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After Sending ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ to Orlando GOP House Chair Blocks LGBT Protections Bill

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Republican Committee Chairman Also Denies Pulse Was A Gay Nightclub

Powerful GOP House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions late on Tuesday blocked a bill that would have codified into law President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive orders banning discrimination against LGBT workers by federal contractors. Those protections affect about 20 percent of the nation’s workforce.

On Sunday, almost without exception, every other Republican Congressman and Senator who even acknowledged Sunday’s terror attack that targeted the LGBT community, Rep. Sessions sent a generic tweet offering his “thoughts and prayers,” without mentioning that the victims were LGBT.

He made a similar statement on his Facebook page.

Rep. Sessions, a Republican of Texas, earlier Tuesday came under fire for insisting that Pulse, the site of the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11, a horrific anti-LGBT hate crime, and our nation’s deadliest mass shooting, was somehow not a gay nightclub.

“It was a young person’s nightclub, I’m told. And there were some [LGBT ppl] there, but it was mostly Latinos,” Sessions told a reporter for the National Journal, as The Hill reported, somehow implying perhaps that Latinos can’t be LGBT.

This is the third time Republican House leadership has stopped the LGBT protections bill, whose lead sponsor, Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, happens to be gay.

The first time, the bill passed when the clock ran out, but House Leadership colluded by personally speaking with several House Republicans, convincing seven of them to change their “yea” vote to “nay,” while holding open the clock. The bill ultimately failed. They also bypassed House decorum, which would have forced those changing their votes to walk up to the clerk to make the change, but House GOP Leadership allowed them to do it electronically from their seats in an attempt to hide their names.

Democrats were so incensed they yelled, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” as the votes were changed. They vowed to defeat those who changed their votes in November.

The second time, the bill passed, but it was attached as an amendment to another bill, which failed in part because Democrats voted against it after House Republicans attached a sweeping anti-LGBT amendment.

Rep. Sessions is one of the most anti-LGBT and most conservative members of Congress.

He has repeatedly voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, voted to ban gay adoptions, voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which included LGBT protections, voted against prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation, voted to “protect” anti-same-sex marriage opinions as free speech, and voted to make a state’s definition of marriage supersede federal law on same-sex marriage.

RELATED:

Paul Ryan Changing Rules to Make Amendments From House Democrats Harder to Pass

Republican Prayed Gays Are ‘Worthy of Death’ Before Vote on Bill With LGBT Protections Amendment

Which Seven House Republicans Just Killed An LGBT Bill Supported By 7 Out Of 10 Americans?

 

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‘Just the First Step’: Trump Declares ‘Uniting Our Nation’ Means Ending All Cases Against Him

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Donald Trump, declaring his surviving Saturday’s attempted assassination a “miracle,” reportedly has changed his upcoming address to this week’s Republican National Convention to promoting “unity.” But unlike President Joe Biden’s Oval Office speech Sunday night urging America come together, the ex-president is defining national unity as everyone agreeing all legal and civil cases against him are baseless “Witch Hunts.”

Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a 20-year old registered Republican with an AR-15 style rifle unloaded eight bullets in the ex-president’s direction, causing his ear to be grazed, possibly by schraptnal or glass, while killing a 50-year old supporter at a rally in the stands behind him, Trump posted just two words to his Truth Social account: “UNITE AMERICA!”

“The former president has told multiple outlets he wants to focus on unifying the country after surviving an assassination attempt,” Rolling Stone reports. “As Trump’s allies and other prominent Republican commentators attempt to weaponize the shooting into a political cudgel against Democrats to silence criticism of Trump and his track record endorsing political violence, it may only be a matter of time before the former president slips back into his old habits.”

Monday morning, barely one hour after U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee in Florida, handed down her ruling entirely dismissing the Espionage Act/classified documents case against the ex-president, Trump expanded on his definition of unity: ending “ALL the Witch Hunts.”

RELATED: As Cannon Dismisses Trump Classified Docs Case Experts Pin Blame on Clarence Thomas

“As we move forward in Uniting our Nation after the horrific events on Saturday, this dismissal of the Lawless Indictment in Florida should be just the first step, followed quickly by the dismissal of ALL the Witch Hunts — The January 6th Hoax in Washington, D.C., the Manhattan D.A.’s Zombie Case, the New York A.G. Scam, Fake Claims about a woman I never met (a decades old photo in a line with her then husband does not count), and the Georgia ‘Perfect’ Phone Call charges. The Democrat Justice Department coordinated ALL of these Political Attacks, which are an Election Interference conspiracy against Joe Biden’s Political Opponent, ME. Let us come together to END all Weaponization of our Justice System, and Make America Great Again!”

