More to ignore, Book 73.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Aide to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows will testify before the Jan. 6 probe
Brandi Buchman

Hutchinson.jpg


Cassidy Hutchinson, the one-time aide to former President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, will testify before the January 6 committee on Tuesday.

The 1 PM ET hearing was announced abruptly Monday night and her appearance was kept tightly under wraps due to concerns, in large part, over her threats to her safety. Hutchinson’s cooperation and testimony have been integral to the probe; last week, investigators revealed a portion of her testimony where she said that a slew of Republican lawmakers sought presidential pardons after the Capitol assault.

Punchbowl News was the first to break the news about her appearance today.
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The rush to have Hutchinson testify publicly and in person suggests that the committee is anxious to have her appear, though precisely why is unclear. A spokesperson for the probe did not respond to a request for comment.



The former White House aide has met at least three times with investigators and in her recorded video depositions, Hutchinson disclosed important information about central elements underpinning the investigation into the insurrection at the Capitol.

She told the committee, for example, that it was Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, who introduced and amplified the profile of Jeffrey Clark, a middling environmental attorney at the Department of Justice, to Trump.

Clark, extensive witness testimony and records have revealed, was at the crux of a bid to have the Department of Justice declare there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election where there was none. Witnesses from the DOJ like the former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Deputy Richard Donoghue corroborated this during an explosive hearing last week, laying out in fine detail how Clark threatened to take over the department—and with Trump’s blessing— as the 45th president grasped for power following his defeat to now President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Hutchinson said too that it was Reps. Scott Perry, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and Louie Gohmert of Texas, who sought pardons for themselves or others in the wake of the attack.

All of the lawmakers have denied any wrongdoing and Brooks has chalked up his request for a presidential pardon to a preemptive maneuver against “Socialist Democrats” that would take power once Biden was in office.

Her proximity to Meadows and Trump has offered a unique window into the White House.

According to portions of her closed-door deposition that were tucked into court records filed between the committee and Meadows as they duked it out over Meadows’ cooperation, Hutchinson disclosed that Meadows was warned threats of violence were coming to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. She was unclear, she told investigators, if Meadows took the warning seriously, but as Daily Kos previously reported, she recalled Secret Service Agent Anthony Ornato approaching Meadows with intelligence reports that worried the agency.

What Meadows did with that information was unclear, Hutchinson said, but she did recall Meadow inviting Oranoto into his office privately after the warning.

Hutchinson also testified privately about how she heard Trump openly offer support for rioters on Jan. 6 who bellowed chants of “Hang Mike Pence” as they surrounded the complex and erected gallows on the Capitol lawn.

This detail was first reported by The New York Times in May. According to Hutchinson, she reportedly heard Meadows remark to White House colleagues that Trump was irate over Pence being whisked away by security as the mob attacked. Trump then allegedly said something to the effect of ‘maybe Pence should be hung.’

Hutchinson appears Tuesday after a recent change in legal representation. Hutchinson’s current lawyer is Jody Hunt. Hunt, of the D.C. law firm Alston Bird, is a longtime ally to former attorney general Jeff Sessions, even once serving as his chief of staff. She parted ways with her former attorney, Stefan Passantino in early June, according to Politico. Passantino once served as the White House deputy counsel under Trump.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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There's no better avatar for the way Donald Trump's Big Lie has screwed our (already screwed up) electoral system than Tina Peters, the former Mesa County, Colorado, elections clerk.

“The Russians can’t hack into and start casting votes for someone,” she bragged in October of 2020, showing off her county's voting machines to a visiting film crew. Eight months later, she'd become a darling of Mike Lindell and his pillow-puffing dead enders, had been removed from her position, and was facing a seven-count felony indictment for charges that included identity theft.

Your Wonkette has been following this loon since she showed up at Lindell's cyber fraud hootenanny hoedown in August claiming to have evidence of vote rigging, and the story keeps getting weirder.

According to charging documents, Peters and her associate Belinda Knisley contacted a guy named Gerry Wood about doing some computer work for the county. They did a complete background check and issued him a badge, but then they took it back and didn't employ him after all. Instead, they deactivated security cameras, gave Wood's badge to someone else, passed the imposter off as a new employee recently transferred from the DMV, and allowed him to both copy data from the voting machines and attend a "trusted build" where Dominion Voting Systems updated the equipment.

The New York Times ran a piece on Peters this weekend, revealing that the imposter was a former surfer being paid by Patrick Byrne, the Overstock Dot Com weirdo who used to bump bits with Russian agent Maria Butina, and spent the past two years flogging lies about rigged elections and trying to get Trump to declare martial law......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Digital World Acquisition Corp—the publicly-traded company that is planning to merge with Donald Trump’s struggling media business—announced Monday that it had been smacked with a federal grand jury subpoena.

