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Politics January 6 investigation confronts a perennial dilemma -- how to hold Trump accountable

08:10  08 october  2021
08:10  08 october  2021 Source:   cnn.com

Game theory explains why AOC and other progressives should reject Nancy Pelosi and tank the Senate's bipartisan infrastructure bill

  Game theory explains why AOC and other progressives should reject Nancy Pelosi and tank the Senate's bipartisan infrastructure bill The fight over the spending bills looks an awful lot like a classic game theory problem. The best strategy for that dilemma is to punish defectors.The two bills at stake are a $1 trillion bipartisan, roads-and-bridges infrastructure deal favored by the centrist wing of the party and a $3.5 trillion social spending bill backed by the progressive faction.

Why Trump needs to be held to account . Accountability is critical for multiple reasons. The Capitol insurrection and Trump 's multiple attempts to subvert the election, in Washington and in the states, rank as the worst assault on the US electoral system in history. Inflicting a price for such behavior is vital to The January 6 committee's role is important in establishing a contemporary and historical record of what happened that day and Trump 's culpability amid efforts by his media propagandists and political allies to whitewash the truth and downplay an outrageous assault on the epicenter of US democracy.

How do we do that? Here's a few ideas to make sure former President Trump feels the pain he has inflicted on our country: If you work at a company, belong to an organization or trade association or an institution of higher education, let your bosses know that you won't tolerate paying Trump to If they hold debt, tell them to call it January 21. If you're an investor, tell your broker or bank just say no to Trump or your money will walk. We can also pressure Congress to take further action. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires a former President be afforded the protection of the Secret Service.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: CULLMAN, ALABAMA - AUGUST 21: Former U.S. President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he finishes addressing a © Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images CULLMAN, ALABAMA - AUGUST 21: Former U.S. President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he finishes addressing a "Save America" rally at York Family Farms on August 21, 2021 in Cullman, Alabama. With the number of coronavirus cases rising rapidly and no more ICU beds available in Alabama, the host city of Cullman declared a COVID-19-related state of emergency two days before the Trump rally. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, 67.5% of the state's population has not been fully vaccinated. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Donald Trump always seems to get away with it. And he's trying to do it again.

Former Trump officials dispute Milley's version of events on China call

  Former Trump officials dispute Milley's version of events on China call John Ratcliffe and Mike Pompeo disputed Gen. Mark Milley’s recounting of the situation surrounding his controversial call with his Chinese counterpart. © Provided by Washington Examiner Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with Gen. Li Zuocheng of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in late October and early January to dissuade them of a possible attack.

Thirty-five House Republicans voted for an investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Republicans critical of President Trump 's role in the events broke ranks to vote for the probe. The vote underscores the division within the GOP over Trump 's influence on the party's direction. Former President Donald Trump this week urged Republican lawmakers to oppose it, saying in a statement : "Republicans must get much tougher and much smarter, and stop being used by the Radical Left."

Arnold Schwarzenegger says January 6 insurrection is what happens 'when people are being lied to about the elections'. The committee has issued two rounds of subpoenas to a batch of close aides and allies of former President Donald Trump as well as individuals involved in the planning and organization of the "Stop the Steal" rally that served as a prelude to the riot at the Capitol and other rallies organized in the lead-up to the day of the attack.

The ex-President and his Republican apologists in Congress are jump-starting a new effort to dampen the consequences of his crimes against democracy, burying the truth about what can now objectively be termed a coup attempt.

A flurry of new and shocking behind-the-scenes details of Trump's multi-pronged attempts to steal last November's election are showing just how perilously close the country came to a constitutional disaster in January.

  • A new report from Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats on Thursday found that Trump tried a stunning nine times to get his Justice Department to undermine the election.

  • The report also details an extraordinary three-hour meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump tried to win support for a plan to install as acting attorney general a loyalist, Jeffrey Clark, who he thought would help him overturn the 2020 election. In the end, the ex-President was talked out of the move after being told it would trigger mass Justice Department resignations.

  • Trump indicated that he will try to assert executive privilege to prevent the House select committee probing the mob attack by his supporters on the US Capitol from getting information from certain witnesses.

  • That panel sent two new subpoenas to two members of the "Stop the Steal" group, Ali Alexander and Nathan Martin, who were affiliated with the planning of the Washington rally that preceded the insurrection.

This rush of developments on just one day poses profound questions for Congress, the Biden administration and potentially the courts -- and follows other new evidence of Trump's anti-democratic conduct, including about a step-by-step plan drawn up by a conservative lawyer for how then-Vice President Mike Pence could subvert the constitutional process of certifying Biden's election win.

Marine Corps refutes claim of corporal who told Trump rally he hoisted baby over wall at Kabul airport

  Marine Corps refutes claim of corporal who told Trump rally he hoisted baby over wall at Kabul airport The Marines refuted a claim made by a Marine that he was the one who lifted a child over a wall at the Kabul, Afghanistan airport in a viral photo.Lance Cpl. Hunter Clark was invited to a Sept. 25 rally held by former President Donald Trump, and Clark was introduced to the Perry, Georgia crowd by Trump as being the Marine who "helped evacuated children over ... the airport wall. You saw him. He did a great job.

