Cat Tuesday: January 6 News and CommentaryPosted: December 14, 2021
The paintings in this post are examples of “jungle art” by Haitian artists. Dakinikat posted a couple of these yesterday and I really like them. They have a similar quality to “folk art.”
Last night the House January 6 committee met to vote on whether to refer Mark Meadows to the Justice Department for criminal contempt of Congress. The session was televised and generated quite a bit of news and commentary. The committee plans to hold televised meetings “in the first quarter” of 2022. When that happens, we could see more interest from the general public. I only hope the hearings start sooner rather than later.
Here’s the latest news on the hearing:
Yesterday Fox News ignored the January 6 committee hearing.
The committee also met yesterday with the former commander of the DC National Guard, who has accused defense department officials of refusing to deploy the guard during the violent insurrection. CNN: Former DC National Guard commander meets with January 6 committee
Commentary on recent revelations about Mark Meadows and others about January 6
Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post: Opinion: Mark Meadows has already established a coup plot. Do we care enough to save the republic?
Multiple pieces of evidence have emerged pointing to a deliberate effort to overthrow our democracy. And it is former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows who is key to piecing them all together.
Now, we just need to see if the country cares enough to hold all those involved accountable.
Start with the two memos from John Eastman, President Donald Trump’s lawyer, who sketched out a plan for Vice President Mike Pence to block Joe Biden from assuming the presidency. After making false accusations of election fraud, Eastman suggested Pence could simply refuse to accept electoral college votes when Congress met on Jan. 6 to certify the results, making Trump the “winner” or throwing it to the House where Republicans on a unit vote (one per each state delegation) might have crowned Trump president.
Two additional memos from Trump campaign counsel Jenna Ellis, one on Dec. 31 and one on Jan. 5, have also surfaced. Politico reports: “In the Jan. 5 memo, Ellis argued that key provisions of the Electoral Count Act — limiting Pence’s authority to affirm or reject certain electors — were likely unconstitutional. She concluded that Pence, while presiding over lawmakers’ counting of electors, should simply halt the process when their alphabetical proceeding reached Arizona.” This, of course, would be patently illegal. (Has her state bar been contacted?)
We also know of Trump’s efforts to force the Justice Department to declare the election was corrupt and “leave the rest to me” and Republicans in Congress. And we have seen the mind-boggling 38-page PowerPoint plan to conduct a coup, including a declaration of “national security emergency” that could halt the voting, if needed. As bizarre as the document was, even more bizarre are the alleged meetings that Meadows and lawmakers had with the plan’s author, none of whom had the common sense and loyalty to report it to the FBI.
The House select committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection, in its document release in advance of the contempt vote for Meadows’s failure to appear for his deposition, sets out a list of questions it would have asked Meadows. In doing so, they provided the outline of the coup plot:
Click the link to read the rest.
An email authored by Donald Trump’s chief of staff in the run-up to the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol may help explain military leaders’ reluctance to deploy troops that day: Doing so could have forced troops to choose between following the orders of their direct commanders or obeying the commander in chief of the United States armed forces.
Mark Meadows wrote that the National Guard would be deployed to “‘protect pro Trump people’ and that many more would be available on standby,” according to the resolution by the House committee investigating Jan. 6 that recommends referring criminal contempt of Congress charges against Meadows to the Department of Justice.
The resolution did not specify the recipient of that note or when it was sent.
Top military officials in the Trump administration’s final days have previously said they were concerned that Trump would try to use the military to remain in power. At the time, describing his goals through the end of Trump’s term, acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller told associates “No military coup, no major war, and no troops in the streets,” according to the book “Betrayal,” by ABC’s Jon Karl.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley also worried about a coup, and told colleagues that Trump had become “the classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose,” according to the book “I Alone Can Fix It,” by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker.
One source familiar with the Jan. 6 committee’s work said the worry about troops potentially receiving “conflicting orders” ― one set via the non-political military chain of command, to protect the constitutional process, and the other from Trump himself, designed to let him retain power ― was a real concern in early January.
Read the rest at HuffPo.
Aaron Rupar at Public Notice: Unpacking the pro-coup PowerPoint that wound up in Mark Meadows’s emails.
