Expert Warns: ‘It’s Going to Be Very Hard to Unravel’ Militant Groups’ Links to Trump
The House select committee issued another round of subpoenas to right-wing militant groups and their leaders, and an NBC News reporter who covers extremism explained what that means for the Jan. 6 investigation.
The bipartisan panel demanded information from groups involved in violence before and during the U.S. Capitol riot, including the Oath Keepers and their leader Stewart Rhodes and the Proud Boys and their one-time leader Enrique Tarrio, and journalist Ben Collins analyzed the subpoenas on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“The third most interesting case here is is this guy called Robert Patrick Lewis, who works with this group called First Amendment Praetorian,” Collins said. “Kind of a brand-new group from last September, really got kicked up around this election fraud conspiracy, was tied to people like Mike Flynn. This guy is a veteran and has, you know, was kind of new to this organizing space but was really good at it. created a bunch of rallies before Jan. 6. He’s always had this public stance of anti-violence, but on Jan. 6, it looks like he got swept up. He said, ‘Today is the day the true battles begin.’ So these are groups that were talking about violence in the run-up to the 6th or on the 6th itself.”
The select committee is looking into whether these individuals coordinated their efforts with Donald Trump’s White House or members of Congress, but Collins said that may be difficult to prove.
“There was always this dance with them, you know, specifically with Rhodes, he said, you know, ‘The president, just as I suspected, isn’t going to tell us to go to the Capitol and take that over,’ he’s not going to do that, but the president did say, ‘Let’s all go to the Capitol, here our voices will be heard,'” Collins said.
Many of those targeted individuals used burner phones to communicate, which could impede investigators’ efforts.
“They knew what they were doing was not on the level,” Collin said. “It’s going to be very hard to unravel this. They always use encrypted communications, whether it’s things like the Signal app or back ends to get around to people. They know they’re not doing necessarily great things. It is a very difficult thing. I don’t know how this committee is going to find all this stuff out.”
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Buttigieg: Republicans Are Targeting LGBTQ People Because They ‘Don’t Want to Talk About’ Their Own ‘Radical Positions’
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg blasted Republicans attacking the LGBTQ community on Tuesday, saying the reason right-wing lawmakers have decided to target them is they don’t want to talk about their “radical positions,” including opposing President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure law and other accomplishments, like $35 insulin.
Appearing on MSNBC, Secretary Buttigieg was asked to weigh in on the Human Rights Campaign’s declaration earlier in the day, of a national emergency in the U.S. for LGBTQ people.
“We have officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year,” the organizations says on its website. “More than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record.”
HRC also published a detailed chart by state on various issues, including bans on gender-affirming care, sports participation, drag, or support for forced student outing.
And while HRC points to the more than 75 bills that have been signed into law this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says it’s currently tracking 491 anti-LGBTQ bills across the country.
READ MORE: Bill Barr Slams Trump: DOJ Not ‘Conducting a Witch Hunt’ – ‘He Jerked Them Around’ – ‘No Excuse for What He Did’
“Our country is at a very real risk of backsliding on freedom and equality but that is exactly why we continue to push. There has been extraordinary work that’s been done just in this presidency,” Buttigieg said, responding to HRC’s national emergency declaration. He specifically pointed to “the President being able to sign the Respect for Marriage Act.”
“And if you zoom out to the progress that’s been made in the last 10 or 15 years, including the ability of somebody like me to be standing here doing this job, it’s extraordinary, and yet, now you see the attacks on the LGBTQ community, especially on the trans community and what they’re going through,” Buttigieg, who is the first out gay U.S. Cabinet Secretary, told MSNBC’s Chris Jansing.
“And I think it’s being done out of the perception that it is politically convenient to target vulnerable groups. And honestly, I think where it largely comes from is folks who don’t want to talk about why they were against the infrastructure loans, building roads and bridges. They don’t want to talk about why they were against $35 insulin that the President delivered for Medicare recipients. They don’t want to explain why they were for these radical positions that speak to what those people are worried about their everyday lives.”
RELATED: ‘Can’t Take a Joke’: Mike Pence Doubles Down on His Homophobic Attack Against Pete Buttigieg (Video)
“So they’re focused on targeting some of the people who already do not have a very easy time going about everyday life,” he said.
