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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Video Appears to Expose Christian Nationalist Republican Lawmaker’s Participation in January 6 Insurrection

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Doug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator and promoter of former President Donald Trump’s false stolen-election claims, is facing a fresh wave of criticism after evidence emerged challenging Mastriano’s claims about his participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Mastriano, who describes his entry into politics as a religious mission and has portrayed resistance to pandemic-related mask mandates as a Christian duty, is positioning himself to run for governor.

Mastriano used his state senate campaign funds to charter buses to bring Trump supporters to the Capitol on Jan. 6. Mastriano has since condemned the violence at the Capitol, while claiming that “at no point” had he crossed police lines, entered the Capitol, or walked on the Capitol steps.

On Saturday, the Sedition Hunters, described by the HuffPost as an “online community that has worked to identify riot participants,” flagged footage of Mastriano on the Capitol grounds, video that has since been reviewed by other journalists. The video and images “contradict [Mastriano’s] claims that he never breached police lines and left the area before violence broke out,” HuffPost’s Josephine Harvey reported Tuesday.

The Philadelphia Inquirer published a similar analysis of the evidence, noting that it appears to show that Mastriano “stuck around longer and advanced closer to the Capitol building than he has previously acknowledged.” The footage shows Mastriano and his wife passing through police barricades being tossed aside by rioters. Other images “show the couple moving from the west side of the building—after police lines there had been breached—across the Capitol lawn toward the northeast corner with a mob that would eventually break down the barriers there, too,” the Inquirer reported Tuesday.

Pennsylvania Spotlight, an organization that investigates right-wing extremism in the state, has been examining Mastriano’s claims about the timeline of his activities on Jan. 6. It reported earlier this month that “Senator Mastriano was at the forefront of the deadly insurrection, saw the first and second attempt to breach the Capitol, and then only left not after the first few signs of violence, but after taking a few selfies with people he claims to not know.”

One of the people Mastriano posed with on Jan. 6 was former state representative Rick Saccone who posted on Facebook on Jan. 6, “We are storming the capitol,” and “Our vanguard has broken thru the barricades.” In addition to Saccone, HuffPost reported that Mastriano posed this month for a picture with Samuel Lazar, “a militant Trump supporter whose photo is included on the FBI’s Capitol riot wanted list.”

Mastriano has responded to the video evidence by smearing the investigators as “angry partisans who are so blinded by hatred for all things Donald Trump that they are distorting facts to manipulate public opinion.”

Last week, Mastriano claimed that he recently met with Trump in Trump Tower for more than an hour and said that “some months ago” Trump asked him to run for governor with a promise to campaign for him. But the next day, Trump adviser Jason Miller tweeted that Trump “has not made any endorsement or commitments yet in this race.”

Mastriano has rejected previous calls from some of his fellow legislators to resign for his participation on Jan. 6. On Wednesday, Democratic state Rep. Brian Sims, who is running for lieutenant governor, called for Mastriano’s arrest and prosecution:

After the November election was called for President Joe Biden, Mastriano used his platform as a state senator to promote the Trump campaign’s false claims of election fraud and to rail against his fellow Republican state legislators for not acting to overturn the results. He hosted a day-long “field hearing” in Gettysburg at which Trump campaign lawyers spooled out their conspiracy theories about the election. He appeared on religious-right radio programs and online prayer calls asking God to intervene and overturn the election results. Mastriano repeatedly called for “decisive action” and an end to “dithering,” language echoed by one of his bus riders who tweeted, “Truth be known about storming the capitol … we were sick and tired of DITHERING!!!”

A recent profile in the New Yorker portrayed Mastriano as the embodiment of aggressive Christian nationalism in the Republican Party, an analysis that is in keeping with Right Wing Watch’s reporting on the state senator.

 

Image: PA state Sen. Doug Mastriano (left) poses with former state Rep. Rick Saccone at U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo shared by Saccone on Facebook.)

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Put Up, Shut Up, or Flee’: Internet Cheers 1/6 Committee Subpoenas of Trump ‘Big Lie’ Lawyers Giuliani, Ellis, Powell

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The House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has just issued subpoenas to several former Trump attorneys including Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, and Boris Epshteyn. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) in a statement says they “advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results, or were in direct contact with the former President about attempts to stop the counting of electoral votes.”

Politico calls the four attorneys “key drivers of Donald Trump’s legal efforts to overturn the election, before he set his sights on Congress.”

Epshteyn served in more of a communications role but in its statement the Committee reveals he “reportedly attended meetings at the Willard Hotel in the days leading up to January 6th and had a call with former President Trump on the morning of January 6th to discuss options to delay the certification of election results in the event of Vice President Pence’s unwillingness to deny or delay the certification.

Many on social media cheered upon hearing the news.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Former Top FBI Official: ‘Concerning’ Ginni Thomas Signed Letter Saying Jan. 6 Participants ‘Have Done Nothing Wrong’

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A former top FBI official who served as Chief of the Bureau’s Counterespionage Section and led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election says it’s “concerning” that Ginni Thomas signed a letter attacking the House January 6 Select Committee.

Peter Strzok, who also led the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server and for a short time served on the Mueller Investigation, responded to Tuesday’s social media eruption over the resurfaced letter signed by Thomas, a far right wing conspiracy theorist and lobbyist who happens to be married to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

That letter calls for U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger to be expelled from the House Republican conference, which would also involve stripping them of their committee assignments.

Strzok was more focused on the current makeup of the Supreme Court, and other points of the letter which was signed in December by Thomas and more than 60 other mostly far right wing conservatives – making it a veritable who’s who of well-known extreme conservative activists including the head of an anti-LGBTQ hate group.

“Which is more concerning: That the spouse of a SC Justice recently signed a letter calling the Jan 6 Cmttee ‘an overtly partisan political persecution that brings disrespect to our country’s rule of law [and] legal harassment to private citizens who have done nothing wrong’ Or,” Strzok wrote, “The fact that the former President who encouraged those ‘private citizens who have done nothing wrong’ to violently oppose the peaceful transfer of power appointed three of nine Justices to the Supreme Court?”

More than 700 Americans have been charged in conjunction with the January 6 attack.

The letter, resurfaced by Charlie Sykes at the never-Trump media outlet The Bulwark, also claims, falsely, that the January 6 Committee is using “improperly issued subpoenas and other investigatory tactics…for the sake of political harassment and demagoguery.”

On the morning of the January 6 attack Ginni Thomas, as Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern has pointed out, expressed support for the so-called protestors, declaring “LOVE MAGA PEOPLE!!!!”

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Die-Hard MAGA Trump Supporters in Arizona Think ‘It’s Very Possible’ States Will ‘Decertify’ the 2020 Election

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Donald Trump’s most recent rally in Arizona brought many opportunities for his supporters to explain why they think the former president will be back in office any day.

Politico spoke to a few MAGA folks on the ground at the event and got their thoughts on what’s next in the Trump movement.

“I hope states decertify the election. I want to hear him say it’s over, we are ready to move on and hold a new election,” Politico cited Ray Kallatsa from Tucson. “I do think it’s possible, very possible.”

His thoughts echo those of pillow mogul Mike Lindell, who spoke to the crowd ahead of the former president. He cited QAnon language.

“Can you feel the storm building? It’s America,” he said using the allusion of “the storm” which is part of the conspiracy group’s messaging.

The storm, “refers to excessive social conflict that is predicted to occur prior to society reaching the point of ‘The Great Awakening,’ explained Murray State University.

See the photos from the event at Politico.

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