More to ignore, Book 71.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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LeaveItToMe_RCongressmen.jpg

“ - P: ‘Don’t expect you to do that, just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen.’” (pp. 4-5). -- Oversight Committee
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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DOJ subpoenas false Trump electors in multiple states, expands investigation of Jan. 6 conspiracy
Mark Sumner

The Justice Department has issued subpoenas across multiple states to Republican politicians involved in the scheme to use fake electors as a means of disrupting the outcome of the election. Included in the subpoenas are a number of people who signed certificates claiming to be “duly elected and qualified electors.” Since these certificates surfaced, it has seemed clear they were direct physical evidence of a conspiracy to subvert democracy, and now it seems the FBI agrees.

As Brandi Buchman reported, on Tuesday the House select committee gave their first public hearing on this aspect of Trump’s attempt to destroy the electoral process. The FBI appears to be following closely on the committee’s heels, issuing a series of grand jury subpoenas that show the Justice Department is investigating these false electors for potential crimes.

As The Washington Post reports, agents involved in delivering the subpoenas described them as “court-authorized law enforcement activity.” This represents a significant expansion of Justice Department activity related to Jan. 6 and points to the possibility of wide-ranging charges of seditious conspiracy against the United States.
...........

Those known to have received subpoenas so far include:
  • David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, who signed a certificate as a false elector from that state.
  • Brad Carver, a lawyer who also signed on as a false elector in Georgia
  • Thomas Lane, who worked for the Trump campaign in both Arizona and New Mexico, and who now works for the Republican National Committee
  • Unidentified false electors in Michigan
In addition, KLAS in Las Vegas reports that the FBI has issued search warrants related to this conspiracy to:
  • Michael McDonald, Republican Party chair, whose cell phone was collected as the warrants were distributed.
  • James DeGraffenreid, Nevada State Republican Party secretary (who apparently could not be located on Wednesday)
It seems likely that these subpoenas have gone out to all seven states where the Republican Party attempted to promote slates of false electors as “official” representatives of the state.

Creating false electors was integral to the way in which Donald Trump and attorney John Eastman hoped to create a fictitious crisis on Jan. 6. The need for these false electors was debated at a meeting of Trump’s White House attorneys, where Eastman explained how it could be used as an excuse for Pence to set aside votes in multiple states. The scheme was later repeated in the memos that Eastman distributed describing the “January 6 scenario.”

After that meeting, Republicans in seven states prepared false certificates to support the scheme, sending these documents to the National Archives. A number of congressional Republicans attended a presentation during which they were instructed on how and when and how they should disrupt proceedings on Jan. 6 so that these slates of false electors and false certificates could be presented.

Since the pretense that these electors were “official” was integral the scheme, Republicans made little effort to hide this effort. Among others, the Nevada Republican Party heavily publicized the slate of false electors, publishing photos and sending out announcements as they signed a certificate that reads in part, “We, the undersigned, being the duly elected and qualified electors for president and vice president of the United States of America from the State of Nevada, do hereby certify six electoral votes for Trump.”

President Joe Biden won Nevada by more than 2%—over 33,500 votes—far outside the range of any required recount or conceivable error. Both Trump and state GOP officials launched lawsuits, all of which failed. That didn’t stop them from joining the pretense that Trump had won and sending false documents to Congress and the National Archives.



It’s been clear that the Justice Department was interested in the false elector scheme for some time. Subpoenas have previously been sent seeking interviews with at least 15 people who had refused to participate in these schemes. These subpoenas seem to have been intended to gather broad information about the scheme.


Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Merrick Garland, have stated on multiple occasions that the department is conducting its own investigation, not connected to that of the House select committee. However, since these investigations are taking place in parallel, it seems very likely that both sides are being careful not to create conflict, which may explain why the FBI didn’t serve up subpoenas related to false electors until after the first public hearing on that topic.



