RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
FBI Arrests GOP Candidate for Governor Who Was Allegedly Filmed at Capitol Shouting ‘This Is War, Baby!’
Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley was arrested by federal agents Thursday morning at his home after executing a search warrant. He is facing “misdemeanor charges related to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.”
Kelley was at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and while he has stated he did nothing illegal, video allegedly shows him shouting, “This is– this is war, baby!” according to The Detroit News:
“In June 2021, the Michigan Democratic Party promoted video footage that appeared to show Kelley shouting ‘Come on, let’s go! This is it! This is– this is war, baby!’ as he moved toward the Capitol building.”
“Come on, let’s go! This is it! This is, this is war baby!”@kelleyforgov pic.twitter.com/IrNc3Rv10M
— Michigan Tea (@MichiganTea) June 28, 2021
Kelley, who is the founder of the American Patriot Council, is opposed to vaccine requirements and promised supporters he would dissolve the state’s Dept. of Education.
He reportedly has called the state’s top Democrats, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson “felons,” and said they should be arrested.
In January, he told a crowd in Livingston County to unplug voting machines from the wall if “you see something you don’t like happening with the machine.”
The Michigan Democratic Party Chair, Lavora Barnes, in a statement said:
“Just days after their field was cut in half due to corruption and mass fraud, Republican gubernatorial candidates’ callous disregard for the principles of democracy was on full display again today as Ryan Kelley was taken into custody by the FBI following his participation in the January 6th insurrection.”
Image via Facebook
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
DeSantis Slammed by Former High-Level FBI Official After Declaring How He Would Treat Bureau’s Independence
Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is under fresh fire after launching his presidential campaign and declaring he believes the Federal Bureau of Investigation and even the U.S. Dept. of Justice are not “independent” agencies, and they should be subject to the scrutiny of the President of the United States.
After disgraced GOP President Richard Nixon left office, a virtual wall between the White House and the U.S. Dept. of Justice, including especially the FBI, was created to prevent turning the chief law enforcement agencies of the federal government into political, partisan tools to do the bidding of the nation’s chief executive and Commander-in Chief.
Days after the November, 2016 election, the Los Angeles Times reported on the “revelation that President-elect Donald Trump does not intend to seek a new investigation into Hillary Clinton,” calling it “startling,” but “not only because it seemed to reverse a campaign pledge.”
“It also suggested that Trump thinks that that’s his decision to make, reflecting an apparent lack of regard for the cherished independence of the Justice Department, which is responsible for conducting investigations without the influence or opinion of the White House.”
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“Long-standing protocol dictates that the FBI and Justice Department operate free of political influence or meddling from the White House,” The Times explained. “That’s one reason that the FBI director serves a 10-year term and does not turn over the reins as presidential administrations come and go. It also means that presidents are not supposed to supervise, initiate or stop law enforcement investigations.”
As president, Donald Trump and his attorneys general would immediately obliterate those protocols, with the then-President literally directing his AGs to acquiesce to his demands, and he would do so publicly, via Twitter.
Under President Joe Biden that wall was quickly rebuilt, with Attorney General Merrick Garland issuing a “directive restricting Justice Department contact with the White House as a firewall against potential political interference,” as USA Today reported in July of 2021.
“The order, which reaffirmed some policies of previous administrations, marks a sharp pivot from the Trump era when the former president casually broke with institutional norms, repeatedly calling on the department to launch investigations of his political rivals, including President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey.”
And now, Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to not just rescind that order, if he wins the White House, he apparently wants to direct the activities of DOJ and FBI.
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In a little-noticed portion of his rare Fox News interview Wednesday, DeSantis told former U.S. Congressman Trey Gowdy (who once was the chairman of the House Oversight Committee and thus should know better,) of his apparent plans to remake the DOJ and the FBI.
“I would not keep Chris Wray as director of the FBI. There’d be a new one on Day One. I think that’s very important,” DeSantis declared, as the right-wing National Review reported. DeSantis is ignoring the fact that Congress has mandated FBI Directors be appointed for a full ten-year term, while allowing Presidents to remove them, generally for cause.
“Under the Constitution,” The National Constitution Center wrote in March of 2017, less than two months into Trump’s term, “the FBI Director is an executive branch official and can be removed if needed. But only in one instance since 1908, after the FBI and its predecessor agency were formed, has a President removed an FBI Director from office.”
