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US Monthly Headline News February 2021 Page 1

Wall Street Journal says prosecutors interested in loans relating to four Manhattan properties
Police officers stand guard in front of Trump Tower in New York.
Edward Helmore

While there was good news for Donald Trump in Washington on Saturday, as his second impeachment trial ended in acquittal, troubling news came out of his native New York. The Wall Street Journal reported that prosecutors in the city are investigating about $280m in loans to the Trump Organization, related to four buildings in Manhattan: Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue; a skyscraper at 40 Wall St; a hotel and residential building on Columbus Circle near Central Park; and an apartment building on the Upper East Side. The investigations appear to be an extension of a previously acknowledged move by Manhattan’s Democratic district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr, over what prosecutors have called “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization”. Trump has described the New York investigation, triggered by an alleged $130,000 hush-money payment to the adult film star Stormy Daniels over an alleged sexual liaison, as “a continuation of the worst witch-hunt in American history”. more...

By Reuters Staff

(Reuters) - Payments in bitcoin worth more than $500,000 were made to 22 different virtual wallets, most of them belonging to far-right activists and internet personalities, before the storming of the U.S. Capitol, cryptocurrency compliance startup Chainalysis said on Friday. The payments, made by a French donor, of 28.15 bitcoins were made on Dec. 8, the New York-based startup, specializing in countering money laundering and fraud in the digital currency space, said in a blog post. (bit.ly/3bG83yE) more...

Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

We witnessed a historic confession of hypocrisy and deceit on Saturday when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went to the floor after voting to acquit Donald Trump in the former president’s Senate impeachment trial. McConnell said, “Former President Trump’s actions [that] preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.” He added, “Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.” But McConnell said he couldn’t vote to convict because the trial had come too late, after Trump was out office — even though it was McConnell himself who had kept the Senate out for the remainder of Trump’s term. McConnell suggested that a criminal prosecution of Trump could be in the cards, a stunning confession of how he regards the seriousness of the allegations and the extent of the evidence. The only saving grace is that McConnell will be forever remembered as the one who intentionally let someone worthy of criminal investigation get away. more...

*** Why do Republicans threaten people who tell the truth or do what is right? What does that say about the Republican Party do what is right or tell the truth, and we will attack you? Something is wrong with the Republican Party they like to bring up Trump’s 74 million votes but forget Trump lost to Biden by over 7 million votes, Biden had 81 million votes. ***

By Katelyn Caralle, U.S. Political Reporter and Nikki Schwab, Senior U.S. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com

Marjorie Taylor Greene lashed out at fellow GOP Representative Jamie Herrera Beutler on Saturday for turning on the Republican Party, calling her 'the gift that keeps on giving to the Democrats.' Taylor Greene is specifically referencing Herrera revealing details this week of a January 6 phone conversation between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and former president Doanld Trump. 'First voting to impeach innocent President Trump, then yapping to the press and throwing @GOPLeader under the bus, and now a tool as a witness for the Democrats running the circus trial,' Taylor Greene tweeted on Saturday. 'The Trump loyal 75 million are watching.' more...

*** Lindsey Graham is a piece of sh!@ he wants to impeach Vice President Kamala Harris for something that happened before she got in office but twice refuse to impeach Trump for things he did while in office. Graham should be careful he has his own issues for trying to interfere with the Georgia election. ***

By Mark Moore

Sen. Lindsey Graham warned that Republicans could move to impeach Vice President Kamala Harris — arguing that former President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial over provoking the Capitol riot “opened Pandora’s Box.” Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” a day after the Senate voted 57-43 to acquit the former president on a single charge of “incitement of insurrection,” the South Carolina Republican argued that the vice president’s support for a fund that bailed out protesters over the summer could leave her liable for the same punishment. “And if you use this model, I don’t know how Kamala Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House,” Graham said. “Because she actually bailed out rioters and one of the rioters went back to the streets and broke somebody’s head open. So we’ve opened Pandora’s Box here and I’m sad for the country?”​ more...

From Proud Boys panicked about the revelation that their leader was a snitch to the racist America First crowd, old pals are now enemies.
Will Sommer, Kelly Weill

As federal authorities crack down on the far right after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the movement’s leaders have found new sources of suspicion: each other. In the Trumpist “America First” movement and the far-right paramilitary group the Proud Boys, alliances are fracturing as extremists brand each other as potential informants. Now racist live-streamers are accusing their former comrades of attempting to turn over followers to law enforcement, while Proud Boys chapters are splintering from the national organization over similar fears. Until the FBI started closing in, white nationalists Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey were the two most prominent figures in the racist “America First” movement. The pair built up shared audiences on live-streaming platforms, and cheered as their fans, nicknamed “groypers” after an obese version of the cartoon Pepe the Frog, heckled more moderate Trump allies at conservative events. But the federal heat is on after Fuentes received roughly $250,000 in a much-scrutinized bitcoin transfer, then appeared outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot. The FBI is reportedly investigating the bitcoin transfer, though Fuentes has not faced charges over the money or the riot. more...

The Proud Boys’ former lawyer says he’s taking the name back.
Will Sommer

The far-right Proud Boys have been thrown into a tumult in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot, with the group’s leaders facing criminal charges, their chairman exposed as an informant, and law enforcement investigating what role Proud Boys had in the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Now, amid a brewing trademark dispute with their former lawyer, they might even lose the right to use their name.

On Monday, former Proud Boys lawyer Jason Lee Van Dyke, who holds the “Proud Boys” trademark, released a letter revoking Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio’s right to use the name. Van Dyke’s reasons for revoking the trademark rights included what he sees as the Proud Boys’ association with Nazi groups, as well as Proud Boys burning a church’s Black Lives Matter banner in a December march in Washington, D.C.

Van Dyke doesn’t fit the profile of a typical Proud Boys opponent. Van Dyke has an elaborately checkered legal history himself, including a temporary suspension from practicing law after threatening to kill one of his legal foes. Police claim Van Dyke once used Proud Boys to surveil his legal opponent, and was allegedly recorded by an informant laying out plans for a violent terror campaign against the man. more...

From QAnon reps to the corrupt Lincoln Project to impeachment cowardice, the GOP is morally dead. Dems must work around them.
by Will Bunch | Columnist

The Republican Party was born on March 20, 1854, the green shoots of a political spring. Unlike America’s other parties that were often shotgun weddings of convenience, the Republicans burst forth around moral ideas that were so powerful — ending slavery and making America a world industrial power — that the tail of this supernova lasted for more than 166 years and inspired its eventual nickname, the Grand Old Party. That GOP died — morally, if not officially — in the late afternoon gloaming of a grey and bitterly cold winter’s day, Feb. 13, 2021. After 43 Republican senators who’d been given a green light to “vote their conscience” on Donald Trump’s impeachment still managed to come up empty — thus enshrining the notion that an end-of-term president can foment a deadly insurrection to thwart a peaceful transition of power and not face any consequences — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell strolled to the well of the Senate. He was presumably holding the bloody knife with which he’d repeatedly stabbed American democracy for a dozen years hidden behind his back. more...

Democrats won the impeachment witness fight when Trump’s team agreed to enter evidence of the call showing his dereliction of duty in the Capitol attack.
Norman Eisen and Katherine Reisner

Despite the shameful failure of 43 senators to honor their oaths, the outcome of the Senate impeachment trial offered hope for the cause of accountability for former President Donald Trump and others who backed the Big Lie that gave us the Jan. 6 insurrection: that the 2020 election was stolen. The denouement was by far the largest number of Republicans ever to cross party lines to convict a president of their own party in an impeachment trial. Seven did so, as opposed to the single such vote in Trump's prior impeachment.                    

When the trial resumed Saturday morning, it was expected that there would be no witnesses. Then a bipartisan 55-45 vote opened the door to the testimony from at least one person — Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Washington. She had information about a phone conversation in the middle of the insurrection in which Trump seemed to welcome the violent chaos — revealing his impeachable intent to incite the mob. Negotiations then led to a compromise: a “stipulation,” or agreement by both sides, that her statement about Trump’s bad intent would be admitted into the record. more...

Our View: Of the 100 Senate jurors who heard Donald Trump’s impeachment case, over 15 senators were more co-conspirators than independent judges.
The Editorial Board | USA TODAY

The fact that the Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump of inciting insurrection is a stain on America’s most prestigious legislative body. The facts were plain. But more than a stain, the Senate has a sickness as well. Of the 100 jurors who heard Trump’s impeachment case, at least 16 were more co-conspirators in Trump’s efforts to overturn a free and fair election than they were independent judges. Eight voted last month to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory — the precise outcome the Trump-inspired insurrectionists sought when they left his rally and marched to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, John Neely Kennedy of Louisiana, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Rick Scott of Florida and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama attempted to derail America’s centuries-old experiment in democracy. more...

Senate minority leader says Trump ‘practically and morally responsible’ for Capitol riot, but votes not guilty regardless
Amanda Holpuch

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said on Saturday that Donald Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January – minutes after voting to acquit the former president in his impeachment trial for that very same act. McConnell, like the Senators who voted in favor of impeachment, was deeply critical of Trump’s conduct leading up to the attack. “They [the mob] did this because they’d been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth because he was angry he lost an election,” McConnell said. But McConnell argued the Senate could not convict Trump because he had left office before the Senate trial began – a timeline McConnell orchestrated as Senate majority leader after refusing Democrats’ requests to call the Senate into an emergency session in January. The House impeached Trump for a second time in his final days in office, but McConnell delayed starting the Senate trial until after Joe Biden was sworn in. McConnell said the Senate was not meant to serve as a “moral tribunal” and said Trump could still be open to criminal prosecution. more...

*** History will not be kind to Trump and the Republican Party. Once again, Republicans have violated their oath of office and voted once again to protect Trump. Republicans have shown repeatedly that the only care about law and order and our constitution when they are using it as a weapon against the democrats. ***

Domenico Montanaro

The U.S. Senate on Saturday acquitted former President Donald Trump on an impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection. The acquittal comes more than a month after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were counting the electoral results that certified Trump's loss. Five people died in the riot, including a police officer. Two other officers later killed themselves. A majority of senators voted to convict Trump — 57 to 43, including seven Republicans. But two-thirds, or 67 votes, was needed to convict. It was the second time Trump was acquitted in an impeachment trial. The seven GOP senators who voted to convict Trump on Saturday were: Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Trump is the first president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House twice, and the first to be tried for impeachment after leaving office. more...

