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Rep. Swalwell compares Pres. Trump to Osama bin Laden

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In the lead-up to Wednesday’s impeachment vote against President Donald Trump in the House, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who has been appointed as one of the impeachment managers, compared the President to Osama bin Laden.

“Well, Osama Bin Laden did not enter U.S. soil on September 11, but it was widely acknowledged that he was responsible for inspiring the attack on our country and the president, with his words, using the word ‘fight’ with the speakers he assembled that day, who called for ‘trial by combat’ and said we have to ‘take names and kick ass,'” Swalwell said in an interview with PBS NewsHour when asked about claims Trump incited last week’s deadly Capitol riot.

“That is hate speech that inspired and radicalized people to storm the Capitol,” he added.

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Here, the California Democrat is referring to comments made by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) respectively at the “Stop The Steal” rally in front of the White House, which Trump also spoke at, before rioters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Trump and the others have defended their remarks at the rally as peaceful.

Swalwell continued, saying: “And when you read the indictments from the U.S. Attorney’s office of people who’ve been arrested, in their FBI interviews they cite that they were called there by the president. They were in the Capitol because the president told them to do so.”

The anchor then asked Swalwell to clarify if he was comparing the President to bin Laden, to which he did not offer a direct response.

“I’m comparing the words of a individual who would incite and radicalize somebody as Osama Bin Laden did to what President Trump did. You don’t actually have to commit the violence yourself but if you call others to violence that itself is a crime,” he said.

The single article of impeachment being voted on sometime Wednesday accuses the president of “incitement of insurrection”—falling under “high crimes and misdemeanors”—for the deadly pro-Trump riot that consumed the grounds and halls of the U.S. Capitol one week ago, on the day Congress was set to certify the states’ Electoral College votes and President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.

At least 215 House Democrats are joined by a growing list of their Republicans counterparts, notably including the No. 3 House Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.). Trump would be the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Is the FBI ‘purging’ agents with Conservative views?

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On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan formally requested that the Justice Department’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, open an investigation into the FBI’s alleged use of political litmus tests to sideline or remove agents and employees with conservative viewpoints. This request also included a direct warning to FBI Director Christopher Wray about these practices.

Jordan’s action follows a report by Just the News detailing how an FBI security clearance review involved inquiries about an employee’s political beliefs. Specifically, the review asked whether the employee had expressed support for former President Donald Trump, attended a Second Amendment rally, or voiced skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines.

In a letter to Director Wray, Jordan expressed wrote, “The FBI appears to be purging itself of employees who do not share its preferred political views.” He emphasized the troubling nature of these practices, especially when they impinge on fundamental liberties and constitutional rights.

Speaking on the “John Solomon Reports” podcast, Jordan highlighted the severity of the situation: “Particularly when they’re asking about fundamental liberties, your constitutional rights, I mean, that is that is frightening stuff.” He further noted the retaliatory actions taken against whistleblowers who bring such issues to light, adding, “You put all that together, and you talk about politics driving what happens there.”

Jordan’s inquiry into the political weaponization of law enforcement has been ongoing, with a particular focus on the FBI’s conduct. In his communication with Inspector General Horowitz, Jordan underscored that the targeting of an employee’s political beliefs and First Amendment activities was deeply concerning and seemingly unrelated to legitimate security risk assessments. “These actions only serve to further erode the dwindling public trust in the FBI and reinforce the Committee and Select Subcommittee’s concerns about political bias within the FBI,” he wrote.

Jordan also referenced evidence uncovered by Judicial Watch, which suggested political retaliation against FBI whistleblowers aiding Congress. He pointed out that an FBI official allegedly disclosed nonpublic information about these whistleblowers to a Democrat member of the Select Subcommittee, ostensibly to discredit their testimonies about FBI misconduct. “It appears from the documents that the FBI sought to selectively disclose this nonpublic information so that it would be used to impugn the credibility of the whistleblowers,” Jordan stated.

In his separate letter to Wray, Jordan questioned the relevance of political viewpoints to security clearance determinations. He argued that while assessing the legality of employees’ actions is legitimate, questions about political beliefs are “completely irrelevant to any legitimate security risk determination” and infringe upon First Amendment rights.

Following the release of internal FBI memos showing that bureau officials had inquired about an employee’s support for Trump, stance on COVID-19 vaccines, and participation in a Second Amendment rally, concerns about political bias have intensified. These memos indicated that the employee’s security clearance was revoked months after confirming his conservative views and vaccine skepticism.

Tristan Leavitt, the lawyer representing the affected FBI employee, commended the congressional oversight, stating, “It’s good to see Congress holding the FBI’s feet to the fire.” He emphasized the need for a thorough investigation into how these questions were used to justify purging conservative employees from the FBI.

 Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton echoed this sentiment on the “Just the News, No Noise” TV show, predicting that the FBI would attempt to deflect criticism despite clear evidence of misconduct. “I’m sure we’ll get some distraction and noise from Chris Wray and a reaffirmation that the FBI never does anything wrong, even when it’s caught red-handed,” Fitton remarked.

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