Federal agents serve more grand jury subpoenas in expanding probe of fake Trump elector scheme
Charles Jay
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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....Haynes appeared with the Stones in place of their longstanding backup singer, Sasha Allen, who sat the Milan show out for an unspecified reason. A mentee of the iconic Quincy Jones, Haynes is best known as one third of the gospel trio Trinitee 5:7. More recently, she played the lead role in the UK’s production of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical......
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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'Blame McCarthy' movement is best signal that Jan. 6 public hearings are extremely effective
Mark Sumner

On Wednesday, multiple Republicans, including Donald Trump, expressed their dissatisfaction with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy over how he has handled the House select committee on Jan. 6. On Thursday, as the committee prepares to air its next hearing, the “blame McCarthy” message seems to just keep expanding. One thing is absolutely clear: Republicans can see that the series of public hearings are devastatingly effective.

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed McCarthy that she would not seat either Rep. Jim Jordan or Rep. Jim Banks on the committee because both were likely to be sought as witnesses because of their involvement in the Jan. 6 conspiracy, McCarthy made an immediate response. Rather than appoint replacements, McCarthy reacted by withdrawing his three other nominees to the committee and refusing to cooperate. The intention from McCarthy was to create the impression that the select committee was, as Trump repeatedly claims, “a partisan witch hunt.” However, McCarthy could not stop Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from participating.

In spite of the continuing cries on the right that the committee is “partisan” and “slanted,” it’s obvious Republicans can see the effect the public hearings are having. Day by day, the committee has reminded the public of the violence committed on Jan. 6. It has shown how white supremacist militias were involved in planning and promoting that violence. In the most recent hearings, the committee has begun the process of unfolding the conspiracy, led by Trump, that hoped to use Jan. 6 as a means of subverting a national election.

The effectiveness of those hearings can be directly measured in the scorn now being heaped on McCarthy.

.......
It’s not as if total noncooperation was an idea original to McCarthy. Refusal to cooperate and forcing House committees to go to court to get the most trivial documents that are usually handed over as a matter of course was standard operating procedure during the Trump White House. That noncooperation has continued as Trump has made it clear he doesn’t want any of his insiders testifying before the select committee on Jan. 6.

However, as The New York Times now reports, pro-Trump Republicans have discovered that since McCarthy cut them out of the committee, they have, shockingly,
been cut out of the committee. That is, they haven’t been privy to the inner workings of the investigation or had any clarity on how the committee staff was building the case against Trump and his supporters. That’s left them open to surprises in terms of documents and testimony turned up in the investigation.

The absence of Trump-defenders on the committee has become exceedingly obvious during the public hearings, as the testimony of witnesses has not been hijacked or sidetracked as it frequently was during the House impeachment hearings. Witnesses to Jan. 6 violence have not been asked to give their opinion on Hunter Biden’s laptop, to discuss how President Joe Biden is responsible for high gas prices, or about anything related to Hillary Clinton. And Republicans are suddenly regretting that.

As The Washington Post notes, McCarthy is still instructing Republicans to simply ignore the hearings until they go away. Except a few Republicans seemed to have removed their heads from holes long enough to note that people are watching these hearings and seeing things that are not so good for Republicans. And especially not good for Trump.

That’s why Trump is said to be at “the point of about to scream at the TV” and why he has been going on right-wing media to complain that McCarthy made “a very, very foolish decision.” Not only does this information highlight the growing rift between Trump and McCarthy, it also provides the satisfying knowledge that Trump is sitting down at Mar-a-Lago, watching the hearings and fuming.

As he watches, Trump is complaining that there is no one to defend him. Blame for that lack is “falling squarely on McCarthy’s shoulders.”

Elsewhere in the Post, a new Quinnipiac poll shows that 26% of Americas say they are watching the hearings very closely, while 32% say they are watching somewhat closely. In that poll, 64% of Americans also say they believe the Jan. 6 attack was planned, rather than spontaneous.

As Politico notes, Republicans are now finding themselves in an uncomfortable schism between Trump, who multiple sources indicated intends to run again in 2024, and McCarthy, who hopes to replace Pelosi as House speaker after the fall midterms. The hearings are already hurting them both, but the growing rancor against McCarthy is making things worse.

