Meeting Between Biden Admin Officials And Saudi Prince At Center Of Khashoggi Murder Raises Eyebrows

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Khalid bin Salman with Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan

Senior Biden administration officials, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, reportedly met with Saudi’s Prince Khalid bin Salman, who is the brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman(MBS), and former Ambassador to the United States. Prince Khalid’s high level welcome to the United States has naturally shocked and angered human rights activists because our very own CIA pinpointed him as one of the masterminds behind the killing of former Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Specifically, the CIA said that it was Prince Khalid who lured Khashoggi into the Istanbul consulate where he was later killed.

Washington Post Columnist and CNN Political Analyst Josh Rogin told New Day host John Berman:“The Biden administration is trying to have it’s cake and eat it too. They want to say that they are being tough on Saudi Arabia for it’s atrocious and worsening human rights record, at the same time they want to do business with Saudi Arabia on areas of mutual interest, and I get that. But the way that they decided to do that was by welcoming back the former Ambassador, Khalid bin Salman, the brother of Mohammed bin Salman[MBS], the guy who the CIA asserts was responsible for the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. And the allegation by the U.S. intelligence services, is that his brother Khalid lured him into the Istanbul consulate where he was later murdered…..So it seems like a weird thing to invite the guy who was connected to the murder back to have a bunch of pictures and give him the red carpet treatment, and let him meet with Defense Secretary and the National Security Adviser. It sends the signal to the Saudis, and to the region, and to the human rights community frankly, that the Biden administration’s protestations against Saudi atrocities are just that, just words, and not actions. It signals a return to business as usual….It also insults the legacy of Jamal Khashoggi, and reneges on Biden’s promise to deliver justice to Jamal and his family.”

Bottom line folks, for a Biden administration that is usually very fine-tuned and on-message, one has to admit that granting Prince Khalid a high profile welcome despite the CIA’s findings on Khashoggi’s murder, was quite an uncharacteristic blunder by the administration. More importantly, this blunder unnecessarily dings the Biden administration’s stance and messaging on human rights. Surely somebody at Biden’s White House should have foreseen and prevented this “unforced error” of immense magnitude.

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Virginia “Bible Study Group” Accused Of Planning “Second American Civil War” And Secession

“Bible Study Group” Member Fi Duong disguised as Antifa during the January 6th DC insurrection

CNN’s Whitney Wild reports that a Virginia “Bible study group”, which the FBI infiltrated after the January 6th DC insurrection, has apparently been making plans for a “second American civil war”, and eventual secession from the United States. One member of the group, Fi Duong, who the FBI was after, was in the process of making and testing homemade bombs.

Whitney Wild told CNN Newsroom host Jim Sciutto: “The FBI says that he[Duong]attended what members called ‘Bible study meeting’ in Alexandria in February, when members discussed among other things, secession, weaponry, combat training. This was all uncovered because an undercover FBI agent infiltrated this group. At one meeting, an undercover agent saw five boxes filled with about 50 glass bottles and agents heard Duong and another person talking about what they could fill them with to make explosives. Duong and the undercover agent met with another undercover agent in June to discuss testing homemade bombs…What the FBI says is that Duong got into the Capitol on January 6th. He was disguised, according to the FBI he was wearing all black. He was also wearing a mask to shield his face. He had allegedly told an undercover Metropolitan Police officer that he was disguising himself as Antifa. That day is significant because he is facing charges for his role in the insurrection…”

This is a very important story because it serves as the latest reminder that the insurrection did not end on January 6th, as many assume. The same characters we witnessed on January 6th trying to take over the Capitol building, simply went back home, and are regrouping for future similar attacks. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it, CNN’s Whitney Wild closed with pretty much the same argument; “What it shows..is that there is lingering inclination to…leave the United States, overthrow the government. These conspiracy theory-driven ideas, these extremist ideas are still present. This is the very thing the U.S. Capitol Police is worried about.”

Bottom line folks, it’s about time our national security apparatus started addressing these Trump insurrectionist types with the seriousness they deserve. More importantly, as CNN’s Juliette Kayyem astutely noted, they need to address the leader of these insurrectionists, one Donald J. Trump, from a counterterrorism posture. Unless and until our national security apparatus start acknowledging the real danger these insurrectionists, and their “dear leader” pose, we will remain sitting ducks for the next insurrection–probably a successful one this time.

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Will The Trump Family Be Hit With New York’s Racketeering Enterprise Charge?

