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Monday, December 09, 2019

@AyshaQamar

Now Arizona GOP Attorney General Calls Election Fraud Claims 'Horseshit'

In a pathetic attempt to salvage his reputation, Arizona Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich called 2020 election deniers "clowns that throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks" in an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes broadcast Sunday. In Arizona, both the Republican nominee for governor, Kari Lake, and the nominee for secretary of state, Republican state Rep. Mark Finchem, are election deniers, despite no credible evidence supporting the claim that Arizona has experienced voter fraud.

During his interview with CBS News, Brnovich called out 2020 election deniers including Lake, noting that election denying is "like a giant grift in some ways." Despite allowing the conspiracy theories of a ‘stolen election’ to grow while he was in office, Brnovich argued that election officials "deal in facts and evidence" and claims of fraud are "horses**t."

The lifelong Republican (who voted for Donald Trump in 2020) noted that since he was responsible for investigating election fraud, he thoroughly investigated any leads that were sent to his office.

"There was no one in this country who wanted to find evidence of fraud more than I did," Brnovich told CBS News. "But I thought it was important to systematically go through and say 'no' this is the facts, this is the evidence, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but when you're an actual prosecutor, when you're the actual government, there's a higher obligation—you can't afford to be sloppy."

He also claimed that Trump called him after the presidential election and said, "All you gotta do is say the election's fraudulent, and you will be a superstar, you'll be the most popular guy in America.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Hitler-Worshipping National Guardsman Jailed On Gun, Drug Charges

As the government continues to finally hold those who participated in the January 6 riots accountable, members of the armed forces who participated or acted on their interest in white nationalist propaganda are also facing the consequences. A former member of the National Guard has been sentenced in federal court for unlawfully possessing several firearms while also using illegal controlled substances, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in a release Monday.

According to the press release, 22-year-old Norfolk resident Francis Harker was sentenced Monday to 4 years and nine months in connection to the charges dating back to 2020. Court documents note that, in 2020, Harker discussed “interrupting an unjust stop” by trapping law enforcement at a Virginia Beach shopping mall.

Following his discussion with an associate, he was able to get a semi-automatic rifle and falsely stated on the required purchase paperwork that he was not an unlawful user of any controlled substances, when in fact he used illegal drugs, including LSD.

According to investigators, the following year, he again made the same false statement when purchasing a handgun. When FBI officials found the illegal drugs and firearms in his home, they also found approximately 100 blank COVID-19 vaccination cards.


“Harker, who was a member of the National Guard, took the cards from the National Guard and mailed them to associates across the country,” the DOJ press release said.

Court documents also indicate that Harker’s social media and electronic devices contain information about not only inflicting violence on law enforcement but white supremacists and extremist ideology.

“He engaged in numerous other activities on the Internet involving violent, racially-motivated extremism, particularly focused against law enforcement officers,” prosecutors said, referring to Harker in a sentencing memo.

Images he posted included one with the phrase “Rape the Cops,” an image of himself doing a Hitler salute, and imagery stating, “there is no god but Hitler.”

According to the DOJ press release, Harker also admitted to interacting online with members of a group called “The Base,” which he described as a “group interested in terrorism.”

Additionally, in November, a magistrate judge found that Harker “traveled to Colorado to meet with the leader of a violent extremist group,” but that group is not named in court records, The Washington Post reported.

Local ABC News station 13 noted that the FBI began its investigation after hearing that Harker was sending messages over Instagram to share plans for violence and support racially-motivated violent extremism.

Harker isn’t the only individual affiliated with the armed forces who has been sentenced after being connected to white supremacist ideology.

According to The State, prosecutors are seeking 30 days in jail for Elliot Bishai, a member of the federally-supported Civil Air Patrol, the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. Bishai not only participated in the Jan. 6 rights but had more than 80 Nazi and white supremacist images on his cellphone, prosecutors said.

In addition to Nazi and white supremacist images, Bishai also had more than 400 videos made by an online personality, known as the “Gypsy Crusader,” who is described in court documents as a “far-right ... commentator, streamer, white supremacist and convicted felon” named Paul Nicholas Miller.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Texas Gov. Abbott Skipped Every Single Funeral For Uvalde Victims

The country continues to mourn the lives lost at the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, even as more information about the incident continues to surface online. Along with other recent mass shootings, Uvalde has sparked much-needed talk regarding gun control and gun legislation nationwide. But while many officials continue to reference the tragedy in efforts to create change, some seem to be attempting to forget it.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has come under fire for skipping the funerals of the two teachers and 19 children killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting. Scheduling records obtained by local media show that not only did he not attend the funerals, but never planned to do so.

The schedule, obtained by ABC News affiliate KXXV, confirms that not only did Abbott not attend any funerals but he last visited the town of Uvalde on June 5, nine days after the mass shooting, for a memorial event. The schedule details Abbott’s whereabouts between May 25 to June 14, and included only three visits to Uvalde since the tragic incident.

Not only did Abbott not attend any funerals, but several parents have said that the governor’s office did not reach out to them since the tragedy.

Angel Garza, father of 10-year-old victim Amerie Jo Garza, was one of them.

"We've had Sen. Gutierrez in our living room, willing to come and talk to us," Garza said during a press conference on July 13, according to KXXV. "We've had Beto O'Rourke coming to our private meeting to fight with us. He marched with us. That means something to us. The fact that you're reaching out just to see how we're doing means something to us."

Garza continued: "Everybody that's getting ready to vote, I want you guys to know that. These guys don't have compassion for us. They don't care. [Abbott] doesn't care that all these children were murdered and these teachers were murdered. Y'all need to realize that."


In response to this, Abbott's office told the Texas Chronicle that Abbott had visited "every family who requested a meeting.”

"Many families requested private funerals, and the Governor and First Lady instead sent flowers and condolences to let the loved ones know they remain in their prayers," the statement said.

But which families he visited, when, and where is unclear as per the released schedule. His schedule only shows several public vigils he attended, the last one being on June 5.

The families directly impacted by the tragedy aren’t the only ones criticizing Abbott’s lack of care, though.

In an interview Monday with MSNBC, state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, criticized Abbott for not returning to Texas town. According to Chron, he alleged that Abbott has not been back since May 29, despite June 5 being the last time the governor's schedule suggests he visited.

