Politics & Law

WSJ: A.G. William Barr Resigns

The WSJ presents an opinion piece of Mr. Barr’s accomplishments on his resignation today, ostensibly over his statement that there was not enough evidence of voter fraud to overturn the presidential election.

Some highlights:

…Mr. Barr…wanted to clean up a Justice Department that he rightly knew had been tainted by a corrupt FBI under James Comey and political appointees in both parties who lacked the courage or tenacity to take responsibility for hard prosecutorial judgments.

[He navigated] the end of the Robert Mueller probe while protecting the office of the Presidency from unconstitutional conclusions about obstruction of justice. Future Presidents of both parties will thank him.

He was willing to endure media and Democratic smears by taking fresh looks at old investigations…. His release of documents has helped to show the FBI probe began in partisan scheming and unlawful practices…

Mr. Barr also had the guts to ask another U.S. Attorney, Jeffrey Jensen, to re-examine Mr. Mueller’s prosecution of Michael Flynn. That probe turned up more malpractice and a decision to dismiss charges that never should have been brought…

…Perhaps Mr. Barr’s greatest contribution was speaking truth to Mr. Trump, who wanted his tormentors prosecuted whether or not the evidence warranted. This resistance chafed on Mr. Trump as Mr. Barr’s tenure went on, and especially when Mr. Durham declined to bring indictments or leak evidence before the presidential election. This was the right decision and shows Mr. Barr’s adherence to principle. [“Thank You Bill Bar”, WSJ, 14 Dec 2020]

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Barr (his antitrust case against Google is described by the WSJ as “weak”) whether revealing the abuses of Democrat “deep state” operatives or willing to disagree with Trump when he believed the facts warranted it, Barr demonstrated an allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, and the rule of law, which is all that one can demand of a public official.

 

Salsman: The Intellectuals Assault on American Institutions and Values

“Constitutional capitalist” Professor Richard Salsman elaborates on the assault against America’s institutions and values on The P.A.S. Report Political Podcast:

“This assault is not by the hands of a foreign adversary, but by her own intellectuals and the ruling class, including professors, editorialists, policy wonks, pundits, politicians, and entertainers…The battle isn’t simply over capitalism vs. socialism. The battle is over peace, prosperity, and human happiness vs. war, poverty, and human misery.”

An “All White Jury” Commits an Act of Justice For a Young Black Girl

According to a CNN commentator and a former White House aide (presumably under Obama):

Orlando Hall was executed last night. Hall was a Black man convicted by an all-white jury. He is the eighth person executed this year by the Trump administration. There were no federal executions under Pres. Obama, and Biden plans to end them as well.

Boykin’s tweet is race-baiting compounded with a lie of omitting essential facts.

The race-baiting is his statement “a Black man convicted [to death] by an all-white jury.”

A black man sentenced to be killed? Someone call BLM Inc. and organize some “protests.”

The lie is in what facts Mr. Boykin omits from his post. Mr. Boykin makes no mention of what this “Black man” was sentenced to death by an “all-white jury” for.

According to a DOJ press release, Execution Scheduled for Federal Death Row Inmate Convicted of Murdering a Child:

Attorney General William P. Barr today directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the execution of Orlando Cordia Hall, who was sentenced to death after kidnapping, raping, and murdering a 16-year-old girl in 1994.

In other words that “all-white jury” convicted a monster who repeatedly raped, tortured, doused with gas, and buried alive a young black child.

Why did this “Black man” do this?

In September 1994, Hall and several accomplices ran a marijuana trafficking operation out of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  After a failed drug transaction involving $4,700, Hall and his accomplices went to the Arlington, Texas, home of a man they believed had reneged on the deal.

Mr. Hall took a child out to a car and raped her because he believed her brother reneged on a pot deal.

The man’s 16-year-old sister, Lisa Rene, answered the door.  Although she was simply an innocent bystander, Hall and his accomplices kidnapped her at gunpoint, and Hall raped her in the car.

But that is not the worst of it:

Hall’s accomplices subsequently drove her to a motel in Arkansas, where they raped her several more times.  Hall and his accomplices then took her to a park where they had dug a grave.  There, they beat her over the head with a shovel, soaked her with gasoline, and buried her alive.

