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
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.
READ MORE: Bill Barr’s Former Special Counsel John Durham to Testify in House Hearing
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.”
READ MORE: DeSantis Tells Evangelicals He Wants to ‘Improve’ Supreme Court So Justices Reflect ‘Gold Standard’ of Clarence Thomas
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.
READ MORE: ‘He’s Gonna Get Charged’: Experts Predict Obstruction and Espionage Act Charges for Trump Based on Bombshell WaPo Report
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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