"I don't want this to sound like some political assault on him, but at the end of the day he hasn't been there since Day 5, when the president came... We had a failed response on giving resources to families," Gutierrez said. "He did not go to one single funeral—and quite honestly, many of the families didn't want him there."

In addition to Abbott, several Texas officials have come under fire for their failure to respond to the situation during and after. Recently released footage and a report found that while over 300 officers were at the scene, police badly mishandled their response, waiting for more than an hour before confronting the shooter. Officers also prevented parents from accessing the building to try and rescue children. A mother who was successful in rescuing her children backed this claim, saying that she was not only aggressively told to stop but has faced harassment since sharing her story, Daily Kos reported.

Family members and those impacted by the shooting are asking lawmakers to change laws when it comes to buying AR-style rifles for individuals age 18 to 21.

As a result, county commissioners passed a resolution calling for a special session to raise the age to buy AR-15s. Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin also said he was in favor of raising the age and requiring a class.

"This isn't some plot or anything, this is real life, this is hurting all of us," Angel Garza said.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Missouri Republican Urges Death Penalty For Abortion Providers

States across the country are introducing and passing legislation to limit abortion access. The moves in Republican majority states follow the passing of a Mississippi law, which is currently making its way to the Supreme Court. The law has the ability to limit abortion rights across the country by overturning Roe v. Wade. The most recent state to join those seeking to backtrack women’s rights is Missouri.

Missouri lawmakers are taking restricting abortion to the next level: They are not only stopping residents from obtaining abortions in state, but suggesting that those who travel in order to obtain them also be subject to lawsuits.

State Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman proposed a measure that would make performing an abortion on a Missouri resident—or even helping a Missouri resident get one—illegal. A similar law was passed in Texas, in which citizens were granted the ability to enforce the law through lawsuits.

“If your neighboring state doesn’t have pro-life protections, it minimizes the ability to protect the unborn in your state,” Coleman told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

According to the Post, Coleman’s measure would “target anyone even tangentially involved in an abortion performed on a Missouri resident, including the hotline staffers who make the appointments, the marketing representatives who advertise out-of-state clinics, and the Illinois- and Kansas-based doctors who handle the procedure. Her amendment also would make it illegal to manufacture, transport, possess, or distribute abortion pills in Missouri.”

Because the state has ended most surgical abortions, many women are traveling to Kansas or Illinois to seek care. Additionally, while the state has a ban on abortion after eight weeks, the state cannot enforce the ban while a legal challenge to the restriction makes its way through federal court. Coleman hopes abortion ends not just in Missouri but throughout the entire country. In 2021, Missouri only had one clinic in the entire state.

But Coleman isn’t the only GOP lawmaker in the state who has drastic penalties planned for those who have or help others with abortions.

During the debate for his bill that would make it a felony offense to transport or make available “abortion-inducing devices or drugs” in the Missouri, state Rep. Brian Seitz not only advocated for prison time for those in favor of abortion, but mentioned the death penalty. Seitz noted that he felt his proposal was not “strict enough” and would leave the conversation open in regard to implementing the death penalty for people facilitating abortions.

Although this may be shocking to hear, it’s not the first time a GOP lawmaker has expressed similar thoughts. In Texas, a lawmaker filed a bill that would not only abolish and criminalize abortions but leave those who perform the procedure to face criminal charges that could carry the death penalty.

Of course, like with other laws restricting abortions, there is a lack of exceptions. In this case, a greater penalty is placed on individuals who help people with ectopic pregnancies get abortion-inducing medication. According to the Mayo Clinic, “an ectopic pregnancy can cause your fallopian tube to burst open. Without treatment, the ruptured tube can lead to life-threatening bleeding.”

While these measures have the chance of being defeated, the impact remains. Many attorneys believe that the threat of the proposal alone may cause doctors in nearby states to stop performing abortions on Missouri residents.

But that is not the only issue to arise in Missouri. According to The Missouri Independent, lawmakers also introduced an amendment to a bill that creates a sexual assault survivors bill of rights in which “obscene” material would be criminalized in schools. The amendment is expected to derail the sexual assault survivors bill.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Arizona GOP Governor Defends Backing White Nationalist Candidate

While Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey attempted to distance himself from the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by condemning the day and immediately issuing a statement describing the occurrence as "a sickening day" that "no American will ever forget,” his actions don’t match his words. Ducey called for perpetrators to be prosecuted. However, at the same time he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to elect candidates and lawmakers who boosted the same conspiracy theories that led to the violence that occurred; attended the "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington, D.C.; or openly supported the January 6 insurrection.

Among those he heavily supported is state Sen. Wendy Rogers. Rogers is a far-right Republican who not only advocates on behalf of Donald Trump and his claims that the election was “stolen,” but had a reputation for spreading false conspiracy theories, including one claiming that antifascist activists were responsible for the violence on January 6.

When asked about his support for Rogers on Thursday, Ducey defended his independent expenditures, which spent half a million dollars to support her. Despite her white nationalist ideology, he said he was “proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish” in the 2020 election, adding that “she’s still better than her opponent, Felicia French.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, a national organization that advocates for acceptance and equality, Rogers is at the top of the list of extremist politicians.

“We’ve just released an analysis of extremist rhetoric in the elections this year, and Wendy Rogers is at the top of that list,” Tammy Gillies, Anti-Defamation League regional director for San Diego and Phoenix, said in January.

The analysis came after Rogers shared a message on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Twitter that said: “Celebrate Lee-Jackson Day.” The tweet included photos of confederate leaders Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, who fought against the Union to preserve slavery, NBC News 12 reported.

In other tweets, Rogers has referred to herself as being “pure blood” and claimed that such individuals are being “replaced and invaded” by “illegal immigrants.” The theory is called the Great Replacement Myth.

“Words matter,” Gillies said. “And words motivate people. Anti-Semitic tropes and hateful language can lead to actual physical violence, and we’ve seen that over and over again.”

Not only has Rogers publicly supported the Stop the Steal movement, but she has also proudly said she is a member of the Oath Keepers militia, according to NBC News. The list of right-wing conspiracies she supports is endless.

