It’s time for law enforcement to wash off the stink of Oath Keepers
Nine Oath Keepers, including its founder, have been charged with seditious conspiracy, one of the most serious federal crimes.

According to The Associated Press, the names of hundreds of law enforcement officers, military troops and elected officials were among the names of 38,000 Oath Keepers on a leaked membership list analyzed by the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism. Oath Keepers is a domestic extremist group closely associated with the violence on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol. Nine of its members, including its founder Stewart Rhodes, have been charged with seditious conspiracy, one of the most serious crimes in federal law.

The ADL identified over 370 individuals who appear to currently work in police agencies, and, disturbingly, some of them are active chiefs of police and sheriffs. There were also more than 100 on the lists who may be actively serving in our military. It gets worse. Analysts also found over 80 Oath Keepers were either running for or were serving in public office as recently as last month.

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The Justice Department’s case for obstruction at Mar-a-Lago is growing stronger
It looks like Trump and others knew what he had, knew where it was, and knew not all of it had been returned.

After the Department of Justice’s 36-page response to former President Donald Trump’s request for a special master to review material the FBI seized from his home, we could be inching close to someone, maybe Trump himself, being charged with obstruction of justice. Tuesday’s well-crafted objections to Trump’s request constitute a simple, yet persuasive, smackdown of the Trump team’s flawed legal logic. There were a number of eyebrow-raising revelations by DOJ, but more important was the department’s subtle but sustained theme of obstruction.

In addition to learning that the FBI search uncovered 100 more classified documents than Trump had already turned over and that the sensitivity of those documents was so high FBI agents executing the search warrant didn’t all have the required clearances to handle them, we got even more evidence that the government suspects there have been attempts to obstruct its investigation.

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The National Archives and the Department of Justice gave too much deference to Trump and for far too long.

If someone had told me during my FBI career that I would eventually spend five years on national television explaining the complexities of foreign counterintelligence and violent domestic terrorism, I’d have wondered “Why?” If they had said I’d be doing so because of the actions of one individual, I’d have wondered “Who?” Those questions were long ago answered. Now, since the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, and the supporting affidavit has been released, I’m being asked to explain the subtleties of document classification, which has many Americans asking “What?” As in, what do the government’s various classification labels mean, and what is at stake if there are boxes of highly classified documents stored in an unauthorized place by an unauthorized person?

We’ve learned that months before the Mar-a-Lago search, in the January transfer of documents from Donald Trump’s golf resort to the National Archives, 150 classified documents were recovered. Those documents contained about 700 pages of classified information, including “special access program” data. We also know that after a subsequent recovery and the FBI search, the total number of classified documents rose to 300. After the search, FBI agents handed a list – called a “return” – to a Trump attorney, documenting the nature of the seized items. That return revealed seizure of four sets of Top Secret documents, three sets of Secret documents and three sets of Confidential documents. Importantly, FBI agents noted that they found documents marked “Sensitive Compartmented Information” or SCI. As if this wasn’t dramatic enough, The Washington Post reported that FBI agents during the Mar-a-Lago search were looking for nuclear secrets.

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Disinformation, lies and conspiracy theories are airborne and spread by contact.

The Trump death toll climbed last week. On Friday, a man armed with an assault-style rifle tried to breach security at the Cincinnati, Ohio, FBI field office. After fleeing that office, authorities say Ricky Shiffer exchanged shots with police and was eventually killed by law enforcement in a cornfield near Wilmington. The Ohio man, who was already under investigation as a potential threat, wasn’t the first deluded victim of the deadly contagion of disinformation spewing from a depraved former president and his soulless sycophants, and it’s not likely he’ll be the last.

As Alyssa Rosenberg wrote for The Washington Post, at least four of Trump’s supporters died at the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot: “Ashli Babbit, who was shot while trying to climb through a broken window; Kevin Greeson, who suffered a fatal heart attack; Benjamin Philips, who succumbed to a stroke; and Rosanne Boyland, whose official cause of death was “acute amphetamine intoxication,” but who was caught up in a crush of bodies on the Capitol grounds. Christopher Stanton Georgia died by suicide later that month after he was arrested on unlawful entry charges stemming from Jan. 6. We also know that three police officers died following their defense of our Capitol.

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IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig has some serious questions to answer.

report from The New York Times revealed this week that both former FBI director James Comey and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe found themselves on the receiving end of the rarest and most severe level of audit the Internal Revenue Service can conduct.

