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Susan Collins accidentally makes a revealing admission about her first thought during the Capitol siege

January 11, 2021 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

In a new piece for the local paper Bangor Daily News detailing her experience in the Jan. 6 attack on Congress, Republican Sen. Susan Collins made a revealing admission on Monday about her first thoughts during the siege.

The lawmaker from Maine, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said:

My first thought was that the Iranians had followed through on their threat to strike the Capitol, but a police officer took over the podium and explained that violent demonstrators had breached the entire perimeter of the Capitol and were inside. Several of us pointed out that the doors to the press gallery were unlocked right above us. That tells you how overwhelmed and unprepared the Capitol Police were, although many, many of them were very courageous. [emphasis added]

Many commentators noted that it was a pretty stunning admission for Collins to say that her first thought during the attack was that it was Iranians. People who had been paying attention to President Donald Trump and his supporters in the past two months had noticed that their rhetoric was becoming increasingly radicalized and dangerous. Trump and some Republican lawmakers had stoked expectations that Jan. 6 would be a significant date in the president’s fight to overturn the election, putting observers who had been warned about right-wing extremism on edge as the usually ceremonial day to count Electoral College votes approached. FBI Director Christopher Wray had previously warned Congress that groups including white supremacists, “anarchist violent extremists,” and “militia types” — groups often associated with the far right and support for President Trump — are committing the “the most lethal activity” and acts of domestic terrorism in the United States.

The fact that this threat, which came from a crowd that was literally directly outside of the building where Collins was standing, wasn’t first in her mind says a lot. It says she has underestimated the true threat of Trump’s radicalism and right-wing extremism, and she is likely overestimating the threat posed from countries like Iran. Iran may want to do the United States harm, but it was the right-wing radicals who had specifically focused on Jan. 6.

Collins’ failure to clearly see this threat, however, does not come as much of a surprise. After she voted to acquit Trump during his first impeachment in 2020, she infamously said Trump learned “a pretty big lesson” from the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Conservative site suddenly retracts op-ed denying there was a 'riot' at the Capitol

January 11, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Several days after a violent mob of far-right extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol Building in the hope of preventing Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, the right-wing RedState website published a ridiculous op-ed claiming that liberals and RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) were exaggerating the severity of the attack and distorting the events. But RedState has since retracted the piece.

RedState explained, “Overnight, this article about Jan. 6 was published. Many details, opinions, and analysis contained in the piece were either incorrect or inappropriate. It has been retracted, and we regret its publication.”

The retracted op-ed, written by RedState’s Mike Ford, was headlined: “Opinion: Enough! There Was No Riot, Insurrection or ‘Storming!’”

Ford wrote, “Enough! Enough of the gaslighting by the press. Enough of the gaslighting by the party of slavery, Jim Crow, the KKK, want, deprivation, envy and murder of the unborn in the womb. Most especially, enough of their ‘Republican,’ enablers, who believe they can gain political favor or DC cocktail circuit invites, by promoting these blatant lies.”

So far, at least five people have died because of the Jan. 6 attack, including a member go the Capitol Police. The fact that some of the rioters hoped to murder Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been well-documented. The crowds barreled down barricades and threatened police that stood in their way. One video showed a police officer being crushed as a throng if the insurgents struggled to force themselves into the building; he cried out in agony. The Capitol was ransacked, burgled, and vandalized while lawmakers hid for their lives for hours.

But Ford, in his op-ed, insisted that the media was exaggerating — and he even described the insurgents as “concerned Americans.”

“Let me be real clear. There was no riot in DC,” Ford wrote. “There was no insurrection. There was no ‘storming” of the Capitol Building. There was a peaceful rally. There was a largely peaceful protest that was marred by some bad acts by a very few people. There was and is, absolutely nothing to be traumatized or intimidated by. It’s time to tell the press, the politicians and even our pastors, stop the gaslighting.”

While Ford was trying to convince RedState readers that the events of Jan. 6 were no big deal, national security experts …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump's refusal to attend Biden's inauguration is sending an ominous message

January 11, 2021 in Blogs

By Salon

Donald Trump is not breaking precedent by refusing to attend President-elect Joe Biden’s upcoming inauguration — but he is the first to do so after trying to foment a coup so he could stay in power despite losing his reelection campaign. That is an absolutely crucial distinction between Trump and his predecessors.

