Newswire : Denver Court hears arguments on Trump’s eligibility for 2024 ballot

Members of mob, incited by Trump, surround U. S. Capitol on January 6, 2021


Stacey Brown, NNPA Newswire National Correspondent

Denver district court is considering a lawsuit to prevent former President Donald Trump from appearing on Colorado’s 2024 ballot due to his alleged involvement in the U.S. Capitol attack on January 6, 2021. Colorado Judge Sarah Wallace recently rejected Trump’s attempt to dismiss the case, which was filed last month on behalf of six voters in the Denver district.
The lawsuit is based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. It argues that people who have participated in insurrection or rebellion after promising loyalty to the Constitution should not be able to hold office. Trump, who is currently facing 91 criminal charges after four federal and state indictments, could potentially receive a prison sentence of over 800 years. The lawsuit accuses him of breaking his promise as president by attempting to overturn the 2020 election, which ultimately led to the January 6 insurrection.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), along with several law firms, filed a lawsuit on behalf of six voters from the Republican Party and independent voters. Eric Olson, from CREW, began his testimony by explaining what Trump did before January 6. This included a tweet he sent in December 2020 asking his supporters to come together in Washington, D.C. Olson highlighted Trump’s frequent mentions of January 6. He stated that Trump motivated his followers by making false allegations of election fraud.
Olson showed a video clip of Trump’s speech on the Ellipse on January 6. In the speech, the former president said, “Let’s go to the Capitol.” He argued that Trump was acutely aware of the influence of his words and that his speech before the Capitol riot exacerbated the situation.
Olson also pointed to a post-speech tweet where Trump criticized then-Vice President Mike Pence, asserting that Pence lacked “the courage to do what he should have done.” That followed a clip of Trump supporters outside the Capitol chanting, “Hang Mike Pence.”
“We are here because Trump claims, after all that, that he has the right to be president again,” Olson asserted. “But our Constitution, the shared charter of our nation, says he cannot do so.”
During his opening arguments, Scott Gessler, Trump’s legal representative, decried the lawsuit as “antidemocratic” and said Monday’s hearing was “politicized.” Gessler argued that Trump used the word “peace” several times during his speech at the Ellipse on January 6, as well as in his tweets on the same day. He claimed that the lawsuit wants the court to approve the January 6 Committee’s report, which he described as a biased and harmful report.
Officer Daniel Hodges, from the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, testified about his terrifying ordeal during the Capitol attack. Hodges described observing Capitol rioters donning tactical gear, an occurrence that left him “very uncomfortable.” He suffered many injuries when rioters attacked the Capitol, including bruises, a head injury, cuts on his face, and bleeding from his mouth. Hodges also attested that a rioter attempted to gouge his eye. He remembered protesters yelling that the election was stolen and encouraging others to fight for Trump. They also criticized law enforcement for being on the wrong side of history.
During his remote testimony, Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, stated that Trump had clearly indicated before the 2020 election that he would not acknowledge the results if he was not the winner. Swalwell claimed that Trump escalated his rhetoric after legal challenges to the election results were dismissed. He told the lawmakers’ increasing worry when Trump announced, “We’re going to the Capitol” in his Ellipse speech. He then described the distressing experiences of himself and his colleagues as rioters entered the Capitol.

In her ruling last week, Wallace dismissed Trump’s argument that Congress, not the courts, can handle questions about ballot eligibility. She disagreed with Trump’s statement that state election officials cannot enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
Wallace argued that the clause allows Congress to remove a constitutional disability if a person is disqualified. However, the clause does not specify which government body would decide on such disability initially.
“The Court notes, however, it would be strange for Congress to be the only entity that is empowered to determine the disability and then also the entity that is empowered to remove it,” Wallace wrote. “States can, and have, applied Section 3 pursuant to state statutes without federal enforcement legislation,” Wallace said.
The judge’s ruling followed a decision by Chief U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer to dismiss Trump’s request to move the Colorado ballot case to federal court. In a four-page order, Brimmer, a nominee of George W. Bush, stated that Trump, who was found responsible for sexually assaulting a journalist by a civil jury this year, did not properly follow the necessary procedures to involve Colorado’s Democratic Secretary of State, Jena Griswold, or get her approval to transfer the case to federal court. As a result, Trump’s attempt to move the case is considered “defective.”

