being repeatedly told that the American election process is deeply corrupted.

In fact, Mr. Mastriano’s candidacy has from its inception been propelled by his role in disputing the 2020 presidential election lost by Mr. Trump.

county by county, but election experts say they do not reflect factors as benign as changes in addresses.

“They’re in search of solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist,” Kyle Miller, a Navy veteran and state representative for Protect Democracy, a national advocacy organization, said in an interview in Harrisburg. “They are basing this on faulty data and internet rumors.”

Some Republican lawmakers have leaned on false claims to call for changes to rules about mail-in ballots and other measures intended to make it easier for people to vote. Several counties have already reversed some of the decisions, including the number and location of drop boxes for ballots.

Mr. Miller, among others, warned that the flurry of false claims about balloting could be a trial run for challenging the results of the presidential election in 2024, in which Pennsylvania could again be a crucial swing state.

In Chester County, a largely white region that borders Delaware and Maryland that is roughly split between Republicans and Democrats, the effort to sow confusion came the old-fashioned way: in the mail.

Letters dated Sept. 12 began arriving in mailboxes across the county, warning people that their votes in the 2020 presidential election might not have counted. “Because you have a track record of consistently voting, we find it unusual that your record indicates that you did not vote,” the letter, which was unsigned, said.

The sender called itself “Data Insights,” based in the county seat of West Chester, though no known record of such a company exists, according to county officials. The letters did include copies of the recipients’ voting records. The letters urged recipients to write to the county commissioners or attend the commission’s meetings in the county seat of West Chester, in September and October. Dozens of recipients did.

The county administrator, Robert J. Kagel, tried to assure them that their votes were actually counted. He urged anyone concerned to contact the county’s voter services department.

Even so, at county meetings in September and October, speaker after speaker lined up to question the letter and the ballot process generally — and to air an array of grievances and conspiracy theories.

They included the discredited claims of the film “2000 Mules” that operatives have been stuffing boxes for mail-in ballots. One attendee warned that votes were being tabulated by the Communist Party of China or the World Economic Forum.

“I don’t know where my vote is,” another resident, Barbara Ellis of Berwyn, told the commissioners in October. “I don’t know if it was manipulated in the machines, in another country.”

As of Oct. 20, 59 people in Chester County had contacted officials with concerns raised in the letter, but in each case, it was determined that the voters’ ballots had been cast and counted, said Rebecca Brain, a county spokesman.

Who exactly sent the letters remains a mystery, which only fuels more conspiracy theories.

“It seems very official,” Charlotte Valyo, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party in the county, said of the letter. She described it as part of “an ongoing, constant campaign to undermine the confidence in our voting system.” The county’s Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment.

Disinformation may not be the only cause of the deepening partisan chasm in the state — or the nation — but it has undoubtedly worsened it. The danger, Ms. Valyo warned, was discouraging voting by sowing distrust in the ability of election officials to tally the votes.

“People might think, ‘Why bother, if they’re that messed up?’”

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

McCarthy Unveils House GOP’s Midterm Agenda In Pennsylvania

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday directly confronted President Joe Biden and the party in power, choosing battleground Pennsylvania to unveil a midterm election agenda with sweeping Trump-like promises despite the House GOP’s sometimes spotty record of delivering and governing in Congress.

McCarthy, who is poised to seize the speaker’s gavel if Republicans win control of the House in the fall, hopes to replicate the strategy former Speaker Newt Gingrich used to spark voter enthusiasm and sweep House control in a 1994 landslide.

The House GOP’s “Commitment to America” gives a nod to that earlier era but updates it for Trump, with economic, border security and social policies to rouse the former president’s deep well of supporters in often-forgotten regions like this rusty landscape outside Pittsburgh.

“What we’re going to roll out today is a ‘Commitment to America’ in Washington — not Washington, D.C., but Washington County, Pennsylvania,” McCarthy said at a manufacturing facility. “Because it’s about you, it’s not about us.”

On Friday, the House Republican leader stood with a cross-section of other lawmakers to roll out the GOP agenda, offering a portrait of party unity despite the uneasy coalition that makes up the House minority — and the Republican Party itself. 

The GOP has shifted from its focus on small government, low taxes and individual freedoms to a more populist, nationalist and, at times, far-right party, essentially still led by Trump, who remains popular despite the deepening state and federal investigations against him.

Propelled by Trump’s “Make America Great Again” voters, the Republicans need to pick up just a few seats to win back control of the narrowly-split House, and replace Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But even so, McCarthy’s ability to lead the House is far from guaranteed.

