#030 | Jan 6 Committee's Missing Docs, Investigating the Bidens & Trump's speech is not so free
All of the top stories 📰 of the week in small bites.
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It’s FRIDAY, August 11! YAY
I’m switching things up again. Instead of loading the newsletter with ALL the stories, I am going to focus on one feature story and the five top news stories of the week, as determined by me because…well, it’s just me here.
Sometimes it’s better to keep things simple, which is not my strong suit. I confess.
Ok enough let’s get to the news. ; )
Missing Data, Political Theatrics, and Unanswered Questions in the January 6 Committee's Investigation"
Where are all the Jan 6 docs?
The recent revelations surrounding the House Select Committee's investigation into the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot have raised more than a few eyebrows. The committee, Led by Democrats and criticized by the GOP, has found itself under scrutiny by Republican Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy tasked Loudermilk to audit the January 6 findings and evidence, and he's not liking what he's finding. The committee's documentation is a mess! Incomplete records, a lack of organization, and missing data are at the heart of Lourdermilk’s criticisms. He claims that a stunning 2.5 terabytes of data is mysteriously missing from what was supposedly handed over.
But it doesn't stop there. Remember the "Blue Team," the folks who were supposed to look into Capitol security failures? Apparently, they never investigated the security failures or were grossly incompetent in documenting their investigation because materials were nearly nonexistent in the documents Loudermilk received. Instead, the committee seemed more focused on blaming former President Trump and engaging in what some are calling "Soviet-style show trials."
Loudermilk was accused of giving reconnaissance tours of the Capitol, but luckily, the tapes proved otherwise. That's the thing with facts; they have a funny way of coming to the surface.
Then there's the issue of Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the incoming House Republican majority, who initially demanded the preservation of all records. Now Republicans allege that the committee failed to comply with House rules. California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa has even threatened censure against the members who served on the committee.
In response, former chairman Thompson has essentially shrugged off the criticism, claiming they didn't need to archive the temporary records—a convenient explanation, perhaps, but one that doesn't sit well with those seeking transparency.
Loudermilk's ongoing investigation is pulling back the curtain on a series of blunders, omissions, and potentially deliberate actions that don't quite add up. This story is far from over, with requests made to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security for documents.
The January 6 committee was more about theatrics and political blame than a true pursuit of understanding the events of that day. We cannot be surprised, considering James Goldston, former president, and longtime producer at ABC News, was hired to produce the televised January 6 hearings.
If we're to learn from the past, we need honesty, not a scripted narrative.
News of the Week
Rep. James Comer, the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has made it known that they're gearing up to subpoena members of the Biden family in connection with an investigation into financial dealings. Some may be thinking what is taking so long, let’s do this already. Comer says to be patient. They are carefully building a case and planning to speak with a few more people.
The committee has already had some interviews with associates, like Devon Archer, a former business partner of the Bidens, and whistleblowers. Details shared in these interviews point to foreign connections and potential influence trading.
It's not been a smooth process for Comer and his team. They've faced some roadblocks, with allegations of obstruction by various agencies, like the DOJ and FBI. There's even talk about difficulty getting bank records and some hidden documents related to a bribery scandal. The Department of Justice has been accused of interference, while IRS whistleblowers have also made claims about terminated investigations.
“This is a complicated case, and we’re being obstructed every step of the way by the Department of Justice, by the FBI, by the Secret Service, by the IRS, and by the Biden family attorneys,” -Rep. James Comer
Comer is a bit frustrated with the media's lack of questioning on this matter. He's concerned that the public isn't being kept in the loop. The committee has released some bank records to back up their claims outlining more than $20 million in payments to firms connected with the Biden family from foreign nationals from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. More are expected to be unveiled regularly. Comer has expressed confidence that the investigation will ultimately be successful and lead to changes that prevent similar situations in the future.
This whole issue marks a growing political conflict, and it's a complex web of potential corruption and misconduct within the government. We'll likely hear more about this in the coming weeks, with an IRS investigation also in the mix.
Unsurprisingly, the White House is not pleased. They're calling it a baseless impeachment stunt and accuse Republicans of playing partisan games.
US District Judge Tanya Chutkan plans to slap a protective order on the evidence in the Donald Trump 2020 election interference case, arguing that it's necessary to shield witnesses and prevent meddling with the trial.
Here's the kicker: she boldly said that Trump's right to free speech is “not absolute,” telling Trump that his free speech rights might have to be curtailed for "the administration of justice," the judge said. “And if that means he can’t say exactly what he wants to say in a political speech, that is just how it’s going to have to be.”
Um, what? – since when is free speech not absolute?
“Mr. Trump, like every American, has a First Amendment right to free speech, but that right is not absolute. In a criminal case such as this one, the defendant’s free speech is subject to the rules,” Chutkan said.
The defense team tried to make a stand, emphasizing "fair use of information." But the judge seems determined to have the final word, even if it means potentially putting a muzzle on Trump.
The protective order itself might be a standard practice, but restricting free speech in a political context? That's a path we should tread very carefully.
