Ric Grenell to Newsmax: Russia Had No Reason to Sabotage Natural Gas Pipeline

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Ric Grenell to Newsmax: Russia Had No Reason to Sabotage Natural Gas Pipeline Ric Grenell to Newsmax: Russia Had No Reason to Sabotage Natural Gas Pipeline

Ric Grenell (AFP via Getty)

By Jay Clemons | Wednesday, 28 September 2022 10:06 PM EDT

Ric Grenell, formerly the acting director of National Intelligence during the Trump administration, believes the consequences of the supposed attack on two natural gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea — running from Russia to Germany — will be "enormous," given how much of Europe is already dealing with an energy crisis.

"So many people trying to figure out who did it," Grenell told Newsmax Wednesday evening, while appearing on "Rob Schmitt Tonight."

From Grenell's perspective, Germany's manufacturing-based economy cannot handle additional crises involving energy shortages.

"They just don't have the [energy] supply, and they're already scrambling right now," said Grenell.

Under the leadership of former Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany committed to phasing out nuclear energy and coal-related power, explained Grenell.

But now, with Merkel retired and Germany dealing with its own energy problems before the harsh winter months, Grenell said the Germans, under new Chancellor Olaf Scholz, are trying everything to replenish their nuclear power sources.

"That's historic. … They weren't prepared for this situation," Grenell said.

Regarding the recent pipeline attack, Grenell said pinpointing a potential saboteur could be difficult.

"We certainly know the Russians [occasionally] lie. … That's something they've been doing since the beginning of time," said Grenell.

However, in this case, Grenell said the Russians have no true incentive to sabotage their own pipeline.

"[The Russians are] desperate for money, and this was their pipeline to get more money," said Grenell.

Russian pipelines have been a popular discussion topic, acknowledged Grenell, in terms of shaping world events.

When the Biden administration and Senate Democrats dropped the Trump-era sanctions against Russia in relation to pipeline distribution last year, Grenell said it "signaled to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin a white flag of surrender" on America's part.

And that move, from Grenell's standpoint, subsequently "encouraged" Putin to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February — a war that's still bringing devastation to both countries seven months later.

"This is all chaos that should have not happened, and it wouldn't have happened under Donald Trump," said Grenell.

Trump "does not like war. He wants tough diplomacy," added Grenell.

As for the current administration potentially brokering peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, Grenell said that "there is no diplomacy" in the Biden White House.

"[Secretary of State] Antony Blinken didn't even try to stop this war [before it started]," Grenell said.

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Original Article

Report: Iran Nuclear Deal Must Clear One Last Hurdle Before Reinstatement

Report: Iran Nuclear Deal Must Clear One Last Hurdle Before Reinstatement

(Newsmax/"The Record With Greta Van Susteren")

By Jay Clemons | Wednesday, 28 September 2022 08:09 PM EDT

The so-called Iran Nuclear Deal has one last "huge obstacle" to clear before being reinstated, citing an Axios report.

According to a senior European diplomat, that final hurdle involves the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) closing its investigation into Iran, which allegedly ignored certain security safeguards and did not fully disclose reports of its nuclear activity.

"At midnight on Aug. 15, we thought we had a deal," the European diplomat told Axios, when characterizing the back-and-forth proposals between Iranian and U.S. officials, which, at the time, reportedly included a few lingering technical issues.

Axios also reports that a recent public address from Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called for the U.N. General Assembly to guarantee the United States would not abandon any future nuclear deals — a likely reference to then-President Donald Trump's rescinding America's commitment to the nuclear pact in 2018.

However, in private settings, Raisi reportedly has been more focused on the ongoing IAEA probe.

Axios reports a senior U.S. official confirmed that information, when briefed on Raisi's recent meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Charles Michel.

Axios' European source also revealed the Iranians are convinced the U.S. could simply tell the IAEA to make the problem disappear, but IAEA chief Rafael Grossi and the White House are "adamant" the agency's concerns must be adequately addressed before ending the investigation.

The chief IAEA grievance, according to reports is that U.N. inspectors found uranium particles when making on-site visits to Iran.

"Something happened in Tehran. Maybe the highest authority in Iran decided it doesn't want a deal without being sure the investigations will be closed," the European diplomat told Axios about the August negotiations.

Earlier this month, 50 House Republicans and Democrats implored President Joe Biden to exhibit full transparency with Congress regarding the rumored revival of the Iran Nuclear Deal — before any papers are signed.

The lawmakers requested the White House share the text of any potential nuclear agreements involving Iran with House members.

As Newsmax chronicled then, congressional leaders were concerned that certain provisions in a revised nuclear pact could result in weakening U.S. sanctions on Iran that "are meant to target funding" of terrorist activities, according to the letter.

The Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action pact from 2015 (JCPOA), was created under then-President Barack Obama.

As part of the pact, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and also cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%.

In return, the Iranian leaders reportedly collected $150 billion from other countries, including the United States.

In July, former national security adviser John Bolton told Newsmax that diplomacy wouldn't be the answer to defusing Iran's nuclear capabilities.

Iran "can still be stopped, but somebody's going to have to [physically] do it. And it won't come from [reviving] the failed Iran nuclear deal," Bolton said while appearing on "The Record With Greta Van Susteren."

The original Iran nukes deal was an expensive lesson for U.S. officials, Bolton said, since Iran apparently didn't adhere to the terms of the agreement.

Iran's nuclear program, "as we know it, is extremely vulnerable," said Bolton, when brainstorming ways to vanquish the country's means for uranium enrichment and then converting the uranium to a gaslike state.

Original Article

Trump: Letitia James is a disaster and has been going after me for years

Former President Donald Trump holds a rally Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Wilmington, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Former President Donald Trump holds a rally Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Wilmington, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:28 PM PT – Wednesday, September 28, 2022

45th President Donald J. Trump has condemned New York Attorney General Letitia James for suing him and his three children for alleged fraud in New York.

During a recent radio interview, the former president declared that James has been going after him for years.

James has accused Trump of ‘misrepresenting himself’ to the banks–even though he mentioned that he has paid all of the banks in full.

“Look at this Letitia James, she’s a disaster. She spends years going after me. She said that I maybe misrepresented to banks. Which frankly I didn’t,” Trump said.

Trump then went on to say that the New York Attorney General does not care about the violent crime occurring in her state which he claimed is one of the biggest reasons why residents have left Democrat-run areas of New York.

James is seeking $250 million in damages. She is further aiming to prohibit the Trump family from holding board positions in any New York based companies.

