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WATCH: After Going Dark for 24 Hours, Greg Gianforte Calls Attack on Reporter ‘A Mistake’

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‘Last Night I Made a Mistake’

Republican Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte Wednesday night allegedly attacked a reporter hours before the polls opened Thursday. For more than 24 hours after the alleged assault (he’s been cited but there’s no legal conviction or resolution yet) Gianforte went silent, as did his campaign. All scheduled interviews, including one with “Meet the Press” were canceled. He did not post anything on Twitter or Facebook.

His campaign did manage to immediately after the attack send out a fundraising email with phrases like “fight back” and “double your impact.”

Gianforte did not even contact the reporter from The Guardian he grabbed by the neck and repeatedly punched – according to the Fox News reporter standing two feet away – to apologize. He did not offer to pay his hospital expenses, or even to just buy him a new pair of glasses. And he did not apologize for or retract the allegations in his campaign press release that were just plain false. It claimed Gianforte “attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face,” and accused the reporter of violence, saying the reporter, Ben Jacobs, “grabbed Greg’s wrist and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.” And it blamed Jacobs for the entire incident: “it’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene.”

Not until he won the election did Gianforte apologize.

As apologies go, this was among the most passive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ0uZV7GzkE

“Last night I made a mistake, and when you make a mistake, you have to own up to it,” Gianforte told his blindly cheering crowd of supporters Thursday night. “That’s the Montana way. Last night I made a mistake and I took an action that I can’t take back and I’m not proud of what happened. I should not have responded in the way that I did and for that I’m sorry.”

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes may have had the best take:

Note Gianforte never says, “I should not have hit that reporter.” He never denounces violence or says that a free press is vital to our democracy.

Instead, he “took an action.” That was a “mistake.”

The best part of his statement, which was carefully crafted and which he read aloud, was that he named the reporter.

“I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that I’m sorry Mr. Ben Jacobs,” Gianforte said. “That’s not the person I am, and that’s not the way I’ll lead in this state.”

Montana voters should be thrilled to know their billionaire Congressman will not be assaulting reporters who ask basic questions about health care policy, the answers to which will dramatically affect their lives.

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DEEP STATE HYSTERIA

Undercover Operatives Waged Sting Operation to Discredit ‘Deep State’ Officials on Trump’s Enemies List: NYT

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Undercover operatives from right wing Project Veritas worked with a former British spy trained by Betsy DeVos’ brother Erik Prince to wage a smear and sting operation to discredit “deep state” federal government officials on President Donald Trump’s enemies list while he was in office, including the National Security Advisor and FBI agents.

The New York Times broke the bombshell story, reporting that the “campaign included a planned sting operation against Mr. Trump’s national security adviser at the time, H.R. McMaster, and secret surveillance operations against F.B.I. employees, aimed at exposing anti-Trump sentiment in the bureau’s ranks.”

“The campaign,” the Times reports, “shows the obsession that some of Mr. Trump’s allies had about a shadowy ‘deep state’ trying to blunt his agenda — and the lengths that some were willing to go to try to purge the government of those believed to be disloyal to the president.”

“Central to the effort, according to interviews, was Richard Seddon, a former undercover British spy who was recruited in 2016 by the security contractor Erik Prince to train Project Veritas operatives to infiltrate trade unions, Democratic congressional campaigns and other targets. He ran field operations for Project Veritas until mid-2018.”

Last year, The New York Times reported that Mr. Seddon ran an expansive effort to gain access to the unions and campaigns and led a hiring effort that nearly tripled the number of the group’s operatives, according to interviews and deposition testimony. He trained operatives at the Prince family ranch in Wyoming.

The Times’ extensive reporting, which runs about 2700 words, does not reveal who initiated or who bankrolled the campaign.

The Times reports the operation was run out of a house that rented for $10,000 a month, and that it is not known if President Trump or his closest advisors, including family members, were aware of the operation or had anything to do with it.

“The operation against Mr. McMaster was hatched not long after an article appeared in BuzzFeed News about a private dinner in 2017. Exactly what happened during the dinner is in dispute, but the article said that Mr. McMaster had disparaged Mr. Trump by calling him an ‘idiot’ with the intelligence of a ‘kindergartner.'”

Those allegations were never proven, although they echo what some others inside the administration, like first Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, had allegedly stated.

In the end, McMaster resigned amid far right-wing attacks, but no recordings of him calling Trump an “idiot.”

Read the entire New York Times investigation here.

Image: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr 
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Newsmax Host Off Air After Online Outrage Over Antisemitic Remarks

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Newsmax TV host Grant Stinchfield will be off the air for the remainder of the week after massive outrage over his antisemitic remarks Wednesday night. Stinchfield claimed that American Jews’ “home country” is actually Israel, not the U.S., in a rant attacking President Joe Biden.

Eric Bolling, the former Fox News host who has seen his own share of controversy, in a tweet announced he will be covering for Stinchfield, which The Wrap reported.

“If you are Jewish and you are a Democrat and you are living in America today, how do you support an administration that turns its back on your home country?” Stinchfield had said, as Media Matters reported.

Outrage, especially from Americans who also identify as Jewish, was massive, as NCRM documented.

In March Stinchfield came under attack after claiming there was a “strong case” that President Joe Biden is “not really a Catholic.”

 

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CRIME

Active Duty US Marine Corps Officer Arrested for Alleged Role in January 6 Insurrection: DOJ

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The U.S. Dept. of Justice has announced the arrest of a 40-year old active duty U.S. Marine, a commissioned officer stationed at Quantico, for his alleged role in the January 6 insurrection.

Citing court documents and security camera footage, DOJ in a statement says Major Christopher Warnagiris “violently entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, after pushing through a line of police officers guarding the East Rotunda doors. Once inside, Warnagiris positioned himself in the corner of the doorway, using his body to keep the door open and pull others inside. When a U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officer tried to pull the doors shut, Warnagiris refused and continued pushing it open. Warnagiris can be seen pushing the officer in an effort to maintain his position in the open door in security camera footage and publicly available video footage captured shortly after 2:25 p.m.”

Warnagiris “is charged with federal offenses that include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder; and obstruction of justice, among other charges. Warnagiris will make his initial court appearance today at 2:00 p.m. in the Eastern District of Virginia,” the DOJ said.

HuffPost senior justice reporter Ryan J. Reilly adds:

On Wednesday several Republican members of Congress stated: “There was no insurrection. To call it an insurrection is a bold-faced lie,” the insurrectionists were merely “peaceful protestors,” and the attack on the U.S. Capitol looked like “a normal tourist visit.”

 

Image: DOJ

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