More to ignore, Book 95....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Dearie asks Trump lawyers whether they believe FBI lied about seized documents

The Mar-a-Lago special master on Thursday ordered Donald Trump’s lawyers to state in a court filing whether they believe FBI agents lied about documents seized from the former president’s Florida residence in a court-authorized search last month, or claimed to have taken items that were not actually in Trump’s possession.

In a Thursday afternoon filing, U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie — the special master — told Trump’s legal team to state by Sept. 30 whether they believe any of the seized items were incorrectly described in the Justice Department’s 11-page inventory list, which said some of the documents were highly classified.

Dearie also told them to say whether they are claiming that any items on the inventory list were not in fact taken from the premises.....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Special Master Judge Dearie Issues Order

vera esq

Following the first hearing in the case of Donald J. Trump v. United States of America, held on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, Special Master Judge Raymond J. Dearie has issued his first order on the case. The Case Management Plan and Order, issued September 22th, sets forth a deadline for the parties to produce documents, which are the subject of disputed claims.

1. By September 26, 2022, the United States shall present and affidavit verify that the detailed property inventory “represents the full and accurate extent of the property seized from the premises located at 1100 S. Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach, Florida 33480 (the “Premises”) on August 8, 2022, excluding documents bearing classification markings (the “Seized Materials”).”

2. No later than September 30, 2022, Plaintiff shall submit a declaration or affidavit that includes each of the following factual matters:

a. A list of any specific items set forth in the Detailed Property Inventory that Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022. [Judge Dearie is basically asking the Trump Team to swear or affirm in an affidavit Trump’s claim that evidence was planted, and to identify which items were not seized from Mar-a-Lago.]

b. A list of any specific items set forth in the Detailed Property Inventory that Plaintiff asserts were seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022, but as to which Plaintiff asserts that the Detailed Property Inventory’s description of contents or location within the Premises where the item was found is incorrect. [Again, Dearie is asking for a sworn statement attesting to the public allegations Trump has been making to the media, but not in a court of law.]

c. A detailed list and description of any item that Plaintiff asserts was seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022, but is not listed in the Detailed Property Inventory.

This submission shall be Plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory.

Dearie continues to cut to the chase with the following order:


Plaintiff [Trump] shall provide the Special Master and the government with an annotated copy of the spreadsheet described above that specifies, for each document, whether Plaintiff asserts any of the following:

a. Attorney-client communication privilege;

b. Attorney work product privilege

c. Executive privilege that prohibits review of the document within the executive branch;

d. Executive privilege that prohibits dissemination of the document to persons or entities outside the executive branch;

e. The document is a Presidential Record within the meaning of the Presidential Records Act of 1978, 44 U.S.C. § 2201, et seq. (“PRA); see id. § 2201(2); and/or

f. The document is a personal record within the meaning of the PRA; see id § 2201(3).

Plaintiff’s designations shall be on a document-by-document basis. For any document that Plaintiff designates as privileged and/or personal, Plaintiff shall include a brief statement explaining the basis for the designation.

Plaintiff is directed to prioritize the Filter Materials and to provide the government with a log of its designations as to the Filter Materials on or before September 26, 2022.

Plaintiff shall serve the government with its final and complete log of designations on or before October 14, 2022. The parties shall submit their final and complete log of disputed designations to the Special Master on or before October 21, 2022.

Dearie calls in back-up:

The undersigned has determined that the efficient administration of the Special Master’s duties requires the assistance of the Honorable James Orenstein (Ret.), a former United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York, who has experience with complex case management, privilege review, warrant procedures, and other matters that may arise in the course of the Special Master’s duties. Judge Orenstein has served as an appointed amicus curiae in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1803(i)(2) and currently holds Top Secret clearance.

And Trump will pay Judge Orenstein’s salary too:


As a United States District Judge in active service, the undersigned will seek no additional compensation for performing the duties of Special Master in this action. The undersigned proposes that Judge Orenstein be compensated at the hourly rate of $500. [When the gods want to punish you, they answer your prayers.]
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Mike Lindell sues DOJ over seized phone—and that's just the latest Pillow Man drama

Aldous J Pennyfarthing

Mike Lindell—whom God created in a garden in Eden Prairie out of a McRib He took from Donald Trump’s lunch—is back in the news, just a little more than a week after the FBI ambushed him in a Hardee’s drive-thru and “stoled” his phone.

