SAN DIEGO — The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego is urging anyone concerned that their baptism might have been performed improperly to contact their local priest about a possible do-over. The recommendation came Tuesday in the wake of the resignation of a Catholic priest who acknowledged that he wrongly performed thousands of baptisms in recent years. The New York Times reported Monday that the Rev. Andres Arango was performing a baptism at St. Gregory Catholic Church in Phoenix last year when some people in the pews heard a slight variation of the traditional ritual. The priest said, “We b...
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Trump’s legal defense is just part of his grift: George Conway says he’s been running a fraud for 5 years
Prominent conservative lawyer George Conway offered an insightful analysis of Donald Trump's strategic thinking following the FBI executing a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.
Conway, the husband of Trump 2016 campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, was considered for the positions of solicitor general and assistant attorney general before he began publicly opposing his wife's administration.
On Saturday, he was interviewed by CNN's Jim Acosta.
"I have to show this to our viewers," Acosta began. "Trump is already trying to make money off of this and a lot of money. Take a look at all this, he has been blasting out fundraiser emails one after the other since the FBI search.
The interview came shortly after Trump bragged on Truth Social about record fundraising.
"One of them reads' official' Trump defense fund," Acosta noted. "And you know, all of this is becoming an instant cash cow.
"And we'll remind our viewers the Jan. 6 committee pointed out to the American people that during the period between the 2020 election and Jan. 6, they claimed to have a defense fund that they were trying to raise money for, they were claiming to raise money for."
"And it's just one fundraising email after another and I'm just kind of wondering, George, is this part of the grift?" Acosta asked. "Is this the grift, part two?"
"Look, you cannot separate anything that he does from the grift," Conway replied.
"And you cannot separate anything he does and any of his supporters do from the grift, and that includes Fox News, that includes members of Congress," he explained. "I mean, it's all part of, you know — basically they've been running a fraud for five years that this man is competent, that he is sane, that he is virtuous and everything that threatens that is attacked as being illegitimate and wrong and lies without any evidence and I think that's why they describe it as a war."
"They don't want anybody to think, they want everybody to fight," Conway continued. "They want everybody to be angry and that's part of why they do that, is partly because the money comes in when they do that."
"Yeah, they're pushing people's buttons to get the people to push the fundraising button," Acosta said.
Conway warned that the 2024 presidential campaign could be violent.
Conway predicted Trump "will use the threat of his supporters engaging in violence to his advantage. He doesn't care, he perfectly will be happy to see violence in his honor, if you will, erupt."
"That was the playbook on Jan 6 and that's going to be the playbook for the 2024 campaign when he announces," Conway said. "Not if, it's when he announces."
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The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus and pair of gun rights activists — the Rev. Tim Christopher and Sarah Cade Hauptman — filed a lawsuit in 2021 against the State Agricultural Society, which runs the fair.
They argued the gun ban was illegal because of the Second Amendment and a state law that prohibits local jurisdictions from restricting firearms. The fairgrounds are on state property, and the Minnesota State Agricultural Society is a special state entity.
But their arguments did not convince U.S. District Court Judge John Tunheim, who wrote that the Agricultural Society has the right to ban guns given its responsibility to protect the safety of visitors.
Although Minnesota law allows permitted gun owners to carry in public — including at the State Capitol — gun restrictions are considered lawful in sensitive places like schools, other government buildings and the state fairgrounds, the judge noted.
“The Fairgrounds are a sensitive location with thousands of people and children present in often crowded conditions. As such, protecting the fairground from gunfire is a compelling interest,” Tunheim wrote.
Tunheim did not issue a decision on if the Agricultural Society’s ban violates the state law prohibiting local jurisdictions from restricting firearms. However, he said the activists did not have the right as private citizens to sue to enforce the law. The activists asked the judge to refer the question to the Minnesota Supreme Court, but he declined.
Tunheim’s ruling, coming less than two weeks before this year’s State Fair begins, is a victory for the Agricultural Society, which said allowing guns inside the fairgrounds would reduce ticket sales in the likelihood that music performers would pull out of the event.
Bryan Strawser, co-founder and chairman of the Gun Owners Caucus, said they are considering an appeal.
“We absolutely believe that people should not be illegally carrying firearms in violation of Minnesota law,” Strawser said. “At the same time, it’s unconscionable for a subdivision of government, like the State Fair, to prevent a law-abiding citizen from exercising their constitutional right to bear arms.”
