The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: january 6 select committee

#EndorseThis:  Colbert Wonders Why Trump's Pals Are Such BAD Criminals

After taking a week off due to catching Covid, Stephen Colbert was back at the late night helm and ready to unpack all the January 6 texts from the Trump cabal. Among the deluge of treasonous messages was an exchange between Mark Meadows and Sean Hannity, in which the former White House chief of staff encouraged the Fox News host to “stress every vote matters."

“That’s a lot of messages,” said Colbert. “Luckily Meadows has T-Mobile’s Unlimited Talk and Treason plan.”

There was also a slew of messages from former Energy sSecretary Rick Perry claiming to have non-existent evidence of voter fraud. Perry denied sending the texts, though they were signed “Rick Perry” and included his phone number. “Why are these guys so bad at committing crimes?” Colbert wondered. “It’s like if the Zodiac Killer released a note that said ‘This is the Zodiac speaking. To unearth my identity solve the enclosed cipher … and return to John Evans, 1414 Hawthorne Lane. Good luck!’”

You really have to wonder how any of these bootlicking Trump toadies ever got this far in life.Watch the entire clip below:

Endorse This: 'You're A Gossipy Little B*tch': Samantha Bee Unloads On Mark Meadows Texts (VIDEO)

Samantha Bee lambastes the treasure trove of damning text messages handed over to the House Select Committee by former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, which included more than 2,319 exchanges with various Trump sycophants and Republican lawmakers.

“Some of the most damning texts came on Election Day, like when Fox News host Sean Hannity promised Meadows he would push his listeners to get Trump elected,” she continues. When Meadows pressed Hannity to “stress every vote matters”, the host replied: “Yes sir. On it.”

Despite a flurry of frantic messages show some Trump aides, including Jared Kushner, citing evidence against Trump’s baseless election fraud claims, the White House continued shoveling the bull crap.

“Despite mounting worries, a total lack of fraud evidence and a warning about potential violence on January 6, Meadows and company went full speed ahead anyway,” Bee explained.

And much like myself and other comedians, Bee pointed out the hilarious misspelling of Martial Law by Marjorie 'Klan Mom' Greene.

“Of course, when it did turn violent, it wasn’t enough for true believers like Marjorie Taylor Greene,” who texted Meadows days later to suggest they stop Biden from taking office by having Trump declare “Marshall Law”.

“And if you’re thinking, ‘that’s not how you spell martial law,’ you are very correct,” Bee said, adding “Marshall’s Law, as everyone knows, is that no one should pay retail prices for quality yoga pants.

Watch The Clip Below:

Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok

Coup Plotter Eastman Claims Privilege Over 37,000 Emails Sought By Select Committee

On Monday, April 18, far-right attorney John C. Eastman — who is infamous for a memo outlining a plan for former President Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election results — revealed that he has asserted attorney-client privilege over 37,000 pages of e-mails that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on January 6, 2021 has been seeking.

According to Politico’s Kyle Cheney, “The January 6 select committee has objected to ‘every claim’ over those pages, which now sends the gargantuan dispute to U.S. District Court Judge David Carter for a case-by-case review. Eastman revealed the scope of the dispute in a status report to Carter, concluding a three-month review that Carter demanded he undertake. Since January, Eastman has been reviewing 1000 to 1500 pages per day.”

Carter, in a recent ruling, was highly critical of Trump and Eastman’s actions following the 2020 presidential election. The federal judge ruled that they “more likely than not” engaged in a criminal conspiracy to obstruct the joint session of Congress held on January 6, 2021, when now-President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory was certified. And Carter described efforts to overturn the election results as a “coup in search of a legal theory.”

Carter, Cheney notes, “has described the select committee’s work as urgent” but “must now determine how to parse these 37,000 pages” of e-mails “in time for the committee to employ them in its ongoing investigation of Trump’s effort to subvert the transfer of power.”

“The e-mails are all drawn from Chapman University, where Eastman was employed until shortly after January 6,” Cheney explains. “The committee subpoenaed Chapman to obtain the e-mails, but Eastman sued the school and the select committee to slow the process. Carter then ordered the review that Eastman undertook.”

Cheney adds, “The select committee urged Carter to prioritize documents sent from January 4 to January 7, 2021, the key period of the panel’s review. That narrower review resulted in Carter’s bombshell ruling about likely criminality by Trump. But now, Carter must turn to the broader review of Eastman’s e-mails stretching back to November 3, 2020, the date of the presidential election.”

The January 6 select committee, Cheney notes, has “raised doubts about whether Eastman was legitimately acting as Trump’s lawyer prior to January 6.”

“Eastman, under an order from Carter, produced a retainer agreement dated December 6, 2020,” Cheney writes, “but it was unsigned. And it’s not clear when it was effectuated…. Carter also ruled that Eastman did, eventually, become Trump’s attorney, noting that he filed court papers on Trump’s behalf in late December and communicated with top White House aides and other officials while representing himself as Trump’s lawyer.”

Cheney adds, “Of the 90,000 pages of e-mails subject to the select committee subpoena, about 30,000 were immediately ruled out as irrelevant mass e-mails. Eastman made no privilege claims over an additional 25,000 pages of records.”

Time is of the essence for Pelosi’s select committee, as Democrats may lose their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 midterms — and many House Republicans don’t even believe the committee should exist. Pelosi has included two non-MAGA Republicans on the bipartisan committee: Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, but the majority of House Republicans are loyal Trumpistas and resent Cheney and Kinzinger deeply for their participation.

Published with permission from Alternet.

Mapping Extremist Networks Shows Capitol Rioters Weren’t ‘Ordinary People'

One of the broad narratives about the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection that emerged from demographic assessments of the people subsequently arrested for placing the building and the police guarding it under siege was the general sense that, while organizations like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys played central roles in the attack, the vast majority of the insurrectionists were just “ordinary citizens” who had no real extremist affiliations but were just swept up in the Trumpian hysteria. It turns out that may not be quite right.

Radicalization expert Michael Jensen compiled a network map of all the people arrested for January 6 crimes—which he originally thought would confirm the “J6 defendants are just ‘ordinary’ people with few links to extremists” conventional wisdom—and found as it kept piling up that he “no longer finds this narrative convincing.” As Marcy Wheeler adroitly observes: “I think people have lost sight of how important organized far right networks were to the riot.”

Extremist Group Movements

Jensen, the principal investigator for the Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) project at the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), compiled the network map from “several thousand pages of court documents and countless social media posts.” He found a total of 244 defendants with extremist connections, and created a visualization of those ties—as well as those between rioters—with the map.

“That’s approximately 30 percent of all defendants. While that’s not a majority, a 30 percent rate of affiliation with extremism/extremist beliefs among a collective of apparently “ordinary” individuals is an astounding number,” Jensen writes on Twitter.

Indeed, while 30 percent still is not a majority, it is not a small minority either. He continues:

Of these 244 defendants, 108 were members of at least one extremist organization. 136 self-identified as members of extremist movements or publicly praised extremist groups and their beliefs. These defendants form nearly 700 dyadic relationships to extremist groups/movements and other defendants with extremist affiliations. These aren’t ordinary relationships—or, at least, they shouldn’t be.

Moreover, the “ordinary people” argument misses what the visualization shows—that J6 involved a number of influential defendants who acted as bridges in a larger network, facilitating the flow harmful ideas from one movement to another. Sure, the J6 defendants are “ordinary” in the sense that most of them have families, neighbors, and jobs, but who really believes that those are the things that distinguish extremists from everyone else?Jensen points to the work of another expert at American University’s Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab, Cynthia Miller-Idriss, in coming to terms with the reality that far-right extremism has been mainstreamed, and how that has happened, primarily through online radicalization—how “people radicalize in a vast and ever-expanding online ecosystem, a process that often involves no contact with particular organizations”:

Jensen points to the work of another expert at American University’s Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab, Cynthia Miller-Idriss, in coming to terms with the reality that far-right extremism has been mainstreamed, and how that has happened, primarily through online radicalization—how “people radicalize in a vast and ever-expanding online ecosystem, a process that often involves no contact with particular organizations”:

As ordinary individuals encounter these ideas, whether through custom-tailored propaganda or through more grassroots efforts amplified by social media, they assemble them into their own personalized belief systems. This is a far cry from more traditional models of radicalization in which people gradually adopt an identifiable group’s ideological framework—such as fascism or neo-Nazism—that calls for violent solutions against a common enemy. These more coherent processes involve initiation rites, manifestos, leaders, and a chain of command that guide beliefs and actions. Those elements are largely absent from today’s patchwork, choose-your-own-adventure mode of radicalization.

Miller-Idriss’s point is that “Extremism has gone mainstream; so must the interventions needed to address it.” And as Jensen observes, it’s likely that the “ordinary people” narrative surrounding J6 only makes this problem worse.

“It depicts aligning with extremist groups, even if indirectly, and/or adopting their beliefs and attempting to violently end democracy as something “ordinary” people do,” he writes. “It’s not.”

Heidi Beirich, the longtime intelligence director at the Southern Poverty Law Center now with the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, explains that this radicalization has been openly encouraged by Republican officeholders and a broad array of right-wing pundits, who have promoted white-nationalist and other far-right conspiracy theories into the mainstream of public discourse, ranging from the racist “Great Replacement” theory claiming that liberals are deliberately seeking to displace white voters with a tide of nonwhite immigration and civil rights, to the contradictory claims that “leftists” and “antifa” were actually responsible for the January 6 violence and that the rioters simultaneously righteous “patriots” seeking to defend the nation from a communist takeover.

Beirich cites a recent University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats report identifying an active American insurrectionist movement comprising some 21 million people. These radicalized Trump followers believe that “Use of force is justified to restore Donald J. Trump to the presidency” and that “The 2020 election was stolen, and Joe Biden is an illegitimate president.” About 63 percent of them believe in the Great Replacement theory, while 54 percent subscribe to far-right QAnon conspiracism.

It also notes that this insurrectionist movement is made up of “mainly highly competent, middle-aged American professionals,” leading the researchers to warn that their continuing radicalization “does not bode well for the 2022 midterm elections, or for that matter, the 2024 Presidential election.”

Marcy Wheeler notes that Jensen’s map reveals how massive an influence QAnon networks were in fueling the insurrection. She observes “how much more effective QAnon was at getting bodies where they needed them than the militias (the Proud Boys were busy moving other bodies around). Note how many QAnoners there are here.”

Moreover, as she explains, the map gives weight to the reportage this week by The New York Times’ Alan Feuer, revealing the key role that a Roger Stone minion and QAnon influencer named Jason Sullivan had in fomenting the January 6 violence:

More recently, Mr. Sullivan has taken an active role in promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory, which holds that prominent liberals belong to a cult of Satan-worshipping pedophiles. At a public appearance last year with Ms. Powell and Mr. Flynn, Mr. Sullivan called Hillary Clinton a “godawful woman” and then made a gesture suggesting she should be hanged.

On the conference call ahead of Jan. 6, Mr. Sullivan told his listeners that he was an expert at making things go viral online, but that it was not enough to simply spread the message that the election had been stolen.

“There has to be a multiple-front strategy, and that multiple-front strategy, I do think, is descend on the Capitol, without question,” he said. “Make those people feel it inside.”

As Wheeler says: “If someone can be shown to have triggered the QAnoners, it is an important detail. FBI was investigating this within weeks after the riot.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

New Texts Expose Sen. Lee And Rep. Roy Scheming To Overturn 2020 Election

When Donald Trump lost the presidency in 2020, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Rep. Chip Roy of Texas spent weeks frantically prodding then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to find ways to overturn the 2020 election results, according to text messages newly obtained by CNN on Friday.

