Nel's New Day

February 3, 2023

News – February 3, 2023

Follow-up on House Judiciary Committee meeting: Member Chip Roy (R-TX) was caught in the lie that migrants on the southern border are responsible for the fentanyl crisis. A Washington Post reporter called the statement “a rather insidious falsehood.” Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) attacked the reporter, but extensive investigation provides “decades of evidence” that seizures of smuggled fentanyl are primarily at ports of entry and tied to people with legal U.S. status, even a border agent. An El Paso judge also lambasted the myths of migrant invasions “in our community” and said that the “false racist narrative” continues devasting violence in U.S. communities.

House Republicans work on their message that the U.S. has a bad economy under President Joe Biden, but January added 517,000 jobs, double the Wall Street estimate. Unemployment dropped to 3.4 percent, the lowest since 1969 instead of the expected increase to 3.6 percent. In Labor Department revisions, the economy added 500,000 more jobs in 2022 than previously recorded for a total of 12 million jobs in the past 24 months.

Each of the past six months has also seen a drop in annual inflation and a growth in the GDP. Biden’s actions to cut back inflation:

  • Expanding capacity of U.S. ports to address supply chain bottlenecks: Critical U.S. ports operate 24/7 to get goods to market without a price spike.
  • Lowering gas prices by taking gas from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and transitioning to a clean energy economy: These actions countered Russia’s war in Ukraine. Far-right conservatives in the House were so upset with the drop in gas prices that they tried—and failed—to block the use of the reserves to help consumers.
  • Lowering prices on groceries by cracking down on anti-competitive behavior: Lack of competition had especially increased meat and poultry costs.
  • Reducing health care costs: Republicans fought lower costs for prescription drugs, but Biden lowered out-of-pocket costs for medications from Medicare and expanded financial assistance for health insurance in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.  
  • Pushing private sector investment in job creation and cutting prices: Investments include electric vehicle charging and semiconductors with domestic manufacturing that creates high-quality jobs and boosts U.S. competitiveness now and in the future. Companies such as Tesla and Ford cite Biden’s agenda for significant price cuts to their electric vehicle fleets.

The Department of Transportation also announced nine new projects for roads, bridges, and a tunnel provided by the Mega Grant program supplied by Biden’s infrastructure law.

Behind-the-scenes tapes secretly recorded after DDT’s 2020 loss in Wisconsin show his state GOP campaign knew he had lost the election but decided to “fan the flames” by crying widespread fraud and Democrats stealing the election. Andrew Iverson, then head of the Wisconsin DDT campaign and now Midwest regional director for the RNC, told Republicans to “be on standby if there’s any stunts we need to pull.” He was also heard to concede that Democrats won because they beat Republicans in getting out the vote. On tape, Iverson also admitted that Biden won the state by almost 21,000 votes.

Republicans are delighted with the huge balloon from China about the size of two school buses seen hovering 60,000 feet above Montana: they have another opportunity to attack the president and other Democrats. Conservatives demand it be shot down, calling the president “China Joe.” The Pentagon advised against the shooting idea because of the danger from falling debris to people on the ground so Don Trump Jr. told Montanans to shoot at it with their own guns. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said the balloon was just over land; shooting it wouldn’t be a problem. The military would also like recover part of the balloon intact.

By late February 3, the balloon crossed Kansas into Missouri. The Pentagon expects it to stay in U.S. airspace “for a few days.” The Pentagon expects it to stay in U.S. airspace “for a few days.” While the U.S. complains, China reports that U.S. surveillance has violated Chinese territory at least 800 times last year. Early in the discussion, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) seemed the voice of reason when he said shooting down the balloon could give China a pretext to take action. By late in the day, however, he joined the party line about needing to shoot it down if there is any suspicion of surveillance.  Leaders from both parties in Congress will receive a briefing next week. Another balloon was seen above Latin America on Friday.

Hours before Secretary of State Antony Blinken was scheduled to leave for a diplomatic trip to Beijing, he canceled his first official visit because of the balloon. He told China’s foreign affairs chief Wang Yi that the “surveillance balloon” in U.S. airspace was an “irresponsible act” and a “clear violation of U.S. sovereignty.”

