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Headline USA Los Angeles

FBI Investigates Los Angeles Baptist Church Explosion Accused of Hate Speech | The State

The gay community has been attacked by the church located in El Monte.

Photo:
David McNew / Getty Images

Authorities are investigating an act of vandalism, in addition to a explosion that occurred this Saturday in a controversial church in El Monte, a city east of Los Angeles.

“The FBI went to the police after an IED attack [un dispositivo de explosión improvisado] placed in First Works Baptist church, ”said Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles.

She said that at the beginning of the investigation the agents were processing the scene and that although the device caused damage to the site, no injuries were reported.

For its part, a group planning a protest against the ideological positions of the First Works Baptist Church released a statement condemning the attack.

“We are surprised by what happened… Our movement intends to shed light and warn about the hateful rhetoric taught by this group [la iglesia]”, indicated in his Instagram account “Keep El Monte Friendly” (Keep El Monte friendly).

“We understand that what they preach can make many people angry. However, we will never promote or motivate violence or acts that may hurt others, ”the message was added.

The movement chose to cancel its demonstration agreed for this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. “We want everyone to stay away from the scene and let the authorities continue investigating,” they said.

El Monte police officers heard an explosion and decided to call the Sheriff and the FBI, after learning of the incident.

After that, firefighters and paramedics came at 1:13 a.m. to the site, located on Tyler Avenue, after receiving reports of smoke coming out of the building.

“When we arrived we saw that apparently the walls of the church had been vandalized [con grafitti] and that the windows were blown out by the explosion, ”Lt. Christopher Cano said.

Why the protests?

The church, led by Pastor Bruce Mejía, has been the focus of protests by the community in recent weeks after some people believe that a speech against the LGBTQ community is being promoted in the place.

Mejía has mentioned this doctrine since the church opened three years ago, where it condemns same-sex relationships, SoCalNews said.

“Violence is never an answer, even when [de por medio] there is a hate speech ”, Los Angeles supervisor Hilda Solís wrote on her Twitter.

“Although we do not yet know the real reason, I am aware of the anti-LGBTQ and misogynistic sermons given by the pastor of First Works Baptist Church… My office has already made these concerns known to the county Human Rights Commission, that has been in contact with the city of El Monte to alleviate the tension in this situation ”.

If you have information on the case, call the LA FBI at 1 (310) 477-6565 or visit the website: fbi.tips.gov.

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Entertainment USA Headline USA New York Politics

Two New York-area pickup artists are arrested for participating in Capitol riots

Two New York-area pickup artists and self-styled dating gurus were arrested this week for their participation in the deadly January 6 Capitol insurrection.

Samuel Fisher, 35, was detained by police in Manhattan on Wednesday, accused of traveling to Washington DC with a car full of weapons. 

On Facebook, the Manhattan-based businessman posted in the aftermath of the riot: ‘People died but it was f****** great if you ask me.’

Patrick Stedman, 32, was arrested on Thursday by New Jersey officers. The ‘dating and relationship strategy’ expert, who lives at home with his parents in Haddonfield, NJ, offers ‘daily emails on sex and female psychology’.

Stedman barged his way into the Capitol and made it as far as Nancy Pelosi’s office, where he sat at her desk. He wrote on Twitter: ‘I was pretty much in the first wave, and we broke down the doors and climbed up the back part of the Capitol building and got all the way into the chambers.’

The pair are among 120 people federally charged over the riots, in which five people died. Among them are military veterans, bartenders and social workers from coast to coast.

Samuel Fisher among a sea of Trump supporters on the day of Capitol riot on January 6 – in a photo which the FBI says is evidence that he was illegally in a restricted area 

Patrick Stedman, a 32-year-old 'dating guru' from New Jersey, was arrested on Thursday

Patrick Stedman, a 32-year-old ‘dating guru’ from New Jersey, was arrested on Thursday

Stedman and Fishers’ careers are among the more unusual, however. 

Fisher, under the alias Brad Holiday, runs a YouTube channel entitled: ‘Helping men get high value girls’, and a website, LuxLifeDating.

‘We help men learn to pick up girls,’ the website – which appears to be blocked – states. 

‘Are you a man struggling to pick up women? My name is Brad Holiday and me and Jason James help men get high value girls using my predictable pick-up system. If you’re interested in getting more girls with predictability click the button below to learn more.’ 

Fisher, under the alias Brad Holiday, offered advice for men 'struggling to pick up women'

Fisher, under the alias Brad Holiday, offered advice for men ‘struggling to pick up women’

In one video, he notes the ‘healthy relationship’ between Donald and Melania Trump, and approvingly says that they met when Trump — ‘such a boss,’ he remarks — ditched a date and ‘cold approached’ her. 

Fisher was cornered by armed agents and handcuffed on a Manhattan sidewalk two weeks after the riot.

He was remanded in custody after a bail hearing on Wednesday where prosecutors said firearms, ammunition and a bulletproof vest were found at the home where he was arrested.  

Fisher is accused of unlawful entry to the Capitol grounds and disorderly conduct once he got there, but his lawyer says there is no evidence he was ever actually inside the Capitol. 

Fisher allegedly posted this image of a stash of weapons that he had with him in Washington before the Capitol riot. The FBI affidavit did not say whether he took them to the Capitol

Fisher allegedly posted this image of a stash of weapons that he had with him in Washington before the Capitol riot. The FBI affidavit did not say whether he took them to the Capitol 

Footage taken from a Manhattan window, published by the New York Post, showed the moment that Fisher was surrounded on Wednesday. 

‘Don’t move, put your hands out,’ one of the agents shouts as Fisher lies on his stomach with a gun pointed directly at him. 

The footage filmed by a neighbor shows Fisher’s hands being cuffed behind his back before other federal agents appear in view. 