“Think about how hard it is to be a teenager to begin with. But think about how hard it is to be a teenager when you realize that you are different when you’re coming to terms with your gender identity or you’re coming to terms with realizing that you’re gay or lesbian.”
“The last thing you need in your life are politicians trying to score political points by making things worse for you. We’re gonna stand together, whether it’s pride or just on any given day and say no, we’re going to expand, not withdraw, the freedoms and equalities we won in this country, and we’re going to build on them.”
Bill Barr Slams Trump: DOJ Not ‘Conducting a Witch Hunt’ – ‘He Jerked Them Around’ – ‘No Excuse for What He Did’
Bill Barr, once Donald Trump‘s favorite attorney general and the one who was seen as his “faithful protector and personal henchman” for his “willingness to enable Trump’s darkest impulses,” came out swinging against his former boss Tuesday, refuting his “witch hunt” claims, and saying the ex-president “jerked” DOJ around over hundreds of classified and top secret documents he refused to return.
“I think if based on the facts, as the facts come out, I think over time, people will say that this is not a case of the Department of Justice, you know, conducting a ‘witch hunt,'” Barr told CBS News Tuesday, ahead of what many believe is an impending indictment on what experts say could include charges of obstruction of justice and charges under the Espionage Act.
“In fact,” Barr continued, praising his former agency, “they approached this very delicately, with deference to the President, and this would have gotten nowhere had the President just returned the documents.”
Instead, Barr said, Trump “jerked them around for a year and a half. And the question is, did he deceive them? And if there’s evidence of that, I think people will start to see that this says more about Trump than it does the Department of Justice.”
The ex-president who is once again running to retake the Oval Office, Barr says, is “so egotistical that he has this penchant for conducting risky, reckless acts to show that he can sort of get away with it.”
READ MORE: Will Santos Choose Jail? Judge Rules Names of Persons Who Provided His Half-Million Dollar Bond Must Be Made Public
“It’s part of asserting his his, his ego, and he’s done this repeatedly at the expense of all the people who depend on him to conduct the public’s business in an honorable way. And, you know, we saw that with both impeachments, and there’s no excuse for what he did here.”
Referring to what many believe is an impending indictment over the classified documents he removed from the White House and refused to return, Barr added, “I’ve said for a while that I think this is the most dangerous legal risk facing the former president. And if I had to bet I would bet that it’s near.”
He said DOJ would not try to indict “if there’s not enough evidence, but from what I’ve seen, there’s substantial evidence there.”
But true to form, Barr also defended his former boss.
Whether what Trump’s done is “a crime or not remains to be seen,” he said, while refusing to weigh in on whether or not he thinks Trump “deceived” DOJ.
Later in the interview, Barr went full-force on supporting Trump’s claims that the Russia investigation was a hoax.
“I went into the administration halfway through, and I did it at a time where I felt he was being treated unfairly on the Russia gate thing. I thought that was, you know, turned out to be I think a big lie,” Barr said.
“And I felt that he was the duly elected president and he deserved a chance to conduct his administration. And I went in because I thought I could help stabilize things and also have the administration conducted in an appropriate way. And as I felt the idea that the election was stolen was a big lie.”
READ MORE: ‘Isn’t There a Beach in Mexico Waiting for You?’: Cruz Mocked for Claiming Garland Will Indict Trump Over SCOTUS Seat Loss
And despite it all, despite everything that has come out about Trump’s actions and alleged actions, despite the looming indictment – on top of a current indictment – Barr says if Trump is the Republican party’s nominee for president he will still support him.
“I don’t see myself not supporting the Republican candidate,” Barr said.
Taking a swing at President Joe Biden, Barr said neither the current nor the former president are “fit for the office.”
“But if I’m confronted with that choice, I have to go with policy, who’s closest to me on policy, regardless of who might be convicted of breaking the law, including on our national secrets.”
Watch a clip from the interview below or at this link.
Bill Barr on the classified documents investigation:
“This is not a case of the DOJ conducting a witch hunt…This would have gone nowhere had the president just returned the documents, but he jerked them around for a year and a half…There is no excuse for what he did here.” pic.twitter.com/dYWzauBqjo
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) June 6, 2023
‘Isn’t There a Beach in Mexico Waiting for You?’: Cruz Mocked for Claiming Garland Will Indict Trump Over SCOTUS Seat Loss
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is being roundly mocked after claiming Attorney General Merrick Garland will indict Donald Trump because he “hates” the ex-president and because he is angry his early 2016 nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court was blocked.
