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Tag: capitol riot

The Shame Of The 'Where's Nancy?' Republicans -- And How To Stop Them

On Wednesday, President Biden argued that “democracy is on the ballot” this year and he’s right. About 300 heads-we-win-tails-you-lose authoritarian Republican candidates pose, in the words of conservative former Judge J. Michael Luttig, a clear and present danger” to the republic.

Take the Republican candidate for governor of Wisconsin, Tim Michels:

That’s scary enough. What’s less understood is that decency is on the ballot, too, and speaking out against cruel candidates could be a good closing argument for Democrats trying to motivate decent people — many of them independents — who make up their minds about whether to vote at the last minute.

Yes, voters care a lot more about inflation than the way politicians treat each other. And Democratic operatives are concerned that Biden’s speech reinforces the idea that the midterms are a referendum on him, which they don’t want it to be. But the Pelosi story brings Trump’s depravity — a huge motivator in the last two elections — back into the conversation at the right time for Democrats and it helps motivate the hundreds of thousands of volunteers they need for their get-out-the-vote operations by directly connecting January 6 to November 8. As Biden noted, the man who attacked Paul Pelosi used the same words as the insurrectionists: “Where is Nancy?”

But it wasn’t the attack of the nut job that so shook Biden and, arguably, American democracy. It was the reaction to it inside the GOP — the appalling fact that instead of coming together behind common decency, as every Democrat did after the 2018 shooting of GOP Rep. Steve Scalise by a leftwinger at a congressional baseball game, so many Republicans turned the whole thing into a cruel joke. Most important, these “‘Where’s Nancy?’ Republicans” refused to condemn political violence. For them, it’s almost as if they want the whiff of it to be part of their political identity — like support for tax cuts or opposition to mail-in ballots.

The problem is that violence is not just another position or tactic. It’s the gateway to true fascism, which has always had physical menace at its core. When you read accounts of Mussolini’s Black Shirts or Hitler’s Brown Shirts before the dictators took power, the thugs aren’t always beating people up on direct orders. They’re often doing so in the shadows, inspired by propaganda and covered by lies.

Trump peddled a ludicrous lie about the Pelosi attack. Per The New York Times:

“Weird things going on in that household in the last couple of weeks,” Mr. Trump said on the Chris Stigall show, winking at a lie that has flourished in right-wing media and is increasingly being given credence by Republicans. “The glass, it seems, was broken from the inside to the out — so it wasn’t a break-in, it was a break out.

This appeared as a “Political Memo” sidebar on page A14 in the print edition of the Times. In other words, it’s being played as just another “shocked but not surprised” story about Trump and the GOP.

I’ve used the “shocked but not surprised” formulation myself in the past but I now view it as a dangerous evasion of moral responsibility — the equivalent of offering “thoughts and prayers” after a school shooting. Think about all the sins it covers.

Trump, who is heavily favored to be the 2024 Republican nominee for president, is an Orange Alex Jones who peddles sick lies about an 82-year-old man in the ICU and our reaction is: “shocked but not surprised.”

I think we need to redefine major news so that it’s not only what’s new and surprising but also what’s shocking and dangerous to democracy, even if perfectly predictable.

So beyond voting next week, what do we do? Just as America is built on a set of ideas — the rule of law, fair play, the peaceful transfer of power — the road back to decency and democracy begins with ideas that eventually work their way into our thinking. Here’s one to consider, from a formidable public intellectual I always enjoyed interviewing.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who died in 2003, will soon be best-known as a train station — well, actually, as Moynihan Train Hall, the spectacular new $1.6 billion dollar transit hub and concourse that he envisioned and that finally opened in the 100 year-old Farley Post Office Building across Eighth Avenue from Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan.

In the 20th century, Moynihan was famous as a four-term senator from New York and a combative UN ambassador, but he was also a sociologist who wrote 15 books. In a landmark 1993 article in The American Scholar, titled Defining Deviancy Down, Moynihan built on the work of sociologists Emil Durkheim and Kai T. Erikson in explaining that when a society faces rising crime, it responds by “redefining deviancy so as to exempt much conduct previously stigmatized.”

