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Even before Paul Manafort left his home in Alexandria, Virginia, early Monday morning to turn himself in to the FBI, reporters were waiting at the DC federal courthouse where he would appear later in the day.

By 1:30 p.m. ET, when Manafort and his longtime business partner Rick Gates, were schedule for an initial appearance, a queue of reporters lined the entire hallway up to U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson’s courtroom, a short walk from where the grand jury that approved of their indictment has been meeting.

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Asked Monday about the explosive indictment of two former Trump campaign officials, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded with a familiar refrain, casting the pair as independent actors whose alleged misdeeds were entirely unrelated to the campaign.

“Today’s announcement has nothing to do with the President and nothing to do with the President’s campaign or campaign activity,” an indignant Sanders said at the daily press briefing of the fraud, money laundering and other counts against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and adviser Rick Gates.

This effort to minimize their relationship with the campaign belies the facts, particularly in Gates’ case. Manafort’s business partner remained a key player in Trumpworld long after Manafort himself was forced out of the campaign over concerns about his work abroad. Gates coordinated behind-the-scenes preparations for Trump’s inauguration and served on a pro-Trump super PAC in the early months of 2017.

And as the Miami Herald reported Monday, a domestic entity listed in the indictment as one of the corporations Manafort and Gates used to hide foreign earnings even accepted a total of $70,000 from the Republican National Committee for “political strategy services” it provided in coordination with the Trump campaign, suggesting the line between Gates’ work for the campaign and his illicit dealings wasn’t quite so bright.

Gates and Manafort’s professional histories are closely intertwined. From their mid-2000s lobbying work for a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party, the source of many of the millions they allegedly funneled through offshore bank accounts, to the time they joined the Trump campaign in the March 2016, Gates served as Manafort’s right-hand man.

The pair was brought on to help wrangle delegates in Trump’s favor at the Republican National Convention, and did so from a box in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena that the Daily Beast reported was nicknamed “The Eagle’s Nest”—a reference to a Nazi Party country home gifted to Adolf Hitler.

Manafort was abruptly forced from the campaign in August 2016 amid a flood of increasingly troubling news reports about his work for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russia former president of Ukraine. But Gates stayed on, and ended up developing closer ties to those in Trump’s inner circle. As the campaign said at the time, he became the RNC liaison, working from both the party’s and the Trump campaign’s headquarters. Bade LLC, a company listed in the indictment as an entity used to allegedly hide foreign funds that the Miami Herald reported has an address associated with Gates, received $70,000 in three installments from the RNC dated Sept. 2016, Oct. 2016 and Jan. 2017 for work done in coordination with the campaign.

After Election Day, real estate investor and close Trump pal Tom Barrack enlisted Gates to serve as one of his top deputies on the Presidential Inauguration Committee.

Gates subsequently became one of six campaign aides to found a nonprofit called “America First Policies” aimed at furthering Trump’s agenda; he was forced out in March over growing questions about the work he did with Manafort in Ukraine. The group further tried to distance itself from Gates on Monday, insisting his association was “informal and limited.”

As the Daily Beast reported, Gates’ Trump connections helped him land on his feet and even get inside the White House doors through a gig working directly for Barrack. The millionaire Trump donor would routinely bring Gates along when he stopped by the West Wing for meetings with the President, according to the Beast’s June report.

It was around this time that Gates’ name resurfaced in the news, including in a memo to the presidential transition requesting all documents related to Russia, Ukraine and a number of campaign advisers and officials, including him and Manafort.

Gates also agreed to be interviewed by the New York Times for a profile, in which he said it was “totally ridiculous and without merit” to allege any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and insisted all of his work for Ukraine was “done legally and with the approval of our lawyers.”

He was ultimately indicted for a wide-ranging money laundering conspiracy and multiple violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

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Paul Manafort financed a lavish lifestyle with money laundered through offshore accounts, with expenditures including more than $1.3 million in purchases at Beverly Hills and New York clothing stores and more than $1 million on antique rugs, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday. Manafort pled not guilty.