But when evidence of so-called fraud did not materialize and Trump’s ever-expanding team of ethically challenged attorneys failed to deliver in court, instead holding spectacle-riddled press conferences rife with dubious constitutional theory, Lee and Roy became cynical.

In the end, after blood had been shed inside of the Capitol courtesy of the insurrection incited by Trump, Lee and Roy voted to certify Joe Biden as president.

Now, as the nation prepares for public hearings about January 6, the texts offer a keen glimpse into some of the private thoughts and conduct of legislators who were willing to override the will of over 80 million voters.

The text messages from Lee and Roy to Meadows range from November 7, 2020 to January 6, 2021, and they are already in the Jan. 6 committee’s possession. There are roughly 100 texts in the batch CNN made public Friday.

A spokesperson for the probe declined to comment or confirm any of the details reported. Representatives for Lee, Roy, and Meadows did not immediately respond to request for comment by Daily Kos.

Roy’s spokesman, however, told CNN the texts “spoke for themselves,” and a communications director for Lee called Lee “fully transparent” since he previously and publicly aired his concerns about fraud in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

It was Nov. 7, 2020, when Lee planted his flag with Meadows and pledged to find “every legal and constitutional remedy” to “restore Americans faith in our election.”

Trump didn’t have to concede, Lee told the White House chief of staff.

Trump also didn’t have to destroy the “credibility of the election process,” he added.

Lee believed there was a “third way” that could work.

Lee pushed to have right-wing attorney Sidney Powell guide those efforts and sent Meadows her cell phone number and email. She had a “strategy that would keep several states in play” for Trump, the senator vowed.

He urged Meadows again just a couple of days later, saying Powell was a “straight shooter.”

Powell had already established a reputation for herself in Washington long before Lee made the recommendation that she take on Trump’s latest scheme. She represented Trump’s ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn after he pleaded guilty to lying to Vice President Mike Pence.

She would eventually launch a legal bid against the Department of Justice on Flynn’s behalf, accusing them of prosecutorial misconduct. A judge swatted her down, finding no such proof. She was also vehemently opposed to Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election and regularly carried on about “deep state” conspiracy theory.

For a while, Powell’s knack for right-wing red-meat spectacle only increased her cache in Trump’s White House. Trump even praised her on Twitter as a “great” attorney after she took up for Flynn.

Around the same time that Lee was pushing for Powell to get more involved, Roy sent a flurry of texts to Meadows. The Texas congressman was concerned that the president’s allies in Congress were ill-equipped to make the case of widespread fraud to the public.

“We have no tools/data/information to go out and fight RE: election/fraud. If you need it/want it, we all need to know what’s going on. Fwiw ...” Roy wrote on November 5.

Meadows told Roy he was “working on it.”

Two days later, Roy again texted Meadows.

Meadows tried to soothe him.

“We are working on exactly that,” he replied.

By November 9, Lee had told Meadows he held a meeting with Powell and fellow Republican senators so she could familiarize them with Trump’s “legal remedies.”

“You have us in a group of ready and loyal advocates who will go to bat for him, but I fear this could prove short-lived unless you hire the right legal team and set them loose immediately,” Lee said.

With the electoral college safe harbor certification deadline only weeks away at that point, Powell was well into Lee’s ear. Lee said she told him that Trump’s campaign attorneys were “obstructing progress” that could be made on the president’s supposed path to victory.

But within a few weeks, things changed. Powell’s performance at a 90-minute press conference with Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis just before Thanksgiving caused a major rift.

Powell made wild claims at the press conference. She said Dominion Voting Systems used rigged software on its machines at the behest of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez because that helped him rig his own election. She also said the company had ties to George Soros and the foundation run by former President and First Lady Bill and Hillary Clinton known as the Clinton Foundation.

She also claimed that the software used and set an algorithm that switched votes from Trump to Biden.

None of what Powell said during the November 19 press conference was true.

Lee was watching and shot Meadows a text.

“I’m worried about the Powell press conference,” Lee wrote.

In another message, he warned Meadows: “The potential defamation liability for the president is significant here. For the campaign and for the president personally.”

Lee urged that Powell be cut off from the campaign unless her wild claims of fraud could be substantiated. “He’s got deep pockets, and the accusations Powell made are very, very serious,” Lee wrote. It is unclear if Lee meant Trump had deep pockets or was referring to the owner of Dominion Voting Systems. The company did eventually sue Powell for defamation for her comments and when she responded in court in March 2021, the conservative attorney defended her conduct by saying she was only sharing her opinion and that “reasonable people” would not accept her commentary as fact. She was ordered to pay damages and was later sanctioned in court for filing lawsuits in bad faith.

The text messages demonstrate how Lee pulled away from Powell after the press conference and began advocating for longtime conservative attorney John Eastman to get involved. Roy was chatting with Eastman around this time, too.“Get Eastman to file in front of PA board of elections,” Roy wrote to Meadows after asking him if the president had engaged with Eastman yet. “Get data in front of public domain,” Roy wrote on November 22.“Frigging Rudy needs to hush,” Roy added. The GOP needed a “controlled message ASAP,” because, according to Roy, without “logic and reason” presented, only the most “hardcore Trump guys” would lodge an objection at certification.

Over in the Senate, Lee was still spitballing and told Meadows he had “ideas” about how to audit battleground states. Eastman had a proposal that could help things move along, but the White House would have to act fast.

Eastman was responsible for writing a memo proposing an unconstitutional strategy that pressured the vice president to stop the certification despite lacking the authority to do so. It is unclear what date the memo was written.

By mid-December, neither Roy nor Lee seemed confident that they had the “evidentiary support” they needed to anchor the fraud claims and bolster support from fellow lawmakers to object.

“The president should call everyone off. It’s the only path,” Roy wrote on December 31. “if we substitute the will of states through electors with a vote by congress every 4 years, we have destroyed the electoral college … respectfully.”

Lee told Meadows a few days later he had “grave concerns” about the plan Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas had in place to object to battleground state electors. It wouldn’t help Trump, he warned on January 3.

That same day, Lee wrote:

Lee believed things could change if battleground states certified Trump’s electors “pursuant to state law” but absent that, he conceded, the effort to stop or delay the certification was “destined not only to fail but to hurt DJT in the process.”

Trump took a swipe at Lee during a rally on January 4, saying he was a “little angry at him” for suggesting he was against objecting on January 6.

Lee had spent hours that day, he whined to Meadows over multiple texts, trying to “figure out a path that I can persuasively defend.”

Meadows apologized, saying Trump had “bad intel.”

“And this won’t make it any easier, especially if others now think I’m doing this because he went after me. This just makes it a lot more complicated,” Lee seethed to Meadows. “And it was complicated already. We need something from state legislatures to make this legitimate and to have any hope of winning.”

That same day, Roy messaged Meadows and apologized for having to break with the president when lawmakers would convene at the Capitol on January 6.

“I am truly sorry I am in a different spot then you and our brothers re: Wednesday. But I will defend all,” Roy wrote. [Spelling original]

Within 48 hours, Trump would take to the stage at the Ellipse, flanked by his attorneys, like John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani. He would spend more than an hour delivering remarks about a stolen, fraudulent election, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

Before he even finished his speech, rioters had already made their way down to the Capitol and began pouring over police barricades.

Roy sent a message to Meadows during the attack: “This is a complete shitshow.”

He urged: “Fix this now.”

Reporter Confronts Merrick Garland On 'What's Taking So Long' On Jan 6th Business (VIDEO)

A reporter at the Dept. of Justice Friday asked Attorney General Merrick Garland the question that’s been on many minds of late: Why hasn’t former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows been formally charged with criminal contempt of Congress?

On December 14 the full House of Representatives sent DOJ a contempt of Congress referral for Meadows. Since that time even more damning information has been reported by the press.

The Attorney General was not just unwilling to give a direct answer, he was unwilling to even confirm there was a referral sent to DOJ, a commonly-known fact that is also in the official Congressional Record.

"Four months is a gracious plenty of time to make a decision about whether to prosecute Meadows, especially since SCOTUS has mostly resolved the executive privilege argument,” former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance noted on Twitter.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

House Panel Obtains Coup Plot Emails That Eastman Tried To Conceal

John C. Eastman was the author of an infamous two-page memo that found the far-right attorney and Donald Trump supporter outlining a scheme in which then-Vice President Mike Pence would throw out the 2020 presidential election results during a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021. Eastman’s insurrectionist activities have been probed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House Select Committee, which, according to CNN, has “obtained a cache of emails” that Eastman “sought to keep secret.”

CNN reporters Katelyn Polantz and Paul LeBlanc explain, “The 101 e-mails, exchanged between January 4 and January 7, 2021, were released to the committee after Judge David Carter ruled that Eastman had not made a sufficient claim to attorney-client privilege. One e-mail, a draft memo for Rudy Giuliani, was obtained by the committee because the judge decided it was potentially being used to plan a crime. The memo recommended that then-Vice President Mike Pence reject some states’ electors during the January 6 congressional meeting.”

According to Carter, “This may have been the first time (that) members of President Trump’s team transformed a legal interpretation of the Electoral Count Act into a day-by-day plan of action.”

Carter, describing the e-mails, wrote, “In another e-mail thread, Dr. Eastman’s colleagues discuss whether to publish a piece supporting his plan, and they touch on state lawsuits only to criticize how they are being handled by the Trump campaign…. In a different e-mail thread, Dr. Eastman and a colleague consider how to use a state court ruling to justify Vice President Pence enacting the plan. In another e-mail, a colleague focuses on the ‘plan of action’ after the January 6 attacks.”

Efforts by the January 6 committee to obtain those e-mails, Polantz and Paul LeBlanc note, were “closely watched in the legal community because of the panel’s bold move to accuse Eastman and Trump of criminal conspiracy.”

“The House said it believed Trump had been trying to obstruct Congress and to defraud the government by blocking his loss of the election and discussing it with Eastman,” the CNN journalists note. “Still, neither Trump nor Eastman has been charged with any crimes. Further, despite the House’s filings, lawmakers aren’t prosecutors and can’t bring charges. And there is no public indication that the Justice Department is seriously investigating Eastman and Trump’s attempt to subvert the 2020 election.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Logs Show Bombshell Seven-Hour Gap In Trump Calls

The White House has released a log from January 6 that included a seven-hour gap in calls made by former President Donald Trump as a mob of supporters descended on the U.S. Capitol Building.

According to documents obtained both The Washington Post and CBS News, the House Select Committee has obtained internal phone records that show a gap of seven hours and 37 minutes between Trump's officially notated phone calls "including the period when the building was being violently assaulted."

The Post highlighted a breakdown of the exact time window between the former president's White House notations noting:

"The lack of an official White House notation of any calls placed to or by Trump for 457 minutes on January 6, 2021 – from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m. – means the committee has no record of his phone conversations as his supporters descended on the Capitol, battled overwhelmed police and forcibly entered the building, prompting lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to flee for safety."

The documents reportedly consist of 11 pages of phone records that also included Trump's official daily diary and White House switchboard log. The U.S. National Archives turned over the official notations to the Select Committee as part of the Jan. 6 investigation.

Per The Post:

"The records show that Trump was active on the phone for part of the day, documenting conversations that he had with at least eight people in the morning and 11 people that evening. The seven-hour gap also stands in stark contrast to the extensive public reporting about phone conversations he had with allies during the attack, such as a call Trump made to Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) — seeking to talk to Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) — and a phone conversation he had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet