John Kerry Issues Historic Apology to Ex-State Department Personnel Fired During Decades of Anti-LGBT ‘Lavender Scare’
‘I Apologize to Those Who Were Impacted by the Practices of the Past’
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in one of his final official acts, has just issued a formal apology to the more than 1000 former State Dept. employees fired or otherwise forced out in the past because they were or perceived to be LGBT.Â
“In the past â€“ as far back as the 1940s, but continuing for decades â€“ the Department of State was among many public and private employers that discriminated against employees and job applicants on the basis of perceived sexual orientation, forcing some employees to resign or refusing to hire certain applicants in the first place. These actions were wrong then, just as they would be wrong today,” Secretary Kerry said in his formal statement.
Apology from @JohnKerry for past @StateDept discrimination toward employees, applicants based on sexual orientation: https://t.co/JUwsjbEPcD
â€” Department of State (@StateDept) January 9, 2017
“On behalf of the Department, I apologize to those who were impacted by the practices of the past and reaffirm the Departmentâ€™s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion for all our employees, including members of the LGBTI community.”
Washington BladeÂ international news editor Michael Lavers, first to report on Secretary Kerry’s historic apology, also notes that “U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) noted in a letter he sent to Kerry on Nov. 29 that ‘at least 1,000 people were dismissed from’ the State Department ‘for alleged homosexuality’ during the 1950s and 1960s.”
The Maryland Democrat cited the State Departmentâ€™s Bureau of Diplomatic Security that says employees â€œwere forced out . . . on the ostensible grounds that their sexual orientation rendered them vulnerable to blackmail, prone to getting caught in â€˜honey trapsâ€™ and made them security risks.â€
Cardin wrote the State Department also had a screening process to â€œprevent those who â€˜seemed like they might be gay or lesbianâ€™ from being hired.â€
The Lavender Scare, which reached its highest levels during the 1950’s, was similar to 1950’s McCarthyism. People believedÂ to be LGBT were often falsely believed to be communist sympathizers, untrustworthy, security risks, and easily blackmailed by America’s enemies.Â
The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm Donald Trump’s nominee, former ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson, to replace Secretary Kerry. It is unknown ifÂ he or the Trump administration will continue Secretary Kerry’s support for equality.
You can respond directly to Secretary Kerry by sending your comments to him on Twitter: @JohnKerry. You can also contact the U.S. Dept. of State on its website.
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Image byÂ U.S. Department of StateÂ viaÂ Flickr
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Jim Jordan Waging ‘Purely Political Attack’: Demands Bragg Testify Before Congress Over Expected Trump Indictment
In an unprecedented move House Republican Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan is demanding Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg testify before Congress over his expected indictment of Donald Trump. Bragg, officially the New York County District Attorney, is an elected official whose office was created under the New York State Constitution and does not answer to Congress.
Professor of law and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance quickly blasted Jordan’s move, saying: “what jurisdiction does Congress have over a DA elected by Manhattanites? Sure, Jordan will talk about fed’l funding, but this is a purely political attack on local gov’t.”
Earlier Monday, reacting to Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s remarks, Vance said: “It’s not up to House Republicans to review Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s conduct. It’s up to Manhattan voters. If Trump is indicted, a jury will decide whether there’s sufficient evidence to convict. The GOP continues to undercut our democratic institutions to serve Trump.”
Jordan’s letter, he writes to Bragg: “In light of the serious consequences of your actions, we expect that you will testify about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision,” according to a Fox Corp. article. The website also says it was signed by two other Republicans: House Oversight Committee Chair Jim Comer and House Committee on Administration Chair Brian Steil. None have any oversight authority on the Office of the Manhattan District Attorney.
READ MORE: Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis
“Jordan warned Bragg that if news reports of a possible Trump indictment are accurate, Bragg’s actions ‘will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the court of the 2024 presidential election,'” Fox adds.
“The legal theory underlying your reported prosecution appears to be tenuous and untested,” Jordan wrote. He also attacked former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who has testified extensively in the case before the grand jury.
Just before leaving office Trump awarded Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
According to former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson who testified publicly and privately before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, Jordan discussed pardons with the White House for Republican Members of Congress, although she says he did not ask for one himself. Jordan also defied a subpoena from the January 6 Select Committee.
In a Monday morning interview with Fox Corp.’s Harris Faulkner, Jordan falsely describes Trump’s hush money payment to adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels as “some alleged bookkeeping error.” The expected charges have neither been voted on by the grand jury nor announced.
