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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: trump coup

Oath Keepers Sent Promise Of Violence To Trump After January 6

Four days after the insurrection on January 6, 2021, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, extremist leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, had a secret meeting in the parking lot of an electronics store in Texas.

There, a witness told the court at his sedition trial, Rhodes penned a message to then-President Trump warning of “combat here on US soil” if the lame-duck leader didn’t “use the power of the President” to invoke the Insurrection Act, call up paramilitary groups, and arrest lawmakers who resisted the coup.

“If you don’t, then Biden/Kamala will turn all that power on you, your family,” Rhodes wrote Trump in a message prosecutors showed Wednesday. “You and your children will die in prison.”

Rhodes typed the invective in the phone of trial witness Jason Alpers, identified in court as a military veteran and co-founder of Allied Security Operations Group, a cyber security firm that colluded with Trump allies, including crazed “Kraken” lawyer Sidney Powell, to spread lies about voter fraud in the 2020 elections.

On the stand, Alpers testified he had “indirect” access to Trump’s “Inner circle,” which was why Rhodes wanted to meet him. Rhodes, Oath Keepers lawyer Kelly SoRelle, and Joshua James, an Oath Keeper who pled guilty to seditious conspiracy in March, were present in that meeting, FBI agent Jennifer Banks told the court.

Prosecutors have presented reams of evidence — many of which were Rhodes’ speech — to the jury portraying the paramilitary extremist as an obsessed Trump superfan ready to do anything to keep Biden out of the White House, for fear the Democrat would execute Republicans and destroy the country that voters elected him to govern.

“You must do as Lincoln did,” Rhodes wrote in the Notes app of Alpers’ phone. "He arrested congressmen, state legislators, and issued a warrant for SCOTUS Chief Justice Taney. Take command like Washington would.”

Urging Trump to implement the Insurrection Act — a federal law that empowers a sitting U.S. president to deploy the military to quash a domestic uprising against the government — Rhodes continued: “You must use the Insurrection Act and use the power of the President to stop him. And all of us veterans will support you and so will the vast majority of the military.”

“I am here for you and so are all my men. We will come help you if you need us. Military and police. And so will your millions of supporters,” Rhodes added.

Alarmed that such “extreme ideologies” would damage his “credibility,” Alpers said he didn’t deliver the message to Trump but turned it and a secretly recorded audio of the encounter to the FBI.

“[Sending the message] would have wrapped me into agreeing with that ideology in some way, which I did not,” Alpers said in court. “I didn’t want to get involved."

After typing the ominous warning, Rhodes pivoted to a discussion to expand on his message, which Alpers told the court he secretly recorded on a thumb drive-shaped recording device.

Prosecutors played that audio for the jury, during which Rhodes could be heard telling Alpers that there would be “combat here on US soil no matter what” if Trump handed Biden the reins of power.

When Alpers denounced the storming of the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters and said he didn’t want a civil war, Rhodes expressed regret: had he known Trump wouldn’t invoke the Insurrection Act, he and his band of neo-fascist extremists would have “brought rifles” and “fixed it right there and then.”

“If he’s not going to do the right thing, and he’s just gonna let himself be removed illegally, then we should have brought rifles,” Rhodes ranted in the recording. “We could have fixed it right then and there. I’d hang fucking [House Speaker] Pelosi from the lamppost.”

Already, Pelosi’s husband is in the hospital after his skull was fractured by a hoax-peddling Trump fanatic who broke into the Pelosi family’s San Francisco home in search of the speaker.

Rhodes called the Capitol riot a “good thing” and warned of mass felony murder charges for everyone who stormed the halls of Congress “... because someone died,” according to the Washington Post, to which SoRelle audibly agreed, saying, “I know it’s gonna happen.”

Rhodes and four of his co-conspirators — Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins, and Thomas Caldwell — face up to twenty years behind bars if found guilty of the seditious conspiracy charges levied against them by the U.S. government.

Prosecutors are expected to rest their case on Thursday, but their arguments, supported by a litany of evidence, as well as the outcome of this highly-publicized trial, are expected to set a precedent for the December seditious conspiracy trail of another far-right militia: the Proud boys.

MAGA Republicans Have A Plan -- And The Name For It Is Fascism

Republicans think they own the ball, and the stadium, and the league, and the right to make the rules, and they’re going to throw a fit if they don’t get to score their touchdown and win.

