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Man accused of threatening to kill Biden

A 27-year-old man who made several phone calls to the White House threatening to kill President Biden and Secret Service agents has been arrested in North Carolina on federal charges, officials said Thursday.

The man, David K. Reeves of Gastonia, who made threats from late January to early February, said on a call to the White House: “I’m going to cut your head off,” according to a federal criminal complaint. sealed on Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. He also made threats during calls to the United States Capitol Police and a Secret Service agent, prosecutors said.

Mr Reeves, who was arrested on Friday, remained in custody after a court hearing on Thursday.

Kevin A. Tate, a federal public defender representing Mr. Reeves, said in an email that his client had pleaded not guilty and was receiving mental health assessments.

The maximum penalty for threatening the president is five years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000, Andrew Murray, the US district attorney, said in a statement.

Credit…WSOC-TV

Mr. Reeves has a criminal record dating back to 2009, when he was charged with burglary, and was most recently charged with violating a domestic violence order and “illegal use of the 911 number,” according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, when a Secret Service agent called Mr. Reeves on February 1 to inquire about a threat he made during a phone call to the White House on January 28, saying he planned to “cut off heads,” Mr. Reeves told the officer he had done nothing wrong, citing his right to free speech in the First Amendment.

Then, minutes later, prosecutors say, Mr. Reeves called the same Secret Service agent and repeated the threats. Mr Reeves “said he would kill everyone,” according to the complaint, adding that he “then said he would kill everyone if he had a car and then a gun and a security clearance. security so that they can get close enough to kill everyone. “

Mr. Reeves called the officer again on February 1 and threatened to kill him, according to the complaint.

That evening, Mr. Reeves called the White House again. “I’m going to come and kill the president,” he said, according to the complaint. “I’m going to kill the Secret Service, because I own this whole planet.”

Mr. Reeves “then asked the US Secret Service to come and pick him up and take him to the White House so he could punch the president in the face, sit in his chair and stay there until his death.” , indicates the complaint.

Shortly after 10 p.m. on February 1, Mr. Reeves called Capitol Police and made further threats, according to the complaint.

The next day, Mr. Reeves again called the Secret Service agent whom he had threatened, according to the complaint, and once again threatened to kill him.

Last month, a Connecticut man was sentenced to nine years in prison for threatening to kill President Donald J. Trump and others.

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As Trump battles loss, his supporters grow more threatening

With a key deadline exceeding Tuesday that nearly ends his legal challenges to the election, President Trump’s frantic campaign to reverse the results has reached an inflection point: The Electoral College’s certified voters lists are now protected by law, and state could name a different list that is favorable to Mr. Trump has essentially disappeared.

Despite his obvious loss, Mr. Trump has shown no intention of stopping his sustained assault on the US electoral process. But its baseless conspiracy theories of electoral fraud have turned into an exercise in delegitimizing election results, and rhetoric is accelerating among its most fervent allies. This sparked outrage from Trump loyalists and led to behavior that Democrats and even some Republicans say has become dangerous.

Supporters of the president outraged at his loss, some armed, gathered outside the home of the Michigan Secretary of State on Saturday night. Racist death threats filled the voicemail of Michigan State Representative Cynthia A. Johnson. Election officials in Georgia, most of them Republicans, say they have received threats of violence. The Arizona Republican Party on Twitter has twice called on supporters to agree to “die for something” or “give my life for this fight”.

“People on Twitter have posted pictures of my house,” said Ann Jacobs, chairman of the Wisconsin Election Commission, who alerted her neighbors and police to the constant threats. She said another message mentioned her children and said, “I heard you will have a crowd of patriots showing up at your doorstep.

Mr Trump himself has reached out to many Republican state officials, urging them to help him overthrow the election he clearly lost. He has subjected others to repeated public humiliation, lambasting governors for taking action they are not legally authorized to take to keep Mr. Trump in power.

But in the absence of a single significant victory in his dozens of lawsuits – and with a key loss pronounced Tuesday by the Supreme Court – the president’s crusade is now as much a battle against the electoral process itself, which he seeks to cast doubt on freedom and fairness. elections and undermine Joseph R. Biden Jr. before taking the oath.

“There is long-term damage when this type of behavior is normalized,” said Jeff Flake, a former Republican senator from Arizona. on Twitter. “This is not normal, and elected Republicans must speak out against it.”

Last week, a senior Republican election official in Georgia, Gabriel Sterling, pleaded with the president to stop attacking the voting process in the state, saying it had prompted threats against officials and poll workers.

Tuesday’s procedural deadline, known as the Safe Harbor, serves as a sort of guarantee that Congress must count the list of certified voters by the deadline, and acts as an accelerator to resolve any outstanding election disputes. . It also likely limits other court challenges to halt or halt the official certification of electoral votes Mr. Biden needs to claim the presidency.

The president, however, dismissed the date as trivial, saying on Tuesday that the real deadline is Jan.6 when Congress meets to approve the certification.