“Charges in NY are expected to involve false business records created to conceal Trump’s payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels but there are possible charges involving manipulating property values for tax, loan & insurance advantages,” Vance also said Monday.
READ MORE: ‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime
Watch video of Jordan discussing the letter and see the letter itself below or at this link:
Jim Jordan on possible Trump indictment: “Now they come after him for some alleged bookkeeping error? You’ve gotta be kidding me!”
Fox’s Harris Faulkner: “Actually paying off Stormy Daniels as hush money, as we would call it, is not illegal in the state of New York.” pic.twitter.com/iiuNKzRuTg
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 20, 2023
#BREAKING: @Jim_Jordan, @RepJamesComer, and @RepBryanSteil Demand Communications, Documents, and Testimony from Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg. pic.twitter.com/OyIMgadaQN
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) March 20, 2023
Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis
Attorneys for Donald Trump Monday morning filed a sweeping 483-page legal motion asking a Georgia court to block any report from the Fulton County special grand jury and any evidence the grand jury may find, and to force District Attorney Fani Willis to recuse in the investigation into his unlawful attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in that state.
The Daily Beast’s Jose Pagliery first reported the filing. The Atlanta Journal Constitution also reports Trump’s attorneys have filed the motion.
Lawfare Blog’s Anna Bower, who has been covering the Fulton County case, calls the filing “mammoth.”
BREAKING: In a mammoth filing debut in Fulton County Superior Court, Trump’s legal team in Georgia is seeking to quash the report of the special purpose grand jury that investigated 2020 election interference in the state. pic.twitter.com/M9MXTejYIP
— Anna Bower (@AnnaBower) March 20, 2023
The news comes just hours after reports District Attorney Willis could be considering RICO, or conspiracy and racketeering charges against Trump.
READ MORE: ‘This Man Is a Criminal’: George Conway Busts GOP’s ‘Completely Ridiculous’ Trump Defense
This is a breaking news and developing story.
Image via Shutterstock
‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime
Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis is reportedly considering RICO charges against Donald Trump in her probe of his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, CNN reports. RICO charges are generally used when prosecuting organized crime cases.
“The reason that I am a fan of RICO is, I think jurors are very, very intelligent,” Willis had said last year about a different case. “They want to know what happened. They want to make an accurate decision about someone’s life. And so RICO is a tool that allows a prosecutor’s office and law enforcement to tell the whole story.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, a law professor and an NBC News/MSNBC contributor, Monday morning on Twitter, pointing to CNN’s report, said Willis “is seriously considering a RICO charge.” She repeated that claim on MSNBC shortly after.
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CNN reports, “Investigators have a large volume of substantial evidence related to a possible conspiracy from inside and outside the state, including recordings of phone calls, emails, text messages, documents, and testimony before a special grand jury. Their work, the source said, underscores the belief that the push to help Trump was not just a grassroots effort that originated inside the state.”
On-air Monday morning, CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, a former federal and state prosecutor, explained conspiracy, racketeering, and RICO, saying, “conspiracy” is “a loaded word. But all it really means is an agreement, a meeting of the minds between two or more people to commit a crime.”
But he added, “if we go up to racketeering, now, this is a really powerful tool the prosecutors use. What you have to do is show two things. First of all, the existence of what we call a racketeering enterprise, that can be a Mafia family, that can be a drug trafficking organization, but it could also be a corporation or a political entity, and then you have to show that they engage in what we call a pattern of racketeering activity, meaning that they committed two or more crimes in an organized fashion, which brings us to this other new piece of information. There’s a third phone call we already know about, of course, the infamous phone call to Brad Raffensperger. ‘I just want to find 11,780 votes.’ There’s also a public recording of Donald Trump talking to this investigator, Francis Watson, when he tells her, ‘when the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.'”
READ MORE: ‘Reacting to a Cult Leader’: Trump Supporters Organizing to ‘Stock Up on Weaponry’ Says GOP Adviser
“Now we know, Trump also called the former Georgia Speaker of the House asking him to convene a special session,” Honig continued. “As we know we’ve heard from some of the grand jurors special grand jurors who’ve come out, they’ve told us that they recommended indictments for more than a dozen people.”
Watch CNN’s report below or at this link.
Prosecutors in Atlanta are considering bringing RICO charges in connection with Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.@eliehonig breaks it down: pic.twitter.com/H7YXKQnus8
— CNN This Morning (@CNNThisMorning) March 20, 2023
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