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OPINION

‘We Are Not Going to Stand for It’: McCarthy Defends Trump – Vows to Use Jim Jordan’s Committee to Target Attorney General

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The Republican Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, barely hours after the U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed a 49-page, 37-felony count criminal indictment charging Donald Trump with violations of seven federal laws, decided to double-down on his defense of the ex-president by threatening to target the Attorney General of the United States and declaring House Republicans “are not going to stand for” the criminal prosecution of the ex-president.

McCarthy went on Fox News Friday afternoon, saying “this judgment is wrong by this DOJ. That they treated President Trump differently than they treat others. And it didn’t have to be this way. This is going to disrupt this nation because it goes to the core of equal justice for all – which is not being seen today and we are not going to stand for it.”

McCarthy, a California Republican who cobbled together a tenuous pact with far-right extremists to win his speakership on the 15th try, is incorrect on the facts.

RELATED: DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)

The Dept. of Justice does not pass judgment, the courts – in this case a jury, does. The Dept. of Justice did not treat Trump “differently,” except to give him multiple opportunities over an approximately two-year period to return national secrets he allegedly unlawfully removed, retained, and refused to return, even after being served with a subpoena and a search warrant.

What McCarthy does not do is claim Trump’s actions were legal or reasonable, because the damning indictment makes clear they are not.

Later, McCarthy took to Twitter to effectively declare he would target the Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland, who – for nearly a quarter century – served as a federal appeals court judge and chief judge before being nominated to serve at Main Justice.

(Garland was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow the confirmation to move process forward.)

“Many officials, from Secretary Hillary Clinton to then-Senator Joe Biden, handled classified info after their time in office & were never charged,” tweeted the Speaker, not just wrongly, but grossly and dishonestly characterizing the allegations against Trump.

“Now Biden’s leading political opponent is indicted—a double standard that must be investigated,” he again dishonestly declared.

READ MORE: ‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’

President Joe Biden had nothing to do with the decision of the Special Counsel to ask a Florida grand jury for an indictment. Nor was the President even told before Trump was indicted – like every American, President Biden learned of the Trump indictment through news reports. Attorney General Garland did not sign off on the decision to ask a grand jury for an indictment.

McCarthy, meanwhile, vowed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and the House Republicans “will get answers.”

“Merrick Garland: the American people elected us to conduct oversight of you. We will fulfill that obligation,” he declared.

McCarthy made those remarks atop a Friday letter from Jordan to Garland that begins: “The Biden Department of Justice is reportedly about to indict a former president and President Biden’s chief rival in the upcoming presidential election.”

“According to reports, the Department will indict President Donald Trump, despite declining to indict former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information and failing to indict President Biden for his mishandling of classified information.” (The letter does not mention former Vice President Mike Pence, who is not being charged for his mishandling of classified information.”

On Thursday a defiant and angry McCarthy, after Trump was indicted, wrote: “Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America.”

“It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him,” he said, which is egregiously false – Biden did not indict Trump, nor did his Attorney General or even Special Counsel; a grand jury of Florida citizens did.

“Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades,” McCarthy charged, which is a legitimate claim and there is a current federal investigation underway. The difference is Biden did not take the documents, did not know they were among his papers, and immediately upon learning they were, contacted the National Archives to arrange their return.

Donald Trump, we now know, according to the indictment, packed some of the boxes himself, not only refused to return the documents but hid them from the Dept. of Justice and National Archives, lied about them, and kept them at times in public areas of his Florida resort and residence.

“I, and every American who believes in the rule of law,” McCarthy wrong declared, “stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”

READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say

In response to McCarthy’s remarks, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) posted a photo from the DOJ’s indictment of Trump.

“These are the secrets that protect our troops. And Kevin McCarthy thinks it’s perfectly OK that Donald Trump stole and stored them like this,” he charged.

Watch the video and see Rep. Swalwell’s tweet above or at this link.