Former President Donald Trump fired both men from their positions toward the beginning of his term. And before Trump’s term was over, both were subjected to a process that tax lawyers refer to “only partly jokingly, as ‘an autopsy without the benefit of death,’” according to The New York Times. It’s been said that the only things certain in this world are death and taxes. But the odds that both Comey and McCabe would be subject to the IRS’ scrutiny at “random” as the IRS claims leave me deeply, deeply suspicious.

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Mike Pence feared for his life on Jan. 6. Americans deserve to understand why.
The Jan. 6 committee owes Americans clarification of exactly how realistic Mike Pence’s fear of Trump was during the hours of the insurrection.

Forty feet. That’s the distance that separated Vice President Mike Pence from a violent angry mob at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. We learned this during Thursday’s hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, which provided additional riveting evidence of the real threats posed by then-President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn a free and fair election. For Pence, those threats were existential – to our democracy – and direct — to his life. But as we also learned Thursday, there may have been a threat much closer than 40 feet.

Pence’s former counsel Greg Jacob told the committee that he was present in a secure underground portion of the Capitol complex where the U.S. Secret Service whisked Pence in an attempt to avoid the mob that had breached the Capitol. The head of Pence’s Secret Service detail was there, and Pence’s armored limousine was also positioned in that safe space, just inches from the vice president. Still, it seems from Thursday’s testimony that the vice president wasn’t feeling all that safe.

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We were reminded today that the threat of the “big lie” penetrated into the personal lives — and even the lives of some family members — of officials who dared to act honestly regarding the 2020 election outcome. This includes Republican Al Schmidt, a former Philadelphia city commissioner, who testified today that he performed his duties under withering pressure from Trump and his team. He received death threats for simply doing his job, he said.

As Schmidt testified today, the Philadelphia district attorney’s office announced serious charges against the co-founder of Vets for Trump in connection with conduct that threatens our democratic process. The defendant, Joshua Macias, has been charged with attempted interference with primaries and elections, hindering the performance of a duty, criminal conspiracy, and violations of the Uniform Firearms Act.

The “big lie” has created a dangerous risk we’ll be addressing for the foreseeable future

Musk’s definition of free speech doesn’t come with any responsibility; that makes him the wrong person to lead a social media platform.

The intersection between the Buffalo mass shooting and its related online content provides more evidence that the lines between free speech, dangerous speech and unlawful speech are blurring at the speed of a keystroke.

It’s believed that 4Chan, the anonymous imageboard popular with far-right users, helped spoon-feed the “great replacement” theory (which suggests that a cabal of nonwhite immigrants are trying to replace white people and European culture by increasing the minority population) to the 18-year-old Buffalo shooting suspect. The suspect, accused of killing 10 people and wounded three at a Buffalo supermarket, most of them Black, livestreamed the massacre on the online platform Twitch (the platform removed the content) and posted a racist screed justifying his shooting online.

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Why a grand jury looking into secret White House docs at Mar-a-Lago is so serious
Grand juries aren’t impaneled to do damage assessments but to investigate crimes.

The New York Times, citing two people who’d been briefed on the matter, reported Thursday the convening of a federal grand jury that is investigating the handling of 15 boxes of classified White House documents that were squirreled away at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s Florida home. It’s easy to understand why this reporting didn’t lead most newscasts that day given the more dramatic story of the decision by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2001, attack on the U.S. Capitol to subpoena five sitting members of Congress. But that story shouldn’t distract us from the big news that a grand jury has reportedly been impaneled to find out how and why national secrets were packed up in Washington and parked in Palm Beach.

To borrow a concept from the world of classified information access, here’s what you “need to know” to process this development. First, a grand jury means the Justice Department believes a crime may have been committed. While some pundits have asserted that convening the grand jury is part of a routine damage assessment to explore the national security aspects of what the intelligence community calls a “spill” of classified documents, that’s a misleading explanation.

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Any intelligence in Trump’s hands is prone to manipulation
An inspector general’s report claims the Trump administration altered an intelligence report so Trump wouldn’t look bad.

A recent Office of Inspector General report from the Department of Homeland Security reads like a Charles Dickens novel in that it helps us to see the ghosts of Trump’s past, present and future, each one bringing bad tidings.

An April 26 report finding that former President Donald Trump’s DHS diluted and delayed a 2020 intelligence report that told of Russia’s plans to aid Trump’s re-election with propaganda casting doubts on candidate Joe Biden’s health is more than just official confirmation of what has already been alleged by a whistleblower. Its added value is that it provides a window into what the intelligence community was like under Trump, what it might have been like if he’d been re-elected and how it would likely operate in the event of a future Trump regime.

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