The 12-count indictment against Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates charges that more than $75 million “flowed through” those offshore accounts. It alleges Manafort took $18 million through the accounts, while Gates is accused of transferring $3 million from those accounts to ones he controlled.

The bulk of Manafort’s alleged years-long spending spree took the form of $12 million  in untaxed money he spent on luxury items and home improvements. The indictment spells out how Manafort would have one of his 15 offshore accounts—12 in Cyprus, two in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and one in the United Kingdom—wire in cash to each vendor for his purchases.

The list of Manafort’s lavish expenditures from his offshore accounts runs across eight of the indictment’s 31 pages. More than $5.4 million went to a “home improvement company” in the Hamptons from a mix of Cypriot entities, notably LOAV Advisors and Yiakora Ventures (An NBC News story about the Manafort’s debts to Russian oligarch and Putin confidant Oleg Deripaska said Manafort’s other companies were a primary influence over Yiakura’s business dealings).

Manafort’s expenditures at a Northern Virginia rug merchant, including a $100,000 “related” payment

 

Manafort, whose house in Water Mill, New York is among the assets prosecutors have proposed seizing, began spending from offshore accounts at that vendor in 2008 and continued, often several times a month, until August 2014. He also spent quite a bit on lawn care: a Hamptons-based landscaper lists expenditures totaling $164,740.

The indictment charges that he wired money to an Alexandria, Virginia rug merchant nine times, from as little as $7,400 to as much as $250,000.

Talking Points Memo called around Monday afternoon to rug merchants in Alexandria. At J&J Oriental, a salesperson promised a call back; at Domimex Antiques and Rugs, the proprietor said, “If you hear of anybody who has that kind of money to spend, please send them to me!”

TPM was not the first outlet to contact Art Underfoot, where the person who answered the phone said, “So many reporters have called me! I wish [Manafort] did! I am so poor!”

Not everyone was willing to chime in, however. A person who answered the phone at Herat Oriental told TPM “no comment” and hung up after a reporter identified himself.

Accounts associated with Manafort also made 34 transfers to an unnamed New York clothing store totaling nearly $850,000, and nine transfers to a Beverly Hills clothing store totaling $520,440. He patronized a Florida art gallery in 2011 and again in 2013, where his tab ran to $31,900.

A New York housekeeping service also earned $20,000 in three installments from accounts associated with Manafort.

Manafort’s expenditures at a single New York clothier, 1 of 2
Manafort’s expenditures at a single New York clothier, 2 of 2

The satirical commentary on Twitter was swift:

This post has been updated.

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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and another former Trump aide, Rick Gates, have been accused of setting up a lobbying scheme on behalf of a pro-Russian Ukrainian leader that concealed the ties the effort had to his political party.

The allegations come in the bombshell federal indictment in Washington, D.C., made public Monday as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The claims made Monday are not specifically related to the 2016 election; rather, they largely focus on Manafort’s and Gates’ activities before joining the Trump campaign. Among the allegations is that they did not properly disclose the lobbying work under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a law that is almost never used to bring criminal cases.

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One cornerstone of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s elaborate alleged tax evasion scheme was his use of offshore bank accounts to purchase luxury real estate properties and subsequently take out cash mortgages on them, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday.

The lucrative, multi-state scheme allowed Manafort, who was hit with 12 felony counts including fraud, “to have the benefits of liquid income without paying taxes on it,” per the indictment.

The 31-page document details a years-long circular arrangement in which the longtime GOP operative allegedly would use the funds from one mortgage to fund his next real estate project and keep his head above water. It also alleges that Manafort lied to banks about the terms of these loans so that he then could receive more money at more favorable rates than he would’ve received otherwise.

Above: Manafort made these wire transfers from accounts in Cyprus towards purchasing real estate.