Former President Trump addresses a rally in Sarasota, Florida(07/03/2021)

Investigative Reporter David Cay Johnston, an authority in all things Trump, dropped a bombshell on CNN’s Don Lemon show(07/05/21), telling fill-in host Laura Coates that he believed the Manhattan DA will ultimately hit Trump and members of his family with the racketeering enterprise charge, under article 460 of New York’s penal code. Johnston added that this charge could result in a 25 year prison sentence at New York’s notorious Attica prison. code. The full CNN segment is available here, but the relevant clip is below

David Cay Johnston specifically said: “I believe eventually Laura, and since I first said this about a year ago, a number of prosecutors have agreed with me, that the ultimate indictment here is likely to be a New York state racketeering enterprise charge, article 460 of the New York state penal code.”

Johnston then went on to describe what racketeering is, saying even though many in the public think of it as exclusively applying to the mafia, and other organized crime syndicates, it can also be applied to Trump Org, et al. He said, “Racketeering is running what appears to be a legitimate business that’s really a criminal organization who’s primary purpose is breaking the law. While we think of this in terms of mafia, it applies absolutely equally to people who cheat on taxes, who cheat insurance companies, banks, file phony business records, which in New York is a crime that can get you 25 years in Attica.”

David Cay Johnston has been spot-on on almost every piece of reporting he has done over the years, on Trump and his family . Will he be proven right again on the racketeering enterprise charges against the Trump family? Only time will tell, or as Trump famously says, “We’ll see what happens.”

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Handy List Of The 20 GOP Senators Up For Reelection In 2022

The 2022 midterm elections are fast approaching and Democrats cannot afford to lose both the House and the Senate to the GOP. Midterm elections traditionally favor the party out of power, so it’s reasonable to assume that Republicans have a good shot of recapturing both the House and the Senate in 2022. Recapturing the House especially favors Republicans given the fact that Republican-controlled states currently have an advantage when in comes to redistricting–they can add/redraw more congressional districts than Democrats.

Democrats however, cannot afford to lose the Senate, which is not affected by the redistricting process. If Democrats lose both the House and Senate in 2022, the Biden presidency will for all intents and purposes be over–at least until the 2024 general elections. Republicans are already abusing the filibuster to stifle President Biden’s legislative agenda, even without control of either chamber (House or Senate), so one can just imagine how reckless they will be, if they take over both the House and the Senate in 2022. Simply put, they will block all of President Biden’s legislative proposals and judicial nominations until the 2024 elections. The upcoming 2022 elections are therefore crucially important for the Biden-Harris agenda.

34 U.S. Senate seats are up in 2022. Out of these 34, 20 are currently held by Republicans, and 14 by Democrats. The map below gives a breakdown of the states where the 34 Senate elections will be held in 2022.

Republican Senators whose seats are up in 2022 include Richard Shelby(AL), Roy Blunt(MO), Rob Portman(OH), Pat Toomey(PA), Richard Burr(NC)–all of whom are retiring(open seats)–plus Lisa Murkowski(AL), Marco Rubio(FL), John Boozman(AR), Mike Crapo(ID), Todd Young(IN), Chuck Grassley(IA), Jerry Moran(KS), Rand Paul(KY), John Neely Kennedy(LA), John Hoeven(ND), James Lankford(OK), Tim Scott(SC), John Thune(SD), and Mike Lee(UT), Ron Johnson(WI)

Democrats are Mark Kelly(AZ), Alex Padilla(CA), **KDH SEAT, Michael Bennet(CO), Richard Blumenthal(CT), Raphael Warnock(GA), Brian Schatz(HI), Tammy Duckworth(IL), Chris Van Hollen(MD), Catherine Cortez Masto(NV), Maggie Hassan(NH), Charles Schumer(NY), Ron Wyden(OR), Patrick Leahy(VT) and Patty Murray(WA).

The U.S. Senate is currently tied at 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans so neither party can afford to lose a seat in 2022. Democrats have a good shot at picking up the open Pennsylvania seat, where incumbent Republican Pat Toomey is retiring. President Biden won Pennsylvania in 2020. Based on a recent Iowa poll showing unfavorable numbers for incumbent Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Senate seat may also be a potential pickup for Democrats. These two pickups for Democrats, would make up for the two Senate seats where they have the biggest vulnerability–Warnock’s Georgia seat, and Mark Kelly’s Arizona seat. While President Biden won both Georgia and Arizona in 2020, these two states have traditionally voted Republican in statewide elections.