He wants that phone back, you see—and he’s citing reasons: 1) He really wants that phone back, 2) his sprawling, multimillion-dollar business empire is run entirely from that phone, and without it, he’s little more than a knockwurst-redolent ball of kinetic energy and Sam’s Club mustache pomade, 3) no fair! 4) Constitution-something, 5) seriously guys, I need that phone. Give it back, already. Come on!

That’s not a verbatim transcript of his latest bonkers lawsuit, but it’s pretty close.

Reuters:

Lindell's suit against the U.S. Justice Department, which also listed U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray as defendants, alleged that Lindell's constitutional rights were violated by the seizure.
After his phone was seized on Sept. 13, Lindell claimed in a podcast that the seizure prevented him from carrying out his business activities and from accessing his funds.
"Not only do I run five businesses off of it, I don't use a laptop, I don't use a computer, everything was on that phone," Lindell said.

So what did Lindell think would happen with his five businesses—including his giant pillow concern—if he’d lost his phone in addition to his mind? Granted, he’s not the most tech-savvy man on the planet—he appears to be somewhere on the learning curve between successfully scheduling faxes and discovering that you can spell “BOOBS” if you turn your calculator upside-down—but you’d think, given the sheer size of his companies, that he might have had a contingency plan for running his financial affairs in the event he lost or wrecked his phone, like just about everyone else in America.

Meanwhile, Lindell is claiming that the seizure of his phone—conducted via a duly obtained FBI warrant—somehow violated his constitutional rights.

CBS News:

The suit alleges that the federal agents "had no authority to detain and question Mr. Lindell against his will," and that Lindell's First Amendment rights were violated because of "his efforts to inform the public about alleged fraud and alleged irregularities he believes occurred in order to bring an end to the dependence on computerized voting and tabulating machines in elections."
It also claims authorities were tracking Lindell using location services in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights in the stop and seizure as well as his Fifth Amendment rights to due process and the Sixth Amendment.
Lindell said he uses the phone to conduct business. The suit also claims the phone is programmed to operate Lindell's hearing aids.

In case you’re really interested in what this phone seizure was all about, you can find far more details here. In short, it involves the apparently illegal breach of electronic voting machines in Mesa County, Colorado—machines that Lindell is convinced are the devil!

Unfortunately, this latest suit is off to a wobbly start, considering that Mike Lindell filed it, not all of his lawyers are members of the court’s bar, and Martha’s Vineyard pariah and ex-lucid person Alan Dershowitz is onboard.

Meanwhile, sharp legal minds like Liz Dye from Above the Law are already making fun of it.

Lindell’s distinguished counsel on this clown suit includes Minnesota attorney Andrew Parker, who represents Lindell on various election matters, including his pending case against the January 6 Select Committee, MAGA lawyer/troll Kurt Olsen, who repped Texas AG Ken Paxton in his Supreme Court LOLsuit against seven swing states to invalidate their electoral votes and attempted to pressure the Justice Department to sign onto a similar complaint, and Alan Dershowitz, who has lots of time on his hands now since no one on Martha’s Vineyard will invite him to brunch.
In light of their very seriously pled Constitutional claims, they’d like the court to declare that Lindell’s rights were grievously violated, order the government to give back his phone and destroy any of the data collected from it, and unseal the affidavit, ’cause all the cool kids are doing that these days.
The case has been assigned to US District Judge Eric Tostrud, a Trump appointee but not an absolute bloody lunatic like his Federalist Society colleague in Florida.

Of course, if Lindell’s suit is slapped away—which it likely will be, given the FBI’s due diligence—it would only extend his legal losing streak. On Monday, a judge refused to toss voting machine company Smartmatic’s defamation lawsuit against Lindell for saying its machines helped Joe Biden steal the election from McSloven.

POLITICO:

Lindell moved to dismiss Smartmatic’s complaint, arguing that the company failed to adequately plea the defamation claim, and that the deceptive trade practices claim fails because Lindell was acting in a personal, not professional, capacity when making statements about the 2020 election. MyPillow separately moved to dismiss Smartmatic’s complaint, arguing that it is shielded by the First Amendment and that it did not make any statements about Smartmatic. The company also argued that Lindell’s statements can’t be imputed to MyPillow.
U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright on Monday denied both Lindell’s and MyPillow’s motions to dismiss the complaint. The court concluded that Smartmatic has alleged sufficient facts to support its defamation claim, including its claims that Lindell’s statements were false, that his defamatory statements were communicated to outside parties, that he knew or should have known his statements were false and that he acted with actual malice in promoting them.

