Lazy Caturday Reads With Movie Cats

Good Afternoon!!

51gJjMeOjRL._AC_SY1000_Greetings from the land of ice and snow! Massachusetts was covered in ice yesterday after the latest winter storm hit New England. Lots of people ventured out in their cars anyway. It didn’t go well. The Boston Globe: ‘Patrols were going from one crash to another.’ Mass. State Police respond to more than 200 accidents as flash freeze continues.

An icy winter storm marched across Massachusetts Friday, pushing temperatures well below freezing and leading to hundreds of car crashes on slick roadways, including one fatality, officials said.

State Police said they had responded to over 200 crashes, starting from about 5 p.m. Thursday, when the temperatures started to drop, through Friday afternoon.

“Patrols were going from one crash to another,” State Police said on Twitter.

A Worcester man was killed in a crash with a tractor trailer on Interstate 495 north in Chelmsford, State Police said.

Boston police responded to 48 crashes across the city between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, according to Sergeant Detective John Boyle, the department’s chief spokesman.

Elsewhere, a car overturned on Route 2 eastbound in Belmont and caught fire around 5 p.m., but there were no injuries, local police said.

There was little hope conditions would improve anytime soon on Friday evening.

A winter weather advisory remained in effect until 10 p.m. for much of Massachusetts, all of Rhode Island, and northern Connecticut, according to the National Weather Service.

Today the temperatures remain below zero. I’m so glad I don’t need to go anywhere.

This shocking piece by HuffPost’s Ryan J. Reilly is a must read: A Police Officer Died By Suicide After Jan. 6. Here’s What He Went Through At The Capitol.

About six months after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, Erin Smith was talking to a psychiatrist who was working on a report on her husband’s death. Jeffrey Smith, an officer with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, had died by suicide on Jan. 15, just nine days after the attack on the Capitol.

The psychiatrist, hired by a lawyer for Jeffrey’s estate, was examining whether the injuries Jeffrey suffered on Jan. 6 had caused his death. Erin didn’t know precisely what her husband had gone through on Jan. 6; the couple had a general understanding that they wouldn’t get into too many specifics about his police work. But from what he did share, it was awful.

Cat from Alien

Cat from Alien

“He internalized things. He said it was the worst day of his life,” Erin told the psychiatrist. “He said, you train all the time but it’s different when you experience it. I’d never seen him that way before. He was extremely even tempered. He was very calm about everything.”

When officers heard over the radio that shots were fired, Jeffrey told her, they didn’t know whether it was rioters or police who were shooting. Jeffrey, according to the psychiatrist’s subsequent report, told another friend that his adrenaline was pumping like crazy and called the scene “crazy.”

“We were literally in the halls of the Capitol pushing people out,” Jeffrey reportedly texted the friend. “It was like a movie.” [….]

“He didn’t know the layout of the Capitol. The last time he was in the Capitol was when he was 10 years old,” Erin said. “He didn’t know if he was going to get out alive.”

Erin recalled to the psychiatrist that Jeffrey told her when he arrived home that he’d been “punched in the face, hit in the head with a metal pole.”

Erin had to fight get any information from the Metropolitan Police, but she did get some help from on-line investigators where were able to locate Jeffrey in videos. She was eventually aespeble to get his body cam footage through a lawsuit. What that footage revealed was horrifying. Reilly has a long thread on Twitter that everyone should read (including Merrick Garland). Here’s some of what Jeffrey experience on January 6, 2021.

But there’s more to this story–the tale of a Washington DC chiropractor named David Walls-Kaufman, who was outed to HuffPo by a client, who asked to be called “Elizabeth.”

About this time a year ago, a woman who agreed to be identified by HuffPost as Elizabeth was stressed. So, not long after the Jan. 6 attack, she went to see her chiropractor on Capitol Hill at his shop on East Capitol Street, barely 500 yards from the Capitol grounds….

Elizabeth had been going to the chiropractor for years. She shared a bit of what brought her to see him that day, perhaps thinking that a man so close to the Capitol who had clients who worked on the Hill might have similar feelings of unease in the aftermath of a violent mob’s attempt to stop the transfer of power in the United States.

“I said I had been stressed out and upset and scared by the attack on the Capitol,” Elizabeth told HuffPost. But, with her chiropractor’s hands on her body, she realized he had a very different perspective.

“While he was adjusting me, he said, ‘I thought it was just a few broken windows,’” Elizabeth said.

Vito's cat from The Godfather

Vito’s cat from The Godfather

It turns out that Walls-Kaufmann was one of the rioters in the Capitol building and he appears in Jeffrey Smith’s body cam footage. You can see shots of him in the article and in Reilly’s Twitter thread.

Members of the sleuthing group Deep State Dogs, who began a volunteer investigative effort for Jeffrey’s widow after her attorney reached out to HuffPost, confirmed Walls-Kaufman’s identity. Nearly six months after he was identified, he has not yet been arrested.

HuffPost also recently discovered how Walls-Kaufman entered the Capitol on Jan. 6. Newly released surveillance footage from the Capitol shows Walls-Kaufman, with his hoodie on his head, barreling through the building’s eastern doors, which are visible from the street outside his shop. He enters the Capitol seconds after a member of the mob violently pulls down a cop from behind and the mob rushes in. Another officer, wearing no protective gear, has to hurry over to help the fallen officer, and the mob surges through the doors. That’s when Walls-Kaufman rushes in, right behind Capitol riot defendants Simone Gold and John Strand, who ― like Walls-Kaufman ― promote conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic.

I’ve quoted a great deal from Reilly’s article, but there is much more to read at the HuffPo link. This is such an important story.

As we learned yesterday, the Republican National Committee thinks the people who marched on the capitol after Trump incited them were just “ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse.” RNC chair Ronna McDaniel tried to clean the mess up on Twitter, but no one’s buying it.

Business Insider: GOP accused of ‘declaring war on democracy’ after calling the deadly January 6 riot ‘legitimate political discourse.’

McDaniel in a tweet on Friday said that she has repeatedly condemned the violence on January 6. The resolution contained no mention of the violence and criminal acts by Trump loyalists during the riot.

Democrats, historians, and democracy experts, among others, ripped into the Republican party for framing the deadly riot in this way.