Everyone got together and sat down and agreed about how democracy works a long time ago: who gets to make the rules and what you have to do if you want to win in the game of politics. You run for office, and you get people to vote for you, and if you get the most votes, you win. You’ve scored your goal. If your party gets the most votes, you get to make the rules until the next election when the game is played all over again.

That’s the way it worked for more than two centuries: the parties tussled through elections, but when they were over, and one party won and the other didn’t, or when there was a split decision, as in one party wins the White House and the other party wins the Congress, they still managed to sit down and make deals and get things done – like giving women the vote, or making a New Deal to end the Great Depression, or winning World War II, or passing the Civil Rights laws, or even getting us into and out of a few mistaken wars.

But no longer. That’s not the way the Republican Party wants to play the game anymore. They have made a unilateral change in the rules they will play by: only one team is allowed to win, the Republican team, and if the other team somehow manages to prevail, they won’t recognize their victory, and they will not only take their ball and go home, they will burn down the stadium.

That’s what happened on January 6, 2021. When the presidential candidate of the Republican Party did not win the election, they attempted to destroy the stadium in which we had agreed a long time ago to play the game, the Capitol. When they didn’t succeed with a mob, 147 of them grabbed their legislative body armor and nightsticks and attempted to overturn the election by voting against certifying electoral ballots when they were counted.

When that didn’t work, Republicans went home to their states and changed the rules to make it nearly impossible for the other team to win by suppressing votes, and just for good measure, gerrymandering the opposing party out of power by making it impossible for that party to combine enough votes within a district to elect someone from their party to represent them, like they just did in Alabama.

Ordinarily, this would be called moving the goalposts, but we’re way past my handy little football analogy, folks. From here on out, what we have to talk about when we talk about the Republican Party is fascism, because that’s what the stuff they’re doing amounts to.

When Republicans say a president who won an election by more than seven million popular votes and 74 electoral votes is illegitimate, that is fascism.

When Republicans say they will shut down the government if they don’t get to cut funding for “entitlements” like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and government departments like the NIH, the EPA, the CDC and even more, that’s fascism.

When Republicans call Democrats “evil” and “un-American” and accuse them baselessly of pedophilia, that’s fascism.

When a Republican leader like Donald Trump starts down the slippery slope of antisemitism in the way he has lately without anyone within the Republican Party calling him on it, that’s fascism.

When Republicans openly talk about firing anyone in the federal government who is not loyal to their party if and when they have control of the Executive again, that’s fascism.

When Republicans embrace authoritarian fellow-travelers like Victor Orban as they did when they invited him to address the CPAC convention in Dallas recently, that’s fascism, even if it is performative.

And most tellingly, when Republicans say they won’t accept the outcomes of elections unless they win, folks, that is full-blown, flag-waving, stiff-arm salute fascism.

The Republican Party is not just messing around. They are serious. They mean it. They have made a nation-wide pact for Republican candidates in the midterms to declare victory on election night before all the ballots are counted, an idea pushed by Steve Bannon in 2020 that Trump tried by declaring after Arizona had been called for Biden, “This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.”

Then, of course, when all the votes are counted, Republicans will launch a firestorm of attempts to overturn the results of every election they don’t win, because, you know, when Democrats win, the election was illegitimate, and they won’t recognize the victories.

I remember a few years ago when some pundits on the left began calling Donald Trump a fascist, I thought about that kind of talk as “premature” and “extreme,” even “silly.” Boy, did I ever have my head up my ass. Every pundit, every Democratic Party official, every person who called Trump and the Republican Party fascists should be taken out to dinner and slapped on the back and thanked. Same with those who referred to right-wing extremists within the Republican Party as suffering from a “prion disease.” Their brains weren’t rotting. They hadn’t mistakenly chewed up some jimson weed. They were serious as a heart attack. They meant it, and more of us should have listened to them.

My fellow Substacker, Heather Cox Richardson, suggests much the same thing: It’s time to listen to these people and moreover, to believe them when what they tell us “has most of the hallmarks of fascism.” In comparing what Liz Truss attempted in Great Britain with the intentions of congressional Republicans if they win the midterms, she suggested that we pay attention to someone most of us have probably never heard of: John Daniel Davidson, a senior editor at the exceedingly far-right publication, The Federalist. Davidson isn’t a conspiracy theorist spreading disinformation from some fringe website to an audience of rabid survivalists and wingnuts. He is what passes for a real intellectual among the Serious Thinkers on the Right. People in power are said to give his ideas more than an occasional read. Big Timers in the Republican Party actually pay attention to what he says.