Many Republican leaders in critical rotating states stand behind the president’s false narrative, unwilling to contradict his claims. Along with the president, their position further convinces tens of millions of Americans that the electoral process is too corroded to legitimately hand over the presidency to anyone whose name is not Trump.

These supporters have started flooding the voicemail messages, cell phones and inboxes of dozens of elected officials across the country with messages of anger and threats, as well as countless officials who run local elections. The tenor appeared to become more menacing as Mr. Trump’s efforts seemed even more unlikely, some officials said.

“They are getting angrier and getting emails all the time, all hours of the day and night,” said Jennifer O’Mara, a representative for the Democratic state in Pennsylvania. She said her staff had faced threats, as had her fellow Republicans. “Lots of calls say we won’t forget.”

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said she had just finished putting up Christmas decorations with her 4-year-old son when she heard dozens of Trump supporters screaming outside her house. Some chanted “Stop the Steal” and demanded an audit of Michigan election results, which showed Mr. Biden won by about 154,000 votes.

“Since the President first tweeted me and every time there is an additional attempt to spread false information, you see an increase in threats,” Ms. Benson said in an interview on Tuesday. “And now, apparently, they’re outside my house, in the dark of the night, in this very private and quiet residential area. We not only care about the safety of my family, but also of my neighbors.

“This difficult and confrontational time we find ourselves in, the only way out is for elected officials on both sides of the aisle to condemn what is happening.

Malcolm Kenyatta, a representative for the Democratic state of Pennsylvania, said he receives dozens of emails every day. “It’s a little more pronounced when you’re black and queer like me, that they go down the parrot rabbit hole all the meanness and vitriolic that we see all the time from the president,” he said. .

He said that a person created a fake email address under their own name and then sent him profane threats.

Darrin Camilleri, a representative for the Democratic State of Michigan, said he had received an email saying, “Be ready for your last meal,” and another saying, “We can’t wait to bring back some platoons. ‘execution.”

Mr Camilleri said his parents were also receiving calls of harassment and threats. “We have sent over 20 death threats to House sergeants for review,” he said.

The Safe Harbor deadline almost guarantees that Mr. Biden will receive the 270 electoral college votes he needs to win the presidency, and will likely end with 306, the same total Mr. Trump won in 2016 (two however defected). While Congress determines which states meet the Safe Harbor deadline, it has traditionally been considered met when a state certifies its votes.

As of Monday, all states except one – Hawaii – had certified their elections.

While the Safe Harbor deadline is technically about the relationship between states and Congress, it also largely protects states that have certified their election results from court challenges.

“It plays into the litigation because the courts are aware of this deadline and want to give this advantage to the states, so they are doing their best to try to comply,” said Richard L. Hasen, electoral law expert. at the University of California, Irvine.

But despite more than a century of precedent, the president’s allies continue to file baseless lawsuits seeking to overturn the election. On Tuesday, the Texas attorney general filed a bold Supreme Court lawsuit against four other states – Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia – with more allegations of election irregularities and no evidence to back them up.

Texas has asked judges to put its case on an unusually fast track, but the court has acted with measured deliberation in considering similar claims and may defer consideration of whether to hear the lawsuit until that it cannot have any practical impact.

And Republican legal efforts suffered another loss Tuesday afternoon, when the Supreme Court rejected a request by Republicans in Pennsylvania to overturn the state’s election results.

There were no dissenting opinions.

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New York billboards with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner draw a threatening letter.

A lawyer for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner threatened on Friday to take legal action against the Lincoln Project, a super PAC made up of anti-Trump conservatives, unless the group remove a pair of large billboards from Times Square in Manhattan.

One of the billboards shows a smiling Mrs. Trump, the president’s eldest daughter, gesturing to national and state counts of coronavirus deaths.

Another features a smiling photo of her husband, Mr. Kushner, alongside a quote saying New Yorkers “are going to suffer and this is their problem.” Below the quote is a series of body bags.

The quote is from a Vanity Fair article published in September on Mr Kushner’s role in the federal response to the coronavirus. The article claims Mr Kushner accused Governor Andrew Cuomo of not ‘hammering the phones hard enough’ for coronavirus protective gear for New York City, then added: ‘His people are going to suffer and this is their problem. “

The threatening letter Marc E. Kasowitz, a New York attorney who represents the couple and has worked for President Trump in the past, called the ads malicious and defamatory.

“Of course, Mr. Kushner never made such a statement; Ms. Trump has never made such a move, and Project Lincoln’s claim that they did is an outrageous and shameful libel, ”the letter from Mr. Kasowitz read. “If these signs are not immediately removed, we will sue you for what will undoubtedly be huge compensatory and punitive damages.”

The Lincoln Project tweeted the letter Friday night, with a declaration who promised to leave the billboards in place.

“Jared and Ivanka have always been out of touch bullies who never gave the slightest indication that they have any respect for the American people,” the statement read in part. “We plan to show them the same level of respect.”

The Times Square billboards were erected this week on the corner of 44th Street and Broadway, as part of a series of advertisements the Lincoln Project ran across the country.