President Donald Trump’s rise has a consistent record at this point of bringing out the worst in people by even pretty clear-cut legal standards. The FBI has revealed in a new court filing that a Trump-supporting militia leader they recently arrested and brought a case against apparently bragged about training his minions to assassinate political figures like now former President Barack Obama, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and even prominent left-wing financier George Soros. The Trump-supporting group in question calls itself the “United Constitutional Patriots” and is led by Larry Hopkins.
The issue is far from alone in Hopkins’ and the UCP’s case. In recent weeks, they have taken to apprehending asylum-seeking families who arrive at the border and keeping them until U.S. authorities can take custody. Their planned two-month presence in the field has included help with the apprehension of some 5,600 migrants, according to the group’s own obviously biased estimations. To be clear, the majority of these families want to turn themselves in to begin with, since that’s the starting point for an asylum claims process. The implication that there’s even an opening for a group like the UCP let alone any appropriateness to the group’s methods whatsoever is ludicrous.
Ironically, the case that brought Hopkins in isn’t even directly related to his group’s recent activities. Instead, authorities have charged him as a convicted felon in unlawful possession of a firearm after a visit to his residence in late 2017 sparked by tips about his leadership of the militia turned up nine firearms of various sizes. Hopkins’ team said this week he planned to plead not guilty to the charge.
On a broader front, this week, New Mexico’s first-term Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered a state investigation into Hopkins’ group, asserting:
‘Menacing or threatening migrant families and asylum seekers is absolutely unacceptable and must cease.’
The group itself has shared a number of videos of its activities, which it unsurprisingly says are legal. The videos feature the armed, camouflage-wearing militia members “instructing migrant families to sit and wait until Border Patrol agents arrive,” in Reuters’ description. The outlet adds that the American Civil Liberties Union takes the group as a “fascist militia whose members illegally detain and kidnap migrants by impersonating law enforcement.”
These actions have a direct correlation to rhetoric from President Donald Trump — the two can not be disconnected. He has claimed that there is a security “crisis” at the border, without evidence in the form of crime rates or much of anything similar to back him up. To that end, he’s undertaken drastic steps ranging from deploying the U.S. Armed Forces to the border — although they really couldn’t do much — to signing a national emergency declaration in an effort to use subsequent executive power to redirect government funds towards a southern border wall.
UCP spokesman Jim Benvie makes the connection clear, saying that “the groups aim was to publicize the ‘border crisis'” and their videos — many of which he has a hand in — “prove… Trump’s claims of an ‘invasion’ and ‘crisis’ at the border.”
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