Moynihan wrote just after murders in New York City had peaked in 1990 at 2,245 — an average of more than seven a day. Last year brought 485 murders — between one and two a day — and that’s up 25 percent from a few years ago. What changed, in New York City and across the country? Possible explanations include more cops, new strategies for community policing, rigidly enforced gun control, and declining birth rates (partly attributable to increased abortions), among others. The larger idea that unifies them is that society should stop being numb to the problem — stop defining it down. Crime was still sky-high in 1993, but Moynihan saw reasons for hope:

I was hugely encouraged by an address which [New York City] Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly gave to the FBI's Second Symposium on Addressing Violent Crime Through Community Involvement. His address was entitled "Toward a New Intolerance" In it, he called for an intolerance of violence, an end to what Judge Edwin Torres describes as our "narcoleptic state" of acceptance….
… If our analysis wins general acceptance, if, for example, more of us came to share Judge Torres's genuine alarm at "the trivialization of the lunatic crime rate" in his city (and mine), we might surprise ourselves how well we respond to the manifest decline of the American civic order. Might.

Moynihan’s analysis did win “general acceptance” and — through the efforts of thousands of people in hundreds of cities — crime rates plummeted and stayed low for years.

Now, with crime ticking up, Republicans have found an issue that works for them politically. But their hypocrisy knows no bounds. After January 6, their position on the Capitol Police was: Back the blue— unless it’s a coup. After the attack on Paul Pelosi, their take is: the police are lying about what happened. The intruder was actually a gay hippie prostitute.

The lying, hypocrisy, and rampant election denying add up to a different kind of “decline of the American civic order.” The broad answer to the present crisis is to stop defining political deviancy down — and work like hell to save decency and democracy. We might surprise ourselves how well we respond. Might.

Jonathan Alter is a bestselling author, Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, and a contributing correspondent and political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. His Substack newsletter is OLD GOATS: Ruminating with Friends.

Reprinted with permission from OLD GOATS

Pence Blames Trump For Stoking January 6 Capitol Riot In New Memoir

Former President Trump hit “sowed” the seeds for the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack when he appointed the Inebriated Rudy Giuliani and conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell legal strategy leads for his crusade to overturn the 2020 election result, ex-Vice President Mike Pence writes in a new book, titled So Help Me God.

The publisher, Simon & Schuster, in a promotional piece, said the book, debuting November 15, “is the inside story of the Trump Administration by its second-highest ranking official” that “chronicles President Trump’s severing of their relationship on January 6, 2021, when Pence kept his oath to the Constitution.”

In an excerpt published by Axios on Monday, Pence recalled how a post-election meeting to brief then-President Trump on his failing election challenges turned into a fiery exchange between Trump’s official campaign lawyers and the external attorneys.

"What began as a briefing that Thursday afternoon,” Pence wrote, “quickly turned into a contentious back-and-forth between the campaign lawyers and a growing group of outside attorneys led by Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, an attorney who had represented General Mike Flynn [ex-national security adviser convicted for lying to the FBI who was pardoned by Trump].

“After the campaign lawyers gave a sober and somewhat pessimistic report on the state of election challenges, the outside cast of characters went on the attack ... Giuliani told the president over the speakerphone, ‘Your lawyers are not telling you the truth, Mr. President.’

"Even in an office well acquainted with rough-and-tumble debates, it was a new low .... [and] went downhill from there," Pence wrote. "In the end, that day the president made the fateful decision to put Giuliani and Sidney Powell in charge of the legal strategy ... The seeds were being sown for a tragic day in January."

Pence’s relationship with Trump has made many headlines since the former president — whose coup attempts were denounced by the courts, the “Team Normal” arm of his party and counsel, and a majority of American voters — turned to his vice president to advance his coup efforts, in abject betrayal of the Constitution.