Original Article Oann

Poll: 59 Percent of Dem Voters Think Biden Should Run Again in ’24

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Poll: 59 Percent of Dem Voters Think Biden Should Run Again in '24

(Newsmax/"The Chris Salcedo Show")

By Solange Reyner | Wednesday, 28 September 2022 07:07 PM EDT

Fifty-nine percent of Democrat voters think President Joe Biden should run again in 2024, a six-point increase compared to August, according to a new Morning Consult-Politico poll.

If Biden didn’t run, Vice President Kamala Harris was the top pick out of a list of 26 potential Democratic primary contenders with 26 percent support.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was in second, winning 13 percent.

More than 60% of respondents said former President Donald Trump should not run again; and more than 50% said they believed Trump had not handled his business affairs honestly before, during or after his presidency.

The poll also found:

  • 45% of voters said they would pick a Democrat for Congress if the election were today, compared with 43% who said they would pick a Republican.
  • Economy was the top issue among voters (44%), and 61% disapproved of Biden’s handling of the economy.
  • Biden's approval rating dropped to just 41%, with 56% disapproving.
  • Democrats support both making it harder for Congress and state governments to override election results, 66 percent and 65 percent, respectively.
  • More than 50% of independents supported making it harder for state governments to override results, and 45% supported it when it came to Congress. Support among Republican voters was lower (41% state governments and 42% with Congress).

Original Article

Putin Sabotaged Pipelines to Escalate Crisis, Top Intel Expert to Newsmax

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Putin Sabotaged Pipelines to Escalate Crisis, Top Intel Expert to Newsmax

(Newsmax/"John Bachman Now")

By Solange Reyner | Wednesday, 28 September 2022 06:55 PM EDT

Russian President Vladimir Putin has two goals in mind behind the Kremlin's alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, including undermining Western resolve and shipments of weapons to Ukraine and dividing the West, as well as winning the propaganda war around the world, top intelligence expert John Jordan tells Newsmax.

European officials said the rupture of major gas pipelines from Russia to Germany appeared to be a deliberate attack, with top Polish and Ukrainian leaders blaming Moscow. NATO said sabotage was behind the destruction of the pipelines.

"This is what they're trying to do: raise the temperature, increase the fear level in Europe — both in terms of escalation in the nuclear domain — as well as threaten widening the war into the Baltic and threatening to undermine or negate Europe's efforts to mitigate the loss of Russian natural gas," Jordan said on Newsmax's "John Bachman Now."

"Because they can't win on the battlefield, they have to win in these other spheres; and that's what they're trying to do."

Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday suggested that President Joe Biden was responsible for damage to the gas pipelines, claiming he vowed to "blow up" the pipelines earlier this year.

"If you are Vladimir Putin, you would have to be a suicidal moron to blow up your own energy pipeline. That's one thing you would never do," Carlson said. "Natural gas pipelines are the main source of your power and wealth — and, most critically, your leverage over other countries.

"Blowing up Nord Stream does not help Vladimir Putin," he added. "He would not do that. Why would he? But that doesn't mean that other countries wouldn't consider doing it. They would consider it, and we know they have considered it because at least one of them has said so in public."

Jordan slammed the claim as Carlson doing another "shark-jumping exercise."

"The best way to understand this is the Russians' natural passion for chess," said Jordan.

"And in chess, oftentimes you sacrifice a pawn as part of a greater plan. In the case of Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, the Russians understand in the intermediate to perhaps long term, those are of no value to them. They're not pumping gas into Europe. They're not selling gas to them. In fact, the Trump administration had sanctioned Nord Stream 2, and the Biden administration had released the sanctions. That said, the Russians know they don't need them, but they want to send a message — but do so in this classic, Russian, gray zone, warfare way."

Original Article

At Least 4 Times the FBI Passed on Presidential Raids

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At Least 4 Times the FBI Passed on Presidential Raids

(Newsmax/"John Bachman Now")

By Marisa Herman | Wednesday, 28 September 2022 05:44 PM EDT

Former President Donald Trump is far from the first commander in chief or top White House official to bring home alleged "classified documents" or purportedly store them improperly, but he's the only one who's been raided by the FBI for doing so.

FBI agents in early August raided Trump's Florida Mar-a-Lago residence, seizing a trove of documents that the National Archives and Records Administration claims should have been handed over at the end of Trump's term under the conditions set by the 1978 Presidential Records Act.

The act was signed into law by former President Jimmy Carter and applies to records received or created after Jan. 20, 1981, according to NARA.

The act strengthened previous legislation passed by Congress in 1974, which was geared toward preventing former President Richard Nixon from destroying tapes linked to the Watergate scandal.

Nixon eventually turned over 42 million pages of documents due to the legislation, which culminated with the passing of the Presidential Records Act.

Before Watergate, presidents were free to take their official records home if they so desired.

Today, the records are considered the property of the U.S. government, not the president.

But while they are supposed to end up entrusted to NARA, there have been plenty of instances of Oval Office memos winding up in places far less secure than Trump's private home — a location that's guarded by the Secret Service.

Some places that have "stored" important federal documents have included retrofitted bowling alleys, used car dealerships and even a former furniture store.

And these cases don't include those of former and current cabinet members like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

While Clinton maintains that her private email server housed "zero emails that were classified," in 2016, then-FBI director James Comey said that, of the 30,000 emails reviewed by the FBI, 110 emails and 52 email chains were determined to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received.

Comey noted that eight of those chains contained information that was "Top Secret" at the time it was sent; 36 chains contained "Secret" information at the time; and eight contained "Confidential" information, which is the lowest level of classification.

While Comey issued a public statement calling Clinton's handling of the highly sensitive information "extremely careless," he said the FBI "did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information."

Neither the server, her home nor her offices were ever raided by the FBI.

Here are four potential document raids the FBI apparently passed on:

1. George H.W. Bush

After George H.W. Bush exited the Oval Office, his archives were temporarily housed in a strip mall space that had been previously occupied by a bowling alley and a Chinese restaurant. Eventually, his records were relocated to his presidential library in College Station, Texas.

2. Bill Clinton

It took eight flights on C-5 cargo planes to get some 80 million pages of Clinton's documents from the White House to Little Rock, Arkansas, where they were stored in a former Oldsmobile dealership. The abandoned car dealership was used while his future library was under construction.

That wasn't the only strange place where Clinton stored his records.

While serving as commander in chief, Clinton stored audiotapes in his sock drawer at the White House. He apparently never turned them over to NARA either, and the sock drawer at his private residence was never raided.

Those tapes became the basis for historian and author Taylor Branch's 2009 book, "The Clinton Tapes."

Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group, ultimately lost a lawsuit that sought to force the archives to demand the tapes. The group argued the tapes were presidential records because they weren't just recordings of interviews and captured Clinton's telephone calls with others.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., rejected the suit, concluding there was no provision in the Presidential Records Act to force the National Archives to seize records from a former president. The judge found that a president could destroy any record he wanted during his tenure and his only responsibility was to inform the archives.

3. George W. Bush

Before the $300 million George W. Bush Presidential Library opened at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, 68 million pages of documents, a gift from Pope Benedict XVI and the 9 mm Glock held by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein when he was forced out of his spider hole were all stored in a warehouse in Lewisville, Texas.

While the items were stored in a facility managed by NARA, Bush was not immune to controversy over his record keeping while president.

The Bush White House was accused of losing 22 million emails generated between 2003 and 2005. The emails were not saved to a private email server used by the Bush administration, which was owned by the Republican National Committee.

Among the lost emails was correspondence about invading Iraq.

The National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed lawsuits challenging the failure of the Bush administration and NARA for failing to act when they were provided with evidence regarding the missing emails.

In 2009, the Obama administration said it found 22 million emails that had been mislabeled. Those emails were handed over to NARA, and the lawsuits were settled.

4. Barack Obama

When former President Barack Obama moved out of the White House, he took 30 million pages of documents from Washington and moved them into an abandoned furniture store outside of Chicago, where, he said, he planned to digitize all the records before housing them in The Obama Presidential Center.

This presidential library differed from others because it would be run by the Obama Foundation, a nonprofit established by the former president and former first lady Michelle Obama, instead of NARA.

According to a 2018 letter from the Obama Foundation to NARA, the records were being kept in an environment that did not meet NARA's standards for the storage of these types of documents.

The letter states that the foundation "agrees to transfer up to three million three hundred thousand dollars ($3,300,000) to the National Archives Trust Fund (NATF) to support the move of classified and unclassified Obama Presidential records and artifacts from Hoffman Estates to NARA-controlled facilities that conform to the agency's archival storage standards for such records and artifacts, and for the modification of such spaces."

Original Article

US Chamber of Commerce Endorses Republican Oz in Senate Race

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US Chamber of Commerce Endorses Republican Oz in Senate Race US Chamber of Commerce Endorses Republican Oz in Senate Race (AP)

Andrea Shalal Wednesday, 28 September 2022 04:57 PM EDT

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday endorsed Republican celebrity physician Mehmet Oz in a high-stakes race for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, lauding what it called his "commitment to free enterprise and pro-growth policies."

Oz, backed by former President Donald Trump, is running against John Fetterman, the state's Democratic lieutenant governor, in a closely watched race that will help determine whether President Joe Biden's Democrats hold onto their razor-thin margin in the U.S. Senate.

Both Biden and Trump have traveled to the state in recent weeks to promote their parties' candidates.

The Chamber, the largest lobbying group in the United States, said it was endorsing Oz as a "pro-business" candidate whose views stood in "stark contrast" to those of Fetterman.

"Fetterman would raise taxes, has flip-flopped on his energy position, and would ruthlessly work to drop the filibuster," the Chamber's senior political strategist, Ashlee Rich Stephenson, said in a statement.

She said Oz would work to advance U.S. energy independence, and defend the filibuster – a legislative roadblock that requires a 60-vote majority to overcome – in order "to be sure bipartisanship remains in the U.S. Senate."

Biden last week suggested that adding two more Democrats to the Senate would open the possibility of Democrats removing the filibuster and restoring federal abortion rights for women.

Oz and Fetterman are vying to replace retiring Senator Pat Toomey, a moderate Republican who was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol during his second impeachment trial.

Oz this month said he would have certified the 2020 presidential election for Biden.

After the Jan. 6 riot by Trump supporters who believed Trump's false claims the election was stolen, the Chamber said it would evaluate Congress members on the totality of their actions, including working in a bipartisan manner.

But its political action committee later contributed to the campaigns of two lawmakers, Representatives Carlos Gimenez of Florida and Steve Chabot of Ohio, two Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election.

Original Article

Sen. Cruz Casts Lone Vote Against Reforming Election Certification

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Sen. Cruz Casts Lone Vote Against Reforming Election Certification

(Newsmax/"Rob Schmitt Tonight")

By Jay Clemons | Wednesday, 28 September 2022 06:22 PM EDT

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, cast the lone dissenting vote in the 15-member Senate Rules Committee's greenlighting of a bill designed to revise the procedure for certifying future presidential elections in Congress, characterizing the legislation as a brazen attempt to minimize the future electoral actions of former President Donald Trump.

“This bill's a bad bill," said Cruz at the Senate hearing. "This bill is bad law; it's bad policy; and it's bad for democracy."

The Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act would serve as a de facto amendment to the Electoral Count Act of 1887.

The proposed changes include:

  • The bill revises the process of casting and counting electoral votes for presidential elections.
  • The choice of electors must occur in accordance with the laws of the state enacted prior to Election Day.
  • The bill identifies each state's governor as responsible for submitting the certificate of ascertainment identifying the state's electors.
  • The bill calls for expedited judicial review for any action brought by an aggrieved presidential or vice presidential candidate arising under the U.S. Constitution or U.S. laws, with respect to the issuance or transmission of such a certificate.
  • The bill revises the framework for the joint session of Congress to count electoral votes and make a formal declaration of which candidates have been elected president and vice president. It would narrow the grounds for filing an objection, while clarifying that the role of the vice president — who also serves as Senate president — would be purely ceremonial within this process.
  • The legislation would require one-fifth of House and Senate members to sign onto an objection to certifying a state's presidential electors.

The above conditions are seemingly a reaction to the Jan. 6, 2021 unrest at the Capitol. Trump consistently has accused Democrats of committing fraud during the 2020 presidential election, and he wanted then-Vice President Mike Pence to delay the certification of election results on Jan. 6, 2021.

Currently, Trump stands as the favorite to garner the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., supported the legislation.

And according to various reports, at least 10 Senate Republicans plan to vote for the measure, which would make the bill filibuster-proof — in terms of securing least 60 votes for Senate passage.

Right now, Republicans and Democrats have a 50-all split in the Senate chamber.

During the Senate meeting, Cruz reportedly quoted Article II of the U.S. Constitution, which states, "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors …"

Cruz also maintained that Congress was "trying to intrude on the authority of the state legislatures to do that."

"This bill is all about Donald J. Trump, and nobody in our lifetime has driven Democrats in this body more out of their minds than President Trump," said Cruz.

McConnell responded to Cruz, saying, "The chaos that came to a head on Jan. 6 of last year strongly suggests that we fund careful ways to clarify and streamline the process."

