Tag: trump coup
A Black Thing: What We Learned From The Father Of Fani Willis

A Black Thing: What We Learned From The Father Of Fani Willis

What did we learn from the testimony of John C. Floyd III at last Friday's hearing in Georgia? Floyd, the father of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, was called by prosecutors defending Willis from charges that she has a conflict of interest in her prosecution of 19 defendants, including Donald Trump, that he led a “criminal racketeering enterprise” to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.

One of Trump’s co-defendants, Michael Roman, a campaign aide to Trump, alleged that Willis had a personal relationship with Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor Willis had hired to help in the prosecution of Trump and his co-defendants. Roman charged that Willis benefitted financially from the personal relationship with Wade and should be disqualified from prosecuting the case against them.

Floyd was called to testify about what he knew of his daughter’s relationship with Wade, which wasn’t much, and to knock down insinuations by Roman and others that the fact Willis repaid her paramour Wade in cash for her part of several trips they shared, including travel to Belize and the Caribbean island of Aruba, was suspect. Willis and Wade were questioned skeptically about the arrangement yesterday by lawyers for defendants who seemed to be implying that their use of cash, rather than checks, implied a coverup of an illicit arrangement that benefitted Willis.

Floyd finally put an end to the insinuations that Willis could not possibly have had enough cash to repay Wade for luxury travel. He explained that he had counseled his daughter to always keep a good deal of cash on hand and turned to address the judge and said, “I’m not trying to be racist, your honor, but it’s a Black thing. I was trained, and most Black folks, they hide cash or they keep cash, and I was trained you always keep some cash. I gave my daughter her first cash box and told her, ‘Always keep some cash.’”

Floyd went on to tell a story about being out to lunch with his wife and young daughter in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while he was taking a course at Harvard, and having a restaurant refuse to accept his American Express card, another credit card, or the American Express Travelers Checks he offered to pay with. He said he had to pay the $9.51 check with a ten dollar bill from his wallet. He explained that he told his daughter to always take cash with her when she went out on a date with a man in case something happened and she wanted to leave.

Lawyers for Roman and other defendants pressed Floyd on the time he spent living in his daughter’s new house in the Atlanta area. They seemed to be implying that because he lived alone in the house, Willis’ absence was evidence that she was “co-habiting” with Wade, an allegation that defendant Roman has made publicly.

Floyd told the lawyers that his daughter moved out of the house because of protests against her at the home that began shortly after she was sworn in as district attorney in 2021. He said he had called police to Willis’ house in February of 2021 because protesters were standing outside shouting “the B-word and the N-word.” He said racist graffiti had been sprayed on the house, which he cleaned off before Willis could see it. He said Willis had had to move at least four times because of death threats. He was asked if he knew where she was living each time she moved, and he said no, that he didn’t want to know “in case somebody held a gun to my head and asked me.”

It bears noting that the questioning of Willis and Wade yesterday about what in any other circumstance would be considered an office romance, and the questioning of Floyd today about the relationship between a Black father and a Black daughter who followed him into the practice of law, racism wasn’t the subtext, it was the text. At one point, when Floyd was asked why he had moved out of a house he owned, the lawyer questioning him pursued the line of inquiry until Floyd was forced to explain that he had “lost” his house in a dispute with a reverse mortgage company.

The questions were clearly an attempt to humiliate Floyd, as were other questions about why he had lived in his daughter’s house while not owning a home of his own. At one point, Roman’s lawyer, Ashleigh Merchant, asked if he was in Georgia “every day” of the years 2019 and 2020. That question, and many others she asked, had no bearing on the allegations that gave rise to the hearing.

The allegation that Willis had somehow benefitted financially from her private relationship with a lawyer she had hired to work in her office was a page right out of the Donald Trump playbook, that everything in life is transactional and performative, because there is no such thing as acting on real feelings.

It is a measure of how pathetic and meanspirited and racist our politics has become that the hearing in Georgia even took place.

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 luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

Trump Demands Release Of Violent Felons Convicted In Capitol Insurrection

Trump Demands Release Of Violent Felons Convicted In Capitol Insurrection

By Gram Slattery and James Oliphant

CLINTON, Iowa, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Donald Trump on Saturday downplayed his role in the siege of the U.S. Capitol on the third anniversary of the attack, arguing that those prosecuted for storming the building should be freed.

