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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: proud boys

Roger Stone Shrieks As January 6 Panel Scrutinizes Seditious Conduct

The House Select Committee emerged from its summer hiatus and saw out its ninth — and possibly last — hearing in a rather dramatic fashion, voting to subpoena former President Trump and calling the bluff of his longtime ally, Roger Stone.

Some three weeks ago, the select committee teased more stunning revelations about Stone after reports emerged that its investigators had traveled to Denmark to review crucial footage recorded by a Danish film crew that shadowed the Republican operative for two years, including on January 6, 2021.

Stone dismissed the reported trip as a wild goose chase that would turn up “no evidence of wrongdoing.” However, the committee delivered on its promise, airing in its high-profile Thursday hearing a previously unseen video of Stone that paints a clearer picture of his role in the January 6 attack.

In the first video clip, Stone is seen spelling out plans, in a blaze of obscenity, to hijack the election if Trump lost.

“Let’s just hope we’re celebrating,” Stone said in a video clip. "I really do suspect [the 2020 election results] will still be up in the air. When that happens, the key thing to do is to claim victory. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. No, we won; fuck you."

In another clip, Stone cheered the prospect of post-election violence, saying, “I say fuck the voting, let’s get right to the violence. We'll have to start smashing pumpkins, if you know what I mean."

While the select committee aired the clip to the American public, Stone had a meltdown on Telegram, excoriating the congressional panel for its shocking exposé.

“In 2000, when the Bush v. Gore election was still in doubt James A. Baker III urged Bush to claim victory, which he did and was hailed as a genius,” Stone ranted. “When I said Trump should do the same thing (in public but not to either Trump or anyone around him) and I am accused of criminal conduct. Total BS.”

According to The Daily Beast, Stone attempted to mock the select committee by posting the photo of an empty hamburger bun, implying its hearing was nothing more than a “nothing burger.”

“All I’ve seen in today’s Jan 6 Committee is guilt by association,” he declared. “The fact that I know or have met someone is most certainly not evidence of criminal conspiracy. If the committee has actual proof and content of communication between me and any one charged with a crime, they should produce it.”

The select committee had produced such evidence of communication in its previous hearings and did so again on Thursday in a brutal rebuke of Stone, whom Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) described as “a political operative with a reputation for dirty tricks.”

“In November 2019 he was convicted of lying to Congress and other crimes and sentenced to more than three years in prison… Mr. Trump pardoned Roger Stone on 23 December 2020,” Lofgren added.

The select committee reiterated Stone’s ties to right-wing militias Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, several members of which had pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy charges concerning the January 6 insurrection.

The FBI disclosed in May that the longtime Trump confidante had communicated with the Oath Keepers in the days leading up to January 6, and a contingent of the armed members of the Oath Keepers was seen with Stone on January 6, acting as his security team.

The California Democrat, in a rather somber tone, also spoke of Stone’s inner-circle efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.

Stone, Lofgren said, “apparently knew of Mr. Trump’s intentions” to reject the election results in the event of his loss and pitch to the then-president the sinister idea to appoint a special counsel to “ensure those who are attempting to steal the 2020 election through voter fraud are charged and convicted and to ensure Donald Trump continues as our president”

Incensed by the trove of evidence laid out by the select committee, some of which were obtained from the film crew, “The Ark,” led by Danish filmmaker Christoffer Guldbrandsen, Stone threatened to take his grievances, and Guldbrandsen, to court.

“Danish filmmaker Christoff Guldbranson [SIC] looks quite unhealthy having put on quite a bit of weight,” Stones wrote on Telegram, displaying a knack for personal insults characteristic of the Republican party.

“He's already had one heart attack and he's going to have another one when I win a $25 million judgment against him for defamation. You can't just accuse people of crimes in the United States without actual evidence. In various media interviews he has accused me of crimes which his documentary do [SIC] not prove. He will soon be able to tell it to a Florida judge,” Stone added.

Proud Boys Erupt In 'Civil War' Over Charges Of Pedophilia And Betrayal

After attending the national convention of the Proud Boys — the far-right, transphobic, extremist organization that participated in the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riots — the group’s founder Gavin McInnes said he’s witnessing a “massive civil war” among the group.

The Proud Boys has split into two factions: “National” chapters that still recognize the group’s U.S. leaders (a handful of which have been arrested for participating in the riots) and “Standard” local chapters that reject those leaders. Both groups have accused the other of racism, pedophilia, and harboring federal informants.

The split began with the revelation that Enrique Tarrio, the group’s national “chairman,” served as a federal informant on cases before the Proud Boys group formed. Some Standard members feel that Tarrio led the group into disgrace by involving them in the riots. These local chapters said that individual groups should have more autonomy to avoid government informants who have infiltrated the organization.

