Розділ: Повідомлення

US Capitol Riot Panel Hints at Criminal Referrals for Witness Tampering 

Lawmakers investigating the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol last year are signaling they could send referrals to the Justice Department for prosecution of illegal tampering with witnesses who have testified to the panel.

Representative Liz Cheney, vice chairperson of the House of Representatives investigative panel, displayed Tuesday two messages from notes sent to hearing witnesses saying that former President Donald Trump was keeping a close eye on the hearings and was counting on continued loyalty. The senders of the notes weren’t identified.

The panel is probing how the insurrection unfolded and Trump’s role in trying to upend his 2020 reelection defeat.

Cheney’s disclosure of the notes came after two hours of explosive testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, the former top assistant to Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s last White House chief of staff.

Hutchinson described in detail how Trump became angry and volatile in the last weeks of his presidency as the reality of his loss to Democrat Joe Biden sank in and his own associates dismissed his repeated claims that he had been cheated out of reelection.

CNN quoted unidentified sources Thursday saying Hutchinson was one of the witnesses who had been contacted by someone attempting to influence her testimony.

In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” show Thursday, Cheney said the attempted influencing of witnesses is “very serious. It really goes to the heart of our legal system. And it’s something the committee will certainly be reviewing.”

She added, “It gives us a real insight into how people around the former president are operating, into the extent to which they believe that they can affect the testimony of witnesses before the committee. And it’s something we take very seriously, and it’s something that people should be aware of. It’s a very serious issue, and I would imagine the Department of Justice would be very interested in, and would take that very seriously, as well.”

At Tuesday’s hearing, Cheney did not say which of the committee’s witnesses had been contacted but displayed two text messages on a large television screen.

One said, “What they said to me is as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I’m on the team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect, you know, I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World.”

“And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceed through my depositions and interviews with the committee,” that witness continued.

In another example, a second witness said, “[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal, and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”

Representative Zoe Lofgren, another member of the investigative panel, told CNN, “It’s a concern, and anyone who is trying to dissuade or tamper with witnesses should be on notice that that’s a crime, and we are perfectly prepared to provide any evidence we have to the proper authorities.”

A third committee member, Representative Jamie Raskin, said after the hearing, “It’s a crime to tamper with witnesses. It’s a form of obstructing justice. The committee won’t tolerate it. And we haven’t had a chance to fully investigate or fully discuss it, but it’s something we want to look into.”

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By Polityk | 01/07/2022 | Повідомлення, Політика

Native Americans Bristle at Suggestions They Offer Abortions on Tribal Land

Shortly after the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion to end women’s constitutional right to abortion, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt appeared on Fox News suggesting Native American tribes in his state, looking to get around Oklahoma’s tough new abortion ban, might “set up abortion on demand” on any of the 39 Indian reservations in that state.

“You know, the tribes in Oklahoma are super liberal,” Stitt said, “They go to Washington, D.C. They talk to President (Joe) Biden at the White House. They kind of adopt those strategies.”

The U.S. government recognizes tribes as sovereign nations, and as such, have the right to pass their own laws regulating abortion on tribal land, subject to certain limitations.

Stitt’s comments set off wide speculation in the press and in social media about whether abortion seekers could turn to Indian tribes for abortion services in states where the procedure is or soon will be banned now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned.

 

Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have called on the White House to open up federal land and resources to provide reproductive health services. Neither lawmaker referenced Indian reservations, nor have tribes suggested any interest in opening abortion havens.

“It’s been journalists. It’s been activists looking for some sort of a solution,” said Stacy Leeds, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and a law professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in Arizona. “And now in the last couple of days, it has started to escalate, with politicians almost warning tribes that they better not do this.”

Tuesday, the White House ruled out the possibility of using federal lands for abortion services.

But that hasn’t stopped the conversation in social media.

 

 

It is a conversation, however, that most Native Americans find problematic, if not downright offensive.

“Any time there’s a call for tribes to do something that is not originating in their own thought processes, it very much just reeks of further colonization,” said Leeds. “You know, the outsider trying to tell a local tribal government what their law and policy ought to be.”

