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Tag: january 6th

Select Panel Seeks 'Cooperation' Of Lawmaker Who Led January 5 Capitol Tour

The House Select Committee has requested cooperation from another sitting lawmaker; this time it is Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Georgia Republican, who investigators say gave a tour of the U.S. Capitol one day before a mob violently stormed the complex.

The letter sent to Loudermilk on Thursday is not a subpoena. It is a request for voluntary cooperation. Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) asked that Loudermilk make an appearance next week:

“We believe you have information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021. The foregoing information raises questions to which the Select Committee must seek answers. Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings in advance of January 6, 2021.”


The week after former President Donald Trump incited an insurrection at the Capitol, New Jersey Democrat Mikie Sherrill alleged publicly that she witnessed sitting Republican lawmakers lead tours through the Capitol on the eve of the attack.

Other Democrats, like Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, also said they saw small “unauthorized” groups touring the Capitol on January 5. Scanlon told PhillyVoice in January that she witnessed a group of up to eight people, wearing ill-fitting face masks, on one of those tours.

This stuck out to her, Scanlon recalled at the time, because the Capitol had stopped public tours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Sherrill, a moderate Democrat, a sitting member of the House Armed Services Committee, and a Navy veteran, the accusation drew sharp rebuke.

Sherrill has been publicly mum about the details of what she claims to have seen on January 5, but she did join more than two dozen other Democrats who demanded that the House and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms investigate the “suspicious behavior.”


Denials from Republicans came swiftly. Rep. Loudermilk, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee with Sherrill, lashed out by filing a complaint against her—and 33 other Democrats who called for a probe—with the House Ethics Committee.



Loudermilk called the Democrat’s request “a stain” on Congress and flatly denied that any member of the GOP led “reconnaissance tours” through the Capitol on January 5.

“Security footage captured by U.S. Capitol Police easily confirms these facts,” Loudermilk wrote in the full-throated denial.

Loudermilk was one of several Republicans on the House Administration Committee who reviewed security footage from January 6. Many of those same Republican lawmakers said after reviewing it that there were “no tours, no large groups, [and] no one with MAGA hats on.”

In fact, Rep. Rodney Davis, once nominated to serve on the House Select Committee by GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, led a call for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to have the Capitol security footage made public.

His review, Davis said, did not support allegations from Democrats that members of the GOP led tours of the Capitol on Jan. 5. Pelosi, he screeched, must release the tapes.

But Davis was barking up the wrong tree: Pelosi does not have the authority to release U.S. Capitol security footage. That is up to the U.S. Capitol Police.

Arguably, Davis should have known that. As a member of the Committee on House Administration, he serves on a committee that, in part, oversees the Capitol Police.

Incidentally, Davis was also approved by Pelosi to serve on the January 6 committee when it was first being formed.

McCarthy nominated Davis and four other Republicans—including Trump cronies Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. Jim Banks—to serve in the probe. But Pelosi didn’t want Jordan or Banks and sent McCarthy back to the drawing board.

Instead of continuing negotiations, McCarthy abandoned the committee altogether and slammed it as a partisan witch hunt.

Since then, Davis has served on what amounts to a shadow committee investigating January 6. Its members are all those Republicans who were not placed on the House Select Committee, including Banks and Jordan.

The shadow panel has no subpoena power, so it has relied on voluntary cooperation only and has reportedly focused its efforts almost entirely on the U.S. Capitol Police.

Loudermilk has been a vocal opponent of the investigation of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Before the probe was officially formed, Loudermilk said any select committee formed in Congress would fail to produce new information.

So far, the select committee has interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses and obtained critical first-hand witness testimony about what was happening inside of the White House during the insurrection incited by the former president.

Some of that information includes texts from Loudermilk to Trump’s then chief-of-staff Mark Meadows.

While a mass of the former president’s supporters—and members of domestic extremist networks like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys—carried out the assault, Loudermilk texted Meadows.

“It’s really bad up here on the Hill,” he wrote. “They have breached the Capitol.”

Meadows responded to Loudermilk that Trump was “engaging.”

Loudermilk thanked him, but he lamented where they found themselves.

    "Thanks. This doesn't help our cause," Loudermilk said.The lawmaker had spent weeks publicly promoting the idea on Twitter that election fraud was rampant in Georgia, as evidenced by posts collected in a social media field guide first compiled by Rep. Zoe Lofgren.


