Nel's New Day

July 21, 2022

January 6, 2021 Hearing – July 21, 2022

The eighth hearing from the House January 6 investigative committee lasted 135 minutes and covered 187 minutes while supporters of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) followed following his orders to violently destroy the orderly process of announcing electoral votes for the next president of the United States, Joe Biden. For that entire time, congressional members, their staff, and others were hiding from the insurrectionists while the Capitol Police tried to protect them. The Secret Service, who also feared for their lives and made goodbye calls to their loved ones, smuggled VP Mike Pence out of the Capitol and into safety from the mob chanting “Hang Mike Pence” because he didn’t follow their demands.

Complainers about how the hearings’ information has already been in the news are, in part, correct, but witness testimony verifies what was formerly called hearsay. DDT attacked a Secret Service driver when he demanded he was going to the Capitol for the insurrection and had to be forced back to the White House where he sat in his dining room and watched Fox reporting on the insurrection. For almost three hours he refused to take any action, despite begging from family, friends, and advisers; as Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-OH) said, “He chose not to act.” DDT would not allow any photographs and legal record-keeping of his communications during that time. 

Committee Vice-chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) facilitated the session, and Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS), isolated after testing positive for COVID, spoke by video at the beginning and end of the hearing. Kinzinger and Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) led the questioning of witnesses Matthew Pottinger, former National Security Council official, and Sarah Matthews, DDT’s deputy white House press secretary. Matthews, a House GOP staffer, has already been attacked as a liar and a pawn for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on the House GOP account from the office of Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY). Jeremy Adler, one of Cheney’s top aide, shamed Stefanik’s team because Matthews is “doing her patriotic duty.” The tweet was then deleted. A second tweet calling tonight’s hearing “heresy,” perhaps meaning hearsay, was also deleted.

Clips at the beginning and end of the hearing play speeches immediately after January 6 by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) given on their chamber floors. McCarthy said, “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters” because he didn’t act “immediately.” McConnell said, “It was obvious that only President Trump could end this” because people were acting on Trump’s behalf and blamed DDT for using false voter-fraud claims to inflame supporters.   

The committee revealed more hearings are planned for September after Congress returns from its August hiatus. More people are volunteering testimony to support the proof DDT’s dereliction of duty and violating his oath to protect the U.S. Constitution.

Showing DDT’s dereliction of duty, White House counsel Pat Cipollone gave a detailed timeline on DDT’s January 6 activities during the insurrection, beginning as early as 2:00 pm when Cipollone and several others pushed for a statement to call off rioters. After a long pause, he answered a question by adding that everyone in the White House wanted the insurrectionists to leave except DDT.

Outtakes of DDT’s videos to—reluctantly—stop the mob’s violence and his follow-up speech the next day demonstrate his refusal to include any mention of peace and vilification of the insurrectionists (which Republicans still call “tourists”). He also couldn’t say, “The election’s over.” DDT did not call any agency—not Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, or any other—for a response to the attack. That was left of to Pence while he was in hiding. Then White House chief of staff Mike Meadows told Gen. Mark A. Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to say that DDT had called him, not Pence, in an attempt to make him look as if he were in control. Earlier, DDT refused to take a call from the Pentagon that was seeking to “coordinate on the response to the attack.” Adviser Eric Herschman told Cipollone that “the president didn’t want anything done.”

DDT wasn’t through after the failed insurrection. His personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani made calls reinforcing support for the plan of overturning the election to such congressional members as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC), Josh Hawley (R-Mo), and Ted Cruz (R-TX). A voicemail for Tuberville laid out the scheme: “just slow [this hearing] down.”

DDT left his dining room for his White House residence at 6:27 pm on January 6 after his last tweet of the day, a love note to his followers:

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide victory is so unceremoniously, viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly, unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love and peace.”

The last thing DDT said on January 6 was “Mike Pence let me down.” Herschmann said everyone left the White House because they were “drained.”

At the Capitol, congressional members came out of hiding, resumed the electoral vote counting about 8:00 pm, and then finished their job at 3:41 am EST on January 7, 14 hours and 41 minutes after they started. The counting must be done in a session beginning son January 6 unless Congress passes a law changing it.

Senate staff had saved the paper Electoral College ballots when the chamber was evacuated because the mob was breaking into the building.

A lasting video of the eighth hearing is Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) running in terror through the halls and down steps. This was after he thrust his fist in the air in support of the protesters and adding fuel to the violence while he was behind the barricades.

Three days after the insurrection, texts from DDT’s campaign officials and loyalists Tim Murtaugh and Matthew Wolking show their disgust and rage with DDT when he didn’t even acknowledge the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick on the night of January 7. Wolking wrote, “Everything [DDT] said about supporting law enforcement was a lie.”

Viewers see the hearings as building a criminal case against DDT and his enablers of seditious conspiracies in overthrowing the government and forcibly opposing its authority. The DOJ can use the committee’s work. Just as important, however, is “to stop Trump’s continuing attack on American democracy,” according to Robert Reich who lists six ways through the hearings:

Be crystal clear that the continuing attempted coup is based on a lie through repeatedly playing DDT’s former AG Bill Barr stating:  

“I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations [of voter fraud], but they were made in such a sensational way that they obviously were influencing a lot of people, members of the public, that there was this systemic corruption in the system and that their votes didn’t count and that these machines controlled by somebody else were actually determining it, which was complete nonsense. And it was being laid out there, and I told them that it was—that it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that. And it was doing a grave disservice to the country.”

Showing the battle between democracy and authoritarian is non-partisan with all the GOP witnesses who worked for DDT, GOP legislators, GOP-appointed judges, GOP-elected state officials, etc. They are all citizens disgusted by and worried about DDT’s attempted coup.

Appealing to Republican lawmakers to stop supporting DDT’s continuing attempted coup in stressing oaths to defend the U.S. Constitution. 

Explaining how average people fell for DDT’s treachery with disastrous results with witnesses such as Stephen Ayers representing the ordinary “family man and a working man” who took part in the insurrection because he thought DDT wanted him there.  

Reminding people of their duties to democracy as Committee chair Thompson said in the seventh hearing:

“We settle our differences at the ballot box. Sometimes my choice prevails, sometimes yours does, but it’s that simple. We cast our votes. We count the votes. If something seems off with the results, we can challenge them in court, and then we accept the results. When you’re on the losing side, that doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it. And in the United States, there’s plenty you can do and say so. You can protest. You can organize. You can get ready for the next election to try to make sure your side has a better chance the next time the people settle their differences at the ballot box. But you can’t turn violent.”

Presenting DDT’s attempted coup as ongoing like Cheney did when she described DDT’s attempts at witness tampering.

The hearings are making a difference. Without them, DDT’s popularity would increase as people lack information and forget. Instead, the 57 percent of people say DDT has, at least, a good amount of blame for the January 6 insurrection, up from 53 percent six months ago. Half the people think DDT should be charged with crimes based on the evidence presented in the hearings. At least 58 percent of people in the U.S. are paying either a lot of attention (25 percent) or some attention (33 percent) to the hearings.

The drip, drip, drip accumulation about a corrosive DDT provided by the hearings is eroding support for him, shown in polling, focus groups, and fundraising. Part of DDT’s problem is that he won’t stop litigating the 2020 election, which some describe as “Trump fatigue.”

And new evidence will be back in September hearings!

 

June 16, 2022

January 6, 2021 Hearing – June 16, 2022

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 11:07 PM
Tags: , , ,

[Shooting, June 16: Two people are dead and another injured at a suburban Episcopalian church meeting outside Birmingham (AL).

[Update: Abbott’s baby formula plant at Sturgis (MI) has been reclosed because of flooding. Can Republicans blame President Joe Biden for the flood?]

The third hearing by the House January 6 investigative committee on June 16 focused on former VP Mike Pence: the developing strategy to reject Joe Biden’s electors for the presidency, Pence and his advisers’ eventual rejection of the theory, pressure by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to follow the theory, and the demand’s contribution to the insurrection and the endangerment of Pence’s life. Much of the information had already been made public, but the orderly presentation including video testimony from GOP officials clarified that most people integral to the scheme, including DDT’s personal lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, knew it was illegal. CNN has an excellent overview of the hearing highlights.

New information is Eastman’s email to Giuliani that he “should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works.” That comment indicates the existence of a “pardon list” and Eastman’s understanding of his personal liability. The DOJ is also criminally investigating the alternative elector selections to overturn Biden’s legal votes with a grand jury subpoenaing Giuliani and Eastman, with information about other pro-DDT lawyers including Jenna Ellis and Kenneth Chesebro who wrote memos supporting the elector scheme.

Committee members praised Pence, but the missing person from the hearing was Pence himself. He was considered a hero for not permitting “alternative electors,” meaning illegal ones at the January 6 vote and for saying, “I had no right to overturn the election.” Yet he has not taken up any requests to testify about the coup that threatened his life. During the hearing times, he will be in Washington, but he will attend the House Republican Study Committee, chaired by Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) who dismissed the committee’s work as “truly a political witch-hunt that was focused more on the Democrats’ obsession with Donald Trump than anything at all about Capitol security or investigating the events that led up to January 6.”