Speaking at a campaign event in Clinton, Iowa with the first Republican nominating contest little more than a week away, Trump called those jailed in the wake of the January 6, 2021 attack "hostages" and said they had been mistreated by the Biden administration.

"They've suffered enough," Trump said. "I call them hostages. Some people call them prisoners."

Speaking to more than a thousand supporters in a school gymnasium, Trump repeated his unfounded claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent and cast himself as a victim of political persecution.

"I got indicted because I challenged the crooked election," Trump told the crowd.

Trump faces a bevy of state and federal charges for his attempts to subvert the election, but has not been charged with instigating the 2021 insurrection, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol as legislators were certifying President Joe Biden's 2020 election victory.

Biden has repeatedly called Trump a threat to democracy on the campaign trail, and that messaging has emerged as an central theme of his campaign so far. Vice President Kamala Harris spoke of the January 6 assault at length during an event in South Carolina on Saturday.

At recent campaign events in Iowa, Trump's supporters -- and even supporters of other Republican presidential hopefuls -- have downplayed the significance of January 6, and many have embraced conspiracy theories regarding the events of that day.

Trump himself has suggested during previous campaign stops that undercover FBI agents played a significant role instigating the attack, an account not supported by official investigations.

More than 1,200 people have been charged with taking part in the riot, and more than 900 have either pleaded guilty or been convicted following a trial.

"It wasn't really an insurrection," said Hale Wilson, a Trump supporter from Des Moines who attended a campaign event in Newton, Iowa earlier in the day. "There were bad actors involved that got the crowd going."

At the Clinton event, Erin George, a local county commissioner, said the prison sentences handed down to the rioters "were 100 percent unwarranted."

Trump was in Iowa to curry support ahead of the state's Republican caucus on January 15, which is the first contest of the Republican presidential nominating contest. He currently leads all competitors by more than 30 percentage points in the state, according to most polls.

Reporting by Gram Slattery in Newton, Iowa and James Oliphant in Clinton, Iowa; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Miral Fahmy

Why Have We Forgotten How To Commemorate An Attack On Our Nation?

Why Have We Forgotten How To Commemorate An Attack On Our Nation?

It comes as a sad if not tragic fact that while we as a nation know how to commemorate an attack on our country by foreign terrorists, we have failed when it comes to an attack on us by domestic terrorists. It’s all a bit like a school shooting, isn’t it? We can get an accurate body count, we can learn who is responsible from police, prosecutors, and the courts, but we cannot come to agreement on what caused the terrible incident.

Within days of September 11, 2001, we knew the names of the 19 terrorists who crashed the jetliners into the twin towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. At the same time we learned that a single man was behind the attacks: Osama bin Laden. A strategy for how to deal with the attack by foreign terrorists on our soil was agreed upon quickly: we would dispatch soldiers to Afghanistan to hunt down those responsible and punish them, beginning with the terrorists’ leader, bin Laden.

We all know that bin Laden was not found and killed until ten years after the attack and that retaliation against others responsible for 9/11, namely the Taliban, went wildly astray over the next two decades. We know that trillions in treasure and thousands of American lives were wasted over the next 20 years, and we know that all we accomplished in the end was a return to the status quo in Afghanistan and further disarray in Iraq, which had nothing to do with the attack in the first place.

But as the saying goes, at least we have not suffered another terrorist attack of the magnitude of 9/11 on our country since then.

Now here we are on the third anniversary of the assault on our democracy that took place on January 6, 2021, and we not managed to make sure that another such attack will not take place in this country, nor have we punished the man responsible for the attack on our democracy in the first place. After a very brief respite during which some leaders in the Republican Party put the blame for the Jan. 6 insurrection where it belongs, on the man who instigated it, the Republican Party took a sharp turn in response to yelps and complaints from its base voters and began a campaign to hide its own Terrorist in Chief, Donald Trump, behind a smokescreen of lies, deflection, and an attack on institutions in our democratically elected government such as the Department of Justice, the FBI, the judiciary, and the current occupant of the White House, President Joe Biden.

The assault on January 6, 2021, was not just a violent attack on the Capitol building that ended up with five dead and 140 police officers injured, some seriously enough to end their careers in law enforcement. It was an attempt to subvert our Constitution and system of government by preventing a peaceful transition of power from one president to another. The attack by al Qaeda on September 11, 2001 was a threat to our way of life, destroying not only lives but businesses, the freedom to travel without fear, and with the partial destruction of the Pentagon, a threat to our national security.