Native Americans find the conversation particularly upsetting given a well-documented history of sexual violence against Indigenous women that ranged from rape and trafficking to forced sterilizations in the 1970s.

“And you also have this history of the wholesale removal of Native children away from their families and communities to boarding schools or being adopted out to other communities. It’s just traumatic for a lot of people,” Leeds said.

 

In its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion, but that didn’t guarantee all women had access. The 1976 Hyde Amendment, which was amended several times in later years, prohibits federal money being used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the woman’s life. The Indian Health Service relies on federal funds and is the only health care provider available for many Native communities.

To look to tribes for abortion services is to assume Native Americans are a left-leaning monolith, Leeds said.

“Politically, (Native) people are all over the place. You know, it’s a large leap to just automatically presume that everybody would want this,” she said. “And a lot of tribal spiritual traditions hold life as sacred from beginning to the end.”

In 2010, for example, the Navajo Nation Supreme Court ruled on a case involving the death of an unborn fetus in a highway collision, saying, “We take judicial notice that the child, even the unborn child, occupies a space in Navajo culture that can best be described as holy or sacred, although neither of these words convey the child’s status accurately. The child is awę́ę́ t’áá’íídą́ą́’hiną́, alive at conception, and develops perfectly in the care of the mother.”

Native Americans have been given few opportunities to voice their opinions on abortion. One exception is a 2020 study by the Southwest Women’s Law Center and the nonprofit Forward Together that surveyed Native American women on and off reservations in New Mexico — a state where abortions remain legal and available, even after the recent Supreme Court ruling.

When asked whether they would support or oppose a law that would criminalize doctors performing abortions, 45% of respondents said they would oppose it; 25% said they would support it, and 27% said they did not have a strong opinion one way or the other.

“Most of the Native women who are speaking out nationally are upset about the Supreme Court’s latest decision,” Leeds said. “But I don’t see any of them advocating that their communities then become the saviors of everyone else’s communities.”

 

Tribes are sovereign nations and have the right to pass their own laws regulating abortion on tribal land territories. But criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country is complex; whether tribal governments, state governments or the federal government has jurisdiction depends on the nature of the crime, the identity of the perpetrator and victim, and where the crime takes place.

In theory, tribes could perform abortions, said Leeds, but only in tribally funded facilities on Native patients by Native practitioners. Anyone else could be subject to state or federal law.

“And that’s the galling piece of this whole conversation,” Leeds said. “You want tribes to take this risk for you that might negatively impact their whole world indefinitely? People just don’t understand what they are truly asking.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Oklahoma will be allowed to prosecute non-Native Americans for crimes committed on reservations when the victim is Native, a decision that cuts back on the court’s 2020 ruling that a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma — about 43% of the state — remains an Indian reservation.

 

Stitt celebrated the decision.

“Today, our efforts proved worthwhile, and the court upheld that Indian country is part of a state, not separate from it,” Stitt said.

Oklahoma in May passed the Nation’s toughest abortion ban. Wednesday’s ruling reduces the likelihood of any tribal abortion haven in that state.

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By Polityk | 30/06/2022 | Повідомлення, Політика

МЗС України заявило про розрив дипломатичних відносин із Сирією

Українська сторона також розпочинає процедуру запровадження торговельного ембарго щодо Сирії, а також накладення інших санкцій щодо сирійських юридичних та фізичних осіб

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By Gromada | 30/06/2022 | Повідомлення, Суспільство

Jackson to be Sworn in as Breyer Retires From Supreme Court

Nearly three months after she won confirmation to the Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson is officially becoming a justice.

Jackson, 51, will be sworn as the court’s 116th justice Thursday, just as the man she is replacing, Justice Stephen Breyer, retires.

The judicial pas de deux is set to take place at noon, the moment Breyer said in a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday that his retirement will take effect after nearly 28 years on the nation’s highest court.

The court is expected to issue its final opinions earlier Thursday in a momentous and rancorous term that included overturning Roe v. Wade’s guarantee of the right to an abortion. The remaining cases are a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate climate-warming emissions from power plants, and Biden’s bid to end the Trump-era “remain in Mexico” asylum program.

