At a conservative rally in western Idaho last month, a young man stepped up to a microphone to ask when he could start killing Democrats.
“When do we get to use the guns?” he said as the audience applauded. “How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?” The local state representative, a Republican, later called it a “fair” question.
In Ohio, the leading candidate in the Republican primary for Senate blasted out a video urging Republicans to resist the “tyranny” of a federal government that pushed them to wear masks and take F.D.A.-authorized vaccines.
“When the Gestapo show up at your front door,” the candidate, Josh Mandel, a grandson of Holocaust survivors, said in the video in September, “you know what to do.”
And in Congress, violent threats against lawmakers are on track to double this year. Republicans who break party ranks and defy former President Donald J. Trump have come to expect insults, invective and death threats — often stoked by their own colleagues and conservative activists, who have denounced them as traitors.
From congressional offices to community meeting rooms, threats of violence are becoming commonplace among a significant segment of the Republican Party. Ten months after rioters attacked the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, and after four years of a president who often spoke in violent terms about his adversaries, right-wing Republicans are talking more openly and frequently about the use of force as justifiable in opposition to those who dislodged him from power.
In Washington, where decorum and civility are still given lip service, violent or threatening language still remains uncommon, if not unheard-of, among lawmakers who spend a great deal of time in the same building. But among the most fervent conservatives, who play an outsize role in primary contests and provide the party with its activist energy, the belief that the country is at a crossroads that could require armed confrontation is no longer limited to the fringe.
Political violence has been part of the American story since the founding of the country, often entwined with racial politics and erupting in periods of great change. And elements of the left have contributed to the confrontational tenor of the country’s current politics, though Democratic leaders routinely condemn violence and violent imagery. But historians and those who study democracy say what has changed has been the embrace of violent speech by a sizable portion of one party, including some of its loudest voices inside government and most influential voices outside.
In effect, they warn, the Republican Party is mainstreaming menace as a political tool.
Omar Wasow, a political scientist at Pomona College who studies protests and race, drew a contrast between the current climate and earlier periods of turbulence and strife, like the 1960s or the run-up to the Civil War.
“What’s different about almost all those other events is that now, there’s a partisan divide around the legitimacy of our political system,” he said. “The elite endorsement of political violence from factions of the Republican Party is distinct for me from what we saw in the 1960s. Then, you didn’t have — from a president on down — politicians calling citizens to engage in violent resistance.”
Friday, November 12, 2021
Me, I fully expect the National Archives to be blocked by an appeals court injunction this week and for the case to go before SCOTUS. There's no way the National Archives gets the documents to the January 6th Committee without a court fight.
A federal appeals court on Thursday temporarily blocked the release of White House records sought by a U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, granting — for now — a request from former President Donald Trump.
The administrative injunction issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit effectively bars until the end of this month the release of records that were to be turned over Friday. The appeals court set oral arguments in the case for Nov. 30.
The stay gives the court time to consider arguments in a momentous clash between the former president, whose supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, and President Joe Biden and Congress, who have pushed for a thorough investigation of the riot. It delays the House committee from reviewing records that lawmakers say could shed light on the events leading up to the insurrection and Trump's efforts to delegitimize an election he lost.
The National Archives, which holds the documents, says they include call logs, handwritten notes, and a draft executive order on “election integrity.”
Biden waived executive privilege on the documents. Trump then went to court arguing that as a former president, he still had the right to exert privilege over the records and releasing them would damage the presidency in the future.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Tuesday rejected those arguments, noting in part, “Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.” She again denied an emergency motion by Trump on Wednesday.
The House select committee investigating January 6 is demanding former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows appear for a deposition and turn over documents Friday or risk a criminal contempt referral, according to a letter Thursday from panel Chairman Bennie Thompson.
Meadows has been facing new pressure to cooperate with the committee after he was notified earlier Thursday that President Joe Biden will not assert executive privilege or immunity over documents and testimony requested by the panel, according to a copy obtained by CNN. The move to set a final compliance date for Meadows comes after his attorney issued a statement Thursday saying he would not cooperate with the committee until courts ruled on former President Donald Trump's claim of executive privilege.
The committee on Thursday took its first step toward possibly referring Meadows to the Department of Justice for contempt of Congress if he fails to comply with Friday's deadline.
"The Select Committee will view Mr. Meadows's failure to appear at the deposition, and to produce responsive documents or a privilege log indicating the specific basis for withholding any documents you believe are protected by privilege, as willful non-compliance," Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, wrote. "Such willful noncompliance with the subpoena would force the Select Committee to consider invoking the contempt of Congress procedures in 2 U.S.C. §§ 192, 194—which could result in a referral from the House of Representatives to the Department of Justice for criminal charges—as well as the possibility of having a civil action to enforce the subpoena brought against Mr. Meadows in his personal capacity."
Jonathan Karl: "Were you worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?"
Trump: "No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No. Because I had heard he was in very good shape. But, but, no, I think — "
Karl: "Because you heard those chants — that was terrible. I mean — "
Trump: "He could have — well, the people were very angry."
Karl: "They were saying 'hang Mike Pence.'"
Trump: "Because it's common sense, Jon. It's common sense that you're supposed to protect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that? And I'm telling you: 50/50, it's right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them. Anybody I spoke to — almost all of them at least pretty much agree, and some very much agree with me — because he's passing on a vote that he knows is fraudulent. How can you pass a vote that you know is fraudulent? Now, when I spoke to him, I really talked about all of the fraudulent things that happened during the election. I didn't talk about the main point, which is the legislatures did not approve — five states. The legislatures did not approve all of those changes that made the difference between a very easy win for me in the states, or a loss that was very close, because the losses were all very close."
- US Olympic gold medal gymnast Suni Lee is reporting she was attacked by pepper spray in a racist incident in Los Angeles last month.
- Researchers at Northwestern University say trials in mice of a new stem cell treatment to reverse paralysis are promising enough to seek FDA approval for human trials next year.
- President Biden and Chinese President Xi are expected to address other Pacific Rim nations Friday in a virtual summit of leaders over trade, military, and climate change issues.
- The Pentagon is warning that Russia may be seeking to send troops into Ukraine as US officials briefed EU allies this week as Moscow continues border troop and tank buildup.
- Researchers say much more risk assessment and vulnerability studies are needed before the world considers Arctic outposts made possible by melting ice caps and warming climate.