Trump has refused to endorse McCarthy for the speaker position. And Republicans like Jim Jordan, who is regarded as an ally of McCarthy but a disciple of Trump, are finding there is no safe ground in this fight. Trump is reportedly “leaving room to turn on McCarthy if he chooses.”

Considering the public statements he’s already making, the question should be if Trump chooses to turn on McCarthy
more.

However, one thing is certain: If Republicans didn’t see these committee hearings as effective, McCarthy wouldn’t be getting criticism. If they thought the hearings were really being viewed as partisan, or that Americans weren’t paying attention, McCarthy would be collecting praise.

And it’s not as if there haven’t been plenty of Republicans in the committee hearings. They’ve been in there every day, testifying to how Donald Trump pressured them, threatened them, and terrorized them in an effort to overturn a federal election.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Jan. 6 committee to unpack corruption and near-chaos at the Justice Department during fifth hearing
Brandi Buchman

For the fifth hearing—and the final one this month before more are rolled out in July—the Jan. 6 committee is poised to present evidence to the nation about the attempted capture and corruption of the Department of Justice by former President Donald Trump in his bid to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Testimony is expected to stretch for roughly two hours from a panel of three witnesses: former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, former Deputy Acting Attorney General Richard Donoghue, and Steven Engel, the former lead at the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel.

The committee will share evidence it says demonstrates how Trump pushed to have the department state publicly that there was widespread election fraud where there was none. Live testimony and interviews from previously recorded depositions with witnesses like former Attorney General Bill Barr will also explore how Trump angled to have the department file lawsuits on his behalf so his failed fraud allegations would appear credible.

All of this, the committee argues, was done in hopes of obstructing the Joint Session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, so the 45th president could remain in power though he lost both the popular and Electoral College vote to now-President Joe Biden.
.......
A culture of intimidation pervaded the Department of Justice in 2020.

Trump had spent four years blurring the lines between the executive branch and the judicial branch, but never was it as murky as it became after he lost the election.

At the center of this muck was Jeffrey Clark, an environmental lawyer introduced to Trump by Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican long sympathetic to Trump’s election fraud conspiracy theories.

Clark was appointed to the Department of Justice by Trump just like Rosen, Donoghue, and Engel. But once inside, Clark kept an alliance with the president and engaged in what Thursday’s witnesses have previously described to the Senate Judiciary Committee as a campaign to oust officials who dared go against Trump.

According to records and interviews, it was Jan. 3, 2021 when Clark met with Trump in the Oval Office and presented the president with a letter.

It was a draft intended to go to the leaders of various legislatures in states that Trump had lost, like Georgia. The Justice Department identified fraud in the election, the draft falsely claimed, and it encouraged its recipient to send a slate of “Trump electors”—though they were unsanctioned—to Congress on Jan. 6.

Rejected Draft Letter From ... by Daily Kos

Trump had already lost dozens of lawsuits at this point and the deadline for states to submit their electors to Congress had long passed.

Clark had shown this letter to Rosen days before the meeting in the Oval with Trump. Rosen rejected it wholesale, telling Clark the fraud claims were unsubstantiated and he could not back it.

The men had already met the month before and Rosen made his positions clear: The claims were dubious. But at that December meeting, Rosen had also learned that Clark had sessions with Trump in secret, something forbidden by department protocol. Rosen ordered Clark not to do it again. Clark disobeyed him.

A day before the Jan. 3 meeting in the Oval Office, Clark asked to meet with Rosen in private. Rosen agreed, but he didn’t want to go alone. He asked Donoghue to join them.

It was there that Clark—their subordinate—informed them that Trump wanted to replace Rosen. And Clark would be the one to do it.

He wanted that letter out.

Rosen and Donoghue refused.

According to a transcript of Donoghue’s interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee, the conversation became “very heated.” Rosen and Donoghue blasted Clark for violating White House-Department of Justice contact policies.

