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Author Topic: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2  (Read 246841 times)

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5496 on: July 03, 2022, 11:05:37 PM »
What charges might Trump face for trying to overturn 2020 election?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. congressional committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol has sought to build a case that then-President Donald Trump behaved illegally when he sought to overturn his 2020 electoral defeat, but what charges might prosecutors bring against Trump and how might he defend himself?

Here are some ideas being floated now:


In a March 2 court filing, the committee detailed Trump's efforts to persuade then-Vice President Mike Pence to either reject slates of electors for Joe Biden, who won the election, or delay a congressional count of those votes..

The president's efforts likely violated a federal law making it illegal to "corruptly" obstruct any official proceeding, or attempt to do so, said David Carter, the California federal judge overseeing the case.

Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, said Trump dismissed concerns that some supporters gathered for his fiery speech outside the White House that day carried AR-15-style rifles, instead asking security to stop screening attendees with magnetometers so the crowd would look larger.

She testified Trump demanded to be taken to the Capitol to join supporters rioting ahead of Pence's expected certification of the vote and tried to grab the steering wheel when his security detail insisted on returning him to the White House.

Hutchinson said the conversation was relayed to her by Tony Ornato, a senior Secret Service official who was Trump's deputy chief of staff for operations.

Ilya Somin, professor of law at George Mason University, said the testimony could "bolster the chances of indicting and convicting Trump, especially insofar as some potential charges hinge on his motives and state of mind."

Trump denied Hutchinson's account in a statement posted on Truth Social, his social media app, and called her story about him grabbing the steering wheel "fake" and "fraudulent." Trump has accused the committee of conducting a "sham investigation."

The New York Times and NBC, citing sources in the Secret Service, said the head of Trump's security detail, Robert Engel, and the limousine driver were prepared to testify under oath that Trump never lunged for the steering wheel.


In the March 2 filing, the committee said it was likely that Trump and others conspired to defraud the United States, which criminalizes any effort by two or more people to interfere with governmental functions "by deceit, craft or trickery."

In addition to Trump's efforts to pressure Pence, the committee cited his attempts to convince state election officials, the public and members of Congress that the 2020 election was stolen, even though several of his allies told him there was no evidence of fraud.

According to Hutchinson's testimony, Trump's White House press secretary at the time, Trump was so enraged by then-Attorney General Bill Barr's interview with the Associated Press saying there was no evidence of election fraud that Trump threw his lunch at the wall, breaking a porcelain dish and leaving ketchup dripping down the wall.


Prosecutors already have charged more than a dozen members of the far-right Proud Boys and Oath Keepers groups who were at the Jan. 6 riot with seditious conspiracy, a rarely used statute that makes it illegal to overthrow the U.S. government by force.

To prove seditious conspiracy, prosecutors would need to show Trump conspired with others to use force, said Barbara McQuade, a law professor at the University of Michigan and a former federal prosecutor.

"While her testimony is consistent with that theory, it does not alone establish it," McQuade said.


At the end of Hutchinson's testimony, Representative Liz Cheney, a Republican, presented possible evidence of witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

Cheney showed messages to unidentified witnesses advising them that an unidentified person would be watching their testimony closely and expecting loyalty.

If the committee has evidence that the people who sent the messages had a "tacit understanding" with Trump, prosecutors could use it to show there was a conspiracy to tamper with witnesses, said Daniel Medwed, a law professor at Northeastern University in Boston.

"They were setting the table for witness tampering and likely have other witnesses coming in to nail that down," he said.

The fact that Cheney did not identify the sender of the messages suggests it may be "more of a shot across the bow to get the person to knock it off," McQuade said.


Trump has repeatedly denied doing anything illegal in connection with the Jan. 6 events.

If the Justice Department brings charges, prosecutors' main challenge will be proving that Trump acted with corrupt intent, experts said.

Trump could argue he sincerely believed that he won the election and that his well-documented efforts to pressure Pence and state election officials were not meant to obstruct Congress or defraud the United States, but to protect the election's integrity.

Hutchinson's account could make it more difficult for Trump to assert this defense, Medwed said.

"Prior to (Tuesday's) disclosures, the biggest hurdle to charging Trump related to mental state: to proving that he intended to obstruct an official proceeding or to agree with others to defraud the U.S. or foment rebellion," Medwed said.

"(Tuesday's) testimony offered powerful circumstantial evidence that it was his intent to do those things."