While Republicans and Trump did pass tax cuts into law, the GOP’s last big campaign promise, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, collapsed in failure. A long line of Republican speakers, including Gingrich, John Boehner and Paul Ryan, have been forced from office or chose early retirement, often ground down by party infighting.

“House Republicans are really good at running people out of town,” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Coalition, or CPAC.

McCarthy, first elected to office in 2006, is among the remaining political survivors of those House Republican battles, and he’s a new style of leader who has shown more ability to communicate than to legislate.

A key architect of the Republican “tea party” takeover in 2010, the California Republican personally recruited the newcomers to Congress — many who had never served in public office and are long gone. McCarthy was an early Trump endorser, and has remained close to the former president, relying on his high-profile endorsements to propel GOP candidates for Congress. He abandoned an earlier bid to become speaker when support from his colleagues drifted.

The “Commitment to America” reflects the strength of McCarthy’s abilities, but also his weaknesses. He spent more than a year pulling together the House GOP’s often warring factions — from the far-right MAGA to what’s left of the more centrist ranks — to produce a mostly agreed upon agenda.

But the one-page “commitment” preamble is succinct, essentially a pocket card, though it is expected to be filled in with the kind of detail that is needed to make laws.

“They talk about a lot of problems,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “They don’t have a lot of solutions.”

In traveling to battleground Pennsylvania, a state where President Biden holds emotional ties from his early childhood, McCarthy intends to counter the president’s fiery Labor Day weekend speech, in which he warned of rising GOP extremism after the Jan 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, with a more upbeat message.

The event is billed as more of a conversation with the GOP leader and lawmakers rather than a stirring address in a uniquely contested state.

Along with as many as five House seats Republicans believe they can pick up in Pennsylvania in November, the state has one of the most watched Senate races, between Democrat John Fetterman and Trump-backed Mehmet Oz, that will help determine control of Congress. Top of the ticket is the seismic governor’s matchup between the GOP’s Doug Mastriano, who was seen outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, and Democrat Josh Shapiro.

“If you are a hardline, populist, and you really want anger, Kevin’s a little frustrating because he’s not going to be angry enough for you,” Gingrich said. “On the other hand, if what you want is to have your values implemented and passed in the legislation, he is a really good leader and organizer.”

Gingrich has been working with McCarthy and his team to craft the style and substance of the proposal. The former speaker, who has been asked by the Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol attack for an interview, was on hand Thursday in Washington, joining McCarthy as he unveiled the plans privately to House Republicans, who have been mixed on the approach.

Mostly, the GOP pocket card hits broad strokes — energy independence, security and an end to liberal social policies, particularly in schooling.

Conservative Republicans complain privately that McCarthy isn’t leaning hard enough into their priorities, as he tries to appeal to a broader swath of voters and hold the party together.

Many are eager to launch investigations into the Biden administration and the president’s family, with some calling for impeachment. Legislatively, some House Republicans want to fulfill the party’s commitment to banning abortion, supporting Sen. Lindsey Graham’s bill prohibiting the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

In a sign of the pressures ahead for McCarthy, dozens of House GOP lawmakers signed on to plans from Trump-aligned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to prevent many gender reassignment procedures for minors, celebrating the Georgian as courageous for taking such a hardline approach.

She and others were invited to join Friday’s event, as McCarthy seeks their backing.

Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, has advocated for withholding federal funds as leverage for policy priorities, the tactic that engineered past government shutdowns.

“Putting out like, you know, principles about, ‘Well, we’ll secure the border.’ I mean, okay, but what are we gonna do about it?” Roy said. “The end of the day, I want specific actionable items that’s going to show that we’re going to fight for the American people.”

It’s notable that McCarthy alone has proposed a plan if Republicans win control of the House chamber. In the Senate, Republican leader Mitch McConnell has declined to put forward an agenda, preferring to simply run against President Biden and Democrats in the midterm election.

“Kevin’s done a very good job of being in position to become the speaker. And then the question is, what do you do with that? Schlapp said. “This helps as a road map.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Trump Openly Embraces Some QAnon Conspiracy Theories

By Associated Press
September 16, 2022

As Trump contemplates another run for the presidency, his actions show that far from distancing himself from the political fringe, he’s welcoming it.

After winking at QAnon for years, Donald Trump is overtly embracing some of the group’s baseless conspiracy theories, even as the number of frightening real-world events linked to it grows.

On Tuesday, using his Truth Social platform, the Republican former president reposted an image of himself wearing a Q lapel pin overlaid with the words “The Storm is Coming.” In QAnon lore, the “storm” refers to Trump’s final victory, when supposedly he will regain power and his opponents will be tried, and potentially executed, on live television.

