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Biden Orders Release Of Trump White House Visitor Logs To Jan. 6 Committee

President Joe Biden has ordered the release of Trump White House visitor logs to the House committee conducting investigations into the riot of Jan. 6, 2021, once again rejecting former President Donald Trump’s claims of executive privilege.

In a letter sent to the National Archives Wednesday, White House counsel Dana Remus stated that Biden has given the agency instructions to hand the logs — which show all White House visitor information on the day of Jan. 6 — over to the committee.

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Remus explained that Biden came to the decision that an assertion of executive privilege is “not in the best interests of the United States, and therefore is not justified,” and that the majority of entries that the former President exercised executive privilege over would be publicly released under current policy.

“As practice under that policy demonstrates, preserving the confidentiality of this type of record generally is not necessary to protect long-term institutional interests of the Executive Branch.”

Remus added that the Biden administration regularly discloses visitors logs on a monthly basis, with exceptions, as did the Obama administration. The National Archives had given the documents to the current administration in late January, afterwhich Trump blocked the visitor logs from public view.

The letter states that “in light of the urgency of the Select Committee’s need for the information,” the documents are to be given 15 days after Trump is notified, “unless prohibited by court order.” It’s currently not known how detailed the logs are, or what use they will be to the committee.

As CNN detailed, the logs are made up of information of visitors who made an appointment to the White House, but the extent of which they can reveal the inner workings of the House are limited. Anyone without a permanent pass must provide personal information along with details of the visit, processed by Secret Service.

However, there are loopholes for how information can become unknown and eschewed. If the visitor additionally meets with other officials or enters another building than the one they were originally visiting, that wouldn’t show up on the logs. Meanwhile, if a visitor doesn’t appear at the scheduled time — or at all — the visitor and entry would still be recorded for the original date and time.

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The Associated Press notes that Trump had been extremely precautious with documentations during his presidency. He took some administration records to his Mar-A-Lago Resort in Florida, alarming historians and archivists.

According to AP, Trump and his officials could also face additional legal trouble if there is any evidence of White House documents — which are protected by the Presidential Records Act established in 1978 — being tampered or mishandled. Depending on the actions, prison sentences can range from three to five years.

When turned over the to committee, the logs will not be made public, and no timeline has been given for when they will be made public. Instead, Resmus noted they will be initially declared as “national-security sensitive” (NSS) or “otherwise-highly sensitive,” (OHS). Personal information  — such as birth dates and social security numbers — will be redacted, while the committee cannot share any of the documentation without prior consultation.

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.

Miami Florida

Florida Governor DeSantis Targets Social Media Platforms In Newly Signed Bill

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is targeting social media platforms ina newly signed bill that’s meant to monitor how social media platforms moderate online content. 

The legislation is one of the largest steps made by a Republican governor ever since allegations of online censorship were thrown at tech giants Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Tech industry leaders, however, claim that the legislation is unconstitutional and is setting everyone up for a massive court battle. 

On Monday, DeSantis claimed that a “council of censors in Silicon Valley are to blame for shutting down the debate over Covid-19 lockdowns and the origins of the coronavirus.”

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“I would say those lockdowns have ruined millions of people’s lives all around this country. Wouldn’t it have been good to have a full debate on that in our public square? But that was not what Silicon Valley wanted to do.”

The bill that he signed specifically “prohibits tech platforms from suspending or banning political candidates in the state, with possible fines of $250,000 per day if the de-platformed candidate is seeking statewide office and $25,000 per day if the candidate is running for a non-statewide office,” according to CNN.

The legislation would also give Florida residents the power to sue tech companies for de-platforming. Similar bills have been in the works in states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Utah. 

US lawmakers have been proposing significant changed to the federal law in its relation to the legal leeway that tech platforms have when it comes to online censorship. The federal law, Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934, has been under fire by Democrats who argue that the platform’s benefit from a law that was created before the technology even existed. 

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Tech industry leaders have repeatedly denied blocking or removing content solely based on political ideology. Many tech platforms began flagging posts that discussed the Covid-19 pandemic, but were spreading harmful misinformation. 

After multiple Republicans and former president Donald Trump continued to spread falsehoods and misinformation about the 2020 election and the sanctity of our Democracy, many political leaders began getting deplatformed for the harmful information they were spewing. 

Florida’s legislation will “force tech platforms to step back from moderating their sites due to the threat of litigation by any internet user, from foreign extremists to disgruntled internet trolls,” said the Computer and Communications Industry Association, a tech trade group.

“Florida taxpayers will also end up paying their share in the cost of enforcing new regulations, and for the inevitable legal challenges that will come along with the legislature’s effort to adopt a law with glaring constitutional challenges,” CCIA president Matt Schruers, wrote in an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel.

“The First Amendment to the United States Constitution — backstopped by Section 230 — makes it abundantly clear that states have no power to compel private companies to host speech, especially from politicians,” said Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, a co-author of Section 230, in a statement regarding the signing on the Florida bill.

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. 

Social Media Apps on iPhone

CEO’s Of Google, Facebook, And Twitter To Testify In Front Of Congress On Misinformation

This marks the first time the chief executives of Facebook, Google, and Twitter will be appearing before lawmakers since the Capitol riots and Covid-19 vaccine distributions.

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.”

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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.'”

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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.

The White House Podium

Biden Administration To Begin Admitting Asylum-Seekers Forced To Wait In Mexico By Trump 

The Biden administration has announced that they will be allowing migrants into the US who have been forced to remain in Mexico while their asylum cases are processed due to a Trump-era policy. This is a part of the administration’s greater efforts to overhaul the immigration system. 

The Department of Homeland Security is projected to begin the first phase of this new program next Friday, when they will start gradually letting in migrants who have active cases under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. Biden is hoping that this is the first step in undoing former president Donald Trump’s hateful immigration legacy.

Biden is also looking to end the Migrant Protection Protocols program, which has also forced asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while they wait for US court proceedings. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently delivered a statement regarding this revision in immigration policy in America. 

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“This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation’s values.” 

“The administration’s latest step does not mean the border would be open to all migrants, however, because changes will take time. Individuals who are not eligible under this initial phase should wait for further instructions and not travel to the border. Due to the current pandemic, restrictions at the border remain in place and will be enforced,” Mayorkas warned.

There are currently around 25,000 migrants with active cases under MPP, and under the new program those who have been waiting in the program the longest and/or those in the most vulnerable populations will be processed to come to the US first. The Biden Administration is planning on working with the Mexican government, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations in Mexico as well to help better identify eligible migrants who want to come to the US and begin transporting them into the country to process their cases. 

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The Mexican government and Biden Administration have warned migrants with active cases not to go to any US port of entry until they receive proper guidance. According to the administration those in the first phase will be processed in three ports of entry, and officials believe that once they have these ports fully up and operational they’ll be able to process up to 300 people per day. 

Migrants who are processed through this new program will be tested for Covid-19 before entering into the US and once they’re here they will be enrolled in what the administration is calling an “alternative to detention program” that will help track them and their specific cases so that they can be routed to the appropriate court. Being routed to the right court is essential for migrant cases because it determines where they will settle in the country. 

President Joe Biden has vowed throughout his campaign that he would be ending the program that is keeping so many asylum seekers in dangerous living conditions. Due to Trump-era policies there are currently tens of thousands of asylum seekers being forced to stay in Mexico, often in poor living conditions. Last week Biden signed an executive order that gave Mayorkas the task of reviewing the program for potential termination.

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.”

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“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.” 

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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.

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.