The arrest came hours before the Biden inauguration which the mob incited by Trump on January 6 had desperately tried to stop from taking place.

According to an affidavit by an FBI agent, Fisher had complained about supposed election fraud in online posts before the riot and said that ‘we must stand up to these people and take our world back… it’s time to bring the pain upon them’.  

Fisher allegedly posted this picture with the caption: 'Can’t wait to bring a liberal back to this freedom palace'

Fisher allegedly posted this picture with the caption: ‘Can’t wait to bring a liberal back to this freedom palace’

His other online comments allegedly included: ‘They can’t arrest us all man’… ‘gotta stand up’… ‘bring ur guns sr’… ‘I’d exercise my 2A [Second Amendment] legal rights there’.  

Hours before the riot, authorities say, Fisher said he was in DC and voiced fears that ‘it could be over’ if ‘millions of patriots don’t show up with guns’, adding that ‘the swamp and pedophiles in Hollywood are immortal’. 

On January 6, he allegedly posted a picture of a stash of firearms after leaving comments on Facebook including ‘gotta make a stand’ and ‘not gonna be intimidated’. 

He subsequently added that ‘if it kicks off I got a vest and my rifle’, according to the testimony by an FBI agent.

Under his pseudonym of Brad Holiday, he also posted a blog on January 6 warning that ‘we aren’t looking to fight or hurt anyone… but the odds that this is going to be solved any other way… is next to nothing’. 

In the blog post, he laid out three possibilities for what might happen:

– ‘Trump has an Ace card up his sleeve. He plays it. The Deep State is arrested and hanged on the White House lawn for the High Treason’

 – ‘Trump fails, Biden gets installed… Patriots are ineffective and we live under the rule of the elite pedophiles and Chinese communist party’

– ‘Trump fails, Biden gets installed… Patriots show up in the millions with guns. They execute all treasonous members of government and rebuild’. 

Once the chaos began, Fisher posted a picture of himself among a sea of Trump supporters in what authorities say was a restricted area. 

The FBI agent said it was ‘evident’ that Fisher had entered the Capitol grounds ‘with intent to impede, disrupt, and disturb the orderly conduct of the certification proceedings underway inside the Capitol’. 

Trump supporters march through the Capitol Rotunda during the January 6 invasion of Congress. Fisher's lawyer says there is no evidence he made it inside the Capitol

Trump supporters march through the Capitol Rotunda during the January 6 invasion of Congress. Fisher’s lawyer says there is no evidence he made it inside the Capitol  

After an informant tipped off the FBI, investigators found Fisher’s alleged posts including one after the event where he apparently wrote that ‘seeing cops literally run… was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life’. 

‘People died . . . but it was f***ing great if you ask me . . . i got tear gassed and pepper sprayed,’ he allegedly wrote. 

Prosecutors said at the bail hearing that Fisher was a danger to the community, saying he had stashed his firearms in a vehicle he took to Washington. 

Stedman’s dating coach business is registered as The Dynamic Man LLC, according to Mel Magazine, and his blog has posts titled ‘How to Host a Party,’ ‘The Four Types of Friends You’ll Make in Your Life’ and ‘Why Every Man Should Go Hunting.’

Stedman has been charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building

Stedman has been charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building

The 32-year-old from New Jersey broke into Nancy Pelosi's office and sat at her desk

The 32-year-old from New Jersey broke into Nancy Pelosi’s office and sat at her desk

In September 2015 he wrote a post entitled: ‘3 Reasons Donald Trump Gets Hot Chicks’.

‘Trump has been incredibly successful throughout his life – both in real estate, show business, as well as in romance, having dated some of the most attractive and impressive girls in the world,’ Stedman wrote.

‘Trump = Controversy,’ he said, admiringly. ‘Edginess. But more than all of that: Defiance. Defiance of social norms. Defiance of expected behavior. Defiance of appropriate reactions.

‘Defiance of anything whatsoever that tries to suppress you.’

In recent months, Stedman fell down the rabbit hole of QAnon-style theories, posting a video about ‘COVID and the deep state’.

In one post he wrote: ‘You don’t have a problem with Trump, you have a problem with masculine energy.’ 

In the midst of the riots he retweeted a post saying ‘the Sleeping Giant is awake now’.

‘It’s not going to be a smooth ride as it clashes with the powers that be.’ 

On Friday he posted: ‘I appreciate all the kind words. I am doing well. Feeling positive, confident, and at peace. We will all get through this. Hold the light :)’ 

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Headline USA New York

Facebook Provides Messenger Messages To FBI To Stop Capitol Raiders | The State

Federal authorities have examined several Facebook chats suspected of participating in the insurrection on Capitol Hill.

Photo:
ALASTAIR PIKE / AFP / Getty Images

The social network Facebook cooperates with federal authorities in the United States with the provision of private messages from users on the platform in which reference is made to the assault on January 6 on the federal Capitol.

A Forbes report this week indicates that, after pressure from legislators, the administrators of the platform have begun to expose the data of users shared by Messenger that made reference to the insurrection in the federal Congress in order to locate more participants of the riots.

The report notes that numerous groups and Facebook accounts, both public and private, helped organize the assault.

78% of complaints refer to social networks

Of the 92 criminal complaints filed to date by the Department of Justice related to the riot, 78% refer to social networks such as Facebook, according to Forbes which cites an analysis of George Washington University. Of those cases, 38% included posts from a person who was later charged.

The outlet specifically cites a criminal complaint filed Wednesday to explain how Facebook is assisting with the investigations.

The case corresponds to Christopher M. Kelly, a resident of NY wanted by federal authorities after he posted photos of himself during the Capitol storming on social media. Police received a tip about Kelly’s images and obtained a search warrant against the suspect’s Facebook account.

