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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

41 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
  20. We got a few more details dur­ing the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee hear­ings on Tues­day on what exact­ly was ordered, or not ordered, by gov­ern­ment author­i­ties dur­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion. And who issued, or did­n’t issue, those orders. There weren’t any major new rev­e­la­tions. Just fur­ther con­fir­ma­tion of what we already know. Although we did get a bet­ter sense of how many times Pen­ta­gon offi­cials ordered the Nation­al Guard troops to “stand­by” on that day: 5 times. We also learned that the Capi­tol police and DC offi­cials made more than a dozen requests of the Pen­ta­gon for the Nation­al Guard to come help dur­ing this peri­od. Over 12 requests for help and 5 stand­by orders. The num­bers tell a sto­ry. The sto­ry about a coup that almost hap­pened.

    Anoth­er part of what made the House hear­ings par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing is who tes­ti­fied. Because it was two of the gen­er­als who over­saw the Nation­al Guard forces that day who were called to tes­ti­fy, and one of those two gen­er­als hap­pens to be Charles Fly­nn, broth­er of arch-insur­rec­tion­ist Michael Fly­nn. Recall how the Pen­ta­gon ini­tial­ly false­ly denied that Fly­nn was present at all dur­ing these meet­ings. Also recall how we learned that con­cerns over the mil­i­tary being seen as sup­port­ing a coup were held by Charles Fly­nn and oth­ers at the Pen­ta­gon who over­saw the prepa­ra­tions and exe­cu­tion of the Jan 6 Capi­tol Hill secu­ri­ty. Those con­cerns were alleged­ly the rea­son for both the lack of prepa­ra­tion in advance of the insur­rec­tion and the con­tin­ued hold­ing back of the Nation­al Guard after the insur­rec­tion start­ed and con­gres­sion­al calls for help grew. So now we’re learn­ing that five “stand­by” orders were issued by this group at the Pen­ta­gon before the deploy order was final­ly, belat­ed allowed to hap­pen after the local police had already large­ly got­ten the sit­u­a­tion under con­trol. And Charles Fly­nn was one of the fig­ures issu­ing those stand­by orders:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    News

    Pen­ta­gon Told Nation­al Guard To ‘Stand­by’ Five Times Dur­ing Insur­rec­tion, House Finds

    By Josh Koven­sky
    June 15, 2021 9:38 a.m.

    As the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion at Con­gress wors­ened, Capi­tol police and D.C. offi­cials began to scram­ble for help.

    As pro-Trump riot­ers breached the build­ing and brought Con­gress to a halt, they made more than 12 requests of the Pen­ta­gon for the Nation­al Guard to come, accord­ing to find­ings from the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee.

    And over the hours that the attack unfold­ed, Pen­ta­gon offi­cials told the nation­al guard unit to “stand­by” five times, the pan­el found.

    The House Over­sight Com­mit­tee is hold­ing a hear­ing on Tues­day with FBI Direc­tor Chris Wray and two gen­er­als who respond­ed to increas­ing­ly fran­tic requests from the Capi­tol and law enforce­ment to deploy the guard: Gen. Charles A. Fly­nn and Lt. Gen. Wal­ter E. Piatt. The hear­ing will begin at 2 p.m.

    Both Piatt and Fly­nn, broth­er of dis­graced gen­er­al Michael, respond­ed to requests from the Capi­tol for sup­port from the mil­i­tary.

    Ques­tions about the nation­al guard response on Jan. 6 boil down to a gap of time between 1:30 p.m., when riot­ers were over­whelm­ing police out­side the capi­tol and offi­cials began to request mil­i­tary sup­port, and 5:20 p.m., when the nation­al guard unit arrived.

    By that time, the insur­rec­tion had most­ly been sup­pressed by local and region­al police units.

    A time­line released by the House says that D.C. May­or Muriel Bows­er first request­ed nation­al guard sup­port at 1:34, ask­ing for “addi­tion­al forces.”

    On a 2:30 p.m. con­fer­ence call, accord­ing to D.C. nation­al guard notes the pan­el obtained, Lt. Gen. Piatt said that a “mil­i­tary pres­ence could make the sit­u­a­tion worse and that the optics were bad” and that send­ing in troops “would not be his best mil­i­tary advice.”.

    For­mer act­ing sec­re­tary of defense Chris Miller tes­ti­fied last month that he was hes­i­tant to deploy the unit out of fears that the troops would be seen to be par­tic­i­pat­ing in a coup. Michael Fly­nn had recent­ly called for the mil­i­tary to step in and “re-run” the elec­tion — an action that Trump sup­port­ed. The week­end before the insur­rec­tion, all ten liv­ing for­mer sec­re­taries of defense wrote an open let­ter in the Wash­ing­ton Post demand­ing that the mil­i­tary stay unin­volved.

    It did, at first, fol­low­ing repeat­ed orders from Miller, Piatt, and Fly­nn to the Nation­al Guard to “stand­by.”

    At 3:34 p.m., for exam­ple, the guard was told that Miller had “direct­ed D.C. Nation­al Guard to stand­by on deploy­ment.” That was near­ly half an hour after Miller ordered the unit to pre­pare to deploy.

    ...

    ———-

    “Pen­ta­gon Told Nation­al Guard To ‘Stand­by’ Five Times Dur­ing Insur­rec­tion, House Finds” by Josh Koven­sky; Talk­ing Points Memo; 06/15/2021

    “The House Over­sight Com­mit­tee is hold­ing a hear­ing on Tues­day with FBI Direc­tor Chris Wray and two gen­er­als who respond­ed to increas­ing­ly fran­tic requests from the Capi­tol and law enforce­ment to deploy the guard: Gen. Charles A. Fly­nn and Lt. Gen. Wal­ter E. Piatt. The hear­ing will begin at 2 p.m.”

    Yes, it was­n’t just the case that Charles Fly­nn was present in these meet­ings. We’re learn­ing that it was Fly­nn, Piatt, and Miller who were the ones repeat­ed­ly issu­ing the “stand­by” orders to the Guard. Osten­si­bly due to con­cerns over fears of the mil­i­tary being seen par­tic­i­pat­ing in a coup. Con­cerns that would have made sense if the guard was being order to halt the elec­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion so the vote could be over­turned. But they still haven’t explained how stop­ping an active insur­rec­tion at the Capi­tol would be seen as a coup:

    ...
    For­mer act­ing sec­re­tary of defense Chris Miller tes­ti­fied last month that he was hes­i­tant to deploy the unit out of fears that the troops would be seen to be par­tic­i­pat­ing in a coup. Michael Fly­nn had recent­ly called for the mil­i­tary to step in and “re-run” the elec­tion — an action that Trump sup­port­ed. The week­end before the insur­rec­tion, all ten liv­ing for­mer sec­re­taries of defense wrote an open let­ter in the Wash­ing­ton Post demand­ing that the mil­i­tary stay unin­volved.

    It did, at first, fol­low­ing repeat­ed orders from Miller, Piatt, and Fly­nn to the Nation­al Guard to “stand­by.”

    At 3:34 p.m., for exam­ple, the guard was told that Miller had “direct­ed D.C. Nation­al Guard to stand­by on deploy­ment.” That was near­ly half an hour after Miller ordered the unit to pre­pare to deploy.
    ...

    And we can’t for­get that by the time the nation­al guard was allowed to show up, the sit­u­a­tion had already been most­ly sup­pressed by the police:

    ...
    Ques­tions about the nation­al guard response on Jan. 6 boil down to a gap of time between 1:30 p.m., when riot­ers were over­whelm­ing police out­side the capi­tol and offi­cials began to request mil­i­tary sup­port, and 5:20 p.m., when the nation­al guard unit arrived.

    By that time, the insur­rec­tion had most­ly been sup­pressed by local and region­al police units.
    ...

    In oth­er words, the guard was only allowed to show up after the insur­rec­tion failed. And based on Tues­day’s tes­ti­mo­ny, it was Chris Miller, Lt Gen. Wal­ter E. Piatt, and Charles Fly­nn who were deter­min­ing whether or not the guard need­ed to con­tin­ue stand­ing by while Trump’s army ran­sacked the Capi­tol. And as we just saw, they were active­ly decid­ing to issue stand­by orders. This was­n’t a sit­u­a­tion where an order was­n’t giv­en or some­how was­n’t received. Orders were repeat­ed­ly giv­en. Orders to standby...until they stood by long enough for the even­tu­al orders to deploy to no longer mat­ter.

    In relat­ed news, the Pen­ta­gon has decid­ed not to pros­e­cute Michael Fly­nn over his recent calls for a Myan­mar-style mil­i­tary coup in the US. Why the lenient treat­ment for one of the lead­ing fig­ures behind the insur­rec­tion? It sounds like fears of right-wing claims that the Biden admin­is­tra­tion is using the mil­i­tary to impose a left-wing agen­da were the impe­tus for this deci­sion. Which sure sounds an awful lot like fears of using the nation­al guard to stop an insur­rec­tion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 15, 2021, 5:01 pm
  21. Was the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion all just an elab­o­rate fed­er­al oper­a­tion designed by the FBI to entrap Trump sup­port­ers? That’s the lat­est right-wing meme get­ting pushed by Tuck­er Carl­son this week. It’s a nar­ra­tive based on an obser­va­tion and an extreme extrap­o­la­tion. The obser­va­tion is that the fed­er­al charg­ing doc­u­ments for the insur­rec­tion­ists include ref­er­ences to “unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors”. This obser­va­tion led to the extrap­o­la­tion that these unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors are actu­al­ly under­cov­er FBI agents and, there­fore, the entire Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion was actu­al­ly an FBI-orches­trat­ed event designed to malign good Trump-lov­ing patri­ots as domes­tic ter­ror­ists. The meme was first put for­ward in Revolver.news, a right-wing garbage news out­let.

    One of the fig­ures from Revolver, Dar­ren Beat­tie, joined Tuck­er Carl­son on his show to talk about this sto­ry. Recall how Beat­tie was fired from his posi­tion as a White House speech­writer in 2018 after it was revealed that Beat­tie spoke at the 2016 HL Menck­en Club, a small annu­al con­fer­ence start­ed in 2008 reg­u­lar­ly attend­ed by promi­nent white nation­al­ists like Richard Spencer. Beat­tie declared it a “great hon­or” dur­ing the event. But that was­n’t the end of Beat­tie’s time with the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. In Novem­ber of 2020, then-Pres­i­dent Trump appoint­ed Beat­tie to a com­mis­sion that helps pre­serve sites relat­ed to the Holo­caust. Yes, fol­low­ing his loss, Trump appoint­ed a guy he was forced to fire over white nation­al­ist ties to a Holo­caust remem­brance com­mis­sion.

    Oh, and Beat­tie is also the guy behind the report in Revolver that was used to sug­gest Capi­tol offi­cer Bri­an Sick­nick — who died fol­low­ing the insur­rec­tion — had actu­al­ly died of nat­ur­al caus­es and there was a plot to pin his death on the insur­rec­tion in order to puff of the impeach­ment case against Trump. So Beat­tie some­one with exact­ly the kind of bad faith jour­nal­is­tic track record that would make him the per­fect fit for a seg­ment on Tuck­er Carl­son white­wash­ing the Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion:

    Law and Crime

    Tuck­er Carl­son Ignored Laws and Com­mon Prac­tices While Sug­gest­ing Under­cov­er FBI Agents, Not Pro-Trump Crim­i­nals, Are to Blame for Jan. 6

    Aaron Keller
    Jun 16th, 2021, 3:59 pm

    The Fox News opin­ion host whose legal defense has been that view­ers shouldn’t believe what he says is lit­er­al­ly true has now tried to sug­gest that “unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors” cit­ed in con­nec­tion with the Jan. 6th siege on the U.S. Capi­tol Com­plex may have been under­cov­er gov­ern­ment actors. Tuck­er Carl­son insin­u­at­ed that the gov­ern­ment was to blame for what hap­pened at the Capi­tol by cit­ing to a web­site which failed to cite or ana­lyze the law or com­mon legal prac­tices while claim­ing a gov­ern­ment con­spir­a­cy sur­round­ed what occurred on Jan. 6th.

    The Broad­cast

    In a Tues­day evening mono­logue, Carl­son rant­ed about “Per­son 2” — a man alleged to have “stormed the bar­ri­cades” around the Capi­tol and stayed in a hotel room with indict­ed Oath Keep­ers mem­ber Thomas Cald­well — and “Per­son 3,” anoth­er uniden­ti­fied and uncharged co-con­spir­a­tor.

    “In poten­tial­ly every sin­gle case, they were FBI oper­a­tives,” Carl­son sug­gest­ed. “Real­ly? In the Capi­tol on Jan. 6th!”

    “They were almost cer­tain­ly work­ing for the FBI,” Carl­son also said of these “per­sons.”

    He then called the unnamed indi­vid­u­als the “orga­niz­ers” of what took place.

    “So, FBI oper­a­tives were orga­niz­ing the attack on the capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6th, accord­ing to gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments,” he exclaimed. “So, it turns out this white suprema­cist insur­rec­tion was — again, by the government’s own admis­sion in these doc­u­ments — orga­nized at least in part by gov­ern­ment agents!”

    Embat­tled con­gress­man Matt Gaetz (R‑Fla.) and con­tro­ver­sial con­gress­woman Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene (R‑Ga.) quick­ly ampli­fied Carlson’s spec­u­la­tion on Twit­ter, using it to call for an inves­ti­ga­tion.

    We need names and answers about the FBI oper­a­tives, who were involved in orga­niz­ing and car­ry­ing out the Jan 6th Capi­tol riot.First they had a “back up plan” to stop Trump in Rus­sia Col­lu­sion witch hunt, now we are find­ing out they were deeply involved in Jan 6th.Deep State. https://t.co/q8jKFQwVAJ— Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene ???? (@mtgreenee) June 16, 2021

    Much of the Carl­son mono­logue was sourced to Revolver News, a web­site Forbes has described as a “right-wing” aggre­ga­tor of con­tent. Last sum­mer, the site advo­cat­ed the shoot­ing of racial jus­tice pro­test­ers. It has been heav­i­ly pro­mot­ed by Don­ald Trump and mem­bers of his admin­is­tra­tion.

    The under­ly­ing Revolver sto­ry claimed that a “curi­ous lack of indict­ments” against unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors ref­er­enced in var­i­ous capi­tol siege cas­es — includ­ing indi­vid­u­als known as “Per­son 2, Per­son 3, Per­son 10, Per­son 14, Per­son 15, Per­son 16, Per­son 19 and Per­son 20, along with many co-con­spir­a­tors” — raised trou­bling “red flags.” The Revolver sto­ry also sug­gest­ed, as did Carl­son, that the unnamed and unin­dict­ed indi­vid­u­als were under­cov­er gov­ern­ment agents.

    The Revolver arti­cle used the word “entrap­ment” a sum total of four times to describe the alleged actions of these alleged gov­ern­ment agents. That’s a legal­ly oper­a­tive word we’ll dis­cuss fur­ther in a moment.

    A Revolver rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Dar­ren Beat­tie, appeared on Carlson’s broad­cast to agree that the “remark­able” report “cer­tain­ly sug­gests” the “pos­si­bil­i­ty” that the FBI “orga­nized the riots.” Beat­tie claimed that the piece is “the most impor­tant and the dark­est inves­tiga­tive piece” many peo­ple have seen “in years.” Beat­tie said peo­ple deserved to know the truth about what occurred on Jan. 6th for the sake of Ash­li Bab­bitt and oth­ers. Bab­bitt was shot and killed by a law enforce­ment offi­cer as she attempt­ed to enter the Speaker’s Lob­by dur­ing the siege.

    Beat­tie claimed the “key that unlocks the truth to 1/6” is the ques­tion of whether the key mili­tia groups were infil­trat­ed and led by the FBI and oth­er gov­ern­ment agen­cies — in oth­er words, spurred to do what they did by the gov­ern­ment and then brand­ed as domes­tic ter­ror­ists.

    As an aside, the New York Times report­ed last Novem­ber that Beat­tie was fired from the Trump White House as a speech­writer in 2018 for attend­ing “a gath­er­ing with white nation­al­ists.” He lat­er was placed on a com­mis­sion which aims to pre­serve sites relat­ed to the Holo­caust — a move which was opposed by the Anti-Defama­tion League.

    Both Carl­son and Beat­tie admit­ted that addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion was nec­es­sary to ful­ly answer the ques­tion. Gaetz agreed by mid­day on Wednes­day and demand­ed to know whether FBI agents were “active insti­ga­tors.”

    BREAKING: Con­gress­man Matt Gaetz calls on FBI Direc­tor Christo­pher Wray to ful­ly dis­close the role and involve­ment of FBI oper­a­tives dur­ing the Jan­u­ary 6th Capi­tol riot.More details com­ing. pic.twitter.com/lviUHfhLyW— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) June 16, 2021

    Let’s dis­cuss these claims.

    Con­spir­a­cy?

    The Carlson/Beattie claim that gov­ern­ment agents are unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors makes very lit­tle log­i­cal sense as a mat­ter of law. It is well-set­tled lawat least in the Eleventh Cir­cuit — that “gov­ern­ment agents and inform­ers can­not be con­spir­a­tors.” And oth­er legal experts agree. So, when Beat­tie and Carl­son sug­gest that FBI agents might be unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors involved in the Capi­tol breach, they are sug­gest­ing some­thing that is lit­er­al­ly not even a thing. It’s like a liq­uid sol­id, or a work­ing flux capac­i­tor, or an under­ground sky, or a Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence from 1775 — a fig­ment of the imag­i­na­tion.

    How­ev­er, “a defen­dant may be con­vict­ed of con­spir­ing with per­sons whose names are unknown or who have not been tried and acquit­ted, if the indict­ment asserts that such oth­er per­sons exist, and the evi­dence sup­ports their exis­tence and the exis­tence of a con­spir­a­cy.” So, it is pos­si­ble for a Jan. 6th defen­dant to be charged for con­spir­ing with some­one who the gov­ern­ment can­not iden­ti­fy.

    Stan­dard Prac­tice — Who Is Who?

    It is not com­mon for fed­er­al court doc­u­ments to refer to under­cov­er agents or crim­i­nal infor­mants mere­ly as “per­sons.” Under com­mon DOJ par­lance, Infor­mants are referred to asCon­fi­den­tial Sources” (“CHS”), and agents are referred to as “Under­cov­er Employ­ees” (“UCE“), as the Revolver sto­ry itself points out.

    Addi­tion­al­ly, the Jus­tice Department’s man­u­al for U.S. Attor­neys says “pros­e­cu­tors gen­er­al­ly should not iden­ti­fy unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors in con­spir­a­cy indict­ments.” The man­u­al, cit­ing case law, sug­gests only “gener­ic ref­er­ence” to such indi­vid­u­als.

    The 1975 case upon which the Jus­tice Manual’s pro­hi­bi­tion is based warns of “harm to the cit­i­zen who is accused but not indict­ed.” It sug­gests “pri­vate injury” may “stigmatiz[e] pri­vate cit­i­zens as crim­i­nals while not nam­ing them as defen­dants or afford­ing [them] access to any forum for vin­di­ca­tion.”

    “[W]e know of no rea­son why, if the indict­ment wish­es to cen­ter upon a spe­cif­ic per­son but not name him as defen­dant, he can­not be described as ‘John Doe,’” the court said. “An unin­dict­ed con­spir­a­tor anony­mous­ly des­ig­nat­ed as an ‘oth­er per­son’ or as ‘John Doe’ may be unmasked in a bill of par­tic­u­lars or at tri­al.”

    The pro­ce­dure fol­lowed gen­er­al­ly by the Capi­tol siege cas­es fol­lows these pat­terns and prac­tices.

    The Iden­ti­ties

    The iden­ti­ty of at least one of the “per­sons” ref­er­enced in Capi­tol siege cas­es is known. For instance, “Per­son One” is Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes, the Wash­ing­ton Post has report­ed.

    “The Oath Keep­ers are led by Per­son One,” fed­er­al court doc­u­ments also explain.

    Accord­ing to those doc­u­ments:

    On Jan­u­ary 4, 2021, Per­son One post­ed an arti­cle to the Oath Keep­ers web­site encour­ag­ing Oath Keep­er mem­bers and affil­i­ates to go to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., for the events of Jan­u­ary 5–6, 2021, stat­ing: “It is CRITICAL that all patri­ots who can be in DC get to DC to stand tall in sup­port of Pres­i­dent Trump’s fight to defeat the ene­mies for­eign and domes­tic who are attempt­ing a coup, through the mas­sive vote fraud and relat­ed attacks on our Repub­lic. We Oath Keep­ers are both hon­or-bound and eager to be there in strength to do our part.”

    Rhodes has mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence and is a grad­u­ate of Yale Law School, the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter says. Buz­zFeed report­ed that he stayed out­side the Capi­tol on Jan. 6th. The Mon­tana Supreme Court dis­barred Rhodes in 2015. He has not been charged with a crime in con­nec­tion with the Capi­tol siege.

    Indeed, links between the var­i­ous Jan. 6th defen­dants, the mil­i­tary, and the gov­ern­ment have been long acknowl­edged. Thomas Cald­well, a named mem­ber of the alleged Oath Keep­ers con­spir­a­cy, is a retired lieu­tenant in the mil­i­tary who lat­er worked for the FBI, court doc­u­ments have revealed. The entire mis­sion of the Oath Keep­ers, after all, is to recruit for­mer police, mil­i­tary, and first respon­ders into the organization’s ranks. Find­ing indi­vid­u­als with FBI con­nec­tions with­in the group’s ros­ter should not be a sur­prise.

    But even if active, loy­al FBI agents infil­trat­ed the group, the per­son at the top, who is not by any account an FBI employ­ee, was alleged to have been call­ing the shots.

    And fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors remain in the process of fil­ing charges and bring­ing super­sed­ing indict­ments. There has been a clear pat­tern of tar­get­ing, then even­tu­al­ly iden­ti­fy­ing and nam­ing indi­vid­u­als for pros­e­cu­tion in the Jan. 6th Capi­tol breach cas­es

    It’s Like­ly Not Entrap­ment

    While we await the iden­ti­ties of the var­i­ous “per­sons” ref­er­enced by Carl­son and the Revolver, it’s impor­tant to acknowl­edge that the under­ly­ing law of entrap­ment does not sug­gest the type of legal bomb­shell con­tem­plat­ed by Beat­tie or Carl­son.

    And that’s impor­tant. Even if Beat­tie and Carl­son are com­plete­ly cor­rect — and that’s unlike­ly — it like­ly won’t mat­ter much legal­ly.

    The Revolver sto­ry start­ed to insin­u­ate an entrap­ment defense for those charged:

    If it turns out that an extra­or­di­nary per­cent­age of the mem­bers of these groups involved in plan­ning and exe­cut­ing the Capi­tol Siege were fed­er­al infor­mants or under­cov­er oper­a­tives, the impli­ca­tions would be noth­ing short of stag­ger­ing. This would be far worse than the already bad sit­u­a­tion of the gov­ern­ment know­ing about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of vio­lence and doing noth­ing. Instead, this would imply that ele­ments of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment were active insti­ga­tors in the most egre­gious and spec­tac­u­lar aspects of 1/6, amount­ing to a mon­u­men­tal entrap­ment scheme used as a pre­text to imprison oth­er­wise harm­less pro­tes­tors at the Capi­tol — and in a much larg­er sense used to frame the entire MAGA move­ment as poten­tial domes­tic ter­ror­ists.

    [ . . . ]

    Indeed, if the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment knew of a poten­tial for vio­lence in or around the Capi­tol on 1/6 and failed to call for height­ened secu­ri­ty, the agen­cies respon­si­ble may in fact be legal­ly liable for the dam­ages incurred dur­ing that day.

    The Revolver sto­ry went on to attempt to com­pare the acknowl­edged use of under­cov­er agents in cas­es involv­ing a plot to kid­nap Demo­c­ra­t­ic Michi­gan Gov. Gretchen Whit­mer and the cas­es involv­ing the Jan. 6th siege at the U.S. Capi­tol Com­plex.

    “The pos­si­bil­i­ty of an FBI entrap­ment-type oper­a­tion is espe­cial­ly dis­turb­ing in light of the strik­ing par­al­lels between the Michi­gan Plot and the so-called Capi­tol Siege of 1/6,” the Revolver sto­ry said.

    The prob­lem is that the sto­ry log­i­cal­ly leaps to — or sug­gests — the legal con­clu­sion that the use of under­cov­er infor­mants is a bad thing. The Revolver cites no laws, so the piece asks its read­ers to agree that “a poten­tial­ly extra­or­di­nary scan­dal” is afoot with­out any author­i­ta­tive argu­ment as to whether the alleged under­ly­ing con­duct — even if it is true — is ille­gal.

    Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, entrap­ment defens­es focus on what the U.S. Supreme Court and oth­er courts have called “pre­dis­po­si­tion” — that is, whether the defen­dant was “ready and will­ing with­out per­sua­sion” to com­mit a crime and was “await­ing any pro­pi­tious oppor­tu­ni­ty to com­mit the offense.” Though there is some dis­agree­ment in the case law about the pre­cise para­me­ters of law of entrap­ment, the legal test employed gen­er­al­ly mea­sures a defendant’s propen­si­ties and incli­na­tions regard­less of an under­cov­er agent’s involve­ment. If a defen­dant is already on track to com­mit a crime and an under­cov­er agent mere­ly greas­es the rails and helps make the crime hap­pen, entrap­ment does not occur, and the defen­dant is usu­al­ly caught red-hand­ed by a gov­ern­ment agent wit­ness who is more than will­ing to tes­ti­fy about the par­tic­u­lars. The legal the­o­ry at play here is that the defen­dant would have sim­ply engaged the assis­tance of some­one oth­er than the under­cov­er gov­ern­ment agent and com­mit­ted the crime any­way.

    A suc­cess­ful entrap­ment defense gen­er­al­ly shows the defendant’s “unreadi­ness” to com­mit the crime. An “unready” defen­dant is one who is bad­gered or pushed by the gov­ern­ment into com­mit­ting an ille­gal act after refus­ing or express­ing clear doubts and mis­giv­ings about so doing.

    As one U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Cir­cuit Court case explains:

    Induce­ment by law enforce­ment offi­cials may take many forms includ­ing per­sua­sion, fraud­u­lent rep­re­sen­ta­tions, threats, coer­cive tac­tics, harass­ment, promis­es of reward, or pleas based on need, sym­pa­thy or friend­ship. A solic­i­ta­tion, request or approach by law enforce­ment offi­cials to engage in crim­i­nal activ­i­ty, stand­ing alone, is not an induce­ment.

    Based on what we know right now about the Capi­tol siege cas­es, few if any unready or reluc­tant defen­dants have been iden­ti­fied. Most seemed ebul­lient about the thought of dis­rupt­ing the pro­ceed­ings to install Joe Biden as pres­i­dent.

    Then there’s anoth­er relat­ed legal doc­trine called “entrap­ment by estop­pel.” That’s when an indi­vid­ual asks a gov­ern­ment offi­cial whether or not a cer­tain activ­i­ty is legal, is giv­en bad advice, and hence­forth relies on that advice to com­mit an ille­gal act — all while think­ing the act was legal based on the gov­ern­ment agent’s advice.

    An unpub­lished but often cit­ed 2008 case from the East­ern Dis­trict of Penn­syl­va­nia explains the law:

    A defen­dant who rais­es this defense must prove by a pre­pon­der­ance of the evi­dence that: “(1) a gov­ern­ment offi­cial (2) told the defen­dant that cer­tain crim­i­nal con­duct was legal, (3) the defen­dant actu­al­ly relied on the gov­ern­ment official’s state­ments, (4) and the defendant’s reliance was in good faith and rea­son­able in light of the iden­ti­ty of the gov­ern­ment offi­cial, the point of law rep­re­sent­ed, and the sub­stance of the official’s state­ment.” Unit­ed States v. Stew­art, 185 F.3d 112, 124 (3d Cir. 1999) (quot­ing Unit­ed States v. West Indies Transp., Inc., 127 F.3d 299, 313 (3d Cir. 1997)).

    It’s unlike­ly that an under­cov­er agent who infil­trat­ed a mili­tia group would have admit­ted his or her sta­tus as an active gov­ern­ment agent for the pur­pos­es of giv­ing advice to oth­ers in the group on the legal­i­ties of their actions. There­fore, it’s unlike­ly this par­tic­u­lar type of entrap­ment defense would apply to the known Capi­tol siege cas­es.

    In an email to Law&Crime, the FBI said it “received the con­gres­sion­al let­ter” from Rep. Gaetz but had “no addi­tion­al com­ment.”

    ...

    ———–

    “Tuck­er Carl­son Ignored Laws and Com­mon Prac­tices While Sug­gest­ing Under­cov­er FBI Agents, Not Pro-Trump Crim­i­nals, Are to Blame for Jan. 6” by Aaron Keller; Law and Crime; 06/16/2021

    A Revolver rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Dar­ren Beat­tie, appeared on Carlson’s broad­cast to agree that the “remark­able” report “cer­tain­ly sug­gests” the “pos­si­bil­i­ty” that the FBI “orga­nized the riots.” Beat­tie claimed that the piece is “the most impor­tant and the dark­est inves­tiga­tive piece” many peo­ple have seen “in years.” Beat­tie said peo­ple deserved to know the truth about what occurred on Jan. 6th for the sake of Ash­li Bab­bitt and oth­ers. Bab­bitt was shot and killed by a law enforce­ment offi­cer as she attempt­ed to enter the Speaker’s Lob­by dur­ing the siege.”

    Yes, the “remark­able” report “cer­tain­ly sug­gests” the “pos­si­bil­i­ty” that the FBI “orga­nized the riots.” At least that’s how Tuck­er Carl­son and Dar­ren Beat­tie want­ed the audi­ence to con­clude. A con­clu­sion based on the assump­tion that the unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors in the charg­ing doc­u­ments were not just FBI oper­a­tives but also the peo­ple behind the whole insur­rec­tion plot. As Carl­son sees it, “In poten­tial­ly every sin­gle case, they were FBI oper­a­tives”. And a new meme is born: It’s now going to be tak­en as gospel in right-wing media that the Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion was the work of under­cov­er FBI oper­a­tives. Tuck­er Carl­son and Dar­ren Beat­tie mere­ly won­der­ing if its pos­si­ble that all of these unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors were FBI agents is evi­dence enough in the minds of this audi­ence that, yes, they were all like­ly FBI agents and the whole insur­rec­tion was an FBI plot:

    ...
    In a Tues­day evening mono­logue, Carl­son rant­ed about “Per­son 2” — a man alleged to have “stormed the bar­ri­cades” around the Capi­tol and stayed in a hotel room with indict­ed Oath Keep­ers mem­ber Thomas Cald­well — and “Per­son 3,” anoth­er uniden­ti­fied and uncharged co-con­spir­a­tor.

    “In poten­tial­ly every sin­gle case, they were FBI oper­a­tives,” Carl­son sug­gest­ed. “Real­ly? In the Capi­tol on Jan. 6th!”

    “They were almost cer­tain­ly work­ing for the FBI,” Carl­son also said of these “per­sons.”

    He then called the unnamed indi­vid­u­als the “orga­niz­ers” of what took place.

    “So, FBI oper­a­tives were orga­niz­ing the attack on the capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6th, accord­ing to gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments,” he exclaimed. “So, it turns out this white suprema­cist insur­rec­tion was — again, by the government’s own admis­sion in these doc­u­ments — orga­nized at least in part by gov­ern­ment agents!”
    ...

    And notice the sub­tle word play at work here: Beat­tie asserts that “key that unlocks the truth to 1/6” is the ques­tion of whether the key mili­tia groups were infil­trat­ed and led by the FBI and oth­er gov­ern­ment agen­cies. That lead­er­ship role is cru­cial here. Because if you had FBI agents or infor­mants that were mere­ly mem­bers of thee groups plot­ting the insur­rec­tion, but weren’t active­ly lead­ing the plot­ting them­selves, that is a very dif­fer­ent sce­nario than one where the FBI agents them­selves are act­ing as the ring-lead­ers of an oper­a­tion and coax­ing unsus­pect­ing peo­ple into an insur­rec­tionary mind­set. And yet Beat­tie and Carl­son are basi­cal­ly smudg­ing that dis­tinc­tion between those two very dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions by point­ing to the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors were FBI agents and then heav­i­ly imply­ing that they were also lead­ing the insur­rec­tion plan­ning. It’s just one more bad faith per­for­mance by one of the most cyn­i­cal and dan­ger­ous shows on tele­vi­sion. And yes, Carl­son and Beat­tie will acknowl­edge that they don’t yet have the infor­ma­tion to prove their case, but the over­ar­ch­ing mes­sage con­veyed to the audi­ence over the course of the seg­ment is that yes, it was prob­a­bly an FBI set up designed to entrap Trump sup­port­ers:

    ...
    Much of the Carl­son mono­logue was sourced to Revolver News, a web­site Forbes has described as a “right-wing” aggre­ga­tor of con­tent. Last sum­mer, the site advo­cat­ed the shoot­ing of racial jus­tice pro­test­ers. It has been heav­i­ly pro­mot­ed by Don­ald Trump and mem­bers of his admin­is­tra­tion.

    The under­ly­ing Revolver sto­ry claimed that a “curi­ous lack of indict­ments” against unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors ref­er­enced in var­i­ous capi­tol siege cas­es — includ­ing indi­vid­u­als known as “Per­son 2, Per­son 3, Per­son 10, Per­son 14, Per­son 15, Per­son 16, Per­son 19 and Per­son 20, along with many co-con­spir­a­tors” — raised trou­bling “red flags.” The Revolver sto­ry also sug­gest­ed, as did Carl­son, that the unnamed and unin­dict­ed indi­vid­u­als were under­cov­er gov­ern­ment agents.

    The Revolver arti­cle used the word “entrap­ment” a sum total of four times to describe the alleged actions of these alleged gov­ern­ment agents. That’s a legal­ly oper­a­tive word we’ll dis­cuss fur­ther in a moment.

    ...

    Beat­tie claimed the “key that unlocks the truth to 1/6” is the ques­tion of whether the key mili­tia groups were infil­trat­ed and led by the FBI and oth­er gov­ern­ment agen­cies — in oth­er words, spurred to do what they did by the gov­ern­ment and then brand­ed as domes­tic ter­ror­ists.

    As an aside, the New York Times report­ed last Novem­ber that Beat­tie was fired from the Trump White House as a speech­writer in 2018 for attend­ing “a gath­er­ing with white nation­al­ists.” He lat­er was placed on a com­mis­sion which aims to pre­serve sites relat­ed to the Holo­caust — a move which was opposed by the Anti-Defama­tion League.

    Both Carl­son and Beat­tie admit­ted that addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion was nec­es­sary to ful­ly answer the ques­tion. Gaetz agreed by mid­day on Wednes­day and demand­ed to know whether FBI agents were “active insti­ga­tors.”

    ...

    And note how we already know the iden­ti­ty of at least one of the unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors: “Per­son 1” is Oath Keep­er founder Stew­art Rhodes. Recall how we’ve already seen how Rhodes was active­ly issu­ing orders to his Oath Keep­ers dur­ing the insur­rec­tion. Orders to lit­er­al­ly breach the doors of the Capi­tol in one case. Are we to assume that Rhodes was actu­al­ly work­ing as an FBI agent this entire time? Although, in fair­ness, a lot of the lead­ers of these groups prob­a­bly do have his­to­ries of work­ing with the FBI. Recall how Proud Boy leader Enrique Tar­rio was revealed to a long-time FBI infor­mant. But there’s still a big dif­fer­ence between hav­ing a his­to­ry of act­ing as an FBI infor­mant and act­ing as an actu­al FBI under­cov­er agent. Espe­cial­ly when you’re talk­ing about groups like the Oath Keep­ers that are lit­er­al­ly set up to recruit for­mer mem­bers of law enforce­ment with deep anti-gov­ern­ment sen­ti­ments. It’s the per­fect recipe for find­ing peo­ple with a his­to­ry of act­ing as infor­mants who are simul­ta­ne­ous­ly gen­uine­ly work­ing to over­throw the gov­ern­ment:

    ...
    The Carlson/Beattie claim that gov­ern­ment agents are unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors makes very lit­tle log­i­cal sense as a mat­ter of law. It is well-set­tled lawat least in the Eleventh Cir­cuit — that “gov­ern­ment agents and inform­ers can­not be con­spir­a­tors.” And oth­er legal experts agree. So, when Beat­tie and Carl­son sug­gest that FBI agents might be unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors involved in the Capi­tol breach, they are sug­gest­ing some­thing that is lit­er­al­ly not even a thing. It’s like a liq­uid sol­id, or a work­ing flux capac­i­tor, or an under­ground sky, or a Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence from 1775 — a fig­ment of the imag­i­na­tion.

    How­ev­er, “a defen­dant may be con­vict­ed of con­spir­ing with per­sons whose names are unknown or who have not been tried and acquit­ted, if the indict­ment asserts that such oth­er per­sons exist, and the evi­dence sup­ports their exis­tence and the exis­tence of a con­spir­a­cy.” So, it is pos­si­ble for a Jan. 6th defen­dant to be charged for con­spir­ing with some­one who the gov­ern­ment can­not iden­ti­fy.

    ...

    The iden­ti­ty of at least one of the “per­sons” ref­er­enced in Capi­tol siege cas­es is known. For instance, “Per­son One” is Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes, the Wash­ing­ton Post has report­ed.

    “The Oath Keep­ers are led by Per­son One,” fed­er­al court doc­u­ments also explain.

    ...

    Indeed, links between the var­i­ous Jan. 6th defen­dants, the mil­i­tary, and the gov­ern­ment have been long acknowl­edged. Thomas Cald­well, a named mem­ber of the alleged Oath Keep­ers con­spir­a­cy, is a retired lieu­tenant in the mil­i­tary who lat­er worked for the FBI, court doc­u­ments have revealed. The entire mis­sion of the Oath Keep­ers, after all, is to recruit for­mer police, mil­i­tary, and first respon­ders into the organization’s ranks. Find­ing indi­vid­u­als with FBI con­nec­tions with­in the group’s ros­ter should not be a sur­prise.

    But even if active, loy­al FBI agents infil­trat­ed the group, the per­son at the top, who is not by any account an FBI employ­ee, was alleged to have been call­ing the shots.
    ...

    So that’s where the memet­ic lines are cur­rent­ly being drawn on this sto­ry. As the Revolver sto­ry frames it, “If it turns out that an extra­or­di­nary per­cent­age of the mem­bers of these groups involved in plan­ning and exe­cut­ing the Capi­tol Siege were fed­er­al infor­mants or under­cov­er oper­a­tives, the impli­ca­tions would be noth­ing short of stag­ger­ing.” Which is true. The impli­ca­tions would be stag­ger­ing. At the same time, if there weren’t any FBI infor­mants or under­cov­er oper­a­tives in these groups at all that would also be pret­ty stag­ger­ing. Would­n’t that have been a gross dere­lic­tion of duty? So we’re fac­ing the ques­tion of what is the appro­pri­ate num­ber of FBI infor­mants that should have been in these groups with­out it seem­ing like an FBI-run entrap­ment oper­a­tion. Along with ques­tions of what the role actu­al­ly was of any infor­mants. Nuanced ques­tions about how the law and jus­tice sys­tem works. And that’s a set of ques­tions the Amer­i­can pub­lic is obvi­ous­ly deeply ill-equipped to ask, as evi­denced by the endur­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty of some­one like Tuck­er Carl­son. It’s part of why this emerg­ing meme is such an impor­tant sto­ry: it’s exact­ly the kind of com­pli­cat­ed mess the right-wing media has spe­cial­ized in exploit­ing for max­i­mum pro­pa­gan­da suc­cess:

    ...
    While we await the iden­ti­ties of the var­i­ous “per­sons” ref­er­enced by Carl­son and the Revolver, it’s impor­tant to acknowl­edge that the under­ly­ing law of entrap­ment does not sug­gest the type of legal bomb­shell con­tem­plat­ed by Beat­tie or Carl­son.

    And that’s impor­tant. Even if Beat­tie and Carl­son are com­plete­ly cor­rect — and that’s unlike­ly — it like­ly won’t mat­ter much legal­ly.

    The Revolver sto­ry start­ed to insin­u­ate an entrap­ment defense for those charged:

    If it turns out that an extra­or­di­nary per­cent­age of the mem­bers of these groups involved in plan­ning and exe­cut­ing the Capi­tol Siege were fed­er­al infor­mants or under­cov­er oper­a­tives, the impli­ca­tions would be noth­ing short of stag­ger­ing. This would be far worse than the already bad sit­u­a­tion of the gov­ern­ment know­ing about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of vio­lence and doing noth­ing. Instead, this would imply that ele­ments of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment were active insti­ga­tors in the most egre­gious and spec­tac­u­lar aspects of 1/6, amount­ing to a mon­u­men­tal entrap­ment scheme used as a pre­text to imprison oth­er­wise harm­less pro­tes­tors at the Capi­tol — and in a much larg­er sense used to frame the entire MAGA move­ment as poten­tial domes­tic ter­ror­ists.

    [ . . . ]

    Indeed, if the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment knew of a poten­tial for vio­lence in or around the Capi­tol on 1/6 and failed to call for height­ened secu­ri­ty, the agen­cies respon­si­ble may in fact be legal­ly liable for the dam­ages incurred dur­ing that day.

    The Revolver sto­ry went on to attempt to com­pare the acknowl­edged use of under­cov­er agents in cas­es involv­ing a plot to kid­nap Demo­c­ra­t­ic Michi­gan Gov. Gretchen Whit­mer and the cas­es involv­ing the Jan. 6th siege at the U.S. Capi­tol Com­plex.

    “The pos­si­bil­i­ty of an FBI entrap­ment-type oper­a­tion is espe­cial­ly dis­turb­ing in light of the strik­ing par­al­lels between the Michi­gan Plot and the so-called Capi­tol Siege of 1/6,” the Revolver sto­ry said.

    The prob­lem is that the sto­ry log­i­cal­ly leaps to — or sug­gests — the legal con­clu­sion that the use of under­cov­er infor­mants is a bad thing. The Revolver cites no laws, so the piece asks its read­ers to agree that “a poten­tial­ly extra­or­di­nary scan­dal” is afoot with­out any author­i­ta­tive argu­ment as to whether the alleged under­ly­ing con­duct — even if it is true — is ille­gal.

    Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, entrap­ment defens­es focus on what the U.S. Supreme Court and oth­er courts have called “pre­dis­po­si­tion” — that is, whether the defen­dant was “ready and will­ing with­out per­sua­sion” to com­mit a crime and was “await­ing any pro­pi­tious oppor­tu­ni­ty to com­mit the offense.” Though there is some dis­agree­ment in the case law about the pre­cise para­me­ters of law of entrap­ment, the legal test employed gen­er­al­ly mea­sures a defendant’s propen­si­ties and incli­na­tions regard­less of an under­cov­er agent’s involve­ment. If a defen­dant is already on track to com­mit a crime and an under­cov­er agent mere­ly greas­es the rails and helps make the crime hap­pen, entrap­ment does not occur, and the defen­dant is usu­al­ly caught red-hand­ed by a gov­ern­ment agent wit­ness who is more than will­ing to tes­ti­fy about the par­tic­u­lars. The legal the­o­ry at play here is that the defen­dant would have sim­ply engaged the assis­tance of some­one oth­er than the under­cov­er gov­ern­ment agent and com­mit­ted the crime any­way.
    ...

    We’ll see what more we learn about these unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors. But as Beat­tie’s appear­ance on Carl­son’s show makes clear, we can expect the lack of cer­tain­ty about what role those unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tor played in the insur­rec­tion to be treat­ed as a green light by fig­ures like Carl­son and Beat­tie to push what­ev­er nar­ra­tive they can think of that absolves Trump and the insur­rec­tion­ists.

    With that in mind, it’s worth not­ing anoth­er sto­ry that popped up this week regard­ing the cul­pa­bil­i­ty for insti­gat­ing the insur­rec­tion: there are grow­ing calls for the arrest of Alex Jones for the role he played in lead­ing the insur­rec­tion. This is after social media posts from Jan 6, where Jones brags about pay­ing $500,000 for the Jan 6 pro-Trump ral­ly that imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ed the insur­rec­tion. In that same post, Jones claims the White House instruct­ed him to lead the march to the Capi­tol. So we have Alex Jones on video claim­ing the Trump White House lit­er­al­ly gave him march­ing orders:

    Newsweek

    Calls for Alex Jones’ Arrest Grow Loud­er After His $500K Dona­tion to Jan­u­ary 6 Ral­ly Resur­faces

    By Christi­na Zhao
    On 6/12/21 at 7:16 PM EDT

    Right-wing radio host Alex Jones is fac­ing online calls for his arrest after social media users resur­faced the con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist’s near­ly $500,000 dona­tion to a Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly that pre­ced­ed the Capi­tol riot.

    In a video post­ed from Wash­ing­ton D.C. on Jan­u­ary 6, Jones said his media com­pa­ny paid to orga­nize the pro-Trump ral­ly that took place pri­or to the insur­rec­tion. He also claimed that the White House instruct­ed him to lead the march to the Capi­tol.

    “No one would book the Ellipse, no one would book the oth­er areas. No one would pay for it. We went and paid for it,” he said. “It cost close to half a mil­lion dol­lars.”

    Jones has pre­vi­ous­ly faced calls for his arrest over his involve­ment in push­ing Trump’s base­less claim that wide­spread vot­er fraud caused his elec­tion defeat to Pres­i­dent Joe Biden. In Decem­ber, crit­ics demand­ed the radio host be arrest­ed for insist­ing that Biden would be removed from office “one way or the oth­er.”

    On Sat­ur­day, the calls for Jones’ arrest grew loud­er after a Twit­ter user resur­faced his dona­tion to the event that led to the riot. “Alex Jones paid $500,000 to orga­nize the insur­rec­tion on Jan­u­ary 6th and he admits to get­ting his march­ing orders from Don­ald Trump. They lit­er­al­ly spon­sored a domes­tic ter­ror­ist attack on our nation’s cap­i­tal. Arrest them,” tweet­ed user @davenewworld_2, along­side Jones’ Jan­u­ary 6 video.

    ...

    Con­ser­v­a­tive activist Melis­sa Tate was among those that defend­ed Jones. “Alex Jones on video lit­er­al­ly telling peo­ple NOT to storm the Capi­tol. Des­per­ate Dems keep beat­ing the Jan 6th dead horse that no one cares about. Peo­ple care about their gas prices sky rock­et­ing,” she tweet­ed, along­side a video of Jones urg­ing pro­test­ers “not to have a con­fronta­tion with the police.”

    Alex Jones on video lit­er­al­ly telling peo­ple NOT to storm the Capi­tol. Des­per­ate Dems keep beat­ing the Jan 6th dead horse that no one cares about. Peo­ple care about their gas prices sky rock­et­ing pic.twitter.com/VIpSEdvbSe— Melis­sa Tate (@TheRightMelissa) June 12, 2021

    ...

    ————

    “Calls for Alex Jones’ Arrest Grow Loud­er After His $500K Dona­tion to Jan­u­ary 6 Ral­ly Resur­faces” by Christi­na Zhao; Newsweek; 06/12/2021

    “In a video post­ed from Wash­ing­ton D.C. on Jan­u­ary 6, Jones said his media com­pa­ny paid to orga­nize the pro-Trump ral­ly that took place pri­or to the insur­rec­tion. He also claimed that the White House instruct­ed him to lead the march to the Capi­tol.”

    Those were the claims. And yet Alex Jones has nev­er been arrest­ed in rela­tion to those claims. Was he work­ing with the FBI?

    And as Jones describes in the fol­low­ing Jan 8 arti­cle, those march­ing orders were giv­en to Jones by the White House three days before the event, so it was­n’t an impromp­tu deci­sion. Jones also hints at a secret ele­ment behind the insur­rec­tion, assert­ing that 80% of the $500,000 came from an unnamed donor:

    Austin Amer­i­can-States­man

    Alex Jones claims he paid for ral­ly that pre­ced­ed Capi­tol riot

    Kara Carl­son
    Pub­lished 1:07 p.m. CT Jan. 8, 2021 | Updat­ed 5:58 p.m. CT Jan. 9, 2021

    Austin-based con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones claims his com­pa­ny paid for the ral­ly that pre­ced­ed the riot at the U.S. Capi­tol on Wednes­day.

    Jones explained his role in a video post­ed a day after unprece­dent­ed vio­lence at the Capi­tol when a mob sup­port­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump stormed the build­ing to dis­rupt pro­ceed­ings to for­mal­ize the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion results.

    The riot lead to evac­u­a­tion of law­mak­ers, more than 50 arrests and five deaths. Sup­port­ers had gath­ered near­by for two days of Trump ral­lies before a march to the Capi­tol turned into the riot.

    Sev­er­al pho­tos from Wednes­day show Jones, the founder of the right-wing media group InfoWars, address­ing crowds of Trump sup­port­ers on a bull­horn or stand­ing in a crowd. He also spoke at a Trump ral­ly at Free­dom Plaza on Tues­day.

    In the Thurs­day video filmed in Wash­ing­ton, Jones said he was asked by the White House to lead the march to the Capi­tol three days before the event.

    In the video, Jones said the Secret Ser­vice would pull him out of the front row dur­ing the pres­i­den­t’s speech, about 30 min­utes before it end­ed, so he could go to the place where he would start the march. Jones said he ulti­mate­ly did not end up lead­ing the march because there was already a crowd ahead of him.

    Jones also said he paid close to $500,000 to book the Ellipse, the park where Trump’s sup­port­ers ini­tial­ly gath­ered, and oth­er areas near the Capi­tol. He said 80% of the mon­ey came from an unnamed donor.

    “By the time I got out there 20 min­utes, 30 min­utes before Trump fin­ished his speech, there were already hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple ahead of me march­ing. And before Trump ever took the stage, antifa, dressed up — over a hun­dred of them — as patri­ots, was there,” he said, claim­ing with­out evi­dence that antifa fol­low­ers were in the crowd.

    The base­less the­o­ry has been sug­gest­ed by oth­er Trump sup­port­ers as well. The FBI said there is no indi­ca­tion that fol­low­ers of the far-left antifa, short for “anti-fas­cists,” were in the crowd.

    ...

    ————

    “Alex Jones claims he paid for ral­ly that pre­ced­ed Capi­tol riot” by Kara Carl­son; Austin Amer­i­can-States­man; 01/08/2021

    “In the Thurs­day video filmed in Wash­ing­ton, Jones said he was asked by the White House to lead the march to the Capi­tol three days before the event.”

    A planned march, led by Alex Jones. That was the request made by the White House three days before the event. That’s what Jones claimed. He even assert­ed that the secret ser­vice pulled him out of the front row 30 min­utes before event end­ed so he could lead the march. The secret ser­vice was appar­ent­ly in on the plan! Along with an unnamed donor who cov­er $400,000 of the $500,000 Jones paid for the ral­ly:

    ...
    In the video, Jones said the Secret Ser­vice would pull him out of the front row dur­ing the pres­i­den­t’s speech, about 30 min­utes before it end­ed, so he could go to the place where he would start the march. Jones said he ulti­mate­ly did not end up lead­ing the march because there was already a crowd ahead of him.

    Jones also said he paid close to $500,000 to book the Ellipse, the park where Trump’s sup­port­ers ini­tial­ly gath­ered, and oth­er areas near the Capi­tol. He said 80% of the mon­ey came from an unnamed donor.
    ...

    It’s worth recall­ing the claims by Jes­si­ca Watkins — the Oath Keep­er mem­ber who lead the mil­i­tary-style “stack” for­ma­tion group up to the Capi­tol — who said she was oper­at­ing as VIP secu­ri­ty at the Trump ral­ly before the riot and had even been coor­di­nat­ing with the Secret Ser­vice in this capac­i­ty. So Jones would­n’t be the only per­son to make these claims about the Secret Ser­vice work­ing in coor­di­na­tion with the insur­rec­tion­ist.

    Final­ly, note Jones’s rather hilar­i­ous attempts to blame antifa on the insur­rec­tion: he claims he did­n’t lead the march before a crowd was already there ready to go...a crowd of under­cov­er antifa obvi­ous­ly, who were just there to make the Trump sup­port­ers look bad. We were going to lead the march to the capi­tol but antifa got there first to make us look bad. That’s lit­er­al­ly his defense:

    ...
    “By the time I got out there 20 min­utes, 30 min­utes before Trump fin­ished his speech, there were already hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple ahead of me march­ing. And before Trump ever took the stage, antifa, dressed up — over a hun­dred of them — as patri­ots, was there,” he said, claim­ing with­out evi­dence that antifa fol­low­ers were in the crowd.
    ...

    Were those real­ly antifa dressed up as patri­ots? Maybe they were actu­al­ly under­cov­er FBI agents out to thwart Alex Jones and his total­ly non-vio­lent patri­ots who mere­ly want­ed to peace­ful­ly march to the Capi­tol to make more speech­es? These are the kinds of ques­tions that are going to have to be asked with increas­ing inten­si­ty by fig­ures like Tuck­er Carl­son and Dar­ren Beat­tie going for­ward. Oth­er­wise audi­ences might start ask­ing the basic ques­tion of whether or not they should believe their lying eyes and ears.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 17, 2021, 5:15 pm
  22. Here’s a tale of two Repub­li­can death threats. Or, rather, a two tales of Repub­li­can death threats. There are a lot more than just two death threats involved:

    First, Reuters came out with a spe­cial report on the grow­ing pan­dem­ic of death threats being hurled against the offi­cials and work­ers who actu­al­ly con­duct US elec­tions. It turns out the vol­ume and inten­si­ty of the death threats is far more per­va­sive and severe than pre­vi­ous­ly acknowl­edged. Espe­cial­ly in the con­test­ed states like Geor­gia. But part of what makes this sto­ry so inter­est­ing is that the pat­tern of Don­ald Trump pub­licly tar­get­ing elec­tion offi­cials who then get inun­dat­ed with death threats is so clear at that point that it’s pos­si­ble this wave of death threats and intim­i­da­tion could be used to pros­e­cute a rack­e­teer­ing case against Trump. And in Geor­gia, where the death threats have been par­tic­u­lar­ly egre­gious and severe fol­low­ing Trump’s repeat­ed demo­niza­tion of state elec­tion offi­cials, there are indi­ca­tions that pros­e­cu­tors are look­ing into exact­ly that kind of charge. At least if they can prove Trump’s pub­lic com­ments were part of a coor­di­nat­ed intim­i­da­tion cam­paign.

    Of course, as the arti­cle also notes, this intim­i­da­tion cam­paign is inevitably going to work, forc­ing states to lose some of their more expe­ri­enced elec­tion work­ers in upcom­ing elec­tions. So while it’s pos­si­ble Trump will be fac­ing some sort of crim­i­nal charges relat­ed to this intim­i­da­tion cam­paign, its a vir­tu­al cer­tain­ty that this intim­i­da­tion cam­paign is doing very real dam­age to the abil­i­ty of states to car­ry out hon­est elec­tions. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle makes clear, these death threats aren’t tar­get­ing the elec­tion work­ers. They are explic­it­ly tar­get­ing the elec­tions work­ers fam­i­lies. That’s the nature of the peo­ple behind this cam­paign. They’re doing the kind of stuff even the mafia might find unseem­ly:

    Reuters

    Trump-inspired death threats are ter­ror­iz­ing elec­tion work­ers

    Elec­tion offi­cials and their fam­i­lies are liv­ing with threats of hang­ing, fir­ing squads, tor­ture and bomb blasts, inter­views and doc­u­ments reveal. The cam­paign of fear, sparked by Trump’s vot­er-fraud false­hoods, threat­ens the U.S. elec­toral sys­tem.

    By LINDA SO in ATLANTA

    Filed June 11, 2021, 11 a.m. GMT

    Late on the night of April 24, the wife of Georgia’s top elec­tion offi­cial got a chill­ing text mes­sage: “You and your fam­i­ly will be killed very slow­ly.”

    A week ear­li­er, Tri­cia Raf­fensperg­er, wife of Sec­re­tary of State Brad Raf­fensperg­er, had received anoth­er anony­mous text: “We plan for the death of you and your fam­i­ly every day.”

    That fol­lowed an April 5 text warn­ing. A fam­i­ly mem­ber, the tex­ter told her, was “going to have a very unfor­tu­nate inci­dent.”

    Those mes­sages, which have not been pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed, illus­trate the con­tin­u­ing bar­rage of threats and intim­i­da­tion against elec­tion offi­cials and their fam­i­lies months after for­mer U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Novem­ber elec­tion defeat. While reports of threats against Geor­gia offi­cials emerged in the heat­ed weeks after the vot­ing, Reuters inter­views with more than a dozen elec­tion work­ers and top offi­cials – and a review of dis­turb­ing texts, voice­mails and emails that they and their fam­i­lies received – reveal the pre­vi­ous­ly hid­den breadth and sever­i­ty of the men­ac­ing tac­tics.

    Trump’s relent­less false claims that the vote was “rigged” against him sparked a cam­paign to ter­ror­ize elec­tion offi­cials nation­wide – from senior offi­cials such as Raf­fensperg­er to the low­est-lev­el local elec­tion work­ers. The intim­i­da­tion has been par­tic­u­lar­ly severe in Geor­gia, where Raf­fensperg­er and oth­er Repub­li­can elec­tion offi­cials refut­ed Trump’s stolen-elec­tion claims. The ongo­ing harass­ment could have far-reach­ing impli­ca­tions for future elec­tions by mak­ing the already dif­fi­cult task of recruit­ing staff and poll work­ers much hard­er, elec­tion offi­cials say.

    In an exclu­sive inter­view, Tri­cia Raf­fensperg­er spoke pub­licly for the first time about the threats of vio­lence to her fam­i­ly and shared the men­ac­ing text mes­sages with Reuters.

    The Raf­fensperg­ers – Tri­cia, 65, and Brad, 66 – began receiv­ing death threats almost imme­di­ate­ly after Trump’s sur­prise loss in Geor­gia, long a Repub­li­can bas­tion. Tri­cia Raf­fensperg­er start­ed tak­ing pre­cau­tions. She can­celed reg­u­lar week­ly vis­its in her home with two grand­chil­dren, ages 3 and 5 – the chil­dren of her eldest son, Bren­ton, who died from a drug over­dose in 2018.

    “I couldn’t have them come to my house any­more,” she said. “You don’t know if these peo­ple are actu­al­ly going to act on this stuff.”

    In late Novem­ber, the fam­i­ly went into hid­ing for near­ly a week after intrud­ers broke into the home of the Raf­fensperg­ers’ wid­owed daugh­ter-in-law, an inci­dent the fam­i­ly believed was intend­ed to intim­i­date them. That evening, peo­ple who iden­ti­fied them­selves to police as Oath Keep­ers – a far-right mili­tia group that has sup­port­ed Trump’s bid to over­turn the elec­tion – were found out­side the Raf­fensperg­ers’ home, accord­ing to Tri­cia Raf­fensperg­er and two sources with direct knowl­edge of the family’s ordeal. Nei­ther inci­dent has been pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed.

    “Brad and I didn’t feel like we could pro­tect our­selves,” she said, explain­ing the deci­sion to flee their home.

    Brad Raf­fensperg­er told Reuters in a state­ment that “vit­ri­ol and threats are an unfor­tu­nate, but expect­ed, part of pub­lic ser­vice. But my fam­i­ly should be left alone.”

    Trump’s base­less vot­er-fraud accu­sa­tions have had dark con­se­quences for U.S. elec­tion lead­ers and work­ers, espe­cial­ly in con­test­ed states such as Geor­gia, Ari­zona and Michi­gan. Some have faced protests at their homes or been fol­lowed in their cars. Many have received death threats.

    Some, like Raf­fensperg­er, are senior offi­cials who pub­licly refused to bow to Trump’s demands to alter the elec­tion out­come. In Geor­gia, peo­ple went into hid­ing in at least three cas­es, includ­ing the Raf­fensperg­ers. Ari­zona Sec­re­tary of State Katie Hobbs, a Demo­c­rat, told Reuters she con­tin­ues to receive death threats. Michigan’s Sec­re­tary of State Joce­lyn Ben­son – a Demo­c­rat who faced armed pro­test­ers out­side her home in Decem­ber – is also still get­ting threats, her spokesper­son said, declin­ing to elab­o­rate.