Trump is also facing other challenges to his eligibility to appear on the 2024 presidential ballot. The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear arguments on Thursday concerning a lawsuit to remove Trump from the ballot in Minnesota. The current lawsuit also references a lesser-known provision in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Similar legal challenges are underway in New Hampshire, Arizona, and Michigan.

Newswire: House committee details the charges referred to DOJ against Donald Trump

U. S. Capitol under attack on Jan. 6, 2021

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Donald Trump, who holds the ignominious distinction of being the only twice-impeached U.S. president, has become the first commander-in-chief to have criminal charges referred against him.
The dubious achievement occurred on Monday, Dec. 19, when the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol formally requested that the U.S. Department of Justice charge Trump with inciting, assisting, or engaging in insurrection against the United States and “giving aid or comfort” to an insurrection.
Chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) and vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), the committee released a 161-page summary that focused on Trump’s involvement in the effort to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.
The committee concluded that Trump’s efforts “makes him responsible for the violence that unfolded, and unfit to hold office.”
The panel then laid out a criminal case for the Justice Department, including a cache of evidence. Based upon the assembled evidence, the committee has reached a series of specific findings, including the following 17 powerful conclusions against Trump:
• Beginning election night and continuing through January 6th and thereafter, Trump purposely disseminated false allegations of fraud related to the 2020 Presidential election to aid his effort to overturn the election and for purposes of soliciting contributions. “These false claims provoked his supporters to violence on January 6th,” the committee determined.

• Knowing that he and his supporters had lost dozens of election lawsuits, and despite his own senior advisors refuting his election fraud claims and urging him to concede his election loss, Trump refused to accept the lawful result of the 2020 election. Rather than honor his constitutional obligation to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” President Trump instead plotted to overturn the election outcome.
• Despite knowing that such an action would be illegal, and that no State had or would submit an altered electoral slate, Trump corruptly pressured Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes during Congress’s joint session on January 6th.

• Trump sought to corrupt the U.S. Department of Justice by attempting to enlist Department officials to make purposely false statements and thereby aid his effort to overturn the Presidential election. After that effort failed, Trump offered the position of Acting Attorney General to Jeff Clark knowing that Clark intended to disseminate false information aimed at overturning the election.
• Without any evidentiary basis and contrary to State and Federal law, Trump unlawfully pressured State officials and legislators to change the results of the election in their States.

• Trump oversaw an effort to obtain and transmit false electoral certificates to Congress and the National Archives.
• Trump pressured Members of Congress to object to valid slates of electors from several States.

• Trump purposely verified false information filed in Federal court.
• Based on false allegations that the election was stolen, Trump summoned tens of thousands of supporters to Washington for January 6th. Although these supporters were angry and some were armed, Trump instructed them to march to the Capitol on January 6th to “take back” their country.

• Knowing that a violent attack on the Capitol was underway and knowing that his words would incite further violence, Trump purposely sent a social media message publicly condemning Vice President Pence at 2:24 p.m. on January 6th.

• Knowing that violence was underway at the Capitol, and despite his duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed, Trump refused repeated requests over a multiple hour period that he instruct his violent supporters to disperse and leave the Capitol, and instead watched the violent attack unfold on television. This failure to act perpetuated the violence at the Capitol and obstructed Congress’s proceeding to count electoral votes.

• Each of these actions by Trump was taken in support of a multi-part conspiracy to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 Presidential election.

• The intelligence community and law enforcement agencies did successfully detect the planning for potential violence on January 6th, including planning specifically by the Proud Boys and Oath Keeper militia groups who ultimately led the attack on the Capitol. As January 6th approached, the intelligence specifically identified the potential for violence at the U.S. Capitol. This intelligence was shared within the executive branch, including with the Secret Service and the President’s National Security Council.