In October 1995, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas found Hall guilty of, among other offenses, kidnapping resulting in death, and unanimously recommended a death sentence, which the court imposed.  Hall’s convictions and sentences were affirmed on appeal more than 20 years ago, and his initial round of collateral challenges failed nearly 15 years ago.  In 2006, Hall received a preliminary injunction from a federal district court in Washington, D.C., based on his challenge to the then-existing federal lethal-injection protocol.  That injunction was vacated by the district court on Sept. 20, 2020, making Hall the only child murderer on federal death row who is eligible for execution and not subject to a stay or injunction.  Hall’s execution is scheduled for Nov. 19, 2020, at U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana.

According to the NY Times:

Mr. Hall, 49, was the first of three federal prisoners scheduled for execution during the presidential transition. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has said he will work to end the use of capital punishment by the federal government, reversing President Trump’s support for it.

Greenwald: NYT, CNN & NPR are No Safeguards Against Misinformation

Jeff Greenwald on “Demanding Silicon Valley Suppress ‘Hyper-Partisan Sites’ in Favor of ‘Mainstream News’ (The NYT) is a Fraud“:

The problem with this claim is that it’s a complete and utter fraud, one that is easily demonstrated as such. There are few sites more “hyper-partisan” than the three outlets which the NYT applauded Facebook for promoting. In the 2020 election, over 70 million Americans — close to half of the voting population — voted for Donald Trump, yet not one of them is employed by the op-ed page of the “non-partisan” New York Times and are almost never heard on NPR or CNN. That’s because those news outlets, by design, are pro-Democratic-Party organs, who speak overwhelmingly to Democratic readers and viewers.

[…]

Over the last four years, they devoted themselves to the ultimate deranged, mangled conspiracy theory: that the Kremlin had infiltrated the U.S. and was clandestinely controlling the levers of American power through some combination of sexual and financial blackmail. The endless pursuit of that twisted conspiracy led them to produce one article after the next that spread utter falsehoods, embraced reckless journalism and fostered humiliating debacles. The only thing more absurd than these hyper-partisan, reckless outlets posturing as the alternatives to hyper-partisanship is them insisting that they’re the only safeguards against misinformation.

Read the full article.

 

 

Kimberley Strassel: The 2020 Election “Fix”

Kimberley A. Strassel’s “Harvesting the 2020 Election“, in the WSJ, elaborates on how changes in election rules in key states made it easier to engage in election fraud to empower Democrats:

Mrs. Pelosi unveiled a 600-plus page bill devoted to “election reform.” Some of the legislation was aimed at weaponizing campaign-finance law, giving Democrats more power to control political speech and to intimidate opponents. But the bill was equally focused on empowering the federal government to dictate how states conduct elections—with new rules designed to water down ballot integrity and to corral huge new tranches of Democratic voters.

[…]

[Pelosi’s] bill would require states to offer early voting. They also would have to allow Election Day and online voter registration, diluting the accuracy of voting rolls. H.R. 1 would make states register voters automatically from government databases, including federal welfare recipients. Colleges and universities were designated a s voter-registration hubs, and 16-year-olds would be registered to vote two years in advance. The bill would require “no fault” absentee ballots, allowing anyone to vote by mail, for any reason. It envisioned prepaid postage for federal absentee ballots. It would cripple most state voter-ID laws. It left in place the “ballot harvesting” rules that let paid activists canvass neighborhoods to hoover up absentee votes.

[…]

Mrs. Pelosi’s bill didn’t become law, despite her attempts this year to jam some of its provisions into coronavirus bills. But it turns out she didn’t really need it. Using the virus as an excuse, Democratic and liberal groups brought scores of lawsuits to force states to adopt its provisions. Many Democratic politicians and courts happily agreed. States mailed out ballots to everyone. Judges disregarded statutory deadlines for receipt of votes. They scrapped absentee-ballot witness requirements. States set up curbside voting and drop-off boxes. They signed off on ballot harvesting.

Here is the cashing in:

Meaning, “the fix” (as it were) was in well before anyone started counting votes. Pollsters aside, political operatives understood this election would be close– potentially closer in key states than it was in 2016. The Democratic strategy from the start, as evidenced by that legal onslaught, was to get rules in place that would allow them to flood the zone with additional mail-in ballots.