As Trump contemplates another run for the presidency and has become increasingly assertive in the Republican primary process during the midterm elections, his actions show that far from distancing himself from the political fringe, he is welcoming it.

He’s published dozens of recent Q-related posts, in contrast to 2020, when he claimed that while he didn’t know much about QAnon, he couldn’t disprove its conspiracy theory.

Pressed on QAnon theories that Trump allegedly is saving the nation from a satanic cult of child sex traffickers, he claimed ignorance but asked, “Is that supposed to be a bad thing?”

“If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it,” Trump said.

Trump’s recent postings have included images referring to himself as a martyr fighting criminals, psychopaths and the so-called deep state. In one now-deleted post from late August, he reposted a “q drop,” one of the cryptic message board postings that QAnon supporters claim come from an anonymous government worker with top secret clearance.

A Trump spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Even when his posts haven’t referred to the conspiracy theory directly, Trump has amplified users who do. An Associated Press analysis found that of nearly 75 accounts Trump has reposted on his Truth Social profile in the past month, more than a third of them have promoted QAnon by sharing the movement’s slogans, videos or imagery. About 1 in 10 include QAnon language or links in their profile bios.

Earlier this month, Trump chose a QAnon song to close out a rally in Pennsylvania. The same song appears in one of his recent campaign videos and is titled “WWG1WGA,” an acronym used as a rallying cry for Q adherents that stands for “Where we go one, we go all.”

On Truth Social, QAnon-affiliated accounts hail Trump as a hero and savior and vilify President Joe Biden by comparing him to Adolf Hitler or the devil. When Trump shares the content, they congratulate each other. Some accounts proudly display how many times Trump has “re-truthed” them in their bios.

A growing list of criminal episodes has been linked to people who had expressed support for the conspiracy theory, which U.S. intelligence officials have warned could trigger more violence.

QAnon supporters were among those who violently stormed the Capitol during the failed Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

In November 2020, two men drove to a vote-counting site in Philadelphia in a Hummer adorned with QAnon stickers and loaded with a rifle, 100 rounds of ammunition and other weapons. Prosecutors alleged they were trying to interfere with the election.

Last year, a California man who told authorities he had been enlightened by QAnon was accused of killing his two children because he believed they had serpent DNA.

Last month, a Colorado woman was found guilty of attempting to kidnap her son from foster care after her daughter said she began associating with QAnon supporters. Other adherents have been accused of environmental vandalism, firing paintballs at military reservists, abducting a child in France and even killing a New York City mob boss.

On Sunday, police fatally shot a Michigan man who they say had killed his wife and severely injured his daughter. A surviving daughter told The Detroit News that she believes her father was motivated by QAnon.

Major social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have banned content associated with QAnon and have suspended or blocked accounts that seek to spread it. That’s forced much of the group’s activities onto platforms that have less moderation, including Telegram, Gab and Trump’s struggling platform, Truth Social.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

U.S. Northeast faces potential energy shortages as rails start to shut

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals!<<<<

Unused oil tank cars are pictured on Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad tracks outside Hinsdale, New York August 24, 2015. Picture taken August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Lindsay DeDario/File Photo

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

NEW YORK, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Some trains carrying fuel components to the U.S. Northeast have been halted in preparation for a possible railroad shutdown in the coming days, two sources familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

The northernmost East Coast states rely on railroad shipments to supplement pipeline deliveries from the U.S. Gulf. The region is among the largest fuel consumers in the nation, where U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data shows that in July inventories of heating oil and diesel reached the lowest levels in at least three decades.

Major railroads, including Union Pacific (UNP.N) and Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRKa.N) BNSF, must reach a tentative deal with three unions representing 60,000 workers before 12:01 a.m. on Friday to avert a shutdown.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Unit trains to the Northeast that carry commodities including ethanol and crude oil have already stopped, two sources told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

All railroads are preparing to wind down operations in the next day, said a spokesperson at Norfolk Southern (NSC.N) who declined to comment further. Passenger rail operator Amtrak has already canceled all long-distance routes nationwide as their trains run largely on freight lines outside of the U.S. Northeast. read more

Nationwide, stocks of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, are at their lowest levels seasonally since 2000, according to EIA data.

The situation is more dire in New England and the Central Atlantic states. In that region, stretching from Maine to Maryland, stocks are at 16.6 million barrels, lowest seasonally since the EIA started keeping the data in 1990.

Fuel distributors generally have inventories to last several days and those markets can also receive imports, but prices would be expected to rise in anticipation of a possible shortage.

Some shippers, anticipating a shutdown, have already stopped transporting hazardous materials around the United States, including fuel blending components.