In one instance, Manafort allegedly funneled $2,850,000 in cash from an entity he owned in Cyprus to purchase a condominium in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, which he rented out for thousands of dollars a week through Airbnb and other rental companies. Because he could get a bigger loan on the mortgage he applied for if he used the property as a residence rather than a rental, he allegedly falsely told the bank that lended to him that his daughter and then-son-in-law lived there. He allegedly directed the son-in-law and his business partner, Rick Gates, to assist with this cover-up, and ultimately received a loan for $3,185,000 (Gates was indicted on 11 counts alongside Manafort).

Manafort also allegedly funneled $3 million in cash from an entity in Cyprus to purchase a brownstone in the posh Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn and then set about renovations that would convert the building from a multi- to a single-family home. A bank promised more money for “construction loans” that were to be spent on renovations that would make the property more valuable, according to the indictment. Though Manafort ultimately received a $5 million loan after promising the bank he would use $1,400,000 of it solely for construction, he “never intended to limit use of the process to construction” as the contracts required, per the indictment.

He allegedly wrote to his tax preparer weeks before receiving those funds that the  influx of cash would allow him to pay off a separate mortgage in full, and Manafort ultimately used hundreds of thousands of dollars from the construction loan to make a down payment on a separate property in California, according to the indictment.

The SoHo and Carroll Gardens properties are among four that the U.S. government said Manafort would be required to forfeit if he is convicted for his alleged crimes. Another apartment in Arlington, Virginia and his home in the Hamptons are also on that list.

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Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty earlier this month to making false statements to FBI agents about his contacts with Russian nationals that continued late into the summer before the 2016 election. The case was unsealed Monday.

Papadopoulos acknowledged in a statement of offense that he lied about those communications during a January 2017 interview with FBI agents, and that he subsequently “impeded the FBI’s ongoing investigation” into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

According to the statement, Papadopoulos was in regular contact with three individuals he believed to have high-level ties with the Kremlin from the time he came onboard as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign in March 2016 through at least August of that year, and he regularly informed other members of the Trump campaign about those communications.

One of those individuals was a London-based professor of diplomacy who claimed to have “substantial connections to Russian government officials,” including members of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and who told Papadopoulos that he learned on a trip to Moscow that the Russian government had obtained “dirt” and “thousands of emails” on Hillary Clinton.

He was arrested on July 27 upon landing at Dulles International Airport and has since “met with the Government on numerous occasion to provide information and answer questions,” according to the statement.

News of Papadopoulos’ cooperation with the U.S. government came the same day a 12-count federal indictment was unsealed against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner, Rick Gates, alleging a $75 million money-laundering conspiracy.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempted to distance Papadopolous from the campaign repeatedly during Monday’s press briefing, insisting he played an “extremely limited” role as a “volunteer.” He was one of five members of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team. 

According to the statement, Papadopoulos had lunch with the London-based professor and a woman he described in an email to the campaign supervisor and other members of the foreign policy team as “Putin’s niece” just three days after he came on board in March 2016. The purpose of the meeting, he wrote, was to “discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump.”

Papadopoulos continued to engage with the woman he believed to be Putin’s niece to try to organize a Trump campaign foreign policy trip to Russia, according to the statement. No such trip ultimately occurred.

It turns out that woman was not actually a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the statement notes. But that contact nevertheless set off a months-long exchange in which Papadopoulos tried to broker an in-person, off-the-record meeting between members of the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

He even made the pitch to Trump himself: according to the statement, Papadopoulos introduced himself at a March 2016 meeting with the GOP candidate by saying “he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between” Trump and Putin.

The professor later introduced Papadopoulos to a second foreign national with whom he exchanged a volley of emails. That individual repeatedly informed him that his contacts at Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) were “open for cooperation” with the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos forwarded one May 2016 email about this interest from the MFA to “three separate individuals who at the time were senior officials with the Campaign,” according to the statement.

As the Washington Post previously reported, one of those recipients was Manafort, who forwarded the message to Gates, who he brought with him onto the campaign.

“Let[’]s discuss,” the forwarded email read, as quoted in the statement. “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”

Despite that protestation, Papadopoulos’ back-channel maneuverings were applauded and even encouraged by some on the Trump campaign.

“Great work,” Papadopoulos was told by a “Campaign supervisor” after he informed that individual of his initial lunch regarding boosting Trump-Russia relations. Days before Manafort abruptly left the campaign over his work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party in August 2016, a campaign supervisor wrote Papadopoulos, “I would encourage you” to “make the trip if it is feasible,” according to the statement.

Papadopoulos subsequently admitted that he lied about the extent of his communications in his voluntary FBI interview in January in Chicago, in which he told agents he thought the professor was “BS’ing” about his ties to Russian nationals and was “a nothing.”

The former Trump aide had also falsely said that the professor told him the Russians had “thousands of emails” and “dirt” on Clinton before he ever joined the campaign; the professor actually told him about the emails in April 2016, after he’d been with the campaign for weeks.

At a second FBI interview in February, accompanied by his counsel, Papadopoulos said he would willingly “cooperate” with the probe. But according to the statement, he deleted his longtime Facebook account that he used to communicate with Russian nationals and that contained information that contradicted his statements to the FBI the very next day; a few days later, he stopped using his cell phone and acquired a new number, too.

Trump has not yet commented on Papadopoulos’ guilty plea, though he downplayed the indictment against Manafort and Gates in a pair of Monday morning tweets that said their indictments were unrelated to their work on his campaign.

“NO COLLUSION!” Trump blared.

The Papadopoulos plea, however, touches directly on the inner workings of the President’s campaign.

Read Papadopoulos’ statement of offense below:

This post has been updated.

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Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates were hit with a 12-count indictment unsealed Monday that alleges a wide-ranging money laundering conspiracy and multiple violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Both will plead not guilty.

The charges focus not on collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government but on Manafort’s own alleged money laundering activities, which the indictment says personally netted him $18 million and Gates $3 million. According to the indictment, the money in question came from under-the-table lobbying activities on behalf of Ukraine’s Party of Regions, the party of former president Victor Yanukovych. The two men held offshore accounts that allegedly handled more than $75 million over the nine years covered by the charges.

Manafort and Gates were each indicted on one count of conspiracy against the U.S., one count of conspiracy to launder money, one count of acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, one count of making a false and misleading FARA statement and a separate count of making a false statement. Manafort was also indicted on four counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, while Gates was indicted on three counts of the same.

The indictment charges that Manafort “represented falsely that he did not have authority over any foreign bank accounts,” and, in a complicated tax dodge, Manafort “laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts,” depriving the U.S. of tax revenue, according to the indictment.

It also alleges that Manafort, who was not registered as a foreign agent, took steps to “develop a false and misleading cover story” that would conceal his work for the Party of Regions in order to distance himself from the Government of Ukraine.

In the indictment, the government proposes seizing four of Manafort’s real estate properties—three in New York and one in Arlington, Virginia—as well as his life insurance policy.

This post has been updated.

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Dane Boente, one of the most powerful U.S. attorneys in the country who has also served as a top official in President Trump’s Justice Department, is stepping down, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

As U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Boente has overseen a number of key investigations and prosecutions, and the office has been involved in the federal Russian election meddling investigation. A number of national security agencies sit in the Eastern District, putting his office at the center of many terrorism cases. Boente is also the acting assistant attorney general of the National Security Division of the Justice Department.

After Sally Yates was fired from her role as acting Attorney General for refusing to defend Trump’s travel ban, Boente served in that role temporarily as well. He also served as acting deputy attorney general in the early days of the Trump administration.

According to the Post’s report, he will not leave that until the official Trump’s pick for  assistant attorney general of the National Security Division, John C. Demers, is confirmed.  Trump has not yet nominated someone to succeed Boente as U.S. Attorney the Eastern District of Virginia.

Trump has reportedly been interviewing personally potential U.S. attorney nominees for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, both of which are also conducting investigations into Trump associates. For the President to get personally involved in that interview process is very uncommon, and has attracted criticism from Democrats.