© Reuters

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5497 on: July 03, 2022, 11:08:17 PM »
Liz Cheney hints at 'more than one' criminal referral for Trump over Jan. 6

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) asserted that the Jan. 6 Committee has not ruled out "more than one" criminal referral to the Justice Department for former President Donald Trump.

During an interview on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl asked Cheney if the Jan. 6 hearings demonstrated that Trump "needs to be prosecuted."

"Ultimately the Justice Department will decide that," Cheney replied. "We may well as a committee have a view on that. And if you just think about it from the perspective of what kind of man knows that the mob is armed and sends the mob to attack the Capitol? And further incites that mob when his own vice president is under threat, when the Congress is under threat. It's very chilling."

"The committee will or will not make a criminal referral?" Karl pressed.

"We'll make a decision as a committee about it," Cheney replied.

"So it's possible there will be a criminal referral?" Karl said.

"The Justice Department doesn't have to wait for the committee to make a criminal referral," she noted. "And there could be more than one criminal referral."

Cheney said that she had great concerns "about what it would mean if people aren't held accountable for what's happened."

"I think it's a much graver constitutional threat if a president can engage in these activities and the majority of the president's party looks away," she remarked, "or we as a country decide, you know, we're not actually going to take our constitutional obligations seriously."

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5498 on: July 04, 2022, 11:07:04 AM »
'A swearing contest' has broken out between Cassidy Hutchinson and Trump's Secret Service guy: ex-ethics czar

Former impeachment lawyer and White House ethics czar Norm Eisen explained that there's a battle of facts between former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Anthony Ornato.

Ornato previously served as a Secret Service Agent, but was appointed by Trump to serve in the White House and ultimately took a leave of absence from the agency. Ornato has not testified publicly before the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress and the attempt to overthrow the election. Cassidy Hutchinson has testified for over 20 hours in addition to the four hours a the public hearing last week.

As Eisen explained, "to the extent this has turned into a swearing contest between Ornato and Cassidy Hutchinson, she didn't just provide 60 seconds in a yes or no about the details of Trump's anger wanting to march with that armed mob. Ornato has to answer all the questions and had a bird's eye view of what went on and we're rounding in as the hearings proceed to the hearing of these events. In the run-up, the funding and the organization of Jan. 6th, and what happened on Jan. 6th itself. Ornato has to answer all of those questions. That could be uncomfortable for him."

There have been questions about Ornato's credibility, as Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) tweeted on Thursday.

"'There seems to be a major thread here… Tony Ornato likes to lie," he explained.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) similarly explained to NBC News that Ornato "did not have as clear of memories from this period of time" as Hutchinson.

"We got a very important missing link from Cassidy Hutchinson and that is that President Trump knew the crowd was armed," Eisen closed. "He had reason to believe the danger that would occur and how he wanted to march with the crowd, how angry he was when he couldn't go and it puts on his tweet attacking Pence when we know not only that he didn't want to take action but Ms. Hutchinson heard the conversation between the president's chief of staff, Mr. Cipollone, his White House counsel, that Trump agreed with the crowd that was intending harm to his own vice president. That really creates the missing link of Trump wanting to see this violence occur and increases his criminal exposure."

It's still unknown if Ornato will be willing to testify publicly before the committee.

See the conversation below:

JFK Assassination Forum

Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5498 on: July 04, 2022, 11:07:04 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5499 on: July 04, 2022, 11:18:43 AM »
Adam Kinzinger: Republicans 'are scared — and they should be'

Republicans had the opportunity to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on Congress, but instead of green-lighting the option, the House and Senate Republicans opposed it. It means there would be a House committee, but when Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was told he couldn't have members on it that could very well end up as witnesses, he "took his ball and went home."

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said as much while attacking McCarthy, Donald Trump, and other Republicans like Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on Twitter Sunday.

"When your friends say this committee isn’t fair, maybe remind them that those testifying are all Republicans, appointed by Trump," Kinzinger explained. "That Kevin McCarthy got a fair deal in a split commission, but then took his ball and went home."

The committee was formed and three members were going to be on it, but McCarthy pulled them off because there were two "who fomented the insurrection, were not allowed to stay on." As Kinzinger continued, "Kevin McCarthy could have then added two more, but Trump told him to pull his members."

Because Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Kinzinger joined the committee, the plot to make it a partisan hack job failed, making it a bipartisan effort that Americans overwhelmingly believe is legitimate.

Kinzinger explained that they have been able to find out things that up until recently were denied by the Jan 6th truthers. So, they are left with trying to discredit a young woman with more courage than they could muster in a lifetime. Except that isn’t working. Cassidy doesn’t seek the limelight, but she is compelled with honor. She didn’t even have to swear an oath to the Constitution like Kevin, Elise, Kristi Noem and others did. But she volunteered to come under oath to tell what she knows. She is a better person than them all. They’re all scared. They should be."

