The Dept. of Justice late Sunday evening announced it is replacing its team of attorneys who have spent countless hours in the Trump administration’s long battle to get what some say is a racist citizenship question added to the 2020 Census.
Experts are weighing in, with one calling the move “ominous.”
“As will be reflected in filings tomorrow in the census-related cases, the Department of Justice is shifting these matters to a new team of Civil Division lawyers going forward,” DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement.
The New York Times quoted Justin Levitt, a former senior official in the Justice Department under President Barack Obama, who said: “There is no reason they would be taken off that case unless they saw what was coming down the road and said, ‘I won’t sign my name to that.’”
Some believe what is coming down the road is the DOJ lying to the federal courts – or that it already has.
Lawyer Luppe B. Luppen, who is a noted commentator on Twitter and writer at Yahoo News, offered up this theory:
Is it possible DOJ needed to switch lawyers in the census case because they’ve had the existing team lying to the judges and justices for months about a drop-dead date for printing the census forms, among other things, and that is about to become undeniable? Just a theory.
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) July 8, 2019
Meanwhile, renowned election law expert and law and political science professor Rick Hasen weighed in quickly:
This development is ominous.
It almost certainly means the career attorneys working for the Department of Justice refused to go along with what Trump wants to do now with the citizenship question on the census. https://t.co/sWmE0Rd4Iy
— Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) July 8, 2019
Hasen was not the only one who surmised the DOJ attorneys who had argued the case decided they could no longer do so under the circumstances.
Some legal experts say the first team was thoroughly embarrassed when President Donald Trump tweeted that reports saying the administration would abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling and not add the citizenship question to the Census were “fake,” especially since those reports were official statements from the Trump administration. The first team may have “declined to continue working on the case once it became clear they were being asked to engage in lawyering that violated their duty of candor to the court,” former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said.
“Career folks likely declined to make convoluted arguments to pacify Trump given [their] ethics obligations,” she added.
“Never heard of anything like this,” law professor and former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal said on Twitter.
ThinkProgress columnist Ian Millhiser, who wrote a book on the Supreme Court, issued this wise warning:
The thing to watch for when the new team is identified is whether any career DOJ attorneys are members of the team, or if it is all political appointees. https://t.co/Ynb2tcxqzV
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) July 8, 2019
Why is this question so critical for Trump? Because it will benefit white Republican voters and possibly reduce the number of Democratic districts in the U.S. House of Representatives, by scaring minorities – especially non-citizens – from responding to the Census.
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Watch: Chasten Buttigieg Says Tucker Carlson Is Focusing on ‘Hate’ After Host’s Latest Anti-Gay Attack on His Husband
For years Tucker Carlson has been targeting U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. The Fox News host and “propagandist” has attacked Buttigieg, the youngest and arguably one of the most popular to hold that Cabinet position, for the high price of gas, inflation, complaints against airlines – including ticket prices and flight delays, speaking out in support of women’s reproductive rights, and for allegedly working “feverishly on the equity agenda.”
All that was in just one of Tucker Carlson’s opening monologues, back in June, during which he also pushed Russian propaganda against the United States for supporting Ukraine in Vladimir’ Putin’s illegal war against the sovereign nation.
The 53-year old TV host has been accused by some of being a purveyor of white supremacist rhetoric – or even a white supremacist. “Tucker Carlson’s monologues” were mentioned in the first sentence of a New York magazine piece titled, “White Christian Nationalism ‘Is a Fundamental Threat to Democracy.’”
So it’s no surprise that Carlson’s attacks against Buttigieg are more often than not homophobic, linked to the fact that Buttigieg is gay, out, married, and a father.
Carlson has infamously attacked Secretary Buttigieg for taking family leave after he and his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, adopted twins. He said Sec. Buttigieg was trying “to figure out how to breastfeed,” and snarked, “No word on how that went.” The twins were born prematurely, and had medical issues, which the Buttigieges later revealed was RSV, and “the entire family — including Pete and Chasten — soon got it,” as The Advocate reported.
In response to Carlson’s bullying, Buttigieg praised the Biden administration for being “pro-family” by having a family leave policy for new parents. Carlson responded with sarcastic trolling, saying on Fox News, “It turns out that Buttigieg is not a dwarfish fraud whose utter mediocrity indicts the class that produced him. No, not at all.”
One year ago this month Carlson went after Sec. Buttigieg for his accurate claim that racism played a part in the design of some of the nation’s highways, including in New York.
