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  • How Trump Repeatedly Duped the GOP Elites
    Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s new book, in describing the end of Trump’s presidency, offers a modern tale of the definition of insanity.

    When a blockbuster nonfiction book like Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s Peril comes out, the media will typically gorge on a few juicy excerpts released before the book hits the shelves. Woodward’s longtime publisher, Simon & Schuster, is an expert at goosing sales for his books using these bursts of controversy over select revelations.

    Typically, everyone soon moves on to the next controversy of the day. But Woodward and Costa’s deeply reported book warrants more thorough discussion.

    If you listened to the hype, Peril seems like another in the parade of new books about Trump palace intrigue, bombastic personalities, behind-the-scenes controversies, disgruntled officials, and f-bomb-dropping pols. It is all that. But tucked in the book’s pages is another story—a story about how various elites kept getting duped by Trump and are setting themselves up as his stooges once again.

    Sarah Longwell, Charlie Sykes, Amanda Carpenter, and Mona Charen stop by to talk food, the dearth of Thanksgiving movies...
    Mark Esper, Trump’s second secretary of defense, is not a naïve person. Neither is Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Which makes it all the more surprising how easily Trump could break them for something as trivial as a photo op.

    After attempting to de-escalate Trump’s anger over the Black Lives Matter protests that roiled the nation in the spring of 2020, Milley and Esper found themselves desperate to contain Trump’s eagerness to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy federal troops against the protesters.

    In late May 2020, as protests arose after the killing of George Floyd, Trump pressed to have the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division sent in to quell the protests—apparently having in mind the way that President Lyndon Johnson had ordered the 82nd into Detroit in 1967 and into Washington in 1968. Trump adviser Stephen Miller repeatedly urged him to take drastic measures: “Barbarians are at the gates,” Miller apparently said in the Oval Office. “They are burning America down.”

    “Shut the fuck up, Steve,” Milley reportedly replied, explaining that the Black Lives Matter protests were not comparable to the 1960s riots, nor to other times the Insurrection Act was invoked.

    But Trump remained fixated on the idea of military action. On June 1, he asked about using the 82nd to clear Lafayette Square. According to Woodward and Costa, “The president was getting increasingly contentious, and Esper worried that if he didn’t put something on the table, Trump might formally order him to bring the 82nd to D.C.”

    Looking for some partial measure that would satisfy Trump, Milley and Esper agreed to start moving troops toward Washington but station them outside the city and let the National Guard handle the streets. Then, Trump went to the Situation Room to speak to governors about the protests on a call in which he told them, “You have to dominate,” otherwise “you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks.”

    Esper dished up another morsel to Trump, apparently hoping some rhetorical affirmation would help satisfy his hunger. Esper echoed Trump’s words. “I agree, we have to dominate the battlespace,” Esper said.

    The secretary of defense using the word “battlespace” to describe America’s streets was provocative and Esper’s remarks immediately leaked, much to his regret.

    That wasn’t the only time that day Epser compromised his integrity by appeasing Trump, though.

    Around 6 p.m that day, Milley and Esper were told that Trump wanted them back at the White House. There, someone described as a “low-level White House aide” told Esper and other officials to “line up.”

    Soon enough, they were all striding with Trump in front of reporters and TV cameras to St. John’s Church, as pawns in one of the most infamous scenes of Trump’s presidency. “We’ve been duped,” Esper said to Milley.

    A few days later, Milley stated that “I should not have been there” and that it was a “mistake” to walk with Trump to the church.

    To their credit, Milley and Esper did go on to stand up to Trump. Esper eventually went public with his opposition to Trump’s potential invocation of the Insurrection Act, which factored into his firing-by-tweet after the election. And Milley, who continues to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs under President Biden, took unprecedented steps in the final weeks of the Trump presidency to secretly mobilize the national security state for potential threats out of concern that the defeated Trump’s erratic actions could create a crisis.

    Milley and Esper seemed to learn a hard lesson from Lafayette Square. Unfortunately, that makes them anomalies in Trump land.

    By the end of November 2020, then-Attorney General Bill Barr had had enough of Trump’s conspiracy theories about election rigging, despite the fact he planted some of the seeds for them himself.

    On December 1, Barr asked an Associated Press reporter to lunch where he fed him the line he wanted to see printed widely. “To date,” Barr said, “we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome of the election.”

    This, of course, made Trump livid. Trump called Barr in for a meeting, and, according to Woodward and Costa, Barr told him, “Every self-respecting lawyer in this country has run for the hills. Your team is a bunch of clowns. They are unconscionable in the firmness and detail they present as if it’s unquestionable fact. It is not.”

    That critique stayed behind closed doors, though. Barr resigned on December 14 with a letter that flattered the president in gushing terms. In this letter, an important part of the historical record, Barr could have explicitly quashed the false allegations that Trump’s supporters were circulating; instead, he continued to give cover to Trump’s Big Lie about the election. The first line said, “I appreciate the opportunity to update you this afternoon on the [Justice] Department’s review of voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election and how these allegations will continue to be pursued.”

    The rest of the letter is full of absurdly fulsome praise for Trump’s “historic” record—which would be bad enough in a vacuum, but again, remember that it was written in the context of Trump’s weeks-long quest to overturn an election he lost.

    So even as he walked out on Trump, Barr didn’t stop promoting him. Barr knew that Trump’s Big Lie was indeed a lie. But instead of warning the public about the danger to our democratic system, Barr warned Trump privately about the danger to his reputation—and publicly kept singing Trump’s praises.