Mr. Bigglesworth from Austin Powers

Mr. Bigglesworth from Austin Powers

“Today @GOPChairwoman said Jan 6th insurrectionists were ‘ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse,'” Jaime Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said in a tweet. “They stormed the Capitol. Threatened the VP & Speaker. Injured police. Broke windows. Smeared feces on walls. GOP is truly the Party of #FraudFearFascism.”

Walter Shaub, a former director of the Office of Government Ethics, said the “deadly insurrection that sought to stop the transfer of power was not ‘legitimate political discourse,’ and any persons or groups who say so are declaring war on democracy and aligning themselves with terrorists.”

Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia echoed the sentiment.

“The Republican Party just declared the January 6th attack on the Capitol – 140+ police officers wounded, multiple deaths, and criminal charges for sedition – ‘legitimate political discourse,'” Beyer tweeted. “The GOP officially supports violent criminal assaults on police, and on our democracy.”

Jennifer Mercieca, a historian of American political rhetoric at Texas A&M University, said she can say with “certainty that the January 6th insurrection was not legitimate, nor was it ‘political discourse,'” adding that the riot “was political violence.”

Read more at the link.

Also in the news yesterday, Mike Pence kinda sorta stood up to his hold boss, saying “Trump was wrong” about the vice president have a the power to overturn the election by refusing to certify electoral votes. Naturally Trump was enraged and hit back. 

51fh1jVZycLRaw Story Trump responds to Pence in unhinged statement: ‘I was right and everyone knows it!’

In a statement issued by his Save America PAC more than six hours later, Trump said, “Just saw Mike Pence’s statement on the fact that he had no right to do anything with respect to the Electoral Vote Count, other than being an automatic conveyor belt for the Old Crow Mitch McConnell to get Biden elected President as quickly as possible.”

“Well, the Vice President’s position is not an automatic conveyor if obvious signs of voter fraud or irregularities exist,” Trump added. “That’s why the Democrats and RINOs are working feverishly together to change the very law that Mike Pence and his unwitting advisors used on January 6 to say he had no choice. The reason they want it changed is because they now say they don’t want the Vice President to have the right to ensure an honest vote. In other words, I was right and everyone knows it. If there is fraud or large scale irregularities, it would have been appropriate to send those votes back to the legislatures to figure it out. The Dems and RINOs want to take that right away. A great opportunity lost, but not forever, in the meantime our Country is going to hell!”

Finally, Pence should probably check out this piece at Raw Story: ‘Cut their head off!’: Mike Pence threatened with beheading in newly released Capitol riot video.

Late Friday night the Justice Department released new videos from the January 6th Capitol riot where one insurrectionist pledged to drag former vice president Miek Pence through the streets for treason that led to him calling for Donald Trump’s former running mate to be decapitated.

CNN’s Amara Walker shared the videos — with a warning about the language — that showed the bearded rioter looking into his camera and raging at Pence for betraying supporters of the former president.

In the video the unidentified man can be heard asking if Pence held up the certification of Joe Biden as president before launching into a profanity-laden attack on the former vice president.

“I’m hearing that Pence just caved. Is that true?” he asked. “I’m telling you, if Pence caved we’re going to drag motherf*ckers through the streets. You f*cking politicians are going to get drug through the streets because we’re not going to have our f*cking sh*t stolen.”

“If we find out you politicians voted for it we’re going to drag your f*cking asses through the street,” he continued before turning back to Pence.

“Let me find out Pence — let me find out you treasoned (sic) the country. I’ll f*cking drag your ass too” he shouted. “Cut their head off! You do the right thing or we’re going to force you to do the right thing.”

On that grisly note, I’ll wrap this up and turn over the floor to you. What stories are you following today?


Thursday Reads: January 6, One Year Later

Good Morning!!

106997615-16414792622022-01-06t142549z_1797960329_rc2ptr97uikn_rtrmadp_0_usa-capitol-securityPresident Joe Biden today specifically held his predecessor responsible for the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol one year ago today. Without naming him, Biden called Trump a liar who cares more about his own “bruised ego” than about our democracy or the Consitution.

The Washington Post provides excerpts: On Jan. 6 anniversary, Biden calls out Trump for ‘web of lies’ about 2020 election.

In a searing speech, Biden marked the first anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by painting in vivid detail the violence of that day — and, without naming Trump, by squarely blaming the former president for spreading “a web of lies” about the 2020 election.

“One year ago today, in this sacred place, democracy was attacked, simply attacked,” Biden said. “The will of the people was under assault. The Constitution, our Constitution, faced the gravest of threats.”

Throughout the speech, Biden did not mention Trump by name but constantly referred to him as the former president.

“For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election: He tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol,” Biden said. “But they failed.”

Biden said Americans must ensure such an attack never happens again.

“Here is the truth: The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election,” Biden said. “He’s done so because he values power over principle … because he sees his own interest as more important than his country’s interest and America’s interest, and because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution. He can’t accept he lost.”

More excerpts from the speech at the WaPo: ‘I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy,’ Biden says.

In his remarks at the Capitol Thursday morning, Biden vowed to defend American democracy and said that Jan. 6 represents not its end but rather a rebirth of “liberty and fair play.”

“You can’t love your country only when you win,” Biden said. “You can’t obey the law only when it’s convenient. You can’t be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies.”\Those who stormed the Capitol and those who called on them to do so, Biden said, “held a dagger at the throat of … American democracy.”

“They didn’t come here out of patriotism or principle. They came here in rage — not in service of America, but rather in service of one man,” Biden said.

He added: “I did not seek this fight brought to this Capitol one year ago today. But I will not shrink from it, either. I will stand in this breach. I will defend this nation, and I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy.”

Trump has already responded to Biden’s speech. I won’t quote from his childish statement, but you can read it at The Independent. 

More on this Biden’s speech from The Boston Globe: ‘We the people endured.’ Biden, Harris mark a year since violent insurrection.

President Joe Biden on Thursday delivered what he declared was the “God’s truth” marking the first anniversary of the U.S. Capitol insurrection, the violent attack by Donald Trump’s supporters that has fundamentally changed Congress and raised global concerns about the future of American democracy.

Biden’s criticism was particularly blistering of then-President Trump and his violent supporters.

“For the first time in our history, a president not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol,” Biden said. “But they failed.”

“I will stand in this breach,” he declared, his voice rising.