Richardson rings a bell to which we should all pay heed, because what our dear Federalist senior editor Davidson is today merely writing about will become Republican dogma before we know it.

In a piece titled, “We need to stop calling ourselves conservatives,” Davidson announces the death of what was once called small government conservatism: “The fusionism of past decades, in which conservatives made common cause with market-obsessed libertarians and foreign policy neocons, is finished. So too is Conservatism Inc. and the establishment GOP it enabled, whose first priority was always tax cuts for big business at the expense of everything else.” In its place, Davidson suggests something that doesn’t just smell like fascism, it is fascism.

Davidson blesses “a willingness to embrace government power” in favor of a “government [that] will have to become, in the hands of conservatives, an instrument of renewal in American life — and in some cases, a blunt instrument indeed.”

His description of what sort of “blunt instrument” the Right should strive for is where Davidson gets down to it: He calls for universities which are “spreading poisonous ideologies” to be “starved” of public monies. He wants a “dramatic expansion of the criminal code” that would legally define abortion as “murder,” with prosecutions and punishments according. His plan for the new criminal code includes these gems: “parents who take their children to drag shows should be arrested and charged with child abuse…doctors who perform so-called “gender-affirming” interventions should be thrown in prison and have their medical licenses revoked…teachers who expose their students to sexually explicit material should not just be fired but be criminally prosecuted.”

He suggests that Obergefell went way too far and the Supreme Court decision which overturned laws against sodomy should be reversed. But of course he does. Moreover, he believes that “the left will only stop when conservatives stop them.” Davidson very kindly recognizes that that “power corrupts, and that once the right seizes power it too will be corrupted,” but not to worry, because “we should attend to it with care after we have won the war.”

That’s what Hitler said about Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and soon and after that, Great Britain and the rest of Europe. He wanted all of it and when he didn’t immediately get his way, he threw a temper tantum and burned down Europe.

Republicans who respond to Davidson’s trumpet call want it all, too, and they’re preparing to throw a tantum and start a war if they don’t get it. If those pesky Jews get in the way, as Dear Leader Trump seems to think they are, well, I’m sure Davidson and other “thinkers” on the Right will have a solution to that in due time.

The only surprise in Davidson’s jeremiad is his failure to call for a Pact of Steel to save America, because as he observes, “Western civilization is dying,” conservatives are being “trampled to dust,” and “you cannot preserve or defend something that is dead.”

What do Republicans think should replace what they think of as our dying democracy? A Fourth Reich, and boy do they ever have a plan for that.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV

Reprinted with permission from Lucian Truscott Newsletter

Steve Bannon Sentenced To Four Months Prison On Contempt Charges

A federal judge sentenced Steve Bannon, the neo-fascist advisor to Donald Trump and coup proponent, to four months in prison for refusing to cooperate with the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack by a pro-Trump mob. During a sentencing hearing on Friday, US District Judge Carl Nichols also ordered Bannon to pay a fine of $6,500.

Bannon was convicted last July on two counts of contempt of Congress for failing to provide documents and testimony. Each of the two counts was punishable by a minimum of one month and a maximum of one year in prison. He will be the first person sent to jail for refusing a Congressional subpoena in more than 50 years. The judge said Bannon could remain free pending his expected appeal. Members of the select committee voted last week to issue a subpoena to Trump himself for testimony and documents.

“Flaunting congressional subpoenas betrays a lack of respect for the legislative branch, which exercises the will of the people of the United States,” Judge Nichols said. Bannon “has expressed no remorse” and “has not taken responsibility for his refusal to comply with his subpoena.”

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.

'Team Normal': A One-Act Play

Scene 1:

The study at the Bedminster Golf Club. Donald Trump is meeting with a visitor, his former international trade advisor and January 6th co-conspirator, Peter Navarro.

TRUMP: Jared’s memoir? No, not going to read it, Peter. Nope, not a snowball’s chance in Hell’s Kitchen.

PETER NAVARRO: That thyroid cancer thing, that came out of nowhere. I saw the guy every day. There's no sign that he was in any pain or danger or whatever. I think it’s just a ploy to get sympathy to try to sell his book. Fake news. Did you know, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Maybe.

NAVARRO: Did Ivanka talk to you about it?

TRUMP: I don’t recall. You know, Peter, that’s a better answer than the Fifth Amendment. You should consider it. Maybe you can’t recall whether Jared had cancer—and a few other things. The Green Bay Sweep, with the electors, I don’t recall. Doesn’t that feel better? Where did you get that Green Bay business? Why not the Tampa Bay touchdown? I told Jared that Tom Brady was after Ivanka.