“I’m still surprised that some people were surprised when I pointed to the fact that if a highway was built for the purpose of dividing a white and a Black neighborhood, or if an underpass was constructed such that a bus carrying mostly Black and Puerto Rican kids to a beach—or it would have been—in New York, was designed too low for it to pass by, that that obviously reflects racism that went into those design choices,” Buttigieg told The Grio’s April Ryan, The Daily Beast reported. “I don’t think we have anything to lose by confronting that simple reality.”
Buttigieg is one of “the dumbest people in the world,” Carlson declared in response to the fact that there is racism built into our roads.
“Carlson said it’s ‘obvious’ that ‘roads can’t be racist’ but that the transportation secretary ‘didn’t know it,'” The Daily Beast added, pointing to a Washington Post explainer about “historical examples of institutionalized racism,” including roads.
In January, Carlson slammed Butigieg in yet another homophobic attack, calling him an “unqualified ‘kid’ who ‘breastfeeds,’ and has no business running the agency,” Mediaite reported.
“Joe Biden hired a kid,” Carlson claimed of Buttigieg, who was 38 when Biden became President, “who had never had a real job outside McKinsey and no grounding of any kind in physical reality,” a provable lie.
The Advocate noted, “in addition to working for McKinsey, a consulting firm, Buttigieg served two terms as mayor of South Bend, Ind., and spent seven years in the U.S. Navy Reserves. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. He is a graduate of Harvard University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England.”
Carlson, who never served his country and reportedly failed his attempt to join the CIA, apparently has since learned that Buttigieg spent seven years serving in the U.S. Military, from 2009-2017. The Secretary was a Lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserve, deployed to Afghanistan, served in a counterintelligence unit, and received ten military awards.
On Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving, Carlson did serve up a dishonest, homophobic attack against Buttigieg, this time by going after his military service.
In a mocking, sarcastic slam Carlson accused Buttigieg of “hiding” his homosexuality while serving in America’s Armed Forces – something everyone knows was literally the law, under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
DADT was federal law, in effect from 1993 – 2011, in effect when Buttigieg enlisted. Buttigieg did come out during his military service, in 2015.
“After being deployed with the Navy to Afghanistan in 2014, he said he realized he could die having never been in love, and he resolved to change that. He finally came out in 2015, when he was 33,” The New York Times reported in 2019, during his presidential run.
Meanwhile, Carlson seemed to be unaware that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was the law of the land, claiming instead no one knows why Buttigieg refused to “admit” at the time he was gay – words that literally could have ended his military service.
“Pete Buttigieg, of course couldn’t pass pass up a moment like this,” referring to the mass shooting hate crime in Colorado Sprigs, Colorado last weekend during which five people were massacred at an LGBTQ nightclub during a drag event, something Carlson has repeatedly been railing against.
“It’s not like Pete Buttigieg just wants to talk about how things are going over at the Transportation Department, which he supposedly runs – short answer, not well,” Carlson claimed, serving up no proof of that.
“No, Pete Buttigieg wants to talk about identity. He always wants to talk about identity,” another provably false claim. “And the funny, ironic thing is that until just a few years ago, Buttigieg wouldn’t even admit that he was gay.”
“He hid that and then lied about it for reasons he has never been asked to explain – why not?” Carlson disingenuously asked.
“But whatever. Now he is happy to use his sexual orientation as a cudgel to bash you repeatedly in the face into submission,” Carlson continued, in what some might call an act of stochastic terrorism.
Carlson, who claimed he was a member of the “Dan White Society” in his college yearbook, this week on social media has been accused of engaging in stochastic terrorism after doubling down on his anti-LGBTQ attacks, even after the Colorado Springs Club Q mass shooting.
The Fox News host’s rant was not complete. On-screen Carlson had a tweet from Buttigieg, and read it in a mocking voice.
“Quote, here’s the latest. If you’re a politician or media figure who sets up the LGBTQ community to be hated and feared, not because any of us who ever harmed you but because you find it useful, then don’t you dare act surprised when this kind of violence follows. Don’t you dare act surprised,'” Carlson said mocking the Secretary.
“Don’t you dare,” he added. “Alright, fair enough. We won’t dare. But honestly, we were a little surprised to learn that the anti-trans shooter is himself trans,” Carlson claimed, falsely identifying the shooting suspect whose attorneys say they say they are non-binary.
“Were you surprised by that Pete Buttigieg? Now that you’re admitting you’re gay after lying about it? Since we’re talking about identity, what do you have to say about that? Well, nothing. Weirdly Pete Buttigieg hasn’t said anything, nor is he apologized for attacking other people on false pretenses.”
