No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
Muddled Intelligence Hampered Response to Capitol Riot
New details about what authorities anticipated on Jan. 6 highlight failures to grasp the degree of the threat from pro-Trump right-wing extremists.

On Jan. 4, the intelligence division of the United States Capitol Police issued a report listing all the groups known to be descending on the city and planning to rally for President Donald J. Trump two days later, such as the Prime Time Patriots, the MAGA Marchers and Stop the Steal.

The dispatch, a kind of threat matrix, gave low odds that any of the groups might break laws or incite violence, labeling the chances as “improbable,” “highly improbable” or “remote.” But the document, which was not previously disclosed, never addressed the odds of something else happening: that the groups might join together in a combustible mix, leading to an explosion of violence.

But just a day earlier the same office had presented a slightly more ominous picture. The Capitol Police’s intelligence division, which draws on information from the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security, warned of desperation about “the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election” and the potential for significant danger to law enforcement and the public.

The documents show how the police and federal law enforcement agencies produced inconsistent and sometimes conflicting assessments of the threat from American citizens marching on the Capitol as Mr. Trump sought to hold on to power. That lack of clarity in turn helps explain why the government did not bring more urgency to security preparations for a worst-case outcome.

But the decision in the face of muddled intelligence to take only limited measures to bolster security and prepare backup highlights another issue: whether, as some critics have long said, agencies that have spent two decades and billions of dollars reacting aggressively to intelligence about the potential for Islamic terrorism are similarly focused on the full array of threats from the homegrown far right.

“Since 9/11, law enforcement has followed a ‘no stone left unturned’ policy when there is even a scintilla of evidence that a Muslim supports terrorism and has routinely targeted social movements as terrorists,” said Faiza Patel, a director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. “But it has refused to take seriously the threat of far-right violent actors.”

... But while there has been widespread support for an often heavy-handed approach to investigating potential Islamic terrorist plots, efforts to clamp down on far-right groups and movements have been more politically challenging.

Mr. Trump repeatedly portrayed the left-wing antifascist movement known as Antifa as the real danger to the United States and publicly criticized Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, for emphasizing the threat of right-wing groups instead.

... One factor in the muddled nature of the intelligence assessments was the difficulty of knowing how seriously to take the extensive social media chatter about efforts to block ratification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the presidential election.

... Intelligence about terrorist threats — foreign or domestic — can be maddeningly vague, and officials are quick to point out that their job is to analyze the likelihood of possible outcomes based on available information, not to predict the future.
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A Capitol rioter filmed breaking the windows where a Trump supporter was fatally shot was arrested after a relative told on him, FBI says
  • Zachary Alam, 29, was arrested in Denver, Pennsylvania, on Saturday.
  • Alam is accused of breaking the windows that a rioter was fatally shot while trying to crawl through.
  • Alam's criminal complaint said a "family member" helped the FBI track him down.
A man who was filmed shattering a window into the Speaker's Lobby at the Capitol riot has been arrested after a relative tipped him off, the FBI said.

Zachary Alam, 29, was arrested on Saturday inDenver, Pennsylvania, at the Penn Amish Motel, according to WHTM.

He faces charges of assault on a federal officer with a dangerous or deadly weapon; destruction of government property over $1,000; obstruction of an official proceeding; unlawful entry on a restricted building or grounds; violent entry; and disorderly conduct, according to the criminal complaint.

The FBI agent who compiled the complaint said that they saw footage showing a man, whom they identified as Alam, entering the Capitol during the riot through a shattered window in the Senate Wing.

He then forced his way past Capitol Police officers, and "appeared agitated" as he made his way through the building — at one point getting close to an officer's face, the complaint said.

At the glass doors to the Speaker's Lobby — the room outside the House chamber — Alam and others came face to face with officers guarding the door, according to the complaint.

The FBI agent said Alam was "observed repeatedly punching the glass panels of the doors immediately behind the officers, causing the glass to splinter."

While throwing the punches, Alam "pushed his body up against one of the Capitol Police officers guarding the door," the complaint said.

Alam is seen "in video footage shouting 'F--- the blue' multiple times in the faces of the US Capitol Police officers who were standing post outside the Speaker's lobby door," according to the complaint.

Seconds after officers stepped away from the door, the criminal complaint states that Alam began "kicking the glass panels" and then started smashing them with a helmet he took from another person in the crowd.

He "violently struck the middle glass panel repeatedly with the helmet, further shattering the window," the complaint states.

The complaint notes that chants of "Break it down!" and "Let's f---ing go!" could be heard in the background of these videos.

... Public records show that Alam had previously been detained at the Rikers Island jail.

The relative also told the FBI that after the riot, Alam had been asking other relatives if he could stay with them, saying that the FBI was looking for him.
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Rep. Madison Cawthorn says he doesn't regret telling a crowd before the Capitol riot that it had 'fight in it'
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn defended his speech at the "Stop the Steal" rally ahead of the Capitol riot.
  • He had told the crowd it had some "fight in it" during his speech on January 6.
  • He said he thought the riot was "despicable," but said he does not regret his comment.
"I don't regret it, actually," Cawthorn told Ozy Media founder Carlos Watson in an interview for the YouTube program, "The Carlos Watson Show." "Obviously, I think what happened on January 6 was despicable. I thought it was conducted by weak-minded men and women who are unable to check their worst impulses and had very little self-control."

... He also called his colleagues "cowards" during the speech, and told the crowd it had a "voice of lions."

"There is a new Republican Party on the rise that will represent this country, that will go and fight in Washington, DC," he said.

In his interview with Watson, which will air on Monday, Cawthorn defended the speech, saying he was telling the crowd he would "speak on your behalf" in Congress.

... Democratic officials in Cawthorn's home state of North Carolina have called for him to be expelled from Congress.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month, they said that Cawthorn be "held accountable for his seditious behavior and for the consequences resulting from said behavior."
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Microsoft will pause political giving through 2022 to lawmakers who voted against certifying the presidential election
  • Microsoft contributions to Congress members denying election results will be paused through 2022.
  • Microsoft will also change its political action committee name to show it's voluntary for employees.
Following the Jan. 6 insurrection in which supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify the election, the tech giant halted all political contributions, pending review. Now, the company has determined it will only suspend contributions to federal legislators who opposed certifying President Joe Biden's win, as well as state officials and organizations that supported overturning the vote.

"We believe these steps are appropriate given the importance of these issues for the stability and future of American democracy,"
Fred Humphries, vice president of US government affairs, wrote in an email to the company's PAC community.

Microsoft also changed the name of its PAC to the Microsoft Corporation Stakeholders Voluntary PAC in order to indicate stakeholder contributions are voluntary. The company's PAC came under fire last month by employees who criticized it for donating to Republicans who supported unfounded claims of election fraud. Insider reported that President Brad Smith told employees the PAC allowed the company to gain access to legislators who could advocate for corporate interests.

As part of its renamed PAC, Microsoft said it would create a new initiative to promote public transparency, campaign finance reform, and voting rights, and would work with other companies in its efforts to "strengthen democracy." Companies, such as Google, Amazon, Marriott, and many others, similarly decided to halt contributions to Republicans who opposed the 2020 election results, following the deadly Capitol riots.
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Former Trump official falsely claims 'there is no evidence of extremism' in the military
  • A right-wing commentator claimed "there is no evidence of extremism" in the US military.
  • The US military has come under intense scrutiny following veterans' participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
A commentator on a right-wing media network claimed that "there is no evidence of extremism" in the US military and that steps to address that concern was an example of a "cancel culture" against conservatives.

Christian Whiton, a former State Department official during the Trump and George W. Bush administrations, said he had reservations about the Defense Department's 60-day stand-down for all its military forces in order to root out extremist leanings.

... "Each service, each command and each unit can take the time out to have these needed discussions with the men and women of the force," a Pentagon official said Wednesday, adding that senior leaders were still exploring how to tackle the issue on an institutional level.

Conservative commentators expressed concern over the stand-down, claiming that the Jan. 6 insurrection was an isolated incident and that the military does not have white nationalists or other extremists in its ranks.

