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'Consciousness Of Guilt' Among Pardon-Seeking House Republicans

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol revealed during its first public hearing on Thursday that multiple Trump-allied Republicans in Congress sought presidential pardons for their efforts to challenge and overturn the results of the 2020 elections.

The full ramifications of that revelation are yet to be felt.

It was Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the vice-chair of the select committee, who disclosed during her opening statement that “multiple Republican congressmen sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election.”

That so many House Republicans sought pardons could be construed as an admission of guilt, an acknowledgment of their involvement in possibly illegal conduct, and a sign of “potentially perilous legal and political moments to come” for former President Trump and his congressional allies.

"Why would members do that if they felt that their involvement in this plot to overturn the election was somehow appropriate?" Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA) asked on ABC’s This Week, speaking of the pardon-seeking House Republicans.

The select committee’s shocking revelation also suggested that the House Republicans in question knew — if not before, then now — that Trump’s widespread election fraud claims were lies, or they wouldn’t seek clemency.

In a statement to reporters, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a member of the select committee, echoed Schiff’s sentiment on the bombshell revelation, saying, “It’s hard to find a more explicit statement of consciousness of guilt than looking for a pardon for actions you’ve just taken, assisting in a plan to overthrow the results of a presidential election.”

Cheney gave no basis for the allegation but named one of the Republican congressmen: Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), who chairs the far-right House Freedom Caucus, a congressional caucus now described as Trump’s defense team.

Perry took to Twitter on Friday to deny the claim, which he labeled, among other things, a “soulless lie.”

The allegations prompted one of the largest papers in Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, to assail Perry for his questionable morals and ethics.

"Legal experts agree that presidential pardons are intended for persons accused of or convicted of federal crimes. It is extremely rare for anyone to receive a preemptive pardon for an offense already committed but not charged. Rep. Perry had led an effort to turn back the results of the presidential election, but he had not been charged with a crime," the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote. "Was he, by the very act of asking, admitting to criminal or unethical behavior? Why else would he ask? It certainly raises suspicions."

Willful Blindness

The select committee argued Trump couldn’t have believed he won the 2020 elections after his senior advisers informed him of the contrary.

The testimony provided by these top Trump aides and their implicationscan open the door for the Department of Justice to slap Trump with charges of obstructing an official proceeding — in this case, Congress’ certification of the electoral college votes — or “defrauding the United States on the basis of election fraud claims he knew were false.".

In undercutting the notion that Trump truly believed his Big Lie, the panel appears to be making a case of “willful blindness” on the former president’s part, which is especially relevant in his efforts to pressure Georgia’s state secretary Brad Raffensperger to find him enough votes to win.

House Republicans Launch Capitol Riot 'Counter-Programming' Cover-Up

Unrest in the Republican ranks has escalated into a mad scramble as pro-Trump House Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), hurriedly prepare counter-programming to defend former President Trump and denounce the House Select Committee, its findings, and Democrats.

A bipartisan panel of lawmakers investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection , the select committee held the first of its scheduled public hearings on Thursday evening, where it began to the findings of its almost year-long investigation into the insurrection, including “previously unseen material.”

Planning a push-back-harder strategy intended to please Trump and divert public attention away from the hearings will be a tall order for the MAGA coalition of House Republicans as they aren’t privy to what the select committee has uncovered.

On Wednesday, select committee staff correctly predicted that the hearings would show Trump as the central figure in a “coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.”

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), a leading figure in the House GOP effort to play defense, has said that he and his far-right coalition plan to make House Speaker Nancy Pelosi their prime target, Business Insider reported on Thursday.

"Nancy Pelosi blocked us from the committee because she knows that those questions leave a trail of breadcrumbs right back to the Speaker's office," Banks said to reporters at the US Capitol.

Banks also told reporters that if he were a member of the House Select Committee, he would investigate the roles “Pelosi, the House sergeant at arms at the time, Capitol Police, the FBI, and the National Guard could have played in the attacks,” according to Business Insider.

Another House Republican reportedly marshaling the group’s efforts is Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who has also assailed Pelosi for the hearings. "I am working closely with President Trump, Leader Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, and my colleagues to help lead House Republicans in pushing back against lame-duck Speaker Pelosi's sham political witch-hunt," Stefanik said on Fox News.

Conspiracy theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene also got in on the act in a Monday tweet, saying, “Dems think people care about J6 after Dems caused violent riots w/ $2+ B in damage all over the US in '20. Yeah. Dig that hole deeper.”

