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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: house select committee

Hutchinson Said She Saw Meadows Burning Key Documents In Fireplace

Cassidy Hutchinson revealed under oath that Mark Meadows burned official documents, The Independent reports.

The House Select Committee investigating the Capitol attack released a new set of testimony transcripts, and Hutchinson’s May appearance was included. In the transcript, she revealed to the committee that she witnessed Meadows “roughly a dozen times” burn papers, once or twice weekly between December 2020 and January 2021.

Hutchinson, who recently revealed that one of former President Donald Trump's attorneys urged her to lie during her testimony, described how the burning of documents was carried out in detail. She is unsure of what was contained in any of the documents that Meadows allegedly destroyed, however.

“So throughout the day, he would put more logs on the fireplace to keep it burning,” she said. “And I recall roughly a dozen times where he would take the – I don’t know the formal name for what it’s called that covers the fireplace – but take that off and then throw a few more pieces of paper in with it when he put more logs on the fireplace.”

Politico reporter Kyle Cheney tweeted a thread of transcripts, which included Hutchinson’s.

Cheney posted: Here's what Hutchinson said about Meadows burning papers in his WH fireplace — including 2-4 times after meeting with Rep. Perry. We wrote about this testimony in May.

Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Scott Perry is known for falsely claiming widespread voter fraud and was in support of Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Select Panel Report Shows Trump Isn't The Only 'Big Ripoff' Grifter

Most Americans know by now that former President Donald Trump isn't a brilliant business executive, let alone a "stable genius" who earned billions. We have learned from various investigations, including the forced release of his tax returns, that he is a financial loser — and that his most conspicuous talent is for brazen grifting.

Now the House Select Committee, in a scathing appendix to its final report on the January 6 insurrection and coup attempt, has exposed the latest and perhaps most successful Trump grift. It's called "The Big Rip-off" because it depended on Trump's Big Lie about election fraud in 2020. Using hundreds of emails sent incessantly to its millions of supporters, the Trump campaign continued to raise enormous sums after the election ended by pretending that the Biden campaign had "stolen" its victory — and that with enough money that victory could be overturned.

Trump's principal co-conspirators in this bigtime scam were officials of the Republican National Committee, or RNC, which had a joint fundraising agreement that split proceeds with the campaign. From extensive interviews with top officials from both the RNC and the Trump campaign, the House investigators determined that the Republican leadership continued that deal long after it knew that the funds obtained were tainted by the Big Lie.

"The RNC knew that Trump's claims about winning the election were baseless and that post-election donations would not help him secure an additional term in office," the report explains. Yet both the RNC and the Trump campaign decided to continue fundraising after the election ended — "a decision that would have come from President Trump himself." The operations of that joint fundraising machine, known as Trump Make America Great Again Committee (or "T-Magic" to insiders) were overseen by the former president's son-in-law Jared Kushner and approved by Trump himself.

Their letters used incendiary language to damage public confidence in the electoral process, insisting that the election had been "stolen" and that the money would be used to "fight back" and "stop the steal." Sending out as many as 25 inflammatory emails every day, TMAGAC saw its most lucrative fundraising immediately after Election Day, hauling in as much as $100 million in the first three days, by claiming to establish a nonexistent "Official Election Defense Fund."

Eventually they raised more than $250 million.

They perpetrated that historic larceny, in the report's words, "by claiming to fight fraud they knew did not exist and to challenge an election they knew he lost." The RNC copywriters would "draft a lot of the content based on what the president was saying... a very aggressive, excitable tone... giving them 'red meat'... to make it seem as if the president himself was writing these letters and texts," according to the Select Committee's report.

This belligerently deceptive approach to monetizing the Big Lie began on Election Day 2020 when the campaign decided how to report election results to its supporters. As outlined by the Select Committee report, the campaign had three options: It could say that Trump had won, knowing that was false; it could say that the outcome remained uncertain which was then true; or it could claim, as it did, that "the Democrats are trying to steal the election" — a destructive accusation that the campaign decided to use even before Election Night results came in. As campaign officials later confessed to the Select Committee investigators, that claim was not based on any actual information received by TMAGAC staff or any attempt by them to determine its veracity.

RNC attorneys made a few feeble efforts to moderate that language in the TMAGAC donor messaging, to cover their own collective behind. But as the Select Committee notes, the RNC "was clearly aware that President Trump's claims regarding the election were not true and tried to have it both ways."

So, the RNC knew that Trump was lying to the American public every day and did virtually nothing to oppose that strategy. Its leaders, including RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, chose only to "tinker around the edges" of that false messaging. RNC officials admitted that they had seen no evidence to support Trump's claim that he had won the election and were not aware of any evidence of voter fraud sufficient to change the election's outcome.

Despite its lawyers' concerns about repeating the most extreme and unsupportable claims of fraud, the RNC "stayed the course with a coordinated, single fundraising plan with the Trump campaign... and publicly stood shoulder-to-shoulder with President Trump and his Big Lie."

To this day, most of the money raised remains in the bank, but millions have been paid out to Trump himself, his political associates and his businesses.

Among many egregious examples of pilfering and looting, well over $100,000 was paid for "strategic consulting" to Melania Trump's fashion stylist. A million dollars went to a "conservative" nonprofit that employs former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows and participated in planning for Trump's Jan. 6 coup, and over $10 million went to an event-planning firm that helped to run the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse that preceded the Capitol riot. Additional millions were later spent on lawyers representing witnesses called to testify before the Select Committee.

There is no honor among thieves, so chair McDaniel is now being challenged for her position by an even more extreme MAGA politician. What this report shows in embarrassing detail is how they fleeced their own followers — who are, alas, mostly gullible enough to continue listening to them, at great cost to our country.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Final Report On January 6 Coup Is The Chronicle Of A Spoiled Brat

This is free to all subscribers. To receive both my paid and free columns on American politics, the Ukraine war, and more, please consider becoming a paid subscriber to my Substack columns here.

It’s there in one long regurgitation of the last six years this country has endured: All the bile, glistening with half-chewed chunks of Big Macs bathed in the chemical-y brown residue of Diet Cokes. It’s as if someone sat down to write a Robert Caro-ish history of the Trump Era and discovered it wasn’t necessary to go back to the beginning, to the descent down the escalator cheered on by screaming “fans” hired from an extras agency and the hint of what was to come with the denunciation of Mexican immigrants as “drug dealers and rapists” and the Muslim ban and the “great big beautiful wall” which would never be completed.

