WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving Tuesday denied authorities had rejected having National Guard troops working at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 alongside Capitol Police because of "optics," saying the intelligence did not warrant them. Irving made his comments in testimony prepared for two Senate committees investigating security preparations and response to the the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump. (Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
The partisan review of the 2020 presidential election by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman — which is based on unfounded claims of election fraud — is straining local election administrators and damaging the state's political process, according to Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell.
For weeks, Gableman has flipped back and forth over whether or not he will require clerks across the state to testify, in private, in front of him and his staff. He's also flipped back and forth over his ability to provide immunity to those who testify or even if he has the power to prosecute people as an appointed special counsel. He has also requested thousands upon thousands of records that don't exist, have already been turned over to the Assembly elections committee or would damage election security in the state if clerks complied with Gableman's requests, McDonell says.
Recently, both Gableman and an attorney working for him, former Trump lawyer Andrew Kloster, have said they have no real understanding of how election laws work. Both of the men have also said, without proof, that the election was stolen.
“It's been a lot of work to keep up with everything and how it may affect us or anyone in the county," McDonell says. “It feels like your head's on a swivel, the constant contradictions and changing of directions. This is problematic for our democracy to continue to fan the Big Lie and try to promote this idea that there was something wrong with the November election. Trump's own appointee said it was the most secure, safe, accurate election. Unfortunately people here are lapping it up."
The flip-flopping, confusion and conspiracy-laden investigation is “surreal," McDonell says. One of Gableman's requests copied a request made by a citizen who is attempting to conduct his own review of the election, highlighting the amateur nature of Gableman's work.
“The bigger issue is the constant conversations with our legal team; some of these requests — inappropriate isn't the right word," McDonell says. “Some of the requests we've gotten would make it so foreign adversaries could hack our elections. That is the method by which it would happen. It's surreal."
“He hasn't read the documents already turned over to the Assembly election committee which he supposedly works for," McDonell says of Gableman.
Thus far, the only look the public has gotten into what Gableman is doing has been through three videos posted to a YouTube channel in which Gableman defends his investigation, but offers little information.
“The problem is you can't talk to him," says McDonell.
Gableman has also made recent comments that contradict normal legal processes, saying local officials shouldn't work with government lawyers to respond to subpoenas or requests for documents.
“There is no need to lawyer up and there should not be lawyers between the people of Wisconsin and their elected and appointed government officials," Gableman said.
But McDonell says this isn't how subpoenas work. In fact, if a government office receives a subpoena for any reason, the first step should be to go to the attorneys on staff. And even in regular open records requests filed with a government agency, that agency's staff attorneys are involved in responding.
“Anyone knows if you get contacted by a lawyer with a subpoena, that's the first thing you do," McDonell says about getting staff attorneys involved in responding to subpoenas. “That's not even controversial; you'd get in trouble if you didn't do that."
Even as Republican members of the Assembly refuse to back down — despite considerable public pressure — from the review they've charged Gableman with conducting, McDonell says he's concerned about what it means for elections moving forward.
“The bigger problem from a work point of view," he says, “is this is going to cause this to go on and on and on. Constant open records requests as a vehicle for attempts to recount as opposed to the normal mechanisms is going to cause people to be disruptive at polling locations around the state. We're going to have to prepare for all of that. None of that happened in 2016 when Donald Trump won. … The vote is accurate. Same thing in 2020. Now those norms are being destroyed."
Wisconsin Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Wisconsin Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Ruth Conniff for questions: email@example.com. Follow Wisconsin Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.
MAGA rioter's aunt congratulated him for his 'awesomeness' after he bragged about fighting four cops: feds
New court documents filed in the case of alleged MAGA rioter Cody Mattice this week shed new light on how both he and his family viewed the siege on the United States Capitol as it was happening.
In one particularly telling exchange flagged by NBC 4 Washington reporter Scott MacFarlane, Mattice sent out a text message to his aunt, Rebecca Evert, in which he boasted of his exploits in fighting with law enforcement officers at the Capitol.
Specifically, Mattice informed Evert via a text message that he and his allies "fought off like 4 or 5 cops and stand f*cking victorious." Mattice then told Evert that he "also maced a cop."
"Awesomeness!" Evert replied. "I'm trying to find you in the breach videos... what are you wearing?"
U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell apparently found these messages to be incriminating, as MacFarlane reports that he subsequently ordered Mattice back to pretrial detention even though he had hoped to be granted release.
As Huffington Post's Ryan J. Reilly notes, Evert last week told reporters that she hoped that the judge would see that her nephew was not threatening and could be safely released ahead of his trial.
"He's not a danger or a threat to society, he's not a flight risk," she said at the time. "He is a great person."
Landing in Nevada on Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke about the role of Gen. Colin Powell as the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs, first Black National Security Adviser, and first Black Secretary of State and how his service brought the United States into a modern era of representation. One reporter, however, wanted to talk about the fact that Powell died of COVID-19 complications despite being vaccinated.
"What is your message for Americans who know that he was fully vaccinated with COVID, who now remain skeptical about getting the vaccine, despite the fact that yes, did he have the cancer diagnosis as well?" the reporter asked.
"I don't think that -- what happens in terms of his health situation is exactly what the doctors have told us can happen, right?" said Harris, citing warnings about COVID being able to kill the immunocompromised and people who have preexisting conditions. "I think that today is a day to really reflect on the life of the man and his extraordinary service and not to politicize the efficacy of vaccines."
Harris spoke about the way that he was able to inspire so many young service members and "what his accomplishments meant as a reflection of who we are as a nation."
She said that she hoped it was the key takeaway from his life and leadership.
"Those barriers were not easy to break by any stretch," she said. "But he did it with dignity. He did it with grace. And because of what he was able to accomplish, it really did elevate our nation in so many ways. So, may he rest in peace."
Vice President Harris and President Joe Biden have asked Americans to wear masks and get the vaccine to help protect those with preexisting conditions and who are immunocompromised, like Gen. Powell. He had suffered from prostate cancer and then faced blood cancer, which is among the many conditions that make it difficult to fight off COVID despite being vaccinated.
See the statement below:
Kamala Harris on Colin Powell www.youtube.com
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