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Takeaways From Latest Jan. 6 Hearing: Election Officials Felt Trump’s Pressure

Taking a step back in time to reexamine the pressure former President Donald Trump exerted in order to overturn the 2020 election results, the Jan. 6 Committee heard testimonies from those who endured terrifying and deadly threats originating from those efforts Tuesday.

Looking to show that Trump’s pushes and false claims ultimately led to the domestic terrorism events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a number of officials from tightly contested battleground states in the election were examined, including one — Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker — who Trump accused of committing voter fraud, along with her mother.

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The surveillance footage and accused actions were debunked, but that didn’t stop Moss from being thrown into the fire by conservatives and Trump supporters. The impact from the events clearly affected Moss, whose emotions were evident in the Cannon Caucus Room.

“There were a lot of threats wishing death upon me,” Moss recounted. Moss’s Black skin color also factored into those threats, with one saying to “be thankful it’s 2020 and not 1920.” “A lot of them were racist. A lot of them were just hateful,” she said. Some protesters even attempted to make a citizen’s arrest on Moss’ grandmother.

“It’s turned my life upside down. I no longer give out my business card. I don’t want anyone knowing my name. I don’t go to the grocery store at all. I haven’t been anywhere at all.”

Another official, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R), testified he was subjected to constant protesting and smearing outside his home, with one man weilding a pistol. Though supporting Trump in a reelection bid, Bowers explained he did “not want to be a winner by cheating.”

Bowers claimed he was asked by Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to find evidence that illegal immigrants and dead people had voted in the 2020 election, along with decertifying Arizona’s electoral votes and replace them with Trump voters.

Biden won Arizona by just .4% (1,672,143 votes). Though Bowers asked to see this evidence of fraud, Trump and Giuliani never presented anything more than just “theories.”

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) made similar statements to Bowers, saying Trump asked him during a phone call to “give him a break” and find 11,780 votes, enough to help him win by one vote in the state he lost by .3%.

The audio of the phone call was played for the committee, with Trump threatening to Raffensperger that those investigating voter fraud and found to be dishonest by claiming falsehood could face criminal behavior.

“You can’t let that happen, that’s a big risk to you. All of this stuff is very dangerous.”

Raffensperger detailed his intensive investigating of potential fraud, examining one of the 4.9 million total votes after another. “The numbers don’t lie. At the end of the day, President Trump came up short,” he said.

In terms of audience viewing, the American public may not be fully invested in the developments, which could spell trouble for Democrats hoping to use the hearings to sway voters in the upcoming midterms. The first hearing on June 9, treated to a primetime spot, peaked at 20 million viewers.

However, that number has since dropped as hearings take place during the daytime. 23% of voters said they saw, read, or heard a lot about the hearings on June 13 and 16, down 7% from the June 9 hearing.

Donald Trump’s New “Truth Social” App Begins With Stumbles, Reaches #1 On Apple Store

Former President Donald Trump’s newest project, Truth Social, launched Monday as he attempts to create a digital space that — along with rivaling other services like Twitter — will allow his supporters to exercise free speech and “let [their] voices be heard.”

The network — owned by Trump Media & Technology Group (TM&TG) — reached #1 on the App Store’s social networking chart on its release day, and has remained in the spot since, beating out apps such as Meta’s Facebook and Messenger. It also hit the top spot on the free apps chart above Tik Tok, HBO Max, Youtube, and “Talking Ben the Dog.”

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However, Truth Social won’t be immediately available for many. The app was offered for download on the store for a limited number of subscribers who preordered. Others were added to a waiting list and will be given access over the next 10 days.

The network isn’t expected to be open for anybody to download and use until a month later, according to the Associated Press. Despite the controlled number of users to start, the app experienced troubles almost immediately, encountering technical issues that shut out subscribers for hours and prevented some from signing on.

Trump’s vision for a social media network launched after his January 2021 ban from Twitter, where he would frequently tweet. While many felt Trump’s — who possessed around 90 million followers — tweets were always contentious, they became increasingly accusative and controversial throughout the 2020 presidential election amid claims of a rigging.

In the days following the Capitol Riots on Jan. 6, Twitter ruled that Trump’s tweets had violated their “Glorification of Violence” policy and permanently banned him, feeling that his intentions were to incite the public during a tense time in the nation. The network based the ruling off a number of factors, from Trump using “American Patriots” as a way of describing his supporters to the former President writing statements that seemed to infer future disorder.

Looking at Truth Social’s layout from previews, you might be getting deja vu. That’s probably because the format of the network is almost identical to Twitter, from the user’s profile to retweet buttons – a design implementation that’s all but intentional given Trump’s continual grievances with the service. Of course, there are a few obvious changes. For example, “Tweets”  and “Retweets” are now changed to “Truths” and “Re-Truths.”

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AP pointed out that Trump, whose Truth followers sits around 120,000, was notably quiet during the debut. A screenshot showed his only message came from last week: “Get Ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!” However, other conservative members like Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers and GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wasted no time promoting Trump’s network.

Investments in TM&TG have seen gigantic hype throughout recent months, with the company being promised $300 million from a publicly traded company that also plans to merge with it, along with pledges from investors of up to $1 billion. However, approval from regulators is needed before TM&TG can access the cash.

Even with the potential fundings and support from party members, it remains to be seen if Truth Social can compete with Twitter and Facebook over the long run. Trump’s actions — such as a third run for Presidency — could certainly aid in beefing up usage.

January 6th House Committee Has ‘Firsthand’ Knowledge Of What Trump Was Doing During Capitol Riot 

The House select committee investigating the January 6th Capitol Hill insurrection has information from multiple sources regarding what former president Donald Trump was doing at the time of the riot. 

A source close to the investigation recently spoke to the media and revealed that there are “a collection of people with relevant information” when it comes to what Trump was doing throughout the insurrection. 

Keith Kellogg, former vice president Mike Pence’s national security adviser, who was also with Trump throughout the riot, was one of the individuals who gave a deposition. Kellogg refused to comment to the media regarding what he testified, as he was sworn under oath. 

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The committee also has text messages and other documents that reveal what Trump was doing during the insurrection. Some of the messages discussed came from Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, who the House voted to refer to the Justice Department for criminal contempt of Congress after he failed to appear for a deposition. 

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney discussed how the information they gathered works to prove that Trump did nothing to stop the violence during the riot, which they view as a “dereliction of duty.” 

“We have significant testimony that leads us to believe that the White House had been told to do something. We want to verify all of it so that when we produce our report and when we have the hearings, the public will have an opportunity to see for themselves. The only thing I can say, it’s highly unusual for anyone in charge of anything to watch what’s going on and do nothing.”

Cheney discussed how the panel has “firsthand knowledge” that Trump’s daughter, and then senior adviser, Ivanka Trump asked her father to intervene during the riot. 

“We know his daughter — we have firsthand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to ‘please stop this violence,” Cheney said. 

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“Any man who would not do so, any man who would provoke a violent assault on the Capitol to stop the counting of electoral votes, any man who would watch television as police officers were being beaten, as his supporters were invading the Capitol of the United States, is clearly unfit for future office, clearly can never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again,” Cheney added.

The House select committee also revealed text messages from Donald Trump Jr. to Meadows that were sent during the riot, in which Trump Jr. stated that his father needed to “condemn” the insurrection as it was occurring. 

“‘He’s got to condemn this sh*t ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,'” Trump Jr. wrote in one message to Meadows.

“He could have simply walked a few feet to the White House briefing room. He could have gone immediately on live television and asked his supporters to stop what was happening, asked them to go home. He failed to do that, at the same time the violent assault was happening, he is watching television, and he is also calling one senator urging delay of the electoral vote,” Cheney exclaimed.

Committee members are ideally going to present more of their work and findings to the public as the year progresses and the investigation continues. Public hearings that will outline the story of what really happened on January 6th have yet to be scheduled, but will be occurring later this year.

January 6th Committee Reveals New Text Messages From Former Chief Of Staff Mark Meadows

The House select committee investigating the January 6th attack against the US Capitol recently released new text messages that were obtained from former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The text messages were sent to him in the days leading up to the insurrection as well as while the Capitol was under attack. 

Committee members read the messages on the House floor this Tuesday during the debate over whether a criminal contempt of Congress against Meadows should be given to the Justice Department or not. 

