More to ignore, Book 78.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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FYD2JSyacAAPepu
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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President Volodymyr Zelensky has continued his purge of Ukraine's security service (SBU) by dismissing the organisation's deputy director.

Volodymyr Horbenko is the latest official to lose his job after Mr Zelensky said bosses failed to root out pro-Russian elements in the agency.

Regional chiefs in several other cities were also dismissed, Mr Zelensky said.

It comes as MPs voted to dismiss SBU chief Ivan Bakanov and Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova

Speaking after the vote, the leader of Mr Zelensky's Servant of the People party, David Arakhamia, said new information had recently come to light, and the purge of the SBU would continue in the coming days.

"There will be many 'cleanses', because over the years many residents of the Russian special services have secretly entrenched themselves within the walls of the SBU, unfortunately," Mr Arakhamia said, adding: "They got access to materials that they didn't have before."
 

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Russia’s Gazprom sends force majeure letter to European clients​

Gas delivery via the Nord Stream pipeline has been paused for a week as the pipeline undergoes scheduled maintenance — but even before that, the flow of gas from Russia to Europe had slowed dramatically. Gazprom slashed gas deliveries through Nord Stream 1 to 40 percent of its capacity on June 14, the date the company later indicated as the start of the force majeure. ...

Uniper, Germany’s largest importer of Russian gas, confirmed to The Washington Post that it had received a notice from Gazprom “in which the company claims force majeure retroactively for past and current shortfalls in gas deliveries,” a Uniper spokesman wrote in an email. …

“Russia continues to use natural gas as a political and economic weapon,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a news briefing Tuesday. “Russia’s energy corrosion has put pressure on energy markets, raised prices for consumers, and threatened global energy security.” …

Ultimately, no one knows yet what decision Russian President Vladimir Putin will take on whether to turn back on gas supplies, he said.


“We will only know how to interpret whatever Gazprom says when we know what will happen at the end of the week,” said Philipp Heilmaier, head of the future energy supply division at the German Energy Agency......
 

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WASHINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) - The United States will send four more high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) to Ukraine, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Wednesday, in the latest military package to bolster Kyiv as it confronts heavy pounding by Russian forces.


Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu earlier this week ordered generals to prioritize destroying Ukraine's long-range missile and artillery weapons after Western-supplied weapons were used to strike Russian supply lines......
 

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Let's talk about what is going on with the deleted Secret Service texts and the Jan. 6 probe
Brandi Buchman

Let’s start at the beginning and get right into what is currently going on with these deleted Secret Service text messages from the eve of the insurrection on Jan. 5 and the day of the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.

The Jan. 6 committee was alerted on July 13 by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari that a series of United States Secret Service (USSS) text messages spanning Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 were erased. Cuffari informed the committee that messages were lost during a migration of data to new devices for Secret Service personnel. A spokesperson for the Secret Service initially said the messages were not lost permanently, and aggressively defended against accusations that messages were erased maliciously.

So, the select committee responded by issuing a subpoena to the Secret Service for the Jan. 5-6 texts. Committee members were briefed privately by Cuffari in person on July 15, and Cuffari reportedly told them that the Secret Service did not conduct its own after-action review regarding Jan. 6, choosing instead to rely on whatever might turn up in Cuffari’s pending inspector general report on the security failures of Jan. 6.

At the briefing with members of the select committee, Cuffari said he didn’t feel the Secret Service was “fully cooperating” with him, according to Jan. 6 committee chairman Bennie Thompson. The DHS inspector general reportedly said he ran those concerns about the missing messages up the ladder to DHS Secretary Alexander Mayorkas though not to much avail. Mayorkas, CNN reported, only told him to keep pushing for the information from the agency.

Members of the Jan. 6 committee hit the weekend talk show circuit after issuing the subpoena. Investigators like Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Adam Kinzinger said they expected the Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 texts would be turned over by Tuesday.

More questions mounted in the press. By Tuesday afternoon, the National Archives ordered Damian Kokinda, the records officer for the Department of Homeland Security, to have the Secret Service investigate exactly how the messages were deleted and then produce a report on their findings within a month.