Strawser said the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which knocked down New York’s strict restrictions on carrying guns in public, changes the calculus in their case.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority ruled that Americans have a broad right to carry guns outside the home, although it can be restricted in certain places like government buildings and schools.
Strawser says the Supreme Court’s decision sets a higher bar for when governments can restrict people’s right to carry firearms, and that a place being densely populated is not reason enough to designate it a “sensitive location.”
Strawser and the other gun rights activists filed their lawsuit shortly after the fair installed metal detectors in 2020 to more closely screen fairgoers for weapons. This was prompted by shootings near the fairgrounds, including in 2019 when three people were shot just outside the main gates.
The increased violence is also what motivated the activists to sue to carry guns, saying they needed to be armed to protect themselves. Strawser pointed out that this year the State Fair police are struggling to recruit officers and have asked the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office for help.
Both Christopher and Hauptman had previously carried guns inside the fairgrounds, their lawyer said during oral arguments, despite the State Fair long posting signs saying firearms are not permitted. Security guards have conducted bag searches since at least 2016.
After the fair installed metal detectors, Hauptman tried to enter the fairgrounds in 2021 with her firearm but was turned away.
At the time the activists filed their lawsuit, the Agricultural Society didn’t have an ordinance explicitly banning firearms.
While the Agricultural Society then created a rule banning guns, the activists said it was unenforceable and illegal since state law preempts local governments and state agencies from regulating firearms.
The activists first filed the lawsuit in state court but added a claim that it violated their federal civil rights, and so the case was moved to U.S. District Court.
Minnesota Reformer is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Minnesota Reformer maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Patrick Coolican for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Minnesota Reformer on Facebook and Twitter.
The drafting of the resolution follows a decision earlier this week by Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office to seek a special prosecutor to look into whether Rendon and eight others, including GOP Attorney General candidate Matt DePerno, took part in a conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to, and then tamper with, election equipment and data after the 2020 election.
It’s unlikely to be taken up in the GOP-controlled House. A spokesperson for House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell) this week told MLive that Rendon will keep her committee assignments to “let the legal process play out.”
“Representative Rendon abused her office, her position of power, and misrepresented the House of Representatives while badgering local election officials to comply with a phony investigation spurred by Donald Trump’s Big Lie conspiracies,” said House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.). “It’s beyond the pale, it’s criminal, and it is disgracefully below the standard of public service the people of Michigan should expect from their representatives. This offends the very founding ideal we share as Americans — this was an assault on our democracy. She played a crucial role in a coordinated conspiracy to gain illegal access to ballot tabulators and other election equipment to undermine our free and fair elections.”
The resolution, which is expected to be formally introduced next week, contends that Rendon “repeatedly asked local officials to give voting tabulators to unauthorized individuals, and those officials repeatedly complied with her requests. In doing so, Representative Rendon aided those unauthorized individuals in obtaining undue possession of a voting machine, in violation of Michigan law.”
It also alleged that in at least one of those conversations, “Rendon told the Roscommon County Clerk that ‘representatives’ were doing an investigation into election fraud and needed her voting machine.”
Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit), who introduced a resolution last month calling for 11 of his Republican colleagues, including Rendon, to be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for the crime of seditious conspiracy, said a censure in this instance was appropriate.
“Representative Rendon betrayed her oath of office, abandoned her duty to uphold the constitution, broke Michigan Election Law, and violated the public trust in this desperate and corrupt scheme to keep the former president in power against the will of the people,” said Tate. “Representative Rendon allegedly told at least one county clerk ‘representatives’ were performing an investigation in order to get her hands on this machinery, and that’s a lie against this legislature that can’t be allowed to stand.”
The resolution states Rendon has “engaged in a pattern of misconduct that has undermined the public’s confidence in her, in the House, and in Michigan’s electoral process and democratic institutions.”
In December 2020, Rendon was one of five GOP lawmakers who attempted and failed to enter the state Capitol, along with 16 fake electors, so they could attempt to fraudulently certify Michigan’s electoral votes for former President Donald Trump, who lost to Biden in Michigan by 154,000 votes.
That was also the same month she joined a lawsuit, Texas v. Pennsylvania, seeking to invalidate Michigan’s elector selection process in order to overturn election results in states including Michigan.
“Rep. Rendon must be held accountable, in the Legislature and in the courts, for her continued attacks against the right of Michiganders to choose their own leaders and to a government by the people,” Lasinski said.
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Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: email@example.com. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.