Facing federal charges that could land them in prison, some of the defendants charged with participating in the attack at the U.S. Capitol are preparing to shift the blame onto other participants — or to former President Donald Trump.

More than 100 people have been charged preliminarily in federal court in the District of Columbia in connection with the riot, according to a list provided by the Department of Justice. The charges range from knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to assaulting a federal officer. The most serious offenses carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison, but federal officials have said that more severe charges could be filed.

In many cases, their presence at the Capitol is well-documented in online photos and videos, which prosecutors are using to build their cases.

“It’s hard to rebut roughly 10,000 miles worth of video footage reflecting and depicting my client at the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Albert Watkins, a St. Louis-based attorney who’s representing Jacob Chansley, the shirtless, horned-helmet-wearing man known as the “QAnon shaman,” told Yahoo News.

The presence at the scene of Chansley, who faces charges of civil disorder and entering a restricted building, “is not the issue,” Watkins said; the issue is that a group that included his client felt a special bond with Trump and were willing to do whatever he asked. “And on Jan. 6 my client, who had been fueled by an ongoing dialogue with other like-minded individuals, appeared to heed the call of the president to help him save our country,” Watkins said.

Watkins was indirectly citing Trump’s remarks at a rally before the riot on Jan. 6, during which he urged them to “fight like hell” to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which he falsely claims was stolen from him. The Capitol attack happened while Congress was counting the Electoral College votes to certify President Biden’s victory.

“They listened to [Trump] and his cohorts speak to them in a fashion that is akin to a high school football coach on a Friday evening talking to his team and getting them all hyped up in the locker room before he runs out to the football field with them,” Watkins said.

But Trump did not run onto the metaphorical field, returning instead to the White House to watch the mayhem on television. After tweeting out his “love” for the rioters (“you’re very special,” he added), he eventually — after it became apparent that the effort to overthrow the government had failed — denounced the riot, if not explicitly the rioters.

“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in,” Trump said in a video, “and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence.” Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on Jan. 13 over his role in encouraging the attack and is expected to stand trial in the Senate.

Mike Scibetta, a Rochester, N.Y., attorney who represents Dominic Pezzola, charged with obstruction of an official proceeding and destruction of government property, said his defense team is mindful of how Trump’s involvement may affect the case against his client.

“We have one arm of the prosecutorial government, apparently going to prosecute a president for inciting and inviting these individuals to come down there,” Scibetta told Yahoo News. “That begs the question. How, on the other hand, can you not say that they weren’t invited to come down there? Were they invited to break things? Probably not. But certainly trespass begs the question: Am I trespassing when the highest power in the country invited me down to come on down to the Capitol?”

The Capitol, for the record, is the seat of Congress, a separate and co-equal branch of government over which the president has no direct authority.

Lori Ulrich, a federal public defender in Harrisburg, Pa., said at a hearing in Pennsylvania for her client Riley June Williams that it’s “regrettable that Ms.Williams took the president’s bait and went inside the Capitol,” NBC Philadelphia reported. Williams is accused of stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop from her office with the intent to sell it to Russian intelligence, according to the criminal complaint against Williams. Ulrich declined to comment further on her statement in an interview with Yahoo News. “We are at the very early stages of the proceeding,” she said, “so there is a lot we don’t know.”

Of the attorneys who have spoken publicly, Watkins is perhaps the most willing to put the blame squarely on Trump, but other attorneys have at least tacitly acknowledged that they are considering what is known as a “public authority” defense, namely, that their clients believed they were acting at the direction of the president.

“I can’t say whether Trump has any responsibility,” James Whalen, a Frisco, Texas, attorney for Troy Smocks, told Yahoo News. Smocks is charged with making threats related to the riot on the now defunct conservative social media app Parler.

According to the criminal complaint, Smocks allegedly wrote: “Today, January 6 , 2021, We Patriots by the millions have arrived in Washington, DC, carrying banners of support for the greatest President the World has ever known. But if we must…Many of us will return on January 19 , 2021, carrying our weapons in support of Our nation’s resolve, to which the world will never forget. We will come in numbers that no standing army or police agency can match. However, the police are NOT our enemy, unless they choose to be! All who will not stand with the American Patriots…or cannot stand with us, then, that would be a good time for you to take a few vacation days.”