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OPINION

Alito’s Opinion in a 2022 Christian Flag Case Flies in the Face of His Recusal Refusal

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Even before his insurrectionist flags scandal, Justice Samuel Alito was already facing ethics questions over his refusal to recuse in other cases, his association with a billionaire businessman, and his non-disclosure of luxury travel gifts. After weeks of damning reports about flags associated with the January 6, 2021 insurrection and the “Stop the Steal” conspiracy flying over not one but two of his homes, the Bush 43-appointed jurist in an indignant letter to Senate Democrats on Wednesday again refused to recuse, this time from any cases involving the attack on the nation’s capitol, or from cases involving the instigator of those assaults on the seat of government and American democracy itself, Donald Trump.

Justice Alito’s defense in his letter boils down to this sentence: “My wife is fond of flying flags.”

In his letter, Alito wrote for the first insurrectionist flag, an inverted American flag carried by some of the criminals who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, flown over the Alito’s Virginia home just days later, he was not just unaware, he suggested he was legally unable to take it down because he co-owns the house with his wife, and she flew the flag.

RELATED: ‘Liar’: Critics Question Alito’s Integrity After His Insurrection Flag Story Disintegrates

On the second insurrectionist flag, the “Appeal to Heaven” flag, associated not only with the insurrection but with Christian nationalists and dominionists, the Supreme Court justice also defers to his spouse, because the New Jersey house it was flying over, he wrote, was purchased with his wife’s inheritance.

Alito does not end his defense there.

After explaining some of the reasons his wife, Martha-Ann Alito, chose to fly the flags, he continues his defense, writing: “I am confident that a reasonable person who is not motivated by political or ideological considerations or a desire to affect the outcome of Supreme Court cases would conclude that the events recounted above do not meet the applicable standard for recusal.”

On Thursday, journalist Chris Geidner, who writes about legal issues, declared, “Sam Alito believes you — and, perhaps, his colleagues — are stupid.”

“Alito lashed out in defiance,” Geidner wrote, detailing nine “demeaning quotes” from Alito’s letter.

But there’s another issue at play.

Justice Alito’s own opinion from a 2022 Supreme Court case, resurfaced Wednesday night by a social media user (below).

READ MORE: ‘No Moral Compass’: Legal Experts Call for Intervention After Alito Refuses to Recuse

In 2019, as NCRM reported, Liberty Counsel, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups, sued the City of Boston on behalf of its client to allow a different Christian flag to be flown at City Hall. Its client was Hal Shurtleff, the director and co-founder of Camp Constitution, a group that claims its mission is to “enhance understanding of our Judeo-Christian moral heritage,” and “the genius of our United States Constitution.”

It also says its mission is to “expose some of the abuses and perversions that have brought our nation and economy so far down.”

The case made it to the Supreme Court, and in 2022, Shurtleff won. In his concurring opinion, Justice Alito had a different take on what a reasonable person would think when seeing a flag being flown.

“As the Court rightly notes, ‘[a] passerby on Cambridge Street’ confronted with a flag flanked by government flags standing just outside the entrance of Boston’s seat of government would likely conclude that all of those flags ‘conve[y] some message on the government’s behalf.’ ”

He also noted, “The government can always disavow any messages that might be mistakenly attributed to it.”

According to Alito’s letter, no “reasonable person” who saw those two flags flying at his two homes would associate them, and the Alitos, with the insurrection, or Christian dominionism, and thus here is no need for his recusal.

In his 2022 opinion, a “passerby” would conclude the owner of the flagpole was conveying a message, but the flagpole owner could “disavow” those messages.

As Geidner notes, “Alito believes you — and, perhaps, his colleagues — are stupid.”

Clearly, many Americans, and certainly top Democrats including the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a top advocate of court reform, have equated the flying of those flags to indicate Alito’s support for the insurrection, or at least the appearance of it.

