Posted: February 5, 2022 Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: car crashes, caturday, David Walls-Kaufman, Donald Trump, Erin Smith, January 6 insurrection, Jeffrey Smith, Massachusetts winter weather, Mike Pence, movie cats, RNC, Ronna McDaniel
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
“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
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
“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.
Raw 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?
Posted: January 6, 2022 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: Capitol insurrection, Donald Trump, January 6 anniversary, Joe Biden, Mike Pence, Stephanie Grisham, U.S. democracy
President 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.
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?
Posted: October 30, 2021 Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: Greg Jacob, January 6 insurrection, John Eastman, Mike Pence, National Archives, Trump attempted cover up, Trump coup attempt
Le Chat Noir, Théophile Steinlen (1896)
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
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)
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
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.
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.
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!
Posted: July 16, 2021 Filed under: just because, morning reads | Tags: Coup attempt, Donald Trump, iran, January 6 Capitol insurrection, Joint Chiefs, Keith Kellogg, Mark Milley, Mike Pence, Secret Service, Trump books
Soiree, by Andrea Kowch
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.
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
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.
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?
Posted: February 13, 2021 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Donald Trump, impeachment trial witnesses, Kevin McCarthy, Mike Pence, National Guard, Rep.Jaime Herrera Beutler, Second Trump impeachment trial, Secret Service, Sheldon Whitehouse
Ambrosius Benson, Portrait of a Woman and cat
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.