Lazy Caturday Reads

Elida Marion

By Elida Marion

Happy Caturday!!

Yesterday was a busy news day for the Trump investigations. We learned about a sealed ruling from Judge Beryl Howell ordering a large group of close Trump aides to testify in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s January 6 grand jury. Their claims of “executive privilege” aren’t going to protect them anymore.

Maggie Haberman and Alan Feuer at The New York Times: Former Trump Officials Must Testify in 2020 Election Inquiry, Judge Says.

A federal judge has ruled that a number of former officials from President Donald J. Trump’s administration — including his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows — cannot invoke executive privilege to avoid testifying to a grand jury investigating Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The recent ruling by Judge Beryl A. Howell paves the way for the former White House officials to answer questions from federal prosecutors, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Judge Howell ruled on the matter in a closed-door proceeding in her role as chief judge of the Federal District Court in Washington, a job in which she oversaw the grand juries taking testimony in the Justice Department’s investigations into Mr. Trump. Judge Howell’s term as chief judge ended last week.

The existence of the sealed ruling was first reported by ABC News.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers had tried to rebuff the grand jury subpoenas issued to more than a half-dozen former administration officials in connection with the former president’s efforts to remain in office after his defeat at the polls. The lawyers argued that Mr. Trump’s interactions with the officials would be covered by executive privilege.

Prosecutors are likely to be especially eager to hear from Mr. Meadows, who refused to be interviewed by the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Mr. Meadows was a central player in various efforts to help Mr. Trump reverse the election outcome in a number of contested states….

Other officials whose grand jury testimony Judge Howell compelled in her order vary in significance to the investigation, and in seniority. They include John McEntee, who served as Mr. Trump’s personnel chief and personal aide; Nick Luna, another personal aide; Robert C. O’Brien, who was national security adviser; Dan Scavino, who was a deputy chief of staff and social media director in the White House; John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence; Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s speechwriter and adviser; and Ken Cuccinelli, who served as acting deputy secretary of homeland security.

Trump will probably try to appeal Howell’s ruling, but the attempt will probably fail, according to NBC News:

Trump is expected to appeal the sealed ruling. Legal experts say a criminal investigation usually overcomes executive privilege, as it did when the Supreme Court forced President Richard Nixon to hand over tapes his Oval Office conversations.

By Alexander Yanin

By Alexander Yanin

Trump has been using his Truth Social social media site to whip up anger among his cult followers, obviously hoping they will use threats and violence to intimidate anyone who tries to hold him accountable for his many crimes. Dakinikat wrote about this yesterday.

Aaron Blake at The Washington Post: Trump repeatedly evokes threat of violence over a potential indictment.

Donald Trump’s history of suggestive allusions to endorsing violence by his supporters is well chronicled. But rarely have his comments been this unvarnished at such a fraught time.

With his potential indictment looming in Manhattan, the former president on Thursday criticized those who have called for his supporters to remain peaceful.


Trump later Thursday posted an article featuring a picture of himself with a baseball bat next to a picture of Bragg. And early Friday morning, he explicitly mentioned the prospect of violence: He questioned why Bragg would charge him while knowing “that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country.”

While not explicitly urging his supporters to get violent, the seeming message here is that a peaceful response might be insufficientand he is warning of the unrest that his supporters could unleash if he’s charged.To label it a dog whistle would be an understatement. Trump is standing next to a tinderbox and casually lighting a match.

Truth Social is the social media site Trump launched after being banned from Twitter following the Jan. 6, 2021, riot. A late 2022 study found that only 2 percent of Americans use it, but its users were disproportionately right-leaning, and Trump’s messages on it are often amplified elsewhere. In a little over two hours Thursday, Trump’s post was shared more than 4,000 times and liked more than 14,000 times.

So far there haven’t been any large protests in response to Trump’s urging, but Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has been getting hundreds of threats.

NBC News: Bragg, DA probing Trump, received death threat letter with white powder.

The FBI and NYPD are investigating a letter containing a death threat and white powder that was mailed to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office is investigating former President Donald Trump, law-enforcement sources told NBC News.

The letter was addressed to Bragg and said, “ALVIN: I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!” the sources said. It contained a small amount of white powder.

There were no evacuations or injuries, officials said.


Cat Face, by Susan Stone

It was the latest in what a senior law enforcement source described as “several hundred threats” aimed at Bragg and his office in recent weeks. A couple dozen of the messages were considered to be directly threatening serious harm to Bragg, the source said.

Bragg sent an email to his office acknowledging the difficult week.

“I know it hasn’t been easy,” he wrote in the email, with all of the “press attention and security around our office,” and thanked everyone for their “strength and professionalism during this time.”

“We will continue to apply the law evenly and fairly,” he wrote.

In a statement, the DA’s office said the letter “was immediately contained and that the NYPD Emergency Service Unit and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection determined there was no dangerous substance.”

From Igor Derysh at Salon: “Threatening a prosecutor is a crime”: Experts say Trump’s Truth Social post could badly backfire.

Former President Donald Trump’s fury at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg could land him in hot water, legal experts warned on Thursday.

Trump has repeatedly attacked Bragg, who is reportedly nearing a potential indictment in his investigation of the 2016 hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, calling him an “animal” and calling for his supporters to “protest” his widely anticipated arrest. The former president early Friday morning warned of “potential death & destruction” if he is charged in the case, and pushed back on calls for his supporters to remain “peaceful.”

Amid his relentless all-caps attacks on Bragg, Trump shared an article from the far-right outlet National File that included an image of Trump holding a baseball bat next to an image of Bragg’s head.

Norm Eisen, a former Democratic special counsel during Trump’s first impeachment, called the post a “sickening threat” and a “call for violence.”

“Threatening a prosecutor is a crime in NY. In fact MULTIPLE crimes,” he tweeted, listing several statutes that he thinks Trump may have violated:

“Harassment in the first degree NYPL 240.25; menacing in the second degree NYPL 120.14; stalking in the fourth or third degree NYPL 120.45 & 120.50 And that’s just for starters….” 


Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who served on special counsel Bob Mueller’s team, compared the post to a photo longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone posted of a judge overseeing his Mueller probe trial in crosshairs while he was on bail. Weissman tweeted that a judge may need to impose a similar gag order on Trump as the judge did in Stone’s case after the post.

Read more at Salon.

Carol Schneemann, by Robin Tewes

Carol Schneemann, by Robin Tewes

Yesterday Marjorie Taylor Greene led a House Oversight Committee field trip to visit jailed January 6 insurrectionists. The Washington Post: Lawmakers tour D.C. jail to investigate treatment of Jan. 6 defendants.

About a dozen House Republicans, led by Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), and two Democrats toured the D.C. jail Friday to inspect the conditions under which 20 men charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot are being held, and the two parties emerged with sharply different versions of what they saw.

The lawmakers met with some of the defendants, 17 of whom have been charged or convicted of assaulting police officers, and “they told us stories,” Greene said afterward.

Greene and Republicans from the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability organized the jail tour because of complaints from Jan. 6 defendants and their families, some of whom hold a nightly vigil outside the giant brick building on D Street SE. Greene said among the allegations she heard were,“Stories of being denied medical treatment, stories of assault, stories of being threatened with rape.”

The two Democrats who joined the tour said the jail conditions were unremarkable. They said jails are not supposed to be luxury hotels, and that the tour was a political stunt. Democrats have long accused Greene and Republicans of misleading the public about the mistreatment of Jan. 6 defendants in jail….

It appears these inmates are very well treated–they even have computer tablets!

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), who also visited, said there was a full medical team available 24 hours a day in the jail and that the claims of different treatment for the Jan. 6 defendants was “completely a lie.” He said he was “surprised at how much open space there was, they were able to interact freely with members of Congress.”

Garcia said each of the defendants have two computer tablets, one for entertainment and one for legal work, can text their families and contact their attorneys whenever they want. “They’re being treated very fairly and appropriately,” Garcia said.

More on the visit to the DC jail by Arthur Delaney at HuffPost:

The D.C. jail is notorious for its poor treatment of inmates. Still, Greene and committee chair James Comer (R-Ky.) have suggested they’re only interested in the plight of rioters being mistreated due to their politics.

Cat with carnations, Mary Stubberfield

Cat with carnations, Mary Stubberfield

After touring the facility for about two hours with about a dozen colleagues, including two Democrats, Greene told reporters the visit confirmed her view that there’s a double standard.

“There’s a very different treatment for pretrial Jan. 6 defendants,” she said.

The two Democrats from the committee, Reps. Robert Garcia (Ca.) and Jasmine Crockett (Texas), agreed that Jan. 6 defendants received different treatment ― except they said it was better treatment.

“The conditions in the Jan. 6 area are the best conditions in this whole facility,“ Garcia told HuffPost, saying the group can spend most of the day with each other, outside of their cells and away from the general jail population, with access to tablets for entertainment.

“They can text their family any time of the day,” Garcia said. “And they’re here because they committed serious crimes and harm, mostly to law enforcement.”

Today, Trump will likely continue his efforts to incite violence among his cult followers when he presides over a campaign rally in Waco, Texas.

Associated Press News: Trump will hold the 1st rally of his 2024 campaign in Waco today.

Staring down a possible indictment, a defiant Donald Trump is hoping to put on a show of force Saturday as he holds the first rally of his 2024 presidential campaign in a city made famous by deadly resistance against law enforcement.

The former president will gather with supporters at an airport in Waco, which will mark the 30th anniversary of the Waco massacre next month. In 1993, an attempted raid by law enforcement of a compound belonging to the Branch Davidians, a religious cult, resulted in a shootout that led to a 51-day siege, ending in a blaze that left dozens dead.

The rally comes as Trump has berated prosecutors, encouraged protests and raised the prospect of possible violence should he become the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges. Some of his recent rhetoric has echoed language he used before the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters seeking to stop the transfer of power….

Olga Suvorova

By Olga Suvorova

Trump’s campaign insisted the location and timing of the event had nothing to do with the Waco siege or anniversary. Instead, a spokesperson said the site was chosen because it was conveniently situated near four of the state’s biggest metropolitan areas — Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio — and has the infrastructure to handle a sizable crowd.

“This is the ideal location to have as many supporters from across the state and in neighboring states attend this historic rally,” said Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung.

The city is part of McLennan County, which Trump won in 2020 by more than 23 points. The airport where the rally is being held is 17 miles from the Branch Davidian compound….

But the timing will give Trump an opportunity to demonstrate his continued popularity with the GOP base and to portray himself as the victim of a politically motivated “witch hunt” as he campaigns for a second term in the White House.

This reminds me of Ronald Reagan announcing his run for president at the Nashoba County Fair in Mississippi, not far from the site of the 1964 murders of civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner.

I highly recommend this essay by Joyce Vance at her Substack site, Civil Discourse: Why Waco?

Why is Donald Trump holding the first rally of his 2024 campaign in Waco, Texas, on Saturday?

There’s a little history there that you may recall.

The Branch Davidians were led by David Koresh and were headquartered at Mount Carmel Center ranch in the community of Axtell, Texas, northeast of Waco. In 1993, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) obtained a search warrant for the compound from a federal judge, as well as arrest warrants for Koresh and other members of the group.  There was evidence the group was stockpiling illegal weapons and had explosive devices.

The planned execution of the search warrant was disrupted when Koresh’s brother-in-law, a mail carrier, learned of the search from a reporter who, tipped off to the search warrant, stopped him to ask for directions to the compound. By the time federal agents arrived to execute the warrant, the Branch Davidians were armed and on alert. A gunfight broke out—each side subsequently accused the other of starting it. Four ATF agents and six Branch Davidians died.

Next, there was a siege that lasted for 51 days, from February 28 to April 19. Federal agents attempted to negotiate with Koresh to end the standoff or at least to permit the children inside to leave. Koresh refused. Ultimately, then-Attorney General Janet Reno approved the use of tear gas to force the Branch Davidians out of their compound. Agents went in on April 19, 1993. The compound became engulfed in flames—how and who was responsible has been the subject of dispute.

Hold that Tiger, by Jeannette Lassen

Hold that Tiger, by Jeannette Lassen

Vance provides an excellent history lesson–read more details at the link. Today Waco continues to be an obsession for right wingers.

Over the past three decades, Waco has become a touchstone for far-right anti-government, Christian-nationalist white supremacists who likely know little about the Branch Davidians and their motivations. And here is Trump, holding a rally on their sacred ground to launch his 2024 campaign right in the middle of the 30th anniversary of the siege. Going to Waco sends a clear message to anti-government groups, and it should send one to the rest of us as well. It’s too important to miss. Trump is willing to embrace far-right extremism, and everything it brings along with it, to restore himself to power.

That means embracing violence. Only two years after Waco, on April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, leaving 168 people, including 19 children at an on-site day care, dead and more than 500 people injured. McVeigh acknowledged before his death that he set off the Oklahoma City bomb in retribution for Waco and another incident, Ruby Ridge, where U.S. marshals attempted to arrest Randy Weaver, an anti-government defendant who had failed to show up for trial on weapons charges, leading to a standoff in which a federal agent and members of Weaver’s family were killed.

McVeigh was not alone. Waco has become a permanent part of the mythology of American white supremacist groups. It is embedded in the ideology of militia groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. Alex Jones, who notoriously promoted fake claims about the deaths of children at Sandy Hook, has also fanned the flames of Waco. Trump crony Roger Stone dedicated one of his books, The Clintons’ War on Women, to the Branch Davidians who died at Mount Carmel.

We’ll find out in the days and weeks to come how successful Trump is in spurring his followers to commit violent crimes on his behalf. We can only hope that the legal system will somehow bring Trump down. Otherwise we are in big trouble in this country.

Please take care of yourselves this weekend. It has been a stressful week for those of us who follow politics.

6 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    I feel like that Waco thing is going to stir up a real hornet’s nest. Nothing good can come of it. Especially, since he’s on such an angry rampage and targeting specific people,

    • dakinikat says:

      Follow this thread if you want to be disgusted … first, the pedophile panty pooper nuggent, then pillow dude, then Gatez in a red blazer that makes him look like a used car salesman … dreadful crowd … would expect them to go rob the local dairy queen afterward by the looks of them.

  2. dakinikat says:

    This is pretty wild and smart.

  3. bostonboomer says: