More to ignore, Book 81.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
106,502
18,612
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Jan. 6 committee conducting interviews with Trump Cabinet officials
Brandi Buchman

In the wake of the insurrection, there was a reported flurry of conversation among members of former President Donald Trump’s Cabinet about whether he should be removed from office by way of the 25th Amendment. Now the Jan. 6 committee is conducting interviews with some of those officials as investigators pursue more information about what unfolded around Trump after the attack.

According to reporting first from ABC, the committee has now interviewed former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and plans to interview former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before the week is out.

Mick Mulvaney, who parlayed his job as Trump’s acting chief of staff to become the special envoy for Ireland, is also reportedly meeting with the panel on Thursday.
.........
Exactly six days after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, the House of Representatives passed a resolution 223-205 urging then-Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

At the time, Pence said he did not believe this course of action was “in the best interest of our nation or consistent with the Constitution,” and he dubbed the resolution a “political game.” He also issued his refusal to invoke the 25th Amendment before the House had even completed its vote.

That “game” Pence worried about, however, was reportedly one that some members of Trump’s inner circle had already considered playing.

In ABC reporter Jonathan Karl’s book, Betrayal, he described a conversation between then-Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and then-Secretary of State Pompeo. Pompeo, Karl reported, sought out “legal analysis” on how the 25th Amendment could be applied and how fast it might work.

Washington, D.C., was heavily reeling from the Capitol assault. Yet during an appearance on MSNBC last November, Karl said the 25th Amendment talks were quickly nipped in the bud once officials learned the process could be a lengthy one and potentially complicated by the fact that members of Trump’s Cabinet had resigned after Jan. 6, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

It was reported Thursday that both DeVos and Chao are figures of interest to Jan. 6 investigators, too, and that they may also be asked to cooperate.

DeVos stepped down 24 hours after the attack and told USA Today this June that she was part of conversations where the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment with other members of Trump’s Cabinet was discussed.

In a portion of his testimony to the Jan. 6 committee, former White House attorney Pat Cipollone told investigators that former Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia wanted members of the Cabinet to meet 24 hours after the insurrection. Scalia said he asked for the meeting because he felt “trying to work within the administration to steady the ship” would be better than watching more resignations roll in.

Pompeo has historically denied that he was part of any conversation after Jan. 6 where invoking the 25th Amendment came up.

DeVos’ recent interview undercuts that claim.

“I spoke with the vice president and just let him know I was there to do whatever he wanted and needed me to do or help with, and he made it very clear that he was not going to go in that direction or that path,” DeVos said of Pence on June 9. “I spoke with colleagues. I wanted to get a better understanding of the law itself and see if it was applicable in this case. There were more than a few people who had those conversations internally.”

DeVos said when she realized invoking the 25th Amendment against Trump was not a viable path forward, she tendered her resignation. She has not outwardly blamed Trump for Jan. 6, but she told USA Today she “didn’t see the president step in and do what he could have done to turn it back or slow it down or really address the situation.”

Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified to the Jan. 6 committee that discussions of removing Trump with the 25th Amendment were flowing after the mob laid siege to the Capitol. Trump had spent three hours watching the mob attack without strongly condemning the violence or taking concerted action to stop it. When he finally delivered a speech in the Rose Garden that afternoon, and only after multiple people had died and much blood had been shed, he proclaimed “we love you” to his supporters before asking them to go home.

The next day, officials at the White House pushed to have Trump deliver a speech. Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told the committee under oath that the plan for the Jan. 7 speech mostly went into effect because people inside the White House were terrified of two things: the mounting criticism that Trump didn’t do enough and that the 25th Amendment would be invoked.

“The secondary reason to that [speech] was that, ‘think about what might happen in the final 15 days of your presidency if we don’t do this, there’s already talks about invoking the 25th Amendment, you need this as cover,’” Hutchinson said.

According to CNN, the committee is also seeking testimony from John Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman from Texas who vehemently defended Trump during Trump’s first impeachment inquiry for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power as well as during special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference of the 2016 election.

Ratcliffe, despite a woeful lack of experience, ended up confirmed by the GOP-majority Senate to serve as Director of National Intelligence. His appointment was a rollercoaster. Trump first nominated him to serve in the role in August 2019, but Ratcliffe didn’t have support in the Senate. He also didn’t have widespread support in the intelligence community. A review of his record by investigative reporters at ABC revealed that Ratcliffe had exaggerated claims of his involvement in anti-terrorism efforts as well as illegal immigration crackdowns.