“Democracy was attacked,” Biden said at the Capitol. “We the people endure. We the people prevailed.”

The president and congressional Democrats started the day in Statuary Hall, one of several spots where rioters swarmed a year ago and interrupted the electoral count. Biden drew a contrast between the truth of what happened and the false narratives that have sprung up about the Capitol assault, including the continued refusal by many Republicans to affirm that Biden won the 2020 election.

“You and I and the whole world saw with our own eyes,” Biden said.

He asked those listening to close their eyes and recall what they saw that day, as he described the harrowing, violent scene, the mob attacking police, threatening the House speaker, erecting gallows threatening to hang the vice president — all while then-President Trump sat at the White House watching it on TV.

“Here is the God’s truth about Jan. 6, 2021,” Biden said. “They were looking to subvert the Constitution.”

“We must be absolutely clear about what is true and what is a lie. Here’s the truth,” he said. “The former president of the United States of America has spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.”

From Jonathan Karl, author of Betrayal, a book on the last days of the Trump administration: Beyond the riot, Jan. 6 was a dangerously close call. How Trump’s plot nearly succeeded: ANALYSIS.

Two weeks after the Jan. 6 insurrection , Donald Trump walked out of the White House and Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States. Trump had attempted to use the full power of the presidency and his position as the leader of the Republican Party to stay in power, but he failed. Democracy succeeded. Joe Biden became president, on schedule and without incident, at noon on Jan. 20, 2021.

But this was a close call. Attempts by Trump and his followers to overturn the results of the 2020 election — multi-dimensional efforts of which the assault on the Capitol building was only one element — came dangerously close to succeeding.

Consider, for example, Donald Trump’s demand that Vice President Mike Pence act to nullify Biden’s victory on Jan. 6. Trump wanted Pence to use his power as the presiding officer during the joint session of Congress that day to toss out Biden’s electoral votes in states Trump had contested. On its face, the idea of giving one person the power to overturn the votes of millions of Americans was absurd. And outside of a few fringe lawyers advising Trump, constitutional scholars agreed that Pence had no authority to do what Trump was demanding.

But what if Pence had followed Trump’s order? What would have happened if he had brought the gavel down during the joint session on Jan. 6 and thrown out Biden’s electoral votes in the states Trump had contested? What if he had declared Trump the winner of those states?

J. Michael Luttig, a former federal appellate judge popular among conservatives, had advised Pence he would be violating the Constitution if he followed Trump’s order, and Luttig tells ABC News that if Pence had attempted to do it, he would have “plunged the country into a constitutional crisis of the highest order.”

While it may be clear that Pence did not have the authority to unilaterally reject electoral votes, it is unclear who would have had the authority to overrule him. Some have suggested the matter would simply have had to be resolved by the Supreme Court, but it is unclear the justices would have agreed to decide such a case because the Constitution arguably leaves it up to Congress to decide its own rules for counting contested electoral votes.

“It would have presented America, and the three branches of our government in particular, with what each branch would have viewed as seemingly irresolvable constitutional issues,” Luttig said.

Luttig believes the Supreme Court would have ultimately taken up the issue, but, he says, with no explicit constitutional authority to do so, it’s not certain the justices would have agreed to resolve the dispute.

“Had the Supreme Court refused to decide these issues,” Luttig told ABC News, “the country and our democracy would have spiraled into a chaos from which neither would have soon recovered, literally jeopardizing our national security. The legitimacy of our democracy would have been forever drawn into doubt and its luster could never have been restored.”

Read the rest at ABC News. 

Yesterday former Trump family insider Stephanie Grisham appeared before the January 6 committee. This morning she was on CNN’s New Day talking about Trump and the gang.

From The Daily Beast: Trump Enjoyed Riot So Much He Rewound TV to Watch It Twice, Ex-Aide Says.

Donald Trump had such a good time watching the Capitol riot unfold on live TV that he rewound the coverage to watch it twice, according to his former press secretary Stephanie Grisham. Speaking to CNN from Washington, D.C. on the first anniversary of the riot, Grisham recalled that Trump was in the White House dining room as the insurrection unfolded. “He was in the dining room gleefully watching on his TV as he often did, [saying] ‘Look at all the people fighting for me,’ hitting rewind, watching it again, that’s all that I know,” said the former press secretary. Grisham also repeated her claim that former first lady Melania Trump did nothing to persuade her husband to call off his supporters from their attack on the Capitol and lawmakers inside, and announced that a group of unnamed ex-Trump administration officials plan to meet next week to talk about a plan to stop Trump in his quest to “manipulate people and divide our country.”

More from Grishom’s CNN appearance:

Mike Pence insiders are also speaking to the January 6 committee. Axios: Scoop: Mike Pence’s team helping Jan. 6 committee.

People in and around former Vice President Mike Pence’s office have been particularly cooperative as the Jan. 6 select committee focuses on what former President Trump was doing during the more than three hours the Capitol was under attack, sources familiar with the testimony tell Axios.

Why it matters: At the one-year mark of the insurrection, the committee is piecing together a definitive timeline of how Trump resisted pleas from his own advisers, allies, family members and lawmakers to halt the violence down Pennsylvania Avenue.

  • The committee is ramping up its closed-door work with the goal of holding public hearings as early as this spring.

Some Pence-world witnesses have testified without a subpoena, according to one source with direct knowledge of the closed-door hearings.

  • Both Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short, and former press secretary Alyssa Farah, who later served as White House communications director, are among those cooperating with the committee.
  • Keith Kellogg also has given a deposition.
  • One source familiar with their involvement said Short, who was subpoenaed by the committee, would not have cooperated without the approval of Pence.

What we’re hearing: Some of the most helpful information has come from second- and third-tier administration staff who were not directly involved but were at the White House on Jan. 6 and had access to top administration officials, sources tell Axios.

  • They’ve been integral to helping piece together exactly what happened that day, one committee aide said.
  • Many of those officials met solely with the committee’s Republican members, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), two sources with direct knowledge said.
  • Some also have testified together with their former colleagues.

What they’re saying: Farah, who spoke with the committee on several occasions last year, told Axios:

  • “From the two I was in, you could see how much information they already had.
  • “Those who are refusing to cooperate likely are doing so out of complete fealty to Donald Trump and not wanting to piss him off.
  • “But, secondarily, because they’re realizing the committee has quite a bit more information than they realized. And their involvement is known to a much greater degree than they realized.”