That was when Clark turned to Rosen and said: “Well, the president has offered me the position of acting attorney general. I told him I would let him know my decision on Monday. I need to think about a little more,” Clark said.

As word of this had spread, Donoghue and others at the department were prepared to resign in protest. They would not serve under Clark.

White House attorney Pat Cipollone was looped in. Cipollone scrambled to turn the temperature down and asked the men to wait.

But on Jan. 3, Clark was in the Oval Office with Trump.

Rosen called Donoghue and they dropped everything to meet them there. Engel would also join them.

Clark had shown Trump the letter. Rosen and Donoghue had already urged Trump to understand there just wasn’t any credibility to the claims of fraud.

“We checked that out,” Donoghue said. “There’s nothing to it.”

Rosen and Donoghue were plain: If the letter went out, they would resign and others would follow, triggering a wave of mass resignations.

“I do recall Pat Cipollone earlier saying ‘That letter,’ meaning the draft letter to Georgia, ‘is a murder-suicide pact.’ And it will damage anyone and anything that it touches,” Donoghue once testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Donoghue Transcript by Daily Kos on Scribd

The spectacle that the mass resignations would create appeared to be the only thing that stopped Trump from firing Rosen.

“We're not going to do this,” Trump said, according to Donoghue. “He looked at Jeff Clark and said, ‘I appreciate you being willing to do this. I appreciate you being willing to step up and take all the abuse, but the reality is it's not worth the breakage. We're going to have mass resignations. It's going to be a disaster. You're not going to be able to get this stuff done anyway, and the bureaucracy will eat you alive. So we're not going to do this.”

Clark was insistent.

“Mr. President, we can do this. We can get this done. History is calling,” Donoghue recalls Clark saying.

Clark will not appear in person during Thursday’s committee hearing. Clips of his video deposition may be shown, but those specific clips aren’t likely to tell America very much. Clark invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he met with the committee this February. He refused to answer over 100 questions.

He was first subpoenaed in October and balked at the order, citing executive privilege. But Trump never asserted executive privilege over the materials sought after by the committee and in Clark’s possession. All of this eventually led to Clark being held in contempt by the select committee’s probe. It was his 11th-hour cooperation, unhelpful as it may be, that staved off a full contempt vote by the House.

Testimony from Rosen, Donoghue, and Engel is expected to be illuminating, to say the least.

A senior aide to the select committee told Daily Kos that what America will see in sharp detail is that Trump’s attempt to co-opt the Justice Department only failed because senior leadership “stood up and threatened to resign rather than help Trump interrupt the peaceful transfer of power.”

This hearing will mark the last one for June. More are coming in July, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson announced Wednesday. The exact dates have not yet been set, but the committee said so much new credible evidence continues to trickle in that investigators must keep following the trail where it leads them.

Recently, the committee asked British filmmaker Alex Holder to produce all of the footage he shot for a documentary about Trump’s final weeks in office. Holder interviewed Trump multiple times, including right after the insurrection at the Capitol. Holder also interviewed key officials like then-Vice President Mike Pence and members of Trump’s family, including his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump and his two adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, as well as Ivanka’s husband and White House adviser, Jared Kushner.

Thompson said Wednesday that the tip line the committee has opened has also provided new information since the hearings began.

It is expected that the hearings in July will dive into matters such as how Trump summoned the mob and directed them to illegally enter the Capitol. Another hearing is expected to parse out the 187 minutes of silence from Trump as the Capitol was under siege.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Extremist Supreme Court essentially wipes out states' rights to control guns
Joan McCarter

When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was confronted over his support for the bipartisan bill addressing elements of gun violence, he defended his Second Amendment record, telling reporters: “I spent my career supporting, defending and expanding” gun rights, and stressing that he had “spent years” confirming conservative judges. McConnell made that statement in full confidence that the Supreme Court he packed with three illegitimate justices would do precisely what it did: ensure that sensible gun regulations anywhere would be eliminated.