This is the chronicle of the petulant ravings of the Man-child Denied – Donald Trump being told “no” for perhaps the first time in his life on November 3, 2020, and the most painful thing of all was that “no” came in the form of seven million votes he didn’t get, each one of them from those nasty people he had looked down on from his gold-plated mansion in the sky in Trump Tower for all those years – the ill-dressed and the well-dressed; the ill-coiffed and the expensively-coiffed; the un-tanned and the tanned; the ones who never got “on the list” and the ones who did get past the velvet ropes at the door of Studio 54. The worst thing of all was that he could get himself into all the nouveau-riche glitter palaces, but it was never enough because it wasn’t a mark that he truly belonged. That was the source of all his resentment.

Worst of all was the rejection for decades by the exclusive clubs in Manhattan that he tap-tap-tapped on the doors of – the Union League, the Metropolitan, the Century Association, The Harmonie Club – the stuffy, WASPy, wood-paneled inner sanctums of Those Who Mattered. They wouldn’t accept him, so he started clubs of his own – golf clubs and Mar-a-Lago – with rules that he set and he understood: You were accepted when your check cleared.

And then he did what none of those rankling WASPs could – he got himself elected president and moved into the White House, the one place in America where -- he thought -- no one would ever say no to him again. From his chair in the Oval Office, he could have it all – the meetings with powerful leaders of countries he admired like Russia and Saudi Arabia and Turkey and even little Belarus. He wanted a tax cut; he got a tax cut. He wanted a tough border policy; he got a tough border policy that ripped children from parents’ arms and locked them in cages and made the point he always made at the Trump Organization but could now make on a global stage: I’m in charge here, and if I say I want it, you goddamn make it happen. Let’s see the Union League Club get Sergey Lavrov to come for lunch, huh? Let’s see the Metropolitan hang a “beautiful” letter from Kim Jong Un on their cherrywood wall!

It was glorious for nearly four years, and then on November 3, 2020, it was over. They said “no” and he wouldn’t take it anymore than he would take the “no” from the Union League Club. They say I lost the election? Fuck that. I’ll hold my own election, and I’ll fix this one so I can’t lose.

That’s where the final report of the House Select Committee takes up the story. What happened when Donald Trump was told “no?” Where were the edges of his tantrum? Who answered his calls and his text messages and his tweets and enabled his stomping and shouting and fit-throwing attempts to re-do the election and win it this time?

The final report reads like a metaphorical replay of the last six years. He did all the stuff he had been doing for years: he told lie after lie after lie until he compiled so many they became The Big Lie, a gargantuan pile of lies so deep and so wide nobody could see over or around them. Just as he had called President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and asked him “for a favor” that was bald-faced extortion, he made call after call after call to Republican elected officials around the country and asked them “to find 11,780 votes,” or they would face legal consequences, and if that wouldn’t work, he would turn his MAGA mob on them and they would be defeated the next time they ran for office.

He called them and asked for the “favor” of holding a special session of their legislatures so they could appoint new slates of electors, Trump electors, and overturn the results of the election in their states. And when that didn’t work, he asked them to cobble together fake slates of electors and send them to the National Archives so he could use them to fuck up the certification of electoral ballots on January 6. And when that didn’t work, he tweeted to his MAGA base and asked them to come to Washington, D.C. on that date and “be wild” and fuck up the Capitol so the certification would stop and the whole thing would be thrown into such a panic, they’d just give up and ask him to come back from his political death and be president for them again.

He had spent a lifetime before he came down that escalator in July of 2015 violating one law after another: only fools and little people paid their taxes. Not Donald “I’m Being Audited” Trump. Only fools and little people paid their bills on time. Not Donald “Sue Me” Trump. Only fools and little people paid back the money people loaned them. Not Donald “I Make the Bankruptcy Laws Work For Me” Trump. Only fools and little people told the truth about how many stories were in the buildings they put up and the number of condos they sold. Not Donald “The Number is Whatever I Say It Is” Trump.

Only fools and little people accepted the will of the people, the fools and little people who voted against Donald “I’m Not a Loser” Trump. Only fools and little people took “no” for an answer. Not Donald “Frankly, We Won This Election” Trump.

In going through all the ways that Trump conspired to overturn the election of 2020, it’s as if the House Select Committee was retelling the Trump story as it had already happened before, with all the law-breaking and exaggeration and lying and bragging and scowling and faking everything from the top of his wispy coif to the corset holding in his expansive belly to the business-black-lace-ups he put on every morning as if to prove to his daddy that he was actually a man. Nothing he said about himself – and all he talked about was himself – was true. He wasn’t worth 10 billion dollars. He wasn’t a successful businessman. He didn’t pay his taxes. His apartment in Trump Towers wasn’t the biggest, most expensive apartment in New York City. Trump University didn’t teach you all the tricks of the trade he had learned over the years, except perhaps one: it was a complete scam.

Nothing he said before and especially after November 3, 2020, was true. There weren’t any voting machines that “flipped votes from Trump to Biden.” Hugo Chavez didn’t come back from the dead to fix the election for Biden. There weren’t any “Chinese ballots” flown in to serve as votes for Biden. There weren’t any “suitcases full of votes for Biden” in the counting center in Atlanta on election eve. There weren’t any immigrants bussed in to vote for Biden and the Democrats – not “thousands of them,” as he contended.

Everyone today, from the most powerful front page in the world at the New York Times to lowly Substack columns, is mining the final report for nuggets of new information. There is some, of course – the stuff about Cassidy Hutchinson being encouraged by her lawyer to perjure herself is new. There are some new details about Trump, Giuliani, and Meadows being involved early-on in the fake elector plot, and there are some fairly strong hints, but so far only hints, that Homburg-wearing swinger Roger Stone was the contact man between Trump and the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, and that all of them knew from the get-go that the “march” on the Capitol was going to be violent because it had been planned that way from the day Trump issued his “be wild!” tweet.

Rather than reacting to the news that there would be violence associated with his January 6 rally and trying to prevent it, Trump wallowed in it, enabling the militia groups and right-wing bloggers and the likes of Steve Bannon and Alex Jones and the rest of his cast of professional troublemakers, each of whom was one of the “go get’ em boys…I’ll be right behind you” variety of tough guy.

But the truly astounding thing about the report is how familiar it all is. Much of the information it contains has seen the light of day before, in newspaper reports, on cable news shows, and of course from Trump himself, who wasn’t exactly shy about what he was doing throughout the time between his loss of the election and his MAGA minions storming the Capitol. Especially familiar is how soaked the committee narrative is with Trump’s grudges and resentments and bitterness and jealousy and incompetence and cruelty and everlasting instinct for revenge.