Original Article

No mercy for J6: DC jury slams peaceful defendant with 5 ‘guilty’ verdicts

Chanel Rion – OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:16 AM PT – Wednesday, September 28, 2022

John Strand, one of the rare J6 defendants who refused to take a plea deal from the US Government, was found guilty Tuesday by a DC jury of all 5 counts of obstruction and trespassing on Capitol grounds (charges here).

After closing arguments Monday morning, the jury spent the rest of the afternoon deliberating but were unable to reach a conclusion – lending Strand and his team a sense of false hope. Hope the jury, pulled from a city that voted 93% for Democrat Joe Biden, would render a verdict removed from their own personal politics. This hope was short-lived. The jury rendered a unanimous all guilty verdict Tuesday morning.

Strand is the exception amongst J6 cases. Most J6 defendants choose not to face a DC jury for fear they would not receive a fair trial from a left leaning jury pool. Most J6 defendants – including his former boss Dr. Simone Gold – take some sort of plea deal with the DOJ.

Strand will await his sentencing before Judge Christopher Cooper on January 12, 2023.

The government made a largely emotional appeal one that stretched facts more times than not throughout the course of the trial. The government brought in emotional guards and officers who described for the jury the terror of that day and their experiences… experiences Strand neither saw nor participated in.

But it was a successful strategy. The government conflated horror stories from January 6 and made it appear as if Strand were the callous witness and active participant. Charges that all video and picture footage directly contradict.

Unfortunately for Strand, the jury was swayed. Either by their own internal politics that had already made up their minds against Strand, or by the emotional appeals from the DOJ.

Here’s a rundown of the 5 charges and the responses Strand’s team submitted over the course of his trial.

CHARGE 1: OBSTRUCTION OF OFFICIAL PROCEEDING

CHARGE 2: ENTERING IN RESTRICTED GROUNDS

CHARGE 3: DISORDERLY CONDUCT IN A RESTRICTED BUILDING

CHARGE 4: DISORDERLY CONDUCT IN CAPITOL BUILDING

CHARGE 5: PARADING OR PICKETING A CAPITOL BUILDING

DOJ CHARGE 1: OBSTRUCTION OF OFFICIAL PROCEEDING

The government charged Strand attended the J6 rally in an effort to actively stop a Congressional proceeding. The government used Strand’s own social media and text messages referring to the potential of civil war over a stolen election as evidence Strand traveled to DC with the intent of stopping Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election.

Government attorneys argued January 6 was “surreal” and in an absurd twist, essentially argued John Strand was nothing short of a General leading a Civil War against the nation’s Capitol: “[John Strand]?” they charged, “at the forefront.”

STRAND’S DEFENSE

Friday, Strand told the Federal Court in Washington DC he attended the January 6 protest at the Capitol because he was serving as bodyguard for America’s Frontline Doctors founder Dr. Simone Gold. For this reason alone, he traveled to DC – not, as the government alleges, to obstruct an election at the nation’s Capitol.

Strand, portrayed by his defense as a struggling actor in California, was also in what he called an “imbalanced” relationship with the older Gold and described Gold, as his boss and partner who was “headstrong” and forceful. An important detail leading up to why Strand says he found himself on the Capitol grounds on January 6.

Strand’s defense team offered as evidence Strand’s security guard license from the state of California and texts and rally schedules showing Strand would have been in California were it not for Dr. Gold’s speech.

THE FACTS:

While Strand himself became politically active in the months leading up to January 6, as demonstrated in Strand’s own calendar and text messages, were it not for his boss Dr. Gold traveling to DC, Strand would not have been in or near the Capitol at all. A fact that effectively refutes the government’s argument that Strand traveled to the Capitol to lead an insurrection.

The government had to adjust this argument once it became clear it was their weakest argument. In their rebuttal Monday, the government argued “INTENT” to lead an insurrection and obstruct Congress didn’t have to be premeditated. That “intent could be formed in an instant.” So while Strand may not have planned to obstruct Congress, it doesn’t matter, says the government – he could have decided to obstruct Congress the moment he saw his opportunity to do so.

Dr. Gold was scheduled to speak near Capitol grounds on January 5, 2021 but the speech was postponed. Strand testified his boss, and at the time, romantic partner, decided to watch then President Trump’s speech on January 6, 2021 and wanted to speak near the Capitol despite her speech being canceled.

If intent to invade the capitol and lead an insurrection to overturn an election were formed at the instant John Strand was in the Capitol… he had an interesting way of ‘leading’ by serving as Dr. Gold’s physical buffer and standing behind her most of the time he was on Capitol grounds.

DOJ CHARGE 2: ENTERING IN RESTRICTED GROUNDS

In closing arguments Monday, the government argued Strand “should have known better” than to have entered restricted Capitol grounds. That Strand should have seen a police lineup and barricades on the Capitol steps and not proceeded.

STRAND’S DEFENSE

Strand and his team argued the police barricade cited by the DOJ was already dissolved by the time Strand and his protectee Dr. Gold arrived at the foot of the Capitol steps.

Strand and his team have also argued, and shown, Strand, who was physically shielding Dr. Gold with both arms the majority of the time he was on Capitol grounds was clearly following Dr. Gold’s wishes to follow the crowd. Once embedded, both Strand and Gold were unable to extricate themselves from a chaotic situation.

Another defense here was Strand’s unfamiliarity with the Capitol grounds and the Capitol itself. The defense argues, it is, in a fast moving and powerful mob, extremely difficult to know where you are and to know where the “restricted” parts of the Capitol grounds are located. Especially if you’re like Strand and not from Washington DC.

FACTS: Pictorial and video evidence clearly show Strand behind Dr. Gold, holding her, and trying to steer her in an increasingly boisterous mob. At one point they are swept up the steps by the incoming mob and find themselves crushed against the East side doors.

At no point does Strand push his way past police, a barricade, or any indicators that might have shown him the area was restricted. Once at the capitol doors, Strand and Gold make their way inside to avoid getting crushed by a growing mob at the Capitol steps.

CHARGES 3 & 4: DISORDERLY CONDUCT IN A RESTRICTED BUILDING and IN CAPITOL BUILDING

The government argued once on Capitol grounds and inside the Capitol, Strand engaged in what they call disorderly conduct. Citing specifically, a picture from Statuary Hall where Dr. Gold had crawled to the base of a statue and used her megaphone to try and deliver her planned speech on medical freedom. Strand is standing beside her cupping his hand to his ears trying to get the mob to listen.

STRAND’S DEFENSE:

Strand argues he was on the statue to stay with his boss and ensure she was safe.