Adam Kinzinger @AdamKinzinger

1) When your friends say this committee isn’t fair, maybe remind them that those testifying are all republicans, appointed by trump.  That Kevin McCarthy got a fair deal in a split commission, but then took his ball and went home.  When the committee was then formed…

2) Kevin pulled his remaining three members after two, who foamented the insurrection, were not allowed to stay on. 
@GOPLeader COULD have then added two more, but Trump told him to pull his members…

3) he thought this “brilliant move” would pull the plug on the committee.  But it didn’t.  Cheney and I got on.  This BIPARTISAN committee has been able to find out things that up until recently were denied by the Jan 6th truthers…

4) so they are left with trying to discredit a young woman with more courage than they could muster in a lifetime.  Except… that isn’t working.  Cassidy doesn’t seek the limelight, but she is compelled with honor.  She didn’t even have to swear an oath to the constitution…

5) like Kevin, Elise, Kristi Noem and others did.  But she volunteered to come under oath to tell what she knows.  She is a better person than them all. 

They’re all scared.  They should be. 


Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5500 on: July 04, 2022, 11:44:19 AM »
Republicans like to pretend that high gas prices only exist in the United States but say nothing about the high gas prices all over the world which are even higher.

Republicans lie saying Joe Biden made gas prices high when it's Big Oil price gouging consumers and Putin's war in Ukraine which skyrocketed gas prices even higher.

House Republicans had the opportunity to vote on the "Big Oil and Gas Price Gouging Bill" which will stop Big Oil from gouging consumers at the pump. EVERY single Republican in the House voted "NO" to lower gas prices for you.

Senate Republicans are currently blocking this bill from being voted on because they don't want it to become law.

Mitch McConnell is purposely blocking this bill from becoming law to lower gas prices for you. McConnell wants gas prices to remain high, because he thinks high gas prices will help the Republicans win the November election so he can become Majority Leader in the Senate. So, McConnell is blocking this bill which would immediately lower gas prices, while he attacks Joe Biden daily on Twitter for high gas prices. That's the entire goal for Republicans which is to block and obstruct bills in the Senate, and then attack Biden.

Republicans are playing politics with your finances! The Republican Senate could pass this bill right now to lower gas prices but they are purposely blocking it for political purposes.   

Are Republicans going to blame Biden for the price of gas in Belgium, too?

And you can see the official House of Representatives vote where EVERY single Republican in the House voted NO to lower gas prices for you.

Remember in November!

JFK Assassination Forum

Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5500 on: July 04, 2022, 11:44:19 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5501 on: July 04, 2022, 12:59:46 PM »
Well folks, today is July the 4th better known as Independence Day.

This is a day where Americans celebrate our great country and the freedoms that were given to us by our Founding Fathers who were some of the most brilliant men in history. They were able to come up with a Bill of Rights and a Constitution from scratch to make us the greatest nation on Earth.

But as we look at the current landscape of our government today, with the right wing Supreme Court and the Republicans in charge of red states, our freedoms are becoming less each day as they are under attack by the radical right.

This is especially true in states like Florida, with a Trump wannabe named Gov. Ron DeSantis who is banning books, restricting speech, making it harder to vote, going after people who are gay, going after teachers in school that teach slavery in our history, and criminalizing women and doctors.

Not only is this happening in Florida, it's happening in all Red states, and now even in purple states that have Republican legislatures.

How can Americans celebrate their "freedoms" today when Republicans are doing everything possible to take them away? This is certainly not the "Land of the free" when citizens no longer have the freedom to read books of their choice or speak their mind. Their freedoms are being taken away by the radical right.

Women are no longer allowed to control their own bodies. Far right wing radical religious Republicans are forcing them to give birth even if it kills them under the Republican "no exception" abortion law.

Social Security and Medicare are next on the chopping block as Republicans have said they want to end these "entitlements" as they call them. How will a senior on a fixed income have the freedom to live independently when their income is taken away?

Republicans tried to steal the election from the American people in 2020 which would have ended our democracy. They even tried to seize power via a violent coup and insurrection attack on January 6th. Trump and his fascist MAGA candidates still push blatant lies about imaginary voter fraud which is a direct attack on our democracy. Voting is the most patriotic thing you can do and Republicans are attacking our election process based on nothing but lies. Then Republicans use those "election fraud" lies to pass voter restriction laws which is a direct attack on the freedom to vote.           
So, with the stripping away of our rights and the dismantling of our Constitution (which explicitly states that we have a separation of church and state) these right wing radical Republicans have the audacity to wave a flag and tell us to celebrate our "freedoms" when they continue to take away our rights and freedoms from us.         