“I already have companies that have been limiting their production knowing this was coming and now they’ll have to face the music and shut down,” said Tom Williamson, a railcar broker and owner of Transportation Consultants, which manages over 2,000 railcars.

He said he has been busy the past few days communicating with clients who are starting to shut down production of hazardous materials.

The upper Northeast relies on rail for shipments of crude oil, natural gas and fuel products more than other regions because of a lack of pipelines. New England receives most of the natural gas it uses to heat homes and light stoves by rail, according to consultancy RBN Energy, making it vulnerable to a stoppage.

“Over the past 20 years, regional imbalances between where products are produced and where they are demanded has increased,” said Debnil Chowdhury, vice president, Americas head of refining and marketing, S&P Global Commodity Insights. “This has increased the need to transfer products from the Gulf Coast to the (Northeast).”

Pipelines carrying fuel and natural gas from Texas and other oil and gas-producing states of the U.S. South are already full, Chowdhury said, leaving little room to increase flows on the lines if a shutdown happens.

“All sorts of stuff is going to grind to a halt,” said one executive familiar with the region’s rail operations, who asked not to be named. “It’s going to be brutal.”

In July, governors of New England states wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm warning her that the region faced surging winter heating bills due to lack of natural gas pipeline connectivity.

They also asked the Biden Administration to suspend the Jones Act, which requires goods moved between U.S. ports to be carried by ships built domestically and staffed by U.S. crew, for the delivery of LNG for at least a portion of the upcoming winter.

In 2021, the six-state New England region got most of its power, or 46%, from natural gas, according to ISO New England, the region’s power grid operator. On the coldest winter days, the grid relies on oil as well to fuel a much bigger percentage of power generation.

Nationwide, shippers for oil and chemical companies are making contingency plans.

“We are starting to see impacts already,” said Chris Ball, chief executive officer of Quantix, a Houston-based company that provides trucks and trailers to transport chemicals for companies including Exxon Mobil, Dow and LyondellBasell.

“They (railroads) have already restricted what they’re taking and so we’re getting a fair amount of trucking orders across our whole network,” Ball said.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Laila Kearney, Laura Sanicola and Jarrett Renshaw; Additional reporting by Arathy Somasekhar in Houston and Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by David Gregorio and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Laura Sanicola

Thomson Reuters

Reports on oil and energy, including refineries, markets and renewable fuels. Previously worked at Euromoney Institutional Investor and CNN.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

How a Spreader of Voter Fraud Conspiracy Theories Became a Star

In 2011, Catherine Engelbrecht appeared at a Tea Party Patriots convention in Phoenix to deliver a dire warning.

While volunteering at her local polls in the Houston area two years earlier, she claimed, she witnessed voter fraud so rampant that it made her heart stop. People cast ballots without proof of registration or eligibility, she said. Corrupt election judges marked votes for their preferred candidates on the ballots of unwitting citizens, she added.

Local authorities found no evidence of the election tampering she described, but Ms. Engelbrecht was undeterred. “Once you see something like that, you can’t forget it,” the suburban Texas mom turned election-fraud warrior told the audience of 2,000. “You certainly can’t abide by it.”

planting seeds of doubt over the electoral process, becoming one of the earliest and most enthusiastic spreaders of ballot conspiracy theories.

fueled by Mr. Trump, has seized the moment. She has become a sought-after speaker at Republican organizations, regularly appears on right-wing media and was the star of the recent film “2,000 Mules,” which claimed mass voter fraud in the 2020 election and has been debunked.

She has also been active in the far-right’s battle for November’s midterm elections, rallying election officials, law enforcement and lawmakers to tighten voter restrictions and investigate the 2020 results.

said in an interview last month with a conservative show, GraceTimeTV, which was posted on the video-sharing site Rumble. “There have been no substantive improvements to change anything that happened in 2020 to prevent it from happening in 2022.”

set up stakeouts to prevent illegal stuffing of ballot boxes. Officials overseeing elections are ramping up security at polling places.

Voting rights groups said they were increasingly concerned by Ms. Engelbrecht.

She has “taken the power of rhetoric to a new place,” said Sean Morales-Doyle, the acting director of voting rights at the Brennan Center, a nonpartisan think tank. “It’s having a real impact on the way lawmakers and states are governing elections and on the concerns we have on what may happen in the upcoming elections.”

Some of Ms. Engelbrecht’s former allies have cut ties with her. Rick Wilson, a Republican operative and Trump critic, ran public relations for Ms. Engelbrecht in 2014 but quit after a few months. He said she had declined to turn over data to back her voting fraud claims.

