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New information about the January 6 mob attack on the Capitol reveals that former president Donald Trump sent a tweet admonishing Mike Pence for lacking the “courage” to try to overturn the election a few minutes after he learned his vice-president was in physical danger from a mob he instigated.

The revelation comes from Alabama senator Tommy Tuberville, whom Trump called on January 6 in a desperate bid to halt the certification of electoral votes. That phone call (which Trump accidentally made to Senator Mike Lee, who then passed the phone to Tuberville) was already public knowledge before this week, and had figured into Democrats’ impeachment presentation as an example of Trump’s indifference to the riot he helped cause. But Tuberville added new detail on Wednesday night, telling reporters that during his conversation with Trump, he told the president that security had just taken Pence out of the chamber for safety purposes.

Pence was removed from the Senate chamber at 2:14 p.m. Tuberville’s recounting of the conversation would mean that Trump knew about the chaos that was unfolding when he sent a tweet ten minutes later complaining that “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.” Given Trump’s cable-news addiction, it was already highly likely that he’d been tracking the riot’s progress. But now we know with more certainty that Trump was fully aware of the danger facing his vice-president as he continued to rage about Pence’s supposed disloyalty. (The fact that Pence couldn’t have done anything about the election results even if he had wanted to didn’t dissuade Trump from attacking him.)

The fury Trump directed at his vice-president was manifest in the cries of the mob, who shouted “hang Mike Pence!” as they barreled into the Capitol. There is no indication that Trump ever inquired about Pence’s physical safety or well-being during or after the deadly siege.

Impeachment probably won’t have serious consequences for Trump, but two long-simmering tax issues might

One is a massive income tax refund Trump received before entering office, according to the New York Times, one that has quietly been under a years-long review by the Internal Revenue Service and a little-known congressional panel, the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The refund, which the IRS issued to Trump in 2010 for $72.9 million, according to the Times, could be a nonissue for Trump if the agency rules that it was issued appropriately and he should keep the funds.

But if the agency rules against him, he could be asked to pay it back with interest, handing him a debt of more than $100 million at a time when some of his biggest properties are suffering severe revenue losses and the law firm that handled his tax issues cut ties with him following the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

… Steven M. Rosenthal, a tax expert who worked for the Joint Committee on Taxation in the 1990s, said he was not surprised that the IRS and the committee didn’t issue a decision while Trump was in office. He said it’s more likely they’ll move forward now.

“The outcome of all this may be a huge liability for Donald Trump,” Rosenthal said. “This is real money.”

The other issue Trump faces is the possibility that Democrats, after five years of trying, will finally pry free Trump’s tax returns now that the party controls both Congress and the White House. Leading House Democrats are still pursuing a lawsuit seeking six years of Trump’s returns. On Feb. 3, a federal judge gave officials in the Biden administration until March 3 to decide whether it plans to comply.

(Intelligencer)

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Capitol riot

Forensics report reveals details on pipe bombs left near U.S. Capitol in January

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A new forensics report released by the National Explosives Task Force is shedding light on pipe bombs that were placed in Washington D.C. a day before the deadly riot January 6.

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ABC gives thousands of taxpayer dollars to Capitol Hill rioter for footage

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A man indicted on six federal charges in the US for his involvement in the Capitol riots on January 6 was paid thousands of dollars from the ABC for his footage of the siege.

Remittance advice from the national broadcaster shows taxpayers spent $2375 to buy footage from disgraced Capitol Hill rioter and anti-Trump activist John Sullivan. Sullivan was captured on camera encouraging rioters to “we gotta get this s—t burned.” Sky News host Andrew Bolt said there were “very serious questions” for the ABC after the documents revealled the public broadcaster paid Mr Sullivan after he was charged.

Mr Sullivan was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on six charges including obstruction of a civil proceeding, civil disorder, and disorderly conduct. Federal police also accused the self-described anti-Trump activist of actively encouraging the siege.

The ABC’s flagship current affairs program Four Corners last week ran a report on protesters rioting at the US Capitol. “The reporter, Sarah Ferguson, was clear that this was all the work of wicked right wingers,” Mr Bolt said. Mr Bolt approached the ABC to respond on the issue, but the public broadcaster has not replied. The ABC was not alone in bankrolling the rioter with US media companies CNN and NBC paying $35,000 for the footage.

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Angry Trump partisans facing major obstacles in effort to oust Murkowski after impeachment vote

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With fellow Republican Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Mitt Romney (R-UT) facing pushback and censure in their home states for voting to convict Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection in his just-concluded impeachment trial, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) may get flack, but she has far fewer worries about losing her seat if she runs for re-election.

Murkowski is the only one of the dissident Republicans facing a referendum on her vote in the form of facing voters in the coming midterm election, but recent election law changes in Alaska make the probability of a pro-Trump insurgent nominee from the right unseating her as a nominee highly unlikely.

According to the National Review’s John McCormack, Alaska enacted new voting rules in the just concluded election that switched the state’s primary to an open one and not divided by parties.

As McCormack writes, “First, Alaska got rid of partisan primaries and established an open primary in which the top four primary candidates will compete in the general election.” Add to that, Alaska will be implementing ranked-choice voting that will create another obstacle.

According to Ballotpedia, “A candidate needs a simple majority of the vote (50%+1) to be declared the winner of an election. If no candidate wins a simple majority of the vote, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated. People who voted for that candidate as their first choice would have their votes redistributed to their second choice.”

McCormack also notes that this will not be the first time that Murkowski has drawn the ire of far-right Republicans. In 2010 she lost the primary to arch-conservative candidate Joe Miller, only to defeat him in the general election by successfully running a write-in campaign.

Since 2016, Murkowski has bucked her party on a number of issues. She declined to vote for Trump or the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020 (just as she had done in 2016),” before adding, “It’s been a delicate dance for Murkowski, but if she simply finishes first or second place in the first round of balloting in 2022, she’ll very likely keep her seat.”
(Raw story media)

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