The House Select Committee, in its public January 6 hearings, painted in evocative detail a picture of the blistering public and private pressure Trump and his inner circle applied to Pence to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

The fake elector scheme, arguably the most expansive of Trump’s coup plots — which Trumpworld pressed Pence to agree to, including sitting members of Congress — centered on appointing a slate of bogus electors subservient to Trump in crucial swing states that Biden won.

Pence’s dismissal of the elector plan and subsequent refusal to bow to pressure culminated in a “heated” phone call between Trump and Pence the morning of January 6 and, later that day, the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of irate Trump supporters chanting “Hang Mike Pence!”

“Donald Trump wanted Mike Pence to do something no other vice president has ever done: the former president wanted Pence to reject the votes and either declare Trump the winner or send the votes back to the states to be counted again,” select committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said on June 6, during the House panel’s public hearing.

“Mike Pence said no,” Thompson continued. “He resisted the pressure. He knew it was illegal. He knew it was wrong.”

Trump has repeatedly denied allegations of wrongdoing but has berated Pence — first during the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the January 6 riot and multiple times thereafter — for his refusal to cooperate with his election subversion campaign.

Pence has suggested he won’t back a potential Trump 2024 bid, saying, “There might be someone else I prefer more,” according to the Washington Post.

The former President, who is reportedly waiting out the midterms before announcing his 2024 ambitions, has

allegedly stated that he won’t ever pick Pence as a running mate again because the former VP “committed political suicide” by refusing to intervene in the electoral vote certification.

Steve Bannon Sentenced To Four Months Prison On Contempt Charges

A federal judge sentenced Steve Bannon, the neo-fascist advisor to Donald Trump and coup proponent, to four months in prison for refusing to cooperate with the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack by a pro-Trump mob. During a sentencing hearing on Friday, US District Judge Carl Nichols also ordered Bannon to pay a fine of $6,500.

Bannon was convicted last July on two counts of contempt of Congress for failing to provide documents and testimony. Each of the two counts was punishable by a minimum of one month and a maximum of one year in prison. He will be the first person sent to jail for refusing a Congressional subpoena in more than 50 years. The judge said Bannon could remain free pending his expected appeal. Members of the select committee voted last week to issue a subpoena to Trump himself for testimony and documents.

“Flaunting congressional subpoenas betrays a lack of respect for the legislative branch, which exercises the will of the people of the United States,” Judge Nichols said. Bannon “has expressed no remorse” and “has not taken responsibility for his refusal to comply with his subpoena.”

In Debate, Greene Lies About Capitol Riot And Claims She Was A 'Victim'

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), a propagator of extreme right-wing bombast and QAnon conspiracies, has once again denied involvement in last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters, insisting that she was a “victim,” despite her insistence that widespread election fraud in 2020 election had denied then-President Donald Trump a second term in office.

In a televised debate Sunday night, Greene, a first-term congresswoman running for another stint representing Georgia’s congressional 14th district, flew into a rage after her Democratic challenger, Marcus Flowers, accused her of participating in the horrific events of January 6, 2021.

“You cannot accuse me of insurrection,” Greene fumed. “I was a victim of the January 6 riot just as much as any other member of Congress. That was the third day I had on the job. I had nothing to do with what happened there that day, and I will not have you accuse me of that. That is wrong of you to do. You are lying about me, and you will not defame my character in that manner.”

Her assertion is unhinged from reality, though, as she had repeatedly peddled the Big Lie — that Trump won, not Biden; referred to the January 6 rally as “our 1776 moment”; and challenged Michigan’s electoral votes, citing a “forensic audit” of voting machines in Antrim County.

Astute netizens on Twitter were quick to eviscerate Greene for her fake claims of innocence on the podium, pointing out numerous videos of her spreading the Big Lie and vaunting the January 6 rally that would later become a failed insurrection attempt.

“Did Joe Biden win the election, Congresswoman Greene?” Flowers asked — a question Republican election deniers up and down the ballot have refused to answer — and Greene replied, “Joe Biden is the President of the United States, Marcus.”

“Absolutely,” Flowers responded. “But you pushed a big lie that said he did not win the election. And you drove those people over the Capitol on January 6 with your lie.”