In a ceremony the court said it will stream live on its website, Jackson will recite two oaths required of Supreme Court justices, one administered by Breyer and the other by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Jackson, a federal judge since 2013, will be the first Black woman to serve as a justice. She will be joining three women, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett — the first time four women will serve together on the nine-member court.

Biden nominated Jackson in February, a month after Breyer, 83, announced he would retire at the end of the court’s term, assuming his successor had been confirmed. Breyer’s earlier-than-usual announcement and the condition he attached was a recognition of the Democrats’ tenuous hold on the Senate in an era of hyper-partisanship, especially surrounding federal judgeships.

The Senate confirmed Jackson’s nomination in early April, by a 53-47 mostly party-line vote that included support from three Republicans.

She has been in a sort of judicial limbo ever since, remaining a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., but not hearing any cases. Biden elevated her to that court from the district judgeship to which she was appointed by President Barack Obama.

Jackson will be able to begin work immediately, but the court will have just finished the bulk of its work until the fall, apart from emergency appeals that occasionally arise. That will give her time to settle in and familiarize herself with the roughly two dozen cases the court already has agreed to hear starting in October as well as hundreds of appeals that will pile up over the summer.

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By Polityk | 30/06/2022 | Повідомлення, Політика

January 6 Panel Subpoenas Former White House Counsel

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection issued a subpoena Wednesday to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who is said to have stridently warned against former President Donald Trump’s efforts to try to overturn his election loss.

It’s the first public step the committee has taken since receiving the public testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, the onetime junior aide who accused Trump of knowing his supporters were armed on Jan. 6 and demanding that he be taken to the U.S. Capitol that day.

Cipollone, who was Trump’s top White House lawyer, is said to have raised concerns about the former president’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat and at one point threatened to resign. The committee said he could have information about several efforts by Trump allies to subvert the Electoral College, from organizing so-called alternate electors in states Biden won to trying to appoint as attorney general a loyalist who pushed false theories of voter fraud.

Cipollone has been placed in key moments after the election by Hutchinson as well as by former Justice Department lawyers who appeared for a hearing the week before.

Hutchinson said Cipollone warned before Jan. 6 that there would be “serious legal concerns” if Trump went to the Capitol with the protesters expected to rally outside.

The morning of Jan. 6, she testified, Cipollone restated his concerns that if Trump did go to the Capitol to try to intervene in the certification of the election, “we’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable.”

And as the insurrection went on, she says she heard Meadows tell Cipollone that Trump was sympathetic to rioters wanting to hang then-Vice President Mike Pence.

“You heard it,” Meadows told Cipollone, in her recollection. “He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”

Reps. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, and Liz Cheney, a Republican, the chairman and vice chairman of the committee, said in their letter to Cipollone that while he had given the committee an “informal interview” on April 13, his refusal to provide on-the-record testimony made their subpoena necessary.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican who sits on the committee, said last week that Cipollone told the committee he tried to intervene when he heard Trump was being advised by Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who wanted to push false claims of voter fraud. Federal agents recently seized Clark’s cell phone and conducted a search of his Virginia home.

Clark had drafted a letter for key swing states that was never sent but would have falsely claimed the department had discovered troubling irregularities in the election. Cipollone was quoted by one witness as having told Trump the letter was a “murder-suicide pact.”

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By Polityk | 30/06/2022 | Повідомлення, Політика

First Post-Roe Primaries Put Abortion at Center of Key Races

The midterm primary season entered a new, more volatile phase on Tuesday as voters participate in the first elections since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision revoking a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion jolted the nation’s politics.

In Colorado’s Republican U.S. Senate primary, voters are choosing between businessman Joe O’Dea and state Rep. Ron Hanks. O’Dea backs a ban on late-term abortions but is otherwise the rare Republican who supports most abortion rights. Hanks backs a ban on the procedure in all cases.