The court decided the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen case Thursday in 6-3 decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas, striking down that state’s 108-year-old provision requiring anyone who wants to get a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show “proper cause” before being granted a permit. The Court’s extremists, Thomas writes, find that New York's strict limits on the concealed carry of firearms in public violates the Second Amendment. It essentially throws out the previous restrictions the Court upheld in it’s last big gun control case, the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller.



In his concurrence, Alito essentially rubbed salt in the wound, snidely asking “And how does the dissent account for the fact that one of the mass shootings near the top of its list took place in Buffalo? The New York law at issue in this case obviously did not stop that perpetrator.”



Justice Stephen Breyer provides a lengthy dissent, including a comprehensive retelling of the mass deaths in an age when weapons of war are widely available to all citizens. “The primary difference between the Court's view and mine is that I believe the [Second] Amendment allows States to take account of the serious problems posed by gun violence that I have just described,” he writes. “I fear that the Court's interpretation ignores these significant dangers and leaves States without the ability to address them.”

The decision could mean as many as 20,000 more guns on the streets in New York City. The city is working to determine how to craft new rules to meet this outcome, and how to designate certain areas, including public transportation, as “sensitive places” to try to bar firearms.

“It’s gonna be a complete disaster and shows how anti-urban the Supreme Court is at foundation,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member Norman Brown predicted. “This is both a practical fear and a marketing fear. How do you market the train if you are assuming the guy with the heavy coat has a gun under his?” Brown said.

That’s exactly the scenario Justice Samuel Alito raised in oral arguments on the case. But he was imagining a subway system teeming with armed criminals against whom the rest of the population was defenseless. “All these people with illegal guns: They’re on the subway, walking around the streets, but ordinary, hard-working, law-abiding people, no,” Alito told New York State Solicitor General Barbara Underwood. “They can’t be armed.” The reality will be closer to Brown’s supposition: Those ordinary, law-abiding people are going to be worried about being surrounded by guns.

The decision also sets up challenges to regulations in every state that has them, including immediate those in six other states: California, New Jersey, Maryland, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. In fact, the decision is so broad that the concealed carry restrictions that protect some 83 million people are going to be wiped out.

“How the court interprets the Second Amendment is far from an abstract exercise,” Eric Tirschwell of Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group, told The Washington Post. “If the court forces New York to allow more people to carry guns in public, the result will be more people shot and more people killed, and that’s what the evidence and social science tells you.”

A belligerent gun rights community is there to make sure that other blue states are forced to buckle and loosen permit rules. “If they don’t do that,” said Matthew Larosiere, with the Firearms Policy Coalition, “we’ll certainly be suing them.” He foresees the states trying to preempt those suits. “Perhaps there will be a state or two on the West Coast that doesn’t want to do this and we will insist that they be dragged to court,” he said. “That’s something we’d rather avoid as it’s better to have people’s rights respected.”

Which sounds an awful lot like a threat, one that has the potential to rile up a lot of gun owners in these states who are feeling increasingly emboldened.

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SCOTUS Provides Another Receipt for Services Rendered to the For-Profit Firearms Industry

GrafZeppelin127
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene told a reporter to 'go back to your country,' then bragged about it
Aysha Qamar

Instead of feeling embarrassed for getting into a public dispute with a reporter, Georgia Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene bragged Wednesday that she told a reporter from England in the U.K. to “go back to your country” after being asked a question comparing gun violence in the U.S. to the U.K.

On Twitter, Greene posted the clip in which a reporter confronted her regarding the increase in gun violence across the country. “We don’t have guns in the U.K., that is true, but we don’t have mass shootings either,” the reporter commented to Greene at a press conference. “Children aren’t scared to go to school.”

Instead of addressing the issue, Greene attacked the reporter. “You have mass stabbings, lady. You have all kinds of murder and you’ve got laws against that.”

To which the reporter replied: “Nothing like the same rates here.”

Of course, like other Republicans who act out instead of dealing with the facts, Greene resorted to dismissive and rude language.

“Well, you can go back to your country and worry about your no guns. We like ours here,” Greene said. But that’s not all—she then took to Twitter to boast about the fact that she told a reporter to go back to their country.



While some like Greene argue that the U.K. has a higher homicide rate, statistics say otherwise. Not only is the U.S. homicide rate four times higher than that of the U.K., but almost 80% of U.S. murders in 2020 involved a firearm, HuffPost reported. The U.S. infamously takes the lead in gun deaths when compared to any other developed nation due to its lack of strict gun control laws.

Despite a bipartisan gun bill clearing passage in the Senate Tuesday, Greene and many of her colleagues still insist gun control legislation is not needed. She even called out the names of Republican senators who voted to proceed with the bill, noting these are people “Republican voters do not support anymore.”



“We’ve gotta change our Republican Party,” she said.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Greene attacked officials of her own party who had agreed on gun reform legislation.

Hours after the news broke that 10 Senate Democrats and 10 Senate Republicans were able to agree on bipartisan legislation, Greene then took to Twitter to attack the lawmakers over their willingness to work with Democrats to pass legislation.



It’s no surprise that Greene is not only wrong about the homicide rates in the U.S. but also where Americans stand in supporting stricter gun laws. A recent poll by the Morning Consult/Politico found that a majority of Americans actually support better gun control policies.

According to the June 10 to 12 poll, 68% of U.S. voters support stricter gun control laws, higher than the previous record of 66%, which was set after the 2019 mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Researchers noted the increase in support for stricter gun control followed the May 14 shooting in Buffalo, New York, and May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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062322-Sollenberger-paydirt-hero_je5fop


The institution at the center of Rep. Lauren Boebert’s origin story now appears to face an uncertain future.

Shooters Grill, the gun-themed Hooters parody restaurant that put Rifle, Colorado, on the map and elevated Boebert to local celebrity status, has run into some trouble with its new landlord—a marijuana retailer.

But her landlord isn’t all that new. And the story, which has gone through several iterations over the last week, isn’t exactly adding up.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: Defending Severodonetsk has its benefits
kos

Yesterday I rehashed the wisdom of defending Severodonetsk, and the challenges of doing so far from safe Ukrainian territory, with difficult supply lines and exposed artillery. Indeed, Ukraine has lost at least two, and possibly three precious M777 howitzers located in Lysychansk, exposed to Russian counter-battery fire from three sides.

Today I’m going to play devil’s advocate, offering a defense of the Severodonetsk’s defense, because whether it’s wise or not, reports on Wednesday claimed Ukraine was reinforcing (or rotating) troops in the city, as well as resupplying its defenders.

Let’s begin with a look at the map:

FV0Gwz1WAAEe-pd.jpeg


As I write this, the little Ukrainian pocket around Zolote was being sewn up, with Ukraine retreating from those positions after a heroic three-week defense while nearly surrounded. North of that, Russian troops are single-digit kilometers away from the southern approach to Lysychansk, where Ukrainian defenders have used the town’s high ground to assist the Severodonetsk defense, shelling Russian positions in the city. Pretty soon, those defenses will have to turn inward to protect Lysychansk itself.

Ukrainian resistance in Severodonetsk is confined to the city’s industrial zone, akin to what we saw in Mariupol. Night time is supposedly a different story. If reports are true, Ukrainian special forces roam the city at night, when their night-vision gear provides an advantage over their blind Russian invaders, retreating to the industrial zone at daylight. It’s hybrid guerrilla warfare, holding a known, fixed position by day, but sniping and harassing at night. The situation in the industrial zone is surprisingly secure enough that Ukraine can take prisoners.
........
Close-quarter urban warfare makes it hard for effective use of artillery—no one wants to hit their own troops. So as long as Russian forces are nearby, the fight becomes … more fair. More direct. For some curious reason, Russia isn’t doing their usual “level everything to the ground, then march into the rubble.” Perhaps they saw how long it took in Mariupol, and hope that direct assaults speed things up.

Note the lack of artillery shelling compared to videos you might see from other parts of the front (the occasional booms are likely mortar or tank fire).



Reports claim Ukraine isn’t overcommitting to the city’s defense, with only around 600-800. In this concrete jungle, where rubble doubles as defensive positions, it doesn’t take many defenders to extract a severe toll on advancing Russian troops. Even more so if those advancing forces lack competence.

These are untrained proxy cannon fodder. Russia isn’t storming this maze of industrial buildings with professional forces well-trained in urban combat and building-clearing operations. They are shepherding meat to slaughter. That all likely feeds into Ukraine’s decision to continue the defense.

Ukraine has consistently said they won’t be in position for any full-scale counter-offensives until maybe August, most likely September. Severodonetsk thus serves two critical functions:


1. It thins the (Russian) herd.


Russia’s Donbas proxies have exhausted their mobilization, having grabbed all men up to the age of 60. They may be Russia’s preferred source of cannon fodder, but they are an exhaustible supply. Once that cannon fodder runs out, Russia will have to risk more of its own men, and without full Russian mobilization (which Vladimir Putin is clearly loathe to do), that supply is also exhaustible. Reports from Russia claim that 60% of VDV forces have been destroyed—their supposedly “elite” airborne units. More and more of Russia’s troops are volunteer soldiers on thee-month contracts. Doesn’t seem sustainable. And no one is getting trained on a three month contract.

Meanwhile, Russia is also facing dire equipment shortages. Read this report from a Pro-Putin Russian blogger in Luhansk.

AF RF [Armed Forces Russian Federation] since the start of the SMO [special military operation] have lost the majority of the modern T-72/90 modifications and the majority of the BMP-3 fleet. Over a month ago the Belohirivka crossing demonstrated not only the monstrous situation with command’s incompetency in some places, but also the fact that RF AF are now fighting with second or third sets of equipment consisting of the same BMP-1 which the Ukrainian army is now receiving from the Eastern European allies. In fact, the UAF [Ukrainian Armed Forces] have all the chances to soon receive more modern equipment to replenish their losses, but the RF AF and LPR [Luhansk People’s Republic] People Militia’s corps have no chance of replenishing with modern produce of our military-industrial complex. It just does not produce enough to replenish, and it won’t be any time soon.
So going to the frontline are T-62s and BMP-1s taken off from storage, and, for example, the radio navigational equipment on these vehicles has either rotted away or is just missing, or represented by R-123 radio stations, meanwhile the UAF have have streamlined deliveries of digital “Motorola”s and GPS-receivers of a military grade. For understanding, if now in one of the tank battalions of the DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic] and LPR People’s Militia there is at least one fully combat-ready tank company (out of three or four it is meant to have), then this is a record and a reason for pride. In fact, the majority of the combat-ready vehicles consist of the trophied Ukrainian T-64s which have been captured in a more or less decent state compared to the own T-64 of the people’s militants.

2. It bogs down Russian forces away from other fronts

This heat map of Russian troop concentrations is almost a week old, but not much has changed, and not much
will change so long as Ukraine is holding out in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.



That hottest spot, the largest Russian troop concentration, is in the Popasna salient, south of Lysychansk. It’s the Russian grouping that finally broke through Ukrainian defenses pushing their way north. The second largest concentration of Russian forces is at the Izyum salient. All of these troops are trying to finish the conquest of the entire Luhansk Oblast, while threatening the twin Ukrainian strongholds at Sloviansk and Kramatorsk—gateway to the rest of Ukrainian-held Donbas.

Now look at how thin Russians are everywhere else.

There’s a reason why Ukraine has been able to push forward around Kherson and Kharkiv, even before their reserves are trained and Western equipment has been fielded and operational. Ukraine is on the counteroffensive because Russia has hollowed out defenses in those areas, giving Ukraine the unexpected opportunity to jostle for positioning ahead of those big promised offensives a few months down the road.

As much as Ukraine talks about taking back Crimea and the entire Donbas, their
real goal is to get back to the 2014 borders, after which they can reassess. That means pushing Russia away from Kharkiv and retaking Kherson, Melitopol, and Mariupol. Russia’s inability to lock those regions down is specifically because of Ukrainian resistance in the Donbas, and their continued hold on Lysychansk and Severodonetsk.

Now, I still think Lysychansk is more defensible than Severodonetsk, but no one has taken Lysychansk off the board. At some point, inevitably, Ukraine will decide that Severodonetsk is no longer worth the lives and equipment to defend, and those troops will raft across the river to the other side. Lysychansk itself can then hold out for a few more months, further bleeding Russian forces, fixing them in this theater and leaving the rest of the front under-resourced, waiting for the day that Ukraine finally launches its full-scale liberation effort.

After the war we’ll learn Ukraine’s real toll in this defense, and military historians (and armchair generals) can argue whether that cost in lives was worth it.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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BOOM - DoJ searched home of Jeffery Clark this morning.
jqjacobs
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.......

Feds Search Home of DOJ Trump Stooge Jeffrey Clark
ericlewis0






 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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LIVE: Follow along with the Jan. 6 committee for its fifth day of hearings
Brandi Buchman

On the fifth day of hearings, the Jan. 6 committee will give to America: evidence of former President Donald Trump’s attempt to co-opt the Department of Justice as he sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The hearing on Thursday begins at 3 PM ET.

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger is expected to lead a portion of the hearing and direct questions to a panel of three witnesses: former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, former Deputy Acting Attorney General Richard Donoghue, and Steven Engel, the former lead at the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel.


Rosen, Donoghue, and Engel successfully resisted attempts by Trump and his ally at the Department of Justice, Jeffrey Clark, to have the department disseminate the 45th president’s lies about fraud in the 2020 election......
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Background thread on today’s witnesses and their earlier testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee when they disclosed pertinent details about former President Donald Trump’s attempt to pressure them into supporting his baseless claims of election fraud.

There were six key findings in this report:
  • Trump repeatedly asked the DOJ to endorse claims of voter fraud despite receiving credible intelligence from members of his administration and at the DOJ determining there was no fraud widespread enough to alter the outcome of the election
  • Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows asked acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen multiple times to violate protocols governing White House and DOJ communication by asking him to look into voter fraud in Georgia, New Mexico and elsewhere. He also asked Rosen to investigate conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Machines shopped by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani
  • DOJ official Jeffrey Clark has covert communications with Trump despite receiving a warning about backchannel talk, according to records and testimony, and then has a meeting with Rosen and Rosen’s deputy Richard Donoghue where he asks leadership to issue a statement announcing the department is investigating voter fraud in Georgia and other battleground states. Rosen and Donoghue refuse and Clark threatens to replace Rosen at Trump’s request.
  • Members of Congress, including Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, PA State Senator Doug Mastriano and Trump attorney Cleta Mitchell pressure state officials to advance Trump’s bogus “alternate elector” scheme
  • Trump forced the resignation of U.S. Attorney BJ Pak in Georgia because Pak would not advance Trump’s meritless claims of voter fraud. With Pak out, Trump skipped over his successor and cherry-picked his replacement, Bobby Christine, who Trump believed was sympathetic to his claims
  • Former Attorney General William Barr “weakened” the Department of Justice overall by directing federal prosecutors “not to wait until after certification” of votes to investigate Trump’s fraud claims, thereby putting the DOJ’s finger on the scale of national elections, against longstanding rules


Subverting Justice How the ... by Daily Kos


On Thursday just before 1 p.m. ET and with the committee hearing bearing down where former Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark’s alleged role in overturning the 2020 election will come into focus, ABC News reporter Katherine Faulders reported that Clark’s home in Virginia was searched by federal agents.

According to ABC: “Russ Vought, a former Trump White House official and the president of the Center for Renewing America, where Clark is now a senior fellow, said in a statement that "more than a dozen DOJ law enforcement officials searched Jeff Clark's house in a pre-dawn raid, put him in the streets in his pajamas, and took his electronic devices."