Home » Democrat calls for congressional leaders to denounce Trump loyalist’s ‘target list’ | US politics

Democrat calls for congressional leaders to denounce Trump loyalist’s ‘target list’ | US politics

by John Jefferson
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A senior Democrat called for congressional leaders to denounce a Trump loyalist’s claim to have compiled a “deep state target list”, of public figures to be detained if the former president returns to power next year.

“This is a deadly serious report,” Jamie Raskin, of Maryland, told Raw Story, regarding its extensive discoveries about Ivan Raiklin, a former US army reserve lieutenant colonel and US Defense Intelligence Agency employee the site said was seeking to enlist rightwing sheriffs while calling himself Donald Trump’s “future secretary of retribution”.

Raskin has spoken extensively of his own harrowing experiences on 6 January 2021, when Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol in an attempt to block certification of Joe Biden’s election win.

Nine deaths, about 1,300 arrests and hundreds of convictions are now linked to the attack.

Trump was impeached for inciting an insurrection but escaped conviction when Senate Republicans stayed loyal. Now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Trump leads Biden in polling and has made pardons for January 6 prisoners a key campaign promise.

In its report about Raiklin, Raw Story noted Trump’s words at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland last year, when he told supporters: “I am your warrior. I am your justice, and for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”

By his own description, in a video posted to X in May, Raiklin wants to implement that retribution with “‘live-streamed swatting raids’ against individuals on his ‘deep state target list’.”

The deep state conspiracy theory holds that a permanent government of bureaucrats and operatives exists to thwart Trump. The theory was popularised by Steve Bannon, the former Trump campaign chair and White House strategist now in prison for contempt of Congress over the January 6 investigation.

Bannon has said the deep state theory is “for nutcases”.

Nonetheless, Raw Story’s report about Raiklin’s plans contained chilling details.

According to the site, the target list Raiklin has circulated since January includes “Democratic and Republican elected officials; FBI and intelligence officials; members of the House January 6 committee; US Capitol police officers and civilian employees; witnesses in Trump’s two impeachment trials and the January 6 hearings; and journalists from publications ranging from CNN and the Washington Post to Reuters and Raw Story”.

Raiklin has described his plans in “in podcast interviews, multiple posts on X, a press conference and conversations with prominent far-right extremists”, Raw Story said, adding that he acknowledged but did not answer its questions.

Claiming to be being hounded, he told the site: “Look at my entire Deep State target list. That is the beginning. This is the scratching of the surface of who is going to be criminalised for their treason, OK?”

Citing public records requests, the site said Raiklin had pitched his plans to far-right sheriffs who met in Las Vegas in April, without take-up.

He has also “attempted to build relationships with conservative members of Congress”, the site said, efforts leading to Raiklin being seen sitting behind witnesses at “at least five House committee hearings over the past year”.

In a May podcast, Raw Story said, Raiklin said he had sent his “Deep State target list” to James Comer of Kentucky, chair of the oversight committee; Jim Jordan of Ohio, chair of the judiciary committee; and to the administration oversight committee, led by Barry Loudermilk of Georgia.

None of the congressmen responded to requests for comment, Raw Story said, adding that aides to Loudermilk and Comer said they were familiar with Raiklin.

Meanwhile, Raskin sought to sound alarm bells.

“A retired US military officer has drawn up a ‘deep state target list’ of public officials he considers traitors, along with our family members and staff,” Raskin said.

“His hit list is a vigilante death warrant for hundreds of Americans and a clear and present danger to the survival of American democracy and freedom.”

The Republican House speaker, Mike Johnson, and the Democratic Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, should “denounce this dangerous plot and repudiate threats of, and planning for, political violence from any quarter”, Raskin said.

“Bipartisan opposition to vigilante violence and assassination plots is essential for American government to continue.”

In its reporting, Raw Story also said Raiklin was linked to Michael Flynn, the retired general who was briefly national security adviser to Trump before emerging as a prominent figure on the Christian nationalist far right.

The site also described Raiklin’s involvement in Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election, through a memo claiming Mike Pence, then vice-president, could block electoral results, and via links to Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia extremist then a congresswoman-elect.

Raiklin was at the US Capitol on January 6. He has not been charged in relation to the attack. The Army reserve cleared him of wrongdoing.

The Trump campaign did not comment.

A spokesperson for the New York Times, employer of five journalists reportedly on Raiklin’s list, said: “The conspiracy theories underpinning this list are baseless, and the calls for targeted harassment are dangerous … In the event of any instances directed at our employees, the Times will work with law enforcement to prosecute those responsible.”

Max Stier, president and chief executive of the Partnership for Public Service, told Raw Story: “The idea that you would target anyone … on the basis of allegiance to the rule of law and the constitution is really scary.”

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