John Nichols writes about Pence’s political wish to do what is personally best for himself. Pence considered DDT’s idea for him to overturn the election and sought advice from former vice president Dan Quayle. Despite Quayle’s statement that Pence had “no flexibility” on following DDT, Pence kept pushing, hoping that Quayle might have a different answer. A career politician, Pence started campaigning for the 2024 presidential election months ago. John Nichols writes about Pence’s political wish to do what is personally best for himself:

“He wants to be seen by Trump critics as the patriot who stood up to the former president, and he wants to be seen by Trump allies as a loyal vice president who did almost everything the boss asked.”

Testimony before the investigative committee would force Pence “take a side,” and he won’t agree that DDT is a “crook” and his January 6 project is “an attempted coup.” Pence uses his ambition to make the decision to avoid telling the truth. Even the knowledge that DDT thought hanging him was “the right idea” will make him take a position.  

Weeks before the January 6, 2021 insurrection and three days before DDT told his followers to come to Washington, Pence told the highly conservative activist youth group Turning Point USA:

“We’re going to save America, and we’re never going to stop fighting to make America great again. You watch. I came to say here today to the men and women of Turning Point: Stay in the fight. Stay in the fight for election integrity.”

Turning Point’s founder, Charlie Kirk, was an organizer of the rally and march in Washington on January 6. Kirk bragged about “sending 80+ buses full of patriots to DC to fight for this president.” Pence watched Kirk carry through with his participation in the event.

Until the insurrection, Pence went along with DDT’s lies about the election. He remained silent regarding DDT’s falsehoods regarding the dangers of mail voting, about DDT’s false claims he could lose the election only if it were rigged, and DDT’s lies on the early morning of November 4 that he won the election. Pence said nothing when DDT said that Pence agreed with him that Pence could overturn the election by refusing legally-chosen presidential electors and never refuted DDT’s conspiracy theories about voter fraud. Pence had no objection to disenfranchising voters through DDT’s failed court challenges to mail-in ballots. If Pence had turned down the offer to overturn the election when he heard about it, the violence on January 6 might have been avoided.

Pence is also skipping the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Nashville where he was booed and called “traitor” last year. Both witnesses at June 16’s hearing, counsel Greg Jacobs and mentor Michael Luttig, spoke at length about the importance of their Christian belief. About any possible problem with DDT, Pence’s former aide Marc Short and Pence’s trip organizer in South Carolina and state senator Josh Kimbrell said Pence just doesn’t want to talk about the past as the former VP avoids saying anything about DDT. On the campaign trail, Pence praises the “Trump-Pence agenda” and criticizes Democrats and the media for their focus on January 6. Yet Pence has not spoken to DDT for over a year and refused invitations to visit Mar-a-Lago.

During Pence’s four years as DDT’s enabler, he spent every day obsequiously supporting the man in the White House. Proud of being a family man, Pence passionately praised DHS for separating children from parents at the southern border and lambasted any critics. He ignored a question about whether the separation was the “Christian thing to do.” Pence supported DDT in his blackmail scheme against Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to get dirt on Joe Biden. The VP supported DDT in all things—the Muslim ban, DDT during his impeachment and trial, the disaster from mismanagement of the COVID debacle, etc. In all Pence’s actions, officials asserted he was ignorant of wrong-doing, that he knew less than the public did.

Pence had one day of “heroism,” and now he’s back to trashing democracy in his attempt to become the president of the United States in his goal of turning it into a theocracy.

Last Monday, ratings for the second hearing were #1 for MSBC with 3 million watchers from 10:45 am to 12:51 pm. CNN (1.8 million viewers) came in second, and Fox (1 million viewers), which decided to show this hearing unlike the first one, was third.

Fox network analysis Brit Hume told “Special Report” host Bret Baier that the hearings damaging DDT’s reputation can be a favor for the GOP that believes it cannot win with DDT as its presidential candidate. Hume said Republicans are reluctant to push back at DDT but would appreciate the Democrats for doing their work for them. He said:

“They’re afraid of his supporters and don’t want to come out against him directly. But they’d like him to go away. If the effect of this committee is to make his possible candidacy go away, I think a great many Republicans would privately be very glad.”

The question remains about whether DDT was lying about a stolen election or if he refused to believe he actually lost. William Saletan wrote that “a delusional president is far more dangerous than a mendacious one.”

“The evidence actually points to a different conclusion: Trump wasn’t lying in the way that other presidents have done. He was simply impervious. He refused to accept unwelcome facts. And that degree of imperviousness, in a president, is much more dangerous than dishonesty.”

For four years, DDT was in charge of the world’s most powerful armed forces and the nation’s nuclear arsenal—and is willing to use violence to get his own way. Whenever anyone disagreed with DDT’s claim of a rigged election, he either switched to another subject or replaced them.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Chair Thompson called for anyone considering whether to cooperate with the investigation to reach out. Before the third hearing, DDT wrote, “I DEMAND EQUAL TIME,” referring to the hours of hearings on television. Thus far, he’s been quiet since the June 16 hearing.

The hearings are helping DDT’s Twitteresque “Truth Social” that has increased to 3.27 million users but far short of the 80 million he had on Twitter when he was banned in January 2021 “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” after the attack on the Capitol. After this morning’s hearing, the DOJ complained that the lack of access to transcripts from the investigation is hampering their prosecutions. Prosecutors filed a letter in court as part of their agreement to push back the Proud Boys’ defense to December. Defense attorneys also complain that the committee’s releases of its investigation is unfair to their clients and demand access to all records.

The committee responded that the investigation is ongoing and will continue until a final report is released later this year. Members are also concerned about the DOJ’s slow action to pursue cases against DDT and his inner circle. The agency declined to prosecute former chief of staff Mark Meadows and aide Dan Scavino for defying the committee’s subpoenas.

June 9, 2022

January 6, 2021 Hearing – June 9, 2022

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 11:41 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Tonight was the first of six House hearings about January 6 insurrection, in which hundreds of supporters of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) stormed the U.S. Capitol. Before the hearing, DDT called it “the greatest movement in the history of our Country.” DDT wrote, “The Unselect Committee didn’t spend one minute studying the reason that people went to Washington, D.C…” Those watching tonight’s hearing saw a video segment in which a number of DDT’s supporters said they only did it because he asked them to go attack the Capitol. He also accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of rejecting his offer of 20,000 National Guardsmen, another lie refuted tonight by the House investigative committee’s reporting. DDT also ranted about the “RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA HOAX” which the country’s president Vladimir Putin will undoubtedly play on his state television.

After the focus on violence and the insurrectionist plot, orchestrated by DDT, outlined in the first hearing, other hearings will describe the strategy of navigating the plot, the use of bogus electors in key battleground states, and DDT’s personal conduct in the White House on the day of the insurrection.

A GOP counteroffensive is being led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA), Chair of the House GOP Conference Elise Stefanik (NY), and Jim Jordan (OH), who is still refusing to appear before the investigative committee after receiving a subpoena. Behind the scenes, DDT’s former political director and current chair of the Conservative PAC Matt Schlapp is in charge. They plan a continuation of the “big lie” conspiracy theories and false arguments in court battles for evading congressional subpoenas for their records and testimonies.

House members McCarthy, Jordan, Mo Brooks (AL), Andy Biggs (AZ), and Scott Perry (PA) have all refused subpoenas from the select committee. All plan to defend DDT with the fake argument that the committee is illegally empowered because it was not properly formed, an argument refuted by all the court rulings, including that of the U.S. Supreme Court. The select committee has been recognized not only as a valid legislative body but also as a properly formed one thanks to its binding resolution that was afforded the protocols necessary before a final vote in the full House of Representatives was held.

The GOP “strategy memo” to defend themselves includes the messages that “Democrats are the real election deniers” and that “Trump’s requests” this month to his “surrogates” should shape coverage on friendly media networks. Fox network is so friendly that it refuses to show the hearings to its two million viewers, unlike five major networks, but Tucker Carlson spent an full hour with ads, spewing lies. In the weeks after the 2020 election, Fox programming cast doubt on the election result “nearly 800 times,” according to Media Matters. Ironically, some of Fox hosts had called DDT on January 6, 2021, asking him to call off his terrorist supporters. To distract his watchers from the hearings, Fox’s Jesse Watters spent seven minutes falsely accusing President Biden and other top Democrats of leading a conspiracy to shoot Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his home.

Distraction may be difficult through the summer filled with insurrection events. In addition to the hearings throughout June, Steve Bannon goes on trial in July for his contempt charge in refusing a subpoena, and the Proud boys and Oath Keepers face seditious conspiracy charges and other allegations in July and September, respectively.

GOP Reps. Liz Cheney (WY) and Adam Kinzinger (IL) have Republican company. Former Rep. Denver Riggleman (VA), a committee adviser, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper he appreciated the lack of “partisan whining and screaming” on the investigative committee.  

At least one Republican, the former Representative for Virginia, Denver Riggleman, has thrown his support behind the hearings and then some. Riggleman has been an adviser to the committee for several months.