[…]

Yet the beauty of ballot harvesting is that it is nearly impossible to prove fraud. How many harvesters offered to deliver votes, only to throw away inconvenient ones? How many voters were pushed or cajoled, or even paid–or had a ballot filled and returned for them without their knowledge? And this is before questions of what other mischief went on amid millions of mailed ballots (which went to wrong addresses or deceased people) and reduced voter verification rules.

Similar points were made by Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch:

Nothing in our founding document contemplates the kind of judicial intervention that took place here, nor is there precedent for it in 230 years of this Court’s decisions.

Last-minute changes to longstanding election rules risk other problems too, inviting confusion and chaos and eroding public confidence in electoral outcomes. No one doubts that conducting a national election amid a pandemic poses serious challenges. But none of that means individual judges may improvise with their own election rules in place of those the people’s representatives have adopted.

The mass fraud did not happen on election day; it happened much before.

The “fraud” or “fix” was in the rules of the game before the election even began.

In an election based on objectively valid rules, the onus of the proof for election fraud requires one to produce positive evidence of fraud.

But for an election based on invalid rules – which reward fraud and help hide it – does the same principle apply? Is objectivity in evaluating the results of an election with non-objective rules even possible? It is uncertain that the kind of investigations going on now can uncover that kind of fraud.

“Our ends are noble, therefore by any means necessary.”

U.S. Election 2020: Last Minute Rule Changes Responsible For Election Confusion, Chaos and Low Public Confidence in Results

Are State Judicial-Admin Ad-Hoc Election Rule Changes Constitutional?

Justice Gorsuch’s thoughts on the subject (with whom JUSTICE KAVANAUGH joins) is must-reading:

JUSTICE GORSUCH, with whom JUSTICE KAVANAUGH joins, concurring in denial of application to vacate stay.

Weeks before a national election, a Federal District Judge decreed that Wisconsin law violates the Constitution by re-quiring absentee voters to return their ballots no later than election day. The court issued its ruling even though over 30 States have long enforced the very same absentee voting deadline—and for understandable reasons: Elections must end sometime, a single deadline supplies clear notice, and requiring ballots be in by election day puts all voters on the same footing. “Common sense, as well as constitutional law, compels the conclusion that government must play an active role in structuring elections,” and States have always required voters “to act in a timely fashion if they wish to express their views in the voting booth.” Burdick v. Taku-shi, 504 U. S. 428, 433, 438 (1992).

Why did the district court seek to scuttle such a long-set-tled tradition in this area? COVID. Because of the current pandemic, the court suggested, it was free to substitute its own election deadline for the State’s. Never mind that, in response to the pandemic, the Wisconsin Elections Commission decided to mail registered voters an absentee ballot application and return envelope over the summer, so no one had to ask for one. Never mind that voters have also been free to seek and return absentee ballots since September. Never mind that voters may return their ballots not only by mail but also by bringing them to a county clerk’s office, or various “no touch” drop boxes staged locally, or certain poll-ing places on election day. Never mind that those unable to vote on election day have still other options in Wisconsin, like voting in-person during a 2-week voting period before election day. And never mind that the court itself found the pandemic posed an insufficient threat to the health and safety of voters to justify revamping the State’s in-person election procedures.

So it’s indisputable that Wisconsin has made considerable efforts to accommodate early voting and respond to COVID. The district court’s only possible complaint is that the State hasn’t done enough. But how much is enough? If Wisconsin’s statutory absentee voting deadline can be discarded on the strength of the State’s status as a COVID “hotspot,” what about the identical deadlines in 30 other States? How much of a “hotspot” must a State (or maybe some sliver of it) be before judges get to improvise? Then there’s the question what these new ad hoc deadlines should be. The judge in this case tacked 6 days onto the State’s election deadline, but what about 3 or 7 or 10, and what’s to stop different judges choosing (as they surely would) different deadlines in different jurisdictions? A widely shared state policy seeking to make election day real would give way to a Babel of decrees. And what’s to stop courts from tinkering with in-person voting rules too? This judge declined to go that far, but the plaintiffs thought he should have, and it’s not hard to imagine other judges accepting invitations to unfurl the precinct maps and decide whether States should add polling places, revise their hours, rearrange the voting booths within them, or maybe even supplement existing social distancing, hand washing, and ventilation protocols.