    One of the people whom Barr quietly reached out to for help post-election was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Too bad for Barr, McConnell wasn’t about to go out on any kind of limb against Trump.

    McConnell told him, “Bill, you know we have these elections coming up in Georgia”—referring to the runoff elections for the two Georgia Senate seats. “I can’t afford a big frontal attack on the president at this point. I have to be gentle.” Being “gentle” meant that McConnell would stay mute about the election until all the states certified the election and it was plainly obvious Biden won.

    During that critical time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who, behind the scenes, worried that “the crazies are taking over,” also refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory. When asked about the transition, Pompeo—America’s top diplomat, knowing the eyes of the world were on him—said, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” He smiled as if everyone should allow him to say that he couldn’t cross Trump on the issue as a friendly joke.

    McConnell finally acknowledged that Biden won in a Senate floor speech on December 15, after the Electoral College met the day before. Trump called McConnell and cursed him. According to the book, “McConnell hoped it would be the final time he and Trump would ever speak to each other.”

    For a moment, McConnell seemed as if he might make that hope a reality. That moment, however, passed.

    Even though McConnell conceded that “there is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible” for the January 6 riot, he did not vote to convict him for inciting it. Then, in a February 2021 interview, McConnell said that he would “absolutely” back Trump if he became the 2024 Republican presidential nominee despite everything that had happened.

    Duped again.

    Mike Pence knows, maybe more than anyone, how dangerous Trump is. The president’s fans chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” through the halls of Congress as some of them engaged in hand-to-hand combat with law enforcement, smashing glass windows to reach him. For weeks, Pence agonized over his role that day, seeking counsel from others about performing his duties to count Electoral College votes and while also satisfying Trump’s calls to block Biden’s victory.

    “Mike, don’t even talk about it,” former Vice President Dan Quayle and fellow Hoosier told Pence.

    “You don’t know the position I”m in,” Pence said.

    “You have no power, just forget it,” Quayle said.

    But Pence kept looking. As late as January 3, Pence asked the Senate parliamentarian, “Could I perhaps express sympathy with some of the complaints?” She was, reportedly, “curt” and advised the vice president that he was only a “vote counter.”

    On January 4, Pence flew down to campaign for Republican candidates in the Georgia runoff races. He told the crowd that “I share the concerns of the millions of Americans about the voting irregularities. And I promise you, come this Wednesday [January 6], we’ll have our day in Congress. We’ll hear the objections. We’ll hear the evidence.”

    Pence thought he gave a good and honest speech because he didn’t use the specific words “rigged” and “fraud.” He thought this invisible, semantic line would keep him safe. Wrong.

    As the Capitol riot unfolded on January 6, former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, who gave up his prestigious post largely out of frustration with Trump, watched in horror. He recognized the Capitol Hill officers on his television screen defending the spaces he worked in for so many years. This passage of classic Woodwardian paraphrasing-without-quotation-marks apparently describes Ryan’s emotional state:

    I assumed Trump’s fight was an act, Ryan thought. Trump would have his rally and tell his supporters he didn’t lose. It would be post-election spin. I didn’t think it would go this far.

    But it was happening. He kept seeing the faces of cops he knew. It was hard to absorb. He called up friends who were House members and staffers. Some of them told him they were fending off rioters in stairwells. Statuary Hall, which he crossed ten times a day as speaker, was being overrun. . . . Ryan looked up at the television again and watched the scene. He rubbed his eyes. My God, he said, catching himself by surprise. The rioters kept shouting, climbing. Police officers were being hit with metal poles. Ryan began to bawl.

    Pence’s national security advisor, retired Gen. Keith Kellogg, was with Trump in the White House as the mob breached the Capitol. “Holy shit, what is happening?” he reportedly thought. Kellogg went to Ivanka Trump and convinced her to speak with her father and “let this thing go.”

    As everyone knows, Trump, to this day, did not and has not let it go. Still, Kellogg believes in Trump’s leadership abilities. Woodward and Costa wrote, “Unlike others in Pence’s circle, he remained convinced Trump was a decent man, a president who had let a situation spin out of control.”

    As for Ryan, he has decried (without using Trump’s name) the “dishonorable and disgraceful end” of the last presidency and warned the GOP against “the populist appeal of one personality” and “second-rate imitations”—but remains on the board of directors of Fox News, which is very much obsessed with one personality and his second-rate imitations.

    What do the Republican elites now think they should do about Trump? The conventional wisdom is that he must be coddled or that, somehow, contrary to all available evidence, Trump will peacefully relinquish his control of the GOP.

    “The problems created with Trump’s personality are easier to fix than if the party blew completely up and we had a civil war,” Sen. Lindsey Graham told Woodward and Costa. “A third-party movement would start if you tried to kick Trump out of the Republican Party.”

    McConnell thinks Trump will somehow fade into the past as some kind of “OTTB” or “off-the-track Thoroughbred.”

    According to Woodward and Costa, McConnell’s theory is that his “preferred candidates could eventually outpace any ragtag network that Trump might try to assemble. McConnell and his crew would out-organize them, out-fundraise them, and avoid theatrical clashes.”

    “The only place I can see Trump and me actually at loggerheads would be if he gets behind some clown who clearly can’t win,” McConnell said.

    Oh. How’s that going?

    Just ask the Trump-endorsed 2022 candidates with the long string of assault allegations following them on the campaign trail.

    The title of Woodword’s and Costa’s Peril comes from a line in Biden’s inauguration speech: “We have much to do in this winter of peril.”