She even supported an event that looked to “cancel Hannukah” and only celebrate Christmas in the country. Clearly, she is someone you do not want to support.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Right-Wing Gunman Murders Unarmed Woman At Portland Protest

Following the George Floyd Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, violence being committed against peaceful protestors has become more common. Bigots are not only driving their cars into crowds in an attempt to harm protestors but shooting at them in anger.

A 43-year-old Portland man and right-wing terrorist identified as Benjamin Smith was charged with murder on Tuesday after firing his gun during a weekend protest against police killings, The New York Timesreported. The protest was organized to address the violent killing of Amir Locke and Patrick Kimmons. At least one woman was killed, and five others—including Smith—were wounded when he confronted a group protesting at Normandale Park, a space near his home.

During a news conference Tuesday, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said that the shooting arose from a confrontation between “an armed resident of the area and armed protesters.” According to the arrest affidavit, when someone asked that Smith leave, he told them to “make” him and then got aggressive. This led him to draw his handgun and fire at multiple people. He only stopped shooting when he was shot near his hip.

Smith remained hospitalized in serious condition on Tuesday, the Portland Police Bureau said.

"Several participants asked Smith to leave them alone," officials said. "Moments later, Smith drew a firearm and fired at the crowd, striking five people."

According to officials, Smith was charged with one count of murder in the second degree with a firearm, four counts of attempted murder in the first degree with a firearm, two counts of assault in the first degree with a firearm, and two counts of assault in the second degree with a firearm.

Some of the victims who were shot were not part of the protest but instead were volunteers to help to set up a safety plan and reroute traffic ahead of the demonstrations.

Police identified the woman who was killed as Brandy Knightly. The 60-year-old woman was unarmed and died at the scene after being shot in the head, according to the affidavit. As of Monday, two of the other victims were hospitalized, with one of them in critical condition after being shot in the neck and paralyzed from the neck down. The other was shot multiple times, including in the abdomen.

One victim, Dajah Beck, told the Times in an interview that while she and some of the other victims were volunteering, Smith approached them and called them “violent terrorists” and used misogynistic vulgarity. He allegedly even threatened them, saying, “If I see you come past my house, I’ll shoot you.” According to Beck, Knightly responded with: “You’re not going to scare us. You’re not going to intimidate us.” After this, Smith shot her, Beck said.

Smith allegedly has always had inclinations towards violence. In an interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting, his roommate Kristine Christenson said that his political views had become increasingly hostile.

“He talked about wanting to go shoot commies and antifa all the friggin‘ time,” Christenson said. “He was just a sad angry dude … He talked about wanting to do this for a while. He was angry at the mask mandates, he was angry at the ‘damned liberals.’”

Police officials described the shooting as "extremely chaotic" in a press release Sunday. "Most people on scene left without talking to police," the Portland Police Bureau said in a news release. "Detectives believe a large number of people either witnessed what happened or recorded the incident as it unfolded. This is a very complicated incident, and investigators are trying to put this puzzle together without having all the pieces." Because some witnesses were “uncooperative with responding officers,” police officials are requesting anyone with information to contact detectives as they believe “critical evidence” may have been removed.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Florida GOP Candidate Threatens Cop Who Ticketed Him — And Video Goes Viral

Florida just knows how to pick ‘em. A Republican congressional candidate from Florida has made his rounds on Twitter for not only arguing but allegedly threatening police officials. Running for election to the House of Representatives to represent Florida's 16th Congressional District, Martin Hyde not only argued with a police officer who pulled him over but targeted the officer’s background. Body camera footage of the incident, which occurred on Feb. 14, has gone viral on social media, with many criticizing Hyde.

“You are making career decisions,” the Sarasota Republican threatened Officer Julia Beskin. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Beskin had pulled over Hyde for speeding and texting while driving. During the stop, Beskin also cited Hyde for the failure to produce a valid registration.

According to Florida Politics, Hyde has been flooded with voicemails in regard to his behavior. He told Florida Politics last week he apologized to Beskin after the incident— but that doesn’t take away from the attitude he had. Clearly, he thinks he is better than others and deserved special treatment because he is running for Congress.

But while Hyde allegedly tried to downplay what happened during the traffic stop, footage shared on Feb. 23 further details the encounter and raises issues.

Beskin can be seen walking over to the window after pulling over Hyde’s vehicle. The man who wrote the tweets, Ron Filipkowski, notes that she pulled over Hyde for driving 27 miles over the speed limit in a 30 mph zone.

To which Hyde responds: “You don’t need to point at me, officer. I’ll just call the chief. You know who I am, right?”

This depicts Hyde attempting to use his connections and privilege to get out of the situation, but it only gets worse.

Because Beskin gave him three tickets, Hyde threatens to call both Rex Troche, who is the city manager, and Marlon Brown, who is the city mayor.

When that doesn’t seem to faze Beskin, he resorts to targeting her identity and ethnic background.

“Is it your Russian immigrant status that makes you talk to people like this?” According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Beskin is originally from Latvia and speaks both Russian and English.

He then continues to talk over and attempt to degrade her.

“Do you think you’re winning? Do you?” Hyde says. “You’re talking to a congressional candidate like this?” He can even be heard repeatedly claiming “you’re lying” and demanding Beskin wait while he calls a supervisor to the scene.

Despite Beskin saying she will wait and asking Hyde to stay in his vehicle for his own safety, he gets out. Eventually, several police cars arrive on the scene, with some noting that Beskin’s calls over the police radio did make it seem as if Hyde was acting violent rather than simply argumentative, Florida Politics reported.

However, despite his actions, Hyde continued to play victim, claiming he was being a law-abiding citizen and Beskin should be the one facing consequences for her handling of the traffic stop.

“We’re going to make sure she pays the price for being disrespectful,” he told another officer.

It is confirmed that Hyde was the driver because Beskin specifically used his name on dispatch. “The driver is being extremely uncooperative,” she said. “Martin Hyde. I just gave him three tickets.”

Hyde, who has run for Sarasota City Commission twice and infamously attended Sarasota County School Board meetings, is known for his temper.

According to Florida Politics, in one incident it was reported that he called former Sarasota City Commission candidate Rob Grant a “f***ing d***head” unprovoked when the two crossed paths at Pastry Art.

Of course, after the backlash he faced he had to say something on social media. On his Facebook, he released the following statement.