Meanwhile, in the Republican race for governor in Illinois, Darren Bailey, a farmer and state senator endorsed by former President Donald Trump over the weekend, wants to end the state’s right to abortion except for instances in which the mother’s life is in danger. He doesn’t support exceptions for rape or incest. His opponent, Richard Irvin, the first Black mayor of Aurora, has said he would allow abortions in instances of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is at risk.

Both races are unfolding in states where abortion remains legal. Democrats have sought to elevate both Hanks and Bailey, betting that they have a better chance of winning the fall campaign if they’re competing against Republicans they could portray as extreme. In Colorado, Democrats have spent more than $2 million boosting Hanks’ candidacy. In Illinois, the sums have been vastly higher, with Democrats spending at least $16 million against Irvin and to boost Bailey as the nominee against Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The strategy carries risks, especially if the magnitude of the GOP’s expected gains this fall becomes so significant that Democrats lose in states such as Illinois and Colorado, which have become strongholds for the party. But at a moment when Democrats are confronting voter frustration over inflation and rising gas prices, the focus on abortion may be their best hope.

“It’s a very inviting target, to go after a Republican candidate whose position is no exceptions,” said Dick Wadhams, a former chairman of the Colorado GOP who has worked for anti-abortion candidates in the past. “I do think the repeal of Roe v Wade may embolden more candidates to go in that direction.”

“A lot of opportunity, but a lot of peril”

Beyond Colorado and Illinois, elections are being held in Oklahoma, Utah, New York, Nebraska, Mississippi and South Carolina. Tuesday marks the final round of multi-state primary nights until August, when closely watched races for governor and U.S. Senate will unfold in Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Missouri and other states

And while Tuesday’s primaries are the first to happen in a post-Roe landscape, they will offer further insight into the resonance of Trump’s election lies among GOP voters.

In Oklahoma, one of the nation’s most conservative senators, James Lankford, won his primary challenge from evangelical pastor Jackson Lahmeyer, amid conservative anger that Lankford hasn’t supported Trump’s election claims.

In Utah, two Republican critics of Trump are targeting Sen. Mike Lee, accusing the two-term senator of being too preoccupied with winning the former president’s favor and helping him try to overturn the 2020 presidential election. In Mississippi, Rep. Michael Guest, a Republican who bucked Trump to vote for an independent Jan. 6 commission, faces a challenge from Michael Cassidy, a former Navy pilot.

Also in Colorado, indicted county clerk Tina Peters, who has been barred by a judge from overseeing elections in her home county in the western part of the state, is running for the GOP nomination for the state’s top elections post by contending she’s being prosecuted for uncovering a grand conspiracy to steal the 2020 election from Trump. She faces Pam Anderson, a former county clerk and critic of Trump’s election lies, for the nomination to challenge Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold in November.

Republicans worry that Peters, who is being prosecuted by a Republican district attorney for her role in a security breach in her county’s election system, would drag down the entire ticket if she becomes the nominee. The GOP has lost almost every statewide race since 2014 but hopes public disenchantment with President Joe Biden gives them an opening.

“There’s a lot of peril on June 28 for Republicans,” Wadhams said. “A lot of opportunity, but a lot of peril as well.”

Other GOP opportunities in the state come in the newly created congressional swing seat north of Denver, where four Republican candidates are competing to face state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, the only Democrat running in the primary. Heidi Ganahl, the lone statewide elected Republican as a member of the University of Colorado’s board of regents, faces Greg Lopez, a former mayor in suburban Denver, in the contest for the GOP nomination to face Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

Also in Colorado, firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert faces moderate state Sen. Don Coram in the Republican primary in the western part of the state. In Colorado Springs, Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who faces regular primary challenges, this time is fighting back state Rep. Dave Williams, who failed to get the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon,” code for an obscenity against President Joe Biden, added to his official name on the ballot.

Voter seeks candidate who shares “our values”

Other than the governor’s race primary, Illinois also features two, rare incumbent vs. incumbent congressional primaries as a result of House districts being redrawn during last year’s redistricting. Democratic Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newman will compete in a Chicago-area seat. And GOP Rep. Rodney Davis, one of the last moderates in the Republican caucus, faces Trump-backed Rep. Mary Miller, who at a rally with the former president this weekend described the Supreme Court decision as “a victory for white life.” A spokesman said she meant to say “right to life.”