Early this morning, the GOP sent out an email echoing DDT with the subject heading, “Shoot down the balloon, you coward!” The content began with asking readers to sign a petition to pass along the message to Joe Biden. There was more: “Chip in $35 or more.”  

A federal judge is allowing a wrongful death civil case to proceed against city officials, police officers, and Kyle Rittenhouse who shot and killed two men during a protest in 2020. The father of one of the men shot filed the lawsuit. The suit alleges officers permitted a dangerous situation violating his son’ constitutional rights resulting in his death and that Rittenhouse conspired with police to cause harm to protesters. The judge said that the man’s death “could plausibly be regarded as having been proximately caused by the actions of the governmental defendants.”

Rittenhouse tried to get the case dismissed, claiming he wasn’t properly served, but the judge said Rittenhouse “is almost certainly evading service.” Rittenhouse was acquitted of homicide and reckless endangering for killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle he illegally brought to Kenosha (WI) from his Illinois home. He was 17 at the time, thus illegally having a gun.

The Satanic Temple (TST) has started a telehealth abortion clinic in New Mexico named “The Samuel Alito’s Mom’s Satanic Abortion Clinic.” The virtual clinic “provides free medication abortion services to those participating in TST’s religious ritual.” It schedules screenings and appointments, as well as prescribing abortion medication via mail for patients. The news release states:

“In 1950, Samuel Alito’s mother did not have options, and look what happened. Prior to 1973, doctors who performed abortions could lose their licenses and go to jail. The clinic’s name serves to remind people just how important it is to have the right to control one’s body and the potential ramifications of losing that right.”

Alito wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court for Dobbs v. Jackson which overturned abortion rights in Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood. The dissent from the minority of three justices stated:

“[This court] says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs. An abortion restriction, the majority holds, is permissible whenever rational, the lowest level of scrutiny known to the law.”

TST is a religion recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.

Jair Bolsonaro, deposed president of Brazil who applied for a new six-month U.S. visa, headlined Turning Point’s “Power of the People” rally with Charlie Kirk on February 3. Brazilian investigators are probing any role Bolsonaro had in the protest at his country’s capital after he fled to the U.S. shortly before the attempted coup. He was able to come on an A-1 visa because he was still president.

A Brazilian magazine has the recording of Bolsonaro three weeks before the winner, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Trying to keep power, he wanted help to annul the elections and gave his ally, Sen. Marcos do Val, the responsibility of taping Supreme Court justice Alexandre de Moraes while getting the judge to confess he overstepped his powers under the constitution. Police also found a draft decree at the home of Bolsonaro’s former justice minister to overturn the election.

Thorough searches of President Joe Biden’s vacation home in Rehobeth Beach (DE), purchased in 2017, revealed no more classified documents; none has been found in his possession since the few in his home on January 20. Searches were done with Biden’s permission, unlike those in the property of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) who fought their removal.

Next, the FBI plans to search former VP Mike Pence’s residence in Indiana and his office in Washington, D.C. for any classified documents after some were found at his home last month. Only Pence’s attorneys have conducted any searches his premises.

Questions have been raised if the FBI plans to search the multitude of DDT’s homes beyond Mar-a-Lago in New York—Seven Springs, Trump Tower penthouse, Trump Parc building, and Trump Park Avenue—and his Bedminster (NJ) golf resort. And of course, his 500+ “companies, solely owned by DDT, comprising the Trump Organization. Outside of DDT’s apartment and a storage unit at Mar-a-Lago, the only searches have been of part of Trump Tower and one area at Bedminster.  

January 24, 2023

Pence Caught with Classified Documents, Grand Jury Report Subject of Georgia Hearing

The classified document scandal took a twist yesterday when “a small number of documents bearing classified markings” was discovered at the home of former VP Mike Pence, “small” meaning about a dozen—thus far. Republicans have focused the last few weeks on denigrating President Joe Biden after his lawyers had discovered possibly 30 classified documents from the past 50 years in his office and home, compared to the 350+ documents DDT tried to keep from the National Archives.

Pence repeatedly said he had no documents and, critical of the surprise finding of some classified documents in Biden’s home and office, demanded a special counsel to investigate the situation. He had earlier explained that he wouldn’t have taken documents because of the process he followed. The search uncovering documents in Pence’s possession came at his request. House Oversight Committee chair James Comer (R-KY) Pence “agreed to fully cooperate with congressional oversight and any questions we have about the matter” but said nothing about an investigation like he demanded for Biden.  

Former FBI Director James Comey violated that policy by announcing a news—and evidence-free—review of her earlier emails just 11 days before the 2016 presidential election. [ I figured it out, but you might want to mention Clinton’s name before you refer to her emails.]

Earlier Jake Tapper asked Comey why he only cares about Democrats’ mishandling of classified document. Comer kept waffling but finally  undercut his entire argument by saying, “Every president—Bill Clinton, Obama, Bush–every president has accidentally taken documents that were deemed classified.” Now it’s Pence.

Republicans are going to have difficulty exonerating Pence without doing the same for Biden. Both of them, along with DDT, had classified documents; the difference is what the three of them did after the discoveries.

Biden/Pence told authorities they had the documents, returned them, promised to cooperate with investigators, and invited searchers into their homes to look for more documents.

Neither of the two former vice presidents rejected requests to return the materials. They didn’t ignore federal subpoenas. They didn’t keep documents, hiding them while they may have returned others.

They didn’t go to court to obstruct the retrieval or fight against federal law enforcement, calling them “the Gestapo.” They didn’t accuse FBI agents of “planting” incriminating evidence or pretend the search and discoveries were part of a “witch hunt.”

They didn’t push fake excuses of having declassified the documents.  

Senators like Marco Rubio (R-FL) are confused by the discovery in Pence’s home but said it wasn’t “nefarious.” He expects the subject will be addressed on Wednesday in a closed hearing of the Intelligence Committee with Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines about unrelated topics. Committee chair Mark Warner (D-VA) requested information from Haines about the appearance of over 100 classified documents in an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, the residence and club owned by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), last August under a search warrant. Congressional members may view classified documents only in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) located in the basement of the Capitol; legislators may not take these documents. The White House occupants have not used the same process.

Until the discovery of documents in Pence’s home, Republicans viciously attacked Biden for the discovery, particularly after a “small number” was found in his home last weekend. On Face the Nation, CBS’ Margaret Brennan corrected the rantings of Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) calling President Joe Biden “a serial classified document hoarder” and following it up with rabid accusations. Brennan explained that some of Biden’s few pages predated his White House tenure, going back to his Senate terms.  In contrast, the hundreds of documents discovered at Mar-a-Lago, DDT’s club and residence, were all from only four years. Brennen added:

“Just to clarify, when you reference President Trump, there were 300 classified documents. There was a warrant. There was refusal to comply in terms of handing things over. And the White House and the president’s lawyer are pointing out that in the case of Biden, he granted permission, and this was consensual for the DOJ to come in and search. Does the fact that the Justice Department conducted the search signify anything more to you and give any insight into the sensitivity of the documents?”

According to Turner, “the only reason you can think of as to why anyone would take classified documents out of a classified space at home is to, is to show them to somebody.” That has been the premise of DDT taking the documents since the beginning of the discovery. Yet Turner accused the appointment of Robert Hur, a DDT appointment to US attorney for Maryland in 2018, as a “coverup.” Brennan asked for evidence behind Turner’s allegation; he said that the documents “went on a train with him from his Senate offices” which, of course, Turner doesn’t know. Turner has not asked for a special counsel for Pence.

A major criticism of Biden, voiced by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was Biden’s waiting until after the midterm election to publicize the discovery of documents on November 2, 2022. The DOJ, however, has a longstanding policy to not reveal information about candidates before the election that would influence the results. Former FBI Director James Comey violated that policy by announcing a news—and evidence-free—review of her earlier emails just 11 days before the 2016 presidential election. Comey ignored senior DOJ officials who told him not to go public.Studies indicated that the revelation likely influenced the outcome of the election, which DDT won with under 100,000 votes in swing states. 