Strand’s attorneys also effectively pointed out how Strand, though a security detail for Dr. Gold, did not bring with him any weapons, did not commandeer any weapons once in the Capitol grounds, did not touch or harass officers, did not participate in breaking or damaging property, and did not use chemical agents. Strand simply walked out with his boss once they encountered officers who ordered them out.

FACTS:

Strand did not damage property nor did he confront officers or guards in or around the capitol. Disorderly conduct in and around the Capitol is a stretch – especially in light of other J6 figures like Ray Epps who was on multiple occasions actively ordering and rallying the crowd to go *inside* the capitol. Strands actions on camera do not seem to match up with the traditional definitions of disorderly conduct.

CHARGE 5: PARADING OR PICKETING IN A CAPITOL BUILDING

This is one of the easier charges to understand from the government’s perspective. It is as it sounds – it is illegal to hold signs, parade with a protest group, or picket inside the Capitol building which is what they accused Strand of doing on January 6.

STRAND’S DEFENSE:

Strand’s defense pulled up the Oxford definition of parading and picketing and were able to argue that by strict definition, Strand was not parading or picketing. Strand held no sign or slogan. And far from participating in a mob or parade, was swept into the crowd in the process of following and protecting his boss, Dr. Gold.

FACTS:

Indeed, Strand held no sign, did not march or chant slogans – as in the other defense arguments, Strand is only in and around the Capitol because of Dr. Gold. And while there, does not hold signs or chant slogans or wear MAGA gear. Strand is for the most part, by or behind Dr. Gold, shielding her from the chaotic mob.

STRAND’S SENTENCE

If Judge Christopher Cooper follows the sentencing guidelines strictly for all 5 guilty charges against Strand, Strand could face 24 years in federal prison.

The likelihood Cooper would sentence Strand to the full guidance is, however, unlikely. Dr. Gold, who was also sentenced by Cooper was recently released from federal prison in Miami after serving 60 days.

Strand’s sentencing is scheduled for January 12, 2023.

John Strand has been raising funds and support from his website.

Neither Strand nor his attorneys have released any public statements as of this writing.

Original Article Oann

Rep. Van Drew to Newsmax: ‘Woke’ Agenda Strips Parents of Rights

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Rep. Van Drew to Newsmax: 'Woke' Agenda Strips Parents of Rights

(Newsmax/"American Agenda")

By Jay Clemons | Wednesday, 28 September 2022 04:39 PM EDT

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., didn't take a wait-and-see approach to New Jersey's broader guidelines for teaching sex education in elementary schools, which includes instructing second graders about gender identity without parental consent.

Instead, Van Drew's My Child, My Choice bill proposal emphasizes the need for parental consent in delicate matters and fortifies parents' rights to minimize their children being exposed to adult-like materials before the age of 8.

"My God, we're losing so many of our freedoms in America under these left-wing, woke philosophies that are literally taking our children away from the parents," Van Drew told Newsmax Wednesday afternoon, while appearing on "American Agenda" with hosts Bob Sellers and Katrina Szish.

According to Van Drew, under the leadership of Gov. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, New Jersey schools will be mandated to teach elementary-aged children about sex, masturbation, gender-reassignment surgery, changing their names and using bathrooms different from their biological gender.

And it will happen without parental consent, lamented the New Jersey congressman.

"No, the parents have to be involved," said Van Drew, a former Democrat who switched political allegiances during the Trump administration.

As Newsmax reported, New Jersey law allows any family to opt out of any part of instruction in health, family life or sex education, as long as a child's parent or guardian informs the school in writing that the instruction conflicts with their conscience or their moral or religious beliefs.

In a nutshell, the My Child, My Choice Act, which 20 other House Republicans co-sponsored, including 14 original co-sponsors, offers the following guidelines:

  • Teachers would be required to get written consent from parents whenever lessons on gender identity, sexual orientation or transgender studies are presented in a class setting.
  • If a specific lesson doesn't garner the approval of at least 50% of the in-class parents, the lecture must be scrapped.
  • If a specific lesson draws more than 50% parental approval, that school must provide students whose parents didn't consent with alternative learning materials.
  • Students, parents and teachers are permitted to submit reports to the secretary of education anytime an infringement of this policy occurs.
  • If the education secretary determines the school or teacher did not comply with the bill's requirements, the school would subsequently be stripped of federal funding the following academic year.

On Newsmax, Van Drew admitted to having greater faith in the national response to this legislation, compared to the local level.

Nevertheless, "I'm going to fight this stuff like hell" and "do everything humanly possible to stop it," said Van Drew, who's up for reelection this November.

As one national example, Van Drew praised the work of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican leader, in terms of restricting transgender issues and sexual exploitation matters in public schools for that state.

On this issue, Van Drew said, "New Jersey bad, Virginia good."

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Poll: Rep. Zeldin Edges Gov. Hochul Among Independents in N.Y.

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Poll: Rep. Zeldin Edges Gov. Hochul Among Independents in N.Y. (Newsmax)

By Peter Malbin | Wednesday, 28 September 2022 01:42 PM EDT

Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin has a 3-point edge over Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul among political independents in New York, but he trails her 54% to 37% among likely voters overall, according to a Siena Poll released Wednesday.

Zeldin needs to get the support of independents and some Democrats, particularly in New York City, to have a chance of ousting the incumbent governor. He is running on an anti-crime platform, but Hochul, in a barrage of ads in New York City, has portrayed him as anti-abortion, pro-guns, and supportive of former President Donald Trump.

Hochul, who replaced the disgraced former Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has a 61%-29% lead with women voters, in the survey, and has a narrow 48-44% lead with men. White voters side with Hochul by 10 points, Latinos by 25 points, and blacks by 68 points, the New York Post reported.

Statewide Democratic Party candidates are all up by at least 16 points over their GOP challengers, with Sen. Chuck Schumer enjoying a comfortable lead in his senate race, as does Attorney General Letitia James.

Hochul has a 47%-40% favorability rating, little changed from 46%-41% in August. She has a 53%-42% job approval rating, little changed from 52%-41%, the New York Post reported.

Rep. Zeldin has a 31%-33% favorability rating, down a little from 31%-28%.

Zeldin, who represents part of Long Island in Congress, appears unknown to roughly a third of the electorate, with the poll stating that 36% of respondents "don’t know" or "refused" to say whether they have a favorable impression of the Long Island congressman.

"Now, with fewer than six weeks until Election Day, those Republican challengers — underfunded compared to the Democrats — have their work cut out for them in a state with more than twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans, more independents than registered Republicans, and where the GOP hasn’t won a statewide election in 20 years," pollster Steven Greenberg said.

A total of 30% of voters rated "economic issues" as most important in the race followed by "threats to democracy" at 22%, crime at 12%, "national gun policies" at 8%, and abortion at 6%.

The survey of 655 likely voters was conducted Sept. 16-25. The Siena poll has a 3.9% margin of error.

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1 Migrant Dead, Another Wounded in Texas Border Shooting

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1 Migrant Dead, Another Wounded in Texas Border Shooting 1 Migrant Dead, Another Wounded in Texas Border Shooting Thin Blue Line and Trump 2020 flags wave in the air across from a United States Border Patrol checkpoint at the Desert Haven Fire Rescue polling location east of El Paso in rural Hudspeth County, Texas, on Nov. 3, 2020.

By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 28 September 2022 01:42 PM EDT

Two migrants were found shot, one fatally, Tuesday night in Hudspeth County, Texas, a government source told Newsmax.

The source told Newsmax that the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call saying a woman had been shot.

When officers arrived, they found a woman wounded, and also a male migrant dead of a gun shot wound. A couple of other uninjured female migrants also were found at the scene.

A motive for the shooting was not known, and no suspects had been identified.

Trump Blasts Biden: ‘World War III Anyone?’

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Trump Blasts Biden: 'World War III Anyone?' (Newsmax)

By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 28 September 2022 12:35 PM EDT

Former President Donald Trump slammed President Joe Biden for previously appearing to promise the start of a world war if Russia invaded Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin began an unprovoked attack on Ukraine Feb. 24 — less than three weeks after Biden said the U.S. would prevent Nord Stream 2 from becoming operational if Russia invaded Ukraine.

Trump, via Truth Social on Wednesday, shared a transcript of Biden's Feb. 7 comments.

"But how will you do that, exactly, since … the project is in Germany's control?" the president was asked.

"I promise you, we will be able to do that," Biden said.

Trump on Wednesday shared an ABC News transcript, and said of Biden's "promise": "Wow, what a statement. World War III anyone?"

Late last month, Trump blasted the Biden administration for not containing Putin, and for possibly putting the world on the brink of a nuclear World War III.

"President Putin of Russia is now threatening the use of nuclear weapons, saying 'it is not a bluff,' " Trump wrote on Truth Social. "The Ukrainian conflict should never have happened, and would not have happened if I were President. But as I have made very clear for quite some time, this could now end up being World War III."

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline leading from Russia to Europe reported a drop in pressure, only hours after a leak was reported in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea off Denmark, the German economy ministry said.

"We are investigating this incident as well, together with the authorities concerned and the Federal Network Agency," the ministry said in a statement late Monday. "We currently do not know the reason for the drop in pressure."

Leaks in the Nord Stream pipelines from Russia to Europe are a very serious development and highly suspicious, but a full investigation is needed to establish what happened, a Western official said on Wednesday.

The official did not blame Russia for the leaks but said Putin should undo his recent series of escalations over the invasion of Ukraine, especially nuclear rhetoric the official said was "deeply irresponsible."

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this story.

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Trump Counties Come Out of Pandemic Better Economically Than Dem-Run Ones

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Trump Counties Come Out of Pandemic Better Economically Than Dem-Run Ones (Newsmax)

By Peter Malbin | Wednesday, 28 September 2022 11:47 AM EDT

The counties where former president Donald Trump won in the 2020 election are collectively seeing stronger labor markets in the Biden economy, according to a new report from the Economic Innovation Group.

In these counties, manufacturing, energy, and agriculture sectors are a disproportionate share of their economies, and the workforce is more blue-collar.

The Democrat counties, by contrast, are in key business districts and are seeing fewer jobs, partly explained by the rise of remote work. Local businesses there have also suffered. In these generally urban counties, the jobs are more likely to be white-collar in nature and can be performed remotely.

According to the report: "The pandemic upended established patterns in the geography of the nation's economic growth. Many rural areas are newly thriving. Corners of the Sun Belt are booming like never before. Superstar metros have been humbled by remote work."

Employment levels have come back more strongly in Trump counties, Axios noted.

By the end of first quarter of 2022, Trump counties faced an employment shortfall of about 0.3% of its former level. Counties carried by President Joe Biden, in contrast, started the year with a continuing deficit of 1.7 million jobs, or 1.8% of total pre-pandemic employment.
"It seems that the pandemic has been a force for convergence across the U.S. economy: modestly lifting up many formerly-struggling and right-leaning areas while weighing down formerly-dominant and left-leaning ones," the EIG's Kenan Fikri writes in the report.

Roughly 25% of those in areas that Trump won in 2020 are employed in the goods sector, the report finds, compared to Biden counties, where the share is 14%.

Goods-producing businesses went on a hiring spree to keep up with the pandemic-induced demand. The services sector saw demand bounce back, but not until fear of the virus ebbed and the economy began to reopen.

Biden counties contained nearly twice as many jobs as Trump counties at the start of 2020. However, by the end of the pandemic's first year, they lost nearly four times as many jobs as Trump counties, according to the report.

In terms of politics, the report says the country's politics remain as polarized as ever. "Voters still view the economy through a partisan lens. Shifting economic sands look unlikely to lead to shifting political ones for the time being."

Employment data was provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Trump Decries New York AG for Lawsuit: ‘She’s a Disaster’

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Trump Decries New York AG for Lawsuit: 'She's a Disaster' (Newsmax)

By Nick Koutsobinas | Tuesday, 27 September 2022 09:43 PM EDT

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday decried New York Attorney General Letitia James for her lawsuits against him and his children.

During his appearance on the WABC radio show, "The Cat's Roundtable," hosted by John Catsimatidis, Trump accused James of targeting him for political gain.

"You look at this Letitia James. She's a disaster," Trump said in an excerpt provided by The Hill. "She spends years going after me … She said I maybe misrepresented to banks, which frankly, I didn't… She goes after me on … banks that are fully paid. Totally satisfied. Happy. They got their money back … In the meantime, we have murderers walking down the street.

"She's a horror show. She doesn't care about violent crime. She doesn't care about anything except trying to use Trump's name to get elected. And she's a disaster and everybody knows it."

Trump noted that while James works to assemble a case against him, the crime rate in New York has risen.

"[If] this continues, I don't know what's going to happen to New York … It's not just New York City. It's all over the state," Trump said. "The crime is just incredible in Democrat-run areas. Letitia James has done absolutely nothing on violent crime. She wants nothing to do with it. She's a disaster."

James' office filed a lawsuit Sept. 21 against Trump and his three children for business fraud. The filing came after a three-year investigation.