“Just over a week ago I was stopped in Sarasota for speeding. During the stop I was belligerent and rude to the officer who stopped me. Much interest has been shown in local media and many comments made as to my behavior. I’m not going to justify my poor temper on that day or attempt to mitigate it in any way . There will be some who will say it’s not the first time I’ve acted out and they’d be right. I have faults and one of them is to be overly aggressive on occasion when I’m challenged. In the political arena that is possibly a good thing but on a personal level it’s not.
I’ve apologized to the officer in question, and now I’m apologizing to the community as a whole. I’m going to do my utmost to behave better going forward. I’m not running away though as that’s not in my nature. There is nothing more I can say, or will say on this subject other than I’m sorry for any offense caused to anyone.”

But his temper is not the only issue he apparently deals with. Hyde has faced backlash before for his racist and ignorant comments.

According to the Complex, in 2019 he allegedly told a teenage Latino tennis player to "cut grass.” But that’s not all: After the incident, he was accused of offering the teen $50,000 to delete the video footage of the incident.

"You’re telling me to cut grass because I’m Hispanic,” the player said in the video of the incident. "That’s racism, man. How can you say something like that? Aren’t you human?"

Seems like Hyde thinks paying off individuals or threatening them will hide his racist nature. Too bad—he’s wrong. He’s allegedly considered dropping out of the race before; maybe this latest backlash will confirm his worry that no one will support a bigot like him.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

'#Notinvited': CPAC Declares Muppets Won't Be Welcome At Next Year's Conference

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Republicans have expanded their list of people to hate on to include muppets. Last Thursday, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) posted not one but two tweets that barred Elmo, Big Bird, Bert, and Ernie from attending their conference. That's right: CPAC took to Twitter to remind fictional characters they were not invited to a conference they have never been invited to before.

While they are wacky enough not to need a reason to randomly tweet at puppets, these conservatives were allegedly triggered by a tweet shared by Big Bird's Twitter account encouraging children to be vaccinated.

"I got the COVID-19 vaccine today!" Big Bird's tweet read. "My wing is feeling a little sore, but it'll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy."

Following the tweet, Sen. Ted Cruz amongst other right-wing minions took to accusing Sesame Street of pushing "government propaganda," but of course CPAC had to take it further: They decided not only to shame and ban Big Bird, but come after the whole crew.

I doubt that the Muppets ever had plans to come to the conference in Orlando, but the fact that CPAC even thought to tweet it is hilarious. One tweet even featured the hashtag #notinvited. We get it, you don't want Muppets at your conference, CPAC.

Not to mention they even made flyers with images of the Muppets to enforce the ban. They must really have a lot of time on their hands.


But Big Bird advocating getting vaccinated is not the only issue CPAC has with the Muppets. After PBS announced that its newest cast member to join Sesame Street was Asian, CPAC organizer Matt Schlapp shared his disapproval.

"What race is Ernie is Bert," Schlapp tweeted. "You are insane PBS and we should stop funding you."


But a tweet wasn't all Schlapp did to complain about the show's newest Muppet. He was so concerned that he had to go on Fox and Friends First.

"I grew up watching, and it wasn't ever about race. It was about learning lessons and learning to read and learning tolerance," Schlapp said. "And they want to inject race."

He also dove into the topic of gender.

"And by the way, this whole question about gender into everything, one of the Muppet characters had a son, and the son wanted to be a daughter, and they just won't stop with their push for woke politics," Schlapp said.

When asked by NBC News about his stance and why he wanted to defund PBS due to Sesame Street, Schlapp stood his ground and even took some stabs at National Public Radio (NPR), a publicly funded nonprofit media outlet, accusing the organization of wanting to "be in arms in the socialist movement."

"Sesame Street needs to go back to the time when a show was devoted to a letter in the alphabet, and not the latest woke fad," he told NBC News. "We all loved Bert and Ernie without the foggiest idea of the racial demographic they may have represented. Afterall, Ernie is orange. The taxpayers deserve a big rebate. If PBS and NPR want to be in arms in the socialist movement, they need to pay their own way."

While PBS receives some public funding, it is also significantly funded through private donations and grants.

The conservative hate isn't new to PBS, though. According to The New York Times, since its earliest days, PBS has been accused of liberal bias by conservatives including President Richard Nixon, who criticized the public broadcasting channel during his presidency.

Sesame Street has been making headlines for years, not only with its advocacy of increasing participation in the census, but the promotion of conversations regarding health, inclusion, and race.

The Muppet has been praised for letting Asian American children see a character like themselves on screen, but Schlapp slammed PBS.

Of course, like any other time a conservative takes their stupidity to Twitter, Twitter users had something to say about CPAC's outrageous tweets. Most of the retweets the organization had were from those mocking them.

Honestly, good for the Muppets. Who wants to attend CPAC anyway? At least we got some laughs from these tweets.

FBI Releases New Video Showing Extreme Violence At January 6 Insurrection

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Nine months after one of the most violent days in the history of our country, investigations are still ongoing as more than 670 people have been charged with involvement in the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence depicting the violence of the day, some officials are continuing to play dumb and ignore the brutality that occurred.
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Trump Cronies Secretly Schemed To Sell Vets' Medical Data For 'Hundreds Of Millions'

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

It's been almost a year since Donald Trump got voted out of office, but that doesn't mean he and his minions can't still make headlines … for the worst reasons. Newly released emails indicate that when Trump ordered three associates from his private club Mar-a-Lago to reorganize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2017, those associates also tried to persuade the VA to sell veterans' medical records—for profit.

The emails were released as part of a joint congressional investigation that has been going on for at least 19 months. The three men involved have been accused of violating the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which requires the transparency of advisory groups. As a result of the investigation, hundreds of email exchanges were released in which the Trump-era advisory team gave orders to officials even though they had no official role in the department. Other emails indicated that Trump was overall pleased with how the trio was handling the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is important to note that none of the men had any experience in the military or in government, according to a 2018 report by ProPublica.

The team was formed on January 11, 2017, because Trump believed "veterans were treated badly." Of course the best way to treat them is to profit off them, right? According to an email released by U.S. lawmakers Monday, the team consisted of Marvel executive Isaac Perlmutter, Washington, D.C.-based lawyer Marc Sherman, and Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, a West Palm Beach, Florida, physician.