    A representative for Loudermilk did not respond to a request for comment to Daily Kos on Thursday.

    He did, however, tell The Guardian:



    Loudermilk ultimately voted to object to the certification of the 2020 election results on January 6 after hundreds of police officers had been badly beaten, one person had died, and the Capitol endured more than $1 million in damages.

    Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

    Newly Revealed Texts Show Oath Keepers Plot To Continue Insurrection

    Oath Keeper William Todd Wilson of North Carolina pleaded guilty last week to seditious conspiracy. He is the third member of the rightwing group to do so.

    The Oath Keepers is an umbrella organization of heavily armed anti-government extremists led by former Ron Paul aide Stewart Rhodes. The group preferentially recruits members with police or military experience. It encourages members to disobey laws they regard as unconstitutional.

    The Oath Keepers are known for showing up heavily armed to emotionally charged events, often under the guise of providing security. They participated in protests against Covid restrictions as well as in the so-called “Stop the Steal” rallies promoting the lie of election fraud against Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

    On January 6, the Oath Keepers served as bodyguards for MAGA VIPs, including Republican operative and convicted felon Roger Stone. A total of 11 Oath Keepers have been charged with seditious conspiracy for their role in the J6 insurrectionAnother Oath Keeper facing the same charge recently submitted 337 pages of text messages, podcast transcripts and other materials in his motion for pretrial release.

    This newly public trove of documents is a resource for those seeking to understand the Oath Keepers’ plans for January 6, their activities on that day, and their alleged conspiracy to keep on fighting to overturn the election after the insurrection failed.

    One of the more intriguing details is that some of the Oath Keepers believed newly elected Republican member of Congress and former presidential physician Dr. Ronny Jackson was in trouble during and needed their protection.



    Jackson had made fiery remarks at the Ellipse immediately before the assault on the Capitol, but he was trapped with the other legislators during the attack. It’s unclear how he made his way back there.

    “Dr. Ronnie Jackson – on the move. Needs protection. If anyone inside cover him. He has critical data to protect,” an unnamed Oath Keeper texted the group chat, as the mob roamed the building.

    “Give him my cell,” replied Rhodes.

    Needless to say, the House Select Committee is curious about how the Oath Keeper knew that Jackson needed help, and what “critical data” the Oath Keeper thought he was safeguarding. The committee sent Jackson a letter on May 2, asking to meet with him to discuss these issues. Jackson has refused to cooperate. He denies knowing any Oath Keepers and his spokesperson speculated, rather implausibly, that the Oath Keepers were just talking about him because he’s so famous.

    It was no secret that Rhodes and the Oath Keepers had long intended to support Donald Trump if he declared martial law.

    Indeed, Rhodes claimed in late 2020 that he had already massed troops and weapons in the Washington, D.C. area to support Donald Trump if he did that. The text trove shows the Oath Keepers followed through on that plan.

    The encrypted texts also show the Oath Keepers spending a lot of time scheming about what weapons they could bring to D.C. without violating the city’s strict gun laws so that they wouldn’t get arrested before Trump could declare martial law. Blades under 3 inches in length, lead pipe and bicycle helmets were all identified as legal weapons.

    Meanwhile, the Oath Keepers had stashed an arsenal in a hotel room in Virginia, waiting for Donald Trump to give them the order to rise up.

    The chats show the Oath Keepers were spoiling for a fight with antifascists. They openly hoped that violence by anti-fascist protesters would give Trump the pretext he needed to invoke martial law.

    The text trove gives no clear indication that the Oath Keepers showed up on J6 expecting to overrun the Capitol. However, the record suggests that Rhodes may have made a spur-of-the-moment decision to throw his troops at the Capitol building when it became clear that Mike Pence had refused to steal the election from the podium and Donald Trump had yet to invoke martial law.

    The record shows that Rhodes summoned his troops to the Capitol as the mob converged on the building. “All I see Trump doing is complaining. I see no intent by him to do anything. So the patriots are taking it into their own hands. They’ve had enough,” Rhodes told the chat.

    Whereupon Oath Keepers in tactical gear formed two single-file “stack” formations and surged towards the Capitol.

    The Oath Keepers’ conspiracy to restore Trump to power does not appear to have ended after the authorities reclaimed the Capitol building.