Tonight’s reports:

  • DDT endorsed the hanging of his VP Mike Pence while the mob attacked the Capitol.
  • Because DDT wanted the attack to continue, Pence had to call for help.
  • DDT’s Cabinet members discussed removing him from office with the 25th Amendment after the insurrection.
  • DDT “was at the center of this conspiracy” (Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-MS) and “lit the fuse” for the attack (Rep. Liz Cheney, R-WY).
  • Officer Caroline Edwards, one of over 150 officers injured in the rampage, testified about her attack, called it a “war scene.”
  • DDT and his advisers “knew that he had in fact lost the election” but “spread false and fraudulent information to convince huge portions of the U.S. population that fraud had stolen the election.”
  • Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), among several other unnamed Republicans, asked for a presidential pardon after January 6.
  • Then-AG Bill Barr knew DDT’s claims were false and told him that; Ivanka Trump said she respected Barr and accepted what he said.
  • Documentary filmmaker Nick Quested provided extensive video of the Proud Boys, taken while he was embedded with them during the planning and the attack.
  • The Proud Boys didn’t attend DDT’s speech before the insurrection but instead headed to the Capitol to surveil the area for law enforcement and start the attack.
  • Insurrectionists attributed their actions to the lies and urging of DDT, shown in a video compilation.
  • Jason Miller testified a campaign aide told DDT after the election he was losing the election in a preview of the next hearing.

The first hearing expertly wove together elements of over 1,000 people interviewed, thousands of hours of testimony, and tens of thousands of documents. Beginning speeches by Chair Thompson and Vice-Chair Cheney were engrossing, and video segments of interviews, including those from Barr to Ivanka Trump, supplied additional information. Both live witnesses, police officer Edwards and filmmaker Quested, were well-prepared, and video footage enhanced their testimonies. The two hours moved rapidly through the tragedy of the angry violence perpetrated on democracy.

The remaining hearings are on June 13 (Monday), June 15 (Wednesday), June 16 (Thursday), and June 21 (Tuesday) with the final one at 8:00 pm on June 23. Cheney reminded the audience that “our investigation is still ongoing.” New evidence may be revealed even during June while the hearings are underway. A summary of the past 11 months of investigation, complete with a Who’s-Who of those involved in the probe.

Mike Pence could be even more center in the investigation than DDT because he was in the middle of the planning along with his chief of staff Marc Short and counsel Greg Jacobs while attorney John Eastman presented his plan to overturn the election. Jacob and Short were also present when the Senate parliamentarian told Pence that he could not refuse to complete the tally.

Jacob, who plans to testify at the June 16 hearing, wrote that Eastman’s plan was “snake oil … wrapped in the guise of a lawyer’s advice.” He also helped Pence revise the script Pence used to preside over Congress on January 6 to signal his intent to reject Eastman’s plan. Short was so worried about Eastman’s and DDT’s plans that he warned the Secret Service on January 5, 2021, about a potential threat to Pence. He wasn’t specific about the concern, but it came from his assessment that DDT would turn against Pence. Short was with Pence on January 6 when DDT’s supporters forced them to evacuate from the Capitol to a safe location.

Pence got a whitewashing in Jonathan Last’s Atlantic article, “Mike Pence Is an American Hero.” Heroism to the Republican Last is not overturning an election, a low bar according to Jack Holmes. After four years of lying and covering for DDT, Pence developed a temporary backbone before supporting DDT. Last even wants Congress to name a building after him and President Joe Biden to give him the Medal of Freedom. Holmes wrote:

“Why must they put some respect on his name? Because he repeatedly did the absolute bare minimum we expect from anyone who holds elected office in this country—namely, that when they lose an election, they fucking leave.”

Just before the insurrection, Pence supported GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in runoff elections by claiming “doubts about the last election” and “voting irregularities.” He promised that “come this Wednesday, we’ll have our day in Congress. We’ll hear the evidence.” The “evidence” was that Loeffler and Perdue lost. He didn’t overturn the election, but he agreed with the “big lie” about election fraud. Pence’s claim was made in Georgia where DDT tried to intimidate the governor and secretary of state into stuffing the ballot box—election fraud—to make him win the state. That’s a crime.

Every accusation of “irregularity” was thrown out of court. DDT’s pick for attorney general Bill Barr said there was no election fraud. In Georgia, Pence the “hero,” was opposing a democracy reform bill that included allowing eligible people to vote in all states.

Pence’s history of lying and denying rights to women and LGBTQ people—over half the U.S. population—goes a long way back in his willingness to lie about abortion and his desire to block STIs with condoms because they are “too modern.” His refusal to allow a needle exchange while he was governor of Indiana caused a huge HIV outbreak in 2015, and his medieval attitudes cost his state tens of millions of dollars in business. A few more serious issues about Christian ideologue Mike Pence. He’s no hero, but he wants to be the next president. Scary.  

May 26, 2022

1/6 Insurrectist Probe Moves Forward

Recent tragic murders have given Republicans a distraction from the possible anti-abortion Supreme Court decision, the new tell-all books about Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), book banning, and all the other negative news about the Party of Trump. But the House has not stopped probing the insurrection on January 6, 2021. This news shows progress in holding people responsible.

The 4th Circuit Court ruled that insurrectionists against the U.S. government can be blocked from being elected to the federal legislative and executive branches. The decision is legally binding for only Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina—states ruled by the 4th Circuit, but it provides a precedent. This ruling overturns one by DDT-appointed Chief District Judge Richard E. Myers II for the Eastern District of North Carolina allowing Rep. Madison Cawthorn to continue his campaign. Cawthorn lost his primary, but the ruling can apply to him in the future and others such as these candidates who admitted taking part in the January 6 insurrection.

  • Derrick Van Orden (Wisconsin)
  • Annie Black (Nevada)
  • JR Majewski (Ohio)
  • Sandy Smith (North Carolina)
  • Gary Leffler (Iowa)
  • Ian Smith (New Jersey)

Cases have also been brought against Republicans Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), two Arizona representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, and Arizona state representative, Mark Finchem.

The Constitution blocks any insurrectionist or anyone giving “aid or comfort to the enemies, thereof” from being elected to the federal legislative and executive branches. The 14th Amendment clause bans participants in coups to overthrow the government from this election. The argument from Cawthorn’s lawyers was that the 1872 Amnesty Act applied only to the past by preventing Confederate insurrectionists from being elected to the U.S. government. The 4th Circuit disagreed.

In other January 6 news, the House investigative committee has scheduled public meetings in June to announce its findings. These sessions begin and end with prime-time hearings on June 9 and 23 with 10:00 am hearings on June 13, 25, 16, and 21. Meetings are scheduled to last between 1.5 and 2 hours in the evening and 2 and 2.5 hours in the morning.

Testimony about January 6 stated that DDT supported the chant to “hang Mike Pence!” Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said DDT complained about Pence being taken to safety. The allocation lacks verification, but it’s backed up by DDT’s anti-Pence tweet accusing him of treachery, and DDT did not reach out to Pence to check on his wellbeing. The two men have been estranged since January 6, and Pence has said he would run for president even if DDT also decided another go at the White House.

In the past nine months, DDT and his allies have filed 25 lawsuits to block the committee, but House members fought only four of them to narrow the focus. An early House win gave them a rich trove of documents from the National Archives. Cases also largely concentrated on Meadows, the Republican National Committee, and John Eastman, attorney architect of DDT’s final attempt to overturn the election, and a last-minute offensive to obtain more sensitive documents.

Key cases:

Trump v. Thompson: DDT tried to block the committee from obtaining his White House records but lost in a January Supreme Court ruling. The documents, including the White House “daily diary” of DDT’s movements and photographs from DDT’s official photographer, keep rolling in.

Eastman v. Thompson: A federal judge kept dismissing the lawyer’s attempt to block his emails from the committee and issued a ruling that Eastman and DDT probably engaged in a criminal conspiracy to overturn the election. From evidence at the hearings, the public found out about excerpts from depositions, and the committee will share more evidence this week.

Meadows v. Pelosi: This case revealed more deposition transcripts, including the text messages between Meadows and other people planning to overturn the election.

Republican National Committee v. Pelosi: Data from internal RNC documents could disclose the extent to which DDT’s fundraising lies were read after the 2020 presidential election and if those misrepresentations helped radicalize the insurrectionists on January 6. Earlier this month, a DDT-appointed judge ruled for the House committee. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals put that ruling on hold until mid-June. A decision overturning the judge’s ruling could be appealed to the full 11-member bench or the Supreme Court which would conceal the information until after public hearings.

Budowich v. Pelosi: In an accidental boon for the panel, the panel found his involvement in the January 6 rally finances through a search of his records from J.P. Morgan. A judge upheld the committee’s validity. The committee was searching for the rally’s source of funding, as much as $3 million with some of it from the heiress to the Publix supermarket chain, and the possibility that Budowich’s company is hiding information and funds about these donations. A judgment against Budowich would allow the government to take back the funds as a “fraudulent transfer.”

Rejects: The committee is now filing motions to dismiss less worthy lawsuits to them, including those filed by a founder of the rally Ali Alexander, the mother of a man entering the Capitol, and Eastman in a separate lawsuit. The panel ignored Phil Waldron, who claimed voting machine irregularities; Amy Harris, photographer tied to Proud Boys; Kelly Meggs, leader of the Oath Keepers; Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona GOP; and Alex Jones, pro-DDT broadcaster.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continues to protest against the committee’s requests to speak with GOP members and the subpoenas if they refuse to cooperate. He declared these subpoenas “unprecedented,” ignoring the fact that DDT’s insurrection are unprecedented. The request to Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) came after the discovery that the House member lied about not conducting a tour on January 5, 2021, the day before the attack on the Capitol. One of 147 Republicans voting to overturn the presidential election results, Loudermilk was communicating with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on January 6.

House Republicans threaten to release Capitol Police video to clear Loudermilk of conducting the tours, but they don’t have the footage. Obtaining the external drive could cost as much as $20,000. Capital Police said it has extensively cooperated with the committee and won’t release the footage “while their work is still pending.” Bipartisan members of the investigative group who saw the footage disagreed with the Republicans description showing “no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on.” Loudermilk said he did give a tour but only to a constituent family, about a dozen people “that we met at church.”

