Watch: Top Indiana GOP Lawmakers Throw Gov. Mike Pence Under The Bus
In a hastily-called press conference Monday morning, Indiana’s two top GOP lawmakers tried to do damage control, throwing Governor Mike Pence under the bus.
Apologies – video starts immediately.
Indiana House Speaker Brian BosmaÂ (image, top) andÂ Senate President ProÂ TemÂ David Long hosted a press conference this morning to try to control some of the damage done by Governor Mike PenceÂ Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week,” and by their anti-gay “religious freedom” bill the governor signed last week.
Pence of course gave a cringe-worthy interview Sunday, refusing to answer six or eight questions about discrimination, but going so far as to say preventing discrimination against LGBT people was not on his “agenda.”
Republicans Bosma and Long, both of whom have worked for years to keep LGBT people as second class citizens, falsely characterized Indiana’s RFRA as being one of many laws in 30 states that are all extremely similar to the federalÂ Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In fact, the Indiana law is nothing like the federal law â€“ it is the most wide-sweeping law of its kind â€“Â Â and very dissimilar to many state RFRAs.
The two GOP lawmakers are refusing Democratic state lawmakers’ calls to pass an LGBT non-discrimination law, but â€“ in closely-parsed statements â€“Â acknowledged they were considering passing another bill that would clarify that their RFRA was not created with the intent to discriminate.
“To the extent that we need to clarify through legislative action that this law does not and will not be allowed to discriminate against anyone, we will do just that,” Long said.
BosmaÂ added, “To the extent that might be the effect of the bill, we are prepared to encourage our legislative colleagues to take immediate action.”
LISTEN: Indiana Restaurant Owner Says He Discriminates Against Gays, Glad The Law Supports Him Now
Ironically, GOP lawmakers had the opportunity to do just that when they were considering amendments to the bill, but refused to include any that would have stated the bill’s intent was not to allow or support anti-LGBT discrimination.
In what might be a stunning acknowledgement, House Speaker Bosma admitted he has “been listening to legal experts, some of whom support gay marriage some of whom don’t, who have called for this change.”
Those legal experts are likely the mostly anti-gay activists who signed on to a letter of legal advice advocating for the RFRA law to begin with. Those “experts” includeÂ National Organization For Marriage co-founder Robert P. George, anti-gay activist Douglas Laycock, and Robin Fretwell Wilson, co-author of the divisive Utah non-discrimination and religious protection laws.
Bosma also talked about the backlash over the past few days, saying it was the result of â€œmiscommunication and misinterpretation by both opponents and proponents.â€Â
â€œThere was a mantra from opponents that it allowed denying service, and then, unfortunately, some proponents concurred,â€ Bosma said.
The two lawmakers were only too happy to use the Governor’s poor performance as a political shield, and said they were forced to hold the press conference as a result of Pence’s poor performance Sunday.
The Indy Star reports that during today’s presser, “BosmaÂ said ‘the fact that [Gov. Pence] did not answer questions clearly’ was part of the reason for Monday’s news conference. “I think it raised theÂ spectreÂ that (discrimination) was the effect or the intent, and that’s why we’re standing here today,” he added.
One interesting note: Governor Pence, Speaker Bosma, and Senator Long all used almost identical language and talking points in their media appearances yesterday and today asÂ Family Research Council spokesperson Peter Sprigg did this morning on CNN.
Why is that?
Here’s the full 29-minute press conference, should you care to watch the lawmakers’ obfuscation, mischaracterizations, and falsifications:
Image: Screenshot via The Indy Channel
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‘We Are Not Going to Stand for It’: McCarthy Defends Trump – Vows to Use Jim Jordan’s Committee to Target Attorney General
The Republican Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, barely hours after the U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed a 49-page, 37-felony count criminal indictment charging Donald Trump with violations of seven federal laws, decided to double-down on his defense of the ex-president by threatening to target the Attorney General of the United States and declaring House Republicans “are not going to stand for” the criminal prosecution of the ex-president.
McCarthy went on Fox News Friday afternoon, saying “this judgment is wrong by this DOJ. That they treated President Trump differently than they treat others. And it didn’t have to be this way. This is going to disrupt this nation because it goes to the core of equal justice for all – which is not being seen today and we are not going to stand for it.”
McCarthy: This is going to disrupt this nation because it goes to the core of equal justice for all which is not being seen today and we are not going to stand for it. pic.twitter.com/B0Z1c81yOn
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 9, 2023
McCarthy, a California Republican who cobbled together a tenuous pact with far-right extremists to win his speakership on the 15th try, is incorrect on the facts.