According toProPublica, as the trio began advising the VA on budgeting and contracting issues, they pitched the idea of selling veterans' medical data. According to the outlet, more than nine million veterans get medical care from the department at more than 1,000 facilities nationwide.

"Patient data, in my opinion, is the most valuable asset of the Department of Veterans Affairs," Terry Fadem, a consultant who ran a private nonprofit organization created by Moskowitz said in June 2017, according to one of the emails released by the Oversight and House Commissions and Department of Veterans Affairs. "It can be used for hundreds of millions of revenues."

Moskowitz apparently told David Shulkin, then-secretary of the VA, that talks had taken place with Johnson & Johnson, CVS, and Apple about a potential deal. According to the released emails, Shulkin was open to the plan. Whether or not veterans were asked for consent or signed any contract to sell medical data is not indicated in the documents released.

However, the emails do indicate that the trio wasn't the only group of Trump minions involved. An email dated March 31, 2017 indicates that Trump's daughter Ivanka introduced Perlmutter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky to explore the proposal.

While the emails do not indicate whether Trump himself knew of the plan to sell veterans' patient data, both his daughter and his son-in-law Jared Kushner were involved, according to the emails. An email from Kushner did suggest that Trump was "excited" to meet Perlmutter to discuss his plans for the VA.

The group clearly knew what they were doing was not right. One email indicates that when White House official Reed Cordish said that the group was subject to FACA requirements, Perlmutter responded, "The good news is that we have been advised that FACA does not apply because we are not a formal group in any way," screenshots of their emails show.

According to the House Surveillance Commission and the Veterans' Home Commission, investigations into the trio's behavior began in 2019. "The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) requires groups that advise governments to operate with a transparent and balanced approach," the commission said Monday.

"The Mar-a-Lago Trio refused to comply with this law and, with the knowledge of Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump (using a personal email account), and other top White House advisors, hid their efforts to influence VA policies from public view."

The commission added that the group, "bolstered by their connection to President Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club violated the law and sought to exert improper influence over government officials to further their own personal interests." According to the commission, the trio also outlined plans to work with their own companies, including "working with Marvel to set up a team of celebrity ambassadors" for a public awareness campaign on suicide prevention.

While the group was created under the guise of Trump's love and care for veterans, they instead clearly looked to take advantage of the vulnerable population.

"From the well-chronicled wait time issues to quality of care concerns, there had been numerous setbacks in providing our veterans with the level of care they deserve. That is why, when the President and the senior leadership at the VA asked for our help, we gladly volunteered our time to do so," the cronies said in a statement.

In a statement to ProPublica, Perlmutter, Sherman, and Moskowitz said: "We were asked repeatedly by former Secretary Shulkin and his senior staff, as well as by the President, to assist the VA and that is what we sought to do, period."

A spokesperson for the group maintained that it was not their responsibility to follow FACA regulations. Despite this, in March 2021 a federal appeals court in Washington held that a liberal veterans group could proceed with a lawsuit to enforce FACA's disclosure requirements around the Mar-a-Lago trio.

‘We’re ALIVE!’ Anti-Vax YouTube Couple Dead After Posting Boastful Video

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Another day, another anti-vaxxer death. As the delta variant continues to spread across the country, anti-vaxxers are not only filling up hospitals but facing death. Almost every day, news of a popular anti-vaxxer being hospitalized or dying as a result of COVID-19 seems to make headlines.

In the most recent incident, two YouTubers from Alabama who were popular for online resale tips died as a result of COVID-19 days after they posted a video confirming they would never get vaccinated, AL.com reported. "We are ALIVE and still Reselling on eBay," the couple said in their last video.

The couple, Dusty Graham and Tristan Graham, known as "Alabama Pickers," posted quite a few videos on their YouTube channel denying COVID-19.

The channel has since then been taken down, but their last video remains online reposted through other accounts, including the channel "Vaxx Mann." That channel belongs to the website sorryanitvaxxer.com, which is dedicated to resharing social media posts from people who publicly opposed the COVID-19 vaccine only to later die from the virus.

According to a GoFundMe page set up by their children, Dusty died Thursday after battling COVID-19 for three weeks. His wife had "passed suddenly in her sleep" weeks earlier due to coronavirus complications on August 25.

"Unfortunately Dusty and Tristan have both passed away," the couple's daughter, Windsor Graham, said. "Thank you for all the kind words and helping us during this difficult time. We will be using the money to pay for funeral expenses." The announcement of their deaths follows an announcement from Dusty weeks earlier that he was in the ICU "battling it [COVID-19] out."

The 90-minute video came days before his announcement and addressed in detail why the couple would never get vaccinated and their stance on other COVID-19 measures. "Still haven't gotten the you know what," Dusty said before mimicking a syringe jab. "Still not planning on getting it."

"I've got my own passport. It's called the 'Bill of Rights.' I think this will be all behind us in a couple of years," Dusty continued, referring to his birth certificate. His comments were made around the 41:30 mark.

"I think this will be all behind us in a couple years," Dusty added. "Then they'll be like you don't need that anymore," referring to vaccine passports.

Dusty Graham also claimed that the COVID-19 vaccine is "technically not" a vaccine and called it an "immunity therapy." He noted that both he and his wife survived without a vaccine for a year alongside friends who had contracted the virus. They even spoke about Tristan's cancer trauma and that being a reason why they did not need to be vaccinated.

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FBI Probing Vermont State Troopers In Fake Vaccine Card Scheme

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

As the country continues to battle the novel coronavirus, fake vaccine cards are surfacing online. While one would assume they are being sold by those unfamiliar with the consequences, the latest reported incident of selling fake COVID-19 vaccine cards involves state troopers. Three state troopers in Vermont resigned after allegations that they had "varying roles" in creating fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards, which has prompted an investigation by the FBI, authorities said.

Shawn Sommers, Raymond Witkowski, and David Pfindel "are suspected of having varying roles in the creation of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards, which may be a violation of federal law," Vermont State Police said in a statement Tuesday. "The details surrounding this incident, reported to supervisors by other troopers, were immediately reported to federal law enforcement authorities. The state police referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Burlington."

