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Tag: january 6th

Greene Says Trump Promised 'Over And Over Again' To Pardon January 6 Rioters

Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) revealed that former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump are both "just sick" because some January 6 defendants are still behind bars.

During an interview with right-wing podcaster Steve Bannon on Saturday, Greene explained that she had posted a thread of messages defending the former president on Twitter. Greene said that she was trying to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday when she saw Twitter users angry at Trump for failing to pardon the January 6 defendants.

"I thought, this is ridiculous; they're lying about him," the lawmaker recalled. "People are lying about him. The very idea that he could have pardoned all the January 6 defendants before he left the White House on January 20 is impossible because the high majority of those people weren't even arrested until after he left office!"

"And he didn't even know them!" she continued. "He had no idea who they are. He doesn't know who they are still. He had nothing to do with what they did on January 6, um, so it would have been impossible for him to magically know how to find these people and pardon them."

Greene said that she gave a report about the January 6 defendants to Trump and the former first lady.

"President Trump and Melania were both just sick over what they learned," she revealed. "And he said over and over that he will — he will pardon the January 6 defendants."

"This is real political persecution," Greene added. "And it shouldn't be happening in America and so the criticism on President Trump is ridiculous!"

Watch the video below from Real America's Voice or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Sedition, Dishonor, And Dishonesty At Oath Keepers Trial

There’s something I’ve been thinking about while I have been listening to testimony at the seditious conspiracy trial of Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes.

Every time a witness who was or is part of the organization testifies, as they introduce themselves to the jury and they explain, in effect, how they got to where they now find themselves, there’s a sort of fawning that happens when these mostly old, mostly white men talk about the group.

They speak of camaraderie. They speak of brotherhood. They speak of a willingness to help. Before they even get into the allegations at hand or talk about their reverence for things like the Constitution or the Second Amendment, there has been testimony too about coming together during trying times, like during a natural disaster, where they are willing to step in to provide “protection.”

The definition of “protection” may vacillate a bit but it is overwhelmingly discussed in terms like what Rhodes described when he was on the stand.

During Hurricane Katrina, for example, he said people were having guns taken from their homes “door-by-door” prompting Oath Keepers to show up and ensure people were not being disabused of their Constitutional rights.

He didn’t speak much about providing food or transportation or shelter. And if you were to ask him, it’s not difficult to imagine him saying these elements are not necessarily his organization’s chief priority since their expertise is primarily “security.” Or in other words, the muscle, to “assist” those doing what can viably be described as “the real work” in a disaster scenario (See: feeding, clothing and housing people as they pick up the pieces.)

Besides, his remark about the confiscation of guns post-Katrina was exaggerated.

In 2015, Mother Jones reported that even on blogs “sympathetic to Oath Keepers,” there was concerted pushback over claims that a widescale seizure of weapons by the federal government was taking place in the storm’s aftermath.

In fact, public court records show 552 guns were seized in the aftermath of Katrina and “were mostly inoperable junk guns.” And as the report digging into these claims noted, “either way, in a city of nearly half a million, where gun possession had always been popular (and exploded after the storm), that doesn’t amount to a totalitarian power grab.”

In Louisville, after Breonna Taylor was killed by police and protests erupted, Oath Keepers showed up to “protect” businesses. In video shown to jurors, locals are heard imploring the armed Oath Keepers standing in a circle around a vehicle to leave.

Local police asked Oath Keepers to leave Ferguson, Missouri after Michael Brown was killed by police. And though it has been almost a decade since real cops with real badges asked Rhodes and his cosplayers to stop offering their “services” in St. Louis, Rhodes appeared to still smart at the memory when testifying at the trial in Washington.

They were showing cops how to “do things right,” he said,

The good samaritan shield Rhodes hoists up may have been forged in earnest fires once and it may be true when other Oath Keepers say they joined the group because they wanted to be part of something meaningful.

Perhaps, yes, in the minds of some of these men, there was a time and place where they believed there was something worth protecting in a vulnerable stranger—no matter any possible difference in opinion, color, or creed.