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Senate Votes to Move Forward With Stopgap Funding Bill, After Energy Proposal Dropped

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Senate Votes to Move Forward With Stopgap Funding Bill, After Energy Proposal Dropped Senate Votes to Move Forward With Stopgap Funding Bill, After Energy Proposal Dropped (Getty)

Richard Cowan and Moira Warburton and David Morgan Tuesday, 27 September 2022 07:53 PM EDT

The U.S. Senate voted on Tuesday night to move forward with a stopgap funding bill that would avoid a government shutdown on Saturday, after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer cut a controversial energy-permitting provision from the critical spending bill.

The bill has several more legislative steps before it passes, but Tuesday's 72-23 vote is an indicator it has the bipartisan support needed to become law.

The vote occurred after Schumer, a Democrat, pulled a measure from the bill that would have made significant changes to energy project permitting, at the request of its author, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who accused Republicans in a statement of "allowing politics to put the energy security of our nation at risk."

The change, made just a half an hour before the scheduled vote, meant the bill had enough support in the Democratic-controlled Senate to go ahead with a procedural vote to begin limited debate.

That move puts it one step closer to avoiding a partial government shutdown, a potential embarrassment for Democrats just six weeks before the Nov. 8 midterm elections, when control of Congress will be at stake.

"Senate Republicans have made very clear they will block legislation to fund the government, if it includes bipartisan permitting reform, because they've chosen to obstruct instead of work in a bipartisan way," Schumer said.

The bill, a continuing resolution known as a "CR" which would extend overall government funding through Dec. 16, had faced days of resistance over Manchin's energy permitting reform measure.

Earlier on Tuesday, the chamber's top Republican, Mitch McConnell had called on his fellow Republicans to reject the measure if it came to a vote with Manchin's proposal to reform energy permitting, calling it a "partisan poison pill."

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic climate hawk who also opposed the proposal, applauded the lack of permitting reform in the spending bill.

"In the midst of the horrific climate crisis that we face, the last thing we need is a side deal which would build more pipelines and fossil fuel projects that would have substantially increased carbon emissions," he said in a statement after the vote.

The spending provisions that remain in the stopgap bill include $12.3 billion in new money to help Ukraine turn back Russia's invasion, House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat, said in a statement.

This includes military and economic assistance. In addition, it authorizes President Joe Biden to direct the drawdown of up to $3.7 billion for the transfer to Ukraine of excess weapons from U.S. stocks.

Amid reports of Russian forces threatening the safety of Ukraine's nuclear power plants and Russian President Vladimir Putin hinting he might use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, the legislation would appropriate $35 million "to prepare for and respond to potential nuclear and radiological incidents in Ukraine," according to a bill summary.

Congress has resorted to this kind of last-minute temporary spending bill in 43 out of the past 46 years due to its failure to approve full-year appropriations in time for the Oct. 1 start of a federal fiscal year, according to a government study.

MANCHIN'S PERMITTING BILL

Manchin's proposal would have sped up approvals of fossil fuel projects like natural gas pipelines but also for electricity transmission lines needed to bring power from wind and solar farms to cities.

"A failed vote on something as critical as comprehensive permitting reform only serves to embolden leaders like Putin who wish to see America fail," Manchin said in a statement.

His legislation included permitting reform provisions and directs $250 million from the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act to "improve and accelerate reviews for designated projects," including the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Manchin's home state of West Virginia.

But lawmakers from both parties opposed it.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia said he had not been included in Manchin's negotiations on legislation speeding up government consideration of Equitrans Midstream Corp's Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), which would pass through his state.

"We should pass a continuing resolution that is free of the unprecedented and dangerous MVP deal," Kaine said.

Some Democrats and environmentalists also had opposed, fearing it would spark more development of fossil fuel projects at a time when the effects of climate change from carbon emissions are accelerating.

While Republicans normally favor quicker government reviews of fossil fuel projects, they have been angry at Manchin since he helped Democrats pass a bill this summer addressing climate change and lowering some healthcare costs.

Still included in the stopgap bill is a five-year renewal of Food and Drug Administration user fees being collected from drug and medical device companies to review their products and determine whether they are safe and effective, the bill summary showed.

The law authorizing the collection of fees expires on Friday.

The last time Congress allowed funding to lapse was in December 2018, when Democrats balked at paying for then-President Donald Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall, leading to a record 35-day impasse and a partial government shutdown.

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Trump Endorses Sen. Lankford for Reelection in Oklahoma

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Trump Endorses Sen. Lankford for Reelection in Oklahoma (Newsmax)

By Luca Cacciatore | Tuesday, 27 September 2022 08:10 PM EDT

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced his support for Republican James Lankford for reelection to the U.S. Senate in Oklahoma.

Lankford, who took over for Republican Tom Coburn after his resignation in 2015, faced a primary challenger in 2022. He beat Jackson Lahmeyer by a 41-point margin in the June race and will now face Democrat Madison Horn in the general election.

"Senator James Lankford ran a strong Campaign against highly credible opponents who fought hard but, ultimately, were unsuccessful," Trump said of Lahmeyer and another primary opponent Joan Farr, who received less than 6% of the vote.

"James was strongly committed to America First, and everything it stood for, and likewise strongly committed to me, as president. Sometimes we didn't exactly agree on everything, but we do now," he added.

Trump and the Oklahoma incumbent had butted heads several times while the former president was in office, most notably when Lankford declared that Joe Biden was "the constitutional president" and voted to certify the 2020 election results.

Still, Lankford's voting record aligned with Trump nearly 90% of the time while he was in office. That fact, and his vote to acquit Trump during his second removal trial, appear to have mended the relationship.

"James Lankford is Strong on the Border, Tough on Crime, and Very Smart on the Economy," the former president wrote. "He is fighting to Stop Inflation, Defend our under siege Second Amendment, and Restore American Energy Independence, just as we had it during the Trump Administration where we would soon be, in fact, Energy Dominant.

"Sadly, that went up in dust with the Biden Administration — but James will help us get it back," he continued. "It is my great honor to give James Lankford my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

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Trump Endorses Sen. Lankford for Reelection in Oklahoma

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Trump Endorses Sen. Lankford for Reelection in Oklahoma (Newsmax)

By Luca Cacciatore | Tuesday, 27 September 2022 08:10 PM EDT

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced his support for Republican James Lankford for reelection to the U.S. Senate in Oklahoma.

Lankford, who took over for Republican Tom Coburn after his resignation in 2015, faced a primary challenger in 2022. He beat Jackson Lahmeyer by a 41-point margin in the June race and will now face Democrat Madison Horn in the general.

"Senator James Lankford ran a strong Campaign against highly credible opponents who fought hard but, ultimately, were unsuccessful," Trump said of Lahmeyer and another primary opponent Joan Farr, who received less than 6% of the vote.