According to the Vermont State Police, the three officers resigned after colleagues raised questions about their behavior. While Sommers and Witkowski resigned August 10, a day after the concerns surfaced, Pfindel's resignation went into effect Friday. Officials said they were unable to announce the resignations before Tuesday because the FBI is still investigating the matter. Who the cards were made for is still unclear, The Washington Post reported.

The director of the state police noted that he was "embarrassed this situation has occurred" and added that while "it has tarnished the reputation of the Vermont State Police," it does not represent their values.

"The accusations in this case involve an extraordinary level of misconduct — a criminal violation of the law — and I could not be more upset and disappointed," Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police, said. "If these allegations are proved to be true, it is reprehensible that state troopers would manipulate vaccination cards in the midst of a pandemic, when being vaccinated is one of the most important steps anyone can take to keep their community safe from COVID-19."

While more details on the case have not yet been disclosed, Michael Schirling, the Vermont Public Safety commissioner, said that "as soon as other troopers became aware of this situation, they raised the allegations internally, and commanders took swift and decisive action to hold these individuals accountable and report this matter to federal authorities,"The New York Timesreported.

According to officials, Sommers and Witkowski joined the state police in July 2016 and graduated from the academy in January 2017. Pfindel was hired in January 2014.

Although sales of fake vaccine cards have been making news for some time now, this seems to be the first case involving law enforcement.

Multiple incidents have been reported in the last few months in which individuals have sold both authentic and fake COVID-19 vaccination cards,Daily Kos reported. States across the country are now requiring individuals to have proof of vaccination for many indoor activities. As a result, fake vaccine cards are on the rise. In one incident a woman created a fake card and was caught after misspelling the vaccine manufacturer Moderna, as "Maderna."

In a memo last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that it had seized more than 3,000 fake vaccination cards that were passing through Memphis daily. The number is expected to be higher nationwide.

The FBI issued a warning regarding fake vaccination cards earlier this year, noting that not only does it increase the risk of COVID-19 but it is illegal to both buy or sell the fraudulent cards, which could be charged as forgery. Making or buying counterfeit vaccine cards violates federal laws and can result in heavy fines and imprisonment.

Surge Of Ivermectin Misuse Hits Poison Control Centers

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos


Once again, we've reached the part of the pandemic where people ingest random chemicals to treat COVID-19 at home. The overwhelming majority of such people have decided COVID-19 vaccines are too risky or otherwise dangerous. While it may seem obvious to most of us, this is not a good idea. However, many conservatives seem to think otherwise and are willing to die trying to prove themselves right. Despite warnings from the FDA not to take it, anti-vaxxers nationwide have been taking ivermectin, a livestock dewormer. There is no evidence that this drug works as an effective treatment for COVID-19. Despite this, conservative media outlets, including Fox News, have pushed for it.

As a result, calls to poison control centers nationwide have increased at alarming rates. In some states, data has found over 100 percent increases in calls from last year to this. Sadly, it has come to this. Still, as COVID-19 cases increase among the unvaccinated nationwide, officials are urging individuals who are infected to stay home and isolate and not take these unauthorized medications.

Last week in a public tweet, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued another public warning about taking these medications with a link to an FDA information page titled "Why you should not use Ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19."

"Seriously, y'all. Stop it," the tweet said.

While bottles of the chemical note that it is "not for human consumption," it's for deworming cattle and horses, people seem to still not understand until after they have taken it. According to Texas Public Radio (TPR), people call poison control facilities after experiencing severe symptoms and pain.

"Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. However, you can have further problems, including mental status changes, coma, even seizures. And there have been deaths reported. No, I haven't seen any deaths here in Texas, but these are things that are reported by the manufacturer with people who use large doses," Dr. Shawn Varney, Medical Director of Texas Poison Center, told TPR.

Within a year, Texas reported an increase of 552 percent of cases reported of ivermectin poisoning statewide," ABC News affiliate WFAA reported. Health care professionals believe the number is likely underreported because it's self-reported.

Mississippi faces a similar dilemma. With the highest number of new cases of COVID-19 across the country, Mississippi is also battling a surge in calls to poison control.

"At least 70% of the recent [poison control] calls have been related to ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers," a letter from the Mississippi Department of Health to the MS Health Alert Network on Friday said. It also warned health professionals of the spike in poisonings from individuals digesting ivermectin in the state.

"Animal drugs are highly concentrated for large animals and can be highly toxic in humans," the letter continued. "Patients should be advised to not take any medications intended to treat animals and should be instructed to only take ivermectin as prescribed by their physician."

But Texas and Mississippi are not alone. According to Illinois state's public health director, Ngozi Ezike, the state's poison control center also received numerous calls for other unsafe self-treatments unrelated to COVID-19. Residents reported using a detergent solution for a sinus rinse, for example, or gargling with bleach as a substitute for mouthwash, NBC News reported.

In Alabama, people are also calling about ivermectin in fear of overdoses. According to the Alabama Poison Information Center at Children's of Alabama, there have been over 24 ivermectin exposure cases this year, 15 of which were connected to COVID-19 prevention and treatment, WTVA reported. Other calls have also been reported seeking information about ivermectin. The number of calls inquiring about the drug has more than doubled since 2019.

According to WTVA, while federal regulators have approved ivermectin to treat people and animals for some parasitic worms, head lice, and skin conditions, it's not an approved COVID-19 treatment. Human and animal formulations of the drug are not the same; thus, self-dosing is beyond dangerous.

Daily Kos reported that calls to poison control facilities nationwide first increased last year following Donald Trump's suggestion that disinfectants be considered a possible treatment for the novel coronavirus. While he later claimed his comment was sarcastic, it wasn't before thousands of people ingested Clorox bleach and other harmful chemicals used for cleaning. In at least five states, poison centers reported they had an increase in calls within 18 hours of Trump's broadcasted stupidity. Imagine if Trump advocated for wearing masks or getting the vaccine; maybe things would be different.

Hillary Chartered Free Flights For Afghan Women While Erik Prince Charged $6500

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

As conditions in Afghanistan worsen daily, reports have indicated that individuals are not only eager to volunteer but are showing overwhelming support to welcome Afghan refugees. Organizations and people alike are coming together in efforts to bring Afghan asylum-seekers safely into the U.S. While some nonprofit organizations are urging people to donate miles and partnering with relocation centers to bring refugees to safety, others are advocating for donations to gather funds to fly refugees out.

