PHILADELPHIA — Federal subpoenas and search warrants delivered to Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania this week were the subject of some confusion, and a bit of clarity. First the clarity: U.S. Rep. Scott Perry on Thursday said his attorneys were told by the U.S. Department of Justice that he is "not a target of its investigation" after three FBI agents confronted him with a search warrant Tuesday and seized his cell phone. Perry first expressed outrage at that approach, which came while he was traveling with his family, instead of contacting his attorneys. On Thursday, Perry released a state...
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On Monday, The Washington Post reported that a "splinter group" of the QAnon movement known as Negative48 is going to every one of former President Donald Trump's rallies — and it's "causing tensions" with the security team.
Negative48, whose members were behind the mass pilgrimage to Dallas last year to see the supposed resurrection of John F. Kennedy Jr. and his alliance with former President Donald Trump to retake America from the forces of evil, are now following Trump's rallies around the country like rock concerts.
"The Front Row Joes brought no agenda besides their undying love for Trump," reported Isaac Arnsdorf. "The arrival of the QAnon group, however, has led to a silent standoff with Trump’s team, raising concerns that they could disrupt events, alienate other fans, distract from the former president’s message or generate bad publicity. The crew of crowd-control staff — male and female body builders in tight, silky green polos and black pants — keeps a close watch on the Negative48 group, telling them they can’t block the aisles with their dancing and, in Wilmington on Friday, working to head off another scene of index fingers pointing to the sky."
According to the report, the Negative48 adherents have their own bizarre numerology to divine their agenda.
"One man with the group who didn’t identify himself illustrated how it worked using the name of this newspaper. 'The Washington Post?' he said. 'W is 23 in the alphabet. P is 16. Thirty-nine. Angel 39. Which angel? Lucifer was an angel,'" said the report. "Elsewhere at the rally, Eileen McDermott said she’d only started to explore gematria, but she believed there were coded messages in Trump’s speeches, executive orders and musical selections. She said her devotion to Trump became a strain on her relationship with her daughters, but eventually they accepted that if they wanted to have a relationship with her they had to let her be her."
The broader QAnon movement posits that Trump is seeking to liberate the United States from an evil group of sex-trafficking cannibals who consume the flesh of children to live forever — and that an event known as "The Storm" will declare martial law and lead to the arrests of all their political opponents. The FBI has identified QAnon as a source of domestic terrorist violence.
CNN on Monday revealed the identity of the January 6th rioter who received a phone call from the Trump White House -- but the phone call in question doesn't appear to be smoking-gun evidence of coordination between the Trump administration and the rioters.
According to CNN, the call was placed to 26-year-old Brooklyn-based Trump supporter Anton Lunyk, who had already left the Capitol by the time he received the call.
Additionally, CNN notes that the call only lasted for nine seconds and it is unclear who at the White House placed the call.
Lunyk has told investigators that he doesn't even remember receiving the brief call, and he says that he did not know anyone inside the Trump White House.
The call was first revealed by former Rep. Denver Riggleman, a Republican who worked with the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riots during the early part of its probe.
However, Tim Mulvey, the January 6 Committee spokesman, downplayed the significance of the call in an interview with CNN.
"In his role on the Select Committee staff, Mr. Riggleman had limited knowledge of the committee’s investigation," Mulvey said. "He departed from the staff in April prior to our hearings and much of our most important investigative work."
Tropical storm Ian has strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane as it nears western Cuba, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Monday.
"Ian becomes a hurricane," the NHC said in an advisory, warning that "additional rapid strengthening is expected today."
The storm was moving northwest toward Cuba and the Cayman Islands with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour, the NHC said.
It added that western Cuba was expected to bear the brunt of the storm on Monday when it could be hit by "significant wind and storm surge impacts."
People in the US state of Florida were also preparing for the storm's imminent arrival, with the NHC issuing a hurricane watch for the state's west coast, including Tampa Bay.
On Sunday, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in all 67 counties as officials scrambled to prepare for the storm.
"Expect heavy rains, strong winds, flash flooding, storm surge and even isolated tornados," DeSantis told reporters on Sunday.
The governor urged residents to stock up on food, water, medicine and fuel and to prepare for power outages.
DeSantis activated 2,500 National Guard members to help with the effort.
Authorities in several Florida municipalities, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, began distributing free sandbags to residents to help them protect their homes from the risk of flooding.
President Joe Biden approved emergency aid to 24 counties in Florida through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"It's never too early to prepare," Tampa Mayor Jane Castor tweeted.
The Caribbean and parts of eastern Canada are still counting the costs of powerful storm Fiona, which tore through the region last week.
Fiona claimed seven lives as it roared through the Caribbean at the start of a week of havoc.
When it arrived in eastern Canada, the storm packed intense winds of 80 miles (130 kilometers) per hour, bringing torrential rain and waves of up to 40 feet (12 meters).
Canadian authorities have now confirmed two deaths caused when Fiona tore into Nova Scotia and Newfoundland as a post-tropical cyclone early Saturday.
Prince Edward Island authorities on Sunday confirmed the death of one person while officials in Newfoundland said they found the body of a 73-year-old woman believed to have been swept from her home. She was apparently sheltering in her basement when waves broke through.
"The devastation is immense," Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston told reporters. "The magnitude of the storm is incredible."
Storm surges swept at least 20 homes into the sea in the town of Channel-Port aux Basques, on the southwestern tip of Newfoundland.
Mayor Brian Button described "a total war zone" in the coastal community.
Around 200 residents had been evacuated before the storm hit.
"Some people have lost everything, and I mean everything," Button told CBC News.
© Agence France-Presse