Bottom line folks, even though the game plan for Democrats heading into the 2022 elections should be to retain both the House and Senate, special emphasis must be placed on retaining the Senate. Simply put, if the Biden-Harris administration is to survive beyond 2022, Dems must retain the Senate.

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GOP MoCs Voted Not To Impeach Trump Out Of Fear For Their Safety

A bombshell audio of Rep Liz Cheney(R-WY) obtained by CNN from an Axe Files podcast interview, confirms what many have feared all along, and that is, some Republican members of Congress voted not to impeach former President Trump after the January 6th DC insurrection because they were afraid for their personal safety and that of their families. Questions about Republican members of Congress operating under duress under the Trump administration, have been floated by authoritarianism scholars like Sarah Kendzior, among others, but received with much skepticism by the mainstream media. The fact that Rep Liz Cheney, a sitting member of Congress, is now publicly confirming such claims, should be a source of great concern for every democracy-loving American.

The full CNN segment is available here, but the relevant clip is below

In the audio, Rep Cheney is heard saying, “I’ve had a number of members[of Congress]say to me things like, you know, we would have voted to impeach, but we were concerned about our security…I think that’s a very important point to pause and contemplate, that you have members of the United States House of Representatives for whom security, their personal security or their family’s security, their concerns about that affected the way they felt they could vote, That’s a really significant thing to say about the current state of our politics.”

Bottom line folks, it is one thing when liberal anti-Trumpers level blackmail accusations against Trump sycophants, but when such accusations are being stated publicly by a sitting member of Congress(Rep Cheney), who says her colleagues have personally expressed such fears to her, then this is an issue that deserves greater scrutiny. Simply put, no member of Congress should be making decisions that affect the lives of their constituents, based on fear for their personal safety, or that of their family. This is patently un-American.

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Was A Senior Trump DOJ Official Talking To A QAnon “Source” For Election Fraud “Evidence”?

Washington Post’s Amy Gardner On The Rachel Maddow Show (06/16/2021)

Washington Post reporter Amy Gardner was a guest on the Rachel Maddow Show on 06/16/21, to discuss her bombshell piece on how top officials at Trump’s Department of Justice(DOJ), pressured a Georgia U.S. Attorney to buy into Trump’s election fraud claims in an effort to overturn the 2020 Georgia presidential election results. However, while discussing Trump’s politicization of the DOJ with Maddow, Amy Gardner dropped an even bigger bombshell, and that is, a senior DOJ official, one Jeffrey Clark from the DC office, may have been seeking election fraud evidence from a QAnon adherent. The full Maddow segment is available here, but the relevant clip is below.

Amy Gardner told Maddow:“Jeff Clark, the Assistant Attorney General over Environment and Civil, who was more eager than some of the other leadership at DOJ, to help President Trump find evidence of fraud. Well, what was the evidence that he was pursuing, and who was he talking to, to seek out that evidence? There’s one exchange in emails that we got yesterday, where the Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen says: ‘Did you talk to B.J.Pak[U.S. Attorney Byung Pak]?’. We know from our reporting, that he wanted Mr Pak to explain to Mr Clark, that there wasn’t widespread fraud in Georgia, that he should back off, that this was a fools errand.

But instead, Mr Clark responds to Rosen in this email: ‘No I didn’t talk to Pak, I spoke to the source, I’m on with the guy who took the video right now. Working on it. More due diligence to do.’ We have no idea what he’s talking about here. What video, what guy, I mean there were videos shot, as we all know, of election workers and voting equipment contractors doing their jobs, that were wildly misinterpreted by conspiracy theorists…..Was he speaking to somebody who took videos like that, who in some cases had relationships with QAnon? Was a senior leader in the DOJ going to people with QAnon relationships to find evidence of fraud in the 2020 election? That’s my biggest question, that I don’t know the answer to right now.”

With recent news reports that Trump’s DOJ secretly sought the communication records of journalists looking into Trump’s ties with Russia, and later, records of congressional Democrats Trump routinely maligned publicly, the prospect of a senior DOJ official seeking evidence from a QAnon adherent in an effort to give credence to Trump’s election fraud lies, should trouble everybody. Every effort must be made to find out exactly who this “source” is, and if he/she turns out to be a QAnon conspiracy theorist as Amy Gardner fears, then Jeffrey Clark must resign immediately from the DOJ.

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Parler Notified FBI 50 Times About Potential Violence On January 6th

Rep Jackie Speier (D-CA) made a bombshell revelation on MSNBC’s All In show(06/15/21), that the conservative social media network Parler, sent as many as 50 emails to the FBI, trying to warn them about potential violence on January 6th. Shockingly, none of Parler’s alarming emails made it to FBI Director Chris Wray’s desk. Rep Speier is a member of the House Oversight Committee which has been investigating Parler for it’s role in the January 6th DC insurrection. The documents Parler provided the House Oversight Committee, clearly show that the conservative social media network did its part as far as notifying authorities, and that it was the FBI who dropped the ball.

Rep Speier told host Chris Hayes: “I was stunned when it became known that Parler, a conservative social media website, contacted the FBI with emails fifty times, and those fifty emails never reached the Director[Chris Wray]. One of those emails talks about ‘Congress has to hear glass breaking, and doors being kicked in, and blood being shed. This is the time to get violent. We are at war.’ Now, if Parler…thinks these are alarming and sends them to the FBI, and it doesn’t get elevated, then we’ve got a serious problem within the FBI in terms of assessing intelligence.” How some intelligence analyst at the FBI decided that this was not serious enough, either for a concrete plan of action, or to be brought to Director Wray’s attention, is certainly grounds for a congressional investigation.

Prior to this bombshell revelation by Parler, the FBI had largely been spared from the public’s criticism of the intelligence failures that led to the insurrection. Most of the blame was pinned on the Capitol Police, the military(National Guard), and to some extent the Department of Homeland Security. This Parler revelation totally changes the ball game, and redirects the focus towards the FBI.

It bears pointing out that even before the Parler bombshell, people like Sen Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) were already raising a lot of questions as to why the FBI was not able to stop the DC insurrection, and the bureau’s involvement in other scandals that plagued the Trump administration.

Bottom line folks, with every passing day, it becomes clearer and clearer that the January 6th DC insurrection was a totally preventable incident. All the warnings were out there for any curious person to pick up on. Why the people whose job it is to prevent such incidents from happening, either deliberately, or through negligence, ignored such clear warnings, is an issue the U.S. Congress must absolutely get to the bottom of. Congress owes this to the families who needlessly lost loved ones on that fateful day.

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Texas AG Paxton Admits Trump Won Texas Only Because Of Blocked Mail-In Ballots

In one of the most stunning confessions, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton admitted that had he not used his office to block the roughly 2.5 million mail-in ballot requests from going out in Harris County(home to Houston), former President Trump would have lost Texas in the 2020 elections.

Trump won Texas by roughly 620,000 votes in 2020. Given the fact that the populous Harris County is already a Democratic stronghold, plus the fact that mail-in ballots skewed heavily in favor of Democrats nationwide(afraid of contracting covid at polling stations), any reasonable person would conclude that then candidate Joe Biden, would have erased Trump’s 620,000 margin just from the 2.5 million mail-in ballots in Harris County. Even if the Harris County mail-in ballots somehow failed to totally wipe out Trump’s lead, mail-ins from other heavily populated Democratic counties like Bexar(San Antonio) and Travis(Austin), would certainly have done the trick.

AG Paxton said on Bannon’s War Room podcast:“That’s why we filed these 12 lawsuits. We had them in Houston, we had them in San Antonio, we had them in Austin, we had them in the counties where you have the most liberal judges[top elected county executives like Lina Hidalgo]and it was a concerted effort nationally, with lots of money going into it, and just knowing that we had 12 lawsuits that we had to win, and if we lost one of them, like if we lost Harris County, Trump won by 620,000 votes in Texas, Harris County mail-in ballots that they wanted to send out were 2.5 million, those were all illegal, and we were able to stop every one of them. Had we not done that…Donald Trump would have lost the election.”

There’s no other way to interpret this other than, had Texas AG Paxton’s lawsuits failed in blocking mail-in ballot requests in the heavily populated, Democratic-leaning Texas counties like Harris(home to Houston), Bexar(San Antonio) and Travis(Austin), Trump would have lost Texas to Joe Biden in 2020. Just the 2.5 million mail-in ballot requests from Harris County alone, would have been enough to erase Trump’s 620,000 margin.