That Donald Trump devolved from commander-in-chief to liar-in-chief didn’t surprise Forbes: As we’ve chronicled early and often, for all his billions and Barnum-like abilities, he’s been shamelessly exaggerating and prevaricating to our faces for almost four decades. As American democracy rebounds, we need to return to a standard of truth when it comes to how the government communicates with the governed. The easiest way to do that, from where I sit, is to create repercussions for those who don’t follow the civic norms.

Joe Lockhart writes that the question of should Trump be subject to criminal or civil justice is more a political question than a legal one and lays out why investigating and, if warranted, prosecuting Trump after he leaves office could help rebuild the guardrails of Democracy.

One key issue concerns how far the select committee and the Justice Department are prepared to go to impose accountability on those involved, including the former President.

Does the panel have the power and the steel to do so quickly, to prevent Trump running out the clock for what could be a pliant GOP Congress after next fall's midterm elections? Would, for example, President Joe Biden's Attorney General Merrick Garland be ready to enforce any contempt referrals from Congress and bring the weight of the law against Trump allies who refuse to cooperate with the committee? It's still unclear what, if any, response his subpoenaed allies have provided.

Ultimately, the issue is about whether there is any legal or political remedy equal to the scale of Trump's transgressions -- or, perhaps more importantly, that might deter his relentless attempts to destroy his successor's legitimacy and faith in an electoral system that reflected the will of a nation that wanted him gone from the Oval Office.

Trump loyalists can't hide this truth (opinion)

  Trump loyalists can't hide this truth (opinion) Think the January 6 select committee can't enforce the slew of subpoenas it's served on Trump's inner circle? Think again, write Norman Eisen and Hank Sparks. The four Trump layalists may be eying the Congressional clock and contemplating running it out until January 2023 when a new Congress of unknown majority takes office, but the committee is highly motivated by that very timing and has many ways to get the information it wants on itsWill the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection succeed in uncovering the truth about that awful day?

'The company's leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won't make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people.' 'The responsibility of the violence on January 6 th and the insurrection on that day lies squarely with the people who inflicted the violence and those who encouraged them, including then-President Trump and, candidly, many other people elsewhere in the media who were encouraging the assertion that the election was stolen.'

Trump denying that he colluded with Russia and denying everything thrown at him over the past 4 years --- excessively, proves to me that its all true. Rule of Trump : take the exact opposite of whatever he says, that's the truth. So based on what comes out from redacted reports over the years, hopefully it lands him in jail. I didn’t vote for Biden I voted against Trump ! I want him to be held accountable for his actions.

Some might argue that an unprecedented two impeachments represent the ultimate sanction and historic stain. But Trump's acquittal by Republicans in his first Senate trial only convinced him he could abuse power with impunity. And his second acquittal -- once he was out of office -- did nothing to temper his corrosive claims of electoral fraud, and is no deterrent as he builds an apparent new presidential campaign on the lie that the last election was corrupt.

Why Trump needs to be held to account

Accountability is critical for multiple reasons. The Capitol insurrection and Trump's multiple attempts to subvert the election, in Washington and in the states, rank as the worst assault on the US electoral system in history. Inflicting a price for such behavior is vital to stop such abuses from happening again, and potentially could include new laws to bolster faith in elections. Recent escalations of Trump's attacks on bedrock democratic values and signals that he is planning a new White House bid prove that his threat to democratic governance is far from elapsed and is getting worse.

Fox News Host Confronts Scalise on Whether Trump's Election Fraud Claim 'Undermines' Democracy

  Fox News Host Confronts Scalise on Whether Trump's Election Fraud Claim 'Undermines' Democracy "Do you think the election was stolen or not?" 'Fox News Sunday' anchor Chris Wallace pressed the No. 2 GOP House leader.Trump and many of his conservative allies continue to groundlessly allege that the 2020 election was "rigged" or "stolen" in favor of President Joe Biden. Despite multiple audits and legal challenges, no evidence has been brought forward substantiating this extraordinary claim.

The January 6 committee's role is important in establishing a contemporary and historical record of what happened that day and Trump's culpability amid efforts by his media propagandists and political allies to whitewash the truth and downplay an outrageous assault on the epicenter of US democracy.

An immediate question for the select committee will be how to counter any refusal to cooperate by Trump allies who received subpoenas, including former adviser Steve Bannon, former chief of staff Mark Meadows and ex-Defense official Kash Patel. The committee has failed to locate another subpoenaed Trump aide, former deputy chief of staff and social media guru Dan Scavino, multiple sources familiar with the effort told CNN.

"This is going to be the test for this January 6 committee," said Carrie Cordero, a former senior Justice Department official and CNN legal and national security analyst, on "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

"How far are they willing to go in order to enforce their authority and provide for the authority of Congress to conduct this investigation? Are they going to make criminal referrals to the Justice Department for contempt or even potentially for obstruction?"

Trump's decision to put up roadblocks is no surprise given a lifetime of seeking to evade accountability for his actions in business and politics. He fought for months, for example, to stop his financial record from being obtained by investigators probing the Trump Organization in New York. The firm and its former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, have been charged over an alleged tax scheme.

