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Photo raises alarms about a Trump ally still pushing election conspiracies at the White House

January 15, 2021 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell arrived at the White House on Friday for an apparent meeting with President Donald Trump, raising alarms after a press photographer shared a close-up shot of the visitor’s notes.

While the image wasn’t entirely clear — the paper was folded in half, and some of the text was blurry due to the distance at which the photo was taken — it strongly indicated that Lindell planned to bring up with Trump widely debunked conspiracy fictions about the 2020 election. The notes even suggested he would push for personnel changes, the invocation of the Insurrection Act, and the possible declaration of martial law.

This troubling meeting occurred, of course, under the dark shadow of the previous week’s disaster at the U.S. Capitol, where supporters riled up by the president violently overtook the building in order to stop the affirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. Those events led the House of Representatives to call for Trump’s immediate removal and to impeach him on the charge of inciting and insurrection. Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, both made clear that neither would use their respective powers to facilitate Trump’s removal before his official last day in office, Jan. 20.

The fact that Trump appears to be meeting with someone still pursuing the idea that the election result was illegitimate and perhaps could still be overturned shows the danger of leaving him in office, even if he has released statements that seem to acknowledge Biden will be president by next week.

Jabin Botsford, a staff photographer with the Washington Post, shared the photo in question on Twitter:

Here’s what appears to be visible on the document:

  • The title includes the words “…taken immediately to save the… the Constitution”
  • A suggestion for someone to be appointed “NOW as Acting National Security …”
  • A reference to “getting the evidence of all the… the election and information regarding…”
  • A reference to “[In]surrection Act now as a result of the assault on the… [m]artial law if necessary upon the first hint of any…”
  • A direct reference to “Sidney Powell,” a lawyer who has promoted some of the wildest conspiracy theories about the election
  • The suggestion to “Move Kash Patel to CIA Acting” …read more

    Source: ALTERNET

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Trump's ex-secretary of state says he is leaving Biden with a foreign policy nightmare

January 15, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Since being fired from Donald Trump’s administration, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been vehemently critical of the president’s decisions. Tillerson, in an interview with Foreign Policy published this week, offered insights on some of the global challenges that President-elect Joe Biden will be facing after he is sworn into office.

Tillerson, not unlike former National Security Adviser John Bolton, has described Trump as a low-information president — and Tillerson stressed during the interview that the outgoing president is leaving behind a foreign policy mess.

Discussing U.S. adversaries that include dictator Kim Jong Un and Russia, Tillerson told Foreign Policy: “We squandered the best opportunity we had on North Korea. It was just blown up when he took the meeting with Kim, and that was one of the last straws between him and I. With Putin, we didn’t get anything done. We’re nowhere with China on national security. We’re in a worse place today than we were before he came in, and I didn’t think that was possible. “

Another challenge, according to Tillerson, is making sure that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn’t abandon the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in favor of Russia.

Tillerson explained, “It presents NATO with some really complex challenges. To the extent that Putin has success with Turkey, he will begin to think about who else he can pick off within NATO and begin to pull away. I think that’s the challenge for NATO — who is next? How will Putin try to gradually erode the NATO alliance? At least along the fringes, at least with those along his border and how he pulls those to his direction.”

Looking back on his months in Trump’s administration, Tillerson recalls, “His understanding of global events, his understanding of global history, his understanding of U.S. history was really limited. It’s really hard to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t even understand the concept for why we’re talking about this.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Biden unveils an actual plan to ramp up vaccination across the U.S.

January 15, 2021 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

As soon as he is sworn in to Office President Joe Biden will order FEMA and the National Guard to set up thousands of community coronavirus vaccine clinics nationwide. In a Friday afternoon speech President-elect Biden announced his administration will turn easily-accessible areas, including schools and gymnasiums, into these vaccination centers, and promised to make locations “equitable.” He also promised mobile vaccine centers.

As part of his plan to “quickly jumpstart” the COVID-19 inoculations the Biden administration will also make the vaccine available at local pharmacies across the country, CNBC reports.

Biden also said his administration would reach out to a wide variety of clinical and non-clinical professionals, including retired health care workers, to help inoculate more Americans.

“Here’s the deal: The more people we vaccinate, the faster we do it, the sooner we can save lives and put this pandemic behind us and get back to our lives and loved ones,” Biden had said Thursday. “We won’t get out of it overnight and we can’t do it as a separated nation.”