Whoops. That can’t be good.

One has to wonder how Lindell sleeps at night, particularly on those shitty pillows. His life is crumbling around his ears, and yet he appears to think Jesus and Alan Dershowitz will come through for him in the end.

Indeed, at this point, his only escape from the long arm of the law may be the Rapture.



Keep the faith, Mike, and God just might rapture you home, too! He may even let you take your phone with you, and he’ll definitely let you finish your delicious Hardee’s breakfast biscuits.



I hear they’re heavenly, after all.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Thursday, Sep 22, 2022 · 4:25:23 PM EDT · Jessica Sutherland
Thursday afternoon, Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Eric Tostrud slapped down Lindell’s demand to be reunited with his beloved iPhone.



In addition to pointing out some very bad lawyering by Dershowitz and pals, Tostrud cited Wednesday evening’s decision from the 11th Circuit against Lindell messiah Donald Trump.



In his five-page ruling, Tostrud also noted that Lindell’s legal team, including Dersh—who also published a turd of an opinion piece Thursday, defending his choice to represent the Pillow Man—has yet to serve the U.S. government with their complaint.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Surprise. Shady company that made DeSantis’ Martha’s Vineyard cruelty possible gives big to GOP

Walter Einenkel

It has been a little over a week since Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida decided to use men, women, and children as chattel in his political theater production of I’m Ron DeSantis and I Want to Be President. The fact that he and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lied to frightened children and their parents and wasted taxpayer money all in service of a cheap headline is one of the lower points in an already low-level career as the nitrogen molecule of manure that is Ron DeSantis.

This inhumane piece of political theater is being investigated by a Texas sheriff since everything about it smells like a big bag of MAGA corruption and illegality. On Wednesday and Thursday, The Intercept and NBC News reported that the air charter company that DeSantis and crew used to separate families in a nakedly craven pursuit of political points are both former clients of DeSantis’ fellow Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, as well as big contributors to the GOP down in Florida. How much is a contract to trick new immigrants to our country and fly them to an island not set up for immigration?

According to DeSantis’ own administration, it’s worth $12 million.


That big number is the cost Florida taxpayers are reportedly handing over to Vertol Systems Company Inc. for “administering the ‘unauthorized alien’ program,” as NBC writes. So far, Vertol’s first job flying 50 people with false promises of care from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, has gotten it an initial $615,000 check from reckless Ronny. Of course, there’s a big issue here as even the right-wing state legislature, when creating the law, hadn’t foreseen how egregious people like DeSantis might be, and it is against the law for funds to be used under the “unauthorized alien” program for immigrants who are not living in or standing on Florida ground.

The Intercept reports that DeSantis’ big political ally, State Rep. Jay Trumbull Jr., is the appropriations committee’s chair. He was also a receiver of Vertol Systems campaign donations.


His father, Jay Trumbull Sr., was appointed by DeSantis to the Florida Transportation Commission, which is responsible for recommending major transportation policy to the governor and overseeing the Florida Department of Transportation, the state agency that contracted the two private planes for last week’s move. Trumbull Sr. told The Intercept that he resigned from the Commission on June 24.

A couple of days ago, DeSantis promised yet another political stunt sending immigrants from Texas to Florida to Delaware. It never happened, but Vertol Systems Company Inc. received a new check for $950,000. Why make $615,000 for doing a job when you can make $950,000 for not doing a job! All told, Florida has spent $1.5 million moving 50 people from Texas to Massachusetts, and all Florida is getting for it is sued by the families affected by this abhorrent stunt.

Democratic state Sen. Jason Pizzo is leading a lawsuit to stop payments to this Gates/DeSantis chummy company. Telling reporters that the current Florida governor has yet to provide a single shred of proof that any of this is legal, “I want to know who was asleep at the switch on the state side when someone said, ‘Let’s go to San Antonio; let’s spend our money there,’ when they booked the La Quinta hotel in San Antonio. Who thought that was legal?”