Various chats held by the FBI

Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) they reviewed the messages in the man’s “inbox” with other network users, along with his IP address, phone number and Gmail address. When a contact told him to stay safe and watch out for Antifa, a far-left organization with an anarchist lean, Kelly replied: “I’ll be with the ex-New York cop and some Proud Boys (far-right organization). This will be the most historic event of my life ”.

The federal investigation revealed that the retired police officer would be Kelly’s brother and that Kelly had planned to go to the Capitol with him.

In another chat dated Jan.9 that authorities examined, Kelly posted a photo of herself with an American flag in front of the Capitol. Kelly states in messages: “That’s me” and “my brother took it.”

The history of IP logs provided by Facebook was key in that investigation, as it revealed the locations of the IP addresses, which indicated that on January 6, the day of the assault, Kelly traveled from NY to Silver Spring, Maryland, near Washington. DC.

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Headline USA Politics

‘Straight Pride’ parade organizers and bat-wielding man arrested for taking part in Capitol riot

Two members of an organization that put together the Straight Pride parade in Boston two years ago and another man who assaulted cops with a baseball bat during the MAGA riot at the United States Capitol on January 6 have been charged. 

Suzanne Ianni, a 59-year-old Natick, Massachusetts, town meeting member, and Mark Sahady, 46, of Malden, Massachusetts, were arrested by federal agents at their homes on Tuesday, the FBI said. 

The two were photographed on buses that were organized to take Trump supporters to Washington ahead of the siege at the Capitol, authorities said.

They are charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, authorities said. 

Mark Sahady, 46, of Malden, Massachusetts

Suzanne Ianni (left), a 59-year-old Natick, Massachusetts, town meeting member, and Mark Sahady (right), 46, of Malden, Massachusetts, were arrested by federal agents at their homes on Tuesday, the FBI said

Ianni (raising her right fist) and Sahady (wearing the baseball cap) are seen bottom right next to each other inside the United States Capitol during the MAGA riot on January 6

Ianni (raising her right fist) and Sahady (wearing the baseball cap) are seen bottom right next to each other inside the United States Capitol during the MAGA riot on January 6

Federal authorities said that Emanuel Jackson (pictured) turned himself in to police in Washington, DC. Jackson is alleged to have assaulted officers with a metal baseball bat

Federal authorities said that Emanuel Jackson (pictured) turned himself in to police in Washington, DC. Jackson is alleged to have assaulted officers with a metal baseball bat

Authorities said Ianni is involved with Super Happy Fun America, a group that organized a ‘straight pride’ parade in Boston in 2019 that was meant to be a counterpoint to gay pride parades. 

She worked with the group to organize buses to take people to Washington ahead of the rally and riot on January 6, authorities said. 

Sahady is the group’s vice president, authorities said in court documents.

Both of them were identified in a picture of a group of people that Super Happy Fun America posted on Twitter with the caption: ‘Bus 1 of 11 coming to Washington DC See you there!’ authorities said. 

According to investigators, Sahady went by the Twitter name ‘Mark Shady.’

Ianni and Sahady are seen bottom left on the bus taking a group of Trump supporters to Washington, DC, on the day before the riot

Ianni and Sahady are seen bottom left on the bus taking a group of Trump supporters to Washington, DC, on the day before the riot

Sahady and Ianni are seen above walking toward the Capitol after the rally in which President Trump spoke on January 6

Sahady and Ianni are seen above walking toward the Capitol after the rally in which President Trump spoke on January 6

Federal authorities said that Sahady posted plans on Twitter to have busloads of Trump supporters travel to DC on January 6

Federal authorities said that Sahady posted plans on Twitter to have busloads of Trump supporters travel to DC on January 6

Sahady is the vice president of Super Happy Fun America, the 'straight pride' group that organized a controversial parade in Boston in August 2019. Counter-protesters scream at police as they escort the 'Straight Pride' participants

Sahady is the vice president of Super Happy Fun America, the ‘straight pride’ group that organized a controversial parade in Boston in August 2019. Counter-protesters scream at police as they escort the ‘Straight Pride’ participants

An account with that name includes several Election Day posts which read: ‘…Let’s plan for a large rally at the inauguration. If Trump wins, we will be there to support him. If Biden wins, we will be there to oppose him and send a message to that tyranny with be resisted.’ 

They were also photographed together inside the Capitol, authorities said.

An email seeking comment was sent to Ianni’s lawyer. An attorney for Sahady declined to comment.

The Super Happy Fun America web site says that it is geared toward the ‘straight community.’ Its motto is ‘It’s Great to be Straight.’ 

In August 2019, hundreds took part in the ‘Straight Pride’ parade in Boston – only to be outnumbered by counter-protesters. 

The organizers of the parade sparked widespread outrage and claims of homophobia with ties to white supremacist groups. 

Sahady was once part of Resist Marxism, a conservative group founded by the infamous New Zealand activist Kyle Chapman in 2017.  

Meanwhile, authorities said that Emanuel Jackson, who is alleged to have been caught on camera assaulting a police officer with a baseball bat during the riot, turned himself into police on Monday. 

According to federal investigators, Jackson punched one police officer and swung at others with a baseball bat while MAGA supporters stormed the Capitol building. 

He surrendered to the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department on Monday, according to investigators.

Jackson is said to have identified himself in images taken from the riots while confessing to assaulting officers, according to the federal complaint.

In photos attached to the charge sheet, a man that authorities say is Jackson is seen wearing a dark-colored hooded sweater, a tan backpack, and a blue face mask. 