“They hypocrisy is massive,” Sen. Cruz declared on Fox News Monday night. “And mark my words: I believe Merrick Garland will indict Donald Trump. He wants to indict Donald Trump because he hates Donald Trump. He hates him – he’s angry – Merrick Garland is angry that he wasn’t confirmed to the Supreme Court. he wants to indict him.”
Cruz, who has a law degree from Harvard, is wrong on the basic facts, and he’s being widely mocked for it.
As many are pointing out, first, Attorney General Garland appointed Jack Smith as Special Prosecutor. Smith, who was appointed as Acting U.S. Attorney by Donald Trump in 2017, will make the decision on whether or not to present charges to a grand jury. The grand jury, not Garland and not Smith, will make the decision on whether or not to indict Trump.
Also, whether or not Garland has any anger about not being confirmed by the U.S. Senate, that anger would rightly be pointed to then Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who took the unprecedented step of refusing to even allow a committee hearing to consider his nomination.
READ MORE: Jim Jordan Demands Merrick Garland Hand Over Documents Authorizing Special Counsel’s Trump Investigation
McConnell did that in early 2016, even before Trump was the GOP’s presidential nominee. Trump had nothing to do with blocking Garland’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Cruz: Mark my words, I believe Garland will indict Donald Trump. He wants to indict Trump because he hates Trump. He’s angry that he wasn’t confirmed to the Supreme Court pic.twitter.com/fubdJlOAvt
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 6, 2023
“This is dangerous,” warned foreign policy and intelligence expert John Sipher, who spent nearly three decades in the Central Intelligence Agency’s National Clandestine Service. “He knows what he’s doing and he’s risking violence.”
After Cruz’s Fox News appearance, he posted video of his own remarks and baselessly tweeted, “Merrick Garland is the most partisan Attorney General in American history. He has corrupted the DOJ, the FBI, and the machinery of government. And now, out of nothing but a sense of hatred and political retribution, Garland is trying to indict Trump.”
Later, on Tuesday he added, “Merrick Garland has corrupted the Department of Justice and effectively turned it into an arm of the Democratic National Committee. The FBI and DOJ want to protect and insulate Joe Biden and the Biden family’s corruption.”
None of his allegations have any basis in publicly-known fact.
Cruz came under fire in 2021 after advising Trump’s legal team during the ex-president’s second impeachment, even though he would also be a juror – and supposedly impartial – in Trump’s Senate trial. In December of 2020 Cruz told Trump he would “be happy” to argue a proposed Supreme Court lawsuit designed to keep Trump in power despite having lost the election one month earlier.
Author Cliff Schecter labeled Cruz’s claims on Fox News, “Complete horses*t, which is Ted’s brand.”
READ MORE: ‘This Is It, Make No Mistake’: ‘Nihilistic Moron’ Trump Heading for Another Indictment Says George Conway
“But, if true, Garland would be doing more re his SCOTUS rejection than @tedcruz did when Trump called his wife ugly,” he added. “Ted doesn’t get why Garland wouldn’t just make hostage video phone calls for Trump’s campaign.”
Historian and author Kevin M. Kruse: “The line that ‘they’re only indicting Trump for the crimes Trump clearly did because they hate Trump’ is pathetic when it comes from Trump himself, but Jesus Christ, it is twelve kinds of sad when it comes from one of his lickspittles.”
Reporter and award-winning columnist David Lazarus noted, “Republicans keep insisting Trump is being investigated and prosecuted because people in power hate him. That’s one theory. Or Trump is being investigated and prosecuted because he kept breaking the law.”
Lincoln Project co-founder Jennifer Horn, a former New Hampshire Republican State Committee chair, blasted Cruz.
“I’m sure it has nothing to do with classified documents or inciting an insurrection,” she said, referring to the two major portions of Smith’s investigation. And referring to Cruz’s infamous exit during a state-wide crisis when he hightailed out to Cancun, she asked: “Isn’t there a beach in Mexico waiting for you?”
Watch video of Cruz above or at this link.
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