NAVARRO: It’s in the book.

TRUMP: I said to Jared, “Why does she have to convert? Why don’t you convert?” Tom Brady, conversion is an extra point. Most people think I'm Jewish anyway. Most of my friends are Jewish. I have all these awards from the synagogues. They love me in Israel. I’ve got to hand it to Jared. Cancer works for him. You’re right, Peter, makes him more sympathetic, a victim, too. I beat Covid. Maybe I should say I beat cancer.

NAVARRO: Mr. President, did you have cancer?

TRUMP: Maybe. We’ll see if I need to have beaten it. The lawyers are negotiating with DOJ. Doctor Ronnie said I’m in the top ten percent of everyone my age. The golf, the rallies, the steak—top ten. Now take Rudy, in and out of the hospital. And the second wife—or is she the third? Remember the annulment? Not many people do. A cousin, second cousin, first wife, hard to keep track. But the second wife, really the third, wants a new chunk of change, another pound of flesh. Would Ivana have done that to me? Not in a million years. Best first wife.

NAVARRO: A remarkable woman.

TRUMP: If you have time, Peter, do down just past the first tee. Just the name and the years. Very, very tasteful. Classy.

(A youthful aide enters.)

AIDE: Mr. President, that caller you were expecting...

TRUMP: (To Navarro) Dinner later, the steak. Second term, the pardons. And, remember, I don’t recall. (Leads Navarro out and points toward the golf course) Just past the first tee.

Scene 2:

(Navarro exits. Trump picks up the phone to speak with Alex Jones.)

TRUMP: Hell of a performance at the trial, Alex. Are they going to put you in the witness protection program to protect you from your lawyer? If they can’t find you, you don’t have to pay.

ALEX JONES: Mr. President, the lawyer screwed up royally. Said the text messages and emails weren’t privileged. I am the one who should collect punitive damages.

TRUMP: Are you on the phone I told you to call on—the burner phone? And don’t give it to your lawyer when you’re done.

JONES: I’ve been accused of a lot of things, but not that stupid.

TRUMP: Well, I’ve been reading the coverage.

JONES: They got all my messages with Roger Stone!

TRUMP: Roger is someone you should have been studying. Roger always uses the burner when he calls me. Hanging with the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers—stand by and stand back—burners. I’d use the phone of a Secret Service agent. Fail safe. I wonder where all those text messages went. They all disappeared except for yours, Alex.

JONES: Mr. President, we’re surrounded by traitors.

TRUMP: You watch those hearings? You see what I had to deal with. Team Normal, that’s what they call themselves now. They used to be the adults in the room. When I was giving political donations to Hillary and Chuck Schumer, and I was pro-abortion big-time, where was Team Normal? Abu Ghraib. And, now, they’re a bunch of crybabies.

JONES: Congratulations on beating Team Normal in the primaries! You belted them. What a lineup! Murderer’s Row.

TRUMP: J.D. Vance, Dr. Oz, Blake Masters, Kari Lake, Doug Mastriano, that Laxalt—how did they win? They all said the election was stolen. It’s not Team Normal’s party—and they can cry if they want to.

JONES: But it was stolen! Not a hoax!

TRUMP: Alex, you always tell it like it is.

JONES: Mitch McConnell is not too happy with your candidates beating his.

TRUMP: The Old Crow is going to eat more than crow. He says he doesn’t know if he’ll win the Senate. And they call him the smart one. He can’t see what’s happening in front of him. He doesn’t get it. None of the pundits get it. Team Normal, dumb as rocks.

JONES: So, what’s the strategy?

TRUMP: My candidates win the primaries—I win, McConnell loses. My candidates lose their elections—McConnell loses, I win. His dream is over. He’s finished. Beaten forever. Never majority leader again. Done and done. I win again. Who do they blame? Not me. They blame Mitch. They blame Team Normal. They’ll need me more than ever. Republicans lose the Senate and I’m the savior.

JONES: Genius.

TRUMP: Don’t forget to ditch the phone. Nobody will find it if you bury it at a golf course.

