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Saved Stories – None: Biden Administration Removes Trump Allies from U.S.-Funded News Outlets


WASHINGTON — The acting chief of the United States Agency for Global Media has fired the leaders of multiple federally funded news outlets, as part of the Biden administration’s sweeping effort to clear the agency of allies of President Donald J. Trump.

The acting chief, Kelu Chao, fired the heads of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Network on Friday evening, according to two people familiar with the matter.

They had been appointed in December by the agency’s chief executive at the time, Michael Pack, an ally of the former Trump aide Stephen K. Bannon, as part of a broader effort to remove what he believed was partisan bias from the news outlets. Numerous current and former employees at the agency had accused Mr. Pack of trying to turn it into a mouthpiece for the Trump administration.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Agency for Global Media declined to comment.

The dismissals, earlier reported by NPR and Politico, are the latest in a series of changes at the U.S. Agency for Global Media, and the federally funded news outlets it oversees, under the Biden administration.

On Thursday, the director of Voice of America and his deputy were removed from their posts and the head of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting also resigned. A day before that, Mr. Pack stepped down at the request of the Biden administration.

Ted Lipien, who ran Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, was once a high-ranking official at V.O.A. and became a sharp critic of the media agency. Stephen J. Yates, who led Radio Free Asia, was previously chairman of the Idaho Republican Party and also served as Vice President Dick Cheney’s deputy national security adviser. Victoria Coates, who ran the Middle East Broadcasting Network, was a deputy national security adviser in the Trump administration.

Mr. Biden had been expected to make significant changes at the media agency. In the waning days of the Trump administration, Voice of America came under criticism for reassigning a White House correspondent who tried to ask former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a question at a town hall event held at the outlet’s headquarters in Washington.

After Mr. Pack resigned, the Biden administration quickly installed Ms. Chao, a longtime employee at Voice of America, to replace him. Yolanda Lopez, who served as the director of the V.O.A.’s news center, was also named as acting head of Voice of America and succeeded Robert R. Reilly, who had been appointed by Mr. Pack.

Mr. Pack’s tenure at the U.S. Agency for Global Media was marked by significant upheaval. After taking over, he fired the chief executives of four news outlets under his purview along with their governing board.

He was also accused of purging staff critical of his leadership; starving organizations under his purview from basic funding; and trying to withhold visa approvals for at least 76 foreign journalists at the Voice of America because he had deemed them a security risk.

At a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in September, lawmakers from both parties accused Mr. Pack of undermining the agency’s mission, which includes battling disinformation in places like Russia, China, Hong Kong, North Korea, Iran and Belarus. Mr. Pack ignored a congressional subpoena to attend the hearing.

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Saved Stories – None: Trump campaign had paid $2.7M to organizers of rally ahead of Capitol riot: report


Former President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report MORE’s campaign had paid out more than $2.7 million to several individuals and firms behind the Jan. 6 rally in Washington that devolved into a violent insurrection at the Capitol, the Center for Responsive Politics reported on Friday.

Several organizers listed on the event permit granted by the National Parks Service (NPS) and posted online by the Center for Responsive Politics previously held positions within the Trump campaign or had ties to those who did. 

Federal Election Commission filings show that the former president’s reelection campaign made payments to several of those individuals through Nov. 23, the most recent day for which financial disclosures are available.

Among those individuals listed on the permit was Maggie Mulvaney, a niece of former U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump campaign had paid .7M to organizers of rally ahead of Capitol riot: report Consumer bureau director resigns after Biden’s inauguration FDA chief says he was ‘disgusted’ by Capitol riots, considered resigning MORE, who resigned from his role after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Maggie Mulvaney’s LinkedIn profile lists her current position as director of finance operations and manager of external affairs for the Trump campaign.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Mulvaney was paid at least $138,000 by the Trump campaign through last November. 

Caroline Wren, who served as a national finance consultant for the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee’s joint fundraising operation, was also listed on the NPS permit for the rally as a “VIP advisor.” The Trump campaign paid Wren $170,000 from March to November. 

Megan Powers, whose LinkedIn profile listed her as director of operations for the Trump campaign as recently as this month, was also among those whose names appeared on the permit. She was paid about $290,000 by the Trump campaign from February 2019 through November, according to the Center for Response Politics.

The largest recipient of payments from the Trump campaign was Event Strategies Inc., which received more than $1.7 million from the campaign and the former president’s joint fundraising committee. 

