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

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Rep. Cawthorn Deflects Sexual Misconduct Allegations As 'Democrat Attacks'


Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) claims that recent reporting on sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against are really about the media and Democrats wanting to deflect from sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Buzzfeed News recently reported interviews with more than two dozen witnesses who "described or corroborated instances of sexual harassment and misconduct on campus, in Cawthorn's car, and at his house near campus" when Cawthorn was a student at Patrick Henry College in Virginia. Cawthorn has denied the allegations against him.

Appearing on the conservative Newsmax TV, Cawthorn replied "absolutely" when host Chris Salcedo asked if the story has surfaced to try to "give cover" to Cuomo, a Democrat.

"It just makes so much sense that they're going to start attacking a Republican," Cawthorn said, alleging that the story appeared only because "they're unable to defend their own governor in New York."

Cawthorn said Democrats are also promoting the story because "they're unable to defend any of their policy positions," and "they're just going to come spewing attack ads and starting to lie about other Republicans."

Contrary to Cawthorn's claims, however, Democratic leaders have not swept the allegations against Cuomo under the rug. The White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with other high-profile Democrats, have called for an independent investigation into the allegations. Pelosi said the claims against Cuomo are "serious and credible."

From the Mar. 2 edition of Newsmax TV's "The Chris Salcedo Show":

CHRIS SALCEDO, Newsmax: Do you see that the political Democrat-socialist operatives at places like CNN and MSNBC and others are trying to use this old story to try to give cover to Governor "COVID" Cuomo?
MADISON CAWTHORN: Oh, absolutely, once we just had the nursing home scandal that was going on inside of New York but now we have other allegations of his own, which are coming out.
And you know what? I generally believe that everyone's innocent until proven guilty but it just makes so much sense that they're going to start attacking a Republican because one, they're unable to defend their own governor in New York, kind of what they said should be a model governor for everyone across the country, and also they're unable to defend any of their policy positions.
And so therefore, they're just going to come spewing attack ads and starting to lie about other Republicans, which is the normal Democratic playbook. Because all they can do is appeal to emotion because their policy agenda has no real sense.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

GOP Members Linked To Group Suspected Of Plotting New Assault On Capitol

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

CNN reported on Wednesday that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have warned of increased communication among extremist groups over a possible attack on the U.S. Capitol on March 4.

Believers in the debunked QAnon conspiracy theory have promoted the false claim that Donald Trump will reassume the presidency on March 4.

According to CNN, Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett told members of the House of Representatives in a memo that the Capitol Police are enhancing security at the building in response but that there is no evidence of concrete plans for an attack.

"We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4," the Capitol Police noted in a press release. "We are taking the intelligence seriously."

One extremist group being monitored by intelligence agencies over increased chatter is the Three Percenters, a militia group that opposes efforts at gun safety reform. Their name is a reference to the historically false claim that only three percent of American colonists during the Revolutionary War took up arms against the British.

Multiple members of the Three Percenters have been charged by the FBI for allegedly taking part in the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Three recently elected Republican members of the House have had affiliations with the group.

Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller, who is married to Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), was seen with a Three Percenter decal on his truck, which was on the grounds of the Capitol during the January 6 attack.

When reporters found out, Chris Miller claimed he did not know about the group until he "read about them" and claimed the story was "fake news."

In Dec. 2019, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) posed for a photo with gun rights activists, who made hand gestures in the photo associated with the Three Percenters. After the photo was reported on, Boebert deleted it from her Twitter account.

The same gesture was seen in a photo posted online Nov. 2018 with a group of men posing outside Shooters Grill, the establishment owned by Boebert that she has frequently referenced in speeches and campaign ads.

Boebert has used language similar to the militia, describing Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as a "tyrant," and writing "I am the militia" in a post from June 2020.

In January, Boebert posted a photo of receiving a handgun as a gift. The man who presented her with the gun, Duke Everest, is wearing a Three Percenter emblem embroidered on his vest.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) referenced "the Three Percenter guys" in a 2019 video and praised them as "true Second Amendment supporters" and described herself as clapping for them at an event.

