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Dear Congressional Democrats: What the Hell Have You Been Doing?

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Is This Your Definition of Courage in The Age of Fascism?

Dear Congressional Democrats, and Senate Democrats in particular:

I’m sorry to be crass, but, what the hell have you been doing this week?

What happened to forming an opposition party? What happened to standing up for freedom and science and free speech and education and reproductive freedom and everything else you promised us?

In his first week President Donald Trump has attacked reproductive rights around the world and placed limits on the free speech rights of government employees. He and his staff have blatantly lied about voter fraud and his divestment from his businesses. His staff admitted they will never release his tax returns. 

He’s also begun the process on building the wall and placing a religious litmus test on immigration by Muslim refugees, and he’s moving forward with the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline, despite serious conflicts of interest. He’s even threatened to invade an American city. 

And what have y’all been doing in the meantime? You’ve voted to confirm his cabinet picks – even the ones who’ve said that they themselves aren’t qualified to run a federal agency. 

Is that your definition of courage in this age of fascism?

This past Saturday millions of women and allies around the world marched in favor of reproductive rights, equality, inclusion, and safety. They marched against misogyny, and fascism, and racism, and exclusion. And this week? You’ve blatantly ignored them.

Many of you have tried to justify your lack of conviction by saying that the numbers in the Senate simply don’t exist to combat Trump’s agenda. Ok, I get that we’re not going to win many votes and we’re not going to be able to block most of these nominees. I understand that. But knowing you’re not going to win the fight and not trying at all are two very different things. 

No one is keeping you silent. There are TV cameras and microphones everywhere. You’ve got Twitter, and Facebook, and email. You have points of privilege on the Senate floor and procedural tactics and more ways to make yourself heard in this debate than anyone else in the world.

You have absolutely no excuse not to speak out.

Look, the rest of us are doing the best we can out here on the streets and in the trenches, but we can’t do this without you. We’re even calling your offices every single day, but you’re not listening. We’re doing everything we can as private citizens, but it’s not enough.

I understand you think you need to play nice. I understand that you’ve convinced yourself that if you’re just a little bit nicer to the folks with power they’ll share some of it with you and you’ll be ok. You won’t be. We won’t be. History has shown that to be true.

The American people are counting on you now to stop being so timid. We want to see a politician who’s willing to stand up and say, “This is more important than re-election. I want to speak now,” and follow through.

We’ve given you an incredible opportunity, and you’re all wasting it. We’ve given you the power to represent our hopes, concerns, fears, and livelihoods and the power to act on our behalf, and you’re not doing it.

We’re counting on you to stand up and act like the leaders you’ve claimed to be. We’re looking for you to be the clarion call for all of the principles we hold dear. 

These next four years are going to be challenging and demoralizing and unlike any fight we’ve ever seen. If you give up now, you’re betraying everyone who voted for you. 

We need you. 

  

Robbie Medwed is an Atlanta-based LGBTQ activist, educator, and writer. He’ll quote The West Wing any chance he gets. He also wanted to use the “As if it matters how a man falls down” quote, but that one seemed a bit too depressing for this piece. Follow him on Twitter: @rjmedwed

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Secret Service Agents Confirm Details Hutchinson Shared About Trump Demanding to Be Taken to US Capitol Jan. 6

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Secret Service agents are coming forward to say for months after the January 6 insurrection they heard stories very similar to the account former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said she was told by a Trump loyalist and White House aide. The right-wing pro-Trump propaganda machine latched on to parts of her story in which she said she was told the outgoing president lunged at an agent, and “grabbed at” the steering wheel of the presidential limo, which on January 6 was an SUV.

Trump “angrily demanded to go to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and berated his protective detail when he didn’t get his way,” CNN reports, citing “two Secret Service sources who say they heard about the incident from multiple agents, including the driver of the presidential SUV where it occurred.”

That directly supports Hutchinson’s remarks before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack in her surprise bombshell testimony Tuesday. “The sources tell CNN that stories circulated about the incident,” CNN adds, “in the months immediately afterward the US Capitol attack and before she testified this week.”

CNN also reports that “one source, a longtime Secret Service employee, told CNN that the agents relaying the story described Trump as ‘demanding’ and that the former President said something similar to: ‘I’m the f**king President of the United States, you can’t tell me what to do.’ The source said he originally heard that kind of language was used shortly after the incident.”

Hutchinson had told the Committee a Trump aide, Anthony Ornato, had told her Trump got into the presidential limo, which was not “The Beast,” as right-wing propagandists are claiming, but an SUV, and said: “I’m the f-ing president! Take me up to the Capitol now!”