There was more, Whalen said, adding “when you look at the entire post in its context, there is reference to what President Trump said in his [Jan. 6] speech.”

Whalen, along with every other attorney who spoke to Yahoo News, denied the allegations on behalf of their clients but acknowledged that they were at the Capitol during the riot.

Scibetta said Trump’s perceived role is “something to explore” as a legal argument. “It’s a legitimate, rational basis for these people, [who] in most instances would’ve been home, going about their daily lives, had the most powerful man, arguably in the world but certainly the country, not said, ‘Come on down, make your voice heard, come to the Capitol.’”

With dozens of defendants from across the country, and a chaotic scene to parse through, some attorneys are distancing their clients from what they describe as bad actors who appeared to spur the violence and destruction at the Capitol.

“He’s being lumped in with certain individuals that may have acted violently,” defense attorney Jason DiPasquale said of his client, Peter Harding, who’s from a town near Buffalo, N.Y. Harding is charged with entering a restricted building as well as violent and disorderly conduct, which DiPasquale notes are misdemeanors.

“He in no way, shape or form gained entry [to the Capitol] through violence,” DiPasquale said, “or partook in any of the violent acts that have been displayed [by] the media, that others may have engaged in.”

Watkins said there’s footage of his client being let into the building. “Some [people] had no intentions of ever walking to the Capitol, much less going into it,” he said. “[And] you had some that were bad apples.”

Some legal experts are doubtful that these arguments will gain traction before a judge or a jury. “For the most part, these claims don’t amount to serious legal defenses,” Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor and professor at Columbia Law School, told Yahoo News via email.

“They still might get before juries, if the cases go to trial, and potentially affect assessments of intent and knowledge,” he said. “But since so few cases go to trial, and the ones that do will go before DC jurors who I suspect won’t incline toward sympathy, I would be surprised if the claims made headway.”

Maneka Sinha, a criminal defense expert and professor at the University of Maryland Law School, told Yahoo News that some of these defenses may be better served for mitigation purposes, specifically during the sentencing phase or when they’re arguing for pretrial release.

“If these cases go to trial, juries are going to have to decide whether claims like that are credible. But as an initial matter, the information that’s already available to the public seems to somewhat belie the idea that it would be easy to believe that you weren’t doing anything wrong. We’ve got fencing, we’ve got barricades, police officers pushing people back, orders to stop. And then on top of that, the pretty basic facts that they’re entering federal property while Congress was in session, many with this explicit purpose of overturning the election.”

Sinha noted that it’s too early to speculate on the outcome of the cases. While many criminal cases are resolved with a plea agreement, the Capitol riot cases many not have that option.

“It’s not every day that the Capitol is breached,” she said. “So we don’t know if prosecutors are going to treat these cases the way they treat ordinary cases, and they may not.”

As Trump gives way to Biden, the ‘transfer of families’ at the White House shatters norms

Counterintelligence official Michael Orlando joins a growing chorus of voices on both sides of the political aisle who point to China as a major national security threat, particularly in terms of technology and cybersecurity.

Judge denies release for 26-year-old accused of taking part in the deadly Capitol attacks then returning to Washington on Inauguration Day

Libya’s coast guard intercepted on Friday more than 80 Europe-bound migrants in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the North African country, the U.N. migration agency said. The migrants were returned to Libyan soil, said the International Organization for Migration. “So far this year, some 300 people, including women and children, were returned to the country and ended up in detention,” said the IOM.