By compiling its report on Trump and the insurrection in narrative form, the House Select Committee has done the favor of reminding us that this is who he was from the very beginning. He didn’t just commit insurrection on January 6, 2021. He committed insurrection the day he descended the escalator and hasn’t stopped yet. They should have illustrated the front page of the report with a big piece of yellow crime scene tape across the title. It’s going to take everything the Department of Justice can bring to bear to stop him long enough to indict him and put him on trial.

That’s the big take-away from the committee’s final report. Donald Trump is a crime in progress.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

Final Report: Select Panel Recommends Barring Trump From Public Office

The House Select Committee has published its final report. You can find it here.

The report is a sweeping 845 pages and features rich narratives neatly divided into different phases of former President Donald Trump’s push to overturn the results of the 2020 election before finally inciting an insurrection at the U.S Capitol.

1. THE BIG LIE

The first chapter of the final report covers former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” and specifically, the committee contends, how he deliberately exploited the “Red Mirage” to advance his overturn agenda.

As Fox News elections head Chris Stirewalt explained: for nearly half a century, the practice of voting by mail or early voting, or absentee voting was par for the course. Typically, because Democrats tend to vote this way more often than Republicans in “nearly every election,” he said, it results in a simple formula: “Republicans win Election Day and Democrats win the early vote and then you wait and start counting. It happens every time.”

Trump exploited an ordinary situation, sowed confusion about the timing of the votes, and deceived Americans, the report notes. And all of this was foreshadowed.

Subchapters in the first section of the report focus on Trump’s early plans to declare victory in the election, further details about his efforts to delegitimize the process, the formal launch of the Big Lie, the shakeup to his campaign team after the election was over, how his campaign informed him repeatedly that he had lost and voter fraud didn’t exist as well as Trump’s promotion of conspiracy theories. Another section is devoted entirely to his speech on January 6.

  • Trump “pushed the campaign’s ‘Team Normal’” to the curb two weeks after the election (Campaign manager Bill Stepien and deputy Justin Clark) and replaced them with Rudy Giuliani who then recruited attorneys Jenna Ellis (Giuliani’s deputy), Bernie Kerik, Boris Epshteyn, Katherine Friess, and Christina Bobb.
  • On January 2, 2021, Matthew Morgan, the senior-most lawyer for the Trump campaign approached then-Vice President Mike Pence’s staff, and together, the men reached the conclusion that even if every claim of fraud was “aggregated and read most favorably to the campaign… it was not sufficient to be outcome determinative.”
  • Trump White House adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner arranged an Oval Office briefing for Trump on Nov. 6, exactly two months to the day until the insurrection, with campaign staff. Trump was told then that analysis from swing states showed a victory was impossible.

By the numbers:

Trump sued 62 times in states and in Washington, D.C. from Nov. 4 to January 6. He lost all but one case. 22 judges appointed by Republican presidents oversaw the cases. 10 of them were Trump-appointed. All three of the justices appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court who reviewed his fraud claims, rejected them.

The first chapter of the report, in particular, Section 1.8 “President Trump repeatedly promoted conspiracy theories,” offers extensive analysis and debunking of the various conspiracy theories that Trump deployed about rampant voter fraud.

Dead people voting became a major, disinformation-laden complaint flowing from the Trump campaign and the Republican party. The final committee report notes that just days before January 6, Senator Lindsey Graham prodded Trump’s lawyers to “provide evidence to support the campaign’s claims regarding dead voters.”

Giuliani looked into it and “they concluded they could not find evidence of dead voters anywhere near the number that Giuliani and President Trump were claiming publicly.”

Excerpt:

After noting the shortcomings in their evidence, Katherine Fries, a lawyer working with the Giuliani legal team, warned that Senator Graham would “push back” on their evidence. As predicted by Friess, Senator Graham was not impressed by the information provided by Giuliani’s team.
In his speech on the Senate floor on January 6th, Graham explained why he would not object to the certification of electoral votes. Senator Graham referred to the failure of the Trump attorneys to provide the evidence he requested: “’They said there’s 66,000 people in Georgia under 18 voted. Howmany people believe that? I asked, ‘Give me 10.’ Hadn’t had one. They said 8,000 felons in prison in Arizona voted. Give me 10. Hadn’t gotten one. Does that say there’s—There’s problems in every election. I don’t buy this. Enough’s enough. We’ve got to end it.”

Dominion Voting Systems may have a chance to sue Trump yet. According to the final report, Trump tweeted and retweeted false claims about the voting machine manufacturer over 30 times, lies about them in election speeches and interviews and did all of this, despite his staff telling him his claims had no merit, the report notes.

“Hand recounts confirmed the fidelity of the machines. But none of this overwhelming evidence mattered. President Trump demonstrated a conscious disregard for the facts and continued to maliciously smear Dominion.”

II. ‘I JUST WANT TO FIND 11,780 VOTES’

The final report reveals that former President Donald Trump contacted more than 190 Republican state legislators in Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan alone—just three of seven battleground states.

Excerpt:

One voicemail left as part of this initiative was leaked to the press on December 1, 2020. In it, a Trump Campaign staffer said, “I did want to personally reach out to you on behalf of the President.” Her main point came later in the message: “we want to know when there is a resolution inthe House to appoint electors for Trump if the President can count on you to join in support.” Another message from this effort that reached reporters made the same ask and claimed that, “[a]fter a roundtable with tthe President, he asked us to reach out to you individually” to whip support for a “joint resolution from the State House and Senate” that would “allow Michigan to send electors for Donald J. Trump to the Electoral College and save our country.” Soon after the voicemail leaked, the Campaign staffer who left this voicemail got a text message from one of her supervisors, who wrote: “Honest to god I’m so proud of this” because “[t]hey unwittingly just gotyour message out there.” He elaborated: “you used the awesome powerof the presidency to scare a state rep into getting a statewide newspaper todeliver your talking points.”

III. FAKE ELECTORS AND ‘THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE’ STRATEGY

At the heart of the attempt to overturn the election were the fake electors. The committee notes how in seven battleground states, they affixed their signatures to bunk certificates in gambits led by Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani and others like Kenneth Cheseboro, Cheseboro provided instructions to pro-Trump electors in five of the seven battleground states to declare themselves “duly elected and qualified” but they weren’t. None of those who had signed were sanctioned by the state government with what is known as a “certificate of ascertainment.”

In just two of the seven battleground states, electors included a disclaimer on their “certificate” that noted the form was valid only if they were deemed “qualified” at a later time.