    Oath Keeper and self-proclaimed seditionist William Todd Wilson told a federal court on Wednesday that, after the attack, he heard Rhodes talking on the phone to someone whom Rhodes believed had a direct line to Trump. Whoever it was reportedly denied Rhodes’ demand to speak to the president.

    Rhodes has pleaded not guilty and a disbarred lawyer associated with his defense asserts that the Oath Keepers had no way to communicate with Trump.

    The text trove seems to confirm that Rhodes and his cronies had every intention of continuing the insurrection past certification day. On the evening of January 6, the Oath Keepers’ group chat commiserated over the failed attack, shared videos and vowed to fight on.

    “We need a new ‘Declaration of Defiance,’” someone suggested.

    “Already working on it,” Rhodes wrote back.

    “After Action Reports" will be dated 1/21/21” messaged another Oath Keeper, appending an unspecified emoji. January 21, 2021, would be the day after Inauguration Day,

    “Be very careful and mindful that anything you say can and will be used against you,” Rhodes replied.

    Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

    Why McCarthy's Pathetic Groveling Is So Important To Trump

    Call it the dictator’s paradox: By demonstrating weakness, you affirm the Big Man’s power. By groveling, you gain standing. Pretending to believe what’s patently false, you affirm manly independence from what Swift mockingly called “the vulgar Dictates of unrefined Reason.”

    It’s not a question of true or false; it’s a matter of who’s in charge, a form of moral cowardice common in the pre-Civil Rights South: say, the Alabama of George Wallace or the Arkansas of Orval Faubus. Cowering acknowledges respect for the way of the world, enhancing one’s standing.

    Up until the rotten edifice collapses, that is, when the ambitious sycophant may suffer a bad fall. Hard core segregationists became hard to find down South after the Civil Rights Act.

    So it is with Trumpism. What happens if the Big Man’s strength proves more illusory than real? After all, everybody with sense enough to come in from the rain knows that Donald J. Trump didn’t merely lose the 2020 presidential election; he lost it by seven million votes.

    What if something like that happens again, as appears quite likely? Whatever will become of the Rep. Kevin McCarthys of the world, who have turned themselves upside-down and inside-out to affirm Trump’s most preposterous lies?

    Once upon a time, the California congressman who yearns to be Speaker of the House was overheard in a recorded conversation with a group of fellow Republicans on June 15, 2016, obtained by the Washington Post.

    “There’s two people I think [Russian dictator Vladimir] Putin pays: [Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy said.

    None of his listeners objected. Plays a bit differently today, doesn’t it? But then Trump went on to win the GOP presidential nomination, McCarthy made nice, and the two became allies.

    His most recent series of blunders have made McCarthy look even weaker. Basically, he jumped into his own trap. Excerpts from a new book by two New York Times reporters titled This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future, began to circulate around Washington last week. It quoted McCarthy describing Trump’s role in the January 6 Capitol riot as “atrocious and totally wrong.”

    He’d even gone far enough to inquire about using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office and put Mike Pence in his place.

    Two days later, the Times reported, the House minority leader held a telephone conference with his leadership team. Regarding Trump’s conduct on January 6, McCarthy told the group “What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that and nobody should defend it.”

    Responding to a question from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) about the likelihood of Trump resigning, McCarthy said he planned to phone Trump about the Democrats’ forthcoming impeachment resolution. He said he would tell the president that “I think [the resolution] will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign.”

    TheTimes report stipulated that its reporters had “reviewed the full recording of the conversation.”

    Seemingly panicked, McCarthy ignored the blinking red light and blundered on. He and his press spokesman put out dueling statements denying everything. The Times story, McCarthy insisted, was “totally false and wrong.”

    Bad move.

    Reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program that same night, and played the audio tape.

    Uh-oh. How could McCarthy not suspect that Liz Cheney would keep a recording of the call, and might be disinclined to keep his secrets after he’d purged her from House leadership to please Trump? (To be fair, she has denied taping the call or leaking the audio.)

    After all, history records that only days after President Biden’s inauguration, McCarthy had hurried down to Mar-a-Lago to roll on his back and pee on his belly like a puppy before the former president.

    So now the Very Cowardly GOP Leader has had to do it all over again. Knowing a sycophant when he sees one, Trump has gone out of his way to appear magnanimous. McCarthy, he told the Wall Street Journal, had changed his mind “when he found out the facts.”