Greene tried to interrupt Flowers with baseless allegations of fraud in the previous elections, despite denying any involvement in the riot only moments before. “There was election fraud proven. There was election fraud in the [SIC] 2020 election, and my husband has the proof of it.”

When Greene tried labeling Flowers a member of the “Defund the Police” party, the Democrat quickly fired back, telling the American people that Greene was, in fact, selling “Defund the FBI” merchandise on her website.

“I have said it over and over again, I am completely against what happened on January 6,” Greene continued, attempting yet again to rewrite history. “But I will not stand by and watch Merrick Garland [the U.S. attorney general] turn the Department of Justice into a political weapon and the FBI sending it after parents that are addressing their school boards.”

She added, “People that walked in the Capitol and have been held in jail for nearly two years while Antifa and BLM [Black Lives Matter] rioters go free and are never held accountable.”

Seemingly confident that spreading divisive right-wing rhetoric would only consolidate her base in the extremist sphere of the Republican party, Greene advocated for the rioters unfazed, saying, “[The BLM protests] was an attack on innocent American people whereas January 6 was just a riot at the Capitol. If you think about what our declaration of independence says it says to overthrow tyrants.”

“So there is a clear difference between January 6 and the Marxist communist revolution that Antifa, BLM, Democrat ground troops waged on the American people in 2020,” Greene said.

Her insistence on blaming Democrats and Antifa for the violence wrought by a mob that she, Trump, and other prominent members of the GOP incited with lies of a stolen election has been covered by multiple publications, most recently the New York Times, which referenced Greene’s interview with Katie Hopkins, a British white nationalist, the day after the Capitol riot.

“Last night and into the early-morning hours was probably one of the saddest days of my life,” Greene told Hopkins, according to the Times. “It was extremely lonely in there, watching, basically, the certification of the Electoral College votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, even though we know the election was stolen, and the Democrats were working so hard on it, but Republicans too, there were Republicans also.”

Speaking of the riot, Greene said, I know there were bad actors involved and investigations are underway — and it’s Antifa.”

Within Secret Service And FBI, Trump's Influence Is Strong -- And Ruinous

Americans’ confidence in once sacrosanct institutions is ebbing at a rate not seen in this country since the Vietnam War drove people to protest in the streets in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Latest to disappear down the rabbit hole Trump has burrowed beneath the foundations of the nation’s government are the Secret Service and the FBI, two institutions long revered as bastions of service and the high ideals of the rule of law.

The Secret Service is tasked with providing protection to the president and vice president and their families, former holders of the two highest offices in the land, and candidates for those offices while they campaign. In addition, the Secret Service as a law enforcement agency safeguards the banking system and other financial institutions, investigating cases of bank and mail fraud and the counterfeiting of currency.

The Secret Service is also part of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force which is supposed to combat terrorism on both international and national levels. And there, my friends, is the rub, because both the FBI and the Secret Service came under fire at yesterday’s hearing of the House Select Committee that is looking into what happened before, during, and after the assault on the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. It has been a mystery since that day why the FBI did not have intelligence before the attack that it was going to happen and that the assault would be violent.

The mystery surrounding the Secret Service includes its behavior while protecting Vice President Mike Pence from the mob and the steps it took both before the insurrection while Trump was preparing to speak on the Ellipse, and afterward, when the agents had made plans to bring Trump to the Capitol that were canceled only after it became clear that the attack was violent and the Metropolitan Police refused to cooperate in clearing the way for the presidential motorcade.

Perhaps the most striking thing about the Secret Service revealed by the House Select Committee hearing was during the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who was present backstage before Trump’s speech on the Ellipse. She heard Trump’s deputy chief of staff, a former Secret Service agent who had been on Trump’s personal protection detail, talking about how Secret Service agents policing the Ellipse had seen Trump supporters armed with handguns and rifles in the crowd outside the fenced-in area where they observed the speech.

She also told the committee that she had heard Trump tell the Secret Service to turn off the magnetometers which had been set up on the Ellipse to prevent people carrying weapons to enter. “Let my people in,” Trump commanded the Secret Service. “I don’t fucking care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the fucking mags (metal detectors) away.”

The Secret Service and Trump aides pushed back against Hutchinson’s testimony, trying to discount it as coming from a disgruntled former employee no longer loyal to the former president. But the texts of communications between Secret Service agents on January 6 before Trump’s speech proved that they knew that at least some in the crowd of Trump supporters at the Ellipse rally were armed. It turned out that the Park Service even arrested one man near the Washington Monument who had a sniper rifle, and the Secret Service was aware of that arrest, too. Other texts and emails from the Secret Service showed that agents were aware that threats had been made against members of Congress and the Vice President by groups planning to assault the Capitol.

The texts came to light in a million-page “document dump” by the Department of Homeland Security received by the select committee in August, after they had sought Secret Service text messages that the agency had deleted soon after the January 6 assault on the Capitol -- despite the fact that the DOJ and the House of Representatives had sent letters to the agency demanding that they maintain security over all messages sent by Secret Service agents both before and during the assault. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the “Secret Service had warnings earlier than previously known that supporters of President Donald Trump were plotting an armed attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to records revealed in a congressional hearing Thursday.”

Pence famously refused to get into an armored Secret Service SUV after he had been removed from his position overseeing the certification of electoral ballots. He was afraid they would spirit him away to a so-called secure location that might have turned out to be the blast-proof tunnels near Camp David where Vice President Cheney was taken on September 11, 2001, after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Pence knew that if he was taken to such a place, he would be unable to preside over the Senate and the House as they went about the business of certifying the electoral ballots and officially declaring Joe Biden the president-elect.

Most of the controversy revealed about the FBI by the select committee had to do with reports that there had been an intelligence failure in the FBI prior to January 6. Testimony and documents gathered by the committee revealed that the FBI, the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security had received warnings that there would be an attack on the Capitol on January 6, that it would be violent, and that some groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys had armed themselves and were prepared with so-called quick reaction forces with weapons and body armor that could be called on if the police used firearms in protecting the Capitol from the mob.

CNBC reported yesterday that after the events of January 6, a senior official in the FBI was warned that a “sizable percentage of the employee population” of the agency “felt sympathetic to the group that stormed the Capitol,” according to an email shown at the select xommittee hearing on Friday. CNBC added that the writer of the email listed multiple examples of FBI agents’ sympathies with the rioters, including “a Facebook page full of #StoptheSteal content from a senior analyst who had recently retired.”

So what’s going on here appears to be the same thing that recent polling has revealed: that a large percentage of the American public and an even larger percentage of the Republican Party are not bothered in the least by what happened on January 6. Something like 61 percent of Republicans believe that Joe Biden became president only because of election fraud, and Trump’s average approval rating of about 40 percent among Americans in general has remained the same throughout the committee hearings.

The FBI and the Secret Service are filled with conservatives who self-select as volunteers to serve in both agencies, and many of the agents in both organizations doubtlessly voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, still support him, and subscribe to his “stop the steal” lies about the election. There isn’t anything that can be done about that. People cannot be fired from civil service jobs in the government because of their political beliefs.

And the beat goes on with Trump and his own personal assault on our government, which appears to have hollowed out institutions like the FBI and the Secret Service and is probably having a corrosive effect on the military services as well. Beating Trump at the ballot box in 2020 didn’t stop the erosion of integrity in these organizations. Everything that happened surrounding January 6, for example, happened after Joe Biden had been elected, and revelations about rot within these agencies just keeps on coming.

Beating Trump in 2024 if he decides to run probably won’t stop the erosion of integrity in the government either, because Trumpism is now bigger than the man himself. He will be with us, it seems, for much, much longer, in spirit if not in body. So buckle up. We’re in for a rough ride.

Gov. Hutchinson: Trump 'Disqualified Himself' From 2024 White House Race

The Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, ripped into former President Donald Trump on Monday, describing him as “derelict in his duties” and morally culpable for the attack on Congress by a mob of his supporters on January 6, 2021.

