More to ignore, Book 61........

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ginni Thomas is very unlikely to appear before Jan. 6 committee but other key witnesses lining up
Brandi Buchman

Don’t hold your breath waiting for an appearance by Ginni Thomas before the Jan. 6 committee. Once the public hearings finally get underway next month, viewers may see witnesses hauled in from some of the highest-ranking offices in the White House and Department of Justice.

The Republican activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has come into sharp relief as her efforts behind the scenes to overturn the results of the 2020 election have been exposed. Just last week, Thomas made headlines—again— after The Washington Post obtained emails she sent to two Arizona legislators urging them to throw out the popular vote for Joe Biden and give the defeated and outgoing President Donald Trump a “clean slate of electors.”
.........

On Friday, the Post, citing sources familiar with the probe’s inner workings, reported that Thomas is unlikely to appear for questions publicly and that investigators have put plans to interview her privately “on ice” for now. Trump and the direct role he played in the weeks leading up to the insurrection are to take center stage and according to the Post, the committee doesn’t want anyone trumping Trump.

Further, the actual evidence amassed so far involving Thomas hasn’t “warranted” an interview:


“The committee isn’t prioritizing engagement with witnesses based on political considerations. These decisions are about what best advances the investigation as we prepare for hearings and develop our findings and recommendations,” a person familiar with the investigation said.

The final witness list for the committee's public hearings has yet to be released, and it isn’t quite clear who will show. One of former Vice President Mike Pence’s aides is expected to testify, the Post reported Friday, and that has been something circulating in the air for months as the committee has readied itself to present its findings. Many of Pence’s senior aides and advisers cooperated with the committee.

In fact, it was Pence’s National Security Adviser Keith Kellogg who, by meeting with the probe, helped corroborate public reporting about Trump’s conduct in the White House as the insurrection was unfolding. Kellogg told investigators Trump was unresponsive to multiple pleas for help as the mob stormed the Capitol, including those that came from Trump’s then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, then-Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and others.

Kellogg also told the probe that Trump was irate with Pence and complained that his vice president wasn’t “tough enough” to go along with a plan to overturn the will of more than 80 million voters.

Greg Jacob, Pence’s legal counsel, also met with investigators months ago and that cooperation was crucial.

Jacob, court records have also revealed, pushed hard against proposals from Trump’s legal advisers like John Eastman, who emphatically argued that Pence had the constitutional authority to stop the count of Electoral College votes by Congress on Jan. 6.

Pence did not.

Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff who accompanied him to the Capitol on Jan. 6, also cooperated with the committee after he was subpoenaed. Short, like Jacob, engaged with Eastman too.

As for the former vice president himself, it is very unlikely that he would appear for testimony during the public hearings.

A spokesperson for Pence did not immediately return a request for comment Friday.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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McCarthy serves Jan. 6 committee with list of demands after subpoena
Brandi Buchman

The leader of House Republicans Kevin McCarthy has responded to his subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee with a lengthy response from his attorney, arguing, like others have tried and failed before him, that the panel lacks “valid legislative purpose.”

And as for his own discussions with former President Donald Trump—impeached for inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last year—those details, McCarthy argues, are not subject to oversight.

McCarthy’s response also came with a list of demands, much like his colleague in the House and fellow Trump-ally Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. But unlike Jordan, who at the very least offered to provide an "adequate response” if his requests were met, McCarthy’s attorney, Elliot Berke, opted instead to present only McCarthy’s challenge to the committee’s authority—with the demand that members on the panel defend their “legal rationale” for issuing the subpoena.

“It is unclear how the Select Committee believes it is operating within the bounds of law or even within the confines of the authorizing resolution,” Berke wrote in the 11-page letter to committee chair Bennie Thompson.



As for the California Republican’s conversations with Trump on the day of the attack—the details of which the committee has sought for months and beyond what has potentially been publicly reported—McCarthy’s attorney says that information would effectively have no bearing on whatever legislative agenda the probe might have.

