The Georgia prosecutor leading an investigation into former President Donald J. Trump and his allies has taken the unusual step of announcing remote work days for most of her staff during the first three weeks of August, asking judges in a downtown Atlanta courthouse not to schedule trials for part of that time as she prepares to bring charges in the inquiry.
The moves suggest that Fani T. Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, is expecting a grand jury to unseal indictments during that time period. Ms. Willis outlined the remote work plan and made the request to judges in a letter sent on Thursday to 21 Fulton County officials, including the chief county judge, Ural Glanville, and the sheriff, Pat Labat.
“Thank you for your consideration and assistance in keeping the Fulton County Judicial Complex safe during this time,” wrote Ms. Willis, who has already asked the F.B.I. to help with security in and around the courthouse.
Ms. Willis had said in a previous letter that any charges related to the Trump investigation would come in the grand jury term that runs from July 11 to Sept. 1. Her letter on Thursday appears to offer more specificity on timing.
Afternoon. Calm Evgeni Gordiets, United States, 2019
The bad news is that there seems no end to the damage done by Trump and McConnell with the appointment of three Justices to the Supreme Court. There are ongoing signals that the Christobans are lined up to do more damage. They have several allies in their religious crusade to end American Democracy and Religious freedom as it was written in the Bill of Rights and the Constituion.
My friend and neighbor put these two articles upon Twitter that I had just finished reading. I sobbed through these stories. The Supreme Court has invented a uniquely American form of Torturing Women with its ruling that ended Roe v. Wade. This is what happens when Doctors and Women don’t get to make decisions. Ron DeSantis appears to be uniquely positioned to torture Women, the GLBT community, immigrants, librarians, and any one that doesn’t conform to his radical social agenda. Florida is quickly becoming a failed state.
I discovered this wonderful artist, Evgeni Gordiets while trying to find flowers for baby Milo and his mother. His art is exquisite. I’d love to have his paintings all over my house. Baby Milo’s story is summarized in the Raw Story article below. The original story is in today’s Washington Post. “The short life of Baby Milo.”
Nobody expected Baby Milo to live for long. He arrived in the world with no kidneys, underdeveloped lungs and a life expectancy of between 20 minutes and a couple of hours. He lived for 99 minutes.
I’m not going to quote from this story because it is triggering, heart-wrenching, and worthy of a read and crying jag.
Hospitals in two states denied an abortion to a miscarrying patient — investigators say they broke federal law https://t.co/LBfZtqDPbn
In the 11 months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, similar stories have been reported in the 14 states where abortion bans have gone into effect. In Texas, five women are suing the state for denial of care, including one who went into septic shock and almost died.
Now, the Biden administration is employing one of the few tactics it has available to try to hold hospitals accountable for denying pregnant patients abortion care for high-risk conditions.
In April, a first-of-its-kind federal investigation found two hospitals involved in Farmer’s care were violating a federal law that requires hospitals to treat patients in emergency situations. If the hospitals do not demonstrate they can provide appropriate care to patients in Farmer’s situation, they stand to lose future access to crucial Medicare and Medicaid funding. Physicians who fail to treat patients like Farmer could incur fines, and patients may be able to sue for monetary damages, Farmer’s attorney, Alison Tanner, said.
The investigation, conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, documented that both Freeman Health System in Joplin, Missouri and the University of Kansas Health System breached their internal policies for complying with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, and that their protocols continue to place patients in “immediate jeopardy” of serious health risks, the highest level of violation.
Investigators concluded that future patients in similar situations could face “serious injury, harm, impairment or death.” The hospitals will remain under investigation while they come up with plans to ensure that patients in need of emergency abortion care are not turned away, federal officials said.
A “statement of deficiencies” from the investigation contains summaries of interviews with doctors, nurses and a risk manager involved in Farmer’s care. They reveal the extent to which health care providers went against their own medical judgment to comply with new state laws or political pressure. They also provide an on-the-ground view of how strict state abortion bans have altered care for patients with high-stakes pregnancy complications.
The agency did not disclose whether it is pursuing other investigations related to abortion denials. A spokesperson declined to share the number of complaints the agency has received related to denials of abortion care.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra has sent letters to all hospitals that participate in Medicare, warning them that federal law supersedes state abortion bans. The Department of Justice has also sued and won a case in an Idaho federal district court, arguing the state’s abortion law violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.
Summers Eve, Evgeni Gordiets
There seems no end to how far the Trump and DeSantis teams will go to attract the christobans. This first one is from Steven Beschloss’s Substack. “The Pursuit of Ignorance. Ron DeSantis proudly defunds diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida, part of his ongoing attacks on education and democracy as his official run for the presidency approaches.”
It’s not subtle. His intentions are not mysterious. It’s not like he’s advocating for the value of education and slipping in his ideological wishes while the majority is not paying attention. No, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with the backing of the Florida legislature, is engaged in a frontal attack on education that tells us everything about his hostility to democracy and what kind of kind of citizenry DeSantis wants in his America. I’d call it his pursuit of ignorance.
Knowledgeable of American history, including the study of slavery and institutional racism? Nope. Knowledgeable and respectful of the rich diversity that defines and distinguishes America? Nope, not that either. Seeking academic freedom and the right of students and teachers alike to pursue a full buffet of ideas that can motivate and nourish their hunger for knowledge? You must be kidding.
In his latest initiative to undermine higher education in Florida and cause harm to students, teachers, staff and other Floridians, DeSantis signed into law this week the defunding of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs in the state—claiming that such programs intensify racial conflict. As if the only perspectives that should be included in higher education are white-defined ones. As if it’s a danger to enable people of color and people from diverse backgrounds to be considered, and to feel and actually be safe and supported.
“If you look at the way this has actually been implemented across the country, DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination,” DeSantis said at a news conference at New College of Florida in Sarasota. “And that has no place in our public institutions. This bill says the whole experiment with DEI is coming to an end in the state of Florida.”
DeSantis made clear what he thinks of “niche subjects,” such as so-called critical race theory and gender studies. “Florida’s getting out of that game,” he said, his words brimming with culture war fervor. “If you want to do things like gender ideology, go to Berkeley.”
“I am a soldier in the army of the Lord,” Stone, who has said he converted to Christianity shortly after his 2019 conviction, announced last Friday at a meeting of Pastors for Trump at the former president’s Doral resort in Miami.
A D.C. police lieutenant was arrested and charged Friday with obstruction of justice and making false statements over allegations that he leaked information to then-Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy last month for his role in the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
The Justice Department announced Friday that Shane Lamond, 47, was indicted by a grand jury in D.C. with one count of obstruction of justice and three counts of making false statements.
Lamond was repeatedly mentioned throughout the course of the nearly four month seditious conspiracy trial over his ties to Tarrio.
The indictment unsealed Friday alleges he obstructed the government’s investigation into Tarrio for his burning of a Black Lives Matter flag in December 2020 by telling the Proud Boys leader law enforcement had a warrant out for his arrest.
Lamond is further alleged to have given confidential law enforcement information to Tarrio that in turn passed along to other Proud Boys members.
When Lamond was interviewed in June 2021 by law enforcement, he allegedly lied about his contacts with Tarrio multiple times, the indictment alleges.
Lamond’s alleged conduct is “not consistent of our values and our commitment to the community,” the Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement Friday.
A 24-year veteran of the department, Lamond was put on administrative leave in February 2022.
It’s tough to live in a country that follows the rule of law as laid out in the Constitution when an entire party, its elected officials, and those holding public positions in law enforcement or national security are out to overthrow it all. Is this the sort of country we want to live in and leave to our children?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
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There’s a crazy Qanon-related event going on in Pennsylvania right now that is getting very little media coverage. I only learned about it from Twitter posts by Ron Filipkowski, a “Fmr Fed Prosecutor & Repub; now Defense Att & Democrat” from Florida who focuses his Twitter feed on on exposing the insanity of the far right.
The event is part of Michael Flynn’s “Reawaken America Tour.” The guests include a “who’s who” of crazy right wing religious nuts and Trump followers. Eric Trump is appearing at the meeting that is going on now in Lancaster, PA, and Trump himself even made a brief appearance by phone.
If you’ve never been it’s hard to explain exactly what the “ReAwaken America” tour, which rolled into Spooky Nook event center outside Lancaster Friday, actually is.
It is part political rally for sure, especially in the month before a national mid-term election: Attendees repeatedly were reminded of the need to create a political wave coming that drives Democrats and weak Republicans from office this fall.
They even delighted in a minute or so with former President Donald J. Trump, who took a cellphone call from his son, Eric, during Eric’s mainstage presentation.
“We love you all,” the former president said to his unseen fans and followers. “And we’ll be back doing things that… We’re going to bring this country back because our country’s never been in such bad shape as it is now.”
It is part Christian crusade: The program is peppered with charismatic pastors from around the country, all of whom in one way or another called on the audience to take up arms – metaphorically speaking – in a spiritual war between good and evil.
By Vladimir Dunjić – Serbian painter, 1957
Good, in this barnstorming roadshow produced by Oklahoma entrepreneur Clay Clark, is the vision of an America built on its traditional Judeo-Christian heritage; one where there are only two genders, schools stick to Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, and everyone has the freedom to get vaccines or wear masks if, when and where they want.
The mantle of Christian Nationalism was repeatedly and lustily cheered Friday….
Evil, generally speaking, is assigned to a loosely-organized coalition of tech, business, media and government leaders whose success is determined by their ability to make money and lord over a passive population.
By the time the red, white and blue-colored microphone had been switched off, the crowd of 3,000 had listened to hours of invective and grievance.
“We’re under warfare,” one speaker told them. Another said she would “take a bullet for my nation,” while a third insisted, “They hate you because they hate Jesus.” Attendees were told now is the time to “put on the whole armor of God.” Then retired three-star Army general Michael Flynn, the tour’s biggest draw, invited people to be baptized….
ReAwaken America was launched by Flynn, a former White House national security adviser, and Oklahoma entrepreneur Clay Clark a few months after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol failed to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Attendees and speakers still insist — against all evidence and dozens of court rulings — that Donald Trump rightfully won.
Fabrice Backes, 1968, French artist
Since early last year, the ReAwaken America Tour has carried its message of a country under siege to tens of thousands of people in 15 cities and towns. The tour serves as a traveling roadshow and recruiting tool for an ascendant Christian nationalist movement that’s wrapped itself in God, patriotism and politics and has grown in power and influence inside the Republican Party.
In the version of America laid out at the ReAwaken tour, Christianity should be at the center of American life and institutions. Instead, it’s under attack, and attendees need to fight to restore the nation’s Christian roots. It’s a message repeated over and over at ReAwaken — one that upends the constitutional ideal of a pluralist democracy. But it’s a message that is taking hold.
A poll by the University of Maryland conducted in May found that 61% of Republicans support declaring the U.S. to be a Christian nation.
BATAVIA, N.Y. (AP) — The crowd swayed on its feet, arms pumping, the beat of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” thumping in their chests. The people under the revival tent hooted as Michael Flynn strode across the stage, bopping and laughing, singing the refrain into his microphone and encouraging the audience to sing along to the transgressive rock anthem….
The retired lieutenant general, former national security adviser, onetime anti-terrorism fighter, is now focused on his next task: building a movement centered on Christian nationalist ideas, where Christianity is at the center of American life and institutions.
Flynn brought his fight — a struggle he calls both spiritual and political — last month to a church in Batavia, New York, where thousands of people paid anywhere from a few dollars to up to $500 to hear and absorb his message that the United States is facing an existential threat, and that to save the nation, his supporters must act.
Flynn, 63, has used public appearances to energize voters, along with political endorsements to build alliances and a network of nonprofit groups — one of which has projected spending $50 million — to advance the movement, an investigation by The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” has found. He has drawn together election deniers, mask and vaccine opponents, insurrectionists, Proud Boys, and elected officials and leaders in state and local Republican parties. Along the way, the AP and “Frontline” documented, Flynn and his companies have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for his efforts.
The AP and “Frontline” spoke with more than 60 people, including Flynn’s family, friends, opponents, and current and former colleagues, for this story. The news organizations also reviewed campaign finance records, corporate and charity filings, social media posts and similar open-source information, and attended several public events where Flynn appeared. Reporters examined dozens of Flynn’s speeches, interviews and public appearances. Flynn himself sat down for a rare on-camera interview with what he calls the mainstream media.
Click the link to read about the Flynn interview and some of what he had to say.
It was August, and I was in the midst of thousands of far-right faithful who had flocked to Batavia, N.Y., halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, for a two-day event. The headliners were Christian nationalist pastors and former Trump official, Michael Flynn.
The ReAwaken America Tour is currently working its way across America to reawaken Christian nationalism, and it will stop just before midterms in Manheim, Pa., fromOct. 21-22, and feature Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial candidate, Doug Mastriano.
As a Christian pastor who went to Batavia at the invitation of deeply concerned local faith communities, the clerical collar and cross around my neck were my passport into this strange world. I was deeply concerned by what I saw.
The ReAwaken America speeches touted antisemitic, racist, sexist, and homophobic beliefs in the name of Christianity. Speeches were rife with apocalyptic and polarizing predictions of God’s vengeance befalling a wide range of opponents, including the founder of the World Economic Forum, President Joe Biden, and New York Attorney General Leticia James, who had written a letter to the tour’s local host, Pastor Paul Doyle, voicing concern that this event could spur violence. In the parking lot, I spotted a bus painted with the words “Patriot Street Fighter,” along with an image of a man in body armor with a bludgeon in his hand and the words “Get in the Fight” written in the red font of horror movies.
Christian nationalism is not new. It has been present since our nation’s founding. Its resurgence in recent years is buoyed by politicians like Donald Trump, and business and political allies who seek to consolidate power by manipulating large swaths of mostly white Christians, sowing division and discontent. And violence.
NEW YORK — Trump Organization, former president Donald Trump’s namesake company, is set to go on trial Monday for alleged tax crimes — the result of a lengthy investigation into the company and its executives related to fraud and other potentially illegal business practices.
Trump is not charged personally and the portion of the investigation for which he still could face criminal charges is not yet concluded by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigators….to date, the only charges filed have been against the Trump Organization, its subsidiary Trump Payroll Corporation and its longtime Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.
Weisselberg in August pleaded guilty to 15 countstied to an alleged longtime fraud scheme within the organization and is required to testify in the criminal trial as part of a plea agreement.
Prosecutors say the case focuses on what they describe as a 15-year tax cheating scheme involving untaxed benefits like luxury cars and expensive apartments for company executives including Weisselberg, who has been painted as the linchpin to the tax avoidance operation. Weisselberg began his employment at the Trump Organization in 1973.
Before rising to chief financial officer, Weisselberg, a career Trump Organization employee, was an accountant and comptroller. Weisselberg was among a set of executives who “received substantial portions of their income through indirect and disguised means,” according to an indictment that was filed on July 1, 2021….
Weisselberg, who had been slated to stand trial alongside the corporate entity, was promised a sentence of five months in jail if he testifies against the company. He had been facing up to 15 years in prison.
The company is alleged, under Weisselberg’s supervision, to have maintained two sets of books in an effort to conceal the perks that he and others received as compensation. He personally avoided paying $900,000 in taxes based on underreporting of compensation.
Weisselberg — who was responsible for the company’s finances during the period being examined — accepted a guilty plea in an effort to stay out of prison for an extended time, but is expected to spill the beans on how the company operated, with a focus on perks provided to top executives provided in such a way as to avoid federal taxes at the behest of Donald Trump.
As Bloomberg’s Greg Farrell wrote, “Trump is not on trial in the case, brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, and if the company is found guilty, it would have to pay back taxes and fines totaling about $1.6 million. A conviction of Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp., the two entities charged, wouldn’t put the parent company out of business. But it will be the first trial involving the firm since Trump left office.”
According to former U.S attorney Barbara McQuade, “The world is about to see just how the Trump Organization ran its business.”
She added, “This is a significant case. The criminal charges are against Trump’s corporation, which is a small private company, but Donald Trump is the Trump Organization.”
Noting that Trump is already involved in a $250 million real estate fraud case filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, Farrell added that, in this case, “Weisselberg, 75, agreed this summer to plead guilty to 15 charges in exchange for a maximum jail term of five months. He is required to testify truthfully, or the deal is off and he could face years in prison.”
A senior White House lawyer expressed concerns to President Trump’s advisers and attorneys about the president signing a sworn court statement verifying inaccurate evidence of voter fraud, according to emails from December 2020obtained by Axios.
Why it matters: The emails shed new light on a federal judge’s explosive finding Wednesday that Trump knew specific instances of voter fraud in Georgia had been debunked, but continued to tout them both in public and under oath.
— While the judge’s opinion stemmed from litigation related to the House’s Jan. 6 committee, the Justice Department is also conducting a criminal investigation into Trump and his allies’ scheme to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
— Eric Herschmann, the former White House lawyer who cautioned Trump’s outside attorneys about the inaccurate allegations of voter fraud in Georgia, was subpoenaed this summer to testify in the DOJ investigation.
You’re likely already familiar with this:
Background: U.S. District Court Judge David Carter is presiding over the House Jan. 6 committee’s attempt to subpoena communications from conservative lawyer John Eastman, one of the architects of the scheme to overturn the election.
— After a review of hundreds of emails that Eastman claimed were privileged, Judge Carter determined some should be turned over to the Jan. 6 committee — finding they were “sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”
— In one email cited in Judge Carter’s opinion, Eastman told Trump’s team that the president had been made aware that some of the allegations and evidence of voter fraud used in a Georgia election lawsuit were inaccurate.
— That suit was later moved to federal court. “For him to sign a new verification with that knowledge (and incorporation by reference) would not be accurate,” Eastman wrote, according to the judge’s order.
This is a very long article for Axios, so head over there if you want to know more.
That’s all I have for you today. Have a great weekend everyone!!
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I’m having trouble getting going this today. I looked around at the latest news, and I started to feel exhausted. But I’m resisting sinking into that feeling. I have to believe there is some way for us as a country to recover from the Trump poison. At least we got some good news yesterday when Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill and Pelosi announced that the House could vote on the Build Back Better bill this week.
We did it (again!) Joe!! @VP Harris and President Biden on the South Lawn for the historic signing of the bipartisan infrastructure bill! pic.twitter.com/pd6y0agugI
…[I]n his new book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” Karl comes across as almost poignantly ingenuous and polite to a fault, repeatedly flummoxed by what he saw in the last year of the Trump administration. “Front Row,” which had the unfortunate timing of being published in March 2020, before the consequences of Trump’s governance were fully laid bare, began with a solemn tribute to “objectivity and balance” and a complaint that “the mainstream media coverage of Donald Trump is relentlessly and exhaustively negative.” Just a year-and-a-half later, after 750,000 American Covid deaths and an attack on the Capitol, Karl allows that the “Trump show” may have in fact been more sinister than mere theatrics after all.
“I have never wavered from my belief that journalists are not the opposition party and should not act like we are,” Karl maintains in “Betrayal.” “But the first obligation of a journalist is to pursue truth and accuracy. And the simple truth about the last year of the Trump presidency is that his lies turned deadly and shook the foundations of our democracy.”
According to Szalai, Karl repeated writes in the book that he is shocked by Trump’s behavior. From a description of Karl’s face-to-face interview with Trump:
During the…interview, Trump reminisced about the speech he gave on Jan. 6, 2021, shortly before the attack on the Capitol, calling it “a very beautiful time with extremely loving and friendly people.” Karl, at least inwardly, was aghast. “I was taken aback by how fondly he remembers a day I will always remember as one of the darkest I have ever witnessed,” he writes, adding that Trump seemed to justify the death threats made against his own vice president. “It boggled my mind,” Karl says.
It did? The author’s expressions of surprise are so frequent and over-the-top that they are perhaps the most surprising parts of this book. “Betrayal” is less insightful about the Trump White House and more revealing of Karl’s own gradual, extremely belated awareness that something in the White House might in fact be awry. Events strike him as “wacky,” “crazy,” “nuts.” He delves into the outlandish conspiracy theories around the presidential election, earnestly explaining why each of them is wrong. He scores a number of on-the-record interviews with Trumpworld insiders — nearly all of whom insist that even as they publicly sided with Trump, they were bravely telling the president some very tough truths in private.
This is so typical of what we saw from journalists during the Trump years. They repeatedly tried to normalize Trump’s behavior and some are still doing it. But Trump showed us who again and again before he ran for president and especially during the 2016 campaign. Yet Karl was still shocked by what Trump said in the interview–even after he (Trump) refused to concede the election and led a serious coup attempt.
In “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” scheduled to be released today, Karl reports that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump attorney Sidney Powell tried to enlist a Pentagon official to help overturn the election.
According to the book, Flynn — who had just received an unconditional pardon from President Trump after pleading guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI during the Russia probe — made a frantic phone call to a senior Trump intelligence official named Ezra Cohen (sometimes referred to as Ezra Cohen-Watnick), who previously worked under Flynn at both the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the National Security Council.
“Where are you?” Flynn asked the DoD official, who said he was traveling in the Middle East.
“Flynn told him to cut his trip short and get back to the United States immediately because there were big things about to happen,” according to the book. Karl writes that Flynn told Cohen, “We need you,” and told the DoD official that “there was going to be an epic showdown over the election results.”
Flynn, according to the book, urged Cohen that “he needed to get orders signed, that ballots needed to be seized, and that extraordinary measures needed to be taken to stop Democrats from stealing the election.”
“As Flynn ranted about the election fight, [Cohen] felt his old boss sounded manic,” Karl writes in the book. “He didn’t sound like the same guy he had worked for.”
It gets even crazier.
“Betrayal” also reports that Sydney Powell, Flynn’s former lawyer who was then advising President Trump, called Cohen shortly after the Flynn conversation and tried to enlist his help with one the most far-fetched claims about the election, involving then-CIA Director Gina Haspel.
“Gina Haspel has been hurt and taken into custody in Germany,” Powell told Cohen, pushing a false conspiracy theory that had been gaining steam among QAnon followers, according to the book. “You need to launch a special operations mission to get her,” Powell said.
Powell, according to the book, was pushing the outlandish claim that Haspel had been injured while on a secret CIA operation to seize an election-related computer server that belonged to a company named Scytl — none of which was true.
“The server, Powell claimed, contained evidence that hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of votes had been switched using rigged voting machines. Powell believed Haspel had embarked on this secret mission to get the server and destroy the evidence — in other words, the CIA director was part of the conspiracy,” Karl writes.
Powell wanted the Defense Department to send a special operations team over to Germany immediately: “They needed to get the server and force Haspel to confess,” Karl writes.
All of this was too crazy even for Trump loyalist Cohen, yet these are the people Trump was listening to after the election.
After losing the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump was obsessed with finding a route to remain in power. In September, we learned that John Eastman, a conservative lawyer working with Trump’s legal team, went so far as to write a two-page memo for how to throw out President Joe Biden’s win before Congress could certify it in January.
And in the last week, we’ve learned that Eastman wasn’t alone in taking notes on a criminal conspiracy. At least two other people prepared memos to justify Trump’s reinstallation as president. This collection of memos shows more clearly than ever that those closest to the former president were dedicated to finding some loophole to keep him in power. Their mentally thin, ultimately self-serving assertions acted as fuel to Trump’s delusions, which he then passed on to his followers — most spectacularly, of course, at his rally ahead of the riot on Jan. 6….
Jenna Ellis with Trump
ABC News first reported Sunday that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows emailed Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff on Dec. 31 to pass on a memo from Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis. Ellis — whom you may recall from her many failed attempts to reverse the election in court — “outlined a multi-step strategy,” according to Karl:
On Jan. 6, the day Congress was to certify the 2020 election results, Pence was to send back the electoral votes from six battleground states that Trump falsely claimed he had won.
The memo said that Pence would give the states a deadline of “7pm eastern standard time on January 15th” to send back a new set of votes, according to Karl.
Then, Ellis wrote, if any state legislature missed that deadline, “no electoral votes can be opened and counted from that state.”
Crucially, though, the plan’s real goal depended on another plot that was underway inside the Trump administration. The Justice Department was under pressure in the weeks after the election to issue a letter to the states Trump falsely claimed to have won declaring that there was enough “significant concern” of fraud to warrant special sessions of their legislatures. Those legislatures controlled by the GOP — like Georgia’s and Arizona’s — would then provide the electoral votes needed to put Trump over the top under Ellis’ proposal.
According to Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, the infamous memos drafted for Mike Pence to overturn the election results is a blueprint of a coup.
Bernstein weighed in on a recording of Trump and ABC journalist Jonathan Karl’s conversation, where the former president did not deny that he told Pence that if he does not overturn the 2020 election results, he is a “p***y.” The Watergate reporter said that there is more to the former president’s comments and touched on the memos drafted by lawyers John Eastman and Jenna Ellis. The memos detailed how Pence could overturn the 2020 elections, which Pence ultimately refused to do.
“I think what we’re seeing in these memos particularly are blueprints for a coup,” said Bernstein. “The actual blueprints in document form in which the president of the United States, through his chief of staff, is sending to Mike Pence’s, the vice president’s staff, a blueprint to overturn an election, a blueprint for a conspiracy led by a president of the United States to result in an authoritarian coup in which the election is stolen.”
Bernstein added that there is nothing that comes close to what happened in the 2020 elections and that it is all documented in writing. The Watergate reporter noted that more records are needed to determine what the former president said and did, especially on January 5 and January 6. Bernstein added that the House Committee must act fast to find the answers in case the GOP regains the majority in the House in 2022.
That’s it for me today. It is all so exhausting. But we have to hold onto hope somehow, don’t we? Please let me know your thoughts on this or any topic in the comment thread.
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Politico “Playbook” has a good brief summary of where things stand right now with the January 6 Committee investigation: The Jan. 6 committee drama gets serious. (I’ve added a few links to longer articles.)
JAN. 6 INVESTIGATION STEAMROLLS FORWARD — Over the last 24 hours, we’ve seen major developments in the ongoing investigation into the pro-Trump Jan. 6 riots that sought to overthrow democracy in America.
— What comes next: Trump has 30 days to challenge the decision in court, after which time, the National Archives will release the documents to the Jan. 6 panel. The former president is already asserting privilege over 45 specific documents requested from the committee, and indicated in a letter that he wants to bar the release of additional documents “potentially numbering in the millions.”
2) Committee subpoenas hit deadlines: The first wave of high-profile subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee have been served, and not all of the subjects are cooperating, as Nicholas, Kyle, Betsy and Meridith detail:
STEVE BANNON claims that Trump’s invocation of executive privilege means that he doesn’t have to participate. (That strikes legal experts as dubious, seeing as at the time of the 2020 election, Bannon hadn’t worked in the White House for several years.)
MARK MEADOWS is “engaging with the Select Committee,” per a statement from the panel.
KASH PATEL issued a statement Friday confirming that he “responded to the subpoena in a timely manner” and is engaging with the committee.
— What comes next: In a statement from Jan. 6 Committee Chair BENNIE THOMPSON (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair LIZ CHENEY (R-Wyo.), the panel said it “will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral.” If they’re serious, a criminal referral would require a full floor vote in the House.More from NYT’s Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater
A former high-ranking Capitol Police official with knowledge of the department’s response to the Jan. 6 attack has sent congressional leaders a scathing letter accusing two of its senior leaders of mishandling intelligence and failing to respond properly during the riot.
The whistleblower, who requested anonymity for privacy reasons and left the force months after the attack, sent the 16-page letter late last month to the top members of both parties in the House and Senate. His missive makes scorching allegations against Sean Gallagher, the Capitol Police’s acting chief of uniformed operations, and Yogananda Pittman, its assistant chief of police for protective and intelligence operations — who also served as its former acting chief.
The whistleblower accuses Gallagher and Pittman of deliberately choosing not to help officers under attack on Jan. 6 and alleges that Pittman lied to Congress about an intelligence report Capitol Police received before that day’s riot. After a lengthy career in the department, the whistleblower was a senior official on duty on Jan. 6.
The whistleblower’s criticism went beyond Capitol Police leaders to Congress. Without naming specific lawmakers, his letter accuses congressional leaders of having “purposefully failed” to tell the truth about the department’s failures.
POLITICO obtained the letter detailing the allegations, which is circulating among Capitol Police officers, and is publishing portions of it here. To protect the whistleblower’s identity, POLITICO is not publishing the letter in full.
Click the Politico link to read the rest.
By Evelina Oliveira
This morning the Washington Post Editorial Board posted this in response to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s report on Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election at a meeting three days before the January 6 attack on the Capitol: Opinion: Without these changes, U.S. democracy will remain vulnerable to Trump and other bad actors.
The Senate report details how Mr. Trump tried persistently to enlist the Justice Department in his scheme to overturn the 2020 election results. His pressure campaign, after Attorney General William P. Barr resigned in December, featured calls and meetings with Mr. Rosen and other top Justice Department staff. It continued as Mr. Trump sent them a preposterous petition he wanted them to file with the Supreme Court asking the justices to void Joe Biden’s victory. It reached its zenith in a cockamamie plot to force Mr. Rosen to pressure state governments to cook the results or be replaced by Jeffrey Clark, a lower-ranking Justice official who would go along with the scheme.
Mr. Trump failed because Mr. Rosen and other officials in key positions refused to cooperate and threatened to resign. But they could not stop Mr. Trump from forcing the resignation of the U.S. attorney in Atlanta and replacing him with a lawyer the then-president thought would pursue the fraud investigations he wanted to see.
The editors argue:
The seriousness of Mr. Trump’s effort to nullify an election, his continuing lies about the results and the willingness of so many Republicans to indulge those lies call for several responses.
The investigations must continue. The House’s Jan. 6 committee should compel Mr. Clark, who did not cooperate with the Senate Judiciary panel, to testify. The House and the Justice Department must enforce the committee’s subpoenas, which several Trump confidantes appear prepared to flout on the former president’s say-so. The National Archives should turn over documents immediately. If courts are involved, judges must act with urgency….
Most urgently, Congress must reinforce elements of the nation’s democratic infrastructure vulnerable to exploitation by bad actors such as Mr. Trump. It should revamp the ancient Electoral Count Act to limit partisan interference in presidential vote tallying, and it should impose federal election standards that insulate state election officials from political pressure.
The Committee needs to get right to work on enforcing the subpoenas and Steve Bannon should immediately be arrested and jailed. I hope they do something quickly, but I’m not holding my breath.
After he backed down and allowed a vote to avert a U.S. default and a global financial crisis, Mitch McConnell is now threatening to let it happen in December. His excuse is that Chuck Schumer made an “inappropriate” speech after the vote. Here’s the speech:
Here is the speech from Majority Leader Schumer after the vote last night, that Mitt Romney called graceless, but I call necessary and accurate.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, sought to fight his way out of a corner on Friday by releasing an angry letter in which he blamed Democrats for the impasse over the debt ceiling he broke by ending a refusal to co-operate he had said was absolute.
In the letter to Joe Biden, McConnell complained about a speech in which the Democratic majority leader, Chuck Schumer, attacked Republicans for their behaviour.
Lamenting Schumer’s lack of civility – which prompted angry scenes in the Senate – McConnell levelled a string of insults at his opposite number.
Paradise Cat, by Hans Ruettimann
“Last night,” the minority leader wrote, late on Friday, “in a bizarre spectacle, Senator Schumer exploded in a rant that was so partisan, angry and corrosive that even Democratic senators were visibly embarrassed by him and for him.
“This tantrum encapsulated and escalated a pattern of angry incompetence from Senator Schumer … this childish behavior only further alienated the Republican members who helped facilitate this short-term patch. It has poisoned the well even further.”
Democrats argue it was McConnell who poisoned the well by refusing to co-operate with raising the debt limit, a step they took repeatedly with Donald Trump in power. Experts say a US default would be catastrophic for the global economy.
McConnell insisted: “In light of Senator Schumer’s hysterics and my grave concerns about the ways that another vast, reckless, partisan spending bill would hurt Americans and help China, I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement.”
Suddenly being partisan is a bad thing because a Democrat did it? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has been on a relentless media tour since his pardon last year, sitting for interviews with even the most obscure right-wing media outlets to promote the MAGA agenda.
But on Tuesday, Flynn appeared on a little-known YouTube channel called Truth Unveiled TV for a very different reason: rebutting the idea that he led a church congregation in a Satanic ritual borrowed from a nuclear doomsday cult.
In a video entitled “Some Have Said That General Flynn Prayed to Satan in a Recent Prayer,” host Paul Oebel gave Flynn a chance to rebut the growing right-wing controversy alleging he’s signed on with Lucifer.
Steampunk cat lady, by Jeff Haynie
“I even saw a show the other day saying ‘Michael’s flipped on the side of the devil,’” Oebel said. “Can you please explain what happened there?”
“All of these people that talk about turning to whatever…” Flynn said. “People need to stop overthinking what everybody is saying.”
The bizarre YouTube interview marked Flynn’s latest attempt in a weeks-long campaign to convince his one-time fans in the QAnon conspiracy theory movement that he isn’t a Satanist.
Prior to the unusual controversy, Flynn had embraced his position as a hero to supporters of QAnon, taking a QAnon oath, raising money from QAnon believers, and selling QAnon T-shirts. In May, Flynn even appeared at a QAnon conference and endorsed the idea of a military coup.
But QAnon fame is a fickle thing. After promoting QAnon for more than a year, Flynn now finds himself on the business end of the conspiracy theory. Like QAnon targets before him, Flynn is now struggling to persuade angry QAnon believers that he isn’t a secret Satan-worshipper.
Read the rest at The Daily Beast.
That’s all I have for you today. Have a great weekend!
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The demented, delusional former guy just won’t go away. After being banned by Twitter and Facebook, he decided to start a blog. Sadly, very few people read it, so he shut it down yesterday after less than a month. Next he plans to return to his Hitler-style rallies. Will anyone show up to listen to his paranoid rants?
Twenty-nine days after it was launched, Donald Trump’s blog, once hailed by fans as his triumphant return to the internet, was taken down on Wednesday.
It was just less than three Scaramuccis old. Noah’s Ark had a longer run.
Publicly, Trump’s team described the decision to remove the “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” site as part of the process towards building a larger online footprint. But privately, aides conceded that the site was proving to be more of a nuisance than a bullhorn.
“It was more of a hassle than anything else and it wasn’t getting as many views as the team would have liked,” conceded a person familiar with the decision to take down the blog. “It was drawing more negative press than positive press.” [….]
As Trump’s team took down the blog, it promised that something better was in the offing — a Trump-focused, Trump-branded, Trump-world social network, free of the constraints imposed by Big Tech….
So far, no new platform has been revealed. Anddespite reports leaked out of Mar-a-Lago about a string of meetings with MAGA-friendly developers and apps, the reality is that creating a stand-alone Trump platform — even with an eager, preexisting user base — is, experts say, a daunting, almost-impossible task, complicated by cash, technology, time and talent….
Creating and maintaining a social media site untainted by the influence of Big Tech could run into the tens — if not hundreds — of millions of dollars, tech experts say. Computer servers that could process his fans’ activity — every like, comment, share and video play — would have to be purchased. Expensive engineers would also have to be hired to maintain those servers. And as several tech experts told POLITICO, skimping on these investments could mean a site that crashes every hour.
“This isn’t going out and buying a PC from Walmart, and connecting to the internet and hosting a website,” said Keith Townsend, a technology consultant who specializes in cloud computing. “This is very complicated stuff that is extremely costly, and who’s going to fund it when it’s not making money?”
This summer doesn’t mark only the return of family get-togethers and concerts. Starting this month, Donald Trump will also be back in public circulation, headlining a series of grievance-filled summer MAGA rallies. That’s fantastic news for anxious Democrats.
The return of Trump’s hourslong, rambling rallies is an opportunity to remind the American people that Republican craziness hasn’t dialed down a notch since his defeat last year and to remind Democrats that they have reason to focus on their shared values rather than their increasingly bitter Senate fights.
By now, most Americans know to expect plenty of disinformation and far-right red meat from Trump rallies. But they have yet to see how a humiliating electoral loss and Trump’s delusional claim that he’s about to be reinstated as president any day now mix with tried-and-true Trump classics like spreading election disinformation and whining about “cancel culture.”
After just one Trump rally, Democrats will have plenty of sound bites and offensive content to make the case that Trump has learned nothing during his time out of office surrounded by yes men at Mar-a-Lago. And while Trump’s unhinged claims to be the president of the United States in exile may energize MAGA fundamentalists, they reaffirm to independents and moderates who rejected Trump that he has, if anything, grown more detached from reality in defeat.
