The Justice Department is accusing lawyers for Trump ally Steve Bannon of filing “frivolous” legal complaints to create media hype around the defense of the criminal charges their client faces for refusing to comply with a Democrat-led House committee’s demand that he comply with its Jan. 6 probe.
The agency filed a 10-page document Sunday night in which prosecutors say Bannon attorney Evan Corcoran has repeatedly rebuffed their efforts to negotiate an evidence-sharing agreement, a standard part of the process in criminal trials, according to Politico.
Bannon was a White House political adviser for President Trump. He refused to comply with the subpoenas issued by the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot demand he testify and supply documents related to the incident, amid speculation he helped plan the incident.
The U.S. Department of Justice this week issued a rare and pointed clapback against President Joe Biden after the latter expressed a desire to see prosecutions in connection with the Jan. 6 congressional investigation.
Asked on Friday what should happen to individuals who defy the subpoenas of the Jan. 6 commission, Biden said, “I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable criminally.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat who chairs the congressional commission investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, has been a vocal critic of an event he deems an insurrection and offered his sympathy to the police officers injured that day. He’s even gone as far as to sue former President Donald Trump for responsibility for the melee.
But as a young African-American alderman in a small Mississippi community in 1971, Thompson placed himself on the opposite side, openly sympathizing with a secessionist group known as the Republic of New Africa and participating in a news conference blaming law enforcement for instigating clashes with the group that led to the killings of a police officer and the wounding of an FBI agent. Thompson’s official biography makes no reference to the separatist RNA.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger expects to be subpoenaed as early as Friday by the congressional commission investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and is vowing not to comply.
“I’m focused on secure and accessible elections — not re-litigating the past, whether January 6th, the 2018 election, or the 2020 election,” Raffensperger said in a statement provided to Just the News on Thursday evening.
The Associated Press reported in August that Robert Reeder, a Maryland man, pleaded guilty to “parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.” He argued for leniency because, “he is a registered Democrat who wasn’t a supporter of former President Donald Trump.” So why did he join the incursion into the Capitol building? Because, he says, he was an “accidental tourist” with nothing better to do.
But an online group that calls itself Sedition Hunters recently tweeted a picture it says shows that same “accidental tourist” attacking a police officer. Curiously, the “accidental tourist,” who didn’t support Donald Trump, happened to be wearing a red “MAGA”-style hat. His attorney argued in court, “Mr. Reeder is not politically active, is not and has never been a member of any right-wing or anti-government or extremist group and has, unfortunately, been publicly grouped with many others (whose) views he abhors.”
The story reminds one of John Sullivan, a Black Lives Matter activist who infiltrated the January 6 incursion to encourage violence, bully police officers, and generally stoke mayhem. While many of the trespassers remain locked up without bail, Sullivan mysteriously received pre-trial release.
Jacob Chansley, arguably the most iconic figure of the January 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol, today pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.
Chansley, 33, turned himself in to law enforcement and was arrested on January 9. A grand jury indicted Chansley two days later on six nonviolent counts including obstruction, civil disorder, and “parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.” The remaining counts will be dropped.
Judge Royce Lamberth accepted Chansely’s plea agreement with Joe Biden’s Justice Department, which continues to arrest and charge Americans for even minor involvement in the Capitol protest. Nearly 200 defendants face the obstruction charge, a felony added to mostly misdemeanor cases. (I explained the charge here in March.)
Joe Biden’s Justice Department notched another victory last week in the agency’s sprawling investigation into the January 6 protest on Capitol Hill against Biden’s presidency.
On Wednesday, Michael Curzio pleaded guilty to one count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol building. The government offered the plea deal to Curzio’s court-appointed attorney in June; Curzio faced four misdemeanor charges, including trespassing and disorderly conduct, for his role in the Capitol breach.
Curzio will pay the government “restitution” in the amount of $500 to help pay for the nearly $1.5 million in damages the building reportedly sustained. (The Architect of the Capitol initially said the protest caused $30 million in damages but prosecutors have set the figure far lower.)
The Department of Justice now says a DoJ court document claiming to have recovered a “fully constructed U.S. Capitol Lego set” from the home of a man charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach was “a miscommunication,” and the Lego set was actually unconstructed and in a box. Robert Morss, 27, is accused of leading fellow rioters in what prosecutors say was “one of the most intense and prolonged clashes” with officers on Jan. 6.
