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Breaking: 132 House Democrats File Amicus Brief Denouncing DOMA

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132 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives today filed an amicus brief detailing their opposition to DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act that bans the federal government from recognizing legally-married same-sex couples. The brief specifically notes that the House is not of one mind on DOMA, and the signatories believe it unconstitutional and are opposed to Speaker of the House John Boehner‘s attempts t0 defend the law — already found unconstitutional by several federal court judges.

The amicus brief includes signatures from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Whip Steny Hoyer, Jerrold Nadler, James Clyburn, and John Conyers, along with members of the House LGBT Caucus: Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis, and David N. Cicilline.

The brief was filed specifically in support of Golinski v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management. 

Noting that some of the 132 House Democrats who signed the brief originally voted against DOMA in 1996, and others voted for it — while others were not members of the House then — “all believe, today, that Section 3 of DOMA, which defines marriage for all federal purposes as ‘only a legal union between one man and one woman,’ lacks a rational relationship to any legitimate federal purpose and accordingly is unconstitutional,” the brief states.

Having concluded that Section 3 fails to fulfill the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment, amici wish to share their unique perspective on why this is so. Amici also wish to make clear that the Bi- partisan Legal Advisory Group (“BLAG”), does not speak for a unanimous House on this issue. While Speaker Boehner directed the defense of DOMA by virtue of the divided 3-2 vote of the BLAG, many Members believe that Section 3 of DOMA violates the Constitution and should be struck down.

Read the entire amicus brief below.

You can thank your representative if they signed the brief, or ask them why they did not, via the House’s website.
Golinski DOMA Amicus Brief

http://www.scribd.com/embeds/99732000/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list&access_key=key-v3f36uf8yaatd68hy1l

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly noted the number of House Democrats who signed the brief as 130. It is 132.

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CRIME

Former DOJ Official Says Audio of Trump Admitting to Keeping ‘War Plans’ Makes it ‘Inconceivable’ He Will Not Be Charged

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A former top U.S. Dept. of Justice official says it is “inconceivable” that Donald Trump will not be charged, based on reports Special Counsel Jack Smith has an audio recording of the ex-president admitting he was in possession of a classified Pentagon document detailing a possible attack on Iran.

“I think if this audio tape exists, this is not a question of if there are going to be charges. It’s just a question of when,” announced NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst Andrew Weissmann, the well-known former FBI General Counsel who worked at DOJ for two decades.

Importantly, Weissmann, who made his remarks on MSNBC Thursday, notes that the document in question, if it is as described, contains “war plans.”

“And the proof that we have learned just publicly is so strong. And Jack Smith is such a competent and aggressive prosecutor. It is inconceivable to me that this would not be charged, and having a tape recording of the prospective defendant admitting his possession of a classified document that he had no right to have,” Weissmann says.

RELATED: ‘Absolutely Blockbuster Evidence’: Experts Stunned Over Trump ‘Espionage Act’ Bombshell That Pressures ‘DOJ to Indict’

“And not just any classified document. I think it’s really important to remember that what he talks about reportedly, is a classified document involving something that is unbelievably sensitive, which is war plans of the United States against another country.”

Where news broke Wednesday NYU Law professor of law Ryan Goodman, a former U.S. Dept. of Defense Special Counsel, wrote: “War plans are among the most highly classified documents. Puts pressure on DOJ to indict, and a jury to convict.”

Some say, based on the audio, Trump might have been holding the document as he was being recorded at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort, allegedly discussing it.

“Make no mistake. This is squarely an Espionage Act case,” Goodman also said, calling the news a “bombshell.”

Explaining the gravity of the document, Weissmann notes, “this is not just taking love letters of Kim Jong Un or salacious material about the president in France. This is exactly what the Department of Justice and the intelligence community is worried about.”

Continuing to explain just how serious this is, Weissmann served up the ground rules.

“Let’s remember government documents, whether classified or not, belong to the government. They are not to be retained by a private citizen. And the former president is a private citizen. So for instance, when I was in the Department of Justice, the number of documents I could take when I left the Department of Justice would be zero. So you’re not supposed to have that possession of government documents. If they are classified, there can be an additional type of charge, but it’s not required that that material be classified or classified at a particular level.”

