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Civil rights expert on Texas shooting: Pam Geller’s hate group got ‘the response they were seeking’

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Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center SPLC, said on Monday that he was not surprised that Pam Geller’s anti-Muslim group had been targeted by gunmen in Texas because she seemed to be trying to provoke that response.

On Sunday, two attackers with assault-style rifles reportedly opened fire at an event where people were drawing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, which is prohibited by Islam. The event was sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which was co-founded by Geller. Both AFDI and Geller’s Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) organization have been labeled hate groups by the SPLC.

Potok told CNN on Monday that the shooting would “give a little boost to Geller and her friends.”

“Absolutely nothing justifies this attack,” he pointed out. “That said, Pam Geller, to describe her as anti-Islam and her groups as anti-Islam barely covers it.”

Potok noted that he and the SPLC were both defenders of the First Amendment, “but Pam Geller and her organization is a hate group today just as they were day before yesterday.”

Geller’s stunt in Texas was similar to Florida Pastor Terry Jones burning Korans, according to Potok.

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“Certainly that was protected activity under the First Amendment, but it also led fairly directly to the killing of 10 or 15 people abroad,” he recalled. “These are provocations that are aimed at stirring the pot, and it doesn’t seem terribly surprising that, in fact, that they get the response that they — in a sense — they are seeking.”

“The fact that Pamela Geller and her friends have the right — the absolute right — to make these kinds of presentations and speeches, to hold contests lampooning the Prophet Muhammad and so on is not a contradiction of the principle of free speech. It’s essentially the cost of democracy.”

Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast May 4, 2015.

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Mitch McConnell busted on CNN as the ‘ringmaster’ leaving the door open for more Russian election interference

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On Tuesday, CNN's John Avlon broke down how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is every bit the obstacle to secure and safe elections as President Donald Trump is.

"There should be things that transcend petty politics, and towards the top of that list is stopping foreign powers from interfering in our elections," said Avlon, playing a clip of former special counsel Robert Mueller warning about the dangers. "Robert Mueller's warning is again, falling on willfully deaf ears. We know that foreign powers continue to try to meddle in our elections. Trump's FBI director and Director of National Intelligence have made this crystal clear."

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2020 Election

CNN panel destroys Trump’s mass arrest threat of millions as a wildly unrealistic Orlando rally stunt

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The panel on CNN's New Day cast a jaundiced eye at a threat Donald Trump made on Monday night where he threatened mass arrests of millions of immigrant families as part of an ICE operation.

On Twitter, the president wrote: "Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people."

According to one panelist on CNN, the president's threat was timed as a political stunt, with the contributor Jackie Kucinich calling it "rally-fodder" before his Orlando campaign kickoff.

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MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Mika hilariously taunt Trump over lousy ratings for his ABC interview: He didn’t even beat ‘Family Feud’

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President Donald Trump sees his poll numbers as the same thing as television ratings, according to panelists on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Host Joe Scarborough and others shared anecdotes showing the president's obsession with poll numbers and TV ratings, and his compulsion to push back when those popularity metrics are challenged.

"You have to to think back to that period you just described, 2015-2016, when reporters would go up to the 26th floor of Trump Tower," said Washington Post reporter Robert Costa. "President Trump would have all these framed ratings from 'The Apprentice' in picture frames on the wall. He would use the phrase ratings, and he would interchange it with the discussion of polling. He would say, 'My ratings are doing really well.'"

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