“By displaying the upside-down and ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flags outside his homes, Justice Alito actively engaged in political activity, failed to avoid the appearance of impropriety, and failed to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary,” Durbin and Whitehouse wrote. “He also created reasonable doubt about his impartiality and his ability to fairly discharge his duties in cases related to the 2020 presidential election and January 6th attack on the Capitol. His recusal in these matters is both necessary and required.”

A social media user dug up and posted the Alito opinion in the 2022 Christian flag case, eliciting this comment from professor of law and former U.S. Attorney, MSNBC’s Joyce Vance:

See the social media post above or at this link.

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

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OPINION

Speaker Johnson: Marjorie Taylor Greene Turned Me Into a ‘Mental Health Counselor’

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Mike Johnson, the Republican Speaker of the House, admitted to a local Louisiana radio station talk show that U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and some others in the GOP conference force him to spend “half” his day “as a mental health counselor.”

Appearing on KEEL’s “Mike & McCarthy” show, as Daily Mail reported, Speaker Johnson on Tuesday was asked if he and the far-right Christian nationalist congresswoman had “kissed and made up” after she tried to oust him in a dramatically failed “motion to vacate.”

“Oh good grief. You know me, I don’t I don’t carry grudges,” Johnson replied. “I don’t you know, you know, I don’t keep a record of wrongs. I went up to her right after her ridiculous tirade and said, ‘You know what, still gotta work together, Marjorie. … How about training some of that energy against the Democrats?'”

“Look. This is all gonna work out. I spend half my day as Speaker of the House and the other half as a mental health counselor,” getting everybody “through their issues.”

Daily Mail also reported that “in November, McCarthy had a piece of advice for his successor: ‘Bring in a psychiatrist for many of these members.'”

READ MORE: ‘Biggest Felony in American History’: Prosecutor’s Closing Argument Against Trump Praised

In addition to his remarks about the Georgia Republican, Speaker Johnson went after President Joe Biden.

Asked about the southern border, Johnson defended House Republicans, insisting, “we’ve been fighting since Joe Biden walked into the Oval Office and started issuing executive orders to open it wide.

That’s false, there are no executive orders “to open it wide.”

He also ignored how in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans worked for months and came together to craft a tough immigration and border security bill that was supported by President Biden, Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and senators on both sides of the aisle – until Donald Trump killed it.

Johnson appeared uninterested in working with Democrats, whom he said he told Congresswoman Greene to fight.

He also insisted House Republicans have been “fighting tooth and nail” against Democrats.

“Here’s the problem. Everybody has to remember. We have the smallest majority and only one chamber of Congress and I have a one vote margin, right,” Johnson lamented. “So I can pass things in the House. But it doesn’t mean it’s gonna become law, because the progressive Democrats run the White House and the Senate and so we sit over our legislation, we pass resolutions. We impeached Secretary Mayorkas at Department of Homeland Security. First time a Cabinet Secretary has been impeached in the history of the United States.”

That too is false. In 1876 the U.S. House of Representatives impeached Secretary of War William Belknap.

Johnson also falsely claimed President Biden and the Democrats “wanted us to not fund the government and [to] shut it down. Because they know that [would be] blamed on Republicans, it would be very painful for the American people and then that would that would make sure that we lost the House majority, the narrow majority that we have, in November.”

During Speaker Johnson’s tenure and during his predecessor’s, Democrats joined with Republicans to keep the federal government open and running, while far-right extremists, including Rep. Greene, wanted to shut it down.

One fact Speaker Johnson neglected to mention: Democrats saved his job when Congresswoman Greene tried to oust him.

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

 

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OPINION

Pence Defense of Alito’s Insurrectionist Flag Highlights Its Ties to Violent Government Overthrow

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Mike Pence is defending far-right U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, whose ethics and ability to serve on the nation’s highest court are being questioned after The New York Times revealed he had been flying a highly-controversial flag used by the January 6 insurrectionists, neo-Nazis, and a far-right neo-fascist hate group. Democrats are demanding the justice recuse himself from all cases involving Donald Trump and the 2020 presidential election, and some are also demanding his resignation or impeachment.