*** History will not be kind to the Republican Party. Once again, Republicans have violated their oath of office and rigged the trial to protect Trump. Republicans have shown repeatedly that the only care about law and order and our constitution when they are using it as a weapon against the democrats. ***

Connor Perrett

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, said during an episode of his podcast that he advised former President Donald Trump's defense attorneys ahead of the impeachment trial, telling them they'd "already won" their case on behalf of the former president. "I said, look, you've gotta remember you've already won," Cruz said during a Friday episode of "Verdict," his podcast that launched in 2020 during the former president's first impeachment trial. CNN previously reported that three GOP senators, including Cruz, had met with Trump's legal team ahead of the Senate trial that began this week. Cruz said he believed that Democrats were far from achieving the 67 votes needed to convict, and instead said he told the president's lawyers there were anywhere from 53 to 57 votes to convict the former president, which would lead to an acquittal. more...

Defamation cases have made waves across an uneasy right-wing media landscape, from Fox to Newsmax.
By Michael M. Grynbaum

In just a few weeks, lawsuits and legal threats from a pair of obscure election technology companies have achieved what years of advertising boycotts, public pressure campaigns and liberal outrage could not: curbing the flow of misinformation in right-wing media. Fox Business canceled its highest rated show, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” on Friday after its host was sued as part of a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit. On Tuesday, the pro-Trump cable channel Newsmax cut off a guest’s rant about rigged voting machines. Fox News, which seldom bows to critics, has run fact-checking segments to debunk its own anchors’ false claims about electoral fraud. This is not the typical playbook for right-wing media, which prides itself on pugilism and delights in ignoring the liberals who have long complained about its content. But conservative outlets have rarely faced this level of direct assault on their economic lifeblood. more...

There’s no doubt who must be held responsible for attacking the Capitol and trying to overturn the results of the election.
By The New York Times Editorial Board

If you fail to hold him accountable, it can happen again. This is the heart of the prosecution’s argument in the ongoing impeachment trial of Donald Trump. It is a plea for the senators charged with rendering a verdict not to limit their concerns solely to the events of Jan. 6, when a mob of Trump supporters sacked the U.S. Capitol, but also to act with an eye toward safeguarding the nation’s future. To excuse Mr. Trump’s attack on American democracy would invite more such attempts, by him and by other aspiring autocrats. The stakes could not be higher. A vote for impunity is an act of complicity. It is unfortunate that the country finds itself at this place at this moment, American pitted against American. But there is no more urgent task than recentering the nation’s political life as peaceful and committed to the rule of law. more...

Charges filed as soaring cryptocurrency prices drive increase in SIM swapping crimes.
Dan Goodin

A former phone company worker has been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud for allegedly using his access to customer account data to take over the phone numbers of 19 customers, including at least one cryptocurrency holder. Stephen Daniel DeFiore of Brandon, Florida, received about $2,325 between October 20, 2018, and November 9, 2018 in exchange for swapping the targeted customers’ SIM cards with ones belonging to a co-conspirator, prosecutors in New Orleans said earlier this week. For each SIM swap, the co-conspirator sent DeFiore the customer’s phone number, a four-digit PIN, and a SIM card number to which that phone number was to be swapped, prosecutors said. The charges come eight months after federal prosecutors charged Richard Yuan Li of Hercules, California, with conspiracy to commit fraud for his alleged role in a SIM swap scam that targeted at least twenty people. Li was in possession of an iPhone 8 which the number of at least one of DeFiore's victims was routed to, prosecutors said. more...

Associated Press

The Jacksonville Jaguars and embattled strength coach Chris Doyle parted ways Friday night, a few hours after a respected diversity group blasted the team and called the recent hiring “simply unacceptable”. Coach Urban Meyer said Doyle resigned and he accepted. “Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville,” Meyer said in a statement. “We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved. We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career.” The Fritz Pollard Alliance, whose mission is to increase diversity in the NFL, ripped Jacksonville’s leadership, specifically Meyer, and said racist allegations at Iowa should have disqualified Doyle as a coaching candidate. “At a time when the NFL has failed to solve its problem with racial hiring practices, it is simply unacceptable to welcome Chris Doyle into the ranks of NFL coaches,” the alliance said in a statement Friday. “Doyle’s departure from the University of Iowa reflected a tenure riddled with poor judgment and mistreatment of Black players. His conduct should be as disqualifying for the NFL as it was for University of Iowa. more...

By Jamie Gangel, Kevin Liptak, Michael Warren and Marshall Cohen, CNN

Washington (CNN) In an expletive-laced phone call with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy while the Capitol was under attack, then-President Donald Trump said the rioters cared more about the election results than McCarthy did. "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are," Trump said, according to lawmakers who were briefed on the call afterward by McCarthy. McCarthy insisted that the rioters were Trump's supporters and begged Trump to call them off. Trump's comment set off what Republican lawmakers familiar with the call described as a shouting match between the two men. A furious McCarthy told the then-President the rioters were breaking into his office through the windows, and asked Trump, "Who the f--k do you think you are talking to?" according to a Republican lawmaker familiar with the call. mode...

The FBI arrested an Austin realtor and charged him with participating in last month's deadly U.S. Capitol riots. video...

*** No matter what the liars on the right say it was not Antifa or BLM capitol of the United States of America. Trump’s MAGA supporters, proud boys, oath keepers, qanon and white supremacist sacked the capitol of the United States of America in an attempt to stop the vote counting to keep Trump in power. ***

Madison Hall

As rioters breached the Capitol on January 6 to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden's electoral victory, Capitol Police tried to protect members of Congress by sealing off parts of the building's underground tunnels, according to federal court filings unsealed on Thursday. According to a sworn affidavit by an FBI special agent, members of the Proud Boys group made concerted efforts to ensure the tunnels stayed open for fellow insurrectionists to come and go, using a variety of tools and objects. The Proud Boys are a far-right gang that operates across the US and is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an "extremist group." Canada, one of the US' closest allies, declared the group a terrorist organization. more...

Story by Richa Naik, CNN Business
Video by Richa Naik & Zach Wasser

(CNN Business) As Joe Biden was taking the oath of office to become President of the United States, 20-year-old Lily was holding her breath. "I thought, for sure this would be it," she said. Finally, the moment she'd been waiting for months to arrive was here. Her parents, ardent QAnon adherents, would finally see the truth and disavow the conspiracy theory, she believed. "[Inauguration] was the end of the line," she said. Instead, the opposite happened.

'They blame themselves'
Lily, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, has parents who believe in QAnon, the conspiracy theory that centers around former President Donald Trump. She's one of countless people who feel they have lost a loved one to the grips of QAnon. Adherents of this baseless conspiracy believe Trump is in a fight against the so-called "deep state," a cabal of pedophilic, Democratic politicians and celebrities who abuse children. A mysterious entity who calls themselves "Q" claims to be a government insider and shares supposedly secret information about this fight through anonymous online posts, which the community calls "Q drops." more...

***Republicans are still protecting Trump even after he attempted a coup and caused the sacking of the capitol of Untied State of American. ***

His announcement ends a long period of silence over whether he would consider convicting Trump.
By BURGESS EVERETT

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told GOP colleagues in a letter that he will vote to acquit Donald Trump in the former president's impeachment trial, according to sources familiar with the communication. McConnell's announcement ends a long period of silence over whether he would consider convicting Trump for incitement of insurrection and could pave the way for many other Republicans to follow in acquittal. The Kentuckian shared his decision in a note to fellow GOP senators on Saturday morning, ahead of what could be the final day of Trump’s second impeachment trial. “While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction,” McConnell wrote. That position puts McConnell in line with the votes he and 43 other GOP senators already cast, declaring Trump’s second trial unconstitutional. But the Republican leader, who has not spoken to Trump for weeks, suggested that criminal prosecution of the former president could be appropriate as a remedy following the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. more...

The guidelines released Friday don't require Covid-19 vaccinations for all educators before returning to classrooms.
By Safia Samee Ali and Corky Siemaszko

CHICAGO — A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention roadmap for reopening the nation’s schools during the Covid-19 pandemic got a passing grade Friday from powerful teachers unions. “Today, the CDC met fear of the pandemic with facts and evidence,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, in a statement. “For the first time since the start of this pandemic, we have a rigorous road map, based on science, that our members can use to fight for a safe reopening.” Calling the CDC’s proposals “an informed, tactile plan,” Weingarten said it “has the potential to help school communities around the country stay safe by defining the mitigation and accommodation measures, and other tools educators and kids need, so classrooms can once again be vibrant places of learning and engagement.” more...

Brian Schwartz

The Lincoln Project, the group of conservative operatives that made a splash with viral ads targeting former President Donald Trump, is at risk of losing financial support after one of its founders was accused of sexual misconduct. Several wealthy donors are considering cutting off their backing for the political action committee, according to people close to these financiers. They are paying especially close attention to the results of an external investigation into whether other leaders knew about allegations that co-founder John Weaver harassed several men, these people added. Shortly after this article was published, Steve Schmidt, another co-founder of the group, resigned after controversy over the public disclosure of a private Twitter direct message between former Lincoln Project co-founder Jennifer Horn and a reporter. “That direct message should never have been made public. It is my job as the senior leader to accept responsibility for the tremendous misjudgment to release it,” Schmidt said. more...

CNN political analyst and renowned Watergate reporter, Carl Bernstein, calls former President Donald Trump "the most evil force in the White House that we have ever seen." video...

***Republicans around the country are censuring Republicans for doing the right thing, what does that say about the Republicans party? ***

By Mykal Vincent and Rilwan Balogun

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish has censured United States Senator Bill Cassidy for voting to continue the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. The resolution, which was unanimously adopted on Wed., Feb. 10, said Cassidy’s vote “to allow the impeachment fiasco to continue was a betrayal of the people of Louisiana and a rebuke to those who supported President Trump and him.” “We condemn Senator Cassidy’s actions in the strongest manner,” it goes on to say. “He does not represent the people of this state or the Republican Party. He represents himself and has joined with some of the most dishonest and disreputable forces in our country to be part of this despicable sham.” The party censured him, an action the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish has never taken before, declaring him “an object of shame.” more...