The corruption in the Republican Party is absolute and complete.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Republicans abandon GOP candidate in gerrymandered Ohio district who lied about Afghanistan service

Jeff Singer

AP22261505496094.jpeg

Republican J.R. Majewski

The NRCC on Thursday canceled the entire $960,000 ad buy it had booked in Ohio’s 9th District to defeat Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a development that was first reported by the Republican firm Medium Buying and confirmed by Politico and the Democratic firm Amplify Media. The committee's pullout came one day after the Associated Press reported that Kaptur’s Republican opponent, QAnon-aligned activist J.R. Majewski, had lied about serving in Afghanistan. The NRCC has not yet commented on the move, though the committee is still touting Majewski as a featured candidate on its website.

While Senate Republicans have scaled back, or outright canceled, their planned spending in a number of battlegrounds, this appears to be the first time this cycle that either party has retreated in a House contest. Big-money players usually make this sort of move to redirect cash elsewhere either because they feel supremely confident, or because they've concluded their candidate is doomed. It’s unlikely anyone feels supremely confident in Majewski.

Until the May primary, Kaptur, who is the longest-serving congresswoman in history, very much looked like one of the GOP's top targets in the nation, since Republicans had radically transformed her Toledo-area constituency from a 59-40 Biden district to one that Trump would have taken 51-48. But everything changed in the spring when Majewski, who attended the Jan. 6 Trump rally that preceded the attack on Congress and later went to the Capitol grounds, defeated two Republican state legislators to win the nod to take on the 20-term incumbent.

Kaptur and her allies went on to air a litany of ads arguing that Majewski’s presence at the riot proved that he was a danger to law enforcement. (Majewski claims he never actually entered the Capitol building.) They also utilized footage of the Republican speaking favorably of secession and rapping in a video titled “Let's Go Brandon Save America” to make their case that he shouldn’t be in Congress. A recent Kaptur commercial highlighted Majewski’s ties to QAnon, with a narrator saying, “The FBI calls QAnon a domestic terrorist threat … Extremist J. R. Majewski is one of them.”

National Republicans, though, still stuck with Majewski, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy even stumped for him last month. “This is a competitive race,” McCarthy insisted, continuing, “I hope everybody understands we are in this race. Because we have a candidate that understands what Ohio needs.” The NRCC also came to Majewski's aid last week when it helped him air his very first positive commercial of the race.

However, things somehow got worse for the Republican on Wednesday when the AP reported that military documents showed that Majewski, who had previously said he “lost my grandmother when I was in Afghanistan,” had never been stationed in the country. Instead, the self-described "combat veteran" spent six months in 2002 loading planes at an Air Force base in Qatar, far from the front lines. That seems to have been it for the NRCC, which yanked its planned spending the next day.

Majewski likely won’t be the last House candidate to get abandoned as Election Day draws nearer, and while there’s little question the GOP is triaging him because they’ve decided he’s a poor investment, future developments may be more difficult to interpret. That's partly because we have to rely on media reports for data about TV ad bookings, and those sources may not have access to complete information—particularly the motives of those making or canceling reservations.

Groups like the NRCC can also always change their minds and jump back into a race they'd previously given up on—they'll just pay higher rates if they do so. It’s also possible that the committee's allies at the Congressional Leadership Fund will see the race differently and get involved, though FEC reports show that CLF has yet to spend anything here.


 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: Ukraine reportedly breaks Russian lines east of Oskil River

Mark Sumner

Considering how the last couple of days have brought Vladimir Putin calling for partial mobilization in Russia, President Joe Biden blasting Russia in the U.N. for significant violations of the charter, and a big prisoner swap that saw many Azovstal defenders and U.S. POWs returned in exchange for an oligarch and some captured Russian agents, it’s understandable that the last few updates haven’t gotten far into the nitty-gritty of events on the down.

This afternoon is an attempt to remedy this, at least when it comes to the area around the northern Donetsk city of Lyman.

Despite 100 “any minute now” claims over the last few days, as of this writing (2PM ET, 10PM in Kyiv), it doesn’t seem that Lyman has been completely liberated by Ukrainian forces. There are certainly Ukrainian forces in the city, and Russia has certainly surrendered several positions that it has held over the last week of fighting, but the latest reports are that conflict inside Lyman continues. However, something else appears to be happening that may be more important than whether the last Russian forces have been booted from Lyman.

screencap.jpg

Breakthrough along the Oskil River.