McCarthy and other Republicans spearheading this effort at misdirection, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who was subpoenaed along with McCarthy by the select committee but refused to cooperate, hope that their version of events will cast doubt on the select committee’s findings and arguments.

“We'll issue our report later in the year and it will have both facts as to why the Capitol was so unprepared and it will include recommendations the House should take up to prevent this from happening in the future,” said Mark Bednar, a spokesperson for McCarthy.

A Trump spokesperson, Taylor Budowich, in response to requests for comments, declined to outline what the GOP report would entail, but he confirmed that the conservative party’s leaders are fully on board with any plans to defend Trump during the hearings.

“The entire MAGA movement is united against this illegitimate committee and will work to ensure President Trump is defended against yet another Democrat show trial,” Budowich said. “Elected leaders and conservative organizations from every corner of our party are working together to ensure every American is informed by the truth, something the Fake News media is unwilling to do.”

Stefanik 'Proud' To Endorse Openly Racist Candidate In Republican Primary

House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik has endorsed former Buffalo Board of Education member and New York Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino for the open seat in New York's 23rd Congressional District. The wealthy real estate developer was removed from the board in 2017 after using racial slurs about former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.

Stefanik, who represents the state's 21st Congressional District, tweeted on Friday, "I am proud to announce my endorsement of my friend Carl Paladino in #NY23. Carl is a job creator and conservative outsider who will be a tireless fighter for the people of New York in our fight to put America First to save the country."

Paladino, a frequent candidate and the New York co-chair of former President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, has a history of making racist, misogynistic, and homophobic comments.

In 2010, Paladino ran unsuccessfully for New York governor. During the campaign, he made national news for circulating racist, offensive, and pornographic emails. He defended sending around a photoshopped image of the Obamas as a pimp and prostitute by claiming, "I sent it to a specific bunch of friends, okay, who somewhat enjoy that humor."

Paladino attacked LGBTQ people, telling a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders that same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry because "I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don't want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn't."

He later said that he would not "change the comments" but that he had chosen an "inappropriate word" when he said "brainwashed."

Paladino also made headlines in 2010 for sending mailers scented with rotten vegetables to illustrate his view that "Something really stinks in Albany."

Six years later, while serving as an elected member of the Buffalo Board of Education, he was asked by a reporter what he hoped would happen in 2017. His response, published by the Buffalo-based website Artvoice with misspellings intact, included:

1. Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford. He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarret, who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.
2. Michelle Obama. I'd like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.

After those racist comments and separate allegations that he improperly disclosed confidential information about contract negotiations, Paladino faced widespread calls to resign his board seat.

When he refused to do so, the state commissioner of education removed him from his post.

Stefanik's endorsement of Paladino followed the announcement that Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs would end his campaign for the newly drawn 23rd Congressional District. Jacobs dropped out following right-wing criticism over his expressed willingness to support gun safety measures following mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.

Stefanik, the third-ranking member of the House GOP leadership, has been under fire for her embrace of white supremacist "replacement theory," the notion that Democrats are encouraging people of color to immigrate to the United States in order to outvote and replace white people.

The winner of the August 23 primary for the Republican nomination will be the heavy favorite in November in a strongly Republican-leaning district.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

When Did Admitting A Mistake Become 'Weakness' For Republicans?

In 2002, Trent Lott of Mississippi tried, awkwardly, to make amends.

What did the then-Senate majority leader do to merit penance? Waxing poetic and perhaps feeling a bit nostalgic, Lott gave a speech honoring the 100th birthday of fellow Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, the onetime Dixiecrat who once broke off from the Democratic Party with a group of the like-minded to form the States’ Rights Democratic Party, built on segregation and steeped in white supremacy.

“I want to say this about my state,” said Lott, harking back to Thurmond’s 1948 folly. “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

First, Lott backtracked by saying he did not mean what he clearly said, calling the celebration “lighthearted.” Next, the apology, “to anyone who was offended.”

“A poor choice of words conveyed to some that I embraced the discarded policies of the past,” he said in a statement. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

He resigned as majority leader after receiving criticism mostly from Democrats but also from some Republicans, worried they might lose support of Black conservative voters for whom whistling Dixie was a step too far.I’m not sure if Lott’s motive was genuine moral growth or reading the room. But at the very least, it acknowledged that longing for the bad old days was not a good thing.

For reasons exemplary or political or both, anything that name-checked the divisive and ugly politics of Dixiecrat days of glory was seen as a drag for a politician and his or her party. This was true even when the words honored Thurmond, a longtime senator, one whose hypocrisy moved front and center when his Black daughter, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, in 2003 claimed her truth and her birthright.