“She never had the juice in terms of evidence,” Mr. Wilson said. “But now that doesn’t matter. She’s having her uplift moment.”

a video of the donor meeting obtained by The New York Times. They did not elaborate on why.

announce a partnership to scrutinize voting during the midterms.

“The most important right the American people have is to choose our own public officials,” said Mr. Mack, a former sheriff of Graham County, Ariz. “Anybody trying to steal that right needs to be prosecuted and arrested.”

Steve Bannon, then chief executive of the right-wing media outlet Breitbart News, and Andrew Breitbart, the publication’s founder, spoke at her conferences.

True the Vote’s volunteers scrutinized registration rolls, watched polling stations and wrote highly speculative reports. In 2010, a volunteer in San Diego reported seeing a bus offloading people at a polling station “who did not appear to be from this country.”

Civil rights groups described the activities as voter suppression. In 2010, Ms. Engelbrecht told supporters that Houston Votes, a nonprofit that registered voters in diverse communities of Harris County, Texas, was connected to the “New Black Panthers.” She showed a video of an unrelated New Black Panther member in Philadelphia who called for the extermination of white people. Houston Votes was subsequently investigated by state officials, and law enforcement raided its office.

“It was a lie and racist to the core,” said Fred Lewis, head of Houston Votes, who sued True the Vote for defamation. He said he had dropped the suit after reaching “an understanding” that True the Vote would stop making accusations. Ms. Engelbrecht said she didn’t recall such an agreement.

in April 2021, did not respond to requests for comment. Ms. Engelbrecht has denied his claims.

In mid-2021, “2,000 Mules” was hatched after Ms. Engelbrecht and Mr. Phillips met with Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative provocateur and filmmaker. They told him that they could detect cases of ballot box stuffing based on two terabytes of cellphone geolocation data that they had bought and matched with video surveillance footage of ballot drop boxes.

Salem Media Group, the conservative media conglomerate, and Mr. D’Souza agreed to create and fund a film. The “2,000 Mules” title was meant to evoke the image of cartels that pay people to carry illegal drugs into the United States.

said after seeing the film that it raised “significant questions” about the 2020 election results; 17 state legislators in Michigan also called for an investigation into election results there based on the film’s accusations.

In Arizona, the attorney general’s office asked True the Vote between April and June for data about some of the claims in “2,000 Mules.” The contentions related to Maricopa and Yuma Counties, where Ms. Engelbrecht said people had illegally submitted ballots and had used “stash houses” to store fraudulent ballots.

According to emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, a True the Vote official said Mr. Phillips had turned over a hard drive with the data. The attorney general’s office said early this month that it hadn’t received it.

Last month, Ms. Engelbrecht and Mr. Phillips hosted an invitation-only gathering of about 150 supporters in Queen Creek, Ariz., which was streamed online. For weeks beforehand, they promised to reveal the addresses of ballot “stash houses” and footage of voter fraud.

Ms. Engelbrecht did not divulge the data at the event. Instead, she implored the audience to look to the midterm elections, which she warned were the next great threat to voter integrity.

“The past is prologue,” she said.

Alexandra Berzon contributed reporting.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

What’s Left As Jan. 6 Panel Sprints To Year-End Finish

The House Jan. 6 committee is coming close to a final report, but lawmakers say there is more to come than what’s already come to light.

With only three months left in the year, the House Jan. 6 committee is eyeing a close to its work and a final report laying out its findings about the U.S. Capitol insurrection. But, the investigation is not over.

The committee has already revealed much of its work at eight hearings over the summer, showing in detail how former President Donald Trump ignored many of his closest advisers and amplified his false claims of election fraud after he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden. Witnesses interviewed by the panel — some of them Trump’s closest allies — recounted in videotaped testimony how the former president declined to act when hundreds of his supporters violently attacked the Capitol as Congress certified President Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021.

Lawmakers say there is more to come. The nine-member panel — seven Democrats and two Republicans — interviewed witnesses through all of August, and they are hoping to have at least one hearing by the end of the month. Members met Tuesday to discuss the panel’s next steps.

Because the Jan. 6 panel is a temporary or “select” committee, it expires at the end of the current Congress. If Republicans take the majority in November’s elections, as they are favored to do, they are expected to dissolve the committee in January. So the panel is planning to issue a final report by the end of December.

As for hearings, the panel’s Democratic chairman, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, said after the private members’ meeting Tuesday in the Capitol that the committee’s goal is to hold a hearing Sept. 28, but that members were still discussing whether it would happen at all.

“We’ll we’re still in the process of talking,” Thompson said. “If it happens, it will be that date. We’re not sure at this point.”

