John Wight

Trump suspected of possible 'witness tampering' in January 6 attack probe: report

Former president Donald Trump may be facing a new avenue of potential criminal exposure in the Captiol riot probe.

Until now, much of the focus has been on whether Trump and/or his allies corruptly tried to obstruct an official proceeding — Congress’ counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6.

But in its Wednesday letter requesting testimony from Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection noted that the minority leader’s view of Trump’s role in the insurrection “shifted over time, eventually becoming much more favorable to the former president,” the Washington Post reports.

“Soon after Jan. 6, McCarthy blamed Trump for his tardy response to the attack on the Capitol and even suggested a historic censure of Trump,” the Post reports. “A few months later, though, McCarthy was talking as if Trump’s response once the riot began was sufficient.”

McCarthy denied that he had any such conversation with Trump in an interview with Fox News last April. However, McCarthy also acknowledged that if such a conversation had occurred between him and Trump, it would constitute witness tampering.

A few weeks later, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who serves as vice chair of the committee, appeared on Fox News and confirmed that McCarthy’s meeting with Trump raised questions of witness tampering, without providing any detail.

Noting that Trump has a history of borderline witness tampering, the Post adds that McCarthy isn’t the only Republican “to adjust his Jan. 6 commentary in a more Trump-friendly direction.”

“Perhaps, like the others, McCarthy simply decided Trump was there to stay and that it was time to adjust accordingly,” the Post reports. “Either way, it’s a notable suggestion from the Jan. 6 committee, and one that like Cheney’s comments last month suggests a specific investigative target — a target that, if actually substantiated, would involve the potential for a criminal referral to the Justice Department.”

Read the full story.

Steve Bannon could end up 'holding the keys to his own jail cell' — here's how

Even if Trump adviser Steve Bannon is convicted of criminal contempt and sentenced to jail, he won't be forced to testify before the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol insurrection.

However, there is another strategy the committee could use to ultimately compel Bannon's testimony, according to former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance.

Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday, Vance first commented on Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who reacted in a TV interview this week to the committee's decision to subpoena Roger Stone and Alex Jones. "I can tell you that I'm not aware of anybody in the White House that had conversations with either one of those individuals," said Meadows, who is himself defying a subpoena from the committee.

Vance responded to Meadows' comments by saying she "expects to hear that audio tape actually played back against Meadows if the government is forced to compel or prosecute him to obtain his testimony."

"He sure makes a good case for himself as a witness, saying that some people didn't have conversations, and of course implying that other people did," Vance said.

But Vance added that "the real story" is the number of witnesses who are speaking with the committee without subpoenas — as well as the documents that congressional investigators have already obtained.

"We see that reflected in some of these new subpoenas which contain information that's clearly coming from witnesses," Vance said. "They're being very, very definitive — for instance, with some of the members of the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, when they explain why they're seeking their testimony, and also with some of the folks who are organizers of the Jan. 6 event."

"They're looking at organizers, they're looking at organizations, and they clearly have a trajectory where they're trying to obtain the information they need," she added. "Whether they'll be able to go back and get people like Bannon to testify is still an open question. Even if Bannon is convicted, that's no guarantee that he will ever testify. But the committee will then have an opportunity to engage in civil contempt proceedings that could find him back in prison and holding his own keys to his jail cell based on when he chooses to testify or not."

Watch below.

MSNBC on Capitol riot

'Pathetic' Kevin McCarthy blasted for issuing statement on Lauren Boebert that fails to condemn her

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Saturday in response to backlash over Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert's islamophobic rant targeting Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

"I talked to Congresswoman Lauren Boebert today," McCarthy said in the statement. "She has apologized for what she said and has reached out to Congresswoman Omar to meet next week. I spoke with (Majority) Leader (Steny) Hoyer today to facilitate that meeting so that Congress can get back to talking to each other and working on the challenges facing the American people."

After reading McCarthy's statement, MSNBC host Yasmin Vossoughian noted that he failed to call out Boebert's remarks as "wrong or abhorrent or racist or islamophobic." Then Vossoughian asked GOP strategist Susan Del Percio if we should "expect more" from McCarthy.

"We should expect more from leadership, but Kevin McCarthy has shown no leadership, so I don't expect more from him because he's incompetent and is just bound to whatever he thinks — and that's the key, whatever he thinks — will make Donald Trump happy," Del Percio said. "So that's his audience and that's who he's playing to. ... Kevin McCarthy is trying to maybe look like something — I can't say like a leader, because he's just not — and he's just become pathetic."

Watch below.

MSNBC on McCarthy

Key Jan. 6 organizer to comply with Capitol riot subpoena: 'I don't want to go to jail'

Jan. 6 organizer Ali Alexander, who calls himself the "founder" of former president Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" movement, announced Saturday that he will comply with a subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol insurrection.

"You may have missed the news that I've been subpoenaed by the the Democrats' partisan Jan. 6 committee," Alexander said in a video posted to the right-wing social-media platform Telegram. "This is a midterm issue that they want to run on, and what they want to do is paint me as the black face for a white supremacy movement that doesn't actually exist."

Speaking in front of a poster of singer Johnny Cash flashing the middle finger, Alexander added that he respects his "fellow patriots" who are defying the committee, but called it "an expensive right" — claiming that it would cost between $250,000 and $500,000 to fight the subpoena.

"I frankly don't have that money to spend on legal bills, so for this unselect committee, I will actually be privately deposed in December," Alexander said. "I've asked to make it public testimony. They won't cooperate with that request."

"The only reason I'm going is that I don't want to go to jail," he added. "So under the threat of imprisonment and spending tens and tens and tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers, I will be privately deposed before this committee in December, and I will make public whatever I can."

In a post accompanying the video, Alexander wrote that he plans to submit to the committee "photographic and video evidence of agitators sabotaging his January 6th peaceful protests."

Referring to himself in the third person, Alexander wrote: "He will also present evidence to the Committee that President Trump was betrayed by someone in his inner circle. Someone made the decision to take instructions for patriots out of the Ellipse Rally. Ali says he's not backing down and the Democrat Committee has already threatened to imprison him."

Watch below.


'Brainwashing children!' Right-wingers outraged at Sesame Street's 'Big Bird' for promoting COVID vaccines

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and other right-wingers lashed out at "Big Bird" on Saturday after the Sesame Street character's Twitter account advocated getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

"I got the COVID-19 vaccine today!" Big Bird wrote Saturday morning. "My wing is a little sore, but it'll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy."

"Ms. @EricaRHill even said I've been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!" Big Bird added, referring to CNN journalist Erica Hill, who hosted a Town Hall with Big Bird called "The ABCs of COVID Vaccines."

Cruz responded by writing above Big Bird's tweet, "Government propaganda...for your 5 year old!"

Steve Cortes, a Newsmax host, went a step further.

"This kind of propaganda is actually evil," Cortes wrote. "Your children are not statistically at risk, and should not be pressured into a brand new treatment. Do Not Comply!"

Fox News' Lisa Marie Boothe accused Big Bird of "brainwashing children who are not at risk from COVID."

"Twisted," Marie Boothe wrote.

More below.

Trump criminal probe appears to have ‘taken a serious turn’: Former US attorney

Last week, Manhattan prosecutors convened a second grand jury as part of their criminal probe into former president Donald Trump's company — an investigation that has already yielded charges against Chief Financial Officer Alan Weisselberg.

The new long-term grand jury is expected to focus on how the Trump Organization valued its assets — and potentially vote on new indictments, the Washington Post reported.

On Saturday, former U.S. attorney Barbara McQuade appeared on MSNBC to discuss what the new grand jury could mean.

"Grand jury investigations are by definition secret, and so we only know little dribs and drabs that get leaked out," McQuade explained. "And just because a grand jury is investigating doesn't mean charges will be returned. It may be that they'll investigate and determine that there is insufficient evidence or no crime at all. But the fact that they've proceeded to this stage does suggest that the case has taken a serious turn."

"They (prosecutors) begin by looking at documents and records and talking to people, and if and when they think it's reaching a point where they need to call people in to testify, that's when they impanel a grand jury," said McQuade, who served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2010 to 2017. "So it sounds like they've reached that stage. I do think this suggests it's moving into an advanced stage and the evidence they've obtained so far is serious enough to believe that charges are possible."

Earlier Saturday, the New York Times reported that Georgia prosecutors are also expected to convene a grand jury as part of a criminal investigation involving the former president.

Watch below.

Barbara McQuade on Manhattan grand

​Jared Kushner 'misses the party' on Brooklyn real estate as high-profile project 'ends in disappointment'

Former president Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, appears to have "missed the party" on Brooklyn real estate, with his "bet" on luxury spec homes purchased in 2014 ending recently in "disappointment."

The Real Deal, which covers New York City real estate, reported Wednesday that Kushner Companies paid $36.5 million for six former dorm buildings known as the Brooklyn Law School portfolio in 2014 — which represented a discount and "seemed like a savvy deal."

Kushner Companies planned to sell off the portfolio for more than $60 million, but thus far has brought in only $33 million — minus $100,000 it paid to settle a 2017 lawsuit alleging rent overcharges. The company planned to convert three of the buildings into luxury single-family homes and keep the others as multifamily rentals, the site reports.

"Although Kushner sold the three townhomes for $27 million altogether, or $7.25 million more than it paid, that does not account for renovation costs that surely ran into the millions, not to mention transfer taxes and other closing costs, plus property taxes and interest as the homes went unsold for a combined 13 years," the site reported, adding that Kushner Companies "underperformed the luxury residential market — and its own expectations."

The story notes a "stark" contrast between Kushner Companies' results and the overall Brooklyn real estate market. The company's three townhomes sold for one-third less than their initial asking prices, while Brooklyn single-family home prices jumped 11 percent this year, and sales have climbed 42 percent.

Experts blamed poor home design, internal strife and politics.

"Two sources said the Kushners' political profile after Jared Kushner joined President Donald Trump's administration was another factor that drove away buyers," the Real Deal reported. "By the time the two spec homes sold this year, Brooklyn's townhouse market was on fire with buyers racing to outbid each other. Yet Kushner Companies missed the party."

Read more here.

Sexual harassment scandal threatens to derail Arizona election audit

Several women who've participated in Arizona's partisan election "audit" are alleging sexual harassment by male co-workers, and they say management initially ignored their complaints.

One of the alleged victims provided Phoenix's CBS 5 with statements from seven witnesses and victims corroborating her description of what happened.

"The statements described situations that involved more than one alleged offender, but the complaints centered on one man in particular," the station reported. "The letters are dated May 8. But the employee who spoke to (CBS 5) said the man was kept on staff for another month."

"We told upper management and they allowed him to stay on the floor for weeks," the woman said.

According to the alleged victims, the primary offender engaged in unwanted touching, demanded dates from women he thought were attractive, and made comments about their appearances, asking them things like, "You showing off your butt?"

When they rebuffed his advances, he would insult them. He also reportedly was prone to angry outbursts. "This issue seemed to stem from some type of anger over women having authority over him," one witness said.Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, who initiated the audit, relayed a statement to CBS 5 from the project's "lead vendor" — presumably the private firm Cyber Ninjas.

"I have never received any written complaints of any type of sexual harassment, nor has a complaint like this been brought to my attention," the statement said. "The closest thing I can think of is I am aware of a single table manager who was cussing a lot, and had apparently told an inappropriate joke. We fired him immediately."

In related news, ballots and machines being used in the audit were packed up and moved for the fourth time Thursday — to make way for a gun show at the basketball gym Cyber Ninjas had been using. The audit was initially expected to be completed in May, but a spokesman for the audit said this week they have "a little more work to do."

In an interview, an observer watching the process on behalf of Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), the state's chief elections officer, said it appeared to him as though the delay has potentially been caused by audit workers who were spotting problems and struggling to reconcile their own numbers," the Washington Post reported. "Ryan Macias, former acting director of certification and testing for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, said he overheard one worker express confusion over why a process she believed was sound was producing so many mistakes.

"Macias also said audit organizers had been continually introducing new procedures into their work — on Tuesday he said for the first time he saw workers using large scales to weigh boxes of ballots, presumably to get a new count of how many ballots each box contained."

Apparent Trump supporter yells gay and racial slurs at Biden as president visits ice cream shop

An angry person reportedly yelled gay and racial slurs at President Joe Biden as he visited an ice cream shop in Cleveland on Thursday afternoon.
Following a speech on economic policy at Cuyahoga Community College, Biden made an unscheduled stop at Honey Hut Ice Cream, where he ordered a chocolate chocolate chip cone.
According to a White House pool report, a "very angry person" yelled, ""F*ck you, motherf*ckers! ... c*cksuckers!" at Biden and reporters as they walked back to their vans.

"The angry person also yelled slurs for Black and gay people at the press and WH staff," the pool report states.

Also during the visit, Biden weighed in on Senate Republicans' plan to block the creation of an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. A vote blocking the commission was expected to come Thursday evening.

"I can't imagine anyone voting against establishing a commission on the greatest assault since the Civil War on the Capitol," Biden said. "But at any rate, I came for ice cream."

Watch video of Biden's comments below.

'Despicable': McConnell begs GOP senators to vote against Jan. 6 commission as 'personal favor'

CNN reported Thursday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been begging GOP senators to vote against a bill that would establish an independent commission to investigate the pro-Trump insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

"Within the last 24 hours, McConnell has doubled down, started reaching out to particular senators he was afraid might be wavering, and asked them to vote against the commission, quote, 'as a personal favor,'" CNN's Jamie Gangel reported.

Host John King noted that it's not uncommon for a leader to ask members of their caucus to vote a certain way as a favor.

"But this is not any vote. This is not a budget vote. This is not, 'Does somebody get a committee assignment?' This is about an attack on the United States government," King said.

"Exactly right, and I'm told the senators were really caught by surprise at his using that kind of language, and just how insistent he's been," Gangel responded. "One Republican source said to me, quote, 'No one can understand why Mitch is going to this extreme of asking for a personal favor to kill the commission.' The source went on to say, 'How can you have an attack on the Capitol and the Republicans leader is saying vote against it?' The source ended by saying, 'It is despicable.'

"Our sources are suggesting that Mitch McConnell may really have been concerned that Mrs. Sicknick's visit today would sway some Republican senators." Gangel added. referring to the mother of fallen Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who is lobbying in support of the commission.

Earlier Thursday, McConnell spoke against the commission on the Senate floor, saying "the role of the former president has already been litigated exhaustively in the high profile impeachment trial."

"I do not believe the additional extraneous commission that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts or promote healing," McConnell said.

CNN reported that Republican senators are expected to block a bill that would establish the commission as early as Thursday: "The refusal of at least 10 Republican senators to vote for the commission underscores the deeply partisan divide that has emerged over the insurrection earlier this year and comes at a crucial time for Capitol Hill where Democrats are struggling to advance President Joe Biden's agenda. Some Democrats are citing the resistance by Republicans as a sign for why the Senate should blow up the 60-vote threshold to pass most legislation, given the narrowly divided chamber."

Watch the two clips, and check out a few reactions, below.

'Embarrassing and terrifying': Poll finds nearly one-third of Republicans are QAnon believers

Roughly 15-20 percent of Americans — and nearly one-third of Republicans — agree with core tenets of the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Public Religion Research Institute.

The poll's findings prompted one New York Times columnist to suggest that QAnon believers could soon "dominate the political system."

Roughly 15-20 percent of Americans — and nearly one-third of Republicans — agree with core tenets of the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Public Religion Research Institute.

The poll's findings prompted one New York Times columnist to suggest that QAnon believers could soon "dominate the political system."

"This is slightly less than the % of Americans who supported Trump circa early 2015," wrote Max Fisher, who authors NYT's The Interpreter column. "Under our system's structural imbalances, that's enough to overtake the GOP and therefore dominate the political system.

"Reminder that QAnon orthodoxy explicitly calls, as a central plank of the movement, for publicly executing hundreds of thousands of Democrats and cultural figures," Fisher added.

The poll found that 28 percent of Republicans agree that "there is a storm coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders," and that "because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country."

A slightly smaller number of Republicans, 23 percent, agreed that "the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation."

Notably, the poll also found that those who rely on right-wing outlets such as Newsmax, OANN and Fox News are most likely to be QAnon believers.

"Interestingly, even after controlling for partisanship and ideology, media news consumption is by far the strongest independent predictor of QAnon beliefs," the report states. "Remarkably, those who report most trusting far-right media sources are nearly nine times more likely to be QAnon believers compared to those who most trust broadcast networks such as ABC, CBS, and NBC. Those who most trust Fox News and those who do not watch television news are 2.3 and 2.5 times, respectively, more likely than those who watch broadcast networks to be QAnon believers. Even with a range of controls in place, Republicans and conservatives are twice as likely as Democrats and liberals to be QAnon believers."

Read the full report here, and check out a few more reactions below.

Matt Gaetz eyeing presidential bid despite sex-trafficking probe — to provide cover for Ron DeSantis

Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz suggested Wednesday that he plans to seek the GOP presidential nomination in 2024 if Donald Trump opts not to run —despite a pending investigation into whether Gaetz sex-trafficked a minor and had sex with a 17-year-old.

"I support Donald Trump for president. I've directly encouraged him to run and he gives me every indication he will," Gaetz reportedly told the New York Post in a text message. "If Trump doesn't run, I'm sure I could defeat whatever remains of Joe Biden by 2024."

Last week, Gaetz's former "wingman," Joel Greenberg, pleaded guilty to six federal charges, admitting that he had knowingly solicited and paid a minor for sex. Many legal experts believe Greenberg's plea deal spells big trouble for Gaetz,

Gaetz has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing. According to the Post, he wants to run for president to provide cover for another one of his BFFs, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. who is considered as a frontrunner for the GOP nomination if Trump doesn't run.

A source familiar with Gaetz's thinking told the Post, "He [DeSantis] might like someone else on the debate stage who can torch his opponents and lay down ground cover for him."

However, Gaetz's presence in the race could also raise questions about their relationship, such as whether DeSantis knew about the congressman's alleged involvement in crimes committed by Greenberg.

Ron Be Gone, a group working to unseat DeSantis in 2022, released a video last month focused on the governor's relationship with Gaetz, which was also the subject of a recent Politico piece.

Watch the video below.

RBG - DeSantis and Gaetz

An Indictment of Thatcher’s Legacy: Justice for Hillsborough Families at Last

The victory of the Hillsborough families in their long struggle for justice was won against an establishment that viewed them and their loved ones as nothing more than scum and which, make no mistake, continues to do so today. Harsh words, perhaps, but true nonetheless. For at the very core of this scandal is the issue of class and the legacy of a prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, who throughout the 1980s waged war against working class people, communities, and sought to destroy the bonds of solidarity that provided them with their strength and pride in who they were.

Keep reading...Show less
@2022 - AlterNet Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. - "Poynter" fonts provided by