But organizations aren't the only ones flying vulnerable refugees out of Afghanistan as people surround Kabul airport. After warning of the "huge consequences" of withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Hillary Clinton has reportedly been chartering flights out of Afghanistan for the country's at-risk women.

According to The New York Times, Clinton and her team have been trying to aid potential Taliban targets in leaving the country by offering seats to Afghan journalists on a flight her team arranged to help women at risk. While the journalists did not take the flight, some women and children did. The effort comes as some individuals are trying to fill the gap by donating money to charter flights as evacuation projects are becoming increasingly difficult.

"Last week, the evacuation options to get women's rights activists out came largely from an informal network of powerful, connected, some very wealthy people, some trying to literally charter private jets to evacuate women thought to be Taliban targets," Marie Clarke, the vice president of global programs at Women for Women International, told The Guardian.

Many Afghan families are struggling to find the funds necessary to fly out, so these chartered planes make a significant impact. But of course, not everyone is like Clinton—some people, like former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, are attempting to monetize the desperation of the Afghan people by offering flights for $6,500 per person instead of for free, Daily Kos reported.

Clinton's efforts to help Afghan women come as no surprise. While some may see it as her attempting to gain social clout, the reality is that not only was Clinton hush-hush about her efforts, but she has supported women's rights in Afghanistan prior to this current situation.

During a United Nations (UN) meeting last year, which was sponsored by the Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan and led by the Afghanistan Mission to the UN, Clinton emphasized the role of Afghan women and the importance of "encouraging women's participation," noting that it "is not only the right thing to do; it is the strategic and necessary thing to do for peace, prosperity and security."

She continued: "It is clear that Afghan women are rightly afraid not just for their rights and the Constitution that was written to protect them, but literally afraid that the gains they have made with all of our help will be washed away in a rush to achieve a peace that will not hold anyway. This is not just morally wrong. This is dangerous."

"We must not allow a reign of terror against [Afghan] women and girls. The women of Afghanistan have come too far to be excluded from the negotiation table while their rights are being stripped away. It is also true that we cannot allow that to happen to Afghan women and girls because there is a direct correlation between what will happen in the country, in the region, and indeed the world because of that," Clinton said during her speech at the UN meeting.

According to The Independent, in addition to making efforts to rescue at-risk Afghan women, Clinton also spoke with Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, about the escalating crisis and what he can do to help.

"I also spoke last night with former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton," Trudeau said on Tuesday, according to the Washington Examiner, adding that Clinton "shares our concern for Afghan women and girls" and "urged Canada to continue our work."

Clinton had warned what the humanitarian consequences of a withdrawal from Afghanistan would be following the two decades the U.S. spent in the country.

"This is what we call a wicked problem. There are consequences both foreseen and unintended of staying and of leaving," she told CNN in May. Clinton noted that the U.S. was facing "two huge consequences" of withdrawal: the threat from the Taliban and the number of refugees the situation would likely create as a result.

Of course, while we all wish we had access to chartered planes to help those in need, we don't. But there are other ways you can help bring Afghan refugees to safety. For those who are interested, you can donate flight miles and vouchers by following the steps explained here. Additionally, if you are an AirBnB host and are willing to host a refugee family, you can learn more about that process here.

Panicked Boebert Deletes Tweet On Delta Variant, But Too Late

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Despite the number of lives the novel coronavirus has claimed and the amount of time the world has been battling this ongoing pandemic, some Republicans just don't get it. A new variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly worldwide, this one highly contagious with scientists believing it may be twice as transmissible as the original coronavirus, The New York Timesreported.

But instead of acknowledging the dangers of the Delta variant, GOP representatives nationwide are continuing to downplay the severity of COVID-19, some even taking it to another level by offering unsolicited advice. In a since-deleted social media post mocking the threat of the Delta variant, Rep. Lauren Boebert said "the easiest way to make the Delta variant go away is to turn off CNN." But the tweet doesn't end there, she continued: "and vote Republican."

Clearly Boebert is living in another universe, because Republicans are the ones who have both downplayed the virus and called it a hoax since the start of the pandemic. So given this trend, instead of ending the virus or making it go away, voting Republican would actually have the opposite effect.

Of course, Boebert—or someone from her team—realized how stupid the tweet really was and deleted it, but not before a screenshot could be taken and shared. Given the number of cases Colorado has of the Delta variant, especially in Mesa County, which is part of the congressional district represented by Boebert, it's no surprise Boebert received a good amount of backlash. Her comments only fuel the misinformation around the novel coronavirus and contribute to the irresponsible downplaying of it.

"Lauren Boebert proves once again that stupidity has a champion in Colorado," Colorado state lawmaker Steven Woodrow said in response.

Woodrow wasn't the only one who called out Boebert. Others tweeted in response, noting the high rate of infections in Boebert's own district.

The Delta variant is no joke. While those vaccinated should be protected from the variant, data shows that vaccine efficacy seems slightly lower with this variant of COVID-19, CBS News reported. Plus not everyone in the U.S. is vaccinated—specifically in the state of Colorado, the variant is spreading rapidly. Even more so in Mesa County, there has been what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers an outbreak of the Delta variant, making Boebert's mocking of the variant even more inappropriate.

"There's probably one big underlying reason for why we are seeing transmission in Mesa County and why other counties in Colorado might be at risk, and that is we know that the vaccination rates in Mesa County are lower than they are in certain parts of the state," Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado's State Epidemiologist, told CBS News.

Contrary to what Boebert says, the best way to stop this variant is not to stop watching CNN or vote Republican but instead to wash your hands, practice social distancing, and wear a mask. "That's really going to be the best way to stop this variant like all variants of COVID-19," Herlihy said.

After Mocking Judge’s Order, Capitol Rioter ‘Bullhorn Lady’ Facing Jail

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Some people just never learn. After being released pretrial, Rachel Powell, known as "bullhorn lady" for using a megaphone during her participation in the January 6 Capitol riot, has once again gone viral for posting a picture of herself in a Pennsylvania bookstore while wearing a mesh mask. The video, originally posted to Facebook on March 31 and reported by Law & Crime, was deleted by the bookstore but re-uploaded to Twitter by HuffPost's Ryan J. Reilly on April 9.

