Monday Reads

Good Afternoon!!

Daknikat has a cell phone emergency, so I’m filling in and starting really late–just beginning to look at the news. There’s quite a bit happening.

The Washington Post’s Michael Kranish has a big story about Ted Cruz and January 6: Inside Ted Cruz’s last-ditch battle to keep Trump in power. It turns out that Cruz and John Eastman, the lawyer who wrote a memo explaining how Pence could supposedly refuse to certify the election, have known each other for 27 years. Not only that, Trump asked Cruz if he would argue the case to overturn the election if they could get the Supreme Court to hear it. From the article:

An examination by The Washington Post of Cruz’s actions between Election Day and Jan. 6, 2021, shows just how deeply he was involved, working directly with Trump to concoct a plan that came closer than widely realized to keeping him in power. As Cruz went to extraordinary lengths to court Trump’s base and lay the groundwork for his own potential 2024 presidential bid, he also alienated close allies and longtime friends who accused him of abandoning his principles.

ted-cruz-january-6Now, Cruz’s efforts are of interest to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, in particular whether Cruz was in contact with Trump lawyerJohn Eastman, a conservative attorney who has been his friend for decades and who wrote key legal memos aimed at denying Biden’s victory.

As Eastman outlined a scenario in which Vice President Mike Pence could denycertifying Biden’s election, Cruz crafted a complementary plan in the Senate. He proposedobjecting to the results in six swing states and delayingaccepting the electoral college results on Jan. 6 in favor of a 10-day “audit” — thus potentiallyenabling GOP state legislatures to overturn the result. Ten other senators backed hisproposal, which Cruz continued to advocate on the day rioters attacked the Capitol.

The committee’s interest in Cruz is notable as investigators zero in on how closely Trump’s allies coordinated with members of Congress in the attempt to block or delay certifying Biden’s victory. If Cruz’s plan worked, it could have created enough chaos for Trump to remain in power.

“It was a very dangerous proposal, and, you know, could very easily have put us into territory where we got to the inauguration and there was not a president,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a Jan. 6 committee member, said earlier this year on the podcast “Honestly.” “And I think that Senator Cruz knew exactly what he was doing. I think that Senator Cruz is somebody who knows what the Constitution calls for, knows what his duties and obligations are, and was willing, frankly, to set that aside.”

Eastman and Cruz both worked for Michael Luttig, who was then on the U.S. Appeals Court. Here’s what Luttig has to say about Cruz’s actions:

Luttig told The Post that he believes that Cruz — who once said that Luttig was “like a father to me” — played a paramount role in the events leading to Jan. 6.

“Once Ted Cruz promised to object, January 6 was all but foreordained, because Cruz was the most influential figure in the Congress willing to force a vote on Trump’s claim that the election was stolen,” Luttig said in a statement to The Post. “He was also the most knowledgeable of the intricacies of both the Electoral Count Act and the Constitution, and the ways to exploit the two.”

The story also says that Eastman took the Fifth when the Committee asked him about communications with Cruz.

Also from The Washington Post: Jan. 6 committee to seek interview with Ginni Thomas.

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection will seek an interview with Virginia Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, according a source familiar with the investigation.

Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, has drawn scrutiny for her text messages to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in which she repeatedly pressed Meadows to work aggressively to overturn the election and keep President Donald Trump in power in a series of urgent exchanges in the critical weeks after the vote, according to copies of the messages obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News.

The messages — 29 in all — reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Thomas, a conservative activist, and Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results.

The committee’s plans to ask Thomas for an interview were first reported by CNN. A source familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal committee plans confirmed the report.

Amanda Carpenter at The Bulwark: Is Ginni Thomas’s Story Believable?

Virginia Thomas wants people to believe that her husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, had no idea about her activities challenging the results of the 2020 election.

“Clarence doesn’t discuss his work with me, and I don’t involve him in my work,” she told a friendly outlet earlier this month. Therefore, no one need worry about his ability to be an impartial judge on the highest court in the land. Everything is hunky-dory….

0x0Her story, as well as her election theories, don’t survive even the most basic common-sense tests.

Justice Thomas cannot plausibly plead ignorance of his wife’s Jan. 6th-related activities. Her texts were the subject of a blockbuster Washington Post-CBS story, carried by numerous other outlets such as CNN and the New York Times. Multiple outlets asked the Thomases for comment multiple times. A CNN reporter staked out the couple in their parking garage. Maybe the Thomases talked about it, maybe they didn’t—it’s impossible for outsiders to know what happens inside a marriage—but the notion that Clarence Thomas is unaware of what Ginni was up to? Not plausible.

