Law enforcement agencies really want to see your phone's contents. I mean, they really want to. Martin Kaste at NPR has a story on law enforcement and smartphones which contains the following quote from a Rolf Norton, a Seattle homicide detective. "…
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A chilling portrait of a US president who knew he'd lost an election but tried to steal it anyway has emerged in testimony on the Capitol assault, posing a perilous question: should prosecutors indict Donald Trump?
In their comments to the congressional committee investigating the deadly violence, White House and Trump campaign staff, lawyers and even family members have drawn the contours of a possible prosecution, outlining potential presidential misconduct culminating in the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The picture they have painted is that it was part of a broader "coup" attempt led by the defeated president and his lawyer John Eastman.
"The odds are in favor of the Justice Department indicting Mr. Trump," Kevin O'Brien, a former assistant US attorney in New York who now specializes in white-collar criminal defense, told AFP.
"The legal case is sound and would be compelling to a jury, assuming prosecutors can establish a link between the plans of Trump and John Eastman to thwart the counting of electoral votes on the one hand, and the insurrection at the Capitol building on the other."
The committee's official line has always been that it will leave charging decisions to the proper authorities.
But it has heavily hinted it will accuse Trump of at least two felonies -- obstructing Congress's counting of electoral votes, and joining a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States.
And the established facts don't look good for the 76-year-old former reality TV star.
'Clear and present danger'
Trump spent weeks ahead of the violence in Washington duping his followers into thinking the election had been stolen.
He encouraged his supporters to descend on the city on January 6, riled up the huge crowd at his "Stop the Steal" rally and instructed them to march on the Capitol as lawmakers were ratifying the election.
The committee has presented a trove of text messages suggesting Trump did nothing to stop the violence for hours as increasingly frantic allies tried to get him to call off the mob.
And the House committee's hearings have positioned the violence within a larger conspiracy to cling to power by intimidating and harassing poll workers, election officials and the federal justice department.
Trump's defenders argue that he genuinely believed the election was stolen and was engaged in a good faith attempt to protect voters.
But the live testimony and videotaped depositions at the hearings suggest he knew he'd been fairly defeated, given the sheer number of times he was told so by his closest aides.
One of the most credible and impactful witnesses was retired judge J. Michael Luttig, a star in conservative judicial and political circles who testified that Trump presented a "clear and present danger" to US democracy.
While there is a degree of consensus outside of Trump's support base that he could reasonably be charged, a more fraught question for Attorney General Merrick Garland is whether he should be.
'Above the law'
For a start, the burden of proof for conviction in a criminal prosecution is considerably higher than the bar for condemning someone in a congressional hearing.
"A botched prosecution would make Trump stronger and even help re-elect him," Washington-based Financial Times columnist Edward Luce wrote this week.
"When you strike at a king -- even a former one -- you must kill him."
Garland could expect strong public support if he decided to go after Trump, with a new ABC News and Ipsos poll finding almost 60 percent of Americans think the ex-president should face charges.
But Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor in San Diego, said he didn't think the attorney general had "the stomach" for the fight.
"Indicting a former president would be unprecedented, and it takes an aggressive prosecutor that is willing to take on a difficult and politically charged prosecution," Rahmani told AFP.
"I don't think Merrick Garland is that prosecutor."
Many Americans fear a prosecution would spark widespread civil unrest as Trump's supporters, feeling under attack, took to the streets. Violence, after all, has already been wielded in Trump's defense.
Nicholas Creel, a law professor at Georgia College and State University, argues however that letting Trump walk would make a mockery of the central tenet of American justice that "no man is above the law."
"While an indictment would violate the norms of not prosecuting former presidents and would almost certainly unleash massive civil upheaval from his supporters... the alternative is to allow him to have attempted a coup unpunished, wounding the nation far more than his prosecution would," he told AFP.