In the smaller towns of Illinois, conservative voters were hankering for a change. Toni Block, 80, of McHenry, about 45 miles northwest of Chicago, voted for Bailey in the gubernatorial primary.

“He’s got all the good things that we need to get back to,” Block said. “Not only is he a Trump supporter, he has our values.”

In New York, Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, who became the state’s chief executive last fall when Andrew Cuomo resigned during a sexual harassment scandal, is fighting off primary challenges from the left and center. New York City’s elected public advocate, Jumaane Williams, contends Hochul hasn’t been active enough on progressive issues while Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi blasts her for being too liberal on crime.

On the Republican side, Rep. Lee Zeldin is the frontrunner in a crowded gubernatorial primary field that includes Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York mayor and Trump confidant Rudolph Giuliani. Trump has not made an endorsement in the race.

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By Polityk | 29/06/2022 | Повідомлення, Політика

Former White House Aide: Trump Angry, Volatile as 2020 Defeat Became Obvious

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told U.S. lawmakers Tuesday that then-President Donald Trump became increasingly angry and volatile about his 2020 reelection loss, testifying that he agreed with rioters at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 last year when they called for the hanging of then-Vice President Mike Pence for refusing to block the election outcome.

Hutchinson said that as some of the thousands of Trump supporters at the Capitol chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” Trump told her boss, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, “Mike deserves it.”

She quoted Meadows as saying that Trump “doesn’t think (the anti-Pence protesters were) doing anything wrong.”

Trump supporters had erected a gallows on the National Mall within eyesight of the Capitol, although Pence’s security detail rushed him to safety as the mayhem raged. Some rioters came within about 12 meters of reaching him.

Later, Trump tweeted that “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage” to block Congress from certifying that Democrat Joe Biden had defeated Trump in the 2020 election. But it was not until more than an hour later that Trump finally told his supporters in a video message to leave the Capitol, after earlier ignoring pleas from family members, including his daughter Ivanka, a White House aide, and other advisers to publicly call off the riot.

WATCH THE HEARING:

Hutchinson, who worked in an office just steps from Trump’s Oval Office, said she learned from Anthony Ornato, a Meadows aide responsible for coordinating Trump’s security detail, that the then-president, after a rally near the White House before the mayhem at the Capitol, attempted to grab the wheel of his limousine from a Secret Service agent and demanded to go to the Capitol to join his supporters.

Trump had told thousands of supporters at the rally that he would join them in walking to the Capitol, but his security detail had determined it was too dangerous and instead drove him back to the White House.

Hutchinson said she was told by Ornato that, once in the limousine, Trump was “under the impression … he thought they were going to the Capitol” and was “very, very angry” when he realized they were not.

“I’m the ‘effing’ president, take me to the Capitol,” Trump demanded, according to Ornato’s recounting of the incident to Hutchinson.

She testified that Ornato told her Trump grabbed the steering wheel but was pushed away by his chief security agent, Bobby Engel.

“Sir, you need to take your hand off of the steering wheel, we’re going back to the West Wing, we’re not going to the Capitol,” Hutchinson said, quoting Ornato’s retelling of what Engel told Trump.

“Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge toward Engel and when Mr. Ornato recounted the story to me, he motioned to his clavicles,” Hutchinson testified.

Earlier that day, according to Hutchinson, Trump had been informed that many of the supporters whom he was urging to march to the Capitol were armed and equipped with body armor. Hutchinson said the president was angered that the Secret Service was using magnetometers to check for weapons at the entrance to the rally and confiscating those it found. Trump reportedly said he wasn’t in any danger and complained that keeping people out of the rally made the crowd look smaller.

More than a month before, on Dec. 1, 2020, then Attorney General William Barr, the country’s top law enforcement official, had told the Associated Press that Justice Department investigators had not found evidence of election fraud sufficient to overturn Biden’s victory. Trump lost more than five dozen election lawsuits claiming fraud.

