ATLANTA — The three Georgia men already facing state murder charges for last year’s fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery answered, for the first time, federal hate crime charges leveled at them in late April. Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan all pleaded not guilty Tuesday at their arraignment on five federal counts. They were not accompanied by attorneys. Each man asked for court-appointed representation. The charges, read aloud by U.S. Magistrate Benjamin Cheesbro, allege the three white suspects “did willfully, by force and threat of force, injure, intimidate, a...
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Trump wanted to ‘neutralize' the presidential chain of succession by seizing power at the Capitol: expert
Fascism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat provided fascinating insight — and a terrifying prediction about future Republican Party violence — when she was interviewed by CNN's Jim Acosta on Saturday.
On Tuesday, Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that on Jan. 6, Trump was "irate" when the Secret Service would not drive him to the Capitol and lunged for the steering wheel of his presidential limousine.
Acosta began that interview by noting that weeks before Hutchinson's testimony, Ben-Ghiat had informed his audience that Trump had to go to the Capitol for the phase of a coup where the new order would be announced. Acosta described her analysis as "almost clairvoyant."
"And we have since learned that Trump did try to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6, but his Secret Service stopped him," Acosta said. "Ruth, what is your reaction to everything we learned this week, including this new CNN reporting that seems to back up what Cassidy Hutchison was saying?"
"I'm really disturbed, not surprised, about the role of violence," the New York University professor replied.
"It was very telling to me that Trump said chief of staff Mark Meadows, who seems to have been like the control center of this operation, she said that when the violence broke out, he didn't seem concerned at all, and he didn't seem perturbed, and that's because violence was part of the plan. It has to be in a coup," she explained.
"That's also why Trump wanted the, you know, weapons detectors removed, and so the other thing that stands out is that not only did he want to be driven there to the Capitol and be at the head of this, you know, violent thug march into the Capitol, but Ms. Hutchinson testified that there were conversations about him entering the chamber," she continued. "And what that says to me is first, you know, you've neutralized the presidential chain of succession. They were going to do something to Pence, they were hunting Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi, speaker, and so he was going to also have fixed the problem with the electoral counts because Pence wasn't there, and then he was going to declare himself at the head of this violent mob in the chamber as a legitimate president, and that's where that phase of the coup would have ended."
"It's extraordinary what we're learning from these hearings," she said.
Acosta asked Ben-Ghiat to compare Trump to other leaders she has studied.
She said Trump, "and his party are behaving in a desperate way, and when autocrats think they're going down, they will do anything -- and we've seen Jan. 6 -- to stay in power. What's really extraordinary is how Trump, who came from outside politics, put the GOP in such a state of authoritarian subjection and discipline that the whole party is completely compromised. We're learning from these hearings just how many people were involved," she said.
"And unfortunately, I think we can expect more extremist behavior, aggressive behavior from the party because they are acting out of fear. They're guilty, and their coup failed, and they've been exposed to the world by these hearings, and so they are -- they're in emergency mode," Ben-Bhiat warned.
Ruth Ben Ghiat www.youtube.com
The select committee investigating Donald Trump's coup attempt has two new critical categories of evidence against the former president, a legal expert argued on MSNBC on Saturday.
"As we learn more about potential witness tampering during the Jan. 6 committee's investigation, this week's testimony of former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson could explain why those in Trumpworld were so worried about what she might have to say," MSNBC's Cori Coffin reported.
For analysis, Coffin interviewed former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner.
"According to Hutchison, Trump knew that some of his supporters would be armed that day, sent them to the Capitol anyway, even hoping to join them," she noted. "So, does this open up the former president to be criminally liable?"
"Yeah, this is what I would call smoking gun evidence," Kirschner replied.
"And interestingly, at the last J6 public hearing, we got both smoking gun evidence, and we got loaded gun evidence," he continued. "And what I mean by that is, as you just played in your lead-in, Cori, the president knew. He was briefed that his crowd was armed with assault rifles and pistols and knives and brass knuckles and bear spray, etc."
"And you would think a reasonable response from a president would be, oh my goodness, let's make sure the metal detectors are operating properly," he explained. "He said just the opposite, take them down, let the armed members of the group in, and they can march to the Capitol from there. To do what? To stop the certification of his political opponent's election win. So in a very real sense, that smoking gun evidence that Donald Trump wanted to lead what we now know is an armed attack on the Capitol. The loaded gun evidence is, the witness tampering information, and you know, witness tampering just strikes at the very heart of the integrity of investigations, whether congressional or criminal."
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According to an Associated Press report on a conservative fundraiser in Iowa this week, some Republican voters are less than excited at the prospect of the prospect of another Donald Trump presidential run, having tired of his act since he first ran for president in 2016.
With the New York Times reporting the former president is anxious to announce a 2024 run -- possibly within days -- AP is reporting that it may not be greeted with welcome arms of conservatives suffering from "Trump fatigue."
According to the AP's Steven Peoples and Thomas Beaumont, "Stunning new revelations about former President Donald Trump’s fight to overturn the 2020 election have exposed growing political vulnerabilities just as he eyes another presidential bid," adding, "Here in Iowa, the state expected to host the first presidential nominating contest in roughly 18 months, several voters signaled Thursday that they were open to another presidential candidate even if Trump were to run again. At the same time, some conservative media outlets issued scathing rebukes of the former president. Aides for multiple GOP presidential prospects also indicated, publicly and privately, that they felt increasingly emboldened to challenge Trump in 2024 following the explosive new testimony."
One voter among the 350 conservative activists at the congressional fundraising barbecue in Sioux City, admitted it was time to move on.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find people in this area who support the idea that people aren’t looking for someone else,” explained business owner Dave Van Wyk. “To presume that conservative America is 100% behind Donald Trump is simply not the case.”
AP reports, "For some Republican voters, that was the feeling even before this week’s stunning new testimony."
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) -- who is possibly planning a run of his own -- echoed those sentiments, telling AP, "People are concerned that we could lose the election in ‘24 and want to make sure that we don’t nominate someone who would be seriously flawed."
Comments from Iowa resident Kathy de Koning seem to support Christie's possibly self-serving claim.
“We can do better," she stated before adding, "I just don’t know if he’s electable anymore.”
You can read more here.