    “I think it’s all a big compliment, frankly,” Mr. Trump said about Republicans who doubted him after January 6, but later changed their minds. “They realized they were wrong and supported me.”

    That’s just how Trump likes it. He has a downright canine understanding of who’s the Big Dog in any relationship. “Trump actually prefers it when people oppose him and then have to beg for his forgiveness,” Salon's Heather Digby Parton has written. “It shows dominance. And if there’s one thing we know, dominance tastes sweeter to him when he forces it with his boot on his rivals’ necks.”

    But it’s all dependent upon the perception that Republican voters remain in thrall to the Big Loser. And there are growing indications that his hold over the base could be waning. Upcoming GOP primaries in Pennsylvania, Ohio and particularly Georgia don’t look so good for Trump-endorsed candidates.

    Ruling by fear only works when there’s something to be afraid of.

    New Texts Expose Sen. Lee And Rep. Roy Scheming To Overturn 2020 Election


    When Donald Trump lost the presidency in 2020, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Rep. Chip Roy of Texas spent weeks frantically prodding then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to find ways to overturn the 2020 election results, according to text messages newly obtained by CNN on Friday.

    But when evidence of so-called fraud did not materialize and Trump’s ever-expanding team of ethically challenged attorneys failed to deliver in court, instead holding spectacle-riddled press conferences rife with dubious constitutional theory, Lee and Roy became cynical.

    In the end, after blood had been shed inside of the Capitol courtesy of the insurrection incited by Trump, Lee and Roy voted to certify Joe Biden as president.

    Now, as the nation prepares for public hearings about January 6, the texts offer a keen glimpse into some of the private thoughts and conduct of legislators who were willing to override the will of over 80 million voters.

    The text messages from Lee and Roy to Meadows range from November 7, 2020 to January 6, 2021, and they are already in the Jan. 6 committee’s possession. There are roughly 100 texts in the batch CNN made public Friday.

    A spokesperson for the probe declined to comment or confirm any of the details reported. Representatives for Lee, Roy, and Meadows did not immediately respond to request for comment by Daily Kos.

    Roy’s spokesman, however, told CNN the texts “spoke for themselves,” and a communications director for Lee called Lee “fully transparent” since he previously and publicly aired his concerns about fraud in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

    It was Nov. 7, 2020, when Lee planted his flag with Meadows and pledged to find “every legal and constitutional remedy” to “restore Americans faith in our election.”

    Trump didn’t have to concede, Lee told the White House chief of staff.

    Trump also didn’t have to destroy the “credibility of the election process,” he added.

    Lee believed there was a “third way” that could work.

    Lee pushed to have right-wing attorney Sidney Powell guide those efforts and sent Meadows her cell phone number and email. She had a “strategy that would keep several states in play” for Trump, the senator vowed.

    He urged Meadows again just a couple of days later, saying Powell was a “straight shooter.”

    Powell had already established a reputation for herself in Washington long before Lee made the recommendation that she take on Trump’s latest scheme. She represented Trump’s ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn after he pleaded guilty to lying to Vice President Mike Pence.

    She would eventually launch a legal bid against the Department of Justice on Flynn’s behalf, accusing them of prosecutorial misconduct. A judge swatted her down, finding no such proof. She was also vehemently opposed to Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election and regularly carried on about “deep state” conspiracy theory.

    For a while, Powell’s knack for right-wing red-meat spectacle only increased her cache in Trump’s White House. Trump even praised her on Twitter as a “great” attorney after she took up for Flynn.

    Around the same time that Lee was pushing for Powell to get more involved, Roy sent a flurry of texts to Meadows. The Texas congressman was concerned that the president’s allies in Congress were ill-equipped to make the case of widespread fraud to the public.

    “We have no tools/data/information to go out and fight RE: election/fraud. If you need it/want it, we all need to know what’s going on. Fwiw ...” Roy wrote on November 5.

    Meadows told Roy he was “working on it.”

    Two days later, Roy again texted Meadows.

    Meadows tried to soothe him.

    “We are working on exactly that,” he replied.

    By November 9, Lee had told Meadows he held a meeting with Powell and fellow Republican senators so she could familiarize them with Trump’s “legal remedies.”

    “You have us in a group of ready and loyal advocates who will go to bat for him, but I fear this could prove short-lived unless you hire the right legal team and set them loose immediately,” Lee said.