Maybe the hope was real, the belief that the experience of those who have traveled tough terrain could be valued. Maybe there could be a place for people who understood what it is to sustain on very little for very long in dangerous places? Maybe there would be a use in peacetime, right here at home, for people overly acquainted with the theater of war.

Perhaps there was a time when the idea of utilizing veterans and first responders to form a community of public servants was the goal.

But what good samaritan writes a death list?

Who is the person who views other human beings as “bugs” that need to be fought in the streets?

Who is the person who looks at their fellow citizens in the 21st century and believes that political or ideological differences can only be resolved by fighting a civil war?

What does it say when a so-called good samaritan enters the nation’s Capitol during a riot with a patch on themselves that states plainly: “I don’t believe in anything. I’m just here for the violence.”

Members of the Oath Keepers, including Rhodes, have testified for weeks that they are admirers of the First Amendment. Much time has been devoted to featuring the claim that Rhodes and co-defendants Jessica Watkins, Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, and Thomas Caldwell merely shared a penchant for braggadocio when they discussed plans that could “go kinetic” when they came to Washington to “help” on Jan. 6.

America’s first president George Washington, who Rhodes himself revered highly, once said “if the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be, like sheep to the slaughter.”

Washington followed it up with another thought immediately after: “It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company. Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.

The Justice Department has taken great pains to bring to light what Rhodes and his cohorts said and did before, during, and after January 6, 2021.

The notion that the Oath Keepers good samaritan defense is believable beyond a reasonable doubt tests the limits of logic.

The presupposition that the group’s only plan was to be ready to provide “assistance” to a U.S. president—who helms the second largest military in the world— is hard to square against a mountain of damning diatribes and testimony.

When men keep bad company, are they able to have honor?

The Oath Keepers communications presented to jurors over this last month often appear dripping in contempt for anyone who might oppose their ideological world-view. Entire swaths of people are lumped into a singular category.

Perhaps if some of these men, in another timeline, would have not been radicalized by disinformation or were not so driven to toy with power because they felt so underutilized or unheard themselves, then their claims of righteousness would be easier to believe.

But there’s vigilantism that hides in every piece of evidence. There’s a violent disregard for a difference of opinion.

And now, there is only a jury that will decide what comes next.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Judge May Expose Trump's Secret Effort To Block Testimony About January 6

The chief judge of the District Court in Washington, D.C., is considering making documents concerning Donald Trump’s connections to January 6 open to the public. In this case, the documents relate to how Trump has attempted to prevent former advisors and staff members from testifying before a grand jury hearing evidence related to January 6.

When it comes to Trump and court battles, it can be difficult to keep up. This time, it’s not Trump’s theft of government documents, his tax fraud, or his subpoena to appear before the House Select Committee that’s in the news. It’s that other January 6 investigation, the one being conducted by the Justice Department, that has already resulted in at least 928 arrests, 412 guilty pleas, and 21 people found guilty at trial. There are still dozens, if not hundreds, of trials to come — including the trial of Oath Keepers leaders charged with seditious conspiracy.

But the DOJ’s January 6 investigation doesn’t just include the people who assaulted police, smashed through windows, invaded the Capitol, and physically threatened lawmakers. It also includes those who planted the seeds for that day, and who planned to disrupt the lawful completion of the election process by lying about election fraud, attempting to interfere with state officials, and pushing slates of false electors. Those people are basically known as Trump’s entire campaign and White House team. The DOJ wants the grand jury to hear from those people. Trump has been interfering. And now Judge Beryl Howell is considering showing everyone just what’s going on.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported on efforts to force two former Trump lawyers—Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin—to testify. Trump has claimed that both attorney-client privilege and executive privilege mean that Cipollone and Philbin don’t need to appear. The DOJ has argued that, as the law makes clear, privilege claims cannot be used to cover up a crime. In this case, both Cipollone and Philbin are known to have been directly involved in organizing slates of false electors who could be put forward on January 6 as an excuse to halt the official tallying of electoral votes.

The fight over these two attorneys is just one of many times that Trump has tried to block an appearance before the grand jury. Last week, a panel of federal judges turned down an attempt by Trump to block testimony from Marc Short, who was chief of staff for former Vice President Mike Pence.