• Intelligence gathered in advance of January 6th did not support a conclusion that Antifa or other left-wing groups would likely engage in a violent counter demonstration, or attack Trump supporters on January 6th. Indeed, intelligence from January 5th indicated that some left-wing groups were instructing their members to “stay at home” and not attend on January 6th.20 Ultimately, none of these groups was involved to any material extent with the attack on the Capitol on January 6th.
• Neither the intelligence community nor law enforcement obtained intelligence in advance of January 6th on the full extent of the ongoing planning by President Trump, John Eastman, Rudolph Giuliani and their associates to overturn the certified election results. Such agencies apparently did not (and potentially could not) anticipate the provocation President Trump would offer the crowd in his Ellipse speech, that President Trump would “spontaneously” instruct the crowd to march to the Capitol, that President Trump would exacerbate the violent riot by sending his 2:24 p.m. tweet condemning Vice President Pence, or the full scale of the violence and lawlessness that would ensue. Nor did law enforcement anticipate that President Trump would refuse to direct his supporters to leave the Capitol once violence began. No intelligence community advance analysis predicted exactly how President Trump would behave; no such analysis recognized the full scale and extent of the threat to the Capitol on January 6th.

• Hundreds of Capitol and DC Metropolitan police officers performed their duties bravely on January 6th, and America owes those individual immense gratitude for their courage in the defense of Congress and our Constitution. Without their bravery, January 6th would have been far worse. Although certain members of the Capitol Police leadership regarded their approach to January 6th as “all hands-on deck,” the Capitol Police leadership did not have sufficient assets in place to address the violent and lawless crowd.

• Capitol Police leadership did not anticipate the scale of the violence that would ensue after President Trump instructed tens of thousands of his supporters in the Ellipse crowd to march to the Capitol, and then tweeted at 2:24 p.m. Although Chief Steven Sund raised the idea of National Guard support, the Capitol Police Board did not request Guard assistance prior to January 6th. The Metropolitan Police took an even more proactive approach to January 6th, and deployed roughly 800 officers, including responding to the emergency calls for help at the Capitol. Rioters still managed to break their line in certain locations, when the crowd surged forward in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s 2:24 p.m. tweet. The Department of Justice readied a group of Federal agents at Quantico and in the District of Columbia, anticipating that January 6th could become violent, and then deployed those agents once it became clear that police at the Capitol were overwhelmed. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security were also deployed to assist.

• President Trump had authority and responsibility to direct deployment of the National Guard in the District of Columbia, but never gave any order to deploy the National Guard on January 6th or on any other day. Nor did he instruct any Federal law enforcement agency to assist. Because the authority to deploy the National Guard had been delegated to the Department of Defense, the Secretary of Defense could, and ultimately did deploy the Guard. Although evidence identifies a likely miscommunication between members of the civilian leadership in the Department of Defense impacting the timing of deployment, the Committee has found no evidence that the Department of Defense intentionally delayed deployment of the National Guard.
“An insurrection is a rebellion against the authority of the United States,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland). “It is a grave federal offense anchored in the Constitution. … Anyone who incites others to engage in rebelling, assists them in doing so or gives aid and comfort to those engaged in insurrection is guilty of a federal crime.”
Raskin continued:“The Committee believes that more than sufficient evidence exists for a criminal referral of former President Trump for assisting or aiding and comforting those at the Capitol who engaged in a violent attack on the United States,” Raskin continued.
“The Committee has developed significant evidence that President Trump intended to disrupt the peaceful transition of power.”