    But many oth­ers whose lives have been threat­ened were low- or mid-lev­el work­ers, just doing their jobs. Trump’s incen­di­ary rhetoric could rever­ber­ate into the 2022 midterm con­gres­sion­al elec­tions and the 2024 pres­i­den­tial vote by mak­ing elec­tion work­ers tar­gets of threat­ened or actu­al vio­lence. Many elec­tion offices will lose crit­i­cal employ­ees with years or decades of expe­ri­ence, pre­dicts David Beck­er, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the non­par­ti­san Cen­ter for Elec­tion Inno­va­tion and Research.

    “This is deeply trou­bling,” Beck­er said.

    Car­los Nel­son, elec­tions super­vi­sor for Ware Coun­ty in south­east­ern Geor­gia, shares that fear. “These are peo­ple who work for lit­tle or no mon­ey, 12 to 14 hours a day on Elec­tion Day,” Nel­son said. “If we lose good poll work­ers, that’s when we’re going to lose democ­ra­cy.”

    In Geor­gia, Trump faces an inves­ti­ga­tion into alleged elec­tion inter­fer­ence, the only known crim­i­nal inquiry into his attempts to over­turn the 2020 vote.

    ...

    ‘Dis­turb­ing and sick­en­ing’

    The intim­i­da­tion in Geor­gia has gone well beyond Raf­fensperg­er and his fam­i­ly. Elec­tion work­ers — from local vol­un­teers to senior admin­is­tra­tors — con­tin­ue endur­ing reg­u­lar harass­ing phone calls and emails, accord­ing to inter­views with elec­tion work­ers and the Reuters review of texts, emails and audio files pro­vid­ed by Geor­gia offi­cials.

    One email, sent on Jan. 2 to offi­cials in near­ly a dozen coun­ties, threat­ened to bomb polling sites: “No one at these places will be spared unless and until Trump is guar­an­teed to be POTUS again.” The spe­cif­ic text of the threat has not been pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed. The email, a state elec­tion offi­cial said, was for­ward­ed to the U.S. Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion (FBI), which declined to com­ment for this sto­ry.

    In Geor­gia, threat­en­ing vio­lence against a poll offi­cer is a felony pun­ish­able by up to 10 years in prison and a max­i­mum fine of $100,000. Mak­ing death threats is a sep­a­rate crime car­ry­ing up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine.

    Crim­i­nal law spe­cial­ists say the wide­spread threats could increase the legal jeop­ardy for Trump in the Geor­gia inves­ti­ga­tion. That inquiry is led by the top pros­e­cu­tor in Ful­ton Coun­ty, which includes Atlanta. Dis­trict Attor­ney Fani Willis, a Demo­c­rat, is prob­ing whether Trump ille­gal­ly inter­fered with Georgia’s 2020 elec­tion.

    Among oth­er mat­ters, inves­ti­ga­tors are exam­in­ing a Jan. 2 call in which Trump urged Raf­fensperg­er to “find” enough votes to over­turn his Geor­gia loss to Demo­c­rat Joe Biden. Willis said in a Feb. 10 let­ter that her office would also inves­ti­gate “any involve­ment in vio­lence or threats relat­ed to the election’s admin­is­tra­tion.”

    That state­ment sug­gests Willis may be exam­in­ing whether Trump, or oth­ers act­ing with him, solicit­ed or encour­aged death threats against elec­tion offi­cials, said Clark Cun­ning­ham, a Geor­gia State Uni­ver­si­ty law pro­fes­sor. Such intim­i­da­tion could fit into a pos­si­ble rack­e­teer­ing probe into Trump if the threats were part of a coor­di­nat­ed effort to over­turn the elec­tion, said Clint Ruck­er, an Atlanta crim­i­nal defense attor­ney and for­mer Ful­ton Coun­ty pros­e­cu­tor.

    Since launch­ing her inquiry in Feb­ru­ary, Willis has added sev­er­al high-pro­file attor­neys to her team, includ­ing a lead­ing rack­e­teer­ing expert, to assist on cas­es includ­ing the Trump probe, Reuters report­ed on March 6.

    “I think there’s going to be a big-pic­ture look at all of it,” said Ruck­er, a Demo­c­rat, who once pros­e­cut­ed a high-pro­file rack­e­teer­ing case with Willis.

    Ful­ton Coun­ty Dis­trict Attor­ney spokesman Jeff DiS­an­tis did not respond to requests for com­ment on the office’s inquiries into elec­tion-relat­ed threats of vio­lence.

    In April, two inves­ti­ga­tors from Willis’ office met with Ful­ton County’s elec­tions direc­tor, Richard Bar­ron, who over­saw elec­tions in a region that over­whelm­ing­ly backed Biden for pres­i­dent. Trump fre­quent­ly tar­get­ed the coun­ty, claim­ing with­out evi­dence that elec­tion work­ers there destroyed hun­dreds of thou­sands of bal­lots.

    Dur­ing the hour-long meet­ing, which has not been pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed, inves­ti­ga­tors sought infor­ma­tion on threats against Bar­ron and his staff, Bar­ron said. Barron’s office had saved every harass­ing mes­sage – hun­dreds of them – and shared them with inves­ti­ga­tors.

    Bar­ron said his staff is made up almost entire­ly of Black elec­tion work­ers. “The racial slurs were dis­turb­ing and sick­en­ing,” he said of the threats.

    ‘You deserve to hang’

    Among those tar­get­ed was Barron’s reg­is­tra­tion chief, Ralph Jones, 56, who over­saw the county’s mail-in bal­lot oper­a­tion and has worked on Geor­gia elec­tions for more than three decades, includ­ing senior roles.

    Jones said callers left him death threats, includ­ing one short­ly after the Novem­ber elec­tion who called him a “n—–” who should be shot. Anoth­er threat­ened to kill him by drag­ging his body around with a truck. “It was unbe­liev­able: your life being threat­ened just because you’re doing your job,” he said.

    Jones, born and raised in Atlanta, said he had expe­ri­enced racism – but noth­ing like this. He recalled how one night after the elec­tion, strangers showed up at his house. They iden­ti­fied them­selves as new neigh­bors, he said. Jones knew no one had moved into the neigh­bor­hood and didn’t open the door. After that, he told his wife each morn­ing to lock the door before he went to work. “My pri­ma­ry focus was to make sure that no harm came to my fam­i­ly and staff,” he said.

    His boss, Bar­ron, who is white, faced even more intim­i­da­tion. At a Dec. 5 ral­ly – ahead of a runoff elec­tion in Geor­gia that would deter­mine con­trol of the U.S. Sen­ate – Trump showed a video clip of Bar­ron and accused him and his staff of com­mit­ting a “crime,” alleg­ing they tam­pered with bal­lots. After the ral­ly, Bar­ron was bom­bard­ed with threats. “I under­es­ti­mat­ed how hard he was going to push that nar­ra­tive and just keep push­ing it,” Bar­ron said of Trump.

    Between Christ­mas and ear­ly Jan­u­ary, Bar­ron received near­ly 150 hate­ful calls, many accus­ing him of trea­son or say­ing he should die, accord­ing to Bar­ron and a Reuters review of some of the phone mes­sages.

    “You actu­al­ly deserve to hang by your god­damn, soy boy, skin­ny-ass neck,” said a woman in one voice­mail, using a slang term for an effem­i­nate man. Anoth­er caller want­ed him ban­ished to Chi­na: “That’s where you belong, in com­mu­nist Chi­na, because you’re a crook.”

    Police were post­ed out­side Barron’s house and office after he received a detailed threat in late Decem­ber in which the caller said he would kill Bar­ron by fir­ing squad.

    “It seemed like we were descend­ing into this third-world men­tal­i­ty,” said Bar­ron, 54, who has worked in elec­tions for 22 years and vol­un­teered as an elec­tion observ­er over­seas. “I nev­er expect­ed that out of this coun­try.”

    Barron’s office is brac­ing for more abuse dur­ing an upcom­ing audit of the county’s 147,000 absen­tee bal­lots cast in Novem­ber. A judge on May 21 ordered the review, grant­i­ng a request by plain­tiffs claim­ing fraud in Ful­ton Coun­ty. The details of the review are still being lit­i­gat­ed, but it may be super­vised by Barron’s office. It won’t change the results, which were cer­ti­fied months ago. But it reflects the last­ing impact of Trump’s elec­tion false­hoods.

    Ful­ton Coun­ty recent­ly sought a dis­missal of the case. Trump respond­ed in a May 28 state­ment with more base­less alle­ga­tions of a con­spir­a­cy to steal the elec­tion, say­ing coun­ty offi­cials are fight­ing the review “because they know the vote was cor­rupt and the audit will show it.”

    Trump’s dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign also shook elec­tion work­ers in Pauld­ing Coun­ty, out­side Atlanta. Dei­dre Hold­en, the coun­ty elec­tions direc­tor, was fin­ish­ing prepa­ra­tions ahead of Georgia’s Jan­u­ary Sen­ate runoffs when an email caught her eye. The sub­ject line read: “F_UCKING HEAR THIS PAULDING COUNTY OR D!E.”

    The mes­sage, reviewed by Reuters, threat­ened to blow up all of the county’s polling sites. At least 10 oth­er coun­ties received the same email. “We’ll make the Boston bomb­ings look like child’s play,” the mes­sage said in an appar­ent ref­er­ence to the 2013 extrem­ist attack on the Boston Marathon that killed three and injured hun­dreds.

    “This sh_t is rigged,” the email said. “Until Trump is guar­an­teed to be POTUS until 2024 like he should be, we will bring death and destruc­tion to defend this coun­try if need­ed and get our voic­es heard.”

    Hold­en for­ward­ed the mes­sage to local police and con­tact­ed the state elec­tions direc­tor in Raffensperger’s office. Offi­cials at the FBI and the Geor­gia Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion were also alert­ed. “I’ve nev­er had to deal with any­thing like this,” said Hold­en, who’s served as elec­tions super­vi­sor for 14 years. “It was fright­en­ing.”

    As Geor­gia girds for elec­tions in 2022 – includ­ing votes for gov­er­nor and the sec­re­tary of state – elec­tion super­vi­sors say they fear high num­bers of the tem­po­rary work­ers who staff polling sites won’t return for future votes because they want to avoid harass­ment.

    Vanes­sa Mont­gomery, 58, is among those who may not come back. In the Jan. 5 Geor­gia runoffs for two U.S. Sen­ate seats, Mont­gomery was a polling man­ag­er in the city of Tay­lorsville. The stakes were huge: Both seats were won by Democ­rats, giv­ing the par­ty con­trol of the Sen­ate.

    When polls closed that night, she set off to deliv­er bal­lots to an elec­tions office in Bar­tow Coun­ty, a pre­dom­i­nant­ly white, Repub­li­can dis­trict in north­west­ern Geor­gia. Mont­gomery, who is Black, was trav­el­ing with her daugh­ter, also a poll work­er hired tem­porar­i­ly for the elec­tion.

    On a dark, rur­al two-lane road, they noticed they were being fol­lowed by an SUV.

    “I was try­ing to stay calm because I want­ed to make sure we both were safe,” she recalled in an inter­view. “What were they try­ing to do, actu­al­ly? Were they try­ing to hit us and take the infor­ma­tion and destroy the bal­lots?”

    Mont­gomery called 911 as her daugh­ter sped towards town with the SUV near­ly run­ning them off the road, she said. They were fol­lowed for about 25 min­utes. The dis­patch­er helped guide them to a park­ing lot, where offi­cers met and escort­ed them to the elec­tion office. She declined to file a police report, and the inci­dent was not inves­ti­gat­ed.

    She said the scare trig­gered a pan­ic attack, her first since serv­ing as a U.S. Army offi­cer decades ago in Bosnia, where she wit­nessed peo­ple killed by explod­ing land­mines. Months lat­er, Mont­gomery says she still suf­fers pan­ic attacks from the inci­dent and may stop work­ing elec­tions alto­geth­er.

    Her man­ag­er, Joseph Kirk, the Bar­tow Coun­ty elec­tions super­vi­sor, said Mont­gomery is one of his most reli­able poll work­ers. Kirk now wor­ries that the ugly reac­tion to Trump’s loss will make it hard­er to retain and hire the staff need­ed to run elec­tions smooth­ly across Amer­i­ca.

    “I’m very con­cerned, after what we saw last year, we’re going to lose a lot of insti­tu­tion­al knowl­edge nation­wide,” he said.

    Threats of mur­der

    For Georgia’s top elec­tion offi­cials, the intim­i­da­tion has been espe­cial­ly per­son­al and point­ed.

    In ear­ly May, Gabriel Sterling’s phone buzzed at 2:36 a.m. Five months had passed since the Geor­gia elec­tion office that he helps to lead had declared Biden the win­ner. The caller rant­ed that Ster­ling, the chief oper­at­ing offi­cer for Sec­re­tary of State Raf­fensperg­er, should go to prison for “rig­ging” the elec­tion against Trump.

    “This stuff has con­tin­ued,” said Ster­ling, 50, a Repub­li­can who drew nation­al atten­tion in Decem­ber by denounc­ing Trump’s vot­er-fraud claims as false and dan­ger­ous. “It’s con­tin­ued for all of us.”

    Raffensperger’s deputy, Jor­dan Fuchs, says she has faced fre­quent death threats since Novem­ber. Her per­son­al and work cell phone num­bers have been post­ed online by a Trump sup­port­er who encour­ages peo­ple to harass her, she said. In April, she received a vul­gar pho­to of a male body part.

    “I don’t think any of us antic­i­pat­ed this lev­el of nas­ti­ness,” said Fuchs, 31, who grew up in a con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian fam­i­ly and has worked for years to help elect Repub­li­cans.

    In an inter­view, she said the most alarm­ing threats came in late Novem­ber when Trump called Raf­fensperg­er an “ene­my of the peo­ple.” Death threats start­ed pour­ing in, some call­ing for pub­lic hang­ings. Some of the threats were so detailed, the FBI began mon­i­tor­ing a list of peo­ple who were sus­pect­ed of mak­ing them, said a source with direct knowl­edge of the mat­ter.

    In mid-Decem­ber, a web­site titled “Ene­mies of the Peo­ple” appeared online, post­ing the per­son­al infor­ma­tion of Raf­fensperg­er, Fuchs and Ster­ling, includ­ing home address­es. Crosshairs were super­im­posed over their pho­tos. The FBI on Dec. 23 linked the web­site to Iran, cit­ing “high­ly cred­i­ble infor­ma­tion indi­cat­ing Iran­ian cyber actors” were respon­si­ble for the site. A spokesper­son for Iran’s mis­sion to the Unit­ed Nations called the FBI’s claim “base­less” and “polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed.”

    Police parked an emp­ty cruis­er out­side Sterling’s house to deter attack­ers, Ster­ling said. Fuchs said she stayed at friends’ hous­es as a pre­cau­tion.

    Ster­ling pub­licly rebuked Trump, plead­ing with the for­mer pres­i­dent to stop attack­ing Georgia’s elec­tion process. “Someone’s going to get killed,” he said as he gripped the podi­um dur­ing an emo­tion­al Dec. 1 news con­fer­ence.

    A month lat­er, five peo­ple died and more than a hun­dred police offi­cers were injured when a mob of Trump sup­port­ers stormed the U.S. Capi­tol, demand­ing that Con­gress over­turn the elec­tion.

    The threats against Raf­fensperg­er and his fam­i­ly began right after the elec­tion.

    Tri­cia Raf­fensperg­er detailed one that came from a sender who cre­at­ed a pho­ny email address using her husband’s name to make the text mes­sage appear like it came from him.

    “I mar­ried a sick­en­ing whore. I wish you were dead,” it read. Anoth­er text called her a “bitch” and includ­ed vul­gar sex­u­al insults. Raffensperger’s fam­i­ly and staff viewed the mes­sages as an effort to coerce him to resign.

    At the time, Georgia’s two Repub­li­can U.S. sen­a­tors had called on Raf­fensperg­er to step down, crit­i­ciz­ing his man­age­ment of the elec­tions as an “embar­rass­ment” as the vote count showed Trump nar­row­ly trail­ing Biden in Geor­gia.

    Raffensperger’s refusal to over­turn the 2020 results has left him ostra­cized by fel­low Repub­li­cans. As Raf­fensperg­er seeks re-elec­tion next year as sec­re­tary of state, Trump has endorsed his Repub­li­can chal­lenger, U.S. Con­gress­man Jody Hice, who has sup­port­ed Trump’s base­less fraud claims.

    Hice’s spokesper­son did not respond to a request for com­ment on the threats against Geor­gia elec­tion offi­cials and the rea­son he backs Trump’s false fraud alle­ga­tions.

    The threats wors­ened in late Novem­ber, Tri­cia Raf­fensperg­er said, after uniden­ti­fied peo­ple broke into the home of her daugh­ter-in-law – the wid­ow of the Raf­fensperg­ers’ dead son. The daugh­ter-in-law returned home with her chil­dren to find the lights on, the garage door pulled up, and the door to the house open.

    “Items in the house had been moved around, but noth­ing was tak­en,” said a report on the break-in from the Suwa­nee Police Depart­ment.

    In response to the threats, the Geor­gia State Patrol assigned a secu­ri­ty detail to the Raf­fensperg­ers. One offi­cer was parked in their dri­ve­way. The oth­er fol­lowed the sec­re­tary of state wher­ev­er he went.

    Lat­er that evening, as Brad Raf­fensperg­er left to get din­ner for the fam­i­ly, he and his state police guard spot­ted three cars with out-of-state license plates in front of the family’s home in an Atlanta sub­urb. The offi­cer guard­ing the house con­front­ed the peo­ple and asked them to iden­ti­fy them­selves, Tri­cia Raf­fensperg­er said.

    The strangers said they were mem­bers of the Oath Keep­ers, the mili­tia group. They gave the offi­cer what the Raf­fensperg­ers con­sid­ered a non­sen­si­cal rea­son for being there – to pro­tect the area from Black Lives Mat­ter pro­test­ers they had heard would be there. The offi­cer told them to leave, Tri­cia Raf­fensperg­er said, which they did.

    A Geor­gia State Patrol spokesper­son said no for­mal report was gen­er­at­ed on the inci­dent and no arrests were made while pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty for the Raf­fensperg­ers.

    The break-in and encounter with the far-right extrem­ists prompt­ed the Raf­fensperg­ers, their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren to escape to a hotel in an undis­closed loca­tion, Tri­cia said. The fam­i­ly intend­ed to stay away from home for more than a week, she said. They returned after four days, how­ev­er, when a stranger at the hotel rec­og­nized her hus­band, mak­ing their effort to stay in hid­ing seem futile.

    “He’s prob­a­bly the only sec­re­tary of state that every­body knows,” Tri­cia Raf­fensperg­er said.

    Her voice trem­bled as she described her con­tin­u­ing fears for her grand­chil­dren and oth­er rel­a­tives. “I hes­i­tate to say this because I’m afraid some­one might use it against me,” she said, refer­ring to the death of her son, Bren­ton. “But, you know, I have lost a child, and I don’t ever want to go through that again.”

    ———–

    “Trump-inspired death threats are ter­ror­iz­ing elec­tion work­ers” by LINDA SO in ATLANTA; Reuters; 06/11/2021

    “Trump’s relent­less false claims that the vote was “rigged” against him sparked a cam­paign to ter­ror­ize elec­tion offi­cials nation­wide – from senior offi­cials such as Raf­fensperg­er to the low­est-lev­el local elec­tion work­ers. The intim­i­da­tion has been par­tic­u­lar­ly severe in Geor­gia, where Raf­fensperg­er and oth­er Repub­li­can elec­tion offi­cials refut­ed Trump’s stolen-elec­tion claims. The ongo­ing harass­ment could have far-reach­ing impli­ca­tions for future elec­tions by mak­ing the already dif­fi­cult task of recruit­ing staff and poll work­ers much hard­er, elec­tion offi­cials say.

    Who will car­ry out future elec­tions in the states cur­rent­ly inun­dat­ed with death threats against elec­tion work­ers? Pre­sum­ably the peo­ple car­ry­ing out the death threats and their friends. That’s who will car­ry out future elec­tions in states like Geor­gia. At least that’s pre­sum­ably the plan.

    And it’s not just high-lev­el elect­ed offi­cials like Brad Raf­fensperg­er who are on the receiv­ing end of these threats. Low and mid-lev­el work­ers are get­ting them too. Low and mid-lev­el work­ers who were almost de fac­to vol­un­teers giv­en how lit­tle they are paid for the job:

    ...
    Some, like Raf­fensperg­er, are senior offi­cials who pub­licly refused to bow to Trump’s demands to alter the elec­tion out­come. In Geor­gia, peo­ple went into hid­ing in at least three cas­es, includ­ing the Raf­fensperg­ers. Ari­zona Sec­re­tary of State Katie Hobbs, a Demo­c­rat, told Reuters she con­tin­ues to receive death threats. Michigan’s Sec­re­tary of State Joce­lyn Ben­son – a Demo­c­rat who faced armed pro­test­ers out­side her home in Decem­ber – is also still get­ting threats, her spokesper­son said, declin­ing to elab­o­rate.

    But many oth­ers whose lives have been threat­ened were low- or mid-lev­el work­ers, just doing their jobs. Trump’s incen­di­ary rhetoric could rever­ber­ate into the 2022 midterm con­gres­sion­al elec­tions and the 2024 pres­i­den­tial vote by mak­ing elec­tion work­ers tar­gets of threat­ened or actu­al vio­lence. Many elec­tion offices will lose crit­i­cal employ­ees with years or decades of expe­ri­ence, pre­dicts David Beck­er, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the non­par­ti­san Cen­ter for Elec­tion Inno­va­tion and Research.

    “This is deeply trou­bling,” Beck­er said.

    Car­los Nel­son, elec­tions super­vi­sor for Ware Coun­ty in south­east­ern Geor­gia, shares that fear. “These are peo­ple who work for lit­tle or no mon­ey, 12 to 14 hours a day on Elec­tion Day,” Nel­son said. “If we lose good poll work­ers, that’s when we’re going to lose democ­ra­cy.”
    ...

    And it’s not a coin­ci­dence that the waves of death threats imme­di­ate­ly fol­low pub­lic state­ments by Don­ald Trump. Inten­tion­al­ly or not, he’s been the ring-leader of this ter­ror cir­cus:

    ...
    In April, two inves­ti­ga­tors from Willis’ office met with Ful­ton County’s elec­tions direc­tor, Richard Bar­ron, who over­saw elec­tions in a region that over­whelm­ing­ly backed Biden for pres­i­dent. Trump fre­quent­ly tar­get­ed the coun­ty, claim­ing with­out evi­dence that elec­tion work­ers there destroyed hun­dreds of thou­sands of bal­lots.

    ...

    Among those tar­get­ed was Barron’s reg­is­tra­tion chief, Ralph Jones, 56, who over­saw the county’s mail-in bal­lot oper­a­tion and has worked on Geor­gia elec­tions for more than three decades, includ­ing senior roles.

    Jones said callers left him death threats, includ­ing one short­ly after the Novem­ber elec­tion who called him a “n—–” who should be shot. Anoth­er threat­ened to kill him by drag­ging his body around with a truck. “It was unbe­liev­able: your life being threat­ened just because you’re doing your job,” he said.

    Jones, born and raised in Atlanta, said he had expe­ri­enced racism – but noth­ing like this. He recalled how one night after the elec­tion, strangers showed up at his house. They iden­ti­fied them­selves as new neigh­bors, he said. Jones knew no one had moved into the neigh­bor­hood and didn’t open the door. After that, he told his wife each morn­ing to lock the door before he went to work. “My pri­ma­ry focus was to make sure that no harm came to my fam­i­ly and staff,” he said.

    His boss, Bar­ron, who is white, faced even more intim­i­da­tion. At a Dec. 5 ral­ly – ahead of a runoff elec­tion in Geor­gia that would deter­mine con­trol of the U.S. Sen­ate – Trump showed a video clip of Bar­ron and accused him and his staff of com­mit­ting a “crime,” alleg­ing they tam­pered with bal­lots. After the ral­ly, Bar­ron was bom­bard­ed with threats. “I under­es­ti­mat­ed how hard he was going to push that nar­ra­tive and just keep push­ing it,” Bar­ron said of Trump.

    Between Christ­mas and ear­ly Jan­u­ary, Bar­ron received near­ly 150 hate­ful calls, many accus­ing him of trea­son or say­ing he should die, accord­ing to Bar­ron and a Reuters review of some of the phone mes­sages.

    “You actu­al­ly deserve to hang by your god­damn, soy boy, skin­ny-ass neck,” said a woman in one voice­mail, using a slang term for an effem­i­nate man. Anoth­er caller want­ed him ban­ished to Chi­na: “That’s where you belong, in com­mu­nist Chi­na, because you’re a crook.”

    Police were post­ed out­side Barron’s house and office after he received a detailed threat in late Decem­ber in which the caller said he would kill Bar­ron by fir­ing squad.

    ...

    Barron’s office is brac­ing for more abuse dur­ing an upcom­ing audit of the county’s 147,000 absen­tee bal­lots cast in Novem­ber. A judge on May 21 ordered the review, grant­i­ng a request by plain­tiffs claim­ing fraud in Ful­ton Coun­ty. The details of the review are still being lit­i­gat­ed, but it may be super­vised by Barron’s office. It won’t change the results, which were cer­ti­fied months ago. But it reflects the last­ing impact of Trump’s elec­tion false­hoods.

    Ful­ton Coun­ty recent­ly sought a dis­missal of the case. Trump respond­ed in a May 28 state­ment with more base­less alle­ga­tions of a con­spir­a­cy.
    ...

    Then there’s the actions by Trump’s sup­port­ers, like the post­ing of per­son­al phone and home address infor­ma­tion:

    ...
    Raffensperger’s deputy, Jor­dan Fuchs, says she has faced fre­quent death threats since Novem­ber. Her per­son­al and work cell phone num­bers have been post­ed online by a Trump sup­port­er who encour­ages peo­ple to harass her, she said. In April, she received a vul­gar pho­to of a male body part.

    “I don’t think any of us antic­i­pat­ed this lev­el of nas­ti­ness,” said Fuchs, 31, who grew up in a con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian fam­i­ly and has worked for years to help elect Repub­li­cans.

    In an inter­view, she said the most alarm­ing threats came in late Novem­ber when Trump called Raf­fensperg­er an “ene­my of the peo­ple.” Death threats start­ed pour­ing in, some call­ing for pub­lic hang­ings. Some of the threats were so detailed, the FBI began mon­i­tor­ing a list of peo­ple who were sus­pect­ed of mak­ing them, said a source with direct knowl­edge of the mat­ter.
    ...

    And these threats aren’t entire­ly anony­mous. Oath Keep­ers have already been caught direct­ly out­side Raf­fensperg­er’s home. And when we’re talk­ing about the actions of the Oath Keep­ers we are implic­it­ly talk­ing about the actions of Trump proxy-mili­tia, as the Oath Keep­ers made clear with the pro­found role they played in the Jan­u­ary Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion. It’s fur­ther evi­dence sug­gest­ing this is an intim­i­da­tion cam­paign run in coor­di­na­tion with the Trump team:

    ...
    Lat­er that evening, as Brad Raf­fensperg­er left to get din­ner for the fam­i­ly, he and his state police guard spot­ted three cars with out-of-state license plates in front of the family’s home in an Atlanta sub­urb. The offi­cer guard­ing the house con­front­ed the peo­ple and asked them to iden­ti­fy them­selves, Tri­cia Raf­fensperg­er said.

    The strangers said they were mem­bers of the Oath Keep­ers, the mili­tia group. They gave the offi­cer what the Raf­fensperg­ers con­sid­ered a non­sen­si­cal rea­son for being there – to pro­tect the area from Black Lives Mat­ter pro­test­ers they had heard would be there. The offi­cer told them to leave, Tri­cia Raf­fensperg­er said, which they did.

    A Geor­gia State Patrol spokesper­son said no for­mal report was gen­er­at­ed on the inci­dent and no arrests were made while pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty for the Raf­fensperg­ers.
    ...

    And that’s all why the inves­ti­ga­tion into this intim­i­da­tion cam­paign may not be lim­it­ed to the indi­vid­u­als car­ry­ing out the indi­vid­ual threats. This could become a Trump Rack­e­teer­ing case:

    ...
    Crim­i­nal law spe­cial­ists say the wide­spread threats could increase the legal jeop­ardy for Trump in the Geor­gia inves­ti­ga­tion. That inquiry is led by the top pros­e­cu­tor in Ful­ton Coun­ty, which includes Atlanta. Dis­trict Attor­ney Fani Willis, a Demo­c­rat, is prob­ing whether Trump ille­gal­ly inter­fered with Georgia’s 2020 elec­tion.

    Among oth­er mat­ters, inves­ti­ga­tors are exam­in­ing a Jan. 2 call in which Trump urged Raf­fensperg­er to “find” enough votes to over­turn his Geor­gia loss to Demo­c­rat Joe Biden. Willis said in a Feb. 10 let­ter that her office would also inves­ti­gate “any involve­ment in vio­lence or threats relat­ed to the election’s admin­is­tra­tion.”

    That state­ment sug­gests Willis may be exam­in­ing whether Trump, or oth­ers act­ing with him, solicit­ed or encour­aged death threats against elec­tion offi­cials, said Clark Cun­ning­ham, a Geor­gia State Uni­ver­si­ty law pro­fes­sor. Such intim­i­da­tion could fit into a pos­si­ble rack­e­teer­ing probe into Trump if the threats were part of a coor­di­nat­ed effort to over­turn the elec­tion, said Clint Ruck­er, an Atlanta crim­i­nal defense attor­ney and for­mer Ful­ton Coun­ty pros­e­cu­tor.

    Since launch­ing her inquiry in Feb­ru­ary, Willis has added sev­er­al high-pro­file attor­neys to her team, includ­ing a lead­ing rack­e­teer­ing expert, to assist on cas­es includ­ing the Trump probe, Reuters report­ed on March 6.

    “I think there’s going to be a big-pic­ture look at all of it,” said Ruck­er, a Demo­c­rat, who once pros­e­cut­ed a high-pro­file rack­e­teer­ing case with Willis.

    Ful­ton Coun­ty Dis­trict Attor­ney spokesman Jeff DiS­an­tis did not respond to requests for com­ment on the office’s inquiries into elec­tion-relat­ed threats of vio­lence.
    ...

    Could we see Trump pros­e­cut­ed for elec­tion-relat­ed rack­e­teer­ing? Let’s hope so, because oth­er­wise it’s basi­cal­ly an endorse­ment of some sort of war lord-style ‘democ­ra­cy’. But, of course, if there was a real rack­e­teer­ing inves­ti­ga­tion of Trump, it rais­es the ques­tion about what kinds of death threat cam­paign those pros­e­cu­tors will face. It’s nev­er easy pros­e­cut­ing the mob.

    But also keep in mind that, while this intim­i­da­tion cam­paign has plen­ty of direct ties to the Trump team, we should­n’t delude our­selves into assum­ing that much of this could­n’t be a gen­uine kind of ‘grass roots’ fas­cism bub­bling up from the Trumpian fever swamps of con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­ca. A whole lot of peo­ple real­ly do believe that Don­ald Trump was some sort of sav­iour sent by God to van­quish the evil Satan­ic pro­gres­sives. Peo­ple who fer­vent­ly believe that real­ly are prob­a­bly will­ing to kill for Trump out of a sense of fight­ing for the greater good. It’s part of what made Trump’s pub­lic com­ments demo­niz­ing these elec­tion offi­cials such dan­ger­ous rhetoric.

    And that brings us to the next sto­ry of Repub­li­can death threats and intim­i­da­tion. This time is an intra-par­ty affair, with the threats tak­ing place with­in the GOP pri­ma­ry of one of Flori­da’s most com­pet­i­tive con­gres­sion­al seats. William Brad­dock, a lit­tle-known com­peti­tors to GOP can­di­date Anna Pauli­na Luna, was record­ing telling anoth­er local Repub­li­can to stay away from Luna because Brad­dock was going to have his ‘Russ­ian Ukrain­ian’ mafia friends assas­si­nate Luna. Why did Luna need to be assas­si­nat­ed? Well, accord­ing to Brad­dock­’s expla­na­tion dur­ing the phone call, Luna did­n’t stand a chance of win­ning in the high­ly com­pet­i­tive dis­trict. That was his stat­ed rea­son­ing. He was­n’t going to kill her off for the good of the Repub­li­can because con­trol of the House is so close­ly con­test­ed. It’s anoth­er snap­shot into the psy­che of the con­tem­po­rary GOP. A psy­che appar­ent­ly look­ing for any excuse to mur­der their polit­i­cal oppo­nents:

    Politi­co

    In secret record­ing, Flori­da Repub­li­can threat­ens to send Russ­ian-Ukrain­ian ‘hit squad’ after rival

    “I real­ly don’t want to have to end any­body’s life for the good of the peo­ple of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. ... But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done,” William Brad­dock says in the clip.

    By MARC CAPUTO

    06/17/2021 04:30 AM EDT
    Updat­ed: 06/17/2021 11:09 AM EDT

    MIAMI — A lit­tle-known GOP can­di­date in one of Florida’s most com­pet­i­tive con­gres­sion­al seats was secret­ly record­ed threat­en­ing to send “a Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian hit squad” to a fel­low Repub­li­can oppo­nent to make her “dis­ap­pear.”

    Dur­ing a 30-minute call with a con­ser­v­a­tive activist that was record­ed before he became a can­di­date, William Brad­dock repeat­ed­ly warned the activist to not sup­port GOP can­di­date Anna Pauli­na Luna in the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry for a Tam­pa Bay-area con­gres­sion­al seat because he had access to assas­sins. The seat is being vacat­ed by Rep. Char­lie Crist (D‑Fla.), who is run­ning for gov­er­nor.

    “I real­ly don’t want to have to end any­body’s life for the good of the peo­ple of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca,” Brad­dock said at one point in the con­ver­sa­tion last week, accord­ing to the record­ing exclu­sive­ly obtained by POLITICO. “That will break my heart. But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. Luna is a f—ing speed bump in the road. She’s a dead squir­rel you run over every day when you leave the neigh­bor­hood.”

    Reached by text mes­sage, Brad­dock refused to say whether he made any threats about Luna to the per­son who record­ed him, Erin Olszews­ki.

    Asked repeat­ed­ly via text if he men­tioned Russ­ian-Ukrain­ian hit squads, Brad­dock wouldn’t give a yes or no answer, say­ing he had not heard the record­ing and that it’s “alleged­ly me … there is no proof of that.” He also sug­gest­ed the record­ing “may even be altered and edit­ed.”

    “This is a dirty polit­i­cal tac­tic that has caused a lot of peo­ple a lot of stress and is com­plete­ly unnec­es­sary,” he said.

    Olszews­ki denied edit­ing or alter­ing the record­ing. She said she made it because she was con­cerned about Braddock’s “unhinged” dis­like of Luna that he had pre­vi­ous­ly expressed. After she made the record­ing just after mid­night last Wednes­day, she prompt­ly turned it over to St. Peters­burg, Fla., police and gave a heads-up to her friend Luna, who filed a peti­tion for an injunc­tion against Brad­dock. Luna and Olszews­ki each received a tem­po­rary restrain­ing order against him last week. Brad­dock filed to run Mon­day.

    In the record­ing, Brad­dock ear­ly in the call brought up the alleged assas­sins. He also made ram­bling state­ments about get­ting finan­cial help from fel­low Freema­sons or by some­how import­ing mil­lions of dol­lars from Mal­ta and Gibral­tar.

    “I have access to a hit squad, too, Ukraini­ans and Rus­sians,” he said about three min­utes into the call, adding “don’t get caught out in pub­lic sup­port­ing Luna. … Luna’s gonna go down and I hope it’s by her­self.”

    Brad­dock went on to explain that he didn’t think Luna could win in the gen­er­al elec­tion. Luna, an Air Force vet­er­an and for­mer mod­el who went on to become a con­ser­v­a­tive activist, won a crowd­ed GOP pri­ma­ry in the state’s 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict last year but lost the gen­er­al elec­tion to Crist.

    It’s unclear exact­ly why Brad­dock has such dis­like toward Luna. The two do not appear to have any pre­vi­ous con­nec­tion to one anoth­er, and Brad­dock is a low­er-tier can­di­date in an increas­ing­ly crowd­ed race for Crist’s seat. Already, two state law­mak­ers and a for­mer Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial have have entered the race, with oth­ers expect­ed to jump in.

    The threats, claims of assas­sins and polit­i­cal back­stab­bing put an only-in-Flori­da stamp on what was already shap­ing up to be a wild midterm of con­gres­sion­al races. Repub­li­can Rep. Matt Gaetz in the Pan­han­dle is still bat­ting back accu­sa­tions in an ongo­ing fed­er­al sex traf­fick­ing probe.

    ...

    Olszews­ki, who ini­ti­at­ed and record­ed the call just after mid­night on June 9, said she phoned Brad­dock at his insis­tence because he kept try­ing to get her to appear on a health care pan­el for an event he was orga­niz­ing.

    Olszews­ki, a nurse by train­ing, became a con­ser­v­a­tive fig­ure last year after pen­ning a book called “Under­cov­er Epi­cen­ter Nurse: How Fraud, Neg­li­gence, and Greed Led to Unnec­es­sary Deaths at Elmhurst Hos­pi­tal,” which some in the health care indus­try have called dis­in­for­ma­tion.

    After hav­ing a few con­ver­sa­tions with Brad­dock, how­ev­er, Olszews­ki said she became con­cerned that he want­ed to use her to advance his can­di­da­cy and that he left her “threat­en­ing” mes­sages about Luna that sound­ed “unhinged.”

    With such a close­ly divid­ed Con­gress cur­rent­ly in Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol, Brad­dock said on the record­ed call that the “piv­otal” St. Peters­burg-based dis­trict will take on out­sized impor­tance in 2022 to keep Amer­i­ca from devolv­ing into a “com­mu­nist-social­ist s—hole.” When Olszews­ki asked him why he had Rus­sians at the ready, Brad­dock indi­cat­ed they were to stop Luna.

    “My polling peo­ple are going to charge me $20,000 to do a poll right before the pri­ma­ry. And if the poll says Luna’s gonna win, she’s gonna be gone. She’s gonna dis­ap­pear,” Brad­dock said in the record­ed call, pledg­ing Olszews­ki to secre­cy. “For the good of our coun­try, we have to sac­ri­fice the few. … For the bet­ter or the good of the major­i­ty of the peo­ple, we’ve got to sac­ri­fice the few.”

    Lat­er in the call, Olszews­ki asked what would hap­pen if “Luna is gonna win” and Brad­dock assured her that wouldn’t hap­pen.

    “She’s gonna be gone. Peri­od. That’s the end of the dis­cus­sion. Luna is not an issue,” he said.

    Olszews­ki pushed him, ask­ing “how do we make her go, though? I just don’t under­stand that.”

    “I call up my Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian hit squad, and with­in 24 hours, they’re send­ing me pic­tures of her dis­ap­pear­ing,” he replied. “No, I’m not jok­ing. Like, this is beyond my con­trol this point.”

    Asked if the killers were snipers, Brad­dock described them as, “Russ­ian mafia. Close-bat­tle com­bat, TEC-9s, MAC-10s, silencers kind of thing. No snipers. Up close and per­son­al. So they know that the tar­get has gone.”

    Olszews­ki said that threats like the ones Brad­dock made “you can’t take light­ly. Nor­mal peo­ple don’t say these things.”

    Olszews­ki called Brad­dock on one smart­phone and record­ed video of the call with anoth­er, occa­sion­al­ly dis­play­ing his name and num­ber on the video to show it was him on the call. POLITICO also obtained a sep­a­rate record­ing, a voice­mail mes­sage, Brad­dock left with a con­sul­tant in which his phone num­ber was iden­ti­cal and voice seemed to match the infor­ma­tion Olszews­ki shot in her video.

    In Flori­da, it’s a third-degree felony to record anoth­er per­son with­out their knowl­edge. But Olszews­ki said that St. Peters­burg police told her she had noth­ing to wor­ry about in record­ing the con­ver­sa­tion and turn­ing it over to author­i­ties. A spokesper­son for the St. Peters­burg police declined to com­ment on the record­ing or whether it was legal­ly record­ed.

    Brad­dock, though, indi­cat­ed he was ready to sue Olszews­ki.

    “The folks in pos­ses­sion of what­ev­er record­ing they think they have of myself or some­one else (which may even be altered and edit­ed) will be fac­ing civ­il dam­ages suit(s) when the paper­work is file [sic] with the coun­ty and felony charges after I file with the local police depart­ment,” Brad­dock said in his text mes­sage to POLITICO. “I strong­ly advise not to get involved because the civ­il suits will con­tin­ue to be filed until peo­ple stop shar­ing them because whomev­er is on the record­ing did not con­sent to be record­ed in my hum­ble opin­ion.”

    In her fil­ing for an injunc­tion, Luna also men­tioned how Brad­dock claimed in the call with Olszews­ki that two oth­er poten­tial Repub­li­can can­di­dates in the race, Aman­da Mak­ki and Matt Tito, had formed an alliance with him to stop Luna. Brad­dock briefly post­ed the peti­tion for the injunc­tion on his Face­book page Fri­day but then took them down.

    Both Mak­ki and Tito denied the claims of an alliance with Brad­dock and each of them crit­i­cized Luna for men­tion­ing their names in the injunc­tion she filed against Brad­dock.

    “The fact she dragged me through the mud, after not see­ing or talk­ing to me after 11 months, it real­ly calls into ques­tion her judg­ment,” said Mak­ki, who ran unsuc­cess­ful­ly in the GOP pri­ma­ry against Luna in 2020, despite earn­ing the endorse­ment of House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy.

    Tito, also, was dis­pleased with the fact that he was named in the injunc­tion.

    “This is a total polit­i­cal hit job. I wasn’t served. I’m not in legal trou­ble,” he said. “Luna doesn’t want me to get in the Repub­li­can race because she knows I’ll beat her. I’m a bet­ter can­di­date. She’s try­ing to wipe me out of the race, try­ing to embar­rass me, intim­i­date me, smear my name so she has a wider path to the nom­i­na­tion.”

    In the call, Brad­dock men­tioned that he offered Tito a job on his cam­paign to keep him on the side­lines, but Tito said he had no inten­tion to work for Brad­dock.

    James Blair, a spokesper­son for Luna, said she wouldn’t com­ment on the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion. But he sug­gest­ed Mak­ki had “sour grapes” for los­ing the pri­ma­ry last year to Luna. And he fault­ed Tito because he “imme­di­ate­ly blamed the woman” by accus­ing Luna of a polit­i­cal hit job.

    “The con­tent of the pro­tec­tive order filed is based upon Mr. Braddock’s own threats, actions, and state­ments,” Blair said. “I under­stand that Mr. Brad­dock is the one who stat­ed he is work­ing with Mr. Tito and Ms. Mak­ki, so per­haps they should take it up with him instead of attack­ing the per­son he said he was going to kill if that’s what it took to keep her from win­ning.”

    In her peti­tion for the restrain­ing order, Luna made it clear that she took Braddock’s threats seri­ous­ly.

    “I do not feel safe and am cur­rent­ly in fear for my life,” Luna wrote, accord­ing to a copy of it.

    Olszews­ki, too, said Brad­dock sound­ed dan­ger­ous. At one point, Brad­dock even said he was scared him­self.

    “Don’t be on the f—ing wrong side of sup­port­ing Luna because if you’re near her when the time comes, I just don’t want that to hap­pen to you because you’ve got kids,” Brad­dock said on the call. “So don’t be asso­ci­at­ed with Luna under any cir­cum­stances. Please. And do not repeat this any­body because both of us will be in jeop­ardy if you do. I’m not just blow­ing smoke here. I’m f—ing being dead ass seri­ous and it scares the s— out of me, too.”

    ———-

    “In secret record­ing, Flori­da Repub­li­can threat­ens to send Russ­ian-Ukrain­ian ‘hit squad’ after rival” By MARC CAPUTO; Politi­co; 06/17/2021

    “I real­ly don’t want to have to end any­body’s life for the good of the peo­ple of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca,” Brad­dock said at one point in the con­ver­sa­tion last week, accord­ing to the record­ing exclu­sive­ly obtained by POLITICO. “That will break my heart. But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. Luna is a f—ing speed bump in the road. She’s a dead squir­rel you run over every day when you leave the neigh­bor­hood.””

    He does­n’t want to kill Luna. But William Brad­dock is will­ing to do it. Why? Because he’s con­vinced she can’t win that con­gres­sion­al seat. And every­one con­gres­sion­al seat counts when the House is this divid­ed. That’s his appar­ent rea­son­ing:

    ...
    Brad­dock went on to explain that he didn’t think Luna could win in the gen­er­al elec­tion. Luna, an Air Force vet­er­an and for­mer mod­el who went on to become a con­ser­v­a­tive activist, won a crowd­ed GOP pri­ma­ry in the state’s 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict last year but lost the gen­er­al elec­tion to Crist.

    ...

    With such a close­ly divid­ed Con­gress cur­rent­ly in Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol, Brad­dock said on the record­ed call that the “piv­otal” St. Peters­burg-based dis­trict will take on out­sized impor­tance in 2022 to keep Amer­i­ca from devolv­ing into a “com­mu­nist-social­ist s—hole.” When Olszews­ki asked him why he had Rus­sians at the ready, Brad­dock indi­cat­ed they were to stop Luna.

    “My polling peo­ple are going to charge me $20,000 to do a poll right before the pri­ma­ry. And if the poll says Luna’s gonna win, she’s gonna be gone. She’s gonna dis­ap­pear,” Brad­dock said in the record­ed call, pledg­ing Olszews­ki to secre­cy. “For the good of our coun­try, we have to sac­ri­fice the few. … For the bet­ter or the good of the major­i­ty of the peo­ple, we’ve got to sac­ri­fice the few.”

    ...

    “Don’t be on the f—ing wrong side of sup­port­ing Luna because if you’re near her when the time comes, I just don’t want that to hap­pen to you because you’ve got kids,” Brad­dock said on the call. “So don’t be asso­ci­at­ed with Luna under any cir­cum­stances. Please. And do not repeat this any­body because both of us will be in jeop­ardy if you do. I’m not just blow­ing smoke here. I’m f—ing being dead ass seri­ous and it scares the s— out of me, too.”
    ...

    And how was Brad­dock plan­ning to have Luna killed? A Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian hit squad. Of course. They’ll even send Brad­dock pic­tures. Paid for by Freema­sons or the some­one from Mal­ta (pre­sum­ably a ref­er­ence to the Knights of Mal­ta). He even seems to sug­gest it’s “beyond my con­trol this point”, which rais­es the ques­tion of whether or not it’s actu­al­ly Brad­dock call­ing for this hit or if he’s doing this on behalf of some­one else:

    ...
    In the record­ing, Brad­dock ear­ly in the call brought up the alleged assas­sins. He also made ram­bling state­ments about get­ting finan­cial help from fel­low Freema­sons or by some­how import­ing mil­lions of dol­lars from Mal­ta and Gibral­tar.

    “I have access to a hit squad, too, Ukraini­ans and Rus­sians,” he said about three min­utes into the call, adding “don’t get caught out in pub­lic sup­port­ing Luna. … Luna’s gonna go down and I hope it’s by her­self.”

    ...

    “I call up my Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian hit squad, and with­in 24 hours, they’re send­ing me pic­tures of her dis­ap­pear­ing,” he replied. “No, I’m not jok­ing. Like, this is beyond my con­trol this point.”

    Asked if the killers were snipers, Brad­dock described them as, “Russ­ian mafia. Close-bat­tle com­bat, TEC-9s, MAC-10s, silencers kind of thing. No snipers. Up close and per­son­al. So they know that the tar­get has gone.”
    ...

    Keep in mind that it’s very unclear that Brad­dock would win the pri­ma­ry if Luna sud­den­ly died from an extreme case of ‘lead poi­son­ing’. He’s a lit­tle-known can­di­date, which fur­ther rais­es ques­tions of whether or not Brad­dock was act­ing on behalf of some­one else. Which brings us to his ref­er­ence to a claimed alliance with two oth­er can­di­dates in the pri­ma­ry Aman­da Mak­ki and Matt Tito:

    ...
    In her fil­ing for an injunc­tion, Luna also men­tioned how Brad­dock claimed in the call with Olszews­ki that two oth­er poten­tial Repub­li­can can­di­dates in the race, Aman­da Mak­ki and Matt Tito, had formed an alliance with him to stop Luna. Brad­dock briefly post­ed the peti­tion for the injunc­tion on his Face­book page Fri­day but then took them down.

    Both Mak­ki and Tito denied the claims of an alliance with Brad­dock and each of them crit­i­cized Luna for men­tion­ing their names in the injunc­tion she filed against Brad­dock.
    ...

    Are we look­ing at a group assas­si­na­tion effort here? Is this just the unhinged rant­i­ngs of a lone dis­turbed indi­vid­ual? Hope­ful­ly inves­ti­ga­tors will be able to fig­ure that out, soon­er rather than lat­er. But as the first arti­cle made clear, it’s not as if the Repub­li­can Par­ty as a whole has­n’t expe­ri­enced a sig­nif­i­cant col­lec­tive psy­cho­log­i­cal shift dur­ing the Trump years. Polit­i­cal vio­lence is a much more accept­able top­ic to bring up these days thanks to the Trump expe­ri­ence. It’s one of the few areas where Trump showed con­sis­tent lead­er­ship.

    And that’s the our two tales of Repub­li­can death threats. Death threats for democ­ra­cy, alleged­ly. I the first case, we have death threats tar­get­ing fam­i­lies designed to intim­i­date. And in the sec­ond case we had what amount­ed to a ‘col­lat­er­al dam­age death threat’ issued, with Brad­dock telling Olszews­ki to stop sup­port­ing Luna because Olszews­ki could end up get­ting hit too. So it’s more like a death threat/assassination plan rolled up in one sto­ry. And in both cas­es, the osten­si­ble jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for these threats was the greater good. That’s the mind set of the con­tem­po­rary GOP: mur­der­ing your polit­i­cal oppo­nents to save democ­ra­cy. For the greater good, of course.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 18, 2021, 3:49 pm
  23. One of the sad­der aspects of watch­ing the sociopo­lit­i­cal can­ni­bal­iza­tion of the US by far right forces is how the news is increas­ing­ly forced to cov­er news about how right-wing news orga­ni­za­tions aren’t cov­er­ing the news but instead mak­ing it up. The sto­ry about how the grow­ing dom­i­na­tion of far right fan­ta­sy-ver­sions of real­i­ty is one of the biggest sto­ries of our time. And grow­ing. So along those lines, here’s the lat­est chap­ter in that sto­ry:

    The top­ic of mass polit­i­cal exe­cu­tions was in the news this week after a One Amer­i­ca News Net­work host, Pear­son Sharp, mused on air about what the legal con­se­quences should be if it is indeed deter­mined that the elec­tion was stolen from Don­ald Trump in an elab­o­rate nation­wide vote-steal­ing oper­a­tion that involved involved gov­ern­ments (the ‘Italy­Gate’ sce­nario). Mass exe­cu­tions, of course. Exe­cu­tion is the pun­ish­ment for trea­son laid out in the Con­sti­tu­tion and thou­sands, poten­tial­ly tens of thou­sands, of peo­ple were involved in the mass fraud. So mass exe­cu­tions are what’s called for. Specif­i­cal­ly, mass exe­cu­tions of Democ­rats. At least that’s how Sharp saw it and he just felt the need to share those sen­ti­ments on air. Because that’s the state of right-wing jour­nal­ism in Amer­i­ca:

    Talk­ing Points Memo

    OAN Host Who Mused About Mass Exe­cu­tions: I Was Just Dis­cussing The Fed­er­al Legal Code!

    By Matt Shuham
    June 24, 2021 3:57 p.m.

    The One Amer­i­ca News Net­work host who mused about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of mass exe­cu­tions of Democ­rats told TPM Thurs­day that he was sim­ply report­ing on the poten­tial legal ram­i­fi­ca­tions that would exist in a sce­nario in which there was a mas­sive con­spir­a­cy to steal an elec­tion.

    He was not, he said, cheer­ing for mass death.

    The denial from OAN host Pear­son Sharp came after TPM report­ed on his com­ments regard­ing the penal­ty for trea­son in the Unit­ed States, which Sharp dis­cussed in light of the lies his net­work has told about the 2020 elec­tion.

    “What are the con­se­quences for trai­tors who med­dled with our sacred demo­c­ra­t­ic process and tried to steal pow­er by tak­ing away the voic­es of the Amer­i­can peo­ple? What hap­pens to them?” Sharp won­dered aloud in a mono­logue. “Well, in the past, Amer­i­ca had a very good solu­tion to deal­ing with such trai­tors: Exe­cu­tion.”

    TPM asked Sharp by email about the mono­logue, not­ing that it seemed to embrace exe­cut­ing thou­sands of peo­ple for pur­port­ed elec­tion crimes. (Sharp had asked his view­ers, “How many peo­ple were involved in these efforts to under­mine the elec­tion. Hun­dreds? Thou­sands? Tens of thou­sands?”)

    “No, nei­ther myself, nor OAN is ‘embrac­ing exe­cut­ing thou­sands of peo­ple,’” Sharp replied. “OAN is sim­ply point­ing out that if elec­tion fraud is proven, then it could very well con­sti­tute trea­son. And accord­ing to our laws, trea­son is pun­ish­able by death. If it is found that gov­ern­ment offi­cials coor­di­nat­ed with for­eign coun­tries to over­throw the elec­tion, then that would be the very def­i­n­i­tion of trea­son. Which, accord­ing to our nation’s laws, could result in exe­cu­tion.”

    He then help­ful­ly direct­ed TPM to the fed­er­al law defin­ing trea­son and its pun­ish­ment, death.

    “These are sim­ply facts,” he said. “You may dis­agree with the sug­ges­tion that elec­tion fraud was com­mit­ted. How­ev­er, it is indis­putable that the US has laws which lay out con­se­quences for com­mit­ting cer­tain crimes, includ­ing trea­son. This report is only mak­ing that point clear.”

    That seemed to be a pret­ty big hedge from the com­ments Sharp made on air — name­ly that exe­cu­tion had been a “very good solu­tion for deal­ing with such trai­tors” in the past, and that “rad­i­cal Democ­rats left fin­ger­prints all over the coun­try, pro­vid­ing a trail of evi­dence that the 2020 elec­tion was not only tam­pered with, but was actu­al­ly over­thrown.”

    “I’m sim­ply report­ing that con­spir­ing against the gov­ern­ment to over­throw an elec­tion, with the help of a for­eign gov­ern­ment, would be trea­son,” Sharp said in a sub­se­quent email. “If that is inves­ti­gat­ed, and if that is proven, then US laws main­tain that exe­cu­tion is a legal pun­ish­ment for those crimes. That is the extent of the report.”

    ...

    “Nei­ther I, nor OAN, are sug­gest­ing any­one should be exe­cut­ed,” Sharp told TPM. “That is for the appro­pri­ate law enforce­ment agen­cies to deter­mine.” He also denied that OAN was advo­cat­ing for “vig­i­lan­tism.”

    “Exe­cu­tion for trea­son is strict­ly a legal process,” he wrote.

    Sharp said that giv­en “numer­ous report­ed cas­es of appar­ent­ly fraud­u­lent activ­i­ty, it does appear elec­tion fraud was com­mit­ted.”

    The host seems to have made up his mind about elec­tion fraud months ago: In Decem­ber, he told OAN view­ers that there was “stag­ger­ing evi­dence of vot­ing fraud” — hun­dreds of thou­sands thou­sands of fraud­u­lent votes across the coun­try, includ­ing dead vot­ers, out-of-state vot­ers, and dou­ble vot­ers, all of which Sharp report­ed as set­tled fact.

    He said near the end of that Decem­ber report: “This is the sit­u­a­tion we’re deal­ing with. The evi­dence for fraud is greater than it ever had been, and yet the main­stream media and Democ­rats are com­plete­ly ignor­ing it. Or worse, they’re actu­al­ly com­plic­it in cov­er­ing up the great­est elec­tion fraud in Amer­i­can his­to­ry, all with the goal of under­min­ing democ­ra­cy and over­throw­ing the duly-elect­ed Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States.”

    Months lat­er — after an attack on the Capi­tol fueled by lies and the inau­gu­ra­tion of a new pres­i­dent — Sharp was still at it.

    “There’s still seri­ous doubts about who’s actu­al­ly pres­i­dent,” he report­ed in late March.

    ————

    “OAN Host Who Mused About Mass Exe­cu­tions: I Was Just Dis­cussing The Fed­er­al Legal Code!” by Matt Shuham; Talk­ing Points Memo; 06/24/2021

    ““What are the con­se­quences for trai­tors who med­dled with our sacred demo­c­ra­t­ic process and tried to steal pow­er by tak­ing away the voic­es of the Amer­i­can peo­ple? What hap­pens to them?” Sharp won­dered aloud in a mono­logue. “Well, in the past, Amer­i­ca had a very good solu­tion to deal­ing with such trai­tors: Exe­cu­tion.”

    Trai­tors hang. It’s a sim­ple, com­pelling mes­sage. Now all you need to do is some­how define all of your polit­i­cal oppo­nents as trai­tors and you have a recipe for mass exe­cu­tions. How many peo­ple will need to die? That depends on how many peo­ple are dis­cov­ered to have been involved in the mass vot­er fraud. Hun­dreds? Thou­sands? Tens of thou­sands? Just ask­ing ques­tions:

    ...
    TPM asked Sharp by email about the mono­logue, not­ing that it seemed to embrace exe­cut­ing thou­sands of peo­ple for pur­port­ed elec­tion crimes. (Sharp had asked his view­ers, “How many peo­ple were involved in these efforts to under­mine the elec­tion. Hun­dreds? Thou­sands? Tens of thou­sands?”)

    “No, nei­ther myself, nor OAN is ‘embrac­ing exe­cut­ing thou­sands of peo­ple,’” Sharp replied. “OAN is sim­ply point­ing out that if elec­tion fraud is proven, then it could very well con­sti­tute trea­son. And accord­ing to our laws, trea­son is pun­ish­able by death. If it is found that gov­ern­ment offi­cials coor­di­nat­ed with for­eign coun­tries to over­throw the elec­tion, then that would be the very def­i­n­i­tion of trea­son. Which, accord­ing to our nation’s laws, could result in exe­cu­tion.”

    ...

    “I’m sim­ply report­ing that con­spir­ing against the gov­ern­ment to over­throw an elec­tion, with the help of a for­eign gov­ern­ment, would be trea­son,” Sharp said in a sub­se­quent email. “If that is inves­ti­gat­ed, and if that is proven, then US laws main­tain that exe­cu­tion is a legal pun­ish­ment for those crimes. That is the extent of the report.”
    ...

    It’s the kind of sto­ry that, on one hand, is the log­i­cal exten­sion of the GOP’s cur­rent pro­pa­gan­da mad­ness mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to take seri­ous­ly. But it’s also hard to ignore the real­i­ty that once the GOP is going to be in the mood for mass exe­cu­tions by the time it inevitably regains full con­trol of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. Any­one deemed to be a trai­tor, by what­ev­er the def­i­n­i­tions they come up with at that point, will be sub­ject to exe­cu­tion.

    So with that loom­ing threat of mass exe­cu­tions for the GOP’s per­ceived trai­tors in mind, here’s an update on the net­work of fig­ures who are not only con­tin­ue to pro­mote and expand upon the ‘stolen elec­tion’ nar­ra­tive but are man­ag­ing to turn it into a self-financ­ing indus­try. Fig­ures like Mike Lin­dell and Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne who are not only work­ing close­ly with peo­ple like Michael Fly­nn and Sid­ney Pow­ell, but are also coor­di­nat­ing direct­ly with Trump him­self. Per­pet­u­al­ly promis­ing audi­ences that Trump real­ly won and the evi­dence for all of this evi­dence is real­ly just about to come out. Any day now. Just keep send­ing them dona­tions in the mean time:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Inside the ‘shad­ow real­i­ty world’ pro­mot­ing the lie that the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was stolen

    By Ros­alind S. Hel­der­man, Emma Brown, Tom Ham­burg­er and Josh Dawsey

    June 24, 2021 at 2:46 p.m. UTC

    The slick­ly pro­duced movie trail­er, set to omi­nous music, cuts from scenes of the 2020 elec­tion to clips of allies of for­mer pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump describ­ing a vast con­spir­a­cy to steal the White House.