In the last day, Ukrainian forces have reportedly broken through the Russian defensive lines near Rubtsi, on the east side of the Oskil River, resulting in a significant movement of the front. The reports coming in on Telegram and Twitter at this point have the same kind of excited, rapid-fire change seen during the Kharkiv counteroffensive, with some reports suggesting that Ukraine has already liberated the town of Lozove—which was a position that Russia was supposedly using to mass for its own counter-counterattack. One report indicates Ukrainian forces failed in an attempt to take Karpivka. Other reports have Ukrainian forces as far north as Ridkodub (one of several new locations I had to add to the map).

Multiple Ukrainian sources have images of Ukrainian troops at Korovii Yar. However, it’s unclear if this is more than just an advance force moving through the area. There are a number of sources now claiming that this town is confirmed to be liberated. This alone would make for a 5-kilometer advance of the line in the last day.

It’s possible the area under Ukrainian control now extends to Lozove on the river and north to the Kharkiv-Donetsk border on the west side of Lyman, making this counteroffensive much more extensive than indicated on the map. Or, of course, not. In the post-Kharkiv counteroffensive period, there have been a lot more reports where formerly reliable sources seem to be jumping the gun, anxious to be first with some new announcement. In this case, it seems certain there has been some level of breakthrough near Rubtsi, Ukrainian forces have advanced to the next line of towns to the north, and that Russia has been put back on its heels in this area while fighting to hold positions around Lyman.

The map above represents a pretty good middle ground when it comes to the reports. Ukraine may have liberated more. We should know soon. Some of the reports also suggest that, rather than continue to the north, Ukrainian forces are swinging around to put Lyman in the kind of “pincer” that Russia tried, and failed, to achieve in so many places. If so, it should be obvious in the coming day.

Elsewhere, Russia continues to attack in the area of Bakhmut, and Ukrainian sources indicate Russia has had “some success” to the south. It appears Russia is not going to try to drive into the city from the east, but to flank current Ukrainian positions by trying to move southwest of Bakhmut. But as always, movements in the area have been small. In Kherson, Russia reportedly retook the village of Pravdyne in the southern part of the area in what Ukrainian Telegram channels called “an unpleasant loss.” This may be connected to images seen on Russian sources that reportedly show a column of Ukrainian vehicles being destroyed in Kherson.

Earlier on Thursday, there were images circulating that purported to show Ukrainian special forces at Enerhodar, near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The best that can be said for these is that they are fake. Also … why?

..........
The other story that’s circulating widely in the last few days is a rumor that the U.S. intends to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. It’s a request that Ukraine has made for some time, and there’s little doubt the Pentagon would like to make them happy on this point. The U.S. has made over 10,000 Abrams. They can spare a few. It’s a matter of figuring out how to make it work.

More than 40 years ago, the U.S. and Russia took drastically different directions in tank development. Russia’s T-72 (and all its many descendants) is basically what would have been called a light or medium tank in earlier days. Though the latest versions have swollen to over 40 tons, it’s intended to be cheap, fast, and maneuverable. At the other end of the spectrum, an M1A2 Abrams tips the scale at 70 tons. It’s about 10 kph slower than a T-72, but that T-72 is not dressed out in a sandwich of depleted uranium, graphite, ceramic, reactive explosives, and steel. It’s also not equipped with a technical wonderland of thermal and IR vision systems.

Basically, the Abrams is a tank that’s meant to take a punch and keep punching. The T-72 is a tank that’s meant to take a punch and … be replaced by the next cheap T-72 in the line.

Does the Pentagon want to see how an M1A2 SEP stacks up against a T-80M or T-90? Or just how it holds up in a battlefield littered with drones and portable anti-tank weapons? Yes, it most certainly does.

However, almost every tank the Ukrainian military is driving now is some variant on the Soviet T-72 family (or older). Each and every one of the variants poses problems in terms of different engines, different electronics, different fire control systems, etc. At first even those differences seemed like too much to deal with, but as the war as stretches on, Ukraine has become fairly expert in handling a mixed bag of tanks and other vehicles from multiple countries.

On the other hand, the Abrams has nothing in common with anything now on the battlefield in Ukraine. It doesn’t just have a different engine, it has a different type of engine (a 1500hp multifuel turbine) and none of the fire control, visual systems, and coms gear inside the tank is at all compatible with anything else on hand. A tank company moves out with thousands of spare parts and truckloads of maintenance gear, none of which Ukraine has. It’s not just a matter of learning to drive the tank, it’s learning to maintain it, repair it, and deal with specialized systems used just in the maintenance.