McInnes, who formally abandoned his leadership over the organization in 2018 when its members were accused of attacking Democratic events in mob-style violence, recently went online to dismiss two Standard supporters with connections to racist skinhead groups.

“McInnes’ move to issue expulsions suggests that he still holds leadership power over the Proud Boys, despite his claims to the contrary. McInnes didn’t respond to requests for comment,” The Daily Beast reported.

Last week, a prominent Proud Boy named Jeremy Bertino pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy for his role in coordinating the Proud Boys’ presence at the Capitol riots. He is now cooperating with federal prosecutors in their investigation of the Proud Boys.

New Zealand declared the Proud Boys a terrorist organization in June 2022.

McInnes has also published several transphobic articles calling trans people “mentally ill gays,” voicing support for Trump’s trans military ban, and calling parental support of trans children “child abuse.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Raskin Hints Fresh Revelations About Roger Stone In January 6 Hearing (VIDEO)

A member of the House Select Committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), suggested Friday that the congressional panel might have some shockers about convicted MAGA felon Roger Stone under wraps for the American public as the committee enters the last months of its investigation, according to CBS News.

The suggestion followed a Politico report Friday that select committee aides traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, in August to watch portions of over 170 hours of documentary footage recorded by a Danish documentary crew that covered Stone for two years, including on January 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters breached the halls of congress to overturn to Joe Biden’s victory.

According to the Washington Post — the first to report on the substance of the footage — the crew, known as “The Ark,” tracked Stone as he covertly aided former President Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, capturing footage for their forthcoming film A Storm Foretold.

Although the select committee aides’ findings from the footage remain a mystery, Raskin — who once described Stone as someone “interfacing with the underworld of domestic violence extremists” — told CBS News journalist Robert Costa in an interview on Friday that “there might be some clues that surface from the new information we got there.”

Although Raskin refused to divulge details of the select committee’s upcoming public hearing on Wednesday, he let slip to Costa that Stone “saw where things were going,” CBS News noted in its report.

Stone dismissed the select committee’s aides’ trip as a wild goose chase in a statement to Politico before the paper aired its report. “While the committee investigators may find the documentary film footage entertaining, they will find no evidence of wrongdoing,” he wrote.

“I did exercise my First Amendment right at a legally permitted rally on January 5 to question the many anomalies and irregularities in the 2020 election,” he added.

After Politico’s report went live, Stone lashed out at the publication on Trump’s failing social media platform, Truth Social, writing, “A fresh load of BS to be delivered Wednesday," Stone predicted. "Any claim or assertion that I knew in advance about, participated in or condoned any illegal act on January 6 is categorically false. The campaign of 'guilt by association' is obviously going to continue."

Stone went on to attack Raskin and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a popular target for Republican slander over his prominent role in the 45th president’s first impeachment. “Will this fake pasted up BS never end? Raskin is a congenital liar and con-man like [Adam] Schiff," he wrote.

According to the Post, the Ark crew captured unsettling moments in its time shadowing Stone, including when the ruthless Republican operative nicknamed his staffer, a person of color, “Mongoloid” and once made reference to “the Negroes.”

In February 2021, ABC News released footage showing Stone in the company of members of Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group — some of whom have pled guilty to seditious conspiracy — on the morning of January 6, 2021.

After pleading the Fifth Amendment multiple times in a deposition by select committee investigators last year, Stone said that the notion that “because I know members of the Proud Boys and came in contact with members of the Oath Keepers, means I must have had some advance knowledge of the illegal activities of some of their members on January 6th” was false.

According to Politico, the Ark crew took photos of Stone using his phone, “which showed contacts via an encrypted app with Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes.”

Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, was sentenced to more than three years on several felony counts, including lying to Congress, but he was pardoned by Trump two weeks before January 6.

January 6 Hearings To Examine Links Between Trump Aides And Violent Extremists

By Richard Cowan and Katanga Johnson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Congressional investigators into the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol expect this week to draw connections between violent extremist groups that took part and government officials, possibly including then-President Donald Trump, a member of the committee conducting the investigation said on Sunday.

"We are going to be connecting the dots during these hearings between these groups and those who were trying in government circles to overturn the election," Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren said on CNN's State of the Union.

Asked if Trump was aware members of these groups attended a rally he led outside the White House when he urged them to march on the Capitol, Lofgren said: "You have to reach your own conclusions but based on the events leading up to the day, I think that would be a logical conclusion."

Trump, a Republican, has falsely claimed Democrat Joe Biden defeated him in the 2020 presidential election through massive fraud - assertions rejected in U.S. courts, by Trump's own Justice Department and even Republican-led audits.

After Trump spoke outside the White House on January 6, his supporters marched to the Capitol in a failed bid to prevent Congress from certifying Biden's victory in a session where then-Vice President Mike Pence was presiding.

