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Former Army Lawyer Rips Trump’s Scheme to Pardon War Criminals: ‘This Makes Me Sick’

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Former U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Glenn Kirschner on Saturday ripped President Donald Trump after The New York Times reported President Donald Trump was considering pardoning war criminals.

“As a former career prosecutor, including 6 years as an Army JAG, this makes me sick,” he said.

“Please bear with me as this will take a minute: Our military criminal justice system protects the rights of soldiers accused of crimes as well as, if not better then, many civilian systems,” he noted.

“It’s rarely an easy decision to prosecute a soldier, particularly for crimes committed during a time of war or otherwise in a hostile environment. But we expect, indeed demand, that our soldiers not commit murder/war crimes/atrocities while in military service,” he explained.

“Indeed, the need to maintain good order and a cohesive fighting force requires that soldiers act in a law-abiding way even under the most difficult circumstances,” he continued. “Military commanders & prosecutors often agonize over decisions whether to charge a soldier with a criminal offese (sic).”

“This is, in part, because we recognize the sacrifices soldiers make for their country, putting their lives on the line to protect our people and our freedoms,” he said. “But when a decision ultimately is made to court-martial a soldier, the system takes great pains to insure (sic) that soldiers receive excellent legal representation & fair trials.”

“Enormous time/effort goes into investigations, prosecutions and, in the event of conviction, appeals. I know this first hand, having handled as an Army prosecutor (in both the trial courts and appellate courts) cases including murder during Operation Just Cause, espionage during Operation Desert Storm, death penalty litigation & many others,” he explained.

“Today I saw this NYT’s article that Trump is ginning up pardons of soldiers who criminally killed others, intending to use it as some sort of twisted Memorial Day celebration,” he noted. “Among the pardons reportedly being contemplated are cases involving the Blackwater security firm. Please bear with me for a moment while I relate some basic public facts about the Blackwater case. The defendants were US civilians (veterans) who were being paid to perform security services in Iraq. Multiple Blackwater employees opened fire on innocent Iraqis in what was a massacre in broad daylight. They killed 14 unarmed Iraqi citizens and injured 17 others in front of dozens of witnesses

“Some of the testifying witnesses were the defendants own Blackwater teammates,” Kirschner said. “Many of the fellow Blackwater members testified about how the defendants were in the wrong – they did not even attempt to defend their teammates, rather they described their teammates’ use of deadly force as being wholly unjustified and without provocation. Evidence at trial included how one defendant, Nicholas Slatten, called Iraqis ‘animals’ and ‘less then human.’ According to Slatten, Iraqi lives were worth ‘nothing.’”

“My former office, the DC US Attorney’s Office, prosecuted the case, obtained convictions and brought justice to the surviving victims & the families of the dead (I didn’t work on the case),” he continued. “I saw the enormous time, energy and resources that went into that prosecution It was important that the perpetrators of those horrific offenses were brought to justice. Now Trump, in a twisted, grotesque “celebration” of Memorial Day, wants to pardon these and other murderers?”

“What message is he really trying to send to the military?” Kirschner noted.

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‘Florida Goes Full Fascist’: Ron DeSantis Sparks Furious Backlash With ‘Authoritarian’ Campus Political Surveys

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Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation requiring Florida students, faculty and staff to register their political views in surveys in an effort to promote “intellectual diversity” at colleges and universities, and the measure set off backlash across social media.

Critics decried the law, which DeSantis claims will promote freedom of speech, as a “thoroughly Orwellian” attempt to gain control over academic debate at institutions of higher learning.

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Watch: Schumer Compares McConnell to Southern Segregationists for Blocking Voting Rights

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On Tuesday, following Senate Republicans’ lockstep vote to block debate on voting rights, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) gave a thunderous speech comparing Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to the southern segregationists who fought the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“Republican state legislatures across the country are engaged in the most sweeping voter suppression in 80 years,” said Schumer. “Capitalizing on and catalogued by Donald Trump’s big lie. These state governments are making it harder for younger, poorer, urban and non-white Americans to vote. Earlier today, the Republican leader told reporters that, quote, ‘Regardless of what may be happening in some states, there is no rationale for federal intervention.’ The Republican leader flatly stated that no matter what the states do to undermine our democracy — voter suppression laws, phony audits, partisan takeovers of local election boards — the Senate should not act.”

“The Republican leader uses the language and the logic of the southern senators in the ’60s who defended states rights, and it is an indefensible position for any senator, any senator, let alone the minority leader to hold,” said Schumer. “When John Lewis was about to cross that bridge in Selma, he didn’t know what waited for him on the other side. He didn’t know how long his march would be. And his ultimate success was never guaranteed. But he started down that bridge anyway. Today Democrats started our march to defend the voting rights of all Americans. It could be a long march, but it is one we are going to make.”

Watch below:

 

 

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GOP Senators Orchestrate ‘Blockade’ of Key Biden Agenda Bills: Voting Rights Bill Killed, Infrastructure in Doubt

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Republicans Tuesday evening killed debate on the For the People Act, a key component of Democrats’ agenda to protect democracy, expand and strengthen voting rights, and reduce the influence of dark money in elections. As Senators were voting on the motion to begin debate on the bill, news broke that the GOP Whip, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota had announced another critical piece of Democratic legislation, the infrastructure bill, was even further in doubt.

GOP Senators appeared to be orchestrating a complete and total shutdown of key legislation critical to President Joe Biden’s progressive agenda.

Democratic Majority Leader Schumer immediately denounced Republicans’ “blockade.”

Sen. Thune also said Republicans would oppose a slimmed down version of a voting rights bill:

60 votes were required to begin debate on the voting rights bill. The motion failed in a 50-50  vote. As voting was taking place GOP Minority Leader Mitch mcConnell could be seen huddling with other top Republican Senators including John Cornyn of Texas and John Kennedy of Louisiana.

The only option to pass the bill now would be for a simple majority of Senators agree to kill the 60-vote filibuster. Some are supporting a modification to 55 votes. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona had steadfastly refused to support killing the filibuster.

“This is a dark day in this country,” Al Sharpton said on MSNBC.

“This is a dark day for Republicans,” host Nicolle Wallace replied. “Republicans won’t just walk over norms, they will burn them down,” she told host Ari Melber during the handoff.

Voting rights expert Ari Berman weighed in, chastising the GOP:

 

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