The former FBI Chief of Counterespionage who headed the Hillary Clinton email probe says there is more than enough evidence to open an investigation to determine if Donald Trump may have committed a crime by taking classified materials from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, and notes it’s important to be able to prove criminal intent, which in this case would be a “slam dunk.”
“I think DOJ has to be prudent” when it investigates a former president, says Peter Strzok (photo: left), who worked at the FBI for 22 years, “there’s a great deal of care that needs to be taken [to] make sure that there’s a legitimate predication,” he said, meaning a legitimate reason to open a case.
“But look, in my mind, this is clearly beyond that threshold,” he said, given the amount of evidence against the former president.
“If you look in the past, what the FBI investigated in terms of former CIA Director John Deutsch, in terms of former national security adviser Sandy Berger, General Petraeus, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, there’s a clear path the DOJ takes when they investigate these things, and to say they want to be ‘apolitical’ in my mind, to hesitate to look at Trump isn’t apolitical it’s kind of the opposite of that.”
“This is Trump, who threw tantrums and threats and four years of behavior has caused people to back away from doing the very basic thing that the FBI should be doing. And that is, in my opinion in this face, a very clear set of facts that merit opening investigation to find out just what were the facts and circumstances surrounding this classified information that may have been found in his possession at Mar-a-Lago.”
Strzok goes on to say “the hardest thing when you look at criminal mishandling of classified information, inevitably one of the hardest things to determine is the intent of what the person was when they did it, whether they knew it was wrong, but they were trying to do it in variance with the law.”
“And when it comes to classified information, I mean, take your pick of the dozens and dozens and dozens of campaign rallies, where he led chants of ‘lock her up’ specifically because he said Hillary Clinton had classified information on her server and in our last fight, he knows that’s wrong and she should go to jail. So there is no argument for any jury for DOJ to be able to come in and play videotape after videotape after videotape of former President Trump saying having unauthorized retention of classified information is against the law. It is a slam dunk argument when it comes to trying to establish what he knew was and wasn’t against the law.”
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
In Trump’s ‘Special Master’ Appeal 2 of 3 Judges Are Ones He Appointed – and Both Previously Ruled Against Him
Last month a three-judge panel overruled a federal judge Donald Trump not only appointed to the bench but hand-picked to hear his case surrounding the Dept. of Justice executing a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence and retrieving thousands of White House items and documents, including hundreds of classified and top secret documents.
Trump has appealed their ruling, and on Tuesday a three-judge panel at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals was selected to hear his case.
Two of the three he appointed. Both have previously ruled against him.
The judges, according to Politico’s Josh Gerstein, are William Pryor Jr. (Bush 43 appointee), Britt Grant (Trump appointee), and Andrew Brasher (Trump appointee.).
“BUT,” Gerstein stresses, “Grant & Brasher joined in earlier ruling against him on MAL,” referring to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago case against the United States of America in which he both claims he is the rightful owner of the documents because they are personal, and he declassified them all. (Both claims cannot be true.)
As The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell puts it, “Really unfortunate for Trump to have drawn 2/3 judges for oral arguments before 11th Circuit today who ruled that Cannon ‘abused her discretion’ in granting him a special master.”
Back in September a three-judge 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel temporarily blocked Judge Aileen Cannon’s ruling barring the Dept. of Justice from using about 100 classified documents. Trump had requested the court block DOJ from accessing those documents.
“We cannot discern why plaintiff [Trump] would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings,” the three-judge panel said, as Bloomberg News had reported.
As Bloomberg’s Zoe Tillman reports, in today’s trial, which begins at 2 PM ET, DOJ will argue “to free thousands of documents seized from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate from a review that’s kept them out of investigators’ hands for months.”
For those interested, oral arguments can be heard via the 11th Circuit’s government website, here.
Image via Shutterstock
Hate Crime and Murder Charges Filed Against Club Q Suspect in Anti-LGBTQ Mass Shooting
Colorado prosecutors have filed hate crime and murder charges against the suspect in Saturday night’s anti-LGBTQ mass shooting. Five people, including employees of the LGBTQ nightclub Club Q were killed, another 25 were injured. The suspect is believed to have used an AR-15 style rifle.
“Colorado court records show that Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was charged with five counts of murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury. A Colorado judge granted prosecutors’ request to seal court records related to Mr. Aldrich’s arrest until the conclusion of the investigation,” The New York Times reports.
Patrons bravely were able to subdue the suspect, hitting him with his own gun. Police arrived minutes after the first 911 call. The suspect was hospitalized and is in custody.
MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner says prosecutors have responded quickly with the bias crime charge.
“Members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community in and around Colorado Springs said Club Q had felt like a haven in a conservative city long known for anti-gay activism,” The Times adds.
“This club was a refuge for our community,” Bird Berg, 31, a produce manager at a grocery store who attended a vigil with her wife, said. “I’m completely devastated.”
Two patrons are beg hailed as heroes after disabling the suspected shooter.
“One customer took down the gunman and was assisted by another,” Matthew Haynes, one of the club owners, The Times reports separately. “He saved dozens and dozens of lives. Stopped the man cold. Everyone else was running away, and he ran toward him.”
CNN reports investigators have yet to identify the suspect’s motive. Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez says the suspect “has determined not to speak to investigators.”
Aldrich, CNN adds, “was arrested in June 2021 in connection with a bomb threat which led to a standoff at his mother’s home, according to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office at the time and his mother’s former landlord. Colorado Springs is in El Paso County.”
No charges were filed in that case.
Chief Vasquez spoke with CBS Mornings earlier today. Watch video below or at this link.
