Congressman Condemned For Violating First Amendment Rights Of Constituents
The actions of U.S. Congressman Steve Chabot’s (R-OH) office have been publicly condemned by theÂ National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) after congressional staffers directed the confiscation of video cameras by local police at the Congressman’s Monday town hall event, held in a public school. The NPPA has issued two “strong letters of objection,” (below) one to Congressman Chabot, and one to the Cincinnati Police Chief.
READ: GOP Congressman Has Police Confiscate Cameras From Democrats At Town Hall
In “NPPA Voices Strong Objections to Congressional Incident in Cincinnati,” Mickey Osterreicher, General Counsel for the NPPA writes today,
In seeking â€œa complete and immediate apologyâ€ by the congressman for this â€œblatant constitutional transgressionâ€ the NPPA letter also wrote that â€œposting signs banning cameras â€˜for security purposesâ€™ does not supersede the constitutional rights of citizens.â€
Reaction to the incident has been extremely negative and widespread withÂ hundreds of comments posted on YouTube, Congressman Chabotâ€™s Facebook wallÂ and sent to his congresssional website page. This appears to beÂ exactly theÂ embarrassing outcome that aides had intented to avoid. Schwartz also is reported to have said thatÂ the cameras confiscatedÂ â€from David Little and Liz Ping, who were given the cameras back at the end of the meeting.”
Additionally,Â Osterreicher writes,
The NPPA letter to Cincinnati Police Chief James E. Craig stated that â€œwhether the officer acted at the request of the congressman or his staff or of his own volition exhibits a total lack of understanding and/or disregard for the constitutional protections afforded those he is sworn to serve and protect. Law enforcement agencies are established to uphold and enforce laws in a professional manner, part of which is to exercise good judgment. I believe that your officer abused that discretion by his actions.â€ The letter also went on to state that â€œif your departmentâ€™s vision is to be â€˜recognized as the standard of excellence in policingâ€™ by â€˜the delivery of fair and impartial police services while maintaining an atmosphere of respect for human dignity;â€™ then we would respectfully request that you maintain your â€˜integrity,â€™ â€˜professionalism,â€™ and â€˜accountabilityâ€™ by upholding your â€˜obligations to the department and communityâ€™ and reinstate â€˜public trustâ€™ by a full and impartial investigation of this incident.â€ The letter concluded by a â€œrequest that your department immediately issue orders directing officers to cease such activity and also that your department implement revised training for all officers regarding these matters.â€
AndÂ The New Civil Rights Movement reported this morning,
Ironically, and what should be of great concern to all Americans is that Chabot sits on the Committee on the Judiciary, the Subcommittee on the Constitution, and on the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet.
The leader of the ultra-â€‹right wing Tea Party group, Tea Party Nationâ€™s Judson Phillips called Chabot â€œAmericaâ€™s dumbest Republican Congressmanâ€ for this stunt.
Here’s a screenshot of some of the most-recent public comments on Chabot’s Facebook page:
And following are the two letters from theÂ National Press Photographers Association (NPPA):
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‘All-Out War’: Trump’s Attorney Tells Kimberly Guilfoyle Ex-President Will Be ‘Loud and Proud’ When Showing Up for Indictment
Donald Trump’s attorney for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s hush money case against the ex-president was interviewed by Kimberly Guilfoyle for her new show on Monday. Guilfoyle is engaged to Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr.
Attorney Joe Tacopina told Guilfoyle, the ex-Fox News host, that the ex-president will happily show up in Manhattan if and when DA Alvin Bragg indicts him.
Guilfoyle asked Tacopina if Trump is indicted would he want them to “do it virtually,” presumably so Trump could participate from Mar-a-Lago.
Frowning, Tacopina said the district attorney and prosecutors “do what they want.. At this point, this is an all-out war.”
“Donald Trump is the toughest human being I’ve ever met,” Tacopina continued.
“Donald Trump is not going to ask for anything from them. If they want him at 100 Centre Street,” the address of the New York County Criminal Court and NYPD Manhattan Central Booking, Tacopina told Guilfoyle, “he’ll be there loud and proud, and there’s nobody that’s gonna make him cower.”