Members of the committee had promised more hearings in September as they wrapped up the series of summer hearings. Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican vice chairwoman, said the committee “has far more evidence to share with the American people and more to gather.”

“Doors have opened, new subpoenas have been issued and the dam has begun to break,” Cheney said at a July 21 hearing that was held in prime time and watched by 17.7 million people. “We have considerably more to do.”

It’s unclear if the hearing would provide a general overview of what the panel has learned or if they would be focused on new information and evidence. The committee conducted several interviews at the end of July and into August with Trump’s Cabinet secretaries, some of whom had discussed invoking the constitutional process in the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office after the insurrection.

For its witnesses, the panel has already interviewed more than 1,000 people, but lawmakers and staff are still pursuing new threads. The committee recently spoke to several of the Cabinet secretaries, including former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in July and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in August.

The committee also wants to get to the bottom of missing Secret Service texts from Jan. 5 to 6, 2021, which could shed further light on Trump’s actions during the insurrection, particularly after earlier testimony about his confrontation with security as he tried to join supporters at the Capitol. Thompson said Tuesday that the committee has recently obtained “thousands” of documents from the Secret Service.

The committee has also pursued an interview with conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, who’s married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Lawmakers want to know more about her role in trying to help Trump overturn the election. She contacted lawmakers in Arizona and Wisconsin as part of that effort.

Members of the committee are still debating how aggressively to pursue testimony from Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Some have questioned whether the committee needs to call Pence, who resisted Trump’s pressure to try and block President Biden’s certification on Jan. 6. Many of his closest aides have already testified, including Greg Jacob, his top lawyer at the White House who was with him during the insurrection as they hid from rioters who were threatening the vice president’s life. Jacobs characterized much of Pence’s thought process during the time when Trump was pressuring him.

The panel has been in discussions with Pence’s lawyers for months, without any discernible progress. Still, the committee could invite Pence for closed-door testimony or ask him to answer written questions.

The calculation is different for the former president. Members have debated whether they should call Trump, who is the focus of their probe but also a witness who has fought against the investigation in court, denied much of the evidence and floated the idea of presidential pardons for Jan. 6 rioters. Trump is also facing scrutiny in several other investigations, including at the Justice Department and over the classified documents he took to his private club.

Another bit of unfinished business is the committee’s subpoenas to five House Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

In May the panel subpoenaed McCarthy and Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama. The panel has investigated McCarthy’s conversations with Trump the day of the attack and meetings the four other lawmakers had with the White House beforehand as Trump and some of his allies worked to overturn his election defeat.

The five Republicans, all of whom have repeatedly downplayed the investigation’s legitimacy, have simply ignored the request to testify. But the Jan. 6 committee seems unlikely to meet their defiance with contempt charges, as they have with other witnesses, in the weeks before the November elections. Not only would it be a politically risky move, but it is unclear what eventual recourse the panel would have against its own colleagues.

In all, the committee must shut down within a month after issuing a final report, per its rules. But lawmakers could issue some smaller reports before then, perhaps even before the November elections. Thompson said earlier this summer that there may be an interim report in the fall.

The release of the final report will likely come close to the end of the year so the panel can maximize its time. While much of the findings will already be known, the report is expected to thread the story together in a definitive way that lays out the committee’s conclusions for history.

The committee is expected to weigh in on possible legislative changes to the Electoral Count Act, which governs how a presidential election is certified by Congress.

A bipartisan group of senators released proposed changes over the summer that would clarify the way states submit electors and the vice president tallies the votes. Trump and his allies tried to find loopholes in that law ahead of Jan. 6 as the former president worked to overturn his defeat to President Biden and unsuccessfully pressured Pence to go along.

The Jan. 6 panel’s final report is expected to include a larger swath of legislative recommendations.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

The U.S. Marks The 21st Anniversary Of The 9/11 Terror Attacks

The ceremonies also come one month after a U.S. drone strike killed Ayman al-Zawahri, a key Al-Qaeda leader who helped plan the attacks.

In a somber ceremony at the Pentagon on Sunday, President Joe Biden marked the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The President laid a wreath honoring victims killed at the pentagon on September 11, 2001, whose names were also read out loud.

In a speech, President Biden called on Americans to stand together to defend democracy.

“No terrorists could touch the wellspring of American power, and it falls to us to keep it safe on behalf of all those we lost 21 years ago, on behalf of all those who have given their whole souls to the cause of this nation every day since,” said President Biden.

Vice President Kamala Harris attended a ceremony at Ground Zero in New York City where victims’ family members and friends read stories of their lost loved ones.