    With the electoral college safe harbor certification deadline only weeks away at that point, Powell was well into Lee’s ear. Lee said she told him that Trump’s campaign attorneys were “obstructing progress” that could be made on the president’s supposed path to victory.

    But within a few weeks, things changed. Powell’s performance at a 90-minute press conference with Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis just before Thanksgiving caused a major rift.

    Powell made wild claims at the press conference. She said Dominion Voting Systems used rigged software on its machines at the behest of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez because that helped him rig his own election. She also said the company had ties to George Soros and the foundation run by former President and First Lady Bill and Hillary Clinton known as the Clinton Foundation.

    She also claimed that the software used and set an algorithm that switched votes from Trump to Biden.

    None of what Powell said during the November 19 press conference was true.

    Lee was watching and shot Meadows a text.

    “I’m worried about the Powell press conference,” Lee wrote.

    In another message, he warned Meadows: “The potential defamation liability for the president is significant here. For the campaign and for the president personally.”

    Lee urged that Powell be cut off from the campaign unless her wild claims of fraud could be substantiated. “He’s got deep pockets, and the accusations Powell made are very, very serious,” Lee wrote. It is unclear if Lee meant Trump had deep pockets or was referring to the owner of Dominion Voting Systems. The company did eventually sue Powell for defamation for her comments and when she responded in court in March 2021, the conservative attorney defended her conduct by saying she was only sharing her opinion and that “reasonable people” would not accept her commentary as fact. She was ordered to pay damages and was later sanctioned in court for filing lawsuits in bad faith.

    The text messages demonstrate how Lee pulled away from Powell after the press conference and began advocating for longtime conservative attorney John Eastman to get involved. Roy was chatting with Eastman around this time, too.“Get Eastman to file in front of PA board of elections,” Roy wrote to Meadows after asking him if the president had engaged with Eastman yet. “Get data in front of public domain,” Roy wrote on November 22.“Frigging Rudy needs to hush,” Roy added. The GOP needed a “controlled message ASAP,” because, according to Roy, without “logic and reason” presented, only the most “hardcore Trump guys” would lodge an objection at certification.

    Over in the Senate, Lee was still spitballing and told Meadows he had “ideas” about how to audit battleground states. Eastman had a proposal that could help things move along, but the White House would have to act fast.

    Eastman was responsible for writing a memo proposing an unconstitutional strategy that pressured the vice president to stop the certification despite lacking the authority to do so. It is unclear what date the memo was written.

    By mid-December, neither Roy nor Lee seemed confident that they had the “evidentiary support” they needed to anchor the fraud claims and bolster support from fellow lawmakers to object.

    “The president should call everyone off. It’s the only path,” Roy wrote on December 31. “if we substitute the will of states through electors with a vote by congress every 4 years, we have destroyed the electoral college … respectfully.”

    Lee told Meadows a few days later he had “grave concerns” about the plan Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas had in place to object to battleground state electors. It wouldn’t help Trump, he warned on January 3.

    That same day, Lee wrote:

    Lee believed things could change if battleground states certified Trump’s electors “pursuant to state law” but absent that, he conceded, the effort to stop or delay the certification was “destined not only to fail but to hurt DJT in the process.”

    Trump took a swipe at Lee during a rally on January 4, saying he was a “little angry at him” for suggesting he was against objecting on January 6.

    Lee had spent hours that day, he whined to Meadows over multiple texts, trying to “figure out a path that I can persuasively defend.”

    Meadows apologized, saying Trump had “bad intel.”

    “And this won’t make it any easier, especially if others now think I’m doing this because he went after me. This just makes it a lot more complicated,” Lee seethed to Meadows. “And it was complicated already. We need something from state legislatures to make this legitimate and to have any hope of winning.”

    That same day, Roy messaged Meadows and apologized for having to break with the president when lawmakers would convene at the Capitol on January 6.

    “I am truly sorry I am in a different spot then you and our brothers re: Wednesday. But I will defend all,” Roy wrote. [Spelling original]

    Within 48 hours, Trump would take to the stage at the Ellipse, flanked by his attorneys, like John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani. He would spend more than an hour delivering remarks about a stolen, fraudulent election, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

    Before he even finished his speech, rioters had already made their way down to the Capitol and began pouring over police barricades.

    Roy sent a message to Meadows during the attack: “This is a complete shitshow.”

    He urged: “Fix this now.”