Was 2002 really that long ago? In political years, apparently, yes.

Today, Lott’s apology would be seen as “weakness,” in GOP canon a deal-breaker, and his resignation a sign of capitulating to the “woke mob,” whatever that means. The savvy move would be for Lott to double down, make outraged appearances on right-wing news outlets and field as many fundraising pleas as possible.

Or, he could just deny having said the offensive words in the first place, since refusing to admit the provable, recorded truth is not only acceptable but also encouraged.

It’s not that by 2002, or at any time in American history, appeals to racial and cultural grievance — a wish by those on top that everyone else should “know their place” — had lost their ability to work.

But comparing then to now is an eye-opener for those who believe progress and justice move one way, forward. The landscape in 2022 is a reminder that the Southern strategy can morph into the tea party, which can morph into “Make America Great Again,” with hardly a tweak.

The fact of a two-term Black president doesn’t disprove that theory, and could actually be one reason for the politics of fear getting a reboot. After President Barack Obama, America elected President Donald Trump, still president of the Republican Party if not the United States of America, and his critic and slavish supplicant, Kevin McCarthy, a leader without apology, honesty or shame.

It’s become increasingly clear that House Minority Leader McCarthy — longing to change that “Minority” title to “Majority,” and seeing it within his grasp come the midterm elections — has no problem distinguishing right from wrong or truth from lies. We know that for a fact, thanks to the slow drip of tapes and reporting from New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns in advance of the official release of their book.

McCarthy’s own voice reveals this witness to the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol not only blaming Trump but also worrying that members of his own caucus would be complicit in undermining democracy and would put “people in jeopardy.”

In audio that contradicts his repeated denials, McCarthy name-checks Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama and others, citing their incendiary rhetoric and verbal attacks on congressional colleagues such as Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the same House member McCarthy would force out of leadership when she stood up to Trump’s lies and castigated his involvement in January 6.

Gaetz, of course, responded this week, using the phrase “weak men” to describe McCarthy and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican, both of whom had questioned the legality of Gaetz’s posturing.

Back then, McCarthy fretted about the rantings of Alabama Republican Rep. Barry Moore, who added the obligatory racism, with tweets about supposedly fraudulent votes in Atlanta, Philadelphia and Detroit, and comments on the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt, on the front line of rioters. “It was a Black police officer who shot the white female veteran.”

McCarthy understood everything, including the implications of members of his party excusing insurrection and violence.

But when the political winds drifted, McCarthy bent the knee to Trump in his Mar-a-Lago Xanadu. No wonder Trump has forgiven him.

McCarthy knew and knows better — and it doesn’t matter. Party, tribe and Trump over country and the Constitution.

If McCarthy gets his wish, he might have a devil of a time keeping his GOP caucus in line, though.

To start, there’s Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, who was at the rally before the storming of the Capitol, as he is at Trump’s side whenever possible. Cawthorn is not much good at legislating but great at racking up traffic violations and toting loaded weapons into airports.

And, of course, there’s Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, so bold in her texts contemplating “Marshall law” to overturn the results of a free and fair presidential election, so timid with “I don’t remember” answers when questioned about the same under oath.

If McCarthy comes out on top in the fall, we’ll get to see how a House majority leader operates without a conscience.

In retrospect, Lott’s 2002 apology seems almost quaint, recalling a brief period when, even if you didn’t mean it, you acted as though you did, as though having character — and a soul — actually counted.

Mary C. Curtis has worked at The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Charlotte Observer, as national correspondent for Politics Daily, and is a senior facilitator with The OpEd Project. Follow her on Twitter @mcurtisnc3. Her Roll Call columns won the 2022 National Headliner Award.

GOP House Leaders Kowtow To Far Right Over McCarthy Leaks

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Minority whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) clashed with top Trump allies in a private meeting over leaked audio of the two leaders blasting far-right GOP members of Congress for their role in inciting the violent mob that attacked the Capitol on January 6, endangering other lawmakers.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tore into both leaders, describing them as “weak men” for their “sniveling calls” with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), which took place before the House GOP leadership booted Cheney from its leadership.

The New York Times published new audio clips on Tuesday in which McCarthy, on a conference call with Scalise, Cheney, Rep. Tim Emmer (R-MN), and congressional aides, voiced his worries that the statements of a far-right minority of the House GOP could incite violence.

McCarthy and other leaders discussed Gaetz, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), and other Republican lawmakers they believed posed threats to their colleagues.