Sidney Blumenthal, former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, has published three books of a projected five-volume political life of Abraham Lincoln: A Self-Made Man, Wrestling With His Angel ,and All the Powers of Earth. His play This Town, about a scandalous White House dog, was produced in 1995 by LA TheatreWorks. This is the fifteenth in "The Trump Cycle," his series of one-act plays published in The National Memo, including The Pardon, Epstein's Ghost, Ivanka's Choice, Sunset Boulevard, The Exclusive, The Role Model, A Modest Proposal, The Exit Interview, The Hitler Gospel, Father Knows Best, The Gold Medal Winner, All I Want For Christmas Is Melania’s Non-Fungible Token, Puppet Theater, and Master Class.

Gov. Hutchinson: Trump 'Disqualified Himself' From 2024 White House Race

The Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, ripped into former President Donald Trump on Monday, describing him as “derelict in his duties” and morally culpable for the attack on Congress by a mob of his supporters on January 6, 2021.

In an interview with the Washington Post on Monday, Hutchinson said the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack had achieved its goal of making a solid case that Trump was “derelict in his duties” during the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“Well, I think [the January 6 hearings] had an impact,” Hutchinson told the Post Live anchor Leigh Ann Caldwell. “They've made the case that he was irresponsible; he was derelict in his duties.”

"This should be a concern of every American," Hutchinson continued. "We had a president during that time that allowed that to go on and threatened the peaceful transfer of power."

The governor confirmed he was speaking from a place of understanding because he had “tuned to the majority” of the select committee’s public hearings.

Hutchinson echoed his previous comments that the select committee’s case, while strong, didn’t provide the “high burden of proof” needed to pursue criminal charges against Trump.

“I don't see how the January 6th hearings themselves are making the case against the president. That's a very high burden of proof. I think the attorney general's got a tough call there,” Hutchinson said. “I haven't seen the actual case being presented effectively in terms of criminal conduct on the president.”

Hutchinson, a former congressman, is one of the few elected Republicans to persist in criticism of Trump. Last month, the governor told CBS Mornings hat the January 6 attack was a “threat to our institutions of government” and that Trump’s response was “not the behavior we want to see in a responsible president.”

In the same interview, Hutchinson assailed Trump’s 2024 bid for the White House, saying the ex-president had disqualified himself from running again with his actions before and on January 6.

"While we're totally focused on 2022, obviously there's talk about 2024, and I had to make it clear that Trump has disqualified himself, in my judgment, from his actions on January 6th and leading up to that," Hutchinson said.

“If we get sidetracked on a personality that is as divisive as Donald Trump, then that does not bode well for the outcome in November,” he said. “We’re going to do well, I have no doubt about that, but we lose ground whenever Donald Trump becomes the issue,” he told CBS Mornings.

Hutchinson told the Post’s Caldwell that he stood by his previous statement criticizing Trump. “I honestly answer questions when I'm asked. And so, yes, I stand by that. I believe that.”

Hutchinson teased a bid for the White House in 2024, which might see him run against Trump. “I'm thinking about it, but not going to be… have any decision until next January.”

“But 2024 is so critical in terms of shaping the Republican Party. And so whether it's as a candidate or whether it's in some other role, I certainly want to be a voice,” Hutchinson said.

“Somehow people think that if you're not 100 percent pure behind Donald Trump, then somehow, you're a moderate,” he lamented. “But I think the test in 2024, can a conservative that has a more optimistic view of America, that doesn't resort to personal grievances, can that person win, and that's what I want to be able to support in the fight for 2024.”

Trump's DHS Inspector Concealed Deletion Of Secret Service January 6 Texts

The Department of Homeland Security scandal is growing larger, with its embattled inspector general increasingly appearing to be at the center of what one noted political scientist is calling a “coverup of treason.”

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, appointed by then-President Donald Trump in 2019, was aware of Secret Service agents’ deleted text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, as well as deleted texts from top Homeland Security officials, months earlier than first disclosed, according to reports from CNN and The Washington Post.

“Earlier this month, Secret Service officials told congressional committees that DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, the department’s independent watchdog, was aware that texts had been erased in December 2021,” CNN reports. “But sources tell CNN, the Secret Service had notified Cuffari’s office of missing text messages in May 2021, seven months earlier.”

That means that four months after the January 6 insurrection the DHS watchdog office knew Secret Service agents’ text messages, from the day before and day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, were missing and did not inform Congress or the National Archives, which is required by law to retain those records.

The deleted Secret Service texts are not the only missing data at DHS.

“Text messages for President Donald Trump’s acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli are missing for a key period leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol,” The Washington Post was first to report, on Thursday night.

As with the missing Secret Service texts, Cuffari knew early on – as early as May – but did not inform Congress or the National Archives.