Two groups, the self-described Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, will be under the spotlight in the two hearings this week, expected on Tuesday and Thursday.

NBC News reported that Jason Van Tatenhove, a former spokesperson for the Oath Keepers, would testify on Tuesday. A committee spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Federal prosecutors have alleged that Jeremy Brown, a member of the Oath Keepers, brought explosives to the Washington area on January 6. Brown, in a statement, called the charges a "disgusting lie."

During a September 2020 debate between Trump and Biden before the November election, Trump was asked whether he would condemn white supremacist and militia groups for violent activities during his presidency.

Trump responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by." He added, "Somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left. ... this is a left-wing problem."

On Friday, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone testified to committee investigators behind closed doors.

Videotaped excerpts of that testimony will be presented at Tuesday's hearing, said Lofgren, who is one of nine members on a bipartisan House of Representatives Select Committee that began its current series of public hearings last month.

"He was able to provide information on basically all of the critical issues we are looking at, including the president's what-I-would-call dereliction of duty on the day of January 6," Lofgren said.

The committee has yet to say whether this Thursday's hearing, expected in evening prime time when U.S. television audiences are at their peak, will be the final one before a panel report is issued, possibly in September.

Representative Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the panel, is expected to lead witness questioning that night, along with Democratic Representative Elaine Luria.

"We're going to really focus on what was the president doing from in essence the moment the insurrection started until he finally, hours later, put out a tweet that said, 'We shouldn't do anything like this,'" Kinzinger told ABC's This Week.

He added, "Keep in mind in the middle of that was the tweet that said in essence this is what happens when you steal an election; that Vice President Pence deserved this."

In earlier committee testimony, witnesses said Trump signaled support for rioters calling for Pence to be hanged.

Lofgren also said the committee had received a letter from Trump adviser Steve Bannon saying he would be willing to testify. Bannon was charged last year with two counts of contempt of Congress for defying a committee subpoena.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Katanga Johnson; additional reporting by Tyler Clifford and Patricia Zengerle; editing by Mary Milliken, Howard Goller and Edwina Gibbs)

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Endorse This: Colbert Says 'Come Get Me' To Proud Boy Joe Biggs

Late Show host Stephen Colbert didn't mince words last night when he delivered a message to the Proud Boys leader who mentioned his name in court.

."You are going to jail you neo-numbnut, and if you don’t like it, you can come and get me," quipped Colbert during his monologue. "Welcome to the monkey house, brother."

Apparently, Colbert's name came up in a statement from a lawyer representing Joseph Biggs, a Proud Boys leader indicted for their role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Biggs is charged with seditious conspiracy, a crime that carries a potential sentence of 20 years in prison. Biggs argued that his trial should be moved out of Washington D.C. due to Colbert's "negative press and media coverage about the fraternity known as the Proud Boys."

Wait, fraternity?

"Oh that's right, the Proud Boys is just a fraternity. January 6 was just hazing. I mean we all heard their chant," Colbert, 58, said Wednesday.

Watch the segment below:

House Select Panel Warns Conspiracy Behind Violence Is 'Not Over'

Washington (AFP) - The conspiracy that drove a mob to attack the US Capitol in January 2021 still poses a threat to American democracy, the head of the congressional committee tasked with investigating the deadly riot warned on Thursday evening at the panel's first public hearing.

In a live prime-time presentation, the committee offered the first conclusions from a year-long probe into the assault -- and outlined a deep-rooted and ongoing plot to undermine the US Constitution and overturn Donald Trump's election defeat.

The hearing served as an "opening statement" on the January 6 insurrection, laying out for the American public the causes of one of the darkest days in the history of US democracy.

The committee's Democratic chairman Bennie Thompson will said that his panel's work is about more than looking backwards, as US democracy "remains in danger."

"The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over," warned Thompson.

"There are those in this country who thirst for power but have no love or respect for what makes America great: devotion to the Constitution, allegiance to the rule of law, our shared journey to build a more perfect Union."

Vice-chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) laid out in detail the coming weeks of hearings -- including Trump's "seven-part plan" to overturn the 2020 presidential election -- and offered a specific warning to the House Republicans who ousted her from leadership. "I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible. There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain,"

The panel began to demonstrate that the violence was part of a broader conspiracy by Trump and his inner circle to illegitimately cling to power, tearing up the Constitution and more than two centuries of peaceful transitions from one administration to the next.

"We will be revealing new details showing that the violence of January 6 was the result of a coordinated multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election and stop the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden," a select committee aide said.

"And indeed that former president Donald Trump was at the center of that effort."

A slickly-produced two hours of television -- and five subsequent hearings over the coming weeks -- focused on Trump's role in the multi-pronged effort to return him to the Oval Office as an unelected president by disenfranchising millions of voters.