McCarthy accused the congressman from Florida, Gaetz, of “putting people in danger” for calling some Republican lawmakers “anti-Trump” days after the January 6 Capitol attack. “He’s putting people in jeopardy. And he doesn’t need to be doing this. We saw what people would do in the Capitol, you know, and these people came prepared with rope, with everything else,” McCarthy said.

Scalise chimed in. “It’s potentially illegal what he’s doing,” he said, speaking of Gaetz.

Gaetz fired back in a statement on Tuesday night, saying, “This is the behavior of weak men, not leaders.”

“While I was protecting President Trump from impeachment, they were protecting Liz Cheney from criticism. They deemed it incendiary or illegal to call Cheney and [GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger] ‘Anti-Trump,’ a label both proudly advertise today,” Gaetz added.

Gaetz also challenged Scalise in the private meeting to state which of his comments were “illegal,” according to NBC News.

Scalise didn’t specify any comments as Gaetz had requested. Instead, he blamed the excess information “flying around” after the insurrection for the confusion and said he was reacting to a Cheney aide who accused Gaetz of endangering her safety.

Both leaders were also challenged by another Trump loyalist, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who is battling a group of her constituents in court over her alleged role in the insurrection. Greene demanded that both leaders apologize for discussing GOP lawmakers on a private call, but neither leader apologized, per NBC.

After the meeting, Gaetz assailed Scalise again on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight.

“If you accuse someone of breaking the law, you have to say what law you think they broke and you have to present what evidence you think you have,” Gaetz fumed. “If there is no evidence, you need to acknowledge that.”

Scalise caved and met Gaetz privately after the meeting to apologize. Speaking to NBC News of the meeting afterward, Scalise said he told Gaetz that he wanted to "ratchet down the rhetoric" because members of Congress on both sides had received death threats.

"Now, clearly, those didn’t ultimately come to fruition because there were no charges that were brought, but what we were being told were some pretty alarming things — some from law enforcement, some from other members," Scalise told NBC News.

"And so I shared that with Matt. I’m sorry that those comments caused him problems because it was things that [were] conveyed to me from a number of places."

'A Liar And A Traitor': Sen. Warren Denounces Kevin McCarthy Over Deception

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) didn’t pull any punches when she laid into House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on CNN over last week’s New York Times report of leaked audio in which McCarthy privately blamed then-President Trump for the January 6 insurrection and suggested that he resign.

In her Sunday appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, Warren didn’t mince words when CNN anchor Dana Bash sought her reaction to the unfolding situation. “Kevin McCarthy is a liar and a traitor,” Warren exclaimed.

“That is really the illness that pervades the Republican leadership right now, that they say one thing to the American public and something else in private," Warren added, referring to McCarthy and GOP lawmaker’s willingness to support former President Trump publicly after the insurrection he incited.

Warren expressed her outrage at Trump’s allies in Congress, all of whom, she said, “understand” that Trump’s “attempt to overthrow our government” was wrong.

“The Republicans instead want to continue to try to figure out how to make the 2020 election different instead of spending their energy on how it is that we go forward in order to build an economy, in order to make this country work better for the people who sent us to Washington. Shame on Kevin McCarthy,” Warren added.

Warren’s CNN Interview on Twitter

Warren’s fierce rebuke comes at a time McCarthy is struggling to put out political fires in the Republican party after he is heard on tape admitting he’d “had it” with Trump and opining that the former president should take responsibility for the January 6 attack.

“Well, let me be very clear to all of you, and I’ve been very clear to the president — He bears responsibility for his words and actions. No if’s, and’s or but’s. I asked him personally today, ‘Does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened?’ He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened and he needs to acknowledge that,” McCarthy said in a clip obtained by CNN.

Hours before the audio clips were made public, McCarthy and his spokesperson vehemently denied the Times’ reporting of his conversion, claiming that McCarthy had, at no time whatsoever, made or shared any suggestion that Trump resign.

“The New York Times’ reporting on me is totally false and wrong. It comes as no surprise that the corporate media is obsessed with doing everything it can to further a liberal agenda. This promotional book tour is no different. If the reporters were interested in truth why would they ask for comment after the book was printed?” McCarthy said in a statement.

Although Trump forgave McCarthy for the comments, some staunch Trump-allies, including indicted Steve Bannon and disgraced Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FLA), have ripped into the minority leader.

McCarthy will need Trump’s support to have a chance at the coveted House Speaker title if Republicans win back the House.

Rep. Greene Mocks Trans Pride Flag Outside Of Her Office

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga) has amped up transphobic attacks in multiple Twitter attacks, culminating in the Qanon congresswoman hanging a sign mocking a transgender pride flag Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL) put across from her office.

"Our neighbor, (Rep. Greene), tried to block the Equality Act because she believes prohibiting discrimination against trans Americans is "'disgusting, immoral, and evil,'" Rep. Newman tweeted. "Thought we'd put up our Transgender flag so she can look at it every time she opens her door."

Then, Rep. Greene retaliated with a similar Twitter post mocking Rep. Newman's original, boasting about displaying a transphobic sign that read, "There are two genders: Male & female. Trust the science!"

Twitter users rushed to defend Rep. Newman, who mothers a transgender girl, and blast Rep. Greene for her blatant, ignorant transphobia.

"Sickening, pathetic, unimaginably cruel," tweeted a fellow Illinois Congressperson Rep. Sean Casten, responding directly to Rep. Greene's tweet. "This hate is exactly why the #EqualityAct is necessary and what we must protect (Rep. Marie Newman)'s daughter and all our LGBTQ+ loved ones against."

Adding to the cruelty, Facebook took down Rep. Newman's post of her setting the transgender pride flag outside of Rep. Greene's office for "hate speech," while leaving up the QAnon congresswoman's.

"Facebook took down our video of me putting up the Transgender flag outside my office and labeled it as 'hate speech,'" Rep. Newman tweeted. "Meanwhile, they're still allowing Marjorie Taylor Greene's transphobic video to be posted. Supporting transgender Americans is NOT hate speech."

Rep. Greene's latest deplorable actions come as she has repeatedly attacked LGBTQ+ rights this week when discussing The Equality Act, which will be voted on Thursday by the House.

"The so called #EqualityAct is evil," she tweeted, while also making false assertions that the bill "destroys women's rights, religious rights, and rights of the unborn."

Then Rep. Greene made multiple transphobic statements, including: "(God) created us male and female." Adding that, "Men who dress and think they are women will have rights over all real girls and women."

Her disgusting, transphobic statements were just the beginning of her attacks on the bill, as she also introduced a hand full of amendments to the bill. One asked that the "entire text" of The Equality Act be removed and replaced with Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act-- an anti-transgender attack that would strip basic human rights from trans women and girls.


Chris Johnson on Twittertwitter.com

All of the claims made by Rep. Greene-- including saying The Equality Act "has nothing to do with stopping discrimination against the LGBT community"-- are entirely false and rooted in nothing but hatred, homophobia and transphobia.

The Equality passed the House in 2019 but never made it to a vote in the Republican Senate controlled by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The bill is a top priority for President Joe Biden and is likely to pass the House again, but will be a "slog" in the Senate again, according to Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI)-- who reintroduced it last week.

Rep. Cicilline went on the SiriusXM radio show Julie Mason Mornings saying, "(The Equality Act has) bipartisan support by the American people" and "the only place that seems to be controversial is within the Republican caucus."

House And Senate Republicans Briefed On Coup PowerPoint Before Capitol Riot

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Two days before the January 6 insurrection several Republican U.S. Senators and Representatives were briefed on a 38-page coup PowerPoint memo. That document is being described as a roadmap for then-President Donald Trump to declare a national security emergency, invalidate all electronic votes, and move to have himself declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

It does not appear that any of the Republican lawmakers alerted the public to the in-process coup attempt. It is not known if they alerted the Department of Justice, FBI, or other law enforcement agency.

The Guardian revealed late Friday night that the 38-page coup PowerPoint "was presented on 4 January to a number of Republican senators and members of Congress." Those GOP lawmakers have not been publicly named.

Then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows turned the coup memo over to the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, claiming it had been emailed to him but not implemented.

But the document itself calls for the lawmakers to be briefed.

"Senators and members of Congress should first be briefed about foreign interference, the PowerPoint said, at which point Trump could declare a national emergency, declare all electronic voting invalid, and ask Congress to agree on a constitutionally acceptable remedy," The Guardian, which saw a version of the memo, added.

The New York Times, also on Friday, added that the coup PowerPoint "included a claim that China and Venezuela had obtained control over the voting infrastructure in a majority of states," which is false.

Larry Sabato, the highly-respected director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics said on Twitter the 38-page document was "COMPLETE HORSESHIT."

It's unknown if the document he linked to is the same one sent to Meadows, which he turned over to the Committee.

Before taking office federal lawmakers are sworn in, usually with their hand on a bible or other text, and state: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."