Second, beyond the text messages revealed last week, many of Ginni’s political activities relating to Jan. 6th were already a matter of public record. Her promotion of election conspiracies was well known; she posted them on her Facebook page. On the morning of Jan. 6th, just hours before the attack on the Capitol, she lavished praise on the Trump rallygoers who wanted to overturn the election. In the weeks after the riot, Ginni apologized to a listserv of her husband’s former clerks because her election-related activities and her “lifetime passions” caused a rift in the close-knit group of Thomas alumni.* Although this was a minor controversy, her husband could reasonably be expected to know about it, since it directly involved his wife and former clerks—and the Washington Post reported on it.

To believe that Justice Thomas is unaware of Mrs. Thomas’s Jan. 6th-related activities, one would also have to believe that Ginni’s co-signed public letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy demanding that he remove Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from the GOP conference for serving as members of the Jan. 6th Committee never crossed Justice Thomas’s radar.

More at the link.

Here’s another breaking story from Katelyn Polantz at CNN: Judge: ‘More likely than not’ that Trump ‘corruptly attempted’ to block Congress from counting votes on January 6.

A federal judge said Monday that former President Donald Trump and right-wing attorney John Eastman may have been planning a crime as they sought to disrupt the January 6 congressional certification of the presidential election.

“Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” Judge David Carter wrote Monday.

Attorney John Eastman gestures as he speaks next to U.S. President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani at the January 6 Trump rally on the Ellipse in Washington

Attorney John Eastman gestures as he speaks next to Rudy Giuliani on January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Carter, a federal judge in California, ordered Eastman to turn over 101 emails from around January 6, 2021, that he has tried to keep secret from the House select committee investigating the US Capitol attack.

Carter’s reasoning is a startling acknowledgment by a federal court that Trump’s interest in overturning the election could be considered criminal.

“The illegality of the plan was obvious,” Carter wrote. “Our nation was founded on the peaceful transition of power, epitomized by George Washington laying down his sword to make way for democratic elections. Ignoring this history, President Trump vigorously campaigned for the Vice President to single-handedly determine the results of the 2020 election … Every American — and certainly the President of the United States — knows that in a democracy, leaders are elected, not installed.”

Judge Carter had even more to say:

In his order, Carter made an unusually bold statement wishing for accountability so that history does not repeat itself.

“If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the Court fears January 6 will repeat itself,” the judge wrote.

“More than a year after the attack on our Capitol, the public is still searching for accountability. This case cannot provide it. The Court is tasked only with deciding a dispute over a handful of emails. This is not a criminal prosecution; this is not even a civil liability suit,” he wrote.

“At most, this case is a warning about the dangers of ‘legal theories’ gone wrong, the powerful abusing public platforms, and desperation to win at all costs,” Carter added. “If Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution.”

I hope Merrick Garland is paying attention.

Another big story from The Wall Street Journal: Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian Peace Negotiators Suffer Suspected Poisoning.

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian peace negotiators suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning after a meeting in Kyiv earlier this month, people familiar with the matter said.

Roman AbramovichFollowing the meeting in the Ukrainian capital, Mr. Abramovich, who has shuttled between Moscow, Lviv and other negotiating venues, as well as at least two senior members of the Ukrainian team developed symptoms that included red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their faces and hands, the people said.

They blamed the suspected attack on hard-liners in Moscow who they said wanted to sabotage talks to end the war. A person close to Mr. Abramovich said it wasn’t clear who had targeted the group.

Mr. Abramovich and the Ukrainian negotiators, who include Crimean Tatar lawmaker Rustem Umerov, have since improved and their lives aren’t in danger, the people said. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who has met with Mr. Abramovich, wasn’t affected, they said. Mr. Zelensky’s spokesman said he had no information about any suspected poisoning.

\Western experts who looked into the incident said it was hard to determine whether the symptoms were caused by a chemical or biological agent or by some sort of electromagnetic-radiation attack, the people familiar with the matter said.

Read more at the WSJ. There was no paywall when I opened the link.

I’m going to end there so I can get this posted. What do you think about all this? What other stories are you following?

23 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a great Monday everyone!

    Dakinikat’s phone is fixed. It wasn’t charging so she had to take it to the store and they found the problem.

    • dakinikat says:

      And I was so exhausted with that and having connectivity problems with Cox that I took a nap all afternoon and just woke up! It turned out to be some little piece of plastic caught in my port and they just cleaned it out of there and it’s doing fine! I bought a new charger and wire to ensure whatever did that last time wouldn’t rehappen. With all this duo security, I couldn’t even sign in for work without it!

      Thank you so much!

      • quixote says:

        I keep wondering how long it’s going to take before the light bulb goes off and the 2-factor-authentication security nerds understand that there needs to be a fallback solution for when phones get lost/stolen/broken!

        Glad it ended okay for you.

        • dakinikat says:

          They’ve just convinced a bunch of ignorant management people it’s the ticket and they’re raking in the bucks.

        • NW Luna says:

          Yes indeed. When you can’t get on-line so you are able to get a friend to look up their service number so you can call, and you have a 2-hr wait with a recording saying “Go to our website ….”

          I have a car with the new non-mechanical key fobs. It requires a charged battery. Also, if the car’s battery’s dead the car cannot be unlocked even if your e-key has a charged battery. So HTH can you unlock your car to open the hood so you can charge the effin’ battery? I did finally find the little ‘smart key’ mechanical emergency key and was able to unlock the car and get the battery charged. Good thing this was at home. BTW it was a Toyota hybrid which I hadn’t driven for 2 wks. A gas-engine car would have still started after 2 wks. They damn well should make the car’s battery hold a charge longer than 14 days. It’s only a couple of years old so that battery shouldn’t have worn down.

          • Ronstill4Hills says:

            What I have been told is that in “new” cars it is the many ongoing systems checks with the computers that causes them to run down if not started every week or so.

          • NW Luna says:

            Oh, just great. Such an improvement.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      Check out this thread:

      • NW Luna says:

        Yowza! Whenever the Jan 6th Committee gets it all together the evidence will be horrifying.

  3. quixote says:

    Pelosi getting back to work within hours, counting the electoral votes, wasn’t just a nice gesture.

    Given what was going on in the background, it was vital to shortcircuiting the coup.

    As vital as Officer Goodman leading the rioters away from Senators. (Just one good high profile victim, and the Orange Dump would have used it to declare martial law or whatever they had up their sleeves.)

  4. quixote says:

    Where is Merrick???? is getting into Where is Wally territory.

    He’s famous for a “perfect prosecution” of the Oklahoma bomber, decades ago. My personal theory is that he doesn’t want to sully his record, so, by god!, he’s going to have the perfect prosecution against the coup.

    He’s going to have every thread found and tied up, every i dotted, every t crossed. And if it takes until people’s sense of horrible injustice has turned to stone, he doesn’t even see a problem. The process is all-important. He’s in the evidence room, carefully putting printed out text messages in legibly labelled plastic bags, ignoring the fire burning down the whole court.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Maybe. According to Marcy Wheeler, there is plenty of evidence that serious investigation is happening. DOJ just announced today that they have hired 131 new prosecutors for the Jan. 6 cases.

    • djmm says:

      I am frustrated wit Attorney General Garland as well. I hope it is like an iceberg — more going on than we can see.
      Great roundup of really important stories today.
      Can Senator Ted Cruz sink any lower? If he can, I do not want to see it.

      • bostonboomer says:

        We are not going to get accountability from the justice system. It takes forever. We need the House committee to hold public hearings and we need to elect Democrats. If the GOP takes over we are screwed.

      • quixote says:

        Yeah. We hope it’s like an iceberg. But it doesn’t have to be. They have the Orange Trash dead to right for stealing *boxes* of classified documents.

        Normal people who steal *one* classified document (in a socially useful cause, no less!) go to jail for five years near-instantly.

        So why isn’t he in jail for that while they work on the other 500 counts?

        There’s nothing that says they have to get him on everything before they get him on anything. Quite the contrary.

        • bostonboomer says:

          The DOJ announced publicly that they are investigating that. I would rather get Trump on conspiracy and obstruction though.

        • NW Luna says:

          Reality Winner is still in jail for sounding the alarm on Trump’s electoral shennanigans in the 2016 election, because she leaked an intelligence report about Russian interference on behalf of Trump. Biden should pardon and release her.