But hey, you can load it up with 500 gallons of almost anything that burns. That’s something.

The training, maintenance, and logistical challenges of using the Abrams in Ukraine are almost insurmountable. The U.S. may be interested in seeing how the tank performs on the battlefield against Russia, but it’s a lot less interested in seeing Russia drive away with an Abrams that was abandoned because it was missing one of 10,000 necessary parts. And that, considering how often Russia and Ukraine have swapped gear at this point, is absolutely a concern.

This is difficult, but not impossible. And Ukraine wants it badly, so it’s probably going to happen.

For now, expect other NATO countries to keep working to dust off their own older Soviet designs to send to Ukraine. But don’t be surprised if once mud season really sets in for Ukraine, there are Ukrainian soldiers doing some training in Texas.
.........
Remember that part of Putin’s speech where he said this was only for members of the reserves with combat experience, and it wasn’t like he was about to start conscripting college students? These are college students being pulled directly from their classrooms.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Identity of ex-Twitter employee who testified to Jan. 6 probe about online threats revealed

Brandi Buchman

This summer, her recorded voice was modulated so her identity could be hidden when her testimony before the Jan. 6 committee—about the massive red flags she saw waving on Twitter on the eve of the insurrection—finally went public.

On Thursday, select committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, revealed who “she” is: former Twitter employee Anika Navaroli.

Navaroli came forward to offer the committee her intimate insights into the disturbing messages and trends she saw on Twitter that echoed both former President Donald Trump’s calls to overturn the election on Jan. 6 as well the calls for violence and retribution flowing from extremist groups and other ugly corners of the internet.



During a public hearing this July, the nation heard Navaroli’s testimony for the first time. Her voice was modified but the intensity of her convictions about what she witnessed shone through.

“For months, I had been begging and anticipating and attempting to raise the reality that if nothing, [if there] was no intervention into what I saw occurring, people were going to die,” she said. “And on Jan. 5, I realized no intervention was coming. Even as hard as I had tried to create one or implement one, there was nothing. We were at the whims and mercy of a violent crowd that was locked and loaded.”

An investigator asked her to clarify her testimony: “And for that record, that content was echoing the president, Proud Boys, and other known violent extremist groups?”

Her answer was succinct.

“Yes,” she said.

According to a webpage on the independent non-profit research outfit Data & Society, Navaroli is an alumnus of that organization and her research there specialized in “laws governing technology and First Amendment jurisprudence.”

She also researched how “traditional constitutional principles” apply to the ever-expanding ecosystem of civil rights protests online. She holds multiple degrees, including a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a juris doctor degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Requests for comment from Navaroli as well as the select committee were not immediately returned Thursday.

Before Jan. 6, social media platforms were awash in chatter about then-outgoing President Donald Trump’s “wild” rally in Washington. Right-wing and pro-Trump YouTube influencers and commentators like Alex Jones were brimming over with excitement.

One pro-Trump YouTuber going by the name “Salty Cracker” told his audience Jan. 6 would feature a “million-plus geeked up, armed Americans.”

It was going to be a “red wedding,” he said, making a reference to the fictional bloody massacre portrayed in the fantasy television show, Game of Thrones.

On Reddit, Facebook, and sites like 4kun and 8chan, the same language proliferated.

And on Twitter, where QAnon conspiracy theorists and far-right activists like Jack Posobiec, among many others, shared Trump’s defunct gospel about widespread election fraud at a rapid clip, the momentum toward the Capitol attack was building.

It had been building for weeks.

On Dec. 19, 2020, when Trump tweeted “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild,” it was like catnip to domestic extremists and far-right militia groups hanging on his every word.

In a separate portion of her disguised sworn testimony that aired this summer, Navaroli said she felt Twitter went easy on Trump because he gave the social media platform greater cache.

Navaroli testified that Twitter weighed implementing a more strict content moderation policy in September 2020, right after the presidential debates.

During the debate between Trump and now-President Joe Biden, Trump would not disavow or condemn extremists or white supremacists.

When asked if he would say whether the groups should stand down, Trump responded by telling Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”



Reflecting on that moment under oath, Navaroli told the select committee: “My concern was that the former president, for seemingly the first time, was speaking directly to extremist organizations and giving them directives. We had not seen that sort of direct communication before and that concerned me.”

