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GOP Senators Abuse Power To Punish Major League Baseball

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah are proposing so-called "antitrust" legislation designed to punish Major-League Baseball for moving its 2021 All-Star Game from Georgia to Colorado to protest the Peach State's new voter suppression law. And the far-right GOP senators are being slammed on Twitter for their grandstanding.

The GOP senators have said they want to "end MLB's special immunity from antitrust laws." MSNBC's Chris Hayes tweeted a response:

Here are some other responses to the senators' proposal:

FBI Probing Contacts Between GOP Members And Capitol Rioters

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

America watched the events of the January riot and insurgency occur in real time. They saw Trump supporters pushing down police lines to swarm the Capitol grounds. Then watched as those Trump supporters swarmed up the Capitol steps. Watched them smash through the doors and windows. Watched them surge into the halls of Congress carrying zip ties and weapons. Watched them raid congressional offices and stroll the floors of both House and Senate while calling for the murder of Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi.

As more evidence about events of that day appears, what's clear is that America didn't come close to seeing all the violence and destruction brought on by those trying to roll back the revolution and crown Trump as America's king. New testimony from those present on that day, video not previously seen by the public, and evidence developed by investigation is revealing a situation that was even more violent, more destructive, and more threatening to the nation than was obvious from the jaw-dropping scenes that appeared on television screens.

And in addition to evidence of destructive violence, there is also increasing evidence of involvement from Republican officials. That includes both a State Department official now wanted for taking an active role in the violence, and increasing signs of coordination between those breaking into Congress and the Republican legislators inside.

As the Associated Press reports, emails, photos, and other documents collected from those present around the Capitol on January 6 is painting a more complete image of the actions of the pro-Trump insurgents. Taken as a whole, these documents show just how overwhelmed the Capitol Police were in the first moments of the assault, and how Metro D.C. Police and others who rushed in to help only ended up as part of a disorganized patchwork response as communications and control broke down.

Included in this material is the story of a pair of Arlington firefighters who came to the Capitol on January 6, and stuck around to assist the Capitol Police during what was expected to be a large protest. Instead, the two found themselves the only medics on the scene while operating right under the feet—and flagpoles—of an angry mob. Lost in the confusion and hemmed in by thousands of screaming Trumpists, the firefighters attempted to triage dozens of officers who had been injured, but had no way to get them to safety.

Meanwhile, police were trying to respond to dozens of different threats that seemed to be breaking out everywhere at once. Not only were violent extremists grappling with police and bashing their way into buildings, there were threats of potential snipers in trees, a report that the Proud Boys intended to destroy the local water supply, the pipe bombs at both the RNC and DNC headquarters, and reports of still more armed militia groups incoming. Police were unable to concentrate forces at the Capitol steps, because chaos seemed to be happening everywhere.

This explosion of violence may have appeared chaotic and overwhelming to the police, but it clearly did not happen without planning. And as CNNreports, some of that planning may have been coordinated by the people who police were literally dying to protect. During the investigations of Jan. 6 that have been launched in Congress, a number of Republicans—most notably senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz—have repeatedly expressed concern about the idea of the FBI looking into phone records of those in Congress. Hawley in particular has fumed about this "violation of privacy" in multiple hearings.

He may have good reason to be concerned. Because it appears that investigators are, in fact, checking out communications between members of Congress and some of the 300 people who have already been charged with crimes related to the insurgency. Some of this seems to be records showing that criminal insurgents claimed to be working in coordination with members of Congress. Which isn't surprising, considering that two of those arrested had this conversation on the Senate floor as they dug through senator's desk and ripped pages from reports.

Man 1: "There's gotta be something in here we can fucking use against these scumbags. This is a good one, him and Hawley or whatever. Hawley, Cruz."
Man 2: "Hawley, Cruz? I think Cruz would want us to do this... So I think we're good."

Investigators are not just looking at communications that took place on January 6, but contacts between officials and the attackers over the period leading up to the insurgency. That might finally produce some information about the large tour that Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) gave in the days just before the assault.

Those investigators might also want to take a look at the 2,000 page report compiled by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D_CA) that looks at the social media of her Republican colleagues over the weeks leading up to January 6.

"This review lists public social media posts from Members of the U.S. House of Representatives who were sworn-in to office in January 2021 and who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election."

