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Rep. Bennie Thompson is targeting former President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers in a suit alleging that they conspired to incite the violence that transpired at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of the long-serving Mississippi Democrat by the NAACP and the Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll law firm claims that the defendants broke the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act by attempting to meddle in Congress’s certification of the Electoral College count, according to NPR.

“The insurrection at the Capitol was a direct, intended, and foreseeable result of the Defendants’ unlawful conspiracy,” the lawsuit claims. “It was instigated according to a common plan that the Defendants pursued since the election held in November 2020.”

According to the outlet, Thompson told reporters on Tuesday: “I am privileged to partner with the NAACP to have my day in court so that the perpetrators of putting members of Congress at risk can be held accountable.”

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Trump was acquitted on Saturday in his Senate impeachment trial in a 57-43 vote. While a majority of senators voted that the former commander-in-chief was guilty regarding the single article of impeachment that was passed by the House last month during Trump’s waning days in office, the 57 guilty votes failed to clear the two-thirds supermajority required to secure a conviction.

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Trump calls Limbaugh ‘legend,’ in first TV interview since Senate trial

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Former President Trump on Wednesday afternoon praised the career of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who has died of cancer.

“He loved his country, and he loved his fans,” Trump said on the Fox News Channel. “He is a legend.”

The interview was Trump’s first since the conclusion of his Senate impeachment trial last week.

Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, announced her husband’s death earlier in the day on his radio show. He had been diagnosed about a year ago with Stage-IV lung cancer. He was 70.

The president also said he had a personal friendship with Limbaugh, who was an early supporter of his 2016 presidential bid and who, like Trump, thought the president won reelection in 2020.

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Trump also pointed out that Limbaugh was a provocateur in his views about conservative politics that often sparked backlash from liberals and other critics. 

Trump last year in his State of the Union address awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Judicial Watch sues U.S. Capitol Police in pursuit of emails and videos pertaining to Jan. 6 riots

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Judicial Watch has lodged a lawsuit against the U.S. Capitol Police in an effort to obtain emails and videos pertaining to the riot that transpired Jan. 6 at the Capitol.

The watchdog organization said in a press release that it filed the suit under the common law right of access to public records following the Capitol Police declining to provide materials sought in a Jan. 21 request.

“The public has a right to know about how Congress handled security and what all the videos show of the US Capitol riot,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “What are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer trying to hide from the American people?”

The January request sought all video from within the U.S. Capitol during a nine-hour period on Jan. 6.

The request also sought “Email communications between the U.S. Capitol Police Executive Team and the Capitol Police Board concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021 through January 10, 2021,” according to Judicial Watch. The request also sought, “Email communications of the Capitol Police Board with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021 through January 10, 2021,” according to the watchdog group.

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The Capitol Police said in a Feb. 11 letter that the materials sought do not constitute “public records,” according to Judicial Watch.

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Donald Trump

Hostility between congressional Republicans and Democrats reaches new lows amid growing fears of violence

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “The enemy is within the House of Representatives, a threat that members are concerned about, in addition to what is happening outside.”

Open hostility broke out among Republicans and Democrats in Congress on Thursday amid growing fears of physical violence and looming domestic terrorism threats from supporters of former president Donald Trump, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leveling an extraordinary allegation that dangers lurk among the membership itself.

“The enemy is within the House of Representatives, a threat that members are concerned about, in addition to what is happening outside,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a Thursday morning news conference.

But even as she and others sounded the alarm, Republicans continued to deepen their ties to the former president, who has been impeached for his role in inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. 

Hours after Pelosi’s remarks, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) met with Trump in Florida. In a statement, the pair vowed to work together to take back the House. On Thursday afternoon, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a Trump acolyte, traveled to the district of Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), a member of the House GOP leadership, to hold a rally criticizing her vote to impeach Trump earlier this month.

The events reflected the extent to which the country’s legislative branch, which has for years been mired in partisan bickering, has reached new levels of animosity just as newly inaugurated President Biden is seeking to win passage of a massive bill designed to help lift the country out of the pandemic.

Some Democrats are expressing fears that Republican lawmakers — who in some cases have tried bringing weapons onto the House floor — cannot be trusted. Some have bought bulletproof vests and are seeking other protections.

And Democratic leaders are putting maximum pressure on the Republican leadership to denounce freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who once endorsed violence against members of Congress. One Democrat advanced a resolution to expel her from Congress.

Greene, a onetime far-right online commentator, has a history of promoting violent ideas and beliefs. This week, social media postings surfaced showing she had liked Facebook posts that advocated for violence against Democrats, including one that suggested shooting Pelosi in the head.

Greene also spread conspiracy theories that the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people was a “false flag,” and new videos showed her stalking and harassing teenage David Hogg, a Parkland student turned advocate for stricter gun safety laws.

Pelosi and other senior Democrats have called on McCarthy and other senior Republican leaders to address Greene’s social media comments. Democrats were incensed that Greene was given a spot on the House Education and Labor Committee, given her comments about the Parkland shooting.

“Assigning her to the education committee, when she has mocked the killing of little children” at school, “what could they be thinking, or is thinking too generous a word for what they might be doing?” Pelosi said. “It’s absolutely appalling.”

Greene responded to the Democrats’ criticism in an emailed statement: “Democrats and their spokesmen in the Fake News Media will stop at nothing to defeat conservative Republicans. They are coming after me because I’m a threat to their goal of Socialism. They are coming after me because they know I represent the people, not the politicians..”

Through a spokesman McCarthy described Greene’s comments as “deeply disturbing.

“Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the congresswoman about them,” a McCarthy spokesman said, though he did not elaborate further.

The GOP leader spent his day in West Palm Beach with Trump, formulating a plan for Republicans to take back the House in 2022. In a statement after the meeting, Trump’s super PAC Save America issued a warning shot to Republicans who cross him: “President Trump’s popularity has never been stronger than it is today, and his endorsement means more than perhaps any endorsement at any time.”

McCarthy’s has long struggled with how to address Greene, highlighting the current predicament for House GOP leaders, whose party attracts an increasingly virulent anti-establishment, conspiratorial base.

Just weeks after GOP voters chose to oust one persistent headache for party leaders — Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who had a long history of racist rhetoric — reporters unearthed videos of Greene, then a candidate for office, making disparaging remarks about African Americans, Muslims and Jewish megadonor George Soros.

McCarthy denounced the comments through a spokesman but did little subsequently to intervene over the following weeks in the primary runoff against a more conventional GOP candidate.

But other Republicans say McCarthy and other leaders could have done more to persuade Trump — the only Republican with credibility with rural Georgia voters — to intervene.

Greene ended up winning by 15 percentage points, calling it a “badge of honor” on election night that the “D.C. swamp has been against me.”

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Trump tweeted the next day: “Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up — a real WINNER!”

After November’s elections, McCarthy found his standing in the House GOP at an all-time high after Republicans beat expectations, cutting the Democratic majority to single digits after most forecasters had predicted Democrats would gain seats.

Despite Trump’s loss, McCarthy hewed closely to the outgoing president — backing up his false claims of a stolen election, even after his Senate counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), declared Biden the winner on Dec. 15.

Instead, McCarthy signaled to Republicans that he would back Trump’s election fraud claims to the very end — at the Jan. 6 vote to certify the electoral college tally.

The politics could not have been clearer for McCarthy, who was among the first senior Republican leaders to intuitively sense Trump’s appeal to voters in 2016. Breaking with the soon-to-be-ex-president — then and now an overwhelmingly popular figure among GOP voters — would threaten his 14-year climb up the party leadership, with the speaker’s chair just within his grasp.

But the riot at the Capitol scrambled that calculation. As the pro-Trump mob ransacked the seat of Congress, McCarthy was among the most senior officials calling Trump and begging that he make a public statement denouncing the violence. Later that night, after the House returned to session, he called the riot “unacceptable, undemocratic and un-American” and said it was “the saddest day I have ever had serving as a member of this institution.”

He then voted with the vast majority of Republicans to challenge the electoral votes of two states won by Biden.

McCarthy kept largely quiet over the following week as House Democrats moved toward impeaching Trump. While some Republicans privately floated alternatives that might have garnered bipartisan support with a push from GOP leaders, McCarthy only endorsed censure until just hours before the House voted to impeach Trump.

“The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” he said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”

Those, however, would be the last critical words McCarthy would speak about Trump for the coming weeks as the internal GOP backlash grew against the 10 Republicans who supported impeachment — most prominently his third in command, House GOP Conference Chair Cheney.

McCarthy’s office issued a terse statement backing Cheney the next day. Last week, he qualified it further, saying there were “questions that need to be answered,” including about the “style in which things were delivered.”

Back in Cheney’s Wyoming district, Gaetz held a rally Thursday to bash her. Donald Trump Jr. phoned in to pile on and call for her defeat in the next election.

Amid this month’s public reckoning over the state of the Republican Party, McCarthy was engaged in a behind-the-scenes effort to patch up relations with Trump — who has made clear his desire to remain a Republican kingmaker, if not a future GOP presidential nominee. In a syndicated TV interview aired Sunday with host Greta Van Susteren, McCarthy inched further away from his previous comments saying Trump “had some responsibility when it came to the response” to the riot, while adding, “I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility.”

The pitched battle over Greene’s threat to Congress comes against the backdrop of the looming Senate impeachment trial of Trump in which the vast majority of Republicans are likely to vote to acquit him.

On the other side of the Capitol, Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) is seeking to have Greene expelled and is asking every GOP lawmaker for their support.

“I’ve been getting a lot of support from colleagues, even Republican colleagues who are saying some positive things, but they’re nervous,” Gomez said in an interview.

He warned that if Greene’s rhetoric goes unchallenged, “things are going to get a lot worse.”

Other Democrats said Republicans’ refusal to acknowledge that Biden legitimately won the election is fueling the threat of violence.

On Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) publicly admonished Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a leader of the election challenges, after he signaled support for her position on an unrelated issue.

“I am happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there’s common ground, but you almost had me murdered 3 weeks ago so you can sit this one out,” she said on Twitter. “Happy to work w/ almost any other GOP that aren’t trying to get me killed.”

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