READ MORE: Grassley Admits He Doesn’t Care if GOP’s Accusations Against ‘Vice President Biden’ Are True or Not – He Vows to Pursue Them

“What you’re looking at here is whether the person either knowingly took the documents or knowingly retained the documents. Important this tape recording, if it exists, as recorded, is that you’ve got Donald Trump admitting that he has in his possession a classified document – doesn’t matter if it’s Secret, Top Secret, it’s classified, that itself is a crime.”

And then finally, with respect to dissemination, the recording is that there does appear to be at least some dissemination of the information because Donald Trump, although he doesn’t turn the document over or quote from it, he does talk about what is in there. In other words, the reason we’re all talking about the fact that involves war plans involving Iran is because reportedly that is what Donald Trump said was in the document. If that proves out, that is a form of dissemination.”

On social media later Thursday, Weissman tweeted, “Days, not months…” suggesting he believes an indictment of Trump would be coming sooner rather than later.

Watch Weissmann below or at this link.

 

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COMMENTARY

Evangelical Pastor With Ties to DeSantis Denies He’s Endorsing Biblical Call for Death to Gays

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A Florida pastor with ties to GOP Governor Ron DeSantis insists his recent remarks attacking U.S. Senator Ted Cruz should not be viewed as an endorsement of the biblical call for gay people to be executed. But he’s not saying he is opposed to it either.

As The Daily Beast first reported, Tom Ascol, the senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, blasted the Texas Republican Senator, who surprised many when he called Uganda’s new “Kill the Gays” law “horrific & wrong.”

“Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ is grotesque & an abomination. ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse,” Cruz actually tweeted.

That would be the same Ted Cruz who in 2015 claimed gay people were waging a “jihad” against Christians.

Pastor Ascol, who delivered the invocation at Governor DeSantis’ second inauguration, has been called the man who could bring evangelicals from Donald Trump and deliver them to Ron DeSantis.

On Tuesday Ascol tweeted, “Tell it to God, Ted.”

READ MORE: Watch: Ron DeSantis Travels to New Hampshire to Claim Kids Are Being ‘Forced’ to Choose Pronouns

He then quoted the Book of Leviticus, writing: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”

“Was this law God gave to His old covenant people ‘horrific and wrong’?” Ascol asked.

Ascol two hours later tweeted, “Amazing how many professing Christians, even self-designated ‘conservative’ ones, are embarrassed by God’s Word. Just quote some unpopular words of God & watch what happens. Many so-called Christians react the same way that unashamed unbelievers do. It’s a commentary.”

Cruz did not reply, but some others did.

David Smith, whose Twitter bio reads, “25 yrs trusting Jesus!” replied: “We no longer live under the Levitical laws @tomascol.”

“If so, we would have to apply the same standard to adultery. (Leviticus 20:10) I agree that all of these things are sin, but where does grace come in? Jesus was clearly in no hurry to condemn in John 8:1-11.”

Pastor Ascol apparently liked the reply from Steven Hasty, which reads: “Many of you are missing the point. If you’re understanding this Tweet to mean Pastor Tom thinks we should start executing homosexuals, you’re missing it. Instead, he’s challenging the standards of Cruz. Where does Cruz derive his standards?”

READ MORE: ‘Barking’: DeSantis Mocked as His Crew Races to Protect Him From Criticism After He Attacks Reporter

Apparently whether or not it’s acceptable to execute LGBTQ people isn’t an issue (except it is, since the entire “debate” its based on Uganda’s new “Kill the Gays” law.)

“Pastor Tom” told Hasty, “You are exactly right. Some people don’t read carefully. Others, evidently, don’t reason well. Thanks for clarifying & accurately expressing what I *actually* wrote. Keep pressing on.”

Ascol didn’t say whether or not he supports the execution of LGBTQ people, he’s merely debating, as Hasty put it, “standards.”

The Daily Beast also reports, “Ascol’s tweet…certainly seemed to suggest that the execution of gay people had a biblical blessing,” and notes that “even on careful reading, most reasonable people would assume Ascol was suggesting that Uganda’s anti-gay law is not intrinsically ‘horrific and wrong.'”

Ascol, The Beast adds, “has repeatedly called for homicide charges against any woman who has an abortion for whatever reason. He has compared choosing to terminate a pregnancy to retaining a killer for hire.”

“’It’s like saying if I don’t murder someone, but I just contracted a murderer to murder someone, I’m not culpable,’ Ascol said on a Christian radio show in 2022.”

The tweet posted to the top of Ascol’s Twitter page says, “If your commitment to the authority of Scripture is limited by cultural sensitivities then it’s not really Scripture’s authority to which you are committed.”

Supporting or opposing the execution of LGBTQ people isn’t about “cultural sensitivities.”

 

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News

‘Barking’: DeSantis Mocked as His Crew Races to Protect Him From Criticism After He Attacks Reporter

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Continuing his official presidential campaign kickoff this week, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis delivered a speech to New Hampshire voters Thursday morning but refused to take questions from the audience. Afterward, when a reporter simply asked why, DeSantis blasted him, saying repeatedly, “Are you blind?” because he was talking to individual supporters at the time.

The candidate’s campaign team immediately swarmed to protect him on social media.

NBC News senior national political reporter Jonathan Allen on Twitter posted the video (below) and wrote that DeSantis had “lashed out at a reporter for asking him about it while he was chatting with members of the crowd individually.”

At NBC News, Allen’s headline reads: “Ron DeSantis loses his temper with a reporter: ‘Are you blind?'”

Allen reports DeSantis “became noticeably agitated” and “lashed out at a reporter — twice barking ‘Are you blind?'”

The reporter who had asked DeSantis why he wouldn’t take questions was Steve Peoples, chief political reporter for The Associated Press, who tweeted: “Here in Laconia, NH at his first stop in state as presidential candidate, DeSantis speaks for 58 minutes. He takes no questions from audience.”

READ MORE: Grassley Admits He Doesn’t Care if GOP’s Accusations Against ‘Vice President Biden’ Are True or Not – He Vows to Pursue Them

“People are coming up to me, talking to me,” DeSantis said. “What are you talking about? Are you blind? Are you blind? People are coming up to me, talking to me whatever they want to talk to me about.”

Allen adds that the Florida governor’s decision to not take questions “was surprising and frustrating to some Republicans who came to hear DeSantis speak.”

On social media, many were also not impressed.

“Some of us warned that DeSantis wasn’t ready for the national media or public spotlight, that he had been coddled in Florida for far too long, and that his media team of Pushaw, Redfern, et al spend too much time trolling on Twitter and not helping him,” observed MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan.

But the question really is why wouldn’t a candidate for president, who has been in politics for over a decade, be excited to talk to prospective supporters and take their questions, especially given the history of states like New Hampshire and Iowa, where establishing that personal relationship historically has been critical to the success of a candidate’s campaign?

Former federal prosecutor, former DeSantis administration official, and former Republican Ron Filipkowski noted, “Ron DeSnowflake lost his cool again and had another freakout. This guy can’t deal with people.”

READ MORE: ‘Absolutely Blockbuster Evidence’: Experts Stunned Over Trump ‘Espionage Act’ Bombshell That Pressures ‘DOJ to Indict’

Observing DeSantis is “so out of his depth,” former journalist Ed Moltzen writes: “There are towns in New Hampshire with the official title ‘Town Moderator’ – people who assist with fielding audience questions to political candidates during forums. That’s how much open Q & A is in the political DNA of New Hampshire.”

Huffpost White House correspondent S.V. Dáte had warned, “Just watch. DeSantis’ social media arsonists will fan this interaction for days.”

And indeed, DeSantis’ crew was quick to attack, which Dáte pointed to.

Governor DeSantis’ press secretary Bryan Griffin quickly moved to falsely frame the interaction.

“This @AP reporter asked this question while @RonDeSantis was surrounded by voters in New Hampshire asking him questions and taking pictures,” Griffin tweeted. “Perfectly illustrative of the modern media shutting their eyes and ears to the truth to push their narrative.”

The question was clearly about DeSantis’ refusal to take questions from the audience, so the audience could hear his answers.

Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ far-right former press secretary who moved to his presidential campaign as his rapid response director, responded to Griffin to attack the reporter.

“Very diplomatic of you to refer to the AP activist as a reporter!” she said.

But journalist Marcus Baram replied to Griffin: “You KNOW what the reporter meant.
Not a meet-and-greet with lots of people in a crowded room.
Questions asked in a setting where the person has time to ask the governor without distractions, and he has the time to respond with a substantive answer.
Campaigning 101.”

Watch DeSantis below or at this link.

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