The Constitution dictates a different approach to these how-much-is-enough questions. The Constitution provides that state legislatures—not federal judges, not state judges, not state governors, not other state officials—bear primary responsibility for setting election rules. Art. I, §4, cl. 1. And the Constitution provides a second layer of protection too. If state rules need revision, Congress is free to alter them. Ibid. (“The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations . . . ”). Nothing in our founding document contemplates the kind of judicial intervention that took place here, nor is there precedent for it in 230 years of this Court’s decisions.

Understandably so. Legislators can be held accountable by the people for the rules they write or fail to write; typically, judges cannot. Legislatures make policy and bring to bear the collective wisdom of the whole people when they do, while courts dispense the judgment of only a single per-son or a handful. Legislatures enjoy far greater resources for research and factfinding on questions of science and safety than usually can be mustered in litigation between discrete parties before a single judge. In reaching their decisions, legislators must compromise to achieve the broad social consensus necessary to enact new laws, something not easily replicated in courtrooms where typically one side must win and the other lose.

Of course, democratic processes can prove frustrating. Because they cannot easily act without a broad social consensus, legislatures are often slow to respond and tepid when they do. The clamor for judges to sweep in and address emergent problems, and the temptation for individual judges to fill the void of perceived inaction, can be great. But what sometimes seems like a fault in the constitutional design was a feature to the framers, a means of ensuring that any changes to the status quo will not be made hastily, without careful deliberation, extensive consultation, and social consensus.

Nor may we undo this arrangement just because we might be frustrated. Our oath to uphold the Constitution is tested by hard times, not easy ones. And succumbing to the temptation to sidestep the usual constitutional rules is never costless. It does damage to faith in the written Constitution as law, to the power of the people to oversee their own government, and to the authority of legislatures, for the more we assume their duties the less incentive they have to discharge them. Last-minute changes to longstanding election rules risk other problems too, inviting confusion and chaos and eroding public confidence in electoral out-comes. No one doubts that conducting a national election amid a pandemic poses serious challenges. But none of that means individual judges may improvise with their own election rules in place of those the people’s representatives have adopted.

If this election gives the appearance of being riddled with fraud, it is because of “last-minute” ad-hoc, untested, changes to election procedures by administrators and judges which were based on a so-called hindrance to voting (COVID) that in fact was no hindrance at all (see Fauci’s comments on why voting in person is as safe as going to a grocery store).

Karl Rove: Sober Thoughts on The 2020 Elections

Karl Rove’s sober assessment of the 2020 Elections in the WSJ, Biden Had No Election Coattails:

Major Polls in 2020, Like In 2016, Were Completely Off The Mark

Despite press declarations that President Trump (who led in none of the 80 national polls conducted since Labor Day) didn’t have a chance, he barnstormed the country…. The president scored surprising victories in places where many had written him off, like Florida, Iowa and Ohio. Now that Michigan has been called for Joe Biden, up 1.2 points with 3% to go, the race comes down to six states.

No Systematic Election Fraud

The counting of the remaining mail-in ballots is under the control of local election boards. Each state has its own structure and process, but both parties will be involved in conducting and witnessing the counts. When there are attempts to rig the outcome, every candidate and both parties have speedy access to the courts. This is as it should be, since there is nothing more important to our democracy than free, fair and accurate elections. There are suspicious partisans across the spectrum who believe widespread election fraud is possible. Some hanky-panky always goes on, and there are already reports of poll watchers in Philadelphia not being allowed to do their jobs. But stealing hundreds of thousands of votes would require a conspiracy on the scale of a James Bond movie. That isn’t going to happen.

No Blue Wave: Republicans Make Gains In House

The race for the White House wasn’t Election Day’s only story. In the battle for the U.S. Senate, Republicans appear to have pulled off what a few weeks ago looked nearly impossible. They likely keep their majority, surviving a giant flood of Democratic money. No Republican in a competitive race had anything close to the tens of millions of dollars that individual Democratic opponents hauled in. But elections are about more than money.

