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Cruz: I Had No Idea The ‘Kill The Gays’ Pastor Who Hosted A Conference I Spoke At Was So Anti-Gay

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CNN On-Air Told Cruz of Pastor’s Anti-Gay Hate Speech in Interview Before Conference

Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has built his political career by positioning himself as one of the most anti-gay Republicans in the 21st Century, but now he seems to be trying to appear supportive of LGBT civil rights. He’s even trying to claim he was wholly unaware of the violent and vicious platform of the organizer of a “religious freedom” conference at which he spoke last year.

Kevin Swanson has been dubbed the “Kill the Gays” pastor because of his positions on homosexuality. Right Wing Watch has repeatedly documented Swanson’s attacks on the LGBT community, calling him “a far-right pastor and host of the ‘Generations Radio’ program, on which he has frequently claimed that the government should put gay people to death, warned that the Girl Scouts and the movie “Frozen” turn girls into lesbians and blamed natural disasters on gay people and women who wear pants.”

Cruz spoke at Pastor Swanson’s Freedom 2015 National Religious Liberties Conference last year, but before doing so sat down with CNN’s Jake Tapper, who point-blank told him Swanson has called for gay people to be put to death. Cruz, after being told what Swanson has said, responded by saying he doesn’t know what Swanson has said.

Right Wing Watch, today reporting on Cruz’s attempt “to rewrite history,” notes that before the conference they “publicized Swanson’s history — including his discussions of the death penalty for gay people.”

Cruz remained steadfast, attended the conference, shared the stage with Swanson, sat down and did a one-on-one interview, even joked about fantasy football with the “Kill the Gays” pastor.

Sen. Cruz, it should be noted, is no saint when it comes to the civil rights of LGBT people, including accusing them of waging “jihad” on Christians.

Asked Monday on a radio talk show about speaking at a conference organized by a religious zealot who has called for gay people to be put to death, here’s how Cruz responded, according to Right Wing Watch (audio below).

“He was an individual I didn’t know, I’d never met him,” Cruz told the hosts of the “John and Ken Show.” 

“I went to a conference on religious liberty because it is an issue I care very much about. After the conference, his comments were drawn to my attention and I denounced them at the time, I think they’re wrong, I totally disagree with them. I didn’t know this fellow and when I saw what he said, I came out publicly and said I disagree with what he’s saying.”

Note that Cruz says “after the conference” he learned about Swanson’s anti-gay comments, wholly ignoring the fairly extensive media attention his scheduled appearance garnered before the conference, and wholly ignoring the fact that he sat down with CNN’s Jake Tapper who very clearly painted a picture of Kevin Swanson for Cruz.

“We need to be bringing people together and we need to be standing up for the rights of every American, that’s what I’ve done in the Senate and that’s what I’ll do as president.” 

Senator Cruz might want to check the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell, because it clearly states that same-sex couples have a legal right to marriage. Actually, he has. He called it “fundamentally illegitimate.” Is he now saying he has been standing up for that right and will stand up for that right as president?

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

 

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Kellyanne Conway, Who Trump Reportedly Told He Understood He Had Lost to Biden, Testifying Before J6 Committee

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Kellyanne Conway, whose work in 2016 propelled Donald Trump into the Oval Office and spent three and a half years with him as a top White House advisor, is testifying Monday morning before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

ABC News White House and Capitol reporter Gabe Ferris Monday morning said, “Kellyanne Conway is meeting with Jan. 6 Committee staffers right now. She did not answer my questions about why she is here today.”

NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent Ryan Nobles posted video of Conway apparently walking into the Committee’s offices. “Conway was not subpoenaed publicly & the committee won’t say if she was appearing voluntarily,” he notes.

READ MORE: ‘Lowest Common Denominator’: Trump Refuses to Denounce White Supremacist He Dined With Despite Advisers’ Urgings

MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin notes, “Emmet Flood, who is representing Kellyanne Conway, also represents [former Pence chief of staff] Marc Short and Mike Pence in the 1/6 investigation. The convergence of interests between Short and Pence is clear. Whether Kellyanne shares those interests? Remains to be seen.”

Attorney George Conway, a “never Trumper” who happens to be married to Kellyanne Conway, posted a screenshot from Jonathan Lemire’s book which suggests Trump knew he had lost the 2020 presidential election.

That critical observation could prove important for prosecutors, who reportedly are already using the Committee’s work.

Conway points to a section that reads, “But off camera, [Trump] took a slightly different tone, even wondering aloud to Kellyanne Conway how he could ‘lose to fucking Joe Biden,’ in what she took as a sign that he understood, deep down, that he had been defeated, even if he was not ready to say so publicly.”

Video tweets and video above or at this link.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Lowest Common Denominator’: Trump Refuses to Denounce White Supremacist He Dined With Despite Advisers’ Urgings

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It’s been nearly a week since Donald Trump had dinner at his home at Mar-a-Lago with antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes, and yet he continues to refuse to denounce him or his extremist views.

“The former US president was urged publicly and privately to denounce Fuentes in the aftermath of the dinner,” The Guardian reports Monday.

Multiple advisers have urged Trump to denounce Fuentes, who has a long history of promoting white supremacism, but he has been “rejecting” their advice “over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said.”

READ MORE: Trump Complains the ‘Fake News Went Crazy’ With Coverage of His 2-Hour Meeting With Notorious Racist He Won’t Condemn

Fuentes, according to Trump, came to dinner at the behest of Kanye West, the former president’s invited dinner guest. He says the disgraced artist did not tell him in advance he was bringing “friends.” In addition to Fuentes, those friends reportedly include Milo Yiannopoulos, who has advocated for older men having sex with young teen boys, and Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno, who was reportedly involved in a pay-for-pardon scheme.

West has also been increasingly viewed as antisemitic, especially after threatening to “go death con 3 on Jewish people.” That remark “conveyed a clear violence to many who saw it,” The Times of Israel reported last month.

Trump has a long history of refusing to denounce white supremacists and white nationalists. His refusal to denounce former KKK leader David Duke, when still a presidential candidate in 2016, has become an infamously defining moment for Trump.

“I don’t know anything about David Duke,” Trump told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with ‘white supremacy’ or ‘white supremacists,’” Trump insisted. “I know nothing about white supremacists.”

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Watch: Chasten Buttigieg Says Tucker Carlson Is Focusing on ‘Hate’ After Host’s Latest Anti-Gay Attack on His Husband

“I have to look at the group,” Trump continued, when asked  he would condemn white supremacists and say he does not want their vote. “You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about?”

That’s extremely similar to Trump’s initial response when news broke he had dined with Fuentes.

Trump on his Truth Social platform described the white supremacist as someone “whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”

On MSNBC Monday morning, Politico’s Jonathan Lemire noted, “this strain of white nationalism is becoming more central to what today’s Republican Party is about.” He added that Trump is “trying to play to the lowest common denominator to try and keep some supporters in check.”

Fuentes is not just a white supremacist, a white Christian nationalist, a Holocaust “denier,” and a supporter of authoritarianism – along with holding other extremist views. He is a political commentator who has a large following and is seen as the head of a white supremacist movement. Fuentes is also the founder of the annual America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), a white nationalism alternative to the already extremist Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) last year warned Fuentes is “a white supremacist leader and organizer and podcaster who seeks to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP.”

But ADL also notes Fuentes “promoted election fraud narratives and encouraged his adherents to participate in nationwide “Stop the Steal” protests,” and “served as an organizer and speaker at many ‘Stop the Steal’ protests,” which may be yet another reason Trump has refused to denounce him.

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‘Unambiguous Felony’: Trump at Risk in IRS ‘Personal Vendetta’ Audit Investigation – Report

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According to a report from former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Epner at the Daily Beast, Donald Trump’s legal problems may be growing exponentially because there appears to be evidence he attempted to use the IRS to persecute political enemies before he lost re-election.

At issue, Epner wrote, are accusations from former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that the former president demanded the IRS look into tax returns filed by, among others, former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

According to the legal expert, there is already an investigation by the IRS inspector general into the suspicious audits of the two FBI officials, with Epner writing, “As reported earlier this summer, both Comey and McCabe were subjected to highly unusual IRS audits. The odds of an individual randomly being subjected to this type of audit are similar to being struck by lightning. For both to be the subject of special audit by happenstance is about as likely as a whale falling from the sky and landing in the middle of a mountain range.”

As he notes, there is evidence Kelly is willing to provide evidence about Trump’s illegal demand, with Epner writing that “a president who unlawfully seeks to have an individual audited is subject to up to five years in prison. The crime does not require that the IRS actually carry out the audit. The crime is completed with the mere request.”

RELATED: The coming indictment of Donald Trump will break his power: former Obama lawyer

“If Trump made this demand while he was president, that is an unambiguous felony. Section 7217 of Title 26 of the United States Code makes it a crime for the ‘President’ to ‘request, directly or indirectly, any officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service to conduct or terminate an audit or other investigation of any particular taxpayer with respect to the tax liability of such taxpayer,'” he wrote before adding, “Based on my training and experience as an Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted tax offenses, I expect that each IRS employee along the chain of command kept detailed notes and records of who ordered them to conduct the audit, and on the facts that were cited to support that audit demand. I would not be surprised if each of those IRS employees cooperated with the DOJ, with all fingers pointing in Trump’s direction.”

He concluded that “the nice thing about prosecuting tax crimes is that the crimes are very clearly delineated. Few jurors have any sympathy for people who cheat on their taxes or wrongfully sic the IRS on an individual to carry out a personal vendetta.”

You can read more here.

 

Image by Evan El Amin/Shutterstock

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