    Endorse This: MSNBC Supercut Highlights Cruz's January 6 Hypocrisy (VIDEO)

    Republican Senator Ted Cruz has proven time and again that he's a feckless partisan hack. He shamelessly cosplays as a salt of the earth, working folks conservative when in realty he's a Princeton and Harvard-schooled elitist. Now he's arguing that “Democrats don’t believe in democracy."

    Cruz's mammoth hypocrisy is highlighted in a new supercut that offers a blistering comparison of his remarks following the 2020 presidential election compared to now. MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan released the video, featuring Cruz's contradictory remarks days before the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. He pretends to be on the side of democracy when he and his cultist party are blatantly destroying it.

    Watch:

    Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok

    Michigan MAGA Candidate: Capitol Riot Was ‘Highlight Of My Life’

    A Michigan state House candidate told the crowd at a "MAGA mixer" in Lansing on Saturday night that her attendance at the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection by supporters of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol was a "highlight of my life."

    Angela Rigas, who has said she was on the grounds of the Capitol that day but did not go into the building with the rioters, is one of a number of far-right candidates in Michigan who have received Trump's endorsement. Trump is fixated on the 2020 election, and is supporting candidates who back up his lie that the contest was stolen from him.

    Trump endorsed Rigas in December, writing that she is a "committed fighter" and a "champion for America First and for documenting 2020 Voter Fraud."

    He made the endorsement after Rigas publicly said she was proud of her attendance at the riot, during which the pro-Trump mob injured nearly 150 law enforcement officers as it forced its way into the Capitol to try to stop the certification of President Joe Biden's Electoral College win.

    In April 2021, Rigas said, "I didn't expect to be called an insurrectionist or a terrorist or even a treasonist. I have to say, looking at things now, I consider all of those terms a compliment, because our Founding Fathers were called all the same things. So if you want to call me that, I'll take it."

    In January of this year, Rigas said during a Republican "Insurrection Anniversary" event at a church in Hillsdale, Michigan, "It was the most amazing sight I have ever, ever taken in, and I hope to God I will remember that image for the rest of my life, the pride of being an American, the pride of showing up and letting the government know that, You need to put yourself in check, that you are wrong, and you're installing this guy named Brandon into our White House."

    She's not the only Republican in Michigan present during the riot who is now running for public office. Michigan Bridge reported that five people who were at the riot are now seeking state and national office in Michigan: In addition to Rigas, they are Ryan Kelley, running for governor; Jason Howland, running for the state House; and U.S. House candidates Jon Rocha and Audra Johnson.

    Of the five, Trump has so far only endorsed Rigas and Rocha.

    But he has given his endorsement to other Republicans who have pushed the same lies that the 2020 election was stolen.

    He endorsed Matthew DePerno, who insists there was voter fraud in 2020 and who is running for attorney general in the Wolverine State.

    Trump had also endorsed state Rep. Steve Carra to take on Fred Upton, the Michigan congressman who was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on charges of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection. However, Carra dropped out of the congressional race after Trump withdrew his endorsement in favor of another Republican congressman who is challenging Upton.

    State legislators, attorneys general, and governors play a large role in election administration. Legislatures pass laws dictating how elections are carried out in their states, while attorneys general defend those laws in court. The election of his supporters in state governments could lead to passage of the kind of voter suppression legislation that Trump has welcomed in states such as Georgia.

    Trump plans to travel to Michigan on April 2 for a rally ahead of the Michigan Republican Party's nominating convention on April 23.

    Reprinted with permission from American Independent

    Belarus Dictator Grants Asylum To Indicted Capitol Riot Fugitive

    Donald Trump supporter Evan Neumann has been on the FBI’s wanted list for his alleged role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection. But the chances of Neumann being arrested in the United States have gone way down: Neumann, the Washington Post reports, has been granted political asylum in Belarus — whose far-right president, Alexander Lukashenko, is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a supporter of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    On Tuesday, March 22, the Washington Post’s Rachel Pannett reports, BelTA — a government-operated television network in Belarus — aired a video of Neumann “signing a migration document and shaking hands with a police official.” That Belarusian official, in the video, told Neumann, “Now, you are completely under the protection of the Republic of Belarus.” And Neumann thanked him in Russian, which is Belarus’ dominant language.