Read more at WSJ.com.

“Proud Boys” May Be Wrong, But They Are Not Racist

If the “Proud Boys” organization is a white supremacist, neo-nazi group why do some of them marry black women and have black children?

In addition, the Canadian founder of the Proud Boys founder is married to an American Indian (Native American) and has 3 kids with her:

“I’ve made my views on Indians very clear…I actually like [American Indians] so much, I made three.”

How is inter-racial mixing white supremacy?

This does not mean the views of the Proud Boys are correct. I have not taken the time to know what their views are. But, I do not think the group can be labeled white-supremacist.

Racism does fit the rhetoric of many so-called “Black Lives Matter” organizations and so-called “Anti-Racists.”

White Supremacist Richard Spencer For Biden, Socialism, and Much of The Democrat Agenda

White supremacist, an advocate of national health care, and socialist Richard Spencer one of the organizers of the 2017 Charlotteville White Nationalist rallies had this to say on Twitter:

“I plan to vote for Biden and a straight democratic ticket. It’s not based on ‘accelerationism’ or anything like that; the liberals are clearly more competent people.”

Spencer also stated elsewhere why he approves of the Democrat stance on government support of abortion for the poor as it serves as “eugenics”:

“The people who are having abortions are generally very often black or Hispanic or from very poor circumstances.”

Spencer, a critic of America’s founding fathers, is a socialist (“I’m not opposed to socialism when done right”) who is an advocate for socialized “universal” healthcare, is also opposed to the principle of individual rights, and believes that rights are ultimately “collective” and that the “ultimately the state gives rights to you.”

Though D’Souza is wrong that Trump is a “free-market capitalist” (Trump is a mixed-economy nationalist), he does give a breakdown of Spencer’s views:

 

 

 

California Gavin Newsom Puts The Dagger in MLK’s Color-Blind Dream

A new bill signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom will physically force California companies to put non-heterosexual-white people on their corporate boards.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Many California corporations will have to increase the diversity of their boards of directors under a new law signed Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom to address a shortage of people of color in executive positions. The law requires some 625 publicly held corporations headquartered in California to include at least one person from an underrepresented community by the end of next year, with additional appointments required in future years.

Continues the Times:

Under Assembly Bill 979, publicly held corporations headquartered in California are required to have at least one director from an underrepresented community by the close of 2021. By the end of 2022, corporate boards with four to nine members must have two people from underrepresented communities, and those with more than nine members must have at least three people from those communities. Directors from an underrepresented community include those who self-identify as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native, or who self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

A glance at Newsom’s bio and photo reveals that he is a very white, wealthy, male member of an “overrepresented” community (he has not self-identified himself as bisexual), therefore we believe Newsom should practice what he preaches and immediately resign.

 

“Fine People on Both Sides”: Thoughts on Trump and the Charlottesville Riots

There is a claim by Democrats and anti-Trumpers, that during the Charlottesville Riots, President Trump was expressing support and approval of white supremacists and neo-nazis. I’ve heard this mentioned by some prominent Objectivists in their condemnation of Trump, and I assumed it was true. But I wanted to know first-hand (or at least not fifth and sixth-hand) and here is what I found so far: Trump did bungle this, but he does not support white-supremacists.

Here is Trump’s statement that is a point of contention:

“Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group.  But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.  You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did.  You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”

The Democrats — and their allies — claim that the entire side of the pro-statue group in Charlottesville consisted of Nazis and White Supremacists, so by Trump saying there were “fine people on both sides,” Trump was defending the White Supremacists.

Here are some of the statements repeated in the press (quoting from a National Review article):

In a back-and-forth with Joel Pollak of Breitbart, Biden defended his attack on the Charlottesville statement: “let’s get this straight — he said there were very fine people in both groups. They were chanting anti-Semitic slogans, carrying flags.”

Kamala Harris tweeted in June that Trump “called neo-Nazis ‘fine people.’” Other Democrats have piled on, following the El Paso shooting. Elizabeth Warren: “He has given aid and comfort to white supremacists. He’s done the wink and a nod. He has talked about white supremacists as fine people.” Cory Booker: “He is responsible and sowing these kinds of divisions to hate-mongers, in fact failing to even condemn them where we saw in Charlottesville where he talks about there being good people on both sides.” Julian Castro: “He didn’t step up right away and condemn the neo-Nazis after Charlottesville.”