The question we should all be asking is, where do we draw the line between protecting the integrity of a trial and infringing on our basic constitutional rights? It's a slippery slope, and it seems like this case might be taking us in a troubling direction. Stay tuned for more updates; this one's far from over.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who President Barack Obama appointed, has earned a reputation for her firm stance on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot cases, often issuing sentences more severe than what federal prosecutors have recommended. She believes that rigorous punishment is essential to dissuade potential future “anti-democratic” actions. In addition to her tough sentencing, Judge Chutkan served for 11 years in the public defender's office. She transitioned to Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, a law firm with known Democrat leanings where Hunter Biden was formerly employed. There, she focused on litigation and white-collar criminal defense. It’s going to be interesting to see how her history and judicial philosophy will influence how she manages the case.
Why's all this happening in the first place? The prosecutors are worried that Trump might go online, maybe even on his Truth Social platform, and share sensitive information. They even pointed to a post where Trump said, "If you go after me, I'm coming after you!" as a reason for their concern. Trump's spokesperson said that the post was just a response to "dishonest special interest groups."
In other news, Trump's attorney John Lauro made it crystal clear that Trump's not even thinking about a plea deal for the Jan. 6 federal case. He's talking about motions to dismiss and fighting on First Amendment grounds. And he's even floating the idea of moving the trial to West Virginia for a more unbiased location.
Trump's got a heavy legal plate right now with four federal charges against him, everything from conspiracy to defraud the U.S. to obstruction of an official proceeding. He's pleading not guilty across the board.
Wildfires have wreaked havoc in Hawaii, particularly in the historic town of Lahaina on Maui. The situation has become dire, with at least 55 lives lost, 1,000 people still missing, and mass evacuations taking place. The U.S. Coast Guard even had to rescue people who sought refuge in Lahaina harbor.
In addition to the tragic loss of lives, at least 1,000 buildings were destroyed, according to Gov. Josh Green. About 12,400 homes and businesses remain without electricity in West Maui, and the fires might also impact corals in nearby ocean waters.
While the exact cause of the blaze remains unclear, the dry conditions, low humidity, and strong winds created a perfect storm for wildfires. Hurricane Dora, a Category 4 storm, contributed heavily to the wind gusts, escalating the situation further.
Local authorities are working tirelessly to contain the fire, with emergency proclamations and the National Guard's deployment in place. The community's resilience is being tested, with business owners, residents, and emergency services all grappling with the devastating impact. My thoughts and prayers are with those affected in Hawaii.
If you wish to make donations to help those in need, consider donating to the Maui Community Foundation.
Ohio voters spoke up on Tuesday, and Issue 1 was turned down. What's the big deal about Issue 1? The GOP-backed measure aimed to increase the threshold for passing constitutional amendments from a simple majority to 60%.
The lead-up to the vote was pretty intense, with early voting numbers soaring over 575,000. And on voting day, even some hiccups with new machinery at Akron's polling stations couldn't halt the process.
But let's clear something up: despite the buzz, Issue 1 wasn't just about abortion rights. According to GOP lawmakers, the core goal was to protect Ohio's Constitution from outside influences. By raising the bar for passing amendments, supporters argued that the state's foundational laws would be better safeguarded.
Some saw it differently, arguing that the changes were a sly move to restrict abortion access in the state. But looking beyond the heated debates and double-digit defeat, the essence of Issue 1 was about reinforcing the integrity of the state's constitutional processes.
Ready for the clash of tech titans? It's official: Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are going to duke it out in the ring, and it's all happening in Rome, Italy. (This timeline keeps getting crazier!)
Musk dropped some teaser deets about the upcoming billionaire rumble, and this is no ordinary fight. They've picked an "epic" location, and everything in the camera frame will be ancient Rome – nothing modern at all. Talk about a production!
All proceeds from the event are going to veterans, and Musk assures us that everything done will pay respect to Italy's past and present. *In my gladiator's voice* “Are you not entertained?”
But we are going to have to be patient because a recent MRI revealed a problem with Musk’s right shoulder blade, so there's going to be some recovery time after surgery. A few months, he says.
Why do these tech moguls want to fight, you ask? Musk put it simply: "It's a civilized form of war. Men love war." I guess when you've conquered the world of social media and space travel, a good old-fashioned fistfight is the next logical step?
The idea started as a playful "cage match" challenge and has now turned into an actual event, complete with training sessions with world-class fighters and ancient Rome! Musk's even lifting weights at work to prep for the battle.
So grab your popcorn and get ready to livestream this once-in-a-lifetime showdown between two of the biggest names in tech. It's going to be epic, or at least that's what we're promised. Only time will tell if the fight lives up to the hype. This is crazy!
→ Fox News to host the first GOP Presidential Debate on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Fox Business to host second Republican presidential debate on Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The indie platform Rumble has exclusive live-streaming rights to the RNC debates.
→ Two U.S. Navy sailors, Jinchao "Patrick" Wei and Wenheng "Thomas" Zhao, have been arrested for allegedly leaking sensitive military information to China. The incidents highlight ongoing concerns about China's efforts to obtain U.S. military secrets, underlining the escalating tension between the two nations.
→ Protesters attacked Riley Gaines and other female athletes during the signing of a Texas bill that bans trans athletes from women’s college sports. Gaines and others were spit on by protesters who were chanting, “trans lives matter.”