”Of course, the Select Committee has no valid legislative interest or oversight authority to question the Leader about public statements he has already made to the press or in the House Chamber,” Berke wrote.

McCarthy, through his attorney, also accused the committee of wishing to “interrogate him” politically and slammed the panel as unconstitutional and acting beyond the “power of inquiry as decreed by our Founding Fathers.”

Federal courts have already established that the committee has a valid legislative interest in investigating the events leading up to Jan. 6. This decision was rendered in John Eastman’s fight to keep the committee away from documents it deemed pertinent to the probe’s fact-finding mission and again when the Republican National Committee tried to shield data from the committee about its fundraising materials.

Those documents, the committee has argued, were entrenched with the former president’s falsehoods and lies about the outcome of the 2020 election and this was used to effectively defraud the public.

McCarthy Letter to Bennie Thompson in Response to Jan 6 Cmte Subpoena by Daily Kos on Scribd

The response also contends at length that the committee itself was improperly formed because just nine members sit on it and the resolution states the speaker “shall appoint 13 members to the select committee, 5 of whom shall be appointed after consultation with the minority leader.”

But McCarthy had his chance to nominate picks to the committee. Some of his picks were accepted by Pelosi and others were denied. When Pelosi sent two of the nominees back—including Trump stalwart Jim Jordan—McCarthy, to borrow a phrase, took his ball and went home.

He ended negotiations cold and established clearly that he would not continue engaging with the committee.

The Jan. 6 committee, as it stands today with nine members, includes seven Democrats and two Republicans.

An investigatory body was initially proposed and designed to be an independent, truly bipartisan commission. Democrats suggested splitting membership right down the middle, affording equal subpoena powers to both their party and the Republican Party.

But this proposal couldn’t muster enough support in the Senate and as such, the dreams of that commission were shut down.

Republicans continued to balk, largely, at holding any investigation at all. In the House, only two Republicans—the only two that now serve on the committee, Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger—voted in favor of forming the select committee.

The House passed the resolution.

Five members of the House including McCarthy and Jordan have been hit with subpoenas for their records and depositions. The committee also sent subpoenas to Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Mo Brooks of Alabama, and Andy Biggs of Arizona. To a man, each have have refused to comply.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Hitler-cosplaying insurrectionist found guilty after claiming he didn't know Congress met in Capitol
Aldous J Pennyfarthing

Timothy-Hale-Cusanelli.jpg


It’s hardly a secret that few MAGA mites know their history. You can add that to the hulking mass of things they’re vigorously ignorant about. But one Jan. 6 insurrectionist—made infamous by his love of Hitler and all things Nazi—has really stretched credulity with his chosen legal defense.

Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, who at one point famously embraced a Hitler mustache, a Hitler hairdo, and a Hitler anal cyst that somehow grew up to be our 45th president, has claimed he’s innocent of the charges the government brought against him because he had no idea Congress met in the Capitol building. And though he fancies himself a history buff, he was ostensibly absent that day. And never bothered to watch the news. Or Saturday morning cartoons, for that matter.

NBC News:

Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, who was in the U.S. Army Reserves when he stormed the Capitol, was convicted Friday on all five counts he faced, including a felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding.
Hale-Cusanelli, who has been in jail since Feb. 2021, did not dispute that he entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, and his defense lawyer explicitly admitted that Hale-Cusanelli engaged in criminal activity that day. Video shows Hale-Cusanelli yelling at cops outside the Capitol, entering the Capitol moments after it was breached, waving other members of the mob into the building, and attempting to grab another rioter away from police.

Yeah, that sounds like a pretty open-and-shut case. Even a diehard, rule-of-law-flouting Trumpy would have a hard time arguing he was … oh, what fresh hell is this?

But Hale-Cusanelli attempted to defend himself against charges by saying he didn't know that the Capitol was where the House and Senate sit — despite having described himself during the trial as a history buff who closely followed the electoral college certification process. He claimed in testimony on Thursday that he didn't realize that senators and House members were in the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

Sheesh. That’s some expert-level gaslighting right there. Was Ted Cruz in the bushes like Cyrano de Bergerac feeding this guy his lines? Or was he in the bushes doing regular Ted-Cruz-crouching-in-the-bushes things? To be clear, I don’t really know what Ted Cruz does in the bushes, or if he’s even in the bushes at all. I really don’t want to know. My guess is whatever he’s doing is at least tangentially related to elective surgery on house pets, but those are just rumors. Rumors that I made up mere moments ago. But they feel true, don’t they? Anyway, this isn’t about Ted Cruz. It’s about Capitol insurrectionists and Hitler. Okay, that’s close to being about Ted Cruz, but I’m starting to fear I’ve lost the plot. So on with the story.

According to reports, Hale-Cusanelli told a federal prosecutor, "I didn't know the Capitol building was the same as the congressional building." He used the same unlikely defense when appealing to the jury: "I know this sounds idiotic, but I'm from New Jersey. I feel like an idiot, it sounds idiotic, and it is."

Of course, whether or not Hale-Cusanelli knew Congress met at the Capitol was an important detail, as prosecutors needed to show that he acted “knowingly” when he attempted to “obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding.” And somewhere along the line he got the idea that flatly asserting the truth of things that were obviously false was an effective strategy.

Hale-Cusanelli should have plenty of time to brush up on his civics. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 16, and Judge Trevor N. McFadden, a Trump appointee, said he was considering a sentencing enhancement because Hale-Cusanelli’s testimony seemed “highly dubious.”

By the way, in addition to balls-out-rocking the Crystal Meth Hitler look, Hale-Cusanelli has flirted shamelessly with white supremacy in the past. According to prosecutors, the defendant was arrested in 2010 for using a potato gun adorned with a Confederate flag and the words “WHITE IS RIGHT” to shoot frozen corn at houses in New Jersey. He also reportedly sent racist texts, including one that said Democrats would try to steal the election through “n****r rigging.”

Enjoy prison, dude. Maybe you can knock off every selection in Donald Trump’s Nazi Book Club.

Or, if you really want to acquire a fuller understanding of the world, you could just watch this …

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Uvalde Update: Heck of a job, Abbott; active shooter training; Houston protests
Kerry Eleveld

The Uvalde massacre is rapidly turning into Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott's Katrina. Abbott appeared with law enforcement officers the day after the tragedy to declare, "It could have been worse. The reason it was not worse is because law enforcement officials did what they do."



What's undeniably clear now is that 19 local police officers and a Border Patrol tactical team waited outside while defenseless kids inside the classroom placed repeated 911 calls.

Yet Abbott stood behind local law enforcement's unverified accounts Wednesday at the first major press conference and praised officers for showing "amazing courage by running towards gunfire for the singular purpose of trying to save lives."

Two days later, Abbott said he was "livid" about being "misled."

“I was on this very stage two days ago and I was telling the public information that had been told to me,” Abbott said angrily. “As everybody has learned, the information that I was given turned out in part to be inaccurate. And I’m absolutely livid about that.”

Correction: Nearly every word Abbott spoke was inaccurate.



One cannot help but be reminded of then-President George W. Bush praising the response of his FEMA Director Michael Brown in the days following the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster.

“Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job,” Bush said.

Uvalde active shooter training


In other devastating news, New York Times reporter Mike Baker got ahold of the active shooter training manual that local Uvalde officers used in a training two months before the Robb Elementary massacre.



The documents acknowledge that the first officers may very well be risking their lives, adding, "A first responder unwilling to place the lives of the innocent above their own safety should consider another career field."

Houston protests at the annual NRA event


Meanwhile, in Houston, thousands of protesters turned out Friday at the annual NRA convention to register their anger and disgust. Houston Chronicle story here.