But the attack on January 6, 2021 was worse, because it deepened the fracture of our country into warring political camps and furthered dysfunction in our governmental structures so that shutting down the government by one political party over its inability to pass its political agenda has now become a normal way of doing political business in the Congress.

We are weaker as a nation today than we were after 9/11 in ways that are immeasurable. The angry refusal of Republicans to pass aid to our ally Ukraine in its fight for its existence as a sovereign state against the outlaw regime of Vladimir Putin has weakened the NATO alliance and strengthened enemies of freedom around the globe, from Iranian radicals to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria to Hamas in Gaza to ISIS to the Houtis in Yemen to numberless factions fighting governments in Africa and amongst themselves in dozens of countries around the world, including Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines, and now even political violence in Bangladesh.

The question is no longer if or when peace will descend into political conflict and violence but how many lives will be lost when it happens. The United States, once a beacon of freedom and stability for other nations to admire and emulate, has descended along with other nations into political conflict, sectarian violence, and threats against the lives of public officials like governors, members of Congress, judges, election officials and even public health officers down at county level. All of this has become what can be called a new political normality, along with mass shootings at schools and lies about public health emergencies like the COVID pandemic and the big lie that Donald Trump won the last presidential election.

We are unable as a nation to commemorate what we lost on January 6, 2021 because one man, Donald Trump, and his political party stand in the way of admitting what we saw with our own eyes: a mob instigated and given aid and comfort by Trump assaulted one of the pillars of our democracy, the Capitol building, and tried to overrun the Senate and the House of Representatives as they carried out the Constitutional duty of certifying electoral ballots and announcing the winner of the 2020 election.

There have been multiple recent stories about how attempts to rewrite what happened on January 6 by manipulating the visual record of Capitol surveillance cameras has “backfired” on the likes of Kevin McCarthy, Tucker Carlson, and now Speaker of the House Mike Johnson. It turns out that images of rioters breaking into the Capitol, attacking police officers, and in one disgraceful instance, carrying a Confederate battle flag through the halls of the Capitol are not easily explained away.

But even that fact has not dented the campaign by Trump and Republicans to deny what we saw with our own eyes. Now the Washington Post and New York Times both, in covering dueling speeches by President Biden on January 5 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and Donald Trump at a rally the same day in Sioux City, Iowa, are saying that the two campaigns are arguing not just about politics but reality itself.

What was real on September 11, 2001 was that the World Trade Center fell to the ground and the Pentagon was severely damaged and that thousands of Americans lost their lives to a terrorist attack by al Qaeda. What was real on January 6, 2021 was that the Capitol was violently attacked by domestic terrorists and our government came close to falling to a would be dictator.

All of us saw both attacks with our own eyes. That we cannot agree on what we saw on January 6, and instead a significant minority believes what they are told by a congenital liar and cheat, is something we will be living with throughout this election year. No matter how this election turns out, we and the rest of the world, will have to live with our failure for years if not decades to come.

It has taken us at least a century to begin to properly commemorate the disaster of the Civil War by taking down Confederate statues and renaming military installations for patriots instead of traitors. Here’s hoping it won’t take just as long for us to commemorate 1/6 with the unity and propriety that we commemorate 9/11.

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 luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

National Emergency: What Trump Showed Us In His New York Court Appearance

National Emergency: What Trump Showed Us In His New York Court Appearance

This is the day that Defendant Donald Trump revealed his plan for the rest of his life. Today in the case brought against him by New York Attorney General Letitia James in a Manhattan courtroom, every syllable Trump uttered was in furtherance of getting himself elected to the presidency of the United States. He doesn’t care that he has already lost the case against him, having been declared liable for defrauding banks and insurance companies in a scheme to enrich himself. He doesn’t care what the decision by Judge Arthur F. Engoron with respect to penalties and potential loss of control of his businesses will be.

He made that clear as can be in his arrogant, dismissive testimony on the stand when questioned by Kevin Wallace, the lawyer for the New York Attorney General, or when cautioned by Judge Engoron to stop making speeches and answer the question.

Trump doesn’t care about the verdict and any penalties that might be levied by the court and the state of New York, because in his mind, when he becomes president in January of 2025, he’ll just ignore them. He won’t pay the penalties. He won’t yield control of his companies. He won’t listen and he won’t obey the judgements, because he will be president, and who’s going to say anything different? He doesn’t care about his upcoming trial for defamation in the case brought by E. Jean Carroll — the second defamation case, by the way — because he won’t abide by the verdict in the last case or this one.