Hutchinson said Trump was furious when told of Barr’s remark to the AP reporter. She learned of his anger when she encountered a White House valet cleaning Trump’s private dining room next to the Oval Office.

Trump, she said, had thrown his lunch against a wall, shattering a plate and splattering ketchup on the wall.

Hutchinson said that both Meadows and a Trump attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, sought pardons for their roles in trying to keep Trump in power.

But Trump, while pardoning other aides for their possible crimes before leaving office, did not act on the requests from Meadows or Giuliani, nor on similar demands from a half-dozen Republican congressmen Hutchinson said had requested pardons.

Hutchinson’s testimony came in the House of Representatives committee’s sixth hearing this month, with two more set for mid-July.

One of those hearings is set to detail the involvement of right-wing extremists in the insurrection at the Capitol and the other to explore what Trump was doing at the White House as he watched the riot unfold on television for more than three hours, ignoring all entreaties to tell the rioters to leave the Capitol.

Previously, an array of witnesses, in taped testimony and in person before the panel, have described how Trump and his allies sought to pressure Pence, the Justice Department and state officials to upend the congressional certification of the election results on January 6, 2021.

At the rally before the insurrection at the Capitol, Trump urged his supporters to “fight like hell” to block congressional approval of Biden’s victory.

About 2,000 of Trump’s supporters stormed past law enforcement officials into the Capitol, ransacking congressional offices, vandalizing the building and scuffling with police. More than 800 have subsequently been charged with offenses and more than 300 have pleaded guilty or been convicted in trials. Sentences have ranged from a few weeks in prison to more than four years.

In the United States, presidents are effectively chosen in separate elections in each of the 50 states, not through the national popular vote. Each state’s number of electoral votes is dependent on its population, with the biggest states holding the most sway. The rioters who stormed the Capitol tried to keep lawmakers from certifying Biden’s eventual 306-232 victory in the Electoral College.

At the heart of Trump’s effort to stay in power was an audacious plan espoused by Giuliani and conservative lawyer John Eastman to get legislatures in states Trump narrowly lost to appoint new electors supporting him to replace the official ones favoring Biden.

While the House committee cannot bring criminal charges, the Department of Justice is closely monitoring the hearings to determine whether anyone, Trump included, should be charged with illegally trying to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Last week, FBI agents raided the Washington-area home of a former assistant attorney general, Jeffrey Clark, who wanted Trump to name him attorney general in the last month of his presidency so he could advance Trump’s erroneous claims of vote fraud, which were at odds with Barr’s conclusion.

Trump appeared willing to make the Clark appointment but backed off when top Justice Department officials said Clark, an environmental lawyer, was not qualified to be the country’s top law enforcement official and threatened to quit en masse if he were named.

In addition, FBI agents, in a separate encounter in the southwestern state of New Mexico, seized the cell phone of Eastman.

A prosecutor in Atlanta, the capital of the state of Georgia, has convened a grand jury to probe Trump’s effort to overturn the vote in that state. Trump asked the state’s top election official, Brad Raffensperger, to find him 11,780 votes — one more than Biden defeated him by — out of 5 million ballots.

The investigative panel has heard testimony that key Trump aides told him he had lost the election and that there were minimal voting irregularities, not enough to overturn Biden’s Electoral College victory.

In addition, Trump was told it would be illegal for Pence to unilaterally block Biden’s victory as Pence presided over the congressional Electoral College vote count. Trump privately and publicly demanded the vice president block certification of Biden’s victory and to this day contends he was cheated out of another White House term.

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By Polityk | 29/06/2022 | Повідомлення, Політика

Former White House Aide to Testify About 2021 US Capitol Riot

The congressional panel investigating the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol last year is set to hear testimony Tuesday from Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, who was privy to key White House conversations as Trump sought to upend his 2020 election loss.

Watch the hearing live:

Hutchinson’s testimony is shrouded in secrecy and was hastily scheduled Monday, with the House of Representatives panel declining to identify her publicly and saying only that a surprise hearing would be held “to present recently obtained evidence.”