NBC News’ Jonathan Allen reported Tuesday: “Trump returns to the electoral battlefield Saturday as the marquee speaker at the North Carolina Republican Party’s state convention. He plans to follow up with several more rallies in June and July to keep his unique political base engaged in the 2022 midterms and give him the option of seeking the presidency again in 2024.”
Trump’s return to the rally circuit is a major shift in what has so far been a period of stasis and self-imposed exile at Mar-a-Lago, where he accepts supplicants seeking his blessing and sends out press releases on a blog nobody reads. By holding rallies again, even if theoretically for the benefit of other candidates, Trump will potentially regain a major platform. Let’s hope the news media has learned its lesson from six years ago.
I think that how these first post-presidential rallies are covered will reveal a lot about lessons learned — or not learned. Saturday’s rally simply does not need to be covered live.
For one thing, we can assume that Trump will not hold back. I argued last month that Trump’s social media silence was giving Republicans the space to work on their long-term projects, including re-engineering state election laws. But Trump’s return is likely to push the party line even further — whether GOP leaders want him to or not.
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman reported Tuesday that Trump has been telling people “he expects he will get reinstated by August.” That’s delusional. But it’s something that famed loon, er, lawyer Sidney Powell has been telling other far-right luminaries for months.
And it’s exactly what Trump’s base wants to hear — directly from the man himself.
Donald Trump now has the notion in his head that he could return to the White House in August. But the twice-impeached former president isn’t getting that idea from constitutional scholars or his attorneys. Instead, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell apparently inspired him.
“If Trump is saying August, that is probably because he heard me say it publicly,” Lindell told The Daily Beast on Wednesday.
On Monday, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted that former President Trump has been telling associates that he expects to be restored to the presidency by August, after Joe Biden’s election is overturned. President Biden, of course, legitimately won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and decisively beat Trump in the Electoral College and popular vote. There is zero evidence to support that Trump will be back in office this summer, or at any time during the rest of Biden’s term.
Trump has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August (no that isn’t how it works but simply sharing the information). https://t.co/kaXSXKnpF0
In the past few weeks, two people close to Trump told The Daily Beast, the ex-president had begun increasingly quizzing confidants about a potential August return to power. What’s more, he claimed that a lot of “highly respected” people—who Trump did not name—have been saying it’s possible. Both of these sources said they decided not to tell the former president what they were thinking, which was that it’s not going to happen.
It’s unclear, exactly, who these “highly respected” individuals are, and who first got the August chatter in Trump’s ear. But the August deadline tracks with comments made by Lindell, one of the ex-president’s most ardent supporters and personal friends.
Online conversation among Trump supporters and QAnon followers on new and emerging social media platforms is creating concern on Capitol Hill that President Donald Trump’s continued perpetuation of the falsehood that the 2020 election was stolen could soon incite further violence, three congressional sources tell CNN.
The social messaging platform Telegram has emerged as a particular source of concern among law enforcement officials, the congressional sources say. Groups on the platform dedicated to QAnon and pro-Trump conspiracy theories have tens of thousands of members — many of whom hang on every word the former President says.
Trump’s comments to right-wing media outlets in recent weeks have played directly into the false belief among some of his supporters that he will be reinstated as president in the coming months.
Federal law enforcement officials say there is an overall concern about rhetoric on the election in general, both online, on Telegram and other sites, and offline.
Hundreds of people gathered in Texas for a QAnon-sponsored conference over Memorial Day weekend to hear the biggest boosters of Donald Trump’s Big Lie downplay the Capitol riot and bandy about new threats of a coming coup.
Key Trump allies, including Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, Allen West; and perhaps most notably Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tex., attended the three-day event, dubbed “For God & Country Patriot Roundup,” at the Omni Hotel in Dallas.
The QAnon conference came amid reports that Trump is attempting to orchestrate another election coup from his far-off kingdom at Mar-a-Lago. According to a Tuesday tweet from the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, the former President has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August.” Trump’s reported thinking echoes that of his former lawyer’s, Sidney Powell. On Saturday, Powell told attendees to the QAnon conference that Trump “can simply be reinstated.”
“A new inauguration date is set, and Biden is told to move out of the White House, and President Trump should be moved back in,” she explained. “I’m sure there’s not going to be credit for time lost, unfortunately, because the Constitution itself sets the date for inauguration, but he should definitely get the remainder of his term and make the best of it.”
Powell was not the only speaker at this past weekend’s event who spoke directly about the possibility Trump could reclaim his throne soon.
David A. Graham at The Atlantic: The Frightening New Republican Consensus. Conservatives may disagree with one another about what happened in 2020, but they’re converging on a belief that Democrats win close elections only through fraud.
Adam Serwer at The Atlantic: The Capitol Rioters Won. Although some Republican leaders deplored their violence, most have come to support the rioters’ claim that Trump’s defeat meant the election was inherently illegitimate.
The Sky Dancing banner headline uses a snippet from a work by artist Tashi Mannox called 'Rainbow Study'. The work is described as a" study of typical Tibetan rainbow clouds, that feature in Thanka painting, temple decoration and silk brocades". dakinikat was immediately drawn to the image when trying to find stylized Tibetan Clouds to represent Sky Dancing. It is probably because Tashi's practice is similar to her own. His updated take on the clouds that fill the collection of traditional thankas is quite special.
You can find his work at his website by clicking on his logo below. He is also a calligraphy artist that uses important vajrayana syllables. We encourage you to visit his on line studio.