Tag: jan 6 select committee
Trump's Secret Service Detail 'Lawyering Up' As Probes Intensify (VIDEO)

Trump's Secret Service Detail 'Lawyering Up' As Probes Intensify (VIDEO)

Thursday night’s House Select Committee hearing presented the most damning evidence yet revealed about Donald Trump’s attempted violent coup, and his dereliction of duty when the nation’s Capitol and Congress were under attack. It also revealed how he infected those around him, namely the Secret Service.

Some of the most riveting moments of the hearing came from audio and video that showed just how close Vice President Mike Pence was to the protesters who had surrounded and entered the Capitol chanting “Hang Mike Pence.” We saw video footage of the Secret Service rushing Pence and his family away from the chamber and the public part of the Capitol at 2:26 PM ET on Jan. 6 in the middle of a renewed surge from the protestors on the doors of the building, and we saw a tweet from Trump sent just two minutes earlier, targeting Pence. “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done,” Trump tweeted.

The hearing focused on those long minutes for Pence’s Secret Service detail. They feared they were going to be trapped by the mob. “We need to move now,” an agent said, in an excerpt of a radio transmission. “If we lose any more time, we may lose the ability to do so.” Another described smoke filling a hallway ahead of them and protesters surging and outnumbering police, yelling to “Harden that door up.”

A White House security official who was monitoring the Secret Service radio traffic testified anonymously to the committee, telling interviewers that the agents were “starting to fear for their own lives” as well as Pence’s. “There were calls to say goodbye to family members, so on and so forth,” the official said in his taped testimony. “For whatever the reason was on the ground, the VP detail thought that this was about to get very ugly.”

“It sounds like that we came very close to either, service having to use lethal options, or worse,” the official said. “At that point, I don’t know. Is the VP compromised? Is the detail? I don’t know. … If they’re screaming and saying things like, ‘say goodbye to the family,’ like the floor needs to know this is going to a whole ’nother level soon.”

Meanwhile, we’re not sure what Trump’s Secret Service detail was doing, other than telling White House staff about how irate Trump was about not being able to go to the Capitol after his rally speech. But they must have been doing something, and from the looks of things, whatever they were doing was not good. That whole purge of texts from the Secret Service from Jan. 6 and 7 is a clue.

So is the criminal probe opened up by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General over all those missing text messages. The communications were demanded by the Jan. 6 committee, looking for information on agents who were involved in planning Trump’s logistics on the day and who were with him throughout that day and the next.

Even more suspicious is the fact that those Trump agents have not just declined to work with the committee, they’ve lawyered up.

“Some of the officers said that they would be coming and talking under oath,” select committee member Zoe Lofgren, (D-CA) said Thursday night after the hearing. “They have not come in, and they recently retained private counsel, which is unusual, but they have a right to do that,” Lofgren said.

Unusual because federal employees are generally represented by the Department of Justice. It will be interesting to find out exactly who they’ve turned to—the Trump/Giuliani crew of clowns, or non-MAGA attorneys.

With this promise from committee co-chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), it might not matter.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Counter-Terror Agency Sees 'Heightened Threat' From Violent Right-Wing Extremists

Counter-Terror Agency Sees 'Heightened Threat' From Violent Right-Wing Extremists

With public hearings about to resume from the House Jan. 6 committee, and midterm elections coming up in November, the Department of Homeland Security is warning that there is an increased threat of violence from those who believe Republican lies about the 2020 election.

On Tuesday, the National Terrorism Advisory System put out a bulletin warning of a “heightened threat environment” with possible targets, warning that “[t]hese targets could include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents.”

In other words—the threat is everywhere. Apparently, a whole lot of America needs to be hardened and a whole lot of doors need to be locked over the coming months

The upcoming midterms are the first nationwide elections to take place in the wake of January 6. While most Republicans had an immediate reaction of both condemning the events of that day, and blaming those who supported lies about the election, it took only days for Republicans to swing back into the orbit of Donald Trump. Only two months after the attack on the Capitol, a Monmouth poll showed that 65 percent of Republicans believed that President Joe Biden had only been elected because of “voter fraud.”

In spite of all evidence—including Republican-led “audits” in states like Arizona—which found no evidence of such fraud, by November the number of Republicans saying that Biden had not been legitimately elected had grown to 73 percent of all Republicans.

A May NPR article showed that many workers who should be preparing for the upcoming midterms, are still spending a lot of their time facing hostile calls about the 2020 results, demands for more audits, and personal threats. Across the country, Republicans have put in place officials and boards who campaigned on the theme that the 2020 election was illegitimate.

With nearly three-quarters of Republicans buying into the right-wing claims that the election was fraudulent, it’s not hard to believe that some fraction of that group would believe that any action is justified to remove what they see as an illegitimate government. These extremists are building a tower of grievances, pushing the idea that violence is the only answer.

Individuals in online forums that routinely promulgate domestic violent extremist and conspiracy theory-related content have praised the May 2022 mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas and encouraged copycat attacks. Others have seized on the event to attempt to spread disinformation and incite grievances, including claims it was a government-staged event meant to advance gun control measures.

In particular, claims about the election are being welded to the anti-immigrant, anti-Black “great replacement” conspiracy theory that has been pushed not just in the torch-bearing ranks of white nationalists, and not just in 4Chan-inspired online sewers, but by commentators like Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.

The shooter in Buffalo New York was motivated by these claims. So was a man who shot six members of a Taiwanese church in California last month. Like the false narrative about the election, the great replacement conspiracy has become standard fare in the Republican Party. When tens of millions of people buy into a theory that claims there is a plot to strip them of their livelihoods, or even lives, some of them will react violently. Fox and others are doing everything they can to make sure that tens of millions believe.

We assess that there is increased risk of domestic violent extremists using changes in border security-related policies and/or enforcement mechanisms to justify violence against individuals, such as minorities and law enforcement officials involved in the enforcement of border security.

In fact, almost every false claim being pushed by the right—ideas that Democrats have ‘thrown open the borders,’ lies about critical race theory in schools, fear-mongering about gay and trans people, a demonization of Democratic officials, and government in general—are likely to find traction among people with access to an AR-15. Which is, of course, anyone who wants one.

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos.

Jordan May Testify

Jordan May Testify — But Only If Select Panel Shows Its Hand First

More than a week after receiving a subpoena from the House Select Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio has responded by telling investigators he will consider complying if they meet a list of his demands, including that the probe share any information it has on him that prompted the subpoena.

In a six-page letter to Committee Chair Bennie Thompson littered with accusations that the probe is unconstitutional, the Ohio Republican said he would “adequately” respond if investigators provided, in advance, “all documents, videos, or other material” they anticipate using during his possible deposition.

He has also demanded that the committee give him all other materials it has where he is specifically referenced and any legal analyses the panel has accumulated pertaining to the constitutionality of subpoenaing a fellow member of Congress.

A spokesperson for the committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

In related news: On Thursday, Politico was first to get its hands on a letter from at least 20 former House Republicans urging GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans subpoenaed by the select committee to comply with the requests.

Addressing the letter to McCarthy and Reps. Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan, and Scott Perry, the former Republican lawmakers stressed that they understood the rarity of a “congressional investigative body” issuing a subpoena to sitting lawmakers.

But, they wrote, “we also recognize that the subject of this inquiry is unprecedented in American history.”

“A full and honest accounting of the attack and its causes is critical to preventing future assaults on the rule of law and American institutions — and ensuring that we all can move forward,” the letter states.

The committee first asked Jordan to voluntarily cooperate in December, highlighting questions it had for him about his contact with former President Donald Trump before, during, or after the insurrection at the U.S Capitol.

Historically, Jordan’s public response to these questions has been wildly inconsistent. Last summer Jordan told Fox News he spoke to Trump on January 6. When asked the same question a day later by a reporter from a different outlet, Jordan initially couldn’t recall if or when he spoke to Trump on January 6.

But he ultimately bumbled through the question and said he “thought” he spoke with Trump after the attack.

Then, a month after that interview, Jordan told Politicohe spoke to the former president during the attack. And last October, when testifying before the House Rules Committee, Jordan was adamant that he spoke to Trump after the attack but he also said he couldn't remember how many times he spoke to Trump that day, either.

It was only after several minutes of House Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern (D-MA) pushing Jordan to get specific that he stated he did not talk to Trump during the Capitol assault.

Last February, the committee investigating the insurrection obtained White House call records from the National Archives that showed Trump attempting to reach Jordan on the morning of January 6 from the White House residence.

Another entry following it noted the call lasted for 10 minutes.

When this news broke in February and reporters asked Jordan yet again if he remembered speaking to Trump before the insurrection, he responded: “I don’t recall.”

But he did say that he talked to Trump after delivering remarks on the House floor for roughly five minutes on January 6.

Legislators were debating objections to Biden’s electoral vote in Arizona and Jordan’s remarks began just after 1:30 PM. Jordan then spoke again from the House floor hours after the riot had subsided, this time around 10:27 PM.

"I know I talked to him after we left off the floor," Jordan told CNN in February.

Investigators also want to ask Jordan about any communication he was privy to that took place at the Willard Hotel on the eve of the attack or on Jan. 6 itself.

Trump’s legal team established a “war room” at the Willard, an upscale venue just blocks from the White House. Using a block of suites there, the president’s attorneys, advisers, and campaign strategists would meet regularly to hash out a strategy to overturn the 2020 election results.

Public reporting, witness testimony, and court records have indicated it was Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Bernie Kerik, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and others who convened there, though it is critical to note that they were far from the only Trump aides, attorneys, or insiders who frequented the room.

All told, it has been estimated that up to 30 people attended meetings at the Willard where the overturn—and “alternate elector”—strategy was discussed in detail.

In his response to the committee’s subpoena, Jordan argues at length that neither the subpoena nor the committee are constitutional. His argument has become a de facto position for Republicans who have faced the probe’s scrutiny.

Though Jordan claims the panel’s request is invalid because the committee does not have proper representation of Republican members appointed by GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, Jordan fails to note that when he had a chance to vote in favor of a wholly bipartisan committee—evenly split between Republicans and Democrats with even subpoena powers—he voted against it.

McCarthy appointed Jordan to serve on the initial bipartisan committee proposed by Democratic leaders. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rejected Jordan—and Rep. Jim Banks—and asked McCarthy to advance two new nominees to the pool of five GOP members he was permitted to appoint.

McCarthy refused to do so, negotiations ended, and the hopes of an evenly split committee were dashed.

As for the select committee itself, it was, in fact, also properly formed.

To stand up a special committee in the House, congressional rules dictate that a resolution is drafted and voted on. When lawmakers in the House drafted the resolution to form the special committee in 2021, this is exactly what happened: They wrote a resolution, imbued the committee with the power to have subpoena authority, and dictated the membership terms.

The House voted on it and a majority of lawmakers voted in favor of it.

A federal judge in California last January has dismissed similar claims about the committee’s unconstitutionality from election subversion strategist John Eastman.

“The public interest here is weighty and urgent. Congress seeks to understand the causes of a grave attack on our nation’s democracy and a near-successful attempt to subvert the will of the voters. Congressional action to ‘safeguard [a presidential] election’ is ‘essential to preserve the departments and institutions of the general government from impairment or destruction, whether threatened by force or by corruption,’” U.S. District Judge David Carter wrote earlier this year.

And just a few weeks ago, on May 2, in a different court—this one in Washington, D.C.—a federal judge handily dismissed a lawsuit by the Republican National Committee (RNC) brought against the January 6 probe to stop it from obtaining information about fundraising efforts the RNC premised on Trump’s bogus claim that he won the election.

Among allegations that the probe was engaging in a fishing expedition for sensitive party information, the RNC also argued that the select committee was invalid and its subpoena powers unenforceable.

“The subpoena’s valid legislative purpose is apparent enough to sustain it against this challenge,” U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly wrote.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Trump Flack Sues To Stop Select Committee From Obtaining Bank Records

Trump Flack Sues To Stop Select Committee From Obtaining Bank Records

The spokesperson for former President Donald Trump, Taylor Budowich—who investigators say helped fundraising efforts for the rally at the Ellipse in Washington on January 6—has launched a bid to stop investigators from reviewing his financial records.

His lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., and revealed that Budowich has so far turned over more than 1,700 pages of records to the January 6 select committee.

The 21-page complaint named all committee members, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Budowich’s bank, J.P. Morgan Chase. The Trump spokesman claims he has already fielded questions from investigators related to the “planning of a peaceful, lawful rally” this December for more than four hours. However, the scrutiny of his finances, he says, is a step too far.

In November, the January 6 select committee issued its first subpoena to Budowich, noting their inquiry was related to his alleged funneling of $200,000 from an undisclosed “source or sources” to promote the rally near the Capitol. Budowich, investigators say, “facilitated the transfer” of those funds with Women for America First VIP adviser Caroline Wren. Wren was subpoenaed by the committee this September. She has been cooperating with the committee and reportedly sat for a deposition in mid-December for several hours.

Investigators have requested information from Wren about her alleged communication with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows—now awaiting possible indictment by the DOJ for contempt of Congress—and the committee has sought information about reports that Wren “parked funds” flagged for January 6 with a variety of nonprofits.

Though he has balked over the demand to J.P Morgan, it is still unclear if the bank has actually supplied the committee with the records. A bank spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment but in the lawsuit, Budowich’s attorney says the financial institution, on December 21 gave Budowich until Christmas Eve to stop the review. Budowich also claimed both the bank and the select committee refused to extend his deadline.

As of Monday morning, Budowich’s legal docket in D.C. has been quiet and it is unclear if his attempt to block the committee with a temporary restraining order will be a success.

In a statement after hitting the committee with his lawsuit, the Trump spokesman said: “Democracy is under attack. However, not by the people who illegally entered the Capitol on Janiuary 6, 2021, but instead by a committee whose members walk freely in its halls every day.”

That rhetoric, and a sizeable portion of Budowich’s legal complaint, echo other sentiments that have sprouted from almost a dozen figures the committee has sized up as it digs into the insurrection on Jan. 6.

For instance, Budowich claims the committee lacks legislative merit and is part of an “unconstitutional attempt to usurp the Executive Branch’s authority to enforce the law.” But that theory has been shot down by a federal appeals court in Washington. And as for Trump, even he is in the middle of testing those waters now. Just before the holidays and as a filing deadline loomed, the former president appealed an earlier ruling from the courts that permitted scrutiny of his presidential records as it relates to the attack. The next move there is up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Budowich argues too that the request to J.P. Morgan by the committee violated his First Amendment right because it was too hasty.

The Trump spokesman, who is also the sole owner of the for-profit Conservative Strategies, Inc. organization, claims he gave the committee “sufficient” information on his bank statements from about mid-December 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021.

A committee spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

The probe has been actively pursuing mountains of information for months. Investigators have interviewed nearly 300 people so far and just this month, the body finally began to issue notices to prominent Trump allies and sitting U.S. lawmakers who amplified Trump’s lies about voter fraud in the 2020 election. A request for voluntary cooperation was issued to Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican. He lashed out, refusing to comply. And Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was also asked to meet with investigators voluntarily to disclose information about his discussions with Trump on Jan. 6.

Jordan did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

In the past, Jordan has said he spoke to Trump after the riot was over. His story changed when he told Politico that he “definitely” spoke to Trump multiple times but did not recall the timeframe. One of those calls, he conceded, occurred when he was in a secure lockdown area with other lawmakers as the Capitol was under siege. In July, when pressed by reporters about whether he would cooperate with the committee, Jordan said “If they call me, I got nothing to hide.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos