Posts

Capitol Rioters Using Trump As An Excuse In Court 

While Donald Trump himself was recently acquitted by the Senate for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, after being the first president to be impeached by the House twice, his supporters aren’t finding themselves so lucky. In fact, attorneys for at least seven of the rioters have referenced Trump in efforts to explain their clients actions. 

Matthew Ryan Miller was photographed discharging a fire extinguisher on the steps of the Capitol during the riot. At his hearing this past Tuesday, his attorney claimed that “his client was there at the behest of then-President Trump. Mr. Miller concedes he was on the Capitol grounds to protest along with thousands of other protesters and was merely following the directions of then-President Trump, the country’s chief law enforcement officer, and other speakers to march to the Capitol.”

Embed from Getty Images

Defense attorney for accused Proud Boys member Ethan Nordean wrote in a filing that Trump “egged on” his client. Dominic Pezzola, another accused Proud Boy, claimed that he was “duped and just responding to the entreaties of the then commander in chief.” 

Randy Zelin is a criminal defence attorney who claims that these attorney’s strategies are similar to an “advice of counsel” defense. “The tactic argues that a defendant couldn’t have had criminal intent if they were acting on advice from their attorney. Although Mr. Trump isn’t an attorney, there is a notion that if someone who makes the laws tells you what to do, someone could argue they had no intention to break the law.”

Zelin continued to explain that “The president of the United States telling you that it’s OK to do something or telling you to do something — that destroys your intention, your intent to commit a crime, because the president is telling you it’s OK. Basically, the argument is ‘I had no knowledge that I was breaking the law because I was told by the president of the United States to go ahead and do it.'”

Embed from Getty Images

Harry Litman is a former US attorney who, on the other hand, claimed blaming Trump in court would be extremely difficult for these accused rioters. “The ‘Trump made me do it’ defense is a real long-shot, legally, but the move could still be smart because it may create sympathy with jurors, and may even require Mr. Trump to be subpoenaed — a major logistical obstacle that could slow down a case and force prosecutors to drop to lesser charges,” Litman explained. 

At least one defendant has so far attempted to distance himself from the former president during his trial to argue that he can safely be released from jail. Christopher Ray Grider’s attorney released a memo that claimed his client “no longer cared about politics or who the President is.” 

Documents charging Kenneth Grayson show a social media post in which Grayson wrote “”I’m there for the greatest celebration of all time after Pence leads the Senate flip!! OR IM THERE IF TRUMP TELLS US TO STORM THE F***N CAPITAL IMA DO THAT THEN!”

Derrick Evans, a former lawmaker in West Virginia, has an official complaint filed against him that cites a tweet from Trump with the caption “This is why we are going to DC #StopTheSteal.” 

While Trump himself has avoided conviction for a second time by the US Senate after being impeached twice by the House, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed he was voted to be acquitted based on a constitutional limit of impeachment, not because Trump wasn’t to blame for the riot.

Major Conservative Attorney Claims Trump Impeachment Trial Is Constitutional

Conservative attorney Chuck Cooper, most recently known for being the lawyer for former national security adviser John Bolton, has gone public with his argument that the Senate impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump is solidly grounded in the Constitution and should proceed as planned. 

“The strongest argument against the Senate’s authority to try a former officer relies on Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution,” Cooper wrote in The Wall Street Journal this week. This section in the Constitution basically states that any individual holding political power who breaks the law will be removed and held accountable. 

The president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Embed from Getty Images

“The trial’s opponents argue that because this provision requires removal, and because only incumbent officers can be removed, it follows that only incumbent officers can be impeached and tried. But the provision cuts against their interpretation. It simply establishes what is known in criminal law as a ‘mandatory minimum’ punishment: If an incumbent officeholder is convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate, he is removed from office as a matter of law,” Cooper explained. 

After Trump was historically impeached for the second time by the House, Senator Rand Paul introduced a measure to dismiss the Senate trial, claiming the proceedings to be unconstitutional since Trump has already left office. Five Senate Republicans joined Democrats in voting against Paul’s measure, which never passed. 

“Given that the Constitution permits the Senate to impose the penalty of permanent disqualification only on former officeholders, it defies logic to suggest that the Senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former officeholders. The senators who supported Mr. Paul’s motion should reconsider their view and judge the former president’s misconduct on the merits.” 

Embed from Getty Images

Trump was impeached for the second time on one article of inciting insurrection against the government after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol building on January 6th. The mob began to storm the federal building after Trump held a rally telling his supporters to march on Congress and contest the election results. This also came after two months of Trump making baseless claims of a fraudulent election, and vilifying the sanctity of the democracy that shapes America. 

“Like the first, it is too narrowly drawn (first Ukraine, now the Capitol desecration) and was rushed through the House on largely partisan lines. Neither scenario is the right way to do impeachments, 50 percent of which in U.S. history have occurred in the past twelve months,” said John Bolton after Cooper made his remarks. 

Several individuals were injured at the riot, and five died, including one Capitol police officer. Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is projected to begin this week.

Trump Attempts To Lift Covid-19 Travel Restrictions, Biden Moves To Block The Order 

President Donald Trump on Monday lifted Covid-19 travel restrictions for a majority of Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil, which would become effective on January 26th. President-elect Joe Biden immediately responded to this order by claiming that he would be blocking it immediately once inaugurated on January 20th. 

The CDC recently announced that the US should expect to hit 500,000 Covid-19 deaths by the middle of February, so Biden’s announcement that he would be blocking this order has a lot of Americans taking a big sigh of relief after a treacherous and deadly past year. 

Embed from Getty Images

Trump claimed that he had been advised to lift the restrictions on incoming travelers to the US from 26 European countries in the Schengen Zone, the UK, and Brazil. Trump explained that he agreed with “the Secretary that this action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from Covid-19 while enabling travel to resume safely,” which immediately raised some red flags for Americans watching the news everyday and seeing case numbers rise exponentially. 

Biden’s incoming press secretary, Jen Psaki, is already hard at work ensuring the public that the Biden administration would not be lifting these restrictions. Psaki tweeted out to the public this week that “with the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.”

Psaki continued that based “on the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Embed from Getty Images

Last month the CDC released new guidelines in terms of traveling in the US. All air passengers coming into America are required to have a negative Covid-19 test, and get tested within three days before their flight. Passengers must also provide written documentation of their lab results, or documentation that they recently recovered from Covid-19 and were therefore more likely to be immune. 

The potential lifting of the travel restrictions in Europe were thought to be a response to these new measures, however, the current administration is struggling greatly to get its country vaccinated; healthcare experts promised 20 million Americans would receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of 2020 and as of last week about 6 million Americans had received their initial dose. 

Biden’s incoming administration has a task force of healthcare experts and scientists who are all sworn to lead the pandemic response without any political bias and strictly based on the data provided by the nation’s leading healthcare workers.

The White House Podium

How Trump Plans To Hand Off The ‘Nuclear Football’ To Biden 

President Donald Trump will not be in attendance for President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration this Wednesday, which has many Americans wondering how certain transitional proceedings that traditionally occur on inauguration day will move forward; the handing off of the “nuclear football” being the most discussed proceeding that needs to occur. 

The “football” is obviously not a real ball, and contains the equipment that Trump would use to authenticate his orders to launch a nuclear strike. This “football” is carried by a military aide who accompanies the president at all times up until his term officially ends on January 20th. Traditionally, the aide would hand off the football to another military aide as the next president-elect takes his oath of office. 

Embed from Getty Images

Trump is currently projected to head to Florida before inauguration day even begins, which means the nuclear football will likely travel with him, presenting some difficulty in transferring that authority smoothly. While that process may have to look a little different this year, there are a multitude of constitutional safeguards put in place to ensure a seamless transition of nuclear control from one president to the next, regardless of the circumstance; which includes the double-impeached president heading to Florida to play some golf. 

Stephen Schwartz, a senior fellow at the Bulletin of the Atomic scientists, recently discussed how regardless of where Trump is on inauguration day, the nuclear football will be passed off to Biden and Trump’s reign as president will come to an official close. 

“There are at least three to four identical ‘footballs’: one follows the president, one follows the vice president, and one traditionally is set aside for the designated survivor at events like inaugurations and State of the Union addresses.”

Embed from Getty Images

“On January 20, the extra footballs will be out of town somewhere with their designees, leaving just Vice President Mike Pence’s briefcase unless the White House Military Office has prepared (or already has on hand) another backup for Biden,” he told the press, adding that the president is required to carry a plastic card on them at all times known as the “biscuit,” which contains codes used to positively identify the president. 

“Under the 20th Amendment — and absent any invocation of the 25th Amendment that would make Mike Pence the acting president — Donald Trump is president through 11:59:59 am on January 20. Up to that point in time, he has the sole, legal authority to authorize the use of any or all of the US nuclear arsenal,” Schwartz explained, adding that “if an aide with the football accompanies Trump on Air Force One to Florida, that aide will remove himself or herself from Trump’s presence at noon and return to Washington, DC, with the briefcase.”

After that point Trump will no longer have the authority to launch a nuclear strike and all nuclear codes that he carries will be deactivated permanently. Biden will automatically inherit the power to launch a nuclear strike at that same moment of deactivation; as in that moment his personal codes will be officially activated.

TV Host

Late-Night Hosts Discuss House Impeachment Proceedings And Trump’s Final Week In Office

This week late-night commentators and television hosts have spent their evenings discussing Donald Trump’s final week in office.

Capitol in DC

Capitol Rioters Wanted To ‘Capture And Assassinate’ Lawmakers, Prosecutors Claim

Federal law enforcement officers have been working non-stop since last Wednesday to get a greater understanding over what exactly transpired that allowed the riot at the Capitol to get so out of hand, and what was the actual plan for this mob should they have interacted with any US lawmakers or government officials. 

Officials are now claiming that they have found clues and evidence that points to one of the mob’s most distinctive figures, Jacob Anthony Chansley; the shirtless, tattooed man who many online have been referring to as “QAnon Shaman,” who stormed around the Capitol wearing a headdress made of coyote skin and buffalo horns. 

Embed from Getty Images

Federal prosecutors in Phoenix, Arizona submitted a court filing this Thursday that wrote that “strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government.” 

The entire filing was 18-pages long, and included a request to the judge to keep Chansley detained before his trial. One of the biggest pieces of evidence working against Chansley right now is the fact that he left a note for Vice President Pence at his desk in the Senate chamber which read: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

Chansley himself has personally called on President Donald Trump to pardon him for his crimes after his lawyer, Albert Watkins, claimed that Chansley acted in a “peaceful and compliant fashion” towards the law enforcement officials who have been running the investigation, and besides, Chansley only stormed the Capitol after Trump invited him and the rest of the mob to; according to Watkins. 

“He took seriously the countless messages of President Trump. He believed in President Trump. Like tens of millions of other Americans, Chansley felt — for the first time in his life — as though his voice was being heard.”

Embed from Getty Images

Law enforcement officials have warned that it’s likely there were multiple motives among the mob of those who stormed the Capitol, and an FBI investigation is currently in the works to determine whether some intended to do more than just disrupt the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. 

One man who was arrested was carrying a pistol and others were wearing tactical gear and were holding zip ties. Another individual was arrested after his truck was spotted near the Capitol building with 11 molotov cocktails inside. 

Trump has so far pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, and Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff, before they were both sentenced. Within the past month the most action the president has done in terms of political policy has been a slew of pardons for his allies, friends, family, and fellow republicans. 

Prosecutors have pointed out that Chansley brought a weapon in the Capitol building, a spear, so the charges being presented aren’t to be taken lightly and his request to be pardoned should sound ridiculous to law enforcement. However, Chansley and every other Trump supporter present that day have forced America to have a much larger conversation over if Chansley was a person of color slinging a giant spear around the Capitol building, if the response would’ve been different.

Twitter Account

Twitter Chief Says Banning Trump Was The Right Choice But Sets A ‘Dangerous Precedent’

Dorsey is speaking out for the first time since Twitter and a multitude of other social media platforms permanently suspended the president’s account following the violent riot that occurred at the Capitol last week.

Parler Sues Amazon For Removing App From Cloud Services Following Capitol Riot

Amazon Web Services removed the Parler app from its cloud services this past Monday after the company claimed that the network wasn’t able to monitor the content on its platform, especially content that promoted or incited violence.

US Capitol Building

90 People Have Been Arrested So Far In Relation To The Capital Riots

Around 90 people are facing charges currently that range from misdemeanor curfew violations, to felonies related to assaulting police officers, making death threats, and damaging federal property. Arrests are far from over as well.

Biden 2020

Congress Certifies Joe Biden’s Presidential Victory After Capitol Riot

This time yesterday Congress was gearing up to count the Electoral College votes and confirm Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States when a mob of violent Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building after the current President spoke with the crowd and encouraged them to not back down.