    The lesson inside this book, though, is that this perilous time is not a temporary, seasonal event. Trump digital guru Brad Parscale, who was seen last year being wrestled to the ground by Florida police, is sure the turbulent Trump times are not yet over.

    “He had an army. An army for Trump. He wants that back,” Parscale said. “I don’t think he sees it as a comeback. He sees it as vengeance.”
    ______
    Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

    Comment


    • Just proves what I have always said over time and that there is but a fine line dividing a democratic government with a sane leader from an autocratic government with an insane leader in this country. A fine line between us and an equivalent Germany in the mid-30s with their own nut case leader. Good thing no one allowed the 82nd Airborne into those protests at the time. If they were, and Trump saw them standing on the streets while people threw stuff, he would demand that the troops be allowed to open fire with live rounds. The man has never had a conscience as far back as I have known him being a fellow New Yorker. He'll throw anyone and everyone under the bus sooner or later with no sweat off his back.

      Comment


      • The Georgia election official who refused Trump's request to find him 'more votes' in the 2020 election was interviewed for 4 hours by the January 6 select committee

        Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the state's top election official who refused former President Donald Trump's request to find him "more votes" so he could win the state in the 2020 election, was interviewed by the January 6 select committee for four hours on Tuesday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

        AJC reported that Raffensperger said he spoke with House lawmakers about the January phone call where Trump asked him to help him win the election.


        Raffensperger, a Republican, has previously said "there is no doubt" Biden won in the state.

        "We talked about that and everything else leading into the election. That was their focus because that was where the greatest disinformation was foisted upon our nation," Raffensperger told AJC about the interview.

        The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has issued dozens of subpoenas to Trump allies, as well as members of right-wing groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, to figure out the cause of the insurrection and the former president's involvement.

        Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has also launched an investigation into whether or not Georgia laws were violated by Trump's January call to Raffensperger.

        Raffensperger told AJC he told the committee that it's important to look forward and focus on the issues Americans are facing now like "inflation, rising costs, the border situation."

        "So much of this is looking backward. If all Democrats can do is target Donald Trump and all Republicans can do is relitigate the 2020 election, both parties are in trouble," he added. "The sooner the focus can shift to what voters care about the better."
        ___________

        I'm trying to imagine the reaction of the Right to Obama telling an Democratic Secretary of State "Oh no, I actually won....I just need you to find me more votes".
        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

        Comment


        • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
          Raffensperger told AJC he told the committee that it's important to look forward and focus on the issues Americans are facing now like "inflation, rising costs, the border situation."

          "So much of this is looking backward. If all Democrats can do is target Donald Trump and all Republicans can do is relitigate the 2020 election, both parties are in trouble," he added. "The sooner the focus can shift to what voters care about the better."
          I do like how he wants to change the subject, and in a way protect Trump nonetheless, by saying we need to look forward and not in the past. So what if someone wanted to initiate a soft coup for the first time in this countries history. That is all water under the bridge now. No big deal.
          Last edited by tbm3fan; 01 Dec 21,, 22:44.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

            I do like how he wants to change the subject, and in a way protect Trump nonetheless, by saying we need to look forward and not in the past. So what if someone wanted to initiate a soft coup for the first time in this countries history. That is all water under the bridge now. No bid deal.
            Just like the attempted insurrection on January 6th, easiest way to make it go away: Just say it was no big deal and others have done worse anyway.
            Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

            Comment


            • Pro-Trump lawyers ordered to pay $175,000 for 'frivolous' election lawsuit
              WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday ordered Sidney Powell and other lawyers who sued in Michigan to overturn Democratic President Joe Biden's election victory to pay a $175,000 penalty, reiterating an earlier finding that the lawsuit was frivolous.

              U.S. District Judge Linda Parker in Detroit ruled in August that Powell, Lin Wood, and other lawyers aligned with former President Donald Trump were to be sanctioned, but had not determined the dollar amount.

              Thursday's order set the amount at approximately $175,000. Parker said the money should be awarded to Michigan and the City of Detroit to compensate for time government lawyers spent defending against the case.

              "Plaintiffs’ attorneys filed this lawsuit without conducting the required degree of diligence as to the truth of the allegations made or the merits of the legal claims asserted," Parker said in Thursday's order.

              In her August ruling, Parker formally requested that disciplinary bodies investigate whether the law licenses of the pro-Trump lawyers should be revoked. The judge also ordered the lawyers to attend classes on the ethical and legal requirements for filing legal claims.

              Donald Campbell, a lawyer for Powell and her co-counsel, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

              Powell represented Trump's campaign when he tried to overturn last Nov. 3's presidential election in the courts. His campaign distanced itself from Powell after she claimed without evidence at a Nov. 19 news conference that electronic voting systems had switched millions of ballots to Biden.

              In a written decision last December, Parker said Powell's voter fraud claims were "nothing but speculation and conjecture" and that, in any event, the Texas-based lawyer waited too long to file her lawsuit.

              Powell has argued in court filings that her conduct was reasonable, saying she had vetted her election fraud claims before suing.

              Starting in January 2020, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and other government lawyers asked the judge to discipline the pro-Trump lawyers, saying they had filed a frivolous lawsuit full of typos and factual errors and should be held accountable.

              _______
              Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

              Comment


              • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                Pro-Trump lawyers ordered to pay $175,000 for 'frivolous' election lawsuit
                WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday ordered Sidney Powell and other lawyers who sued in Michigan to overturn Democratic President Joe Biden's election victory to pay a $175,000 penalty, reiterating an earlier finding that the lawsuit was frivolous.