Tucker Carlson rips into Pete Buttigieg, saying he “hid” and “lied” about being gay for unknown reasons. Pete Buttigieg was enrolled in the military during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. pic.twitter.com/Zy9yFndDgW
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) November 24, 2022
That too is a false claim, one the right often employs.
LGBTQ people can be anti-LGBTQ, homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic, and people can be racist against their own race.
Wednesday evening, in response to Carlson’s remarks, Chasten Buttigieg posted a photo of his husband in military uniform.
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chasten) November 24, 2022
Friday morning on CNN, Chasten Buttigieg responded to Tucker Carlson’s latest attack against his husband.
“My husband served under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell which meant that he would have been discharged from the American military had he come out of the closet,” he tells CNN host Don Lemon. “I know on the clip, Tucker Carlson goes on to talk about how it seems that my husband only wants to talk about identity rather than his job. And I would just love for him to follow Secretary Pete on Twitter. You can follow along with all of the things that are happening at the Department. But remember, this kind of rhetoric is easy. It’s so easy to attack people and to go on your talk show and fire people up about something that’s not actually happening.”
“I love my husband deeply, Chasten Buttigieg continued. “I know he’s a committed public servant. And he has everyone’s best interests at heart. I just think these people again with these megaphones, they have they have a big platform and rather than focusing on real issues, people’s lives, making them better, they’ve decided to focus on hate.”
Watch the videos above and below, or at this link.
“With these mega phones, they have a big platform. Rather than focusing on real issues, people’s lives, making them better, they’ve decided to focus on hate.”@Chasten responds to recent attacks on his husband in conservative media pic.twitter.com/Mb9IMF2LIj
— CNN This Morning (@CNNThisMorning) November 25, 2022
Franklin Graham’s Extremely False Claims About the Senate’s Same-Sex Marriage Protection Bill Are Riling Up His Base
On Wednesday the U.S. Senate will begin the process of debating and likely passing the Respect for Marriage Act, bipartisan legislation that merely attempts to keep the status quo on marriage equality by requiring states to recognize all legal marriages of same-sex couples. It does not require states to allow same-sex couples to marry. Despite its sponsors extreme efforts to ensure existing religious rights are not compromised, far-right-wing Christian activist Franklin Graham is making extremely false claims about the legislation and riling up his supporters on social media.
The bill and its accompanying amendment do such a good job of protecting religious liberties that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church, has issued a statement supporting it.
“We are grateful for the continuing efforts of those who work to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” the LDS Church said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The bipartisan legislation includes two Republican U.S. Senators as original co-sponsors: Rob Portman of Ohio, and Susan Collins of Maine.
Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California is the original sponsor of the bill, and Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, also an original co-sponsor, is taking the lead for the Democrats.
A joint press release that also includes Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), states an amendment to the bill, which Republicans fought for, ensures no religious rights will be impacted.
The amendment, their statement says, “Protects all religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution or Federal law, including but not limited to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and prevents this bill from being used to diminish or repeal any such protection.”
It also “Confirms that non-profit religious organizations will not be required to provide any services, facilities, or goods for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage,” and “Guarantees that this bill may not be used to deny or alter any benefit, right, or status of an otherwise eligible person or entity – including tax-exempt status, tax treatment, grants, contracts, agreements, guarantees, educational funding, loans, scholarships, licenses, certifications, accreditations, claims, or defenses – provided that the benefit, right, or status does not arise from a marriage. For instance, a church, university, or other nonprofit’s eligibility for tax-exempt status is unrelated to marriage, so its status would not be affected by this legislation.”
Here’s how Franklin Graham characterized the legislation.
“The deceitfully named Respect for Marriage Act will be voted on by the U.S. Senate this week, as early as Wednesday,” he writes overnight to his 10 million Facebook followers.
“The bill strikes a blow at religious freedom for individuals and ministries and is really the ‘Destruction of Marriage Act,'” which is egregiously false.
“Its sponsors remarkably claim it protects religious freedom. It does not. This disastrous bill sends a message to America that if you don’t agree with the left’s definition of marriage, you are a bigot,” Graham claims, while not mentioning the bill has Republican co-sponsors and is expected to get at least ten Republicans in the Senate to vote to for it.
“Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler wrote, ‘Anyone who would redefine marriage, the most fundamental building block of society, is no conservative, no friend of the natural family, and no defender of family values.’ I ask every senator to vote NO. Please call or email your two US senators and tell them to vote NO on the Respect for Marriage Act,” he concludes.
The bill is being prioritized because the House this summer already passed a similar bill, and should Republicans take the majority it’s unlikely it would even be allowed to go to the floor for a vote, much less pass.
As NCRM reported earlier, supporters also want the Senate to act quickly, given U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has encouraged marriage equality opponents to bring cases that could allow the Court to strike down its ruling in Obergefell. As many Americans learned this summer when the Court struck down its 49-year old ruling in Roe v. Wade, laws that remain on the books can go back into effect immediately.
Graham ignores all this, leading his supporters on Facebook to respond with comments like, “It seems every day there is an attack on the Constitution, as well as principles this country was established on.”
“Democrats are the biggest threat to America and its children.”
“The left is unhinged and getting more and more radical everyday. These people are sick and they are evil doers to boot! God help us!”
“There they go again. The label the Democrats stick on one of their bills almost always turns out to be the exact opposite of what the label says. In this case the “defense of marriage act” is aimed at re-defining traditional marriage. Just more destructive garbage from the loonies.”
“Mental illness is rampant within the the democrat community and when they say in the Bible “pray for our leaders “,I am thinking it means,we pray they be touched by the Word of God and our constitution.”
‘Straight From the Fascist Playbook’: Political Experts Pan Trump’s ‘Low Energy’ Third Presidential Run Announcement
As expected, Donald Trump announced his third consecutive run for president Tuesday night, from his Florida home at Mar-a-Lago, where he unlawfully housed thousands of items taken from the White House, including hundreds of documents with classified and top secret markings.
Political experts, historians, and journalists have greatly criticized – and mocked – his speech and his attempt to re-enter the Oval Office, an attempt he reportedly is making to also evade criminal prosecution for a wide swatch of possible offenses.
“Imagine losing the popular vote in two presidential elections, being impeached twice, inciting an insurrection, facing multiple criminal investigations, leading your party to historic midterm election losses, and deciding to run for president again as a ploy to avoid indictment,” said CNN’s Keith Boykin.
Indeed, multiple reports state Trump has told advisors he is running for president in the hope it will block the Dept. of Justice from indicting him.
Trump is under at least four major criminal investigations, not to mention several criminal and civil lawsuits. In September, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) published “President Trump’s staggering record of uncharged crimes.” It includes, by category and even statute, what they say are credible accusations of “at least 56 criminal offenses,” allegedly committed only during his run for office or time in office.
Trump’s 66-minute speech was a rambling mixture of past rally remarks, grievances, and off-the-cuff comments. It was characterized as “straight from the fascist playbook,” by David Rothkopf, an international risk expert, journalist, podcaster, and frequent MSNBC guest.
“It is nationalist, racist, fear-mongering founded in lies & outrageous misstatements about his ability to address any of the problems he describes (many of which are total fabrications.) This is authoritarianism on the march,” Rothkopf warned.
Trump’s speech was filled with lies, or, as CNN’s fact-checker Daniel Dale generously tweeted, “Trump has not gotten more accurate.”
Once during a Trump press conference Huffpost’s White House correspondent, S.V. Dáte, asked the then-president if he regretted “all the lying that you’ve done to the American people?”
Tuesday night Dáte tweeted, “So, so, so, so, SO much lying.”
Former Pres. Donald Trump announces 2024 presidential bid during speech from Mar-a-Lago. @ABC‘s @Santucci compares this announcement to his previous ones: “I’m stupefied by it. To quote Donald Trump in 2015: This was ‘low energy.'” https://t.co/nE5EfaF31l pic.twitter.com/XrJ3nZJIdF
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) November 16, 2022
Conway called Trump “low energy” twice, mockingly noting that Trump “was so low-energy, it makes me wonder whether MAGA really means Make America Groggy Again.”
Echoing the “low energy” observations, Rothkopf added, “Trump is taking a new approach. He wants to bore America into white supremacist Christo-fascist authoritarianism.”
The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols, an academic specialist on international affairs including Russia and nuclear weapons, and a retired professor at the U.S. Naval War College, called Trump’s speech “a rehashing of the American carnage speech,” referring to his 2017 Inaugural Address.
But perhaps Trump’s speech was best summed up by the former president himself when he lamented, “I’m a victim. I will tell you. I’m a victim.”
Trump: Thank you. And I’m a victim. I will tell you. I’m a victim pic.twitter.com/PcOGB8x0Qr
— Acyn (@Acyn) November 16, 2022
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