RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Experts Warn Trump Is Encouraging Violence One Day After He Announces Rally at Waco on 30th Anniversary of Siege
Early Friday evening Donald Trump announced he will hold a campaign rally in Waco on March 25, which falls during the 30th anniversary of the 51-day deadly siege in that Texas community. Barely more than 12 hours later the one-term ex-president under at least four criminal investigations posted a statement that some, including legal experts, warn is encouraging or inciting violence, or is “a call for violence,” after claiming he will be arrested on Tuesday.
For those who would like a refresher, in 1993 agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) raided the headquarters of religious cult leader David Koresh and his Branch Davidians. Armed with warrants, federal agents targeted the compound searching for stockpiled firearms. By the end of the standoff, four ATF agents and 82 Branch Davidians had been killed.
Two years later The New York Times pointed to right-wing reaction to that raid, and to the Ruby Ridge siege, as the basis for Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which the FBI called “the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history.” 168 people, including 19 children, were killed that day.
Marcy Wheeler, a well-respected journalist who writes about civil liberties and national security, Saturday morning warned: “If you want to talk about Trump inciting violence, it’s probably plenty early to point out that Trump staged a rally in Waco during the 30 year anniversary of the siege.”
READ MORE: ‘A BFD’: Legal Experts Say Judge Ordering Ex-President’s Attorney to Testify Means ‘Trump Probably Committed Crimes’
NBC News presidential historian and author of ten books, Michael Beschloss, summed it up: “So Trump is planning his first campaign rally for Waco on thirtieth anniversary of the siege where a cult leader challenged the authority of the federal government and threatened violence.”
Saturday morning, in several lengthy all-caps rage posts on his Truth Social platform, Trump claimed he was being arrested on Tuesday, and demanded his followers “protest, take our nation back!”
Retired FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi, now a well-known NBC News national security analyst, wrote: “Cult leader to hold rally where wanted cult leader refused to surrender to feds 30 years ago, killed ATF agents, and ran deadly stand-off where at least 75 died: Donald Trump will host first 2024 presidential rally in Waco.”
Former FBI Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok, who led the Bureau’s investigation of Russia’s attack on America’s 2016 presidential election and was targeted by Trump, who demanded his firing, pointed to a passage in another of Trump’s rage posts from Saturday morning, highlighting this phrase: “with no retribution.”
Trump, in his Saturday morning rage posts, offered support for the more than 1000 January 6 rioters and insurrectionists who have been arrested.
“American patriots are being arrested & held in captivity like animals, while criminals & leftist thugs are allowed to roam the streets, killing & burning with no retribution,” he wrote.
That line echoes his now-infamous speech earlier this month at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“In 2016, I declared, ‘I am your voice,’” Trump declared. “Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”
On December 19, 2020, Trump posted a now-infamous tweet, saying: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” and “Be there, will be wild!”
READ MORE: Trump’s Tuesday ‘Arrest’ Freak-Out Will Come Back to Haunt Him in Court: Legal Expert
Strzok says Saturday’s “retribution” reference is “Will be wild 2.0,” referring to Trump’s December 2020 tweet that’s widely seen as a “call to arms,” including by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
Trump’s call to arms on Twitter was interpreted as exactly that.
Many posted online that they were ready to die for Trump’s lie and wondered whether the police were willing to die defending Congress and the Vice President against Trump’s mob. pic.twitter.com/OpZa7Hzdkl
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) July 13, 2022
Legal, national security, and political experts are warning that Trump is encouraging or inciting violence, all over again.
“Trump also calls on his supporters to ‘PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!’—words that echo the language he used to encourage violence in the days leading up to the events of Jan. 6, 2021,” says Anna Bower, who writes for Lawfare Blog and has been reporting on Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis’ election fraud investigation into Trump.
“To be clear: Trump is encouraging violence,” adds Bower. “It’s a move ripped from his Jan. 6 playbook, when he told supporters at the Capitol ‘..if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.’ His conduct was contemptible then; it remains contemptible now.”
That “fight like hell” remark is echoed in another comment Trump made recently, as Strzok points out.
Responding to news five local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies are coordinating security for if and when Trump is indicted, Strzok writes:
“So if indicted, law enforcement is worried about violence from the followers of the guy telling his followers two weeks ago, ‘This is the final battle, they know it…Either they win or we win. And if they win, we no longer have a country’? This is the stuff of failed states.”
Olivia Troye, a former Dept. of Homeland Security official who also worked on national security and homeland security at the National Counterterrorism Center during the Trump administration, issued this warning: “Trump has issued a call for violence. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Republicans need to publicly rebuke this dangerous rhetoric immediately.”
Donald Moynihan, Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy professor, says, “The thing about Trump, is that you never can be sure when it all might tilt over into political violence. Because for sure, that is how some of his followers will read ‘take our nation back’ in the context of his possible arrest.”
Top national security attorney Brad Moss says: “Trump is trying to incite another mob for next week.”
Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen told The New York Post on Saturday, “Donald would have no reason to put out the statement unless he has been contacted by the [office of Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg] and advised accordingly.”
“Donald’s post is eerily similar to his battle cry prior to the January 6th insurrection; including calling for protest,” he added. “By doing so, Donald is hoping to rile his base, witness another violent clash on his behalf and profit from it by soliciting contributions.”
Author and political commentator Jared Yates Sexton, who covered the Trump 2016 campaign and hosts a live weekly podcast, issued this warning:
“For everyone who has spent years now trying to argue that Donald Trump isn’t a fascist or a demagogue, open your eyes. Facing indictment he’s calling for unrest and violence. Exactly as he did when he was soundly beaten in an election. We’re in this thing. Time to get serious.”
UPDATE: March 19, 10:42 AM –
Attorney, MSNBC/NBC News anchor and legal analyst Katie Phang says an email from “Alvin Bragg to his office reflects that Trump’s Truth Social post was interpreted as a threat.”
This email from Alvin Bragg to his office reflects that Trump’s Truth Social post was interpreted as a threat.
Because it *was* a threat. https://t.co/gDZ6AdMTjV
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) March 19, 2023
Image: Hunter Crenian / Shutterstock
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Troubling Questions’: Experts Slam Ginni Thomas’ Group That Waged Cultural War Against the Left via Web of Dark Money Orgs
Legal experts are responding to bombshell reporting from The Washington Post revealing Ginni Thomas, the spouse of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House and Oval Office, for years headed a secretive right-wing activist organization funded through a web of dark money groups, whose purpose was to wage a culture war against the left.
The Post reports the organization, Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty, took in nearly $600,000 in anonymous funds to fuel its efforts to battle “cultural Marxism,” as Ginni Thomas, who headed the group, called their mission.
Thomas had stepped away from her previous non-profit right-wing activist group “amid concerns that it created potential conflicts for her husband on hot-button issues before the court,” The Post says, and yet, she led Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty, which creates the same concerns. Where is the money coming from? What is the group doing with it? How much crossover is there between her activism and the group’s targets and efforts, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ work?
According to The Post, in tax filings of its think tank sponsor, Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty is described as an “informal, unincorporated nonprofit association which serves as an incubator for ideas across a network of conservative leaders, cultural entrepreneurs, and cultural influences.”
READ MORE: ‘Heist’: Ginni Thomas Tells J6 Committee Election Was Stolen, Says She Never Discussed Efforts to Overturn With Spouse
It appears great efforts were made to ensure the donors to Thomas’ Crowdsourcers group would not be able to be publicly identified.
“In 2019, anonymous donors gave the think tank Capital Research Center, or CRC, $596,000 that was designated for Crowdsourcers, according to tax filings and audits the think tank submitted to state regulators. The majority of that money, $400,000, was routed through yet another nonprofit, Donors Trust, according to that organization’s tax filings. Donors Trust is a fund that receives money from wealthy donors whose identities are not disclosed and steers it toward conservative causes,” The Post explains.
Thomas, who is reportedly active in another secretive far-right wing group, the Council for National Policy, brought two well-known far-right wing activists from CNP into Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty: former Trump attorney, ally, and advisor Cleta Mitchell, and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.
The New York Times last year described the Council for National Policy as an organization that “brings together old-school Republican luminaries, Christian conservatives, Tea Party activists and MAGA operatives, with more than 400 members who include leaders of organizations like the Federalist Society, the National Rifle Association and the Family Research Council.”
But despite all the obvious red flags, an attorney for Ginni Thomas, Mark Paoletta, told The Washington Post she was “proud of the work she did with Crowdsourcers, which brought together conservative leaders to discuss amplifying conservative values with respect to the battle over culture.”
READ MORE: Ginni Thomas ‘Intertwined’ With ‘Vast’ Campaign Pressuring Supreme Court to Overturn Roe: Report
“She believes Crowdsourcers identified the Left’s dominance in most cultural lanes, while conservatives were mostly funding political organizations,” Paoletta also told The Post.
“There is no plausible conflict of interest issue with respect to Justice Thomas,” he claimed.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who is also an attorney, responded to The Post’s report by mocking Paoletta’s claim there is no conflict of interest.
“Donors Trust was central to the far-right Court-packing operation, and now they pass secret donor funds to a justice’s spouse, but ‘no plausible conflict of interest’? Please.”
Sen. Whitehouse went on to explain his additional concerns.
“Plus, remember that the secrecy conduits like Donors Trust keep the *public* from knowing what’s happening, but nothing prevents the secret donor from telling the spouse or the justice, ‘Hey, that money that secretly came through to you — that’s me.'”
Adam Smith, Vice President for Democracy Initiatives at the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), observed: “Seems like the spouse of a Supreme Court Justice shouldn’t be able to hide the source of huge donations that could be from people with business before the court.”
READ MORE: Ginni Thomas’ Attempts to Influence Overturn of Election Even Wider Than Previously Known
CREW’s President, Noah Bookbinder, a former federal corruption prosecutor, adds: “Hundreds of thousands in anonymous donations to an activist group led by Ginni Thomas, spouse of a Supreme Court justice, raises all kinds of troubling questions about who could be influencing decisions that affect all of us.”
Attorney and Slate Magazine senior writer covering courts and the law, Mark Joseph Stern, pushed back against any idea the nearly $600,000 funding came from small donations.
“Ginni Thomas’ various political ventures have never had any small/grassroots donors. They have ALWAYS been funded by a handful of ultra-wealthy individuals and organizations who are very obviously trying to curry favor with her husband,” Stern said.
Former White House aide and CNN commentator Keith Boykin, also an attorney, called for Justice Thomas to recuse from certain cases: “If Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson had to recuse herself from the Harvard affirmative action case, then Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from all the cases on right-wing issues in which his activist wife, Ginni Thomas, is involved.”
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Christian Nationalist Group Working to Get Its ‘Biblical Worldview Spread Across the Nation’
Last week, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation prohibiting transgender people from using public school facilities that match their gender identity. That legislation was crafted by the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, a right-wing organization that seeks to elect “godly leaders in our nation at every level” and then use them to “restore the Judeo-Christian foundation of our nation.”
Following the signing of this legislation into law, Jason Rapert, a longtime religious-right activist and ardent Christian nationalist who founded the NACL, took a victory lap, crediting his organization for the law and celebrating its success in pushing back “against the things of the devil in our country.”
As Rapert reported, this legislation had first been proposed by Arkansas school board member David Naylor during an annual NACL meeting and then brought to the Arkansas state legislature by state Rep. Mary Bentley, who serves on the board of the NACL.
On Friday, Rapert interviewed Bentley on his “Save The Nation” program, where she celebrated the NACL’s efforts “to get our biblical worldview spread across the nation.”
“Thank goodness we’ve got some common sense left here in Arkansas,” Bentley said. “[It was because of the NACL] that we were able to get that passed as model policy and bring it forth. I just love seeing grassroots come together and school board members coming to the capitol and going to the governor’s desk and just seeing it all work and flow just exactly how we want to. So, for the folks that are supporting NACL and what we’re doing, this is what we want to do across the country.”