In an interview with the Washington Post on Monday, Hutchinson said the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack had achieved its goal of making a solid case that Trump was “derelict in his duties” during the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“Well, I think [the January 6 hearings] had an impact,” Hutchinson told the Post Live anchor Leigh Ann Caldwell. “They've made the case that he was irresponsible; he was derelict in his duties.”

"This should be a concern of every American," Hutchinson continued. "We had a president during that time that allowed that to go on and threatened the peaceful transfer of power."

The governor confirmed he was speaking from a place of understanding because he had “tuned to the majority” of the select committee’s public hearings.

Hutchinson echoed his previous comments that the select committee’s case, while strong, didn’t provide the “high burden of proof” needed to pursue criminal charges against Trump.

“I don't see how the January 6th hearings themselves are making the case against the president. That's a very high burden of proof. I think the attorney general's got a tough call there,” Hutchinson said. “I haven't seen the actual case being presented effectively in terms of criminal conduct on the president.”

Hutchinson, a former congressman, is one of the few elected Republicans to persist in criticism of Trump. Last month, the governor told CBS Mornings hat the January 6 attack was a “threat to our institutions of government” and that Trump’s response was “not the behavior we want to see in a responsible president.”

In the same interview, Hutchinson assailed Trump’s 2024 bid for the White House, saying the ex-president had disqualified himself from running again with his actions before and on January 6.

"While we're totally focused on 2022, obviously there's talk about 2024, and I had to make it clear that Trump has disqualified himself, in my judgment, from his actions on January 6th and leading up to that," Hutchinson said.

“If we get sidetracked on a personality that is as divisive as Donald Trump, then that does not bode well for the outcome in November,” he said. “We’re going to do well, I have no doubt about that, but we lose ground whenever Donald Trump becomes the issue,” he told CBS Mornings.

Hutchinson told the Post’s Caldwell that he stood by his previous statement criticizing Trump. “I honestly answer questions when I'm asked. And so, yes, I stand by that. I believe that.”

Hutchinson teased a bid for the White House in 2024, which might see him run against Trump. “I'm thinking about it, but not going to be… have any decision until next January.”

“But 2024 is so critical in terms of shaping the Republican Party. And so whether it's as a candidate or whether it's in some other role, I certainly want to be a voice,” Hutchinson said.

“Somehow people think that if you're not 100 percent pure behind Donald Trump, then somehow, you're a moderate,” he lamented. “But I think the test in 2024, can a conservative that has a more optimistic view of America, that doesn't resort to personal grievances, can that person win, and that's what I want to be able to support in the fight for 2024.”

Trump's DHS Inspector Concealed Deletion Of Secret Service January 6 Texts

The Department of Homeland Security scandal is growing larger, with its embattled inspector general increasingly appearing to be at the center of what one noted political scientist is calling a “coverup of treason.”

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, appointed by then-President Donald Trump in 2019, was aware of Secret Service agents’ deleted text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, as well as deleted texts from top Homeland Security officials, months earlier than first disclosed, according to reports from CNN and The Washington Post.

“Earlier this month, Secret Service officials told congressional committees that DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, the department’s independent watchdog, was aware that texts had been erased in December 2021,” CNN reports. “But sources tell CNN, the Secret Service had notified Cuffari’s office of missing text messages in May 2021, seven months earlier.”

That means that four months after the January 6 insurrection the DHS watchdog office knew Secret Service agents’ text messages, from the day before and day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, were missing and did not inform Congress or the National Archives, which is required by law to retain those records.

The deleted Secret Service texts are not the only missing data at DHS.

“Text messages for President Donald Trump’s acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli are missing for a key period leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol,” The Washington Post was first to report, on Thursday night.

As with the missing Secret Service texts, Cuffari knew early on – as early as May – but did not inform Congress or the National Archives.

Earlier this month the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), a nonpartisan independent watchdog, reported on Cuffari, Wolf, and Cuccinelli.

