Sarah K. Burris

Oath Keepers leader reveals militia are being trained by police in '60 Minutes' interview

In an interview with "60 Minutes" Sunday evening, Oath Keepers leader Jim Arroyo revealed that active-duty law enforcement is part of their movement and helping with militia training.

"Our guys are very experienced. We have active-duty law enforcement in our organization that are helping to train us. We can blend in with our law enforcement," he said.

Javed Ali, Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy, formerly served as a former NSC senior director and was a counterterrorism official at the FBI under the Trump administration. Speaking to CBS News, he explained that the Oath Keepers is "unique."

"Beyond the fact that they are a formal group with chapters all over the country, is that a large percentage have tactical training and operational experience in either the military or law enforcement," the domestic terrorism expert said. "That at least gives them a capability that a lot of other people in this far-right space don't have."

In August 2020, Michael German is a former FBI special agent who penned several reports on U.S. law enforcement failing to control the right-wing terrorists in their ranks. According to his findings, law enforcement officials are increasingly tied to racist militant activities in more than a dozen states since 2000. Updated research has revealed things are much worse.

His report explained that over the years, police had grown increasingly linked to militias and white supremacist groups in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

As Americans are growing increasingly concerned about police brutality and police shootings of unarmed people of color, the conversation about the white supremacists flocking to law enforcement are an even greater concern.

PBS reported in 2016 that ten years prior, the FBI warned of the problem. Since then, little has changed.

In Feb. the New Yorker reported on associate professor Vida B. Johnson, at Georgetown Law, who "authored a paper in 2019 that included a list of more than a hundred police departments in forty-nine states that have faced scandals over racist texts, e-mails, or public social-media posts by officers just since 2009. Johnson proposes that, if police officers have a history of racist speech or behavior, or are known to belong to hate groups, this information should, in cases that involve the testimony of those officers, be disclosed to the defense, under the Brady doctrine, which requires prosecutors to share information that might be exculpatory or show witness bias. The credibility of a known racist cop can, in some cases, be attacked on those grounds, as O. J. Simpson's defense team memorably showed."

Given police and sheriff's departments are governed largely by state, county and local communities, implementing national standards would likely be seen as a federal overreach. So, it leaves it up to local entities to police their police.

See the segment on "60 Minutes" below:

The Oath Keepers militia group's path to breaching the Capitol

A ‘direct link' from the Trump campaign to the Russians — and it may have been covered up: Mueller prosecutor

It's official, the U.S. government has the information necessary to prove that President Donald Trump's campaign was coordinating with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign. It has taken five years, but former lead prosecutor for special counsel Robert Muller explained why the evidence is clear.

Speaking to MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace on Thursday, Andrew Weissmann explained that up until the recent findings, there was only the information that Paul Manafort's deputy Rick Gates gave to prosecutors. Russian political consultant Konstantin Kilimnik was given internal polling information from the Trump campaign that he handed to Russian intelligence.

"But the big unknown and our report says, we did not know what Konstantin Kilimnik did with that data," Weissmann explained. "And the defense was also saying, 'well, this was just being used in Ukraine. It was for business purposes. That never made a lot of sense to us, but we didn't have evidence. And today, what is new, Nicolle, is that the Treasury Department, certainly with the approval of the DNI, that is the highest intelligence office in the government, has said that Konstantin Kilimnik gave that material, which he repeatedly got during the 2016 campaign to Russian intelligence. So, you now have a direct link of something that went internal sensitive data that went from the Trump campaign through Paul Manafort to Konstantin Kilimnik to the Russians."

Wallace asked what information the U.S. Treasury Department had before now that prevented them from being able to officially make the declaration.

"Well, the one thing that it's clear, as you've reported, Nicolle, we did not have the piece that is what Kilimnik did with the polling data that we now know from the release today actually went, as Clint said, directly to Russian intelligence," Weissmann explained. "The interesting question that I don't know the answer to is was that information known to the intelligence community at the time of the Mueller investigation. You know, my sort of educated speculation on that would be it seems like it would have to have been known because the Biden administration has only been operational for -- I'm in New York, so I'll say a New York minute. So, it seems unlikely that they really went ahead with that deep investigation and got the information that quickly."

Without saying so, Weissmann seems to imply that these facts were known while the Trump administration was in control and not acted upon and hidden from the American people.

