Friday Reads: Depths of DepravityPosted: February 11, 2022
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I can only wonder what the January 6 Committee is unearthing. Today, I saw this in The New Republic. Just when I think I can’t learn anything more appalling about the Trump Family Crime Syndicate and its enablers something else unearthly floats to the top of the golden septic tank. This is a follow-up to BB’s excellent post yesterday. “January 6 Committee Recap: Concerns About Trump’s Records Can’t Be Flushed Away. Trump could be in legal trouble for potentially violating federal laws related to the handling of government records.” This analysis is written by
It was another big week in developments related to the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump’s lawyer and a frequent main character of these updates, reportedly asked a Republican prosecutor in northern Michigan to turn over his county’s voting machines to the Trump team. According to The Washington Post, Giuliani and other members of Trump’s legal team asked Antrim County prosecutor James Rossiter for the machines after the county initially misreported its election results in favor of Joe Biden. Rossiter told Giuliani that voting machines could not simply be seized and delivered without probable cause, a term that Giuliani, himself a former prosecutor, should have been familiar with. (Giuliani failed to appear before the House select committee on January 6 in a required deposition this week.)
Meanwhile, the National Archives asked the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s handling of presidential records, the Post reported, amid revelations that some records had to be recovered from the former president’s residence in Mar-a-Lago and that Trump had torn up other records. Adding to the pile-on of news related to the former president’s records, The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman reported in her upcoming book that White House residence staff occasionally found toilets clogged with wads of paper—and that they believed Trump had flushed pieces of paper. (This may add some context to Trump’s claims during campaign rallies that toilets were no longer working properly.) These reports raise questions about whether Trump violated federal laws dictating how government records should be handled.
As to the substance of the records: CNN reported on Monday that records obtained by the select committee provide new details about a call between Trump and Representative Jim Jordan on the morning of the attack. The Times also reported on Thursday that the committee had discovered gaps in the official White House telephone logs from January 6 during the critical hours when Trump was making calls.
The committee on Wednesday subpoenaed yet another person in Trump’s orbit, former White House official Peter Navarro. In his memoir, Navarro claimed to have concocted a plan with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon to delay certification of the Electoral College results.
You may continue reading at the link. This is not the end of the piece even though I shared a lot with you. If you want proof that records were altered and destroyed look no further than this CNN headline: “White House records obtained so far by January 6 committee show no record of calls to and from Trump during riot.” And CNN please, it was a violent insurrection. It was not just a riot damn it!
The records the House select committee has obtained do not contain entries of phone calls between the President and lawmakers that have been widely reported in the press. Trump was known to make calls using personal cell phones, which could account for those.
Two of the sources, who have also reviewed the presidential diary from that day, say it contains scant information and no record of phone calls for several hours after Trump returned to the Oval Office after giving a speech to his supporters at the Ellipse until he emerged to address the nation in a video from the Rose Garden
The House select committee has received hundreds of White House records since Trump lost a legal fight at the Supreme Court to keep them secret. The committee had asked the National Archives for all call logs and telephone records for Trump and top aides as well as daily presidential diaries.
Empty Wheel reminds us that altering and deleting documents was par for the course in Trump’s White House and Justice Department.
And, Eric Boehler reminds us:
The media continue to normalize his criminality, in this case absconding from the White House with classified documents as he readies another presidential run. (And shredding other docs.) It’s the same D.C. press corps that crucified Hillary Clinton for years simply because journalists thought her email story might have a hint of criminality to it. It never did.
What Trump has done since he first arrived in Washington, D.C., in January 2017 was shred longstanding Beltway protocols; traditions that for decades and sometimes centuries were based on a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ on the proper way to behave and the ethical course that should be followed while running the government. The consummate bully and liar, Trump didn’t care about any of those rules and began obliterating them immediately. He flooded the zone with crass, outlandish and destructive behavior, which the press tried to keep pace with at first. Shattering Beltway protocols used to carry a penalty, which was handed out by the press.
Eventually, as the years passed, news outlets mostly gave up, especially with the day-to-day transgressions, adopting a Trump-being-Trump view of his chronic rule breaking. Beltway institutions, particularly within the federal government, embraced the same mealy-mouthed approach, which gave Trump the okay to trample norms. “He didn’t think the rules applied to him,” a former White House aide told CNN this week. And he was right.
He and his followers are the consummate bullies. Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney continues to refuse to be bullied. She wrote an OpEd in the notoriously right-wing WSJ Opinion section today.
Republicans used to advocate fidelity to the rule of law and the plain text of the Constitution. In 2020, Mr. Trump convinced many to abandon those principles. He falsely claimed that the election was stolen from him because of widespread fraud. While some degree of fraud occurs in every election, there was no evidence of fraud on a scale that could have changed this one. As the Select Committee will demonstrate in hearings later this year, no foreign power corrupted America’s voting machines, and no massive secret fraud changed the election outcome.
Almost all members of Congress know this—although many lack the courage to say it out loud. Mr. Trump knew it too, from his own campaign officials, from his own appointees at the Justice Department, and from the dozens of lawsuits he lost. Yet, Mr. Trump ignored the rulings of the courts and launched a massive campaign to mislead the public. Our hearings will show that these falsehoods provoked the violence on Jan. 6. Mr. Trump’s lawyers have begun to pay the price for spreading these lies. For example, Rudy Giuliani’s license to practice law has been suspended because he “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump, ” in the words of a New York appellate court.
The Jan. 6 investigation isn’t only about the inexcusable violence of that day: It is also about fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law, and whether elected representatives believe in those things or not. One member of the House Freedom Caucus warned the White House in the days before Jan. 6 that the president’s plans would drive “a stake in the heart of the federal republic.” That was exactly right.
Those who do not wish the truth of Jan. 6 to come out have predictably resorted to attacking the process—claiming it is tainted and political. Our hearings will show this charge to be wrong. We are focused on facts, not rhetoric, and we will present those facts without exaggeration, no matter what criticism we face
There are so many things out there to arrest Trump for that it is amazing to me we see little movement towards the target by the DOJ. Every one is still turning their lonely eyes to Merrick Garland. Surely the request from the National Archives must be answered timely!
Normal public servants get sent to jail for this! Watch Glenn Kirschner’s #Justice Matters for more coverage including what he said on Joy Reid’s show last night.
I’ve just about had it with this! Now we have a group of right-wing truckers funded by the usual tea party billionaires out to wreck our recovering economy! This is not a form of public discourse! It’s insurrection and domestic terrorism. The DOJ/FBI needs to get more aggressive with these nutters too. I feel like we’re in some kind of Cold Civil War and not many of us are paying attention.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?