The Lincoln Project Got Attention but These Never Trumpers Got Results

  The Lincoln Project Got Attention but These Never Trumpers Got Results The Lincoln Project doesn’t do subtle. The smashmouth, Never Trump super PAC, run by a renegade band of Republican strategists, produced some of the most scathing attacks on the forty-fifth president of the last four years. That’s not compared to just the other Never Trump political groups. That’s compared to all groups, of all political persuasions. The Lincoln Project spots were acutely personal and had little to do with any policy differences. Much the way Trump mercilessly assaulted his political opponents and other critics, the group’s ad makers put Trump’s character flaws under a microscope—and flayed him.

Trump's ostensible justification for trying to evade accountability here is that he is trying to protect the integrity of his former office by upholding executive privilege -- the ability of presidents to get confidential advice from subordinates. This is a predictable but hardly credible defense, at least outside the realms of a narrow legal argument.

After all, Trump spent four years destroying the standards and codes of conduct implied by his office and gave no indication that he was concerned about preserving its model of rectitude for future generations. And in this case, he appears to be seeking to assert privilege to cover up what multiple accounts and reports suggest is an attempt to mount a coup.

"Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of President Trump and his administration, but also on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our nation," Taylor Budowich, director of communications for Save America and Trump, said in a statement.

Trump can try to uphold his executive privilege claims in court, in an attempt to further string out the business of the committee. But the Biden White House, the current guardian of executive privilege, could take a relaxed view of document requests in this area.

A source familiar with the former President's legal strategy confirmed to CNN that an attorney for Trump sent letters to some of the subpoena targets, informing them of his plan to defend executive privilege. The letters were first reported by Politico. While the letter instructed the subpoena targets to not comply with congressional investigators, according to the Washington Post, which reviewed it, it is up to each witness to decide whether to follow Trump's direction.

Rome trial opens for 4 members of Egyptian security forces

  Rome trial opens for 4 members of Egyptian security forces ROME (AP) — The trial of four high-ranking members of Egypt’s security forces started Thursday without the Egyptians on hand to face charges they were involved in the abduction, torture and killing in Cairo of an Italian doctoral student. Giulio Regeni’s parents and sister walked into the Rome courthouse without making a statement. The Italian government announced on the eve of the trial that it would join the trial's civil portion as an injuredGiulio Regeni’s parents and sister walked into the Rome courthouse without making a statement. The Italian government announced on the eve of the trial that it would join the trial's civil portion as an injured party in the case.

Republicans excuse Trump's abuses of power again

At the same time that Trump was trying to escape accountability, the GOP response to Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee report from the majority Democrats again highlighted a trend that has enabled Trump's past abuses of power and that ensures he remains a viable political figure. In a dueling document, Republicans on the committee presented a different interpretation of the facts contained in the majority report.

Their action was consistent with a party that blocked an independent 9/11-style commission into the January 6 insurrection on Trump's command, and that has consistently prioritized its political priorities and the need to appeal to the ex-President's supporters over its duty to democracy.

The GOP document essentially argued that since Trump was prevented by advisers from following through on many of his schemes to subvert democracy and steal power, there is no case to answer. For instance, the then-President didn't actually carry out his plan to replace acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen with Clark -- though not for the want of trying.

"The President rejected it. The President did the right thing," Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said.

The argument that Trump's nefarious plots failed so he is free of accountability is a familiar one. It was used by Republicans to excuse his abuses of power during his first impeachment on the grounds that Trump's plan to withhold military aid to Ukraine in return for the announcement of a criminal probe into Biden did not actually come to fruition. This essentially boils down a case that a President who seeks to thwart the Constitution is only guilty if he succeeds. This discounts, for instance, strong evidence that Trump repeatedly pressured officials in the Justice Department and in states like Georgia to overturn the election -- a clear and staggering abuse of power.

The courage and integrity of these officials was in the end all that stood between the United States and a lost democracy. But the near miss this time should not mean that officials subordinate to a President should be left exposed to such pressure in the future.

The threat has not passed. Trump is busily endorsing candidates for secretary of state positions in swing states Georgia, Michigan and Arizona who have supported his election lies. If they are elected, such officials could have huge influence over the 2024 election in which Trump could be a candidate amid growing fears that any Republican effort to illegitimately seize power next time could work.

All of this, and Trump's refusal to cede to the reality of his election loss and his expanding efforts to plot a potentially fraudulent path back to power, helps explain why the work of the select committee is so crucial.

Mike Pence's moment of truth .
The VP balanced ambition and loyalty behind the scenes. Then came Jan. 6.As the calendar flips from 2021 to 2022, phase II of the Pence post-election plan is likely to take shape in the form of a resurgent Great America Committee, the political action committee the former vice president unveiled soon after he and Trump were sworn into office in 2017. Through this overtly political vehicle, Pence planned to raise money and campaign for Republicans up and down the ballot — gubernatorial candidates, congressional candidates, even those running for office at the state and local levels. Party efforts to recapture a narrowly divided U.S.

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This is interesting!