In contrast to the Comey/Clinton debacle, the FBI hid their probe of the ties between DDT’s campaign and its ties to Russia during the summer of 2016 as did the DOJ. Another investigation possibly damaging DDT’s 2016 election campaign, communications between the Trump Organization and the Russian Alfa Bank through back channels, was also kept under wraps and later dropped.

The first discovery of classified documents in Biden’s possession was on November 2, 2022. Biden’s lawyers immediately told the National Archives who gave the information to its inspector general the next day. On November 4, he told the DOJ who examined the situation and began an assessment on November 9.

On the other hand, The National Archives waited for almost four months after Biden’s inauguration before requesting the records that DDT took. Seven months later, DDT’s lawyers told the Archives “they had located some records,” and two months later the Archives took 15 boxes of presidential records from Mar-a-Lago—a year after Biden’s inauguration. On February 8, 2022, the Archives went public about searching for more of the classified documents that DDT took, and the House Oversight Committee subsequently announced an investigation into his handling of them. Investigations and requests continued for another four months while DDT’s lawyers stalled. In June the lawyers returned a few more documents after claiming a “diligent search.” Use of a search warrant on August 8, 2022, revealed “more than twice the amount produced June 3 in response to the grand jury subpoena.” A defensive DDT fought their removal through lies, public statements, and court cases.

With no evidence, GOP legislators accused Biden of knowing that he had the documents, but DDT went through the documents before he refused to return them.

Other big news of the day was the hearing in Fulton County (GA) regarding the grand jury report of gathered evidence regarding the investigation of DDT and his allies to reverse the 2020 presidential election results in the state. The report will remain secret until a judge permits it to be public. During the proceedings, Fulton County DA Fani Willis said that decisions on whether to seek indictments for “multiple people” were “imminent.” She urged the judge to oppose requests to publicly release the probe’s findings, saying that the public release could jeopardize impending prosecutions.

The grand jury probed DDT’s January 2, 2021 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to “find” enough votes for DDT to win the state, DDT’s national attempt to overturn the election, and the abrupt resignation of former U.S. AG in Georgia B.J. Pak after he said no “suitcases” full of ballots were being mishandled by election workers. Among the 75 people appearing before the grand jury were DDT’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, his then-attorney Rudy Giuliani, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, attorney John Eastman, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who had also tried to persuade Georgia elected officials to favor DDT in the election.

The grand jury had no legal right to make formal indictments. Any charges against DDT and/or others would have to be from a traditional grand jury after Willis presents her evidence to the jurors. Sixteen Republicans meeting at the Georgia Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, in a plot to falsely certify the election for DDT have been targets of the investigation and could face criminal charges.

A lawyer for the media argued for the immediate release of the report and said that individual grand jurors could simply tell others about the findings in their report. The judge stated he wanted more time to consider the arguments and his ruling would have significant advance notice before any potential release of the report. The Brooking Institution found several state and federal statutes possibly violated through the attempts to reverse the election results.

DDT’s attorneys did not attend the hearing, stating, “We have never been a part of this process.”

Part of the hearing’s arguments concerned whether the report is classified as a “presentment,” or indictment, under Georgia law. If that is the classification, the judge must follow the jurors’ recommendation to release the information.

November 10, 2022

U.S. Democracy Hangs by a Thread After Non-existent ‘Red Wave’

On November 8, 2022, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) lost. He wasn’t on the ballot, but hundreds of his faithful, election-denying followers were. On the eve of Election Day, he claimed he would make a big announcement on November 15, probably a presidential candidacy for 2024. The grand party at Mar-a-Lago rapidly fizzled, and DDT called the night an “interesting evening.” One of his pets, Ohio’s Senate candidate J.D. Vance, won, but many others went down in flames, especially Pennsylvania’s senatorial candidate Mehmet Oz who lost to John Fetterman despite Tucker Carlson’s (Fox network) vicious, lying claims about the winner’s mental ability.