“Joe, I held your first baby grandson in my arms. You should have been holding him. We love you and we miss you,” said Jim Giaccone, who lost his big brother, Joseph Giaccone, in the September 11 attacks.

First Lady Jill Biden spoke at a ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where 40 passengers died when United Flight-93 crashed.

“9/11 touched us all—it changed us all. But it reminded us that with courage and kindness we can be a light in that darkness,” said the First Lady.

The attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center sparked a global “war on terror” and two decades of fighting in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops withdrew from last year.

The ceremonies also come one month after a U.S. drone strike killed Ayman al-Zawahri, a key Al-Qaeda leader who helped plan the attacks.

Vice President Harris did not give a speech in New York. By tradition, no political figures speak at the ceremony at Ground Zero.

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Biden Honors 9/11 Victims, Vows Commitment To Thwart Terror

By Associated Press
September 11, 2022

Biden noted that even after the United States left Afghanistan that his administration continues to pursue those responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

President Joe Biden marked the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, taking part in a somber wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon held under a steady rain and paying tribute to “extraordinary Americans” who gave their lives on one of the nation’s darkest days.

Sunday’s ceremony occurred a little more than a year after Biden ended the long and costly war in Afghanistan that the U.S. and allies launched in response to the terror attacks.

Biden noted that even after the United States left Afghanistan that his administration continues to pursue those responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Last month, Biden announced the U.S. had killed Ayman al-Zawahri, the Al-Qaida leader who helped plot the Sept. 11 attacks, in a clandestine operation.

“We will never forget, we will never give up,” Biden said. “Our commitment to preventing another attack on the United States is without end.”

The president was joined by family members of the fallen, first responders who had been at the Pentagon on the day of the attack, as well as Defense Department leadership for the annual moment of tribute carried out in New York City, the Pentagon and Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

“We owe you an incredible, incredible debt,” Biden said.

In ending the Afghanistan war, the Democratic president followed through on a campaign pledge to bring home U.S. troops from the country’s longest conflict. But the war concluded chaotically in August 2021, when the U.S.-backed Afghan government collapsed, a grisly bombing killed 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops at Kabul’s airport, and thousands of desperate Afghans gathered in hopes of escape before the final U.S. cargo planes departed over the Hindu Kush.

Biden marked the one-year anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan late last month in low-key fashion. He issued a statement in honor of the 13 U.S. troops killed in the bombing at the Kabul airport and spoke by phone with U.S. veterans assisting ongoing efforts to resettle in the United States Afghans who helped the war effort.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday criticized Biden’s handling of the end of the war and noted that the country has spiraled downward under renewed Taliban rule since the U.S. withdrawal.

“Now, one year on from last August’s disaster, the devastating scale of the fallout from President Biden’s decision has come into sharper focus,” McConnell said. “Afghanistan has become a global pariah. Its economy has shrunk by nearly a third. Half of its population is now suffering critical levels of food insecurity.”

Biden has recently dialed up warnings about what he calls the “extreme ideology” of former President Donald Trump and his “MAGA Republican” adherents as a threat to American democracy. Without naming Trump, Biden again on Sunday raised a call for Americans to safeguard democracy.

“It’s not enough to stand up for democracy once a year or every now and then,” Biden said. “It’s something we have to do every single day. So this is a day not only to remember, but also a day for renewal and resolve for each and every American in our devotion to this country, to the principles it embodies, to our democracy.”

First lady Jill Biden was speaking Sunday at the Flight 93 National Memorial Observance in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband attended a commemoration ceremony at the National September 11th Memorial in New York.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

U.S. Marks 21st Anniversary Of 9/11 Terror Attacks

By Associated Press
September 11, 2022

Victims’ relatives and dignitaries are convening at the places where hijacked jets crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.

Americans are remembering 9/11 with moments of silence, readings of victims’ names, volunteer work and other tributes 21 years after the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil.

Victims’ relatives and dignitaries will convene Sunday at the places where hijacked jets crashed on Sept. 11, 2001 — the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

Other communities around the country are marking the day with candlelight vigils, interfaith services and other commemorations. Some Americans are joining in volunteer projects on a day that is federally recognized as both Patriot Day and a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

The observances follow a fraught milestone anniversary last year. It came weeks after the chaotic and humbling end of the Afghanistan war that the U.S. launched in response to the attacks.

But if this Sept. 11 may be less of an inflection point, it remains a point for reflection on the attack that killed nearly 3,000 people, spurred a U.S. “war on terror” worldwide and reconfigured national security policy.