                U.S. District Judge Linda Parker in Detroit ruled in August that Powell, Lin Wood, and other lawyers aligned with former President Donald Trump were to be sanctioned, but had not determined the dollar amount.

                Thursday's order set the amount at approximately $175,000. Parker said the money should be awarded to Michigan and the City of Detroit to compensate for time government lawyers spent defending against the case.

                "Plaintiffs’ attorneys filed this lawsuit without conducting the required degree of diligence as to the truth of the allegations made or the merits of the legal claims asserted," Parker said in Thursday's order.

                In her August ruling, Parker formally requested that disciplinary bodies investigate whether the law licenses of the pro-Trump lawyers should be revoked. The judge also ordered the lawyers to attend classes on the ethical and legal requirements for filing legal claims.

                Donald Campbell, a lawyer for Powell and her co-counsel, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

                Powell represented Trump's campaign when he tried to overturn last Nov. 3's presidential election in the courts. His campaign distanced itself from Powell after she claimed without evidence at a Nov. 19 news conference that electronic voting systems had switched millions of ballots to Biden.

                In a written decision last December, Parker said Powell's voter fraud claims were "nothing but speculation and conjecture" and that, in any event, the Texas-based lawyer waited too long to file her lawsuit.

                Powell has argued in court filings that her conduct was reasonable, saying she had vetted her election fraud claims before suing.

                Starting in January 2020, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and other government lawyers asked the judge to discipline the pro-Trump lawyers, saying they had filed a frivolous lawsuit full of typos and factual errors and should be held accountable.

                _______
                The Kraken turned out to be a tadpole
                “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                Mark Twain

                Comment


                • Exclusive-Two election workers break silence after enduring Trump backers' threats
                  ATLANTA (Reuters) - Death threats from angry Trump supporters forced Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman, a 62-year-old grandmother, to flee her home of 20 years. Some messages called for her hanging; one urged people to “hunt” her. Freeman showed hundreds of menacing messages to police and called 911 three times.

                  But a year after Donald Trump and his allies falsely accused Freeman - along with her daughter and co-worker Wandrea “Shaye” Moss - of election fraud, the threats have not been investigated by local police or state authorities, according to a Reuters review of Georgia law enforcement records. Federal agents have monitored some of the threats, but made no arrests.

                  Offering the first detailed account of their ordeal, the two women told Reuters about threats of lynching and racial slurs, along with alarming visits by strangers to the homes of Freeman and her mother. The intimidation began last December, a month after the 2020 election, when the Trump campaign released surveillance video they falsely claimed showed the two women, who are Black, opening “suitcases” full of phony ballots to rig the vote count in predominantly Black Fulton County, which includes part of Atlanta.

                  With no one arrested for threatening them, and no police security detail, the women said their lives were thrown into chaos. Freeman told Reuters she moved from house to house out of fear for her safety. Moss, 37, avoided leaving her home except for work and said she remains wracked with anxiety and depression. Moss’s teenage son - also targeted by threats and racist messages - started failing in school.

                  Their alarm peaked in January, Freeman said, when a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent told her a suspected Jan. 6 Capitol rioter had been arrested and found in possession of a list of names of people to be executed. Freeman and her daughter were on it, she said. The FBI declined to comment on the incident.

                  Freeman showed hundreds of threatening emails and text messages to police in Cobb County, where she lives, according to police reports reviewed by Reuters. She visited the Fulton County police station on Dec. 4, 2020, and told officers about the threats. While she was there, her phone buzzed nonstop with menacing calls, and an unidentified officer answered more than 20 of them, according to Freeman. In response to Freeman’s at-times panicked emergency calls to 911, Cobb County officers went to her home, according to a Reuters review of the call recordings. But police officials did not open investigations into the threats she faced, according to police records.

                  Among the uninvited visitors to Freeman’s home was a prominent Black supporter of Trump, Trevian Kutti, who said she came to offer help. A publicist for hip-hop artist and Trump supporter Kanye West, Kutti warned Freeman that she’d be arrested soon on voting fraud charges and sought to pressure her into confessing in exchange for help, Freeman said. (West has since changed his name to “Ye.”)

                  Freeman said she ended the conversation. The episode made her wonder who she could trust. She concluded: “Nobody.”

                  Parts of Freeman’s account of the meeting are corroborated by police recordings reviewed by Reuters. Kutti did not respond to requests for comment.

                  The family’s ordeal is an extreme example of a much broader paralysis in U.S. law enforcement as election workers faced an unprecedented wave of terroristic threats https://www.reuters.com/investigates...ection-threats this year. In addition to the several hundred threats described by Moss and Freeman, Reuters has documented more than 850 threats and harassing messages to election administrators, including about 100 that legal experts say could be prosecuted under federal law. Almost no one has been held accountable. https://www.reuters.com/investigates...aw-enforcement

                  “There has to be charges brought against those threatening and encouraging the threatening of election workers,” said Matt Masterson, a Republican who ran election security at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security between 2018 to 2020. “I don't see a way out of this without real accountability being brought to bear.”

                  A spokesperson for Trump did not respond to requests for comment.

                  Reuters reported https://www.reuters.com/investigates...hreats-georgia on the mother and daughter’s experience last week through public records and interviews with their associates. The next day, the two women filed a defamation lawsuit https://www.reuters.com/business/med...ons-2021-12-02 against The Gateway Pundit, a far-right news site that published a series of false stories https://www.reuters.com/investigates...-gatewaypundit accusing them of election fraud. The Gateway Pundit declined to comment.