If Trump had been “any other user,” she said, “he would have been permanently suspended a very long time ago.”

Twitter did not boot Trump from the platform permanently until a day after the insurrection.

When Raskin recounted Trump’s Dec. 19 tweet, he said the messaging online by his followers and hangers-on became “openly homicidal.”


 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Several GOP senators raised new concerns Thursday about former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents, rejecting his claim that he could simply declassify the secret records by “thinking about it.”

In interviews with CNN, the senators broke from Trump’s claim that everything was handled appropriately, diverging from many in the party who have sidestepped questions about the matter or have vigorously defended the former President.

Asked about Trump’s claim on Fox News that he could simply declassify documents by thinking about it and there’s no process for him to follow to do that, Senate GOP Whip John Thune told CNN there’s a process for declassifying documents.

“And I think it ought to be adhered to and followed. And I think that should apply to anybody who has access to or deals with classified information,” Thune said.

“I think the concern is about those being taken from the White House absent some way of declassifying them or the fact that there were classified documents removed — without sort of the appropriate safeguards,” the South Dakota Republican continued, adding, “I think that is what the Justice Department is getting at.”

Sen. Thom Tillis, a two-term Republican from North Carolina who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN that he believes there’s a process that must be followed by a President to declassify the records.

“I believe there’s a formal process that needs to go through, that needs to be gone through and documented,” Tillis said “And to the extent they were declassified, gone through the process, that’s fine. … As I understand the Executive Branch requirements, there is a process that one must go through.”

Sen. Mike Rounds, a South Dakota Republican who sits on the Armed Services Committee, called the handling of classified documents a “very serious” issue.

“I think anyone who takes the time to appropriately protect that information and who has taken the time to see what’s in the information would have serious concerns about how items could be accessed if they’re not stored properly,” Rounds told CNN. “And so once again, up here, we take it very seriously. People can get hurt, people can get killed if it’s not stored correctly, and if that information gets out.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and top Trump ally, also dismissed the former President’s claims.

“The process is probably more complicated than that,” he said of Trump’s claim that he could declassify anything by thinking about it.

The comments diverge from GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell, who has largely declined to comment about the Mar-a-Lago search, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has defended Trump through the process.

On Thursday, other senators sidestepped questions about the matter.

“I think there’s prerogative on the part of the President to declassify,” Indiana Sen. Mike Braun said when asked about Trump’s comments. “What the proper methodology is, I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out how.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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States cannot impose civil or criminal penalties on Department of Veterans Affairs doctors and nurses who provide abortion services that are allowed by federal law, a Department of Justice task force said in a new memo released Thursday.

Why it matters: The memo comes after the VA said earlier this month it plans to provide abortions to beneficiaries when pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and when birth may present a danger to a pregnant person's health.

  • The memo said VA doctors and nurses are protected from state-imposed criminal or civil liability when providing federally sanctioned abortion by the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
What they're saying: "The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution bars state officials from penalizing VA employees for performing their federal functions, whether through criminal prosecution, license revocation proceedings, or civil litigation," reads the memo, written by Christopher Schroeder, assistance attorney general of the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel.

Our thought bubble,
via Axios’ Oriana Gonzalez: This is the Biden administration’s latest effort to protect abortion access by arguing that federal law preempts state law.

  • After red states’ reaction to the administration’s rule on EMTALA (including Texas’ lawsuit), the DOJ is getting ahead of potential legal threats and asserting that states cannot invalidate VA’s rule.
The big picture: The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year forced the VA to issue a new rule on abortions provided to veterans and other VA beneficiaries, as dozens of states have since banned the procedure.
  • While VA hospitals are located in every state and U.S. territory, the facilities themselves are federal property and their employees are federal employees.
  • Congressional Republicans led by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) last week introduced a bill which would ban abortion nationally after 15 weeks with exceptions for situations involving rape, incest or risks to the life and physical health of the pregnant person.
Go deeper: Judge temporarily blocks Indiana's near-total abortion ban
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, continues to pull away from Republican challenger Tudor Dixon in the polls about two months before the election, a trend echoed by the other Democrats who hold Michigan’s top executive offices.

An EPIC-MRA poll released Thursday morning shows that if the general election were held immediately, 55% of respondents would vote for Whitmer (a five-point gain since an August poll), while 39% would vote for Dixon (no change since August). Six percent were undecided......