One of the messages included in the readings was from a Georgia government official to Meadows while former president Donald Trump was on the phone with Georgia’s secretary of state, during which Trump was urging him to “find” votes for Trump. Other discussions relating to Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election were also included. 

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Representative Zoe Lofgren read a text message from an unnamed Georgia government official to Meadows that was sent during the same phone call. The message read: “Need to end this call, I don’t think this will be productive for much longer,” referring to the call between Trump and Georgia’s secretary of state.

Representative Adam Schiff read a text message from an unknown number that applauded the potential appointment of Jeffrey Clark to be acting attorney general while Trump was attempting to get the Justice Department to support his false claims of election fraud. 

“I heard Jeff Clark is getting put in on Monday. That’s amazing. It will make a lot of patriots happy, and I’m personally so proud that you are at the tip of the spear, and I could call you a friend,” the text to Meadows read.

“Mr. Meadows received numerous text messages, which he has produced without any privilege claim, imploring that Mr. Trump take specific action we all know his duty required. Indeed, some of those text messages, madam speaker, came from members in the chamber right now,” said Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, one of two Republicans on the select committee. 

The select committee approved its resolution holding Meadows in contempt on Monday. The panel also revealed that Meadows had voluntarily provided text messages that he received on January 6th, including those from Fox News personalities, lawmakers, and Donald Trump Jr. 

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While some republicans spoke out against the committee for pursuing contempt charges against Meadows, they responded by stating that Meadows was flouting the law by refusing to show up for testimony about material he has already turned over to them. 

The text messages used throughout the hearing emphasized the argument that there were plenty of topics that the committee could ask Meadows that would not be covered by executive privilege. 

One of these text messages from Meadows to an unspecified member of Congress inquired about whether or not former vice president Mike Pence could overturn Electoral College results; this text was sent three days before the insurrection. 

In another text message from November 4, 2020, the day after the election, a member suggested to Meadows an “aggressive strategy for Republican-led state legislatures to just send their own electors to Congress and let the Supreme Court decide who won the election.”

Another text message from a member to Meadows underscored how the “committee has not received everything from the former White House chief of staff. Please check your signal,” the January 5 message said.

The committee will be making a decision within a week when to release the names of all the individuals involved in the text messages with the former chief of staff.

Capitol in DC

New Court Filings Regarding Capitol Riot Reveal What Trump Is Trying To Hide From Congress 

The National Archives outlined, in a sworn declaration, more than 700 pages of handwritten notes, draft documents, and daily logs of former president Donald Trump’s top advisers in relation to the January 6th Capitol riot. The late-night court filings are reported to reveal all of the specifics of what Trump wanted to keep secret in terms of his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. 

The US House told federal courts that Trump has no right to keep more than 700 pages of documents confidential. The court filings are in response to a lawsuit from Trump where he is attempting to block congressional investigators from accessing hundreds of pages of records they requested from the National Archives. The House also presented itself in agreement with the Biden administration. 

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The records Trump is attempting to conceal include handwritten memos from his chief of staff about January 6th, call logs between Trump and former vice president Mike Pence, and White House visitor records. The House Committee wrote a statement regarding the lawsuit and concealed documents. 

“In 2021, for the first time since the Civil War, the Nation did not experience a peaceful transfer of power. The Select Committee has reasonably concluded that it needs the documents of the then-President who helped foment the breakdown in the rule of law. … It is difficult to imagine a more critical subject for Congressional investigation.”

The records also include working papers from then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, press secretary and White House lawyer who had notes and memos about how Trump was attempting to undermine the election. In Meadows document, there are two handwritten notes about the Capitol riot and two pages listing briefings and telephone calls about the Electoral College certification, according to the archivist with the National Archives. 

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Laster’s documents reveal what was occurring within the West Wing during the initial moments of the January 6th riot. Trump is also looking to conceal 30 pages of his daily schedule. “The call logs, schedules and switchboard checklists document calls to the President and Vice President, all specifically for or encompassing January 6, 2021,” Laster said.

So far, the Biden Administration has declined to keep information about “the Trump White House leading up to January 6th private. The extraordinary Trump-led attempt to overturn the 2020 election and the ongoing bipartisan House investigation, and the Archives have sided with President Joe Biden’s directions.”

