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‘Pretty savvy’ DOJ just sidestepped legal battles that have slowed Jan. 6 committee’s probe: legal expert
The Department of Justice may have sidestepped the legal battles that have slowed the House Select Committee's investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Federal authorities opened a new direction in their criminal probe by requesting transcripts of interviews conducted by congressional investigators, and MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner explained why that move was "savvy."
"I think we've all experienced some frustration because it doesn't look like the Department of Justice has been investigating this the way it would ordinarily investigate, you know, even large-scale conspiracy cases because they don't appear to have been sort of carpet-bombing folks with grand jury subpoenas the way we ordinarily would," Kirschner said.
Kirschner praised DOJ investigators for waiting until the Select Committee had conducted its interviews instead of pursuing the same witnesses.
"If the Department of Justice had gone after everybody with grand jury subpoenas, they probably would have been battling witness after witness after witness, these thousand-plus witnesses," he said. "They would have been battling Congress, who gets which witness first and who has the greater priority. Now what the Department of Justice can do is take a thousand-plus transcripts and they can use that to build their criminal investigation.
"I actually think whether this was by design or happenstance, this may turn out to be a pretty savvy way about investigating the case," Kirschner added, "and let's not forget that the chief investigative counsel for the Jan. 6 committee is frankly a very accomplished prosecutor in his open own right when he served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and I expect this is a really savvy investigation put together by the Jan. 6 Committee."
Watch the video below or at this link.
Trump's authoritarian movement is 'determined to restore the original racial and religious foundation of America': columnist
New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall on Wednesday shined a light on the conspiratorial religious nationalism that has overwhelmed the Republican Party thanks in large part to former President Donald Trump.
In describing the Trump movement as a "chilling amalgam of Christian Nationalism, white replacement theory and conspiratorial zeal," Edsall argued that their overall goal is "to restore what they see as the original racial and religious foundation of America."
Edsall then quotes a series of experts on Christian Nationalism in the United States who note there are several different strands of it, and that not all of them are explicitly about white supremacy.
Ruth Braunstein, a professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, tells Edsall that there is a difference between what she calls "white Christian nationalism," which "explicitly fuses whiteness, Christianity, and Americanness," and “colorblind Judeo-Christian nationalism," which "either ignores race or uses colorblind language to describe ideal Americanness."
Robert Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, tells Edsall that Christian Nationalist attitudes show up most clearly in polling on immigration, where they're mostly likely to describe immigrants as "invading" the United States.
"Among all voters, according to Jones, 29 percent believe that immigrants are invading our county; among Republicans, it’s 60 percent; among Democrats, 11 percent; among QAnon believers, 65 percent; among white evangelicals, 50 percent; and among white non-college voters, as pollsters put it, 43 percent," writes Edsall.
Edsall concludes with a warning about Christian Nationalists potentially resorting to violence, and he cites "their ambition to restore an imagined past, by any means necessary."
Tom Cruise was set to jet into Cannes on Wednesday with "Top Gun: Maverick" as a Russian dissident in the main competition showcases an alternative side to the world's top film festival.
Cruise, last at Cannes 30 years ago, is tipped to make a spectacular entrance accompanied by a French Air Force aerobatic display team dazzling with a fly-past over the red carpet.
Critics have treated the sequel to his superstar-making 1986 blockbuster to giddy reviews, with hopes the film will boost movie theaters still struggling to recover from the pandemic.
"In the history of cinema... (Cruise) has one of the highest success rates," festival director Thierry Fremaux said this week.
"This is someone that we haven't seen on streaming platforms, TV series, or doing adverts... He is someone who is devoted to cinema."
Before that, in the main competition for the top prize Palme d'Or, Cannes was set to welcome Russian dissident Kirill Serebrennikov with a very different offering: "Tchaikovsky's Wife" about the legendary composer's brief and tragic marriage.
The director was unable to attend the festival for two previous nominations due to a controversial court case that barred him from leaving Russia.
Now in exile following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, his new film is unlikely to improve his standing with the Kremlin given that it shines a light on the composer's homosexuality -- a story that remains taboo for Russian conservatives.
The war has already been a major theme at the festival, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky making a surprise appearance via video at the opening ceremony on Tuesday.
"Will cinema keep quiet, or will it speak up? If there is a dictator, if there is a war for freedom, once again, everything depends on our unity. Can cinema stay outside of this unity?" Zelensky said.
There will be a special screening of "Mariupolis 2", a documentary about the conflict by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, who was killed in Ukraine last month -- reportedly by Russian forces.
Ukraine's beleaguered filmmakers will get a special day at the festival and one of its most promising directors, Sergei Loznitsa, will show "The Natural History of Destruction", about the bombing of German cities in World War II.
The head of the jury charged with selecting the winners this year, French actor Vincent Lindon, said the invasion of Ukraine had penetrated even the glamorous bubble that is Cannes, which was founded in 1946, he noted as a response to fascism.
"The torments of the world, which is bleeding, suffering, burning... they rack my conscience," he told the opening ceremony.
According to analysis site The Numbers, Cruise's 39 films as lead actor have pulled in just shy of $8.5 billion (8 billion euros) worldwide.
"Top Gun: Maverick" could add as much as $390 million from the United States alone, according to Box Office Pro.
Empire magazine praised its "slick visuals, crew camaraderie, thrilling aerial action, a surprising emotional wallop and, in Tom Cruise, a magnetic movie-star performance as comforting as an old leather jacket."