Will Carless USA TODAY

The Proud Boys are having a rough time. The self-described "Western chauvinist" drinking club has long been a refuge for white supremacists, anti-Semites and assorted extremists seeking a veneer of legitimacy. But in the wake of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last month, the group is in some disarray, as state chapters disavow the group's chairman and leaders bicker inpublic and in private about what direction to take the Proud Boys in. Proud Boys chairman Henry Tarrio, who goes by Enrique, was arrested days before the Capitol riot and charged with two federal weapons charges. Three weeks later, Tarrio was outed as a longtime FBI informant,a role he has now admitted to. The news about the Proud Boys leader came as other members of the group were arrested for their involvement in the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Then, on Feb. 3, Canada designated the Proud Boys as a domestic terrorist group. more...

By Zack Budryk

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch blasted GOP Missouri Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley Thursday over their handling of former President Trump’s impeachment trial, calling it an “embarrassment to the state.” In an editorial, the Post-Dispatch lambasted the two for voting against allowing the trial to take place and Hawley specifically for what it said was his evasion of responsibility for challenging the results of the presidential election in key states. Hawley was one of the lawmakers who followed through on Trump's call to challenge the certification of the Electoral College vote in states that he lost to now-President Biden, even after a mob of angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in an effort to stop the count. more...

By Morgan Gstalter

A top aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has reportedly apologized in private to Democratic lawmakers for withholding the state’s nursing home death toll from coronavirus, saying they feared the startling real figures would be "used against us." According to a Thursday report from the New York Post, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa made the admission during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders. She reportedly said that the Cuomo administration had ignored a legislative request to tally the death toll in August because it was “right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football.” more...

By Joseph Choi

Federal authorities arrested two Kentucky men connected to the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois, one of whom was charged in connection with a riot that broke out in Louisville, Ky., on Jan. 6. According to a release from the Department on Justice (DOJ), John Subleski, 32, and Adam Turner, 35, were both arrested on Thursday by the Louisville Division of the FBI.  Subleski is charged with "using a facility of interstate commerce" to incite a riot and "committing an act of violence in furtherance of a riot." According to a criminal complaint referenced by the FBI in the press release, in concert with the riots that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan, 6, Subleski incited a riot in Louisville, Ky., communicating via social media that it was “Time to storm LMPD.” more...

Opinion by Frida Ghitis

(CNN) One reason to put an impeached president on trial after he has left office is to deliver a clear, decisive verdict that the defendant's actions were abhorrent and should never happen again. But there are other reasons, and some have to do with our time -- with what happens now. On the third day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, House impeachment managers made the urgent case that Trump is not only directly responsible for the events of January 6, when his followers attacked the US Capitol, but that failure to find him guilty leaves the country at risk from another Trump-led insurgency. If convicted, the US Senate could then vote to bar Trump from running again. "I'm not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years and winning," said Rep. Ted Lieu, a House impeachment manager. "I'm afraid he's going to run again and lose, because he can do this again." more...

N'dea Yancey-Bragg | USA TODAY

A series of violent crimes against Asians and Asian Americans has prompted activists and experts to warn that racist rhetoric about the coronavirus pandemic may be fueling a rise in hate incidents. Police in Oakland, California, announced this week that they arrested a suspect in connection with a brutal attack of a 91-year-old man in Chinatown that was caught on camera. In less than a week, a Thai man was attacked and killed in San Francisco, a Vietnamese woman was assaulted and robbed of $1,000 in San Jose, and a Filipino man was attacked with a box cutter on the subway in New York City. It's unclear whether the crimes were racially motivated, but advocates calling for more to be done to address violence against Asian Americans say racist crimes against the community are historically underreported for a variety of reasons. more...

Impeachment manager Rep. Diana Degette (D-CO) used videos and comments from rioters who attacked the US Capitol on January 6 to argue that they were following the words of former President Donald Trump. video...

By Kaitlan Collins and Jim Acosta, CNN

(CNN) Former President Donald Trump's condition after testing positive for Covid-19 became so concerning last October that there was talk of putting him on a ventilator, according to what Trump told one person at the time. The detail raises questions about whether the former President's condition was worse than officials were willing to publicly acknowledge, a development first reported in detail by The New York Times on Thursday. CNN reported in October that when Trump was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he not only had trouble breathing, but had received supplemental oxygen. Trump "definitely has had oxygen," the source with knowledge told CNN. The former President's physician, Dr. Sean Conley, waffled on the issue at the time, saying Trump "is not on oxygen right now." When he was asked if Trump had received it at all, Conley would not directly answer, saying, "He has not needed any this morning, today at all." Asked if he had ever been on supplemental oxygen as part of his Covid-19 treatment, Conley said, "Right now he is not," adding, "Yesterday and today, he was not on oxygen." more...

*** Republicans are at it again they are helping Trump to rig the trial to get Trump off. ***

By Daniel Villarreal

On Thursday, three Republican Senators—Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah—reportedly met with former President Donald Trump's impeachment defense attorneys, according to Cruz and Trump attorney David Schoen. Schoen called the three senators "very friendly," a comment which raised eyebrows seeing as senators are often thought to serve as impartial jurors during impeachment trials. In other criminal and civil trials, jurors are forbidden from meeting with or expressing overt favor to lawyers involved in the case. Schoen claimed that the senators met with them to ensure that they were "familiar with procedure" before offering their opening arguments on Friday in rebuttal to the House impeachment managers' case, CNN reported. Schoen considered the mid-trial meeting to be appropriate, adding, "I think that's the practice of impeachment... There's nothing about this thing that has any semblance of due process whatsoever." more...

Lawyers and criminal justice advocates are pushing Biden to act swiftly. But Covid and the economy are pushing action back.
By ANITA KUMAR

When Joe Biden took office, he inherited the largest backlog of unresolved clemency cases in U.S. history: 14,000 people waiting to find out if their convictions would be erased or sentences reduced, or if they’d get any answer at all. Many of those 14,000 have languished in the system for years after Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, largely bypassed the century-old process for reviewing cases and instead granted pardons based on advice from politically connected friends, high-priced lobbyists and TV celebrities. more...

Julian Feeld, producer of a podcast that debunks QAnon theories, explains why some followers believe that Donald Trump will be inaugurated on March 4th. video...

By JOHN ROGERS

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Larry Flynt, who turned his raunchy Hustler magazine into an empire while fighting numerous First Amendment court battles and flaying politicians with stunts such as a Donald Trump assassination Christmas card, has died. He was 78. Flynt, who had been in declining health, died Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his longtime attorney, Paul Cambria, told The Associated Press. Flynt was shot in a 1978 assassination attempt and left paralyzed from the waist down but refused to slow down, building a flamboyant reputation along with a fortune estimated at $100 million. more...

“You don’t want to deal with the news!” Williams shouted after “The Five” segment devolved into a yelling match.
By Josephine Harvey

Fox News co-host Juan Williams set off a firestorm Wednesday on “The Five” when he accused his colleagues of ignoring the damning evidence presented at the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. “I want you guys to come back, come and join the conversation, pay attention to the news!” Williams said. “Clearly, what’s going on on Capitol Hill today is an attempt to hold democracy and the Constitution up. To celebrate that as the basis that we are a country of laws.” At Wednesday’s Senate trial, Democratic impeachment managers presented chilling videos of the Jan. 6 insurrection, showing rioters assaulting police and smashing their way into the U.S. Capitol. One security video shows Vice President Mike Pence being evacuated from the Senate chamber, fleeing the mob that was hunting for him. Others show House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) running to safety. more...

Did the candidate really put in enough miles to circumnavigate the world one and a half times?
By Ryan Grenoble

A nonprofit watchdog group has filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), requesting an investigation into more than $20,000 in mileage reimbursements the candidate received from her 2020 campaign. The group, Campaign for Accountability, said Monday that Boebert and Mike McCauley, the treasurer of Lauren Boebert for Congress, may have violated FEC regulations by spending campaign funds for personal purposes. At issue are two mileage reimbursement payments to Boebert from her campaign: one on March 31, 2020, for $1,059.62, and another, filed Nov. 11, for $21,199.52. It’s the second payment that’s raising eyebrows. At the federal reimbursement rate of 57.5 cents per mile, Boebert would have had to drive 36,868 miles in seven months to justify the amount. To put that in perspective, that’s about one and a half times the circumference of the earth, 24,850 miles. more...

Security footage shows just how close Capitol rioters got to lawmakers and staffers.
By Li Zhouli@vox.com

House impeachment managers — using previously unseen security footage from the US Capitol and a map of the building — revealed how close rioters came to confronting staffers and lawmakers on January 6, underscoring the threat that insurrectionists posed to everyone there. These clips, shown during Democrats’ eight hours of argument in former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial Wednesday, revealed a series of near misses. Some of the most shocking included the moment when Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) nearly ran into attackers, and another when rioters almost found a group of eight staffers hiding in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. In one clip, Romney is seen trying to leave the Senate chamber only to inadvertently walk in the direction of the incoming rioters. Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman happens to run into him and directs him to sprint the other way. more...

By Emily Czachor

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney suggested Sunday that former president Donald Trump's tweet chastising Mike Pence while a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol complex was, potentially, indicative of "a premeditated effort to provoke violence." The Wyoming congresswoman and Republican Conference chair discussed Trump's conduct surrounding the January 6 insurrection during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, which aired just days before his impeachment trial is scheduled to begin in the U.S. Senate. "There is a massive criminal investigation underway," Cheney said during the interview with host Chris Wallace. "There will be a massive criminal investigation of everything that happened on January 6, and in the days before. People will want to know exactly what the president was doing. They will want to know, for example, whether the tweet that he sent out, calling Vice President Pence a 'coward' while the attack was underway...whether that tweet, for example, was a premeditated effort to provoke violence. There are a lot of questions that have to be answered." more...