DWAC is special purpose acquisition company (SPAC, for short), which is an empty shell of a corporation that goes public on a stock exchange with no purpose or business plan and then merges with an existing company. It can be a way for a business to get itself publicly listed without having to go through the rigorous and time-consuming process of a traditional initial public offering. Last September, when Trump announced the creation of a media company—including Truth Social, a Twitter look-alike social media platform—he said his new firm would eventually merge with DWAC and go public. In theory, if the merger goes through, it could hugely enrich Trump, who presumably would own a large chunk of the newly merged company, while also providing much needed capital to help his nascent media empire compete with more established tech giants. DWAC, which had already gone public, saw its stock price quickly rise from $10 to more than $97.

But the Securities and Exchange Commission requires a SPAC like DWAC to be a truly blank slate—when the founders of the company go public, they aren’t supposed to harbor secret plans to merge with a a specific business, such as Trump Media & Technology Company. And almost immediately, accusations began to fly that DWAC’s founders did have conversations with Trump’s camp, long before DWAC went public. In December, DWAC executives disclosed in SEC filings that both the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) were investigating how much of a relationship existed between DWAC and Trump prior to the SPAC’s launch. Earlier this month, the company said the investigation by the two regulatory authorities was expanding......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Millions of American women and girls have declared themselves corporations in order to force the United States Supreme Court to grant them rights as people, legal observers have reported.


Attorneys across the nation indicated that they have been swamped by requests from clients seeking to incorporate as soon as possible.

“The Supreme Court decided in 2010 that corporations are people, so all we want is to be treated like corporations, ” Carol Foyler, who now goes by the corporate name FoylerCo L.L.C., said.

The decision by millions of women to incorporate sent shock waves through the Court’s conservative majority, who reportedly scoured the Constitution in vain for a means to circumvent the ingenious tactic.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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.....The gray zone has long been a focus of American policymakers. In 1948, famed American diplomat George Kennan warned of the emergence of “political warfare,” which he defined as “the employment of all the means at a nation’s command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives.” Later scholars slapped other labels on it, but all of them essentially refer to a host of diplomatic, informational, economic, and military actions that states deploy to achieve to achieve their objectives below the threshold of full-scale conflict.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union was seen as master of this domain, and Russia—as the heir to the Soviet legacy—enjoyed a similar reputation, particularly after its takeover of Crimea in 2014 and its interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russian gray zone warfare has been the subject of intense academic and policy scrutiny. It has been to the topic of dozens, if not hundreds, of studies. Many of these studies painted the Russians as blackbelts in this form of psychological jujitsu, capable of achieving their desired outcomes at minimal costs while confounding their adversaries’ ability to mount an effective response.

After the Ukraine invasion, however, it is worth reassessing just how good the Russians are at these forms of modern political warfare. The very fact that Russia felt the need to resort to overt, large-scale conventional force in Ukraine—despite years of operating there in the gray zone—demonstrates that at least in Russian president Vladimir Putin’s mind, these ambiguous uses of force in Ukraine failed to achieve their desired ends. And if Russian gray zone activity could not achieve success in Ukraine, despite the two states’ common histories and cultures, one wonders how well it could succeed elsewhere. What’s more, Russia’s ability to conduct gray zone operations has surely suffered and will suffer in the years to come......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: Why are Ukraine's claims of tank kills spiking so high? HIMARS might be the answer
kos

HIMARS.png

Four of these HIMARS rocket artillery launchers are raining fire on Russian forces in Ukraine.

Claimed Ukrainian tank kills per day:


June 27: 20
June 26: 21
June 24: 4
June 23: 3
June 22: 8
June 21: 0
June 20: 19
June 19: 9
June 18: 3


If you keep going back, you’ll see that zero to nine is about the usual range, with a few bigger days here and there, like June 20. I don’t recall ever seeing two 20+ tank days in a row.

Now, it’s reasonable to suspect these numbers. Combatants have an incentive to exaggerate the losses of their enemy. If you asked Russia, they’ve destroyed more tanks than Ukraine had at the beginning of the war, three times over. It’s hilarious. Ukraine’s numbers are more reasonable, but there’s no way to confirm. For context, Ukraine claims 1,440 total tank kills. Oryx’s list of visually confirmed kills puts the number at 789, and the guy is on vacation without updates for the past week. So we can confirm 55% to 60% of Ukraine’s claims, which is actually quite remarkable. It lends some credence to the numbers. So assuming we can at least trust the
trends, what’s going on these past two days? Combat isn’t any heavier than it has been for the past two weeks. Those lower numbers from previous days make sense given the current shape of combat operations: 1) Russia reduces ground to rubble, 2) Russia sends infantry to see if anything is left. If they die, then go back to one—otherwise, 3) proceed to next objective. There is zero “maneuver combat” in which armor columns face off against each other in open combat.

On the southern fronts—Kherson and southern Donbas—counterattacking Ukrainian forces are assaulting prepared entrenched defensive positions and Russian artillery, so again, little chance to destroy Russian armor. In that kind of environment, it makes sense that few Russian tanks meet their demise. The ones that do, more often than not, are hit by Ukrainian artillery.




Needless to say, artillery isn’t the most efficient way to kill tanks.

So if the
shape of combat operations hasn’t changed these last two days (i.e., we haven’t seen the emergence of new maneuver combat), and the intensity remains the same, where did those 41 new claimed tank kills come from?

Ukraine ain’t specifying, but I bet it has something to do with Ukraine’s targeting of Russian supply and command-and-control centers. With the arrival of HIMARS long-range rocket artillery, Ukraine appears happy to blow through its remaining supply of Tochka-U ballistic missiles. Between those two systems, Ukraine has made short work of Russian depots, giving us spectacular pyrotechnic displays. (Click the link above for many examples.)

One of the fires was so dramatic that it was initially thought to have caused a secondary fire 10 kilometers away.




Yet as the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) crew dug in, they made a surprising discovery:



“Totally destroyed” is an understatement. What was once a series of roads, buildings, vehicles, and emplacements is now literally a dirt pit.

dirt.png


Click here (48.550551, 39.002990) for a Google Earth view of the location before Russia set up shop—you can see the dirt roads and plenty of shrubbery that no longer exists. This spot is about 65 kilometers (about 40 miles) from Ukrainian territory, well within HIMARS’ 85-kilometer range.

These strikes wouldn’t have provided the dramatic light and sound shows like the nearby ammo depot. This is near a small hamlet, not a major city, making it less likely to deliver cellphone footage from the locals. And since HIMARS is operating at night, any cell phone footage would merely be flashes of lights with no hope of geolocation. And while the ammo depot burned all day, leaving a smoke trail over 100 kilometers long, vehicles wouldn’t smolder much past morning.

Had this one OSINT guy not dug into those curious fires near a major depot strike, we would’ve never known this base even existed. Yet Ukraine knew the base existed and what was parked there. Their drones and access to military-grade satellite imagery would assure that. So while we may not have the evidence (yet) to tally whatever was destroyed at that site, Ukraine would know, and add them to their public tally.

Meanwhile, this guy apparently has insight into what was happening on the other side of the HIMARS delivery. (“ZSU” is Ukrainian army. This is from Russian Telegram.)



What possible reason, indeed? Has to be sadistic “fun,” can’t be anything else. Why would “warriors” be struck in the middle of a war?

I’m really coming up empty here, guys …



That mall was hit midday to maximize the number of civilian deaths. If Russia really thought it was a military facility, it would’ve struck at night, when vehicles would be stored for the night with soldiers sleeping near them.

Russia wanted to kill as many civilians as possible. They are terrorists.

That alone is good reason to strike Russian forces behind the front lines, and it’s just one of thousands of similar reasons.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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LIVE: Follow along with the January 6 committee for its sixth public hearing
Brandi Buchman

The January 6 committee will host its sixth public hearing Tuesday, a decision that appears to have arrived at the 11th hour and due in large part to reported concerns of security threats posed to the day’s chief witness: Cassidy Hutchinson.

Hutchinson once served as an aide to former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows. This position permitted a unique vantage point into the happenings inside the Trump White House and, the committee argues, it has been her cooperation that has better illuminated how the 45th president and his allies in Congress rallied behind a bid to usurp the will of millions of voters and overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The former White House aide has testified that at least six Republican lawmakers sought pardons from Trump before and after Jan. 6 in hopes of avoiding any possible criminal charges they might face later. And she has offered some, albeit scant, details on an advance warning of violence that Meadows received from the Secret Service a few days before the Capitol assault.

Her testimony will unfold live Tuesday and a stream is available below. Additional hearings are to come in July but an exact schedule has yet to be announced. .....
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Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022 · 1:03:27 PM EDT · Brandi Buchman

We begin today’s hearing with witness Cassidy Hutchinson. There is high security in the room today and she appears to be the sole witness to appear this afternoon.