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Exclusive: Threats, pressure, and intent: Jan. 6 probe offers harrowing evidence of bogus overturn scheme

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, former Georgia election worker, becomes emotional while testifying as her mother Ruby Freeman watches during the fourth hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 21, 2022 in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC. The bipartisan committee, which has been gathering evidence related to the January 6, 2021 attack at the U.S. Capitol for almost a year, is presenting its findings in a series of televised hearings. On January 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building in an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for Joe Biden. (Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

#Threats #pressure #intent #Jan #probe #offers #harrowing #evidence #bogus #overturn #scheme

‘In this effort, what did the president say when he called you?

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel cooperated with the Jan. 6 committee long before Tuesday’s hearing and while being deposed on video, she told investigators, that Trump and lawyer John Eastman called her after the election and talked about the need to have Trump’s electors in place. 

“Essentially, he turned the call over to Eastman who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing change the result of any dates,” McDaniel said. 

The RNC, she added, was “just helping” the campaign reach out to the so-called alternate electors so they could be assembled. 

But, she qualified, it was the Trump campaign that “did take the lead and we were just helping them in that role.” 

Not everyone in the GOP wanted to partake, however. 

During questioning led by committee member and Rep. Adam Schiff, Russell Bowers testified about how he was targeted by Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani to overturn Trump’s loss in Arizona. Biden won fair and square and no fraud was ever detected. 

During the hearing, Trump issued a statement accusing Bowers of being a “Republican in Name Only” and further claimed that Bowers told him the election was “rigged” and he was the true winner. Schiff asked Bowers on the spot if that was true. 

Under oath before Congress, Bowers replied: “Anywhere, anyone, any time someone has said that I said the election was ‘rigged’ that would not be true.”

When Schiff asked him outright if he told Trump the election had been “rigged,” Bowers offered a resounding and simple response.

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“No,” he said. 

He did describe, however, a call with Giuliani where Bowers pointedly asked the president’s lawyer to show him proof of fraudulent votes. 

Trump, Giuliani and many of the 45th president’s allies regularly shopped those conspiracy theories about dead people voting in huge numbers along with “undocumented” Americans. 

Bowers could hear Trump tell Giuliani on the call “Give him what he needs.” 

“I will,” Giuliani said. 

But the evidence of fraud never came. Bowers kept asking for it but Giuliani never, not once, delivered.

The president’s attorney even acknowledged this to him during the call. 

“He said, ‘we’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence,’” Bowers recalled.

It was so incredible to Bowers that he though maybe it was a “gaffe” by Giuliani or he wasn’t aware of what he had actually said. 

“Afterwards, we kind of laughed about it,” he testified. 

When Giuliani then asked him to hold an official meeting in the state capitol building to explore the allegations of voter fraud, Bowers told him again: He did not believe there was fraud.

“I did not want to be used as a pawn,” Bowers recalled telling Giuliani. 

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When Giuliani brought up the Eastman theory about removing and replacing Biden’s electors, Bowers said he was taken aback. 

“That’s totally new to me and I’ve never heard of such a thing,” he said of the strategy. 

Bowers was unconvinced and offered to connect Giuliani with attorneys who could analyze the laws around electors.

“But,” Bowers told him, “You’re asking me to do something that would break my oath and I won’t break my oath.” 

During a different call between Bowers and Eastman, the Arizona Republican cut to the chase and asked Eastman what he would have him do? 

Eastman asked him to hold a vote to decertify electors in Arizona “because they had the authority to do so.” 

If there was fraud, if there was proof of anything credible, Bowers told the panel he would have considered the request more seriously. 

But there simply wasn’t proof. 

Eastman told him: “Just do it and let the courts sort it out.” 

Bowers had already told Trump directly by this time that he would not do anything illegal. 

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Deposition provided by Mark Meadow’s aide Cassidy Hutchinson also illuminated a meeting between Giuliani and the White House Counsel’s Office. 

Meadows, Hutchinson testified, was expressly told that the alternate elector gambit was not legally viable. Whether Trump was informed about this particular conversation, Hutchinson did not say but when the committee met last week to unpack Eastman’s role in the plot, they established that Eastman did tell Trump that having Pence work to stop or delay the certification on Jan. 6 was not legally possible. 

The president’s men in Congress 

Rep. Andy Biggs, an Arizona Republican, has already refused to cooperate with the committee following a subpoena issued to him in May. 