                  For this story, the two women agreed to be interviewed on the condition that the reporters not take photos, publish audio recordings of the meeting or disclose where it took place. Both Moss and Freeman have changed their appearances since their photographs were widely circulated after the election; Reuters agreed not to describe how they look now.

                  After the threats started last December, the women grew desperate for help. Freeman said she spoke with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). The bureau’s response was to show her how to make her Facebook page private, she said. The GBI told Reuters that Georgia law only allows the bureau to investigate if asked by police or another governing official, which it said none did in the case of Freeman and Moss.

                  Freeman also spoke with the FBI. On Jan. 5, an agent recommended she leave her home for her own safety, she said. The FBI also advised her to change her phone number. The FBI had been monitoring threats to election workers and contacted Freeman after discovering messages targeting her, a former federal official told Reuters.

                  At the time, far-right users on Parler, a social media platform, were calling for her execution. “She will go missing very soon,” one post said. Another said she would be “suicided with 2 bullets to the back of the head.” One urged fellow Trump supporters to “hunt her down.” Yet another said: “Time for Ruby to die for what she believed in.”

                  Parler did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

                  Making violent threats is a felony crime in Georgia when done with the “purpose of terrorizing another.” Federal law criminalizes threats explicit enough to put a reasonable person in fear of bodily harm or death.

                  Police in Cobb County did not respond to requests for comment on why the force did not investigate the hundreds of threats reported by Freeman. Fulton County police said it did not investigate because the two women did not make an official incident report to police. In addition to Freeman telling Fulton County police about the threats, her supervisor at the elections office asked the department for a security detail for the two women. County government officials denied the request, saying the threats against them did not rise to the level of crimes.

                  Law enforcement has been more aggressive in pursuing people who threatened high-profile politicians. Police have arrested at least 12 people, almost all of them Trump supporters, who have threatened members of the U.S. Congress since the 2020 election. Last month, a New York man was arrested just days after allegedly making a death threat against Congressman Andrew Garbarino, a New York Republican who voted for an infrastructure bill that has been a priority of Democratic President Joe Biden.

                  Threats against election workers should be taken just as seriously, said Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, who told Reuters she is pressuring the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) to act. “This is an escalating problem,” said Klobuchar. “Law enforcement has to start looking at these cases for what they are, which is a very threat to our democracy.”

                  The DOJ said it “is fully committed to ensuring that all reported incidents of threats of violence to election workers and officials are carefully assessed for threat mitigation. That includes victim outreach and FBI intervention, and when a matter does rise to the level of a criminal threat, vigorously investigating the matter with all our criminal tools and aggressively prosecuting the matter where appropriate.”

                  While the people threatening Freeman and Moss got little scrutiny, the election workers were investigated over Trump’s false fraud allegations against them. Freeman said she met with investigators from the FBI, the GBI, and officials from the Georgia secretary of state’s office to answer questions about her work on Election Day. “They were trying to figure out if we actually did steal ballots,” she said.

                  On Dec. 4, a day after Trump’s allies publicly accused the women of fraud, then-Attorney General Bill Barr asked Byung J. "BJay" Pak, the U.S. attorney in Atlanta at the time, to look into the allegations, according to two former federal officials with direct knowledge of the matter. It wasn’t because Barr suspected the women committed fraud, they said. State officials had already debunked Trump’s claims. Rather, Barr wanted to be fully apprised so he could respond to Trump’s inquiries, they added.

                  After that previously unreported discussion, FBI agents spoke with Freeman and examined the surveillance video and other evidence, concluding there was no fraud, the officials said. By the time Barr stepped down on Dec. 23, he was confident there was no wrongdoing, the former officials said. But Trump kept up pressure on the DOJ, one of the sources said. Trump also continued to accuse Moss and Freeman of fraud.

                  The FBI would not confirm or deny whether it is investigating threats against the mother and daughter. Nationwide, just one person has been arrested and charged with a federal crime involving threats to election officials related to the 2020 presidential contest, a woman accused last December of threatening an election official in Michigan. That case is ongoing; the accused has pleaded not guilty.

                  In a statement, the FBI said it works with other agencies “to identify and stop any potential threats to public safety” and “investigate any and all federal violations to the fullest." After Reuters reported the ongoing harassment of election officials and their families in June, the DOJ announced a task force that month to investigate threats to election workers.

                  A department spokesperson said the task force has “criminal investigations open across the country.” The task force has yet to announce any arrests.

                  COLLATERAL DAMAGE

                  Moss recalled the first time she saw the onslaught of threats, in early December 2020. Shocked at the often violent and racist messages, she said she was “just stuck and standing there for a while.”

                  “And the first thing I thought about was my son,” Moss said.

                  The 14-year-old high school freshman was using her old cell phone, with a number she had since college. He needed the device to connect to the Internet for virtual learning during the coronavirus pandemic, the only way he could get online. Moss earned a modest $36,000 annually. She said she couldn’t afford WiFi.

                  As threats inundated her son’s phone, he couldn’t concentrate. His grades slipped. Strangers battered him with threatening and racist voicemails and texts.

                  One, she said, told him: “Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920. You would be hanging along with your mother.”

                  One threat shook her deeply. It said she had a “cute little boy,” which she took as a veiled threat to his life.

                  Her only child was reluctant to tell her about the threats he received. “He’s always tried to be my protector,” said the single mother.