In September, 40 subpoenas were issued to former Trump officials, aides, and advisors in one of the clearest signals that the Department of Justice was closing in on how Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election led to the violence of January 6—and how that effort involved a whole host of potential crimes. Those subpoenas included former Trump speechwriter Stephen Miller, campaign strategist Mike Roman, Trump attorney Boris Epshteyn, social media director Dan Scavino, former New York police commissioner turned election-fraud conspiracist Bernard Kerik, and former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Trump has tried to block the appearance of all these officials, generally using arguments of executive privilege. In fact, the cases that are making their way through the courts now are not those related to the September subpoenas, but a group of officials, including Short, whose subpoenas went out back in June. As Politico reports, it’s been a four-month effort to bring those officials in front of the jury, with Trump filing one appeal after another in an effort to prevent their testimony.

Hours after the court ruled that Trump could not block Short’s testimony, the former Pence chief of staff had his say before the jury and went home. But that’s just one name on a long list, and dealing with Trump’s efforts to prevent former associates from testifying is seriously slowing the pace of the proceedings.

Both Politico and The New York Times have asked Chief Judge Howell to unseal documents related to what is being called “Trump’s secret battle” to prevent the grand jury from hearing from his former aides. Judge Howell has now asked the Department of Justice for their opinion on whether Trump’s meddling should be made public.

In such efforts to block testimony, Trump has consistently lost when it comes to the official results in court. However, his actions have often so slowed processes that by the time the final appeal was put down, the value of testimony or documents was so reduced that Trump’s “loss” is questionable. Trump has become the exemplar for how unlimited money and an unlimited stream of unscrupulous lawyers can keep anything in court perpetually, even when there is no real justification. Appeal. Lose. Appeal. Lose. Appeal. Lose. Change the basis of the appeal and start over. With weeks or months passing between each step, Trump can lose every case and never take a scratch.

These efforts reveal an obvious weakness in the legal system that can be easily exploited. So far, there doesn’t appear to be any effort to address this weakness.

However, Howell—like “special master” Judge Raymond Dearie in the documents case—is taking action to move things along more quickly. In a September 28 ruling, she dismissed efforts by Trump to delay any hearings until after he had exhausted his appeals based on executive privilege. Howell ruled that hearings would continue, even as Trump tried to defend his all-encompassing view on privilege.

Will it help move things along if more information on Trump’s interference with the grand jury becomes public? Probably not. It’s not as if Trump can be shamed. But it would provide some greater insight into just how Trump has been moving to prevent testimony, and what kinds of claims he is making. That could be interesting, and it might even help the next prosecutor and the next judge in dealing with Trump’s infinite bag o’ monkey wrenches.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Hiding In Closet From January 6 Rioters, Cruz Still Backed Coup Plot

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and other Republican lawmakers holed up in a janitorial closet during the January 6th, 2021 Capitol insurrection, according to excerpts from Cruz's new book that were obtained by Newsweek.

"Toward the end of our two-hour session, as Senator James Lankford from Oklahoma was speaking, there was a commotion from outside the [Senate] chamber," Cruz recalled in Justice Corrupted: How the Left Weaponized Our Legal System. "Suddenly, Capitol Police officers rushed in and hastily escorted the vice president off the dais. Shortly thereafter, we paused the proceedings. In the fog of the confusion, it was difficult to tell what exactly was happening. We were informed that a riot had broken out and that rioters were attempting to violently breach the Capitol building. At first, Capitol Police instructed us to remain on the Senate floor. And so we did. Then, a few minutes later, they instructed us to evacuate rapidly."

Cruz noted that he and fellow lawmakers were escorted to a "secure location" where "tempers were high" while a handful of their colleagues were "blaming us explicitly for the violence that was occurring."

Cruz also revealed that "while we waited for the Capitol to be secured, I assembled our coalition in a back room (really, a supply closet with stacked chairs) to discuss what we should do next."

Congress was in the middle of certifying President Joe Biden's landslide Electoral College victory over then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 election when the mayhem erupted.

Yet even as Trump's mob was ransacking the Capitol – leading to five deaths and uncertainty about the state of American democracy – Cruz admits that he thought that Trump's lies about fraud in the 2020 election were worth defending.

"Several members of the group argued that in the face of the riot, we should suspend our objections and vote to certify the election. I understood the sentiment. But I vehemently disagreed with it," wrote Cruz. "I urged my colleagues that the course of action we were advocating was the right and principled one."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Federal Judge Finds Trump Knowingly Signed False 'Election Fraud' Documents

A federal district court judge says Donald Trump, the former president, signed court documents that he knew contained false information on voter fraud. The judge says emails former Trump attorney John Eastman is refusing to hand over to the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack “are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

Under certain circumstances it can be a federal crime to make false statements to the federal government.

In his 18-page opinion on Wednesday Judge David O. Carter, ordered the “coup memo” author, disgraced former law professor John Eastman, to hand over emails to the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

Politico reports Judge Carter wrote that the emails “show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public.”

Eastman, citing attorney-client privilege, has refused to hand over the emails. But on Wednesday Judge Carter pointed to the crime-fraud exception which, according to the ACLU states the can be no privilege “if you are using the attorney-client relationship to perpetrate a crime.”

According to Politico, in one of the emails Eastman admitted Trump had already signed a statement that contained false information, and warned Trump’s other attorneys it “would not be accurate” for him to do so again, as “he has since been made aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts) has been inaccurate.”

“However,” Politico adds, “Trump and his lawyers opted to file the federal complaint using the same numbers that Eastman conceded were inaccurate.”

Judge Carter said that Trump “signed a verification swearing under oath that the incorporated, inaccurate numbers ‘are true and correct’ or ‘believed to be true and correct’ to the best of his knowledge and belief.”

Journalist Marcy Wheeler posted a screenshot from Judge Carter’s ruling.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

January 6 Probers Renew Probe Of Trump's Secret Service Connection

The House Select Committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection is reportedly seeking to conduct a second round of interviews for two former U.S. Secret Service officials closely connected to former President Donald Trump, according to the Washington Post's Carol Leonnig.

Speaking to MSNBC's Ali Velshi, the Post reporter noted that Tony Ornato, former U.S. Secret Service official and White House Deputy Chief of Staff, has been named as a person of interest for the committee.

The Jan. 6 panel's decision follows the development of new details in the investigation. Ornato's name has been dropped as the latest developments confirm that intelligence services raised warnings about potential violence that might arise after the former president's "Stop the Steal" rally.

According to Leonnig, the committee is said to have expressed interest in learning what Ornato and the head of Trump's security may remember.

"Let me tell you what I know from sources, which is that they have said that both Tony Ornato, who was a senior Secret Service executive that was then serving, oddly enough, as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, a political role helping Donald Trump, and Bobby Engel, who was the head of President Trump's security detail, are likely to be re-interviewed," Leonnig said.

She added, "The question that has arisen for the committee is to, first, that both men have said that they didn't recall certain things, and they didn't see any intel of concern, they don't remember certain things happening that other witnesses said happened and the record seemed to raise serious concerns about the possibility that they could not have known these things."

Leonnig also noted one key detail that sticks out.

"The most important and obvious so far is Tony Ornato's claim that he was not aware of any intelligence that posed a threat to the protectees that they protect, the president and vice president," she explained. "That is just impossible."

Watch the video below or at this link.


Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Oath Keeper Threatened Pence's Life Before January 6 Riot

When far-right supporters of then-President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, they were not only angry with Democrats, but also with Republicans they believed had betrayed Trump — including then-Vice President Mike Pence. Crowds of Trump supporters chanted, “Hang Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence” that day, and some of them even set up a gallows outside the Capitol.

But the danger that Pence faced did not start on January 6. Journalist Pilar Melendez, in an article published by the Daily Beast on October 14, reports that a pro-Trump member of the Oath Keepers was threatening violence against Pence even before that.

Evidence presented in a courtroom on October 14, according to Melendez, revealed that Oath Keeper Thomas Caldwell threatened Pence with violence in a text message dated January 1, 2021. Caldwell said of the then-vice president, “If he hopes to live till Friday, he better stand tall.”

As members of the Oath Keepers, QAnon, the Proud Boys and other far-right groups saw it, Pence let Trump down when he said he did not have the authority to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

In a December 2020 message, according to Melendez, Caldwell said, “It begins for real Jan 5 and 6 in Washington DC when we mobilize in the streets. Let them try to certify some crud on Capitol Hill with a million or more patriots in the streets. This kettle is set to boil.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Protecting Trump, McCarthy Lied (On Tape) To Capitol Police About January 6

Kevin McCarthy, would-be House speaker, lied to two of the police officers who helped save his skin on January 6. He lied to the mother of an officer who died after the attack, telling them last year that the person who commanded Trump’s violent followers to march to the U.S. Capitol had no idea at all what they were doing. He also took credit for Trump’s eventual public statement asking rioters to “go home.” One of the attendees, then-D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, recorded the meeting and has shared that recording with CNN.

McCarthy met with Fanone, U.S. Capitol Officer Harry Dunn, and Gladys Sicknick, the mother of late Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, in June 2021. Fanone recorded the meeting because as he told CNN, “was because I didn’t expect Kevin McCarthy to, No. 1, tell the truth; No. 2, recount the conversation accurately; and No. 3, I wanted to show people how indifferent lawmakers are, not just Republican lawmakers, but all lawmakers, to the actual American people that they are representing.” D.C. has single-party consent for recordings—what Fanone did is completely legal.

The three had been pressing McCarthy to meet with him after House Republicans had begun to try to downplay what had happened that day and McCarthy himself had started to bow to Trump’s pressure and back off his pledge to allow Republican participation on the Jan. 6 committee. Fanone writes in a new book just being launched, “The only reason McCarthy had agreed to meet with us was because he’d been getting heat for refusing to see me.”

“I’m just telling you from my phone call, I don’t know that he did know that,” McCarthy told the three, speaking about his call to Trump and Trump’s knowledge of the attack. Sicknick’s mother pushed back in the meeting, according to the audio. “He already knew what was going on,” she said of Trump. “People were fighting for hours and hours and hours. This doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Fanone also challenged McCarthy about his continued defense of Trump: “While you were on the phone with him, I was getting the shit kicked out of me!” He wrote in his book, “I asked McCarthy why he would take credit for Trump’s pathetic, half-hearted late-afternoon video address to his followers. I said, ‘Trump says to his people, ‘This is what happens when you steal an election. Go home. I love you.’ What the f–k is that? That came from the president of the United States.”

Subsequent revelations in public testimony to the January 6 committee proved just how brazenly McCarthy lied to the officers and Mrs. Sicknick.

In those hearings, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified about her own telephone conversations with McCarthy that day, conversations which McCarthy now says he doesn’t remember having. “You told me this whole week you aren’t coming up here,” Hutchinson said that McCarthy told her. “Why would you lie to me?” She responded that as far as she knew, there weren’t plans for Trump to go to the Capitol. McCarthy answered, “Well, he just said it on stage, Cassidy. Figure it out. Don’t come up here.”

Months before McCarthy met with the officers, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, McCarthy had no problem blaming Trump for the riot. In audio obtained by The New York Times, McCarthy told fellow Republicans that he wanted Trump to resign as they discussed impeachment. “I’ve had it with this guy,” he told a group of his leadership team. “What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that and nobody should defend it,” he told the group. That’s what he was saying before he made a call to Trump, when he told the group that he was going to tell Trump to resign.

That didn’t go as planned, according to more recording the Times obtained. Following that call, McCarthy told Republicans on a conference call: “Let me be very clear to all of you, and I have been very clear to the president: He bears responsibilities for his words and actions. [...] No if, ands or buts.”

“I asked him personally today: Does he hold responsibility for what happened?” McCarthy said. “Does he feel bad about what happened? He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened and he’d need to acknowledge that.”

Five months later, McCarthy told the officers who protected him that day and the mother of an officer who died as a result of that attack that Trump had nothing to do with any of it. Kevin McCarthy is a liar. And a bad one. You’d think he’d have learned his lesson about watching what he says in private meetings, given his track record in that whole pre-2016 election scandal: “There's … there's two people, I think, Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump… [S]wear to God.”


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.