Lofgren's report includes not just social media comments that seem to be inviting violence, but those that encourage the Big Lie about "election fraud," as well as other elements, such as conspiracy claims related to QAnon. As Lofgren says, the report is "representative, but not exhaustive." Still, it is a handy reference to the lies, incitement, and more lies being pushed onto social media by Republicans in Congress. Also included in Lofgren's review are a number of statements from Republicans, particularly those in the House, that continue to support the Big Lie even after the assault on the Capitol.

Investigators are also looking into the funding of the extremists who attacked the Capitol. While Republicans frequently make false claims about "antifa buses" and Black protesters being sent to locations by a Jewish billionaire, the truth is that numerous militia groups really did meet up at a series of locations and coordinate their arrival in D.C. And it seems entirely possible that those operations were funded by Republican donors, just as the tea party protests were a decade earlier.

However, there's at least one Republican official whose role in the Jan. 6 attack doesn't require digging through phone records or social media. AsThe Washington Post reports, Federico Klein, a former State Department aide appointed by Donald Trump, was arrested Thursday on multiple felony charges. On January 6, Klein joined the insurgents confronting police in a tunnel beneath the Capitol. There he wrenched a riot shield away from one officer and used it to beat others. He also used that shield to hold open a door so that more insurgents could enter the building. At the time, Klein was an active employee at the State Department and enjoyed a Top Secret clearance. His appointment to the State Department followed a paid position in the Trump campaign.

Ron Johnson will not explain how Klein was actually a member of an antifa sleeper cell.

Sen. Hawley Boasts ‘Outpouring Of Support,' But His Ratings Have Tanked

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) on Thursday touted the support he has received since his attack on the legitimacy of the presidential election on the day of the Capitol riot.

Hawley was one of six GOP senators who objected to the certification of President Joe Biden's Electoral College win on January 6, even after the pro-Trump mob had breached the Capitol.

Appearing on Fox News' Fox & Friends, Hawley was asked to comment on the reaction he has received from Democrats and others to his actions.

"It has been amazing to see the outpouring of support since their efforts to cancel me, to cancel other conservatives, to cancel anybody who won't go along with their radical left agenda," Hawley replied.

Hawley has frequently claimed he is being "canceled." Meanwhile, he continues to make dozens of media appearances and publish op-ed columns, spreading his complaints via a broad media platform.

Hawley told Fox that his critics "lied every which way about my objection on January 6" and declared, "It hasn't worked."

Hawley told the hosts to "look at my support in my home state" for evidence that the purported campaign against him had failed.

But in fact, polls show that Hawley's support in Missouri dropped after his actions on January 6.

In a Morning Consult poll released in January, Hawley's net approval rating dropped 12 points. The poll showed not only a drop in support among voters in general, but also a 14-point drop in net approval specifically among Republican voters.

From the March 4 edition of Fox News' "Fox & Friends":

BRIAN KILMEADE, Fox News: Senator, what is life like for you now with the backlash from Democrats in particular about your would-be speech on Jan. 6 and the unrest that we all know about? Have things settled down for you?
JOSH HAWLEY: You know, it has been – truly it has been amazing to see the outpouring of support since their efforts to cancel me, to cancel other conservatives, to cancel anybody who won't go along with their radical left agenda.
Of course, they lied every which way about my objection on Jan. 6, they lied about my positions. And it hasn't worked. I mean, that's the great thing, you look at my support in my home state of Missouri, you look at the support we've gotten from around the nation, it's utterly failed and backfired, actually.
And I think people want folks who are going to stand up and tell the truth and who, no matter what the criticism is, are going to keep on doing their job, and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

At CPAC, Insurrectionist Crowd Gives Sen. Hawley Standing Ovation

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Conservatives continue to reward Republicans who fought to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) was one of the most prominent proponents of the "Big Lie" that Donald Trump actually won the presidential election. Hawley refused to accept the outcome of the election even after the Electoral College voted to confirm Joe Biden's victory in December.

Hawley continued his efforts to overturn the election even after the fatal January. 6th insurrection by supporters of Trump who believed Hawley's misinformation.

While the senator has been harshly criticized in Missouri, he was cheered on Friday when he bragged about siding with the insurrectionists while speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.

Many in the crowed even gave him a standing ovation.