In response to the video, a federal judge ordered the Pennsylvania woman to show why she should not be jailed pending trial or be held in contempt of court for allegedly violating the requirement that she wear a mask when leaving her home. "The court does not take the defendant's willingness to flout the court's order lightly," U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth wrote. Lamberth added that her noncompliant mask "mocks' her initial agreement to be released.

Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell approved Powell's conditional home release on February 11 pending trial on the conditions that she "wear a mask whenever she leaves her residence." After the video surfaced last week, officials noted that Powell appeared to be mocking the court order. She even posted on social media apparently showing off her "see-through mesh mask" which had big enough holes to make her nose and mouth completely visible.

"Defendant's decision to appear in a video wearing a mask with holes in it mocks compliance with the Court's Order," Lamberth wrote. He also said that no reasonable person would think that such a mask would comply with the condition the court ordered for the defendant and believe that such a mask "would not pose a risk to the health and safety of the community when she left her house."'

Mesh masks are not effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and have often been worn by those refusing to wear masks or trying to find loopholes in state mask mandates.

But this isn't the first video that helped Powell make headlines. A video of her during the Capitol insurrection depicted her with a bullhorn yelling at others. "People should probably coordinate together if you are going to take this building," she said in the video. According to The Washington Post, the FBI had formerly stated that Powell also helped shatter a window with a battering ram and appeared to direct others at the scene. Powell pleaded not guilty to eight counts including felony destruction of federal property and obstruction of a congressional proceeding after allegedly carrying an ice ax and large wooden pole into the Capitol.

Powell clearly knew this and was intentionally wearing such a mask to mock the judge's orders. According toThe New Yorker, in December she posted a Facebook post in which she called herself "unashamedly a 'super spreader.'" In an interview with the outlet she also acknowledged herself as the viral "bullhorn lady" but declined to comment on further involvement at the riots. Additionally, she gloated about not intending to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

Powell has also protested pandemic closures and job and business losses along with the owners of the bookshop in which the video was taken, The Sharon Herald reported. The outlet also shared a photo of her from a protest against COVID safety regulations holding a sign that read "The mask is a symbol of our enslavement."

According to the judge's order, Powell has ten days to submit a written response arguing why she should not be put in jail pending trial.

Did Proud Boys Know Their Leader Was Longtime Police Informant?

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

In a weird turn of events, Enrique Tarrio, a chairman for the extremist organization Proud Boys, who organized a massive event in Portland, Oregon, last year, has a past as an informer for federal and local law enforcement, Reuters reported. A federal court proceeding transcript from 2014, obtained by the news service, found that Tarrio had been working undercover for investigators since his arrest in 2012.

During the Miami hearing, a federal prosecutor, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, and Tarrio's lawyer detailed Tarrio's undercover work and claimed he had helped authorities prosecute at least 13 people in multiple cases involving drugs, gambling, and human smuggling.

However, in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, Tarrio denied working undercover and providing information on others. "I don't know any of this," he said, referring to what was shared in the transcript. "I don't recall any of this."

According to the transcript, both the prosecutor and Tarrio's defense attorney requested a reduction in Tarrio's prison statement due to his involvement as an informant. While Tarrio acknowledged the reduction in his sentence from 30 months to 16 months, he insisted it was made because he and his co-defendants cleared up questions about their own case.

In regards to a smuggling case, Jeffrey Feiler, Tarrio's attorney, said that Tarrio, "at his own risk, in an undercover role met and negotiated to pay $11,000 to members of that ring to bring in fictitious family members of his from another country. "

Oddly enough, not only do the court transcripts contradict Tarrio's denial, but so do statements from the federal prosecutor.

"He cooperated with local and federal law enforcement, to aid in the prosecution of those running other, separate criminal enterprises, ranging from running marijuana grow houses in Miami to operating pharmaceutical fraud schemes," prosecutor Vanessa Singh Johannes confirmed to Reuters.

Tarrio gained public attention after becoming the national chairman for the Proud Boys in 2018. The group began gaining further national attention after Donald Trump mentioned the hate group during a presidential debate. Instead of denouncing white supremacy as he was asked to do, Trump gave the group orders: "Proud Boys: Stand back and stand by," he said. "But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem, this is a left-wing [problem]."

As a violent Trump supporter, Tarrio organized protests and other events and encouraged a "war" after Trump lost the election last year. While he was arrested on Jan. 4, two days before the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, by Washington police, at least five Proud Boys members were charged in the riot. Tarrio was charged with possessing two high-capacity rifle magazines and burning a Black Lives Matter banner during a protest in December. It's interesting how convenient it was that he was arrested before other serious crimes took place. While there is no evidence that he has cooperated with federal authorities since his Miami hearing, the timing of his arrest makes one wonder if he was still working with the FBI.

Additionally, the documents discovered by Reuters shed light on the fact that the leader of the Proud Boys group has repeatedly said in interviews he would never let police know of Proud Boys' plans, but he may have been collaborating with criminal investigators on multiple occasions in the past.

"Well if you're in the Proud Boys, you've gotta be pretty nervous," said Kendall Coffey, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, according to NBC News. "Because if this person was working as a confidential informant, almost like an undercover agent or secret agent, you are wondering, 'What is it that he could be saying about us some day?'"

If he was, there is no doubt that Tarrio has now denied helping law enforcement out of fear of backlash.

In a statement to Reuters, Johannes noted that she was surprised to see that the defendant, who she prosecuted in the past, has been a key contributor to violent political movements. "I knew that he was a fraudster, but had no reason to know that he was also a domestic terrorist," she said.

Officials are still in the process of investigating the role extremist groups like the Proud Boys played in the insurrection of the Capitol. While Tarrio wasn't present during the incident, he did make a trip to Washington, D.C. days prior. Who knows what his plans were then. Even if he did help investigators in the past, that does not dismiss the actions he has carried out or encouraged in these last few years.

So far, at least 150 people have been charged in association with the crimes committed at the Capitol at the start of this month. Despite what charges the rioters who invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6 face, the conspiracy theories, groups, and ideology they followed still remain. Until those factors are addressed, violence of this nature will continue.