Less than two months later, on May 9, Trump became the second president to fire an FBI Director. Trump terminated Jim Comey by falsely claiming it was over how he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, by announcing to Congress he was revisiting it after obtaining a laptop that had some of her emails. (Many, including FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, and Comey himself, believe that move likely handed Trump the election.)
Now DeSantis, literally on the first day of his presidential campaign, is vowing to become the third president in history to fire an FBI Director.
“I think the DOJ and FBI have lost their way,” DeSantis continued in his Fox News interview. “I think that they’ve been weaponized against Americans who think like me and you, and I think they’ve become very partisan. Part of the reason that’s happened, Trey, is because Republican presidents have accepted the canard that the DOJ and FBI are independent.”
“They are not independent agencies. They are part of the executive branch. They answer to the elected president of the United States.”
Semafor’s David Weigel, pointing to the nascent GOP presidential candidate’s remarks, writes via Twitter, “DeSantis’s answer to Fox on why he’d fire Chris Wray = great example of how a norm fades away. D[emocratic] presidents grudgingly pick GOP FBI directors. Trump fires Comey, huge scandal, Mueller probe. DeSantis saying outright that the FBI is not ‘independent,’ president can reshape it.”
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Pete Strzok is a former Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. He led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and earlier, as chief of the FBI’s Counterespionage Section led the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server.
After being viciously targeted repeatedly by Donald Trump, Strzok was fired. He is suing for wrongful termination.
On Friday he responded to DeSantis’ remarks and Weigel’s tweet.
“ALL presidents pick GOP FBI directors. There has never been a Democrat FBI director. Ever,” Strzok tweeted.
He added he agrees with national security and civil liberties journalist Marcy Wheeler, and says, “this isn’t some norm fading away. This is a sudden assault on a generations-long norm by one man and those who support him, or seek the support of his base.”
In October of 2017, nearly one year after Trump was elected President, NPR published a report: “‘Breaching The ‘Wall’: Is The White House Encroaching On DOJ Independence?”
It includes remarks from several Democrats, weighing in on how Trump had been reshaping the White House’s relationship with DOJ and the FBI.
At the time, despite his extreme actions, Democrats generally pointed to a “perception” problem, not the legal crisis it would become.
Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, however, was more forceful.
“There has to be a wall” between DOJ and the White House, Holder told NPR. “History has shown us that when that wall is too low, that’s when Justice departments get in trouble.”
NPR also quoted Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, then the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who at a hearing in October of 2017 said: “The attorney general’s master is the people and the law.”
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Sheer Insanity’: Morning Joe Torches Trump and DeSantis for Floating Pardons for MAGA Rioters
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough called out the depravity of the two leading Republican presidential contenders for signaling they would pardon rioters who were convicted of crimes for their roles in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis have each said they would at least consider pardons for many of the insurrectionists, some of whom were sentenced to years in prison Thursday for taking part in a seditious conspiracy, and the “Morning Joe” host was appalled.
“How can you do that when one of the most grievous crimes committed in the United States this century, other than Sept. 11, happened, and you’ve got the two top Republican candidates saying, yeah, you know what we’re going to do — let the rioters go,” Scarborough said. “By the way, the question asked of Trump was not, what are you going to do for those people who were just touring the grounds on Jan. 6? The specific question was, are you going to pardon the rioters? The rioters — Donald Trump said yes. Then DeSantis follows behind, trying to play catch-up with Donald Trump instead of providing this contrast that Americans desperately want.”
Scarborough said he couldn’t really imagine a GOP contender agreeing the rioters should be prosecuted, despite their claims to the principals of law and order.
READ MORE: ‘Trump understands he’s in serious trouble here’ after new Mar-a-Lago bombshell: Morning Joe
“They bitch and whine, saying, ‘Oh, there weren’t enough prosecutions of the rioters during the [Black Lives Matter], so the answer is not to prosecute people who tried to take down the United States government?” he said. “It’s sheer insanity. If you think that maybe the Justice Department could have done a better job in 2020, the answer is not to do a lousy job in 2023. It’s to actually do better.”
Watch the video below or at this link.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Republican Complaining It’s ‘Almost Impossible’ for Straight ‘White Guys’ to Get Appointed by Biden Has History of Bigotry
A Republican U.S. Congressman complaining that President Joe Biden isn’t appointing enough straight white men to the federal judiciary has a long history of racist and anti-LGBTQ remarks.