Speaking at a 2018 pro-Trump event in Washington, D.C., billed as the "Mother of All Rallies," Greene praised militias as groups who protect Americans against "a tyrannical government."

Neither Miller, Boebert, nor Greene responded to a request from the American Independent Foundation for a comment on this story.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

How Rep. Gosar Promoted An 'America First' Neo-Nazi Front Group

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Video from a far-right conference over the weekend, at which Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) was the keynote speaker, shows an event organizer using white supremacist rhetoric and praising the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol as "awesome."

Over the weekend, Gosar spoke at the conservative America First Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. The event was put on by activist Nick Fuentes, who has a long history of bigoted comments.

In his own speech, Gosar had promoted conservative attacks on "big tech" for instituting bans against figures on the right for posting racist, sexist and inaccurate election-related content. Gosar singled out for praise activist and former congressional candidate Laura Loomer, who was banned from Twitter for making anti-Muslim comments.

Footage of Fuentes' speech, which was stuffed with white supremacist rhetoric, surfaced a few days later.

"White people founded this country. This country wouldn't exist without white people," Fuentes said. "White people are done being bullied."

Fuentes also said he had attended the "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, prior to the violent insurrection that killed five people. That rally sought to promote the myth that the election was rigged in favor of President Joe Biden and that there had been widespread voter fraud in several predominantly Black cities, racist and baseless claims which fueled the eventual riots at the Capitol.

"I saw hundreds of thousands of patriots surrounding the U.S. Capitol building and I saw the police retreating and we head that the politicians voting on the fraudulent election had scurried in their underground tunnels away from the Capitol, I said to myself, 'this is awesome,'" Fuentes said.

The comments aligned with Fuentes' previous rhetoric. Fuentes, an infamous white supremacist figure among the far right, marched alongside neo-Nazis at the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally that left one counter-protester dead. He has also been suspended from YouTube for violating policies against hate speech.

Fuentes has used his online presence to float the idea of killing state legislators who wouldn't go along with the false story that the election was stolen from Donald Trump, notably in majority Black and brown cities.

"What can you and I do to a state legislator besides kill them?" he rhetorically asked in a broadcast. Discussing the Capitol attack on his show, Fuentes said, he "cannot condemn" and "cannot disavow" it.

Fuentes has pushed other openly racist views, including that Black people "do not live in a civilized fashion." Fuentes has also discussedgiving Trump a Nazi salute and has allied himself with the so-called "alt-right," a far-right white supremacist movement that has embraced anti-Semitism, racism, and misogyny as its calling cards.

"Fuentes has also repeatedly praised neo-Nazis and called for violence in response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations," the Southern Poverty Law Center reported last year.

Fuentes' comments and views before the Florida event were easily accessible online and in most instances have video to verify their existence. Despite this, Gosar chose to attend his event and even posedfor photos with Fuentes.

Gosar's image is now being used by Fuentes to promote future events with his organization.

"Thank you to our attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, staffers, and speakers for their help in putting on a truly great and historic America First event. See you next year!" Fuentes wrote in a post accompanied by two pictures featuring Gosar.

Top Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have yet to publicly condemn Gosar for appearing at the white supremacist event.

Before Gosar's speech, he was notably preceded by former Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who was stripped of his committee assignments by GOP leaders in 2019 for defending white nationalism in an interview with the New York Times.

Prior to that, King had openly associated himself with racist causes and for years championed them using his platform as an elected official.

In his speech over the weekend, King defended the pro-slavery Confederate flag, arguing that it was about "southern pride," and accused Democrats of "turning it into a symbol of evil slavery."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Rep. Gosar Speaks At White Nationalist Event, But GOP Leaders Are Silent

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

House Republican leaders have remained silent after a member of their caucus skipped Friday's votes to attend a white nationalist event.

The event was also attended by a former congressman whom the leadership stripped his committee assignments just two years ago.

On Friday, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona told the House clerk that he was "unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency," giving his proxy vote to a GOP colleague.

But rather than working from home in safety as the House considered President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, Gosar instead spoke at the America First Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, an event organized by right-wing activist Nick Fuentes and designed to appeal to attendees of the weekend's CPAC gathering in the same city.

"At AFPAC, we don't wear masks. At AFPAC, we don't have homosexuals speaking on stage," Fuentes told reporters on Saturday while promoting the event where Gosar spoke.

Fuentes also leads a group of conservative activists calling themselves "Groypers" who promote anti-Semitic and homophobic ideas.

The Groypers are "a white supremacist group that presents its ideology as more nuanced than other groups in the white supremacist sphere," the Anti-Defamation League notes.

Fuentes was part of the infamous "Unite the Right" rally in 2017, after which Donald Trump praised violent neo-Nazi marchers as "very fine people."

Fuentes has a history of advocating for white supremacist causes and using white supremacist language. He was suspended in January from YouTube for hate speech, and the company described his account as one that had "repeatedly" violated its policies prohibiting such content.

In the past he has compared the Holocaust to Sesame Street's Cookie Monster making a batch of cookies and said Mexican immigrants should stay away from America lest they end up like the victims of the Aug. 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.

Fuentes expressed his opposition to immigration by advocating for "slamming the door" on immigrants "so hard that people's faces are shattering."

He has described transgender and same-sex marriage rights as "deviancy."

Fuentes also promoted violence ahead of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. In a video released before the event, Fuentes said, "Our Founding Fathers would get in the streets, and they would take this country back by force if necessary. And that is what we must be prepared to do."

Similarly, Fuentes suggested killing state legislators who would not support conspiracy theories alleging that Trump had won the election instead of President Joe Biden.

A video of Fuentes calling on followers to "destroy the GOP" because many in the party would not submit to demands from extremists was a part of the presentation by House impeachment managers in Trump's second impeachment trial.

Former Rep. Steve King (R-IA) also spoke at Friday's event, just before Gosar.

In January 2019, King came under bipartisan fire after making comments to the New York Times, asking: "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?"

The GOP minority denounced him as a racist and stripped him of his committee assignments.

"Steve's remarks are beneath the dignity of the party of Lincoln and the United States of America. His comments call into question whether he will treat all Americans equally, without regard for race and ethnicity," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy explained. "House Republicans are clear: We are all in this together, as fellow citizens equal before God and the law."

"There is no place for hate, for bigotry or anybody who supports that ideology. It's evil ideology. We all ought to stand up against it," agreedGOP Whip Steve Scalise.

Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney said King "should find another line of work."

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) promised last May, "As long as I am a member of the Steering Committee, I will not allow that type of person or that type of ideology to influence the legislation passed by Congress. He will not be serving on any committee."

So far, none of the four has called for Gosar to lose his committee posts. Spokespeople for the lawmakers did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

This is not the first time Gosar has flirted with racism and bigotry.

He traveled to London in January 2018 to rally for an anti-immigrant extremist, blaming the "scourge" of Muslim people for sex trafficking and abuse.

In May 2019, he reportedly followed multiple racist and white supremacist accounts on Twitter.

Last October, he told a news outlet that Americans need to stop using the words "racism" and "racist" and should instead "take a chill pill."

Recently, House Republicans have shown less willingness to hold their members accountable for racism. Last month, 199 House Republicans — including McCarthy, Scalise, Cheney, Stivers, and Gosar — voted against removing racist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia from her committee assignments.

A Gosar spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Arizona Republican said on a CPAC panel Saturday that he does not support "white racism," but he has not denounced the event he attended only hours before.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Cruz Blames Outrage Over Cancun Trip On ‘Trump Withdrawal’

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), claimed in a radio interview on Tuesday that criticism of his decision to leave Texas during a winter storm and travel to Cancun, Mexico, came about because some people "are suffering from Trump withdrawal."

Cruz stole away to the tropical resort city as millions of Texans suffered through a winter storm that blanketed the state in snow, lowered temperatures to unbearable levels of cold, and triggered widespread power outages.

Cruz gave an interview to conservative radio host Todd Starnes on his eponymously named program and was asked to comment on the days of controversy that erupted.

"We're at a crazy time right now and we've seen a whole lot of folks in the media, a whole lot of Democrats try to use this and blow it up," Cruz complained.