In the above image released by the FBI, Jackson is seen holding a metal baseball bat

In the above image released by the FBI, Jackson is seen holding a metal baseball bat

The image above shows Jackson allegedly wielding the bat during the MAGA riot

The image above shows Jackson allegedly wielding the bat during the MAGA riot

Authorities said that Jackson identified himself in surveillance footage

Authorities said that Jackson identified himself in surveillance footage

Jackson is alleged to have punched at least one officer and swung the bat at several others, according to the charge sheet

Jackson is alleged to have punched at least one officer and swung the bat at several others, according to the charge sheet

At around 2pm, the MAGA mob started going up the staircase toward the US Capitol’s Senate Wing entrance at around 2pm on January 6. 

Surveillance footage from that time is alleged to show Jackson ‘making a fist and repeatedly striking a US Capitol Police officer … while attempting to forcefully enter the building.’

The federal government alleges that Jackson was also among the first rioters to enter the Capitol building just after 2:45pm.

Just before 5pm, as the crowd was in a standoff with police near the Capitol Building’s West Terrance, Jackson was said to have been armed with a metal baseball bat.

‘The defendant is observed repeatedly striking a group of both US Capitol and Metropolitan Police Department uniformed officers with the baseball bat,’ according to federal investigators. 

Jackson was charged on Monday with assaulting an officer of the United States; assaulting an officer of the US with a deadly or dangerous weapon; obstruction of an official proceeding; unlawful entry and physical violence on restricted building or grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

More than 50 law enforcement officials were injured during the rioting. One of them, Brian Sicknick of the US Capitol Police, died of his injuries. 

As of Tuesday evening, a total of 99 people have been charged in connection with the riots at the US Capitol. 

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Headline USA New York Politics

FBI Arrested New York City Youth For Instagramming During Capitol Riots; his mother defends him | The State

Extreme security after the assault on Congress

Photo:
Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

Nicolás Moncada, a young resident of Staten Island (NYC), was arrested yesterday by the FBI for allegedly broadcasting live his participation in the Capitol riots on January 6 to stop the presidential proclamation of Joe Biden.

further Thomas Fee (53), former FDNY firefighter residing in Freeport (Long Island) would also be under investigation by federal authorities after sending a text message to an acquaintance with a photo of himself surrounded by rioters inside the Capitol Rotunda. Until last night Fee had not been arrested, he stressed ABC News.

Last week the FBI had already arrested in New York at least two followers of President Donald Trump linked to the attacks in Congress that left five people dead, and another for making extremist threats from his home in Queens.

Moncada, 20, was arrested yesterday at his home on Taunton Street, and federal agents remained at the scene. “He is now in custody for his role in robbing the US Capitol while our representatives were inside fulfilling their constitutional duties,” the agency reported yesterday. On twitter.

The feds were able to locate Moncada because he broadcast the January 6 assault on the Capitol building live on Instagramsaid a police source New York Post. He is due to appear in federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday, the source said.

His mother, Joan Moncada, He told the press yesterday that his son was not causing a disturbance and just wanted to see what was happening inside the Capitol. “It bothers me that everyone is jumping to conclusions (…) He’s a good boy. Simply I don’t want to see their future ruined because he wanted to see what was happening ”.

According to federal court records, Moncada’s classmates at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) gave him away after recognizing him from photos and videos during the siege of Congress.

In an email yesterday the school said that Moncada studied illustration there, but has not signed up as a student since May.

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Wife of FBI Detainee in New York Accuses Trump of His Extremist Ideas to Attack the Capitol | The State

Radical violence on January 6 in DC

Photo:
Samuel Corum / Getty Images

“Donald Trump is a cult leader, and their legacy will be the Capitol riots, (the group) Proud Boys and (the platform) Parler ”, Joni Florea told Pix11 in his first television interview.

The wife of Eduard Florea, a computer engineer arrested by the FBI Tuesday in Queens (NYC), ensures that he was “Radicalized” by the words of the controversial president Trump.

Florea, a supporter of the far-right group “Proud Boys” that threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” in Washington DC last week, was charged Wednesday with storing military-style combat knives and over a thousand rifle cartridges in your home in Queens, federal authorities said.

Although he did not participate in the January 6 attacks, prosecutors claimed that the engineer promised to travel to the nation’s capital and cut “a throat” in the mutiny led by supporters of the president. In another post attributed to Florea threatened the life of newly elected African-American senator Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia), authorities said.

He was allegedly using the Parler platform to chat with other far-right Trump supporters. And he was a member of “Proud Boys”, an organization that firmly supports the president’s belief that electoral fraud led to Joe biden for president.

FBI agents had just finished questioning Joni Florea at her Middle Village home yesterday when she gave the interview, while her 8-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son watched television in the living room.

The woman said that They briefly handcuffed her Tuesday after officers called her spouse out of the house. He added that he has endured a lot in his marriage in recent years.

She is a survivor of domestic violence who stayed with her husband even after her 2014 Staten Island gun arrest. Now she does plan to get divorced.

She admits that she also supported Trump: “I thought it was something my husband and I could get along with. I thought he was fighting for the United States. ” She was convinced that “if we did not vote for him, we would fall into a kind of communist regime.”

But his home life became more difficult as the radical government advanced. “Life was no longer pleasant, because my husband became someone else”, he claimed. “It’s like I don’t have a voice.”

You feel that you are not alone in that situation. “I think there are many other women like me. It is the unspoken truth ”.

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Headline USA Politics

Lindsey Graham releases transcripts from Senate review of Crossfire Hurricane

Senator Lindsey Graham has released interview transcripts from his inquiry into the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe, claiming they show the ‘gross incompetence’ and corruption behind the effort.

Graham, a South Carolina Republican and chair of the Judiciary Committee, on Thursday released hundreds of pages of transcripts from the committee’s inquiry into the origins and aftermath of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, as the FBI probe was code-named.

‘I believe that Crossfire Hurricane was one of the most incompetent and corrupt investigations in the history of the FBI and DOJ,’ said Graham in a statement.

