The Right Wing

Neo-Nazis who plotted bomb attack face harsher sentencing after judge declares them domestic terrorists

Two members of a neo-Nazi paramilitary group were officially declared terrorists in a federal case in Maryland Monday, according to Winnipeg News reporter Ryan Thorpe.

Defendants Patrik Mathews and Brian Lemley Jr. appeared for a joint sentencing hearing in which prosecutors attempted to add a terrorism sentencing enhancement onto the case. Doing so dramatically increases the time the men would spend behind bars.

The men were convicted of planning a bombing attack in Richmond, Virginia but the plot never occurred because law enforcement thwarted it. The prosecution asked for a 25-year prison sentence, but the unsealed sentencing memo quotes the defense attorney calling it, "grossly disproportionate." The excuse was that the terrorist attack never happened.

The judge agreed with the prosecution, ultimately deciding that the men met the standards to be charged with the terrorism enhancement for sentencing.

This is the most recent example of a terrorism sentence in the United States, at a time Americans are asking questions about whether Jan. 6 attackers could be considered terrorists. While the U.S. Patriot Act redefined "domestic terrorism," Section 802 never created a new charge of "domestic terrorism." It makes the sentencing part of a trial the only real option to give additional punishments for acts of domestic terrorism.

Marjorie Taylor Greene unleashes on AOC with a wild conspiracy theory: You ‘participated in civil war’

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), the most prominent lawmaker named in the bombshell Rolling Stone article, unleashed a wild a conspiracy theory-fueled attack against Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday.

Her tweetstorm, 12 posts long (although she did label one #6 twice) included the demand, usually made by right wing Twitter trolls, to "debate me," along with false claims AOC is "tear[ing] our country apart because you are a communist," and "participated in [a] civil war."

Greene started by retweeting Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's tweet calling for any "member of Congress who helped plot a terrorist attack on our nation's capitol" to be "expelled."

Rep. Greene complains "ALL of the thousands of Antifa/BLM foot soldiers of the Democrat Communist Party that attacked innocent Americans, looted & burned private businesses, & more crimes have not been properly charged yet & many were let off."

She claims AOC and other Democratic lawmakers engaged in a "civil war that was waged in the streets of America during the communist revolution of 2020," which is a flat-out lie.

Greene also falsely calls U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) a "terrorist sympathizer," and claims the BLM protests caused over $1 trillion in damage, which is wildly false.

In her provably false screed Greene uses variations of the word "communist" five times, "Socialist" and "Fascist" once each, "civil war" and "vaccine" three times, "Democrat" seven times, "America" or "American" nine times.

'This makes my blood boil': Outrage erupts as new report links GOP lawmakers to the Jan. 6 rally

Americans are expressing outrage after a bombshell Rolling Stone report that claims several GOP Members of Congress and their staffs were involved in planning and organizing Donald Trump's January 6 rally that led to the violent and deadly insurrection, along with "Trump's efforts to overturn his election loss."

Some of those who are among the most outraged are Democratic Members of Congress, who were in the Capitol on January 6 and feared for their lives. Learning that some of their GOP colleagues were involved in the planning of the rally that precipitated the insurrection has been "triggering," as one House Democrat revealed, adding that it makes her "blood boil."

The Rolling Stone article cites two "planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C.," who allege Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) were deeply involved, along with these members of Congress or their aides: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Legal experts have called for those members of Congress and staffers to be expelled if the allegations are true, while one has urged people to "chill," and let the DOJ do what it needs to.

But the outrage is palpable.

U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) calls the Rolling Stone article "highly disturbing."

"No one should be above the law," he says, "including Members of Congress and former White House Staff. And if pardons were indeed discussed in advance, why would that be? Because folks knew crimes were about to be committed."

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) says she is "joining the calls for those who helped plan the deadly January 6th insurrection to be immediately expelled."

"Every Member of Congress that helped to plan the attempted coup of our government shouldn't be allowed to serve in Congress."

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, the first Asian-American elected to Congress from New York, says she has "angry tears right now," citing the Rolling Stone report.

"During 1/6, I, like many, texted loved ones goodbye. Countless people have asked if I've been ok since & I've always answered truthfully that i was fine. But this article was triggering. How could colleagues be traitors? This makes my blood boil."

She adds:

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) says the Rolling Stone report is "Further reinforcement of why the work of the" House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack "is so important. If any current members of Congress worked with the insurrectionists who threatened the very government they are a part of, they should be removed from office."

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) says reports like the Rolling Stone article "underscore why the work of the Jan. 6th Committee is so important. We must follow all the facts, no matter where they lead."

A far-right Senate candidate in Ohio is still haunted by his past — of saying mean things about Trump

In Ohio's 2022 GOP U.S. Senate primary, two far-right candidates — "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance and former Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel — are engaged in a cartoonish battle to show Republican voters who is the most MAGA of the two. Liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent, this week in his column, argues that Mandel has a major weapon to use against his opponent: Vance dared to say negative things about former President Donald Trump in the past.

Sargent explains, "J.D. Vance is running for the GOP nomination for Senate in Ohio, but he has a problem: He has criticized Donald Trump, which for many GOP primary voters, is immediately disqualifying. So, he's atoning for his heresies by positioning himself as the true keeper of the flame of Trumpism, which in turn, is providing a glimpse into just how hollow the ideology of Trumpism truly is. For those who want to salvage from the Trump era an ideological space that will endure — a Trumpist 'populist nationalism' — Vance is demonstrating the vacuousness of this as a political project."

Like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Elise Stefanik of Upstate New York, Vance went from being a vehement Trump critic in 2016 to being an obsequious Trump sycophant during his years in the White House. In 2016, Vance commented that if Trump won the election, it would be terrible for the United States but would be great for book sales. In 2020, however, a much more Trumpified Vance gave the president an enthusiastic endorsement.

Vance didn't "evolve"; he flip-flopped because it was expedient. Now, Sargent observes, Vance and Mandel are fighting to show "who is more slavishly loyal to Trump and his legacy."

"Two super PACs supporting Mandel have launched nearly $1 million in ads hammering Vance's past criticism of Trump," Sargent writes. "These include Vance's admission that he didn't vote for Trump in 2016, and Vance's descriptions of Trump as 'noxious,' 'reprehensible' and 'an idiot.' Vance has grovelled for forgiveness for his anti-Trump apostasy, but those quotes live on. So, he's now arguing that he's much more faithful to the ideology of Trumpism than Mandel is."

Sargent continues, "To accomplish this, Vance is highlighting the funding of these ads by the Club for Growth, a group that favors standard-issue plutocratic GOP priorities on taxes and deregulation. Vance's campaign says the plutocrats are desperate to keep a true Trumpist populist out of the Senate."

In Ohio, a Rust Belt state, Vance and Mandel are both exalting Trump as a president who was fiercely loyal to the American working class — which, as Sargent points out, is laughable in light of how much Trump's economic policies favored America's ultra-wealthy.

Sargent wraps up his column by stressing that Vance's campaign is "saturated in performative anti-cosmopolitan posturing and demagoguery about elite cultural liberals, about critical race theory, about tech oligarchs, about immigration."

"All this flows from Vance's obvious goal of casting his populism entirely in the image of Trump himself," Sargent writes. "The need to pander to the Trump worship of GOP primary voters makes a reality-based conversation about the very problems Vance himself identifies impossible."

'A new low': Missouri paper slams Josh Hawley for 'cynical and dangerous' stunt that’s 'making the COVID crisis worse'

Far-right Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri never misses a chance to turn the COVID-19 pandemic into a culture war battle, and that includes President Joe Biden's vaccine/test mandate. The Kansas City Star's editorial board, in a scathing editorial published on October 21, lambasts Hawley for his objection to language used by the Biden Administration when offering guidance on pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines.

Noting what Hawley told three Biden Administration officials in a recent letter, the editorial board explains, "The senator's political opportunism hits a new low…. when he objects to vaccine guidance involving women. It addresses COVID shots for 'people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to become pregnant now, or trying to become pregnant in the future'…. Incredibly, Hawley finds the phrases sinister. He prefers 'expecting' mother."

Hawley said of the Biden Administration's reference to pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines, "It is part of an effort to target religious, conservative, and other civil service employees who do not subscribe to the far-left agenda."

The Star's editorial board, in response, writes, "What? The COVID requirement and guidance and language are designed to save lives, not target conservatives. Saving lives should be on everyone's agenda. In fact, the very guidance Hawley rejects allows for some discretion for pregnant women. 'An agency may allow.… an employee to delay vaccination based on the employee's particular medical circumstances.'"

The Star wraps up its editorial by stressing that Hawley's culture war obsession serves no useful purpose during a pandemic.