Veteran journalist Brian J. Karem responded to Trump’s post, writing: “So much for uniting people. That didn’t last a single day.”

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) added, “I knew this mad man would soon be back. He’s incapable of unifying peanut butter and jelly. For Trump it’s always been me, me, me first (& only).”

Media columnist Justin Baragona noted, “The new Trump tone lasted a record 36 hours.”

READ MORE: Biden Channels Lincoln in Address on Trump Assassination Attempt: ‘We Are Not Enemies’

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As Cannon Dismisses Trump Classified Docs Case Experts Pin Blame on Clarence Thomas

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U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon in a 93-page opinion has dismissed the Espionage Act/classified documents case against ex-president Donald Trump, claiming Special Counsel Jack Smith’s appointment by Attorney General Merrick Garland “violates the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution.” Legal experts, calling her ruling “wrong,” say U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is to blame.

Donald Trump was indicted by a grand jury on 37 felony charges, 31 of them under the Espionage Act, in the case related to his alleged unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return hundreds of documents, many classified, some top secret, and some so secret they include the nation’s nuclear secrets.

“There’s no case any more, it’s been dismissed,” observed former U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg, a former Counselor to the U.S. Attorney General, on MSNBC. He said he is “confident” Judge Cannon’s ruling would be appealed.

Politico’s Kyle Cheney reported the bombshell news:

Other legal experts agree.

“This ruling (which is wrong six ways from Sunday) can (and will) be immediately appealed to the Eleventh Circuit,” wrote professor of law Steve Vladeck. “To me, the only question is whether the Special Counsel also asks for the case to be reassigned on remand…”

Former federal civil rights prosecutor Dr. Kristy Parker, Counsel at Protect Democracy, said: “Hard to characterize how wrong this is — at least in a world where law matters. We may not be in that world any longer.”

READ MORE: Biden Channels Lincoln in Address on Trump Assassination Attempt: ‘We Are Not Enemies’

Last month in oral arguments the argument Smith’s appointment was unlawful was made to Cannon, MSNBC’s Lisa Rubin noted Monday morning, saying that the judge appeared at the time to dismiss that claim.

“People tried this against Special Counsel Robert Muller,” MSNBC’s Ken Dilanian stressed, “and were unsuccessful and it’s really important to point out and so viewers understand there’s nothing in this opinion that speaks to the merits of this case, to the classified documents to the allegations of obstruction of justice. This is an entirely procedural issue. It’s a constitutional question. It’s whether whether the law establishing the Special Counsel violates the appointments clause, and she also actually made a ruling on a separate argument about the appropriations clause. And and she, and she’s decided that the way Congress is funding the way the Special Counsel is funded, is not appropriate either.”

Constitutional law professor and political scientist Anthony Michael Kreis described the dismissal as “Insanity.”

Noting today is also the start of the 2024 Republican National Convention, founder and Executive Director of Protect Democracy, Ian Bassin, a former Associate White House Counsel, blasted the Trump-appointed judge:

“Cannon likely thought releasing her latest gift to Trump at the opening of the RNC would help him, but changing today’s headlines to a pic reminding that Trump stole our nation’s most sensitive nat’l security docs and hid them in his bathroom may not be the gift she thinks it is.”

MSNBC legal analyst Joyce Vance, a former U.S. Attorney called Cannon’s decision, “Absolutely incredible,” while concurring the ruling will be appealed.

“That’s it,” she added. “Unless the 11th Circuit & ultimately SCOTUS disagree, Trump goes free for walking out of the White House with top secret documents. At best, this is seriously delayed. Disgusted.”

READ MORE: ‘Supposed to Be Hard’: Political Experts Explain Their Thinking on Biden and the Election

Some legal experts, including Vance, point to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ separate concurrence in the Trump immunity case as giving Judge Cannon the roadmap to come to this decision.

“This was the argument advanced by Justice Thomas in his concurrence in Trump v. US, which no other Justice signed into at the time,” Vance noted.

Professor of law Leah Litman observed, “Justice Thomas’s ‘Cannon-currence’ worked.”

Parenthetically, she explained, “In the Trump immunity case, Justice Thomas wrote separately to suggest the special counsel was unlawfully appointed; the reasoning laid out the roadmap for this (wrong) result/decision.”