Reps. Scott Perry (PA) and Andy Biggs (AZ) formally objected to House subpoenas. Texts show Perry’s key role in reversing or delaying the election certification, sometimes with the excuse that China hacked Dominion voting machines, and strategizing ways to eliminate electoral votes in states DDT lost. Despite a law requiring records to be preserved for the archives, Meadows burned documents after a meeting with Perry, according to testimony from a former White House aide. Biggs participated in planning meetings at the White House and worked with Meadows to persuade state legislators to overturn the election.

After receiving his subpoena, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), allegedly part of the scheme to overturn Biden’s election, went from his “I have nothing to hide” about the insurrection to refusing cooperation until the committee turns over all the information they have on him. Jordan’s reputation of lying includes denial about being told about his athletes’ sexual abuse while he was assistant wrestling coach at the University of Ohio.

On January 6, 2022, the first anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, this article covered what was known at that time. The hearings will update it:

DDT inspired the attack: He seeded the attack with baseless claims that he continued, no matter the evidence. Then he invited people to attend the “big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild.”

DDT aides and supporters actively sought to overturn the election: The most loyal lieutenants such as former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliana and strategist Steve Bannon set up the plan to overturn the election from suites and rooms in the Willard Hotel with John Eastman guiding their work. Unfortunately for them, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was in charge of the congressional session to count electoral college votes.

The attack was violent: No matter how Republicans try to deny any insurrection, videos and photos depict the assaults and the damage, much of it with weapons intended to wound and possibly kill congressional members and Capitol Police. The images show that the “antifa” were not the insurrectionists and the event was not “staged.”

DDT took inadequate steps to calm the attackers: DDT watched the events unfold with no concern and did nothing for hours despite pleading from his family and other supporters. He even goaded on the insurrectionists by tweeting complaints about Pence.  

Many Republicans and Trump supporters, at least briefly, were appalled: Initially, private texts and public speeches from GOP leaders condemned the attack and DDT’s part in it, calling him responsible.

Capitol Hill security was deficient in part because of concerns about Trump: The National Guard wasn’t deployed in time to save the situation because of the fear that DDT invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act to declare martial law for his complete control of the U.S.

More details are here. In a month, people will hopefully know much more.

May 13, 2022

5th Circuit Denies 1st Amendment Rights, January 6 Investigation Broadens

With no explanation, two Fifth Circuit judges, one nominated by Ronald Reagan and the other by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), supported a new Texas law to control private business. The dissenting judge, appointed by George W. Bush, is considered a “liberal” compared to the rabidly right circuit court. Republicans retaliated against their misguided liberal bias perception of ”Big Tech” by forcing large social media companies to disseminate objectionable speech such as dangerous misinformation, foreign propaganda, and hateful expression and permitting anyone to file lawsuits combatting content moderation. These corporations have lost their First Amendment rights although H.B. 20 sponsors claim the legislation is vital to keep “West Coast oligarchs” from silencing “conservative viewpoints and ideas.”

The GOP permitted “smaller” conservative platforms such as Parler and Gab to keep their First Amendment rights, but large companies are even blocked from posting warnings on their own websites for subjects with violence, vulgarity, disinformation, etc. Targeted companies must also submit a great deal of information to the state about algorithms, curation, and account suspension. Twice each year they must also provide a “transparency report” with every “action” taken against “content.” Anytime a company “removes content,” it must present a complex process of notice and appeal. Another provision prevents companies from blocking spam on emails, allowing users to daily collect $25,000 for impeding “the transmission of an unsolicited or commercial electronic mail message.”

YouTube will be forced to accept neo-Nazi and KKK videos promoting racism; Twitter will have to accept ISIS fighters’ terrorist advocacy; and Facebook must allow Russian propaganda about Ukraine. Only illegal incitement and “unlawful” speech can be suppressed, a very small percentage of hateful or violent expression because even intimidation and promotion of illegal conduct are allowed under the First Amendment.

Currently, large platforms use automated editorial tools to remove billions of posts and comments every year. They lack resources to review and resolve each appeal, especially within the 14-day limit. Companies can stop monitoring content, but all complaints of “illegal content” must be assessed within 48 hours. And the law prevents social media companies from providing services in Texas.

The ruling is completely against the First Amendment rights guaranteed to social media companies, according to the Supreme Court, especially Citizens United which gave rights to almost unlimited political donations because of free speech. “Editorial control and judgment” is speech shielded by the Constitution even if it discriminates against a specific group. While on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Justice Brett Kavanaugh ruled that the government cannot “tell Twitter or YouTube what videos to post” or “tell Facebook or Google what content to favor.” Also, a government cannot force corporations to disclose information in an “unjustified or unduly burdensome” manner.

Last December, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman blocked the Texas law because social media platforms are not “common carriers” like telephone companies and postal services that “merely facilitate the transmission of speech of others.” Common carriers have far greater regulation because they don’t engage in expression and may hold monopoly power. Those carriers, however, don’t exercise editorial control. Pitman followed U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling in Florida on a similar law. Hinkle also ruled that penalizing content moderation violates Section 230, the federal law limiting platforms’ liability over their content.

Judge Edith Jones declared that the plaintiffs, websites, “are not websites.” Although appointed 37 years ago, she’s only 73 and should know better—especially if she’s going to rule on the subject. Judge Andrew Oldham worried that overturning H.B. 20 “would allow phone companies to kick off users.” He formerly clerked for Samuel Alito.

One choice for the tech companies is leaving Texas–except the law prevents them from doing that.

The new Texas ruling immediately lifted an injunction against the law without ruling on its merits, meaning that it can go into effect until future action. Plaintiffs NetChoice and CCIA filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court and asked for amicus briefs. They argue that H.B. 20 is unconstitutional, compelling private businesses to carry speech they would otherwise remove. Chris Marchese, counsel for NetChoice, said:

“The First Amendment prohibits Texas from forcing online platforms to host and promote foreign propaganda, pornography, pro-Nazi speech, and spam. Left standing, Texas HB 20 will turn the First Amendment on its head—to violate free speech, the government need only claim to be ‘protecting’ it.”

Marchese added:

“Texas HB 20 strips private online businesses of their speech rights, forbids them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote objectionable content.”

The request is for the Supreme Court to reinstate the injunction on the law while appeals work through the full Fifth Circuit. Without that happening tech giants such as Meta, YouTube, and Twitter will suffer “irreparable harm.” Justice Clarence Thomas has already said that telephone companies are just like “digital platforms” because they both operate on physical wires. He and the two judges ruling against the tech companies ignore the fact that telephone calls are private; social media messages are designed to be communicated to the world.

The last time the Supreme Court was asked to reinstate an injunction, its “shadow docket” refused to do so, leaving the egregious anti-choice law in place while it is adjudicated. Justice Samuel Alito, liaison to the Fifth Circuit court, is responsible for deciding whether to unilaterally rule or refer the case to the full court.

The Texas case could now be decided on the court’s shadow docket, through which it issues orders without hearing arguments. The decision of whether to take up the case in this way is now up to Justice Samuel Alito, who is assigned to the Fifth Circuit. He will decide whether to rule unilaterally or refer the case to the full court. If the court does take up the case, the decision could come within days.

Did I mention that the law mandates all the social media companies continue to do business in Texas?

The House investigation committee into January 6 insurrection and overturning the election keeps chugging along, and emails from John Eastman, a pet DDT lawyer, reveals more of the corruption. He urged Pennsylvania GOP legislators to recount the state’s vote and trash tens of thousands of absentee ballots to show DDT won. By doing this, legislators would have “some cover” in replacing Biden’s electors with those supporting DDT and overturn the election results. According to his suggestion, GOP legislators could just express a concern with the state’s absentee ballot procedures and use historical data to “discount each candidates’ totals by a prorated amount based on the absentee percentage those candidates otherwise received.” That leaves them “with a significant lead that would bolster the argument for the Legislature adopting a slate of Trump electors — perfectly within your authority to do anyway, but now bolstered by the untainted popular vote.” Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by over 80,000 votes.

The committee obtained Eastman’s emails from the University of Colorado where he was a visiting professor. On December 4, 2020, Eastman wrote Pennsylvania state Rep. Russ Diamond to change the language of his proposed resolution, hiding Eastman’s participation, and explained how to do. Later Eastman said that then-VP Mike Pence could merely refuse to count Biden’s electors on January 6, 2021. The House committee has been in court a number of times trying to get Eastman’s emails sent through another previous employer, Chapman University. 

The House investigative committee has subpoenaed five GOP members: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA), Jim Jordan (OH), Mo Brooks (AL), Andy Biggs (AZ), and Scott Perry (PA). Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said that they learned that these colleagues have relevant information on the January 6 attack “and the events leading up to it.” McCarthy had pulled all his nominations for the committee after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected Jordan.

The DOJ has opened a grand jury investigation into the classified documents that DDT took to Mar-a-Lago when he moved out of the White House and subpoenaed the documents from the National Archives.

In Georgia, fake GOP electors are cooperating with the criminal probe as prosecutors investigate DDT’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Fulton County DA Fani Willis is attempting to determine their connection with a broader, illegal plot to pressure election officials and overturn Biden’s win of over 11,000 votes. DDT has made his loss the basis for GOP primaries there, especially for governor and state secretary of state, and the incumbents running in the election, Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger wouldn’t give in to his begging.