It also stirred — for a time — a sense of national pride and unity for many, while subjecting Muslim Americans to years of suspicion and bigotry and engendering debate over the balance between safety and civil liberties. In ways both subtle and plain, the aftermath of 9/11 ripples through American politics and public life to this day.

And the attacks have cast a long shadow into the personal lives of thousands of people who survived, responded or lost loved ones, friends and colleagues.

More than 70 of Sekou Siby’s co-workers perished at Windows on the World, the restaurant atop the trade center’s north tower. Siby had been scheduled to work that morning until another cook asked him to switch shifts.

Siby never took a restaurant job again; it would have brought back too many memories. The Ivorian immigrant wrestled with how to comprehend such horror in a country where he’d come looking for a better life.

He found it difficult to form the type of close, family-like friendships he and his Windows on the World co-workers had shared. It was too painful, he had learned, to become attached to people when “you have no control over what’s going to happen to them next.”

“Every 9/11 is a reminder of what I lost that I can never recover,” says Siby, who is now president and CEO of ROC United. The restaurant workers’ advocacy group evolved from a relief center for Windows on the World workers who lost their jobs when the twin towers fell.

On Sunday, President Joe Biden plans to speak and lay a wreath at the Pentagon, while first lady Jill Biden is scheduled to speak in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the hijacked planes went down after passengers and crew members tried to storm the cockpit as the hijackers headed for Washington. Al-Qaida conspirators had seized control of the jets to use them as passenger-filled missiles.

Vice President Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff are due at the National Sept. 11 Memorial in New York, but by tradition, no political figures speak at the ground zero ceremony. It centers instead on victims’ relatives reading aloud the names of the dead.

Readers often add personal remarks that form an alloy of American sentiments about Sept. 11 — grief, anger, toughness, appreciation for first responders and the military, appeals to patriotism, hopes for peace, occasional political barbs, and a poignant accounting of the graduations, weddings, births and daily lives that victims have missed.

Some relatives also lament that a nation which came together — to some extent — after the attacks has since splintered apart. So much so that federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which were reshaped to focus on international terrorism after 9/11, now see the threat of domestic violent extremism as equally urgent.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

9/11 Memorials Stretch Across The U.S. To Honor And Educate

As we inch closer to the 9/11 anniversary, memorials will become a gathering place – for people to mourn and for younger generations to learn.

September 11, 2001, brings chilling memories rushing back.

“You could smell death in the air,” 9/11 Remembered The Traveling Memorial CEO Erick Robertson said.

Moments of terror are etched into a span of generations in our nation.   

“I recovered bodies every day, all day,” Robertson continued. 

He did two tours on Ground Zero and launched a mission to help people across the U.S. understand the gravity of the tragedy using a mobile memorial with artifacts.  

“We carry on the tradition of honoring the victims, the survivors and everyone that played a hand in it that day,” he said.

Twenty-one years ago, 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial planes. They crashed two into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center; a third plane into the Pentagon, and a fourth plane into a Pennsylvania field.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed, and hundreds more who responded to the call later died.  

Thousands of steel parts from the World Trade Center were turned into tributes across all 50 states. 

“The numbers are a little bit fuzzy, but there’s at least a thousand registered memorials across the United States,” Roberston said. 

Those monuments pay tribute to lives lost and first responders.

Eddie Jones is an architect and the team leader for “Moving Memories,” which is a 9/11 memorial in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Collectively, we were very proud that Arizona was one of the first to send first responders — firefighters mostly,” he said.

His team is focused on creating a timeless work of art using a natural source of light. As the sun moves, it reveals inscriptions that describe experiences, emotions, and reactions from Arizonans to the devastation. 

“It’s able to speak of the tragedy and remind us of how emotional it was and how those emotions varied, from revenge to forgiveness,” Jones continued.

The circular canopy outlines two timelines: what happened and what followed.

“We worked with the widow of the one Arizonian that was killed at the memorial, as well as two brothers of victims who lived here in Arizona, as well as the families of victims of hate crimes that happened,” memorial architect and artist Maria Salenger said.

Memorials across the country vary in size and cost and design.

At one in Phoenix, every September, 11 at noon, the sun shines a light on a salvaged piece of steel from Ground Zero. 

Beneath it, is brick rubble from the Pentagon attack and soil from the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.  

Each memorial is unique, but they all share a purpose to educate new generations and give a mourning generation a permanent place to reflect. 

“When we make memorials, it’s to keep that honor and that vigil that’s going to recognize heroes and people and significance in our lives so that they are not forgotten the way we knew them in their real lives,” Robertson said. 

He told Newsy to this day, memorials honoring the victims of 9/11 are still going up. 

He plans to attend a bridge dedication this weekend.  

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<