Finally Friday Reads: Finally a glimpse of June JusticePosted: June 3, 2022
Good Day Sky Dancers!
It should be an interesting June as we head towards public, televised hearings on the January 6th investigation and begin to see mentions of big fish testimony and big fish criminal indictments.
Let’s start with this from Just Security: “Primer on the Hearings of the January 6th Select Committee.” It’s been almost a year since they convened. They’ve been busy.
Nearly 11 months into its inquiry, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol already represents among the most complex and sprawling investigations in congressional history. In light of the volume and complexity of information, this resource is intended to organize and distill key prongs of the multifaceted campaign to overturn the 2020 election. Particularly in advance of this month’s public hearings, it also highlights key facts and findings that are already known, as well as important unanswered questions.
The resource is structured around the key prongs of the investigation itself — how the Select Committee has organized its investigative work — which mirror the key prongs of the campaign to overturn the election. The Committee’s investigative teams are color-coded in name (Gold, Blue, Purple, Red, and Green); this primer has in turn highlighted key facts and findings according to that same organizational structure.
Critically, “January 6th” has, like “Watergate,” become a useful shorthand. But as with Watergate, January 6th represents neither a single nor isolated event, but instead a much broader and more multifaceted effort to stop the transfer of power. We hope this resource is useful in distilling those components and what we critically know — and don’t yet know — about each. This resource was produced as a collaboration between Just Security and Protect Democracy.
The Primer is available in Scribd format below and also as a PDF.
It is worth downloading and reviewing this to get a sense of what each team has to date. The first page dedicated to the gold team’s findings is a really good reminder of what we know at the topmost levels. I can’t reproduce any of it here but the PDF is free to view and download. I intend to keep it handy as the hearings progress.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol released an official notice that it will hold the first hearing on what it has found so far about the deadly siege on Thursday, June 9 in prime time at 8 p.m. ET.
In the notice made late on Thursday, the panel also said witnesses for the hearing would be announced next week.
At the hearing, the panel will “present previously unseen material documenting January 6th, receive witness testimony, preview additional hearings, and provide the American people a summary of its findings about the coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power,” it said.
This will be the first public hearing held by the committee in nearly a year. During the last hearing, in July, four police officers gave graphic accounts of the physical and verbal assaults they endured while protecting the Capitol and the lawmakers who had gathered on Jan. 6, 2021, to count and certify states’ electoral votes from the 2020 election. Over 100 law enforcement officers were injured and several people died after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol to overturn the election results.
From Charlotte Klein at Vanity Fair: “CAN THE JAN. 6 COMMITTEE BREAKTHROUGH IN PRIME TIME?
Some panel members have hyped the upcoming public hearings as a Watergate-style moment, a chance to make their case in the court of public opinion. Yet one week out, the schedule—in Congress and on TV—is still being hashed out. ”
Ahead of the hearings, Axios on Wednesday revealed one “blockbuster” witness expected to testify: J. Michael Luttig, a former federal judge and lawyer who advised Vice President Mike Pence in the leadup to Jan. 6, as Donald Trump was pressuring Pence to use his traditionally ceremonial role as president of the Senate to overturn the 2020 election results. Luttig gave Pence the legal argument he used to defy Trump’s anti-democratic demand; the vice president quoted Luttig in a statement released moments before the joint session of Congress.
While official invitations to testify have not been sent to Luttig, according to Axios, the conservative legal scholar is “expected to describe his view of the stakes of Jan. 6 and his argument that American democracy is at a crossroads” before answering questions—including, presumably, ones about the constitutional defense he armed Pence with. Luttig referenced such legal technicalities in April while warning in a CNN Op-Ed that “the last presidential election was a dry run for the next” for Trump and Republicans, who “began readying their failed 2020 plan to overturn the 2024 presidential election” hours after the insurrection and “have been unabashedly readying that plan ever since, in plain view to the American public.” GOP efforts to elect election-denying candidates to state legislative offices in battleground states, as well as Trump supporters to Congress, are among Luttig’s examples.
The Luttig news comes as House committee members have promised fireworks at the public hearings, which, according to Rep. Jamie Raskin, “will tell a story that will really blow the roof off the House” and “will be compared to the Watergate hearings.” (Perhaps, but Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan wrote in her latest column why a Watergate moment is unlikely, thanks in part to the right-wing media ecosystem that didn’t exist in the Nixon era.) Back in January—when the select committee was discussing potential hearing formats, including holding them in prime time, to build a maximum audience for testimony—Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairman, told Bloomberg, “The public needs to know, needs to hear from people under oath about what led up to January 6, and to some degree, what has continued after January 6.” Since then, Thompson has said that some of the hearings spread throughout June will be a “mixture of some prime time and some regular,” but aside from a draft recently reported by the Guardian, the schedule remains unclear. (The Jan. 6 committee did not respond to a request for comment.
