Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
The criminal case against a 26-year-old white supremacist caught tampering with the controls on an Amtrak train in late October has unfolded with notable quiet by the Department of Justice.
The man, Taylor Michael Wilson, of St. Charles, MO, was charged with terrorism by Jeff Sessions’ DOJ in court documents unsealed last week. But as the Huffington Post reported Monday evening, the DOJ didn’t do any of the things it normally does in such cases—like blasting out press releases or holding news conferences. The news only leaked out because a local reporter spotted the unsealed documents online.
It’s a departure for an administration that’s made national security a top priority—albeit one it’s largely tackled through mass deportations and a ban on immigration from majority-Muslim countries—but it’s not shocking when you remember that Donald Trump explicitly defended violent white supremacists who rallied in Charlottesville as “very fine people.”
The lack of fanfare also reflects a U.S. criminal code that renders domestic terrorism a second-tier crime compared to international terror offenses.
Wilson allegedly breached the secure area of an Amtrak train en route from Sacramento to St. Louis armed with a loaded gun and backup ammunition, and was discovered “playing with the controls” before he was subdued by Amtrak staff, according to the FBI. No one was hurt in the attempted attack. The unsealed court affidavit also said Wilson traveled with a neo-Nazi group to the “Unite the Right” rally last summer and had was building up a massive weapons stash, which he was storing along with extremist propaganda in a secret compartment behind his refrigerator.
- Top Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have reached out to Hillbilly Elergy author J.D. Vance about running for Senate in Ohio after the Republican candidate in the race withdrew last week. When he’s not projecting his white guilt onto the quaint lives of the downtrodden, Vance is a full-time venture capitalist working for teenage vampire Peter Thiel.
- Trump and his cabinet are “are quietly debating whether it’s possible to mount a limited military strike against North Korean sites without igniting an all-out war on the Korean Peninsula,” The Wall Street Journal reports. Wow.
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