But Bowers was able to fill in some of the blanks Biggs has left open. He testified on Tuesday that Biggs called him on the morning of Jan. 6 and asked him directly to overturn the results of the 2020 election in his state. 

The Dec. 14 deadline for such challenges had long come and gone. Trump’s claims in court over widespread fraud had been knocked down and dismissed by judge after judge, including some of Trump’s own appointees. 

“He asked if I would sign on, both to a letter that had been sent from my state, and/or that I would support the decertification of the electors. I said I would not, “ Bowers said. 

Biggs was far from the only ally to Trump in Congress who was actively pushing to stop the certification on Jan. 6. 

Text messages released by the committee Tuesday now show that Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, reached out to an aide for then-Vice President Mike Pence.

“Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise,” a text from Johnson’s aide Sean Riley stated. 

Chris Hodgson, Pence’s aide, asked: “What is it?” 

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Riley told Hodgson that the senator wanted to personally deliver “alternate slates of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn’t receive them.”

Hodgson was quick to shoot back: “Do not give that to him.” 

Pence, as his counsel and chief of staff confirmed through their testimony last week, was already under huge amounts of pressure by the president. 

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Johnson, Alexa Henning, said the lawmaker had “no involvement in the creation of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office.”

It was a “staff to staff exchange,” Henning said. 

The threats kept coming

Gabriel Sterling told the committee he “had enough” and “lost it” after a project manager for Dominion Voting Systems received a hate-filled message online in December 2020. It was a GIF of a noose slowly twisting with the contractor’s name on it.

That prompted Sterling to hold a press conference where he demanded Trump do something to quell the disinformation and inflammatory rhetoric. Trump responded by retweeting a link to Sterling’s press conference. 

“Rigged election,” Trump wrote. “Show signatures and envelopes. Texpose the massive voter fraud in Georgia. What is the secretary of state and BrianKempGA afraid of. They know what we will find!”

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The push by the Trump campaign in Georgia was intense.

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Schiff highlighted Tuesday that Mark Meadows called him Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger no less than 18 times to set up a meeting between the secretary and Trump.

Sterling’s personal information was doxxed. Bowers and Raffensperger both experienced similar harassment. Trump supporters showed up at Bowers’ home on one occasion, screaming outside of it where his “gravely ill” daughter was forced to listen to it inside. 

“it was disturbing, just disturbing,” Bowers recalled. 

A similar fate befell Fulton County, Georgia election worker Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss. Both she and her mother, Ruby Freeman, were targeted by the president and Giuliani.

Both Trump and Giuliani publicly amplified the debunked conspiracy theory that Moss and Freeman manipulated ballots at the State Farm Arena. Moss was accused by Giuliani of handing her mother a “USB drives” containing votes for Biden. Giuliani said she passed them off like they were vials of cocaine. 

Schiff asked Moss Tuesday what the “USB drive” really was. 

“A ginger mint,” Moss said. 

Ruby Freeman told the committee that when Trump called her out by name and accused her of fraud, her entire life was upended. 

She could no longer wear a shirt with her nickname, Lady Ruby, on it, for fear of reprisal. 

“I wore that shirt on election Day 2020. I haven’t worn it since, and I’ll never wear it again. Now I won’t even introduce myself by name anymore,” Freeman said in recorded video deposition.

The next hearing is Thursday, June 23 at 3 p.m. ET and the committee is expected to hear testimony from Justice Department officials about the former president’s attempted capture of that institution as Jan. 6 approached. 


We talk to expert Brandi Buchman about everything you need to know for the Jan. 6 committee, hearings, and investigation on Daily Kos’ The Brief podcast

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Exclusive: This Innocent Woman's House Was Destroyed by a SWAT Team. A Jury Says She's Owed $60,000. – TalkOfNews.com

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This Innocent Woman's House Was Destroyed by a SWAT Team. A Jury Says She's Owed $60,000.

#Innocent #Woman039s #House #Destroyed #SWAT #Team #Jury #She039s #Owed

When Vicki Baker cleared out her home in McKinney, Texas, in 2020, she filled two 40-foot dumpsters with her belongings. It wasn’t the way she’d pictured emptying the house as she prepared to begin retirement in Montana. But there was little else to be done with her tear-gas stained items after a SWAT team careened through her fence, detonated explosives to blow her garage door off its hinges, smashed several windows, and drove a BearCat armored vehicle through her front door to apprehend a fugitive that had barricaded himself inside.

A federal jury last week decided that Baker is entitled to $59,656.59 for the trouble. It’s both a controversial and surprising decision. Normally, people like Baker get nothing.