The former Trump Vice President, in defending Alito, may have made the situation even worse for the 74-year old jurist by highlighting the flag’s ties to revolution and the overthrow of government. In his defense Pence also encourages all Americans to fly the flag: “The ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag is part or our proud heritage of Faith and Freedom and every American should be proud to fly it,” he writes.

“The Appeal to Heaven Flag” dates back centuries, to the American Revolution, but in recent years was very clearly co-opted by the radical religious right and was seen being carried by the insurrectionists during the assault on the U.S. Capitol, some of whom who chanted, “hang Mike Pence,” as he and his family were being whisked away by Secret Service on January 6:

MSNBC columnist Sarah Posner, who for years has been writing about religion and politics, on Thursday noted, “the more one knows about the background of the flag, the more chilling its presence at [Alito’s] house becomes.”

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

Posner says the flag is “an unmistakable emblem for an influential segment of Christian nationalists who claim the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, contrary to God’s will, and that believers’ spiritual warfare is essential to restoring God’s anointed leader to his rightful office.”

“It was one of numerous Christian nationalist flags and other iconography carried by Trump supporters Jan. 6 and at the Jericho March, a series of prayer rallies that were like jet fuel for the insurrection,” Posner explains. “The Jericho March featured right-wing evangelical and Catholic speakers alongside militants such as conspiracist Alex Jones, Trump’s disgraced national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Oathkeepers founder Stewart Rhodes, now serving an 18-year prison sentence for seditious conspiracy and other crimes.”

Posner adds the flag “originated in Revolutionary times as a call to take up arms against unjust rulers who ignored the pleas of their citizens.”

Pence also refers to the Revolutionary War in his defense of Justice Alito, ignoring that the Revolutionary War was won several hundred years ago, and ignoring that a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice promoting the very concept of taking up arms against rulers, unjust or otherwise, is, as constitutional scholar and University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, Laurence Tribe wrote, “close to treason.”

Pence calls the “controversy” of Justice Alito’s flag-flying “absurd and anti-historical.” He quotes English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke, promoting his idea of the right to revolution, to replace a government.

In its Bombshell report Wednesday announcing the existence of a second Alito flag tied to the insurrectionists, The New York Times explains the Locke tie to the “Appeal to Heaven” flag.

READ MORE: Trump Adviser Scanned and Saved Contents of Box That Had Classified Docs: Report

“Since its creation during the American Revolution, the flag has carried a message of defiance: The phrase ‘appeal to heaven’ comes from the 17th-century philosopher John Locke, who wrote of a responsibility to rebel, even use violence, to overthrow unjust rule. ‘It’s a paraphrase for trial by arms,’ Anthony Grafton, a historian at Princeton University, said in an interview. ‘The main point is that there’s no appeal, there’s no one else you can ask for help or a judgment.'”

Coincidentally or not, Grafton’s “trial by arms” seems to echo Trump acolyte Rudy Giuliani’s January 6 speech in which he specifically called for “trial by combat.”

Religious studies scholar Matthew Taylor, quoted in The New York Times’ report on Alito’s “Appeal to Heaven” flag, told CBS News (video below) Christian nationalist leader Dutch Sheets “was given one of these flags and he believed that he received a prophecy when he received this flag, that it was a symbol of a revolution that would take place in America, a spiritual revolution that would reconstitute the United States as a truly Christian nation.”

He adds the “Appeal to Heaven” flag has become a “very potent symbol of Christian nationalism, Christian Trumpism, opposition to abortion, opposition to gay marriage, and the desire for a more Christian America.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump’s Bronx Rally Attendance Claim Fuels Mockery as Aerial Images Show a Different Story

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