"James was strongly committed to America First, and everything it stood for, and likewise strongly committed to me, as president. Sometimes we didn't exactly agree on everything, but we do now," he added.

Trump and the Oklahoma incumbent had butted heads several times while the former president was in office, most notably when Lankford declared that Joe Biden was "the constitutional president" and voted to certify the 2020 election results.

Still, Lankford's voting record aligned with Trump nearly 90% of the time while he was in office. That fact, and his vote to acquit Trump during his second removal trial, appear to have mended the relationship.

"James Lankford is Strong on the Border, Tough on Crime, and Very Smart on the Economy," the former president wrote. "He is fighting to Stop Inflation, Defend our under siege Second Amendment, and Restore American Energy Independence, just as we had it during the Trump Administration where we would soon be, in fact, Energy Dominant.

"Sadly, that went up in dust with the Biden Administration—but James will help us get it back," he continued. "It is my great honor to give James Lankford my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

Original Article

Rep. Van Duyne to Newsmax: Dems, Media Don’t Care About Border ‘Crisis’

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Rep. Van Duyne to Newsmax: Dems, Media Don't Care About Border 'Crisis' (Newsmax/"The Chris Salcedo Show")

By Jay Clemons | Tuesday, 27 September 2022 06:41 PM EDT

Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Texas, sees the similarities between Democrat leaders and left-leaning media, when Republicans attempt to initiate substantive discussions about the chaos at the United States-Mexico border.

As in, the Democrats and media have largely become indifferent to the specter of millions of undocumented migrants coming into this country, essentially unchecked.

"What you see on CNN is, 'There's nothing to see here,'" Van Duyne told Newsmax Tuesday afternoon, while appearing on "The Chris Salcedo Show."

Van Duyne speaks from experience with the last comment. During her recent appearance on CNN, one host chided the Republicans for not working with mayors and governors from Democrat-controlled cities and states, regarding the relocation of migrants to northern communities — even areas, such as the Massachusetts beach community of Martha's Vineyard, which proudly trumpets its "sanctuary" status.

"They blamed [Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis] for sending 50 people to Martha's Vineyard? If you want to talk about the [human] atrocities that are happening [with migrants], that's probably the poorest example," says Van Duyne.

From Van Duyne's perspective, 50 migrants flying comfortably to Massachusetts two weeks ago, and then being peacefully escorted off the island by 125 National Guard members some 44 hours later, cannot compare to the border towns in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico being overrun by migrants on a daily basis (5 million crossings over the last 20 months).

Van Duyne says that, prior to the Martha's Vineyard incident, Republican leaders tried to enlist the help of Democrats about the border crisis, but those calls "fell on deaf ears."

"At least now the Democrats are talking about [immigration]," says Van Duyne, while adding the mayors and governors from blue regions "are getting a little bit of a taste of what we asked for [help-wise], and the media was flipping out."

Van Duyne says she believes these same media outlets have mostly been silent amid reports of more than 267,000 unaccompanied children crossing the southern border during the Biden administration — compared to 10,000 children making similar crossings during President Donald Trump's tenure (2017-21).

"During [the Trump tenure], we tried everything, and we had [immigration] solved," laments Van Duyne. "And the Biden administration came in and completely unraveled it."

For this humanitarian crisis at the border, Van Duyne shared accounts of young migrant girls being handed condoms by adults "because they know their daughters will be [sexually assaulted] multiple times."

The Texas congresswoman also spoke of desolate pregnant women giving birth underneath dirty bridges along the border, out of necessity.

Van Duyne also discussed how the Mexican drug cartels have been using infant children as "bait" at various crossings.

"I'm talking about 6-month-old babies being thrown" into the Rio Grande River "to drown" … "because they know border officials will do everything to save them," says Van Duyne, while adding it's all a staged diversion, so cartels can smuggle in fentanyl at unmanned border entry points.

"It's a crisis," says Van Duyne.

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McConnell Backs Post-Jan. 6 Revisions to Elections Law

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McConnell Backs Post-Jan. 6 Revisions to Elections Law McConnell Backs Post-Jan. 6 Revisions to Elections Law (AP)

MARY CLARE JALONICK Tuesday, 27 September 2022 05:27 PM EDT

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he will “proudly support” legislation to overhaul rules for certifying presidential elections, bolstering a bipartisan effort to revise a 19th century law and avoid another Jan. 6 insurrection.

The legislation would clarify and expand parts of the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which, along with the Constitution, governs how states and Congress certify electors and declare presidential winners. The changes in the certification process are in response to unsuccessful efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 defeat to Joe Biden.

“Congress’ process for counting the presidential electors’ votes was written 135 years ago,” McConnell said. “The chaos that came to a head on Jan. 6 of last year certainly underscored the need for an update.”

McConnell made the remarks just before the Senate Rules Committee voted 14-1 to approve the bill and send it to the Senate floor, where a vote is expected after the November election. The only senator to vote against the legislation was Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, one of two senators to stand and object to Biden's certification last year.

The GOP leader’s endorsement gave the legislation a major boost as the bipartisan group pushes to pass the bill before the end of the year and ahead of the next election cycle. Trump is still maintaining he was the victim of election fraud and saying he won the election as he considers another run in 2024.

Among the Republicans on the Rules panel who voted for the bill shortly after McConnell's statement were Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, one of only eight senators to vote against Biden's certification, and Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty, a strong Trump ally.

The House has already passed a more expansive bill overhauling the electoral rules, but it has far less Republican support. While the House bill received a handful of GOP votes, the Senate version already has the backing of at least 12 Republicans — more than enough to break a filibuster and pass the legislation in the 50-50 Senate.

Senators made minor tweaks to the legislation at Tuesday’s meeting but kept the bill largely intact. The bill, written by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, would make clear that the vice president only has a ceremonial role in the certification process, tighten the rules around states sending their votes to Congress and make it harder for lawmakers to object.

If it becomes law, the bill will be Congress’ strongest legislative response yet to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, in which protesters broke into the Capitol and interrupted the joint session as lawmakers were counting the votes. Once the rioters were cleared, the House and Senate rejected GOP objections to the vote in two states. But more than 140 Republicans voted to sustain them.

Differences between the House and Senate bills will have to be resolved before final passage, including language around congressional objections.

While the Senate bill would require a fifth of both chambers to agree on an electoral objection to trigger a vote, the House bill would require agreement from at least a third of House members and a third of the Senate. Currently, only one member of each chamber is required for the House and Senate to vote on whether to reject a state’s electors.

The House bill also lays out new grounds for objections, while the Senate does not.

Original Article