But then, another wrinkle emerged.

CNN reported late Tuesday night that it obtained a letter sent to the Jan. 6 committee stating the Secret Service was only able to provide a single text exchange to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general from the requested Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 time period.

According to Secret Service assistant director Ronald Rowe:

“The Secret Service submitted the responsive records it identified, namely, a text message conversation from former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to former Secret Service Uniformed Division Chief Thomas Sullivan requesting assistance on January 6, 2021, and advised the agency did not have any further records responsive to the DHS OIG's request for text messages.”

Rowe’s letter also reportedly revealed that Cuffari asked for the texts in question (as well as others spanning Dec. 7, 2020, to Jan. 8, 2021) in June 2021.

This is an important distinction because, to start, the Secret Service was first asked by congress to preserve its records and produce other documents just 10 days after the Capitol attack on Jan. 16. Then, three months later, in March, a smattering of congressional committees asked the Secret Service again to preserve and produce records, but narrowed their requests to only those records sent and received between Jan. 5 and Jan. 7, 2021.

Though CNN did not publish the letter the committee received from Rowe on Tuesday, the outlet said Rowe did write that it was “up to employees to conduct the necessary preservation of records from their phones” and that Secret Service staff were given explicit, “step-by-step” instructions on how to preserve phone data before a pre-planned device migration that was set to begin on Jan. 27, 2021.

“It went on to explain that ‘all Secret Service employees are responsible for appropriately preserving government records that may be created via text messaging,’” the letter stated.

Rowe said too that the agency would keep looking into “whether any relevant text messages sent or received by 24 individuals identified by the DHS OIG were lost due to the Intune migration and, if so, whether such texts are recoverable.”

The Secret Service is expected to review metadata too and interview the 24 personnel flagged by Cuffari in order "to determine if messages were stored in locations that were not already searched by the Secret Service."

There have been just under 11,000 pages of records provided to the select committee since investigators hit the agency with its subpoena last week.

Government watchdog groups like Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) are following the details closely.

The group’s chief counsel Donald Sherman urged the Department of Justice to investigate immediately because the Secret Service very likely violated the Federal Records Act, he said.

“It is especially distressing to see such behavior from a federal agency that had such critical duties during the attack on the Capitol and had a front row seat to former President Trump’s behavior that day. The Justice Department must take this apparent violation of federal law seriously,” Sherman said.

2022 7 18 Secret Service Destruction of Records by Daily Kos on Scribd

The role of the Secret Service around key moments leading up to the insurrection has taken on greater import in the wake of the select committee’s public hearings.

When former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified under oath, she recounted many shocking details of that day and chief among them were her accounts that 1) Trump knew the mob was heavily armed and encouraged them to speed past security measures and magnetometers anyway and 2) members of the Trump’s Secret Service detail had plans to take Trump to the Capitol after his speech at the Ellipse for an “off-the-record” movement despite warnings of violence deluging security agencies all over Washington, including the U.S. Secret Service.

In one email obtained by the committee and aired publicly during a recent hearing, the Secret Service Intelligence Division is shown explicitly highlighting the threats it saw growing. One forwarded warning read: “We need to flood the Capital Building and show America and the senators and representatives inside voting that we won’t stand for election fraud.”

Committee vicechair Liz Cheney noted how caveats like these were sent often and regularly to key security staff at the White House like, specifically, Tony Ornato, then the deputy White House chief of staff for operations.

Hutchinson’s testimony about Ornato and her testimony that Trump lunged at Secret Service agent Bobby Engel’s neck when he refused to drive Trump to the Capitol after his speech on Jan. 6, prompted the Secret Service to refute Hutchinson’s sworn statements publicly.

USSS spokesperson Anthony Gugliemi said both Ornato and Engel would be willing to testify under oath. Other unnamed sources told NBC that neither Ornato nor Engel denied that Trump was irate or that he demanded to be taken to the Capitol. Trump, this past April in an interview with The Washington Post aired his still lingering frustrations about not being taken to the Capitol.

“Secret Service said I couldn’t go. I would have gone there in a minute,” Trump said.



The historic closeness of certain agents to Trump has cast doubt over the agency’s official positions and credibility.

Tony Ornato, for example, left his role heading up Trump’s Secret Service security detail to take on the political appointment of deputy White House chief of staff or operations. This was done to much controversy, and in the end, it gave Ornato the power to oversee the Secret Service and its relationship with the White House. Today, Ornato has returned to the civil service and works as the assistant director at the Secret Service’s Office of Training.

Renowned investigative journalist Carol Leonnig, who has spent years studying the machinations of the U.S. Secret Service, appeared on MSNBC last month and said to her knowledge, many in Trump’s security detail were “aligned” with the former president politically and appeared to support the actions of the mob.



Questions continue to stack up as the agency engages with the committee and a representative for the probe did not return a request for comment about how this may or may not factor into the probe’s next (and expected to be final) public hearing on Thursday, July 21 at 8 PM ET.
 

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#BlueSprayNozzle Is Latest Domestic Terrorist Arrested For Assaulting Capitol Police With Bear Spray
PvtJarHead

ScreenshotWilliamHendryMellors2.png



A Texas man was arrested today for assaulting law enforcement officers with a dangerous weapon for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

William Hendry Mellors, 50, of Tomball, Texas, is charged in a criminal complaint filed in the District of Columbia with felony and misdemeanor offenses, including assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon. He was arrested in Houston. He is to make his initial court appearance today in the Southern District of Texas.

According to court documents, on Jan. 6, Mellors illegally entered the grounds of the Capitol. He was among rioters engaging in a confrontation with law enforcement officers, and he sprayed officers with a chemical substance that appeared to be a commercially available bear spray. He later was identified through photographs and other evidence. In a voluntary interview with the FBI on May 31, 2022, Mellors admitted that he brought two cannisters of bear spray with him to Washington on Jan. 6....




...According to court documents, Mellors traveled from Houston Hobby Airport on a Southwest Airlines flight to Baltimore, Maryland on Jan. 5. He admitted to FBI investigators that he attended the pro-Trump rally on Jan. 6 and joined protestors as they made their way to the Capital that day.

Mellors and other protestors became combative with officers at the Capitol and Mellors was caught on surveillance cameras using a chemical substance to attack officers, that appeared to be a commercially available bear spray, said the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Court documents read the substance he sprayed appeared to be yellow in color and emitted from a light-colored can with a bright orange/red top. FBI investigators identified the can to be bear spray and the label on the can said the spray was not to be used on humans, according to court documents.

Mellors was identified through photographs and other evidence. In a voluntary interview with the FBI on May 31, 2022, Mellors admitted he brought two canisters of bear spray with him to Washington on Jan. 6.....
 

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District Attorney Fani Willis is rounding up imposter electors (and Giuliani) like cows on a ranch
Rebekah Sager


A New York judge has ordered Rudy Giuliani to testify next month as a witness before the Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury that's investigating Donald Trump's attempts to undermine the 2020 election.

Giuliani, who is Trump's former lawyer, was subpoenaed earlier this month. The order to appear on August 9 came after Giuliani failed to appear at a hearing in New York about blocking the subpoena......
 

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A bipartisan group of senators reached a deal to make it harder to overturn a certified presidential election, marking the most significant response by Congress to former President Donald Trump's relentless pressure campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The proposal still needs to be approved by both chambers and will need 60 votes in the Senate to break any filibuster attempt, meaning at least 10 Republicans would be needed to support any legislation. Announcement of the plan kicks off what is expected to be a challenging, months-long process to get the deal passed into law before the end of the year.

The deal is the culmination of months of negotiation led by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, along with an additional six Democrats and eight Republicans. The proposal unveiled Wednesday is split up into two bills.

One of the bills is focused on modernizing and overhauling the Electoral Count Act, an 1887 law that Trump had sought to exploit and create confusion over how Congress counts Electoral College votes from each state. As part of that proposal, senators are attempting to clarify that the vice president only has a ceremonial role in overseeing the certification of the electoral results. The proposal also includes key provisions intended to promote an orderly transition of presidential power by outlining guidelines for when eligible candidates can receive federal resources for a transition into office. The bill is co-sponsored by the nine Republicans and seven Democrats who announced the deal.

According to a fact sheet on the legislation, the proposal dealing with the vice president's role would make clear that the responsibility is "solely ministerial and that he or she does not have any power to solely determine, accept, reject, or otherwise adjudicate disputes over electors."

Provisions of the bill dealing with an orderly transition of power would make it so that it would be possible to limit resources for a transition of power to only the apparent winner of an election if the outcome of an election is clear.

The second bill is aimed at improving election security and would enhance federal penalties for anyone who threatens or intimidates election officials as well as increase penalties for the tampering with election records. The bill is co-sponsored by five Republicans and seven Democrats.

While constitutional experts say the vice president currently can't disregard a state-certified electoral result, Trump pushed then-Vice President Mike Pence to obstruct the Electoral College certification in Congress as part of his pressure campaign. But Pence refused to do so and, as a result, became a target of the former President and his mob of supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said the bill would make it harder to overturn an election when a joint session of Congress convenes to certify a presidential election.

"Anything we can do and show to the American public that we realize how serious that day was, and that we're going to do all we can to prevent a repeat of January 6th, is a step in the right direction," he said.


"Any future vice president cannot, should not, will not be able to overturn legitimate votes of Americans and their electors that states vote," Warner said.
 

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With Russia’s war in her home country continuing to rage, Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenska, the wife of President Volodymyr Zelensky, addressed a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday, the third day of her high-profile Washington, D.C., trip.

"I know this is the first time when the wife of the president of a foreign country has the honor to address you within these walls," Zelenska said in remarks translated from her speech, which was delivered in Ukrainian. "This is really important for me and for my country, and today I want to address you as politicians and party representatives as well as mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, daughters and sons.”

Zelenska presented images of young girls and boys killed by Russian missile strikes, including 4-year-old Lisa, whom she had met around Christmas.

"I remember her just like she is here, a cheerful, playful little rascal," Zelenska told Congress. "She is no longer with us. On July 14, Lisa was killed by a Russian missile attack."....
 

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The U.S. Department of Defense on Tuesday released 48-pages of Jan. 6 communications following a Freedom of Information Act request from Business Insider.

"As an armed mob rushed toward the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, an aide sent Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley an urgent update about congressional office building evacuations and 'escalating protests.' The sources of this information: journalists' tweets," Insider reported.

"Together, this initial release of emails provides dramatic, if decidedly incomplete insight into Trump administration activities in the hours immediately before, during, and after a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6," Insider reported. "One email includes a highly redacted exchange — subject: 'fencing' — between Kash Patel, chief of staff to then-Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, and Anthony Ornato, Trump's deputy White House chief of staff for operations, who drew national attention earlier this month after Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the US House's January 6 select committee about him.".....
 

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The Big Lie loon squad is wilding out in Nevada, where Republican gubernatorial contender Joey Gilbert is suing half the state, alleging that the election was stolen from him by those dastardly machines. And he can prove it, too!

No, not by doing a recount — he's already paid for one of those, and it confirmed the original tally which put him eleven percent behind his rival Joe Lombardo. Now Gilbert is suing to get another hand recount, or to have the election tossed out because "the result as announced is a mathematical impossibility."

"When the votes as counted and announced, are statistically corrected, Mr. Gilbert will demonstrate with irrefutable geometric finality that he handily won the primary election for Republican gubernatorial nominee in the June 14, 2022 Primary Election in Nevada," the suit alleges.

Geometric finality — take that, libs! ✂️


Well, we are no mathematician, but by our arithmetic, 28,304 + 105,816 + 55,861 = 189,981. And 83,812 + 62,102 + 44,083 = 189,997. So Mr. Gilbert appears to have misplaced 16 ballots along the way. Maybe he should check in the pockets of his infallible restoration algorithm!.....
 

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Former Trump White House aide Garrett Ziegler, left, waits Tuesday near a room on Capitol Hill where the January 6 committee conducts its closed-door witness interviews.

A former Trump White House aide who met with the January 6 committee earlier this week went on a profane and sexist rant on a livestream after his testimony, where he railed against the lawmakers and attacked other witnesses, according to audio posted to his Telegram.

The aide, Garrett Ziegler, met with the House panel on Tuesday. Lawmakers were likely interested in hearing from him because of his ties to one of the most shocking episodes of the 2020 election saga: A White House meeting where then-President Donald Trump's outside allies tried to convince him to declare martial law and use the military to seize voting machines.

In the 27-minute livestream, Ziegler used vulgar and misogynistic language to attack Cassidy Hutchinson and Alyssa Farah Griffin, two women who worked for the Trump White House but have since publicly broken from the former President and cooperated with the January 6 panel.

He also accused the January 6 House select committee of being "anti-White," without any evidence. (The nine-member panel is led by Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, who is Black.)

"They're Bolsheviks," Ziegler said in the stream, referring to the far-left communists who led the Soviet Union, "so, they probably do hate the American founders and most White people in general. This is a Bolshevistic anti-White campaign. If you can't see that, your eyes are freaking closed. And so, they see me as a young Christian who they can try to basically scare, right?"

The livestream is audio-only, but the voice on the recording matches past videos of Ziegler. CNN has reached out to the January 6 committee and Ziegler's attorney seeking comment.

At the White House, Ziegler was an aide to Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro, who was charged with contempt of Congress for defying the panel's subpoena. (He pleaded not guilty.)

The New York Times previously reported that Ziegler escorted some of Trump's most controversial allies into the White House for the now-infamous December 2020 meeting where martial law was discussed. In Ziegler's online postings, he disputed parts of the Times story.

On his Telegram channel, Ziegler continues to promote debunked conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. He falsely claimed in recent posts that "the election was stolen" and that the January 6 attack on the US Capitol "was one of the greatest orchestrated false flags in history."
 

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Silence and betrayal: For last expected public hearing, Jan. 6 probe dives into the '187 minutes'
Brandi Buchman

Though their work will continue as they prepare an interim and then final report on the investigation into the U.S. Capitol attack and former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election, the Jan. 6 committee meets for its final expected public hearing on Thursday at 8 PM ET.

Thursday’s primetime presentation—estimated by one senior committee aide to last about two hours—will close out several weeks where investigators presented evidence and witness testimony carefully and methodically that supported their assertion that Trump, as committee member and Rep. Jamie Raskin told Daily Kos in April, engaged in an “inside political coup” to retain power despite an electoral and popular defeat by Joe Biden.

The hearing is expected to be a gut-wrenching display of Trump’s idleness on Jan. 6 as his supporters, which included members of extremist groups like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and self-styled militia networks like the Three-Percenters, laid armed siege to the U.S. Capitol.

Reps. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, and Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat, will lead the hearing. Chairman Bennie Thompson is expected to be in attendance remotely after contracting COVID-19 this week. He ordered the hearing to go on without him physically present, and a senior committee aide told Daily Kos Wednesday night he was “on the mend.”

Live witness testimony is anticipated from former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger and former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews. Both resigned from their posts in the Trump White House in the immediate aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack. Both have previously cooperated with the committee, and their testimony is vital because they were among a select group of people close to Trump who vocally and abruptly ended their tenures after the attack.

Pottinger has said previously that he tendered his resignation shortly after learning on Jan. 6 that Trump sent out a tweet urging then-Vice President Mike Pence to have the “courage” to stop or delay the counting of Electoral College votes.

Pottinger, a former Marine, was no less shocked when he heard unconfirmed reports circulating in the West Wing that suggested the White House may have delayed sending in the National Guard for backup.

Sarah Matthews has been a vocal defender of other witnesses who have come forward to offer their disturbing accounts of the insurrection, including Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump’s then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows.