The new court filing said, “In original detention memoranda, the undersigned stated that law enforcement found a ‘fully constructed US Capitol Lego set.’ That statement appears to be inaccurate. The Lego set was in a box and not fully constructed at the time of the search.”
Once again, the Justice Department has had to admit that they lied about events surrounding January 6th. While the Lego lie may seem silly, it is part of a pattern that federal law enforcement has demonstrated in this case, and indeed over the past five years.
The House approved a resolution Wednesday to create a select committee into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol weeks after Senate Republicans killed a bipartisan commission into it.
The bill authorizes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to select eight members and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to select five in consultation with her. It passed 222 to 190, with two Republicans joining all Democrats in voting in favor.
Though the bill passed with bipartisan support, it was significantly less than the 35 House Republicans who voted for the bipartisan commission in May. House Republican leadership came out against the bill Tuesday, urging its caucus to vote no on the grounds that it would “pursue a partisan agenda and politicize the Jan. 6 attack.”
The widower of Ashi Babbitt, the Air Force veteran who was killed by a Capitol Police officer on January 6th, has filed a lawsuit seeking to finally uncover the name of the guilty officer, the New York Post reports.
Aaron Babbitt filed the lawsuit in the Washington D.C. Superior Court, demanding all information related to his wife’s murder, including video footage and statements from witnesses to the incident, in addition to seeking the identity of the officer who fired the fatal shot. Separately from this lawsuit, Babbitt’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit for $12 million against the Capitol Police, according to the Babbitt family’s attorney Terry Roberts.
Babbitt had previously filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), but the MPD failed to respond by the original May 12th deadline, by which time they either had to provide the material or give a formal response explaining why they could not hand over the materials.
Senate Republicans killed a bipartisan bill establishing a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol, filibustering the first legislation since President Joe Biden took office after a multi-hour, overnight session pushed the vote back a day.
The bill failed 54 to 35, getting the support of six Republicans instead of the 10 that it needed to overcome the Senate’s 60-vote threshold required to begin debate. The bill would have established a 10-member, bipartisan commission into the Capitol riot, when pro-Trump rioters attempted to block Congress from certifying Biden’s victory.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell led the Republican opposition, and called the bill “slanted and unbalanced” last week.
A newly-obtained video shows United States Capitol Police officers speaking with several January 6 protestors—including Jacob Chansley, the so-called “Q shaman”—inside the Capitol that afternoon.
One officer, identified in the video and confirmed by charging documents as Officer Keith Robishaw, appears to tell Chansely’s group they won’t stop them from entering the building. “We’re not against . . . you need to show us . . . no attacking, no assault, remain calm,” Robishaw warns. Chansley and another protestor instruct the crowd to act peacefully. “This has to be peaceful,” Chansley yelled. “We have the right to peacefully assemble.”
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Representatives Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) asked for information about the Justice Department’s abusive investigation into January 6.
“Those that damaged property and assaulted police officers on January 6th should rightfully face justice,” the pair wrote in a letter sent May 14. “However, the public outcry and hyper-politicization of the events on January 6th may incentivize prosecutors to use overly aggressive tactics, overcharge, and abuse the power of the federal government in order to satisfy favored political groups.”
Roy and Massie asked Garland to schedule a briefing with Congress before the end of the month to address several concerns, including how plea deals are arranged, the FBI’s use of force in raiding the homes of nonviolent protesteors, and the Justice Department’s request to hold defendants behind bars pending trial. “[C]ongressional oversight of these prosecutions is essential as a check and balance on that power.”
The two top lawmakers on the House Homeland Security Committee reached an agreement Friday on legislation that would create a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The bill, authored by Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson and New York Republican Rep. John Katko, is focused exclusively on the attack and not other episodes of political violence as multiple Republicans earlier insisted. Though it has the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it is unclear whether Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other members of his caucus support it.
“I haven’t read through it,” McCarthy told reporters when asked about the bill Friday morning.
Army veteran Denton Knapp has announced a bid for Wyoming’s one and only House seat, meaning that sitting Rep. Liz Cheney will face yet another challenger in the GOP primary.
Knapp, who graduated from Campbell County High School in Gillette, Wyoming, lives in California but is returning to the state, according to the Gillette News Record. He will face-off against multiple other Republicans who will also be competing in the contest.
Cheney, the House Republican Conference chairwoman, has been a vocal critic of former President Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was tainted by fraud. She was also one of 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.