Biden has set a huge goal for his first 100 days: 100 million Americans vaccinated.

But he may face more than just logistical challenges of getting Americans vaccinated.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Friday berated President Donald Trump and his administration for promising to fully distribute the federal stockpile of vaccine, when there was none to release.

“This is a deception on a national scale. Oregon’s seniors, teachers, all of us, were depending on the promise of Oregon’s share of the federal reserve of vaccines being released to us,” Gov. Brown said, adding, “there is no federal reserve of doses.”

On Friday Biden promised to use the Defense Production Act to ensure more vaccine can be made quickly.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here's why Rudy Giuliani is having an absolutely terrible week

January 15, 2021 in Blogs

By Jon Skolnik

On Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department placed sanctions on seven foreign members of Rudy Giuliani’s inner circle who sought to interfere in the U.S. election and sway the results in Trump’s favor. The president has also reportedly dropped his reliance on Giuliani for his second impeachment trial, refusing to pay Giuliani for his unsuccessful post-election campaign to overturn November’s results. Meanwhile, the New York State Bar Association has moved to disbar Giuliani this week. Needless to say, the week after he told thousands of Trump supporters to hold “trial by combat” before many of them violently stormed the U.S. Capitol with aims to halt the Constitutionally mandated certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week for Rudy Giuliani.

The Treasury’s targets include Russian-linked Ukrainians Konstantin Kulyk, Oleksandr Onyshchenko, Andriy Telizhenko, Oleksandr Dubinsky, and –– most principally –– Andrii Derkach, a Ukrainian lawmaker sanctioned just last year, who played a key role in orchestrating the Biden-Ukraine conspiracy theory. It was with the help of these actors that Giuliani spearheaded a failed campaign to smear President-elect Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, with false claims of past corruption. Trump’s call to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky –– in which the President pressured Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden on his behalf –– would become the impetus for the President’s own impeachment.

“Since at least 2019,” said the Treasury in a statement on Wednesday, “Derkach and his associates have leveraged U.S. media, U.S.-based social media platforms, and influential U.S. persons to spread misleading and unsubstantiated allegations that current and former U.S. officials engaged in corruption, money laundering, and unlawful political influence in Ukraine.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a steadfast Trump loyalist, also attempted to add distance between his agency and Giuliani and his goons. “Russian disinformation campaigns targeting American citizens are a threat to our democracy [...] The United States will continue to aggressively defend the integrity of our election systems and processes.”

“Trump has been blaming his longtime personal attorney and many others for the predicament he now finds himself in, though he has not accepted any responsibility in public or in private,” CNN reported this week. “Giuliani is still expected to play a role in Trump’s impeachment defense but has been left …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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New report reveals Mike Pence was in even greater danger during the Capitol siege than we knew

January 15, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

When a mob of far-right insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, their targets included not only Democrats but Vice President Mike Pence — who they believed had betrayed President Donald Trump by not preventing the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. And according to the Washington Post, the rioters “came perilously close” to finding Pence that day.

In the Post, journalists Ashley Parker, Carol D. Leonnig, Paul Kane and Emma Brown report that Pence “was not evacuated from the Senate chamber for about 14 minutes after the Capitol Police reported an initial attempted breach of the complex — enough time for the marauders to rush inside the building and approach his location, according to law enforcement officials and video footage from that day.”

Some of the extremists made no secret of their desire to harm Pence if they got to him. Groups of them were chanting, “Hang Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence” — and a hangman’s noose was set up near the Capitol Building.

“Secret Service officers eventually spirited Pence to a room off the Senate floor with his wife and daughter after rioters began to pour into the Capitol, many loudly denouncing the vice president as a traitor as they marched through the first floor below the Senate chamber,” the Post explains. “About one minute after Pence was hustled out of the chamber, a group charged up the stairs to a second-floor landing in the Senate, chasing a Capitol Police officer who drew them away from the Senate.”

Many pundits at MSNBC and CNN have been emphasizing that as tragic as the Capitol Building siege was — at least five people have died — things could have been much more tragic if the rioters had been able to reach Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others they wanted to harm.

“If the pro-Trump mob had arrived seconds earlier, the attackers would have been in eyesight of the vice president as he was rushed across a reception hall into the office,” according to the Post. “The proximity of the Jan. 6 mob to the vice president and the delay in evacuating him from the chamber — which have not been previously reported — raise questions about why the Secret Service …read more

Source: ALTERNET