    “The Deep Rig,” a film financed by for­mer Overstock.com chief exec­u­tive Patrick Byrne for $750,000, is set to be released online this week­end — the lat­est pro­duc­tion by a loose­ly affil­i­at­ed net­work of fig­ures who have har­nessed right-wing media out­lets, pod­casts and the social media plat­form Telegram to pro­mote the false­hood that the 2020 elec­tion was rigged.

    The base­less asser­tion, backed by mil­lions of dol­lars from wealthy indi­vid­u­als, is rever­ber­at­ing across this alter­na­tive media ecos­phere five months after Trump and many of his back­ers were pushed off Face­book and Twit­ter for spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion that inspired a mob to attack the U.S. Capi­tol. While large­ly unno­ticed by Amer­i­cans who have accept­ed the fact of Pres­i­dent Biden’s vic­to­ry, the del­uge of con­tent has cap­tured the atten­tion of many who think the elec­tion was rigged, a belief that is an ani­mat­ing force inside the Repub­li­can Par­ty.

    In this world, bal­lot reviews like a Repub­li­can-com­mis­sioned recount now now under­way in Ari­zona are about to begin in oth­er key swing states. Con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that grow more dizzy­ing­ly com­plex by the day will soon be proven, show­ing that Chi­na or oth­er for­eign pow­ers secret­ly flipped votes for Biden. Trump will be restored as pres­i­dent in months.

    These false­hoods are now seep­ing into civic life, spurring cit­i­zens in mul­ti­ple states to demand that local offi­cials review the 2020 results.

    Kim Wyman, the Repub­li­can sec­re­tary of state in Wash­ing­ton, said her staff con­tend­ed with the lat­est bar­rage of email and calls just last week. “It told us some­thing had tran­spired online,” she said, adding: “You can’t dis­prove the neg­a­tives that are being thrown out that are absolute­ly based on noth­ing.”

    The echo cham­ber is being sus­tained by fig­ures such as Byrne, who says he has spent more than $5.5 mil­lion to exam­ine elec­tion fraud since Novem­ber, and Mike Lin­dell, the chief exec­u­tive of MyP­il­low, who reg­u­lar­ly speaks with Trump and says he has plowed $16 mil­lion into the effort. Oth­er untold sums have been donat­ed by ordi­nary Amer­i­cans to non­prof­it groups that say they are focused on “elec­tion integri­ty” and tout what has been dubbed the “big lie” about the 2020 elec­tion.

    Their claims have been pop­u­lar­ized by a steady stream of atten­tion from far-right media out­lets, includ­ing a dai­ly pod­cast host­ed by for­mer White House chief strate­gist Stephen K. Ban­non. And they are being rein­forced by Trump, through a flur­ry of state­ments issued by his PAC, and at ral­lies around the coun­try, includ­ing one host­ed by Lin­dell this month in Wis­con­sin that fea­tured a live video appear­ance by the for­mer pres­i­dent.

    “They have their own ver­sion of YouTube, their own mes­sage groups. They have their own whole set of pub­li­ca­tions. … You have to won­der what per­cent of Amer­i­ca is even aware of this shad­ow real­i­ty world,” said Har­ri Hursti, a cyber and elec­tions expert who in recent days has devot­ed his Twit­ter feed to debunk­ing a stream of false­hoods about a local bal­lot audit in New Hamp­shire. “Not only is it orga­nized, but you have to think: How much mon­ey is need­ed to keep it going?”

    Byrne char­ac­ter­ized the forth­com­ing “Deep Rig” movie as a weapon in an “infor­ma­tion war.”

    “Those who don’t under­stand why this movie is impor­tant do not real­ly under­stand the bat­tle­space in which we fight,” he wrote in response to skep­tics on Telegram.

    The con­stant stream of pur­port­ed evi­dence being cit­ed by pro-Trump allies helps keep true believ­ers engaged, accord­ing to Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton asso­ciate pro­fes­sor Kate Star­bird. Recent polls show that more than 6 in 10 Repub­li­cans think Biden won as the result of fraud, a fig­ure that has held steady months after Elec­tion Day.

    ...

    ‘An over­all ques­tion­ing of elec­tion integri­ty’

    Trump won a com­fort­able 56 per­cent of the vote in Houghton Coun­ty, Mich., a rur­al area on the north­ern edge of the state’s Upper Penin­su­la, bor­der­ing Lake Supe­ri­or.

    But then a film pro­duced by Lin­dell called “Absolute Proof” that aired on the pro-Trump One Amer­i­ca News cable tele­vi­sion net­work in Feb­ru­ary false­ly claimed that 1,143 of the rough­ly 18,500 pres­i­den­tial votes cast in Houghton Coun­ty had been switched for Biden via remote manip­u­la­tion — part of what the film assert­ed was a broad plot to hack the elec­tion.

    What hap­pened next was a vivid demon­stra­tion of the influ­ence of those pro­mot­ing the “big lie.”

    Although there had been no indi­ca­tion of any prob­lems with the county’s vot­ing sys­tems, the board of com­mis­sion­ers began fac­ing pres­sure from local res­i­dents to launch a new audit of the 2020 vote.

    In a May 19 let­ter to Repub­li­can state Sen. Ed McB­room, who chairs a leg­isla­tive over­sight com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the elec­tion, coun­ty Admin­is­tra­tor Ben Lar­son wrote the board “has con­tin­ued to receive requests to have this mat­ter looked at … since the Lin­dell doc­u­men­tary aired.”

    “This claim has led to an over­all ques­tion­ing of elec­tion integri­ty,” Lar­son added.

    In response, McB­room appeared by Zoom at a com­mis­sion­ers’ meet­ing ear­li­er this month, attempt­ing to punc­ture Lindell’s the­o­ries. “We are find­ing zero evi­dence to sup­port that,” he said. “What keeps on being pos­tu­lat­ed is some­thing that is just not pos­si­ble.”

    Nev­er­the­less, as the meet­ing end­ed, a mem­ber of the audi­ence spoke up. Would the com­mis­sion­ers still con­sid­er a local audit, he asked, if mem­bers of the pub­lic fund­ed it through dona­tions? A board mem­ber respond­ed that although leg­isla­tive input was like­ly to be need­ed, the board might con­sid­er the idea.

    Houghton is one of sev­er­al Michi­gan coun­ties where res­i­dents con­tin­ue to push for bal­lot reviews, cit­ing Lindell’s claims.

    “I don’t know if the Novem­ber 2020 elec­tion will ever be gone,” said Houghton Coun­ty Clerk Jen­nifer Kel­ly, who said she has offered to allow com­mis­sion­ers to exam­ine vot­ing machines to demon­strate they are not con­nect­ed to the Inter­net, as Lin­dell has claimed, to no avail.

    On Wednes­day, a state Sen­ate com­mit­tee chaired by McB­room released the results of a sev­en-month-long inves­ti­ga­tion of Michigan’s elec­tion results, which includ­ed tes­ti­mo­ny from 90 wit­ness­es. The report con­clud­ed there was “no evi­dence of wide­spread or sys­tem­at­ic fraud” and warned of “those who have pushed demon­stra­bly false the­o­ries for their own per­son­al gain.”

    Lin­dell, who touts his improb­a­ble jour­ney from crack addict to wealthy pil­low entre­pre­neur, emerged imme­di­ate­ly after the elec­tion as a lead­ing dis­sem­i­na­tor of false alle­ga­tions about the vote. He fund­ed a bus tour in Novem­ber and Decem­ber to spread his the­o­ries, appear­ing fre­quent­ly on pro-Trump cable net­works. In Jan­u­ary, days before Biden’s inau­gu­ra­tion, he was pho­tographed enter­ing the White House with a doc­u­ment that referred to “mar­tial law if nec­es­sary.” Twit­ter has per­ma­nent­ly sus­pend­ed him for ampli­fy­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion.

    Lindell’s claims have been repeat­ed­ly reject­ed by inde­pen­dent experts and inves­ti­ga­tors and by Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can elec­tion offi­cials in mul­ti­ple states. He faces a $1.3 bil­lion defama­tion suit by Domin­ion Vot­ing Sys­tems, a com­pa­ny that man­u­fac­tures the machines at the heart of his alle­ga­tions, and he was barred from attend­ing a recent meet­ing of the Repub­li­can Gov­er­nors Asso­ci­a­tion after he vowed to con­front offi­cials there with his false claims.

    ...

    Lin­dell says “white hat hack­ers” slipped him vague infor­ma­tion on Jan. 9 that he claims proves the elec­tion was manip­u­lat­ed. “Peo­ple were in the twi­light zone about what hap­pened,” he said. “And then what a God­send: peo­ple had this evi­dence.”

    On June 3, he released a new film online called “Absolute 9–0,” which argues that soon-to-be-revealed infor­ma­tion will be so com­pelling that the Supreme Court will be forced to unan­i­mous­ly rein­state Trump as pres­i­dent.

    Of the $16 mil­lion that Lin­dell said he has spent so far, he said $10 mil­lion has gone into Frank, an online video and social net­work chan­nel that got off to a glitchy start in April but that Lin­dell pre­dict­ed would “put both Twit­ter and YouTube out of busi­ness.”

    “I will spend every dime I have, if I have to, to get the truth out because I love this coun­try,” he told The Post. Lin­dell acknowl­edged that he has estab­lished a legal defense fund so that “all those peo­ple who say they want to help” can put their mon­ey some­where, but added, “I’m not look­ing for any mon­ey.”

    He is now on a “big lie” speak­ing cir­cuit of sorts, appear­ing at ral­lies and pub­lic fes­ti­vals spon­sored by Frank and oth­er sim­i­lar enti­ties in swing states such as Michi­gan and Wis­con­sin. He says he will hold a major ral­ly in July in Penn­syl­va­nia to push for an audit there. And, he says, he is plan­ning a three-day nation­al sem­i­nar to reveal his find­ings lat­er this sum­mer, one he hopes will be cov­ered live by major news orga­ni­za­tions.

    Lin­dell said that he speaks to Trump every few weeks. “He is so much inter­est­ed in Mari­co­pa, in all the audits going on in the states,” Lin­dell said, refer­ring to the recount of pres­i­den­tial elec­tion bal­lots in Mari­co­pa Coun­ty, Arizona’s largest juris­dic­tion.

    Trump advis­ers con­firmed that he is in reg­u­lar con­tact with Lin­dell. The for­mer pres­i­dent likes that Lin­dell is “out there fight­ing for him, throw­ing bombs and keep­ing hope alive,” accord­ing to a per­son close to him, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to describe pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions.

    Ear­li­er this month, Trump appeared by video at a Frank-spon­sored ral­ly in New Rich­mond, Wis., that drew thou­sands to a river­side fair­ground where they lis­tened to speak­ers exco­ri­ate the integri­ty of the elec­tion. Amid the booths for ice cream, hot dogs and face-paint­ing was one for Lindell’s com­pa­ny MyP­il­low.

    “The elec­tion was rigged,” the for­mer pres­i­dent told the crowd. “The elec­tion was rigged like nev­er before.”

    Lori Brown, 52, whose chil­dren were vol­un­teer­ing at the event, said she believes the 2020 elec­tion was stolen. “I say that a lit­tle cau­tious­ly,” said Brown, who lives in Som­er­set, Wis. “I’m not a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist. I’m not a crazy, as a lot of us are called. But I def­i­nite­ly am a con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian and believe in stand­ing up for our rights as Amer­i­cans.”

    The crowd was full of devo­tees decked out in Trump gear who said they had con­vert­ed their media habits away from main­stream sources — includ­ing Fox News — ditch­ing YouTube for Rum­ble, an alter­na­tive video site that has become pop­u­lar with con­ser­v­a­tives, and trad­ing in Twit­ter for Telegram.

    “We all love Mike Lin­dell,” said Mar­i­anne Nor­ris, who drove six hours to the event from the west­ern sub­urbs of Chica­go.

    She said she fol­lows Frank, as well as One Amer­i­ca News and some­times News­max, and watched all four of Lindell’s films about the 2020 elec­tion, includ­ing the most recent, “Absolute 9–0.”

    “That one will just blow your mind,” she said. “There’s noth­ing sub­jec­tive. It’s based on irrefutable data by high lev­els — they call them, com­put­er hack­ers.”

    Experts who have reviewed the mate­r­i­al have called it tech­ni­cal non­sense, fea­tur­ing anony­mous self-pro­claimed com­put­er experts who claim that spread­sheets of inde­ci­pher­able num­bers that scroll quick­ly on the screen prove their hack­ing the­o­ry — but do not detail how. (Lin­dell said the footage is intend­ed as an illus­tra­tion and that the data itself will be revealed lat­er.)

    “It’s the utmost hog­wash,” said Hursti, a com­put­er pro­gram­mer who has worked to make vot­ing machines more secure. “But it doesn’t have to make sense — for some peo­ple, that makes it more believ­able.”

    ‘Stay tuned’

    On June 2, Byrne — the pro­duc­er of “The Deep Rig” movie — post­ed a note to his 126,000 fol­low­ers on the social media app Telegram reveal­ing that Lin­dell would soon be fil­ing a new law­suit.

    The suit, Byrne promised, would put for­ward fresh evi­dence of fraud in the elec­tion — part of an inten­tion­al strat­e­gy, he told fol­low­ers, to keep them hope­ful and engaged.

    “Mike Lin­dell and I agreed a month ago that I would keep you folks in a state of informed antic­i­pa­tion, and as infor­ma­tion gets released I would ampli­fy and pro­vide col­or,” he wrote. “So I have tried to do that, let­ting peo­ple know that they should not give up hope, the things were in progress, but with­out over­stat­ing or giv­ing too much away.”

    After the Novem­ber elec­tion, dozens of judges — appoint­ed by both Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats — reject­ed legal suits around the coun­try claim­ing fraud had taint­ed the vote.

    But Byrne and his allies note that some courts did not engage the sub­stance of the fraud claims. And they point to what they say are sus­pi­cious pat­terns — such as spikes for Biden as bal­lots were being tal­lied in key states. Elec­tions experts say such pat­terns can be eas­i­ly explained, but Byrne called such dis­missals “facile bro­mides” that are not reas­sur­ing to him or mil­lions of oth­er Amer­i­cans.

    “Let’s just open the box­es and find out,” Byrne said, adding that there should be more bal­lot reviews like the one in Ari­zona.

    Even more piv­otal evi­dence is just around the cor­ner, he has promised.

    In text mes­sages to The Post, the for­mer Overstock.com CEO pledged “all the cyber evi­dence we need to prove the entire mat­ter” is “lit­er­al­ly sit­ting right next to me right now in a case as I lay on my futon in my safe house answer­ing this ques­tion.”

    Told on June 9 that The Post would be inter­est­ed in see­ing that evi­dence, Byrne replied: “Stay tuned.”

    In response to a fol­low-up inquiry from a reporter on June 21, Byrne said that it would be “includ­ed in a law­suit that is being pre­pared by some­one else,” and that some of it had already been incor­po­rat­ed in an exhib­it filed as part of the suit Lin­dell filed against Domin­ion ear­li­er this month, which argues the com­pa­ny has tried to silence his elec­tion claims through its defama­tion claims.

    Byrne, a self-described lib­er­tar­i­an who says he did not vote for Trump, nev­er­the­less became a key play­er in chal­leng­ing the legit­i­ma­cy of the elec­tion before Trump left office. Joined by for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er Michael Fly­nn and pro-Trump attor­ney Sid­ney Pow­ell, he attend­ed a rau­cous Dec. 18 meet­ing at the White House, where the group tried to per­suade Trump to appoint Pow­ell as spe­cial coun­sel to inves­ti­gate vot­ing machines in key coun­ties across the coun­try, as The Post pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed.

    Since Trump left office, Byrne has recount­ed that meet­ing and his views about the elec­tion in blog posts and a book pub­lished by his com­pa­ny Deep Cap­ture. Byrne, who describes him­self as a jour­nal­ist, pro­vides a steady stream of com­men­tary on Telegram and has become a reg­u­lar guest on far-right pod­casts and stream­ing video shows.

    Byrne said he believes the 2020 elec­tion was a “soft coup” and part of a project by the polit­i­cal “far left” to bring fas­cism to Amer­i­ca.

    Some of Byrne’s blog con­tent on the web­site Locals.com is avail­able only to “mem­bers” who pay a fee of $5 per month or $55 per year. He now has more than 28,000 mem­bers, which trans­lates into pay­ments of more than $125,000 per month or $1.5 mil­lion per year, minus the website’s 10 per­cent fee. Byrne says he believes he has earned about $250,000 so far from his book and sub­scrip­tions through the site.

    The movie trail­er for “The Deep Rig” fea­tures fig­ures who are famil­iar to those who believe that the pres­i­den­cy was stolen, includ­ing Fly­nn and his broth­er Joseph. It also spot­lights two lawyers who filed suits chal­leng­ing the elec­tion results and some peo­ple described as cyber­se­cu­ri­ty experts whose voic­es were dis­tort­ed to shield their iden­ti­ties.

    Oth­er fig­ures who make appear­ances include retired Army Col. Phil Wal­dron, who told state leg­is­la­tors about pur­port­ed evi­dence of vote manip­u­la­tion dur­ing hear­ings in var­i­ous states in Decem­ber, and Jovan Hut­ton Pulitzer, an inven­tor and trea­sure hunter who has devised what he says is a way to iden­ti­fy coun­ter­feit bal­lots by exam­in­ing the paper on which they are print­ed. A spokesman for the Ari­zona audit has said that Pulitzer has served as a con­sul­tant for that effort, which has involved UV lights and micro­scopes to scru­ti­nize the paper on which the bal­lots were print­ed.

    “It’s not over, and we have not lost,” Pulitzer declares in the trail­er.

    Byrne told The Post by text that he plans to release the movie on Sat­ur­day via a paid live-stream event. “Entre­pre­neur­ial Patri­ots” will pay a licens­ing fee for the right to show the film in venues rang­ing from liv­ing rooms to bars and church­es to rent­ed the­aters, he said — and they, in turn, will be able to charge as much or as lit­tle as they want for tick­ets.

    “As far as the dis­tri­b­u­tion goes, we archi­tect­ed a sys­tem that can­not be can­celed by the fas­cists,” Byrne wrote.

    Tick­ets are also being sold for $25 apiece on a web­site asso­ci­at­ed with the movie for a for­mal in-per­son pre­miere event. It will be held in Phoenix on Sat­ur­day — around the same time the Repub­li­can-backed review of Ari­zona bal­lots is sched­uled to con­clude at a for­mer bas­ket­ball are­na near­by.

    A key touch­stone

    Offi­cial­ly, the recount in Mari­co­pa Coun­ty is not about over­turn­ing Biden’s nar­row win in the state. Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Karen Fann ®, who com­mis­sioned the review that began in late April, has said it is aimed at iden­ti­fy­ing weak­ness­es in the state’s elec­tions sys­tem.

    The process has been wide­ly pil­lo­ried by elec­tion experts as slop­py, inse­cure and biased.

    But across the “big lie” ecos­phere, the Ari­zona audit has become a key touch­stone — a devel­op­ment that has per­suad­ed many Trump sup­port­ers that there will soon be a reassess­ment of the elec­tion results across the coun­try.

    Bannon’s dai­ly “War Room” pod­cast — an increas­ing­ly impor­tant stop­ping point for Repub­li­cans who want to lay claim to Trump’s base — keeps an image from the live stream of events at Ari­zona Vet­er­ans Memo­r­i­al Col­i­se­um in Phoenix in the cor­ner of the screen through­out its dai­ly broad­cast.

    “Every day it’s going to con­tin­ue — as we pound through Geor­gia, as we pound through Ari­zona. We’re going to start pound­ing through Penn­syl­va­nia,” Ban­non said as he opened Tuesday’s show, argu­ing that the con­tin­ued focus on the elec­tion and the ori­gins of the coro­n­avirus have dent­ed Biden’s approval rat­ings in a way that will ham­per his abil­i­ty to enact his agen­da. “We can stop the pro­gram by focus­ing on 3 Novem­ber. … Get to the bot­tom of 3 Novem­ber.”

    The Ari­zona state Sen­ate ear­marked $150,000 to pay for the audit, but orga­niz­ers have said that fig­ure is a frac­tion of the full cost of the oper­a­tion. So pri­vate donors are help­ing finance the effort through non­prof­it groups that have pro­mot­ed false claims about the 2020 elec­tion.

    Chief among them is the Amer­i­ca Project, which Byrne said he and Michael Fly­nn co-found­ed and now employs Fly­nn as a paid “spe­cial advis­er.” Byrne told The Post that the non­prof­it group raised $1.2 mil­lion for the recount and that he gave anoth­er $500,000 direct­ly to the audit effort.

    “I don’t have the mon­ey to stop this by myself. This is going to take tens of mil­lions of dol­lars, this whole effort, maybe hun­dreds of mil­lions,” he wrote on his Locals.com chan­nel.

    Byrne said any mon­ey left over after Ari­zona will be used to fund audits else­where. But because the group is not required to dis­close infor­ma­tion about its donors or spend­ing, his asser­tions are impos­si­ble to cor­rob­o­rate.

    Also rais­ing mon­ey for the Ari­zona audit is Voic­es and Votes, a non­prof­it group found­ed by OAN hosts Chanel Rion and Christi­na Bobb, whose net­work has been intense­ly cov­er­ing and pro­mot­ing the recount.

    The group raised $250,000 with­in days of launch­ing in April, Bobb has said. It secured dona­tions from sup­port­ers such as L. Lin Wood, an attor­ney who pur­sued unsuc­cess­ful elec­tion chal­lenges last year and said in an inter­view that his non­prof­it #Fight­Back donat­ed $50,000 to Voic­es and Votes for the Ari­zona endeav­or.

    In an email to The Post, Bobb declined to say how much the group has raised alto­geth­er, but she said it has large­ly received small-dol­lar dona­tions. “There are thou­sands and thou­sands of Amer­i­cans across the coun­try that want to con­tribute,” she wrote.

    The OAN host has used her on-air appear­ances to appeal for mon­ey to fund vis­its to Ari­zona by Trump-allied law­mak­ers and can­di­dates from oth­er states, who have pledged to pur­sue sim­i­lar efforts back home.

    Bobb, an attor­ney, has said she vol­un­teered as part of the Trump legal team after the Novem­ber elec­tion. She is now in reg­u­lar con­tact with the for­mer pres­i­dent, speak­ing to him by tele­phone to update him on progress in Ari­zona, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with their con­ver­sa­tions.

    Bobb declined to com­ment on her con­ver­sa­tions with Trump, telling The Post via email, “I defer to Pres­i­dent Trump regard­ing any phone calls he may or may not have, and how he would char­ac­ter­ize our rela­tion­ship.”

    Aides say Trump no longer con­fers with Pow­ell, the con­ser­v­a­tive lawyer who made a string of increas­ing­ly wild accu­sa­tions about elec­tion fraud after the elec­tion. Like Lin­dell, she is fight­ing a $1.3 bil­lion defama­tion law­suit filed by Domin­ion Vot­ing Sys­tems after she claimed the com­pa­ny inten­tion­al­ly rigged its machines to sway the out­come of the elec­tion.

    Pow­ell, who did not respond to requests for com­ment, has asked a judge to dis­miss Dominion’s suit, argu­ing she was engaged in pro­tect­ed polit­i­cal speech.

    She has con­tin­ued to make unsub­stan­ti­at­ed claims about the elec­tion; at a con­ven­tion of QAnon sup­port­ers in Dal­las late last month, Pow­ell said Trump should be rein­stat­ed as pres­i­dent.

    “It’s going to have to be dealt with it,” she told the audi­ence. “It should be that he can sim­ply be rein­stat­ed, that a new inau­gu­ra­tion date is set and Biden is told to move out of the White House.”

    And Trump has relent­less­ly pro­mot­ed the idea that the 2020 results could be over­turned. “If the elec­tion was deter­mined to be a fraud — and it’s look­ing more and more like that is the case — I mean, peo­ple are going to have to make a deter­mi­na­tion as to what’s going to hap­pen,” he told host David Brody on Tues­day on Real America’s Voice, an online out­let that also airs Bannon’s show.

    Through his PAC — which raised mil­lions in response to fundrais­ing appeals to fight the elec­tion results — Trump has repeat­ed­ly issued state­ments claim­ing that reviews of bal­lots cast last fall will expose fraud. Fundrais­ing pitch­es about the 2020 vote tend to do par­tic­u­lar­ly well in draw­ing small-dol­lar dona­tions, peo­ple famil­iar with the oper­a­tion said. His allies, such as for­mer White House spokesman Hogan Gid­ley and for­mer Trump cam­paign lawyer Jen­na Ellis, have also launched their own groups that plan to focus on elec­tion and vot­ing issues. Sev­er­al advis­ers said Trump is annoyed by the pro­lif­er­a­tion of groups he has not sanc­tioned that are rais­ing mon­ey off his rhetoric.

    Orga­niz­ers of the Ari­zona audit have said they will con­clude work at the Ari­zona Vet­er­ans Memo­r­i­al Col­i­se­um this week. Ken Ben­nett, a for­mer Ari­zona sec­re­tary of state serv­ing as the audit’s spokesman, has said no inter­im results will be released until data is ana­lyzed and a final report is pub­lished, prob­a­bly in August.

    A recent video from Ben­nett out­lin­ing the time­line and post­ed to Telegram was greet­ed with a flur­ry of con­cern by Trump allies. “They already have enough evi­dence to inval­i­date their elec­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Release that evi­dence now!” respond­ed one per­son. “Los­ing hope,” wrote anoth­er.

    Trump sup­port­ers have nev­er­the­less breath­less­ly shared rumors about what the Ari­zona audi­tors might con­clude. Bobb has told OAN view­ers that large num­bers of coun­ty bal­lots are “miss­ing.” On Twit­ter, she explained: “If there is any­thing less than 2.1 mil­lion bal­lots in the AZ Audit, it was a fraud­u­lent elec­tion and must be de-cer­ti­fied.” (Ben­nett called the idea of hun­dreds of thou­sands of miss­ing bal­lots “crazy.”)

    Fly­nn too has promised “bomb­shell” evi­dence out of Ari­zona lat­er this month.

    “The entire free­dom-lov­ing world is watch­ing Mari­co­pa Coun­ty,” he said on the right-wing show “Flash­Point” on June 8. The find­ings there, he said, “are just going to shock every­body.”

    ———–

    “Inside the ‘shad­ow real­i­ty world’ pro­mot­ing the lie that the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was stolen” By Ros­alind S. Hel­der­man, Emma Brown, Tom Ham­burg­er and Josh Dawsey; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 06/24/2021

    ““The Deep Rig,” a film financed by for­mer Overstock.com chief exec­u­tive Patrick Byrne for $750,000, is set to be released online this week­end — the lat­est pro­duc­tion by a loose­ly affil­i­at­ed net­work of fig­ures who have har­nessed right-wing media out­lets, pod­casts and the social media plat­form Telegram to pro­mote the false­hood that the 2020 elec­tion was rigged.

    Yes, “The Deep Rig” is only the lat­est pro­duc­tion from a loose­ly affil­i­at­ed net­work of fig­ures and groups that has ral­lied around the idea of a stolen elec­tion. Not just ral­lied around the idea, but built an entire indus­try grow­ing indus­try around it: wealthy, poten­tial­ly anony­mous, donors back the pro­duc­tion of these doc­u­men­taries pur­port­ing to prove a stolen elec­tion. And those doc­u­men­taries in turn are used to solic­it more small dol­lar dona­tions from the audi­ences con­vinced their democ­ra­cy is being stolen away. The class right-wing grift-machine had no prob­lem at all set­tling into the new stolen elec­tion big lie. The dif­fer­ence between this grift and most of the pre­vi­ous one is that it’s kind of an ‘end game’ grift. A grift intend­ed to not just raise mon­ey from the vic­tims but also whip them into an insur­rec­tionary fer­vor:

    ...
    The base­less asser­tion, backed by mil­lions of dol­lars from wealthy indi­vid­u­als, is rever­ber­at­ing across this alter­na­tive media ecos­phere five months after Trump and many of his back­ers were pushed off Face­book and Twit­ter for spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion that inspired a mob to attack the U.S. Capi­tol. While large­ly unno­ticed by Amer­i­cans who have accept­ed the fact of Pres­i­dent Biden’s vic­to­ry, the del­uge of con­tent has cap­tured the atten­tion of many who think the elec­tion was rigged, a belief that is an ani­mat­ing force inside the Repub­li­can Par­ty.

    ...”

    The echo cham­ber is being sus­tained by fig­ures such as Byrne, who says he has spent more than $5.5 mil­lion to exam­ine elec­tion fraud since Novem­ber, and Mike Lin­dell, the chief exec­u­tive of MyP­il­low, who reg­u­lar­ly speaks with Trump and says he has plowed $16 mil­lion into the effort. Oth­er untold sums have been donat­ed by ordi­nary Amer­i­cans to non­prof­it groups that say they are focused on “elec­tion integri­ty” and tout what has been dubbed the “big lie” about the 2020 elec­tion.

    Their claims have been pop­u­lar­ized by a steady stream of atten­tion from far-right media out­lets, includ­ing a dai­ly pod­cast host­ed by for­mer White House chief strate­gist Stephen K. Ban­non. And they are being rein­forced by Trump, through a flur­ry of state­ments issued by his PAC, and at ral­lies around the coun­try, includ­ing one host­ed by Lin­dell this month in Wis­con­sin that fea­tured a live video appear­ance by the for­mer pres­i­dent.

    “They have their own ver­sion of YouTube, their own mes­sage groups. They have their own whole set of pub­li­ca­tions. … You have to won­der what per­cent of Amer­i­ca is even aware of this shad­ow real­i­ty world,” said Har­ri Hursti, a cyber and elec­tions expert who in recent days has devot­ed his Twit­ter feed to debunk­ing a stream of false­hoods about a local bal­lot audit in New Hamp­shire. “Not only is it orga­nized, but you have to think: How much mon­ey is need­ed to keep it going?”
    ...

    But while this net­work might seem like it’s loose­ly affil­i­at­ed, the fact that the wealth donors for these move­ments are able to keep their involve­ment entire­ly hid­den from the pub­lic is a reminder that this net­work might not be near­ly as loose­ly affil­i­at­ed as it appears. Dark mon­ey has a way of tight­en­ing up loose affil­i­a­tions:

    ...
    The Ari­zona state Sen­ate ear­marked $150,000 to pay for the audit, but orga­niz­ers have said that fig­ure is a frac­tion of the full cost of the oper­a­tion. So pri­vate donors are help­ing finance the effort through non­prof­it groups that have pro­mot­ed false claims about the 2020 elec­tion.

    Chief among them is the Amer­i­ca Project, which Byrne said he and Michael Fly­nn co-found­ed and now employs Fly­nn as a paid “spe­cial advis­er.” Byrne told The Post that the non­prof­it group raised $1.2 mil­lion for the recount and that he gave anoth­er $500,000 direct­ly to the audit effort.

    “I don’t have the mon­ey to stop this by myself. This is going to take tens of mil­lions of dol­lars, this whole effort, maybe hun­dreds of mil­lions,” he wrote on his Locals.com chan­nel.

    Byrne said any mon­ey left over after Ari­zona will be used to fund audits else­where. But because the group is not required to dis­close infor­ma­tion about its donors or spend­ing, his asser­tions are impos­si­ble to cor­rob­o­rate.
    ...

    That’s why there’s every rea­son to assume this loose net­work was actu­al­ly work­ing tight­ly with the Trump White House in the lead up to the Jan­u­ary 6 insur­rec­tion and con­tin­ues to work with the Trump White House-in-exile today. Mike Lin­dell and Trump are open­ly work­ing as a team at this point:

    ...
    Lin­dell said that he speaks to Trump every few weeks. “He is so much inter­est­ed in Mari­co­pa, in all the audits going on in the states,” Lin­dell said, refer­ring to the recount of pres­i­den­tial elec­tion bal­lots in Mari­co­pa Coun­ty, Arizona’s largest juris­dic­tion.

    Trump advis­ers con­firmed that he is in reg­u­lar con­tact with Lin­dell. The for­mer pres­i­dent likes that Lin­dell is “out there fight­ing for him, throw­ing bombs and keep­ing hope alive,” accord­ing to a per­son close to him, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to describe pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions.

    Ear­li­er this month, Trump appeared by video at a Frank-spon­sored ral­ly in New Rich­mond, Wis., that drew thou­sands to a river­side fair­ground where they lis­tened to speak­ers exco­ri­ate the integri­ty of the elec­tion. Amid the booths for ice cream, hot dogs and face-paint­ing was one for Lindell’s com­pa­ny MyP­il­low.

    “The elec­tion was rigged,” the for­mer pres­i­dent told the crowd. “The elec­tion was rigged like nev­er before.”
    ...

    And note how open­ly the lead­ing fig­ures in the net­work are about the fact that they are just string­ing their audi­ences along. It’s again, the clas­sic grift. The ‘big reveal’ is always just a few weeks away. ‘White hat hack­ers’ told Lin­dell per­son­al­ly. Just keep send­ing more dona­tions to ensure it hap­pens:

    ...
    Byrne char­ac­ter­ized the forth­com­ing “Deep Rig” movie as a weapon in an “infor­ma­tion war.”

    “Those who don’t under­stand why this movie is impor­tant do not real­ly under­stand the bat­tle­space in which we fight,” he wrote in response to skep­tics on Telegram.

    ...

    Lin­dell says “white hat hack­ers” slipped him vague infor­ma­tion on Jan. 9 that he claims proves the elec­tion was manip­u­lat­ed. “Peo­ple were in the twi­light zone about what hap­pened,” he said. “And then what a God­send: peo­ple had this evi­dence.”

    On June 3, he released a new film online called “Absolute 9–0,” which argues that soon-to-be-revealed infor­ma­tion will be so com­pelling that the Supreme Court will be forced to unan­i­mous­ly rein­state Trump as pres­i­dent.

    ...

    Experts who have reviewed the mate­r­i­al have called it tech­ni­cal non­sense, fea­tur­ing anony­mous self-pro­claimed com­put­er experts who claim that spread­sheets of inde­ci­pher­able num­bers that scroll quick­ly on the screen prove their hack­ing the­o­ry — but do not detail how. (Lin­dell said the footage is intend­ed as an illus­tra­tion and that the data itself will be revealed lat­er.)

    “It’s the utmost hog­wash,” said Hursti, a com­put­er pro­gram­mer who has worked to make vot­ing machines more secure. “But it doesn’t have to make sense — for some peo­ple, that makes it more believ­able.”

    ...

    Fly­nn too has promised “bomb­shell” evi­dence out of Ari­zona lat­er this month.

    “The entire free­dom-lov­ing world is watch­ing Mari­co­pa Coun­ty,” he said on the right-wing show “Flash­Point” on June 8. The find­ings there, he said, “are just going to shock every­body.”
    ...

    And note the lev­el of the claims being made by Patrick Byrne: it lit­er­al­ly told reporters that all of the dig­i­tal evi­dence of elec­tion fraud was sit­ting right next to him. When asked to see this evi­dence, he told the report­ed to ‘stay tuned’ and then lat­er told reporters that this stun­ning evi­dence will be includ­ed in an upcom­ing law­suit being pre­pared against Domin­ion Sys­tem. The big reveal is always just around the cor­ner:

    ...
    The suit, Byrne promised, would put for­ward fresh evi­dence of fraud in the elec­tion — part of an inten­tion­al strat­e­gy, he told fol­low­ers, to keep them hope­ful and engaged.

    “Mike Lin­dell and I agreed a month ago that I would keep you folks in a state of informed antic­i­pa­tion, and as infor­ma­tion gets released I would ampli­fy and pro­vide col­or,” he wrote. “So I have tried to do that, let­ting peo­ple know that they should not give up hope, the things were in progress, but with­out over­stat­ing or giv­ing too much away.”

    ...

    Even more piv­otal evi­dence is just around the cor­ner, he has promised.

    In text mes­sages to The Post, the for­mer Overstock.com CEO pledged “all the cyber evi­dence we need to prove the entire mat­ter” is “lit­er­al­ly sit­ting right next to me right now in a case as I lay on my futon in my safe house answer­ing this ques­tion.”

    Told on June 9 that The Post would be inter­est­ed in see­ing that evi­dence, Byrne replied: “Stay tuned.”

    In response to a fol­low-up inquiry from a reporter on June 21, Byrne said that it would be “includ­ed in a law­suit that is being pre­pared by some­one else,” and that some of it had already been incor­po­rat­ed in an exhib­it filed as part of the suit Lin­dell filed against Domin­ion ear­li­er this month, which argues the com­pa­ny has tried to silence his elec­tion claims through its defama­tion claims.
    ...

    And note the role OAN plays in this grift. It’s essen­tial­ly the same scam: Keep audi­ences glued by con­stant­ly telling them the big reveal is just around the cor­ner. It’s com­ing! Soon! Keep watch­ing OAN to learn more!

    ...
    Also rais­ing mon­ey for the Ari­zona audit is Voic­es and Votes, a non­prof­it group found­ed by OAN hosts Chanel Rion and Christi­na Bobb, whose net­work has been intense­ly cov­er­ing and pro­mot­ing the recount.

    ...

    The OAN host has used her on-air appear­ances to appeal for mon­ey to fund vis­its to Ari­zona by Trump-allied law­mak­ers and can­di­dates from oth­er states, who have pledged to pur­sue sim­i­lar efforts back home.

    Bobb, an attor­ney, has said she vol­un­teered as part of the Trump legal team after the Novem­ber elec­tion. She is now in reg­u­lar con­tact with the for­mer pres­i­dent, speak­ing to him by tele­phone to update him on progress in Ari­zona, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with their con­ver­sa­tions.

    ...

    Trump sup­port­ers have nev­er­the­less breath­less­ly shared rumors about what the Ari­zona audi­tors might con­clude. Bobb has told OAN view­ers that large num­bers of coun­ty bal­lots are “miss­ing.” On Twit­ter, she explained: “If there is any­thing less than 2.1 mil­lion bal­lots in the AZ Audit, it was a fraud­u­lent elec­tion and must be de-cer­ti­fied.” (Ben­nett called the idea of hun­dreds of thou­sands of miss­ing bal­lots “crazy.”)
    ...

    So when we step back and look at this net­work of grifters — a net­work of grifters that lit­er­al­ly uses cable ‘news’ net­works to per­pet­u­ate the grift — we have to ask a basic ques­tion: if you know­ing­ly per­pet­u­ate a grift intend­ed to sow an insur­rec­tionary spir­it in the pop­u­lace based on the big lie of stolen elec­tion, and you’re doing this for both polit­i­cal gain and per­son­al prof­it, does that con­sti­tute trai­tor­ous behav­ior? If so, what should be done about that? Mass exe­cu­tions seems like a psy­cho­path­ic solu­tion. So what are some a non-psy­cho­path­ic con­sti­tu­tion­al solu­tion to increas­ing­ly trai­tor­ous behav­ior of these pow­er­ful well-financed far right net­works intent on cap­tur­ing and/or destroy­ing the US’s democ­ra­cy? The ques­tion has been raised.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 26, 2021, 4:52 pm
  24. For all of the legit­i­mate con­cern about the impli­ca­tions of the events of the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion on the future of the US’s democ­ra­cy, here’s a reminder that that the inves­ti­ga­tion into the events of that should­n’t be lim­it­ed to what hap­pened that day and led up to it. There also needs to be an intense inves­tiga­tive focus on what the forces who planned that insur­rec­tion are plan­ning next. That’s the take­away les­son from new reports about a “Bible study” group involved with the insur­rec­tion that was infil­trat­ed by the FBI. A “Bible study” group that con­tin­ued devel­op­ing its bomb-mak­ing capa­bil­i­ties while plan­ning for some sort of civ­il war even after the events of Jan 6. For this group, the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion was just the open­ing chap­ter in a much larg­er civ­il war fan­ta­sy sce­nario.

    It also sounds like this group had ties to the more ‘main­stream’ mili­tia groups like the Three Per­centers. But it is still its own dis­tinct group. We don’t know the size of the group and only know the iden­ti­ty of its appar­ent leader, a Fi Duong — a Vir­ginia man who goes by “Mon­key King” and “Jim”. Which rais­es the obvi­ous ques­tion of how many oth­er groups pre­vi­ous­ly unknown groups like this imme­di­ate­ly tran­si­tioned from Jan 6 insur­rec­tion plan­ning to post-Jan 6 gueril­la war­fare plan­ning.

    It’s also inter­est­ing to note that Fi Duong was dressed up in all black dur­ing the insur­rec­tion in an attempt to make him­self look like a mem­ber of Antifa. Giv­en that Fi Duong is an Asian Amer­i­can involved in a move­ment that is over­whelm­ing­ly white, you have to won­der if oth­er non-white insur­rec­tion col­lab­o­ra­tors were also tasked with dress­ing up as Antifa mem­bers dur­ing the insur­rec­tion, or if this was just Duong’s own ini­tia­tive.

    Also, regard­ing the ongo­ing pub­lic sug­ges­tions by Trump and oth­ers that he’s going to be rein­stat­ed as pres­i­dent in August, it’s worth not­ing that Duong report­ed­ly met with an under­cov­er FBI agent in mid-June to dis­cussing test­ing his home­made bombs. On that day, Duong told the FBI agent, “We’re not a point where peo­ple are out in the street riot­ing. It’s com­ing soon. I’d give it about anoth­er six weeks...whatever sup­plies you can get now, get ’em now.” About six weeks. That was his pre­dic­tion in mid-June, which would be right on time for the sched­uled far right street riots in August:

    CNN

    FBI infil­trates group whose mem­bers want­ed to test home­made bombs, sur­veil Capi­tol, secede from US, court records show

    By Han­nah Rabi­nowitz and Kate­lyn Polantz, CNN
    Updat­ed 8:48 AM ET, Wed July 7, 2021

    (CNN)The FBI has infil­trat­ed a “Bible study” group in Vir­ginia that after the Jan­u­ary 6 riot had mem­bers dis­cussing sur­veilling the US Capi­tol and their wish for seces­sion from the US, and inves­ti­ga­tors close­ly fol­lowed one mem­ber’s plans to build and test Molo­tov cock­tails, accord­ing to recent­ly unsealed court records.

    ...

    The new­ly dis­closed crim­i­nal case against Vir­ginia man Fi Duong — who also goes by “Mon­key King” and “Jim,” accord­ing to the court record — arose after Duong inter­act­ed with under­cov­er law enforce­ment offi­cers sev­er­al times on Jan­u­ary 6 and into recent months, when the FBI ulti­mate­ly gained access to his group in Vir­ginia then accom­pa­nied him to an old jail as Duong alleged­ly pur­sued bomb-build­ing.

    Law enforce­men­t’s under­cov­er inter­ac­tions with Duong and his con­tacts since Jan­u­ary are laid out in a 14-page state­ment from the FBI filed in court in recent days to sup­port his arrest and ini­tial charges.

    Jan­u­ary 6 charges

    Duong was arrest­ed last week, after the Jus­tice Depart­ment charged him with four fed­er­al crimes, includ­ing enter­ing the restrict­ed grounds of the Capi­tol and obstruc­tion of an offi­cial pro­ceed­ing relat­ed to his alleged par­tic­i­pa­tion in the siege on Jan­u­ary 6, accord­ing to his court record.

    He has not yet entered a plea.

    On Jan­u­ary 6 in down­town Wash­ing­ton, Duong spoke with an under­cov­er Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police offi­cer, accord­ing to his charg­ing papers. Duong was dressed in black, in an alleged effort to dis­guise him­self as the left­ist group antifa, inves­ti­ga­tors say. Dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, Duong asked the under­cov­er offi­cer if they were a “patri­ot,” and iden­ti­fied him­self as an “oper­a­tor,” accord­ing to FBI records sup­port­ing his arrest.

    As the riot pro­gressed, the under­cov­er offi­cer saw him again, kneel­ing by a mar­ble fence on a ter­race of the Capi­tol — an area that was nor­mal­ly restrict­ed, accord­ing to court records. Inves­ti­ga­tors say Duong also video­taped him­self inside the Capi­tol and was cap­tured on the build­ing’s cam­eras wear­ing a white mask shaped like a wide grin.

    The charges Duong faces are minor com­pared with what oth­er right-wing extrem­ists have faced for their alleged roles in the insur­rec­tion. He has not yet been for­mal­ly indict­ed, and his charges could be expand­ed or rewrit­ten in the com­ing weeks.

    He has not been charged with crimes relat­ed to any post-Jan­u­ary 6 con­duct, includ­ing the alleged bomb plan­ning.

    ...

    FBI con­nects with group

    In mid-Jan­u­ary, an under­cov­er agent from the FBI made con­tact with Duong, who was a mem­ber of a secre­tive “loose­ly affil­i­at­ed, unnamed group of like-mind­ed indi­vid­u­als” in Vir­ginia, accord­ing to court records made pub­lic on Tues­day describ­ing the addi­tion­al alle­ga­tions against him.

    Though Duong put a mem­ber of the mili­tia-like extrem­ist group the Three Per­centers in con­tact with his group, the FBI not­ed in court, his group appeared to exist sep­a­rate­ly from any known major groups pre­vi­ous­ly iden­ti­fied as tak­ing part in the Capi­tol riot.

    Duong added the FBI agent to one of the group’s encrypt­ed chats, then the agent attend­ed one of the group’s meet­ings with Duong and oth­er group mem­bers, accord­ing to the FBI.

    “For me, right now, my goal is in build­ing the infra­struc­ture first, to then build­ing up the indi­vid­u­als that will com­pose of this, per­haps long after I’m gone,” inves­ti­ga­tors say Duong told the under­cov­er FBI agent in March. He also said he had writ­ten a “man­i­festo,” the court record says.

    “If I get into a gun fight with the feds and I don’t make it, I want to be able to trans­fer as much wis­dom to my son as pos­si­ble,” inves­ti­ga­tors not­ed him say­ing, accord­ing to a court fil­ing.

    ‘Bible study’ group

    Duong told the FBI agent that his group tried to be “cloak and dag­ger” and want­ed to “build resis­tances,” accord­ing to court records. The agent then attend­ed what the group mem­bers called a “Bible study” meet­ing at an Alexan­dria, Vir­ginia, house in Feb­ru­ary, where the group mem­bers dis­cussed the Bible and seces­sion, weapon­ry and com­bat train­ing, and using meth­ods to make their com­mu­ni­ca­tions pri­vate, accord­ing to court records.

    One per­son in the group com­ment­ed at the meet­ing about cre­at­ing “a semi-autonomous region” for Vir­ginia. “I like the Con­sti­tu­tion; I don’t like the Demo­c­ra­t­ic sh*t this region keeps vot­ing for,” the per­son said, accord­ing to the FBI.

    In ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, Duong and asso­ciates began to use encrypt­ed mes­sages to dis­cuss gath­er­ing intel­li­gence on the restrict­ed zone that the Nation­al Guard had estab­lished around the Capi­tol, accord­ing to the FBI.

    One group mem­ber, iden­ti­fied in court records as “Asso­ciate 1,” said he took video of Capi­tol entrances and would share it over an encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing app. He lat­er claimed to have delet­ed the video but said that Duong had a copy, accord­ing to the charg­ing doc­u­ments.

    “How do we feel about an Intel run around the Capi­tol tonight?” the FBI said the per­son wrote. “Few­er of them out. Pos­ture may be low­ered. Good oppor­tu­ni­ty to expose weak­ness­es.”

    Col­lect­ing weapons

    Duong had com­piled a cache of weapons at his home in Alexan­dria, inves­ti­ga­tors say, includ­ing an AK-47 and five box­es full of mate­ri­als to make and test Molo­tov cock­tails.

    At one group meet­ing at Duong’s house in May, the under­cov­er agent saw five card­board box­es filled with about 50 glass bot­tles, and heard him and anoth­er per­son dis­cuss what they could fill them with to make explo­sives, accord­ing to the court papers.

    The agent lat­er asked Duong more about the Molo­tov cock­tails and his plans for them, keep­ing tabs on inter­est he had in test­ing them. Places they dis­cussed includ­ed a rock quar­ry in West Vir­ginia, Duong’s back­yard or at a for­mer prison in Vir­ginia, accord­ing to the court record.

    Ulti­mate­ly, Duong and the under­cov­er FBI agent met anoth­er under­cov­er agent in mid-June at the for­mer prison to dis­cuss test­ing home­made bombs, the FBI wrote in its state­ment sup­port­ing Duong’s arrest. Duong asked them about hold­ing train­ing at the site, too, accord­ing to the FBI.

    “Give it about anoth­er three weeks,” Duong told one of the under­cov­er agents, as they were leav­ing the jail site, about his plans for test­ing. “Mon­ey’s real­ly tight right now. I got­ta have a few bor­ing week­ends, stay at home and no do sh*t.”

    Lat­er that day, Duong riffed to the under­cov­er FBI agent about the cost of peace ver­sus stand­ing one’s ground.

    “We’re not a point where peo­ple are out in the street riot­ing. It’s com­ing soon. I’d give it about anoth­er six weeks...whatever sup­plies you can get now, get ’em now,” Duong told the under­cov­er FBI agent as they left the old jail, accord­ing to the court record.

    Duong appeared for the first time last Fri­day in fed­er­al court in DC. A judge released him from deten­tion, after the Jus­tice Depart­ment agreed he could be released, accord­ing to his court record.

    ———–

    “FBI infil­trates group whose mem­bers want­ed to test home­made bombs, sur­veil Capi­tol, secede from US, court records show” by Han­nah Rabi­nowitz and Kate­lyn Polantz; CNN; 07/07/2021

    “The new­ly dis­closed crim­i­nal case against Vir­ginia man Fi Duong — who also goes by “Mon­key King” and “Jim,” accord­ing to the court record — arose after Duong inter­act­ed with under­cov­er law enforce­ment offi­cers sev­er­al times on Jan­u­ary 6 and into recent months, when the FBI ulti­mate­ly gained access to his group in Vir­ginia then accom­pa­nied him to an old jail as Duong alleged­ly pur­sued bomb-build­ing.

    The insur­rec­tion con­tin­ues. That’s the mes­sage from this new­ly dis­closed inves­ti­ga­tion. When the insur­rec­tion failed, the group went to plan a civ­il war. In oth­er words, plan a much big­ger, longer, and blood­i­er insur­rec­tion:

    ...
    In mid-Jan­u­ary, an under­cov­er agent from the FBI made con­tact with Duong, who was a mem­ber of a secre­tive “loose­ly affil­i­at­ed, unnamed group of like-mind­ed indi­vid­u­als” in Vir­ginia, accord­ing to court records made pub­lic on Tues­day describ­ing the addi­tion­al alle­ga­tions against him.

    Though Duong put a mem­ber of the mili­tia-like extrem­ist group the Three Per­centers in con­tact with his group, the FBI not­ed in court, his group appeared to exist sep­a­rate­ly from any known major groups pre­vi­ous­ly iden­ti­fied as tak­ing part in the Capi­tol riot.

    Duong added the FBI agent to one of the group’s encrypt­ed chats, then the agent attend­ed one of the group’s meet­ings with Duong and oth­er group mem­bers, accord­ing to the FBI.

    “For me, right now, my goal is in build­ing the infra­struc­ture first, to then build­ing up the indi­vid­u­als that will com­pose of this, per­haps long after I’m gone,” inves­ti­ga­tors say Duong told the under­cov­er FBI agent in March. He also said he had writ­ten a “man­i­festo,” the court record says.

    ...

    Duong told the FBI agent that his group tried to be “cloak and dag­ger” and want­ed to “build resis­tances,” accord­ing to court records. The agent then attend­ed what the group mem­bers called a “Bible study” meet­ing at an Alexan­dria, Vir­ginia, house in Feb­ru­ary, where the group mem­bers dis­cussed the Bible and seces­sion, weapon­ry and com­bat train­ing, and using meth­ods to make their com­mu­ni­ca­tions pri­vate, accord­ing to court records.
    ...

    And note the ongo­ing inter­est in the Capi­tol. They were mak­ing videos and plan­ning intel­li­gence runs on the Capi­tol in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, when the Nation­al Guard was sta­tioned there. That indi­cates some seri­ous inter­est in future attacks. Future attacks in the rel­a­tive­ly near future:

    ...
    In ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, Duong and asso­ciates began to use encrypt­ed mes­sages to dis­cuss gath­er­ing intel­li­gence on the restrict­ed zone that the Nation­al Guard had estab­lished around the Capi­tol, accord­ing to the FBI.

    One group mem­ber, iden­ti­fied in court records as “Asso­ciate 1,” said he took video of Capi­tol entrances and would share it over an encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing app. He lat­er claimed to have delet­ed the video but said that Duong had a copy, accord­ing to the charg­ing doc­u­ments.

    “How do we feel about an Intel run around the Capi­tol tonight?” the FBI said the per­son wrote. “Few­er of them out. Pos­ture may be low­ered. Good oppor­tu­ni­ty to expose weak­ness­es.”
    ...

    And the plan­ning con­tin­ued, cul­mi­nat­ing with a mid-June trip to a for­mer prison to test home­made bombs. And it was dur­ing this trip that Duong indi­cat­ed that mass street riots are just six weeks away...so around some time in August, right on time for Trump’s planned August rein­state­ment. Keep in mind that Trump is sup­pos­ed­ly going to be rein­stat­ed after mas­sive vot­er fraud is dis­cov­ered. So pre­sum­ably under this plan, first the Ari­zona GOP ‘audi­tors’ declare they think there was mass fraud, and then all the armed mili­tias take to the streets and storm the Capi­tol. And prob­a­bly every oth­er state capi­tol:

    ...
    At one group meet­ing at Duong’s house in May, the under­cov­er agent saw five card­board box­es filled with about 50 glass bot­tles, and heard him and anoth­er per­son dis­cuss what they could fill them with to make explo­sives, accord­ing to the court papers.

    ...

    Ulti­mate­ly, Duong and the under­cov­er FBI agent met anoth­er under­cov­er agent in mid-June at the for­mer prison to dis­cuss test­ing home­made bombs, the FBI wrote in its state­ment sup­port­ing Duong’s arrest. Duong asked them about hold­ing train­ing at the site, too, accord­ing to the FBI.

    ...

    We’re not a point where peo­ple are out in the street riot­ing. It’s com­ing soon. I’d give it about anoth­er six weeks...whatever sup­plies you can get now, get ’em now,” Duong told the under­cov­er FBI agent as they left the old jail, accord­ing to the court record.
    ...

    Final­ly, note these twin fun-facts: Duong was appar­ent­ly dressed up as an Antifa mem­ber dur­ing the insur­rec­tion. And he was also just released from deten­tion. So while we obvi­ous­ly need to be con­cerned about the guy con­tin­u­ing his insur­rec­tion plot­ting now that he’s been released, don’t for­get the poten­tial for some sort of false flag attempt. The point being that if there hap­pens to be some sort of ‘event’ attrib­uted to Antifa, but the iden­ti­ties of those alleged antifa mem­bers is nev­er deter­mined, it’s going to be impor­tant to keep in mind the far right’s exist­ing plans for false flag acts:

    ...
    On Jan­u­ary 6 in down­town Wash­ing­ton, Duong spoke with an under­cov­er Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police offi­cer, accord­ing to his charg­ing papers. Duong was dressed in black, in an alleged effort to dis­guise him­self as the left­ist group antifa, inves­ti­ga­tors say. Dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, Duong asked the under­cov­er offi­cer if they were a “patri­ot,” and iden­ti­fied him­self as an “oper­a­tor,” accord­ing to FBI records sup­port­ing his arrest.

    As the riot pro­gressed, the under­cov­er offi­cer saw him again, kneel­ing by a mar­ble fence on a ter­race of the Capi­tol — an area that was nor­mal­ly restrict­ed, accord­ing to court records. Inves­ti­ga­tors say Duong also video­taped him­self inside the Capi­tol and was cap­tured on the build­ing’s cam­eras wear­ing a white mask shaped like a wide grin.

    ...

    Duong appeared for the first time last Fri­day in fed­er­al court in DC. A judge released him from deten­tion, after the Jus­tice Depart­ment agreed he could be released, accord­ing to his court record.
    ...

    And, again, this whole sto­ry is about a group that does­n’t even appear to be one of the main­stream mili­tia groups. It oper­ates com­plete­ly under the radar. How many more groups like this are out there? Let’s not for­get that recruit­ing for under­ground groups like this is A LOT eas­i­er in the age of social media and encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Note how we still don’t know how many peo­ple are in this “Bible Study” group or how they orig­i­nal­ly met up. Was this anoth­er instance of Face­book act­ing as a mili­tia match-mak­er ser­vice? Net­work­ing through a reli­gious group? We have no idea. We just know that this group was able to coa­lesce around the idea of oppos­ing Trump’s 2020 loss and even­tu­al­ly wag­ing a civ­il war and all of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions involved with this were done in secret and under the radar. With the obvi­ous excep­tion of the FBI infil­tra­tor. So how many oth­er groups are out there like this? It’s a mys­tery. This is the only group so far to be charged in a post-insur­rec­tion plot, but it’s impos­si­ble to believe this ‘Bible study’ group is the only group that’s been involved in post-insur­rec­tion plot­ting. Per­haps we’ll learn more about broad­er extent of this plot that dur­ing the upcom­ing August insur­rec­tion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 8, 2021, 3:52 pm
  25. Fol­low­ing up on the dis­turb­ing report of a bomb-mak­ing “Bible Study” group of Trump sup­port­ers and what appeared to be plans for mass vio­lence at some point in August, here’s a pair of sto­ries relat­ed to the grow­ing fears of some sort of August plot by Trump sup­port­ers dri­ven by the lat­est meme that Trump will be rein­stat­ed by mid-August:

    First, the DHS’ Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis just got a new head. John Cohen, the top DHS coun­tert­er­ror­ism offi­cial, is going to be tak­ing over. This is the same office that spec­tac­u­lar­ly failed in to warn about the poten­tial for vio­lence by Trump sup­port­ers in the lead up to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. So Cohen obvi­ous­ly has no short­age of fires to put out. As the arti­cle notes, it sounds like one of the first fires is the grow­ing con­cern with­in the depart­ment of the spread of the meme that Trump is going to be rein­stat­ed as Pres­i­dent in August one way or anoth­er:

    Politi­co

    DHS installs new lead­er­ship at its intel­li­gence arm

    Sec­re­tary Ale­jan­dro May­orkas announced that John Cohen, the department’s top coun­tert­er­ror­ism offi­cial, will also take the helm at DHS’ Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis.

    By BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN

    07/09/2021 09:16 AM EDT

    The Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s intel­li­gence arm is get­ting new lead­er­ship.

    DHS Sec­re­tary Ale­jan­dro May­orkas announced Fri­day morn­ing that John Cohen, the department’s top coun­tert­er­ror­ism offi­cial, will take the helm at DHS’ Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis in addi­tion to his cur­rent role. POLITICO obtained the announce­ment May­orkas sent to the depart­ment.

    May­orkas’ email says Cohen’s title will be senior offi­cial per­form­ing the duties of under­sec­re­tary of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis, mean­ing he will not be for­mal­ly nom­i­nat­ed for the role, which would have required Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion.

    The move comes at a com­pli­cat­ed moment for the intel­li­gence shop, which faces bruis­ing morale prob­lems. In the final year of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, it drew sig­nif­i­cant nation­al atten­tion for a series of scan­dals, includ­ing efforts to mon­i­tor pro­test­ers in Port­land, Ore., and nation­al jour­nal­ists. The scan­dals marred the Trump admin­is­tra­tion and led to the depar­ture of the office’s chief.

    Before those scan­dals emerged, Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials cur­tailed the abil­i­ty of DHS’ Office of Civ­il Rights and Civ­il Lib­er­ties to over­see some of the intel­li­gence office’s work. Under the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, offi­cials also shut down a unit with­in the office focused on com­bat­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ism.

    Cohen, who has more than 30 years of expe­ri­ence in law enforce­ment and nation­al secu­ri­ty, pre­vi­ous­ly helped run the office under the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion.