U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI), who has spent the past three decades as an elected official, stood on the House floor Thursday to discuss what he called a new “study” that showed out of 97 judicial appointments President Biden made in his first two years in office, just five were “white guys,” and “two were gay.”
“A study was done a little while ago on the federal judiciary. I wish we had these studies for all other appointments by the Biden administration,” Rep. Grothman says. “And apparently in his first two years, President Biden had appointed 97 federal judges. Of the 97 federal judges, I was expecting maybe 25 or 30 were white guys, because I know President Biden wasn’t heavy on appointing more white guys.”
“Five of the 97 judges were white guys of those, two were gay. So almost impossible for a white guy who’s not gay apparently to get appointed,” the Wisconsin Republican lawmaker complained.
The video, posted to Twitter Thursday afternoon, has quickly gone viral, garnering 1.2 million views in just four hours.
Wisconsin’s finest Glenn Grothman is on the House floor right now complaining that Biden isn’t nominating enough straight “white guys” as judges pic.twitter.com/mdTmqiToxQ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 25, 2023
Grothman’s history of bigotry has been well-documented over the years.
“In 2010 Grothman, who believes that homosexuality is a choice, proposed banning Wisconsin public school teachers from mentioning homosexuality in sex education classes because some teachers had an ‘agenda’ to turn kids gay,” as Mother Jones reported.
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In 2015 Grothman responded to the U.S. Supreme Court decision the found same-sex couples have the same constitutional rights and responsibilities to marriage as their different-sex peers. Grothman said the Obergefell ruling, as Right Wing Watch reported, “was an affront to the Americans who died in the Civil War because it was ‘a strong religious war to further a Christian lifestyle by getting rid of slavery.'”
In 2019, he was one of 53 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who urged the U.S. Supreme Court, in writing, to rule against LGBTQ people. The lawmakers, all Republicans, said the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not – and should not be interpreted to – protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
In 2021, Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) blasted Grothman after he claimed Black Lives Matter “doesn’t like the old-fashioned family.”
On House floor, @RepGrothman mentioned Black Lives Matter:
“I know it’s a group that doesn’t like the old-fashioned family.”@StaceyPlaskett: “How dare you!” pic.twitter.com/5T6qyXeDQl
— Jason Calvi (@JasonCalvi) March 10, 2021
“If you just look up Glenn Grothman, he has a history of making remarks about ‘welfare mommas,’ just very racist remarks throughout his time,” Placket later told MSNBC.
Last year Grothman, who ran unopposed for his seat, was one of 33 House Republicans who sponsored a federal vigilante “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Back in March, all 26 Republicans on the House oversight Committee, including Grothman, refused to sign a simply two-sentence statement denouncing white supremacy.
“We, Members of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, together denounce white nationalism and white supremacy in all its forms, including the ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory. These hateful and dangerous ideologies have no place in the work of the
United States Congress or our Committee,” the statement from Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-MD) read.
Also in March Rep. Grothman was one of just eight members of the House – all Republicans – to vote to suspend normal trade relations with Russia, in response to Vladimir Putin ‘s illegal war against Ukraine.
Meanwhile, many on social media reacted to Grothman’s complaint there are not enough straight white men on the federal bench by pointing to various statistics to show the Wisconsin Congressman that the vast majority of Donald Trump’s appointees to the federal bench were straight white men.
According to Pew Research, in his four years as president, just 16% of Trump’s massive number of judicial appointees were not white. Just 24% were women.
READ MORE: ‘Manufactured MAGA Madness’: House Dems Slam GOP for ‘Running Out of Town’ to Trigger an ‘Economic Meltdown’
“Glad to see someone standing up for that repressed and beleaguered demographic,” tweeted Steve Metz, sarcastically. Metz is an author and professor of national security and strategy at the U.S. Army War College.
“Republicans are the only party brave enough to dream of an America where white men are finally given a voice on the federal judiciary,” mockingly claimed CREW’s research director Robert Maguire. Maguire posted charts showing the lack of racial and gender diversity in the nation’s federal courts.
“For the first 139 years, all federal judges were white males,” noted a Twitter user whose bio says they are an attorney. “The first woman was appointed in 1934, the first black man in 1950. Even now white males are over represented, 71% of the judiciary versus 61% of the general population. Biden is trying, but we aren’t there yet.”
Another Twitter user observed, “This is what the GOP war on Woke is all about! The GOP is terrified that their white dominance in society is eroding.”
Watch the videos of Grothman above or at this link.
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