 

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Former national security adviser Michael Flynn wasn’t the only Trump associate pursuing a sketchy, lucrative deal to tarnish the reputation of a U.S.-based cleric loathed by Turkey’s government during the thick of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Former CIA director James Woolsey did so, too, asking Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin for $10 million to carry out a lobbying and public relations campaign targeting Fethullah Gulen, Reuters reported Thursday.

This is where things get weird. Woolsey was a member of Flynn’s firm, the Flynn Intel Group, and sat in on a Sept. 19, 2016 meeting with Alptekin to discuss how best to carry out its $600,000 contract to smear Gulen, which the two parties had entered into in August. The very next day, Woolsey held his own lunch meeting with Alptekin and his associate Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, where he asked for a much higher price to use his Washington, D.C. connections to help turn U.S. government sentiment against Gulen.

Woolsey’s apparent effort to circumvent Flynn placed two of GOP nominee Trump’s top national security advisers in contact with Turkish interests on a matter of high interest to Turkey: U.S. policy toward Gulen. The Turkish government badly wants Gulen extradited, which the U.S. has thus far refused to do.

Shortly after being forced out of the White House for allegedly failing to disclose the extent of his communications with Russian officials, Flynn and his firm in March retroactively registered as foreign agents for their work on the Turkey project. In the Justice Department filing, Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, allowed that it “could be construed to have principally benefited the republic of Turkey.” That contract is one of many threads that federal and congressional investigators are looking into as part of their overarching probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

In an email memo seen by Reuters, Woolsey and his wife, Nancye Miller, offered to “draw attention to” the central role that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes Gulen, who is based in Pennsylvania, played in orchestrating a failed July 2016 coup in Turkey.

A spokesman for Woolsey and Miller told the publication that the couple did hold the Sept. 20 lunch meeting at New York’s Peninsula Hotel but that it was “unremarkable” and the discussion did not focus on Gulen.

Alptekin had a different story, telling Reuters that the pitch did focus on the cleric and that he ultimately elected to keep his contract with Flynn Intel Group rather than going with Woolsey’s plan.

Woolsey went public earlier this year with a stunning account of the Sept. 19 meeting, claiming that he heard Flynn, Alptekin and Turkey’s energy and finance ministers discussing secretly spiriting Gulen out of the country “in the dead of night.”

Flynn has denied this version of events, and Alptekin told Reuters it was “fiction” and “all the more astounding” given Woolsey’s own efforts to obtain his business at the Sept. 20 meeting.

Flynn Intel Group is one layer of the connective tissue binding these disparate players. Another is the Nowruz Commission, a D.C. non-profit run by Flynn’s former business partner at the now-defunct Flynn Intel Group, Bijan Kian. Woolsey is an ambassador to the commission, while Alptekin serves as the commission’s vice chairman, a member of the board of directors and an ambassador representing Turkey. Flynn attended and spoke at a number of the commission’s annual events.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and various congressional committees are investigating Flynn’s work for foreign entities, including Turkey. Mueller’s team has reportedly looked into Kian, Flynn’s onetime partner, while Korkmaz, Alptekin’s associate, was recently subpoenaed by Mueller’s team.

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When a coalition of virulently anti-Semitic and white supremacist groups descend on two middle Tennessee towns Saturday for a day of “White Lives Matter” rallies, they say they will do so unarmed and with the intention of publicizing their views rather than clashing with counter-protesters.

But given the rash of violent incidents at recent white nationalist events and the rhetoric of some of the leading participants, civil rights groups and city leadership in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville are preparing for the worst.

“Look how much real violence and possibility for violence we’ve seen just in the last couple of events,” Heidi Beirich, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s intelligence project on extremism, told TPM.

Beirich described the groups involved in Saturday’s planned rallies as some of the most “hardcore” and “hardline” forces in the white nationalist movement, noting that one of the headliners, the neo-Confederate League of the South, has spent the last few years building up a “paramilitary force.”

“This isn’t the kind of soft racism of we want a white ethno-state,” Beirich said. “This is Hitlerian thinking.”

