By Andrius Sytas VILNIUS (Reuters) - Lithuanian bishops have called on politicians to vote down proposed same-sex partnership legislation, quoting words used by Pope Francis to argue that civil unions distort the concept of marriage and family. Lithuania's parliament last month voted to accept for further debate a draft bill legalizing same-sex civil partnerships, after voting down a similar bill in May 2021. In a pastoral letter to the faithful, the Lithuanian Bishops Conference -- a body which unites the country's bishops -- quoted a 2016 treatise by Pope Francis which states "de facto union...
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'More than a dozen' Trump allies offered free legal services by key political action committee: report
On Thursday, The New York Times reported that "more than a dozen" of former President Donald Trump's allies are being offered a free ride on legal fees by a key political action committee associated with the former president, as the January 6 Committee's investigation continues to probe the events of the Capitol attack.
"The arrangement drew new scrutiny this week after Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide in his White House, made an explosive appearance before the House panel, providing damning new details about Mr. Trump’s actions and statements on the day of the deadly riot," reported Luke Broadwater, Maggie Haberman, Annie Karni, and Alan Feuer. "She did so after firing a lawyer who had been recommended to her by two of Mr. Trump’s former aides and paid for by his political action committee, and hiring new counsel. Under the representation of the new lawyer, Jody Hunt, Ms. Hutchinson sat for a fourth interview with the committee in which she divulged more revelations and agreed to come forward publicly to testify to them."
According to the report, it is unclear whether firing the Trump-recommended counsel cleared the way for Hutchinson to testify — although some members of the committee are suspicious that that is what happened.
"According to financial disclosures, in May alone, Mr. Trump’s 'Save America' political action committee paid about $200,000 to law firms," said the report. "That including $75,000 to JPRowley Law, which represents Cleta Mitchell, a pro-Trump lawyer who has filed suit to try to block the committee’s subpoena, and $50,000 to Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, which has represented Stephen K. Bannon, a close ally of the former president who refused to meet with the panel and has been charged with criminal contempt."
"It was not immediately clear whether those payments were for covering legal fees connected to the Jan. 6 inquiry, but people familiar with the matter said the PAC has paid for the representation of several former officials and aides in the investigation, including some high-profile ones such as Stephen Miller, who served as a senior adviser to Mr. Trump," the report noted.
Hutchinson gave bombshell testimony in a surprise interview earlier this week, including that Trump knew the rioters were armed and demanded they be allowed to march to the Capitol anyway because "they're not here to hurt me," and that the former president got into a physical altercation with a Secret Service agent after being told he couldn't visit the scene of the riot. Another Trump official, Tony Ornato, has denied this sequence of events, although other officials have accused him of a track record of dishonesty.
Trump ally under renewed scrutiny from J6 Committee after attacking Hutchinson's credibility: report
On Thursday, POLITICO reported that Tony Ornato, a Trump administration official who has disputed several key points made by Cassidy Hutchinson at her surprise January 6 hearing earlier this week, has himself come under sharp scrutiny from the House Select Committee.
"Ornato, a Secret Service official who served a year as a political appointee in Trump’s White House, has reportedly signaled a willingness to contradict a high-profile element of Hutchinson’s testimony: that Ornato told her former President Donald Trump lunged toward the head of his detail on Jan. 6, 2021, in a push to be driven to the Capitol and join his supporters trying to disrupt Congress," reported Kyle Cheney.
"But several members of the select panel say Ornato, not Hutchinson, is the one with credibility problems — and have moved to publicly preempt any doubts he might raise," noted the report. "'There seems to be a major thread here… Tony Ornato likes to lie,' Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) tweeted Thursday after another former Trump White House official, Alyssa Farah, questioned Ornato’s honesty. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), another Jan. 6 committee member, said in a Wednesday interview with NBC that Ornato 'did not have as clear of memories from this period of time' as Hutchinson did."
Hutchinson made a number of bold claims about the former president in addition to the Secret Service incident, including that Trump knew his supporters were armed as they marched to the Capitol and demanded they be let in anyway — in violation of all security rules — because "they're not here to hurt me."