He added, "Frankly, I think a lot of them are suffering from Trump withdrawal, where for four years they've been obsessed with Donald Trump and they don't know what to do with themselves anymore."

Cruz admitted that the trip was a "mistake," but said it was one "because it gave an awful lot of folks an excuse to try to just demagogue."

While Cruz was traveling back and forth between Texas and Mexico, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) raised money that was used to provide more than a million meals for people affected by the storms.


From the Feb. 23 edition of The Todd Starnes Show:

TODD STARNES, host: So, the whole point is, why are people aggrieved by this? Quite frankly, I know exactly where you guys were staying, it's a great hotel, and I suspect every other person in Texas would have loved to have gone as well because of the situation there.
So, look, I get it, bad optics, but Senator, I mean, come on.
TED CRUZ: Yeah, look, we're at a crazy time right now and we've seen a whole lot of folks in the media, a whole lot of Democrats try to use this and blow it up. Frankly, I think a lot of them are suffering from Trump withdrawal, where for four years they've been obsessed with Donald Trump and they don't know what to do with themselves anymore.
Look, last week was a really tough week for Texas. We had two serious winter storms that hit back to back, and as a consequence, the power grid went down and four million Texans lost power. Heidi and I were among them, we lost power at our home for two days, and after a couple of days, our daughters said to us, "Hey, why don't we go somewhere? Let's get somewhere where we're not shivering cold."
And so, we booked a flight to take them to the beach and we were doing it to try to be good parents but at the same time, in hindsight it was obviously a mistake because it gave an awful lot of folks an excuse to try to just demagogue and to try to really distract from the issue that mattered, which was getting power back on, which thankfully most Texans now have had power restored and also more broadly, making sure this never happens again, addressing the structural issues that led to four million Texans losing power.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

New Oregon GOP Chair Tied To Violent Right-Wing Extremists

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Dallas Heard, the newly elected chair of the Oregon Republican Party, once visited an armed militia group as it illegally occupied a federal wildlife facility. Heard also has connections to anti-mask extremists and was involved in protests at the Oregon state Capitol on January 6, the same day as the attack by supporters of Donald Trump on the U.S. Capitol.

On Monday it was announced that Heard, a state senator, had been elected to the position. The selection of Heard is seen as a move further to the right for the state party, which recently described the attack on the U.S. Capitol as a "false flag" event.

Democrats currently control the Oregon House, Senate, and governorship.

In 2016, as a state representative, Heard traveled to the headquarters of the federal Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, which was at the time being occupied by an armed right-wing militia led by Ammon Bundy, son of the anti-government figure Cliven Bundy.

Heard met with the younger Bundy against the advice of law enforcement and expressed sympathy for the group's demand that federal lands be turned over to the states.

The occupation went on for 40 days and ended with multiple indictments and arrests, including prison sentences for nine people involved in the assault. One militant was killed during a confrontation with law enforcement.

In addition to his involvement with the militia, Heard is also connected to Citizens Against Tyranny, an Oregon group that opposes safety measures designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Heard offered to raffle off some of his personal possessions to provide financial support to the group.

Citizens Against Tyranny posted online the names of two women who they claimed had filed complaints with OSHA about businesses in Oregon not fully complying with COVID restrictions. The site described the women as "filthy traitors" in type designed to look blood-spattered.

Rick Wesenberg, the district attorney for Douglas County, Oregon, condemned Citizens Against Tyranny for engaging in "intimidation."

"Public shaming and banning of certain 'listed' Douglas County citizens is offensive to our democracy and the due process of law," he added.

John Hanlin, the sheriff of the county, also criticized the group's tactics.

Earlier in 2020, Heard spoke in opposition to mask mandates during a special legislative session and took off his mask as a form of protest.

Heard was also involved in rallies held by Trump supporters in opposition to Democratic control of the state government.

At a December 2020 rally at the state Capitol, Heard told a crowd that he was in "full support" of them entering the locked building. Members of that crowd later stormed the building, attacking security officers, damaging property inside, and harassing legislators.

A man who stood next to Heard as he made his comment, David Medina, was later a member of the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol and was recorded speaking outside of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.