After Vernon Jones, DDT’s endorsement for Georgia’s governor, quit, DDT moved to supporting David Perdue who lost his senate seat last year to Democrat Jon Ossoff. Perdue lost support of law enforcement when he denigrated the state troopers in an awkward attempt to blame Kemp, and DDT is growing disillusioned because Perdue came out 16 points below Kemp in the most recent poll. Thursday a judge dismissed Perdue’s lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results, because his evidence didn’t go beyond “speculation, conjecture, and paranoia.”

In a defiant action, DDT’s former VP, Mike Pence, will hold a rally with Kemp on May 23, the night before Georgia’s primary, with Kemp. Pence called his candidate, who refuses to support the lie of election fraud in a “stolen” election, “one of the most successful conservative governors in America.” Headed toward a presidential run, Pence also criticized DDT for admiring Russian President Vladimir Putin.

April 3, 2022

GOP Plans, Revenge; Cawthorn Sliding to Bottom

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) consistently refuses to indicate any plans if Republicans control Congress after the 2022 midterms, but his party members, eager for attention, keep going against his wishes. One of these approaches from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is investigating anything that Democrats have done whether it’s illegal or not. Dr. Anthony Fauci is at the top of Paul’s list; he said, “We’ll go after everyone one of his records … piece-by-piece.”

The GOP political game will certainly conduct non-stop probes into President Joe Biden, the southern border, the withdrawal of Afghanistan leaving little time for any legislation. (Maybe a bonus.) If re-elected, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) plans a thorough examination of Hunter Biden’s travels and activities. Other plans for GOP revenge include subpoenas for top Democrats, removal of them from committee assignments, elimination of big tech for cooperating with the committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Refusal to seat any of Biden’s judges. Impeachment of Biden “whether it’s justified or not,” according to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Part of the “revenge caucus,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) promised a “day of reckoning.” He will not only reinstate Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) but also take Democrats from their committees even if they didn’t commit the wrongs of Gosar and Greene. In an interview with Breitbart, McCarthy singled out Democratic representatives Ilhan Omar (MN), Adam Schiff (CA), and Eric Swalwell (CA). Last September, he told telecommunications and tech companies they would be “subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States” if they shared records with the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

After the House’s referral of DDT’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows for criminal contempt, Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) said:  

“Let the contempt resolutions and criminal referrals flow [as] freely and quickly as a river. Merrick Garland. Ron Klain. Hunter Biden. Chuck Dolan. Marc Elias. Andrew Weissmann. Alejandro Mayorkas. Let them come. This is the choice that is being made by the Democrats.”

Instead of attacking individuals, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) produced an elaborate 31-page plan he for a GOP platform, creating dissention with McConnell. Most of the media about the plan focuses on its tax increases for people in poverty so that they will have, wrote Scott, “skin in the game.” Scott continually denies about raising taxes, but it’s in black and white

Scott’s radical far-right demands have now been joined by one from presidential wannabe Mike Pence, DDT’s former VP in his “Freedom Agenda.” The 19-page policy platform contains three general categories with two dozen major points and a multitude of smaller points, all of them geared toward those opposed to “woke” or “wrong-think,” Pence’s language.

The section on election reform requires mandatory voter identification, “rare” and “very limited” mail-in ballots, and a ban on in-person voting earlier than ten days before the election. Other policies are school choice, controlling Big Tech, confronting China, protecting religious freedom, strengthening Israeli relationships, and ending federal funding for abortion “once and for all.” A “culture war” issue calls on GOP candidates and conservative leaders to “preserve and protect female athletic competition” by limiting sports events to athletes “who share their God-given gender.” He also wants new testing requirements for knowledge of America’s founding documents.

The “agenda” is filled with God references, beginning with a verse from Proverbs. The first item begins with “Honor the God-given worth and dignity of all people”—unless, of course, the religious disagree with how people see their “dignity.” The section, “Promote Patriotic Education,” bans the non-existent teaching of “critical race theory” and any affirmative action while encouraging parents to “monitor schools.” Yet it would “shield professionals from being fired for wrong-think” without defining “wrong-think.” No “politically favored energy sources” and no favoring energy technology with “resources from foreign countries, like minerals … to make the batteries for electric cars.” And the old DDT plan: “Eliminate at least two regulations for every new federal regulation.”

Pence is obviously running for president. He’s lying about President Joe Biden’s budget and tackled Scott by saying he doesn’t want to “increase the tax burden on the American people.” Unfortunately, Pence can’t run far enough to separate himself from DDT; he enabled the man in the Oval Office all the way, starting out with lying for DDT before Pence took his office.

At the last minute, Pence acted legally when he facilitated the counting of the electoral college votes, but a December 8, 2020 memo shows he was considering the idea of moving electoral votes in DDT’s direction. A month before the insurrection, Pence asked his counsel how much power he had in certifying the votes. Greg Jacob responded with historical legal issues, including constitutional debates about whether the 1887 law is constitutional. Jacob cited the law’s constitutionality as “muddy” and gave examples of vice presidents who could be models for Pence resolving disputes. One example Jacob gave was then-VP Richard Nixon possibly violating the Electoral Count Act when he resolved the Hawaii electors dispute in 1961. Nixon’s actions were actually in accord with the law. By January 5, 2021, however, Jacob opposed the position from DDT and John Eastman that Pence could put DDT back into the White House with his action at the electoral college voting.

A few months ago, the media was filled with articles about Republicans taking the Congress this year despite the antics of conspiracy theorists such as Greene and DDT’s endorsed candidates. The game may be changing. One big story that won’t go away features Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s claim of his invitation to orgies and where “people leading on the movement to try and remove addiction in our country … do a key bump of cocaine right in front of you.” It’s pretty sure these “people” are not Democrats because none of them wants to speak to him.

Until this story broke, McCarthy tolerated everything—even Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) with alleged sex-trafficking—except for two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinsinger (R-IL), trying to protect democracy in the United States. In a meeting, McCarthy told Cawthorn he “lost my trust” and “laid out everything I find is unbecoming,” not because of Cawthorn’s original claim but his excuse that his statements were exaggerated and incorrect.

About McCarthy’s scolding of Cawthorn, Charlie Sykes wrote:

“It wasn’t the tree-punching, his racist website, the lying about his accident and his admission to the Naval Academy; it wasn’t his incitement of the January 6 Insurrection, the allegations of sexual misconduct, his threats of violence, or his accusation that Volodymir Zelensky was a “thug.”

Apparently none of that was enough to shake McCarthy’s trust in the flamboyantly reprehensible young congressman. But now, the GOP House Leader is shocked, shocked to discover that Madison Cawthorn is a liar, a crackpot, an all-around deplorable human being.  And all it took was a few allegations about orgies and “key bumps” of cocaine…”

Sykes skipped over Cawthorn’s arrest for driving with a revoked license after two citations for speeding. And a few other lies

McCarthy’s “discussion” didn’t seem to have much effect. Cawthorn promises to keep on talking about the situation, a boon for Democrats, and blames Democrats for his problems. After McCarthy’s criticism, Cawthorn tweeted his 30-second ad showing DDT and calling himself “effective.” With the photo is DDT’s quote, “He has my complete and total endorsement.” Now Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), chair of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, wants the names of people at the parties.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) is supporting Cawthorn’s opponent in the GOP primary on May 17, 2022, saying that Cawthorn “hasn’t demonstrated much in the way of results over the last 18 months.” Other congressional members have made stronger statements. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) said that Republicans are “flat pissed off,” and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) called Cawthorn an “embarrassment.” Meanwhile, late night hosts are milking Cawthorn’s claims for all they can.

As upset as McCarthy is with Cawthorn, however, he is still far more furious with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) for protecting democracy in the U.S. instead of the GOP.

Cawthorn already alienated Republicans in his home state because of his flip-flops about which district he chooses. He decided to move to a district hundreds of miles from where he lives to get more visibility from the Charlotte media market in a more populated areas. The North Carolina supreme court ordered the maps changed, and his newly chosen district had too many Democratic voters. He went back to his original district, where he’s running in the primary against a women he endorsed while he was gone. His sketchy expenditures, such as $1,700 to a taxidermist, have eaten up most of his campaign chest, and two of North Carolina’s most influential newspapers have criticized Cawthorn. A columnist in a newspaper within Cawthorn’s district wrote:  

“He’s a juvenile, ill-informed, belligerent man who spews untrue conspiracy theories, encourages mothers to raise ‘monsters,’ inspired the January 6 rioters on to their insurrection and barely bothers to pretend to represent his district.”

May the Republicans continue their stupidity.

March 4, 2022

1/6 Criminal Charges Possible for DDT

While Vladimir Putin threatens to end the world, the House committee investigating events surrounding the January 6 insurrectionist is moving Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) toward criminal charges for his part in the attempted coup. According to a committee filing, DDT and a right-wing lawyer were part of a “criminal conspiracy” to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The filing is an attempt to persuade a judge to allow the panel access to emails from John Eastman, who claims attorney-client privilege.

The committee also hinted it may make a criminal referral to the DOJ using the arguments to the court as a preview to the case. Congress cannot bring criminal charges; only the DOJ can do that. One of the possible charges against DDT is obstruction because of his attempts to block Joe Biden’s certification as president. After DDT’s election loss, he communicated with state officials and “engaged in a personal campaign to persuade the public that the election had been tainted by widespread fraud,” according to the House lawyers. They cited DDT’s personal pressure on then-VP Mike Pence “to manipulate the results in his favor” and to block Congress’ vote although DDT knew he lacked sufficient legitimate electoral votes from the states.