"Like all Missourians, we wish Sen. Hawley would focus on real concerns: health care, education, infrastructure and a changing climate, perhaps," the Star's editorial board says. "Instead, he wastes our time and his by focusing on imaginary affronts to the cloudless world in which he lives, mostly for perceived political advantage. He is making the COVID crisis worse to further his political career. It is cynical and dangerous, and must be rejected by Missourians."

'Call your lawyer': Legal experts weigh in on bombshell report naming Republicans involved in Jan. 6

Legal experts including a Harvard professor and a top election and voting rights law attorney are weighing in on Sunday night's bombshell report from Rolling Stone naming members of Congress and the Trump administration who were involved in the planning and organizing of the January 6 rally and/or "Trump's efforts to overturn his election loss," according to two of the planners of the "Stop the Steal" rally.

Rolling Stone reports "planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump's efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent."

Those named in the Rolling Stone report as allegedly being involved include Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and these members of Congress or their staffers: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Harvard professor, CNN Analyst, Grip Mobility CEO, well-known national security expert and former Obama Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem says clearly: "Mark Meadows, just three words: call your lawyer."

Marc Elias, a top election law attorney who oversaw the 50-state response to the Trump campaign's attempts contesting the 2020 election for the DNC calls for every member of Congress involved to be "expelled."

Elie Mystal, the Justice Correspondent for The Nation says this is a matter for the DOJ:

"The potential that Members of Congress were deeply involved in the failed Trump Coup is another reason AG Garland must appoint a Special Counsel to investigate Jan. 6th," says former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean, who also makes clear this is a matter for DOJ. "There are Congressional staff who can testify to the involvement of Members."

Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor for 30 years, is calling it the "mother of all cover-ups."

Attorney Maya Wiley, an MSNBC and NBC News Legal Analyst and senior vice president for social justice at The New School says it "Certainly explains how hard GOP tried to derail" the January 6 Committee.

Republican Paul Gosar told Jan. 6 rioters they'd get a blanket pardon from Trump: report

Rolling Stone is reporting that a pair of witnesses have spoken to the House Jan. 6 Select Committee revealing that Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) told them President Donald Trump would issue a blanket pardon for some who attacked the U.S. Capitol that day.

According to the report, some of the planners of the rally are communicating with the investigators and the committee.

"Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump's efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent," said the report, saying that it confirmed the account from a third person.

It's the first time that Americans have heard about a member of Congress being officially tied to the events that unfolded that day.

"While there have been prior indications that members of Congress were involved, this is also the first account detailing their purported role and its scope," said the report. Both of the sources said that there were several members of Congress who participated in planning calls, but Gosar, in particular, was named for making blanket promises that couldn't be kept.

Gosar participated in a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on May 12, 2021, that focused on the Capitol attack and unanswered questions.

"And Gosar, who has been one of the most prominent defenders of the Jan. 6 rioters, allegedly took things a step further," said the report. "Both sources say he dangled the possibility of a 'blanket pardon' in an unrelated ongoing investigation to encourage them to plan the protests."

"Our impression was that it was a done deal," the organizer told Rolling Stone, "that he'd spoken to the president about it in the Oval … in a meeting about pardons and that our names came up. They were working on submitting the paperwork and getting members of the House Freedom Caucus to sign on as a show of support."

They noted that Gosar made the promise "several" times.

"I was just going over the list of pardons and we just wanted to tell you guys how much we appreciate all the hard work you've been doing," Gosar told those on the call.

"I would have done it either way with or without the pardon," the organizer explained. "I do truly believe in this country, but to use something like that and put that out on the table when someone is so desperate, it's really not good business."

The report said that it has "documentary evidence" to prove what the three sources claimed.

Trump campaign aide Katrina Pierson has also been called a "liaison" between the insurrectionists and the White House and Mark Meadows was also named as a key part of the organizing.

Read the full report from Rolling Stone.

Cowboys for Trump founder just turned against former president in public speech to QAnon conference

Addressing a crowd at a QAnon conference in Las Vegas over the weekend, Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin turned against former President Donald Trump.

Trump, who failed to deliver on many of his campaign promises, left office, asking others to reelect him for another term so that he could accomplish what he'd promised in 2016. But at the Vegas event, Griffin made it clear that there were some things Trump could have done unilaterally.

"We supported President Trump for his fight for justice as well," said Griffin. "And for four years we cried 'lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up.' We know she's a criminal. What did the president tell us? 'If I was in charge, you'd be in jail.'

"Ok, Mr. President, you've been in charge of the law for four years," he continued. "At the end of your four year time, the only ones locked up were men like me, and others like me, that have stood by the president the strongest."

See the video below:

Lauren Boebert's QAnon pal is running for local office — but isn't legally eligible

A friend and employee of far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert who works as the general manager of Shooters Grill, Boebert's bar and restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, is mounting a campaign for city council even though he does not meet the residency requirements.

According to a series of Facebook posts initially discovered by Salon, Bud Demicell — an apparent devotee of the QAnon conspiracy theory —moved to Rifle with his wife Mona late in 2020, not in time to meet the residency requirement for local elections.

On Nov. 13, 2020, Mona Demicell, who worked in Boebert's campaign office employee, posted on Facebook that the couple was "moving to Rifle, CO to work for Lauren Boebert at Shooters Grill!" She added that "Bud's last day with his current employer is next Friday. He'll go to Rifle ahead of us. We're planning to all be in Rifle by Dec 1, but we're having trouble finding a place to live."

That clearly implies that Bud Demicell was not a resident of Rifle on Nov. 2, 2020, the date that would have established residential eligibility for this year's local election. It appears that as of that date, the couple was still living in Pueblo, Colorado, more than 250 miles away

The City of Rifle website makes clear that any candidate for municipal office must "have resided in the City of Rifle for one year before the date of the election." Additional Facebook posts by both Bud and Mona Demicell confirm that the couple most likely arrived in town on or around Nov. 21 of last year, missing the deadline by less than three weeks.

"We need a place to live!! Preferably in Rifle. 2-3 bed, 2 bath. Pet friendly," Mona wrote on Nov. 17, in a now-deleted Facebook post. "Bud will be there Saturday and couch surf with gracious friends." That date was a Tuesday, so Bud's Saturday arrival presumably meant Nov. 21.

A post from Bud a few weeks earlier, on Oct. 22, featured a photo of a camouflage "Veteran for Trump" hat and stated, "I just finished voting at the polling location in Pueblo West," indicating he was a legal resident in Pueblo as of the 2020 presidential election.

Both of the Demicells, as reported by Salon in September, have ties to both the QAnon movement and the right-wing militia group known as the Three Percenters.

Demicell didn't return a Salon request for comment for this story, but his campaign website remains live. "Bud's vast business management and financial experience, and his strong leadership skills make him the optimum candidate for Rifle City Council," his site reads. "He believes in leading by example, open lines of communication, complete transparency, and accountability for his actions as well as the actions of others."

Over the past week as Salon began reporting on this matter, a large number of Mona Demicell's Facebook posts were either made private or deleted.

Salon made numerous efforts to contact the Rifle City Clerk's office about Demicell's eligibility but received no response. The local election is less than two weeks away.

.

Pro-Trump activists reveal Republican elected officials who participated in planning of Jan. 6 rallies: report

A slate of Republican members of Congress is being outed by those who attended planning meetings for the protest that resulted in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to a new report in Rolling Stone.

Two sources, according to their story, revealed that Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) were all present on "dozens" of calls with organizers of the group.

Trump aide Katrina Pierson was also named by them a "liaison" between the White House and the rally organizers. Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows was cited as someone who also aided the group.

"I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically," the organizer told Rolling Stone. "I remember talking to probably close to a dozen other members at one point or another or their staffs."
The former president also spoke to the group, saying that they were going to march to the U.S. Capitol and tell the members of Congress that they needed to hand Trump the election. He promised that he would lead them and walk with them, but that never happened.

"These two sources also helped plan a series of demonstrations that took place in multiple states around the country in the weeks between the election and the storming of the Capitol," said Rolling Stone. "According to these sources, multiple people associated with the March for Trump and Stop the Steal events that took place during this period communicated with members of Congress throughout this process."

"We would talk to Boebert's team, Cawthorn's team, Gosar's team like back to back to back to back," the organizer recalled.

While there have been reports of officials being part of the planning, this is the first report from those involved on the inside, willing to go on the record with investigators and the press.

"Nick Dyer, who is Greene's communications director, said she was solely involved in planning to object to the electoral certification on the House floor," said the report. "Spokespeople for the other members of Congress, who the sources describe as involved in the planning for protests, did not respond to requests for comment."

"Congresswoman Greene and her staff were focused on the Congressional election objection on the House floor and had nothing to do with planning of any protest," Dyer said in an email.

"She objected just like Democrats who have objected to Republican presidential victories over the years," Dyer wrote, which is incorrect. No Democrats have ever attempted to stop certification of election results. Greene's office named a list of Democrats, falsely saying that they attempted to do exactly that when it came to President Donald Trump in 2017.

Dyer went on to say that no one in the U.S. cares about Jan. 6.

Ali Alexander, the original organizer of the event is now in hiding, but he's already said in a since-deleted video that Gosar, Brooks, and Biggs all aided his efforts for the event

"I was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and Congressman Andy Biggs," Alexander said in the video. "We four schemed up on putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that — who we couldn't lobby — we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside."

When he organized an event in Phoenix, Gosar was the main speaker. Alexander even referred to him as "my captain" and called him "one of the other heroes has been Congressman Andy Biggs."

"He just couldn't help himself but go on his live [feed] and just talk about everything that he did and who he talked to," one of the planners told Rolling Stone about Alexander. "So, he, like, really told on himself."

"The breaking point for me [on Jan. 6 was when] Trump starts talking about walking to the Capitol," said the organizer. "I was like. 'Let's get the f*ck out of here.'"

"I do kind of feel abandoned by Trump," the planner added. "I'm actually pretty pissed about it, and I'm pissed at him. What the f*ck?"

"I have no problem openly testifying," the planner also said.

Read the full report at Rolling Stone.


Appeals court allows whistleblower lawsuit from former employees who accused Ken Paxton of bribery to proceed

Oct. 21, 2021

" Appeals court allows whistleblower lawsuit from former employees who accused Ken Paxton of bribery to proceed" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.

A state appeals court found Thursday that former deputies of Attorney General Ken Paxton who were fired after accusing the Republican official of abusing his office are protected under the state's whistleblower law, allowing their lawsuit against Paxton to proceed.

Paxton's lawyers had argued in court that he's exempt from the Texas Whistleblower Act because he's an elected official, not a public employee. But the court upheld a previous lower court decision that denied Paxton's attempt to dismiss the case.

In its opinion, Texas' 3rd Court of Appeals rejected the attorney general's interpretation of the Texas Whistleblower Act, “which would have the effect of stripping whistleblower protections from employees who might report misconduct by the thousands of elected officials throughout the State — particularly by those who direct and lead the agencies of this State."

Paxton's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The attorney general's lawyers could request a rehearing by the entire court or appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.

Roughly a year ago, eight senior aides in the attorney general's office accused Paxton — who has been shadowed by felony securities fraud charges for nearly his entire six years in office — of bribery and tampering with government records, among other things. The allegations were related to Paxton's involvement in legal matters tied to Nate Paul, an Austin real estate investor and Paxton political donor.

Reference

Read the 3rd Court of Appeals' opinion here.

(326.5 KB)

Within weeks, all eight officials had either resigned or been driven to leave the agency. By November, four of those officials — David Maxwell, Ryan M. Vassar, James Blake Brickman and J. Mark Penley — had filed a whistleblower suit against Paxton. Those former employees are seeking compensation for lost wages and other damages, with some also requesting reinstatement to their positions.

Paxton's lawyers tried to get the case dismissed, arguing before the appeals court that the lawsuit should be thrown out on the grounds that the attorney general is not subject to the whistleblower law. In September, though, a panel of three Democratic justices with the appeals court expressed skepticism with that argument.

In a statement to The Texas Tribune later Thursday, Carlos Soltero, an Austin attorney representing Maxwell, said that the court “followed establish[ed] law and the plain language of the Whistleblower Statute" and reaffirmed “that Texas law protects public servants who complain about violations of the law by high-level government officials like the Attorney General."

“As we have said from the beginning," he said, “no one is above the law, not even Ken Paxton."

In its opinion, the court wrote that the former employees “sufficiently alleged illegal conduct by their employing governmental entity as contemplated by the Act" and disagreed with Paxton's characterization of the whistleblower law, writing that while “Texas is an employment-at-will state," the act “provides an exception to that general rule."

“Although loyalty and confidence are important considerations in employment matters," it wrote, “the Act provides that a State employer cannot fire an employee because he reports illegal conduct by the employer, even when it is that act of reporting that causes the employer to lose confidence or feel the employee lacks loyalty."

James Barragán contributed reporting.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/10/21/texas-ken-paxton-whistleblowers/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.