That firm is owned by Justin Caporale, the Trump campaign’s advance director, and his business partner Tim Unes, who are listed on the rally permit as project manager and stage manager, respectively. 

Event Strategies Inc. also received $2.1 million from the Trump-affiliated dark money group America First Policies from 2018 to 2019. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, America First Policies also provided funding to Women for America First, a political nonprofit whose leaders are listed on the rally permit as the event hosts.

The permit designates the Ellipse on the south side of the White House as the site of the event, which is described simply as a “First Amendment rally.”

But the revelation that several of the individuals involved in organizing the Jan. 6 gathering have financial ties to the Trump campaign raises new questions about the role some in the former president’s political operation may have played in an event linked to the violence at the Capitol that same day.

Speaking at the gathering at the Ellipse, Trump himself told rallygoers that they “will never take back our country with weakness” and urged them to “walk down to the Capitol” as Congress prepared to certify President Biden’s Electoral College victory. 

Shortly after Trump’s remarks, a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol, prompting a chaotic series of events in which members of Congress were forced to evacuate and five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died. 

The episode sparked bipartisan outrage against Trump, who at times appeared to condone the violence.

The House moved last week to impeach him for inciting the insurrection, with every one of the chamber’s Democrats and 10 of its Republicans voting to do so. 

The House is expected to send the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, a move that will trigger a trial in the upper chamber.

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Saved Stories – None: 6:09 AM 1/23/2021 – “American ISIS groups are similar to their foreign counterparts in a number of ways.” | Capitol insurrectionists: They have a lot in common with ISIS


https://thenewsandtimes.blogspot.com/2021/01/609-am-1232021-american-isis-groups-are.html

American ISIS groups are similar to their foreign counterparts in a number of ways.”

Money and psychology also appear to be the common elements. 

This is the second professional observation on this subject: the similarity between the presumed “Islamic Terrorism” groups and US “Insurrectionists”. The first one was by the Gen. McChristal on the similarity with Al Qaeda: 

“This observation is astute, original, professional, and I think, it very well might be correct. Explanation and hypothesis: both “MAGA” and “Al Qaeda” stem from the same source and have the same parents, that is why they look like siblings. We may call this interesting family by the variety of different names: KGB, GRU, FSB, etc., etc., but the essence  of its nature manifested by the observed signs points in a certain direction: German Military Intelligence; the New Abwehr. The General has a good military sense of smell. And he himself might have been one of their targets too.” – 4:15 PM 1/16/2021

These two good expert observations make the initial pattern for the Counterintelligence Analysis of the Capitol Riot of 1.6.21, and taken together, they lend even more support to this hypothesis of the “paternity test”, with the New Abwehr and GRU as the first line contenders. 

Michael Novakhov

6:09 AM 1/23/2021

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News and Music – Audio Review: 5:42 AM 1/23/2021 – Capitol insurrectionists: They have a lot in common with ISIS


Capitol insurrectionists: They have a lot in common with ISIS
Saturday January 23rd, 2021 at 5:21 AM
https://michaelnovakhov-sharednewslinks.com/

Following the Capitol riot earlier this month, Congress is taking actions against those it holds responsible. House Democrats have committed to sending the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, and Democratic leaders are pushing new domestic terrorism legislation.

In addition, a federal judge in Arizona last week denied bail to the “QAnon Shaman,” Jacob Chansley (also known as Jake Angeli), because the judge did not have confidence Chansley would appear for trial. Chansley was the most prominent figure in the attack on the Capitol earlier this month, but he was not alone in his zeal to possibly kidnap or kill officials. Decked out in a horned headdress, prosecutors allege there is strong but indirect evidence that Chansley and others may have intended to capture and assassinate members of Congress.

Beyond Chansley, it’s clear that members of Congress had good reason to fear for their lives as people roamed the halls chanting to hang Mike Pence and “Execute the traitors” while carrying zip ties to restrain targets of opportunity. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security both had internal intelligence of violence aimed at lawmakers, and as criminal trials begin, more evidence of intent is likely to surface.

It’s not a long road from zip ties and threatening to kidnap or assassinate officials to the atrocities committed by the terrorist group ISIS. Chansley’s now-suspended Twitter handle was @USAwolfpack, but a better social media nom de guerre might be @TheRealAmericanISIS.