RELATED: DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
The Dept. of Justice does not pass judgment, the courts – in this case a jury, does. The Dept. of Justice did not treat Trump “differently,” except to give him multiple opportunities over an approximately two-year period to return national secrets he allegedly unlawfully removed, retained, and refused to return, even after being served with a subpoena and a search warrant.
What McCarthy does not do is claim Trump’s actions were legal or reasonable, because the damning indictment makes clear they are not.
Later, McCarthy took to Twitter to effectively declare he would target the Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland, who – for nearly a quarter century – served as a federal appeals court judge and chief judge before being nominated to serve at Main Justice.
(Garland was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow the confirmation to move process forward.)
“Many officials, from Secretary Hillary Clinton to then-Senator Joe Biden, handled classified info after their time in office & were never charged,” tweeted the Speaker, not just wrongly, but grossly and dishonestly characterizing the allegations against Trump.
“Now Biden’s leading political opponent is indicted—a double standard that must be investigated,” he again dishonestly declared.
READ MORE: ‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’
President Joe Biden had nothing to do with the decision of the Special Counsel to ask a Florida grand jury for an indictment. Nor was the President even told before Trump was indicted – like every American, President Biden learned of the Trump indictment through news reports. Attorney General Garland did not sign off on the decision to ask a grand jury for an indictment.
McCarthy, meanwhile, vowed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and the House Republicans “will get answers.”
“Merrick Garland: the American people elected us to conduct oversight of you. We will fulfill that obligation,” he declared.
McCarthy made those remarks atop a Friday letter from Jordan to Garland that begins: “The Biden Department of Justice is reportedly about to indict a former president and President Biden’s chief rival in the upcoming presidential election.”
“According to reports, the Department will indict President Donald Trump, despite declining to indict former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information and failing to indict President Biden for his mishandling of classified information.” (The letter does not mention former Vice President Mike Pence, who is not being charged for his mishandling of classified information.”
On Thursday a defiant and angry McCarthy, after Trump was indicted, wrote: “Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America.”
“It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him,” he said, which is egregiously false – Biden did not indict Trump, nor did his Attorney General or even Special Counsel; a grand jury of Florida citizens did.
“Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades,” McCarthy charged, which is a legitimate claim and there is a current federal investigation underway. The difference is Biden did not take the documents, did not know they were among his papers, and immediately upon learning they were, contacted the National Archives to arrange their return.
Donald Trump, we now know, according to the indictment, packed some of the boxes himself, not only refused to return the documents but hid them from the Dept. of Justice and National Archives, lied about them, and kept them at times in public areas of his Florida resort and residence.
“I, and every American who believes in the rule of law,” McCarthy wrong declared, “stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”
READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
In response to McCarthy’s remarks, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) posted a photo from the DOJ’s indictment of Trump.
“These are the secrets that protect our troops. And Kevin McCarthy thinks it’s perfectly OK that Donald Trump stole and stored them like this,” he charged.
These are the secrets that protect our troops. And Kevin McCarthy thinks it’s perfectly OK that Donald Trump stole and stored them like this. pic.twitter.com/oFid5ViCdr
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) June 9, 2023
Watch the video and see Rep. Swalwell’s tweet above or at this link.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’
Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, is under fire after remarks he made Friday morning defending Donald Trump after the ex-president was indicted on what has now been revealed to be 37 federal felony counts related to the Dept. of Justice’s criminal probe into his handling of hundreds of classified and top secret documents.
Youngkin Friday suggested that the prosecution of Donald Trump, which includes Espionage Act charges, conspiracy charges, and obstruction of justice charges among others, was just like the alleged prosecution of parents.
Gov. Youngkin, often wrongly portrayed in the media as a moderate Republican, may have been attempting to invoke the false yet viral far-right claim that Attorney General Merrick Garland was investigating and prosecuting parents for merely speaking at school board meetings. That claim came about after Garland issued a letter asking the Bureau to come up with strategies to address violence and violent threats directed at school board members. Some who have promoted that erroneous claim, including Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, have falsely claimed Garland called ordinary parents “terrorists.”
On Friday, Youngkin tweeted about the Trump indictment, saying, “These charges are unprecedented and it’s a sad day for our country, especially in light of what clearly appears to be a two-tiered justice system where some are selectively prosecuted, and others are not.”
“Parents in Virginia know firsthand what it’s like to be targeted by politically motivated actions,” he added.
“Regardless of your party, this undermines faith in our judicial system at exactly the time when we should be working to restore that trust,” Youngkin concluded, remarks that themselves could undermine faith in our judicial system.
Days before his election, Youngkin also promoted the false Garland claim, even after the Attorney General that same day explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee his letter directed the FBI to investigate not ordinary parents, but people who were organizing attacks on school board members.
