Lee Wagner, a Marine Corps veteran and suicide intervention specialist, has spent the past six years helping fellow veterans process the trauma of their combat experiences, with an eye toward preventing them from taking their own lives. Like many of his peers, Wagner is a gun owner. In recent months, Wagner has pushed Pennsylvania state lawmakers to pass a bipartisan-backed extreme risk protection order bill. So-called red flag laws temporarily remove firearms from those who may be a harm to themselves or others, and they are lauded by public health experts, law enforcement officials and gun s...
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WASHINGTON — Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) spoke to reporters on Wednesday as Congress continued the lame-duck session ahead of the holiday break.
When asked about the guilty sedition conviction, Raskin explained that it confirmed his faith in justice.
"I'm thrilled that justice was done. I was impressed that the jury obviously made a fine-grained and subtle distinction for different defendants and different charges. So there were multiple convictions and multiple acquittals and it means the justice system is working and we can sort it out," Raskin explained.
That said, he explained that "an insurrection or a coup is made up of sub-atomic crimes and I cheer whenever those sub-atomic crimes are prosecuted and convicted. It has not changed my views on [whether it points to the White House]. It deepens my sense that Donald Trump was the central actor and mastermind of all of these events and they generated crimes of a terrible danger."
When asked about the special counsel, he said that he understands why Attorney General Merrick Garland would make such a move, saying, "The apologists for the insurrection would be wandering around asking 'why didn't you appoint a special counsel? You can't trust an attorney general who was named by the president.' But when they appointed the special counsel, Donald Trump said, this is the biggest witch hunt of all time."
Raskin is part of the subcommittee made up of lawyers on the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6, so a piece of what they're doing is mapping out any possible referrals to the Justice Department.
"Look there have been hundreds of offenses committed that are subsumed under the general banner of Jan. 6 and we just want to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. And we want to make sure that the Committee is emphatic about those crimes that are of sufficient gravity that one branch of government essentially needs to tell another about it."
There are at least four people Raskin said the committee has already referred to the Justice Department for criminal charges for contempt of Congress. So, it's unclear who the committee will refer for further charges. From the sound of it, Raskin is ready to hang that albatross around the former president.
"I think that what Donald Trump did when he occupied the Oval Office was the most dangerous set of political assaults on American political institutions in the history of the White House," Raskin also said. "I don’t think any other president has come as close as Trump in terms of the dangerousness of his actions, in terms of destabilizing and potentially overthrowing the constitutional order."
'Substantial evidence' Trump was part of J6 criminal plot — just like the Oath Keepers: Legal expert
On CNN Wednesday, former White House ethics czar and House impeachment counsel Norm Eisen broke down the significance of Attorney General Merrick Garland's speech ahead of the conviction of Oath Keepers leaders in connection with the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Two of the far-right militia leaders Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs, were convicted of seditious conspiracy, with a litany of other convictions handed down on several other associates.
"You have the attorney general, Merrick Garland, here, touting the seditious conspiracy verdict vowing to hold others accountable," said anchor Alex Marquardt. "How much do you think these convictions embolden the Justice Department? What is Garland telegraphing here about upcoming trials?"
"I think they embolden the Justice Department a lot," said Eisen. "I've known Merrick Garland over 30 years since we were young lawyers starting out in D.C. This is an unusual victory lap for him. If you have any question about the relationship of the Oath Keepers' case to Donald Trump's potential liability, including on some of the same possible crimes, sedition — seditious conspiracy, the attorney general talked about it when talking about the special counsel."
The bottom line, Eisen said, is that Trump should be worried.
"It's not the comments alone," said Eisen. "It's the substantial evidence that, like the Oath Keepers defense that they didn't enter the Capitol, that he was a significant part of events that may confer criminal liability. He should be worried about the facts and the law, but also the resolve that Garland, on behalf of DOJ, is signaling."
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Norm Eisen says there is "substantial evidence" Trump is criminally liable like the Oath Keepers www.youtube.com
Revealed: No Secret Service agent has corroborated Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony with Jan. 6 committee
WASHINGTON — Speaking to a group of reporters on Wednesday, House Select Committee Charman, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said that no Secret Service agent had corroborated the blockbuster testimony of former assistant to chief of staff Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson.
Hutchinson testified on a number of cases when it came to Donald Trump's decision to ignore those who couldn't make it through the magnetometers because they weren't there to kill him. That was echoed by Trump in his speech where he asked the Secret Service to let people in. In another incident, she said that deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato told her of an incident in the car with Trump in which he lunged at the agent and tried to grab the steering wheel.
When asked about Ornato's testimony this week, Thompson told reporters, "I don't think there's anything in the committee's mind that changed from Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony."
According to Hutchinson's testimony: “The President reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said ‘Sir; you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.’ Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel."
Hutchinson then told the Committee that Ornato told her this story once they had returned to the White House. Engel "did not correct or disagree with any part of the story."
Ornato had previously said that he doesn't "remember" the discussion. Thompson didn't reveal whether the second round of questioning before the committee jogged Ornato's memory.
Yet, when asked if "anyone, or any of the Secret Service agents" had confirmed her testimony, Thompson said they had not. The committee called for text messages and information from the Secret Service on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, but all of the tests were "accidentally" deleted. The Department of Homeland Security's Trump-appointed inspector general pulled the plug on the retrieval of the texts.
Trump has denounced what Hutchinson said, giving excuses for how he couldn't have lunged at the agent, but his facts proved to be false. There were only two other people than Trump in the car: Secret Service agent Bobby Engel, and the agent driving the car. Ornato was the person who relayed the story to Hutchinson about the incident. He has since retired from the Secret Service and retained his own attorney.
Thompson also told reporters that the goal is to be done this week with the report, but he isn't certain whether that was possible. He said it all comes down to the deadline of the printer.
He also said that there is some information that they've received, "that we'll have to make a decision as to what we do if it. Do we make a criminal referral for some of it? Do we make an ethical referral?"
He also made it clear that he's not concerned about Republicans retaliating against the committee and doing an investigation of the investigation, because "everything in the report has been fact-checked many times."
Republicans have also said that they want to investigate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to uncover why she didn't do more to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6. Donald Trump has implied that it was her fault that there was not a larger security presence there and that he told her that she should have more. The committee's report doesn't confirm that, Thompson said — and there's plenty of evidence to show that it isn't true.
Republicans would have to be careful as an investigation would likely show that there was a failure in the chain of information when the FBI, Homeland Security, and Secret Service warned the White House.