­fer­ence Chair. We are uni­fied and focused on FIRING PELOSI & WINNING in 2022!— Elise Ste­fanik (@EliseStefanik) May 5, 2021

    Stefanik’s new embrace of Trump’s stolen elec­tion nar­ra­tive comes as House Repub­li­cans sug­gest­ing that Cheney’s ouster is in the cards pre­cise­ly because of her vehe­ment crit­i­cism of Trump.

    Ste­fanik was open­ly boost­ed by House Minor­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise (R‑LA) to replace Cheney as con­fer­ence chair. House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy (R‑CA) has also report­ed­ly been ral­ly­ing for Ste­fanik to many Repub­li­cans, accord­ing to Punch­bowl News.

    ...

    ————

    “In Inter­view With Ban­non, Ste­fanik Cozies Up To Big Lie While Prais­ing Sketchy AZ Audit” By Sum­mer Con­cep­cion; Talk­ing Points Memo; 05/06/2021

    “Stefanik’s remarks on Bannon’s pod­cast came a day after the for­mer Pres­i­dent revived his post-insur­rec­tion attacks against promi­nent Repub­li­cans.”

    The tim­ing of it all it is quite remark­able: On Mon­day, we have reports Kevin McCarthy’s ‘hot mic’ moment attack­ing Cheney. Tues­day brings us Cheney’s op-ed, but also renewed attacks by Trump on Cheney and oth­er GOP lead­ers who haven’t demon­strat­ed ade­quate post-insur­rec­tion feal­ty to Trump like Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence. And then Wednes­day we have Ste­fanik going on Steve Ban­non’s pod­cast to get show­cased for the role. It’s been a demon­stra­tion of where the real pow­er lies in the con­tem­po­rary GOP: in the hands of fig­ures like Trump and Ban­non:

    ...
    In a state­ment issued Wednes­day morn­ing, Trump made clear that he has not let go of his grudge against Cheney, and revived attacks against for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence and Sen­ate Minor­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell (R‑KY) for rat­i­fy­ing Pres­i­dent Biden’s elec­toral vic­to­ry.

    Trump issued anoth­er state­ment lat­er Wednes­day announc­ing his endorse­ment of Ste­fanik to replace Cheney as House GOP con­fer­ence chair.

    “We want lead­ers who believe in the Make Amer­i­ca Great Again move­ment, and pri­or­i­tize the val­ues of Amer­i­ca First. Elise Ste­fanik is a far supe­ri­or choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorse­ment for GOP Con­fer­ence Chair,” Trump said. “Elise is a tough and smart com­mu­ni­ca­tor!”
    ...

    The real leader of the GOP has made his deci­sion: Trump choos­es Ste­fanik because Ste­fanik choose Trump over all. And now it’s just a mat­ter of time before Ste­fanik gets the role. Because Trump über alles.

    So when the next insur­rec­tion hap­pens — and it’s increas­ing­ly look­ing like a when, not if, ques­tion — it’s going to be impor­tant to keep in mind that what we’ve wit­nessed over the last few months is the full par­ty embrace of the Jan­u­ary 6 insur­rec­tion and Big Lies that fueled it. Trump owns the par­ty. Any future ‘Trump insur­rec­tions’ are going to be GOP insur­rec­tions. Feal­ty has con­se­quences.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 6, 2021, 4:18 pm
  15. New details came out today on the actions, or lack of actions, dur­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Details about who pre­cise­ly issued the belat­ed order to the Nation­al Guard to deploy and clear the Capi­tol of the insur­rec­tion­ists. And yet, despite these new details, it’s still not actu­al­ly who ordered what and why the deploy­ment was delayed for 90 cru­cial min­utes while the a Trumpian army ram­paged through the Capi­tol.

    Accord­ing to the updat­ed time­line, the Pen­ta­gon issued the order to mobi­lize the Guard at 3:00 pm, but only issued the order to deploy the Guard at 4:32 pm. Dur­ing this 92 minute peri­od, then-Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence spoke with Miller at ~ 4:08 pm and report­ed­ly called on Miller to “clear the Capi­tol”, rais­ing ques­tions of whether or not the 4:32 pm order to deploy was in response to Pence’s call.

    But Miller told con­gress that, no, Pence’s call had no bear­ing on his deci­sion to issue the deploy­ment order at 4:32 pm, in part because Pence was not in the chain-of-com­mand and not able to legal­ly issue mil­i­tary orders at that moment. So if Miller’s deploy­ment order was­n’t in response to Pence’s call, why did it hap­pen at that point, over 90 min­utes after the mobi­liza­tion order? Accord­ing to Miller, there’s no mys­tery here. The 90 minute lag between the mobi­liza­tion and deploy­ment orders was actu­al­ly a remark­ably short peri­od of time.

    Miller also appeared to be try­ing to shrug off respon­si­bil­i­ty to D.C. Nation­al Guard com­mand­ing gen­er­al William Walk­er. At 3:00 pm, Miller issued the deploy­ment order but after 3:04 pm it was up to Walk­er to draft the actu­al plan for clear­ing the Capi­tol. And yet, it was Miller who ulti­mate­ly approved Walk­ers plan and that approval did­n’t hap­pen until 4:32 pm. So Miller appeared to be putting the onus for actu­al­ly deploy­ing the troops on Walk­er and yet it real­ly was Miller who ulti­mate­ly issued the approval.

    The dis­tinc­tion between the mobi­liza­tion orders and deploy­ment orders had­n’t pre­vi­ous­ly been appre­ci­at­ed. Miller him­self was con­fus­ing the orders dur­ing his tes­ti­mo­ny, ini­tial­ly say­ing he issued the deploy­ment order at 3 pm, and only lat­er clar­i­fy­ing that it was a mobi­liza­tion order. It’s a dis­tinc­tion that rais­es new ques­tion about what exact­ly the deci­sion-mak­ing process on that day because the may­or or DC and con­gres­sion­al lead­ers had been call­ing on Miller to send troops to the cap­i­tal for near­ly 90 min­utes before that 3 pm mobi­liza­tion order. Up until now, we had assumed that the 3 pm order giv­en by Miller was a deploy­ment order, rais­ing ques­tion about why the deploy­ment did­n’t hap­pen for anoth­er 90 min­utes. But now that we are learn­ing that the 3 pm order was just a mobi­liza­tion order, we have to ask just what exact­ly was the Pen­ta­gon doing from 1:30–3:00? Beyond that, the offi­cial deploy­ment order was actu­al­ly giv­en by Miller until 5:08 pm, which Miller attrib­uted to the ‘fog of war’.

    Miller also claimed at one point that Walk­er had the author­i­ty to issue the deploy­ment order on his own at any giv­en point. And yet Walk­er has tes­ti­fied that he had to wait for approval from Miller and Army Sec­re­tary Ryan McCarthy before he deployed the troops. So Miller appeared to just be mak­ing stuff up at that point.

    Oh, and Miller also tes­ti­fied that, while he did­n’t speak to Trump at all on Jan 6, he did­n’t need to because he already had orders and the author­i­ty he need­ed. But he did speak to Trump on Jan 3, when Miller to Trump of the may­or’s request for addi­tion­al Guard sup­port. Miller says Trump told him, “Fill it and do what­ev­er was nec­es­sary to pro­tect the demon­stra­tors that were exe­cut­ing their con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed rights.” So the orders Trump gave Miller on Jan 3 was to do what­ev­er is nec­es­sary to pro­tect the rights of the pro-Trump insur­rec­tion­ist ‘demon­stra­tors’. How exact­ly those Jan 3 com­ments from Trump trans­lat­ed into the actions, or lack of actions, three days lat­er is one of the many unan­swered remain­ing ques­tions. And the the longer we go with­out get­ting straight answers to these ques­tion, the more the meta-answer is emerg­ing that a mas­sive cov­er-up is under­way. A cov­er up of a very real insur­rec­tion plot at the high­est lev­els of gov­ern­ment:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    News

    For­mer Defense Sec­re­tary Changes Sto­ry On When Exact­ly He Deployed Nation­al Guard On Jan. 6

    By Josh Koven­sky and Kate Riga
    May 12, 2021 2:32 p.m.

    For­mer act­ing sec­re­tary of defense Chris Miller shift­ed on key details in the time­line of when the Army agreed to deploy the D.C. Nation­al Guard to quell the Jan. 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion in tes­ti­mo­ny before the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee on Wednes­day.

    ...

    The ques­tion comes down to two moments dur­ing the attack on the Capi­tol: 3:00 p.m., when the Pen­ta­gon says the order to mobi­lize the Guard was giv­en, and 4:32 p.m., when the order to deploy them was giv­en.

    Dur­ing that 90 minute peri­od, Rep. Car­olyn Mal­oney (D‑NY) not­ed, then-Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence called Miller. The two had a con­ver­sa­tion that Miller described as “brief.” The AP has report­ed that Pence, who was not legal­ly capa­ble of issu­ing mil­i­tary orders, told Miller to “clear the Capi­tol.”

    Debates over when the Nation­al Guard should have been deployed have been obfus­cat­ed by peo­ple mis­in­ter­pret­ing the 3:00 p.m. order to mobi­lize the guard with an order to phys­i­cal­ly deploy sol­diers to the Capi­tol.

    Under ques­tion­ing from Rep. Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez (D‑NY), Miller fur­thered that con­fu­sion. The law­mak­er asked Miller if the 3:00 p.m. order wasn’t “an autho­riza­tion to deploy to the Capi­tol.”

    Miller replied that it was an autho­riza­tion to deploy. “I gave full autho­riza­tion to deploy, ma’am,” he said, spec­i­fy­ing that the order was approved at 3:00 pm and offi­cial­ly issued at 3:04 pm.

    From then on, Miller tried to shift respon­si­bil­i­ty to his sub­or­di­nate — D.C. Nation­al Guard com­mand­ing gen­er­al William Walk­er. After 3:04, Miller said, it was up to Walk­er to draft a plan for how to clear the build­ing.

    But even after Walk­er draft­ed the plan, it wasn’t “approved” until 4:32. A DOD time­line shows that it was Miller who green-lit the plan, allow­ing troops to be deployed.

    “It took 90 min­utes to plan to send the Guard to the Capi­tol?” Oca­sio-Cortez asked.

    Miller replied that “this is a great con­ver­sa­tion, and I want to be com­plete­ly help­ful.”

    “So at 3 o’clock, 3 p.m., I gave the order to mobi­lize the Nation­al Guard, and then the plan­ning sequence went for­ward,” he added, before say­ing that he gave the order to mobi­lize, and not deploy, at 3:00 pm.

    That’s a sig­nif­i­cant shift, in part because it con­firms that even after mul­ti­ple elect­ed offi­cials — from D.C May­or Muriel Bows­er to Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer (D‑NY) — had informed him of the dis­as­ter unfold­ing at the Capi­tol, Miller had not yet com­mit­ted troops to the seat of gov­ern­ment.

    Miller said that he did not speak to Trump at all on Jan. 6, and his respons­es leave open ques­tions about why it took so long after ini­tial requests to move troops to the Capi­tol build­ing.

    Miller didn’t clear things up much when Rep. Hank John­son (D‑GA) picked up Ocasio-Cortez’s line of ques­tion­ing, though he did redou­ble his efforts to pass the buck to Walk­er.

    When pressed by John­son on whether he had put restric­tions on the use of a quick reac­tion Guard force near the Capi­tol, he said that he “gave guid­ance that I want­ed to be involved” but that Walk­er could have deployed them uni­lat­er­al­ly if he so chose.

    Walk­er has tes­ti­fied that he had to wait for approval from Miller and Army Sec­re­tary Ryan McCarthy before he deployed the troops. A memo from McCarthy obtained by by the Wash­ing­ton Post showed that Walk­er had to first draw out a “con­cept of oper­a­tion.” The craft­ing of that plan, Miller said, took up the time between his mobi­liza­tion order at 3:00 p.m. and the order for deploy­ment at 4:32 p.m.

    “Sec­re­tary Miller want­ed to make the deci­sions of how the Nation­al Guard was going to be employed on that day,” tes­ti­fied Robert Saless­es, a senior DOD offi­cial, before Con­gress in March.

    Oca­sio-Cortez also not­ed that Walk­er said he did not receive an offi­cial order to deploy until 5:08, a delay that Miller attrib­uted to “fog and fric­tion, so much going on.”

    The delay puts Pence’s poten­tial role into stark­er relief.

    Rep. Mal­oney asked Miller whether his final order to deploy the Guard had any­thing to do with Pence’s call, giv­en that the deci­sion came 24 min­utes after the Vice Pres­i­dent called and three hours after May­or Bows­er asked for sup­port.

    Miller said that the two were unre­lat­ed.

    “I find that hard to believe,” Mal­oney replied.

    —————–

    “For­mer Defense Sec­re­tary Changes Sto­ry On When Exact­ly He Deployed Nation­al Guard On Jan. 6” by Josh Koven­sky and Kate Riga; Talk­ing Points Memo; 05/12/2021

    “Debates over when the Nation­al Guard should have been deployed have been obfus­cat­ed by peo­ple mis­in­ter­pret­ing the 3:00 p.m. order to mobi­lize the guard with an order to phys­i­cal­ly deploy sol­diers to the Capi­tol.”

    It’s crit­i­cal dis­tinc­tion: did the act­ing Sec­re­tary of Defense give an order to mobi­lize or deploy the Guard. A dis­tinc­tion that obscures how awful the time­line for that day real­ly is and had­n’t real­ly been appre­ci­at­ed up until now. In part because even Miller him­self was con­fus­ing his mobi­liza­tion and deploy­ment orders dur­ing the tes­ti­mo­ny. He starts off claim­ing it was a deploy­ment order:

    ...
    Under ques­tion­ing from Rep. Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez (D‑NY), Miller fur­thered that con­fu­sion. The law­mak­er asked Miller if the 3:00 p.m. order wasn’t “an autho­riza­tion to deploy to the Capi­tol.”

    Miller replied that it was an autho­riza­tion to deploy. “I gave full autho­riza­tion to deploy, ma’am,” he said, spec­i­fy­ing that the order was approved at 3:00 pm and offi­cial­ly issued at 3:04 pm.

    From then on, Miller tried to shift respon­si­bil­i­ty to his sub­or­di­nate — D.C. Nation­al Guard com­mand­ing gen­er­al William Walk­er. After 3:04, Miller said, it was up to Walk­er to draft a plan for how to clear the build­ing.
    ...

    But when asked about why it took so long for the guard to be deployed, Miller then attempts to shift the blame on Walk­er by point­ing out that the 3pm order was a mobi­liza­tion order, sug­gest­ing it up to Walk­er at that point to orches­trate every­thing:

    ...
    But even after Walk­er draft­ed the plan, it wasn’t “approved” until 4:32. A DOD time­line shows that it was Miller who green-lit the plan, allow­ing troops to be deployed.

    “It took 90 min­utes to plan to send the Guard to the Capi­tol?” Oca­sio-Cortez asked.

    Miller replied that “this is a great con­ver­sa­tion, and I want to be com­plete­ly help­ful.”

    “So at 3 o’clock, 3 p.m., I gave the order to mobi­lize the Nation­al Guard, and then the plan­ning sequence went for­ward,” he added, before say­ing that he gave the order to mobi­lize, and not deploy, at 3:00 pm.

    That’s a sig­nif­i­cant shift, in part because it con­firms that even after mul­ti­ple elect­ed offi­cials — from D.C May­or Muriel Bows­er to Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer (D‑NY) — had informed him of the dis­as­ter unfold­ing at the Capi­tol, Miller had not yet com­mit­ted troops to the seat of gov­ern­ment.
    ...

    Miller even claims that Walk­er had the author­i­ty on his own to issue the deploy­ment order. A claim Walk­er has direct­ly coun­tered:

    ...
    When pressed by John­son on whether he had put restric­tions on the use of a quick reac­tion Guard force near the Capi­tol, he said that he “gave guid­ance that I want­ed to be involved” but that Walk­er could have deployed them uni­lat­er­al­ly if he so chose.

    Walk­er has tes­ti­fied that he had to wait for approval from Miller and Army Sec­re­tary Ryan McCarthy before he deployed the troops. A memo from McCarthy obtained by by the Wash­ing­ton Post showed that Walk­er had to first draw out a “con­cept of oper­a­tion.” The craft­ing of that plan, Miller said, took up the time between his mobi­liza­tion order at 3:00 p.m. and the order for deploy­ment at 4:32 p.m.
    ...

    Then there’s the inter­est­ing detail of a fur­ther 36 minute delay between the unof­fi­cial deploy­ment order at 4:32 pm and the offi­cial one at 5:08 pm. Why the delay? Accord­ing to Miller, it was “fog and fric­tion, so much going on”:

    ...
    Oca­sio-Cortez also not­ed that Walk­er said he did not receive an offi­cial order to deploy until 5:08, a delay that Miller attrib­uted to “fog and fric­tion, so much going on.”

    The delay puts Pence’s poten­tial role into stark­er relief.
    ...

    Final­ly, there’s the ques­tion of what com­mu­ni­ca­tions Miller may have had with Trump that day. Miller claims he did­n’t speak to Trump at all. He also denies that his deploy­ment order was in response to his call with Mike Pence. So at the same time Miller is shirk­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty for the orders giv­en that day, he’s also assert­ing that no one issued orders to him that day:

    ...
    Miller said that he did not speak to Trump at all on Jan. 6, and his respons­es leave open ques­tions about why it took so long after ini­tial requests to move troops to the Capi­tol build­ing.

    ...

    Rep. Mal­oney asked Miller whether his final order to deploy the Guard had any­thing to do with Pence’s call, giv­en that the deci­sion came 24 min­utes after the Vice Pres­i­dent called and three hours after May­or Bows­er asked for sup­port.

    Miller said that the two were unre­lat­ed.
    ...

    And now, here’s a piece that gives us a bit more in Miller’s Jan 3 inter­ac­tions with Trump. Accord­ing to Miller, Trump asked him to do ‘what­ev­er is nec­es­sary’ to pro­tect the first amend­ment rights of the pro­tes­tors. And as Miller described it, there was no need for him to com­mu­ni­cate with Trump on Jan 6 because he spoke with Trump ahead of the insur­rec­tion and had the nec­es­sary author­i­ty and “knew what had to hap­pen.” So Miller seemed to be hint­ing that he was oper­at­ing from a set of gen­er­al orders he got from Trump a few days ear­li­er. Orders to go extra-easy on the insur­rec­tion­ists:

    Newsweek

    Trump Told Christo­pher Miller: Do ‘What­ev­er Is Nec­es­sary’ to Pro­tect Demon­stra­tors Ahead of Capi­tol Riot

    By Jen­ni Fink
    On 5/12/21 at 5:08 PM EDT

    For­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was crit­i­cized for fail­ing to squelch the Capi­tol riot, but ahead of the Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly, he request­ed that the Sec­re­tary of Defense pull out all the stops to pro­tect peo­ple’s First Amend­ment rights.

    Christo­pher Miller, for­mer act­ing sec­re­tary of defense, defend­ed his response to the Capi­tol riot before the House Com­mit­tee on Over­sight and Reform. He pushed back on beliefs that there were delays in the deploy­ment of fed­er­al resources and told leg­is­la­tors he filled the request he received for Nation­al Guard mem­bers.

    That request came from Wash­ing­ton, D.C., May­or Muriel Bows­er, who Miller said request­ed unarmed per­son­nel to rein­force local law enforce­ment. Dur­ing a meet­ing with Trump on Jan­u­ary 3, Miller told the for­mer pres­i­dent of Bowser’s request after Trump asked if any­one had asked for addi­tion­al sup­port from the Nation­al Guard.

    “Fill it and do what­ev­er was nec­es­sary to pro­tect the demon­stra­tors that were exe­cut­ing their con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed rights,” Miller said Trump told him on Jan­u­ary 3.

    Per Bowser’s request, Nation­al Guard troops were sta­tioned at 30 traf­fic con­trol points and sub­way sta­tions to “demon­strate a law enforce­ment pres­ence,” direct traf­fic and inter­vene in dis­tur­bances “if required,” accord­ing to Miller’s writ­ten tes­ti­mo­ny. Miller said he inten­tion­al­ly did­n’t sta­tion troops at the Capi­tol so as not to fuel the nar­ra­tive that they could be “co-opt­ed” into over­throw­ing the gov­ern­ment.

    A Quick Reac­tion Force was also sta­tioned 12 miles from the city cen­ter. It’s a move Miller acknowl­edged was crit­i­cized, but defend­ed the choice on the basis that they could be effec­tive­ly deployed from a loca­tion near an air­field by heli­copter in the event roads or bridges were blocked.

    It took more than three hours for Nation­al Guards­men to be deployed to the Capi­tol, which frus­trat­ed Major Gen­er­al William Walk­er, com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Nation­al Guard. Walk­er told Con­gress in March that he believed deploy­ing the Nation­al Guard soon­er “would have made a dif­fer­ence” because they could have helped “extend the perime­ter and push back the crowd.”

    Miller pushed back on the belief that the response time was unac­cept­able and said in his writ­ten tes­ti­mo­ny that any­one with an under­stand­ing of mil­i­tary deploy­ments “will rec­og­nize how rapid our response was.” In response to a line of ques­tion­ing from Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Byron Don­alds, he said he believed ana­lysts would find it is one of the “most expe­di­ent deploy­ments” in Nation­al Guard mod­ern his­to­ry.

    While he spoke to Trump ahead of the riot, Miller told the com­mit­tee he did­n’t com­mu­ni­cate with the for­mer pres­i­dent as the riot unfold­ed. He said he “did­n’t need to” because he had the nec­es­sary author­i­ty and “knew what had to hap­pen.”

    He did, how­ev­er, speak with for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, who shared insight as to what was hap­pen­ing from where he was in the Capi­tol. Pence, Miller said, is not part of the “chain of com­mand” and reject­ed that the for­mer vice pres­i­dent gave the direc­tion to “clear the Capi­tol.”

    When asked if he felt Trump ful­filled his duties as pres­i­dent on Jan­u­ary 6, Miller told Con­gress­woman Car­olyn Mal­oney, the com­mit­tee’s chair, that he believed he did.

    ...

    ———–

    “Trump Told Christo­pher Miller: Do ‘What­ev­er Is Nec­es­sary’ to Pro­tect Demon­stra­tors Ahead of Capi­tol Riot” by Jen­ni Fink; Newsweek; 05/12/2021

    “For­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was crit­i­cized for fail­ing to squelch the Capi­tol riot, but ahead of the Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly, he request­ed that the Sec­re­tary of Defense pull out all the stops to pro­tect peo­ple’s First Amend­ment rights.

    Do what­ev­er you can to pro­tect the pro-Trump riot­ers. That’s the ‘request’ Trump made of Miller. A request that is effec­tive­ly an order when the pres­i­dent makes it. So when Miller says he “knew what had to hap­pen,” we have to ask the ques­tion of whether or not the insur­rec­tion is what “had to hap­pen”:

    ...
    That request came from Wash­ing­ton, D.C., May­or Muriel Bows­er, who Miller said request­ed unarmed per­son­nel to rein­force local law enforce­ment. Dur­ing a meet­ing with Trump on Jan­u­ary 3, Miller told the for­mer pres­i­dent of Bowser’s request after Trump asked if any­one had asked for addi­tion­al sup­port from the Nation­al Guard.

    “Fill it and do what­ev­er was nec­es­sary to pro­tect the demon­stra­tors that were exe­cut­ing their con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed rights,” Miller said Trump told him on Jan­u­ary 3.

    ...

    While he spoke to Trump ahead of the riot, Miller told the com­mit­tee he did­n’t com­mu­ni­cate with the for­mer pres­i­dent as the riot unfold­ed. He said he “did­n’t need to” because he had the nec­es­sary author­i­ty and “knew what had to hap­pen.”
    ...

    And then there’s Miller’s asser­tion that, no, the deploy­ment was actu­al­ly remark­ably fast:

    ...
    It took more than three hours for Nation­al Guards­men to be deployed to the Capi­tol, which frus­trat­ed Major Gen­er­al William Walk­er, com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Nation­al Guard. Walk­er told Con­gress in March that he believed deploy­ing the Nation­al Guard soon­er “would have made a dif­fer­ence” because they could have helped “extend the perime­ter and push back the crowd.”

    Miller pushed back on the belief that the response time was unac­cept­able and said in his writ­ten tes­ti­mo­ny that any­one with an under­stand­ing of mil­i­tary deploy­ments “will rec­og­nize how rapid our response was.” In response to a line of ques­tion­ing from Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Byron Don­alds, he said he believed ana­lysts would find it is one of the “most expe­di­ent deploy­ments” in Nation­al Guard mod­ern his­to­ry.
    ...

    That’s some high qual­i­ty trolling right there. Trolling and mis­di­rect­ing. At least that’s the more direct way to inter­pret Miller’s shift­ing nar­ra­tive. Trolling, mis­di­rect­ing, and buy­ing time. Kind of like how he was buy­ing time for Trump’s insur­rec­tion­ists to suc­ceed on Jan 6. Will it work? Will the US even­tu­al­ly just kind of for­get about all this and allow a plot to over­throw the gov­ern­ment to fall down the nation­al mem­o­ry-hole with­out ever tru­ly being exposed and under­stood? That remains to be seen, but let’s just say Miller’s ‘troll, mis­di­rect, and buy time’ approach to a mas­sive coup plot cov­er-up in the hopes that the nation just kind of for­get isn’t the worst strat­e­gy for a suc­cess­ful cov­er-up. These kinds of strate­gies actu­al­ly work.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 12, 2021, 4:18 pm
  16. There was a new DHS report on domes­tic extrem­ism released on Fri­day with a par­tic­u­lar­ly omi­nous warn­ing: white suprema­cists are appar­ent­ly plan­ning on infil­trat­ing BLM and police bru­tal­i­ty protests in the hopes of find­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to com­mit vio­lent acts “in fur­ther­ance of ide­o­log­i­cal objec­tives.” In oth­er words, fol­low­ing the open insur­rec­tion of Jan­u­ary 6, the far right is return­ing to its orig­i­nal the ‘booga­loo’ play­book of using false flag vio­lence to insti­gate a civ­il war. But it also sounds like they’re inter­est­ed in attack­ing the pro­tes­tors too. So it’s sound­ing like the strat­e­gy going for­ward is stok­ing as much vio­lence as pos­si­ble and mak­ing it appear like it’s com­ing from all sides:

    Talk­ing Points Memo

    DHS Warns BLM That Protests Are ‘Like­ly’ Tar­get Of Far-right Extrem­ists

    By Josh Koven­sky
    May 14, 2021 6:01 p.m.

    The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty released a new ter­ror­ism bul­letin on Fri­day, warn­ing that far-right extrem­ists are like­ly to con­sid­er attack­ing protests against police bru­tal­i­ty.

    The bul­letin, issued through the Nation­al Ter­ror­ism Advi­so­ry Sys­tem, says that domes­tic vio­lent extrem­ists and white suprema­cists have been look­ing for “civ­il dis­or­der” as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to com­mit vio­lent acts “in fur­ther­ance of ide­o­log­i­cal objec­tives.”

    That includes tar­get­ing protests about “racial jus­tice griev­ances and police use of force con­cerns, poten­tial­ly tar­get­ing pro­tes­tors per­ceived to be ide­o­log­i­cal oppo­nents,” the bul­letin reads.

    This is the sec­ond threat bul­letin DHS has issued in 2021 regard­ing the threat from far-right extrem­ists.

    In Jan­u­ary, after the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion, DHS issued a warn­ing say­ing that the Jan. 6 attack had “embold­ened” white suprema­cist extrem­ists and that the threat of vio­lent attacks would like­ly remain high through­out the year. That’s led to a sprawl­ing DOJ inves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter, as FBI agents con­tin­ue to pore over video from the attack to try to iden­ti­fy riot­ers.

    Since then, the Biden admin­is­tra­tion has said that it will make com­bat­ting domes­tic vio­lent extrem­ism a pri­or­i­ty. That has thus far come in the form of DHS ini­tia­tives aimed at increas­ing pre­ven­tion and detec­tion of those who might be will­ing to com­mit acts of polit­i­cal vio­lence.

    The FBI also released a report on Fri­day about the threat from domes­tic vio­lent extrem­ists, say­ing that the bureau arrest­ed 846 peo­ple for domes­tic ter­ror­ism-relat­ed crimes between 2015 and 2019.

    The bureau also said that, over the same time peri­od, it had pro­duced more than 4,000 domes­tic ter­ror­ism-relat­ed intel­li­gence prod­ucts.

    The DHS bul­letin cen­ters the role of the inter­net in moti­vat­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ists, not­ing that ran­dom peo­ple online can call for vio­lence against politi­cians and “per­ceived ide­o­log­i­cal­ly-opposed indi­vid­u­als” and find an audi­ence recep­tive to those demands.

    That becomes more dif­fi­cult when com­bined with the spread of encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing apps, and with the fact that many poten­tial ter­ror­ists are either act­ing alone or in very small groups of peo­ple.

    “The use of encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing by lone offend­ers and small vio­lent extrem­ist cells may obscure oper­a­tional indi­ca­tors that pro­vide spe­cif­ic warn­ing of a pend­ing act of vio­lence,” the report reads.

    ...

    ————–

    “DHS Warns BLM That Protests Are ‘Like­ly’ Tar­get Of Far-right Extrem­ists” by Josh Koven­sky; Talk­ing Points Memo; 05/14/2021

    “The bul­letin, issued through the Nation­al Ter­ror­ism Advi­so­ry Sys­tem, says that domes­tic vio­lent extrem­ists and white suprema­cists have been look­ing for “civ­il dis­or­der” as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to com­mit vio­lent acts “in fur­ther­ance of ide­o­log­i­cal objec­tives.”

    Act of vio­lence “in fur­ther­ance of ide­o­log­i­cal objec­tives.” It’s a dis­turb­ing enough phrase on its own, but far more dis­turb­ing when con­sid­er­ing that those ide­o­log­i­cal objec­tives just hap­pen to include the foment­ing of a civ­il war. Orches­trat­ed vio­lent provo­ca­tions, both from with­in the protests and against them, like­ly orga­nized over encrypt­ed apps:

    ...
    That includes tar­get­ing protests about “racial jus­tice griev­ances and police use of force con­cerns, poten­tial­ly tar­get­ing pro­tes­tors per­ceived to be ide­o­log­i­cal oppo­nents,” the bul­letin reads.

    ...

    The DHS bul­letin cen­ters the role of the inter­net in moti­vat­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ists, not­ing that ran­dom peo­ple online can call for vio­lence against politi­cians and “per­ceived ide­o­log­i­cal­ly-opposed indi­vid­u­als” and find an audi­ence recep­tive to those demands.

    That becomes more dif­fi­cult when com­bined with the spread of encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing apps, and with the fact that many poten­tial ter­ror­ists are either act­ing alone or in very small groups of peo­ple.

    “The use of encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing by lone offend­ers and small vio­lent extrem­ist cells may obscure oper­a­tional indi­ca­tors that pro­vide spe­cif­ic warn­ing of a pend­ing act of vio­lence,” the report reads.

    ...

    It’s also worth keep­ing in mind that any plans for strate­gic false flag vio­lence will also pre­sum­ably be pre­dict­ed on the assump­tion that the broad­er right-wing media com­plex will treat these events much like how they’ve cov­ered the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion: by stick­ing with the Big Lie nar­ra­tive about a stolen elec­tion and the ille­git­i­mat­a­cy of the Biden admin­is­tra­tion. And then there’s the fel­low trav­el­ers, like the 124 retired US gen­er­als and admi­rals who just pub­lished a let­ter call­ing the Biden admin­is­tra­tion as mov­ing the US towards a Marx­ist tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment and pos­ing the great­est threat ever to the nation since its found­ing. The. let­ter includ­ed an implic­it denial of the real­i­ty of the events of Jan­u­ary 6, decry­ing how troops ave being used “as polit­i­cal pawns, with thou­sands of troops deployed around the US Capi­tol Build­ing, patrolling fences guard­ing against a non-exis­tent threat”. So these gen­er­als are pro­vid­ing rhetor­i­cal cov­er and mil­i­tary pres­tige for exact­ly the kind of civ­il con­flict the white suprema­cists are hop­ing to cre­ate:

    The Tele­graph

    Retired US gen­er­als claim Joe Biden not fit to be Pres­i­dent

    The let­ter, signed by 124 retired mem­bers of the armed forces, ques­tioned the “phys­i­cal and men­tal con­di­tion of the Com­man­der in Chief”
    By Jamie John­son, US Cor­re­spon­dent 13 May 2021 • 6:58pm

    More than 120 retired US gen­er­als and admi­rals have pub­lished an open let­ter sug­gest­ing that Joe Biden was not legit­i­mate­ly elect­ed as Pres­i­dent and ques­tion­ing his fit­ness for office.

    The let­ter, signed by 124 retired mem­bers of the armed forces call­ing them­selves ‘Flag Offi­cers 4 Amer­i­ca’, said that Amer­i­ca is “in deep per­il,” hav­ing “tak­en a hard-Left turn toward Social­ism and a Marx­ist form of tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment”.

    The let­ter from US retired mil­i­tary lead­ers said: “With­out fair and hon­est elec­tions that accu­rate­ly reflect the ‘will of the peo­ple’ our Con­sti­tu­tion­al Repub­lic is lost,” and claimed that the FBI and Supreme Court “ignored” irreg­u­lar­i­ties in 2020.

    The group also ques­tioned the “phys­i­cal and men­tal con­di­tion of the Com­man­der in Chief” and claimed that ques­tions had been raised about who is real­ly in charge.

    It also touched on the south­ern bor­der sit­u­a­tion, the Iran nuclear deal, free­dom of speech and Chi­na.

    It comes just days after sol­diers in France sparked fury by pub­lish­ing their own open let­ter accus­ing pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron of “sur­ren­der­ing” to Islamist extrem­ists, a move like­ly to have boost­ed the far-Right.

    The US sig­na­to­ries, most of whom have been retired for more than two decades, said that sol­diers today are being used “as polit­i­cal pawns, with thou­sands of troops deployed around the US Capi­tol Build­ing, patrolling fences guard­ing against a non-exis­tent threat.”

    One of the con­trib­u­tors, retired Brigadier Gen­er­al Don Bolduc, is run­ning for a Sen­ate seat in New Hamp­shire next year.

    “We are in a fight for our sur­vival as a Con­sti­tu­tion­al Repub­lic like no oth­er time since our found­ing in 1776,” the let­ter says.

    “The con­flict is between sup­port­ers of Social­ism and Marx­ism vs sup­port­ers of Con­sti­tu­tion­al free­dom and lib­er­ty.”

    The state­ment has been wide­ly con­demned, with one Navy offi­cer telling Politi­co it was “dis­turb­ing and reck­less.”

    Retired Gen­er­al Michael Hay­den, a for­mer direc­tor of the CIA and NSA said the let­ter, writ­ten by some peo­ple he knew, made him feel sad and that he wished it was fake.

    Jim Gol­by, a senior fel­low at the Clements Cen­ter for Nation­al Secu­ri­ty at The Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas said: “I’ve seen a lot of these let­ters, but this one real­ly is some­thing.

    “The tone is shock­ing,” he told Politi­co.

    Espe­cial­ly because it tar­gets the entire Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty, implies the elec­tion was ille­git­i­mate and con­tains a num­ber of ver­i­fi­able lies.”

    ...

    Jim Gol­by, a mil­i­tary rela­tions expert, said the let­ter is a “shame­ful effort to use their rank and the mil­i­tary’s rep­u­ta­tion for such a gross and bla­tant par­ti­san attack”.

    But the deci­sion to pub­lish the let­ter was defend­ed by one of the key organ­is­ers — retired Army Major Gen­er­al Joe Arbuck­le, a Viet­nam vet­er­an who left the mil­i­tary in 2000.

    “Retired gen­er­als and admi­rals nor­mal­ly do not engage in polit­i­cal actions, but the sit­u­a­tion fac­ing our nation today is dire and we must speak out in order to be faith­ful to our oath to sup­port and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion of the US against all ene­mies, for­eign and domes­tic,” he told Politi­co.

    “We are fac­ing threats greater than at any oth­er time since our coun­try was found­ed.

    “Aside from Chi­na, many of these threats flow direct­ly from pol­i­cy posi­tions and actions of our own gov­ern­ment. To remain silent would be a dere­lic­tion of duty.”

    ———–

    “Retired US gen­er­als claim Joe Biden not fit to be Pres­i­dent” by Jamie John­son; The Tele­graph; 05/13/2021

    “The let­ter, signed by 124 retired mem­bers of the armed forces call­ing them­selves ‘Flag Offi­cers 4 Amer­i­ca’, said that Amer­i­ca is “in deep per­il,” hav­ing “tak­en a hard-Left turn toward Social­ism and a Marx­ist form of tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment”.

    The US is careen­ing towards a tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment under Joe Biden as a result of a stolen elec­tion. And no, there is no threat to the Capi­tol from far right extrem­ists and nev­er was. That’s the mes­sage from 124 retired gen­er­als and admi­rals. Every sin­gle one of the peo­ple who signed that doc­u­ment effec­tive­ly declared the US to be a occu­pied nation, there­by fram­ing far right domes­tic ter­ror­ism as wag­ing a fight for lib­er­ty. The white supre­ma­sists tar­get­ing BLM and antifa are prob­a­bly free­dom fight­erss in the minds of authors of this let­ter:

    ...
    The let­ter from US retired mil­i­tary lead­ers said: “With­out fair and hon­est elec­tions that accu­rate­ly reflect the ‘will of the peo­ple’ our Con­sti­tu­tion­al Repub­lic is lost,” and claimed that the FBI and Supreme Court “ignored” irreg­u­lar­i­ties in 2020.

    The group also ques­tioned the “phys­i­cal and men­tal con­di­tion of the Com­man­der in Chief” and claimed that ques­tions had been raised about who is real­ly in charge.

    ...

    The US sig­na­to­ries, most of whom have been retired for more than two decades, said that sol­diers today are being used “as polit­i­cal pawns, with thou­sands of troops deployed around the US Capi­tol Build­ing, patrolling fences guard­ing against a non-exis­tent threat.”

    ...

    “We are in a fight for our sur­vival as a Con­sti­tu­tion­al Repub­lic like no oth­er time since our found­ing in 1776,” the let­ter says.

    “The con­flict is between sup­port­ers of Social­ism and Marx­ism vs sup­port­ers of Con­sti­tu­tion­al free­dom and lib­er­ty.”
    ...

    “The con­flict is between sup­port­ers of Social­ism and Marx­ism vs sup­port­ers of Con­sti­tu­tion­al free­dom and lib­er­ty.” Which is exact­ly how the ‘booga­loo’ boys and white nation­al­ists tends to fan­cy them­selves. As “sup­port­ers of Con­sti­tu­tion­al free­dom and lib­er­ty”.

    Also recall the recent rev­e­la­tions about the shock­ing extent of the open booga­loo sup­port that was found in the mil­i­tary fol­low­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion of Steven Car­ril­lo. You have to won­der how many of these 124 gen­er­als and admi­rals are clos­et ‘booga­loo’ gen­er­als and admi­rals.

    And that’s all part of why the very real con­cerns about the embold­en­ing of far right domes­tic ter­ror­ism as a result of the GOP’s embrace of the Jan­u­ary 6 Big Lie nar­ra­tive should­n’t be lim­it­ed to the Big Lie nar­ra­tive around the events of that day. The new far right meta-nar­ra­tive — where every­one on the left is part of a Marx­ist total­i­tar­i­an con­spir­a­cy to destroy the coun­try — has already inter­nal­ized the Jan 6 Big Lie and moved on to ‘Joe Biden is a Marx­ist out to destroy free­dom after steal­ing the 2020 elec­tion’ nar­ra­tive that’s going to be the GOP’s mes­sage for at least the next four years. Which is a pret­ty embold­en­ing mes­sage.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 15, 2021, 3:19 pm
  17. It’s the cov­er-up, not the crime. That old adage of US pol­i­tics might be put to the test in a very big now in the upcom­ing 2022 mid-term elec­tions now that the con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans have over­whelm­ing­ly come out against a com­mis­sion to study the Jan­u­ary 6 Insur­rec­tion, explic­it­ly cit­ing con­cerns over the impact such a com­mis­sion could have on the 2022 elec­tions. Yes, after House Repub­li­cans over­whelm­ing­ly vot­ed against a com­mis­sion, Repub­li­cans in the Sen­ate began pub­licly grous­ing about how a com­mis­sion was part of a Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ti­san plot to paint Repub­li­cans in a bad light in 2022.

    That was the basis for their oppo­si­tion to a com­mis­sion. The prospect that it could make Repub­li­cans look bad. And sure, such con­cerns about how an inves­ti­ga­tion might make a par­ty look would obvi­ous­ly be a fac­tor in the deci­sion to sup­port such an inves­ti­ga­tion. But you don’t nor­mal­ly come out and say it so open­ly like that. And yet we have mul­ti­ple Repub­li­cans with a sim­i­lar mes­sage, sug­gest­ing this was a coor­di­nat­ed delib­er­ate strat­e­gy. A strat­e­gy of choos­ing to focus pub­lic atten­tion on the cov­er up. The GOP has clear­ly con­clud­ed that fight­ing over whether or not to hold a com­mis­sion on the Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion is polit­i­cal­ly advan­ta­geous vs a com­mis­sion. Look­ing open­ly guilty is prefer­able com­pared to the strat­e­gy of pre­tend­ing to be inno­cent and inter­est­ed in jus­tice by agree­ing to a com­mis­sion and then allow­ing all the insur­rec­tion­ist evi­dence to spill out.

    So we can already see the con­tours of at least one of the major dynam­ics of the 2022 elec­tion: it was already guar­an­teed that 2022 was going to be, in part, a ref­er­en­dum on whether or not the Repub­li­can Par­ty should pay a polit­i­cal price for the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. But by open­ly oppos­ing the com­mis­sion due to con­cerns over Democ­rats polit­i­cal­ly weaponiz­ing the com­mis­sion, the GOP is active­ly choos­ing to ensure the 2022 mid-terms aren’t just about Don­ald Trump’s insur­rec­tion but also the par­ty-wide GOP cov­er up of the insur­rec­tion. The par­ty has found a new way to fall on its sword to shield Trump. This time by cre­at­ing a giant open cov­er-up. And that’s all what makes this a fas­ci­nat­ing test of whether or the cov­er-up real­ly is worse than the crime, because the GOP is clear­ly bet­ting oth­er­wise:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    News

    Sen. Repub­li­cans Admit They Don’t Want Jan 6. Com­mis­sion Because It Could Col­or Midterms

    By Kate Riga
    May 19, 2021 3:53 p.m.

    Sen­ate Repub­li­cans are can­did­ly admit­ting their polit­i­cal cal­cu­lus in oppos­ing a Jan­u­ary 6 com­mis­sion: they don’t want it to encroach on the 2022 midterms, dur­ing which they wor­ry it would be “weaponized polit­i­cal­ly.”

    In oth­er words, they don’t want vot­ers remind­ed of the attack their leader and par­ty pro­voked as they mull over their bal­lots.

    Sen. John Thune (R‑SD), the Sen­ate minor­i­ty whip, told reporters that he didn’t want the probe “weaponized polit­i­cal­ly and drug into next year.”

    “A lot of our mem­bers, and I think this is true of a lot of House Repub­li­cans, want to be mov­ing for­ward and not look­ing back­ward,” he said. “Any­thing that gets us rehash­ing the 2020 elec­tions I think is a day lost on being able to draw a con­trast between us and the Democ­rats’ very rad­i­cal left-wing agen­da.”

    Up until this point, the 2022 fac­tor has been more tac­it in Repub­li­cans’ oppo­si­tion than explic­it. A com­mis­sion of the sort pro­posed in the House bill encom­pass­ing the attack and “influ­enc­ing fac­tors” — e.g. the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries ped­dled by for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his GOP allies — would keep focus square­ly on the sins of the Repub­li­can par­ty. In recent days, Repub­li­cans have chan­neled this con­cern more through com­plaints about the commission’s scope, seek­ing to zoom out so far that Trump’s and their cul­pa­bil­i­ty seem insignif­i­cant.

    Sen. John Cornyn (R‑TX) told reporters Wednes­day that the midterm knock-on effect was a fea­ture, not a bug, of the bipar­ti­san com­mis­sion pro­pos­al.

    “Part of the con­cern is that’s the plan. That’s Pelosi’s plan,” he said, adding that it would be “Democ­rats’ dream” to make the midterms all about the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion.

    The com­mis­sion pro­pos­al did not come from House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi (D‑CA) but from House Home­land Secu­ri­ty com­mit­tee chair Ben­nie Thomp­son (D‑MS) and rank­ing mem­ber John Katko (R‑NY) late last week. The leg­is­la­tion, expect­ed to pass the House Wednes­day evening, man­dates that the commission’s report on its find­ings be giv­en to Con­gress and the Pres­i­dent by Decem­ber 31, 2021.

    On Tues­day, even after House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy (R‑CA) expressed his oppo­si­tion to the bill — one he report­ed­ly dep­u­tized Katko to work on — it seemed like there might be some Repub­li­can defec­tions.

    Mul­ti­ple House GOP mem­bers claimed to still be mulling it over, and a last minute whip­ping effort indi­cat­ed some nerves from lead­er­ship. Some Repub­li­can sen­a­tors expressed open­ness too, most notably Sen. Mike Rounds (R‑SD) who said he sup­port­ed an inde­pen­dent Jan­u­ary 6 com­mis­sion. Rounds is a main­stream Repub­li­can and depend­able GOP vote whose recep­tive­ness seemed more indica­tive of broad­er cau­cus feel­ings than the out­liers like Sens. Mitt Rom­ney (R‑UT) or Lisa Murkows­ki (R‑AK).

    But on Wednes­day morn­ing, that momen­tum was quashed by Sen­ate Minor­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell (R‑KY), who expressed his oppo­si­tion to the com­mis­sion in a floor speech.

    Soon after, Rounds said he’d changed his mind.

    “It would appear that under the lay­out that they’ve got this prob­a­bly could not get start­ed with a staff approved until late this year — that’s way too late, way too long to get the folks in with the appro­pri­ate secu­ri­ty clear­ances to go through every­thing,” he told reporters.

    He said that he’d had an “infor­mal cof­fee” with McCarthy and about 14 oth­er Repub­li­can sen­a­tors Wednes­day morn­ing where he dis­cov­ered that he was dis­sat­is­fied with the par­ti­san nature of the pro­pos­al, point­ing to the pow­er of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic chair to staff the com­mis­sion. When a reporter point­ed out that the staffing clause was vir­tu­al­ly iden­ti­cal to that of the wide­ly-praised 9/11 com­mis­sion, he said that he wouldn’t be able to iden­ti­fy the “dif­fer­ences or com­par­isons.”

    ...

    ————

    “Sen. Repub­li­cans Admit They Don’t Want Jan 6. Com­mis­sion Because It Could Col­or Midterms” by Kate Riga; Talk­ing Points Memo; 05/19/2021

    Up until this point, the 2022 fac­tor has been more tac­it in Repub­li­cans’ oppo­si­tion than explic­it. A com­mis­sion of the sort pro­posed in the House bill encom­pass­ing the attack and “influ­enc­ing fac­tors” — e.g. the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries ped­dled by for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his GOP allies — would keep focus square­ly on the sins of the Repub­li­can par­ty. In recent days, Repub­li­cans have chan­neled this con­cern more through com­plaints about the commission’s scope, seek­ing to zoom out so far that Trump’s and their cul­pa­bil­i­ty seem insignif­i­cant. ”

    Yeah, up until this point, there had­n’t real­ly been a need for GOP­ers to come out and explain their 2022 polit­i­cal cal­cu­lus in their insur­rec­tion com­mis­sion deci­sion-mak­ing. It was just assumed by rea­son­able peo­ple to be a fac­tor. But now, when forced to final­ly make a vote on the mat­ter, we’re hear­ing sen­a­tor after sen­a­tor open­ly express con­cern about the polit­i­cal impact of a com­mis­sion:

    ...
    Sen. John Thune (R‑SD), the Sen­ate minor­i­ty whip, told reporters that he didn’t want the probe “weaponized polit­i­cal­ly and drug into next year.”

    “A lot of our mem­bers, and I think this is true of a lot of House Repub­li­cans, want to be mov­ing for­ward and not look­ing back­ward,” he said. “Any­thing that gets us rehash­ing the 2020 elec­tions I think is a day lost on being able to draw a con­trast between us and the Democ­rats’ very rad­i­cal left-wing agen­da.”

    ...

    Sen. John Cornyn (R‑TX) told reporters Wednes­day that the midterm knock-on effect was a fea­ture, not a bug, of the bipar­ti­san com­mis­sion pro­pos­al.

    “Part of the con­cern is that’s the plan. That’s Pelosi’s plan,” he said, adding that it would be “Democ­rats’ dream” to make the midterms all about the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion.

    ...

    Mul­ti­ple House GOP mem­bers claimed to still be mulling it over, and a last minute whip­ping effort indi­cat­ed some nerves from lead­er­ship. Some Repub­li­can sen­a­tors expressed open­ness too, most notably Sen. Mike Rounds (R‑SD) who said he sup­port­ed an inde­pen­dent Jan­u­ary 6 com­mis­sion. Rounds is a main­stream Repub­li­can and depend­able GOP vote whose recep­tive­ness seemed more indica­tive of broad­er cau­cus feel­ings than the out­liers like Sens. Mitt Rom­ney (R‑UT) or Lisa Murkows­ki (R‑AK).

    But on Wednes­day morn­ing, that momen­tum was quashed by Sen­ate Minor­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell (R‑KY), who expressed his oppo­si­tion to the com­mis­sion in a floor speech.

    Soon after, Rounds said he’d changed his mind.

    “It would appear that under the lay­out that they’ve got this prob­a­bly could not get start­ed with a staff approved until late this year — that’s way too late, way too long to get the folks in with the appro­pri­ate secu­ri­ty clear­ances to go through every­thing,” he told reporters.
    ...

    Over­all, it’s a fas­ci­nat­ing polit­i­cal tac­tic because, on the one hand, it’s a weird­ly hon­est admis­sion of the GOP’s polit­i­cal cal­cu­lus. But on the oth­er hand, these qualms are being expressed in a man­ner that seems to be designed to frame all of the con­cern about the insur­rec­tion in gen­er­al as part of a par­ti­san Demo­c­ra­t­ic plot. In oth­er words, while the explic­it mes­sage has become, “we are con­cerned about Democ­rats politi­ciz­ing this issue for 2022”, the implied mes­sage to the audi­ence is clos­er to, “there was nev­er real­ly any prob­lem with what hap­pened on Jan­u­ary 6th because the Democ­rats actu­al­ly stole the elec­tion from Trump, and we’re not going to allow them to extend their par­ti­san cha­rade any fur­ther.” We’ve entered a polit­i­cal peri­od where open talk of cov­er-ups act as code lan­guage for the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s much more sin­is­ter under-the-radar polit­i­cal mes­sag­ing that implic­it­ly jus­ti­fies the insur­rec­tion by describ­ing the Biden admin­is­tra­tion as an ille­git­i­mate Marx­ist rogue gov­ern­ment that stole the office from Trump.

    So is the cov­er-up worse than the crime? Or is an open cov­er-up a win­ning polit­i­cal mes­sage? We’ll find out in 2022.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 20, 2021, 2:29 pm
  18. With the Repub­li­can Par­ty now near­ly unit­ed at the nation­al lev­el against the idea of a con­gres­sion­al com­mis­sion to study the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion, here’s a recent piece in Vice about the trans­for­ma­tion of the Repub­li­can Par­ty at the state lev­el. A near­ly com­plete trans­for­ma­tion that has left near­ly every sin­gle state chair in the hands of some­one who either open­ly endors­es the ‘stolen elec­tion’ Big Lie or at least isn’t going to say any­thing to rebut the claims.

    But as the fol­low­ing arti­cle also makes clear, it’s not just Don­ald Trump’s cap­ture of the Repub­li­can Par­ty tak­ing place right now. It real­ly is a much broad­er cap­ture of the par­ty by the most extrem­ist ele­ments both inside and out­side the GOP estab­lish­ment, with the nation­al Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment using the stolen elec­tion Big Lie as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to push vot­ing restric­tion laws as aggres­sive­ly as pos­si­ble at the same time extrem­ists con­tin­ue to make gains at the state lev­el. It’s the most far right politi­cians, after all, who are most shame­less­ly will­ing to embrace the pop­u­lar Big Lies of the day, mak­ing this their moment to real­ly shine polit­i­cal­ly. As a result, in state after state, we’re see­ing fig­ures win­ning the state par­ty chair posi­tion with a his­to­ry of call­ing for every­thing from seces­sion to fire squads:

    Vice News

    Pro-Trump Con­spir­a­cy The­o­rists Are Tak­ing Over State Repub­li­can Par­ties
    A VICE News review of pub­lic posi­tions of all 50 GOP state chairs shows a grow­ing num­ber of con­spir­acists win­ning con­trol of state par­ty chair­man­ships.

    by Cameron Joseph
    May 19, 2021, 10:47am

    The Repub­li­can Par­ty chairs of Texas and Wyoming have flirt­ed with seces­sion from the Unit­ed States. Oklahoma’s Repub­li­can chair has called Islam a “can­cer.” The Ore­gon GOP called the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion a “false flag” oper­a­tion. And at least 19 Repub­li­can state chairs—including most of the ones in key swing states—publicly pushed for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump’s big lie about the elec­tion.

    A VICE News review of pub­lic posi­tions of all 50 GOP state chairs shows a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber are open­ly push­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, spout­ing unhinged rhetoric, and active­ly under­min­ing vot­ers’ trust in democ­ra­cy. That includes the chairs of near­ly every swing state in the U.S. And the trend is accel­er­at­ing: Many of the most extreme chairs just won their chair­man­ships or have been reelect­ed since Trump left office four months ago, a num­ber of them with his explic­it endorse­ment.

    Liz Cheney’s ouster from GOP par­ty lead­er­ship showed how much Trump retains his stran­gle­hold on the GOP on the nation­al stage. But the over­whelm­ing wins by Trump loy­al­ists in the first wide­spread inter­nal Repub­li­can elec­tions since Trump left office, albeit in small con­tests cho­sen by a hard­core, activist sub­set of the GOP base, show that his con­spir­a­to­r­i­al claims about the elec­tion run even deep­er in the states than in Washington—and will guide the grass­roots for years to come.

    ...

    For­mer GOP offi­cials say it was entire­ly pre­dictable that the state par­ties would get Trumpi­er while he was pres­i­dent, but found it notable that the trend has con­tin­ued since he left office.

    “I don’t think we’re in the post-Trump era yet. I don’t think there’s any ques­tion that he’s still the most pop­u­lar face in the Repub­li­can Par­ty. His endorse­ment mat­ters,” said John Whit­beck, who chaired the Vir­ginia Repub­li­can Par­ty from 2015–2018. “The cul­ture of the Trump era remains the pri­ma­ry dynam­ic in the par­ty, and I don’t know when that’s going to end.”

    The most com­mon and per­ni­cious con­spir­a­cy pushed by state par­ty chairs is the one that’s come to define the Repub­li­can Par­ty: the big lie that the 2020 elec­tion was rigged against Trump and marred by wide­spread vot­ing fraud. A sig­nif­i­cant plu­ral­i­ty have pub­licly under­mined vot­ers’ trust in their elec­tions, and those chairs who aren’t explic­it­ly repeat­ing his lies have point­ed­ly refused to dis­pute them, while push­ing “elec­tion integri­ty” mea­sures to make it hard­er to vote.

    They’ve sup­port­ed moves to cen­sure their own mem­bers of Con­gress who vot­ed to impeach Trump, a cer­e­mo­ni­al sham­ing that’s tak­en place from Alas­ka to Louisiana to North Car­oli­na to Ohio to Wyoming. And while a hand­ful of chairs sought to push back against the party’s drift fur­ther into con­spir­a­cy-mon­ger­ing, oth­ers are push­ing hard in the oppo­site direc­tion, using their chair­man­ships to pro­mote unhinged con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.

    It’s com­ing from the top down, too. The Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee launched an “Elec­tion Integri­ty Com­mis­sion” in Feb­ru­ary. RNC chair Ron­na Rom­ney McDaniel argued that states’ efforts to expand mail vot­ing dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic “brought chaos and uncer­tain­ty to our sacred demo­c­ra­t­ic process­es,” and promised the RNC would advo­cate for “best prac­tices to ensure that future elec­tions are free, fair, and trans­par­ent,” lend­ing sup­port to state GOP law­mak­ers’ moves to add require­ments to the vot­ing process.

    Of the six GOP state par­ty chairs serv­ing on the com­mis­sion, just one has come close to acknowl­edg­ing the legit­i­ma­cy of Biden’s 2020 vic­to­ry—South Car­oli­na chair Drew McKissick, who with Trump’s endorse­ment just ward­ed off a chal­lenge from QAnon-tout­ing lawyer Lin Wood. Three oth­ers on the com­mis­sion pushed Trump’s claims that the elec­tion was stolen from him or argued the elec­tion wasn’t set­tled even after the Elec­toral Col­lege had vot­ed to offi­cial­ly cement it in mid-Decem­ber.

    That includes Wyoming Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair­man Frank Eathorne, who penned a Jan­u­ary 2 let­ter claim­ing “exten­sive evi­dence” of vot­er fraud in “numer­ous states,” attend­ed the Jan­u­ary 6 Trump ral­ly in D.C. that turned into a riot, defend­ed that protest as most­ly peace­ful, and in ear­ly Jan­u­ary float­ed the idea that Wyoming and oth­er “self-reliant” con­ser­v­a­tive states should con­sid­er seced­ing from the Unit­ed States. Eathorne won Trump’s sup­port for anoth­er term when the state par­ty cen­sured Cheney, and sailed to an uncon­test­ed reelec­tion vic­to­ry last Sat­ur­day. “The peo­ple of Wyoming are spe­cial, and so are you!” Trump declared in con­grat­u­la­tion.

    The commission’s chair, long­time Trump ally and Flori­da Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair­man Joe Gruters, has done what many Repub­li­can state chairs have: avoid­ed com­ment­ing direct­ly on whether Biden won fair­ly while advo­cat­ing for states to crack down on the threat of vot­er fraud, even though there’s no evi­dence there was sig­nif­i­cant vot­er fraud last elec­tion.

    “We can­not allow vot­ing irreg­u­lar­i­ties that cre­ate dis­trust in the elec­tion sys­tem to con­tin­ue. The Repub­li­can Par­ty is work­ing hard on elec­tion integri­ty issues and we will be ready for 2022,” Gruters said in a state­ment announc­ing the com­mis­sion.

    Gruters called his own state’s 2020 elec­tion process “the gold stan­dard”—but that didn’t stop him from loud­ly sup­port­ing the restric­tive new law Flori­da Repub­li­cans just passed that put addi­tion­al require­ments on mail vot­ing and bal­lot drop box­es.

    ...

    Who’s the Trump­i­est

    The most strik­ing sign of where the Repub­li­can Par­ty is head­ed is the new class of GOP state par­ty chairs elect­ed since Trump lost. A num­ber of the com­pet­i­tive races for state chair this year have hinged on who’s the Trump­i­est, most out­landish, and con­spir­a­to­r­i­al can­di­date.

    In Okla­homa, for­mer state Rep. John Ben­nett won a bat­tle to become par­ty chair­man in April fol­low­ing a long his­to­ry of incen­di­ary com­ments. Ben­nett called for a “fir­ing squad” for Hillary Clin­ton right before the 2016 elec­tion, and has a long his­to­ry of attack­ing Islam, which he once called a “can­cer in our nation that needs to be cut out.” His can­di­da­cy was backed by for­mer Trump Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Direc­tor Michael Fly­nn, who pushed Trump to declare mar­tial law to over­turn the elec­tion. A few weeks ago, Ben­nett grouped him­self with Trump, Fly­nn, and top elec­tion con­spir­acists Mike Lin­dell and Lin Wood, say­ing they were “can­cer in our nation that needs to be cut out.” and need­ed back­up in the face of media attacks.

    Oregon’s state par­ty is sim­i­lar­ly off the rails. Its exec­u­tive com­mit­tee put out a state­ment in late Jan­u­ary claim­ing there was “grow­ing evi­dence” the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion was a “false flag oper­a­tion designed to dis­cred­it” Trump and the GOP.

    A few weeks lat­er, they elect­ed light­ning-rod state Sen. Dal­las Heard as their new chair­man.

    Heard is a mem­ber of the COVID anti-lock­down and anti-mask­ing group Cit­i­zens Against Tyran­ny, and on Dec. 21 he encour­aged a protest at the state Capi­tol, telling them “I’m in full sup­port of your right to enter your Capi­tol build­ing.” Some of the pro­test­ers tried to storm the closed build­ing, pep­per-spray­ing police and break­ing win­dows in an attempt to enter the state­house. Unde­terred, Heard called the statewide mask man­date a “cam­paign against the peo­ple and the chil­dren of God” lat­er that day.

    On Jan­u­ary 6, as pro-Trump riot­ers descend­ed on the U.S. Capi­tol, Heard told the crowd at a satel­lite “Occu­py the Capi­tol” protest in Salem that anti-Trump law­mak­ers were “the ene­my of the peo­ple.”

    But Texas is even wilder.

    Short­ly after for­mer Flori­da con­gress­man Allen West defeat­ed Texas’ GOP chair last July, the state par­ty began using “We are the storm” as its slogan—a term pop­u­lar­ized by the QAnon com­mu­ni­ty. West denied that it was bor­rowed from QAnon, insist­ing a sep­a­rate meme inspired him and stat­ing that he’s “not into inter­net con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.” But West is sched­uled to speak at a Dal­las Memo­r­i­al Day ral­ly orga­nized by “QAnon John” Sabal that has a line­up chock-full of move­ment influ­encers.

    West ful­ly embraced the lie that the elec­tion was stolen from Trump, push­ing false claims that Domin­ion Vot­ing Sys­tems had changed votes from Trump to Biden.

    “We will not stand down until jus­tice is done,” West bel­lowed dur­ing a late-Decem­ber Stop the Steal ral­ly. “We will not be sub­ju­gat­ed, we will not be rel­e­gat­ed, we will nev­er sur­ren­der.”

    And after the Supreme Court reject­ed Trump’s final Hail Mary attempt to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion, West float­ed the idea that Texas and oth­er states should secede from the U.S. “Per­haps law-abid­ing states should band togeth­er and form a union of states that will abide by the Con­sti­tu­tion,” he said in a press release.

    West’s schtick isn’t new. He was a Tea Par­ty star dur­ing his one term in Con­gress, and after los­ing his seat became a favorite on the right-wing media cir­cuit, keep­ing his name in the news by call­ing Pres­i­dent Oba­ma an “Islamist” in 2014 and argu­ing Islam isn’t real­ly a reli­gion but a “total­i­tar­i­an theo­crat­ic polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy.” But his recent return to pow­er shows how the Trump era has shift­ed the Over­ton win­dow so that Repub­li­cans whose extreme views once hurt their careers are get­ting new life in the polit­i­cal are­na.

    Repub­li­cans’ lies about vot­ing fraud and attempts to use them for vot­ing sup­pres­sion go back years, and there’s no bet­ter exam­ple of a Repub­li­can who played a key role in spread­ing that myth than for­mer Trump senior cam­paign advis­er Bob Paduchik, who became Ohio state par­ty chair­man in Feb­ru­ary with Trump’s strong sup­port.

    Back in 2004, Paduchik helped Repub­li­cans pio­neer the use of flim­sy claims of “vot­er fraud” to try to dis­qual­i­fy Demo­c­ra­t­ic votes while work­ing on Pres­i­dent George W. Bush secre­tive cam­paign project dubbed the “Vot­er Reg Fraud Strat­e­gy.”

    He played a key role on Trump’s cam­paign in 2020, help­ing to run its “vot­er integri­ty” pro­gram that smeared mail vot­ing, and suc­cess­ful­ly lob­bied Ohio GOP leg­is­la­tors to reject their own sec­re­tary of state’s push to make mail vot­ing eas­i­er.

    These aren’t iso­lat­ed exam­ples.

    Anti-abor­tion activist Kristi Bur­ton Brown took over the Col­orado GOP after declar­ing in March “there are very valid ques­tions still being asked about the 2020 elec­tion.” She was endorsed by gun-tot­ing, mili­tia-curi­ous Col­orado GOP Rep. Lau­ren Boe­bert.

    Maine’s Repub­li­can chair was reelect­ed in Jan­u­ary, after she’d claimed the coro­n­avirus was inten­tion­al­ly unleashed by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment in order to hurt Trump’s reelec­tion chances.

    Mass­a­chu­setts GOP chair Jim Lyons said on Novem­ber 12 that Biden was “false­ly pos­ing as the win­ner of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion,” claimed Democ­rats were “com­mit­ting vot­er fraud,” and insist­ed “dead peo­ple vot­ed.” Lyons was reelect­ed to his chair­man­ship in Feb­ru­ary in spite of oppo­si­tion from mod­er­ate Repub­li­can Gov. Char­lie Bak­er.

    This trend isn’t uni­ver­sal: California’s GOP chair, Jes­si­ca Pat­ter­son, is a Lati­na mod­er­ate who defeat­ed a pair of hard-line Trumpers for the job in 2019 and recent­ly helped block an attempt to cen­sure a GOP con­gress­man who’d vot­ed to impeach Trump. Don Tra­cy was elect­ed chair of the Illi­nois Repub­li­can Par­ty in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary and prompt­ly moved to quash efforts to cen­sure GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger for his fierce attacks on Trump. Utah’s new GOP chair­man crit­i­cized the par­ty con­ven­tion del­e­gates who booed Utah Sen. Mitt Rom­ney.

    But they’re vast­ly out­num­bered by Trump hard-liners—like New Mex­i­co Repub­li­can Par­ty chair Steve Pearce, a for­mer con­gress­man who pushed the birther lie that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma wasn’t born in the U.S. and claimed two days after the Capi­tol riots that “our democ­ra­cy has been tar­nished” by the 2020 elec­tion because of “anom­alies and issues that were nev­er addressed.” That claim came just weeks after he won anoth­er term.

    Un-fring­ing the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries

    It’s not unusu­al for state par­ties in deep-red or blue states to elect chairs who espouse fringe views—it’s hap­pened for years in the GOP, where Tea Par­ty activists and social con­ser­v­a­tive hard-lin­ers would hijack light­ly attend­ed con­ven­tions and seize pow­er. And Democ­rats aren’t immune to this either: A coali­tion of hard-left Demo­c­ra­t­ic social­ists recent­ly defeat­ed Nevada’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic machine to seize con­trol of the par­ty.

    But what’s dif­fer­ent for Repub­li­cans now is that most of the GOP chairs run­ning state par­ties in cru­cial bat­tle­ground states have active­ly embraced con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, putting them at the cen­ter of the party’s efforts in the states that will deter­mine the 2024 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

    The best-known of the bunch is Ari­zona Repub­li­can chair Kel­li Ward, who seized con­trol of the state GOP in 2019 after los­ing a 2016 pri­ma­ry chal­lenge to then-Sen. John McCain (his team nick­named her “Chem­trail Kel­li” because she’d con­vened a hear­ing where peo­ple pushed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about chem­trails). Under Ward, the Ari­zona Repub­li­can Par­ty has grown increas­ing­ly con­spir­a­to­r­i­al.

    Ward spoke at mul­ti­ple Stop the Steal ral­lies in Ari­zona about the “stolen” election—and filed an unsuc­cess­ful court chal­lenge to nul­li­fy Arizona’s elec­tion that claimed “mas­sive vot­er fraud’ had occurred. The judge tossed it out because the case was based on “gos­sip and innu­en­do” and “sore­ly want­i­ng of rel­e­vant or reli­able evi­dence.”

    But that didn’t stop her. She called Biden’s win a “coup” on Dec. 20, and called on Trump to “cross the rubi­con” to stop it, a ref­er­ence to Julius Caesar’s his­toric deci­sion to over­throw the Roman Repub­lic. When Stop the Steal leader Ali Alexan­der tweet­ed in ear­ly Decem­ber that he was “will­ing to give my life in this fight,” the Ari­zona Repub­li­can Par­ty retweet­ed it, ask­ing: “He is. Are you?”

    Trump endorsed Ward for anoth­er term, and she nar­row­ly won in late Jan­u­ary, in an elec­tion marred by claims of vote rig­ging (no irony there). The same day, the state par­ty cen­sured sit­ting Ari­zona Repub­li­can Gov. Doug Ducey, for­mer GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, and Cindy McCain. Ward has since vocal­ly sup­port­ed the incom­pe­tent par­ti­san audit of Mari­co­pa County’s 2020 bal­lots.

    But Ward is far from the only swing-state Repub­li­can who helped Trump push lies about their own state’s results.

    Geor­gia GOP chair David Shafer active­ly spread false infor­ma­tion about the results in Geor­gia, but­tress­ing Trump’s repeat­ed false claims that the state had been stolen from him. He filed a law­suit object­ing to the state cer­ti­fy­ing the elec­tion results, and after Geor­gia fin­ished a full statewide hand recount of its bal­lots that con­firmed Biden’s win and showed no evi­dence of vot­er fraud, Shafer led a let­ter that expressed “grave con­cerns” about vot­er fraud. He’s bragged about suing Repub­li­can Sec­re­tary of State Brad Raf­fensperg­er, and he encour­aged Repub­li­cans to pri­ma­ry him because of Raffensperger’s refusal to help Trump try to steal Georgia’s elec­toral votes.

    Shafer is the heavy favorite to win anoth­er term as chair­man in June— large­ly because he has Trump’s endorse­ment. “He NEVER gave up!” Trump said.

    North Car­oli­na Repub­li­can chair Michael What­ley false­ly claimed in Feb­ru­ary that “we cer­tain­ly saw evi­dence of vot­ing irreg­u­lar­i­ties, of elec­tion count­ing irreg­u­lar­i­ties in a num­ber of places around the coun­try,” and invent­ed the claim that the rea­son Trump won North Car­oli­na was his state party’s vig­i­lance against Democ­rats’ attempts to cheat. Under his lead­er­ship, the state par­ty cen­sured retir­ing GOP Sen. Richard Burr for vot­ing to impeach Trump.

    Ron Weis­er, a long­time estab­lish­ment GOP fig­ure, won Michigan’s GOP chair­man­ship in Jan­u­ary by part­ner­ing with Meshawn Mad­dock, an active Stop the Steal leader who aggres­sive­ly “mon­i­tored” Detroit’s vote-count­ing, repeat­ed­ly lied that Michigan’s elec­tion had seen wide­spread elec­tion fraud, and orga­nized 19 bus­es to the Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton. Even after the Capi­tol riots, Mad­dock pushed false claims that Trump would remain pres­i­dent.

    Weis­er him­self stirred con­tro­ver­sy when he described the trio of Demo­c­ra­t­ic women who hold statewide office as “the three witch­es” and said the party’s job was to soft­en them up so “that they are ready for the burn­ing at the stake” in the next elec­tion. That list includes Michi­gan Gov. Gretchen Whit­mer, whom a right-wing mili­tia recent­ly plot­ted to kid­nap and exe­cute. Weis­er also joked about “assas­si­na­tion” when dis­cussing the two Michi­gan House Repub­li­cans who’d vot­ed to impeach Trump. After ini­tial­ly resist­ing, he apol­o­gized for both remarks.

    In Penn­syl­va­nia, GOP chair Andrew Tabas pub­licly float­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of his state’s Repub­li­can-con­trolled state Leg­is­la­ture over­rid­ing the elec­tion results and appoint­ing Trump elec­tors if he lost the state—before the elec­tion. Tabas insist­ed he was mis­quot­ed. But on Dec. 14, as the Leg­is­la­ture met to appoint Biden’s elec­tors to the Elec­toral Col­lege, the Penn­syl­va­nia Repub­li­can Par­ty mem­bers met sep­a­rate­ly “to cast a con­di­tion­al vote” for Trump, cre­at­ing an alter­nate set of elec­tors to the Elec­toral Col­lege to help con­tin­ue the fight to over­turn the elec­tion.

    The silent types

    There are plen­ty of Repub­li­can chairs who haven’t been will­ing to explic­it­ly echo Trump’s lies and con­spir­a­cies about the elec­tion. But most of them have refused to stand up for the truth.

    State par­ty chairs are cho­sen by the most ded­i­cat­ed, hard­core par­ty activists—the types will­ing to spend their Sat­ur­days argu­ing over par­ty rule arcana at con­ven­tions. Because peo­ple show­ing up to vote are con­vinced that Trump real­ly won in 2020, Repub­li­can state par­ty chairs must agree with his premise, or at least pre­tend to stay in pow­er.

    “You see folks who don’t believe that who are say­ing those things or stay­ing qui­et because they want to stay a state par­ty chair for what­ev­er rea­son,” said for­mer Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee spokesman Doug Heye, who oppos­es Trump.

    There’s also polit­i­cal util­i­ty in declin­ing to dis­pute Trump’s claims. In state after state, Repub­li­cans are push­ing bills to restrict vot­ing. If they don’t think the elec­tion was rigged, there’s not much rea­son for the new restric­tions besides an attempt to make it hard­er for Democ­rats to vote.

    Iowa Repub­li­can Par­ty chair­man Jeff Kauf­mann is an avatar of the GOP estab­lish­ment and a prime exam­ple of how much that estab­lish­ment has changed.

    He first won his job with strong back­ing from then-Iowa Gov. Ter­ry Branstad, oust­ing a hard-line Ron Paul acolyte in the process.

    But Kauf­mann was a fierce Trump cheer­leader through­out his pres­i­den­cy, and sup­port­ed Trump’s legal efforts to reverse the elec­tion results. A late-Jan­u­ary inter­view sheds a lot of light on why he and more estab­lish­ment-lean­ing Repub­li­can lead­ers won’t con­tra­dict Trump: They may not want to claim the elec­tion was rigged, but they see polit­i­cal util­i­ty in using that lie to push new vot­ing restric­tions.

    “Don­ald Trump’s claims that were con­tro­ver­sial is whether the elec­tion fraud and the elec­tion irreg­u­lar­i­ties actu­al­ly cost him the pres­i­den­cy. I don’t think there’s any­body that seri­ous­ly doubts that in states like Geor­gia and Penn­syl­va­nia there were prob­lems,” Kauf­mann said in the PBS inter­view.

    When pressed on whether Trump lost fair and square, Kauf­mann would only say that he had lost the Elec­toral Col­lege vote.

    Then he made clear exact­ly why he wouldn’t admit Biden had won fair­ly.

    “Here’s what I wor­ry about: If we say that Joe Biden won, if I say that there was absolute­ly no elec­tion prob­lems, that there’s no fix­es that are need­ed, then all of a sud­den we con­tin­ue to do the same thing and we don’t work on vot­er iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, oth­er states don’t work on bal­lot har­vest­ing,” he said.

    Weeks lat­er, Iowa Repub­li­cans passed a vot­ing sup­pres­sion law that elim­i­nat­ed a week of ear­ly vot­ing.

    ———-

    “Pro-Trump Con­spir­a­cy The­o­rists Are Tak­ing Over State Repub­li­can Par­ties” by Cameron Joseph; Vice News; 05/19/2021

    “A VICE News review of pub­lic posi­tions of all 50 GOP state chairs shows a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber are open­ly push­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, spout­ing unhinged rhetoric, and active­ly under­min­ing vot­ers’ trust in democ­ra­cy. That includes the chairs of near­ly every swing state in the U.S. And the trend is accel­er­at­ing: Many of the most extreme chairs just won their chair­man­ships or have been reelect­ed since Trump left office four months ago, a num­ber of them with his explic­it endorse­ment.”

    The state GOP chairs of near­ly every swing state in the US are duti­ful­ly par­rot­ing Trump’s elec­tion theft Big Lie. Because that’s now a job require­ment for almost every GOP state-lev­el and nation­al posi­tion, not just the swing states. But it’s the swing state par­ty chairs who are going to be the most con­se­quen­tial in upcom­ing elec­tions and in near­ly every case, these state par­ty chairs or either echo­ing the Big Lie or at least refus­ing to refute them...all the while push­ing the kind of “elec­tion integri­ty” vot­ing restric­tions. It points to what is arguably the most despi­ca­ble aspect of the par­ty-wide embrace of the ‘stolen elec­tion’ Big Lie: it’s cyn­i­cal­ly being embraced in order to pass sweep­ing vot­ing restric­tions in vir­tu­al­ly every GOP-con­trolled state. It’s the embrace of a Big Lie attack on democ­ra­cy in order to jus­ti­fy and facil­i­tate a fur­ther leg­isla­tive attack on democ­ra­cy:

    ...
    The most com­mon and per­ni­cious con­spir­a­cy pushed by state par­ty chairs is the one that’s come to define the Repub­li­can Par­ty: the big lie that the 2020 elec­tion was rigged against Trump and marred by wide­spread vot­ing fraud. A sig­nif­i­cant plu­ral­i­ty have pub­licly under­mined vot­ers’ trust in their elec­tions, and those chairs who aren’t explic­it­ly repeat­ing his lies have point­ed­ly refused to dis­pute them, while push­ing “elec­tion integri­ty” mea­sures to make it hard­er to vote.

    They’ve sup­port­ed moves to cen­sure their own mem­bers of Con­gress who vot­ed to impeach Trump, a cer­e­mo­ni­al sham­ing that’s tak­en place from Alas­ka to Louisiana to North Car­oli­na to Ohio to Wyoming. And while a hand­ful of chairs sought to push back against the party’s drift fur­ther into con­spir­a­cy-mon­ger­ing, oth­ers are push­ing hard in the oppo­site direc­tion, using their chair­man­ships to pro­mote unhinged con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.

    It’s com­ing from the top down, too. The Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee launched an “Elec­tion Integri­ty Com­mis­sion” in Feb­ru­ary. RNC chair Ron­na Rom­ney McDaniel argued that states’ efforts to expand mail vot­ing dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic “brought chaos and uncer­tain­ty to our sacred demo­c­ra­t­ic process­es,” and promised the RNC would advo­cate for “best prac­tices to ensure that future elec­tions are free, fair, and trans­par­ent,” lend­ing sup­port to state GOP law­mak­ers’ moves to add require­ments to the vot­ing process.

    ...

    There’s also polit­i­cal util­i­ty in declin­ing to dis­pute Trump’s claims. In state after state, Repub­li­cans are push­ing bills to restrict vot­ing. If they don’t think the elec­tion was rigged, there’s not much rea­son for the new restric­tions besides an attempt to make it hard­er for Democ­rats to vote.

    Iowa Repub­li­can Par­ty chair­man Jeff Kauf­mann is an avatar of the GOP estab­lish­ment and a prime exam­ple of how much that estab­lish­ment has changed.

    He first won his job with strong back­ing from then-Iowa Gov. Ter­ry Branstad, oust­ing a hard-line Ron Paul acolyte in the process.

    But Kauf­mann was a fierce Trump cheer­leader through­out his pres­i­den­cy, and sup­port­ed Trump’s legal efforts to reverse the elec­tion results. A late-Jan­u­ary inter­view sheds a lot of light on why he and more estab­lish­ment-lean­ing Repub­li­can lead­ers won’t con­tra­dict Trump: They may not want to claim the elec­tion was rigged, but they see polit­i­cal util­i­ty in using that lie to push new vot­ing restric­tions.
    ...

    And right one cue, we’re already see­ing a return of the GOP calls for seces­sion. It’s one of the fea­tures of the mod­ern day GOP: when­ev­er there’s a Demo­c­rat in the White House, talk of seces­sion is how aspir­ing Repub­li­can politi­cians can dis­tin­guish them­selves. Only now, it’s calls for seces­sion in response to the notion that Trump had the elec­tion stolen away. And one of those state par­ty chairs call­ing for seces­sion, Wyoming Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair­man Frank Eathorne, sits on the GOP’s sham ‘elec­tion integri­ty com­mis­sion’. That’s how main­stream the seces­sion idea is with­in in the GOP cau­cus these days:

    ...
    Of the six GOP state par­ty chairs serv­ing on the com­mis­sion, just one has come close to acknowl­edg­ing the legit­i­ma­cy of Biden’s 2020 vic­to­ry—South Car­oli­na chair Drew McKissick, who with Trump’s endorse­ment just ward­ed off a chal­lenge from QAnon-tout­ing lawyer Lin Wood. Three oth­ers on the com­mis­sion pushed Trump’s claims that the elec­tion was stolen from him or argued the elec­tion wasn’t set­tled even after the Elec­toral Col­lege had vot­ed to offi­cial­ly cement it in mid-Decem­ber.

    That includes Wyoming Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair­man Frank Eathorne, who penned a Jan­u­ary 2 let­ter claim­ing “exten­sive evi­dence” of vot­er fraud in “numer­ous states,” attend­ed the Jan­u­ary 6 Trump ral­ly in D.C. that turned into a riot, defend­ed that protest as most­ly peace­ful, and in ear­ly Jan­u­ary float­ed the idea that Wyoming and oth­er “self-reliant” con­ser­v­a­tive states should con­sid­er seced­ing from the Unit­ed States. Eathorne won Trump’s sup­port for anoth­er term when the state par­ty cen­sured Cheney, and sailed to an uncon­test­ed reelec­tion vic­to­ry last Sat­ur­day. “The peo­ple of Wyoming are spe­cial, and so are you!” Trump declared in con­grat­u­la­tion.

    ...

    Short­ly after for­mer Flori­da con­gress­man Allen West defeat­ed Texas’ GOP chair last July, the state par­ty began using “We are the storm” as its slogan—a term pop­u­lar­ized by the QAnon com­mu­ni­ty. West denied that it was bor­rowed from QAnon, insist­ing a sep­a­rate meme inspired him and stat­ing that he’s “not into inter­net con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.” But West is sched­uled to speak at a Dal­las Memo­r­i­al Day ral­ly orga­nized by “QAnon John” Sabal that has a line­up chock-full of move­ment influ­encers.

    West ful­ly embraced the lie that the elec­tion was stolen from Trump, push­ing false claims that Domin­ion Vot­ing Sys­tems had changed votes from Trump to Biden.

    “We will not stand down until jus­tice is done,” West bel­lowed dur­ing a late-Decem­ber Stop the Steal ral­ly. “We will not be sub­ju­gat­ed, we will not be rel­e­gat­ed, we will nev­er sur­ren­der.”

    And after the Supreme Court reject­ed Trump’s final Hail Mary attempt to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion, West float­ed the idea that Texas and oth­er states should secede from the U.S. “Per­haps law-abid­ing states should band togeth­er and form a union of states that will abide by the Con­sti­tu­tion,” he said in a press release.
    ...

    And then there’s Ore­gon, where the state GOP appears to be open­ly sup­port­ing not just the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion but insur­rec­tions against its own capi­tol:

    ...
    Oregon’s state par­ty is sim­i­lar­ly off the rails. Its exec­u­tive com­mit­tee put out a state­ment in late Jan­u­ary claim­ing there was “grow­ing evi­dence” the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion was a “false flag oper­a­tion designed to dis­cred­it” Trump and the GOP.

    A few weeks lat­er, they elect­ed light­ning-rod state Sen. Dal­las Heard as their new chair­man.

    Heard is a mem­ber of the COVID anti-lock­down and anti-mask­ing group Cit­i­zens Against Tyran­ny, and on Dec. 21 he encour­aged a protest at the state Capi­tol, telling them “I’m in full sup­port of your right to enter your Capi­tol build­ing.” Some of the pro­test­ers tried to storm the closed build­ing, pep­per-spray­ing police and break­ing win­dows in an attempt to enter the state­house. Unde­terred, Heard called the statewide mask man­date a “cam­paign against the peo­ple and the chil­dren of God” lat­er that day.

    On Jan­u­ary 6, as pro-Trump riot­ers descend­ed on the U.S. Capi­tol, Heard told the crowd at a satel­lite “Occu­py the Capi­tol” protest in Salem that anti-Trump law­mak­ers were “the ene­my of the peo­ple.”
    ...

    Final­ly, we have Okla­homa, where the new state par­ty chair called for exe­cut­ing Hillary Clin­ton by fir­ing squad short­ly before the 2016 elec­tion and won the state chair with the back­ing of arch QAnon-advo­cates Michael Fly­nn, Mike Lin­dell, and Lin Wood:

    ...
    In Okla­homa, for­mer state Rep. John Ben­nett won a bat­tle to become par­ty chair­man in April fol­low­ing a long his­to­ry of incen­di­ary com­ments. Ben­nett called for a “fir­ing squad” for Hillary Clin­ton right before the 2016 elec­tion, and has a long his­to­ry of attack­ing Islam, which he once called a “can­cer in our nation that needs to be cut out.” His can­di­da­cy was backed by for­mer Trump Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Direc­tor Michael Fly­nn, who pushed Trump to declare mar­tial law to over­turn the elec­tion. A few weeks ago, Ben­nett grouped him­self with Trump, Fly­nn, and top elec­tion con­spir­acists Mike Lin­dell and Lin Wood, say­ing they were “can­cer in our nation that needs to be cut out.” and need­ed back­up in the face of media attacks.
    ...

    And that’s all what it’s impor­tant to remem­ber that it isn’t just that Don­ald Trump has per­son­al­ly cap­ture the hearts and minds of the Repub­li­can elec­torate. Trump’s psy­cho­log­i­cal cap­ture of the con­ser­v­a­tive mind has­n’t just allowed Trump and the Trump fam­i­ly to take over the par­ty. It’s a far right cap­ture of the par­ty. Or rather, a tri­umphant open con­sol­i­da­tion of the ongo­ing far right cap­ture of the par­ty that’s been accel­er­at­ing for year. And it’s that far right con­sol­i­da­tion of pow­er that could end up being far more con­se­quen­tial in the long run. Trump won’t be around for­ev­er.

    Of course, the force of polit­i­cal grav­i­ty could even­tu­al­ly kick in should the Repub­li­can Par­ty open extrem­ism end up cost­ing the par­ty races at the state lev­el. We have no idea when, or if, that state-lev­el elec­toral rebut­tal might take place. The GOP out­per­formed expec­ta­tions at the state lev­el in 2020, after all. But if the GOP’s extrem­ism does ever get extreme enough to cause the par­ty to start los­ing pow­er at the state lev­el in sig­nif­i­cant way, we might end up see­ing some degree of mod­er­a­tion sink in. Assum­ing, of course, those state-lev­el loss­es weren’t the result of a Satan­ic deep state con­spir­a­cy to rig the vote, which is clear­ly an assump­tion too far for the con­tem­po­rary GOP. It will pre­sum­ably just be more calls for seces­sion and exe­cu­tions at that point instead.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 22, 2021, 3:46 pm
  19. Is it news when the inevitable hap­pens? It’s one of the meta ques­tions raised when­ev­er the GOP behaves acts like the trea­so­nous enti­ty it is. So we have to ask, is it real­ly news that the GOP in the Sen­ate is fil­i­bus­ter­ing the cre­ation of a bipar­ti­san com­mis­sion to inves­ti­gate the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion? It would cer­tain­ly be news if the GOP sup­port­ed such a com­mis­sion. Aston­ish­ing news. But is it news that the thing that was almost sure­ly going to hap­pen even­tu­al­ly hap­pened? The sad answer is, yes, it’s news. Just not new news. The same old sto­ry of Repub­li­can trea­son.

    But what is new, and pro­found­ly trou­bling, are the rea­sons for this ongo­ing trea­son. Because as the fol­low­ing piece points out, when we look at recent polls ask­ing the US vot­ers about whether or not they think polit­i­cal vio­lence might be required, it becomes clear that the GOP isn’t sim­ply wor­ried about an inves­ti­ga­tion into the insur­rec­tion mak­ing the GOP look bad. They’re simul­ta­ne­ous­ly wor­ried about the fact that 28% of Repub­li­can vot­ers just told poll­sters that “there is a storm com­ing soon that will sweep away the elites in pow­er and restore the right­ful lead­ers,” and that “things have got­ten so off track, true Amer­i­can patri­ots may have to resort to vio­lence in order to save our coun­try.” In oth­er words, 28 per­cent of Repub­li­can vot­ers basi­cal­ly told poll­sters they sup­port the insur­rec­tion. So while the GOP is obvi­ous­ly con­cerned about an inves­ti­ga­tion mak­ing cast­ing the par­ty in a bad light, there’s the par­al­lel con­cern of being forced to char­ac­ter­ize the insur­rec­tion in a bad light:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Opin­ion: The real­ly scary rea­son Repub­li­cans don’t want to face the truth about Jan. 6

    Opin­ion by
    Karen Tumul­ty
    Colum­nist
    May 28, 2021 at 9:51 p.m. UTC

    You’ve got to at least give Sen­ate Minor­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell (R‑Ky.) some cred­it for can­dor.

    In press­ing Sen­ate Repub­li­cans to kill the idea of an inde­pen­dent com­mis­sion to inves­ti­gate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capi­tol by sup­port­ers of then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, McConnell did not both­er to dis­guise the fact that he was mak­ing a craven­ly polit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion.

    Any­thing that looks back to the final ugly spasms of the Trump pres­i­den­cy, as opposed to press­ing the case against the cur­rent occu­pant of the White House and his par­ty, would hurt the Repub­li­cans’ chances for gain­ing back con­trol of Con­gress, McConnell acknowl­edged to reporters on Tues­day.

    That was anoth­er way of say­ing that he would pre­fer that vot­ers not be remind­ed of Trump’s own cul­pa­bil­i­ty for incit­ing his sup­port­ers to smash their way into the Capi­tol two weeks before he was due to be evict­ed from the White House — and for doing lit­tle to stop a ram­pag­ing mob that Trump sub­se­quent­ly described as “very spe­cial” peo­ple.

    ...

    Despite the fact that Democ­rats had giv­en them just about every­thing they had claimed to want — includ­ing a pow­er-shar­ing arrange­ment under which the GOP would have equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the 10-mem­ber pan­el, as well as a say in any sub­poe­nas it might issue— McConnell mus­tered enough votes among his mem­bers to effec­tive­ly kill the pro­pos­al for a com­mis­sion.

    The vote in favor of allow­ing debate to pro­ceed was 54 to 35, which was six votes shy of the 60 need­ed to over­come a fil­i­buster. Only six Repub­li­cans broke ranks: Murkows­ki, Bill Cas­sidy (La.), Rob Port­man (Ohio), Mitt Rom­ney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Susan Collins (Maine).

    ...

    After near­ly three dozen GOP mem­bers joined Democ­rats in the House last week to approve the pro­posed com­mis­sion, the for­mer pres­i­dent issued a state­ment blast­ing those “35 way­ward Repub­li­cans” and warn­ing of “con­se­quences to being inef­fec­tive and weak.”

    Their coun­ter­parts in the Sen­ate got the mes­sage. Repub­li­cans quake at the thought of doing any­thing that might cause Mt. Trump to erupt.

    But there is an even dark­er rea­son to explain why they appear less con­cerned about pay­ing a price for fail­ing to reck­on with what hap­pened on Jan. 6, which was also an assault on the integri­ty of this country’s demo­c­ra­t­ic process­es.

    The more dan­ger­ous truth is that a not-insignif­i­cant por­tion of the GOP’s Trumpian base actu­al­ly appears to believe that the vio­lent mob was jus­ti­fied in its effort to dis­rupt Con­gress as it con­duct­ed its pro for­ma tal­ly of the elec­toral votes that made Joe Biden the 46th pres­i­dent.

    These are the peo­ple who have bought into Trump’s lie that the 2020 elec­tion was stolen from him, and who share at least some of the unhinged the­o­ries that fuel the QAnon move­ment.

    A new poll released by the non­par­ti­san Pub­lic Reli­gion Research Insti­tute and the Inter­faith Youth Core shows that these dan­ger­ous and con­spir­a­to­r­i­al beliefs are not con­fined to the country’s dank back­wa­ters.

    Ful­ly 20 per­cent of more than 5,500 adults ques­tioned in all 50 states — and 28 per­cent of Repub­li­cans among them — said they agreed with the state­ment that “there is a storm com­ing soon that will sweep away the elites in pow­er and restore the right­ful lead­ers.”

    Even more wor­ri­some were the 15 per­cent over­all — and, again, 28 per­cent of Repub­li­cans — who were of the opin­ion that because “things have got­ten so off track, true Amer­i­can patri­ots may have to resort to vio­lence in order to save our coun­try.”

    What Repub­li­cans made clear with their vote on Fri­day is that they would rather allow this think­ing to fes­ter with­in their base, and hope that it works to their elec­toral advan­tage, than to stand up to it.

    McConnell may be right that dodg­ing and delay­ing account­abil­i­ty for what hap­pened on Jan. 6 could help Repub­li­cans win back pow­er in Con­gress. But by stand­ing in the way of a reck­on­ing with the poi­so­nous forces that are grow­ing with­in the ranks of their own par­ty, they are doing a dis­ser­vice to the coun­try — one for which democ­ra­cy itself will ulti­mate­ly pay a price.

    ————–

    “Opin­ion: The real­ly scary rea­son Repub­li­cans don’t want to face the truth about Jan. 6” by Karen Tumul­ty; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 05/28/2021

    “The more dan­ger­ous truth is that a not-insignif­i­cant por­tion of the GOP’s Trumpian base actu­al­ly appears to believe that the vio­lent mob was jus­ti­fied in its effort to dis­rupt Con­gress as it con­duct­ed its pro for­ma tal­ly of the elec­toral votes that made Joe Biden the 46th pres­i­dent.”

    You can con­demn, ignore, and cel­e­brate the insur­rec­tion simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. That’s the chal­lenge fac­ing the GOP and refus­ing to sup­port the com­mis­sion for overt­ly spe­cious rea­sons is about as close as you can get to pulling off that tri­fec­ta. Or at least the GOP had bet­ter hope they man­aged to thread this nee­dle, because oth­er­wise they just end­ed up piss­ing off the dan­ger­ous­ly vio­lent 28 per­cent of the par­ty that not only sup­ports the insur­rec­tion but seems to be pin­ing for a lot more insur­rec­tions. More insur­rec­tions with lots of exe­cu­tions:

    ...
    A new poll released by the non­par­ti­san Pub­lic Reli­gion Research Insti­tute and the Inter­faith Youth Core shows that these dan­ger­ous and con­spir­a­to­r­i­al beliefs are not con­fined to the country’s dank back­wa­ters.

    Ful­ly 20 per­cent of more than 5,500 adults ques­tioned in all 50 states — and 28 per­cent of Repub­li­cans among them — said they agreed with the state­ment that “there is a storm com­ing soon that will sweep away the elites in pow­er and restore the right­ful lead­ers.”

    Even more wor­ri­some were the 15 per­cent over­all — and, again, 28 per­cent of Repub­li­cans — who were of the opin­ion that because “things have got­ten so off track, true Amer­i­can patri­ots may have to resort to vio­lence in order to save our coun­try.”

    What Repub­li­cans made clear with their vote on Fri­day is that they would rather allow this think­ing to fes­ter with­in their base, and hope that it works to their elec­toral advan­tage, than to stand up to it.
    ...

    How will the GOP walk­ing this line between deploring/ignoring/supporting the insur­rec­tion as the Demo­c­rat-only con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tions into the insur­rec­tion plays out? We’ll find out, but it looks like the legal­ly imper­iled Matt Gaetz just gave us a pre­view dur­ing a speech at the “Amer­i­ca First” con­fer­ence this week:

    Moth­er Jones

    Matt Gaetz Tells Sup­port­ers They Have an “Oblig­a­tion” to Use Sec­ond Amend­ment
    The lat­est stop on the “Amer­i­ca First” tour, co-head­lined by Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, also saw him call­ing for an “armed rebel­lion.”

    Inae Oh
    News and Engage­ment Edi­tor
    May 28, 2021

    The walls appear to be increas­ing­ly clos­ing in on Matt Gaetz, the Flori­da Repub­li­can report­ed­ly under inves­ti­ga­tion for pos­si­bly hav­ing sex with a minor, with two key witnesses—his for­mer con­fi­dante Joel Green­berg who last week plead­ed guilty to sex traf­fick­ing a minor and ex-girl­friend—now said to be coop­er­at­ing with the feds. But while most would keep a low pro­file under such a legal­ly dan­ger­ous sce­nario, Gaetz, a pro­fes­sion­al troll and per­haps the Trump­i­est mem­ber of Con­gress, con­tin­ues to run in the oppo­site direc­tion of rea­son.

    Dur­ing a stop on his “Amer­i­ca First” tour with Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene Thurs­day, Gaetz told a crowd of sup­port­ers that he believes Amer­i­cans have “an oblig­a­tion to use” the Sec­ond Amend­ment, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the fight against so-called “can­cel cul­ture” in Sil­i­con Val­ley.

    “The internet’s hall mon­i­tors out in Sil­i­con Val­ley, they think they can sup­press us, dis­cour­age us,” Gaetz told atten­dees at a ral­ly in Dal­ton, Geor­gia. “Well, you know what? Sil­i­con Val­ley can’t can­cel this move­ment, or this ral­ly, or this con­gress­man. We have the Sec­ond Amend­ment in this coun­try and I think we have an oblig­a­tion to use it.” He went on to sug­gest that the Sec­ond Amend­ment intend­ed for peo­ple to have the abil­i­ty to form an “armed rebel­lion against the gov­ern­ment” when nec­es­sary.

    ...

    Gaetz’s inflam­ma­to­ry remarks on gun rights and armed rebel­lion come near­ly five months after the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion, as well as cur­rent Repub­li­can efforts, led by Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell, to squash bipar­ti­san hopes for a com­mis­sion into the dead­ly riot. Com­bine that with the steady embrace of Trump’s lies about the elec­tion, and you’ve got a pret­ty good snap­shot of where the par­ty is at these days.

    As for Gaetz, his lat­est out­burst should gel well with his appar­ent ambi­tions to run for pres­i­dent in 2024, should his idol decline.

    ———-

    “Matt Gaetz Tells Sup­port­ers They Have an “Oblig­a­tion” to Use Sec­ond Amend­ment” by Inae Oh; Moth­er Jones; 05/28/2021

    ““The internet’s hall mon­i­tors out in Sil­i­con Val­ley, they think they can sup­press us, dis­cour­age us,” Gaetz told atten­dees at a ral­ly in Dal­ton, Geor­gia. “Well, you know what? Sil­i­con Val­ley can’t can­cel this move­ment, or this ral­ly, or this con­gress­man. We have the Sec­ond Amend­ment in this coun­try and I think we have an oblig­a­tion to use it.” He went on to sug­gest that the Sec­ond Amend­ment intend­ed for peo­ple to have the abil­i­ty to form an “armed rebel­lion against the gov­ern­ment” when nec­es­sary.

    The 2nd Amend­ment isn’t just a con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed right. It’s a con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed right intend­ed to pro­tect the abil­i­ty for the pop­u­lace to form an armed rebel­lion against the gov­ern­ment when nec­es­sary. And if you watch the video, that was the big applause line. The crowd loves the idea of an armed rebel­lion and politi­cians like Matt Gaetz are more than hap­py to fan those flames. They’re pop­u­lar flames in a par­ty that just wants to burn it all down right now. So while we’re forced to wait and see how the GOP’s strat­e­gy of deploring/ignoring/supporting the insur­rec­tion will evolve as this sto­ry plays out, we can be pret­ty sure it’s going to increas­ing­ly look like what Matt Gaetz just did. It will be news when that inevitably hap­pens, but not real­ly.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 29, 2021, 4:39 pm

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