Newswire : Harris and Pence spar over economy and race in VP debate

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Vice President Mike Pence effectively evaded question after question and claimed that there’s no systemic racism in America during the first and only 2020 debate between him and Sen. Kamala Harris.
Separated by plexiglass and distanced by more than 12 feet, the two contestants battled over topics ranging from the coronavirus, health care, and climate change.
“Let’s talk about respecting the American people. You respect the American people when you tell them the truth,” Harris told Pence, who responded that he and President Donald Trump had always put the health of Americans first.
Stricken ill by the virus, Trump admitted to Journalist Bob Woodward that he hid the pandemic’s seriousness from the American people.
“The President said it was a hoax,” Harris remarked.
With regularity, Pence went over time and moderator Susan Page of USA Today, repeatedly admonished him, often to no avail.
While the Oct. 7 contest didn’t present as the disaster that was the first presidential debate late last month, it still lacked much substance because both candidates failed to answer some direct questions.
When the topic turned to race and the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, Harris reminded the audience of Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists.
At the same time, Pence attacked protestors as “rioters and looters.”
“Then he said, when pressed, ‘stand back, stand by,’ and this is a part of a pattern of Donald Trump’s,” Harris declared about the president’s awkward statement during his debate with Democrat Joe Biden.
“He called Mexicans rapists and criminals. He instituted as his first act a Muslim ban,” Harris said.
Pence responded by noting that Trump’s grandchildren are Jewish.
He said Breonna Taylor’s family has his sympathy and predicted the loved ones of George Floyd would receive justice.
“Our heart breaks for the loss of any innocent American life,” Pence said. “And the family of Breonna Taylor has our sympathies. But I trust our justice system.”
Despite a troubling September jobs report and Trump shutting off COVID-19 relief talks that could help ailing businesses, municipalities, and citizens, Pence claimed the Trump administration had added millions of jobs, and the economy is on the upswing.
“When President Trump and I took office, America had gone through the slowest economic recovery since the great depression. We’re going through a pandemic that lost 22 million jobs at the height, we’ve already added back 11.6 million jobs,” Pence claimed.
Attempting to become the first African American and woman vice president, Harris told viewers that she and Biden expect to win the election.
Asked about Trump’s repeated refusal to agree to a peaceful transfer of power, Harris indicated that she and Biden are prepared for such a scenario.
“Joe and I are particularly proud of the coalition that we have built around our campaign. We probably have one of the broadest coalitions of folks that you’ve ever seen in a presidential race,” Harris stated.
“It is within our power, and if we use our society, and we use our voice, we will win.” She then added, “And we will not let anyone subvert our democracy.”

Newswire: Trump Administration officials to Black America: ‘Coronavirus Pandemic is your fault’

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent

According to a top official in President Donald Trump’s administration, the poor health of African Americans is the primary reason for the nation’s devastatingly high coronavirus deaths.
As the president tepidly tries to win Black voter support by touting his record with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and prison reform, Trump and his top lieutenants continue to alienate African Americans.
In a CNN interview, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar attributed the high coronavirus death rate to unhealthy African Americans.
Azar claimed that Black and minority communities have higher comorbidities like underlying health issues. “Unfortunately, the American population is very diverse,” Azar stated.
“[America] is a population with significant unhealthy comorbidities that do make many individuals in our communities,” he presumed.
“In particular, African American, minority communities – are at risk here because of significant underlying disease, health disparities and disease co-morbidities. And that is an unfortunate legacy in our health care system that we certainly do need to address,” Azar pronounced.
The interview occurred immediately after Trump again attacked former President Barack Obama – the nation’s only African American president.
Trump accused Obama of unjustly targeting his associates in what he calls “Obamagate,” and he called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to haul in Obama to testify in hearings about the origins of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
However, Trump has yet to explain what crime he thinks Obama had committed.
The administration’s rhetoric left social media users angered. “This whole Trump team is worse than worthless,” one Twitter use wrote, while many others noted in their commentaries that “Racism is non-stop in The Trump administration.”
“Blaming the 100,000+ human beings who have been killed by Covid-19 for their fate “is the most disgusting deflection yet from an administration that was asleep at the switch,” Laurence Tribe, a legal scholar and Harvard Law professor, tweeted.
“This whole Trump team is worse than worthless.”
Several reports indicate that minority communities have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.
According to statistics, as of May 1, African Americans made up 32 percent of the coronavirus deaths in Wisconsin, even though they only make up 6.7 percent of the population.
Places like Michigan and Missouri, where African Americans account for roughly 40 percent of coronavirus deaths, comprise just 14 percent and 12 percent of the population, respectively.
There are more than 1.87 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, and more than 108,000 people have died in the U.S. Reportedly, more than 20 percent of the deaths are African Americans despite the Black population standing at roughly 13 percent.
“I don’t believe [Trump] likes or respects Black or brown people from his treatment and comments of Hispanics, caging children and babies, and the way he’s treated Puerto Rico and throwing paper towels at people during the Hurricane,” Carol Gee, author of “The Venus Chronicles,” and “If Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” told NNPA Newswire in an email.
“All of his remarks and actions toward nonwhites tell the real story,” Gee stated. “His movement to attract Black voters is only about winning the re-election. His prison reform and the release of [certain] black women, and his supposed embrace of Kanye West, is all just for show.”
Attempts to get a comment from the White House by the Black Press of America were met with a usual no response.
NNPA Newswire has repeatedly reached out to the White House requesting the President, Vice President Mike Pence, and top administration staff to provide direct messages to Black America.
White House officials have responded by only asking that the NNPA report favorably on Trump-backed initiatives they believe is proof enough that Trump has done a lot for African Americans.
“I’ll tell you what Trump has done,” Dominick Carter, an HBCU student, told NNPA Newswire in an email. “He’s dangled carrots and thrown out breadcrumbs and thinks we should be grateful. That we should be happy that master has fed the slaves today.”