"Ornato, a veteran Secret Service agent of more than two decades with stints in the presidential protection division under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, was detailed to the White House by Trump in late 2019 and appointed deputy chief of staff, an unusual arrangement for a law enforcement official," noted the report. "He has interviewed twice with the select committee — once in January and once in March, according to two people familiar with his appearances."
Reporters, too, have thrown suspicion on Ornato's testimony, with Carol Leonnig telling MSNBC that he is "a Trump acolyte."
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Mesa Republican Senator Kelly Townsend were subpoenaed by the FBI for an on-going investigation into President Donald Trump’s alleged pressure campaign on state officials to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
“President Fann received a FOIA in the form of a subpoena by the FBI as part of the Biden Administration’s political theatrics as they look into ‘January 6,’” Kim Quintero, Director of Communications for Arizona Senate Republicans said in a statement to the Arizona Mirror. “Nonetheless, President Fann is fully cooperating in releasing whatever emails and text messages they are requesting.”
Fann, a Prescott Republican, hired and helped lead the “audit” of Maricopa County’s 2020 Presidential election results. She was also in communication with a number of Trump allies such as OANN correspondent Christina Bobb — who also worked for the Trump campaign and sent emails to Fann on behalf of Trump attorney Rudy Guiliani in December 2020 that included witness declarations, statements and expert testimony. Bobb’s non-profit would also supply volunteers for the “audit” itself as well as funding.
Quintero also confirmed that Townsend, a staunch supporter of the “audit” efforts and bogus election fraud claims, was issued a similar subpoena. Quintero said she is not aware of any other senator who wsa issued a subpoena.
“We have no reason to believe (Fann and Townsend) will be called to testify in Washington D.C.,” Quintero said. “The documents expressly say that she is not to comment on the matter, so this is all we can release at this time.”
The Arizona Capitol Times reported that Fann said there is a “list” of lawmakers who received a subpoena.
A Republican spokesman for the Arizona House of Representatives did not immediately respond to a questions about whether any members of that chamber had also been subpoenaed.
The subpoenas follow a string of other subpoenas to other high profile Arizona politicos who have found themselves enmeshed in election fraud claims and other legal battles.
Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward was issued a subpoena by the Department of Justice last week along with other Arizonans who signed onto a document that would have sent fake electors to Congress on Jan. 6.
Politico first broke the news of Ward and her husband Michael being subject of a subpoena, citing an unnamed source who was familiar with the case but could not speak publicly. Alexander Kolodin, the Wards’ attorney and an attorney for both the Arizona Senate and Cyber Ninjas, confirmed to the Arizona Republic that he was representing them in the matter.
The Washington Post also reported that Arizonans Nancy Cottle and Loraine Pellegrino, who signed the false elector document as chair and secretary, were also served subpoenas in the matter.
This is not the first subpoena that Cottle, Pellegrino or Ward have faced. All three have been issued subpoenas by the House Select Committee investigating the riot on Jan. 6 at the Capitol, with Ward’s phone records specifically being sought by the committee. The Wards have filed a countersuit on the initial subpoena by the committee in federal court in Phoenix, which is still pending.
The document at the heart of the matter, which led the DOJ to issue a subpoena, involves 11 Arizona Republicans who met at the state party headquarters to falsely declare themselves the state’s official presidential electors.
The document created a second set of electors for former President Donald J. Trump and included former and currently elected members of the Arizona legislature.
Rep. Jake Hoffman, R-Queen Creek, was one of those electors. Hoffman would later go on to own a business that looks and acts identical to the email campaign platform utilized by Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to email 29 Arizona lawmakers asking them not to certify the election results.
Former Rep. Anthony Kern, who was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, was also one of the electors, along with Senate Candidate Jim Lamon and Turning Point Action head Tyler Bowyer.
The subpoena appears to be part of a larger investigation into Trump allies and associates and their role in the Jan. 6 riot.
Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: email@example.com. Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.