Trump’s attempt to pressure Georgia officials could lead to felony charges.
By Ian Millhiser

Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis took office just over a month ago, and she’s already taking aim at someone who, until very recently, was the most powerful man in the country. On Wednesday, Willis sent letters to four of Georgia’s top officials informing them that her office has “opened an investigation into attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia General Election.” Though the letters do not mention former President Donald Trump by name, the New York Times reports that they are “related to his intervention in Georgia’s election.” In an additional sign that Trump is the subject of this probe, the letters note that “at this stage, we have no reason to believe that any Georgia official is a target of this investigation.” In early January, Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, and suggested that Raffensperger should “find 11,780 votes” for Trump in a state that President Joe Biden won by 11,779 votes. more...

David Henriksen

I have always thought of Christianity as the most inclusive societal movement known to humankind. To the depths of our souls as Christians, we believe that everyone is equally made in the image of God and equally loved by God. It's not all puppy dogs and cotton candy, mind you; our faith comes with some firm requirements, like "love your enemies," "turn the other cheek," "go the extra mile," and "pray for those who persecute you." But these are directives from our Savior which lead to a life of balance, peace, and unconditional love. I guess these days you have to identify as something, and I would identify as an evangelical. I believe in the Holy Trinity, salvation through faith, and the lessons provided in scripture. more...

“When you’re removed from the platform, you’re removed from the platform,” the company said.
By Haley Messenger

Twitter will uphold its ban on former President Donald Trump, even if he were to run for office again, according to the company's chief financial officer. “When you’re removed from the platform, you’re removed from the platform,” Twitter CFO Ned Segal told CNBC in an interview on Wednesday morning. “Our policies are designed to make sure that people are not inciting violence,” Segal said. “He was removed when he was president and there’d be no difference for anybody who’s a public official once they’ve been removed from the service.” Segal also pushed back against claims that users may have fled to other social media platforms in response to Trump’s removal. “We added 40 million people to our DAU [daily active user count] last year, and 5 million last quarter,” Segal said. “In January, we added more DAU than the average of the last four Januarys, so hopefully that gives people a sense for the momentum we’ve got from all the hard work we’ve done on the service.” more...

Georgia prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump's January 2 phone call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to find enough votes to surpass Joe Biden and overturn the presidential election result in that state. video...

Jaclyn Diaz

Michigan's highest ranking Republican leader was caught on video calling the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol a "hoax" and espousing other conspiracy theories related to the siege. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, in a video posted on YouTube of a meeting with Hillsdale County Republican Party officials, said of the Capitol insurrection in which five people died: "It was all staged." About half an hour into the video Shirkey can also be heard asking, "Why wasn't there more security there?" He accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of being involved, saying McConnell "is part of the decision-making how much security they have on stand. I think they wanted to have a mess." more...

by CNN Newsource

On the eve of the second impeachment, QAnon believers spout false, bizarre conspiracy about Trump returning to office in March. On Monday federal prosecutors charged the youngest suspect in the Capitol Hill riots, an 18-year-old man from Georgia. Like several of the others involved in the violence on January 6, he is a QAnon believer. This comes as some QAnon followers are saying that former President Trump will actually be sworn back into office in a matter of weeks. The conspiracy theory had convinced some Trump supporters that Biden was not going to be inaugurated on January 20. But as soon as Biden was inaugurated, a new conspiracy theory took hold. Trump will return as president in March, they falsely claim. The conspiracy theory is apparently rooted in the belief that an 1871 law turned the country into a corporation -- and any president elected after that is illegitimate. The last president to be sworn in before that law passed was Ulysses S. Grant on March 4, 1869. more...

Three members of the US Congress describe in vivid detail what it was like when rioters stormed the Capitol on 6 January. This week the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins. He faces one charge of "incitement of insurrection". video...

By Simon Shuster

“Let these investigations go forward,” Rudy Giuliani told the presidential headquarters in Kyiv, Ukraine, his voice turning impatient. “Get someone to investigate this.” On the other end of the line, hunched over a speakerphone, two Ukrainian officials listened in disbelief as Giuliani demanded probes that could help his client, then-President Donald Trump, win another term in office. The 40-minute call, a transcript of which was obtained by TIME, provides the clearest picture yet of Giuliani’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainians on Trump’s behalf. The President’s personal lawyer toggled between veiled threats—“Be careful,” he warned repeatedly—and promises to help improve Ukraine’s relations with Trump. “My only motive—it isn’t to get anybody in trouble who doesn’t deserve to be in trouble,” Giuliani said. “For our country’s sake and your country’s sake, we [need to] get all these facts straight,” he added. “We fix them and we put it behind us.” more...

Michael Cohen, former President Donald Trump's lawyer, who served jail time for campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud, speaks with Stormy Daniels on his podcast, "Mea Culpa," and apologizes. video...

One victim was taken to North Memorial with multiple gunshot wounds, according to dispatch audio.
By Paul Walsh Star Tribune

Gunfire at a health clinic wounded at least five people in Wright County and was followed by reports of a bomb exploding at the medical provider late Tuesday morning. The scene is the Allina Health Clinic in Buffalo on Crossroads Campus Drive, according to police, who were called there about 10:55 a.m. Up to five people are said to be seriously wounded, and a male suspect has been detained, according to emergency dispatch audio. A female with three gunshot wounds was taken by air ambulance to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, where two others also were transported, emergency medical personnel were heard saying on dispatch audio. Two others were taken to Allina-operated Buffalo Hospital, the audio continued. The State Patrol said its pilots are flying six boxes of blood from the Red Cross to the Buffalo Hospital for the victims. About 30 minutes after the gunfire, dispatch audio disclosed that "we just had a bomb go off in the clinic." However, there has yet to be any further word on there being a blast. more...

By Richard WintonStaff Writer

The pilot of a helicopter that crashed into a foggy Calabasas hillside one year ago, killing NBA legend Kobe Bryant and eight others aboard, should not have flown into cloudy conditions, where he became disoriented and lost control, federal investigators said Tuesday. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the cause of the Jan. 26, 2020, crash was Ara Zobayan’s decision to fly under visual flight rules in cloudy conditions, which resulted in his spatial disorientation and loss of control of the aircraft. The board added that Zobayan’s “likely” self-induced pressure to get Bryant to his destination and inadequate review of safety management procedures by helicopter operator Island Express contributed to the crash. more...

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer

TAMPA, Fla. -- Immediately after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV on Sunday, Bucs quarterback Tom Brady texted an apology to Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu for several on-field verbal altercations, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. ESPN was read the contents of the text out loud. more...

Charles Davis

Former aides to Donald Trump told CNN that Trump enjoyed watching his supporters assault the US Capitol in the final days of his presidency. The January 6 Capitol riot, which broke out soon after Trump gave a speech near the White House falsely claiming he won the 2020 election, resulted in five deaths, including the killing of a US Capitol Police officer. As the violence unfolded last month, Republicans and Democrats alike pleaded with Trump to intervene — to call on his supporters to stop. For hours, however, he remained largely silent, ensconced at the White House and, reports indicate, consuming cable news. CNN quoted a former senior Trump official as saying the president was enjoying what he saw on the screen: people — some in MAGA hats and with Trump flags — breaking into the home of the federal government's legislative branch. more...

NPR Staff

Nearly every day since insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, the list of those charged in the attack has grown longer. The government has now identified more than 200 suspects in the Jan. 6 rioting, which ended with five people dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer. As Congress considers a presidential impeachment in response to the attack, those criminal cases provide clues to key questions surrounding the Capitol breach: Who exactly joined the mob? What did they do? And why? To try to answer those questions, NPR is examining the criminal cases related to the Capitol riot, drawing on court documents, public records, news accounts and social media. more...

CBS News

A shocking case of computer hacking has been uncovered in Pinellas County, Florida. Federal investigators are trying to hunt down the person who tried to poison a public water supply — remotely. Investigators say a plant operator monitoring the water plant in the Tampa Bay city of Oldsmar noticed breaches starting Friday morning. The hacker was controlling the computer system's mouse — opening various functions on the screen and changing the sodium hydroxide in the water supply from about 100 parts per million to more than 11,100 parts per million. "This is obviously a significant and potentially dangerous increase," Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. "Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, is the main ingredient in liquid drain cleaners." If ingested in large amounts, sodium hydroxide can cause vomiting, chest and abdominal pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control. more...

*** Republicans are still protecting Trump even after he attempted a coup and caused the sacking of the United States Capitol. ***

By Melissa Quinn

Washington — Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Sunday that the outcome of former President Donald Trump's upcoming impeachment trial is "really not in doubt" as many Republicans believe the Senate lacks the authority to try a president who is no longer in office and will likely vote to acquit him. "It's not a question of how the trial ends, it's a question of when it ends," Graham said in an interview with "Face the Nation." "Republicans are going to view this as an unconstitutional exercise, and the only question is, will they call witnesses, how long does the trial take? But the outcome is really not in doubt." more...

By Karen Guregian

Trying to turn the losingest franchise in the history of football into a winner seemed like mission impossible 10 months ago. So did running a playoff gauntlet that included Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. When it comes to Tom Brady, however, there’s no such thing as impossible, especially with a championship weighing in the balance. For the GOAT, no task is too great. more...

By Chandelis Duster and Nicky Robertson, CNN

(CNN) Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said Sunday it's "very unlikely" the Senate votes to convict former President Donald Trump in the impeachment trial set to begin Tuesday. "You did have 45 Republican senators vote to suggest that they didn't think it was appropriate to conduct a trial, so you can infer how likely it is that those folks will vote to convict," Toomey told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State on Union." The senator, who has said he is not going to run for reelection after his term ends in 2022, was one of five Republicans who joined Democrats in tabling an effort to force a vote on the constitutionality of the trial last month. He told Tapper that he stands by his previous remark that Trump "committed impeachable offenses." "I think it is constitutional. I think it's clearly constitutional to conduct a Senate trial with respect to an impeachment. In this case the impeachment occurred prior to the President leaving office," Toomey said. "I stand by everything I've said, Jake. I still think the best outcome would have been for the President to resign. Obviously he chose not to do that." more...

CNN's Jake Tapper says there's been no real accountability for several prominent GOP leaders after the Capitol riot. video...

He carried one of Washington’s weightiest résumés — labor secretary, treasury secretary and budget director for Nixon and secretary of state under Reagan as the Cold War waned.
By Tim Weiner

George P. Shultz, who presided with a steady hand over the beginning of the end of the Cold War as President Ronald Reagan’s often embattled secretary of state, died on Saturday at his home in Stanford, Calif. He was 100. His death was announced by the Hoover Institution, where he was the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow. He was also professor emeritus at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Mr. Shultz, who had served Republican presidents since Dwight D. Eisenhower, moved to California after leaving Washington in January 1989. He continued writing and speaking on issues ranging from nuclear weapons to climate change into his late 90s, expressing concern about America’s direction. “Right now we’re not leading the world,” he told an interviewer in March 2020. “We’re withdrawing from it.” more...

Renee G

Officials at a Utah charter school said ‘few families’ asked that their children be excluded from the Black History Month curriculum. A charter school in northern Utah is allowing parents to opt students out of its Black History Month curriculum and the decision has sparked a debate. Micah Hirokawa, director of Maria Montessori Academy said on the school’s Facebook page on Friday that he “reluctantly” sent out a letter explaining families are allowed “to exercise their civil rights to not participate in Black History Month at the school,” according to NBC News. more...

The Parler social network, popular among right-wing commenters, has been offline since January.
Stephen Shankland | CNET

Parler offered the Trump Organization a 40% ownership stake in the company if then-President Donald Trump posted comments exclusively to the conservative social network, Buzzfeed News reported Friday. Negotiations started last summer and were revived in November after Trump lost the presidential election. In June 2020, members of Trump's campaign met with senior management of Parler, Buzzfeed reported, but the White House legal counsel stopped the talks. When talks resumed, Parler proposed that Trump post to Parler four hours before posting to other social networks. Trump wasn't part of the negotiations, Buzzfeed reported, and no deal was struck. more...

Jessica Priest, USA TODAY

For decades, Ralph Petty spent his days as a prosecutor for the Midland County District Attorney’s Office trying criminal cases before a slate of judges and winning hundreds of convictions in the process. The chain-smoking assistant DA was known as a legal scholar to his peers in this west Texas community where the wind blows hard and uninterrupted, and oil pump jacks dot the flat countryside. But in his free time, Petty did something that now casts doubt on hundreds of cases he prosecuted.
In this photo from earlier in his career, Ralph Petty, a former prosecutor for the Midland County District Attorney’s Office, moonlighted as a paid clerk for the same judges before whom he argued cases on behalf of the state. For years, he moonlighted as a paid clerk for the same judges before whom he argued his cases on behalf of the state. In some cases, he helped write the judges’ orders on his own cases. According to attorneys for at least one of those defendants, death row inmate Clinton Young, working as a judicial clerk gave Petty access to confidential information that gave him an unfair advantage as a prosecutor. more...

OK, so a lot of them were white men. But there are other traits, too, new research shows.
Kelly Weill

When Trump supporters flooded D.C. on Jan. 6, many had traveled from hometowns where they felt like political outcasts—and where hate groups like the Proud Boys acted like a beacon for the far right, new research suggests. Nearly 200 people are facing federal charges for their alleged attacks on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Prominent among them are members of the Proud Boys, a far-right paramilitary group that Canada designated as a terrorist organization on Wednesday. Even though most of the rioters were not Proud Boys, researchers from the University of Chicago and University of Michigan found that people who lived near Proud Boys chapters were more likely to have attended the riot or the rally that preceded it. more...

Lindsay Schnell | USA TODAY

PORTLAND, Ore. – For Janie Gullickson, rock bottom came both slowly and all at once. A longtime drug and alcohol addict, Gullickson pushes back on the idea that one terrible day on the street leads to an epiphany and a climb back to normalcy. That’s what happens in movies, not real life. “I lived in the bottom for years,” says Gullickson, 52. “For me and people like me, I laid there and wallowed in it for a long time.” But if she has to pick the lowest point – one that lasted years, not days, she says – it came shortly after she hit 30 in 1998. At that time, Gullickson had five kids, ages 5 to 11, by four different men. She came home from work one day as a locksmith to find that her ex-husband had taken her two youngest and left the state. Horrified, devastated and convinced that this was the beginning of the end, her life spiraled: She dropped her other son off with his dad, left her two daughters with her mom and soon became an IV meth user. more...

In a speech to the House, Greene said she no longer believes in the QAnon conspiracy theory and asked that her past statements not be held against her.
Paul McLeod BuzzFeed News Reporter

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives voted to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her roles on two House committees Thursday as 11 Republicans voted with Democrats for her removal. The 230–199 vote came after CNN dug up Facebook posts from 2018 and 2019 in which Greene called for executing Democratic politicians. It was looking like an almost party-line vote before a bloc of Republicans voted against Greene at the same time just as the voting period was ending. The Republicans who voted to strip Greene of her committee roles were Reps. Adam Kinzinger, Brian Fitzpatrick, Carlos Gimenez, John Katko, Chris Jacobs, Young Kim, Nicole Malliotakis, María Salazar, Chris Smith, Fred Upton, and Mario Diaz-Balart. more...

By Zack Budryk

A left-leaning advocacy group has announced it will create a list tracking former Trump administration officials’ future endeavors. The Campaign Against Corporate Complicity has committed to tracking former administration personnel since fall 2020, but said the initiative has gained steam in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to Bloomberg. The group is a collaboration between public interest organizations Accountable.US and American Oversight. While the group has labeled itself as nonpartisan, it does not officially disclose its funding and has major staffing overlap with Democratic and liberal groups, according to the news outlet. more...

The House voted Thursday to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., from her two committee assignments.
By Rebecca Shabad, Alex Moe and Dartunorro Clark

WASHINGTON — The House voted Thursday to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., from the Budget Committee and the Education and Labor Committee after her social media posts revealed her spreading dangerous and racist conspiracy theories. The House voted 230-199, largely along party lines, though 11 Republicans joined every Democrat who voted. The vote comes after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., rebuked Republican leaders for refusing to take away Greene's assignments. “I remain profoundly concerned about House Republicans’ leadership acceptance of extreme conspiracy theorists," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. "Particularly disturbing is their eagerness to reward a QAnon adherent, a 9/11 truther, a harasser of child survivors of school shootings.” "You would think that the Republican leadership in the Congress would have some sense of responsibility to this institution,” she said, referring to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's decision not to punish Greene. more...

By Cristina Marcos

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in a dramatic address Thursday displayed a poster of a social media post from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) holding a gun next to three progressive Democrats during floor debate on a resolution to remove her from committees, warning that such rhetoric puts their lives in danger. "I ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle when they take this vote: Imagine your faces on this poster. Imagine it’s a Democrat with an AR-15. Imagine what your response would be and would you think that that person ought to be held accountable?" Hoyer said. more...

By Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, CNN

(CNN) The House impeachment managers on Thursday requested Donald Trump testify at his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, in a dramatic move to try to get the former President on the record about his conduct surrounding the January 6 riots at the Capitol. Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin sent a letter to Trump's attorney Thursday requesting that Trump testify before or during the upcoming impeachment trial, which begins on Tuesday, arguing that his testimony was needed after he disputed the House's allegations that he incited the insurrection at the Capitol. "Two days ago, you filed an Answer in which you denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment," Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, wrote. "You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue notwithstanding the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense. In light of your disputing these factual allegations, I write to invite you to provide testimony under oath, either before or during the Senate impeachment trial, concerning your conduct on January 6, 2021." more...

By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business

New York (CNN) A voting technology company swept up in baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election filed a monster $2.7 billion lawsuit on Thursday against Fox News, some of the network's star hosts, and pro-Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, alleging the parties worked in concert to wage a "disinformation campaign" that has jeopardized its very survival. "We have no choice," Antonio Mugica, the chief executive and founder of Smartmatic, told CNN Business in an interview about the company's decision to file the lawsuit. "The disinformation campaign that was launched against us is an obliterating one. For us, this is existential, and we have to take action." The lawsuit, filed in New York state court, accused Fox, Giuliani, Powell and hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro of intentionally lying about Smartmatic in an effort to mislead the public into the false belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. "They needed a villain," the lawsuit said. "They needed someone to blame. They needed someone whom they could get others to hate. A story of good versus evil, the type that would incite an angry mob, only works if the storyteller provides the audience with someone who personifies evil." more...

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) released a statement declining to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from her congressional committees despite promoting conspiracy theories about school shootings before she was elected. Former Republican Governor John Kasich discusses the move. video...

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy discusses freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's (R-GA) statement to GOP about her past inflammatory comments. Greene spoke to the members at the same meeting where House Republicans voted that Rep. Liz Cheney should keep her post in House GOP leadership. video...

By Katelyn Polantz, Paul P. Murphy and Kay Jones, CNN

(CNN) The Justice Department has exceeded 180 federal criminal cases against rioters and others connected to the US Capitol siege, with prosecutors' latest charges coming against a man seen in videos wearing an "American Supremacist" sweatshirt in the Capitol on January 6. CNN has found that 181 people have been charged in federal court as of Wednesday morning, according to Justice Department announcements and court records. The latest charges, against Dennis Sidorski of northern Virginia, accuse him of four counts related to violent entry into the restricted grounds of the Capitol. He was seen on video, according to a sworn affidavit from investigators, walking through the halls of the Capitol during the riot. CNN has reached out to Sidorski's attorney for comment on the charges. Sidorski's charge -- though notable for his "Supremacist" shirt message -- is emblematic of many of the arrests on low-level charges the Justice Department has made in its nationwide effort to round up rioters who stormed the Capitol after coming to Washington in support of then-President Donald Trump's challenge to the electoral win of now-President Joe Biden. more...

Axios reporter Jonathan Swan describes a December 18 meeting between President Donald Trump, White House officials and conspiracy theorists that ended in a profanity-laced shouting match. video...

David Jackson | USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump and his allies lost the first battle for post-election control of the Republican Party Wednesday night – but not without a fight, making clear that the political war within the GOP is nowhere near over. House Republicans voted Wednesday to keep Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., in her leadership position despite her January impeachment vote against the now-former president. The secret-ballot vote was overwhelmingly in Cheney's favor, 145-61. Nevertheless, Trump's backers have vowed to defeat Cheney and other Republicans who voted for his impeachment in their future political races. Others said the contentious House Republican meeting showed how much the party remains in thrall to Trump, despite his election defeat and his impeachment for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by extremist supporters. more...

Sarah Elbeshbishi and Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Congressional Republicans are retaliating against Democrats for trying to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committees because of past violent rhetoric and her promotion of conspiracy theories by attempting to do the same to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar. The full House will vote Thursday to strip Greene of her committee spots after a number of social media posts resurfaced causing Republicans and Democrats to denounce the Georgia Republican. The posts show Greene directed violent rhetoric at prominent Democrats and endorsed various conspiracy theories, like that some school shootings were staged and space lasers were causing deadly wildfires in California. In response, a group of House Republicans is seeking to remove Omar from her House committee assignments. more...

John Fritze | USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Virginia Thomas, a conservative activist and the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, apologized to her husband’s former law clerks for posting a series of messages supporting now-former President Donald Trump. "I owe you all an apology. I have likely imposed on you my lifetime passions,” Thomas wrote to a group of the justice’s former clerks, according to a copy shared with The Washington Post. "My passions and beliefs are likely shared with the bulk of you, but certainly not all. And sometimes the smallest matters can divide loved ones for too long." Thomas, long active in conservative political circles, has come under fire from liberals for her commentary about Trump, including offering encouragement to his supporters who gathered in Washington on Jan. 6, some of whom went on to storm the U.S. Capitol. Thomas has said she posted her remarks before the riot occurred. more...

Mark Sherman | Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is using her Facebook page to amplify unsubstantiated claims of corruption by Joe Biden. Ginni Thomas, a longtime conservative activist, asked her more than 10,000 followers Monday to consider sharing a link focused on alleged corruption by the Democratic nominee for president and his son, Hunter, as well as claims that social media companies are censoring reports about the Bidens. Other spouses of justices also have their own professional identities, but Thomas is the only one whose work involves partisan politics that sometimes butts up against her husband’s job. Clarence Thomas is the longest-serving current justice, having joined the court in 1991, and he administered the oath at the swearing in of new Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Monday evening. Barrett’s confirmation following a rushed process to install her on the court before the election gives conservatives a 6-3 court majority. more...

By Evan Perez, Katelyn Polantz and Mallory Simon, CNN

(CNN) Two prominent affiliates of the Proud Boys face new conspiracy charges related to the US Capitol riot, and another was arrested Wednesday, as the Justice Department laid out a planning and funding effort within the far-right extremist group in a major court development. The Justice Department unveiled the new conspiracy charge in a federal grand jury indictment of Nicholas Ochs and Nicholas DeCarlo. The indictment alleges the two conspired to block Congress' certification of the electoral votes on January 6. Prosecutors say they planned and fundraised for the effort, then came to Washington, DC, and stormed past police and into the Capitol building as part of the violent crowd, according to a copy of the indictment. Wednesday's indictment came shortly after the Justice Department made clear it had taken more investigative steps against Proud Boys affiliates related to the insurrection. The Proud Boys are a far-right group known for their clashes with Antifa and general support of former President Donald Trump, who even mentioned them in a presidential debate, telling them to "stand back and stand by." more...

QAnon expert Kevin Roose explains how deeply affiliated with QAnon Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is. Anderson Cooper Full Circle airs Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 6p E.T. video...

Richard Wolffe

At Trump’s impeachment trial, Republicans have one more chance to turn their backs on the extremists. Will they take it? In 2001, nine days after terrorists attacked the United States and its federal government, a Republican president stood before Congress with the overwhelming support of a terrified nation, as he presented a stark choice to the world. “Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” said George W Bush to loud applause in September 2001. “From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” Thus was born the post-9/11 era, which survived for the best part of two decades, costing trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives, and realigning American diplomacy and politics in stark terms. Republicans fought and won two elections on the basis that they were strong and unequivocal in defending the nation, while Democrats were weak flip-floppers who tried to have it both ways. more...

Senators can now promptly "get to work, with Democrats holding the gavels," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced an agreement Wednesday with Republicans to organize the evenly split chamber, ending a weekslong standoff that prevented the new Democratic majority from setting up some operations and soured relations at the start of the congressional session. Schumer, D-N.Y., said that he and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky had agreed on committee ratios and other details in the 50-50 chamber, where Democrats have the slim edge because Vice President Kamala Harris is a tie-breaking vote. Senators can now promptly “get to work, with Democrats holding the gavels,” Schumer said. more...

Associated Press

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Kroger Co. will close two Southern California supermarkets in response to a local ordinance requiring extra pay for certain grocery employees working during the pandemic. The decision announced by the company Monday follows a unanimous vote last month by the Long Beach City Council mandating a 120-day increase of $4 an hour for employees of supermarkets with at least 300 employees nationwide and more than 15 in Long Beach. Kroger said it will close a Ralphs market and a Food 4 Less on April 17, the Press-Telegram reported. “As a result of the City of Long Beach’s decision to pass an ordinance mandating Extra Pay for grocery workers, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close long-struggling store locations in Long Beach,” the company said in a statement. more...

Sarah Elbeshbishi, Nicholas Wu | USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announced Wednesday the House of Representatives would vote Thursday to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., of her assignments from House committees due to violent and racist rhetoric and perpetuation of unfounded QAnon conspiracy theories. Greene "liked" a Facebook comment in January 2019 that said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., should be taken out with a "bullet to the head." In a video around that time, Greene said Pelosi was "a traitor to our country," saying it was "a crime punishable by death." She also liked other comments calling for violence against specific Democrats, including that they be hanged. She outlined conspiracies such as space lasers causing deadly wildfires in California. And she called Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg "#littleHitler." Democrats and some Republicans say Greene, who has called prominent school shootings staged events, should not be allowed to keep her post on the House Education and Labor Committee and the Budget Committee. more...

By Manu Raju, Jeff Zeleny and Clare Foran, CNN

(CNN) Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, defended her impeachment vote as a defense of the Constitution and a vote of her conscience during a closed-door House Republican conference meeting Wednesday, a person in the room told CNN.
"I won't apologize for the vote," Cheney told the GOP conference. Cheney was one of a handful of House Republicans to cross party lines and vote to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection at the US Capitol that left five people dead. The Wyoming Republican issued a scathing statement ahead of the House impeachment vote condemning Trump's conduct, saying that he "summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack," and "there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution." more...

By April Siese

A pro-Trump attorney who pushed conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, including allegations of voter fraud, is reportedly under investigation for illegal voting. CBS Atlanta affiliate WGCL-TV cites a high-level source in the Georgia Secretary of State's office as saying that office is investigating whether Wood voted "out of state" — in Georgia even though he was actually a resident of South Carolina at the time of the November election. It's unclear if Wood was eligible to vote in Georgia and if he was considered a resident when he cast his ballot. In a statement sent to CBS News, Wood said he has "been a resident of the State of Georgia since 1955. I changed my residency to South Carolina yesterday [February 1, 2021]." more...

By Peter Jensen | Baltimore Sun

To paraphrase the Book of Matthew, you live by the sword and you die by the sword. Two thousand years later, this is just as true. A once-proud political party, the one that gave us Abraham Lincoln, stoops to playing footsie with deranged conspiracy theorists and white supremacists and lo and behold, here’s what gets elected to the U.S. House of Representatives under their banner: No less than Marjorie Taylor Greene, the 46-year-old former gym owner who holds views that can, at the very least, be described as wacky or fringe-y but also clearly racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, fascist, insurrectionist and un-American. Exceptionally gross comes to mind, too, particularly given that the Georgia Republican believes that infamous mass shooting events such as the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary were phony or perhaps staged to feed a gun control narrative. And did I mention she’s been known to ridicule young victims of school shootings? more...

By Elisabeth Buchwald

A Princeton economist looked at the impacts of wage increases over five years at U.S. locations of fast-food giant McDonald’s. President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers are making a push to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour from the current $7.25. Some lawmakers and business owners who are against the idea say it would create harmful effects, including business closures, job loss and an acceleration of the shift toward automation. But those effects didn’t materialize in a five-year analysis of the impacts of minimum-wage increases at state and local levels as evidenced at more than 10,000 McDonald’s MCD, +0.88% locations in the U.S. more...

By Veronica Stracqualursi and Jim Acosta, CNN

Washington (CNN) Former President Donald Trump lost reelection over voters' dissatisfaction with his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, his own pollster said in a post-campaign report, disputing the key argument Trump has repeatedly made that he lost because of voter fraud, despite a lack of evidence. Voters felt President Joe Biden was "better to handle coronavirus" than Trump, according to a post-2020 election analysis of publicly available survey data from Trump's campaign pollster, Tony Fabrizio. The pandemic "was the most important issue" among voters in 10 key states and that Biden carried those voters "nearly 3 to 1," Fabrizio says in a 27-page analysis which rests on average results from the National Election Pool exit polls conducted for CNN and other media as well as AP's VoteCast. "While (Trump) dominated among voters focused on the economy, Biden won Coronavirus voters, which was a bigger share of the electorate," said the report, which was dated December 2020. It came to light on Monday night after Politico first reported on it. The 10 states Fabrizio focused on were Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas. Biden and Trump each won five. Though his job approval was mixed in those 10 states, Trump "earned negative marks on handling of Coronavirus," the report said. more...

Following the Capitol insurrection, Amazon removed The Turner Diaries from its shelves. Will it be enough?
By Aja Romano

Following the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Amazon took the unusual step on January 12 of removing all copies of a novel called The Turner Diaries from its virtual shelves. That may seem like a drastic stance given the debate over censorship and free speech that has accompanied these types of purges. But it’s one that signifies just how notorious the book has become, and how much real-world damage it’s arguably caused. Written and self-published by a racist man who founded a dangerous white supremacist organization, The Turner Diaries has long been viewed as a fundamental manual of extremism. While other more well-known cultural artifacts like The Catcher in the Rye (a favorite of presidential and other assassins) or The Anarchist Cookbook (a well-known “murder manual” for terrorists, mass shooters, and other extremists) have captured the public consciousness as bait for potentially violent, disaffected loners, The Turner Diaries has been little-known for decades outside of extremist circles. But within those extremist circles, it became well-established as a core text due to its use as, essentially, a training manual for America’s largest neo-Nazi organization — and then the internet made it more accessible than ever. more...

By Amy Gardner and Karoun Demirjian

House Democrats made their case to convict former president Donald Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in a sweeping impeachment brief filed with the Senate on Tuesday that accused Trump of whipping his supporters into a “frenzy” and described him as “singularly responsible” for the mayhem that ensued. In the brief, the nine House impeachment managers argue that Trump is not protected by the First Amendment’s freedom of speech provision, which was never intended, they wrote, to allow a president to “provoke lawless action if he loses at the polls.” “If provoking an insurrectionary riot against a Joint Session of Congress after losing an election is not an impeachable offense, it is hard to imagine what would be,” the brief states. Democrats also rejected the claim embraced by many Republicans that it is unconstitutional to convict a president after he has left office — an argument that Trump’s lawyers are expected to make in his defense. more...

Alayna Treene

Disagreements over legal strategy weren't the only reason Donald Trump's defense team collapsed just days before his second impeachment trial, Axios has learned. What we're hearing: The notoriously stingy former president and his lead lawyer, Butch Bowers, wrangled over compensation during a series of tense phone calls, sources familiar with their conversations said. The argument came even though Trump has raised over $170 million from the public that could be used on his legal defenses. The two initially agreed Bowers would be paid $250,000 for his individual services, a figure that "delighted" Trump, one of the sources said. However, Trump didn't realize Bowers hadn't included additional expenses — including more lawyers, researchers and other legal fees that would be accrued on the job. He was said to be livid when Bowers came back to him with a total budget of $3 million. Trump called the South Carolina attorney and eventually negotiated him down to $1 million. more...

By Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) When crowds of former President Donald Trump's supporters stormed into the US Capitol weeks ago, hundreds of photos and videos emerged: clips of crowds chanting violent threats, selfies inside the building, photos of ransacked offices and broken windows. Americans watched in horror. Then, colleagues, friends and family members began pointing out the faces of people they knew, had shared holidays with and, in the midst of a national security crisis, they began reporting them to federal officials. Patrick McCaughey, who was charged with assaulting a police officer seen on video getting crushed by a door and screaming in pain, was reported to the FBI by someone who knew him from childhood, according to court documents. McCaughey's attorney declined to comment. Andrew Ericson, a 23-year-old man from Oklahoma, was charged with two misdemeanors related to the riot after an acquaintance reported his social media livestream to authorities, court documents show. Ericson's attorney declined to comment. more...

By Bill Galluccio

A Florida man was killed in a freak accident while trying to break into a home on Saturday (December 13) night. The Lee County Sheriff's Office said that Jonathan Hernandez, 32, was climbing through the window of a home in Lehigh Acres when the window slammed shut as he was partially through it. The window closed on his neck, leaving him trapped in the frame. By the time deputies arrived, Hernandez had died. "When Hernandez was trying to work his way through the window, it unexpectedly closed on top of him, pinning him and keeping him suspended in the air," Lt. Russell Park, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, said. more...

Sources: 3 agents hospitalized, suspect took their own life
Madeleine Wright, Amanda Batchelor

SUNRISE, Fla. – At least two FBI agents were fatally shot Tuesday morning while serving a warrant in Sunrise, law enforcement sources told Local 10 News. According to those sources, three agents were hospitalized and the suspect took their own life. Sky 10 was above the area of Northwest 44th Street and North Nob Hill Road as FBI agents and police officers from various jurisdictions, including Sunrise, Davie, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Lauderhill and Fort Lauderdale, swarmed the neighborhood. Deputies from the Broward Sheriff’s Office were also at the scene, as were first responders from Tamarac, Sunrise and Coral Springs Fire Rescue. Otisha Browning-Smith, a spokesperson for the Sunrise Police Department, said FBI agents were serving a warrant around 6 a.m. at a home in the Reflections community when shots were fired. The spokesperson said a person barricaded themselves inside a home and paramedics were called to the scene. more...

By Andrea Salcedo

When two men showed up at a one-story house with a green metal roof in the small Louisiana town of Montegut last month, they were searching for a woman they’d been paid to kill. They had been hired by another man who was charged with raping the woman and who wanted her dead before she could testify, police said. Inside the house, the gunmen asked two women if either of them were the rape victim. When one woman said she was, they fatally shot her, police said. Before leaving, they allegedly shot and killed her neighbor, too. But neither woman was the intended target, police said at a Monday news conference. more...

By Darragh Roche

A major Missouri newspaper has called on Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) to hold former President Donald Trump accountable in his upcoming second impeachment trial or resign. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an editorial on Monday urging Hawley and his Republican colleagues to "impose law and order on Trump" and cited the deadly Capitol riot on January 6. Hawley was one of the most prominent Republicans to object to President Biden's 2020 election victory. He supported formal objections to the Electoral College votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania. more...

By Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken, CNN

(CNN) They were there to "Stop the Steal" and to keep the President they revered in office, yet records show that some of the rioters who stormed the US Capitol did not vote in the very election they were protesting. One was Donovan Crowl, an ex-Marine who charged toward a Capitol entrance in paramilitary garb on January 6 as the Pro-Trump crowd chanted "who's our President?" Federal authorities later identified Crowl, 50, as a member of a self-styled militia organization in his home state of Ohio and affiliated with the extremist group the Oath Keepers. His mother told CNN that he previously told her "they were going to overtake the government if they...tried to take Trump's presidency from him." She said he had become increasingly angry during the Obama administration and that she was aware of his support for former President Donald Trump. more...

By Katie Lobosco, CNN

Washington (CNN)The Republican counterproposal on coronavirus relief unveiled Monday would potentially leave out 29 million middle- and upper-income earners who would qualify for stimulus payments under President Joe Biden's plan. The GOP plan would cut off cash for individuals earning more than $50,000 a year and couples earning more than $100,000, according to a fact sheet provided by the office of Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who rolled out the proposal Sunday with nine other Republicans. About 78% of families would qualify for a relief payment under the Republican proposal, while 95% would be eligible under Biden's proposal, according to analysts at the The Penn Wharton Budget Model, who warned that the figures are preliminary since no formal legislative text is available yet. more...

*** Lindsey Graham is full of s--- he is still protecting Trump after Trump tried to steal the election and incited the capitol riot that caused the deaths of five people. Republicans refused to have witness in the first trail so the truth would not come out and they are at it again. You cannot have a trial without witness and Lindsey Graham threat to calling in the FBI will not help Trump or the republicans. ***
“You open up Pandora’s box if you call one witness,” cautioned the Trump ally, who claimed a lengthy trial of the former president would be “bad for the country.”
By Lee Moran

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) cautioned Democrats against calling witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump for incitement of his supporters’ deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Graham told Fox News’ Trey Gowdy on Monday that a “Pandora’s box” and “a can of worms” would be opened if just one witness was brought forward in the Senate trial of Trump, set to begin next week. The House last month impeached Trump over the violence that left five people dead. Graham, a former fierce critic of Trump who after the 2016 election became one of his most loyal defenders, warned that calling witnesses could mean a monthslong trial “and that would be bad for the country.” Graham and other Republicans have argued it is time to “move on” from the insurrection for the good of the U.S. “If you open up that can of worms (by calling witnesses), we’ll want the FBI to come in and tell us about how people actually pre-planned these attacks and what happened with the security footprint at the Capitol,” the South Carolina Republican continued, parroting a right-wing talking point that the attack was planned well before Trump urged his supporters at a pre-riot rally to march to the Capitol. more...

Lauren Frias

Rep. Katie Porter of California recalled sheltering in her office with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as rioters broke into the US Capitol on January 6. During an Instagram Live video on Monday, Ocasio-Cortez shared her harrowing experience as insurrectionists breached the building while Congress was in session. The congresswoman shared with viewers that she took refuge in Porter's office as she heard people yelling, "Where is she?" "I start ripping through Katie's office like a madwoman," Ocasio-Cortez said. "Poor Katie, I'm opening every closet, I'm opening every nook, I'm opening every cranny looking for where I'm going to hide when they get into this office." "I mean, I thought I was going to die," the congresswoman continued. more...

Dan Mangan, Hannah Miao

A California man charged with possessing five pipe bombs talked about targeting Democrats and the social media giants Twitter and Facebook, as part of a discussion about going “to war” to ensure former President Donald Trump remained in the White House. “I want to blow up a democratic building so bad,” the man, Ian Benjamin Rogers of Napa County, wrote in a text message detailed in a criminal complaint filed in federal court for the Northern District of California. The complaint described a large array of firearms, ammunition, bomb-making equipment and warfare manuals found in his possession. “The democrats need to pay,” wrote Rogers, a married father of two, who owns British Auto Repair of the Napa Valley. In another text message, Rogers said he was “thinking sac office first target,” which an FBI agent said is suspected of being the Sacramento office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. “Then maybe bird and face offices,” the 44-year-old wrote, according to the complaint. more...

"Somebody who’s suggested that ... horrifying school shootings were pre-staged ... is not living in reality," the Senate minority leader said.
By Frank Thorp V and Phil Helsel

"Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday after questions about Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. “Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality," McConnell said. McConnell, R-Ky., did not mention the Georgia representative by name, but his statement was released after NBC News asked about the controversial freshman lawmaker. "This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party," his statement said. Greene on Twitter seemed to respond, writing: "The real cancer for the Republican Party is weak Republicans who only know how to lose gracefully. This is why we are losing our country." more...