From CNN: Cheney said the January 6 committee ‘looks forward to’ cooperation from Mike Pence and his team.

Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chairwoman of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, said Thursday she is looking forward to Vice President Mike Pence‘s cooperation and his team “continuing” their cooperation in the panel’s investigation.

The Wyoming Republican also called him a “hero” for his actions that day.

“Former Vice President Pence was a hero on January 6. He refused the pressure of the former President. He did his duty, and the nation should be very grateful for the actions that he took that day,” Cheney told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on the “Today” show. “We look forward to continuing the cooperation that we’ve had with members of the former vice president’s team, and I look forward as well to his cooperation.”

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House select committee, has said he wants to hear directly from Pence, who certified the 2020 presidential election results. The Democrat also said he wants the former vice president to voluntarily speak to the committee about conversations he was privy to in the days leading up to the insurrection and what he witnessed on that day.

Various Pence aides have started engaging with the panel, including his former chief of staff Marc Short. Short’s cooperation is a significant development that gave investigators insight from one of the highest-ranking Trump administration officials and signals a greater openness among Pence’s inner circle.

One source previously told CNN the committee is getting “significant cooperation with Team Pence,” even if the committee has not openly discussed that. Another source also told CNN that Short’s help is an example of the “momentum” the investigation is enjoying behind the scenes.

This could be an interesting day. I haven’t been watching a lot of TV lately, but I may do so today. There is a lot going on. 

What are your thoughts on the anniversary of January 6?

 


Lazy Caturday Reads

Le Chat Noir, Théophile Steinlen (1896)

Le Chat Noir, Théophile Steinlen (1896)

Good Afternoon!!

There is a great deal of news today about Trump’s attempted coup and his attempts to cover up what he did. The more that comes out the clearer it becomes that Trump really tried to bring down the U.S. government and install himself as a Putin-like strongman. Furthermore, he’s not finished yet.

Last night, The Washington Post broke a bombshell story about the extent of Trump lawyer John Eastman’s efforts to force Mike Pence to overturn the electoral college votes on January 6, 2020: During Jan. 6 riot, Trump attorney told Pence team the vice president’s inaction caused attack on Capitol.

As Vice President Mike Pence hid from a marauding mob during the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol, an attorney for President Donald Trump emailed a top Pence aide to say that Pence had caused the violence by refusing to block certification of Trump’s election loss.

The attorney, John C. Eastman, also continued to press for Pence to act even after Trump’s supporters had trampled through the Capitol — an attack the Pence aide, Greg Jacob, had described as a “siege” in their email exchange.

“The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so that the American people can see for themselves what happened,” Eastman wrote to Jacob, referring to Trump’s claims of voter fraud.

Eastman sent the email as Pence, who had been presiding in the Senate, was under guard with Jacob and other advisers in a secure area. Rioters were tearing through the Capitol complex, some of them calling for Pence to be executed.

The Post also published a draft op-ed that Jacob wrote but never submitted until now. Back to the original story:

Jacob, Pence’s chief counsel, included Eastman’s emailed remarks in a draft opinion article about Trump’s outside legal team that he wrote later in January but ultimately chose not to publish. The Washington Post obtained a copy of the draft. Jacob wrote that by sending the email at that moment, Eastman “displayed a shocking lack of awareness of how those practical implications were playing out in real time.”

Black Cats in Paris, by Atelier De Jiel

Black Cats in Paris, by Atelier De Jiel

Jacob’s draft article, Eastman’s emails and accounts of other previously undisclosed actions by Eastman offer new insight into the mind-sets of figures at the center of an episode that pushed American democracy to the brink. They show that Eastman’s efforts to persuade Pence to block Trump’s defeat were more extensive than has been reported previously, and that the Pence team was subjected to what Jacob at the time called “a barrage of bankrupt legal theories.”

Eastman confirmed the emails in interviews with The Post but denied that he was blaming Pence for the violence. He defended his actions, saying that Trump’s team was right to exhaust “every legal means” to challenge a result that it argued was plagued by widespread fraud and irregularities.

“Are you supposed to not do anything about that?” Eastman said.

He stood by legal advice he gave Pence to halt Congress’s certification on Jan. 6 to allow Republican state lawmakers to investigate the unfounded fraud claims, which multiple legal scholars have said Pence was not authorized to do.

There’s much more at the link.

Also at The Washington Post, Aaron Black highlights the story’s revelation that Trump and Eastman tried to leverage the attack itself to force Pence’s hand: The most shocking new revelation about John Eastman.

After Pence aide Greg Jacob emailed Eastman to tell him that his “bull—-” legal advice was why Pence’s team was “under siege,” Eastman responded that it was in fact Pence’s fault.

“The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this [election challenge] to be aired in a public way so that the American people can see for themselves what happened,” Eastman replied, as revealed in a previously unpublished op-ed by Jacob.

Blaming a guy currently in hiding for fear of his life is certainly a position to take. We knew Trump posted a tweet attacking Pence early in the riot, even after Pence had just gone into hiding, but it hasn’t been clear that Trump knew he was in hiding or the level of the danger involved. Here is Trump’s lawyer suggesting that even when they were able to appreciate the danger, Pence was still being leaned on.

By Day She Made Herself Into A Cat, Arthur Rackham (1920)

By Day She Made Herself Into A Cat, Arthur Rackham (1920)

But that’s arguably not even the most compelling evidence that Trump and Eastman tried to leverage the mob. Check out this section of The Post’s report about what happened after the Capitol had been cleared and Congress had reconvened:

Pence allowed other lawmakers to speak before they returned to counting the votes, and said he wasn’t counting the time from his speech or the other lawmakers against the time allotted in the Electoral Count Act.

Eastman said that this prompted him to email Jacob to say that Pence should not certify the election because he had already violated the Electoral College Act, which Pence had cited as a reason that he could not send the electors back to the states.

“My point was they had already violated the electoral count act by allowing debate to extend past the allotted two hours, and by not reconvening ‘immediately’ in joint session after the vote in the objection,” Eastman told The Post. “It seemed that had already set the precedent that it was not an impediment.”