Matthews, who currently serves as the communications director for a House committee focused on the climate crisis, resigned on Jan. 6 and has been forthcoming about her concerns over the attempted coup and its causes. She told The Washington Post after her resignation that Jan. 6 “shook me to my core” when she saw people she knew running for their lives.

Critically, both witnesses may parse out more details about how Trump was already made aware that there was violence unfolding at the Capitol when he sent the tweet: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

In a private deposition with the committee former Trump White House aide Ben Williamson testified that Trump was aware of how bad things had become at the Capitol when he sent that tweet. The attack had already been underway for an hour.

in a portion of her own recorded deposition aired prior to Thursday’s hearing, Matthews testified that her immediate superior, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, told her and other aides not to speak to the press during the assault.

“I think when Kayleigh gave us that order of ‘don’t say anything to the media,’ I told her that I thought the president needed to tweet something,” Matthews said. “And then I remember getting a notification on my phone..”

Matthews was with Williamson and other aides when they all got the Twitter notification at once.

“So, we knew it was a tweet from the President. And we looked down, and it was a tweet about Mike Pence,” she said.

She described that tweet as the 45th president “pouring gasoline on the fire.”

A senior committee aide told Daily Kos on Wednesday that the facts have spoken for themselves every step of the way in the committee’s presentations. The evidence, the aide added, has been “compelling” and not credibly disputed.

Whether Trump or other members of his administration involved in the insurrection will face charges will be left to the Justice Department to decide.

Thursday’s hearing will feature information too on those who frantically urged Trump to act during the 187-minute stretch of mind-numbing silence from the Oval Office as police pushed themselves to the brink to defend the building, lawmakers, staff, and journalists inside.

More context is expected to arrive on Thursday as well regarding the activities of Trump’s family members, aides and allies.

Spectators can expect to see a review of how the video message Trump pushed out on Jan. 6 at 4:17 PM came together. Trump reportedly needed no less than three takes to get the video done because he kept moving off script. What America heard—and saw—in that notorious video was the best of a bunch.

“It was a landslide election and everyone knows it,” Trump said at the very top of the video before moments later calling the election results fraudulent.

Trump’s insistence of widespread fraud in the election, witnesses from the Trump White House and Department of Justice have told the Jan. 6 probe. never wavered, no matter who presented it to him. The video on the afternoon of Jan. 6 is arguably some of the strongest proof to confirm that.

The committee has been mum on whether it will seriously push to have Trump or Pence appear for deposition before the interim report emerges but hopes are not high. Chairman Thompson has indicated, however, that Trump is welcome to testify—if he does so under oath.

Viewers of tomorrow’s hearing can also expect to see and hear more testimony via video from Pat Cipollone, once Trump’s White House attorney.
 

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Ukraine update: The bridge at Nova Kakhovka and the bridge at Kherson
Mark Sumner

GettyImages-1240856566.jpg

Aerial view of the city of Kherson. May 20, 2022,

Way back at the beginning of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine—a whole five months ago—Kherson was one of the first places where rapidly advancing Russian forces got a serious bloody nose. In attempting to capture the bridge over the wide Dnipro River east of the city, Russia first claimed that they had it, then Ukraine took it back, the Russia claimed they had it again, only to have it turn back in Ukrainian hands the next day.


Then, just a few days later, Kherson was suddenly in Russian hands. What had seemed to be a hard-fought resistance crumpled. Forces from the local territorial defense laid down their arms. No one took the obvious move of blowing up that bridge to prevent Russian forces from entering the city.

It wasn’t until a month later we understood that Kherson had been betrayed. The actual plan for Kherson had been to blow up the bridge east of the city, along with a second bridge 50km to the north between Mykolaivka and Nova Kakhovka. Finally, forces were meant to destroy the damn north of that second bridge, flooding the low ground east of the river and ensuring that the city had an even wider buffer holding back Russian forces.