                  Instead, he started shutting down the phone to stop receiving the threats, cutting off his only avenue to virtual learning. Moss didn’t discover what he had been doing until May. By then he had failed all of his classes, she said, and had to attend summer school. When he returned for the next school year, the talented football player couldn’t join the team. He had to focus on his grades.

                  Before she became a target of Trump’s supporters, Moss said she enjoyed being the outgoing face of the Fulton County elections office, getting filmed for training videos and answering calls from voters. She tucked her business card into the envelope of every voter registration application she mailed out. When voters called for help, she enjoyed talking to them.

                  Today, when her office phone rings, she’s afraid to answer and tries to avoid giving her name. She rarely leaves her cubicle. Aside from commuting, she avoids going out in public. She says she’s lost the energy to cook, clean or walk the dog.

                  Her son helps out. When she’s overwhelmed by stress, he brings her medicine and water.

                  “I can’t enjoy anything,” she said in a soft voice. “I just really have lost myself.”

                  A WARNING FROM THE FBI

                  Like her daughter, Freeman was targeted with hundreds of threats and racial slurs immediately after Trump’s team publicly accused her of fraud on Dec. 3, 2020.

                  Over the next month, strangers showed up at Freeman's home, sometimes banging on her door, according to Freeman and police reports reviewed by Reuters.

                  When Kutti - the Kanye West publicist and Trump supporter - paid her a visit, a wary Freeman called police and arranged to meet and talk with Kutti at the Cobb County police station. Kutti told an officer that Freeman “was in danger” and had “48 hours” to speak with her before “unknown subjects” turned up at her home, according to a police report.

                  The next day, Jan. 5, an FBI agent called Freeman and urged her to leave her longtime home because it wasn’t safe, Freeman said.

                  “What do you mean, leave?” she recalls telling the agent. She says she made quick arrangements to stay at a friend’s place.

                  The following day, on Jan. 6 - the day of the U.S. Capitol riots - Kutti’s prediction that people would descend on Freeman’s home in 48 hours proved correct. Freeman fled hours before a mob of angry Trump supporters surrounded her home, shouting through bullhorns, according to the lawsuit Freeman and Moss filed last week against the Gateway Pundit. Reuters was unable to independently corroborate that incident.

                  Freeman left her friend’s home two weeks later, after finding out about the arrested Capitol rioter who had Freeman and her daughter’s names on a list. Her hosts grew worried for their own safety, she said, so she packed up and got in her car the next morning. She stayed in three different locations over the next six weeks, she said.

                  By March, she returned home. She altered her appearance. But her life had been upended, she said.

                  Some friends no longer spoke with her, out of fear, she said. Her 12-year-old clothing and accessories business, LaRuby's Unique Treasures, has lost most of its customers, she said. Freeman traveled around to sell her goods at events, often at churches or sororities, Moss said. Regular clients didn’t know how to contact her after she changed her phone number at the recommendation of the FBI, and shuttered her social media accounts.

                  She now feels safer, she said. Eleven cameras and three motion sensors have been installed around her home. But the experience - life on the run, her daughter’s fears, her grandson’s school struggles - has taken a toll on her family.

                  “All because of this?” she said, referring to Trump’s false claims of mysterious suitcases stuffed with ballots. “That's not right.”
                  ____________

                  Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                  Comment


                  • That is what happens when you let evil into your life. You lose all sense of reason. That evil surfaced in 2015 under the name of Donald Trump.

                    Comment


                    • And there are no justifiable reasons for local law enforcement to not look into the veracity of the threats. But that's Georgia for you...
                      “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                      Mark Twain

                      Comment


                      • Mark Meadows Hands Over PowerPoint Plan For Trump To Overthrow Election

                        Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows provided an email to Jan. 6 investigators that referred to a PowerPoint plan showing how Donald Trump could use emergency presidential powers after his 2020 election defeat to overturn the vote, according to media reports and lawmakers.

                        The plan involved then-president Trump declaring a national security emergency to delay the certification of the 2020 election results, then manhandling the vote to favor him and stay in the White House.

                        It was not clear who created the PowerPoint plan or how it came to be emailed to Meadows. Meadows’ lawyer said the former chief of staff did not act on the plan or otherwise do anything about the email, according to The New York Times.

                        Guardian reporter Hugo Lowell posted screen shots of the PowerPoint presentation.

                        The chilling 38-page presentation, titled “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 Jan,” was referred to in an email sent on Jan. 5, the day before the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol while Congress certified the Electoral College vote. The email was among a trove of documents provided by Meadows to the House select committee investigating the riot.

                        The plan was to be sent to “people on the Hill,” said Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chair of the House select committee. He referred to elements of that plan and others as part of a “direct and collateral attack” by Trump allies after the election.

                        Under the PowerPoint plan, Trump was to declare a national emergency, citing foreign “control” of electronic voting systems, and then all electronic voting would be rendered invalid. Then-Vice President Mike Pence was to install Republican electors in states where Trump allies would baselessly declare that “fraud occurred,” according to the maneuvers outlined in the plan.

                        Thompson referred to the strategies to overthrow the election in a letter Tuesday to Meadows’ attorney, saying Meadows has no legitimate argument to refuse to cooperate with the House investigation.

                        Meadows reversed an earlier promise to cooperate with the committee, even though he himself appears to be breaching the executive privilege he claims by widely discussing what led up to Jan. 6, even writing a book that includes details he now refuses to discuss with investigators.

                        Meadows has filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and members of the House select committee, claiming he cannot provide information due to the constraints of executive privilege while he served in Trump’s White House.