    May­orkas brought him back to DHS, where he has focused on the department’s efforts to com­bat domes­tic ter­ror­ism. Ear­li­er this year, DHS stood up a new team in the intel­li­gence office to focus on that spe­cif­ic threat. And late last month, Cohen told mem­bers of Con­gress in a closed-door brief­ing that the depart­ment was con­cerned about the spread of the con­spir­a­cy that Trump will be rein­stat­ed as pres­i­dent in August.

    ...

    ———–

    “DHS installs new lead­er­ship at its intel­li­gence arm” By BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN; Politi­co; 07/09/2021

    “May­orkas brought him back to DHS, where he has focused on the department’s efforts to com­bat domes­tic ter­ror­ism. Ear­li­er this year, DHS stood up a new team in the intel­li­gence office to focus on that spe­cif­ic threat. And late last month, Cohen told mem­bers of Con­gress in a closed-door brief­ing that the depart­ment was con­cerned about the spread of the con­spir­a­cy that Trump will be rein­stat­ed as pres­i­dent in August.

    August is only a few weeks away. In an Insur­rec­tion II in the works? Will it be lim­it­ed to the Capi­tol in DC, or are we look­ing at more like a mul­ti-state insur­rec­tion? And if we do see mul­ti-state insur­rec­tions, just how many of the GOP-con­trolled state gov­ern­ments will go along with it? The­ses are the ques­tions Cohen had bet­ter be deal­ing with. Or at least some of the ques­tions. Because as the fol­low­ing arti­cle describes, the ques­tions cur­rent­ly haunt­ing DHS aren’t just about what the Trump extrem­ist move­ment is plan­ning for August. There’s still very open ques­tions about why DHS missed all the warn­ings in the lead up to the Jan 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion in the first, along with the par­al­lel ques­tion of just how many of these Trump extrem­ists are in law enforce­ment and oth­er posi­tions of offi­cial pow­er:

    CNN

    DHS rais­es alarms over poten­tial for sum­mer vio­lence pegged to August con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry

    By Zachary Cohen and Gene­va Sands
    Updat­ed 6:04 PM ET, Wed June 30, 2021

    Wash­ing­ton (CNN) Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty offi­cials are warn­ing that the same sort of rhetoric and false nar­ra­tives that fueled the Jan­u­ary 6 attack on the US Capi­tol could lead to more vio­lence this sum­mer by right-wing extrem­ists.

    A grow­ing belief among some Don­ald Trump sup­port­ers that the for­mer Pres­i­dent will be rein­stat­ed in August, cou­pled with relaxed Covid-19 restric­tions, has DHS offi­cials con­cerned that online rhetoric and threats could trans­late into actu­al vio­lence in the com­ing months as more peo­ple are out and in pub­lic places.

    The August the­o­ry is essen­tial­ly a recy­cled ver­sion of oth­er false nar­ra­tives pushed by Trump and his allies lead­ing up to and after Jan­u­ary 6, prompt­ing famil­iar rhetoric from those who remain in denial about his 2020 elec­tion loss. But the con­cern is sig­nif­i­cant enough that DHS issued two warn­ings in the past week about the poten­tial for vio­lence this sum­mer.

    In a closed-door meet­ing last Wednes­day, DHS offi­cials briefed law­mak­ers on the role that mis­in­for­ma­tion and dis­in­for­ma­tion play in cre­at­ing cir­cum­stances for peo­ple to act vio­lent­ly, accord­ing to a con­gres­sion­al source famil­iar with the brief­ing.

    On Mon­day, DHS issued an intel­li­gence bul­letin to state and local law enforce­ment part­ners about the increas­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for vio­lent extrem­ist attacks this sum­mer, includ­ing con­cerns that QAnon con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists con­tin­ue to pro­mote the idea that Trump will return to pow­er in August, accord­ing to a source famil­iar.

    This lat­est series of warn­ings reflects an effort by DHS to be more proac­tive in shar­ing infor­ma­tion about domes­tic extrem­ist threats since pro-Trump riot­ers stormed the US Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6, but it also comes as the depart­ment is still grap­pling with tough truths about its own role in the secu­ri­ty break­downs that occurred near­ly six months ago.

    The depart­ment has “no evi­dence” of a threat asso­ci­at­ed with the sup­posed date of Trump’s return to office, but his­tor­i­cal­ly some domes­tic vio­lent extrem­ists “have con­duct­ed vio­lence in fur­ther­ance of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries,” the bul­letin said.

    The bul­letin also assessed the pos­si­bil­i­ty that domes­tic ter­ror­ists might seek to exploit the eas­ing of Covid-19 restric­tions in order to attack a range of poten­tial tar­gets. The bul­letin and brief­ing were first report­ed by Politi­co.

    “You’re going to have more peo­ple out. You’re going to have more peo­ple in pub­lic places. And you increase the oppor­tu­ni­ties for indi­vid­u­als or groups of indi­vid­u­als who are inter­est­ed in con­duct­ing attacks,” a senior DHS offi­cial told CNN.

    Some Trump sup­port­ers allud­ed to that pos­si­bil­i­ty over the week­end dur­ing a ral­ly in Ohio, where they were blunt in their assess­ment of what would hap­pen if the for­mer Pres­i­dent were not rein­stat­ed lat­er this sum­mer.

    “We are going to be in a civ­il war,” one Trump sup­port­er told CNN’s Donie O’Sul­li­van.

    ...

    Lin­ger­ing ques­tions about Jan­u­ary 6

    The attack on Jan­u­ary 6 exposed secu­ri­ty break­downs across a host of law enforce­ment agen­cies, includ­ing mas­sive intel­li­gence fail­ures, crit­i­cal mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions and unheed­ed warn­ings that ulti­mate­ly led to the chaot­ic response that day.

    Those prob­lems ulti­mate­ly redound onto DHS, an agency cre­at­ed to address sim­i­lar intel­li­gence break­downs that occurred ahead of the 9/11 attacks and that has assumed respon­si­bil­i­ty for coun­ter­ing a ris­ing threat posed by domes­tic extrem­ists in recent years.

    Yet there has not been a full account­ing of DHS’ role in the secu­ri­ty fail­ures that occurred on Jan­u­ary 6 despite the inves­tiga­tive efforts by Con­gress and out­side experts to date.

    Among the most glar­ing ques­tions is why the DHS intel­li­gence branch did not pro­duce any bul­letin or warn­ing about the poten­tial for vio­lence at the Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6.

    Asked about this lapse by CNN, the senior DHS offi­cial said there has “absolute­ly” been a con­cert­ed effort since Pres­i­dent Joe Biden took office in Jan­u­ary to push more infor­ma­tion to the pub­lic, as well as state and local gov­ern­ments.

    The Home­land Secu­ri­ty inspec­tor gen­er­al office says it is review­ing whether the DHS Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis ful­filled its respon­si­bil­i­ty for pro­vid­ing intel­li­gence to law enforce­ment for Jan­u­ary 6.

    Sen­ate com­mit­tees inves­ti­gat­ing Jan­u­ary 6 not­ed in a recent report that DHS has “yet to ful­ly com­ply with the Com­mit­tees’ requests for infor­ma­tion” about its role that day, but a source famil­iar with the mat­ter tells CNN that the depart­ment will like­ly turn over more infor­ma­tion going for­ward.

    The act­ing head of the DHS intel­li­gence branch, Melis­sa Smis­lo­va, tes­ti­fied to Capi­tol Hill com­mit­tees in March that it is a “com­plex chal­lenge” to dis­tin­guish between peo­ple engaged in con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed activ­i­ties and those involved in vio­lent behav­ior.

    Over the last sev­er­al months, DHS has attempt­ed to pay more atten­tion to domes­tic extrem­ist threats, con­duct­ing an oper­a­tional review of the depart­ment, pri­or­i­tiz­ing infor­ma­tion shar­ing and reach­ing out to the tech sec­tor, among oth­er ini­tia­tives.

    DHS is also exam­in­ing whether more should be done to flag high-risk indi­vid­u­als when they are trav­el­ing, poten­tial­ly apply­ing addi­tion­al scruti­ny or noti­fi­ca­tion to author­i­ties, accord­ing to the senior offi­cial. This could go a step fur­ther than the thresh­old for putting some­one on the ter­ror­ist watch list.

    For exam­ple, DHS is explor­ing apply­ing this extra scruti­ny to some­one deemed a risk for vio­lence by local law enforce­ment or an indi­vid­ual sub­ject to a court order “red flag” law.

    But the offi­cial empha­sized that this is still under review, as are sev­er­al oth­er ini­tia­tives led by DHS that were prompt­ed by fall­out from Jan­u­ary 6.

    Con­cerns about infil­tra­tion

    Mean­while, offi­cials are look­ing to August for poten­tial threats. In addi­tion to the Trump rein­state­ment con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry, it is also the anniver­sary of two dev­as­tat­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ism inci­dents — the 2019 El Paso, Texas, shoot­ing on August 3, which killed 23 peo­ple, and the 2017 Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, car attack on August 12.

    DHS is review­ing pub­licly avail­able social media for explic­it threats of vio­lence in the lead-up to the anniver­saries of these events, accord­ing to the bul­letin shared ear­li­er this week.

    The over­ar­ch­ing mes­sage dur­ing the con­gres­sion­al brief­ing last week was that DHS faces a chal­lenge in remain­ing vig­i­lant to the ways online dis­in­for­ma­tion can lead to poten­tial vio­lence, accord­ing to a source famil­iar with what was said dur­ing the closed-door ses­sion.

    “There are also con­cerns about the lev­el of infil­tra­tion,” the source said. “This mind­set is not real­ly as fringe as we would all prob­a­bly like for it to be. These peo­ple are in civ­il soci­ety, they’re in pub­lic-sec­tor jobs and posi­tions of author­i­ty, and that’s trou­bling.”

    The FBI and DHS have also detailed how adher­ents to online con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, par­tic­u­lar­ly those revolv­ing around the 2020 elec­tion, are becom­ing more embold­ened to take action in the real world fol­low­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 attack.

    DHS has pre­vi­ous­ly warned about the per­sis­tent threat posed by “mili­tia” extrem­ists who typ­i­cal­ly tar­get law enforce­ment and gov­ern­ment per­son­nel and facil­i­ties.

    The mili­tia threat “will almost cer­tain­ly con­tin­ue to be ele­vat­ed through­out 2021” because of sociopo­lit­i­cal fac­tors, a March joint threat assess­ment on domes­tic extrem­ism said.

    Present at that Ohio Trump ral­ly were indi­vid­u­als who claimed to be mem­bers of the same mili­tia groups whose mem­bers face fed­er­al charges relat­ed to their actions on Jan­u­ary 6, a phys­i­cal reminder of con­cerns about the threat they still pose.

    “What’s scary is that these groups have spe­cial­ized train­ing, they have access to weapons, and the rage is shock­ing and over­whelm­ing,” one source said about some of these mili­tia groups that took part on Jan­u­ary 6.

    “It does kind of feel like there is just sort of a giant ele­phant in the room — a threat that’s kind of lying in wait. It does sort of feel like it can kind of rear its head at any moment,” the source added.

    ———–

    “DHS rais­es alarms over poten­tial for sum­mer vio­lence pegged to August con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry” by Zachary Cohen and Gene­va Sands; CNN; 06/30/2021

    “The August the­o­ry is essen­tial­ly a recy­cled ver­sion of oth­er false nar­ra­tives pushed by Trump and his allies lead­ing up to and after Jan­u­ary 6, prompt­ing famil­iar rhetoric from those who remain in denial about his 2020 elec­tion loss. But the con­cern is sig­nif­i­cant enough that DHS issued two warn­ings in the past week about the poten­tial for vio­lence this sum­mer.

    Two DHS warn­ings were issued in the last half of June about the poten­tial for vio­lence this sum­mer. That’s the offi­cial warn­ing sta­tus at DHS for domes­tic vio­lence. You have to won­der what the unof­fi­cial inter­nal warn­ings are sound­ing like. Espe­cial­ly with threats of vio­lence by Trump sup­port­ers appear­ing to have gone so main­stream that there was open talk of civ­il war at a recent Trump ral­ly if Trump does­n’t get rein­stat­ed in August:

    ...
    Some Trump sup­port­ers allud­ed to that pos­si­bil­i­ty over the week­end dur­ing a ral­ly in Ohio, where they were blunt in their assess­ment of what would hap­pen if the for­mer Pres­i­dent were not rein­stat­ed lat­er this sum­mer.

    “We are going to be in a civ­il war,” one Trump sup­port­er told CNN’s Donie O’Sul­li­van.

    ...

    And then there’s the ques­tion of just how many of the groups that pose threat of vio­lence con­sist of mem­bers who them­selves served in the mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment and have the kind of spe­cial­ized train­ing and access that makes them excep­tion­al domes­tic threats if they choose to be. As one source put it, “It does kind of feel like there is just sort of a giant ele­phant in the room — a threat that’s kind of lying in wait. It does sort of feel like it can kind of rear its head at any moment”:

    ...
    “There are also con­cerns about the lev­el of infil­tra­tion,” the source said. “This mind­set is not real­ly as fringe as we would all prob­a­bly like for it to be. These peo­ple are in civ­il soci­ety, they’re in pub­lic-sec­tor jobs and posi­tions of author­i­ty, and that’s trou­bling.

    ...

    Present at that Ohio Trump ral­ly were indi­vid­u­als who claimed to be mem­bers of the same mili­tia groups whose mem­bers face fed­er­al charges relat­ed to their actions on Jan­u­ary 6, a phys­i­cal reminder of con­cerns about the threat they still pose.

    “What’s scary is that these groups have spe­cial­ized train­ing, they have access to weapons, and the rage is shock­ing and over­whelm­ing,” one source said about some of these mili­tia groups that took part on Jan­u­ary 6.

    “It does kind of feel like there is just sort of a giant ele­phant in the room — a threat that’s kind of lying in wait. It does sort of feel like it can kind of rear its head at any moment,” the source added.
    ...

    But that’s not the only giant ele­phant in the room. There’s also the ele­phant of of those giant lin­ger­ing ques­tions of why the nation­al secu­ri­ty state failed so sig­nif­i­cant­ly in the lead up to the Jan 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Warn­ing lights were flash­ing every­where and yet some­how got offi­cial­ly ignored. Why did that hap­pen? We still don’t know:

    ...
    Lin­ger­ing ques­tions about Jan­u­ary 6

    The attack on Jan­u­ary 6 exposed secu­ri­ty break­downs across a host of law enforce­ment agen­cies, includ­ing mas­sive intel­li­gence fail­ures, crit­i­cal mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions and unheed­ed warn­ings that ulti­mate­ly led to the chaot­ic response that day.

    Those prob­lems ulti­mate­ly redound onto DHS, an agency cre­at­ed to address sim­i­lar intel­li­gence break­downs that occurred ahead of the 9/11 attacks and that has assumed respon­si­bil­i­ty for coun­ter­ing a ris­ing threat posed by domes­tic extrem­ists in recent years.

    Yet there has not been a full account­ing of DHS’ role in the secu­ri­ty fail­ures that occurred on Jan­u­ary 6 despite the inves­tiga­tive efforts by Con­gress and out­side experts to date.

    Among the most glar­ing ques­tions is why the DHS intel­li­gence branch did not pro­duce any bul­letin or warn­ing about the poten­tial for vio­lence at the Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6.

    Asked about this lapse by CNN, the senior DHS offi­cial said there has “absolute­ly” been a con­cert­ed effort since Pres­i­dent Joe Biden took office in Jan­u­ary to push more infor­ma­tion to the pub­lic, as well as state and local gov­ern­ments.

    The Home­land Secu­ri­ty inspec­tor gen­er­al office says it is review­ing whether the DHS Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis ful­filled its respon­si­bil­i­ty for pro­vid­ing intel­li­gence to law enforce­ment for Jan­u­ary 6.

    Sen­ate com­mit­tees inves­ti­gat­ing Jan­u­ary 6 not­ed in a recent report that DHS has “yet to ful­ly com­ply with the Com­mit­tees’ requests for infor­ma­tion” about its role that day, but a source famil­iar with the mat­ter tells CNN that the depart­ment will like­ly turn over more infor­ma­tion going for­ward.

    The act­ing head of the DHS intel­li­gence branch, Melis­sa Smis­lo­va, tes­ti­fied to Capi­tol Hill com­mit­tees in March that it is a “com­plex chal­lenge” to dis­tin­guish between peo­ple engaged in con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed activ­i­ties and those involved in vio­lent behav­ior.
    ...

    Yes, as the then-act­ing head of the DHS intel­li­gence branch, Melis­sa Smis­lo­va, told Con­gress in March, it is a “com­plex chal­lenge” to dis­tin­guish between peo­ple engaged in con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed activ­i­ties and those involved in vio­lent behav­ior. That was at least part of the expla­na­tion for that his­toric intel­li­gence fail­ure. But it’s not a great expla­na­tion. Of course it’s a com­plex chal­lenge. And now it’s John Cohen’s com­plex chal­lenge. A com­plex chal­lenge that, if all of these warn­ings are cor­rect, includes an increas­ing­ly cred­i­ble threat of mass polit­i­cal vio­lence being orga­nized in real-time and planned for next month. Just imag­ine how com­plex that chal­lenge is going to get if they ignore all the warn­ing signs this time around.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 9, 2021, 4:10 pm
  26. Remem­ber when Nick Fuentes — a lead­ing online white nation­al­ist per­son­al­i­ty — threw a rival Amer­i­ca First con­fer­ence (AFPAC) down the street from the estab­lish­ment CPAC in Orlan­do back in Feb­ru­ary? It was one of those events that may have seem rel­a­tive­ly insignif­i­cant one day sto­ry about anoth­er case of far right trolling for atten­tion.

    But when con­sid­ered in the con­text of the tumul­tuous changes tak­ing place with­in the GOP as the stolen elec­tion Big Lie takes hold, the sto­ry of the rival AFPAC could end up being one of those events that years from now comes to sym­bol­ize trans­for­ma­tion of the GOP from a main­stream nation­al par­ty to some­thing more resem­bling an polit­i­cal wing of an armed insur­gency. Don’t for­get that Fuentes was work­ing direct­ly with the net­work of peo­ple behind the ‘Stop the Steal’ ral­lies and even led a crowd in a “Destroy the GOP” chant at one of the ral­lies. At the same time, he was call­ing for the assas­si­na­tion of Repub­li­cans who did­n’t sup­port over­turn­ing the elec­tion results. So the way the polit­i­cal dynam­ic has played out over the last 8 months or so has been wild­ly in the direc­tion of where Fuentes has been try­ing to pull the Repub­li­can Par­ty. There’s sim­ply no deny­ing that the GOP is an even more rad­i­cal­ized par­ty today than it was before the 2020 elec­tion and even more rad­i­cal­ized than it was back in Feb­ru­ary when Fuentes held his rival AFPAC to troll the GOP estab­lish­ment. The rad­i­cal­iza­tion is hap­pen­ing in real-time.

    That’s all part of the con­text of the next CPAC event being held in Dal­las this week­end. And while there isn’t an AFPAC rival event set up this time, Fuentes and his “groyper army” of loy­al fol­low­ers made sure to show up and make clear that they view them­selves as the real car­ri­ers of Trump’s torch. CPAC is for cucks:

    Salon

    White nation­al­ists prep for “phys­i­cal” alter­ca­tion with secu­ri­ty at Dal­las CPAC con­fer­ence
    “Groyper” guru and Char­lottesville celeb Nick Fuentes looks to lead white nation­al­ist inva­sion at CPAC gath­er­ing

    By Zachary Petriz­zo
    Pub­lished July 9, 2021 11:37AM (EDT)

    DALLAS —White nation­al­ist and Unite the Right attendee Nicholas Fuentes, de fac­to leader of the ultra-far-right “groyper” move­ment, has announced that he plans to attend­ing a Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence gath­er­ing this week­end in Dal­las, although he has not been wel­comed at pre­vi­ous CPAC events.

    A years-long feud between Fuentes and CPAC orga­niz­ers appeared to esca­late on Wednes­day after Fuentes’ dec­la­ra­tion.

    “I’m going to CPAC in Dal­las on Sat­ur­day,” he tweet­ed to his loy­al “groyper army,” many of whom respond­ed with excite­ment. “Well, most like­ly, I’ll be get­ting phys­i­cal­ly removed from CPAC in Dal­las on Sat­ur­day, but you can come watch if you want,” he added.

    “I will be there! Can’t wait!” one fol­low­er respond­ed to Fuentes’ tweet. Anoth­er wrote, “groyper swarm incom­ing.” In oth­er online forums reviewed by Salon, many of Fuentes’ fol­low­ers post­ed plans to attend CPAC and par­take in a “White Boy Sum­mer” meet­up in the Dal­las-Fort Worth area.

    Since 2019, Fuentes has made a point of show­ing up at CPAC gath­er­ings, like­ly to cre­ate fric­tion and push the bounds of accept­able rhetoric at the Amer­i­can Con­ser­v­a­tive Union’s events, at times mak­ing par­tic­i­pants and orga­niz­ers dis­tinct­ly uncom­fort­able.

    This year will appar­ent­ly be no dif­fer­ent. At CPAC gath­er­ings both last year and this year, Fuentes has staged his own com­pet­ing event, dubbed the Amer­i­ca First Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence (AFPAC), designed to make the more “main­stream” con­ser­v­a­tives of CPAC appear to be RINOs or “cucks.”

    Dur­ing the CPAC con­ven­tion in Flori­da ear­li­er in 2021, Fuentes attempt­ed to enter the event along with a group of 25 or so fel­low white nation­al­ists. They were denied entry.

    White nation­al­ist Nick Fuentes attempt­ed to get into CPAC this after­noon, but a CPAC orga­niz­er was­n’t pleased. pic.twitter.com/Phj1Fxe3UN— Zachary Petriz­zo (@ZTPetrizzo) Feb­ru­ary 28, 2021

    ...

    Jared Holt, a res­i­dent fel­low at Atlantic Coun­cil’s Dig­i­tal Foren­sic Research Lab and a for­mer reporter for Right Wing Watch, dis­cussed the fraught rela­tion­ship between Fuentes and CPAC in an inter­view with Salon this week. “Nick Fuentes and his fol­low­ers seem to only go to those con­fer­ences to antag­o­nize oth­er par­tic­i­pants,” Hold said in a phone inter­view. “It cre­ates sit­u­a­tions that have result­ed in them being kicked out of the con­fer­ence. I imag­ine if they have sim­i­lar plans in Dal­las ... their time inside the con­fer­ence will be short-lived.”

    Holt added that Fuentes and the “groypers” see CPAC as a way to “boost their own vis­i­bil­i­ty” and attempt to “siphon off” atten­dees from more main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive groups.

    More main­stream Repub­li­can and con­ser­v­a­tive pun­dits, includ­ing fer­vent Don­ald Trump sup­port­ers, gen­er­al­ly want noth­ing to do with Fuentes’ overt­ly racist rhetoric, while he derides them as “shills.” Some degree of con­fronta­tion is more than like­ly this week­end in Dal­las, where Trump him­self will deliv­er the keynote address on Sun­day after­noon.

    ———-

    “White nation­al­ists prep for “phys­i­cal” alter­ca­tion with secu­ri­ty at Dal­las CPAC con­fer­ence” by Zachary Petriz­zo; Salon; 07/09/2021

    “Since 2019, Fuentes has made a point of show­ing up at CPAC gath­er­ings, like­ly to cre­ate fric­tion and push the bounds of accept­able rhetoric at the Amer­i­can Con­ser­v­a­tive Union’s events, at times mak­ing par­tic­i­pants and orga­niz­ers dis­tinct­ly uncom­fort­able.”

    It’s becom­ing quite a tra­di­tion: CPAC throws an event, and all the real (i.e. open­ly white nation­al­ist) Trump sup­port­ers show up to troll them. Fuentes’s open racism isn’t the brand the GOP estab­lish­ment is look­ing for. And yet that’s the brand a grow­ing por­tion of the Trump base is demand­ing. That’s why Fuentes keeps doing this. For a lot of the atten­dees of CPAC, Fuentes real­ly is the real deal telling it like it is. Like Trump:

    ...
    Jared Holt, a res­i­dent fel­low at Atlantic Coun­cil’s Dig­i­tal Foren­sic Research Lab and a for­mer reporter for Right Wing Watch, dis­cussed the fraught rela­tion­ship between Fuentes and CPAC in an inter­view with Salon this week. “Nick Fuentes and his fol­low­ers seem to only go to those con­fer­ences to antag­o­nize oth­er par­tic­i­pants,” Hold said in a phone inter­view. “It cre­ates sit­u­a­tions that have result­ed in them being kicked out of the con­fer­ence. I imag­ine if they have sim­i­lar plans in Dal­las ... their time inside the con­fer­ence will be short-lived.”

    Holt added that Fuentes and the “groypers” see CPAC as a way to “boost their own vis­i­bil­i­ty” and attempt to “siphon off” atten­dees from more main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive groups.

    More main­stream Repub­li­can and con­ser­v­a­tive pun­dits, includ­ing fer­vent Don­ald Trump sup­port­ers, gen­er­al­ly want noth­ing to do with Fuentes’ overt­ly racist rhetoric, while he derides them as “shills.” Some degree of con­fronta­tion is more than like­ly this week­end in Dal­las, where Trump him­self will deliv­er the keynote address on Sun­day after­noon.
    ...

    But, again, part of what makes this planned con­fronta­tion between Fuentes’s Groy­er Army and the CPAC cucks so fas­ci­nat­ing is that it’s becom­ing less and less easy by the day for enti­ties like CPAC to deny the influ­ence of rel­e­vance of peo­ple like Fuentes in the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. There real­ly is a risk of CPAC effec­tive­ly being replaced by AFPAC some day. That’s why we can be sure the CPAC folks are putting seri­ous thought into how they can some­one either absorb or come to terms with Fuentes’s move­ment. Don’t for­get: CPAC isn’t against white nation­al­ism. Quite the con­trary. There’s a long his­to­ry of CPAC host­ing white nation­al­ist fig­ures. But it’s a soft white nation­al­ism. The kind of white nation­al­ism that cloaks itself in the lan­guage of faith, fam­i­ly, and patri­o­tism. But for the upcom­ing gen­er­a­tion of inter­net-schooled con­ser­v­a­tives, that’s a cuck­’s form of white nation­al­ism. Fuentes is the polit­i­cal future they want, where open vocal white nation­al­ism is the polit­i­cal ral­ly­ing cry.

    So how did Fuentes’s crash­ing of CPAC go? Well, it sounds like they were allowed into the event, which is more suc­cess­ful than their trolling attempts back in Feb­ru­ary, where they weren’t even allowed into the even. They got in this time...while chant­i­ng “white boy sum­mer”. But Fuentes was even­tu­al­ly kicked out for harass­ing a Salon reporter. That’s what got him kicked out:

    Newsweek

    Nick Fuentes Crash­es CPAC Chant­i­ng ‘Amer­i­ca First’ and ‘White Boy Sum­mer,’ Gets Kicked Out

    BY CHRISTINA ZHAO
    ON 7/10/21 AT 7:33 PM EDT

    White nation­al­ist orga­niz­er Nick Fuentes stormed the Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence (CPAC) in Dal­las, Texas, with a crowd of fol­low­ers on Sat­ur­day. Offi­cials prompt­ly removed Fuentes from the event after the group’s orga­nized stunt.

    “Should we try to walk into CPAC?” Fuentes said in a video before enter­ing the build­ing. “It is Amer­i­ca. Well, I’m an Amer­i­can and I’ve been can­celed so I think I’m going into CPAC.”

    He then walked through the doors fol­lowed by his sup­port­ers, chant­i­ng “Amer­i­ca First” and “white boy sum­mer.”

    The con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure, who has pre­vi­ous­ly described him­self as an “Amer­i­can nation­al­ist” and a “paleo-con­ser­v­a­tive,” was per­ma­nent­ly sus­pend­ed from Twit­ter on Fri­day. Fuentes is also banned from YouTube, Twitch, Tik­Tok, Spo­ti­fy, Ven­mo and Red­dit.

    A Twit­ter spokesper­son told Newsweek that the deci­sion was made due to “repeat­ed vio­la­tions” of the plat­for­m’s rules.

    Nick Fuentes and his white nation­al­ist clowns crash CPAC. pic.twitter.com/5jRRHc5znS— Ron Fil­ip­kows­ki (@RonFilipkowski) July 10, 2021

    In the hours lead­ing to his Twit­ter ban, Fuentes tweet­ed about his plans to crash the con­ser­v­a­tive event in Texas. “Most like­ly, I’ll be get­ting phys­i­cal­ly removed from CPAC in Dal­las on Sat­ur­day,” he bragged in one of his final tweets.

    Fuentes has been host­ing his own com­pet­ing events to CPAC events since 2019 in efforts to dis­rupt and embar­rass “main­stream” con­ser­v­a­tives. In Feb­ru­ary, Fuentes was denied entry to the CPAC in Flori­da as he attempt­ed to crash the event with a group of about 25 sup­port­ers.

    Secu­ri­ty removed Fuentes from the Dal­las CPAC on Sat­ur­day after he harassed a Salon reporter. Pri­or to leav­ing the build­ing, he vowed to “give the most unchained speech ever” across the street from the event in the evening.

    “I’m off Twit­ter, I have noth­ing to lose. This is going to be the most racist, sex­ist, anti-Semit­ic, Holo­caust-deny­ing speech in all of Dal­las this week­end,” he said, as a small group of sup­port­ers around him cheered.

    ...

    ———

    “Nick Fuentes Crash­es CPAC Chant­i­ng ‘Amer­i­ca First’ and ‘White Boy Sum­mer,’ Gets Kicked Out” by CHRISTINA ZHAO; Newsweek; 07/10/2021

    Secu­ri­ty removed Fuentes from the Dal­las CPAC on Sat­ur­day after he harassed a Salon reporter. Pri­or to leav­ing the build­ing, he vowed to “give the most unchained speech ever” across the street from the event in the evening.”

    All in all, quite a suc­cess for Fuentes. He was allowed in. He got to let atten­dees know about about the “most unchained speech ever” that he’s going to be giv­ing this evening across the street. And he got kicked out for a rea­son that had noth­ing to do with being a white nation­al­ist.

    Is this how CPAC is going to had the chal­lenge Fuentes pos­es to their con­ser­v­a­tive cre­den­tials? Let him in to the events and then kick him out on a tech­ni­cal­i­ty like harass­ing left-wing reporters? We’ll see. But it’s worth not­ing anoth­er con­tro­ver­sial attendee who also appeared to be harass­ing a Salon reporter but was­n’t kicked out. And this attendee real­ly is arguably far more con­tro­ver­sial and con­cern­ing than Fuentes: Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes. Recall how, despite Rhodes’s denials, evi­dence points towards Rhodes play­ing a direct role in the plan­ning an coor­di­na­tion of the “Quick Reac­tion Force” (QRF) of weapons sta­tioned near the Capi­tol ready to be called in on a moments notice. And that’s on top of Rhodes’s years of threat­en­ing civ­il war:

    Salon

    Stew­art Rhodes, founder of right-wing Oath Keep­ers mili­tia, spot­ted at CPAC
    Mul­ti­ple fed­er­al agen­cies are inves­ti­gat­ing the Oath Keep­ers for their alleged role in the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion

    By Zachary Petriz­zo
    Pub­lished July 9, 2021 10:05PM (EDT)

    DALLAS — Stew­art Rhodes, the founder and leader of right-wing mili­tia group the Oath Keep­ers, was spot­ted by a Salon reporter Fri­day evening strolling the halls of the Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence (CPAC) in Dal­las, Texas.

    Mul­ti­ple fed­er­al agen­cies are cur­rent­ly inves­ti­gat­ing the Oath Keep­ers for their alleged role in the plan­ning and exe­cu­tion of the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion — and though Rhodes did not him­self enter the U.S. Capi­tol build­ing that day, sev­er­al mem­bers of his group did, accord­ing to news reports. As of this week, 16 Oath Keep­ers have been charged for their involve­ment in the storm­ing of the Capi­tol build­ing.

    ...

    When asked why he was in atten­dance at the con­ser­v­a­tive con­fer­ence, Rhodes quick­ly became enraged and yelled, “f**k off.” A female asso­ciate, iden­ti­fied as Mar­cia Strick­ler on her CPAC pass, also came with­in inch­es of this reporter, yelling var­i­ous obscen­i­ties.

    CPAC secu­ri­ty also approved Rhodes for an offi­cial pass, which was pho­tographed by Salon Fri­day before the encounter.

    Yet accord­ing to a high-rank­ing CPAC offi­cial that spoke with Salon exclu­sive­ly on Fri­day evening, con­fer­ence lead­ers have been in touch with fed­er­al law enforce­ment author­i­ties to seek guid­ance as to whether Rhodes is con­sid­ered a threat to atten­dees’ safe­ty and well-being.

    ———-

    “Stew­art Rhodes, founder of right-wing Oath Keep­ers mili­tia, spot­ted at CPAC” by Zachary Petriz­zo; Salon; 07/09/2021

    “Yet accord­ing to a high-rank­ing CPAC offi­cial that spoke with Salon exclu­sive­ly on Fri­day evening, con­fer­ence lead­ers have been in touch with fed­er­al law enforce­ment author­i­ties to seek guid­ance as to whether Rhodes is con­sid­ered a threat to atten­dees’ safe­ty and well-being.”

    Is Rhodes too hot to han­dle? CPAC had to check with author­i­ties. But it sounds like they arrived at the con­clu­sion that Rhodes was just fine. He has an offi­cial pass, after all. You have to won­der if their deci­sion to give Rhodes a con­fer­ence pass, despite con­cerns that he might pose a threat to atten­dees’ safe­ty and well-being, were root­ed in fears of the con­se­quences if they did­n’t let him in. It’s a reminder that as the GOP becomes more and more unmoored from any prin­ci­ples, threats of vio­lence will increas­ing­ly become the glue that’s going to holds the move­ment togeth­er. War­lord democ­ra­cy isn’t pret­ty.

    And note the not so kind words Rhodes and his asso­ciate had for a Salon reporter. It makes you won­der what Fuentes had to do to get kicked out:

    ...
    When asked why he was in atten­dance at the con­ser­v­a­tive con­fer­ence, Rhodes quick­ly became enraged and yelled, “f**k off.” A female asso­ciate, iden­ti­fied as Mar­cia Strick­ler on her CPAC pass, also came with­in inch­es of this reporter, yelling var­i­ous obscen­i­ties.
    ...

    So based on these reports, it appears that CPAC is open to vio­lent insur­rec­tion­ists, but only as long as they don’t cross the line of being too open about the under­ly­ing white nation­al­ist moti­va­tions for their vio­lent insur­rec­tionary ambi­tions. Or at least not if they’re too open about the under­ly­ing white nation­al­ist moti­va­tions for their vio­lent insur­rec­tionary ambi­tions and also harass a Salon reporter. It’s a fuzzy line.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 10, 2021, 4:44 pm
  27. The ques­tion of how close the US came to expe­ri­enc­ing a full-blown open coup on Jan­u­ary 6 was once again raised by a dis­turb­ing new book just put out by Wash­ing­ton Post reporters Car­ol Leon­nig and Philip Ruck­er. And the answer to that ques­tion appears to be that the Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Mil­ley, was so alarmed by what he saw at a Novem­ber 10, “Mil­lion MAGA March” ral­ly that he called up for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er H.R. McMas­ter to ask whether or not a coup was immi­nent. Fol­low­ing that con­ver­sa­tion, Mil­ley began infor­mal­ly plan­ning with oth­er mil­i­tary lead­ers to strate­gize how they might block an ille­gal order to use the mil­i­tary. Recall how Repub­li­can Con­gress­man Louie Gohmert sug­gest­ed an Egypt-style rev­o­lu­tion if Trump was­n’t reelect­ed at that “Novem­ber 10 Mil­lion MAGA March”. Neo-Nazi Trump super-fan Nick Fuentes also made his first pledge to “Destroy the GOP” at that event if Trump was­n’t rein­stalled. That was the event that filled Mil­ley with a sense of impend­ing doom.

    But per­haps the most dis­turb­ing part of this sto­ry was the rea­son­ing Mil­ley went through for how Trump might suc­cess­ful­ly pull off a coup: he would need to gain sway over the FBI, the CIA and the Defense Depart­ment, where Trump had already installed staunch allies. Recall the post-elec­tion appoint­ments of extrem­ist mil­i­tary fig­ures like Antho­ny Tata inside the Pen­ta­gon. Mil­ley report­ed­ly told his clos­es­ts aides that, “They may try, but they’re not going to f—ing suc­ceed,” in response to this recog­ni­tion that Trump like­ly already had a pro-coup bureau­crat­ic infra­struc­ture in place.

    It’s pret­ty chill­ing. But let’s also rec­og­nize that Trump does­n’t appear to have ever actu­al­ly giv­en that coup order. At least no explic­it­ly. No such order was nec­es­sary in the face an insur­rec­tionary mob, after all. Trump just need­ed to ensure the mil­i­tary did­n’t respond to the insur­rec­tion in a time­ly man­ner. So in the end, we don’t actu­al­ly know what would have hap­pened had Trump issued those pro-coup. But we also don’t real­ly know if soft coup orders were qui­et­ly giv­en to select indi­vid­u­als who could ensure the planned insur­rec­tion was­n’t thwart­ed and we do know that one of the lin­ger­ing mys­ter­ies around the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion is why agen­cies like the FBI and DHS seemed so woe­ful­ly unpre­pared for an insur­rec­tion every­one knew was in the works and why the mil­i­tary was so slow foot­ed in releas­ing the Nation­al Guard. Ques­tions direct­ly relat­ed to the role Michael Fly­n­n’s broth­er, Charles Fly­nn, played in those deci­sions.

    And, of course, this book is being pub­lished at the same time the GOP is dou­bling and tripling down on its obstruc­tion of an inves­ti­ga­tion into the Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion at the same time Trump is going from ral­ly to ral­ly demand­ing that Repub­li­cans embrace the insur­rec­tion as a just act in response to a stolen elec­tion. And that’s all why these accounts of Mil­ley’s alarm over the threats of a coup can’t be viewed as pure­ly ret­ro­spec­tive alarm about what might have been had things gone worse. The coup-ing con­tin­ues, albeit more indi­rect­ly now:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Joint Chiefs chair­man feared poten­tial ‘Reich­stag moment’ aimed at keep­ing Trump in pow­er

    By Reis The­bault
    July 14, 2021 | Updat­ed at 10:47 p.m. EDT

    In the wan­ing weeks of Don­ald Trump’s term, the country’s top mil­i­tary leader repeat­ed­ly wor­ried about what the pres­i­dent might do to main­tain pow­er after los­ing reelec­tion, com­par­ing his rhetoric to Adolf Hitler’s dur­ing the rise of Nazi Ger­many and ask­ing con­fi­dants whether a coup was forth­com­ing, accord­ing to a new book by two Wash­ing­ton Post reporters.

    As Trump cease­less­ly pushed false claims about the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Gen. Mark A. Mil­ley, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, grew more and more ner­vous, telling aides he feared that the pres­i­dent and his acolytes might attempt to use the mil­i­tary to stay in office, Car­ol Leon­nig and Philip Ruck­er report in “I Alone Can Fix It: Don­ald J. Trump’s Cat­a­stroph­ic Final Year.”

    Mil­ley described “a stom­ach-churn­ing” feel­ing as he lis­tened to Trump’s untrue com­plaints of elec­tion fraud, draw­ing a com­par­i­son to the 1933 attack on Germany’s par­lia­ment build­ing that Hitler used as a pre­text to estab­lish a Nazi dic­ta­tor­ship.

    “This is a Reich­stag moment,” Mil­ley told aides, accord­ing to the book. “The gospel of the Führer.”

    ...

    Por­tions of the book relat­ed to Mil­ley — first report­ed Wednes­day night by CNN ahead of the book’s July 20 release — offer a remark­able win­dow into the think­ing of America’s high­est-rank­ing mil­i­tary offi­cer, who saw him­self as one of the last empow­ered defend­ers of democ­ra­cy dur­ing some of the dark­est days in the country’s recent his­to­ry.

    The episodes in the book are based on inter­views with more than 140 peo­ple, includ­ing senior Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials, friends and advis­ers, Leon­nig and Ruck­er write in an author’s note. Most agreed to speak can­did­ly only on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, and the scenes report­ed were recon­struct­ed based on first­hand accounts and mul­ti­ple oth­er sources when­ev­er pos­si­ble.

    Mil­ley — who was wide­ly crit­i­cized last year for appear­ing along­side Trump in Lafayette Square after pro­test­ers were forcibly cleared from the area — had pledged to use his office to ensure a free and fair elec­tion with no mil­i­tary involve­ment. But he became increas­ing­ly con­cerned in the days fol­low­ing the Novem­ber con­test, mak­ing mul­ti­ple ref­er­ences to the onset of 20th-cen­tu­ry fas­cism.

    After attend­ing a Nov. 10 secu­ri­ty brief­ing about the “Mil­lion MAGA March,” a pro-Trump ral­ly protest­ing the elec­tion, Mil­ley said he feared an Amer­i­can equiv­a­lent of “brown­shirts in the streets,” allud­ing to the para­mil­i­tary forces that pro­tect­ed Nazi ral­lies and enabled Hitler’s ascent.

    Late that same evening, accord­ing to the book, an old friend called Mil­ley to express con­cerns that those close to Trump were attempt­ing to “over­turn the gov­ern­ment.”

    “You are one of the few guys who are stand­ing between us and some real­ly bad stuff,” the friend told Mil­ley, accord­ing to an account relayed to his aides. Mil­ley was shak­en, Leon­nig and Ruck­er write, and he called for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er H.R. McMas­ter to ask whether a coup was actu­al­ly immi­nent.

    “What the f— am I deal­ing with?” Mil­ley asked him.

    The con­ver­sa­tions put Mil­ley on edge, and he began infor­mal­ly plan­ning with oth­er mil­i­tary lead­ers, strate­giz­ing how they would block Trump’s order to use the mil­i­tary in a way they deemed dan­ger­ous or ille­gal.

    If some­one want­ed to seize con­trol, Mil­ley thought, they would need to gain sway over the FBI, the CIA and the Defense Depart­ment, where Trump had already installed staunch allies. “They may try, but they’re not going to f—ing suc­ceed,” he told some of his clos­est deputies, the book says.

    In the weeks that fol­lowed, Mil­ley played reas­sur­ing sooth­say­er to a string of con­cerned mem­bers of Con­gress and admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials who shared his wor­ries about Trump attempt­ing to use the mil­i­tary to stay in office.

    “Everything’s going to be okay,” he told them, accord­ing to the book. “We’re going to have a peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er. We’re going to land this plane safe­ly. This is Amer­i­ca. It’s strong. The insti­tu­tions are bend­ing, but it won’t break.”

    In Decem­ber, with rumors cir­cu­lat­ing that the pres­i­dent was prepar­ing to fire then-CIA Direc­tor Gina Haspel and replace her with Trump loy­al­ist Kash Patel, Mil­ley sought to inter­vene, the book says. He con­front­ed White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows at the annu­al Army-Navy foot­ball game, which Trump and oth­er high-pro­file guests attend­ed.

    “What the hell is going on here?” Mil­ley asked Mead­ows, accord­ing to the book’s account. “What are you guys doing?”

    When Mead­ows respond­ed, “Don’t wor­ry about it,” Mil­ley shot him a warn­ing: “Just be care­ful.”

    After the failed insur­rec­tion on Jan. 6, House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi (D‑Calif.) called Mil­ley to ask for his guar­an­tee that Trump would not be able to launch a nuclear strike and start a war.

    “This guy’s crazy,” Pelosi said of Trump in what the book report­ed was most­ly a one-way phone call. “He’s dan­ger­ous. He’s a mani­ac.”

    Once again, Mil­ley sought to reas­sure: “Ma’am, I guar­an­tee you that we have checks and bal­ances in the sys­tem,” he told Pelosi.

    Less than a week lat­er, as mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment lead­ers planned for Pres­i­dent Biden’s inau­gu­ra­tion, Mil­ley said he was deter­mined to avoid a repeat of the siege on the Capi­tol.

    “Every­one in this room, whether you’re a cop, whether you’re a sol­dier, we’re going to stop these guys to make sure we have a peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er,” he told them. “We’re going to put a ring of steel around this city and the Nazis aren’t get­ting in.”

    ...

    ————–

    “Joint Chiefs chair­man feared poten­tial ‘Reich­stag moment’ aimed at keep­ing Trump in pow­er” by Reis The­bault; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 07/14/2021

    “As Trump cease­less­ly pushed false claims about the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Gen. Mark A. Mil­ley, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, grew more and more ner­vous, telling aides he feared that the pres­i­dent and his acolytes might attempt to use the mil­i­tary to stay in office, Car­ol Leon­nig and Philip Ruck­er report in “I Alone Can Fix It: Don­ald J. Trump’s Cat­a­stroph­ic Final Year.”

    It was bad enough that the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was talk­ing with aides about Trump try­ing to use the mil­i­tary to stay in office. That gives us a sense of what it was like on the inside dur­ing this post-elec­tion peri­od when Trump lost the elec­tion but was still pres­i­dent. As Mil­ley put it to his aides, “This is a Reich­stag moment”:

    ...
    Mil­ley described “a stom­ach-churn­ing” feel­ing as he lis­tened to Trump’s untrue com­plaints of elec­tion fraud, draw­ing a com­par­i­son to the 1933 attack on Germany’s par­lia­ment build­ing that Hitler used as a pre­text to estab­lish a Nazi dic­ta­tor­ship.

    “This is a Reich­stag moment,” Mil­ley told aides, accord­ing to the book. “The gospel of the Führer.”

    ...

    Mil­ley — who was wide­ly crit­i­cized last year for appear­ing along­side Trump in Lafayette Square after pro­test­ers were forcibly cleared from the area — had pledged to use his office to ensure a free and fair elec­tion with no mil­i­tary involve­ment. But he became increas­ing­ly con­cerned in the days fol­low­ing the Novem­ber con­test, mak­ing mul­ti­ple ref­er­ences to the onset of 20th-cen­tu­ry fas­cism.
    ...

    But it was the Novem­ber 10 Mil­lion Maga March that appears to have instilled Mil­ley with a sense that a coup was a very real pos­si­bil­i­ty. It was fol­low­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with HR McMas­ter that evening that he began infor­mal­ly plan­ning with oth­er mil­i­tary lead­ers of how to stop a Trump attempt to use the mil­i­tary to stay in pow­er:

    ...
    After attend­ing a Nov. 10 secu­ri­ty brief­ing about the “Mil­lion MAGA March,” a pro-Trump ral­ly protest­ing the elec­tion, Mil­ley said he feared an Amer­i­can equiv­a­lent of “brown­shirts in the streets,” allud­ing to the para­mil­i­tary forces that pro­tect­ed Nazi ral­lies and enabled Hitler’s ascent.

    Late that same evening, accord­ing to the book, an old friend called Mil­ley to express con­cerns that those close to Trump were attempt­ing to “over­turn the gov­ern­ment.”

    “You are one of the few guys who are stand­ing between us and some real­ly bad stuff,” the friend told Mil­ley, accord­ing to an account relayed to his aides. Mil­ley was shak­en, Leon­nig and Ruck­er write, and he called for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er H.R. McMas­ter to ask whether a coup was actu­al­ly immi­nent.

    “What the f— am I deal­ing with?” Mil­ley asked him.

    The con­ver­sa­tions put Mil­ley on edge, and he began infor­mal­ly plan­ning with oth­er mil­i­tary lead­ers, strate­giz­ing how they would block Trump’s order to use the mil­i­tary in a way they deemed dan­ger­ous or ille­gal.

    If some­one want­ed to seize con­trol, Mil­ley thought, they would need to gain sway over the FBI, the CIA and the Defense Depart­ment, where Trump had already installed staunch allies. “They may try, but they’re not going to f—ing suc­ceed,” he told some of his clos­est deputies, the book says.
    ...

    And note how Mil­ley did actu­al­ly appear to inter­vene on one of these post-elec­tion mys­te­ri­ous high-lev­el staffing changes, when Trump tried to install Kash Patel as direc­tor of the CIA:

    ...
    In Decem­ber, with rumors cir­cu­lat­ing that the pres­i­dent was prepar­ing to fire then-CIA Direc­tor Gina Haspel and replace her with Trump loy­al­ist Kash Patel, Mil­ley sought to inter­vene, the book says. He con­front­ed White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows at the annu­al Army-Navy foot­ball game, which Trump and oth­er high-pro­file guests attend­ed.

    “What the hell is going on here?” Mil­ley asked Mead­ows, accord­ing to the book’s account. “What are you guys doing?”

    When Mead­ows respond­ed, “Don’t wor­ry about it,” Mil­ley shot him a warn­ing: “Just be care­ful.”
    ...

    It rais­es the ques­tion of whether or not that inter­ven­tion actu­al­ly caused a shift in the Trump team’s plans and per­haps helped avoid a for­mal coup attempt. But we’ll pre­sum­ably nev­er know...assuming Trump does­n’t get reelect­ed in 2024. Or some non-Trump Repub­li­can pres­i­dent. This is a pro-coup par­ty now, after all. These lessons about avoid­ing coups aren’t just Trump-relat­ed lessons. They’re lessons that are applic­a­ble for basi­cal­ly every Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion going for­ward now.

    In relat­ed news, anoth­er new book out about the Trump admin­is­tra­tion talks about how Trump told his then-Chief of Staff John Kel­ly in 2018 dur­ing a Trip to Europe to mark the 100 year anniver­sary of the end of WWI, that Hitler “did a lot of good things”. He then dou­bled-down on state­ment was pressed by Kel­ly. It’s a reminder that those inside the Trump admin­is­tra­tion were prob­a­bly get­ting implic­it warn­ings about a pos­si­ble fas­cist coup the entire time. They just became a lot more explic­it after Trump actu­al­ly lost.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 15, 2021, 4:27 pm
  28. This was prob­a­bly inevitable giv­en the pre­vail­ing Big Lie polit­i­cal treach­ery of the day: a new­ly released poll con­duct­ed between June 26-July 2 found a shock­ing lev­el of sup­port for seces­sion. The sup­port was found in both Repub­li­cans, Democ­rats, and inde­pen­dents, with 66 of Repub­li­cans in 13 South­ern states voic­ing sup­port for the idea. That part of the polls was the worst of the news, but it was most­ly all bad, with even 47 per­cent of West Coast Democ­rats in Cal­i­for­nia, Ore­gon, Wash­ing­ton, Alas­ka, and Hawaii voic­ing sup­port for the idea. Inter­est­ing­ly, in the Mid­west it’s par­ti­san inde­pen­dents who expressed the high­est lev­els of sup­port at 43 per­cent.

    But per­haps the worst of the news was­n’t that 66 per­cent of South­ern Repub­li­cans sup­port­ed the idea of seces­sion. It’s that this num­ber rose from 50 per­cent when this poll was last tak­en back in Feb­ru­ary. So 3 out of 6 South­ern Repub­li­cans were ready to seced­ed back in Feb­ru­ary and now it’s 4 out of 6. What hap­pens to the pol­i­tics of the day when that num­ber reach 5 out of 6 Repub­li­cans? We’ll pre­sum­ably find out in an upcom­ing polls, because the polit­i­cal can­cers that have long haunt­ed the Unit­ed States are clear­ly metas­ta­siz­ing under the stolen elec­tion nar­ra­tive:

    Newsweek

    47% of West Coast Dems, 66% of South­ern Repub­li­cans Want to Secede From U.S.

    BY AILA SLISCO ON 7/14/21 AT 10:01 PM EDT

    Two-thirds of South­ern Repub­li­cans say they sup­port break­ing away from the U.S. and form­ing their own coun­try with near­by states, while near­ly half of Democ­rats on the West Coast would do the same.

    A 66 per­cent major­i­ty of Repub­li­cans in 13 South­ern states includ­ing Texas and Flori­da are in favor of seced­ing from the union, accord­ing to a poll released Wednes­day by Bright Line Watch. Half of all inde­pen­dents in the South agreed, while only 20 per­cent of South­ern Democ­rats were on board.

    Sup­port for form­ing a break­away coun­try reached 47 per­cent among Democ­rats in Cal­i­for­nia, Ore­gon, Wash­ing­ton, Alas­ka and Hawaii. One-third of West Coast inde­pen­dents, or 33 per­cent, were in favor of suc­ces­sion, along with 27 per­cent of West Coast Repub­li­cans.

    A small­er share of respon­dents from oth­er regions agreed. In 13 Mid­west states, sup­port was high­est among inde­pen­dents, 43 per­cent of whom want­ed to secede. In North­east­ern states, 39 per­cent of Democ­rats were in favor of leav­ing the U.S. and form­ing their own coun­try, while 43 per­cent of Repub­li­cans in states near the Rocky Moun­tains said the same.

    Sup­port has increased sig­nif­i­cant­ly across the board since the same ques­tion was asked in a Bright Line Watch poll from Feb­ru­ary, when only 50 per­cent of South­ern Repub­li­cans want­ed to leave the union—16 per­cent less than the cur­rent fig­ure. A 6 per­cent increase in sup­port for seces­sion occurred among West Coast Democ­rats.

    Data ana­lyst Christo­pher Ingra­ham described the poll results as the “most dis­turb­ing dat­a­point” he had recent­ly seen on Twit­ter. In a post on his Sub­stack online newslet­ter, Ingra­ham not­ed that many of those who expressed sup­port for seces­sion may be express­ing sup­port to indi­cate par­ti­san loy­al­ties rather than sup­port for a poten­tial new Civ­il War.

    Most dis­turb­ing dat­a­point I’ve seen in awhile: two-thirds of South­ern Repub­li­cans now say the South should break away from the Union, up from 50 per­cent in Jan­u­ary. https://t.co/IALe5x7HzF pic.twitter.com/OWx23L9pLc— Christo­pher Ingra­ham (@_cingraham) July 14, 2021

    “It prob­a­bly makes sense to read these results more as state­ments of polit­i­cal iden­ti­ty (e.g., ‘I’m a proud South­ern­er and I don’t like Joe Biden!’) than as signs of actu­al intent,” Ingra­ham wrote.

    “Nev­er­the­less, the sheer num­ber of Amer­i­cans — par­tic­u­lar­ly Repub­li­cans and Inde­pen­dents in the South — will­ing to turn ‘blow the whole thing up’ into a sig­nal of par­ti­san loy­al­ty is trou­bling,” he added.

    The poll was con­duct­ed between June 26 and July 2. Polling firm YouGov sur­veyed 2,750 U.S. adults, while a sam­ple of 327 polit­i­cal sci­ence experts also par­tic­i­pat­ed in the poll. A mar­gin of error was not list­ed.

    The polit­i­cal sci­ence experts who respond­ed to the poll were asked to rate sev­er­al polit­i­cal events on the nor­mal­i­ty and impor­tance of each event. Mul­ti­ple events relat­ed to for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s repeat­ed false claims of mas­sive fraud in the 2020 elec­tion were rat­ed both “abnor­mal” and “impor­tant” or “most­ly impor­tant.”

    ...

    ———–

    “47% of West Coast Dems, 66% of South­ern Repub­li­cans Want to Secede From U.S.” BY AILA SLISCO; Newsweek; 07/14/2021

    Sup­port has increased sig­nif­i­cant­ly across the board since the same ques­tion was asked in a Bright Line Watch poll from Feb­ru­ary, when only 50 per­cent of South­ern Repub­li­cans want­ed to leave the union—16 per­cent less than the cur­rent fig­ure. A 6 per­cent increase in sup­port for seces­sion occurred among West Coast Democ­rats.”

    We’re watch­ing the rad­i­cal­iza­tion in real time. The rad­i­cal­iza­tion of the already-rad­i­cal­ized. These kinds of dynam­ics don’t resolve them­selves casu­al­ly. As the fol­low­ing describes, the 2022 mid-terms are already shap­ing up to be a ref­er­en­dum on whether or not the 2020 elec­tion from Trump. At least that’s how the GOP pri­maries are play­ing out. Rag­ing against Trump’s stolen elec­tion ‘lost cause’ is how you win GOP pri­maries today, which is the kind of plat­form that nat­u­ral­ly trans­lates into a seces­sion plat­form should the stolen elec­tion plat­form not result in the GOP retak­ing con­trol of con­gress:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    In ramp-up to 2022 midterms, Repub­li­can can­di­dates cen­ter pitch­es on Trump’s false elec­tion claims

    By Amy Gard­ner
    July 5, 2021|Updated July 6, 2021 at 5:14 p.m. EDT

    A can­di­date to be Arizona’s top elec­tions offi­cial said recent­ly he hopes a review of 2020 bal­lots under­way in his state will lead to the rever­sal of for­mer pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s defeat there.

    In Geor­gia, a mem­ber of Con­gress who used to focus pri­mar­i­ly on cul­tur­al­ly con­ser­v­a­tive caus­es such as oppos­ing same-sex mar­riage has made Trump’s false claim that the elec­tion was stolen a cen­tral ele­ment of his bid to try to unseat the cur­rent sec­re­tary of state.

    And in Vir­ginia last month, a polit­i­cal novice who joined Trump’s legal team to try to over­turn his 2020 loss in court mount­ed a fierce pri­ma­ry chal­lenge — and won — after attack­ing a Repub­li­can state House mem­ber who said he had seen no evi­dence of wide­spread fraud in the elec­tion.

    “He wasn’t doing any­thing — squat, did­dly,” Wren Williams said in an inter­view about his pri­ma­ry oppo­nent. “He wasn’t tak­ing elec­tion integri­ty seri­ous­ly. I’m sit­ting here fight­ing for elec­tion integri­ty in the courts, and he’s my elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tive who can leg­is­late and he’s not.”

    Across the coun­try, as cam­paigns gear up for a hand­ful of key races this year and the piv­otal 2022 midterms, Repub­li­can can­di­dates for state and fed­er­al offices are increas­ing­ly focused on the last elec­tion — run­ning on the false­hood spread by Trump and his allies that the 2020 race was stolen from him.

    While most of these cam­paigns are in their ear­ly stages, the embrace of Trump’s claims is already wide­spread on the trail and in can­di­dates’ mes­sages to vot­ers. The trend pro­vides fresh evi­dence of Trump’s con­tin­ued grip on the GOP, reflect­ing how a move­ment inspired by his claims and cen­tered on over­turn­ing a demo­c­ra­t­ic elec­tion has gained cur­ren­cy in the par­ty since the Jan. 6 Capi­tol attack.

    Dozens of can­di­dates pro­mot­ing the base­less notion that the elec­tion was rigged are seek­ing pow­er­ful statewide offices — such as gov­er­nor, attor­ney gen­er­al and sec­re­tary of state, which would give them author­i­ty over the admin­is­tra­tion of elec­tions — in sev­er­al of the deci­sive states where Trump and his allies sought to over­turn the out­come and engi­neer his return to the White House.

    Many are new­com­ers to pol­i­tics. They boast cam­paign web­sites pro­claim­ing “Amer­i­ca First,” call them­selves patri­ots or tout their mil­i­tary ser­vice.

    Some, includ­ing Chuck Gray of Wyoming, declare “elec­tion integri­ty” their top pri­or­i­ty. Gray is one of at least six pro-Trump Repub­li­cans chal­leng­ing Rep. Liz Cheney (R‑Wyo.), who has denounced Trump and vot­ed to impeach him on a charge that he incit­ed the Capi­tol attack.

    And many are cur­rent Repub­li­can office­hold­ers, lin­ing up to seek reelec­tion, who have backed Trump’s efforts over the past eight months by ques­tion­ing the valid­i­ty of the 2020 result, tak­ing leg­isla­tive votes or sign­ing on to offi­cial efforts to over­turn it.

    Of the near­ly 700 Repub­li­cans who have filed ini­tial paper­work with the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion to run next year for either the U.S. Sen­ate or the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, at least a third have embraced Trump’s false claims about his defeat.

    Many of them — 136 — are sit­ting mem­bers of Con­gress who vot­ed against Joe Biden’s elec­toral col­lege vic­to­ry on Jan. 6.

    Sim­i­lar­ly, of the near­ly 600 state law­mak­ers who pub­licly embraced Trump’s false claims, about 500 face reelec­tion this year or next. Most of them signed legal briefs or res­o­lu­tions chal­leng­ing Biden’s vic­to­ry. At least 16 of them attend­ed the Jan. 6 protest in Wash­ing­ton.

    “What’s real­ly fright­en­ing right now is the extent of the effort to steal pow­er over future elec­tions,” said Jena Gris­wold, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic sec­re­tary of state in Col­orado. “That’s what we’re see­ing across the nation. Lit­er­al­ly in almost every swing state, we have some­one run­ning for sec­re­tary of state who has been fear­mon­ger­ing about the 2020 elec­tion or was at the insur­rec­tion. Democ­ra­cy will be on the bal­lot in 2022.”

    The grow­ing ros­ter of such can­di­dates amounts to mere­ly the lat­est step in that pro­gres­sion, which includes the ouster of Cheney from a House lead­er­ship posi­tion after she reject­ed Trump’s stolen elec­tion claims, as well as the cen­sure of state offi­cials, includ­ing Geor­gia Sec­re­tary of State Brad Raf­fensperg­er ®, after he refused to con­test Trump’s defeat there.

    Leg­is­la­tures in Ari­zona and Geor­gia have also passed laws shift­ing pow­er over elec­tions to them­selves.

    The dynam­ic threat­ens to upend Repub­li­can pri­maries — and in some cas­es, already has. Last month, Williams defeat­ed a 14-year incum­bent in a Vir­ginia House of Del­e­gates pri­ma­ry after claim­ing he had seen evi­dence of fraud while work­ing as a lawyer for the Trump cam­paign on a law­suit seek­ing to over­turn the Wis­con­sin elec­tion result. The incum­bent, Charles Poindex­ter, boasts top rat­ings from the NRA as well as the social­ly con­ser­v­a­tive Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion. Williams is wide­ly expect­ed to win eas­i­ly in the fall in a safe­ly Repub­li­can dis­trict in Virginia’s rur­al South­side.

    “He said that he had not seen any evi­dence of vot­er fraud,” Williams said of his oppo­nent, who did not return calls seek­ing com­ment. “And I said that I had seen evi­dence, because obvi­ous­ly I had played the role of lawyer for Trump in Wis­con­sin.”

    In fact, no evi­dence of wide­spread fraud emerged in Wis­con­sin, where the law­suit Williams worked on was dis­missed and where a recount in the state’s two largest and most heav­i­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic coun­ties affirmed Biden’s vic­to­ry.

    Trump, the most pop­u­lar fig­ure in the Repub­li­can Par­ty, has repeat­ed­ly threat­ened to pun­ish those who do not echo his claims by inject­ing him­self into pri­maries.

    In a recent state­ment accus­ing Wis­con­sin House Speak­er Robin Vos of fail­ing to ade­quate­ly fight to over­turn Biden’s win, Trump includ­ed a veiled promise to help recruit pri­ma­ry chal­lengers to run against those who have dis­pleased him.

    “These REPUBLICAN ‘lead­ers’ need to step up and sup­port the peo­ple who elect­ed them by pro­vid­ing them a full foren­sic inves­ti­ga­tion,” he said. “If they don’t, I have lit­tle doubt that they will be pri­maried and quick­ly run out of office.”

    As a result, some can­di­dates and GOP lead­ers have worked fever­ish­ly to ingra­ti­ate them­selves with the for­mer pres­i­dent. After Trump attacked him, Vos announced that a for­mer state Supreme Court jus­tice would lead a fresh probe of the 2020 elec­tion there. In Ari­zona, ener­gy exec­u­tive Jim Lam­on, who is seek­ing the GOP nom­i­na­tion to chal­lenge U.S. Sen. Mark Kel­ly (D), has embraced base­less claims of elec­tion fraud — and pur­chased ad time on Fox News in New Jer­sey, thou­sands of miles from Ari­zona pri­ma­ry vot­ers, to win sup­port from Trump while the for­mer pres­i­dent sum­mers at his golf club in Bed­min­ster.

    Penn­syl­va­nia state Sen. Doug Mas­tri­ano, who is con­tem­plat­ing a run for gov­er­nor, recent­ly told Trump that he could engi­neer a post-elec­tion audit in his state like the one under­way in Ari­zona. Like more than a dozen oth­ers, Mas­tri­ano also trav­eled to Ari­zona to wit­ness the recount first­hand, after which Trump issued a state­ment prais­ing him and call­ing on the Penn­syl­va­nia Sen­ate to heed his call. “The peo­ple of Penn­syl­va­nia and Amer­i­ca deserve to know the truth,” Trump said.

    Mark Finchem, a state House mem­ber run­ning for Ari­zona sec­re­tary of state, attend­ed the Jan. 6 protest in Wash­ing­ton, and though he said he nev­er came with­in 500 yards of the Capi­tol and did not con­done the ensu­ing vio­lence, video footage lat­er emerged show­ing him in front of the building’s steps after it had been breached.

    He also tweet­ed a pic­ture of peo­ple swarm­ing the Capi­tol steps with the state­ment, “What hap­pens when the Peo­ple have been ignored, and Con­gress refus­es to acknowl­edge ram­pant fraud.”

    Finchem, who did not respond to a request for com­ment, sug­gest­ed in a pod­cast inter­view in May that he was hope­ful that the review of Mari­co­pa Coun­ty bal­lots launched by the state Sen­ate could lead to a rever­sal of Biden’s vic­to­ry in the state. “We could reclaim our elec­toral col­lege elec­tors,” he told Zak Payne, a pro-Trump activist whose pod­cast has pro­vid­ed a plat­form for QAnon-linked con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.

    Shawn­na Bol­ick, anoth­er Ari­zona House mem­ber run­ning for sec­re­tary of state, pro­posed leg­is­la­tion this year that would give the leg­is­la­ture the pow­er to set aside the pop­u­lar vote and choose its own pres­i­den­tial elec­tors. Bol­ick, who also did not respond to a Wash­ing­ton Post inquiry, announced her can­di­da­cy last month with a state­ment that called for secur­ing elec­tions and not­ed that many Amer­i­cans “believe cheat­ing like­ly affect­ed the out­come of the 2020 elec­tion.”

    A top tar­get for Trump allies is Raf­fensperg­er, the Repub­li­can sec­re­tary of state in Geor­gia, who refused Trump’s entreaties to “find” the votes that would have allowed him to reverse Biden’s 11,779-vote vic­to­ry in the state.

    He is being chal­lenged by Rep. Jody Hice (R‑Ga.), who has already gained Trump’s endorse­ment.

    A pas­tor and for­mer talk-radio host, Hice was elect­ed to Con­gress in 2014 large­ly by tout­ing his oppo­si­tion to homo­sex­u­al­i­ty but has since embraced Trump’s false claims of elec­tion fraud and was among the GOP mem­bers of Con­gress who vot­ed to block cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Biden’s elec­toral col­lege vic­to­ry.

    Hice was an ear­ly pro­po­nent of false claims of fraud. He told the pro-Trump news out­let News­max last Novem­ber that he was not “con­vinced at all, not for one sec­ond, that Joe Biden won the state of Geor­gia.”

    In Wash­ing­ton state, Joe Kent, an Army vet­er­an, is among a hand­ful of Repub­li­cans who have announced plans to chal­lenge Rep. Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, one of 10 House Repub­li­cans who vot­ed to impeach Trump in Jan­u­ary.

    Kent has repeat­ed­ly ques­tioned the out­come of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial race, appear­ing at “Amer­i­ca First” ral­lies along­side pur­vey­ors of base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and tweet­ing in April: “We need to fight for elec­tion integri­ty. Do not reward incum­bents that refused to con­test the 2020 elec­tion.” Kent did not respond to a request for an inter­view.

    In Michi­gan, Mel­lis­sa Carone, a for­mer con­trac­tor for the elec­tion ven­dor Domin­ion Vot­ing Sys­tems who drew ridicule after mak­ing out­landish claims of fraud at a leg­isla­tive hear­ing in that state last fall, has filed paper­work to run for a state House seat.

    Some Repub­li­cans are wor­ried that some of these can­di­dates could thwart GOP efforts to pick up seats next year. In Michi­gan, a state Sen­ate com­mit­tee issued a report last week deny­ing con­tin­u­ing claims that rigged equip­ment and oth­er fraud taint­ed the 2020 result there. Although the report attract­ed Trump’s ire, it reflect­ed con­cerns among Repub­li­cans that grow­ing calls for post-elec­tion audits in numer­ous coun­ties in the state had the poten­tial to harm the party’s elec­toral chances next year.

    In addi­tion, Michi­gan state Repub­li­cans have been encour­ag­ing state Rep. Ann Bollin, the chair­woman of the House Elec­tions Com­mit­tee, to run for sec­re­tary of state. Bollin has said Biden won the state, while anoth­er Repub­li­can who is seek­ing the office, Kristi­na Karamo, has espoused Trump’s unfound­ed claims.

    Democ­rats and oth­er Trump crit­ics, mean­while, are express­ing alarm that the sheer num­ber of GOP can­di­dates pro­mot­ing his elec­tion false­hoods will put anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic forces in place at mul­ti­ple lev­els of gov­ern­ment with the pow­er to thwart the will of the vot­ers in future elec­tions.

    State leg­is­la­tures have con­sid­ered hun­dreds of bills this year that would impose new restric­tions on elec­tions and give law­mak­ers new pow­ers to deter­mine elec­toral out­comes. With more believ­ers in leg­is­la­tures, the chances of such bills becom­ing law could grow.

    State attor­neys gen­er­al also play a role in elec­tions, often with the pow­er to file law­suits. Last year, 18 Repub­li­can attor­neys gen­er­al signed on to a law­suit seek­ing to over­turn the result in Penn­syl­va­nia. Five of them are up for reelec­tion in 2022.

    Gov­er­nors in some states, includ­ing Geor­gia, cer­ti­fy elec­tion results — and car­ry veto pow­er over leg­is­la­tion as well as the pow­er to call spe­cial ses­sions, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has done to force law­mak­ers to con­sid­er new vot­ing restric­tions this month.

    And Con­gress has the pow­er to approve — or block — the elec­toral col­lege out­come, as it did after the insur­rec­tion at the Capi­tol had final­ly been con­tained on Jan. 6. If Repub­li­cans take back con­trol of either the House or Sen­ate, Democ­rats and vot­ing rights advo­cates wor­ry that Con­gress might play a very dif­fer­ent role in future elec­tions than it did this year.

    ...

    ————-

    “In ramp-up to 2022 midterms, Repub­li­can can­di­dates cen­ter pitch­es on Trump’s false elec­tion claims” by Amy Gard­ner; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 07/05/2021

    “Across the coun­try, as cam­paigns gear up for a hand­ful of key races this year and the piv­otal 2022 midterms, Repub­li­can can­di­dates for state and fed­er­al offices are increas­ing­ly focused on the last elec­tion — run­ning on the false­hood spread by Trump and his allies that the 2020 race was stolen from him.

    2020 is the big issue for 2022. It’s the per­fect sub­stance-free plat­form for the con­tem­po­rary GOP. No talk of pol­i­cy or solu­tions. Just rage about how the entire sys­tem is rigged against Trump and con­ser­v­a­tives. With 500 out of the near­ly 600 state law­mak­ers who pub­licly embraced Trump’s stolen elec­tion claims being up for reelec­tion next year, this issue can’t be avoid­ed. It has to be front and cen­ter:

    ...
    While most of these cam­paigns are in their ear­ly stages, the embrace of Trump’s claims is already wide­spread on the trail and in can­di­dates’ mes­sages to vot­ers. The trend pro­vides fresh evi­dence of Trump’s con­tin­ued grip on the GOP, reflect­ing how a move­ment inspired by his claims and cen­tered on over­turn­ing a demo­c­ra­t­ic elec­tion has gained cur­ren­cy in the par­ty since the Jan. 6 Capi­tol attack.

    Dozens of can­di­dates pro­mot­ing the base­less notion that the elec­tion was rigged are seek­ing pow­er­ful statewide offices — such as gov­er­nor, attor­ney gen­er­al and sec­re­tary of state, which would give them author­i­ty over the admin­is­tra­tion of elec­tions — in sev­er­al of the deci­sive states where Trump and his allies sought to over­turn the out­come and engi­neer his return to the White House.

    ...

    Of the near­ly 700 Repub­li­cans who have filed ini­tial paper­work with the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion to run next year for either the U.S. Sen­ate or the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, at least a third have embraced Trump’s false claims about his defeat.

    Many of them — 136 — are sit­ting mem­bers of Con­gress who vot­ed against Joe Biden’s elec­toral col­lege vic­to­ry on Jan. 6.

    Sim­i­lar­ly, of the near­ly 600 state law­mak­ers who pub­licly embraced Trump’s false claims, about 500 face reelec­tion this year or next. Most of them signed legal briefs or res­o­lu­tions chal­leng­ing Biden’s vic­to­ry. At least 16 of them attend­ed the Jan. 6 protest in Wash­ing­ton.

    “What’s real­ly fright­en­ing right now is the extent of the effort to steal pow­er over future elec­tions,” said Jena Gris­wold, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic sec­re­tary of state in Col­orado. “That’s what we’re see­ing across the nation. Lit­er­al­ly in almost every swing state, we have some­one run­ning for sec­re­tary of state who has been fear­mon­ger­ing about the 2020 elec­tion or was at the insur­rec­tion. Democ­ra­cy will be on the bal­lot in 2022.”

    ...

    Trump, the most pop­u­lar fig­ure in the Repub­li­can Par­ty, has repeat­ed­ly threat­ened to pun­ish those who do not echo his claims by inject­ing him­self into pri­maries.
    ...

    Will this be a win­ning strat­e­gy for the GOP? It might be, which would be an obvi­ous dis­as­ter sce­nario. But if not, that’s just leads us to the next dis­as­ter sce­nario, where all of the elect­ed Repub­li­can offi­cials in charge of over­see­ing elec­tions start using all the new pow­ers they gave them­selves to over­turn those elec­tions:

    ...
    Some Repub­li­cans are wor­ried that some of these can­di­dates could thwart GOP efforts to pick up seats next year. In Michi­gan, a state Sen­ate com­mit­tee issued a report last week deny­ing con­tin­u­ing claims that rigged equip­ment and oth­er fraud taint­ed the 2020 result there. Although the report attract­ed Trump’s ire, it reflect­ed con­cerns among Repub­li­cans that grow­ing calls for post-elec­tion audits in numer­ous coun­ties in the state had the poten­tial to harm the party’s elec­toral chances next year.

    In addi­tion, Michi­gan state Repub­li­cans have been encour­ag­ing state Rep. Ann Bollin, the chair­woman of the House Elec­tions Com­mit­tee, to run for sec­re­tary of state. Bollin has said Biden won the state, while anoth­er Repub­li­can who is seek­ing the office, Kristi­na Karamo, has espoused Trump’s unfound­ed claims.

    Democ­rats and oth­er Trump crit­ics, mean­while, are express­ing alarm that the sheer num­ber of GOP can­di­dates pro­mot­ing his elec­tion false­hoods will put anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic forces in place at mul­ti­ple lev­els of gov­ern­ment with the pow­er to thwart the will of the vot­ers in future elec­tions.

    State leg­is­la­tures have con­sid­ered hun­dreds of bills this year that would impose new restric­tions on elec­tions and give law­mak­ers new pow­ers to deter­mine elec­toral out­comes. With more believ­ers in leg­is­la­tures, the chances of such bills becom­ing law could grow.

    State attor­neys gen­er­al also play a role in elec­tions, often with the pow­er to file law­suits. Last year, 18 Repub­li­can attor­neys gen­er­al signed on to a law­suit seek­ing to over­turn the result in Penn­syl­va­nia. Five of them are up for reelec­tion in 2022.
    ...

    And what hap­pens if those efforts by GOP offi­cials to over­turn the elec­tion results fail? 66 per­cent of South­ern Repub­li­cans have an idea of what’s next. Well, at least 66 per­cent. It’s prob­a­bly high­er by now.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 17, 2021, 4:20 pm
  29. Here’s a sto­ry that, on one lev­el, is mere­ly a local curios­i­ty about a far right Michi­gan sher­iff engag­ing in the kind of polit­i­cal­ly charged the­atri­cal antics we should expect from such indi­vid­u­als at this point. But on anoth­er lev­el, it’s the kind of sto­ry that should serve as a warn­ing of what’s to come:

    Remem­ber Sher­iff Dar Leaf, the Bar­ry Coun­ty, Michi­gan, sher­iff who decid­ed to pub­licly share his views on the plot to kid­nap and exe­cute gov­er­nor Gretchen Whit­mer last year over Whit­mer’s COVID-lock­down poli­cies? As Leaf expressed at the time, this assas­si­na­tion plot may have mere­ly been a per­fect­ly legal cit­i­zen’s arrest. Part of their civic duty, in fact. And as we saw, part of the rea­son Leaf may have had such sym­pa­thet­ic views about the assas­si­na­tion plot­ters may have had to do with the fact that he had shared a stage with one of the accused men, William Null, ear­li­er last year dur­ing an anti-lock­down ral­ly. Null was hold­ing a long gun stand­ing next to Leaf while Leaf was rant­i­ng about Whit­mer in a speech to the crowd. As we also saw, Leaf just hap­pens to be a mem­ber of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs and Peace Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion (CSPOA), a far right group with close ties to the Oath Keep­ers that advo­cates sov­er­eign cit­i­zen-style legal the­o­ries that the coun­ty sher­iffs are the ulti­mate law-enforce­ment author­i­ties in their coun­ties, out­rank­ing state and fed­er­al offi­cials.

    Well, we just got an update on what Leaf is up to these days. As we should expect, he’s pro­mot­ing the 2020 stolen elec­tion meme. But he’s not just pro­mot­ing the idea that the elec­tion was stolen from Trump. Leaf has appar­ent­ly been qui­et­ly send­ing sher­if­f’s deputies, paired with a pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor, to inter­view local elec­tions offi­cials in rela­tion to the stolen elec­tion the­o­ries cur­rent­ly being pro­mot­ed by Mike Lin­dell, the MyP­il­low Guy. The pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor, Michael Lynch, is a for­mer chief secu­ri­ty offi­cer at DTE Ener­gy. Leaf claims that Lynch came rec­om­mend­ed by Ste­fanie Lam­bert Junt­ti­la, one of the attor­neys fac­ing legal sanc­tions for the friv­o­lous law­suits she filed to over­turn Michi­gan’s elec­tion results. Jun­til­la rep­re­sent­ed Leaf in Decem­ber when he sued Whit­mer, Sec­re­tary of State Joce­lyn Ben­son and the Board of State Can­vassers for mas­sive elec­tion fraud. The suit was tossed out the next day.

    So as we can see, the stolen elec­tion fer­vor and schemes that will some­how reveal mass fraud are con­tin­u­ing at the local lev­el through local offi­cials like Dar Leaf. Local offi­cials who hap­pen to espouse a polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy that does­n’t rec­og­nize the author­i­ty of state or fed­er­al offi­cials. But Leaf’s agen­da goes much fur­ther than over­turn­ing the elec­tion results, as he made clear dur­ing anoth­er ral­ly he spoke at last week. The “Arise USA” ral­ly was orga­nized by Robert David Steele, a far right con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist with a his­to­ry of pro­mot­ing ideas like the exis­tence of secret­ly mar­t­ian colony where child sex slaves from the Illu­mi­nati are kept. Steele warned that ral­ly audi­ence about the “satan­ic mason­ic attempt to take over the world” and defined Zion­ism as “a crim­i­nal state run by Russ­ian crim­i­nals who pre­tend­ed to be Jews.” CSPOA founder Richard Mack then spoke, fol­lowed by Leaf, who shared with the crowd that the elec­tion probe was “my biggest task I’ve got going on.” It’s the lat­est exam­ple of how the stolen elec­tion Big Lie is being used to fur­ther main­stream the QAnon-style far right ‘Illu­mi­nati (Jews!) run the world!’ rehash­ing of the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    News

    Michi­gan Sher­iff Alarms Small-Town Clerks With Shady, Mike Lin­dell-Inspired Elec­tions Probe

    By Matt Shuham
    July 21, 2021 11:32 a.m.

    A far-right sher­iff in rur­al Michi­gan has sent a pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor and a deputy sher­iff on a tedious jour­ney from town­ship to town­ship, grilling clerks about their elec­tion process­es in an appar­ent attempt to dig up non-exis­tent evi­dence of elec­tion crimes.

    The whole thing, the sher­iff said, was inspired by con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about the elec­tion, includ­ing those ped­dled by MyP­il­low Guy Mike Lin­dell.

    And the clerks are none too hap­py about it.

    “It seemed like they were look­ing to accuse peo­ple or places of fraud, or poten­tial fraud, is what it felt like,” said Cindy Will­shire, clerk of Thor­nap­ple Town­ship.

    “They say they’re not ques­tion­ing our integri­ty, but you almost kind of feel like they are,” said Ani­ta Men­nell, clerk of Hast­ings Char­ter Town­ship.

    “I’ve been a clerk for 18 years and I’ve had a spot-on elec­tion every time,” said Robin Hawthorne, clerk of Rut­land Town­ship. “We’re all a lit­tle upset about this.”

    The inves­tiga­tive duo end­ed some of their inter­views — in which they’ve asked about the pro­ce­dures in place on Elec­tion Day and the pro­gram­ming of Domin­ion vot­ing machines — by say­ing they could return with even more ques­tions about the elec­tion, sev­er­al clerks told TPM.

    “I told them, I’m done talk­ing,” Hawthorne recalled. “If you want to talk to me again, come back with a sub­poe­na or a war­rant.”

    ‘The MyP­il­low Guy’

    The probe is being over­seen by Sher­iff Dar Leaf, one of a hud­dle of law enforce­ment offi­cials around the coun­try who self-describe as “con­sti­tu­tion­al sher­iffs.” They assert that sher­iffs’ legal author­i­ty trumps that of the state and fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. Leaf made a name for him­self last year by offer­ing a hedged pub­lic defense of the men accused of plot­ting to kid­nap Michigan’s gov­er­nor.

    Leaf has been tight-lipped to media out­lets about the probe. He didn’t return an email from TPM, nor a mes­sage left with his assis­tant, and his inves­ti­ga­tors have told clerks not to tell oth­ers they’ve been inter­viewed.

    But he opened up about the inves­ti­ga­tion at an “Arise USA” ral­ly on Fri­day, as Kala­ma­zoo CBS affil­i­ate WWMT first report­ed. The sher­iff took the stage a few min­utes after an orga­niz­er of the event, Robert David Steele, spoke about a “satan­ic mason­ic attempt to take over the world” and defined Zion­ism as “a crim­i­nal state run by Russ­ian crim­i­nals who pre­tend­ed to be Jews.”

    Leaf, fol­low­ing Steele and Richard Mack, founder of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs & Peace Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion, said the elec­tion probe was “my biggest task I’ve got going on.” He went on to describe a com­plaint from a retired sergeant from his office that inspired the effort.

    “She brought in some doc­u­men­ta­tion from the MyP­il­low guy, what’s his name? Mike Lin­dell. And brought some doc­u­men­ta­tion in from some attor­neys from Michi­gan, and Bar­ry County’s list­ed in there,” Leaf said. (Lin­dell has wast­ed mil­lions pitch­ing elec­tion lies.)

    What’s more, he said, an unnamed attor­ney friend called him up short­ly after the elec­tion — now eight months ago — “and said ‘Hey, they’ve gone through your com­put­ers math­e­mat­i­cal­ly and they said there’s about 900 — or 2,300 some­where in that ball­park — votes that are in ques­tion.”

    ‘No Indi­ca­tors Of Any Fraud What­so­ev­er’

    For what it’s worth: Even if Bar­ry County’s entire pop­u­la­tion of 62,000 vot­ed ille­gal­ly for Biden — which it didn’t! — it wouldn’t come close to Biden’s 154,000-vote mar­gin in Michi­gan.

    What’s more, Don­ald Trump did well in the coun­ty in 2020, win­ning 65.4% of the vote — up from 63.4% four years ear­li­er.

    The elec­tion also went off with­out a hitch, despite added pres­sure from COVID-19 and both pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns’ relent­less focus on Michigan’s bat­tle­ground elec­torate.

    “We found no indi­ca­tors of any fraud what­so­ev­er. My clerks did an exem­plary job for that elec­tion,” said Coun­ty Clerk Pam Palmer, who col­lects each township’s results every elec­tion sea­son and tal­lies up the county’s win­ners and losers at her office.

    Palmer, just like coun­ty pros­e­cu­tor Julie A. Nakfoor Pratt — and just like the indi­vid­ual town­ship clerks — was kept in the dark about the sheriff’s inves­ti­ga­tion, until she heard about it sec­ond-hand when a town­ship clerk called her up in mid-June say­ing they’d received a voice­mail inform­ing them that they would soon be inter­viewed as part of the probe.

    As for the Mike Lin­dell tie-in, Palmer was stumped.

    “I have no idea what Michael Lindell’s got to do with this oth­er than sell­ing pil­lows,” she told TPM.

    ‘Spec­u­la­tive Leaps Toward A Hazy And Neb­u­lous Infer­ence’

    The involve­ment of a pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor — Michael Lynch, for­mer chief secu­ri­ty offi­cer at DTE Ener­gy — adds anoth­er odd wrin­kle to the sit­u­a­tion.

    Lynch did all of the talk­ing, Men­nell recalled, while the sheriff’s deputy accom­pa­ny­ing him took notes. Will­shire remem­bered the PI wear­ing an “expen­sive suit.” The deputy, she said, was not wear­ing a uni­form. None of the clerks TPM spoke to remem­bered the pair pre­sent­ing a war­rant or sub­poe­na.

    Leaf told The Hast­ings Ban­ner that Lynch came rec­om­mend­ed by Ste­fanie Lam­bert Junt­ti­la, a bit play­er in the legal effort to steal Trump a sec­ond term, and one of sev­er­al attor­neys fac­ing sanc­tions for the (alleged­ly) friv­o­lous law­suit she filed seek­ing to over­turn Michigan’s elec­tion results.

    Junt­ti­la also rep­re­sent­ed Sher­iff Leaf in a Decem­ber law­suit he filed against Michi­gan Gov­er­nor Gretchen Whit­mer, Sec­re­tary of State Joce­lyn Ben­son and the Board of State Can­vassers, alleg­ing mas­sive elec­tion fraud. A fed­er­al judge tossed that suit just a day after it was filed, say­ing that the sher­iff had asked the court to make “spec­u­la­tive leaps toward a hazy and neb­u­lous infer­ence that there has been numer­ous instances of elec­tion fraud and that defen­dants are destroy­ing the evi­dence.”

    Junt­ti­la did not respond to TPM’s request for com­ment. But she and Lynch acknowl­edged Lynch’s involve­ment in the probe to the non­prof­it out­let Bridge Michi­gan. Junt­ti­la told Bridge: “Michael Lynch has not been paid to inves­ti­gate elec­tion fraud in Bar­ry Coun­ty,” but did not explain fur­ther.

    ...

    ———–

    “Michi­gan Sher­iff Alarms Small-Town Clerks With Shady, Mike Lin­dell-Inspired Elec­tions Probe” by Matt Shuham; Talk­ing Points Memo; 07/21/2021

    The probe is being over­seen by Sher­iff Dar Leaf, one of a hud­dle of law enforce­ment offi­cials around the coun­try who self-describe as “con­sti­tu­tion­al sher­iffs.” They assert that sher­iffs’ legal author­i­ty trumps that of the state and fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. Leaf made a name for him­self last year by offer­ing a hedged pub­lic defense of the men accused of plot­ting to kid­nap Michigan’s gov­er­nor.

    One man’s kid­nap­ping and assas­si­na­tion plot is anoth­er man’s ‘cit­i­zens arrest’. That was the take Leaf had when he pub­licly defend­ed the men accused of plot­ting to kid­nap and exe­cute gov­er­nor Whit­mer least year, in keep­ing with his appar­ent CSPOA sov­er­eign cit­i­zen-style beliefs of the suprema­cy of coun­ty sher­iffs. So we have to ask what a sher­iff with that men­tal­i­ty is going to do now that he feels empow­ered by Mike Lin­del­l’s stolen elec­tion con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries to take this inves­ti­ga­tion into his own hands. And we par­tial­ly got our answer: he’s going to send deputy sher­iffs and pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tors to con­duct their own inves­ti­ga­tions. He shared it all with the crowd at the Arise USA ral­ly, fol­low­ing an appear­ance by CSPOA founder Richard Mack and ral­ly orga­niz­er Robert David Steele, right after Steele shared with the crowd how they were fight­ing against a satan­ic mason­ic Zion­ist plot to take over the world:

    ...
    The whole thing, the sher­iff said, was inspired by con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about the elec­tion, includ­ing those ped­dled by MyP­il­low Guy Mike Lin­dell.

    ...

    Leaf has been tight-lipped to media out­lets about the probe. He didn’t return an email from TPM, nor a mes­sage left with his assis­tant, and his inves­ti­ga­tors have told clerks not to tell oth­ers they’ve been inter­viewed.

    But he opened up about the inves­ti­ga­tion at an “Arise USA” ral­ly on Fri­day, as Kala­ma­zoo CBS affil­i­ate WWMT first report­ed. The sher­iff took the stage a few min­utes after an orga­niz­er of the event, Robert David Steele, spoke about a “satan­ic mason­ic attempt to take over the world” and defined Zion­ism as “a crim­i­nal state run by Russ­ian crim­i­nals who pre­tend­ed to be Jews.”

    Leaf, fol­low­ing Steele and Richard Mack, founder of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs & Peace Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion, said the elec­tion probe was “my biggest task I’ve got going on.” He went on to describe a com­plaint from a retired sergeant from his office that inspired the effort.

    “She brought in some doc­u­men­ta­tion from the MyP­il­low guy, what’s his name? Mike Lin­dell. And brought some doc­u­men­ta­tion in from some attor­neys from Michi­gan, and Bar­ry County’s list­ed in there,” Leaf said. (Lin­dell has wast­ed mil­lions pitch­ing elec­tion lies.)

    What’s more, he said, an unnamed attor­ney friend called him up short­ly after the elec­tion — now eight months ago — “and said ‘Hey, they’ve gone through your com­put­ers math­e­mat­i­cal­ly and they said there’s about 900 — or 2,300 some­where in that ball­park — votes that are in ques­tion.”
    ...

    Now, it’s obvi­ous that this inves­ti­ga­tion isn’t going to go any­where. But that’s not real­ly the issue here. The issue is that Leaf’s ‘inves­ti­ga­tion’ is part of an ongo­ing series of increas­ing­ly rad­i­cal­ized attempts by a grow­ing move­ment to find any means avail­able to seize pow­er. A move­ment fueled by an increas­ing­ly rad­i­cal­ized QAnon-style nar­ra­tive about satan­ic Demo­c­ra­t­ic elites. And what hap­pens when a series of increas­ing­ly rad­i­cal­ized attempts to seize con­tin­u­al­ly pow­er fails while the increas­ing­ly rad­i­cal­ized nar­ra­tives fuel­ing these pow­er grabs just keep get­ting more and more extreme? Are we to expect that they’re just going to give up? Or do the attempts to seize pow­er just get more and more extreme? Should we expect sov­er­eign-cit­i­zen beliefs — which con­ve­nient allow fig­ures like Leaf to ignore state and fed­er­al low — to grow or shrink in the GOP as this plays out? That’s the big ques­tion posed by this sto­ry. The big ques­tion for which we more or less already know the answer.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 21, 2021, 3:59 pm
  30. What role did pri­vate con­trac­tors and mer­ce­nar­ies play in the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion? Are the Oath Keep­ers them­selves mov­ing into the area of pri­vate secu­ri­ty con­tract­ing? These are some of the ques­tions raised by a new piece in Moth­er Jones about the inves­ti­ga­tion into Michael Sim­mons, the des­ig­nat­ed Oath Keep­ers team leader in DC that day.

    At least “DC team leader” is how Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes char­ac­ter­ized Sim­mon­s’s role that day. Sim­mons, how­ev­er, has a some­what dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter­i­za­tion: Sim­mons claims he was hired by Rhodes work­ing as secu­ri­ty for Roger Stone and his work with the Oath Keep­ers was in a pure­ly pro­fes­sion­al capac­i­ty. No ide­ol­o­gy was involve. Sim­mons goes on to assert that he played a sim­i­lar pri­vate secu­ri­ty role for the Oath Keep­ers in Louisville and was over­see­ing Oath Keep­er secu­ri­ty efforts at mul­ti­ple “Stop the Steal” ral­lies fol­low­ing the 2020 elec­tion.

    Sim­mon­s’s resume would appear to indi­cate he’s well qual­i­fied for these types of pri­vate secu­ri­ty jobs. His LinkedIn resume indi­cates he worked for:
    * Black­wa­ter in Iraq in 2006
    * Black­wa­ter suc­ces­sor Acad­e­mi in 2012 and 2013
    * Secu­ri­ty firm Phillips Group, Inc
    * As a police offi­cer for the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police Depart­ment in Indi­anapo­lis as recent­ly as 2020.

    None of these employ­ment claims could be ver­i­fied, although Rhodes appeared to back up his Black­wa­ter expe­ri­ence, describ­ing Sim­mons as an explo­sives expert. It has been ver­i­fied that he was a Com­bat Engi­neer from Feb­ru­ary 2003 to March 2006 and deployed to Iraq and Kuwait in 2005. So Sim­mons has mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence. Whether or not he has pri­vate con­trac­tor expe­ri­ence is anoth­er mat­ter.

    So what was Sim­mons doing on Jan­u­ary 6? Well, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Sim­mons was exchang­ing phone calls and text mes­sages with both Rhodes and oth­er Oath Keep­ers in the min­utes before mul­ti­ple Oath Keep­ers entered the Capi­tol build­ing. The charg­ing doc­u­ment list­ed 10 phone calls that Sim­mons exchanged between 1:59 p.m. and 2:33 p.m. with oth­er Oth­er Keep­ers. Eight calls were with Joshua James, one of the Oath Keep­ers fac­ing charges, with the oth­er two going to Rhodes. Dur­ing this peri­od when Sim­mons was call­ing James, James was trav­el­ing from the Willard Hotel in Down­town DC — where he had been lead­ing a secu­ri­ty detail guard­ing Roger Stone — to the Capi­tol with two oth­er Oath Keep­ers. About an hour and a half lat­er, Sim­mons and Rhodes met near­by the Capi­tol with 11 of the Oath Keep­ers who had been inside. Sim­mons is now assert­ing that every­one who entered the Capi­tol did it on their own.

    This is a good time to recall the sto­ry of Jes­si­ca Watkins, the Oath Keep­ers fig­ure who led the “stack for­ma­tion” group of Oath Keep­ers into the Capi­tol. Watkins claimed to have been involved with VIP secu­ri­ty at the Stop the Steal ral­ly and was also involved with the “Quick Reac­tion Force” (QRF) of weapons that were ready to be deliv­ered to the insur­rec­tion­ists. So when Sim­mons claims he was involved with Roger Stone’s secu­ri­ty, he’s like­ly work­ing with exact­ly the same group Watkins was lead­ing

    All in all, it sure looks a lot like Sim­mon’s claims of mere­ly being a hired secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor are like­ly self-serv­ing non­sense. But giv­en the mys­tery about whether or not the guy real­ly has done pri­vate secu­ri­ty work for com­pa­nies Black­wa­ter and Acad­e­mi, it rais­es the ques­tion that has­n’t real­ly been asked much: what role did cur­rent or form mer­ce­nar­ies play in the insur­rec­tion?:

    Moth­er Jones

    We’ve Unmasked the Oath Keep­ers’ Jan­u­ary 6 “Oper­a­tions Leader”
    “Per­son Ten” in a fed­er­al con­spir­a­cy case is Michael Sim­mons. He says he didn’t tell any­one to storm Con­gress.

    Dan Fried­man
    Reporter
    07/26/2021

    When mem­bers of the far-right mili­tia net­work known as the Oath Keep­ers stormed the US Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6, they were sup­posed to be under the com­mand of a 37-year-old Black man from a poor neigh­bor­hood in Indianapolis—who says he doesn’t sup­port Don­ald Trump. That man is Michael Sim­mons, an Army vet­er­an who served in the Iraq War, and who cur­rent­ly faces the pos­si­bil­i­ty of fed­er­al charges for his actions on Jan­u­ary 6.

    Until now, Sim­mons has not been pub­licly iden­ti­fied for his role at the Capi­tol. Dur­ing mul­ti­ple phone inter­views in recent weeks with Moth­er Jones, Sim­mons con­firmed he is “Per­son Ten” in a sweep­ing fed­er­al con­spir­a­cy case, an unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tor described by pros­e­cu­tors in court fil­ings as the leader of oper­a­tions for a group of Oath Keep­ers who descend­ed on Wash­ing­ton that day. So far, 19 of the group’s mem­bers have been charged with plot­ting to stop Con­gress from cer­ti­fy­ing Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s elec­tion vic­to­ry, among oth­er alleged crimes. Four have plead­ed guilty, includ­ing Caleb Berry, an Oath Keep­er from Flori­da, who in a July 20 plea hear­ing admit­ted that he and his co-con­spir­a­tors “intend­ed” to hin­der Con­gress by “intim­i­dat­ing and coerc­ing gov­ern­ment per­son­nel.”

    Court fil­ings detail phone calls and mes­sages that Sim­mons exchanged with Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes and oth­er group mem­bers in the min­utes before mul­ti­ple Oath Keep­ers unlaw­ful­ly entered and occu­pied the Capi­tol build­ing amid the invad­ing pro-Trump mob. Sim­mons has been ques­tioned by FBI agents and says he did noth­ing ille­gal and has noth­ing to hide. His actions on Jan­u­ary 6 includ­ed meet­ing up just out­side the Capi­tol, along­side Rhodes, with 11 Oath Keep­ers who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the siege. Rhodes has also spo­ken with the FBI and has not been charged, though he said he expects to be arrest­ed. There is no indi­ca­tion either Sim­mons or Rhodes entered the Capi­tol Build­ing. Both deny doing so.

    Moth­er Jones reached Sim­mons and ver­i­fied his iden­ti­ty after anony­mous online researchers who call them­selves “Capi­tol Ter­ror­ists Exposers” pro­vid­ed infor­ma­tion about him. Sim­mons voiced no regret for his involve­ment with mem­bers of a group who helped storm Con­gress. He defend­ed his own actions, min­i­mized the events of that day and blamed the media for over­hyp­ing the assault on the Capi­tol. “What hap­pened was fuc ked up,” he said. “It was wrong, but ‘insur­rec­tion’ is a bit much.”

    ...

    Sim­mons also goes by the name Michael Greene (he declined to explain why) and said that he is a for­mer employ­ee of Black­wa­ter, the infa­mous pri­vate secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny found­ed by Erik Prince, a claim Moth­er Jones was unable to ver­i­fy. He insist­ed that his involve­ment with the Oath Keep­ers is pure­ly pro­fes­sion­al and not polit­i­cal. He said he went to Wash­ing­ton as as a secu­ri­ty expert, help­ing to guard long­time Trump advis­er Roger Stone and oth­ers for pay. He said his expe­ri­ence in the mil­i­tary and his life “as a Black man from a low-income neigh­bor­hood” under­write his dis­in­ter­est in pol­i­tics. “It’s exact­ly the same whoever’s in office,” he said, which is why he said he sup­ports nei­ther Joe Biden nor Don­ald Trump.

    ...

    In a radio inter­view in April in which he denounced claims that Oath Keep­ers are white suprema­cists, Rhodes not­ed explic­it­ly that Sim­mons was Oath Keep­ers’ “team leader” in DC and that Sim­mons is Black. When mem­bers assem­bled in Louisville last fall to con­front demon­stra­tors protest­ing the fatal police shoot­ing of Bre­on­na Tay­lor, Rhodes tapped Sim­mons as well to bur­nish the group’s image on the scene: Going by the name “Mike Whip,” Sim­mons told mul­ti­ple reporters that Rhodes had expelled racists from the orga­ni­za­tion. “The rep­u­ta­tion of mili­tias is a bunch of racist White guys,” he said to the Wash­ing­ton Post. “Some of them are, but not all of them.” Asked if he was a BLM sup­port­er, Sim­mons said he was for the “Black lives move­ment, not so much the orga­ni­za­tion.”

    Sim­mons began his involve­ment with Oath Keep­ers in 2017, he said, when a friend sug­gest­ed he join he group in Hous­ton to help with cleanup and relief after flood­ing from Hur­ri­cane Har­vey. “I went out there and they were doing good stuff,” he said. “You nev­er hear about any of that shit in the news.”

    The Oath Keep­ers say they rely on vol­un­teers who are paid only to cov­er trav­el and lodg­ing expens­es, but Sim­mons claimed that Rhodes paid him for his secu­ri­ty work with the group in Louisville and after the 2020 elec­tion. After the elec­tion, Sim­mons also over­saw Oath Keep­er secu­ri­ty efforts at mul­ti­ple “Stop the Steal” ral­lies, he said.

    Accord­ing to Sim­mons, Rhodes hired him again to run secu­ri­ty on Jan­u­ary 5 and 6 in Wash­ing­ton for promi­nent Trump back­ers, includ­ing Stone. Sim­mons said that he was paid by Rhodes but declined to say how much he received. “It’s a job,” he said. “If you’re gonna bring me and help set up exec­u­tive pro­tec­tion for these guys, it’s like ‘Okay, cool.’”

    Rhodes des­ig­nat­ed Sim­mons “the leader of his group’s oper­a­tions in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., on Jan­u­ary 6, 2021,” accord­ing to a recent fed­er­al charg­ing doc­u­ment. In the fil­ing, pros­e­cu­tors cit­ed a mes­sage sent by Sim­mons (“Per­son Ten”) at 2:14 p.m in a Sig­nal Chat includ­ing var­i­ous Oath Keep­ers: “The[y] have tak­en ground at the cap­i­tal[.] We need to regroup any mem­bers who are not on mis­sion.”

    The charg­ing doc­u­ment list­ed 10 phone calls that Sim­mons exchanged between 1:59 p.m. and 2:33 p.m. with oth­er Oth­er Keep­ers. Eight calls were with Joshua James, one of the Oath Keep­ers fac­ing charges. Two calls were with Rhodes, who was com­mu­ni­cat­ing sep­a­rate­ly with group mem­bers out­side the Capi­tol.

    While exchang­ing calls with Sim­mons, James trav­eled from the Willard Hotel, in down­town Wash­ing­ton—where he had been lead­ing a secu­ri­ty detail guard­ing Stone—to the Capi­tol. Around 2:30 p.m., James, along with two oth­er Oath Keep­ers, drove golf carts through down­town “at times swerv­ing around police cars,” accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors. On the way, anoth­er Oath Keep­er with James stat­ed: “We’re en route in a grand theft auto golf cart to the Capi­tol build­ing right now…fuc king war in the streets right now.” Around 2:40 pm, accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors, 10 Oath Keep­ers “forcibly entered the Capi­tol.”

    About an hour and a half lat­er, Sim­mons and Rhodes met 100 feet north­east of the Capi­tol Build­ing with 11 of the Oath Keep­ers who had been inside, accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors. Sim­mons said this con­ver­sa­tion was part of an effort to fig­ure out what group mem­bers had done in the pri­or hours.

    Sim­mons said that he did not tell any­one to enter the Capi­tol Build­ing. He was the leader of Oath Keep­er “secu­ri­ty details” on Jan­u­ary 6, he said, and noth­ing more. When the mob began storm­ing the Capi­tol, he was near the Supreme Court, he said, where he had helped pro­vide secu­ri­ty for Lati­nos for Trump, and where Rhodes had been among some who spoke onstage.

    Sim­mons explained that a five-minute call he had with Rhodes at 2:31 p.m., detailed in court doc­u­ments, was about them try­ing to find each oth­er out­side the Capi­tol. He also claimed that many of his calls on the after­noon of Jan­u­ary 6 did not go through. Some of the calls last­ed sev­er­al min­utes, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    “We didn’t know shi t,” Sim­mons said. “The guys I was with, we didn’t know who was in the Capi­tol until lat­er.” (Sim­mons didn’t say who he was with.) The Oath Keep­ers who did enter the Capi­tol, he said, “did that sh it on their own.”

    Sim­mons said he agreed to share what he knew with the FBI. “I answered every­thing they asked me,” he said. “I don’t feel like I did any­thing crim­i­nal.”

    In Louisville last year, Rhodes also tout­ed Sim­mons’ cre­den­tials to reporters: “He’s a police offi­cer vet­er­an, mil­i­tary vet­er­an,” Rhodes said. “He’s our tac­ti­cal team leader on the ground here.” Else­where, Rhodes has described Sim­mons as a Black­wa­ter con­trac­tor and an explo­sives expert.

    Sim­mons too, pro­motes this resume. He empha­sized his mil­i­tary and secu­ri­ty expe­ri­ence to dis­tance him­self from the less-cre­den­tialed Oath Keep­ers he led on Jan­u­ary 6. “I’m not one of these guys that put on body armor and go play solid­er,” he said. “I do this for a liv­ing. That’s how I feed my peo­ple.”

    An Army spokesman con­firmed that Sim­mons served as a Com­bat Engi­neer from Feb­ru­ary 2003 to March 2006 and deployed to Iraq and Kuwait in 2005. But Moth­er Jones could not con­firm mul­ti­ple oth­er claims Sim­mons made about his back­ground.

    Sim­mons said he worked for Black­wa­ter in Iraq in 2006, but he pro­vid­ed no evi­dence of that. Accord­ing to his LinkedIn pro­file, he worked for oth­er secu­ri­ty con­trac­tors, includ­ing the Black­wa­ter suc­ces­sor com­pa­ny, Acad­e­mi, in 2012 and 2013, which was also unver­i­fied. Sim­mons’ LinkedIn bio says he says he is employed by the Phillips Group, Inc., a nation­al com­pa­ny that pro­vides secu­ri­ty ser­vices for busi­ness­es, but an employ­ee at that firm reached by Moth­er Jones denied that Sim­mons has ever worked there.

    Asked about Rhodes’ state­ments that Sim­mons is a police vet­er­an, Sim­mons said that he worked as a police offi­cer in Indi­anapo­lis as recent­ly as 2020. The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police Depart­ment in Indi­anapo­lis, how­ev­er, said they had no record of Sim­mons work­ing there.

    ———-

    “We’ve Unmasked the Oath Keep­ers’ Jan­u­ary 6 “Oper­a­tions Leader”” by Dan Fried­man; Moth­er Jones; 07/26/2021

    “Sim­mons also goes by the name Michael Greene (he declined to explain why) and said that he is a for­mer employ­ee of Black­wa­ter, the infa­mous pri­vate secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny found­ed by Erik Prince, a claim Moth­er Jones was unable to ver­i­fy. He insist­ed that his involve­ment with the Oath Keep­ers is pure­ly pro­fes­sion­al and not polit­i­cal. He said he went to Wash­ing­ton as as a secu­ri­ty expert, help­ing to guard long­time Trump advis­er Roger Stone and oth­ers for pay. He said his expe­ri­ence in the mil­i­tary and his life “as a Black man from a low-income neigh­bor­hood” under­write his dis­in­ter­est in pol­i­tics. “It’s exact­ly the same whoever’s in office,” he said, which is why he said he sup­ports nei­ther Joe Biden nor Don­ald Trump.”

    He’s just a for­mer Black­wa­ter con­trac­tor doing pro­fes­sion­al pri­vate secu­ri­ty work for the Oath Keep­ers. It’s a pure­ly pro­fes­sion­al oper­a­tion, with no polit­i­cal involve­ment. He even asserts that Rhodes was pay­ing him for his ser­vices. In oth­er worlds, Sim­mons is claim­ing to be be an Oath Keep­er employ­ee. Not an Oath Keep­er vol­un­teer. A hired guard paid to help guard Roger Stone. And Rhodes isn’t going along with that descrip­tion of Sim­mons as a hired con­trac­tor, insist­ing that Sim­mons was the DC team lead and that the group relies on vol­un­teers who are paid only to cov­er trav­el and lodg­ing expens­es. So Rhodes admits the group will pay vol­un­teers, but only to cov­er trav­el expens­es, which is very dif­fer­ent from the kind of pay pri­vate secu­ri­ty con­trac­tors get. So what’s the sto­ry here? Was Sim­mons work­ing as a pri­vate secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor or was he an Oath Keep­er ide­o­logue?

    ...
    The Oath Keep­ers say they rely on vol­un­teers who are paid only to cov­er trav­el and lodg­ing expens­es, but Sim­mons claimed that Rhodes paid him for his secu­ri­ty work with the group in Louisville and after the 2020 elec­tion. After the elec­tion, Sim­mons also over­saw Oath Keep­er secu­ri­ty efforts at mul­ti­ple “Stop the Steal” ral­lies, he said.

    Accord­ing to Sim­mons, Rhodes hired him again to run secu­ri­ty on Jan­u­ary 5 and 6 in Wash­ing­ton for promi­nent Trump back­ers, includ­ing Stone. Sim­mons said that he was paid by Rhodes but declined to say how much he received. “It’s a job,” he said. “If you’re gonna bring me and help set up exec­u­tive pro­tec­tion for these guys, it’s like ‘Okay, cool.’”

    Rhodes des­ig­nat­ed Sim­mons “the leader of his group’s oper­a­tions in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., on Jan­u­ary 6, 2021,” accord­ing to a recent fed­er­al charg­ing doc­u­ment. In the fil­ing, pros­e­cu­tors cit­ed a mes­sage sent by Sim­mons (“Per­son Ten”) at 2:14 p.m in a Sig­nal Chat includ­ing var­i­ous Oath Keep­ers: “The[y] have tak­en ground at the cap­i­tal[.] We need to regroup any mem­bers who are not on mis­sion.”

    ...

    Sim­mons said that he did not tell any­one to enter the Capi­tol Build­ing. He was the leader of Oath Keep­er “secu­ri­ty details” on Jan­u­ary 6, he said, and noth­ing more. When the mob began storm­ing the Capi­tol, he was near the Supreme Court, he said, where he had helped pro­vide secu­ri­ty for Lati­nos for Trump, and where Rhodes had been among some who spoke onstage.
    ...

    It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing claim that casts the Oath Keep­ers as a group in the role of a pri­vate secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor. And yet, despite Sim­mon­s’s many claims of work as a pri­vate con­trac­tor, no for­mer employ­er would ver­i­fy his employ­ment as one. Beyond that, Sim­mons claimed to have worked as a police offi­cer in Indi­anapo­lis as recent­ly as 2020, but that depart­ment claims to have no record of his employ­ment:

    ...
    In Louisville last year, Rhodes also tout­ed Sim­mons’ cre­den­tials to reporters: “He’s a police offi­cer vet­er­an, mil­i­tary vet­er­an,” Rhodes said. “He’s our tac­ti­cal team leader on the ground here.” Else­where, Rhodes has described Sim­mons as a Black­wa­ter con­trac­tor and an explo­sives expert.

    Sim­mons too, pro­motes this resume. He empha­sized his mil­i­tary and secu­ri­ty expe­ri­ence to dis­tance him­self from the less-cre­den­tialed Oath Keep­ers he led on Jan­u­ary 6. “I’m not one of these guys that put on body armor and go play solid­er,” he said. “I do this for a liv­ing. That’s how I feed my peo­ple.”

    An Army spokesman con­firmed that Sim­mons served as a Com­bat Engi­neer from Feb­ru­ary 2003 to March 2006 and deployed to Iraq and Kuwait in 2005. But Moth­er Jones could not con­firm mul­ti­ple oth­er claims Sim­mons made about his back­ground.

    Sim­mons said he worked for Black­wa­ter in Iraq in 2006, but he pro­vid­ed no evi­dence of that. Accord­ing to his LinkedIn pro­file, he worked for oth­er secu­ri­ty con­trac­tors, includ­ing the Black­wa­ter suc­ces­sor com­pa­ny, Acad­e­mi, in 2012 and 2013, which was also unver­i­fied. Sim­mons’ LinkedIn bio says he says he is employed by the Phillips Group, Inc., a nation­al com­pa­ny that pro­vides secu­ri­ty ser­vices for busi­ness­es, but an employ­ee at that firm reached by Moth­er Jones denied that Sim­mons has ever worked there.

    Asked about Rhodes’ state­ments that Sim­mons is a police vet­er­an, Sim­mons said that he worked as a police offi­cer in Indi­anapo­lis as recent­ly as 2020. The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police Depart­ment in Indi­anapo­lis, how­ev­er, said they had no record of Sim­mons work­ing there.
    ...

    So is Sim­mons just a fab­u­list? Rhodes appeared to back up his Black­wa­ter claims, but noth­ing could be val­i­dat­ed. Could Sim­mons be deploy­ing a kind of insan­i­ty defense? We don’t know. But based on the avail­able evi­dence, it sure sounds like Sim­mons real­ly was active­ly coor­di­nat­ing with the Oath Keep­er mem­bers who did breach the Capi­tol. And this coor­di­na­tion took place min­utes before the breach. Again, recall how Jes­si­ca Watkins claimed to be involved with pro­vid­ing VIP secu­ri­ty at the ‘Stop the Steal’ ral­ly and was also filmed lead­ing the team of Oath Keep­ers in a ‘stack for­ma­tion’ into the Capi­tol. Also recall how Watkin was involved with the Oath Keep­er “Quick Reac­tion Force” (QRF) that was poised to pro­vide weapons to the insur­rec­tion­ists should the time come. So when we learn that Sim­mons was involved with pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty for Roger Stone and also com­mu­ni­cat­ed with the Oath Keep­ers short­ly before they breached the Capi­tol, there’s a pret­ty good chance it’s Watkin­s’s group that he was talk­ing with, which would also explain why he’s so inter­est­ed in down­play­ing his role that day:

    ...
    Court fil­ings detail phone calls and mes­sages that Sim­mons exchanged with Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes and oth­er group mem­bers in the min­utes before mul­ti­ple Oath Keep­ers unlaw­ful­ly entered and occu­pied the Capi­tol build­ing amid the invad­ing pro-Trump mob. Sim­mons has been ques­tioned by FBI agents and says he did noth­ing ille­gal and has noth­ing to hide. His actions on Jan­u­ary 6 includ­ed meet­ing up just out­side the Capi­tol, along­side Rhodes, with 11 Oath Keep­ers who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the siege. Rhodes has also spo­ken with the FBI and has not been charged, though he said he expects to be arrest­ed. There is no indi­ca­tion either Sim­mons or Rhodes entered the Capi­tol Build­ing. Both deny doing so.

    ...

    The charg­ing doc­u­ment list­ed 10 phone calls that Sim­mons exchanged between 1:59 p.m. and 2:33 p.m. with oth­er Oth­er Keep­ers. Eight calls were with Joshua James, one of the Oath Keep­ers fac­ing charges. Two calls were with Rhodes, who was com­mu­ni­cat­ing sep­a­rate­ly with group mem­bers out­side the Capi­tol.

    While exchang­ing calls with Sim­mons, James trav­eled from the Willard Hotel, in down­town Wash­ing­ton—where he had been lead­ing a secu­ri­ty detail guard­ing Stone—to the Capi­tol. Around 2:30 p.m., James, along with two oth­er Oath Keep­ers, drove golf carts through down­town “at times swerv­ing around police cars,” accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors. On the way, anoth­er Oath Keep­er with James stat­ed: “We’re en route in a grand theft auto golf cart to the Capi­tol build­ing right now…fuc king war in the streets right now.” Around 2:40 pm, accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors, 10 Oath Keep­ers “forcibly entered the Capi­tol.”

    About an hour and a half lat­er, Sim­mons and Rhodes met 100 feet north­east of the Capi­tol Build­ing with 11 of the Oath Keep­ers who had been inside, accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors. Sim­mons said this con­ver­sa­tion was part of an effort to fig­ure out what group mem­bers had done in the pri­or hours.

    ...

    Sim­mons explained that a five-minute call he had with Rhodes at 2:31 p.m., detailed in court doc­u­ments, was about them try­ing to find each oth­er out­side the Capi­tol. He also claimed that many of his calls on the after­noon of Jan­u­ary 6 did not go through. Some of the calls last­ed sev­er­al min­utes, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    “We didn’t know shi t,” Sim­mons said. “The guys I was with, we didn’t know who was in the Capi­tol until lat­er.” (Sim­mons didn’t say who he was with.) The Oath Keep­ers who did enter the Capi­tol, he said, “did that sh it on their own.”
    ...

    Was Sim­mons work­ing direct­ly with Watkins when her group breached the Capi­tol? How about the QRF stash of arms? What was Sim­mon­s’s rela­tion­ship with the peo­ple han­dling all those weapons that after­noon? If he was­n’t in the Capi­tol, where was he? He claims he was just doing a secu­ri­ty job for hire and that’s it. And who knows, maybe that was it. But if so, it, again, rais­es the ques­tion: where there mer­ce­nar­ies involved with the insur­rec­tion? And not ide­o­log­i­cal­ly dri­ven mer­ce­nar­ies doing it because they believed in the cause but hired mer­ce­nar­ies. Were there hired mer­ce­nar­ies there that day? Accord­ing to Sim­mons, yes.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 26, 2021, 4:48 pm
  31. We just got an update on the maneu­ver­ings by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion in the days and weeks lead­ing up to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion: A Decem­ber 28, 2020, email from then-act­ing head of the DOJ’s civ­il divi­sion, Jef­frey Clark, to the then act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al Jef­frey Rosen was just made pub­lic. Clark was report­ed­ly encour­ag­ing Rosen and then act­ing deputy attor­ney gen­er­al Richard Donoghue to sign off on a let­ter Clark wrote that urged Geor­gia’s gov­er­nor and state leg­is­la­ture to con­vene a spe­cial ses­sion to inves­ti­ga­tion vot­er fraud claims. Rosen and Donoghue refused to sign the let­ter and it was nev­er ulti­mate­ly sent. But it’s the lat­est evi­dence of just how seri­ous the Trump loy­al­ists inside the admin­is­tra­tion were about find­ing any means nec­es­sary to over­turn the elec­tion results. Means that even­tu­al­ly includ­ed an insur­rec­tion that took place bare­ly a week after this let­ter was writ­ten.

    But as we’re also going to see, this news about that Decem­ber 28 email was pre­ced­ed last week with reports about a Decem­ber 27 phone call made by Trump to Rosen where Trump not only encour­aged Rosen to have the DOJ begin inves­ti­ga­tion the wild vot­er fraud claims but also float­ed the idea of replac­ing Rosen with Clark. So when Clark wrote that Decem­ber 28 email ask­ing for Rosen and Donoghue to sign on to Clark’s scheme to get the DOJ involved with the attempt to over­turn the Geor­gia elec­tion results, Trumps threat to replace Rosen with Clark was implic­it­ly part of that ‘request’.

    But as we’ll see in the third piece below from back in Jan­u­ary, a big part of what makes both of these sto­ries so sig­nif­i­cant is the fact that the Decem­ber 28 let­ter was writ­ten at the same time Clark was engaged in an an appar­ent attempt­ed coup inside the DOJ. Days after Rosen and Donoghue refused to sign on to Clark’s let­ter, Clark and Trump tried and almost suc­ceed­ed in replac­ing Rosen with Clark as the act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al. The only thing that got in their way was an infor­mal pact from all the remain­ing top offi­cials at the DOJ to resign if Rosen was fired. It report­ed­ly took three hours of argu­ing from White House coun­sel Pat Cipol­lone that the scheme was going to back­fire on Trump to con­vince him to drop the plan. So the Jan 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion we pre­ced­ed by a nar­row­ly avert­ed ‘Sat­ur­day Night Mas­sacre’ at the DOJ that was only avert­ed when Trump was con­vinced such a move posed too big a risk to him per­son­al­ly.

    Ok, first, here’s an arti­cle about the recent rev­e­la­tion of the Decem­ber 27 phone call from Trump to Rosen. A call that focused on Trump’s efforts to get the DOJ involved in the Geor­gia elec­tion results, but also includ­ed a threat to replace Rosen with Clark:

    NPR

    Notes Show Trump Pressed The Jus­tice Depart­ment To Declare The 2020 Elec­tion Cor­rupt

    Ryan Lucas
    Updat­ed July 30, 2021 3:32 PM ET

    In a tele­phone call in late Decem­ber, then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pres­sured senior Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cials to declare the 2020 elec­tion “cor­rupt” in an effort to help him and his Repub­li­can allies in Con­gress try to over­turn the out­come, accord­ing to doc­u­ments pro­vid­ed to a House com­mit­tee.

    It was pre­vi­ous­ly known that Trump pub­licly and pri­vate­ly pushed the Jus­tice Depart­ment to inves­ti­gate his base­less claims that the elec­tion was stolen, but the new doc­u­ments — nine pages of con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous notes from a Dec. 27 phone call between Trump, then-act­ing Attor­ney Gen­er­al Jef­frey Rosen and then-act­ing Deputy Attor­ney Gen­er­al Richard Donoghue — pro­vide new insights into those efforts.

    The notes, which were tak­en by Donoghue, show Trump rais­ing his now-famil­iar false­hoods about ram­pant vot­er fraud in Geor­gia, Neva­da, Ari­zona, Michi­gan and Penn­syl­va­nia.

    “We have an oblig­a­tion to tell peo­ple that this was an ille­gal, cor­rupt elec­tion,” Trump is quot­ed as say­ing.

    On the call, Rosen, who took over at the Jus­tice Depart­ment after Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr resigned, and Donoghue push back. They tell Trump “the DOJ can’t and won’t snap its fin­gers and change the out­come of the elec­tion, does­n’t work that way,” the notes say.

    Trump responds: “Don’t expect you to do that, just say that the elec­tion was cor­rupt + leave the rest to me and the R Con­gress­men.”

    Trump does not spec­i­fy which con­gress­men, but at oth­er points in the call, he men­tions three Repub­li­can law­mak­ers by name: Rep. Jim Jor­dan of Ohio, whom he refers to as a “fight­er”; Rep. Scott Per­ry of Penn­syl­va­nia; and Sen. Ron John­son of Wis­con­sin, who Trump says “has done a great job get­ting to bot­tom of things.”

    ...

    Trump opens the call by telling Rosen that the “coun­try is up in arms over the cor­rup­tion,” and he cites a num­ber of false­hoods about alleged fraud.

    “You guys may not be fol­low­ing the inter­net the way I do,” Trump says, accord­ing to the notes. “Peo­ple are angry — blam­ing DOJ + for inac­tion.”

    At one point, Donoghue tells the pres­i­dent that the depart­ment has looked into alle­ga­tions of vot­er fraud, say­ing it has done dozens of inves­ti­ga­tions and hun­dreds of inter­views. He and Rosen say the alle­ga­tions “don’t pan out” upon inspec­tion.

    “We are going our job,” Donoghue said. “Much of the info you’re get­ting is false.”

    Notes of the call were released to the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee, which obtained them as part of its inves­ti­ga­tion into Trump’s efforts to over­turn the results of the 2020 elec­tion.

    “These hand­writ­ten notes show that Pres­i­dent Trump direct­ly instruct­ed our nation’s top law enforce­ment agency to take steps to over­turn a free and fair elec­tion in the final days of his pres­i­den­cy,” the pan­el’s chair­woman, Rep. Car­olyn Mal­oney, D‑N.Y., said in a state­ment.

    The Jus­tice Depart­ment pro­vid­ed the notes, along with oth­er doc­u­ments, to the com­mit­tee. The depart­ment has also said it will allow for­mer senior DOJ offi­cials, includ­ing Rosen and Donoghue, to tes­ti­fy before the com­mit­tee about their con­ver­sa­tions with the pres­i­dent.

    The depart­ment nor­mal­ly seeks to shield such com­mu­ni­ca­tions, but it says the “extra­or­di­nary events in this mat­ter con­sti­tute excep­tion­al cir­cum­stances war­rant­i­ng an accom­mo­da­tion to Con­gress.”

    One thread the com­mit­tee is inves­ti­gat­ing is a scheme to replace Rosen with Jef­frey Clark, who at the time was the act­ing chief of the Civ­il Divi­sion and sym­pa­thet­ic to Trump’s fraud claims.

    Dur­ing the Dec. 27 call, Trump rais­es Clark’s name, telling Rosen and Donoghue: “Peo­ple tell me that Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in.”

    Donoghue responds that Trump should have the lead­er­ship he wants, but that it won’t change the depart­men­t’s posi­tion.

    Depart­ment lead­ers planned to resign en masse if Trump ulti­mate­ly dumped Rosen for Clark. The pres­i­dent, how­ev­er, nev­er went through with the plan.

    ———–

    “Notes Show Trump Pressed The Jus­tice Depart­ment To Declare The 2020 Elec­tion Cor­rupt” by Ryan Lucas; NPR; 07/30/2021

    “It was pre­vi­ous­ly known that Trump pub­licly and pri­vate­ly pushed the Jus­tice Depart­ment to inves­ti­gate his base­less claims that the elec­tion was stolen, but the new doc­u­ments — nine pages of con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous notes from a Dec. 27 phone call between Trump, then-act­ing Attor­ney Gen­er­al Jef­frey Rosen and then-act­ing Deputy Attor­ney Gen­er­al Richard Donoghue — pro­vide new insights into those efforts.

    Just make the fraud accu­sa­tions. You don’t have to defend the accu­sa­tions. Leave that to Trump and the rest of the GOP. Just make the accu­sa­tions. That was the thrust of Trump’s request to Rosen and Donoghue on Decem­ber 27:

    ...
    On the call, Rosen, who took over at the Jus­tice Depart­ment after Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr resigned, and Donoghue push back. They tell Trump “the DOJ can’t and won’t snap its fin­gers and change the out­come of the elec­tion, does­n’t work that way,” the notes say.

    Trump responds: “Don’t expect you to do that, just say that the elec­tion was cor­rupt + leave the rest to me and the R Con­gress­men.”

    Trump does not spec­i­fy which con­gress­men, but at oth­er points in the call, he men­tions three Repub­li­can law­mak­ers by name: Rep. Jim Jor­dan of Ohio, whom he refers to as a “fight­er”; Rep. Scott Per­ry of Penn­syl­va­nia; and Sen. Ron John­son of Wis­con­sin, who Trump says “has done a great job get­ting to bot­tom of things.”
    ...

    But anoth­er top­ic did come up dur­ing the call: replac­ing Rosen with Clark. In oth­er words, Trump was implic­it­ly threat­en­ing Rosen with a last-minute fir­ing if he did­n’t do what Trump was ask­ing:

    ...
    One thread the com­mit­tee is inves­ti­gat­ing is a scheme to replace Rosen with Jef­frey Clark, who at the time was the act­ing chief of the Civ­il Divi­sion and sym­pa­thet­ic to Trump’s fraud claims.

    Dur­ing the Dec. 27 call, Trump rais­es Clark’s name, telling Rosen and Donoghue: “Peo­ple tell me that Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in.”

    Donoghue responds that Trump should have the lead­er­ship he wants, but that it won’t change the depart­men­t’s posi­tion.
    ...

    And that brings us to the new report on the Decem­ber 28th email sent by Clark to Rosen and Donoghue. An email ask­ing them to sign off on a let­ter essen­tial­ly ask­ing Geor­gia to con­vene a spe­cial ses­sion to inves­ti­gate the elec­tion fraud claims. Beyond that, the let­ter sug­gest­ed that Geor­gia’s GOP-con­trolled leg­is­la­ture had the pow­er to ignore Geor­gia’s gov­er­nor and do this all them­selves if Gov­er­nor Kemp refused to go along with the plan. So Clark was try­ing to pres­sure Rosen and Donoghue — with Trump’s implic­it the­at to replace Rosen with Clark from the phone call the pre­vi­ous day back­ing Clark’s demands — to sign a let­ter that could be used to pres­sure Geor­gia’s gov­er­nor to con­cede to Trump’s demands:

    ABC News

    DOJ offi­cials reject­ed col­league’s request to inter­vene in Geor­gia’s elec­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion: Emails

    The DOJ offi­cials reject­ed the request from anoth­er depart­ment offi­cial.

    By Kather­ine Faul­ders and Alexan­der Mallin
    August 3, 2021, 1:56 PM

    Top mem­bers of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice last year rebuffed anoth­er DOJ offi­cial who asked them to urge offi­cials in Geor­gia to inves­ti­gate and per­haps over­turn Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s vic­to­ry in the state — long a bit­ter point of con­tention for for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his team — before the results were cer­ti­fied by Con­gress, emails reviewed by ABC News show.

    The emails, dat­ed Dec. 28, 2020, show the for­mer act­ing head of DOJ’s civ­il divi­sion, Jef­frey Clark, cir­cu­lat­ing a draft let­ter — which he want­ed then-act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al Jef­frey Rosen and act­ing deputy attor­ney gen­er­al Richard Donoghue to sign off on — urg­ing Geor­gia’s gov­er­nor and oth­er top offi­cials to con­vene the state leg­is­la­ture into a spe­cial ses­sion so law­mak­ers could inves­ti­gate claims of vot­er fraud.

    “The Depart­ment of Jus­tice is inves­ti­gat­ing var­i­ous irreg­u­lar­i­ties in the 2020 elec­tion for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States,” the draft let­ter said. “The Depart­ment will update you as we are able on inves­ti­ga­to­ry progress, but at this time we have iden­ti­fied sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns that may have impact­ed the out­come of the elec­tion in mul­ti­ple States, includ­ing the State of Geor­gia.”

    The draft let­ter states: “While the Depart­ment of Jus­tice believe[s] the Gov­er­nor of Geor­gia should imme­di­ate­ly call a spe­cial ses­sion to con­sid­er this impor­tant and urgent mat­ter, if he declines to do so, we share with you our view that the Geor­gia Gen­er­al Assem­bly has implied author­i­ty under the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States to call itself into spe­cial ses­sion for [t]he lim­it­ed pur­pose of con­sid­er­ing issues per­tain­ing to the appoint­ment of Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tors.”

    [see DOJ_docs by ABC News Pol­i­tics]

    The vote count in Geor­gia became a flash­point for Trump and his allies and Trump at one point false­ly claimed that it was “not pos­si­ble” for him to have lost the state.

    But to date, the Jus­tice Depart­ment has uncov­ered no evi­dence of wide­spread vot­er fraud that would tip the results of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr also announced in Decem­ber that the depart­ment had “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effect­ed a dif­fer­ent out­come of the elec­tion.” A statewide audit in Geor­gia last year also affirmed that Biden was the win­ner.

    The emails were pro­vid­ed by the DOJ to the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee, which is inves­ti­gat­ing efforts to over­turn the elec­tion results. And they come as the DOJ inves­ti­ga­tor gen­er­al looks at whether any offi­cials in the depart­ment sought to over­turn the out­come of the elec­tion.

    Last week the Depart­ment of Jus­tice sent let­ters to six for­mer Trump DOJ offi­cials telling them that they can par­tic­i­pate in Con­gress’ inves­ti­ga­tion into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capi­tol. One of those let­ters was to for­mer Asso­ciate Deputy AG Patrick Hov­akimi­an, who sources said sat for a tran­scribed inter­view Tues­day morn­ing with the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee.

    Notes from Donoghue released last week appeared to show that Trump tried to pres­sure the DOJ to assert that there was sig­nif­i­cant fraud in the elec­tion.

    ABC News has request­ed com­ment from Clark but has not yet received a response. A spokesper­son for the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to request for com­ment, nor did an attor­ney for Donoghue.

    Clark attached the draft let­ter in an email to Rosen and Donoghue telling them “I think we should get it out as soon as pos­si­ble.”

    “Per­son­al­ly, I see no valid down­sides to send­ing out the let­ter,” Clark wrote. “I put it togeth­er quick­ly and would want to do a for­mal cite check before send­ing but I don’t think we should let unnec­es­sary moss grow on this.”

    Clark sep­a­rate­ly asked for Rosen and Donoghue to autho­rize them to receive a clas­si­fied brief­ing led by then-Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence John Rat­cliffe the next day relat­ed to “for­eign elec­tion inter­fer­ence issues,” while ref­er­enc­ing an unspec­i­fied the­o­ry about hack­ers hav­ing evi­dence that a Domin­ion vot­ing machine “accessed the Inter­net through a smart ther­mo­stat with a net con­nec­tion trail lead­ing back to Chi­na.”

    Donoghue respond­ed a lit­tle more than an hour lat­er shoot­ing down Clark’s request to sign on to the draft let­ter.

    “There is no chance that I would sign this let­ter or any­thing remote­ly like this,” Donoghue said. “While it maybe true that the Depart­ment ‘is inves­ti­gat­ing var­i­ous irreg­u­lar­i­ties in the 2020 elec­tion for Pres­i­dent’ (some­thing we typ­i­cal­ly would not state pub­licly) the inves­ti­ga­tions that I am aware of relate to sus­pi­cions of mis­con­duct that are of such a small scale that they sim­ply would not impact the out­come of the Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tion.”

    Donoghue closed his email response by stat­ing that, while he was avail­able to speak to Clark direct­ly about his request, “from where I stand, this is not even with­in the realm of pos­si­bil­i­ty.”

    Donoghue cit­ed for­mer Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Bar­r’s pre­vi­ous state­ments that the depart­ment had no indi­ca­tion fraud had impact­ed the elec­tion to a sig­nif­i­cant degree, and that no infor­ma­tion had sur­faced since Bar­r’s depar­ture that changed that assess­ment.

    “Giv­en that,” he said, “I can­not imag­ine a sce­nario in which the Depart­ment would rec­om­mend that a State assem­ble its leg­is­la­ture to deter­mine whether already-cer­ti­fied elec­tion results should some­how be over­ri­den by leg­isla­tive action.”

    He added that the draft let­ter’s state­ment that DOJ would update law­mak­ers on the inves­ti­ga­to­ry progress was “dubi­ous as we do not typ­i­cal­ly update non-law enforce­ment per­son­nel on the progress of any inves­ti­ga­tions.”

    Lat­er that evening, Rosen respond­ed as well, telling both Clark and Donoghue, “I con­firmed again today that I am not pre­pared to sign such a let­ter.”

    The New York Times report­ed in Jan­u­ary about Clark appeal­ing to Donoghue and Rosen to co-sign the draft let­ter.

    In the days after the exchange, as ABC News has pre­vi­ous­ly con­firmed, both Rosen and Donoghue thwart­ed an attempt by Clark to have Trump appoint him act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al.

    ————–

    “DOJ offi­cials reject­ed col­league’s request to inter­vene in Geor­gia’s elec­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion: Emails” by Kather­ine Faul­ders and Alexan­der Mallin; ABC News; 08/03/2021

    “The emails, dat­ed Dec. 28, 2020, show the for­mer act­ing head of DOJ’s civ­il divi­sion, Jef­frey Clark, cir­cu­lat­ing a draft let­ter — which he want­ed then-act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al Jef­frey Rosen and act­ing deputy attor­ney gen­er­al Richard Donoghue to sign off on — urg­ing Geor­gia’s gov­er­nor and oth­er top offi­cials to con­vene the state leg­is­la­ture into a spe­cial ses­sion so law­mak­ers could inves­ti­gate claims of vot­er fraud.”

    Jef­frey Clark was clear­ly a dri­ving force for the elec­tion fraud claims inside the DOJ. Appar­ent­ly the high­est rank­ing fig­ure in the DOJ at the time push­ing this line. But not high enough. He still need­ed Rosen and Donoghue to sign off. That’s the focus of the Decem­ber 28 let­ter:

    ...
    “The Depart­ment of Jus­tice is inves­ti­gat­ing var­i­ous irreg­u­lar­i­ties in the 2020 elec­tion for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States,” the draft let­ter said. “The Depart­ment will update you as we are able on inves­ti­ga­to­ry progress, but at this time we have iden­ti­fied sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns that may have impact­ed the out­come of the elec­tion in mul­ti­ple States, includ­ing the State of Geor­gia.”

    The draft let­ter states: “While the Depart­ment of Jus­tice believe[s] the Gov­er­nor of Geor­gia should imme­di­ate­ly call a spe­cial ses­sion to con­sid­er this impor­tant and urgent mat­ter, if he declines to do so, we share with you our view that the Geor­gia Gen­er­al Assem­bly has implied author­i­ty under the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States to call itself into spe­cial ses­sion for [t]he lim­it­ed pur­pose of con­sid­er­ing issues per­tain­ing to the appoint­ment of Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tors.”

    ...

    Clark attached the draft let­ter in an email to Rosen and Donoghue telling them “I think we should get it out as soon as pos­si­ble.”

    “Per­son­al­ly, I see no valid down­sides to send­ing out the let­ter,” Clark wrote. “I put it togeth­er quick­ly and would want to do a for­mal cite check before send­ing but I don’t think we should let unnec­es­sary moss grow on this.”

    Clark sep­a­rate­ly asked for Rosen and Donoghue to autho­rize them to receive a clas­si­fied brief­ing led by then-Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence John Rat­cliffe the next day relat­ed to “for­eign elec­tion inter­fer­ence issues,” while ref­er­enc­ing an unspec­i­fied the­o­ry about hack­ers hav­ing evi­dence that a Domin­ion vot­ing machine “accessed the Inter­net through a smart ther­mo­stat with a net con­nec­tion trail lead­ing back to Chi­na.”

    ...

    And, again, this email from Clark was sent the day after Trump’s phone call with Rosen and Donoghue where Trump float­ed the idea of replac­ing Rosen with Clark. This is clear­ly a coor­di­nat­ed pres­sure cam­paign.

    And as the arti­cle notes at the end, it’s just a few days lat­er that we see a last ditch attempt to replace Rosen with Clark:

    ...
    The New York Times report­ed in Jan­u­ary about Clark appeal­ing to Donoghue and Rosen to co-sign the draft let­ter.

    In the days after the exchange, as ABC News has pre­vi­ous­ly con­firmed, both Rosen and Donoghue thwart­ed an attempt by Clark to have Trump appoint him act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al.
    ...

    So how seri­ous was that attempt to replace Rosen with Clark? Well, as we’re going to see, it basi­cal­ly took an infor­mal pact from all the oth­er top DOJ offi­cials to threat­en to resign if Trump fired Rosen. That pact, and three hours of argu­ing by Trump’s attor­ney Pat Cipol­lone that such a much would make Trump’s legal sit­u­a­tion even worse, even­tu­al­ly con­vinced Trump not to go through with the plan. So Trump entered that meet­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal pre­pared to fire Rosen, ele­vate Clark, and go through with the rest of the DOJ-direct­ed coup plans:

    The New York Times

    Trump and Jus­tice Dept. Lawyer Said to Have Plot­ted to Oust Act­ing Attor­ney Gen­er­al

    Try­ing to find anoth­er avenue to push his base­less elec­tion claims, Don­ald Trump con­sid­ered installing a loy­al­ist.

    By Katie Ben­ner
    Pub­lished Jan. 22, 2021
    Updat­ed June 15, 2021

    WASHINGTON — The Jus­tice Department’s top lead­ers lis­tened in stunned silence this month: One of their peers, they were told, had devised a plan with Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump to oust Jef­frey A. Rosen as act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al and wield the department’s pow­er to force Geor­gia state law­mak­ers to over­turn its pres­i­den­tial elec­tion results.

    The unas­sum­ing lawyer who worked on the plan, Jef­frey Clark, had been devis­ing ways to cast doubt on the elec­tion results and to bol­ster Mr. Trump’s con­tin­u­ing legal bat­tles and the pres­sure on Geor­gia politi­cians. Because Mr. Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to car­ry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark.

    The depart­ment offi­cials, con­vened on a con­fer­ence call, then asked each oth­er: What will you do if Mr. Rosen is dis­missed?

    The answer was unan­i­mous. They would resign.

    Their infor­mal pact ulti­mate­ly helped per­suade Mr. Trump to keep Mr. Rosen in place, cal­cu­lat­ing that a furor over mass res­ig­na­tions at the top of the Jus­tice Depart­ment would eclipse any atten­tion on his base­less accu­sa­tions of vot­er fraud. Mr. Trump’s deci­sion came only after Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark made their com­pet­ing cas­es to him in a bizarre White House meet­ing that two offi­cials com­pared with an episode of Mr. Trump’s real­i­ty show “The Appren­tice,” albeit one that could prompt a con­sti­tu­tion­al cri­sis.

    The pre­vi­ous­ly unknown chap­ter was the cul­mi­na­tion of the president’s long-run­ning effort to bat­ter the Jus­tice Depart­ment into advanc­ing his per­son­al agen­da. He also pressed Mr. Rosen to appoint spe­cial coun­sels, includ­ing one who would look into Domin­ion Vot­ing Sys­tems, a mak­er of elec­tion equip­ment that Mr. Trump’s allies had false­ly said was work­ing with Venezuela to flip votes from Mr. Trump to Joseph R. Biden Jr.

    This account of the department’s final days under Mr. Trump’s lead­er­ship is based on inter­views with four for­mer Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials who asked not to be named because of fear of retal­i­a­tion.

    Mr. Clark said that this account con­tained inac­cu­ra­cies but did not spec­i­fy, adding that he could not dis­cuss any con­ver­sa­tions with Mr. Trump or Jus­tice Depart­ment lawyers because of “the stric­tures of legal priv­i­lege.” “Senior Jus­tice Depart­ment lawyers, not uncom­mon­ly, pro­vide legal advice to the White House as part of our duties,” he said. “All my offi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tions were con­sis­tent with law.”

    Mr. Clark cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly denied that he devised any plan to oust Mr. Rosen, or to for­mu­late rec­om­men­da­tions for action based on fac­tu­al inac­cu­ra­cies gleaned from the inter­net. “My prac­tice is to rely on sworn tes­ti­mo­ny to assess dis­put­ed fac­tu­al claims,” Mr. Clark said. “There was a can­did dis­cus­sion of options and pros and cons with the pres­i­dent. It is unfor­tu­nate that those who were part of a priv­i­leged legal con­ver­sa­tion would com­ment in pub­lic about such inter­nal delib­er­a­tions, while also dis­tort­ing any dis­cus­sions.”

    Mr. Clark also not­ed that he was the lead sig­na­to­ry on a Jus­tice Depart­ment request last month ask­ing a fed­er­al judge to reject a law­suit that sought to pres­sure Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence to over­turn the results of the elec­tion.

    ...

    When Mr. Trump said on Dec. 14 that Attor­ney Gen­er­al William P. Barr was leav­ing the depart­ment, some offi­cials thought that he might allow Mr. Rosen a short reprieve before press­ing him about vot­er fraud. After all, Mr. Barr would be around for anoth­er week.

    Instead, Mr. Trump sum­moned Mr. Rosen to the Oval Office the next day. He want­ed the Jus­tice Depart­ment to file legal briefs sup­port­ing his allies’ law­suits seek­ing to over­turn his elec­tion loss. And he urged Mr. Rosen to appoint spe­cial coun­sels to inves­ti­gate not only unfound­ed accu­sa­tions of wide­spread vot­er fraud, but also Domin­ion, the vot­ing machines firm.

    (Domin­ion has sued the pro-Trump lawyer Sid­ney Pow­ell, who insert­ed those accu­sa­tions into four fed­er­al law­suits about vot­er irreg­u­lar­i­ties that were all dis­missed.)

    Mr. Rosen refused. He main­tained that he would make deci­sions based on the facts and the law, and he reit­er­at­ed what Mr. Barr had pri­vate­ly told Mr. Trump: The depart­ment had inves­ti­gat­ed vot­ing irreg­u­lar­i­ties and found no evi­dence of wide­spread fraud.

    But Mr. Trump con­tin­ued to press Mr. Rosen after the meet­ing — in phone calls and in per­son. He repeat­ed­ly said that he did not under­stand why the Jus­tice Depart­ment had not found evi­dence that sup­port­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about the elec­tion that some of his per­son­al lawyers had espoused. He declared that the depart­ment was not fight­ing hard enough for him.

    As Mr. Rosen and the deputy attor­ney gen­er­al, Richard P. Donoghue, pushed back, they were unaware that Mr. Clark had been intro­duced to Mr. Trump by a Penn­syl­va­nia politi­cian and had told the pres­i­dent that he agreed that fraud had affect­ed the elec­tion results.

    Mr. Trump quick­ly embraced Mr. Clark, who had been appoint­ed the act­ing head of the civ­il divi­sion in Sep­tem­ber and was also the head of the department’s envi­ron­men­tal and nat­ur­al resources divi­sion.

    As Decem­ber wore on, Mr. Clark men­tioned to Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue that he spent a lot of time read­ing on the inter­net — a com­ment that alarmed them because they inferred that he believed the unfound­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that Mr. Trump had won the elec­tion. Mr. Clark also told them that he want­ed the depart­ment to hold a news con­fer­ence announc­ing that it was inves­ti­gat­ing seri­ous accu­sa­tions of elec­tion fraud. Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue reject­ed the pro­pos­al.

    As Mr. Trump focused increas­ing­ly on Geor­gia, a state he lost nar­row­ly to Mr. Biden, he com­plained to Jus­tice Depart­ment lead­ers that the U.S. attor­ney in Atlanta, Byung J. Pak, was not try­ing to find evi­dence for false elec­tion claims pushed by Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giu­liani and oth­ers. Mr. Donoghue warned Mr. Pak that the pres­i­dent was now fix­at­ed on his office, and that it might not be ten­able for him to con­tin­ue to lead it, accord­ing to two peo­ple famil­iar with the con­ver­sa­tion.

    That con­ver­sa­tion and Mr. Trump’s efforts to pres­sure Georgia’s Repub­li­can sec­re­tary of state to “find” him votes com­pelled Mr. Pak to abrupt­ly resign this month.

    Mr. Clark was also focused on Geor­gia. He draft­ed a let­ter that he want­ed Mr. Rosen to send to Geor­gia state leg­is­la­tors that wrong­ly said that the Jus­tice Depart­ment was inves­ti­gat­ing accu­sa­tions of vot­er fraud in their state, and that they should move to void Mr. Biden’s win there.

    Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue again reject­ed Mr. Clark’s pro­pos­al.

    On New Year’s Eve, the trio met to dis­cuss Mr. Clark’s refusal to hew to the department’s con­clu­sion that the elec­tion results were valid. Mr. Donoghue flat­ly told Mr. Clark that what he was doing was wrong. The next day, Mr. Clark told Mr. Rosen — who had men­tored him while they worked togeth­er at the law firm Kirk­land & Ellis — that he was going to dis­cuss his strat­e­gy with the pres­i­dent ear­ly the next week, just before Con­gress was set to cer­ti­fy Mr. Biden’s elec­toral vic­to­ry.

    Unbe­known to the act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al, Mr. Clark’s time­line moved up. He met with Mr. Trump over the week­end, then informed Mr. Rosen mid­day on Sun­day that the pres­i­dent intend­ed to replace him with Mr. Clark, who could then try to stop Con­gress from cer­ti­fy­ing the Elec­toral Col­lege results. He said that Mr. Rosen could stay on as his deputy attor­ney gen­er­al, leav­ing Mr. Rosen speech­less.

    Unwill­ing to step down with­out a fight, Mr. Rosen said that he need­ed to hear straight from Mr. Trump and worked with the White House coun­sel, Pat A. Cipol­lone, to con­vene a meet­ing for ear­ly that evening.

    Even as Mr. Clark’s pro­nounce­ment was sink­ing in, stun­ning news broke out of Geor­gia: State offi­cials had record­ed an hour­long call, pub­lished by The Wash­ing­ton Post, dur­ing which Mr. Trump pres­sured them to man­u­fac­ture enough votes to declare him the vic­tor. As the fall­out from the record­ing ric­o­cheted through Wash­ing­ton, the president’s des­per­ate bid to change the out­come in Geor­gia came into sharp focus.

    Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue pressed ahead, inform­ing Steven Engel, the head of the Jus­tice Department’s office of legal coun­sel, about Mr. Clark’s lat­est maneu­ver. Mr. Donoghue con­vened a late-after­noon call with the department’s remain­ing senior lead­ers, lay­ing out Mr. Clark’s efforts to replace Mr. Rosen.

    Mr. Rosen planned to soon head to the White House to dis­cuss his fate, Mr. Donoghue told the group. Should Mr. Rosen be fired, they all agreed to resign en masse. For some, the plan brought to mind the so-called Sat­ur­day Night Mas­sacre of the Nixon era, where Attor­ney Gen­er­al Elliot L. Richard­son and his deputy resigned rather than car­ry out the president’s order to fire the spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor inves­ti­gat­ing him.

    The Clark plan, the offi­cials con­clud­ed, would seri­ous­ly harm the depart­ment, the gov­ern­ment and the rule of law. For hours, they anx­ious­ly mes­saged and called one anoth­er as they await­ed Mr. Rosen’s fate.

    Around 6 p.m., Mr. Rosen, Mr. Donoghue and Mr. Clark met at the White House with Mr. Trump, Mr. Cipol­lone, his deputy Patrick Philbin and oth­er lawyers. Mr. Trump had Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark present their argu­ments to him.

    Mr. Cipol­lone advised the pres­i­dent not to fire Mr. Rosen and he reit­er­at­ed, as he had for days, that he did not rec­om­mend send­ing the let­ter to Geor­gia law­mak­ers. Mr. Engel advised Mr. Trump that he and the department’s remain­ing top offi­cials would resign if he fired Mr. Rosen, leav­ing Mr. Clark alone at the depart­ment.

    Mr. Trump seemed some­what swayed by the idea that fir­ing Mr. Rosen would trig­ger not only chaos at the Jus­tice Depart­ment, but also con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tions and pos­si­bly recrim­i­na­tions from oth­er Repub­li­cans and dis­tract atten­tion from his efforts to over­turn the elec­tion results.

    After near­ly three hours, Mr. Trump ulti­mate­ly decid­ed that Mr. Clark’s plan would fail, and he allowed Mr. Rosen to stay.

    Mr. Rosen and his deputies con­clud­ed they had weath­ered the tur­moil. Once Con­gress cer­ti­fied Mr. Biden’s vic­to­ry, there would be lit­tle for them to do until they left along with Mr. Trump in two weeks.

    They began to exhale days lat­er as the Elec­toral Col­lege cer­ti­fi­ca­tion at the Capi­tol got under­way. And then they received word: The build­ing had been breached.

    ———–

    “Trump and Jus­tice Dept. Lawyer Said to Have Plot­ted to Oust Act­ing Attor­ney Gen­er­al” by Katie Ben­ner; The New York Times; 01/22/2021

    “The unas­sum­ing lawyer who worked on the plan, Jef­frey Clark, had been devis­ing ways to cast doubt on the elec­tion results and to bol­ster Mr. Trump’s con­tin­u­ing legal bat­tles and the pres­sure on Geor­gia politi­cians. Because Mr. Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to car­ry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark.

    Trump was almost ready to through with it. The plan had been build­ing for weeks. When Trump first faced resis­tance from Rosen in Decem­ber, Trump’s rela­tion­ship with Clark sud­den­ly blos­somed and some sort of secret plot Trump and Clark was soon under­way:

    ...
    When Mr. Trump said on Dec. 14 that Attor­ney Gen­er­al William P. Barr was leav­ing the depart­ment, some offi­cials thought that he might allow Mr. Rosen a short reprieve before press­ing him about vot­er fraud. After all, Mr. Barr would be around for anoth­er week.

    Instead, Mr. Trump sum­moned Mr. Rosen to the Oval Office the next day. He want­ed the Jus­tice Depart­ment to file legal briefs sup­port­ing his allies’ law­suits seek­ing to over­turn his elec­tion loss. And he urged Mr. Rosen to appoint spe­cial coun­sels to inves­ti­gate not only unfound­ed accu­sa­tions of wide­spread vot­er fraud, but also Domin­ion, the vot­ing machines firm.

    ...

    Mr. Rosen refused. He main­tained that he would make deci­sions based on the facts and the law, and he reit­er­at­ed what Mr. Barr had pri­vate­ly told Mr. Trump: The depart­ment had inves­ti­gat­ed vot­ing irreg­u­lar­i­ties and found no evi­dence of wide­spread fraud.

    But Mr. Trump con­tin­ued to press Mr. Rosen after the meet­ing — in phone calls and in per­son. He repeat­ed­ly said that he did not under­stand why the Jus­tice Depart­ment had not found evi­dence that sup­port­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about the elec­tion that some of his per­son­al lawyers had espoused. He declared that the depart­ment was not fight­ing hard enough for him.

    As Mr. Rosen and the deputy attor­ney gen­er­al, Richard P. Donoghue, pushed back, they were unaware that Mr. Clark had been intro­duced to Mr. Trump by a Penn­syl­va­nia politi­cian and had told the pres­i­dent that he agreed that fraud had affect­ed the elec­tion results.

    Mr. Trump quick­ly embraced Mr. Clark, who had been appoint­ed the act­ing head of the civ­il divi­sion in Sep­tem­ber and was also the head of the department’s envi­ron­men­tal and nat­ur­al resources divi­sion.
    ...

    Lat­er that month, Clark approach­es Rosen and Donoghue to pres­sure them direct­ly him­self. But it’s on New Year’s Eve, three days after Rosen and Donoghue refused to sign Clark’s let­ter to Geor­gia, the three meet again. Then next day Clark informs them that he’s going to be meet­ing per­son­al­ly with Trump ear­ly the next week. But those meet­ings with Trump were actu­al­ly moved up. Clark met with Trump and then informed Rosen that Trump was indeed fir­ing him and replac­ing him with Clark, who would imme­di­ate­ly pro­ceed with plans to have the DOJ con­test the Elec­toral Col­lege results:

    ...
    As Decem­ber wore on, Mr. Clark men­tioned to Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue that he spent a lot of time read­ing on the inter­net — a com­ment that alarmed them because they inferred that he believed the unfound­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that Mr. Trump had won the elec­tion. Mr. Clark also told them that he want­ed the depart­ment to hold a news con­fer­ence announc­ing that it was inves­ti­gat­ing seri­ous accu­sa­tions of elec­tion fraud. Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue reject­ed the pro­pos­al.

    As Mr. Trump focused increas­ing­ly on Geor­gia, a state he lost nar­row­ly to Mr. Biden, he com­plained to Jus­tice Depart­ment lead­ers that the U.S. attor­ney in Atlanta, Byung J. Pak, was not try­ing to find evi­dence for false elec­tion claims pushed by Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giu­liani and oth­ers. Mr. Donoghue warned Mr. Pak that the pres­i­dent was now fix­at­ed on his office, and that it might not be ten­able for him to con­tin­ue to lead it, accord­ing to two peo­ple famil­iar with the con­ver­sa­tion.

    That con­ver­sa­tion and Mr. Trump’s efforts to pres­sure Georgia’s Repub­li­can sec­re­tary of state to “find” him votes com­pelled Mr. Pak to abrupt­ly resign this month.

    Mr. Clark was also focused on Geor­gia. He draft­ed a let­ter that he want­ed Mr. Rosen to send to Geor­gia state leg­is­la­tors that wrong­ly said that the Jus­tice Depart­ment was inves­ti­gat­ing accu­sa­tions of vot­er fraud in their state, and that they should move to void Mr. Biden’s win there.

    Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue again reject­ed Mr. Clark’s pro­pos­al.

    On New Year’s Eve, the trio met to dis­cuss Mr. Clark’s refusal to hew to the department’s con­clu­sion that the elec­tion results were valid. Mr. Donoghue flat­ly told Mr. Clark that what he was doing was wrong. The next day, Mr. Clark told Mr. Rosen — who had men­tored him while they worked togeth­er at the law firm Kirk­land & Ellis — that he was going to dis­cuss his strat­e­gy with the pres­i­dent ear­ly the next week, just before Con­gress was set to cer­ti­fy Mr. Biden’s elec­toral vic­to­ry.

    Unbe­known to the act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al, Mr. Clark’s time­line moved up. He met with Mr. Trump over the week­end, then informed Mr. Rosen mid­day on Sun­day that the pres­i­dent intend­ed to replace him with Mr. Clark, who could then try to stop Con­gress from cer­ti­fy­ing the Elec­toral Col­lege results. He said that Mr. Rosen could stay on as his deputy attor­ney gen­er­al, leav­ing Mr. Rosen speech­less.
    ...

    Upon hear­ing this news, Rosen head­ed to the White House to meet with Trump and White House coun­sel Pat Cip­polone. It report­ed­ly took three hours of Cip­polone warn­ing that a mass res­ig­na­tion at the DOJ would be a dis­as­ter for Trump:

    ...
    Unwill­ing to step down with­out a fight, Mr. Rosen said that he need­ed to hear straight from Mr. Trump and worked with the White House coun­sel, Pat A. Cipol­lone, to con­vene a meet­ing for ear­ly that evening.

    Even as Mr. Clark’s pro­nounce­ment was sink­ing in, stun­ning news broke out of Geor­gia: State offi­cials had record­ed an hour­long call, pub­lished by The Wash­ing­ton Post, dur­ing which Mr. Trump pres­sured them to man­u­fac­ture enough votes to declare him the vic­tor. As the fall­out from the record­ing ric­o­cheted through Wash­ing­ton, the president’s des­per­ate bid to change the out­come in Geor­gia came into sharp focus.

    Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue pressed ahead, inform­ing Steven Engel, the head of the Jus­tice Department’s office of legal coun­sel, about Mr. Clark’s lat­est maneu­ver. Mr. Donoghue con­vened a late-after­noon call with the department’s remain­ing senior lead­ers, lay­ing out Mr. Clark’s efforts to replace Mr. Rosen.

    Mr. Rosen planned to soon head to the White House to dis­cuss his fate, Mr. Donoghue told the group. Should Mr. Rosen be fired, they all agreed to resign en masse. For some, the plan brought to mind the so-called Sat­ur­day Night Mas­sacre of the Nixon era, where Attor­ney Gen­er­al Elliot L. Richard­son and his deputy resigned rather than car­ry out the president’s order to fire the spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor inves­ti­gat­ing him.

    ...

    Mr. Cipol­lone advised the pres­i­dent not to fire Mr. Rosen and he reit­er­at­ed, as he had for days, that he did not rec­om­mend send­ing the let­ter to Geor­gia law­mak­ers. Mr. Engel advised Mr. Trump that he and the department’s remain­ing top offi­cials would resign if he fired Mr. Rosen, leav­ing Mr. Clark alone at the depart­ment.

    Mr. Trump seemed some­what swayed by the idea that fir­ing Mr. Rosen would trig­ger not only chaos at the Jus­tice Depart­ment, but also con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tions and pos­si­bly recrim­i­na­tions from oth­er Repub­li­cans and dis­tract atten­tion from his efforts to over­turn the elec­tion results.

    After near­ly three hours, Mr. Trump ulti­mate­ly decid­ed that Mr. Clark’s plan would fail, and he allowed Mr. Rosen to stay.
    ...

    Three hours. That’s how con­vinced Trump was to go along with the scheme. If the mass res­ig­na­tions weren’t threat­ened and Pat Cipol­lone had­n’t con­vinced Trump that fir­ing Rosen would cre­ate even more legal trou­bles for the then-pres­i­dent, we prob­a­bly would have seen this plan actu­al­ly hap­pen.

    Also keep in mind that the Jan­u­ary 6 insur­rec­tion only became nec­es­sary to keep Trump in office after this planned coup at the DOJ failed. And it failed just days before Jan 6. It’s a reminder that one of the rea­sons the Jan­u­ary 6 coup attempt did­n’t suc­ceed was that the plan­ning for a full coup was prob­a­bly com­pressed into a cou­ple of days after the DOJ coup attempt failed. It points to dark con­text of all these reports about this failed coup attempt: yes, it’s good that we are learn­ing about how close they came to pulling it off. They’re learn­ing too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 4, 2021, 4:42 pm
  32. Is Don­ald Trump’s rein­state­ment as pres­i­dent just around the cor­ner? That’s the promise of the cur­rent right-wing meme pro­mul­gat­ed by fig­ures like Mike Lin­dell and mid-August is just a week away. Is polit­i­cal vio­lence a week away too? That’s the ques­tion report­ed­ly being asked by peo­ple at the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty right now and the answer appears to be maybe pos­si­bly yes. The Trumpers are think­ing about it and talk­ing about it in increas­ing­ly pub­lic ways. So we’re kind of wait­ing to see if any of these memes pro­mot­ing polit­i­cal vio­lence catch fire as they goes pub­lic:

    ABC News

    Home­land Secu­ri­ty warns of ‘increas­ing but mod­est’ threat of vio­lence from Trump con­spir­a­cy

    DHS said it has no spe­cif­ic evi­dence of an immi­nent plot.

    By Luke Barr
    August 6, 2021, 7:02 PM

    The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty said Fri­day they have observed “an increas­ing but mod­est lev­el of activ­i­ty online” by peo­ple who are call­ing for vio­lence in response to base­less claims of 2020 elec­tion fraud and relat­ed to the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will be rein­stat­ed.

    “Some con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries asso­ci­at­ed with rein­stat­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump have includ­ed calls for vio­lence if desired out­comes are not real­ized,” accord­ing to a DHS Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis bul­letin obtained by ABC News.

    ...

    Over the last few days what has occurred is there’s been much more pub­lic vis­i­bil­i­ty, mean­ing the dis­cus­sions and these the­o­ries have migrat­ed away from being con­tained with­in the con­spir­a­cy and extrem­ist online com­mu­ni­ties, to where they’re being the top­ic of dis­cus­sion on web forums, or more pub­lic web forums, and even with­in the sort of media ecosys­tem,” a senior DHS offi­cial explained.

    DHS says in the bul­letin they do not have spe­cif­ic evi­dence there is a plot immi­nent.

    “As pub­lic vis­i­bil­i­ty of the nar­ra­tives increas­es, we are con­cerned about more calls to vio­lence. Report­ing indi­cates that the tim­ing for these activ­i­ties may occur dur­ing August 2021, although we lack infor­ma­tion on spe­cif­ic plots or planned actions,” the bul­letin sent to state and local part­ners reads.

    The depart­ment “does not have the lux­u­ry of wait­ing till we uncov­er infor­ma­tion with the lev­el of speci­fici­ty, regard­ing a poten­tial loca­tion and the time of an attack” to act on poten­tial threats due to the threat envi­ron­ment, the senior DHS offi­cial explained.

    “Past cir­cum­stances have illus­trat­ed that calls for vio­lence could expand rapid­ly in the pub­lic domain and may be occur­ring out­side of pub­licly avail­able chan­nels. As such, lone offend­ers and small groups of indi­vid­u­als could mobi­lize to vio­lence with lit­tle-to-no warn­ing,” the bul­letin says.

    The senior offi­cial said that one of the lessons learned from the Jan. 6 storm­ing of the Capi­tol is “that infor­ma­tion that may reflect a grow­ing threat may be com­mu­ni­cat­ed on pub­lic forums.”

    “The cur­rent threat envi­ron­ment is one which is fueled in large part by con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and oth­er false nar­ra­tives that are spread online by for­eign gov­ern­ments, by for­eign ter­ror­ist groups and by domes­tic extrem­ist thought lead­ers, and are con­sumed by indi­vid­u­als who are pre­dis­posed to engage in vio­lence,” the offi­cial said.

    The offi­cial point­ed to the events of Jan. 6 and the attacks on the syn­a­gogues in Pitts­burgh and Poway, Cal­i­for­nia, as exam­ples.

    The senior DHS offi­cial also point­ed to the bal­ance DHS has to walk when putting out prod­ucts.

    “We don’t want to over­re­act, but we want to make sure that we are at the ear­li­est stage pos­si­ble pro­vid­ing aware­ness to law enforce­ment and oth­er per­son­nel who are respon­si­ble for secu­ri­ty and are crit­i­cal to mit­i­gat­ing risk,” the senior offi­cial said, adding the bul­letin was done with civ­il rights and civ­il lib­er­ties in mind.

    ————

    “Home­land Secu­ri­ty warns of ‘increas­ing but mod­est’ threat of vio­lence from Trump con­spir­a­cy” by Luke Barr; ABC News; 08/06/2021

    “DHS says in the bul­letin they do not have spe­cif­ic evi­dence there is a plot immi­nent.”

    Well, at least there’s no spe­cif­ic plot. Yet. But that lack of speci­fici­ty isn’t exact­ly reas­sur­ing in a polit­i­cal cli­mate where ideas qui­et­ly per­co­lat­ing in some back cor­ner of the inter­net can sud­den­ly erupt into main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive online forums and take hold. And that erup­tion in pub­lic vis­i­bil­i­ty of calls for polit­i­cal vio­lence is exact­ly what DHS offi­cials are wit­ness­ing:

    ...
    Over the last few days what has occurred is there’s been much more pub­lic vis­i­bil­i­ty, mean­ing the dis­cus­sions and these the­o­ries have migrat­ed away from being con­tained with­in the con­spir­a­cy and extrem­ist online com­mu­ni­ties, to where they’re being the top­ic of dis­cus­sion on web forums, or more pub­lic web forums, and even with­in the sort of media ecosys­tem,” a senior DHS offi­cial explained.

    ...

    As pub­lic vis­i­bil­i­ty of the nar­ra­tives increas­es, we are con­cerned about more calls to vio­lence. Report­ing indi­cates that the tim­ing for these activ­i­ties may occur dur­ing August 2021, although we lack infor­ma­tion on spe­cif­ic plots or planned actions,” the bul­letin sent to state and local part­ners reads.

    ...

    The senior offi­cial said that one of the lessons learned from the Jan. 6 storm­ing of the Capi­tol is “that infor­ma­tion that may reflect a grow­ing threat may be com­mu­ni­cat­ed on pub­lic forums.”
    ...

    Will we see anoth­er ‘dead­line’ for Trump’s return to pow­er come and go with­out inci­dent or is the US due for anoth­er round of polit­i­cal vio­lence. We’ll find out over the next cou­ple of weeks.

    But if this dead­line pass­es with­out inci­dent the sen­ti­ments behind this obvi­ous­ly are going to just fiz­zle out on their own. They’re going to morph into some­thing new. What that is remains to be seen but we aren’t forced to blind­ly spec­u­late. There’s all sorts of hints as to where a frus­trat­ed Trump move­ment will go next.

    For exam­ple, we can look to the peo­ple who were effec­tive­ly canaries in the con­ser­v­a­tive coalmine years ago. Fig­ures like right-wing talk-radio host Kurt Schlichter. Recall how Schlichter was a huge Ted Cruz sup­port­er in 2016 and did­n’t even sup­port Trump at the time. And yet he still argue that, should Hillary Clin­ton win, con­ser­v­a­tives to stop rec­og­niz­ing the valid­i­ty of a Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­dent and wage a peace ‘Con­ser­v­a­tive Insur­gency’. And if the peace­ful ver­sion of the insur­gency does­n’t work they’ll have to go with the non-peace­ful ver­sion. Schlichter has been ahead of the curve in his ruth­less demo­niza­tion of lib­er­als and Democ­rats for years. Don­ald Trump’s griev­ance pol­i­tics schtick in many ways emu­lates a per­se­cu­tion nar­ra­tive Schlichter has been refin­ing for years.

    And here we are today with the rest of the GOP more or less caught up to Schlichter’s point of view. Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­dents are inher­ent­ly invalid because they are inher­ent­ly un-Amer­i­can and wish to exter­mi­nate all con­ser­v­a­tives. That’s the meta-meme dri­ving con­tem­po­rary right-wing pol­i­tics in the US — a hys­te­ria about ‘Marx­ist’ Democ­rats secret­ly con­trolled by George Soros, the Illu­mi­nati, Satan, Hol­ly­wood, and teach­ers unions to impose an unholy agen­da of athe­ist tran­sex­u­al­i­ty on good­heart­ed Chris­tians. That’s bare­ly hyper­bole com­pared to today’s real right-wing rhetoric.

    So it’s worth not­ing Twit­ter thread just put out by Schlichter that seems to suc­cinct­ly encap­su­late where the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment is head­ing next: Schlichter is now call­ing for what amounts to out­law­ing lib­er­al­ism. After call­ing Democ­rats “Marx­ists who can­not allow us to pro­vide a counter exam­ple of free­dom”. Schlichter calls for big tech com­pa­nies and acad­e­mia to be nation­al­ized and man­dat­ed to hold con­ser­vatism as their oper­a­tional ide­ol­o­gy. Left­ist media and enter­tain­ment should be banned from spread­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion. Vot­ing rights should be restrict­ed to prop­er­ty-own­ing indi­vid­u­als with chil­dren who served in the mil­i­tary. So it was basi­cal­ly a call for Chris­t­ian white nation­al­ist fas­cism, amped up to a new lev­el of inten­si­ty. A new lev­el of inten­si­ty that will even­tu­al­ly be met by the audi­ence after these ideas have had enough time to get infused into main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive thought. Give it time. It’s all part of the con­text of this eeri­ly loom­ing mid-August ‘dead­line’ for Trump’s rein­state­ment: When that dead­line pass­es we imme­di­ate­ly tran­si­tion to the ‘what’s next’ phase of this sit­u­a­tion. And if you want to know ‘what’s next’ for the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment, you look to fig­ures who have been ahead of the curve the whole time. Fig­ures like Kurt Schlichter:

    For too long red state con­ser­v­a­tives have offered to live and let live with blue state lib­er­als but the blues are evan­gel­i­cal Marx­ists who can­not allow us to pro­vide a counter exam­ple of free­dom. 1/— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) August 8, 2021

    So, no more. We must, by any means nec­es­sary, force them to be like us. No quar­ter. No com­pro­mise. 2/— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) August 8, 2021

    Ban CRT, Marx­ism and anti-Amer­i­can mis­in­for­ma­tion. Nation­al­ize big tech and acad­e­mia and man­date con­ser­vatism as their oper­a­tional ide­ol­o­gy. Ban left­ist media and enter­tain­ment from spread­ing misinformation.3/— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) August 8, 2021

    Penal­ize bar­ren, non-famil­ial lifestyles through tax­es and dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from polit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion. Estab­lish prop­er­ty and mil­i­tary ser­vice qual­i­fi­ca­tions for vot­ing. Increase America’s car­bon foot­print. Ban masks. Dis­man­tle unions.n4/— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) August 8, 2021

    Use the law to ensure blue sub­mis­sion. Imprison dis­senters. Force them to act against their deep­est beliefs to keep their jobs. End all social pro­grams and deport all ille­gals. Out­law crime again. 5/— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) August 8, 2021

    Seems kind of harsh. But hey, isn’t this the flip side of what they want to do to us? So I’m unclear why they would object that it’s wrong. 6/— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) August 8, 2021

    They start­ed it. 7/— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) August 8, 2021

    It’s like the per­fect encap­su­la­tion of the raw mind­less­ness of the con­tem­po­rary right-wing griev­ance com­plex: “They start­ed it.” Or rather, “They” are plan­ning on exter­mi­nat­ing us so we had bet­ter do it to them first. This isn’t hyper­bole. Schlichter real­ly writes this kind of stuff all the time. He’s been doing this for years and the rest of the GOP has been catch­ing up to him the entire time.

    So we’ll see what does or does­n’t hap­pen as we approach this vague mid-August dead­line to rein­state Trump as pres­i­dent. But if you want to see where this is all even­tu­al­ly lead­ing, Schlichter just tweet­ed it out for us.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 8, 2021, 3:37 pm
  33. Oh look, fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors appear to be tak­ing active steps to botch anoth­er mega case against a large group of far right anti-gov­ern­ment actors. Who could have seen that com­ing: Beryl How­ell, the chief judge of the fed­er­al court in Wash­ing­ton del­uged with more than 550 pros­e­cu­tions from the Capi­tol riot, is now open­ly ques­tion why fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors are hand­ing out such light charges to some defen­dants, with charges amount­ing to lit­tle more than a mis­de­meam­er plea for many. And in at least on case, the defen­dants who agreed to plead guilty to these lenient charges are reversed their pleas and claimed they had no intent on block­ing any vote cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and did­n’t even know what was hap­pen­ing on the Capi­tol that day, and fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors are accept­ing these absurd claims. Pros­e­cu­tors even agree with judge How­ell that it’s con­tex­tu­al­ly rea­son­able to infer why these peo­ple were inside the Capi­tol that day, whether they have social media post­ings plain­ly stat­ing their intent or not. And yet they go on to insist that more evi­dence than just enter­ing the Capi­tol build­ing is nec­es­sary. So this judge is basi­cal­ly argu­ing with a brick wall. The brick wall lead­ing the ‘pros­e­cu­tion’ of the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion­ists:

    Politi­co

    Judge sug­gests feds are too lenient toward Jan. 6 defen­dants

    The chief judge of the fed­er­al court in Wash­ing­ton raised ques­tions about why plead­ing guilty to a mis­de­meanor was per­mit­ted to resolve cer­tain cas­es.

    By JOSH GERSTEIN

    08/09/2021 08:32 PM EDT
    Updat­ed: 08/09/2021 09:50 PM EDT

    A fed­er­al judge sug­gest­ed Mon­day that fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors were being too lenient in their han­dling of cas­es stem­ming from the storm­ing of the U.S. Capi­tol as law­mak­ers were con­ven­ing on Jan. 6 to cer­ti­fy Joe Biden’s vic­to­ry in the pres­i­den­tial race.

    Beryl How­ell, the chief judge of the fed­er­al court in Wash­ing­ton del­uged with more than 550 pros­e­cu­tions from the Capi­tol riot, raised ques­tions about why some defen­dants were being per­mit­ted to resolve their crim­i­nal cas­es by plead­ing guilty to a mis­de­meanor and why the amount of mon­ey pros­e­cu­tors are seek­ing to recov­er through those plea deals was based on a rel­a­tive­ly pal­try esti­mate of about $1.5 mil­lion in dam­ages caused by the riot­ers.

    How­ell aired her doubts dur­ing what was expect­ed to be a rou­tine morn­ing hear­ing to take the guilty plea of a Capi­tol riot defen­dant, Glenn Croy of Col­orado Springs, Colo. Croy was arrest­ed in Feb­ru­ary on charges that he and anoth­er man, Ter­ry Lind­sey, ille­gal­ly entered the Capi­tol build­ing on Jan. 6.

    Under a deal with pros­e­cu­tors, Croy was seek­ing to plead guilty to a sin­gle mis­de­meanor charge of parad­ing or pick­et­ing in the Capi­tol. That car­ries a max­i­mum sen­tence of six months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

    How­ev­er, Howell’s com­ments at Croy’s hear­ing sig­naled she had broad­er con­cerns about pros­e­cu­tors’ approach than just the way they han­dled Croy’s fair­ly typ­i­cal case.

    Croy ini­tial­ly agreed with How­ell that his actions on Jan. 6 were tak­en with what the judge called “the pur­pose of stop­ping Con­gress from cer­ti­fy­ing the elec­toral vote from the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.”

    But a short time lat­er his defense attor­ney, Kira Anne West, added that there was no agree­ment with pros­e­cu­tors that was Croy’s intent that day. In fact, West said, his client said he had “no inten­tion of stop­ping any vote” and didn’t actu­al­ly know that the Elec­toral Col­lege votes were sched­uled to be tal­lied at the time the his­toric build­ing was stormed.

    Those claims didn’t appear to sit well with How­ell.

    “This is the puz­zle for this pet­ty offense charge. … It’s to parad­ing, demon­strat­ing or pick­et­ing. … That is typ­i­cal­ly for an end,” the judge said. “Demon­strat­ing is typ­i­cal­ly about some­thing. It’s parad­ing about some­thing.”

    How­ell then grilled the pros­e­cu­tor han­dling the case, Clay­ton O’Connor, about why pros­e­cu­tors hadn’t insist­ed that Croy admit as part of the plea that he was try­ing to block the elec­toral vote.

    “Why isn’t that in the state­ment of offense?” the judge asked.

    In response, O’Connor laid bare aspects of pros­e­cu­tors’ deci­sion-mak­ing that have rarely been dis­cussed pub­licly: why some defen­dants who went into the Capi­tol but aren’t accused of vio­lence against oth­ers or dam­ag­ing prop­er­ty are fac­ing a felony obstruc­tion-of-Con­gress charge that can car­ry a max­i­mum of 20 years in prison, while oth­ers who appear to have act­ed sim­i­lar­ly that day have escaped with mis­de­meanors.

    “Large­ly, because of the ele­ments which go to the obstruc­tion charge which many of Mr. Croy’s co-riot­ers have been charged with,” O’Connor explained. “In the review of the inves­ti­ga­tion, that fact was not revealed to a degree that the gov­ern­ment could prove it beyond a rea­son­able doubt with regard to Mr. Troy.”

    The han­dling of oth­er Jan. 6 cas­es by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wash­ing­ton and its supe­ri­ors at the Jus­tice Depart­ment has point­ed to such a dis­tinc­tion. Cas­es where defen­dants post­ed on social media about try­ing to stop the vote have gen­er­al­ly pro­duced more seri­ous charges, while those lack­ing such evi­dence seem to have been treat­ed more lenient­ly, even if the acts alleged­ly com­mit­ted were sim­i­lar.

    Yet, How­ell didn’t seem to be buy­ing it, and repeat­ed­ly sug­gest­ed it could be inferred that those who entered the Capi­tol were not just there on a lark.

    O’Connor, the pros­e­cu­tor, con­curred.

    “Con­tex­tu­al­ly, we agree with you that’s appar­ent,” he said, before insist­ing that the gov­ern­ment need­ed more evi­dence of intent in each case than just entry into the build­ing.

    How­ell also seemed to lament the fact that those plead­ing guilty to pet­ty mis­de­meanors car­ry­ing the max­i­mum six-month jail term couldn’t be put under super­vised release by the court if they also received jail time. Such an option is avail­able and com­mon­ly used by judges in felony cas­es.

    “Under pet­ty offens­es, there are only two options the court can do: pro­ba­tion or a term of impris­on­ment,” she said.

    How­ell also said she was puz­zled why pros­e­cu­tors are using a sum of about $1.5 mil­lion to cal­cu­late resti­tu­tion in the cas­es, while Con­gress agreed last month to appro­pri­ate $521 mil­lion to the Nation­al Guard for costs incurred in pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty for the Capi­tol for four months after the Jan. 6 assault. Biden signed the bill on July 30.

    “Would you explain the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s rea­son to lim­it resti­tu­tion to a lit­tle less than $1.5 mil­lion in repairs to the build­ing itself, when the total cost of this riot to the Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers is half a bil­lion?” the judge asked.

    “I’m hap­py to get you that answer,” O’Connor replied.

    “Thank you. I’d appre­ci­ate that answer,” How­ell said, adding that the mea­ger resti­tu­tion amount being sought was ”a lit­tle bit sur­pris­ing” giv­en the government’s usu­al approach to such issues.

    “I’m accus­tomed to the gov­ern­ment being fair­ly aggres­sive in crim­i­nal cas­es involv­ing fraud and oth­er types of cas­es,” said the judge, a for­mer Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee coun­sel who is an appointee of Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma.

    At pre­vi­ous hear­ings in oth­er cas­es, How­ell has sug­gest­ed that charges against some Jan. 6 defen­dants might under­state the grav­i­ty of their actions because the chaos they con­tributed divert­ed police from more threat­en­ing mem­bers of the crowd. How­ell has also ques­tioned oth­er deci­sions by pros­e­cu­tors in the riot-relat­ed cas­es, such as the government’s fail­ure to chal­lenge an appeals court rul­ing that made it hard­er to detain non-vio­lent defen­dants.

    Despite the mis­giv­ings she aired on Mon­day, How­ell ulti­mate­ly accept­ed Croy’s plea and set sen­tenc­ing for Oct. 15. She ordered pros­e­cu­tors to file details about the resti­tu­tion cal­cu­la­tion, which the gov­ern­ment agreed to as $500 in his case, by the time it pro­pos­es a sen­tence.

    A spokesper­son for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to dis­cuss Howell’s lat­est com­ments and indi­cat­ed that any response from pros­e­cu­tors would come in court pro­ceed­ings or fil­ings.

    Pros­e­cu­tors have indi­cat­ed that the $1.5 mil­lion esti­mate comes from infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by the Archi­tect of the Capi­tol. That office has cit­ed high­er fig­ures in con­gres­sion­al tes­ti­mo­ny but appears to have swept in oth­er cat­e­gories of spend­ing relat­ed to the riot. An esti­mate giv­en to law­mak­ers in Feb­ru­ary was for spend­ing $30 mil­lion through the end of March for repairs and tem­po­rary fenc­ing.

    In oth­er devel­op­ments Mon­day relat­ed to the Jan. 6 riot:

    — A fed­er­al appeals court for the first time ordered the release of a Capi­tol riot defen­dant whom a U.S. Dis­trict Court judge had ordered detained pend­ing tri­al. A three-judge pan­el of the D.C. Cir­cuit Court of Appeals unan­i­mous­ly ruled that West Vir­ginia res­i­dent George Tan­ios, who is charged with numer­ous felonies includ­ing con­spir­a­cy to assault police by means of a chem­i­cal irri­tant, should be allowed to await tri­al on home deten­tion with elec­tron­ic mon­i­tor­ing.

    “The dis­trict court clear­ly erred in its indi­vid­u­al­ized assess­ment of appellant’s dan­ger­ous­ness,” the D.C. Cir­cuit order said in a two-page order issued Mon­day night. “The record reflects that Tan­ios has no past felony con­vic­tions, no ties to any extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions, and no post-Jan­u­ary 6 crim­i­nal behav­ior that would oth­er­wise show him to pose a dan­ger to the com­mu­ni­ty with­in the mean­ing of the Bail Reform Act.”

    Tan­ios is accused of dis­cussing plans to deploy the irri­tant with his friend and co-defen­dant, Julian Khater, and giv­ing him the spray that day. Khater was caught on video doing the spray­ing. Pros­e­cu­tors say the stream hit Capi­tol Police Offi­cer Bri­an Sick­nick, who lat­er died from a stroke. Author­i­ties have not alleged any link between the spray­ing and Sickinck’s death a day or so lat­er.

    The release order came from Judge Karen LeCraft Hen­der­son, an appointee of Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush; from Judge Judith Rogers, who was appoint­ed by Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton; and from Judge Justin Walk­er, an appointee of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. The order to hold Tan­ios pend­ing tri­al was issued by Judge Thomas Hogan, who was appoint­ed by Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan.

    Pros­e­cu­tors could ask the full bench of the D.C. Cir­cuit to take up the issue. A spokesper­son for the pros­e­cu­tion team did not imme­di­ate­ly reply to a request for com­ment.

    ...

    ———–

    “Judge sug­gests feds are too lenient toward Jan. 6 defen­dants” by JOSH GERSTEIN; Politi­co; 08/09/2021

    “Beryl How­ell, the chief judge of the fed­er­al court in Wash­ing­ton del­uged with more than 550 pros­e­cu­tions from the Capi­tol riot, raised ques­tions about why some defen­dants were being per­mit­ted to resolve their crim­i­nal cas­es by plead­ing guilty to a mis­de­meanor and why the amount of mon­ey pros­e­cu­tors are seek­ing to recov­er through those plea deals was based on a rel­a­tive­ly pal­try esti­mate of about $1.5 mil­lion in dam­ages caused by the riot­ers.

    Why were some riot­ers receiv­ing seri­ous indict­ments while oth­ers who seem­ing­ly engaged in the same acts are being allowed to plead guilty to triv­ial mis­de­meanor charge? That’s the ques­tion raised by the judge her­self in this case in response to the case of Glenn Croy, who ini­tial­ly agreed to plead guilty to a sin­gle mis­de­meanor charge of parad­ing or pick­et­ing in the Capi­tol, but even that was too far for Croy. Instead, he changed his plea to state that he had “no inten­tion of stop­ping any vote” and didn’t actu­al­ly know that the Elec­toral Col­lege votes were sched­uled to be tal­lied at the time the his­toric build­ing was stormed. So the guy got an insane­ly light charge in return for a mis­de­meanor guilty plea and he could­n’t even go along with that. And pros­e­cu­tors agreed to this change in plea:

    ...
    Under a deal with pros­e­cu­tors, Croy was seek­ing to plead guilty to a sin­gle mis­de­meanor charge of parad­ing or pick­et­ing in the Capi­tol. That car­ries a max­i­mum sen­tence of six months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

    How­ev­er, Howell’s com­ments at Croy’s hear­ing sig­naled she had broad­er con­cerns about pros­e­cu­tors’ approach than just the way they han­dled Croy’s fair­ly typ­i­cal case.

    Croy ini­tial­ly agreed with How­ell that his actions on Jan. 6 were tak­en with what the judge called “the pur­pose of stop­ping Con­gress from cer­ti­fy­ing the elec­toral vote from the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.”

    But a short time lat­er his defense attor­ney, Kira Anne West, added that there was no agree­ment with pros­e­cu­tors that was Croy’s intent that day. In fact, West said, his client said he had “no inten­tion of stop­ping any vote” and didn’t actu­al­ly know that the Elec­toral Col­lege votes were sched­uled to be tal­lied at the time the his­toric build­ing was stormed.

    Those claims didn’t appear to sit well with How­ell.

    “This is the puz­zle for this pet­ty offense charge. … It’s to parad­ing, demon­strat­ing or pick­et­ing. … That is typ­i­cal­ly for an end,” the judge said. “Demon­strat­ing is typ­i­cal­ly about some­thing. It’s parad­ing about some­thing.”
    ...

    It’s as if they’re look­ing for an excuse to drop the case. Why? That’s the ques­tion raised by this judge. And the answer appears to be that sim­ply being in the Capi­tol on that day was­n’t evi­dence itself of an intent to block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Elec­toral Col­lege vote. More evi­dence is required, like social media posts express­ing intent. Yes, the pros­e­cu­tors agreed with the judge, it’s con­tex­tu­al­ly rea­son­able to infer intent by their very pres­ence there that day, but they nonethe­less insist­ed that the gov­ern­ment need­ed more evi­dence of intent than just entry into the build­ing:

    ...
    How­ell then grilled the pros­e­cu­tor han­dling the case, Clay­ton O’Connor, about why pros­e­cu­tors hadn’t insist­ed that Croy admit as part of the plea that he was try­ing to block the elec­toral vote.

    “Why isn’t that in the state­ment of offense?” the judge asked.

    In response, O’Connor laid bare aspects of pros­e­cu­tors’ deci­sion-mak­ing that have rarely been dis­cussed pub­licly: why some defen­dants who went into the Capi­tol but aren’t accused of vio­lence against oth­ers or dam­ag­ing prop­er­ty are fac­ing a felony obstruc­tion-of-Con­gress charge that can car­ry a max­i­mum of 20 years in prison, while oth­ers who appear to have act­ed sim­i­lar­ly that day have escaped with mis­de­meanors.

    “Large­ly, because of the ele­ments which go to the obstruc­tion charge which many of Mr. Croy’s co-riot­ers have been charged with,” O’Connor explained. “In the review of the inves­ti­ga­tion, that fact was not revealed to a degree that the gov­ern­ment could prove it beyond a rea­son­able doubt with regard to Mr. Troy.”

    The han­dling of oth­er Jan. 6 cas­es by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wash­ing­ton and its supe­ri­ors at the Jus­tice Depart­ment has point­ed to such a dis­tinc­tion. Cas­es where defen­dants post­ed on social media about try­ing to stop the vote have gen­er­al­ly pro­duced more seri­ous charges, while those lack­ing such evi­dence seem to have been treat­ed more lenient­ly, even if the acts alleged­ly com­mit­ted were sim­i­lar.

    Yet, How­ell didn’t seem to be buy­ing it, and repeat­ed­ly sug­gest­ed it could be inferred that those who entered the Capi­tol were not just there on a lark.

    O’Connor, the pros­e­cu­tor, con­curred.

    “Con­tex­tu­al­ly, we agree with you that’s appar­ent,” he said, before insist­ing that the gov­ern­ment need­ed more evi­dence of intent in each case than just entry into the build­ing.
    ...

    Final­ly, there’s the issue of the shock­ing­ly low cost esti­mate for the insur­rec­tion: $1.5 mil­lion, com­pared to con­gres­sion­al appro­pri­a­tions of a half a bil­lion dol­lars to the Nation­al Guard for the costs incurred. What’s the expla­na­tion for this chasm? No real expla­na­tion is giv­en, although pros­e­cu­tors indi­cate the $1.5 mil­lion esti­mate comes from the Archi­tect of the Capi­tol. That same office has cit­ed far high­er fig­ures, includ­ing $30 mil­lion through the end of March for repairs and tem­po­rary fenc­ing. So pros­e­cu­tors basi­cal­ly gave a non-answer answer:

    ...
    How­ell also said she was puz­zled why pros­e­cu­tors are using a sum of about $1.5 mil­lion to cal­cu­late resti­tu­tion in the cas­es, while Con­gress agreed last month to appro­pri­ate $521 mil­lion to the Nation­al Guard for costs incurred in pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty for the Capi­tol for four months after the Jan. 6 assault. Biden signed the bill on July 30.

    “Would you explain the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s rea­son to lim­it resti­tu­tion to a lit­tle less than $1.5 mil­lion in repairs to the build­ing itself, when the total cost of this riot to the Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers is half a bil­lion?” the judge asked.

    ...

    Pros­e­cu­tors have indi­cat­ed that the $1.5 mil­lion esti­mate comes from infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by the Archi­tect of the Capi­tol. That office has cit­ed high­er fig­ures in con­gres­sion­al tes­ti­mo­ny but appears to have swept in oth­er cat­e­gories of spend­ing relat­ed to the riot. An esti­mate giv­en to law­mak­ers in Feb­ru­ary was for spend­ing $30 mil­lion through the end of March for repairs and tem­po­rary fenc­ing.
    ...

    And that’s the theme we’re see­ing emerge here: non-answer answers in response to legit­i­mate ques­tions. For some rea­son, fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors have decid­ed to go extra easy on the insur­rec­tion­ists. Maybe they’re angling for lenient treat­ment of their own. Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors pre­sum­ably won’t fare well after the next insur­rec­tion, after all.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 10, 2021, 3:39 pm
  34. Fol­low­ing the spec­tac­u­lar fail­ure of Mike Lin­del­l’s ‘cyber-sym­po­sium’ last week — the sym­po­sium that was sup­posed to show the world evi­dence of the 2020 elec­tion was stolen by Don­ald Trump by Chi­na, prompt­ing Biden res­ig­na­tion and Trump’s rein­state­ment as Pres­i­dent — and the warn­ings we were already get­ting about the ele­vat­ed pos­si­bil­i­ty of some sort of far right vio­lence in com­ing weeks, we are once again in the “What’s next?” phase of this ongo­ing US civ­il cri­sis.

    And we just sort of got our answer: A fer­vent Trump sup­port­er drove a pick­up trump up to the steps of the Library of Con­gress and threat­ened to trig­ger a bomb. The man, Floyd Ray Rose­ber­ry, 49, from Grover, N.C., made his demands and aired his griev­ances over a Face­book Livestream, where he appeared to be demand­ing Joe Biden step down as pres­i­dent and Trump be rein­stat­ed. Rose­ber­ry gave up After nego­ti­a­tions with the police and it appears there was nev­er a bomb. In the end, it’s unclear how seri­ous this threat ever was. But it’s pret­ty clear where the threat arose: the swamp of far right dis­in­fo­tain­ment ful­ly ani­mat­ing tens of mil­lions of more die hard Trump sup­port­ers who are absolute­ly con­vinced Joe Biden rep­re­sents some sort of dia­bol­i­cal inter­na­tion­al com­mu­nist Satan­ic plot to sub­vert the Amer­i­ca. And that’s what makes this sto­ry so dis­turb­ing. It’s like an appe­tiz­er for what’s next:

    Nation­al Pub­lic Radio

    Man Who Claimed To Have A Bomb Near The U.S. Capi­tol Sur­ren­ders

    Bri­an Nay­lor
    Updat­ed August 19, 2021 3:47 PM ET

    A man who claimed to have a bomb in his pick­up truck in front of the Library of Con­gress has sur­ren­dered, end­ing an hours-long stand­off Thurs­day.

    The sus­pect — iden­ti­fied by author­i­ties as Floyd Ray Rose­ber­ry, 49, from Grover, N.C. — is now in cus­tody.

    It’s not clear if there was an actu­al bomb.

    “He gave up, did not resist, and our folks were able to take him into cus­tody,” U.S. Capi­tol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said Thurs­day. “We don’t know what his motives are at this time.”

    Manger said police nego­ti­at­ed with Rose­ber­ry by writ­ing on a white­board. Even­tu­al­ly police used a robot in an attempt to give him a phone to com­mu­ni­cate with, but Manger said Rose­ber­ry declined to use it. Manger said short­ly after­ward Rose­ber­ry got out of the vehi­cle and he was tak­en into cus­tody with­out inci­dent.

    The truck has been removed from the scene. Manger said that “we don’t know as of yet” whether there was a bomb.

    Manger said that Rose­ber­ry’s moth­er had recent­ly died and that accord­ing to his fam­i­ly, “there were oth­er issues that he was deal­ing with.”

    Face­book removed the sus­pec­t’s pro­file and deac­ti­vat­ed his livestream

    Ear­li­er Thurs­day, law enforce­ment offi­cers from Cleve­land Coun­ty, N.C., as well as fed­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cials went to Rose­ber­ry’s res­i­dence, said Philip Todd, chief deputy of the Cleve­land Coun­ty Sher­if­f’s Office.

    “As far as I know, the FBI has inter­viewed the wife, and she is coop­er­at­ing,” Todd told NPR’s Car­rie John­son.

    Sev­er­al hours after the report of the inci­dent, Face­book said it had deac­ti­vat­ed a livestream, pur­port­ed­ly of the sus­pect in his truck.

    “Not only deac­ti­vat­ed the livestream, but we also removed his pro­file from Face­book and are con­tin­u­ing to inves­ti­gate,” Andy Stone, direc­tor of pol­i­cy com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Face­book, said on Twit­ter.

    In at least one of the videos, a man can be seen mak­ing anti-gov­ern­ment remarks as well as say­ing he had ammo­ni­um nitrate in his truck­’s tool­box.

    Law­mak­ers are most­ly away from Wash­ing­ton for the August recess

    Manger told reporters that the man drove a black pick­up onto the side­walk in front of the library’s Thomas Jef­fer­son Build­ing at 9:15 a.m. ET and told an offi­cer he had a bomb. The offi­cer said the man had what appeared to be a det­o­na­tor in his hand.

    The bomb threat came as Con­gress con­tin­ues to inves­ti­gate the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion at the U.S. Capi­tol, when a mob of demon­stra­tors sup­port­ing then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump stormed the build­ing.

    ...

    ————

    “Man Who Claimed To Have A Bomb Near The U.S. Capi­tol Sur­ren­ders” by Bri­an Nay­lor; Nation­al Pub­lic Radio; 08/19/2021

    “Sev­er­al hours after the report of the inci­dent, Face­book said it had deac­ti­vat­ed a livestream, pur­port­ed­ly of the sus­pect in his truck.”

    Sev­er­al hours after the report of the inci­dent, Face­book said it had deac­ti­vat­ed a livestream. Sev­er­al hours. So the guy had plen­ty of time to rant to the world. Great job Face­book. Again.

    So what do we learn from his exten­sive Face­book rants? Well, Josh Mar­shall gives us an idea and it includes anoth­er dis­turb­ing detail. The kind of detail that hints of Rose­ber­ry not work­ing alone and also gives is a hint at “What’s next?” Rose­ber­ry claimed he orig­i­nal­ly planned on going to Wash­ing­ton on Labor Day week­end, ren­dezvous­ing at a local park in North Car­oli­na with oth­ers who would fol­low him North. But for what­ev­er rea­son he changed his mind and set out to do this on his own.

    Now, it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble Rose­ber­ry is just nuts and isn’t work­ing with oth­ers. But when some­one pulls a stunt of this nature that appears to be an attempt to cre­ate a kind of ral­ly­ing cry event, we have to ask whether or not there were oth­ers Rose­ber­ry has been in con­tact with that he was expect­ing, or hop­ing, would join Rose­ber­ry or would be inspire towards future actions. Either way, it’s a remind that Labor Day week­ends is prob­a­bly the next time we should expect some­one doing some­thing crazy in the name of Trump’s glo­ry:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Edi­tor’s Blog

    Inspired by Trump

    By Josh Mar­shall
    August 19, 2021 2:51 p.m.

    In this video from ear­ly Tues­day morn­ing, retrieved from Face­book by TPM, Capi­tol bomb sus­pect Ray Rose­ber­ry refers to him­self and those like him as the “last gen­er­a­tion” will­ing to stand up for Amer­i­ca. He then says that Trump will be rein­stat­ed as Pres­i­dent once Joe Biden is dri­ven from office and Democ­rats are impris­oned. He says Trump will then par­don every­one and he hopes for a par­don him­self.

    In video from ear­ly Tues­day morn­ing, Capi­tol bomb threat sus­pect says he and those like him are the “last gen­er­a­tion”, says Trump will become Pres­i­dent after Biden steps down and Democ­rats are impris­oned. Says Trump will par­don every­one. He hopes for par­don him­self. pic.twitter.com/qljmBePQWW— Josh Mar­shall (@joshtpm) August 19, 2021

    Over the last few hours I watched mul­ti­ple videos from Rose­ber­ry in which he dis­cussed his goals, griev­ances, fam­i­ly heartaches. Accord­ing to his video, he orig­i­nal­ly planned on going to Wash­ing­ton on Labor Day week­end, ren­dezvous­ing at a local park in North Car­oli­na with all those who would fol­low him North. That appeared to be the until last night or at least until his video post­ed late Tues­day evening.

    In his videos he ref­er­ences the fall of Kab­ul, blames Joe Biden for giv­ing US mil­i­tary weapon­ry to the Tal­iban. But his core griev­ance seemed to be focused on the ille­git­i­ma­cy of Joe Biden and his need to resign from office. As the day grew near­er he would speak to Joe Biden, essen­tial­ly say­ing that if any­one were killed in Wash­ing­ton it would be the President’s fault since he wouldn’t fire the first shot. The videos are strewn with what we might call the ideation­al detri­tus of Trump­ism: Trump’s rein­state­ment as Pres­i­dent, the impris­on­ment of Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­ers, refusals to mask, claims that Hunter Biden was wealthy enough that Biden could afford to retire peace­ful­ly, etc.

    ————

    “Inspired by Trump” by Josh Mar­shall; Talk­ing Points Memo; 08/19/2021

    “Over the last few hours I watched mul­ti­ple videos from Rose­ber­ry in which he dis­cussed his goals, griev­ances, fam­i­ly heartaches. Accord­ing to his video, he orig­i­nal­ly planned on going to Wash­ing­ton on Labor Day week­end, ren­dezvous­ing at a local park in North Car­oli­na with all those who would fol­low him North. That appeared to be the until last night or at least until his video post­ed late Tues­day evening.

    Did Rose­ber­ry have a whole crew ready to dri­ve to DC and issue bomb threats over Labor Day week­end? We don’t know, but we’re in the midst of the inter­net gold­en age of far right lead­er­less resis­tance domes­tic ter­ror cell groups. All the tools required are there. Encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­forms, social media for broad­cast­ing their mes­sages, and a for­mer pres­i­dent enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly ready to play the role of the Lost Cause. All the pieces are in place for an aspir­ing ‘lead­er­less resis­tance’ leader like Rose­ber­ry to assem­ble a team. The zeit­geist is there. But at this point it’s look­ing like Rose­ber­ry might just be a gen­uine lone nu
    t. We don’t know. But that’s the thing about con­tem­po­rary domes­tic ter­ror in the US. The far right ‘lone nuts’ is nev­er tru­ly alone. They have plen­ty of fel­low trav­el­ers. That was made clear by Alaba­ma Repub­li­can Con­gress­man Mo Brooks, who went out of his way to express sym­pa­thy with the would-be-bomber’s “anger direct­ed at dic­ta­to­r­i­al Social­ism and its threat to lib­er­ty, free­dom and the very fab­ric of Amer­i­can soci­ety”:

    NBC News

    GOP Rep. Mo Brooks slammed by fel­low law­mak­ers for state­ment about D.C. bomb threat sus­pect
    “Tell us you stand with the ter­ror­ist with­out telling us you stand with the ter­ror­ist,” a Demo­c­ra­t­ic col­league respond­ed.

    By Dar­tunor­ro Clark
    Aug. 19, 2021, 4:59 PM CDT

    Fel­low House mem­bers crit­i­cized Rep. Mo Brooks, R‑Ala., after he released a state­ment Thurs­day that appeared to be sym­pa­thet­ic to the man police had arrest­ed ear­li­er in the day in con­nec­tion with a bomb threat near the U.S. Capi­tol.

    “Although this terrorist’s moti­va­tion is not yet pub­licly known, and gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, I under­stand cit­i­zen­ry anger direct­ed at dic­ta­to­r­i­al Social­ism and its threat to lib­er­ty, free­dom and the very fab­ric of Amer­i­can soci­ety,” Brooks tweet­ed. “The way to stop Socialism’s march is for patri­ot­ic Amer­i­cans to fight back in the 2022 and 2024 elec­tion.”

    My state­ment on the Capi­tol bomb threat: pic.twitter.com/yCuTNTbJyP— Mo Brooks (@RepMoBrooks) August 19, 2021

    Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R‑Ill., respond­ed to the state­ment in a tweet, call­ing it “evil.”

    He added in anoth­er tweet: “The GOP has a deci­sion to make. Are we going to be the par­ty that keeps stok­ing sym­pa­thy for domes­tic ter­ror­ists and push­es out truth, or final­ly take a stand for truth. I’ve made my deci­sion, so has Mo. Now it’s up to GOP con­fer­ence lead­er­ship to make theirs.”

    Brooks’ office didn’t imme­di­ate­ly respond to a request for com­ment.

    The GOP has a deci­sion to make. Are we going to be the par­ty that keeps stok­ing sym­pa­thy for domes­tic ter­ror­ists and push­es out truth, or final­ly take a stand for truth. I’ve made my deci­sion, so has Mo. Now it’s up to GOP con­fer­ence lead­er­ship to make theirs. https://t.co/RwbvKVWSE7— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) August 19, 2021

    Rep. Don Bey­er, D‑Va., said in a tweet that Brooks was being sym­pa­thet­ic to a ter­ror­ist.

    “It is aston­ish­ing that this needs to be said but no one who serves in Con­gress should be express­ing pub­lic sym­pa­thy with the views of a ter­ror­ist who threat­ened to blow up the U.S. Capi­tol. I would have thought we could all at least agree on that,” he said.

    Police arrest­ed Floyd Ray Rose­ber­ry after an hours­long stand­off near the Capi­tol. The inci­dent began Thurs­day morn­ing when Rose­ber­ry drove a black pick­up truck onto the side­walk in front of the Library of Con­gress, author­i­ties said. Before his arrest, he spoke about health care and com­plained about undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants in sev­er­al Face­book livestream videos on an account iden­ti­fied as that of “Ray Rose­ber­ry.” He repeat­ed­ly said he was start­ing a rev­o­lu­tion.

    Brooks was one of the Repub­li­can law­mak­ers who spoke at the ral­ly then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump held Jan. 6 hours before the Capi­tol riot. Brooks told the pro-Trump mob, “Today is the day Amer­i­can patri­ots start tak­ing down names and kick­ing a–.”

    Rep. Eric Swal­well, D‑Calif., also crit­i­cized Brooks’ state­ment.

    “Tell us you stand with the ter­ror­ist with­out telling us you stand with the ter­ror­ist,” he said in a tweet.

    He added in anoth­er tweet, “What both­ers so many of my@HouseDemocrats’ col­leagues about this tweet is that we know if@RepMoBrooks wasn’t in Con­gress on Jan­u­ary 6 he would have been on the oth­er side of the cham­ber with the vio­lent mob.”

    ...

    ————

    “GOP Rep. Mo Brooks slammed by fel­low law­mak­ers for state­ment about D.C. bomb threat sus­pect” by Dar­tunor­ro Clark; NBC News; 08/19/2021

    Although this terrorist’s moti­va­tion is not yet pub­licly known, and gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, I under­stand cit­i­zen­ry anger direct­ed at dic­ta­to­r­i­al Social­ism and its threat to lib­er­ty, free­dom and the very fab­ric of Amer­i­can soci­ety,” Brooks tweet­ed. “The way to stop Socialism’s march is for patri­ot­ic Amer­i­cans to fight back in the 2022 and 2024 elec­tion.”

    It’s quite a mes­sage to Rose­ber­ry and his fans: You’re griev­ances are just, but there’s no need for vio­lent revolution...yet. It’s the emerg­ing GOP meta-answer for the ques­tion of “What’s next?” The GOP wins or it’s war. That’s what’s next. Not quite yet, but soon. Wait and see how 2022 and 2024 go first. And in the mean time, if you’re plan­ning on any insur­rec­tionary Labor Day week­end ral­lies and look­ing for a keynote speak­er, con­sid­er send­ing Rep. Brooks an invite. He’s clear­ly already got a moti­va­tion­al speech on the top­ic ready to go.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 19, 2021, 3:26 pm
  35. Fol­low­ing up on the sto­ry of Steve Ban­non’s swanky First Anniver­sary of the New Fed­er­al State of Chi­na, here’s a report on Ban­non’s grow­ing ambi­tions in Brazil. Specif­i­cal­ly, grow­ing ambi­tions to repeat in Brazil exact­ly the same kind of mass vot­er-fraud alle­ga­tions we’ve seen from Don­ald Trump and his sup­port­ers fol­low­ing the 2020 elec­tion. Ambi­tions clear­ly shared by Jair Bol­sonaro’s gov­ern­ment. It turns out, Bol­sonaro’s son, Eduar­do, was in atten­dance at Mike Lin­del­l’s bonkers “cyber­sym­po­sium” this month and it was dur­ing Steve Ban­non’s appear­ance on sym­po­sium pan­el when Ban­non warned the upcom­ing elec­tion in Brazil was sim­i­lar­ly at risk of mass elec­tron­ic vot­ing machine fraud that would steal the elec­tion away from Bol­sonaro:

    The New Repub­lic

    Steve Ban­non Wants to Turn Brazil Into the Next MAGA Bat­tle­ground

    Right-wing Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Jair Bol­sonaro wants to pre­emp­tive­ly under­mine the results of the next elec­tion. Ban­non is hap­py to help with that.

    Andre Pagliari­ni
    August 17, 2021

    For­mer Trump cam­paign man­ag­er Steve Ban­non, indict­ed on charges of fraud and mon­ey laun­der­ing last sum­mer, is plot­ting a polit­i­cal come­back. And going by his appear­ance last week at a mad­cap “cyber sym­po­sium” host­ed by MyP­il­low CEO Mike Lin­dell, he seems to have his sights set on Brazil. South America’s largest and most pop­u­lous coun­try could be on the precipice of see­ing its 2022 elec­tion turned into MAGA’s last stand.

    Lindell’s cyber sym­po­sium was ded­i­cat­ed to the base­less notion that the 2020 U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was some­how stolen from Don­ald Trump. Ban­non gave a curi­ous per­for­mance. First he crit­i­cized Lin­dell for not pro­vid­ing enough evi­dence for the oth­er­wise “very pow­er­ful” stolen elec­tion the­o­ry. Then he warned that a dif­fer­ent elec­tion might be at risk: the reelec­tion of far-right author­i­tar­i­an pres­i­dent Jair Bol­sonaro of Brazil.

    Bolsonaro’s son Eduar­do, a Brazil­ian con­gress­man, also attend­ed Lindell’s con­spir­a­to­r­i­al shindig. He was there to draw spe­cious par­al­lels between his country’s elec­toral sys­tem and that of the Unit­ed States—a bad com­par­i­son, since Latin America’s largest nation has a world-class elec­tron­ic vot­ing sys­tem, manda­to­ry vot­ing, and not a sin­gle cred­i­ble case of fraud in 25 years. Despite win­ning a resound­ing vic­to­ry in 2018, Pres­i­dent Bol­sonaro has tak­en to open­ly ques­tion­ing whether Brazil can car­ry out a free and fair elec­tion next year, and engaged in a quixot­ic push to change the way Brazil­ians vote. He has even raised the prospect of mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion to sup­pos­ed­ly ensure the integri­ty of the vote, parad­ing army tanks and troops in Brasília on August 10. To all but his most ardent sup­port­ers, the president’s real inten­tions are obvi­ous. He is prepar­ing to reject an unfa­vor­able future out­come by sow­ing doubt now.

    After Eduar­do addressed Lindell’s audi­ence, Ban­non took the stage and called next year’s pres­i­den­tial race in Brazil the “sec­ond most impor­tant elec­tion in the world,” blithe­ly assert­ing that “Bol­sonaro will win unless it’s stolen by, guess what, the machines.” In real­i­ty, every major polling out­fit for months has pre­dict­ed Bol­sonaro will lose bad­ly to for­mer pres­i­dent Luiz Iná­cio Lula da Sil­va, head of the cen­ter-left Work­ers’ Par­ty and the most promi­nent voice of the oppo­si­tion. Brazil­ians, not “machines,” seem intent on oust­ing Bol­sonaro. But Ban­non dis­missed Lula as “a crim­i­nal,” call­ing him “the most dan­ger­ous left­ist in the world.”

    Ban­non was echo­ing the hyper­bol­ic rhetoric that Brazil­ian con­ser­v­a­tives have long used to describe Lula, a for­mer union leader who became the first work­ing-class pres­i­dent in Brazil­ian his­to­ry upon his elec­tion in 2002. Even before Bolsonaro’s elec­tion, cen­ter-right pol­i­tics in Brazil were becom­ing defined by the dan­ger­ous­ly mis­guid­ed notion that Lula and his par­ty were not sim­ply demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nents to be defeat­ed at the bal­lot box but crim­i­nal con­spir­a­tors to be extir­pat­ed by any means nec­es­sary.

    Eduar­do Bolsonaro’s appear­ance at Lindell’s event appears to be the next step in this strat­e­gy. Bol­sonaro is now attempt­ing to link events in Brazil to the broad­er net­work of fan­tas­ti­cal delu­sions, resent­ments, and out­rages that fuel the Trump base and, by exten­sion, much of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. Bolsonaro—with Ban­non appar­ent­ly on his side—wants to make Brazil the next MAGA bat­tle­ground.

    This isn’t the first time Ban­non has tried to take his show on the road. Three years ago, Ban­non vis­it­ed sev­er­al coun­tries in Europe and beyond in an attempt to stitch togeth­er a transna­tion­al net­work of right-wing nation­al­ists who could joint­ly with­stand what he con­sid­ers to be the nox­ious tides of glob­al­iza­tion. As Ian Buru­ma wrote for Project Syn­di­cate at the time, “Ban­non sees this effort as part of a ‘war’ between pop­ulism and ‘the par­ty of Davos,’ between the white, Chris­t­ian, patri­ot­ic ‘real peo­ple’ (in the words of his British sup­port­er, Nigel Farage) and the cos­mopoli­tan glob­al­ist elites.” A boast­ful Ban­non pro­claimed that “we’re open for busi­ness.... We’re a pop­ulist, nation­al­ist NGO, and we’re glob­al.”

    Despite his meet­ings with France’s Marine Le Pen, Italy’s Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mat­teo Salvi­ni, and Hungary’s author­i­tar­i­an Prime Min­is­ter (and Tuck­er Carlson’s new idol) Vik­tor Orbán, Bannon’s so-called Move­ment had lit­tle dis­cernible impact on Euro­pean pol­i­tics. This is because, despite the aura of pen­e­trat­ing insight he cul­ti­vat­ed as Trump’s Sven­gali, Ban­non doesn’t actu­al­ly know much about how the world works.

    “While on tour, Bannon’s dia­tribes tend to focus on Trump, his mirac­u­lous elec­tion vic­to­ry, and the president’s vision of tear­ing down the ‘glob­al lib­er­al elite,’” Prague-based jour­nal­ist Tim Gosling observed in For­eign Pol­i­cy in 2018. Ban­non thrives when serv­ing up the warmed-over remains of Trump’s shock­ing upset, but has nev­er man­aged to come up with new recipes that can be test­ed else­where. “He push­es all the right but­tons: defense spend­ing, trade imbal­ances, and Crooked Hillary. But Ban­non does it from a blink­ered Wash­ing­ton per­spec­tive,” Gosling wrote. Bannon’s for­eign incur­sions were self-serv­ing myth­mak­ing exer­cis­es, grist for an ongo­ing grift. Not until now, with Bol­sonaro, has Ban­non found a for­eign far-right move­ment thor­ough­ly inter­est­ed in this Wash­ing­ton-cen­tric approach. Bolsonaro’s sons and sup­port­ers are thrilled by Bannon’s sup­port in ways that Euro­pean con­ser­v­a­tives nev­er were.

    Brazil­ians out­side the far right, how­ev­er, were imme­di­ate­ly con­cerned by the Bol­sonaro-Ban­non alliance on dis­play at Lindell’s event. Writ­ing for The Inter­cept Brasil this past Sun­day, jour­nal­ist João Fil­ho said Bannon’s involve­ment should be seen as a sure sign that the 2022 elec­tion will be con­test­ed. “Even if Bol­sonaro is not re-elect­ed,” he fret­ted, “Bol­sonar­is­mo will remain alive. And they will con­tin­ue to use Bannon’s know-how and invest in con­spir­a­cies against democ­ra­cy.” Thomas Trau­mann, a well-con­nect­ed and high­ly respect­ed polit­i­cal observ­er writ­ing for week­ly news mag­a­zine Veja, described Ban­non as the link between Bolsonaro’s “trop­i­cal ver­sion of Trump­ism” and the cur­rent insur­rec­tionary para­noia that has gripped Trump’s true believ­ers. Ciro Gomes, a for­mer gov­er­nor, cab­i­net min­is­ter, and con­gress­man who will seek the Brazil­ian pres­i­den­cy for the fourth time next year, has harped on the Ban­non-Bol­sonaro con­nec­tion since 2018, decry­ing the influ­ence that Trump’s erst­while advis­er has had over the Brazil­ian pres­i­dent. Bannon’s abil­i­ty to shape polit­i­cal out­comes around the world may be over­stat­ed, but his involve­ment will like­ly draw the atten­tion of Amer­i­can ultra­con­ser­v­a­tives to an elec­tion that they might oth­er­wise have over­looked.

    Ban­non endorsed Jair Bol­sonaro in Brazil’s 2018 elec­tion, and met with Eduar­do that year as well. After their con­ver­sa­tion, Eduar­do announced his and Bannon’s intent “to join forces, espe­cial­ly against cul­tur­al Marx­ism.” Last year, Bol­sonaro and his sons open­ly root­ed for Trump to win reelec­tion, sens­ing that a Biden vic­to­ry would iso­late and con­strain the Brazil­ian gov­ern­ment for its care­less han­dling of Ama­zon­ian defor­esta­tion, among oth­er issues that have raised inter­na­tion­al alarm. It is not clear, how­ev­er, that Ban­non has fol­lowed Bolsonaro’s admin­is­tra­tion par­tic­u­lar­ly close­ly.

    Up until now, the Brazil­ian president’s stead­fast sup­port of Trump has gone with­out much pub­lic reci­procity from either Trump or his sup­port­ers. Bol­sonaro stalled for over a month before rec­og­niz­ing Biden’s vic­to­ry. Tact­less­ly, he report­ed­ly repeat­ed false alle­ga­tions about fraud in the 2020 U.S. elec­tion in a meet­ing this month with Biden’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er. And while in the Unit­ed States for Lindell’s sym­po­sium, Eduar­do met with Trump and invit­ed him to vis­it Brazil. Bannon’s endorse­ment of the Bol­sonaro claim that the elec­tion will be stolen rep­re­sents the kind of MAGA world val­i­da­tion that the far right in Brazil, slav­ish­ly attuned to the U.S. right wing for inspi­ra­tion, craves.

    ...

    ———–

    “Steve Ban­non Wants to Turn Brazil Into the Next MAGA Bat­tle­ground” by Andre Pagliari­ni; The New Repub­lic; 08/17/2021

    “Lindell’s cyber sym­po­sium was ded­i­cat­ed to the base­less notion that the 2020 U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was some­how stolen from Don­ald Trump. Ban­non gave a curi­ous per­for­mance. First he crit­i­cized Lin­dell for not pro­vid­ing enough evi­dence for the oth­er­wise “very pow­er­ful” stolen elec­tion the­o­ry. Then he warned that a dif­fer­ent elec­tion might be at risk: the reelec­tion of far-right author­i­tar­i­an pres­i­dent Jair Bol­sonaro of Brazil.

    Look out world, there’s a new ‘elec­tion con­spir­a­cy’ con­spir­a­cy on the scene. Although it sounds like they’re basi­cal­ly going to just rehash the same play­book: assert that the only way your favored can­di­date could pos­si­bly lose is through elec­tion fraud while cas­ti­gat­ing your oppo­nents as dan­ger­ous crim­i­nals who must be locked up by any means nec­es­sary. The only thing it’s miss­ing from the Trump play­book is a ref­er­ence to ‘Crooked Hillary’:

    ...
    After Eduar­do addressed Lindell’s audi­ence, Ban­non took the stage and called next year’s pres­i­den­tial race in Brazil the “sec­ond most impor­tant elec­tion in the world,” blithe­ly assert­ing that “Bol­sonaro will win unless it’s stolen by, guess what, the machines.” In real­i­ty, every major polling out­fit for months has pre­dict­ed Bol­sonaro will lose bad­ly to for­mer pres­i­dent Luiz Iná­cio Lula da Sil­va, head of the cen­ter-left Work­ers’ Par­ty and the most promi­nent voice of the oppo­si­tion. Brazil­ians, not “machines,” seem intent on oust­ing Bol­sonaro. But Ban­non dis­missed Lula as “a crim­i­nal,” call­ing him “the most dan­ger­ous left­ist in the world.”

    Ban­non was echo­ing the hyper­bol­ic rhetoric that Brazil­ian con­ser­v­a­tives have long used to describe Lula, a for­mer union leader who became the first work­ing-class pres­i­dent in Brazil­ian his­to­ry upon his elec­tion in 2002. Even before Bolsonaro’s elec­tion, cen­ter-right pol­i­tics in Brazil were becom­ing defined by the dan­ger­ous­ly mis­guid­ed notion that Lula and his par­ty were not sim­ply demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nents to be defeat­ed at the bal­lot box but crim­i­nal con­spir­a­tors to be extir­pat­ed by any means nec­es­sary.

    Eduar­do Bolsonaro’s appear­ance at Lindell’s event appears to be the next step in this strat­e­gy. Bol­sonaro is now attempt­ing to link events in Brazil to the broad­er net­work of fan­tas­ti­cal delu­sions, resent­ments, and out­rages that fuel the Trump base and, by exten­sion, much of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. Bolsonaro—with Ban­non appar­ent­ly on his side—wants to make Brazil the next MAGA bat­tle­ground.
    ...

    And this is all hap­pen­ing as Bol­sonaro has already raised the prospect of a mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion to ‘ensure the integri­ty of the vote’. The pieces are falling into place:

    ...
    Bolsonaro’s son Eduar­do, a Brazil­ian con­gress­man, also attend­ed Lindell’s con­spir­a­to­r­i­al shindig. He was there to draw spe­cious par­al­lels between his country’s elec­toral sys­tem and that of the Unit­ed States—a bad com­par­i­son, since Latin America’s largest nation has a world-class elec­tron­ic vot­ing sys­tem, manda­to­ry vot­ing, and not a sin­gle cred­i­ble case of fraud in 25 years. Despite win­ning a resound­ing vic­to­ry in 2018, Pres­i­dent Bol­sonaro has tak­en to open­ly ques­tion­ing whether Brazil can car­ry out a free and fair elec­tion next year, and engaged in a quixot­ic push to change the way Brazil­ians vote. He has even raised the prospect of mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion to sup­pos­ed­ly ensure the integri­ty of the vote, parad­ing army tanks and troops in Brasília on August 10. To all but his most ardent sup­port­ers, the president’s real inten­tions are obvi­ous. He is prepar­ing to reject an unfa­vor­able future out­come by sow­ing doubt now.
    ...

    And note how this nar­ra­tive isn’t one where Brazil­ian left­ists are inde­pen­dent­ly attempt­ing to steal the Brazil­ian elec­tion using tac­tics sim­i­lar to what Democ­rats used in 2020 to steal the elec­tion from Trump. This is Steve Ban­non’s nar­ra­tive being adopt­ed by the Bol­sonaro gov­ern­ment and that’s a nar­ra­tive where it’s the same glob­al net­work of evil com­mu­nist glob­al­ist left­ist Illu­mi­nati Satanists behind all of these rigged elec­tions. Evil glob­al­ist com­mu­nist left­ists Who teamed up with Chi­na to steal the US elec­tion in 2020.

    For Steve Ban­non, it’s glob­al har­vest time, which rais­es the ques­tion: will ‘Chi­na’ also be the cul­prit when Brazil’s elec­tion is ‘stolen’? On the one hand, Chi­na-bash­ing is pret­ty pop­u­lar with Bol­sonaro and his gov­ern­ment, includ­ing Eduar­do. At the same time, let’s not for­get that this nar­ra­tive includes doozies like Hugo Chavez manip­u­lat­ing vot­ing machines from the grave. We’ll see. Thanks to the efforts of Ban­non, Lin­dell, and the rest of the grift machine push­ing this nar­ra­tive, Ban­non and Bol­sonaro have a lot of con­tent to work with. Fan­ta­sy con­tent, but that’s beside the point. Or, in anoth­er sense, the point.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 25, 2021, 2:38 pm
  36. What’s going to hap­pen if the GOP mega-donors decide it’s ulti­mate­ly in their best inter­ests to ‘move on’ from the ‘stolen 2020’ elec­tion nar­ra­tive but Don­ald Trump and his horde of fol­low­ers decide oth­er­wise? That’s the inter­est­ing ques­tion raised by the fol­low­ing sto­ry about the appar­ent col­lec­tive deci­sion by the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s mega-donors to focus their mon­ey on non-Trump-relat­ed polit­i­cal invest­ments. In par­tic­u­lar, Flori­da gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis and Flori­da Sen­a­tor Mar­co Rubio are the two fig­ures who are get­ting a lot of mega-donor atten­tion these days, with DeSan­tis rep­re­sent­ing a con­tin­ued Trumpian direc­tion for the GOP while Rubio almost feels like an anachro­nis­tic throw­back to a pre-Trump GOP that died years ago.

    It’s not just that these mega-donors are of the view that Trump’s polit­i­cal future isn’t as bright as his hints of a 2024 rerun hype sug­gests. They’re also report­ed­ly con­cerned about giv­ing mon­ey to a Trump orga­ni­za­tion that seems to exist sole­ly for the pur­pose of fundrais­ing. In oth­er words, the mega-donors have con­clud­ed that the ‘give us mon­ey so we can fight the stolen elec­tion!’ meme is just the lat­est Trump grift for the rubes. Plus, the Trump PACs already had over $100 mil­lion on hand after the first have of 2021. Months into wag­ing this ‘stolen elec­tion’ nar­ra­tive, Trump is appar­ent­ly flush with polit­i­cal cash.

    As stun­ning as it might be to hear that Trump’s PACs have $100 mil­lion cash on hand, as we’re going to see in the sec­ond Politi­co arti­cle below, Trump’s orga­ni­za­tions announced in Decem­ber of 2020 that they had raised over $200 mil­lion since Elec­tion Day. So Trump’s orga­ni­za­tions have been wild­ly suc­cess­ful at rais­ing mon­ey based on the ‘stolen elec­tion’ nar­ra­tive, but it’s also appar­ent­ly been pret­ty suc­cess­ful at spend­ing it, which is part of why these mega-donors are a lot less keen on mak­ing mega-dona­tions in the direc­tion of Don­ald Trump these days.

    And yet, let’s face it, this is still Trump’s par­ty and if he wants to run in 2024 based on the nar­ra­tive of a stolen 2020 elec­tion, it’s going to be hard to stop him. He clear­ly has the GOP base behind him and the ‘stolen elec­tion’ is clear­ly the mon­ey-mak­ing nar­ra­tive the base responds to. So Trump has the per­fect fund-rais­ing grift to tar­get small donors, but the grift is too much of a scam for the GOP mega-donors to play along. It’s not quite a cri­sis of con­science for the GOP, but it’s about as close to a cri­sis of con­science as we can expect to ever see from this par­ty so it should be inter­est­ing to watch:

    CNBC

    ‘They have bet­ter things to do’ – Major Repub­li­can donors are stay­ing away from Trump

    * Sev­er­al of the Repub­li­can Party’s biggest and most influ­en­tial donors are sig­nal­ing that they don’t plan on help­ing fund for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s polit­i­cal oper­a­tion, at least for now.
    * Wealthy financiers have instead opt­ed to spend mon­ey on the GOP’s efforts to take back Con­gress or to sup­port oth­er poten­tial 2024 pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates such as Ron DeSan­tis and Tim Scott.
    * Donors are also con­cerned about how Trump’s orga­ni­za­tion is spend­ing the mon­ey it has raised from small­er dona­tions.
    * “Big mon­ey, sophis­ti­cat­ed peo­ple are just los­ing inter­est in this s— show,” said an advi­sor to long­time Trump allies in Sil­i­con Val­ley.

    Bri­an Schwartz
    Pub­lished Tue, Aug 31 2021 10:31 AM EDT Updat­ed

    Sev­er­al of the Repub­li­can Party’s biggest and most influ­en­tial donors are sig­nal­ing that they don’t plan on help­ing fund for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s polit­i­cal oper­a­tion, at least for the moment.

    Wealthy financiers such as Stephen Ross and Lar­ry Elli­son have instead opt­ed to spend mon­ey on the GOP’s efforts to take back Con­gress dur­ing next year’s midterm elec­tions or have shown sup­port for poten­tial 2024 pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates such as Sens. Mar­co Rubio of Flori­da and Tim Scott of South Car­oli­na.

    Donors are also con­cerned about how Trump’s orga­ni­za­tion is spend­ing the piles of mon­ey it has raised from small­er dona­tions.

    “Big mon­ey, sophis­ti­cat­ed peo­ple are just los­ing inter­est in this s— show,” said an advi­sor to long­time Trump allies in Sil­i­con Val­ley. Many donors are tired of see­ing the for­mer pres­i­dent use his resources on ral­lies dur­ing which he often makes false claims includ­ing that the elec­tion was stolen from him, this per­son said.

    Trump has not ruled out run­ning for pres­i­dent in 2024, and he has not made any offi­cial announce­ments. His polit­i­cal action com­mit­tees have raised a great deal of mon­ey through email and text mes­sage appeals to sup­port­ers that often crit­i­cize Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s per­for­mance, includ­ing, most recent­ly, his han­dling of the Afghanistan with­draw­al.

    The Trump PACs had over $100 mil­lion on hand after the first half of 2021. CNBC has pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that his PACs spent near­ly $8 mil­lion on legal fees and over $200,000 on Trump’s prop­er­ties ear­li­er this year.

    “Donors don’t con­tribute out of the good­ness of their heart. And right now they’re being asked to donate to an orga­ni­za­tion that has no oth­er pur­pose than pump­ing cash into some­one who doesn’t need it and isn’t using it,” said a Repub­li­can strate­gist who rep­re­sents financiers on Wall Street. “They have bet­ter things to do.”

    ...

    The pro-Trump Make Amer­i­ca Great Again Action super PAC, which raised over $1.5 mil­lion in July and August, is not with­out some wealthy donors, accord­ing to new Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion fil­ings. MyP­il­low CEO Mike Lin­dell, who is an ardent spread­er of false claims about the 2020 elec­tion, is among its donors, as are busi­ness­woman and for­mer GOP Sen. Kel­ly Loef­fler, Texas bank­ing exec­u­tive Andrew Beal and casi­no mag­nate Phillip Ruf­fin.

    But big­ger forces in Repub­li­can fundrais­ing are instead focus­ing on House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP leadership’s efforts to retake the House and fund­ing pro-GOP redis­trict­ing efforts such as the Nation­al Repub­li­can Redis­trict­ing Trust. Oth­ers are help­ing the reelec­tion cam­paigns of poten­tial 2024 pres­i­den­tial con­tenders such as Scott, Rubio and Flori­da Gov. Ron DeSan­tis.

    Sev­er­al peo­ple who pre­vi­ous­ly backed Trump held a fundrais­er recent­ly for DeSan­tis’ 2022 guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign in the upper-crust Hamp­tons on Long Island. The invi­ta­tion to the July event shows that the co-hosts for the event includ­ed for­mer Trump Com­merce Sec­re­tary Wilbur Ross, along with bil­lion­aire investors Stephen Ross, John Paul­son and Ken Grif­fin.

    Paul­son was one of the few Wall Street donors who backed Trump’s 2020 bid for pres­i­dent dur­ing the final stretch of the cam­paign.

    Stephen Ross, who is also the own­er of the Mia­mi Dol­phins, came under fire in 2019 when he host­ed a fundrais­er in the Hamp­tons for Trump. Ross and oth­er prin­ci­pals of Relat­ed Cos. are investors in the lux­u­ry fit­ness brand Equinox. Soul­Cy­cle and Equinox dis­tanced them­selves from the Trump event as cus­tomers threat­ened to boy­cott.

    Wilbur Ross and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Paul­son did not respond to requests for com­ment. A spokesper­son for Stephen Ross declined to com­ment.

    Nei­ther Ora­cle Chair­man Lar­ry Elli­son nor Ora­cle CEO Safra Catz have giv­en large sums of mon­ey to Trump’s PACs post the elec­tion. Both helped raise mon­ey for Trump’s reelec­tion cam­paign. Ellison’s Cal­i­for­nia home was the site of a Trump fundrais­ing event last year. In June of this year, how­ev­er, Elli­son gave $5 mil­lion to a super PAC sup­port­ing Scott’s reelec­tion efforts in South Car­oli­na.

    A spokesman for Catz and Elli­son did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    The Repub­li­can Jew­ish Coali­tion, whose PAC endorsed Trump dur­ing last year’s elec­tion, is co-host­ing a New York fundrais­er for Rubio’s 2022 reelec­tion cam­paign in Sep­tem­ber, accord­ing to an invi­ta­tion. The RJC’s board of direc­tors includes a slew of influ­en­tial Repub­li­cans, includ­ing Home Depot co-founder Bernard Mar­cus, for­mer Trump advi­sor Jason Green­blatt and for­mer White House press sec­re­tary Ari Fleis­ch­er.

    Trump also might not be able to count on finan­cial help from Miri­am Adel­son, a megadonor and the wid­ow of the late casi­no mag­nate Shel­don Adel­son, who died ear­li­er this year. The cou­ple were among the few busi­ness lead­ers who sup­port­ed Trump dur­ing the last elec­tion. They gave mil­lions to a pro-Trump super PAC in the final months of the cam­paign.

    Since her husband’s death, Adel­son has pri­vate­ly indi­cat­ed to allies that for now she doesn’t have any imme­di­ate plans to use much of her mon­ey in pol­i­tics. That could change as the midterms approach. Records show that Adel­son con­tributed $5,000 in June to the Stand for Amer­i­ca PAC, a com­mit­tee found­ed by poten­tial 2024 con­tender and for­mer Trump Unit­ed Nations ambas­sador Nik­ki Haley.

    ...

    Anoth­er key Trump and GOP financier is in legal hot water. Investor Tom Bar­rack was arrest­ed on charges of ille­gal­ly lob­by­ing then-Pres­i­dent Trump on behalf of the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates. Bar­rack has plead­ed not guilty to the charges. Even if he weren’t in trou­ble with the feds, Bar­rack had indi­cat­ed that he might not have end­ed up sup­port­ing Trump, his long­time friend, for a 2024 run.

    “Today it looks like it’s a cam­paign of divi­sive­ness, which I’m not inter­est­ed in,” Bar­rack told Bloomberg News before he was arrest­ed.

    ...

    Robert Mer­cer and his daugh­ter Rebekah were big Trump sup­port­ers dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, yet there’s no indi­ca­tion they’ll throw their back­ing to him in 2024. CNBC report­ed in 2018 that the Mer­cers were plan­ning to scale back their finan­cial sup­port for Trump.

    Records show that the Mer­cers have not writ­ten major checks to any of Trump’s PACs after his pres­i­den­cy.

    For the time being, they’re back­ing a new face in GOP pol­i­tics: “Hill­bil­ly Ele­gy” author and ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist J.D. Vance, who has adopt­ed sev­er­al Trump-style nation­al­ist pol­i­cy stances after hav­ing crit­i­cized the for­mer pres­i­dent in the past.

    Robert and Rebekah Mer­cer donat­ed a com­bined $150,000 in March to a super PAC back­ing Vance’s can­di­da­cy for the Ohio U.S. Sen­ate seat that will be vacat­ed by retir­ing Repub­li­can Rob Port­man.

    ...

    ————-

    “‘They have bet­ter things to do’ – Major Repub­li­can donors are stay­ing away from Trump” by Bri­an Schwartz; CNBC; 08/31/2021

    “Donors are also con­cerned about how Trump’s orga­ni­za­tion is spend­ing the piles of mon­ey it has raised from small­er dona­tions.”

    Lol! Mega-donors are ‘con­cerned about how Trump’s orga­ni­za­tion is spend­ing the piles of mon­ey it has raised from small­er dona­tions’. It’s anoth­er way of say­ing they’re watch­ing Trump fleece the rubes and don’t want to become rubes them­selves. And yet, the fact taht the rubes are so will­ing to hand over so much mon­ey to Trump over the stolen elec­tion nar­ra­tive demon­strates the endur­ing and grow­ing impor­tance the stolen elec­tion nar­ra­tive has on the right. Stolen elec­tion nar­ra­tives are the future of the GOP. It’s what the audi­ence wants. Trump’s PACs would­n’t still have $100 mil­lion on hand if that was­n’t the case. Mon­ey talks:

    ...
    “Big mon­ey, sophis­ti­cat­ed peo­ple are just los­ing inter­est in this s— show,” said an advi­sor to long­time Trump allies in Sil­i­con Val­ley. Many donors are tired of see­ing the for­mer pres­i­dent use his resources on ral­lies dur­ing which he often makes false claims includ­ing that the elec­tion was stolen from him, this per­son said.

    Trump has not ruled out run­ning for pres­i­dent in 2024, and he has not made any offi­cial announce­ments. His polit­i­cal action com­mit­tees have raised a great deal of mon­ey through email and text mes­sage appeals to sup­port­ers that often crit­i­cize Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s per­for­mance, includ­ing, most recent­ly, his han­dling of the Afghanistan with­draw­al.

    The Trump PACs had over $100 mil­lion on hand after the first half of 2021. CNBC has pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that his PACs spent near­ly $8 mil­lion on legal fees and over $200,000 on Trump’s prop­er­ties ear­li­er this year.
    ...

    It could be argued that mon­ey talks loud­er than Trump him­self, even in the GOP. Which rais­es the ques­tion: what was the $107.5 mil­lion that Trump appar­ent­ly spent in the last eight months actu­al­ly spent on? Because as the fol­low­ing Politi­co arti­cle from back in Decem­ber 2020 reminds us, Trump announced at the time that his orga­ni­za­tions had raised $207.5 mil­lion since Elec­tion Day. Flash for­ward half a year and it sounds like only $100 mil­lion of that is left. Where did it go?

    Adding to the mys­tery are the rules regard­ing how Trump can spend that mon­ey. Because as the arti­cle notes, all that post-elec­tion fundrais­ing was being done under Trump’s ‘lead­er­ship PAC’ called Save Amer­i­ca PAC. Here’s the thing about ‘lead­er­ship PACs’: he can spend that mon­ey try­ing to influ­ence GOP pri­maries or just throw his weight around with­in the par­ty. He can even hold ral­lies with the funds. He can also spend it in all sorts of ways that basi­cal­ly involve self-enrich­ment. But what he can­not spend that mon­ey on is a 2024 elec­tion. Those are the rules. So all of the mon­ey Trump has been rais­ing since the elec­tion is mon­ey to be spent on embez­zle­ment and/or bend­ing the rest of the par­ty to his will head­ing into 2024:

    Politi­co

    Trump’s post-elec­tion cash grab floods funds to new PAC

    The Trump oper­a­tion raised $207.5 mil­lion since Elec­tion Day, includ­ing a hefty chunk to a new lead­er­ship PAC Trump formed in Novem­ber.

    By ZACH MONTELLARO and ELENA SCHNEIDER

    12/03/2020 07:14 PM EST
    Updat­ed: 12/04/2020 10:56 AM EST

    Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has been on a relent­less, mis­lead­ing and high­ly lucra­tive fundrais­ing dri­ve since los­ing reelec­tion, telling sup­port­ers that they can help over­turn the results if they donate while direct­ing the bulk of the cash to his newest polit­i­cal group instead of the enti­ties fight­ing in court.

    The Trump cam­paign announced Thurs­day evening that the president’s fundrais­ing oper­a­tion raised $207.5 mil­lion since Elec­tion Day, parts of which were detailed in cam­paign finance reports filed lat­er Thurs­day night. It’s a remark­able sum for a post-elec­tion peri­od, usu­al­ly the time when cam­paigns wind down.

    Trump has ginned up much of that mon­ey with alarmist fundrais­ing pitch­es mul­ti­ple times a day, plead­ing for help. “We MUST defend the Elec­tion from the Left!” one text signed by Trump and sent on Wednes­day read. “I’ve acti­vat­ed a 1000% offer for 1 HOUR to put Amer­i­ca FIRST. Step up & act NOW.”

    But the major­i­ty of that mon­ey is like­ly not going to any sort of legal account. Trump’s fundrais­ing oper­a­tion is instead send­ing it to a new polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion cre­at­ed by the pres­i­dent: a lead­er­ship PAC called Save Amer­i­ca PAC, a type of vehi­cle pop­u­lar with both par­ties on Capi­tol Hill but long derid­ed by watch­dogs as essen­tial­ly a type of slush fund, with few restric­tions on how the mon­ey they raise can be spent.

    Trump’s fren­zied fundrais­ing pitch­es are chan­nel­ing most of the mon­ey raised to Save Amer­i­ca, the lead­er­ship PAC he cre­at­ed just days after major media out­lets pro­ject­ed Biden had defeat­ed him. Cur­rent fundrais­ing appeals from Trump solic­it mon­ey for a joint fundrais­ing com­mit­tee, the Trump Make Amer­i­ca Great Again Com­mit­tee, which is direct­ing 75 per­cent of each con­tri­bu­tion to Save Amer­i­ca, up to a $5,000 legal lim­it. Only after that point does mon­ey start flow­ing into a recount account set up by Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. (The remain­ing 25 per­cent of dona­tions go to var­i­ous accounts for the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee.)

    “Lead­er­ship PACs can be used to effec­tive­ly keep your cam­paign staff on the pay­roll, keep them in your orbit, pay for trav­el, pay for ral­lies, even for polling,” said Bren­dan Fis­ch­er, the direc­tor of the fed­er­al reform pro­gram at the Cam­paign Legal Cen­ter, which sup­ports greater reg­u­la­tion of these enti­ties. “Trump could poten­tial­ly use his new lead­er­ship PAC to not only pre­serve his influ­ence with­in the Repub­li­can par­ty after he leaves the White House, but also to poten­tial­ly to ben­e­fit him and his fam­i­ly finan­cial­ly.”

    One thing Trump wouldn’t be allowed to use the lead­er­ship PAC mon­ey for: direct­ly financ­ing a 2024 pres­i­den­tial bid, should he announce plans to run again. But in addi­tion to oth­er cam­paign-like activ­i­ties, Trump could use his PAC to weigh in on Repub­li­can pri­maries through big-mon­ey inde­pen­dent ad buys.

    The Trump cam­paign also announced that the fundrais­ing oper­a­tion will report rais­ing $495 mil­lion in var­i­ous post-elec­tion fil­ings, which cov­er activ­i­ty from Oct. 15 through Nov. 23, due to the FEC on Thurs­day. That total will not include Save Amer­i­ca, which was formed after the elec­tion. Fox News first report­ed the mas­sive-post Elec­tion Day haul.

    Repub­li­cans are acute­ly aware that Trump can wield his plat­form — along with his lead­er­ship PAC war chest and email list, eas­i­ly the most valu­able donor list in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics — as a cud­gel to shape the future of the par­ty.

    “This is about main­tain­ing rel­e­vance in 2022 to poten­tial­ly set up 2024, all while freez­ing the [pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry] field,” said Dan Eber­hart, a major Repub­li­can donor, who also not­ed that if Trump is able to “be a part of the sto­ry of tak­ing back the House” in 2022, then it could “show momen­tum in the midterms, he could be exceed­ing­ly rel­e­vant in 2024.”

    The Trump cam­paign is also eager to stoke the fact that the rank-and-file is still on the president’s side. “These tremen­dous fundrais­ing num­bers show Pres­i­dent Trump remains the leader and source of ener­gy for the Repub­li­can Par­ty, and that his sup­port­ers are ded­i­cat­ed to fight­ing for the right­ful, legal out­come of the 2020 gen­er­al elec­tion,” Bill Stepi­en, Trump 2020 cam­paign man­ag­er, said in a state­ment, allud­ing to the president’s con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that he actu­al­ly won the elec­tion.

    ...

    ———–

    “Trump’s post-elec­tion cash grab floods funds to new PAC” by ZACH MONTELLARO and ELENA SCHNEIDER; Politi­co; 12/03/2020

    The Trump cam­paign announced Thurs­day evening that the president’s fundrais­ing oper­a­tion raised $207.5 mil­lion since Elec­tion Day, parts of which were detailed in cam­paign finance reports filed lat­er Thurs­day night. It’s a remark­able sum for a post-elec­tion peri­od, usu­al­ly the time when cam­paigns wind down.”

    It was quite an announce­ment in Decem­ber: $207.5 mil­lion, raised just since Elec­tion Day. And it was all going into Trump’s new­ly formed lead­er­ship PAC, Save Amer­i­ca PAC. The type of PAC that allows the Trump orga­ni­za­tion to self-enrich, trav­el, pay for ral­lies, and get involved in oth­er GOP pri­maries. The one thing he can’t do with all that mon­ey is use it for a 2024 run:

    ...
    Trump has ginned up much of that mon­ey with alarmist fundrais­ing pitch­es mul­ti­ple times a day, plead­ing for help. “We MUST defend the Elec­tion from the Left!” one text signed by Trump and sent on Wednes­day read. “I’ve acti­vat­ed a 1000% offer for 1 HOUR to put Amer­i­ca FIRST. Step up & act NOW.”

    But the major­i­ty of that mon­ey is like­ly not going to any sort of legal account. Trump’s fundrais­ing oper­a­tion is instead send­ing it to a new polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion cre­at­ed by the pres­i­dent: a lead­er­ship PAC called Save Amer­i­ca PAC, a type of vehi­cle pop­u­lar with both par­ties on Capi­tol Hill but long derid­ed by watch­dogs as essen­tial­ly a type of slush fund, with few restric­tions on how the mon­ey they raise can be spent.

    ...

    “Lead­er­ship PACs can be used to effec­tive­ly keep your cam­paign staff on the pay­roll, keep them in your orbit, pay for trav­el, pay for ral­lies, even for polling,” said Bren­dan Fis­ch­er, the direc­tor of the fed­er­al reform pro­gram at the Cam­paign Legal Cen­ter, which sup­ports greater reg­u­la­tion of these enti­ties. “Trump could poten­tial­ly use his new lead­er­ship PAC to not only pre­serve his influ­ence with­in the Repub­li­can par­ty after he leaves the White House, but also to poten­tial­ly to ben­e­fit him and his fam­i­ly finan­cial­ly.

    One thing Trump wouldn’t be allowed to use the lead­er­ship PAC mon­ey for: direct­ly financ­ing a 2024 pres­i­den­tial bid, should he announce plans to run again. But in addi­tion to oth­er cam­paign-like activ­i­ties, Trump could use his PAC to weigh in on Repub­li­can pri­maries through big-mon­ey inde­pen­dent ad buys.

    ...

    Repub­li­cans are acute­ly aware that Trump can wield his plat­form — along with his lead­er­ship PAC war chest and email list, eas­i­ly the most valu­able donor list in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics — as a cud­gel to shape the future of the par­ty.

    “This is about main­tain­ing rel­e­vance in 2022 to poten­tial­ly set up 2024, all while freez­ing the [pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry] field,” said Dan Eber­hart, a major Repub­li­can donor, who also not­ed that if Trump is able to “be a part of the sto­ry of tak­ing back the House” in 2022, then it could “show momen­tum in the midterms, he could be exceed­ing­ly rel­e­vant in 2024.”

    The Trump cam­paign is also eager to stoke the fact that the rank-and-file is still on the president’s side. “These tremen­dous fundrais­ing num­bers show Pres­i­dent Trump remains the leader and source of ener­gy for the Repub­li­can Par­ty, and that his sup­port­ers are ded­i­cat­ed to fight­ing for the right­ful, legal out­come of the 2020 gen­er­al elec­tion,” Bill Stepi­en, Trump 2020 cam­paign man­ag­er, said in a state­ment, allud­ing to the president’s con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that he actu­al­ly won the elec­tion.
    ...

    Yes, the biggest fundrais­ing force in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics today has been rais­ing mon­ey hand-over-fist with hints of 2024 run, but none of that raised mon­ey can actu­al­ly be used for that 2024 run. Every dol­lar donat­ed to Trump’s Save Amer­i­ca PAC is a dol­lar allo­cat­ed towards ensur­ing Trump’s mes­sage dom­i­nates the GOP field head­ing into 2024. He’ll have to raise more mon­ey once he gets the 2024 nom­i­na­tion.

    And that’s all part of the conun­drum fac­ing GOP mega-donors decid­ing where to ‘invest’ their polit­i­cal dona­tions. If they want to stay on Trump’s good side they’re going to have to throw some mon­ey his way. But any mon­ey they give to Trump will just be either embez­zled or spent on ensur­ing he’s got the loud­est voice in the par­ty with the most influ­ence to give Trump a lock on the nom­i­na­tion again in 2024. And yet the ongo­ing suc­cess of his fund-rais­ing from small dol­lar donors demon­strates his endur­ing charis­mat­ic hold on the GOP vot­er base. The suc­cess of the grift against small-donors is evi­dence the mega-donors can’t them­selves ignore the grift either. Trump’s hold on the par­ty is too strong. Again, mon­ey talks. Even when he’s not run­ning for office he’s still the biggest mon­ey sink. Trump has man­aged to obtained a near monop­oly on GOP feal­ty. The par­ty of the grift is now the par­ty of Trump’s per­ma-grift. At least until he expe­ri­ences a heart attack from too many Big Macs or some­thing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 31, 2021, 4:00 pm
  37. When the GOP inevitable retakes con­trol of con­gress there’s going to be hell to pay. That’s long been a tru­ism of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, although it’s usu­al­ly groups like the poor, minori­ties, and active duty sol­diers who end up pay­ing that hell. But if the trend in the fol­low­ing pair of arti­cles con­tin­ues, the groups slat­ed for major pay­back by the GOP include any­one involved in the inves­ti­ga­tion of the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Includ­ing enti­ties that coop­er­ate with the ongo­ing con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tion. An inves­ti­ga­tion run almost entire­ly by the Democ­rats fol­low­ing the GOP’s near com­plete refusal to sup­port it. That’s the pic­ture that emerged after a flur­ry of pub­licly issued threats by Repub­li­can mem­bers of the House, start­ing with House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy, who threat­ened to use a future GOP major­i­ty in the House to pun­ish any telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies that com­plied with the inves­ti­ga­tors’ requests to save records rel­e­vant to the insur­rec­tion. More than 30 com­pa­nies received a request for records from April 1, 2020, to Jan. 31, 2021.

    Not to be out­done, Mar­gorie Tay­lor Green then went on Tuck­er Carl­son’s Fox New show and declared that telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies “will be shut down” if they com­ply with the requests. “That’s a promise”, said Greene. Anoth­er GOP House mem­ber, Jim Banks, also went on Carl­son’s show last week and threat­ened to inves­ti­gate the Democ­rats run­ning the inves­ti­ga­tion once the GOP gets back pow­er. So the com­pa­nies that com­ply with the con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tion will be pun­ished, along with the con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors. This is nar­ra­tive the GOP is devel­op­ing in antic­i­pa­tion of the 2022 elec­tion cycle, where the results of the Democ­ra­t’s inves­ti­ga­tion will like­ly play a promi­nent role. A nar­ra­tive where the Capi­tol Insur­rec­tion inves­ti­ga­tion is itself the grand crime that needs an inves­ti­ga­tion of its own:

    Politi­co

    McCarthy threat­ens com­pa­nies that com­ply with Jan. 6 probe’s phone records requests

    Con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees have rou­tine­ly sub­poe­naed data from pri­vate com­pa­nies, but the House minor­i­ty leader says a future GOP major­i­ty “will not for­get.”

    By MYAH WARD

    08/31/2021 07:02 PM EDT
    Updat­ed: 08/31/2021 08:56 PM EDT

    Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tues­day threat­ened to use a future GOP major­i­ty to pun­ish com­pa­nies that com­ply with the House’s Jan. 6 inves­ti­ga­tors, warn­ing that “a Repub­li­can major­i­ty will not for­get.”

    McCarthy called out Rep. Adam Schiff (D‑Calif.), Rep. Ben­nie Thomp­son (D‑Miss.) and House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi for what he called “attempts to strong-arm pri­vate com­pa­nies to turn over indi­vid­u­als’ pri­vate data.” He assert­ed that such a for­fei­ture of infor­ma­tion would “put every Amer­i­can with a phone or com­put­er in the crosshairs of a sur­veil­lance state run by Demo­c­rat politi­cians.”

    The select pan­el inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion took its first step in obtain­ing phone records on Mon­day, ask­ing an array of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies to save records rel­e­vant to the attack — a request that could include records from some law­mak­ers. More than 30 com­pa­nies, includ­ing Apple, AT&T and Ver­i­zon, received a request for records from April 1, 2020, to Jan. 31, 2021.

    “The Select Com­mit­tee is inves­ti­gat­ing the vio­lent attack on the Capi­tol and attempt to over­turn the results of last year’s elec­tion,” a com­mit­tee spokesper­son said in a state­ment, respond­ing to McCarthy’s threat. “We’ve asked com­pa­nies not to destroy records that may help answer ques­tions for the Amer­i­can peo­ple. The committee’s efforts won’t be deterred by those who want to white­wash or cov­er up the events of Jan­u­ary 6th, or obstruct our inves­ti­ga­tion.”

    On the sub­stance of McCarthy’s com­plaint, con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees have rou­tine­ly used sub­poe­na pow­er to obtain data from pri­vate com­pa­nies, includ­ing phone records, emails and oth­er com­mu­ni­ca­tions. The Jan. 6 com­mit­tee has not iden­ti­fied whose com­mu­ni­ca­tions it is seek­ing, but it has made clear that mem­bers of Con­gress are among the poten­tial tar­gets, which would be a depar­ture from past prac­tices — one that mem­bers of the pan­el have said they believe is war­rant­ed in this case.

    The Demo­c­ra­t­ic-led committee’s inves­ti­ga­tors are look­ing for a fuller pic­ture of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions between then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and mem­bers of Con­gress dur­ing the attack. McCarthy is among the Repub­li­cans known to have spo­ken with Trump on Jan. 6.

    Repub­li­cans have already slammed the investigation’s inter­est in phone records as an “author­i­tar­i­an” over­reach by Democ­rats. Though two anti-Trump Repub­li­can law­mak­ers, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illi­nois, sit on the select pan­el, most of the par­ty vot­ed against the committee’s cre­ation, and GOP sen­a­tors fil­i­bus­tered a bill that would have formed an inde­pen­dent com­mis­sion to inves­ti­gate the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion.

    “If these com­pa­nies com­ply with the Demo­c­rat order to turn over pri­vate infor­ma­tion, they are in vio­la­tion of fed­er­al law and sub­ject to los­ing their abil­i­ty to oper­ate in the Unit­ed States,” McCarthy said in Tuesday’s state­ment. “If com­pa­nies still choose to vio­late fed­er­al law, a Repub­li­can major­i­ty will not for­get and will stand with Amer­i­cans to hold them ful­ly account­able under the law.”

    ...

    ———–

    “McCarthy threat­ens com­pa­nies that com­ply with Jan. 6 probe’s phone records requests” By MYAH WARD; Politi­co; 08/31/2021

    ““If these com­pa­nies com­ply with the Demo­c­rat order to turn over pri­vate infor­ma­tion, they are in vio­la­tion of fed­er­al law and sub­ject to los­ing their abil­i­ty to oper­ate in the Unit­ed States,” McCarthy said in Tuesday’s state­ment. “If com­pa­nies still choose to vio­late fed­er­al law, a Repub­li­can major­i­ty will not for­get and will stand with Amer­i­cans to hold them ful­ly account­able under the law.”

    The GOP is going to sue or sanc­tion or some­how attack any com­pa­nies that “vio­late fed­er­al law” by coop­er­at­ing with this con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tion. It’s come to that. But it’s not just the House Minor­i­ty leader issu­ing these threats. With mem­bers of the GOP cau­cus like Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene and Jim Banks already jump­ing on this band­wag­on, it’s clear that this is going to part of the GOP’s mes­sag­ing head­ing into 2022 as the insur­rec­tion inves­ti­ga­tion plays out. The more facts the Democ­rats unveil about GOP col­lu­sion with the insur­rec­tion­ist mob, the loud­er the GOP is going to clam­or about how ille­gal the inves­ti­ga­tion is and how much pun­ish­ment they’re going to dole out to those who facil­i­tat­ed it. That’s the emerg­ing nar­ra­tive form the GOP as we’re head­ing into the 2022 cam­paign sea­son. As the fol­low­ing Van­i­ty Fair piece reminds us, it’s Steve Ban­non’s “flood the zone with sh#t” strat­e­gy. A nar­ra­tive where the inves­ti­ga­tion of the Cap­i­tal insur­rec­tion was the real assault on democ­ra­cy. An assault that requires pun­ish­ment to ensure it nev­er hap­pens again:

    Van­i­ty Fair

    Repub­li­cans Are Try­ing to Bul­ly Their Way Out of Account­abil­i­ty for Jan­u­ary 6
    Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy says the GOP “will not for­get” which tele­com com­pa­nies coop­er­ate with the Con­gres­sion­al probe, as Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene threat­ens to shut them down.

    By Eric Lutz
    Sep­tem­ber 1, 2021

    Don­ald Trump had a habit of issu­ing vague threats that, in their hazy, over­heat­ed men­ace, usu­al­ly sound­ed like some­thing a child’s idea of a tough guy might say. These com­mi­na­tions were often too strange, too dif­fi­cult to parse to intim­i­date as the for­mer pres­i­dent intend­ed. And yet, they still inspired alarm for what they revealed—or affirmed—about the men­tal state of the man who was lead­ing the nation. He may have thought he was send­ing a mes­sage to the peo­ple inves­ti­gat­ing him and his cam­paign; in real­i­ty, though, he was basi­cal­ly typ­ing all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy over and over, in dif­fer­ent con­fig­u­ra­tions, onto his Twit­ter feed.

    Fac­ing their own inves­ti­ga­tion into their cul­pa­bil­i­ty for the Jan­u­ary 6 riot their boss incit­ed, the GOP has adopt­ed this same, embar­rass­ing bul­ly tactic—and, as when Trump him­self deployed the strat­e­gy, the scari­est thing about it is what it under­scores about the kook­i­ness and craven­ness of those doing the threat­en­ing. On Mon­day, the House pan­el inves­ti­gat­ing the pro-Trump attack on Capi­tol Hill called on phone com­pa­nies to pre­serve com­mu­ni­ca­tions records relat­ed to Jan­u­ary 6, includ­ing, per­haps, those of Trump and some Repub­li­can law­mak­ers. That out­raged mem­bers of the GOP like Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, who told Tuck­er Carl­son on Tues­day that telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies “will be shut down” if they com­ply with requests from Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ben­nie Thomp­son, the chair of the select com­mit­tee prob­ing the riot.

    https://twitter.com/MollyJongFast/status/1432879050826072065

    “That’s a promise,” Greene said.

    The threat was not lim­it­ed to the ever-expand­ing fringes of the par­ty, where Greene and oth­er MAGA acolytes thrive. Hours ear­li­er, House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy, one of the most pow­er­ful Repub­li­cans in Wash­ing­ton, hand­ed down his own omi­nous warn­ing to the com­pa­nies, tweet­ing that “a Repub­li­can major­i­ty will not for­get” if they coop­er­ate with the com­mit­tee request. It’s hard to know what, exact­ly, that means, how the GOP would go about pun­ish­ing pri­vate com­pa­nies for obey­ing a con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­na, or how doing so would not con­sti­tute a far greater gov­ern­ment over­reach than the one they claim Democ­rats are com­mit­ting. The idea here isn’t real­ly to make sense, though; in fact, log­ic and clar­i­ty would only detract from the aim of such threats, which is to “flood the zone with sh it,” as Trump strate­gist Steve Ban­non once explained, until efforts to hold peo­ple account­able and efforts to evade account­abil­i­ty seem indis­tin­guish­able from one anoth­er. “Russ­ian Col­lu­sion Hoax 2.0,” Con­gress­man Mo Brooks, one of the chief insti­ga­tors of the Jan­u­ary 6 attack, tweet­ed Mon­day. “Why not sub­poe­na Social­ists who sup­port BLM & ANTIFA?”

    Brooks, who has good rea­son to oppose the inves­ti­ga­tion, sought to cast the pan­el in that tweet as a group of social­ists and “Pelosi Repub­li­cans” like Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney—two staunch con­ser­v­a­tives who have nev­er­the­less been exiled from their par­ty for hav­ing the temer­i­ty to object to Trump. It may be true that no pro-Trump Repub­li­cans are on the pan­el. But that is because three of those that McCarthy tried to install on it, before rescind­ing all five appoint­ments, were elec­tion objec­tors who helped pro­mote the big lie that led to the attack in ques­tion. One of the McCarthy picks, Jim Banks, went to even more absurd lengths than some of his col­leagues in con­demn­ing the pan­el, sug­gest­ing that con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors them­selves should be pun­ished for what he said in a let­ter to Thomp­son and the com­mu­ni­ca­tions firms was an “author­i­tar­i­an under­tak­ing” with “no con­ceiv­able leg­isla­tive pur­pose.”

    “When we win back the major­i­ty next year,” Banks told Carl­son on Fox News last week, “we have a duty as Repub­li­cans to hold every mem­ber of this com­mit­tee account­able for this abuse of pow­er, for step­ping over the line.”

    ...

    Thomp­son brushed off the warn­ing by McCarthy, whose com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Trump on Jan­u­ary 6 may be of inter­est to the pan­el. “The committee’s efforts won’t be deterred by those who want to white­wash or cov­er up the events of Jan­u­ary 6th, or obstruct our inves­ti­ga­tion,” his pan­el said in a state­ment. But it’s not the daffy intim­i­da­tion cam­paign that should wor­ry him or his con­gres­sion­al investigators—it’s the prospect that, as with oth­er Trump probes, what­ev­er malfea­sance they uncov­er could be drowned out by all the noise.

    ———–

    “Repub­li­cans Are Try­ing to Bul­ly Their Way Out of Account­abil­i­ty for Jan­u­ary 6” by Eric Lutz; Van­i­ty Fair; 09/01/2021

    “The threat was not lim­it­ed to the ever-expand­ing fringes of the par­ty, where Greene and oth­er MAGA acolytes thrive. Hours ear­li­er, House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy, one of the most pow­er­ful Repub­li­cans in Wash­ing­ton, hand­ed down his own omi­nous warn­ing to the com­pa­nies, tweet­ing that “a Repub­li­can major­i­ty will not for­get” if they coop­er­ate with the com­mit­tee request. It’s hard to know what, exact­ly, that means, how the GOP would go about pun­ish­ing pri­vate com­pa­nies for obey­ing a con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­na, or how doing so would not con­sti­tute a far greater gov­ern­ment over­reach than the one they claim Democ­rats are com­mit­ting. The idea here isn’t real­ly to make sense, though; in fact, log­ic and clar­i­ty would only detract from the aim of such threats, which is to “flood the zone with sh it,” as Trump strate­gist Steve Ban­non once explained, until efforts to hold peo­ple account­able and efforts to evade account­abil­i­ty seem indis­tin­guish­able from one anoth­er. “Russ­ian Col­lu­sion Hoax 2.0,” Con­gress­man Mo Brooks, one of the chief insti­ga­tors of the Jan­u­ary 6 attack, tweet­ed Mon­day. “Why not sub­poe­na Social­ists who sup­port BLM & ANTIFA?”

    The ‘ol “flood the zone with sh*t” Steve Ban­non spe­cial move. Is that what we’re see­ing here? A strat­e­gy of sim­ply shout­ing, “No, YOU’RE the crim­i­nals here! No us!”, as loud­ly as pos­si­ble? That’s not doubt part of what’s at work here. But when we hear fig­ures like Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene declare it’s “a promise” that telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies “will be shut down” if they com­ply with requests and Rep Jim Banks announc­ing that, “we have a duty as Repub­li­cans to hold every mem­ber of this com­mit­tee account­able for this abuse of pow­er, for step­ping over the line,” we have to won­der how much of this is just “flood the zone with sh#t” blus­ter as opposed to con­scious moves to lay the ground­work for a grand rais­ing of the stakes. Because if cur­rent trends con­tin­ue, includ­ing the trend of the GOP ful­ly embrac­ing the ‘Chi­na stole the elec­tion for Joe Biden’ nar­ra­tive, it only log­i­cal­ly makes sense that the GOP will start cam­paign­ing on pledges to out­right pros­e­cute and lock up their oppo­nents. The “Lock her up” chants of yes­ter­year are mor­ph­ing into the “Lock them up” chant of 2022. Lock them up over the grand crime of inves­ti­gat­ing the Cap­i­tal insur­rec­tion:

    ...
    Fac­ing their own inves­ti­ga­tion into their cul­pa­bil­i­ty for the Jan­u­ary 6 riot their boss incit­ed, the GOP has adopt­ed this same, embar­rass­ing bul­ly tactic—and, as when Trump him­self deployed the strat­e­gy, the scari­est thing about it is what it under­scores about the kook­i­ness and craven­ness of those doing the threat­en­ing. On Mon­day, the House pan­el inves­ti­gat­ing the pro-Trump attack on Capi­tol Hill called on phone com­pa­nies to pre­serve com­mu­ni­ca­tions records relat­ed to Jan­u­ary 6, includ­ing, per­haps, those of Trump and some Repub­li­can law­mak­ers. That out­raged mem­bers of the GOP like Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, who told Tuck­er Carl­son on Tues­day that telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies “will be shut down” if they com­ply with requests from Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ben­nie Thomp­son, the chair of the select com­mit­tee prob­ing the riot.

    https://twitter.com/MollyJongFast/status/1432879050826072065

    “That’s a promise,” Greene said.

    ...

    Brooks, who has good rea­son to oppose the inves­ti­ga­tion, sought to cast the pan­el in that tweet as a group of social­ists and “Pelosi Repub­li­cans” like Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney—two staunch con­ser­v­a­tives who have nev­er­the­less been exiled from their par­ty for hav­ing the temer­i­ty to object to Trump. It may be true that no pro-Trump Repub­li­cans are on the pan­el. But that is because three of those that McCarthy tried to install on it, before rescind­ing all five appoint­ments, were elec­tion objec­tors who helped pro­mote the big lie that led to the attack in ques­tion. One of the McCarthy picks, Jim Banks, went to even more absurd lengths than some of his col­leagues in con­demn­ing the pan­el, sug­gest­ing that con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors them­selves should be pun­ished for what he said in a let­ter to Thomp­son and the com­mu­ni­ca­tions firms was an “author­i­tar­i­an under­tak­ing” with “no con­ceiv­able leg­isla­tive pur­pose.”

    “When we win back the major­i­ty next year,” Banks told Carl­son on Fox News last week, “we have a duty as Repub­li­cans to hold every mem­ber of this com­mit­tee account­able for this abuse of pow­er, for step­ping over the line.”

    ...

    Thomp­son brushed off the warn­ing by McCarthy, whose com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Trump on Jan­u­ary 6 may be of inter­est to the pan­el. “The committee’s efforts won’t be deterred by those who want to white­wash or cov­er up the events of Jan­u­ary 6th, or obstruct our inves­ti­ga­tion,” his pan­el said in a state­ment. But it’s not the daffy intim­i­da­tion cam­paign that should wor­ry him or his con­gres­sion­al investigators—it’s the prospect that, as with oth­er Trump probes, what­ev­er malfea­sance they uncov­er could be drowned out by all the noise.
    ...

    Will the GOP be able to suc­cess­ful­ly use Steve Ban­non’s “flood the zone with sh%t” strat­e­gy to not only deflect charges relat­ed to the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion but actu­al­ly turn this issue into a cud­gel to attack Democ­rats? That’s the plan. And giv­en the strong odds the GOP re-takes con­trol of the House pure­ly through the pow­er of ger­ry­man­der­ing, it’s a plan the GOP has a very real chance of putting into effect. Which makes this a good time to remind our­selves that Ban­non’s “flood the zone with sh$t” strat­e­gy is mere­ly one part of a much larg­er strat­e­gy to per­ma­nent­ly plunge West­ern soci­eties into a fas­cist fan­ta­sy world­view where up is down, black is white, and the future is con­trolled by fig­ures like Steve Ban­non writ­ing these nar­ra­tives.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 1, 2021, 4:04 pm
  38. With all of the indi­ca­tions that Don­ald Trump’s grip on the GOP isn’t going away any time soon and mur­mur­ings of an immi­nent Trump 2024 rerun announce­ment, here’s a pair of arti­cle about the endur­ing and grow­ing grip on the par­ty by anoth­er lead­ing Amer­i­can fas­cist: Steve Ban­non.

    As we’re going to see, Ban­non appears to have suc­cess­ful­ly led a kind of gueril­la far right cam­paign to take over the Repub­li­can Par­ty at the precinct lev­el this year. And it’s worked. Thou­sands of peo­ple who had no pri­or involve­ment in local pol­i­tics have flood­ed the par­ty at the local precinct lev­el, putting Ban­non-fol­low­ing extrem­ists in the key posi­tions to run local elec­tions. So Steve Ban­non has already put in place an army of peo­ple who are ready and will­ing to inval­i­date future elec­tions Repub­li­cans lose. That all hap­pened just this year.

    It’s all quite rem­i­nis­cent of the Reli­gious Right’s grass­roots takeover of the GOP in the 80’s. But it’s also a reminder that we aren’t real­ly look­ing at a Trumpian takeover of the GOP. Trump’s going to die some day. This is the out­ward fas­cist takeover of the GOP by fig­ures like Ban­non and his army of QAnon-huff­ing hard­core true believ­ers.

    And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle also reminds of, this army of true believ­ers is absolute­ly still intent in revers­ing the 2020 elec­tion results, start­ing with a new march on the Capi­tol sched­uled for Sep­tem­ber 18. The “Jus­tice for J6” March, first announced on a July 30 episode of Steve Ban­non’s pod­cast, is being orga­nized by Matt Bray­nard, the head of data for the 2016 Trump cam­paign. The ral­ly will focus on ‘seek­ing jus­tice for Capi­tol riot defend­ents’. In oth­er words, they’re going to declare the jailed insur­rec­tion­ists polit­i­cal pris­on­ers and demand their release. Because the insur­rec­tion nev­er hap­pened, you see. Don’t believe your lying eyes: it’s the per­fect ral­ly­ing cry for mod­ern fas­cism:

    WUSA9

    Capi­tol Police offi­cers told to pre­pare for fence to return ahead of ‘Jus­tice for J6’ protest

    A final deci­sion to re-install the fence has not been made, as law enforce­ment review intel­li­gence about the Sept. 18 ral­ly.

    Author: Mike Vale­rio
    Pub­lished: 6:19 PM EDT Sep­tem­ber 2, 2021
    Updat­ed: 11:27 PM EDT Sep­tem­ber 2, 2021

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Capi­tol Police offi­cers have been told to pre­pare for fenc­ing to return to the Capi­tol com­plex, ahead of an alt-right ral­ly sched­uled for Sept. 18. A deci­sion on whether to re-install the impos­ing bar­ri­ers has not been final­ized, as intel­li­gence on the upcom­ing “Jus­tice for J6” ral­ly is exam­ined, offi­cials famil­iar with the mat­ter said.

    The Capi­tol Police offi­cers said they were first told to be ready for fence recon­struc­tion dur­ing a roll call meet­ing about two weeks ago – a hud­dle when depart­ment lead­ers brief offi­cers on dai­ly mat­ters, changes in pro­ce­dure, and upcom­ing events.

    The roll call dis­cus­sions con­cern­ing recon­struct­ed Capi­tol fenc­ing have not been pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed.

    The “Jus­tice for J6” ral­ly is sched­uled for this month near the west front of the Capi­tol – a protest sup­port­ing jailed Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion defen­dants.

    Matt Bray­nard, the head of data for the 2016 Trump cam­paign, announced the gath­er­ing on Steve Bannon’s pod­cast this sum­mer, issu­ing a clar­i­on call for his fol­low­ers to seek jus­tice for Capi­tol riot defen­dants.

    “As we con­tin­ue to raise the pro­file of these indi­vid­u­als, it makes it hard­er and hard­er for the left’s pho­ny nar­ra­tive about an insur­rec­tion to stick,” Bray­nard said on Bannon’s pod­cast July 30. “What’s going to define [the ral­ly] is where it’s going to take place: we’re going back to the Capi­tol.”

    Around the time of the USCP roll call dis­cus­sions, Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police sent a flash alert to all mem­bers of the depart­ment con­vey­ing a full acti­va­tion of the District’s police force on Sept. 18.

    “In antic­i­pa­tion of First Amend­ment activ­i­ties on Sat­ur­day, Sep­tem­ber 18, 2021, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police Depart­ment will be ful­ly pre­pared,” the depart­ment said after WUSA9 first report­ed the alert. “As with all First Amend­ment demon­stra­tions, MPD will be mon­i­tor­ing and assess­ing the activ­i­ties and plan­ning accord­ing­ly with our fed­er­al law enforce­ment part­ners. MPD will have an increased pres­ence around the city where demon­stra­tions will be tak­ing place and will be pre­pared to make street clo­sures for pub­lic safe­ty.”

    ??LATEST » US Capi­tol Police offi­cers have been told at roll call to pre­pare for Capi­tol fence to return for Sept 18 ral­ly, although a final deci­sion has not yet been made.

    Details are accord­ing to USCP offi­cers 1st noti­fied of pos­si­bil­i­ty ˜ 2 weeks agohttps://t.co/qY27pTtztV
    — Mike Vale­rio (@MikevWUSA) Sep­tem­ber 2, 2021

    Offi­cials famil­iar with the dis­cus­sions told CBS News on Wednes­day Capi­tol Police lead­er­ship are await­ing final reviews of intel­li­gence sur­round­ing the ral­ly. Two sources famil­iar with the intel­li­gence said mem­bers of far-right extrem­ist groups includ­ing the Proud Boys and Oath Keep­ers are plan­ning to attend the event, demand­ing the release of hun­dreds charged in the insur­rec­tion.

    ...

    ————

    “Capi­tol Police offi­cers told to pre­pare for fence to return ahead of ‘Jus­tice for J6’ protest” by Mike Vale­rio; WUSA9; 09/02/2021

    ““As we con­tin­ue to raise the pro­file of these indi­vid­u­als, it makes it hard­er and hard­er for the left’s pho­ny nar­ra­tive about an insur­rec­tion to stick,” Bray­nard said on Bannon’s pod­cast July 30. “What’s going to define [the ral­ly] is where it’s going to take place: we’re going back to the Capi­tol.””

    The “left’s pho­ny nar­ra­tive about an insur­rec­tion” will crum­ble have hun­dreds of Proud Boys and Oath Keep­ers descend on the Nation­al Mall to raise the pro­files of the jailed indi­vid­u­als. So is it going to be ral­ly that basi­cal­ly pub­licly cel­e­brates the jailed insur­rec­tion­ists? Per­haps, but the pri­ma­ry mes­sage of the ral­ly is clear: there was no insur­rec­tion. It nev­er hap­pened. All those videos of peo­ple storm­ing the Capi­tol nev­er hap­pened. It’s not real. What is real is the theft of the elec­tion from Don­ald Trump and grand glob­al Com­mu­nist Satan­ic Illu­mi­nati left­ist con­spir­a­cy that threat­ens decent peo­ple every­where. The psy­cho­log­i­cal stunt of sell­ing and rein­forc­ing that mes­sage appears to be the real goal of this planned ral­ly.

    But as the fol­low­ing Pro Pub­li­ca piece makes clear, these calls for future ral­lies on the Nation­al Mall are just one part of an ongo­ing move­ment led by fig­ures like Steve Ban­non to ensure Repub­li­cans can’t lose future elec­tions. Start­ing in Feb­ru­ary of this year, Ban­non has turned his pro­gram into a plat­form for pro­mot­ing a ‘precinct strat­e­gy’ focused on get­ting Trump­ist die hard fol­low­ers into local precinct-lev­el par­ty posi­tions. Posi­tions direct­ly involved with the admin­is­tra­tion of elec­tions. As the peo­ple behind this move­ment char­ac­ter­ize it, this is the last alter­na­tive to vio­lence. So the Ban­non-led move­ment that con­tin­ues to threat­en the US with future insur­rec­tions is also cur­rent­ly in the midst of tak­ing over the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s bureau­cra­cy involved with the admin­is­tra­tion of elec­tion and they’re telling us they’re tak­ing con­trol of these elec­tions as a last ditch effort to avoid vio­lence:

    Pro Pub­li­ca

    Heed­ing Steve Bannon’s Call, Elec­tion Deniers Orga­nize to Seize Con­trol of the GOP — and Reshape America’s Elec­tions

    by Isaac Arns­dorf, Doug Bock Clark, Alexan­dra Berzon and Anjeanette Damon

    Sept. 2, 2021 5 a.m. EDT

    The stolen elec­tion myth inspired thou­sands of Trump sup­port­ers to take over the Repub­li­can Par­ty at the local lev­el, exert­ing more par­ti­san influ­ence on how elec­tions are run.

    One of the loud­est voic­es urg­ing Don­ald Trump’s sup­port­ers to push for over­turn­ing the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion results was Steve Ban­non. “We’re on the point of attack,” Ban­non, a for­mer Trump advis­er and far-right nation­al­ist, pledged on his pop­u­lar pod­cast on Jan. 5. “All hell will break loose tomor­row.” The next morn­ing, as thou­sands massed on the Nation­al Mall for a ral­ly that turned into an attack on the Capi­tol, Ban­non fired up his lis­ten­ers: “It’s them against us. Who can impose their will on the oth­er side?”

    When the insur­rec­tion failed, Ban­non con­tin­ued his cam­paign for his for­mer boss by oth­er means. On his “War Room” pod­cast, which has tens of mil­lions of down­loads, Ban­non said Pres­i­dent Trump lost because the Repub­li­can Par­ty sold him out. “This is your call to action,” Ban­non said in Feb­ru­ary, a few weeks after Trump had par­doned him of fed­er­al fraud charges.

    The solu­tion, Ban­non announced, was to seize con­trol of the GOP from the bot­tom up. Lis­ten­ers should flood into the low­est rung of the par­ty struc­ture: the precincts. “It’s going to be a fight, but this is a fight that must be won, we don’t have an option,” Ban­non said on his show in May. “We’re going to take this back vil­lage by vil­lage … precinct by precinct.”

    Precinct offi­cers are the work­er bees of polit­i­cal par­ties, typ­i­cal­ly respon­si­ble for rou­tine tasks like mak­ing phone calls or knock­ing on doors. But col­lec­tive­ly, they can influ­ence how elec­tions are run. In some states, they have a say in choos­ing poll work­ers, and in oth­ers they help pick mem­bers of boards that over­see elec­tions.

    After Bannon’s endorse­ment, the “precinct strat­e­gy” rock­et­ed across far-right media. Viral posts pro­mot­ing the plan racked up mil­lions of views on pro-Trump web­sites, talk radio, fringe social net­works and mes­sage boards, and pro­grams aligned with the QAnon con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry.

    Sud­den­ly, peo­ple who had nev­er before showed inter­est in par­ty pol­i­tics start­ed call­ing the local GOP head­quar­ters or crowd­ing into coun­ty con­ven­tions, eager to enlist as precinct offi­cers. They showed up in states Trump won and in states he lost, in deep-red rur­al areas, in swing-vot­ing sub­urbs and in pop­u­lous cities.

    In Wis­con­sin, for instance, new GOP recruits are becom­ing poll work­ers. Coun­ty clerks who run elec­tions in the state are required to hire par­ties’ nom­i­nees. The par­ties once passed on sug­gest­ing names, but now hard­line Repub­li­can coun­ty chairs are mov­ing to use those pow­ers.

    “We’re sign­ing up elec­tion inspec­tors like crazy right now,” said Out­agamie Coun­ty par­ty chair Matt Albert, using the state’s for­mal term for poll work­ers. Albert, who held a “Stop the Steal” ral­ly dur­ing Wisconsin’s Novem­ber recount, said Bannon’s pod­cast had played a role in the burst of enthu­si­asm.

    ProP­ub­li­ca con­tact­ed GOP lead­ers in 65 key coun­ties, and 41 report­ed an unusu­al increase in signups since Bannon’s cam­paign began. At least 8,500 new Repub­li­can precinct offi­cers (or equiv­a­lent low­est-lev­el offi­cials) joined those coun­ty par­ties. We also looked at equiv­a­lent Demo­c­ra­t­ic posts and found no sim­i­lar surge.

    “I’ve nev­er seen any­thing like this, peo­ple are com­ing out of the wood­work,” said J.C. Mar­tin, the GOP chair­man in Polk Coun­ty, Flori­da, who has added 50 new com­mit­tee mem­bers since Jan­u­ary. Mar­tin had want­ed con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans to over­turn the elec­tion on Jan. 6, and he wel­comed this wave of like-mind­ed new­com­ers. “The most recent time we saw this type of thing was the tea par­ty, and this is way beyond it.”

    ...

    While par­ty offi­cials large­ly cred­it­ed Bannon’s pod­cast with dri­ving the surge of new precinct offi­cers, it’s impos­si­ble to know the moti­va­tions of each new recruit. Precinct offi­cers are not cen­tral­ly tracked any­where, and it was not pos­si­ble to exam­ine all 3,000 coun­ties nation­wide. ProP­ub­li­ca focused on polit­i­cal­ly com­pet­i­tive places that were dis­cussed as tar­gets in far-right media.

    The tea par­ty back­lash to for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s elec­tion fore­shad­owed Repub­li­can gains in the 2010 midterm. Pres­i­den­tial loss­es often ener­gize par­ty activists, and it would not be the first time that a candidate’s fac­tion tried to con­sol­i­date con­trol over the par­ty appa­ra­tus with the aim of win­ning the next elec­tion.

    What’s dif­fer­ent this time is an uncom­pro­mis­ing focus on elec­tions them­selves. The new move­ment is built entire­ly around Trump’s insis­tence that the elec­toral sys­tem failed in 2020 and that Repub­li­cans can’t let it hap­pen again. The result is a nation­wide groundswell of par­ty activists whose cen­tral goal is not mere­ly to win elec­tions but to reshape their machin­ery.

    “They feel Pres­i­dent Trump was right­ful­ly elect­ed pres­i­dent and it was tak­en from him,” said Michael Bar­nett, the GOP chair­man in Palm Beach Coun­ty, Flori­da, who has enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly added 90 exec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers this year. “They feel their involve­ment in upcom­ing elec­tions will pre­vent some­thing like that from hap­pen­ing again.”

    It has only been a few months — too soon to say whether the wave of new­com­ers will ulti­mate­ly suc­ceed in reshap­ing the GOP or how they will affect Repub­li­can prospects in upcom­ing elec­tions. But what’s already clear is that these up-and-com­ing par­ty offi­cers have notched ear­ly wins.

    In Michi­gan, one of the main orga­niz­ers recruit­ing new precinct offi­cers pushed for the ouster of the state party’s exec­u­tive direc­tor, who con­tra­dict­ed Trump’s claim that the elec­tion was stolen and who lat­er resigned. In Las Vegas, a hand­ful of Proud Boys, part of the extrem­ist group whose mem­bers have been charged in attack­ing the Capi­tol, sup­port­ed a bid to top­ple mod­er­ates con­trol­ling the coun­ty par­ty — a dis­pute that’s now in court.

    In Phoenix, new precinct offi­cers peti­tioned to unseat coun­ty offi­cials who refused to coop­er­ate with the state Sen­ate Repub­li­cans’ “foren­sic audit” of 2020 bal­lots. Sim­i­lar audits are now being pur­sued by new precinct offi­cers in Michi­gan and the Car­oli­nas. Out­side Atlanta, new local par­ty lead­ers helped elect a state law­mak­er who cham­pi­oned Georgia’s sweep­ing new vot­ing restric­tions.

    And precinct orga­niz­ers are hop­ing to advance can­di­dates such as Matthew DePer­no, a Michi­gan attor­ney gen­er­al hope­ful who Repub­li­can state sen­a­tors said in a report had spread “mis­lead­ing and irre­spon­si­ble” mis­in­for­ma­tion about the elec­tion, and Mark Finchem, a mem­ber of the Oath Keep­ers mili­tia who marched to the Capi­tol on Jan. 6 and is now run­ning to be Arizona’s top elec­tions offi­cial. DePer­no did not respond to requests for com­ment, and Finchem asked for ques­tions to be sent by email and then did not respond. Finchem has said he did not enter the Capi­tol or have any­thing to do with the vio­lence. He has also said the Oath Keep­ers are not anti-gov­ern­ment.

    When Ban­non inter­viewed Finchem on an April pod­cast, he wrapped up a seg­ment about Ari­zona Repub­li­cans’ efforts to reex­am­ine the 2020 results by ask­ing Finchem how lis­ten­ers could help. Finchem answered by pro­mot­ing the precinct strat­e­gy. “The only way you’re going to see to it this doesn’t hap­pen again is if you get involved,” Finchem said. “Become a precinct com­mit­tee­man.”

    Some of the new precinct offi­cers were in the crowd that marched to the Capi­tol on Jan. 6, accord­ing to inter­views and social media posts; one Texas precinct chair was arrest­ed for assault­ing police in Wash­ing­ton. He plead­ed not guilty. Many of the new activists have said pub­licly that they sup­port QAnon, the online con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that believes Trump was work­ing to root out a glob­al child sex traf­fick­ing ring. Orga­niz­ers of the move­ment have encour­aged sup­port­ers to bring weapons to demon­stra­tions. In Las Vegas and Savan­nah, Geor­gia, new­com­ers were so dis­rup­tive that they shut down lead­er­ship elec­tions.

    “They’re not going to be wel­comed with open arms,” Ban­non said, address­ing the alter­ca­tions on an April pod­cast. “But hey, was it nasty at Lex­ing­ton?” he said, cit­ing the open­ing bat­tle of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion. “Was it nasty at Con­cord? Was it nasty at Bunker Hill?”

    ‘We Can Take Over The Par­ty If We Invade It’

    Ban­non plucked the precinct strat­e­gy out of obscu­ri­ty. For more than a decade, a lit­tle-known Ari­zona tea par­ty activist named Daniel J. Schultz has been preach­ing the plan. Schultz failed to gain trac­tion, despite win­ning a $5,000 prize from con­ser­v­a­tive direct-mail pio­neer Richard Viguerie in 2013 and mak­ing a 2015 pitch on Bannon’s far-right web­site, Bre­it­bart. Schultz did not respond to repeat­ed requests for com­ment.

    In Decem­ber, Schultz appeared on Bannon’s pod­cast to argue that Repub­li­can-con­trolled state leg­is­la­tures should nul­li­fy the elec­tion results and throw their state’s Elec­toral Col­lege votes to Trump. If law­mak­ers failed to do that, Ban­non asked, would it be the end of the Repub­li­can Par­ty? Not if Trump sup­port­ers took over the par­ty by seiz­ing precinct posts, Schultz answered, begin­ning to explain his plan. Ban­non cut him off, offer­ing to return to the idea anoth­er time.

    That time came in Feb­ru­ary. Schultz returned to Bannon’s pod­cast, imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ing Mike Lin­dell, the MyP­il­low CEO who spouts base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about the 2020 elec­tion.

    “We can take over the par­ty if we invade it,” Schultz said. “I can’t guar­an­tee you that we’ll save the repub­lic, but I can guar­an­tee you this: We’ll lose it if we con­ser­v­a­tives don’t take over the Repub­li­can Par­ty.”

    Ban­non endorsed Schultz’s plan, telling “all the unwashed mass­es in the MAGA move­ment, the deplorables” to take up this cause. Ban­non said he had more than 400,000 lis­ten­ers, a count that could not be inde­pen­dent­ly ver­i­fied.

    Ban­non brought Schultz back on the show at least eight more times, along­side guests such as embat­tled Flori­da con­gress­man Matt Gaetz, a lead­ing defend­er of peo­ple jailed on Capi­tol riot charges.

    The expo­sure launched Schultz into a full-blown far-right media tour. In Feb­ru­ary, Schultz spoke on a pod­cast with Tra­cy “Beanz” Diaz, a lead­ing pop­u­lar­iz­er of QAnon. In an episode titled “THIS Is How We Win,” Diaz said of Schultz, “I was wait­ing, I was wish­ing and hop­ing for the uni­verse to deliv­er some­one like him.”

    Schultz him­self calls QAnon “a joke.” Nev­er­the­less, he pro­mot­ed his precinct strat­e­gy on at least three more QAnon pro­grams in recent months, accord­ing to Media Mat­ters, a Demo­c­ra­t­ic-aligned group track­ing right-wing con­tent. “I want to see many of you going and doing this,” host Zak Paine said on one of the shows in May.

    Schultz’s strat­e­gy also got a boost from anoth­er promi­nent QAnon pro­mot­er: for­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advis­er Michael Fly­nn, who urged Trump to impose mar­tial law and “rerun” the elec­tion. On a May online talk show, Fly­nn told lis­ten­ers to fill “thou­sands of posi­tions that are vacant at the local lev­el.”

    Precinct recruit­ment is now “the fore­front of our mis­sion” for Turn­ing Point Action, accord­ing to the right-wing organization’s web­site. The group’s par­ent orga­ni­za­tion bussed Trump sup­port­ers to Wash­ing­ton for Jan. 6, includ­ing at least one per­son who was lat­er charged with assault­ing police. He plead­ed not guilty. In July, Turn­ing Point brought Trump to speak in Phoenix, where he called the 2020 elec­tion “the great­est crime in his­to­ry.” Out­side, red-capped vol­un­teers signed peo­ple up to become precinct chairs.

    Orga­niz­ers from around the coun­try start­ed hud­dling with Schultz for week­ly Zoom meet­ings. The meet­ings’ host, far-right blog­ger Jim Con­dit Jr. of Cincin­nati, kicked off a July call by describ­ing the precinct strat­e­gy as the last alter­na­tive to vio­lence. “It’s the only idea,” Con­dit said, “unless you want to pick up guns like the Found­ing Fathers did in 1776 and start to try to take back our coun­try by the Sec­ond Amend­ment, which none of us want to do.”

    By the next week, though, Schultz sug­gest­ed the new precinct offi­cials might not stay peace­ful. Schultz belonged to a mail­ing list for a group of mil­i­tary, law enforce­ment and intel­li­gence vet­er­ans called the “1st Amend­ment Prae­to­ri­an” that orga­nizes secu­ri­ty for Fly­nn and oth­er pro-Trump fig­ures. Back in the 1990s, Schultz wrote an arti­cle defend­ing armed anti-gov­ern­ment mili­tias like those involved in that decade’s dead­ly clash­es with fed­er­al agents in Ruby Ridge, Ida­ho, and Waco, Texas.

    “Make sure everybody’s got a base­ball bat,” Schultz said on the July strat­e­gy con­fer­ence call, which was post­ed on YouTube. “I’m seri­ous about this. Make sure you’ve got peo­ple who are armed.”

    ‘When Are You Going To Call Us To Wash­ing­ton Again?’

    The sud­den demand for low-pro­file precinct posi­tions baf­fled some par­ty lead­ers. In Fort Worth, coun­ty chair Rick Barnes said numer­ous callers asked about becom­ing a “precinct com­mit­tee­man,” quot­ing the term used on Bannon’s pod­cast. That sug­gest­ed that out-of-state encour­age­ment played a role in prompt­ing the calls, since Texas’s term for the posi­tion is “precinct chair.” Tar­rant Coun­ty has added 61 precinct chairs this year, about a 24% increase since Feb­ru­ary. “Those pod­casts actu­al­ly paid off,” Barnes said.

    For weeks, about five peo­ple a day called to become precinct chairs in Out­agamie Coun­ty, Wis­con­sin, south­west of Green Bay. Albert, the coun­ty par­ty chair, said he would explain that Wis­con­sin has no precinct chairs, but new­com­ers could join the coun­ty par­ty — and then become poll work­ers. “We’re try­ing to make sure that our voice is now being rein­sert­ed into the process,” Albert said.

    Sim­i­lar­ly, the GOP in Cum­ber­land Coun­ty, Penn­syl­va­nia, is field­ing a surge of vol­un­teers for precinct com­mit­tee mem­bers, but also for elec­tion judges or inspec­tors, which are par­ty-affil­i­at­ed elect­ed posi­tions in that state. “Who knows what hap­pened on Elec­tion Day for real,” coun­ty chair Lou Capozzi said in an inter­view. The coun­ty GOP sent two bus­loads of peo­ple to Wash­ing­ton for Jan. 6 and Capozzi said they stayed peace­ful. “Peo­ple want to make sure elec­tions remain hon­est.”

    Else­where, activists inspired by the precinct strat­e­gy have tar­get­ed local elec­tion boards. In DeKalb Coun­ty, east of Atlanta, the GOP cen­sured a long-serv­ing Repub­li­can board mem­ber who reject­ed claims of wide­spread fraud in 2020. To replace him, new par­ty chair Mar­ci McCarthy tapped a far-right activist known for false, offen­sive state­ments. The par­ty nom­i­nees to the elec­tion board have to be approved by a judge, and the judge in this case reject­ed McCarthy’s pick, cit­ing an “extra­or­di­nary” pub­lic out­cry. McCarthy defend­ed her choice but ulti­mate­ly set­tled for some­one less con­tro­ver­sial.

    In Raleigh, North Car­oli­na, more than 1,000 peo­ple attend­ed the coun­ty GOP con­ven­tion in March, up from the typ­i­cal 300 to 400. The chair they elect­ed, Alan Swain, swift­ly formed an “elec­tion integri­ty com­mit­tee” that’s lob­by­ing law­mak­ers to restrict vot­ing and audit the 2020 results. “We’re all about vot­er and elec­tion integri­ty,” Swain said in an inter­view.

    In the rur­al west­ern part of the state, too, a wave of peo­ple who heard Bannon’s pod­cast or were furi­ous about per­ceived elec­tion fraud swept into coun­ty par­ties, accord­ing to the new dis­trict chair, Michele Wood­house. The district’s mem­ber of Con­gress, Rep. Madi­son Cawthorn, addressed a crowd at one coun­ty head­quar­ters on Aug. 29, at an event that includ­ed a raf­fle for a shot­gun.

    “If our elec­tion sys­tems con­tin­ue to be rigged and con­tin­ue to be stolen, it’s going to lead to one place, and it’s blood­shed,” Cawthorn said, in remarks livestreamed on Face­book, short­ly after hold­ing the prize shot­gun, which he auto­graphed. “That’s right,” the audi­ence cheered. Cawthorn went on, “As much as I’m will­ing to defend our lib­er­ty at all costs, there’s noth­ing that I would dread doing more than hav­ing to pick up arms against a fel­low Amer­i­can, and the way we can have recourse against that is if we all pas­sion­ate­ly demand that we have elec­tion secu­ri­ty in all 50 states.”

    After Cawthorn referred to peo­ple arrest­ed on Jan. 6 charges as “polit­i­cal hostages,” some­one asked, “When are you going to call us to Wash­ing­ton again?” The crowd laughed and clapped as Cawthorn answered, “We are active­ly work­ing on that one.”

    Ari­zona

    Schultz has offered his own state of Ari­zona as a proof of con­cept for how precinct offi­cers can reshape the par­ty. The result, Schultz has said, is actions like the state Sen­ate Repub­li­cans’ “foren­sic audit” of Mari­co­pa County’s 2020 bal­lots. The “audit,” con­duct­ed by a pri­vate firm with no expe­ri­ence in elec­tions and whose CEO has spread con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, has includ­ed efforts to iden­ti­fy fraud­u­lent bal­lots from Asia by search­ing for traces of bam­boo. Schultz has urged activists demand­ing sim­i­lar audits in oth­er states to start by becom­ing precinct offi­cers.

    “Because we’ve got the audit, there’s very height­ened and intense pub­lic inter­est in the last cam­paign, and of course mak­ing sure elec­tion laws are tight­ened,” said San­dra Dowl­ing, a dis­trict chair in north­west Mari­co­pa and north­ern Yuma Coun­ty whose precinct ros­ter grew by 63% in less than six months. Though Dowl­ing says some oth­er dis­trict chairs screen their appli­cants, she doesn’t. “I don’t care,” she said.

    One chair who does screen appli­cants is Kathy Pet­sas, a life­long Repub­li­can whose dis­trict spans Phoenix and Par­adise Val­ley. She also saw appli­ca­tions explode ear­li­er this year. Many told her that Schultz had recruit­ed them, and some said they believed in QAnon. “Being moti­vat­ed by con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries is no way to go through life, and no way for us to build a high-func­tion­ing par­ty,” Pet­sas said. “That atti­tude can’t pre­vail.”

    As waves of new precinct offi­cers flood­ed into the coun­ty par­ty, Pet­sas was dis­mayed to see some peti­tion­ing to recall their own Repub­li­can coun­ty super­vi­sors for refus­ing to coop­er­ate with the Sen­ate GOP’s audit.

    “It is not help­ful to our democ­ra­cy when you have peo­ple who stand up and do the right thing and are hon­est com­mu­ni­ca­tors about what’s going on, and they get lam­bast­ed by our own par­ty,” Pet­sas said. “That’s a prob­lem.”

    South Car­oli­na

    This spring, a team of dis­af­fect­ed Repub­li­can oper­a­tives put Schultz’s precinct strat­e­gy into action in South Car­oli­na, a state that plays an out­size role in choos­ing pres­i­dents because of its ear­ly pri­maries. The oper­a­tives’ goal was to secure enough del­e­gates to the party’s state con­ven­tion to elect a new chair: far-right celebri­ty lawyer Lin Wood.

    Wood was involved with some of the law­suits to over­turn the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion that courts repeat­ed­ly ruled mer­it­less, or even sanc­tion­able. After the elec­tion, Wood said on Bannon’s pod­cast, “I think the audi­ence has to do what the peo­ple that were our Found­ing Fathers did in 1776.” On Twit­ter, Wood called for exe­cut­ing Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence by fir­ing squad. Wood lat­er said it was “rhetor­i­cal hyper­bole,” but that and oth­er incen­di­ary lan­guage got him banned from main­stream social media. He switched to Telegram, an encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing app favored by deplat­formed right-wing influ­encers, amass­ing rough­ly 830,000 fol­low­ers while repeat­ed­ly pro­mot­ing the QAnon con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry.

    Asked for com­ment about his polit­i­cal efforts, Wood respond­ed, “Most of your ‘facts’ are either false or mis­rep­re­sent the truth.” He declined to cite specifics.

    Typ­i­cal­ly, precinct meet­ings were “a yawn­er,” accord­ing to Mike Con­nett, a long­time par­ty mem­ber in Hor­ry Coun­ty, best known for its pop­u­lar beach towns. But in April, Con­nett and oth­er estab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans were caught off guard when 369 peo­ple, many of them new­com­ers, showed up for the coun­ty con­ven­tion in North Myr­tle Beach. Con­nett lost a race for a lead­er­ship role to Diaz, the promi­nent QAnon sup­port­er, and Wood’s fac­tion cap­tured the county’s oth­er exec­u­tive posi­tions plus 35 of 48 del­e­gate slots, enabling them to cast most of the county’s votes for Wood at the state con­ven­tion. “It seemed like a pret­ty clean takeover,” Con­nett told ProP­ub­li­ca.

    In Greenville, the state’s most pop­u­lous coun­ty, Wood cam­paign orga­niz­ers Jeff Davis and Press­ley Stutts mobi­lized a surge of sup­port­ers at the coun­ty con­ven­tion — about 1,400 del­e­gates, up from rough­ly 550 in 2019 — and swept almost all of the 79 del­e­gate posi­tions. That gave Wood’s fac­tion the vast major­i­ty of the votes in two of South Carolina’s biggest del­e­ga­tions.

    Across the state, the precinct strat­e­gy was con­tribut­ing to an unprece­dent­ed surge in local par­ty par­tic­i­pa­tion, accord­ing to data pro­vid­ed by a state GOP spokes­woman. In 2019, 4,296 peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ed. This year, 8,524 did.

    “It’s a prairie fire down there in Greenville, South Car­oli­na, brought on by the MAGA posse,” Ban­non said on his pod­cast.

    Estab­lish­ment par­ty lead­ers real­ized they had to take Wood’s chal­lenge seri­ous­ly. The incum­bent chair, Drew McKissick, had Trump’s endorse­ment three times over — includ­ing twice after Wood entered the race. But Wood fought back by repeat­ed­ly imply­ing that McKissick and oth­er promi­nent state Repub­li­cans were cor­rupt and involved in var­i­ous con­spir­a­cies that seemed relat­ed to QAnon. The race became heat­ed enough that after one event, Wood and McKissick exchanged angry words face-to-face.

    Wood’s ral­lies were rau­cous affairs packed with hun­dreds of peo­ple, ener­gized by right-wing celebri­ties like Fly­nn and Lin­dell. In inter­views, many atten­dees described the events as their first for­ay into pol­i­tics, some­times ref­er­enc­ing Schultz and always cit­ing Trump’s stolen elec­tion myth. Some said they’d resort to vio­lence if they felt an elec­tion was stolen again.

    Wood’s cam­paign wob­bled in coun­ties that the precinct strat­e­gy had not yet reached. i>At the state con­ven­tion in May, Wood won about 30% of the del­e­gates, com­mand­ing Hor­ry, Greenville and some sur­round­ing coun­ties, but fal­ter­ing else­where. A tri­umphant McKissick called Wood’s sup­port­ers “a fringe, rogue group” and vowed to turn them into a “lep­er colony” by build­ing par­al­lel Repub­li­can orga­ni­za­tions in their ter­ri­to­ry.

    But Wood and his par­ti­sans did not act defeat­ed. The chair­man­ship elec­tion, they argued, was as rigged as the 2020 pres­i­den­tial race. Wood threw a lav­ish par­ty at his rough­ly 2,000-acre low-coun­try estate, secured by armed guards and sur­veil­lance cam­eras. From a stage fit for a rock con­cert on the lawn of one of his three man­sions, Wood promised the fight would con­tin­ue.

    Diaz and her allies in Hor­ry Coun­ty vot­ed to cen­sure McKissick. The county’s long­time Repub­li­cans tried, but failed, to oust Diaz and her cohort after one of the peo­ple involved in draft­ing Wood tack­led a pro­test­er at a Fly­nn speech in Greenville. (This inci­dent, the details of which are dis­put­ed, prompt­ed Schultz to encour­age precinct strat­e­gy activists to arm them­selves.) Wood con­tin­ued pro­mot­ing the precinct strat­e­gy to his Telegram fol­low­ers, and scores replied that they were sign­ing up.

    In late July, Stutts and Davis forced out Greenville Coun­ty GOP’s few remain­ing estab­lish­ment lead­ers, claim­ing that they had cheat­ed in the first elec­tion. Then Stutts, Davis and an ally won a new elec­tion to fill those vacant seats. “They sound like Democ­rats, right?” Ban­non asked Stutts in a pod­cast inter­view. Stutts replied, “They taught the Democ­rats how to cheat, Steve.”

    Stutts’ group quick­ly pushed for an inves­ti­ga­tion of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, plan­ning a ral­ly fea­tur­ing Davis and Wood at the end of August, and began cam­paign­ing against vac­cine and school mask man­dates. “I pre­fer dan­ger­ous free­dom over peace­ful slav­ery,” Stutts had pre­vi­ous­ly post­ed on Face­book, quot­ing Thomas Jef­fer­son. Stutts con­tin­ued post­ing mes­sages skep­ti­cal of vac­cine and mask man­dates even after he entered the hos­pi­tal with a severe case of COVID-19. He died on Aug. 19.

    Geor­gia

    The hub­bub got so loud inside the Cobb Coun­ty, Geor­gia, Repub­li­can head­quar­ters that it took sev­er­al shouts and whis­tles to get everyone’s atten­tion. It was a full house for Salleigh Grubbs’ first meet­ing as the county’s par­ty chair. Grubbs ran on a vow to “clean house” in the elec­tion sys­tem, high­light­ing her Decem­ber tes­ti­mo­ny to state law­mak­ers in which she rai