This is all a bit dense. But what it basically amounts to is Eastman attempting to use the fallout of a mob riot — one spurred by his and Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud and Eastman’s highly unorthodox plan to overturn the election — to then get Pence to reject election results based upon a technicality.

This morning The Guardian published this piece by Ed Pinkington: ‘A roadmap for a coup’: inside Trump’s plot to steal the presidency.

In an interview with the Guardian, Eastman explained that he had been asked to prepare the memo by one of Trump’s “legal shop”. “They said can you focus first on the theory of what happens if there are not enough electoral votes certified. So I focused on that. But I said: ‘This is not my recommendation. I will have a fuller memo to you in a week outlining all of the various scenarios.’”

Inside the Oval Office, with the countdown on to 6 January, Trump urged Pence to listen closely to Eastman. “This guy’s a really respected constitutional lawyer,” the president said, according to the book I Alone Can Fix It.

Eastman, a member of the influential rightwing Federalist Society, told the Guardian that he made clear to both men that the account he had laid out in the short memo was not his preferred option. “The advice I gave the vice-president very explicitly was that I did not think he had the authority simply to declare which electors to count” or to “simply declare Trump re-elected”.

Eastman continued: “The vice-president turned to me directly and said, ‘Do you think I have such powers?’ I said, ‘I think it’s the weaker argument.’”

Grumpy Cat, by Vanessa Stockard

Grumpy Cat, by Vanessa Stockard

Instead, Eastman pointed to one of the scenarios in the longer six-page memo that he had prepared – “war-gaming” alternatives. His favorite was that the vice-president could adjourn the joint session of Congress on 6 January and send the electoral college votes back to states that Trump claimed he had lost unfairly so their legislatures could have another go at rooting out the fraud and illegality the president had been railing about since election day.

“My advice to the vice-president was to allow the states formally to assess the impact of what they had determined were clear illegalities in the conduct of the election,” Eastman said. After a delay of a week or 10 days, if they found sufficient fraud to affect the result, they could then send Trump electors back to Congress in place of the previous Biden ones.

The election would then be overturned.

“Those votes are counted and TRUMP WINS,” Eastman wrote in his longer memo, adding brashly: “BOLD, certainly … but we’re no longer playing by Queensbury rules.”

Then why did Eastman send that e-mail to Jacob in the middle of the violent insurrection? It’s pretty obvious that Eastman is just trying to get himself out of trouble. It’s a mystery to me why he hasn’t been disbarred. Pilkington’s story is long and well worth reading in full.

Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck at CNN’s KFILE: Trump lawyer John Eastman said ‘courage and the spine’ would help Pence send election to the House in comments before January 6.

John Eastman, a conservative lawyer working with then-President Donald Trump’s legal team, said in a radio interview in early January that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the power to throw the 2020 presidential election to the House of Representatives, saying it depended on whether Pence had “courage and the spine.” Those comments are more direct than how Eastman has recently described his conversation with Pence, when he has said he told the vice president it was an “open question” whether he could throw out seven states’ Electoral College votes and that it’d be a “foolish” option to pursue.

Two Black Cats, by Jacques Lehmann Nam

Two Black Cats, by Jacques Lehmann Nam

Eastman made the comments, unearthed by CNN’s KFile, on the radio show of former Trump White House senior adviser Stephen Bannon on January 2 — just two days before Eastman briefed both Pence and Trump on his controversial memo about how Pence could overturn the election and just four days before January 6, when he spoke at the rally that preceded the attack on the US Capitol….

Eastman’s memo outlines a scenario in which Pence would disregard seven states’ Electoral College votes — making sure no candidate received the 270 Electoral College votes required to be declared the winner — thereby throwing the election to the House. Each state delegation would then have had one vote to cast for president, and since Republicans controlled 26 state delegations, a majority could have voted for Trump to win the election.

Eastman claims the memo does not reflect his own views and called the scenario to have Pence reject electoral votes and therefore throw the election to the House not “viable” and “crazy” to pursue in comments to the National Review. He also told CNN the memo was a draft.

In a conversation with CNN, Eastman said that his statements have been consistent and that he told Pence during their January 4 meeting that throwing the election to the House was “the weaker argument” and ultimately did not advise it.

“My statement on Bannon on January 2 acknowledges that that was one of the scenarios that was being discussed. But the issue that I presented to the vice president, when he asked me point blank, I told him, I said, ‘It’s an open question,’ which is true. And I said, ‘I happen to think it’s the weaker argument,’ which is true. And that’s why I recommended that he delay rather than taking that step,” Eastman said.

After CNN pointed out that on Bannon’s radio show, Eastman did not specify that the option to throw the election to the House was the “weaker” option, Eastman responded, “That’s right. Because it was a radio show.”

Yeah, right. Eastman is a liar, and not a very good one.

There’s also news about the documents Trump is trying to hide from the January 6 committee. Kyle Cheney at Politico: Call logs, speech drafts among records Trump is trying to block from Jan. 6 investigators.

Donald Trump is seeking to prevent Jan. 6 investigators from accessing daily presidential diaries, drafts of election-related speeches, logs of his phone calls, handwritten notes and files of top aides, the National Archives revealed in a Saturday morning court filing.

According to the National Archives, the former president has sought to block about 750 pages out of nearly 1,600 identified by officials as relevant to the Jan. 6 investigation. Among them are hundreds of pages from “multiple binders of the former press secretary [Kayleigh McEnany] which is made up almost entirely of talking points and statements related to the 2020 election,” according to the court filing.

Donge Kobayashi

Painting by Donge Kobayashi

The filing details are the clearest indication yet of what Trump is trying to withhold from congressional investigators seeking information about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and his activities on the day that a mob of violent Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and disrupted the peaceful transfer of power.

The National Archives indicated that many files were drawn from the systems of key Trump aides including former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, adviser Stephen Miller and deputy counsel Patrick Philbin.

Other documents include “draft text of a presidential speech for the January 6, 2021, Save America March; a handwritten list of potential or scheduled briefings and telephone calls concerning election issues; and a draft Executive Order concerning election integrity … a draft proclamation honoring deceased Capitol Police officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, and associated e-mails from the Office of the Executive Clerk, which relate to the Select Committee’s interest in the White House’s response to the Capitol attack.”

