On Thursday, following the ruling that indicted Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Hasson will be released pending trial, CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider explained one of his attorney’s key defenses of his actions: his racism and his alleged hit list of Democratic politicians isn’t really that much different from President Donald Trump’s way of thinking.
“The judge said really his alleged crimes don’t fit this standard for continued detention,” said Schneider. “He’s accused of plotting a domestic terror attack. But a grand jury has only indicted him on weapons and drug charges.”
“Hasson’s public defender saying in court today that the case against Hasson has really been overblown, and the attorney even went so far to say that Hasson’s views aren’t that different from those of President Trump. Hasson allegedly kept a hit list of Democrats he wanted to kill, and he kept more than a dozen firearms in his apartment … His attorney said the names Hasson allegedly assembled weren’t part of a hit list but instead, quote, ‘looks like the sort of list that our commander in chief might have compiled while watching Fox News in the morning.'”
“The defender actually adding to that, that the racial slurs that Hasson wrote are now part of the, quote, national vocabulary saying Donald Trump uses similar epithets in his everyday language and tweets,” Schneider continued. “So some strong words there from the public defender.”
Schneider noted that federal prosecutors are pushing back hard on this characterization. “The assistant U.S. Attorney in Maryland said Hasson was ready and willing to carry out a massive attack, saying ‘This is combat gear. There is no reason to have this.'” He even reportedly “Conducted online searches for the home addresses of multiple Supreme Court judges.”
Because Hasson is still a threat, Schneider added, the judge has noted that when he is released, he will be subject to strict supervision ahead of trial.