If these right wing radicals ever get full control of our government again we will lose even more of our rights. And once they are gone we will never get them back.     
If we could bring back our Founding Fathers today, they would be shocked, appalled, and disgusted to see how the Republican party has been dismantling what they worked so hard to envision and document for the new country they founded on July 4, 1776.

Our Founding Fathers explicitly documented that America is to have a "separation of church and state". The Republican religious fanatics and conspiracy theorists in the GOP today do not see it that way. They feel their evangelical religion and their absurd conspiracy theories are superior to what our Constitution defines. And that is extremely dangerous, when you have these radical people in power taking away freedoms based on insane conspiracy theories and an extreme radical evangelical religion that goes against normal Christianity. They don't believe in our laws, they believe in creating new laws for us based on their radical extreme religion and QAnon conspiracy theories. This is not what America is supposed to be. Oppression is not freedom and the GOP is forcing their barbaric laws on us.

It’s time to stand up and vote them all out. Don’t let them take your freedom or you will never get it back.

Enjoy the 4th, but remember, you can't celebrate freedom once it's been taken from you.   

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5502 on: July 04, 2022, 11:14:56 PM »
In my post above, I wrote about the extreme radical religious right taking away our freedoms as they believe their religious beliefs are far more superior than our Constitution. The perfect example would be Republican Trump backed candidate for Pennsylvania Governor Doug Mastriano who is a far right wing radical religious extremist who wants to rule based on conspiracy theories and his religion. There are other MAGA candidates just like him itching to run our government to take away more of our rights and freedoms. We can't allow these dangerous kooks that promote religious violence to turn America into country based on conspiracy theories and radical right wing extremism.

He's on a mission from God: Pennsylvania GOP candidate Doug Mastriano's war with the world

An animating element of politics in the age of Trump is that some people are increasingly living out religious metaphors. These metaphors are derived from contemporary understandings of the Old Testament by new elements within Christianity. This has been central to the campaign of Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who recently won the Republican nomination for governor of Pennsylvania. (He will face Democrat Josh Shapiro, the state's current attorney general, in November.) These metaphors are also integral to a movement of the post-insurrection religious and political right that is still in its formative stages.

As reporting by the New Yorker, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Word & Way and Paul Rosenberg at Salon has shown, there is something going on in Pennsylvania that is transforming politics in the state, and maybe on a larger scale as well.

Mastriano, a retired Army strategist and intelligence officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, appears to have a disturbing understanding of the relationship between metaphor and reality when it comes to biblical narratives. He suggested to an interviewer that today's Christians should emulate the warriors of Old Testament Israel.

"God can intervene in history," he said, adding that such interventions are carried out by "a man or a woman," such as the biblical Queen Esther (who got authorization from the King of Persia for the Jews to kill all their enemies); and the prophet Gideon (who led 300 soldiers against a far greater force).

Mainstream media generally describe Mastriano as an "election denialist" and a "Christian nationalist." He unconvincingly denies the latter, but he and his supporters are also more complicated than the label usually suggests. He is well known for having spoken at the Jericho March in December 2020 that unsuccessfully called for the Electoral College to switch its votes to Donald Trump. He was also slated to speak at the "wild protest" on Jan. 6, 2021, organized by "Stop the Steal" activist Ali Alexander, along with the likes of Roger Stone, theocratic activist Lance Wallnau and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. And of course, promoting the Big Lie has been central to his politics since Trump's election defeat.

But there's more.

Some religious leaders who back Mastriano's campaign say they are in direct communication with God, see themselves as God's army, and see Mastriano as a general in their war for the world.

Mastriano's core support is a fusion of QAnon, the far-right Patriot movement and the revivalist New Apostolic Reformation -- which views him as a military and political leader in advancing the biblically prophesied end times. We see this in his role in the Jericho March during the run-up to Jan. 6, and more recently when he joined members of the "Shofar Army'' in a ceremony of "spiritual warfare" on the Gettysburg battlefield, and as the headliner at a conference, Patriots Arise.

May the metaphors be with you

The Jericho March was derived from the biblical story of the battle of Jericho, which took place during the journey of the Israelites, led by Joshua, to the Promised Land. God had instructed them to march seven times around the city blowing shofars. The walls of the city collapsed, and the army rushed in, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, and killing everyone in the city. The Ark of the Covenant, as fans of the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" film (among others) will recall, is a chest containing the two stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses.