The filing also detailed how DDT’s officials pushed back at his insistence to block the election result. DOJ leadership testified that DDT pressured them to declare the entire election “corrupt.” Eastman was also told that no Supreme Court justice would approve of his legal theories. Even DDT’s faithful adviser, said DDT had been advised “in pretty blunt terms” he was going to lose his fight. Pence, his advisers, and prominent conservative attorneys condemned Eastman’s theory as nonsensical and impossible.

The House is trying to overcome Eastman’s confidential attorney-client claim by showing his communications are about fraudulent activity, or ongoing or future crimes. One of Eastman’s available emails shows he knew people delaying the electoral count were breaking the law. A judge earlier ruled that Eastman cannot shield 19,000 emails requested by the House committee.

During the insurrection, Eastman wrote Pence’s aide that he had told DDT his vice president could not unilaterally determine the electoral college vote. Yet five hours later, he wrote the same aide, again asking that Pence stop the certification.

The second possible charge is conspiracy to defraud the United States. DDT lied about the 2020 election and therefore attempted to “interfere or obstruct legitimate Government activity” with “deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest.” The committee also accuses DDT of conspiring to commit the same types of crimes as many of his followers breaching the Capitol grounds found guilty of engaging in conspiracies to interrupt Congress from its session certifying the election.

In addition, the House committee issued subpoenas to DDT’s lawyers suspected to be part of the efforts to stop certifying Biden’s presidential election. Closely involved in the scheme, DDT called the “war room” at the Willard Hotel, the location for planning to overturn the election, on January 5 to talk about ways that they could completely stop Biden’s certification. Present were the subpoenaed legal team with DDT’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman. Christina Bobb, One America News host, was subpoenaed because of her involvement in drafting the executive order to direct federal agencies in seizing voting machines in states that Biden narrowly won. Cleta Mitchell, also subpoenaed, participated in DDT’s phone call to pressure Georgia’s secretary of state Brad to “find” the exact number of votes to reverse his loss in the state. Other subpoenaed people also worked with the executive orders or pressure on the DOJ or state legislators to commit fraud.

The House committee has interviewed over 550 people and still wants to talk to DDT’s daughter Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle as well as the people they subpoenaed earlier this week. Roger Stone, DDT’s longtime friend, refuses to testify, but Danish filmmakers have footage for two years showing frank statements about his part in overturning the election. Committee members just need to watch the film, and everyone can watch A Storm Foretold, expected to be released later this year. A 90-minute period covering the height of the violence on January 6 and Stone’s conversations with DDT are missing, but he may have talked about these.

Part of the filming shows Stone pushing the “Stone Plan”—a blanket presidential pardon for himself, DDT’s congressional allies, and the America First movement for trying to overturn the election. Stone also wanted DDT to pardon other backers, including convicted mobsters, but White House counsel Pat Cipollone scuttled the idea. Wanting a pardon for what they did shows Stone realized his and conspirators’ actions were illegal.

Stone and DDT probably won’t be friends anymore. On Inauguration Day, Stone said DDT deserved to be impeached and was the “greatest single mistake in American history.” He added that federal authorities in Manhattan might prosecute DDT because he didn’t preemptively pardon himself. “A good, long sentence in prison will give him a chance to think about it, because the Southern District is coming for him, and he did nothing,” Stone said.

More details of the film here.

Eastman has already “retired” from Chapman University for his part in trying to overturn the election; now California’s state bar is investigating him for possible violations of “California law and ethics rules governing attorneys following and in relation to the November 2020 presidential election.” The probe began last September. A press release stated that “a number of individuals and entities have brought to the State Bar’s attention press reports, court filings, and other public documents detailing Mr. Eastman’s conduct.”

While the January 6 insurrectionists chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” Eastman blamed Pence for the violence when he wrote Greg Jacob, Pence’s chief counsel:

“The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so that the American people can see for themselves what happened.”

Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal said the filing is really about DDT, not Eastman. He added that the legal brief states “there is a good faith basis to believe that Donald Trump committed felonies and this lawyer, John Eastman, helped him do it.”

One viable theory regarding DDT’s behavior, considering his past, comes from author Don Winslow. He thinks the sole goal of DDT and his allies is to stall the process by questioning the integrity of the investigation with the hopes that Republicans will take over the House this year and shut down the probe. Winslow tweeted footage from a political ad stating:

“Every single deposition that the [January 6th Committee] does from today forward will be able to be dodged by the person till after the November mid-terms, including [Kim Guilfoyle] It’s not an accident that they subpoenaed Kim Guilfoyle this late.”

Documents for the filing show that multiple witnesses and documents prove DDT was repeatedly told his election loss was real and his claims of “fraud” were based on nothing. As advisers destroyed his conspiracy theories, he made up more. It’s the behavior of someone creating false evidence to support a lie. Former DOJ official Richard Donoghue testified about DDT’s reason for trying to overthrow democracy. DDT said something like, “What do I have to lose?” Donoghue pled with DDT not to “hurt the country,” but DDT ignored him. DDT believed he would never face any consequences.

Amanda Marcotte wrote:

“Trump has been criming his entire life, and never faced anything like a serious consequence. As the New York Times has repeatedly shown in its reporting, Trump has been a massive tax fraud his whole career. He doesn’t even bother to deny it, but brags about how defrauding the government and other taxpayers is a ‘sport’ and makes him ‘smart.’ He’s been accused of sexual harassment, assault, and rape by over two dozen women. But we don’t have just their testimony to rely on to believe them, because Trump himself bragged about it on the infamous ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ tape. Even when one of his illegal schemes comes back to bite him—as happened when he was forced to settle out of court with defrauded customers of his “Trump University” grift—the consequences are insufficient to actually be felt. Hell, he’s even managed to get the Republican National Committee to pay his legal bills so that he can keep wasting his money on golf courses.”

With DDT, it’s the thrill and power of getting away with whatever he wants and putting one over on everyone else. Yet he never uses words that are likely to get him convicted. Like when he blackmailed Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelinsky, he said things such as “I would like you …” or asking him for a “favor.” In February, DDT did slip when he said that “Pence did have the right to change the outcome,” indicating his state of mind, but even that might not stick.

DDT has neither morality or ethics, just a fear of consequences.

February 6, 2022

Grand Insurrection Party – The Cult of Donald Trump

According to Rick Ross, “a typical cult has a charismatic, unaccountable leader, persuades by coercion and exploits its members, economically, sexually or in some other way.” The biggest problem with cults is the way that they harm people through the leader, the coercion, and the exploitation. Warning signs for unsafe cult groups and leaders:

  • Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
  • No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
  • No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.
  • Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies, and persecutions.
  • No legitimate reason to leave—departing followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
  • Repeated stories by those leaving of abuse with a similar pattern of grievances.
  • Records, books, news articles, or broadcast reports documenting abuses of the group/leader.
  • Feelings of inadequacy by members.
  • Demand that the group/leader is always right.
  • The exclusive “truth” or validation comes only from the group/leader with no other ideas acceptable or credible.

Thus the description of the “Grand Insurrection Party (GIP),” Republicans who follow Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) without question and the reason for the RNC vote without discussion and almost no dissent to censure two Republican representatives involved in the process of investigating the events of the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Steve Bannon led the GOP charge against former VP Mike Pence for calling former DDT “wrong” in saying Pence could overturn President Joe Biden’s legitimate election. Other Republicans are staying quiet, but it’s early days. They’re likely waiting to see the direction of the wind. Without the cult of DDT, the RNC would not have visualized insurrectionists as heroes and martyrs—beyond accountability for their crimes.

Over a year ago, DDT said the people who attacked the Capitol should have to pay for their crimes. He even said he was “outraged” at their actions, calling for “law and order,” and said they “have defiled the seat of American democracy.” Reversing his opinion a year later, he attacked loyal followers who don’t follow his new position, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), by name-calling such as RINO (Republican in Name Only). DDT lambasted Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) earlier for not saying that Biden stole the election.

More information has recently been released about DDT’s plans to put himself back into the White House even before Pence refused to follow his orders. Soon after the election, DDT asked personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to talk to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about the government seizing voting machines in battleground states that he lost. When Giuliani told him he couldn’t, DDT went to his AG Bill Barr with the same request. Barr told him “no,” that the election evidenced no crime.

DDT’s allies wrote him to use his National Security Agency (NSA) and Defense Department to look at intelligence, searching for evidence that foreign powers had interfered with election results, allowing extrajudicial responsibilities. To further his efforts, DDT pressured the Pentagon into naming his barely qualified loyalist, Michael Ellis as top NSA lawyer. Unfortunately for DDT, Ellis didn’t take charge until Biden’s inauguration, but three GOP senators—Kevin Cramer (ND), Ron Johnson (WI), and Cynthia Lummis (WY) received the memo. Lummis also attended a meeting where she was falsely told that foreign governments had changed the vote. None of the senators, however, alerted the FBI. The House January 6 investigation committee is looking into these events, helping prompt the RNC to pass its resolution.

Another problem for DDT is the history of fake electors from the battleground states that he wanted to overturn. Recently, memos made public show the involvement of his campaign lawyer at the advice of another lawyer, DDT’s ally, to create “an alternative slate vote, in hopes that its legitimacy will be validated.” It told fake electors to secretly meet and sign fake documents that they submit as if they were real. The advising lawyer, Kenneth Chesebro, examined state law to find loopholes for the process. Fourteen fake electors have been subpoenaed to appear before the House committee, the chairs and secretaries of the groups in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In January, the right-wing Gatewing Pundit falsely reported that the Wisconsin State Assembly unanimously voted to withdraw Joe Biden’s ten legitimate electors. It didn’t happen because the bill was sent to the Rules Committee to die.

DDT, known for keeping all the money donated to him, gave $1.35 million to the Conservative Partnership Institute, a nonprofit organization where his former chief of staff Mark Meadows is a senior partner. The $1.35 million gift was made less than a month after the House committee was formed. Meadows initially turned over about 9,000 documents but then refused to give the committee any more and would not testify, even under the threat of criminal charges. The second largest donation from DDT’s Save America is $10,000, and most were $5,000. Recipients were those who supported DDT’s goal of overturning the election.

On January 26, a judge ordered John Eastman, the man who concocted the scheme to stop the Electoral College vote count on January 6, to quickly get the 94,000 subpoenaed documents, including 19,000 emails, to the House investigation committee. Eastman was told to review 1,500 pages per business day and immediately give them to the committee. The documents, which Eastman had fought to keep secret, are from Chapman College. Eastman tried to stall on the almost four-month job by beginning with the earliest documents and sending in newspaper articles, but the judge issued another order to prioritize documents between January 4 and 7, 2021. When Eastman was subpoenaed for his testimony, he invoked the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 146 times.

Former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has turned over text messages two months, some of them already public, after they were subpoenaed. They include exchanges with Fox’s Sean Hannity about handling an unbalanced DDT after the Capitol attack, but these messages are a small part of her records.

No one knows if Pence will testify for the House committee, but the National Archives will be turning over some of his documents to the committee. That, however, was only the first round of document production. These materials specifically include “communications concerning the former Vice President’s responsibilities as President of the Senate in certifying the vote of presidential electors on January 6, 2021.”

Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, has testified in defense of his former boss, saying “snake oil salesmen” gave DDT bad advice to overturn the election. Short said he didn’t know if DDT was actually “seeking the bad advice” and confirmed “Joe Biden is the duly elected president of the United States.”

DDT is also calling on his cult members to violently protest any problems from the personal and political criminal and civil lawsuits against him, he said:

“They’re trying to put me in jail. These prosecutors are vicious, horrible people. They’re racists and they’re very sick. They’re mentally sick…. If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere.”

DDT also called on his mob to protest en masse to attack three Black law enforcement officials came almost immediately after his suggestion he would pardon violent protesters on January 6.

The House committee has a solution for high level officials who refuse to testify: they turn lower-level staff members into witnesses who provide information about their employers’ activities. The group has interviewed over 475 witnesses with over 100 subpoenas including ones for banks and telecommunications and social media companies which gathered personal data of DDT family members and allies, politicians, and one congressional member, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). With this data, they use link analysis, a mapping technique key to identifying terrorist networks after 9/11.

DDT’s cult followers have established a legal defense fund for his former aides associated with the January 6 inquiry. The one requirement for the First Amendment Fund from the American Conservative Union is that they disagree with the committee’s mission. DDT won’t be donating any money for them. Anyone not bending before DDT’s will should be eliminated. For example, after GOP Gov. Chris Sununu (NH) opposed DDT’s pardon idea for insurrectionists, DDT wants him removed from office and came out in support of any opponent to Sununu in the upcoming election.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) declared all the “mean” and “nasty” committee members could face jail time when the Republicans take over the House. He didn’t list any “laws” the committee members are “breaking.” Gingrich is working on GOP policy statements for the 2022 election.

DDT’s actions follows all the boxes applicable to a cult leader which can also drive away legitimate Republicans. Before the censure resolution, Mike DuHaime, former RNC political director, tweeted the RNC would be “insane” if it carries through:

“The party that long valued individuality and differences of opinion now demands fealty to the election results lie. And it stupidly keeps the focus Trump instead of Biden.”

Not all members of the GOP support the cult of DDT, but by the RNC is the Republican leadership. Those who allow the cult to continue are enabling it.

February 4, 2022

‘President Trump Is Wrong’

Lots of news on the first Friday of Black History Month, but one lede might be that former VP Mike Pence finally opposed Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) after lying for him since the beginning of their campaign in 2015. The setting was a Federalist Society convention in Florida where Pence, the keynote speaker, was to speak about “constitutional principles and the rule of law,” which included attempts to overturn a legitimate election The subject was DDT’s lie that Pence could legally overturn the 2020 election. DDT also stated the House January 6 investigation committee should probe Pence for not doing so. With a note of optimism, Pence flatly declared DDT’s idea “un-American“:

“President Trump is wrong. Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election, and [Vice President] Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024.”

Pence called January 6 a “dark day in the history of the United States capitol” and said that a vice president plays no part disrupting the certified votes from the states for president. Rubbing salt in DDT’s wounds, Pence has also said they may “never see eye-to-eye” about that day and was proud of the completion of the certification after the insurrection.The question is now whether Republicans will turn on Pence or separate themselves from DDT. DDT is even more distressed because two top Pence aides, former chief of staff Marc Short and general counsel Greg Jacob, are talking to the January 6 committee.

February 4, 2022, is also a dark day for the U.S. Supreme Court: Justice Neil Gorsuch is secretly speaking to conference guests—no press allowed. Supreme Court conservatives are tired of being called political hacks, but they keep proving they are.

With the upcoming 2022 election, GOP interest in pursuing a “stolen” election for DDT at its RNC winter meeting in Utah is waning from its platform to take over the country. Attendees know that DDT has a hold on the GOP base, but candidates need to focus on inflation and parents’ rights (aka book censorship and ignorance in school curriculum) in an effort to find new voters. RNC reps also worry about the plethora of federal and state investigation and lawsuits DDT faces and polls indicating less support for him.

On the same day Pence made this speech, RNC representatives censured Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for their participation in the House investigation of January 6. Kinzinger is not running for election in 2022, and Cheney has outraised her RNC-backed primary opponent by four to one with over $2 million in the last quarter of 2021. The RNC resolution described the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol as “a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse to mask Democrat abuse of prosecutorial power for partisan purposes.” Republicans first resolution was to expel the two representatives from the House, but they said they didn’t want to appear to have dissenting views. 

The one-minute voice vote for censure was meant to keep anyone from being embarrassed by their vote, but some of the delegates spoke out against the decision. During the voice vote, some people shouted “No,” including Henry Barbour (MS) and Bill Palatucci (NJ). Glenn McCall (SC) left the room during the vote because the party needs to stick to resolutions “that are going to advance the party.” Caleb Heimlich (WA) said he voted for the resolution before he found out the last-minute language of “legitimate political discourse.” Even Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) criticized RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, his niece, for pushing through the resolution:

“Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol. Honor attaches to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for seeking truth even when doing so comes at great personal cost.”

GOP Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted:

“The GOP I believe in is the party of freedom and truth. It’s a sad day for my party—and the country—when you’re punished just for expressing your beliefs, standing on principle, and refusing to tell blatant lies.”

Author of the resolution is Citizens United President David Bossie—top DDT adviser in charge of fight DDT’s loss in 2020 until he contracted COVID. Although that put Giuliani in charge, Bossie stayed involved, taking part of the meetings at the Willard Hotel to strategize overturning the election and putting pressure on congressional members to support overturning the legitimate Electoral College presidential votes for Joe Biden.

The censure vote came shortly after DDT’s rally when he promised to pardon the insurrectionists helping him overturn the election and violence if he’s held accountable for both business and political crimes. And the same week as the discovery that DDT tried to get the government to seize voting machines and additional details about his plan to use forged, fake state electoral vote certificates forcing Pence to overturn the election.

The censure beings the new RNC goal of “unity,” not necessarily in accord with Pence’s statement that DDT “is wrong.” Conference-goers also think that Glenn Youngkin has the answer because of his strategy for his winning election to Virginia governor—just pretend that DDT doesn’t exist. The idea may not be successful, however, because Youngkin’s scrupulous allegiance to DDT’s agenda has infuriated many people voting for him as a “moderate.” Plus one of Youngkin’s executive orders signed on his first day in mid-January, the “opt-out” permission for school mask mandates, has already been overturned—at least temporarily. Some GOP leaders also want Pence to run for president in 2024 even if DDT decides to be a candidate.

Other Republicans are getting fed up with the lies from DDT’s supporters.  After Republican officials in Maricopa County rejected the quackery efforts of Cyber Ninjas to “recount” its ballots, GOP House Speaker Rusty Bowers, representing the Mesa area, showed some sanity and support for democracy regarding a voter-suppression bill. It would not only allow the state legislature to reject the popular vote if they didn’t like the results but also require all ballots, totally almost 3.5 million in 2020, to be hand-counted within 24 hours of the election. Electronic machines would be banned except for disabilities so all ballots, at least 3.5 million in a general election would be counted by hand-counted, something taking almost four months for the Ninjas. As last recount proved, hand-counts “harm accuracy, speed, and dependability,” as Bowers said. The bill would also almost eliminate the early voting program used by almost 90 percent of the voters, meaning that the vote couldn’t start until Election Day.

n a headline, the biggest newspaper wrote that “Bowers didn’t just kill a bill to veto our vote. He stoned the thing.” Laurie Roberts continued:

“House Speaker Rusty Bowers has once again refused to give into the collective psychosis that has affected so many of his Republican colleagues since Trump lost the election. [He] has once again saved Republicans from themselves.”

Bowers’ strategy was to assign the bill to committee—all 12 standing committees. Capital reporter Jeremy Duda of the Arizona Mirror tweeted:

“I’ve never seen a speaker or Senate president kneecap a bill as aggressively as this. Triple-assignments? Sure. Been there. But this is Bowers killing the bill, chopping it up, setting the pieces on fire, then digging up the ashes and throwing them into the ocean.”

A conservative Republican, Bowers refused to buy into the “stolen” election theory or call for election results to be overturned. He said he voted for DDT and didn’t like his loss but “will not entertain a suggestion that we violate current law to change the outcome of a certified election.” Bowers told DDT and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani on a November phone call that he would not “break my oath” and “will follow the Constitution.” In response, the Arizona Patriot Party targeted him for recall, and DDT’s supporters came to his neighborhood with loudspeakers, calling him a pedophile. His GOP colleagues have introduced over 70 bills to “reform” Arizona’s elections. A long piece on Bowers. 

One of the bill’s co-sponsors represents Scottsdale, where one of his GOP constituents was one of ten Arizonans$6 thus far indicted for voter fraud in the $9 million effort to count over two million ballots after she cast a ballot for her dead mother. She eventually pled guilty.

In a positive move, father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael, convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, will go to trial for federal hate crime charges after his 2020 stalking and murder of the Black man. Prosecutors had agreed to a plea agreement from McMichael in exchange for a cushier prison location, but the judge refused the agreement allows the two men to plead guilty only to interference with rights. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, also faces federal hate crime charges. The deciding judge was appointed by George W. Bush.

There will be a post on Tucker Carlson as a possible 2024 presidential candidate, but I’m finding it too depressing to finish right now. Especially with the official number of deaths in the U.S. over 900,000–924,530 according to the Worldometer—because of people like Carlson.

January 5, 2022

Leadup to First January 6 Anniversary

On the day before the first anniversary of the January 6 insurrection, Attorney General Merrick Garland asked Congress to safeguard elections with new powers for the DOJ to protect voting rights. His speech discussed the gutting of the 1966 Voting Rights Act by Chief Roberts’ Supreme Court case, Shelby County v. Holder (2013), allowing the DOJ “to ensure that every eligible voter can cast a vote that counts.” In responding to concerns that he was not acting fast or aggressively enough to prosecute insurrections and their instigators, he guaranteed the federal government will hold all January 6 perpetrators “at any level” accountable—“whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.”

Previously released were texts from Fox network’s Sean Hannity former chief of staff Mark Meadows on January 6 pleading with him to get Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to stop his followers from attacking the U.S. Capitol. More Hannity text texts have emerged, suggesting he knew about DDT’s complicity in the insurrection. On January 5, 2020, Hannity wrote he was “very worried about the next 48 hours” probably about plans to oppose the electoral vote certification for Joe Biden as president. On December 31, 2020, Hannity wrote Meadows:

“We can’t lose the entire WH counsel’s office. I do not see January 6 happening the way he is being told. After the 6th. [sic] He should announce will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Fl and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks people will listen.”

 On January 10, Hannity wrote Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Meadows:

“Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days. He can’t mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say, and I don’t like not knowing if it’s truly understood. Ideas?”

The House January 6 investigation committee has asked Hannity to voluntarily cooperate with them in explaining what he knew about DDT’s and his legal team’s plans for January 6, particularly his communications with DDT, White House staff, and his legal team from December 31, 2020, to January 20, 2021.

Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) also wants VP Mike Pence to tell members about conversations before January 6 and what he witnessed on the day of the insurrection. Another possible witness is Mike Pence’s brother, Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN), who was present when the former VP refused to let Secret Service take him to Joint Base Andrews because he couldn’t complete his job of certifying the electoral votes. Pence had said he didn’t trust the people driving the car. Last July, Greg Pence said, “My brother was being asked to do what we don’t do in this country.”

After the January 6 attack, right-wing social media platform Parler’s bad cybersecurity made all its data public. A year later, New America released findings from the 183 million posts made public in a report, “Parler and the Road to the Capitol Attack” by Candace Rondeaux, Ben Dalton, and Cuong Nguyen. Rondeaux said that Parler’s design “make[s] it easy to run coordinated inauthentic campaigns,” artificially boosting specific content and perspectives on social media platforms like Russia’s methods of influencing U.S. politics and right-wing James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas’ use of altered videos to spread disinformation. She said one user posted “at a rate of 1,000 posts per hour,” mostly QAnon content. More than an “echo chamber,” Parler represents bent and manipulated communication. People in Washington on January 6 likely also posted their attendance at other right-wing rallies in the U.S., using them as a gateway.

Facebook also contributed to the insurrection. A study revealed at least FB 650,000 posts between Election Day and the January 6 insurrection attacking the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s win for president; many of them called for executions and other political violence. These 10,000+ daily posts set up the storming of the Capitol with followers of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) calling for his illegal return to the White House through the use of force. The number is considered a serious undercount because the analysis included only a portion of public groups and did not examine comments and posts in private groups or on individuals’ profiles.

Facebook refuses calls, even from its own Oversight Board, into an internal investigation and will not submit January 6 information requested by the House committee although he company claims it is negotiating with the committee. Posts provide evidence of Facebook’s role in the spread of false narratives inciting the days events; any small effort to stop the disinformation began too late to be effective. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, blames DDT and others who made the posts.

Before the election, Facebook created a task force to police toxic groups focusing on U.S. politics but elimated it after the election it rolled back other enforcement measures. Former employees report that the company prefers to not enforce group posts because groups are important to Meta’s profit margin. Testifying to Congress, Frances Haugen, former member of the company’s Civic Integrity team, said many of the group posts were identified as “harmful non-violating narrative”—content not breaking Facebook rules but causing people to “act in ways which are harmful to themselves, others, or society at large.” The result of these narratives, according to the study, is “substantial negative impacts including contributing materially to the Capitol riot and potentially reducing collective civic engagement and social cohesion in the years to come.”

Before his banishment on January 6, DDT used Facebook to post his lies about the election with unequaled reach to his lies. Only after serious damage, including world disasters, does the company consider enforcement. Facebook resumed enforcement against election disinformation on January 6. The Russia-based Internet Research Agency spread disinformation in support for DDT and other Republicans on Facebook until months after the 2016 election. Myanmar military leaders used Facebook to incite murders, rapes, and forced migrations of minority Rohingya people. 

Last Friday, high-school dropout and convicted felon Bernard Kerik, once the New York City Police commissioner, submitted documents to the House committee, including a plan to overturn the government. “Strategic Communications Plan—Giuliani Presidential Legal Defense Team: We Have 10 Days to Execute This Plan & Certify President Trump” for “swing state Republican senators—AZ, GA, MI, NV, WI,” Repubican [sic] members of the House,” and “Republican members of the Senate” defines ways to pressure congressional members into voting against Joe Biden on January 6, including protests at “weak Members homes.” Also in the plan was recruiting possible QAnon leader Ron Watkins and mobilizing a MAGA Twitter troll for the protests.  Kerik is withholding other documents, perhaps a letter about Michael Flynn’s and Sidney Powell’s plan to “rerun” the 2020 election by declaring martial law and seizing the voting machines.

To provide fodder for the Fox network, House Republicans will release their own report for January 6. Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), rejected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for the legitimate House investigation committee, takes the lead. On January 6, Banks voted against certifying Joe Biden’s electoral college votes and later voted against any investigative committee. His report will purportedly cite security failures at the Capitol on that day and interviews with Capitol Police members, their union, and other officials. Last September, Banks had sent out letters claiming he was the ranking member of the official House committee, and the Indianapolis Star falsely gave him this status last July.

At least 57 people involved in the January 6 events, including some arrested for the insurrection, are running for elected office this year. Last year, at least six protesters were elected to office.

In a flip-flop, DDT canceled his press conference intended to replay his lies about a “stolen” election and defend the rioters who chanted about killing Pence. It had been scheduled at his golf club in Palm Beach (FL) for the same time as the Capitol commemorative services on January 6 with historian Jon Meacham and Doris Kearns, a prayer vigil, a moment of silence, and time for lawmakers to share their experiences on January 6, 2020. DDT’s excuse for the cancelation was the “total bias and honesty” of the media and the House committee. DDT now plans to present the same lies and defense at a January 15 rally in Arizona.

In this cancellation, DDT showed a modicum of sense, but Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) are filling the gap with stupidity. They plan a press conference as “a Republican response.” The funeral of Georgia’s former GOP senator, Johnny Isakson, is also scheduled for the same day.

Adam Kinsinger, a Republican from Illinois on the committee, said that House Minority Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “made an epic mistake” when he refused to appoint members to the committee because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would not put two possible insurgents on it. “I think part of the reason we’ve gone so fast and have been so effective so far is because we’ve decided and we have the ability to do this as a nonpartisan investigation,” and it would have been “a very different scene” if Trump allies were on the committee, obstructing their work, according to Kinzinger. Politico’s Kyle Cheney said that McCarthy’s decision allowed the committee to “stay relentlessly on message,” describing Liz Cheney as “a singular, and singularly disciplined, force.”

The January 6 committee is considering televised hearings during prime time.   

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