 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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What might very well be the most enraging press conference in American history just ended in Uvalde, Texas.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw revealed that there were 19 officers in the school hallway for about an hour as small children used their deceased teacher’s phone to dial 911 and beg for their lives. He described local police officials preventing border patrol and other federal law enforcement who had arrived on the scene from entering the school and helping these terrorized kids, while their keening parents begged them to act. He acknowledged the school resource officer was not on the scene.

And after admitting this staggering level of incompetence in the face of unimaginable evil—a failure so immense that it will reverberate for generations—McCraw said dismissively, “If I thought it would help, I’d apologize.”

I want to throw my computer through a wall just transcribing these words.

McCraw followed that remark by making a rather revealing point. In defense of the officers on scene he said that there was “a barrage—hundreds of rounds were pumped in four minutes into those classrooms.”


Hundreds of rounds. Four minutes. When you cut away all the bullshit, and excuse making, and failure this is the crux of the matter........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler told reporters ahead of his team's Friday game against the Cincinnati Reds that he intends to forgo the pregame US national anthem moving forward.

Speaking in the dugout of the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kapler said, "I don't plan on coming out for the anthem going forward until I feel better about the direction of our country."

The 2021 National League Manager of the Year's comments were accompanied by a written statement on his website sharing his thoughts after 19 children and two adults were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, by a lone, 18-year-old gunman.......
 

McCloudersportLion

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ReEEEEEEEE Al's goalie really keeping em in this match. You gotta float like a moth, leap and stretch out like a lemur for that bawl...
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Hundreds of Lithuanians are clubbing together to buy an advanced military drone for Ukraine in its war against Russia, in a show of solidarity with a fellow country formerly under Moscow's rule.

Some 4.4 million euros ($4.1 million) have been raised in just three days - out of the 5 million euros needed - largely in small amounts, according to Laisves TV, a Lithuanian internet broadcaster that launched the drive.

[…] The [Bayraktar TB2] drone has proven effective in recent years against Russian forces and their allies in conflicts in Syria and Libya, and its purchase is being orchestrated by Lithuania's Ministry of Defence, which told Reuters it planned to sign a letter of intent to buy the craft from Turkey next week......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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KYIV, May 28 (Reuters) - A branch of Ukraine's Orthodox Church that remained loyal to Moscow after a 2019 schism has said it will break with the Russian church over the country's invasion of Ukraine.


Ukraine was given permission by the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians worldwide to form a church independent of Moscow in 2019, largely ending centuries of religious ties between the two countries.

However many parishes, especially in Ukraine's east, elected to remain loyal under the umbrella of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate.

Following a meeting of of its leadership the church announced that it would declare its "full independence" from Russia.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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During the 24 hours of 27 May, the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed three Russian air targets and a company-tactical group of the Russian army.

Source: Yurii Ihnat, Spokesman of Air Force Command

Details: According to the results of the day, the following were hit:

  • Su-35 jet
  • Ka-52 helicopter
  • Orlan-10 UAV
  • a company-tactical group.
Ignat gave details of the destroyed enemy targets.

Direct quote:
"On 27 May, at around 2 pm, in the sky over the Kherson region, a Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 fighter downed a Russian Su-35 fighter from the 23rd Air Fighter Regiment of the Eastern Military District of the Russian Federation.

A Ukrainian MiG-29 covered a group of strike aircraft (Ukrainian Air Force Su-25 attack aircraft) which targeted aggressor troops in Kherson Oblast. As a result of this air raid, a Russian company-tactical group with equipment and personnel was destroyed.

A Russian Su-35 fighter flew out from Belbek airfield (in occupied Crimea) to intercept Ukrainian attack aircraft. In fact, he was met by a Ukrainian MiG-29.

The intercepted radio communication indicates that the Russian pilot was ejected and a typical explosion was heard near Kherson.

In Kharkiv Oblast, Ukrainian paratroopers from the 95th Separate Air Assault Brigade shot down another Russian combat helicopter, a Ka-52 Alligator, with Piorun MANPADs.


And in the Donetsk area, the air defence of the Ground Forces destroyed another Russian Orlan-10 UAV.