Religious extremists who back Mastriano's campaign say they have direct messages from God, and see him as a general in God's army of conquest.

The story of the 2020 Jericho March purportedly began with God giving two different individuals the same vision, calling them to set up a march in Washington as well as in the capitals of the swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the days before the presidential electors were to cast their votes. (They were ultimately held in other states and Canada as well.)

Supposedly God wanted the marchers to oppose alleged corruption and restore election integrity — as well as Donald Trump's presidency. In Washington, crowds marched around the Capitol, the Department of Justice and the Supreme Court.

"God commanded this to happen like he did to Joshua," Apostle Abby Abildness explained on a religious talk show. "We believe God is gonna move'' and "that there will be that victory," she continued. There was "great hope" that Pennsylvania's electoral votes, which Joe Biden had won convincingly, would "go to the president." Of course, that did not happen.

In instances like this, believers see a difference between a foretelling of events,and a prophecy that reveals God's intentions. If an event doesn't turn out as expected, they believe, it is necessary to keep on trying, to ensure that somehow, someday, God's will will be done.

Her immanence

Apostle Abby Abildness is a quietly powerful national and international religious leader, as well as a legislative lobbyist at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg. She says she meets with legislators at least once a week, praying and "bringing forth a religious freedom agenda." She also led Jericho marches in Harrisburg.

Her manner is more that of a soft-spoken college professor (which she used to be) than a political preacher. She is nevertheless an important leader in the contemporary religious movement called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), which is a dynamic theological and organizational revamping of much of pentecostal and charismatic Christianity. For decades, NAR has led the abandonment of traditional mainline Protestant and evangelical denominations in favor of prayer networks.

These prayer networks are led by what is known as the "five-fold ministry" as mentioned in the biblical book of Ephesians: Apostle, prophet, teacher, pastor and evangelist. The networks comprise both physical churches and prayer groups of various sizes.

Abildness is a leader in several such networks, which aim to take control of what they call the "Seven Mountains" of society in order to achieve Christian dominion. These metaphorical mountains are religion, family, government, business, education, arts & entertainment and media. Abildness, whose mountain is government, is working with her allies to increase electoral engagement in apostolic networks, and to involve them in pushing for legislation. She heads the Pennsylvania Apostolic Prayer Network and plays leading roles in other important international networks, including the Oklahoma-based Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network headed by Apostle John Benefiel and the Texas-headquartered Reformation Prayer Network, led by Apostle Cindy Jacobs.

The NAR has generally abandoned written doctrines along with denominations, in favor of its own notions of Old Testament biblical law. Its movement is further informed by revelations from those understood to be apostles and prophets revealing what God wants. They believe God wants Doug Mastriano.

Dancing with the ones who brung him

Last year, Mastriano denied to Eliza Griswold of the New Yorker that he was a Christian nationalist. "Is this a term you fabricated?" he asked. "What does it mean and where have I indicated that I am a Christian Nationalist?" Of course Griswold did not invent the term, which has been used by scholars and journalists for decades.

Mastriano doth protest too much. He has sponsored several bills based on models found in the Christian nationalist legislative playbook formerly called "Project Blitz." These bills would have mandated teaching the Bible in public schools and made it legal for adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples. In the face of organized opposition and intensive media coverage by the New York Times, the Guardian and Salon, among others, the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, which published the Project Blitz legislative playbook, scrubbed all mention of Project Blitz from its website in 2019. But the affiliated Pennsylvania State Legislative Prayer Caucus remains. Its state director, then as now, is Abby Abildness.

Mastriano has also denied that he works directly with NAR. He has however, had a close relationship with Abildness and the wider NAR. She has, for example, interviewed him on her podcast and worked with him in the legislature. She calls him "a military strategist" who leads a group of about 30 conservative state legislators (although he's only been in the legislature since 2019). She also introduced him at a regional NAR conference of several hundred people in October 2020, in Gettysburg, which is in Mastriano's senatorial district.

On the Fourth of July in 2019, Mastriano joined Apostle Abby Abildness on the Gettysburg battlefield, where they prayed to "preserve the monuments" from antifa. They were victims of an internet hoax.

There, Abildness told the story about walking the Gettysburg battlefield with Mastriano, his wife and a "prayer team" on the previous Fourth of July. The senator and the apostle went to "pray to preserve the monuments" from antifa, which she believed might be coming to destroy them. She had trepidations, she said, but explained, "When the people pray, God is with us. We're not to fear, we have God. We need to stand up. Speak out. And move forward in this battle. Amen!" (Hundreds of armed militia members, bikers and others who had also heard the rumors showed up to defend the monuments and prevent the burning of the American flag. It turned out the whole thing was a hoax perpetrated by a troll on social media and then hyped by right-wing media.)

The conference's headline speaker, Apostle Chuck Pierce from Texas, was preceded by the sounding of the shofar by the Shofar Army, which then led the crowd in shouting, "Arise, oh God, and let your enemies be scattered!" This refrain is from Psalm 68, one of many Old Testament imprecatory prayers in which the faithful ask God to smite his enemies.

A new Joshua

Reported here for the first time are two videos featuring Mastriano before his run for governor. Filmed on the Gettysburg battlefield on July 18, 2020, just days after his prayers against antifa with Abildness, the videos reveal his involvement with a group called the Shofar Army. In the videos, Mastriano performs a ritual act of spiritual warfare — blowing shofars with the Shofar Army and Prophet Bill Yount of Blowing the Shofar Ministries. But as later became clear, they understood the warfare as physical, not just spiritual.

Some of these Christians wore a Jewish prayer shawl called a tikkit, and wielded the three-foot-long hollowed-out ram's horns called a shofar, which was used by ancient Israelite armies to sound battle commands and community alerts, and is used today in religious services for the Jewish High Holidays.

In one video, the leader, Earl Hixon, prays, "Thank you Father, we tread upon the enemy." Pointing to Mastriano, he continues, "Father God, I am looking to our new general here, that you have appointed, this Joshua. In Jesus' name!" Mastriano raises his outstretched arm in apparent acknowledgment. A year later, Warren Baker, a member of the group, sounded the shofar at the launch event for Mastriano's campaign for governor. (Former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis also attended the launch.)

In the second video, Hixon follows the Army's shofar blasts by declaring he wants to "mark this day in the history of eternity." He then leads the Army in shouts of the imprecation, "Arise, oh God, and let your enemies be scattered!"

Salon asked André Gagné, professor of theological studies at Concordia University in Montreal, and author of a study of Trump's evangelical followers, to help interpret the videos.

Hixon recognizes "the 'angelic hosts, the warring hosts that have gathered here on this journey,'" Gagné explained. "This is a reference to the assistance of angelic beings in the battle to be waged. Hixon thanks God for this 'Joshua,' pointing to Mastriano, believing that from this moment there will be new 'anointing' on him."

Joshua, of course, led the Jews to the Promised Land, fighting the Canaanites along the way, including the genocide at Jericho.

Gagné continued, "Hixon also says that Mastriano now has 'got new eyes, the new eyes of a seer' and connects it to the idea that "we're on the physical ground, yes, there's the grassroots, but there is a double-edged sword as well in Jesus' name."

This, Gagné says, refers to the "opening of Mastriano's 'spiritual eyes' and the presence of the 'angelic and warring hosts.'" It may also refer to the need to wage war on two fronts, both the physical and the spiritual.

"This entire ritual," says theology professor André Gagné, builds a bridge between the language of 'spiritual warfare' and possible physical violence."

"This entire ritual," Gagné continued, "potentially builds a bridge between the language of 'spiritual warfare' and the physical realm, where possible physical violence could eventually be enacted to push back against the forces of darkness and establish the Kingdom of God."

"Now, the blowing of trumpets," he concluded, "is found in different contexts in the biblical record, and the ritual means different things for Christians. But in this specific 'spiritual warfare' ceremony, the most likely meaning is associated with the expectation and possible eruption of physical warfare."

Rising and shining

Mastriano was the star of a two-day Patriots Arise conference at a hotel near the Gettysburg battlefield the following year, in April 2021. The small stage was festooned with flag bunting and "Mastriano for Governor" signs. The event announcement declared,

It is TIME (sic) for the Patriots to Arise for God & Country! Just as they did in the first American Revolution during 1776.

The conference opened with a sounding of the shofar by 10 members of the Shofar Army. The call, blown three times, was what leader Don Kretzer called "an alarm sound that has been around for almost 4,000 years."

"Blow the trumpet in Zion! Sound the alarm on holy mountain! The day of the Lord is here!" Kretzer declared. Paraphrasing (and embellishing) God speaking to Moses in the Old Testament book of Numbers, he continued:

When you go into a land against an enemy who appears to be stronger than you, that tries to oppress you; when I hear the sound of alarm, I will remember the covenant I've made with you, and I am coming to rescue you, America!