Chad Wolf, once the acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, and his former deputy, Ken Cuccinelli, are in reported talks to meet with investigators, as well.

Both Wolf and Cuccinneli were asked to cooperate with the probe voluntarily last October.

Wolf was once much adored by Trump. He began to lead the Department of Homeland Security after then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned in April 2019. Despite Nielsen’s overt willingness to enforce any number of Trump’s cruel immigration policies during her tenure, she wasn’t enough of a toady for the 45th president, and he slammed her in the press as an ineffectual before she resigned. When she finally stepped down, Kevin McAleenan, then the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, filled her slot. McAleenan resigned in November 2019.

Those transitions were riddled with problems, however.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) would later reveal, after its own independent assessment of DHS, that both Nielsen and McAleenan altered or amended internal policies on lines of succession at the department. DHS pushed back on the report when it went public but Wolf ultimately stayed in place with Trump’s full support. Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee as well as the Jan. 6 committee, said the succession rules were altered in haste so Trump’s “ideologues” could bypass typical Senate confirmation procedure.

Thompson had good reason to feel this way. In a February 2019 interview with CBS’ Face the Nation, Trump acknowledged that he enjoyed lording over acting officials versus those who had to go through more rigorous congressional approval.



Mulvaney, who meets with the committee Thursday, should cooperate without much trouble, if history is any indicator. Though he was a fierce defender of Trump’s during his tenure with the administration, after Jan. 6, Mulvaney became a more vocal critic.

“You don't get to where you got to yesterday with something that's normal. That's not normal for any citizen, let alone a president of the United States,” Mulvaney said on Jan. 7 when facing questions about whether Trump should be removed through the 25th Amendment.

Since then, Mulvaney has thrown his support behind those Trump officials who have come forward to testify, including Hutchinson.

The Jan. 6 committee is expected to continue its probe in the weeks ahead, and chairman Thompson has said that additional hearings will be held in September.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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DOJ investigation of Trump’s Jan. 6 actions sets off round of teeth-gnashing by Fox News pundits
David Neiwert

There’s a reason Fox News’ talking heads erupt in a collective freakout anytime it appears that Donald Trump might face real consequences for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Mainly, it’s because of their own massive culpability in having helped enable that event.

The news this week that the Justice Department is looking at potential criminal charges against Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol siege set off one of these staff-wide freakouts, with his apologists eagerly claiming that it was an attack on conservatives’ free speech. As usual, Tucker Carlson led the gaslight parade, but he was hardly alone.



Carlson’s rant on Wednesday was both spittle-flecked and delusional:

Political speech is not a crime in America. It has never been a crime in America. Even if extremists use your words to justify their violence, you cannot be arrested for their deeds because we have a First Amendment. Political speech is sacrosanct, period. The Supreme Court has ruled on this many times. It's at the very heart of our system. It is why this is a free country.
But in the single most radical move perhaps of the entire Biden administration, the attorney general, Merrick Garland has decided to change this. The Washington Post is reporting that the Justice Department is investigating former President Donald Trump as part of a criminal probe into January 6.
Now that may confuse you since Trump did not commit any act of violence on January 6. In fact, he publicly urged his voters to quote, "stay peaceful." When they entered the Capitol building, he told them to go home. That's all on public record. But according to Merrick Garland, Donald Trump is still liable for every single one of his supporters' crimes that day. Donald Trump's speech is violence. That's the new rule. Your speech is violence.

Similar complaints were heard in nearly every corner of the cable network’s programming. Host Laura Ingraham told her Ingraham Angle audience that the investigation was purely a matter of politics: “It begins to look like a political vendetta to prevent someone for running for office and succeeding and winning the presidency again to millions and millions of Americans,” she said.

She also claimed that Biden was politicizing the DOJ in the same fashion as Trump: “Now, Biden’s attorney general is doing exactly what they all warned about under Trump—he’s weaponizing the DOJ, despite his denials,” she said.

And despite the mountain of evidence demonstrating that Trump was working feverishly to overturn the results of the election and remain in office, she argued: “There's no way [Garland] actually believes that, what? President Trump was conspiring to overthrow the government.”

Another host, ardent Trumpite Mark Levin, claimed that holding Trump accountable for his crimes—rather than the crimes themselves—would divide the nation: “The criminal prosecution of a former president of the United States—and the fatal damage that will do to the body politic, and the fatal damage it'll do to polarization in this nation.”

Fox host Jesse Watters told the audience that it was just a psychological ploy by Democrats to bolster their 2022 election chances: “They don't need evidence. Their goal is to scare you into submission. Watch Merrick Garland last night on NBC flirt with arresting Donald Trump right before the next election.”

Regular contributor Katie Pavlich, appearing on Watters’ show, warned that if Garland indicted Trump, “it would look really bad. It would look corrupt. I mean, the Department of Justice and the FBI have been politicized and used as a political weapon against Republicans for years on end now.”

Alternatively, Pavlich chimed in on Fox & Friends that it was just an election-year gambit: “At the same time, they’re, you know, going after the Trump administration, endless investigations. So, the corruption and the—the partnership between the FBI and the media to push this right before an election and to bury the truth really is the news here in this scandal.”

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson turned up on The Faulkner Focus to denounce the investigation. “It’s just an unequal application of justice, and that’s an unsustainable state of affairs when the American public can't trust the FBI and our federal law enforcement and the Department of Justice,” he said.

Jonathan Turley, the onetime liberal legal commentator who converted into an ardent Trumpist, told the audience on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom program that the legal case against Trump was “unprecedented,” evidently unaware that Trump’s actions could be characterized the same way. Said Turley: “Merrick Garland would be taking a case that is unprecedented, not just against a president, but in terms of the underlying elements being used in this type of action.”

The reality is that American law has long held behavior like Trump’s to be criminal. It’s just that no previous president ever undertook anything even remotely like it.

For example, 18 U.S. Code § 2383 (“Rebellion or insurrection”) clearly states:

Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

University of California law professor James Wagstaffe, writing for Just Security, believes Trump’s behavior before, during, and after the insurrection clearly was criminal:

There is little doubt in my professorial view that such actions come within the ambit of the federal criminal statutes on sedition and incitement to riot. As to sedition, the federal statutes make it a crime for anyone to incite or assist in any acts of insurrection against the authority of the United States, or to conspire to put down the government or hinder or delay the execution of any of its laws.
Similarly, as to inciting riots, it is a crime for someone to urge or instigate other persons to riot, excluding, of course, mere abstract advocacy of the right to commit such acts. When, as here, incitement of such activities was perpetrated through telephone calls, interstate travel, or other interstate means, federal criminal liability follows. It may also follow directly from DC law, as the Attorney General of the District of Columbia recently remarked.
Let’s be clear: First Amendment protections have never been interpreted to prohibit punishment of expression that threatens to materially disrupt the safe functioning of government or incitement of others to commit acts of violence or other illegal acts. If such speech is directed toward actually inciting such illegal conduct and the advised conduct is imminent or immediate, the speech can be punished.

It's not that Fox News pundits are likely to face criminal charges for enabling Trump’s criminal behavior. But already, their already-dubious credibility is crumbling entirely under the weight of the factual exposures around Jan. 6 by investigators.

Sean Hannity’s long-running defense of Trump—claiming that he actually tried to call out the National Guard that day—has completely fallen apart, for instance. It turns out that acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller—who had come onto Hannity’s program and claimed that Trump had commanded the Guard into Washington prior to the insurrection—in fact testified under oath to the Jan. 6 committee that there “was no order from the president” to call in the troops.

Fox News pundits already hold their own dark place in American history as monumental and pathological liars who enabled every step of Trump’s attack on U.S. democracy. Mark Meadows’ texts show them all lining up to urge Trump to call off the attack—and then, when he refused, taking to the airwaves to blame anyone—Antifa, Nancy Pelosi, “the left,” or any of their favorite scapegoats—who might be plausibly available.

As Adam Serwer observes, this isn’t merely a case of lousy or biased reporting, the kind that Fox News regularly castigates its competitors for indulging. “Even errors of fact and framing, ideology or analysis, are different from what Fox News hosts do, which is attempt to get their viewers to believe things they themselves know are false,” he writes.

“Fox News understands that its success depends on maintaining a fantasy world, rather than doing anything to disturb it. This is why some of its most marquee personalities, who shared the same horror as most other Americans at the events of January 6, caked on their makeup, stared into the camera, and lied to the people who trust them the most. What makes Fox News unique is not that it is conservative, but that its on-air personalities understand that telling lies is their job.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Fanatical Republican Extremist of the Day: Scott Perry- 2022 Update
republicinsanity

On this date in both 2018, 2019, 2020, as well as 2021, “Fanatical Republican Extremist of the Day” published our original profile of the sitting U.S. House Representative from Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District, Scott Perry, who was first elected to office back in 2014 after serving six years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. While there wasn’t really anything that Congressman Perry did to turn up on FRED’s radar in his freshman term in Washington, D.C., in his second term in office, he has been decidedly more idiotic in the public eye.

Let’s start with his town hall from March of 2017, where when he tried arguing against EPA standards trying to stop pollution because “God pollutes, too”. No, we’re serious:



Pollution is part of God’s design, you see, so we shouldn’t do anything about it. By this logic, we also shouldn’t treat preventable diseases, but hey, let’s not give ol’ Scott anything else to use to argue against the Affordable Care Act.

Heh. No, actually, Perry’s arguments on healthcare are even dumber, and more selfish than that. In May of 2017, while the debate over the GOP’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a far inferior healthcare plan, the AHCA were underway, Scott Perry argued why maternity care should not be included in health insurance coverage. His reason? He was too old to have kids, and therefore, he sure as hell wasn’t paying for it:



Babies aren’t Cadillacs, you simpleton, and comparing the two is nonsense.

Anyway, over the past year, Scott Perry has begun spiraling into flat-out conspiracy theory nonsense, instead of just your typical conservative ideologue like most members of the House Freedom Caucus. In October 2017, in the wake of Hurricane Maria devastating Puerto Rico, he went on CNN to yell and call the reports of a massive death toll and citizens struggling to recover “fake news”. (It’s not fake, almost 5,000 people died as a result of the storm, and almost a year later, the power grid was not been fully repaired.)


By January of 2018, Rep. Perry was making guest appearances with Tucker Carlson on Fox News to try to re-write history… the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock wasn’t a mentally ill white guy with a gun fetish gone out of control… the entire Las Vegas shooting, per Perry, was a terror attack orchestrated by ISIS. There is zero evidence outside of Scott Perry’s mouth-hole to indicate that such a statement is true, and he should be removed from his position on the Homeland Security Committee for spreading such a paranoid conspiracy theory, in our humble opinion.

At a town hall in 2020, Scott Perry chillingly admitted there is no line Donald Trump would cross that would lead him to condemn him… in the same meeting where he said he doesn’t like seeing presidents embrace dictators and complaining about former President Obama but neglecting to mention Donald Trump’s relationships with Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un.

In the 2020 elections, Perry managed to win re-election with a modest 53% of the vote. If you weren’t getting the feeling that he’s terrible yet, let’s take a look at his voting record:

We opined this time in 2021 how it was pretty clear how far gone Scott Perry is that he would cite “replacement theory” as if he was sitting in for Tucker Carlson on the floor of the House…. that Perry was clinging to Donald Trump like a life preserver keeping him afloat when in reality Trump is a lodestone tied around his neck.

We had no idea how true that was… because since we last checked in, things have heated up around Rep. Perry that could hurt his chances for re-election, if not implicate him and see him brought up on charges of seditious conspiracy.


There are many avenues that Donald Trump explored to subvert American democracy, and what level of coup he was willing to attempt. While the attack on the Capitol itself was the most glaring one… there was also spreading lies about election fraud, and frivolous lawsuits to overturn the results to consider. But one of the more devious and sinister plans was thought up by Scott Perry, and that was to install an absolute sycophantic toady named Jeffrey Clark as the new head of the Dept. of Justice, and Clark would investigate all the “voter fraud” that people as relatively scrupulous as Bill Barr (low bar to clear, pardon the pun), thought were “bulls***”, because they WERE.

But Perry surmised that if Trump seized control of the Dept. of Justice, he could get its backing to help reject American democracy and work towards installing him as an authoritarian dictator for life. The last vistages of honor and service over at the DOJ threatened a mass walkout that would blow up in Trump’s face, and Clark was humiliated to his face by other high-ranking DoJ officials and Trump lawyers at the White House.

But, for his part in coming up with the plan to install an unqualified catspaw within our government’s top law enforcement organization, Perry is now looking at a subpoena from the Jan. 6th committee. We hope not just that Scott Perry is defeated in November by his Democratic challenger, Shamaine Daniels, but we look forward to seeing him in a prison jumper.


Click Here for Full FRED Archive

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Because these things are exactly the same, Collins says budget deal may doom same-sex marriage law
Dartagnan

Republicans are throwing a hissy fit over the apparent deal reached over the pending reconciliation budget which Sen. Joe Manchin apparently negotiated privately with (gasp!) his own party’s Majority leader. And no one is being hissier than Republican Senator Susan Collins, whose devotion to the rights of others in the face of Republican bigotry and self-dealing obviously and historically knows no bounds.

The fact that Manchin’s and Sen. Schumer’s deal was not disclosed prior to Senate Republicans’ vote to increase the manufacture of computer chips in this country apparently sent the Maine senator into a tailspin. After that, she says, how could Republicans be expected to allow gay people to marry? The two things are inextricably linked, well, of course.

As reported by Jonathan Nicholson for
Huffington Post:

“I just think the timing could not have been worse and it came totally out of the blue,” the Maine senator told HuffPost Thursday about Senate Democrats’ unveiling of their bill to raise taxes on some companies, boost IRS enforcement and spend the resulting money to fund anti-climate change efforts.
[*]
Still, Collins warned that the manner in which that victory was secured, where it appeared Democrats kept Manchin and Schumer’s negotiations under wraps until a separate bipartisan computer chip production incentive bill was passed by the Senate, hurt the effort to gather support among Republicans to bring the gay marriage bill to the floor.

After we just had worked together successfully on gun safety legislation, on the CHIPs bill, it was a very unfortunate move that destroys the many bipartisan efforts that are under way,” she said.

Remember that mammoth tax giveaway to the nation’s wealthiest that was passed with no Democratic input by Republicans in 2017? The one so Susan Collins was proud to sign, without her colleagues ever even showing as much as a piece of paper to Democrats in the process that it was drafted?

Ah, memories:

The Republican-controlled Congress passed a largely unpopular tax reform bill along strict party lines in both the House and the Senate; not a single Democrat in either chamber voted “yes.” This, the Democrats say, was because the bill was written behind closed doors by Republicans who did not reach out across the aisle once during the drafting process...[.]
“There was zero outreach from Republicans on this issue,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, during Tuesday’s debate. “Not one moment when Republicans actually shared even a piece of paper or a document about ideas that might bring both sides together.

So let’s just recap here. Republicans collectively betrayed the vast majority of Americans by passing an unnecessary tax cut to reward their donor base, deliberately excluding Democrats from the process. Democrats negotiate a bill in regular order through the only process available to them thanks to the threat of a Republican filibuster, and that somehow means Republicans can renege on promises to pass a law governing peoples’ right to get married?

Here’s an idea for Ms. Collins…try persuading your fellow Republicans to commit to something for once out of basic human decency, rather than looking for bogus reasons to thwart it.

We’ll wait.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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WaPo: Text messages for top Department of Homeland Security officials are also missing
Charles Jay

Text messages for the top two officials at the Department of Homeland Security are missing for a key period leading up the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, The Washington Post reported, citing four people briefed on the matter and internal emails.

The Department of Homeland Security notified the agency’s inspector general in late February that the text messages of acting Secretary Chad Wolf and deputy acting Secretary Ken Cuccinelli were lost in a “reset” of their government phones when they left their jobs in January 2021, according to an internal record obtained by the Project on Government Oversight and shared with The Washington Post.

The office of the department’s undersecretary of management also told the government watchdog that the text messages for its boss, undersecretary Randolph “Tex” Alles, the former Secret Service director, were also no longer available due to the phone reset.


The Post wrote:

This discovery of missing records for the senior-most homeland security officials, which has not been previously reported, increases the volume of potential evidence that has vanished regarding the time around the Capitol attack.

It comes as both congressional and criminal investigators at the Department of Justice seek to piece together an effort by the president and his allies to overturn the results of the election, which culminated in a pro-Trump rally that became a violent riot in the halls of Congress.

The office of Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari did not press the department leadership at that time to explain why they did not preserve these records, nor seek ways to recover the lost data, according to the four people briefed on the watchdog’s actions. Cuffari also failed to alert Congress to the potential destruction of government records.


The revelation comes on the heels of the discovery that text messages of Secret Service agents — critical firsthand witnesses to the events leading up to Jan. 6 — were deleted more than a year ago and may never be recovered.

.

So more evidence is missing that could have shed light on former President Donald Trump’s actions in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection, particularly efforts to pressure DHS officials to support his claim that the 2020 election had been stolen and even to seize voting machines in several swing states won by Joe Biden.

“It is extremely troubling that the issue of deleted text messages related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol is not limited to the Secret Service, but also includes Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, who were running DHS at the time,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson said in a statement, the Post reported.

“It appears the DHS Inspector General has known about these deleted texts for months but failed to notify Congress,” Thompson said. “If the Inspector General had informed Congress, we may have been able to get better records from Senior administration officials regarding one of the most tragic days in our democracy’s history.”


End Book 81
 
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