Monday, March 21, 2022

Last Call For Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

The January 6th investigation, and subsequent arrests and prosecutions, have one real purpose: to gather enough information and evidence to put the masterminds of this terrorist sedition behind bars. The people involved with the planning are turning state's evidence on the bigger fish, and the biggest fish is orange.

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff and a national campaign spokesperson were involved in efforts to encourage the president’s supporters to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. That’s according to a person who says he overheard a key planning conversation between top Trump officials and the organizers of the Jan. 6 rally on the White House Ellipse — and has since testified to House investigators about the phone call.

Trump and his allies have tried to minimize his role in calling his supporters to the Capitol and argue he was simply participating in a lawful, peaceful demonstration.

Scott Johnston — who worked on the team that helped plan the Ellipse rally — says that’s just not so. He claims that leading figures in the Trump administration and campaign deliberately planned to have crowds converge on the Capitol, where the 2020 election was being certified — and “make it look like they went down there on their own.”

Johnston, who says he described the phone call to House select committee investigators, detailed his allegations in a series of conversations with Rolling Stone. Johnston says he overheard Mark Meadows, then-former President Trump’s chief of staff, and Katrina Pierson, Trump’s national campaign spokesperson, talking with Kylie Kremer, the executive director of Women For America First, about plans for a march to the Capitol. Johnston said the conversation was clearly audible to him since it took place on a speakerphone as he drove Kremer between the group’s rallies in the final three days of 2020.

“They were very open about how there was going to be a march. Everyone knew there was going to be a march,” Johnston says.

According to Johnston, Meadows, Pierson, and Kremer discussed the possibility of setting up a permit to make the march from the White House to the Capitol official. He says the trio decided against officially permitting the march, citing concerns about security costs and about the optics of a sitting president organizing a push towards Congress as lawmakers certified his loss in the 2020 election. Ultimately, Johnston tells Rolling Stone, they planned to “direct the people down there and make it look like they went down there on their own.”

Kremer’s group, Women For America First, helped lead the Jan. 6 rally at the White House Ellipse, where Trump delivered a speech and told supporters to “fight like hell” and said he expected them to march on the Capitol. “We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump said. As Trump spoke, people began leaving the rally to walk towards the Capitol.

The president’s camp insists this wasn’t part of any pre-planned push. In the book where he recounted his time in the White House, Meadows called the Jan. 6 violence “the actions of a handful of fanatics across town.”

Johnston’s account suggests there was a deliberate strategy by Trump’s allies to have supporters descend on the Capitol. Such a connection would implicate top White House and campaign officials in drawing crowds to the Congress without a permit — a step that could have required added security and may have allowed law enforcement to better prepare for the day’s events. Those crowds overwhelmed the Capitol Police and engaged in an hours-long battle with law enforcement. Four people died during the attack.

According to Johnston, rally organizers were “constantly” using “burner phones” — cheap, pre-paid cells that can be harder to trace because they’re not personally identified with a user or a user’s account — “to talk about” potential permits and plans for a march with Trump aides.

Johnston says that, in the key phone conversation he overheard, the group settled on ordering a march without an official permit. “Nobody wanted to do it because they didn’t want to pay for it,” Johnston says of obtaining a permit. “They didn’t want to have to provide security and all the other expenses.”

On Dec. 20, 2021, Johnston testified to the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack and he provided Rolling Stone multiple pieces of documentation showing his interactions with the committee. Johnston also says he told investigators that he knew the call took place on a “burner phone” in the final days of 2020 because the discussion came right after Kylie Kremer directed him to purchase three phones for her group.

“I’m the one that bought the burner phones,” Johnston says.

The term "seditious conspiracy" is going to be in the news a lot through 2022. 

Meadows is certainly the biggest fish so far in this fish fry, but that of course means Trump knew what was going on, and that he was a major part of -- everyone all together now -- the seditious conspiracy. What other evidence turns up, we'll see. But the January 6th committee is running out of time, and indictments or not, getting convictions on the big fish may never happen even as the committee is expected to start making criminal charge recommendations in the weeks and months ahead.

We'll see.

Another Day In Gunmerica, Con't

 In Arkansas at a car show over the weekend in the town of Dumas near the Mississippi River, 28 people were shot, one fatally, as a gunman opened fire on the show crowd. Dozens were hospitalized, including several children. Republicans in Arkansas had nothing to offer but thoughts and prayers.

Leaders across Arkansas are sending their thoughts and prayers to the residents of Dumas following a shooting at a car show Saturday night that left one person dead and more than 20 others, including many children, injured.

In a tweet, U.S. Senator John Boozman asked for prayers for the victims of the gunfire and for the first responders who assisted them.

