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Leaked emails show GOP lawmaker collaborated with extremist gun group that was preparing for ‘biblical warfare’

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In Washington State’s legislature, Rep. Matt Shea is controversial even among fellow Republicans: he has distributed white supremacist Christian Identity literature and openly advocated violence against Muslims, gays and others he considers enemies of the United States. And according to a report by Jason Wilson for The Guardian, Shea has enthusiastically encouraged an extremist group called Team Rugged.

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E-mails obtained by the Guardian show that Shea was in close contact with Team Rugged in 2016. Team Rugged, Wilson reports, offered training in “biblical warfare” to young Christian fundamentalist men — and that training included advice on ways in which guns and knives could be used on enemies. Shea, according to Wilson, made videos on behalf of the group.

The e-mails, Wilson reports, began in July 2016, when Shea corresponded with Team Rugged’s Patrick Caughran. In one of the e-mails, Team Rugged is described as a way “to provide patriotic and biblical training on war for young men.” Caughran said of Team Rugged, “Everything about it is both politically incorrect and what would be considered shocking truth to most modern Christians.”

In the e-mails, Caughran sounds a lot like a member of al-Qaeda, ISIS (Islamic State, Iraq and Syria) or Boko Haram — only instead of  promoting a violent Islamist jihad, he is promoting armed training and holy war for fundamentalist Christians. And one person who is cited as an inspiration in the e-mails is the Georgia-based Rev. John Weaver, a neo-Confederate extremist who the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has described as a “leading proponent” of “training Christians for armed battle.”

Weaver, according to the SPLC, has given weapons training to the League of the South — a neo-Confederate group that marched with neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017.

Caughran, in the e-mail communications with Shea, explained that Team Rugged’s training would show young Christian fundamentalist men “how to work better as a team, both in achieving physically demanding tasks and on the battlefield.” Training, Caughran explained, would include “combatives, the use of a knife in defense, close quarters shooting with rifle and pistol and how to work effectively in teams of two, three and four.”

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Caughran, according to Wilson’s report, asked Shea to promote its activities on Facebook. And in a 2017 video posted on his Facebook page, Shea interviewed members of Team Rugged and described the group as “returning to basic patriot principles.”

In 2018, Wilson notes, Shea sparked a major controversy in Washington State when he distributed a Christian Identity white supremacist document called “Biblical Basis for War” — which calls for Christian fundamentalist holy war and advocates the killing of all males who support abortion or same-sex marriage.

One of the Washington State Republicans who has been a vehement critic of Shea is Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. In an interview with the Guardian, Knezovich asserted that the militaristic armed training Shea favors for young Christian fundamentalists “almost sounds like going back to the Hitler Youth concept.”

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Knezovich told the Guardian, “There are lines that should never crossed. When you indoctrinate children in radicalized hate, then we wonder why we have the kind of shootings and bombings that we have around the world.”


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Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’

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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.

The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.

It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

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GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report

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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.

Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.

"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."

Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.

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White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’

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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.

CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."

Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.

https://twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1218704788432572422

Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.

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