One GOP insider told Fox News, “If it wasn’t clear before, it should be now: We have a Trump problem.” Fox reported that the GOP should “move on from Trump” because of his “outlandish candidates who turned easy victories into close races, and close races into losses.”

After blindly following DDT during the campaigns leading up to the 2022 midterms, the GOP may openly face the disaster of DDT controlling their party. Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said DDT is “in the rearview mirror” of the GOP and used Gov. Brian Kemp’s re-election as an example after DDT turned on him. Duncan added that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “knew what he’s talking about about [bad] candidate quality” and said, “It’s time to move on with the party.” GOP commentator Erick Erickson agreed, and conservative podcaster Ian Haworth went farther by declaring DDT “politically toxic.” Former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro tweeted:

“Trump picked bad candidates, spent almost no money on his hand-picked candidates, and then proceeded to crap on the Republicans who lost and didn’t sufficiently bend the knee. This will have 2024 impact.”

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott (FL) had bragged about a 55-seat GOP majority, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who hopes to be House Speaker, expected 60 more Republicans. If the GOP takes the House, it might be lucky to get an additional six. Since World War II, first-term Democratic presidents have traditionally lost 40 House seats and 5 Senate seats in the midterms with an increase since President Carter in 1978 but not in 2022. Karen Tumlty wrote that the supposed “red wave” turned out to be “a messy puddle.” HuffPost pundits called it a “whimper.”

Far-right columnist Henry Olson ate crow for his mistakes, but DDT blames the losing candidates and refuses to take any responsibility for his hand-picked candidates losing. Journalists reported that DDT was furious and screaming about the losses. He even went farther when he blamed his wife, Melania Trump, for making him pick Mehmet Oz who lost the U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania.

The brightest spots:

Pennsylvania – GOP gubernatorial and evangelical white nationalist Doug Mastriano lost to Josh Shapiro, and Dem John Fetterman beat Mehmet Oz. (After Oprah Winfrey endorsed Fetterman, he tweeted his #NewProfilePic. Oz’s appearance on Winfrey’s show had made him a celebrity.) Mastriano had worn his Confederate uniform for a faculty photo; the South lost again almost 160 years after the North won at Gettysburg during the Civil War. Oz can take his ignorance about his newly “adopted” state back to New Jersey, that does have an Atlantic Ocean beach. (Oz thinks that Pennsylvania is on the ocean; a map shows how far off he is.)

Abortion rights – Many anti-abortion candidates—Mastriano, Oz, lieutenant governor candidate Carrie DelRosso (PA), Michigan’s gubernatorial Tudor Dixon, and NC’s House Bo Hines—lost. Anti-abortion winners—Govs. DeSantis, Greg Abbott (TX), and Brian Kemp (GA) plus Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) and Sen-elect Vance (OH)—won’t make the same emphasis on removing women’s rights as a “red wave” would have done.

Anti-abortion initiatives in five states all failed. California and Vermont put abortion rights into their constitutions, and Kentucky voted against an amendment blocking the path to overturning its zero-week abortion ban. Despite vicious lies in Michigan, voters enshrined “reproductive freedom” beyond abortion rights to residents’ decisions regarding prenatal care, contraception, sterilization, and miscarriage management. That amendment blocks the 1931 anti-abortion ban. Montana voters rejected increases on doctors not performing aggressive medical interventions on infants, and Alaska refused to open a constitutional convention which could have added anti-abortion amendments.

More Democratic legislatures – Michigan, Minnesota, and possibly Pennsylvania legislatures flipped from Republican—Michigan for the first time in 40 years. In Minnesota, the one GOP legislative chamber blocked the expenditures of a $12 billion budget surplus through gridlock. Arizona is waiting to see if Democrats pick up the two seat majorities in both the state’s House and Senate. All states will be trifectas with Democratic governors; at this time Republicans have 23 trifectas.

Progressives in the House – The outspoken progressive who were elected in the past two terms will be joined by more, including Florida gun violence GenZ activist Maxwell Frost (FL), Democratic Socialists of America member Greg Casar (TX), and three left wing representatives from Illinois, Texas, and Pennsylvania.

Election deniers admitting defeat – Michigan’s Tudor Dixon and Matthew DePerno, secretary of state candidate; Wisconsin’s GOP gubernatorial candidate, Tim Michels; and Pennsylvania’s Oz conceded. (Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial loser, stays mum.) 

Young people voting – As many as 27 percent of GenZ, ages 18-29, may have voted. They comprised over 12 percent of the electorate, and 63 percent preferred Democratic House candidates with only 35 percent backing Republicans. “Don’t underestimate the power of a pissed off generation,” tweeted NextGen America. 

Waiting in the wings – Georgia candidates for the U.S. Senate, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker will face off on December 6 for the seat. With 98 percent of the vote reported, Warnock had 35,000 more votes than Walker, but he has only 49.4 percent of the vote. State law requires the winner to achieve a majority. One theory for the winner is that Republicans will come out to vote for Walker because he could be the key to control of the Senate, but others say that Walker’s votes came on the coattails for Gov. Kemp, who has already won. If the latter idea is correct, Walker may have fewer votes than in the general election.

Midterms 2022 marked several historic firsts:

  • LGBTQ+ candidates ran for office in all 50 states, with an increase of these candidates by 18 percent from 2020. Thus far at least 340 out LGBTQ candidates have won in the midterms, breaking the 2020 record of 336.
  • First women governors elected in Arkansas (Sarah Huckabee Sanders), Massachusetts (Maura Healey), and New York (Kathy Hochul).
  • Democrat Healey, the first elected lesbian government and closely followed by Oregon’s Tina Kotek.
  • Democrat Wes Moore, Maryland’s first Black governor, the only Black governor in the U.S. and the third elected since Reconstruction after the Civil War.
  • Democrat Anthony Brown, Maryland’s first Black attorney general. a longtime political figure in Maryland, will be the state’s first Black attorney general.
  • GOP Markwayne Mullin, the first Native American senator in almost two decades and first Native American senator from Oklahoma in a century.
  • Youngest congressional member and first member of GenZ (ages 18-29), 25-year-old Maxwell Frost from Florida.
  • Becca Balint, first openly LGBTQ person Vermont elected to the House of Representatives and first woman from Vermont sent to the House. Vermont was the last state to send a woman to Washington, behind Mississippi who sent a woman in 2018.
  • Katie Britt, first female senator elected from Alabama.
  • Summer Lee, the first Black woman Pennsylvania elected to the U.S. House.
  • Delia Ramirez, the first Latina elected to Congress from Illinois.
  • Robert Garcia (CA), the first out LGBTQ immigrant elected to Congress and the second out Latino to serve in Congress.
  • Republican Anna Paulina Luna, Florida’s first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress after she flipped a House seat. She joins a dozen Latinx congressional members from Florida.
  • James Roesener (NH), the first openly trans man, and Zooey Zephyr (MT), and the first trans woman to be elected to state legislatures.

Republicans are searching for reasons why the red tsunami didn’t hit the U.S. Fox network hosts during the election breakdown have a simple answer for why Oz lost his race: Fetterman won. Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) complaint sounded like a compliment for Democrats. He agreed with President Joe Biden’s list of successes: “rebuilding America’s roads and bridges,” “lowering prescription drug costs”; “tackling the climate crisis,” and making sure that large corporations begin to pay their fair share in taxes.” Cruz asked, “Why did Democrats do better than expected?” and answered his own question, “Because they have governed as liberals.” Republicans want to destroy government that works for the people’s benefit.

In the aftermath of the election, former VP Mike Pence has finally broken up with DDT. With her usual humor, Bess Levin tells the story for Vanity Fair. Maybe Pence is getting ready to announce his own presidential campaign for 2024. (Right: a discouraged “toxic Trump” waves at all the big names he invited to his Mar-a-Lago party before he left early.)  

More election perceptions—and new wins, if possible—tomorrow.

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.

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