“This is an example of the power of the NACL’s ability with model legislation,” Rapert replied. “This was brought by one of our members, and this policy actually could be immediately adopted by school boards in every school district across this country. If the school board wanted to adopt it, this is the model that they can utilize. And in addition to that, just like you did, go and pass it for the state so that this is going to apply to all the school boards in your state.”
Rapert and Bentley agreed that Arkansas has now blazed the trail on this issue, thereby making it easier for legislatures in other states to enact the same law.
“That’s what happens when you can be a leader,” Bentley asserted. “Once you make a trail, it’s a lot easier for people to follow once you get that trail made.”
“Thank you again for being a part of the NACL,” Bentley declared. “It’s just what we need in this nation right now to have it moving forward, to get our biblical worldview spread across the nation.”
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Taking Guns Away Is Not the Answer’: Scalise Encourages Prayer After Nashville School Mass Shooting
The official line from House Republicans on Monday’s mass shooting at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville is to encourage prayer and making schools “safer,” but “taking guns away is not the answer.”
GOP Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-most powerful Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, on Tuesday encouraged prayer, waiting for more facts, and looking into mental health option, despite his record of voting against them. Six people, including three nine-year olds and three adults, were shot to death after a shooter shot through the doors of Covenant Presbyterian Elementary School.
“The first thing in any kind of tragedy I do is I pray,” Scalise told a reporter Tuesday when asked if there’s anything Congress can do to reduce gun violence and deaths. “I pray for the victims. I pray for their families.”
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) also encouraged prayer over action. “We’re not gonna fix it,” he declared point-blank, while calling for a Christian “revival.”
READ MORE: Tennessee Governor Slammed After ‘Praying’ for Nashville School Community Without Mentioning Mass Shooting
Scalise was shot in 2017 in a rare act of left-wing gun violence by a man angry at then-President Donald Trump. He and House Republicans have repeatedly used that attack to target Democrats and their policies.
“I really get angry when I see people trying to politicize it for their own personal agenda,” Scalise continued, referring to shootings, “especially when we don’t even know the facts. There are facts coming out.”
“It looks like the shooter originally went to another school that had real stronger, much stronger security and ultimately went to this school,” Scalise said, which is false. According to a CNN report, the shooter had previously “scouted” a second location but had a detailed plan and maps of The Covenant School.
“Let’s get the facts,” Scalise insisted, suggesting no action should be taken before any investigations into this shooting are complete.
The Washington Post in a continually-updated report notes, “There were more school shootings in 2022 — 46 — than in any year since at least 1999.”
It adds, “There have been 376 school shootings” since Columbine, in 1999, and, “More than 348,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine.”
But Scalise urged Americans to “work to see if there’s something that we can do to help secure schools.”
READ MORE: New WSJ Poll Is Devastating for DeSantis and His ‘Anti-Woke’ Policies
And he insisted reducing the number of guns in America, currently believed to be over 400 million – more than the total population of the country – is “not the answer.”
“We’ve talked about things that we can do, and it just seems like on the other side, all they want to do is take guns away from law abiding citizens, before they even know the facts. The first thing they talk about is taking guns away from law abiding citizens. And that’s not the answer, by the way. So why don’t we number one, keep those families in our prayers and see if there were things that were missed. Along the way, we’ve talked about the need to improve mental health in this country, and that’s been a driver of a lot of these shootings as well.”
But just last September, Scalise, along with all but one House Republican, voted against a bill that would “increase access to mental and behavioral health care.”
He also skipped a vote one week earlier on the Mental Health Justice Act of 2022.
Watch Scalise’s remarks in this clip, below or at this link.
Question: There was another terrible school shooting yesterday.. Is there anything Congress should be doing?
Scalise: First thing I do in any kind of tragedy is I pray.. pic.twitter.com/PW1r7qh2yQ
— Acyn (@Acyn) March 28, 2023
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