“Cuffari’s actions shielded high-level DHS political appointees, including then-acting Secretary Chad Wolf and his acting deputy secretary, Ken Cuccinelli, from fuller questioning by investigators, according to government records and interviews,” a POGO press release stated.

Back in February POGO reported that Cuffari “faces a previously undisclosed and escalating investigation — one that will apparently address persistent questions about whether he illegally ‘retaliated’ against former high-ranking employees. As such, the probe signals the latest phase of a nasty internecine battle that refuses to fade away, despite Cuffari’s successful bid to force out his former top deputy, as other internal critics left amid bitter recriminations.”

That investigation, according to the POGO report, began in May of 2021, more than one year ago.

In. April POGO sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to remove Cuffari from his role as DHS IG.

Late Thursday night noted political scientist Norman Ornstein, who sits on the POGO board, called the situation a “coverup of treason.”

POGO, Ornstein tweeted, “has been calling for a long time for the resignation of DHS IG Joseph Cuffari. He sat on the information of missing texts from the top DHS ‘acting’ officials, put there by Trump to do his bidding. Stinks to high heaven. Coverup of treason.”

Appointed by Trump, Cuffari assumed office on July 25, 2019. Less than one year later, in May of 2020, The Washington Post reported, “DHS inspector general’s office nearly dormant under Trump as reports and audits plummet.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Trump Never Issued Order Deploying National Guard To Defend Capitol

A former top Defense Department official has taken a sledgehammer to one of the biggest lies disseminated by Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as they sought to deflect blame for the riot onto Democrats.

Chris Miller, who served as acting defense secretary, told the House Select Committee on January 6 that the former president had never issued a formal directive to deploy 10,000 National Guard troops to secure the Capitol.

The select committee released taped testimony Tuesday evening on Twitter -- and slammed Trump for perpetuating a lie to dodge responsibility for a deadly attack he incited.

“To remove any doubt: Not only did Donald Trump fail to contact his Secretary of Defense on January 6th (as shown in our hearing), Trump also failed to give any order prior to January 6 to deploy the military to protect the Capitol,” the select committee stated in its post.

In the video, investigators questioned Miller on an assertion former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows made on Fox News last February. Meadows said the Defense Secretary had asked “as many as 10,000 National Guard troops” to be “on the ready.”

“Not from my perspective,” Miller replied. "I was never given any direction or order or knew of any plans of that nature," he added. "There was no direct, there was no order from the President," Miller later said in the video.

The video went viral, garnering over one million views since it was posted on Tuesday.

The lie at issue was first uttered one month after the Capitol attack by Meadows, an indefatigable Trumplican, who sought to shift the blame onto House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in some form for the attack Trump incited.

“As many as 10,000 National Guard troops were told to be on the ready by the secretary of defense. That was a direct order from President Trump,” Meadows said on Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures last February.

Trump echoed the lie in an interview with Fox News later that month. “I definitely gave the number of 10,000 National Guardsmen and [said] ‘I think you should have 10,000 of the National Guard ready,’” Trump said. “

“They took that number. From what I understand, they gave it to the people at the Capitol, which is controlled by [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi. And I heard they rejected it because they didn’t think it would look good,” the former President added.

However, Miller rejected this claim in his testimony. “Obviously, we had plans for activating more folks, but that was not anything more than contingency planning,” the ex-Defense Secretary said. “There was no official message traffic or anything of that nature.”

Miller’s answers echo the reporting of a Vanity Fair journalist who chronicled his experiences tailing the Defense Secretary and his top allies in the period leading up to the insurrection.

However, Fox News hosts, denizens of a world untethered by the truth, and Republican lawmakers — including those who blamed Trump for the insurrection but voted not to convict him for it — have continued to peddle the lie.

“The American people deserve to know the truth that Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility as speaker of the House for the tragedy that occurred on January 6,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the party’s No. 3 leader, said last July.

The audacious effort to rewrite the reality of the worst Capitol attack in history — which resulted in four deaths and nearly 900 criminal charges — has been debunked multiple times. Still, prominent Republicans and Trump have continued to tout the false tally to downplay the gravity of the attack.