Trump has defiantly dismissed the probe as a baseless "witch hunt" -- but the public hearings were clearly on his mind Thursday as he launched into a largely false tirade on his social media platform, defending the insurrection as "the greatest movement in the history of our Country to Make America Great Again."

The case the committee began to make is that Trump laid the groundwork for the insurrection through months of lies about fraud in an election described by his own administration as the most secure ever.

His White House is accused of involvement in several potentially illegal schemes to aid the effort, including a plot to seize voting machines and another to appoint fake "alternative electors" from swing states who would ignore the will of their voters and hand victory to Trump.

'Chilling' Conspiracy

The committee is presented live testimony Thursday from Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards and filmmaker Nick Quested, who interacted with members of the neofascist organization the Proud Boys on January 6 and in the days leading to the violence.

The hearing featured previously unseen video clips of the violence itself and excerpts from a trove of 1,000 interviews, including a "meaningful portion" of discussions with Trump's senior White House and campaign officials -- as well as members of his family. The committee played clips of Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner and former Trump aides who admitted that the president had been informed he lost the election.

Quested will testify Thursday about his experience shadowing members of the Proud Boys in the days leading up to January 6 and his interactions with them on the day itself.

The Emmy Award-winning director's evidence was crucial, said a committee aide, because he was on the scene during the first moments of violence against the Capitol Police and "all the chaos that ensued."

Court Of Public Opinion

Edwards, who was present at the breach of the first barricade, testified emotionally about sustaining head injuries in clashes with the far-right group, which saw its leader and four lieutenants charged on Monday with seditious conspiracy.

Outside the hearing, a number of Trump's most loyal counter-punchers are expected to circle the wagons on Capitol Hill, questioning any damning testimony and challenging the validity of the investigation.

"It is the most political and least legitimate committee in American history," the leader of the House Republican minority, Kevin McCarthy, told reporters at the Capitol.

In fact, Congress has wide-ranging oversight powers, and a Trump-appointed federal judge last month emphatically rejected Republicans' arguments that the committee is illegitimate and overtly partisan.

The committee has not confirmed its plans for after the initial slate of hearings, but at least one more presentation and a final report are expected in the fall.

First Select Panel Hearing Will Focus On Proud Boys' Capitol Riot Role

The Proud Boys, a national group of violent neo-fascists, will feature prominently in the much-anticipated public hearing set for Thursday — the first in a series — by the bipartisan House Select Committee looking into the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, the Guardian reported on Wednesday.

To kick-start Thursday evening's hearing, the select committee will detail the activities of the pro-Trump Proud Boys before and during the insurrection, with live testimony from two witnesses who directly interacted with the group, according to the Guardian.

The select committee is expected to call on Nick Quested, a British documentarian who accompanied and filmed the Proud Boys in the weeks leading up to January 6, and Caroline Edwards, a law enforcement officer at the Capitol who was seriously injured as the pro-Trump mob, including the Proud Boys, forced their way through barricades erected outside the Capitol.

Quested, whose appearance was compelled by subpoena, confirmed to CNN that he will testify. Quested also said he had been deposed by the select committee and the Department of Justice and had given them the footage filmed for his documentary.

The select committee considers Quested, who spent a lot of time with the Proud Boys, a firsthand fact witness, and he’s expected to testify in detail how the Proud Boys had planned their January 6 operation in the weeks before the Capitol riot, using the footage he recorded as a guide and for analysis.

Five members of the Proud Boys, including its former national chairman, Enrique Tarrio, were charged with seditious conspiracy by the Justice Department, whose exhaustive investigation into the events before, during, and after January 6 has led to the arrest of over 800 individuals.

Tim Heaphy, chief investigative counsel for the select committee, will examine key stages that led to the pro-Trump mob’s first breach of the Capitol, including the moment where Proud Boy member Joseph Biggs, who was also charged with seditious conspiracy on Monday, briefly spoke to a man right before the march transformed into a riot.

The man in question, Ryan Samuel, who has long since been arrested, walked up alone to a barricade, entered into an altercation with Capitol police officers, and eventually pushed the barricade over — an event believed to precipitate the riot.

Heaphy is also expected to have Edwards recount her assault at the hands of another man who had also spoken to a Proud Boy member before engaging officers guarding the Capitol.

Edwards was the first officer injured in the attack, and her testimony is expected to be harrowing. The New York Times reported that the pro-Trump mob pushed Edwards into concrete steps, and a bike rack-like barricade was dropped on her.

Quested will be asked to analyze other key moments he filmed, as the Proud Boys led the mob up the inaugural platform prepared for Biden’s swearing-in, which was still weeks away, and “smashed a window to enter the Capitol,” the Guardian noted in its report.

Most of the major U.S. cable news networks, including CNN, CBS, ABC, and MSNBC, will air the January 6 hearings -- but not Fox News.