    Neumann told BeITA, “Today, I have mixed feelings. I am glad Belarus took care of me. I am upset to find myself in a situation where I have problems in my own country.”

    An FBI wanted poster describes the type of violent crimes that Neumann is suspected of in connection with the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.

    According to the FBI, “Evan Neumann was indicted on December 10, 2021, in the District of Columbia on a total of 14 counts, including engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers. He fled from the United States on February 16, 2021, and is currently believed to be in Belarus. Neumann was initially charged in a criminal complaint filed on March 23, 2021. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Neumann in the United States District Court, District of Columbia, on December 10, 2021.”

    The FBI also says, “It is alleged that Neumann participated in numerous violent acts against multiple law enforcement officers performing their legal duties of protecting the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. Neumann allegedly fought with U.S. Capitol Police and Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officers both inside and outside the U.S. Capitol. During these physical altercations, Neumann not only used his hands and fists to strike the officers, he also allegedly used a metal barricade as a battering ram against the officers.”

    But Neumann, now 49, has claimed that he did nothing wrong on January 6, 2021, when a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. in the hope of stopping Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

    The government of Lukashenko, Belarus’ strongman president, has committed countless human rights abuses — and Lukashenko has supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, welcoming Russian troops in Belarus in the weeks leading up to the invasion. However, Lukashenko hasn’t sent any Belarusian troops into Ukraine to fight, and on March 4, he said that he has no plans to do so.

    Belarus has borders with five countries: Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.

    Reprinted with permission from Alternet

    Proud Boys Had Plan To Storm Other Federal Buildings On January 6

    Although the Proud Boys’ Enrique Tarrio wasn’t physically present in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 — he was in South Florida, where he lives — he is facing a conspiracy charge for, federal prosecutors allege, conspiring with others to obstruct an official government proceeding on the day the U.S. Capitol Building was attacked. And according to New York Times reporter Alan Feuer, a nine-page document that was found in Tarrio’s possession “contained a detailed plan” to attack other buildings as well that day.

    “The document, titled ‘1776 Returns,’ was cited by prosecutors last week in charging the far-right leader, Enrique Tarrio, the former head of the Proud Boys extremist group, with conspiracy,” Feuer reports in an article published on March 14. “The indictment of Mr. Tarrio described the document in general terms, but the people familiar with it added substantial new details about the scope and complexity of the plan it set out for directing an effort to occupy six House and Senate office buildings and the Supreme Court last January 6.”

    Feuer continues, “The document does not specifically mention an attack on the Capitol Building itself. But in targeting high-profile government buildings in the immediate area and in the detailed timeline it set out, the plan closely resembles what actually unfolded when the Capitol was stormed by a pro-Trump mob intent on disrupting congressional certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory.”

    Feuer adds, however, that “many questions remain” about the document, including “who wrote it” and how it “made its way to Mr. Tarrio.”

    “Prosecutors have not accused Mr. Tarrio of using the document to guide the actions of the Proud Boys who played a central role in the Capitol attack,” Feuer notes. “Nor do the charges against him offer any evidence that he shared the document with his five co-defendants: Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, Charles Donohoe and Dominic Pezzola. But the document could help explain why prosecutors chose to charge Mr. Tarrio with conspiracy, even though he was not at the Capitol during the attack.”

    According to Feuer, the document has a wealth of details.

    “Broken into five parts — Infiltrate, Execution, Distract, Occupy and Sit-In — the nine-page document recommends recruiting at least 50 people to enter each of the seven government buildings and advises protesters to appear ‘unsuspecting’ and to ‘not look tactical,’ the people familiar with it said,” Feuer reports. “After ensuring that crowds at the buildings are ‘full and ready to go,’ the document suggests that ‘leads and seconds’ should enter and open doors for others to go in, ‘causing trouble’ to distract security guards, if necessary.”

    Feuer continues, “Should the crowds fail to gain entrance to the buildings quickly, the document suggests pulling fire alarms at nearby stores, hotels and museums to further distract guards or the police, the people said. It then says protesters should occupy the buildings and conduct sit-ins, even recommending slogans for people to chant, like ‘We the people’ and ‘No Trump, No America.’ The document also makes suggestions for the days leading up to January 6, the people said, advising protesters to ‘scope out’ road closures near the seven target buildings.”

    Tarrio is due to appear in federal court on Tuesday, March 15 for a hearing on his bail.

    Reprinted with permission from Alternet