The Archives announced they have plans to release Trump’s records to the House beginning November 12th. A bipartisan group of 66 former Congress members, including some republicans, told a federal court that they support the US in their pursuit of these documents and this case. 

The former members said they need Congress to understand “the January 6 attack shouldn’t be undermined by Trump. Chutkan should reject his request for a court order that would stop the Archives from turning over documents. An armed attack on the United States Capitol that disrupted the peaceful transfer of presidential power — and not the document requests necessary to investigate it — is the only grave threat to the Constitution before the Court,” the former members write.

New Book Reveals Top Military Officials Thought Trump Was Planning A Coup, Planned A Mass Resignation 

“I Alone Can Fix It” is a new book by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker which details reports of top military officials who knew former president Donald Trump was planning a coup after his defeat in the 2020 election. 

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley is one of the many military officials who discussed resigning if they were to be given illegal or dangerous orders from the former president should he attempt a coup. 

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Experts of the book showed Milley and others discussing the possibility of a coup with lawmakers, friends, and other White House top officials. 

“They may try, but they’re not going to succeed. You can’t do this [a coup] without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI, we’re the guys with the guns.” 

Other officials also discussed resigning one by one rather than carrying out any illegal orders they may receive. According to the book, one of the main focuses of their concern was Trump’s decision to replace top officials at the Departments of Defense and Justice.

On November 9th Trump announced that former Defense Secretary Mark Esper had been “terminated,” just one week after Esper warned if Trump replaced him, the new Secretary would be “a real yes man, and then God help us.” 

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According to the book, “Milley grew increasingly concerned by Trump’s behavior ahead of January 6, believing that Trump was deliberately seeking to stir unrest with his bogus election-fraud claims to invoke the Insurrection Act and summon the military.” One excerpt quoted an unnamed friend who warned Milley of Trump’s potential coup.

“What they are trying to do here is overturn the government. This is all real man. You are one of the few guys who are standing between us and some really bad stuff.” 

The book claimed that Milley was so concerned over Trump that he compared the former president’s behavior to Adolf Hitler’s after he used the 1933 Reichstag fire to declare a state of emergency and seize full authoritarian power. 

Milley has been the target of multiple attacks from the former president and his allies this week after he also defended the US’s military policy of teaching members about racism in the US before Congress. 

At the congressional hearing, Milley claimed that he was committed to understanding his own “white rage and the motives of the far-right Capitol insurrectionists.”

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Stephen Colbert Calls Out Trump After His First Rally Since Capitol Riot 

Former president Donald Trump recently held a rally over the weekend in Wellington, Ohio; this marks the first rally Trump has held since the January 6th Capitol riots. Late night host Stephen Colbert recently called out the former president for this, asking the audience who was allowing him to speak in front of people still. 

“Why is he allowed to have rallies after that? After the assassination, John Wilkes Booth wasn’t welcomed to Broadway for a sold-out performance of I Shot Lincoln: The Musical!”

Colbert discussed how the “ex-president appeared to have nothing new to say in his 90-minute speech, as he stumbled through familiar refrains and untruths like he was reading a speech from last summer.” 

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Trump also reemphasized his point that he believes “hydroxychloroquine really works,” in terms of curing Covid-19; a theory that was widely disproven last year. 

“No one cares about that now! We have a vaccine! I can’t imagine anything more tired than the Covid drug from 12 months ago.”

Trump was also called out on social media for badly mispronouncing words and phrases, and essentially speaking complete nonsense. At one point he was attempting to reference Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, by discussing how the “US sent a brave young man from Ohio to a plant.”

“Really? To a plant? Yes, he was a brave young man from Ohio named Jack, and the nation sent him to climb that beanstalk, where he skyrocketed to Feefifofum,” Colbert responded. 

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“He’s trying to talk about Neil Armstrong, but he said plant when he meant planet, which is not where Neil Armstrong went. That’s like trying to describe George Washington by saying, ‘You know who I mean! The guy on the money with the teeth made out of the cherry tree, with the painting of him crossing the Deli-meats, you know!”

Colbert also discussed all the individuals in Trump’s inner circle that are now distancing themselves from any association with the former president and his four year reign in the White House, including daughter Ivanka Trump and former attorney general William Barr. Barr recently discussed how all of Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud were “all bullsh*t.” 

Barr recently claimed that Mitch McConnell also urged him to speak out against Trump and the claims of voter fraud in the immediate aftermath of the election. Meanwhile the senate minority leader remained completely quiet on the issue himself. 

 “McConnell would’ve spoken the truth himself last December, but he needed the former president’s help to ensure that the GOP won the two runoff elections in Georgia, which they lost. In the end, Mitch McConnell sold his soul for nothing. So, a pretty fair price,”  Colbert explained.

New York Times

New York Attorney General Investigating Trump Organization In A ‘Criminal Capacity’ 

Letitia James, New York’s Attorney General, has been conducting a civil probe into the Trump Organization for two years now. According to a spokesperson from James’s office, the attorney general is now looking into the company in a “criminal capacity.” 

“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature. We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan District Attorney. We have no additional comment at this time,” said spokesperson Fabien Levy.

The New York Attorney General’s office initially launched a civil probe into the organization in 2019 after Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, testified to Congress. The initial probe was meant to investigate whether or not the Trump Organization “inflated the valuations of assets to reduce tax liability.” 

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has also been pursuing a separate criminal investigation since 2018 into hush money payments made by Cohen during the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen apparently made hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, and Vance’s office began investigating the payments in 2018 to see if they would lead to other potential crimes such as fraud and tax evasion. 

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Both the district attorney and attorney general’s office’s have been crossing paths throughout the past two years due to their separate investigations into Trump, his lawyers, and organization. 

According to CBS News, “in February, Vance’s office issued subpoenas related to Mr. Trump’s Seven Springs Estate, in Bedford, N.Y. In an August 2020 court filing, the New York Attorney General’s office accused the Trump Organization of refusing to produce records sufficient to show how a $21.1 million apparent tax deduction in connection with the Seven Springs conservation easement was reflected on applicable tax returns.” 

James’ office was able to secure several depositions from many Trump Organization executives, including Eric Trump; Donald Trump’s son and executive vice president of the organization. Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer for the organization, was also recently called to give a deposition. 

Vance’s office has been in contact with Jennifer Weisselberg, who told the media that “investigators with the district attorney’s office have sought information about Allen Weisselberg, and documents related to the organization’s finances and benefits.”

Facebook Phone App

Facebook’s Ban On Donald Trump Will Continue To Hold 

Facebook’s oversight board ruled this Wednesday that its suspension of former President Donald Trump was justified following his role in the January 6th insurrection attack on the Capitol building. 

The panel claimed that this means the company doesn’t need to reinstate Trump’s access to Facebook and Instagram, however, they also mentioned that the company was wrong to impose an indefinite ban, and the platform has six months to either restore Trump’s account, make his suspension permanent, or suspend him for a specific period of time. 

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Facebook joined a multitude of other social media platforms that banned Trump in January after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol Building. Trump used his accounts to “incite violent insurrection” as ruled by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a handful of other platforms. 

“In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities. The Board declines Facebook’s request and insists that Facebook apply and justify a defined penalty.”

Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg claimed that “Facebook will now determine an action that is clear and proportionate following the ruling. Until then, Trump’s accounts will remain suspended.”

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The board’s ruling could also set a potential precedent for how social media platforms treat posts from political leaders. The decision to ban Trump has led to a major debate over the power these tech companies have, but also the power that our political leaders have when it comes to the things they say and the influence they have; especially when it comes to violent attacks on our government. 

Many have argued that Facebook’s ban on Trump has been long overdue, as his posts have often started conversations that led to multiple violations of the platform’s hate speech policies, however, because of his political power, those violations were rarely regulated. 

Many researchers also emphasized the fact that Trump’s constant efforts to undermine the 2020 election and constant baseless claims against our democracy and Biden’s win created a social media environment fueled by violent political rage. 

The former president, however, has previously teased that regardless of what the platforms decide, he won;t be returning to them, and will potentially start his own social media platform to communicate with his supporters; essentially a personal blog. 

Mortgage

Biden Administration Looking To Reverse Trump-Era Mortgage Policy

The Trump-era policy removed a lot of protections for those who were dependent on loans for their payments, as well as created the space for riskier loans to be dealt out.