America may not have won World War II and landed on the moon later if not for the contributions of a brilliant Chinese scientist named Qian Xuesen. Fearing communist presence after the war, the U.S., however, deported Qian to China, clueless that he would eventually spearhead programs that would target American troops and eventually propel China into space. Born to well-educated parents in 1911, it was evident from an early age that Qian had superior intellect.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday expressed his “disappointment” with President Biden’s executive order to rescind permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, in a readout of the president’s first official call with a foreign leader.Why it matters: The prime minister has long backed the pipeline meant to carry crude oil from Alberta to Nebraska. Biden, however, campaigned on the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he’s saying: In a news conference earlier Friday, Trudeau said: “We have so much alignment — not just me and President Biden, but Canadians and President Biden.” He added, “I’m very much looking forward to working with President Biden,” per the New York Times. * On the call, however, Trudeau “raised Canada’s disappointment with the United States’ decision on the Keystone XL pipeline,” according to the readout. * “The Prime Minister underscored the important economic and energy security benefits of our bilateral energy relationship as well as his support for energy workers.”The big picture: The pipeline project originally came with an $8 billion price tag and was expected to carry roughly 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Canada through Nebraska, per The Washington Post. * Though President Obama rejected the pipeline, President Trump gave it the green light once in office. * Lawsuits slowed construction on the project throughout Trump’s administration. * Two Native American communities sued the government over the pipeline last year, charging the government did not consult with tribes on the pipeline’s proposed path, which crosses tribal lands. * Its permit repeal is one of several “critical first steps to address the climate crisis, create good union jobs, and advance environmental justice, while reversing the previous administration’s harmful policies,” according to the Biden administration.In their Friday call, the two leaders discussed collaborating on COVID vaccines and the flow of critical medical supplies, efforts to work with Indigenous people and plans to address climate change through cross-border clean electricity transmission and net-zero emissions. * “Both leaders have made combating climate change, defending human rights and strengthening international institutions central to their platforms,” the Times writes. * “The leaders reiterated their firm commitment to multilateral institutions and alliance,” per the readout.Flashback: In 2017, Trudeau touted the Keystone XL pipeline, saying: “No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there. The resource will be developed. Our job is to ensure that this is done responsibly, safely and sustainably.” Go deeper: Biden talks climate in calls with foreign leadersBe smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.

Attorneys for Rittenhouse did not object to the changes. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two amid protests last year.

The European Union and Turkey pressed each other on Thursday to take concrete steps to improve relations long strained by disagreements over energy, migration and Ankara’s human rights record. Turkey, which remains an official candidate for EU membership despite the tensions, is facing the threat of EU economic sanctions over a hydrocarbons dispute with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, but the mood music between Brussels and Ankara has improved since the new year.

A Colombian businessman was carrying a letter from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accrediting him to Iran’s supreme leader when he was arrested on a U.S. warrant last year, according to a new court filing in a politically charged corruption case ratcheting up tensions with the South American nation. Attorneys for Alex Saab made the filing in Miami federal court Thursday just hours after prosecutors in the African nation of Cape Verde said they granted the 49-year-old Colombian house arrest as he fights extradition to the U.S. to face money laundering charges. U.S. officials believe Saab holds numerous secrets about how Maduro, his family and top aides allegedly siphoned off millions of dollars in government contracts amid widespread hunger in the oil-rich nation.

The incident would have made Wilkinson aware families were being separated long before the Texas pilot program for zero tolerance was known to the public.

A 35-year-old man in Belarus set himself on fire outside the government headquarters in Minsk on Friday and was hospitalised after passers-by and police put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, police said. The man could be seen on fire on a sprawling, largely empty square in the centre of Minsk near a statue of Lenin in video footage shared online. The motives for the man’s act were not immediately clear and investigators were working to establish the background, the Belarusian Investigative Committee said in a statement.

800 feet up in the sky, the Dreamy 6,000 square foot space offers panoramic views from the East River to the HudsonOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest

Among the first 17 executive orders President Biden signed Wednesday evening was one hitting “pause” on construction of former President Donald Trump’s border wall. “It shall be the policy of my administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall,” Biden’s order said. “I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall.”Biden gave the Pentagon and Homeland Security departments up to a week to stop all border construction, and for the most part, the frantic wall-building Trump had unleashed in his last months in office had stopped by Thursday, The Associated Press reports. The Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday it told its contractors to stop installing any additional barriers and do only what’s “necessary to safely prepare each site for a suspension of work.”Biden gave his administration 60 days to find and review all current contracts and determine which can be canceled, which must be renegotiated, and whether any of the remaining money can be used on other projects. Trump, as of Jan. 15, had spent $6.1 billion of the $10.8 billion in wall construction it had contracted out, a Senate Democratic aide told AP. Overall, the Trump administration had secured $16.45 billion for the wall, including $5.8 billion appropriated by Congress and the rest seized from the Treasury and Defense departments. Biden is targeting that latter pot of money.Trump says he built 450 miles of his wall, though almost all of that was replacement for other barriers. His administration signed contracts for constructing 664 miles, the Senate aide told AP. “Trump said the border wall would be ‘virtually impenetrable’ and paid for by Mexico, which never happened,” AP notes. “While the wall is much more formidable than the barriers it replaced, it isn’t uncommon for smugglers to guide people over or through it. Portions can be sawed with power tools sold at home improvement stores.”More stories from theweek.com Biden’s next executive order will let people stay on unemployment if they quit an unsafe job 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump’s White House exit McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency

President Joe Biden signed 15 executive actions on Wednesday hours after he was sworn into office, many aimed at sweeping away former President Donald Trump’s policies, including mandating masks on federal property.