In an email to Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien on December 14, 2020, Joshua Findlay, the Republican National Committee’s director for election integrity, sent an email to the legal team on the campaign.

Excerpt:

“Findlay updated Campaign Manager Bill Stepienand his bosses on the legal team that the Trump team’s slate in Georgia wasnot able to satisfy all provisions of State law but still “voted as legally aspossible under the circumstances” before transmitting their fake votes toWashington, DC, by mail.”

The final report also presents evidence connecting Trump directly to the fake elector scheme. Findlay said Trump “made it clear that Rudy [Giuliani] was in charge of this and that Rudy was executing what he wanted.””

IV. ‘JUST CALL IT CORRUPT AND LEAVE THE REST TO ME’

The Justice Department never found any evidence of widespread voter fraud significant enough to alter the outcome of the 2020 election and hand Donald Trump a victory.

The committee notes that former Trump-appointed Attorney General Bill Barr authorized two investigations into claims of election fraud. The first one began on Nov. 7—the day the press declared Joe Biden was the winner—and then on Nov. 9. Barr ordered the department and the FBI to investigate for fraud in their respective jurisdictions. He specified that his order should not lead anyone to believe that the request for an investigation alone constituted proof fraud.

Barr rebuffed Trump’s conspiracy theories in three meetings and Trump was immovable.

“The President said there had been major fraud and that, as soon as the facts were out, the results of the election would be reversed,” Barr told the committee.

Rudy Giuliani had been in Trump’s ear, Barr said, and was telling him “crazy stuff” about what authority the Justice Department had to investigate their claims. Giuliani had badmouthed the Justice Department to Trump and Barr believed this was because Giuliani was upset that no one had come up with any evidence of fraud.

By Nov. 29, Trump went on Fox News and claimed the DOJ was “missing in action” and he opined that maybe the FBI was involved nefariously somehow. Trump claimed the FBI wasn’t investigating Dominion, either. But six days earlier Barr had already explained to Trump that the Dominion voting machine conspiracy theory was nonsense. All Trump did, Barr testified, was come back at him with “crazy stuff.” Barr would resign on Dec. 14.

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen stepped in after Barr left. From December 23, 2020, to January 3, 2021, Rosen and Trump were in constant contact and it was usually Trump calling to complain about how little the Justice Department had done to investigate his claims of voter fraud.

Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, had introduced Trump to Jeffrey Clark, an attorney at the Justice Department who was sympathetic to Trump. Clark eventually went to a meeting at the Oval Office against department policy. Rosen warned Clark not to do it again. Rosen had not yet learned that at the meeting in the Oval Office, Clark “told the President that if he were to change the leadership at the Department of Justice, ‘then the Department might be able to do more’ to support the President’s claims that the election had been stolen from him.”

As Clark vied for the top spot at the department, he would draft a memo intended for battleground state legislatures that proclaimed voting irregularities. First up was Georgia. If Rosen wouldn’t send memo as Trump wanted, Clark would replace him, Rosen recalled. The memo was never sent and Clark never ascended the ladder for the simple fact that Rosen and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, as well as other Justice Department officials, threatened to resign en masse if Trump went forward with Clark.

Excerpt:

“People tell me Jeff Clark is great” and that “I should put him in,”President Trump said on the call. “People want me to replace the DOJ leadership.” Donoghue responded “[S]ir, that’s fine, you should have the leadership you want, but understand, changing the leadership in the Department won’t change anything.”

Perry, who has been referred to the House Ethics Committee by the January 6 probe, called Richard Donoghue one day before Clark drafted the 5-page memo.

The final report notes at length that the same tactics being used by Rudy Giuliani to advance fake elector slates, were the ones Clark deployed in his draft letter.

From December through January 2, Clark met with Trump in Oval Office despite admonishments from Rosen. Trump meanwhile was fervently pushing the Justice Department to file a frivolous lawsuit in Pennsylvania challenging the election results. Despite being told repeatedly that this would not happen, Trump and his allies kept pressing the Justice Department.

V. ‘A COUP IN SEARCH OF LEGAL THEORY’

Highlights from this section of the final report include some incredibly damning if not wildly curious details around the drafting of a memo by attorney John Eastman that proposed to have the vice president intervene at the joint certification ceremony. The proposal was flatly unconstitutional but ambiguity in the language around the Electoral Count Act was just wide enough of a window for Eastman.

The final report contends that Eastman wrote his first of two “January 6th Scenario” memos on Dec. 23. That same day he spoke to Trump for 23 minutes.

Excerpt:

“From the start, President Trump was looped in on Eastman’s proposal. The same day Eastman started preparing the memo, he sent an email to President Trump’s assistant Molly Michael, at 1:32 p.m.: “Is the President available for a very quick call today at some point? Just want to update himon our overall strategic thinking.” Only five minutes later, Eastman received a call from the White House switchboard; according to his phone records, the conversation lasted for almost 23 minutes.”

Pence and Trump met privately, without anyone else present, on January 5, 2021, at the White House. Eastman had been pushing the Pence-as-arbiter-of-the-count strategy hot and heavy but understood, the committee notes, that Pence wouldn’t go for it.

Excerpt:

Eastman recognized that Vice President Pence was not going to change his mind on rejecting electors outright, but he still asked if the Vice President would consider sending the electors back to the States. “I don’t seeit,” Vice President Pence responded, “but my counsel will hear out whatever Mr. Eastman has to say.”Jacob received other calls from Eastman on January 5th. Jacob toldthe Select Committee that he had a detailed discussion with Eastman concerning the ways his proposal would violate the Electoral Count Act. Eastman resorted to a ridiculous argument—comparing their current situation to the crisis that faced President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.Eastman invoked President Lincoln’s suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. He also told Jacob to “stay tuned” because “we” were trying to getsome letters from State legislators indicating that they were interested inthe Vice President sending the electors back to the States.”

VI. “BE THERE, WILL BE WILD!”

  • According to the report, for the Million MAGA March in Washington, D.C. on Nov 14, Proud Boy leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio had his air travel to D.C. paid for by Patrick Byrne, the founder of Overstock who urged Trump during a Dec. 18, 2020 meeting to seize voting machines.

VII. 187 MINUTES OF DERELICTION

The select committee was unable to corroborate testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson about Trump lunging at a Secret Service driver on January 6 and requesting that it be taken to the Capitol. Individuals who were in the president’s car that afternoon could not remember Trump grabbing at the clavicle of Bobby Engel, Trump’s head of Secret Service. Hutchinson testified under oath that this story was relayed to her secondhand by Tony Ornato, a Secret Service agent-turned--deputy chief of staff for the Trump White House. (Such a transition is rare.)

A footnote in the final report points out:

A book written by Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in December 2021 made the categorical claim that the President never intended to travel to the Capitol that day. See Mark Meadows, The Chief’s Chief (St. Petersburg, FL: All Seasons Press, 2021), p. 250. The Committee’s evidence demonstrates that Meadows’s claim is categorically false. Because the Meadows book conflicted sharply with information that was being received by the Select Committee, the Committee became increasingly wary that other witnesses might intentionally conceal what happened. That appeared to be the case with Ornato. Ornato does not recall that he conveyed the information to Cassidy Hutchinson regarding the SUV, and also does not recall that he conveyed similar information to a White House employee with national security responsibilities who testified that Ornato recalled a similar account to him. The Committee is skeptical of Ornato’s account.

Multiple people reached out to Trump while he failed to respond to the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Trump allies, family members, friendly press, staff; nearly everyone in Trump’s orbit who testified to the committee about this three-hour block said the same thing: Trump had to do more to condemn the violence.

The final report shows that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of Trump’s most ardent supporters, was in a panic on January 6, just like so many of her colleagues, Capitol staff, journalists, and others who were working inside the Capitol or visiting that day.

“Mark, I was just told there is an active shooter on the first floor of the Capitol Please tell the President to calm people This isn’t the way to solve anything,” Greene wrote. [Punctuation original]

Notably, Trump’s personal assistant Johnny McEntee said when he and the president spoke by phone after the attack on January 6, Trump did not express any sadness.

“This is a crazy day,” McEntee recalled Trump saying. The tone was “like, wow, can you believe this shit?” and McEntee thought Trump seemed shocked that things got out of control. Trump didn’t make any other phone calls for the rest of the evening on January 6. He did not call Pence, despite learning earlier that he had to be whisked to safety during the siege.

VIII. ANALYSIS OF AN ATTACK

The final chapter of the report delves into how the Capitol attack took shape on January 6 and who was involved, starting with the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. The activities of Trump allies like Roger Stone, Alex Jones, Ali Alexander and Michael Flynn are discussed, Details include analysis from the moments that Capitol was breached to the first person inside to the conduct of some of the most memorable faces to emerge from the violent attack.

This portion of the report also includes information around the timelines of lawmaker evacuations from the Capitol, and other important details in the day’s chronology including when an officer shot Trump supporter and U.S. veteran Ashli Babbitt. Babbitt refused to stand down, video footage shows, and ignored the officer’s orders, attempting to squeeze herself through a shattered glass door.

The clearing of the Capitol is also detailed in this segment of the report.

APPENDICES

Appendices are split into four categories: Government Agency Preparation for and Response to January 6; DC National Guard Prep for and Response to January 6; The Big Rip-Off: Follow the Money; Malign Foreign Influence

HIGHLIGHTS

Government Agency Preparation for and Response to January 6

  • Senator Mark Warner called FBI deputy director David Bowdich during the siege and told him the situation was a “mess” because 87 Senators were in one location during the attack. “We now have the vast majority of the Senate in one room,” Warner told him.
  • Agents with the Secret Service who were tuned into Trump’s speech at the Ellipse sent an email to Secret Service leadership stating: “POTUS just said that he is going up to the U.S. Capitol to ‘watch’ the vote.” The agent was unsure if Trump was serious. Another Secret Service executive replied, “[he] said it but not going to our knowledge.”

DC National Guard Prep for and Response to January 6

  • The commander of the National Guard, General William Walker, was forced to wait for three hours and 19 minutes on Jan. 6 as the Pentagon worked on a plan to deploy back up to the Capitol. Chris Miller, then the acting-defense secretary, said he thought it would only take a minute but that minute turned into five, then 10, and then 15.
    • EXCERPT: “And then an hour went by, then more time went by . . . .But we never thought it would take that long. Col. Matthews confirmed that there were periods on the call when no one was talking. At times, there was talk of securing buildings other than the Capitol. [Miller] called the open channel essentially “a general officer chat line.”
  • Miller said he had approved the National Guard at 3:04 p.m. but the Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, hosted a planning call but that call did not include General Walker, the official responsible for leading troops into Washington.
    • EXCERPT: Major General Walker himself understood he had to wait for approval from Secretary McCarthy to deploy his forces. But as he waited on that video CALL for hours, he did strongly consider sending them anyway. He turned to his lawyer and said, “Hey, you know what? You know, we’re going to go, and I'm just going to shoulder the responsibility.” According to Major General Walker, his lawyer responded, “What if you get sued?” Colonel Mathews, that lawyer, “told him not to do that. Just hold on.” The Guard officials located with Major General Walker at the Armory all say he seriously contemplated aloud the possibility of breaking with the chain of command. “Should we just deploy now and resign tomorrow?” was how Lieutenant Nick recalled Major General Walker bluntly putting it. “I would have done just that,” Major General Walker said, “but not for those two letters” from his superiors curtailing Guard redeployment.
  • General Walker told the committee that “ultimately, no plan from Army leaders—strategic or tactical—made it to the troops.“[I]f they came up with a plan, they never shared it with us,” he said. “They claim they were putting a plan together. That’s what took so long. I never saw a plan from the Department of Defense or the Department of the Army.”

The Big Rip-Off

The select committee contends that Trump sucked up cash from donors by proclaiming that he was using donations to support his legal battle. The Republican National Committee knew Trump’s claims of winning were baseless, the final report notes. and that any additional donations would not help him win the 2020 election.

The only individuals at the RNC who tried to “walk back” the fundraising email blasts were RNC lawyers. Members of the RNC legal team did not testify to the committee due to attorney-client privilege issues, but interviews with RNC staffers like Alex Katz revealed that lawyers instructed him not to say “steal the election” in messaging.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • The final report recommends reform of the Electoral Count Act and proposals removal of ambiguous language while solidifying the role of the Vice President as ministerial only. (Senators passed ECA reform legislation on Thursday)
  • The final report recommends that the Justice Department make a determination on its criminal referrals for former President Donald Trump and others. Bar associations should also continue to review the conduct of attorneys cited in the report for unethical behavior or misconduct to ensure they are not practicing improperly; DoJ should take greater steps to prevent its attorneys from participating in any campaign-related activities (See: Jeffrey Clark)
  • The final report recommends that Trump be banned from running for office ever again and points to the 14th Amendment which bars someone from holding office if they have “engaged in an insurrection” or provided “aid and comfort” to enemies of the U.S. Constitution
  • The committee recommends that the joint session of Congress be considered a “national security special event”
  • The committee recommends that tougher penalties are enforced on those who would try to upend the nation’s transfer of power as well as increasing the federal penalties for people who threaten election workers; in that same vein, the committee recommends stronger protections be put in place to shield election worker’s personal information
  • The committee recommends that the House of Representatives develop legislation that would make its subpoenas enforceable in federal court, either following the statutory authority that exists for the Senate in 2 U.S.C.§ 288d and 28 U.S.C. § 1365 or adopting a broad approach to facilitate timely oversight of the executive branch.”
  • The committee recommends increased oversight of the Capitol Police as well as increased oversight over social media companies' policies that have the real-time effect of “radicalizing their consumers including by provoking people to attack their own country”
  • The committee recommends federal agencies with intelligence and security missions move ahead on developing strategies to combat extremism, including white nationalist groups and violent anti-government groups.
  • Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

How The Select Committee Wrote A Prosecution Memo For Trump's Indictment

The House Select Committee investigating the January 2021 attack on the Capitol has referred former President Donald Trump and A handful of top aides to the Justice Department’s special counsel for criminal prosecution under four statutes related to impeding the transfer of power to Joe Biden after Trump lost the election.

The focused criminal referrals and short list of named possible defendants is a sign that the select committee is hoping to achieve accountability in federal court that was not forthcoming during Trump’s second impeachment – which was triggered by the insurrection -- according to former government lawyers.

“It’s important that the committee did not overcharge here,” said Norm Eisen, co-author of a Brookings Institution report on Trump’s post-election criminality. “The committee is disciplined in not naming a laundry list of individuals but pointing out that there are additional names that should be the subject of additional review by prosecutors that have powers that the committee did not [have] to get at the truth.”

After a final hearing Monday where committee members summarized a different aspect of their findings about Trump’s effort to seize a second term and unanimously voted to send the criminal referrals to the Justice Department, the committee issued an extensive executive summary that offered more details about the coup and the evidentiary basis for its criminal referrals.

“The committee’s report reads like a prosecution memo. It documents in meticulous detail the evidentiary basis for four separate crimes against Donald Trump and some key insiders,” said Barbara McQuade, former U.S. Attorney and professor at the University of Michigan Law School. “They take each of the four crimes, they break them down into their essential elements, and they list the evidence that applies to each and every one of those elements.”

The crimes range from straightforward actions to more complicated activities. On the simpler side of this ledger, the committee cited the statute making it a crime to obstruct a government proceeding – in this case, congressional ratification of 2020’s Electoral College vote. A second charge, conspiracy to defraud the United States, refers to two months of pressure campaigns aimed at state officials and federal agencies to reverse and publicly question the election results – such as Trump telling the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” votes, and a later effort to push the Justice Department to tell states that their certified election results were inaccurate or fraudulent.

A third charge, conspiracy to make a false statement, concerned one part of that state-centered pressure campaign, where, in seven states, 84 Republicans who were following orders from Trump and his lawyers, signed and submitted fake Electoral College certificates declaring that Trump was their state’s winner.

“There is some evidence suggesting that some signatories of the fake certificates believed that the certificates were contingent, to be used only in the event that President Trump prevailed in litigation challenging the election results in their States,” the executive summary said. “That may be relevant to the question whether those electors knowingly and willfully signed a false statement at the time they signed the certificates. But it is of no moment to President Trump’s conduct, as President Trump (including acting through co-conspirators such as [lawyers] John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro) relied on the existence of those fake electors as a basis for asserting that the Vice President could reject or delay certification of the Biden electors.”

That paragraph was a rare instance of the executive summary naming Trump accomplices as co-conspirators, McQuade said, which suggests that they, like Trump, will almost certainly face prosecution if the special counsel pursues charges. Other named probable defendants include Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Anthony Ornato.

The committee also referred four members of Congress to the House Ethics Committee for refusing to testify: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is seeking to become the next Speaker of the House; Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who is in line to become Judiciary Committee chair; Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ).

The fourth charge against Trump and his top aides and allies was the most sweeping; to “’Incite,’ ‘Assist’ or ‘Aid and Comfort’ an Insurrection.”

This accusation encompasses Trump summoning supporters to come to Washington; urging them in a rally on the mall to march to the Capitol; targeting Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding at the ratification; and then saying and doing nothing to stop the violence for nearly three hours that afternoon.

McQuade noted that the executive summary did not detail likely defenses to its recommended charges, such as Trump claiming that his speech on the mall before the riot was protected under the First Amendment. However, she said that the committee’s discussion of that charge noted Trump’s tweets during the riot inflamed the violence, which was not protected speech.

The report said:

“As explained throughout this Report and in this Committee’s hearings, President Trump was directly responsible for summoning what became a violent mob to Washington, DC, urging them to march to the Capitol, and then further provoking the already violent and lawless crowd with his 2:24 p.m. tweet about the Vice President. Even though President Trump had repeatedly been told that Vice President Pence had no legal authority to stop the certification of the election, he asserted in his speech on January 6 that if the Vice President “comes through for us” that he could deliver victory to Trump: “if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.” This created a desperate and false expectation in President Trump’s mob that ended up putting the Vice President and his entourage and many others at the Capitol in physical danger. When President Trump tweeted at 2:24 p.m., he knew violence was underway. His tweet exacerbated that violence.”

The executive summary took a more cautious stance with seditious conspiracy charges, which involve coordinating with militias and fascist gangs like the Proud Boys before January 6. If Trump is charged and convicted on this count, the 14th Amendment would prohibit him from holding office, McQuade said, although that has “never been tested” in court.

It also said federal prosecutors should look at witness intimidation, and related issues -- such as how Trump used political donations to pay for lawyers and job offers to White House and campaign aides who had been subpoenaed to testify.

While the Justice Department’s Special Counsel Jack Smith will decide whether to bring charges, the select committee’s work is not symbolic. Never before has Congress referred a former president to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. And the voluminous cache of evidence gathered by the committee has few modern precedents, apart from the Watergate hearings in the early 1970s.

The committee's inquiry over the past 18 months held nine televised hearings, issued 400 subpoenas, conducted 1,000 witness interviews, and has amassed more than one million pages of documents and other files. One reason that only Trump and his top co-conspirators were named in the committee report is that prosecutors will try to ask or pressure accomplices with lesser roles in these actions to become prosecution witnesses.

“The dangerous assault on American constitutional democracy that took place on January 6, 2021, consists of hundreds of individual criminal offenses. Most such crimes are already being prosecuted by the Department of Justice,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said. “Ours is not a system of justice where foot soldiers go to jail and the masterminds and ringleaders get a free pass.”

Justice Is Coming For Trump As Select Panel Prepares Criminal Referrals

Please consider becoming a paid subscriber to my Substack and support my years-long, almost daily effort to bring this asshole to justice.

Cover your ears. The squawking and whining and lying and pissing and moaning is going to be deafening come Monday. That’s when the House Select Committee has scheduled a vote on whether to make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice about crimes Donald Trump may have committed concerning the assault on the Capitol on that infamous day nearly two years ago.

The vote is a foregone conclusion. At least one committee member, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), openly discussed at committee hearings Trump’s culpability in obstructing the official business of the Congress when it certified the presidential election of 2020. There was also talk from several committee members that Trump may have engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the United States government.

Now the New York Times and Politico are reporting that the committee may vote to refer charges against Trump for insurrection. Here is the language of the relevant 18 U.S. Code 2383: Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

Seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? On Friday night MSNBC had a legal expert on the air who referred to Trump’s reported statement backstage at his rally on the morning of January 6, telling his Secret Service detail to “let my people in” after he was informed that there were people in the crowd outside the gates to the Ellipse site who were armed.

Cassidy Hutchinson testified under oath to the select committee that she heard Trump tell the Secret Service, “I don’t fuckin’ care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the fuckin’ mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.” Trump’s reference to “mags” was to magnetometers, or metal detectors, which were being used to screen the crowd allowed into the fenced area for the rally on the Ellipse. Trump’s statement, “They can march to the Capitol from here,” appeared to refer to the armed people in the crowd that had gathered to hear his speech on the Ellipse. That would appear to satisfy the language of the statute regarding “Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists…or gives aid or comfort thereto” persons “engag[ing] in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof,” wouldn’t you say?

Of course, Special Counsel Jack Smith is not obligated to follow the criminal referral of a committee of the Congress. But he already appears to have ideas of his own about his task in investigating the former president. Smith is said to be considering charges against Trump for mishandling classified and non-classified national defense information when he removed nearly 22,000 documents from the White House and took them to Mar a Lago in January of 2021. Hundreds of those documents were classified, some with the highest classifications the intelligence community can award to national security secrets.

But crimes Smith is said to be investigating need not involve just classified documents. National security information, classified or non-classified, is covered by the statute equally.

Smith is also known to be aggressively pursuing crimes Trump may have committed by conspiring with others to create fake slates of electors and use them to interfere with the certification of electoral ballots on January 6. He has issued subpoenas and taken testimony from two of Trump’s White House counsels and several of his top aides, most recently Stephen Miller. Smith has issued a subpoena to Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, whom Trump spoke with on a recorded telephone call on January 3, 2021, encouraging him to “find” enough votes that he would be declared winner of Georgia’s electoral ballots.

There is also the matter of Trump’s solicitation of members of the state legislatures of Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, when he attempted to convince them to hold special sessions and change the electoral ballots from Biden to Trump so he could win those states. Trump hosted two groups of state legislators at the White House as part of this attempt and spoke to numerous others on conference calls. Special Counsel Smith has subpoenaed officials, including members of the legislatures, of all seven battleground states Trump lost and then proceeded to attempt to get the legislatures to flip their state electoral votes from Biden to himself.

CNN reported this week that Smith is “moving fast on a pair of criminal probes around Donald Trump that in recent months have focused on the former president’s state of mind after the 2020 election, including what he knew about plans to impede the transfer of power.” With the flurry of grand jury subpoenas the Special Counsel has issued and the testimony under oath before the grand jury he has taken recently, it would appear that he isn’t wasting any time. He has also made new hires to his staff of prosecutors engaged in the investigation. CNN reports that Smith already has a staff with twice the number of Mueller’s investigators, and the DOJ prosecutors on the documents case and Trump’s efforts to overturn the election are moving their offices so they can come under his command.

At least two former DOJ prosecutors have left other jobs to take positions on Smith’s staff, according to multiple reports in the newspapers and on cable networks. Legal experts have pointed out that they are not the kind of lawyers who would quit their work in private practice merely to involve themselves in an investigation that isn’t going somewhere.

Donald Trump hasn’t had a very good December at all, with the possible exception of his quite successful Trump trading cards sale on Thursday which reportedly made him some $4.5 million.

January is looking like it’s going to be much, much worse for the photoshopped superhero. He’s going to need to sell one hell of a lot more trading cards if he’s going to hire the kinds of lawyers he’ll need when Smith weighs in. The MAGA minions had better start gargling with salt water right now, for all the shrieking and wailing they’ll be called upon to do next month.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which these columns are reprinted with permission.

New Meadows Texts Show GOP Politicians Eagerly Aided Trump Coup

In the lead-up to January 6, former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows communicated with at least 34 Republican members of Congress involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Those communications went both ways, with Meadows attempting to organize Republican efforts to obstruct the peaceful transition of power, and Republicans in Congress calling for Meadows, and Trump, to refuse to honor the outcome of the election. The Republicans involved were eager to spread conspiracy theories, pushed quack theories of election law, and offered to do “anything” to help keep Trump in office.

Talking Points Memo has obtained the complete contents of 2,319 text messages written by Meadows, Republican officials, and members of the Trump White House. Those messages have been previously provided to both the House Select Committee investigating events connected to January 6, and to the Department of Justice. The messages show not just how Donald Trump attempted to employ false claims and conspiracy theories in a plot to overturn the 2020 election, but how other politicians at the federal, state, and local levels became part of this effort, many of them eagerly.

The messages show clearly that attempts to end American democracy began as soon as election results started to roll in, and continued even after the violence and chaos of the January 6 insurrection. Right up until the final days of Trump’s occupancy of the White House, Republicans were still working to overthrow the elected government. That included South Carolina Republican Rep. Ralph Norman begging Trump to declare “Marshall Law” (sic) just four days before President Joe Biden was sworn into office.

Coordination between Meadows and Republicans in Congress attempting to negate the outcome of the election began while the votes were still being counted. In fact, they likely began long before, but since the period of time represented by the text messages was limited, some conversations were picked up in the middle. In any case, Republicans like Missouri Rep. Billy Long were writing to Meadows, offering unsupported claims of election fraud as soon as it became obvious that the vote was not going Trump’s way.

Hours later, Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson was sending Meadows suggestions on who should “lead the challenge in Michigan.” Soon after, Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly had this heartwarming thing to say about his home state: “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to fight these MF’ers in PA.”

The flood of back-and-forth messages never stopped. It was clear that Republicans in Congress saw Meadows as the clearinghouse for information on how to reverse the outcome of the election and as the gateway to getting ideas in front of Trump. They sent their suggestions to him, asked him to attend their meetings, and repeatedly offered to do anything to keep Trump in office.

.Just two days after the election, Texas Rep. Brian Babin was texting Meadows that, “When we lose Trump we lose our Republic,” and urging him to “fight like hell” rather than see America “live under a corrupt Marxist dictatorship.” And that was just one of 21 messages sent by Babin during the period of texts collected. He didn’t need evidence to begin ranting about Trump’s loss as a “theft” and to offer his services.

Babin was also one of dozens of Republicans in Congress who organized a “resisters group” with the help of the deliberately shadowy Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI). That same “institute” also worked with Sen. Mike Lee to reportedly organize around a dozen senators. The goal for both Republican congressional groups was to convince their members that the law allowed Mike Pence to halt the tabulation of results, and for Republicans in Congress to substitute false Trump electors for the actual electors for President Biden. CPI became the meeting point and headquarters of congressional efforts to overturn the election.

Through the following two months, Republicans not only formed their plan to install false electors and obstruct the count on January 6, they frequently sent Meadows suggestions on how to overcome obstacles to their coup plot. That included Tennessee Rep. Mark Green and North Carolina Rep. Greg Murphy relaying claims that Republican state legislatures could simply “declare” Trump the winner, no evidence necessary. Murphy, in particular, called on Meadows to follow the strategy of just having Republican legislators declare the vote “contaminated” and picking the winner themselves.

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd was one of several Republicans who passed along false claims about Dominion Voting Systems and promoted conspiracy theories that the machines were under the control of Democratic operatives. This included, of course, Budd making claims that the company was secretly owned by George Soros.

Louie Gohmert, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Andy Biggs, Ted Cruz, Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar … all the usual suspects are there, complete with outlandish theories and proof that their incoherence isn’t limited to the debate stage. That includes this winning text from Gosar, sent near midnight on December 16, in which he calls on Meadows to throw out the election because Dominion is under foreign influence.

When is the 45 days up? What date starts the clock ?? Nov 3rd? If it is, then that is December 18!!! China bought Dominion in October for $400 million. If that’s not interference, then should have a report with details and specifics that would validate that either way. And if they didn’t…… Call me I have some fireworks coming out of AZ early tomorrow. Call me anytime, I’m up.

Gosar accompanied his text with a link to a surely authoritative blog called “Some Bitch Told Me.”

What Meadows' texts reveal overall is just how willing, eager, and ready many Republicans in Congress were to overturn the election results. They were willing to not just spread lies about election fraud, but to start them. They were sifting the internet, grabbing onto the most bizarre conspiracy theories they could find, and shooting them straight to the White House. They were working with multiple dark money groups to create war rooms where they could game out various approaches in their coup plots. They worked directly with the groups that stage-managed events on Jan. 6, and—despite a few declarations of concern that their insurrection had come to include actual violence—didn’t back away after that date.

The last message from Rep. Norman doesn’t come until Jan. 17. It ends with “… we are at a point of no return in saving our Republic!! Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!! PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!”

Seeing how close America came to being taken down by people who not only believed in—or intended to believe in—the most asinine ad-hoc conspiracy theories with no supporting evidence, but who did not even know the term is “martial law,” should be terrifying. Perhaps even more terrifying—these same people, with very few exceptions, are going to be back in Congress this year. Ted Budd, the guy who went through multiple logical leaps to point the finger at George Soros, even got a bump from Representative to Senator.

These same people, the ones who were telling Meadows to simply have Trump declared the winner, calling the election officials in their states “MF’ers,” and declaring over and over again that they were willing to fight rather than follow the will of the voters, will now be getting plum committee assignments and sitting in the majority in the House.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

House Select Panel Will Issue Criminal Referrals On Trump Coup Plotters

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson indicated that the House select committee on Jan. 6 will be making criminal referrals to the Department of Justice. Those referrals might potentially include charges against Donald Trump, as well as for high members of his White House staff like former chief of staff Mark Meadows. The DOJ does not necessarily have to act on these referrals, but such an announcement from the committee could make clear that they found what they believe to be serious criminal wrongdoing in the lead-up to January 6.

Back in July, NBC News reported on the possibility of such a referral being made. At the time, committee members already said they could envision multiple referrals being made based on the evidence heard at the time, and that was before several witnesses came forward, as well as before the committee gained access to some documents. The committee itself has no prosecution powers, and has been thwarted in its efforts to hear from Trump and other officials who resisted subpoenas to testify.

But even as the committee prepares to send over its recommendations, recently appointed special counsel Jack Smith is already taking action. As The Washington Post reports, Smith has subpoenaed local officials in Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin who cooperated in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Additional subpoenas for records in select counties went out last week. Together they show that Smith is following a similar path as the committee: one that directly connects violence at the Capitol with Trump’s efforts to end democracy.

While the Republicans may still be snarling and circling each other over who will take the gavel as Speaker of the House in January, there’s almost no doubt that any GOP leader will immediately put an end to the House Select Committee investigating events related to the January 6 insurrection. That means that the clock is ticking loudly on that final report expected from the committee, and on any other actions they may take.

NBC News reports more statements from Thompson, who said, “We have made decisions on criminal referrals,” However, it appears that the committee hasn’t decided exactly what charges will be forwarded.

“I wish I could tell you one, two, three, four,” said Thompson, “but that’s all still being discussed.”

The DOJ has charged at least 955 people with crimes related to events on that day. The investigation now taken over by Smith has largely moved on from looking at those who pushed through police lines to break into the Capitol that day, and is now dealing with the planning behind those events and actions taken by Trump and others to encourage the violence.

Among those subpoenaed are election officials in Maricopa County, Arizona—who were contacted by both Trump and Rudy Giuliani— as well as officials in Milwaukee and Dane counties in Wisconsin. Smith is after any communication the election officials had with Trump, Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien, Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, and attorneys Justin Clark, Matthew Morgan, John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Cleta Mitchell.

One of those sought, former Maricopa County board supervisor Clint Hickman, received multiple direct calls from Trump, but refused to pick up the phone. Instead, he let the calls go to voicemail.

“Hello, sir. This is the White House operator I was calling to let you know that the president’s available to take your call if you’re free. If you could please give us a call back, sir, that’d be great. You have a good evening.”

From this it’s clear that Hickman knew what Trump was trying to do was wrong. It also seems that at least one person involved in this whole mess actually did get called “sir.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.