That same day, Heard spoke to a right-wing rally outside the Oregon Capitol and told them, "Don't let any of these punks from that stone temple over there ever tell you they are better than any of you."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

CPAC Features Former Leader Of Anti-Muslim Hate Group

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Conservative activist Scott Presler, who has a background as an organizer for an anti-Muslim hate group, is set to speak at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

"Hey, mom & dad. Your baby boy was invited to speak at @CPAC," Presler tweeted on Feb. 14.

Many of the CPAC panels are slated to discuss the topic of "voter fraud," the code language du jour used by the right to promote voter suppression. Presler has been touting his activism on the issue of "election integrity reform."

Presler also spoke at CPAC in 2020.

From 2017 to 2018, Presler worked as a lead organizer for Act for America, which the Associated Press described as a "hate group."

Act for America is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "the largest anti-Muslim group in America." The Anti-Defamation League describes Act for America similarly and notes that the group "stokes irrational fear of Muslims via a number of false claims" and "propagates the hateful conspiracy theory that Muslims are infiltrating US institutions in order to impose Sharia law."

Brigitte Gabriel, the founder of Act for America, has previously claimed that a Muslim "cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America."

During his time with Act for America, Presler was deeply involved in organizing the group's anti-Muslim "March Against Sharia" events, serving as the national coordinator for them.

NPR reported in June 2017 that the marches were "attracting many far-right sympathizers, including several who decorate their posts with Confederate flags."

White supremacist Billy Roper discussed the rallies on his podcast, saying, "We want to send a message to Muslims that they are not welcome in our communities." He also said, "We want to send a message to Muslims that they're not welcome in our nation and, of course, endgame, on our planet."

At the same time he made those comments, emails between Presler and Roper regarding the protests showed Presler writing, "You are approved and ready to go."

Presler was also involved in the "Stop the Steal" protest at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In a Twitter post about the event, Presler described the pro-Trump assembly as a "civil rights protest." Many of the people who attacked the Capitol were a part of the protest.

Other scheduled CPAC speakers, most notably Donald Trump, have spoken favorably of the January 6 insurrection and promote extremist conspiracy theories.

Since leaving Act for America, Presler has worked for the Republican Party of Virginia and independently to promote Donald Trump.

In January 2019, Presler was temporarily suspended from Twitter after writing "Black lives murdered by criminal illegal aliens don't matter."

In March of 2020, as part of a campaign that sought to downplay fears of COVID-19, Presler posted video from outside a hospital in Virginia, noting, "I didn't see a lot of cars, a lot of people, or hardly any activity." At the time, some conservatives were claiming that images of "empty" hospitals purportedly proved that the virus was a hoax.

Over 7,300 people in Virginia have died from COVID-19.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Before Taking Off, Cruz Told Texans To ’Stay Home’ During Storm

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

In an interview recorded on Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) urged Texans to "stay home and hug your kids" during ongoing winter storms in the state.

The comments were made before reports that Cruz took his family on a trip to Cancun, Mexico.

Millions of people in Texas have gone without power during the weather event. The New York Times reported that residents "have resorted to stoves, barbecue grills, gasoline generators and their vehicles to keep themselves warm."

Warning that the storms were "dangerous" during a February 15 appearance on The Joe Pags Show, Cruz told citizens, "if you can stay home, don't go out on the roads."

"I was speaking this weekend with a meteorologist expert who was saying the combination of these two storms — we could see up to a hundred people lose their lives this week in Texas, so don't risk it, keep your family safe, and just stay home and hug your kids."

After reports circulated online alleging that Cruz had left the state, his office was initially unresponsive to several reporters' inquiries about the purported trip to the tropical vacation destination. He later confirmed the trip.

From the Feb. 15 edition of iHeartRadio's "Joe Pags Show":

TED CRUZ: This storm is dangerous and there's a second storm expected to hit this week, which would make things even worse, so if you can stay home, don't go out on the roads, don't risk the ice. I was speaking this weekend with a meteorologist expert who was saying the combination of these two storms – we could see up to a hundred people lose their lives this week in Texas, so don't risk it, keep your family safe, and just stay home and hug your kids.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Twitter To Trump: You Are Banned Forever, No Matter What

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Twitter executive Ned Segal on Wednesday said that even if Donald Trump ran for election in the future and was elected to the presidency, he would not be given back his Twitter account.

