'Put them in shackles!' Gun-toting Trump supporters rage at Michigan GOP for shooting down election lies
A Republican-led probe in Michigan this week debunked former President Donald Trump's numerous lies about the 2020 presidential election and found no evidence of "an organized, wide-scale effort to commit fraudulent activity was perpetrated in order to subvert the will of Michigan voters."
This news was not welcome by many of the former president's supporters in Michigan, however, and the Washington Post reports that many armed Trump supporters have been protesting outside the state Capitol building demanding that the state conduct an Arizona-style "audit" of its election results.
"They are lying," attorney Matthew DePerno, an attorney who was cited in the Michigan State Senate report for making "ludicrous" claims, said recently to cheering supporters during a pro-"audit" rally. "These people have committed crimes!"
An audience member then yelled out, "Put them in shackles!" as the crowd roared in approval, according to the Post.
The Post notes that "the drumbeat for audits has been accompanied by increasingly violent and vitriolic threats against state and local officials" and that "the escalating rhetoric has left legislators from both parties lamenting what happened to the state that was home to moderate political consensus builders such as President Gerald Ford, governor George Romney and the late representative John Dingell."
According to the Phoenix New Times, documents reveal that the Arizona Senate GOP leader Karen Fann, along with a right-wing dark money group, made a "contribution" of $20,000 to the Arizona Rangers to help guard the controversial "audit" of ballots in Maricopa County.
"Senate President Karen Fann had ignored repeated questions in recent weeks about who authorized the Rangers' presence in and around Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the state fairgrounds, where the audit is being conducted. The Rangers, a state-recognized quasi-law enforcement group, has provided more than a dozen uniformed officers to work the audit," reported Ray Stern. Meanwhile, "In an article published on April 29, the Rangers state commander, Michael Droll, told Phoenix New Times that the question of who authorized the group was 'intelligence' and that nobody would answer it."
"Last week, following a request for public records under state law, the state senate released seven pages of agreements for services ... to New Times, including one between the senate and Arizona Rangers that had been signed by Fann and Droll," said the report. "It states that the senate will pay $20,000 for the Rangers' services, with the word 'compensation' crossed out and above that, the word 'contribution' written in hand."
Also involved in the agreement is Guardian Defense Fund, a GOP money group created "to help U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., state Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, and former state Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, address assertions about their activities." All of these lawmakers were either at the Capitol riot or at the rally that preceded it.
The $20,000 payment has not yet been made.
The Arizona "audit," which is nearly finished, has turned into an embarrassment for the state GOP, with even prominent Trump supporters condemning it as a "clown show." The investigators from the pro-Trump Florida security firm "Cyber Ninjas" has pursued a number of conspiracy theories, including searching for bamboo fibers in ballots to prove they were Asian forgeries.
A 12-story oceanfront apartment block in Florida partially collapsed early Thursday, killing at least one person and sparking a major emergency response with dozens of rescuers combing the rubble for survivors.
Video footage posted online showed a large portion of the building in the town of Surfside -- just north of Miami Beach -- reduced to rubble, with the apartments' interiors exposed.
It was unclear how many people lived in the building or who had been inside at the time.
At least one person has been confirmed dead, Surfside mayor Charles Burkett told NBC's Today show.
"My police chief has told me that we transported two people to the hospital this morning at least, and one has died. We treated ten people on the site," Burkett said.
Footage of firefighters pulling one boy from the rubble alive was aired by NBC 6 South Florida.
Santo Mejil, a local resident, said his wife was an overnight caretaker who was in the complex when it collapsed.
"She said she heard a big explosion. It felt like an earthquake," he told the Miami Herald newspaper, tearing up as his wife called again to say she was being evacuated from the complex.
The cause of the collapse was still unknown, Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine Cava told the Herald.
"We are so grateful to @MiamiDadeFire, @MiamiBeachFire and all the first responders on the scene – may they stay safe while working to save lives."
Miami Beach Police Department said its officers were "assisting the Town of Surfside at a partial building collapse."
"Multiple police and fire agencies from across Miami-Dade are assisting," the force added.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said: "Over 80 MDFR units... are on scene with assistance from municipal fire departments."
Local media said dogs were helping in the search for survivors, and that records showed the building was built in 1981 and had more than 130 units inside.
© 2021 AFP
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