Raw Story

Did some of our federal police conspire to overthrow the United States?

Congressman Ron Paul’s former staffer, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oathkeepers, was just convicted of seditious conspiracy. But how did he and his merry band get close enough to Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi to present the kind of deadly threat they tried to carry out?

“Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” the Scotland Yard police inspector asked Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story The Adventure of Silver Blaze.

“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time,” Holmes replied.

“The dog,” the inspector said, “did nothing in the night-time.”

That,” replied Holmes, “was the curious incident.”

Why didn’t the “dogs” of our federal police, investigative, and military agencies “bark” when they knew full well in advance that an armed mob was coming to the Capitol to try to overthrow our government, and that many within the mob were armed and willing to kill (and did) to try to accomplish their goal?

Why, afterward, did the Secret Service and the Department of Defense wipe their phones so the data could never be retrieved? Why has there never been a public examination of most of this?

It’s as if a small-town police force was warned that a gang of bank robbers was on their way into town on the following Saturday, and that weekend the entire police force decided to leave their phones off the hook and go fishing. And after the bank was robbed, they all said they didn’t realize they’d really intended to rob the town’s bank. And then destroyed the note warning them the robbers were coming to town.

Why are so few people openly speculating that corrupt individuals — possibly only a tiny handful — within the FBI, Secret Service, and Department of Defense may have participated in a plot led by Donald Trump to overthrow our government?

Is it simply because treason is such an unimaginably heinous act? Does journalistic integrity require them to await “smoking gun” evidence that, at the very least, some people within these organizations were knowing or unknowing participants in Trump’s plot to become America’s last president? Is it fear of losing sources in the agencies?

When I was 13 years old my father gave me a just-published book he’d gotten from a friend in the John Birch Society titled None Dare Call It Treason. It posited that the US State Department was riddled with communist sympathizers, largely based on circumstantial evidence and the “investigations” conducted a decade earlier by Senator Joe McCarthy.

There was no such conspiracy (although there were a few identified as “commies,” mostly just good liberals), but that didn’t stop the head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, from frequently and loudly suggesting to the press that there was.

Similarly, from the viewpoint of some of the people working in the FBI and Secret Service on January 6th, it may not have been as absurd as it sounds today to have then believed that Democrats in a half-dozen states had successfully stolen the election from Trump.

After all, the President of the United States was making that claim himself, repeatedly. And dozens of other high-ranking officials, including members of the House and Senate from the various states where the crimes allegedly occurred, were themselves corroborating his claim.

Trump was the boss, and if people in police agencies are anything it’s deferential to the boss. And highly aware of the chain of command. As the old saying goes, if he says, “Jump!” it’s their job to reply, “How high?”

Anybody who’s ever had much contact with members of police and military agencies knows they lean conservative, sometimes to the point of outright support for police-state style fascism. In many instances and circumstances a certain amount of authoritarianism seems necessary to do the job, particularly policing, which is why that kind of work draws authoritarian personalities to it.

It’s also no secret that both police officers and military enlistees vote overwhelmingly Republican, largely for the same reasons (although the GOP also goes out of its way to court those voters).

So, should we be surprised to learn that a handful of members of our federal police agencies — the FBI and Secret Service — and a few most senior officials in the Department of Defense may have conspired — wittingly or unwittingly — with Donald Trump to end democracy in America and institute a Trump-led strongman government?

As the January 6th Select Committee in the House is wrapping up their work and writing their final report, there are more than a few questions around the DOD, FBI, and Secret Service that remain unanswered, particularly about the days and weeks leading up to that fateful day.

The largest question, of course, is why they all stood down, knowing that armed militias were coming to try to overturn an election. And that the militia members were willing to spill blood, which they did, including that of the three police officers killed and over 140 injured, to accomplish their goal.

The attack heading toward the Capitol wasn’t a secret, by any measure. Trump had tweeted an invitation on December 19th saying it would be “wild” and reiterated the invitation multiple times both on Twitter and in other venues.

Rhodes texted to his Oathkeeper members, which included at least one FBI informant:

“We are not getting through this without a civil war. Prepare your mind, body and spirit.”

If that wasn’t clear enough, he also proclaimed:

“We will have to do a bloody, massively bloody revolution against them. That's what's going to have to happen.”

Planning was all over right-wing media, Twitter, and Facebook. People were openly discussing violence and plans for violence. There was brazen talk of revolution, of assassination.

Somebody brought and assembled a gallows on the lawn of the capitol building, but somehow nobody stopped the construction or knows the identities of its builders and how or why it was organized.

And we now know that FBI field offices across the country had noticed the boiling calls for violence, and the Secret Service and DOD were also fully aware of it.

But not only did they do nothing: they actively prevented — for days in advance, and for multiple hours during the active armed assault — any rescue of the small contingent of Capitol Police and legislators left to deal with an armed mob of thousands.

The Commanding General of the National Guard, Gen. William J. Walker, has openly complained that he was prevented — for four hours — from helping the Capitol Police that day. As The Washington Post reported:

“Walker contends that restrictions placed on him by McCarthy and Trump’s acting defense secretary, Christopher Miller, prevented him from sending Guard members to assist sooner.”

How is this an accident?

When Trump took the dais to whip up the crowd before sending them to the Capitol to “hang Mike Pence,” he took the unusual step of speaking from behind a wall of bulletproof glass. Congressman Mo Brooks, among others, wore a bulletproof vest.

They knew what the hell was up.

Hours before Trump’s rally, in the early morning hours, armed people had started showing up near the ellipse; DC police and the Secret Service had reports of an armed person in a tree and others carrying semiautomatic weapons.

January 6th Committee testimony suggests the Secret Service reported this to Trump himself although, weirdly, nobody tried to disarm these people in a city where guns are largely illegal. Instead, apparently there was a debate about whether or not to turn off the metal-detecting magnetometers.

Trump then demanded — in real time, from the stage — that those armed followers be allowed in to hear his speech without having to go through the magnetometers that would have identified their weapons.

Yet somehow his hand-picked FBI Director hadn’t prepared to deal with an armed mob in advance and, on the day of the assault, went fishing or something (his statement to Congress is here).

Whatever he was doing, he was seemingly paralyzed for most of the day and only took direct action, he testified under oath to Congress:

Beginning on the evening of January 6, the FBI surged substantial resources to help ensure the safety and security of the U.S. Capitol complex, members of Congress, and their staff, and the public.” (emphasis mine)

This isn’t to say I think Chris Wray was in on the conspiracy. Unless he’s managed to drag the agency back to the era of J. Edgar Hoover and is blackmailing politicians, his retention by the Biden administration speaks volumes.

Nonetheless, many of us would like to know, “WTF?!??

For similarly unknown reasons Trump’s acting Defense Secretary told the National Guard two days earlier, on January 4th, that they were not, without specific permission from him, allowed to help the Capitol police on January 6th. (His memo is reproduced at the end of this article.)

Meanwhile, as convicted seditionist Stewart Rhodes testified at his own trial, Oathkeepers were fully expecting counter-protestors to show up, people they could identify as “Antifa” and attack. General Mike Flynn was pushing Trump to use that expected battle as the excuse to declare martial law and suspend election activity.

And it now looks like Trump may have been prepared to execute Flynn’s plan, had those counter-protestors actually showed up.

The day before, on January 5th, Trump issued an executive order asserting that “Antifa” was both a domestic terrorist and organized crime group and should be treated as such by the federal government.