"When you're removed from the platform you're removed from the platform, whether you're a commentator, you're a CFO, or you are a former or current public official," Segal told CNBC.

Pressed to explain how the policy applies to Trump's specific case, Segal said, "He was removed when he was president and there'd be no difference for anybody who's a public official once they've been removed from the service."

Trump was permanently removed from Twitter in January. The service cited his support and praise of the rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, noting that inciting violence violates Twitter's terms.

From the Feb. 10 edition of CNBC's "Squawk Box":

BECKY QUICK, CNBC: One more question for you, President Trump was banned, former President Trump was banned, if he came back, ran for office again and was elected president, would you allow him back on the platform?
NED SEGAL: So the way our policies work, when you're removed from the platform you're removed from the platform, whether you're a commentator, you're a CFO, or you are a former or current public official.
And so, remember, our policies are designed to make sure that people are not inciting violence, and if anybody does that, we have to remove them from the service and our policies don't allow people to come back.
QUICK: So no?
SEGAL: He was removed when he was president and there'd be no difference for anybody who's a public official once they've been removed from the service.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Biden To Putin: We’re Not ‘Rolling Over’ For You Anymore

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he has told President Vladimir Putin that the United States would no longer tolerate Russia's aggressive actions against the United States, including interference in American elections.

Biden's statement came during a speech at the State Department during which he noted his decision this week to formally extend for five years the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, originally signed in 2010 by the United States and Russia.

The treaty limits the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine launch ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers that can be deployed by both countries.

The Trump administration had declined to sign an extension to the treaty.

But Biden noted the agreement does not mean a continuation of Trump's acquiescence to Russian aggression.

"I made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia's aggressive actions, interfering with our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens are over," said Biden.

He added, "We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interests and our people."

Throughout Trump's single term in the White House, he repeatedly deferred to Russia's desires, even when they put American security at risk.

Trump took Putin's assertion that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election at face value and publicly praised him for it, in the process elevating the Russian leader's assurances over the findings of multiple U.S. intelligence agencies that the country had done exactly that.

Last year Putin, like Trump, took weeks to acknowledge Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election, long after the race had been called by major media outlets.

From Biden's Feb. 4 speech at the State Department:

JOE BIDEN: That's why yesterday the United States and Russia agreed to extend the New START treaty for five years: to preserve the only remaining treaty between our countries safeguarding nuclear stability.
At the same time, I made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia's aggressive actions, interfering with our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens are over.
We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interests and our people.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

West Virginia’s GOP Governor Urges Passage Of Biden's Covid-19 Relief Bill

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

West Virginia's Republican Gov. Jim Justice on Monday endorsed a large economic stimulus bill, arguing that federal lawmakers have "got to move" on legislation.

In an interview with CNN host Poppy Harlow, Justice said he sided with approving Biden's package over waiting for a "bipartisan bill" with less money, saying GOP efforts to trim down the bill were ill-timed.

"What we need to do is we need to understand that trying to be, per se, fiscally responsible at this point in time, with what we've got going on in this country ... if we actually throw away some money right now, so what?" Justice said.

"We have really got to move and get people taken care of," Justice said, saying he wants to work with the Biden administration on legislation.

President Joe Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. Recent polling has shown strong bipartisan support — as high as 82 percent — for relief, which includes more help for small businesses and stimulus checks.

Congressional Republicans have been trying to significantly curtail the size of the relief bill. The Republican proposal would cut three months' worth of unemployment insurance from the Biden proposal and remove $400 per person in direct payments while considerably shrinking the number of households that would receive help.

In the interview, Justice cited "struggling" people in his state, noting that many cannot pay their electricity bills because "they've got laid off because this pandemic swept their job away from them."

Justice's comments echo those of President Joe Biden, who said on Friday, "We have learned from past crises the risk is not doing too much, the risk is not doing enough."

Justice governs an overwhelmingly Republican state that went 68 to 29 percent for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. He is a conservative who received Trump's endorsement in his 2020 race and supported his reelection.

From the Feb. 1 edition of CNN's "Newsroom":

POPPY HARLOW, CNN: Economic relief is critical for Americans right now, it's critical to your folks in West Virginia. You have been clear about your desire to support President Biden, to work across the aisle.
When it comes to this COVID relief bill, I wonder what is more important to the people of West Virginia and to you: that Biden's $1.9 trillion-dollar bill passes, even if it's without Republican support and through reconciliation, which would mean bigger checks to your folks in need, or that it's a bipartisan agreement even if it's less money?
JIM JUSTICE: Well, first and foremost I wish we'd all come together, and that's not blowing smoke, that's just – because I don't do that.
But, the other flip side of it is this, is, Poppy, we've got a lot of people in West Virginia that are still struggling with paying their power bill, because they've got laid off because this pandemic just swept their job away from them.
HARLOW: Right, so which one is it?
JUSTICE: I mean, at the end of the day, really and truly, Poppy, what we need to do is we need to understand that trying to be, per se, fiscally responsible at this point in time, with what we've got going on in this country, if we actually throw away some money right now, so what?
We have really got to move and get people taken care of, and get people back on balance, and I want to work with the Biden administration just like I worked with the Trump administration and I want us to move forward.
HARLOW: That's really significant, to hear from a Republican like yourself in a state where your Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, thinks these payments are not targeted enough. Have you talked to him about it?
JUSTICE: Well, you know, I have not talked directly to Joe about that and everything. I don't really know exactly what the thinking could possibly be there. I mean, we've got people that are really hurting. I mean, that's just all there is to it and on top of that — here's a perfect example, Poppy. My executive assistant came in the other day, and said not far from my home there was an elderly man that froze to death in his house and everything. Probably couldn't afford to pay the power bill.
There's so many different things where people are really, really hurting and today we've got to move, we can't hold back — we've got to move.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Cruz: “I Did My Duty” By Trying To Void Election Result

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) claims that he was doing his "duty" when he objected to certified election results showing Joe Biden had been elected president, as part of an attempt to overturn the election the Republican Party lost.

Cruz appeared on the syndicated "Joe Pags Show" and was asked by the host if he felt he had done "something wrong" by objecting to the certification of voting results on Jan. 6.

"I did my duty," Cruz replied, adding, "I stood up and fought for the men and women of Texas, for 29 million Texans."

If successful, Cruz's actions, along with his fellow Republicans in the House and Senate, would have ignored the will of over 81 million voters who voted for now-President Biden.

Cruz went on to advocate for an "emergency 10-day audit" which would have examined alleged claims of voter fraud "to assess them on the merits."

But multiple legal challenges in the post-election period initiated by Donald Trump, the Republican Party, and their allies attempted to do just that. They repeatedly failed in court, with multiple judges indicating a lack of evidence to support allegations of wrongdoing.

Some of the judges who ruled against the Trump team were appointed to the federal judiciary by Trump himself.

For his role in attempting to overturn the election, alongside Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cruz has faced calls to resign from the Senate. Cruz and Hawley are also the subjects of an ethics complaint filed by seven senators, which calls for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate their role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol attack that killed five.

From the Jan. 22 edition of Compass Media Networks' "The Joe Pags Show":

JOE PAGS: But let's go to Jan. 6, Ted do you feel like you did something wrong on Jan. 6?
TED CRUZ: I did my duty. I stood up and fought for the men and women of Texas, for 29 million Texans. And what I urged Congress to do, this is still the path I think we should have taken, which is to appoint an election commission to conduct an emergency 10-day audit, to examine all of the claims that have been made of voter fraud, to examine the evidence, and to assess them on the merits.
And I think that would have been a much better outcome, because it would have produced much greater confidence in the election, much greater faith in the integrity of the election.
Unfortunately, Senate Democrats didn't want to hear that at all, they wanted to charge ahead.
PAGS: Yeah.
CRUZ: And so, Congress chose not to do that. I think we find ourselves instead in a much more divided time as a result of Congress not going down that path.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

McConnell Blames Trump, Says He 'Provoked' Capitol Mob With Lies

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday finally acknowledged the role Donald Trump played in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that killed five.