The transcripts cover the contents of 11 closed-door Judiciary hearings conducted from March to October of 2020, including interviews with former top DOJ official Bruce Ohr and former Acting Attorney General Dana J. Boente.

Senator Lindsey Graham has released interview transcripts from his investigation into the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe, claiming they show the ‘gross incompetence’ in the investigation

Graham harshly criticized former FBI Director Jim Comey (above) and his top lieutenant, Andrew McCabe

Graham harshly criticized former FBI Director Jim Comey (above) and his top lieutenant, Andrew McCabe

Crossfire Hurricane was the FBI’s investigation into allegations that Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the election. The probe was later turned over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose report ultimately found no proof of such a conspiracy.

Among the revelations in the released transcripts, an unnamed FBI agent who was British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s primary contact and handler admitted that it was immediately apparent that Steele’s ‘dirty dossier’ was ‘political.’

‘I mean, it was obvious,’ the FBI agent said when asked if the dossier was political in nature. 

The agent said that he did not initially know which political party had funded the dossier, which was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

‘It was completely obvious to all of us, whoever was involved in these conversations, what the purpose was of the information was — to be used by one political party or another,’ the agent said.

The dossier contained salacious allegations, including that Russia had compromising videos of Trump, but that and other claims were never verified.

An unnamed FBI agent who was British ex-spy Christopher Steele's (above) handler admitted that it was immediately apparent that Steele's 'dirty dossier' was 'political.'

An unnamed FBI agent who was British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s (above) handler admitted that it was immediately apparent that Steele’s ‘dirty dossier’ was ‘political.’

'I mean, it was obvious,' the FBI agent said when asked if the dossier was political in nature

‘I mean, it was obvious,’ the FBI agent said when asked if the dossier was political in nature

Nevertheless, Steele’s dossier became part of the evidence used to obtain a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page from a secretive special court through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Page was never charged with a crime.

‘The FISA warrant applications against Carter Page were a travesty, and those who signed them have acknowledged that if they knew then what they know now, they would not have signed it,’ Graham said on Thursday. 

Another released interview, with an individual identified as ‘Supervisory Special Agent 1’, reveals that the SSA had requested a ‘validation review’ of Steele’s subsources, and quit Crossfire Hurricane after the request was denied.

The SSA said he was aware that Steele ‘had a sub source network that provided him the reporting,’ and became aware that he ‘was collecting this information for an entity that was conducting opposition research.’

The SSA said he requested an outside review of Steele’s primary subsource, but that the proposal was shot down by former FBI deputy assistant director of counterintelligence Peter Strzok and former assistant director of counterintelligence Bill Priestap, saying they feared leaks. 

The SSA was concerned enough by the decision to leave Crossfire Hurricane, he said. 

Former top DOJ official Bruce Ohr was among those interviewed by the Judiciary Committee

Former top DOJ official Bruce Ohr was among those interviewed by the Judiciary Committee

‘It is hard to believe that the senior officials at the FBI did not know that the Steele Dossier had been disavowed by the Russian subsource,’ Graham said. 

‘It is equally hard to believe that the warnings from the CIA and other agencies about the reliability of Christopher Steele and the dossier were not known to senior leadership.’ 

Graham harshly criticized former FBI Director Jim Comey and his top lieutenant, Andrew McCabe. 

‘The leadership of the FBI under Comey and McCabe was either grossly incompetent or they knowingly allowed tremendous misdeeds,’ Graham said.

‘There was a blind eye turned toward any explanation other than the Trump campaign was colluding with foreign powers. At every turn the FBI and DOJ ran stop signs that were in abundance regarding exculpatory information,’ he added.

‘There was no ‘there’ there. The investigation was pushed when it should have been stopped and the only logical explanation is that the investigators wanted an outcome because of their bias,’ Graham said.

A 2019 report from the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General did not find evidence of political bias in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, but did criticize ‘basic and fundamental’ errors and omissions in the FISA warrant applications to surveill Page.

U.S. Attorney John Durham has been appointed as a special counsel to pursue a separate investigation into whether Crossfire Hurricane had proper and legal origins.

The ongoing Durham investigation followed Trump´s repeated calls to ‘investigate the investigators.’  

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Headline USA Politics

Fired FBI director James Comey says Biden should consider pardoning Trump for the Capitol riot

Fired FBI director James Comey has said Joe Biden should consider pardoning Donald Trump for the Capitol riot even though the president ‘belongs in jail.’ 

Comey said he was ‘sickened’ by last week’s storming of the Capitol and ‘angered’ by the lax security which allowed the Trump mob to run amok, leaving five people dead.

He argued that impeaching Trump would be ‘good for our country’ and said that the ‘lawless nihilist’ should be ousted from the White House before Joe Biden’s inauguration. 

But he stopped short of calling for a prosecution for Trump, who has previously threatened Comey with ‘many years in jail’ over the Russia report.

‘I obviously think he belongs in jail but I don’t think pursuing that is in the best interest of the entire nation,’ Comey said.

The BBC’s Emily Maitlis asked whether Biden ought to pardon Trump in the same way that Gerald Ford did Richard Nixon after Watergate in 1974.

‘I don’t know, he should at least consider it,’ Comey said. ‘As part of healing the country and getting us to a place where we can focus on things that are going to matter over the next four years, I think Joe Biden is going to have to at least think about that.’ 

Comey said that, although 'Trump isn't a genius,' he would probably figure out that accepting a pardon would be an admission of guilt and choose to reject it

Fired FBI director James Comey last night said Donald Trump ‘should be in jail’ for the riot inside the Capitol but said that Joe Biden should consider pardoning him

Comey said that ousting Trump before Biden's inauguration was the right thing to do, but stopped short of calling for the president to be locked up (Trump pictured outside the White House in September, 2019)

Comey said that ousting Trump before Biden’s inauguration was the right thing to do, but stopped short of calling for the president to be locked up (Trump pictured outside the White House in September, 2019)

Comey, whose new book is out this week, said he believes that Trump ‘might figure out’ that by accepting a pardon he admits guilt and so he would probably reject it. 