                        The new information revealed by Meadows underscores the danger of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told colleagues that he feared a “Reichstag moment” after Trump lost the election, referring to Adolf Hitler’s power grab in 1933.
                        __________
                        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                        Comment


                        • A member of Congress apologized to Mark Meadows for not overturning the election on January 6: 'I'm sorry nothing worked'

                          A lawmaker texted former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows apologizing that Congress couldn't block Congress from overturning the 2020 election on January 6, Rep. Adam Schiff revealed during a meeting of the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection.

                          In the Monday evening hearing, the panel unanimously voted to hold Meadows in contempt of Congress after Meadows stopped cooperating with the committee and failed to show up for a scheduled deposition.

                          During the hearing, members of the panel excoriated Meadows for defying a subpoena for his testimony while writing about January 6 and the events leading up to it in his memoir, "The Chief's Chief."

                          Schiff and Rep. Liz Cheney also read aloud a series of panicked text messages that members of Congress, prominent Fox News hosts, and even Trump's own son, Donald Trump Jr., sent to Meadows pleading with him to do something to stop the violent siege on the Capitol and convince former President Donald Trump to make a statement condemning the riots.

                          "What did the president of the United States do, and what did he fail to do? Mr. Meadows doesn't think he should have to answer those questions. He thinks the American people should be left in the dark," Schiff said.

                          Schiff then read aloud the January 7 message from an unnamed member of Congress that said: "Yesterday was a terrible day. We tried everything we could in our objection to the 6 states. I'm sorry nothing worked."

                          "The day after a failed attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power through violence, an elected lawmaker tells the White House chief of staff 'I'm sorry nothing worked.' That is chilling," Schiff added. "We would like to ask Mr. Meadows what he thought about that."


                          Even though Meadows stopped cooperating, the panel is already in possession of valuable records, including text messages and emails that Meadows and his attorney voluntarily turned over to the committee. Meadows used a cellphone, two Gmail accounts, and a Signal account to conduct official White House business and communicate during January 6, The New York Times reported on Monday.

                          The committee's chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson previously revealed that Meadows sent emails as early as November 7, 2020, about a plot for Republican-controlled states to send "alternate" slates of presidential electors to Congress on January 6 and texted a member of Congress about the idea, saying, "I love it."

                          Thompson added that some of the emails included "a November 7, 2020, email discussing the appointment of alternate slates of electors as part of a 'direct and collateral attack' after the election; a January 5, 2021, email regarding a 38-page PowerPoint briefing titled 'Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN' that was to be provided 'on the hill'; and, among others, a January 5, 2021, email about having the National Guard on standby."

                          The committee is also in possession of text messages from Meadows' personal cellphone, which Thompson said include "a November 6, 2020, text exchange with a Member of Congress apparently about appointing alternate electors in certain states as part of a plan that the Member acknowledged would be 'highly controversial' and to which Mr. Meadows apparently said, 'I love it."
                          ____
                          Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                          Comment


                          • Multiple residents from Florida's Trump-loving "The Villages" arrested for voter fraud
                            The arrests come amid allegations of voting irregularities in the county
                            Three Republican voters in a Trump-loving Florida retirement community have been arrested on charges of casting multiple ballots.

                            Jay Ketcik, Joan Halstead and John Rider, all residents of "The Village," a retirement community that's served as a hub of support for the former Republican president, have been apprehended by police for voter fraud. Ketcik, 63, allegedly voted by mail in Florida last October 2020. But according to another ballot, Ketcik also voted in his home state of Michigan, court records indicate. Joan Halstead, 71, was arrested two weeks ago for allegedly voting in Florida last year but also through an absentee ballot in New York. John Rider, 61, was earlier this month arrested on suspicion of casting two ballots, though the details of his arrest are not fully known. Prosecutors have indicated that Rider submitted ballots both in Florida and in another state.

                            It remains unclear which candidates Ketcik, Halstead, and Rider voted for. However, Ketcik and Halstead are registered Republicans hailing from the deep red county, 67.8% of whose population voted for the Republican Party in the presidential election. According to The Independent, both Ketcik and Halstead's Facebook activity suggests they are Trump supporters. Rider, meanwhile, has no known party affiliation but was a registered Republican at the time of his arrest. All three face third-degree felony charges punishable by up to five years in prison.

                            The arrests come only a month after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed a sweeping restrictive voting law apparently designed to bolster "election security" in the Sunshine State. The bill specifically heightens voter ID laws, limits the use of ballot drop boxes, and outright bans the practice of "ballot harvesting" – which allows third-party organizers and election officials to collect ballots on behalf of voters. Despite the professed need for these new rules, Florida state officials have repeatedly failed to find any evidence of widespread outcome-altering election fraud.

                            According to an Associated Press review of every potential case of voter fraud in Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, fewer than 475 fraudulent ballots may have been cast in the 2020 election – a number that would not have made any difference in the outcome. "The review also showed no collusion intended to rig the voting," AP added. "Virtually every case was based on an individual acting alone to cast additional ballots."
                            ______________

                            More confirmed voter fraud by Republicans...clearly the solution is to disenfranchise as many non-Republican voters as possible.
                            Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                            Comment


                            • Republicans resist saying 3 simple words: 'Joe Biden won'

                              They are just three little words, but they have become nearly impossible for many Republicans to say: “Joe Biden won."

                              Eleven months after the Democrat’s inauguration, Republican lawmakers and candidates across the country are squirming and stumbling rather than acknowledging the fact of Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election. In debates and interviews, they offer circular statements or vague answers when asked whether they believe Biden won.

                              Yes or no?

                              In Minnesota this week, five GOP candidates for governor came up with 1400 other words when asked by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt for an answer.

                              On NBC's “Meet the Press” on Sunday, GOP Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas would only concede: “Joe Biden was sworn into office.”

                              The hazy statements are one measure of election denialism within the Republican Party. Former President Donald Trump's lies about a stolen election have so taken hold among GOP voters that many of the party's candidates either believe them or fear the political repercussions of refuting Trump. That sets up a surreal dynamic for next year's elections, where the toughest question posed to GOP candidates — particularly in primaries — may be one with a one-word answer that they're reluctant to give.

                              Biden received more than 81 million votes to Trump’s 74 million, according to the tally of the Federal Election Commission. The tightest margin was in Arizona, where Biden won by 10,457 votes. More important, he won 306 votes in the Electoral College, more than the 270 required to become president. Trump got 232.

                              Even a GOP-led “audit” of votes in Arizona’s largest county came up with a Biden win. Dozens of state and federal courts, as well as the Trump administration's Justice Department, have dismissed claims of widespread voter fraud.

                              When The Associated Press set out to count every fraud claim in the states disputed by Trump, it found fewer than 475 potential cases — 15 hundredths of 1% of Biden's winning margin in those states.

                              And yet, many Republican candidates may be eying another number: A July Associated Press-NORC Poll found 66% of Republicans said Biden was not legitimately elected president. More than two-thirds of Americans overall said Biden was legitimately elected.

                              The doubt has been fueled by Trump, who has argued without evidence that the election was “rigged" and has urged his supporters to reject the outcome. He's set out to oust fellow Republicans who voted to certify the results.

                              Kansas' Marshall was among five senators who voted against certifying the electoral votes for Arizona and Pennsylvania in January, the day a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent effort to prevent the final step that sealed Biden's win.

                              While Marshall hangs his answer on process, other Republicans go further. Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, who was part of a group of GOP congressmen who pushed false claims, recently answered a question from a colleague about who won by saying flatly, "We don't know.”

                              “There’s the problem,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, replied at a hearing of the House Oversight Committee. “Donald Trump refused to accept the results, and unfortunately we have one of the world’s great political parties which has followed him off of the ledge of this electoral lunacy, and it’s dangerous for democracy.”

                              There are some Republicans who clearly, without squirming, acknowledge Biden’s win. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is among them, along with Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who was the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee, and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, for instance. Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel uttered the words last month.

                              “Painfully, Joe Biden won the election, and it’s very painful to watch. He’s the president. We know that,” McDaniel told Washington reporters at a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.

                              But it's clear not all Republicans know. In October, the second-ranking House Republican, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, repeatedly stopped short of disavowing Trump’s claims of fraud, asserting without evidence that “a number” of states “didn't follow” their election laws.

                              On Friday, Josh Mandel, a GOP candidate for Senate in Ohio, called for more investigations into the vote in battleground states. “I think Trump won,” he said in an interview on Hewitt's radio show.

                              “It is an important question and needs to be framed, I think, as I did. I expect it will be often asked and answered (or not) of many candidates in the year ahead,” Hewitt tweeted after the Minnesota debate.

                              The answers demonstrate the pressure for Republican primary candidates to appeal to, or at least not offend, the vocal Trump wing of the party, strategists say.

                              “In today’s grim Republican Party, the was-the-election-legit question has become a litmus test for whether you are truly loyal to the Republican Trumpist tribe or not,” said Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican strategist and Trump critic.

                              It took a while — that is, winning the Republican nomination for Virginia governor — for Glenn Youngkin to get there. In May, he said in an interview, “I mean, the reality is, and I have said this before, Joe Biden was legitimately elected our president."

                              But in February, though he stopped short of saying Biden “stole" the election, he was equally hesitant to declare Biden had been “legitimately elected," according to the nonpartisan political watchdog group Politifact.

                              Other candidates have moved in the other direction — away from the facts. In Ohio, where Republicans are vying for the nomination for an open Senate seat, candidate Bernie Moreno began airing an ad this week where he is quoted as saying, “President Trump says the election was stolen, and he’s right.”

                              Yet, just days after the election last year, Moreno urged conservatives on Twitter to “accept the results of the 140 plus million votes cast,” and tweeted a congratulatory note to Biden for a “hard fought victory.”

                              On Wednesday, the discomfort for Republicans played out in full view from the debate stage in suburban Minneapolis.

                              One-by-one, five Minnesota Republicans running for governor talked around Hewitts question: “Did President Biden win a constitutional majority in the Electoral College."

                              State Sen. Michelle Benson spilled 240 words recruiting Republican poll-watchers and blasting Minnesota's Democratic secretary of state before Hewitt bluntly asked again: “Did President Biden win?”

                              Her answer: "He was certified by Congress as winning the Electoral College"
                              Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                              Comment


                              • Dems still don't admit Bush won Florida and have contested the electors of every GoP win presidential election since 2000. Abrams still has not conceded she lost in Georgia. Hillary is literally teaching a master class on how to take back a concession and deny defeat even after an attempted soft coup by loyalists in Congress and the DoJ. The Left created "the resistance" after Trump was elected claiming he was a Manchurian candidate and ran around yelling not my president.

                                Not a problem
                                GoP adopts the tactics and Outlook of the Dems.

                                Oh my God those nasty GoPers hate democracy.

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