Trump has already announced that when he is elected president and takes office, he is going to clean out the Department of Justice and put in an Attorney General and team of lawyers loyal to him, and he will order them to go after Joe Biden and his entire family. He will fire Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, and go after him too. He will ignore any judgement against him that has been made by a jury of 12 citizens of Washington D.C. and carried out by Judge Tanya Chutkan. If he is ordered to serve time in jail and the judgement is suspended pending appeal, he will ignore that, too. If he is fined, he won’t pay the fine. If he is ordered to do community service, he won’t do it.

The same will be true for any decision of guilt by a jury in the classified documents case in Florida. He will ignore the decision of the jury and judge in the case. If the case is still ongoing in 2025, he will have his attorney general order that it be dismissed.

He will do the same thing in the racketeering case brought against him in Fulton County, Georgia. If there is a verdict of guilty in that case, he will ignore the verdict and decline to serve any time in jail or pay any fine ordered by the judge in the case.

Donald Trump’s plan for the next 12 months is to win the election for president on November 5, 2024, and on January 20, 2025, appoint himself King of the World. If he wants to make crooked deals that enrich himself and his family with foreign countries like China and Russia and Saudi Arabia, he will make them right out in the open, and he will hold a press conference in the White House or give an interview on Fox News and say, “What are you going to do about it?”

Who is going to tell him differently? He has a 6 to 3 majority on the Supreme Court who will rule for him slavishly on any case brought against him in federal court, and in any state case that is appealed to the Supreme Court. It doesn’t matter who controls the House of Representatives or the Senate. If they are controlled by Democrats, he will tell them to go pound sand. If Republicans control either house, or both houses, he will tell them what he wants them to do. If any Republican votes against him in either chamber of the Congress, he will order the Republican Party to run someone against them in a primary so that they lose their seats.

If the Congress is controlled by Democrats and will not pass the budget he wants or the laws Trump wants them to pass, he will issue executive orders and declare that his orders have the force of law by fiat. If anyone puts up an argument, legal, moral, or otherwise, that he can’t do that, he will say, in effect, what are you going to do about it?

Trump has already said that he will use the Federal Communications Commission to take the broadcast licenses of companies like CNN and NBC and MSNBC and ABC and CBS that broadcast programs he doesn’t like. The FCC does not regulate newspapers, but if he is threatening to end the broadcasting of news he doesn’t like, we should take him at his word and understand that he and his minions will be looking for ways to shut down newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post. What Trump is threatening is to take on the First Amendment to the Constitution. If he does that, can arresting and jailing journalists be far behind?

Trump will fire all the senior generals in the Pentagon and appoint replacements that have sworn a loyalty oath to him. He has already said that on his first day in office as president in 2025, he will put in force his powers under the Insurrection Act and use active-duty soldiers to put down any protests against him or his policies. The Insurrection Act also temporarily suspends the Posse Comitatus Act that forbids using the military from taking part in federal law enforcement. Trump will extend the “temporarily” provision of the Insurrection Act for as long as he likes, enabling federal forces to “assist” civilian forces with law enforcement. This will give the U.S. military the power of arrest and detention.

If Trump’s military law enforcement officials fill the civilian jails, he will order that detention camps be built to hold all of those arrested for demonstrating against him and his government and its policies. If someone has the temerity to file a lawsuit against his invocation of the Insurrection Act and suspension of the Posse Comitatus Act, and the case reaches the Supreme Court, and by some miracle the court rules against Trump while his military enforcement of the law is in effect with soldiers in the streets, he will challenge the Supreme Court’s authority by saying of their enforcement powers, “Yeah, you and whose army?”

When Donald Trump says he will assert his powers under the Insurrection Act, we should believe him. When he states that on his first day in office, he will go after Joe Biden and his entire family, we should believe him. When he says he’s going to staff the Department of Justice with loyalists and use it for retribution against his enemies, we should believe him. When he says he is going to get ride of the “woke” generals in the Pentagon and promote “his” generals who will follow his orders, we should believe him.

If Donald Trump wins the presidency in 2024 and takes power in 2025 and starts carrying out the plans he has already announced, he will not allow himself to be voted out of office in 2028. The arrogant id-fueled man who testified in court today in New York City will not be denied. What we’ve seen on the stand in Manhattan is what we will get.

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 luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.