Fox News opinion host Laura Ingraham in a segment on Thursday also railed against the new directive, framing it as an "ideological and un-American purge of the US military."

"Why should we fund an organization that Democrats plan to use not to protect us, but to restrain us in order to protect themselves and their grip on power," Ingraham said during her program.

Removing extremists is a long-standing Defense Department prerogative, and is increasingly pressing after veterans were a substantial portion of the rioters. Of the 140 people who faced charges in connection with the January 6 riots, nearly 20% were military veterans, according to an NPR report published that same month. One man arrested is a current National Guardsman. Prosecutors accused a former Marine of being one of the most violent rioters.

Military officials have also acknowledged that extremist ideologies were a threat.

"We clearly recognize the threat from domestic extremists, particularly those who espouse white supremacist or white nationalist ideologies," a Pentagon official said in mid-January. "We are actively involved in always trying to improve our understanding of where the threat is coming from as a means of understanding and taking action."

... Senior officials have widely concurred that more attention needed to be focused on racial injustices within the services. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles "CQ" Brown Jr., the first African-American service chief, in a poignant video message in June recounted his personal experience with racial injustice during his career.

"As the Commander of Pacific Air Forces, a senior leader in our Air Force, and an African-American, many of you may be wondering what I'm thinking about the current events surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd," Brown said in his statement.

"I'm thinking about the Airmen who don't have a life similar to mine and don't have to navigate through two worlds," Brown added. "I'm thinking about how these Airmen view racism, whether they don't see it as a problem since it doesn't happen to them or whether they're empathetic."
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Parler offered Trump's company 40% ownership of the app to make it his go-to social media platform
  • The Trump Organization held failed talks with Parler to become a part-owner, BuzzFeed News reported.
  • Parler offered a 40% stake in exchange for Trump making the app his go-to social media platform.
  • The talks could have violated anti-bribery laws, ethics experts told BuzzFeed.
Parler and the Trump Organization, negotiating on behalf of then-President Donald Trump, held talks that would have given Trump's company a major stake in Parler in exchange for the president making it his go-to social media platform, BuzzFeed News reported Friday.

After former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale raised the idea to Trump last year, Parscale and Alex Cannon, a lawyer for the campaign, got together with Parler's then-CEO John Matze as well as investors Dan Bongino and Jeffrey Wernick, according to BuzzFeed.

Parler offered Trump's company a 40% stake, doled out over two years — and in exchange, it wanted to require Trump to post on Parler four hours before reposting his content on other platforms (while also always linking back to Parler), BuzzFeed reported.

According to its report, the talks between Parler and the Trump Organization began last summer and were revisted after Trump lost the election to Joe Biden, but ultimately failed — and it wasn't clear how involved Trump was in the negotiations.
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'Lou Dobbs Tonight' canceled by Fox News
  • "Lou Dobbs Tonight" has been canceled by Fox News.
  • The host will no longer have a role with the network, according to the Los Angeles Times.
  • The show's cancellation also comes in the wake of Smartmatic filing a $2.7 billion defamation suit against Fox News.
Fox News Media canceled "Lou Dobbs Tonight," which aired on Fox Business Network, and is moving to part ways with longtime host and Donald Trump supporter Lou Dobbs, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Over the last few months and throughout Trump's presidency, Dobbs frequently parroted the former administration's talking points and repeated false assertions of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

The show's final airing will be on Friday with a substitute anchor.

According to the LA Times, next week, Fox will replace the show with a new one called "Fox Business Tonight," with rotating hosts Jackie DeAngelis and David Asman. Dobbs is still under contract but is not expected to have any role on the network in the future, the LA Times reported.
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A man in New Hampshire is detained on suspicion of sending pro-Trump death threats to members of Congress
  • A man in New Hampshire must remain in custody on suspicion he sent death threats to lawmakers.
  • Ryder Winegar is accused of calling 6 legislators in December, telling them to keep Trump in office.
  • If the member of Congress did not, Winegar said he and other "patriots" would murder them.
Federal prosecutors allege that Ryder Winegar, 33, called six members of Congress on December 16 and 17, 2020, and urged them to flip the election or he would kill them, according to a federal complaint and affidavit filed by Special Agent Sean Wilson of the US Capitol Police.

The voicemails were quickly sent to Capitol Police and transcribed. They were able to identify Winegar because he began several of his threatening messages with "this is Ryder Winegar," also leaving his phone number, expecting a phone call in return. He also said in a voicemail that he is a US Navy veteran.

Winegar's script changes from voicemail to voicemail with varied racial epithets, anti-Semitic insults, and homophobic slurs, but the contents of each are based on the untrue assertion that Trump won the 2020 election and if members of Congress did not stop then-President-elect Biden from becoming president, that he and others would murder them.

"Do the right thing or patriots are going to come," Winegar said. "And we're going to f-----g kill you all. You understand?"

The names of the members of Congress that Winegar called are redacted in the court filings, but one transcript suggests that he intended to leave threats to former Republican Sen. Martha McSally, but was surprised when the answering machine said he was calling the office of Sen. Mark Kelly. Kelly defeated McSally in the 2020 election and was sworn in on December 2, 2020.

"Well, I'm actually trying to contact Martha, not, not Mark or whatever the f--k your answering machine said, but anyway, it's regardless, regardless, uh, you f-----g, you know, just graduated from college, know-nothing piece of s--t," Winegar said. "You need to send this voicemail or tally it up to the senators or whatever gay s--t you do."
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A woman charged in the Capitol riot can take a trip to Mexico after a federal judge rules in her favor
  • A federal judge granted Jenny Cudd's request to leave the country for a retreat in Mexico.
  • Cudd was charged last month for her participation in the Capitol insurrection on January 6.
  • Following the attack, Cudd told a local news outlet that she would "do it again."
A federal judge ruled in favor of Cudd's request on Friday afternoon, granting the Texas florist's motion to visit Mexico for a "planned and prepaid" four-day weekend retreat with her employees later this month in Riviera Maya.

Judge Trevor McFadden of the DC District Court signed the order, noting that Cudd has no prior criminal history. McFadden, a 2017 Trump appointee, also said there was no evidence suggesting she posed a danger to others or was a flight risk.

The motion said Cudd will have to provide her itinerary to her supervising pretrial services officer.

... "I f****** charged the Capitol today with patriots today. Hell yes, I am proud of my actions" she reportedly said in a Facebook video.

Following the riot, Cudd remained unapologetic. She participated in an interview with a local news station where she confirmed she entered the building and said she would "do it again," according to FBI documents.
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Two House Republicans fined $5,000 each for not completing security screening to enter House floor
Republicans Reps. Andrew Clyde of Georgia and Louie Gohmert of Texas have both been fined $5,000 for not following the new security protocols. The fines, which are meant to punish members who fail to complete security screenings prior to entering the House floor, will be deducted from members' salaries by the chief administrative officer, according to the new rule passed Tuesday. A second offense will result in a $10,000 fine.

Clyde refused to go through the metal detectors as he entered the House floor, CNN has learned, while Gohmert left the House floor to go to the bathroom and did not stop to be screened a second time. Gohmert told CNN he left the House floor Thursday night to go to the bathroom and did not think he had to be screened in order to return to the floor.

"I went through the metal detector perfectly properly. And as I've done for weeks ever since the metal detectors have been here, I was about to speak so I came to the restroom, and I've never been wanded or anything because they can see you go in and see you come out. And they said, because I didn't stop and get wanded, I went and spoke. They made it sound like I avoided the metal detectors," Gohmert told CNN.

"I've been abiding by those completely. And so all of a sudden, somebody made an arbitrary and capricious decision to all of a sudden start wanding when they saw you go to the restroom."
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Biden says Trump shouldn’t receive intelligence briefings, citing ‘erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection'
  • Biden told CBS Evening News that he doesn't believe Trump should receive intelligence briefings.
  • Former presidents have typically had access to classified intelligence briefings.
  • Trump has yet to submit any requests for intelligence briefings.
In an interview with CBS Evening News' Norah O'Donnell, President Joe Biden said he doesn't believe Trump should receive classified intelligence briefings.