“[R]eliable reporting,” the January 5th order notes, “suggests that the movement known as Antifa is directly or indirectly responsible for some of the recent lawlessness in our communities, and has exploited tragedies to advance a radical, leftist, anarchist, and often violent agenda. In fact, Antifa has long used otherwise permissible demonstrations to engage in lawless, criminal behavior to further its radical agenda. …
“Those affiliated with Antifa have also repeatedly threatened violence, including against law enforcement officers. …
“In late September of 2020, individuals in a moving truck distributed riot equipment — including shields, masks, and a sign emblazoned with an Antifa symbol — in Louisville, Kentucky, before riots ensued there. Hours later, the violent situation resulted in the shooting of two police officers. And on October 5, 2020, reported Antifa activists in Portland were captured on video attacking a woman carrying an American flag.
“The Department of Justice has already publicly confirmed that actions by Antifa and similar groups meet the standard for domestic terrorism.”

Over at the Department of Defense then-acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller and his Chief of Staff Kash Patel (formerly of Devin Nunes’ staff) were running the place.

They controlled the Pentagon and our armed forces but, more importantly, they controlled the National Guard, whose troops had previously surrounded buildings in the Capitol area three-deep during the peaceful BLM protests just six months earlier.

The prospect that violence was heading toward the Capitol on January 6th wasn’t a secret to anybody with a Twitter or Facebook account: the nation was awash with threats and planning for violence, much of it in the open. It was discussed on talk radio and podcasts.

This apparently so alarmed Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy that, on January 4th, he reached out to his boss, Trump’s recently-appointed Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, to get permission to send the National Guard to the Capitol building on January 6th to prevent the violence they were seeing being planned all over social media.

Acting Defense Secretary Miller, in the effective role of commander of our entire military just one step below Commander-in-Chief Trump (on whose behalf he acted), then issued a memo on January 4th specifically directing McCarthy and the National Guard that they were:

  • *Not authorized to be issued weapons, ammunition, bayonets, batons, or ballistic protection equipment such as helmets and body armor.
  • *Not to interact physically with protestors, except when necessary in self-defense or defense of others.
  • *Not to employ any riot control agents.
  • *Not to share equipment with law enforcement agencies.
  • *Not authorized to use Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets or to conduct ISR or Incident, Awareness, and Assessment activities in assistance to Capitol Police.
  • *Not allowed to employ helicopters or any other air assets.
  • *Not to conduct searches, seizures, arrests, or other similar direct law enforcement activity.
  • *Not authorized to seek support from any non-DC National Guard units.

There’s no coherent theory about why Chris Miller wrote this memo and thus blocked the National Guard from protecting the Capitol and the members of Congress within it.

Some have suggested it was to retain an appearance of “normality at the Capitol,” but that makes no sense when you see their response to things like that summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. That was the new normal.

But something wasn’t normal at all in the Trump administration.

Recall, way back on November 9, 2020, right after his election loss was called on November 7th, the Los Angeles Times wrote:

“President Trump’s decision to fire Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday [the day before the election] raised concerns that he may be planning far-reaching military moves in his final weeks in office — and is putting in place new leadership more inclined to go along.
“Trump named Christopher Miller, director of the national counterterrorism center, to take over as acting Defense secretary, bypassing the normal practice of having the Pentagon’s No. 2 official take charge temporarily if the top job becomes vacant.”

The article also noted that Miller’s predecessor, who’d been through a Senate confirmation and was a “legal” Secretary of Defense (Miller was not), was concerned:

“In an interview conducted before his dismissal but published after he was fired Monday, Esper suggested that his successor might be more willing than he was to go along with Trump’s questionable uses of the military.
“‘Who’s going to come in behind me?’ Esper told Military Times, which covers the armed forces. ‘It’s going to be a real ‘yes man.’ And then God help us.’”

What did it take for Trump to get Chris Miller to write this memo? Was he duped? Was he an enthusiastic or reluctant participant? Did Donald Trump or his Chief of Staff and apparent co-conspirator Mark Meadows dictate it?

If this isn’t bad enough, on January 6th itself — as armed traitors were attacking police and searching to “hang Mike Pence” — Chris Miller oversaw a mid-afternoon, mid-riot conference call in which Army Secretary McCarthy was again begging for authority to immediately bring in the National Guard.

Then-Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations General Charles Flynn, the brother of convicted/pardoned foreign agent General Michael Flynn (who had been pushing Trump to declare martial law and seize voting machines nationwide) was on the call; both the Pentagon and the Army, it has been reported, lied to the press, Congress, and, apparently, to the Biden administration about his presence on that call for almost a year.

It wasn’t until December, 2021 that it was widely reported that the National Security Council’s Colonel Earl Matthews (who was also on the call) wrote a memo calling both Charles Flynn and Lt. Gen Walter Piatt, the Director of Army Staff, “absolute and unmitigated liars” for their testimony to Congress in which they both denied they’d argued to withhold the National Guard on January 6th.

Then we discovered that the phones and text messages of most of the group, including Chris Miller, Walter Piatt, Kash Patel, and Ryan McCarthy were all wiped of all conversations and text messages they had on and in the lead-up to January 6th.

Most of the communication-based evidence was destroyed. Completely destroyed. By coincidence, they said.

Why is it such a stretch to imagine that at least some of these men believed, as Stewart Rhodes has said he believed, that the battle of January 6th would end with Donald Trump declared the president?

That, once declared, he’d award them all presidential medals and give them promotions and positions of even greater power in his second administration?

That 2016 would be the last election actually determined by the people themselves, and they were all okay with that?

Is it simply true that “none dare call it treason?”

Perhaps I’m missing some critical detail that reduces this speculation to nonsense. Or maybe it’s just that because I’m publishing here on Substack in my own little silo I don’t have to answer to a nervous editor who wants to maintain his publication’s access to the FBI, Secret Service, and DOD.

If you know what I’m missing, please let me know in the comments section below.

If not, please join me in asking this simple question:

“Was there a conspiracy — even if it only involved a handful of people — at the highest levels of our government to end the American Experiment that was only defeated by sheer luck? And, if so, who were the conspirators and who were the unwitting dupes?”

Americans deserve to know why the dog didn’t bark on January 6th and in the days leading up to it. And, if appropriate, to dare to call it treason.

'Substantial evidence' Donald Trump was part of coup plot after Oath Keepers conviction: expert

On CNN Wednesday, former White House ethics czar and House impeachment counsel Norm Eisen broke down the significance of Attorney General Merrick Garland's speech ahead of the conviction of Oath Keepers leaders in connection with the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Two of the far-right militia leaders Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs, were convicted of seditious conspiracy, with a litany of other convictions handed down on several other associates.

"You have the attorney general, Merrick Garland, here, touting the seditious conspiracy verdict vowing to hold others accountable," said anchor Alex Marquardt. "How much do you think these convictions embolden the Justice Department? What is Garland telegraphing here about upcoming trials?"

"I think they embolden the Justice Department a lot," said Eisen. "I've known Merrick Garland over 30 years since we were young lawyers starting out in D.C. This is an unusual victory lap for him. If you have any question about the relationship of the Oath Keepers' case to Donald Trump's potential liability, including on some of the same possible crimes, sedition — seditious conspiracy, the attorney general talked about it when talking about the special counsel."

The bottom line, Eisen said, is that Trump should be worried.