After Ford pardoned Nixon, the predecessor made a statement of contrition. 

House Republicans have called Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment effort cynical, political and unnecessarily divisive.  

Comey said those who said such things were ‘not worthy of a response.’

Speaking of last Wednesday’s riot, which saw lawmakers barricaded inside their offices as gunfire sounded on the Hill, Comey called the mob ‘domestic terrorists.’

He said: ‘I was sickened as I hope not just all Americans but all human beings were by an attack on a symbol of democracy, the center of democracy for our country and a symbol for the whole world.

‘And I was also angered as a former law enforcement official. For the life of me I can’t understand why that hill was not adequately defended.

‘I think it’s going to be very important for our country to take a look back as we did after 9/11 and understand what happened and why, so it never happens again.’ 

The FBI has warned of further violence ahead of Biden’s inauguration on January 20, telling their staff to prepare for riots across all 50 states. 

Comey was asked whether the MAGA movement represented an extremist threat.

He replied: ‘There’s a reason the American people associate the red hats with something racist and and that they should be fearful of.

‘It’s probably an exaggeration because there’s so many millions of Americans who are not violent people they’re not racist people they’re just been people who’ve been fooled.’

Maitlis asked: ‘Would you see it as a domestic threat now?’

Comey answered: ‘Oh definitely – I’m not talking about the MAGA movement as a whole but significant aspects of – and you saw it live and on television at Capitol Hill – of those people who consider themselves devotees of Donald Trump are people that I would classify as domestic terrorists.’

Trump earlier this week declared a state of emergency in DC as the police briefed House Democrats on three plots to attack the Capitol – including one described as ‘the largest armed protest in American history.’

Thousands of National Guard troops have been drafted in to secure the Hill and the secret service has launched a massive operation to protect Biden’s inauguration ceremony. 

But Comey, who presided over the agency during two inaugurations, said he had the utmost confidence the ceremony would go ahead undisturbed.

‘This for American security services is the Super Bowl of security,’ he said.

‘We know how to secure to completely lock down a large piece of ground and I’m confident that will be done but at the same time I know the threat is real.’ 

The flash of a police munition lights up the steps of the Capitol during the invasion by a Trump-incited mob on Wednesday

The flash of a police munition lights up the steps of the Capitol during the invasion by a Trump-incited mob on Wednesday 

Members of Congress are seen running for cover as protesters attempted to enter the House Chamber

Members of Congress are seen running for cover as protesters attempted to enter the House Chamber

The protesters used flag poles and other objects to break doors and windows around the Capitol building

The protesters used flag poles and other objects to break doors and windows around the Capitol building  

Hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6 in a bid to block the certification of Joe Biden's victory

Hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6 in a bid to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory

He was pressed on this point and asked why it had been allowed to happen in the first place – the FBI must have been well aware that thousands of Trump supporters were heading to Washington DC.

But while Comey said he was unable to pass judgment on that, he said he believed that the current FBI director Christopher Wray may have deliberately kept a low profile over the last three years to avoid upsetting Trump.

Comey, whose firing led to the Mueller investigation, said: ‘I think the FBI director who followed me has been very careful to maintain a lower profile so that he doesn’t get fired by an erratic president and have the FBI decapitated at a critical time in our nation.

‘I bet he’s thinking that right now, this week it’s important not to let the Eye of Sauron fall on you and and have the FBI director fired.’

The Eye of Sauron refers to the evil all-seeing eye in the Lord of the Rings books by English author J.R.R. Tolkein. 

The former FBI chief said he hoped that Trump would be ignored by the Biden administration and the American people over the next four years.

‘The best decision for the United States of America will be not to grant Donald Trump the platform that prosecuting him would give him for every day for three or four years in the nation’s capital as United States versus Trump.

‘I think the better thing for our country and our new president is to push Donald Trump to the side a bit.

‘I’d rather the TV lights go out and he stand on the lawn at Mar-a-Lago shouting at cars in his bathrobe where none of us can hear that.’ 

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FBI busts Florida firefighter who was photographed in Capitol building while it was under siege 

Sanford firefighter and paramedic, Andrew Williams (pictured), was arrested by the FBI on Tuesday 

A Florida firefighter has been arrested by the FBI after he was spotted wearing a Trump hat inside the Capitol while it was under siege by MAGA supporters. 

Sanford firefighter and paramedic, Andrew Williams, was taken into custody on Tuesday, according to a statement from the fire department’s chief Crag Radzak. 

Following his arrest, Radzak said Williams was placed on administrative leave without pay pending the results of the criminal investigations.   

Radzak said the Sanford Fire Department was made aware of information regarding the possibility of a firefighter’s involvement in events that took place last week at the Capitol in Washington, DC.

‘Along with the information, a photograph was submitted that depicts a male, identified as Andrew Williams. The picture appears to show Williams inside the Capitol Building during the unlawful entry made by protesters,’ Radzak said in the statement. 

Williams has been charged with one count of unlawful entry of a restricted building and one count of disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

‘We hold the men and women in this department to the highest standards. It saddens me that the actions of one individual have tarnished the hard work and dedication that the rest of the department puts forth on a daily basis,’ Radzak said in the statement. 

Williams was arrested after he was identified in a photo that was sent anonymously to the WKMG news station. Williams is seen wearing a 'Trump 2020' hate while pointing to a placard with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi written on it

Williams was arrested after he was identified in a photo that was sent anonymously to the WKMG news station. Williams is seen wearing a ‘Trump 2020’ hate while pointing to a placard with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi written on it 

‘Our investigation will continue in conjunction with the current federal criminal investigation,’ Radzak said. 