Are these claims true?

I think the last point by Julian Castro that Trump “didn’t step up right away and condemn the neo-Nazis after Charlottesville” has some merit (he took 48 hours to release a statement), but I now believe that the other positions do not.

***

Here is the statement Trump made two hours after the Saturday car attack (before all the information about the event was released), while rioting I assume was still going on:

[W]e’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Va. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America . . . I just got off the phone with the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and we agree that the hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now . . . Above all else, we must remember this truth, no matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first. We love our country. We love our God. We love our flag. We’re proud of our country. We’re proud of who we are. So, we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we’re doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen. . . . We must love each other, respect each other and cherish our history and our future together. So important. We have to respect each other. Ideally we have to love each other.

Two days later (approx. 48 hours), on Monday, he issued a statement via the White House:

[B]ased on the events that took place over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, I would like to provide the nation with an update on the ongoing federal response to the horrific attack and violence that was witnessed by everyone. I just met with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack that killed one innocent American and wounded 20 others. To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered.

As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America. And as I have said many times before: No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.

Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our Creator. We are equal under the law. And we are equal under our Constitution. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.

Two days ago, a young American woman, Heather Heyer, was tragically killed. Her death fills us with grief, and we send her family our thoughts, our prayers, and our love.

It would have been better if Trump got out his statement against the KKK faster than 48 hours, but he said as President, he needed time to get all the facts correct (yes, Virginia, he said this!):

THE PRESIDENT:  When I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts. This event just happened. In fact, a lot of the event didn’t even happen yet, as we were speaking. This event just happened. Before I make a statement, I need the facts.

(If only he followed this policy all the time before he tweets!!!!)

***

After the statement, Trump was grilled by reporters (full transcript here).

Some highlights:

Q    Senator McCain said that the alt-right is behind these attacks, and he linked that same group to those who perpetrated the attack in Charlottesville.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I don’t know. I can’t tell you. I’m sure Senator McCain must know what he’s talking about. But when you say the alt-right, define alt-right to me. You define it. Go ahead.

Q    Well, I’m saying, as Senator —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, define it for me. Come on, let’s go. Define it for me.

Q    Senator McCain defined them as the same group —

THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at …the, as you say, the alt-right?  Do they have any semblance of guilt? Let me ask you this: What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs?  Do they have any problem?  I think they do. As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.

Q    You’re not putting these —

THE PRESIDENT:  Wait a minute. I’m not finished. I’m not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day —

Q    Sir, you’re not putting these protestors on the same level as neo-Nazis — Is the alt-left as bad as white supremacy?

THE PRESIDENT:  I will tell you something. I watched those very closely — much more closely than you people watched it. And you have — you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group — you had a group on the other side that came charging in, without a permit, and they were very, very violent.

[…]

THE PRESIDENT:  Those people — all of those people –excuse me, I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

[…]

Q    Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this:  You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs — and it was vicious and it was horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch.

But there is another side. There was a group on this side. You can call them the left — you just called them the left — that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.

Q    (Inaudible) both sides, sir. You said there was hatred, there was violence on both sides. Are the —

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. If you look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. And if you reported it accurately, you would say.

Q    The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest —

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, excuse me. They didn’t put themselves — and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group.

Q    (Inaudible.)

[…]

THE PRESIDENT: And you had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists — because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay?  And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people. But you also had troublemakers, and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets, and with the baseball bats. You had a lot of bad people in the other group.

Q    Who are the good people? Sir, I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly?  I just don’t understand what you were saying.

THE PRESIDENT: No, no. There were people in that rally — and I looked the night before — if you look, there were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day it looked like they had some rough, bad people — neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest, and very legally protest — because I don’t know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell you this: There are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country — a horrible moment. But there are two sides to the country.

According to Trump’s questioner, the entire side of those on the right present consisted of white nationalists. (Also note that Trump is incorrect here, as it is reported, that the only group that had a permit were the white nationalists.)

According to Trump, both sides were mixed:

(1) On the ‘keep the statue up’ (right) side (which I believe is the wrong position), you had violent Nazis and peaceful, non-white supremacists.