"So, the question is, why didn't it get to the special counsel investigation?" Weissman asked. "And you know, I spearheaded the Manafort, part of that investigation. I can tell you it certainly would have been of great interest, and we tried to turn over every rock that we could to turn up this link."

He went on to compare the new information to Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal as Republicans sought to figure out what the Democrats were doing so they could win the election.

"A good analogy of this is Watergate," Weissmann went on. "You know, in Watergate, you had the Republicans breaking into the Democratic Party because you want to know what your opponent is doing. Well, now we have the complete link of we have Russia knowing exactly what the Trump campaign polling information was and what they were seeing as strengths and weaknesses of their own and of Hillary Clinton. So, they could use that to, as Clint said, target what they were doing in both the 'hack and dump' and also the influence campaign in terms of what states were vulnerable or not. One final piece is it's important to note, that this is in the Mueller report, which is that Paul Manafort was conveying to Kilimnik what they were seeing in terms of, which states were swing states, including places like Wisconsin. And that's something that was not generally well-known. And so now we know that Kilimnik was relaying all of that information back to the GRU in Russia."

See the videos below:

Part 1:

Connection officially made between Russia and Trump campaign coordination

Part 2:

Mueller prosecutor on new intelligence proving Trump and Russia link

Texas Republican goes down in flames against CNN host after trying to justify voter suppression

Things didn't go well for Texas Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes when he faced off against CNN host Pamela Brown on Sunday evening.

Speaking about the new Texas voter suppression bill, Brown asked why it makes sense to pass stricter voter restrictions when the state leaders called the 2020 election "safe and secure."

Hughes desperately tried to change the subject to being about poll watchers not being present to monitor people dropping their ballots in boxes.

"Poll watchers are the eyes and ears of the public," Hughes claimed.

"But what is a new concept is allowing them to videotape voters while they're filling out their ballots with assistants. I was reading through the bill, as it is earlier, and it's all founded on this idea of preventing fraud. It says: 'This was enacted solely to prevent fraud in the electoral process.' But the Texas attorney general's office put 22,000 hours into trying to dig up voter fraud and only found 16 minor cases. That is statistically insignificant. To what end can they put restrictions on voting when the instances of fraud are statistically insignificant, and you risk disenfranchising voters who have a constitutionally protected right to vote?"

Hughes claimed that there are over 400 open investigations into possible voter fraud. Brown corrected him and said not from 2020. The majority of the cases, she said, involved people having errors in their addresses.

"There are over 400 open cases," Hughes maintained. "Let me give you some details in the 2018 election cycle. Please remember our legislature meets every two years. So, when problems come up we try to deal with them. In 2017 the legislature passed a mail ballot reform bill passed with bipartisan support. I filed Senate bill 9. And here we are again."

"I'm talking about the 2020 election and what you're trying to do with this bill," Brown cut in.

Hughes tried to accuse Brown of wanting to fight over the Georgia bill.

"We had Democrats testify under oath about cheating, with mail ballots, with people claiming to offer assistance," Hughes claimed. "We responded to what Democrats told us under oath in front of the Senate committee."

"Are you really saying that this bill is predicated on what Democrats had testified to? Democrats have come out and said that it will disproportionately hurt minorities in Texas because more than half of those voting at those drive-through locations were minorities, according to one Democratic lawmaker," Brown clapped back.

It developed into chaos as Hughes desperately tried to justify why it's safe for someone to put a check in a bank-drop box but not a ballot in a state drop-box.

See the video below:

Texas voter suppression laws

Video emerges of Trump and Ron DeSantis meeting man being investigated for human trafficking with Matt Gaetz

On Wednesday, CBS News revealed that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) went to the Bahamas in late 2018 or early 2019 with a marijuana entrepreneur and hand surgeon that ultimately triggered a sex trafficking investigation.'

The man, named Jason Pirozzolo, "allegedly paid for the travel expenses, accommodations, and female escorts," the report revealed.

Whether the escorts were hired for sex across state or international lines is part of the investigation by the Justice Department, and it includes both Gaetz and Pirozzolo as part of that probe.

A new development occurred Thursday when an old video was unearthed of then-President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump meeting Pirozzolo as they landed in Orlando in June 2019, months after the now-infamous Bahamas trip. Trump was there to launch his 2020 presidential campaign with a large rally.

He, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Casey DeSantis were the only three guests waiting on the tarmac in Orlando that day. It's unknown who helped Pirozzolo score the unique opportunity to greet the president.

See the video below:

'He's lying you can tell': Internet responds to '60 Minutes' exposé on Ron DeSantis

A "60 Minutes" expose on Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) led many to call for an investigation into the scandal-prone Florida leader.

Among the things discussed by the report was the shocking revelation that the rich and famous were coming into the state from all over the country to get a vaccine before first responders and other essential workers. Another piece of the report walked through the public funding that was given to a grocery store chain that gave massive campaign donations to DeSantis.

It led many to demand investigations into DeSantis and the corruption from around the vaccines. Others commented that the DeSantis' snapping at the "60 Minutes" reporter was the perfect admission of guilt.

See the comments from folks below:

GOP officials celebrate the fall of 'mean' Matt Gaetz: 'He's a blight on the conference'

Former officials in President Donald Trump White House and the Republican Party were "gloating" Tuesday night when it was revealed that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was being investigated by the Justice Department for possible sex trafficking, Business Insider reported.

Gaetz, who is the "subject" of an investigation, could end up being indicted if evidence is found of a crime. It's possible he could also be completely vindicated. But the latter didn't matter as Republicans joined with jubilation to celebrate what they thought was Gaetz's fall. One former senior Trump White House aide was on multiple text chains with former colleagues gossiping about the deluge of news about Gaetz's legal predicament.

"The former Trump aides aren't necessarily happy to see the three-term lawmaker in trouble, but they 'feel a little vindicated,'" BI said, citing a former White House staffer. "He's the meanest person in politics."

A former congressional aide implied that Republican leaders wanted to get rid of him, but didn't want their hands on it.

"Republican leadership will likely watch him completely implode in a matter of days without having to do a thing," the former aide told BI. But if the leadership intends to remove Gaetz from any committees, there would need to be an actual indictment first.

"Good riddance," another former Trump White House aide celebrated. "It sounds like he let whatever BS power he thought he had go to his head and he thought himself above the law."

Gaetz continues to deny that he ever dated someone who was 17-years-old or traveled with a 17-year-old. Instead, he claimed that was some kind of extortion case that will vindicate him.

On Capitol Hill and in the campaign world, Business Insider explained that opinions of Gaetz are just as bad.

"The congressman is one of those that came to Washington to make an impression for fame and fortune rather than accomplishing anything in Washington for his constituents," a national Republican campaign consultant told BI. "Matt is going to have a popularity problem now, and may just fade into obscurity. No one will want to associate with him until there's a resolution — which probably won't be favorable."

"He's not in the legislative business. He's just out there to blow sh*t up and get on TV," said a Republican House staffer.

"National Republicans are concerned and are carefully monitoring the situation," said a senior GOP strategist.

But one former House staffer isn't so sure that Gaetz is completely done.

"They didn't believe he would be that stupid," the former staffer explained. The person did say, however, that Gaetz is known for being a "showboat" with few friends. "He's a blight on the conference."

Before the news broke on Tuesday, Gaetz teased that he might retire from Congress early. According to Axios, there was an offer to host a show at Newsmax.

Read the full piece at BI.

Republican Dan Crenshaw goes down in flames during debate with MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan

MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan went after Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) on Twitter this week after a Fox News appearance in which he twisted data about border crossings to score points on Fox News.

Hasan then invited Crenshaw on his show to talk about the issue and avoid political nonsense. Crenshaw agreed, but the nonsense continued.

Showing data from the CBP, Hasan explained that there is an influx of migrants coming over the border, the problem is that there has been an influx of migrants over the past nine months from President Donald Trump's administration into the Biden administration.

What became very clear is that Hasan came with the numbers and Crenshaw didn't know them or was trying to distort them.

The next big piece of information was that people are crossing the border again after being thrown out during the Trump administration. Numbers don't generally reflect that.

Another confusing moment for Crenshaw was when Hasan played the clip of his Fox News interview in which he said, "This happened overnight, okay, when President Biden rescinded the remain in Mexico policy when they rescinded the asylum cooperation agreements with the northern triangle countries. So Biden has the nerve to say quietly don't come, wink, don't come. don't come here. If you come here, we're going to give you a bus ticket wherever you want and not going to deport you."

