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Donald Trump’s Rally Tweet Ahead of US Capitol Attack Was ‘Call to Arms’, US House Committee Says

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Members of right-wing militia groups and other supporters of Donald Trump staged the January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol after a tweet from the former president seen as a “call to arms,” lawmakers said Tuesday.

Representative Liz Cheney, vice chair of the House committee investigating the attack on Congress, meanwhile said that the 76-year-old Trump had recently attempted to contact a committee witness.

The witness, who was not identified, did not take the call from Trump and alerted their lawyer, Cheney said, adding that the committee has “supplied that information to the Department of Justice.”

During its seventh televised public hearing, the House committee made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans examined the impact of a tweet that Trump sent on December 19, 2020 urging his supporters to descend on Washington on January 6 for a rally he promised would be “wild.”

The tweet was sent a little more than an hour after Trump met at the White House with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, former general Mike Flynn, and Sidney Powell, another attorney, for a strategy meeting that one aide described as “unhinged.”

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Committee member Jamie Raskin said that Trump’s “1:42am tweet electrified and galvanized his supporters, especially the dangerous extremists in the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and other racist and white nationalist groups spoiling for a fight against the government.”

Members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers stormed Congress on January 6 along with thousands of other Trump loyalists in an attempt to block certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election victory, which Trump falsely claims was marred by fraud.

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Representative Stephanie Murphy, another committee member, said the tweet “served as a call to action, and in some cases as a call to arms, for many of president Trump’s most loyal supporters.”

The committee said two of Trump’s closest backers, Flynn and political consultant Roger Stone, had connections to the Oath Keepers.

‘Deliberate strategy’

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The committee also said the march to the Capitol was planned in advance but that Trump decided not to announce it until the speech he made to supporters on the morning of January 6 near the White House.

“The evidence confirms that this was not a spontaneous call to action, but rather was a deliberate strategy decided upon in advance by the president,” Murphy said.

Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified at a previous hearing that the president had intended to go to the Capitol himself but was prevented from doing so by Secret Service agents.

The committee is trying to determine whether Trump or his associates had a role in planning or encouraging the violent insurrection and has subpoenaed numerous advisors and aides to the former president.

It played the first videotaped excerpts on Tuesday from closed-door testimony last week by former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

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In his testimony, Cipollone said he agreed there was no evidence of significant election fraud and that Trump should have conceded to Biden.

The committee also heard from two witnesses, Jason Van Tatenhove, a former spokesman for the Oath Keepers, and Stephen Ayres, an Ohio man who joined the mob storming the Capitol.

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Van Tatenhove said the Oath Keepers were a “dangerous organisation” who believed their allegiance to Trump would give them “legitimacy” as a paramilitary outfit.

Ayres told the committee that he came to Washington because “the president got everybody riled up,” but that he no longer believed his claims that the election was “stolen.”

More than 850 arrests

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More than 850 people have been arrested in connection with the attack on Congress.

Five members of the Proud Boys were indicted in June on seditious conspiracy charges and 11 members of the Oath Keepers face the same charges, which carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The assault on the Capitol left at least five people dead and 140 police officers injured.

Trump was impeached for a historic second time by the House of Representatives after the riot – he was charged with inciting an insurrection – but was acquitted by the Senate.

In a statement Tuesday on the Truth Social platform, Trump, who has been hinting at running for the White House again in 2024, denounced the committee as “Political Hacks and Thugs.”

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“Have you seen them before?” he asked. “Yes, they are essentially the same lunatics that drove the Country ‘crazy’ with their lies and made up stories.”


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Instagram Story Time Limit Increased to 60 Seconds: Report

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Instagram is reportedly increasing the time limit for Instagram Stories to 60 seconds, from the earlier limit of 15 seconds. Previously, Instagram Stories that were longer than 15 seconds would be broken up into separate segments. The social media company is said to have begun testing the change with select users towards the end of last year. Earlier this month, Instagram rolled out parental supervision tools and Family Center in India. Meta had announced the parental supervision tools and the Family Center tool back in March. The company was recently slapped with EUR 405 million (roughly Rs. 3,200 crore) fine for violating strict European Union data privacy rules.

According to a recent report by TechCrunch, Instagram confirmed that it is increasing the time limit of Instagram stories to 60 seconds from the earlier limit of 15 seconds. Previously, if a user had posted a video longer than 15 seconds, it used to get broken up into smaller segments. This made the process of uploading videos to Instagram Stories more challenging, including tagging and mentioning other users.

As mentioned earlier, Instagram is said to have begun testing the new change with select users towards the end of last year.

Earlier this month, Instagram also rolled out parental supervision tools and Family Center in India. The Family Center is a place for parents and guardians to access supervision tools and resources from leading experts. These tools will let them see the screen time spent by their kids on Instagram and impose time limits. The new parental controls are part of Meta’s attempts to protect children who actively use its social media apps.

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Instagram was recently slapped with a EUR 405 million (roughly Rs. 3,200 crore) fine for violating strict European Union data privacy rules. The Meta-owned social media platform was found mishandling the personal information of teenagers. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission’s investigation revealed that Instagram displayed the personal information of users between the age of 13 and 17 years. Instagram’s parent Meta said it disagrees with the way the fine was calculated and has expressed its desire to appeal the fine imposed by the regulator.

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Elon Musk, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal Said to Postpone Depositions Ahead of Upcoming Trial

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk won a reprieve from questioning by Twitter lawyers Monday, according to several press reports. The billionaire had been scheduled to give a deposition in his high-stakes court fight with Twitter over whether he has to follow through with his agreement to buy the social platform for $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,37,465 crore).

Instead, Musk’s questioning was postponed to a future date. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who was also scheduled to face Musk lawyers on Monday, likewise postponed his deposition, according to a person who was briefed on the matter.

The Musk postponement was reported by Bloomberg, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, all of which attributed the information to anonymous sources.

News of the postponements fueled a brief rally in Twitter shares, which jumped 5.4 percent to $43.03 (roughly Rs. 3,500), apparently on hopes of a settlement in the case. That enthusiasm waned later in the day. Twitter shares closed Monday at $41.58 (roughly Rs. 3,300), eight cents higher than they opened.

Court watchers said that such postponements are not unusual ahead of major pretrial hearings. A hearing on several significant pretrial motions is scheduled for Tuesday.

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Both men were expected to answer questions posed by opposing lawyers ahead of an October trial that will determine who is at fault for the seeming collapse of Musk’s Twitter bid, not to mention who owes whom large sums of money as a result. The trial is set to begin October 17 in Delaware Chancery Court, where it’s scheduled to last just five days.

Musk, the world’s richest man, agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 (roughly Rs. 4,180) a share and vowing to loosen the company’s policing of content and to root out fake accounts. In July, he attempted to back out of the deal, leveling a number of charges at Twitter as justification for his action.

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Twitter subsequently sued Musk to force him to complete the acquisition.


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WhatsApp Call Links Support Rolling Out, 32-Member Group Video Call Testing Also Begins

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WhatsApp on Monday announced that it will roll out Call Links later this week.

By Gadgets 360 Staff | Updated: 26 September 2022 18:33 IST

WhatsApp Call Links Support Rolling Out, 32-Member Group Video Call Testing Also Begins

WhatsApp on Monday announced that it will roll out Call Links to allow users to start a new call or join one with a single tap. The Meta-owned messaging service will make it easier for users to share call links when the feature rolls out later this week. WhatsApp will also begin testing group video calls for up to 32 people.

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