Had that plan been carried out, there is a good chance that Kherson—the city and the oblast—would never have been occupied by Russia at all. As kos reported back in March, all of this was expected to take place in a single day as soon as Russia initiated hostilities. Only a whole series of officials in the area were apparently long-time beneficiaries of a pipeline of cash flowing out of Moscow. Instead of ordering forces to carry out the plan, they literally walked away from their posts, leaving Kherson open to a nearly effort-free invasion by Russian troops.

March was also the first month in which Ukraine announced a counteroffensive to recapture Kherson. And it seemed to be going well at the time, “What is happening now along the road between Mykolaiv and Kherson. Ukrainian forces are advancing from village to village, dislodging Russian troops and reversing a Russian advance that stalled out a week ago.” Expectations were that Russian forces, caught in the featureless plain west of the city, would hustle back to an area they could better defend. Within days, there were reports of gunfire heard in the streets of Kherson, and claims that Russian soldiers were loading up trucks with loot, ready to flee the city.

In April, Russian forces advanced west of Kherson to capture a series of towns whose names—like Snihurivka, Vysokopillya, and Davydiv Brid—whose names have become way too familiar to those who are following this war closely. Because Russia is
still in these towns. Another Ukrainian counteroffensive later that month got Ukrainian troops close enough to the city to launch artillery into the airport area to the west. For everything that’s happened since … that’s pretty much where things stand now.

For the last month, Ukraine has been engaged in another announced counteroffensive in the Kherson region. At times, that effort has generated excitement, as when Ukrainian forces crossed the Inhulets River south of Davydiv Brid and moved swiftly to capture a number of villages on what had been the “Russian bank.” More often, the counteroffensive has been frustrating in failing to produce any visible results. But then, Ukraine has insisted from the outset that the operational security is all important and that this time, unlike other events in Ukraine, they intended to clamp down on all those tantalizing Telegram posts and Twitter videos. The fact that foreign observers are frustrated doesn’t mean Ukraine isn’t hitting their own goals. But those goals certainly don’t seem to be getting back into the city any time soon.

At various times over the last month, fighting in the area has bulged in toward Kherson along that main road leading down from Mykolaiv. Or it’s churned up the southern tip of the the oblast down around Stanislav. Or it’s pushed through the middle at that cross-river breakthrough. Or it’s … you get the idea.

For the third time in five months, Ukrainian forces have pushed close enough to Kherson to drop artillery all around the city (they could undoubtedly hit targets in the city, as well, if they weren’t trying to avoid damage to civilian areas) but “just 15km out of Kherson” seems to be an endless refrain, and not a lot seems to be happening to bridge that gap.

For some weeks, there has been news that Ukraine plans the real counteroffensive for some time in August. Which, to be honest, seems reasonable. With every passing day, more weapons are arriving in Ukraine from the West while more of Russia’s army is converted into shrapnel. The idea that by August Ukraine might be in a position to bring in well-equipped, freshly trained troops with shiny new gear to face the remains of Russian BTGs that have been sitting on the front lines for weeks in battered gear that dates back to the days of disco, isn’t just appealing, but probably pretty good strategy.

Except that there are other voices who have begun to suspect that the target of the Kherson counteroffensive isn’t Kherson at all. It’s that bridge at Nova Kakhovka.

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These two bridges are Russia’s connection between Kherson and their forces to the east.

Russia took that bridge just one day after they strolled into Kherson. Having both bridges gives them a backup to the Kherson bridge when it comes to supply lines. It’s what makes Russia’s presence west of the Dnipro robust enough to think about making runs at Mykolaiv or Kryvyi Rih. The idea that Ukraine might go after that bridge in order to cut off Russian forces in the west and make Russia think very seriously about whether Kherson is really “Russia forever” also dates back to the early days of the war.

As someone said back in April, “If Ukraine could move quickly toward that bridge, they could potentially cut off a large Russian force, stranding them on the west side of the river.” Yeah, that. Nothing would make it easier to capture Kherson than having that bridge east of the city be the only remaining bus out of town. Only … you could also do it the other way around.