Hasan explained that it's a lie. Since there's been an influx for the past nine months, the massive influx didn't happen overnight, as Crenshaw claimed. He claimed that Biden was giving people a "wink" not to come to the United States and that Biden said that the U.S. wasn't going to deport you.

Crenshaw, after watching the video, denied he said that Biden wasn't going to deport people. Over and over, Crenshaw claimed, "I didn't say that." Even after Hasan read the statement again, Crenshaw replied, "thank you for proving me right."

See the video below:

Part 1:

Republican goes down in flames

Part 2:

Dan Crenshaw goes down in flames

January 6 Commission may not happen due to House Republicans: report

It's unclear if House Republicans are attempting to sabotage the Jan. 6 Commission investigation, but they've done it successfully, CNN reported Thursday.

Republicans are clashing with anyone brought before House committees to address the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) lashed out at Capitol security officials in closed-door meetings over the past several weeks, the report said. He also shouted down retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honoré in front of his team because they met over Zoom and spoke to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

McCarthy unleashed on acting sergeant at arms, Timothy Blodgett, because Blodgett didn't come to visit McCarthy until a few weeks after he was hired.

"He called him out in front of everyone," CNN cited one House Republican, who didn't want to be named.

The Republican tantrums have had the impact that some Republicans want, the Jan. 6 Commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol, has been stalled.

"Democratic sources tell CNN that they are preparing for the issue to drag out -- potentially for months -- until they get bipartisan support, which will be needed in order for legislation to create the investigatory body to be cleared by the Senate and become law," said the report.

Wednesday evening, House Republicans even refused to support giving the Congressional Gold Medal to Capitol Police, because they were miffed the honor referred to the Capitol attackers as "insurrectionists." Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), for example, floated a bill that would honor the officers without even mentioning the Jan. 6 attacks, despite the honors being awarded for their bravery on Jan. 6.

He claimed that the vote to honor the police "does not honor anyone, but rather seeks to drive a narrative that isn't substantiated by known facts."

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has tried to do the same last month in a radio interview in which he claimed none of the attackers of the Capitol were armed.

Republicans are demanding that the Jan. 6 Commission look at violence nationwide that happened in 2019. While Republicans were in power in the Senate they had an opportunity to hold hearings on the 2019 protests that turned violent. It was only after the Jan. 6 Commission was proposed that Republicans demanded an investigation into those. The reason that Democrats want a commission to examine the attack is that it was a federal building, on federal property, in the nation's capital.

This week, Pelosi said that she wants an outside commission to look into the attacks, similar to what was done with the 9/11 Commission. She said that she hopes the commission could "get to the truth of how the Jan. 6 assault happened" and reiterated that it should be bipartisan.

"Based on what she offered and what she's said before, I wouldn't be interested," McCarthy said.

One problem is the partisan bent of the commission. If retired Republican officials are on the commission, they're likely people who came out against Donald Trump, colloquially known as "Never Trumpers." So, if the commission came to any conclusions, Trump supporters could argue it was because the whole committee was against him and it was a "witch hunt."

"If you start with the premise that you only want it one-sided, you understand what the outcome is going to be," McCarthy said.

Pelosi maintains that the real argument is over the "scope" of the commission.

Read the full report at

Report says Republicans learned 'a counterintuitive lesson' from Trump's downfall

Republicans lost nearly 7.1 million voters in the 2020 election. Ahead of the 2020 election GOP voter registration was falling with Independents outnumbering the party for the first time, the Washington Post said. After the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, GOP voter registration fell even more, with Trump supporters and moderates not wanting to be associated with a party that attempted to overthrow an election, NBC News said.

As NBC News' Jonathan Allen wrote, Republicans in the House and Senate have taken that to mean they should double down on Trumpism and oppose every piece of legislation brought by Democrats.

"Republicans took a counterintuitive lesson from losing the presidency and the Senate: never change," said Allen.

The "American Rescue Plan," was signed into law Thursday by President Joe Biden and people could have checks in their accounts as soon as this weekend, the White House said.

Democrats met with Republicans and Biden had a collection of them over to the White House, but Republicans refused to deal. Biden's proposal was just shy of the one that former President Donald Trump and the GOP passed. Instead, they proposed to Biden that the bill be just $600 billion, a difference of $1.3 trillion.

"What would they have me cut?" asked Biden. "What would they have me leave out? Should we not invest $20 billion to vaccinate the nation? Should we not invest $290 million to extend unemployment insurance for the 11 million Americans who are unemployed so they can get by?"

Biden never got an answer. So, he and the Democrats went at it alone, with as much as 77 percent support among Americans, the early polls showed. That included 64 percent of support among Republican voters, but it was when President Donald Trump was still in office. Once Biden took over, support for the relief package fell among Republicans but remained high at 70 percent according to a Pew Research Survey.Instead, the White House has fielded attacks from Republicans claiming they weren't invited to participate in the bill.

"Democrats didn't try to make this bill bipartisan; in fact, they actively tried to make sure Republicans didn't have a voice in this legislation," whined Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-SD). His fellow South Dakota senator, Mike Rounds, was one of the members invited to the White House to negotiate with Biden.

The other GOP senators invited were Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Todd Young of Indiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. They spoke with Biden for hours, but Republicans wouldn't come to an agreement.

"Thune is right that the legislation is not what Republicans would have written, and that it includes money for items like a union-pension bailout that can't credibly be claimed as a response to the coronavirus pandemic," said the NBC News report. "But neither was it necessary for Trump's Treasury Department to design a business-loan program that gave money to polo-team and private-jet owners."

It's also not accurate to call those getting public pensions, those who lost their jobs and all American state governments "Democrat interest groups" and "Democrat states."

As the White House takes off on a victory tour, Republicans went on a days-long tirade about Dr. Seuss being "canceled" by "liberals." The Seuss Estate actually made the free market decision to stop publishing six of its books.

"It is politically risky, but Republicans were shut out of the process in putting the relief package together so they are counting on news of massive waste, fraud and abuse that they can point out before the next election," said veteran Republican strategist Ron Bonjean.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is already calling out Republicans for touting the bill to their districts after voting against it. At her weekly press conference, she called it "vote no and take the dough."

See the full report at NBC News.

Trump tapes 'are going to be dynamite': John Dean details how much trouble the ex-president is in

Former White House counsel for Richard Nixon, John Dean, explained to Anderson Cooper that the latest developments in Donald Trump's legal drama are damaging.

Former Trump lawyer, Michael Cohen, told Reuters Wednesday that he's been working with investigators. As Dean said on Twitter about the report, "you do not visit a prosecutor's office seven times if they are not planning to indict those about whom you have knowledge."

Cooper asked if it's possible that investigators were "just fishing" for information in those meetings, but Dean said he doubted it.

"Well, not likely at this stage," he said. "What they're doing can be a couple of things. One is the prosecutors are trying to get familiar with the witness. More likely in this instance, because of the treasure trove of information they obtained evidence from a subpoena, is to get guidance and insight into what some of those documents mean, give them more people who might know about various affairs that are revealed by the documents. An insider, as I once was, can give insights that prosecutors can't otherwise get. And that's why you don't -- you're not going to do this to find exculpatory evidence at this point. They are narrowing the case to see what they will bring against the president and possibly his family."

Dean also noted that the investigators likely have copies of checks already and know who signed what.

When it came to the new recordings of Trump calling Georgia officials and trying to twist them into delivering him a win in the state, Dean said that Trump could be in trouble.

"It's a little reminiscent of Nixon leaning on people, in my memory bank, where he knows how far to go but not too far particularly when he's on the phone and he knows he's being recorded on some of those conversations," Dean explained. "So, Trump doesn't know he's being recorded in this instance. And one of the telling things, Anderson, to me is the fact that these people were recording these calls. As I recall, it was in November, late November that Lindsey Graham denied that he'd had the conversations he'd had with the secretary of state in Georgia who had, in essence, said he called and told them to throw out ballots. And Graham denied that. After that, they started recording the calls. We don't know how many calls."

He noted that it was known that this call released Wednesday happened, but never heard what was said or the details, much less a recording.

"There may be other calls that were recorded and what they're looking for is part of the RICO case they're developing now that the Fulton County prosecutor has hired the best expert in the state who helped her with a prior RICO case. RICO cases are very serious, Anderson. These are stack-on lots of penalties," Dean said. "So, I think that's the case they're building. These phone calls that they have multiple records of now, are going to be dynamite."

See the interview below:

'These recordings are going to be dynamite'


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