'She's a crook': GOP voters line up against indicted Colorado election denier running for secretary of state
According to a report from CNN, Republican voters in Colorado have become increasingly alarmed at the prospect that indicted 2020 presidential election denier and former county clerk Tina Peters could be their party's nominee for Secretary of State.
Peters, who was hit with 10 counts related to election equipment tampering by a grand jury -- and is affiliated with fellow election denier Mike Lindell -- is currently the GOP frontrunner for the job, and that has conservatives very worried.
As CNN's Eric Bradner reports, ".... in the county on Colorado's Western Slope where she is barred by a district judge from performing her election-oversight duties, many voters -- including some unaffiliated voters who typically back Democrats but had voted in this year's Republican primary because of Peters' presence on the ballot -- said they want to stop her."
According to one voter, Daria Kent of Grand Junction, "Yes, there was voter fraud. She caused it."
As Colorado Newsline previously reported, "Peters had been under investigation over allegedly enabling a security breach in the Mesa County elections system during a “trusted build” process, which involves a secure software update. She routinely spreads baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and that Colorado’s entire election system is insecure."
One Republican voter, 65-year-old Tammy Reece, cut right to the chase, telling CNN, "She's a crook and should not be running for secretary of state."
Her husband, Bob Reece, 75, concurred, saying, "The system did have a flaw. And that is, the very person who was supposed to protect it had the passwords to it, and opened it up."
He added, "I mean, it's been well-documented in the local paper about all the things that Peters has been accused of. And as the allegations go through court, it's going to be a continuum of decisions. ... I was shocked that she was running for any public office. You lose your job here, and you want the one above it?"
The CNN report adds, "Peters and her top deputy were indicted in March after an investigation by local authorities into a security breach that resulted in confidential voting machine logins, and forensic images of their hard drives, being published in a QAnon-affiliated Telegram channel in early August 2021. In May, after a lawsuit brought by Griswold, a district judge stripped Peters of her duties overseeing this year's elections in Mesa County."
You can read more here.
Baz Luhrmann's rock'n'roll biopic "Elvis" hip-swiveled to the top of the box office on its opening weekend in North America, taking in an estimated $30.5 million in a rare tie with "Top Gun: Maverick," industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.
The nearly three-hour long extravaganza by director Luhrmann, known for glitzy films like "Moulin Rouge!" and "The Great Gatsby," brought in nearly double the average for the musical biography genre, said analyst David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research.
Despite being a "risky proposition," in part for casting relative newcomer Austin Butler as Elvis Presley alongside Tom Hanks as his exploitative manager, Colonel Tom Parker, the film has impressed audiences and critics, Gross said.
"This is the Baz Luhrmann show, a music, dance and sex appeal spectacular -- it's a hit," he said.
"Elvis" was locked in a dead heat with "Top Gun: Maverick" -- the crowd-pleasing sequel to the original 1986 film that once again features Tom Cruise as cocky Navy test pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell.
It also earned an estimated $30.5 million in its fifth weekend of release.
It is now the highest grossing film of the year worldwide, breaking the $1 billion mark with nearly $522 million in ticket sales in North America and $484 million overseas.
In third place was "Jurassic World Dominion," Universal's sixth installment in the "Jurassic Park" franchise, at $26.4 million.
The latest dinosaur frightfest stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard alongside franchise originals Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum.
Fourth spot went to horror film "The Black Phone" starring Ethan Hawke as a serial killer, which earned $23.4 million on its opening weekend.
"Lightyear," Pixar and Disney's latest computer-animated offering from the "Toy Story" empire, took the fifth position with $17.7 million in its second week.
The spinoff from the wildly successful animation series stars Chris Evans and has taken $88.8 million domestically and $63 million overseas, after a lackluster opening.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" ($1.7 million)
"Jugjugg Jeeyo" ($604,000)
"Everything Everywhere All At Once" ($533,346)
"The Bob's Burgers Movie" ($513,000)
"The Bad Guys" ($440,000)