READ MORE: Republicans Are ‘Obstructing Justice’ and ‘Becoming Accessories’ to Trump’s ‘Crimes’: Former Prosecutor
Guilfoyle does not appear to disclose her relationship to either Trump in her video, which is produced to appear as an actual news show, during which she shares legal theory with viewers.
Tacopina tells Guilfoyle Trump is the victim, and the only crime was extortion. The grand jury likely will have a difference of opinion.
He also falsely calls The Wall Street Journal, a sister entity to Fox News and The New York Post – all owned by Rupert Murdoch – a “far-left” publication.
Watch a short clip below or at this link.
Trump’s attorney on Guilfoyle’s podcast on Trump’s turn-in: “Donald Trump is not going to ask for anything from them. If they want him at 100 Center Street, he will be there loud and proud. There’s nobody that’s gonna make him cower.” pic.twitter.com/3B9rQ8Haf8
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) March 20, 2023
Republicans Are ‘Obstructing Justice’ and ‘Becoming Accessories’ to Trump’s ‘Crimes’: Former Prosecutor
In the wake of Donald Trump‘s numerous recent social media rants attacking various prosecutors investigating his possibly unlawful acts, and his claim over the weekend that he will be indicted on Tuesday, many House and Senate Republicans have been rushing to his defense, wrongly claiming he is the victim of a political prosecution.
At least two former federal prosecutors are blasting them, with one saying it is “illegal” to interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation, and another warning Republicans are engaging in obstruction of justice and are becoming “accessories after the fact.”
On Saturday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy slammed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is expected this week to indict the former president.
“Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” McCarthy wrongly told Americans. “I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”
READ MORE: Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis
McCarthy’s tweet was highly criticized, including by retired Democratic U.S. Congressman John Yarmouth of Kentucky.
“I may end being not fully accurate, but Kevin McCarthy may be implicitly endorsing falsifying business records, tax fraud, campaign finance crime, and more, including obstruction of justice, when undermining the justice system is exactly what his tweet does,” tweeted Yarmouth.
McCarthy didn’t stop there.
“Alvin Bragg is abusing his office to target President Trump while he’s reduced a majority of felonies, including violent crimes, to misdemeanors. He has different rules for political opponents,” McCarthy alleged on Sunday. “Republicans stopped the radical DC crime law, and we will investigate any use of federal funds that are used to facilitate the perversion of justice by Soros-backed DA’s across the country.”
Some Republicans injected what many see as the GOP’s increasing embrace of antisemitism into their attacks against Bragg.
U.S. Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) on Sunday tweeted: “Alvin Bragg is bought by George Soros. He allows violent criminals to walk the streets of New York City, but will prosecute the likely Republican nominee (and former president) on a baseless misdemeanor charge. These people are trying to turn America into a third-world country.”
Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the Chair of the House Republican Conference and an ultra-MAGA extremist, also used the Soros reference, which experts have said can be antisemitic: “The Soros-backed woke prosecutor Alvin Bragg must testify under oath before Congress.”
Attorney and writer David Lurie, pointing to both McCarthy’s and Vance’s tweets, wrote: “GOP politicians like McCarthy, Trump and JD Vance now routinely include antisemitic conspiracism in their political rhetoric.” He linked to this article he wrote at Public Notice.
“JD Vance is advancing a claim that a Jew ‘bought’ a respected prosecutor, who just happens to be Black,” Lurie added. “Double bigotry in just one tweet.”
U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) also engaged in the antisemitic “Soros-backed” reference.
READ MORE: ‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime
Speaker McCarthy “is right,” Scott tweeted, “and I fully support his call for an investigation. No federal dollars should be used to prop up this radical, Soros-backed activist attorney or his gross political attacks.”
U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) on Sunday said District Attorney Bragg “should focus on the violent criminals terrorizing New York instead of pursuing politically motivated charges against” Donald Trump.
On Monday, a former federal prosecutor for 30 years, Glenn Kirschner, issued a warning for Republicans.