“These records all relate to the events on or about January 6, and may assist the Select Committee’s investigation into that day, including what was occurring at the White House immediately before, during and after the January 6 attack,” Justice Department attorneys, acting on behalf of Archivist David Ferriero, wrote in the filing.

Read more at Politico; see also this article at CNN by Katlyn Polantz: New January 6 court filings reveal what Trump is trying to keep secret from Congress.

Have a very spooky Halloween weekend, Sky Dancers!


Friday Reads: The Final Days

Andrea Kowch, Soiree

Soiree, by Andrea Kowch

Good Morning!!

The revelations about Trump’s final days just keep on coming. The Washington Post released another excerpt from the book by their reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig yesterday, and today The New Yorker a piece by Susan Glasser, who apparently has a book coming out next year. 

Among the stunning details in the Rucker/Leonnig excerpt is that Mike Pence didn’t trust all of the the members of his Secret Service detail, seemingly suspecting that they were aiding Trump’s attempted coup. 

At 2:13, Pence’s Secret Service detail removed the vice president from the Senate floor and took him through a side door to his ceremonial office nearby, along with his wife, Karen, their daughter Charlotte, and his brother, Greg, a congressman from Indiana. The Pences were hurried across one of the Capitol’s many ornate marble hallways to get there, but the path proved eerily close to danger. One or two minutes later, marauders chanting Pence’s name charged up the stairs to that precise landing in front of the hallway, and a quick-thinking Goodman led the rioters in a different direction, away from the Senate chamber. Had Pence walked past any later, the intruders who called him a traitor would have spotted him….

As rioters marauded through the Capitol, it was clear whom they were looking for. Some of them shouted, “Hang Mike Pence!” Trump didn’t exactly throw them off the hunt. At 2:24, the president tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”

At that moment, Pence was still in his ceremonial office — protected by Secret Service agents, but vulnerable because the second-floor office had windows that could be breached and the intruding thugs had gained control of the building. Tim Giebels, the lead special agent in charge of the vice president’s protective detail, twice asked Pence to evacuate the Capitol, but Pence refused. “I’m not leaving the Capitol,” he told Giebels. The last thing the vice president wanted was the people attacking the Capitol to see his 20-car motorcade fleeing. That would only vindicate their insurrection.

The third time Giebels asked Pence to evacuate, it was more of an order than a request. “They’re in the building,” Giebels said. “The room you’re in is not secure. There are glass windows. I need to move you. We’re going.”

At 2:26, after a team of agents scouted a safe path to ensure the Pences would not encounter trouble, Giebels and the rest of Pence’s detail guided them down a staircase to a secure subterranean area that rioters couldn’t reach, where the vice president’s armored limousine awaited. Giebels asked Pence to get in one of the vehicles. “We can hold here,” he said.

“I’m not getting in the car, Tim,” Pence replied. “I trust you, Tim, but you’re not driving the car. If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off. I’m not getting in the car.”

The Pences then made their way to a secure underground area to wait out the riot.

Much as I can’t stand Pence, he did the right thing on that terrible day.

As we’ve learned, General Milly also came through, and even the much hated Bill Barr refused to support Trump’s authoritarian obsession.

Meanwhile, Trump was excitedly watching the MAGA attack on TV. He couldn’t have cared less that the Vice President and hundreds of Congresspeople were in danger.

Back at the White House, [Pence’s national security adviser, Retired Lt. General Keith] Kellogg was worried about Pence’s safety and went to find Trump.

“Is Mike okay?” the president asked him.

“The Secret Service has him under control,”  Kellogg told Trump. “Karen is there with the daughter.”

“Oh?” Trump asked.

“They’re going to stay there until this thing gets sorted out,” Kellogg said.

john-singer-sargent-a-siesta-young-girls

A Siesta, by John Singer Sargent

Trump said nothing more. He didn’t express any hope that Pence was okay. He didn’t try to call the vice president to check on him. He just stayed in the dining room watching television.

Around this time, Kellogg ran into Tony Ornato in the West Wing. Ornato, who oversaw Secret Service movements, told him that Pence’s detail was planning to move the vice president to Joint Base Andrews.

“You can’t do that, Tony,” Kellogg said. “Leave him where he’s at. He’s got a job to do. I know you guys too well. You’ll fly him to Alaska if you have a chance. Don’t do it.”

Pence had made clear to Giebels the level of his determination and Kellogg said there was no changing it.

“He’s going to stay there,” Kellogg told Ornato. “If he has to wait there all night, he’s going to do it.”

At this point, can anyone seriously doubt that Trump would have been OK with his thugs hanging Pence? Pence and Kellogg need to testify under oath before the January 6 committee.

If you haven’t read the Washington Post article yet, please do.

General Mark Milley was a significant source for the Rucker/Leonnig book, and he apparently talked extensively to Susan Glasser as well. Glasser writes at The New Yorker: “You’re Gonna Have a Fucking War”: Mark Milley’s Fight to Stop Trump from Striking Iran.

The last time that General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with President Donald Trump was on January 3, 2021. The subject of the Sunday-afternoon meeting, at the White House, was Iran’s nuclear program. For the past several months, Milley had been engaged in an alarmed effort to insure that Trump did not embark on a military conflict with Iran as part of his quixotic campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election and remain in power. The chairman secretly feared that Trump would insist on launching a strike on Iranian interests that could set off a full-blown war.

There were two “nightmare scenarios,” Milley told associates, for the period after the November 3rd election, which resulted in Trump’s defeat but not his concession: one was that Trump would try “to use the military on the streets of America to prevent the legitimate, peaceful transfer of power.” The other was an external crisis involving Iran. It was not public at the time, but Milley believed that the nation had come close—“very close”—to conflict with the Islamic Republic. This dangerous post-election period, Milley said, was all because of Trump’s “Hitler”-like embrace of the “Big Lie” that the election had been stolen from him; Milley feared it was Trump’s “Reichstag moment,” in which, like Adolf Hitler in 1933, he would manufacture a crisis in order to swoop in and rescue the nation from it.

Study for the Pigeons, by Henry Koerner

Study for the Pigeons, by Henry Koerner

To prevent such an outcome, Milley had, since late in 2020, been having morning phone meetings, at 8 a.m. on most days, with the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in the hopes of getting the country safely through to Joe Biden’s Inauguration. The chairman, a burly four-star Army general who had been appointed to the post by Trump in 2019, referred to these meetings with his staff as the “land the plane” calls—as in, “both engines are out, the landing gear are stuck, we’re in an emergency situation. Our job is to land this plane safely and to do a peaceful transfer of power the 20th of January.”

This extraordinary confrontation between the nation’s top military official and the Commander-in-Chief had been building throughout 2020. Before the election, Milley had drafted a plan for how to handle the perilous period leading up to the Inauguration. He outlined four goals: first, to make sure that the U.S. didn’t unnecessarily go to war overseas; second, to make sure that U.S. troops were not used on the streets of America against the American people, for the purpose of keeping Trump in power; third, to maintain the military’s integrity; and, lastly, to maintain his own integrity. He referred back to them often in conversations with others.

As the crisis with Trump unfolded, and the chairman’s worst-case fears about the President not accepting defeat seemed to come true, Milley repeatedly met in private with the Joint Chiefs. He told them to make sure there were no unlawful orders from Trump and not to carry out any such orders without calling him first—almost a conscious echo of the final days of Richard Nixon, when Nixon’s Defense Secretary, James Schlesinger, reportedly warned the military not to act on any orders from the White House to launch a nuclear strike without first checking with him or with the national-security adviser, Henry Kissinger. At one meeting with the Joint Chiefs, in Milley’s Pentagon office, the chairman invoked Benjamin Franklin’s famous line, saying they should all hang together. To concerned members of Congress—including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—and also emissaries from the incoming Biden Administration, Milley also put out the word: Trump might attempt a coup, but he would fail because he would never succeed in co-opting the American military. “Our loyalty is to the U.S. Constitution,” Milley told them, and “we are not going to be involved in politics.”

Read the rest at The New Yorker.

Raw Story has an investigative article on the January 6 Capitol attack: Anatomy of an insurrection: How military veterans and other rioters carried out the Jan. 6 assault on democracy, by Jordan Green.

The slow-moving tedium of prosecutorial legal machinery and the GOP campaign to deflect responsibility can make it easy to lose sight of the big picture of what transpired on Jan. 6. But based on an aggregate review of individuals cases, along with other sources, a Raw Story analysis of the critical events in the Jan. 6 siege reveals a striking degree of coordination, sustained and intentional violence, planning and preparation, and determined effort to disable the United States’ critical governance apparatus by participants, including many with recent military experience. Many of the rioters who played critical roles in breaching the Capitol came away from the experience vowing to wage war against the United States. Few among those who are being prosecuted have expressed any remorse for their actions.

William Haskell

Day Trip, by William Haskell

Amid the hundreds of prosecutions of Trump supporters motivated by the big lie, the GOP has punished lawmakers who fail to bear allegiance to the former president and run afoul of the party line that the election was stolen, while thwarting the House investigation into the events of Jan. 6. GOP intransigence makes it likely that the Democratic-led investigation will become reduced to another partisan snipe-fest, undermining its potential to hold people accountable and prevent future attempts to overturn democracy….

A handful of defendants, including Oath Keepers members, have pleaded guilty, as fresh arrests fatten the docket weekly. Those recently charged are not minor players: In addition to people who trashed media equipment and assaulted reporters, they include the first boogaloo-identified rioter, with hints that there are more to come, and a man who organized a resistance cell under the cover of a Bible study. Critically, the FBI has yet to make an arrest for bombs that were planted outside the Democratic and Republican headquarters on the eve of the insurrection. Even under the most optimistic scenario, the prosecutions are likely to drag on for years: Among the few cases set for trial, white nationalist Christian Secor isn’t scheduled to begin deliberations until January 2022.

Beyond the chaotic events that took place when hundreds of Trump supporters unleashed mayhem on the Capitol, it remains unknown to what degree, if any, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers coordinated their actions. And beyond Trump’s feverish promotion of the Jan. 6 “Save America” rally and instruction to his followers to “walk down to the Capitol,” it also remains to be seen whether the siege may have been directed by the president or his surrogates through intermediaries such as Trump confidant Roger Stone or “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander.

Notably, the mob began its advance on the Capitol well before Trump had finished speaking at the Ellipse, suggesting that key players had decided in advance to disrupt the certification of the electoral vote, while Trump’s exhortations mobilized thousands more to reinforce the riot that was already unfolding at the seat of American government.

This is a very long and interesting article. I hope you’ll check it out.

I’m sorry to have to keep focusing on Trump news, but that’s what’s out there today. As always, this is an open thread. What’s on your mind?


Lazy Caturday Reads: Call Witnesses!

Ambrosius Benson, Portrait of a Woman and cat

Ambrosius Benson, Portrait of a Woman and cat

Good Morning!!

Yesterday after the Trump lawyers in the impeachment trial presented their pathetic defense of Trump’s January 6, 2020 coup attempt, details about a phone call between Trump and GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy began getting a lot of attention. The facts had actually been available for some time in the Longview, Washington Daily News, but hadn’t broken through in major media outlets until CNN broke this story yesterday: New details about Trump-McCarthy shouting match show Trump refused to call off the rioters.

In an expletive-laced phone call with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy while the Capitol was under attack, then-President Donald Trump said the rioters cared more about the election results than McCarthy did.

“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump said, according to lawmakers who were briefed on the call afterward by McCarthy.

McCarthy insisted that the rioters were Trump’s supporters and begged Trump to call them off.

Judith Leyster, Two Childrren with a Cat,

Judith Leyster, Two Children with a Cat

Trump’s comment set off what Republican lawmakers familiar with the call described as a shouting match between the two men. A furious McCarthy told the then-President the rioters were breaking into his office through the windows, and asked Trump, “Who the f–k do you think you are talking to?” according to a Republican lawmaker familiar with the call.

The newly revealed details of the call, described to CNN by multiple Republicans briefed on it, provide critical insight into the President’s state of mind as rioters were overrunning the Capitol. The existence of the call and some of its details were first reported by Punchbowl News and discussed publicly by McCarthy.

The Republican members of Congress said the exchange showed Trump had no intention of calling off the rioters even as lawmakers were pleading with him to intervene. Several said it amounted to a dereliction of his presidential duty.

Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was one of the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, based on what she had learned about the phone call. From the Longview Daily News story linked above:

In a Friday interview with The Daily News, she said the events of Jan. 6 determined her course of action for the following week. Hiding with colleagues from the violent mob that was ransacking the U.S. Capitol on that day, she told how she was flooded with emotions.

“I was heartbroken. I was aghast. I was in disbelief,” she recalled. “I was praying. I was like, ‘We’ve got some pretty big angels, a couple of big angels, and we’re fine.’ Just knowing how badly outnumbered everybody was at that point, and how beaten everybody was, the fact that there wasn’t a mass casualty event to me just demonstrates, I feel like, I do think God, I do think God intervened.”

“When I look at the picture of the Capitol police officer on his face, with the crowd standing over him, or of someone being bludgeoned to death, I cannot express to you the feeling inside that says, ‘I will stand up to that any day of the week and twice on Sunday,’ ” she said.

Woman with a cat, Il Bacchiacca

Woman with a cat, Il Bacchiacca

“To me that’s what my vote represents. I will not tolerate that and nor will, I believe, a majority of the good people in my district, in our state and in our country.” [….]

On the House floor Jan. 13, Herrera Beutler said:

“I’m not afraid of losing my job, but I am afraid that my country will fail. I’m afraid that patriots of this country have died in vain. I’m afraid that my children won’t grow up in a free country. I’m afraid injustice will prevail.

“My vote to impeach our sitting president is not a fear-based decision. I am not choosing a side – I am choosing truth, she said. “It’s the only way to defeat fear.”

Trump’s lawyers are still claiming he didn’t know that Pence’s life was in danger, but he had to know, even before his phone call with Tommy Tuberville. USA Today: Sen. Tommy Tuberville stands by account of Jan. 6 Trump phone call after lawyers say it’s ‘hearsay.’

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., stood by his account of former President Donald Trump’s phone call to him during Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol despite Trump’s lawyers calling the account “hearsay.” 

Tuberville’s account would mean Trump was aware of the danger Vice President Mike Pence faced before he tweeted an attack on Pence. Asked about the allegation by reporters, Tuberville said he was not sure exactly what time Trump called, but reiterated he had talked to Trump by phone on Jan. 6 and had told the president Pence was evacuated from the Senate chamber. 

Tuberville recounted answering the phone, talking briefly to Trump, and then telling him, “Mr. President, they’ve taken the vice president out. They want me to get off the phone, I gotta go.” [….]

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., asked Trump’s lawyers for greater clarity on the call but said Trump’s lawyers had “not really” answered his question.

Trump’s attorney Michael van der Veen had responded to Cassidy’s question by saying he disputed the “premise” of Cassidy’s question and called Tuberville’s account “hearsay.”

But the Secret Service would have informed Trump.

This is from yesterday’s Washington Post: Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump’s failure to act after a mob stormed the Capitol.

Hiding from the rioters in a secret location away from the Capitol, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) appealed to Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) phoned Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter.

Studies for Madonna with a cat, Leonardo Da Vinci

Studies for Madonna with a cat, Leonardo Da Vinci

And Kellyanne Conway, a longtime Trump confidante and former White House senior adviser, called an aide who she knew was standing at the president’s side.

But as senators and House members trapped inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday begged for immediate help during the siege, they struggled to get through to the president, who — safely ensconced in the West Wing — was too busy watching fiery TV images of the crisis unfolding around them to act or even bother to hear their pleas.

“He was hard to reach, and you know why? Because it was live TV,” said one close Trump adviser. “If it’s TiVo, he just hits pause and takes the calls. If it’s live TV, he watches it, and he was just watching it all unfold.”

Even as he did so, Trump did not move to act. And the message from those around him — that he needed to call off the angry mob he had egged on just hours earlier, or lives could be lost — was one to which he was not initially receptive….

Trump ultimately — and begrudgingly — urged his supporters to “go home in peace.” But the six hours between when the Capitol was breached shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon and when it was finally declared secure around 8 p.m. that evening reveal a president paralyzed — more passive viewer than resolute leader, repeatedly failing to perform even the basic duties of his job.

It’s absolutely clear at this point that Trump deliberately aided the insurrectionists and knowingly put his own Vice President and members of Congress and their staffs in danger. Now House managers are face pressure to call witnesses in the trial, which they still can do. Greg Sargent writes:

Peter Paul Rubens, Detail from Annunciation,

Peter Paul Rubens, Detail from Annunciation,

Evidence is mounting that Donald Trump knew Mike Pence was in grave danger from the mob rampaging into the Capitol when the then-president sent out a tweet blasting his vice president.

During the Jan. 6 assault, Trump tweet-slammed Pence for lacking the “courage” to overturn the election, which further infuriated the insurrectionists. Trump essentially pointed the mob like a loaded gun at Pence — and newly unearthed facts suggest Trump may have understood what he was doing in exactly these terms.

These new circumstances hand Democrats one last big weapon to wield against Trump at his impeachment trial. They also impose on them an obligation.

Specifically, the impeachment managers can still call witnesses. And the case for this has gotten stronger, now that we are so close to showing that Trump may have knowingly endangered Pence’s life.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is calling for witnesses in the trial.

Today’s session of the Trump trial should be interesting.

More relevant reads:

Jan Steen, Children teaching a cat to dance

Jan Steen, Children teaching a cat to dance

The Bulwark: The 10 Worst Moments from Trump’s “Defense”

The New York Times: For the Defense: Twisted Facts and Other Staples of the Trump Playbook

David Frum at The Atlantic: The Incompetence Lasted to the Very End.

The New York Times: For the Defense: Twisted Facts and Other Staples of the Trump Playbook

George Conway III at The Washington Post: Opinion: Trump’s lawyers offered an attack on everything but the evidence

Aaron Rupar at Vox: Trump lawyers keep accusing Democrats of manipulating evidence. But they’re doing that themselves.

Politico: House Republican pleads for Pence, Trump aides to speak out on Jan. 6 insurrection

PBS: Sen. Patty Murray recounts her narrow escape from a violent mob inside the U.S. Capitol\

Yahoo News: Trump lawyer struggles to answer key questions from Republican senators

ProPublica: “I Don’t Trust the People Above Me”: Riot Squad Cops Open Up About Disastrous Response to Capitol Insurrection

That’s all I have for you today. Have a terrific long weekend, Sky Dancers!