Candidate Youngkin appeared on Fox News in October 0f 2021 (video below) and falsely told Tucker Carlson, “What happened today was, of course, Merrick Garland doubled down. He said, ‘No, I’m absolutely maintaining my position that the DOJ and the FBI should be investigating parents.’ Parents who are trying to stand up for their children when there’s been a sexual assault in a school bathroom. We have a board of education and in Loudoun County that tried to hide it from parents, hide it from hiding from the public, and they move this child into another school and then that child again committed another sexual assault.”
READ MORE: DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
Youngkin made education and “parents’ rights” a campaign issue when he ran in 2021. His opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, during a debate said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” While experts claim it didn’t swing the election for Youngkin, it at least established him nationally as focused on education and “parental rights,” a mantle Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly co-opted.
The Washington Post, alternatively, on Friday focused on Youngkin’s “two-tiered justice” remarks, reporting: “Youngkin’s suggestion that a rich White man — he didn’t actually name Trump — had been victimized by a ‘two-tiered justice system’ drew fierce pushback, with many critics noting the governor’s opposition to the notion that racial and ethnic minorities face systemic racism. The Republican won the governorship on a promise to purge ‘critical race theory’ from K-12 classrooms, though it was not part of any curriculum. Once in office, Youngkin launched a tip line for parents to report on teachers discussing ‘inherently divisive’ concepts in schools.”
Youngkin, who technically is a “populist conservative” but swings far-right on social issues, was quickly chastised for his tweet.
“You know what you are staying is wrong and incendiary. Shame on you,” declared former CIA officer John Sipher. “These charges stemmed from a grand [jury] of Florida citizens. Trump will have access to a Fair process. But instead you spread information to anger and confuse people. You are stoking misinformation and violence.”
READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes took a different approach, mocking the Virginia Republican.
“It’s the pivot to ‘Parents in Virginia…’ in the third sentence that elevates this to art,” he wrote.
“The moderate, genial suburban dad in a fleece vest suggests that the only way to restore confidence in the justice system is to place Trump above the law,” wrote The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, also mocking Youngkin.
“Youngkin is pro-Trump, as usual–even though Virginia voted heavily AGAINST Trump in both 2016 and 2020. When it comes to Donald Trump, Liz Cheney has more courage in her pinky than Youngkin does in his whole body,” observed Larry Sabato, the well-known professor of politics, political analyst, and founder and director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
The vice president of research for the liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, Liz Charboneau, called Youngkin’s tweet an “especially stupid statement when a large portion of your state has a security clearance, handles classified documents, and has never been charged under the espionage act.”
Conservative Mona Charen, a syndicated columnist and Policy Editor at The Bulwark: “So here’s our answer as to whether Youngkin is a man of character. Fail.”
The Lincoln Project’s Michelle Kinney tweeted, “Youngkin twisting himself into pretzel to weave a vaguebook repudiation of Trump indictment and his weirdo anti vaxx anti trans ‘parents rights’ obsession into one tweet. It reads like Veep dialogue.”
Historian, professor, Holocaust expert Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn tweeted, “Hey dude, the Pentagon is literally in your state. Maybe stop in and have a chat…”
Watch the video above or at this link.
Watch Live: Special Counsel Jack Smith Holds News Conference After Trump Criminal Indictment Unsealed
Special Counsel Jack Smith will hold a news conference Friday at 3:00 PM ET, after the U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed its 49-page 37-criminal count indictment against Donald Trump. The indictment also names a Trump aide.
Legal experts reviewing the indictment were stunned at not only the level of detail but the manner in which Trump treated classified documents, including allegedly storing them in boxes on the stage at Mar-a-Lago, in a bathroom, a shower, and a bedroom.
Former Dept. of Defense special Counsel Ryan Goodman, now an NYU professor of law, calls the indictment “devastating,” and concludes: “Extraordinary risks to U.S. national security. Foreign adversaries would pay tens of millions for that info.”
READ MORE: ‘Disgraced’ Trump-Appointed Florida Judge Initially Assigned to Oversee Ex-President’s Criminal Case: Report
Smith, who was appointed by Donald Trump as an acting U.S. Attorney, also prosecuted war crimes cases at The Hague. he also was the head of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section.
Watch video of his full news conference below or at this link.
WATCH: Complete statement from Special Counsel Jack Smith: “Today an indictment was unsealed charging Donald J. Trump with felony violations of our national security laws as well as participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice.” pic.twitter.com/llUlrvpVe4
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 9, 2023
This article has been updated to include full video of the completed news conference.
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