The January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol was the product of a months-long effort, led by former-President Donald Trump and enabled by members of Congress, state representatives, and political allies, to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election. Since that deadly attack, the House of Representatives’ Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attacks on the United States Capitol has engaged in a deliberate and largely quiet effort to investigate the facts, circumstances, and causes that led to the attack. As the Committee prepares to hold its first public hearings beginning on June 9, CREW is proud to be one of the leading voices for accountability. Below we provide answers to some of the common questions about the Committee’s work, authority, and quest for accountability.
There are lots of questions with lots of answers. It’s a very good read.
So, I saw Peter Navarro chattering on Ari Melber at MSNBC last night and was terrifically surprised that he would repeat his performance of his last visit. He just cannot seem to keep his mouth shut. From the Daily Beast: “‘I Am Willing to Go to Jail for This’: Peter Navarro Dishes to Ari Melber After Suing Jan. 6 Committee.”
Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro on Thursday spoke at length to MSNBC host Ari Melber about a lawsuit he has filed against the Justice Department and the House Jan. 6 committee after the DOJ subpoenaed him for documents and testimony. Navarro has indicated he will refuse, saying the subpoena demanded “fruit of the poisonous tree.”
Navarro was found to be in contempt of Congress last month for ducking a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee, with the House referring him – as well as Trump’s social media handler Dan Scavino – to the Justice Department for potential prosecution. When the Jan. 6 committee voted to move along the contempt charge, Navarro abruptly bailed on a scheduled appearance that night on Melber’s show.
Thursday’s appearance was yet another edition of the pair sparring over Navarro’s role in the events of Jan. 6, his refusal to cooperate with Congress, and yet his willingness to write a book and talk with the press. (Navarro told The Daily Beast in December about the “Green Bay Sweep” plan that he and Steve Bannon ginned up to try to thwart the 2020 election results and keep Trump in power.)
“You’re waging this legal battle not to talk to the committee, not to talk potentially to DOJ, although as you said, TBD,” Melber said. “So you’re risking going potentially to jail not to talk to them, but you’re out here talking in public. You do realize these investigators can hear you when you talk on TV?”
“What we’re talking about now, Ari, is the case law itself and the constitutionality of executive privilege, testimony, immunity. A second key issue in the case is the separation of powers,” Navarro replied. “This kangaroo committee has clearly violated the separation of powers. They’re not supposed to act as judge, jury, and executioner. They’re only supposed to pursue a legislative function.”
Melber said he’d take Navarro’s premise seriously, and Navarro replied: “You should. This is why I’m fighting. This is why I’m willing to go to jail for this.”
The pair went back and forth for 20 minutes, with Navarro offering no shortage of blustery opinions about what he believes should be done to congressional Democrats and the Biden administration.
Melber quoted Navarro’s lawsuit: “‘If an incumbent can strip a predecessor of privilege…just imagine what will happen to Biden and his advisers if Republicans win in 2024.’” Melber continued, “Quote, ‘If I’m not dead or in prison, I will lead the charge.’ What are you threatening? And are you suggesting that you would be in a Republican White House? And what will you do?”
Navarro is former President Donald Trump’s second aide to be charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the Jan. 6, 2021, investigation, His arrest comes months after the indictment of former White House adviser Steve Bannon.
Navarro, 72, was charged with one contempt count for failing to appear for a deposition before the House committee. The second charge is for failing to produce documents the committee requested. He was taken into federal custody Friday morning and was expected to appear in federal court in Washington later in the afternoon.
The indictment underscores that the Justice Department is continuing to pursue criminal charges against Trump associates who have attempted to impede or stonewall the work of congressional investigators examining the most significant attack on U.S. democracy in decades.
Guess it’s not his day!
As you can see, the month has already started out blustery. It includes the first invest of the hurricane season. This is from Yale Climate Connections (and yes, I’m still being a nice little volunteer weather tracker for the NWS). “Disturbance 91L in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico likely to become the Atlantic’s first tropical cyclone of 2022. Hurricane Agatha’s remnants are invigorating the well-organized disturbance centered near the northeastern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.”
Though 91L has strong model support for development, wind shear is predicted to remain high this week, and any storm that does form in the Gulf would likely be incapable of rapid intensification. The odds of development appear to be greater after the system crosses over the Florida Peninsula and enters the waters off the Southeast U.S. coast on Sunday (Figure 1).
The track of 91L will bring it to the coast of southwestern Florida on Saturday; at the time of landfall, 91L is likely to be no stronger than a 60-mph tropical storm, with a weaker storm more likely. Heavy rains from 91L will be its main threat, with seven-day rainfall amounts of five-plus inches expected over portions of Mexico, Cuba, South Florida, and the western Bahamas by Thursday, June 9 (Figure 2). Because of dry air to the northwest of the system, a sharp cutoff point for the heavy rains is expected over central Florida.
So, get ready for a June to remember!!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?