The 27-page report pins Trump's loss on voter perception that he was untrustworthy and disapproval of his pandemic performance.
By ALEX ISENSTADT

Former President Donald Trump has blamed the election results on unfounded claims of fraud and malfeasance. But at the top levels of his campaign, a detailed autopsy report that circulated among his political aides paints a far different — and more critical — portrait of what led to his defeat. The post-mortem, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO, says the former president suffered from voter perception that he wasn’t honest or trustworthy and that he was crushed by disapproval of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. And while Trump spread baseless accusations of ballot-stuffing in heavily Black cities, the report notes that he was done in by hemorrhaging support from white voters. The 27-page report, which was written by Trump chief pollster Tony Fabrizio, shows how Trump advisers were privately reckoning with his loss even as the former president and many of his supporters engaged in a conspiracy theory-fueled effort to overturn the election. The autopsy was completed in December 2020 and distributed to Trump’s top political advisers just before President Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. more...

Federal law enforcement shifted resources last year in response to Donald Trump’s insistence that the radical left endangered the country. Meanwhile, right-wing extremism was building ominously.
By Adam Goldman, Katie Benner and Zolan Kanno-Youngs

WASHINGTON — As racial justice protests erupted nationwide last year, President Donald J. Trump, struggling to find a winning campaign theme, hit on a message that he stressed over and over: The real domestic threat to the United States emanated from the radical left, even though law enforcement authorities had long since concluded it came from the far right. It was a message that was quickly embraced and amplified by his attorney general and his top homeland security officials, who translated it into a shift in criminal justice and national security priorities even as Mr. Trump was beginning to openly stoke the outrage that months later would culminate in the storming of the Capitol by right-wing extremists. Mr. Trump’s efforts to focus his administration on the antifa movement and leftist groups did not stop the Justice Department and the F.B.I. from pursuing cases of right-wing extremism. They broke up a kidnapping plot, for example, targeting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a Democrat. more...

Xeni Jardin

"Hours after the United States voted, the president declared the election a fraud — a lie that unleashed a movement that would shatter democratic norms and upend the peaceful transfer of power." — NYT 1/31/2021

Just out on Sunday night, this extensive New York Times reconstruct of Donald Trump's failed 77-day attempt to subvert American democracy, and overthrow the 2020 presidential election. That's quite the shared byline, too, a lot of reporting power.

Excerpt:
Across those 77 days, the forces of disorder were summoned and directed by the departing president, who wielded the power derived from his near-infallible status among the party faithful in one final norm-defying act of a reality-denying presidency. Throughout, he was enabled by influential Republicans motivated by ambition, fear or a misplaced belief that he would not go too far. In the Senate, he got early room to maneuver from the majority leader, Mitch McConnell. As he sought the president's help in Georgia runoffs that could cost him his own grip on power, Mr. McConnell heeded misplaced assurances from White House aides like Jared Kushner that Mr. Trump would eventually accede to reality, people close to the senator told The Times. Mr. McConnell's later recognition of Mr. Biden's victory would not be enough to dissuade 14 Republican senators from joining the president's last-ditch bid to nullify millions of Americans' votes. more...

Hours after the United States voted, the president declared the election a fraud — a lie that unleashed a movement that would shatter democratic norms and upend the peaceful transfer of power.
By Jim Rutenberg, Jo Becker, Eric Lipton, Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Martin, Matthew Rosenberg and Michael S. Schmidt

By Thursday the 12th of November, President Donald J. Trump’s election lawyers were concluding that the reality he faced was the inverse of the narrative he was promoting in his comments and on Twitter. There was no substantial evidence of election fraud, and there were nowhere near enough “irregularities” to reverse the outcome in the courts. Mr. Trump did not, could not, win the election, not by “a lot” or even a little. His presidency would soon be over. Allegations of Democratic malfeasance had disintegrated in embarrassing fashion. A supposed suitcase of illegal ballots in Detroit proved to be a box of camera equipment. “Dead voters” were turning up alive in television and newspaper interviews. The week was coming to a particularly demoralizing close: In Arizona, the Trump lawyers were preparing to withdraw their main lawsuit as the state tally showed Joseph R. Biden Jr. leading by more than 10,000 votes, against the 191 ballots they had identified for challenge. more...

*** Did Trump and his allies want to kill Americans? ***

Peter Weber

As states were formulating plans to vaccinate their residents against COVID-19 last fall, top Trump administration officials pushed Congress to deny the state governments any extra funding for the vaccine rollout, Stat News reported Sunday. The officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and White House Office of Management and Budget chief Russ Vought, disregarded "frantic warnings from state officials that they didn't have the money they needed to ramp up a massive vaccination operation," focusing instead on $200 million the states had not yet spent, Stat reports. Vought was "obsessed" with the fact that states hadn't already spent the allocated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a Republican Senate aide told Stat, adding that even staunch fiscal conservatives in Congress knew states needed more than $200 million to inoculate 300 million Americans. But "much of the lobbying push came from Paul Mango, the former deputy chief of staff for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services," Stat reports, citing a Democratic congressional aide and Mango himself. more...

By Tim Reid

(Reuters) - Dozens of Republicans in former President George W. Bush's administration are leaving the party, dismayed by a failure of many elected Republicans to disown Donald Trump after his false claims of election fraud sparked a deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol last month. These officials, some who served in the highest echelons of the Bush administration, said they had hoped that a Trump defeat would lead party leaders to move on from the former president and denounce his baseless claims that the November presidential election was stolen. But with most Republican lawmakers sticking to Trump, these officials say they no longer recognize the party they served. Some have ended their membership, others are letting it lapse while a few are newly registered as independents, according to a dozen former Bush officials who spoke with Reuters. more...

CNN's Erin Burnett calls out Republicans for their support of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) despite past incendiary comments. video...

The GOP this week will decide the fates of the two lawmakers, who are on opposite sides in the battle over the direction of the post-Trump party.
By MELANIE ZANONA

The GOP’s brewing civil war will take center stage this week, when House lawmakers decide the fates of two Republicans who are on opposite sides of the fight over the direction of the post-Trump party. First up, the House Republican Conference will huddle in person on Wednesday morning to debate the future of GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, who voted on Jan. 13 to impeach President Donald Trump. A group of hard-line conservatives is leading a charge to oust Cheney from leadership, and says it has commitments from more than 100 colleagues who are willing to vote on a secret ballot to remove her. more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Less than 24 hours after CNN broke the news that Donald Trump's legal team quit just a week before his second impeachment trial is set to begin, the ex-president sent out a press release announcing his new, new team. And it was something. The email subject line? "45th President Donald J. Trump Announces Legal Team." It's first sentence? "45th President Donald J. Trump today announced that highly respected trial lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor, Jr., will head his impeachment defense legal team, bringing national profiles and significant trial experience in high-profile cases to the effort." The second sentence? "Notably, Schoen has already been working with the 45th President and other advisors to prepare for the upcoming trial, and both Schoen and Castor agree that this impeachment is unconstitutional - a fact 45 Senators voted in agreement with last week." more...

By Alex Gangitano

Corporate America is showing no signs of rushing to snatch up the vast majority of high-level Trump officials. Prominent figures from the Trump era were already facing tough job prospects at the end of 2020, but top U.S. companies have further distanced themselves from Republicans following the deadly mob attack on the Capitol earlier this month. Several ex-officials have secured employment at right-leaning think tanks and conservative organizations instead of landing plum jobs as corporate executives or board members, while others such as former White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow are returning to their previous line of work on cable news. more...

By Matt Egan, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business)Move over GameStop, Reddit mania is spreading to the precious metals market. Silver futures surged as much as 13% to Monday, touching five-month highs. That follows a 6% rally last week. Meanwhile, retail sites warned customers over the weekend they could not meet skyrocketing demand for silver bars and coins. And "#silversqueeze" is trending on Twitter. In more recent trading, silver futures were up almost 11%. Shares of precious metals miner Coeur Mining (CDE) rallied 20% in premarket trading, while Pan Am Silver (PAAS) rose 15%. more...

“This is not something that any of us should want to justify,” said Mayor Lovely Warren, who ordered an investigation.
By Tim Stelloh

Authorities in Rochester, New York, are investigating a confrontation captured on video that shows police pepper spraying a 9-year-old girl while responding to a report of “family trouble,” officials said Sunday. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said she directed Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan to investigate last Friday's incident, and the city’s police accountability board also will review what happened. “This is not something that any of us should want to justify,” Warren said, adding that she saw “her baby’s face” when she looked at the 9-year-old girl. more...

By Katie Shepherd

When Bruce L. Castor Jr. ran for district attorney in Montgomery County, Pa., in 2015, the campaign hinged on his decision years earlier not to charge comedian Bill Cosby with sexual assault. And after Castor lost the race, he sued the woman he blamed for the defeat: one of Cosby’s victims. His suit, which was dismissed in 2018, made national headlines as the prosecutor who defeated him criminally charged Cosby, eventually sending him to prison. Now, Castor is poised to represent another politician dismayed over a recent election loss: former president Donald Trump. Following a sudden exodus of lawyers who had been working on Trump’s defense for his Feb. 9 impeachment trial, the former president on Sunday announced that he’ll be represented by Castor and David Schoen, another attorney with ties to several high-profile, controversial defendants, including Roger Stone and Jeffrey Epstein. more...

Rebecca Falconer

President Biden will meet at the White House with a group of Republican senators who are seeking a bipartisan deal on coronavirus relief.

Driving the news: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that after receiving a letter earlier Sunday from the 10 Republicans, led by Sen. Susan Collins, that Biden had spoken with the Maine senator "and invited her and other signers of the letter to come to the White House early this week for a full exchange of views."

What they're saying: The senators said in a joint statement, "We appreciate the President's quick response to our letter, and we are pleased to accept his invitation to the White House tomorrow afternoon to discuss the path forward for the sixth bipartisan Covid-19 relief package." more...

Ashley Terrell

‘Today is 1776,’ said Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert. More Republican Congress members are facing scrutiny after the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6. When asked whether the country heading to Civil War, Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona said “We’re in it. We just haven’t started shooting at each other yet.” According to The New York Times, nearly 150 House Republicans were in support of former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election. Gosar and many other Republican members of the House are said to have deep ties to the extremist groups that caused a riot and stormed the halls of Congress in protest of President Joe Biden’s certification. more...


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