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Rick Perry, If You Don’t Support LGBT Rights, Don’t Run For President



Governor Perry,

I read your furious response to a recent White House memorandum where you called President Obama’s leadership “silly” for strengthening international protections of LGBT human rights. You also made generalizations that unfairly assume all people of faith in America are homophobic.

It’s unconscionable how out of touch you are with the values of equality, freedom and justice. Not only have you alienated Christians across the United States who unconditionally welcome and affirm the LGBT community; you’ve alienated many across the world who look to the United States as an example for upholding basic human and civil rights for all people. I’d like to introduce you to one of them.

There was a man I wrote about earlier this year named “Hamid” who lived abroad in a religious society. He was the owner of a small coffee shop, a law-abiding citizen, and lived his life in relative harmony. But when local authorities found out he was gay, he was abducted on the street, taken to his home, beaten half to death, had his possessions stolen and then dragged to an encampment where he was raped, tortured and humiliated for hours by a group of police officers.

When he attempted to have his day in court to seek justice for these abuses, his existence as a gay person was viewed by the courts as a crime punishable by death. He tried to press charges against the police for the sexual and physical abuse he endured, but the court refused to follow-up on the case. When he returned to his house, it was completely looted and he was forced to flee the country.

I checked in on Hamid a few weeks ago. The man — who once lived a relatively normal life — is now living in exile, unemployed, poverty-stricken and dealing with physical and psychological damage from the trauma and injustice. Let me be clear: the brutality against Hamid occurred because of a hostile, anti-gay culture legalized by government.

Does this sound “silly” to you?

As the White House has stated, the President is directing agencies abroad to make sure that LGBT human rights are protected. Not all countries are like the United States. Not all countries ensure due process or respect an individual’s basic human dignity. The President is directing an effort to combat this unfortunate reality. He is combating the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct to help people like Hamid who are imprisoned or abducted because of their perceived orientation. And he is pushing for stricter protections of vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers who often endure unspeakable trauma in their home countries and are left floating in an international system with no real place to call home.

We have a right to ensure that our tax dollars promote and protect basic human equality for all people. The President asked our State Department to ensure this.

You called these actions “national security nonsense” and accused President Obama of launching a “war on religion.” Our diverse country and world cannot be lead by a Commander-in-Chief who doesn’t recognize the complexities of human rights abuses faced by LGBT people around the world, nor honors the breadth of religious diversity in our country.

As the leader of one of the nation’s largest LGBT-inclusive Christian networks, I have seen the opinions and theology of people of faith grow towards welcome over time. Our organization spreads love and welcome, to make sure God’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender children are taken care of in our country’s churches, schools and diverse communities. We think about individuals like Hamid, who are voiceless and need help. And we think about people of faith, whom you summarily dismissed, who want to be respected for their belief in LGBT equality. Before you call LGBT human rights silly, or assume all Christians endorse your fabricated “war on religion”, you should think about these things too.


Joseph Ward is the Director of Believe Out Loud, an online network that empowers Christians to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, and a writer on religion and LGBT equality issues. Follow him on Twitter @JosephWardIII..

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Trump Could Face 20 Years Behind Bars for ‘Serious Felonies’ at Mar-a-Lago: Legal Analyst



A legal analyst for ABC News pointed out that former President Donald Trump is potentially facing 20 years in prison for “serious felonies” after the search of his Mar-a-Lago home.

Dan Abrams told ABC host Jonathan Karl that the Department of Justice could indict Trump for multiple crimes after finding classified documents during the search.

“They’re very serious,” Abrams said of the charges. “And the one that’s being talked about most is this espionage act because it has the word espionage in it. But the truth is that when it comes to potential criminal sentences, the obstruction of justice statute is the one with the most potential prison time.”

“There you’re talking about up to 20 years behind bars,” he added. “So these are not sort of minor crimes we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the potential for serious felonies with regard to all three of the crimes being investigated.”

But Abrams threw cold water on the idea that a Trump prosecution would be easy.

“The fundamental question is going to be intentionality,” he opined. “How much do they believe that they did this on purpose? Were they intentionally ignoring subpoenas? Were they literally destroying documents?”

Watch the video below from ABC.


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New Analysis Breaks Down GOP’s Flawed Response to the Mar-a-Lago Search



Republican lawmakers are reportedly at an impasse on whether or not they should be defending former President Donald Trump amid his latest flurry of legal woes. The party is also facing challenges with navigating some lawmakers’ critical assessments of law enforcement over the Trump investigation.

A new analysis is breaking down Republicans’ seemingly flawed response and how it underscores the cracks in the political party’s foundation.

According to Axios, the analysis comes shortly after documents released on Friday, August 12, offered details about the search which reportedly involved “highly classified materials believed stored in violation of the law at the ex-president’s private residence.”

Prior to the release of those documents, Republicans serving on the House Intelligence Committee participated in a press conference where they continued to criticize the investigation, describing it as being politically motivated.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) scrutinized the investigation deeming it a “complete abuse” of authority as she suggested it was being conducted because the former president is considered to be “Joe Biden’s most likeliest political opponent in 2024.”

However, some Republicans on the committee have offered a more leveled approach to the situation. Per The New York Times, “Trump allies have told top Republicans to tone down their criticism of the Justice Department ‘because it is possible that more damaging information related to the search will become public.'”

“It’s incumbent upon everybody to act in a way that’s becoming of the office they hold,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), a former FBI agent, “And that’s not casting judgment on anything until you know all the facts.”

Others have attempted to defend the former president. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said, “You can say nuclear weapons, but there are things that are highly, highly classified, there are things that are not extremely classified.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is now selling merchandise on her website in support of a call to “defund the FBI” while Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeted, “I will support a complete dismantling and elimination of the democrat brown shirts known as the FBI.”


Image: Elise Stefanik with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago via Facebook

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Trump Makes False Claims About Classified Documents – And Obama



Donald Trump is responding to news reports he is under FBI investigation for actions covered by the Espionage Act by making apparently false claims about his mishandling of classified documents and about former President Barack Obama.

“Number one, it was all declassified,” Trump says in a post on his Truth Social site, a claim legal experts say is incorrect. For any president to declassify documents, experts say, there is a process that involves actions being taken on each individual document. They also say the president does not have legal authority to declassify documents related to nuclear weapons.

“Number two,” Trump continues, “they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request.”

READ MORE: FBI Agents Searched Mar-a-Lago for ‘Classified Documents Relating to Nuclear Weapons’: Report

Again, according to reports, that too is false. DOJ issued a subpoena after the National Archives tried to get all the documents back and Trump still did not comply.

“They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago,” he continues in a separate post on Truth Social. “ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK.”

Again, multiple reports say they did, numerous times.

READ MORE: DOJ Served Trump With Grand Jury Subpoena for Classified Documents Months Before FBI Raid: Report

None of his responses explain why he had at Mar-a-Lago what we now know were at least 35 cartons – 20 retrieved on Monday and 15 earlier this year – of items including confidential, classified, and top secret documents that were required by law to have been handed over to the National Archives.

“The bigger problem is,” Trump says, “what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?”

That is also false.

The National Archives on Friday issued a statement after Trump repeatedly spread the false claim that former President Barack Obama had 33 million documents in his possession.

“President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” was one of Trump’s false attacks on his Truth Social site.

“The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama Presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA),” the Archives said in a statement posted to its website Friday.

“NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA,” the Archives added. “Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area. As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration.”

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