Newswire : Pastor blasts Trump’s ‘Shithole’ comments in front of Mike Pence

By Nina Golgowski, Huffington Post

Vice President Mike Pence reportedly got an earful at church on Sunday, when a pastor blasted President Donald Trump’s reported disparagement of Haiti and African countries.
Pence and his wife, Karen, were guests at the Metropolitan Baptist Church, a historically black church in Largo, Maryland. The church’s pastor, Maurice Watson, told his congregation that he felt “led by God” to speak out against the president’s comments, which he called “dehumanizing” and “ugly.”
Pastor Maurice Watson of the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Largo, Maryland, spoke out against comments that Donald Trump allegedly made against Haitians and Africans this week.
Trump reportedly told lawmakers last Thursday that he preferred immigrants from places like Norway instead of “shithole countries” like Haiti and nations in Africa ― remarks the president has subsequently denied.
Watson noted that many of his congregants come from Haiti and Africa. “I stand today as your pastor to vehemently denounce and reject any such characterizations of the nations of Africa and of our brothers and sisters in Haiti,” Watson said as the audience stood and clapped, according to a video posted to the church’s Facebook page.
“And I further say: Whoever made such a statement, whoever used such a visceral, disrespectful, dehumanizing adjective to characterize the nations of Africa, whoever said it, is wrong. And they ought to be held accountable.”
Local station WUSA-TV reported that Pence was red-faced during the sermon. The vice president’s office disputed that description to The Associated Press on Monday.

Billionaire campaign finance maven Betsy DeVos confirmed as Secretary of Education

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary, approving the beleaguered nominee “with the help of a historic tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence,” reports The New York Times:
It was the first time that a vice president has been summoned to the Capitol to break a tie on a cabinet nomination, according to the Senate historian. Taking the gavel as the vote deadlocked at 50-50, Mr. Pence, a former member of the House, declared his vote for Ms. DeVos before announcing that Mr. Trump’s nominee for education secretary had been confirmed.
Here are some of the best Twitter reactions to the confirmation of DeVos, who as The Times notes, “has devoted much of her life to expanding educational choice through charter schools and vouchers, but has limited experience with the public school system.” NJ Senator Cory Booker pointed out that DeVos “did not attend public schools herself, did not send her children to public schools and has never taught in a public school”.
At the Congressional hearings on her confirmation, it was also pointed out that neither she nor her children had ever applied for a Pell grant or student loan. As Secretary of Education she will be administering these and many other education programs that she knows little about.
Critics protested the nomination because daughter-in-law of Amway cofounder Richard DeVos—who Forbes estimates is worth $5.1 billion––has had little-to-no involvement in the nation’s public schools. In the past several election cycles her family gave $200 million in campaign contributions to Republican Senate members, including four Senators who served on the committee that confirmed her.