It’s important to address AG Paxton’s contention that the said mail-in ballots were “all illegal”, in it’s proper context. The 2020 elections happened in the midst of a global covid-19 pandemic. Millions of Americans, including Texans, were justifiably terrified of contracting covid as a result of physically voting in crowded polling stations. To address these legitimate fears of contracting covid, county executives in populous Texas counties like Harris, Bexar, and Travis, provided their residents with the mail-in voting option, a safe option that would allow them to vote without physically standing in line at crowded polling stations.

This safe and convenient method of voting resulted in record voter participation in the Lone Star state. Even though sending out mail-in ballot requests to all eligible county voters is not expressly spelled out in Texas law, there was nothing nefarious County Judge Lina Hidalgo (Harris) and her peers engaged in with the mail-in ballots, as AG Paxton represented in his lawsuits, and on the War Room podcast. These were simply county executives trying to make it safer and convenient for their residents to vote in the midst of a global pandemic.

The fact that AG Paxton and other Texas Republicans are terrified by the prospect of record numbers of Texans voting as a result of mail-in ballots, should tell you everything you need to know about the state of the current Texas Republican Party. It should also explain to you why a lot of the right wing vitriol on social media, is directed at County Judge Lina Hidalgo. Texas Republicans know that if Judge Hidalgo succeeds in her efforts to make it easier for people to vote via mail in her populous Harris County, Democrats will not only take over the Governor’s mansion in Austin, but also potentially sweep statewide seats as early as 2022.

Bottom line folks, Texas GOP’s new voter suppression bill that targets Harris County should come as no surprise to anyone, and neither should the right wing vitriol directed at Judge Hidalgo. Texas Republicans know that if Harris County votes in record numbers, as Judge Hidalgo is determined to see happen, the “reliably red” Texas is no more!!

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NYT’s Maggie Haberman Addresses Backlash Over Trump Coverage

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman appeared on CNN NewDay (06/02/21), where she addressed the recent backlash on social media, over her reporting that former President Trump is telling his supporters he’ll be reinstated by August. Haberman, a constant target of liberals still seething with rage over her “role” in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to Trump, took a lot of Twitter attacks from the same liberals, who accused her of helping deplatformed Trump spread his propaganda.

In her appearance on CNN’s NewDay, Haberman countered these accusations saying her reporting was newsworthy because it sheds light on the ongoing incitement by Trump and his allies(didn’t stop on Jan 6th). She also pushed back at her sharpest critics, Biden-loving liberals, who she said, have settled on an erroneous strategy of wishing Trump away. Haberman’s full segment on NewDay is available here, but the relevant clip is below

Haberman specifically said in response to her critics, “This is an ongoing incitement and I think that there’s a valid reason to use that term. Why people are attacking me for reporting this has always been a bit of a mystery. As I said before, people are in their own media ecosystems, and there are a lot of people around[President]Biden, and a lot of people who support Biden, who want to pretend that if they call Trump the former guy, and if you don’t say his name, that the only thing that would matter is if you give him attention. He’s the former President, he is in control of the Republican Party to a big extent, people in that party[Republican] are having a big debate that I would say is parallel to what we saw in 2015 which was, how do you deal with Trump, who according to Republican leaders at the time for the most part, had no chance of becoming the Republican nominee, and obviously that didn’t work out. Ignoring him was not the answer in 2015. Will it be the answer now? I guess we are going to find out….I think what a former President, and possible future nominee, as unlikely as that might be at the moment is saying…is newsworthy.”

Haberman is essentially arguing that whether liberals like it or not, Trump is still in many respects, the leader of the modern Republican Party, and what he says is newsworthy, especially in this case, where he appears to be inciting his supporters towards the same kind of violence we witnessed January 6th. She adds that efforts by establishment Republicans to ignore Trump into irrelevance in 2015, ended up with him scooping the GOP nomination and the presidency in 2016, and that it is foolhardy for liberals to repeat the same mistake, and expect a different outcome–probably her strongest argument.

Bottom line folks, even though I’m one of the aforementioned “liberals still seething with rage” over Haberman’s “role” in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss, I readily admit that on this issue, she’s absolutely right. As much as we liberals would like to wish Trump away, the fact of the matter is, he’s still in charge of the Republican Party. Where, as here, he appears to be inciting his supporters towards the same kind of violence we witnessed on January 6th, Maggie Haberman is being a good journalist in reporting that. Simply put, the Maggie-bashing on Twitter is totally unwarranted in this case.

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