First, a quick look at the other outgoing presidents who boycotted the inauguration of the next-in-line. This list excludes those who did not attend for non-malicious reasons. Martin Van Buren missed William Henry Harrison’s inauguration for unknown reasons, Woodrow Wilson was medically unable to attend Warren Harding’s swearing-in after suffering a stroke and Richard Nixon skipped Gerald Ford’s inauguration because he had just resigned in disgrace due to the Watergate scandal.

There are, however, three other presidents who boycotted their successors’ inaugurations for personal reasons.

John Adams, America’s second president, was angry at what he perceived as a vicious campaign by his opponent Thomas Jefferson. His son, John Q. Adams, refused to go to Andrew Jackson’s inauguration both out of contempt for his rival and because he feared for his life. Finally, there is Andrew Johnson, who had been impeached the previous year (the first American president to experience impeachment) and felt unwelcome at the inauguration of the successor whose party had impeached him, Ulysses S. Grant.

Yet it is essential to realize that Adams, Adams and Johnson all accepted the legitimacy of their opponents’ victory. Indeed, while the first Adams may have been ungracious by skipping Jefferson’s inauguration, he did something of tremendous historical consequence by handing over power at all. The 1800 election was the first in American history in which a sitting party was defeated and as such was a critical test for the democratic experiment: It could only work if a party that sought to stay in power and lost would willingly give up that power to their rival. Jefferson later praised Adams’ acceptance of the voters’ verdict as “revolution of 1800″ because it established that the American government would be controlled “by the rational and peaceable instrument of reform, the suffrage of the people.”

While neither the younger Adams nor Johnson did anything as historically noble as the first Adams, they still did not question their rivals’ right to serve. John Q. Adams deplored Jackson as a foul-mouthed, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Watch: Top House Democrat says Trump is a 'clear and present danger' and he expects impeachment

January 11, 2021 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

Powerful House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) says he expects President Donald Trump “will be impeached” and the vote to impeach will be held Wednesday or Thursday.

“I expect that he will be impeached. He will be the first president in history to be impeached twice,” McGovern told CNN. “What this president did was unconscionable and he needs to be held to account.”

Calling Trump “a clear and present danger to this country,” Chairman McGovern called Trump’s words “disgusting,” and said, “I think the American people would rest better if by the time the sun sets today he were no longer in office.”

Democrats are formally introducing one Article of Impeachment today, charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Reporter reveals how top House Republican Kevin McCarthy 'left McConnell twisting in the wind'

January 11, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Before the 2020 presidential election, many anti-Trump pundits predicted that if Joe Biden won decisively, President Donald Trump would likely refuse to concede. But some Trump allies made the same prediction behind closed doors, and according to Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman, one of them was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy:

Biden, it turned out, did enjoy a decisive victory, winning 306 electoral votes and defeating Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote. Regardless, Trump has maintained that he was the real winner and promoted the debunked and baseless conspiracy theory that he was a victim of widespread voter fraud. Those dangerous theories came to violent fruition when his supporters stormed Congress while it was counting the Electoral College votes.

In mid-December, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally acknowledged Biden as president-elect and congratulated him. But as Wasserman noted in his tweet, McCarthy didn’t make a joint statement with him. Instead, he supported Trump’s conspiracy theories, at one point even declaring that the president had won the election, though he ended up walking that back. And now, Melanie Zanona and Olivia Beavers report in Politico, McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise find themselves in damage-control mode following the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building.

According to Zanona and Beavers, McCarthy and Scalise “are facing backlash from their Republican colleagues for standing by President Donald Trump after he incited a violent mob to storm the Capitol this week, fueling a bitter divide in the GOP conference at a perilous moment for the party.”

“Of the top three GOP leaders in the House, only Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney has directly condemned Trump’s dangerous rhetoric and behavior,” Zanona and Beavers note. “Cheney also vocally opposed the effort to object to the election results when Congress certified them on January 6.”

McCarthy voted in favor of rejecting some of the votes that led to Biden’s win.

A House Republican, quoted anonymously, told Politico, “There’s a little bit of anger, but a lot of disappointment. And what you saw on display with Steve and Kevin was, eh, we’re just gonna continue on with the narrative of the right — and they did not catch the moment. …read more

Source: ALTERNET