It’s now clear that the most serious threat to U.S. national security is not a foreign terrorist group mounting an operation on our soil, but domestic extremists like Chansley conducting operations against our government.

American ISIS movements are not just a threat to the federal government. Armed terrorists successfully disrupted the Michigan legislature’s functions and planned to kidnap the governor.

What would these extremists have done to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after they kidnapped her? They’d planned to kill police if they had to; does anyone really think they hadn’t considered killing Whitmer too?

Domestic terrorism has been listed as the top threat to the homeland by the FBI since at least 2019. Among all such movements, white supremacist and “other far-right-wing” groups pose the biggest threat. That is, far-left-wing groups pose much less of a threat, so statements trying to make them out to be equivalent with the right-wing threat are simply wrong. Indeed, since 9/11, right-wing groups have killed more Americans than foreign terrorists and accounted for 73% of all incidents of terror.

American ISIS groups are similar to their foreign counterparts in a number of ways. American terrorists are loosely organized around a core set of beliefs, but are not hierarchical and not in agreement on everything. Such groups form around charismatic leaders who feed their followers a sense of grievance, while simultaneously hinting at a return to power, a return to the “real” America. Over and over again, the rhetoric on social media is that this renaissance of the “real” America won’t happen until the so-called illegitimate leaders currently in power are defeated, or worse.

And just like ISIS, this is at its foundation a religious narrative. (To be clear, I consider this a Christianist interpretation, not legitimate Christianity.) The model for the American ISIS is the Apocalypse story of the Judeo-Christian Bible. The “chosen” people, the real patriots, will try to take back power peacefully at first. But

Download audio: https://feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/971101096-mike-nova-3-542-am-1232021-capitol-insurrectionists-they-have-a-lot-in-common-with-isis.mp3

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Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (30 sites): The News And Times: 3:58 AM 1/23/2021 – White House Orders Assessment on Violent Extremism in US


3:58 AM 1/23/2021 – White House Orders Assessment on Violent Extremism in US

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The F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security have more leeway to … as the person seen attacking a police officer on the steps of the Capitol in a …

Ryan Nichols posted on Facebook that Antifa was not a main part of the attack on the Capitol, authorities say. Screengrab from FBI. Nichols owns several …

Investigation into US Capitol riot moves into more complicated phase

Investigation into US Capitol riot moves into more complicated phase



Investigation into US Capitol riot moves into more complicated phase
Saturday January 23rd, 2021 at 1:44 AM
Law enforcement officials say they are moving from the so-called low-hanging fruit arrests and charges to more complicated cases, focusing on
the extremist groups

that participated in the attack.
That effort will take months to try to piece together, in part, because unlike some of the early arrests of suspects — who gleefully posted on social media or even live-streamed their involvement — many alleged attackers took pains to hide their identities and their involvement.

Hundreds of more arrests are still expected, officials have said.

Prosecutors have said in detention hearings they are working on bringing seditious conspiracy charges — a prospect that Washington, DC, acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin raised publicly early on.

But with a new administration now running the Justice Department, taking such a major step on a rarely used law would likely require sign-off from the
new Biden administration officials

at Justice headquarters.
For now, the department is led by acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson and acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin. It’s unclear whether they would want to be the ones to sign off on sedition charges, with Senate confirmation likely still weeks away for Judge Merrick Garland and Lisa Monaco, Biden’s picks for the top two jobs. If department officials decide to wait for Garland to arrive, it could slow the work underway.

The Civil War-era law brings up to 20-year penalties for plotting to overthrow the US government and to use force to oppose US government authority or to delay the execution of a US law. Last summer, amid street protests following the police killing of George Floyd, then-Attorney General William Barr encouraged federal prosecutors to use the law against leftist protesters, a move that no one made.

The most recent use of the law came during the Obama administration, but a judge dismissed seditious conspiracy charges against members of a militant group in Michigan that had discussed attacks against federal and local authorities, because they hadn’t done enough to directly attempt to thwart the federal government.

The law was used successfully in 1995 against Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and a group who plotted to destroy landmarks in New York. And in the 1980s, a Puerto Rican separatist was sent to prison on seditious conspiracy and other charges for a campaign of bombings.

Garland and Monaco both have government experience confronting domestic terrorism.

In 1995, Garland — then a senior official at the Justice Department in Washington — flew to Oklahoma City to supervise the aftermath of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, at the time the deadliest domestic terror attack in the country’s history.