“In a very real sense, congressional Republicans who use their power & their office to thwart criminal prosecutions of Donald Trump are becoming accessories after the fact to Trump’s crimes. They are obstructing justice. And we can expect [it] to continue if it goes unaddressed.”
Kirschner was responding to this tweet from noted Harvard professor of law (retired) Laurence Tribe: “House Republicans are gathered at a luxury resort near Disney World where House Judiciary Chair JIM JORDAN (R-Ohio) & senior GOP leaders are preparing to demand testimony from members of Manhattan DA’s Office amid reports of an imminent Trump indictment.”
READ MORE: ‘This Man Is a Criminal’: George Conway Busts GOP’s ‘Completely Ridiculous’ Trump Defense
Monday afternoon Jordan and his colleagues did just that, sending a letter to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, demanding he hand over communications and testify before Congress to explain his prosecution of Trump.
“Was the Manhattan DA’s office in communication with DOJ about their investigation of President Trump?” Jordan tweeted. “Was the Manhattan DA’s office using federal funds to investigate President Trump? Alvin Bragg owes our committee answers.”
In response, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), an attorney and former military prosecutor with the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps, called Jordan’s actions “illegal.”
“Dear @Jim_Jordan,” Lieu tweeted. “Local prosecutors, including DA Bragg, owe you nothing. In fact, it is illegal for you and @JudiciaryGOP to interfere in an ongoing criminal investigation, or a criminal trial (if there is one).”
‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime
Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis is reportedly considering RICO charges against Donald Trump in her probe of his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, CNN reports. RICO charges are generally used when prosecuting organized crime cases.
“The reason that I am a fan of RICO is, I think jurors are very, very intelligent,” Willis had said last year about a different case. “They want to know what happened. They want to make an accurate decision about someone’s life. And so RICO is a tool that allows a prosecutor’s office and law enforcement to tell the whole story.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, a law professor and an NBC News/MSNBC contributor, Monday morning on Twitter, pointing to CNN’s report, said Willis “is seriously considering a RICO charge.” She repeated that claim on MSNBC shortly after.
READ MORE: Experts Warn Trump Is Encouraging Violence One Day After He Announces Rally at Waco on 30th Anniversary of Siege
CNN reports, “Investigators have a large volume of substantial evidence related to a possible conspiracy from inside and outside the state, including recordings of phone calls, emails, text messages, documents, and testimony before a special grand jury. Their work, the source said, underscores the belief that the push to help Trump was not just a grassroots effort that originated inside the state.”
On-air Monday morning, CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, a former federal and state prosecutor, explained conspiracy, racketeering, and RICO, saying, “conspiracy” is “a loaded word. But all it really means is an agreement, a meeting of the minds between two or more people to commit a crime.”
But he added, “if we go up to racketeering, now, this is a really powerful tool the prosecutors use. What you have to do is show two things. First of all, the existence of what we call a racketeering enterprise, that can be a Mafia family, that can be a drug trafficking organization, but it could also be a corporation or a political entity, and then you have to show that they engage in what we call a pattern of racketeering activity, meaning that they committed two or more crimes in an organized fashion, which brings us to this other new piece of information. There’s a third phone call we already know about, of course, the infamous phone call to Brad Raffensperger. ‘I just want to find 11,780 votes.’ There’s also a public recording of Donald Trump talking to this investigator, Francis Watson, when he tells her, ‘when the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.'”
READ MORE: ‘Reacting to a Cult Leader’: Trump Supporters Organizing to ‘Stock Up on Weaponry’ Says GOP Adviser
“Now we know, Trump also called the former Georgia Speaker of the House asking him to convene a special session,” Honig continued. “As we know we’ve heard from some of the grand jurors special grand jurors who’ve come out, they’ve told us that they recommended indictments for more than a dozen people.”
Watch CNN’s report below or at this link.
Prosecutors in Atlanta are considering bringing RICO charges in connection with Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.@eliehonig breaks it down: pic.twitter.com/H7YXKQnus8
— CNN This Morning (@CNNThisMorning) March 20, 2023
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