Scheduled speakers include the Traditionalist Worker Party’s Matthew Heimbach, white nationalist radio host Mike Enoch, League of the South president Michael Hill, and Vanguard America’s Dillon Hopper. A number of those organizations fly under the banner of the Nationalist Front, an umbrella group working to “unite pro-White organizations,” and several of those participants and groups are currently being sued by the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, for helping to spearhead August’s violent white nationalist rally there.

On optics, message, and openness to violence, these groups present a mask-off view that breaks from Richard Spencer and other figureheads of the so-called “alt-right,” who try to dress up their racist views by wearing three-piece suits and using terms like “identitarian” instead of “white nationalist.” The groups openly tout themselves as paramilitary organizations, with strict hierarchical command structures, that heavily arm themselves when permitted by state or local law.

The official event invitation put together by League of the South spokesman and white nationalist blogger Brad Griffin insists that this event will be different and allow them to “turn the page on Charlottesville.” Reminding participants that masks are forbidden by Tennessee law and that guns are “a legal liability,” Griffin argued that holding the event in a “red county in a red state without a Democrat governor” instead of a “shitlib” city like Charlottesville will reduce the chances of violent clashes with counter-protesters.

Police and local businesses have also taken steps to reduce opportunities for conflict. Law enforcement will cordon off the white nationalists from those who come out to rally against them, search those entering demonstration areas, and have released a list of prohibited items that includes firearms, flagpoles, and spray cans—some of the items that caused the most damage in Charlottesville. Many shop owners will simply shutter their stores, reducing the number of people on the sidewalks.

But the militaristic language is still present. The official invitation encourages each Nationalist Front organization to bring its own flag and “defensive” items, as well as follow its particular “dress code” (khakis are oddly popular in the movement). League of the South president Michael Hill issued a “directive” to his followers to turn out, while the Traditionalist Worker Party told its supporters that attendance “isn’t optional.”

Heimbach, that Traditionalist Worker Party’s founder, told TPM that the 200-300 participants he’s expecting won’t face much resistance because their followers “understand the importance of hierarchy, of organization” and their movement has a “large membership in Tennessee and in Appalachia in general.”

“It makes sense for us to hold our events where our people actually are,” he said.

The Volunteer State is, indeed, something of a hotbed for white nationalism. SPLC’s 2016 “Hate Map” found several small white nationalist groups headquartered in Tennessee, as well as Ku Klux Klan affiliates in nine locations including Murfreesboro. Tennessee state parks have been the site of a number of white nationalist conferences, including a recent summit organized by white supremacist website Stormfront.

Murfreesboro is almost 76 percent white, while Shelbyville’s white population hovers at around 62 percent. The state went solidly to President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

But the expectation that residents will welcome Saturday’s event with open arms elides some key nuances. In recent years, Shelbyville has seen its Latino population grow and witnessed an influx of Muslim Somali refugees—a demographic shift that these white nationalists have spoken out against forcefully. Counterprotesters are also expected to show up, with a number of events cropping up on Facebook. The Anti-Defamation League’s Carla Hill told TPM that anti-fascist organizers are expected to come up from bigger regional cities like Atlanta.

Tight security measures also don’t mean that violence can’t break out. Shortly after Richard Spencer’s heavily-policed event last week at the University of Florida, three of his supporters were arrested and charged with attempted homicide after one fired shots at a group of Spencer protesters. (Heimbach told TPM he finds it “highly unlikely” that the incident unfolded as police and local press reported, while the National Socialist Movement’s “chief of staff,” Butch Urban, said that their groups can’t be held responsible for “independents who come out to all these rallies.”)

Another possible point for disruption are the “flash mob demonstrations” that Heimbach said they’re planning to organize at as-of-yet undisclosed locations throughout the day, which he described as part of a “political activist blitzkrieg on middle Tennessee.”

Whether or not any violence actually breaks out, Saturday’s events are representative of a chilling new normal of mass anti-minority events regularly disrupting daily life.

As the SPLC’s Beirich put it: “We’ve got Nazis marching in cities in America threatening violence. That is a shocking thing in 2017.”

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