The Shofar Army and NAR leaders envision themselves as waging "spiritual warfare" against a host of enemies, whom they understand to be possessed or controlled by demons. So when they repeatedly ask God to smite his enemies in this way, some people, as Gagné suggests, may feel compelled to act out the metaphors in more literal fashion. (It's probably fair to wonder whether that informed what happened on Jan. 6.)

The conference hosts, "apostolic and prophetic" leaders Allen and Francine Fosdick, auctioned items as a fundraiser for Mastriano ("our dear brother in Christ warrior") but not for any of the other far-right Christian GOP primary candidates from Pennsylvania and Maryland who were also present.

He was clearly in his element.

Prophet Julia Green of Iowa preceded Mastriano at the podium. She said that Mastriano had heard about a prophecy God had given to her, and that was why he had invited her to appear at his events. She read the prophecy from her laptop while Mastriano waited to speak at a nearby banquet table:

Doug Mastriano, I have you here for such a time as this, saith the Lord. It is now time to move forward with the plan that you have been given. Yes, Doug, I am here for you and I have not forsaken you. The time has come for their great fall; for the great steal to be overturned. So keep your faith in me.

Green further prophesied that current Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, would be "removed by my hand" in the wake of a scandal, and that "Treason will be written on him for all eternity." The crowd cheered. Wolf's allegedly treasonous acts were not identified (and have not surfaced to this point). Mastriano said nothing.

The conference began with a dramatic QAnon video comparing conspiracy-theory adherents to American soldiers. It was followed by anti-vax, anti-mask and anti-tax speakers, as well as Bobby Summers, an advocate for the idea of "sovereign citizenship."

Making the demons tremble

The event was similar (albeit much smaller) in terms of theme, tone and content to the ReAwaken America tour, led by Michael Flynn. There have been 15 such conferences since April of last year, drawing thousands of people to each event.

These events are headlined by such figures as Roger Stone, Jenna Ellis and Eric Trump, along with anti-vax and anti-mask presentations and, of course, endless propaganda about alleged election fraud. There is also a strong revivalist Christian component, including opening the event with the blowing of shofars, and speeches by pastoral provocateurs such as noted book-burner Greg Locke.

At a ReAwaken event last year, Prophet Amanda Grace explained the meaning of blowing the shofar, saying it had driven some of God's greatest biblical victories:

When the shofar was blown the walls of Jericho fell. When the shofar was blown, Gideon and an army of 300 men defeated over 147,000 Midianities. It's an announcement to the enemy that his stronghold is about to fall. Demons tremble at the sound of the shofar.

She calls the shofar "a weapon of our warfare. And when we blow it, the power of God comes full force into that situation."

One aspect of the tour is the evident cross-fertilization of the factions of the religious and political right that is reshaping American conservative politics and public life, from the MAGA movement to Jan. 6 to the Mastriano campaign.

Controversial right-wing activist and publisher Floyd G. Brown explained a bit about how this works in his introduction of tour regular Pastor Dave Scarlett at an April 2022 ReAwaken event in Salem, Oregon. Many people who watch Scarlett's "His Glory" show are Christians, Brown said, "but many of them aren't."

"They are Patriots," he continued. "And I've heard him say many, many times, if you watch 'His Glory' and you're a Patriot, you often become a Christian. And if you watch 'His Glory' and you're a Christian, and if you don't know what's going on, you slowly become a Patriot."

Brown announced that "His Glory" would air on his new commercial streaming service, Liftable TV, which seeks to promote a "biblical worldview" and "truth-centric news." It's like a Reader's Digest of Christian-right streaming, rebroadcasting shows from the likes of anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, 7 Mountains Dominionist Lance Walnau and of course Dave Scarlett, who often hosts Julie Green as a guest.

Green's May 25, 2022, interview with Scarlett illuminates much about the Mastriano campaign and the wider movement. Green says that Mastriano campaign functions "are not a normal, everyday political event. … They are all focused on the Lord. They are powerful! They are anointed!" She calls Mastriano "a very powerful man of God."

Scarlett replies that he has talked with a "certain general" (without naming him) who said, about candidates he supports, "that these rallies in the 2024 cycle will start out with [evangelical Christian] praise music, then the candidate, who is a Patriot Christian, will come forward, give whatever their message is, then it will end with revival. It's going to end with altar calls."

Green replied that this was "already happening" at Mastriano's events.