What if someone took out the bridge east of Kherson, and Russian forces found their only lifeline back to the remainder of their forces, and their only source of supplies, was a bridge 50km to the north, at a position that’s much less well defended? Russia has a dozen BTGs clustered around Kherson. They have dug-in and fortified positions. They have forces in the city itself, where Ukraine definitely doesn’t want to employ heavy weapons. That’s a big obstacle.

As long as Russia can stay there.

And that was a lot of prequel before getting around to saying that Ukraine has been deliberately painting a picture for Russia over the last week. A picture that says “look here, boys, we can take out those bridges any time we want.”

The first big part of that message came a week ago when Ukraine struck an ammunition depot at Nova Kakhovka, resulting in a massive explosive.



Not only did this attack, and strikes against several other such depots across Ukraine, coincide with a not-so-mysterious drop in Russian artillery usage, it showed Russia that Ukraine was positioned—very likely with U.S. HIMARS systems—to precisely strike targets all the way over on the other side of the river. If this shot had been made from that area across the Inhulets liberated by Ukraine, it would have been about 50km from the ammo depot. But it’s highly unlikely that Ukraine would put a HIMARS system at risk by moving it that far forward. More likely this was made by a unit based well back of the lines and operating near the operational range of standard HIMARS rockets at about 85km. So … helluva shot.

Since then, Ukraine has demonstrated their skills again, and drawn a double-underscore beneath their message, by putting serious pockmarks in the bridge that is directly east of Kherson, the Antonovskiy Bridge. That bridge was hit not once, but reportedly 11 times, making some serious pockmarks in the surface of the roadway.



Unlike some of the other bridges that have been critical in this war, the Antonovskiy Bridge is not just bridging a short gap across a dam or divided into segments. It’s a 1km bridge, a genuine architectural masterpiece. If it goes down, it will be sad. It also will not go back up in a hurry.

As U.K. intelligence notes, this is
the critical piece of infrastructure in the region.

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UK MOD report on Antonovskiy Bridge

The UK Ministry of Defense sums all this up in a sentence: “Control of Dnipro crossing is likely to become a key factor in the outcome of fighting in the region.”

Exactly what Ukraine hit that bridge with is still in question. HIMARS seems like the obvious answer, though it’s unclear that the damage the bridge took in that barrage matches what a pod or two of HIMARS missiles would achieve. There have also been indications that GPS-controlled Excalibur shells fired from an M777 were the source of the damage. Honestly, it’s just over 20km from the bridge to areas under Ukrainian control. If they’re willing to position a gun far forward, there’s no reason to think the bridge wasn’t hit by a well-aimed grouping of standard artillery shells.


Whatever the case, those holes in the bridge have to be making Russia think very carefully. If Ukraine is about to make a big push in Kherson, they’ve made it clear that can take out one or both of the bridges whenever they choose.

If they do, Russian forces could find themselves trying to hold their positions with no easy way to get more troops, more equipment, or more ammunition.

Russia has repeatedly made the declaration that Kherson is “Russia forever,” and there have even been hints that, should Ukraine move to retake “Russian territory,” that would be legitimate cause for dragging out a tactical nuke from storage. Assuming they haven’t all been sold for parts.

But Russia has repeatedly put off those referendums it’s been talking about since days after taking Kherson. Maybe that’s because they realize that “forever” might only be a few more weeks.

Over on Telegram, the pro-Russian ensemble “Rybar” is reporting that Ukraine seems to be completing its preparations for the real push in Kherson oblast.

  • Over the past 24 hours, artillery crews and MLRS of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have attacked the Antonovskiy Bridge, Berislav, Lyubymivka, Snihurivka, Novovoznesenske, Olgino, and Zolota Balka.
  • The offensive will be preceded by massive artillery shelling from M777 howitzers on the positions of the Russian Armed Forces on the line of contact.
  • HIMARS high-precision munitions have practically disabled the Antonovskiy Bridge, which complicates the supply of the Russian group in this direction.

Yes. For Russians in the Kherson area, it seems like things are about to get very complicated.

Buckle up.