He also said that the people responsible for the violence “will be held accountable.”
Troopers: At least 24 injured, one dead in shooting at Dumas car show

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton tweeted that “the hearts of Arkansans from across the state are with the people of Dumas” and said that God would provide “comfort to the victims and their families.”

Cotton also praised the Arkansas State Police for their work on the case.

Representative French Hill posted that his “thoughts are with everyone impacted by the shooting last night in Dumas.”

Arkansas Lt. Governor Tim Griffin sent prayers to the “entire Dumas community” and thanked law enforcement officers who responded to help.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issued a tweet decrying the careless display of violence, stating “The shooting spree in Dumas last night at a community family event represents a total disregard of the value of life. We have at least 20 shooting victims and at least 18 who have been hospitalized. Several children have been sent to the hospital as well.”

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge tweeted that she is praying for the families who have faced “senseless violence in Dumas.” She also expressed support for law enforcement, stating “May God continue to help our law enforcement ensure that justice is swiftly served.”

Saturday's attack in Dumas was the worst mass shooting in the state's history, and this is a state where one of the first major school shootings happened some 24 years ago in Jonesboro.

In a quarter-century or so, nothing's changed. An entire generation grew up living with school shootings as news, and now a generation is growing up with school shootings as regular occurrences. Mass shootings like Dumas barely made the news outside of the state, where in literally just about any other country on earth, something like this would have been a national scandal.

But we have more firearms than people in this country now. Little wonder then that firearms have more rights than Americans do in 2022, and there's no reason to think it will ever change in my lifetime.


It was just another Saturday night in Gunmerica.

Retribution Execution, Con't

Republicans in both the House and the Senate keep promising retaliation for Democrats should they get control in 2023, and the targets are clearly already being marked.
Hunter Biden. Anthony Fauci. Afghanistan. The border.

As Senate Republicans feel increasingly bullish about November, when they are fighting to regain control of Congress, they are floating using a new majority to dig into President Biden and his administration starting in 2023.

The potential probes underscore both the headaches awaiting Democrats if the House or Senate flips heading into 2024 but also the shifting power dynamics within the Senate GOP conference, where a stream of retirements of more pragmatic-minded senators is elevating newer, more combative Republicans.

“I’m sure there will be plenty of ingenious individuals thinking about what to do on those committees,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.).

Braun, while noting he didn’t have a pet investigation, pointed to Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) as two examples of GOP senators who could have “some real interest in looking into stuff that has not been attended to.”

Johnson, if he wins his reelection bid in November, is poised to chair the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Johnson is prevented because of term limits from chairing the full committee again, but the subcommittee gavel comes with a crucial element: subpoena authority.

Asked if there were overlooked issues that he would want to probe, Johnson appeared eager to dig in.

“Like everything?” he told The Hill. “It’s like a mosquito in a nudist colony. It’s a target-rich environment.”

Johnson pointed to the administration’s handling of the coronavirus as one area ripe for investigation. Johnson himself has caught flak, and fed Democratic campaign attacks, as one of the most vocal skeptics within the Senate GOP conference of public health measures amid the pandemic, which has killed more than 970,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“There’s so much more in terms of what happened with our federal health agencies that we need to explore,” Johnson said

Johnson views himself as having broad jurisdictional boundaries, and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s boundary lines are more amorphous than those of other panels because it combines homeland security with a much broader category of government oversight.

Johnson isn’t alone in wanting to dig into the coronavirus response.

Paul, a libertarian-leaning GOP senator who at times is a gnat for Senate GOP leadership, is in line to become the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee if Republicans win the majority.

Paul atop the committee would be a significant shift. Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.), currently the top Republican on the panel, is retiring after this year and has broken with Paul on a number of key issues. Former Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), who preceded Burr as the top Republican on the committee but retired after 2020, was a close ally of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and was known for his ability to cut bipartisan deals.

Paul has had high-profile tangles with Fauci during committee hearings and promised to investigate and subpoena Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, if he finds himself with a gavel next year.

“If we win in November, if I'm chairman of a committee, if I have subpoena power, we'll go after every one of [Fauci's] records,” Paul said earlier this year.
Republicans are promising another 1996, 2010 and 2014 era of gridlock, endless investigations, and impeachment attempts.  Imagine BENGHAZI!!!1!! only times ten, and you get the picture. Surely nothing will be done to help Americans in 2023 and 2024, only daily updates on the half-dozen GOP probes into Democrats.
And they'll need it, with abortion illegal in half or more of states, civil rights and LGBTQ+ equality all but gutted, they'll need the TV circus on hearings, not white "christian" nationalism cementing permanent control over America as Gilead.

Half of America is happy to do that, too.

Better vote or else.
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