“Justice Thomas strikes again,” wrote professor of law Melisa Murray. “Not only did a majority of the Court give presidents almost unfettered license in the immunity case, Justice Thomas concurred separately to question the constitutionality of the special counsel. He laid the table and Judge Cannon took a seat.”

“Surprising absolutely no one,” observed legal journalist Cristian Farias. “This is a Federalist Society pipe dream, one they could never achieve during the Mueller years. And precisely what Clarence Thomas, all alone, suggested should happen in the Trump immunity case.”

But, he added, “This is not the end.”

Read the social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

 

This article has been updated to include Professor Murray’s remarks.

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Biden Channels Lincoln in Address on Trump Assassination Attempt: ‘We Are Not Enemies’

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Echoing President Abraham Lincoln‘s first inaugural address, President Joe Biden in a rare primetime Oval Office address Sunday night told Americans “we are not enemies,” as he urged the nation to tone down political rhetoric in the wake of the assassination attempt of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump by a 20-year old registered Republican at an outdoor Trump rally in Pennsylvania one day earlier.

It was the third time in 24-hours President Biden spoke to Americans via a televised address about the shooting in which Trump’s ear was nicked, some reports say from shards of glass from his teleprompter, while the ex-president claimed it was from a bullet. The eight bullets from the gunman’s legally-purchased AR-15 rifle killed a 50-year old former volunteer fire chief who shielded his daughters with his body, and wounded two others.

“While we may disagree, we are not enemies. We’re neighbors, we’re friends, coworkers, citizens. And most importantly, we are fellow Americans. We must stand together,” President Biden reminded the nation, as he announced “the need to lower the temperature in our politics.”

Biden said the “shooting calls on all of us to take a step back.” Earlier, on Sunday afternoon in his nationally-televised remarks the President said, “We must unite as one nation. We must unite as one nation to demonstrate who we are.”

READ MORE: ‘Supposed to Be Hard’: Political Experts Explain Their Thinking on Biden and the Election

In denouncing political violence, President Biden cited some of the most critical recent examples in America.

“We can not, we must not, go down this road in America. We’ve traveled it before throughout our history,” the President warned. “Violence has never been the answer, whether it was with members of congress of both parties being targeted and shot, or a violent mob attacking the capitol on January 6th, or the brutal attack on the spouse of the former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, or information or intimidation on election officials, or the kidnapping plot against the sitting governor, or the attempted assassination on Donald Trump, there’s no place in America for this kind of violence, for any violence, ever. Period. No exceptions. We cannot allow this violence to be normalized,” Biden said resolutely.

“In America, we resolve our differences at the ballot box, that’s how we do it, at the ballot box, not with bullets,” the President also declared, as some on the right, including far-right wing websites, quickly mocked and attacked him for his speech impediment, claiming he had said, “battle box.”

Pointing to Biden’s “desire to protect democracy,” NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander Sunday night reminded that the deadly 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville was “really the motivating factor” for his decision to run for President in 2020.

Indeed, Biden has a strong record of fighting against political violence and hate. On Sunday he declared that in America, “hate must have no safe harbor,” which echoed his 2023 State of the Union Address in which he said: “There’s no place for political violence in America,” and, “We must give hate and extremism in any form no safe harbor.”

“Democracy must not be a partisan issue, it’s an American issue. Every generation of Americans has faced a moment where they have been called to protect our democracy Defend it, stand up for it. And this is our moment,” Biden had also said.

Former South Carolina Democratic Congressman Bakari Sellers judged Biden’s six-minute Sunday evening speech to be “pitch perfect. Great sharp message, tone, and leadership.”

READ MORE: Critics: Where’s Trump’s Hour-Long Press Conference With Policy Questions from Reporters?

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin called Biden’s remarks “eloquent and sobering.”

“Biden speech was eloquent and sobering. It is the time for experienced, reassuring and mature leadership. We need to be called to follow the better angels of our nature not the darkest impulses. There is nothing more important.”

“Just watched Joe Biden’s speech. He just won the election,” announced SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah.

“President Biden used the pulpit well tonight. He did what a president should do: seek to calm the country, seek to calm each of us,” declared award-winning journalist Maria Shriver.

This is an excellent speech,” rhetoric scholar and professor of communications Jennifer Mercieca wrote. “Biden is good at what scholars call the ‘priestly role of the president,’ which is when the president is called upon to speak to a nation in crisis and remind us of our values and explain why our American values will see us through hard times.”

Even Fox News’ chief political analyst Brit Hume praised President Biden’s speech Sunday night declaring his “message was just right,” as Mediate reported.

Watch clips from the President’s remarks and his full address above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

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