McConnell made his remarks in a speech on the Senate floor while discussing the attack.

"The mob was fed lies," said McConnell, "They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like."McConnell's conveniently timed statement came on Trump's final full day in office.

Prior to Tuesday morning, McConnell had declined to offer direct criticisms of Trump while he worked to confirm more conservative judges to the federal judiciary.

McConnell was also among those denied acknowledging President-elect Joe Biden's win. Even after the Electoral College officially voted and confirmed the win, McConnell refused to admit it when he was asked by reporters.




From a Jan. 19 Senate session:

MITCH McCONNELL: The last time the Senate convened we had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop Congress from doing our duty.
The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.

Trump Warns Against Impeachment, Issues Vague Threat To Biden

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened that efforts to invoke the 25th Amendment "will come back to haunt Joe Biden" and claimed the movement to impeach him "is very dangerous" for America.

"The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration," Trump said in remarks delivered in Alamo, Texas.

"The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country, and is causing tremendous anger and division and pain, far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the U.S.A."

The comments follow Trump's statement earlier in the day, when he said his call for supporters to flood the Capitol at a rally Wednesday morning was "totally appropriate," despite the death and destruction that followed.

Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and other lawmakers, have called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Trump Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

The House of Representatives is set to vote this week on an impeachment resolution citing Trump's decision to incite the riot.

From a Jan. 21 speech:

DONALD TRUMP: Before we begin, I'd like to say that free speech is under assault like never before. The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration.
As the expression goes, be careful what you wish for.
The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country, and is causing tremendous anger and division and pain, far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the U.S.A., especially at this very tender time.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

’Totally Appropriate’: Trump Insists Speech Inciting Capitol Riot Was Just Fine

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Donald Trump said on Tuesday it was "totally appropriate" for him to incite the attack on the U.S. Capitol that killed five people.

"People thought that what I said was totally appropriate," Trump told reporters.

Trump's did not admit any guilt for his role in inciting the attack and he expressed no regret for the deaths that occurred. When airing his remarks, MSNBC cut away from Trump, noting he was lying about the events that took place.

"The president has started to, as he usually does, often does, veer away from the truth," noted MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson.

Trump's statement runs counter to claims on Monday from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that Trump admitted he had a role in instigating the violence on Capitol Hill.

At a speech in Washington before the riot took place, Trump encouraged rally attendees to take action, citing myths and conspiracy theories about Joe Biden's election win. As the mob attacked the Capitol, Trump told them, "We love you."

Support for Trump's removal from office has risen since he made his comments, with a recent ABC News poll showing 56% supporting his removal.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a staunch Trump ally, said his legacy had been "tarnished" by the attack and said, "His actions were the problem not the solution."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) called for Trump's resignation, telling reporters, "I want him out."

Some of Trump's fellow Republicans have said they are considering supporting a measure to impeach him for inciting the attack.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) has said he hasn't ruled out voting for impeachment and that he supports using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power.

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) said Trump's rhetoric denying his election loss was "rankly unfit" and would be considering impeachment.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) said he would "consider" the articles of impeachment, and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said, "I do think the president committed impeachable offenses."

Punchbowl News reported that House Republicans "are bracing for between ten and 20 of their GOP colleagues to vote to impeach Donald Trump."

But Graham has said he opposes impeachment, claiming it will "do far more harm than good."

From a Jan. 12 media availability:

REPORTER: What is your role in what happened at the Capitol? What is your personal responsibility?
DONALD TRUMP: So if you read my speech, and many people have done it and I've seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television, it's been analyzed and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate and if you look at what other people have said, politicians at a high level, about the riots during the summer, the horrible riots in Portland and Seattle and various other places –
HALLIE JACKSON, MSNBC: We are coming out of this now because the president has started to, as he usually does, often does, veer away from the truth.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Biden: Trump’s ‘Mob Of Thugs’ Got Off Easy Because They’re White

President-elect Joe Biden said on Thursday that "the mob of thugs" who attacked the U.S. Capitol were treated much better than peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters have been.

"No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn't have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol," Biden said in remarks delivered to the press.

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