Monaco, who has led the Justice Department’s National Security Division, was only weeks into a position as then-President Barack Obama’s chief adviser on homeland security and counterterrorism when two self-radicalized Boston brothers planted two bombs on the parade route of the city’s marathon.

The Boston bombing and other jihadi-inspired attacks were the most pressing concern for counterterrorism authorities at the time, but Monaco also played a leading role in some of the earliest instances of what would become a wave of White supremacist threats, like the 2015 massacre at one of the oldest Black churches in the country, Charleston’s Mother Emanuel.

Download audio: https://feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/971044630-mike-nova-3-investigation-into-us-capitol-riot-moves-into-more-complicated-phase.mp3

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Guard in DC forced to sleep in garages, sparking outcry

biden_inauguration_38267_c0-162-3889-243

WASHINGTON (AP) – Images of National Guard soldiers camped in a cold parking garage after being sent to protect Washington sparked new calls Friday for investigations of the U.S. Capitol Police, now facing allegations that the agency evicted troops sent to help after its failure to stop rioting mobs two …

United Airlines CEO wants to make Covid vaccines mandatory for the company’s employees, a stance that differs from other airlines and sectors.

The F.B.I. charged some people with conspiracy in the Capitol riot, but proving it won’t be easy.  The New York Times

6835735 “Conspiracy Against US” – Google News

Jewish communities in New York City and across the country tighten security protocols as threats mount  SecurityInfoWatch

6835735 “Conspiracy Against US” – Google News

House Oversight committee chair requests FBI probe of Parler, including its role in Capitol siege  Anchorage Daily News

FBI urged to probe Parler and its role in Capitol siege  IOL

Russia gives Kremlin critic Navalny an ultimatum: Return immediately or face jail  CNA

Abbott-Desantis-DC-Troops-2.jpg

  1. National Guard soldiers ordered home by governors amid outrage over being moved to Capitol parking garage  Fox News
  2. Lawmakers outraged after National Guard moved to parking garage  CBS This Morning
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  1. Bitcoin on track for biggest weekly fall since September as Janet Yellen and ‘double spend’ spook traders  Business Insider
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  1. Austin confirmed as nation’s first African American defense secretary  The Washington Post
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Biden speaks about economic recovery and COVID relief plan

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Saved Stories – None: Senate Leaders Agree on Impeachment Trial Delay, Giving Biden Breathing Room


WASHINGTON — Senate leaders struck a deal on Friday to delay former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial for two weeks, giving President Biden time to install his cabinet and begin moving a legislative agenda before they begin a historic proceeding to try his predecessor.

The plan guarantees that the trial, which promises to dredge up the ugly events of Mr. Trump’s final days in office and resurface deep divisions over his conduct, will loom large over Mr. Biden’s first days at the White House. But it will also allow the president to put crucial members of his team in place and push forward on a coronavirus aid package he has said is his top priority.

Democrats had begun to fret those steps would be subsumed by the rush to try Mr. Trump.

“We all want to put this awful chapter in our nation’s history behind us,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader. “But healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability. And that is what this trial will provide.”

Mr. Trump, the first president to be impeached twice and the only one ever to face trial after leaving office, is accused of “incitement of insurrection.” The House approved the charge with bipartisan support last week after Mr. Trump stirred up a mob of his supporters who stormed the Capitol in a violent rampage on Jan. 6.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Friday that the House impeachment managers would walk the charge across the Capitol to the Senate at 7 p.m. Monday, and Mr. Schumer said senators would be sworn in as jurors the next day. But under Mr. Schumer’s agreement with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, the chamber will then pause until the week of Feb. 8 to give the prosecution and defense time to draft and exchange written legal briefs.

“During that period, the Senate will continue to do other business for the American people, such as cabinet nominations and the Covid relief bill, which would provide relief for millions of Americans who are suffering during this pandemic,” Mr. Schumer said.

The deal did not specify how a trial would proceed once oral arguments begin on Feb. 9, but both sides indicated they were looking to compress it into a handful of days, potentially allowing senators to reach a verdict by the end of that week.

The delay represented a compromise between the two party leaders in the Senate, who have struggled in the days since Mr. Biden’s inauguration to agree on how the evenly divided chamber should function. Still, the broader disagreement persisted on Friday, hamstrung by a dispute over the filibuster, which allows a minority to block legislation.

For Mr. McConnell, who has signaled that he is open to convicting Mr. Trump and has privately indicated that he believes the former president committed impeachable offenses, the agreement to delay the trial held political advantages. It allowed him to argue that the proceeding was fair, giving the former president ample time to make his case, and bought more time for Mr. McConnell and other Republicans to weigh how they would vote.

“Senate Republicans strongly believe we need a full and fair process where the former president can mount a defense and the Senate can properly consider the factual, legal and constitutional questions at stake,” Mr. McConnell said.

Debatable: The sharpest arguments on the most pressing issues of the week.

Democrats were weighing competing interests, including Mr. Biden’s agenda, as well as a desire to dispatch with the trial of his predecessor quickly and to force Republican senators to go on the record with regard to Mr. Trump’s actions while the memories of the riot were still fresh.

They agreed to the delay after Mr. Biden said on Friday that he was in favor of doing so, as a way of keeping the Senate focused on confirming members of his administration and beginning work on the next round of federal coronavirus aid. The president has tried to steer clear of the substance of the trial.

“The more time we have to get up and running to meet these crises, the better,” Mr. Biden said at the White House.

The Biden Administration

As part of the deal, Mr. Schumer announced that the Senate would vote to confirm Mr. Biden’s Treasury secretary nominee, Janet Yellen, just before the impeachment article was to arrive on Monday evening.

It is all but unthinkable that the Senate could adopt Mr. Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan — a complex piece of legislation that is likely to face substantial Republican opposition — before the trial began. But Democrats hoped to clear several procedural hurdles necessary to do so.

Mr. McConnell had initially proposed delaying the impeachment trial another week, until Feb. 15. He cited the need for Mr. Trump’s legal team, just hired on Thursday, to prepare to give a full defense. Doug Andres, Mr. McConnell’s spokesman, called the deal “a win for due process and fairness.”

Mr. Trump, now installed at his private club in Palm Beach, Fla., had struggled to field a legal team willing to defend him, finally settling on Butch Bowers of South Carolina.

While Mr. Trump was defended at his first trial by the White House counsel, private lawyers and leading constitutional experts, Mr. Bowers appears to be handling the task more or less alone for now and must quickly familiarize himself with the case. He has little high-profile experience in Washington, but has defended several Republican governors in his home state, including Mark Sanford when he faced possible impeachment in 2009.

Preparing for a potentially speedy trial, the House managers said their case would be relatively straightforward, especially compared with Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial. That proceeding turned on a lengthy and complex presidential pressure campaign on Ukraine that took place largely out of public view.

“So much of what led to this incitement of violence was done in public view — both in the conduct of the president, the words and the tweets — and it played out in real time for the American people on television,” Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, one of the managers, said in an interview.

Mr. McConnell was reprising a role he played in Mr. Trump’s first trial, representing the interests of the defense. But this time, he has made clear he is not gunning for an acquittal.

The Republican leader said this week that the former president “provoked” the mob that stormed the Capitol. And though Mr. McConnell has not yet said how he would vote in the impeachment trial, he has indicated privately he views the process as a potential means of ridding the Republican Party of its former standard-bearer.

Yet with many in his party already lining up against conviction and the party’s right wing shouting for his resignation, Mr. McConnell was proceeding carefully.

It would take 17 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats to convict Mr. Trump. If they did, they could then proceed to disqualify him from holding any future office on a simple majority vote.

Several Republicans were already pointing to the speed of the process to argue for letting Mr. Trump off, saying the House’s move to impeach — which came exactly a week after the Jan. 6 rampage — had been too rushed.

“It is a serious issue, but it’s not a serious effort to comply with the requirements of due process of the Constitution when it comes to impeachment,” said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas.

Senate Democrats were just as eager as Mr. McConnell to ensure the trial was perceived as fair, particularly among Republicans they believe could conceivably agree to convict Mr. Trump. They listened carefully when Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, one of the former president’s most virulent critics who has praised the House’s impeachment, said she found Mr. McConnell’s suggestion for delay “eminently reasonable.”

Other Republicans argued that it was unconstitutional for the Senate to try a former president at all because the Constitution only explicitly provided for impeachments of current officeholders. Many legal scholars disagree with that position, and so did the Senate itself when in the 1870s it found it did have the authority to judge a former war secretary.

Mr. Schumer, anticipating their objection, said the argument had been “roundly repudiated, debunked by constitutional scholars left, right and center, and defies basic common sense.”

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