Federal prosecutors said a Tennessee man who carried flexible plastic handcuffs around the U.S. Capitol during the recent raid by Trump supporters is a danger to his community and a serious flight risk, and are asking that he be detained until trial. In a court filing ahead of a Friday detention hearing in Nashville, prosecutors described a Jan. 10 search of Eric Munchel’s home that turned up assault rifles, a sniper rifle with a tripod, shotguns, pistols, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a drum-style magazine. Prosecutors also said they have reason to believe Munchel may have had weapons with him in Washington that he stashed Jan. 6 outside the Capitol before entering.

South Africa will pay $5.25 per dose for 1.5 million shots of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII), a senior official said on Thursday, more than some wealthier countries are paying. Health department Deputy Director-General Anban Pillay told Reuters that SII’s price was based on South Africa’s status as an upper-middle-income country under a World Bank classification. The price is higher than the $3 a dose that South Africa and other countries on the continent are due to pay for the same vaccine under an African Union (AU) arrangement, and the 2.5 euros ($3.03) per dose European Union countries have agreed to pay.

“The National Guard always holds a special place in the hearts of all the Bidens. So thank you,” Dr Biden says

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and asking for a temporary restraining order.Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move “violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas” and the Department of Homeland Security. Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney, told Axios that the lawsuit is likely to fail at fully reinstating deportations because a judge cannot force Immigration and Customs Enforcement to remove any particular person. * The executive branch has broad authority over immigration enforcement, as was seen in both President Obama and President Trump’s administrations. What they’re saying: In the announcement of the moratorium on Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security said the pause on deportations would “allow DHS to ensure that its resources are dedicated to responding to the most pressing challenges that the United States faces.” * In Paxton’s request for a temporary restraining order, he claims, “Without emergency relief, Texas faces irreparable harm from having to provide costly educational, social, welfare, healthcare, and other services to illegal aliens who remain in Texas because Defendants have ceased removing them.”The White House has not yet responded to Axios’ request for comment.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.

A woman has been arrested and charged with murder after the dismembered remains of her missing roommate, Talina Galloway, were found in a freezer in the woods of Polk County, Arkansas last week. Talina, 53, was reported missing by her roommate, Kore Bommeli on April 17, 2020. Talina’s remains were found in the freezer on January 14, 2021. Bommeli, who has been a person of interest throughout the investigation, was located in Wisconsin and faces charges of murder and desecration of a corpse. Th

In a final swipe at China, the Trump administration’s outgoing U.N. ambassador tweeted that it’s time for the world to oppose China’s efforts to exclude and isolate Taiwan, drawing sharp criticism from Beijing. To make the point even more graphic, Ambassador Kelly Craft accompanied the tweet with a photo of herself in the U.N. General Assembly Hall where the island is banned.

Source: https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMieWh0dHBzOi8vbmV3cy55YWhvby5jb20vbGF3eWVycy1mb3ItYWNjdXNlZC1jYXBpdG9sLXJpb3RlcnMtb3V0bGluZS1hLWRlZmVuc2UtdGhlLXByZXNpZGVudC1tYWRlLXRoZW0tZG8taXQtMDE0OTAwNTQzLmh0bWzSAYEBaHR0cHM6Ly9uZXdzLnlhaG9vLmNvbS9hbXBodG1sL2xhd3llcnMtZm9yLWFjY3VzZWQtY2FwaXRvbC1yaW90ZXJzLW91dGxpbmUtYS1kZWZlbnNlLXRoZS1wcmVzaWRlbnQtbWFkZS10aGVtLWRvLWl0LTAxNDkwMDU0My5odG1s?oc=5

News – Lawyers for accused Capitol rioters outline a defense: The president made them do it