‘As is policy with any type of policy violation, including a criminal violation, an internal administrative process must be followed in order to ensure a thorough investigation with a just conclusion. I ask for the public’s patience as we move through this process,’ he added. 

Williams was arrested after he was identified in a photo that was sent anonymously to the WKMG news station. 

In the image, Williams is seen wearing a Trump 2020 hat while pointing to a sign for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

During the riot, Pelosi’s office was vandalized and several rioters were seen taking pictures at her desk. According to WKMG, Williams appeared in court on Tuesday and a judge set his bond at $25,000. 

He was released from custody under the restrictions that he would need to surrender his passport and travel. Williams was also ordered to surrender any firearms in his possession and submit to mental health evaluations and drug tests.  

He appeared in court on Tuesday and a judge set his bond at $25,000. Now that he has been released from custody, he will need to surrender any firearms and his passport, restrict his travel and submit to mental health evaluations and drug tests. 

Williams could receive a fine or up to six months in prison if he’s convicted. 

And Williams isn't the only firefighter that was photographed at the Capitol last week. Federal agents are investigating claims that New York City firefighters participated in the Capitol siege

And Williams isn’t the only firefighter that was photographed at the Capitol last week. Federal agents are investigating claims that New York City firefighters participated in the Capitol siege

Several people have been charged in the incident. Among them are West Virginia delegate Derrick Evans, 35, Adam Johnson, 36, who was photographed carrying off Pelosi's podium, and Richard Barnett, 60, who was pictured with his feet on Pelosi's desk

Several people have been charged in the incident. Among them are West Virginia delegate Derrick Evans, 35, Adam Johnson, 36, who was photographed carrying off Pelosi’s podium, and Richard Barnett, 60, who was pictured with his feet on Pelosi’s desk

And Williams isn’t the only firefighter that was photographed at the Capitol last week. 

Federal agents are investigating claims that New York City firefighters participated in the Capitol siege.

One rioter was spotted wearing an FDNY jacket – which read FDNY Squad 252 -outside the Capitol. Squad 252 is based out of Brooklyn. The firefighter has not been named but is said to be retired. 

FDNY told  New York Daily News that they had received anonymous tips offs about at least one current New York firefighter who was not wearing his uniform during the siege but was recognized from the footage. 

FDNY spokesperson Frank Dwyer told the newspaper that ‘The department received anonymous allegations that active or retired members were present at the events at the United States Capitol on January 6 and, as required, has provided that information to the FBI.’

It’s unclear what information was given to federal agents, but officials told the newspaper no arrests or suspensions have been made in association with the riot.  

Several people have been charged in the incident. Among them are West Virginia delegate Derrick Evans, 35, who was newly sworn in when he streamed himself entering the Capitol on Facebook Live; Adam Johnson, 36, was photographed carrying off Pelosi’s podium, and Richard Barnett, 60, who was pictured with his feet on Pelosi’s desk. 

Charges in the cases include assaulting police officers, entering restricted areas of the Capitol and stealing federal property. 

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Son of Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge who was seen in fur pelts at Capitol riot arrested in New York

The son of a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge was released on a $100,000 bond after having been arrested by the FBI on four federal charges in connection with the riot at the US Capitol last week.

FBI agents arrested Aaron Mostofsky, 34, who is the son of Judge Shlomo Mostofsky, in New York Tuesday morning. He faces up to 10 years behind bars.

The younger Mostofsky, who dubbed himself a ‘caveman’, has been hit with multiple charges, including theft of government property for allegedly stealing a police riot shield and bulletproof vest, unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

Mostofsky made a virtual appearance before US Magistrate Judge Sanket Bulsara at 3pm on Tuesday. 

Bulsara, who called the charges ‘quite grave’, approved Mostofsky’s release on a $100,000 bond along with other restrictions that include GPS monitoring. The bond was to be secured by real estate. 

The judge ordered him upon his release to reside with his brother, Nachman Mostofsky.

FBI agents arrested Aaron Mostofsky (right), who is the son of Judge Shlomo Mostofsky, in New York Tuesday morning

Video of Mostofsky's arrest showed agents walking out of a home carrying the fur pelts that he wore while inside the Capitol on Wednesday

Video of Mostofsky’s arrest showed agents walking out of a home carrying the fur pelts that he wore while inside the Capitol on Wednesday

Authorities were also seen carrying the wooden walking stick Mostofsky was seen holding at the time

Authorities were also seen carrying the wooden walking stick Mostofsky was seen holding at the time

The government, which is being represented by Josh Hafetz, Assistant US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, asked for the travel restrictions to ensure Mostofsky doesn’t flee the jurisdiction or participate in any other political protests, especially ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week. 

Hafetz told the judge: ‘It is important that Mr Mostofsky not engage in the behavior that he engaged in last week.’

Mostofsky’s travel has been limited to New York City. If he needs to travel outside the jurisdiction, he will need to acquire permission. He was also told to surrender his passport and he will be under a curfew. 

He was also ordered not to have contact with co-defendants or co-conspirators involved in the riot on the Capitol. 

His attorney, Jeffrey Schwartz, told the court: ‘I believe evidence will show that he was not part of the mob, he was not rampaging, he got caught up in it.’

‘He will stay far away from Washington, any political rallies, he will have nothing to do with any of that stuff,’ Schwartz added. 