Throughout Mastriano's rise, those around him have been open about their intentions. In a December 2020 broadcast of "The Damascus Road," host Earl Hixon explains their common purpose, to murmurs of agreement from his panelists: Abby Abildness, shofarists Don Kretzer and Bill Yount, and Pastor Brett McKoy, whose Maryland church hosts the broadcast.

Mastriano was supposed to be present, but was under COVID quarantine at the time. Hixon says that in light of that, they wanted the group to serve as Mastriano's "surrogate":

What we have here is the introduction of an army. This is what our King is endeavoring to do — especially on this battlefield we call the United States. This is what we are here for. ... We are all on the front lines. We are aware of what's happening in this country... that's why we're here, talking about the Mountains of Dominion.

A time to "break the bonds"

Those around Mastriano and his campaign — from Abildness to the Patriots Arise conferees, the Shofar Army and Prophet Julie Green — see themselves as entering a future where the temporal meets the supernatural.

When God is ready, they believe, the heavens will open and angelic forces allied with Christians of the right sort will battle the demonic forces of Satan to the end. This apocalyptic vision drives their support for Mastriano.

Those around Mastriano believe that when God is ready, angelic forces allied with Christians of the right sort will battle demonic forces to the end.

There is always some tension, in this domain of Christianity, between what people believe may be imminent and what may turn out to be a long way off. Regardless of the timing, they have no doubt about God's intentions, and about their commitment to carry them out.

Abildness made this clear in her keynote on the second day of Patriots Arise, when she revealed an experience she had on the Gettysburg battlefield. God had called her there, she said, because he was ready to answer a general's 150-year-old prayer. She and members of her apostolic network found themselves "in a portal where the general had prayed."

"We realized heaven is watching," she said, and that "we are joining heaven. We are joining the people of the ages in this prayer." The time was coming, she said, to "break the bonds" with "a government that is not leading the way they should."

"We realized that heaven is with us."

Mastriano himself declared, later that day, "We will win in November, and my God will make it so."

JFK Assassination Forum

Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5502 on: July 04, 2022, 11:14:56 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #5503 on: July 04, 2022, 11:20:57 PM »
'He knows that this is all a lie': Trump insider claims ex-president told him he's 'playacting'

As part of a New York Times analysis on the impact that the Jan 6th hearings are on having on those who are skeptical that Donald Trump will be held to account for the Capitol riot that sent lawmakers fleeing, one Donald Trump insider is claiming that the former president knew fully well that he had lost the 2020 election and that he has been playing a part.

As the Times' Baker wrote, "For a year and a half, Mr. Trump has been shielded by obfuscations and mischaracterizations, benefiting from uncertainty about what he was thinking on Jan. 6, 2021," before adding, "But for a man who famously avoids leaving emails or other trails of evidence of his unspoken motives, any doubts about what was really going through Mr. Trump’s mind on that day of violence seemed to have been eviscerated by testimony presented in recent weeks by the House committee investigating the Capitol attack."

According to the report, the tide has been turning against the former president with each hearing and more witnesses come out of the woodwork to describe his actions leading up to and on the day of the insurrection.

Noting the devastating testimony given by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former senior aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Baker wrote, "When added together, the various disclosures have produced the clearest picture yet of an unprecedented attempt to subvert the traditional American democratic process, with a sitting president who had lost at the ballot box planning to march with an armed crowd to the Capitol to block the transfer of power, brushing aside manifold concerns about the potential for violence along the way."

According to attorney Joshua Matz, who assisted the Democrats during both of Trump's impeachments, "The innocent explanations for Trump’s conduct seem virtually impossible to credit following the testimony we have seen. At the very least, they powerfully shift the burden to Trump and his defenders to offer evidence that he did not act with a corrupt, criminal state of mind.”

His assertion is borne out by Anthony Scaramucci -- a longtime Trump associate who briefly held a position in the ex-president's administration.

Speaking with Baker, Scaramucci recalled a conversation with the former president when he made his initial presidential run.

"Anthony Scaramucci, a longtime associate who served briefly in the White House before breaking with Mr. Trump, has talked in the past about Mr. Trump’s power to interpret reality in whatever way suited him. But Mr. Scaramucci said he had concluded that Mr. Trump understood perfectly well that the election was not stolen and that his actions on Jan. 6 to overturn it were illegitimate," Baker wrote before quoting the Trump associate telling him, “I do believe that President Trump knows that the whole thing that he is doing is a ruse. On more than one occasion throughout the campaign he would turn to me and others and say funny things like, ‘Why can’t people realize what you guys realize about me, that I am playacting and full of it at least 50 percent of the time?’ That sort of joking. So he knows that this is all a lie.”

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