Thanks to the work of the January 6 committee, the gaps in our knowledge of what happened in the weeks leading up to the insurrection are finally being filled. In fact, as I write this newsletter late Sunday, a major story just broke about a January 5 email from then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows advising an unnamed person that the National Guard was on standby to “protect pro Trump people.”
That obviously sounds bad, but the extent to which then-President Trump tried to subvert the military to help him overturn his election loss (and thereby essentially end democracy in the US) remains somewhat shrouded in mystery. A White House document that surfaced as a result of the committee’s subpoena of Meadows, however, indicates the National Guard comment was more than idle chatter.
The document I’m referring to is a PowerPoint presentation that circulated around Trumpworld ahead of January 6 and was part of the emails Meadows turned over to the committee. And unlike the often dull PowerPoints you are I are familiar with from offices or academic settings, this one was basically a blueprint to a coup.
Some key details remain unknown — such as who authored the presentation and to what extent it embodied the White House’s thinking — but the man who circulated it around the White House, a retired US Army colonel named Phil Waldron, was influential enough to reportedly work alongside Rudy Giuliani, be in meetings with Trump, and brief multiple members of Congress about the contents of the PowerPoint ahead of January 6.
On Sunday I put together a Twitter thread sharing notable details from the 36-page document. You can check out the whole thing starting here. But to boil it down, it outlines a fantastical, fact-free, debunked conspiracy theory about China being behind a global conspiracy to get Donald Trump out of the White House, then cites that conspiracy as a pretext for Trump to throw out the election results….
The details of the conspiracy aren’t really important. A flood of official investigations and lawsuits (not to mention a number of former Trump administration officials) have affirmed time and time again that Biden’s win was fair, and nothing in the PowerPoint will persuade anyone who isn’t already guzzling the MAGA Kool-aid. All that matters is it provided a cover story for then-Vice President Mike Pence to take extraordinary steps to prevent the election from being certified.
Read the rest at the link and do check out Rupar’s twitter thread.
Finally, check out Hunter Walker’s new piece at Rolling Stone: Two Jan. 6 Organizers Are Coming Forward and Naming Names: ‘We’re Turning It All Over’
Two key organizers of the main Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C. are coming in from the cold.
Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lynn Lawrence are set to testify next week before the House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The pair will deliver testimony and turn over documents, including text messages, that indicate the extensive involvement members of Congress and the Trump administration had in planning the House challenge to certifying Biden’s election and rally near the White House where Donald Trump spoke — efforts that ultimately contributed to a massive and violent attack on the Capitol.
Among the documents the couple is providing are conversations they had with staffers and members of Congress as they planned the main rally that took place on the White House Ellipse that day. Stockton described these discussions as largely logistical and focused on planning the members’ participation in objections to the electoral certification on the House floor and various events that were staged to protest against the election. They include Instagram messages Lawrence exchanged with Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) as she tried to get him to speak at the Ellipse rally. Cawthorn, whose office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, ultimately appeared onstage at that event.
“We’re turning it all over and we’ll let the cards fall where they may,” Stockton says.
It’s the latest revelation from the couple, veteran activists who have spent the better part of a decade specializing in staging political stunts while working for conservative activist groups, Republican campaigns, and Trump’s on-again-off-again strategist Steve Bannon. Stockton and Lawrence were members of the team that led the nationwide “March for Trump” bus tour, which ended with the Jan. 6 rally at the White House Ellipse. In recent weeks, Stockton and Lawrence have participated in an extensive series of interviews with Rolling Stone revealing what they knew about the day.
The pair were the sources for a story that was published in late October, when they said members of Congress were involved in planning Trump’s efforts to overturn the election and the Jan. 6 Ellipse rally. They claimed one of these lawmakers, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), suggested the possibility Trump could get them a “blanket pardon” in an unrelated ongoing investigation if they helped protest the election. (Gosar later suggested that story was “categorically false and defamatory.”) Stockton and Lawrence also say they were told that Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had communicated with the organizers and was warned about concerns of potential violence.
Nothing in the documents viewed by Rolling Stone or the couple’s statements revealed any planning for, or coordination with, the violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters.
I’ll post a few more stories in the comment thread and I hope you will too.