In July 2020, Wesley Little arrived at Baker’s house with a 15-year-old girl he’d kidnapped. Little had previously worked for Baker as a handyman, though she had fired him about a year and a half earlier after her daughter, Deanna Cook, expressed that something may be awry. Cook answered Little at the door that day; having seen him on recent news reports, she left the premises and called the police.

The girl was released unharmed. But Little refused to exit the home, so a SWAT team arrived and began to tear the house down around him in a process known as “shock and awe.”

They then kindly left Baker with the bill. “I’ve lost everything,” she told me in March 2021. “I’ve lost my chance to sell my house. I’ve lost my chance to retire without fear of how I’m going to make my regular bills.” Those bills include treatment for stage 3 breast cancer.

Yet the only thing perhaps more absurd than a jury having to force the government’s hand in recompensing her is that Baker almost did not have the privilege to bring her case before one. Federal courts in similar cases have ruled that the government can usurp “police powers” to destroy your property and avoid having to pay it back under the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment, which is supposed to provide a remedy for such circumstances.

After the ordeal, Baker sought that remedy through her home insurance, which stipulated that they are not on the hook if it is the government’s fault. And though the government didn’t deny being at fault, per se, they did deny that Baker was a victim, sending her on her way with a ravaged home, thousands of dollars in destroyed personal possessions, and a dog that went deaf and blind from the chaos that July day.

In November of last year, Baker’s luck began to turn. A federal judge denied the city of McKinney’s motion to dismiss her case. In April, that same jurist, Judge Amos L. Mazzant III of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, described the interpretation of the law barring Baker from suing as “untenable.” And last week, the jury handed down their ruling. The city may appeal, which will delay any payout.

In coming to his decision, Mazzant invoked another unfortunate case: that of the Lech family, who had their $580,000 home ruined by a SWAT team as they pursued an unrelated shoplifter who broke in. Greenwood Village, Colorado, did more for them than McKinney would do for Baker, forking over all of $5,000. A federal court ruled that the family could not sue, and the Supreme Court declined to take up the case.

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“Even though a number of federal courts have gone the wrong way on this issue, they’ve done so with very cursory analysis,” says Jeffrey Redfern, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, the public interest law firm shepherding Baker’s case. He says this new ruling is different and should “be the one that everyone is looking at” as similar situations continue to pop up.

It does not set a precedent, however. “In this case, we put the city claims agent on the stand,” notes Redfern, “and she said, ‘Yep, I denied the claim, and I deny every claim like this, and if this happened tomorrow I would deny it again.’” Unfortunately for people like Vicki Baker, this will continue to be a familiar story.

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Exclusive: 1/6 Committee Hits Spiraling Trump Again By Subpoenaing Pat Cipollone – TalkOfNews.com

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1/6 Committee Hits Spiraling Trump Again By Subpoenaing Pat Cipollone

#Committee #Hits #Spiraling #Trump #Subpoenaing #Pat #Cipollone

The 1/6 Committee has subpoenaed one of the people who knows the intimate details of Trump’s coup plot, former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

The AP reported:

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection issued a subpoena Wednesday to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who has been linked to meetings in which lawyers debated strategies to overturn former President Donald Trump’s election loss.

The Committee said that it required Cipollone’s testimony after obtaining other evidence about which he was “uniquely positioned to testify.”

Pat Cipollone Can Testify To The Plot To Overturn The Election

According to Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony, Cipollone has intimate and wide-ranging details about the plot to overturn the election. Hutchinson testified that Cipollone warned that if Trump went to the Capitol, they would be charged with every crime imaginable.

Trump was already falling apart after Hutchinson’s testimony, and he could be in for a double whammy if his former White House Counsel testifies. The White House Counsel is not a personal lawyer to the president but represents the institutional interests of the Executive Branch.

If Cipollone testifies, it will be the bombshell that will level the rubble that was already smoldering after Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony.

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Exclusive: How blue cities in red states are resisting abortion bans – TalkOfNews.com

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How blue cities in red states are resisting abortion bans

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Mayors of blue cities in red states are leading a local charge to push back on laws criminalizing abortion now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. But there’s only so much they can do to shield abortion providers from prosecution and improve access to the procedure in states that have made it illegal or will soon do so.

“I do anticipate that there’s more that blue cities and red states can do to fight back against this government overreach and stripping women of their fundamental rights,” Cincinnati, Ohio, Mayor Aftab Pureval told Vox.

Cities can’t make abortion legal in states that have outlawed it. They can take steps to decriminalize the procedure and potentially limit any adverse consequences that pregnant people who have abortions and abortion providers might face. But they can’t give abortion seekers what they need the most: access to the procedure.

How cities in Texas, Ohio, and Arizona are trying to fight abortion bans

In the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson, the case that overturned Roe, cities in Texas, Ohio, and Arizona have begun working within these limits by taking steps to ensure that local law enforcement resources don’t go toward targeting abortion-related crimes.

Of those states, Texas is the only one with a “trigger law” outlawing abortion immediately after the overturn of Roe. That law briefly went into effect following the Supreme Court ruling before it was temporarily blocked by a state court earlier this week. Ohio’s ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy went into effect on Friday, and the state is expected to ban all abortions later this year. And Arizona has an abortion ban on the books that predates the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe.

Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler responded to Dobbs by co-sponsoring a resolution — drafted in the weeks before the Court’s decision and that could be voted on as early as this week — that would update city policy to deprioritize the investigation or enforcement of any charges related to pregnancy and abortion. It would also prevent the use of city funding for information sharing, data collection, and surveillance related to abortion services and other reproductive health decisions. There are some exceptions for when “coercion or force” is used against a pregnant person or in cases involving criminal negligence related to a pregnant person’s health.

Pureval has commissioned a report on potential opportunities to decriminalize abortion in Cincinnati and to prioritize law enforcement resources to protect the health and safety of pregnant people and medical care providers. Additionally, he’s reached out to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for opportunities to collaborate, anticipating that Illinois will be the closest state where Ohioans can get abortions, he told Vox.

“We are looking at ways to decriminalize abortion in our city or, at the very least, make it clear that our priorities for our public safety dollars, namely our Cincinnati Police Department, are for issues like gun violence and other violent crimes in our communities, and not invading our local hospitals and investigating our doctors and women in our city,” he said.

Phoenix, Arizona, Mayor Kate Gallego told Axios that she has “no interest in criminalizing health care providers” and is working with the city’s attorneys to find the “most effective ways to protect our residents and women’s health care.” And the Tucson, Arizona, City Council voted earlier this month to order its police department not to arrest people violating state anti-abortion laws.

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Other cities are investigating similar measures. Cities in North Carolina, for example, which has a pre-Roe abortion ban on the books that has not yet been enforced, have also taken steps to protect abortion providers and pregnant people.

Durham passed a resolution in March declaring the city a “sexual and reproductive health care safe zone, ensuring the people’s right to reproductive freedom, and naming these rights as fundamental.” The city council in Raleigh is weighing similar actions, including requests from abortion rights advocates to protect abortion clinics in the city with buffer zones and noise ordinances and block the Raleigh Police Department from collecting data stored on menstrual cycle tracking apps.

It’s not yet clear, however, whether any of these measures will make a meaningful difference in preventing the prosecution of abortions.

The limits to what blue cities in red states can do to protect abortion rights

There are still ways that state law enforcement agencies can get around blue cities’ attempts to thwart the enforcement of abortion bans. The state attorney general’s office and district attorneys can still seek civil and criminal penalties against people who violate state abortion laws in blue cities. Abortion providers are also bound by the rules of state medical boards, which could revoke or suspend the licenses of providers they see as defying state regulations.

States with bans on the books are debating how strictly they intend to enforce them. Texas is going as far as encouraging surveillance of women and prosecuting doctors. Other states, like South Dakota, have announced that they won’t file criminal charges against people who get abortions.

But state resources to enforce the bans might be limited if cities won’t cooperate. In some ways, it’s similar to what’s been happening with marijuana legalization. While it might still be illegal in places like Texas to possess any amount of marijuana, cities like Austin have agreed not to bring charges against someone who possesses a misdemeanor amount of the drug, meaning that it’s unlikely they’d face legal repercussions unless state law enforcement somehow got involved.

Again, none of these cities’ efforts will increase in-state access. But there are things many mayors can do to try to make abortion more accessible. Cincinnati is trying one of these, by repealing a decades-old ordinance that prevented the city health plan from covering abortions, meaning the procedure would now be covered. Anyone taking advantage of that benefit would need to leave the state to do so, but Pureval said that the city would reimburse them for the costs of traveling.

“We also hope that this will encourage other large employers in our city, including Kroger, which already has announced that they’ll be doing something similar from a travel reimbursement perspective,” Pureval said.

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