Insurrectionist wore cap he stole from Capitol cop while 'boasting' about attack on his YouTube channel: report
According to three witnesses who spoke with FBI, a man who attended the Capitol riot on Jan 6th contacted friends just hours after participating in the attempted insurrection and showed off souvenirs he took during the assault -- including items he took from Capitol cops while he scuffled with them.
Darrell Neely, who runs an online conservative radio station called Global Enlightenment Radio Network, was taken into custody on Monday and is currently facing multiple federal counts including, theft of government property, entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct in a restricted building and a Capitol building and demonstrating at a Capitol building.
According to the WaPo's Jaclyn Peiser, Neely displayed " ... four china plates, a baseball cap, and a jacket with a silver badge on the front and white letters on the back," during his chat with his friends and later went as far as to appear on his YouTube channel wearing the cap he reportedly snatched from the law enforcement officer's head.
The report notes, "The FBI first became aware of Neely's activity at the Capitol on Jan. 9, when investigators received a tip from someone claiming Neely had entered the building. Agents soon identified him through video footage that showed him in the Capitol while appearing 'to be holding a marijuana cigarette,' court documents state. He was also captured leaving the building while holding a cellphone."
According to charging documents, "Witness 1 said during the first call, a portion of which was on video, Neely entered the Capitol and narrated what he was seeing, according to court documents. The second video call was around 5:30 p.m., Witness 1 said, as Neely left Capitol grounds. Witness 2 recalled Neely telling them that he 'acquired a jacket as a souvenir,' according to court documents. Witness 1 added that Neely claimed the jacket belonged to a Capitol Police officer."
Peiser's report adds, "In the days after the Capitol riot, Neely spoke about his experience at the insurrection, the FBI said. Investigators watched several of his broadcasts and noted that Neely wore a Capitol Police baseball cap in some of the videos."
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REVEALED: ‘Fascinating’ detail about Mike Pence’s behind-the-scenes effort to stop Trump from stealing the election
The author of a new book about Donald Trump and the Republican Party revealed a "fascinating" detail he learned about vice president Mike Pence's actions ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Vanity Fair reporter David Drucker, author of the newly published book "In Trump's Shadow," told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Pence had decided that he would not help Trump overturn the election and wanted to prevent a future president from attempting the same gambit.
"The other fascinating thing for me that I learned, part of what Mike Pence set out to do when he insisted to Donald Trump that he wasn't going to throw the election, as was being requested -- and it's almost strange that we talk about it so glibly because it was such a momentous event -- is he wanted a paper trail so that if future presidents got the same idea they would already understand as a matter of constitutional law, and I use the word precedent loosely, but there was a roadmap laid out that this had been investigated and determined under the law to be something you couldn't do," Drucker said.
"We all take it for granted that the founders didn't put into the Constitution this weird back door that the vice president had the power all along to choose who won the election even if they didn't like who actually won," he added. "Mike Pence always found that preposterous, but he wanted to leave a paper trail so he had his attorney in the vice president's office research this and lay it out, not just so he could say to other Republicans, 'Look, I did my best, I tried,' because that's not what he was doing. He wanted it on paper that this was as preposterous as it sounds, and the next time somebody tried it, people could pull up these documents and say, 'Look, we've already looked into this, it doesn't work.'"
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Texas bill to block COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employers failed in Legislature after business groups rallied against it
Bills intended to block any Texas entity, including hospitals and private businesses, from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for employees failed to pass the Texas Legislature before lawmakers adjourned the third special legislative session early Tuesday morning.
Signs that the legislation was in trouble came early as business groups spoke out against the proposals. Even though the issue had been added to the session agenda as a late priority by Gov. Greg Abbott, the House's version of the bill was unable to muster enough support to be voted out of committee. The Senate's proposal pushed by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, was quickly pushed out of committee but did not have the votes for approval by the whole chamber.
On Monday, hours before lawmakers ended the session, state Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, said he opposed the bill, which makes entities requiring the vaccines vulnerable to discrimination lawsuits. Seliger was the first lawmaker to acknowledge publicly that the bill did not have the votes to pass in the upper chamber.
"At the moment it's not too well developed," Seliger said of Senate Bill 51, which he called "anti-business."
"I've got some real reservations because I think it's another example of big government," Seliger said. "And we don't do that."
SB 51 had been on the Senate's calendar since Thursday, but the chamber had not taken action, even as it passed other priority legislation.
The offices of Hughes and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, did not respond to requests for comment.
Patrick, a Republican, is also the GOP majority's de facto leader in the upper chamber. During his two-term tenure, he's exerted power by rewarding senators who support his priorities and punishing those who don't by stripping them of powerful positions. This session, he was able to push all five of his priorities through the chamber.
More than two dozen medical and business advocacy groups quickly criticized SB 51, pushing back against the legislation in the days after it was introduced last week. Hughes filed the bill after Abbott asked lawmakers last week to take up this issue to ensure Texans aren't required to get vaccinated, saying that vaccines are "safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced."
Abbott called for the legislation as he took executive action to ban private companies from requiring employees or customers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, which will be in effect statewide even if lawmakers don't act. His order came four weeks after President Joe Biden, a Democrat, announced that federal contractors must have all employees vaccinated against COVID-19 and that businesses with more than 100 employees must mandate vaccination against the virus or require regular testing.
The organizations opposing the bill, including several chambers of commerce, the Texas Association of Business, the Texas Hospital Association, the Texas Association of Manufacturers, the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association and the Texas Trucking Association, have warned lawmakers of the legislation's risks to small businesses, workplaces that rely on federal funding and immunocompromised Texans.
The warnings were notable in a state where business interests work closely with pro-business Republicans to influence legislation.
"We're getting tremendous amount of communications from the business community saying this is their job," Seliger said. "They set the rules and working conditions in their places of business."
Abbott is in several legal fights with cities, counties and school districts over local mask orders that defy his ban on such orders. Texas' ban on mask mandates in schools has drawn a federal investigation for possibly violating the rights of students with disabilities.
Advocates from medical facilities like hospitals and nursing homes say they are worried about losing Medicare and Medicaid funds if the state law goes into effect, preventing them from following pending federal rules that will mandate vaccines.
"The state shouldn't be mandating a one-size-fits-all approach to hospitals," Steve Wohleb, senior vice president and general counsel for the Texas Hospital Association, told a Senate panel Thursday. "It should leave those decisions to the hospitals, who are in the best position to know what's best for their patients."
While a prohibition on vaccine requirements has been a top issue for Abbott, the subject never rose to the top of Patrick's list.
At the beginning of this 30-day special session, Patrick announced that his top priority was to use federal COVID-19 relief funds to help Texas homeowners reduce their property tax burden for the year.
Patrick's other priorities included restoring money paid out of the state's unemployment insurance fund during the pandemic, preventing transgender student athletes from playing on sports teams based on the gender they identify with rather than the gender on their original birth certificate, drawing new political maps and legislation to protect dogs from being tethered during extreme weather.
Patrick also succeeded in getting Abbott to add tuition revenue bonds, which were approved by the Legislature, to the special session.
Disclosure: The Texas Association of Business and the Texas Hospital Association have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
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