Kerlie Leonce wasn’t always proud to be Haitian. A first-generation American, Leonce doesn’t speak Creole and, a times, felt ostracized because of it, as if she always had to prove herself to other Haitians. At one point, Leonce even began introducing herself as “Kelly” because she was ashamed of her birth name. In college, however, something changed: between Florida International University’s robust Caribbean community, her own research and just genuine maturation, Leonce eventually began to embrace her heritage. “Not anybody else can say that they have the history that my blood has,” Leonce ...
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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.
A group of Texas educators have proposed to the Texas State Board of Education that slavery should be taught as “involuntary relocation” during second grade social studies instruction, but board members have asked them to reconsider the phrasing, according to the state board’s chair.
“The board -- with unanimous consent -- directed the work group to revisit that specific language,” Keven Ellis, chair of the Texas State Board of Education said in a statement issued late Thursday.
The working group of nine educators, including a professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, is one of many such groups advising the state education board to make curriculum changes. This summer, the board will consider updates to social studies instruction a year after lawmakers passed a law to keep topics that make students “feel discomfort” out of Texas classrooms. The board will have a final vote on the curriculum in November.
The suggested change surfaced late during its June 15 meeting that lasted more than 12 hours. Board member Aicha Davis, a Democrat who represents Dallas and Fort Worth, brought up concerns to the board saying that wording is not a “fair representation” of the slave trade. The board, upon reading the language in the suggested curriculum, sent the working draft back for revision.
“For K-2, carefully examine the language used to describe events, specifically the term ‘involuntary relocation,’” the state board wrote in its guidance to the work group.
“I can’t say what their intention was, but that’s not going to be acceptable,” Davis told The Texas Tribune on Thursday.
The group proposing these second grade curriculum revisions was given a copy of Senate Bill 3, Texas’ law that dictates how slavery and issues of race are taught in Texas. The law states that slavery can’t be taught as part of the true founding of the United States and that slavery was nothing more than a deviation from American values.
“They were given Senate Bill 3, so that had to have influenced their mind with that being a document given to them right before they had to perform this review,” Davis said.
Ellis’ statement pointed out that slavery is currently not included in social studies instruction to second graders.
“The topic of slavery is not currently addressed in the 2nd Grade curriculum; this work is meant to address that deficiency,” he said.
Stephanie Alvarez, a professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and a member of the group, said she was did not attend the meetings when the language was crafted because of personal issues, but that the language was “extremely disturbing.” She would not comment any further because of her role in the work group, she said.
Part of the proposed social studies curriculum standards outlines that students should “compare journeys to America, including voluntary Irish immigration and involuntary relocation of African people during colonial times.”
Annette Gordon-Reed, a history professor at Harvard University, said using “involuntary relocation” to describe slavery threatens to blur out what actually occurred during that time in history. There is no reason to use the proposed language, she said.
“Young kids can grasp the concept of slavery and being kidnapped into it,” Gordon-Reed said. “The African slave trade is unlike anything that had or has happened, the numbers and distance.”
If language like what the group of Texas educators propose is accepted and taught to children, it means the country is moving in the wrong direction, she said.
“Tell children the truth. They can handle it,” she said.
Texas is in the process of developing a new curriculum for social studies, a process that happens about every decade to update what children should be learning in Texas’ 8,866 public schools.
This process comes as the state’s public education system has become heavily politicized, from lawmakers passing legislation on how race and slavery should be taught in schools to conservative political action committees pouring large amounts of money to put more conservatives on school boards who promise to get rid of curriculum and programs they consider divisive and make white children feel bad.
Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have made parental rights a priority as they both seek reelection in November. Patrick has also vowed to push for a “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Texas, mirroring Florida’s conservative push to limit classroom discussions about LGBTQ people.
Last year’s SB 3 doesn’t mention critical race theory by name, but the bill was designed to keep the teaching out of secondary schools — even though it is not taught in K-12 Texas public schools. Critical race theory is a university-level field of study based on the idea that racism is embedded in legal systems and not limited to individuals. It has become a common phrase used by conservatives to include anything about race taught or discussed in public secondary schools.
The work group that proposed the language change in referring to slavery is one of several groups presenting their drafts to the state education board, which has the final say on whether to accept or reject them.
Some drafts of new curriculum standards are published on the agency’s website, but this was not, Davis said.
“I don’t like it because it’s a personal belief. I don’t like it because it’s not rooted in truth,” she said. “We can have all the discussions we want, but we have to adopt the truth for our students.”