(2) On the ‘remove statue’ (left) side, you had violent Antifa thugs, and you had peaceful remove the statute/anti-white supremacists (similar to the BLM protests today).

(For the record, I think Lee’s statue belongs in a history museum, or on private property, and not in a public – government – setting.)

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Writing on August 16, 2017, Robert Tracinski writes:

The important thing about this is that there is not a scrap of evidence that any of it is true. In fact, there is a great deal of evidence to the contrary. The rally in Charlottesville was called “Unite the Right,” which despite its name made no real attempt to bring together any recognizable strains from the mainstream American political right. Instead, it drew from a spectrum ranging from the Neo-Confederates to the Neo-Nazis to the White Nationalists to the White Supremacists—various ideological shades so indistinguishable from each other that you don’t need a special dispensation from Mike Godwin to just call them all Nazis.

Two years later in 2019, Robert Tracinski, writing in the Bulwark, further writes:

What if there really was another group of protesters there that day, and that’s who Trump was referring to? Well, there’s the problem. No such group exists. This mythical second group of protesters is like the “second shooter” in conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination. I’ve found people who insist to me that such a group was there because the “Charlottesville Hoax” mythology requires it to exist—but I haven’t found a single shred of actual confirmation. It’s almost as if they have adopted a false memory.

That’s what originally set me off about this Trump claim. I live in the Charlottesville area, and I know very fine people who oppose the removal of the monuments based on high-minded notions about preserving history. I’m one of them. So I know that we weren’t there that night. Only the white nationalists were there.

The New York Times, to their credit, reported on August 16, 2017:

“Good people can go to Charlottesville,” said Michelle Piercy, a night shift worker at a Wichita, Kan., retirement home, who drove all night with a conservative group that opposed the planned removal of a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

After listening to Mr. Trump on Tuesday, she said it was as if he had channeled her and her friends — all gun-loving defenders of free speech, she said, who had no interest in standing with Nazis or white supremacists: “It’s almost like he talked to one of our people.”

Conservatives like Ms. Piercy, who have grown only more emboldened after Charlottesville, believe that the political and media elite hold them and Mr. Trump to a harsh double standard that demands they answer for the sins of a radical, racist fringe. They largely accept Mr. Trump’s contention that these same forces are using Charlottesville as an excuse to undermine his presidency, and by extension, their vote.

In fairness to Tracinski and others who hold his view, it is unclear if the peaceful pro-statue side was at Charlottesville on Friday (Saturday was the day of the car attack). Trump tends to mumble and misspeak at times so he can be interpreted to be mixing the Friday and Saturday events together.

Also, a lawsuit was filed against American Warrior Revolution and similar groups to keep them and other “paramilitary groups” out of Charlottesville.

Melanie Morgan at Media Equalizer profiled Piercy at the time:

Michelle Piercy, who travelled to Charlottesville to participate as a neutral peacekeeper for American Warrior Revolution, a group that stands up for individual free speech rights and acts as a buffer between competing voices, knew there was going to be violence, but went anyway.

“We were made aware that the situation could be dangerous, and we were prepared.” Piercy says. The Wichita night-worker for a Kansas retirement home said that “the situation was completely disorganized, the police were responsible for herding white supremacists on the street where Antifa and BLM were located. All chaos broke out. I witnessed police officers say, ‘that’s not our problem’ and ‘you shouldn’t have come’ and refused to help the injured.”

Piercy says that she doesn’t support white supremacy, Naziism, or alt-right causes. Nor does she believe the president has that in his heart.

My partner is a black man who travelled to Charlottesville for the same reason I did [to protect free speech]. We were in groups and he’s a very good man. What we were trying to do is talk to Antifa and Black Lives Matter and let them know that the way they were protesting is the wrong way to go about it.”*

* Note: I’m not sure why “[to protect free speech]” in the original quote is in square brackets which is unfortunate.

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In regards to waiting for all the facts, I wish Obama did the same in regards to George Zimmerman and the shooting of Trayvon Martin. If Obama did his homework he would have learned that the “racist” George Zimmerman had black ancestry through his grandmother’s side and that he volunteered to help black people in his free time.