Mass Shooting Suspect Was Subdued by Patrons at Colorado LGBTQ Club Where 5 People Were Killed: Police
A man entered the LGBTQ nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, just minutes before midnight on Saturday and “immediately” began shooting before patrons bravely intervened to subdue him, police said at a Sunday morning press conference. Five people were killed and at least 18 people were injured. It was the 601st mass shooting in America this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
FBI agents are already on scene, as is the U.S. Attorney for Colorado, Cole Finegan, who appeared at Sunday morning’s press conference promising “the person who did this” will be “brought to justice.”
District Attorney Michael Allen identified the suspect as Anderson Lee Aldrich, who is hospitalized but in custody, CNN reports. A police spokesperson reported the first 911 call came in at 11:56 PM local time, and within minutes police were on the scene at Club Q, and handcuffed the suspect within two minutes of arriving.
Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said they have not yet determined if the attack on the LGBTQ club was a hate crime, but did say two guns, including a long gun, were found on the scene.
An FBI agent said the mass shooting was being investigated through the “lens” of a possible hate crime.
Club Q was to host a drag queen Sunday brunch and observe Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is today. TDOR honors and memorializes transgender people who have been murdered in transphobic attacks.
“Let’s prep for a fantastic Sunday Funday!” the Club wrote on its Facebook page. Sunday evening the club was to have “an all stars cast of our freshest faces!” and said, “We’re celebrating Transgender Day of Remembrance with a variety of gender identities and performance styles!”
After the attack, on their Facebook page Club Q wrote they are “devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our prays and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends. We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”
Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who is currently in COVID quarantine issued a statement saying, “The Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs was horrific, sickening, and devastating news to wake up to. My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this horrific shooting. I have spoken with Mayor Suthers and clarified that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs. We are eternally grateful for the brave individuals who blocked the gunman, likely saving lives in the process, and for the first responders who responded swiftly to this horrific shooting. Colorado stands with our LGTBQ Community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn.”
Researcher and political scientist Jay Ulfelder noted Sunday, “Since early 2021, the right has increasingly mobilized against the queer community, with drag shows being a particular focal point.”
Breaking my self-imposed Twitter silence to offer some context for last night’s mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. Since early 2021, the right has increasingly mobilized against the queer community, with drag shows being a particular focal point. https://t.co/D16Js24co4 pic.twitter.com/8to96lD4CT
— Jay Ulfelder (@JayUlfelder) November 20, 2022
Just hours after the mass shooting the anti-LGBTQ right-wing extremist social media account Libs of TikTok tweeted a post about a Colorado Springs organization that it says “teaches kids how to become drag queens and helps kids ‘safely experience the art of drag on stage.'”
In June the Twitter account of Libs of TikTok was temporarily “locked” over a thread attacking drag shows that allow children, claiming they “sexualize children.”
In August NPR reported that Libs of TikTok has “gained prominence and influence in right-wing circles over the last year as conservatives increasingly try to use anti-LGBTQ sentiment to gain support.”
Democratic lawmakers across the country and other public figures are speaking out and offering condolences in the wake of the mass shooting.
Sickened and horrified by the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
The LGBTQ+ community is once again the target of the most terrible violence.
And devastating attacks like these will only become more common if we don’t fight back.
It must stop.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 20, 2022
Horrendous to hear about the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. An unspeakable act. We have to protect LGBTQ lives from this hate.
— Senator John Hickenlooper (@SenatorHick) November 20, 2022
Horrible & horrific shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. My heart breaks for the victims, their loved ones, & the LGBTQ+ community. This hate-fueled, tragic gun violence destroys lives & shakes communities to their core. We must do more to combat this scourge. https://t.co/TZHY1MsNpn
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) November 20, 2022
I’m horrified by the news of last night’s shooting in Colorado Springs. On Transgender Day of Remembrance, I mourn the victims and send love to the Club Q community. We must confront hate and bigotry in all its forms and act to end our country’s shameful epidemic of gun violence.
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) November 20, 2022
Devastated to hear about the horrific shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
Today, on #TransDayofRemembrance, my prayers are with the family & friends of the victims and the entire LGBTQ+ community. We must condemn hate in all its forms.
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) November 20, 2022
Waking up to news about another mass shooting — this time in my hometown of Colorado Springs. Club Q is a place of refuge for so many, including myself. I am both devastated and infuriated.
I will be there to support any of our Colorado Springs family in any way they need. https://t.co/nKTE0jUJwV
— Leslie Herod (@leslieherod) November 20, 2022
I’m devastated to learn of the gun murders at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
How sick are we of killing after killing after killing with guns in this country?! We must fight both ingredients of the toxic mix of gun violence and hatred of queer people. https://t.co/8olnQDIrKi
— Rep. Andy Levin (@RepAndyLevin) November 20, 2022
- News2 days ago
‘Unambiguous Felony’: Trump at Risk in IRS ‘Personal Vendetta’ Audit Investigation – Report
- COMMENTARY2 days ago
Franklin Graham’s Ugly Lie Ahead of Senate Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Bill
- News2 days ago
Kellyanne Conway, Who Trump Reportedly Told He Understood He Had Lost to Biden, Testifying Before J6 Committee
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM23 hours ago
RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
‘Lowest Common Denominator’: Trump Refuses to Denounce White Supremacist He Dined With Despite Advisers’ Urgings
- ANALYSIS2 days ago
Trump, Wanting to Change News Cycle, Appears to Confess to ‘Openly and Transparently’ Taking Classified Docs
- News1 day ago
Questions Swirl Around Herschel Walker as New Report Shows His Georgia Residence Was Rented Out for Over a Decade
- News2 days ago
Republican Senator Denounces Trump’s Dinner With ‘Racist Antisemites’ – Critics Say His Claim ‘This Is Not the GOP’ Is False