Multiple U.S. news outlets identified her as the new public witness, although the panel has previously shown snippets of her videotaped testimony from three private depositions she gave to the committee’s investigators.

In one brief segment, she testified that a half dozen Republican congressmen sought pardons against possible criminal prosecution from Trump before he left office. All had played roles in promoting his debunked claims that vote-counting fraud had cheated him out of a second term in the White House. Trump pardoned a handful of political aides as left office but not the House Republicans.

The investigative panel, after five hearings earlier this month, had previously said its next public hearings would not be held until mid-July. One of those hearings is set to detail the involvement of right-wing extremists in the insurrection at the Capitol and the other to explore what Trump was doing at the White House as he watched the riot unfold on television for more than three hours, ignoring entreaties from family members and associates to tell the rioters to leave the Capitol.

Previously, an array of witnesses, in taped testimony and in person before the panel, have described how Trump and his allies sought to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence, the Justice Department and state officials to upend the congressional certification of the election results on January 6, 2021.

Trump staged a rally near the White House shortly before the mayhem at the Capitol, urging his supporters to “fight like hell” to block congressional approval of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

About 2,000 of Trump’s supporters stormed past law enforcement officials into the Capitol, ransacking congressional offices, vandalizing the building and scuffling with police. More than 800 have subsequently been charged with offenses and more than 300 have pleaded guilty or been convicted in trials. Sentences have ranged from a few weeks in prison to more than four years.

Some of the rioters shouted, “Hang Mike Pence!” in protest of the former vice president’s refusal to block certification of the election results in several states Trump narrowly lost. Trump wanted the official results sent back to those states so state legislators could then name electors supporting Trump rather than Biden.

During one of the hearings last week, the committee played a video clip of Hutchinson testifying that Meadows and a Trump attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, held conversations about putting together fake slates of electors supporting Trump, part of the former president’s broad effort to change the election outcome.

News outlets have also reported that during one of her interviews with the committee, Hutchinson said Trump had approved of the “hang Mike Pence” chants from the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol and was dismayed that Pence’s security detail had rushed him to safety as the rioters came within 40 feet (12 meters) of reaching him. Trump supporters erected a gallows on the National Mall within view of the Capitol.

In the United States, presidents are effectively chosen in separate elections in each of the 50 states, not through the national popular vote. Each state’s number of electoral votes is dependent on its population, with the biggest states holding the most sway. The rioters who stormed the Capitol tried to keep lawmakers from certifying Biden’s eventual 306-232 victory in the Electoral College.

While the House committee cannot bring criminal charges, the Department of Justice is closely monitoring the hearings to determine whether anyone, Trump included, should be charged with illegally trying to reverse the outcome.

Last week, FBI agents raided the suburban Virginia home of a former assistant attorney general, Jeffrey Clark, who wanted Trump to name him attorney general in the last month of his presidency so he could advance Trump’s erroneous claims of vote fraud.

Trump appeared willing to make the appointment but backed off when top Justice Department officials said Clark, an environmental lawyer, was not qualified to be the country’s top law enforcement official and threatened to quit en masse if he were named.

In addition, FBI agents, in a separate encounter in the southwestern state of New Mexico, seized the cell phone of conservative lawyer John Eastman, a Trump supporter who pushed for the plan to name bogus electors supporting Trump in the states where Trump narrowly lost the vote counts.

A prosecutor in Atlanta, the capital of the state of Georgia, has convened a grand jury to probe Trump’s effort to overturn the vote in that state. Trump asked the state’s top election official, Brad Raffensperger, to find him 11,780 votes — one more than Biden defeated him by — out of 5 million ballots.

The investigative panel has heard testimony that key Trump aides told him he had lost the election and that there were minimal voting irregularities, not enough to overturn Biden’s Electoral College victory.

In addition, Trump was told it would be illegal for Pence to unilaterally block Biden’s victory as Pence presided over the congressional Electoral College vote count, as Trump privately and publicly implored the vice president to do.

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By Polityk | 29/06/2022 | Повідомлення, Політика
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