RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Forty Texas Sheriffs Join Training Where They Are Taught to Resist State and Federal ‘Tyranny’
A few weeks ago, Right Wing Watch previewed a training session that Richard Mack and his Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association hosted at a resort near Houston on Feb. 27 and 27. Mack has since posted a video about the event in which he said, “If the spirit of freedom is in your room, the spirit of God is in your room, and that is exactly what happened.”
Mack was an organizer of the armed standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and federal officials in 2014. CSPOA teaches law enforcement officials that “the power of the sheriff even supersedes the powers of the President,” according to its website.
CSPOA’s promotional materials said the conference was an “official” Texas Commission on Law Enforcement “training event” and that sheriffs and other law enforcement officials would “receive credit for attendance.” In his recent video, Mack said that of about 200 attendees, more than 100 were public officials or former public officials, including sheriffs from Nevada, North Dakota, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Washington state—and about 40 from Texas.
Sheriffs “left that conference more converted to the holy cause of liberty, more engaged in the holy cause of liberty, and more dedicated to protecting the rights of the people in their individual counties,” Mack said.
One attendee, Real County Sheriff Nathan Johnson, told the John Birch Society’s New American magazine that he had refused to enforce the state’s mask mandate and he said the CSPOA helps sheriffs who “need a mechanism to thwart tyranny.”
The New American reported that some sheriffs “heard for the first time that the so-called Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2) is misinterpreted—state and county laws and superior to federal law, not the other way around, which makes the sheriff the most powerful elected official in the country.”
The New American recounted how one speaker, “noted constitutional authority and attorney KrisAnne Hall,” told Texas sheriffs that it is their duty to ignore federal gun laws. Hall is featured in the trailer for “NonCompliant,” a movie that appears to mix radical anti-government libertarianism with conservative evangelical Christianity.
Also speaking was Pam Elliot, former sheriff of Edwards County, Texas, who the Texas Observer described in a 2016 profile as prone to “power plays” and voter intimidation targeting other local officials, Democrats, and Latinos. “Edwards appears to be motivated in part by a growing far-right movement that exalts sheriffs as the last line of defense against a tyrannical government,” the Observer noted at the time.
Edwards told the New American that more sheriffs “are beginning to understand the duty of interposition.” The magazine explained:
Interposition refers to the practice of a lower official placing himself between his constituents and unlawful mandates coming from higher government authorities. For example, many states are codifying their resistance to federal overreach by legislation stating that they will not help the feds violate Americans rights with unconstitutional gun control laws, civil-asset forfeiture, mask mandates, federal control of state land, facial-recognition programs, and so on. County sheriffs are tasked with interposing at the county level.
Also on the list of speakers for the conference was neo-Confederate Christian Reconstructionist activist and funder Michael Peroutka, though he was not mentioned in the New American report.
In his post-conference video, Mack said among conference attendees and sponsors was Gary Heavin, billionaire founder of the Curves fitness chain who has produced films with right-wing messages, such as AmeriGeddon, a movie about an electromagnetic pulse attack on the U.S. in which InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones played a role.
Last month, Michigan Live reported on Michigan sheriffs’ association with CSPOA. Among “the loudest proponents of the CSPOA in Michigan” is Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf. When militia members were arrested last year in a plot to kidnap the state’s governor, Leaf suggested that they may have simply been trying to make a lawful citizens’s arrest. Michigan Live noted that months earlier, Leaf had appeared on stage with some of the same militia members during a rally opposing the governor’s pandemic-related stay-at-home order. them. Leaf also challenged the 2020 election results in Michigan in a lawsuit that was swiftly dismissed.
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing
U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) is being criticized for having the parents of a victim of the Parkland school massacre removed from a GOP-led House committee hearing on “ATF Overreach” after he deemed them “out of order” for remarks they made while a Member was speaking. Minutes later, Capital Police pinned the father to the ground in the hallway and arrested him.
“See this is, exactly what we have to avoid!” Rep. Fallon, chairing the joint hearing, angrily declared as he pointed his finger after the father, Manuel Oliver, made a remark that was inaudible. “Which is some minority of folks trying to silence dissent. Dissent shouldn’t be kryptonite.”
“There’s a decorum that should be adhered to,” Fallon, who recently refused to sign a statement denouncing white supremacy, said as he chastising Oliver.
After another, louder outburst, Fallon mockingly asked, “Is this an insurrection? So will they be held to the same — I don’t want another January 6.”
READ MORE: ‘Unlawful Incursion’: Manhattan DA Schools Jim Jordan for Demanding He Testify in Ongoing Trump Investigation
Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) responded, “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they oughta be held to the same standard, but I think they’re trying to express their frustrations.”
Angrily again, Rep. Fallon interjected.
“Whoa whoa whoa whoa,” he shouted as he banged the gavel.
“Member’s out of line,” Fallon said (incorrectly. The term is “out of order.”)
Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) on gun reform protests: “Is this an insurrection? Will they be held to the same —”
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI): “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they oughta be held to the same standard, but … they’re trying to express their frustrations.” pic.twitter.com/SFrMId1fh3
— The Recount (@therecount) March 23, 2023
Shortly thereafter, Rep. Fallon had both Manuel and Patricia Oliver removed.
“You took my son away from me!”
— Parkland parents Patricia and Manuel Oliver are removed after interrupting a House hearing on Second Amendment protections pic.twitter.com/Bjjoq9k93W
— The Recount (@therecount) March 23, 2023
ABC News reporter Will Steakin, who was in the hearing, tweeted video and said bot Manuel and Patricia Oliver “appear to leave without resistance… moments later there was a loud thud outside the hearing room and I found Manuel being pinned to the ground by multiple officers.”
Video of Manuel and Patrica Oliver being removed from the hearing at direction of GOP Chair Rep. Pat Fallon
Both appear to leave without resistance… moments later there was a loud thud outside the hearing room and I found Manuel being pinned to the ground by multiple officers: https://t.co/ZebugeU98Z pic.twitter.com/zdpfPGHjDn
— Will Steakin (@wsteaks) March 23, 2023
“Manuel Oliver, the father of a 17-year-old Parkland shooting victim, was arrested Thursday on Capitol Hill after he appeared to shout at a Republican lawmaker who was speaking during a hearing on gun regulations,” NBC News reports. Patricia Oliver, his wife and the mother of their 17-year old son, Joaquin Oliver, who was one of 17 people who died in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, was not arrested.
READ MORE: ‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
On social media critics expressed anger at Fallon.
“Rep. Pat Fallon (R) thinks parents of slaughtered children should just sit down & shut up as Republicans maintain outrageously dangerous gun laws. He had this parent expelled rather than just giving a warning, which is the usual,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Texas Rep. Pat Fallon: You are the EXACT problem with the gun violence and why it keeps being the leading cause of death in children today,” wrote another.
According to the NIH, gun violence is the leading cause of childhood death.
Still another Twitter user blasted Fallon: “What disgraceful & despicable behavior by Representative Pat Fallon. Exercising your right to free speech is being an insurrectionist? The man lost his son. Have you no compassion? I think he has more than earned the right to be heard by Congress. Such an abuse of power.”
And one called Fallon “feckless.”
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Burn It to the Ground’: Kari Lake Undeterred After State Supreme Court Smacks Her Down
Failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake suffered a devastating blow after the state Supreme Court refused to take up her case challenging the results of her election last November, reported Newsweek on Thursday.
“Speaking at a rally organized by Turning Point Action, Charlie Kirk’s right-wing organization, Lake said: ‘They have built a house of cards in Maricopa County. I’m not just going to knock it over. I’m going to burn it to the ground,'” reported Giulia Carbonaro. “Lake shared a video of her speech, with a caption quoting her comments and a fire emoji.”
Lake is one of the only major statewide Republican candidates last year in a hotly contested race who has refused to concede her loss. She has alleged that her voters were illegally suppressed because of technical glitches with ballot tabulators in certain precincts of Maricopa County, the state’s largest population center, on Election Day.
In reality, there is no evidence of foul play, and Maricopa County election officials provided a backup method for affected ballots to be counted. Furthermore, one reason the glitch may have disproportionately affected Lake’s voters is Trump counseled voters not to mail in their ballots early, based on conspiracy theories — though Lake herself had done the opposite and asked her supporters to vote by mail.
READ MORE: Former Trump official: ‘Folks on both sides of the aisle want to see him arrested’
“Her challenge was thrown out by both Maricopa County Judge Peter Thompson and the Arizona Court of Appeals, which said Lake’s case lacked evidence that the hiccups in the county were intentionally caused by election officials to disenfranchise Lake’s supporters,” said the report. “Lake brought her case to the Arizona Supreme Court, which has declined to hear her case, but did send one of her claims back to a county judge for review. A superior court judge in Maricopa County is now reviewing Lake’s claim that the county did not follow signature verification procedures.”
On top of her litigation failures, Lake was referred to the Secretary of State’s office for investigation after she tweeted out images of what appeared to be real voter ballot signatures, which would be a violation of Arizona state law.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Trump Appeals After Judge Agrees With Special Counsel on Crime-Fraud Exception and Requires His Attorney to Testify
Donald Trump’s attorneys have appealed a ruling that requires one of his lawyers to testify before a grand jury investigating his unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return classified documents from the White House.
Attorneys for the Special Counsel “said there is evidence of a deliberate effort not to turn over all the material covered by the subpoena,” The Washington Post reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell had reportedly agreed with Special Counsel Smith that there is sufficient evidence proving Donald Trump may have committed a crime via his attorneys, and ruled his attorney must testify before a grand jury. The ruling, which was not made public, was handed down Friday night, NBC News reported Wednesday afternoon.
Judge Howell “ruled in favor of applying the ‘crime fraud’ exception to Trump’s attorney-client privilege and ordered Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran to testify before the federal grand jury.”
READ MORE: ‘On Standby’: Experts Say Manhattan Hush Money Grand Jury Delay ‘Not All That Surprising’
Trump’s attorneys have already appealed the ruling.
“People familiar with the matter said an appeals panel has already begun reviewing the decision, after Trump’s lawyers appealed,” The Washington Post adds. “The extraordinarily quick timeline suggests that the judges — all nominated by Democratic presidents — intend to rule swiftly.”
Trump could take his case all the way to the Supreme Court, but The Post says it’s “not clear he would have a much better chance of success there.”
According to an NBC News report from October, Corcoran directed another Trump attorney, Christina Bobb, to sign the letter claiming a thorough search of Mar-a-Lago had been made and all classified or “sensitive” documents had been returned. That was proven untrue after federal agents, executing a search warrant, recovered hundreds of documents with classified markings.
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