Archive for the ‘6 January Select Committee’ Category

The Final (We Think) Public Hearing Of The Committee To Investigate the Insurrection Of January 6th

Thursday, October 13th, 2022

Today, the House Committee to Investigate the Insurrection of January 6th held what is perhaps its final public Hearing. There were no witnesses, unless you count the plethora on video. The Committee summarized its months of investigation and presented new evidence gleamed from the Secret Service. It also showed never before seen video of House and Senate leaders calling for help from Secret Service, National Guard, Metropolitan Police, Capitol Police and whoever else was thought to have enough firepower to overwhelm the Capitol invaders and allow Congress to get back to its constitutionally required work of certifying the Electoral College’s election of Joe Biden to the Presidency.

But the highlight of the Hearing was its end, which will be debated for many days and weeks to come. Congresswoman Liz Cheney proposed a resolution to subpoena and depose former President Donald John Trump. The resolution was adopted unanimously on a voice vote.

The Committee reported that over the course of its investigation 30 people have refused to testify, invoking their 5th Amendment self-incrimination rights. It is hard to imagine Donald trump not being the 31st. Nevertheless, it made for good theater.

For me, the important new revelations the Hearing produced concerned the Secret Service and how much its leadership knew about the storm that was coming on 6 January and how it did nothing about it.

In July, we learned officers of the Secret Service erased text messages from 5 and 6 January 2021, shortly after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general requested them as part of its investigation into the agency’s response to the assault on the U.S. Capitol.

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari wrote in a letter to the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees, ultimately passed on to the House January 6th Committee, that, although his office had been notified that texts were erased as part of a device replacement program, the wiping of the devices occurred after a request for electronic communications.

“First, the Department notified us that many U.S. Secret Service text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, were erased as part of a device-replacement program. The USSS erased those text messages after OIG requested records of electronic communications from the USSS, as part of our evaluation of events at the Capitol on January 6,” Cuffari wrote in the letter.

After Cuffari’s letter, the Secret Service, which the Committee reported had been uncooperative until then, began to cooperate. Consequently, the Secret Service sent more than a million communications to the Committee, which it has been sifting through ever since. Today, the Committee made public numerous emails and other messages between Secret Service agents and leadership.

The Committee reported that by 5 and 6 January the Secret Service knew many protesters were coming to Washington DC for Trump’s speech on the Ellipse and a march to the Capitol afterwards. The speech was scheduled for mid-day on the 6th. By 5 January, the Secret Service knew many had come armed with rifles, handguns, bullet-proof vests and helmets, and that they were talking about a “firestorm” at the Capitol. Nevertheless, the Secret Service never alerted other agencies to the situation, which was inexorably building to a crescendo in plain sight, a keg of dynamite whose fuse Trump lit on the Ellipse during his speech.

One has to wonder about the Secret Service in all of this. Is it possible we have a few bad apples floating near the top of the barrel?  One has to wonder.

Following his speech, Trump demanded to go to the Capitol with the rioters, but his security detail would not allow it. The Committee reported the Secret Service detail had to “scramble to get him to back down.” Agents reported he was “furious” about this. Against his will, his security detail brought him back to the White House, where aides reported him walking the corridor outside the Oval Office “fuming” and “raging.”

At 1:19 pm, the Secret Service Operations Center reported, “hundreds of Trump supporters stormed through metal barricades at the back of the capitol building about 1:00 pm Wednesday, running past security guards and breaking fences.”

At 1:20 pm, aides told a back-in-the-Oval Trump about the storming of the Capitol. He retired to his dining room to watch it on the Fox News channel.

At 3:25 pm, Secret Service agents at the White House were told (we don’t know by whom) Trump would be moving to the Capitol “in about two hours.” At 5:00 pm, agents were told to stand down, “We are not doing an OTR (off the record) to (the Capitol).

The Committee reported today that “every single one” of the White House staff who had knowledge of the situation confirmed, “Trump was in the dining room watching on TV.” Trump has denied this on his Truth Social media network.

The Committee spent the first third of today’s Hearing showing how every one of Trump’s own appointed officials and aides had repeatedly told him he had lost the election, that Biden had won, and there was absolutely no evidence to the contrary. He refused to accept these facts—universally delivered by his own people from Attorney General Barr on down. Sixty-two lawsuits had come to nothing. There was no hope he had prevailed. Yet, still he persisted.

I can’t help wondering about his refusal to accept facts given to him over and over again. Isn’t that Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity? Barr likened it to playing whack-a-mole. Whenever he told Trump some weird accusation had proved false, he was given another weirder one to investigate.

Yet, the Committee reported today, in the quieter moments in the White House, following all the lawsuits and the crazy accusations, Trump was heard by some staff to admit he’d lost. “Can you believe I lost to fucking Joe Biden?”

Many babies and toddlers cry, whine, scream and throw things when something they really want is denied them. But eventually they figure out it’s not happening and accept it, then go on to something else. But not Donald Trump, at least publicly—to this day.

I’ve heard many people say these Hearings and this Committee are a colossal waste of time. The storming of the Capitol happened, yes people died, but it’s over. Time to move on, put it in the rear view mirror.

That’s probably true if you look at all this as if its simply one arrow whizzing past a slim crack in a door. But if you open the door and look wide, you might see the insurrection as but one part of a slow-moving, but continuing process directed by some powerful people to turn our government into autocracy. They won’t admit it, but, as many smart people have said, including Richard Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, who said it to me, “If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, odds are it’s a duck.”

 

 

The Select Committee Peels More Of The Insurrection Onion

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

Today, the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack held its fourth Hearing, third in the last week, and, although I thought there wouldn’t be much to learn, I was wrong.

To review what we all know: Donald Trump refused to admit he’d lost the 2020 presidential election. His aides in the White Housed and Justice Department knew he’d lost and tried to tell him so, to no avail. He wouldn’t listen to them. A cabal of Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and John Eastman, fawning sycophants all, fed him lies too numerous to list, all of which he passed on to his Attorney General Bill Barr, which drove Barr absolutely crazy. Barr testified he felt as if he were playing “whack-a-mole.” Sixty-two law suits; none going anywhere. Pressuring state officials, all of whom stood up to him and refused to budge.

So far, as the Republican National Committee tweeted after last week’s Hearing: All. Old. News. (Super patriots them).

But in today’s Hearing we learned the extent of pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to violate the law. And we learned it from members of Pence’s team, insiders close to the VP.

We also learned Dr. John Eastman led the campaign to get Pence to singlehandedly declare Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election, and he was relentless in his efforts.

Eastman wrote the now famous memo enumerating six ways Trump could slide to a second term. His basic argument revolved around the Constitution’s 12th Amendment and the Electoral Counting Act of 1887.

The 12th Amendment reads in part:

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President…

In 1887, in response to the tortured 1876 election where a number of states sent more than one set of electors, congress passed the Electoral Counting Act. The Act aims to minimize congressional involvement in election disputes, instead placing primary responsibility to resolve disputes on the states. If a state follows the “safe harbor” standards laid out by the Act and the state’s governor properly submits one set of electoral votes, the Act asserts this “final determination shall govern.” Since 1887, this is the way it’s been done.

Every four years, on 6 January following a presidential election, the Vice President, as Senate President, ceremonially opens the envelopes from each state, and then the votes are counted. Of course, everyone already knows what the count will reveal, as everyone did on 6 January 2021.

Eastman, time after time after time, pressured Mike Pence’s closest advisors, saying Pence’s ceremonial position was not ceremonial at all. Rather, he had the authority to invalidate a state’s submitted electors and declare Trump the real victor. When the Pence team continually rejected his argument he suggested Pence should recess the congressional event and send everything back to the states, so they could “investigate” their fraud-corrupted elections and determine the proper electors.

None of this worked.

You may be asking, “Why did the Pence team even begin to listen to Dr. Eastman?” They did it because he was representing Donald Trump who thought Eastman correct (well, he would, wouldn’t he?).

So, who is John Eastman?

First, he’s a member in good standing of the Federalist Society, and here’s what the Society says about him:

Dr. John Eastman is the former Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service and former Dean at Chapman University’s Dale E. Fowler School of Law, where he had been a member of the faculty since 1999, specializing in Constitutional Law, Legal History, and Property. He is a founding director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a public interest law firm affiliated with the Claremont Institute that he founded in 1999. He has a Ph.D. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, and a B.A. in Politics and Economics from the University of Dallas. He serves as the Chairman of the Board of the National Organization for Marriage.

Sounds impressive.

Here are a couple of salient points about the good Dr. Eastman.

From 4 November, right up to the morning of 6 January, Eastman met at least eight times, not including phone calls, with the Vice President’s team led by his Director of Legislative Affairs, John Jacobs who testified today. Throughout their conversations, Jacobs would get Eastman to admit repeatedly he did not believe his own argument. Eastman even went so far as to agree if Pence did as he asked and the Supreme Court were to decide on the matter the vote would be 9-0 against. But still he persisted, and he did so all the way to his speech on the Ellipse just before Trump told the crowd to go to the Capital and “fight like hell.”

Today’s Hearing disclosed just how close the mob came to getting Mike Pence and his family. We learned as the Secret Service was hurry-upping the group to safety in the bowels of the Capital, the Proud Boys were only 40 feet away, the Proud Boys who had decided Pence should be killed. This was new to me.

We all know how it turned out. Pence, to his everlasting credit, the Pence, who had for four years been Trump’s foremost sycophant and who I thought closely resembled a cross between Uriah Heap and a mortician, that Pence, courageously did his job. While Trump was happily watching the insurrection unfold on television, it was Pence who communicated with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley demanding he assemble the forces to quell the coup attempt. Milley, who never heard from Trump, testified Pence was “highly animated.”

At 2:15 on the morning of 7 January, Pence opened the envelopes, and the votes were counted. He then announced Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

And what became of Dr. Eastman, Trump’s leading Svengali?

Shortly after the insurrection, he formally requested Trump pardon him before leaving office.

It never happened. Donald Trump only rewards successful sycophants.