That closely echoes what agents told CNN.

RELATED: Trump Declares Hutchinson ‘Totally Discredited’ as Former Aide Says Someone in His Orbit Tried to Influence Her Testimony

“The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel,” Hutchinson also told the Committee, citing Ornato as her source. “Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going the Capitol.’”

“Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel,” Hutchinson then added. “When Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicle.”

Watch CNN’s report from Friday below or at this link:

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Biden Blasts ‘Extremist’ Supreme Court and Promises to Protect Women Traveling Across State Lines to Obtain an Abortion

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Calling the U.S. Supreme Court “extremist,” President Joe Biden held a virtual roundtable with nine Democratic governors Friday afternoon to discuss options in the wake of six conservative justices stripping the civil right of abortion from Americans. Biden promised he will protect women traveling across state lines to obtain an abortion and will protect women’s rights to FDA-approved abortion drugs.

The President, fresh off his NATO trip, called the Court overturning Roe v. Wade a “terrible extreme decision in my view, upending lives and impacting on the health and safety of millions of women.”

“I share the public outrage that this extremist court has committed to moving America backwards with fewer rights, less autonomy, and politicians invading the most personal decisions,” he added, echoing remarks he made in Madrid about the Court. The President warned that “if they expand on this decision” it will impact “men as well.”

RELATED: Biden Blasts ‘Outrageous’ US Supreme Court – Calls to Change Filibuster to Codify Roe and Privacy Into Law

“As I’ve said last week, this is not over. Last week, I announced two specific actions. First, if extremist governors try to block a woman from traveling from her state that prohibits her from seeking medical help she needs to a state that provides that care the federal government will act to protect her bedrock rights through the Attorney General’s Office. Second, if states try to block a woman from getting medication the FDA has already approved and has been available for more than 20 years, my administration will act and protect that woman’s right to that medication.”

The President warned that “ultimately, Congress is going to have to act to codify Roe into federal law. But as I said yesterday, the filibuster should not stand in the way of us being able to do that. But right now, we don’t have the votes from the Senate to change the filibuster on them at the moment. That means we need two more votes.”

“The choice is clear: either elect federal senators and representatives who will codify Roe or Republicans who will elect the House and Senate will try to ban abortions nationwide. Nationwide. This is going to go one way or the other after November. So let’s remember, the reasoning of this decision has an impact much beyond Roe and to the right to privacy more generally. Justice Thomas himself said that under the reasoning of this decision that the court should reconsider marriage equality and contraception and there’s a lot at stake here.”

RELATED: ‘We Are the Christian Taliban’: White Nationalist Declares Far Right’s Goal Is Turning US Into ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Watch the president below or at this link:

 

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‘No Question’: Former Top FBI Official Says Trump World Statements Are ‘An Attempt to Intimidate a Witness’

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Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi says the messages shared by Vice-Chair Liz Cheney during Tuesday’s bombshell hearing of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack are “witness tampering.”

“There is no question in my mind that what you just read is an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it,” Figliuzzi said on MSNBC Friday afternoon about statements now reportedly sent or said to Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide and advisor to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Parts of those statements read: “He wants me to let you know he’s thinking about you,” “As long as you stay on the team and do the right thing, you’ll stay in good graces,” and, “He knows you’re loyal and you’re going to do the right thing.”

Figliuzzi said “there’s little doubt here” that those are examples of witness tampering.

“This is law school first year 101 Criminal Procedure. At the very least, DOJ now has enough to open a witness tampering investigation. We can talk about whether they would win or not, who did it or not, reasonable doubt or not, but there is no question in my mind that what you just read is an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it. When you then add that to the fact that it appears that they provided, her initial attorney to her, Cassidy Hutchinson, you now have a without a doubt, predication to open a federal witness tampering investigation.”

RELATED: Trump Declares Hutchinson ‘Totally Discredited’ as Former Aide Says Someone in His Orbit Tried to Influence Her Testimony

The Committee did not reveal who made those statements, but later reporting indicates Hutchinson conveyed both those messages to the Committee, suggesting she was the recipient.

On Thursday Politico reported that “Hutchinson told the committee she was contacted by an intermediary for Mark Meadows, according to a person familiar with her final deposition.” Meadows has since denied the allegation.

Pointing to that Politico article on Twitter, Figliuzzi on Thursday wrote: “This is witness tampering. Cassidy Hutchinson was the target. They picked the wrong young woman.”

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