"It's not the comments alone," said Eisen. "It's the substantial evidence that, like the Oath Keepers defense that they didn't enter the Capitol, that he was a significant part of events that may confer criminal liability. He should be worried about the facts and the law, but also the resolve that Garland, on behalf of DOJ, is signaling."

Watch below or at this link.

Norm Eisen says there is "substantial evidence" Trump is criminally liable like the Oath Keepers youtu.be

'Class what felony?' Election loser Kari Lake endorses crime to stop county certifications

Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for Arizona governor, encouraged county supervisors to break the law to ensure that her opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), is not certified as the winner of the 2022 election.

During an interview on Tuesday, right-wing podcast host Steve Bannon asked Lake if she could prove that the election had been stolen.

Lake argued that election fraud was indisputable.

"We had poll watchers, poll workers, attorneys that were out there — observers and there's not a darn thing that they could do when as if on clockwork, all the computers went down, all the tabulators — or the majority of the tabulators went down. I mean it's diabolical geniusness on their part."

Lake referred to a video clip of one county supervisor saying that he faced legal action for threatening not to certify Hobbs' victory.

"This is a time for Americans, for Arizonans to stand up," she said. "I saw in Mohave County with [Ron Gould] on the Board of Supervisors. He said, 'I'm doing this — I'm certifying this under duress. They're telling me if I don't, I'll be locked up. They're telling me, I'll be arrested. They're telling me is a Class 6 felony and I'm doing this under duress.'"

The candidate argued that the certification could not stand up in court if it were done under duress.

"But I wish that somebody would say, 'You know what? Arrest me then. I don't care,'" Lake remarked. "We need people with courage to say, 'Class what felony? Go ahead, go for it, arrest me because this is a botched election and you're disenfranchising the folks in Mohave County when you allow this kind of election in Maricopa County to stand.'"

Watch the video below from Real America's Voice.

Kevin McCarthy is warning Republicans that Democrats could choose the next House speaker

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is showing some anxieties around the Speaker's race as the final session of Congress comes to a close, Washington Post reporters Aaron Blake and JM Rieger observed.

In an interview with Newsmax, McCarthy warned, "If we play games on the floor, the Democrats could end up picking who the speaker is."

Ironically, the comment comes as a former GOP colleague wondered if McCarthy would offer Democrats a deal behind the scenes. It's a worst-case scenario, where moderate Republicans band together with Democrats to decide on someone less extreme or less easily manipulated.

"It’s a rather fanciful hypothetical meant to persuade the caucus to unite behind McCarthy," said the reporters. "But that fact that McCarthy felt the need to lodge this warning shot would seem to say plenty about how imperiled he views his ascent as being."

The narrow margins are causing added problems for a party that assumed they would be swept in on a red wave only for it to be a little more like a puddle. While they campaigned on issues like crime, inflation and the economy, the major promises being announced by those thought to be committee chairs under the GOP indicate they'll focus instead on investigations, impeachment and hearings.

If McCarthy makes an alliance with Democrats not to impeach Biden, he might win over some moderate Democrats, but it's unclear how many Republicans he would lose in exchange.

The piece went through the solid no votes: Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC). There's a chance that Rep. Matthew Rosendale (R-MT) could also be a no. Meanwhile, some of the Republicans have been cagey about their support like Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA), Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) and Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL).

"If five of these names are truly committed to actually voting against McCarthy (and all Democrats cast ballots), they could kill McCarthy’s shot at becoming speaker — again," said the Post. McCarthy previously tried to become the Speaker along with Freedom Caucus support. It failed.

Read the full breakdown on the Speaker's horse race at the Washington Post.

'That's not an accurate take': Peter Doocy ripped by White House’s John Kirby

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby pushed back after Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy suggested that President Joe Biden rather companies drill for oil in Venezuela than the United States.

At a White House press briefing on Monday, Doocy reframed news that the U.S. government had lifted some oil sanctions in Venezuela because of humanitarian concerns.

"Why is it President Biden would rather let U.S. companies drill for oil in Venezuela than here in the U.S.?" Doocy asked.

"That's not an accurate take," Kirby replied diplomatically.

"Earlier this month, he said no more drilling!" Doocy exclaimed.

"The president has issued 9,000 permits for drilling on U.S. federal lands," Kirby pointed out. "9,000 being unused. There are plenty of opportunities for oil and gas companies to drill here in the United States."

"Our expectation is that there won't be a whole lot of oil coming out of there and it will have to be shipped to the United States," he added.

"Does the president think there is some benefit to the climate to drill oil in Venezuela and not here?" Doocy pressed.

"It has nothing to do with a benefit to the climate," Kirby said of the sanctions relief. "Again, there are 9,000 unused permits here in the United States on federal land that oil and gas companies can and should take advantage of. 9,000! And we're talking about one there in Venezuela."

Watch the video below from Fox News. You can also watch at this link.

Brutal St. Louis newspaper editorial pleads with Dems to save the country from GOP House 'toddlers'

According to the editorial board of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the current Democratic majority on the House has a duty to wrap up as much business as it can before the Republicans take over in January with their slim majority planning on launching multiple investigations of the Joe Biden administration instead of dealing with the country's needs.

In a word, the editors referred to the House Republicans under possible House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as "toddlers" who will require constant supervision.

Getting right to the point, the editors wrote, "Just as it’s a good idea to child-proof a home before having toddlers over for a birthday party, congressional Democrats should be doing what they can during the current lame-duck session to prepare for the incoming Republican House majority — a crowd that has literally announced its intention to threaten America’s fiscal stability, block election reforms and abandon Ukraine."

Case in point, they wrote, are plans by Republicans to create chaos by using the debt ceiling as a "tool" to get their way.

"Refusing to raise the debt ceiling when necessary isn’t akin to reining in spending. The spending has already happened; this is akin to refusing to pay the bills when they come due, jeopardizing economic stability domestically and globally. Congress should, right now, raise the debt ceiling enough to ensure it won’t be an issue again for at least two years, depriving [Republicans] of this particular mischief," the editors warned.

Taking up GOP threats to reduce aid to Ukraine and calling the Republican Party's seemingly siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin as "weird," they added, "many Republicans are threatening that aid — apparently having forgotten that America is supposed to stand up against tyranny and for democracy."

"Though Republicans will control the House in January, the Nov. 8 elections cannot by any stretch be read as a mandate" the editors asserted based upon the failure of Republicans to achive the "red wave" they promised at the midterms.

"Democrats who still control Congress now have not just a right but a duty to ensure that the worst instincts of the incoming majority are reined in before they’re seated," they added before concluding with a sardonic, " "Let’s cover those plug sockets."

You can read the whole editorial here.

'Entrenched in obstinance': Donald Trump is refusing to condemn Holocaust denier despite allies' pleas

According to reporting from the Guardian's Hugo Lowell, Donald Trump has no immediate plans to condemn white nationalist Nick Fuentes as part of an effort to douse the firestorm he created after having dinner at Mar-a-Lago with the infamous anti-Semite and Holocaust denier.

While some Trump allies have fanned out to try explain away the dinner meeting by saying the former president didn't know who he was sitting down with -- which is itself a questionable claim -- Trump himself is reportedly refusing to go on the record and admit that he was wrong despite pleas from allies and aides.

According to Lowell, the more the former president is pressed by supporters to make a definitive statement about Fuentes' views, the more entrenched he has become to say nothing.

"Donald Trump repeatedly refused to disavow the outspoken anti-Semite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes after they spoke over dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort, rejecting the advice from advisers over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said," Lowell is reporting.

While some Trump allies have fanned out to try explain away the dinner meeting by saying the former president didn't know who he was sitting down with -- which is itself a questionable claim -- Trump himself is reportedly refusing to go on the record and admit that he was wrong despite pleas from allies and aides.

According to Lowell, the more the former president is pressed by supporters to make a definitive statement about Fuentes' views, the more entrenched he has become to say nothing.

"Donald Trump repeatedly refused to disavow the outspoken anti-Semite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes after they spoke over dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort, rejecting the advice from advisers over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said," Lowell is reporting.

"The statements signal Trump will give extraordinary deference to the most fringe elements of his base – even if it means potentially losing support from more moderate Republicans who have not typically cared for his indulgence of extremism," Lowell reported before adding, "The halting response to Fuentes most closely mirrored his inability to condemn white supremacist groups after Charlottesville, the people said, when Trump faced intense criticism for not naming the rightwing groups in the bloodshed that ended with the death of a young woman."

You can read more here.

'Unambiguous felony': Donald Trump at risk in IRS 'personal vendetta' audit investigation

According to a report from former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Epner at the Daily Beast, Donald Trump’s legal problems may be growing exponentially because there appears to be evidence he attempted to use the IRS to persecute political enemies before he lost re-election.

At issue, Epner wrote, are accusations from former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that the former president demanded the IRS look into tax returns filed by, among others, former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

According to the legal expert, there is already an investigation by the IRS inspector general into the suspicious audits of the two FBI officials, with Epner writing, “As reported earlier this summer, both Comey and McCabe were subjected to highly unusual IRS audits. The odds of an individual randomly being subjected to this type of audit are similar to being struck by lightning. For both to be the subject of special audit by happenstance is about as likely as a whale falling from the sky and landing in the middle of a mountain range.”

As he notes, there is evidence Kelly is willing to provide evidence about Trump’s illegal demand, with Epner writing that “a president who unlawfully seeks to have an individual audited is subject to up to five years in prison. The crime does not require that the IRS actually carry out the audit. The crime is completed with the mere request.”

“If Trump made this demand while he was president, that is an unambiguous felony. Section 7217 of Title 26 of the United States Code makes it a crime for the ‘President’ to ‘request, directly or indirectly, any officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service to conduct or terminate an audit or other investigation of any particular taxpayer with respect to the tax liability of such taxpayer,'” he wrote before adding, “Based on my training and experience as an Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted tax offenses, I expect that each IRS employee along the chain of command kept detailed notes and records of who ordered them to conduct the audit, and on the facts that were cited to support that audit demand. I would not be surprised if each of those IRS employees cooperated with the DOJ, with all fingers pointing in Trump’s direction.”

He concluded that “the nice thing about prosecuting tax crimes is that the crimes are very clearly delineated. Few jurors have any sympathy for people who cheat on their taxes or wrongfully sic the IRS on an individual to carry out a personal vendetta.”

You can read more here.

Marjorie Taylor Greene: Melania Trump is 'just sick' over jailed January 6th defendants

Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) revealed that former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump are both "just sick" because some Jan. 6 defendants are still behind bars.

During an interview with right-wing podcaster Steve Bannon on Saturday, Greene explained that she had posted a thread of messages defending the former president on Twitter. Greene said that she was trying to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday when she saw Twitter users angry at Trump for failing to pardon the Jan. 6 defendants.

"I thought, this is ridiculous; they're lying about him," the lawmaker recalled. "People are lying about him. The very idea that he could have pardoned all the Jan. 6 defendants before he left the White House on Jan. 20 is impossible because the high majority of those people weren't even arrested until after he left office!"

"And he didn't even know them!" she continued. "He had no idea who they are. He doesn't know who they are still. He had nothing to do with what they did on Jan. 6, um, so it would have been impossible for him to magically know how to find these people and pardon them."

Greene said that she gave a report about the Jan. 6 defendants to Trump and the former first lady.

"President Trump and Melania were both just sick over what they learned," she revealed. "And he said over and over that he will — he will pardon the Jan. 6 defendants."

"This is real political persecution," Greene added. "And it shouldn't be happening in America and so the criticism on President Trump is ridiculous!"

Watch the video below from Real America's Voice or at this link.

David Cay Johnston: Donald Trump's candidacy means 'likely outcomes' for the GOP are all bad

During an appearance with MSNBC host Ali Velshi, Donald Trump biographer David Cay Johnston stated that, should the former president pursue his dream of a third presidential run, it will take the Republican Party down three paths -- none of which will be good for the GOP's prospects of regaining the White House.

Speaking with the host, Johnston claimed having the former president at the top of the ticket would be a big win for Democrats who see him as eminently beatable.He noted it could be even worse if he is denied his third run as a Republican.

"I think going forward there are three likely outcomes," he told the MSNBC host.

"One is Donald gets the Republican nomination because he is able to turn out his minority of people who win the primaries; the Democrats should be very happy if that happens," he ticked off. "Secondly, he does not get the nomination and runs as an independent, which would allow the Democrats to run virtually anybody and win the White House."

"But the third possibility is that Donald seeing that he would be overwhelmingly trounced and labeled a loser -- a word he hates with a passion -- will tell his supporters to boycott voting," he suggested.

Watch below or at this link:

MSNBC 11 27 2022 09 50 47 youtu.be

'We need to win': Kristi Noem blames GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel as Republicans 'continue to lose'

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) took a shot at Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniel after her party performed poorly in the 2022 midterm elections.

During a Sunday appearance on Fox News, host Sean Duffy asked Noem to comment on McDaniel's future as RNC chair.

"Listen, Sean, we need to win," Noem replied. "I mean, that's just the fact. Our kids' future depends on it. So, you know, we really all have a responsibility to message what Republican policies bring to this country."

"And I don't know a party that can continue to lose like we have and keep their jobs," she added. "Everybody needs to evaluate what we are doing. Is it effective and are we messaging truly that our policies work?"

Watch the video below from Fox News or at this link.

Kristi Noem blasts Ronna McDaniel because Republicans 'continue to lose' youtu.be

Ex-Georgia lawmaker: 'If I were Lindsey Graham I'd be incredibly worried' after grand jury appearance

During an appearance on MSNBC's "The Katie Phang Show,' a former Georgia state senator who has appeared before the Fulton County special grand jury looking into election tampering in the 2020 presidential election suggested Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) may be in trouble.

Graham recently appeared before the grand jury after failing to avoid a subpoena where he was expected to be asked about calls he made to Georgia election officials questioning the voting results that led to President Joe Biden receiving Georgia's 16 Electoral College votes.

After asking about the upcoming Georgia election run-off to fill a still-pending U.S. Senate seat, Phang asked former lawmaker Jen Jordan "While I have you here, Senator Lindsey Graham testified before a Georgia special grand jury this past week. That grand jury is investigating efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results."

"Fulton County prosecutors wanting to question Lindsey Graham about phone calls he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the weeks after the election," the MSNBC host added. "Jan, should Lindsey Graham be worried about his legal exposure?"

"Yeah, they all should be," Jordan shot back. "Look, the way that the district attorney in Fulton County has been putting together this case, kind of brick-by-brick, clearly from my perspective it looks like they're trying to build a RICO case that is really problematic for anybody who is involved."

"That is the whole point with RICO," she elaborated. "If you are just kind of one of the bricks, one of the cogs, one of the people who did something to move the conspiracy along, and you are gonna get caught up in it."

"The district attorney has been very very serious about this," she continued. "If I were Lindsey Graham, if I were any of these folks, Rudy Giuliani, I would be incredibly worried."

Watch below or at this link.

MSNBC 11 27 2022 07 42 47 youtu.be

'Political hit man' with a 'nice, soft name': Donald Trump rages over DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith

Early Sunday morning, former president Donald Trump picked up where he left off late Saturday night, attacking special counsel Jack Smith who will be taking over the DOJ's Mar-a-Lago investigation at the behest of Attorney General Merrick Garland.

On Thursday, Smith made his first move with a stern letter to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that is expected to pave the way for the Justice Department to investigate the theft of government documents hidden at Mar-a-Lago without interference from Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon.

That has, in turn, led to the former president to begin a drumbeat of complaints about Smith in an attempt to smear him before he gets deeply involved in investigating Trump and his cronies.

Late Saturday, Trump wrote on his Truth Social account, "This sounds fair, doesn’t it? The 'Justice' Department is CORRUPT. Offered Christopher Steele $1,000,000 to lie about me, paid Russian a fortune to 'get Trump,' told Facebook not to mention the Hunter Biden Laptop before the Election, 'it was Russian disinformation,”'when the KNEW it was not. Is Trump Hater Jack Smith going to investigate that? Will his Trump Hating boss, Lisa M, allow him to investigate the reason for January 6th, the corrupt 2020 Election, or the troops I recommended be sent?"

Not content with that, early Sunday morning, he continued, "Jack Smith (nice, soft name, isn’t it?), is a political hit man, who is totally compromised, and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near our already highly WEAPONIZED & CORRUPT 'Justice' Department and FBI, which are stuffed with, and listening to, Radical Left 'MONSTERS,' who will cause difficulties for our Country the likes of which we have not seen before. By the way, OBAMA SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN (and got caught!), & what about the MASSIVE Joe & Hunter BIDEN CORRUPTION (Evidence already in!)?"


Trump-linked think tank scrambling for donations as expenses pile up: report

According to an examination of its most recent tax filings, a think tank stocked with former Donald Trump White House advisors and supporters is falling way short of reaching its financial goals and bills are starting to pile up, reports the Daily Beast.

As Roger Sollenberger of the Beast is reporting, the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) was created to establish policies for a 2024 Trump presidency as well as plan to quickly staff a new Trump administration that can hit the ground running.

However, with the former president now struggling to maintain support in light of a disastrous midterm election that was blamed in part on him, AFPI is facing a cash crunch.

"Formed last year by a cadre of Trump administration officials and known informally as a 'White House in waiting,' initially announced a first-year operating budget of $20 million. But according to its 2021 tax statement, the group raised less than three-quarters of that amount, reporting about $14.9 million in total contributions," Sollenberger wrote before adding, "That may sound like a decent haul, but more than $10 million of that amount came from 10 anonymous donors, with the largest single source giving $3 million. (AFPI is not required to make the names of its contributors public.) Trump donors accounted for $1 million, in the form of a transfer last June from his Save America leadership PAC."

"The filing also reveals about $10.8 million in expenses. Around $4.4 million went to costs associated with sustaining its sprawling staff—[Brooke] Rollins raked in about $417,000 in salary, more than double the second-highest paid official. The second-largest single line item was $2 million to a vague “other program expenses.” AFPI also dropped a little more than $600,000 on lobbying, and the group shelled out more than $2 million combined for fundraising and events," the report continued.

The report notes that the staff of AFPI is loaded with Trump hangers-on including former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, "former acting head of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, former Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon, former director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and former Trump spiritual adviser Paula White-Cain."

Sollenberger adds "the news of AFPI’s shortfall comes as Trump himself struggled to gin up small-dollar donor support in the months ahead of his 2024 announcement. And if the former president can’t consolidate power within MAGA world, this White House in waiting may have to wait a little longer."

You can read more here.

The 11th Circuit is poised to 'slam' Judge Aileen Cannon for protecting Trump: former prosecutor

During an appearance on Saturday with MSNBC's Ali Velshi, former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne claimed she expected the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to come down hard on U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon over rulings that have protected Donald Trump from a Department of Justice investigation.

Cannon, who was appointed to the bench by the former president just before he lost the 2020 election, has been under scrutiny for a series of rulings that have baffled legal experts and stymied DOJ investigators looking into Trump whisking away stolen government documents to his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Before Thanksgiving, Trump's attorneys were put on the spot by the 11th Circuit judges who appeared more than skeptical of Cannon's pro-Trump rulings, and legal experts expect things to end badly for the former president's lawyers when their ruling comes down -- possibly next week.

Speaking with the MSNBC host, Alksne said she expected Cannon to be on the receiving end of a devastating rebuke.

"I think that it sounds like after reading the transcript of the appellate hearing in the 11th Circuit that they are going to get rid of the special master and they are going to slam this federal judge [Cannon] who put a wrinkle in the process that was totally unnecessary," she began.

"And that will speed up the process and allow the government to really dive into those documents because, remember, it is not only -- when you look at this case to a prosecutor -- it is not just does he have the documents, where they willfully maintained and did he not return them when he was asked to. You also have to have sort of a global outlook on it like, why did he do it?" she elaborated.

"In order to do the prosecution, you kind of want to know that," she added. "Is it an ego thing, as somebody leaked from the Justice Department or in anway did those documents make it into the stream of his financial considerations? Is that why he ended up with these deals in the middle east? Has Jared Kushner seen the documents? Who has touched them, who has seen them, who knows about them, who has used them?"

"The sooner we get rid of the special master process, or we complete it, the sooner we can get to that point and we can move forward with the prosecution," she added.

Watch below or at the link:

They’ve 'switched Trump off in their brain': Former adviser says situation has changed since the midterms

In an interview with the Guardian, one of Donald Trump's former senior advisers stated that the word he is getting from people he has spoken to is that they want the former president to be put out to pasture after the poor midterm election results for Republicans weeks ago.

According to John Bolton, who served as Trump's national security adviser, it's time for the GOP to move on from the former president if the party wants to reclaim the Oval Office in 2024.

Bolton, whose tenure serving under Trump ended acrimoniously, told the Guardian's David Smith that there are a multitude of reasons to put Trump in the rearview mirror, but the impact that the former president had on GOP fortunes in the midterms seems to be the final straw with many conservatives.

“There are a lot of reasons to be against Trump being the nominee but the one I’m hearing now as I call around the country, talking to my supporters and others about what happened on 8 November, is the number of people who have just switched Trump off in their brain,” Bolton explained.

Elaborating, he continued, "Even if they loved his style, loved his approach, loved his policies, loved everything about him, they don’t want to lose and the fear is, given the results on 8 November, that if he got the nomination, not only would he lose the general election, but he would take an awful lot of Republican candidates down with him.”

“There’s no doubt Trump’s endorsement in the primary can be very valuable to a candidate in the Republican party. But relying on that endorsement or trumpeting yourself as the Trump-endorsed candidate is poisonous in the general election. So if you actually want to win elections, Trump is not the answer," Bolton continued. "William F Buckley [the conservative author] once had a rule that in Republican primaries he supported the most conservative candidate capable of winning the general election and, under that theory, Trump loses.”

The Guardian's Smith notes that Bolton "... joins Trump’s vice-president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo, attorney general William Barr, UN ambassador Nikki Haley, chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and onetime ally Chris Christie in a growing rebellion among alumni making the case – overtly or subtly – that Trump has become an electoral liability."

You can read more here.

Kevin McCarthy’s 'performative' planned Constitution stunt torn apart by law expert

On Friday, legal expert Chris Geidner took to Twitter to tear apart House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for one of the first plans he has announced once the Republican majority is officially sworn into the chamber.

"On the very first day of the new Republican-led Congress, we will read every single word of the Constitution aloud from the floor of the House — something that hasn't been done in years," McCarthy had pledged. However, Geidner took issue with several aspects of this idea.

"1. It’s the House you’re leading, not Congress. 2. A public reading like this is performative," wrote Geidner. Furthermore, he continued, "3. Who will read the Three-Fifths Clause? 4. Who will read the 14th Amendment?"

Republicans gained fewer than ten seats in the House, after many experts had predicted a blowout wave election with potentially dozens of pickups for the GOP. Democrats maintained control of the Senate, carrying 50 seats with a 51st on the line in Georgia next month in a runoff election between Democratic Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock and Trump-backed former football star Herschel Walker.

McCarthy has been the presumptive choice for House Speaker. However, his easy ascendancy to the gavel is by no means assured, with several hardline Republicans in the Freedom Caucus coming out in refusal to back him, throwing his path to 218 votes into confusion.

Among the things McCarthy has promised his caucus, in addition to the Constitution reading, is restoring censured lawmakers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to her committee assignments, and to authorize partisan investigations supported by the far right, like whether January 6 rioters were treated correctly in D.C. jail.

Trump says he had no idea his dinner guest was a notorious Holocaust denier

Former President Donald Trump hosted notorious Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes for dinner this week -- but now he's issued a statement saying he had no idea who Fuentes was before sharing a meal with him.

In a statement posted by Axios' Jonathan Swan, Trump emphasized that Fuentes was a guest of rapper Kanye West and not someone whom he'd personally invited to his resort.

"Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago," Trump said. "Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about."

Trump notably did not condemn Fuentes' views about the Holocaust or his belief that America should reinstate racial segregation.

Additionally, Trump did say that he invited West to dinner with him despite the fact that West has drawn outrage in recent weeks by spouting openly anti-Semitic rhetoric, starting with a tweet last month in which he threatened to go "death-con 3 on Jewish people."

Trump has a long history of refusing to condemn the behavior of overt racists while also denying that he knows their true views, such as when he said in 2016 he did not know former Klan leader David Duke's views well enough to justify disavowing his support.

'Just a disaster': Right-wing journalist reacts with horror to Trump’s reported meeting with Nick Fuentes

On Friday, right-wing Washington Examiner political correspondent Byron York took to Twitter to warn that former President Donald Trump's increasingly open fraternization with white nationalists like Nick Fuentes is a crisis for the Republican Party.

"Trump, Kanye, Nick Fuentes — No longer a disaster waiting to happen," wrote York. "Now just a disaster.

This comes after Fuentes reportedly traveled to Trump's Mar-a-Lago country club residence in Palm Beach, Florida for a meeting — after which pro-Trump rapper Kanye West claimed that Trump was "really impressed" with the far-right activist.

Fuentes first gained prominence after his participation in the 2017 white supremacist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in the murder of a counterprotester. He leads a movement known as the "Groyper Army," an association of extremist internet trolls whose mission is to inject white nationalist ideology into the mainstream of political debate. Fuentes was active in politics during the 2022 midterms as well, with failed Washington Congressional candidate Joe Kent seeking his endorsement.

Kanye West himself, who also goes by the mononym Ye, has come under heavy fire in recent weeks for promoting anti-Semitic beliefs, including a social media rant in which he said he was going to go "death con 3" on Jewish people.

All of this comes as Trump is preparing for his third consecutive run for president in 2024, which has conservative forces unsure whether to fall in with the base or back him once more.

Former Trump surgeon general struggling to get career back on track due to 'Trump Effect'

In an interview with the Washington Post, one of Donald Trump's former Surgeons General expressed frustration with the path his career has taken due to his ties to the former president that took place during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As the report notes, Dr. Jerome Adams and his wife have pinned his struggles to find a landing spot commensurate with his experience on what they call they call the "Trump Effect" which is not abating now that the former president has launched a third run for the presidency.

According to the report, "It followed them from Washington to their home in the Indianapolis suburbs. They felt it when he was exploring jobs in academia, where he would receive polite rejections from university officials who worried that someone who served in the administration of the the former president would be badly received by their left-leaning student bodies. They felt it when corporations decided he was too tainted to employ."

In an interview, he explained that Trump is “a force that really does take the air out of the room,” before adding, "The Trump hangover is still impacting me in significant ways.”

As the Post's Manuel Roig-Franzia wrote, "The former surgeon general’s predicament underscores one of the givens of today’s political environment: Association with Trump becomes a permanent tarnish, a kind of reverse Midas touch. Whether indicted or shunned or marginalized, a cavalcade of former Trump World figures have foundered in the aftermath of one of the more chaotic presidencies in modern American history."

Saying he is not complaining, Adams stated, "People still are afraid to touch anything that is associated with Trump."

The Post report adds that Adams did finally land a spot in September 2021, when "Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, a former Indiana governor and Republican stalwart, hired Adams as the first executive director of health equity initiatives at the school."

However, as Roig-Franzia notes, the spectre of association with Trump still haunts the doctor.

"Even as Adams was seeking to define the next chapter of his life, he was engaged in an almost constant battle on social media. His frequent tweets about everything from his personal life to public health issues have invariably drawn attacks from both the right and the left. Rather than ignore his critics, he has often punched back, engaging in Twitter spats that stretch for days," the journalist wrote.

'Practical Republicans' in Arizona sunk Kari Lake because 'they want government to work': expert

A new report from the Arizona Republic sheds more light on the coalition of voters who sunk Trump-backed Kari Lake's hope of becoming Arizona's next governor.

Essentially, the newspaper found that a significant number of Republican voters in the state crossed over to back Democrat Katie Hobbs in this year's elections, and they also helped put nails in the coffins of fellow MAGA candidates Blake Masters and Mark Finchem.

Chuck Coughlin, president and CEO of political consulting firm HighGround, explained to the Arizona Republic that many Republican voters in the state wanted more moderate conservatives such as the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) instead of bomb-throwing right-wingers like Lake.

"There are practical Republicans," he said. "They want government to work... They’re not part of this conspiratorial environment and partisan behavior."

Fred Solop, a politics professor at Northern Arizona University, said that the results reflected the fact that Republicans nominated a slate of candidates who denied the results of an election in a state that President Joe Biden carried two years ago.

“When democracy was on the ballot, a significant number of Republicans were rejecting Republican candidates," he said.

Lake herself didn't help her cause when she trashed McCain publicly and told Republicans who had once voted for him that she no longer wanted their support.

"Everybody was down on the Hobbs campaign, how bad it was," said Coughlin. "The reality is the Lake campaign was worse. It actually told people not to vote for them."

'Extraordinary turn in investigation': Pence may be 'receptive' to talking with DOJ says NY Times reporter

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said on Thursday that it’s entirely possible that former Vice President Mike Pence could cooperate with a Department of Justice investigation into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to illegally remain in power after losing the 2020 election to President Joe Biden.

While appearing on CNN, Haberman broke down why Pence might be willing to cooperate with the DOJ in a way he would not be willing to cooperate with the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riots.

“I think he’s more receptive to this outreach from the DOJ, at least according to people he’s spoke to, because he recognizes there’s a difference between a criminal investigation led by the Justice Department and this House Select Committee, which he thinks is a different branch of government,” she said.

Haberman went on the say that it’s no sure bet that Pence would talk with the DOJ, as former President Donald Trump might try invoking executive privilege to get him to testify.

Nonetheless, Haberman said that the impact of an agreement would be significant.

“This would be an extraordinary turn in this investigation if the DOJ does get Mike Pence to cooperate as a witness,” she said. “Mike Pence is a key witness who is one of the only people who can speak to certain events in the leadup to January 6th… This would create such an unprecedented situation.”

Watch the video below.

Here’s how Mike Pence may have blown up his executive privilege defense

According to The New York Times, the Justice Department is now moving to question former Vice President Mike Pence as part of the criminal investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — a move that a week after Pence, who was the subject of a pressure campaign by Trump allies to throw out electoral votes in states carried by Joe Biden, flatly refused to cooperate with House investigators in their own parallel investigation.

One of Pence's — or Trump's only potential defenses against him testifying to federal investigators is to claim executive privilege over the conversations he had in the White House. But, as former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said on Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," there's a key problem with that: he already wrote a book discussing at least some of the information.

"I think we had a preview because of the book that Michael Pence has written," said anchor Katie Phang. "And I think he's pretty much home run spoken to the public. The New York Times reports, 'Complicating the situation is whether Mr. Trump would invoke executive privilege to stop him ... or to limit Pence's testimony, a step that he's taken with limited success so far with other former officials.' What's the bottom line, could executive privilege stop Mike Pence from voluntarily testifying?"

"It's not going to work," said Mariotti. "Well established in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, that executive privilege does not trump the need of criminal prosecutors to get testimony via a grand jury subpoena as long as they can't get the information elsewhere ... no one knows what happened in those conversations between Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence, other than Mr. Pence. And Mike Pence was present during conversations about what Jeffrey Clark and John Eastman were saying and doing, their plans and their proposals. And we know they're within the DOJ's crosshairs, as well."

"A quick question, the fact that Mike Pence has written a book and put information within it about conversations, interactions he had vis-a-vis January 6th, does that help the DOJ in any way to boost legal arguments to make sure that they can get Pence to testify?" asked Phang.

"I think our viewers know you are a lawyer," said Mariotti. "That's a smart question ... the answer is absolutely. Because that means also there is a waiver of privilege. Even to the extent there was privilege or wasn't here, you know, that will be overcome by the waiver."

Watch below:

Colorado Springs shooter appears in court bloody and bruised

The Colorado Springs shooter appeared in court on Wednesday, slumping over to the right, bloodied and bruised after the survivors of the attack struck back against them.

The defense attorneys said that 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich identified as "non-binary," which led MSNBC reporters to wonder if that was part of the defense strategy to get rid of the hate crimes charges. Their left eye appeared swollen and bruised and red marks on their forehead.

A transgender woman and an Army combat veteran were the ones who were able to subdue the attacker, beating Aldrich with their own gun and stomping on them.

The appearance was short, only lasting a few minutes, and defense lawyers asked whether police had access to their social media accounts and electronics, claiming some material might be privileged. The lawyer suggested Aldrich hasn't given permission for their records to be searched. Investigators and the district attorney will likely obtain a warrant to ensure access to such things.

Records are also sealed in some pieces of Aldrich's life, including any psychiatric treatment as well as if the red flag laws on the books in Colorado were implemented against them. Police said at a briefing this week that Colorado has strict "sealing laws" and that they couldn't even say whether or not those records exist.

TMZ reported more on the court appearance here.

Proud Boys planning to disrupt another drag event before all the Club Q bodies are even buried

On Wednesday, Newsweek reported that just days following the Club Q nightclub mass shooting in Colorado Springs that killed five people and injured 19, the Proud Boys are already making plans to disrupt another drag event.

"The shooting followed a steady stream of far-right protests against LGBTQ events over the past year, coupled with anti-gay and anti-trans rhetoric pushed by prominent right-wing figures," reported Shira Li Bartov. "Days after the Club Q victims are laid to rest, the Proud Boys plan to disrupt a drag storytime event in Columbus, Ohio. The group's local chapter announced its intent on Telegram."

"The Columbus Proud Boys would like to announce that we will be attending the Holi-drag Storytime being held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus on December 3rd," the Telegram post said. "It's gonna be wild!"

The Proud Boys are a self-described "Western Chauvinist" group linked to white supremacists, infamous for their violent street brawls. Several of their leaders participated in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and are on trial for seditious conspiracy.

Prior to this event, the Proud Boys have showed up at other drag celebrations to intimidate LGBTQ supporters, including a brunch in Sanford, North Carolina. Another armed man wearing a Proud Boys shirt showed up at a drag storytime event in Sparks, Nevada in June, forcing children to flee.

"Extremism experts say that these protests, which sometimes turn violent, have directly led to horrific events like the shooting at Club Q," said the report. "'If you look at the history of the way in which organized violence works, it can often start with protests, can often start with fights or fistfights, but very quickly then can become armed events,' Imara Jones, CEO of TransLash Media, told Newsweek. 'What we are seeing overall right now is the transition and the legitimization of increasing violence and targeting of trans people by these groups."

January 6th staff frustrated by Liz Cheney’s fixation on Donald Trump

Friction within the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol has spilled out into The Washington Post.

"Now, less than six weeks before the conclusion of the committee’s work, Cheney’s influence over the committee’s final report has rankled many current and former committee staff," the newspaper reported. "They are angered and disillusioned by Cheney’s push to focus the report primarily on former president Donald Trump, and have bristled at the committee morphing into what they have come to view as the vehicle for the outgoing Wyoming lawmaker’s political future."

In August, Cheney lost re-nomination during the GOP primary for Wyoming's lone seat in Congress, which was once held by her father.

"Fifteen former and current staffers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, expressed concerns that important findings unrelated to Trump will not become available to the American public," the newspaper reported. "The feuding brings to the fore a level of public acrimony within the Jan. 6 committee that previously had largely played out behind the scenes, as public attention was focused on a series of blockbuster public hearings focused on Trump’s role fomenting the attack."

The select committee's investigations into law enforcement failures, insurrection financing, and militia groups are expected to take a back seat to a focus on Trump.

One former committee staffer told the newspaper, "we all came from prestigious jobs, dropping what we were doing because we were told this would be an important fact-finding investigation that would inform the public. But when [the committee] became a Cheney 2024 campaign, many of us became discouraged.”

Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler released a statement that The Post described as "blistering."

“Donald Trump is the first president in American history to attempt to overturn an election and prevent the peaceful transfer of power,” Adler said. “So, damn right Liz is ‘prioritizing’ understanding what he did and how he did it and ensuring it never happens again.”

He went on to claim, "some staff have submitted subpar material for the report that reflects long-held liberal biases about federal law enforcement, Republicans, and sociological issues outside the scope of the Select Committee’s work. She won’t sign onto any ‘narrative’ that suggests Republicans are inherently racist or smears men and women in law enforcement, or suggests every American who believes God has blessed America is a white supremacist.”

Read the full report.