During the interview, when O'Donnell asked the president's opinion, he responded, "I think not," adding, "Because of his erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection."

Currently, Trump can receive classified intelligence briefings, following a tradition carried on by former presidents.

When pressed by O'Donnell, Biden said, "What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?"

... When asked about his worst fear in terms of Trump receiving the intelligence briefings, Biden said, "I'd rather not speculate out loud. I think there is no need for him to get them."
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Trump used Gab, a platform popular with the far-right, to break his social media silence with a post denouncing his impeachment trial
  • Gab was founded by "Christian technology entrepreneur" Andrew Torba.
  • The post was a letter to Congressman Jamie Raskin, who asked Trump to testify at his impeachment.
  • Trump faces a second impeachment over his role in stirring up a mob to storm the US Capitol on January 6.
Former President Donald Trump made his social media comeback on Friday with a post on Gab in which he called his second impeachment a "public relations stunt."

In his first post to the site since January 8, Trump put up a letter addressed to Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, who recently called on the former president to testify at his second impeachment hearing next week.

Trump's return to Gab comes after reports that the ex-president was still so frustrated by being barred from Twitter that he is writing down insults and trying to get aides to post them from their own accounts.

The former president was permanently suspended from Twitter in the wake of the insurrection, which resulted in five people's deaths. He was also blocked on YouTube.

Gab is a social networking website that is popular among far-right supporters. It rose to infamy following the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh when it was discovered the shooter had posted anti-Semitic comments on the platform.

It was launched by "Christian technology entrepreneur" Andrew Torba following what he says was the rise of big tech censorship during the 2016 election, according to the company's website.

Trump joined the site in August 2016, shortly before he was elected.
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Trump shifted campaign donor funds into his heavily indebted private business after his election loss, report says
  • Former President Donald Trump has shifted money raised from campaign donors into the Trump Organization.
  • The organization is heavily indebted, reportedly owing around $400 million.
  • Campaign donor money was moved both before and after Trump's election loss, reported Forbes.
He moved around $2.8 million into his private businesses throughout the duration of his presidency, Forbes's Dan Alexander reported.

Trump funneled an additional $81,000 into the Trump Organization after his election loss,
the magazine said.

The payments were made public in the filings the campaign submitted to the FEC and were liest to cover costs including rent, airfare, lodging, and other expenses.

One of the campaign's joint-fundraising committees, associated with the Republican Party, also moved an estimated $4.3 million of donor money into his private business during his presidential term, according to Forbes.

The joint-fundraising committee also paid around $300,000 towards Trump's hotel chain in the week following the former president's election loss, the Independent reported.

Around $40,000 was handed over from the campaign to Trump Tower Commercial LLC, a company which the former president owns a stake in, in December, the paper said.

This isn't the first time it has been reported that Trump transferred campaign money to his private businesses.

... Documents showed that the campaign channeled $380,000 to the president's personal business in 43 transactions, Fahrenthold said.
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New video shows long-time Trump advisor Roger Stone surrounded by far-right Oath Keepers just hours before the Capitol riot
  • A new video shows Roger Stone flanked by members of the Oath Keepers militia group on January 6.
  • The video, obtained by ABC News, shows Stone speaking to the men in military-style clothing.
  • Stone denied he took part in the Trump rally and said he wasn't aware who was part of his security.
Roger Stone surrounded by far-right Oath Keepers
As Stone walks around greeting people, a group of Oath Keepers can be seen following him closely. The men are wearing military-style clothing and other accessories that appear to have Oath Keepers logos on them.

At one point in the video, Stone can be seen exchanging a few words with them.

Another notable moment in the video is when a supporter off-camera asks Stone: "So, hopefully, we have this today, right?" to which he responds: "We shall see." It's not clear what the two are referring to.
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No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites was formerly Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites.

or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trump, whom many observers consider an anomaly, left the White House by saying, “We will be back in some form.” His legacy is “Trumpism” – a wave of white nationalism.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.