Earlier this month the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), a nonpartisan independent watchdog, reported on Cuffari, Wolf, and Cuccinelli.

“Cuffari’s actions shielded high-level DHS political appointees, including then-acting Secretary Chad Wolf and his acting deputy secretary, Ken Cuccinelli, from fuller questioning by investigators, according to government records and interviews,” a POGO press release stated.

Back in February POGO reported that Cuffari “faces a previously undisclosed and escalating investigation — one that will apparently address persistent questions about whether he illegally ‘retaliated’ against former high-ranking employees. As such, the probe signals the latest phase of a nasty internecine battle that refuses to fade away, despite Cuffari’s successful bid to force out his former top deputy, as other internal critics left amid bitter recriminations.”

That investigation, according to the POGO report, began in May of 2021, more than one year ago.

In. April POGO sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to remove Cuffari from his role as DHS IG.

Late Thursday night noted political scientist Norman Ornstein, who sits on the POGO board, called the situation a “coverup of treason.”

POGO, Ornstein tweeted, “has been calling for a long time for the resignation of DHS IG Joseph Cuffari. He sat on the information of missing texts from the top DHS ‘acting’ officials, put there by Trump to do his bidding. Stinks to high heaven. Coverup of treason.”

Appointed by Trump, Cuffari assumed office on July 25, 2019. Less than one year later, in May of 2020, The Washington Post reported, “DHS inspector general’s office nearly dormant under Trump as reports and audits plummet.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Ivanka And Kushner Seeking Safe Distance From Donald Trump's Disgrace

Neither the former president’s eldest daughter and former White House aide Ivanka Trump nor his son-in-law and ex-adviser Jared Kushner want any further involvement in Donald Trump’s Big Lie-fueled political operations. They have reportedly distanced themselves from him, according to a new Axios report.

In that report, reporter Jonathan Swan disclosed that former president Trump — angered by the litany of explosive revelations brought to light by the House Select Committee hearings — has cut ties with nearly every ally and aide who didn’t embrace his false claims of election fraud.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner both served as senior advisers during his presidency, but neither of them actually bought into Trump’s lies of a stolen election, which most of his allies — including those who would later denounce him — initially disseminated, according to the New York Times.

The Times report indicated that Ivanka had refused to speak at the January 6 rally on the White House Ellipse, but accompanied Trump to prevent him from clashing with former Vice President Mike Pence.

“As rioters rampaged through the Capitol, [Ivanka] ran up and down the stairs in the West Wing from her office to the Oval Office, hoping to persuade her father to issue stronger statements calling off the attackers," the Times reported.

Ivanka told House Select Committee investigators during her April deposition that former Attorney General Bill Barr’s assessment that no amount of fraud was sufficient to overturn her father’s loss “affected my perspective,” so “I accepted what he was saying.”

Trump mildly rebuked Ivanka on social media after her deposition testimony was aired in July to millions of Americans during prime-time hearings. "Ivanka Trump was not involved in looking at, or studying, Election results," Trump wrote.

The Times noted that Kushner told aides that he had seen the writing on the wall after vote tabulation of the 2020 elections commenced and knew Trump would lose. The White House’s power couple began washing their hands of Trump’s presidency while the former president devised plots to overturn his loss, the Times claimed.

Sources said that Kushner had another concern: Rudy Giuliani. "To Mr. Kushner, his father-in-law's decision to turn once again to Mr. Giuliani was a red flag. As far as Mr. Kushner was concerned, Mr. Giuliani was an erratic schemer who had already gotten Mr. Trump impeached once because of his political intriguing in Ukraine, and nothing good would come of the former mayor's involvement in fighting the election results," reported the Times.

Kushner tried to broker peace between Trump and Pence in the aftermath of the Capitol attack, according to Salon. However, the former president insisted on “waging war on Mr. Biden and the system,” repeatedly claiming without evidence that victory in the election was stolen from him.

In the aftermath of the first series of select committee hearings on January 6, which outlined his alleged crimes, Trump has reportedly ramped up plans to grab the mantle of president again in 2024.

The former president has excommunicated from his re-election plans and inner circle the aides who distanced themselves from his bogus 2020 election claims, even those who once had his ear. This growing list includes former senior adviser Hope Hicks, former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and former campaign manager Bill Stepien, according to Axios.

Although Ivanka and Kushner attended Trump’s farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews and flew to Florida with him aboard Air Force One after that, the couple has since moved on with their lives.