Mostofsky, shown in a court sketch, appeared virtually before US Magistrate Judge Sanket Bulsara on Tuesday

Mostofsky, shown in a court sketch, appeared virtually before US Magistrate Judge Sanket Bulsara on Tuesday

Shown crying in court, Mostofsky was ordered released on $100,000 bond along with other restrictions that include GPS monitoring. Mostofsky also must surrender his passport

Shown crying in court, Mostofsky was ordered released on $100,000 bond along with other restrictions that include GPS monitoring. Mostofsky also must surrender his passport

Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara, seen in a court sketch, called the multiple charges that Mostofsky faces 'quite grave'

Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara, seen in a court sketch, called the multiple charges that Mostofsky faces ‘quite grave’

‘He understands how the thing in Washington got out of hand… I can ensure the court that his only interests now is to address the charges against him.’

If convicted on the theft of government property charge, Mostofsky faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. 

Mostofsky was later seen leaving the courthouse clad in a windbreaker and Star Wars pajama pants.

Mostofsky leaves Brooklyn federal court wearing a windbreaker and Star Wars pajama pants

Mostofsky leaves Brooklyn federal court wearing a windbreaker and Star Wars pajama pants

He was ordered to reside with his brother, Nachman Mostofsky, upon release

He was ordered to reside with his brother, Nachman Mostofsky, upon release

Mostofsky's lawyer promised the judge he will 'have nothing to do with' any political rallies upon being released on bond

Mostofsky’s lawyer promised the judge he will ‘have nothing to do with’ any political rallies upon being released on bond

Mostofsky’s arrest comes nearly a week after he was pictured walking down the stairs outside the Senate Chamber dressed in fur pelts and a bullet proof vest and carrying a wooden walking stick.   

Video of Mostofsky’s arrest showed agents walking out of his brother’s home carrying the fur pelts that Mostofsky wore while inside the Capitol on Wednesday. 

Authorities were also seen carrying the wooden walking stick Mostofsky was seen holding at the time.  

Mostofsky was seen walking just ahead of a man carrying the confederate flag during the riot. He told the New York Post at the time: ‘The election was stolen.’  

His brother, Nachman Mostofsky, who also attended the rally but claimed he did not enter the Capitol building said his brother ‘did nothing illegal’ and ‘was pushed inside’. 

Other images of Aaron Mostofsky showed him holding a police shield that he claimed he found on the floor. 

A spokesman for Shlomo Mostofsky, told the New York Post: ‘Justice Mostofsky has no knowledge of these unfortunate events.’

Court documents released on Tuesday revealed that investigators received a search warrant for Aaron Mostofsky’s Instagram account, where officials say he ‘confirms’ that he is the person seen wearing and holding property of the Capitol Police. 

In one exchange on Instagram, a user send a photo showing Mostofsky in the Capitol and says: ‘Your famous.’

According to court documents, Mostofsky says in response: ‘IK unfortunately.’

During the conversation, Mostofsky also describes his presence in the Capitol, authorities said. 

Authorities said when Mostofsky (pictured) tried to coordinate meeting up with a friend, he told him: 'If we find each other look for a guy looking like a caveman'

Authorities said when Mostofsky (pictured) tried to coordinate meeting up with a friend, he told him: ‘If we find each other look for a guy looking like a caveman’

‘But it was like I’m here now how did I get there,’ the complaint reads. Officials said he also talked about being on a bus to Washington, DC, just after 6am on January 6. 

Authorities said he then tried to coordinate meeting up with a friend, saying: ‘If we find each other look for a guy looking like a caveman.’ 

‘He later states, in a likely reference to the presidential election: “Even a caveman knows it was stolen”,’ the complaint alleges.  

During the riot, protesters attacked police with pipes, sprayed irritants and even planted live bombs found in the area.  

The younger Mostofsky has been hit with multiple charges, including theft of government property for allegedly stealing a police riot shield and bulletproof vest

He is expected to appear in Brooklyn federal court on the charges Tuesday afternoon

The younger Mostofsky has been hit with multiple charges, including theft of government property for allegedly stealing a police riot shield and bulletproof vest

Mostofsky was photographed sitting inside the Capitol building during the riot on Wednesday

Mostofsky was photographed sitting inside the Capitol building during the riot on Wednesday

His arrest comes nearly a week after he was pictured walking down the stairs outside the Senate Chamber dressed in fur pelts and a bullet proof vest and carrying a wooden walking stick

His arrest comes nearly a week after he was pictured walking down the stairs outside the Senate Chamber dressed in fur pelts and a bullet proof vest and carrying a wooden walking stick 

Mostofsky, 34, who is the son of Judge Shlomo Mostofsky (pictured), was released on $100,000 bond on Tuesday afternoon

Mostofsky, 34, who is the son of Judge Shlomo Mostofsky (pictured), was released on $100,000 bond on Tuesday afternoon 

The FBI has continued its search for those who violently and illegally entered the Capitol. 

So far, at least 82 people have been arrested and more than 55 have been charged over the insurrection. Hundreds more are being hunted by the authorities but are yet to be found, including 25 people who are being investigated on terrorism charges.

The acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin has called the scope of the multi-agency hunt for the rioters ‘unprecedented’.

He has also fumed at Capitol Police for letting so many of them get away, saying it now makes the task of tracking them down more difficult.

He told NPR that staffers are now working round-the-clock to try to identify the criminals from photos and videos taken on the day. 

‘I don’t want this tyranny of labels saying this was sedition, this was a coup. But what I will say is, it was criminal,’ he said. 

There is no running list of all those charged because the investigation into what happened is being handled by multiple authorities; the DC Metropolitan Police, Capitol Police and the FBI are all running probes, along with prosecutors from the Justice Department.

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died on Thursday after he was struck in the head by a fire extinguisher.  

A second member of the Capitol Police, Howard Liebengood, was on duty on Wednesday and died by suicide on Saturday. 

Four rioters also died – one woman was shot by Capitol Police, and three others died during medical emergencies. 

One of those was apparently trampled in the melee.