Proposals would ban local LGBT protections, safeguard ‘ex-gay’ therapy
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton have launched a fresh assault on LGBT rights, calling on state legislators to revive Indiana-style religious freedom legislation that was defeated in this year’s session.Â
The proposals from Patrick (photo, left) and Paxton, both Tea Partiers, would nullify local nondiscrimination ordinances protecting LGBT people, give state-funded adoption agencies a license to discriminate against same-sex couples, ensure that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges doesn’t “needlessly trample the religious liberties of State and local government employees,” and preserve the right of mental health professionals to provide so-called “ex-gay” therapy. Â
More than 20 similar anti-LGBT proposals died in this year’s session, largely due to opposition from the state’s chamber of commerce. But Patrick and Paxton are calling on legislative committees to study the proposals in the interim before the next Legislature convenes in January 2017.
“Examine measures to affirm 1st Amendment religious liberty protections inÂ Texas, along with the relationship between local ordinances and state and federal law,” Patrick wrote atop a to-do list of 21 items for the Senate. “Make recommendations to ensure that the government does not force individuals, organizations or businesses to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.”Â
Meanwhile, Paxton penned a letter to Patrick in which the attorney general went into more detail about anti-LGBT legislation, laying out goals including: Â
â€¢ Faith-based adoption and foster care agencies should be free from discrimination based on their religious beliefs, as has occurred in other jurisdictions.Â
â€¢ Religious beliefs when requiring counseling should be protected.Â
â€¢ Small businesses and closely held corporations should not be required to provide goods or services for weddings that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
Patrick’s to-do list prompted Equality Texas to issue an action alert, noting that the lieutenant governor is from Houston, where an Equal Rights Ordinance will appear on the ballot Nov. 3. A recent poll showed a majority of Houstonians back the ordinance, which is similar to laws protecting LGBT people against discrimination that are already on the books in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth and San Antonio. Â
“Equality for gay and transgender Texans is under attack!” Executive Director Chuck Smith wrote. “Notwithstanding the defeat of more than 20 anti-LGBT bills in the last legislative session and Juneâ€™s historic Supreme Court ruling affirming the freedom to marry, Lt. Gov. Patrick is still instructing lawmakers to look for ways to allow discrimination against gay and transgender Texas.”Â
Kathy Miller, president of the pro-LGBT Texas Freedom Network, also responded to the proposals.Â
â€œFreedom of religion does not give people a license to discriminate or to exempt themselves from laws that protect everyone,â€ Miller told The Austin Statesman.Â Â
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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.”
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.
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.”
Trump Under FBI Investigation for Potential Violation of the Espionage Act Legal Experts Say
‘Simply Jaw-Dropping’: Legal Experts Also Stunned Over Top Secret, Confidential Contents of Cartons FBI Seized From Mar-a-Lago
“A search warrant viewed by POLITICO reveals that the FBI is investigating Donald Trump for a potential violation of the Espionage Act and removed classified documents from the former president’s Florida estate earlier this week,” Politico reports.
The New York Times also confirms.
“Federal agents who executed the warrant did so to investigate potential crimes associated with violations of the Espionage Act, which outlaws the unauthorized retention of national security information that could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary; a federal law that makes it a crime to destroy or conceal a document to obstruct a government investigation; and another statute associated with unlawful removal of government materials.”
Based on the search warrant released to far-right media outlet Breitbart News, multiple legal experts also say Donald Trump, the former president is under FBI investigation for potentially violating the Espionage Act.
“A federal magistrate judge has found probable cause to believe evidence of the crime of ESPIONAGE to be found at Mar-A-Lago. Repeat 5 times,” writes former U.S. Attorney and DOJ official Harry Litman, now an LA Times legal affairs columnist. He also notes that “top secret/compartmented is stratospherically high classification. Scandal he ever had in [those documents] the first place.”
Top national security lawyer Brad Moss writes: “18 U.S.C. 793 – Espionage Act. That’s for willful/grossly negligent removal of information relating to the national defense. 18 U.S.C. 2017 and 18 U.S.C. 1519 – that’s for concealing federal records.”
Moss also retweeted this statement by veteran Cox Radio Capitol Hill correspondent Jamie Dupree:
“So the leak of the Trump search warrant via Breitbart indicates that former President Donald Trump is under investigation for violating the Espionage Act and for Obstruction of Justice.”
Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler also confirms, writing: “The hilarious thing is that since Brietbart doesn’t even know what a Supervisory Special Agent is, they probably don’t realize they’ve confirmed that Trump is under investigation for violating the Espionage Act.”
Western New England University School of Law law professor Jennifer Taub also confirms, writing: “Donald Trump is being investigated for espionage.”
The Wall Street Journal was first to publish details of what FBI agents seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion on Monday. Legal experts have been calling Friday afternoon’s revelations “jaw-dropping.”
FBI agents “removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal,” the WSJ report states.
Despite initial reports the FBI seized between ten and 12 cartons of documents and other materials unlawfully removed from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, there were 20 cartons retrieved. That is in addition to the 15 cartons the National Archives were forced to retrieve earlier this year.
“The list includes references to one set of documents marked as ‘Various classified/TS/SCI documents,’ an abbreviation that refers to top-secret/sensitive compartmented information. It also says agents collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents. The list didn’t provide any more details about the substance of the documents.”
The classified/TS/SCI markings are the most important.
Legal experts say the search warrant was “broad,” and indeed the Journal reports the warrant “shows that FBI agents sought to search ‘the 45 Office,’ as well as ‘all storage rooms and all other rooms or areas within the premises used or available to be used by [the former president] and his staff and in which boxes or documents could be stored, including all structures or buildings on the estate.'”
Late Thursday evening The Washington Post revealed FBI agents were looking to retrieve classified documents “related to nuclear weapons,” making Monday’s raid all the more important, and Trump and his teams handling – or mishandling – of those documents all the more egregious.
The George Washington University Law School’s Professor of Government Procurement Law, Steven L. Schooner, says, “removal of, failure to account for, & failure to return (under subpoena) ‘classified/TS/SCI documents’ is, ugh, simply jaw-dropping, and that’s regardless of whether it’s nuclear-related.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
Watch: Boebert’s Mic Cut After Going Over Time and Refusing to End Lie-Filled Rant
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) refused to end her remarks attacking popular Democratic legislation known as the Inflation Reduction Act, and after being repeatedly warned – four times – she was over time as she ranted and delivered falsehoods on the House floor her microphone was finally cut.
Congresswoman Boebert, part of the far-right fringe that has taken over the Republican Party, yelled and wagged her finger as she spread misinformation.
In an ironic twist the pro-gun activist and former owner of Shooters Grill angrily – and falsely – claimed the bill mandates the hiring of 87,000 armed IRS agents.
“What are we doing here? What are we passing this so-called Inflation Reduction Act if inflation is at zero percent?” she asked.
Inflation in fact for the month of July was flat, coming in at zero percent, which brought the annual inflation rate down from 9.1% to 8.5%.
“Well in fact it’s the inflation enhancement act,” Boebert, a spreader of conspiracy theories falsely argued, calling it “just another con game by the Democrats,” which also is false.
She then went on to claim the IRS would have more “armed agents” than the Defense Dept.
After being warned four times she had gone over time her mic was cut, but she was subsequently granted additional time.
The Colorado Congresswoman, a pro-gun extremist, went on to lie that the Inflation Reduction Act “hires 87,000 IRS agents and they are armed and the job description tells them that they need to be required to carry a firearm and expect to use deadly force if necessary,” she shouted, calling it “armed robbery.”
The bill will enable the IRS to hire new employees, but nowhere near 87,000. Only a tiny fraction, about 300, would be armed, and not for nefarious purposes like “armed robbery.”
“Though the job is really about sniffing out income and accounting irregularities to build legal cases,” CBS News reports, “one of the potential duties is ‘conduct[ing] or participat[ing] in surveillance, armed escorts, dignitary protection, undercover operations, execution of search and arrest warrants, seizures, etc.,’ the job listing states.”
Boebert began by calling “supporters of this legislation insane,” falsely implied the Inflation Reduction Act increases taxes on ordinary middle-class Americans, while mocking “Green New Deal initiatives.”
Seconds after her “armed robbery” remarks Boebert again ran into overtime. Her mic was cut after the second warning.
Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, who spoke immediately after her, blasted the Colorado Congresswoman.
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