'Arizona spring': Far-right planning Black Friday protests to demand a 'revote' following GOP losses

MAGA activists in Arizona are planning a Black Friday protest to demand a revote after the GOP slate of four prominent election deniers was rejected by voters.

The far-right Gateway Pundit reports, "patriots in Arizona demanding a re-do of the 2022 general election have organized a protest near the Arizona Capitol this Friday at 9 a.m. and through the weekend before counties canvass the results. The protest will include a peaceful gathering and opportunities to hold signs and banners on highways across the state."

Donald Trump has also said he wants the GOP to get a mulligan and re-do the vote in Arizona after Kari Lake lost for governor, Blake Masters lost his U.S. Senate bid, Abe Hamadeh lost for attorney general, and state Sen. Mark Finchem lost for secretary of state.

Jen Fifield, who covers Arizona election for the nonprofit newsroom Votebeat, reported, "There's a call circulating on far-right channels today for a 9 a.m. Friday protest for a 'revote' at the Arizona Capitol. One commentator on Gettr is calling it an 'Arizona spring,' telling people to bring guns so that if 'FBI informants' start to shoot they can shoot back."

Finchem, the failed secretary of state candidate claimed, "only a new election can restore individual sufferage, so many were disenfranchised in Maricopa County. We MUST restore voter confidence in the process."

But as some Republicans remain fixated on the voting conspiracy theories, for the second cycle in a row, others are moving on.

Outgoing GOP Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday met with Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs, the Democrat who beat Lake.

"Today I congratulated Governor-elect Katie Hobbs on her victory in a hard-fought race and offered my full cooperation as she prepares to assume the leadership of the State of Arizona," Ducey announced. "My administration will work to make this transition as smooth and seamless as possible. Our duty is to ensure that Arizona’s 24th Governor and her team can hit the ground running and continue our state’s incredible momentum."

"All of us have waited patiently for the democratic process to play out. The people of Arizona have spoken, their votes have been counted and we respect their decision," Ducey said. "No matter who we voted for, all of us have a stake in Arizona’s success. Our future is bright and boundless. Let us never forget that as we begin this next chapter in our state’s history."

Justice Department wants to speak to Mike Pence about January 6th

Former Vice President Mike Pence has not yet been subpoenaed, but the Justice Department has reached out to his representatives to ask that he speak to them about his Jan. 6 experience, the New York Times reported.

Pence has published a book that gave little information about what he observed other than the admission that Donald Trump's lawyers made it clear that what he was doing wouldn't be upheld by the Supreme Court. He then later blame "bad advice from lawyers" for Trump's behavior.

"On Jan. 4, the president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, summoned me to the Oval Office for a meeting with a long list of attendees, including the legal scholar John Eastman," Pence recalled. "I listened respectfully as Mr. Eastman argued that I should modify the proceedings, which require that electoral votes be opened and counted in alphabetical order, by saving the five disputed states until the end. Mr. Eastman claimed I had the authority to return the votes to the states until each legislature certified which of the competing slate of electors for the state was correct. I had already confirmed that there were no competing electors."

This happened prior to the appointment of special counsel Jack Smith under the leadership of Thomas Windom, one of the lead investigators, said the Times.

"The discussions about questioning Mr. Pence are said to be in their early stages. Mr. Pence has not been subpoenaed, and the process could take months, because Mr. Trump can seek to block, or slow, his testimony by trying to invoke executive privilege," said the report.

Other reports cite Trump calling Pence a "p*ssy" and a slew of other things. At the same time, Pence wasn't innocently standing up for democracy on principle. He was searching for a way to make it happen too, even going so far as to call Dan Quayle to ask for advice on what his role would be on Jan. 6.

'All the Justices concur': Georgia Supreme Court unanimously rejects GOP case to end Saturday voting

The Georgia Republican Party appealed a lower court ruling this week that denied their efforts to eliminate Saturday voting in the state. The appeal was unanimously struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court on Wednesday, however.

Most Georgia early voting is cut off at 5 p.m., which prevents people who work such hours from accessing the early voting, leaving Saturday voting as their only other option.

"Upon consideration, the Emergency Petition for Writ of Certiorari and Motion to Stay are denied. All the Justices concur," the court filing said.

The runoff date is set for Dec. 6 for Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and GOP challenger, Herschel Walker. Under Georgia law, there are at least five days of early voting mandated from Monday Nov. 28 through Friday Dec. 2, which requires that the Saturday option be available to voters. The largest counties, like Fulton County, which includes Atlanta and is a Democratic county, intended to hold Saturday voting on Nov. 26, after Thanksgiving.

See the court notice below:

'We have nothing to drive': More Russians openly question war in Ukraine as sanctions hit their economy

On Wednesday, CNN reported that discontent is growing in Russia as citizens increasingly question the Ukraine invasion, and as the sanctions against Russia to end the war continue to take a heavy toll on the country's economy.

"This year, the feeling of melancholy is increased by the sight of shuttered shops on many of the capital’s streets, as businesses face the economic fall-out from massive Western sanctions in response to the war in Ukraine, which Russian officials still call the 'special military operation,'" reported Frederick Pleitgen. "'The mood in Moscow and the country is now extremely gloomy, quiet, intimidated, and hopeless,' said 34-year-old Lisa, who declined to give her last name and said she was a film producer. 'The planning horizon is as low as ever. People have no idea what might happen tomorrow or in a year.'"

According to the report, supermarkets in Russia are still reasonably well stocked, but Western products in particular are vanishing.

The lack of Western technology is having more effects, however: "The country’s industrial firms are facing major problems replacing Western technology, leading the automobile company AvtoVAZ – manufacturer of the Lada vehicle brand – to first halt production earlier this year and then move to producing some vehicles without basic electronic features like air bags and anti-lock braking systems."

Yevgeny Popov, a Russian Parliament member and state media mouthpiece, recently demanded of a Russian general on the state program "60 Minutes," “What will we drive, we have nothing to drive. Are we going to drive railcars?”

Sergey Javoronkov, a senior researcher at the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, tells CNN that "both the economic price and the dissatisfaction with the task not being solved" has contributed to criticism of the war.

“We were supposed to win. Officials promised to capture Kyiv in three days but, as we see, it turned out to be foolish," Javoronkov told CNN.

All of this comes as Russian officials are frantically trying to tamp down fears that Ukraine, which recently drove back Russian forces in the eastern regions and reclaimed much of the territory seized early in the operation, could move into Crimea — held by Russia since the annexation in 2014 — and liberate territory there as well.

Trump suffered his 'biggest loss in memory' this week: CNN legal reporter

CNN legal reporter Paula Reid didn't sugarcoat the legal defeats faced by former President Donald Trump this week after the Supreme Court refused to block Congress from obtaining his taxes, while another court appears poised to ax his request for a special master to review documents seized by the government from his Mar-a-Lago resort.

"I've been covering the former president's legal problems for nearly a decade now, this is the biggest loss in recent memory," Reid told host Don Lemon during a discussion of the court rulings. "And in just two sentences, the Supreme Court put an end to his years long effort to shield his tax returns from lawmakers. Now the Treasury Department will hand over six years of tax records to the Democrat-led House Ways and Means Committee immediately."

Reid noted that even though Congress now has access to the tax returns, they are not allowed to publicly release them.

However, she said she wouldn't be surprised if that happened anyway.

"As we know, the Hill is one of the leakiest places in Washington and it's possible they could get out," she speculated.

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